Thursday, January 26, 2006

This is my 50th post!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all my friends who made writing a truly magnificent experience. Your comments, emails, suggestions, reviews, scolding, visits, ideas, and inspiration is truly both treasured and appreciated.

Thank you all :)

“Memoirs of a Geisha” by Rob Marshall (the movie) seems intresting. I was introduced to the Geisha culture by my many Japanese friends who are now in every part of the world except, Japan! I read the book (same title) and was delighted by the insight.

But, I cant figure out why on earth is a Chinese actress playing the lead role of a Japanese!?!?!

I kid you not! It gets better, the lead actress Michelle Yeoh (oh.. how I had a huge crush on her when I was 20) is Malaysian!

I am happy that the rest of the cast comprised of a significant (no I have not done the stats on this one) number of “real” Japanese. But I find, it an insult to the “Geisha” and their culture, that the roles be played by anyone other than them! Hollywood demands I guess…

Oh well… should I watch the movie?

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Do you believe in angels?

Ok, today’s post is different and has nothing to do with psychology. Perhaps it does, perhaps it doesn’t… it has to do with a life changing experience, that came upon me.

While typing this post, there was the music of Mariah Carey, there can be miracles when you believe, playing on the stereo, as a background. I am smiling because, everyone knows that I am atheist/agnostic (somewhere in between), and I have no way to justify, reasons for writing this long winded post on miracles. More specifically, about those responsible for making other peoples miracles work.

I would like to call the kind of people, who appear almost out of the blues, and makes the private unachievable dreams of other people a reality, an angel. The picture I choose to head this post, just like all other pictures, is from the internet. However, I would like to bring to attention that, this picture does not have a “religious” form. It is selfless, just like the people/person I would like to talk about. It is form less. The picture that I selected brightens up the text below it, just like the angels I am trying so hard to talk about.

I was looking at the lyrics of the song “in the arms of an angel” by Sarah Mclachlan and found the following line:

“Spend all your time waiting for that second chance
For the break that will make it ok
There's always some reason to feel not good enough
And it's hard at the end of the day
I need some distraction oh beautiful release
Memories seep from my veins
They may be empty and weightless and maybe
I'll find some peace tonight?"

And then, I am suddenly stuck for words to describe the immense personal nature of my realization, that angels don’t come from heaven. They are among us. They do not have wings, they do not pray to god for guidance (perhaps they do, but I don’t know). They don’t go about each day saying, I will save the world. They do not look different (perhaps they do). They are simply other people, who appear one day, and make miracles in your own life, possible.

In the movie the city of angels, “Maggie Rich” did not believe in angels (neither do I, at least not the kind with wings), but then, she fell in love with one (the movie tells us that this kind of angel comes from a mystical land that’s beyond my comprehension). But more importantly, the love that’s represented in the movie, demonstrates the self-less love that the people I describe, so frequently have. The genuine caring and loving nature of the people I call, an angel.

Some of you who know me personally may wonder why have I gone so soft in the middle (suddenly), and am describing to you concepts of love, angels, and miracles. Words that are not somehow not typically associated with me nor is synonymous with the ‘core’ of me. But, when you encounter and cross the path of a beautiful human being, who suddenly changes the next decade of your life, you do go soft in the middle.

No words can express the way if feel today. It’s a mixture of elated happiness, and an euphorically joyous mood. You could say that I am in “seventh heaven”. Perhaps the angels have taken me home? (if that makes sense to you). I could not really describe to you the over joyous state I am in. not right now any way. Perhaps as time passes by, I could make more sense of this experience and write better. But for now, making you understand does not matter to me. At this very moment, I continue to live.

To the angel who makes life truly beautiful (you are going to think I am a bit corny, but that’s cool). thank you… I love you for the beautiful person that you are…

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The passing of “V”

Rumour has it (and you will realise later that I am no fan of rumour) that Spring 2006 mark the last days of the dictatorship of the evil V! for those of you who do not belong to my campus, let me shield you from the bliss and safety of not knowing! But, for those of you who have been rumouring about it, rumour no more. A staff member who is closely associated to the department of the land of the free, confirmed this “news” article!

In memory of this great person, I spoke to 2 senior students who have seen both the good side and bad side of this lady. This is what they had to say.

(not real name): “She was a fine specimen”. “I hated her guts as much as she hated mine”. “She’s utterly rude, and disrespectful of me and other students”. “She has never cared about me as a person”. “I am happy that she’s leaving and will not miss her”.

On asking Moses who he reckons will be the next “king/queen” of the department he said: “I don’t really care.” “Any one or anything is better than her. I want to throw a party.”

had this to say: “She was a steady leader and held the department together. While she could have come across to the student body with better ‘poise’” (what ever that means to him). “she made sure that justice was served and no one was favoured.” “though many had a bone to pick with her, she was classic in her own right and deserves due respect”. “I am sad to hear these rumours and will be equally sad if it comes true."

Well ladies and gentlemen, there you have it. Its perhaps the story of the century (at least in my department!). Staff members did not want to be quoted, but assured me (not that I asked for it) that an departure is guaranteed.

In spite of her dynamic duality, this lady deserves much respect. Guiding a department from its early days of 50+ students and a handful of lecturers to what it is now, a department that holds under its wings the centre for psychology, with a vibrant student population of over 900!

Yes yes, there are short comings… and I don’t deny that… however, one needs to look at the bigger picture and take into perspective that positive change occurred under her guidance.

The question to ask your selves is what does the next “great leader” of the department have in store for its beneficiaries? Will things become the way we want it to, just cause she is gone now? Or are we set to make the biggest self sacrifice ever? Are we setting the stage to drop existing standards of practice into darker deeper regions? What does her leaving holds for the students? How do we benefit or loose?

Perhaps the answers to these questions will not be known for a while. I bet, that many will speculate and many will prophesise. Are we on the verge of an impending collapse?

Long live the Queen!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Ahead of me...

Spring 06 has begun and its been rolling about a week. Its my final semester at Upper Iowa. What happens next is what I have been dreaming about for the past 4 years, graduation! I cant bring my self to adequately describe how nearing this date feels. However, I can assure you its much better than the first time I had… ok lets leave it there.. :) (insert what ever word that comes to mind and let your lovely imagination run as wild as it wants)

Even though the four years have passed by within a blink of an eye (and I don’t just mean it for empty rhetoric), looking forward to the near short term reminds me that the “experience” is not yet over. Yes ladies and gentlemen, 3 more lecturers from my esteemed university will take their shots at deducting what ever they can from that beautiful cgpa of 4.0 that I had 4 years ago!

There’s issues and ethics in the helping profession, intercultural communication, and making movies! For those of you who are wondering what ever happened to my special project (the research with refugees), well I will not be doing that one with Uni. There seems to be too many fine lines (red tape is a better word) to cross and it seems like I could never really make ERB (ethics review board) happy without blatantly changing my main variable. Hence, I now plan to carry out the same research project with the aid of an NGO (hopefully one that would be interested in research in the refugee population). Gut instinct tells me that I will be working on this right after graduation.

I am a tutor assistant to abnormal psych and a sort of “general research tutor who gets to take on challenging research topics” for all research methods classes according to the course lecturer. Apparently, this same course lecturer had forewarned the students of research methods to stay away from me if they did not want to do “complicated” research. Wow.. well.. my shameless 4th year-ness shall take that as a total compliment. The experiences with the abnormal psych class is a bit different as we will be focusing on a major qualitative study (for assignments). Given that I don’t have much experience nor affinity towards qualitative work (grilling given to me by my RM guru). I am quite contempt cause its going to be a good grounding towards clinical school! Yay!

There were a zillion of new faces when I walked into school this term (well, not really a zillion, but you know what I am trying to get at). The apparent innocent look on most their faces is telling enough. I just cant wait to see them in a year from now. The looks on the 2nd year students is evidence enough that psych school is no play ground and that your face will be dragged through the dirt until you think you want to take that leap off that cliff… those of you who are new, and are reading this, and are telling your selves, “aww shiitt.. this fella crazy.. he’s just trying to scare me”.. well you are right… I am crazy, but I aint shitting you man… psych school is anything but “easy”. The reward after 4 years (or 3 for some lesser of you hawhaw) is worth every drop of blood.

I have given some thought about my bloggin style this year (part of the beautiful resolution that I made) and here is what you will get.

  1. “the person inside of me” articles that tries to ridicule my existence shall continue. Since people in general like to hear stories about what I am doing, and since when people ask me “so, how’s it going” I like to answer them (just to annoy them) read my blog haha, that particular section will stay.
  2. “focus on mental health”: this section will be utilized to highlight the many faces of mental health. I would try my best to bring you posts of the world of mental health from both the scientific, and personal perspectives. As much as I would like to “categorise” and explain mental health (and the many divisions) I would like to give the reader the opportunity to look at the world of people who are concerned about either the mental well being of themselves or the people they love.
  3. “Potty politics”: I dedicate this column/section to the wonderful people who make society living hell. This is my area to bitch unconditionally. if you are the kinda person who likes to hear gossip about others and how what they do bring misery to the people around, then do tune into “potty politics”
  4. “pictures”: I am guilty for not representing this beautiful country (Malaysia) with the amazing photo opportunities that it gives each day. Hence, I shall try my level best, to include a photograph of stuff that I see.

That’s all folks! Should you have ideas that you think you want to share with me (or money that you just want to give me), then hit a comment!

:) Astrorat…

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Law of the Land: Twisted

I shall let the document below speak for itself.

The full transcript of this document is below. My apologies for those of you who had to do more than acrobatic squinting to read the above document. Many thanks to wonderful Deb for pointing out a flaw! :D

Malaysian Consultative Council of
Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and Sikhism

Secretariat: No 8, Jalan Duku Off Jalan Kasipillay, 51200 Kuala Lumpur. Tel: 03 —4041 4669 FAX :603 40447304

Press Statement
The MCCBCHS is very disappointed at the failure of Madam Kaliammai to get relief from the Kuala Lumpur High Court in Originating Summons No. R1-24-102-2005 in the case of
Kaliammal Sinnasamy v MajIis Agama Islam Wilayah Persekutuan & 2 Ors. The High Court refused to grant an application by the Hindu wife of the late Corporal M Moorthy, a hero of the Mount Everest climb several years ago, that her late husband was a Hindu at the time of his death.

The High Court’s main reason for this decision was because the Kuala Lumpur Syariah, Court, on the application of the Islamic Affairs Council of Kuala Lumpur, had decided that Moorthy had validly converted to Islam. This ruling by the Syariah Court was made in the absence of Kaliammah, without notice to her and in a court applying Islamic law in which she cannot be a party and does not have a proper right to be heard as a witness.

The MCCBCHS is deeply concerned that lawyers representing the Federal Government did not make any argument supporting the Hindu wife despite the fact that she had absolutely no knowledge about the alleged conversion of her husband until he went into a coma. In fact, Senior Federal Counsel for the Federal Government conceded that the wife had no legal remedy in any court.

We call on the government to urgently cure this grave defect in our legal system by making the necessary amendments to the Federal Constitution and all other legislation so that jurisdiction to determine the validity of conversions into and out of Islam are vested in the High Court where all Malaysians can be parties and have equal rights as witnesses.

Corporal Moorthy’s status as a Muslim was challenged on the basis that he did not profess Islam at the time of his death.

The MCCBCHS is of the view that it is wrong for the Syariah Courts to have assumed jurisdiction over persons who do not profess Islam, and where its orders directly affect the rights of family members of a person, all of whom do not profess Islam.

The civil High Court should be able to grant relief after considering the interests of all the parties affected.
Dated this
28th day of December 2005.

Secretary General

Monday, January 02, 2006


goodbye 05, hello hello 2006!

heres a toast to the lovely people of the world,
my wish, true peace. peace in the absence of war in the name of peace...

Happy New Year from astrorat...