Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Hunger Games, Divergent, and... Do we need more future dystopias? (Part 1)

Many futuristic dystopias have landed with great impact on the book and movie worlds in recent years, with The Hunger Games series and the Divergent series probably being the most popular. The appeal of this genre is undeniable.

Why do people love future dystopias? I think the answer can be found in the fact that these stories revolve around strong characters, who survive and don't bend their principles in the face of the adverse circumstances surrounding them. It's not that people enjoy the brutal dystopias, but rather the strength of those who survive and find a way to thrive in them.

But do we need the context of unrealistic made-up future dystopias to show us this 'strength'? After all, this strength, the spirit of survival, bravery and optimism, can be found everywhere in real life. And I believe, as both a reader and an author, when it's based in a context similar to real life is when it really shines. It's why I've chosen to base my Princess's Spirit Trilogy in our recent history (well, a semi-fictionalised version of it, but it's still in the context of our world in the early 21st century).

Bravery, optimism and defying the odds, are all things we love to celebrate. It's not just to be found in future dystopias. It's everywhere around us.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

France is Out, but Zidane Still Rules!

My favourite foreign football team France is unfortunately out of the World Cup. However, we can all have some Zidane fun!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Lady Gaga's Latest Stunt is Stupid

Lady Gaga is known for her outrageous stunts. But even by Gaga's old standards, the latest one is very sick - literally. At her recent South by Southwest performance, she had a performer vomit green slime all over her.

Firstly, I don't know why anyone would want to watch this. It has only made me like Gaga even less, and I don't think I can listen to any of her songs in the same way ever again.

And then there's also the glamourising eating disorders issue. That is also unforgivable, in my opinion. I think she owes the public an apology over this, at least. Maybe she can make amends by doing something for the cause of preventing and treating eating disorders, like making a PSA.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Princess Spirit that Does Not Grow Old

When I was younger, a friend and I had a discussion about what it means to be a princess, or what their essential spirit is. We were not talking about princesses of royal families in real life of course, we were talking about mythological princesses who were also often heroines in one way or another. We came up with a list that was something like the following:

1) Belief in one self's ability to make things right in the end.
2) Never giving in despite the odds being against you.
3) Being proud of your sense of style, even if others don't like it.
4) Never change who you are, even if others bully you for it.
5) Loving life, and loving the people around you.
6) Helping those less fortunate around you. Sometimes this requires courage too.

My friend and I agreed to keep ourselves up to these pillars of princessdom. As we grew up, some of these things were sorely tested along the way. Many people gave up on these ideas. But not me. The more they were tested, the tighter I held on to them. Eventually, I realised that these were great pillars of life that can apply to many situations, including all the new challenges that were ahead of me personally, and ahead of us as a society.

The princess spirit never grew old for me. It never will either.

Here's some musical inspiration - especially for point 5 above

Thursday, February 27, 2014

I Applaud Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s Decision to Veto Anti-Gay Bill

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has vetoed a controversial bill that had passed a few days previously, which would have allowed businesses to refuse to serve gay people, on the basis of religious beliefs.

Whilst I have rarely agreed with Governor Brewer in the past, I applaud her decision this time.

The bill was just morally unacceptable, in my opinion. There are absolutely no religious beliefs that require a person to refuse to serve gay people that I am aware of. There are people with religious beliefs that oppose gay weddings being held in their church, but no country in the world has made that kind of 'service' compulsory for any church to offer to anyone in the first place.

Therefore, let me put it bluntly - the bill was all about being mean to gay people, in my opinion. It's not acceptable to me morally, and I believe it's not acceptable to many people morally. If this doesn't deserve a veto, I don't know what does.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

How Facebook Distorts the World

Most of us have Facebook. You probably have one. And many people log onto Facebook multiple times a day. You probably do, or you may know somebody who does.

But paying too much attention to Facebook may not be that healthy.

In an ideal world, people would post their happy moments as well as their problems in life to share with friends. However, many people like to look better than they really feel in life. Therefore, many people only share the best moments in their life. As a result, there are often way too many picture perfect lives in Facebook Land.

Don't feel like you need to live up to those picture perfect lives. They don't exist in reality.

On another note, I wonder what part of human nature has caused this phenomenon? What's the shame in sharing the less glamorous moments of your life, I wonder?

Friday, February 21, 2014

Three Things to Do for Success

Every now and then, we need some motivation to carry on. So here's something my friend and I want to share with you. Success in life doesn't come quickly, but if we do these three things right, it will come eventually.

1) Start Working ASAP
Many dreams and goals in the modern world require complex navigation to achieve. This has meant that some people plan obsessively. But this wastes your time. When you move forward with your project, whatever it is, you will find out more about it. By the time you get some significant progress, things may have changed so much that your plans have become irrelevant. So have rough outline type plans to guide yourself wherever you are going, but never plan obsessively.

2) Stay the Course
As we all know, dreams take long to achieve, and they take even longer in this complex and big modern world of ours. We must keep ourselves motivated enough to stay the course, which can be many years. Or else, we would just have a long list of uncompleted projects and goals.

3) Keep a Firm Eye on the Target
As we come across barrier after barrier and detour after detour, it is easy to lose sight of our actual target and get distracted by other things. We need to remind ourselves to keep a firm eye on our actual target, and brush aside things like irrelevant comments, difficult people and unfair circumstances (as long as not grossly unfair enough to warrant a complaint). These things should not be able to stop us.