mAd Men

October 23, 2014 § Leave a comment

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I like the show Mad Men. Really, I do. I think I actually started watching it late 2012, when there were reruns on FX (I don’t have AMC here). I was on break, it was on the telly and it was episode ONE. Of course I watched it. Jon Hamm is fantastic as the guy you love to hate, with an amazing supporting cast. My favourite aspect about that show is the realism of the struggle women faced during that period in time, Don’s relationship with his daughter and Peggy, and of course, THE COMMERCIALS.

I didn’t particularly like commercials when I was younger because, let’s face it, Malaysian commercials are the worst. Sure, Petronas comes out with really good ones during any festive season but apart from that, there aren’t any good commercials. The internet however, has provided me with a new perspective on that.

Mad Men is about an advertising company, much like the one Darren worked at in Bewitched. You get to watch the process from an idea, to refining it, to the storyboards, to the artwork. I love it. I remember how Season 8 of Mad Men started, with a guy pitching his idea for a watch commercial to Peggy; all he does is describe it, there are no props.. and you are instantly captured. I like to make commercials up in my head sometimes, I like to think I’m good at it. My brother has heard a lot of my ideas for different brands, it’s bordering on annoying. (That’s the problem with Mad Men, though. You instantly think you ‘know the biz’).

I know, it’s probably ridiculous: why does anyone like commercials? Why do the Superbowl commercials matter then? There is something about being able to sell a product or a lifestyle or an idea to people within a short period of time that is almost like magic. When you watch a commercial, it’s main purpose is to entice you. You are suppose to WANT to be that person, or WANT to use that product, or WANT to live that lifestyle. The commercial can tug at your heartstrings, make you swoon or even make you laugh. It’s a small movie that’s meant to capture your attention and stick with you.

Most importantly, it’s suppose to be effective. Why else would people advertise? There is such a careful selection of the right actors, the right music, the right script. I admire people who work in advertising because it takes so much imagination to work for something that’s going to have relatively short airtime. They’re both business people and artists at the same time.

For the fun of it, here are a few of my favourite commercials that I have seen:

The FAMOUS Jaguar ‘Villains’ commercial

The Discovery Channel ‘I love the whole world’ advert

Shut up i’m not crying ‘Budweiser Clydesdales ‘ commercial from the Superbowl in 2013

The ‘Old Spice’ guy has to be here

The Thai Anti-Smoking Ad

The IKEA Book Book advert

Microsoft’s 2014 Superbowl ad

The Skype Ad

Do you have any favourite commercials? link to them in the comments or Tweet me. :)

 

Writing Prompt: Finite Creatures

October 21, 2014 § Leave a comment

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Mortality is something that I have always been familiar with. I think my first direct experience with death is when my dog died when I was 3 years old. It was quite a horrific death, an image I can never get out of my mind. Lucy was our white Chihuahua, quite a small one and she was mauled to death by our neighbour’s dog. I remember that day clear as day. I remember her body.

I think Death has always been close to me, so to speak. I was the one to find my other dog’s (Julius) body when he died. I have had a few encounters which could have gone either way, and yet, I am still here. That is partially the reason I have an inclination slightly more morbid thoughts or even extreme paranoia about circumstances.

The acknowledgement that death is inevitable is something I have always had. I knew people die, I knew your pets die, I knew plants die. It’s a normal process of life. But acknowledging and truly allowing things to ‘set in’ are two different matters.

I have spoken about this before, but the death of my former Sunday school classmate did hit home very hard, and this year, the death of my friend’s father on that tragic flight was also a big realisation. I don’t think I have ever felt it as acutely as I did these last 365 days.

I could die at any moment and so could anyone I have ever known. I think you can never truly understand it unless you have that ‘moment’ when you really feel it in your soul. I think those of you who have had that sort of a loss will understand what I’m talking about. It’s different from just understanding the normal cycle of life.

It’s something else entirely.

What’s the point of this post? I don’t know. Maybe it’s just something to think about; about the things in life that we want to achieve that we have not, and how when faced with the reality of our own mortality, we may find ourselves filled with regret over missed opportunities.

(insert theme song here)

October 21, 2014 § Leave a comment

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Survivor came out in the late 90’s and I used to watch it quite regularly. If you haven’t watched the show, it’s about well, surviving. A bunch of contestants, complete strangers are tossed to an island and divided to 2 (or more) tribes where they have to live off the land, compete for supplies and finally, vote each other off. Primitive methods but it makes for good TV (at least in the 90s).

I have a bunch of friends that I truly adore, some of which I have met in person and some of which are online acquaintances. But they all have one thing in common: they’re a freaking supportive bunch. Marie Forleo and Todd Herman spoke about the importance of building a tribe here, and I couldn’t agree more.

A tribe, much like the ones on Survivor are there to help you make it through the ‘trial’ which is life. You make alliances, you make pacts, you stick together, you cheer each other on. Unfortunately for a lot of us, we tend to fall back to the same attitudes we see on Survivor: the backstabbing, the mean comments. I won’t deny that I too, have behaved that way too.

But with experience comes maturity (in some ways) and I have learned to build my friends up instead of being petty and jealous. I love all my girls and wish them the best. But I don’t refrain from being harsh in circumstances that require it because sometimes, tough love is needed. I will cheer you on but I will also ask that you be realistic, not to bite off more than you can chew and to set realistic expectations.

I do hope we all have friendships that allow us to be ecstatic about the person’s success in life. They are your tribe: their success is your success, it should propel you further. Never let jealousy overwhelm you, it leads to bitterness and resentment.

Maxie McCoy writes about Why You Need a Tribe in her guest post on The College Prepster here. Take a read and start creating your own little support system.

Day 7: Wrap Up

October 19, 2014 § Leave a comment

end

So, I think this has been the most productive week I have had so far. I have actually studied, I feel better physically, I feel better emotionally and I am actually happier. I would consider Inspire Week to be a success for me. I know, it probably wasn’t as resourceful for the rest of you, but I hope you found a reason to look for inspiration in your own life.

To conclude, here are my main suggestions:

I really recommend the morning routine: Having a purpose and direction in the morning has helped provide a good ‘base’ for my day.

Taking a few minutes to meditate. I can vouch for this after trying it for a week. Meditation is really good for you to take time in the quiet. Add manifesting to that, and you’re really good to go. It’s such a helpful method of recognising what you truly want in life.

Exercising for short bits. It’s convenient and it is such a boost to your day.

Anyway, I thought I’d leave you with good resources on getting inspired or just feeling better!:

I actually can’t write much right now, I do have more studying to do, but yeah. I thought I’d end this week with that, and go back to my ‘usual’ stuff tomorrow. I think I need a new Something Day, like how I do Five Friday? Maybe a Talk Tuesday (audio post) or a Photo of the Week on Sundays? Or if you have any ideas, you could let me know on Twitter or in the comments. :)

Day 6: Wise Words

October 18, 2014 § Leave a comment

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I have had productive day and I’m very grateful for that. My parents are coming down tomorrow, so a good day is what I needed and I am very happy that I got it. That image above was created by InspiredlyInsane aka Irene who does beautiful typography. If only Society 6 shipped to Malaysia!

Day 5: 5 Inspiring Teachers

October 17, 2014 § 2 Comments

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Do you have teachers that have changed your life for the better? I have. I have these five amazing people that made me want to study, that helped me so much because of who they are. I thought for Inspire Week I would talk about them.

1. Bahasa Melayu (Malay Language) teacher in Std 5 and 6: Puan Jamilah

I love Puan Jamilah. I wasn’t great at Malay. I could speak the language fluently but writing compositions was a tough thing for me. I approached her, I did extra work and she was one of the few teachers in our small school but she was willing to help me. She was always so supportive and kind. She never made any of us feel like getting those A’s in UPSR (aka the Std 6 ‘BIG EXAM’) was impossible.

2. Mr. Eng, my Science tuition teacher from Form 1 to 3

This man made me fall in love with science even more. Mr. Eng taught my brother when he was sitting for PMR and so, likewise, he taught me. I won’t lie, I owe my good foundation in science to this man. He made sure we all understood, he taught us how to understand the intricacies of the universe. When we didn’t understand material easily, he’d go through it again and again. As a retired entomologist, he used to relate his time in the field with what our material of the day was, telling us so many stories. He believed in me, and for that I am truly grateful.

3. English teacher in Form 5: Puan Nurhayati

Pn. Nurhayati is one of my favourite teachers from high school. She had style, sass and a way with words that made you wonder if she was teasing or completely serious. I first met her when she was in charge of the English Club when I was in Form 3, and I have been a fan ever since. A few of us (Nina and Jess) basically coerced her to taking my class in Form 5 because we really wanted a teacher that would inspire us to write better, instead of just writing well enough to get good grades. I used to borrow storybooks from Pn. Nurhayati, that’s how cool she is. If I ever visit high school one day, I am definitely giving her a hug.

4. A- Level Biology teacher: Miss Nesa

Miss Nesa didn’t use projectors in class. Armed with a marker pen, she would write on the board explaining our syllabus so beautifully. I am very grateful for her because during Form 4 and Form 5, I fell out of love with Biology because my high school teacher was frankly, lackluster, especially after Mr. Eng. Miss Nesa was magic. She really cared about how we did, she really loved science. She provided extra material for us to read and always made sure we understood principles, not just facts. I still remember things from A-levels because she was frankly that good.

5. Mr. Razak, one of my clinical tutors

This may seem silly but I only had 3 classes with this man but I was completely smitten. Mr. Razak is this General Surgeon who takes bedside classes with us, but only at night due to his work. I wasn’t too keen at the start because that meant class started at 8.30pm to 10.30pm. After our first class, I completely changed my mind. He is terrific. Unlike most surgeons, he has the best bedside manner I have ever seen. And he doesn’t bully us, like other tutors do sometimes. He’s very nurturing and teaches us EVERYTHING about management. I always tell myself that when I graduate, I want to be a doctor like Mr. Razak.

These 5 people are my heroes. I tend to get along with my teachers but I don’t always adore them. These 5 however, have helped mould my mind and for that I will be eternally grateful.

October 16, 2014 § Leave a comment

I found out today that I didn’t even make it to the top of the list, or top ten or top anything for the quiz I was so psyched about. Needless to say, I am a bit more than just ‘bummed out’. But the fact remains that I didn’t deserve it. I did not work hard enough to garner any praise for there was no effort on my part.

I am not going to dwell on it. I actually had a good study session with my housemate today. I actually covered 2 conditions and I really am proud that studying with a friend worked. I used to do it with my friend William during A-levels, so to speak. We wouldn’t exactly discuss stuff but we’d hang out in the library together to study. I forget how good it is to be accountable to someone. So, that’s my BIG study time for all of you out there: Study with a friend who wants to get through your education just as badly.

Last night, I had a bit of a meltdown. If you follow me on Twitter, you might have seen that I was still pretty awake at 1 something in the morning, which is rare for me, especially since I have to get up early the next day. I ended up rearranging my whole room, which is pretty psychotic actually. But my room actually looks better and I did feel better after doing it. I find that rearranging my room makes me feel like I am rearranging my life. And I do enjoy it.

What’s my inspiration tip of the day?

Find the positive in a situation, even if it does hurt you a lot. I wanted to cry when I found out that I didn’t win anything. I really wanted it, very very much. But I didn’t get it and I didn’t want to focus on that. I wanted to focus on how I was able to study something else. I wanted to focus on how I could succeed in another aspect of my life. I didn’t make and that’s okay.

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