simply journal

The thoughts of life and death echoes in me… like a sound bounces around a large empty room…

It’s a shell. And like shells, it protects but also limits everything within. I am contained.

It seems the question is beyond me. Life and death and all that’s before and after are beyond my human comprehension.

And the shell is fragile. Every bounce off the wall feels like a knock on my soul, as if it is a self-protective warning. Breaking the shell just might be the end of me.

Perhaps this is the danger of being curious about everything at heart… it’s a sleeplessness night as these incomprehensible thoughts and ideas echoes uncontrollably in my mind.

Have you ever uncontrollably thought about something so much to a degree that you can no longer comprehend what you are thinking, yet, everything feels like they make sense and just keeps going till you feel like you have to forcefully stop yourself somehow or you would go crazy?

Almost as if I was on track to the meaning of life and death, and even the truth of the universe, but I would have to cross death first to be able to understand… because that is the limit of being human and the way of the universe.

Crazy thoughts. Fear. Curiosity… Let go. Sleep.

simply journal

I love to cook. And I love to watch people enjoy my cooking, as an empty plate is the greatest compliment to the chef.

A lot of my friends ask me why I don’t go for it seriously and open a restaurant.

The truth is… I actually think about it quite often. I think I would actually enjoy it very much. In fact, cooking is one of the very few things that I know I like for sure. But it is also because it is one of the few things I like, I am afraid to fail. If I fail, what will I have left that can bring me even just a little bit of joy. I lost my previous career due to my depression and physical health. I am not sure if I am strong enough to go through it again with what I have left.

In my mind, opening a restaurant is a retirement plan. Because then, it can be purely for fun, and I don’t have to worry about the reality of it. I even have it thought out: I will open from 2-10 pm on the days that I feel like it. I will have one set item that’s always on the menu, and the rest will change monthly, weekly and daily. I will cook whatever I feel like cooking. It will be $10 USD per person, and $5 if you bring your own main ingredient. No tips but an donation box dedicated to the restaurant with an open book. Everything will be free after 9 pm, where the homeless, but also everyone is welcome. And leftovers will be left in a fridge outside that’s open to the public 24-7 with a book shelf full of books right next to it… Because food and words/knowledge are all you need to live, aren’t they?

… It is a dream of my restaurant that is also a small community center, where people can grow as they eat and as they read.

I am idealistic with a fragile heart. The wonder is if I can ever gain enough courage to do this. If not, I hope someone else will, because in my mind, it is quite a beautiful scene.

simply opinion – US election and Democracy

Here are some opinions no one asked for.

The last time I check, there are 32 people running (with ballot) for the president of United States. Everyone knows the two major party candidates, some may know the top two third party candidates, and maybe the comedians who try to write jokes that no one has thought of yet know all of them.

I am going to start my opinion on the top 4 candidates by giving each of them a word that I think they need or needed. It may be too late, maybe not. Why top 4? Well, do you really care about the rest of them?

Hillary Clinton: Honesty
Regardless of her plans or whether we like them or not, I think we can all agree that she is the most experienced candidate, and she has proven that she can do the job; do it well? Maybe? Maybe not? At the least, she understands how things work – within the nation and globally. While her plans are not perfect, debatable or even terrible to a large portion of the population, her plans are realistic and mostly executable within one presidential term.
However, she has created a big trust issue for her supporters and the general public from poorly handling past scandals. Mistakes ought to be made, especially for someone with such a long career as a politician as Hillary Clinton. But I think the biggest mistake that she has made was to lie about the mistakes, because then, everything that went wrong was dramatically exaggerated, and what was fine before were put under the microscope to look for even the smallest cracks.
Was Benghazi really a huge Clinton scandal as Trump as mentioned times and times again? Not really, there was even a separate republican committee that looked into it and found nothing. It was not even directly connected to her. Is the email scandal today such a big deal that she should not be qualified as a presidential candidate? Maybe, maybe not. The truth is she was wrong to use private email server but nothing significant has been discovered, so we just don’t know.
The fact is there’s no evidence to make Hillary Clinton a criminal for anything no matter how hard her opponents and the republicans have looked. So we only have accusations based on rumours and Facebook posts. As a career politician running for the president, there will be vicious attacks based on one’s past and even made-up stories. But Hillary Clinton tries too hard to maintain a perfect image by unnecessary and obvious lies and covers. When someone can’t even be honest about the less significant things like personal health, there ought to be speculation.

Donald Trump: Respect
To many people, Donald Trump is a game changer. He is hope and a fresh breeze. He’s made a lot of promises. Many believe he will fundamentally change America’s politics. In short, he will make America great again.
If you really look at most of his content, you will find a beautifully decorated conversation piece that is also meaningless in most cases. But that’s not important. He is actually painting a new American dream, which is basically telling you “you aren’t doing so hot right now is because America is broken. Follow me. It will be better.” He is doing great as a politician by using people’s disappointment from the nation’s performance in the two past decades. Donald Trump is a great showman.
But empty promises isn’t the real problem. Because of the way American politics is – “get elected first, get things done later”, his strategy is actually quite brilliant. As his campaign over the past year has proven, he can start with only pretty words and get someone to write out the actual plans later. It can be the same with his potential presidency.
Donald Trump has too many flaws to make a list, but I think his biggest problem is respect. Simply put, he is narcissistic and does not have respect for anyone. He figuratively backstabbed his running mate Mike Pence at multiple interviews. Perhaps it’s alright in his family to grope and sexualize his daughter, but he should at least respect his daughter in public. He has no respect for his supporters, as he abandoned some of the extremist groups supporting him in multiple occasions. He has no respect for people that are different; it’s perhaps the reason he has the support of so many extremist groups. He has no respect for other people’s opinions including people working for him. So often, he just blatantly denied his allies’ effort to defend his crazy statements or tweets. He has no respect for the truth as he makes baseless claims about anything and everything. He has no respect for this election that he may not accept the result if he loses. He has no respect for the potential responsibilities of a president as he can just run off to promote his business a couple weeks before the election.
He is a true businessman.

Gary Johnson: Focus
I think what most people know about Gary Johnson is from the few of his interviews on television, where he failed to answer questions and in some cases lost his temper. There aren’t that many good things I can say about Gary Johnson. In fact, there just aren’t that many things I can say about Gary Johnson. Most of his public appearances painted his image as someone that’s high and decided to run for office because he had a vision. He doesn’t know much about foreign policy, as proven on television that he knows nothing about Aleppo. And he has not yet proven he is capable to do anything else.
However, I believe these lack of knowledge of so many things can be made up. A lot of times, the president is more about the leadership rather than the actual abilities. And the leader’s job is to put the right people on the job, so to speak.
Despite his poor effort as a candidate for this election, what he could have done and still do is to focus on his image and leadership or paving a path for third party candidates in the future.
As an American politician, Gary Johnson should have known that it was quite a long shot for third party candidates to win the presidential election in the present day. It will be difficult even just running for it. In the few major media coverages that he had, he only established what he doesn’t know and how he can make funny faces. Instead, he could have focused on the issues he and his party value most. And later, rather than making a comeback by focusing on the issue, he decided to complain about how it’s unfair for the third party and independent candidates.
It is undeniably true that the media has unfair coverage for the two main parties, but he also did not show his value for the media to cover, considering that he had more opportunities than Jill Stein.
Despite how people are disappointed in the two main parties’ candidates, he failed to stay on his path and show the public that he is a great alternative choice.

Jill Stein: Reality
Jill Stein is in similar shoes as Gary Johnson. She is also a third party presidential candidate with very little media coverage. The only difference between them is that she didn’t make a joke out of herself. She is serious and wants to discuss the important issues. She is also very enthusiastic and focused on her own path.
Jill Stein and her campaign also understand how unlikely they will win. But as her own campaign puts it: “5% for the Green Party is a win for America”. They are aiming for the future.
The problem with the Green party is that they have some idealistic plan, especially when it comes to economics. On top of dreaming, there are quite few of their proposals that will ever get passed the other two parties (Congress).

In summary with an honest mission statement (from their image in my head):

Hillary Clinton: You don’t have to trust me, but I promise you nothing bad will happen; probably nothing good either; most things will probably be the same as we only take small steps to better what we have right now.

Donald Trump: Your life sucks because America is broken. I will make it better by dramatically changing everything… with a plan… that we will come up with when we cross that bridge. I am the best and I am rich. #DonaldTrumpisthebest2016

Gary Johnson: I know what Aleppo is now. I can learn. Hey, look at me when I am talking to you. The media is not fair. I am on the debate team too. #letgarydebate

Jill Stein: I have a dream. We have bigs dreams! But baby steps, if we have enough vote, we’ll be a real party. What president?

I admit. I really don’t know enough about Gary Johnson and Jill Stein apart from what most of the public know about them. (But let Gary debate is a real hashtag from Gary Johnson’s campaign)

Is it a protest vote to vote for a third party candidate? Or is it a time that we must choose between the lesser of two evils because one of them wants to “bomb the shit out of them”, two of them are big liars and someone will be the commander in chief with the power to destroy the world? I think it’s not a protest vote to vote for a third party candidate. It’s simply faith that America, or the world rather, will be just fine by 2020.

I am a bit amazed and mostly terrified at how opinions are easily swayed because of rumours and scandals. Whether it’s Donald Trump’s sexual assault and fraud investigation or Hillary Clinton’s emails, about 10% of the popular polls can change their mind so easily. 10 % of a poll might be just some hundreds or maybe thousands of people, but it also represents 10 % of the 235 million voters.

Looking at this US election, I can’t help but wonder if this really is Democracy.

Is this really democracy?

Not everyone is equal. A portion of the population, especially low income, is denied right or have the registration made more difficult for them.

It is a popularity contest. It’s not just about whether a person can do the job well, or even perform at all, it seems more than half of the decision is based on the candidate’s charisma. It’s like the presidential election is based on the high school student council election. “OMG, did you hear about Hillary? I am not voting for her.” “Did you hear about Trump though?” “Johnson is so funny.”

There’s also the matter of loyalty. This election really shows how the two-party system is fundamentally flawed as people turn into factions. And when it comes to faction loyalty, right or wrong no longer matters. It seems war between gangsters can turn out better, at least backstabbing is despised upon.

And most important of all, not everyone is equally educated and informed of the details for the decision they are about to make. There are plenty of interviews and examples that show people’s ignorance, false idolism and stubborn loyalty.

I think if this is Democracy, democracy doesn’t work. Or rather, democracy doesn’t work when most people are not equally educated. It’s not about people having different opinions and their own agenda. It’s about people don’t know what they need to know to make the best decision according to their interests and ideals.

Most of this is irrational or even plain stupid. Will there be a day that we can actually have a conversation?

This has been simply opinion that hopes to bring you a different perspective and something to think about.