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If2: Week 5 [BACKDATED] January 26, 2014

Posted by blith3 in Ramblings.
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51) If you could change one thing about the building you work in, what would you alter?
I was initially going to say, more parking space. Practical suggestion, but terribly dull. So on second thought, I would have a “Fun Room” in each Department. Accessible at any time and with the condition that work talk is barred within its four walls, the “Fun Room” would be filled with items to that encouraged the body to relax and the mind to play. Things like an aquarium, billiards table, a massage chair, a ping pong table, comfy chairs and lots of food!

52) If you were to decide the legal age for sexual consent, what age would it be?
21-years-old, only because it’s the age where most people complete their formal education and enter the workforce. It makes sense to me that if society is going to risk someone getting knocked up, they should at least have a fighting chance to have the means to be responsible for the new life on their own without leveraging on their parents.

53) If you were to prescribe a cure for grief, what would it entail?
Getting over one’s grief is to gradually replace the excess negativity with new experiences and realising there is more to life than what you know. Going away alone to somewhere you have never been before and whose lands are untouched. Then, when you’re sitting alone outside, admiring the landscape, reflect on all your misgivings and have a good, long cry about it. Wash up, make yourself presentable and explore the lands and people around you. Repeat the cycle as often as is necessary. It may take time, but by expelling the negative and filling the empty space with pleasant experiences, you’d have built up the momentum to make it easier to forge ahead in life.

54) If someone were trying to woo you lover away from you, what methods would bring them the most success?
I’m coming up with blanks here. Not a surprise since I have never been in a serious relationship.

55) If you had to name the one thing you have witnessed in your life that represents Goodness, what would you say?
Huh. I have witnessed plenty events that demonstrates Love. But Goodness? I can’t definitely say that I have. Hmm…that’s food for thought.

56) If you could have modeled in one of Calvin Klein’s advertising campaigns for either underwear or fragrance, which ad would you like to have been in?
I’m not into branded luxury items, so I had to Google search this one. Having said that, I’d prefer the Eternity campaign – it seems to be classy and evergreen.

57) If you had to name the best music album ever recorded, which would you select?
Thriler by Michael Jackson. Not only have the songs from that album inspired set the tone for an entire decade, but it’s become a staple in pop music throughout generations.

58) If you had to name the one time in your life when you were the most angry, when was it?
It was when I was between the ages of 24 to 27. I didn’t realise it then, but I think I was in a perpetual state of anger. Most of the time, my anger laid quietly, like a sleeping Smaug the Destroyer, hidden under the riches of the dwarves. But then there would be times, when Smaug was stir and my anger with the world and what I was going through would rear its ugly head. I remember those times: I would be consumed with a tsunami of bitterness – usually triggered by the same specific visual.

59) If you were to be killed by an animal, what kind would you want it to be?
Something small and poisonous. I’d hurt like hell from the poison, but it’d probably be a less gory and traumatic death than say, being chomped on by a shark while swimming in the sea or having the air squeezed out of you by a boa constrictor.

60) If you were to be tied naked in bed and have your lover melt an ice cube on a single part of your body, without touching you otherwise, where would you want them to melt it?
I know I said this was an exercise in getting to know myself better, but I also strongly believe in being prudent on the Internet. I’m pleading the fifth on this one! Sorry.


If2: Week 4 [BACKDATED] January 25, 2014

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41) If you could say (or have said) one thing to your father on his deathbed, what would it be?
Thank you for everything.

42) If you could have one thing made of pure gold, what would you choose?
A crown. Gold, to me, is the most practical the way it is most commonly admired now – as jewellery. In this respect, a crown is something I do not presently have.

43) If you could have only one part of your body massaged every day, what part would you choose?
My shoulders. Being desk-bound almost the entire day, there is not a day that goes by whilst I am in office that I do not have kinks in my shoulders that take a really serious rubdown to loosen up.

44) If you could be the character in any spy novel, who would you choose to be?
I would be James Bond. But only because he’s the most prominent spy, and I have never read any spy novel before.

45) If you had to name the time when you came closest to death, when would it have been?
Summer camp – 1992. We were swimming in a creek of some sort and I remember being pulled into an undercurrent. I tried to surface several times for air, but kept on being pulled down and away from my fellow campers. Finally, one of my would-be fifth grade classmates pulled me out of the water.

46) If you could make anyone in the world do something each day, who would it be, and what you have them do?
I would make children of the world say “I love you” and hug their parents everyday. No matter how old they get and whatever the argument they may be having.

47) If you could reverse a single policy of the pope, what would you change?
The quiet handling of clergyman who had allegedly molested young children. Whatever the outcome, it would have safeguarded public opinion and won more faithfuls – convicting the guilty would have shown the Church’s seriousness in addressing acts frowned upon by God and proving the innocence would have shown the dark hearts of the accusers of clergymen who have pledged themselves in the service of others.

48) If you were to choose the breed you would be if you were a dog, which type would best suit you?
Golden retriever. Not because I have one, but because it’s a dog that is amiable with children and loves the water.

49) If you had to name the one thing that repeatedly makes you angriest, what would it be?
Cutting queues. Be it in traffic, or at the supermarket. It cheeses me off that a person does not have the simplest of considerations for others.

50) If you could organise a family reunion with all of your dead relatives, where would you hold it?
In a 1970s styled bungalow in Cameron Highlands, owned by the organisation I work for. It has ample space, has a beautiful scenery and cool weather – something I think would be universally appealing.

If2: Week 3 January 18, 2014

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Well, well…this round of questions were equal parts easy, equal parts confounding…but mostly surprising. I found myself having trouble with the easier, somewhat superficial questions whereas the stranger, tougher questions I had the answers to almost immediately. Go figure.

21) If you were to spend the rest of your life in the company of a single type of animal, which would you choose?
As a dog owner, the answer to this question was a no brainer – a dog, of course. And it would have to be either a decent-sized mongrel or one of the bigger, working-class breeds like a Golden Retriever, Border Collie, German Shephard, etc.

22) If you had to constantly carry a weapon of some kind, what would it be?
This came as a surprise to me how easily the answer came to me…almost as easily as above. A small knife or dagger of some sort. It’s relatively easy to carry (assuming there’s a sheath, of course). It can be used both near or from afar and has multiple uses, aside from causing harm.

23) If you could trade your derriere for that of someone else, whose would you want?
This took awhile. Clearly, it’s not something that troubles me. Based on a brief googling of selected celebrities sashaying down the red carpet, I have settled for Sofia Vergara.

24) If you had to name the one most important ingredient of human beauty, what would you say it is?
Kindness of the human spirit. It’s perhaps one of the most underrated qualities, sometimes even considered as a weakness. And because of it, I do think anyone who has the courage to be openly kind and considerate to one another as well as to show empathy, to be quite a beautiful person.

25) If you had to give a prize for the most sexually attractive politician in U.S. history, who would win it?
Again, I referred to Google for this…but alas, to no avail. Not even Hollywood stars like Ronald Reagen or Arnold Schwarzeneggar fit the bill, not even in their younger years. Sorry. The story might have been different if it wasn’t just limited to the U.S.

26) If you had to name the single most erotic part of the human body, what would it be?
Chest – this is applicable to both male and females. While it’s pretty obvious when it comes to the female anatomy, for reference to that of the male, think Chris Hemsworth’s shirtless scene in Thor 2.

27) If you had to name the least erotic part of the human body, what would it be?
Toes. Definitely.

28) If you had to add a thirteenth month to the year, where would you insert it?
Between November and December – just to give me more room between my brother and mother’s birthdays to recoup my finances…and to go on a holiday during the cold season.

29) If you could rid your family of one thing, what would it be?
Clutter! We have a pretty decent home overall, but I do admit that, over the years. we’ve accumulated stuff we clearly don’t have any use for at this present moment.

30) If you had to name the all-time best song, which would you pick?
It’s funny that I had the most difficult time with THIS question. Mostly because I kept on coming up with names of my favourite songs, but which I realised were not necessarily the cream of the crop, but had appealed to me out of personal reasons. At the end, I’d have to say, based on my limited music collection, that it’s have to be Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start The Fire”. It’s catchy, it’s passionate, it’s also a world history lesson! Someone should make a follow-up to this song.

If2: Week 2 January 11, 2014

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Surprisingly, the following set of questions wasn’t as hard as the previous…with the exception of number 16. I realised then, that I have read my fair share of snippets of inspiring speeches…but never really listened to any per se. Perhaps I should make some room for that, as a way to further feed the soul.

11) If you had to choose the one thing that gave you the most comfort, what would you say?

12) If you could have witnessed one event from your family’s history, what would you want to see?
My maternal grandfather’s trip from China to Malaysia. At a mere 16 years of age, my orphaned grandfather left everything he knew about his life and transversed a quarter the way of the world to an entirely new country. He worked aboard an English trade ship, I believe as a general deckhand and perhaps even, in the kitchen. The awesome thing about this all? He accomplished this all on his own, with only very few worldly possessions, hardly any education and an understanding only a smattering of English.

13) If you had to choose a single vice president in the history of the United States to become president, who would you pick?
Former Vice President Al Gore. Although it has been some 20 years since my school-going days, I remember him vividly to have been very environmentally conscious and continues to be, for the record. I think, him coming into power could have probably set a better precedent for green activities, perhaps even reducing the extent of global warming we are currently faced with. Also, I chose him because he’s probably currently the most prominent of the living U.S. Vice Presidents.

14) If you had to give up your favourite food forever, what is the minimum amount of money you would demand in return?
USD10 million to give up chocolate. I don’t know why that figure came to me, but it’s stuck.

15) If you had to name the best live musical performance you have ever attended, which would you pick?
I’ve only ever watched three – once here in Kuala Lumpur and another two in London (Wicked and Phantom of the Opera). And guess what? Sure it was an honour to have watched two very iconic plays at West End, one of the oldest institutions of theatre…but the local Malaysian production of Puteri Gunung Ledang, with its rich cultural undertones and awesome local talent, wins by a longshot.

16) If you had to name the best speech or presentation you’ve ever heard, what would it be?

17) If you had to name the one thing that most frightens you about growing old, what would it be?
That I had failed to launch. I cannot think of anything more terrifying than having gone through almost my entire life and suddenly realising that I never lived up to my own potential. The way I see it, if I was seriously injured from an accident or suffered a genetic sickness and disease, well those are the cards dealt to me by Fate which I’ll just have to learn to get by. But having a perfectly decent hand and squandering them, I have no one to blame but myself.

18) If you could be more ambitious in only one aspect of your life, what would it be?
My love life. It’s the most glaringly empty part of my existence. I should clarify that I do not mean I hope to be more ambitious with the aim of settling down, but rather, just to be out there and about mingling.

19) If you could have anyone from history welcome to you into the afterlife, who would you want it to be?
I’d want it to be someone warm, relatable and contemporary. With this in mind…I’d say Princess Diana.

20) If you had to nominate one person you have known for sainthood, who would you choose?
My father. In my eyes, he’s done the most good of all people that I have known and in a variety of ways – be it monetary (much to the chagrin of my mother) or in solidarity . He’s equally giving to his family, his friends, his colleagues…even if most of us don’t deserve it.

If2: Week 1 January 5, 2014

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Although I have patronised Book Xcess at Amcorp Mall for years now, yet it was only recently that I made my maiden trip to the annual shindig that is the Big Bad Wolf sale (otherwise affectionately known as the BBW to bookworms in Malaysia). For a country where reading is purportedly not a popular hobby, I was amazed to see most of the floorspace of the three exhibition halls filled with moving bodies. I must also command Book Xcess for the impeccable management of the BBW. Despite the extremely heavy traffic (if the people were cars, then the BBW could be equated to the infamous crawls on Malaysian highways during festive seasons), the overall running of the event was efficient. There was a workable system for everything – the storage of books, the payment counters, the replenishing of books, etc. But, as I so often do, I digress…

Among some of the more interesting books I found at BBW, was one called If2: 500 Questions for the Game of Life by Evelyn McFarlane and James Saywell. As explained in its title, the book is literally a collection of 500 questions, all starting with “If you…” I’m sure you can imagine the realm of possibilities that such questions can take you, and I assure you, it happens from the very first page of the book. I have attempted to answer some of these questions and was surprised at the result. Not only was it mentally stimulating to actually consider the imaginative questions posed, but it also forced me to get to know myself better.

To incentivise myself to keep at answering these questions – there are 500 of them, afterall – I have decided that, each week I will blog my answers to 10 of these questions. The other obvious upside to this, is of course, that it helps me to keep at blogging. Killing two birds with one stone, so to speak.

So here goes. Hope you find this as interesting as it was for me to blog about it:

1) If you found out for certain there is a Heaven and a Hell, how would you change your life?
Study my faith more and be gentler with my words to everyone. To know my faith better would lead me to further understand and presumably, further develop that part of myself…and also provide me with the conviction to be an overall better person. On top of that, I have realised over the years that the worst damage I have inflicted, I usually do so with my words. I can keep my emotions bottled up reasonably well and I am too timid to act on malicious thoughts that pop into my head, but words…well, hitting back HARD with words…has become a sort of specialty of mine over the years. Obviously, it’s not an admirable trait, and would probably be one of the best reasons to be sent to Hell.

2) If you determine the age at which you will die, but with no guarantees regarding health or money, how old would you like to be when you go?
Seventy-six, which is equal to the present mortality rate for women in Malaysia. Only because I hate to be short-changed.

3) If you had to select the one thing in life you feel the most guilty about, what would it be?
For losing my temper with my family members. Most of the time, it’s a self-defence mechanism to end conversations I don’t want to have, which to be fair to them, are about my weaknesses which I am aware of but am not ready or have the capacity to address, for whatever reason.

4) If you rid the earth of one thing, what would it be?
Social media. I know, this is pretty ridiculous since this is a blog and I am a user of Twitter and Facebook. But I do honestly feel that the world could do with a little less fake socialisation where words are cheap especially hurtful ones, and more face-to-face interaction.

5) If you were to close down any charity, which one would you pick?
I cringed when I read this question – who would ask this question? But then I realised, that was exactly the point of this exercise – to answer stuff you never would have asked yourself. I just hope this won’t be held against me in the future. I would not shut down not a charity by name (if I knew it by name, it would mean that they were doing a good enough job, didn’t it?), but by a specific type i.e. those who identify their missions and define the scope of their good work by race or religion.

6) If you could have overheard a specific conversation between any two people, which would it be?
My mother and father having THAT conversation – the one when they talked about whether they loved each other, their hopes for their family and their commitment to one another. Just to see what they were like then and compare them to who they are now…and perhaps it’d solve a whole load of questions floating in my mind.

7) If you could have the hair of any Hollywood celebrity, whose would you want?
Being born naturally with thick black hair, I would love to have something in the exact opposite end of the spectrum i.e. to have fine, blonde hair. Taking into account the gorgeous shade, how nice it looks long and how awesome it looks with a pixie cut, my pick for now would be Jennifer Lawrence.

8) If you had to describe the most memorable night of your life, what would you say?
I’d have to be the night of my university faculty’s formal dinner, which was really codename for a dance. I had all my posse from other faculties attend (I’d like to think they gave in to my and my roommate because we were graduating a tear before they, being in the engineering field, were and it was their way of saying they’d miss us) and we concluded the evening with a very lovely post-dance hangout at one of the boys’ apartments. We were all made up, danced up a storm with great company and had good food…and we were all at the edge of taking that leap into the working world, full of possibilities. It was a night worth remembering.

9) If you could have the power to hypnotise anyone for a day, who would you pick and what would you have them do?
Kim Jong Un. I’d make him transfer the nuclear catchment into the trust of North Korea’s allies, with very strict conditions to access the catchment. And I’d make him install a democratic Government. In short, I would need, minimally, a day equal to that on Jupiter.

10) If you had to name the best album cover, which would it be?
Not that I have anything resembling an album collection, based on my numerous stops at music shops to look at albums on display, I’d say…Linkin Park’s Reanimation.