Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Merging with Other TaraElla Sites

QLFB comes to an end as an independent project, unfortunately.

But it's content will be merging with other TaraElla projects.

Visit www.taraella.com for more!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

We All Want to Chase the Sun like Hilary, Right?

I surely want to myself.

Anyway, I think you would agree that it is a great comeback.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Actual Caring is Better Than Abstract Theories

Abstract theories are good for winning arguments. For example, there's the theory of 'privilege', with its subsets of gender privilege, race privilege and class privilege, which I am sure most people do not know anything about. Some of my friends are very much into arguments about who has more privilege - or how would being gay, female, black, disabled or transgender rank in terms of who has the least privilege. Some days I would get so tired of it. There's a major lack of social justice out there, who cares who is more 'privileged' than who else?

I would rather prefer actually caring about what people want and need in their lives. For example, everyone needs access to food, shelter, health care and education. These things are under attack from fundamentalist pro-business politicians right now. Besides economic injustice, society needs to also correct its remaining social injustices, the chief one being marriage inequality I think. Caring about all of this is something everyone can do, simply because they do not wish to see others suffer, simply because they would not tolerate blatant injustice in the society around them. It is both simpler to understand and simpler to act upon, and much more effective in improving people's lives, than abstract arguments about 'privilege'.

I know being simple about my social ideals sometimes makes me look 'less intelligent' than some other commentators, but then, who cares? I certainly don't. (Especially when I probably have more postgraduate degrees than those who are saying I'm being simplistic).

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Root Out That Self Defeating Attitude Now!

There's a saying out there that nothing is impossible if we just try hard. This may be a bit exaggerated, but the point remains - things are often more possible than they seem, if you really believe in them and work at them.

But on the flip side, there's also a path to certain failure, and that is having a self defeating attitude. You may not even realise that you have one. You may call it 'being realistic'. But that's no excuse - who knows what really is realistic or not without having tried and persisted? 'Being realistic' is the most popular euphemism for having a self defeating attitude in the world, I believe.

So don't 'be realistic'. Be hopeful, and try very, very hard at life. You may be amazed at the results.

Download the full song here.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Peaches Geldof, Gone too Soon

Peaches Geldof has died at the age of 25.

Nobody should die that young. It's really sad, I think.

Cherish your life. We never know when it ends. Don't have any regrets.

Friday, March 28, 2014

"Divergent" and "Hunger Games" Pro-Capitalist and Anti-Collectivism?

An article appeared recently on Salon criticising the popular movie series The Hunger Games, as well as the new movie Divergent. It basically said that both movies glorify individualism and personal liberty, and therefore are panegyrics to capitalism.

I really don't agree there. There's more to individualism and personal liberty than capitalism. One can even be a libertarian socialist, right? Our generation remains divided on the left-right economic spectrum. But one thing almost all of us can agree is that the government has no business in regulating the behaviour of individuals where it doesn't hurt others. That's why no matter where we come from, the majority of us support things like legal euthanasia, decriminalising marijuana, and the freedom to marry for everyone (I personally go further to support marriage privatization). I personally am on the traditionalist side of my generation, and yet I proudly support all the above.

The basic lesson: our generation likes the idea of individualism. Socialist and capitalist alike, we support freedom. The glorification of individualism and personal liberty is not necessarily tied to consumerism for us, and does not exist only in capitalist circles. It's not 1974 anymore.

By the way, both stories are beautiful stories, aren't they?

Download the full song here.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Come On, Lena Dunham Doesn't Represent Our Generation

Many 20-somethings, a significant proportion of them going through a quarter life crisis, love the HBO show Girls. Some of them also absolutely adore, dare I even say idolize, its creator (who also plays the protagonist), Lena Dunham.

But when you think about it, Lena Dunham is plenty more privileged than most of us, right? Most of us don't even have the opportunity to replicate her success in life. If we did, we may not ever experience a quarter life crisis, or at least not in the same way.

Lena Dunham may not be a bad person. She has pledged not to get married until there is marriage equality across the US, after all. But she really isn't the icon of the typical quarter life crisis.

The typical QLC is a long struggle, and not so glamorous, really.

Download the full song here.

Thursday, March 20, 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.

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Playing Field is Not Fair Yet. But It Will Be.

In this day and age, the playing field in life is much fairer than it ever was before. In the West at least, people of all races, genders and backgrounds can vote, voice their opinion, and participate in public life. Everyone can get a good education, and in many Western countries, there is a strong social safety net. Even the USA is moving in that direction under Obama. More recently, the internet has opened up opportunities for many independent authors and musicians, as well as numerous business startups.

But look closer, and you will see it's not quite fair yet. Money and its associated promotion is still king in almost every area of life. The less than spectacular can rise up above the genuinely deserving with enough financial backing, and this distorted cultural-economic landscape continues to dominate our collective popular cultural imagination. If you don't 'make it very big' in this world, 99% of the time it's none of your fault, and if you make it very big in this world, 90% or more of the time it's probably because of one or more unfair advantages.

But don't despair. The revolution has just begun. The unfair system is beginning to be seen for what it is. That's why indie musicians have become increasingly respectable, and indie authors are rising up too, just behind them. In the age of unlimited choice and unlimited opportunities, there is a chance for people to connect with cultural icons with genuinely interesting ideas and sincerely held values, and those propped up by money pretending to be cool whilst only caring about making more money will not last very long before they are rejected. And for this, the world will become a better place.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Lena Dunham May Quit Acting. We Hope She Writes Books Instead.

Lena Dunham, creator and star of HBO Series Girls, probably the most popular show amongst 20-somethings with a quarter life crisis these days, apparently may not want to act anymore in the future.

"I don't know if I'm going to want to act anymore," she told the April issue of Glamour magazine.

We hope she writes books instead, if that's the case. I'm sure they would be interesting to read.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Three Lessons YouTube Musicians Teach Us

YouTube has been the main platform for many successful musicians over the years. Most of them do covers of popular songs, as well as their own original songs. Not everyone wants to be a YouTube musician, but I guess there are things we can all learn from their success. I believe there are three things we can learn:

1) Success takes time
Many successful YouTube musicians have been making music on YouTube for many years. Many have never had one particular viral video, and most were certainly not overnight successes. They built up their audience over time.

2) The secret to popularity: Take something popular and make it sound different but similar
Many popular YouTube covers are popular because they are unique and different. It still amazes me how someone can take such a familiar song and make it sound so different sometimes. We like certain YouTube covers because they are different, hence add something of value to our musical lives. If they sounded exactly the same as the original, we wouldn't like it so much, right?

3) Be friendly and approachable, Always
Most popular YouTube musicians sound like very friendly people. If they were instead cold and aloof, would we like their stuff so much? I don't think so.

Related Posts:

Your Dreams that 'Never Came True'

Thursday, March 6, 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

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

6 Ways my High School Graduation was Between the 90s and the 2000s

I graduated from high school in the early 2000s. (Before everyone starts guessing my age, I guess I should also say that I graduated high school shortly after my 16th birthday). With all the memes out there about graduating high school in 1997 or 2006, I guess I should make one about the early 2000s. In general, the time around 2002 or 2003 would share some similarities with both the 'real 2000s' and the 90s. So did my graduation meet these expectations? Let's see.

1a. I had a mobile phone on graduation day. It was big, chunky and useless by today's standards, but it looked cool back then. I could use it to contact friends about our graduation day plans. (2000s)

1b. But that was the first day ever I had a mobile phone that was mine! It was a graduation present from my parents. Phones were only for grown-up kids back then, you see. They were also so expensive that you generally needed to earn your right to one. (90s)

2a. On my graduation day I listened to one song again and again. The singer was Kelly Clarkson. (2000s)

2b. I listened to it on a fairly old CD player. MP3 players weren't common back then, and I had never seen an iPod yet. (90s)

3a. My dad was unwell during the day. Luckily I had the phone described above, so I could keep in touch with my family. It would have spoiled the day even more having to worry about how he was doing all day long. (2000s)

3b. Besides the mobile phone, there was no way to contact my family to know how he was doing. Plus I was only able to phone home a few times anyway, because calls costed so much back then. (90s)

So I guess it was between the 90s and the 2000s. As expected.

By the way, here's that Kelly song:

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Past Still Lives On

Nostalgia is a big thing for many people. Between the beginning of this year and today, there must have literally been over a hundred articles written about the 1980s, 90s and the early 2000s posted to the internet.

Here's a confession: I like reading that stuff. I guess I am a nostalgic person too.

However, unlike other people who read and write about the past, I don't believe it's just stored away in memory lane. It's still alive today, for me. And it can be alive for you too, if you choose.

In the age of the internet, it's very easy to live in any decade of your choice, as long as it's not something like the 1880s. My favourite decade happens to be the 90s, and there's plenty of stuff in the style of that decade to choose from out there. What's more is that if you enjoy the old stuff over today's mainstream styles, don't limit yourself to just the old stuff either - plenty of music released today can fit perfectly in an 80s or 90s setting. You just need to be open minded.

My point was, music styles haven't changed so much, really. To make my point clear: here are a few examples of music released in recent years, that a friend of mine thought were retro.

Jeff Marx - You Have More Friends Than You Know
My friend thought it was released in 1990
It was actually released in 2013

LeAnn Rimes - Give
My friend thought it was released in 1997
It was actually released in 2011

Katie Melua - Walls of the World
My friend thought it was released in 1975
It was actually released in 2012

Miley Cyrus - You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go
My friend thought it was released in 1980
It was actually released in 2012

Hanne Sørvaag - You're Like a Melody
My friend thought it was released in 1995
It was actually released in 2011

Hailey Rowe - My Boyfriend is Gay
My friend thought it was released in 1999
It was actually released in 2013

Related Posts:

The Culture: What We Can Do About It

When Does Somebody Become Old?