Infernal Ramblings
A Malaysian Perspective on Politics, Society and Economics

Solitude, Tangentialism and Rambling

Written by johnleemk on 11:46:41 am Jun 20, 2005.
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It seems as though socialising is an integral part of people's lives. After all, life is kind of pointless with no people around. What the heck, I'll give it up and just live up to the site's name and ramble. My thinking's just so tangential, it's actually hard not to digress every now and then.

So, I have to ramble about solitude. Let's see...what's synonymous with solitude? Loneliness? Negative implications there, so it doesn't exactly jive with my idea of liking solitude. Isolation? Nah, that's negative too. Introversion? Ah, we're getting somewhere.

But the human psyche is still really funny, though. I've always been a shy person, letting my parents or friends (presuming I had any at that particular time) do the talking for me. In my first year of primary school, I was a loner. I think I had only one real friend. I still remember his name: Richard. He was from Papua New Guinea or something like that. Oh, sure, this girl from class invited me to her birthday, but that was more out of courtesy because I was a classmate and she was a bloody rich bitch. I walked out after maybe ten minutes, because I was too shy to socialise.

Come to think of it, if faced with such a situation today, I'd still probably do the same thing. Which is kind of odd, considering I'm one of the more boisterous people in class nowadays. In primary school I was always quiet. True, I had friends, but I would hardly ever interact with them outside of school. If I didn't have to interact with people, it wouldn't change anything.

Of course, my classmates don't know that. I remember once this year a friend came up to me and asked why I was so quiet. Eerily, I had noticed that five minutes before. So when he asked, I gave up my solitude for the usual joke-telling and prank-playing we teenage kids so enjoy doing. What I didn't let on was that he was actually getting a glimpse of my real personality, which essentially, is a very introverted one.

Come to think of it, now seems like the perfect time for a digression. Hm, two paths: do I talk about how I wonder whether any of my classmates are even reading this shit, or do I ponder my multiple personalities? Tough decision. I think I'll go with the former. It's odd how none of my "smart" classmates have even bothered to read my writings yet.

Or maybe not. There's nowhere else in the world where short-attention-span syndrome is more acute than Malaysia. Whether you're smart as in, "I can memorise 32 moral values, five dozen patriots' biographies, the number of oil rigs in each state, and the climax and resolution of two novels without ever reading them," or "I would like to be smart, but why bother studying all that crap? I'll go and play basketball/goof off," it seems you just can't be bothered to sit down and read unless there's a teacher hovering over you.

Speaking of which, there seems to be a correlation between intelligence and goofing off in school. Of course, it's the usual "bored of class" syndrome, which seems to equally affect those too dumb to understand what's going on. Ironically, the only ones unaffected appear to be the B and C grade students (who bother studying).

Oh, but I was going to talk about my multiple personalities, right? Yeah. So anyway, it's kind of odd because I present multiple personalities to different people. For example, when I discuss things on message boards with people who don't know me in person, I come off as a bit arrogant kid. Maybe because I'm mixing with people whose median age is 18 or something like that. When I'm on Wikipedia, I try to be more polite. When I'm writing here, I either become too serious or too ridiculous. In person to my family, I don't say much except random childish insults, i.e. "[name of my cat] laughs at you". In person to my classmates, I look like some retarded idiot who was born without a cerebral cortex, generally because I perform stupid stunts and pranks. Occasionally I make a witty remark or repartee too. But overall, I'd say nobody knows the real me.

This of course, leads to the philosophical question that if only I know the real me, but present a different personality to others, how can we be sure what's my real personality? Does it even matter? Or something like that. I bet Plato or Socrates would be better at this.

But anyway, solitude. Frankly, I'm not a people person. I don't feel comfortable around people I don't know. I don't feel comfortable around roughly half the people I do know, mainly because I am also afraid of girls, but that's a different story. Maybe it's because girls are by nature extroverted, but I am more of an introvert.

Anyway...so I like being alone. Most of my spare time is spent being alone. That is not to say I dislike people. It's more like I'm neutral towards them. I don't go out of my way to interact with others, but if I have to, I can pull it off. I don't know why I wrote this article. It's a pointless waste of my time. Your time too, actually. I guess that's why I added the "infernal" adjective to the title of this site...


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Infernal Ramblings is a Malaysian website focusing on current events and sociopolitical issues. Its articles run the gamut from economics to society to education.

Infernal Ramblings is run by John Lee. For more, see the About section. If you have any questions or comments, do drop him a line.


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