Privilege isn’t an excuse to turn a blind eye to responsibilities

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Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

When someone says that they won’t vote, I can usually place them into one of two categories.

The first category breaks my heart. Often they are marginalized people who mean well but likely do not have all the information or understanding of what’s at stake. They’re too busy providing for their families to sit down and read up on policy proposals by one candidate or the other, who, very often, fail to deliver once they do assume their roles.

Then there’s the second category. Often they are young people who have grown up in privileged households, and honestly, they just haven’t had enough of a life experience to make up their mind about voting. They often iterate the voices they hear in their homes or schools, from their parents or peers. Often when I come across these people, I hope they’ll grow up and change their minds. …

What a bunch of bull

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Licensed from Freepik

Here’s the thing about life. It’s complex.

And here’s the thing about love. It’s complicated and often misunderstood.

I mean, I get it. All those stories about unicorns and Prince Charming on a white horse we read as teenagers messed up our priorities real good. But hey, we can unlearn the crap and relearn the true meanings of words, feelings, and emotions, yeah? After all, that’s what it means to be an adult!

So, where do I even begin?

Let’s start with a conversation I overheard at the coffee shop a few blocks down the road from where I live. I say coffee shop to sound all fancy, but it was really just your good old Starbucks from way back when coffee shops were a thing . . . …

It came from my own people.

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Photo by Koshu Kunii on Unsplash

Call me sheltered or privileged or naive, but although I knew the word “racism”, I never really knew what it was until I witnessed it first hand.

In my defense, I grew up in a tiny country in Southern parts of Asia where everyone more or less looked like me. Later when I came to the US, I got lucky. I met amazing people from all parts of the world, and my friend circle in college comprised of a wonderfully diverse group of people.

America? Racist? Naah!

And then I went to Toronto to visit my aunt, her family, and a friend. …

#9: Do not aim for perfection, “good enough” is good enough

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I’ve been in the process of becoming a writer for a while now. That’s right. I’m becoming it!

You see, there are several stages to one’s becoming something. Sometimes the process is so subtle that it feels as though you’ve always been “it”.

To give you an example, when I was in college, I was working towards becoming an engineer. And while I continue to improve my skills every day and learn new skills to add to my toolbox, I don’t think of myself as “becoming” it anymore. I’m already “it”.

Then there’s photography. I have no trouble calling myself a photographer because regardless of what you may think of my art, I like what I make most of the time. They’re never perfect and there’s always room for improvement, but such is the nature of any creative process. Even so, I’m able to tell when my photographs are “good enough”. So in that regard, I’m a photographer. I don’t even recall a time when I was in the process of becoming a photographer, I simply did it. I always had it in me. My growth in this area came naturally, with such subtlety that I couldn’t even tell how and when the changes took place in my artform. …

Because at the end of the day, they’re mostly one person's personal opinion.

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Licensed via Freepik.

Aside from a few writers who are gracious enough to acknowledge that the world is a larger place beyond their tiny social clique, most of the self-help writers these days seem to focus on nothing but their own personal opinion when giving advice.

We need to make money and/or cater to our hobbies, I get it. But can we also agree to not spread BS online?

Or at least acknowledge that it’s an opinion piece and not a universal “how-to-do-something” piece fit for every living human?

I’ll give you an example:

A certain writer is writing about how to have a great and peaceful long-term relationship (or something along those lines, I’m being vague to avoid slandering). …

Who’s responsible for diversity and equality inside the games?

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I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t grow up playing games. In the developing country where I was born and raised, video games were for boys. Girls played with barbies.

I hated barbies even in those days. Not that I had anything against barbies, but my mother, who is a hoarder, liked to buy me toys and then lock them up or showcase them inside glass-paneled shelves, instead of letting me play with them. I suppose I channeled my frustrations by assuming the role of the hater who didn’t like the toys in the first place.

My cousin, a boy three years older, had something else to occupy him. A gaming console. Whenever I was at their house I’d watch him play and wonder what it was like, but my cousin was too busy showing off his talents than have me play with him. The one time I tried, I lost. I lost bad. It was the first time I played video game after all. But the sensitive child that I was, I couldn’t handle the criticism and laughter from my kid cousin, and I decided I hated video games too! …

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© Maliha | Street photography in Denver, Colorado by author

How to prepare for a day out with a camera in hand.

Jeff Wall had the best ideas. He used to stage photographs that looked like they were street photographs. But in reality, they weren’t. The “street” photographs he took way back in the early 80s were reconstructions of what Wall envisioned street shots should be like.

Most days I look at his photos and I want to take those photos. But, I’m not Wall. My level of creativity hits a wall (no pun intended) after some time.

But, that doesn’t stop me from taking the camera out on weekends and trying out a few shots here and there whenever I can. And while they’re not staged photographs to capture my vision perfectly, I have found that there’s fun to be had in the spontaneity and unpredictability of real street photography. …

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All of the photographs in this story are taken by the author. Circa 2011. New York City.

A Photographic Essay from New York City

The year was 2011. It was Summer, and New York City was melting.

I had just moved into a rather quaint apartment near Prospect Park. It was perfect, only, there was no air conditioning.

What does one do when they hate cooking but also wants to be healthy?

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Photo by J A N U P R A S A D on Unsplash

I hate cooking almost as much as I hate doing laundry.


And that’s why the two things I miss about my days in New York City are:

  1. Being able to drop off my clothes to a local laundromat before work, and pick up clean clothes afterward.
  2. An abundance of restaurants with healthy food options.

Back in those days, I knew a bunch of other people who, like me, threw their underwear with their piles of clothes and dropped them off at local laundromats, and, like me, ate out all the freakin’ time.

But I’m not in NYC anymore and the city I live in, while considered a metropolis by some, feels like a small town to me compared to NYC. And over here, people don’t take their clothes to laundromats. Nor do they eat out three times a day. …

You know, the books that make us feel like we’re smart…

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Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

I knew this guy who once told me, on the very first day we met, that I should hang out with him because he was [supposedly] one of the smartest guys I’d ever known.

Umm, so, leaving aside the facts that we had just met that day and that he had no way of knowing of my associations, and that it’s counterintuitive to not-too-subtly insult someone if you’re trying to get a date… his reasons for the aforementioned comment was based on the fact that I love reading literary fictions, most of which are written by authors he’d never heard of. …



Forever of two minds.

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