Hello From Wee-Boon Tang

RyderFlynn

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Who's "Wee-Boon", you ask? Why, that's my real name! :LOL: First name, Wee-Boon; last name, Tang. I'll be changing my username come November 5th since it feels weird that everyone's using what seems to be their real names (or at least realistic and normal names) while I'm using what's clearly a nickname. Anyway, with that out of the way...

Heya, what's up, IndyFor. I'm a 30 year old Singaporean Chinese with an avid interest in storytelling, movies, animé and (recently) American TV shows. Ever since I was a kid, I grew up on American media, so you could say that I've been somewhat influenced by its culture and general attitude, even having used its slangs frequently (much to my classmates' annoyance).

It was kinda weird, living in a country once colonized by the British but growing up on American media and its brand of English. It granted me certain false ideals about America - I always envied American summer vacations as a kid, three months of consecutive school holiday whereas our school breaks were broken up into four separate months. I remember wanting to move to America so bad because it's famously known as the "Land of the Free", and with a country as self-serious and stringent as Singapore where individualism isn't as celebrated, a kid would really envy that freedom. I'm certainly not the most patriotic Singaporean if you get the gist. It doesn't help that Singapore is really big on that "collectivism," and I would grow up as this rebellious kid who didn't really care much for what my "fellow citizens" really thought about our "proud nation" or whatever. Still am that rebellious kid, in fact. I'm not a very good Asian or Singaporean; not really big on family values or any of those Asian traditions.

I wouldn't say I regretted having my values that skewed from the norm though; American media has certainly granted me some of my most fun years throughout my childhood. It gifted me with my love of storytelling, something I'll always be grateful for. Storytelling in Singapore is petty, and our local movies are sometimes tainted with nationalism propaganda celebrating how great our country is. That's not the kind of stories I'm interested in. Instead, I was brought to fantastical worlds with so many possibilities in the realm of American sci-fi blockbuster movies. In spite of being a little before my time, the Terminator and Alien movies were very much a significant part of my childhood, alongside many other mainstream blockbusters like Back to the Future, Predator, Ghostbusters; all the stuff that made up the '80s geek culture zeitgeist. The only exception to this is that I wouldn't encounter Star Wars movies until a little later in my life.

I remember that as a kid, I would play pretend with the neighborhood kids, acting out scenes from our favorite movies or animé airing at the time. Digimon and Pokémon were popular (I was always in the former crowd). I also remember Cardcaptor Sakura, Dragon Ball, and Detective Conan; those were my first encounters with animé, but man, I didn't know how much of an influence that medium would have on me 'till more than a decade later. It was in college when my classmates started watching animé in class that I really got into it, watching many of the classic titles ever existed, from Evangelion to Ghost in the Shell to Cowboy Bebop to Death Note to Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. I've seen them all, and there was a time when I even thought that there was nothing left to watch, or at least no worthy titles worth spending time on.

I think even before encountering animé, I've always been more interested in animated stories than live action ones. Before technology became advanced enough in filmmaking, there was just so much more you could with drawings. The worlds you could create would be beyond anything you could ever imagine and certainly beyond anything the technology at the time could replicate. Aside from the traditional cartoons I grew up as a kid, Pixar movies were a big deal for me as a kid because they represented the kind of "entertaining art" that I would love, combining the best of both worlds in entertaining the audience while offering a didactic tale reflecting the values of society and humanity. I was amazed by what storytelling could do, how you could capture the imagination of mankind and imbue these ideas and perspectives onto them. Stories were magical for me and would play a large part in my life. I guess it made sense why I was so interested in exploring "possibilities" beyond the mundane, but truth be told, I was more interested in escapism and numbing myself with fictional worlds than face the horrors of reality I grew up with.

It's hard to talk about myself without touching on that bad part of my childhood. Much of it has come to define me as a person, the social awkwardness, the insecurities, the misanthropy, the cynicism. It's kinda surprising, perhaps, to find a twisted soul in a person who has a Spider-Man avatar and a profile banner, but if you really want to get to know the real me, there's a lot of baggage that comes with it. I don't have the privilege of stating in my introduction thread I graduated with honors, or that I've had a fulfilling career doing what I love. There's none of that, and so, the only "interesting" part of my life is my trauma as a kid. I didn't practice the guitar, I didn't have any interesting hobbies other than watching movies or television. I wrote some fan fiction back then, but very few of them ever saw completion because I was constantly insecure about what I had written.

I guess if we are going to talk about my accomplishments, there's my graduation from the Singapore Media Academy for scriptwriting, but even that class was kinda a joke. We practiced very basic techniques of scriptwriting that I could have picked up anywhere on YouTube these days. Even SkillShare would have offered me more insight for a cheaper price. I also studied video effects back in college, but that class was a hodgepodge of different lessons; Adobe Photoshop, Dreamweaver, After Effects, Premiere Pro, Illustrator, Audition. We learned them all, or at least the very basic principles of them. It wasn't a particularly helpful class.

So yeah, I'm not really proud of my accomplishments nor am I all that interested in them. I would much rather talk about fiction or some movie or animé than my life because the truth is, my life is split between the angsts of my childhood that you probably wouldn't really care to read about and the boring insignificance of my adulthood. So instead, let's talk about Spider-Man.

Spider-Man and similarly optimistic heroes like him have an interesting relationship with me. It's pretty clear that I'm a jaded individual still bitter over my childhood, so why would such a deterministic individual be my hero growing up? But I guess it's that perseverance I admired, that immortal desire to never give up in the face of impossible odds. I guess he showed me whom I never could be, and I placed him on some pedestal of godhood as the ideal person I really admired. Then came along Captain America in the MCU and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and he would become my second hero. I guess on some level, I could relate more to Tony Stark than I would towards Steve Rogers, but Tony not only represented that ugly self-centered nature inside me that I loathe, but also the kind of arrogant bullies that I had to tolerate growing up. Much like Steve, I don't like bullies, but somewhere along the line, I got influenced into becoming one.

Like I said, it's hard to talk about my life without treading on angst.

I remember writing this fanfic as a kid, probably the longest fanfic I've ever worked on over the course of decades. It's called "The Escapist", and it probably resonates more with my personal values than anything else. It's about this troubled kid living alone who was gifted with this awesome piece of technology with the titular name. It not only allows you to interact with existing fictional worlds as you see fit, but also manipulate them like a storyteller. Or rather, I guess, like a god. Such desire to escape into fictional worlds represented much of my childhood. It was a pretty pessimistic tale in the beginning filled with controversial content I don't think you'd feel comfortable reading about, but over the years, much like myself, I guess the idea became more optimistic. Instead of being this kid with a grudge against the world, it was more about the magic of storytelling and how it influenced him to be a better person.

I guess I wanted to believe that when I grew older, that storytelling is this wonderful tool that could shape your perspectives and mold your personality. I guess that is why, whenever I review something, I'm more interested in the themes it has to present, in the ideas it has about life. Some of my favorite movies in life contain quotes that influenced my perspective on life, whether it's Toy Story 2 or Spider-Man 2. I'm particularly proud of my review of the former where I talked about its themes on the cruelty of time and how relationships would corrode away. Some of my favorite quotes from the film:

Stinky Pete: "How long will it last, Woody? Do you really think Andy is going to take you to college, or on his honeymoon? Andy's growing up, and there's nothing you can do about it."

Jessie: "You never forget kids like Emily or Andy. But they forget you."

Woody: "I have no choice, Buzz. This is my only chance!"
Buzz: "To do what Woody? Watch kids from behind glass and never be loved again? Some life."

Woody: "You're right, Prospector. I can't stop Andy from growing up - but I wouldn't miss it for the world."

"You went to go see a comedy about toys. You ended up halfway through flashing back to sitting at your grandma's bedside as she passed away."
Drew Magary, on Toy Story 2


I've talked about how big of an influence Pixar has on me, but I don't think I could overstate just how much of that impact was. It wasn't just a game-changer for 3-D animation; it was a game-changer for animation, period. I've talked a lot in my reviews about how animé can touch on mature subjects that ordinary American cartoons wouldn't. It's a curious thing that, when I researched this, I was informed that the Japanese have considered animation a medium for younger audiences in the past, and that didn't really change until maybe the '70s or '80s. For America, such a change would seem to be more gradual, with Pixar being one of the first pioneers to really bring that mature storytelling to the mainstream market (rather than consumed by in a small amount of audiences like Watership Down). It's movies like those made by Pixar that really showed me that you could do a lot more with storytelling than just amuse a crowd of people for two hours. The didacticism of it all is powerful and inspiring. It inspired me to sign up for that scriptwriting class and aspire to be one of the storytellers in the field.

However, the film industry in Singapore is small and uninspired, so I didn't really have many opportunities to really get into the game. Over time, I guess that spark went out, and I was satisfied settling for something less like reviewing movies and TV shows on my free time. I don't think a lack of ambition is necessarily a bad thing though. An artwork is wasted if there's no one to appreciate it.

To end this post, I'll leave you with another inspiring quote from Spider-Man 2 that also had a significant influence on my life and my perspectives about the heroes in fiction that keep us believing in hope and humanity. I think you know which quote.

"Everybody loves a hero. People line up for them, cheer them, scream their names. And years later, they'll tell how they stood for hours in the cold rain just to catch a glimpse of the one who taught them to hold on a second longer. I believe there's a hero in all of us who keeps us honest, gives us strength, makes us noble, and finally allows us to die with pride, even though sometimes we have to be steady, and give up the thing we want the most. Even our dreams."
 

JGaulard

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This is the most interesting, outstanding, inspiring introduction (or bio) I've ever read in my life. I can't overstate how excellent it really is. I am so impressed. At first, I was going to tell you how I enjoyed reading about the differences between cultures in America and Singapore; individualism and collectivism, but as I continued reading, I found your discussion of your childhood beyond compare. I feel like your childhood and what you went through developed you into an insanely compelling and captivating person. Your writing is remarkable. Whatever you experienced must have planted the seeds of who you are today and I'm not sure anyone can deny your talent. Nobody in the world could write a bio like this. This one is unique and special. You put a lot of thought into it and it shows. I am proud to have you writing on this website. I've already shown friends and some family members a few of your posts. They've all been impressed. And now to know just a bit more about what goes on inside your head makes your writing even more valuable. How you were able to put these thoughts together in such a coherent and well crafted way so fast is beyond me. Thank you for sharing. Nice job my friend!
 

RyderFlynn

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This is the most interesting, outstanding, inspiring introduction (or bio) I've ever read in my life. I can't overstate how excellent it really is. I am so impressed. At first, I was going to tell you how I enjoyed reading about the differences between cultures in America and Singapore; individualism and collectivism, but as I continued reading, I found your discussion of your childhood beyond compare. I feel like your childhood and what you went through developed you into an insanely compelling and captivating person. Your writing is remarkable. Whatever you experienced must have planted the seeds of who you are today and I'm not sure anyone can deny your talent. Nobody in the world could write a bio like this. This one is unique and special. You put a lot of thought into it and it shows. I am proud to have you writing on this website. I've already shown friends and some family members a few of your posts. They've all been impressed. And now to know just a bit more about what goes on inside your head makes your writing even more valuable. How you were able to put these thoughts together in such a coherent and well crafted way so fast is beyond me. Thank you for sharing. Nice job my friend!

Thanks, JGaulard. I really appreciate that response.

I hope you won't take offense to this, but I've always been a bit doubtful whenever people shower me with praises because I'm doubtful of my own talent and eloquence. I can't tell you how many times I've made the mistake of making a foolish remark due to my poor choice of words; I even had "Socially Awkward" as my custom title over at Buffy-Boards because I know that I'm not the best at expressing myself accurately and fluently.

But with that being said, I really appreciate what you've said. It means a lot for someone to acknowledge what I've said, considering how most of my reviews (if not all) have been ignored over at Buffy-Boards. They're nice people, but that specter of insecurity would come haunting me occasionally whenever I put up something I wrote online, especially a review I've put in time and effort to work on (and even rewrite). There were times when I wondered if I should just put up a brief review of two or three sentences and just call it a day, spend my time doing something more meaningful. And that's why it's great to know someone like you and your friends are reading them! :D That means a lot, truly.

Ideally, I'd like to think that my childhood has strengthened me as a person (as opposed to hardening me). Ideally, I think a lot of people would want that. But I think it's important for us to acknowledge the realism of life and how sometimes, an ugly childhood is just what it is rather than prettying it up and call it something else. It's nice to move on from that childhood, no doubt, but I think that, even the ugliness of my past has come to define me in a distinct way as part of my identity today. I think that a lot of the ugliness in this world isn't necessarily something one could overcome and "recover" from, and perhaps, maybe such recuperation isn't necessary. It might feel pretentious or mawkish, but I've always liked that quote from the anime, Kino's Journey: "The world is not beautiful, therefore it is." We don't necessarily need to be defined by our past, but there's also beauty to be found in my cynicism that was born out of it, I feel.

I think my past writing was a lot more inconsistent and incoherent, especially those from two decades ago when I just discovered Internet forums for the first time. But I guess all those years of writing out my thoughts paid off, and I had subconsciously improved my writing through this long period of practice. :LOL: Honestly though, I think it's the many video essays on YouTube I've watched that helped me articulate my thoughts more efficiently. The way I write out my posts, they are written out as if I'm speaking those words, so those videos doing the same thing (speaking to a camera about a certain topic they want to express), they've definitely helped me familiarize with how a subject matter could be expressed in a compelling way, containing elements of a hook at the beginning, details in the middle, and some form of closing remarks at the end. Admittedly, this works much better in video form (as I've been told), but I like this structure and how it has helped me channel my thoughts in a clear and engaging way. :)

Thanks again for the kind words. I'll be sure to keep it up and bring you even more excellent content in the future! I actually have an upcoming review of the '90s anime, Revolutionary Girl Utena, that I've been looking forward to. It's a feminist story that deals with misogyny and false narratives against female sexuality constructed by the patriarchy, and with the show airing in the '90s alongside another popular feminist series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, you can bet that there's a lot I want to talk about, so be sure to look forward to that. :)
 

JGaulard

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Ideally, I'd like to think that my childhood has strengthened me as a person (as opposed to hardening me). Ideally, I think a lot of people would want that. But I think it's important for us to acknowledge the realism of life and how sometimes, an ugly childhood is just what it is rather than prettying it up and call it something else. It's nice to move on from that childhood, no doubt, but I think that, even the ugliness of my past has come to define me in a distinct way as part of my identity today. I think that a lot of the ugliness in this world isn't necessarily something one could overcome and "recover" from, and perhaps, maybe such recuperation isn't necessary. It might feel pretentious or mawkish, but I've always liked that quote from the anime, Kino's Journey: "The world is not beautiful, therefore it is." We don't necessarily need to be defined by our past, but there's also beauty to be found in my cynicism that was born out of it, I feel.
Great response. The paragraph I quoted above strikes a chord. I like the comparison between strengthening and hardening. Also, I find a lot of truth in the fact that experiences don't need to prettied up and thought of as something else. Things happened. Like you said, why do we feel as though we need to deny them? Or view them as something they weren't? Human nature, I guess.

Let me ask you something. Have you ever written or thought about writing a story about yourself? Perhaps just a sliver of your childhood. Maybe just one random day. I know you've got the talent to articulate what must have swirled through your mind at that time. Not many people do. Personally, I know nothing of what it's like to grow up in Singapore and to read the perspective of say, a seven year old or a 12 year old boy, would be fascinating. What was it like merely going out to the store with a parent? How did you feel looking at all those strangers? What was it like watching TV and seeing the rest of the world? What were your desires? How did you compare your own life with what you saw on TV? Or in the movies? What made your childhood ugly? I could go on, but I'll stop there. I just think that a story about how, as you put it, the ugliness of your past came to define you, would be fascinating. To get a glimpse into the mind of such a talented writer - now there's a movie in itself.

And by the way, I completely understand your feelings of those who seemingly ignore the effort that's put into writing. As you surely already know, most people don't put a lot of hard work into doing things themselves and when it comes time to appreciate the work of others, well, let's just say it's not a common phenomenon. I've written stories where I've poured my heart out to a dead audience. Oh, they were very much alive, but as I waited for all those "oohs" and "aahs," I discovered that people didn't pay attention to a lot that I paid attention to. I suppose that's the way it is. The bright side of that is that all it takes is a few good people to notice talent. That's often good enough for many.

Oh, and I can also empathize with making poor choices of words. I think that's my middle name. Jay "Poor Choice" Gaulard. I'm thankful for the Edit button sometimes.

Great reply and keep up the good work!
 

RyderFlynn

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Let me ask you something. Have you ever written or thought about writing a story about yourself? Perhaps just a sliver of your childhood. Maybe just one random day. I know you've got the talent to articulate what must have swirled through your mind at that time. Not many people do. Personally, I know nothing of what it's like to grow up in Singapore and to read the perspective of say, a seven year old or a 12 year old boy, would be fascinating. What was it like merely going out to the store with a parent? How did you feel looking at all those strangers? What was it like watching TV and seeing the rest of the world? What were your desires? How did you compare your own life with what you saw on TV? Or in the movies? What made your childhood ugly? I could go on, but I'll stop there. I just think that a story about how, as you put it, the ugliness of your past came to define you, would be fascinating. To get a glimpse into the mind of such a talented writer - now there's a movie in itself.
I wouldn't really have much confidence in such a story.

Here's the thing: I've had a lot of practice writing articles, reviews and blog entries. The act of conveying information in an engaging way is a different ballgame than turning said information into a compelling narrative. It's like a journalist taking up the job of writing a movie. I haven't really written anything close to a narrative fiction for a very long time, so I don't think I would be able to produce any story that won't feel like a joyless tirade whining about my past. And I don't usually like to put in effort for activities that I know I would struggle at. I know that it takes practice to improve your writing, but time is needed for such practice, and right now, rather than waste my time trying to hone my writing to churn out a mediocre story, I would much rather be doing what I do best: reviewing greater stories than mine.

That being said, I wouldn't mind writing an article some time to reflect on my post. The truth is, I had to rewrite the opening post a few times because I did end up writing about my childhood, but it came off as self-loathing and relentlessly embittered. I just wasn't sure if I want to open myself up to that kind of scrutiny through such a negative point of view because I could easily be accused of wallowing in my own misery and self-pity. It doesn't make for very pleasant reading. Whenever I reflect on my past, I have a tendency to look at the worst parts of it, and it all gets excessively grim and melodramatic, like I have the biggest chip on my shoulder since Atlas the Greek Titan.

So if I do happen to write such an article some day - and I just might, depending on my mood - I'll have to be very cautious with how I present it. There's a lot of interesting cultural aspects that I could share about Singaporean students and their struggles in the '90s, how teachers were complicit in bullying the students as well, how corporal punishment was legal, etc. But whenever I touch on that fabric of my past, all the resentment I had comes bubbling up very easily. Doesn't help that I too was no innocent and had been almost arrested for shoplifting before... among other stuff. Like I said, there's a lot of baggage there, and it's not gonna be easy to unwrap it in a tactful way. Some parts of my past are also way too personal for me to share, but they are no less significant in defining my insecurities.

I guess when I think about it that way, there is a lot of material I could use to write an autobiography even, albeit not a very well-written one. I don't know, maybe I'll share. Someday.
 

JGaulard

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I completely understand. What a challenge that would be. I think you offer a perspective that not many people have seen or experienced, so that's why I suggested it. It totally depends on your mood though, like you said.

I also wanted to put something else out there. I set up a Writing Forum a while back. If you ever had the inclination to write about writing, please feel free. You've obviously got the creativity, motivation, and fluidity down, so if you wanted to pass on some of your knowledge, the invite is there. Every writer has a different style and format, so it would be interesting to read about how you move through your process. Just an idea.

https://indyfor.com/forums/13/
 

RyderFlynn

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So, a little while ago, @JGaulard, you suggested that I could share stories about myself, and after something that happened just about 30 minutes ago, I feel like this is as good a time as any to take up that advice.

The thing you should get to know about me though is that... I'm an asshole. I'm not a nice guy. But of course, like many assholes out there, I'm sure, there's a story behind that. But that's the thing about me you should know first before you decide if you're still interested in hearing me explaining why I'm the way I am, and whether if it will come off as a justification for my flaws in your point of view.

The thing is, I've always been an oversensitive man with deep-seated insecurities ever since I was just a preteen. I grew up in an environment where there were bullies like in any other school, but the way I dealt with them was in building up this wall of defense around my heart. There were many periods in my life when I shut people out, and it is for that reason that I've enjoyed misanthropic stories and movies about how flawed people are because they justify my hatred of people. It is a contradictory existence I've had to live with for a long time, that disliking of people, yet having a need to connect and socialize with people out of loneliness. In a way, I'm still that 15 year old kid fighting off his bullies, never ever having grown up from that overly defensive phase where you get offended by every little thing people say.

And the reason why I said that this feels like a good time to talk about this is because I just came from writing a tirade just now when someone made a joke in Buffy-Boards forum in response to one of the lengthy articles I've also posted here in Indyfor recently. It was the one where I opened with my hopes of writing a short post, but of course, it ended up a verbose piece anyway. And the thing is, secretly, I know that nobody gave a shit about what I had to say, especially over there in Buffy-Boards where 80% of my posts have been ignored. But I guess it's because this one guy came along and joked that he only read two lines of my post, hence why he did indeed feel it was a short post, I guess that validated my anxiety and frustration so much that I took it out on him. He might have well just been joking, but his words proved my bitterness that I've been wasting my life this whole time talking to a wall like some goddamn lunatic.

I doubt I'll be returning to Buffy-Boards any time soon after what I responded with. I didn't use any profanities, but it was a very mean-spirited and passive-aggressive response that probably got me banned for all I know, if not having my response deleted anyway. But the thing is... it wouldn't be the first time I've left a community because of arguments like this. Hell, it wouldn't just be the 10th time either. I've had countless incidents where I got "triggered" by what someone else has said online, and just went off on that guy, thinking that he deserves to be hurt verbally because he has hurt me, an eye-for-an-eye sort of deal. I can be an incredibly nice and even compassionate guy who will borrow you money and help you up when you fall and were hurt, but the moment you insult my pride, humiliate me and make me feel like I'm less of a person than I am, I will absolutely destroy you verbally. Or at least I will pathetically try to because I'm not a very articulate person. It will most likely just come off as a pathetic tantrum, but you get the idea. I will get pissed.

I've sought help for this problem of mine before. I tried therapy, and I tried talking to therapy communities online. Hell, I've even joined this offline therapy group for people suffering from social anxiety. Got mixed up in an online argument online and I got banned from the group. So, you know, nothing has worked, because you can't fix someone being an asshole. He might mellow in a couple of decades, but don't count on it, because it has been a couple of decades and I'm still that bitter asshole from my childhood who snaps at anyone that makes fun of me. I tried asking my therapist to admit me into an anger management group, but she was incredibly, amazingly unhelpful and unenthusiastic about that, instead being more interested in sucking all my money up in pointless meandering sessions of talking about my feelings and childhood. This was a government clinic, by the way, not a private institution. A lot of hospitals and clinics in Singapore are government-funded, not privatized, and they were still as unhelpful and disinterested as any private institution's money-grubbing therapists. It's just a job for them.

But here's the other thing: I don't consider myself to be in the right. I'm not one of those... people out there (trying not to use a more derogatory term to describe them) who thinks that the Joker is some kind of hero or sympathetic figure who shows how piss-poor our mental institutions are and how unhelpful the system is towards helping the mentally unsound. It might not be Arthur Fleck's fault for his pseudobulbar affect (the inability to control one's laughter), but it's his fault for killing those people. That's on him, not "the society." Like come on. Similarly, it's on me for overreacting to people's trivial remarks.

But on the other hand, my problem has persisted for so long that it has become a part of my identity in my mind. I don't know how to be anyone else other than a triggered asshole. I tried meditation too, and that really didn't help. It's just... me, who I am, and I don't think I'm justifying it more than explaining to you who I am: a jerk. I certainly don't enjoy being one, and I hope to god that I could someday get my attitude under control... but that's just not realistically possible to change who I am right now, and probably not in a few decades either.

So there it is, the answer to "Who are you?" Still just that frightful kid in the 2000s fighting the world.
 

JGaulard

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So, a little while ago, @JGaulard, you suggested that I could share stories about myself, and after something that happened just about 30 minutes ago, I feel like this is as good a time as any to take up that advice.
Hey RyderFlynn,

Thank you for this addition to your introduction. I actually read it about an hour ago before I went on my morning walk and had time to think about it. I must say, I admire you for calling yourself an asshole. Just the fact that you recognize that means something. You probably aren't one, by the way. You know where your attitude stems and you know what triggers it. If left alone in a room where no one is messing with you or when hanging out with others of like mind, you're probably just fine. It's only until some idiot screws with you that you get pissed. I think the problem with the world is that there are way too many of those idiots. And for some reason, many of them don't know when to keep their mouths shut. I've known a few people throughout my life who seem to think it's proper to comment negatively on others' work. I'll never know what motivates them, other than the fact that they're assholes.

The problem with you (don't you love it when people start sentences that way?) is that you're highly talented, highly introspective, and sensitive. That combination right there means that you're going to have a bit of trouble in life when it comes to getting along with others. So basically, it's like you're finding yourself up against a wall of people who don't get you. They don't get who you are and they just don't appreciate what you have to offer. I'm sure a lot of them do (the silent ones), but as you know all too well, it only takes one jerk to ruin your day.

You do a lot of good work. You open up and make yourself vulnerable. Not many people do that, but those who do encounter jerks out there (who have zero talent, by the way) who like to comment in one negative way or another. So what can you do about that? Stop writing online? I don't think so. Try to thicken up your skin? That's probably not possible because your skin is what makes you so good at what you do. No one wants to read anything written by someone who's all closed up and has got barriers around them. That doesn't make for good writing and sharing of stories.

I completely empathize with your dilemma and I can totally picture some of the problems you went through as a kid. And I feel for you. For some reason, I get the feeling that it was less of you being the problem that the situation you were thrust into by merely being born. You handle things the way you know how to. What are you supposed to do? Smile at everything and pretend that things don't bother you? So instead of being an asshole, you'd be a liar. Which is worse?

As I was walking this morning and thinking about your post, I asked myself how I could reply to it without bringing my own experiences into it. When someone such as yourself makes an expression, the last thing in the world you want to read about is someone else. I get that, but I feel like I need to give you a quick story that pretty much goes nowhere. I'll try to make it short.

When I was a teenager, my parents knew me for one thing. That was a person who said, "I hate this" and "I hate that." I hated everything and I never quite knew why. I didn't act as if I hated everything when I was hanging around my friends. It was only when I was at home or at school or at work. The strange thing is, when I moved out of my parents' house, I stopped saying that I hated everything. Looking back, I can see that I didn't actually hate the things that I said I hated. It was more of a frustration on my part that stemmed from my situation. I didn't like being bossed around by my parents and I didn't particularly enjoy going to school. I didn't like the jobs that I had and so forth. I was actually completely fine after I moved out, which is weird. But my point is, back then, my father used to ask me why I hated everything. That made me wonder if there was something wrong with me. I'd ask myself why I was so negative. In reality though, I was being negative only because of where I found myself. Once I extracted myself from those situations, I was much more enjoyable to be around.

You may be an asshole. I don't know you well enough to say one way or another. I highly doubt you are though, but I have to hand it to you, you certainly do know how to look at a situation and measure what's going on. You contribute a lot to the online world. I hate the fact that one person saying something negative prompted you to get hurt like this. I do know where you're coming from though because as tough as we all like to act, it doesn't take much from someone else for us to question ourselves and to stop contributing altogether. That would be a shame. So in a gesture of solidarity my friend, I say screw those people.
 

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Hey RyderFlynn,

Thank you for this addition to your introduction. I actually read it about an hour ago before I went on my morning walk and had time to think about it.
Hey JGaulard,

Thanks for the response. As usual, you could always find a way to cheer me up with kind, positive words. I appreciate that, especially with the day I went through.

There's a lot to unload here. I like a lot of the points you brought up. Your anecdote about your childhood feels relatable and I could see what you are getting at, that the problem is the environment or even the situations I'm in.

The thing of it is, when I say that there's something wrong with me, I do believe that to a great extent. Aside from my social awkwardness, there's also this insecure need for attention that's practically narcissism. I'd get jealous when my friends back then chatted with other friends. My ego was just that fragile. But I don't want to dwell too much on that for this post because it's starting to become a pity party. My point is that... the guy wrote two sentences, possibly intended for it to be a joke made among friends, and I went off on him. And now, I just received a notification that someone else has quoted my reply in response to me, and I'm too cowardly to check out what he said out of fear of what I'll possibly say. I don't want my day to be further dampened by getting pulled into another argument. I've turned off notifications for Buffy-Boards by the way to stop further replies from being forwarded to me.

And the thing is, they are genuinely nice and friendly people. I wasn't exaggerating or lying when I said that about the members of Buffy-Boards. I know lots of people like that in real life, genuinely compassionate people who could care about one another. But I guess I've always felt a gap between people like those and myself, sometimes feeling excluded when no one would bother to ask about my day, or how I've been even after I went missing from the forum for weeks. I've been around the boards for maybe two to three months now and I still don't have that bond that the community members have with each other, but it would make sense to a normal person because you can't really form that kind of bond over the course of a few months (not usually).

And even when I was fortunate enough to have that kind of bond with someone, my insecurities would always win the day. I remember that I had this friend, a really nice and kind-hearted Twitch streamer named Christina. We had such a good time together chatting, and the best part was that she's part-Asian (Asian Canadian, I think), so I feel partially connected to her as a Chinese. But you know, having argued with as many people as I have online, I knew it was inevitable that there would be some argument down the road of our friendship. Three months later, that was it. It's very vague because I couldn't remember much of it, but between three to five months after we met, there was conflict and the friendship just never really worked out even though she's the sweetest person you'd ever meet. She was nice enough to even remember my birthday. Nobody remembers my birthday. Even my parents don't bother to celebrate it anymore, but here's this stranger online, living thousands of miles away from my country, who remembers my birthday out of her thousands of followers.

But alas, it wasn't meant to be. My self-fulfilling prophesy came true and I just couldn't keep my temper and insecurities in check. I tried reconciling with her almost a year ago, but another conflict on her Discord channel with one of her followers led me to just... run off, tail between my legs, too cowardly to face my mistake. It's always been so much easier to run away and find new friends than stick around and hope that your old friends could forgive your past transgressions and accept how screwed up you are as a person. My inherent paranoia couldn't handle the stress that comes with sticking around in that kind of environment.

On a side note, my mum is a paranoid too. I still remember the times when she would take me across the road and drop these cooking pots or similar utensils in the middle of the road, hoping to crash a cab because she thought that cab drivers were deliberately honking their horns at her. I don't know if some of that paranoia might have passed on to me. I don't like to say that "I'm the way I am because of my mother." It feels like an excuse to justify my faults, my choices.

But I digress, again. My point is that... it might not necessarily be other people who's the problem here. I would love to believe you that I'm talented, that my existence has some special meaning, that I'm not just here to live out my life and then die unremembered... but I don't know. You may call it introspective, but my school counselor called it "overly self-conscious," which does feel more accurate. I'm often very conscious of my own feelings more than that of others, which is the reason it's so easy for me to let myself hurt someone else's feelings based on my own paranoid presumptions of another person's intentions. There's a whole storm brewing up there in my head and it's not pretty, but I believe I already told you that in the opening post of this introduction thread: my life is an ugly mess full of baggage, and unwrapping it all can be upsetting and melodramatic.

But I think that's enough of that. Time to draw a line in the sand and put an end to this wallowing, because truth be told, I hate talking about my past transgressions and I hate moping about it. It upsets me, makes me feel heavy and depressed that I'm a person like that. It's why I'm so compelled to just run away from my problems, always drowning myself in escapisms of fantasies and movies and video games. I'm less like Peter Parker and more like Mary-Jane really, putting on her "party girl" persona to escape her issues of domestic conflict. But maybe that's fine because nobody likes to hear someone whine about his problems or read about it. Let's just move on. In a few months, I won't even remember those members of Buffy-Boards, at least not fondly.

I will say one last thing to end this post though: I think my inability to fix my attitude is why I feel such attraction for negative stories that show the ugliness of humanity. It's almost like a picture of me when I watched some of them. Something like the Watchmen graphic novel for example, showing how glorified superheroes are just as flawed, just as full of insecurities about their loved ones, just as full of anger and psychotic rage... While I can't say I've ever been genocidal, I can feel a surface-level connection with flaws like that. It says a lot about me when I feel more connected to unlikable fictional characters than real people.
 

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Hi RyderFlynn,

I get what you're saying. You've obviously got a lot of thoughts swirling around up in that head of yours. Luckily, you know how to express them. And as inarticulate as you think you are, you're doing a fine job of articulating. From a distance, in this case anyway, it seems like you wouldn't mind a bit of appreciation here and there. You mentioned wanting attention and a having fragile ego. I can't help but to think of how common those two desires are among so many of us. Of course, we all desire them on different levels and those levels depend on how much we've gotten throughout our lives. If someone desires attention, but gets loads of it every day, they're going to be sort of filled up. If someone doesn't get the attention they desire, perhaps the desire will become more intense. Who knows.

Let me ask you something. Do you reply to others' posts on the Buffy Boards or are you primarily someone who makes a post and then waits for replies? The reason I ask is because I've got a YouTube channel that I set up years ago. I make a weird video of my cat or snowblower every so often and get about five views overall. I primarily make the videos for friends to watch, but they never do. Oh well. Anyway, I recently began watching and commenting on other people's videos (and following their channels) and surprisingly, the moment I do that, some of these folks visit my channel to watch and comment on mine (this has worked well with the smaller channels). I've actually gotten quite a few (like 5) followers from doing this. What I'm trying to say is that I'm not sure these people knew I was alive until I let them know.

I'm not someone who's huge into commenting on forums. I much more prefer to write my posts and then get out of there. Recently, I began commenting on other people's posts. I'm always positive because, well, that's how you've got to be on the internet. I've found that others take notice of my replies and I get a decent amount of response. Of course, unless it's something important. In those cases, it's crickets. I'm still waiting for my replies. But whatever.

So let me know. What are you like on these other forums? Are you "out there"? Do you give others attention? I'm just curious.

Jay
 

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So let me know. What are you like on these other forums? Are you "out there"? Do you give others attention? I'm just curious.

Jay
Hi Jay,

I get what you're saying, and I have thought of that myself quite often too. I'll admit, I have been guilty of not replying to other people's posts that often either, making me seem like quite a hypocrite. But to be honest to myself, I don't really think I've been that distanced and I have actually commented on the posts of other folks every now and then. In fact, I'll even go on to say I've done so on quite a frequent basis. The only period that I stopped doing so was over the recent month when I started to drift away from the forum and felt like my time and energy are better served elsewhere.

But prior to that, I think I've put sufficient effort into connecting with others that my effort does end up as somewhat of a one-sided conversation. *shrugs*

But granted, I can see why you would think that, considering my lack of activity in Indyfor's other threads not created by me. I guess I just found it a little harder to connect with the topics these other threads touched on. No offense, but their broached subjects are just a little too complicated for me. Over on Buffy-Boards, however, their conversations discussing the Buffyverse were a lot more accessible for me. It also helps that being Buffy fans mean that they are pop culture geeks on some level as well, speaking my pop culture lingo and such. lol

I think that I was also a lot more active back then in other forums related to my interests like forums dealing with specific TV series or anime I grew up with (especially those Digimon forums I joined - lots of Digimon forums). I think it's only in recent years that I started to just use forums as gateway to try and publish my writing and reviews in hopes of starting conversations about movies and topics I'm interested in, and in doing so, I'm hoping that these contributions would hopefully give my life some sense of purpose or greater meaning. My life's pretty boring and pointless otherwise. I'm not working in some cushy dream job in the film industry, so this is the closest I'll ever get to bringing spark to my life.

I'm not really deluded enough to think that these postings of mine are anything that glorious though, and I don't really believe that I'll be recognized as some prolific writer someday - that's not really what I expect nor is it my goal. What I'm doing instead is just to pass the time. It's a hobby, posting these writings to a potentially dismissive audience. I know I might not get anywhere, but it's like I said, it's the only thing that gives my life that spark, that spice right now. I'm a very hedonistic and short-sighted guy actually who only live in the present and don't have any expectations beyond the tomorrow, so this temporary spark is just enough to satisfy me.

With that said, I do usually try to post my writings in forums I would normally interact with. For example, I wouldn't post a movie review in some baseball forum just to grab people's attention. I'm sensible enough to not be that tactless. But I think Indyfor was a special case because it's such a hodgepodge of different topics and viewpoints that it can be a bit more challenging to form the connection a forum with a more specific demographic would have, such as a movie forum for example. I do like the concept of the forum, but it is what it is, having its pros and cons.

But I still like it here quite a lot. I enjoy the encouragement of writing article-length postings that would normally be rare among mainstream forums (usually filled with one-liner joke posts making fun of or just plain insulting different pop culture elements). It's given me a drive to devote myself into article-writing, so that's always beneficial.

Regardless, the best way I could contribute right now, or at least the only way I feel that I could contribute to the forum right now is just to create threads and articles that are as accessible and engaging as possible, not just niched anime and comic book topics. That's why you could see that I try to broaden the range of what I'm writing as well, such as our criticisms of pop culture and how subjective our perspectives can be. And I hope that what I have to say in the coming future would be engaging enough to at least pique some of your interest. :)

- Ryder
 

JGaulard

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Great response RyderFlynn! Just keep doing what you're doing. You're very good at it.
 
Hello From Wee-Boon Tang was posted on 10-30-2020 by RyderFlynn in the Introductions forum.
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