“Don’t be afraid of your ambition, your dreams, or even your anger. Those are powerful forces. … Be bold, try, fail, try again, and lean on each other, hold on to your values. Never give up.”

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The quote above comes from the in-depth New York Magazine profile of the woman who would have been US president (if only!), Hilary Clinton. I’m not American, so I couldn’t vote for her, but I would have if I were. My personal take on why she didn’t win was because she was a woman and there is still a lot of misogyny in the world. The takeaway seems to be that, “I just don’t like her. I’d rather Trump win than her.” Even if Trump has proven to be incompetent and may ultimately be dangerous.

A good read. Read the whole here. Meanwhile, some choice quotes from the story:

“The takeaway from Lean In,” says Clinton, “is that there is a stark difference between men and women when it comes to success and likability. So the more successful a man is, the more likable he is. The more successful a woman is, the less likable she is. And it’s across every sector of society.”

Sandberg predicted to Clinton that her reception during the campaign would be very different from the 69 percent approval rating she’d gained as secretary of State. “Sheryl was right-on,” says Clinton. “Once I moved from serving someone — a man, the president — to seeking that job on my own, I was once again vulnerable to the barrage of innuendo and negativity and attacks that come with the territory of a woman who is striving to go further.” So how did knowing that ambition is negatively correlated with likability for women affect Clinton’s approach in seeking the most powerful office in the land?

“Well, this is the joke,” she says. “You gotta be authentic! So you go out and try to be as effective as you can in presenting yourself and demonstrating the qualifications you have for the job, but you’re always walking a line about what will find approval from the general population and what won’t. It’s trial and error.”

Her team recalled the persistent feeling of being in uncharted territory. As McIntosh says, “Should she have showed more emotion? I don’t know. We don’t know whether women who show less emotion get to be the president. Should she have been less hawkish? I don’t know. We don’t know if we can elect a pacifist woman president. We can’t point to where she diverges from a path that other women have taken because she was charting that path, and that might fuck with your analytics a bit, as it turns out.”

The campaign was sometimes frustrated by the fact that Clinton couldn’t play the same game as her opponents. “Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump both excelled at channeling people’s anger,” says Schwerin. “And there was a way in which this anger was read as authentic. But there’s a reason why male candidates can shout and are called passionate, and if a woman candidate raises her voice to whip up a crowd, she’s screeching and yelling.” Clinton understood this, says Schwerin. “So she’s controlled. She doesn’t rant and rave, she’s careful. And then that’s read as inauthentic; it means that she doesn’t understand how upset people are, or the pain people are in, because she’s not angry in the way those guys are angry. So she must be okay with the status quo because she’s not angry.”

[Image borrowed from “Hillary Clinton Is Furious. And Resigned. And Funny. And Worried.”]

 

There is a great disturbance in the Force


(Image from The New York Times obit. Read the article here.)

Carrie Fisher — Princess Leia Organa to fans — has died today. May the Force be with her.

Continue reading There is a great disturbance in the Force

Winona forever!

So this is how we might picture Winona Ryder, after all these years: the former cool girl in repose, grown into a comfortably complicated adult, not in search of a comeback so much as another great book to read. That doesn’t mean her life is simple or easy, of course. “It’s almost like that Twilight Zone episode where that guy says, ‘I just want to be left alone so I can read my books,’ ” she says with a smile. “And then he ends up being sent to a planet where it’s just him and his books, and he’s so happy, and then his glasses fall off and they break.”

Just got through reading Winona’s profile on The Cut and yes, it’s a celebrity interview so it should be fluffy, but this is about Winona, so the piece couldn’t be fluffy if it tried. She’s just such an oddball in that strange way most of us GenXers were (are?). I still have not watched Stranger Things — yes, I know, I’m late to the program — but I am glad she’s acting again. Had to post that quote above from the article, because it just made me laugh in kinship. Aside from the fact that she loves to read and is a little spacey, that Twilight Zone episode is one of my favorites. And so, given all this, I totally think Winona and I would be great friends should we ever meet. Haha! #girlcrush

Anyway, here’s the full profile. Go read it over at The Cut.

 

What’s the collective noun for books?

A collection? A shelf? A library? How about a discussion or a storytelling or a chapter or a paragraph? Whatever it is, I read a lot of books the past six months. Did I mention this is a (loooong) book post?

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Ready for their closeup. The books I’ve read the past six months; not included are the two I wasn’t able to finish. The funky wooden busts styled with them are from Bali

Over the years, right around April or May I used to take stock of what I’ve read for the past months. And the list would invariably show up somewhere — back in the day, it was in journals and then more recently in various social media, albeit in a more haphazard fashion. I don’t know why I do it really, maybe because I wanted to have a record of what I read and also because April and May evoked school vacations in the Philippines, a time when I could just curl up with a good book in the middle of a hot afternoon instead of taking a siesta (afternoon nap) as my parents wanted us kids to do (to make us grow tall, they said). Now of course, I am more likely going to choose the siesta than read a book, because I’m old(er). 🙂

But at the start of this year, I told myself I would jot down each book I read as I started it just so I have a record of my reading diet — you are what you eat or read, am I right or am I right? I wrote down the titles in my desk diary — literally, an actual diary on my office desk. I am not so particular that I wrote down the title on the actual day I started reading it. I basically scribbled on those blank spaces allotted for each week/month for the diarist to write down whatever existential thought or musing he or she has. I chose to write down what I read.

The results were interesting:

  • 23 books read, 2 unfinished; so 21 books actually read cover to cover.
  • 8 = most number of books started in a month (March). Note that I said “started” because I wrote down the titles as I started reading, but did not really write down when I finished the books. But given that I usually — not always though — pick up a book when I’m done with one, it’s safe to assume that I did finish all eight books in March. Even for me — a fast reader (D says I don’t take the time to savor the books and devour them like fast food, a claim I wholeheartedly deny) — this was, er, impressive… and a bit frightening.
  • 1, unfinished = least number of books read in a month (April). What was I doing in April?? A quick glance at my diary revealed that I was drowning in work that month, apparently.
  • Genres covered: They run the gamut, from historical romance, to thrillers, to a memoir. Was tempted to enumerate the books per genre, but after attempting to classify several of them, I ended up confusing myself and stopped. Let’s just say that many of them can be classified under different categories and I will never be a competent librarian, haha!

So what have I been reading? Here’s a list (as they appeared in my diary) and capsule reviews:

Continue reading What’s the collective noun for books?

[EDITED] Lessons from falling off a bike

For a well-balanced life

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Kermit at rest. (I named my beautiful green Trek bike Kermit. I have a habit of naming some of my things. For example, my Mac has a name and now my bike. Why do I do this? I don’t know. Because.)

So there I was, nervously perched on top of a big green bike, seemingly miles off the ground, and navigating through Sentosa’s three beaches, which were filled with gawking tourists, trams — and horrors! — little kids in scooters and bikes and families with pets. Why oh why didn’t they all go home?? More to the point, why am I here? I could be home, reading a book instead of trying to navigate through Sentosa’s crowded beaches on a weekend! Instead, I still can’t believe that I am indeed riding a bike. On my own. Without training wheels…. How did I get here?

Continue reading [EDITED] Lessons from falling off a bike

Things I learned while I wasn’t looking

(A short word from the birthday girl — that would be me)

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That’s not my age, but it’s close enough. 🙂 (Photo by D)

This birthday post was supposed to be published last Thursday, but I was off doing other things, so I’m publishing it today. Here are some things that I’ve learned/am still learning: I’ve learned to chill out. I can still get preoccupied about my looks, weight, whether people like me or not, but most of the time, I have grown comfortable with myself. Too much drama in life can be tiring. It’s great to be able to sit and read a book, but it’s also great to do something you haven’t done before instead of just reading about it. Pushing boundaries doesn’t stop when you become older. In fact, it becomes imperative because there are no more excuses. Just get on with it already. Your first grade teacher was right: It pays to read the instructions first and follow them. But sometimes, you need to know when to disregard the instruction book and just go by gut feel. Bravery means taking the first step. It always helps to talk it out. Always be polite. A smile always works wonders; but so does a raised eyebrow. Know when to keep your mouth shut but know when to speak up. Always be there for the people you care about and never take them for granted. I also thought I’d borrow from Amy Poehler in her book, Yes Please. She expressed it better than I could, anyway:

Continue reading Things I learned while I wasn’t looking