Poetry Jam: An Acrostic

Perhaps you may wonder
Other than rhyme
Exists a poem of another kind.
The strange old acrostic
Riding across this page
Yet spelling its name down the left ledge.

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The Art of Giving

Christmas. It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

Well, that’s what he says but we all know that it is because we make it so. The magic of Christmas exists through giving. But what do the recipients really get?

Giving is an art. Just like painting and cooking are arts; without the right ingredients, the dish is no longer what it was meant to be and without the right colors on the palette, the artist cannot direct his vision onto canvas. This time round, we’re reminded of endless giving: open charity boxes, coin collectors, Christmas cookies and big corporations that have donated X amount of dollars to charity Y and Z.

Basically, it’s hard to give anything without looking like an insincere showoff, because even the art of giving has been so commercialized.

To the giver: it’s all very good that your intentions are well. For that, it really is the thought that counts. The thought that you actually cared about someone (other than yourself) enough to give a little piece of your heart, your money or whatever it is.

For the receiver: It’s more than the gift itself. Someone actually cared enough about you to give you something that they weren’t obliged to give you. They took the time and effort to get something just for you.

The thing to take home is not what, but how. It’s about sincerity and gratefulness. That’s why I always look to question not what they give, but how they give it. That’s why many big corporations don’t get the support of their customers. They only look to fill cheques with many zeros, but zeros never really mean anything. They’re just zeros. In effect, the money is good but horribly patronizing to the recipients- there is no heart.

My father said to me once,

“A poor man giving 1 cent is much better than a rich man giving $100 to someone in need.”

If it is within your ability to give, then give. But a caveat to givers: never expect anything back. When you expect something back, you might as well not have given at all.

Poetry Jam: Asterisks

Asterisks

They call this *, an asterisk.
But it looks more like a star.
A star that fell from the night
And landed on a piece of paper.

Someone must have seen and said:
“I could use this—it ain’t half bad!”
* here, * there.
*** means time has passed.

***

Or maybe they just got tired of writing.

Poetry Jam: I Punch You

I once hit a girl on the arm,
She punched my nose.

The next day, I pulled her hair.
She punched my nose.

The day after that, I tried to trip her.
She punched my nose.

I moved schools.

Ten years later, I saw her again.
“Hey, remember me?” I said.
She punched my nose.

I yelled out, “I love you!”
And now we are married.

Passing Go and Collecting $200

That’s it. I have snapped. I believe it is time to deal with the change.

It is time to play Monopoly.

Going through university, I found myself sitting on a black, leather foam bench with my friend who was studying engineering and finance at the time. We were also surrounded by other young engineering students. Somehow, we got into the discussion of credit cards. The conversation took a strange turn and I found myself explaining how credit cards worked to these wide-eyed engineering undergrads.

That flicked a switch in me.

Most people don’t know how things like credit cards work.

Now I realize that many of us don’t have a penchant for personal finance. Being an odd teenager, it wasn’t uncommon to find my nose buried in a book on saving money, like Lisa Dudson’s Get Your Head Out of the Sand. To me, she is like the female Dave Ramsey.

The thing was that even though I knew how credit cards worked and paid my balance in full every month, I was still allowing money to leave my bank account too easily. I’d spend almost mindlessly when I was feeling happy, sad, angry, hungry – you name it. I would buy video games that were never played for months. I would go out and buy expensive gifts for friends. When I was bored, I would do some online shopping. But the worst thing was: I wasn’t really spending it on me.

Even though I do fear the change, and how to deal with getting more change, I’m learning to manage my money better. I’m going back to the days when I was a kid and only had pocket money to spend. I didn’t have a credit card then. The worst I could do was overspend with the money I had in my pocket, not money that I didn’t have. I once spent pretty much my entire earnings selling cookies for a class project at the arcade playing House of the Dead. Once it was gone, I would just go back home.

Now it’s time for me to play good ol’ Monopoly again – no cards, just cash. Cash in envelopes. Though I’m not totally restricting my credit card use, I’m budgeting with cash. What I’m doing is saving for things that I want or need to buy in cash, putting it aside and using that to pay my bill once it arrives. That way, the money is out-of-sight and out-of-mind. It also gives me awhile to really think about whether I really, really, really need or want that new thingymajig or not.

So just wanted all of you to know, I’m going back to the basics – with change in my hands.

A Quote Not For Thee

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Not for Thee.”

I have had the wonderful privilege of having an array of beautiful, athletic, charming and intellectually-gifted friends. It has always been somewhat of a struggle measuring up to them, but they’ve never rejected me, nonetheless. Seeing that I used to spend a lot of time just wasting it, I always felt a bit guilty until I saw on her MSN status (this was before Facebook came along) one day:

“Time you enjoy is not wasted.”

My eyes widened and I smiled. It is something that I don’t want to give away, since I’m just learning that this is the truth. I’ve felt guilty many times before for simply enjoying time and not doing anything the world sees as productive. So until I’ve learnt to take my own medicine, I really shouldn’t be dishing it out.