March 26, 2017

Ice Breaker #12: What is your unusual hobby?

I can't quite pick which one of my hobbies is unusual though I would say making lists of almost about anything could be my best answer. I have a thing for papers and lists so these two would go very well together all the time!

I have a list for my weekend stuff, grocery, things I want to buy, places I want to go to, work lists, and there are lists within a list (within a list, rarely!). It just makes life easier for me. This morning, my friends felt very anxious about her day because she seems to have too many things to do in a short span of time so I told her to get a piece of paper and write everything down and then prioritize. 

Life is much better with a handy notebook as well. And those cute stationary for To-do lists would be the best gift I will ever receive! I have been eyeing one from Paper Chase. Hmmm!

March 25, 2017

1984 by George Orwell


This is one of the most difficult books I have read so far. It was a test going through this book especially that I was on a reading slump for the longest period and it was my first book of the year. 

For the record, it was the first book where I did not have any attachment to the characters at the very first few parts of the story. The reason probably is because the story did not really brought me to get attached to the characters but brought me into the kind of world they are in instead. The experience in reading this book is so scary yet satisfying.

Winston Smith, the protagonist who works in the Records Department of the Ministry of Truth. His main job is to rectify articles to make sure that the Party is always right and good. He hated the totalitarian control of the government and so fed up with the system. He was so frustrated that he cannot write what he knows and always have to "sugar coat" everything. However he has a diary which kept him sane for a bit. Owning a diary is a big no in the government so he has to keep it otherwise the police will take him down.

He met Julia, who works in the Fiction Department of the Ministry of Truth and became his lover. She is tired of how the system works as well but Julia is less of a rebel compared to Winston. After a couple of secret meet ups, the two met with O'brien, who is a member of the Party but has convinced Winston that he has a group called "The Brotherhood" which comprises all the anti-Party rebels. At some point, Winston and Julia were caught by O'brien's trap. Things got scarier from there.  

Of course, there's this guy who is always watching you... Big Brother. He has no actual appearance in the book but he is everywhere. If you know what I mean. BB has set up telescreens in every house, office, everywhere. He can not only see you but hears you as well. It's psychologically disturbing that the slogan "Big Brother is watching you" is everywhere and that the government can brainwash and convince you that 2+2=5. History has been re-written in favor of the government to justify the present. 

In this world, they created a new language called "Newspeak" which lessens the ability of a human being to express oneself. It has taken away everyone's freedom of speech where you use the simple words to make a straight forward point. For example, if you want to describe something that is really good, you say, doubleplusgood. You need to use the simplest words and combine them altogether. Another Newspeak word is doublethink which means "ability to hold two contradictory ideas in one's mind at the same time." It is where your controlled mind believes to what you have been told but, at the same time, you know the opposite side independently.

I think Orwell has foreseen the world today and wrote this story as a warning of all mankind. At some point, this book was banned in US and USSR because of its communism content  (please correct me if I'm wrong). What makes me like the book, however difficult to grasp everything in, is that it is interestingly relevant to the present world. At some point, the dystopian and real world, overlap in such cases where people are somehow controlled and conformed with the presence of CCTV/recorders among others. Reading this book is like reading from fiction to non-fiction.

In the end, Winston became someone who is not himself. He is not the kind of thinking individual that he was before. He exists as the kind of normal human being who follows whatever BB says and be what the system asks him to be without any questions at all, just like everyone else.

To be blinded from the truth just to live comfortably. Big Brother has been watching us ever since.
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