Saturday, May 1, 2021

Old Is Gold (MY Eng #12)

This is part of a running series about English idioms - less about language, more about life itself. Previously, we covered 'missing the woods for the trees', 'the elephant in the room', 'practising what you preach', blowing hot and cold', 'no smoke without fire', 'one swallow does not make a summer', 'apples and oranges', 'cut to the chase', 'leave no stone unturned', 'that's the way the cookie crumbles' and 'can't have your cake and eat it too'.

Earlier this year, they both turned nine. They were born merely two months apart in January-February 2012. Ever since they were delivered a few months later, they have been largely inseparable from my heart and mind. Every morning, I wake up to their lovely bodies lying at my bedside. One would ring with a familiar chirp, gently nudging me to rise and shine.

Happy 9th birthday, my beloved iPhone 4s and iPad 2!

But age is catching up. They've been struggling to get by, in recent years. They can't upgrade past iOS 10. Some of my favourite apps are no longer compatible (Quora and The Economist). Sadly, they're on their last legs (another idiom) - and teetering on the brink of digital death.

* * *

But I won't give them up just yet! For OLD IS GOLD!.

We've been through so much together. In good times, and bad times. They've kept me company when I'm alone. Especially during everday commutes, and long-haul flights. They feed me food for thought.

Yes, their younger siblings (iPhone >10) may be flashier and faster. But so what? I don't need a wide-lens cameras. I don't need retinal scans. I don't need TikTok nor Clubhouse. I'm happy with the simplicities of the older generation devices. Less distractions. Keeping my phone and tablet to the bare minimum is a great way - to quote from Mark Zuckerberg's own mantra - 'eliminate unnecessary desires'.

So despite their limitations, I'm still not letting them go. Yes, it's frustrating not to have my favourite apps at my fingertips. Yes, it's tempting to keep pace with the rest of the world.

But you know what? I ain't bowing down and buying into the whole tech wave of incremental innovation.

If the latest iPhone beams holographic images like R2-D2, I'll be be the first to go "Where does the queue start? TAKE MY MONEY!"

But if it's just bells and whistles like water-proofing (why do I need go swimming with my phone?), I'll be rolling my eyes and go like "No thanks, bye, see you again in ten years..."

* * *

Call it irrational nostalgia. Or stubborn petulance. Whatever.

Despite their flaws and frailties, my love burns strong. I have no desire to replace them at all. No-one else compares (except maybe my long-dead first love, Nokia 3210). NO-ONE!

In 2022 - less than 10 months away - my iPhone 4s and iPad 2 will turn 10 years old. An incredible milestone awaits. Meantime, we'll continue partying like it's 2012, baby!


Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Can't Have Your Cake And Eat It Too (MY Eng #11)

This is part of a running series about English idioms - less about language, more about life itself. Previously, we covered 'missing the woods for the trees', 'the elephant in the room', 'practising what you preach', blowing hot and cold', 'no smoke without fire', 'one swallow does not make a summer', 'apples and oranges', 'cut to the chase', 'leave no stone unturned' and 'that's the way the cookie crumbles'.

Fresh off the oven, yet another bakery-infused idiom.

Last time, the mood took a sad turn. Who doesn't love cookies? Who doesn't feel sad when our favourite cookie crumbles before we can even taste in our mouth?

Enough about cookies. How about some cake for a change? But please, don't get greedy. Here's your cake. You can keep it for later, or eat it now. You can't have it both ways.

* * *

Yes, life isn't fair, sometimes. But that doesn't mean we should take more cake than we're entitled to have. Fairness cut both ways. Don't bite more than you can chew (another idiom!).

Of course, it's natural for us to keep our options open. Avoid commitments. To enjoy the best of both worlds (another idiom!).

But life is about making choices. And the most important choices in life are the most difficult ones. Choices, once made, that can't be backed away. Choices that can very well determine your destiny.

Ultimately, every choice that we make has a consequence - for better or for worse. Cause and effect. There's no running away from fate.

* * *

Yes, it would be nice to have an unlimited supply of cakes.

Alas, that's not how life works. Life requires us to make choices. Life is rewarding, but also unforgiving.

But the sooner we choose, the sooner life goes on. Yes, some choices will reward us with more cake. Some choices will leave us empty-handed.

Ultimately, the cake that we have in hand today won't last forever. Just eat it, or pass it on to someone else - before it rots.

Don't be too stuck with yesterday's cake. There are more yummy cakes coming out of the oven today.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

That's The Way The Cookie Crumbles (MY Eng #10)

This is part of a running series about English idioms - less about language, more about life itself. Previously, we covered 'missing the woods for the trees', 'the elephant in the room', 'practising what you preach', blowing hot and cold', 'no smoke without fire', 'one swallow does not make a summer', 'apples and oranges', 'cut to the chase' and ''leave no stone unturned'.

Every now and then, we hit a bad patch in life. Tragedy tends to strike twice. When it rains, it pours (another idiom!)

You can shout at the top of your voice. Break a few glassware. Rant on social media about the injustices of the world. Whatever channels your negative energy away. Whatever floats your boat (another idiom!)

In the end, comes acceptance. Such is life. Move on.

* * *

Yes, life isn't fair, sometimes. You really tried your best, and results don't turn out your way. But that's the way the cookie crumbles.

Missed out on your dream job at the last stage of interview? That sucks, but you're bound to face rejections whenever you're reaching for something better.

Missed out on getting on First Class by a single grade? Tough luck, but take it as a lesson to work harder than your minimum goals and expectations.

Missed out on a weekend sale because you snoozed your alarm. Well, no excuse there, you laxy bum!

* * *

In life, nothing comes easy. Some days you win, some days you lose. Life doesn't always go according to plan.

Yes, sometimes you do deserve better (and others who got ahead of you don't). Sometimes life just deals you a bad hand, and there's nothing in the world you can do to eke out a victory.

But the sooner you accept the vagaries of life, the quicker you'll bounce back to your feet. Sure, the cookie crumbled through your fingers like fairy dust, this time round. But there'll always be a bunch of freshly-baked cookies to look forward to, tomorrow.