Beneath the Iceberg

Last night, over milk tea, Mark and I were exchanging notes over the past six months we’ve spent in the organization. Over the half year, we have managed to increase membership by over 75%, more than double our funds and have been churning out at least 3 to 5 projects per month. Not bad for an organization that was deemed “dead” earlier this year.

Regardless, we have noticed that our organization has started to lose its “personal touch.” When we first started getting involved in the organization, we had made a handful of very good friends. But now, we’ve been meeting more people in a regular basis, but have only cultivated friendships with just a few.

We didn’t even get to thoroughly enjoy the Holiday Gala, which was deemed the most successful event single-handedly organized by our organization. All I remembered was the running around and handling all the little issues that popped up.

What’s more, as we got more involved in the organization, we’ve discovered a lot of complexities beneath the surface of our members/friends’ lives.

“It used to be so innocent at the beginning,” Mark complained. “Remember when we were first hanging out with Amy, Mike, Ingrid and Nan? We’d just go out and have fun. And now, everything’s so complicated… it’s like a continuous soap opera!”

Recently, everybody seems to see Mark as their new girl-friend/psychiatrist. They tell him all of their life/love/relationship issues — and they are loads!

For example, Boy 1 led Girl 1 on and kissed her, before telling her that he had a girlfriend overseas. After Boy 1 broke up with girlfriend, he didn’t tell her so as not to give her false hope. Somewhere along the line, Boy 1 slept with Girl 2, who later became Girl 1’s roommate. Whattamess!

“When did things get so complicated?” Mark moaned. “Things were so innocent and wholesome then… I think it’s because of the organization.”

But I told him that the dynamics of the organization didn’t change — we did.

When we first started, we only got to know these people at a superficial level. Yes, we laughed and played, and we had fun, but we basically didn’t know much about them except for the feeling that they were nice,” I said.

“However, as we got to know them better,” I continued, “We realized that people are more complex. Things are no longer black or white… mostly gray. As we got more involved, we got to know each person’s ins and outs — and that’s when we realized things are not as simple as they seem at first.”

Everyone has issues.

He has issues.

You have issues.

I have issues.

Geez, everyone has issues!

Everyone has their fair share of laughter and tears, and nothing is as what they seem at first. When we meet someone for the first couple of times, everything seems fine and rosy. But the thing is — life is hard. Everyone has their fair share of problems. Everyone can pretend to be fine and dandy at first, but it’s hard to keep the façade for a long while. After a while, a person’s true colors shine.

And I guess, for me, it’s more about choosing whom you want to surround yourself with and committing yourself to understanding/accepting that person through thick and thin (and am not just talking about relationships here).

The more I get to know a person, the more I realize how complex he/she really is. I understand him/her better… and though I may not really agree with their decisions, I choose my good friends and back them up all the way.

How do I choose my friends? And mind you, these are different from acquaintances…

One vital factor is sincerity and openness.

I adore sincere, open-minded people. I hate those who act as if they like you, but they talk behind you at your back.

I am very careful with these types of people.

I know they won’t have qualms in dumping/ignoring me once I am of no use to them.

Funny, there’s a lot of the latter in Taipei.

Sad, I know.


It’s been a busy week — as usual.

Last Friday, I had dinner with 3 dashing men at the Asian Goldfish Restaurant in Dunhua. I’m sure so many ladies would be salivating after they find out I’ve broken bread with 3 of the more popular guys in my organization! Mama would’ve been so proud!!!

Well okay, actually there was supposed to be 7 of us in total, but the others flaked, so I was “stuck” in their company.

Not that I minded of course. 😛

The conversation was flowing… we talked about traveling, Cambodia, politics, our organization, paintball and more.

Gosh, you should’ve seen what we’ve eaten as well! Three appetizers, four main courses and two deserts — and this was just for four people!

Afterwards, we caught the Lily C show at the Living Room. There were around 11 of us, and we enjoyed it very much. After the show, I prodded Jose to give us a brief performance, and he did! He really kicked ass singing to us Spanish songs he and his brother composed! He’s very talented.

And for another treat, Wilson and I walked home from the Living Room. It took us an hour and a half to get home (I arrived at 3AM), but it was fun just talking to him.

Haha, I guess, one of the reasons I feel so at home with these heartthrobs (Wilson have so many women chasing after him btw) is because I don’t put them on the pedestal. Jose has been a very good friend for years now, while Wilson is just nice ol’ Wilson!

Makes things a lot easier.


On Saturday, I woke up at 3PM (wow!) and dilly-dallied around till the Foreign Correspondents Christmas Party at the Imperial Intercon Hotel at Linsen North Road. I think I overdressed because people were staring at me. Oh well.

After that, I dropped by the Canadian-Chinese Professionals Network (CCPN) party at Mint. It was already 10:30PM and admittedly, the party was a bit boring. I guess, the clubbing scene is getting old; I no longer gain much excitement from spending humongous amounts of money on overpriced drinks, dancing amongst drunk women and men who just want to get laid and smoky rooms.

Maybe it’s just a phase, but it’s getting old. I left a bit after midnight. Regardless, making the most out of my situation, I still managed to have fun with Rose, Ken and all my friends from the organization.

We even dropped by outside the Paul Van Dyk concert at the World Trade Center Hall 2. Music was loud and the party was humping!

Regardless, it was an early night as I had a busy Sunday ahead.


Sunday was tiring, and jump-packed full of activities!
At noon, I had lunch with my friend Joe at Bongos, near NTU. Located in one of the smaller alleys, it’s not very easy to find, and make sure you make reservations because they often run out of seats.

Joe said that their pasta was awful, but I found their Bongos Deluxe Burger to be terrific! At only NT$180, it’s clearly a steal and I can arguably say that it’s the best burger in Taipei! So if you’re in the NTU area, make sure to check Bongos out. It’s definitely worth a try.

Joe and I talked about a lot of things. We exchanged notes about our respective company’s dress codes (he works for Deep Blue, which is stricter when it came to office wear), the clubbing scene, and how Taiwanese people in general are more practical than others.

For example, women are very aggressive and have no qualms in doing all they can to get what they want (which probably explains why there is a high rate of extra-marital affairs in Taiwan). They can also be b*tchy when they want to be.

We also talked about organizational leadership. It turned out that Joe was the past president of the NTU Alumni Organization in the SF Bay Area years ago, and so we spent a great deal of time exchanging notes about handling people, project management among others.

After a hearty lunch, I met up with my organization’s Executive Committee at Asiaworld Starbucks to discuss upcoming events in December and January.

And afterwards, Amy, Mark and I headed over to the new Taipei Sports Arena Ice Skating rink for our organization’s ice-skating event.

Boy, that was tiring.

Overall, 29 people came, and it just about drained all my energy.

Besides, I suck at ice-skating. And yes, I fell twice!

Seriously, my butt was wet afterwards. 🙁

After ice-skating, we then headed over to Asiaworld’s food court for a quick bite, and then headed over to Y17 for some serious wallclimbing action with Mike S.!

After climbing four tough walls, I was exhilarated, but quite burned out after the busy day. We finished at around 11PM, complete with sore muscles.

But is the day over yet…?

Nope, because it’s been awhile since we’ve been, Mark and I decided to head over to Shuang Yu (Double Fish) for some delicious milk tea.

There, we talked about the organization (see above), changes during the past couple of months, our upcoming trips to Cambodia (for me) and the US (for him), among many others. It was good conversation.

Then, after being bitten at least thrice by vicious mosquitoes, we finally called it quits and went home our separate ways at 1:30AM.

And that ends my busy weekend.


Enjoy your week!

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