The Sapient Ape

Life as an employed MBA grad during an economic recovery. DISCLAIMER: Everything written here is fiction.

Lockdown

What is true love… does it even exist?

I thought I had it once, long, long ago.  But then I lost it, because I was too immature to be able to hold on to it.  Coz I took it for granted.  Coz I treated it as a right instead of a gift.  Eh… my loss what do you care, right?

But if thats what it was, it was an amazing thing.  I often regret not having the balls to hold on to it when I had the chance.  But I was too young and stupid… keep your love locked down, like Kanye said.  You can tell he’s someone who’s gone through what I have — the loss of true love — I mean to be egotistical enough to put out a whole album about your past relationship you HAVE to be in a lot of pain.  Or maybe you just have to be Kanye.

I wonder if I’ll ever find it again.  I’ve come close, but at 32, I’m starting to really wonder. Coz you see, for real love, you need to trust someone completely.  You need that innocence, that willingness to share everything about yourself, and that willingness to give up everything that’s important to you, including your life, for the other person.   That’s what I had and that’s what I lost.  These days, trust is a difficult thing for me…

When I was younger, there was always a lot of love in my family, but also a lot of anger.  It was a roller-coaster on which we’d ride every day, my sister and I.  It made us very extreme when it came to our emotional reactions to people and things.  We’re quick to love and quick to anger.  And when we feel, we feel very, very deeply.  We care a lot, we hate a lot.  Everything is a lot.  There’s no “eh” with us.  Our blood flow is liquid passion.

Even now, I feel things so deeply, but I just don’t show them.  I pretend like I don’t care, like they don’t affect me.  Maybe I’ll even convince myself sometimes.  But I know they’re there, those emotions.   Deep down inside, they just linger.  The anger, the love.  Sometimes I can’t tell the difference.  Do I like angry sex or caring sex?  The answer is yes.

The trust is the toughest thing to recover.  We’ve been betrayed when it comes to parental relationships — we were promised that love would overcome all, but the divorce happened anyway.  So how could we ever trust that a relationship would last, when our parents fell apart before our eyes?  How could we ever believe in love, when love didn’t last?

But still, I’m not going to give up.  I still believe that she is out there… just waiting to be found by me.  Its tough, coz every time I meet someone, I put them up on a pedestal they do not belong on, or that they don’t deserve to be on.  And then they feel the pressure, and I get disappointed.

But one day, things’ll change.  I’ll find someone who’s up to the challenge.  There are 3.5 billion women on this planet — one of them has to be nuts enough to be able to handle me… and vice versa.  After all, if my crazy sister can do it, why not me?

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World Domination Plans [TOP SECRET]

I like to tell myself (and now others), that if I lived to be a thousand years old, by the end of my life I’d be the King of the World (that’s a real title, people — just ask Genghis or Alexander).  Thats the watered-down old-man version.  When I was younger it was just “rule the world within one life-span.”  I’ve changed, man… I used to be cool.

Its quite amazing how much they remind me of Bush and Cheney now, naaaaarf.

Its quite amazing how much they remind me of Bush and Cheney now, naaaaarf.

Megalomaniacal?  Well I did watch a lot of Pinky and the Brain during college through a veil of acrid smoke, so maybe that warped me — although I’m sure we can look back and find some pre-5-year-old event that did most of the warping.  Lets not try to find out what that was right now though.

Is it even as complicated as that?   As omnivores, we humans have always walked (upright, most of the time) a fine line between our subhuman urge to hunt and kill, and our desire to settle down and lead a sedentary lifestyle (or “gather” even tho I’m aware that technically “gather” doesn’t involve cultivation).  Once we settled down more permanently and formed civilizations, that pent-up male frustration had to go somewhere, and it did.  It went into raping, killing and conquering each other.  I was going to point out a few historical examples, but there are so many that if I just say, “Remember __________?”, the blank is more than likely to refer to some violent event in human history.

By late in the 20th Century, our civilization as a whole had pretty much come to condemn and abhor violence (I am well aware of the inherent irony of what I’m saying here, but lets generalize for the sake of argument), especially on a geopolitical scale, so that it was no longer considered OK to kill millions just to get more stuff.  Our killer instinct had to be once more focused onto something other than the pursuit of blood.  And so it was, onto the pursuit of money.  And so here we are today.  And here I am.

I could point to a host of other supposed hypotheses on why I’m power-hungry, anything from having a pushy South-Asian know-it-all mom to feeling insecure about my family’s net worth next to so many of my peers.  But I tend to be  a complicated person ruled by simple needs.  And this one’s as simple as “Hulk, Smash!”

Why does this turn me on?  Or at least make my mouth water... hmm I'm getting confused.  More on food porn later.

Why does this turn me on? Or at least make my mouth water... hmm I'm getting confused. More on food porn later.

Of course, my thirst for world domination is somewhat tempered (more than somewhat) by the need for me to have my cake and eat it too — to live in the moment rather than think only about the future.  It is often difficult for me to sacrifice assured present pleasure for potential future gain.  I guess this is both my greatest barrier to success as well as the single personality trait I possess which is the most responsible for my well-being and happiness.  Without it I would probably wallow in misery and depression, rather than just pretending to wallow in it, as I do in this blog.

But as I get older, I get more conservative, and even wonder whether I shouldn’t have made more of these sacrifices than I did.   But then I just tell myself to shut up.  And adjust my world-domination schedule accordingly in Microsoft Project.  I”m not one for regrets… move on and plan accordingly.

That being said, part of my soul still lies on a secluded beach in the Balearic Isles, watching the sun loiter across the cloudless sky, drinking claras, and listening to the wind carrying the sounds of local DJs down the beach.  Maybe someday, the rest of me can be convinced to join it.

For now, must take stuff over.

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No Bones About Bonuses

So I noticed a recent divergence of viewpoints between a close friend of mine who’s been working in banking since 2008, and myself, who’s been working in, well…

Yeah.  That.

This difference came to my attention when I noticed his FB status retorting angrily on the fact that the media had scapegoated the AIG execs for taking their substantial bonuses after being bailed out.

cute? yes.  disturbing?  yes.  but also LOADED!

cute? yes. disturbing? yes. but also LOADED!

And here I am, thinkin’, “man I hate those damn rich fat cats who don’t care for us common folk,” bla bla bla.  “How dare they take that tax money that I haven’t been paying for the last 3 years — my hard-unearned tax money that I worked so unhard for.”

Good ol’ #####, stander-upper for the common man, the proletariate lover, good ol’ #####.

And then it struck me — I’m standing up for ’em coz I AM ONE OF THEM.  I AIN’T GOT NO CASH AND NO ASSETS.  I ain’t got shit on me but a half-decent brain, a good amount of heart, and even more debt.  Ladies?  Anyone?  Going twice…

I wonder if this is how my parents started off being hippies… oh noooz I’m reliving their lives!!!

This MBA is starting to look like a worse and worse idea.  I’m gonna be paying those damn loans off for a long, long time unless I kill myself.  Then my mom gets to pay coz she cosigned.  Hah!  Vengeance from beyond the grave!

I think a sigh is in order here.  Sigh.

K I’ve digressed into self-pity interspersed with moments of self-loathing, as well as a touch of general hatred (slowly seething) for all humanity.

So yea, if things had gone differently, would I be the one who would feel victimized for being blamed for hoarding taxpayer money?  Could I be that haughty millionaire, squinting at the rabble through my monocle, while checking the hour on my gold pocket watch, as the world came crashing down around my gold Rolls?  That’s an interesting question.  I always consider myself highly adaptable mentally — so maybe instead of adapting to my current low-brow everyman syndrome, my mental state of being would be adapted to that fantastical state of being where I might have been a New York banker, complete with bad attitude, loathing for everyone else, M5 and hot blonde girlfriend… ‘cept I prefer brunettes.  No gentleman is he, that sitteth here.

Is that really the measure of a man — a car and a girl?   Ummm, yeah pretty much.  Maybe what video game systems he has as well.

A visual representation of my worldly assets.

A visual representation of my worldly assets.

Off-topic once again — so yeah, I could probably see myself in my friend’s shoes, and even thinking along the same lines as my friend.  The old capitalistic “It’s mine and I worked hard for it” line was one that I professed to quite strongly way back when (only a freakin’ year ago?!?!  It feels like a serious eternity).  And still do.  I believe very much in the right of an individual to amass as much private wealth as he can.  Amass as much wealth as he can, yes.  But doesn’t that give one a responsibility to the rest of society to do something good and worthwhile — or at least to help others get the same opportunities?

I guess the table I now sit at is so much lower down than that of those AIG execs, that I’d like to think that had I been in their position, I might have actually felt guilty about taking that money, as the world came crashing down.  Or at least been scared of getting caught.

Or I’d like to think that I would feel the same way as I do now even if I sat at the big-papa table, because the values that my “hippy” parents have instilled in me aren’t socialist or capitalist, but… human.

I’d like to think that, anyway.

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Lack of Energy Fuels Economic Cesspool.

Energy, energy, gas, gas, electricity, electricity, buzz buzz buzz…

It rules my daily life here, or it would, if I weren’t sitting in my sister’s cushy apartment feeding off the diesel generator that goes on every time the power goes out (luckily for me, the only thing I have to give up is Air Conditioning.  Sweet!  Doin’ my part for global warming!).

And it goes out a lot.  Like for hours a day every day like clockwork.  During peak hours.  The truth of the matter is that Bangladesh can’t produce enough electricity to keep up with demand.  It’s like a vicious cycle.  I remember when I was a kid, lets say 25 years ago, the power used to go out just as often — and no generators.  Favorite cartoons would get cut off, never to be seen again.

Oh Liono, how ever did you defeat Mummra that one time?  Did Snarf help?

But in the 1990s, power generation crept up, as more power stations were built, and the outages got a bit more bearable.

Today we’re back at unbearable.

The diesel generator that powers my internet during power outtages. Scoooore!

The diesel generator that powers my internet during power outtages. Scoooore!

Except every apartment building has diesel generators, which whir into action every time the power goes out, and spew diesel fumes into the air, to add to the city’s pollution problem.   But I hear diesel burns clean, so lets hope for the best.  Is it the right kinda diesel to burn clean?  Turns out, it isn’t.  Chalk one up for lung cancer.  Dhaka got out of one air pollution problem in the early 2000s to be on the brink of falling into another.

Not to mention the actual outages… I heard an estimate that power outages cost Bangladesh in 2% annual GDP.  Think about that — that’s just an exhorbitant amount of waste in a country where 45% of the population lives beneath the poverty level.  If energy shortages cost 2% imagine how much is lost to corruption…4%?  5%?  Were it not fucked up, Bangladesh’s economic growth rate would rival China’s.

Not to mention the increased petroleum imports into the country due to the additional need for diesel fuel — a country, that theoretically at least should be able to at least provide its own power generation needs through its ample natural gas reserves.

But even as new power plants are being built, often by incompetent idiots who have no previous experience in the energy sector, to the tune of long delays and wasted cash — EVEN as these plants are being built, we’re going through a natural gas shortage.  In other words, there’s nothing to power the plants.  A natural gas shortage that supposedly is “due to rising demand and the failure of past governments to find new sources, energy officials said on Sunday.”  It can’t be helping that natural gas prices, along with oil prices, have plummeted recently.

My bro-in-lawrs 2000 cc barrel burner.  Yowza!

My bro-in-lawrs 2.0 L bbl burner. Yowza!

Why should the oil companies break their backs looking for the shit now, when they can just wait it out until a higher price increases their profit margin.  Oil companies are probably the ONLY sector of the modern post-Bush global economy that haven’t been affected that much by our current recession.  They have been hedging their bets for a while, makin’ bank.  So they’re content to sit around and wait for the price to go up, and let us here in Dhaka sweat it out or use up the diesel that they’re selling us anyway.

Summer’s around the corner and its getting hotter every day.  The generator just went on.  Time to go for a ride in my 2000 cc AC car and burn some more gas.

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