Martial life

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Vanity, martial arts and karaoke - why do people need to exhibit themselves?


"Great people talk about ideas.
Average people talk about themselves.
Small people talk about other people."
unknown author

I like to hypothesize that the average person cares pretty much only about themselves. Other people are only extension of themselves whose sole purpose is to interact with them and make their lives more entertaining. That would explain why the average person fancies celebrity and peer acceptance, as proven with trashy reality-shows. 

"You may be cool but you'll never be 4 popped-collar cool"
photograph taken from Liz Bustamante / wikimedia commons

Last weekend, I got stuck in a Karaoke lounge, which is a small room you can rent in which you and your friends can sing their lungs out, in the privacy the small room offered. I personally hate going to such places but I have to admit there aren't that many places in town in which you could gather a dozen of people and hang out privately.

"Luckily, the rooms did not include these 2 guys"
photograph taken from Kat Walsh / wikimedia commons

How did it happen? I was at a restaurant, peacefully eating dinner with my wife, her lovely sisters and charming friends, discussing and generally having a good time. As our plates emptied out, we realized our fun times together would soon come to an end unless we found something else to do afterwards. That's when the unanimous decision (My opinion generally does not count) was taken to go to the karaoke place.

Having been music educated - both instrumental and vocal - singing in public did hot intimidate me. I may not have much of a voice, but I take comfort knowing I can sing at the right key and with right timing, which in this case is a curse because I can distinguish all sorts of singing errors, turning people's singing into noise reminiscent of those emitted by a pig in labor.

"Who took a picture of me?" 

To be fair, the people I was with were competent singers, hitting the notes at the right pitch and the right time, most of the time anyways. If I had a choice, I probably would choose to go with the same people, although they probably wouldn't want me with them, so to spare my delicate ears. 

That reminds me of the time I joined the university Tae Kwon do team. Being in an Engineering school, the average student weren't the sportiest type, many of whom had never done any organized sports in their lives, let alone martial arts. That gave place to all sorts of martial awkwardness. Movement were choppy and awkward, kicks were slow, weak and off target and getting punched felt like getting tagged by playful school yard children. Once the uniform on, some had such bad coordination that they barely could walk properly.

Yes, our TaeKwonDo classes looked exactly like this! Except the people weren't as cute...
Photograph taken from Jamie Campbell / wikimedia commons

Yet most would still proudly parade around the training hall wearing their rainbow colored belt, sometimes even acting tough, oblivious to their cruel lack of skills.

Why is it that the singer himself can't hear his own atrocious performance? Why do the Same people insist on cranking up the volume of their voice? Is it perhaps in hopes that we don't hear them, although effectively, we notice them their even more.

Perhaps, those in the Tae Kwon do training never saw themselves in action so they had no way of knowing they lacked the skills to back up their vanity?

Maybe the sole purpose of those in karaoke lounges and training halls is to show off and feel good about them, however little they have to show?

Could it be that deep down, they yearn for peer recognition and are desperately trying to get it by showcasing the added value to their personality?


Or perhaps I had it all wrong and the pride exhibited in the lounge and the training hall were not the result of their pride based on their skills but rather on their improved skills, which is kind of scary since it means they used to be ever worse.

Whatever their motivations, they serve as a reminder that no matter how skillful you think you are, there will always be people of higher skills that will think otherwise.


And by the way, If you think my writing stinks and I should go take writing lessons instead of embarrassing myself with my horrendous texts, then feel free to email me with corrections that would enhance my writing.

Or better yet, contact us (Me or Hao Wong)  to set up your own tribune in which you could showcase both your writing talents and your superior martial arts insights.



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Last Updated on Sunday, 14 November 2010 14:58  

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