Chiwi Journal #14: Nick Cave, Love & Nihilism, Beyond Order, Multi-verse, and Body & Mind
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May 30th, 2022
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Quick update from me

​I’ve been living in Lisbon on and off for two months but still have a FOMO of sun. When the sun is out (almost every day), I subconsciously have the urge to go outside (PTSD from living in London for a while ?). Spending most time outdoors made me realise I’m probably solar powered because just going out to enjoy the sun makes my worries and stress gone!

Since I’m still in tourist mode in Portugal, I walk 13,000 steps daily. My friend introduced me to a move2earn web3 lifestyle app STEPN, where I get an NFT Sneaker and walk, jog or run outdoors to earn rewards. What I like most about this app are the Gami-Fi and Social-Fi elements that encourage a group of my friends to embrace a healthier lifestyle by walking or jogging on a daily base. Also, in a web3 group chat, we take this app as a case study to discuss the gamification ecosystem and investment philosophy in web3. Definitely a triple-win game to play! If you are interested in playing and would like to get an invite code, please DM me on Twitter.

Last but not least, please remember no matter which markets are we in, treat yourself as core capital, design a compound system and invest it!​OK, let’s get into this month’s content.

Book of the Month

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​The Chinese version of Beyond Order by Dr Jordan B. Peterson has been launched in China this month!

I started the translation process in April 2021 with Steve Shi and Marcel Zhang. After four months of hard work and back and forth editing and auditing from the publisher. We finally see the 289,000 words and 322 pages book out on China market!

In 2019, I participated the Oxfam Trailwalker, completing the 100km trek in under 32 hours and raising 10,000 NZD with three team members. In preparation for this challenging event, I encountered Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life and gained the courage and wisdom from reading it, which helped me accomplish this seemingly impossible task. Since then, I have followed Dr Peterson’s YouTube and podcast channels and dug deep into his works.

In 2021, while quarantined in England, I saw a tweet posted by Steve Shi, the Chinese translator of 12 Rules for Life, seeking collaborative translators for Dr Peterson’s new book Beyond Order. I immediately signed up and completed the trial translation based on my familiarity with his works. It was not long before I received the news that I had officially joined the translation team and had the privilege to translate Chapters nine to twelve of his new book, focusing on intimate relationships, past memories, truth-seeking, and gratitude for life. Dr Peterson wrote this new book while battling his illness, and he relied on the idea of completing this book to push himself through the many difficulties in his life. While translating this book, I was also in a challenging life stage, living alone in a new country without family and friends’ support and unclear about my future and career path.

Reading his book and participating in the translation process served as a healing process for me. Dr Peterson shared many clinical cases to show us how people who have gone through hardships can get back on track through effective counselling and self-awareness. It also made me realise that many difficulties facing me are not unique but universal, and there are solutions to that, thus giving me hope and encouragement to get through that dark period. Everyone is carrying an inevitable burden in this world. There is probably an ugly and painful struggle underneath every glamorous and beautiful face. Compared with Dr Peterson’s previous book, I could feel his compassion in this new book, and I was moved to tears many times during the translation process. If we can be less judgmental and resentful of others but be more empathetic, if we can still be grateful when we suffer, gratitude and love will save us from the abyss.

I also recommend readers sign up for Dr Peterson’s brain baby Self-Authoring, a series of online writing programs that collectively help you explore your past, present and future. An unexamined life is not worth living. After reading this book, I hope you will have the courage and confidence to explore your path, nourishing yourself and those around you with love. Most importantly, have faith in life and be grateful despite your suffering.

Click to purchase the Chinese copy.

​Movies of the Month

I melted in tears while watching CODA and Everything Everywhere All at Once.

When I watched the trailers of both films, the former made me feel cliche, and the latter made me feel like a pop-corn no-brainer movie. However, under my friends’ consistent recommendation, I gave them a go and found the touchy point from them.​Just like reading the summary/abstract of a book is totally different from reading the whole book, when I sit down patiently and indulge in the story, I can get rid of my prejudice, forget about my reality for a while, and generate empathy with characters and even manifest something inside me that I didn’t seem aware of.

CODA

“CODA” stands for “child of deaf adults.” The film portrays the story of a teenage CODA girl who’s caught between helping her family’s fledgling fish business in a small village and pursuing her singing aspirations in college. Sounds cliche, right? But when you watched those deaf actors’ spectacular performances and emphasized the life struggle between dream and reality, even though we’ve heard so many of that kinds of stories, it still worked.

​It reminds me of La La Land, where the main character has to make the decision between love and dream. We all have to make compromises in our life because we can’t have everything, but we can get anything we REALLY want. The most valuable way to help others is not by offering your time and energy to solve problems on their behalf but by devoting your passion to do what you REALLY love. By doing so, your inner sparks and dedication will ignite expansive light among people around you, empowering more people to step into their Hero’s Journey.​

​**Everything Everywhere All at Once**

I assume many overseas Asians will resonate with this family’s story: hard-working parents, lack of communication between couples, misunderstandings between generations, and cultural conflict living in western counties. The moment you think you know where the movie is headed, the director turned it into an unclassifiable Sci-fi story that blew your mind with cutting edge visual effects and unexpected narrative quirks.

The basic philosophy of this movie is between ‘love’ and ‘nihilism’. It doesn’t simply advocate the cliche message of ‘love conquers it all’ but embeds the fundamental core concept of eastern philosophy: the balance of yin and yang (pay attention to the Bagel and Weird Eye). Love can be a dangerous weapon if people don’t know the balanced way to receive and give. Especially in eastern culture, some parents usually use love as a moral chain to constrain their children’s personal development. Others might be too uncomfortable to express their love verbally and physically.

This movie also reminds me of one of my favourite Sci-fi writers Ted Chiang‘s Story of Your Life: once you know the whole story of life, will you dare to live it? How could we face the absurdity of this world and find the meaning behind meaningless things?​On a happy note, two directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert left many Easter eggs in this movie and paid tribute to those directors before them. E.g. In the Mood for LoveThe Wedding BanquetThe GrandmasterRick and MortyKill BillThe MatrixA Clockwork OrangeRatatouilleJokerStar Wars and many more! Enjoy :)

​Documentary of the Month

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​When I first heard Where The Wild Roses Grow and watched the MV, I was obsessed with Nick Cave in my teenage years. His poetic lyrics, painful past and maverick personality resonated with me in many ways. Back then, I felt his famous line “All beauty must die” is similar to one of Buddhism’s sanbōin “impermanent” within my limited understanding. I thought all things, including us and life itself, are impermanent. Therefore, nothing matters since everything would disappear into the void.

All those years passed by, Nick Cave seemed to have healed and defined himself from a musician to a father or a husband and opened an online mailbox to listen to others’ pain. I also gained my knowledge to understand the true essence of “impermanent”. Although nothing will exist forever, the existence itself is worth everything in this world.​Watching This Much I Know To Be True, a documentary that captures behind the scenes of Nick Cave and Warren Ellis making their last two studio albums (Ghosteen and Carnage), is full of joy and tears (I know this month I cried a lot, but all in a good way ?). The music, songs and stage visual setup are sensational, and Nick and Warren’s conversations and interviews made me think a lot about how we see our world differently. Once we are open and connected with others and the world, everything seems to make sense now.

“Our purpose isn’t to bring meanings to this world, the very nature of this world is meaningful and we’re just beings in it.”

​Podcast of the Month

​I usually avoid recommending mainstream media’s content, but The Ezra Klein Show (New York Times) is exceptional. The host Ezra Klein is a famous American news commentator, columnist and political analyst. His show focuses on current affairs and book recommendations with high-quality interviews and up-to-date and diverse topics. I’ve listened to several episodes about the Russia-Ukraine war, where I get a chance to learn about this global event from multiple angles from intellectuals and geopolitical experts with different backgrounds.

This month, I listened to an episode that featured a renowned psychiatrist and best-selling author, Bessel van der Kolk (thanks to Tom Morgan’s newsletter). It revealed how trauma reshaped our brains from a neuroscience perspective and shared a couple of ways to reconnect with ourselves and others by conditioning the body and training mindfulness thoughts.

Bessel van der Kolk’s book The Body Keeps the Score, based on his 30 years of clinical experience, unravels the problematic question of how the human brain can turn on self-protection mechanisms after trauma to bury the memory or fall into deep remorse and shame. Still, the body won’t forget the trauma and subconsciously reminds us of the need to deal with it. ​Many people think that only those who have experienced war or major disasters will have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Unbeknownst to us, trauma is everywhere. From domestic violence to school bullying, from childhood neglect to natural and man-made disasters, from break up to a loss of family, from betrayal to isolation, trauma has become one of the most critical mental problems in modern society. If you have experienced those above and found it hard to digest the pain, this episode and the book would be beneficial.

​AMA

Last month, I shared my immigration journey with Rebase.co to get a Portuguese residency visa as a non-EU citizen.

People also wonder how I become a New Zealand citizen.

As discussed in my recent interview with Lauren Razavi, our passport system is a recent invention and needs to upgrade to encourage global mobility in today’s world. I’m an advocate for freedom of movement and freedom of speech. And I’m so glad to see projects like Plumia and 1729 that empower people to build the Internet country, accelerate digital transformation and form an engaged community beyond border limitations.

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