Fun with Personality Disorders (Part 3)

The last disorder classifed in cluster A is:

301.22 Schizotypal Personality Disorder   

A pervasive pattern of social and interpersonal deficits marked by acute discomfort with, and reduced capacity for, close relationships as well as by cognitive or perceptual distortions and eccentricities of behavior, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

(1) ideas of reference (excluding delusions of reference)
(2) odd beliefs or magical thinking that influences behavior and is inconsistent with subcultural norms (e.g., superstitiousness, belief in clairvoyance, telepathy, or "sixth sense"; in children and adolescents, bizarre fantasies or preoccupations)
(3) unusual perceptual experiences, including bodily illusions
(4) odd thinking and speech (e.g., vague, circumstantial, metaphorical, overelaborate, or stereotyped)
(5) suspiciousness or paranoid ideation
(6) inappropriate or constricted affect
(7) behavior or appearance that is odd, eccentric, or peculiar
(8) lack of close friends or confidants other than first-degree relatives
(9) excessive social anxiety that does not diminish with familiarity and tends to be associated with paranoid fears rather than negative judgments about self

Interesting since it describes someone who is not only introverted but also exhibits eccentric fashion, paranoia, and erratic behaviour.  I guess life can be extremely interesting when people are unpredictable and act in ways that lighten the day, I suppose.  I believe that we have lost our humanity the moment we become extremely predictable in our lives in general as well as having one's behaviour easily predicted by others.  We sometimes need to be unpredictable and try out new things in life.  If I need a Schizotypal in my life to do this, then so be it…actually I don't anymore crazy people in my life, but I will make an effort to explore life to the fullest.

More Paperwork.

I woke up late again unfortunately after musing about certain items I was discussing with friends last night. It seems that life is complicated as this morning I received a phone call from Bloomberg for a possible job interview but had a great deal of trouble as she gave me a non-working phone number and their customer service centre did not detect any outbound calls directed to me…

I took the train once again to workout at the Easton Ave gym doing cardio-based exercises for an hour before going to the labs to print out documents concerning my passport renewal. Once I returned home, I watched the latest episode of “Fifth Gear” where they did a comprehensive road test on Honda’s fuel-cell vehicle, the FCX. The interesting thing about the test was that the car ran smoothly with an engine that sounds like a turbine from “The Jetsons” as the presenter noted. In addition, he unofficially made history by testing the FCX’s 0-60 time as well as breaking the local traffic laws in the process. The best part was the FCX was able to survive all crash tests imposed by Honda, which is especially important in a car that carries compressed hydrogen. It looks like fuel cell-powered automobiles are the wave of the future so long as Honda, and its competitors can resolve issues concerning net energy, the supply of hydrogen, and how to make it financially accessible to the average customer.

Paperwork was not as bad as I thought. It was only 3 pages worth of applications for a passport renewal. The only items that need to be completed are getting new passport photos and having a guarantor fill out his or her specified sections of the form.

Later made a call to see how friends are doing after graduation. O’Keefe is having computer trouble and is currently working on tasks for his organisation. It turned out the issues he was faced with earlier in the week were largely resolved and not as bad as it seems. Kathleen is just staying over at Scott’s place (great!!!) and we are supposed to have lunch sometime tomorrow. On the other hand, Jason is still slaving away in CVS pharmacy and should return the call when he’s home.

Fun with Personality Disorders (Part 2)

Because Fifth Gear isn't ready to download and because I am detecting random people reading this blog, I will continue to explore personality disorders. This second disorder is also part of the Cluster A alongside Paranoid Personality Disorder:

Diagnostic criteria for 301.20 Schizoid Personality Disorder

A. A pervasive pattern of detachment from social relationships and a restricted range of expression of emotions in interpersonal settings, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by four (or more) of the following:

(1) neither desires nor enjoys close relationships, including being part of a family
(2) almost always chooses solitary activities
(3) has little, if any, interest in having sexual experiences with another person
(4) takes pleasure in few, if any, activities
(5) lacks close friends or confidants other than first-degree relatives
(6) appears indifferent to the praise or criticism of others
(7) shows emotional coldness, detachment, or flattened affectivity

So someone who is a Schizoid is basically a shut-in who dislikes people, sex, hobbies, and has no emotion. It also says that these people enjoy playing solitary activities like RPGs, buidling model trains. I wonder how these people are able to survive without a network of acquiantances or family ties? And I wonder if they socialise online through messengers, Chat Rooms, or MMORPGS since they are physically detached from dealing with real people in real world settings. The ultimate question is what factors or events can turn a seemingly normal person into a complete shut-in by the time they reach adulthood?

Paperwork is Fun! 魯迅是我的英雄﹗

Ah what an uneventful day!  The bulk of the day was spent filing paperwork for my United States citizenship application, which was a pain in the ass to be frank.  Nearly three-quarters of the questions asked me if I was a convicted felon, a drug user, a communist, if I was in the Nazi party between 1933 to 1945, and if I am a terrorist who advocated the destruction of the United States and her Constitution.  What a waste of pen ink and time!

I continued working with the self-help book, where I realised I was not suffering from any forms of depression upon reading the chapters dedicated on the subject.  I do believe however, that I am suffering from some sort of anxiety involving transition or dealing with people in social settings.  It is best to read through all the chapters just to be safe and to learn more about the nature of depression and anxiety.

Lu Xun (魯迅) is a God!  Everything he has written in his short stories is an excellent criticism of the problems China is facing during the revolutionary era.  I am glad that both the KMT and CCP have removed most of these problems he has written (CCP in the Mainland and KMT in Taiwan Province).  However, I believe Lu Xun would continue to bash the fuck out of the CCP in the Mainland and Taidu pigs in Taiwan Province if he were still alive today.  It is possible he would bash the CCP for betraying the ideals of communism and for allowing only a small minority to benefit from the free market reforms at the expense of the peasants, who were historically the backbone of China. In regards to Taiwan Province, he would criticise the Taiwanese pigs for betraying their Chinese heritage in favour of a Western/Japanese identity for all the wrong reasons.  One of his short stories criticises Chinese perceptions that all Western culture is superior and one should reject all Chinese culture when he was actually calling for the integration of Western ideas while rejecting feudal culture to create a stronger, progressive Chinese culture.  He would also criticise the KMT for failing to live up to Sun Yat-Sen ideals and those who supported the Xindai Revolution in 1911.

Found out Chihiro’s fears were unfounded as she managed to get a Hyundai for work and stuff.  Now I need a fucking Nissan to go to the job interview! I also found Maid Cafes and Otakus quite amusing.  I did not know that they can make roughly 100K in Yen, that the average customer pays $75USD for the cafes and that maids can provide some private sessions to make even more money.  I want to commend the man who thought of dressing up cute girls in Maid Outfits and having them serve customers in an Otaku themed cafe.  It is a disturbing, but extremely profitable venture or so it seems =D

Fun with Personality Disorders (Part 1)

In life, we have tendencies where we become self-conscious, introverted, shy or even paranoid. However, there comes a time when these traits affect individuals to the point where it dictates their decision-making processes, if not completely undermining their ability to survive in social settings. Personality traits are formed by early adulthood, persist throughout life and affect every aspect of day to day behavior. Individuals with personality disorders often blame others for their problems.

General diagnostic criteria for a Personality Disorder

A. An enduring pattern of inner experience and behavior that deviates markedly from the expectations of the individual's culture. This pattern is manifested in two (or more) of the following areas:

(1) cognition (i.e., ways of perceiving and interpreting self, other people, and events)
(2) affectivity (i.e., the range, intensity, lability, and appropriateness of emotional response)
(3) interpersonal functioning
(4) impulse control

B. The enduring pattern is inflexible and pervasive across a broad range of personal and social situations.

C. The enduring pattern leads to clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

D. The pattern is stable and of long duration and its onset can be traced back at least to adolescence or early adulthood.

E. The enduring pattern is not better accounted for as a manifestation or consequence of another mental disorder.

F. The enduring pattern is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition (e.g., head trauma).

Those are the basic criteria defining a personality disorder as defined by the American Psychiatric Association. The first disorder to be explored is classified as a cluster A and it is known as "Paranoid Personality Disorder". Some of the major traits of this disorder include:

Diagnostic criteria for 301.0 Paranoid Personality Disorder

A pervasive distrust and suspiciousness of others such that their motives are interpreted as malevolent, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by four (or more) of the following:

(1) suspects, without sufficient basis, that others are exploiting, harming, or deceiving him or her
(2) is preoccupied with unjustified doubts about the loyalty or trustworthiness of friends or associates
(3) is reluctant to confide in others because of unwarranted fear that the information will be used maliciously against him or her
(4) reads hidden demeaning or threatening meanings into benign remarks or events
(5) persistently bears grudges, i.e., is unforgiving of insults, injuries, or slights
(6) perceives attacks on his or her character or reputation that are not apparent to others and is quick to react angrily or to counterattack
(7) has recurrent suspicions, without justification, regarding fidelity of spouse or sexual partner

I believe that these personality traits are interesting and can shed light on certain individuals, though I know no one who suffers from any personality disorders. While it is true that people may have one or two of the traits above, people need to have at least four of the traits to be classified as a sufferer of a personality disorder. I read from another psychiatric journal that the burden used to be only 3 of the 7 traits are needed to be considered having a personality disorder. I guess lawsuits and misdiagnosis have helped the APA raised their standards and due to the fact that it is quite serious to diagnose individuals for having these disorders.

Otakus and Movies!!!

During my senior year of High School, I became interested in Anime. There were already several Azns who were watching anime from fansubs and continued to brag about their achievements and their basic command of Japanese phrases. My interest grew as I learned about the seemingly cool and funny shows from various websites specialising in the subject. Once I entered college, I gained access to their filesharing network, which allowed me to download and watch entire series in less than a week. However, as the years went by, my interest in anime began to wane and I only downloaded shows that fit my interests, such as Gundam, Initial D, and Ghost in the Shell. During my final year in college, I found out about a club called the Japanese Cultural Association, which was actually just an anime club despite claiming to be a club for Japanese or people interested in Japanese culture. At first, I did not put much thought into going to such a club because it seemed redundant when all the Anime is available on Direct Connect and they only screen licenced series. I only went to the meetings because Will talked me into going and because I didn't have any plans that day. As it turned out, Will showed up to the club meeting 2 hours late, but this was also how I first Ted and Edwin and found out Brian Cwiek also goes to the meetings…

After the initial meeting, I later went to the real Japanese club where I once again bumped into Tedwin and met people who I now consider good friends. Nonetheless, I still went to several JCA meetings to hang out with Tedwin and Brian. During several meetings, I learned from Brian that he mainly goes to spend time with Tedwin, who are his High School buddies and to also make interesting observations about American Otaku culture. Around this time, I started to notice that there were only about 1 female for every 10 males in the club and that some of these people were way past the age of 30 and not university students. I also noted that most of the club members were only interested in Anime that featured cutesy or busty Anime girls that were usually drawn like they were under the age of 16 and acted in ways girls would never act in the real world. For some reason, Rutgers has an anime club full of Otakus yet it never had a full-fledged Star Trek club in its history…quite odd. It did not help that these people would make references to hentai or hentai games…This was the time I started having doubts that I was an Otaku, but was reassured by my Japanese friends that I do not fit the profile in any way, shape or form =D

Later I heard some interesting stories about how someone went to a JCA meeting and took pictures for an anthropological study on the Otaku culture. Depending on who I asked, the photographer was asked to apologise to the club members by the officers or she was simply allowed unrestricted access, much to the chagrin of the Otakus. There was another account of how the JCA members were trying extremely hard to impress two Japanese RONs officers who were there to do Yukata fittings to teach people about Japanese culture. Moreover, I heard another story of how a former RONs member was being stalked by JCA members until she made them all go away by pretending to be Korean. A more recent story, involved my friend overreacting online when I assumed that he was a good friend with an Otaku/JCA officer since he left the club after the Otaku turnout increased.

I think it would be a great idea for the JCA to have an Otaku-themed tour of Japan during their Winter Break at RU. While touring Japan they have ample opportunities to visit Anime conventions to explore their interests in 20 year-old Anime shows and get chances to hit on or harass 18-20 year-old waitresses who are dressed up in "Kawaii" outfits in Maid cafes…

Today, I saw the films "Serenity" and "Appleseed". I thought Serenity was a great film that picked up where the "Firefly" series left off and answered questions about the origin of the Reavers, the series' villainous race of humans. The only issues I had with the film, were the poor Mandarin spoken by nearly all the characters and the assumption that the viewers of Serenity were intimately familiar with the TV show. The strong points of the film were the actress who plays Serenity's mechanic is very cute and the actor who plays Simon Tam did a great job acting like a stereotypical Asian-American. I hope the DVD sales for the TV show and the film are well enough to justify a TV movie if not a full-fledged sequel to the film.

Appleseed on the other hand was based on the manga and anime of the same name. The film was computer animated while using cel-shading to animate the characters, giving them a 3d animated look. The story was quite interesting involving the conflicts between artificial and real humans and the problems behind rebuilding a war ravaged society. Overall, it was a short but fun film with an interesting world and characters. I look forward to downloading the sequel when it comes out.

Post-grad honeymoon part 2, Lauren’s graduation dinner and Blogging

It seems like I was on Easton Ave yesterday partying the night away at the Olive Branch or working out at the Easton Ave gym in the daytime. I think I am beginning to miss part of the perks of living on campus as opposed to staying in the suburbs where there is almost nothing to do and where nothing is within walking distance, but I digress. Today, I woke up around noon and watched "Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children" on DVD on my HDTV, which looked just amazing! However, the downside was almost none of the special features are dubbed or have English subtitles, which made it very frustrating to watch the deleted scenes, the featurettes, and the trailers.

At 5:00, I went with my parents to Lauren's graduation dinner party to celebrate her completion at SUNY – Stony Brook at a Chinese Buffet. The food was great and I had a great time talking with them and other family friends. Tonight's highlight was coming very close to losing my cell phone, but it turned out it was lying somewhere in the minivan.

This is actually the 5th or 6th blog I have started up since I started blogging on the piece of shit known as Xanga. First blog was about myself and my hatred of post-war Iraq, the second blog was also about my adventures in college, the third blog was bashing Japanese nationalists, the Chinese Communist Party and Taiwanese ultranationalists, and my fourth blog was about my misadventures in my final semester at Rutgers. Currently, all of those blogs have been shutdown for various reasons which I will not discuss. However, I have learned about blogging in general:

1. Do not refer to anyone by name unless they are portrayed in a positive light.
2. Do not make the blog easily accessible.
3. Have a clear objective on the blog’s intent.
4. Do not refer to companies or organisations by name.
5. Do not provide information that can be used against you.

With that said, one would think the best solution would be to exercise self-censorship to the fullest, but that simply defeats the purpose of blogging in the first place. Although it is true that the "Pen is mightier than the Sword", one can realise that self-censorship will reduce individuals to do little or no writing and resort to other actions such as dressing up their blogs with useless javascripts, annoying background music, or even garish backgrounds. What I am saying is that self-censorship will reduce any creative and intelligent individual into a mindless drone, also known as "Xangans", who obsess with adding javascripts, online quizzes, background music, wallpapers, or even limiting written entries for the sake of being inoffensive and to be "popular". Stereotypical Xangans are all style and lack substance because they made the decision to self-censor based on their fears and due to the Xangan culture that exists in that community.

This is the reason I finally chose WordPress as my new blog host. First, I has a clean and simple interface in the spirit of blogger and typepad, which sets it apart from the crap interface that is Xanga. Second, it has privacy measures that allow me to write personal private entries, protected entries that only close friends can access and public entries to let people what I am up to. Third, it comes with various built-in functions such as a stattracker, image uploads, and categories so I can organise my posts.

To sum up:

AOL :: Internet Service Provider
Xanga :: Weblog Hosting Service

All is fair in love and war…

It has been nearly a week since my Spring Semester ended and only a day since I officially graduated from Rutgers.  Furthermore, it has been less than 12 hours since I returned to public blogging, albeit in a new weblog host.  In between this particular period of my college existence, I spent much of my time enjoying myself by hanging out with friends and continuing my writing on a private blog server.   There were several worthwhile lessons to be learned from this experience, but I chose to focus on the area of relationships because this will become increasingly relevant in the weeks to come.

1. Keep my feelings to myself to a large extent while only confiding my feelings to only one or two trustworthy friends.  Otherwise, people will begin suspecting and talk to all the wrong people.  Once the information reaches the wrong hands, there will be serious complications, if not problems.

2. Maintain contact with those I like on a regular basis, if possible.  Otherwise, they may feel ignored, resulting in increased vulnerability or they may interpret the lack of contact as a lack of interest, which may lead them to meet other people and move on.

3. Make sure that the interest is based on the individual’s personality and not primarily on physical appearance.  Also make sure that there are no external factors that are driving my interests and that I am interested for my own reasons and only by my reasons.

4. Ignore impediments such as time or competitors.  They are non-issues if there is a genuine or mutual interest among two people because nothing can truly get in the way.  Otherwise, it’s going to fail.

5. Rejections should not be taken personally because it doesn’t mean that person dislikes me.  It simply means she is either with someone else, it needs to be approached differently, or it is just an indication to try harder or move on.

6. Never allow information that can be used against me to be easily accessible.  This happened to me on several occasions, and it has benefited others at my expense.  If there is a need to write or place information in public, make sure safeguards are in place to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands.

7. I should trust my instincts and judgment.  My good friend and roommate pointed out that I have good instincts in these matters.  This means if I have a feeling or suspicion about something, I should aggressively investigate these matters and remain true to my convictions in the face of doubters.  I should prevent my emotions from clouding my judgment and instincts.

8. Ignore the high road in matters of the heart because others will do everything in their power to ensure my failure.  It does not matter if that person claims to be a friend, a professed Christian, or even a confidant.  They will use whatever resources they have to ensure their own success and will only follow their own rules to do it.  FUCK CHIVALRY.  There will be reprisals, but it must be done if there is a strong, viable interest.

9. Hate the game not the players.  People can “player-hate” on me all they want, but they need to improve their game if they are going to get anywhere.  The same holds true for me too.  In the end, self-improvement and an understanding of the situation is the best way to achieve success.

10.  Make sure they are single and not in any existing relationships.  This speaks for itself.

Post-graduation Relaxation

The post-graduation party on Thursday was quite a night! This is partly the reason why I did not get up until 2:00 PM Today. And what did I do today? I just spent most of my time watching movies on DirectTV, which was having a free trial of their dozen or so HBO, Showtime, Encore and Starz channels. The films I watched today were "Harold and Kumar go to White Castle", "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgandy", and "Pavillion of Women".

I've seen the first two films, which were just mindless comedies. Interestingly enough, Jon Cho who played Harold in "Harold and Kumar" was one of the lead actors in "Pavillion of Women", which also starred Willem Dafoe. The film "Pavillion of Women" was loosely based on the Pearl S. Buck novel of the same name.

This 2001 adaptation of the novel is set in 1937 and was filmed in China and partially financed by the Beijung Film Studios. The Chinese actress Yan Luo not only stars as Madame Wu, but also helped write the screenplay and produce the film. She's beautiful and stately and gives a fine performance. Willem Dafoe is cast as a village priest who runs a local orphanage. They are attracted to each other and the inevitable happens. But that is only part of what the story is about. Basically, it's about the oppressive world of the old-fashioned traditional Chinese family. And the future promise of communism.

"Pavilion Of Women" centres on a romance between leading characters in whom both Chinese and Western mores collide. This is a cross-cultural romantic story adapted from a book by the prolific American writer on China, Pearl S. Buck, set in the late 1930s. It is a cross-cultural challenge to the audience, as much as to its characters. Many Chinese would say that its romantic plot was unthinkable or impossible in the 1930s–which is, of course, part of the point of the story. Western fans of Pearl S. Buck might be irritated by deviation from her book. However, this film has first class cross-cultural direction and acting, and was beautifully photographed on location in elegant settings of old Suzhou. It is a fine example of what the Chinese film industry can achieve in co-production. The DVD has high quality picture and audio, but could be improved with special features such as biographical and production notes.

At the time this movie was released, critics savaged the film for having deviated from the source material, and the fact the predominantly Chinese cast struggled with their English dialogue. Overall, I didn't think the film was bad after seeing it for what it was meant to be: a simple love story with elements that criticised old Chinese culture, the conflicts within relationships, the positive impact of foreign missionaries, and how the KMT and the Japanese Empire ruined China. After all this movie was a Chinese-American co-production, which allowed for filmmakers to make full use of Suzhou province to capture to simple, yet romantic setting, access to talented local actors and most of all giving viewers a chance to experience pre-Revolutionary China. The only trade-offs to the film were a greater criticism of KMT misrule during that period, the communist party was portrayed in a more positive light and the final minutes of the film detailed how the Imperial Japanese Army would rape, murder, loot and bayonet anything that comes in their sights.

Willem Dafoe is a great, but underrated actor. His performances range from playing Charlie Sheen's mentor Elias in "Platoon" to playing a conflicted Norman Osborn in the "Spider-Man" films. Whatever films he is in, whether he is a hero, villain or just a supporting character, he always give a strong, consistent performance that adds substance to the movies he is in. Even though Pearl Buck's adaptation was mediocre, his performance made the movie worth watching to the very end, despite having issues with the broken English coming from the Chinese actors. I guess this is where I am supposed to say I now understand why Japanese were irritated with that "Memoirs of a Geisha" movie starring Zhang Ziyi and Gong Li.

Jon Cho was decent as Fengmo, the progressive son of Ailian who is exposed to western learning and secret member of the CCP. Considering he is Korean-American, I found it hilarious when he marched into the fields during the ending in a vintage PLA uniform and smiling like one of the soldiers I saw in an old Chinese propaganda poster. Now I am interested in reading the book among others I'd like to get from Strand if I go to NYC again.

%d bloggers like this: