Aug 02, 2012|
There is a paucity of good Central restaurant spots. The good ones are packed, the nice ones are expensive, and there’s a whole lot of set menus ranging from $100 to $300 chock-full of food that defines mediocrity. Yet, I always keep trying different ones, even though I know that the pizza will be chewy and the romance of alfresco will be ruined by delivery trucks screaming by.
Still, the promise that I might stumble on sublime ramen keeps some small foodie ember alive inside and the quest for hidden quality continues. But it’s never found. Central is what it is: a busy metropolis that caters to the median because that’s why it’s exists. And while I could venture to Wan Chai, Causeway, or even the Dark Side (Kowloon), I never do because I’m lazy and eating in Central is convenient. And I hate it but I do it every damn day. And I feel the same about Facebook.
In the morning, I log onto my work email, open my self-created and highly comical to-do list (1. Send spreadsheet to Jan; 2. Buy used drum machine), and check Facebook. I can repeat the motions to a T in my head. I click on chrome, type “f,” which auto-completes to the page, and bam! I’m on. And why am I here? In the hopes that somebody amazing whom I’ve completely forgotten has messaged me. In the hopes somebody’s social reader app will inspire me, and in the hopes I’ll find some hidden gem in my friends and acquaintances’ lives that will make me go, "Wow!"
But it never happens. Instead, I’m treated to a deluge of “look at me on top of some stupid mountain wearing sunglasses” status updates and pictures.*
I’ve read a number of articles that cite feelings of low self-esteem and depression many people experience when seeing the relatively glamorous lives posted by their Facebook friends. Question: shouldn’t it be the opposite? If you met someone at a party and you were like “What’s up, man?” and he was like, “Oh, not much—I just had the most amazing time jetting around the Greek Islands with Matthew McConaughey on his yacht made of champagne,” I’d be like, “You’re a dick.” But that’s what people willingly post every single day online. Here is a picture of my feet and the beach in the Maldives! Look at me! And, to their credit, I do.
Because that’s what it is. We want others to like you so you tell them how amazing you are and hope they’ll nod and be impressed. And that’s kind of sad and also kind of normal. Every time somebody asks me what I do I normally say a lot of great things about myself since what I usually do (work, go to sleep, have drinks, pass out in a ditch) isn’t impressive enough for them. And you might hope they’ll look at your Facebook albums.
The first album I posted on Facebook was something like “Another Hong Kong BBQ.” It was when I made friends with a bunch of models and went to a party and took pictures with them and tried to do that mock-sexy pose that looks good on girls but incredibly douchey on guys. I would check every few days to see if there were comments and I got a lot so it was a huge win. It’s definitely kind of sad and kind of normal. Just remember, whenever anybody posts a “just another…”, “a normal…”, “fun times in…” album, you’re about to see a terrible series full of people trying to look special.
Nowadays my privacy settings are way up by which I mean they’re up until Facebook corporate makes some other terrible change without my permission. I don’t need to tell everybody how great I am online. I do it in person. And maybe some day I’ll be secure enough not to do it at all. But who knows when that will happen?
By the way, I’m pretty special.
*I mean, I could just not go on Facebook but in that scenario I wouldn’t be lazy and only do things that are convenient for me.
Yalun Tu is a columnist for HK Magazine. You can reach him at email@example.com or @yaluntu on Twitter.