Smoking and sniffing glue, advice if you want to write, and tips on avoiding the monster


Smoking cigarettes: addiction to the toxic fumes of burning leaves.

If it weren’t for smart packaging (until recently), smart marketing (until a decade ago), identity-related brands, social acceptability (in decline) and the wide availability and relatively low cost, only a fraction of people who currently smoke would actually have started smoking in the first place. How cigarettes are presented, and how people think about smoking cigarettes, change everything.

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Sniffing glue has a reputation as the first drug of choice for street children, poor teens and other people who are not positive about life but who do not have money for a better narcotic. To smoke tobacco – daily, as a matter of routine – is seen by smokers as in an entirely different class as glue sniffing.

Here is what I think: smoking tobacco doesn’t make you stupid, but think about it for a second: you roll dry leaves in a piece of paper, set the whole business on fire and suck the smoke into your lungs. Granted, it’s not the same as sniffing glue, but it is also not exactly the result of a brilliant thought process.


You can justify and rationalise the most criminal behaviour. What you need is the ability to honestly criticise yourself, to question your own behaviour and choices, and to reconsider them in a critical fashion.


Here is my advice to other people who want to write: write your ass off about everything that bothers you and everything that makes you happy. Write as if you’re fucked in the head; edit later. And be modest. Opinions about your own importance, that the world won’t function without you, that you possess knowledge and understanding that nobody else possesses, fade as the years go by, and guess what: there you are again, sitting on a rock next to a dirt road, forced to again draw your own map with a blunt pencil on an old discarded piece of newspaper, stuffing your bag full of dirt and grass and a bottle filled with watered-down cola in the hope that everything will turn into something better if you sit on it for long enough.

Life is a journey. Never take anything for granted. Struggle on.

And to think it’s only Monday today. In January.


Exactly one decade after I arrived in Taiwan.

Crossroads, again: I can either sputter out a few final sparks like a wet firecracker, or I can again flame up for five … or just maybe, another ten years.


Discouragement is a monster who will wrap its trembling fingers around your throat and strangle the life right out of you – unless you intentionally sidestep it, every day, and actively oppose and undermine its repeated efforts.


Myth 1: Poor people who struggle for survival and who take nothing for granted never get bored. Boredom is the exclusive right of the bourgeoisie.

Myth 2: Happiness is a luxury that you can only afford if you are rich, or if you’re stupid and you don’t know any better.