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Tuesday, 25 June 2019

What Is Ostracism & Why It Needs To Be Highlighted & Addressed Properly

By Waiching Liu

Ostracism and being ostracised is something that is unheard of, but it is also something people, organisations and workplace institutions are unwilling to talk about. It is not a new phenomenon, but it has gone unnoticed by many. I had recently experienced an incident at work where I felt I was being ostracised (and one I have discussed on Twitter) and the range of emotions I had; that and I had a terrible day. 

So how can I best describe what ostracism is and what I can compare it with? Well, in my and many people's eyes, especially those who have experienced it, it's very much like being the odd one out in high school and the kid no one talks to or hang around with; ostracism is a form of social exclusion - and a lot of it takes place in the workplace with people of all ages, though mostly with older people. I've experienced exclusion at high school, as well as bullying as a teenager - and so, the correlations between being excluded and ignored when I was young to being in an active work environment and rarely or hardly many people outside of my department at least going to lengths to communicate with me, runs deep. It reinforces all those fears and brings back memories of high school all over again, sadly. 

If you don't conform or fit in with a group or clique of people, one may run the risk of being isolated and ostracised by your peers, and this could lead to things like depression, job dissatisfaction, it can arouse anger and rage and even worse, resigning or quitting your role, or even as extreme as suicide even. It causes unnecessary social and emotional pain, threatens our fundamental human requirements - and these are self-esteem, control, a sense of belonging and acknowledging our worth and existence as human beings. 

I don't belong to one group, I am pretty much by myself and I keep things to myself. When I am cleaning the tables, etc in the role that I undertake, I am by myself and become immersed in my work, whilst in other departments they have teams of four or more people side by side working together. Just because I work alone, does not mean I ought to be and want to feel ignored at work and during social events: I have a lot to contribute to the company, yes, but I also want to feel that I am of worth as a human being too. It's funny how at work when you are older, after many years at school feeling isolated, lonely and being the odd one out, you have to be confident, to work hard to be noticed by your superiors and to fit in and be like them. When really one is unique and who is born to stand out from the crowd. 

As humans, our brains are wired and tuned to feel a range of emotions, feelings and thoughts; we have a powerful need to belong and to connect and it is a mechanism for us as individuals to not only survive but to also learn from and understand one another & to develop and communicate with and depend on each other. With it, we can detect social exclusion that also triggers off different reactions and responses. So without that connection and human and social interaction, which is crucial for us in our personal development that will help us get by in life, we are pretty much screwed and in general, it doesn't bode well for us. 

Workplace ostracism is not deemed as serious enough; because it is subtler than discrimination, bullying and harassment, many organisations perceive exclusion as something that can be swept under the carpet and is easily ignored; thus, implying things such as no eye contact, no verbal communication being made, these are not a big deal and that these shouldn't be a big deal: this is a huge mistake to make and the price one pays when it occurs is so severe, so utterly demoralising it affects your morale and in addition it is hurtful. Social exclusion may occur at an interpersonal level, but employees, in particular managers and supervisors and organisations, need to step in and intervene to build and foster a positive social environment for all. 

Ostracism starts when we ignore people or when an individual is ignored or who is not being acknowledged, even when they don't mean to do it. & whether it is someone you work with or a person of whom isn't your relative, family member, ostracism stings... and it stings a lot.

There is a difference between yourself wanting to need space and being ostracised: when you want space, it means you need time to process, to heal and to eradicate your negative feelings and clear your head of whatever stuff is going on in your mind or life, so you can feel better. Being ostracised, on the other hand, is the exact opposite: you're not craving attention, but having said that, you want them to see that you are indeed actively present. You feel alienated when people do their own thing and yet they give you little or none of their attention towards you and it is akin to being non-existent. That you don't matter to other people -, which is frankly wrong. 

I don't go to work to make friends, nor do I socialise with my colleagues outside of work- yet this is not what we mean by ostracism; but rather demonstrating general etiquette when and as expected, without being reminded to do so. It's not hard, but some people think they can get by without it when really, it is not ideal.

It is a hurtful and painful experience and you're essentially treated like you are invisible to the naked eye, or be it you don't exist in their eyes to them. Being ignored is one thing, but being ignored and isolated in the workplace and in an environment where you are working with and alongside your colleagues and coworkers is another, and is as terrible, if not more so than being physically abused by a bully. 

As irrational as ostracism is, one has to be aware also that when it occurs, it is that has nothing to do with anything we have done and that it isn't and shouldn't be socially acceptable. 

Yet the bottom line to take from experiences such as this and one I have to realise, however, is to work for yourself, be strong, work hard and to continue to do your best and knowing that you are of worth to yourself and know what your qualities and strengths are and to draw on from that to boost your confidence.

My Experience In Dealing With Toxic People & Why It Is Not Healthy For Anyone

By Waiching

Source: Cheaper than

Toxic people are and can be so harmful to one's well-being; for someone like myself who has been depressed for a long period of time, and who can become emotionally sensitive in certain situations when things get out of hand and to allow my emotions and feelings to be affected that is so overwhelming, I find this to be deadly, as I don't do particularly well in dealing with these types of people. I tend to be very passive and not gravitate towards them. 

Having encountered my fair share of these individuals throughout my life, since my teen years, 20s and in my 30s, it's their constant (pattern of) behaviour that I deem erratic, that unsettles me and it makes me feel uncomfortable, to the point it becomes too much to bear and leaves me in a verge of tears. Toxic people like to create drama, tension and they try to warp people's minds to their advantage: it's the constant battle of not trying to get sucked into their mindset that I find extremely difficult. 

When it does happen, I become visibly upset, distressed and I am left feeling helpless. 

I also realise that toxic people have different versions of themselves and they switch personalities, behaviours and attitudes, and sometimes for no apparent reason; they are never the same people, they keep others guessing by being nice, friendly, having a laugh one minute... the next they lash out, get angry, become agitated and moody, cranky. 

These people are just not worth your attention and in work, it's even more difficult to cut them out of your life, completely; especially if you are having to work with them or you see them on a daily basis at work, during study or whatever, because once so often, the cracks show and you see them at their sheer worst. You can't compromise with them, you can't really elicit change from them and unlike most people, they have no conscience as they defy all attempts and through means of validating their own unhealthy behaviours. We are able to cut them out completely outside of work and within our personal lives, as we can choose who to come into contact with - but with work, we do not have that option. 

But really, you cannot let them destroy or affect your happiness: one has to let them go until things subside and come back when the mood has shifted to a more neutral level. If you have done something wrong, apologise to them and move on... but even then, if s/he continues to behave in a way that is just not physically, mentally and emotionally healthy for yourself and themselves and it is going around in circles all the time, then ultimately the issues lie with them that they need to actively resolve themselves by seeking counselling or help. I get fed up and tired of going through this ongoing cycle over and over with the person, whilst trying to justify and defend myself when relations between myself and the other party break down when it gets out of hand. I shouldn't have to push for them to take notice. Why should it only be people who fall victim to their erratic behaviour that have to talk and confide to a counsellor about this issue? 

Even worse is when I lack the cognitive and emotional skills to deal with conflict, directly and so when I am in a room with a few people and the (toxic) person who is speaking to and addressing me by emphasising the negatives and is personally attacking me, I find it is too much to bear that I find it hard to defend myself, trying to be strong, - and yet knowing no matter what I do say, they are always going to shoot it down by using it as a stick to beat me down with and make me feel guilty and bad.... and that, in itself, makes me feel even more worthless and in the wrong. Which I absolutely loathe. When I am put on the spot, I don't do well with extreme negativity and conflict; conflict to me is the P word: painful and with that, comes a lot of excess baggage it takes a tremendous toll on my emotions and feelings; I try to avoid it as much as I can before it exacerbates (and when it does exacerbate, I retaliate and at times curse or swear at the person, which is terrible, or become extremely upset) and I absolutely despise arguing and hurting people's feelings. That's not the person I am. 

But when I get sucked right into it and it gets to a stage where I have to remain strong, to find the right words to say and to handle criticism and accusations being made against me, it becomes a colossal struggle.

That and plain and simple, having a fight or argument just isn't worth the energy for 4 reasons as it's a) tiring, b) stressful, c) psychologically and emotionally speaking it hurts too much for me and plus, it puts an enormous amount of strain on our personal and professional relationships. It's best for one's sake to emotionally distance (and physically distance, unless you are working with them) themselves from him/her & to keep all conversations to a minimal. Surround yourself with people who lift you up and make you feel good on the inside and outside. 

The lesson I've learnt in life until now, which will carry me on until I die, is that you can't please everyone, but also I have to remain calm, rational, diligent, strong and not to become so emotionally attached to certain people. It's one thing that they mess with your head... but to also for him/her to play on your emotions and feelings, is just as potentially harmful and it doesn't do you a world of good, either. My 20+ years of depression and anxiety result in myself in not dealing with toxic people very well. 

Sometimes, it's a habit, and a tough one to crack, which I haven't managed to handle well; it's going to take time, as well as time to break, yet I must firmly stand my ground and constantly remind myself that I am not one to play mind games and I won't be messed around with. 

Not forgetting the strengths and the positive attributes that I have that have carried me forward in work and in life so far, which will help me later on in life, as I get older. 

Friday, 21 June 2019

Retro Review: Rising Sun (1993)

Rising Sun
Cast: Sean Connery, Wesley Snipes, Harvey Keitel, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Kevin Anderson, Mako, Tia Carrere, Steve Buchemi
Genre: Crime
Worldwide Box Office Gross: over $107 million

Plot: When an escort girl is found dead in the offices of a Japanese company in Los Angeles, two detectives act as a liaison between the company's executives and the investigating cop

'Don't Let This Sun Go Down On Me'

I have not read the book this film is based on, like with many Hollywood adaptations, but Rising Sun is an overly complex offering that is fraught with issues and which is too intricate for its own good, as well as the audiences' tastes. 

The year in 1993 was a big one for Michael Crichton, author of numerous novels that were given the big-screen treatment: Jurassic Park became one of the highest-grossing movies as it topped the charts. Then came the follow-up, Rising Sun, which was a best seller in 1992. Crichton was critical of the changes, director Phillip Kaufman made for the film. & as mentioned, whilst I have not come across the book, I can see why he wasn't happy - that, and, as a general espionage thriller, Rising Sun is sorely lacking in all departments. 

A prostitute named Cheryl, who was also one of the guests, is found dead in the office building of a Japanese conglomerate and atop a table in the boardroom of Nakamoto headquarters. Her murder is under investigation by boorish LAPD Lt. Graham and because of his instant dislike towards the Japanese quickly pins the blame on Eddie. Detectives Lt. Web Smith is partnered up with the older and more experienced John Conner and the two try to make sense of who was responsible for Cheryl's death. With Conner, who is a specialist in Japanese culture, after discovering surveillance footage of the attack had been tampered with, both Smith and Conner suspect that the circumstances and motives behind it may run a lot deeper than they originally thought.

The story degenerates into an overlong, convoluted yet excruciatingly bland whodunit, which goes in all sorts of directions, but without a proper resolution, Rising Sun hasn't aged well and in watching it in 2019, this is an utterly trifling bore of a movie. The film presents itself as a mystery, yet I find it mystifying that no matter what avenue or route it headed with each storyline, either none of them made sense or that they came to an unsatisfying conclusion. Rising Sun lacks a focus; that and the lack of genuine tension and thrills for a so-called thriller makes it a huge disappointment. The mystery itself is sadly underplayed and so underwhelming, much to the film's detriment and it is conceived in a way that is not very enticing. But what compounded Rising Sun as a confusing mess is the sudden change of identity of the killer towards the end. The manner it happened and how Kaufman did this took me out and thus, it just didn't make an ounce of sense.

The buddy cop rapport between Sean Connery and Wesley Snipes doesn't work as well and having the latter function as a comic relief, lighter sidekick doesn't suit the movie's serious tone. The performances, as a whole, are okay, but they were burdened by an ineffective & plot-holed filled script. 

As far as Michael Crichton adaptations go for me, this is not up there with Jurassic Park, but it is not as bad as say 13th Warrior, Congo, Timeline. Heck, I'd take the much-maligned, Sphere of 1998 over Rising Sun.

Final Verdict:

Despite ending 1993 as the 17th highest-grossing film in the U.S box office, as a thriller it still underwhelms in every department; and by 2019 standards, Rising Sun, which is so utterly void of depth, just hasn't improved over the years.


Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Mini Retro Review: Out Of Sync (1995) #badmovies

Out of Sync
Genre: Crime Drama

Shot in under 1 month for around $1.5 million, Out Of Sync tries to be a nitty-gritty, urban crime thriller, but with its straight to video values and barebones plot, with more effort put in, this would have been a certified cult hit. An ex-drug addict now DJ (played by LL Cool J) is forced to work undercover for a cop to get info on a drug pusher - only to fall for the pusher's girlfriend. After years behind the camera with the Fame TV series and The Cosby Show spin-off, A Different world, choreographer/actress/director Debbie Allen's feature film debut seeks to tell the story competently, but, even with the odd sex scenes, it still has a makeshift TV episode feel and with that, Out of Sync lacks any sense of style and excitement to ramp up interest. Allen, herself, also makes a short appearance as a manicurist, her husband Norm Nixon as a basketball player, as is Gene Anthony Ray, who co-starred with Debbie Allen on the TV show, Fame as one of the thugs with Sister Sister's Tim Reid as a cop. It's too lightweight, lacking in punch with action scenes few and far between and as much as it tries to be a serious drama, is just not convincing enough. 

Is It Worth Watching?

If you are into movies like this, possibly but I found this one to be dry


Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Retro Review: In Too Deep (1999)

In Too Deep
Cast: Omar Epps, L.L Cool J, Nia Long, Stanley Tucci, Pam Grier, Hill Harper
Genre: Crime Thriller
U.S Box Office Gross: over $14 million

Plot: An ambitious young police academy graduate undertakes an undercover mission as a drug dealer so he can infiltrate the organisation of a leading drug dealer in Cincinnati 

'Doesn't Go Deep Enough'

A young undercover cop, Jeff, who is a recent police graduate, is chosen to infiltrate a narcotics ring and to help bring down a charismatic drug lord by the name of 'God'. But soon he finds his loyalties are divided and thus, he is torn between protecting and serving and upholding the law and the police and being a friend to the drug lord. 

Despite 2 somewhat violent scenes (one involving the use of a pool cue), In Too Deep is struck down by an anaemic script that doesn't make full potential of both Epps' Jeff and LL Cool J's antagonist character, God and in developing the drama and nasty side of his ego to its fullest. It is a crime drama that becomes a downtrodden and hollow viewing B/C-movie Donnie Brasco and Martin Scorcese's The Departed, with In Too Deep never managing to go much further than it should and ought to have done. 

The situations themselves are both disingenuous but these are also conceived in a way that, to be frank, I didn't fully buy into. Lead Omar Epps is okay but he lacks screen and leading man presence to carry it off; that, and it was difficult for me to feel anything towards Jeff, and as the movie fails to dig deep into his behaviours, situations, feelings and why he does the things he does. LL Cool J sheds his usual good-guy image by playing the big guy baddie, God. However, as much as he tries to inject a heavy and fierce presence and fieriness to his character, in a less than typecast role and one where it is rare to see him as the villain, it doesn't quite come off as well. 

Pam Grier is terribly underutilised and as one of the fellow cops, I wondered exactly why the writers didn't have her play a more integral role in the film and have her coming to the aid of her partner. Though to have In Too Deep waste the talents of Grier and Stanley Tucci- both established actors by relegating them to supporting roles wherein they could have easily elevated the movie further, is a poor move by the director and casting director in charge. Seeing as they also bring some quality presence, despite their (woefully) underwritten roles. The needless onscreen romance between Epps and Nia Long further impedes the pacing of the film. Also featured in the film are then '90s hip hop and R&B stars, rapper, Nas and singer, Mya. 

Funnily enough, the opening credits declare that ''this is based on a true story'', but Australian director Michael Rymer is unable to rouse any real or believable grit, hostility, tension and believability and with a poorly underdeveloped and flatlined script, it can be argued that none of the cast makes the grade with their performances.

This is a run-of-the-mill, watered-down New Jack City/Donnie Brasco/The Departed, lacking in depth when it comes to action, suspense, intrigue, thrills and characterisation that it can't escape from its B-movie/direct to video/DVD status values.

The good guy, who is torn between right and wrong and who has split allegiances with both parties, has been done to death before and after In Too Deep, and done far better in most instances. For a crime movie of this type, it plays out as a tired, repetitive offering that never really finds its rhythm, nor doesn't do much of anything that is good to surprise or entertain, whatsoever. 


Final Verdict:

In Too Deep paints a sloppily bland and far from compelling picture of the (un)loyal cop that contrary to the main title stays within its confines and doesn't try to be bold and adventurous. By trading in good old-fashioned gunplay and decent action for an underwritten story and with little to no genuine traits found in crime and cop-based dramas, this becomes a run-of-the-mill and also weak crime movie.

And one that is easily forgettable. 


Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Retro Review: Barbershop 2: Back In Business (2004)

Barbershop 2: Back In Business
Cast: Ice Cube, Cedric The Entertainer, Eve, Michael Ealy, Troy Garity, Kenan Thompson, Queen Latifah, Garcelle Beauvais-Nilon
Genre: Comedy
Worldwide Box Office Gross: over $65 million

Plot: The owner of a historic South Side Chicago barbershop is pressured into selling out to a land developer, but must face the impact this would have on his close-knit community

'Not A ''Cut'' Above, Rather Much On Par With The First Movie'

Barbershop 2 was the follow-up to the first film, which became a box office sleeper hit, starring Ice Cube, Cedric The Entertainer, rapper Eve and Sean Patrick Thomas leading the ensemble and much like the first movie, it's more of a sitcom, rather than an out and out comedy movie set in a barbershop.

Calvin's barbershop, which has been a mainstay in the Chicago African American community for many years, has a new rival on the block in Nappy Cutz that is more high-end and state-of-the-art and is opening just opposite the road from each other, as part of a redevelopment plan.

One of the flaws of the second film is that its runtime is almost 2 hours long, it feels awfully padded with the subplots feeling less consequential than the last and plus, it has none of the spunk and spontaneity of Barbershop 1.  

Kenan Thompson's character was unnecessary, Cedric the Entertainer is less effective here than he was in the first film as he rambles on and on incessantly, whilst the subplot of him falling for Garcelle Beauvais's Loretta doesn't really fit into the plot, nor fully ties in around the other supporting characters. And the love triangle, again, isn't necessary. The characters are again an interesting and diverse bunch, personality-ish wise, but the way they are developed and written doesn't leave a discernable impression and there isn't one standout or star performance, whatsoever. Cedric mumbles and almost 90% of the time, it was so inaudible I couldn't make out what he was saying. Queen Latifah's character as Gina (Calvin's ex-girlfriend), and in a role that is far too brief, serves more as a supporting role, which in itself becomes an extension in the spin-off, Beautyshop, which was subsequently released in the same year as this movie. The movie is at most, passable and the interactions are playful.

It's fair to say that again, Barbershop 2 plays things a tad safe in terms of its direction; having said that, it did have 2, 3 moments and situations that made this instalment a little-and not as greater as the first Barbershop film. As most of it treads on the same path and rather than reinvent the wheel of Barbershop, the sequel sticks to the same narrative beats and is a rerun of that movie. Which is a little disappointing for me; it needed more anarchy, riotous laughs and better comedy. Instead, it is too earnest for its own good. 

The flashback scenes and transitions involving young Eddie are not as well assimilated into the film & nor are they as smooth, resulting in a feel that is muddled and this provided a disjointed flow within the story. 

I think when the sequel tries to be overambitious to the prequel and attempts to outdo it, whilst it doesn't find ways to be different and entertaining, it loses a little bit of its heart - and that is what succumbs Barbershop 2. It just doesn't pop when you expect it to. The rivalry between Calvin and Nappy Cutz and the threat the latter tries to pose against the barbershop is executed in an all-too obsolete fashion.

In fact, I'd say I prefer Beautyshop, the female spin-off over this one. 

Final Verdict:

Granted, the little scenes such as Cedric facing off against Queen Latifah were all right, but the subplots were not written as well as I'd hoped, the film is too static for words and the Cedric and Loretta storyline was blandly conceived. Though still okay, Barbershop 2 is hackneyed in places and is, like I said, on par with Barbershop that doesn't truly do enough as a film sequel to differentiate itself from, as well as go one better than its predecessor.


Monday, 3 June 2019

Mini Retro Review: Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2008) #badmovies

Paul Blart: Mall Cop
Genre: Comedy

If you have a comedy film that barely makes you chuckle within 90 minutes, then that is a sign it is not going to be good. The story takes ages for it to get going and I couldn't believe how bored I was during the 45 + mins of it. It fails to elicit laugh out loud humour on practically every level and the lack of laughs and comedy made this a sheer chore. Not one joke landed. Paul Mart: Mall Cop was an attempt of Kevin James's of making a name for himself as a comedy movie star, but low- par efforts such as this just show why he hasn't been able to establish himself as the next best comedy and stand-up performer to successfully transition onto feature films. House's Jennifer Morrison is in this one and her talents are put to waste in a forgettable support role that in one scene has her blurting out F-words: she must have wanted to erase this out of her memory. The fat jokes and pratfalls eventually wane as the film goes on, the swearing feels out of place in certain scenes and it seems like the writers thought that making homophobic references and spewing F-words constitute as funny. Mall Cop has nothing else left that could have made it better and funnier. Costing $26 million to produce, this is yet another one of the worst comedies to come out of the 2000s. I've seen bad comedies but even some of the ones that have garnered a negative reception made me laugh hard in places. Paul Mart: Mall Cop, on the other hand, is not one of them. This is almost an embarrassment for all those involved. 

Is It Worth Watching?

Not unless you are a massive Kevin James fan 


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