Of living in tech mecca

San Francisco, CA, USA

It is #blogrevivalday.

The day was initiated by someone who lives far up north in Stockholm, with the date May 6th picked by a very well-loved and popular journalist in London. It caused a minor disruption to the allure of Facebook posts. And that is a feat.

How technology has moved within a span of a few years. Blogging used to be THE place to express yourselves – especially among us writers. It even makes writers out of the non-writing types. When Twitter  and Facebook barged into the room somewhere between 2004-2006, people started spending so much energy on social networking that to risk burning a brain cell or two to write coherently became exhausting. And so blogging lost, and Facebook and Twitter won. Selfie – mind you, is another monster altogether.

I live in hipster-land right now. Where all those technologies were born, farmed, fed and changed rapidly. I am now in the midst of tech-junkies who think nothing of spending $4 USD on artisanal toast.

Just. One. Piece. Yes, you read that right. $4.

The sellers will justify the price with a lengthy description of where the ingredients are sourced – bread that is baked in a wood-fire oven, jam made from fruit grown via heirloom seeds dropped out of paradise, butter from smiling cows who roam the green pastures in Sonoma while playing the flute. Who knows. I learned something here – if you are in the restaurant/cafe business, describe your ingredients with as many words as you can. You can choose to use wit, references to popular culture or approach the wordings with an authentic I-am-pro-organic/free-range-hens/drink-from-my-own-cup/ attitude. Bay Area residents will buy it, especially if you are on this side of the Bay. The East.

And speaking about the East Bay, when we first moved to San Francisco in January 2012, we had some idea what life was going to be like. After many trips to San Francisco as a tourist – my idea of the SF life are the trolleys! caramel-apples! maybe work at Google! sun! sailing boats! But after that silly euphoria, we decided on living in the East Bay, Berkeley to be exact, just 15 mins away from “The City” – as what San Francisco is affectionately referred to here. Berkeley is known for its notoriety in the past as the birthplace of hippie-dom, where liberal values are celebrated, people are well read and well-travelled and a mind-blowing mix of Nobel-prize winners, the poor who struggle monthly to pay rent, and a socially and environmentally conscious middle-class. Living in Berkeley has been a ride. Just as it should be.

From my kitchen balcony, I can see the hills where the first ever Islamic university in the USA – Zaytuna College, resides and the rooftops of buildings where the bright minds of the University of California Berkeley students discuss, analyze and make good of their thoughts – even if it is laced with youthful idealism. Such honor, to be able to cook ayam lemak cili padi (chicken with suicidal-hot coconut gravy), then turn my head and look at those hills. I am reminded daily that I am a Malay living in the USA. When my other half walks into the kitchen and spews tech jargon – I cringe yet marvel at how far mankind has arrived. I am fully aware that I am in the midst of this big shift but also acutely sensitive that for every new technology innovated, a new one will emerge within months. I read newsfeeds on TechCrunch about a $15 million acquisition here, a $250 million funding there – paper money, yes, but monetary values based on perceptions of future successes.

This is the life here – and the bubble that everyone is living in. Perception IS reality – a mantra I live by since my college days (and I still have the post-it note bearing this same statement that I used to post on my dorm room door). And so it is perception, and creating your own reality – that is the secret of what Facebook, Twitter and yes, dare I say it, blogging provides. You have, in your hands and the click and clack of your fingertips – the power to create your own reality which will manifest in the readers’ perception of you. And technology has made it easy.

The guys behind these tech thingamajigs are just like you and me. Some have families, some are pub-hopping, some are religious, some are weed-smoking, some are insanely charitable, and some are eating $4 toasts. They are consumers as much as they are innovators.

What privilege these guys have. The ability to create, disrupt and cause at least 40 people across the globe who used to write incessantly online to shift to another platform. And I am pretty sure, there looms ahead a post-Facebook and post-Twitter era. And my privilege is to get to witness it – and cringe.

Always stick to ayam lemak cili padi. The récipé never changes, and no one can disrupt a satiated soul.