- Aug 4, 2020
This is really hard but hats off to your determinationIn one his books, MJ makes a good argument: If you are born in a First World country, have a healthy mind and body, there is absolutely no reason for you to not be able to break through the chains of servitude. Now a question arises -- what if you are born on the wrong side of the planet? And you ain't too smart?
I had that puzzle to solve. I was born poor in a 3rd world country where corruption and cast-ism reigned strong. In early childhood, I experienced beatings on a daily basis because I didn't have a f*cking pen to do my homework and the teacher won't believe me. Or not being able to afford a 5 cents worth box of color pencils. Watching hot food being served to paying customers/kids while you starve in a corner, watching kids buy ice-cream and all the other shit a kid wants after-school and eyeing that stuff secretly for fear of being made fun of for being poor again. Not having a soda-pop in 10 f*cking years? Wearing run-down over-sized borrowed clothes to school on your f*cking farewell/prom and being made fun of yet again as the girl you love watches secretly in the background (and secretly returns your calls but is too afraid to socially own you because you are f*cking poor). One disease -- poverty. [I dare anyone who says money doesn't matter].
As much as that hurt me, it f*cking pissed me off and filled me with anger, revenge and a special kind of hate. My 20s at college were a repeat because I lived in a 10$ a month room in a sulphur warehouse where drinking poisonous water caused me to get jaundice thrice in a year. I rode a broken down bicycle to college that made squeky noises and got laughed at by rich kids, every single day. My budget for food was less than $1 a day. I did not have healthcare. I waited months for 'emergency' surgeries because there were too many poor people before me in the line who couldn't afford it either. I once happened to wait for a few hours outside an overcrowded hospital at night only to find out one of the guys I was watching wait the last night, had now died - waiting. How I even got to college is a story in itself.
Anyway, somewhere during the suffering, I dared to dream. A dream where all of this suffering had ended, where I could drink clean water and breathe clean air and not be bothered about where the next meal would come from. I wanted away from being looked on as being of a certain caste, of living in fear in a corrupt country and being humiliated everyday. So, I cried the nights out and started to dream about a mythical place where there was no more pain, no more humiliation, no more fear.
WW1: It finally dawned on me that the only way this shit was changing was if I managed to get to a first world country with a quality education. I inquired about how much it would cost -- about $120,000 was the figure I was told I would need after visiting every 'higher education' fair that came to the city, even if I managed to get in a quality school with my grades, that is. There was only one problem -- I didn't have a $100 to spend and I was stupid and flunking my first semester. But I couldn't dream of anything else, the dream had consumed me like MJ's Ferrari. I had met too many people returning from the fairy lands telling me too many tales about the myth being true, I had watched too many videos, read too many brochures and dreamed too far. When I made it known to my family, I was pronounced a lunatic. I was 22.
I would need to write a book on what happened next, but too keep it short, here's a quick summary.
I got OBSESSED with history's last stands. Where men, CERTAIN of their impending death, instead of running away to save their lives, chose to stand valiantly and face their fears as they embraced death fighting odds too great with open arms. I had made a commitment to march into the unknown and not give a f*ck about the odds. In hindsight, I don't know if I would do again what I did. But I was too hurt and too stupid to care. My room resembled more of a HQ during times of war than a sane 22yr old's room. The walls were covered with maps of my next offensive -- in other words, what I needed to do next to get JUST ONE INCH CLOSER. There were offensives planned out years in advance with 'stockpiles' of skills. There were 'fronts', elaborate defensive operations, even resource allocation towards researching for an A-bomb that could be a game-changer. With military history books, ideas were taken and strategically applied towards my objectives. Many facades were created and dummies planted to save resources on fronts when I could not afford to fight at multiple fronts at the same time.
One guy, after I met hundreds tells me that the secret to getting in a good school is research papers. I was in a school where the CS 'Professors' don't understand English or coding, forget research. Hell, in that college 3 girls were murdered in the last 2 years -- hacked to pieces with an axe by their 'lovers'. What 'research' could I do? So an offensive was planned, in f*cking great detail and 2 years later, I published 7 research papers of dubious quality because that was all I knew. But it was done. I crammed 5,000 English words inorder to take the GRE when I sucked at cramming. I took the TOEFL exam 3 times. I've written the IELTS thrice as well -- each time with near perfect scores.
While all this was going on, a second front opened -- I got a job as a software developer in a place with absent labor laws requiring me to work 18 hour days, 364 days a year. I took shit at my job every day, got the lowest grade possible to required keep my job and indulged in parasitic entrepreneurship. I didn't have time to date or make friends. I worked like an absolute a$$.
After wading through this pool of shit that stretched for miles for 5 years, I applied to a Western School that accepted me with a 100 % tuition waiver + a Research Assistant ship. Didn't have the $5,000 I needed to come up with to even get to that country. I went back to the drawing board, planned a new offensive with the goal to get even that $5,000 as scholarship money and 3 years later applied again, getting into 8 schools with 5 of them extending 100% waivers and assistant-ships. Due to a combination of plain stupidity, poor planning and the general difficulty of getting a non-immigrant first-world country visa when you get a full ride which another native kid could use, my visa got rejected 4 times -- right at the point of culmination of my 8 years of blood and sweat. I had the college offer letter in hand -- full ride, everything ready to go, just awaiting a stamp of approval from the 'system' to leave the bottom-most slave barracks of the ship but was swatted away like a cockroach. No one gave a f*ck. I was broken, depressed, and finished. A regular at the psychiatrist. I tried buying poison online to commit suicide. I had given up all of my career opportunities for this and the war was lost. But I did not die.
3 years post that, I visited a first-world country for the first time in my life on a tourist visa. I wanted to go see first hand if the myth was really true. I couldn't afford Europe, but I'd heard Singapore was a first-world country. When the flight landed and I was on my way to the hotel, I couldn't believe the contrast between where I lived and this place I was in. I managed to keep it together all morning but I broke down completely taking a walk on a street there one night. It was either this or death itself. It didn't matter anymore. I came back home and re-applied with whatever grades that were still valid. I wish I could tell you it was easy this time. It wasn't. Not at all. But good things don't come easy. Another crawl through a pool of shit and 5 years later, today I can write this:
After 12 years of blood and sweat chasing down an impossible dream and many countless battles and failures later, I graduated last year from a top-ranked school in this First-World country I live in now. I work as a software developer in some big-name corporation here and make a decent wage. I drink clean water and breathe awesome clean air. I can have meat or whatever, any day I want. I work less than 8 hrs a day and make 50x the money I made from my first job.
I am a Permanent Resident on the path to citizenship. It is possible. Certainly not easy.
The world is F*cked as MJ says. I am still not free. Although I work way less than 8 hrs a day, I still have to look to my employer for a paycheck, deal with office politics and can't just take off to see the world. As grateful as I am, I WILL NOT DIE IN CHAINS. This is my only WHY. FREEDOM.
Oh, and I'm on it. Planning for another campaign for a pivotal war that I will EVENTUALLY win. I will be free in 10 years, or I will die trying. Actually, there is no OR.
My room is again being converted to a war-room. Maps again, stories of last stands, books of entrepreneurs who made it despite all odds. The prize of the battle is my life, the objective to build a SaaS business that eventually brings me $50,000 a month after tax without me having to work everyday. The shorter-term goal is to build a personal developer brand so I can get my foot into consulting to finance my new ventures. It can be done -- just would need a few thousand hours of skills-acquisition.
And it won't happen tomorrow. This is a game of inches. One, bloody, F*cking inch at a time. Crawling through fingernails, desperately struggling to breathe another puff of air. Life or Death. Freedom or Slavery.
So, this was my introduction. I have been lurking here for a long time but never posted. And I guess, this is my way of saying 'Hi Folks!'.
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