Saturday, December 31, 2011

Le betta, Robert

I had been itching for a fish for a while, but never got around to it... until a friend gifted me one - tank, fish, filters and all - on my birthday. It is a crowntail betta; a red body with swabs of blue. He was rather quiet and subdued for a couple of days. I didn't realise that the bubble filter was too strong for the size of the tank, and the human equivalent of his situation is standing in a storm that uprooted trees and flipped tables.

Two days later, I transferred him to a smaller tank that needs no filter. Bettas prefer still water. The next week, I added a plant because I discovered that the bugger sleeps, and leaves seem like a better bed than the stony floor. The same week he was chomping on bloodworms because he didn't like the pellets I gave him.

Turns out, usually bettas are greedy little buggers that eats nonstop, but I guess he wasn't feeling too good from the petshop and from the tsunami waves from the bubble filter. The environment and bloodworms gave him the boost that he needed, and after the second feeding, he became super gungho for pellets as well. And much more active and flaring up and building bubble nests.

Oh, I intended to write on how he amuses me when it's his feeding time. Nothing like a long-winded intro to start it off. You see, his aim is sort of wonky. With bloodworms, he's pretty accurate, but not so for the pellets. I'd drop in a pellet and he will friggin' LUNGE at it.

And miss it totally. Then you'd see him all like, "What? Where that at???" with the pellet directly on top of his head. Then he will back up and eat it. Total fail la, but tickles me nonetheless.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Shrug

He started, "It's just one of those Hollywood films that is, you know..." *slight pause*

"... the sort that is a weak story that looks good?" I continued.

He sighed. "Look, let me finish my sentence."

Oh. Scratch 'continued' then.

She added, "Yea, I want to listen to what he has to say."

Yea, I got it the first time round. Double combo punch kinda hurts. I'm not entirely sure if it's my ego that was shaken or something else. Either way, a really interesting observation; the knowing that the same 'courtesy' would not be extended to me :). I suppose I was a little taken back as it was a casual chat, plus, it's not like I've been saying much. It wasn't an assertion of my opinion over his, but it was an agreement. At least that is the intention, but also a presumption as it's a common complaint about Hollywood films now.

Oh, the inner fight to not be childish about that. It's okay though. I'll just learn from it. Good to watch myself too. I wonder if I do that often; interjecting or presuming.

As for the feeling? Shrug and let it go.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Gemma Ward

During lunch today, my colleagues and I were talking about models; ANTM, what defines beauty, why some stay and some goes, how gender affects their pay (except maybe for this gender bending model... Andrej Pejic perhaps.) and other really casual comments/observations etc. 

Halfway into it, I was reminded of a doll-like model who was all the rage a couple of years back. Fashion designers and insiders raved about her fragile, ethereal looks; wide-set clear blue eyes, cute subtle eyebags, porcelain skin without blemish, gentle alluring lips, a long fragile neck and a delicate yet defined facial structure. If I recall right, she was the look of the moment. She rose really fast and reached pretty high within the industry, and looked as though she might be among those that is immortalised in this fickle industry. Her name, Gemma Ward, was a household name for high fashion lovers.


Anyway, my colleagues didn't know who she was. So I googled her up so I could show them. It has been a couple of years since my interest in the industry, and I had not kept up with the news. To my surprise, she has pretty much left the fashion industry.


To sum up from an article, at the height of her fame, she missed out on a couple of shows to be a part of a movie and it was also the same year that she gained a little weight. Still thin, but significant enough in the fashion world for them to take notice. Clients would pass over booking her and people talk. 
Ward's new body most likely marked "her natural point. A woman's metabolism changes in her twenties. Maybe trying to stay in a business where a size zero is the norm was too much for her, and not worth the sacrifice." In the insulated fashion world, "we have a collective body dysmorphia, where we don't even know what normal is anymore, where a size 6 or 8 is overweight for a model."
Gemma Ward's sister, Sophie—a 24-year-old writer and former model—summed up the harsh realities of the business and how they had affected her sibling's psyche. In November 2008, Sophie wrote of the early days of Ward's career, when she was outwardly at the top of her game: "She came home every now and then, always for Christmas, sometimes in between, and I kept my head down trying to pretend my little sister wasn't being slaughtered internally by an external industry." (Emphasis mine)

It is a brutal industry, and Ward would not be an exception. She began to retreat from the spotlight, and not too long after (in less than a year), a friend of hers, Heath Ledger, who was a support to her, died suddenly. She did less and less shows, before embarking on a 3-year sojourn from the spotlight.

"I realize you can't please everyone," Ward said. "Sometimes when people are constantly wanting the fantasy or the illusion, you have to break it to them that it's not real."
According to a separate interview, her break from the media spotlight was spurred on by Ledger's death. In regards to her career:
In terms of me shying away from modelling, I'd like to clarify in some way that I was taking a break from many things in my life and obviously what people in the public see is that I'm pulling away from what is more 'public'. I didn't know how long it would take, I didn't know if it would solve anything, but I set out to really focus inside myself.

Yes, I'm fascinated. Here is someone plucked out of school at 14, became the darling of the industry, and within a short period of time, thrown aside. In a way, I'm glad that she knows when to step away, or at least, things happen that makes you rethink things. For the latter, I think death does that. It jars you and reminds you that your end will come, and those indulgence in outwards things may seem less appealing that it used to be. And maybe in Ward's case, that fashion caught her in a nonstop whirlwind since she was 14 and what she said in the previous quote brought her down to earth for me; that she is searching, that it is important to take a step back and just look at your life. Truly. We all have a perception of her, and when she didn't fit that look anymore, it shatters it. Perhaps, it shattered for her too. Where does she stand then? Who is she?

That's when people take a step back from the glitter and outward labels, and try to figure out who they really are.

Perhaps.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Good morning, Thursday

There used to be 3 of us walking to the office. Reduced to 2 and finally, 1.

Things change; they always do. :)


Sunday, December 04, 2011

Writer's block

Someone from my office told me that I should write. Saying that I had a way with explaining things.

The old reaction would be to puff up my chest and give myself a inward pat on the back, but the current me thinks instead, "He doesn't know me. He sees me as someone I'm not." I seem to disappoint people because I wasn't what they thought I was, and I don't like it.

So I told him that I'm just passing stuff I've read, which is true. And then wondered if it's rude to deny someone's perception/judgment of me, even if I feel it is perceived.

I didn't tell him that I do have a blog because it is barely updated of the me now. Somehow the incident got me thinking about a couple of things... While I did find it hard to write before, somehow I feel like the topics that I choose to want to write now has me stuck. It's as though I have in my hand a grain of sand, which I know that it's part of a beach.

How could one adequately explain the grain as a standalone? How could I do this piece justice, without seeing where it came from and its role? It could be from judging a teenage mother harshly by just seeing her pregnant, when perhaps in truth, she had been raped and decided to keep the child, or supporting a invasion without properly looking at the history and the true intentions (I refuse to be a pawn in a game that is made for people to fall for!). So much understanding and richness of events are lost in the process.

Another is, what I knew is in shambles. And as a student of life, I hesitate when answering. I doubt, I question. Erase my essay and open a book. Or most likely, abandoning it.

The sombre, serious feeling will balance up soon. I mean, put a jokey person to learn tightrope walking, she'd be concentrating like crazy and be super tensed. Give it time; her shoulders will relax and her smile will appear again. So will the playfulness and the jokes (albeit lame). The latter, to the horror of her friends =P.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

I wish someone told me

Yes yes yes. Thanks, Ira Glass, for telling us what we forget.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

affection

a new love found; the echelon effect:




Handing Over to Summer


The Nobility of Loneliness

And another:

Codes in the Clouds - Where Dirt Meets Water
-----------------------------------------------------------



sometimes when things get tough, when you evoke immense frustration within the confines of affection, i go off on my own, to take a breather. you get hurt, you didn't understand; but i needed my recess, away from you.

how long has been since? perhaps how it has been left hanging in the air, how time plays tricks on your mind; that all i remember are the fluffy bits - erasing your flaws and making you more magical than you are. frozen photographs, new, that sees people waltzing into our lives (perhaps one may be a permanent fixture) - how we're not a part of each other's lives anymore. that pang of pain visits lesser, but it still packs a punch when it does. these days i rather turn my face away; i can't feel what i can't see.


i miss taking a breather from you.

Friday, September 09, 2011

untitled

Of the hundreds of people that I've crossed paths with, only a few have met me.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

3 blind men and an elephant

In the quiet of my room, my feelings tossed and turned. Stared at a blank page, trying to fill in words in a way that tried to explain my predicament best. And all I could see is a blank wall ahead of me.

[So, quit trying to write it. Is it that important to have it all out?

I don't know exactly why, but I want to. I want to capture what and how I felt before it fades with forgetfulness. I want to lay it out so that I myself could understand it better, due to my 'OH-SHINY-THINGS' brain. I feel like the person I was is still here, and yet different in finding my way, myself. Where I had been laying clouds, I am more or less, using something of a more solid material now.]

-------------------------------------

A couple of years ago, along with my friends, we went to this restaurant for supper. Ate snacks and had a jolly time. I thought the desserts were quite decent. Fast forward a few weeks later, my lunch buddies at work were wondering where to eat and excitedly I told them about this place. So off we went.

It did not go well. It's horrible enough that they didn't like the food, I kept getting snide remarks about how bad it was and being jokers, the jokes built up like a crescendo. I could take some butt kicking, but a prolonged one is just, quite simply, tiring and my smile muscles seem rather frozen in place. I paid for everyone, partly from embarrassment and feeling bad about the food. It was an office joke for quite a bit.

From then on, I am wary of giving out new eatery suggestions. I'm not stupid enough to be burnt twice, and boy, did that burn me bad. My lips kept shut, unless I had to suggest one, and even so, with much reluctance. Perhaps food isn't my forte, I thought, and I refuse to take responsibility for something which I don't know if it's good-good.

But that was my first foray into the thoughts... what IS the standard of good? I'm sure there's a collective standard of bad, say, extra meat in your dish (specifically, cockroach) or a mee goreng that overly reeks of chemicals or not-fresh ingredients. But how about good? I've tasted good curry noodle soups (by my standards) in different places and sometimes I do enjoy each of them in the sense that they give me different kicks. Could be the herb that they use, or the balance of santan, or how the spiciness plays on my tongue or throat, the texture of the soup and so on.

I've seen different people pooh-pooh and waxed lyrical over the same dish. Sometimes the reasons could be similar on both sides; eg - It's too salty! It's well salted.

Or what makes a pan mee a Pan Mee? I know the general look of it, but the taste... hmmm.

I felt exasperated. This doesn't help me at ALL to find that general good-good, and I started dreaming of a world where there is a Master Pan Mee or Master Curry Noodle. I could have it side-by-side with my current favourite pan mee/curry noodle, and then I could be, Ahh, the one I like is actually not spicy enough and they could lay off on santan a bit more.

See? Won't life be much easier that way? Harrumph.

-----------------------------------------

For a while, I forgot these questions. I don't know if my taste has evolved or that I've just kept myself out of the line of fire. Might be the latter. Google helps too :). And then something popped up again, caused me unease and thus, heralded the return of the old questions, though in a different form.

A childhood friend of mine invited me to his play, and along with two of my colleagues, we attended the show. During the intermission, a small discussion took place with the three of us... and I felt out of place as I had not noticed what they both noticed and I felt alone in what I noticed. I mean, I could feign to opine the same as them, but what I truly think of it is what I will stand by, even if it makes me look like a fool or an outsider. Oh, it's not as bad as it sounds. Just being melodramatic; there were no stark contrast of views; simply a different point of observation.

But it did bring up my old insecurities; that I'm being weird again, that I fit in like a square peg in a round hole; that perhaps I should try to learn to be a little more rounder.

Is my view a refreshing take from another angle or am I simply odd? Or abnormal? Or simply unexposed and uncultured? (As an extension - what is culture? Is it set in stone, while malleable, it still follows the fact that it is a stone?) Perhaps, as opposed to people who have seen theatre, and most probably better ones, I AM unexposed to what one ought (ought?) to judge in a theatre play.

I was a little stuck on trying to think about it, and kept hitting the blank wall. Often, I keep it all in my head, but somehow while pondering on it, I was in the kitchen helping my mom with something. And I shared my old questions with her. It definitely helped.

In short, she spoke about how one must taste a lot of char kuey teows to know the difference; not to stick to one stall, because once you've tasted a better one, the lesser one won't cut it anymore. But what she said next is interesting; that it's all about expectations. Perhaps, one place may serve better char kuey teows, but a person would insist that the previous one is better. Some people may like a dish so much from one stall, that that's what they expect, and the others fall short of that expectation. It may extend to subjective liking of the place or the people who run the stall. (In hindsight, I also filtered the plays through my own experiences, so one had been a hit with me while it was a miss with the others. Another had a bigger impact on me because of that as well.)

Or like in the theatre scenario; what do each of us expect out of a play? To watch the acting and lines delivered amazingly that brings the script justice or to watch how human nature is explored through the story? Different expectations yield different opinions.

As any mom would, she gave me a little non-literal pat on my head and said, And so, while you should catch more plays for experience, don't be silly and fret that you're odd... you simply had a different expectation.

After it turned into another topic, I smiled to myself inwardly. It was a really nice casual chat, when I don't dismiss my mom's views like I used to. I don't know when did the transition happen, but somehow along the way, I accepted that I AM a kid and my mom do actually know more.

Hear that, teenage Gianne?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Even the wanderers on earth have their ground

Ramble brambles at 12am.

We spoke about personal universes, like how an awesome fanfiction writer felt that she couldn't create her own work because she does not have enough of her own personal universe to stand on. It just seem oddly profound. How would it be like, truly finding your footing in this world?  Oh, not about fitting in, but how you learn of yourself as a person. I'm finding it hard to explain it... not things of the fleeting kind - we have a lot of that. But of those that goes down deep. Like the roots of an old tree.

I wished I started earlier. I've always been a little slow. For my personal universe, hobbit thinks I'm on my way at the ripe ol' age of mid-twenties. It tickles me sometimes, to think I'm finding myself on a journey that I would had never predicted for myself...Oh, youth, and how it made me think I knew everything; pores oozing with arrogance and the ego play that damned me.

------------------------

A year ago, I was fresh out of my first job and into training for my 2nd one. I remember how slightly displaced I felt; within a span of 3 weeks, I was looking for a job and then I'm sitting on my former student's lap squeezed in a three-wheeled open air taxi in the streets of India.

So surreal somehow.

I remember how I couldn't imagine not being a part of my old office and how odd I felt in my new one... Like an intruder. A year later, it now feels comfortable and my old office felt strange, mostly due to the high turnover. The culture here is vastly different from my first. Or maybe perhaps I just don't take the shit like I used to anymore.

-------------------------

Yesterday have been immensely enjoyable to me... met up with a close friend, being able to let my guard down and chatting the night away. She's going back to UK soon-ish, and I'm gonna miss the face-to-face interactions.



Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Blurp 002: Language

This 'blurp' was written quite some time back, and for the longest time, I felt I can't publish it because it needs to be more polished, and more researched upon. Unfortunately, knowing the speed that I digest things, it might never see the light of the day. Therefore, here it is with all its glorious flaws and abrupt jumps within and out of the topic. I have also realised that I've used terms and labels rather interchangeably, which is wrong and a big fat clue on the infancy of my knowledge. Perhaps in the future I will look on this and drop my jaws in horror.

My request to you is to please correct me on the wrong parts, tell me your opinions and thoughts, and may we one day step closer in understanding the world we live in.

-----------------------------------

Often, if not, always, when I try to think of something, it starts off very neatly. Then, hmm, this seems related, and I would open up a drawer in my mind. Then another link would appear, which results in another drawer's contents displayed in front of me. And this becomes a chain of thoughts leading one to another; more drawers opened, and contents spread out.

I just wanted to bring all my resources together so I could draw on them when I need to. As one theory brought me to another and another, I am set on a journey that become further away from where I started. The next thing I know, I'm more confused than ever. Far from answering or being able to delve further into the initial thought. Metaphorical paper thoughts are strewn all over the room and I stand up, gazing at the horrible mess, not knowing where it begins and ends... and I'm overwhelmed. Makes me woozy. Vomit-y.

(tl;dr version: Augghhhhhh!!! LOL.)

If I find it hard to articulate ideas and thoughts to other people, boy, I have trouble doing so to myself. At least, I tell myself with a consolation pat on my back, it had been worse. And... you gotta start somewhere, right?

"The pen is mightier than the sword."

How it is indeed... for a person who loved words, this saying was a little badge of pride on my chest. I knew vaguely the meaning of it; in short, more could come from ideas, thoughts and knowledge while the weapons could only do so much and it is an end.

It's funny how life went the way it did; giving me chance after chance to stumble on paths that builds on this topic, when I had not been seeking it. But that's life, isn't it? I know that I am the person I am today, polished by a series of unexpected events, a disruption in my 'peaceful life'... it was troubling, yes. But as it turns out, these became the people and experiences that I treasure very dearly.

...I meant to say, that I discovered that the meaning of the adage runs deeper. Instead I ended up thinking about how I got there. It does feel like a dream sometimes. But I digress =).

So words. The torch of ideas, thoughts and knowledge... that, mind you, goes both ways, spreading good or evil. It was eye-opening, to discover how brutality, the fueling of racism/unwarranted phobias and etc can be masked under the guise of civility, academic words (that suggests intelligence) or labels laden with an incline to a perception, in order to dehumanise people thus allowing atrocities and/or injustice to happen to them. Lies are one thing, and this is another.

Dehumanising
During the Rwanda genocide where the ethnic Hutu people tried to eliminate the ethnic Tutsi, a radio broadcast fueled the hatred on Tutsis by calling them 'cockroaches' over and over.

Why did they do that? With that word alone, it considerably writes off Tutsis as human beings... who are someone like us - someone who has a family, someone who feels love, pain, joy and sorrow, someone who could be a good friend etc. Therefore, considerably harder to kill from that viewpoint, but cockroaches... Cockroaches must be crushed and destroyed. They are meant to be eliminated, so, why should you feel guilty over killing pests? The estimate of deaths for this is from 500k to a million.
I suppose one could argue that to the hate-mongering Hutus, that's what Tutsis are to them: pests. While a historical festering discontent is largely to blame for the Hutu's hatred towards Tutsi, the words play a part too. Hatred blinded people and it is further fueled by rebranding them as pests. What would had happen if this dehumanising exercise was not practiced, I wonder? Perhaps the count wouldn't had reached as many as it did, because people would recognise the shared human qualities, instead of the merciless slaughter (including children and babies). Perhaps this is something worth thinking about.
Reducing the weight of actions 
In the same line of relabeling, in news reporting military campaigns, where 'collateral damage' is mentioned, would you blink an eye? How about if it was laid out this way instead - 'a school was destroyed and dozens of 6-10 years olds were killed'? Both usage of words denotes a loss, but which one would the public react more strongly to? If you were on the military's side, in order to have more public approval and it would make funding their mission an easier road, which choice of words would they use? And DECISIONS are made based on these reports, especially by the public in a democratic country. Which brings to question; is that democracy, or simply, manufactured consent?

The brainwashing of the subconscious
Or, it could come in misleading ways; properly formulated to make themselves feel as though one is more cultured and advanced than the Other, which are labeled as 'savages' and thus, the necessity to invade and 'teach them the civilised ways' are inevitable. This may seem eons ago, but these impressions, perceptions are strong... The bias persists. Repeat it long enough, and even these labeled-savages would begin to believe that they are the inferior culture too.

As an example, I grew up in a space where bad command in English is both unconsciously and consciously looked down upon. Liberalism is often narrowly confined to speaking, acting and thinking like a conventional Westerner. It is not to say that all aspects of that should be destroyed in order to preserve our culture*, for there are aspects of goodness. And yet, traditionalism is often thought of as something that belongs to a bygone time, belonging to a museum while we adopt an 'international' culture whose language, mannerism and values are inherently Western.

Good or bad? Initially I thought this was a good thing, but as I learnt more, the Western model seems to bring in more problems than the good. It's a consumerism society - that while it makes things look hunky dory from the outside, there are a lot of suffering because of it too. In an economy where the culture is buy-buy-buy to keep it running, it also sacrifices their citizens - subtle encouraging dissatisfaction, low self worth and unhappiness that they turn to products to feel 'fulfilled' (but they never are, at least not for long). We can see it in the illnesses that plague the society - bulimia, anorexia, depression etc . While mental illnesses happen in any society, consumerism or not, I'm just saying that it's greater in one that hungers for people's insecurities so they could feed off them. Where the emphasis for support are in buying products and not as being part of a family and community (though the tide is slowly turning for some people).

There is probably no 'perfect culture'; more of, there are lessons to be learnt from people who have gone through that route and came out scarred. So, while some values and practices are good to be adopted, blindly aping all that is Western may not be the best thing to do. That's all I'm saying as one who had blindly aped...

(* Another pandora's box... what is OUR culture now? Who are we, when you take away these influences? Are we not already lost in our own country, living on another's dreams? As a former tutor, I see this loss in my students, and a growing sense that mine is also on shaky grounds.... our identity is made up of everything else but our culture. Which brings me back to the initial point... what IS our identity?

In a couple of places that I've traveled to, I'd see a sort of sameness. I could be in HongKong, Thailand or Vietnam, and people would be in jeans and T-shirts. And... I'd feel slightly gutted. I read somewhere that perhaps this is an imperialism of the mind. And people embraced it? Do we like it, or is it perceived as what a modern, liberal, right-thinking individual would wear?
)

Despite how innocuous words seem, it carries an presumption, a weight, an implicit meaning. Consciously, we deny it, but within the subconscious part of our minds, we ARE affected, influencing our thoughts and decisions. Words and images from the mass media bombard us with association by word; it would be some time until that is ingrained within the collective mind and soaked up by the unconscious part of our minds.

There is a project by Harvard called the Implicit Association Test, which pretty much demonstrates the dichotomy of what we want to think and what we truly think. It's quite interesting, really; there are a variety of different tests, but I'll just use the Black/White people and Positive/Negative verb one. In one of them, they would have a white man on the left and a black man on the right. Both look 'normal', meaning they don't look sinister or evil or angelic, therefore no bias. A word with a positive or a negative connotation would flash between the photos, and we're to respond as quickly as possible by pressing one out of two buttons on the keyboard to associate the word with one of the two photos.

It was significant in how positive words are associated with white people and negative with black people. Even when one associates the positive word with the black man; the test also measures the response time for each answer and found that we are slower when we do so. Do try the test - I do understand that it is rather US-centric, however, most of us are exposed to their culture frequent and long enough to pick up the cues of these biases.

And we live in a world now where we are bombarded with perceptions and bias and subtle discrimination; perhaps it's worthy to think of how it influenced our minds and how it affects our society. An example I read from Farish A Noor's What Your Teacher Didn't Tell You, is how while the early political parties before Merdeka sought to fight against the British divide-and-rule to gain an independent harmonious multicultural country, they still inherited the biases and perceptions from the British rule such as the Lazy Useless Malay idea; that inferiority complexes. The Chinese are more industrious than the Malays. The British are better than the local people.

(Random: A thought by a friend in Singapore... why do we have different names for foreign people who arrive in our country to work? Western people are called 'expats', while Filipinos, Bangladeshis etc in the same job scope are called 'foreign talents'? And the former gets paid more. One could argue that they are from a country where their salary in Singapore won't support their livelihood in the States, so perhaps this thought is moot.)

Perhaps the choices we make in our wordings might give a glimpse on our inner thoughts. Perhaps the words that we read; as it gets filtered through our minds, the biases get stuck in that filter and it festers like a stubborn stain that grows with time if we're careless about it.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Recently, Oslo (Norway) was shaken by a horrible attack; a man bombed a building, and while people are confused and distracted over it, went over to a small island where a youth leadership camp is held and shot over 70 teenagers. It was heartwrenching to read of the victim's life and how he/she was a jigsaw piece that completed their family, and now they are left with a sudden gaping hole. Writing this is making me tear up again.

Why do I speak of this in this post?

I'm rather uncomfortable bringing this up, in the light of the deaths; for that what people need now is the support for the families and people who are directly and indirectly affected by this, as well as a condemnation of the action of that man. Perhaps, an examination into the choice of words that had been used shouldn't be a priority at all.

But it did struck me.... how when the man was still unknown - it was branded as an act of terror. A terrorist attack. Allegations and guesses were thrown back and forth, and at least one expert prominently linked it to an Islamist group. Condemnation came from left, right and centre for this horrible terrorist acts.

Then they found out it was a Christian man who disliked the immigration policies.

Immediately the tone changed. Condemnation still poured in for this now-madman's act, and the media speaks of it as though whatever cause he has, he is just a lone wolf. He is no longer the terrorist, but a madman/gunman.

From an article:
A police official said the suspect appears to have acted alone in both attacks, and that "it seems like this is not linked to any international terrorist organisations at all." The official spoke on condition of anonymity because that information had not been officially released by Norway's police."It seems it's not Islamic-terror related," the official said. "This seems like a madman's work."

What is the difference? If one called him a 'terrorist' or a 'madman'? Aren't all terrorists madmen?

It carries a different weight... a madman is someone who does things because he's a bit whoohooooo up there, therefore in a way, his act is distanced from responsibility, while, a terrorist is meticulous and sane in his actions where he resorts to striking terror via violence to promote his cause/ideology.

In this case, the Oslo gunman also had an ideology, planned his steps well (some even called him a genius planner) and ruthlessly wiped off human beings.

Is there a double standard there? Or are acts of violence simply reserved for Muslims? When one Muslim bombs up a place, Muslims elsewhere shares the responsibility. And the perception has eaten in us so strongly that when the news first broke out, I could imagine Muslims holding their breath and worrying that the man might be Muslim. And he's not. A secret relieved sigh.

I do believe that it is more complicated than that. There are a number of other things to think about with this too. Like one, certain Muslims aren't helping to make the perception better. One might blame Muslims themselves, for certain cultures whose main religion is Islam, are pretty backward and violent. The stories we hear from them are quite horrible. (In regards to that, you could say that their study in Islam is bad and that they lack the wisdom needed in the study of Islam for they use out-of-context verses to support their violent acts. Some points out that it's not Islam that is violent, but those countries mentioned already have a violent culture to start with, and while it embraced Islam, it inherited their own violent culture.)

Another thing is perhaps a concentrated effort to spread fear about Islam. It's something that I wish to study deeply one day - the portrayal of Muslims and Islamic civilisation from the West from the beginning.

... Again, while double standards should be mentioned, it shouldn't be the main story. The main story is that many, many young promising lives were lost and families are in pain from this senseless attack. Some people lost a whole bunch of friends at once. What an empty feeling that is!! This gap should be filled with condolences, kindness, a helping hand and a strong condemnation for such a cowardly act, and not, "HAH! Discrimination! Double standards! I'm right all along!!!".

While a person may feel that they've been wronged, it doesn't give them the right to be insensitive and to play the bigger victim. In fact, if one keeps concentrating on being wronged, it would turn into an unhealthy culture of finger pointing and they would forget to look into the mirror.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

old friend

She has a way with words and said it so much better than I could ever have. (From 'The Compulsive Confessor'.)

Hello, old friend.

You and I don't exist in the same world anymore. The most we get is colliding our boundaries on a social networking site, and even then, your life is so distant, so far removed from mine that it's hard to believe that once we were in the same book, on the same page, even. You and I were last five calls on each others phones, and now for whatever reasons, I don't even think I have your number anymore.

Even though you have fallen to the wayside, in the television show of my life, you are no longer "featured guest", but you might pop up on imdb as one of the extras, I still have occasion to look at what you're doing and where you're going. Sometimes, I marvel at the smallness and insularity of our worlds, how someone I just met, like completely randomly, is also on your friends list. Someone might mention your name to me, in passing, and I pause for a second, just to think about life the way it used to be. We give a lot of thought to lovers—ex and present—but we don't think that much about friends, especially the ones that used to be.

For the most part, the death of our friendship seemed inevitable. Perhaps it was the wrong choices, perhaps it was just geography, but you, who used to be part of the fibre of my everyday life, have been patched over. Sometimes when I hear a song you used to love, or tell a story that you were a part of, I feel a pang of longing. Not longing for who you are now, in much the same way that I don't think you give a thought to who I am now, but for who we were then. It's hard to exist for 28 years without making an equal share of friends and enemies, and while I do think I am blessed in my friendships, having had some for over ten years, I know that it's not possible to be friends with everyone, all the time.

Sometimes, you might have wronged me, at least in my head. That's when I feel an absurd sense of proving to you how much better off I am. Look, look at me, look at my photos, look at my cheery status updates, look at my life, I don't miss you, not one teeny tiny bit.

But the fact of the matter is, we're getting older, old friend. I'm edging towards my thirties (and sometimes, so are you). Did you ever imagine that we could be thirty? Did you ever imagine that we'd be here and not with each other? And so I realise, that like most things in life, I have to let you go. It's a small, small world, and we might bump into each other someday—either at your local coffee shop or at mine. But let's not play the nothing happened charade. Let's acknowledge each other, either with a nod or a smile, and let's live our lives, knowing that the other person existed, and that we were, at one point, richer for it.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Stand

The problem with having a stand is that sometimes, you believe in it so much that you see yours through rose tinted glasses and then demonised the 'other'. Basically you cut off trying to understand your 'opponent' and choke off possible productive cooperation, preferring to instead have mud sling fights of "I'm right, you're wrong. I'm bigger, and you're smaller." I mean, that's probably the easiest thing to do, but it's not helpful in the long run at all.

While it warms my heart to see people united over a cause, over something that would be a better memory of Malaysia than May 13... watching the pats on the back going around, one could also notice the negative part; how news take on an arrogant, dismissive tone to the 'other'. People's page filled with blind vitriol to the 'other'.  And what I thought was; Staring at the monster long enough, and the next thing you know, it will stare back at the same thing.

Understand each other. Agree to disagree. Agree on the objective good, even if it comes from someone you oppose. Take a deep breath. Open your eyes. And judge to what your conscience tells you, and because he or she said so. And I'm not trying to be bossy and tell you what you should do. This is a reminder to myself too... because God knows, how I could get swept away by what I feel and not what is real. I feel as though I have to be cautious and to question, always.

Understand that peaceful quiet moments will not get much hits on youtube. It's the nature of moving pictures; violence commands your attention greatly. The quiet and subtle has no place in it, save for old school film aficionados perhaps.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

sweeter

i was up since 6.50am on a sunday. hiked a hill with a friend for 3 hours. we had our breakfast over a warm cup of cocoa after, at my place. dropped her off and went grocery shopping with my mom. showered as i probably stink loads. cooked lunch for the family (fried rice!) and it turned out pretty decent. bathed my 3 pet dogs with my brother. showered. prepared dinner with my mom and bro. finish up two visual drafts for an NGO's wall that my friends and i volunteered for (loyarburok). completed some animated banner for my dad.

i'm about to sleep now; a few hours earlier than i usually do.

and after all that, i realised how sweeter rest is.

Monday, June 20, 2011

connected

On the telly, the flames of a campfire reach out, pull back and cackle. No cuts. No drastic camera movements. No fancy mancy motion graphics to liven up the image. How long would it command your attention?

Not for very long, I'd imagine.

Now, onto a real campfire... the same thing. You're sitting on a rock, a log, and you watch.

Only, it's so hard to get bored with it.

The darkness envelopes us, though we could still see the silhouette of the forest against the sky. Breathing in the chilled air - the air that gently grazed my skin, slowly reaching to my bones. The heat of the campfire melted parts of me that felt it. How peaceful and content we were to have that fire as our accost. The glowing embers of the fire mesmerised me - it somehow feels like it's breathing, in how it fades and glow. Closing your eyes would reward your ears with the sound of the forest, the gushing waterfall, the cackling of the fire and the calling of the insects. Your nose picks up fresh smell of the waters, the burnt leaves, the sweat on your shirt, but mostly, the cold in the air. When we stand up to collect firewood, the ground is uneven and strewn with stones - a dip in ground and we learnt to balance at our every step; an alertness in where our foot lands. And I'm at peace with just keeping the fire alive; tossing in dried leaves as an instant fuel, adjusting the bamboo that catches fire well under a stubborn wood, fanning it with a polystyrene to get more oxygen in and standing up to collect more fuel.

I thought of the people of the old; how they would gather around the fire and magic happens. I sort of understood why now.

Oh, how disconnected we have been from our senses. Televisions, computers.... We see fire without feeling the heat, we see storms without tasting the electricity in the air, we watch the lives of people in a week compressed into a day; all the subtle and slow moments taken out, we see impoverished children running around in the dumps without smelling the stench and to touch their warmth. And on it goes.



We slept before 10pm, because that's what the sky told us when we weren't encased in our rooms with our artificial light.

In the morning, the light woke me, and I climbed onto a particularly big and flat rock on the river and read a book there. It got too cold, so I dragged my sleeping bag out and wrapped myself in it, reading with a natural background music.

I had an impression that one would get bored without all our electronical goodness around, and I was wrong.

Friday, June 17, 2011

oh... tingginya...

For months, I've been salivating over the trip/treks in Yongo... saving for the day that I could go on either:
- Xi'an, China
- Bhapa, India

Here's the link: http://www.yongo.biz/frame.htm. I really like this operator because it's not one of those that herd us like cattles to factories (that paid the operators beforehand), selling things that could be easily obtained in BB Plaza or Jusco/Tesco. Plus, they are travellers themselves, and chalked up quite an experience... one could imagine that they would understand the people and the places well.

Anyway. In a yumcha session two days ago, I was telling my colleagues that on the climb to Mt Kinabalu's summit, I was pretty frightened by the steepness (at least on the way up) and someone said, Oh, you have yet to see the hike up to Hua Shan in China! Now THAT'S scary.

I didn't think much about it.... I thought that if I ever want to hike a trek steeper than what I've been on, I reckon I better get rid of the fear I have first.

Then on my next salivation trip to the Yongo pages... I guess it's pretty obvious on what I found out. Hua Shan was on the itinerary for the Xi'an trip. Here's a glimpse of it:



To lessen the drama, from snippets of information gathered from youtube, it's only 30-50m long, plus you could take it or leave it. But! I'd go for it. I see harness and a decent stepping space! Though no guarantee that my legs won't be jelly-like... but man, the exhilaration of the gorgeous view, the adrenaline... yum!!


Looking at the schedule again though, one can't help but wish that the stopovers were more generous time-wise. It's rather nice to immerse yourself in the vibe of place, and it always gives me pleasure to explore it. It lead me to think about planning it out instead... of course, the disadvantages being it may end up more expensive and most importantly, a lack of an experienced guiding hand who knows the people and the history of the place.

Sometimes I'm curious on solo traveling; it's something I've considered from time to time.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

shifting through

i'm shifting through the letters and photographs, frozen in time, so that at last, they could be handed over.

it's a trip. really, it is. i do still remember her.. though i'm surprised to find that what i felt i couldn't forget, i did. one or two things, at least. such is time, and its erosion on memory... but looking at these letters brought the sadness afresh again.

sometimes i still can't believe how this person that i admire so, could be taken away so early. in truth, i envied her; for her firmness of character, how she could light up the room with her playfulness, how she makes you aware of how magnificent life is, how she makes you feel deeply that there is something bigger than us, her wiseness and intelligence, and how people would listen... she'd inspire you to be a better person if you let her in.



here's to you, aizati... i'm moved by you still.


Monday, May 30, 2011

quote

" People say you don't know what you've got till it's gone.
Truth is... you knew what you had.
You just never thought you'd lose it. "

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Blurp 001: the internet

Writings/thoughts will never escape the confines of my draft, so I figured it's better to let it go meanwhile; traces of my thoughts in little blurps.

Or sometimes I'm just writing things out, so that it's easier to see my thoughts, and to understand the thread that I'm on...

==============================

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2011/apr/07/internet-better-or-worse/?page=1

As a preface, I've been reading a little on the emergence of mass media (broadcast?) mediums - radio, newspapers, television etc. In the past, people who could have access to it was more or less balanced. These mediums was able to give voice to the unheard, such as when workers were demanding for rights and so on. Eventually, what was relatively affordable became expensive to the point where only the rich would have access to it. Smaller broadcast mediums are slowly phased out as they are unable to survive when the rich could do more, for less.

Hence, the control over the medium is done. So, what we hear and see, may be according to what the controllers WANT us to hear and see. An influence, if you may. Which also translates to power.

(I apologise for the very rough understanding of it, and I might have used a term wrongly here and there.)

As for the article, my understanding is that social networking, the Internet now is a fertile ground for political movements based on the recent uprisings in the Middle East. In the past, the broadcast mediums was a whole new way to reach out to the masses and it was a great tool for the government and politics. Now the playground is set to be changed again. Power is decentralised. This time, budget isn't a problem. Sorry, that's a bit Captain Obvious, but there's more.

Back then, the wrestle for control over these mediums happened when it was realised that it holds immense power and influence.

The Twitter incident, where the US asked the company to postpone their updates so that the Iranians could communicate with each other on it. Or closer to home, in Malaysia's March 2008 elections. Governments and corporations are waking up to how important the internet is. The internet may now be viewed as a political tool...

The argument is that, when people realise the potential if one could control the internet, what would happen in the future? Harder than the previous mediums of broadcast, but control over it is not impossible. There are still ways to bypass the control... going underground in the internet...



Monday, May 09, 2011

Random Noam Chomsky.

Take Jeremiah, were they treated nicely? No, they were treated badly.
Elijah was called a hater of Israel. Centuries later he was honoured, buy not at that time.
There were people was honoured at that time, but centuries later, they were called false prophets.

How do you think history will judge you?

That's up to.. It depends on who wins the battle.

From http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCtYecGbQz8&NR=1&feature=fvwp

This guy makes me want to give up whatever I'm doing and go into studying history instead.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

know

for all the closeness we used to have -

you were someone i knew and barely know now.

time and time again, thinking about the past wrung my heart in agony... but when i spoke to you just now, it feels that the part i had for you is dead. 'dead' not in a heart wrenching way. it's in a way that it didn't recognise you anymore.

but know this; i couldn't give you half of what you have given to me. for that, i'm immensely grateful to you.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Boring blow-by-blow account of mundane life 001

An attempt for a so-called daily journal.

Or I just want to write this because I'd rather babble in writing, as opposed to having a victim to listen.

     The past few weeks had been busier week than usual; my extended family and us decided to gift my grandma a slideshow on her life. Being the only artsy-fartsy one in the family, the task of compiling all the photographs into a nice little slideshow fell into my hands. And I didn't mind; I was thrilled that I could do something for my grandma. The photo collection were the task for my mom, aunts and uncle. Confession ahead - What was supposed to be passed to me were scanned pictures. I was quite annoyed because of a misunderstanding, hard-copy photographs were given to me instead. In short, I have to scan it in my perceived limited time. Luckily, my cousin and brother helped to scan a majority of it.

     Despite my grumpiness, it was really fascinating to flip through old pictures of my grandmother. A reminder that she was once young, someone who exist without the name 'Popo' or 'Ma'. Leafing through the bundle of photographs, we see her journey from a newly wedded wife in a simple borrowed dress (they were really poor), to a first time mom, a youthful but slightly harried looking mom with 3 children, then 5; her posing in the garden, taking a walk in the park with her four daughters and a child from the family she was working for (she was a maid) and attending her first child's wedding.. and so on.

Stories frozen in time.

     It was also a reminder that time will fall on us all. I saw an old photograph of a certain older person I know, and my first thought was, Whoa, she's kinda hot wtf. In a Marilyn Monroe's white halter dress. Something like that. And now, well, she's nearing 80 and you just can't compare that to the youthfulness of the earlier photograph. Sorta struck me how we won't look better than we do now. That's a sweeping generalisation though; sometimes not everyone look good in their youth, but as they grow older, their facial features mellow out and grow into something more 'comfortable'. Saying that, there's always the pinnacle I think.

     In short, the initial plan for the slides was more ambitious than its results; due to the busy nature of everyone. For example, we planned to put captions, but it was sort of rushed and people were busy. Deadlines were set and missed. I don't blame them; I get caught up in my own life too. If I taken the lead well, I'm sure it would had been better.

     It was a rush to render it (1.5 hours to render the whole 20 minutes of it), to borrow a projector at the last minute (my uncle's; two days before the party, they found out it wasn't working), find out that my CD burner was acting up and the CD turned up empty (because we thought that we had to play it on a DVD player if a projector can't be found) and a last minute change which didn't happen (wasted time waiting for the changes).

Phew.

On the bright side, my grandma was touched by it... she said she was trying to hold in her tears after the video played.

It will be an ongoing project... we will add in more photographs and the captions as planned. ^_^ To speak to my grandma and jot down her memories. She has an amazing memory for a 80 year old person.


     Then, around the same time, someone in my (sorta) new workplace approached me to join the Games Committee for an upcoming office party. So we were thinking up ideas for games, brainstorming and all. It was really fun to get into the mode of brainstorming for ideas, how to tweak existing games, the 'punishments' (best part!) etc.

     Though, I think I might have overstressed myself on the tiny details; who would be distributing the newspapers? How will the grouping for this game be done? Could we practice more on the 'game master' explaining the game to the audience, or in bad case scenarios, what would plan B be? Even if it's something that should be said, how you deliver it matters too, and in that, I can fall on my face really bad. I did feel like I might be forcing my idea of how game planning should be like. So I tried really hard to just relax and let things flow.

     Before we could sort the details out, suddenly the date of the party was pushed earlier. As in, it gives us 4 days to finalise the plans, research questions for the games and buy the prizes. While 4 days may seem a lot, we were on production, and on my part, I fell sick that time ugh. Ran to the doc for meds because it would had been really shoddy to not be around to pull my weight in the team.

     And so the party was yesterday, which was held at Luna Bar. The theme for the party was formal for the top half and beach wear for the bottom half, and so I dug out my old Limkokwing garb and found that it was a tighter fit than before. Damn. Either I lay off the chocolates and yummy food or must exercise more. Probably the latter, because hell would freeze over before I become a calorie counting person wtf.

      Got caught in a jam prior to reaching there because my colleague Sam and me picked a guitar from his church and took a gamble on a seemingly-jam-free road. Let's just say, bad gamble on that, but the 2nd gamble made it all good again. All in all, it's 2 hours on the road.

     Anyway, got there, changed and nearly gave myself an extra pupil while putting on my eyeliner. Gosh, haven't been wearing makeup since I left my old job... which is about 7 months ago? Can't blame me for being fiddly and nervous of having lop sided eyes wtf, kena tumbuk. Emma and Xuan looked super gorgeous in their get up! Loved Xuan's outfit a lot; she had this feminine but quietly structured top that combined flamenco and office, and she wrapped a scarf of hers as a sarong, and wore fierce teal heels. Oh, and 3 of us has something teal in our outfits. Awesome cakes~

     Ate not much but still had time to grab a chocolate dessert wtf. It's mousse. SO GOOD. Won something from the lucky draw! Mandeep said that it was rigged LOL. Had a little Marilyn Monroe moment at one of the booths where they had an air vent. My long skirt became revealing wtf (it's a wrap-around skirt - teal with golden dolphins!). Wanted to try doing her infamous shot, but I don't dare wtf. Audrey wore pants and sat on it with satisfaction LOL. Envy, because it was kinda hot there T_T.

     The games went quite well; there were hiccups, but nothing major. It was good to see people laughing at the Telephone Charades game! As the game started, it was the window period where Bryant, Ngai Charm and me have to mark the questionnaires so we'd know who would win the Ipod Shuffle by the next game to give out the prize. Since all of us have to be involved in the next game, this was the only good time.

     It was pretty cool to find out that all 3 of us used to be teachers LOL. Now wielding 2B pencils on the 2nd floor of a bar in a dark corner and rapidly marking through the questionnaires! And my teacher-sense tingled and got a little indignant on copied answers... Oi. =P

Basically the questionnaire was sorta unknown facts from our colleagues and party attendees have to guess/find out whose fact is it. Eg: "I used to train to be an athlete and went to a premier sports school in the country." or "I used to weight half my weight 4 years ago" etc.

We only had until 11pm for the place and by the time the last game ended, it was nearly there. Didn't manage to give out the other lucky draw prizes, but they will do so on Monday. Prashant gave a speech, thanked the games committee and someone from our team managed to divert the crowd's attention in 'punishing' us for what we put them through XD to the fact that it was Matt K's birthday and he was given a traditional company bump instead =D.

As other people say their goodbyes and stayed back for a chat, the games team tossed away the horrid 'punishment' concoction that Bryant the Bartender From Hell mixed up, packed up our game/prizes and stuff etc and lugged it down to the car where Intan, Jason and Fouzan were going back to the office to unload the stuff. Props to them because they did a LOT.

There's this sense of relief and satisfaction. I'm glad I was part of this team... it was fun doing this, and to see our efforts materialise just feels nice. Good exercise on the noggins too!  The relief comes from having one less ball to juggle hehe.

When I went back up to the bar again, the office peeps pretty much cleared out the place except for Siew Lai and a Matchmove guy. Mark W came up with me because he misplaced 'something' =X. Couldn't find it yet, so he just gave his number to one of the people there if they do find it; and he accompanied me as I paid my parking ticket. Chivalry =D

On the way home, I hankered for McDs and stopped by the nearby one (Yes yes, I know how chemical-y it is and how it would get in shape (round) but whatevs). Meant to go for the drive-through, but when I found the Elusive Parking Space, and I couldn't let it go to waste! Brought a book in with me (Four Arguments For the Elimination of Television) and read it while I munch on the fries (which tasted sorta funky monkey). It was kinda nice. A little quiet time after a buzz of social activities.

Reached home at nearly 1am and crashed, awake, in my room. Might had scared my brother's girlfriend when she walked into the bathroom that connects the two rooms, because I heard a click from the door and was in such a sleepy daze that I just got up from the floor and put my chin on my bed and stared blankly at the door wtf. She had the classic WHAT THE look on her face. I swear I'm not this creepy at other times.

Finally dragged myself to the shower and then slept at 4am.



......... Andddd that's my attempt at a plain ol' what-I-did daily/weekly/random journal. Don't think anyone would read this, but I'd be interested in it when I'm old and probably forgot about this. So, to my future self reading this; take up some memory classes, will ya? SHEESH =P (+1 cool point if you wave your fist now and yell, "Dangnabbit, ya young'ins!!!")

Friday, February 04, 2011

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Critique of Liberalism

Critique of Liberalism

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

Both the right and the left have attempted to claim Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for their own. Recently, Fox News host Glenn Beck held a rally entitled “Restoring America” at the Lincoln Memorial on the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream Speech.” Among those who attended was Dr. King’s niece, Alveda King, who argued that “Uncle Martin’s legacy is big enough to go around.” The left responded by pointing out the absurdity of individuals like Glenn beck using the legacy of Dr. King for their own agenda. What was lost in the battle between the pundits is that Dr. King was critical of conservativism, Christian fundamentalism, liberalism, neo-Orthodoxy and existentialism. The truth of the matter is that neither end of the spectrum can attempt to monopolize Dr. King’s legacy for their own ends.

The text below is an excerpt from Dr. King’s “How My Mind Has Changed” where he discusses his intellectual evolution culminating in his embrace of nonviolence. Regarding liberalism, Dr. King praises it for (1) its devotion to the search for truth, (2) its insistence on an open and analytical mind, (3) its refusal to abandon the best light of reason, and (4) its philological-historical criticism of biblical literature. However, he criticized it for its view on man while ignoring the role of sin on reason and the problem of collective evil in the post-enlightenment era.

“Ten years ago I was just entering my senior year in theological seminary. Like most theological students I was engaged in the exciting job of studying various theological theories. Having been raised in a rather strict fundamentalist tradition, I was occasionally shocked as my intellectual journey carried me through new and sometimes complex doctrinal lands. But despite the shock the pilgrimage was always stimulating, and it gave me a new appreciation for objective appraisal and critical analysis. My early theological training did the same for me as the reading of Hume did for Kant: it knocked me out of my dogmatic slumber.

At this stage of my development I was a thoroughgoing liberal. Liberalism provided me with an intellectual satisfaction that I could never find in fundamentalism. I became so enamored of the insights of liberalism that I almost fell into the trap of accepting uncritically everything that came under its name. I was absolutely convinced of the natural goodness of man and the natural power of human reason.

The basic change in my thinking came when I began to question some of the theories that had been associated with so-called liberal theology. Of course there is one phase of liberalism that I hope to cherish always: its devotion to the search for truth, its insistence on an open and analytical mind, its refusal to abandon the best light of reason. Liberalism’s contribution to the philological-historical criticism of biblical literature has been of immeasurable value and should be defended with religious and scientific passion.

It was mainly the liberal doctrine of man that I began to question. The more I observed the tragedies of history and man’s shameful inclinations to choose the low road, the more I came to see the depth’s and strength of sin. My reading of the works of Reinhold Neibuhr made me aware of the complexity of human motives and the reality of sin on every level of man’s existence. Moreover, I came to recognize the complexity of man’s social involvement and the glaring realities of collective evil. I came to feel that liberalism had been all too sentimental concerning human nature and that it leaned toward a false idealism.

I also came to see that liberalism’s superficial optimism concerning human nature caused it to overlook the fact that reason is darkened by sin. The more I thought about human nature the more I saw how our tragic inclination for sin causes us to use our minds to rationalize our actions. Liberalism failed to see that reason by itself is little more than instrument to justify man’s defensive ways of thinking. Reason, devoid of purifying power of faith, can never free itself from distortions and rationalizations.

Source: http://allahcentric.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/dr-martin-luther-king-jr-s-critique-of-liberalism/

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

halt

i try not to do new year resolutions because once i declare my intentions, it would feel like the deed is done.

so i'll keep mum.

though, the reason i write now is because i am struck by how two projects that i halted at the start of 2010 are being resumed in the start of 2011. she died then, and in 3 weeks it will be full cycle of a year since.

it is not fair to say that her death stilled me in those projects, but it did profoundly affected me. i think she would had said how silly i am being, to stop because of her and she would had encouraged me to push the limits. i still remember her advices, and despite the stall, i was more the unsullied gianne for a couple of months after. lived a little more. had a little more faith in myself. found the easygoing, funny self that have been buried under the terse, serious person, that circumstances groomed me to be.

then my heart was broken; the engine died and only sputtered when the key is turned. as the scripts aptly put it; when a heart breaks, it don't break even.

and then... again. deeper.

.... one of the greatest comfort is when you matter in someone's life; who, likewise, mattered immensely to you too.

and one of the greatest sadness is losing that.

i know in my bones about spilled milk and all. i tried not to think of the past, and like the ocean, it ebbs and uncovers what i've lost. the smiles and the jabs. the comfort of confiding in each other. those eyes and how they won't look sadly at you again.



farewell, 2010. and thank you for the lessons.