Thursday, July 27, 2006
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Notice: Non Muslims are not allowed to enter this mosque
Monday, July 24, 2006
We were maids and farmers, handymen and washerwomen, and anything higher that we aspired to was farcical and presumptuous.
It was awful to be Negro and have no control over my life. It was brutal to be young and already trained to sit quietly and listen to charges brought against my color with no chance of defense. As a species, we were an abomination. All of us.
A poem by James Weldon Johnson, and a music composed by J. Rosamond Johnson, which became the Negro national anthem:
"Lift ev'ry voice and sing
Till earth and heaven ring
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty
Stony the road we trod
Bitter the chastening rod
Felt in the days when hope, unborn, had died.
Yet with a steady beat
Have not our weary feet
Come to the place for which our fathers sighed?
We have come over a way
that with tears has been watered,
We have come, treading our path through
the blood of the slaughtered."
Oh, Black known and unknown poets, how often have your auctioned pains sustained us? Who will compute the lonely nights made less lonely by your songs, or by empty pots made less tragic by your tales?
Many of my friends are concerned if he is a man strong enough for me, given that I am strong-willed and stubborn by nature. He may be soft spoken, but he certainly isn't weak-willed or always giving in to me. In fact, sometimes I do wish he could pamper me a little more by giving in to my trivial whims and quirkiness. He is an intellectual sort of person, and not one who takes in every word people say is true - he has a mind of his own and is quick to be impartial in often biased situations. A down-to-earth and practical man, he shows me the practical side of Christianity. Where I am often pumped up by the Word of God, he teaches me the practical aspect of Christianity in terms of love for mankind, patience unto all, impartiality in judgments and opinions.
Whenever we have conflicting views, behaviorals and attitudes, we make it a point to make up asap - usually not more than an hour. Not wanting to allow emotional "walls" to build and grow thicker and stronger between us, we'd always focus on the importance of reconciliation rather than proving who's right or wrong or preserving our personal pride. Our love and commitment to each other take higher priority over our differences.
People often look at us and seeing how well our relationship is going, will always say this is only the beginning stage - that things will roughen and cracks will start to surface and our differences will mount and threaten to overflow. I don't deny we live in an imperfect world and in every relationship, there will be testings and difficulties to overcome. I am certainly praying for God's grace and hand of protection over this relatonship - that we may stay together and in God - come what may.
Finally, I pray that you are accustoming well to your husband's family and friends and the life in UK.
Love you and praying for your joy, health and life,
Friday, July 21, 2006
I speak to the black experience, but I am always talking about the human condition – about what we can endure, dream, fail at, and still survive.
I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.
The honorary duty of a human being is to love.
History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.
Love is that condition in the human spirit so profound that it allows me to survive, and better than that, to thrive with passion, compassion, and style.
The main thing in one's own private world is to try to laugh as much as you cry.
If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded.
We allow our ignorance to prevail upon us and make us think we can survive alone, alone in patches, alone in groups, alone in races, even alone in genders.
If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. Don't complain.
Yet she has an overflow supply of it, much to my amazement and envy (yes, I’m human, pardon me please!). She waits patiently and never complains at my frequent and incorrigible late-coming. She agrees to my endless change of plans and over-bearing dominance to have a say and the last say in anything and everything. She knows my every silent and covered intention, revealing them at the precise moment to save my day. She puts up with my vivacious nonsense, my often precarious moods and never points an accusing finger.
If I have but a portion of space to make known the identity of my amazing pal, this would be the most apt and declarative of all. Curtains up, applause please… announcing Miss Shan-shine!
If I’m the sound stereo system that booms and rings in your ear, making lots of noise and racket, you’re the good ‘ole faithful listener that doesn’t switch the radio station to another.
Many a times I reminisce the memorable times I have had with good friends encountered through the years. Non-communication is not a denial of the depth and richness of our friendship – and for them I am grateful always – YL, CT, ET. Amazing women. True friends. My honor and joy.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
In short, invaluable lessons to be learnt.
[P/S: I've more iconic pictures to be uploaded. Hang in there.]
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Next to the creation of man, language is perhaps the next most outstanding masterpiece. In reading words of another I find my own. In listening to viewpoints of another I find understanding and tolerance, and perhaps; patience and love. In the life of John Edgar Wideman, I find a master of the English language.
We create a protective shell around us in an attempt to survive the turmoil and chaos of growing up.
Here is a brief introduction to the thoughts and writings of the man.
“The trouble with this survival mechanism was the time and energy expended on the upkeep of the shell. The brighter, harder, more convincing and impenetrable the shell became, the more I lost touch with the inner sanctuary where I was supposed to be hiding. It was no more accessible to me than it was to the people I had intended to keep out. Inside was a breeding ground for rage, hate, dreams of vengeance.” - John Edgar Wideman
An excerpt from “In Praise of Silence”
by John Edgar Wideman
“For a people who have endured a long, long history of waiting – waiting at the Jordan river, waiting chained in stone forts on the west coast of Africa, waiting for slavery and discrimination to end, waiting for justice and respect as first class citizens, waiting for prison gates to open, waiting eternities in emergency wards and clinic lines in sorry urban hospitals – silence is an old, familiar companion. Time and silence, silence and time. The silence attending waiting, waiting through times of enforced silence. Silence upon the ground which wishes are inscribed while the endless waiting continues. Silence a dreaming space where what’s awaited is imagined and, when it doesn’t come, the space where dreams are dismantled, dissolving again into silence. Dreams born and dying and born again in the deep womb of silence, and silence, tainted though it is by disappointment and waiting, also a reservoir of hope.”
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
I say, Zidane acted like a gentleman through and through. He played his game well, he stood for his integrity, he reacted on the pitch right where the verbal insult was made, he held his peace and details of the insult to this day, only releasing to the press that Metarazzi "said something very serious to him". Had he been a hot-headed head-butting ram, he would have leashed back at Metarazzi and called for a press conference to reveal to the whole world what the Italian muttered to him on the pitch that made him lose his cool, gaining him a red card and an unglamorous exit from such an important match; also, his last game before he retires from football.
I say Zidane is truly a football star - and well deserving of the Golden Ball award - notwithstanding the world's opinion of his retaliation on Monday morning. He may have lost fans, trust, victory and pride for his nation; nevertheless, he won the game of integrity. He acted like a real hero - on and off pitch.
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
I had intended to drive in further to seek out perhaps sturdy oak trees, outspread rain trees, tall loner trees. That plan was quickly abandoned upon seeing a group of kiddos playing softball in a little playfield; a small green area outlined by drainage submerged by thick overgrowth.
My abandoned plan was further reinforced by what greeted me and my guest – friendly waves from richly tanned little hands; welcoming smiles otherwise perfect, save for a missing tooth or two. You get the picture.
I hung around the edge of the little playfield, watching the kids play. It was nostalgic, taking in the beauty and innocence of children at play at their favorite sport; however novice they may be at it.
Just a week ago I had a disturbingly strong desire to play softball. No working adult plays softball, I mean, where can I go to play? Back to my secondary school? Gatecrash into a nearby secondary school after school hours, hoping to catch kids playing softball and asking to join them? I had no avenue to play. But that desire never ceased. And now here I am watching a bunch of kids at their game.
Usually an extrovert, I was abashed to ask to join in their game. Perhaps they looked more than fine without an intruding stranger. Perhaps I was afraid I would ruin their game by batting the ball too hard, sending it high and off the play area.
Yet a distinct wave of inner joy swept over me, like a steady stream of warm water gushing forth from under the earth and overflowing to its surroundings. I was thrilled through and through. If it didn’t show on my face, it certainly did minutes later when I shed off all abashment and approached three little ones and asked to kick football with them. Perhaps I thought kids younger in age are easier to make friends with. I just wanted to indulge in a little piece of lost childhood here, alright? ;)
The little ones were extremely friendly and hospitable. I’m not sure if I could use the word “hospitable” to describe my new-found friends, but they certainly made me feel that way about them as I approached them, fished out my mobile phone and they came near to me; as if I was no stranger. I asked if they could smile for me, they did and did so willingly.
We wasted no time in getting straight to our ball game. Though small in size and clumsy still in their motor skills, my little friends exuded all they had as they kicked and snorted, ran and panted; eagerly at each kick turning to see if I saw how well they kicked. I made it a point to exclaim my praise and amazement at each kick, and you could see their small faces beam with pride and delight upon such exclamations.
Time always whiz by so quickly when you are enjoying it! I had to bid farewell. As I did, once of them cried out after me, “Will you come back?”
I said I will – tomorrow. He replied, “Ok, come tomorrow and I’ll teach you how to play.”
I grinned. Sure thing, kiddo. I’m looking forward to tomorrow. I’m looking forward to kicking ball with my three new friends aged 3, 5 and 7.
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
When they are rude, you be courteous.