Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Leap

My Heart

I stood at the threshold of a breakthrough

The waters flowed freely and I held nothing back

I yielded all I am and will ever be

Knowing that nothing I withhold could bring me forward

The clouds burst, the sky cracked open and the wind beckoned

Confident of what lies ahead, I sealed my mind and

Leapt forward to grace



Ritchell Lim


She stood straight, pure and innocent

She struck her first chord

And my tear well burst

In her I saw the reality of life’s imperfections

Redeemed by the glory of God’s grace

In her I saw what love and family can do

To nurture the beauty of a child

In her I saw what mankind could achieve

When we cast aside worldly cares

And commit to a vision of the gifts within


To find out a little more on Ritchell Lim, pls visit http://www.myspace.com/ritchelllim

Monday, December 10, 2007

The O & O Show

Straits Times - Dec 10, 2007

Welcome to the O & O show

Obama hopes Oprah's support will win him the Democratic ticket

DES MOINES (IOWA) - DEMOCRATIC presidential hopeful Barack Obama's campaign has rolled out talk show host Oprah Winfrey - one of the most influential women in the US - in a bid to win over female and black voters in key election states.

Winfrey brought a showbiz buzz to Mr Obama's campaign over the weekend, kicking off a three- state tour with a rousing speech to screaming fans who braved freezing weather to see her.

One of the biggest crowds so far in the 2008 race for president - some 18,500 people - crammed into a hall in Iowa on Saturday to hear Winfrey's firstever speech for a political candidate in an event dubbed the Double 'O' show by the media.

'I'm here to tell you, Iowa, he is the one,' the entertainment diva told the cheering crowd, some of whom screamed they wanted her as vice-president.

She urged voters to back Mr Obama's 'new vision' for the United States.

Winfrey's dramatic appearance helped underscore the high stakes in the first caucuses, which will be held on Jan3.

Running neck-and-neck in the polls here and unable to predict how voters will react to sharp clashes close to the holidays, Mr Obama and his rival for the Democratic nomination Hilary Rodham Clinton are campaigning furiously, with an emphasis on winning over female voters.

Clinging to her role as the national front runner, Mrs Clinton scrambled to match the Oprah moment by taking her 88-year-old mother, Mrs Dorothy Rodham, and Chelsea, 27, on the campaign trail at the weekend.

Neither had appeared publicly yet with the senator in her presidential bid.

The reluctant Chelsea Clinton's public emergence normally would have been big news, but it was a lastminute move that was overshadowed by hype surrounding Winfrey.

Mrs Clinton - pledging 'change across the generations' as she courted voters - all but conceded that Mr Obama's high-wattage events would dominate the weekend news.

Mr Obama's roadshow continued yesterday with a signature rally in South Carolina, a state where half the Democratic electorate, like him and Winfrey, is African-American.

Winfrey is viewed as one of the most influential entertainers in the world. Mr Obama hopes her millions of mainly female disciples will help him outpace Mrs Clinton, the first woman with a realistic chance of winning the White House.

But Winfrey's influence on politics is as yet untested. A USA Today/ Gallup Poll released in October found 8per cent of adults said her endorsement made them more likely to support Mr Obama, while 10per cent said it would make them less likely to back him.

In her speech, Winfrey said Mr Obama's stance as a candidate of change was more important than the perceived lack of political experience for which opponents such as Mrs Clinton criticise him.

'Experience in the hallways of government isn't as important to me as the experience on the pathway of life,' Winfrey said, citing the first-term Illinois senator's achievements outside Washington.

Many people at Saturday's event said Winfrey was largely the reason they attended. After she spoke, hundreds left, missing all or part of Mr Obama's speech.



Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Enjoy thy family

I thoroughly enjoy watching my family bask in comfort, love, warmth and most importantly security, in this land of great governance and upright leadership.

I thoroughly enjoy having my family spend precious time doing the most mundane of things that families do together – eating together, watching television together, sharing comments about the latest company take over or rise in property prices, having mom cut fresh fruits a couple of hours after dinner time, us sitting around the living room in front of the television; watching Discovery Channel together, the cold December wind blowing furiously through the wide open windows, telling us that Christmas is beckoning.

I thoroughly enjoy the blessings I have been given.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Politics

The past few months have been a whirlwind journey of discovery and inner reflection – a reflection on the issues that threatens us as individuals and as societies joined together in a race for survival and national advancement.

I can’t say the same for certain countries, particularly one whose leaders are incapable of uniting its multi-racial people, with its blatant favouritism evidenced by its policies that advance only those belonging to its favoured group and incompetence in battling corruption among its leaders, people in power and authority who were elected to key appointments to advance the cause of the people they were meant to serve. How does a people pledge allegiance to a government that jeopardises social security by closing an eye to the evidential abuse of power in the ranks of authority? How does a people pledge allegiance to leaders who enter civil service to advance their personal interests?

Are lessons not meant to be learnt? Is a nation not to progress? Why then are we seeing regress, instead of progress, in a country which undoubtedly carries within it, men and women of outstanding calibre and extreme talent, men and women with charisma, bright minds and fiery passion?

Do we wait till the young people pack their bags to leave at the most opportune time, plant their roots in foreign shores, receive nourishment from foreign sources, take on the culture, education and identity of foreign lands because they have been far too malnourished in the bosom of their motherland?

There ought to be a new vision in the leadership – a vision that presents equality for all its citizens, a vision that sets social security as a high priority, a conviction that pushes through the influence of profiteers, nay-sayers and spin masters to present a daring truth that stands on the foundation of those that has gone before us, men and women who laid down their lives to secure the independence of the nation that all may progress, advance and carve a secure, bright, upright and prosperous future together.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Meet Barack Obama

See the man in action - see his hope, passion & life unfold in this 5-min video clip.


Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Kite Runner - the movie

The most anticipated movie since I picked up the book exactly a year ago, in Nov 06.

To gain a little understanding on the background of the book, I have previously posted an interview with the author, Khaled Hosseini: http://lilwritergie.blogspot.com/2006_12_01_archive.html

Now here's a trailer of the movie - an amazing story of 2 friends, close as brothers, set in Kabul. A journey of friendship, kinship, love, trust, betrayal, redemption and faith.



Thursday, October 25, 2007

Barack Obama's campaign for presidency


Senator Barack Obama's campaign for presidency. Tell me if you don't feel his passion and heart for the people he's serving. Will he change the course of black history by being the first black president of the United States of America?

I may be no American,and I may have no business with American politics, who becomes president, etc. But I have a business to be challenged by the fact that history's about to change when the great nation of American could open up its political doors to a black man and potentially have him lead the American people from the platform of a power, influence and laedership.

Can you imagine the impact he's gonna make with his succesful election, not just in America, for the American people, but in the world, for the people of the world whose voices do not speak as loudly as their American counterparts.

Below are 3 videos from Barack's site:

1. Canvass for Change Rally at Des Moines, Iowa on 13 Oct 2007:

http://link.brightcove.com/services/link/bcpid900881681/bclid900480414/bctid1243732338

2. Barack's speech at DePaul University, Chicago on 2 Oct 2007:

http://link.brightcove.com/services/link/bcpid900881681/bclid900480414/bctid1214063150

3. Alice Walker speaks on Barack:

http://link.brightcove.com/services/link/bcpid900881681/bclid900480414/bctid1201929195


Inspired for change

If your life is channelled towards doing something you are passionately driven by, the fruit of your labour will display an achievement so fulfilling, so impactful. -A.T.

I have always believed all things are possible. This belief is further enhanced by my discovery of Barack Obama's achievement in politics - a black American, a Senator for the State of Illinois, and a probable presidency candidate.

A review said thus: "If Barack Obama is successful in his quest to become President of the United States, he will dramatically change the face that his country presents to the world."

To learn a lil' more on Barack Obama, check out http://www.barackobama.com/about/

For a thorough read into his life and family history, read "Dreams from my Father". For his thoughts on American politics, read "The Audacity of Hope".




Monday, October 01, 2007

Tribute to my man

It's time for tribute once again. In honor of my MAN.

He's always helping me get into the right learning environment to advance my interests, to name a few:

1. When I wanted to write more - he encouraged me to blog

2. When I wanted to read more - he buys me books from time to time, and the amazing thing is, he uses wise discernment to get me the exact kind of books that get me ticking!

3. When I wanted to learn French - he found me a website to learn French with others online

4. When I wanted to swim more often - he accompanies me to the pool, not swimming himself, but bringing his laptop to do his work or a book along to read

5. When I wanted to go to JB once a month to visit my parents - he puts aside his own agendas to accompany me and spend quality time with my family

6. When I am down - he buys me things, brings me places, and be extra sweet to melt my misery away

The list above is by no doubt non-exhaustive. Words would fail me to list the sweetness, kindness, grace and love he's shown and constantly showing me.

I often say this and I'm gonna say it again - I know how much God loves me through the love He brings into my life - family, friends, leaders, colleagues, all things beautiful. The most beautiful of all, my greatest love on earth - my husband and best bud, JPK ;)


Friday, September 21, 2007

Babbles of the Unmotivated

She sits in the dark and wonders when light will come
If I may lift this yoke off from my shoulder, she cries
If I may lift my eyes and look yonder
I could see what I’ve been blind to see

She sits in the dark and explodes nothingness

There are those who found their jobs the most mundane of all, but found needs to meet in the course of their work. Solutions to automate work processes, improve lines of communication, innovate products and services.

Work, however mundane, is important because it feeds my basic needs in this real world. It finances my after work and weekend activities. It finances the pursuit of my dreams. Work is important because it makes me live off the edge and cherish, devour and relish whatever time I have. Work forces me in the corner of discomfort and makes me strive for greater things in life which otherwise would not have been pondered over.

Solitary is the manifestation of one’s inadequacy to be by oneself.

If you are my muse, you are the words that whirl in my mind.


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

He taught me

Like a child he sat down and read every word I wrote. Not mere browsing, mind you, but with focused concentration, so much so he didn't even turn around to wave goodbye when I bid him & mom farewell on my monthly visit back home.

I have to admit, I felt somewhat flattered that dad would take an interest in my writings, never mind they're but journal entries on Multiply (http://lildrummergie.multiply.com/journal).

I have been trained to write since I was little. Dad would make me reach for the brown notebook placed at the edge of a tall cupboard in the living room, and have me sit down quietly by myself for 15 mins to pen my journal entry, every single day. I was encouraged to write about anything and everything - the weather, my encounters in school, my friends, teachers, sports, my favourite things, etc. He read and marked my journal each day, and each new day I had to do corrections on top of making a fresh entry. And so I wrote. And kept writing.

And today I'm still writing. I'm writing because the words just wouldn't stop flowing. I see pictures and images in my mind that dad taught me to see. He taught me to question what I didn't understand, he painted me illustrations to explain everything he knew from science to geography to mathematics, economics and politics. He taught me all that he knew and all that he was constantly learning. Like a sponge, I took in all he had to offer.


At 29 today, I am a sum total of his impartation. The good aplenty, the bad, well, a number, but most importantly, I took in the best of them all - the love of a father, my teacher and guide.


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Tolerance

Dust and dirt particles - they are so minute they're hardly oblivious to the human eye. Yet they're everywhere and we survive all the same in the presence of such uncleanness - when we order food from a roadside stall, when our table at the coffeeshop is perched on top of a covered drain, when we cross the carbon monoxide-filled roads, when a passer-by sneezes right into our face. We are oblivious to what we can't see - but know is there.

Maybe we're created such to learn tolerance. And I don't mean tolerance towards natural things. There is a spiritual lesson in all things natural. In learning tolerance I mean tolerance towards mankind - socially, racially, culturally. Ethnic and race groups vary and differ from border to border. Different faces and races are everywhere. Some groups deem themselves higher and more supreme than others. Fair enough - I mean, who's to judge - bottom line is, we live in mutual tolerance. We accept. We live. Coz we belong to the same Creator.


Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Beauty of Love



I learnt much more than I bargained for these 2 weeks of wedding, honeymoon and marriage.

I learnt that there is indeed no support like that of the family.

I learnt that there is indeed no place like home – where communion, love and warmth abound.

Beautiful places around the world cannot hold their place in our hearts like
the beauty of love within the family home.












Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Lost & Found


The big fella was barking unreservedly - earnestly calling out to its master. He was tied up to a traffic light at a busy city centre junction - a big, black & beautiful dog. It was a rather unusual sight to see a dog in the middle of a business district - alone and its master nowhere in sight. I could see though - he was barking at a cafeteria nearby. Maybe its master was in there buying breakfast and had to tie the dog outside.


Not understanding why he was left alone in a foreign place - he got frightened and barked endlessly. He barked at the cafeteria, and at people all around him - people waiting for the green man at the pedestrian crossing. From the way he barked and moved his body up and down, scanning all directions - I could see his lostlessness and desperation. His eyes especially when he turned to bark at my direction - I could see that he was almost crying out for help - as if to say, "please somebody, help, I'm looking for my master."

If an animal can sense such loss, abandonment and aloneness in a foreign environment - how much more a human being left to fend for himself/herself with no family, kin or friends?

I am fortunate to have family, warmth, love, shelter and provision all my years. There are times when I wish I didn't have to answer to the many questionings and put up with the many unreasonable acts of family members. But realising that there are individuals and dear ones out there who do not have a family, much less a loving one - to call their own - but only their two feet and a strong heart to fend for themselves - I think we who have families are many times over fortunate and blessed.


Friday, May 04, 2007

Quality Relationship

We can never spend enough time with the ones we love and care about. Family, friends, colleagues, buddies - though the level of intimacy differs, at the end of each journey with different ones, we always lament at the lack of time spent with them. A colleague of mine recently left the firm. As I bid her farewell on her last day of work, I felt a tinge of regret at not spending time with and knowing her more. There was that moment of awkwardness that could not be replaced with lots of goodbyes and take cares.

Lesson learnt: As they say, it's not about the quantity of time spent with loved ones - it's about the quality of time spent in learning, discovering, accepting, loving and caring for others that truly matters.

Monday, April 16, 2007

12 things I love about him

  1. He loves me, no matter how loud and boisterous I am
  2. He insists we sit side by side while dining, and not opposite as most couples do
  3. He holds my hand when we travel in the car
  4. He stands by me through my worst times
  5. He fights my monsters with me
  6. He forgives quickly
  7. He doesn’t harp on my wrongs
  8. He doesn’t judge anyone and is reluctant to give a negative opinion
  9. He praises, encourages and believes that I am and can be the best I want to be
  10. His love, sensitivity, care and thoughtfulness for me and others
  11. His giving and serving nature
  12. His unwavering faith and trust in God and His provision

Thursday, April 12, 2007

In Him, thru Him

A negative mind cannot find God because God is in the positive

I got to lead my mind with the Word of God or my mind will lead me wrong

When I make room for God, barrenness disappears. Fruitfulness will come

God will move into the space that I make for Him

God will rather have you messy than not have you at all

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Lil' by lil'

Your life can change drastically when a significant part of your weakness is improved.

I’ve been a late comer for work for as far as I remember. Much of my despondency and inefficiency at work were largely due to my late coming. In recent months, since the commencement of my current job some 6 months back – I have never arrived at work late. This may not be a biggie for some, but for me, for one who was never ever punctual for work, this sure is! Now that I’m arriving at my work area an hour earlier each work day, I am more alert, efficient, productive and responsible in what I do.

Just an improvement in this area alone has drastically propelled me further and higher, instilling greater discipline and achievement that were once distant and out of reach. I am determined to reach higher and I know I can.

Recent Photo Albums


JB Trip 6 Apr 2007

http://lildrummergie.multiply.com/photos/album/6




Friday, March 30, 2007

Pa

I think of him daily,
Sometimes first thing in the morning
Each thought of him reminds me
Of the failed expectation that I am
I failed to listen, obey and offer filial piety

I want so much to step nearer
Into his paternal embrace
I want so much to touch
His tenderness and grace
I dread the cold tone,
Felt its sting over the line

I could have, would have,
But fear freezes me in

I think of him daily
And wish I’m bigger than my fear


Sunday, March 18, 2007

Way Back Into Love

Chinese New Year saw me watching quite a number of new movies - Protege, Norbit, and my favourite to-date - Music & Lyrics. The title may sound straight like a ruler, but it sure is a blaster! I'm sure it's a hot favourite among many others too, I mean who can resist the oh so romantic story line and fuzzy Hugh Grant and damsel-in-distress Drew Barrymore? Hugh Grant does best at fumbling yet absolutely witty lines, and he's once again stolen the limelight in this movie with his forte.

All hands and feet up for the 3 songs - Pop! Goes My Heart, Way Back Into Love and the other by Hugh Grant which I have no idea what the title is but is also a fantastic song. The lyrics to Way Back Into Love carries so much meaning I love it in its entirety. Nah that's playing it down... I'm crazy about it! Haha.

Right, here's the video for romance sake. After all, bells are set to ring not long from now... haha if you know what I mean. To JPK. Cheerios! ;)




I've been living with a shadow overhead
I've been sleeping with a cloud above my bed
I've been lonely for so long
Trapped in the past, I just can't seem to move on

I've been hiding all my hopes and dreams away
Just in case I ever need em again someday
I've been setting aside time
To clear a little space in the corners of my mind

All I want to do is find a way back into love
I can't make it through without a way back into love
Oh oh oh

I've been watching but the stars refuse to shine
I've been searching but I just don't see the signs
I know that it's out there
There's got to be something for my soul somewhere

I've been looking for someone to shed some light
Not somebody just to get me through the night

I could use some direction
And I'm open to your suggestions

All I want to do is find a way back into love
I can't make it through without a way back into love
And if I open my heart again
I guess I'm hoping you'll be there for me in the end
oh, oh, oh, oh, oh

There are moments when I don't know if it's real
Or if anybody feels the way I feel
I need inspiration
Not just another negotiation

All I want to do is find a way back into love
I can't make it through without a way back into love
And if I open my heart to you
I'm hoping you'll show me what to do
And if you help me to start again
You know that I'll be there for you in the end
oh, oh, oh, oh, oh

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The written word

I’ve always been an ardent student of history, partly because I love stories. And history is full of intriguing histories and worthy lessons to be learnt. The many Chinese historic stories in A Thousand Pieces of Gold brought me much insight into the richness of the written word.

Here’s what the back cover of the book says – and I pray it inspires you as much to pick up a copy for your personal mental and cultural enrichment…


Proverbs are fascinating in my country but in China they still play and have always played a far more significant role.

One written word is worth a thousand pieces of gold

Most Chinese proverbs are based on historical events and the greatest number originate frm that extraordinary period of history when the first Emperor of China – creator of the terracotta soldiers – ruled.

Precious treasure worth cherishing

Kings, warlords, scholars and courtiers plot and counter plot in a vigorous, energetic, restless society brought vividly by Adeline Yen Mah. She combines the historical narrative with personal insights fromher own life to illustrate the influence of proverbs in contemporary situations, creating a window into Chinese life for Western readers.

Little sparrows with dreams of swans

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Pearl S. Buck

Carrying a book in one's hands is a good thing to do - it has almost always sparked off conversations in an otherwise quiet lift. I have had that happened to me several times now and have thus drawn this fine conclusion.

As is my usual morning routine, I'll reach my work area an hour earlier, settle myself comfortably at a nearby breakfast eatery with my ham and egg mayo sandwich and a hot cup of coffee, with my favourite read in hand. I'm currently trailing Adeline Yen Mah's collection. At a quarter to nine, I'll usually rise to make my way to the office. This morning a colleague spotted me holding Adeline Yen Mah's A Thousand Pieces of Gold and found that I enjoy Chinese history and recommended me an excellent American writer, Pearl S. Buck, an American who spent most of her growing up years in China and who would return years later to dwell in the great land.

More than a great writer with a dozen award winning books under her belt and the first American woman to win a Nobel Prize in Literature, Pearl was a compassionate humanitarian. She personally adopted about a dozen children and established the Pearl S. Buck Foundation, which provides sponsorship funding for thousands of children in half-a-dozen Asian countries

According to wikipedia, Pearl wrote over 100 works of literature, her best-known being The Good Earth. The Good Earth chronicled the fictional life of the farmer Wang Lung against the backdrop of 20th century turmoil and revolution in China. It traces the rise of Wang Lung from the abject poverty of his early days to his final years by which he had accumulated great wealth and power. The novel portrays the complexities of marriage, parenthood, joy, pain, and human frailty. Pearl stresses in the novel the value of fertile land, hard work, thrift, and responsibility. The novel has a very circular feel to it, recreating the ebb and flow of life, the change of seasons, and the cycles of age and family. Pearl's writing is unique in the way it blends the technical language of the King James Bible with the simplicity and directness of the old Chinese narrative sagas.

Her writing career only began at the age of 41. Now that speaks volumes to me - there's hope for struggling, aspiring writers. I should be grabbing a title from Pearl's collection soon - probably beginning with The Good Earth.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

A Thousand Pieces of Gold

As a young girl my father often told me, "never forget your roots, or you'll be a worthless person." In that he meant someone who doesn't know where he came from, what he's made of and what he's capable of becoming. How wise my father's advice was! And many years later, I remember his words fresh as if it was spoken to me yesterday, especially so upon my reading of A Thousand Pieces of Gold by Adeline Mah.


Walt Whitman once said, "Into the English language are woven the sorrows, joys, loves, needs and heartbreaks of the common people." The same can be said regarding Chinese proverbs and metaphors.

Renowned British poet, Philip Larkin once described Chinese proverbs as "white dwarfs" of literature because each was so densely compacted with thoughts and ideas. White dwarfs are tiny stars whose atoms are packed so closely together that their weight is huge in relation to their size. The enormous heat radiated from these small stars is equivalent to the vast knowledge and profound wisdom contained in certain sayings gleaned from China.

In this book, Adeline May provides a fascinating window into the history as the cultural soul of China. Combining personal reflections, rich historical insights, and proverbs handed down by her grandfather, she shares the wealth of Chinese civilisation with Western readers. Exploring the history behind the proverbs, she delves into the lives of the first and second emperors and the two rebel warriors who changed the course of Chinese life, adding stories from her own life to beautifully illustrate their relevance and influence today.


Friday, March 02, 2007

Don't Cry

Don't Cry - Naked

Winter comes for a reason
to purge your soul
with the change of the seasons
I spin out of control

Where can I find you
when you're not even there
no where to find you
Innocent eyes are blinded
when the candle dies

Put your arms around him
there'll be no sleep tonight
How can I help you,
when you're so far away?
No way to help you…
Should I pray?
Don't cry, wipe the tears from your eyes
don't cry, sleep with the souls tonight

There's no where to run, no where to hide
fear is a monster, no end in sight
no screaming, silent screaming
tonight close your eyes, dream
There's no where to run, no where to hide
fear is a monster, no end in sight
no screaming , scream it away
tonight, close your eyes and pray.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Redemption

Maybe it's not so bad to have grown up in a painful home and still trying to patch the many holes. Maybe I'm given such privilege so I can write about it, share it and in the process, bring comfort and consolation to my readers, as The Kite Runner (by Khaled Hosseini) and Chinese Cinderella (by Adeline Yen Mah) did to me.

I have a sneaky suspicion that if we can only lift our foot off our current situation and look at the greater world in need and pain, we will find redemption for our hurting soul.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

This Gift of Love

I don’t usually subscribe to commercialism, especially not on Valentine’s Day. But I do love him, and I think spending special, quality time is important, never mind the crazily exorbitant flowers, over priced chocolates and insanely packed, dimly lighted restaurants.

My pocket wasn’t full, so I made him a card. A really special card, because it came from my heart. It reads: “…together we’ll beat the crashing storm and ride our greatest waves.”


The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, but he knows the way to mine is a good book – and he got me one. Smart. This is the third book he’s given me on three separate, special occasions – The Man From Perfect for Christmas 2005, The Kite Runner for Christmas 2006 and now, the Chinese Cinderella for Valentine’s 2007. Sweet, isn’t he? Yeah.


Delicious pasta, fried carrot cake, chocolates, About A Boy DVD and lots of hand holding. That’s my V Day for you. Hope yours was exciting in its own little ways. ;)

In retrospect

A journal entry on 18/09/06:

I'm more open, more adept and willing to learn. And the fortunate effect of this attitude is a smoother life with nice little surprises strewn along my path each day. The sky looks bluer, the clouds fluffier, the sun brighter, the rain cooler, the traffic bearable.

But I did not arrive here in a day. It took a necessary long walk along a harrowing stretch of dark valley over 11 grueling months. Months and days where I refused to get out of bed, got to work late or not at all, feigned sick on once too many occasions, displayed unpleasant and sour attitude at work to both fellow colleagues and bosses alike.

As I was slipping down the broad and welcoming well of depression, scratching my nails on the walls of despondency, I was such a pitiful sight even my loved ones offered no solace and I succeeded at disgusting myself. I should thank the good Lord He did not leash His whip from heaven down on my pathetic buttocks. He patiently held my hands and led me through the valley; while I made numerous attempts to break myself free from His grip of grace. Thank God His grip was tighter than my obstinacy. It is good, I must say, to be open and jovial again.

The Man Who Sold The World

Composed by David Bowie but widely performed by Nirvana, this song I suspect, is really a spoof of an encounter with the man who saves the world - Jesus - and turning it around to an encounter with the man who sold the world - the devil?

The Man Who Sold The World

We passed upon the stairs,
We spoke of was and when
Although I wasn't there
He said I was his friend
Which came as a surprise
I spoke into his eyes - I thought you died alone
A long long time ago

Oh no, not me,
We never lost control,
You're face to face,
With the man who sold the world

I laughed and shook his hand,
I made my way back home,
I searched for form and land,
Years and years I roamed,
I gazed a gazely stare,
We walked a million hills - I must have died alone,
A long long time ago.

Who knows, not me,
I never lost control,
You're face, to face,
With the man who sold the world.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Irritation

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.

- Carl Jung

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Israel Times

Israel... aah, just the mention of it sets my heart a skippin' and my lips a smilin'... I love Israel, even if I have only been there once, for 10 good days, in June 2004.

Was doing research on sports on the net and was surprised to see mentions of Israel in an online sporting magazine from Florida, "Competitor Southeast Online".

The first image that caught my eye was the magnificent Dome in the city of Jerusalem, and as I read on, discovered myself an interesting blog. Here's the first paragraph to the blog by the editor of the magazine, Mr. Greg Pressler:
I’m always amazed at what I see during an early morning run, and I’ve found that these journeys help to solve a lot of problems. Maybe an early morning run is a way that our world can start to help bring peace among nations.
Do check out the rest of his blogs. If you haven't been to Israel, this may be a nice introduction. ;)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The people's President

Hailed as one of the greatest and kindest President Americans have had, the legacy and memories of Ronald Reagan live on as he lived his life in submission to God and love for people.

From The White House Biographies and Wikipedia:

He was born Ronald Wilson Reagan on February 6, 1911. He attended high school in nearby Dixon and then worked his way through Eureka College. There, he studied economics and sociology, played on the football team, and acted in school plays. Upon graduation, he became a radio sports announcer. A screen test in 1937 won him a contract in Hollywood. During the next two decades he appeared in 53 films.

As president of the Screen Actors Guild, Reagan became embroiled in disputes over the issue of Communism in the film industry; his political views shifted from liberal to conservative. He toured the country as a television host, becoming a spokesman for conservatism. In 1966 he was elected Governor of California by a margin of a million votes; he was re-elected in 1970.

On January 20, 1981, Reagan took office. Only 69 days later he was shot by a would-be assassin, but quickly recovered and returned to duty. His grace and wit during the dangerous incident caused his popularity to soar.

Reagan had an easy-going but deep Christian faith. Reagan's mother, an active Protestant, taught Reagan lasting values at an early age, such as a strong sense of personal responsibility and Christian tolerance for other people. Reagan recalled in his autobiography An American Life that "my mother always taught us: 'Treat thy neighbor as you would want your neighbor to treat you,' and 'Judge everyone by how they act, not what they are.'" He was appalled when he witnessed discrimination and was taught repeatedly that racism and was one of the worst sins possible. "My parents constantly drummed into me the importance of judging people as individuals", Reagan recalled.

By the time he became president, Reagan held a few simple but firm convictions about God and life, and he believed that living by these basic principles would solve many personal and society problems. Reagan warmly looked back to his childhood in Dixon where "you prayed side by side with your neighbors, and if things were going wrong for them, you prayed for them - and knew they'd pray for you if things went wrong for you", he wrote in An American Life. "Every individual is unique, but we all want freedom and liberty, peace, love and security, a good home, and a chance to worship God in our own way; we all want the chance to get ahead and make our children's lives better than our own."


Reagan formed his general policies around these views and then left the details to others to handle. Reagan believed that his presidency had a higher meaning to be treated as a temporary gift of responsibility. As president, Reagan spoke to numerous Christian groups and naturally attracted voters with traditional values. However, his son Ron Reagan said at his father's memorial service that he did not blatantly "wear his faith on his sleeve to gain political advantage".

Numerous people reflected in their memoirs that President Ronald Reagan was personally one of the kindest men they had ever met. Even his political enemies found it hard to hate him, since he was so sincere and charming.


Reagan's burial site is inscribed with words that President Reagan said at the opening of his presidential library:
"
I know in my heart that man is good. That what is right will always eventually triumph. And there’s purpose and worth to each and every life."



Top left:
From the trailer for Cowboy from Brooklyn (1938), one of Reagan's earliest films.

Centre:
Ronald Reagan on the cover of Time as "Man of the Year", 1980.

Bottom right:
Vice President Bush, and President Ronald Reagan and Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev in New York City in 1988

Bottom most centre:
Speaking in front of the Berlin Wall on June 12, 1987 Ronald Reagan challenged reformist Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to go further with his reforms and "tear down this wall"


Afghan - Innocence Lost & Found

What's currently adorning my desktop is this picture of a pair of Afghan children. It serves as a reminder that there is much beauty and innocence in children - whether they are born and raised in a land torn by political, social and national strife does not eliminate the fact that they are fully entitled to an upbringing of love, warmth, peace & hope.




Monday, January 15, 2007

Robert Mapplethorpe - Art & Sensuality


When does provocative art become educational? When society liberates itself to accept the freedom of expression in a talented individual enough to recognise his/her giftings in a particular field of art. For example, Robert Mapplethorpe (1946 - 1989), the famous New Yorker photographer who created much controversies with his choice of photography. The purpose of this post is not to promote undesired art/images, rather it is written and published with the view to encourage an open, adaptable and unrestricted worldview.

The long article below is entirely plucked from a unique site (http://www.glbtq.com/arts/mapplethorpe_r.html).

Gifted American photographer Robert Mapplethorpe brought rigorously formal composition and design, and an objectifying "cool" eye, to extreme subject matter. In so doing, he sparked a firestorm of outrage that led to debate about the public funding of art in the United States.

Born into a Catholic family in Queens, New York on November 4, 1946, Mapplethorpe grew up in suburban Long Island. He studied painting, sculpture, and drawing at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn from 1963 until 1969, when he moved to the Chelsea Hotel with the singer and poet Patti Smith, who was to become one of his favorite models.

In the early 1970s, Mapplethorpe began making black and white photographs. In 1972, he began a long-term intimate relationship with Sam Wagstaff, former curator of the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford and the Detroit Institute of Arts, who served as his mentor as well as his lover.

Wagstaff encouraged Mapplethorpe's photography and helped arrange for his first solo show, "Polaroids," at the Light Gallery in 1973. Subsequently, Mapplethorpe began exhibiting widely and quickly earned a reputation as an extraordinarily accomplished photographer.

In 1978, Mapplethorpe published the X Portfolio and the Y Portfolio in limited editions. X centers around photographic images of S&M behavior, while Y focuses on flowers and still lifes. In 1981, Mapplethorpe published the Z Portfolio, which focuses on black men, also in a limited edition.


Together, these three portfolios represent his best known work and his persistent themes. His photographs typically combine rigorously formal composition and design with extreme - often explicitly sexual - subject matter. Even his still lifes and other non-sexual images convey a strong sexual aura.

Mapplethorpe's gaze is particularly noteworthy for its cool detachment even when recording scenes of intense sexual activity. The artist typically presents masculine bodies as objectified icons of desire.

Mapplethorpe's objectification and fetishization of the black male body has been particularly controversial, especially since the publication of The Black Book in 1986. The controversial photograph "Man in a Polyester Suit" (1980), for example, features a black man in a slightly wrinkled three-piece suit. The image is cropped both at the chest and above the knees. Hanging from the suit's fly is a large, semi-erect, uncircumcised penis.

In another image, "Philip Prioleau" (1979), a naked black man is seated on a wooden pedestal, his back facing the viewer, a paper backdrop in the background.

But the accusations of objectification and exploitation have been countered by readings of these images that point out the artist's practice of naming his sitters and that emphasize the erotic balance between sitter and photographer. As a gay photographer, Mapplethorpe was frequently implicated in his own, sometimes transgressive, sometimes idyllic, desire.

In 1986, Mapplethorpe was diagnosed with AIDS. The following year his companion and mentor Sam Wagstaff died of complications resulting from AIDS.

In 1988, the artist established a charitable foundation to support AIDS Research and photography projects.

In 1988, Mapplethorpe's first American retrospective was presented at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. However, the following year, shortly after the artist's death on March 9, the traveling exhibition, "Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Moment," begun at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, created a fire-storm of controversy.

Senator Jesse Helms actually destroyed an exhibition catalogue on the floor of the United States Senate, igniting a debate that ultimately decimated public funding for the arts and challenged First Amendment rights. In a shocking capitulation to political pressure, the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D. C. cancelled the show just prior to its opening.

Some of the controversies sparked by Mapplethorpe's photographs have settled, but his work continues to remind us that the perfect moment may be as fleeting as the click of the camera's shutter.




Sunday, January 14, 2007

Postmodern Painting

A project on postmodernism got me and my friend on a research spree. Here's one on a painting by postmodernist painter, Francisco Clemente. Below's our synopsis of the painting in light of our understanding of postmodernism.

Title of the painting: Play
Artist: Francisco Clemente

Synopsis: A young boy entangled in the game of love and confusion. There’s a saying that warns us not to play with fire. Falling in love at a young age, without the maturity to handle the commitment and complexity of love, throws the boy into a state of total confusion. He wants to escape but is chained to “love”. He loses his mind and is in a wreck.

Moral: Dabble not in love without the heart to commit.


Friday, January 12, 2007

Cultural Differences

Cultural and societal differences are pertinent everywhere. The very essence of culture is that it forms, shapes and dictates differences among people of different groups, ethnicity, interests, nations, etc.


My sis has been living in UK for slightly more than 7 months now, and here are some of her observations of what you get in UK that you don't here in Asia:


1. Romantic Passion: There's no white fluorescent or bulb lights here. They are all dim orange lights.

2. Public Emphasis: All the room doors can't be locked. There's no latch or keyhole to the doors.

3. Generous Acts: You can bring the hangers home when you buy clothes from the shops.

4. Fresh & Green Campaign: All the plastic bags from the supermarkets have holes in them.

5. Self- service is the best service: You have to pack your food into the plastic bags in supermarkets unless you request the staff to do it for you.


Friday, January 05, 2007

Ethnic Cleansing

No one should be ashamed of anybody, especially when evil and injustice haven’t been done. No one has a right to ethnic cleansing. What is ethnic cleansing, anyway, if not the devil’s tool for the extension of his destruction upon mankind? What kind of demonic ideology is it to rid a race/group different or supposedly inferior to yours? Who decides on such atrocities anyway? Certainly no man ought so.

This morning I saw a thin old man walking closely behind his equally frail wife. She had difficulty walking, for I saw a walking aid nearby at the corner where it was left on purpose so she could learn to exercise her leg muscles. He stood close behind her not only to encourage her to take forward steps, but to assure her that he is just behind and should she fall, she need not fear because he is right behind for support. That is the kind of love that should be shared abroad. Not hate and discrimination and certainly not ethnic cleansing.

I’m reminded of the year 1991, the year my thirteen year old mind understood ethnic cleansing and inhumanity. Sitting in the living room of my JB house, watching the grim scenes on the television with my dad and sis. I think mom was there too, but she couldn’t bear the brutality and left the room for household chores. I remembered how my tears rolled and my heart bled a thousand times over. I kept asking my dad why can’t the US or UN, or anyone, for that matter, do anything to stop the Bosnian annihilation. Despite the grave tone in which I queried my dad, he took my seriousness in wanting to help lightly and said to my dismay, what can we do? I remembered my resolute reply which I believed with all my heart then – that I will grow up to fight for justice. Maybe not then in 1991, for I was yet young, but someday when I grow up I will. I have not yet found my cause to fight for, but up till then I thank God I have found an outlet in writing.

Afghan Children

The beautiful children of Afghanistan. Look at the innocence and hope engraved in their eyes. I do not understand and certainly abhor the atrocities of ethnic cleasing in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Middle East, in times past and present. God I pray for protection, peace & harmony upon the land.

















Thursday, January 04, 2007

To Mr. Khaled Hosseini

Questions I'd like to ask and thoughts I'd like to share with Mr. Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner:

How do you write like that given that your profession is a doctor?

Have you always written stories growing up like Amir?

How did you come up with such a gripping plot?

Do you write with the end in mind or do you weave the characters and plot into your story as you go along?

Really, I dread reaching the last page of the book because I’m so enraptured I can’t let go. Not a middle easterner myself yet I could identify so closely with the characters that my heart bled as though their grief were mine.

How do you capture the readers’ hearts and minds the way you do?

I have never been this inspired to work on my passion before. Thank you for bringing to surface what has been brewing in my heart and dream machine for so long – a desire to write a great story.

Provocation

Dec 31st 2006 saw me and Jason’s family at KLCC for the New Year countdown fireworks display and gave me a bad brush with a Malay punk amidst a throng of people. He asked for money and I kept silent. I looked around for safety but saw nonchalant faces oblivious to the predicament that I was in. I felt cornered and replied I have none. That pissed him off and he raised his voice a little asking me how much I could give him. Once more I replied I had none, became angry because I got no help and summoning an equally pissed and angered look to match his, I walked off. Thankfully he pursued no more and I saw him no more.

I was mad because I was nearly extorted money in my own country. I was mad at the social decadence I saw in the capital city. Young punks harrowing the streets like mafias with drugs, weapons and women in tow. It makes me mad that I am not safe in my own country, while I’m breathing the same air and living the same culture as my fellow citizens. It makes me mad that much as I love my country and wish to step foot more often than I do, I fear for my safety and that of my family remaining and loved ones I bring to journey with me each time. I wish to bring about a change. I wish I could do something.