Juxtaposing light and death

September 30, 2010 0 Comments

Was a dispassionate observer for this art exhibition. Can't really relate to the theme - Death - presented. Disquieting, but for reasons unknown to me.

An altogether morbid exploration of dead. Inability to relate to themes presented, kind of distant and disquieting... Thank goodness, went with a friend, kind of fun, joking about the artworks. (though I'd have to admit it's disrespectful to the paintings and installations)

More info here.


Re-examining investing

September 26, 2010 0 Comments

Taking all my money off the table till I could reconsider why I invest. No, don't worry, didn't lose any money. In fact, I made a slight profit of few hundred dollars. But was unnerved as I had gradually lost sight of why I wanted to invest.

The realisation came not in dawning snatches spaced over time but in one disconcerting, jarring moment. Did not slowly became aware but was startled into awareness. Had been too caught up with making cheap money. To be more exact, the idea of making cheap money.

Had wanted to learn investing not to protect my meager assets from inflation, but to protect my innocence. A way to remain unsullied in the muddy waters. To put bread and butter on the table so that I need not put on a front to impress people I don't care for and things I don't care about.

Was initially inflamed by the idea of investing. Who else can I depend on but myself?

Turned out to be a cyclic conundrum. Investing is a dirty business. It is ugly, with banks and companies and investors each playing their own games. It is bitching in the discipline of macro- and micro-economics. It is a game of fireballs-tossing by greedy children who think it is safe picking. Was learning to spot the ugliness and in this way, became sullied. How ironic it is, to be sullied while trying to find a way of remaining unsullied!

Was, as Warren Buffett had said, giddy at the festivities. Almost forgot that all clocks will chime midnight.



September 23, 2010 0 Comments

Living with awareness.

He wants to experience the full spectrum of emotions. From the most radiant joy to the murkiest despair, from the river of aqua serenity to the ashes of broken dreams. He wants his life to be like a natural landscape, to have ups and downs. Yes, he thought, yes. He don’t mind experiencing valleys. After all, the most dreadful valleys can bring great joy when it’s finally over.

What he doesn’t want was for life to be a monotonous plane of grey.

He is, in a way, afraid of being entrapped in the mundane day-to-day life that academia thinly offers. He is scared of merely studying, of only studying, of losing sense of all that is important.

After a tiring jog, he perched lightly on a bench to observe people. There was a vacuum in their eyes, a tired slant in their sloping shoulders. They ought to be sad but sadness, it seemed, was too much for them to feel.


Following the Wrong Herd Around

September 20, 2010 , 0 Comments

The National Museum of Singapore has this amazing exhibition by Cai Guo Qiang

Head On, his impressive installation of 90 wolves crashing into one another, was displayed.

It's an awesome exhibition which evokes a contemplative frame of mind from the viewers. Wonderfully impressive in scale, realism and grandeur.

Brilliant shadows are cast on the black walls. Shadows of prancing animals, shadows that seem so solid that one almost forgets about their ephemeral nature.

And the shifting composition that interacts with and includes the audience! Brilliant.

It asks a pertinent question: are we following the wrong crowd over, about and around?


Pain, emptiness

September 17, 2010 0 Comments

'And what is it you wish this knowledge for?' he demanded in unrestrained, violent bitterness. 'Why is it so important to you!'

'As punishment.'

Richard stared in stunned disbelief. 'What?'

'I wish to hurt, Richard.' She smiled distantly.

Richard sank back to the ground.

'Why?' he whispered.

Nicci folded her hands in her lap. 'Pain, Richard, is all that reach that cold dead thing within me that is my life. Pain is the only thing for which I live.'

-excerpt from Faith of the Fallen, Terry Goodkind


Crying for attention (silently)

September 14, 2010 0 Comments

The scars on her arms were perturbing.

He felt the need to talk to her, to ask after her and express concern, even though they were mere strangers.

He had strolled into the theater, an hour late for his lecture. Feeling kind of badass for the partial truancy (which happened more because he didn’t keep track of time, not because he intended to be late). He was floating along, somewhat dreamily, until an intricate pattern on a girl’s arm caught his eyes.

It was a deliberate chain of lines, ridges formed by hardened scars. A neat line of bumps, eerily tidy. Deceptive order created by entropy. Systematic chaos. He tried not to look but his eyes sneaked back.

The girl was gently stroking her left arm this time. There were two deep and painful-looking, partially-formed scars. Each was a little crater of glistening red, laced with white pus. They were short, about the length of a thumb nail but seemed painfully deep.

For the remaining lecture, he felt nauseous. The images recurred jarringly in his mind.

He thought of expressing concern for the girl – after all, they’re both fellow human beings – but didn’t know how. Moreover, he felt scared, confronted by thoughts that are only vague but emotions, intense.

Then, he decided not to talk, feeling cowardly for running away from this girl’s cry. The silent cry for attention was ironically blatant. She didn’t even wear long-sleeves to cover the scarred arms. The cry was filled with primordial angst, with suppressed need, with existential ennui.

He wished he was experienced enough to know how to deal with her, to do something to alleviate her pain.

But wishes, as everyone knows, are merely wishes.


The Bluest Eyes

September 09, 2010 0 Comments

It has been quite some time since he last read a literary novel. He couldn't pretend that he wasn't deeply perturbed by the world portrayed by Morrison's words.

The Bluest Eyes by Toni Morrison... It is an achingly beautiful yet damning story. The plot revolves around an unloved, abused black girl who wants blue eyes just so that she can be seen and loved. She wants not just blue eyes, but the bluest eyes.
The white shopkeeper dare not touch the girl. Her mother's first thought upon seeing her, on the day of her birth, was how ugly she was. Every little hurt inflicted on the girl's frail soul is individually bearable but, collectively, the ache, it is simply too much for her to handle. She, in all naivety, equated blue eyes with admiration and love. Eventually, she got her blue eyes. She went crazy after being repeatedly raped by her dad and imagined herself to have not just blue eyes - but the bluest eyes.

Waiting for Barbarians, by J M Coetzee, condemns the intrusive, colonial forces. He has flinched after reading the first twelve pages of this book, put it down and decided not to touch the book for a good long time. For one night, he tossed and turned, sleeping only fitfully. By page twelve, the plot was centered around the torture of a little Native boy - by stabbing him slightly but repeatedly and maliciously in his stomach and groin.

Why must art be ugly? Is it a reflection of the world gone awry?

There's this part of him that wishes fairy tales are true, that fairy tales are still occuring within the modern world. There's also this childlike - childish? - part of him that wishes everyone would live happily ever after.


Inward Eyes

September 05, 2010 0 Comments

Her eyes no longer smile, he noted with disappointment.

There's no longer any personality behind the showy facade of gaiety and niceties. 'Hello, how have you been?' 'You know, right.''Maybe we can meet up next time?' Polite small talk filled the silence, the silence which would otherwise be painfully awkward.

He thought of many friends who had gradually lost themselves. (Have they lost themselves? Or are they just maturing and mellowing?)

They had became masters at concealing who they are so that they can fluidly adapt to different social circles. Their individual personalities are kept in tight check.

More soldiers in the burgeoning army of fleshy automata. More people who smile and talk and walk with cool, aloof purpose.
There was this comment that members from a certain elitist program and a certain humanities faculty have the higher percentage of people who smile but not smile.

Everyday, it is a parade of masks and everyday, eyes are glazed and smiles, fixed.

Is this abnormal or is it the norm?


A little surprise

September 02, 2010 0 Comments

It came at a timely moment, an unexpected salve to soothe one's wounded ego.

He was mulling - obsessing? - over a painful mistake he made. He was ignorant and he paid heavily for the ignorance. Since I've paid the price, I must learn a lesson, he comforted himself. It wasn't that bad after all. He didn't pick up his handphone (as it was set to silent mode) and missed an important call. This failure to pick up a call turned out to be as beneficial eventually as it was painful initially.

Then, while he was still trying to see the seed of optimism in the mists shrouding the mistake, an unforeseen shaft of wondrous white light penetrated his dreamy - mildly nightmarish? - reverie. He received a call from an unknown source and jolted awake to grab his mobile phone. He was unlikely to miss a phone call in the near future.

It was a call from SDN. He won some shopping vouchers - try counting the number of vouchers in the photo? - for participating in a little contest. The contents of the winning story was so mawkish, so sickly sentimental that any reader would unknowingly break out in goosebumps. He was pretty certain that the number of people feeling nauseous after reading the story would tend to infinity.

Any description of the story here could not do any justice to it. And so, he shall refrained from describing it. A silly smile stole across his face. This would be one epic moment that he could forever tease his brother about. :]