Everyone Is An Unique Individual Among Many Unique Individuals

May 27, 2013 , 0 Comments

Just the other day, I was wondering about the human condition. What does it mean to be human? What makes us special in a unique planet filled with fascinating animals and amazing plants?

It's estimated that there're 7.086 billion people in the world. That's 7, 086, 000, 000 human beings. It's also estimated that each human being exist for less than a nanosecond, relative to Earth's age.

We claim that each human being is unique but how can everyone be unique in the grand scheme? How many beings, among the current 7, 086, 000, 000, are truly unique? How many are special since human beings came into existence some 50, 000 years ago?

We've all been had. We aren't as unique as we were led to believe. We aren't as special as our family, society and country tell us we are. We aren't as special as the advertisers tell us. "Treat yourself to this amazing holiday/ Lexus motorcar/ Louis Vuitton belt because you're special and you deserve it." It's all a lie.

We're all faceless individuals among the faceless masses. We've merely one face among many other faces. All of us are destined to live then die, perhaps leaving scars on the earth with our endless consumption.

Whoever cares about the individual blades of grass these daffodils have? Do you look at each grass blade and wonder about their greenness?

Or these yellow droplets of flowers. They're individuals, aren't they? But do they assert their individuality? Do they demand that we look at each of them in turn, to smell them, touch them, tell them that they're beautiful?

Even these Venetian Masks. They're just masks. Mass-produced masks whereby countless copies exist.

I thought that I was being too misanthropic, too critical of my own species. After all, I'm a human being too. If I absolutely believe that human beings are merely pimples on Earth's face, then what other truths could I grasp for me to want to survive? Maybe a shift in perspectives is required.

We're unique individuals among many unique individuals, true, but we aren't faceless. We're stars, among a constellation of stars. We sparkle in a galaxy that sparkles.

Perhaps we're still faceless, but faceless in a different way, faceless in a way that would allow us to live boldly. Knowing that we're individuals among many individuals, that there're fewer people looking at us than we imagined, knowing this could be liberating. Knowing that we're stars - just like those stars that we've admired... yes, we can be kinder towards the selves that we've denied and hidden away.

Perhaps we're just one among many, but there's power in being one, power in being one of many.


Treasure People Who Love Art

May 21, 2013 , 0 Comments

Treasure people who love art for they can bring you on a journey. They can share their excitement with you, their joy at seeing a squiggle of paint or a splatter of dots. They can show you the world, brilliant and beautiful, colours everywhere.

Treasure them for they can guide you to seeing more clearly. Red isn't just red; it can be crimson or ruby, even alizarin. Textures aren't merely textures; they can be grainy, gritty or globbly. These art lovers understand how subtle life is and are willing to share their eyes with you. They will point out to you sights that you've hurried past, those showers of pink blossoms and the red-breasted robin hiding within.

They're contented to watch clouds drift across an endless sky or waves crash against the rocks. They know that beauty dances on every surface if we'd just keep our eyes open.

The angular lines in a cityscape, the trees whirling by a bus, the speckles on a pebble, all vibrate with the joy of existing. Life is more than just assessments, bills and deadlines.

And they're interested in the world, fascinated by quirky facts. They might tell you that the iron smell of the sea results from sex pheromones by algae. (Now imagine that!) They might even tell you that a particular violet is 30% red, 26% green and 44% blue on Photoshop. Being around them can be delightful, in playful ways.

They're comfortable with sitting there and listening to your stories. While they listen, they admire the way light casts shifting shadows on your face, and casually remark that you look better than Mona Lisa. They'll pick up their pencils to sketch a portrait of you, reminding you of your awesomeness that you've suppressed.

They'll encourage you to realise your dreams of creating something, anything. They'll remind you that any building, any product and any artwork come from drawings. And a drawing is just a series of lines and a line is merely made up of dots. And everyone can draw dots. If you can draw a dot, you can create.

They'll let you know that you have magic at your fingertips and being what you want isn't as difficult as what you imagined.

Don't be afraid of visiting the museums with them. Don't fear that they'd ask you what's your favourite piece. You'd want to know what's the different between Surrealism, Expressionism and Impressionism. They'll let you know that these are merely labels that don't matter. Restrictive descriptions that are unimportant. All that matter is how the artwork resonates with you. They'll proclaim that your interpretation of art is as valid as theirs and remind you that no one should be allowed to tell you that your views don't matter.

Then, they'll gently suggest to you that maybe - just maybe - you could have chosen another artwork to be your favourite since the piece that you liked so much isn't worth liking that much anyway.

Don't be fearful of being seen in the public with them. They might have paint drying beneath their fingertips, some orange smears on their clothes, blobs of enamel paint in their hair. They know that it's okay to be messy for, ultimately, they're the only ones that they need to account to - themselves and the people they respect, people including you.

Learn from them for they're comfortable with failures. 

They know how the masters have struggled to paint their visions, how Van Gogh only sold one artwork while he lived, how art need not be art. They know that creating art is just a proxy to living, that loving, viewing and practicing art is, in essence, a way to live. Some might even say that experiencing art is the only way to live.

Art is about having a sense of discovery, an excitement at being alive, at living, at failing then being fulfilled. They know how it feels to fail - for each artwork is a new kind of failure - and they'll sympathise with your struggles.

They'll allow themselves to be vulnerable with you, not with their words, but with their drawings. Their art can't speak yet manage to say everything they wish you'd know.

And they'd breach the defenses that you've built up around yourself, knowing that frames and glass casings can't disguise your inner richness.

At times, they may be consumed by their endeavors, mired in a whirlpool of self-doubt and fear. They'd fret that they'd never amount to anything, that their art would never speak with an eloquence they hope it would. Reassure them, for that's when they need you the most.

They might worry that they're merely moulds, fitting in to the stereotypes that our society oppress them with. They might need you to define their art for them - without you, their art has no meaning. Be there for them and they'd be grateful.

They're constantly reaching for something, trying to feel their ways towards a greater truth, a greater power. It's a quest for an undefined perfection. It's a quest to be infinite. They don't know what they've been searching for until they found it, until they achieve the feeling that everything seems right.

These art lovers would want to share that moment of endless harmony with you. Please share it with them.

They're constantly testing boundaries, loading their brushes (or pencils or clay) with the resplendence of life.  Line by line, colour after colour, perhaps they'd attain something that could complete us.

So treasure them, treasure these people who love art for they need to be treasured and they'll treasure you in turn.

At the same time, treasure art, treasure the different forms that beauty takes for it'd make you more likely to be treasured in time.

Treasure the art lovers around you and they'd
treasure you in turn.


8 Life Experiences

May 19, 2013 , 0 Comments

And then, we convince ourselves that what we want aren't really what we want. We rewrite the stories, paint over the partially coloured canvases and pretend that we don't have those dreams. 

Those dreams that we believe in and hope for and hanker after, they're no longer. 

It's one of those quirks about failing. Once, we consider it an experience. Twice, a trial. And, if it happens too many times, we accept that it isn't meant to be, that we aren't good enough. 

We tell ourselves that what we've are sufficient, that we should be contented. 

This way, we soothe our envy. This way, we stop imagining.  We allow some part within to fester and die. In sacrificing the possibilities - the what-ifs and what-may-bes - we become at peace.

A professor reminded me of this post recently. We were talking about the nature of dreams - how to find the courage to strive for what we want and believe in. He noted that some Singaporeans gave up too easily.

Our chat was informal and insightful. There were no power relations; this professor didn't talk down to me. He was older, more experienced, a Cambridge PhD holder, more accomplished in the arts and my lecturer. I was (and still am) woefully younger, inexperienced, an NUS undergraduate and his student. On any of these grounds, he could have made a patronising speech. He didn't; for this, I'm grateful.

This professor has received awards in international arts festivals. He shared with me his life experiences:

1) Don't over-rationalise away your ideas/ aspirations

Far too often, we find reasons for ourselves not to do something. We convince ourselves that our parents would be upset, that there are no ways we can make a living out of it. We believe others when they trivialise our aspirations.

Don't do that.

It's often easy to explain away our hopes - but how do we live with this state of denial? Please just try. Sometimes, the barriers you've built in your mind are far more formidable than the ones you'll actually encounter.

2) Learn to be comfortable with who you are

Sit down, XY, and stop fidgeting. It's really okay. I know that showing people your art is always a nerve-wrecking event. Up till now, whenever I show my films, I'll cover my eyes with cupped hands and peep from the cracks between my fingers.

I've learnt, over time, to be more comfortable with who I am.

And you'll have to learn as well. Don't be so critical of yourself such that even you find it difficult to live with yourself.

3) Care for your efforts (even when others don't)

Sometimes, people just don't care about what you do. Back when I was in university, I was so excited after my one-year exchange and wanted to share my experiences with my friends. Then, I realised that they didn't really want to know that much:

Friend: "How was the exchange?"
Me: "It was great and I -"
Friend: "So glad to hear that you had an awesome time! Let's go and club now?"

You'd want to share your overseas adventures or the sweetness of success with people. You'd want to share an artwork, a program, an essay with your closed ones. These products, crystallised from hours of effort and thought.

But not all of them will appreciate or want that. You've to recognise that what's important to you may not carry the same importance to the people around you and you've got to respect that. It's critical that you appreciate your art, even when people around you just don't care.

4) Lose yourself in your efforts

You need momentum in your art. You need to pour more individuality within. I can't sense the person you're in your art.

Most people who succeed in a brilliant manner, they lose themselves in their endeavors. It's what they live for. They get all excited and hyped up over it. Is what you're doing now what you're living for?

5) Have confidence in failing repeatedly

It's one thing to taste success, but quite another to taste failure. It feels that there is a social stigma attached with failing in Singapore. Look, failing is not a disease.

Learn to expect and accept failures. You'll probably fail so often that it no longer matters.

True, failing hurts and, to some people, it hurts badly. But please don't let the fear of failing stop you from trying.

6) Speak up

Speak up more. Fight for what you believe in. Singapore has this aura which makes days blend into one murk. I'll wake up and think about what happened yesterday and I won't remember it.

The country has this very comfortable, numbing environment that conditions people to be less aware of their surroundings. We walk to the pedestrian crossing, look at the traffic lights, wait for the green man. Cross. It was never like that when I was overseas. When I was in the Middle East, I could remember the stucco walls that I passed by daily, the nooks and crannies of every streets.

This comfortable environment in Singapore has allowed many citizens to take their privileges for granted. In many ways, there're top-notch policies that citizens fail to appreciate. This comfortable environment has also allowed Singaporeans to become less questioning, less probing. More willing to accept the status quo and the associated problems.

Don't passively accept the truths that are handed to you. Question it, examine it. Understand it. Learn more about the nuances of issues. It's okay that you are for or against certain policies. Just don't do it blindly. And learn to speak up for what you have faith in.

7) Be open-minded to possibilities

People are so focused on pursuing the ideal job, so bent on the end results. They are so focused that they no longer see other possibilities.

In yesterday's class, I asked, "who knows why you're majoring in what you're majoring now. Come on, raise your hands, don't be shy." Only one person raised her hand. I've done this with many classes before and many young people just don't know what they want. It's such a waste. I wish that NUS has a policy of allowing modules taken in the first year to be ungraded so that students can explore their interests.

I once had another student. Fantastic designer. On an overseas field trip, she showed us sketchbooks worth of fashion designs. And, can you guess her major?

She's in Engineering. What's a pity about such cases is that you people tend to do well in the system - straight As and all. There's no need to be risk the safe and proven, for the unexplored, uncharted grounds.

8) Pursue your dreams when you're young

I'm glad that you found what you want to do. Have the courage to do it, especially since you're still young.

When you get older, you accumulate duties. You accumulate responsibilities and become tied down by them. I wish I've discovered what I now want to do when I was younger. It'd have been a lot easier.

And, above all, why do you wish to work? What're you striving for? You need a compelling reason to push forth. Can you find one? Do you have one? Is this going to be a part of your life?

I hope that you'll find the answers. Please try harder. And, all the best.


Memes on Life and Living

May 17, 2013 , 0 Comments

Memes are like flowers that can humour us into better moods. They can make a point without stinging. They can impart wisdom without being didactic.

Here're some interesting memes that I've came across recently:

"I haven't been this excited about a Friday, since last Friday."
Reminds me of this song.
Do remember to polish your intangible values.
"Laughter is the best medicine. Unless you're laughing for no reason...
then you need medicine." Then again, why do we need a reason to laugh?
"People change & things go wrong. But just remember, life goes on."
And here's my favorite:
I tend to think this thought during the exam periods.


Understanding Our World According To Dualisms

May 13, 2013 0 Comments

Why must everything be understood according to dualisms?

Mind/Body. Health/Wealth. Self/Other. Natural/Man-made. Induction/Emotion.

Why must everything be 'either-or's? This or that? You or me? Why must everything be understood according to labels?

"It's to make our lives easier." 

By grouping the phenomenon, people and places around us under distinct umbrellas, it's easier to make peace with the world. Easier to live, to survive.

He's an asshole. Ignore him. She's just terrible. Don't mind her. Life's like that. 

Or maybe labels that're even more insidious. He's a foreigner/ black/ white/ Asian. They all behave that way. Men/Women/ Lecturers/ Students are like that. Don't bother.

It's tough, to understand  and appreciate people as individuals and events as unique occurrences  It demands energy and time. It takes too much. It's easier to approach issues and people after labelling them with encompassing stereotypes.

Every now and then, that'd be reminders that we shouldn't paint everything with a broad brushstroke. There'd be stories about people who realise that others are individuals worthy of respect and love. There'd be memes about recognising the uniqueness of our colleagues, family and friends.

But why do we need these reminders? Why do we lapse so quickly and readily into stereotyping?

Perhaps, somewhere along the evolutionary arms race, we learned that it's profitable to stereotype, to simply class other animals as friends or foes and respond according to these schisms. Living becomes easier.

"It's to win arguments." 

Human beings, I'm beginning to realise, are argumentative creatures. Some are fairly egoistic and tend to argue for the sake of showing off or exerting influence.

One simple way of dismissing perspectives that one doesn't agree with is to polarise them.

By casting rival theories as the antithetical opposites, it's easier to advance one's position. It's easier to sound sophisticated and intelligent (without actually being so). All one has to say is, "oh, you're being emotional, let's be logical," or,"you're a non-anthropocentrist and there is a fundamental flaw with all non-anthropocentric paradigms, therefore you're wrong."

Perhaps even this: "You want a greater social safety net? Do you want to be like the UK and become a nation in debt?"

Just exaggerate the issue to the opposite end of a spectrum and confuse the other party. What a clever, easy and dismissive way of responding.

"It's a law of nature."

Part of me wishes that the world isn't understood according to distinct black-and-white labels. Yes, there are polarised opposites in Nature. Between these opposites, however, lie an entire dynamic range. These nuances - the shades of grey and every colour in between - they create beauty, diversity. They make life worth living.

And the other part of me? It sympathises. It understands the human compulsion to simplify ideas, to exert oneself, to find order within disorder.

Perhaps this is all part of being human, wanting two different things at the same time. Hoping to grow up, gain access to more opportunities - yet, wanting to remain youthfully innocent. Hoping the world to be complex and challenging - yet, wanting to understand it readily with broad terms.

Perhaps we're all dynamic bundles of contractions that even we, ourselves could not label clearly. In many ways, this reflects the brilliance of life and living.

Source Credit: Google Images


An NUS Confession by a Lonely Chinese Student and a Reply by Another International Student

May 11, 2013 0 Comments

The below sharing, on NUS Confessions, was by a Chinese student. He spoke of his loneliness in a foreign environment.

An NUS Confession on 9th May 2013.
All images are from NUS Confessions.
"I am an international student. I am a guy from China, which sounds not attractive as American or European countries. Don’t blame me for my bad English. I have a few words to say. Frankly speaking, I didn't quite enjoy life here. Chinese students form the largest group of international students here, but what I have experienced is that, our existence is marginalized.

Being foreign to this country and enjoying scholarships paid by taxpayers of this country, we are enjoying the privilege that many people here are unsatisfied with. Unfortunately because of a few rich Chinese immigrants’ misconduct, it seems many people here have gotten the impression we are receiving money without any gratitude. But can a few people represent a whole group? Moreover, it may not be reasonable to compare those uneducated people with university students.

When it comes to the word ‘educated’, I always think of the clean streets here, well regulated traffic, the cars which give way to me when I am crossing the road…Almost everything here, under the guidance of educated Singapore people, operates well. At daytime it’s like that, while at night, the dark side appears.

The westernized and open county fosters young people who are so energetic that other people like me from a long suppressed country feel unable to understand. The loud music, symphony or pop, at 1am, is noise to me. And I believe, put in any country, it would also be annoying.

Speaking and shouting loudly at 2am, are what happen usually in hall among Singaporean students. As we are the minority, we have no way but to understand and stand. Yesterday my neighbour finished all his papers and watched comedies at late night to celebrate. It was nothing wrong but it drove your neighbour crazy when you brought your buddies and kept laughing. I felt so blessed I also finished my last paper yesterday, but what if I had one more today?

I love Singapore and love the dynamic way of your life. I tried hard to incorporate myself in your group in the first semester. I participated in every hall and block event to familiarize myself with the people in hall, standing close to them to listen, and talking as I could. After self-introduction, they immediately formed into their own groups and ignoring me. Just like now, I greet to every Singaporean student I know in our hall with a smile when I meet him/her, and ironically 1 second later we pass by each other. That was acceptable at the beginning because it always takes time to know each other. But finally I gave up, with recognition of the great difference and indifference.

Language is not a barrier, which is true, but wrong for us. We spoke the worst English among all international students. Although most Singaporeans speak Chinese fluently, English has become the dominant language, so has the western-oriented culture. Really, before I came here, I thought the people here with same roots would kindly treat their ‘relatives’ from China. It turns out that there is a great gap and I anticipate the gap would become even greater in later generations.

I am not appealing to remind you of your roots. I am just talking about the gap. I wonder how come you show apathy to a newcomer, from a country you actually know little, with a background that you never experienced. I wonder why you are compelling us to be phantoms, unable to enjoy your recreational activities, so have more time to study then rob you of your dean’s list and push you to the other slope of the bell curve. I wonder what the impressions of Chinese people and Chinese students in your eyes are, and wonder whether you wonder about the impression of you in our eyes.

Lastly, I should acknowledge that all the words above are based on my personal experience and personal opinion. This is neither a complaint about exams nor a sex anecdote. Pardon me if you feel you waste your 2 minutes on my terrible English."
I wonder who this person is, if he's anyone I know. I wonder if he has close friends from China and the reasons for his solitude. Is he homesick? Does he have anyone he could chat with and confide to? I also wonder why he didn't encounter any welcoming Singaporean.

Many Chinese friends have reassured me that Singaporean students are, in general, quite friendly. But is this still the case, given the souring sentiments towards foreigners? And are Singaporeans really against foreigners or against the pro-immigrant policies? Surely, there must be a difference. Do younger Singaporeans, around this particular student, even care about such political issues which have yet to dramatically influence their lives? Is this student coming up with unjust reasons for his isolation?

Such issues are complex; there can be no easy generalisations. Without knowing who he is and what he has been through, it's impossible to form an accurate opinion. So, I could only keep wondering.

I hope that this Chinese student is able to find the companionship he seeks, that he doesn't stop trying to make friends and local students respond to his gestures. I hope too that his friends from China are able to offer him support. Take care, man.

One day later, another foreign student shares his perspectives:
An NUS Confession on 10th May 2013.
Doubtless the issue of foreigners is a bone of contention in Singapore.

As a foreigner on a scholarship to study here at NUS, I've got something to say:

1. As a foreigner, I felt and still feel that the onus is on the foreigner to adapt to Singapore, not the other way round - we don't see a conch shell changing such that the hermit crab can fit in; the hermit crab has to endure the discomfort and tries its best to fit in.

2. Which is why, before I came, I read to familiarize myself with the tiny red dot. I finished the two volumes of Mr Lee Kuan Yew's memoirs - though some locals seem to dislike Mr Lee, what better way is there for a foreigner to preliminarily understand a country's psyche than read the first hand account of the very statesman who has built up the island? While on campus, I read more: the late Mr Goh Keng Swee's biography, et cetera.

3. I also read as much as I possibly on Singaporean linguistics and culture - two most important aspects that I deem are key for integration. I confess that I'm a Grammar Nazi and have little penchant towards mangled versions of English. But compromise must be made as I'm the hermit that needs to fit in the conch shell. By now I've got used to using Singlish fluently. And I was surprised that a tutor in the School of Computing, presumably an international PhD student, had had no idea of Singlish whatsoever until I told him that; I mean, how can a trout be that oblivious to the fact it lives in river water and not sea water?

4. Personal hygiene is also a problem. How you smell speaks volume of your hygiene. Sometimes, while queuing in the canteen, I doubt whether someone with the latest Paris ensemble of dung ball accessories dangling at their waist and shirts that hadn't been changed for weeks, who had mistaken a concoction of rotting materials as perfume and sprayed it on themselves - whether someone like that had just walked past me. It is not that difficult to bath and keep yourselves olfactorily acceptable, is it?

5. Lastly, some foreigners have bad manners. Firstly, I've heard some conversing unashamedly in interesting conversations full of vulgarity in your native tongue . I'm not being sanctimonious - who doesn't swear at times? But to treat vulgarity as the norm is, I suppose, not good. Secondly, being acoustically disturbing certainly is not something we foreigners should do. Even back in your own country, you won't speak loud in a library or a study room, will you?

6. I also wish to take this chance to thank Singaporean taxpayers for giving me the scholarship. I know some may accuse me of obsequiousness and of kowtowing to Singaporeans, but, if you have a mother who got diagnosed with depression over her guilt of being unable to fund her son's studies, you know, no, this is not kowtowing, this is a little gesture of gratitude. A sincere one. To utter deprecations of Singaporeans who fund your scholarship is monstrously unacceptable.

7. Note that I've not singled out any nationality; there are black sheep from all nationalities and to generalize is foolish.

8. Note also that I ain't alluding that foreigners ought to be subservient to Singaporeans, nor Singaporeans to foreigners; respect and dignity should be the order of the day for all.

9. Thanks for reading.
These differences in viewpoints are illuminating. The former student shares his difficulty in adjusting to a new environment while the latter seems more empowered to adapt.

In life, most of us have ultimate control over how we choose to understand and react to the circumstances around us. It's comforting to know that we have such powers, yup.


Upfront! with Shawn Lee, Photographer Capturing Light

This article is concurrently posted on The Kent Ridge Common.

All photos are taken by Shawn Lee.
Shawn Lee is a 25-year-old photographer who does freelance editing and photography. His photos capture the lyrical beauty of transient moments. Do take a look at his photos here.

It's with pleasure that we now chat with Shawn.

Hi, Shawn, tell us a little bit about yourself –

I’m born and raised in Singapore.  Singapore is pretty much 'home' to me.

Did you study photography in school?

No, I studied engineering in poly. I’ve always enjoyed looking at photos of other photographers back in those days. Gradually, I started to learn the basics of Photoshop from the Internet. I only got my first camera in 2008 and it was a Panasonic lx3.

How would you describe your style?

I don’t really know what style I would categorize myself as.. but I like my photos to be as simple as possible, minimum distraction. I like to capture the candid expressions of my subjects, getting their most natural expressions.

What is your favorite theme?

I enjoy street photography a lot. There is something special about it that makes it very interesting to me. I don't really know how to put them in words but there is a certain 'beauty' in street photography. The candid expressions of people, some particular moments and sometimes, the pure randomness of the photos. It’s hard to explain.

All the cover photos in your online album are in black-and-white (BnW). Do you have a special preference for them?

I think I do have a preference for BnW photos. The reason for having BnW cover photos in my online site is to keep the page as simple as 'clean' as possible. There is a certain beauty in BnW photos that words can’t explain. A 'good' photo is more than just rich vibrant colours, it’s also about the lighting, composition and subject. At times, without the 'distraction' of colours, one can truly appreciate a photo in unique ways.

What equipments or software do you use?

I am a Canon user, I don’t hate Nikon. Many people always ask me, “why Canon and not Nikon? Which brand is better?” To be honest, I don’t think there are any significant differences between them that can cause one to lose sleep over which brand to adopt.

How important is Photoshop in processing your images?

For editing, I use both Lightroom and Photoshop.

I use Lightroom for simple editing. Only use Photoshop for more complicated work.

Are you a Mac or PC lover?

I’m a PC user right now. Not really a lover of any system, as long as it serves its purposes, I’m happy to use it.

If you’re not a photographer, what would you be?

To be honest, I’ve got no idea. Haven't thought about that question.

What is it about photography that captivates you?

Photography is the closest thing we have to a time machine.

And what would you like to be in 5 years?

Haven't think about what would happen in 5 years. More important to enjoy what is going on now. 5-years-later stuff is for 5-years-later Shawn to worry about.

Thanks, Shawn, for your candid responses!

Here're more photos that Shawn took:


Why not take a closer look at Shawn's archive here?


Chinese Humour

May 07, 2013 , 0 Comments

The below analogies play on the multiple meanings that a Chinese character may carry. Can be rather interesting if you are versed in Chinese language!

2月30日  星期一  晴

今天一天都没有出太阳,真不好,爸爸买回两条金鱼,养在水缸淹死 一条,我很伤心。




































小朋友 写:一列火车经过,况且况且况且况且况且况



A Starfish Story, A Parody

May 03, 2013 , 0 Comments

An old man was walking on the beach one morning after a storm. In the distance, he could see someone moving like a dancer. As he came closer, he saw that it was a boy picking up starfishes and gently throwing them into the ocean. “Young man, why are you throwing starfishes into the ocean?”

“The sun is up, and the tide is going out, and if I don’t throw them in, they’ll die,” the boy replied.

“But, young man, do you not realise that there are miles of beach and thousands of starfishes? You can’t possibly make a difference.”

The boy listened quietly, then bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it at the old man. “Why you so like that, why you so like that? I give them all my love-love, but you never give me some.”
- adapted from the original by Loren Eiseley

The above parody speaks of the contest between the young and the old. The former can't wait to assert himself while the latter can't bear to lose control.

In a family, children yearn to be free but their parents yearn for them to tread the scripted paths.

In a society, the young seek fresh challenges while their elders seek an equilibrium, a status quo.

In a country, the youthful and energetic contest the narratives that their predecessors wrote.

Ah, the cyclic nature of living, the pulls-and-pushes of life. Everything flows with a dharmic ease, waxing and waning with melodic rhythms. Life begins, almost as quickly as it had ended. The young displaces the old, and are quickly displaced in turn.

Moss above Detritus,
Growth amid Decomposition,
Life spiraling out of the Dead 


Calvin and Hobbes Look at Stars (While I Look at Clouds)

May 01, 2013 0 Comments

Source credit: Google Images
These days, I have the luxury of lying down to watch clouds drift by. To rest on carpet grass without worrying about deadlines, articles and obligations.

Ever since the discovery that I could even worry about worrying too much, I've decided that I must rest my mind more frequently. Looking at clouds is, perhaps, the best way of relaxing.

There're clouds everywhere. It's not only easy to lift our heads to stare at clouds but cheap as well.

And it's fun, to see clouds as they transit between different shapes. Look! A dog-shaped cloud was blown apart and quietly evolved into the outline of a seahorse. Amazing. 

It's magical, how these clouds change and how our minds can always find meanings for them. 

Simple pleasure, that's what this is, simple pleasure we could do more with.