Sunday, May 31, 2009

"Little Star"

The missing stanzas from "Little Boat":

Little star, little star,
How you twinkle near and far.
Have you ever wondered why
Time goes by, time goes by?


Sing along, sing my song
As you twinkle all night long;
Till I wake to sail the deep—
Time to sleep, time to sleep.

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Says who #4

The best way to forget about something is to write it down.

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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Introducing a new blog

With my recent commitment to fulfill my dream of writing a novel-length book, I give you...


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Monday, May 25, 2009

InNoWriMos, if you may

I want to give myself a gift for my 30th birthday in November. And I thought of a most delightful thing I could ever give myself. A novel. Written by me. For me.

Or the first draft of a novel, anyway. For years I have wanted to write a book but never got to starting. I know if I don't do something about it now I might never do it. I don't want to wait another thirty years before I start. So from today onwards I shall pace myself to finish a 50,000-word first draft (thanks to the guideline from NaNoWriMo) by my 30th.

And I've worked out the maths. From today until my next birthday I have 167 days to fulfill the word-quota. That's approximately 300 words per day. Compared to the daunting timeframe of NaNoWriMo my "InNoWriMos" (Individual Novel Writing Monthsss) is a breeze!

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Says who #3

All your life you're only telling one story - over and over again...

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Saturday, May 23, 2009

On the pleasures of pain

How can you tell if you're a grownup? When you look back on your life more than looking ahead.

I was rereading some of the recent stuff I wrote and the mind is suddenly submerged in a lot of old sensations... Funny how I branded 'recent' as 'old'. A month easily feels like a decade when so much life is lived in the granules. Time dilates in the microbial universe of emotions and remembered emotions; it passes so slow these usually transient feelings are as though time-coded onto their assigned junctures - you cannot recall them without recalling the events they permanently affix to. Sense memory.1

There are two ways of responding to days when you don't know how to go on with so much water under the bridge. One is forbidden and the other is unspoken. The forbidden way introduces excessive fear that quickly leads you into despair. Too bad it is also the natural way because it is the easiest state to attain. Like rowing downstream. The unspoken way is unnatural but is unfortunately necessary to achieve sanity. It is rarely spoken of if ever. Hugely because not many people know what it is. Like seeing a caterpillar for the first time and being told its upshot is a butterfly. We just can't see it.

The only path to seeing what we need to stay sane is pain. There's no other way. Old age does not grant a person wisdom, nor does an infinite amount of learning at young age. Old people who are also wise only happen on old age by chance; the wisdom they have gained through painful experiences unwanted and unsought after their entire life. No one welcomes pain. Not even those who have had a pain-laden life and know deep down it's good for them. So a student of life asks, how is it any good to me?

The only way - in fact the only time - pain is good is when it is used as an antidote to itself.

The negation of pain is more pain. Don't think for a second that a masochist has spoken. If it were up to me I wouldn't have come up with such an oxymoronic idea. Life has amply terrorized me with its solemnity I know full well the denouement of a lying mountebank. All my life I have been captivated by a sort of lasting and honest pleasure I believed the world at large gives no credence to. Through providence even with faults of my own, I learned that the world at large is in fact looking for the same thing I do, and they, too, have been denied it. Instead of pleasure, they, too, were handed pain beyond belief.

But something happened after the pain: a silent, well-concealed pleasure like nothing else in the world. Silent because it is too modest to speak when it can. Concealed because it has no language of its own save the process itself; you cannot explain it to another even if you want to. But the closest I have ever come to a true, lasting pleasure was found in the scrapes of the deepest pains I have known.

It is useless to advise my fellow students to welcome pain hereafter if they, too, want a piece of this sublimity. I certainly did not when it happened to me. The language of the deepest secrets of life is very difficult in the first place, if not impossible. All I can effect is the recount. Whether or not it could happen to you too is a secret that you shall share in when you do!



1An aside: The reason why sense memory is false as method acting is perhaps because it is exclusive to life. The point of a play is not to mimic real life but to suggest it. Mimicry is the lowest form of theatre.

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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

The New Silent Generation (or "What I hate myself for")

Two things turned me inside out today while I was out taking a walk in the city. The first was my response to a comment I heard that fumed me, and the other was a display of apathy including my own; both belonged in their own ways to a disability to speak up caused by what I believe to be a derailed sense of morality that is weaving through the fibre of society.

When I boarded a tram a lady in the tram who was trying to get off after the other alighting passengers were gone said to her companion referring to the boarding passengers, "How rude these people are," and then raised her voice saying, "excuse us! We're trying to get off!" Then and there, my ears turned fuming hot and I so wanted to give the lady an earful about how it was her who dilly-dallyed when other passengers were alighting before her. How dare she blame others for her own indecision!

Another frustrating incident also happened to have taken place in a tram! - does public transport bring out the worst in people? A half-drunk youth was harassing two ladies seated next to him and for minutes after insufferable minutes, the women were left to their own limited resort to ward off the slurring nuisance and nobody went to their rescue!

The bottom line is, men from my generation (myself very much included) are incapacitated from acting as men when it counts. We are more than glad to stand by and watch others suffer than jump into the hot seat to relieve others. We haven't been taught how to stand up for the needy, but how could we? Men my age were raised by men and women born in the Silent Generation. As the Time magazine described our parents in 1951:

Youth today is waiting for the hand of fate to fall on its shoulders, meanwhile working fairly hard and saying almost nothing. The most startling fact about the younger generation is its silence. With some rare exceptions, youth is nowhere near the rostrum. By comparison with the Flaming Youth of their fathers & mothers, today's younger generation is a still, small flame. It does not issue manifestoes, make speeches or carry posters...

...so their children naturally follow in their footsteps.

I'm not asking my generation to issue manifestoes, carry posters or burn books. These things have been and should continually be debated for their validity. I don't even have the right to ask anything of others until I do something about it myself; as Chesterton was rumoured to have supplied the two-word answer to the question what's wrong with the world, "I am." All I can do is to refrain from inaction in the future when action is needed on the side of good. No more silence when speaking out could save. There would be no more fear of declaring the truth if the fear of God triumphs.

People suffer when we fall by the wayside. What are we going to do?

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