Saturday, April 18, 2009

Awed

Would just like to share something that I feel is incredibly inspiring :)

Lucy Symons who is currently in Aiesec International recently went on an expedition to Antarctica, led by Robert Swan who founded 2041, an organization dedicated towards the preservation of Antarctica through the promotion of recycling, renewable energy and sustainability to combat the effects of climate change.


Photos courtesy of John Luck

Do check out the video on the homepage of 2041 which just gives you an idea of how breathtakingly beautiful Antarctica is and the impact of global warming on what seems like Heaven on Earth.

http://www.2041.com/

But not just in Antarctica, climate change is happening all around us; bushfire in Victoria, floods in Queensland, snowstorms in London. So hop over to the green thing on what specific actions you can take to ensure a sustainable environment :)

http://www.dothegreenthing.com/


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Up Up & Away...

As I sit on my backyard, looking at the white puffy clouds ease by, listening to Mayer, I think it is apt to reflect back on the months and even year that went by.

The trip away was great, sorta the first big break after uni. Seeing familiar faces back home, things that brought back childhood memories, food glorious food that is truly incomparable, you wonder why you left, the comfort of home enveloped.

Then you flew to the first independent adventure (sorta, with mom in tow but hey, that adds to the challenge!) Unfamiliar grounds called for new-found navigation skills. Each day ahead brought new experiences, some good, some bad, some better, some worse but all the more enriching.

My favourite moments are:

1) The moment I walked through an opening into a lookout of the breathtaking Vltava River at Vysehrad;

video


2) The chiming of the bells at the top of the La Sagrada Familia tower;


3) The atmosphere at Park Guell with the lazy afternoon sun beaming against the backdrop of beautiful Barcelona with different music by buskers all around.

Other highlights include:




  • Cultural escapade at Granada with the visiting of the Moorish influenced Alhambra in the morning, followed by a traditional tapas lunch and yumcha at an arabic Kasbah tea house, followed by a massage at the Arab baths and finally, a Flamenco performance to end the night;
  • Sitting in a very bumpy train ride over cobblestones through Toledo to see the view of the old capital of Spain which retained most of its charms til today;
  • Seeing old friends, new friends, all very much missed;
  • AND The top would be hanging with the bro and the sis after 2+ years apart :)
But of course, the biggest adventure would be the stolen passport and having something taken from you without your knowledge/permission not once, not twice but freaking THREE times! The incident at Madrid unveiled the very thing that I'm most afraid of, that I'm unable to survive or be independent on my own. Emotionally, I was a wreck but at the same time, it forged a bond with the brother whom I had so often not taken the time to get to know better. Together, we roamed the streets of Madrid, with me often teary and him getting dirty glances from old ladies.

From there, more anticipation and nerve-wrecking anticipation just in case they don't let me into London, the theft on the plane from Bahrain to KL, the major hassling and begging in the Immigration Dept, the worry of not being able to catch my postponed plane back to Melbourne, the guilt of goyang kaki-ing in Msia while my colleagues cleaned after my mess.

On the other hand, it was the first CNY back home in 2 years, hanging with the Poo at her brand spanking new house so overall, I wouldn't say its entirely a horrific experience to lose one's passport. At the very least, it taught me to be a little less dreamy and a little more realistic. And it did make me really want to come back to work. Yes, work! The craving for routine and stability after all the uncertainty. There's a new-found calmness as well, maybe it's maturity but sometimes it fades away amidst the busy, trying-to-juggle-everything gain life! But ultimately, the person that you have to beat is yourself. The one who challenges you to be the best that you could, not your peers, not your family, not anyone else.

And it did put me off travelling for a while but the itch is coming back again. Lol.. If you ask me, am I still up for Africa, I'm not entirely sure anymore, I am still very very keen but the fear of misfortune, the unforeseen, will loom closely but will that be enough to stop me, I seriously doubt so!


Monday, October 20, 2008

The Extra Mile

She went beyond where the heavens are
and to the moon said, au revoir.
How naughty to have flown so far
without the permission of Papa.

"That is so beautiful, Maestro," Ospina said to the teacher. "When are you coming back?"


http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/10/20/america/20burro.php

No deeds too small, no dreams too big, to realise~

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Cookie Jar by Jack Johnson

I would turn on the TV but it's so embarrassing
To see all the other people I don't know what they mean
And it was magic at first when they spoke without sound
But now this world is gonna hurt you better turn that thing down
Turn it around

"It wasn't me", says the boy with the gun
"Sure I pulled the trigger but it needed to be done
Cause life's been killing me ever since it begun
You cant blame me cause I'm too young"

"You can't blame me sure the killer was my son
But I didn't teach him to pull the trigger of the gun
It's the killing on this TV screen
You cant blame me its those images he's seen"

Well "You can't blame me", says the media man
Well "I wasn't the one who came up with the plan
I just point my camera at what the people want to see
Man it's a two way mirror and you cant blame me"

"You can't blame me", says the singer of the song
Or the maker of the movie which he based his life on
"It's only entertainment and as anyone can see
The smoke machines and makeup and you cant fool me"

It was you it was me it was every man
We've all got the blood on our hands
We only receive what we demand
And if we want hell then hell's what we'll have

And I would turn on the TV
But it's so embarrassing
To see all the other people
I don't even know what they mean
And it was magic at first
But it let everyone down
And now this world is gonna hurt
You better turn it around
Turn it around

No end to B-L-A-M-E

Sunday, June 22, 2008

What If.....

What if you can leave behind all the material obsessions, the endless expectations & the demands of modern day societies aside?

What if you can embark on this adventure, one so remote, so profound that you're able to immerse and lose yourself in but rediscover the person deep within?

What if you can find all the little joys and wonders of life that you so often miss out on in pursue of the realistic dream?

What if......


Into the Wild tells the journey of Christopher McCandless, a man who was sick of the facades of modern society and the obsession with material comforts, gave his life savings away to charity, burnt his remaining money, cut all his identification and set out on an adventure of a lifetime, seeking the truth of survival out in the wilderness.

Perhaps this is an over-romanticized version of the truth, perhaps this is as most Alaskans regard it as a pointless fuck-up, you can probably guess what's the ending. But I'm not much of a critic, not much of a "I have a strong opinion on everything" kinda person. I act and think with my heart more than my head and like many others, I am sorta struck by this story of this particular man, although I do think that his actions were very harsh on his family.

As Emile Hirsch who portrayed Christopher in the movie said, "A lot of us have this sense of longing for adventure but most of us do not end up pursuing it, not for the wrong reasons though, but Chris did," and in some ways, he became the unlikely hero. There were a lot of arguments detailing how he could have very easily survived provided he had a bit more common sense, carried a map with him, etc. but ultimately, this is a story of a man who defied the norm, who went all out, perhaps too much to seek that unreachable goal.

Now how can we call such a man silly when the rest are so cooped up with chasing the rat race relentlessly, convincing ourselves that it's all going to be worthwhile in the end. Does staying safe and doing what is expected commendable and risking your life and doing the unknown silly? Perhaps, perhaps....

From all my previous posts you can see the sorta struggle that a young adult may face, I might be the minority here but it's definitely not easy to leave everything behind, and go for what the heart truly desires. Sorry the cliche-ness in me begins to resurface.

So the conclusion is, Yes I am moved and yes I did buy the book the following day, and yes I do have a major crush on Emile Hirsch now (giggles like a school girl) and I leave you with a very nicely summed up quote by Sherie Simpson, you can read her article "A Man Made Cold by the Universe" here which provides a more unbiased account of Christopher's story.

"Too late he learned that the hard part isn't walking toward the wilderness to discover the meaning of life. The hard part is returning from the consolations of nature and finding meaning anyway, a meaning lodged within the faithfulness of our ordinary lives, in the plain and painful beauty of our ordinary days."

And finally, feast your eyes!


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Here In My Home

I came upon something pretty cool yes on kennysia.com! Yes I still read his blog despite all the promo stuff, all the launches that he attended, the commercials that he shot, the talks that he gave! Oh well, the guy has come a pretty long way so I'll give him some credit for that.

My favourite part of his blog is the small talk at the top of his every post. Some of them are pretty interesting and that's where I came upon Malaysian Artistes for Unity :) It started off with this guy, Pete Teo, an independent singer/song-writer gathering a few of his celeb frens to make this video and song about anti-racism, and unity and solidarity, overcoming differences, seeing and feeling the love. Check out their website for more info http://www.malaysianartistesforunity.info/

video

So yeah kudos to those who take the first steps, however small, however insignificant, to bridge the gap. It's really up to our generation I believe and kudos to the bunch who dares face the inevitable, to voice it out, to put it out there, smack, it's not a stigma, it's every part of our daily lives and before u fix it, you gotta face it first :) Another step forward for Malaysia!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Where do we stand?

The Kite Runner tells the tale of friendship between 2 most unlikely individuals; a Hazara and a Sunni (Hazara being the de facto lower caste have been treated under decades of resentment, discrimination and abuse, all the more friendship). We see two boys growing up together, sharing their childhood, finding solace in each other, 1 being the master, the other the loyal servant but more often than not, as friends and even brothers. Finally being torn apart by feelings of insecurity, envy, cowardice and inevitably, their social status.

Besides the plot, readers were introduced to the cultures of Afghanistan; Buzkashi (similar to polo but hitting a goat carcass instead) and Gudiparan Bazi (kite-flying) as well as the historical background from the early invasion of the Soviet union in the 1970s to the emergence of the Mujahideen factions and of coz, the Talibans.

There were a lot of things that moved me in this book, the unwavering loyalty of the servant; "For you, a thousand times over", how ironic it is that the more you have, the less you become, the ties between father and son and an account or a glimpse into the life of the people of Afghanistan, past and present. What angers me is the inhumane treatment of human towards another human. Does skin colour or ethnicity matters so much? Does what your fore fathers did necessarily have to impact on the relationship between the present humankind? Is the history not there to learn and improve on but rather what we see is a continuation of what that shouldn't have been. I might be oversimplying things, afterall these are big issues and big problems but how I do wish that sometimes, people can just see each other as well people.

I was fortunate to attend a fund-raising event organized by a friend who wants to raise awareness and funds for the Invisible Women of Afghanistan. Most would have heard of the worst that these women had been undergoing but few would have known how to react or how to help but my friend and her sisters pooled together their resources and organized a night of great Afghan food, music and more importantly, advocacy and raising the money for this issue.

The event was very successful, the food was splendid. It was held in Nights of Kabul, an authentic Afghan restaurant which is a short walk from the Oakleigh station. The food is genuinely very tasty and it offers live Afghan music which I believe added a bit more spice to the food :) My lousy camera phone does this place no justice but do check it out if you are interested. www.nightsofkabul.com.au

Will put up proper video of the rubab and tabla performance soon. The tabla was played by tapping the fingers and palms on the instrument but what's really special is that when the person is playing, he's actually tapping out the lyrics of the song so for someone who knows the song, he or she knows exactly what the song is about without any words having to be said. One of the songs played was about the end of winter when the fields blossom again and lovers will walk through the field hand in hand.

There was also a guest speaker, Carmela Baranowska, the film-maker of Taliban Country, a documentary on the oppression of the American troops towards the locals in Afghanistan (you wonder whether it will ever end) and a representative from Revolutionary Association of Women of Afghanistan (RAWA), an independent organization fighting for human rights and social justice for the women of Afghanistan. One of the outcome of RAWA is Malalai Joya, who became the first women voted into the parliament only to be suspended by her fellow parliamentarians because she outrightly spoke the truth about the condition of her country and the plight of her people if the country is to fall into the hands of the high clergy members and fundamentalist leaders yet again.

I also had the rare opportunity to try on a Burqa (more photos later). The holes at the front were soo small, it was a wonder that I can actually see through it at all. The top part of the Burqa is really tight, I thought it just didn't fit me, I do have a big head but later on, I found out that everyone felt the same. It might be designed in such a way that when women wear it, it was meant to make them feel repressive. It is actually a very beautiful and intricate piece of clothing but the fact that women are being forced to wear it, how it restrict not only their movement but their freedom makes it so repulsive. I could not imagine having to wear it 24/7, everytime, everywhere and the truth is there is nothing in the Quran that impose the need for this treatment of women.


I was also very grateful for the fact that I had the chance to meet the real life characters of the book, not Amir or Hassan, but the people who did live through the war, the people who had no choice but to escape, to seek refuge in other countries under such extreme conditions, only to be held in detention centres for years when they thought they reached their haven. It is amazing looking across the table at someone who has been through so much but at the same time, they seemed so normal, speaking with such humility and matter of factly of what happened. It is amazing looking at the scars on their hands from their kite-flying days when I have just been reading about it 2 days ago, how Khaled Hosseini was describing in order to win the battle of the longest surviving kite, the kite-flyer held on tightly to the strings which cut through their skin and leave them with the scars that will be paraded when school starts, a testimony of the success that they had.

When I was reading the Kite Runner, I was adamant not to put down the book til I finish reading it although it was nearly 5 am and I had work the next day, I wanted to know the ending, a good one preferably. And when I did finish, I realize this is far from the ending, not for the real people of Afghanistan. For most, this is only the beginning, the beginning of a long, long journey.

We, living in our perfect lil bubble, never to have seen any real life crisis of this world, where do we stand?

Ps: For anyone who's interested in watching the Taliban Country, Invisible Women will be holding a fund-raising screening, so do let me know if you're interested!