Monday, 15 February 2016

Valentines

Seated by the pier, they watched as the night sky filled with light- streaks of blue and red blazing across the expanse, effervescent yellow sparkles raining to the ground. The Wilsons cozied up against each other; New Year’s fireworks are always a sight to behold, even on a cold winter’s night. 

George whispered to Martha, “Nights like these are a gift.” 

“Mmm.. they are,” Martha agreed as she nestled her head on his shoulders. 

They sat in silence observing the fireworks in the distance. Little Dennis stood up and ran in circles completed wowed by the amazing display of fireworks exploding in the sky, lighting up dark chasm above, then fading away into darkness. Celebrations in silence are commonplace in the Wilsons- the New Year was no exception. 

George stared into the distant sky, seemingly deep in thought- “The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars..” 

“It does seem like an appropriate night to recite Kerouac.” 

“More appropriate that I found you- or that you found me” he replied, his arms over her shoulder pulling her close. 

“Mad. Both of us.” 

They laughed at themselves- they knew the madness of falling in love, they knew the madness of falling out of love and they knew the madness of keeping the oath they made to each other in all circumstances- "till death do us part"

They pondered on the many obstacles and deep waters they had overcome thus far in their marriage and were filled with thankfulness to God; it had almost been a decade that they had spent as man and wife. Marriage- the roots are deep, the covenant is solid, the love is sweet. Life is hard and God is good.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

little by little everyday

Laughter filled the hallway. Of the sounds on earth, a child’s laughter is perhaps the closest to that of heaven, thought George. He looked at Dennis from afar with fatherly affection and said a quiet prayer for Dennis. It was one of those days, where he felt exceedingly blessed to have Dennis- his treasure, his heritage. Indeed, blessed is the man whose quiver is filled with them!

Of course, the highs are never without the lows and there are just as many tough days as there are good ones. Could so much devastation and delight co-exist in the gift of a child? It could. But Wilson also knew that sometimes blessings come through raindrops and to George, Dennis was mainly blessing than raindrop.

-

Dennis had just learned to read and he found books immensely interesting. He’d take books, papers, anything with words on them and traced his fingers across the alphabets. 

“K-I-N-D-N-E-S-S. What does that mean Pa?”

“That is when you do something nice for someone. Like when Ma gives me a neck massage- that is an act of kindness”

“Oh”

Most of it didn’t make sense to him but that didn’t stop him from asking. Words were exciting and he found it peculiar that almost everything he could see or feel or touch could be described in words- of course, most of the time he didn’t know what the word was. He was eager to make new discoveries and spent significant amount of time with books, especially books with colourful pictures.

His favourite was a picture dictionary that depicted the different things and people one might find in different places. He especially loved the section in a carpenter’s shed and would look through the list of tools one would have if he were a carpenter.

“H-A-M-M-E-R. Hammer!”

Martha smiled at Dennis.

-

Martha, George and Dennis made up the Wilsons. Martha and George met in school but it didn’t occur to her that one day she’d be a Wilson. Mostly showy and borderline obnoxious, George wasn’t her type. He’s mellowed down significantly since then, it may be that men mature at a later age when compared to women. Martha wasn’t his type either- Martha was as modest in her looks as in her ways but George had a penchant for the popular. Either way- they made it.

And now. Now, there was Dennis.

-

Martha sat beside Dennis as he read his picture dictionary.

“Mom, I want to be a carpenter, fireman, astronaut, policeman and doctor when I grow up!”

“That’s lovely sweetie, which is your favourite?” she asked gently.

“They are all my favourite”

“Well, you can be anything you want to be, sweetie.”

She smiled again at Dennis, but found herself continuing in her head “.., but you can’t be everything you want to be”.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

merry christmas

it feels good to have made it home for Christmas. I thank You for home, and I thank You for Christmas. 

Saturday, 30 November 2013

On the east and of Fitzgerald

This is a first for me- a post on a movie. But I felt like writing today, and this is the first thing that came to mind. 

-

I recently watched The Great Gatsby (2013) by virtue of many days at sea and the hard drives being passed around (I had missed it in the Cinemas). I hadn't read any reviews nor had I watched any trailers (though I did see posters/adverts of it), so I had little or almost no expectations. I had read the book before, so it pleased me to be able to interpret the movie with a reference point. 

I had imagined Gatsby to be more of a gentleman and less of a maniac. A maniac of course, but a maniac in control; more soft spoken, more gentlemanly and more 'Oggsford' like. So, I had pictured Gatsby to have been someone along the lines of James Franco instead of that Dicaprio. And I had imagined all the parties and music to have been more big-band-charleston like. 

Of course, all these are just a matter of interpretation and it's inescapable that everything we read is colored very much by our experiences and cultural background.  

-

I also had the opportunity to be in East Malaysia for a few days sometime in September, which was an interesting time for me because I had observed that the people were remarkably different from that in the west (of Malaysia). And though (or because) they were extremely accommodating and friendly, I couldn't help feeling slightly (and strangely) out of place. It appeared to me that I have now become what they call a 'city boy' and there was a need to adapt.  

So it made me very happy to have found that the closing lines of Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby seemed to sum up my feelings of the east and of home: 

That's my middle-west--not the wheat or the prairies or the lost Swede towns but the thrilling, returning trains of my youth and the street lamps and sleigh bells in the frosty dark and the shadows of holly wreaths thrown by lighted windows on the snow. I am part of that, a little solemn with the feel of those long winters, a little complacent from growing up in the Carraway house in a city where dwellings are still called through decades by a family's name. I see now that this has been a story of the West, after all--Tom and Gatsby, Daisy and Jordan and I, were all Westerners, and perhaps we possessed some deficiency in common which made us subtly unadaptable to Eastern life.

And if the Lord leads me, maybe I'll have another go at the east. 

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Travel log- Burma pt 1

Square one

One of the randoms that happen every now and then- Siew’d been in Burma for a week for em’ pro bonos, typical white collared pro bono- nothing out of the ordinary except for the fact that this was in Burma, of all places, ol’ Burma, land of green livery, neatly pressed and matching shiny waxed shoes that em’ greenies march around and lord over other people in, but never in the sacred places, never in the shrines and golden temples and never before Buddha, the unmoving Buddha with his palm across his lap as a sign of peace that so deludes the land, Burma. 

I had no intention of being there, but Siew said he’d book a room for two anyway- that I’d be welcome to join him but I wasn’t sure when the sea would summon me, still I told him I’d be there-nevermind the sea, it’d be waiting for me today, tomorrow, and the many weeks after like a lover waiting for the return of her beloved, knowing not the hour or time of day he might return but always expecting, never relenting- demands too much of a young man with little to waste living for corporate giants with their agendas- world dominion and constant churning of liquid gold- makes the world round they say- but only round in some parts of the world whilst the rest of the world at large remains an untouched squalid square, like the land they call Burma. 

Still, the giants compensate well to play the cog and that is an end in itself- to earn to keep a living and sufficient to allow little travels like these, but sufficient is a relative term and bears different meanings under different soils; to have more than sufficient in Malaya makes you rank close with the Gods in Burma, not that they believe in God- Karma and Nirvana but never God- which in some ways, make them seem like nicer people (than Christians or Muslims) because striving to do good to others is their salvation, a salvation defined by an eternal state of peace and nothingness after many cycles of buddhistic sanctification- but God forbid that salvation is attained by works and that sufficiency be a measure of fulfillment. 

And so, after pulling a forty-winker (rather, thirty-nine: sleep never suffices), I stood in Yangon in open-eyed wonder at the magic of coloured paper sheets and what it can do for you: intrinsically of little worth (save what it symbolizes), but trade it in and in return, gain the experience of being attended to by beautiful people in a cabin hovering over the clouds whilst having a siesta to wake up in different world altogether. Different worlds! Only separated by two hours and a half but worlds apart- not just the people, or the buildings, but the air, the sun, the smell and gravity- I didn’t take steps in Burma, I bounced- and the colors: so much red, so much gold, so much black and so much death; ask lady history, but she demands a serious audience- I’m no good for that. 


It is always the first glimpses of a new place that confuses- everything is new, everything is amazing and everything is novel- blinded by the lust of newness, I spent (too many) worthless frames capturing the mundane and ordinary and think to myself what exotic people they are- heavenly handsome savages- poor souls, they must be defended at all cost, don’t let the imperial capitalists in, save your people and save your nation and build yourselves a heavenly utopia- I’m glad frames don’t immortalize thoughts, because the romanticism wears off and all that is left are just frames- mundane and ordinary, with many longyis to spare. Don’t get me wrong, they are special people nonetheless, only less so with thoughts put on a leash, but I like freedom, and I am ill in that way. 

Longyis- similar to the Malaysian “sarong”, but both men and women don it, almost as a matter of national pride- it bothered me not knowing if it were offensive that I wore shorts in a land of cloth people, but we shouldn’t live to please people, then again, neither to offend them (and I prefer to be at peace with all mankind), so I had secretly intended to get myself one- maybe plain, maybe tartan, maybe floral- but then I spotted the young of some cloth people donning shorts, and thought to myself- ah, they are less of the savage I think they are, maybe they even speak English (which I later found out that they do and further tarnished my romantic obsession with the natives), so I settled for being the normal tourist- shorts, trainers and a huge, shiny camera. 

The coloured sheets bartered in Burma is pronounced “chart” with a silent “r” (spelled as chat). Seven thousand of em’- that’s how much it takes to get from the airport to the city centre to where I’d rendezvous with Siew- he said he’d leave the keys at the counter, but when I got there, they told me that he’d be in his room- I wasn’t too sure what to expect, it’d been, what, three years (?) since we’d done a trip together; we’re stiffer now (he was stiff even then), and perhaps less game for adventure- who knows what age does to the soul?- but if this is gonna be anything like the last, it’d be a blast (we jumped Adam and Eve and became freemen of Tryfan our last trip). So in my mind, I dismissed age, but my limbs begged to differ.