Thursday, January 31, 2008

He wHo SEeKs tO ComFoRt

For you my friend, whom I really really miss and have not seen in a very very long while... I am so glad you are coming home soon.

"Do not believe that he who seeks to comfort you lives untroubled among the simple and quiet words that sometimes do you good. His life has much difficulty... Were it otherwise he would never have been able to find those words."

(Rainer Maria Rilke)

miDdLe RoAd

I think some people are born with happy genes. Just like some people are born with sad genes. For every person who sees the glass as half-empty, there is someone else who sees the glass as half-full. For every person who can laugh so hard at a joke they cry, there is someone else who finds it lackluster and inane. For every introvert, there is probably an extroverted counterpart.

Finding an equilibrium in life is difficult. Maintaining that equilibrium even more so. I don’t want to be an intellectual snob. Neither do I want to be mindlessly groveling for something, anything. You said, “In the middle lies the path of virtue.”

Show me the way. Or better yet, walk with me for a while.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

fAiRY FieLd

Back when I was a dreamy-eyed teenager, I would pass by a smallish grassland area on my way to school every day. It’s not very big, maybe about the size of one Olympic swimming pool. In the pre-dawn hours, the field would be misty with morning dew. Like someone draped very fine white silk over the grass.

And I often imagined that if fairies wanted to come out and play, they would choose that little patch of grassland. It felt magical, and befitting of fairies. I can almost see them fluttering and dancing and frolicking in their pale, pastel dresses.

I still dream of finding fairies there. Just the other day, when the bus I was on drove past the little field, I found myself automatically straining to detect any signs of the magical creatures. Except that the little grassland area is no more. In its place, a tractor, a number of pipes, and lots of scaffolding.

Sigh, I suppose the fairies will have to find another dew-soaked field to play in.

Monday, January 28, 2008

hUNt fOR tHe tREasUrE

I love playing “treasure hunt”. I like the sense of adventure, the atmosphere of mystery, the thrill of uncovering hidden prizes. I love the whole set-up of the game. From creating riddles to burying the clues. I love the sheer intelligence that goes behind every successful game of “treasure hunt”. The teamwork and the spontaneity of reasoning and responding impress me.

Come to think of it, I have not played “treasure hunt” for ages. It takes too much time and effort to plan, too much energy to get it up and running. I wonder if I still have that dogged determination to solve the clues and look for the treasure.

Don’t forget now, X marks the spot.


They say to go through things with a fine-toothed comb. So you don’t leave out any details that might be important. I think sometimes, we need to go through things with a wide-toothed comb. So that the junk and the debris might be sifted out.

Self reflection is a painstaking task. Looking into the core of our being is difficult. We don’t know the way to our innermost self. We don’t recognize who we are at the centre. We think we are bigger than what we see. We think we are smaller than what we find.

Superiority complex. Inferiority complex. So where does that leave me?

Friday, January 25, 2008


There aren’t that many hours in a day. And I spend most of them sleeping. Yet I am still perpetually tired. Like some sleeping bug bit me and I have the sleeping sickness. I mean, I like sleeping, but even this is starting to get me worried.

I wonder if it’s possible for a person to sleep forever. Not dead, but just in eternal slumber. Having said that, it might be better off being dead. At least you get to explore a different life after death. Rather than being stuck in a kind of unconscious, earth-bound limbo.

But I shall not wax lyrical about death. The Sandman is coming to collect me soon.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


There is a strange high-pitched trilling sound going on somewhere near me. It’s right at that level where it is so sharp it pierces your eardrums, making it practically impossible to think.

I’m reminded of taking exams. Where the invigilators invariably start click-clacking on their high heels, stand behind you, and peer over your shoulders to see what you are writing. How can anyone think under such circumstances?

The thinking process is such a delicate, even fragile, thing. I have a great respect for thinking time. Thinking is my long-time companion. I seek refuge in thinking, I draw strength from thinking. Thinking lets me see the world in all its glorious hues and all its dreariest colours.

Thinking is to me what water is to fish (or something like that).

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

SeeK & yOU sHaLL FinD

You know what they say about finding things. That it is always in the last place you look. But that’s silly. Because obviously when you have found the thing you were looking for you would stop looking. So it will always be in the last place you look.

Unless you’re looking for something that cannot be found. Or does not want to be found. Like answers, to all of life’s big questions. Not that all questions have an answer. Nor all the answers you can handle.

What, do I seek? How, will I find? Where, do I seek? When, will I find?

Look no further, the trail ends here.

LoGicAL tHinKiNg

I remember taking philosophy classes when I was in university. One of the papers was Logical Thinking. We learnt syllogisms, categorical or otherwise. We learnt premises and fallacies. We learnt predicates and subjects. We learnt how to reduce words into mere alphabets and symbols.

It was easy. It seemed almost intuitive. And I liked that truths of the world could be described in three neat statements. And I liked that there was an “answer” to the syllogisms. And I liked the structure that guided the logical thinking process.

I am happy. You are happy. Therefore, the world is a happy place. If only!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Searching, for the darkness, for the light
Searching, through the path of wrong, and right
Searching, for the truth, for the lies
Searching, before the moment passes by

Life, is an endless searching
Searching, searching, searching
Searching, for the I that is in me
Searching, for the mystery of me

Searching, holding, wanting, for I, myself, and me

Thursday, January 17, 2008

5 MinUTeS

A while back, I started to break my days down into 5-minute chunks. At that time, 5 minutes was all I could deal with. At that time, 5 minutes seemed like eternity. At that time, 5 minutes gave me a perspective on the world I would never have imagined possible.

In 5 minutes, you could make a life-changing decision. In 5 minutes, you could step from light into dark. In 5 minutes, you could move mountains and hail the storms. In 5 minutes, you could go from first to last. Or perhaps, in 5 minutes, you can simply rest contented in the bosom of your self.

“If you live each day as if it were your last, one day you will be right.”

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

rEpLAciNG dREaMs

She asked me whether I had an alternative dream. To replace the dream that was broken. I found this fascinating, as I had never looked at it this way. I put so much of myself into the dream that when it broke, I thought my world had ended.

But life doesn’t end just because dreams ended. Otherwise, we’d never hear the stuff of inspirational stories and pop-psychology-self-help books. Otherwise, we’d never get the chance to prove that we are stronger than what we believe. Otherwise, we’d never be able to learn and to grow.

Thank you, for telling me that I can still dream.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

cAtS & DoGs

I wonder, if cats and dogs have memories like we do. If I had fed the stray cat once, will she remember me? If I had cuddled the cute little dog once, will he remember it was me? Will my smell trigger some stirring of memories in them?

I wonder, if dogs and cats love like we do. Do they recall with fondness the mother of their litters? Will they pine with longing when their mate goes away? Will they love with the kind of desperate hunger with which we beg to be loved?

If equal affection cannot be, let the more loving one be me.

Monday, January 14, 2008

oF STeAm, miRaGEs & CLouDs

I love to watch the wispy strand of steam dancing its way out from my hot cup of coffee. If I concentrate really hard, the world around me becomes fuzzy. It is as if I have become one with the dancing steam.

I love to watch the hot asphalt road for any sign of mirages. If I concentrate really hard, I can find them just there in the distant track as far as my eye can see. It is as if the magical mirages have pulled together the horizon and the road into one seamless piece.

I love to watch the fluffy cotton clouds edge their way across the sky. If I concentrate really hard, I can spot the rabbit and the deer, the mountain and the little girl. It is as if the cotton clouds are trying to mime to me the story of my life.

Little things, immense love. Passion, and contentment.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

sO LaUGh

I have stopped along the way. Many times. And I’m not proud of my lack of determination.

I have thought of giving up. Many times. And I’m not proud of my cowardice.

I have made mistakes. Many times. And I’m not proud of my stupidity.

I have fallen. Many times. And I’m not proud of my lack of balance.

They say to learn to laugh at myself. Ha ha ha!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

wHAt We LeARnT

Just last week, my friends and I were reminiscing about the good old days. The good old days when we were teenagers. The good old days when we were in our twenties. The good old days when we were so full of hope, so full of energy, so full of ourselves.

Suddenly, we are 30. And none the wiser.

Back then, we were caught up with work and making money. We were caught up with dating and finding true love. We were caught up trying to discover who we are. We were caught up in search of the meaning of life.

And we realise, with a kind of wry and sardonic wisdom, how little we knew then, how little we know now. The banalities of daily living continue to occupy us, continue to elude us.

Money and love and life? They are way too over-rated.

Friday, January 11, 2008

No CoURaGe wiTHoUt fEAr

“Maldivian president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom escaped assassination in his Indian Ocean archipelago on Tuesday, thanks to a teenage boy scout who wrestled back a knife-wielding attacker.”

Clap clap clap for the boy. A hero! That takes guts. That takes resolve. That takes faith. That takes courage.

Now, what would make the boy do that? Grab hold of a knife with his bare hands! Was it love and affection for his president? Was it instinctual? Was he out of his mind?

I am sure many thoughts raced through his head at that moment he reached out. Who is this fellow waving a knife in front of me? What is he trying to do? I can’t let him harm anyone. Will it hurt if I grab the knife? I am scared. Will I die? What if I can’t stop him?

Having guts and resolve, faith and courage, doesn’t mean there is no fear. I think it is in recognizing fear, and acknowledging it, that brings about guts and resolve, faith and courage.

“Sometimes even to live is an act of courage.” (Seneca)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

CroSsiNG tHE LiNe

I like to watch races where there is a finishing line and the one who is first gets to break through the tape in victory. Even though I’m not really competing in the race myself, my heart still skips a beat when the winner crosses the finishing line. I imagine the sense of achievement knowing that their hard work has paid off. I imagine the sense of relief that they have completed the race. I imagine that moment of wonder when they cross that line.

I guess we all have some version of lines in our life, be they personal or public. And I suppose having lines gives us some semblance of security and balance. Lines we draw define our private and social boundaries. And yet, do the lines really keep us safe? Or do the lines isolate us by keeping out those who care for us?

I want to cross the line, will you let me?

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

LivE thE QueSTioN

For my dearest friend, who will appreciate this quote in all its depth and breadth and magnitude.

"Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day."

(Rainer Maria Rilke)

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

gREat ExPecTaTiONs

I suppose we all have that to a certain extent. Expectations, both from others and from ourselves. We project what we believe is the ideal onto others. We project what we believe others perceive as ideal onto ourselves.

Expectations, real or imagined. Expectations, set them too high, and you get disappointed. Expectations, set them too low, and you miss the point.

Do expectations give us an opportunity to become better people? Or do expectations drag us down into dark dungeons?

Don’t let expectations choke you… one can breathe so much easier without expectations.

Monday, January 7, 2008


I have always wondered about the sanity of those who seek immortality. Why would someone want to live forever? Imagine, having to carry the burden of life into eternity. You probably need to continue working to support yourself. Work forever?

I like to believe we lead meaningful lives because we know we are going to die someday. Our mortality forces us to choose life. We walk the walk because we know the path will come to an end.

Is the dead-end just round the corner? Nobody knows.

"Tread softly now for I have lain my dreams under your feet."

Sunday, January 6, 2008

SeCRetS oF tReES

The pages were all empty. He said to fill them up with colours. Colours, to express what words cannot say. Colours, to express what is hidden inside. Colours, to express myself.

The first drawing I’m going to make is of a tree. I like trees. I like big, fat, gigantic, old trees. I like how strong and sturdy they are. I like the steadfastness in them, rooted to the ground.

Come sit here under the shade of the trees.

Ssshh. The trees are telling their secrets.

rUnNinG iN ThE WinD

Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I.
But when the trees bow down their heads,
The wind is passing by.

(Author unknown)

Running, with the wind against my face, in my hair, on all of me. I wonder, if that’s what horses feel when they gallop. Or, what birds feel when they soar.

Running, is a strangely reflective time for me. Beyond the stomach-clenching and gasping-for-breath, I like to see the trees and flowers and people I pass. The feeling of being part of nature is reassuring.

Running, is my private communion time with God. Almost as if we can communicate telepathically.

Running, to be free

Friday, January 4, 2008

gReENer PaSTuREs?

"The grass is not, in fact, always greener on the other side of the fence. Fences have nothing to do with it. The grass is greenest where it is watered. When crossing over fences, carry water with you and tend the grass wherever you may be."

(from It Was on Fire When I Lay Down on It by Robert Fulghum)

Thursday, January 3, 2008

pASt FoRWarD

And so it was, and so it has been, and so it will always be?

I think sometimes, we get so tunnel-visioned we only see this one big event in our life. And it consumes us, with all the ferociousness of a tiger killing his prey. And we allow our lives to be defined by this one big event.

But, we are more than just this one big event, as I am slowly coming to learn. Because we are doing ourselves an injustice if we allow this one thing to contain and restrain us.

I like to think the human soul is much bigger. Even if our concerns don’t go further than what can I have for lunch tomorrow or what do I wear for dinner tonight, these little things make us who we are. Mundanity roots us to the ground.

For the sum of our parts is greater than the whole of our self.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

ReVisiTiNG mY RoOm

I spent today on a cleaning rampage of my room. I wiped down every shelf and ornament. I put up photo frames that I never knew existed. I hung pieces of art that I have been hoarding for years. I arranged my books and CDs and DVDs. I swept the floor twice. I put on new bedsheets.

And now I have a beautiful and clean room to start off the year, complete with brilliant blue sheets that have colourful animals on them. And looking at my clean room, I feel a sense of fulfillment. The kind of quiet joy that you derive from a hard day of labour.

Sort the treasure from the junk, come back to the basics.