Concurrent sequence

Drilled into head: Not simply sequence, but concurrent sequence.

8 More Days

It's an 8 day countdown in the race against time. And then it will be all over. It's goodbye to the academia, and I will be free. 8 more days.

Being and Doing

In our quest for self-identity, we very often ask ourselves: What are our talents? Who are we? The answer to the latter question is used to base the major decisions that we make in life. And this is the same question I had largely been preoccupying myself with for the past couple of years. Until today that I began to realize that I had probably been asking myself the wrong question all along. It isn't who we are that should decide what we do, but what we do that decides who we are. And it isn't simply who we are, but who we are to become that is the question. It is a reinforcing loop.

It is thus that our every decision at every moment becomes imperative. Change our mindset and the way we think, challenge our own assumptions and everything external to us changes. As above so below, as within so without, goes the Hermetic philosophy. We base our actions according to the perception of who we are as individuals. Whether as someone who is capable of change and control, or as someone who resigns to fate and the tides of life, it is our choice. And our life reflects that choice.

I had been so focused on inquiry and introspection that I lost sight on what really mattered. That we have a choice as to what we are to be. That who we hope to become is equally a part of ourselves as who we "are". Our perception of who we "are" is constantly evolving. Though I had acknowledged this, the entire realization of what it entails has yet to hit me.

Interesting that our every choice and decision has its set of consequences. Every step we take not only takes us one step further on, but also one step backward and away from who we once were. As we immerse ourselves in what we do, slowly and imperceptibly we change and turn into someone else. Someone perhaps whom we do not recognize. That which we admire is also that which seeks expression within us, it seems.

reticent boy

welcome to my dear friends from all parts of the world

Edinburgh Fringe Festival

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival ended last night. I engaged in entertainment fury for the past several days after being cooped up for weeks in my room. Probably the only person among my group of friends who could say that they've actually experienced the festival.

Besides the various performances along Princes Street and the Royal Mile, most venues had extended opening hours during the festival. I finally visited the National Gallery of Scotland for a glance at the art, revisited a floor of the National Museum, as well as a brief visit at the Edinburgh College of Art.

A record of shows I've watched during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2011:

Blood Brothers by Willy Russell
Clockheart Boy by Sam Gayton
Exsomnia by Benji Sperring
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Mr Kolpert by David Gieselmann
Recursion by Patrick Robertson
17 Things 
RogerandTom by Julien Schwab
Titus Andronicus by William Shakespeare
The World According to Bertie by Alexander McCall Smith
Terra (Italian Play)
Lullabies of Broadmoor - The Demon Box
Lullabies of Broadmoor - The Murder Club
Lullabies of Broadmoor - Venus at Broadmoor
Lullabies of Broadmoor   - Wilderness

The Prophecy by Jennifer Hogan (Celtic dance: Yeat's The Changeling)

Homemade Fusion by Michael Kooman & Christopher Diamond
The Music of Les Miserables by Claude-Michel Schonberg & Alain Boublil

Esa Pekka Salonen on Poem of Ecstasy

Next goals:
Visit all museums/art galleries in Edinburgh
Hike Edinburgh's 7 hills.


I can do this.

I must not fail.

Must not give in.

The demon is within.


This is just stupid.


Some people love you, some people hate you. But what does it matter? This too is a fleeting. Time will pass and memories will fade. Love and hate both is forgotten except as a distant memory at a corner of your mind. What is permanent is the change that needed to be invoked at that present point we now call the past. Without it... How could the force arise? The force that could propel us forward away from the clinging boundaries of normalcy and death and plunge us into life- if only for a moment. That crucial tipping point of a moment.

Strange isn't it, that an experience is all in the mind? That one needn't leave one's seat in order to "experience". That it is possible to wreak havoc without having to face "actual" consequences of your actions. It is like experiencing the circumstances of death, yet escaping that itself while earning the all-important lesson. Lessons that will serve you well in the harsh, real, and permanent world. It is only known, that it is experience that makes the man, (or the woman) but not the source or the sort of experience, only the degree of its intensity.

How do you feel now?

Hard. Focused. Intent.

I have achieved my end.

Born with Nothing, Die with Everything

Fed-up, tired, sick and twisted
One-man army, I'm enlisted
Trust yourself trust no one else
Fuck a hero be yourself 

I don't need your lousy hand-out
Clenched fists i'll fight my way out
Fighting my way out
Find my way out

People wake up and sing along
I trust no one
My trust is gone

Born with nothing
Die with everything

In a daze these days go by
Faster and faster I speed through life
Now I've got to take control
Of my mental and my physical 

Never sheltered from life's hard storms
I was cold but now I am warm
Inside I'm warm

(Now I am warm)

Searching and finding the truth inside myself
Inside myself

My soul was starving
I was born with nothing
I'll die with everything


It's over. Back to work.


Need... To get past this hurdle. Desperately.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

I finally got down to watching this 2004 romantic flick which I had heard so much about (it being a number of people's favourite), but hadn't actually watched. You'd be able to guess from the fact that I'm actually posting about it, that I pretty much enjoyed it as well, if only for the storyline alone.

Without spoiling the show for those who haven't watched it, this is the story of a man whose girlfriend decided to impulsively erase her memory of him through the services of Lacuna enterprise, a company that offers "memory erasure" services for a fee after a nasty argument. In horror and hurt that she had actually made the decision to just "erase him almost as a lark", he decided to do the same: erase off his own memory of her forever (Heck, she started it). 

The movie goes on to show Joel laying asleep with a machine over his head in the process of memory erasure. He falls back into various scenes and memories the both of them had together. Recollecting those memories once more ironically made him realize just how much he treasured them: He couldn't bear to forget her, no matter how much it hurt.

This is bad as with the passing of every memory, more and more of her were being erased. The process can't be stopped no matter how hard he tries to run. Will everything be forgotten in the morning, just as promised by the "eraser guys"? Or will he be able to retain any remnant of his memories of her?

Amazing storyline with very interesting twists. And probably the best Jim Carrey film to boot.

Mobilize, Brighton

Just recently, I attended a 4 day 3 night Newfrontier's Mobilize Conference at the beautiful UK southern beach of Brighton. Brighton has such a nice sandless, "stone-full" beach, unlike the sandy beaches of Malaysia. Though I was there primarily to accompany a friend of mine to the final Brighton Christian conference organized by Newfrontiers, I managed to sunbathe a little (can't imagine doing that under Malaysia's scorching heat), and had nice long strolls along the beach with ice-creams.

The Mobilize conference turned out to be very well organized, the accommodation with people of King's wasn't too bad, with everything very nicely planned, and the religious speeches I had anticipated had been excellent as well. Terry Virgo and David Holden ain't Terry Virgo and David Holden for nothing.   

Now what is it like for a self-professed agnostic, non-Christian with a convoluted belief system to be in a Christian conference meant for Christians with 6000 "crazy" believers? Weird, yet interesting. This meant that there weren't any annoying calls to bring non-believers to the front for conversion, because the preaching was primarily directed to Christians. Hence, allowing me to peer into the heart of the religion itself.

No one suspected I wasn't a Christian initially. (I carried a Bible with me, was familiar with a few of the popular worship songs, and blended in with the crowd) Until a friend from King's asked me what I thought of God, and I honestly said that I didn't know if he exists.
So much for my Bond identity.

There were 3-4 sessions of seminars in a day. Each began with worship along with intermittent prayers, followed by preaching, ending with prayer and worship once more. During breaks, we would head over to the beach for lunch, or return to Saks (one of the accommodation booked by King's) for dinner. Was originally rather horrified that there is a cooking system where everyone had to prepare dinner (for those not in the know, I can't cook for nuts). Fortunately, my group's was just spaghetti and all I had to do was to chop green, red, and yellow peppers. As messing with the knife happened to be my favourite part of cooking, that role suited me well.

Surprisingly, food in Brighton were actually about 10-20% cheaper than Edinburgh's. They even had Sports Direct and Primark there, though I never actually entered. Traveling to Brighton though, was the horrible part. I had heard before then that the London Tube was complicated, and true enough it was totally nasty.  Might not have been able to arrive on time without all the kind Samaritans and station officers who guided us through the maze.

During the third day of Mobilize, the night session was for the purpose of praying for all the nations. They cleared up all the chairs on the floor, and we had to wear hand tags indicating whether we chose to sit on the platforms at the top or to stand on the floor. Excited at the prospect of a concert, I chose to stay on the ground. Bad move. Inflated balls were being thrown into the air, and when one fell close to me, I excitedly threw it up in the air. Only to see it fall... into the area where the deaf were busy concentrating on the sign language interpreter and... hit somebody there.
The first time throwing a ball in a concert and this is what happened. Horribly embarrassing.

Then came the time for prayers where everyone was supposed to get into groups and pray for the problems faced by every nation. Which was fine, except that I don't freaking know how to. I slipped off quietly away from the conference hall, went to the computers the center had for public use, occasionally checking back to see if the prayer session was over, and slipping back in time to listen to a short speech before the worship session resumes.

The next morning, we were gathering for breakfast as usual at the Saks, and King's pastor's wife, a very nice lady asked me how I felt about the previous night. I forgot that she didn't know I wasn't one of them and happily told her that I was there "at the beginning and the end of the session, and sort of skipped the middle". The entire table fell into silence. Uh oh.

Altogether, I enjoyed myself, with several unexpected yet pleasant occurrences and company. After an interesting conversation with a friend at the beach, I opened an email at the conference's public computer to discover that I have finally passed my CIMA strategic level Financial Strategy paper, of which I had failed the past 2 sittings. I'm so glad I'd never have to face the paper ever again.

Brighton is such a nice place, that I found myself wishing that I lived there instead of Edinburgh. I could visit the beach everyday, cycle, kayak, learn to sail and surf, feed the seagulls, occasionally throw stones at them, have an adrenaline swing at the theme park, and to just read or sit and stare into the deep wide waters that lay before me. If only life could be like that, that would pretty much be heaven on earth.

The Brighton Centre

A view of the sea

At the conference

The famed Terry Virgo

Mobilize + Leadership joint session

Kayaking near the "structure"

 I passed!


The latest excitement in my home country is the rally for a clean and fair electoral process, Bersih 2.0. Why such opposition by the existing government? Why fear Bersih if the electoral process is already as fair as it should be? Such reaction itself betrays of tyranny and of having something to hide.

Putting aside my personal stance on the matter, I have found the myriad reactions of various people on facebook regarding Bersih very interesting indeed.

There are those who are in enthusiastic support of the rally, posting articles from the Malaysian Insider, and replacing their profile pictures with the Bersih badge.

At the other end of the spectrum are the cynics who think that it doesn't really matter because both parties are idiots anyway, or that the "fight" for "democracy" represented by Bersih is a mere bogus.

Then there are others who are annoyed by the fact that the numerous roadblocks, closed shops and disturbance caused by the rally are in turn causing such an inconvenience to their daily lives.

Still others harbor resentment and racial prejudice trolling about spewing acid in biting sarcasm. I would have found it very witty and amusing, if I weren't disturbed by some of these accusations.

Interesting indeed.

In Times Like These

To die in times like these, they say,
Is easier than to live.

In times like these,
When protectors turn to oppressors,
Promises turn to smoke,
Deception the name of the game.

What was right is no longer right,
What was black muddled to grey.
With truth no longer truth,
And lies cum ignorance rule.

How long more shall darkness reign,
And confusion hold its grip?
The light of truth and equity,
Feels dim in such times.

Yet as long as hope remains
Hope too can raise hordes
To fight tyrannic monsters
For which too long have been fed

We await the end of such times
In hope of a new era,
An era of truth and equality,
Of true independence and freedom.

To a clean electoral process,
To democracy.

A Dangerous Method

The title of the movie itself, A Dangerous Method evokes of dangerous experiments and theories. Fascinating. Coming to the screens in 2012 February in the UK, is the story of a psychologist and his private life with his psychiatric patient turned assistant. This movie centers on no other than Carl Jung, of which together with his teacher Sigmund Freud, represents the two most famous names in psychology.

Credits to my sis for introducing the movie to me. Can't wait for 2012!


Barbara Streisand: The Way We Were

Memories, light the corners of my mind
Misty watercolor memories of the way we were.
Scattered pictures of the smiles we left behind
Smiles we give to one another
For the way we were.

Can it be that it was all so simple then
or has time rewritten every line?
If we had the chance to do it all again
Tell me would we? Could we?

Memories, may be beautiful and yet
What's too painful to remember
We simply choose to forget
So it's the laughter we will remember
Whenever we remember
The way we were.

A Prayer with a Twist

See if you can catch my brand of humour:

Let me die early,
Let me die young,
Let me take leave,
And not be taken leave.

Let me see not,
The fall after the peak,
The dissolution after the resolution,
The separation after the reunion.

Let me not taste if taste be the last,
Let me not pursue if pursuit be lost,
Let me not feel if feeling fade,
And not gain if gain turn to loss.

Let me keep.

Keep my head,
Keep my tongue,
Keep my keep,
But never, ever, let me...

Keep fit.

Jekyll & Hyde

Just last night, I watched the most amazing musical at Edinburgh's Playhouse Theatre, which I hadn't been able to get out of my mind ever since. It was so good, I just had to blog about it. As it was a Thursday night, a number of seats weren't filled, so my seat was reissued and upgraded to a more expensive one with a better view of the stage- lucky me.

I hadn't had high expectations of this play. I half expected a plot similar to the abridged version of Jekyll & Hyde, in which I had studied as part of the school syllabus many years ago. But when the curtains unfold, the wonderful songs, beautiful voices, great acting, excellent stage and visual effects flood my senses, I was swept and taken into the storyline, absorbed into the drama of every scene. It was my most immersive and amazing theatre experience ever. 

The vocalists had great voices. Marti Pellow- who played Jekyll & Hyde was at his tip performance, but one singer- the one playing Lucy (Sabrina Carter) stole the show. Amazing voice, amazing acting. The agony and pain she portrayed were so real, I caught sight of a number of audiences sniffing. I could never forget the sadistic scene of her death when she had been so sweetly, savagely and erotically murdered by Hyde.

The entire play had been intense, dramatic, with the interplay between good and evil strikingly portrayed, perfected with a tinge of eroticism. There was Jekyll's idealism, Hyde's sadism and zest for life, Emma's love and concern, and tortured Lucy with her unreciprocrated love. I almost wanted to purchase a ticket to watch it a second time. Absolutely amazing. If you're in the UK, this musical is not to be missed. 

1997 production of Jekyll & Hyde: This is the Moment 

Being completely and utterly defeated

 It's a blessing, to lose everything. For a person who has nothing has everything to gain. The more we possess, the more we stand to lose. Which is why the ones who own nothing fear nothing and the ones who possess fear losing that which they possess.

There are two types of beggars: Unhappy ones who curse and want more, and happy ones who are happy to have nothing other than their daily bread. How carefree the latter- where their only concern is how to use their daily earnings to fill their stomachs. Whereas the former scrimp and live in fear and suspicion of losing the little that they keep.

Fear. Isn't it an illusion to imagine that we can possess in the first place? Is it the object that we seek to possess, or the possession of the experience associated with the object that we seek?

You think you own whatever land you land on
The earth is just a dead thing you can claim

Possessions are just that: dead things. Lands we possess but are not able to enjoy. People we strive to "own", yet... There is joy in spontaneity that can never be captured, or rather, should not be captured. There is beauty in the flow, for just as breath captured becomes foul; and captured animals lose their vitality, doesn't captured love soon loses its meaning? Perhaps.

Does a captured heart stay with us forever? Or must we capture it over and over again? Or can the most we capture only a fraction of a heart, for a fraction is the maximum allotted to us?

If only I can be as a beggar. A contented beggar.
Wanting nothing, enjoying everything, fearing nothing.

Depressing Thoughts

When we are young, we dream great dreams. Filled we hope, we think of wonderful days ahead; life filled with youth, happiness, romance, perhaps riches and fame. 

But as months turn into years, and years into decades, we take stock of our achievements… Only to find that our lives had been but ordinary, that we are not much different from most of our peers. We look upon those whom we considered having made it with a slight envy, and sooth ourselves that we have not fallen into worse predicament to that of others. We ponder upon the choices we have made along the way. If only we had chosen that career, made that move, chose a different partner, how would life be like now? Would we have been happier?

We then ponder on life. If our path in life is as fated as they say it is. Still, we go through life with hope of a better tomorrow, and the sense that we would eventually find meaning in our lives. That our struggles would be worth it; our investments bear fruit. Slowly and gradually, silently without a sound, father time turns the clock. Wrinkles appear, our health ails.

We stare at our possessions, our partners, our children and grandchildren. It dawns on us that this is the result of the life we once had such huge hopes for. This is life. The achievements we strove so hard for, are but a trickle in the sand now. What impact we think we have made upon the world, and had once been proud of had been replaced by others. Trophies and prizes were all a thing of the past. Forgotten by everyone save ourselves.

We ask ourselves once more, what is the point of all this? Is this what I want? Have I gotten what I wanted out of life? Some despair and turn from these uncomfortable thoughts. Others convince (delude?) themselves that yes, these choices were ones they had made, and they accepted the consequences.

Are our lives truly our own? For most of us it had been a life bogged by responsibilities. From parents to children to society. How many of us have expected our lives to have ended up where it is today. The magic fairy tale in movies and dramas are just that- fairy tales. In the end, it is but an ordinary life in fulfillment of our respective obligations.

We resign to fate. The older we get, the stronger is the sense of the power of God’s all-consuming will. What then? Is this what I want to think about when I am 60? Going through life striving for things, which in the end comes to nothing. Pleasures die off, advantages cease, youth disappears, satisfaction from wealth saturates. What is worth it?

Parzival's Dilemma

I have been reading this book- The Age of Heretics by Art Kleiner, of which contents admonished me that there is much to be done.
For a long time, I had been in a place of uncertainty and complacency and which I still am. Without an idea of what I wanted to do with my life, other than some vague goals and dreams, I have always dreaded when the time comes when the world of education ends, and which I would then fall into a drudgery of everyday work. One that I would eventually get used to and be numbed by, being turned into yet another zombie of the world; another worker in the production cycle of the economic system. And this uneasy feeling was one that I could never shake off.
There is though, another way out, but that path is one that requires courage. A path of change and revitalization, and one that requires many changes on my own part and ones which I feel difficult if not impossible to undertake. I felt unready to embark upon this quest, but it is inevitable and a matter of time. I can no longer to wallow in complacency if such a quest is to be undertaken. Many times have I pondered over the costs of such an action. Many times have I wondered upon passiveness and the benefits of doing nothing. For how long can the comfort in my passiveness be justified? When will Parzival’s Dilemma set in?
The stakes were too high for error. If we are damned for our actions but don’ t know our action’s result, then how dare we act? And yet, how dare we refrain?
Parzival was a young knight of Arthur’s round table faced by a dilemma at a turning point of his life- the Parzival’s dilemma. At the most pivotal moment in his travels, he met a wounded king who had could only be cured by the spontaneous act of a knight’s noble heart. Though Parzival felt drawn to rise up and ask the king, “What afflicts thee, Uncle?” he did not, due to a certain fear behind the veil of a knight’s politeness in training. He woke up alone the next morning. The castle vanished and he spent the next 5 years of his life lost and ashamed before finding his way back to the castle and healing the king.
Every act is Pelagian in its intent, full of grace, and yet every well-intentioned act produces bitter consequences. Given that harsh reality, there is only one course to follow. Lean toward the good. Turn your mind to humility. Deepen your own understanding, so that when called upon to say, “What afflicts thee, Uncle?” you can confidently rise to the occasion.
We can all feel it when the pivot moments come. When the signs all show that it is time to rise to the occasion. The turning points; the critical moments where your very act can make a difference. One that, should we not act in that moment in time result in shame and an inability to face ourselves and the principles which we deem proud to uphold. Have I not failed before and felt the very same? Have I not grew bitter and stubborn in denial? Have I not sought for a second chance? Will I be able to play the role to perfection when it finally comes?