Saturday, August 30, 2008

Imperator Rex, the Second Tale

An acquaintance at school once commented that the life I had led seemed so under my control. Not everyone knew what they were good at, not everyone knew what they liked, not everyone knew what they were passionate about.

I wonder.


There was once a man who had conquered it all. A man who had everything within his grasp. Power, land, respect. The masses knew him as Imperator Rex.

Yet no man is without his incapabilities. And though it was debatable as to whether it could have been considered a weakness of Rex or not, there was something he found himself unable to do.

It was a book entrusted to him by his parents before he set off to conquer the lands. In that book, he was instructed to write down the trials and triumphs of his journey. And for his skill in conquering, he was terrible at recording.

He pondered for long nights as to what caused him to be unable to do this, of course. What could keep him from being able to do something as simple as writing? A lack of talent? No; he had been skilled at it before wartime. A lack of content? No; no conqueror had ever found himself lacking in stories to tell to the masses, and never will any find himself lacking in epics to recite if his parents were the audience. A lack of audience? Certainly not; history itself and the men of the future were to be the readers and analysts of his life!

He began to justify his incapability. A man who has so much to conquer could not possibly have time to focus and write when he has to care about the war tomorrow. And he was right. So he continued to conquer more and more.

Till one day he had nothing more to conquer, and as he surveyed the lands he realized that soon he would be on his way back to the capital to oversee and manage all the lands that he had taken control of. Slowly it began to dawn on him that it would soon become a necessity to complete writing at least something of value within the book.

Try and try again, he found that he was incapable of it. Why? He wondered. Why. And he found no answer. Rex asked his advisers, and they told him to drink a bit before he wrote, to relax and get into the mood. Yet as he drank he found his mind drifting further and further away from the pen, and found himself being less able to think, let alone write. He asked the scholars who followed to chronicle the war, and they told him to think about important moments during the war and write them down. Yet he found little to write about in such the rigid form of writing. Then he asked the warriors, who lamented that they too were incapable of such deeds, referring Imperator Rex instead to the scholars and advisers.

At nighttime, Rex found the son of one of his generals drawing on the sand, and was intrigued.

"Young one, what is that you draw on the sand?"
"I'm afraid, Your Excellency, that it is not something that even you can comprehend." Rex was amused, what with a child showing such innocent disrespect.
"And why would that be? I am king of the lands, young one. What could I not comprehend?"

The boy smiled at the king. "You cannot understand my mind, Your Excellency. For it is mine and mine alone." The king could not understand.
"What does your mind have to do with the drawings of the sand?" and the boy smiled again.
"The drawings are not of the sand, Your Excellency. They are of my world, and of my mind. Though I may be a child, Your Excellency, I can tell that you will not be able to understand my world. Simply because you are not like me." and Rex was even more intrigued. Perhaps the child could solve his mystery.

"And what is this that you are unlike the king of the lands in?" and the boy smiled at the sand.
"You are not a creator, my lord."

Friday, August 29, 2008

Rest at Last

Recently I can completely knock out and just fall asleep in the middle of the day.

It's definitely been a tiring week for me as far as sleep schedule goes, and a good break is always appreciated (Even if said break generally comprises the usage of labs for purposes of Pierre _._ Dumortier (Fill in the blanks and cancel out the nonblanks >_>)

It's a good end to a good term.

Monday, August 25, 2008

In the end, People are People

A thought occurred to me yesterday watching the Olympics Closing Ceremony. A realization, really.

That despite the grandness of it all, despite the majesty of it all, despite the fact that these are the people who volunteer to be part of this amazing performance and these are the athletes that represent the epitome of sports in the countries worldwide,

People still really love to stare in front of the camera and wave. And go crazy. And do all sorts of stuff. It's fascinating, really.

We all live our lives thinking that they're all beyond our reach, that they're some kind of superhuman people that we were not meant to be, that we are incapable of ever becoming like them.

And yet they're still so similar to us. See a camera and they go crazy. Wave and scream like a child finding a toy. We all forget that in their strive to be the epitome of humankind in sports, that they're fundamentally still part of humankind and still amongst us in other things.

It's a certain kind of human nature to want to distinguish yourself from people of radically differing lifestyles. You from your boss, him from his teacher, she from her mother-in-law. Yet there is still one factor that ties you and every other man and woman alive together: we're all human.

And though perhaps you may not be similar to the Olympian Athletes, I'm sure there's another way in which you can surpass them, and perhaps be your own Olympian in that sense too. Because people are people, and you're a person too.

I mean, just a day or two ago everyone in my cohort was discussing about what a good life was. I'm sure Olympics people consider their life a good one. We just have to find another.

More thoughts, really. Today was quite distracting. Or maybe something completely new.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


I've somehow become increasingly aware that the kind of life I'm leading is becoming more and more diverse. Should I be the jester? The singer? The speaker? The scholar? The writer? The silent philosopher? The advocate and rebel? The disciplined kendoka? What about the otaku? The gamer? The social change?

Thankfully that's all the major identities I can take, save the kendoka. I'm still a very far way from having that integrated into my identity, for somewhat good reasons. But still, probably more than a number of people out there.

I know some people who were surprised by my other identities, just by virtue of the fact that I don't show it. I suppose to some people I really am just a mugger, but I'd still like to think there's at least some better identity for me than that.

In some sense, yesterday I gained some insight into myself. Yes, quite the rarity I admit. But I've understood what has really linked together the majority of my identities, the extremities in my emotions, and the extent of my actions together. And somehow, I've a teacher's casual remark to thank for that.

It was showmanship.

I remember someone standing up and clapping. I remember someone's comments about it being very good. I remember the applause for a Language Arts presentation. I remember the eyes seeing my way. I remember someone reminding me (and in doing so telling me not to take it for granted. The irony, huh?) that people didn't sleep in this. I remember someone's prayer for me. I remember someone's comment (a true one, at that) about how it was all so emo. I remember someone's comment that I was a good speaker.

And I don't think that's the thing. It's not someone being a good 'speaker' or not. It's about belief. In the panel discussions at Syinconnect 08', I was rather awed by one very interesting thing - the panel discussionists were all very amazing people, and I wanted to listen to the words of every single one of them. I don't deny it - some of them were bad speakers - but it was their ideas that shone through and true, that really made me want to listen, that made me believe.

The crowd applauded them all - for their beliefs, not their skill. Skill is something everyone can develop given the time. That's what someone said to me when I commented that the skill of speaking well was a talent. And it's true - but what is skill without belief? At the very fundamental level of a person's capability is his belief as to whether he can do well or not. And really, you can say that belief and confidence is something that can be developed in people as well, but who starts the process? I can't say for certain that this is universal. I would like to think it is, but psychological proof isn't really easy to provide.

But what's the link with showmanship?

There are some people who will compromise relationships, perceptions, impressions, and the like to send a message. Why do so? Simply because they believe in the message. They believe in their actions. They believe in their ideals. And even now I believe in mine. I can't say why. It's a weird feeling to be teased by others about something, yet hope that it's true, yet know that it very likely isn't so.

But who cares?


It must be borne in mind that the tragedy of life doesn't lie in not reaching your goal.
The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach.

It is not a calamity to die with dreams unfulfilled.
But it is a calamity not to dream.

It is not a disaster to be unable to capture your ideal,
But it is a disaster to no ideal to capture.

It is not a disgrace not to reach the stars.
But it is a disgrace not to have stars to reach for.

Not failure, but low aim is a sin.

Dr Benjamin Elijah Mays

(Quote Courtesy of JX)


Dreams need to exist. Belief needs to exist in order for dreams to exist. And you need to believe in order for belief to be present.

Sunday, August 17, 2008







Congrats to Singapore and the Woman's Table Tennis Team for their absolutely wonderful job in getting the silver.

Friday, August 15, 2008

A Tribute to a Friend

It's been somewhat of a refreshing week. A lot has been cleared, a lot has been seen and a lot has been understood.

I pray that a friend of mine finds his way out of the mess he's in - and just when it's about to unravel, too. Well, irregardless, I doubt he can go down from here, so it's all good.

I remember months and months back I talked about it with a friend of mine. I told him that it was impossible to improve due to the fact that it was characteristic of him to be like this - that given the state he was in it was impossible to ever change for the better.

Well, months come and go. And in a sense this is a tribute to a friend of mine who has found his way around at last. I don't think I can write a lot, but I suppose I'll try.

In no way a god, in no way a class above the rest, in no way a name that will be immortalized in histories past. And perhaps, like the rest of us, a small part in big things. But more importantly, also a big part in small things.

When he first started a blog, I had another conversation with a friend of mine. I knew it was going to be nothing but a testament to the fact that he was what he was and his blog would just reaffirm that identity. Who knew that with its revival it would end up as such? I respect the person for it.

It is determination and understanding that bring someone out of Nigredo. Help, though not required, can assist the process. But irregardless it is always a matter of celebration when someone manages to accomplish this.

I give my due respect to my friend who I believe will soon accomplish this. The future may very well be bright now.

Monday, August 11, 2008


I know some friends who suffer at this very point from certain bouts of insecurity and lack of trust. I know a friend who asks "Why so serious" (Thankfully it seems that he might stop doing that).

I know myself, while I'm at it.

I've seen people who fail to believe. People who fail to strive. People who take a suicidal attitude to life that eventually throws them out of the rat race even before the cheese has been set down. And I know that sure as hell I'm on that brink of landing right smack amongst the people there as well.

I thought that I was dying near the endstages of CSSP. I think at this current point that I'm quite wrong. It's always a wonder how much further down the stairway down to the River Styx can go, really.

But I can't. I have to keep going. Because the first fall indicates the last victory for me. I know the first true fall might be the end of me. And for my own sake I sure as hell need to believe that I haven't fallen yet. Not yet. Not until the point where I can fall and it won't matter in the least bit.

People go around thinking I'm smart. And I've never gotten first in anything. What part of what I do actually comes under talent? Nothing.

People go around thinking I can get away with whatever I want (Person actually, but nvm). Yet I don't actually do whatever I want since I know truth is I won't actually get away with it. And who cares about school? There're so many other places where getting away with whatever you want is infinitely superior. >_>

Person asks me what kind of stuff I've forgotten if I can remember so many stuff. Irony in that, huh.

But I'll tell you what I've forgotten. I've forgotten what it's like to fail. To truly hate yourself. Yes, there're times where I've done badly in recent times, times where I've screwed up quite a bit and times where I've hated myself a tad - but that's as far as it goes. I do badly as a sign that I will improve, I screw up as a sign that I will get better, and I hate myself the same way everyone does and get over it and improve myself. But that's not hate. That's love. A kind of love you have for yourself that you would want to make yourself better in the long run.

I've forgotten what it's like to truly hate yourself. To be in a state where you know that you can't go up from here, only downwards - never knowing how much further you have to drop before you turn around and head for the better at long last. To never have a simple sign that says "You've dropped a bit, now get up and continue climbing your way up".

In exchange, I've remembered what it was like to aim up. To work up. To feel that whatever you do has a meaning later on. The power of belief and the power of thought. Self-empowerment. A wonderful deal, some would conclude. I'm inclined to agree. But the price of this comes at such a great cost. The amount of time people spend. The kind of feelings that I generated for myself. The kind of identity forced upon you by your peers. Do you think you've done enough?

I'm sure a good number haven't.

Skeptics cry out "It's merely belief! How hard can it be?" and they're right. How hard can it be? Yet when you truly fall for the first time how hard is it to get up? How hard is it to get up the second time? Can you keep it up? Not everyone has such life experiences.

I'm scared at times. I'm doing all this, and I know that I can do all this. But I know that all of this can be completely undone, broken beyond repair, wrecked and untouchable. All by the smallest of things.

Please, not just yet.

Friday, August 08, 2008

How Terribly Unpatriotic

I've never felt so restrained in music despite trying to go as all out as possible.

Maybe it's the lack of actual said required national identity around myself in order to be able to sing with patriotism, but still.

The masses are required for such things. I'm sure many Chinese people recall the famous song <龙的传人> and how proud one is to be of oriental descent hearing the song, singing the song, being part of the song. People must be in sync before they can truly live out and experience the power of a song.

Perhaps we have become less akin to being able to appreciate the greater messages. Well, not the kind dished out over the PA system, but truly glorious messages brought forth by believers and songs. I know that I've been more sensitive to the crowd - and I'm relatively sure many of us have.

Compare that to potentially the greatest Olympic Games Opening Ceremony ever. That is what the masses are. That is what belief is. That is how a message is conveyed.

Every man down there, a volunteer. A person who made the choice to step up and join the group who wanted to show the world that China was not to be looked down on. A person who would go through 10 months of training just for that few hours of his life, potentially the greatest s/he'd have this decade. A person who made the country proud a few moments ago.

And you would find them to be volunteers, not forced people. Isn't that the wonder of it all? People who choose to take this responsibility. Completely amazing.

Definitely the cash factors into the whole thing as well. But the sheer massiveness of the human dancers/performers there really shows what a country should be like.

I'm sorry, I'm rather short of words right now. It was that amazing.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Disrespect, Continuation of Klow's Post

(A continuation of the post by Edna.)

I first have to openly admit that in general I'm inclined to bear zero respect for teachers. There is, regretfully, a tendency for a teacher to not know what he is supposed to teach - and in the case where he is, lack other essential skills to being a good teacher that causes said disrespect once again. "Teachers are people too", some say. Sure they are; teaching's a tough job too, the child's a tough crowd as any to please. Then the parents. Then your boss. We can all say "Go find a better job for you", but they're not really in it for the cash or whatnot, are they. Well, not always, at least. Most other jobs tend to pay better as far as I know. >_> If anyone were to help provide statistics, that'd be helpful.

Perhaps it was all a series of unfortunate circumstances. People think that a lecture on rather redundant stuff needs to be done, the expert is called in, finds out that s/he has to spend one whole hour just talking about this, and reluctantly takes the job, knowing that no one will listen. Staff aren't that stupid after all - some lectures work, and some just don't no matter how hard you try. And some are just plain disastrous.

I could probably sympathize with a person facing such a situation - not everyone likes to face the silent crowds even if they have to. But do I respect such a person?

I remember just last year the same comment was made by the same person - save that the party in question being disrespected against was a student - and of course the person next to me commented.

Why the hell do I respect a person if he talks about stuff that I take as already-known knowledge? Is there anything of value in listening? If not, isn't it disrespectful to force another party to listen to the same thing again?

Lectures need content and viewpoints to be interesting. Speakers are a plus-point. If there's nothing to it, isn't it just a valueless monologue? Why am I subjected to listening to such stuff? Don't I have something better to do with my time? Aren't there many things on the to-do list that are being pushed back due to this?

A bunch of people were let off early. Why? Because they 'respected' the lecturer in question? No! They're very likely just as guilty of it! Yet by virtue of age and social standing they are let go - as if it is a human right to avoid a scolding by a fellow colleague.

I respect the teacher in question for his trust towards the innocent to go free and for the rest to at least feel guilty enough to stay on their own. I sure don't feel guilty, but I know that in the context I was wrong and should at least face certain consequences. There were those who didn't give a damn about a person's trust and just moved off, but moral integrity is another side of the coin. One I suppose particular people don't have a damn about (Thankfully I can't think of any person in mind when I say this. I live with pretty good people I suppose)

But no. I have no respect for a person who disrespects me, out of intention or out of circumstance. At least this was circumstantial. The disrespect that some teachers give is ._.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Life in Seventeen

It's painful to do stuff that you know will have a 90% chance of causing you pain, 9% chance of doing nothing and a 1% chance of giving you happiness. And it's more of a 9.999% of nothing and a 0.001% of being happy.

I seriously have no idea how long I'll wait this time. Maybe a week. Maybe a month. Maybe a year.

Maybe it burnt halfway. Maybe it wasn't read. Maybe it was ignored. Maybe it took infinity to reply. Maybe the reply burnt halfway. Maybe the box is still closed, and the contents of the box torn to unreadable shreds by Schrodinger's pet.

Someone wanted me to talk about the past year yesterday. I declined. I just want to keep silent about it, whether it turns out for the worse or for the worst. Talking about such stuff isn't relief, it's just more annoyances. I'm not here for wallowing in pain. I'm here for moving on.

Who knows how long I wait before I know the next course of action to begin the 2nd year.


My best present this year is a song. Fancy that. Sang relatively well, too.


The Real Folk Blues 本当の悲しみが知りたいだけ
泥の河に浸かった人生も悪くはない、 一度きりで終わるなら

Saturday, August 02, 2008

The beginning of seventeen

The seventeenth has come, and by the time it is gone I suspect I will be at least 5 older. Who knows how the events of next year will turn out to be?

Last August 1st hardly feels like yesterday, but the events of then foreshadow the long sequence of events that fall after, up till the actions of July 31st.

I try not to act it, but so much has changed with my 16th year. Well, of course it would - I can't really remember the very events of August anymore. But I sure as hell hope that I won't need to wake up again when September ends.

Sure, I'm not the only one who's changed. Some better, some worse. Some who develop a new status quo they can't stick with, and some who develop a new status quo they stick with a bit too well. I still don't really know where I stand in all of this.

It's interesting seeing the developments of people towards differing objects, places, cliques, areas and even people. I have to admit that from a very detached perspective the same applies to me.

Sometimes I worry. It's definitely normal to do so. And I'm one of those lucky ones who worries about what I'm not (well, according to my friends at least. I'm being very optimistic here) so life really isn't as bad for me as it is for some others. But then again, to say that this was the result I wanted isn't exactly correct. People certainly have their pitfalls and their strengths, but they all differ from person to person and they kind of even out (That's what I believe at least, on a practical level)

But who knows? I occasionally enter the realm where paranoia cannot be subdued by the firm anchors of friendship. What then? The paranoia runs loose, and some say that's how the cookie crumbles. Sucks to be in that situation, but I happen to head there every once in a while. Terrible place, really.

I wonder how the rest of the days will turn out? I wonder if I shall find in the future that the present me is once again stuck in a dream he will have to wake up from. I wonder how September will end.

Hell of an annoying lemon tree, if you ask me. But I suppose everyone stops here once in a while.