[chinese blood, irish heart] - DEFUNCT
Saturday, May 02, 2009
Friday, January 23, 2009
Ach! They be Mogwai!Just to showcase my pics from an awesome and deafening gig by Mogwai in January:
See the 11 others on my Flickr page. Another similar and brilliant post-rock instrumental band I listen to are Explosions in the Sky.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
This one's for the kids
Labels: kids childhood children memories
Monday, January 12, 2009
Just like to make a comment about astrology:
I rarely read my own Sagittarian readings nor take them seriously, but I did happen to bump into a 2009 reading in last week's Sunday Magazine. It said that starting from January 25th, Sagittarian's ruling planet (or dwarf planet I should say) is moving out of my alignment for the first time in 13 years and into Capricorn. Pluto symbolises many things like death, life and change. For better or worse, it certainly means a tumultuous period for Sagittarrians from 1995-2008. And how lucky I guess considering this alignment happens once every 248 years.
So after I read this, and corroborated the information by some fancy Google browsing, I put the magazine down and just stared into my previous 13 years: I could say there have been many unique external factors that have pushed me to where I am today. Take my sudden onset of eczema in 2005 for instance. That's caused me to make the dramatic leap to Hong Kong and forced me to take a more proactive look on life. Now, as 2009 dawns (and referring to Pluto now edging away), I can safely say my skin condition has improved dramatically and I'm no longer bound by this (and still mysterious) ailment. Perhaps this is the finale to my transformation caused by Pluto?
Yes, yes I know, it's probably all bullshit. But if you're me you can't help but calculate all the stuff that's happened and the choices I've made since 1995 till today and wonder if it was all because of this little fucking dwarf Pluto... Well, I've got about 13 days left of Pluto's grace before it moves onto its next customer, so let's see what wonderful cosmic bolts of life comes my way till then.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
See all of 'em on my Flickr page. All are under Creative Commons so feel free to use/distribute! Just don't forget my credit!
Meet my shutter-totting Singaporese companions: (left-right) Kenneth, Laura and Jasmine.
I backed away quickly like an animal leaving his prey to bigger nastier hunters.
The mighty Bayon complex.
Having missed out on a day with my Singaporese campanions, I wandered aimlessly away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre. I was fortunate enough to have stumbled upon a mosque where prayers were being said.
I cautiously approached the unsuspecting crowd, only to be temporarily kept at bay by a boy at the gate, staring at me albeit unmenancingly. Carefully tiptoeing over the scattered slippers and sandals I hovered around outside quietly, my shutter flapping away like some annoying sound in the background.
Sunset at Prohm Bakeng.
What serendipity. I only heard about this MTV EXIT concert 2 weeks before I flew. It's Angkor Wat's first ever rock concert! It was free entry but tickets were issued via an online lottery system for foreigners. I, on the other hand, managed to blag for a media pass and free tickets for my homies!
And how's this: Headlined by Placebo!! I'm a fan alright but not enough as I didn't recognise some of their songs.
So here's what I knew from their setlist: Meds, Teenage Angst, 20 Years, Hang On To Your IQ and Passive Aggressive. More available on my Flickr page.
At a drab-looking teeny village on our way to Kompong Phluk, overturned boats and discarded fishing nets symbolised the harsh dry season that has taken hold. Fishing is the main source of income here and I often inquired whether China’s gargantuan Three Gorges Dam project had any adverse effect on the Mekong. Most were fazed at my questioning, claiming they’ve never heard such an accusation. Well, there’s my attempt at a story gone into humid air.
The people here were so poor the huts barely looked intact. Two naked children frolicked under an upturned boat, languishing in the shade away from the unrelenting sunlight. One seemed to playing with a bowl of mud when I realised it was actually food. “Here”, I thought, “have a vegetable cracker.” He was duly rewarded with a balloon afterwards and I don’t know if he’s seen or much less held a balloon before, but he seemed mesmerised enough to leave us with a rewarding feeling as we left and made way for the enchantingly titled ‘floating village’. More abject poverty awaited us.
A passing smile warmly greets us to Kompong Phluk, 'The Floating Village'.
We shared lunch at a family home where our shy hosts brought pineapple soup, morning glory and possibly the best fish I’ve had in a long time. And I don’t even like fish. But I do hanker for Irish wild smoked salmon. Damn.
I saw a child taking huge gulps of the water under his boat. Looking around the neighbourhood there’s no viable source of fresh water. I mean, the entire village is surrounded by a murky emerald-coloured water. And guess where all those pipes from the homes lead to? All mineral water, beer, soft drinks had to be laboriously transported here. If this is meant to be a tourist destination then it left me with a sobering rather than the usual touristy-rewarding feel afterwards. It feels sometimes that the fact I was born in Ireland, Europe, the First World or whatever dictates I would most likely lead a more comfortable life than the large majority of the world’s population. So in fact it’s like a lottery. An old saying goes ‘the one thing you can’t choose is your parents’, but where do your parents live?
One of Siem Reap’s children’s hospitals is under the helm of Dr. Beat Richner from Switzerland. Completely independent of the Cambodian health system, Jayavarman VII not only doles out free medicine but is also one of the most cost-effective and efficient hospital in the whole country. Well, for one thing his annual budget is about US$20 million a year from donations while the Cambodian health system gets US$52 million. Buoyed by his fame and successes I went along and donated blood. Got a free Coke too.
A boy observes the long wait he'll have to endure to get free medical treatment.
I found 18 monks lounging at Bo Wat Temple just off the touristified epicentre of SR. Three were smoking under a tree – looking holy and cool, one kicking a football, four seemed to guard a sacred-looking drum and two stared at me as I approached the gate. A brief pause. It was Monny with his effervescent orange robe who sidled up to me first with an emphatic hello, I returned the gesture with relief. After some initial laconic exchanges, I learned he’s 18, studying English and Japanese, loves Jackie Chan films and didn’t know where and what Ireland was. Well, at least he didn’t have to question my dubious accent.
I made it an aim to send my subjects their photographs by email and unfortunately Monny didn’t have one (others before did!). I thrusted him my business card and told him to email me when he gets one. He was taken aback as if I gave him gold and proceeded to study the words, probably trying to deduce just what the heck a ‘multimedia producer’ does. As I manoeuvred around the complex, the sunlight bounced off the effervescent orange robes giving the room a comfortable glow. I left shortly after and waved Monny off, him still clutching my card.
On the way to the airport via tuk tuk speed, it suddenly dawned on me the end is beginning. It was back to the drudgery of work life and the increasingly vexatious cosmopolitan environment. It all sank down my spine with a tendril of melancholy. With my SG companions already back home a few days before my departure, I yearned for someone to say goodbye to. Oh sure, my tuk tuk driver would be polite to say it only after I give him my last crumpled up fistful of greenbacks, but a more heartiful goodbye. What about those numerous kids I gave toothbrushes, biscuits, a ‘shuang’ Coca-Cola postcard left over from Beijing and an MTV EXIT sticker? Ah well, Just the usual travel withdrawal symptoms coming on I guess. Moments later, an overcrowded car full of what seemed to be workers sped past me. I made eye contact with one of them and he waved at me. Because I was a foreigner? Or that he knew I was heading to the airport? Never mind I thought, maybe there’s no reason. But it’s one reason to have this as my parting shot.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Cambodia, here I come!I can't remember the last time I've posted some reasonably good news. But anyway, I'm holding my brand-spanking new (and improved) Irish passport and am fully booked for Cambodia. Before that I had been tearing my heart out not being able to run the Angkor Wat marathon because I really wanted to do it - to achieve something I've never done before. I've had no goals or ambitions since coming back from Beijing and knowing that leaves me kinda stuck in a rut. And I don't enjoy that feeling. Another core reason is when I'm completely shattered after finishing the run, collapse on the grounds of Angkor Wat and stare up at the sky, I hope it will offset those feelings of love-forlorn melancholy that his plagued me since Beijing. Yes, for a third time I have been beset by these seemingly childish but excruciating feelings of why must my love is always doomed to be unrequited. Sounds melodramatic I know, but instead of feeling shitty about it I've finally acknowledged that it's just the way things are with me - fate and destiny don't mix well when I'm in the middle.
I have big aspirations in achieving many things in the field of journalism and if I have to walk this path alone in vagrancy then so be it. It's bittersweet to say that but also consoling in a way. Because every time it happens it leads me onto bigger things and changes - with good results in the end. This Cambodian trip may be my latest venture because of that. I do admit it is one of the reasons why I'm going there, because I knew it might offer me some respite.
And also as a bonus, I've learned that Angkor Wat will be hosting its first ever concert! And a rock one too with Placebo headlining it! On the same day as the race!! I'm just so stoked right now, really. Be happy for me.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Home is where the heart is... but where is my heart?
Anyway back to the title...
Labels: home where is