September 29, 2007

Thoughts in Chinese tradition vs. other major religions.

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:33 pm by changisme

I was thinking about this article about traditional Chinese thoughts. In real Chinese tradition(if there is such isolation at all), there is no "religion" per ce. Well, I should say there is no "theology" per ce. The concept of "god" is introduced from the west(India earlier then far west missionary). Traditionally, people worship "real" people. The worship or Yu, Confusius, Taozi and Zhuge.

The thing with worshiping people is that those people are perfected. They become flawless and not veyr human anymore. I don’t know if the west is actually as different as the author says though, because they personify God as well, and people adored the fact God is also human in a lot of sense. In the Egyptian religion, well… the gods are even living humans. I don’t really know how you would regard the traditions that associate gods with natural establishments, like mountains and rivers. I think though, it is not exactly the kind of perfect god(s) in other religions, it’s more a fear and respect of power. The mountains and animals are not exactly worshiped for their perfetion, but rather their association of a specific power or protective stature. It is not to say that the other traditions neglects power of course.

In fact, the Chinese tradition differ from the west or I should say, the other major traditional groups not in whether or not the gods or saints are real people or not, but whether they carry power over the living, the regular Joe and Jane. This may be why people say the Chinese use "philosophies" rather than "religion", because the worshiped, such as the saints in Taoism and Confussius don’t have ever lasting dominion. Power is something that is always ingrained in politics and ancestry.

I was thinking whether this makes the traditions more easily altered. Since Confucius is not going to wake up from his grave and whip the but of the "infidel", maybe a drift is more likely? Well… history proves that the ruling class and respect towards tradition act as the whip of Confucius. Well… I shouldn’t make it sounds so bad, in better times, they are the guardians and stablizers. In fact, this way of propagating religion/tradition seems to prevent changing even more.

I think it is because in some major religions, Different interpretations arise due to needs of various kind, revolutionary or ruling. Then according to the nature of the system, power rests in thgod(s) rather than the rulers, so it’s more likely for the people at least believe that they can use this new interpretation. This is not easy of course, because power is largely in the ruling class anywhere you go.

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September 27, 2007

Music, pluck the string of my heart

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:41 pm by changisme

it is so nice to get back into a choir. I miss the days when I could sing with the UC youths. I went to the choir practice at Fairview today, and it was a little different in dynamic, since people there are mostly older folks, and more experienced in choral music. I didn’t really feel out of place though because I was engulfed in the harmony.

I love singing or any other kind of participation in music ensembles. For one, it is a very concentrated business, so it takes me away from my daily worries and self-absorption. It’s just like goalball. I can hear my and other people’s voices and try to fine tune it to harmonize in a way that is very satisfying. I guess I don’t have the higher moral of humility to say I feel like all my singing is for God, but I enjoy the synphonic nature just like I enjoy the creation as a whole. Most importantly, I love being part of it, not just observing or appreciating, I love being part of the creation participating in stringing together the notes and bars, riding the poems in their ultimate splendor, as I enjoy being part of the creation, one who can touch the grass and flowers and kiss another person.

September 25, 2007

Navs welcome dinner

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:17 pm by changisme

Navs night at Dustin and Konrad’s house was nice. There were a few new faces and the food was better than decent. I had too much for someone who should be cramming on my homework now. I wouldn’t say the house is luxurious like I felt when I saw Shu and Steph’s apartment last year, but it was definitely good for gathering. I never really know my place in Navs. Most of the times I don’t really feel it necessary to have a place. I wonder if people like Richie expects me to. I’m not saying a leadership position or anything, but … just who I am in the group. I think quite a few people in the Navs know me quite well, but so much of myself I didn’t open up to them. Anyway, this is all a confusing jumble to read I know.

Today Curt’s not there. He’s always been around for as long as I’ve been involved, which is more than four years… It feels rather strange, because he definitely brings to the group something different. Hannah and Shu were not there either, although they will be around this term I think. I can still remember the first time I went to one of these gatherings 4 years ago, the two of them with Hannah’s big perned head of hair tied down by a pink hairbend. I still remember them bouncing around like firecrackers. I still remember myself being so different…

I don’t know if I will be here next year. It will be strange to think eh? I would feel really strange in fact, if another year turn around, and I cannot make the welcome dinner. I don’t really think this is what moving on is all about. it’s just a side effect probably, of my pursuit with a mirage of my so-imagined aim.

September 23, 2007

white Chinese doll

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:57 am by changisme

I was sitting on the toilet and browsing through a Chinese magazine. It’s a fashion magazine and proudly presented a world class design. The with bold pink letter head, it says that so-and-so endoreses Chinese fashion. The picture however shows an elongated caucassian model with shiny waves of blond hair and slim long legs. The dress too reminds me more of Quela(sp?) deVil than and Chinese dolls traiditional or modern. Eventually I found a stream of Chinese bottons.

I don’t really know why I’m criticizing this. I guess there is notthing wrong with taking bits and pieces of cultures and use it in an appropriate way. I’m just sad that no one would rather capture the spirit of the culture.

I remember my aunt is often saddened by the fact that Chinese designs are so bad while fashions are so warshipped by people of this land. I think it’s because of the education for youngsters. Imagination, creative art and body-adorements are not encouraged until your "magic age" of 18. Somehow whatever is done before that are sinful. After that, only the passion is recovered but not the ability. Okay, I’m generalizing for sure. There are tons of people who learn better than I do, but that’s my two cents on what happens.

Aside from that, it’s like that magazine, people are rather torn in between national pride and westernization. On the one hand, people rave about how Chinese culture is great; on the other hand, chinese people don’t even bother getting to know it, but know much more about other supposedly more prominent culture and what they like about the Chinese culture.

September 19, 2007

the real airhead

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:43 pm by changisme

These math papers are driving me crazy. They are really incomprehensible. It’s probably partly because of the content, but also just because of me. It sort of reminded me of my elementary school years. I’ve never been at top of the class, always somewhere between 5th and 15th place among 45 or so students. The teachers would always complain on their comments that I’m "floating in the air", not able to settle down and just do things step by step. It really is hard for me to do that, and probably one of the biggest reasons why I don’t think I can be good at long drawn research.

On the other hand, things always have to come in pairs. I’m also a very stubborn and determinant person, so my ways of working things out are usually fairly multifaceted and sometimes intese, but rarely conssitent. It’s really driving myself mad once in awhile, because there are things in this world you just need patience to do!

In any case, these things do improve as I grow older, as I am much better now than I used to be. Nevertheless, I can feel it in my bones.

September 18, 2007

opening the curtain of rain

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:04 pm by changisme

The rain has come. Each year when the rain first turns around in her fringe skirt, comes with it is a mix of sentiment but also confort. It’s as if I have screamed for a whole summer of frenzy and finally realize that sitting down looking at the tea leaves swimming in soothingly warm water is more appealing to my mind.
 
One would think that all the ripples in my mind could be undone in this hour of meditation, but that’s not how minds work I guess. Somehow, the waves that decide to stay overall become more prominent. There are so many things about life are just so real and above and beyond our control. We can say all we want that God would take care of things and pray that He would take away this sadness and that craving. However, ultimately, it’s our wanting control and deny ourselves. There are so many emotions I just have to live with. The only question is that do I tell myself that God wants me to pursue them or wants me to keep a check. Does He show himself in this trickling of the autumn rain?
 
You say You would be wherever we look…

September 17, 2007

enraging contentment

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:39 pm by changisme

Gosh, how I hate it when Christians sit around and laugh at Atheists and say how they are stubborn and rediculous. I think it’s even worse than when some atheists doing it, because at least many postmodern atheists don’t believe in this whole unity thing, whereas every sunday church goers would profess how they wish for a holy catholic church. Why do people have to make other people sound so strange while in fact they are not rediculous at all. Many points in science are very fine and subtle to study, it’s so ignorant and irrespectful to just read some generic book and conclude those who believe in this and that are simply closed minded.
 
it really leads me to wonder more about the link between knowledge and wisdom. On the one hand, I really don’t want to think that wisdom has to be accompanied by "information" as it were, but at the same time, people really should be more careful about making judgements. I guess I can’t really be so hypocritical, because I know very little myself and sometimes hate the fact that I just like to suspend my judgement… mmm I don’t know if it’s good or bad… but sometimes I feel almost obliged to take a side.
 
Anyway, I digressed. I’m just mad that some people are ignorant, and that’s almost okay, but some others are either ignorant themselves, or they believe that most people can live in the contentment of ignorance and live well and fully. .. but yeah, I don’t know if my being so enraged about this have to mean I’m more informed, while I’m really not, but at least… I try right? 

September 13, 2007

absent minded update

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:52 pm by changisme

so many things happen that I hardly know how to start. Somehow detailed discriptions often seem unattractive maybe because I tell enough people about it that I feel annoyed to write it all out again.

it is weird to have tons of floaters swimming round and round in my eye after Lasik. They are like little shadows of various densities and shapes that float here and there, but also response to my eye movement. It’s like looking at some debris in slide under a microscope. These little shadows often send me procrastinating for a long time. It’s just like looking at weird patterns from anywhere in nature. I suppose I’m part of nature am I not?

I went observing an AMS council meeting again just the night before my GRE. Why oh why did I do that and end up coming home at 11:30pm?? Anyway, it turned out to be quite dramatic at times. When Matt presented the VFM amendments, with Mark the idea and financial contirbuter explaining the math on the side, many councilors realized that they are rather confused about this whole issue and would like to understand it better. Some people believe that the point of having a committee is so that councillers would not need to worry about the details and handover some authorities, while others want to fully comprehend the scheme before passing the motion. Anyway, the motion of whether or not to pass the amendments turned into whether or not to consider it in this meeting in the first place. Half of the members wanted to pass it then, the other half wanted to postpone. The situation lasted for awhile until, for the 4th time of voting and counting, the council decided to postpone the motion. Either these meetings are too dull so something such as this amuses me entirely, or it is in fact noteworthy. In general though, I think I am not a cynical person, and hold quite positive views of these people who try quite hard to make things better. it further makes me more self conscious of how much i withhold in committing into anything that really matters to other people, like things in the Navs or responsibilities in UBC. Things I have easily jumped into have always just involve myself, and the success or failure often only impact myself. As busy as I am, I am still afraid to take on responsibilities that effect changes in other people’s lives. That’s qutie a shame…

Oh, along the line of my very inwardly life, classes are going alright. I think I am less readily mathematical this september than last. I don’t know why, but my mind seems to be fuller and fleshier this term. It makes me wonder while applying for grad school, am I really putting myself into a theoretical environment? I would not do badly in areas that are more multi-facetted, like in commercial quantitative analysis, operational research or even environmental hygene. Do I want to get into stats simply because of inertia? Well… I don’t know… I’m such an absent minded person… i really start to once again question my pursuit.

September 6, 2007

The Tin Flute

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:59 am by changisme

Coming back to Vancouver, I have just finished readin the Tin Flute by Gabriel Roy. I don’t want to discuss how it is a very well written piece of literature, but rather a central theme it spins around.

The story is set after the depression and during WWII. Most of the characters struggle in finance. People can’t help but worry about money day and night, at the same time men ponder on the issue of enlisting or not.

Wealth or spirit, they struggled on this "eternal human enigma". I think no one, except for Rose-Anna-mother of 12 children and the one who is most intimate with the dimes and pennies, understand what money means. Her husband Lazarious is a naive and free spirit who would rather careless about money, while Florentine, Eugene search for their spirit and self definition in the wealth. Is it really wealth is not important? It is really that money shouldn’t be seen as what generate the spirit and self esteem, but it is what runs the show in so many other aspects of our lives.

The quality of Rose-Anna’s children’s physical and mental wellbeing: Daniel’s biggest tragedy, leukemia or the sadness in his longing to go to school as he fiddle with the letter cards in his hospital bed. Florentine a happy and romantic spirit ultimately hardened by the importance of money, which becomes the only outlet of his vanity.

it is really not a question of how important wealth is, but rather where wealth stand in our lives. Our lives are not one-dimentional ranking of importance I think. it’s more a scattered potholes awaiting to be seeded. Wealth is the one that shouldn’t go into self-esteem. Though it remains to be important.

Having said that it is also not easy, because self-esteem is a very demanding pothole awaiting to be filled and yet we find it difficult to do so. Emmanuel apparently does it with enlisting for the "good war". Many argue that WWII is terribly handled and the motives of the big powers are entirely betrayed by their actions, but could it have been visible to the commoner like Emmanuel? Would he have wanted to know the war is much more complicated prior of making his decision? He doesn’t seem like he regretted his decision even after Florentine became his girlfriend and later married him. It’s what makes him him. The war itself becomes less important, compare to his grasp for his own identity. Is that any better than using money filling the hole? I’m not quite sure. It seems equally damaging.

September 5, 2007

closure of the math library

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:10 am by changisme

I can’t believe the beloved math library, the library that is small but zozy, the library that is a basket-full of stressful and crowded memories is closed in our generation.
 
It was quite harsh looking into the glassdoor of the library, where grayness seeps out rather than the aging ceiling light. From the door I couldn’t see the lounge with the back couches wide and soft. I could only imagine I suppose. When I was alone in those couches, sunken into its quiet comfort, I drifted in and out of sleep with a binder on my lap. When I was with a crowd of friends, paper swish-swashing, we argued and explained all those unreal concepts. Didn’t they say that Math can’t really be understood but to be gotten used to? I forever struggled with that statement in this corner of the campus. A youthful agitation brooding in pride makes me think, I can understand, somehow, and yet the two walls of journals resting comfortably in an angle, the sophiticated, long and discouraging equations marching across the page, I can’t believe they could just be there, in such an aggregate bathing in the sunlight of this very small library that smelled archaic. It’s the contradictory nature of this bizarre philosophy that attracts us.
 
Just behind the wall there is a shelf that I often felt drawn to browse. They were books that were not technical. They were Miscellanious writings of mathematicians pouring out their sometimes annoyingly proud nature in elegance. It’s just that one shelf, back to back sharing the same wall with the progression of the descipline documented in all the journals. So many times I have attempted to read something from the sunny side of this wall, but soon failed and moved on to the other side of the wall where stories and real people seemed to sit in via via. It’s like a ticket office I suppose, it’s often odd peeking into a square little window and see a head with suit and tie and a badge. I was often tempted to go around and see what colored socks they are weaering, or maybe they could even be wearing slippers, why not? You only need to display that square little bit professionaly.
 
Now it’s closed. I don’t know where the books will go, probably blending into all the others stored in the rolling shelves in some 5th or 6th floors of a big and new library. I’m generally a forward looking person. I suppose I’m not hating the moving on of things, but I can’t help but feeling a sense of melancholy maybe because I"m leaving, likely. Probably I will have nowhere to come back to, nowhere to find a small table with a sticker of big insects printed on it to warn people the harm food and drink will bring to the books, nowhere with the same smell of old wooden bookshelves. Everywhere is growing anew.

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