November 26, 2007

bar coded kids

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:39 pm by changisme

I was rather disturbed when i realized that Zander, the nine-year-old in my house, actually has a barcode associated with him for the schoolboard. I guess it’s really nothing so surprising, as we all have student number and everything, but somehow the concept really disturbs me. On his agenda book, there tapes a barcode, which O thought was for the book itself, but then realized it was actually Zander’s number. I suppose int he registry, associated with this number all his records as a child.

I was reading something about authorities, and the author talks about how we need to grow up with authorities in a certain sense, even in order to oppose them in the first place. I really do agree. I think authority is not a very popular word to put it, I’d rather use "mentor" or "discipleship". I personally receive so much more valuable education from people I look up and just have a special relationship. Being able to grow up holding the hand of someone is really really a powerful thing to me. Those people who has been out of their way to guide me in my ordinary life has been very extraordinary.

People shrug their shoulders and open their palms and say it’s impossible these days because we leave the responsibilities to the teachers and there are only so many of them. Why can’t we all somehow take some responsibilities? We are all so busy with our own lives and so far far away from other people. We don’t know people who are in need to be guided, the young people. It’s become rarer and rarer for people my age or middle aged people to "have time" to play with children or teenagers. People say teenagers don’t like to be involved with old people anyway, but I don’t think that’s entirely true. There is that element sometimes, but not to an extend we excuse us with.

Okay stop being so hypocritical, I guess I keep myself too busy too.


November 22, 2007

Amazing Grace

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:09 pm by changisme

I know it’s quite shameful, but I didn’t watch Amazing Grace when it came out because my church raved about it. Given the history of not-so-fun christian movies I’ve watched, I just didn’t feel up to it. Today, however, we watched it at Dustin, Konrad and Curtis’ place.

To get the negative stuff out of the way, I think the soundtrack was not as impressive as i expected it to be. However, the familiar hymn itself did stand out just for that very reason. Each time when the tone boldly step into the front stage, i could feel the spirit of William trying incessantly to change the world and do what is right. It was so strong when he stood up in front of all the other aristocrats as a young man, and sang with his unaccompanied and almost childish voice, the song that have such simple and yet profound lyrics. He stood there, young and brave, just like when Pitt said, "We are too young to realize somethings are impossible."

Young people are called to step up to the injustice of this world, but what carries us onward in the difficult battles is something else. What is it? William does grow throughout the years. The movie didn’t portray that much, but I did get a sense. The irony is that it was the young William who wanted to step away from the courageous task lay before him, and to pursue God’s work, and it is the maturity in him that led him to his goal. He sees the world in its reality and fully embraced it.

I recall talking to a friend about how some older people seem to see the world as being so evil and want to avoid so many pieces of it. What they say is that they are mature enough to see the dirty rags hanging off of the rack of earthly life, while we are too young to see it. I think not. We are shown the real world with its dirty laundry, and we are called to embrace it and to wash it bit by bit on a washing board. Real optimism is not to see everything as good, but to see things as they truly are and still have hope and take actions to improve. "Make me the channel of Your peace.".

November 19, 2007

a grape

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:01 pm by changisme

Just a grape, one of those that is so round and large, like a drop of amethyst with a foggy veil. Clover, the puppy played with it like as if it were a sibling. Though the grape is not wild, and hence rather tough looking, it was still a grape! I wonder how Clover knew to have mercy on her little paws and little teeth, so that the grape would still be round enough to roll. Each time, she would push it with her black and furry nose, as the grape rolled on the hard wood floor, clover raced after the agile escapee and pounced on it. Undoubtedly, Clover won every round of the game. I thought it would be more interesting if she had a real opponent, like me, so I kicked the grape lightly with my big toe, sending the prey to an unexpected direction. Clover’s apparently more excited, shaking her body this way and that as she rocketed towards the intelligent target. She even brought it back to me, over and over again. Slowly, the grape lost its flamboyance and youthfulness, wrinkles dug into its flesh as Clover rubbed it with her little furry ball of a head. It rolled more and more slowly.
I felt a little sad, whether it was for Clover, so lonely, with no one really understanding her, no one really have time to even try to understand her, no sibling, no parents other than the little master who has a million other things going on in his life, or it was for the grape, one that seemed for awhile to be so great to have made another’s life beautiful and engaging but almost in an instant to have made hardly any difference, but still died in the trying, or even worse… unaware of its own purpose, I don’t know.

It is hard to really understand what purpose really means. I find it a rather purposeless concept at times, especially when it’s made too grand and big. I live today not for the end of age. We were reading Newbigin’s book, and I find one thing he said quite well,

"The world looks like that because of the lenses through which it is seen. The lenses themselves are not seen. We do not look at them, but see through them."   —- Lesslie Newbigin

We are not to be here to institute the purpose of life, to others or to ourselves. Our ways of perceiving the world is not to be made pretentious, but to be lived in the day to day love, games of chasing and preying. What is different is the way we see the world and those that live in it, or rather how we slowly grow to, learn to see the world in that way.

November 17, 2007

Then the next morning…

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:14 am by changisme

It’s so strange as I sit in the coffee shop, with smooth Jazz swinging in the background, people chattering over the crackling pages of the local papers, and the salt and pepper in their hair and beards sprinkled in their coffes, I somehow don’t even feel the faded zooming of cars outside is disharmony anymore. It’s rather surprising that I don’t feel like I’m escaping, though that was my intension walking blocks and blocks away in the crispy morning air.

The city is not that much entangled at my heels.

As I sit here, somewhat sinking into the jazz and sound of coffee making, i find it quite easy to appreciate life at times. The pictures ont he walls have some interesting colours though I can’t quite see clearly what they are all about, I don’t really feel like striving to do so. My life is so filled with active participation, so much pursuit to the external truths that it feels quite special to remember that I can also feel content to just be bathed by these blobs of colours and will them to be whatever I want.

If my days had been described as "All in the Golden Afternoon" from Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, now just feels like, then the next morning…

November 15, 2007

Science Infrastructure in Nigeria

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:35 pm by changisme

I went to a talk about Science infrastructure in Nigeria. The speaker is pretty hilarious, and he basically talked about his experience trying to teach there. One thing he seems to say over and over again is that people are quite protective of their equipment and there is not a lot of co-operative spirit going on in academia. He says that probably this is because of lack of funding, and the ownership of equipment is like a patent. It makes me think of how much of our ethics are linked to ethical behavior. For example, in Beijing, people fight to get onto the bus while here people line up. Does that mean people here are more ethical than people in Beijing? I actually don’t know. If it sounds too controversial, let’s say if people here are more ethically aware?

If we say that behaving ethically could be due to social norms, then does such behavior affect our values? Are we changed by how we behave even for irrelavent reasons? Or is it altogether silly to not flock in front of the bus door like hungry crows?

The speaker talked about how it is so difficult to teach there without adequate equipment, but he’s also an outsider. I’m not quite sure what the cultural implication is in an academic context. Usually, a big city as Legos, probably would be like…a big city? Well… okay I have started talking nonesense by now, tata!

November 12, 2007

Colour of the wind.

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:14 pm by changisme

I wonder what colour is the wind god. She’s green when her smile makes the haughtiest flower in the meadow curtsy.
She’s beige when she ruffles the pages in my hammock. She’s blue when she paints rhymes on the sandy shores. And she’s red when the autumn leaves dance their last glory.

What colour is the wind god when she no longer hide behind the other ribbons? What colour is she after her roar silences other faeries? Here I am! cries the wind, Don’t you forget, don’t you forget that it is I who rouge the autumn and sprouts the spring. Enraged, I pale the void, who can stop me!

Her anger sure is awesome, but does the power solidify her ownership? To the colours? Or to me?

November 9, 2007

about humour, religion and some other not so humours stuff.

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:01 pm by changisme

I went to watch Driving Miss Daisy in the theatre. It’s quite a
humourous show. I guess in a way I didn’t expect it to be, about which
I wonder why. it is supposed to be a comedy afterall. I guess we always
have the preconception that the scripts from that era and about old
age, would always be somewhat grim. Life on the other hand never seem
to go on without humour, even in the toughest of times.

Somehow I thought about Tolstoyevski. I recall in some story he wrote,
he wrote about this man who’s arguing against the Church telling a
tale, the tale says that Jesus came to earth again, and meets this
church father, and after Jesus performed his miracles, the church
father arrests him and says, "You should be arrested, because you want
people to go to you freely, out of love. However, only very few people
who are very strong in the spirit can really do that, can seek the real
freedom, you are only taking care of the cream of the crop. Whereas we,
we church fathers, take care of the mass majority, who don’t actually
want the real freedom, but just want people to tell them what to do and
tell them they are saved through some recipes. We are doing good work
for the mass, you for the few." Jesus heard him, kissed him on the lip
and walks off. After this man tells his tale and said something along
the line of, "See, the Church and the Empire, they are going against
their own faith! We might as well all be atheist (I don’t quite
remember, but some argument fore atheism at the time). Then the man who
was listening to the tale stands up, with great inspiration, kissed the
other man on the lips and walked off.

The most classic moment comes next, the atheist thrusts his fist with full rage and accuses, "Plagiarism!"


Anyway, what was my point, one is that the humour in all these hard
questions of life. To a certain extend, life is a big joke, but not a
pointless one. Or, some people prefer to call "a joke with purpose"
art. I think I rest on that a little more than the opinion that life is
a dream. Dreams are complicated, not always made sense just like life
alright, but it is in contrast with the moment of waking. Is that the
moment of life or death? Is that the moment of clarity or abandonment?
This notion of dream almost suggests that this life is to be bundled up
either for inference of what is to come after or to be forgotten. Many
would say that I don’t have perspective as someone still in the dream.
I suppose I am.

Also, I thought of that because I really do wonder, how does Christ
mean when he tries so hard for people to come to him freely. Is it just
a notion at the time? In those days when religion was so much dictated
by the few who knew how to read the Law? What about today? Are we too
free? Many people like Curtis and Shaun are what they call themselves
"Neo-catholics". I presume they want to bring back the meaning of
tradition. I’m sure they don’t mean that people wouldn’t come to Christ
freely, but they do mean we are going over board on our free notion. I
wonder if that’s true? We seem to have a different structure
altogether. We have a set of insider vocabularies which is to be
associated with people who are die-hards. I… am not sure.

At the theatre, there was another couple ushering with me. They are
some hardcore Christians. At one point we were chatting about the
change of the theatre, and I said it used to have more religious
oriented plays, and this year they are doing the more famous "movie"
scripts. Obviously they were very repelled by the word "religious".
Instantly they said it’s probably more "soul food". Oh sure sure, I
echoed. Really though… soul food is a little too general isn’t it? I
think any scripts that plucks a string of the inner being or even just
human nature is soul food. Most of them don’t spend half of the time
discussing Christianity and Judaism. I don’t know why religion is such
a taboo in the Christian circle while they are the one who complain
about the secular world fear religion so much. Weird.

November 7, 2007

it’s real.

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:51 pm by changisme

I hadn’t talked to Jane for a long time I feels like before just now.
We were both so busy. It was surprisingly therapeutically for me to
talk to her actually. I didn’t really expect it. I tend to have all the
thoughts going on in my head and even the friendship sometimes is
constructed in my own imagination. When it’s real though, it’s just so
much better. I felt like I was talking so fast and I was saying too
many things. It’s so weird, I feel quite good, for the first time in
three or four days. Now I should go do my stats homework!!!!

research aside

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:04 am by changisme

Searching for fisheries management materials that are above and beyond my reach has surprisingly made my life richer in a certain sense. It also reminds me of that moonlit night above a lake near Tikal. Electricity ceased in the whole area, the moon shone ever brighter either for the eye hungry for beauty or for the body eager to be cleansed. I talked and talked with someone living in the same hotel. He grew up in a fishery family, and is familiar with the lines in his father’s face when fishing can no longer make his living. He then got a licence as a mechanics and sware never to fish. What different worlds people live in, and yet we felt identified because we were both from Vancouver. At the same time, something everyone work towards with our ideologies. I guess it’s not any sillier to sware not to fish than to crunch numbers and hope policies will set realities in their rightful course.
While searching for the books I need, my cursor would land on an author, and all the books that come out would be on this one narrow field. Isn’t that unimaginable? Spend your whole life on one thing? Of course some of them switched from one area to another over the decades, but not everyone. I guess you do sink into one field because you sort of become an expert, and want to use that expertise. It’s probably also easier to collaborate with other people and it’s fun to work that way rather than feed more things into your brain in solitude. Even Eric said that he’s been intending to learn probability and bought the books but never got around doing it.
All these prospects make me want to work and do something useful.

November 6, 2007

rough day

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:46 pm by changisme

Deep into autumn, the chill often rub me raw. Walking past a girl who was saying to her friend, I love leaves on trees! The echo swirled in my ears sounding like my own voice. I guess I blame all these innocent natural cycles for my own everyday stress.

I generally don’t get angry at people. i guess I talk and blog too much to have accumulated temper. The last time I did get angry was about half a year ago, even then I was quite… reasonable I think, I didn’t yell at anyone at least. Today though, I got quite impatient with Cody, who’s not even a close friend of mine.

he really didn’t do anything really annoying, it’s just one of his persistent series of nosy inquiries of my feeling. He does that to people all the time, and we never take him seriously. It sometimes bothers me because he’s not sincere, and he’d say things like I’m glad I’m not in your situation kind of things. Even then… they are not really mean things, plus he’s not a close friend, I guess I don’t really mind. Today, I was so annoyed and when he asked after three times is there anything wrong? I just eeeenounciated in his face, YES, I’M FINE!!! He was quite taken aback and I immediately felt sorry for him. He looked like a hurt little squiral not knowing what he did wrong. I felt quite bad, I just dumped this tentrum on him without ever telling him why his behavior irritates people. It’s not really fair.

The whole thing was mainly because I’m stressed from too many things to be done. I want a break. The air, the cool air normally so smooth, just feels like pebbles against my skin. It’s not exactly sharp neither does it make me bleed, but it makes me conscious of its existence all the time. There are all these things around me… all these things…. To be done or to be handled with care. There are so few people I can be with and just be at ease, and not needing to worry about this and that. So hard…

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