Friday, September 29, 2006

I am tired of poetry

Wasted minutes of my life
Spent pressing sweat-sticky fingers
To fevered temples
Prodding ideas better left for dead
Turning these over
Hoping to breathe new life into this desperate attempt at resurrection
Then thinking-

How to make these untrained words
Dance into well-formed patterns,
Step into well-timed rhythms
And work them up to a breathless final ending.
I insist on a crescendo of new meaning!

Why all this suffering?
What I used to appreciate as art
is now just jumbles of words
lost in it's meandering

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Great library finds!

Had a whole day to waste yesterday so I bagged these from my all-time fave hangout:

1. Collected Novellas - by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
2. Poems of Fernando Pessoa
3. How to travel with a salmon - by Umberto Eco
4. The House in the Sand - by Pablo Neruda

I'd wanted to find 'Love in the time of cholera' by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, having heard great reviews about it, but the library didn't have it, so i got his collected novellas instead. Hope it'd be good.
I've been feeling abit divided and confused the last few days, perhaps that's what's responsible for making me attempt reading 2 books at once; the Pessoa poems and Umberto Eco's writings. Now, here's a useful tip: when you're already as addle-brained as me, attempting to read 2 books at once is not likely to help illuminate the state of your mind. Anyway, I've given hoping that I will ever get there, so I'm just enjoying my present state of confusion or trying to live with it. Despite things being the way they are, I'm enjoying Eco's quirky sense of humour and often strange observations of his travels and the quirks that comes from travelling or living in a strange country.

Poems of Fernando Pessoa, I chose this book because I'm quite easily persuaded by hard-sell reviews of the book on the back cover. This one claims Pessoa to be one of the very great poets of the 20th century..."one of the fascinating figures of all literature, with his manifold identities, his amazing audacities, his brilliance and his shyness. One of the great originals of the European poetry of the first part of this century and has been one of the last poets of comparable stature, in the European languages, to become known in English. Fernando Pessoa is the least known of the masters of 20th century poetry."

    From the Highest Window of my House

From the highest window of my house
With a white handkerchief I say goodbye
To my poems leaving for humanity.

And I’m neither happy or sad.
That’s the destiny of poems.
I wrote them and I should show them to everybody
Because I can’t do any different,
Like a flower can’t hide its color,
Or a river hide its flowing,
Or a tree hide that it gives fruit.

There they are, going away like in a stagecoach
And without wanting to I feel sad
Like a pain in my body.

Who knows who’ll read them?
Who knows whose hands they’ll go to?

Flower, my destiny plucked me for their eyes.
Tree, they picked my fruit for their mouths.
River, my water’s destiny was to not stay with me.
I give in and feel almost happy,
Almost happy like someone tired of feeling sad.

Go, go from me!
A tree dies and stays, scattered throughout Nature.
A flower withers and its dust endures forever.
A river runs and flows into the sea and its water will always be what it was.

I pass and I stay, like the Universe.

(extracted from - Poems of Fernando Pessoa)

Friday, September 22, 2006

Movie Screening: The Teenage Textbook

Last Wednesday I watched the film screening of the best-selling novel by Adrian Tan, 'The Teenage Textbook'.
Sitting in the front row of the cinema, I was by myself, and engrossed in the story until halfway through when I registered out the corner of my left eye a disturbing movement- a late-comer who came and settled a seat away from me.

Now the story was a lighthearted comedy, but it had it's emotional peak parked near the end when the heroine (Mui Ee) tearfully confessed her fears of her love someday reaching the end of it's course and dying out. At this point, foolish romantic old me, cried too. Fat blobs of tears I tried very hard to keep inside just rolled out of my eyes despite my best efforts to furiously blink them back in. I hoped my pretend wiping at dust-in-eyes and furtive swiping at cheeks didnt catch anyone's attention...
When the movie came to an end and the credits rolled, the lights came on. The program's emcee informed the audience that the writer Adrian Tan was in the audience for a Q&A session and welcomed him to step onto the stage. The late-comer sitting beside me stood up......

Had some time on my hands today so fooled around some with the Photoshop, this function I've newly discovered called 'Watercolour'. I love the paint-like effect it lends, particularly to portraits, so I'm gonna take more shots this weekend and play around some more.

1st photo above with watercolour setting set at 1.

2nd photo above of suze with watercolour setting set at 2. Definitely nicer contrasts.

Prince Tri Sri Buana (Sang Nila Utama) - a draft

Let me tell you the true story
Of *Prince Tri Sri Buana
Prince of the underseas,
He who journeyed up to land
Upon the back of the great *white bull

His adventuror blood
flowed strong, inherited perhaps
From his grandfather, the Roman
Alexander the Great

He sets off with his fleet
From Sumatra in search of new kingdoms
But evil misfortune shadowed his ship

From behind the curtain of clouds,
In came the ill-tempered Storm who like a spoilt child
Tiring of an old toy and denied a new one,
Tried it's hardest to tear apart the ship and flush it
Into the deep recesses of the sea

The waves turned into mountains of water
Filling the ship steadily to it's brim
The courageous Prince,
Desperate to halt the sinking
Threw every object o'erboard ‘til nought was left, save his most prized crown

Yet still the mast creak
And the ship, it did dreadfully groan
And the storm, how it howled on and rage
And the ocean gaped and did roar

The Prince, reigned at this point by heavy despair
Hopes of all escape dashed as he surveyed his ship
And its content of rising water
But then, a needle of hope pricked at his heart
Telling him to throw his crown to appease storm and sea

So the Prince flung
his weighty jewelled crown, remorse
Prompting his heart to ask, of what use is the most kingly crown
To a prince, when he cannot use it to buy his life?

Perhaps there was hidden magic in the crown’s ‘smithing
For at the moment the crown touched the sea
The storm died
To nary a hush or whisper

The victorious prince overcame
Sea and sky
To meet in his path
The undiscovered City of Lions,
Singa Pura.
No omen from the sea nor sky would tell him
That the white men from a different sea
Would rob claim
To his founding one day,
Forever erasing his memory
And relegating his existence
Into mere myth and legend.

*Also known by his other name of Sang Nila Utama. Sang Nila Utama was the first founder of Singapore and ruled the island between 1299 to 1347.

The earliest historical records, The Malay Annals. written around the 1600s, some 3 centuries after the event, listed Sang Nila Utama's ancestry to Alexander the Great.

Whether by allusion or to exaggerate his greatness, records claimed his origins were from an undersea kingdom where he was said to have come up to land upon the back of a ‘white bull’, perhaps an archaic malay reference to a dolphin or creature that had no proper name accredited to it at such an infant point in our history and vocabulary.

Other early malay records listed encounters between humans and turtles, the famous story of Kusu island being one, whereupon the story went that a turtle saved 2 men from drowning by turning itself into an island.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Notes on bumboat journey

The bumboat is suffering
Serious after-effects of sunburns
Skins of dirty-blue paint is peeling away
From the aged wood underneath

I shrug off it’s shabbiness
What does it matter?
There is quiet pleasure
To be gained afterall
In listening to the engine’s steady pulse
It’s rhythmic whirr

The bumboat cuts across
The resigned sea
For now,
The bed is serene despite mixed signals
From the brooding sullen skies.

The bumboat’s engine
Churns rolls of jade waves
And lacings of white froth trailing
Behind it’s wake, like a bride’s veil
Sweeping across shiny church floors

I lay on the hard moist deck
with ‘Great Expectations’ in my hands
Pip and Estella’s barren romance
Is an apt tale to be read
While journeying on a bumboat
That had seen better days

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Summary of day

Today's Ups:
Private tour of the spanking new National Museum.
Meeting the great team at Nat'l Museum, definitely. Didn't get to watch the screening of the local sci-fi film production 'Avatar' cos of extreme tiredness, but hopefully the next screening this 20th.

Today's Downs:
More induction programs. 1 more next week before I'm really done. Tired, tired, tired.
More product and systems knowledge briefings. More codes to learn. My brain is a whirl of information yet to be sorted and organised in a coherent flow. But how, when even the system's logic itself is a mess?! &^%$!!!!
It's a system designed for punishment.


Sampler of 1st week's orientation

Trainer 1: How long are you gonna be with us for? Oh, 4 months only? Well, you do know the company doesn't issue staff with mugs unless they're with us at least 6 mths???
Me: Mug...?

Exit Trainer 1, Enter Trainer 2:
Trainer 2: Oh, I noticed you've not had your mug yet? Wait here, I'll get you a foam cup from the meeting room!
Me: What's with this mug thing...?

Exit Trainer 2, Enter HR officer:
HR Officer: We've decided to issue you with a mug since you'll be with us for 4 months.
Me: Arrggghhhhhhhh!!!!! Let me quit!!!