“Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return” by Marjane Satrapi

8 07 2009

Marjane Satrapi - Persepolis 2

“Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return”
a comic by Marjane Satrapi
(France)

I would have to say that I never cried on a graphic novel like what I experienced with Satrapi’s two graphic novels. Persepolis 2 just hit the spot for me because of how I can relate with her life away from her native country – well except for the whole sex, drugs and hobo thing.

After reading the second installment of the series – and I’m hoping the third and fourth to be translated in English very soon – I learned a lot more about the conditions of anomie which is something that I learned in one of my linguistics classes. Not only does anomie apply in language but also in terms of culture and traditions which migrants carry when they leave their motherland unaware of the future and the unprecedented changes that will take place there without them watching over or listening.

Anomie, according to the book by H. Douglas Brown about Second Language Acquisition, means a feeling “of social uncertainty, dissatisfaction, or “homelessness” as individuals lose some of the bonds of a native culture but are not yet fully acculturated in the new culture” (p. 376). This definition I believe truly defines my state in life at this moment thousands of miles from my homeland.

It’s the feeling that the character Marji felt exactly: when she’s abroad, she will always be an Iranian, but back home in Iran, she will always be a foreigner. The freedoms that she experienced in Europe – such as sexual freedom – is something that her friends in Iran can hardly relate to. But she kept strong with all the things that she went through. As someone who educates herself with all diligence and self-discipline, Marji fought against the challenges of life that she had to face.

What I found really emotional was the time when she was back in Iran to end up in a marriage that was not working, a society controlled by the guardians of the revolution and despite her freedom to study, a limited application of her education. Her decision to leave the country might be a really hard decision to make but with this decision I understood why I am where I am right now. I didn’t want to be betrayed by my view of my home country before I left but of course I didn’t hesitate to take the opportunity to watch news about it. As you experience life in such manner, you find yourself defining your love for your own country in another light.

I find my country as beautiful and rich in culture, traditions and history. But I don’t like the politics which influences the minds of people – to be watchful and speculative, to be fond of rumours and gossip and to be the ones who wish to take the law in their own hands.

But going back to Satrapi’s graphic novel. The main point of the Persepolis series is “freedom”. Being born in a country where this freedom is “abused” these days, I do find myself envious of those who never had it and are fighting for it. Those who are controlled by the state, by society, by the media, these victims who can never find freedom in their lifetime; these people are the ones who I always pray for a lot. When all they wanted to do is have a good and comfortable life, you’d ask why is it necessary for someone to interfere with them or why is it important that everyone in the society has to know about it. It’s not all about privacy but it’s all about freedom from ridicule that I find myself wishing for all these poor people and most especially for those victimized by a society who claims to have the right to make insensitive reactions about someone without a solid basis ridiculing them and eventually ostracizing them from the society. We just don’t learn.

One thing I agree with Marji is that there’s a price for freedom.

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“Persepolis: A Story of a Childhood” by Marjane Satrapi

4 07 2009

Marjane Satrapi - Persepolis

“Persepolis: A Story of a Childhood”
a comic by Marjane Satrapi
(France)

I thought I’d put aside novels for the meantime to enjoy a funny and touching story by Marjane Satrapi called “Persepolis”. This autobiographical tale deals with the life of Marji during her childhood years at the time of the Islamic Revolution of Iran which won from the rule of the Shah and the Iran-Iraq war which succeeded it. What really hit me from this story was the fact that Marji, the main character, wanted a really cool story about her family to be proud of. As human beings, we want to tell our friends a grand story about ourselves to show everyone that we are relevant to society and to everyone’s lives – that we essentially have a status by having a great story to tell. I do have that tendency and I feel guilty for sometimes over-exaggerating the facts about me which I tell my friends. But here’s one fact that is true about me, I never drank alcohol until I was 25 but when I first drank, I got red rashes and itchy skin all over my body.

At times, we do tell these grand stories to protect ourselves – we know the usual “My dad was member of the secret police” or “My grandfather is the President” or “My Uncle killed over 9,000 people in one shot” stories. As kids, it’s more of a “Don’t mess with me” tactic when they tell such story. But we do find out that these grand stories can put someone into trouble as how we see Marji almost poke nails with one of her classmates who claimed to have a father who have killed many people. In a lot of cases, some people unconsciously know that our grand story could be either patriotism/nationalism or religion and we see them as instruments of our cause (for going to wars, protesting, etc.) or our beings (personality, etc.). Others who don’t really explain themselves in a grand story, based on my experience, would not care whether people have status or not and some would even abhor them since talking about yourself is to a certain degree committing pride and boastfulness. Well, that’s what grand stories are all about.

The struggle for a normal life is also the theme of this comic. It’s quite sad that so many things were banned in the early years of the revolution from Western music, to playing cards to chess sets. I’d understand the alcohol part since the government ruling are Muslim clerics who in the story ended up to control the entire Iranian society through the veil which Satrapi smartly introduces in the comic.

There were plenty of funny moments in the book. I’d like you guys to read it. The outspoken Marji, who also narrates the story, do give us tons of insights about the changes in Iran which totally gives us the distinction between what makes us free and what doesn’t.

Overall, I’d say the stories told by Marji gave me some laughs which came from the political jokes and just smartly laid out situations. The comic also gave me moments of grief since the revolution in Iran as well as the Iraq-Iran war were not the best moments in Iranian history. The plot is simple and all you need is a bit of open-mindedness with regards to the history of Iran.

I’m very glad to have written this reflection on the comic because I have been watching and listening to the news in Iran which is currently in chaos because of the election that took place in the country. Ahmadinejad and Mousavi were the two rivals in the event and many people were protesting because of the fraudulent results of the elections which was claimed to be won by Ahmadinejad. Satrapi was able to hold a document from an Iranian agency telling the real results of the election which Mousavi won fairly and Ahmadinejad lost greatly. I do pray Iran can get out of this mess and that the truly elected president will be sitting in to represent their country.





Hiatus Ends Today

15 06 2009

After 3 months of strike at the university where I was studying at and about 4 months of grueling pains caused by the shortened school year, I found myself finishing university life at last! There are so many things to talk about but my brain definitely has to go on rest mode after so much garbage went into it. Which is why I would probably consider spending time not blogging or writing too much in the next couple of weeks.

Our brains definitely know when to stop thinking but there should be times as well when our brains decide not to think at all for a certain period of time. When the momentum is up again, I’m pretty sure that I can create some really good input here on my blog and I will definitely make sure that I can write with valuable knowledge and wisdom backing me up.

Laterz!





Happy New Year!

31 12 2008

New Year’s Resolutions are usually what people write on this occasion but the biggest challenge really is achieving them. I did that last Christmas and it’s time to actually put it to the task on Day 1!

Now that my New Year’s Resolutions is taken care of, I guess I could talk about what I’m hoping would happen this year. One of them apparently is the fact that I will get my bachelor’s degree and I’m going to rest for a while, look for a job and get set on lining up my books in my grand library to read every one of them cover-to-cover and be just like this person who I admire so much – he goes by “The Devourer of Books” – and write what I feel about the books that I read. Being out of school doesn’t mean that we have to put aside our study life. We have to keep up with it.

This post is going to be short since there’s only an hour left before the actual countdown towards 2009 here in Toronto. Congrats’ to my friends all the way in the Far East – Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan, China & Hong Kong (I have friends from those countries) – Happy New Year to you guys! We here in Canada & the US are waiting anxiously for this moment and we will make our celebrations as great as it should be & much better than last years’ and the last…





Inspiring Holiday Moments

26 12 2008

On the way back home to Toronto from Muskoka, I was listening to David Foster’s “Movie Montage” from his album “Rechordings” on my iPod when things broke out of my mind and I thought that it would be a great idea for me to share it here.

I spent Christmas (2008) with my family out of town to Muskoka where a family friend of ours – a retired couple (a Filipina married to a Canadian) who is very welcoming and have been kind to us in the last 6-7 years – owns a cottage that is really close to nature; it’s essentially a perfect place for them who are already retired for a long while now. After a couple of interactions with a couple of people there – one-on-one chats in particular – and especially the revelations that I realised as we went back home, I found that this Christmas became something that I would cherish for the rest of my life.

This occasion was particularly special to me because it was the time when I found myself coming back from the deep hole I’ve been digging in the last couple of months now – that is when I took advantage of the strike at my university by treating it as my hiatus where I did nothing but sleep, work and play games as opposed to actually hitting the books and finishing this final lap of my school life; it’s when I totally lost interest to studying and acquiring any kind of knowledge related to Linguistics, Japanese and Spanish; I lost inspiration to talk with my Peruvian co-worker in Spanish who just left our workplace; I even justified what colourgenics was telling about me; I had that voracity for peace and rest for a long time in order to tell myself what a stupid person I have become and that I should be thinking of ways to solve my problems.

This is what my colourgenics analysis said 3 days ago:

You feel worn out, physically and mentally. Recently the going has been tough and it looks as if there is still a considerable way for you to go before you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. If only you could put a protecting wall around yourself and cut yourself off from the rest of the world – be it even for only a little while – how wonderful it would be, but you can’t – so you need to bear with it. Just when everything will seem at its lowest ebb you will find that there is a turnabout and your problems will seem to find a way of resolving themselves.

You are in need of rest, some peace and quiet. You feel the need to be close to that someone special, that someone who can give you that special consideration and unquestioning affection that you seek. If you don’t find that ’special someone’ and resolve your problems very soon, you are liable to become extremely introverted and cut yourself off from society.

Your confidence has been shattered. There are so many things that you would like to do with your life, so many dreams to be fulfilled – and you know that your hopes and dreams are not just figments of your imagination, they are real and you are looking for reassurance from someone. Basically your fears are such that you may be prevented in attaining your hopes and dreams. Even now you would like to broaden your fields of endeavour but in order to develop your ‘inner- self’ you need peace and solace. You are distressed by the fear that you may be prevented from attaining your goals. What you really need at this particular moment in time is quiet reassurance from someone close to you to restore your confidence.

You are experiencing considerable stress which is essentially the result of on going rejection and hostility. You are in the unpleasant position where offers of trust, affection and understanding are being withheld and you are being treaded with a degrading lack of consideration. You feel that you are being denied the appreciation that you deserve, which is essential to your well-being and self-esteem, but you have to face up to the situation because as matters stand at this time there is little that you can do about it – you feel that you are getting nowhere and the continuous struggle is a lonely one: all difficulties and no encouragement. Whatever you try to say or do is met with continuous hostility and no matter how much you protest you are consistently misunderstood. You need to escape from the situation but you are so perplexed that you cannot find the strength of mind to make the necessary decision.

You wish to safeguard yourself against criticism or conflict and to embed yourself in a protected situation. You are a difficult person to relate to and very difficult to please.

I believed in this analysis and I was planning to lock my doors from my parents from this point onwards. But things really got a lot more interesting when we spent Christmas in Muskoka.

~

First off, I guess the Canadian husband was the first one to make me ponder about life through what he was saying as he went all tipsy after having a couple of drinks.

At first he was ranting about what’s happening in Canadian politics these past couple of weeks telling me that although he didn’t vote in the last election, he still has the right to complain because he’s paying taxes which I respect… He was also talking about the news of the recession and the bail out issue with the big 3 car companies: GM, Dodge and Chrysler.

Then he came into an addling idea about transience. Being an intellectual, an academic, an activist and as someone who struggles to make sure our generation will pass on great things to our descendants through being progressive and changing our world constantly, I was hit hard when he told me that the past generations never thought about our present generation ergo he doesn’t believe in the conservation of the environment which we focused a lot with. He thought that if Canada’s oil will help our economy get back in shape, then we have to drill it tough luck to the animals and trees that will be destroyed because of it.

I was reflecting on this particular idea for a long while even when I was lying down on bed Christmas morning (4am).

I thought that nature and humans definitely are relative. Humans need trees and plants to breathe… Lives will be affected heavily when someone builds a nuclear plant or a factory that will emit toxic substances and either spill them on the rivers or smoke them up in the air destroying the health of ordinary human lives. Why wouldn’t anyone care about what these buildings do when they know it damages not just people who would be considered “collateral damage” but also destroys communities who only wanted to live peacefully?

I guess this is where I find a certain understanding with the original argument. As we realize what the last generation have done to do a lot of damage in this world, our generation have come into this world where we have to live with the vestiges of the past which makes our time particularly an intense one – it’s dangerous to go to certain countries which historians and many hopefuls believe are so rich in history, culture and values; people struggle to achieve peace by first killing people and their cultures in the name of their ideals, their faith, their lands, their survival, their very existence, their political power, their social power, their self-serving interests, their money making businesses, their ideal economic system.

We suddenly start to ask ourselves, why do we have to sweep the mess that the past generations have made? This I guess is where my strong beliefs on “uncertainty” comes in from the idea of accepting “transience”. As the world change, our ancestors could only speculate about what will happen in the future but how do we know it? They were only speaking using their own cultural knowledge which might have expanded by a thousand fold today. Whatever achievements or mistakes they made in the past are something that we can blame at but cannot condemn or even praise directly.

Whatever it is, my Canadian family friend is a nice person who likes to joke a lot. I only caught him in his most cynical moments. Where else would you find a person like that rather than when he drank almost half a bottle of red wine.

~

The second person who woke up my senses was the daughter of a family friend of ours who also stayed in the cottage for the holidays. She should be in her 8th grade and I’m pretty sure high school life is about to enter her life and change her completely.

I was talking to her about the types of music that I listen to and when I said jazz, she thought that it’s music for old people. I told her that jazz has plenty of types and I particularly like Portico Quartet which isn’t merely a saxophone led band but which is fascinating for its introduction of the hang drum to its listeners.

I told her that I also like rock and laid out the various types of rock that I listen to from alternatives to new wave to pop to some metal and even mentioned sub-genres.

She laughed telling me that I had to go through all that just to tell her my favourite music. It made me quite exhilarated to tell her about what she might have to know once she grows up. I told her that at that time, she will also try to pick the type of music that she would treat as her most favourite and most cherished of all time. I guess this one taught me essentially of individuality based on what you like.

What struck me is the realisation that I probably have experienced the same thing as a child and that I should be proud of what I have become to the point that I could actually share it with this little girl who could only sneer at me for being so academic about music.

~

The third person who shook my emotions was the wife of the Canadian who is Filipina. I was trying to search the net about what happened to the Philippines in 1968 when the world was on a transition through activism, school protests, assassinations, changes in the communist system (yes I’m talking about Czechoslovakia), and lunar discoveries. She’s an open-minded person which I really like because I believe that she can have answers to some of my questions.

I first asked her about what happened in the Phils in 1968. She talked suddenly about the martial law under the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos and how she was so scared to learn that the streets are empty like a ghost town and the bank where she worked stopped its operations with its vaults safely locked fearing the government’s troops who already confiscated the guns that security guards possessed in order to do their jobs.

Then she talked about an experience in the late-60s when the police went to the bank asking her to open the account of a certain person who made it in the news. She adamantly refused and despite having an issue order, she was able to convince the police that only the client can open his/her personal account.

I was quite inspired by these stories, then she started talking about living in the United States when Benigno Aquino was assassinated at what is now the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. She thought that although New York City was a great place back then where there’s entertainment everywhere, it was difficult to live in because of the crimes being committed everyday. That actually made her move to Toronto and stayed there for good with the impression that Canada is a lot better than the US with its peaceful environment and until now, it still is one of the safest and most peaceful countries in the world.

Then I told her about my aspirations to become a writer and a journalist. I told her that I’m starting to read RD (Reader’s Digest) and showed her Granta and Brick which are two amazing literary magazines that I already started collecting for the last 2-3 years already. I even told her about how inspired I am with CBC Radio shows and how I looked up on writers and philosophers that led me to this kind of passion that hopefully doesn’t become a hindrance towards my pursuits in getting my Linguistics degree on 2009.

She told me that I should keep holding on my ideals; she also told me about the potentials that I already have and asked me to use it. She believed in my abilities and I felt so inspired after hearing that. I now have someone who supports me in my pursuits in life and I should thank her for it.

~

No one would inspire me the most but a priest. Having a one-on-one chat with a parish priest was one of the greatest things that I ever experienced on Christmas Day. This priest is from the Philippines who is assigned to the Church at Bracebridge. He have been serving here in Canada for 20 years now and I just couldn’t believe that I was making a lot of dialogue with him.

I thought we started talking about what he does in the Philippines during his one month vacation every year and he starts to talk about helping communities. He started talking about how the creativity of people can bring them forward. He talked of farmers and pig raisers who used to become passive – this meant that they were only hoping for their government to help them survive – but some of them are a lot more successful in producing for their own living. I’m glad the priest knows what makes a successful life and that is through making people think for themselves, taking risks, having a sense of community and living a happy life without any conflict.

I asked some of the tough questions to the priest as to how he brings the community together considering trust in every member that embodies it and what happens to those who become successful.

Then we came into the deeper aspects of ideas such as contradictions between what we believe as Christians and ideas that we see can work well in life and our surroundings. The priest didn’t oblige himself too much about preaching about God but he said that we need to think about other ideas sometimes as long as we know what is right and what can teach the people to act and care for each other.

I thought I went too deep when I was talking about the heavy struggle of the artist in front of religious faiths. I talked about Salman Rushdie’s “The Satanic Verse” and Dan Brown’s “The DaVinci Code” which are both controversial books but the former led to the burning of bookstores and death threats to the author Rushdie by Iran’s “fatwa”. I’m so glad to know that he rooted for ecumenism or understanding common grounds yet making ourselves clear about what the truth is all about. This I think is a very important ideal that university students take into their consideration when they have discussions and debates. Educating about the truth is a lot more respectable rather than burning books and killing.

My mom kept on asking the priest to pray for my brother and I that either one of us would one day become a priest. I really wanted to snap in front of my mom but the priest was present at the time. :D But I guess my mom is always like that, hoping that there would be someone who would be a blessing for the family. I definitely don’t want to challenge her but I sure don’t want to become a priest.

~

After the intellectual discussions and mind-boggling ideas that I got on Christmas Day, I think the best thing that happened was when I told my parents that my aspiration in life is to become an intellectual, an academic.

My parents told me as we were on our way home that the priest thought that my knowledge is something that is good and that he will pray for my success. It’s a statement that I won’t forget. At first, I thought my parents – most especially my mom – would really force themselves to pray that either my brother or I or both of us would become priests.

I think don’t deserve to be a priest because after 7 years, I have become tolerant of the multicultural setting of Toronto and the priest told me exactly that respect towards other cultures, faiths and races is really the most important thing – you will find that someone will always try to mess things up and destroy relationships.

To me personally, I don’t want to be just a leader of the followers of Christianity or Catholicism. I want to lead more people into better lives, into a better point of view when it comes to life and our surroundings, and most of all a better understanding of our own faiths, our own identities and our own beliefs rather than just being submissive.

Considering what my parents told me about what the priest told them, I thought suddenly that my parents have shown me a sign that they are showing their support as well. It may be the case that the priest induced them to think as such but I think I’m so blessed to have encountered these things on Christmas day. I’m motivated once again to live and fight for ideas, for respect, for equality, for life that is so precious, for relationships, for understanding and for a better tomorrow for all of us.

~

Well, as we close the year, I would like to send out this message to everyone… Please do me a favour and listen to a story by a friend, a family member, a leader, a book, a movie… anywhere… find a story and reflect upon it.

What are the things you have learned? What have the story changed in your life? What are the ideas that the story drew you into? How will you use those ideas in your everyday life?





Merry Christmas 2008

25 12 2008

nativity

Merry Christmas to everyone!

It’s always nice to write something on this day. But I have to admit that my celebrations are really getting boring year after year. Despite the slight boredom, I still find that it has to be the time when opportunities have to be grabbed in terms of having a really good time with family and friends – “quality time” spent a lot more than usual.

My younger brother turned 19 early this month and he wondered if he would be able to drink because the drinking age in Ontario is 19 – the government was thinking of raising it up to 21 but failed. I definitely don’t mind to be the very last member in our family to ever experience drinking alcohol if ever I would not join my brother on his pursuits to go crazy for a bit… hell I never even bought a lottery ticket and I’m way past the legal age. I guess the only feat I achieved was riding a roller coaster in Canada’s Wonderland without worrying about how bad it might affect my heart rate or something which is really stupid for me to think about from the very beginning.

But after doing a lot of reflecting, I think in the end, I have to at least be the big brother and celebrate my brother’s entry to the real world through drinking.

We will be celebrating the holidays with our family and I definitely think that my parents especially won’t mind us – I definitely think that I would need to know what drinking is all about so that I won’t be too overwhelmed once I live alone and suddenly see myself stumble into a place where there is a huge drinking culture hehehe.

Putting alcohol and drinking aside, I think Christmas with its very religious symbolisms and reifications, I never forget about what I would promise myself after all the failures I encountered in my life for the last couple of months. This is technically what we call resolutions and we usually do that on the New Years. I thought I should be a bit more creative about it and look at it in a way where I set my resolutions before Christmas and reflect upon it on the last week of the year before New Year’s Eve. Before I proceed, I think I should go back on my post last year and see what I actually accomplished.

1. I’m pretty sure I have a lot more resources that will help me study Japanese and Spanish but I’m pretty much behind with being confident with the languages and I definitely want to resolve this through actually gaining more confidence with my language skills and use it when there’s a grand opportunity.

2. Books are awesome and although I stopped reading for a bit due to school, I suddenly stumbled upon Podcasts which I took advantage of since I bought my very first iPod – you probably have seen it from a past journal I posted here. I will definitely keep up with expanding my knowledge but most of all, I have to keep up with understanding the intricacies of communication and education through what I read and listen to.

I have to admit that I didn’t read ALL of the books on my library as I promised and my shelves are even getting filled up at this point because I was buying more Granta and Reader’s Digest magazines.

3. I failed to get a new job… no excuses.

4. In terms of music, I’ve got a lot more genres that I picked up on and though I’m a big jazz fan, I am glad to have opened up with all the others which always make my day – I’m a big fan these days of Canadian Indie Music through CBC Radio3’s Podcast with Grant Lawrence and Bande à Part, CBC’s French Music Station.

5. With my pursuits in university, I have decided lately that after I get my degree, I should take a year’s rest, then start working again towards either continuing my education or getting a job.

6. Although extremely idealistic, I still keep with the struggle to care for people more than what I want to happen for them.

7. Keeping up with my hobbies was one of my resolutions… But change in hobbies is also inevitable… From go, chess, Japanese Manga, and J-dramas, I suddenly see myself delve a lot more deeper on my plugs as I keep on listening to podcasts from CBC, BBC, RTVE, PRI, NPR, ABC Radio National, TBS Radio and Tokyo FM. I guess this falls on the idea now that my aim is to basically be as intelligent as I hope these endeavours would provide me with.

8. Yes! I did enjoy the UEFA Euro Cup 2008. I rooted for Spain in the Finals and I’m glad that they won – good job for both Iker Casillas for being an awesome keeper and Fernando Torres for bringing that championship winning goal… Germany definitely has a lot of potential for the FIFA World Cup 2010 so I hope they’re not losing any hope and the same thing I hope for Michael Ballack who was really hungry for a win ever since the very beginning.

As for the Beijing Olympics, I did enjoy their opening and closing ceremonies and I watched as many games as possible. I applaud Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps for being well-achieved athletes with their World Records and China for having the most gold medals grabbed throughout the events. I’m looking forward to 2010 Vancouver and 2012 London.

~

Those were the things I wanted to really wanted to take note of but I’m putting my additional resolutions at this point.

1. I will apply for jobs on 2009. There’s no reason why I have to keep my current job for 7 years.

2. I think I should get a laptop because I thought my brother’s video and photo business is doing well and I want to help him out.

3. I will get my degree!

4. I will try to get back on drawing comics.

5. I will socialize a lot more – being a family guy once again brought me aback to this particular pursuit.

6. I will be a little bit more sensitive yet sternly objective when I talk with people.

7. I will ask as many questions as I could to some religious/spiritual leaders or elders.

8. I’ll try to find some opportunities for journalism, photojournalism or storytelling.

9. Through the socializing that I’m hoping to improve on, I’d like to have intimate relationships too along the way.

~

This list may not be exhaustive but it’s what I have planned to reflect upon before the New Year’s.

To me personally, acting upon your will with a little bit of faith – not too much – can bring you forward in life. I guess that’s where I found out a new principle in life that as long as you know something can be benign, you shouldn’t fear it. Metathesiophobics and Xenophobics are understandable but real people do not fear change and diversity!

~

Well I hope everyone can find some way to reflect as well for themselves and for their loved ones this Christmas season. If you’re lost, here are some questions that you might want to reflect upon:

What have I accomplished?
What are the things that encouraged me towards my pursuits?
How can I use these inspirations for other things?
What are those things that I want to either resolve or achieve?

~~~

This time, I would like to wish everyone a Merry and Blessed Christmas and a Prosperous and Happy New Year! May all your celebrations be blessed and your thoughts and wishes bring light not just to your life as an individual but to everyone who you care and who cares for you. It’s a time for community and unity as far as this holiday season goes.

To the rest who may not be celebrating Christmas but will be taking advantage of the holidays… Happy Holidays to you as well!

~

Image Source: http://www.stoliverplunkettprimary.org/images/nativity.jpg





Snowstorm and the Wonders of Winter

19 12 2008

2008-12-19-snowstorm

This probably is one of the biggest snowstorms so far this season. Currently, the temperature should be around ten degrees below (-10ºC). The most frustrating thing about this event after 5 winters has to be shoveling the snow in front of our driveway (we lived in an apartment for a year so essentially the shoveling was already done for us that time).

Shoveling our driveway should take more or less than an hour if I work it alone and if I can handle the depth of the snow. From the photo above, I’m quite lucky that I have my brother with me so that we can get the job done quickly. The snow was about 20cm deep and we worked it in only about 30 minutes.

I always hoped that Canada will continue to enjoy the 4 seasons since it brings me personally into a reflective mood where my insular thoughts would always be shucked off and collaborate with the things that surround me leading to a different enlightened state and for sure open-mindedness which is essentially what people would end up with after a certain activity or experience that they might find significant in their lives. But of course I do recognize that the wonders of nature is not just self-serving to human beings throughout its existence.

Winter has a sense irony for me. It brings such radiance that lights our path everyday of our lives through its white colour yet the winter season is always thought to be sad and lonely not merely because of the fact that people couldn’t just go out of their houses to chill somewhere especially on a harsh weather that we just had today. But more to that is the idea that winter is almost like a harbinger of death – people and some species of animals and plants I suppose don’t experience death because of our various defensive mechanisms that living things have to become steadfast in extreme weather or climate conditions; and for people especially, we do have shelters where we can heat up ourselves and even sleep without thinking about getting hypothermia or producing blisters all over our bodies.

But what makes winter a harbinger of death is its destructive capabilities towards the nature beyond our control that we are amazed at during spring whether the beautiful flowers that bring colour around us or the pretty dandelions that in essence destroys the healthy grass surrounding it – they are weeds after all. From what we find during springtime, we enjoy nature as well during the summer which shows life at its peak with everything either continuing to grow or have grown enough to enjoy the grace of the good old and generous Sun. We also become daunted at nature during fall with the changing colour of the leaves.

When I would think about hell, from the viewpoint of a person living in the tropics, I bet too much heat would be considered hell. But the other extreme happen to be the same way as well. I don’t really mind about winter coming every year but I always hope that we don’t experience too many days with debilitating temperatures from -30ºC to -40ºC where I believe is too extreme and is just dangerous literally if you just step outside naked for 15 seconds – you’d be counting your last few 15 seconds if you do that hehehe.

But anyways, winter is one of those wonders of nature that definitely deserve to be documented by all of our writers and artists who never fail to always celebrate life and commemorate death in their every work.