Saturday, December 30, 2017

Thanksgiving

Thanking God for the following:
 
- Super Simple, where I grab my healthy lunch almost daily and order the exact same ingredients day in day out. The staff always smile when they see me. "Non-foodie" alert.
 
- Whatsapp and free WiFi that enabled my elder sister on a holiday abroad to send me pictures of what I had asked her to buy for me and call me to double-check on the exact size etc. She sent all those first before she sent me touristy snaps. 
 
- A message on a most politically involved chat group that I shared with someone else and which eventually led to a Christmas gift of a hotly sought after book. Lord, thank you for the angels in my life. How blessed I am.
 
- A stern-faced neighbour who was exiting the lobby of my block while I was about 20 steps away holding the door for me as I noticed him doing that and quickened my steps. He never broke into a smile but I still thanked him for holding the door for me. 
 
- The Public Garden Christmas fair over the weekend where I was supposed to be looking at gifts for others but ended up with quite a few things for myself.
 
- A most memorable and enjoyable night bidding adieu to a man whom I have worked under for 10 years before my transfer to another deparment. Wrote a letter to him to express my appreciation and thanks, even though he had specifically told me not to and that he would be mortified to receive it. A writer is and will always be a lover of words and handwritten notes always hold a special place in a writer's heart. Every moment is a new beginning. Fare thee well, Mr C. 
 
- Kindred spirits, whom I would have never known were fellow book lovers except for unexpected encounters. Was buying my breakfast at the Yakun outlet and left the current book I was reading on the counter. Suddenly, I heard someone saying, "hey, that looks like a very interesting book!". I turned around and it was a colleague from another department. I told him a bit about the book. Subsequently as I went back to the office, I emailed him some books that I had recommended to another colleague and he emailed me with some of his favourite reads and authors, including John Le Carre. He added that he would read Alice in Wonderland and Wind in the Willows to his kids before bedtime. I replied and said that one of the best things that a father can do is to read to his kids because it inculcates a love of reading and increases his bonding with his kids. I felt so happy after the email exchange.
 
Overheard:
 
"I love pork...it has always been pork."
 
Q: How do you wake Lady Gaga up in the morning? A: You poke poke poke poke poke her face.

Shibuya-kei and then some

17 November:
 
A whatsapp discussion earlier tonight had me reminiscing about the Japanese music I was crazy about in my younger days. It led me to revisit on YouTube some bands that I had liked back then. My faves are mainly Shibuya-kei. 
 
Also brought back days of my travels to Tokyo with always a must-stop at the mega HMV store and buying 20 to 30 CDs at a time. I remembered that after such a purchase, I was given a reward card with many stamp chops and I looked around and saw two schoolgirls and I told them that I was a tourist from Singapore and would like to pass on the card to them. They were so happy that they kept saying “すごい” repeatedly. 
 
Another unforgettable experience was walking along the HMV store at night, where a DJ was spinning songs at a street-level or underground glass booth (if my memory serves me right). I stopped, wrote down a request on paper and pressed it against the window, hoping that he would play the song. He did. I think I requested a Beatles song. 
 
Posting videos of the songs I used to listen to, rather than their more recent ones. Among them, Pizzicato 5 is my no. 1 because they are wonderfully irreverent. Enjoy. 
 
Bonnie Pink – You Are Blue, So Am I https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IE0uB6o3sA
The Brilliant Green - There will be love there -愛のある場所 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4SyplrrQcU
 
Buffalo Daughter – New Rock https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MeIA-Pte6I
 
Chara「Swallowtail Butterfly~あいのうた~ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZdys-IOoQc
 
Cibo Matto - Full Performance https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_TbZa0e-Dk
 
Cornelius - Star Fruits Surf Rider https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=roN_oxg8hJc
 
Cornelius - Chapter 8 ~Seashore and Horizon~ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MaMKaoSv3fQ
 
Do As Infinity / 陽のあたる坂道 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpDK-gN_85c
 
Dreams Come True - たくさんの応援と優しさを力に変えて前へ 熊本!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rgHT9kc_uO0&list=PLhxWY4Tz3bOX8CUFmpDjMh6MIm0RFzork
 
Fantastic Plastic Machine - Fantastic Plastic World https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHBsn17CI-0
Flipper's Guitar - 恋とマシンガン (Young, Alive, In love) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=49FIk8nPybw
 
 
L'Arc~en~Ciel - Driver's High ROCK ODYSSEY 2004 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ws7bMCcoZqM
 
Love Psychedelico – Your Song https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcsH0Ug52Tw
 
Mr.Children「抱きしめたい https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8BeGx1hiEWo
 
 
Pizzicato 5 - Twiggy Twiggy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z22nzBVLCto
 
Pizzicato Five-Baby Love Child https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bFV1JNgJA7s
 
Shonen Knife - Daydream believer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CqWgcQZd8HI
 
Sunny Day Service (サニーデイ)・サービス - サマーソルジャー https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUIyBtgEugg
 
The Yellow Monkey - 人生の終わり(For Grandmother) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFkfwX19M-A
 
The Yellow Monkey - Tengoku Ryokou 「天国旅行」歌詞ページ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJkRAuHRX4g
 
thee michelle gun elephant – 世界の終わり https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZC...
 
宇多田ヒカル - First Love https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1sUaVJUeB0 This was the first ever Japanese song that made me very determined to sing it in Japanese.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

John Maynard Keynes

“When my information changes, I alter my conclusions. What do you do, sir?” 
 
“The difficulty lies, not in the new ideas, but in escaping from the old ones, which ramify, for those brought up as most of us have been, into every corner of our minds.” 
 
“Only with absolute fearlessness can we slay the dragons of mediocrity that invade our gardens.” 
 
“Words ought to be a little wild for they are the assaults of thought on the unthinking.” 
 
“The day is not far off when the economic problem will take the back seat where it belongs, and the arena of the heart and the head will be occupied or reoccupied, by our real problems -- the problems of life and of human relations, of creation and behavior and religion.”
 
“It is better to be roughly right than precisely wrong.” 
 
“Ideas shape the course of history.” 
 
“Worldly wisdom teaches that it is better for reputation to fail conventionally than to succeed unconventionally.” 
 
“When somebody persuades me I am wrong, I change my mind.”
 
“The commonest virtues of the individual are often lacking in the spokesmen of nations; a statesman representing not himself but his country may prove, without incurring excessive blame—­as history often records—­vindictive, perfidious, and egotistic.”

In remembrance - 7/7/2017

When Great Trees Fall  
Maya Angelou
 
When great trees fall, 
rocks on distant hills shudder, 
lions hunker down 
in tall grasses, 
and even elephants 
lumber after safety.
 
When great trees fall 
 in forests, 
small things recoil into silence, 
their senses 
eroded beyond fear.
 
When great souls die, 
the air around us 
becomes light, rare, sterile. 
We breathe, briefly. 
Our eyes, briefly, 
see with a hurtful clarity. 
Our memory, suddenly sharpened, 
examines, 
gnaws on kind words 
unsaid, 
promised walks 
never taken.
 
Great souls die and 
our reality, bound to 
them, takes leave of us. 
Our souls, 
dependent upon their nurture, 
now shrink, wizened. 
Our minds, formed 
 and informed by their 
radiance, 
fall away. 
We are not so much maddened 
as reduced to the unutterable ignorance 
of dark, cold 
caves.
 
And when great souls die, 
after a period peace blooms, 
slowly and always 
irregularly. Spaces fill 
 with a kind of 
soothing electric vibration. 
Our senses, restored, never 
to be the same, whisper to us. 
They existed. They existed. 
We can be. Be and be 
better. For they existed.

No Wrong Way Home (18 June)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ijZx3ttB984

Knee bend (20 May)

“Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the one who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.”
- Max Lucado

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

On ignorance

Was reading quotes on ignorance and found some gems. 

“It's an universal law-- intolerance is the first sign of an inadequate education. An ill-educated person behaves with arrogant impatience, whereas truly profound education breeds humility.”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.

“There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Collected Works

Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.”
― Frederick Douglass

“When you combine ignorance and leverage, you get some pretty interesting results.”
― Warren Buffett