"The sharp knife of a short life

I've had just enough time..."


- "If I Die Young" The Band Perry


I see Beauty in many things. And like the ghosts that only speak to you if you notice them, they tell me wondrous tales. With my camera and my thoughts, I captured these as faithfully as I can to share with you. And by doing so, they gave me the reasons. And though the thousand reasons may not all be sweet and some indeed bitter; they are still reasons to live. Come to think about it, that is Life, isn't it?

Friday, 30 December 2011

The Rest (From Both Sides Now) - Part II.




I've had just enough time to...   look at things from both sides now.


Taken in the same small street in Jakarta.



"Look at the man. How lazy. Papa told me many men are like that. Never do well because no put in effort. Sleeping all the time. Not working. Lazy. Always poor."

"Oh, car horn. Calling. Must go. When I grow up. Papa said don’t be like that."

(please read part I)

_______ 

Tears and fears and feeling proud to say "i love you" right out loud,
Dreams and schemes and circus crowds, i've looked at life that way.
But now old friends are acting strange,
they shake their heads, they say I've changed.
Something's lost but something's gained in living every day.


I've looked at life from both sides now,
From win and lose, and still somehow
It's life's illusions i recall.
I really don't know life at all.

Joni Mitchell - Both Sides Now





Wednesday, 28 December 2011

The Rest (from Both Sides Now) – Part I




I've have had just enough time to...   see a body at rest and not wonder why.


Taken in one of the small street in Jakarta.



It has been a long day. Sixteen hours and my whole body is aching. I have not had a bath and have not seen my family but the extra money will come in handy. Boy will start his schooling soon. And Indah should see a doctor for her cough.

No point going home now. Will just rest here for while and start another shift. Just a short rest. Man, I am weary…

(Watch out for the conclusion Part II)




Monday, 26 December 2011

The Light At The End of The Tunnel




I've had just enough time to...   see the light at the end of the tunnel.


After a long time in the dark, I saw the light at the end of the tunnel (Ipoh, Malaysia)



I saw light at the end of the tunnel.
I saw white clouds and blue sky.
I have been in the dark for too long
And my eyes need to adjust to the light.

But I know where I’m heading to
And what I’m leaving behind
As I walked towards the light
At the end of the tunnel…




Saturday, 24 December 2011

Forever Young.




I've had just enough time to...   yearn to be forever young.


Taken in Malacca - just the words I was looking for.



On the shortest day of the year,
When they said you added one,
I chewed on glutinuous balls
and wish that I was forever young.

_____


Let's dance in style    Let's dance for a while
Heaven can wait we're only watching the skies
Hoping for the best but expecting the worst
Are you gonna drop the bomb or not?

Let us die young or let us live forever
We don't have the power but we never say never
Sitting in a sandpit    Life is a short trip
The music's for the sad man


Forever young 
I wanna be    Forever young
Do you really want to live forever,
forever, and ever
Forever young
I wanna be    Forever young
Do you really want to live forever,
forever, forever young


"Young Forever" Jay-Z | Mr. Hudson








Thursday, 22 December 2011

A Santarina Grants Me A Wish.




I've had just enough time to...   extract a wish from the Santarina.


Taken of the Santarina who is waiting to grant the wishes of her patrons.



On a day when I make wishes out of thin air,
A Santarina popped up in front of me,
Rubbing my eyes to see if there is a mistake,
For there she was in red, white, and flesh.

Hopping forward like a mischievous imp,
I plonked in front of her with a moonlike grin,
She had the Old Man’s eyes and her laugh was is a little odd
But I dismissed that for I am bought.

I rattled out my wishes longer than an airplane’s trail,
She noted it all down with a sip of ale.
And when I finally ran out of fuel, she remarked with a merry jingle
“What an impressive list,” and gave me a naughty twinkle.

 That was my happiest moment, superseded by the next,
When she coolly asked, “credit or cash?”
For I realized I had not departed for the North Pole
And the floor was still beneath my sole.

I gave her a smile and she smiled back.
Without a word, I turned and walked away.
She shouted after me “Merry Christmas!”
Without turning, I said “Merry Christmas to you too!”

And the people around me wondered who I was wishing to.




Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Beauty In Ordinary Places.




I've had just enough time to...   look for Beauty in ordinary places.


Taken as I casually pass by a drain in the built-up city of Kunshan, China.



You can find Beauty in many places if you look for it. There is some Beauty that you cannot ignore, like the crimson glow of a setting sun or the moon’s radiance on a dark night. But there are other Beauties that you have to train your eyes for.

But first you must look. Not just at the steps in front of you or the ones you left behind. Or the destination you are hurrying to. Look around you casually, be aware of your surroundings, absorb the environment, feel the air, take in the atmosphere, listen to the sounds of life and as if by magic, things hidden gradually appear. At first tentatively, then bursting forth in their full glory.

Beauties reveal themselves to those for look for them. Like this wild flower by a ditch did in the fading light of the city of Kunshan which I just happened to pass by. To the hundreds of passer-bys, it reveals itself to me because I was looking for it. I may not know what I was looking for but I will recognize it when I see it.




Sunday, 18 December 2011

Charity Is For The Needy.




I've had just enough time to...   to do a little charity.


Taken of the broad back of a World Vision Volunteer in Lebanon.



I believe -

“The most important virtue of any religion is compassion,
Without which there is no reason for any religion.”


I also believe that charity is for the needy irrespective of race, nationality, religion, age, gender or any other artificial classification that defines and divides what a human being is. I like to see charity in action – not just in prayers and the building of temples but the building of hospitals and a helping hand in the dire hours of needs.

I like to form an emotional attachment so that I feel when I give. If I don’t feel sadness and joy in equal measure, there is something wrong with me. I like to see wounds being bandaged, hunger being satisfied, tears being wiped, spirits being lifted. In short, I like to see the effect of kindness more than sympathy per se. So I choose my charity carefully with the same principle which transcends beliefs, borders, organizations or religions. This is my belief and I try to live up to it.




Friday, 16 December 2011

We Humbly Bow to Thee.




I've had just enough time to...  humbly bow to thee.


Tzu Chi volunteers humbly bow to thee.



On behalf of the poor and unfortunates, we bow to thee.
For all your care and compassion, we bow to thee.
For the fate of humanity, we bow to thee.
For your love and tenderness, we bow to thee.
For mother and child, husband and wife, we bow to thee.
For your precious time and effort, we bow to thee.
For brothers and sisters, for friends and strangers, we bow to thee.
For your spirit and empathy, we bow to thee.
For a world in harmony, for love and happiness,
For a caring heart, for supporting hands,
For you, and also for me,
We humbly humbly bow to thee.



Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Some Hills You'll Never Climb.




I've had just enough time to...   realize there are some hills I'll never climb.


At the foothill of Mount Kota Kinabalu, a hill that has eluded me time and again.



There are some hills you’ll never climb,
No matter how close you get to it.
And you’re left wondering “what if?”
It is alright to pause and wonder for a while
And gaze longingly before you move on.
But move on, you should.

For some hills are never meant
To be climbed – By you.

You wonder if you should persist,
To climb the hill you miss,
Risking it all and make victory more the sweet.
Or try some other hills and discover them new.
But you can never know for sure
Which is which?

But the fact remains, there are more hills
Than you can climb.
And you have to decide,
Which to climb and
Which to miss.




Monday, 12 December 2011

When The World Is A Lonely Place.




I've had just enough time to...   test my courage.


Taken on the top of Maxwell hill, Perak, Malaysia.



When your world is shrouded in mist
And you could not see further than the nearest tree
When it come closing in
And you could not reach for a helping hand
When you are utterly alone
And the world seems such a dreadful place

You will learn what courage is.




Saturday, 10 December 2011

Morning Has Broken.




I've had just enough time to...   view another beautiful sunrise.


Taken one fine morning from the hotel window in Klang, Malaysia.


On a morning like this, one just feel like bursting out singing.

_______

Morning Has Broken - Cat Stevens 

Morning has broken, like the first morning 
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird 
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning 
Praise for the springing fresh from the word 

 Sweet the rain's new fall, sunlit from heaven 
Like the first dewfall, on the first grass 
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden 
Sprung in completeness where his feet pass 

 Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning 
Born of the one light, Eden saw play 
Praise with elation, praise every morning 
God's recreation of the new day







Thursday, 8 December 2011

Waiting Is Forever.




I've had just enough time...   to quit waiting.


Taken while waiting in Bali.


What Are You Waiting - Natalie Grant 

So you wanna change the world
What are you waiting for?
Say, you're gonna start right now
What are you waiting for?

Now, it only takes one voice
So come on now and shout it out
Give a little more
What are you waiting for?

_______

So you wanna change the world 
What are you waiting for? 
“I’m not through dreaming.” 

So you wanna change the world 
What are you waiting for? 
“I’ve a plan.” 

So you wanna change the world 
What are you waiting for? 
“I’m just one small voice, 
There is little I can do.” 

And thus another voice silenced.






Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Before The Red Gate.




I've have had just enough time to...   pause at The Red Gate.


Taken of myself by myself wearing a T-shirt bought from Bangkok.




Before the Red Gate,
Only one choice to be made.
Enter or escape.




Sunday, 4 December 2011

All Kinds of Everything.




I've have had just enough time to...   think of all kinds of everything.


I stumbled upon this shop selling all kinds of everything in Malacca.


I stumbled upon a shop
That sells everything
Except what I need.
But what a shop!
For it has everything
I do not need.
Yet I could not leave.

It has all kinds of everything,
- All kinds of everything,
Except what I need
But I could not leave.

_______



All kinds of everything - Dana
Snowdrops and daffodils, butterflies and bees
Sailboats and fishermen, things of the sea
Wishing wells, wedding bells, early morning dew
All kinds of everything remind me of you

Seagulls and aeroplanes, things of the sky
Winds that go howling, breezes that sigh
City sights, neon lights, grey skies or blue
All kinds of everything remind me of you

Summertime, wintertime
Spring and autumn too
Monday, Tuesday, every day
I think of you







Friday, 2 December 2011

The Sorrow of the Lonely Urn.




I've had just enough time to...   appreciate Beauty while it last.


Taken in the Gunung Lang resort, Perak, Malaysia.


In the shadow,
The urn tells a timeless tale
In soft whispers.
To the attentive grass and
The slow climbing vines.
“Beauty is Truth, Truth Beauty”
It sadly said,
“But Beauty fades and Life goes on”
"Nothing last forever,
The truth of beauty is -
When it exists."

_______

Ode on a Grecian Urn - John Keats

Thou still unravish'd bride of quietness!
Thou foster-child of silence and slow time
            Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear'd,
Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone

When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou sayst,
"Beauty is truth, truth beauty," – that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.





Wednesday, 30 November 2011

The Small Boy And His Boat.




I've had just enough time to...   see the small boy again.


Taken off the coast of Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.



I saw the small boy in his boat struggling with the oar twice his height. He is too short to sit and paddle, so he sat right at the edge. Leaning precariously backward for leverage, he used his entire frame to push the oar against the water. He has not yet mastered the finesse of paddling. His awkward movements rocked the boat as he forced it forward.

There was no one to help him. No one to guide him. It was just him alone and the wide water. I witnessed his struggle. I saw courage. I saw heart. I saw determination. I saw him learning with every stroke.

As I walked away, the image of the small boy in the wide water floated in my head. It reminded me of another small boy a long, long time ago.





Monday, 28 November 2011

The Pebbles That I Threw.




I've had just enough time to...   throw away pebbles, one after another.


Taken in Johore, Malaysia when looking for pebbles to throw.



Pebbles and marbles like things on my mind

Seem to get lost and harder to find
When I am alone I am inclined
If I find a pebble in sand
To think that it fell from my hand

Pebbles and marbles like words from a friend
Make us hold tight but are lost in the end
When we're alone we all seem to tend
If we find a marble in dust
To wish someone left it for us


- Phish

_______

Thoughts like scattered pebbles weighed on my mind.
Crowded my heart, hardened my gut.
My feet are heavy, my stomach carrying stones.
My head is heavy, pressing down a rock.
Only the sea can take the pebbles
That I flung
One by one,
Into the distant -
Depth.





Saturday, 26 November 2011

The Owl In The Corner.




I've had just enough time to...   get out of the corner.


Taken of the owl brought back from Nepal that I cornered in the corner.



There Was An Owl
There was an owl
who lived in an oak.
The more he heard,
the less he spoke;
the less he spoke,
the more he heard-
Why can't we be
like that wise old bird?

_______


There was an owl
Who sat in the corner.
The more he sat
The less he moved
The less he moved
The more he sat
Till he was cornered in the corner
And that is kind of sad.





Thursday, 24 November 2011

Swinging Birches.




I've had just enough time to...   wish I'm again swinging birches.


Caught the monkey swinging in the Taiping park and wished I was the one swinging.


I stopped to watch the monkey swinging on the branch.
It seemed so much fun that I wish I was the one swinging 
And the monkey was me.

_______

"Birches" (1916) - Robert Frost

I should prefer to have some boy bend them

As he went out and in to fetch the cows--
Some boy too far from town to learn baseball,
Whose only play was what he found himself,
Summer or winter, and could play alone.
One by one he subdued his father's trees
By riding them down over and over again
Until he took the stiffness out of them,
And not one but hung limp, not one was left
For him to conquer. He learned all there was
To learn about not launching out too soon
And so not carrying the tree away
Clear to the ground. He always kept his poise
To the top branches, climbing carefully
With the same pains you use to fill a cup
Up to the brim, and even above the brim.
Then he flung outward, feet first, with a swish,
Kicking his way down through the air to the ground.
So was I once myself a swinger of birches.
And so I dream of going back to be.
It's when I'm weary of considerations,
And life is too much like a pathless wood
Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs
Broken across it, and one eye is weeping
From a twig's having lashed across it open.
I'd like to get away from earth awhile
And then come back to it and begin over.
May no fate willfully misunderstand me
And half grant what I wish and snatch me away
Not to return. Earth's the right place for love:
I don't know where it's likely to go better.
I'd like to go by climbing a birch tree,
And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk
Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,
But dipped its top and set me down again.
That would be good both going and coming back.
One could do worse than be a swinger of birches. 





Tuesday, 22 November 2011

The Hawker's Answer to a Silly Question.




I've had just enough time to...   check a hawker's wares.


Taken in a busy street in Ho Chi Minh City.


What is a hawker’s thought
When she is not selling her wares?
When she is free to think,
What is her dream?

I asked what makes her happy
She says I can buy it for a dollar.
And when I gave her the money
All she gave me was a ripe mango.

_______

Vocation - Rabindranath Tagore

When the gong sounds ten in the morning and I walk to school by our lane,
Every day I meet the hawker crying, "Bangles, crystal bangles!"
There is nothing to hurry him on, there is no road he must take,
no place he must go to, no time when he must come home.
I wish I were a hawker, spending my day in the road, crying,
"Bangles, crystal bangles!"





Sunday, 20 November 2011

The Turtle and the Stone.




I've had just enough time to...  hear the turtle's question.


Taken in Gunung Lang, Ipoh.



I carried the heaven on my back
And the earth under my belly
And made them my home.
I lived through the ages with balance,
In passive tolerance,
And harm no living creature.

But for all my wisdom,
I’ve an unanswered question,
The turtle asked the stone –
“Why, and What are you?”.




Friday, 18 November 2011

A Machine that Moves You.




I've had just enough time to...   see a machine that moves me.


Taken in a small street in Jakarta.



To you, it is just a vehicle.

A battered, broken down machine which had seen better days. Patched back, glued together with whatever one could lay hands on. You even smile at the ingenuity.

Stop smiling. For this “broken machine” is my life.

It had served me faithfully and traveled more miles than that Merz of yours. It put food on the table for the family. Carried my children in it. Without it, I was nothing. With it, I have a job; I raised a family. I have a life. It carried me through streets you will never pass, through life you will never understand. And we share a bond closer than the love you shed tears for in the movie. I don’t blame you. How could you understand? Your machine moves without you moving it, so it could never “move” you the way my machine moves me.




Wednesday, 16 November 2011

I Breathed In the Fog that Obscured my View.




I've had just enough time to...   try to hold in my breath.


Taken one hazy October morning in Dongguan, China.



“The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains

Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys

Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap
And seeing that it was a soft October night
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep” 



_______


Last october, I woke up to a hazy morning
And could see just beyond to the river
at chimneys poking up through the ground.
Where their tips could not reach,
Dense smoke spew lazily from it
just thicker than the thick fog.
And the smoke became the fog
And I breathed it in.
For I could not hold my breath for more than a minute.

This October, I went back.
The chimneys are still there.
The fog still as thick.
And I still could not hold my breath for more than a minute.




Monday, 14 November 2011

When Roots Are Shallow...




I've had just enough time to ...   grow my roots deeper.


Taken in the foothill of Mount Kinabalu.



When the soil is rich, the roots are shallow.
And a gale can easily topple you over.
When the roots are shallow,
You can only brace against the wind –
by entwining your roots with those of others.





Saturday, 12 November 2011

Under the Rain Tree, I Sang The Ash Grove.




I've had just enough time to...   remember "The Ash Grove".


Taken during a stroll under the rain trees in Taiping park.


The ash grove how graceful, how plainly 'tis speaking 
The wind through it playing has language for me. 
Whenever the light through its branches is breaking, 
A host of kind faces is gazing at me. 
The friends from my childhood again are before me 
Each step brings a memory as freely I roam. 
With soft whispers laden the leaves rustle o'er me 
The ash grove, the ash grove alone is my home.

My lips smile no more, my heart loses its lightness;
No dream of the future my spirit can cheer.
I only can brood on the past and its brightness 
The dear ones I long for again gather here. 
From ev'ry dark nook they press forward to meet me;
I lift up my eyes to the broad leafy dome, 
And others are there, looking downward to greet me
The ash grove, the ash grove, again is my home. 

Laura Wright - The Ash Grove

_______

Walking under the shade of the rain trees, this long forgotten song surfaced and I hummed to the tune of “The Ash Grove”. Different trees, different countries but the sentiment is the same. Music transcends borders and connects by “feel”.








Friday, 11 November 2011

Don't you touch me tomato



I've had just enough time to...  want to touch tomatoes :)


Taken in a hotel room in Johore, Malaysia.


Please mister, don't you touch me tomato
No, don't touch me tomato
Touch me on me pumpkin, potato
For goodness' sake, don't touch me tomato

Touch me this, touch me that
Touch me everything I got
Touch me plum, me apples too
But here's one thing you just can't do

Edwin Kimmler - Don't Touch Me Tomato

_____


When you feel like squeezing a tomato
A potato just won’t do
And nuts are too hard
Chew some tobacco and spit it out
But the tomato still is out of touch
Today, I feel like tomatoes
But all I got are hot potatoes
And it is driving me loco. 









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