"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?

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 -

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. 

Thursday, 10 November 2011

A Smile Is Quite A Funny Thing.

I've had just enough time to...  let a smile escape.

An instant capture of of a smile in Beirut, Lebanon.

A smile is quite a funny thing 
It wrinkles up your face 
And when it's gone, you'll never find 
Its secret hiding place 

But far more wonderful it is 
To see what smiles can do 
You smile at one, she smiles at you 
And so one smile makes two

- Anonymous


I can write a lot about smile and the things that it can do. But no words of mine can replace what one smile can do. Not all smiles are equal however, and the most delightful ones are - those that bolt from the heart before you can scramble to close the gate. They are the purest and rarest smiles of all. And to the one who gives and the one who receives – what a delight it is!

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Lock Up Your Love & Throw the Keys Away!

I've just enough time to...  throw away the locks.

Taken on the telecommunication tower in Seoul, on a cold winter morning.

Come go with me baby
If it's alright with you

If it's alright ooh I wanna rock you/ I wanna rock with you baby
If it's alright ooh I wanna rock you/ I wanna rock with you baby
Lock you up N' love fa days

Maxwell - Lock You Up N' Love Fa Days


Up on a snowy hill on a fresh winter’s day, I saw thousands of locks locked, with the keys thrown away. They sealed promises made on sunny days. But now the shiny new locks are rusting away. They stained black inks of undying love, fading to grey.

And I wondered. If Love can be locked up this way, will I still buy a lock and throw the keys away?

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Today I Don't Feel Like Doing Anything.

I've had just enough time to...   feel like not doing anything.

Taken in Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Today I don't feel like doing anything
I just wanna lay in my bed
Don't feel like picking up my phone, so leave a message at the tone
'Cause today I swear I'm not doing anything

I'm gonna kick my feet up then stare at the fan
Turn the TV on, throw my hand in my pants
Nobody's gon' tell me I can't

The Lazy Song - Bruno Mars


There are days when you don't feel like doing anything,
The secret is how to be productive doing nothing.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Fly Away Yellow Bird.

I've had just enough time to...   wish I am a yellow bird.

Taken in the tropical garden of Bali.

Yellow bird, up high in banana tree.
Yellow bird, you sit all alone like me.

Did you lady friend leave the nest again?
That is very sad, makes me feel so bad.
You can fly away, in the sky away.
Your more lucky than me.

Wish that I were a yellow bird, I'd fly away with you.
But I am not a yellow bird, So here I sit.
Nothing I can do.
Yellow bird, yellow bird.

- The Mills Brothers


Don't we all wish we are yellow birds
That can fly away when we want to.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Something There Is That Doesn't Love A Wall.

I've had just enough time to...  tear down a fence.

Taken in Maxwell Hill, Taiping.

Mending Wall
By Robert Frost

He only says, "Good fences make good neighbors."
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
"Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down!"


Sometimes I don't understand
Why a fence is in place where there is no need for one.
Strangely, you'll find there is no short of those who will come to its defence
Yet cannot explain why there is a need for it.
Who build the fences?
Why did they do it?
When I cannot find the reason,
I've a strong tendency to want to tear it down.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

A Waltz On All Souls Night

I've had just enough time to...   waltz on All Souls Night.

Taken in a stadium in Kuala Lumpur.

Bonfires dot the rolling hillsides
Figures dance around and around
To drums that pulse out echoes of darkness
Moving to the pagan sound.

Somewhere in a hidden memory
Images float before my eyes
Of fragrant nights of straw and of bonfires
And dancing till the next sunrise.

I can see lights in the distance
Trembling in the dark cloak of night
Candles and lanterns are dancing, dancing
A waltz on All, All Souls Night.

- All Souls Night - Loreena McKennitt


The only lights I saw were candles dancing
Through the veil of the dark night.
I cupped a candle to
Protect it from a wayward wind
It warmed my hands
And gave me light.

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