"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?

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Minions Rule The World.

I've had just enough time to...  try to foil the Minions domination of the world.

The 9 Minions that invaded Malaysia...

There is a despicable plot going on. And it is worse than World War Z – worse than the hungry zombies. After all, the zombies only bite. But Minions do worse! They turned you into giggling idiots singing bananana and potatos! They made you listened to a language you do not understand but laughed at hideously anyway. No one understands how they did it but world leaders are seriously discussing a global wide immunization or even lobotomy as a last stand against this insidious infestation.

Minions Attack!

And the Minions are doing it through the assistance of diabolical McDonald entering homes unsuspectingly through the happy meal. There have been reported cases of madness and fights in every McD outlets in Malaysia where the most serious cases of Minion Mania in the world were observed to occur. It has been speculated that the “Kiasu” (“scared to lose”) syndrome of the average Malaysian must have made them especially susceptible to the Minions attacks. It was reported that a lunatic bid of RM38 millions for a set of the minions was made in ebay.

This is an emergency announcement. Up to now, it has been confirmed that 9 “species” of Minions have been sighted in the country. They are all highly dangerous. Do Not, I repeat Do Not tackle them on your own, do not own them, do not bring them into your house. Shut your ears and eyes and run away as fast as you can if you come across one. Our Special Intelligent sent out this warning regarding these dangerous “creatures” among us. They are –

(1)  Tim Giggling,  (2) Tim Giggle Grabber,  (3) Dave Gadget Grabber
(4) Evil Minion Chomper, (5) Tom Googly Eyes Grabber
(6) Stuart Light Up Grabber, (7) Stuart Babbler Grabber
(8) Jerry Breakdancing, (9) Evil Minion Noisemaker

Stop giggling. You have been warned! 

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Did You Fall In Love With The Music or Musician?

I've had just enough time to...   wonder if I love the musician or her music?

Taken one spring night in Shanghai...

It was a pleasant spring night and I was having a stroll in the entertainment district of Shanghai where old and new buildings are well blended into an interesting and sometimes incongruous mix of modernity and history. This place then is aptly named新天地; "New Heaven and Earth". In the distance I saw brightly lighted kiosk selling this “mixture of everything” – Chinese helmets (why?) and Chinese Soldiers cap (this I can understand), ladies purse of modern design and traditional colours, and dolls. Porcelain dolls wearing traditional Chinese costume in elegant poses. And graceful modern dolls in gowns playing musical instruments. Maybe, it is this mix of contradictions that made me asked “Did I fall in love wih the music or musician

...of the musicians and their music and...

Did You Fall In Love With The Music or Musician?

Did I fall in love –
With the music or musician?

I couldn’t tell
Not when she is playing, not when

Her sound wraps round me
Like fur on a winter morning
Before the sun melts the icicles,
Lifts the heavy fog
Off the sleepy lake and
Prods lives under thick blankets

She wakes me up
And leads me to the sun

Did I fall in love –
With her or the sun?

Chinese ladies in their traditional costumes...

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Street Football, Yangon (Myanmar) Style.

I've had just enough time...   to remember the little boy kicking the ball in the street

These images are drive-by shootings. I was in a car in Yangon Myanmar, squeezing through the crowded streets where old cars (government policy only allows import of second hand cars) shared the same space with bicycles, trishaws and trucks. Thankfully, there were no motor-bikes which are banned in the street of Yangon for the cars are confusing enough with right-handed drives and left-handed drives sharing the same road moving in both directions. I saw a crowd occupying one part of the road next to the shoulder and wondered why they are gathered there.

It seemed they are watching a game in progress. One guy obviously a player himself by his uniform is sitting on a trishaw with his knee up watching the game even though other spectators were blocking his view. There were spectators watching from the balconies and windows of the shop block. Some of the spectators were wearing trousers while more are wearing sarongs but all non-players were wearing flip-flops. This is street football, Myanmar style.

The curb marked one side of the ‘field’ while a raffle string that separated the road marked the outer boundary with crates and parked cars and trucks marked both ends. The ‘field’ itself is just the paved surface of the road with crude chalk markings

Please take note of the players’ footwear. The player challenging for the ball wore boots, the other defender wore socks with the big toe sticking out and a knee guard below the knee while the attacker was wearing an ankle guard on one leg. This seemed to be a good representation of the footwears of the players.

The game was proceeding at a lively pace with the ball moved up and down the court with each side trying to take it to the scoring zone where a tiny and low goalpost sat at each end. Imagine raw feet charging on the hot, rough, and abrasive road surface and you will wince. But this does not shock me as much as bringing back nostalgic memories for that was precisely what we did too as kids. And the way to differentiate the teams then was always, those with shirts and those without and we always hoped we will be the shirtless team so they won’t turn up torn.  I so wanted to stop and watched the game but the car was moving on…

Saturday, 20 July 2013

I'm In-Between...

I've had just enough time to...   get out from in-between...

Shot on the last day in Singapore...

The last few days I was in Singapore with my team to do development work on a new project with some really nice people. Every morning when I went down from the 24th floor and coming out of the lift when I returned at night; I will look out the window sandwiched between the two rows of lifts. Always looking for something worthy to shoot and each time wondering whether I have a story for the little child’s bicycle with the pink frame outside the balcony. But I did not shoot that. On the last morning as I was about to rush down to check out, I again looked out the window. It was a dark and rainy morning, kind of gloomy. It was then, for the first time I noticed the world in-between the two apartment blocks…

...on a rainy and gloomy morning,


I’m in-between.
In-between jobs
The last one’s no good
The new one’s not promising
But I’m in-between
So I guess that’s okay

I’m in-between relationships
The old one’s heart-breaking
The current one’s temporary
So I guess
That makes it tolerable

I’m in-between Lives
Up to now, it is kinda disappointing
So I need some re-inventing
For my Life is in-between

All those in-betweens…

I saw for the first time, the world in-between.. in-betweens

Saturday, 13 July 2013

The Eternal Beauty (of the Himalayas) - Yang Jima (央吉玛)

I've had just enough time to...   be amazed by the songs of the Tibetan Highlands

Taken as the sun rises over the Himalayas

Adam Lambert gaped in amazement and a smile spread across his face as he listened to her sing. When she finished, he clapped “Beautiful, it was so angelic. You’re so grounded in energy, focused. It was beautiful. I love it.”

Turning the white hills to gold

They heard the bells on her before they saw her. When invited to sing, she sat cross-legged on the floor and imbued the room with the ring of tiny cymbals tied to her fingers. With her first note, she transported them to a strange land far away in a language they have not heard before. She was unlike any they have ever auditioned.

Illuminating its beauty and majesty

When asked about the meaning of the song, in a gentle voice she said – “The summits of the mountains are white, covered with snow. When the golden sun comes out, it shines upon the mountains turning the white into gold. And the people look at this and pray. Pray that this beauty will last forever. That is why the song is called – The Eternal Beauty.”

Yang Jima (央吉玛) sings The Eternal Beauty 

While the valley sleeps peacefully below...

Her name is Yang Jima (央吉玛 yangjima), a member of the Chinese ethnic minority tribe – Menba, that lives in Tibet in a region straddling the Himalayas. She was auditioning for the 2013 Chinese Idol. Taught to sing by her grandmother, she aspired to bring the songs of her native lands to the world. In the next round, together with 3 others from different ethnic groups (You Yunfu of Hui, Ah Lai of Kazakhstan, Hu Sileng of Mongolia), they formed the “Tribal Group” each bringing their distinctive ethnic flavour and gave the most fantastic performance ever by a group in an Idol competition. Listen to them singing Coco Lee's "Thinking of You 365 days" 想你的365天 and be amazed how they take a modern song and enriched it with tribal flavor.

p.s.: Go to Youtube and see if they all made it to the finals.

The "Tribal Group" singing their hearts out in Chinese Idol 2013

This is the song of the highlands

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

The Crossroad: A Fight In The Dark – Part II

I've had just enough time...   to avoid a fight in the dark

Someone's got my head!

During the Northern Song Dynasty, General Jiao Zan was exiled to Shamen, a desert island for killing the son-in-law of a corrupt official. Yang Yanzhao of the famous Yang family that defended the borders of China against the Liao Dynasty, ordered Warrior Ren to secretly follow and protect the general as he feared the disgraced general is targeted for assassination on the journey. Warrior Ren is a “Wu Sheng” (male character with martial skills that protects a “Painted Face” main character).

Is that my knee?

When General Jiao rested in an inn during the journey, the innkeeper who played the role of a “Wu Chou” (martial clown) sympathized with his plight and pledged to protect him. However, when Warrior Ren turned up, the innkeeper mistook him for the assassin. That night, the innkeeper and Warrior Ren put a fierce fight in complete darkness each mistaking the other to be the assassin.

Now where is that sneaky fellow?

There is no singing, dialogues or recitation for this portion of the play but it is easily understood and highly appreciated by the audience as it is comical and full of martial actions allowing the two characters to exhibit their martial artistry. The “Wu Chou” (martial clown) role is to me the more demanding role as in addition to the al the demands of performance, he has to make the audience laugh. The whole play is a re-acting of a fight in the dark though the stage is lighted. The only props are a chair and a table which is creatively used in the fight sequence. This is a good representation of a combat performance and the role of a “Wu Sheng” (warrior) and “Wu Chou” (martial clown).

Saturday, 6 July 2013

The Crossroad: A Fight In The Dark – Part I

I've had just enough time to...   figure a way out of the crossroad

Taken of "The Crossroad" in Liyuan Theatre, Beijing

Continuing my series on the Beijing Opera, this is “The Crossroad” where two adversaries fought in complete darkness. Each assuming the other to be the enemy. Each putting his life on the line for an honourable task. But in the darkness, is anything what they are supposed to be? When you live your whole life responding to what you see, how will you respond to it when you cannot see? Do you trust unfamiliar senses when the one you trust can no longer be trusted?

Black Spy vs White Spy

At the crossroad
a fight in the dark.
How does one fight an enemy
he cannot see? 

Will you trust senses unfamiliar
Or not trust them to be?
Is it danger that you sense
Or is it the danger, your scent?
Will you swing your sword wildly 
Or wait for the spear thrust? 
Will you wait for danger to appear 
Or step forth in the dark? 

What will you do at the crossroads?
What will you do in the dark?
Are you afraid of the discovery?
Or are you afraid of the mark?

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Stawberries Ready To Be Eaten, Moldy When Not

I've had just enough time to...   let strawberries go to waste...

Taken in my hotel room in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Ready to be eaten
Left the night over
The next morning


Who will buy
This wonderful morning?
Such a sky
You never did see! 

Who will tie 
It up with a ribbon 
And put it in a box for me? 

Who Will Buy? - OLIVER

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