"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?

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Autumn in My Garden - Visiting Autumn

I've had just enough time...  to reacquaint myself with autumn

I love autumn so much I planted autumn in my garden...

Memories hanging
Like the last leaf of autumn
Reluctant to fall

So I can be moody even when the sun is shining brightly...

After the last leaves -
Silhouettes of trees lined hills
Desolate beauties

Because sometimes, one just want to be melancholy...

I love autumn or I love the romantic fantasized idea of my imagined autumn. Melancholy, bittersweet, beautiful whether in glorious colors or gray outlines of desolated trees. I imagined sweet loneliness, long walks in snapping cold, chilly winds that cuts and reminded me to preserve this fragile body, time to go deep into reflection, to visit the boundary of depression and know that dark country, to slow time down and view the false promises of progress, ambition and speed; a time to gather, recharge and wait for the hibernation of winter and the rebirth in Spring. Maybe the actual autumn is none of these. Maybe it is just my illusion having never lived through an entire autumn though I have visited autumn in several countries over a long span of time. Maybe those living in autumn countries will laugh at my ridiculous notions. Maybe they are living too close to autumn. Whatever, I love my idea of autumn. So much so that I planted autumn in my garden so it can lead me there even under the tropical sun. And as fate would arrange, I'm going to reacquaint myself with autumn - tonight.

I am traveling again, flying off tonight. This time to Billund in Denmark and then off to Parma and Milan in Italy until the end of the month. So this is the last post until then. See you when I get back...

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Buah Keluak – From A Poisonous Seed Into A Delicacy.

I've had just enough time...   to get used to bitter medicine

Buah Keluak before processing - poisonous (left) and after processing - safe (right)

There is a tall tree called Kepayang rising up to 60m or 180 feet in the mangrove swamp of South East Asia. It produced a large fruit called “the football fruit” as it looked and shaped like a football. Covered by a thick skin is the yellowish flesh containing large slightly flattened seeds called “Buah Keluak”. The seeds are highly poisonous and contain hydrogen cyanide. Ingested, the symptoms are general weakness, confusion, shortness of breath, dizziness and coma. High amount of ingestion can kill.

The Nyonya Ayam Buah Keluak - a flavorful dish

How did man know they can make it edible? The seeds must first be boiled, then buried in ash for as long as forty days. The modern way is alternate soaking, scrubbing and rinsing for days or even weeks after the initial boiling. The boiling and fermentation will release the water soluble hydrogen cyanide which is washed out. The seeds are used whole to produce the famous Nyonya* dish – Ayam Buah Keluak (Braised Chicken in Black Nut Curry). One can scooped out the black, creamy and oily content from the seed with a small spoon. It has a tar like appearance and consistency that has been described as having strong mushroom or truffle taste. In Indonesia, the kernels are grounded to make a thick gravy called rawon to produce a distinctive beef or chicken stew. Who would have thought that they can make this highly poisonous seeds safe for consumption? And to even make delicacies out of them?

Scooping out the 'opium' or black tar out from the seed

As I recalled the taste of the Buah Keluak, I reflected on my bitterness and how to turn it into a winning recipe of living. And how not to stay a poisonous seed toxic to others.

The little restaurant in Malacca where I had the black curry dish

Saturday, 9 November 2013

We Are Blind Because We Can See

I've had just enough time...   to learn that truth can be hidden in plain sight

You may not see the truth even if you have compound eyes...

I was so sure of my sight because I could see
Better than others, I thought
So I did not heed those close to me
"Beware! Things are not what they seem"
But I trusted my sight more because I, could see

We were so sure of the rights we fought
That we could not be wrong
Justice, compassion, transparency, truth
I thought all who came under the banners
Fought for the same God

The battles had been fought and lost
The banners strewn on the battlefield
With the corpses, as I retreated I reflect -
Blindness is such a strange ailment
We are blind because we are so sure we see

Taken of the moth in my garden who reminded me that truth can be hidden in plain sight...

How our eyes deceived us. We would not have been fooled if we were blind. I saw the path I was shown. I saw it lead straight to the castle. And we charged. But we did not see the swamp that bogged us down. That made us easy preys to the hidden foes and the circling vultures. We felt the slings of arrows taking up arms against a sea of troubles. No more! I lay down my arms but not before I reluctantly slay the beautiful illusive dream. But worry not about the dreamer, he dreams new dreams without bloodshed instead...

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

This Old Bucket Has Seen Better Days

I've had just enough time to...   learn from an old bucket

Taken one evening in Kansas City on a stopover...

This old bucket has seen better days
New and shiny, smooth and tough
Strong and sturdy, rugged and stout
Whether water, sand or soil
It carried with unbridled joy
Proud to be tough, to rough it out

But the years had taken its toll
Knocked and dropped, dented and cracked
Soldered and patched, when it got too bad
Discarded like a soiled rag
Another story, sad

of the old bucket taking in the sun...

One day it was picked up and painted over
Its role in Life completely altered
A humble pot to hold beautiful plants
Put in a corner to welcome the sun

This old bucket has seen better days
But the old bucket disagrees
It has never seen days as good as these

Saturday, 2 November 2013

The Secret & Riddles of the Sphinx

I've had just enough time to...  learn the secret of the Sphinx

In Las Vegas, I could not decipher the secrets of the Sphinx...

In the land of sand and gold
I was stopped by a Sphinx of old who
Asked riddles to pass or be devoured
“What creature has one voice
And is four-footed, two and three?”
“Oh, Man!” I exclaimed,
What answer can I give to that?
The Sphinx looked up in surprise
The correct answer I had supplied
For man crawls on fours, walks on two
And in old age the cane makes three

The next question was about sisters,
“One gives birth to the other
And, she gives birth to the first.
Who are the sisters two?"
If I were to think “Night and Day”
I thought out loud, I could not say
The Sphinx stood up on all fours
Surveyed me curiously and said
“Only one last riddle remains,
Answer and you will not be slain”

because I cannot tell the real from the illusion.

“Would you love a creature hideous
To save or kill for your own sake?”
That is no riddle but a trick
Either answer will be a mistake
If I were to die, it might as well be for “love!”
And I gave that to the Sphinx straight
With a mighty roar, she sprang
My eyes closed waiting for her fangs
Over my head she flew and dashed hers
Against the rock it smashed
I lived to tell this tale
But I cannot give you an end for

I never discovered the Sphinx’s secret.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...