shot through the heart, unexpectedly

i ran into this korean illustrated story on facebook today. obviously, it is in korean, however, i think with this, the story may not need too many words. the old lady is walking, from end of her present life to the start of new one.  the man in the suit is the post-death figure, guiding her to the doorway.

she talks about why it has to be so difficult. losing her husband 12 years ago. taking care of her only daughter, then the grandkid. worked till the fingers were worn out. then came the end.  12 years of endless work and- solitude. however, she did love. loved for real, with her life. from age 19, for happy 50 years. she wonders if she could meet him now- with that same butterflies in her tummy.

guide tells her: there's the door to the next life. you go alone from here. to think, to reflect. to conclude, to end, before you start a new one.

is he in there?

guide tells her: no. he isnt there anymore. once you pass the door, you will be reborn, tabula lasa. but once married, you will be with him in the next one.

she simply says: unfortunate...

too sorry to go like this, i cant leave...

dear, what did you think about when you were here? were you also sorry to go?

there he is.
what took you so long? look at you, all wrinkly, haha.
let us go.

were you here the whole time?

let me carry you. how is the kid?
all grown up. even the grandkid-
hmm. already.

how was it with out me?
not even going to go there.

i filled this house, the silent space, with various small noises- tears, runny nose, and heart. to imagine such feeling- that may even transcend 12 years of gap, between living and dead.  i cried, by myself, thinking about the love i have received from others, the love i wish to give to others. and also the love i keep reserved for the ones who has left already.  i wondered if it would be true- if one has to wrap up, knowing no more of 'it' can be retained anywhere, to be at peace, to start anew- and if so, what i would be thinking about.

what my little brother may have thought about.

of love that i hold and generate for my friends and family.  the friends that i wish i can do more for, as they give me more than they could ever imagine.  of people that i still keep near to my heart, because of their beauty that sustains me during the hard times.

and of the love that i hold for dearest minnow.
knowing that he would also wait for me. even for 12 years.

being able to have such room in one's mind-
this is a luxury that i hold so important.
as it reminds me what it is to be a human.
love to you all.


the house free of noise

i am house sitting part of the week and it feels quite remarkable. from the lofty small patch of wee concrete branch on 32nd floor, i am now on the ground level, in a long living room, silent.  with a silvery piano that knows how to enjoy the silence.

i didnt realize how much of external forces run in my veins.  in chinley, things are different- with barely 2000 people in the village, things are quiet. there are stars and grass. sheeps, lambs, llamas and little brown calves, who may be grown into big, stubborn teenagers now. however, though it can quiet, minnow and i habitually turn on the itty old blue stereo or the sturdy tivolis when we are in the house. the bbc programs run through the house, much like the thinnest capillary vessels that reaches all part of the body and heart. and of course, with another person in the house, the space can be full of conversations, both spoken and unspoken.  at st. mary's, where i am so lucky to practice, it's on an old roman road- and passing cars do keep me company with their brief through-the-window-doppler hellos.

in yyz, everywhere i go, it's surrounded by sound. especially if im working at the school. it is very rare to practice in silence. faculty of music has a fantastic facility where we can get in 24-7 pretty much.  but even there, by 10am, it's filled with people, working hard and yes, audibly. after all, it is a music building. and this happy mayhem goes on for a long while.  occasionally i get in at ungodly hour, just to find that rare quiet time- but not as often as i would like to.  about home, well, living on 34 floor building- an official early skyscraper, it is difficult to have any silence at any cost. even when the neighbours are quiet, there is much noise from the streets that bleeds through- especially the urgent rolling of emergency vehicles.

but in this detached house, with quality fridge (i am often amazed how noisy fridges are/and other unassuming devices that can emit and fill your ears without knowing), it stays quiet.  i feel as if now i can hear myself thinking, first time in a long while.  and because i am house sitting, i am physically alone.  there's a calico cat, but she is, after all, a cat- friendly but still like to remain independent.  i can hear the house adjusting itself- somewhere, a little pop, here and there.

and then there's me. when im not playing the beautiful silver piano, i can be coddled in a comfortable silence, where things can settle, so that i may observe the smallest corner of myself. awaiting somewhat big meeting tomorrow (2 wks wait), it is possible that im somewhat saturated with anxiety.  but in this space, that anxiety is breaking down into little scales and dissipates into thin smoke. and i am allowed, to be myself again, free from gossips, opinions and political noise of all sorts.

i feel better. i feel settled. i also miss my little home on 32nd floor. but this is a retreat. yes, literally. pulling away from.  i think i will be strengthened by the time i leave. i hopefully have given enough time to my new and barely there thin roots- more like little hairs, but those roots will grow strong and big, if i can nurture them, and i may grow into who i am supposed to be, not who i simply wish to be, out of convenience.

it's a hard thing, to let yourself to develop without sabotaging, or rather, willfully 'determining' what the self should look like.  thanks to the silence, i am able to see a bit better today. and tomorrow. and days to come, even when i am back in the thick of things.


musement fragment

change of plan! here's a different clip. i think this one bites well. how exciting.

im going to work on a personal project and it may be challenging, i am sure... so why not put up something with bit more bite? so here it is, a new clip, first mvt from martinu cello sonata no. 2. written in times of war, it's brutal, haunting and manic. i hope you enjoy. curiously, in its natural viciousness, it still provides plenty of amusement.

perfect remedy for world woes: friends

photo courtesy of photos-public-domain.com 

there has been many silly things happening in this monkey's life however... the whole idea about this post is to talk about my friends. yes, friends! see, it's like good can opener. when you are desperate for that can of soup, dying of cold and fever, what you are really desperate for is good can opener.  a dull, weak opener is a sure guarantee for various tragedies- spilled soup, cut fingers, you name it.  but when things are well and the can opens with no resistance, it's hard to appreciate the 'good' can opener.

life, like everything else, things go up and down.  and though things may be to crazy to even see oneself straight- all the sudden, you may doubt and question your own identity, your understanding of the world, nothing seems hold any truth any more.

and there they are.

i dont have many friends, i must admit. but i dont think it's a fault. is it a bad thing to be so selective about friends? well, what if i want befriend people but i am not considered? and what of the fact that it simply isnt possible to like everyone- not to say one dislike someone, but it is perfectly okay to be indifferent to someone?  if i liked and care for everyone, in reverse, that would mean that i dont like anyone particularly.

the igniter. PO. minnow. DO. human rights torch lady, heron lady, mysterious monk cellist, to name a few. you may chuckle because they sounds like super heroes.  and they are.

they tell me about the world.
not the world i want to see
nor the world they want.
but of the world.

they express their thoughts.
may conflict with my own.
but without fear of rejection and anger,
they express freely.

they dont easily shed tears for me.
not because i wont like it,
but because i dont need it,
as with them,
i will be able to stand and look into the world,
and find my footings again.
and while standing, i can wipe the tears.
and laugh.
because they help me to see
that the world is beautiful.

hence my world remains beautiful.
and i am free to laugh and sing again.
even scratchy as a black bird,
singing bird is always nicer than a mute one, stewing in anger.

as i wrap up another day, i look at the reminders of sanity- of these great people, in the midst of daily craziness. and i say with all my heart, i love you, friends.

ah how beautiful! i am so lucky! thank you all!


report of transcendence from treadmill

past three days, i walked over 5 hours, may be even 6 hours on treadmill. it is a quite an unusual thing as the treadmill, true to its cliche identity, can be extremely boring.

what kept me there?

tennis (gasp!)

since i was a (fat) kid (with horrid vision and spacial awareness), i was never into sports. even when i lost the weight, i did keep my sports fairly simple: no balls! see, sports with one vector such as running, cycling, rowing, paddling, i can handle. however, if there are more than one vector (ie. opponent and moving ball), this is where this particular monkey brain splatters in a very small yet a gross vector.  and watching sports- well, it is hard to appreciate some sports when you cant even bother to play them. how would i know what is incredible if i cannot appreciate the difficulty of the situation? and who wants to watch an entire night of football/baseball/basketball when you can do something else (ie. entertaining, cooking, reading, blathering)?

tennis in particular has been a bad experience.  not only i totally sucked, i also managed to dislocate my shoulder while serving. that was that. i was may be... 11? time to break and burn that racket.

but this summer, i accidentally rolled into one of the most exciting game of tennis: men's semi final for the 2012 olympics, del potro vs. federer.  i was simply making tower of lunches for minnow to store in fridge when bbc decided to air this random game on iplayer. hmm. federer. i know the name. so what's he about?

with slight curiosity (even less so compare to my eagerness to understand the any of the track cycling events- i still do not understand individual pursuit event at all), i started to watch with passive minor interest.

after +4.5 hrs, i was still watching. veggies all around the kitchen. dirty utensils everywhere. jaw dropped to the floor, somewhere between the carrot tops and compost bin.

i was hooked.  this game of tennis.

what a brutal game.  unlike most sports, where you can be the winner by stroke of luck, tennis' got this peculiar rule: you must win at least by two points.  from the serve, you get two tries.  to win a game, one must have two points ahead. when A gets ahead by a point from 40, which is really the third point (counts goes: 0-15-30-40), A is now at 'advantage.' if A gets another point, A wins that game. however, the genius stroke comes: if B takes a point, A's advantage is then nullified: 40-40, a deuce: the advantage no longer exists and now there are at a equal point.

one may win a set only by being ahead of one's opponent by two point: a game, which will usually go up to 6, will be continued until there is two-point difference: hence the appearance of no. 7.  or even larger numbers. in case of delpo and federer, we were talking third set that pushed up to: 17!


this was the epic third set that went over 4.5 hrs. and at 17, delpo broke.

both men, keeping the composure of ubermensch- no breakdown, anger or frustration.  there was no room for emotional sway. they werent just playing tennis. it was a bizarre martial arts competition. it was the fight of the titans. of selves. and nothing but the selves. one against the other.

i never read it, but there's the (in)famous book, inner game of tennis, which, supposedly talk about the importance of mental strength, focus and concentration.  in fact, it was (still is) so popular among musicians, we eventually ended up having our own version written by the author: inner game of music. i heard about it so many times, and i brushed it off: yeah yeah, get it. focus. prepare. get over it, continue. yadayada.

but this was the game that i really saw what it meant. and unlike team sports or doubles, the game was played by two matched individuals. no room to blame anyone else.  no room to hide.

delpo, when federer tied for point no. 17, he broke. he pulled his shirt over his face for three seconds. and that was that. 17-17, 17-18, 17-19, game over. federer won.

we knew. when delpo pulled the short over his face, he cracked his composure. and it went. the whole game. these men are phenomenally gifted and trained to absolute peak.  they could probably have any gear that money could buy. they can hit any part of the court, at the speed they choose, at the angle they choose. so who wins?

the one who is stronger. in the heart.

what an incredible game. and seeing delpo crumble, it really did break my heart. suppose that him being a lovely looking melancholic latino man also added a bit of beauty to the scene, haha.

so when i realized it is the week of US open and my gym has treadmill with telly on it, that was it. my evenings/afternoons were filled with drama at that little blue court. delpo-roddick. delpo-djokovic. azarenka-sharapova.  three days, 5+ hours on treadmill. and not relaxing at all!

i wonder how long i would keep watching tennis. this is pretty much the end of 2012 season.  would i start to watch the slam games next year? who knows. but one thing is for sure. watching these giants playing singles games, i find beauty, courage and inspiration.  the sense of responsibility. the finesse of physical execution.  and towering mental strength.

i am glad tennis exists.
what a world this is, making giants and heroes out of mere mortals.
because we are limited mortals, we look up.
as we can, even on the daily hamster wheel,
can taste and even grasp the same magnificence,
regardless of the size of the tasks we perform.
this gives me hope.
let us play, in every moment of our lives,
pursuit of excellency and elegance.
let us fail and get up, to take another shot.
after all, we are fragile and we are breakable.
and that makes us beautiful.


where did summer go?

it's been almost a month since the last post.

where did the time go?

well, this summer was the wettest summer i have ever seen- along with the rest of the english and scottish peeps. i am sure the welsh did not do much better either. it was the wettest since the record keeping began. apparently edinburgh saw amazing fifteen hours of sunshine in the grand month of june. however, there has been spots of very bright days and minnow and i made utmost careful effort to enjoy all. of. it.  in fact, the blog page looks like a scene from hansel and gretel- sprinkled with loads of interesting bits that needs to be filled out and expanded. i do promise myself to go back and write them out.  there will be little stories that will pop up, like small wee plants that just broke the ground.

there are many summer stories, a few of them still continuing on. however, the most significant moment of the transition would be the send off of the silvery minnow in the magical tin can over the atlantic ocean.  this summer was stretched out a few extra inches as minnow took some duties off and arranged to go straight from manchester airport to the cd rehearsal session... i can only imagine the bleary eyes. the only worse case i can think off head is when i flew back to lincoln after my 'congrats-i-handed-in-my-rough-thesis-draft' two weeks hiking trip in middle of march, to have the initial review meeting.

but at this moment, i wish: i was better to minnow.

joined at the hip literally- since we do not get to spend much time together on regular basis, whenever we get a chance, we are bit like two slices of toasts that makes up a grilled cheese toastie.  yep. bit silly, bit simple, more like children than adult, yet happy and awesome. after all, who does not like a good grilled cheese...

mind you, we do get some odd instances where one wants to launch a small sling-shot to the general direction of the other. but fortunately, even those moments keeps two individuals weaving together. have you tried unsticking a well-done grilled cheese?

i do adore this man and i do respect him a whole a lot.  i do my best while im with him. but in hindsight, i cannot help to think that there mustve been a few things i couldve done better. things i could have expressed better. a bit more sympathy here and there. perhaps a bit extra gentleness and a few extra hugs.  why didnt i share these thoughts then?

it's always the act of leaving that accentuates the presence of a person- we continue to weave through different waves, however, the humanistic feelings are often expressed best through simple thing, a touch, a glance, not through complicated words and long messages...

as rabbits shared the bits of last stories, i look forward to the autumnal days- and the way we will continue to weave from the summer, may be not in such bright colours or excitement, but genuine and warm, just as it always has been.

welcome autumn. let's see what kinds of stories you will bring to me. and my loved ones.