Monday, August 28, 2006

What happens when you've spent an incredibly fruitful week on books, a few friends (and one former friend), the newspapers, blogs, and writing? You feel changed, invigorated.

You hope to share the joy of the week past with other friends. But they never move beyond the circle of their own interests. Some remain unhappy in the circle of their own interests.

If you do not pursue your own happiness, who will hand it to you?

I love you. I hope that you will look up, and love me too.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Another one from Singapore Angle, on a related topic. This is wonderful.

Metaphors of the nation: person, place, and club by Heavenly Sword.

I'm a little behind in catching up with the August postings of Singapore Angle, and only got round to it today.

Here is a good one:

What exactly does it mean that--what would it be like if--the government does listen to me, or does not do so? Just what exactly is it--in concrete terms--the lack of which becomes the reason for some Singaporeans to contemplate emigration? Until we have a firmer grasp of how these questions can be answered, the further issue of whether the reason is a good one cannot really be answered.

It is at this point that
Lzydata, who wrote for Singapore Ink, came forward to post a long comment. He has given us permission to repost that comment as a guest contribution to Singapore Angle in the interest of furthering the discussion of an issue that is likely to be close to the heart of many Singaporeans.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Blink is about controlling the art of rapid cognition. So the author says.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Bad signs in marriage: defensiveness, stonewalling, criticism, contempt. - Malcolm Gladwell, Blink

Monday, August 21, 2006

For my own reference. Medical Interpreters (link from Angry Doctor in his July '06 archives, more articles on same topic therein)

Saturday, August 19, 2006

A job fair, some laptop-grabbing, and a bit of a JC class reunion today. Met Weibin.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Sales. Jazz. Books. Earrings. Food. Books.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Er, the quality of this blog has fallen somewhat since early June. I can only put this down to the timing of and stress caused by my mother's illness.

Will write of other things soon.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

I think we spotted each other at about the same instant. It's totally completely eerie how I can recognize the way you stand still in scanning relaxation followed by the way you hold your damned head from 15 metres away without even having to see your face close up, after 1.1/2 years of not seeing you.

But that's unimportant compared to how the talk went.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

i haven't seen you for a year
but it feels like eternity
and i can't imagine hundreds of such eternities throughout my expected average lifespan
it's .... horrifying.

the world is getting smaller... ironically this means people are spreading out
I'll be back next year for a bit :-p


I can't imagine how people used to get by on letters

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

For your reading pleasure. From the foreword of Ursula K. LeGuin's Tales of Earthsea (Harcourt Inc, 2001).

----Begin quote---

In the years since I began to write about Earthsea I've changed, of course, and so have the people who read the books. All times are changing times, but ours is one of massive, rapid moral and mental transformation. Archetypes turn into millstones, large simplicities get complicated, chaos becomes elegant, and what everybody knows is true turns out to be what some people used to think.

It's unsettling. For all our delight in the impermanent, the entrancing flicker of electronics, we also long for the unalterable. We cherish the old stories for their changelessness. Arthur dreams eternally in Avalon. Bilbo can go "there and back again", and "there" is always the familiar Shire. Don Quixote sets out forever to kill a windmill... So people turn to the realms of fantasy for stability, ancient truths, immutable simplicities.

And the mills of capitalism provide them. Supply meets demand. Fantasy becomes a commodity, an industry.

Commodified fantasy takes no risks: it invents nothing, but imitates and trivialises. It proceeds by depriving the old stories of their intellectual and ethical complexity, turning their action to violence, their actors to dolls, and their truth-telling to sentimental platitude. Heroes brandish their swords, lasers, wands, as mechanically as combine harvesters, reaping profits. Profoundly disturbing moral choices are sanitized, made cute, made safe. The passionately conceived ideas of the great story-tellers are copied, stereotyped, reduced to toys, molded in bright-colored plastic, advertised, sold, broken, junked, replaceable, interchangeable.

What the commodifiers of fantasy count on and exploit is the insuperable imagination of the reader, child or adult, which gives even these dead things life - of a sort, for a while.

Imagination like all living things lives now, and it lives with, from, on true change. Like we all do and have, it can be co-opted and degraded; but it survives commercial and didactic exploitation. The land outlasts the empires. The conquerors may leave desert where there was forest and meadow, but the rain will fall, the rivers will run to the sea. The unstable, mutable, untruthful realms of Once-upon-a-time are as much a part of human history and thought as the nations in our kaleidoscopic atlases, and some are more enduring.

We have inhabited both the actual and the imaginary realms for a long time. But we don't live in either place the way our parents or ancestors did. Enchantment alters with age, and with the age.

We know a dozen different Arthurs now, all of them true. The Shire changed irrevocably even in Bilbo's lifetime. Don Quixote went riding out to Argentina and met Jorge Luis Borges there. Plus c'est la même chose, plus ça change.

----End quote---

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