Thursday, January 25, 2007

A Red, Red Rose

For Burns Night

O, my Luve's like a red, red rose,
That's newly sprung in June.
O, my Luve's like a melodie
That's sweetly play'd in tune.

As fair as thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will love thee still, my dear,
Till a' the seas gang dry.

Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi' the sun:
I will love thess till, my dear,
While the sands o' life shall run:

And fare thee well, my only luve!
And fare thee weel, a while!
And I will come again, my luve,
Tho' it ware ten thousand mile.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

No Method in Madness

Aye. It continues.

It's been sometime now since bloggers have launched a campaign against books that have been banned in Malaysia. The whole saga is a bit complex (there appears to be a few lists floating with different requirements) and it appears that Spongebob Squarepants, Vagina Monologues and Midnight's Children will cause mental depravation (and other various moral problems) to polite Malaysian society.

My friend Toro has quite another opinion about this whole thingamajig.

'Really no need for outragelah. The government-fella is really being clever. Now everbody is going to beg, borrow or steal a copy of any Salman Rushdie book. Maybe they will even start reading something like Things Fall Apart.'

'Don't you see?' continues Toro. 'It's the best reading campaign run by the government. Ever.'

Hmmm...does make sense in a way.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Things Fall Apart

as Malaysia turns 50 in 2007. Instead of sitting and celebrating like a regal doyen, there's an increasingly farcical accumulation of drama.
Bloggers being sued poses questions of constitutional freedom of speech and larger question of independence of the media. From what I gather, the New Straits Times (NST) is suing 3 political bloggers for defamation. What baffles me is that the NST is media. Old media suing new media.

I think a lot of us Malaysians have already resorted to reading news online because the print one has just become a political mouth piece. It saddens me because I grew up reading the NST everyday. I feel so cheated that a once august institution has to resort to such cheap tactics.

Of course, this doesn't mean that bloggers are not bound by the law. Surely bloggers cannot use the anonymity offered by the internet to write anything they want. The constitution protects fundamental liberties within reasonable limits. There are boundaries. But within these boundaries lies the future of the country. Freedom of press and speech is suspect in Malaysia. This is no secret. Political blogging and the internet has been a natural spill over in this climate, an attempt to bridge the need for information.

Until there's political will to change, the boundaries by which Malaysia's future resides will be very bleak indeed.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Brown paper packages tied up with strings

Two books arrived on a crisp morning in a brown package. My New Year cum Birthday gift to myself. Utterly perfect.

In Feast, Nigella says this:
Feast is not just about the way we cook and eat at the great religious festivals or big-deal special occasions, but about how food is the vital way we celebrate anything that matters-a birthday, a job, an anniversary; it's how we mark the connections between us, how we celebrate life.

Nigel Slater makes food, the buying, cooking and eating a homage to earth and to life:
There is a single rose out in the garden, a faded bundle of cream and magenta petals struggling against grey boards. A handful of snowdrops peeps out from the ivy that has taken hold amongst the fruit trees. The raspberry canes are bare save the odd dried berry I have left for the birds, and the bean stems stand brown and dry around thier frames. A withered verbena's lemon-scented leaves stand crisp against a clear, grey sky. January 1st is the day I prune the tangle of dried sticks in the kitchen garden, chuck out everything over its sell by date from the cupboards, flick through seed catalogues and make lists of what I want to grow and eat in the year to come. I have always loved the first day of the year. A day ringing with promise.

I bought these two books to remind myself that in 2007, I want to celebrate life every day. So often, I am caught up with the whole grind of living and working that I end up forgetting to LIVE. Forget all this c'est la vie business. The journey, as they, say is the best part after all. That's kind of resolution cum birthday dictum for the year.

So, I turned 31 quietly. Feels awfully grown up. I made 31 wishes and sent them out to the universe. At the end of the day, life is about balance and I do think everything has a way of finding its own rhythm. So, there's also a sense of letting go because you always get what you deserve.

I think each of us have our own word for the principle behind this, whether we call it serendipity, karma, justice, kismet. Same thing to me.