Sunday, August 30, 2015

So it is....

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Amusement parks

I vaguely remember going to amusement parks such as these, sitting in giant tea cups where you had to turn a "steering wheel" in the middle to make it spin. It's such a pity that we do not have amusement parks like these anymore. There used to be travelling amusement parks in Singapore where they would set up tent in various neighborhoods in Singapore. The rides I used to love were the roller coaster (although I was always squeezing my eyes tightly together ), haunted house ride, bumper cars, Viking ship, Ferris wheel. Fun was the tikam stations where you tossed rings over cones or hooks, threw bean bags or balls at cans, etc and after all the games, had huge-ass cotton candies on a paper cone, or popcorn. One of the fondest memories from childhood although there weren't any technology-laden rides. I really miss all these and was quite excited when I heard that there would be an old-school carnival at tanjong pagar railway during the jubilee weekend. Alas, I was sorely disappointed. Couldn't find the bumper cars at first although I could smell the "scent" (a weird electric smell) of them and when I finally found them, it was a poor kiddy imitation of the real thing. The station was made up of a small round platform with four cars that were kinda joined together with a rail. The sngbaos were also not iced... It was quite ridiculous... 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Towards the past

Due to a glitch in the cosmos, the fabric of time and space was folded. The future, so it seems, becomes the past. Since the beginning of time, the Creator had laughed at the naivety of mankind for believing that there would always be a tomorrow. A father made a promise to his 5 year old son to bring him to the zoo tomorrow but on his way to work that day, he had a cardiac arrest and died. An empty promise he had made, even though it was not exactly his fault. An 18 year old girl waiting till the day she gathered enough courage to ask her lab partner to the prom. Alas, the lab partner, a fine handsome young man, was killed in a freak bike accident. The girl spent prom night gorging on Ben and Jerry's and snicker bars. She became obese 3 years later and suffered a stroke 7 years after the death of her lab partner. 
Men sometimes forget that tomorrow does not exist and its existence is only a make-believe one in our silly little human minds.
It is only till the glitch in the cosmos that the humans realize their folly, perhaps a little too late. What they have now is only yesterday and with this realization, comes an impending sense of doom. Without a tomorrow, surely they will be progressing towards Armageddon-the extinction of all mankind. 

Saturday, August 8, 2015

By Nightfall- Michael Cunningham

I liked Michael Cunningham after reading and watching The Hours. But By Nightfall was perhaps a little disappointing. Peter Harris was a middle-aged art dealer married to Rebecca. The story opened with the news that Rebecca's wayward younger brother, Mitzy (which stood for "the mistake", not his real name) was coming to stay with them. Mitzy was a recovering drug addict who was brilliant but was jobless and clueless about what he wanted to do in life. Mitzy came to stay and on an afternoon Peter returned early from work and found Mitzy asleep on the couch. He observed Mitzy and found him strangely like a young Rebecca- the one who was carefree and a little crazy. He thought Mitzy was beautiful. Peter then retreated to his bedroom and later, found out that Mitzy was still using drugs. He then made a promise to Mitzy not to tell Rebecca as his clan of sisters would throw a fit if they knew.  
Peter then brought Mitzy to a client's place as Mitzy had expressed interest in being on the art scene. Peter and Mitzy kissed. Peter had never thought himself as a homosexual and yet he found himself strangely attracted to Mitzy. Peter was torn and confused. He wanted to be with Mitzy but was unsure of what to do next. The next day, however, Mitzy suddenly left without a word. Peter was heartbroken. With Rebecca, Peter felt that they were "happy enough" but was "happy enough" sufficient to sustain a long marriage? 
Mitzy returned one day and asked to see Peter. Peter was excited and yet troubled. He knew that if Mizzy asked him to run off with him, he would say yes without a doubt. He worried however, what would happen to Rebecca and his estranged daughter Bea. When he finally met Mizzy at a Starbucks, he thought Mizzy was really declaring his love for him when he asked if Peter had told Rebecca. Peter went into a tirade of how he couldn't possibly tell Rebecca because he didn't know if he truly loved Mizzy but that he knew he was in "something" with him. Mizzy then said he was referring to the drug thing. It was then that Peter realized Mizzy was using the kiss as a blackmail against Peter. He was crestfallen. 
When Peter got home, Rebecca told him she wanted a separation. Peter thought she knew even though no one had said anything. But the reason she wanted a separation wasn't because of Mizzy but that she felt like a stranger in her own home and that she was all messed up. But Peter decided then that they should just continue going and try to make things work. Rebecca agreed.

Can't say the story was completely unbecoming. It has its beautiful sides  especially when it came to the display of emotions and inner struggles of the protagonist. One can empathize with Peter. But I think it falls a bit short of John Irving's writing especially when I'd read this right after cider house rules. 

Completed 27 July 2015

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Three seconds

It was a crowded room. Melody was in a middle of a lengthy discussion with a group of people from her philosophy 101 class. She gave her two cents' worth and listened as the others rattled on and on, about Socrates' idea of reality being shadows of the human's ideal form, of Plato's dialogues. Melody thought the discussion would never end. It was Lucas' turn to speak. She did not know him well and had spoken about five sentences to him over the semester, mostly about the weather. 
"What I love most about Socrates is his humility. The knowledge that what we humans know is truly limited. Remember the quote: "She who knows she knows nothing is the wisest"? That was what got me interested in philosophy."
Melody felt a strange pricking sensation in her neck when she heard his soft but firm voice. She lifted her head and glanced over at the source of the voice . Lucas' and Melody's eyes met for three seconds. In that three seconds, Melody felt as if she was in a bubble and that it was just her and Lucas trapped inside that little sphere. She couldn't hear the chatter going on around them and time stood still. It was then that she felt that her world was about to change. She had gazed into the soul of Lucas Matheson and she saw that his soul was kind and humble. And it was that three second gaze that had Melody changing her life course and trailing desperately behind Lucas. 
Melody was about to trade her entire life for that three seconds.

Whether Lucas had too glimpsed into Melody's soul was an unknown. A secret that Melody would perhaps never know. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Book reviews

I realize when I write book reviews, I always succeed at making the story seem dull. A lot of times, the essence or most beautiful part of a book is not the plot/ storyline. Sometimes it's about how beautifully the author can construct the sentences, sometimes it's about the facets of the characters in the book, sometimes it's the display of the human nature, emotions, etc. If I had look at the review of the cider house rules, I would probably not be enticed enough to want to read it coz the plot sounded so unexciting. I really do not know how to make a story come alive. 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Cider house rules - John Irving

The best line I like from the book : "how we love to love things for other people; how we love to have other people love things through our eyes."

A very awesome read. I had to watch the movie after reading the book but was vastly disappointed by the movie. Wilbur Larch was an obstetrician and head of an orphanage in St Clouds, Maine in the 1920s. He was a non-religious man who believed that everyone had freedom of choice and that he merely gave people what they wanted and would not give recommendations. He delivered unwanted children and also performed abortions which at that time was illegal. Homer Wells was an orphan who was adopted and returned twice and so would, as Larch thought, forever belong to St Clouds. Larch loved homer and trained him to become an obstetrician so that he would one day replace him. However Homer disagreed with Larch on abortions and said that he would never perform one as he believed the fetus had a soul. 
Then came Wally and Candy, a beautiful couple who came to St Clouds for the sole purpose of abortion. Homer fell in love with Candy at first sight and followed them back to Wally's family's apple orchard to work as a picker. Wally then went to the war to fly the Burma route during WWII. His plane was shot down and he was thought to be dead. Candy who was never good at being alone fell in love with Homer but they kept their affair a secret out of the protection of wally's mother's heart. Candy then got pregnant and in order to continue keeping things a secret, they delivered the baby at St clouds and then told everyone that they had adopted an orphan. This secret they kept till Angel, their son, was a teenager. Before their return to the apple orchard, they received news that Wally had been found (very Pearl Harborish) but was paralyzed after being bitten by Japanese B mosquito. He was also sterile after acquiring an infection during catherization  in Burma. Candy married Wally even though she told Homer that she loved him but she couldn't leave Wally now that he was a cripple. Homer continued working on the orchard despite Larch's continuous efforts in asking him to return to St Clouds to replace him. Larch then started faking documents (medical degrees etc) and stories so that Homer could officially become the head of the orphanage. Homer continued to refuse until he had to perform an abortion for one of the pickers who was abused and impregnated by her father. That was he relented on the belief that abortion is immoral. Larch then died of an accidental ether overdose and Homer had no choice but to return to St Clouds as his replacement. It was before his departure that he told Angel the truth and Candy the truth to Wally (although throughout the story there was the impression given that Wally already knew). 

The story is beautifully written as it portrays the dark and beautiful sides of the human nature. Dr Larch and Homer's father and son love for each other, Homer's unrelenting and insufferable love for Candy, Meloney's worship of Homer as her hero and her pursuit of him for decades, Dr Larch's and his nurses' devotion to the orphanage, the secrets that were hidden, the crimes committed (incest, fights, prostitution, etc), Homer as the prodigal son who returned to the orphanage, etc.i don't know how the movie could turn out to be so dull. 

18 July 2015