Tuesday, August 30, 2005

48 years later.

Dear Daddy,

I was going through an old photo album of yours last night. It was kept in a box, hidden in the corner of the cupboard, which I used to enjoy hiding myself in; and wrapped in bright red and tainted- white cloth- was it a flag, Daddy? The sweet smell of bookworm-eaten pages filled the air as I held it open, slowly and carefully. Its pages had gone moldy and crisp- my fingers trembled as it danced lightly on them. How I fear to even think of accidentally tearing a page with my clumsiness! Daddy, what fond memories you must have had with it! What meaning it must have for you- when my eyes could only see wide grins, victorious grins; they are! Have you won something back then, Daddy? And I saw pictures of a bearded man who stood in front of a crowd with his arm lifted up- he seemed as though he was saying something, and it seemed as though he was saying it really loudly- like a command. What did he command, Daddy? Why did you keep a picture not of yourself but of someone else? Did you know this man, Daddy? And the flag that was raised in the next picture, Daddy; with stripes that are of the same as the cloth that you wrapped this album with. And the only words which you have written in the album- I can hardly make out those words, is that an M, Daddy?

M-E-R-D-E-K-A- Merdeka! I said the words aloud, Daddy; but what does it mean? Is this a word used in the past? It must have been a special word, for it was written all over the album. But Daddy, nobody uses this word any longer. I looked for the meaning everywhere, but I just couldn't find it. If only you can tell me what this means, Daddy.


May none of us ever forget what Merdeka means.
Here's to a 48th Merdeka celebration, Malaysia.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Where-ritas?

"What is truth?"

"Truth is dead."
"Truth is relative."
"Truth is anything but true."

In a world where Truth merely adds flavour to everyday conversations on the everyday things in Life, we find ourselves seeking less and less of Truth and more and more of what brings entertainment value to us- "Never mind if it is a bag of lies, give us anytime!" So the devil whispers to our ears, and our conscience cheers with sick anticipation.

What is left of us? Nothing but rotting flesh and the lingering stench of human ego, which feeds upon the foolishness of men into thinking that Truth is to be conquered and possessed with the reasoning of our feeble minds. Yet, men are in their most pitiful state when they wander in the world with their empty minds- minds that are already contented with mere textbook knowledge on technicalities and newspaper headlines.

Our universities cry out their woes- "Where are the pillars that were once so strong and certain?" "Where are our laureates and scholars?" "Where have the voices that sing, shout, holler, cry or whisper the great minds of men and women gone to?" Our capabilities have thus, become our disabilities- we have mouths that will not speak, ears that will not listen, eyes that will not see; minds that will not think. We walk out of our universities empty, despite being stuffed with the best vocational skills; we are starved from what is most necessary to Life- Truth.

Tell me, do we no longer care about Truth, prevailed in all the principle truths; be it in mathematics, accountancy, law or science? Do we no longer care about literature, philosophy, arts and history? Do we no longer care for ideas and the consequences that they have over Truth? Do we no longer have an avenue to think?

Do we no longer THINK?

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

E-nervating

Neon Evangelion Genesis- seemingly the animation title with the most borrowed terms from the Bible, yet doesn’t make much sense if one tries to attach a literal meaning to it. More juice on this here.

The consequences of ideas spread through animation is just as much dangerous a ground to tread on. Throw in some Kabalah mysticsm, Freudian psychoanalysis theorem and coupled it with fantastic animation and it would surely be the talk of the town. Though the distorted depiction of philosophies in animations is not a novelty nor is it history, this animation certainly is both. Nowhere can one find a robot 'crafted' to be this agile and human-like anatomically (Yes, the Evas ooze blood.) Don’t bet on developing Christian worldviews or philosophies from watching this, though. The only two elements of fascination Man has for Neon Evangelion Genesis are 1) the distortion of ideas beneath it and 2) the extremely magnificent animation above it.

Nevertheless, this is a good watch.

Disclaimer: If tehtarik’s normalcy were to be a subject of suspicion here, please kindly consider the fact that she also watches My Little Pony.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Philosophically correct than just politically so

Geislerian told me this during our meet-up in Singapore, "Singaporeans in general, are not interested in philosophy- the deep, deep stuff."

Well, neither are Malaysians. Pity, really.

While there was a tug-at-war at a students' symposium held in Sing-a-long-pore on the clash of the economical giants (China and India, respectively) and how Singapore would ride on its wave, the bigger question in mind, was how much we were left behind in the wave of intellectual pursuit.

Anyone at the symposium was perfectly capable of constructing line after line of questions that would put even the most experienced journalist to shame, until a panelist pointed out the absurdity of the public's questions, that did not address the issue as they should have, but rather; was posed either out of their ignorance for that matter, or to feed their ego by having that 5- minute fame while standing at the speaker's stand.
Quite a pathetic scenario, it was.

Until we engage ourselves diligently in knowing where our politicians got their funny ideas in the governance of our countries, we have no proper means to be critical of the policies that they impose on us, even if they claimed to be "for our own good". Instead of putting the blame on the meekness of the Opposition as we often do, may we first enrich ourselves with the knowledge of the subtle modus operandi of the governing party in silencing the Opposition's cries. Before we support or condemn our Government in the name of 'freedom and democracy', should we not be scrutinizing the subtle re-definition of the word that we are indoctrinated with? When we call for liberalisation in the legislative aspect, have we considered the societal impacts that liberalism has on a secular society?

Indeed, many speak with clarity; out of the proficiency of the language used rather than of the clarity of ideas one conceived through reading and thinking. A critical society begins as a consequence of ideas which flowed from one to another, and this requires a series of processing called 'scrutiny of ideas'.

Karl Popper, The Open Society and Its Enemies, Volume 1- "Great men may make great mistakes; and as the book tries to show, some of the greatest leaders of the past supported the perennial attack on freedom and reason. Their influence, too rarely challenged, continues to mislead those on whose defence civilization depends, and to divide them. The responsibility of this tragic and possibly fatal division becomes ours if we hesitate to be outspoken in our criticism of what admittedly is a part of our intellectual heritage. By reluctance to criticize some of it, we may help to destroy it all".

Mere parroting of someone else's thought can never bring about change, not to mention it being a killjoy to a stimulating conversation.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Forty


Singapore will mark her 40th independence day in 2 days. While the heydays of colonialisation are long gone, one must nevertheless; attribute her architectural charm to her old master.