Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Gusty wind, enchanting canalsSomehow everytime I walk down the canals in Amsterdam I couldn't help but wonder why the wind here is so gusty and bitter. No wonder they invented the wind mill and used it to claim lands. 3 days of mad touring and I'm ready to leave Amsterdam for the next destination in the neighboring Brussels. But before that I shall take a day-trip to Leiden and hopefully will be able to catch some of the early-booming tulips!
In everywhere this city exhibits itself the charm of a northern European city. No bright blue/yellow colors like the Mediterranean, yet in the meanwhile the Dutch forever favor for tulips and numerous flowers that I've failed to know how to name somehow add in beautiful colors to the otherwise much gray and clouded sky. Perhaps I picked the good time to come, for the country is entering early spring and currently in transition out of the winter cold. What would winter be like here? I could only find out through some of the paintings in the museums that depicting ppl playing all sorts of winter sports on the frozen canals/waterways. Were those depictions accurate and still stand true today even though some of them were painted a few centuries earlier? Have people's style of life changed much since or some of the old-time sports never die out?
There's much that one could learn about history here too. Alas to the constraint of time I wasn't able to visit the Dutch resistance Museum. However, from the Ann Frank's old hiding house I was able to filter out some of the stories of Nazi Holocaust on the Dutch land. The canals and houses remain, but the people long gone. How the Nazi military raided the entire city and wiped out close to all the Jews in the city remains an enigma to me.
On a much lighter note, Amsterdam in some ways remind me of Tokyo where some of the finest arts and traditions in the world may be found yet in the meanwhile some of the most liberal and relaxed orders of sexual conducts or drug use are also readily available. A huge contrast to my eyes yet perhaps something that points to the Dutch spirit of tolerance? At least that seems to be what the Historic Museum is suggesting.
The failed batteries in my alarm clock woke me up to this early early hours of 5:30 am writing this post ... Now that I'm awake I wonder whether it'd be worthwhile to go back to sleep. Perhaps if I wait for another hour or so I could truly take an early-bird walk along the canals one last time before waving goodbye to this city of blue waterways.
Somehow one becomes so much more alert when traveling alone. More thoughts to share later.
梅ちゃん at 12:20:00 PM
Monday, March 27, 2006
City of Late-riserArrived in Amsterdam yesterday after 6.5 hours of smooth flight. Then a whole day of exploration on foot which rendered an extremely exhausted body with lack of sleep. But the first impression of the city was great - confusing street each with unique characters, early morning light shower/fog that eventually clears up with the sun peaking out, and lazy Sunday city-dwellers taking their time to enjoy the early spring weather. Spring is in the air, for sure, much more so than Boston, and despite the light rain here and there during the day, no one seems to really mind as long as the temperature has kicked itself back to the late 40´s.
One thing that continues to puzzles me - is this a city of later-risers? Otherwise how come almost close to none of the musuems open before 10 if not 11 in the morning? No quality breakfast for another bou-sou day for me? Ai yo ...
Maybe it´s the Americans that need to learn to relax huh?
梅ちゃん at 3:37:00 PM
Sunday, March 26, 2006
To the Tulip Kingdom ... and BeerShowers showers showers - I thought I chose to go to Amsterdam just so that I can get away from the continuous showers in London ...
Oh well ... Should've studied harder in high school European geography.
Off to Europe for spring break. Will get a chance to update if I get on the net. Have a wonderful spring break everyone!
梅ちゃん at 3:53:00 AM
Thursday, March 23, 2006
Oh Mom!Haha, my mom cracks me up! In the midst of all my crazy summer planning and random droppings of email sharing my crazy summer plan, she actually got it ALL figured out in her head!
Wow, now looking at what she wrote (see below), I do wonder if this indeed will be a nutty summer to come.
有這樣一位喜歡跑來跑去的女兒也真是一件令人苦惱的事 huh? ごめんね、お母さん ...
Please remember that you still have one-ticket of UA which was from the
round-trip ticket of last August. If you go to Malaysia/Indonesia for
missions, that means you will fly from Boston to Tokyo with UA, then buy a round trip ticket
between Tokyo and Malaysia/Indonesia; after flying back to Tokyo to do
research, you then will buy another round trip ticket for Tokyo/Mainland
China; finally, flying back from Tokyo to Taipei using the last part of the UA
ticket. Boy! such a complicated schedule. Are you sure you want to be busy
I worry about your physical condition, you should save some energy for
General Exam of next January. Anyway, it is up to you to make final
梅ちゃん at 9:51:00 AM
Triple Schizophrenia as NormalcyWent to Prof. H's office hours this afternoon talking about the final paper, future research, and issues of diaspora. As the conversation eventually went down to his own upbringing experiences in Malaysia as a Malaysian Chinese, I was struck when he said,
"I am schizophrenic with regards to my identity."
"Schizophrenic in what way, Professor?" I asked. "Schizophrenic as a Chinese vs. Malay, a Malay vs. British, or British vs. Chinese?"
"All of them, British, Chinese, and Malay."
"So a kind of triple schizophrenia?"
"Then do you too feel like you're constantly living in diaspora, or some kind of state of exile?"
"Well, to me, diaspora is normalcy ..."
"Like a daily-life experience, a part of who you are?"
"Yes, part of who I am and what I live by every day. And that's a notion that I want to convey to the students in this class as well, that diaspora isn't just a recent, 20th-century phenomenon, but a continual, historical experience, repeated over and over again as a state of normalcy."
A state of normalcy, by being in diaspora.
What's even more interesting is the following:
"Verbally my proficiency of language goes like this: Hokken, English, Arabic, and Malay (the first being the most proficient or most comfortable). In terms of reading proficiency, on the other hand, it goes from English to Malay, Arabic, and then Hokken, with Hokken being almost non-existent."
Wow, 4 languages in completely different order.
"To me, I approach Hokken on a folk level whereas English commands my level of communication and entire mentality of thinking and processing on a formal level."
I can completely relate, really.
If language is a window to a whole new set of worldviews, mentality, process of thinking and communication, knowing three languages doesn't mean acquiring three different sets of windows of worldviews and experiences that are mutually exclusive but - in fact in very confusing and tormenting ways - three intertwining worldviews and perspectives whose boundaries remain forever blurry. At times all three live in peaceful co-existence, yet at times they live in continual attention, splitting the inner core being apart into pieces that is dying for coherence yet does not know where such coherence may be found.
In one of my classes this semester called "Bilingual Arts," bilingualism is constantly celebrated, praised, and deemed positive. Yet almost all the writers we've studied so far had undergone a certain journey of ID/soul-searching. The ending in sight might be a beautiful one, but the journey through which such an ending may be reached remains fuzzy, uncertain, and at times scary as hell.
Worst of all, no one can finish that journey for you, not even as a bystanding companionship.
Nor is there even a cheerleader in sight.
Though that accounts for many aspects in life in general, isn't it? At the end of the day, we are all lone travelers down this lonely path calls life. I guess one has to endure the darkest hours of the night in order to see the rising sunshine the next morning huh?
No skipping step, whether we like it or not, as the earth continues to evolve and time continues to flow.
Schizophrenic ID-searching as normalcy? 開始懂了.
梅ちゃん at 7:03:00 AM
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
馬市長之劍橋來訪・Homecoming in Cambridge for MA"In the last year of my study here in Cambridge, my wife, suddenly found herself pregnant with our first daughter, sat down with me and we were trying to figure out what name to give her. Since we thought that Cambridge is such a beautiful place that hosts many of our fond memories, we wanted to name our first baby, Cambridge.
"Then we wrote down that name on a piece of paper - Cambridge, MA ... (audience laughed). Well, I guess that won't do, otherwise everytime she mentions her name, the next question people ask would be, 'What's the zip code?'"
As Mayor Ma + Chairman Ma ("Please note it's 'MA' not 'MAO'; the difference is the 'O'!") told us before he began his speech on the topic of peace and prosperity in cross-straight relations.
Granted that nothing revolutionary or extremely revelatory was stated in the speech, what made this event a heated discussion and attention amongst the Chinese community, students and residents alike, was - besides Mayor Ma's renowned handsome look and political charisma - perhaps the sense of excitement of meeting this potential future President of Republic of China in Taiwan who might at last reopen peaceful, cross-straight talks that have remained stagnant over the years.
In the air, there was a sense of excitement and anticipation. In the air there too was a sense of communal pride for a figure in leadership who is able to well communicate to not only the Chinese audience at large but also to the Western audience on a view of a positive, healthy, and mutually constructive cross-straight relations.
父母親常說：「做人，格局要大」。Having been born into and grown up in a family where a politically savvy dad - not necessarily through words but merely through actions - has taught me much about what it means to remain hopeful in the most desperate times, or to keep up with one's integrity and never lose the original vision and dream in spite of obstacles on the way, politics has become a double-edged sword in my life, enchanting me, fascinating me, yet in the meanwhile making me wonder how much does one need to lose oneself or compromise the core of one's identity in the glorious name of achieving one's dreams.
Power, when used rightly, may truly improve lives and achieve true justice for the commonwealth; when used towards self-glory, however, it becomes a feared source of evil.
I often like to take an observant look at a pastor or a speaker during the few minutes immediately following their delivery of a great sermon or speech. What might be going through their heads when words are spoken, questions answered, and applause given? Will they be thinking, "At last it's over," or "May these words go forth with the audience and bless them well," or "I wonder if they've got my point?". When the last word is spoken and Tim Keller or Pastor Soong-chan takes their seat, what goes on in their heads?
A prayer for the people? A simple prayer spoken in hope that the hearts of the audience may be moved and that their words may empower them to go home and carry further the mission of transforming lives?
Those who are on the top indeed are at times the lonliest?
或許馬市長在劍橋短暫停留的幾天真正想做的，並非趕場般的演講或一個接又一個的晚宴聚餐。或許他真正想做的，不過是在Charles River河畔再觀看一次傍晚的斜陽，或是到Harvard Square哪個不知名的小店重溫一下學生時期與夫人、同學閒談的時光吧。
然而，something too is stirring inside，蠢蠢欲動。
梅ちゃん at 6:08:00 AM
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Mr. Children ＜未来＞飛べるよ 君にも
今 分かる答えはひとつ ただひとつ
I love you
and I love you
and I love you
信じて 疑って 足がすくんでも
歌える 歌える 歌える
I love you
and I love you
and I love you
でも 君が僕につき通してた 嘘をあきらめた日
I love you
and I love you
and I love you
Every day is a walk a faith.
梅ちゃん at 3:50:00 PM
Monday, March 20, 2006
New Migration・全新的出發Very first migration online.
Looking forward to the new horizon.
梅ちゃん at 11:55:00 AM