Archive for December, 2013

new year’s eve

Tomorrow, is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one.

Brad Paisley (posted on Twitter on New Year’s Eve way back in 2009)


rounding up the year

A quick roundup of what I did in 2013 before it turns 2014……!!!

Celebrated my third anniversary at work. Was a victim of crime during R&R time on a work trip to Vietnam. (Bag slashed and wallet stolen in a crowded bazaar in Hanoi – kinda traumatizing but thank goodness for travel insurance. Will be more careful in future – NEVER AGAIN!) Encountered new challenges at work, and did my best to meet them, with some success and some improvements to be made. Learnt to be a teeny weeny bit more patient.

Continue reading ’rounding up the year’

through the eye of an octopus

“Mischief and craft are plainly seen to be the characteristics of this creature,” the Roman natural historian Claudius Aelianus wrote at the turn of the third century A.D. Today’s divers marvel at the elaborate trails the eight-leggers follow along the seafloor, and at their irrepressible curiosity: Instead of fleeing, some octopuses examine divers the way Steve checked me out, tugging at their masks and air regulators. Researchers and aquarium attendants tell tales of octopuses that have tormented and outwitted them. Some captive octopuses lie in ambush and spit in their keepers’ faces. Others dismantle pumps and block drains, causing costly floods, or flex their arms in order to pop locked lids. Some have been caught sneaking from their tanks at night into other exhibits, gobbling up fish, then sneaking back to their tanks, damp trails along walls and floors giving them away.

Click here to read another interesting article on octopuses!

a ship in harbour

A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.

John Augustus Shedd, Salt from My Attic


A very Merry Christmas to one and all!!! :D

why the buddha smiles

Stumbled onto this poem recently and thought it summed up the essence of Buddhist philosophy perfectly……

Why The Buddha Smiles
Gilbert Koh

Shen Hsiu the senior monk rises from meditation
And writes this on the monastery wall:

    The body is the tree of enlightenment
    The mind is the bright mirror that stands before it
    Take care to wipe it constantly
    Let not the dust settle

Hui Neng the kitchen boy rises from his sleep
reads the wall and in reply he writes:

    There never was a tree of enlightenment
    Nor any bright mirror standing
    Since all is empty
    Where is dust to settle?

from here

This poem is actually based on a (possibly apocryphal?) story. Read a short version here, and a long version here (written from Huineng’s perspective).

a mob mentality

I looked around the crowd. It was a summer’s night, but the men were dressed, most of them, in overalls and denim shirts buttoned up to the collars. I thought they must be cold-natured, as their sleeves were unrolled and buttoned at the cuffs. Some wore hats pulled firmly down over their ears. They were sullen-looking, sleepy-eyed men who seemed unused to late hours. I sought once more for a familiar face, and at the center of the semi-circle I found one.
“Hey, Mr. Cunningham.”
The man did not hear me, it seemed.
“Hey, Mr. Cunningham. How’s your entailment gettin‘ along?”
Mr. Walter Cunningham’s legal affairs were well known to me; Atticus had once described them at length. The big man blinked and hooked his thumbs in his overall straps. He seemed uncomfortable; he cleared his throat and looked away. My friendly overture had fallen flat.

i want to go on living even after my death

And if I don’t have the talent to write books or newspaper articles, I can always write for myself. But I want to achieve more than that. I can’t imagine living like Mother, Mrs. van Daan and all the women who go about their work and are then forgotten. I need to have something besides a husband and children to devote myself to! …

I want to be useful or bring enjoyment to all people, even those I’ve never met. I want to go on living even after my death! And that’s why I’m so grateful to God for having given me this gift, which I can use to develop myself and to express all that’s inside me!

When I write I can shake off all my cares. My sorrow disappears, my spirits are revived! But, and that’s a big question, will I ever be able to write something great, will I ever become a journalist or a writer?

Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl

britain’s curry crisis

At the British Curry Awards this week more than 40,000 nominations poured in from fans. (Among the winners, Karma, in Whitburn, for Best Spice Restaurant Scotland, and Shampan 4 at the Spinning Wheel, in Westerham, Kent, for Best Newcomer.) Prime Minister David Cameron took the stage between choreographed dance sequences and declared the foreign dish now central to British identity: “To all those who think being British depends on your skin color, wake up and smell the curry!”

I read Huma Yusof’s New York Times piece, ‘The Threat to British Curry‘, with great interest. Writing about Britain’s curry crisis, she concludes that it ‘says more about the country’s prejudices than its palate’. Other than prejudices, I find that her article brings to light intriguing issues of identity, culture, authenticity, nationhood, politics, race and class – a whole gamut! Truly, food for thought.

downward-facing dog

Had my last yoga class on Monday. I find this instructor pretty good, so I signed up for her new class, which will be starting next Monday. It’s once again a beginner’s course, but I think it’d be good for me to reinforce my fundamentals before thinking about moving to intermediate level.

Incidentally, why is that particular yoga pose called downward-facing dog? Why not cats? Cows? Or even monkeys?

december descends

And snow is falling on my WordPress blog……

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