Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Save The Hostages

19 of them are left. Sign the petition. Pressurize the Taliban with the Pashtunwali code.


Monday, August 06, 2007


A friend in joy, a friend in sorrow.

A friend in solitude, a friend in multitude.

A friend for pain, a friend for pleasure.

A friend for summer, a friend for spring.

A friend for life.

Isn't that what we all need?

Sunday, August 05, 2007


A question weighs on, finally resolved.

A protracted saga, finally at its end.

A burden relieved, finally without weight.

A step forward, finally letting go.

A different perspective, finally making amends.

A final goodbye, finally so sweet.

And I cry.

Saturday, August 04, 2007


As I re-watched the video that I took of China's performance at the HSBC Celebration of Light, it struck me as curious that people only give their "ooohs" and "aaahhhs" at the end of a massive light-up of the sky.

It made me wonder about human nature. Do we only marvel at the big and the flashy? There were many parts of the fireworks display that China put up that made me marvel, and it wasn't the part when the sky was lit up brightly like the sky. I saw the perfect synchronization of music with visuals, the amount of hard work and practice it must take. I saw individual flares flying up in the sky, never exploding into millions of smaller ones, but rather just vanishing into the clouds behind it. I heard the transitions in the music, the instruments, the music itself.

I noticed the rain of individual flares, exploding into a spray of sparkles, on top of which rings of triumph and glory reveal and expand themselves. Yet it did not seem awe-inspiring to the crowd. The technical prowess of the Chinese team never seemed to be on the lips of the people as they left the beach; people were talking about how great the light show was, about how to get out, about partying for the next 6 hours in the night...

Nobody commented about this stuff. Am I alone in these thoughts? Am I the only one that takes notice of the trajectories of the flares, of how perfectly the flares explode? Or does my weird eye and mind take note of the nuances in their performance? Is it my non-conformist way of thought that makes me think about the meaning of the performance, rather than appreciate the performance just simply for what it is? Or am I just forgetting about my KISS acronym - "Keep It Simple, Stupid"?

A pity I haven't been able to upload the videos to my computer. I wonder what's happened. I guess I must fix it.

Thursday, August 02, 2007


Tonight was one of the few nights where I get completely captivated by something.

China's performance at the HSBC Celebration of Light was simply breathtaking. At about 7.00pm, I biked down from UBC to get to English Bay to catch Xiao Yang, Sarah and Rachel. Xiao Yang's friend Caitlin was there with her dad as well. There, we chilled and I saw Maki as well. So the group of us hung out and watched Xiao Yang and Maki's friend play Chinese Chess.

The announcer was getting pretty annoying, what with all of his repetitive "this fireworks show cost 3 million to display" and "Vancouver, show that you want this display to be shown here every year by cleaning up your garbage", a friendly reminder of the inconsiderate garbage worker strikes that have been going on. Whatever happened to service to community and respecting taxpayer's money?

In any case, I sat there, trying to spot the stars while lying on the beach. One by one, their flickers emerged from behind the curtain of the sky as the sun's spotlight faded behind the horizon.

I can't remember when we had to rise for China's national anthem, but Xiao Yang, Rachel and Sarah were back there bellowing it out so loud, I'm sure that the crowd around them could hear it all. Way to go for patriotism! Haha, I regret missing the Canadian one now... I would have so sang "O Canada" with pride.

Then, over the PA system, the announcer's voice bellowed out, "10, 9, 8,..... 3, 2, 1." and a roar of applause followed by quick silence fell over the hundred-thousand-strong crowd. With my camera in hand, I set the settings for fireworks, and as the first few flares emerged, I started snapping, forgetting about the fact that this was a performance. Then, I heard the music.

It was suddenly surreal. Instinctively, I turned my camera to video mode, and hit the shutter button. I let the music inside me, and it flowed and ebbed like the waves on the beach, reaching my mind at one moment, touching my heart at another. The visuals provided by the fireworks suddenly had meaning. The title of the show, "Time Machine", made it even more captivating. As the flares lit up the sky, the fireworks display left a barrage of images inside of me: of fireflies, of stars, of lamps, of the rainbow, of rings, of... it was a fantastical, it was improbable; it was suddenly surreal.

The music flowed on, at times uplifting, at times troubling, at times inspirational, at times rumbling. I saw the firework flares in the sky - the green ones, the red ones, the blue ones, the yellow ones, the white ones... the ones that went from green to red, and from blue to yellow, and from red to white... I sat there, captivated by the beauty of the night sky. A few moments later, I glanced around, and saw everybody in the crowd equally taken in by the scenery. It was a marveling at all of the Chinese team's creation and its beauty from within.

There were the punctuating moments, when the fireworks literally lit up the entire night sky, and it dawned upon me that it wasn't just China's performance that was amazing, it was the entire concept of HSBC's Celebration of Light. The crowed "oooh"-ed and "ahhh"-ed during those moments, when the entire night sky was filled with flares.

Given the title, the music and the display, I struggled for words to describe the meaning behind the fireworks performance put up by China. What were they trying to communicate? Were they doing a journey back into the past, making us think about our personal lives, when we were young, when we were happy, when we were troubled? Or were they communicating their aspirations for their homeland, to grow stronger and stronger day by day? Or were they displaying, in abstract terms, the history of their nation, the trials and tribulations that it has gone through?

I admire the Chinese spirit in adversity; it's very much like the Jews'. A never-say-die attitude, a willingness to work at the problem. (I guess the complacency displayed in times of abundance by most Chinese is quite starkly visible compared to other societies', which is my only problem with Chinese way of thought - a focus on the superficial, the family pride etc.) The teamwork, coordination, buildup, emotion... this team definitely did do an amazing job. Kudos!

I shall be uploading the video (820MB!!!) soon. Hopefully I get to compress it down such that it's "uploadable" by YouTube restrictions.