过年咯!🧧

先和大家拜个年:祝愿大家新年快乐,身体健康,万事如意!

这一次的回家过年看是简单不过对我来说意义还是很重大的。也不知道从几时开始,我都很珍惜每一次能跟家人一起过年的机会。年轻的时候,会很理所当然,不过随着年龄增长,我越来越觉得,一个家可以非常和谐,非常和睦的好好过年是一件很不容易的事情。

我这个家庭也经历了不少事情。这两年来在这个家里的某些成员也在他们的个个生命的领域经历不少的风风雨雨。我自己也不例外。不过,很多时候人就是要经过什么大风大雨才会学着坚强不屈,冒着风雨也要直奔到下一个避风港。如果生命里少了天摇地动,我们也不懂的体会风平浪静的境界。

这一两年来,在工作里认识了一位三十多岁的一位同事。起初认识他的时候,他人也不大爱说些什么,不过认识和工作久了,他也慢慢的跟我多说了他私人的事情。我也慢慢的比较了解他。但是,他这人啊,还是很年轻。虽然工作上得到上司的重用与信任,就常常得罪同事,同事们也常常误解他。我有时就常常劝他,做事情嘛,点到为止就好,有时我们做人不一定要是赢的那一位。他一直都无法体会和了解我跟他说的这番话,总觉得,我真的能这么cool的过生活吗?

后来,在工作上,他与上司和一些领导人发生了一些大问题,还开了个调解会议。我自己也在那会议里。经过了这些事后,他才领悟到了我一直跟他说的话。最近还非常感激我教会了他很多处事待人的道理。

其实嘛,我也不是什么达人,只是人生中经历不少事情也让我领悟到了一些小道理。如果我没有经历过我所经历过的事情,我也没有可能是现在的我。我现在对生活的要求简单得多了。我不需要 Marie Kondo 来教我要丢弃什么什么的。其实,过人生就是那么的简单。该来都会,该去的都会去。命里有时终须有,命里无时莫强求。我们都不是什么大人物。只要好好把基本做好来,让自己开心一点,给自己和心爱的人多一点欢乐,那就好咯!

好吧!再一次祝愿大家在新的一年里,天官赐福,欢欢喜喜,开开心心!

阿福

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Its all about relationship

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I recently chanced upon a video clip from Youtube and that kept me thinking for a while. The video is about a university lecturer addressing his students. It was a science lecture and he was telling them that the basis of everything, or to be more specific the basis of life is relationship. Everything on this planet earth is all about relationship; one thing links to another. The mysterious thing about life is how all these things are interconnected and how, to a large extend, can’t do without each other. He explained that when God created the universe, He first created the physical elements that support life, such as light and heat, water and the air. These elements are then interconnected and eventually giving breath to other life-forms, such as plants, vegetations, living creatures and finally humans. After He created man, He found that it is not good for him to be alone, therefore He created a companion for him, the woman. There, humans are again interconnected through various kinds of relationships. When the man and woman fell from grace, this first relationship and the whole interconnectedness of things in the world changed.

Although shared from a biblical perspective, I find this whole idea of interconnectedness very mesmerising. The fact is we are more connected than we are divided. We need each other more than the fact that we are separated. And perhaps, we are more similar than the differences we thought we have.

Some years ago, I went through a very dark period of my life and I decided to cut myself off from the people around me. I did not physically isolate myself from them, but what I was going through greatly affected my relationships with them. I felt disconnected and life was very miserable. I went away for a period of time and started traveling from Thailand to Vietnam, Malaysia and eventually to Bhutan. In Bhutan, I found a very different kind of connection. I was connected back to nature, back to the mountains and back to the valleys. I was connected back to the living streams that gave life to the trees in the forests and the creatures that inhabit the ground.

In Bhutan, I was surrounded everyday by the Himalayan mountains and everyday I walked through the woods and passed through the rivers and streams. Each step I took and each breath I breathed in, I was making renewed connection with creations and rediscovering the lost connection. It was when I reconnected myself with nature’s energy, I realised how small and tiny I was in all of these networks of life; this vast interconnectedness that we are all living in. My Bhutanese guide often told me that Bhutanese do not see themselves as superior to nature, neither do they see themselves as inferior. They see themselves as all part of nature: the trees in the forests, the rocks in the field, the fish in the streams,  the creatures roaming in the woods and the humans that inhabit the ground, all are part of this whole networks of life and breath. We all breathe in the same breath and received heat from the same Sun and enjoy the coolness of the same moon.

When I came back from my retreat in Bhutan, the first thing I wanted to do was to restore my relationships with my family and friends. With the renewed relationships, I set to make things in order, set the wrong right all over again and slowly build up my strength to face the challenges of life all over again. We never have to live in defeat and despondence if we understand how interconnected we are and how we can draw strength from one another.

Chang, from Bangkok

我偷偷的哭了!- 爱@曼谷

  

  
坚强

我没有你们

想像的坚强。

对不起!

我终于哭了。

那个星期六的早上,

我偷偷在书房哭了!

我想着想着,

我看了看了,

眼泪就滑满两行。

我终于脆弱了!

我写的诗,

它们也偷偷的,

偷偷的为我哭了。

我把我的泪

化成一笔一划

的诗句流进

一纸一篇里。

每首诗成了我自己的安慰。

它们成了我的唯一救赎。

我写出了我的思念。

我写出了我的不安。

我写尽了我的伤心。

或许,有些事经过了

泪水的洗礼

会更清楚,更明白。

Cafe Hopper @ 老舍 [茶馆]

The stage craft of this play was simply excellent. When the curtain was drawn, the buzzing and hustle of the teahouse was felt and we could even smell the breathe in the smell of old teahouse in Beijing. Simply loving the stage. Ok, back to what I feel about the play or my reflection after watching it. I always think that if at the core of art is not human, then art is not art at all. To me all forms of art have to be about people. We cannot move away from this anthropological mission. To me, 老舍 Teahouse is all about people, common people to be specific.

The theme that I keep seeing from the play is that of time. The theme move from the late Qing dynasty when people were concern about the coming of the westerners asked the reformation and modernization that were taking place. Then in Act 2, the play move from the late Qing period to the warlords period or 军阀混战的时代 . The post Japanese occupation period sets Act 3. In all of these three acts, we see the movements and sentiments of common people, people like you and,me. We struggle, we fight to meet ends needs, we change and constantly make changes to fit ourselves to this society. More still, we constantly hope for a better world to come.

The same characters, the same teahouse, from one period in history to another, they hope for a better future, a world with less poverty, less turmoil, less suffering. Sadly, it didn’t happen to the main three characters in this play write. In Act 1, there was the hope of a better future when the westerners came in and everyone was talking about reforms and changes. The reforms did not take place, churches were burnt down and huge sum of money meant for reforms ended up in somebody’s pockets. In Act 2, no more Qing emperor, no more corrupted officials but came the warlords. They hurled bombs and bullets all over just to have a greater share of whatever that was left. The people continued to hope, hope to be better. However, the better things didn’t happen and the poor remained poor. In Act 3, the same people and the same teahouse, the people continued to hope. However, this period of China was only left with the internal strife between the KMT and CCP. At the last scene, we saw the three main casts philosophizing about the society they were living in. 

I was struck by one statement that 老掌柜 said in Act 3, “这茶馆是我的。活也在这里,死也在这里.” This is the sentiment of many in today’s society I believe. This coffeeshop, this town center, this public housing, this community… we live and we die here. It’s these places that connect lives together…It’s these places that chain and bind us together. In the show, it’s the teahouse that connects all the characters together…They talked here, they sell their daughter here, they do their dirty things here, they see changes here and etc. 小小的茶馆带出了人的喜怒哀乐,爱恨情仇。它也带初了人生百态,社会的起落!Another statement that struck me was this, “我们这么爱国家,国家有爱我们吗?” This was said by 常四爷 who used to be a rich man but was imprisoned by the Qing government for spreading messages on the fall of the dynasty which eventually did happened.

The story ended with all three main characters, namely, 秦二爷, 老掌柜 and 常四爷, lamenting over the despair and failures of the country’s development all these years. Eventually 老掌柜 decided to end his life and this coincide with the entrance of the Red Liberation Army led by the Chinese Communist Party.

The Gatekeeper

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Cafe Hopper @ Rice (稲禾)by 云门舞集 (Cloud Gate)

I was contemplating whether to use Mandarin for this post or English. Eventually I decided to use English for the post. I set out this year to watch at least one art performance per month for the year 2015. Why? I needed to find inspiration for my poetry writing and hopefully I will be able to publish a poetry collection by the end of the year. Ok, yes, I am working very slowly but I hope I will be able to accomplish this by this year. Let’s keep my finger cross. Rice is my third show for the year and contrary to the general impression of abstractness of this dance group, I find it easier to comprehend than the previous show I watched. The dance piece began with a beautifully crafted and coordinated earth colours from the dancers’ attire. I personally have a soft spot for earth colours. Unlike most dance pieces which has to dance alongside with music, this one began in the absence of musical piece. It began with the rhythm of earth or 大地的心跳. Each thump on the dancers’ feet awakens the heart of our soul…it awakens our senses and invoke our spirit to listen and to feel the life of this earth or 大地的生命. I quietly listened…I silently pondered.

I love the section on Pollen 1 and 2 the most. In these two sections, the dancers wished to express the pollination of crops, birthing forth life in the rice field. The dance portray a couple, from the surface, they seem like they are making love in the paid field…but I seriously think that’s what the choreographer wishes to portray. Making love or having sex is our human way of pollination. Similarly, crops pollinate and birth forth life…birth forth new hope and dreams in the process. However, this life is not complete without the nurturing of the sunlight and the nutrients from the ground or from nature. 生命是要用大自然的灌溉才能萌芽的! So very often, we are caught up with the modern and post-modern crisis of human existence that we forgot that at the most basic, we are mere sons and daughters of nature or 大自然之子女。I love this portrayal of pollination and the birthing of life.

After the great harvest, the land needs renewal. However, often, renewal comes only after a baptism of fire. The farmers would burn down the harvested land and the land will go through a period of purging and cleansing by fire. Thus, don’t despise the fire and don’t shun away from the burning. It is often necessary and essential for the land of our heart or 心田 to be renewed and revived. The dance piece ended with the return of water to the land and once more the cycle of life wheeling and re-wheeling.

I am not a dancer and thus I will not be able to say too much about the technicality of the dance piece but I do feel that the dancers have successfully brought out the essence of what the choreographer wishes to convey to the audience and its easy to know where the dance piece is leading us to.

Oh…just in case you thought that the blog has evolved into an art blog…no…no…no…its still a cafe blog…Art and Coffee are another pair of perfect partners…..

The Gatekeeper

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Cafe Hopper Review: Full Stop Cafe@Soi Thonglor, Bangkok

This is not a difficult find at all! Situated along Soi Thonglor, Full Stop Cafe is a Japanese style cafe serving simple western delights like sandwiches and salad! The decor of the cafe is simple! It’s toys and figurine theme definitely give diners a very Japanese feel and of course the many Japanese magazines and books on display the shelves! Well, weather anyone read them or not is really not that crucial! Placing them there already fulfill the theme of the cafe! This is definitely a good theme as many Japanese stay along Soi Thonglor. Well, if you want a good treat of Japanese food in Bangkok, Thonglor is really the place!

The cafe latte is pretty ordinary and the food as well! I guess you can’t do too much of cooking with a very small kitchen just behind the counter! It took a while for the owner to get ready my breakfast and two other diners as well! Though not fantastically well in terms of food and drinks, it is certainly good for a place to sit around to do some reading! I spent quite a while reading my book this morning!

When you get tired, you can always walk around the cafe and admire the cartoon figurines and well, perhaps just take a look at some of the reading materials on the shelves! I would certainly come back here for a good read I suppose.

The gatekeeper

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Cafe Hopper Review: Audrey Cafe and Bistro@Thonglor 11, Bangkok

This is certainly one cafe that your eyes can’t have enough to see. It has a French classical design for interior decor and the moment you stepped into the courtyard of the cafe, you are already spoiled by the posh and classy outlook. From the table display to the black, elegant chandelier, the cafe is just too beautiful to be missed. This is one place that has lots of personality and character in it. I decided to tuck myself in one corner of the cafe so that I can have a good view of almost everything. The ambience alone will kill diners here.

The menu is not exactly a fusion of Thai-French cuisine. It basically has two types of menu, French and Thai. I took me a while to decide what to eat cos I was really spoiled of all the choices possible. Their signature pork knuckle cube looks totally tempting and I almost gave in to it. However, I promised myself that I won’t resist the temptation again next time. The braised beef is worth trying and apparently it takes 6 hours to braised the beef. Wooooo….how not to try it. Still, I decided to give it a miss since I am travelling alone. In the end, I ordered a simple pasta dish with corn beef and a Thai appetiser, meat wrap with rice skin. Well, I didn’t quite get a fusion but I must say that I pretty like my order.

Honestly I pretty like the outdoor seating if not because the weather is rather warm. I suggest, if you come in December, take the alfresco seating and enjoy the courtyard atmosphere. Trust me, you will for a moment believe that you are in Paris.

I didn’t get to try the pastry because I simply need to reserve some parts of my stomach for other things. The coffee wasn’t really that fragrant and it is rather light for me. Well, I don’t suppose they would pride themselves with their coffee when their food is good and their ambience is almost perfect. I love the short walk out of Thonglor Soi 11…quiet, peaceful and just the right environment to think about the next cafe to hop to. Thonglor is really a cool dinning area in Bangkok!

 

The gatekeeper

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