Living

A Visit to Marina Bay Sand

Rain Oculus

Rain Oculus 2010 by Ned Kahn.  I was amazed by the giant acrylic dish installed at Marina Bay Sand.  The awesomeness was not only on the size but the effect.  If you stand apart from each other as far as possible and speak into the dish in normal tone, you can hear each other clearly as though that person is standing next to you, amazing!

 

A Lady In the Van

The Lady in the VanA compelling movie based on a true story on the strained yet endearing friendship between Mr Alan Bennett and Miss Mary Shepherd.  Miss Shepherd was an eccentric homeless woman living in a van parked at Mr Bennett’s front porch for 15 years.  As the story develops, Miss Shepherd true identity is really a gifted pianist but an accident which caused the death of a cyclist changed her life.  Ms Maggie Smith bring to life the character of Mary Shepherd.  I am impressed by her portrayal on Ms Shepherd un-apologetic and dignify disposition in the movie.  An unforgettable scene was when she was lifted in a wheel chair into the ambulance.  That expression on her face!

Emotions

Tok Li Qing (2004). 35x45cm, Oil on canvas

TLQ Portraiture (2004). 35x45cm, oil on canvas.

Studies have shown that it is human nature to imitate.  When we see someone smile, our facial muscles relax and when we see someone cry on screen it will cause a lump to form in the throat or even tears to well up.  Scientists believe that human beings have six basic emotions; they are fear, joy, anger, distress, surprise and disgust, the difference between us and animals is that we have complex emotions. We can feel guilty and disgust or disgust with fear at the same time.  The problem with these emotions is that they are short lived; it is the mood they provoke that has a longer lasting effect.   The aim of any artist is be able to draw an emotional response from the viewer but emotion can changed within minutes or second, the challenge is creating the ambience to set the mood,  long enough for the viewer to contemplate and see one self through the work of arts.

I Wish I Could Cry

Jase Lim

Self-Portrait (2003). Pastel on A2 Paper.

The urge to write about this topic was fueled by my late mother’s intense dislike on the color – black, but this dislike was only on my clothing. I was never allowed to have any clothes in black. Any act of defiance on this, the clothes would meet the same fate in the mystery of ‘Bermuda triangle’.

My mother never explained why, and I did not understand till her funeral. Though she never tells me personally, somehow I get her point of view. Black to her is associated with death and mourning.   When a person has gone through the pain of separation through death, there is this fear of reminder of this pain. But this reasoning created more questions for me. So, we do not want to associate with things which bring us memories of pain? If that’s the case then why Rothko Chapel though depressive yet visitors are streaming in to be affected, to drive them to tears? Why the tickets for movies like Titanic sold in millions? Readers and writers revered on Shakespeare’s tragic stories?

There are many recorded entries of testimonials written by the visitors on their experiences in Rothko Chapel. Most of the records were on how they were affected and driven to tears by the atmosphere of the artwork. But the saddest entry I found was this statement “I wish I could cry”.

Human are susceptible to being mold and conditioned to vary level of self-consciousness due to different cultural upbringing. Learning not to cry is one way in which one attempt to control the amount one reveal to others, one’s vulnerability. Crying itself is instinctual; the baby comes out of the womb with the ability to cry, this ability is unlearned. What is learned is the ability to suppress crying. From young, we are molded to suppress our crying, we are trained to be analytical, skeptical rather than emotional.

Though some studies suggested that animals cry as well, but crying as an emotional reaction is considered by many a unique human phenomenon. When a person is in extreme pain either emotionally or physically, tears came as a form of soothing balm. However crying does not restricted to negative emotion, many people had been known to cry when they are extremely happy or when they are laughing. There are also instances when crying is used as a manipulative tool to receive attention and wants.

Most therapists agreed that crying are beneficial, crying can have profound therapeutic effect.   People need to be in touch with their feelings. Repression or holding in feelings is harmful, one needs to let it out, it is a human biological necessities. In this world, tears will always be with us, if learning to stop crying is necessary to maturation, to stop altogether is to be less than human.

What a revelation to be able to cry, to be touched and to be able to luxuriate in one’s emotion. One would be openly envious of people who can react openly without a hint of self-consciousness. To be able to cry might be one of the best things a person can do. Tears is similar to rain, one need it to cleanse one’s soul from the earthly mire. Without restraining oneself, but let one’s mind and soul be freer to roam. The ability to engage in one’s emotion put a person in a more receptive mood. One, who can cry, responded and lived for that moment.

One should learn to luxuriate in one’s emotion once in a while and let the feeling flow and do not let the mood be dampen by what is proper or right. Whatever which bring on the tears or an overemotional frame of mind is no longer an issue. What is important is to be able to indulge in the senses, which is there for you to feel to know that “I exist and I am alive!”

Why people are willing to queue for hours to enter the museum?

That was my encounter during a trip to Paris.  Due to time constraint (travelling in group),  I missed my chance to say hello to the post-impressionists painters which I was looking forward to meet in Musee de Orsay.

Why people goes to see an exhibition when they cannot see the paintings on view properly, because there are continuously people walking around them. It is rather like listening to music and in between the play, you hear noises here and there, it is distracting but nobody worries. This is especially so, in the case of an art show opening night. Everybody is rubbing shoulder against each other and one could not view the paintings without being in the way of another person.

During a visit to Lourve Museum in Paris, I was enthralled while looking at the massive scale and execution of paints on the Consecration of the Emperor Napoleon I and Coronation of the Empress Josephine in the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris by Jacques Louis David, the scale in which it was painted was to let the viewer travel in time to attend the grandeur procession, and became the witness of the consecration. But the angle which I raised my head towards the painting and the passer-by keep reminding me I am just looking at an ‘object’. And the next disappointment was viewing Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. I was surrounded with viewers who are occupied with photo taking of the small painting sealed by a layer of bullet-proof glass.

Jade Cabbage in TaiwanLastly, a visit to The National Palace Museum in Taiwan. Queue were snaking in the museum, most of the visitors are queuing to view the Jadeite Cabbage (翠玉白菜). Undeniable that it is a master piece, I was torn between waiting in line for hours to view this masterpiece or spend this hour viewing other pieces of artworks which also earned their place in the museum, I choose the later.

 

The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida

Naoki Higashida

The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida

Get to know this book The Reason I Jump: One Boy’s Voice from the Silence of Autism via NHK World documentary.

This book was written by a Japanese author Naoki Higashida, who wrote this book in 2005 at the age of 13. The book was initially published in Japanese in 2007 but was translated and published in English in 2013 by Keiko Yoshida and her husband, author David Mitchell, who also has an autistic child. This book became a bestseller and it has been translated into over 30 other languages.

Author Higashida was diagnosed with severe autism spectrum disorder (ASD) when he was 5 years old and has verbal limitations. With the help from his mother, using “facilitated finger writing” quite similar to typing out his thoughts via a special kind of keyboard. The majority of the memoir is told through 58 questions Higashida and many other people dealing with autism are commonly asked, they are either memories of the author or parabolic stories that relate to the themes discussed throughout the memoir.

The collection ends with Higashida’s short story, “I’m Right Here,” which the author prefaces by saying: I wrote this story in the hope that it will help you to understand how painful it is when you can’t express yourself to the people you love. If this story connects with your heart in some way, then I believe you’ll be able to connect back to the hearts of people with autism too.” (Information extracted from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Reason)

LOVE

Love and Humanity Couple

“Even though god has forgotten to draw the curtain from the window of my eyes, I will live everyday without fear; because the world is just next to me!” This is the lyrics of a song, sung by a visually impaired Taiwanese singer, and has touched many hearts.

In Kwangxi, China, a haunch back old lady has been guiding his husband with a bamboo stick for 30 years. This loving old couple has been married for 55 years. They are childless and lived on farming. In 1985, the man succumbed to eye disease and was blind. From that day onwards, his wife has been holding his hand via a bamboo stick, telling him in details what she saw along the way, the sceneries and happenings.

What I know for sure

Read a book by Oprah Winfrey “What I know For Sure”. Love to share her statements that ring a bell. “You have the choice for this very moment – the only moment you have for certain. I hope you aren’t so wrapped up in nonessential stuff that you forget to really enjoy yourself – because this moment is about to be over.  I hope you’ll look back and remember today as the day you decided to make very one count, to relish each hour as if there would never be another.” I know you knew already, treat it as a reminder.

Quote on Living

Martin Heidegger:  “Once we realized at some point in time we will no longer be, we gain some insight into what it means to exist.”

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