a beautiful tasteful ascent

An Ascending to the throne. Sometimes we read or watch official news of a deeply venerated longstanding monarch depart from this world at old age, having reigned over his faithful subjects for many decades. The news is often of a standard pattern: solemn, reverent, tastefully laced with a tinge of sadness which comes with saying goodbye and yet realistically portraying the inevitable passing of a perhaps antiquated and soon to be forgotten historical era. The male commentator has a well-trained, constrained and unhurried voice with medium pitch, and tends to present the appearance of a stiff-upper-lip somewhat dispassionate English gentleman.
The narration, the tone and texture, the colors, the costumes, the deliberate movements, the choice of musical backing, the props, the participants: their ranks and titles, clothing and decoration, brand names of what they wear, spouses and children, vehicles, entourage, facial expressions, mannerisms and many more minute but supposedly pertinent significant and interesting details on such historical occasions.
More importantly is the brief but positive biographical narration about the monarch’s life and his achievements, which should include all the good he had done to others. Humans in general like to read good positive factual reports of what a person, monarch or beggar has done for others, which is the gist of a purposeful life; an ascending to another throne.

Verses for thoughts:Psalms Chapter 24:1-4
(A Psalm of David) The earth [is] the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.
2 For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods.
3 Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place?
4 He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.

“Leaving behind” is like a taboo statement.

dog left alone“Leaving behind” is like a taboo statement. We don’t want to talk about it much or not at all if possible. As a child I often dreamed of being left behind by people or events: my mom, teachers, classmates, going somewhere by bus or train and being left behind after I went down at one of the momentary stops, sitting for an exam and finding I had gone to a wrong exam hall which was empty, arriving too late for the school bus and everyone had left for a picnic, participating a school concert and found that there was no participants and no audience…Later as a young adult I had recurring dream of being left alone and stranded in a formal wedding hall without the other party turning up for the formal ceremony. I also dreamed of traveling on a train and having to keep walking from coach to coach to find the one who had promised to meet with me and traveled together for life! It was a forlorn feeling.

I recall reading a book by D.H.Lawrence, Sons and Lovers, Chapter 15 which is titled “Derelict”. It gives the feeling of being left behind. The mother died. The son decided not to marry a girl who loved him. She went to college. There are two portions to the “left behind”. A portion that goes away. And a portion that stays. Here are definitions that describe the two portions. The two portions are inseparable. One cannot exist without the other. When we talk about being left behind, there must be something or someone who has left. The two parts are actually together. What irony!

Anther ironical puzzle for those interested in mental health and psychology is that I actually grew up well balanced and heathy. I excelled in academic studies and profession. So the dreams were not really premonitions. Did they reflect my deepest fear? Looking back I see that they did in some cases. I did not fear exams or interviews. While I enjoy being alone most times, once in a while I like to have company too. Knowing I am loved despite being alone is essential for my well being. The physical solitude does not reflect the state to the soul and the spirit.

Derelict: Abandoned, forsake; given up or forsaken by the natural owner or guardian; (of a ship) abandoned at sea, dilapidated, neglected; (of a spacecraft) abandoned in outer space.
Relic: That which remains; that which is left after loss or decay; a remaining portion. Something old kept for sentimental reasons.

Here is a passage quoted from SparkNotes on the “Derelict” chapter in Sons and Lovers:
Paul is lost without his mother. He can no longer paint, and he puts all of his energy into his work at the factory. He has debates within himself, telling himself that he must stay alive for his mother’s sake. However, he wants to give up.
One Sunday evening, however, he sees Miriam at the Unitarian Church. He asks her to have supper with him quickly and she agrees. She tells him that she has been going to a farming college and will probably be kept on as a teacher there. She says that she thinks they should be married, and he says he’s not sure that would be much good. He says he does not want it very much, and so she gives up. That is the end between them. She leaves him, realizing that “his soul could not leave her, wherever she was.”
Paul, alone, yearns for his mother and considers following her into death. However, he decides to leave off thinking about suicide, and instead walks toward the town.

The Things We Leave Behind

a tale of two gardens

a morning at SetiaThis picture was taken in a tropical garden where there is ample sunshine and rainfall. It is a private park open to the public in a residential estate. The developers have maintained the park well and given the residents and nearby visitors a place where they daily recreate, exercise, and meet for community and social connection. It is quite a refreshing change from the Western scenario. The people are less mobile-phone-bound. A morning means bright sunshine and green trees. There are joggers and even families with small pre-school children. The seniors practice their daily folk dances or other forms of cultural exercises. There are cafes all around the park. There are private schools nearby too. The park is right in the centre of activities and living. I was told by someone that this little park has won an official landscaping prize and the property value rises consistently.  The efforts of consistent up-keeping maintenance by the developers are being recognized and rewarded. A large park nearby has gone to ruins and become a den of thieves and drug addicts because of the negligence of maintenance by the developers after some years. The value of their properties drop drastically. The contrast between the two parks is so obvious. So are the fortunes of the two developers.

Morning

I am reminded this morning of this little verse which describes a prosperous and successful king* in the ancient times:

“And every work that he began in the service of the house of God, in the law and in the commandment, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart. So he prospered.” 2 Chronicles 31:21

Have a good day!

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*For those who are interested to know a bit about history, here are some notes from Wikipedia on King Hezekiah:
Hezekiah purified and repaired the Temple, purged its idols, and reformed the priesthood.[7] In an effort to abolish what he considered idolatry from his kingdom, he destroyed the high places (or bamot) and “bronze serpent” (or “Nehushtan”), recorded as being made by Moses, which became objects of idolatrous worship. In place of this, he centralized the worship of God at the Jerusalem Temple. Hezekiah also resumed the Passover pilgrimage and the tradition of inviting the scattered tribes of Israel to take part in a Passover festival. He sent messengers to Ephraim and Manasseh inviting them to Jerusalem for the celebration of the Passover. The messengers, however, were not only not listened to, but were even laughed at; only a few men of Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun came to Jerusalem. Nevertheless, the Passover was celebrated with great solemnity and such rejoicing as had not been in Jerusalem since the days of Solomon.[5] Hezekiah is portrayed by the Hebrew Bible as a great and good king. Knowing that Jerusalem would eventually be subject to siege, Hezekiah had been preparing for war for some time by fortifying the walls of Jerusalem, building towers, and constructing a tunnel to bring fresh water to the city from a spring outside its walls.[7] He made at least two major preparations that would help Jerusalem to resist conquest: the construction of the Siloam Tunnel, and construction of the Broad Wall.
It is interesting that King Hezekiah built two great constructions: the famous Jerusalem underground water tunnel and the famous Jerusalem Broad Wall. Points for pondering today. Key words: Wall and Tunnel.

traveler’s time and perspective

Narrow
narrow stairsI was taken to this tiny museum in a little town a few days before I left. Two old ladies took care of the place. Old memories like family photos, wedding and children’s clothes, a master bedroom, dolls, cooking utensils, a music room and other person stuff were well preserved among other more important historical records about the founder of the town. This photograph was a bit blurred as I was in a hurry to leave. When I look at it now I realize a museum like this preserves more than just the memories of a man and his lives and perhaps his official impact on others during his time. It is more than just a book of memoir or biography pieced together by others (including perhaps his loved ones) on a man. It is a place where strangers like me from another continent  may stumble in once in a blue moon like entering a time portal to another world. The periodic presentation of a time in history is valuable as it makes a statement with things rather than with words. The things may not look pretty or impressive in our modern world but the communication of a statement is timeless, like an ever speaking witness of a time which existed on earth in a little town, a tiny narrow space. I perceive the familiarity of the space. I have been here before, with the same message communicated to me through the many tiny narrow spaces I have stepped on during my travel round the world. The contents of the message are often unchanged. The variation of things and names do not make any difference. The message is a message of time itself. Time speaks, regardless of spaces. Yes, narrowness is a matter of perspective.