Autumn Leaves (As If Not In Singapore)

One will never know how hard it is to sweep leaves away
Until one has done it before:

They spread as you gather them
They head north as you try to get them South
They are everywhere when you want them at one place
They seem to almost have a life of their own;

Under the sweltering heat you sweep them
As beads of perspiration form like a necklace around your neck
And when you think all is still in a heap under the sun
A gust of wind blows and they take flight as you look on and sigh;

You look at the dead leaves fall on the ground
A reminder of what once was the crowning beauty of a majestic tree
Reduced to nothing but a pile of lifelessness to be swept away
To make space for the cycle of life that goes on regardless;

Oh how hard it is to sweep away the leaves of yesterday!

Somehow the above lines, after being written, feels a little like a metaphor for memories and things of the past (yesterday), that has to go in order to make space for what is to come. This is the cycle of life, that what has come must go, and what has gone will have to come round again. Sounds slightly nostalgia, but this continuity is itself the essence of life.

Some Thoughts

I was reading up on Hume, Kant and some empirical arguments for the existence of God, and I had some thoughts which I think is appropriate to share. Nothing religious nor anything deep, just some first hand thoughts as I read. 

To prove the existence of God, we need empirical evidence to justify it to be true. Which is to say if we cannot have direct experience of God Himself, we need to at least have an experience of the demonstration of His experience,which likely would be a display of His powers. This would not be a question of whether the parting of the Red Sea did happen or not, or if Jesus did exist; this would be questionable as human account of historical events is fallible and accounts differ. (With no offence to anyone, I believe in Jesus entirely, as I do with the other great great teachers and beings such as the Buddha)

Rather, to prove this existence today, we need God to demonstrate His powers to us in the form of a miracle. Take for example, if God raises a mountain in front of the world; this would be a good demonstration as there are no means known to mankind to raise a mountain out of nowhere in a matter of seconds. This would be an apt demonstration of God’s omnipotence (one of three omnis).

Can you imagine though, if that really happened? People will find ways to know God even more, given that God is proven to exist. Man will attempt to use Science to understand this “phenomena”, and probably go to extreme means to comprehend this. This is really where the problem starts.

A paradox will happen. If God is logically supposed to be beyond Science, and a demonstration is used to prove God’s existence, then Science cannot be used to prove this. If something happens not to be understood but is sought to be understood, then a cyclical dilemma occurs.

That is to say that if the existence of God or God Himself is not to be understood, then this existence is only logical not to be proven or revealed directly. And if God is really proven to exist, his omnipotence etc will all be thrust into the spotlight, and God’s infallibility itself will too be diminished somehow. (We will find a way to reach God physically if He shows Himself to us)

So it is perhaps the desire of man to know God that probably prevents such a knowledge, and it too is the inherent need for man to gain all possible knowledge that it is unlikely for us to know God directly. Which in itself is a complex issue since it is taken to be believed that God created Man, and thus also created this desire in us which keeps us from knowing Him.

Competitiveness

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I don’t mean Usain Bolt, or Michael Phelps, or even Djokovic; I mean the everyday guy who plays to win all the time. 

To speak of champions like Schumacher, Sampras or Earl Anthony and discuss their competitiveness is to say a modern Ferrari is quite fast; these people epitomise what it means to have the passion for their sport, and the desire to win. What is more interesting for today would instead be to talk about the competitiveness of the daily Joe and how he seems to want to win in everything.. even casual mealtime table soccer. 

There is a naturally high streak of competitiveness in some people, and their eyes burn with the desire to win in almost everything they do. They seek to do better than everyone else in academics, in appearing smarter during conversations, in running a quarter mile, in a friendly game of football.. in everything really. 

It can cause people to want to play for / against them because it adds an edge to the team or the overall game, or it can cause people to respond otherwise in that it causes the game to be too serious, and takes the fun away due to the tension caused. I’m sure there’s someone in your head right now. How do you feel about thy person?

You can’t blame him really; it’s something in born in him that he can’t really control. It’s like a chemical in him that gets activated when a situation calls for competition. It’s quite like adrenaline: it pumps naturally and when he’s in the zone, his eyes are fixated only on winning. He doesn’t play; he plays to win. And that’s just how he is naturally. 

However, (there always is a however) that person’s competitiveness, or rather over-competitiveness can be a hindrance to himself because it would mean defeat comes at a much larger impact to him. He would likely not be one to take defeat lightly upon himself, and it is likely to affect him more than others. This could be a good thing if it drives him to push himself to better his abilities, but if it seeks to demotivate or derail him.. then it really isn’t ideal. Depending on who he is, it could have an equally astonishing positive or negative impact.

Besides this, it would also make him much more individualistic. His fixation on victory would result in very much a singlemindedness in him, and he will push himself in a way that he would be nearer to winning than losing. This drive is often running only in himself, and thus would very much single him out in casual or friendly settings. But of course if you have a whole group of people like that put together.. You get Bayern Munich, FC Barcelona or Manchester United. 

So you can’t stop the competitive guy from being competitive because he is just being himself, something that is naturally in him. You could remind him to kick back and chill once in awhile, but overall you need to accept him for who he is. He is very much a game spoiler if taken wrongly but chances are.. He’s the game changer if you know how to exploit this zeal in him.

Are you someone like that?

We Run

We run, and we run. We run all the way across the parade square, to the spot where our younger selves used to sit. 

I’m in brown again, no longer the military green that I was clad in a moment ago. I feel like I’m in all white back in my junior college again, a proud young man ready to take on the world at breakneck speed. 

I look around, and I notice this isn’t the elevated parade square of my recent two soaring years. This is the parade square of my childhood years, an old but happy place of endless running and jumping. A place where I felt (and still feel) truly free.

We reach our spot, and we giggle like we used to all those years ago. Silly we seem, but happy we are. 

“Here?” I ask with a smile spread across my face.

“Yeah, here” you reply with a sincere laughter.

 I never felt free like this in a long time.

The next thing I knew, 8:40am. Blue stained sheets, old yellow blanket. I groaned, as all sense of happiness and freedom vanished into thin air in an instant. 

A Haze of Blur 

I took another puff and exhaled. The smoke makes no difference to anything, it’s all a hazy blur. So what if I cough with each inhalation? It’s as though I am silently strangled and choking in this mist of restraint and confusion anyway. 

I reach for the cup beside my bed, gave it a light swirl and downed whatever remained of it from the night before. It didn’t go down well, and caused a jerk as it slid uncomfortably through a dry and coarse throat from a puff too much of Marlboro. ‘Damn it’ I thought, as I stare into the shroud of uncertainty gathering in front of me, a sinister shade of the unknown. 

Freedom awaits outside of these gates. 

Book Review: One Day, by David Nicholls (2009)

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Here’s something different for the day: I’m going to write a short book review! As you can see from the title, I’m going to briefly write on this heartwarming romance novel by Nicholls which I found to be quite enticing right from the beginning.

This novel traces a 20-year path of romance and true friendship between two graduating students who met on the night of their graduation and goes off separate ways the very next day. It delicately tracks what happen to both of them and how their friendship evolve (or fall apart) over two decades, with each year’s progress being told by how they are on the day they first met, on every St. Swithin Day. 

A honey-laced story with a clever chronological work, readers are bound to fall fast and hard in love with the charimatic, handsome and oh-so-cool Dexter, while slowly developing a deep affection for the sweet, nerdy and somewhat attractive Emma. 

Twenty Years, Two People.. A heartwarming tale of love that survives the test of (poor) time and a fear on both sides to admit they are in love. Definitely one that will leave you swooning in your seats as we journey through the streets of London and Paris in search of love. Will the lovers find their happily ever after?

Rating: 4/5 🙂

The Irony Behind Advice

Advice can come in all forms of shapes and sizes, and from anyone at anytime. It can come from your mum when needed most (“Just follow your heart sweetheart, everything is going to be okay”), or it can come unwelcomed from a rival (“Why don’t you learn how to dress for success even a little like me?”) 

Given the assumed constructive nature of an advice, most are friendly and designed to improve a situation or an individual, be it in influencing a decision or how to do things better. Friends advice each other all the time when things look a little dry for the other, and the Internet is full of people writing advisory articles in forum pages and websites. 

The irony however, is this: we often tend to take the advice given by strangers or random sources more seriously than those given to us by our families and close friends. This is a weird phenomena, but it’s true for a large part of us. Take for example when we’re young: When our mums tell us to eat our vegetables, we tend to shrug it off but when we read up on the advices online on the importance of vegetables to our diet, or when we see our friends or crush enjoying their greens and egging us to eat them, we start to appreciate and consume them. 

How different is it from when your mum nicely tells you to eat your veggies at dinner time? Not much really, the vegetables still taste about the same. 

There’s something strange about this really, that we choose to ignore or neglect the advice of those who know us best, and those who want the best for us. Perhaps it is taking for granted the goodwill that our loved ones have for us, or maybe we seek to learn only from experiencing it for ourselves. The hard way, if you ask me. 

It would probably be good if we learn to take advice for us more seriously, and give them a thought before throwing them away into the mental garbage bin at the back of our heads. We should of course have a mind and an opinion of our own, but we could always use for a different (perhaps previously hidden) perspective in a situation. We may think we know better, but sometimes.. we really don’t. 

(P.S another irony of advice is that we often give them to people like they are free, but use them ourselves as though it’d cost us a new car or apartment, but thats to be saved for another day. Haha.)