Thursday, November 28, 2013

CH192: Deaths and Bali

A week or two back, there have been two saddening news coming from my college social circle.

1. An acquaintance, somebody I know by face who is from a rival org, someone I see often in our department (you eventually remember all the faces because a lot of people dropped out of our course program) died of pneumonia. It was shocking to have heard that out of the blue from close friends who heard about it first. This is considering the fact that a couple of years ago, his dad died. Soon after, his mom died as well. Thus leaving him as the sole bread winner of the family with other siblings to take care of.

2. A good friend who I worked with in the laboratory I "interned" for in our department also passed due to cancer. This hit a mark last week after I heard the news. Not long before she moved here in Singapore for work along with her boyfriend, she was diagnosed with colon cancer. She went back to the Philippines, had the help of her organization and close friends help raise funds for her chemo. Everything was going well, until when the treatment was over, she found out that the cancer spread to other parts of her body. Her bones, everywhere. And then the next thing I know, somebody messages me that she has passed away as well.

In less than 7 days, two people, one I was acquainted with and the other I shared woes and fears with (during our undergraduate research project and cramming sessions in subjects we both shared) passed away. .It's always so depressing to hear of someone you know pass away. More so when you take into consideration that they're just around the same age as me. 27! That is too young to say you've lived your life to the fullest!

I was very sad after hearing the two news of death. It got me thinking, why is it that my peers who I feel were good in their life die out, and yet myself, who parties, smoke(d), wastes money on unnecessary, speak profanity, rants a lot, who is mostly a cynic, get to live my life longer? What purpose does death serve? People will say, God has a purpose for everyone, well, I'm not quite sure what my purpose is now to be honest. My interest does not go as far beyond my self, family, friends and some extended friends. I don't think at the moment my interest in maybe helping out to some extent humanity has bore fruits of action.

To DS and Homer, may you both rest in peace. I hope that where you guys are, there is no more suffering.

So... tomorrow, by lunch time, I'll have arrived in Bali.
Not so much plans or research yet as I did before going to Siem Reap.
It will just be a time to get away from enjoy life and think of things as the sun sets in Bali.
Maybe find out the value of life and what purpose each of us serve.

Or, it can just become a romantic get-away with white water rafting mixed along.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

CH191: Moving to More

Packing the stuff to move

Throwing away the unnecessary 

The new room pre move

The new room

the wardrobe

The mess

Finally finished the move

Getting settled in
As some of you may be aware (from Facebook), I've just finished moving room from Beach Road to Farrer Park. The reason for the move is simple, I want some place more convenient going to the office. Now, just 5 mins away is a bus stop where the bus going straight to the office goes through. Considering how much I've cabbed the past month, I say, the additional cost to the room is well worth it. The taxi charges will go well into offsetting the additional expense for the room.

It's quite nostalgic moving into City Square Residence for the plain and simple reason that this is where CP used to stay. I can't even remember the room as it's been so long ago. Now, I also have no reason not to miss any work out or the gym as the excuse of feeling tired from the commute should be well resolved. Plus, the pool in the condominium is about 50m (maybe?) so I can get back to swimming again!

Time to enjoy the new place and the new surroundings! Conveniently, the condominium - or more specifically, the block where I am, is just a stone throw away from City Square Mall! Hahaha, and guess what store welcomes me at the entrance? Cedele!  All the cakes on display, yummy! I've always felt before that moving into a condominium would be excessive and a waste of money. But after living in Singapore for about 2 years, 9 months and 2-3 weeks now, I can say, that maybe I deserve this opportunity to actually enjoy the place I am staying in. So, I've stayed in 4 different places, equal to the number of times I've transferred work.

Monday, November 18, 2013

CH190: In Hiding

We've all heard about what happened to the Philippines. We've all seen rants being posted online criticizing relief efforts, aid and other botched up humanitarian efforts by the government. We've seen the destruction the typhoon has wrought. We've seen some finger pointing. We've seen politicking happen. We've seen people leverage on relief efforts to up their political capital for 2016. We've seen the sympathy and kind hearts of people who got up and participated in whatever way they can to help ease the suffering of the victims of Yolanda.

We've seen what it is to be human - both good and bad.

But what do we take from this experience?
Has your faith been tested? Has your faith in God been manifested? Has your faith in humanity been restored?

For the past days, I've deliberately tried (best effort) to avoid reading up on articles or looking through pictures of the destruction by the typhoon and plight of the survivors. It pained me to see that in this day and age, such suffering can happen.

Don't get me wrong, I know in fact that there are a lot of suffering happening in the world - with the civil war in Syria, with the hunger and abuses happening in Africa, with women's right still in question in certain parts of the world, with children being trafficked and sexually abused...

But the aftermath of Yolanda hits closer to heart because those are people I'm indirectly related to. Those were people of my blood. And in the wake of the destruction, there's also that thought that, what if my family and relatives were part of the victims? How would I feel if in some way, it was my family I was seeing on TV and in the news? How would I feel if I saw on TV debris and dead bodies littered at the site where our house should have been?

I couldn't fathom the thought of 'what if - I was directly affected?' This is why, I avoided as much as possible to realize and accept that what happened did happen. The initial reaction I had was, OMG. Then I decided to find the best institution/charity I wanted to donate to (I decided on unicef). Then I just tried to zone it out of my mind because the more I thought about it, the more I felt helpless.

I know I could have gone to participate in the "bayanihan" efforts some of my friends have organized. I know I could have but I decided against it. I wanted to escape for the time being because it will only put out questions in my mind that I wasn't prepared to acknowledge and face.

Call me out for being a coward, but why do these tragedies and natural calamities happen to people who are mostly already vulnerable? Why are people who are already downtrodden (based on my perception) put to the test? It seems almost an excuse to say it is to test their resilience. What is God trying to tell us? Why are some people fortunate while others are not? It's not even fair to use the word fortune because it entails that there's an aspect of luck to it.

Before, I was in the belief that people are where they are based on the decisions that they made which follows the decisions their parents and the people before them have made. Simply put - "We are who we are and we are where we are because of a sequence of decisions we have made and was made for us." But that is no longer a fair belief that everyone was created equal. If so, it follows then that the world was created with inequality - but for what purpose? Is it because of human nature that the world continues with its inequality? It makes me shudder then to think that we were created in the image of a God. We can argue that we were given free will, but to what end will free will get us then if the 'power of good' seem so minute compared to the evil and destruction that plagues us.

I know that as one person, it's not enough to resolve these issue. I know that unity and solidarity should be able to triumph over these adversities. I know that the world will continue to be unfair and human suffering will continue to happen. But for now, I'll cocoon myself away from feeling defeated and watch the world go by and observe the recovery of the people who have faced Yolanda head on. At the end of the day, we all have our own fleeting lives to live. No one is going to live my life for me. And in that sense, we are all alone.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

CH189: Creations

I still am amazed and envious how people can have an artistic ability and talent. It's not something I can comprehend why some are able to create something that is able to draw emotions out of people. I have no talent in drawing or giving life to my visualization. There's a disconnect between my mind/imagination and my hands.

Last Sunday, I cooked up a salad. Rockets. Cherry tomatoes. Crushed cashew. Pan fried honey mustard chicken. Goat cheese (I looooveee goat cheese!). It turned out surprisingly well! The rockets were coated with some extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. The goat cheese was freshly bought but I made the mistake of putting it in freezer while I was prepping so I had to improvise how to get it warmed up well enough to mix in well with the salad.

This Sunday, I went to the Singapore Arts Museum to see the exhibits for the Singapore Biennale 2013. As earlier mentioned, I have no talent. But I delight in the escape art brings. I like how some pieces can evoke such contemplation and feelings as to take you out of your present reality and be absorbed into the imagination and creativity of the artist.

The 5 Principle No-s, Iswanto Hartono and Raqs Media Collective (Indonesia)

Payatas, Oliver Villamiel (Philippines)


Payatas, Up close shot of doll heads

Untitled, Marisa Darasavath (Laos)



The Sick Classroom, Nge Lay (Myanmar)

Peace Can Be Realised Even Without Order, teamlab (Japan)

Wag Wag Wonderland, Carlo Villafuerte (Philippines)

I, Baguio, Ben Cabrera (Philippines)

Bury My Soul in the Chico River, Santiago Bose (Philippines)

Detritus, Leslie De Chavez (Philippines)

Fruits of Life, Adrian Ho (Borneo Malaysia)

Full Production, Adrian Ho (Borneo Malaysia)

Between Worlds, Nasirun (Indonesia)

Between Worlds up close shot