Category: Read & Ponder


Rain, sunshine, snow, blue skies;
You’re gloomy if you feel so inside.
Near, far, seconds, light years;
Break barriers, don’t cling to fears.
Big, small, with or no form
You’ll be small if size not ignored.
Go see yourself in the mirror –
Know this: It’s who you see you are!

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FOR THE SAKE OF ENJOYMENT

It’s truly a wonderful world with beauty all around; we needn’t go far but just look around ourselves to enjoy it and escape from the things of life.

I am fond of arts and consider myself to be an aesthete.  I happen to be a keen music-lover and one thing I get to enjoy along with the music when I buy an audio CD album is the album cover design, which we call “album art” or “artwork”.  About a month ago, I came across Christina Aguilera’s latest album “Bionic” and it has this really elaborate cover.  The left half of her face was replaced by mechanical parts to give it a cyborg look, and yet she has those sexy red lips on and wavy blonde hair.  The design is provocative and very well crafted, but – although there is a good meaning behind it – I wouldn’t have gone that far.

I was greatly fancied by the “Bionic” artwork, but the ones I really love are simpler and can say well about what music in the album.  For example, in the album cover of Leona Lewis’s “Spirit”, Leona’s eyes can tell that we are in to hear Leona’s psyche, her train of thought, etc.  The photo of Celine Dion embracing a wrapped gift in the album art of her holiday album “These Are Special Times” is really telling about the album contents.  Sometimes, for various reasons, we are conditioned into thinking that only objects created with a touch of sophistication are of artistic value, whether we can or cannot appreciate art well.

Artworks “Bionic”, “Spirit” and “These are special times”

Compare these three divas' artworks - LEFT TO RIGHT: “Bionic”, “Spirit” and “These are special times” artworks

Guess what?  The dull-looking dreary things work just fine.  We just need to know how to appreciate them.

Louis Armstrong sang of a “wonderful world”, and come to think of it his way, the world is wonderful in its own way – without Michelangelo, Beethoven, Shakespeare or even Armstrong himself.  As a matter of fact, the reason these artists’ works – in fine arts, music, literature or whatever art form – has held international acclaim since their creation is that their works portray with a natural tone the things that goes on in real life.

This profound essence can be clearly observed in Jane Austen’s oeuvre.  Honestly, I have never read the original writings of Austen but I daresay that there wouldn’t be much eloquence in her words, for words are not what make her writings special.  The beauty of her works lie in the themes and the plots of the stories.  If we were to pursue only beautifully written words, we could easily find them in love letters our admirers had given us or those we had given to our loved ones. (Love letters can contain words more impressive than those from romantic novels!)  Therefore, whatever may love letters say, we continue to read works by Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, etc.

In the realm of music, many musicians credit Mozart for being curious and positive like a little child about the world even in his most mature pieces.  And Mozart’s music, I’ve come to be able to relate with many things in real life.  I’ve listened to it on a taxi in the busy streets of Yangon, on a bus trip from Yangon to Mandalay, while staring out the window on a rainy day and in the darkness of a sleepless night, and yet every scene matches perfectly with his music.  There’s more than magic in the music.  This feeling can be observed in the music by only few artists.  Contemporary songs in which people play “love games” or want “bad romance” could be exciting but they are in fact too outlandish to be classic.  People resort to the classics when they want true music, which reflects nature.  (NOTE: “Classics” is NOT “classical music”.)

As for the arts, the majority of existing works from long, long ago are usually the finest works of the artists in the old days.  And the reason for their long-lasting is probably their depiction of things that are real, things to which any person can relate.  I am not very knowledgeable about paintings and sculptures, so I dare not give any examples for the renowned works of the studio arts.  But one sure example would be Claude Monet’s oil painting series of “Water Lillies (or) Nymphèas”.  They truly are mesmerising.

One thing I have learnt recently is that works based on ideas that are too fanciful tend to be transitory.  In the late 1990s and in the early 2000s, there was one thing very popular with children called the “Power Rangers”.  They have almost perished from our thoughts, and we rarely see their action figures in toy stores as many these days as we used to a decade ago.  Many of us might think that is because we now have more fascinating superhero movies with more advanced graphics.  (Some of us may not notice this because we grew up to put away the toys.)  The Transformers or the X-men would soon be forgotten as the Superman, the Batman or the Spiderman had been replaced by various species of Power Rangers.  We always forgo what we have for what is better, while, in fact, such things are too good to last.  The same thing happened to disco music in the 1970s: it was too exciting to last.  However, I could say we would still watch Mr Bean as long as we can recall Charlie Chaplin.

Movie posters

Movie trend – LEFT TO RIGHT: “The Batman”, “X-men” and “Avatar”

Apart from the intentionally created works of art, we can also find beauty in our daily lives and enjoy it.  Pigeons flying about among the busy citizens in the streets of downtown Yangon can be a special movie clip.  One can find musical rhythm in the chanting of a Buddhist monk or the falling of the rain and the blowing of the wind.  The joyful squeals of little children hold more music than Mariah Carey’s whistle ringer.  A gourmet can find as exquisite taste in a street-hawker’s food as in a dish from an elite restaurant.

Besides the aforementioned type of aesthetic beauty, there is some other kind of splendour that we can appreciate.  It is what Richard Feynman called “scientific awe”, and he would often talk about it in his book “Surely You’re Joking Mr Feynman”.  It is conventional to think that a person with keen scientific instincts is incapable of exploring the wonders of art.  However, Feynman proved himself to be a very able aesthete with passionate appreciation of the world around him.  He claims to see even more than his friend can; he can appreciate the complicated biological and physical functioning of the flower’s interior, which is impossible to be seen with the naked eye!  He even learned drawing so that he could express how he feels about the world and its beauties.  Although artists may find bliss in the creation and the appreciation of arts, students of science with some artistic sense can have great indulgence in various wonders of the world.  Feynman states that the scientific awe – which is understanding that everything, however sophisticated it may be on the outside, can be explained by the same rules of physics – is like realizing in religion that everything is so different and yet run by only one individual (God).

There are many wonderful things in this world.  Sadly enough, in the midst of our highly active lives, we are blinded from these special beauties we are endowed with.  Everybody needs to feel the splendour, and the more we can appreciate, the better for the outlet of our souls.  (This does not imply over-indulgence in the arts.)  If we are capable of finding beauty in the wee small things of our day-to-day lives, we wouldn’t need to plan in advance for a tour to a historic site or a natural wonderland but find satisfaction with the things we are already blessed with in our lives.  This would have a very profound effect on our lives; we would be happier than we are and we would be leading better lives.  If we are also capable of comprehending the sciences, a little scientific awe adds on to our aesthetic sense.  So, look around and find something beautiful … for the sake of enjoyment!

Three of Claude Monet's Waterlillies oil paintings

LEFT TO RIGHT: “Japanese bridge in Giverny”, “Coin du bassin aux nympheás” & “Seerosen” from Monet’s “Waterlillies (Nympheás)”

This is a very intriguing mathametical riddle that my teacher gave me.  He says he found if in an American text book.

Two long-lost friends, A and B, meet one day on a street.

A: I am married and have 3 children now.

B: Tell me how old they are.

A: The product of their ages is 36 and the sum is your house number.

(B thinks for a while.)

B: Still don’t know … Gimme one more hint.

A: The youngest likes chocolate.

B: Ah, I konw!  They are …

How did B find out the children’s ages?  And how old are the children?  Here’s a hint for you: two of the children are twins or are of the same age.

Brainstorming

Think, think, think of evey possible thing!

I’ll post the answer as a comment, but perhaps you can figure this out on your own.  This is indeed a very beautiful riddle or whatever if may be called!

COURAGE & ITS CAUSE

This is an SAT essay that I wrote.  The rubric asked if sacrificing our priorities is courage.  I misunderstood the question and wrote out an irrelevant essay which states what true courage is.  Still it is a good essay, so …

The words “brave” and “courageous” are used with much frequency these days when in fact, it is not at all easy to tell who is or not worthy of praise for the meaning these words hold.  Those among us who seek the pleasure of an adrenaline rush are merely adventurers, while – on the other hand – those who can accomplish things despite the hampering obstacles cannot be generally called brave.  There are certain factors which contribute to the bravery of an individual.  A brave person must be more than dauntless, indomitable or heroic.  Besides, true courage can only be recognised only under the right circumstances.  However, such circumstances don’t necessarily include our priorities being at risk.

If somebody fights for something just because it is important to him, that doesn’t make him brave.  We should consider what he wants or needs it for.  He could be sacrificing all he has for a mindless obsession or some egocentric satisfaction.  Or what if the thing he defends so much harms society in his possession?  We had demagogues like Hitler during World War II.  Hitler had so strong a will to form the Third Reich and went to the extremes to realize it.  Just because he was working consistently for founding of the Reich doesn’t mean he was a brave man; he had not a good cause.  Nowadays, we have the Taliban.  These Islamic fanatics have been terrorizing the Middle East, fighting relentlessly over a decade to preserve their provincial and traditional beliefs and customs – which are not compatible with modern societies – and they still haven’t given up.  They have gone as far as killing who are non-Islamic.  Trying to preserve their failing political system because it is more important to them doesn’t bring them the honour of courage.

Determination itself can be courage though.  When we crave for something very strongly and passionately, the desire just gets so strong that it becomes what we call a “burning ambition”, forming a vision real enough to be felt.  Under such a condition, an aim or a goal is sure to be achieved, if carried out in the right way and with a good motive.  We will find the strength in ourselves to overcome any obstacle or knock down any barrier.  Our hopes and dreams beget determination and that determination gives us courage to go through anything.

There have been many remarkable human beings in history who found courage out of determination.  Mother Theresa went to in India – which, for her, is a new land with unfamiliar faces of different faith – in order to help the underprivileged people there.  She encountered various adversities but ultimately succeeded.  Similarly, Rachael Carson who publicized environmental issues was confronted with severe criticism from chemical industries when her books on the environment care were released.  However, since she could prove what people have been doing to the environment, her books got great appeal and people started caring for the environment.  U Kyi Pwayt of the Bagan Era was an illiterate up to a very old age, but out of determination, he stated his education and became a much revered academic.  Such determination brings about sweeping changes in the world, and I would attribute true courage to it.

Not many people are brave, and fewer get the chance to show this special quality of theirs.  However, this courage does not need external provocation to be known to the world.  It is revealed under a certain circumstances, especially when these intuitively brave people start to have strong and burning determinations and take action.

This is what a dear friend of mine (with whom I have shared the longest friendship) forwarded me by mail.

I Believe…
That just because two people argue,
It doesn’t mean they don’t love each other.
And just because they don’t argue,
It doesn’t mean they do love each other.

I Believe…
That we don’t have to change friends if
We understand that friends change.

I Believe….
That no matter how good a friend is,
they’re going to hurt you every once in a while
and you must forgive them for that.

I Believe…
That true friendship continues to grow,
even over the longest distance.
Same goes for true love.

I Believe…
That you can do something in an instant
That will give you heartache for life.

I Believe….
That it’s taking me a long time
To become the person I want to be.

I Believe…
That you should always leave loved ones with loving words.
It may be the last time you see them.

I Believe….
That you can keep going
Long after you think you can’t.

I Believe….
That we are responsible for what
We do, no matter how we feel.

I Believe…
That either you control your attitude
Or it controls you.

I Believe…

That heroes are the people who do what has to be done
When it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences.

I Believe….
That my best friend and I can do anything or nothing
And have the best time.

I Believe…..
That sometimes the people you expect to kick you when you’re down
Could be the ones to help you get back up.

I Believe…
That sometimes when I’m angry
I have the right to be angry,
But that doesn’t give me the right to be cruel.

I Believe….
That maturity has more to do with
What types of experiences you’ve had
And what you’ve learned from them
And less to do with  how many
birthdays you’ve celebrated.

I Believe….
That it isn’t always enough, to be forgiven by others.
Sometimes, you have to learn to forgive yourself.

I Believe…
That no matter how bad your heart is broken
The world doesn’t stop for your grief.

I Believe….
That our background and circumstances
May have influenced who we are,
But, we are responsible for who we become.

I Believe…
That you shouldn’t be so eager to find
Out a secret. It could change your life Forever.

I Believe….
Two people can look at the exact same
Thing and see something totally different.

I Believe…..
That your life can be changed in a matter of hours
By people who don’t even know you.

I Believe…
That even when you think you have no more to give,
When a friend cries out to you,
You will find the strength to help.

I Believe…
That credentials on the wall
Do not make you a decent human being.

I Believe…
That the people you care about most in life
are taken from you too soon.

I Believe…
That you should share this with
All of the people that you believe in.

I Believe…
The happiest of people don’t necessarily
have the best of everything;
They just make the most of everything they have.

LIVING DEAD

SOURCE: Jokes from Reader’s Digest

A man who had just died, arrived at heaven’s gate. Before allowing him entry, St. Peter asked him if he’d ever loved a woman.

“No,” the man replied, “not a single one.”

“Did you have a friend you cared for?”

“No.”

“Perhaps you loved a pet?  Did you not feel a love for nature?”

“No, not at all”

“What took you so long to get here?” asked St. Peter in exclamation.  “You’ve been dead for ages!”

DAYS OUT IN TWO TOWNS

In my life, I’ve been to some towns and some big cities … but never had I before come to realize the differences between them and understand why.

The other day I went out with my old schoolmates … They wanted to celebrate after one of them became the best male singer and the other, the king among the medical students who are to graduate in 2014.  And they wanted to hang out with me since I got back to my hometown, Mandalay, after my 5-month stay for SAT classes in Yangon.  I had coached the singer on the phone while I was away in Yangon (not that I’m an expert in vocal pedagogy).  Here’s how it went …

I left my house before 11 am on my motorbike, and reached the dainty restaurant, embellished with simple furniture and serving tempting food.  (I’ve been there before) It was a most appealing spot for a group of friends to get together for a meal.  There were 12 twelve of us altogether so we had to join tables without reservation.  The waiters were amiable when we ordered food.  We were the noisiest group in the restaurant but nobody minded us blather loudly as we had lunch in our own ridiculous way.  The food was delicious and the company of friends made it even tastier.  We sat there for about a long time, even after paying the bill.  Wonder how much the lunch cost?  It cost only K30,000, which is the most reasonable price for a meal of 12 people.

Then, we went around town just to kill time, sharing bikes.  It lasted for some time as we were riding slowly and spoke a lot on the way.  We made a pic-stop at an internet café, and since there weren’t enough computers free for our group, we had to share the computers.  (Most of the people from Mandalay don’t use the internet at home; they go to shops where they can get internet access.)  It was Ok with everyone there – from the service providers to the clients, including us.  The charge for one hour (at a computer) was only K300, so it was only K1,200 we spent on the internet because a computer was shared by 3.

Before going home, we stopped at one of the friends’ house.  Her mother was so hospitable; she gave us tea and we had a nice long chat with her.  She showed her daughter’s photos (i.e. our friend) from when she was little and we talked about a lot of things.  There were 12 of us, so it was more than 30 subjects we talked about.  It was really a nice day out, a low-key celebration with friends, and it was special indeed.  I’d be doing that soon before I leave town again!

Just yesterday, some thought came to mind.  What if such a celebration were in Yangon with the Yangonian friends? … Hmm, let me tell you what:

  1. Everything would cost more … much more.
  2. The hangout would be more tiring and less fun.
  3. And there wouldn’t be much to remember about it.

Why?

I was in Yangon for 5 months, which is almost half a year, and I came to know about the lives of the average citizen.  Although I stayed there with an elitist family, I had to go out as an ordinary student.  I had to public transportation, walked on foot, go to places and get things done myself and draw up my own budget.  I know how things are though I don’t know how it feels like for the people.

The buses for public transportation carry 60 passengers or more when they are supposed to carry 25.  The buses are mostly very old and not serviced; it sometimes feel like I’m on a roller-coaster when I’m on a bus.  Each ride cost K200 at the average, and we mostly need 2 or 3 rides to go from place to place.  The food there – as I always say – is “half the taste and twice the price”.  Most of the restaurants are not hygienic despite the modernity of the city.  To have a decent meal is to find a well-built or well-decorated restaurant but you can only get service with frowns (I don’t know the reason why).  There wouldn’t be much talk for the Yangon people keep things to themselves all the time.  And when friends hang out, only one can’t do the payment because of the high prices.  Everyone contributes to the bill so that no one goes penniless.  Consider it as K3,200 per head for a decent meal at a regular price.  Since neither bikes nor motorbikes are allowed on the streets of Yangon, we can’t scout for fun on our own bikes; it’s either walk a long distance or take the bus.

Hanging out with the dudes from Yangon would not go well in an internet café for everyone affords to use it at home.  Dropping by at a friend’s is not an option either; every family member’s at work and even on holidays, the hosts wouldn’t bother to have a bunch of kids at their home.  We’d have to go to either the cinema or the swimming pool.  At the swimming pool, it’s at least K2,000 per head for a swim.  For the cinema, no one would want to sit in a seat which costs less than K1,000.  After the movie or the swimming extravaganza, we’d have to go on to a drink or an ice-cram in a café.  Cafés in Yangon are more expensive than regular restaurants.  Why there wouldn’t be much to remember is nobody would be savouring every moment of the time together.  They’d have other things popping up in their mind all the time.

Another thing apart from hanging out …

This morning, got to the Jefferson Centre (the Mandalay branch of the US Embassy’s American Centre) where there are English classes and a reading room.  This was my first visit after I got back in town.  I had starting writing for the student newsletter of the American Centre in Yangon and I was asked to extend the news scope to the centre in Mandalay.  So, I was there to get some news.  I also heard they were converting the reading room to a library.  I asked them if books are available for loan and “no” was the answer.  And for the news, I was told of an even which happened over 3 months ago – that is so NOT newsworthy.  The activities there have been relent.  The presentation programme has come to a halt for there was no longer a presenter.  Now, they are doing some petty discussion programme with the few students they have.

This is so unlike the ambience of the American Centre in Yangon.  There, we have the Baldwin Library with a large number of active members, the Self-Access Centre where students do self-study, the Eleanor Roosevelt building where there are English language and other classes, 19 student clubs and weekly student activities and more.  I again came to wonder why the two establishments under the same authority.

BOTTOMLINES

The answers to these two situations – the hanging out and the library thing – are locality and the people.  Look at the locations and histories of the two cities.  Yangon has been around for more than 500 years.  And as Dagon (when it was a small town), it has been there for more than 2,000 years for the sacred hairs of the Gautama Buddha and some remains of 3 other Buddhas are entombed beneath Shwe Dagon Pagoda.  As for Mandalay, it has just celebrated its 150th birthday.  Yangon is near the sea and has a harbour and an international airport and everything necessary for international commerce.  Mandalay is the heart of Upper Myanmar but can only trade with some parts of Asia, not the whole world.  In area, Mandalay is only about a quarter of Yangon.

For some reasons besides the aforementioned, individualism has become the norm in Yangon.  Every individual stands for himself and does not usually intermingle with society.  Because of international trade, the city has become cosmopolitan.  People are more modernized and are more active in a lot of things.  And there is rapid urban sprawl which, of course, makes the town larger.  And the larger the city, the greater the living cost.  Life becomes tough and so do the people.  They have come to develop the metropolitan pride which makes them arrogant even to people from the second largest city (Mandalay) in the nation.  Despite such a pride, no one tends to have an affinity for another.

Thus, I came to both like and dislike the city of Yangon at the same time.  I like if for the advances in everything that it has.  But the people there are not the ones I can get along with very well.  Well, I want my hometown to be as developed and modern as Yangon.  However, I don’t think that is a good idea because if it were to catch up with Yangon, most of the bucolic surroundings, the amenable natures of the local people and more would have to sacrifice to the urban sprawl, the pollution and other bad consequences.

I couldn’t post anything new because the internet had been down for the past couple of weeks.  And I come up only with this, nothing special.  At least, it’s a post …

7 Secrets

7 Secrets

  1. It hurts to love someone and not be loved in return.  But what is more painful is to love someone and never find the courage to let that person know how you feel.
  2. A sad thing in life is when you meet someone who means a lot to you, only to find out in the end that it was never meant to be and you just have to let go.
  3. The best kind of friend is the kind you can sit on a porch swing with, never say a word, and then walk away feeling like it was the best conversation you’ve ever had.
  4. It’s true that we don’t know what we’ve got until we lose it, but it’s also true that we don’t know what we’ve been missing until it arrives.
  5. It takes only a minute to get a crush on someone, an hour to like someone, and a day to love someone, but it takes a lifetime to forget someone.
  6. Don’t go for looks, they can deceive. Don’t go for wealth, even that fades away. Go for someone who makes you smile because it takes only a smile to make a dark day seem bright.
  7. Dream what you want to dream, go where you want to go, be what you want to be because you have only one life and one chance to do all the things you want to do.
  8. Always put yourself in the other’s shoes. If you feel that it hurts you, it probably hurts the person, too.
  9. A careless word may kindle strife. A cruel word may wreck a life. A timely word may level stress. But a loving word may heal and bless.
  10. The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything they just make the most of everything that comes along their way.
  11. Love begins with a smile, grows with a kiss, and ends with a tear. When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling. Live your life so that when you die, you’re the one smiling and everyone around you is crying.

WEAK OR STRONG?

I am clearly aware that different people have different personalities.  But which is the stronger and which is the weaker – showing or hiding feelings?

In my life, I have always shown my feelings and opinions in whatever situation possible though there have been times when I did not open up for I did not feel appropriate.  Especially, when I’m going through some emotion, I never hid my feelings: I cry, I laugh, I crack jokes, I get crazy and even angry.  Like I have always said, I like expressing things, expressing myself and letting others know things.  Most of the ones who like me like me because of this.  On the other hand, some others say that is a weakness and I should get rid of that weird habit or freaky tendency tendency.  But I am not willing to change myself for any reasons whatsoever.

I know different kinds of people … though not a lot.  Some make very impressing first impressions; some, I have to learn to like gradually; some, misunderstood for quite some time to have a certain personality which they later prove to not have; and some, bitter form the first sight and I can never get along with.  I learn to know about these kinds of people by letting them know about me.  I value “Love and Trust”“If you want somebody to trust you, you’ve got to trust that person first,” somebody (who later claimed I never trusted him) told me when we first met.  When I meet somebody new and if I like them on the spot, I make myself a point that that person is going to like me in return and we are going to find out something real and interesting about each other.  I do that by expressing myself fully – as far as words or actions can take me.  And I always succeed in that.

That is my first (kind of) step in making a new friend for a firm relationship.  If somebody I met is somebody I will have to work together with for some time or somebody in whom I find something special, I take another step.  I try to find out their values – I ask them what they value in life, what they want from life, what they want from what they do and what they expect from me.  Everybody finds that a bit odd when I have such conversations with them and often refuses to tell me their insights.  Since somebody’s got to make a move for further things, I give away my profiles.  It’s no big deal!  There’s nothing lost and yet you can even have them opening up and telling you things.

With my close friends, I don’t keep anything from them.  I tell them what I’m going through – good or bad – when it comes to my mind.  They listen and we usually work things out together.  Everything works out in the end … though not every close friend is a reliable confidant or a good friend.  Among my friends and acquaintances, whenever they have something wrong anything bugging them, I strongly suggest them that they bring it up as some kind of discussion.  I like to get my problems solved in a group and I like having other people’s problems solved.

Some lovely feedback I get back from my behaviour of being open and frank is “Ooh, have you no shame bringing this problem up to be solved by a whole group?”, “You gotta be more self-dependent – get it over yourself!”, “You are always telling others how you feel or think: that is so emotionally weak and socially immature.”, etc.  It’s not that I don’t agree with these words, but I also must say they are not always right.  Anyway, I try to fight these things back and the discussion whether to show or hide feelings still remain unfinished.

Very frequently, I tell others that I AM an artist and I create and present or express new things or things that come to my imagination.  Therefore, as encouragements for my nature, I get things like “No, you’re not weak; that is so artistically strong!”, “I like that.  You always tell me what’s on your mind and so I can tell you my feelings, too.”, “You’re such a gentle person.”, etc.  People who say these words are usually my kind of people and I especially like them.  At the same time, I try to get along with people who don’t agree with me and learn to like them.  At times, they seem stronger mentally than us unquestionably.  They seem to be able to withstand tough things by themselves, which is impressive but by which I’m not impressed.

I think that “emotionally enclosed” people are usually misunderstood to have a personality that they don’t really possess.  They are believed by most people to be heartless, insensible, robotic or inhumane in some way.  Generally, most of them have pretty good reasons as to why they hide what they feel.  Some have certain mental trauma, some just like to be alone, some used to be expressive but found out that it doesn’t work for them and so on.  One of my closest friends has had little love and care from his parents and doesn’t know well how to express love, care or other feelings well.  He just puts a stern face on as if he’s trying to prevent people from harming him.  (He must have had some trauma but I’m not sure.)  There is another friend – a girl – who is regarded by many to be heartless for she is an extreme bookworm and studies all the time.  She has a very restricted social life with only a few friends.  As I came to know her, she opened up little by little because I kept poking her to tell me more about her.  And later, it turns out that she admires my perspective of things and is fond of me and what I do.  That’s how I form relationships.

This whole thing is like the Dashwood sisters form Jane Austin’s Sense and Sensibility.  I came to be more aware of this issue after reading the 11th and 14th chapters in A.J. Cronin’s Adventures in Two Worlds.  I couldn’t finish reading the Jane Austin novel because I lost interest in it and it got boring enough for me to stop.  But Cronin gave me the message that even though we may look tough on the outside, we have the same kind of soft tender hearts inside prone to getting hurt.  My inference is that we become either soft or hard on the outside, i.e. whether we show or hide our feelings, depends how we reflect upon what comes from inside.   We should not condemn people who openly express their emotions: they are just being sincere.  And we should not be hard on those who look tough: they have the same kind of hearts inside which could break.  Letting others know what you feel has its own good points and bad points.  We just need to act upon the situation.

I found these really awesome and paradoxical punchlines which can make you laugh through MetaCafe.

1. I’m a nobody.  Nobody is perfect, and therefore, I’m perfect.
2. I’ve got to sit down and work out where I stand.
3. If I save time, when will I get it back?
4. Where there’s a will, I want to be in it.
5. I am free of all prejudices: I hate everyone equally.
6. Take my advice. I don’t use it anyway.
7. The statement below is true.
The statement above is false.
8. As I said before, I never repeat myself.
9. Sometimes I need what only you can provide: your absence.
10. I wish there was a knob on the TV to turn up the intelligence.  There’s a knob called brightness, but it doesn’t work.
11. A conscience does not prevent sin. It only prevents you from enjoying it.
12. If at first you don’t succeed, skydiving is not for you.
13. War doesn’t determine who’s right. War determines who’s left.
14. Best way to prevent hangover is to stay drunk.
15. Doesn’t expecting the unexpected make the unexpected become the expected?