Saturday, February 19, 2005
Milosz on Love

Love means to learn to look at yourself
The way one looks at distant things
For you are only one thing among many.
And whoever sees that way heals his heart,
Without knowing it, from various ills -
A bird and a tree say to him: Friend.
Then he wants to use himself and things
So that they stand in the glow of ripeness.
It doesn`t matter whether he knows what he serves:
Who serves best doesn`t always understand

'Love' Czeslaw Milosz

Posted at 01:09 pm by nafic
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Saturday, February 12, 2005
Leaps and jumps


I wonder if I've merely been brewing storms in teacups, and if so, why. I've ceased to be able to explain myself, to rationalise my actions. Or perhaps it's just because the depth of that insecurity is so profound that I don't even want to reach anywhere close. Do we live for the moment or for the future? It's a simple question of the here and now, and my weakness is simply the lack of patience, the tendency to put things together, to draw hasty conclusions, to get upset about things that i shouldn't, and probably don't even have the right to. I've tried so hard to put aside the selfishness, the unspoken fears and insecurity, and I convinced myself that whatever is best for you will bring me happiness as well. And perhaps I have, in my impatience and tetchiness, misunderstood things. But I wished you just gave me an answer so that I could stop second-guessing, fretting and tossing in bed over a future that is already so uncertain. And maybe that is what it was all about: the future reality that we've tried to avoid as we (dis)comfort ourselves with what we have (or not) in the present. I've been tiring myself over things that I have no solutions over, in addition to the revision that is skipping around in circles, the periodic panic attacks, the weeks of fitful sleep. If only I knew where the stop button was and could put an end to all these self-created nonsense.

I am sorry.

And if there's something I could wish for this NY, it's strength.

Just got back from the OUO concert w Guy Johnston playing Tchaikovsky's Rococo Variations and Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique. The latter brought back so many memories, the music reappeared in my head, I found my fingers twitching my lap, and unconsciously smiled at all the passages which I messed up some 5 years ago. 5 years! It was the first time I sat and heard the OUO, instead of playing in it. There were 15 celli, and I wondered how we managed to play Berlioz with only 6 in Scotland then. The playing wasn't spectacular and the soloist took ages to settle, but it was a fabulous concert, the Dies Irae ringing through the Sheldonian, the audience enchanted and applauding so generously by the end. Somehow the music here is just much more satisfying, both in making and attending to it. That sort of generosity and joy that is always present here, I've somehow never really experienced back at home. I really miss playing. But for now, I shall be sad and sod off to read Raz and liberal perfectionism on a Saturday evening.

Posted at 11:19 pm by nafic
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Tuesday, February 08, 2005
恭喜发财!

祝大家新年进步, 万事如意! If you can't read this, change your browser settings la! :) Eat lots of yummy food and collect loads of angpaos yea!

Posted at 11:24 pm by nafic
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Monday, January 31, 2005
To top an efficient day off...

Long overdue HC Night pics are up! Go gape and feel warm and fuzzy over that good ol' FUMilly ;D

I've dragged my ass to the SSL and worked for the entire afternoon, it's the most efficient day I've had since term started. As a result, I'm feeling all smug and will, forseeably, waste the entire evening rotting in front of the laptop.

Watched Closer w Agnes and Peishan last night, it's one of those films that left me unsettled and disturbed, because it played out some of my greatest fears, ugly facts about life that I wish I could deny and fervently hope I'll never have to experience. But I liked the film anyway.

Was just remarking to P that I have only one style of food preparation per term. Michaelmas was all about steaming, Hilary is stir-fry. Which seems to leave me with eating raw food in Trinity, arghhh! Fuss-free and lazy suggestions, anyone?

Happy week ahead, everyone. And those of you at home for CNY... you lucky pigs! :S

Posted at 08:23 pm by nafic
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Friday, January 21, 2005
Bits of magic


A week into Hilary and things are OK I suppose. There were fireworks at Magdalen College School just now, and they were very pretty. I always have a spot for fireworks; remembered catching the National Day ones over summer, fighting w the sticky crowds at Esplanade, and always being dumbstruck and fascinated like a young child. There's something magical about fireworks, the way they break through darkness with short, evanescent sparks of hope. It's probably the ephemeral beauty that draws me the most, can never really explain it, but I dropped my shopping bags, stood in the cold and watched as, like fireflies, they flitted above for the merest moments before being sucked into the dark void, barely leaving a trace behind. And what is left is a tinge of sadness mixed with what was joy, luminous but shortlived.

Week's been going surprising easy, which makes me rather frightened, because I really should be doing more work than this. Filling in gaps without any clear plan, preparing for a tute next week, attending revision classes, and going to lectures like a keen bean. Off to London tomorrow to celebrate an institution which will soon cease to exist, but it's more the company that I'll be looking forward to, and cheesy performances of course! But it has been a good week. Had a good chat w Peishan last night over Skype, thanks as always. Being free of a pressing essay schedule has also given me plenty of time to ruminate, ponder and sometimes pine. Bought Murakami's Norwegian Wood and it's been my bedtime reading since -- it's been a while since I read anything non-academic but this is sustained by all recent standards, it's so compelling that I cannot put it down. Remembered J telling me how he felt melancholic for a while after he finished it, and I now comprehend what he meant. It's a little piece of magic that he weaves in his novels, all the wistfulness and the undercurrents of affections just seem to seep though my core, as if I could vicariously live and feel the ache.

Posted at 09:26 pm by nafic
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Saturday, January 15, 2005
15th day of 2005

Did you have a good New Year? I had a fantastic one, and a lovely winter vac, doing little more than spending time with loved ones, catching up with good friends, being happy and hardly doing any work at all. So it's here. 2005 will mark the end of my time in Oxford, the beginning of living Finalist hell, but hopefully also many other good stuff that will come along the way. It's going to be a long and angst-ridden road down to Finals, but things are going to turn out right. I feel as if I've reached a new stage of inner calm, it's probably the happy corollary of being relaxed and well-rested over Christmas, having had so much love around me, and the sheer relief of getting over 2 (very badly done) collections yesterday. In any case, here's to a year of peace, joy and happiness.

Posted at 11:15 am by nafic
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Tuesday, December 21, 2004
Seasons Greetings


Sorry it's been a long long while since I updated. Hope everyone's perky and fuzzy from the festive cheer. Maybe it's just me, but somehow things aren't as Christmassy this year as compared to previous ones. Venturing to Orchard Road leaves me cranky, exhausted and misanthropic, but perhaps because I've always been like this anyway... In other news, I've been driving like mad because test is in a week's time (cue ominous music) and I am seriously NOT confident about it, so do cross your fingers and toes for me, thanks! :)

In any case, Happy Holidays and spread the love! And this is for you Peish: *BIGHUG* Have a blessed New Year, everyone.

Posted at 01:56 am by nafic
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Tuesday, November 30, 2004
Singapore Idol


It's amazing to discover how Singaporeans have been recently mobilised by the Singapore Idol showdown between Sylvester and Taufik. It's amazing how that Singaporen stereotype of hopeless apathy can be disproved by organised fan bases, handing out flyers at Orchard Road and people forking out ridiculous amounts of money to vote. Can you imagine, people are PAYING to exercise their vote, albeit in a different context. Perhaps the government could learn a thing or two about electoral behaviours and apply it to the next GE. Or perhaps this great civil movement fills a void for Singaporeans' desire to participate in matters of collective national fate... After all, we wouldn't really want to embarrass ourselves by sending a fella who cannot enunciate to World Idol, would we? You could accuse me of being as frivolous as the ah lians and bengs, but I'ld like to think that deep inside, we are fervent nationalists and active citizens itching to exercise our right to vote -- that is if people will vote in accordance to the revered principle of meritocracy rather than irrational appeal.

OK, that was a load of BS and maybe I am just a closet groupier la :) But it's 8th week, and I just completed my last essay, so shoot me!

Posted at 12:30 am by nafic
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Tuesday, November 23, 2004
7th Week update

Over pasta at Ask today, Meena and I pondered the differences between equilibrium and inertia, stability and monotony, and we kinda concluded they might well be two sides of the same coin. It was a nice lunch, and since I'm here, big thanks and hugs to Peishan for Lincoln lunch last Wednesday and Meena for Keble Hall on Tuesday. This term has been full of girlie teas, lunches and chats that have helped preserve my sanity in the midst of all the 3rd year hurly-burly. Can't wait for Maison Blanc on Thursday and La Boheme next Wednesday! It's been a bit of a hiatus, last week was rather insane and things are good now. In fact, term should end right now because I can't bear to do any more work. Have so much to look forward to, week 8 is going to be awesome, despite 3 tutes and 1 more China essay.

Feminism had been on my reading list for both papers last week, and it's been a bit of an epiphany, giving me one of those 'question and relook everything in your life' blitz. Briefly chatted to P about it and am looking forward to more. Got really absorbed in the readings, feeling a great sense of indignation at many points, in addition to the smatterings of 'oh-my-god-why-have-I-never-spotted-this'. Tutes for both papers were a load of fun; a guy in China class defiantly asked 'why should I even care about gender' and received proper retribution for his misdeed. Chauvinist bugger. Quite the opposite happened for pol theory, where my tutor (Israeli male) had to continually convince my tute mate (British female) that her views were testimony to the fact that gender roles have been internalised. I sat through tute arguing against her instead of with her, and at the end, I felt a bit sad that a fellow woman could not share the solidarity, nor felt the need to demand for the equality that women deserve. Heh but no, I've not turned into a raving feminist overnight though I remember a particular pol sociology tute on gender, where I sat through the hour annoyed and indignant, with males for tutemate and tutor. Oh but I did order de Beauvoir's 'The Second Sex' in my fit of righteousness and justice...

In other news, Zara has finally opened its doors to receive Oxonians, after ages of those tempting 'Coming Soon' signs, thank god!

Chin up love, things aren't as dismal as you imagine. Sometimes it's best to stop thinking.

Finally, shout outs: Happy 21st C! and early 21st greetings to P too, all good ol' adults now aren't we? ;)

Posted at 09:31 pm by nafic
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Friday, November 12, 2004
vendredi soir

Friday evening and I'm staying in to do work because of a weekend essay deadline, urghhh. My sole source of comfort derives from not being the only one, cos my neighbours (save one) are doing the same as well, so we share a sort of sad, stoic solidarity, ahhhhhh.

Posted at 11:23 pm by nafic
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