Monday, February 20, 2006

let's see


howard zinn says in one of his writings." The way that society tends to classify us scares me. I am a historian. I don't want to be just a historian, but society puts us into a discipline. Yes, disciplines us: you're a historian, you're a businessman, you're an engineer. You're this or you're that. The first thing someone asks you at a party is " What do you do? " That means, " How are you categorized?"

i think there are a variety of roles we can play in this life, in the society we are in. we are not bound by the characteristics of our profession, our work. i label others, and others do the same to me. we do this in order to get an understanding of who another person is. but it would really be nice if we also free ourselves at the same time from the limits of that definition. then i think we are also free to explore other aspects and dimensions of our personality. it would be a dream life ( for me), to switch from one role to the other and back again, effortlessly, and yet still retain the essence of our identity. it's an ideal to be attained, unless of course one day, i think differently.sometimes, i find it hard to get outside of the mould that i have inadvertently created for myself and therefore, fail to listen to the inner desires to try this or that. i supposed it has something to do with rigidity. once i get comfortable with one "label", i will sometimes think myself crazy for wanting to do things that have little to do with that label.

yet, sometimes, the desire gets so intense that all i really want is to forget about the fixation with definitions and follow that voice. i will see where these desires will lead me and whether i will actually listen to any of them!

Friday, February 10, 2006


i bought many dvds this week since they were on sale in HMV. "Sideways", "Lost in translation", " The motorcycle diaries", " Finding Neverland", and "Mostly Martha". I have watched all of them before except for "Mostly Martha". I was feeling nostalgia for certain sentiments and moods they evoked even though i don't have vivid memories of the story details. Films speak to us differently at various points in our lives. I am curious to know what associations , thoughts and feelings would arise now when i watch them again.

around 8 months ago, i lost my wallet in Ann Arbor ( USA). I remembered losing it after watching "Kung Fu Hustle" in Michigan Theater. I never got it back even though I did search frantically everywhere. Yesterday, a Michigan grad student emailed me and told me that he found my student card lying in the alleyway behind the Theater. after such a long while, i don't really care about the wallet anymore, with the money ,social security card and all that, but it's nice that something of sentimental value like the student card had appeared there and Paul Griffiths, the guy who found it, had offered to sent it to me by mail.

kids thrive in the imaginary, it seems. i have been teaching this five year old kid, Grace, how to play the violin. her mother wants me to get her interested in music and the violin. it has been quite a challenge to keep her still, and make her play notes on the instrument. i realize that the best way to communicate with her is through the use of fictional characters, role play and imaginary situations. For example, it is hard to make her play the whole of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" in one go, especially when she finds the new notes very difficult. the only way it seems is to tell her a story about a family of stars that have somehow descended from the Heavens, and have landed themselves in her violin case. she has now to give a concert to the stars, to keep them entertained, especially mummy and daddy stars. that's when she begins to play through the song a little more enthusiastically and excitedly. i am still learning her language in this whole process!