Monday, July 31, 2006

Phiawz Calendar Series 2007 (1)

I like colourful calendar that usually can be hung on the wall and flipped over month by month. However, those that are really beautiful ones are hard to find, or if found are expensive. Hence after much brainstorming, I came up with a personalised calendar filled with photographic masterpieces by me. Besides, they come with inspirational wordings too (by me also).. haha perhaps I can sell them someday.

Presenting the Phiawz Calendar 2007:


The ship set sail
For another brand new year
As long your pace is no snail
March along without fear!


Love is on the streets
Amongst the green green leaves
In the park lovers will meet
Sealing the day with a kiss.


Melbourne beckons
It's sad parting from home
But friends here are like shining beacons
You'll feel you never left home!


There's no bridge to far
No hurdles impossible to cross
The light shines from afar
Once followed will never get lost.


Hues of yellow dominate the eyes
As favorite Autumn arrives
Confetti fall from the sky
Celebrating my birthday in style.


Its time to pick grains from husks
Heads down buried in books
Joy is only a mere mask
As worry and stress paints evey look.

Well, look up for Part two.. that's all I can come up with in half an hour. Anyway to all: have a nice week ahead!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Ichi Rittoru no Namida

Translated into English, it means "One Litre of Tears". If you are worried, rest assured it's not me who shed one litre of tears (I admit a few drops but definitely NOT 1 litre). It's the name of a Japanese series that is very very very very very moving.

A shot from "One Litre of Tears."

Admittedly, life is short. We never know when we will die. But to suffer an illness that slowly cripple you, slowly making you a person being trapped in your own body, that did not kill you but slowly maim you... and what's worse than that you know about it and was powerless to do anything about it... and then you need to watch how your parents suffer, how your siblings suffer, how your friends suffer because of your illness.. (If you wanna know more go find the drama and watch it. I'm not gonna spoil it for you.).. simply heart-wrenching.

The drama itself was touching enough, but the story behind it was touching still. The series is based on a true story on a Japanese girl named Aya who suffered a similar disease. She chronicled her feelings in a diary which was then produced in a book that eventually sold 1.1 million copies. Tragically, Aya died at a young age of 25, after battling the sickness for 10 years. In the drama, photos of Aya is shown towards the end of every episodes.. photos of healthy, smiling Aya to photos of blank-looking, bedridden Aya.. never had a series of photo had such profound effect on me.

What's more, the very cute actress who played Aya in the drama, Sawajiri Erika herself is also no stranger to sad episodes in life. She lost her father when she is 15 and her younger brother 2 years later. I couldn't believe that someone who had lost two person so close to her life can still give such a sterling and scintillating performance in a drama. She gained my respect for being able to rise from such depth of sorrow to the pinnacle of life. In retropect, perhaps it is this personal experience that make the events in the drama so true, so believable, so moving...

I think the message the drama is sending through is that the present does not last forever. One day you may wake up singing, prancing happily along your way to school, chatting, jabbering away with your friends, squabbling with your siblings, and wham! the next day, you may be left a vegetable. I know it sounds pessimistic but sometimes we need thoughts like this one to remind us how precious the moment is, how lucky that we are healthy and how trivial our worries are compared to others. Then we will cherish life even more and live it to the fullest.

Life is full of uncertainty and what happened in life if beyond our control. But we can definitely control our approach towards life. It's a choice whether we want to stroll pass a day or make a mad dash pass it. It's a choice whether we choose to see the silver lining beyond the dark clouds or the grey shadows behind a bright sky. How we choose to live life is a choice. Remember. Be aware. It's a choice.. which means, it's in your hand, within your grasp...

P/s: At last the number of visits on my blog will reach the magical 1000. Whoever you are, if you are so lucky to be the 1000th visitor, leave a message for me yeah... ^_^

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Snapshots of Melbourne

Melbourne is a city of a thousand quirks. There are just so many different, unique, interesting things to see here. Especially while walking on the street. Instead of the mundane benches, dustbins, streetlights and people, there are pieces of art, sculptures, flower boxes and street performers dotting the walkways. There lies so many undiscovered secrets that can only be stumbled upon if you are looking for it. If fact, Melbourne city is so full of magnitism and allure that you just can't be bored with it. After one and a half years here, I still find some refreshing but delightful sights.

I was strolling along the streets of Melbourne doing some retail therapy today when I discovered some new sights of Melbourne and rediscovered some old ones. First, there is this big chess set on the pavement along Swaston street. I swear it wasn't there two weeks ago. About two dozen curious onlookers are congregating around the chess board, observing two Chinese ah peks having a battle of wits. Some were even enjoying a few leisurely sips of hot coffee while observing the match! The only place in Kuching I've seen this kind of chess board before is in UNIMAS.

Second is this sort of trough just off the main street (Swaston Street). Never knew it was there till today. It looks so peaceful, so tranquil, so European, especially which an ancient looking church as the backdrop. Romantic.

Then of course there are the omnipresent horse-drawn carriages which are always a sight to behold, especially as they travel on the main street of the city together with cars and trams. And the driver of the carriage wear medieval clothings too.

In Melbourne, my favorite street is Flinders Lane. It is a sort of a backlane between two main streets, but tucked in this seemingly innocuous place are five star hotels, university buildings, a police station and the city library. My favourite fixture on this lane is the alley eateries (pic), or whatever you call the narrow space stuck between two high rise that are converted into quaint coffee houses and watering holes. I just love the feel of the place. Unexplainable.

While on Flinders Lane, this caught my eye:

Wondering what those eight bell shaped things that are hanging on the wall are?

Yeah, I'm sure you guessed it wrongly. These are public phones in Melbourne. Now wondering how to use the top ones which are at least 7-8 metres off ground? Levitation? Invinsible stairways or lifts? If you think so you read too many fairy tales there-lah... Melbourne people very advanced or canggih one... when it's so high up, we don't use it-lah. Crazy-meh? Find another phone-lah.

Actually it's a piece of art, smacked right in the middle of a deserted alley, straight up a wall. In fact, it came complete with a sound system (you can see some speakers in the first photo of the phones) that produce eerie, random ringing of telephones. The temperature of the alley seems to drop a degree or two when I venture nearer to the phones, and a gust of wind also conjure out of nowhere suddenly. Deserted, eerie, cold and windy... it is just like I'm right in the middle of a horror movie. Spine-chilling experience. For those in Melbourne, I encourage you to see it. It's in Flinders Lane between Swanston and Russell.

Melbourne is always advertised as a vibrant city, and I couldn't agree more with the description. It has a heartbeat of its own. As I said before, it has a magnetic pull and allure that make you can't stop loving it. Just like a heavenly prefect woman if I may use the word. You just want to go back for more.

P/s: This is not a paid advertorial about Melbourne but a heartfelt tribute to the city planners who make the city so alive. If you are interested in my retail therapy, just like to inform you that I spent around $60 indulging in things as diverse as bubble milk tea, cute dining plates, flowers and clothings. To treat what? my current bouts of mild depression. Things picked up considerably after this treatment.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

A lack of self confidence

My self confidence is pretty low now. Dont know how it managed to reach such a low level. It's nearing the nadir... What happened?!?

Been pondering about it for the last two weeks and one of the hypothesis I came up with is that I had not tasted success for quite a while. People say success breeds confidence and I believe it is true. When you succeed in something, for example winning a competition or scoring excellent marks in exams, you feel confident and happy. You feel that nothing is difficult and all the people in the world are your friends. Seems that I haven't sampled the feeling for a long time. Suddenly I realised that everything I touched these two years more or less turned to dust. Everything practically failed or dipped below my expectations.

Perhaps after all the successes in secondary school, I set my sights too high. As a result, I did not achieve my target all the time, making me feeling rather a failure. For example, a lot of people commented that I whined too much about my results, which in their opinion are prefectly good whereas I felt that the results are totally rotten. How can 3HDs suffice when you set your mind on 5HDs? In retrospect I think the results are actually good, considering the fact that I was suffering from World Cup fever then. However, the initial damage is already done, and I felt being such a failure. And failure is just like a cancer eating into your healthy confidence cells one by one, mutilating them, chewing, gnawing, tearing them to pieces stealthily till one day much too late that you found out too late to you utter horror that you are suffering from this cancer. Suddenly, one day, you feel no confidence at all. No aura, no spring in your steps, no life, no spirit in you. Zero. Naught. Nothing. Zilch.

Been combing the internet looking for clues on how to rebuild my shattered confidence. I really need to pick up the pieces and start anew. The ship is aready sinking and if I don't patch up the hole in time, it will be in the bottom of the sea swimming with the fishes soon. Perhaps I need to trust myself more, and believe in my abilities. Perhaps I need to lower my sight and not look at mysef as 'the gifted one'. Perhaps I need to start believing that I am not perfect at all. I am seriously in need of that something, or someone out there to unlock the keys of my lost confidence, and I need to begin my search for it now.

But the way, if you are wondering how does a low confidence person feels, imagine yourself being cast under a spell:
"Adabra kadabra! You are now under Murphy's Law for the rest of your life: Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong! Hahahahaha"
_ _ _ _ . . . . _ _ _ _

P/s: I wrote this post because I promised to post something up by today. However I apologized if I let you down in terms of expectations: instead of reading something interesting, you end up reading my inner turmoil and rantings. Well, in retrospect, perhaps I shouldn't apologize coz that's what a blog for rite? To let the world know how u feel?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The day Italy won the World Cup

It was lucky that I lived on an Italian Street. And lucky that Italy won the World Cup. And also lucky that I was there at the right time to see it all.

The date was 10.7.2006. Italy had juz beaten France to lift the world football crown. Lygon Street erupted in a frenzy. Italians thronged the streets, literally stopping traffic.

Cars are stopped;

Even the buses are not spared.

Eventually, the police even had to cordon off a stretch of the road for some spontaneous Italian street parade and street soccer. It started wif a few people dancing in the street, and by the minute, more and more people joined in; in the end, the crowd got so huge that the street had to be closed so that the party can go on. To be there and watch the crowd grow... simply amazing. We ended joining in the fun.

Initially, no one at street;

Then a few people;

Then more people;

In the end, a full fledged street party.

The shop propertiors aren't going to lose out too... right after the win, their premises are awashed with green, white and red.. the colours of the Azurri. And blue Italian jerseys are on parade too, as well as replica World Cup trophies and footballs.

Restaurants are decorated;

Coffee shops are not left out too;

Even CD store caught the fever.

Well, me? My friends and I took full advantage of the win too. We celebrated it with a scrumptious dinner at a fine Italian restaurant, which cost a bundle ($20 for a plate of pasta and other types of Italian staple such as risotto, antipasto, fettucini, tortinelli etc etc.. if cook myself need only spend $4). Usually wouldn't go there but we are feeling lucky as Italy won the World Cup when we coincidently lived on an Italian street. Besides, they give free drinks and garlic bread. And mind you the free drinks are not plain soft drinks, they include all sorts of wine, coffee and cocktail which usually cost around $10. Had a Merlot that cost $7 per glass - taste real smooth compared to the $5 bottle we usually buy at the grocery store.

Me enjoying my Rissotto con Mezza with Merlot.

For those people not here, you sure miss something special.

Acknowledgement: most of the photos are taken by Heng Liang, a Sydnesider who are lucky enough to be visiting Melbourne when Italy win the World Cup.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Writing something meaningful

A piece of this and that

Well, this post is partly written to fill the void left by a sudden creative writing block and partly to reassure my friends that I haven't lost my sanity - that I'm still the same old me.

Been drifting and floating along in nothinglessness and the illusionary world for the past week - engrossed in watching the World Cup, TVB cantonese drama and a few odd movies; as well as reading up a story book or two. I had been tranposing between dreams and reality for the last few days, trangressing the world that I would never live and love to live, and experiencing myriad of emotions and feelings. However lamentable the way I spent my hols may seems, I did learn something from it.

Things that I realised or re-realised over the last week:
1) time flies - this sounds familiar, but it's the reality. I have a feeling that as I grow older the time flies faster;
2) when we are out of something, we want to be in it; when we are in, we want to get out;
3) most footballers are cheats: they will try everything possible to gain an advantage for their team; whether it is to gain a penalty kick or get their opponents sent off;
4) good will prevail over evil in the movies but not neccessarily in real life.

Being happy

Just remembered that See Hua tagged me about things that make me happy everyday. After giving it some deep thoughts.. I felt that I will be happy everyday if I
1) have an engrossing novel to read;
2) wake up to the sound of birds chirping and bright sunlight;
3) have friends around me to converse with;
4) have time to be alone everyday to ponder about this and that;
5) can observe children playing and fooling around;
6) observe that the weather good enough to play sports;
7) have inspiration to write something;
8) receive unexpected e-mails or letters from friends;
9) able to smell the sweetness of flowers on the way to uni;
10) seeing that people besides me being happy.

Time Warp

Where was I last year this day:

Phillips Island

It seems just like yesterday. I can still remember what I had for dinner that day and the tour guide. He is bald. Time really flies. Better cherish every moment...