Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Tobermory - Capercaillie

Tobermory is a love song in Scottish Gaelic, which is nice for a change after the whole lot of English, Irish, Icelandic and Finnish songs playing in my blog for ten months. As usual, here are the lyrics, courtesy Celtic Lyrics Corner.

Tobermory - Capercaillie

Bheir mi sgriob do Thobar Mhoire
Far a bheil mo ghaol an comann

Chorus (after each verse; doesn't mean anything):
E o hi urabho o hi u
E o hao ri ri
E o hao ri sna bho hu o
E o hi urabho o hi u

Far a bheil mo ghaol an comann
Luchd nan leadan 's nan cul donna

Luchd nan leadan 's nan cul donna
Dh'oladh am fion dearg na thonnan

Bheir mi sgriob dhan Lochaidh luachrach
Far a bheil mo ghaol an t-uasal

Far a bheil mo ghaol an t-uasal
Gheibhinn cadal leat gun chluasag

Gheibhinn cadal leat gun chluasag
'S cul mo chinn am bac do ghuala

English Translation:

I'll journey to Tobermory
Where my love dwells

Where my love dwells midst
Men with pretty locks of brown hair

Men with pretty locks of brown hair
Who would drink the red wine in waves

I will journey to Lochy of the rushes
Where my love the noble one is

Where my love the noble one is
I would sleep with you without benefit of pillow

I would sleep with you without benefit of pillow
With the back of my head in the hollow of your shoulder

I had a dream last night.

No, not the apocalypse dream. I dreamt about taking a trip to Spitzbergen, in the frozen lands of Svalbard islands, a dependency of Norway. My family was there. And so was Alvin and Xie Huan. Spitzbergen looked something like this:

Longyearbyen Town, Svalbard. We were just walking about slowly in the town, while Xie Huan was overjoyed and ran everywhere (sorry!). And there was something about an abandoned zoo, and a scene in Google Earth where the viewport glided over the island's coastlines. For a moment, I felt like colouring Norway into my travel map. Then I woke up.

Friday, November 18, 2005

The Silent Apocalypse

Author's Foreword: Best write it down before it flies away. And fast.

Aidan woke up early this Thursday, it being the school holidays after all and he being free to wake up at whatever time he pleased. He looked out through the window, feeling weird. The sky was still there, along with the other apartment blocks, the shophouses, the railway, and the barracks on the hill. It was just... different.

I must be hopping mad, he thought, and slapped himself hard to see if he was really awake. Then he looked out again to see if the world was still there. It was.

He ambled lazily out into the living room and switched on the TV. A droning fizz of static greeted him. And even this static was dying out into the velvety blackness, bit by bit. Aidan was confused, not because that he didn't know what was going on. He did, of course, only he didn't expect it to happen to him. Not today.

"Not today," he muttered.

"The static's dying down. The forces of the universe, is going back to where it came from." a voice echoed through the room. It was Sarah. She had on her face a picture of sombreness, not terrifying nor depressed, just an angelic calm.

"You've woken up," she greeted calmly.

"Sarah," uttered Aidan, "I've just got this really weird dream."

"Yeah. Me too."

They stared blankly into nothing as the vision recollected itself in their minds.

"It all ends, yeah?" Aidan said.

"Yeah, today," Sarah chirped. "Let's go out."

Aidan nodded. It wasn't as if there were any better things to do. On his way to the door he unwittingly knocked a glass off the coffee table. It landed on the expensive Persian carpet, breaking its untimely fall, and sent half its capacity of flat Pepsi all over it. He stopped, glanced back at the forlornly tilted glass, and went out through the door without even bothering to lock.

The neighbourhood hadn't been blown away. The crumbling shophouses were still there, but absent. The dusty tar road was still there, but there was not a trickle of traffic. The apartment blocks were still there, but their presence didn't matter anymore. Aidan could see the local church standing alone on the hill, right behind the Block 25 which seemed to be fading away into the background.

Now he and Sarah are in the middle of a very large patch of grass, with the morning sun shining lovingly down at the millions of others in the land. The clear blue sky stretched out from one corner of Aidan's vision to the other.

Wicked, he thought. This is almost like New Zealand. You didn't see clear blue skies down in Singapore except on very hot days. And you never saw the full sky. And the landscape was never empty.

The concrete jungle had turned into a huge, spatious plain, populated by four million confused Singaporeans.

Some of them were on their knees praying reverently. Some of them sat down with their heads between arms. Others were singing energetically. St. Joseph's Church was packed, with Christians and non-Christians alike, and so were other places of worship across the island. Mosques, shrines, synagogues and temples. By a subconscious consensus, the faiths were reconciled.

Aidan saw Alvin, his schoolmate and a recent convert. His face was an image of solemn piety as he slapped Aidan heftily on the shoulders.

“If this is God's will, then let it happen,” Alvin declared.

Aidan smiled. He wouldn't dispute that.

“See you in heaven, mate.”

A large figure passed them by. It was Beng Teck, the school thug. When he saw Aidan he gasped.

"Aidan!" he screamed, "I've been searching for you the whole night!" he gave Aidan a bear-hug, beating the breath out of his lungs, “I'm sorry for whatever I've done to you! I'm sorry for pulling your pants off last Wednesday after school! And I've got to tell you that the guy who's stolen your iPod was ME—"

“You did?” Aidan gasped, more out of breath than out of surprise.

Beng Teck let go, and proceeded with newfound honesty.

“Yes,” he reddened like a beet. “And sorry for being a jerk, too.”

“I'm sorry for taunting you those days,” panted Aidan, “but it doesn't matter now, does it? Did you have the dream?”

He stopped, knowing that he had asked a question he had already known the answers to. Beng Teck seemed to go torpid.

“Yes.” He smiled soppily, (or from Aidan's point of view, grinned stupidly) and stared off to the distance.

They left him standing there and to a place where they could see the sky clearly. The sky was in various shades of blue. Light tints near the horizon (they could see the horizon!) and darker towards the zenith. The sounds of Heaven spiralled down towards Aidan and Sarah in light wisps, like a hand extending from the deepest reaches of the Kingdom in the Sky.

He felt Sarah's head land on his shoulder.

“I'm so happy.”

“Glad to hear you say that.”

“It's not what you think, Aidan.” Sarah sighed. “Really happy. First time, too.”

The wisps of pure goodness grew more, and touched the hearts of the Four Million People all over the huge plain. Aidan felt an overwhelming rush of blood to his head, seeing bright lights all over when one tendril landed on his forehead. For a moment, he was seeing the truth. The answer to Life, The Universe, And Everything.

He found it quite hard to describe in words when he thought about it later on, for which he settled with “TRUTH” in block letters. Or maybe the number 42. But right now, he was basking in this wondrous certainty, the vindication of everything he believed in.

All around him, divine inspiration entered the spirits of every living thing. Sarah. Beng Teck. The cranky old man with the cat, and of course the cat. The chickens in the coop, and the lallang growing by the railway. Let good rain from the heavens, Aidan thought. Let them flush out from creation, the… those… other things.

His head landed on Sarah's.

“I'm so happy!” He squealed.

The bells in St. Joseph's tolled. Tolled its last before the Second Coming. Which is, incidentally, soon. The biological clock tuned up in the minds of everyone for the final countdown. Every living being in this world.

The end is nigh. Everyone thought.

“Sarah,” uttered Aidan.

SEVEN, it boomed.


“Well I—”


“What is it?”

“I've got… something to tell you…”


“It won't take long, Sarah. Just three words.”


“Just go on, Aidan. It's not as if we've got much time left.”

Aidan said it.


"Thanks, that was really nice."


"Just one more question, Sarah?"



"How did you get into my apartment?" Aidan sputtered.

And the world around them exploded in colours.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Emoton - Värttinä

Being at the computer all day is rather taxing and unhealthy. From tomorrow I'm going to take some time off this place. Enjoy this Finnish song while I rest and read the Wish List or Lemony Snicket or The Holy Bible or practice my scales. The Terrnan Imperator got so pissed off by me he left the forum for good (he says). Aah, rest and fresh air.

Värttinä didn't give a translation for the song Emoton, but the sleeve seems to explain that this song is dedicated to the ones in our world born less beautiful.

Emoton - Värttinä

Jo nyt jouvuin mie poloinen
jouvuin puulle pyörivälle
varvulle vapisevalle
jouvuin mie
poloinen lehelle liekkuvalle

Tuota tiiä mie en itsekkään
minkä tien otan etehen
juonen juostakseni
tiiä minkä tien otan etehen

Ennen osasi minun emoseni
ennen osasi tehä omenan
taisi emoni taimen istutella
ei osant tuota kasvatella

Mie kasvoin isotta ilman
kasvoin varsin vanhemmatta
korvessa miun kotini
marjavarsilla on miun majani

Taiten taivas kirjaeltu
oikein tehty otavainen
miten lie elämä miulla
miten lie
elämä miulla mustakulmalla

Ennen osasi minun emoseni
ennen osasi tehä omenan
taisi emoni taimen istutella
ei osant tuota kasvatella

Ennen osasi minun emoseni
ennen osasi tehä omenan
taisi emoni taimen istutella
ei osant tuota kasvatella

Pani paikalle paikalle pahalle
pani pimeän pilven reunalle
koivun juurille juurille koville
yön syvänälle syksyiselle

It's Jamie's birthday today, and I saw an old friend at the party who hadn't been speaking to me for (counts) two years. Long lost. For the first time in ages, she was smiling. And we were talking like nothing's ever happened between us.

Something in this world is getting better after all.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Fīsh, Físh, Fĭsh, Fìsh

The last two days were spent by the school on the programme called Humanities in Celebrations. On Monday we listened to speeches. On Tuesday we did something much more interesting.

First we had a workshop about Gothic literature and watched snips of the movie Alien (1976). It's supposed to be gothic because it's all "blood and gore and violence and sex". I'd watched the scene once before where the young alien burst out from Kane's chest, but that didn't make the second time any more pleasant to look. The scene where the robot's head fell off was just as quirky as it was.

Next thing we had a Poetry workshop with the part-time poet Madeline Lee (full-time financial advisor) and we had to make a poem about curtains. Curtains was boring so I... I mean my group kicked up a poem that described what went on beyond the curtains. It was all about a house painted yellowish-blue and a dog eating the computer and nothing that made sense courtesy Job and Winston.

Kia Meng had the funniest poem of all. When we passed the paper to Mrs. Lee she yelped.

The End.

Naturally, the girls had the best poetry.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Dúlamán (The Seaweed Song)

A 'níon mhín ó, sin anall na fir shúirí
A mháithair mhín ó, cuir na roithléan go dtí mé

Chorus (after each verse):
Dúlamán na binne buí, dúlamán Gaelach
Dúlamán na farraige, 's é b'fhearr a bhí in Éirinn

Tá cosa dubha dubailte ar an dúlamán gaelach
Tá dhá chluais mhaol ar an dúlamán gaelach

Rachaimid go Doire leis an dúlamán gaelach
Is ceannóimid bróga daora ar an dúlamán gaelach

Bróga breaca dubha ar an dúlamán gaelach
Tá bearéad agus triús ar an dúlamán gaelach

Ó chuir mé scéala chuici, go gceannóinn cíor dí
'S é'n scéal a chuir sí chugam, go raibh a ceann cíortha

Góide a thug na tíre thú? arsa an dúlamán gaelach
Ag súirí le do níon, arsa an dúlamán maorach

Ó cha bhfaigheann tú mo 'níon, arsa an dúlamán gaelach
Bheul, fuadóidh mé liom í, arsa an dúlamán maorach

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Os Piños

This entry serves as a distraction, and for the fact that I haven't been posting lyrics for quite a while.

Os Piños
Eduardo Pondal / Pascual Veiga

¿Que din os rumorosos na costa verdecente,
ao raio transparente do prácido luar?
¿Que din as altas copas de escuro arume harpado
co seu ben acompasado monótono fungar?

Do teu verdor cinguido e de benignos astros,
confín dos verdes castros e valeroso chan,
non des a esquecemento da inxuria o rudo encono;
desperta do teu sono fogar de

Os bos e xenerosos a nosa voz entenden,
e con arroubo atenden o noso rouco son,
mais sóo os iñorantes, e féridos e duros,
imbéciles e escuros non os entenden, non.

Os tempos son chegados dos bardos das edades
que as vosas vaguedades cumprido fin terán;
mais onde quer, xigante a nosa voz pregoa

a redenzón da boa nazón de Breogán

Os Piños is the national anthem adopted by nationalists in Galicia, which here means "a province in northwestern Spain" rather than "Southern Poland and Western Ukraine". Galicia is different from (most of) the rest of Spain, as it holds a richly Celtic heritage, a trait which it shares with its neighbouring region Asturias. Its capital is Santiago de Compostela.

Chemistry today was good. The catalytic converter question came out, to which I answered by writing "Platinum" in nice big smug letters. I've a hunch that I'll score more than 90% in this paper, which means that I'll probably get a 70+. Either way, it's A1 for meee.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Entry 155: Blogging from Vienna

Blogging from Vienna here; seems that the keyboard in Austria isn't as dodgy as the French version. The first six letters in the top row is QWERTZ.

Went to the Kunst museum thingy and the Hofburg palace in the city centre, and almost partied in the Donauinsel in the Danube Festival. Then we popped in to Hotel Geblergaße to see some friends.

ß is a nice letter to type. ßßßßßßßß And so is üüüööö and äää

Will leave tomorrow for Budapest.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Entry 154: Blogging from Paris

Actually I'm in this place called Saint-Ouen which is technically not Paris. And I'm stuck in another internet bar with this dodgy French keyboard I can't type properly with. It's full of às and ès and çs and €s qnd µs and other symbols you would not even dream of typing without the character map, and the type set is more like AZERTY than QUERTY.

The letters are arranged like this:

France is the first place I have ever visited where I have to try to speak a language I don't know. Vienna is going to be second. Budapest is going to be okay due to the international conference held there in the city.

I went to the Louvre yesterday!!!!! Details will follow.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Entry 153: Blogging from London

I'm in London!

We'd found an internet bar at Preston Road near the station and now I'm blogging from this place. Next to the road, facing the roaring traffic. Takes the spirit off writing really.

Anyway since I really can't write now, I expect pictures and all the other narrative crap will be up after the holidays. Just so you'll know.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Entry 129: St. Bernadette's Day

Saint Bernadette of Lourdes: (1844-1879) Oldest of 6 children in a very poor family headed by Francois and Louise Casterot. Hired out as a servant from age 12 to 14. Shepherdess. On 11 February 1858, around the time of her first Communion, she received a vision of the Virgin. [...] She received 18 more in the next 5 months, and was led to a spring of healing waters. She moved into a house with the sisters of Nevers at Lourdes where she lived, worked, and learned to read and write. The sisters cared to the sick and indigent, and at age 22 they admitted Bernadette into their order since she was both. Always sick, and often mistreated by her superiors, she died with a prayer for Mary's aid. Body is incorruptible. --www.catholic-forum.com

I'd read a book about her, when I was younger. Don't know where the book is now.

Just came back from a long morning of GOH training, and the best thing about training in the morning is that almost whatever you did at home after that can be seen as rest. I'm blogging now. But today I'm telling you, there's this thing you've got to go and check out if you're any good in biology or archaeology:

Click here for The Genographic Project Website.

Besides the cool tangy flash layout, it lays out 200,000 years of human voyages and migrations right in front of your eyes. It traces your ancient ancestry all the way to Adam and Mitochondrial Eve, or at least where your ancestors went before they landed on what would be your homeland. If that wasn't enough, watching the ice sheets change shape on the world map might be intriguing also, or maybe not.

Screenshot of interface: Presenting the Na-Dene Languages of North America

If you've got the financial prowness, you can join the project by buying the package, send your cheek swab to the scientists and let them identify your Haplogroup, and when you get your results after the test, never cease to be amazed.

Stop Press at 10:42 pm: I've just stumbled on the flash version of the Elements Song by Tom Lehrer, and it's so cool. This link here is for me to get to save the file into my own computer actually, but anyone's free to click and be entertained.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Entry 121: South Australia

Ho de ho ho I've just completed my storyboard today I have been in a state of constant elation until I started to remind myself my literature review is currently untouched-upon and my research proposal is in dire need of revising. Also been experimenting on environmental lighting and found out the sun doesn't require a sphere at all.

That also reminds me about the theory of Murphy's Law. It relates to the Law of Thermodynamics so well that Murphy's Law might as well be called the philosophical thermodynamical theory. While Murphy's Law states that "Left on their own, things always go wrong", the Law of Thermodynamics states, "Left on their own, entropy (roughly equivalent to 'disorder') in stuff increases." See the similarity?

When you've got nothing else to say the best way out is to blog a song:

South Australia

In South Australia I was born, Heave away, Haul away!
In South Australia round Cape Horn, Bound for South Australia!
Haul away you rollin' king! Heave away! Haul away!
Haul away oh hear me sing, We're bound for South Austalia!

Now as I went out one morning fair, Heave away, Haul away!
'twas where I met Miss Nancy Blair, Bound for South Australia!
Haul away you rollin' king! Heave away! Haul away!
Haul away oh hear me sing, We're bound for South Austalia!

I shook her up I shook her down, Heave away, Haul away!
I shook her up and down the town! Bound for South Australia!
Haul away you rollin' king! Heave away! Haul away!
Haul away oh hear me sing, We're bound for South Austalia!

There's one thing that does grieve my mind, Heave away, Haul away!
It's leaving Nancy Blair behind! Bound for South Australia!
Haul away you rollin' king! Heave away! Haul away!
Haul away oh hear me sing, We're bound for South Austalia!

And as we wallup around Cape Horn, Heave away, Haul away!
You wish to God you'd never been born! Bound for South Australia!
Haul away you rollin' king! Heave away! Haul away!
Haul away oh hear me sing, We're bound for South Austalia!

Great potential for parodies.