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.