Sunday, April 20, 2008

Waking Hours

I: In one of the days preceding was the much-anticipated 16G poke. The needle in use now is much larger than before, resembling an undersized drinking straw. Blood tended to pool around a little more than before, where we practiced on each other. There should have been more mosquitoes consequently also, but the sky rained mercifully upon the camp that afternoon.

The way people reacted to the presence of a needle inside their systems are varied, and pretty interesting to watch. Aaron twisted his face in agony, while Andre did nothing but laugh when I pushed my needle into his vein. When it came to my turn to be practiced upon, Nicholas came to me and talked, which took some attention off that thing in my arm. The conversation went something like: What did you take for the A-Levels. I took Physics, ow, Maths, Art and Computing, ow ow. Hey, you took Computing too. So I did. Is it fun, then. Ow, sorry but it still hurts ow, I wouldn't say that, but it was much more fun in the old days oww I surmise, hey, don't walk off just yet...

II: I'm looking forward to lights-out time everyday, probably because of the studying and stuff taxing noticeably upon the neutrons but probably more due to the greater amount of time available to worry about what time to sleep.

In my first night out, I wandered to the National Library and borrowed a book. Most of the alotted time, however, was spent on public transport and walking. In the end I went back late, and soon everyone in the platoon had gotten wind that I went to the National Library. It seemed to amuse them to no end, the reason to which I may never grasp.

III: The book I borrowed was All the Names by José Saramago, published in Portuguese in 1997 and in English in 2000. It told the story of a Central Registry clerk, Senhor José, whom for no reason went to search for a random woman whose profile he found among his secret collection of famous people's profiles. The woman was found to have commited suicide (for no reason either) while he was carrying out his search, and the Registrar, secretly following Senhor José's every move, came to the decision that the archives of the dead and the living are to be merged.

The prose is delivered in a heavily morose spirit, with conversations written in the format demonstrated in (I.). So far I have not found any deep philosophical meaning into the reading, but I have long believed that such things are for finding out later, possibly in the form of a nightmare, a violent awakening.

IV: IV is our slang for "intravenous", but this is not the section about IV. It is (I.)

Andre is entering the UOB art competition armed with ballpoint pens and chicken rice paper. I had bought canvas the weekend before, but only thought of joining because he mentioned it.

Painting might follow the general lines of what I've done in January, or it might not. The urge to start dabbling with portraiture hasn't gone away.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Fransozig and Maïawela

Lyrics and translations are now online, many thanks to Tri Yann and webmaster Eric Doll!

Tri Yann

Nozvezh kentañ ma eured me ’m oa komadaman
Evit servijañ ar Roue ret eo bezhañ kontan.
Evit servijañ ar Roue ret eo obeisso,
Met ma dousig Fransisa ’chom d’ar gêr o ouelo.
“Tevet, tevet Fransoizig, tevet na ouelit ket,
A-benn un daou pe un tri bloaz me ’deuï c’hoazh d’ho kwelet!”
Paseet an daou an tri bloaz ar berved ’zo ivez,
Nag ar vartolod yaouank ne zeu tamm da vale.
Ar plac’hig a oa yaouank hag a gave hir he amzer,
’Doa lakaet e-barzh e soñj da zimeziñ ’darre.
Na pa oa tud an eured diouzh an taol o koanio,
N’em gavas ur martolod ’ban ti a c’houl’ lojo:
“Bonjour d’oc’h matez vihan, na c’hwi lojefe?
Me ’zo martolod yaouank ’tistreiñ eus an arme”.

The first night of my honeymoon I received orders
To serve the king as we are obliged.
To go serve the king, we must obey,
But my sweet Fransoisig stays at home crying.
"Keep quiet Fransoisig, quiet yourself, do not cry,
In two or three years I will see you! "
Past two and three years, the fourth too,
No young sailor does.
The girl was young and had waited for long;
By now she had arranged to remarry
When people ate at her wedding banquet,
A Marine asks to stay in the house:
"Hello to you girl, may I stay?
I am a young sailor who has returned from the army."


Tri Yann
(Note: In my amateur opinion, words look rather archaic in this piece)

Chantons la belle Maïawela, Rouge robe de noçailles de Roy.
Elle prit naissance dans les flors d’un chesne
Croisé de geneste et de verne,
Elle blanchit la nublèce de son éclat,
Elle est anguile beaucoup plus que cobra.

Chantons la belle Maïawela, Rouge robe de noçailles de Roy.
Elle faist synfonie de flûte d’un pâtre,
Faille vive de bois verde en l’astre,
Tient aulberge à vinée plus doulce qu’en Arbois,
Faist aux jacquets hostellerie de ses draps.

Chantons la belle Maïawela, Rouge robe de noçailles de Roy.
Elle est d’estranges et d’estrangères rives,
Sa cavale mil cavaliers suivent,
Elle impose triève dans les tornois,
A Lucifer de chanter Alleluya!

Chantons la belle Maïawela, Rouge robe de noçailles de Roy.
A l’estranger offre ses poires blanches,
Plus sucrées que pomes d’orenge;
Elle tresjète la neige de sous ses pas
Et faist velours des ronceries sous ses doigts.

Chantons la belle Maïawela, Rouge robe de noçailles de Roy.
Elle a chainsil tissé d’ailes d’abueilles,
Panier d’or enclos de dentèle,
Faist chaline, ventelet, tempeste de son choix,
Froider le froid, brusler l’encens d’Angora.

Chantons la belle Maïawela, Rouge robe de noçailles de Roy...

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Chief Gardener's Island

Lost world: the last days of feudal Sark
[Blogroll >> ::An Leabharlann:: >> :Articles: >> Feudal Sark]

Seigneur John Michael Beaumont of Sark, from article by Charles Schwab

"As Seigneur of Sark, an island three miles long and one mile wide, 25 miles from the French coast, Beaumont's position is an enviable one. Since 1565, when Elizabeth I granted the island to the nobleman Hellier de Carteret in return for his protection against pirates, the Seigneurs have ruled this rock. And, in return for the £1.79 Beaumont pays annually to the British Crown to keep the island "in perpetuity", the Seigneur holds the privilege of granting the Sarkees permission to buy and sell their houses; and he is also entitled to collect a treizieme - one-thirteenth of every land transaction.

"But not for long. Beaumont's days of occupying his unique position are numbered. Earlier this month, the self-governing island, which falls under the protectorate of the British crown, voted by a majority of 234 to 184 to usher in universal suffrage for its population of 610. No longer will the island's 40 landowners, or "tenants" as they are confusingly known, sit on Sark's government - the "Chief Pleas". Nor will Beaumont retain his treizieme, or his right of veto.

"Next year, the adult population of the island will go to the polls for the first time with one vote each and elect 28 new members of the "Chief Pleas". Sark will be a democracy. That it has taken Sark 500 years longer than most of Western Europe to abolish feudalism should come as no surprise. As any newcomer soon realises, on Sark things move slowly."

I: Law reforms on the Island of Sark were aproved just this Wednesday, which appeared in the front page of Wikipedia. Democratisation should sound good; it certainly did sound good once, like, ten years back. But, like in any story involving preaching the glories of the modern world to a reclusive and simple-minded people, it would tend to turn members of the audience onto each other.

Because while a community ruled by the authority of one lord certainly sounds out of this age, one finds it hard to imagine that it is right for a couple of wealthy businessmen, both outsiders, to force democratisation upon Sark as a way of dodging tributes to the Seigneur.

II: I notice that the Barclay brothers relied on the European Convention of Human Rights to challenge Sark's law of inheritance (along with, it reads, Sark's jurisdiction over Brecqhou, an adjacent island bought over by the Barclays). It strikes me as a cynical gesture, an abuse of the idea of human rights that is not uncommonly met today.

In an spotlight issue entirely unrelated to Sark, more than a few fists were flying over where the Olympic Torch made its way. The issue is on the independence of Tibet, again a purported "human rights" issue.

Paralympic fencer Jin Jing and pro-Tibet assailants, from related article in 万维读者网

Give it a rest, hotheads.


Premise: Is self-effacement, in other words: keeping a low profile before people in deed as well in thought, a good way to get around? For me, at least.

Whydo I ask this? On one hand, I find it incredibly fun to go around noticing things and not getting noticed in turn. I get nervous when I become noticed, and usually subsequently attempts to cover up by pretending nothing is really happening here, whatever things happening. (Stated here the meaning of self-effacement in present context)

On the other hand, does belonging in a proud and exclusive group destroy the non-offensive nature of self-effacement? When you hesitate in announcing your vocation, does a voice nag you from the back of your head, saying "Why are you not proud?" Is self-effacement then an antisocial act?

And since an assumption of importance will rightfully entail an assumption of responsibility, if I can take responsibility, why not assume importance then? At this point now, is self-effacement an irresponsible act?

And a good few people will know the back story, the unrelated events leading to me asking this for myself.

Is it a question of humility? Not really, but it kind of grows out of the question of humility. A self-effacing person may not be too vain, too outwardly arrogant etc. but it does not show that they are humble, a word which is correctly taken to mean "knows his place". Therefore it is possible that he sees himself as less important as he really is, thereby becoming wholly unhumble.

I know some people who actually do things like that other than myself, and worked with them in the past, when people took things easy. It wasn't easy. They did as good as shirked from responsibility.

What other questions should I ask?