One Art

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster,

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

– Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

 

Elizabeth Bishop
Ahhh..still one of my top pop favourites 😉
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the age of pop culture

When should one stop following “trying to keep up with the times”?? Some people manage to avoid it altogether. But for most of us, at least for my generation, it began in adolescence. Following boy bands, posters of the Backstreet Boys, Westlife CDs, listening to the Spice Girls on the radio.

Now “it” seems to begin earlier, with the encouragement of parents and the bombardment of merchandising opportunities through the mass media. Evidenced by the term “Tweens” and Katie Holme’s daughter Suri Cruise walking around in heels as a toddler, it’s not surprising that the designer clothing for children are the norm.

When I was a kid, I wore 3 for $10 Mickey Mouse knock off T-shirts from the Pasar Malam (Night Bazaar).

But that’s another rant for another day


As I reach 30 at the end of the year, I think to myself, should I really like Tove Lo’s music? Or be taking the effort to go through the billboard top 100 to find songs I actually like? I don’t know why it’s an urge I feel. I want to be one of the Young Folks. Maybe there’s some baggage involved here?

Perhaps all of us who partake in following Pop Culture have some inherent reason why. More so those who are a tad bit older.

Let me give you an example. I recently met up with an acquaintance who is married with two teenage girls. As you can roughly guess, she‘s crossed the half century mark. I’m not being ageist, I don’t think she is “Old” by any standard. She’s feisty, full of life and gorgeous. And got good physique too. But even 50 year old hotties shouldn’t wear “panty shorts”. [OMG! I have to post about “panty shorts” one day..talk about pet peeve!

Let this picture say my thousand words:panty shorts

Ok, so her version was more like a SUPER short, cheerleading skirt with a spaghetti strap tank top? Am I a prude? O.o

But Really! There has to be an age when a woman stops trying so hard to get sexual attention? I mean, young girls-not just that they-have-it, so-flaunt-it –> I feel maybe they don’t know (?) how much guys (and girls) are checking out and oogling at your bared body parts. It took me a while to realise how indecent it was to wear low cut tops. I have one or two pieces I still do wear sometimes, cos I don’t want to throw away my old clothes, and the overall cut is flattering. But then when I wear those tops I feel awful, so very self-conscious.

If you like panty shorts, and you’re 15, fine, ok. (But I’m still trying very hard not to judge your taste in clothing..) But if you’re older, why does it still matter to you to try to be a beautiful flower? I dunno why I always thought women’s external beauty is like that of a flower’s life. It’s scientific purpose is to reproduce, it is beautiful as it is budding and blooms, but it dies ever so quickly, and after that its beauty cannot be recovered. Am I being discriminatory? Sometimes less is more, literally. But personally, most times I think more tasteful is “more”. Being confident enough to show off your body may actually mean you are more insecure inside. Why else would you be craving all that external validation?

*hmmm*

But then on the other hand, interest in pop culture is a bit different. I think it is a matter of intention. Music, popular or not is art after all. If your intention is to keep up with the times, I’m not saying you (or I [am]) are wrong
But, Perhaps there is something deeper in enjoying music for the artistic, the meaning/significance it brings and how it speaks into your life.

It is not so much a self-esteem requirement, but to meet a more spiritual need.

Finally, I just want to say that I think that Pop music can also be meaningful. This is despite being produced by an unknown professional songwriter, sung by a singer who can’t sing, and who is auto-tuned, and who relies on his or her performance gimmicks and scandals in the tabloids for fame.

Is not beauty in the eye of the beholder?

We may never know the songwriter, overshadowed by the fame of the talent-less pop singer, but if the beauty of their music is spread across hearts and inspires as result: -This is why I don’t think indie music is superior to pop.

I am, a LITTLE embarrassed that I like a song or two by Justin Bieber, and that I love Miley Cyrus’ beautiful alto voice, but maybe it’s alright. hehe *blush*AND, I had to write a whole blogpost to feel better about it too! *sheepish look* Really! A shame, but Miley is very talented:

Mute Moderates Caught In a Polar, Global Storm

First off, I just want to give a disclaimer, that my views are just my personal opinion, and I do not represent Christians or Singaporeans, or Asians, or Singaporean-Chinese for that matter. I do not intend to offend anyone in this post but just to express my interest and in some way, my anxiety toward what I see as the polarisation and increasing extremism from many parts of society today. I know it’s really lame, when Christians who meet a homosexual tell them, “It’s OK, I have gay friends”…. But, seriously, a friend who changed my life at a time when I really needed it, and who I loved very much – so much that that I chased the person away, unfortunately, was my first Muslim friend, and I do have quite a few close Muslim friends. I mean, there is no difference with having any other non-Christian friend, agnostic, atheist, Buddhist, even with different denominations one experiences differences in belief that should be carried with grace and mutual understanding, if need be, just agree to disagree?

Have you noticed that the Singapore media has been trying somewhat desperately to maintain a balanced viewpoint about the streak of terrorist attacks and regarding Islam? I do not think this is a bad thing, given that the Singaporean Chinese are a double minority. Despite being the majority race of the nation, due to the regional ethnic composition, the Chinese in Singapore are part of a double minority. Also, since it has been highlighted that in recent years Christianity has been getting more and more of a hold in Singapore, there are greater implications to what could happen if the Christian sector were to push their weight and move to the extent of wanting to Trump out what they consider as a threat. Imagine if they were to activate themselves just like how they protested with the “white shirts” vs. the “pink shirts”.

Of course, I don’t think Chinese Singaporeans or Christian Singaporeans have such a strong animosity toward Malay or Indian Muslims here. But I racism is inherent in the way humans have evolved. For an interesting opinion about the inevitability of racism this is really interesting: Racism?

By default, any person identifies with what is familiar and is separates from, even fearing “The Other”. Without that we wouldn’t have Distinct Identities.

It is so disturbing, to read the newspapers and see how the once highly controversial hypotheses of the Clash of Civilisations has seemingly been vindicated. At least in the newspapers I read here, there is a lot of reporting on China’s disputes over Island territories in Asia.. there was also a big report last year about how the US and Britain went to get trade goodies from China. Is the the Sinic civilisation “Remaking [the] World Order” as Huntington’s 1996 book suggested?

More than a year ago I remember how I was extremely dismissive when my mother, TYPICAL bible study “Auntie” (She has finished Bible Study Fellowship – 7 Years and has been doing Precept Upon Precept since the 2004 or so) told me this: “You just see, Muslims are going to overpopulate the whole world soon. See here, they have 4 or 5 kids but we all only have one, maximum two.” She was just being was being anti-Islam and racist. But suddenly there’s the migrant crisis in Europe. One in every two of those crossing the Mediterranean this year — half a million people — were Syrians, Afghans accounted for 20% of the migrant flow, and Iraqis 7%.

The increasing discontent following the Cologne attacks allegedly by migrants is troubling to me. (see picture of migrants apologising outside Cologne Train Station)

refugees apologise

But the at the core of the entire issue, the fear and hatred of “The Other”, that is so natural, yet, so unjustified, I just don’t understand. My parents have always been racist. But I never really picked it up. I even remember having the motto that “everyone is worth getting to know, if you get to get to know them” when I was a teenager. I never grew up, as a child or teenager with other races though, as the schools I went to were all majority Chinese as the were SAP schools offering Higher Chinese. So I grew up feeling that Chinese was the only race. I think in Singapore that is very easy to do. Despite the bombardment of national propaganda about multiculturalism, the nature of things is all about segregation. The ironic thing about the Chinese in Singapore is that so many of us lost our language. And we blame it on the education and nation’s policies, but have the minority groups lost their “mother tongue”? I think elitism is also an important factor that drove the rapid Westernisation and adoption of English as a first language, rather than the government policies.

I digress…  I’m sure most of you know about Trump “looking into ways” to fix the “Muslim problem” (he was asked how he would do this at one of his rallies). Just as the saying “one thing leads to another” goes. I believe that the polarisation and the extremism of the West is a step by step thing. I used to think that moderates were also those who were liberal. But those who are liberal allow for freedom, and a variety of opinions. Sounds similar to moderation right? But if you don’t take a specific moderate viewpoint, and you are too liberal, you will lose your vision altogether. Worse still, like Angela Merkel’s Germany, when you bite off more than you can chew, you will want to banish all the good that you once believed in.

merkel stressed