25 April 2010

The deaf choir

I am no sucker for fad shows . And I have a bad tendency to fall asleep ten minutes in to a TV show.

Yet this one ,  I caught couple of weeks ago , really stayed in my mind .
The show is Glee. The song is Imagine .. done proud by John Lenon.

 I think he sang in a band with some insect’s name, married a japaneese girl and got shot. Some people take their music too seriously I guess .
Anyway  after remake after remake  and numerous cover versions later the song’s edge seemed to have dulled for me …then I heard this …The deaf choir singing….It drives the key message ……which is “imagine”.
Have a good Sunday


Chep lap kok airport HK

                                  Summer Palace and Beijing

                                From the summer palace , Beijing

24 April 2010

Volca de Santa Magarida

*      In the times of volcano eruptions , I came across this small church . In a travel column in the Sunday papers  couple of weeks ago.

Volca de Santa Magarida. It is a small stone church in  the middle of the volcano. When you digest and go pass the first hit of surrealism in the whole concept , you tend to wonder.  My hasty googeling hasn't given me much information . May be you can tell me .

Who would put up a church in the middle of crater waiting to explode with Lava and the scorching wrath from the earth’s belly. For the moment semblance of tranquility prevails.

Like a blessed nail on  the devil’s coffin , hindering (or is it mere delaying), his escape.

Whatever it is , it speaks volumes about the faith of the people who built it there. Maybe in case of      apparent catastrophes , that is all that could be done.

Have faith.

17 April 2010

Beijing in your face

To end this blaberring of Beijing ...I present to you the faces.

                               Pedi cab driver.Hutong

                               Travel guide. Hutong

                      Soldiers.On the way to Tianmen Sqr

                               Old couple , Tianmen Sqr

                                  Couple. summer palace

Musician Temple of heaven

Dancer/ Waitress

Ribbon dancer

Old man. Tianman

The drummers . The drum tower

                                 Drummer. The last beat

16 April 2010

The Forbidden City - A quartet. (Part 4) ...... Ghosts have no knees

They remained at  the  massive arch. When  the drum beat  twenty four and the people’s red ,the royal gold and bewildered purple spill over the evening sky.  Listening to the  Hutong sighs In the cold winter breeze. They heard sighs of mothers’ thinking of ways to feed their children crying of hunger . 

They watched a lone horseman rides through,with the freshest lychees for his emperor. The empress and his concubines. wanted to see what happens in empirical hall , in the red hue of lanterns .

Yet they could not go beyond the arch .

For Ghosts have no knees
You see
Beyond  high step
They could not proceed
At  gate  of harmony
They remain
then again
ghosts seldom travel on their feet
For they go
in people’s heads

They saw the  republic army with their guns & bayonets  march through the gates and ousted an  emperor  and free the eunuchs . On they went marching , the eunuchs , holding in their hands in porcelain flasks , their right to be buried as complete men.

They wanted to see the empty throne room, and where the concubines slept. Yet …They could not go beyond the arch

For Ghosts have no knees
You see
Beyond  high step
They could not proceed
At  gate  of harmony
They remain
then again
ghosts seldom travel on their feet
For they go
in people’s heads 

They saw the red ants with their little red books. Marching to the tune of an accordion , singing songs of a revolution. Singing of the days when the everybody would be equal  and they went marching in to the city forbidden . They wanted so much to join the crowd . Yet

For Ghosts have no knees
You see
Beyond  high step
They could not proceed
At  gate  of harmony
They remain
then again
ghosts seldom travel on their feet
For they go
in people’s heads

Another dusk is greeted in Beijing , by the flickering neon sign post spelling out Microsoft.. Under the amber hue of street lights , short skirts and naughty advances dot the street. The Square is almost empty , the tourists have gone back . The lone solder stands guard at the foot of the flag pole , yet the yellow stars on red have been folded till dawn.  Still it is a beautiful starry night . The Forbidden city seems like in the old days , the tourists who bought a 15Yuan ticket and travelled through the arches are no more. The familiar serenity prevails within the walls.

Ghosts … are nothing but tears ,sighs and weeps of pain , people  shed through the times , which has taken a form , a shape , an existence ….Ghosts .still gather at the arch , out of habit …Ghosts  of Peking, ghost  of Beijing and even ghosts of today’s BJ.

11 April 2010

The Forbidden City - A quartet. (Part 3) ...... The inner court (my dear Dragon dame)

My dear Dragon dame 
I can comprehend 
to break your fast
why you desired  crushed prize from an oysters deep
dipped in a new mothers’ milk 
For your supple skin 
the best of silk 

Why you needed plentiful of  dishes 
Of bird’s nest, sharks fins and  bear’s paws 
yet two mouthfuls
never the third

How  a little orchid bloomed 
to be a dowager
How the gentle maiden
wrapped in silk
shed it all and grew a skin of steel
Not maids or eunuchs
how you got an emperor to wait for you

How you spread your decree 
beyond the bastion walls 
ran it all through
 the middle kingdom

Yet my lady  
I can not fathom 
why you hid behind a curtain
While you breathed flames

Why you shun  the glow
while you commanded
the mind and the deeds 
of an realm 

10 April 2010

The Forbidden City - A quartet ...................... (Part 2) The Gate of Supreme Harmony

  The Shock
opulence provides
  the minimalist repetition of harmony
and so on
while high above the spot on the floor 
  where the general stood to report 
  the steel ball was waiting 
  locked to the ceiling, waiting for the moment 
  when the emperor decided 
  if the news was not to his liking 
  to trip the switch, 
  drop the ball 
  crush the bad news
with the newsman's head.
Harmony prevails. Mop up the stains. 
  Get that eunuch 
  to hold the old wife 
  head down in that harmonizing well 
  and put the lid on her feet.
So much …

This was written by a poet whose name I forget . But all credits to him on the prose, yet the pics are taken by yours truly.

06 April 2010

The Forbidden City - A quartet ...................... (Part 1) The Gate of Heavenly Peace

In the thick of the somber night
while the chamberlains
the chambermaids
the cooks
even the eunuchs
and the concubines
while the whole land

The child king is wide awake and dreams

In his long narrow bed
he lies and dreams
of a more freer place 
beyond the palace  walls
even beyond the great wall
to follow a shooting star to the end of the land 
to see the flying fish leap
glistening in the moon light 
to hear the mermaid songs 

The ministers are gathering outside the gate 
in their gowns
with their red  lanterns 
awaiting the great bell to ring 
to be allowed through
to the next gate

A  young girl
the 53th wife of  Guangxu
wonders of her fate 
in centuries to come
of the man
who will lead
an army of red ants
through the gates
and oust an emperor 
set a cricket free of his golden cage

And one day
whose picture
will be hung over
The Gate of Heavenly Peace.

I climbed on the great wall of China

The wall runth over the mountains
Like the spine of a T rex. 
Forever steps .
The frosty wind  piercing needles on my  skin.
The view’s breathtaking…
The Frenchman with the long beard went pass me
He has to keep up with his young girl friend, I guess
Wait a minute is that snow?
Forever steps
Climb down , side ways  A mother yells at her son
Cheap coffee at the small souverneer shop
Tastes heavenly
“Sir T shirt “
The vender holds up one
“I climbed on the great wall of China”
It says 

05 April 2010

Peking , Beijing and BJ

                                           Beijing Skyline

Here I am. 

Beijing dust wiped off my feet and with a good 6 hours of sleep, after.
I have edited the photos and they are good to go. So bear with me , for a few posts hereafter, I will talk of Beijing.

Of what I saw ,  what I heard and especially the feelings , the memories that are sketched in my mind . 

I have my little notes in my note book and the photos  downloaded to the PC, but the memories are bit hazed at this stage. Now all I have to do is to weave them altogether and build the story (so to say).

As a starting point here are some pictures , to set the mood.

I think I can safely say I was awed by some things . Was disbelieving of some others . And was plain perplexed by a few .

Mao’s old Beijing which was built on the cultural revolution , overthrowing the ancient Peking of the emperor was  slowly stepping a side to give way to new “BJ “ , of fast cars , night clubs and  Beauty salons.
I am just pondering about the phrases “people’s power” and “freedom of choice” ….which leaves me in a quite a bewildered state. I will try to explain it in a later post.

                                View from Dragon lady's Palace of the old and the new BJ

                                 Old Beijing gives way to the new BJ

As for the most interesting thing in any city , the people …
Well they seemed like any other city’s folk.
Moving fast, trying to make sense of things ,  continuously searching for that lost sense of connection / perspective ,
struggling to survive ……………
Yet trying to keep a smile on their faces

As an added bonus, T & D  enjoyed the trip thoroughly.  They also seemed to enjoy traveling . 
It is strange how different people seem to build their own stories on the same journeys we share .