Monday, 30 June 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!



I have just finished the book about "John", written by his ex-wife Cynthia Lennon, and staring at the cover in daze, reminiscing the life of the man who I both adore and despise, when my phone went off.

It was a sms with birthday greetings for me from Jo in HK at an unlikely hour of 1.30am. This one followed shortly after KY's text just minutes past midnight. I must say that I am delighted and surprised that the birthday greetings this year came so promptly... hehe clearly someone out there misses me.

I used to love birthdays as a kid because of the presents that I would receive, and in my younger days, I thought it was a great excuse for friends to get together and simply have fun. When I started to have only 1 candle on my birthday cake (say it's self deceiving, but the sight of so many candles is unbearable), I dreaded birthdays, honestly I do. It makes me feel old, no matter how much compliments I received about me looking younger than my age. I guess I have never really came to term with the fact that I have passed the "twenty something"!

It is interesting that I should be reading the life story about John on this day, learning how much he has gained and lost in his journey towards becoming one of the greatest man in the world; how much love he has shown the world while at the same time hurt those who loved him most. It makes me realised that it is often too easy to take for granted the things and people around us, and all the little acts of kindness done to us, which if you really look back and reflect on, you know are indispensible in making your life fulfilling. Sometimes, regrets come too late, and other times, it is difficult to make up for all that have been lost.

If there is anything more than bewilderment and a deep sense of loss for the great man who has died way before his time after reading the book, it is a reminder to me that while pursuing bigger things in life, do not forget to love those who have always stood by my side.

With all the warm wishes, luncheon and birthday bash lining up, it is hard to not be high spirited. And to my friends, I will tell you this: it doesn't take 74 million audiences or 6 million copies of best selling album to make me feel special. I already do as you remember me on this special day.

I rejoice at another fulfilling year that has passed, this is the new meaning of birthdays to me.



I am still feeling sorry that my candle went out before I could make my wish. Anyway, it is for world peace and good health of my family and friends, and a third wish, shall remain a secret. Haven't you heard before? You should never reveal your third wish or it'll not come true.

Here's a song for you, friends.

In my life

There are places i'll remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends i still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life i've loved them all

But of all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When i think of love as something new
Though i know i'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know i'll often stop and think about them
In my life i love you more

Though i know i'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know i'll often stop and think about them
In my life i love you more
In my life i love you more



Wednesday, 25 June 2008

More than just an ordinary strawberry field



"I must be crazy or a genius".

One of the favourite quotes of John Lennon's. And he revealed his insecurity about being constantly on different wavelenghts with others in his song...

"No one I think is in my tree,I mean it must be high or low".

Strawberry Fields Forever... nothing close to the strawberries that we all know. Strawberry Field was in fact an orphanage in Liverpool ran by the Salvation Army, near the home where Lennon used to stay with his Aunt Mimi during his childhood days.

John Lennon loved the garden parties held there during the summer months and often spent too much time on other days playing in Strawberry Field with his friends. Much to the dismay of his Aunt, which he reciprocated with nothing but crude reply, "They can't hang you for it" (this inspired another verse of the lyrics "nothing to get hung about")

My favourite thing about this song is how I can relate with his attitude about life:

"Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see.
It's getting hard to be someone but it all works out.
It doesn't matter much to me."


The fact is it is so easy to live a life, if living means conforming without questions and drifting along as time slips by. Do not be bothered with right or wrong and don't expect to be somebody. Of course life will work out, if you do not care what it means.

I haven't found my Strawberry Field, a place where dreams seem real, where you truly feel belonged and attuned. But I certainly hope you have one too.

At the ending of the song, John Lennon said "Cranberry Sauce" a few times (probably most obvious when he said it for the very last time), which was mistaken as "I buried Paul" (fellow band mate Paul McCartney). This led to rumours that Paul had died! That was in 1967.


* Strawberry Fields Forever *

Let me take you down,
'Cause I'm going to Strawberry Fields.
Nothing is real and nothing to get hung about.
Strawberry Fields forever.

Living is easy with eyes closed,
Misunderstanding all you see.
It's getting hard to be someone but it all works out.
It doesn't matter much to me.

Let me take you down,
'Cause I'm going to Strawberry Fields.
Nothing is real and nothing to get hung about.
Strawberry Fields forever.

No one I think is in my tree, I mean it must be high or low.
That is you can't you know tune in but it's all right.
That is I think it's not too bad.

Let me take you down,
'Cause I'm going to Strawberry Fields.
Nothing is real and nothing to get hung about.
Strawberry Fields forever.

Always no sometimes think it's me,
But you know I know when it's a dream.
I think I know I mean "Yes," but it's all wrong.
That is I think I disagree.

Let me take you down,
'Cause I'm going to Strawberry Fields.
Nothing is real and nothing to get hung about.
Strawberry Fields forever.
Strawberry Fields forever.
Strawberry Fields forever.

Friday, 20 June 2008

I spotted Nessie!

Rare! Rare!

As I was cruising on Loch Ness, I spotted the legendary monster... Nessie.

Here's the proof, a short footage of my rare sighting!

video

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Scotland, as beautifully as I can present it

It is so easy to lose track of time these days, not just because I am on vacation, but also the sun never seem to set before bed time. Apparently, the sun is also an early riser here, who has been up working before I am awake on the next day.

After 3 days in Scotland, I have fell deeply in love with the picturesque highland. The mountains and Loch (lake) are spectacular... every piece of this beauty is too good to be missed, every cloud is unique and every loch is dazzling.


Loch Gale. It is said that this is a wonder of nature. The Loch looks exactly like the map of Scotland.

Shoe told me it is a pity that a photograph cannot always capture the real beauty of a place. And it is true. For some beauty needs to be appreciated using more than just the naked eyes. How do I explain the sound in the wind at the top of the hill on Fairy Glen? How do I describe the roaring of the waves at Kilt Rocks? So I took a deep breath hoping to inhale all these beauty into me.


Fairy Glen. The high and low little "hills" are said to be caves where fairies lived in. Someone once found a fairy coin and made a wish which came true instantly. Believe it or not that's up to you. But if you made a wish, remember not to tell anyone or it will never come true.


Kilt Rocks. When the sun is at the right direction, the rocks resemble the pleats on the Scottish kilt. That's how those rocks got the name. Not quite obvious from here though.

And Isle of Skye is fabulously beautiful. This is Kyleakin where we stayed for the night.


Ruin castle built by the Vikings.


The bridge resembles 2 seagulls flying across the lake. How was the design derived? Maybe from a child's imagination.


We stood at the lake watching the seagulls. Almost got hit by one trying to capture this shot.


Scotland at random. Beautiful, isn't it?


*** Watch out for more upcoming posts about Scotland. Next up... the Loch Ness Monster!

A tale of the 2 cities...

Would you believe it if I tell you I have nothing against cats?

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Abbey Road, where the pilgrimage begins

Some 40 years ago, 4 men took the world by storm. They wrote music resounding throughout the world, even to the most unlikely places on earth. They created a new culture, in which young men and women in the many decades to follow will embrace and remember. They are none other than The Beatles!

Since they pose for one of their album cover on this road, the quiet residential neighbourhood has changed completely. Each day, fans from all over the world come here to "pay pilgrimage".


One of the most famous roads in the world, Abbey Road!


I am not trying to pose like a beatle, but walking across the zebra crossing is a MUST! It's a "traffic stopping" act haha!


The grafitti left behind by fans is a headache to the local municipal office. This morning, we met workers white washing the walls. I had a conversation with one of them and understand that a film company is coming for shooting this evening, which is why the walls need to be repainted... 3 times to get the grafitti completely covered. And security officers will be on guard all day to make sure that the wall will not be "vandalised", at least until the shooting is completed.

In fact, these walls are white washed about once in every 6 weeks. But it takes less than a day for it to be completely covered with messages from the fans!

A word of advice, the best time to come is at night.... hehehe

My pilgrimage begins here at Abbey Road. Watch out for more beatlemania actions when I reach Liverpool next week!

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

London after 4 days

I never knew that Big Ben, the grandfather of all clocks, looks so magnificent and grand when seeing it close up from beneath.



I've never thought that one day, I would be standing in front of Buckingham Palace, watching the London Taxis sprinting by.



Of course I wouldn't have imagined that I would be singing "Dancing Queen" outside Buckingham Palace, as the Royal Band played those favourite tunes from ABBA.



And weeping as Fontine died at Queen's Theatre....



I guess I will never see the foggy and cold London that everyone tells me about. The sun has been so harsh lately that I have acquired a nice tan just after my 4th day here.



Stonehenge was great. The vastness of space and the quiet serenity make it easy to lose oneself in the mystery behind these ancient rocks. The ravens gathering around add a touch of creepiness to the place. If you listen carefully to the sound of the wind, you may hear a story, a legend maybe, of how it all begins.



Not forgetting the famous Chinatown and a sumptuous Chinese meal, the UK way (see all the classic Chinese dishes that the ang mohs like? Egg fried rice, sweet & sour pork, black bean chicken....)



And wherever you are in the world, things are quite the same. Someone just can't read the sign...





Little luxuries to please your senses


Signature espresso coffee available 24 hours a day



Make a wish upon your private patch of "stars studded sky"


* Coming soon.... to you friendly forest house! *

* * Sorry, but I don't have taps made of gold.

Monday, 9 June 2008

London Bridge is falling down

London bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down...

This famous nursery rhyme that no one would not know. But I guess not everyone knows how plain this "world famous" bridge looks in reality. Ta da...



It was today that Shoe and I found out that the images of London Bridge we have had since childhood were nothing but lies. Wasn't is suppose to be a big hanging draw bridge? Probably someone has confused it with the Tower Bridge below.



For information sake, let's get the facts right about this nursery rhyme and not mislead our children anymore.

"The 'London Bridge is falling down' Nursery Rhyme is based on the one of the most famous landmarks in London. It's history can be traced to the Roman occupation of England in the first century. The first London Bridge was made of wood and clay and was fortified or re-built with the various materials mentioned in the children's nursery rhyme. Many disasters struck the bridges - Viking invaders destroyed the bridge in the 1000's which led to a fortified design, complete with a drawbridge. Building materials changed due to the many fires that broke out on the bridge."

So it is true that the original "London Bridge" fell, but that's not the same as the stone bridge across river Thames that we see today.


Tower bridge lifting in the evening to let vessels pass through.


Greetings from Shoe and Ring, from London on the opposite side of the earth!

Saturday, 7 June 2008

旅途中... 我绽放着人生

来去匆匆的步伐干扰了身边人儿生活的频率。
最近听到一些埋怨,说我出门的次数太频密。

每一次,当我彻夜收拾行李的时候,
就答应自己这会是最后的旅行。
但在季节替换之前,双脚又出卖了心。
再一次,我开始远行。

旅行是一种使命,它让生命滋长出意义。
出走是情非得已,家变成了寄放烦恼的穴。
带着装满无所谓的背包,天涯海角任我去冒险。

原来一无所有,心会变得更自由。

既然是夏天,就让灵魂放肆的疯狂一遍。
既然是夏天,就让生命亮丽的绽放一回。





作词/作曲:五月天阿信

这一生 这一次 为自己 抬起头
至少要 骄傲的 盛开过

就狂舞如果吹狂风 就等待放晴的天空
如果雨越下越大 节奏就更猛

当风雨 都过去 迎着风 看天空
不放弃 才能够 有感动

这一生 这一次 为自己 抬起头
至少要 骄傲的 盛开过

有谁能听到我心脏 有谁能听到我绽放
谁能谁懂谁听见也 音乐正来自四方

当风雨 都过去 迎着风 看天空
不放弃 才能够 有感动

这一生 这一次 为自己 抬起头
至少要 骄傲的 盛开过

Friday, 6 June 2008

One night at the airport

Who wouldn't want a life without regret? Yet I never expect that 1 hour before my departure, I will be standing in front of the internet kiosk at the airport, penning down my sorry thoughts.

A friend has lost a family and at the time when he needed support and TLC, I will not be his angel.

Another friend is leaving home, to pursue his career in a foreign land. 18 years of friendship and I couldn't even be there to bid farewell.

At this time I wonder, do we always have to pay a price for what we love? While I am going to be fascinated by the land of Princes and Queens, I wish I could be here to share with my friends some of my blessings.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Nostalgic BKK

I feel an urge to write on those nights before I leave a city. It is like writing a farewell message to someone and I am starting to get a hang of it.

I know it is absurd to hear how fast my impression of a city changes when I travel. From hate at first sight to getting to like it here, it only takes a day or two. Thank goodness I do not maintain the same perspective when it comes to love.

Bangkok, like I imagine, is grey and congested. Yet in many ways it is similar to home. A couple of times I fell asleep in the car on my way to/from the office and woke up mistaken I was being driven along ECP. Of course, I won't have the luxury to fall asleep if I was really on ECP.

Roaming the busy streets of BKK tonight has brought back memories from a previous trip here, which I have almost forgotten. It was in 2004 when me and 3 friends visited BKK for a weekend shopping trip. I remember the trip as one in which the room rates at Novotel and Pathumwan Princess were too much for us to pay (why was I so poor back then?); when I heard the legend of Jim Thompson being told to me for the first time; and Shoe giggling in bed, telling me she watches BBC to sleep (ha good for her, we are visiting the home of BBC this weekend!)

Years passed. Friends parted and reunited. Stuff brought home from that trip are still in their original packaging shafted under my desk. BKK has changed a lot too, including that narrow road leading to the cheap hotel we stayed in 2004.

Although I don't feel any better about coming here, even now with my hindsight advantage, I am suddenly feeling nostalgic.


Sunday, 1 June 2008

忙、茫、盲

临行前一晚,心烦气躁。
第一次,我讨厌远行。
我是囚犯编号42A。

明天,脚会押着心登机,
明天,身体会随着空气漂流到异乡,
明天,烦恼会跟着我降落在乌烟瘴气的城市里。

曼谷的天气太炎热;
曼谷的气候太潮湿;
曼谷的交通太拥挤;
曼谷的节奏太缓慢;
曼谷的一切...令我窒息!



啊,天!苦不堪言。

我忙,我茫,我盲。

* 兴奋指数= zero
* 疲劳程度= infinity


Don't try to snatch the remote control away from me!