Monthly Archives: October 2009

My Friday night

A random post, just to remember how great it is to have simple things in life :)

I’m just gonna be thankful that I get to laze & read in bed, chillax a little & have such great friends & family to come home to.

This Friday evening constituted of….

Ikea meatballs FTW!

Ikea meatballs FTW!

Coffee & books, super FTW!

Coffee & books, super FTW! Thanks Onn for the cuppa ^_^

You want ALL of these? o_O

Yoon Onn: You want ALL of these? o_O

Yes, that’s my books wishlist for the moment :P

Tanjobi o omedeto!

Tanjobi o omedeto! Today is Sue’s birthday :)

:)

Happy birthday dear :) As long as we get to celebrate together these days, the prezzies & cake matter no more.

Revel in the small things of life, and you’d be instantly happier. Have a good weekend peeps!

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Murakami magic

It’s no secret that I’m a massive reader & hoards book, so a few years back when a friend recommended Norwegian Wood (which ironically, I still haven’t read yet), I chanced upon the interesting writer that is Haruki Murakami.

Now why is he an interesting writer… because in such a traditional society that is Japanese, Murakami’s style of writing is whimsical to say the least, and downright insane if you’re not letting your imagination enjoy the writing & instead tries to rationalise his work. My first encounter with him was The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and my, I had trouble remembering if I’m still living on this earth as the book delves into the psyche of a middle-aged Japanese man that lives the dullest of life, (until something happens, of course) but yet became so… outrageous that you really had to read it with an open mind for fear of discounting reality of things.

I persevered & finished the book, wondering if he is THAT random with all his books. I gave him a shot again though with Dance Dance Dance & must admit I enjoyed this book a lot more.

Perhaps it was more sane, perhaps it was more believable. I don’t know.

So to remain a reader that has faith in certain authors, I stayed away from Murakami for a bit, if just to retain my perspective on things and chanced upon his memoir, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, recently during a lunch time bookstore browse.

As a runner myself and a reader (have you guys seen my library yet? Yes I’ve got one), it immediately piqued my interest to see if what makes this whimsical author tick (and what makes him run marathons for the past 26 years without fail, yowza)

And my my, what gems that I found in this highly personal memoir was unexpected by any stretch. There were so many thoughts of his that resonated with me that as a book lover, I folded many corners of pages to remind myself to look back later & share some excerpts here with you (the book police will kill me, but oh what the hell)

‘For me, running is both exercise and a metaphor. Running day after day, piling up the races, bit by bit I raise the bar, and by clearing each level I elevate myself. At least that’s why I’ve put in the effort day after day: to raise my own level. I’m no great runner, by any means. I’m at an ordinary – or perhaps more like mediocre – level. But that’s not the point. The point is whether or not I improved over yesterday. In long-distance running the only opponent you have to beat is yourself, the way you used to be.’

‘I’m the kind of person who likes to be by himself. To put a finer point to it, I’m the type of person who doesn’t find it painful to be alone. “….” I could always think of things to do by myself.’

‘… but the world is made up of all kinds of people. Other people have their own values to live by, and the same holds true with me. These differences give rise to disagreements, and the combination of these disagreements can give rise to even greater misunderstandings.’

‘I’ve gradually come to the realization that this kind of pain & hurt is a necessary part of life. If you think about it, it’s precisely because people are different from others that they’re able to create their independent selves.’

‘So the fact that I’m me and no one else is one of my greatest assets. Emotional hurt is the price a person has to pay in order to be independent.’

‘… it’s hard to avoid losing. Nobody’s going to win all the time. On the highway of life you can’t always be in the fast lane. Still, I certainly don’t want to keep making the same mistakes over & over. Best to learn from my mistakes & put that lesson into practice the next time around. While I still have the ability to do that.’

‘I finally reached the end. Strangely, I have no feeling of accomplishment. The only thing I feel is utter relief that I don’t have to run anymore.’

‘Nothing in the real world is as beautiful as the illusions of a person about to lose consciousness.’

‘No matter what, though, I keep up my running. Running every day is a kind of lifeline for me, so I’m not going lay off or quit just because I’m busy. If I used being busy as an excuse not to run. I’d never run again. I have only a few reasons to keep on running, and a truckload of them to quit. All I can do is keep those few reasons nicely polished.’ <- this is so true, especially when I lead the kinda hectic lifestyle… but it’s something I found in my will to follow through – getting up early, go for a run at the beach, run when I’ve got jetlag… whatever it takes to keep it going because I’ve NEVER ever regretted a run (to quote my brother).

‘… They put up with such strenous training, and where did their thoughts, their hopes & dreams, disappear to? When people pass away, do their thoughts just vanish?’

‘People sometimes sneer at those who run everyday, claiming they’ll go to any length to live longer. But I don’t think that’s the reason most people run. Most runners run not because they want to live longer, but because they want to live life to the fullest. If you’re going to while away the years, it’s far better to live them with clear goals & fully alive than in a fog, and I believe running helps you do that. Exerting yourself to the fullest within your individual limits: that’s the essence of running, and a metaphor for life – and for me, for writing as well. I believe many runners would agree.’ <— another spot on one for me, for me it applies not only to running but photography & life as well.

‘You make do with what you have. As you age you learn even to be happy with what you have. That’s one of the few good points of growing older.’

‘The end of the race is just a temporary marker without much significance. It’s the same with our lives. Just because there’s an end doesn’t mean existence has meaning. An end point is simply set up as a temporary marker, or perhaps as an indirect metaphor for the fleeting nature of existence.’

‘I started to run – simply because I wanted to. I’ve always done whatever I felt like doing in life. People may try to stop me, and convince me I’m wrong, but I won’t change.’

‘Of course it was painful, and there were times when, emotionally, I just wanted to chuck it all. But pain seems to be a precondition for this kind of sport. If pain weren’t involved, who in the world would ever go to the trouble of taking part in sports like the triathlon or the marathon, which demand such an investment of time & energy?

It’s precisely because of the pain, that we can get the feeling, through this process, of really being alive – or at least a partial sense of it.’

Some of the above might be common sense stuff, and I suppose you do have to take those in the context it was written, but it all resonated with me a lot. Not just in terms of running, but life in general.

In all, it was really nice to have had a glimpse into the insights of Murakami the man – the same guy behind the most outrageous fiction but yet has his feet firmly planted on the ground (pardon the pun).

For me, I know why I run and I know why I’d keep running. It’s just nice to have someone that feels the same :)

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