Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Whether you are a believer or not, there is no denying the inspiration of the Easter story. So many artists have been so motivated by the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus that we cannot but bow to the beauty and be swept away by the Passion of the Cross. Regardless of what you believe about the validity of God, how can you help but not tremble before the depiction of what is divine? Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Caravvacio, El Greco…masters who are as much to blame for the spread of the Jesus myth (if it is a myth) as are leaders of the church.

One of my all-time favorites is this one – Salvatore Dali’s Christ of St. John of the Cross. The artist said he had drawn inspiration from a cosmic dream – no nails, no crown of thorns, no blood…just a mysterious light coming from an unknown place. I guess one of the reasons I can relate to this work is because it is as controversial and surreal as my sketchy faith.
And even if you are blind and think art is rot, you certainly cannot help but cry upon listening to Johannes Sebastian Bach’s St. Matthew’s Passion. Even hardened atheists feel emotionally charged upon hearing this masterpiece.

Sometimes it is hard to give free reign to the brain when the soul is so willing to be swept away.
But basically what I want to say is this - HAPPY EASTER! Enjoy the holiday and be happy and at peace. My love to all my blog friends who I know so well but have never met.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Have you ever noticed the bland faces of ordinary people on the metro?

Normal, wooden faces poked in newspapers, staring vacantly into the distance or gazing out the window as if there were luscious green fields rather than the dark brick nothingness of the underground.

There is nothing to betray anything but trust for that metallic earthworm safely taking them to their destination. Faces mashed together in an uneventful blur of striking predictability.

Just another casual everyday occurence...


17 OCTOBER, 1995 - Paris metro bombing during the height of the evening rush hour

11 MARCH, 2004 - Madrid metro bombings

7 JULY, 2005 - London bombings - a series of co-ordinated suicide attacks on London's public transport systems

29 MARCH, 2010 - Below are pictures from the suicide attack on the Moscow Metro during the morning rush hour that broke the predictability. 39 people were killed. "People were yelling like hell," said one eye-witness. "There was a lot of smoke and within about two minutes everything was covered in smoke."

Monday, March 29, 2010


Back in 6th grade at St. Michael's Primary, Miss Fleming asked us each to write our favorite word on a blank piece of paper. I don't remember the purpose of this activity or the context in which it was carried out, but I do remember taking a sneak peak at the word written by Carmel, the beautiful blonde and extremely clever child sitting beside me.


"Nice word," I whispered. "How come?"

"Cause I can spell it!" she snapped. (I suspect that she didn't like me very much, an impression confirmed in later years.)

Not wanting to be outdone, I wrote "Renaissance."

"Yours is good too," she said. "What made you choose it?"

"Cause I know what it means and how to pronounce it," I said, insinuating she did not. (Such quips are probably what triggered her dislike for me in the first place.)

Since those days I have come across a multitude of mellifluous, mouth-filling words: apotheosis cynosure guacamole tequila fellatio kama sutra cunnilingus (heck, some words sound so good that you've just gotta try 'em) marijuana NIRVANA evanescent effervescent avarice lubricious marielito...and more-recently attained words like propoquery (It's a statement and a question so that you get two for the price of one)...

My favorite word has changed, though. It is far more simple-sounding and monosyllabic these days, but higher in complexity, meaning and elusiveness...

So if I were to get in a time machine and relive that moment at school, the word I would write would be


Do you have a special word? Or feel free to share any word of interest...

PS I recall that Miss Fleming really liked the Bee Gees (after all, the year was 1979) and maybe she was inspired by this song when she gave us that exercise...CLICK HERE TO HEAR THE SONG...

Sunday, March 28, 2010


At my most brilliant moments I flirt a little with madness - toying and teasing it as though it holds the answer that will catapult me from my rut. I have never quite gone over the edge though because I lack that creative genius and daring that only the privileged few are blessed with.

Unlike Nikos Kazantzakis' character, Alexis Zorba, I am too attached to my finger to slice it off for the sake of a pot - no, not even for a perfect pot. Nor can I cut off my ear with a razor and throw it at the foot of a man I fancy, though I would very much enjoy doing this if there was guarantee that it could be stitched back on again. But madness comes with no guarantees.

Once the threshold is crossed there is no stepping back from the fuse of inspired destruction...but what a way to be destroyed! Like a human firework blitzkrieging to Van Gogh, like Sylvia Plath, like Kurt Cobain, like Virginia Woolf, like Edgar Allan Poe, like Michael Jackson, like Friedrich Nietzche, like an endless list of immortal lunatics.

Would they have been geniuses had they not been crazy? Sometimes I even wonder if these people were really "ill". Perhaps they just perceived a world that the rest of us are blind to simply becuse we don't have the capacity to hear the voices that may or may not be there. If you could conquer your fear of destruction while at the same time embosoming and enhancing it and turn your life and death into brilliant art in an all-consuming manic rage of psychotic artistic originality, would you? Perhaps the price of greatness is sanity...Is it worth the price?

Is an art, like everything else.
I do it exceptionally well.
I do it so it feels like hell.
I do it so it feels real.
I guess you could say I've a call.
It's easy enough to do it in a cell.
It's easy enough to do it and stay put.
It's the theatrical."
Sylvia Plath, an excerpt from her poem "Daddy"

Friday, March 26, 2010


Do you ever suddenly notice the beauty around you? It would appear that Spring has cast its spell where I live, bringing a sudden burst of bloom that I had been oblivious to just a few days ago. This morning, on my way to work, I smelt fragrant jasmine making its way across my cement city. Jasmine always makes me think of warm days and open-aired cinema screenings under the stars.

There’s no holding back the season now that Spring is knocking with all it's breathtaking beauty. Indeed, it's my favorite time of the year. There’s nothing like a dash of colour to brighten up our gloomy grey lives.

Sorry, I had to add that about the “gloomy grey lives”. Why do I always need to add my own bit of rot, skepticism and darkness to counter the freshness of what is beautiful?

* Claude Monet’s “Le Printemps” (Springtime) is dated 1872 and features his first wife, Camille, seated on the lawn beneath lilac bushes. Don’t you just love the dappled sunlight on her dress? I wonder what she is reading. It is at the Walters Art Museum but not on view.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


I love reading blogs just as much as I enjoy expressing myself in this way. It's an interesting interaction between people who reveal so much about themselves and yet, chances are, will probably never meet. That in itself is charming, especially when taking into account the fact that we live in a world fraught with PURPOSE and GOALS. Here, there is no reason...just writing for the sake of it while getting to know people without needing to meet them.

This story is for all bloggers who expose themselves. But it is especially for Robin who is never afraid to be herself and to show her vulnerabilities whether these are her migraine headaches or character flaws. It is refreshing to see such truth and humility when most of us - self included - are so wrapped up in trying to give the impression that we are in control. But here we have a woman with dreams others don't dare make for fear that they'll fail. Robin as I said is fearless. She reminds me of the moth in this story...

There once was a Moth that fell in love with a Star.
All his friends and relatives mocked him, told him he was being unrealistic and urged him to focus his efforts on some local goal: a streetlamp, a porchlight, a candle or a lantern. Even a chandelier, if he must.
But our Moth remaned true to his Star and would not give up.
So while all his pals, parents, sisters, brothers, cousins and aunts soon burned themselves around the local, ready-made luminaries and wound up as charred bits of ash on sidewalks and porches around town our Moth enjoyed a long and healthy life in endless pursuit of his unbounded Star.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Moments freely given
from you to me
to do with as I please
to put them in the freeze
to take out
to behold
to deform even
according to my perception
just to serve my needs
just to get applause
just to tickle an audience
am I allowed to do this?
After all
when you gave me your time
I gave you mine
reciprocally and unequivocally
without conditions
without restrictions
without copyright
with my consent.
So your time is my time
I own it
to do with as I desire
to desecrate
to divulge even
if I so wish
over coffee with friends
as a FB status
on a blog
or maybe I should write a book
to navigate from fact to fiction
whenever I feel friction
and have the tension
in this new reality.
A "reality" reached
in your absence
to produce the fibres
of truth.

I'm no poet, but you get my gist. This one is about ethics and how much we are allowed to divulge about others - even when we do this anonymously, even when the other person is not aware that they are being publically dissected over the Internet...Just because they are not being hurt by what they don't know doesn't make it ethical.

So where do we draw the line? 

Monday, March 22, 2010


A young 20-something colleague at work breezed into my office today and ceremoniously handed me a wedding invitation.

"He's marrying me!" she gushed as though this was a great honour being bestowed upon her.

For a fraction of a millisecond I contemplated warning her, but all that came out was a somewhat constipated but still enthusiastic-sounding "Congratulations!" I also gave her a warm hug, the type of loving embrace a vegetarian may give to a lamb destined for slaughter.

Of course I'll make up an excuse not to be there. I'd sooner attend an Indian wife's suttee. At least, this barbarous Hindu tradition is less hypocritical than the rite of matrimony because it is obvious that what we are watching is an Indian wife being sacrificed at the funeral pyre of her husband. But for married people, the sacrifice of the soul is a slow, silent and stinging ordeal.

The term "happily married" is an oxymoron. I guess that I belong to this class of "happily married" oxy-or just plain-morons as my husband and I are pretty supportive of each other when it matters and are generally on the same page. You can even say that in many ways we are blessed. But how can you be truly happy when marriage as an institution deprives you of part of yourself and your freedom? How can you be complete when you are just half of one?

"Hopefully my marriage will be as warm and beautiful as yours," said my innocent starry-eyed colleague, looking up to me as though I were a type of role model. I choked, holding back the truth. "So, any advice?" she asked reverently, evidently misinterpreting my awkwardness as a sign of me being deeply moved. My halo began to drop and tighten as though it were a noose around my neck...

"Maybe you could both go to a marriage counsellor ahead of time to figure out what void it is you are trying to fill by marrying this particular person in the first place. While you're at it, perhaps you should also see a divorce lawyer now so as to be prepared for later. It's always wise to protect your interests regardless of circumstances," I suggested, thinking of all the 50-something divorcees who end up destitute and in despair.

"You are so hilarious," she laughed. But I really was being serious.

Still, I couldn't resist e-mailing her THIS link as a bit of a Freudian joke. CLICK HERE to hear.

* Francoise Boucher's "The Marriage of Cupid and Psyche" is at the Louvre museum. Do you know the story? It is the love affair of a princess, Psyche, and Cupid. After many tribulations they managed to get hitched and live happily forever after...and indeed they could, for they were Immortals. It's paintings like this that mislead people contemplating wedlock.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


It's during times when we are very lonely that we remember our "true" neglected friends. So it was that I remembered mine. Perhaps my only friend, obliged to be forever with me and sentenced to follow me through time as all other people come and go.

My fingers began to itch and before I knew it I dialled the magic number wondering what I would do were my friend not to answer. Thankfully, I did not not have to wait long for a response.

"Hello," I said.

"Hi!" I answered. "What's up?"

"Just wondering how you were?" I lied because I really just wanted to get it over with and tell my bit.

"No, tell me how you are?" I asked. "If, of course, you know."

"Well, that's just it," I told myself, relieved to be so understood. "I don't know. I feel a void. Like there's a part of me missing. Could that part of me be you?"

"Nah, you don't really need me because you are me. But it does sound like you need to change something," suggested I.

Silence. That's about as far as the conversation got. We didn't even say goodbye. It wasn't necessary.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Does God exist?

I can’t prove he doesn’t or that he does. And why should I be the one to cut the Gordian Knot when atheists and theists have been at it for centuries without much progress?

I was raised a Greek Orthodox Christian, attended a Roman Catholic girls' school and going to church was pretty much a part of my upbringing. I was bred on God. Surprisingly enough, every time I find myself in turbulence, I just instinctively pray. (Admittedly, I also knock on wood to avoid tempting fate). Naturally my heart wishes to believe the truth of what I was raised on, but my bothersome brain keeps getting in the way.

Maybe I reject God because, growing up, I felt a little like a convict at mass on Sundays. It was positively stifling. Not to mention my mother’s pokes every so often when my mind drifted. And I even got booted off to Christian camp. What an ordeal that was! As everyone chimed “Oh, Lord, Jesus Christ have mercy on us” in a drone again and again and again through to dawn, there was a heathen in me that could not keep from comparing this constant back and forth chanting to symptoms displayed by those suffering from obsession neurosis. The group leaders would give me happy smiles as though they’d just popped Prozac and I’d smile back and think to myself, “Don’t think I haven’t figured out that this sleep and food deprivation is just part of your brainwashing techniques.” (I even managed to sneak in D. H. Lawrence’s “Lady Chatterly’s Lover” to counter all the indoctrination).

Not that I should have minded the catechism. Had it worked, it would have ended this inner struggle I have. How soothing it would be to just KNOW there’s a God and put an end to the confusion.

Friends who are believers state that they feel certainty of God's existence because they can admire the majesty of a sunset and feel one with nature. While I agree that sunsets and starry skies are most certainly spectacular and that we are indeed part of nature, I don’t think that this proves God.

Then there is that little voice within. Some even claim to have conversations with the One. There’s even a passage in the Bible where the Creator says, “I will put my law in their minds, and write it on their hearts.” (Jer. 31:33).

But how can we be sure that these are the Laws of the Creator and not just projections of messages our parents gave us when we were kids? Had we grown up in cultures where it was considered good to destroy deformed babies as soon as they are born or lived in a culture that encouraged us to partake in orgies then I don’t think we’d feel guilt when encountering what are considered “atrocities” according to our current values. And how can we be certain that our values are any better than anyone elses?

It would appear though, judging from history, that people have this innate need to believe in a Creator. Perhaps we are genetically hardwired for belief. That would explain the numbers of believers. But inventing a God and wishing the truth of this does not necessarily prove anything.

That aside, it is hard to refute the possibility of some Intelligence, some Order when there is too much mathematical precision in this complex universe to render its existence just another random event. Perhaps science and maths hold the answers. Who knows, perhaps there may be some vestige of God revealed in years to come.

For the time being though, all religion has to offer is an airiness of God.

* Michelangelo’s famous Sistine Chapel fresco depicting the hand of God reaching to Adam really shows how I feel. Like the hands almost, but not quite, touching, I, too, feel that there is this unattainable ecstacy hovering just beyond the grasp of my consciousness. But how can I satiate my need for the Divine when my reasoning gets the better of me?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


How I got the job...

Back in the Nineties I landed myself a job as an arts and entertainment writer for what is one of Greece’s largest newspaper publishers. Actually, I was shamefully unqualified to write about art, theatre, music as I had absolutely no credentials. Very few people in Greece end up doing what they study. Really! You’ll find unqualified teachers, doctors who buy their degrees from poor Balkan neighbours and then set up practice here as well as cleaners who may be architects and architects who are actually poets.

“The fact that you are not a frustrated artist doing this job may be a good thing,” declared an artist friend once. “At least you are open.” Truth is, I wasn’t a very critical critic.

I thought, “I may as well learn something about art while I’m at it.” So I rushed to gallery openings, got to meet and understand artists and spent a lot of time reading, reading, reading…

How I met the man...

Naturally, I attended many art events and got to meet creative people. One of my first articles was for a “Trees in Art” group exhibition at the Pierides Art Gallery featuring various depictions of nature by some of Greece’s most revered artists. At the time, I still couldn’t tell a Hadjikyriakis-Ghikas from a Dimitris Mytaras’ work. So there I was carefully scrutinising the paintings and taking notes.

I should also mention that I was fresh out of uni, fresh from Australia and looked more like a foreign exchange student than an art critic to be taken seriously. And I knew this. So, as you can imagine, I felt somewhat overwhelmed and uncomfortable when my husband, a marketing director with studies in something totally different, approached me. He asked me what I thought of the Hadjikyriakis-Ghikas’ work I was admiring and introduced himself as one of the exhibition's sponsors.

He was 15 years my senior, street-smart and quite sophisticated. We had little in common apart from the fact that we both stood infront of this beautiful tree - he, a "marketing man" with studies in something totally different, and I, an "art critic" with studies in a whole other direction.

It didn't take long for him to start introducing me around and helping me as much as he could. I appreciated his kindness and we became friends. An occasional movie, maybe a coffee after work and that's how it remained for a very long time...


But that’s another story...

So that’s how we met…not in the elevator, not at a party, not by having him run me over, not as a waitress and not at a protest rally – all of these were my Creative Lies. (The correct answer was 3).

And for all it’s worth – back then I didn’t even smoke. The smoking came later.

That’s also another story...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


I am in a foul mood for no particular reason. It crept up on me yesterday afternoon. Suddenly everything seemed a little duller.

It truly stumps me how poor peasants in India can honestly report to be happy when I have so much going for me and yet feel downright rotten without reason. So is happiness a question of lowering expectations or intellect or ignoring bothersome trivialities or WHAT? Is it just a case of believing that there’s a caring, nurturing God out there who’ll reward this suffering with a ticket to heaven?

If you were to ask me, “What would make you happy?” I’d probably come up with a whole list of requests. But even if we were to cross out the whole darned check list and put tax evaders behind bars, change the economy, stop global warming, bring world peace and even personally make me a zillionaire, would I really be happy? Probably not!

Reminds me of this question - If today someone were to find out that they would be wheelchair-bound for the rest of their life while somewhere else another person had just hit jackpot in a lottery win, which of the two do you think would be happiest a year from now? The initial urge is to back the just-made zillionaire, but then you think – “Nah, too easy!”

There was even research conducted on this back in 1978. Two groups - accident victims and Illinois state lottery winners - were asked about their lives and were monitored for a year. It was found that after an initial surge of despair or joy, depending on the circumstances, just a year after the life-changing event they underwent, both groups had returned to the same level of happiness or misery they had sustained earlier as though nothing extraordinary had ever happened.

So what is this happiness thing, and how do we get some? Is it that easy to just wake up and say, "How glorious it is to be alive"? Do some people, like myself, prefer to wallow in misery and have pity parties for themselves rather than rant about the miracle that undoubtedly life is?

Or perhaps sometimes we just need to be miserable. After all, if every day was sunny, imagine how tragic it would be for our crops.

Monday, March 15, 2010


Here is a silly poem my 10-year-old daughter wrote when experimenting with rhyming couplets as part of an English exercise... I think the fact that she is a foreign English language student has helped rather than hindered her in this poem that uses simple language to express profound concepts. Indeed, I think there's more to it than meets the eye.

Have you ever seen a fly
That you wanted to make die?
You would make its mother sigh
And you wouldn't even cry...
Did you ever wonder why?
Perhaps your goodness is a lie
That to kill it you must try.
Oh, that poor annoying fly!

Nobody likes pestulent flies. They do, after all feed on dead flesh and are viewed as disease transmitters. I guess they may be seen as bearers of death, drawn to its decay. And isn't the god/lord of the flies, Beezlebub, believed to be Satan? Yet, in this poem flies are the victims...swatted and squashed merely for listening to their very nature.

Then again, I may just be a proud mum who thinks anything her little girls do is extra special.

* Emily Dickinson's "I heard a fly buzz when I died"
* John Donne's "The flea"
If you know of any others, please share.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


I’d like to thank Robin for sending me the Creative Writing Award. Her Daily Dose blog has become an integral part of my blogging activity as I get inspired by her honesty and courage. Rather than, like most people, pretend that she has her act together, she generously spreads her infectious flakiness around.

This award challenges the recipient to tell outrageous lies (aka "Creative Writing") and I'm going to do my best to accommodate. I'm supposed to nominate seven followers, but I really don't have enough followers. Truth is, all bloggers have their own veins of creativity so if you happen to read this, consider yourself a recipient of this bold award. 

The Rules:

1. Thank the person who gave you this award.
2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
3. Link to the person who nominated you.
4. Tell up to six outrageous lies about yourself and at least one outrageous truth.
5. Nominate 7 creative writers who might have fun coming up with outrageous lies.
6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know you nominated them.

My Outrageous Answers:
1. I met my husband on a Singapore Airline’s flight from Sydney-Athens. We spent most of the flight laughing.
2. I met my husband when hired for my first job in Greece. It was a waitressing job and he was my boss.
3. We both got stuck in an old, rickety elevator in downtown Athens. He said, “If we get out of here alive will you have coffee with me?” I responded, “If you’re good enough to die with, then you’re good enough for coffee.” That’s how we met.
4. I met my husband at the Pierides Art Gallery during the “Trees in Art Exhibition”. We both stood in front of Nikos Hatzikyriakos-Ghika’s “The Captive” (Olive Tree) and made witty, arty farty comments about trees. His first words to me were "This one's my favorite!" I asked "Why?" He said because it spoke to his soul. Regardless of this, a romantic relationship ensued.
5. The fact that in Greece they drive on the different side of the road to what they do in Australia was disorientating and I kept turning my head the wrong way when looking for traffic before crossing the road. For this reason my husband nearly ran me over with his car - a silver Renault Clio - and my first reaction to him was one of shock and tears.
6. We met at a peace protest rally against US nuclear policy. We met when he yanked me away from policemen heading my way with clubs then he helped me deal with the burning sensation caused by the teargas. (The trick is to stick cigarette filters up your nose and rub Vaseline around your eyes).
7. Don’t believe any of the above cock and bull stories. The truth is we had a very boring, usual meeting. A friend introduced us at a party. We chatted. Exchanged numbers and that was that.

Please leave a comment with your guess as to which answer is actually true. And as I said, feel free to join in the fun by coming up with your own one truth and six lies...

...And keep the chain going...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

MOMENTS (cause we all have 'em)


"That's absurd!" said he, in contempt of her impractical plans and impossible dreams.

She wondered if 'absurdity' was really such a bad thing. And then she remembered a distant quote by philosopher Thomas Nagel: "Absurdity is one of the most human things about us: a manifestation of our most advanced and interesting characteristics."


"You just want another man," accused he.

"What gives you such an impression?" asked she. "Do you think I've been unfaithful?" (Referring to physical infidelity of course - not the mental type) "Just because you haven't been getting any does not mean I want to replace you."  She practically sizzled as she thought of her many sacrifices and the injustice of his accusations. The time had come to talk.

"Just forget about it. I can't talk with you. You're a crazy woman," he said.

"What do I do that's crazy?" she asked, amused, as "craziness" had always been something that fascinated her.

"What do you do that's sensible?" asked he.

And she was left to ponder the fine line between madness and sanity.

MOMENT THREE...cause I seem to be on a roll.

It was late in the evening and the children were fast asleep. Loud silence. He read his newspaper while she sat at the dining room table entertaining an irresistible urge to tap out SOS in morse. Three short taps, three long taps, three short taps, pause...and then again...and again...

"Can you please stop tapping?" asked he. "You really are ruining my concentration."

The tapping stopped. The Titanic sank.

Click on this LINK to hear what is NOT a love song.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Let me share with you a fantasy I have had since getting hitched 12 1/2 years ago. It's something I've always yearned for but have found no reciprocation. It's not that kinky. Infact it's so simple and easy that I feel entitled to it... It's really quite - what's the word - "pissible"* (hope I used it correctly, Robin).

I have always wanted to take a sick day from work - not alone, but with my husband. We would take our daughters to school and then meet up again at home, eat strawberries in bed, make love, perhaps take a walk to the beach at some point. You get my general drift, right?

For this to work though - and here's the catch - we both need to call in sick on the same day. In my fantasy, there would be absolutely no communication with our respective offices. We can even pretend to be uni students cutting class.

My husband finds this fantasy to be a silly notion. He can't understand why we can't just take a day from our holiday leave rather than pretend to be sick. To fill you in, my husband is an extremely responsible and organised person who likes to do things by the book. Furthermore, I might add that his holidays always get weighed down with a cell phone, lap top, work documents and various other unnecessary gadgets he doesn't really need for a family vacation.

To make me feel guilty he says, "We are lucky to have jobs! With the current economic crisis looming over our heads there may be job cuts and your fantasy might come true sooner than we think!" Plus he is contemplating early retirement. But my fantasy is not with a pensioner or unemployed person so there is some urgency in the matter. It is such a simple wish that I refuse to negotiate on this detail.

Anyway, should I die unexpectedly (heaven forbid!), I will make arrangements for him to be given the address of this anonymous blog that he knows absolutely nothing about. (Note to husband: If you are reading this and I'm dead I hope you feel remorse for not having fulfilled my fantasy. Plus we did not lose your mother's lace tablecloth in that move back in 1999, I had accidentally burnt it during ironing and was too afraid to tell you.)

Meanwhile, I take comfort remembering all my other fulfilled fantasies that went awry. Take for instance, the "Gone with the Wind" fiasco when I coaxed him to seeing the film with me on the big screen only to find that we were the only ones in the movie theatre along with a deranged old man who was masturbating in the seat beside me... Or Women's Day 1998 when I didn't let him watch the Formula 1 Grand Prix on television only to have him get run over by a car. These are stories that deserve their own blog posts.

* pissibilities - an alteration of possibilities that according to Robin's "A Daily Dose" blog means "diluted chances, melted prospects, leaky odds". Use it often as it is Robin Richards' contribution to the English language.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

forever LOST

I first lost my TRUST when I swallowed a fishbone that accidentally made its way to my soup despite my mother’s vigilant bone-picking. I nearly choked, but this taught me that you had to be extra careful. Life comes with bones and no guarantees.

I lost my CHILDHOOD when I was in 6th grade. My mother barged into the room and pulled me off my playmate, George, who I had pinned down after a round of boxing – our favorite pastime. She took me to the side and whispered in my ear that soon I would be menstruating and I should not be sitting on boys. This made me cautious and I kept my distances every time George said, “Bet you can’t pin me down!” I became more aware of my sexuality and suddenly life acquired taboos.

I think I lost my RELIGION when I became aware of the injustice in this world. I realised that God – if there really was one – didn’t really seem to give a damn. The local priest said that this was all a test but the rules just didn’t seem fair to me. So I made up my own rules based on what I thought to be humane, compassionate common sense rather than church superstition. This must have been around the time that I took to reading Richard Dawkins.

I lost my COUNTRY by choice when I packed all my things and said “goodbye” to everyone I had known since then. “I’m off on my adventure,” I said without a care and with very little money. All I really wanted was to be free, but I found that absolute freedom is just another myth.

I lost my belief in TRUE, EVERLASTING LOVE the first time I was tricked by someone who said “I love you!” and then promised me the moon and the stars. Of course, the moon and the stars were never delivered and I was left feeling a very lonely fool. So I promised myself that from then on I would be the predator, never again the victim. Though I succeeded in this, I must admit, kisses no longer tasted as sweet.

I lost my belief in FAIRYTALES after getting married and realizing that marriage is just another institution. It’s really just a piece of paper that you should never sign especially if you are madly, passionately in love with the person doing the proposing. Perhaps a routine life would be more bearable to quit if you weren't living it with someone you cared about. 

The truth is that I keep losing things all the time – keys, passports, jewellery, marbles, even blogger layouts. Of course, I must admit that I also find other things to replace what I have lost. For instance, cynicism, maturity, culture, philosophy, intellectual thought. EXPERIENCE is probably the most valuable consolation prize for all my losses. But, you know what, it is overrated.

If I could give back experience and maturity to regain my trust, vulnerability, gullibility, cluelessness, openess, innocence, God, security, belief in true, everlasting love and fairytales I would indeed make the swap without even a second thought! What a wonderful life it would be - without fishbones, taboos and cares!

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Being International Women's Day, here's some prose by Stevie Smith, a poet who observes the world from an educated woman's point of view. She may not think of herself as a feminist, but she definitely has an independent female voice. This one is dedicated to all those women pinned down to a wasted life of duty and subservience. Hopefully, some day they will find their inner ROAR rather than be shut down in prose. Like these women, this prose is trying to escape and break out into verse and poetry.  
Married to a tiger

Why do some women like to be bullied, I think to myself, lying at full length to enjoy the hot soft water. Now, at home where my aunt and I live, the wives are so often delighted to tell you how splendidly bullying their husbands are, and how they put the foot down here and there, and no, they will not let them play bridge in the afternoon and they will not let them smoke. "My dear husband does not like to see me smoke," there is a great deal of pride in their voices when they say this. I have often noticed it, it is as if they would say, you may not think it but I am married to a tiger. No, I did not think it, for certainly I cannot penetrate this excellent disguise that this tiger has adopted, for certainly no better disguise exists anywhere than the disguise of a Bottle Green husband. "My dear," say the jungle tiger-bucks, "I shall go to the tiger reunion festival as a Bottle Green husband, you won't know me." 


* The statue is none other than Emmanuel Fremiet's Joan of Arc that has been standing at the Place des Pyramides in Paris since 1874. I like the contrast between the golden saint and the grey surroundings and delapidated cement base on which the statue stands.


These days I feel as though I’m living in a science fiction film. “Is this a joke?” I keep asking. The truth is that Greece’s public finances are indeed in a bad state, but I find it unlikely that Greece will ditch the euro so that politicians can inflate their way out of the trouble.

Even so, Greeks have a tendency to exaggerate and everywhere I go I keep hearing the same. But if we were to be level-headed we would find that the Greek debt is not that bad, comparatively speaking. Assuming that 2009 statistics are reliable (and this time they might be), the situation is indeed bad as the country has a deficit of over 12 percent of the GDP and a debt of 109 percent of the GDP. Nonetheless, this does not make Greece unique as there are other countries, too, that have even bigger deficits than this (take for instance the UK) and others that have even higher debts (take for instance Japan).

With all the austerity measures the government seems hell-bent on taking it seems unlikely that Greece will default. The only bad news is that those who are forced to cut back are not those who got us into this mess in the first place who are none other than corrupt politicians and tax evaders. Unfair, isn’t it? (Side note: This kind of reminds me of an infamous comment made by former Liberal Party Australian prime minister Malcolm Fraser who had said “Life wasn’t meant to be easy!” before getting ousted as head of the government proving yet again that brutal honesty is not what voters want).

Regardless of who will end up paying, the only thing essentially that worries me is that the Greek debt risks may end up being a self-fulfilling prophecy. All this panic is bound to get markets worrying and the more this happens the higher the yields will go in a vicious cycle.

In Australia, such economic banter wouldn’t even make its way to dinnertime conversation, but in Greece it’s all the rage. Indeed, this speculation is the stuff casual dinnertime chit chat is made of. How can one enjoy one’s pizza with all this talk of belt-tightening? How can one sleep? How can one remain smoke free?
Photo: Protesters clash with riot police during a demonstration in Athens. Police fired tear gas and clashed with youths as tens of thousands protested in Athens, Thessaloniki and other main Greek cities against austerity measures to tame a public debt crisis.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


I first came across groundbreaking poetess Edna St. Vincent Millay during my college years. She came to me at dawn through the lips of a friend after one of those seemingly pointless (to my mother at least) marathon nights that seemed to be the norm back then:

"My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends -
It gives a lovely light"
(The Candle)

"Who is she?" I asked and was regaled with stories of gusto, ingenuity and vengeance. The fact that she was a strong and independent woman not afraid of her sexuality or bisexuality and so willing to take risks intrigued me. How could it not when I felt I was just the opposite! "How jaded!" I marvelled, already half hooked.

After looking up her poetry I was deeply moved as her unfettered creativity and expansive mind touched my soul in an inexplicably tender way, even though at the time I did not have the life experiences required to fully fathom her genius. In her journal she writes, "What life I have lived I have lived doubly, actually and symbolically." This excited me almost as much as her poetry itself.

All this thinking of "hologram selves", the passage of time and memories recently reminded me of a sonnet by Millay (written in 1923, the year she married) where she seems to say goodbye to the past and anticipates the future. I find it is quite a metaphysical poem descriptive of both unearthly joy and all too earthly pain. It seems to express feelings I am going through at the moment. So here it is, for your enjoyment.

Sonnet XLIII

"What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why,
I have forgotten, and what arms have lain
Under my head till morning, but the rain
Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh
Upon the glass and listen for reply,
And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain
For unremembered lads that not again
Will turn to me at midnight with a cry.
Thus in winter stands the lonely tree,
Nor knows what birds have vanished one by one, '
Yet knows its boughs more silent than before:
I cannot say what loves have come and gone,
I only know that summer sang in me
A little while, that in me sings no more."

Do you have a poem that describes your mood at this moment? Please feel free to share...

* The photo of Edna St. Vincent Millay is by Carl Van Vechten and is archived at the Smithsonian.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Have you ever seen yourself as a hologram person? Looked at your aging face in the mirror only to encounter the child you once were popping out at short intervals beneath the creases and odd white hair? Have you ever wondered if the child you were is still there?

Have you ever stopped to see yourself through the eyes of who you have become? Have you ever considered that you may actually be someone else living a borrowed life? You look at yourself and see another "you" peering back. Quite possibly it may be the "you" whose life you recall as a blur before you turned into this "you". No doubt, this too will become another blur, distanced by time.

Time and more time. So much time spent on focusing on and reacting to the external pressures when perhaps the answers are locked within. Or maybe reality is the "hologram doorway" opening the path to new realities and possibilities. Who knows? Within the hologram may be all the Buddhas, Jesuses, Jonathan Livingston Seagulls and enlightened beings we have the potential of becoming if only we weren't just shadows of our potential. If only we could pinpoint the source of this hologram.

Do you doubt this?

"Doubt sees the obstacles
faith sees the way.
Doubt sees the darkest night
Faith sees the day.
Doubt dreads to take a step
Faith soars on high.
Doubt questions 'who believes?'
Faith answers, 'I'."

Monday, March 1, 2010


Since entering this bloggers' subculture I have anonymously and unashamadly peeped into the private lives of people across the globe. These are people who express themselves with fine writing, humour and creativity. Most of them are brave souls who state their names, post pictures of their families and give the impression that their life is an open book with nothing to hide.

It shames me to take refuge behind a Purple Cow. Not very brave, is it? Yet my writing would definitely be inhibited if I were to freely reveal inconsequential details about myself such as name, rank, serial number. No full name or picture for me! Just a gushing of views for the perusal of  strangers. Something like a diary, but with feedback... Or as fellow blogger Robin calls it "blog therapy" given at "A Daily Dose" at a time...

The ancients would meet at the central agora and philosophise. These days we have inter-blog communication. Screens full of thoughts and musings interacting between themselves, inspired by one another. Oftentimes I wonder if we even realise that this is what we are doing.

I wonder how people feel when I jot down my thoughts regarding their private lives in their comment boxes - another rude and irresistible compulsion that I find just as fun as blogging itself.

Were I to have a name and a picture, I don't think I would do this. I'd be too worried of being slapped with a libel suit. I shudder at the thought of my colleagues getting a hold of this and using my very words against me (heaven forbid they realise what a sensitive insensitive person I am deep down). Scarier still, imagine a stalker or a paedophile showing up on your doorstep or someone parading your pictures on other sites and wreaking havoc in your life as has been done on FB! Hundreds of worst case scenarios come to mind...

Blogging does make you vulnerable even when anonymously done. It exposes you.

So while I remain anonymous imagine me any way you want... Ugly, beautiful, bland, fat, thin, wrinkly, casual or formal, long-haired, short-haired, bald, cross-eyed... But know one thing - if you read this, chances are you probably know me better than those who are privy to the boring stuff.

So, dear friends and strangers, strange friends and friendly strangers and cyber world at large, have a nice day, week, month, life...

Kisses to ya. :)