Monday, July 31

So Good!

My grandma arrives today!

By the way, there've been no pics on my weblo recently because my phone's memory card is fried, so I have to find a new one and haven't really bothered looking. Cheer me on!

So my grandma and I have one week to make the best of this beautiful side of the world together. We will be be doing some of the touristy stuff like going up the Pearl Tower and the Jin Mao tower (tallest building in China, 5th tallest in the world, right here in my home town!) We'll also visit the Bund on the Huangpu river bank, with its gorgeous view of Shanghai city skyline. Best of all, we'll be visiting paradise on Earth: Hangzhou! I'm so very excited. This is my second visit, and if we're lucky there'll be pictures this time.


Then she'll be heading back to Richmond in time to prepare for my cousin Katharine's wedding!

Right now my parents are visiting my sister Charlotte in Quebec from Richmond, staying for a week! Plus Charlotte will be flying to Richmond for Katharine's wedding - which is on my birthday, Sept. 2 - my 26th!

Tuesday, July 25

Unhappy danio

Haha! I knew that title would catch your attention!

Yesterday was a fine day, but I was unhappy for a while. During that while, I got on the phone with a friend who noticed the unhappiness in my voice. Now, as far as I'm concerned, a little bit of unhappiness is nothing to worry about - maybe even a good sign. But I've learned that maybe I don't like people to notice that I can be unhappy. This friend has been trying to get me to feel happy since, and everytime it just reminds me that my unhappiness showed. It feels like a nagging, making me once again uneasy, irritated even.

Over the years, a number of friends have pointed out to me that I am always happy, and they are amazed at this. This was encouragement for me to work harder to make sure that I am always more and more happy, so that I can be a positive influence on others, and so that this happiness may spread around. In the process, though, I may have become attached to the idea of appearing happy to others. One of the cool things about my life in China is that many of my positive personality traits which used to stand out in the US are barely noticeable here! That's because the average Chinese person is so very mild-mannered that we barely ever discern any disagreeable behavior in each other. It's great for me, because I have to get used to not being perceived as having an excellent temper.

On the flipside, I am perpetually praised with an endless streams of compliments on other elements of myself - from talents to intelligence, etc. But that hasn't been too difficult for me, since I am not attached to having or not having those. I just keep trying to do better.

A few days ago I started a journal again. I had quit after trying three times, feeling that it just wasn't for me. The reason for my persistence was that so many of my most inspiring friends keep journals. So finally, I started using a journal for practicing my Chinese writing, and I got caught reading back through what I had written. I then understood that maybe journaling is for me after all!

Oh, and since I stopped watching stuff on my computer since I finished Lost: Season 2 a couple weeks ago, yesterday I downloaded a SNES video game I have wanted to play for the last 10 years, known as Secret of Mana 2 (never officially translated). It's so great!

Sunday, July 16

Profile: Yves

Profile: Yves Bosson

Beauty & Strength:

Yves is a strong character, with vision, poise and understanding. He values his friendships and the blessings in his life, but remains detached from turns of events. He retains perspective. He places importance on ethical values and proper form.


Yves was my mentor while I was growing up. Although only two years older than me (that's a lot when we're children), I looked up to him as an examplar for conduct and thinking. We used to play all kinds of games together, go out on walks, chat, etc. I used to watch from my home balcony for when his mother would take off on some evenings or on the weekend, and as soon as the car left the lot, I ran over to his house, super-NES in arm, and a huge grin on my face. His home was impeccable, and he would always remind me not to waste energy by leaving the light on in unoccupied rooms. Small lessons like that have stayed with me. He was the one person I know who disliked candy. He played with me when I first discovered role-playing games.
I lost touch with Yves some seven years ago, and I pray that some day we may meet up again, reminisce of our wonderful youth together, catch up, and speak of a bright future.


Yves was always the calm one in our neighborhood, keeping a great balance in his life between play and work. He thought of his own well-being just enough to be able to think of others'.


Last I heard from him, he was possibly heading out to Quebec to study or work in video game programming. I've found his name with a video game company on the internet, though without contact info. I imagine that he is helping to bring up the standard of video game entertainment through higher quality programming and more meaningful game concepts and design. Surely he continues to be a leader and example among his peers.

Token Couplet:

As lunar truth and peace from him descend,
To broader ends your powers now extend.

Monday, July 10

Cannot Wallow

I've tried a couple of times to wallow in my not-so-great day today, but it don't work! I just start smiling at myself for the perfection of this life and my every moment.

I've often taken issue with the lack of hardship in my life. Today is the first not-so-great day that I can remember since I've arrived in Shanghai, and it's only because I couldn't get a cleaning for my teeth, and I probably miss spending most of my day with children...

I came to the realization a few days ago that my life may serve as an example - at least for myself. There has been so much suffering on this planet for so long, only worsening, that many believe that can only define our human life and civilization by its misery. Many spiritual scriptures confirm that we only gain true happiness through hardship. At the same time, though, Baha'u'llah says that this is the day that will not be followed by night, so I want to believe that our future holds a promise of true peace, harmony and joy.

Maybe my life so far (and maybe into the future) is a demonstration that the sacrifices of the people before me, who gave so much for future generations (i.e. me), can help beautify what it is to be human - gaining and growing without having to suffer so much - and still being able to truly grow spiritually. In any case, I am always grateful, even if I know I don't deserve all of these blessings. But then of course, I do deserve them in a way, because they are what providence has ordained.

On another note, thank you "V for Vendetta" for yet again pointing out the problems of our world without truly providing beauty or direction. At a recent performance, a philosopher shared his thoughts that society is going through depression, and each individual needs to go through the same process and come out on the other side. He mentions the popularity of Radiohead's "Kid A" as a sign of this world-wide depression. Well, I don't seem to be depressed, although I occasionally week bitter tears for the condition of my brothers and sisters suffering around the world.

For those I encounter in my life though, you can catch me on the merry-go-round, calling out your name to come for a ride. Heck, I even often come down and walk around to invite folk over.

There's a song in my heart, and I think I hear it in yours also.

Friday, July 7

My Love is Real

This was written for my friends after the TV show Lost reminded me that sometimes all we need is one person we know to truly love us. My longing desire is to be one such person for my friends.

My love is real
- as real as the beating of your heart.
It pulses, it flows, it gives, it is grace.

If you can feel,
as much or as little as impart
A letter, a word, a kiss or embrace,

Then feel me now,

For I have seen the face of Beauty in your spirit, and I long to let you know that I would sacrifice my life to see you happy and alive - and thence continue still to send whatever love I can from life beyond.


Last night I watched the last three episodes of the TV show, Lost (Season Two).

This show has been my favorite TV show (displacing the previous holder of this position: FarScape) for the following reasons (among others):

- The characters have to deal with their own identity and their psychological and spiritual progress at a pivotal time in their lives, in an environment which gives them no choice but to face their personal challenges - future and past.

- The characters have to learn to deal with each other (new faces) in a hostile and unfamiliar environment, which brings out fascinating dynamics.

- The island which has become their home reflects some of the most mystical and interesting elements of our world, all compacted in diminutive space and time.

- Action, thrill, suspense, drama and mysteries abound!

- The script, directing, cinematography, and acting are of the highest calliber.

Unfortunately, many of the episodes I have watched recently have irked me by focusing more on plot, and turning the focus of the show away from the beautification of human personalities and inclinations. I had really liked how so many of the characters, though outwardly not such good people, were given validity and interest through a reification of their inner beauty. This aspect falling to the background, and a new ugliness showing its face, it became difficult for me to continue watching.

WARNING: spoilers

It was notably difficult to see Charlie make poor decisions in his desperation to serve as a father figure or simply get revenge on Locke; John himself losing faith and becoming impatient with others; Jack losing perspective in his desire to attack the "others"; Sayid going back to torturing and feeling no guilt; Anna-Lucia making no progress in her violent inclinations; Sawyer pulling a disturbing long con (not to mention the aweful one in his flashback); even Mr. Ecko resorting to violence and deceit to follow his dream. Michael atrocious actions are unspeakable.

In the last few episodes, I found semblences of redemption, which, though still falling short of my hopes, have proven marginally satisfactory in my book.

For one, the show has continued to nurture some of the positive relationships like that of Jin and Sun, Hurley and Libbie, and the interracial couple (whose names I forget). Kate has kept her strength also. Here's what I really liked:

- Sawyer confessing to Jack, claiming the latter is the closest thing he has to a friend - thereby confirming Kate's attraction to and patience with him since the beginning. We all know people who show their feelings through violence and antagonism - Sawyer is here just an extreme version of this. I remember how it took 3 seasons of Farscape before Rygel finally stopped betraying all of his friends on Moya, so the makers of Lost might have the same kind of long-term redemption path for Sawyer.

- The scene between Michael and Walt shows the pain of their situation. Michael has always been a spiritually weak character, and since he can only focus on his one failure in life, he is destroying everything around him in a desperate and misguided attempt to redeem himself. The scene in the forest when Jack gets him to reveal the truth of his actions really shows how pathetic and blinded he is. People all around us are misguided and commit terrible deeds. Michael is an extreme but believable example. His dialogue with Mr. Ecko about hell is also revealing, and suggests the insightful purposes of the show's writers.

- Claire is able to see the true, loving intentions of Charlie, and through her forgiving him, the audience is given the emotional strength to see past his transgressions.

- The opposite crossing paths of John and Ecko demonstrate some of the more pernicious vagaries of faith, which we also have to face. Particularly, John lets his limited mind dictate his faith, and Ecko lets his fanaticism dictate his actions. Neither finds peace, and through their antagonism, neither finds peace, instead they are stuck together and may be dead. Instead of one of them saving the day, Desmond the unbeliever does. These are challenges we too have to deal with at times.

- The beauty of Penelope's love for Desmond is very moving, especially when he opens the years-old letter, and gains strength from her deep love and devotion. Love literally saves the day, and this is the kind of thing that makes Lost a great show - while many people may only be aware of the non-spiritual and non-ethical aspects that make the show.

In the end, most of my issues with the show are only partially addressed. I have regained confidence in the show, and look forward to season three.