Far and away from the madding crowd [some old lines]

Some old lines I wrote elsewhere years and years ago, possibly predating the beginning of this site. On stepping to our own music beat and pace, on solitude, of walking and being away from the crowd, and of Crusoes and deserted islands.

I really miss my long rambling half-day walkabouts along the coasts.

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[From sometime in 2008]:
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It can be painful when we do not keep pace with our fellow-men, because we hear a different drum-beat. But take heart and “let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.”

Solitude is a dirty word for most, especially on this plastic paradise island nation. But patches of peace can still be had…

Your Shell and Cave sounds great.
“One chair for solitude, two for company, three for society.” Any more and it’ll be too crowded anyway.

Just thought I’ll share a book title:
[The value of solitude: the ethics and spirituality of aloneness in autobiography / John D. Barbour]
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Actually, when one feels this pressing world to be cold dark and hopeless, even wise words can do little to help…

All we can do, perhaps, is to just let go and allow ourselves to settle. Hopefully, when everything extraneous has fallen away, our clear and lucid selves shall be what remain. And one day a spark will rekindle the joy in our stilled hearts, be it from something seen, heard, read or felt; or simply from the adoring faces of little furry mogwai/gremlins.

Few are those who are comfortable alone; rarer still who craves solitude for peace of mind.

I know that little black-and-white world you speak of.

Far and away from the madding crowd is what I seek, though this is getting harder still on this island city. Short of looking for a Trappist monastery with seven-year vows of silence, or meditating with a guru in his ashram, I make do with coastal walkabouts.

A perfect day is one spent walking the eastern coasts, tramping off the designated tracks and meeting nary a soul for miles and hours. An iPod with a thousand songs is not required: the washing of the waves, brushing of the wind, rustling of leaves are far more delightful tunes.

Now, after coming close to half of my allotted three score and ten years, perhaps the lesson learnt after much bruises and pain is that of balance. While I know that I will be happier than Crusoe was alone on his island, I have also learnt that “No man is an island” and that however unwillingly, we have all signed social contracts…

Yes, I live on this same small sporean island. For the past week I have donned green and done my part in protecting this country. And of course it has to be the week for the markets to move in its largest intra and inter-day ranges in recent history. Sigh, some of the largest moves in the markets took place this year when I was away on reservist training.

Spending time with large gatherings of people, especially ones wearing army green, leaves me dissipated. Will probably need some time amongst green of a different nature before coming back to the markets.
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3:59 AM

HIS ROUTINE IS RIGID. AND INTENSE

When he’s in writing mode for a novel, he gets up at 4am and works for five to six hours. In the afternoon, he will run for 10km or swim for 1500m (or do both), then read a bit and listen to some music. He goes to bed at 9pm. “I keep to this routine every day without variation.” He says “The repetition itself becomes the important thing; it’s a form of mesmerism. I mesmerise myself to reach a deeper state of mind. But to hold to such repetition for so long — six months to a year — requires a good amount of mental and physical strength. In that sense, writing a long novel is like survival training. Physical strength is as necessary as artistic sensitivity.”

“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”

If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.

Pretty much sums up my life and motivations, one way or the other.

And why I walk up to 60km around the island for half the day (at least, I used to), still only read real physical books, and took till July 2013 to finally upgrade from an old Nokia to a sleek top-of-the-line smartphone.
[revealing the model of the eight-year-old Nokia phone always reduces everyone to sheer disbelief]

{correction: just found out  it’s actually a >ten-year-old phone…yeah, I was living in a cave…or at least, my phone was – chucked into a dark cavern in the back of a drawer for weeks and months on end sometimes…I saw no reason to be contactable at that time}

默.悼.留.白

留白

熊天平: 火柴天堂 Xiong Tian Ping: Matches Heaven

火柴天堂

走在寒冷下雪的夜空
卖着火柴温饱我的梦
一步步冰冻一步步寂寞
人情寒冷冰冻我的手

一包火柴燃烧我的心
寒冷夜里挡不住前行
风刺我的脸雪割我的口
拖着脚步还能走多久

有谁来买我的火柴
有谁将一根根希望全部点燃
有谁来买我的孤单
有谁来实现我想家的呼唤

每次点燃火柴微微光芒
看到希望看到梦想
看见天上的妈妈说话
她说你要勇敢你要坚强
不要害怕不要慌张
让你从此不必再流浪

每次点燃火柴微微光芒
看到希望看到梦想
看见天上的妈妈说话
她说你要勇敢你要坚强
不要害怕不要慌张
让你从此不必再流浪

妈妈牵着你的手回家
睡在温暖花开的天堂
天堂
天堂……

Matches Heaven

Walking under the cold snowing night sky
Selling matches to warm and nourish my dream
Frozen step after step – lonely step after step
The frostiness of man freezes my hands

A box of matches ignites my heart
The cold night cannot hold back advancing steps
Wind stings my face – frost cuts my mouth
Dragging my feet how long more can I walk

Who will come and buy my matches
Who will light up all of my dreams stick by stick
Who will come and buy my loneliness
Who will come and realize my refrains and dreams of home

Every time a match is lit – in its feeble glow
I see hope I see dreams
I see mother up in heaven speaking
She says “You must be brave you must be strong
Don’t be afraid don’t panic
So you’ll never have to wander ever again”

Every time a match is lit – in its feeble glow
I see hope I see dreams
I see mother up in heaven speaking
She says “You must be brave you must be strong
Don’t be afraid don’t panic
So you’ll never have to wander ever again”

Mama will hold your hand and lead you home
To sleep in the warm and blossoms-filled heaven
Heaven
Heaven……

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You First Believed [from sampans to skyscrapers]

Those who have read my tired old posts, (hidden) comments, and throwaway thoughts on this site (at least between the lines) and elsewhere, would know how I feel about the government apologists of our tiny island city-state. But I am at the core a moderate, and try to practice mindfulness and moderation (key word is try!) in everything I do.

So, with that in mind…no hating on this following video please.

And I was really more taken with the nostalgic pictures of the old sampans (longshoremen boats) on the old Singapore River, transforming into the modern soaring skyscrapers. When I was growing up in the 1980’s, the government was already beginning its decade-long project to clean up and widen the old Singapore River, as well as modernize and gentrify the old shophouses and godowns along its banks.

But those old pictures of old Singapore River remain very much a part of my family ethos and indeed artistic oeuvre, with an artist uncle who was well-known and won acclaim for his ‘smoky’ watercolour paintings of the Singapore River.
[As well as for me and my cousins who participated in so many children’s art competitions held at the Singapore Riverside. Weekend after weekend my Mum and aunts entered us into these seemingly endless competitions…I was bored stiff.]

You First Believed:

Lyrics: Dominic Chin

[Verse]
This Is My Home
A place filled with peace and security
A place that would not have come so far that easily.
If it wasn’t because you first believed.

This is my life

A life of comfort and joy
A life that would not have been achieved easily.
If it wasn’t because you first believed.

[Chorus]
I can spread my wings and reach for the sky
I know, I’m safe here to fly.
Because you first dreamed, and made it a reality.
I can dream and dream to achieve.

[Verse 2]
Your voice came forth,
and made the change against all odds.
A nation you’ve built with sweat and tears
And it is because you first believed.

[Chorus]
I can spread my wings and reach for the sky
I know, I’m safe here to fly.
Because you first dreamed, and made it a reality.
I can dream and dream to achieve.

[Bridge]
This peace and this harmony did not come free
You did not fight in vain.
Through your hard work and faith,
you brought a new change
Now we see this nation strong and free!

[Chorus]
I can spread my wings and reach for the sky
I know, I’m safe here to fly.
Because you first dreamed, and made it a reality.
I can dream and dream to achieve.

And dream to achieve.

Because you first dreamed and made it a reality,
Now we can dream and dream to achieve.

Somehow, the tributes by these youngsters warm my cynical heart, a little…

Well done.

[But I do hope that last scene in the video is not of the Rock auditorium.
Oh dear oh dear oh dear…from pauper to Prince, from Prince to pauper…
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Back where I belong

I am back, where I belong – at sea level.
I am just a beach boy and bum dreamer at heart.
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海角七號_Cape_No_7

海角七號_Cape_No_7


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想蒐集夏天的熱 穿越叫 幸福的河
想做吞大象的蛇
不自量力 說真的 又有何不可
我想寫歌
I want to soak up all the heat of summer, to flow through that river called Happiness
I want to be the snake that swallows up the elephant
Think too highly of myself?, Seriously, why not?
I want to write songs!

當 天是空的 地是乾的
我要為妳 倒進狂熱
讓妳瘋狂 讓妳渴
讓全世界 知道 妳是我的
When the sky is empty and the land is dry
I want to pour in my hot passion for you
Let you go wild, let you thirst
Let the whole world know you are mine

天氣瘋了 海水滾了
所以我要 無樂不作
不要浪費 每一刻 快樂
當夢的 天行者
The weather has gone crazy, the sea is boiling
And so I shall bubble and double pursuing any happiness
Not wasting any moment of joy
To be a wild winged messenger of soaring dreams

像妳這樣的天使 該有翅膀和名字
該美麗中帶著刺 該很認真的屬於 我一次
An enchanting angel like you, should have wings and a special name
Should be packing thorns beneath your loveliness, should really seriously be mine for once

當 天是空的 地是乾的
我要為妳 倒進狂熱
讓妳瘋狂 讓妳渴
讓全世界 知道 妳是我的
When the sky is empty and the land is dry
I want to pour in my hot passion for you
Let you go wild, let you thirst
Let the whole world know you are mine

世界末日 就儘管來吧
我會繼續 無樂不作
不會浪費 愛妳的 快樂
當夢的 天行者
The end of the world?, Bring it on!
I shall continue, bubble and double pursuing any happiness
Not wasting the joy of loving you
To be a wild winged messenger of soaring dreams

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Down from the Hills and back to my coastal Southern Kingdom 國境之南

The monsoon recedes, the rain peters out, the winds still and the chill warms…
The season changes, and so must Man.

Coming down from the cool heights of the Cairns and the Hills, back to the warm beaches and coasts of my southern kingdom.
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國境之南 Southern Kingdom:

國境之南

如果海 會說話 如果風愛上砂
如果 有些想念遺忘在某個長假
我會聆聽浪花 讓風吹過頭髮
任記憶裡的愛情在時間潮汐裡喧嘩

非得等春天遠了 夏天才近了
我是在回首時終於懂得

當陽光 再次 回到那 飄著雨的國境之南
我會試著把 那一年的故事 再接下去說完
當陽光 再次 離開那 太晴朗的國境之南
妳會不會把 妳曾帶走的愛 在告別前用微笑全歸還

海很藍 星光燦爛 我仍空著我的臂彎
天很寬 在我獨自唱歌的夜晚
請原諒我的愛 訴說的太緩慢

If the ocean can speak, if the wind falls in love with the sand
If, some yearnings remain forgotten in some long and lazy holiday
I will listen carefully to the spraying waves, let the wind ruffle through my hair
And allow the love in my memories and receding tides of time foment and build into a resounding roar

Only when spring has become distant, shall summer slowly approach
Only when I turn and look back did I finally understand

When sunlight once again returns, to that softly drizzling southern kingdom
I shall try and continue telling the story of that year
When sunlight once again leaves, from that too bright and sunny southern kingdom
Will you bring back that love you once took away and return it all with your smile before you say goodbye

The sea is so blue, the stars bright glittering, and the crook of my arm is still empty
The sky is expansive, in that night I was singing alone
Please forgive that my love, was being told too hesitatingly

忽然之间 In the breadth and breath of a moment

忽然之间 – 莫文蔚 In the breadth and breath of a moment – Karen Mok:

忽然之間

忽然之間 天昏地暗 世界可以忽然什麼都沒有
我想起了你 再想到自己
我為什麼總在非常脆弱的時候 懷念你

我明白 太放不開你的愛 太熟悉你的關懷
分不開 想你算是安慰還是悲哀
而現在 就算時針都停擺 就算生命像塵埃
分不開 我們也許反而更相信愛

如果這天地 最終會消失
不想一路走來珍惜的回憶 沒有你

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In the breadth and breath of a moment

Suddenly (in the breadth and breath of a moment), the sky dims and the land darkens, the world can so suddenly be emptied of everything
I begin to think of you, then think of myself
Why is it always when I am at my most vulnerable, I will miss you

I understand, I just cannot let go of your love, just too familiar with your embrace
Cannot separate, whether when I am thinking of you am I comforted or grieved
And right now, even if time is to come to a stop, even if life crumbles to dust
Cannot separate, perhaps we may instead believe in love even more

If this heaven and earth, were finally to disappear
I would not want the cherished memories of this long journey, not to have you

Dusk 黃昏

黃昏 Dusk:

黃昏(周傳雄)

作詞:陳信榮
作曲:周傳雄/編曲:Nai Kong

過完整個夏天 憂傷並沒有好一些
開車行駛在公路無際無邊 有離開自己的感覺

唱不完一首歌 疲倦還剩下黑眼圈
感情的世界 傷害在所難免 黃昏再美終要黑夜

依然記得從你口中說出再見堅決如鐵 昏暗中有種烈日灼身的錯覺
黃昏的地平線 劃出一句離別 愛情進入永夜

依然記得從你眼中滑落的淚傷心欲絕 混亂中有種熱淚燒傷的錯覺
黃昏的地平線 割斷幸福喜悅 相愛已經幻滅

Going through an entire summer, yet the grief did not ease at all
Driving along the endless and boundless highway, I feel like I am leaving myself behind

Singing an unending song, exhaustion leaving only dark eye rings
The world of emotions, is filled with inevitable hurts, the most beautiful dusk must yet recede into the darkness of night

Remembering still your spoken words of goodbye as cold and as unyielding as iron, in this darkness of the last light I thought I was being seared by the branding irons of the hottest sun
The horizon line of the dusk, separates like a single word of farewell, love has entered into the eternal night

Remembering still the grief stricken tears falling and spilling from your eyes, in this boiling chaos I thought I was being burnt by hot and steaming tears
The horizon line of the dusk, severs joy and happiness, love has been decimated

My heart is a mess 我的心太亂

Every word in this song pounds and resounds through my heart. 字字扣心.
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我的心太亂 -小剛 My heart is a mess – Xiao Gang:

我的心太亂

作詞:丁曉雯
作曲:小剛
編曲:鮑比達

夜裡難以入睡 
用什麼可以麻醉 
情緒太多怎堪面對

不是不要你陪 
有些事你無法體會 
卸下了防備 孤獨跟隨

我想要一個自己的空間 
能夠好好想想我們之間的明天
如果愛情不如我們想像的甜美 
那麼所有的罪讓我來揹

我的心太亂 要一些空白 
你若是明白 讓我暫時的離開
我的心太亂 不敢再貪更多愛 
想哭的我 卻怎麼哭也哭不出來

我的心太亂 要一些空白 
老天在不在 忘了為我來安排
我的心太亂 害怕愛情的背叛 
想哭的我 像是一個迷路小孩 迷路的小孩

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My heart is a mess

Hard to fall asleep in the still of the night
What can I use to dull and inebriate myself
Too many emotions, I cannot bear to face

Not that I do not want your company
But there are some things you simply cannot understand
Having lowered my girded defenses, loneliness follows

I want to have, a space to myself
So I can properly think about you and I and our future
If love does not turn out to be the tenderness we imagined
Then let me shoulder all the fault and blame

My heart is a mess, I need some empty space
If you can understand, let me go away for now
My heart is a mess, I dare not grasp for any more love
I feel like crying, but somehow not a single sob surface

My heart is a mess, I need some empty space
Are the heavens there, have they forgotten to arrange my destiny
My heart is a mess, fearful of love’s betrayal
I feel like crying, like a lost and frightened child…a lost and frightened child

Yeah. That’s been said of me. I’m overly sensitive and like a petulant, lost child…
Harrumph.