It’s all about the terrapins

After it rains, the hop and a skip back to my block from the MTR station is scented by the gentle wafting of sea air. Tonight it was accompanied by a big ol’ misty Chinese moon. The kind you see in Chinese landscape paintings, la. I guess they’re more naturalistic than I assumed.

Anyway, I think I can very happily listen to the clip on repeat here for eons and eons, or at least until I get my mitts on the OST. I’ve been thinking, if I care so much about certain ‘stuffs’ (sic if noun?), if what I hear in the news or in a melody can get me all stirred up and/or shaken, then why don’t I lunge, plunge, take a shot at doing something more about it? Just do it when you think of it, else excuses will be ever forthcoming. There’s only so much karaoke you can sing and BBC/Guardian you can gorge on. Well, MSF and FOE never got back to me. Maybe MC will. Volunteers can, among other things, teach “English and other skills to the infants” in residence!

Finally got to reading Blue Shoes and Happiness by Alexander McCall Smith, whose works and person (hey, met him in the flesh before, all right!) I will always have a great fondness for. It doesn’t disappoint with its flights of humanist fancy, but I guess the grand revelations have all been spent … then again I haven’t got to the end yet. There are two choice bits I’d like to share:

… and then she stood up and said goodbye, in Setswana, because that is the language that her heart spoke …

So what’s the language my heart speaks? My mother tongue? But what’s my mother tongue? (This seems like a familiar rant.) My mother’s tongue is Foochow, my dad’s dialect group is Teochew, my official Mother Tongue is Mandarin, but my greatest facility is in Standard English, with a secondary qualification in Singlish. Argh. I might end up knowing more Cantonese than Teochow (known as Chiu Chow in Cantonese) in 2009. Shall always feel disgruntled about this rather “categorical” imperative. My only comfort — I know how to read Chinese (to some extent!). Have come into contact with people who are fluent in Cantonese, but by virtue of having been planted somewhere West in their childhood, never learnt their characters.

Here’s the other bit from Blue Shoes and Happiness:

As a young woman she had been too naïve to see evil in others. The young, Mma Ramotswe thought, believe the best of people, or don’t imagine that people they know, people of their own age, can be cruel or worthless. And then they find out, and they see what people can do, how selfish they can be, how ruthless in their dealings. The discovery can be a painful one, as it was for her, but it is one that has to be made. Of course it did not mean that one had to retreat into cynicism; of course it did not mean that. Mma Ramotswe had learned to be realistic about people, but this did not mean that one could not see some good in most people, however much that might be obscured by the bad. If one persisted, if one gave people a chance to show their better nature, and — and this was important — if one was prepared to forgive, then people could show a remarkable ability to change their ways.

I’d like to think I’m still the naïve sort, but then again, if you want to know about cruelty, worthlessness, selfishness or ruthlessness by people your age or even younger, just read the frickin’ news, right? In my daily dealings, I have come across prickly types that could worry sheep, and remember specific instances of feeling (and being!) done over, but on the whole, I’ve been blessed indeed (through ignorance and otherwise). Note to self: stop being such a grump and follow driving instructor’s advice to “look far! look far!”.

Addendum:

Just finished Blue Shoes and Happiness! And found one last bit to share:

‘You must take care of yourself,’ she said. ‘We are not born to work, work, work all the time.’

‘You’re right,’ said Mma Ramotswe. ‘It is important just to be able to sit and think.’
Mma Potokwani agreed with that. ‘I often tell the orphans not to spend all their time working,’ she said. ‘It is quite unnatural to work like that. There should be some time for work and some for play.’

‘And some for sitting and watching the sun go up and down,’ said Mma Ramotswe. ‘And some time for listening to the cattle bells in the bush.’

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s