Life Codecs Ruminations. Reflections. Refractions. Code.

December 28, 2008

Enya, “On My Way Home”

Filed under: arts,personal — Tags: , , — Kamal Advani @ 02:12

It’s hard to see how I forgot this one till I was reminded by my friend a couple of weeks ago. I spent many-an-evenings in the lab listening to this prior to going home back when I was at uni in Jakarta! Very uplifting song, definitely one of my all-time favourite, and very personal too. Anyway, as usual, video and wonderful lyrics! Be carried away!

– Kamal

PS. Actually most things Enya make it to my all-time favourites list easily, but this one tops it :-).

December 27, 2008

Passions

Filed under: philosophy — Tags: , , — Kamal Advani @ 01:08

It seems to me that it is important to have more than one passion in life, at least two, but not too many either for that would be way too time consuming, and probably dilute other passions to the point that they’re no longer passions hah. Back to my topic, having a single passion is a little dangerous, especially when that passion is also your full-time job – sometimes, heck it’s almost a certainty, we can burn out. Then what do you turn to? Do you just chill out and get bored? That’ll work for a while. Having completely unrelated passions also allows you to focus different parts of yourself to the activity at hand. For example, I love to code, however when I am depressed or too bored, then working alone on something even if it is very cool software still seems a bit too lonely. I know this firsthand. So my other passion is martial arts. Where in computing I am pretty much just using my mind (except for the occasional epiphanies where I walk around the room and make funny gestures :P), in martial arts I use both my mind and my body. And they’re so different (physically anyway, quite aware of the level of concentration needed for both), that I always have one or the other (or both under normal circumstances) to turn to.

Considering things further, it’s even better if the passions are both individual and allow group participation, this allows you to have some semblance of a social life while providing you with your own space. Ah well, just some thoughts post Christmas. The holiday feels lonelier than usual, alas.

– Kamal

December 22, 2008

Ordinary Miracles

Filed under: philosophy — Tags: , , , , , , — Kamal Advani @ 18:04

As a kid, and even now, I have often wondered how cool it would be to have various abilities (think the TV series Heroes) – to be able to fly, to move things with your mind, to possess telepathy, run like the flash, and so on. Having a martial arts background, I have constantly been fascinated at some of the amazing feats people have performed demonstrating speed, strength, and dedication. Mas Oyama, founder of Kyokushinkai Karate, was able to knock a bull dead with one punch if I recall correctly. A chief instructor in my organisation was able to thrust his fingers through the skull of a goat.

As time progresses, however, and life experiences accumulate, one begins to see the true value of different abilities. My grandmaster has often said if you had the power to knock someone dead with one blow, and that person died.. well so what? Big deal. Are you proud that you caused a death? Admittedly, many years back I thought such an ability was cool… of course I did not think very far on what it meant – a life taken, the guilt weighing on one’s conscience, etc. I am not downplaying the dedication needed to get that ability – all I am saying is that while within itself, it is amazing, in the long run, it does not matter. To further illustrate, there’s a story of Gautama Buddha meeting an ascetic who proudly proclaimed that after 6 or 7 years of asceticism he was able to walk on water and cross the river. The Buddha said that he wasted 6 to 7 years of his life when he could have paid the boatman a tiny amount to get him across whenever he fancied it. That 6 or 7 years had he strived for enlightenment, the ultimate goal, instead, he would’ve gained something far more valuable.

So, what is a truly valuable ability? The Javanese ask for something from the Divine, they often term it “Ilmu Slamet”, ilmu means knowledge, but also an ability, and slamet means safety. Safety here is all-encompassing: safety in all activities in life, to be spared dangerous situations, to be granted the wisdom to make the right choices, etc. In other words, they ask for a prosperous, blessed life. Another Indonesian term I love is “mulia”, which is also harder to define, it means various things such as glory, stateliness, divine, noble, etc. “Hidup yang mulia” – a divine/glorious/noble life (hidup == alive/life). Truly, that is an ability, a knowledge worth having, the wisdom and the capacity to ride life’s sometimes tumultous waves, to escape problems unscathed, or at least, to heal as soon as possible, to make wise decisions, to have a pure heart and mind, to be compassionate. Given all that, what need do we have for super powers… when ordinary miracles happen everyday once one follows principles that lead to such a life. Heck, the term ‘ordinary miracle’ sounds like an oxymoron once you consider it, for there’s nothing ordinary – natural perhaps – but certainly not ordinary.

Anyhow, I am far from perfect, nor do I think it is easy to achieve a noble life, but it is something that I have begun to understand, something I thought was worth sharing. I still think various powers are uber-cool however. I suspect also however, that certain cool powers will be a byproduct of a nobler life, much like how many saints and sages had various abilities that came post-enlightenment.

– Kamal

Night

Filed under: poetry — Tags: , — Kamal Advani @ 17:08

The Night progresses
The World hushes
A moment of time
We move through
Unnoticed
Sublime

– Kamal

PS. I was in a trivia channel, and people started heading out as the night came… these words (further refined) came through.

December 16, 2008

Sting: “Fields of Gold”, “Shape of my Heart”, “Until”

Filed under: arts,personal — Tags: , — Kamal Advani @ 02:51

All-time favourites by Sting, “Fields of Gold” lyrics and video, “Shape of my Heart” lyrics and video. No real story behind these two, heard them both ages ago, never stopped liking them. “Until” was introduced to me by a developer friend 4-5 years ago, lyrics and video. All of them have beautiful lyrics and melody, enjoy :-).

December 11, 2008

“The More You Ignore Me (The Closer I Get)”, Morrissey

Filed under: arts,personal — Tags: , , — Kamal Advani @ 02:01

You guessed it, another all-time favourite. I also call it the stalker song – I wish I had this kind of persistence… actually, maybe not – perhaps I already am this way with stubborn pieces of code… geeky but a little sad really :P. Anyway, as usual, video and lyrics. Enjoy, try not to read into the song too much. No, seriously.

– Kamal

“Someday We’ll Know”, The New Radicals

Filed under: arts,personal — Tags: , , — Kamal Advani @ 01:51

Whacky-almost-can’t-give-a-damn voice (I love it), but a beautiful song, very soul-searching lyrics – definitely, definitely part of my all-time favourite (maybe I should create a tag for this.. just use ‘music’ instead), video and lyrics. Enjoy, I’m sure you will!

“Song for Whoever”, The Beautiful South

Filed under: arts,personal — Tags: , — Kamal Advani @ 01:46

Ah, another all-time favourite whose title and singer I just googled today, video and lyrics. Enjoy!

“Promise Me”, Beverley Craven

Filed under: arts,personal — Tags: , — Kamal Advani @ 01:27

Another all-time favourite, I’ve heard this on and off on Indonesian radio (because I hardly listen to the often junkie radio in Melbourne!), but never really got the singer or title, so I finally googled fragments of the lyrics and likely titles – tada! Video and lyrics. Enjoy!

– Kamal

December 6, 2008

A Prayer

Filed under: personal,philosophy — Tags: , , , — Kamal Advani @ 00:38

There was this chain letter sent a few minutes ago to a mailing list I subscribe to (and after googling around, it seems to be an old one, no more originality on this Net of ours!), it contained a nice prayer apparently by St. Therese of Lisieux. As with most chain letters it asks you to make a wish and send it to N people (where N is 11 in this case, a number I find significant) in the next M minutes (where M is 5 here).

Normally I’d ignore this, however, I tend to tune in to signs around, for good or for bad. I had never heard of this Saint until I read the Witch of Portobello (as mentioned in yesterday’s post), and the prayer provides solace for my state (and I assume many others’ state). Since I am not a fan of forwarding stuff, I thought I’ll just reproduce the prayer here. So make a wish and read on:

May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be content knowing you are a child of God.
Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.
It is there for each and every one of us.

I have not confirmed if the prayer is actually by St. Therese, so caveat emptor, but with that, another thing of interest: Today I was watching some videos on youtube of J. Krishnamurti where one essential thing he said was that the message is far more significant than the messenger. I believe in this fully, I have heard words of wisdom from people I would never have considered “spiritual” – it shows truly that the Creative Intelligence pervades everything and everyone, unconditionally.

My personal view is that the prayer, like many, was universal enough – I am neither Christian nor Catholic but still relate to it.

– Kamal

Errata:
Changed title from “A Prayer by St. Therese” to “A Prayer”, see Maureen’s (first) comment.

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