ぜんかい -- ゼンカイ
no longer yearning. what have we not done before?
"the world is really but the stage - create the most fulfilling play"
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Content & Images
Chok Zheng Kai, 2008
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Today will be the day when we shed our past of 2008 into memories and step into a new reality of 2009. But is that ever possible?
For me, 2008 has a been a year of unforgettable drama. Perhaps I will forget it soon, but that will be because of my strong will in wanting to forget it, instead of the events being too watered down. 2008 was filled with many milestones in my life, and very very questionable decisions. History proves we are always like this - for it is only when the moment in question passes that we realise how significant it was and how life would be so different without that moment. I would safely desribe 2008 as such a year for me.
In retrospect, I realise my life does follow a strange pattern. All the even years are usually quite questionable, while the odd years are generally more peaceful. Will 2009 follow the same pattern? Enlisting in the army has already broke the standard routine of academics of 10 years, so once again, uncertainty lies ahead. Well, economists love using that phrase don't they?
As the global economy, and more importantly, Singapore's economy falls into a period of slower growth, it has interestingly become an exciting time for me. My interest for urban projects and new developments were reinstated at this time when the government seems to be expanding in their expenditure. And this is how it all works out. Nothing is absolutely labelled as 'good' or 'bad' in this world. Everything is mentioned and classified only in relativity. This is what I always believed in life - everything happens for a reason, and we all are but little windsurfers riding on the endless wave in a sea of everything.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
As a boy stares out of his window, all he could see was a colourless world.
Filled with silence and grayness, the boy thought of his dream the previous night.
"What could be so beautiful that flows endlessly without sleep?"
His head was full of voices and song, but he could not utter a word.
This boy was born in a world without sound.
As he lies on the bed, his eye-lids grew heavier.
After all, what was the point of staring out if there's only nothingness to be found?
He slowly seeped into a world of his own - away from reality, away from us.
It was then, he heard a voice singing...
The evening hangs beneath the moon
A silver thread on darkened dune
With closing eyes and resting head
I know that sleep is coming soon
Upon my pillow, safe in bed
A thousand pictures fill my head
I cannot sleep my minds a flight
And yet my limbs seem made of lead
If there are noises in the night
A frighting shadow, flickering light
Then I surrender unto sleep
Where clouds of dreams give second sight
What dreams may come both dark and deep
Of flying wings and soaring leap
As I surrender unto sleep
As I surrender unto sleep
There, as the connection was made, a tear slid down his tiny face...
Sunday, November 09, 2008
As I passed my 19th birthday, I wondered aloud whatever happened to the dreams, aspirations and intricate plans to realise them? This is the first time in my life I relate myself to that classic scene in dramas, asking myself a rhetorical question over and over again for the whole of last week - Did we forget something along the way?
My concept of past, present and future has always been rather volatile for the longest time I could remember But lately, I find myself simplifying things, perhaps too much, and actually came up with straightforward definitions to describe the three time zones, fixated and spiritless.
Past - My years of education and school life prior to national service.
Present - National Service
Future - University life, work and financial independence.
While most people will agree that the above definitions could not have been more accurate and practical in relation to their own lives, I find myself saddled with a worry that I have missed out something really really important. Why was it that I was able to define these three time zones when I couldn't have come up with solid answer in the past? Do you call this maturing? So as we mature, do we start to glue ourselves with realistic situations and actually modify or abandon those dreams and plans we once had that we thought would construct our ideal lives?
Yes, maybe. That's probably why as we progress in education from kindergaten to primary school to secondary school, we learn vocabulary like daydreaming, fantasy and ideals. Eventually, all these plans and dreams we had becomes the innocent entertainment for the society. I started to think I was not missing something, but I was too caught up with the past. Perhaps I had something I had back then that I did not now.
As I carried on filling up my life with meaningful activities that I had always wanted to engage in for a long time, I continued wondering, for perhaps one day I might figure out what was missing this time, attribute or ingredient. But for now, I stand firm to my personal belief - nothing can transcend time.
Thursday, October 02, 2008
“The future for our world is a bleak one – and I’m pretty sure the Media is the one at fault.”
“Why do you say so? The Media is necessary to present news in order to grant greater awareness and educate people on the affairs and issues going on around them. In what way does it turn the world ‘bad’?”
“Statistics show that there have been increasing crime rates around the world, and ridiculously inhumane acts like ‘Happy Slapping’ have been sensationalized by the media in the UK. In fact, more young people are beginning to think such behavior is acceptable and have no qualms engaging in it. Furthermore, these numbers only reflect an upward trend it seems like the world is indeed going down should this continue.”
“Firstly, the example you used, ‘Happy Slapping’, as you mentioned, occurs in the UK. It does not represent the whole world. A country or local culture can possibly face a problem in their social morality as in this case, but equating it to the collapse of the world’s would be too much. Secondly, I am pretty sure parents and teachers in the UK must have been horrified by this news and sought to instill values into their children and students. With the majority knowing fully well that it is a wrong act committed and are taking proactive steps to stop it, I do not see how ‘the rest of the world’ can helplessly fall into a slippery slope of moral degradation with the Media being responsible. Already as it is, the media is being criticized for sensationalizing the news. When people know and can differentiate right from wrong, it means there is very much hope and moral values are still very much intact in this world.”
“Okay, then how do you explain why these figures (crime rates) are increasing? One fact that cannot be denied is that violent computer games do affect children into having violent tendencies, which might turn into serious crimes if not curtailed. If a kid grows up playing violent games and feels it is acceptable to act violently, he may not be alone. Friends in school or elsewhere are important spheres of influence and them agreeing that violence is acceptable will cause a domino effect which solidifies the notion and bring the world to chaos.”
“I feel that you have a very myopic view of how we are being influenced today. Yes, I cannot deny that many young children might have their values shaped from television they watch or games they play. But it is up to the discerning parent or authority to decide what is right for the society. This is the main reason why there are restrictions or even bans on violent games or videos. Ultimately, you cannot simply blame media for this phenomenon. The media is but merely a channel for information and expression to run through – these ideas and information are still generated from other individuals. If you want to put a blame to such a negative trend, you should be blaming the violent game developers specifically, not the media as a whole.”
“Then how do you explain the increase in divorce rates and sex scandals. Aren’t all these a result of the media portraying divorce as an upward trend and people start realizing it is not that bad to divorce anyway. As for the sex scandals, it happens so frequently that people these days just shrug it off as ‘oh, another one’, instead of feeling that it is absolutely wrong. The media is at fault here – because they used the tactic of showing something bad so often people start thinking it’s the norm.”
“Well whatever you just said is only conveniently using the media as a scapegoat in our own moral wrongdoings. The increase in divorce rates might be attributed to other reasons like the increase in our right of choice. Certainly, there is nothing wrong with a couple divorcing if they are unhappy, unless of course, there are children involved. As for why the sex scandals reported frequently in the media, it all boils down to simple human nature. Indeed, the catch phrase ‘everyone loves a scandal’ is very relevant in describing human behaviour. That is exactly what the media does to catch people’s attention. It makes it no different from an innocent household appliance business – capitalizing on the trends. People love to gossip, whether or not this carries negativity to the society, it has been going on for as long as human began communicating – long even before the media was born. Whether or not an individual chooses to be influenced by the media is an entirely different story. The media basically portrays three main groups of information, to be put simply, consisting of the ‘good’, ‘bad’, and ‘neutral’. Obviously, examples of good news are heroic acts by certain people, and the report probably consists of lines trying to encourage the emulation of such acts from the public. Factual reports like statistics and visits by leaders can be considered under ‘neutral’. So what does the ‘bad’ categorizes? There can’t possibly be a newspaper headline asking people to commit more murder right? The news company will close down never hear the end to it! What I can agree with you is that the media does come with its negative side effects, as with everything in this world. These negative effects, as you mentioned, are actually indirectly caused by misinterpretation of the media, and not the fault of the media per se.”
“Ah ha! See, I got you there! You just said there is nothing wrong with a couple divorcing if they are unhappy. Isn’t it utterly destructive to a society to have high divorce rates? Don’t you feel that it is the media who is responsible for this? Are you also now a victim of the media?”
“No! The media is reporting the truth by saying there are more people divorcing! Even without the media, people will start to realize this is a trend albeit at a slower pace. But that is not the point. The point is that it is us who create these statistics. More marriages are ending in divorce. We started the trend – if there is anyone to blame, it is ultimately us, not the media. And yes, I agree there is nothing wrong with a divorce if a marriage is unsalvageable, only provided they have no children. How can you conclude it is a bad thing and detrimental to society when people in this very society are doing it like it is the norm? Obviously you fail to realize that the so called ‘good’ and ‘bad’ are benchmarked by us, and this yardstick evolves with time. This is a very natural progression and liberation of a society. There is nothing wrong with it. Human are built that way, if not till today we will be living in caves without any form of communication! We might perceive something as a moral taboo today, but fast forward a thousand years and everyone might be engaging in it as normally as eating and drinking. We are only alive for a century or so in this vast time-span of human evolution. It is important to understand that our beliefs and perceptions do not necessarily transcend time, and therefore we are not qualified in any way to make a moral judgment on something in far future. For an example, guests bringing wine is a norm in America when invited over for dinner, but in France, you might very well be thrown out for suggesting that the host does not have good enough wine for you. These different cultures existing in today’s world are very well a microcosm of different stages of societal evolution.
Well, my brother came home today with that bold statement all the way at the top. Before I knew it, my family joined into this furious conversation that jumbled media, ethics and finally philosophy. What a family...you might say.