Thursday, February 18, 2010

Because I'm Weary

If now isn't the time to write a blog entry, when is?
My diary is not here, and it's better to catch this when the memory is fresh as those oysters I just ate.

My brother came home drunk, I was still awake (it was 2:47AM in the morning or so) and working on my Korean speech. I was tired, listening to "Because I'm Weary" from the Kongbu eh Shin OST. Was going to sleep.
And then he told me he wanted some Viet pho. I called him a crazy bitch, but he said otherwise he was going to drive. So I went out with him.

I let him drive. I stood for a while, not letting him, my legs shaking, my teeth eventually chattering. Shudders of coldness. But I let him drive. Did I let something go? Did I give him permission?

Karen Ling. Why.

And so we went to 100 (or whatever, the hot pot place) and he said...something. Something about him smarter than me. Some words of advice.
His past made him numb, he replied, when I asked him how he could feel nothing.
I told him I stole all his emotions, I have too much and he too little. And he said something about I'll learn my lessons in time, and he'll be watching, like how he watched the television.

I don't give a fuck about any of that. Almost. I have my own life...
Ge, are you sad?
Ge, are you tired? Are you weary?
Ge, your life... are you really satisfied?
Ge, I think from tonight, I see something about you finally. You are a control freak.
You want to have everything under your control, you want your knowledge to be secure. You want to be able to say: I know everything in my life right now.

But you don't. You don't know me.
You don't know my dreams.
That already is a flaw to your perfect knowledge about everything.
Dad once said you were a skeptic... this image I have....
I see a young boy who think he knows everything but is ultimately lost.
Unless I don't matter to you. Unless you mean "knowledge of my life"... are you that selfish? As in...full of the self only?
Isn't that such an obvious question? Yes, I know.

Are you ever weary?
I love you...

You're like that frog, in the well. You want to be of the well. Is that enough, when you know there's an ocean outside? Do you think that well is an ocean? You confine your world...

And if you have no can you live fully?
I went through this stage already...just did. I will use my "no emotion" armour when I need to...but not always.
I'll be okay, ge.

The sadness of the song "Because I'm Weary"... somehow, the melody in the background of tonight (this morning)... I feel so sad for you.
I want to touch you with my sincerity. I want to wrap your heart until it unfreezes.
But how can I do that when you're already so far gone? How can I, when you have left me so long ago?
Seven years ago...has it been only seven years since you were in high school?
It seems like such a long time ago.

This unfulfillable desire to reach you, it makes me sad.
Our entire syntax, our language is different. We are in the same planet, but what I speak, the images and feelings I want to invoke, I think you will never look at them. And even if you do, they'll never seem the way in my world and in your world.

Even though you're only one room away, there is a line between us which separates us into different dimensions.

We're such lonely people. You and I. But unfortunately, even so, we are lonely, we will not be each others companions.

At least not right now. Slowly slowly we will come to understand each other, I feel.
We're too lonely without each other.

But for now...I want to rest away from you. I don't want to think what I done tonight was encouraging your wrong ways or not. Because I'm weary...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

On Ancestral Rites

Thank goodness in general the times we live in, ancestral worship is permitted even if you are a Christian.
Confucianism is part of me, I am Chinese.
Reading this book about the debate of Ancestral Worship (if one would call it that, it's difficult to translate) against the Early Christianity entering into Asia, in this case, Korea.

Pyun Young Tai wrote a chapter in this book, and there are several quotes I want to enter as I read it.

"...but I do know that there is some sense of gross injustice in applying this term to that in this land, unless the word "worship" is used in its obsolete sense of "recognition of merit." Even with this construction of the word, the term is not well chosen or to the point, though it is divested of its slanderous sense by so construing it...I suggest that it ought to be termed "ancestor-commemoration," if there is no better name."

Comment: Agreed.
construe: to analyze as to show its syntactical construction and its meaning. 2. loosely, to translate 3. To deduce the meaning of, or explain [her silence was construed as agreement]

"If one should wish to grasp the origin of the rite...imagine themselves back to a primitive age...the family seems all in all, the only refuge against every manner of attack from outside...the parents of the family, love, toil, and fight for their children, who look up to them not only as mere father and mother but also protectors, warriors and heroes. A kind of hero-worship is mixed with and at the same time strengthens the natural reverence and affection due to their day death suddenly claims one of them. What a grief! What a fear about the future! The most valiant of the community lies there pallid and dead!...they bury it away, very close to their home. At no meal can they escape the sense of painful vacancy at the table. The spoon, the chopsticks, the largest bowl, used by the deceased when living, are still there; but alas! the man is no more...uncontrollable grief overcomes them. One of them bursts into crying, quickly followed by the others... Grief finding thus free vent, they feel themselves a little soothed. With the return of the calm, in their untutored hearts they feel the tie of affection between the deceased and themselves is not broken and the spirit of the deceased seems to be with them deep some invisible manner, characteristic of a ghost or spirit."
...[goes on about why it is the ancestral rites are made, something to the effect: guilt which the children feel the spirit is there, and they didn't even prepare the food for their parent, who was there just a few days ago.]

Comment: A long quote there. Firstly, a highly touching portion of the essay, and when I hear contrary to otherwise, I cannot help but become a porcupine of conservatism. In this case, I shall use Saint Augustine (as he said in his Confessions). What man (I am a woman, but I use this in the term of "mankind", damn all sexism in language) can still call himself a good human creation if he departs the most natural part of him to grieve? (I will return to this point later) Even in this world, where we no longer fear tigers outside our hut, we have many uncertainties about the future, even in the "bliss" of our first-world institutions. Predators are now our own race, and sometimes, our companions. In this case, who is it that most people can turn to?

I can say for me, definitely, it is my family. Blood cannot be changed, you cannot choose the family you were born to and brought up in. There is a truth to this, which is why some humans cannot truly accept the idea of adoption. I will rile someone up, I'm sure, when there are still many people out there, no matter what they say, in their hearts of hearts, cannot love another child as their own.
That being said, blood ties you to your kin. In my family especially (and I have a guess it's Chinese...or Asia, even, if not the world) we are inescapable. In truth we are what the Christians preach, when slapped across the face (metaphorically, say, by pride) by living together this must be resolved some way or another. We must turn the other. We love each other, we will not abandon each other no matter how far we are in life.
What grief will grasp my heart, enfold it in a black, shadowy sludge, when the day one of my parents die. My protector, my eternal teacher, a source of unconditional and unwavering love. My brother, I feel a kinship, and I know our love, although less profound, is no less real. I have been excavating it lately, and I found it there. For the longest time I thought it was a void, but it was not so. I know too little about it, but even a little to a starving man is a blessing from God.
How can a man strip away this love? How can a man strip away this grief? How can one not cry, wash away the sludge with salty tears, with the taste of salt on the lips, and thickness in the throat due to the mucus sliding down our throats?

Perhaps even my family would say: there is no need for such grief. The wheel of nature turns, and death comes with birth. But understanding this does not mean acceptance. At the time as I type this, this is not my philosophy. I accept a wheel of nature, but I know I can only love through engagement. For what is the study of philosophy, if not only a logical tangle with what we feel naturally? Logic and reason as the pair of hands, searching through our much wider emotions and primal.
I have no desire to delve in this search, for I have already found my truth. Life and death are not so special by their own, only the certainty of what happens in life is clear. Only the primal feelings are clear. It is not to say, a man should not refine himself and experience only in his primal state. How limited is his existence then, when a choice is there for him to expand, to live more?
If only what happens in life is certain, is real to our minds, then perhaps that is what should only matter. I can only take care of what is in my province, the realms of the unknown I leave to explorers to explain to the masses. For me, life is my the love of my family, the home of my heart, where I can lay when I am weary. For me, life is my goals, my ambitions, so that my path is clear, and my heart does not stay with indecision and fear of mistakes and regrets out of future foolishness.

Oh, let human realize mistakes is part of life, and only with mistakes can we learn to move forward. It has been oft repeated, but little listened, especially with our most sheltered era. This will lead somewhere down the path, I fear. A path of degeneration.
But let this not hinder me, for one can only do his best. Do the means for the ends, walk before you fly.

....well that is getting somewhere and nowhere. Off topic for the win.
Maybe I'll go on, maybe not. Either way I'm done my ramble journal-entry for the day.

:) Good luck to me to writing one everyday.

I will do well, for my family. The memory of my ancestors. If, as Pyun suggests, the Chinese have changed the meaning of worship of ancestors to idolatry and superstition, then let me put it in the case which he would accept. Let me respect and worship what my father's parents and what my mother's parents brought up, gave to me. Let this continue upwards, in all the family ancestors connected. A deep thanks.

For them, I do well.

To them, I bow in gratefulness. To them, I promise with solemnity.