Posted in 미분류, Miscellany

The princess fairy tale

First of all, let me clarify that I don’t believe in fairytales where beautiful poor girls achieve social escalations by marrying handsome princes and kings. Nor am I keen on the affairs of modern-day royalty whose lives are not even desirable. And yet, the news of Princess Mako’s marriage to her college sweetheart despite forced delays and oppositions is worth writing about because it is a fairytale of the most beautiful kind becoming a truth in reality. Would it be a bit of a stretch if I relate Mako’s heartaches and ordeals to Psyche’s Wanderings and Trials set by Aphrodite to separate her son Eros from the insolent mortal? It also shows that the crowned cannot escape from the intoxication of the heart that is worth denouncing the pomp and circumstances.

Marrying a commoner is no new in modern-day history, starting from Edward VIII’s marriage to the American divorcee Wallis Simpson and his descendants Princes William and Harry. While those mentioned above British royal members married those outside the peerages, they were not the average commoners working nine-to-five or even more or fewer hours in ordinary situations where they had to depend on the whims and caprice of their employers for the secure livelihood. But Mako’s case stands most excellently because she was determined to give up the whole royal privilege to live as a commoner by marrying the one who is not from a wealthy, not even above average family. Moreover, Mako refused to receive a considerable amount of money as a gift from the royal family for marrying a commoner. On the contrary, Harry and Meghan are considerably wealthy, living without day-to-day financial insecurity about what might happen tomorrow. Their surrendering the titles publicly will not forfeit their assets as in the case of foreclosure that many struggling hard-working Americans are unfairly subject to. After all, why do they need to hold the titular positions to make more money outside the palace? People flock to the brave Meghan and her ever-supportive husband, but why do they do when their happiness illustrates no emblem of sacrifice without a sense of proverbial entitlement?

I cannot help but compare Mako and Kei to the famously showcased ex-royal couple Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan. Besotted by the sensual charm of his renegade, free-spirited wife, Harry decided to move his young family to Los Angles, California, for good. He joined her Dissent Division to criticize his long-time family for being racist and cold-hearted. On the contrary, Princess Mako never decried her dissenting royal families against her marriage to a commoner, nor did she rebel loudly against the constitutional monarchy outside Japan. Instead, Mako kept all of her affairs of the heart discreetly, remaining true blue to her beloved Kei despite public uproar about his below-than-expected family background for being of a problematic single-mothered household. Forget the stereotypical Japanese politeness and the prejudice on the East Asian women’s submissiveness. Her graceful acts and decencies flow from her natural disposition and upbringing, which I have hardly seen in the famous royal family members.

Watching Mako and Kei looking at each other with the eyes exchanging affection with radiant smiles in their serenely happy faces put me into a pleasant mood to make me wish for their long and happy life together. Mako is a brave princess who surrenders herself to the love of her choice, even if it means giving up her title and privilege that would make her married life comparatively comfortable to ordinary people. Mako’s decision to live the life of an ordinary wife seems anachronistic and incongruent. Still, not everyone wants to be an Amazon or Scythian warrior, nor does she want to climb up the career ladder to prove her abilities. Mako’s declaration of independence signifies an act of exercising her right to happiness by living with someone she loved dearly. What else could she do to prove her worth for love? It is a beautiful fairytale dissolving to the truth.

Posted in book review

‘The Kite Runner’ by Khaled Hosseini – book review

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Writing is the most solipsistic and democratic means to make people discover your secret histories or inner world so that they can understand why you are what you are. That is what Khaled Hosseini does enchantingly in The Kite Runner. It is a bildungsroman story reminiscent of the Au revoir, Les Enfantes-Esque ambiance surrounding the narrative of a grown-up boy who wants to reconcile with the stupendousness of mistaken guilt becoming a malady of the heart. But that doesn’t mean it is all too surreal or stark grim to make an accidental reader think it is a wrong choice. On the contrary, Hosseini vividly conjures up the faces and scenes, resurrecting the spirits of the places and times, by putting together the tesserae of his memories in this rivetingly heartrending read.

The book incorporates the sociological theory of symbolic interactionist perspective focused on the relationships among individuals within a society and how political changes affect the lives of individuals and the sense of who we are and our relationships to others. The story’s narrator, a young Afghan boy of the upper-class named Amir Agha, gives the reader a ride to his childhood in Kabul to show the halcyon days of pre-soviet and Taliban reigned Afghanistan. First, you will see him and his best friend Hassan, a Hazara servant boy in his house, wallowing in reading stories and lost in kite flying. Then and thereafter, Hassan becomes a victim of the most horrific act committed by the half-German blue-eyed Afghan boy threatening him to win kite. Amir’s retrospective narrative becomes his public confession and ablation, all of which is a combined act of purging out the painful memories of the past and exorcising his demons tormenting him with the guilt of jealousy, ignorance, and cowardice. The whole narrative then becomes a plethora of pathos and empathy, resulting in a cornucopia of forgiveness and sympathy, drifting it all in a high-flying kite once and for all.

It is a fitting story in this particular time of Afghanistan history and Abdulrazak Gurnah’s winning of 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature for his achievement of universalizing human travails transcendent of racial, cultural, and geographical differences. Vivacious at times but dolorous at most, the Kite Runner is synthetic literature that wears habiliments of memoir and novel. There truth and fiction dissolve into one another anchored in real life with factual geographical and historical facts smoothly amalgamated in the individual narrative account, which reminds me of Herodotus’s “Histories.” Or it is an alluringly pioneering memoir-making that resembles Realistic Fiction. For whatever it is, the Kite Runner bestrides the aisles of contemporary literature sections, alluring the public with simple language that magically juxtaposed in beautiful prose style with lyrical quality, all soul and mind in the marks upon pages evocative of the spirits of the memories materializing.



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Posted in Poetry

at the sea

I have seen the insidious sea
Lull the children of the shore
With the sweet aeolian lullaby
And the pretty nymphs appear
From the bottom of the ocean
To bring them into the palace
Where their father, Poseidon
Keeps the souls of the sea
As is his mighty brother Zeus
For the world above and beyond;
Woe betides those who forego
The fates of the young souls,
For their grandfather, whose eyes
See the insidious machination
Fascinate the innocent hearts
In the whirlpool of rapid waves!
The old man’s fury is greater
Than the furious god of the sea;
He dives into the angry waters,
Fighting against the god in spades
With his bare arms cutting the waves
Like swords that could kill ghosts
And wins of his two grandchildren;
From the god whose wrath sees
No end until it grows the waves
Into the myrmidons of madness
And carries the old man into the abyss.

P.S.: This poem is based on my reading of a newspaper article that a sixty-one-year-old British grandfather died while trying to save his two grandchildren, aged seven and ten, in the sea off the island of Crete, Greece. The man got into the sea, fighting with the rapid, treacherous waves like Caligula, who declared war on the sea, whipping the waves furiously to invade Britain. Finally, his grandchildren got out safely, but alas, the old man was engulfed by the wrath of furious waves and drawn to the bottom of the sea. I could not just forego my feelings upon reading the story with poetic elements that also bring me the mythological image of Laocoon, the Trojan priest punished by Poseidon who sent the great serpent engulfing him and his two young sons for his discovering the Greek ruse about the wooden Trojan horse. Hence this little poem is in memory of the brave and loving grandfather.

Posted in Poetry

dum spiro spero

Light and dark, full and empty – how mysterious!
Spring of Words is now elusive – how tantalizing!
To the secret seeker with no pity – how heartless!
And no more spirit so festive. – how agonizing!

Midnight and moonlight and shining stars – so beautiful!
Angles and fairies and ghosts – so ethereal!
Come to my aide before I lose sight of it! – Yes, quickly!
And possess me with the best of your powers – by all means!

Is Tree of Knowledge going to become sere? – How unthinkable!
Has Tree of Knowledge already become sere? – How miserable!
Let nothing dishearten my spirit still pursuing, still trying
With hope, while I breathe, even if it seems impossible. How beautiful!

Posted in book review, 미분류, Miscellany, Poetry

Beam Me Up, Scotty: Admiral Kirk’s onboard

The skies were clear blue, and the wind mild and agreeable. The day was ripe for the moment the star returned to the galactic heavens in rejuvenated buoyancy of jubilee that he would be out to the extraterrestrial world again. “Beam me up, Scotty,” the man said as he boarded on New Shepherd, treating it like his beloved ship USS Enterprise. It was art imitating life in the former captain’s bright eyes; it was life imitating art in the old star’s beady eyes. For William Shatner, aka Admiral Kirk of Star Trek, it was a one-of-a-kind experience, equivalent to an out-of-body experience in which you fly from your corporeal vessel and wander in all whither, floating weightless, groundless. It was his very Real McCoy galactic trip to outer space.

On Wednesday, October 13th, Blue X, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos-owned spacecraft enterprise, took off from its launching site about 20 miles away from Rural Texas town of Van Horn with civilian passengers who paid astronomical sums for their space trip. But not Shatner, who spent nothing at the courtesy of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said to be a long-time Trekkie and something of a billionaire with a flair for space cowboy. The motive for a publicity stunt to outshine Blue X over entrepreneur rivals, Elon Musk’s Space-A and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc., is impossible to ignore, yet why not when it also produces positive effects of provoking the imaginary in the real? Shatner, at age 90, seemed no longer the dashing brilliant, just young Admiral Kirk any longer. Still, his spirit beamed up as he experienced overview effect outside the orbit, profoundly mesmerized with the deep fragility of Planet Earth, the Galaxy Blue. Shatner articulated the face of the Earth as so ethereal and impossibly gorgeous vis-à-vis the blackness of outer space that he had a eureka moment of what distinguished Light (Life-Earth) from Darkness (Death-Outer Space). Methinks that such pareidolia of the overview effect has something to do with his nonagenarian age, the last age in Seven Stages of Man, one foot closer in the grave. However, when I watched him in the news, overwhelmed by the ineffable emotions, Jeff Bezos removed his shades and embraced the old actor; all looked genuine, not an act staged for a post-trip publicity event. And even if it so, then it is a likable sort of entertainment that does viewers of all kinds good.

Criticisms on the expensive space trip only the haves can afford are worldwide and understandable amid the unequal distribution of wealth makes earthlings live and die or live and suffer. Yet the veteran movie star reminds me of an old soldier who has lived through the vagaries of life. Overall, the 90-year-old Shatner’s space trip materializes the earthling voyage of the USS Enterprise, boldly searching for new life and new civilizations into the galaxies.

Captain Kirk coming home
Floating under a parachute
Touching down on Mother Earth
in a soft haze of excellent dust,
Calling it home, Roger out.

Welcome back to Earth, Admiral Kirk.