Posted in Miscellany

ages of man

No matter how many leaves have fallen from a tree as the wind of changes has been blown – sometimes placidly and many times harshly – I still feel like a girl who has refused to enter into adulthood, shunning away from the nature of things. Cicero said the ages of man have their stages of nature with sovereign rights, so anything you fly in the face of them will ask for troubles. But then Cleopatra declared to reject the forces of mortality, and Shakespeare thus praised her courage and fortitude by saying: “Age cannot wither away, nor customs can stale her infinite varieties.” Oh, and there is also Cher, now rightly revered as a dame of celebrity, and she has recently decried acknowledging her age on our evolutionary scale. So why not me with my consistent resistance against the fate of a mortal in all aspects with all my might, with all my soul, and with all my heart?

It’s not only the inevitable awareness of the passing of generations by me. With the recent death of Sidney Poitier, the eminent actor famous for his unforgettably charismatic roles in ‘In the Heat of the Night’ and ‘To Sir with Love, it has begun to dawn on me that those who lived through WW2 and pre and post Second Vatican Council are now gone with the wind to the haze of time, a new breed of generations has germinated, sprouted, and dispersed across the lands and oceans, just as mammals began to stage after the extinction of dinosaurs. It’s a nature of the universe, but still hard to accept it, especially when everything else but I change, or seems it so. The difference between the millennials and the Me generation seems as far and wide as that between the Victorians and the Flappers, so to speak. Less than 50 years must have felt a great leap of 100 years to the opposite generations, I gather. But that’s not hyperbole, I believe.

Greek gods knew too well about such a human yearning to be agrasia and played the weakness in favor of their everlasting egoism. Otherwise, why did they keep nectar made with ambrosia to themselves on the Mount of Olympus? Demeter, the goddess of harvest and corn, put the baby of her master who took the goddess in the guise of a poor woman as her baby son’s nurse in a sacred flame on the pretext of making him ageless as a favor to the kindness of her lesser mortals. And it doesn’t end with Greek gods. Jesus never became old, preserved in his prime days of preaching travels with stylishly long hair that reminds me of a famous musician or poet. So was Mary, the mother of God. In the end, only humans stand in the audience, appreciating the agrasia beauty and immortality, comparing the presence of eternal youth to the absence of it.

What with the flow of time and what with the present state I am in now, inching toward the end of the era, is already enough to blow me away into the twilight zone, where things are unlike Alice’s Wonderland but Vincent’s Price’s Haunted House. Magic is no joke and is real for sure, but you always have to pay for what you wish for. But I think it’s a mindset that significantly impacts physical reality, which is magic turning you forever young.

Posted in book review

‘Phonecian Civilization: A History from Beginning to End’

Phoenicians were more than smart ancient people who ruled the Mediterranean before the grandeur of Rome took over the world under the sandals. They were brilliant seafaring merchants, navigating the open waters with the direction of the Polaris, the occupants of Canaan, the biblical land of honey and milk, the high-end manufacturer of Tyrian purple, and the inventor of the alphabet. They were adventurous and impetuous, wild and civilized, just as Dido, the queen of Phoenician Carthage, was to Aeneas and General Hannibal to his Roman enemy force.

As aforesaid, Phoenicians were Canaanite of Semite groups that shared the same cultural and linguistic roots with Jews. Interestingly, Phoenicia was not a single country but a confederate of city-states located along the eastern Mediterranean Sea, comprising modern-day Syria, Israel, and Lebanon about 3,000 B.C. Phoenicians sailed across unknown seas of antiquity, always bringing seeds of vine tree with them to sow them on foreign lands, propagating the bliss of wine everywhere they went. So they went to North Africa and established their city-state called Carthage, located in what is now known as Tunisia, and planted vine trees producing melliferous wine. Perhaps it’s the aura that the land of vine trees infatuated Aeneas, a Trojan prince, destined to become the founder of the Roman race, in the person of sultry queen Dido. Sure, Dido was a Baal worshipper. So was Hannibal because Phoenicians regarded Baal, the dignitary in the circles of hell, to Christians, as the god of fertility and weather, with El, the father of all gods, and Astarte, the progenitor of Greek Artemis and Aphrodite. Moreover, human sacrifices of children during natural disasters or wars were performed, while sacred prostitution to honor their gods Adonis and Astarte, just as Babylonian women did in the temple of Ishtar. It seems that except for the Jews, the ancient peoples from the Middle East, near the Middle East, and the Mediterranean seem to regard physical pleasure as the essential component of euphoria that accounted for sacred ecstasy in the worship of their deities.

Such is my impression of ancient Phoenicians whom Alexander the Great couldn’t even dominate. Romans destroyed Phoenician city-state Carthage, after which it was said that a priest cursed Phoenicians, sprinkling grain of salt on the conquered land, lest they arise again, evermore. Whether it was true, the curse proved not as effective as the Romans wished because the Phoenician legacy continues in the form of cultural influence as aforesaid.

Posted in Poetry

Fallen angel

An angel is no angel any more
When she begins to feel
As a blue wind is blowing
And knocking gently
At the door to her heart
With a sweet aeolian flute.

The sorrow then enters
With gossamer of longing
She feels but knows not
And the heart with the mist fills
Like the nascent rain descending.

The memories are betrayed,
She keeps her wings still;
Heaven is no home remembered,
The world is an abode to be lived,
Embracing hope for a new legend
When she wakes up from the dream
And shines brighter than ever.

Posted in book review, Miscellany

woes of workers

I have always appreciated the magnificent impacts on the Industrial Revolution, especially during the mid 19th century in the West, as it upended the contemporary foundation of the economy and reconstructed the social systems and culture around the world. However, I cannot help but look on to the plight of workers at the mercy of ruthless employers in a toxic working environment still practiced in this aeronautical, wireless internet age.

While the rights and benefits of workers have even been recognized and improved, thanks to people like Lord Ashley, the mistreatment of workers is yet rampantly prevalent by their callous employers exploiting their labor in the toxic environment. Unfortunately, sad tendencies exist everywhere in our world, particularly among non-western populations for whom the Industrial Revolution is the relatively late advent of human progress in terms of collective welfare.

Workers may be born free by the bill of rights, but they are at the whims and caprice of their employers like their ancient slave owners who would decide the livelihood of those under their mastership. Otherwise, Elon Musk’s Tesla would be careful about their non-white workers at his factory, but that’s just the tip of a vast collective unfair employment iceberg. Indeed, the history and experience exhibit to be utterly inconsistent with the advanced minds in the real world.

Posted in Poetry

Polaris

Remember, when you see the North Star
On a high cold night drifting away at sea,
Your destiny isn’t doomed altogether
Even the spell on your life fades away;
Hope leads the path most brilliantly,
Humor cheers a sailing most pleasingly,
And tomorrow is always a new adventure;
No fortune’s malice can cover the Polaris
Nor can sorrow dim the diamond light
With heart even for the fate unkind ever.