Tag Archives: Miscellany

music of life

1dc50954796a2e0491b7dc93d333effdPaul McCartney sings, “Long and Winding Road,” whereas Rod Stewart utters, “I am sailing.” Then Tom Cochrane brings life back to land by proclaiming “Life is a highway.” Whatever metaphor they confer upon life, one thing is certain that it has a meaning, a sense of sui generis purpose, which leads all humankind to the glory of Enlightenment. Methinks life is a very long marathon race toward the grande finale after sailing through the vicissitudes of human conditions in the course of solipsistic running. That’s why all life is priceless and worth the living. How fast I will run and what route I will take is totally contingent upon my sui juris decision. Frank Sinatra knew it as in My Way, and the Animals shout out, “It’s My Life.” Snoopy, as wisecracking as ever, sums it all of the above.

Author’s Note: I came upon this felicitous Snoopy cartoon on the last train home. It gave me a fillip to this short vignette. You know what? I feel much better now. 🙂

disgrace of street preacher

0d380ebe-dcf9-11e8-9f04-38d397e6661cAll enthusiastic street preachers are alike; each passionate street preacher is passionate in his own fashion. One thing is certain that their fundamental guidance of street evangelization is simple and basic: that delivering the words of God incarnate in the bible is their sacred duty and responsible for the love of God. In fact, their authentic religious belief and conviction come straightly from the tenets of Reformation that advocated faith on the basis of the Scriptures alone. That said, Zealots they may be, but street preachers are not fire starters of civil disobedience or religious munchausens, forcing their religious convictions on passers-by. At least that had been a mores most civilized societies kept until a certain street preacher was arrested at a train station in London, England a month ago.

His name is Oluwole Ilesanmi, 64-year old peripatetic preacher who emigrated from Nigeria to England 9 years ago. Ilesanmi has travelled all over Britain, preaching what he believes at train stations where crowds of strangers ebb and flow without really paying attention to Ilesanmi and his words of God because well, for the reason that we commonly have when we come upon the likes of Ilesanmi. But on that unlucky day, Ilesanmi was abruptly arrested by the police because he was being “racist”. The beginning of his public disgrace was Ilesanmi’s disobliging reference to Islam in which he called Allah “idol”. What could have/should have been just an ordinary preaching day otherwise turned out to be his day on the pillory of public humiliation, so to speak,  because Ilesanmi was handcuffed in front of the crowd of people who suddenly paid attention to the preacher and then rudely bundled into a police car. Furthermore, the police then “de-arrested” him by taking him to a remote area five miles away on the outskirts of London without money into the bargain! The poor preacher was finally able to return home thanks to a generosity of a kindly elderly man who paid for his bus ticket to home. It was indeed a humiliating and disheartening experience for the 64-year old street preacher.

SnoopyimageThe police later said that Ilesanmi’s inappropriate remarks on Islam, such as “Idol” and “aberration,” were racial enough to apprehend the preacher. But it still does not seem to constitute any valid grounds of the mocking arrest of the preacher because he wasn’t clearly brandishing any weapon or even a banner in public to shout out racial slurs that would really make any passer-by of the target racial category feel threatened.  In other words, the police should intervene if someone is willfully intent upon harassing people with abusive words and physical intimidation. And Ilesanmi certainly wasn’t. Was he?

The over-reaction of the police seems buffoonish as if it were an episode of Monty Python. If the police intended to exemplify the Ilesanmi’s unfortunate episode for a textbook case of religious intolerance in public, then they were mistaken because it was exactly contrary to democracy, sovereignty of individuals, by which people have right to express what they think about and believe in unless they use willfully physical and mental violence/intimidation with malice to pontificate about it.  What’s more, it was truly shameful of the police to cavil at what the solitary elderly preacher was preaching and poke on him when his presence was part of everyday city landscape. And if by the reason of sheer annoyance or even carbuncles that the police showcased Ilesanmi’s public indignity, then it was their misuse of power and authority because Ilesanmi wasn’t forcing his belief on anyone because his street preaching was always subject to casual dismissal at one’s discretion by the dint of robotic inattention to anything religious anyway. For these reasons, I feel strongly that the police owe the street preacher an apology for the indignities he had to suffer for the day. 

Author’s Note: This essay is based upon my reading of an article “Arrest of Christian Preacher” by Tom Goodenough of the latest issue of “The Spectators” last night. What made me indignant about this article was that the police appeared to violate the old preacher’s dignity as well as his religious faith. Why did the police have to drop him off in the middle of nowhere without money? Did they think it as some sort of joke? It always seems to me that the authority and the powers- that- be like to hector the meek because they can’t touch or mess with the strong. So animalistic, that is. It shows that humans, despite the  intelligence and spirituality ascribed thereto, are not much different from the  other species in the Animal Kingdom. 

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goodbye mr. lagerfeld

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You would know him if your sense of style strikes the chords with his idea of beauty that seems a curious conflation of the ethereal with the down-to-earth. Or you would know him as a photographer whose world of beauty betrayed linear conformity in the most brilliant way. If none of the above belongs to you, then you would probably recognize him by his signature silver hair tied in the 18th-century man’s ponytail style in urban tight attire that looked strange but charismatic, decadent but conservative. In the fashion and beauty firmament, Karl Lagerfeld (1933-2019), the creative director of the French fashion house Chanel, was one of the principalities whose dazzling collection of creativity formed a legion of cult.

The death of Lagerfeld seems a bit distinguished from those of other fashion designers to me based on my purely subjective taste and reason: First of all, Lagerfeld was a very intelligent man of culture, judging by his display of erudite knowledge on art and literature due to his voracious reading of books. I saw his interview with Charlie Rose several years ago and was delighted in listening to his conversing with the host because of his intelligence and quickness that was never a bore. Also, Lagerfeld’s world of style is not far-fetched and always mixed with individual attitude that looks so cool and stylish and emulative. Although a gorgeous but exorbitant Chanel tweed jacket is like Jason’s golden fleece to me, I can take a cue from Lagerfeld’s feasible but fashionable style to make it my own in everyday life. Besides, Lagerfeld’s controversial but honest opinion on thinness as an ideal beauty chimes with mine. Call me ever so superficial, politically incorrect, or even persnickety, but the emblem of the flesh as a forced common denominator of beauty and fashion is arbitrary and despotic.

Karl Lagerfeld was the only fashion designer I admired, and his death saddened me when I learned it yesterday from this week’s issue of The Spectator. During his reign of the Chanel House, Lagerfeld used to say, “T-shirts for ten dollars are even more fashion today than expensive fashion.” Must I say more? That is why I liked and like Lagerfeld and his canon of style that is timeless and classic.

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img_0162All lawyers are educated, expensive mercenaries of fortune with a high chance of variable expediency in allegiance to whoever employs their burst of legal pep, or “intelligent drudgery,” so to speak. Lawyers know no fear but lots of hubris that can move heaven and earth because of their Napoleonic credo of “There’s no word for impossibility in my dictionary.” To Sally, it’s a real case of Sartre’s existentialism which dictates that “Experience precedes essence.” And yet, the images of gentlemanly lawyers in the characters of Atticus in To kill a mockingbird played by Gregory Peck and Kavanagh QC portrayed by John Thaw are hard to be disembarrassed from Sally’s abstract ideas of fine lawyers.

img_0164Sally’s position of legal assistant wears many hats: secretary, paralegal, accountant, receptionist, calendar person, and whipping girl paid to do a one-man show at a high price. You may yoke the concept of the position into that of a pricey maid, sort of an upgraded modern version of educated head maid you may see in TV period dramas, such as Upstairs and Downstairs, Berkeley Squares, and The Duchess of Duke Street. Accordingly, like a dutiful head maid in a manor house, docile Sally exerts all her efforts to fulfill incredibly hectic demands imposed upon her daily tasks with graceful patience and her very pretty smile.

img_0163“It’s all a mind game, a sort of mental Tetris in which I have to find out a way to accomplish my tasks without being jammed with constantly generating tile blocks to be upgraded to the next level. And I want to win in this game.” Surely, as consciousness is the foundation of the universe, marshaling self-discipline and courage to perform her tasks to the fullest extent possible is the sine qua non of her happy metier. After all, the nature of lawyering turns its practitioner into a professional inquisitor of wickedness of mankind as observed by Arthur Schopenhauer.

 

three philosophies

images-1Before calling it a day to say hello to a new tomorrow on a hard day’s night, to happen on this comic strip of my all-time favorite Peanuts seems almost too pat. Provident, even. It chimes the bells of my heart and soul that are dented with the shrapnel of existential vertigo in the most impressively elliptical way: that none other than simple tenets of life are needful to live a less stressful life.

As Sally elegantly puts: Life does not end at one fell swoop even if I stumble into an imbroglio of misadventures; any such mistakes or misdeeds betray that to err is human; and that I should not fall into the bottomless pit of worries and anxiousness, for tomorrows are always new with their own unknowns.

What Sally blithely professes strikes the chords of Logotheraphy, a 3rd Viennese school of psychotherapy founded by Dr. Viktor E. Frankl based on existential analysis focusing on ego qua meaningfulness, a purpose of living a meaningful life. With these simple but potent tenets of life in mind, I can say good-bye to this spent day with the alacrity of departure for nightly dreamscapes to rest myself.