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The Incomplete Survey April 28, 2010

Posted by Will in Education, Fiction, History, Society, Uncategorized.
4 comments

If life is a tapestry, Gezus was fairly sure that it is one of a million creatures copulating to the rays of as many stars. He was in a foul mood for certain, as was his mate earlier when last night’s effort proved to be fruitless yet again. Shina did the test three times and was last seen crying and on a tirade about his diet when he stepped out of the house to get to work. So the day that started off dismally continued its whimpering trajectory when the computer fed him the report of the latest survey.

SUBJECT: TERRA, SOL

SURVEYOR: CAPTAIN SEEKER KITAN, 4th SURVEY FLEET

PROBLEM: CIVILIZATION NOT ADVANCING AS PER PROJECTIONS. SUGGEST INFILTRATION TO ASCERTAIN REASON AND DETECT EXTERNAL INTERFERENCE, IF ANY.

It then rather painfully elucidate that the civilization on the planet is at least a couple of hundred years behind in sociological and mental development although technology is only lagging behind by a little shy of a century. Gezus tapped his temple, found the location of the survey fleet and started the procedures to beam his mind aboard their flagship, Are We There Yet.  He would be gone for at least a month and decided to let the computer inform Shina of that fact. Of course, being the honourable and sensitive male that he was, he hinted at the computer that it would not be too untoward if it made some insertions of URGENT, EXTREME, HELP and HERO at choice locations in the message.

Now it would usually be prudent to have described what Gezus looked like, or the general traits if his highly advanced species. Truth of the matter is, it would be an exercise in futility as they practically do not own bodies permanent in nature. In fact, their whole species is a complete amalgamation of different ones across the galaxy. What remains wholly “Gezus” is a brain which could be adapted into various bodies, although most would choose to stick to one for a reasonable period of time for the sake of procreation and as a matter of personal taste.  Members of Gezus’ society could also choose to be immortal as their neural imprints can be transferred into an artificial brain upon the deterioration of their natural ones.  Strangely, this was a practice not a widely embraced.

*

One peculiar thing about the space vessels operated by Gezus’ society is that not only do they run themselves but also they also name themselves, and often very inconveniently. For example, in the 4th Survey Fleet, the flagship was escorted by two larger ships Honourable Ideals and An Instrument of Peace. These two combat ships are somewhere between two to three kilometres in length and bristled with pointy ends like a Terran monarch caterpillar. Are We There Yet in comparison is a plain disc only a tenth long with observation ports all around the outside edge of the disc. Despite its diminutive size however, it boasted the biggest and most boisterous member of the fleet as its captain.

Captain Seeker Kitan was said to possess such a sensitive nose he could smell your mind (and indeed, the extremely sophisticated business end of his face was tuned to detect neural waves) so when Gezus stepped into the vast cabin at the bow of the flagship Kitan whirled around in a practiced fashion and boomed “Welcome, Operator to Are We There Yet-“

No we are not, Captain. I’d wish you would stop asking or we’ll never get there,” said the ceiling anxiously in a decidedly female voice. “Honestly, how hard is it to-.“ The voice continued but stopped abruptly when Kitan slapped a button on his chest.

“- and to my personal cabin. Don’t mind the ship’s computer, she’s bound to be a bit touchy after not getting anywhere for the better part of five hundred years, “ continued Kitan, apparently used to the interruption. Gezus had read about the ship’s tradition which originated far in the past where her navigators would plot courses a few parsecs more than required to avoid the chance that they would appear in the middle of a star, which was a tragic possibility back then. The practice then gained traction and has been continued ever since, driving the ship bonkers. “One of those spacefarers’ superstition no doubt.” He thought.

“Thank you for receiving me, Captain. Do you have my cover and vehicle ready?” Gezus asked as he glanced inquisitively at the ceiling.

“Yes you will find that all the navigational data has been provided and your human body is fresh from the factory. I’ve even taken the liberty to double check its backup organs and smooth every wrinkle, which seems to be quite a bad thing down there,” said Kitan gravely as he thumbed at the blue-green sphere off to the starboard bow.

“Thank you. I shall be back with a full report as soon as I can.” Gezus was about to turn away when Kitan approached and spoke softly, “there is something you should know.”

Gezus arched an eyebrow.

“Well, you see during the last survey we only managed to take samplings in a relatively small area. A complete survey was not possible due to-ah…us accidentally colliding with one of their probes,” whispered Kitan nervously.

“But that’s not possible! We would have caught the probe on our scans,” exclaimed Gezus.

“We would have, but for the fact that we were too busy shadowing one of their recently launched spacecrafts to notice. One which according to our calculations was heading to the fourth planet from the star,” chuckled Kitan, before continuing “Now that we’re needed at Alpha Centauri for some urgent pirate teasing mission, we will leave after you’ve landed and pick you up on the way back. I trust you would do a thorough job where we couldn’t.”

“I will try, but isn’t it puzzling how could these humans launch an even a primitive interplanetary mission with these low technological readings?” Gezus shook his head as he studied the report in his mind.

“Why did you think we brought you here? Now go prep for your launch, them pirates won’t be happy if I arrive late to the party.” Said Kitan with what you would call a wink as he guided Gezus out the door.

Two hours later Gezus landed as stealthily as he could in a small forest a short ways from a crossroad next to a field. His pod instantly buried itself into the soil as he made his way north quickly through the shrubs. His proxy body and clothes were closely tailored to match the inhabitants of the area where he landed, which was the only country surveyed by Kitan. As he approached the crossroad he attempted to work out the native script on the wooden sign by the roughly tarred road. There was nobody in sight but birds flying in the glare of the rising sun as he read:

“PYONGYANG – 25 Km.”

***

Author’s note:This was written rather quickly as a short story in reaction to North Korea’s most recent threat to nuke the US(for the umpteenth time) after a report about the South Korean navy ship was sunk by a torpedo launched by NK. And this is after all the aid by the US (among others) given to alleviate the famine which killed millions.

It’s just amazing how far removed a whole country can be in this day and age. It is also pretty telling how a biased education coupled with media blackouts is able to totally transform the perception of reality for these people. I’m pretty sure NK isn’t the first nor the last of these extreme forms of dictatorship where the head of state is still revered as The Saviour much akin to godhood while the citizens starve and never felt freedom nor WISH for it.

Is the onus on us more cultured and rational global citizens to liberate them? What would you do for a lost sibling who was raised by trolls and who threaten you repeatedly with a butcher knife every time you try to start a conversation?

On the flip side…perhaps these north koreans have an immense gratitude for their Supreme Leader, being how he saved them from certain death, never mind now that they’ll be thrown into a life of servitude and ignorance. Maybe the joke is on us and they’re all smoking something really awesome, which begs the question – where did they get it and can I have some?



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A Tribute to the Hubble Space Telescope. April 25, 2010

Posted by Will in Astronomy, Science.
1 comment so far

Dear Hubble,

Congratulations for achieving two decades of operations. Here is a toast to you.

Thank you for being our eye in space these past many years. Because of you our celestial horizons are now wider and more beautiful. Because of you, this young and incorrigible species got to see further into the universe and allow the images to invoke feelings of both belonging and wonderment.

Thank you for having the perseverance to stay up after all these years tethered to our little planet of blue. Thank you for giving the much traveled lightwaves a home and a purpose. Thank you for all the new funky nebulae, the twinkling stars, the bashful planets, the bullying black holes and the flashing quasars. Thank you for populating our universe with billions of faraway objects, both on computer and in our minds.

More importantly, thank you for not turning your lenses earthwards, for the pictures down here are gritty,  not so complementary and a little out of  focus. Needless to say we’re not very photogenic as a whole. However, we promise that when you retire in 2014 your replacement the James Webb Space Telescope will be sent from a better world than it was when you were launched in 1990. So take no head of us down here slogging through conflicts and weathering knocks, for the work you do gives us proof of a more fantastical out of this world, which is neither supernatural nor metaphysical in nature.

Thank you, and this goes out to all the passionate people working so hard to keep you up and alive.  You all do Mr. Edwin proud.

P.S. – You may wish to keep a look out for orbiting teapots, it’s a pretty big deal down here.

Nasa HST site

Wikipedia

Virgin Images from the Solar Dynamics Observatory April 22, 2010

Posted by Will in Astronomy, Science.
2 comments
New solar images

A full on picture of our Sun, taken by the new SDO. Credit: Nasa/SDO

New images and video clips of our dear old Sun were obtained recently by NASA via the brand spanking new Solar Dynamics Observatory(SDO). SDO is a space telescope in geosynchronous orbit designed to capture massive amounts of data of the Sun and display them in enrapturing coloured videos.

Click on this link to view the breathtaking videos of solar flares, prominences and even magnetic fields of our very own ultimate ball of fire. Apologies in advance if you are here to see pictures of virgins but if you concentrate hard enough you might even see one or two on the surface of the glorious Sun.

Earth Hour March 28, 2009

Posted by Will in Environment.
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It is currently a little less than three hours till Melbourne embraces Earth Hour, a global effort to switch of non essential lights and appliances for one hour starting at 830PM local time. There has been a bit of drama behind the idea for the past few months. To be succint:

Why is it important: To raise awareness regarding our impact on the environment and as a vehicle for global citizens to vote for the intention to improve the ecosystems and reduce stress on the planet.

Why it is awesome: It is an opportunity for us to unite as a species and vote for a common direction, something we are  somehow genetically predisposed not to do.

Who should really be excited about it: Everyone above the poverty line.

Who in reality are the most excited about it: Criminals, according to certain people(New Scientist). I’ll admit that is the first thing that popped into my mind when i first read about Earth Hour – it is a fanstastic opportunity for thieves to plan elaborate heists around the world. Heck they could even have a forum of their own and plan this months in advance and celebrate an early Christmas. I’m also certain its a fantastic window for a bit of snoosnoo in unorthodox locations.

That is, if we’re all idiots. The project did not call for us to plunge ourselves into pitch darkness, but to switch off non essential lights and equipment.  In the article linked above, business owners calculated the cost of participating and some comments were suggesting that it is more cost effective  if we spend the time on other green projects like changing lightbulbs etc. I do not think they get the spirit nor the scale of this excercise. This is about awareness and forging global unity, and there is no reason why we can’t both change lightbulbs and switch it off – they are not mutually exclusive. 

If your business can not afford the risk, just decline politely and perhaps support it on the personal level and do it at home. With doors fully locked.

Personally my uni will be honoring the cause and hopefully here’s hoping we’ll have satellite images of the planetary mexican wave popping up on the net soon.

Fill ‘er up. June 5, 2008

Posted by Will in Environment, Personal, Society.
1 comment so far

A litre of unleaded petrol in Malaysia now costs RM2.70(~USD0.80), a 40% increase over the previous price of RM1.92. As per usual motorists could be seen making a beeline for the nearest petrol station last night to “take maximum advantage” of the old subsidized fuel prices as the revision will come into effect at midnight.

Much consternation aside, it is not as bad as it looks. The government has announced that they will be awarding an annual RM625 rebate to each vehicle with an engine capacity <= 2000cc when you pay your road tax effective this July 1st.

What this basically means is that you will be recieving RM12 per week to absorb the new hike in prices. For those lazy with maths this means that if you have been pumping RM30 worth of fuel per week this rebate will be paying for the 40% hike. Any lower and you will be gaining a positive income, any more and you’ll feel some heat.

I’m cozying up to this change as it will provide those owning economy cars with more incentives to use less and at the same time perhaps encourage Malaysians to pursue alternative fuels or to practice efficient power management. Here’s hoping that the extra tax income generated will be wisely spent on upgrading our public transporation systems. Better yet, fix the goddamn potholes all over the country with REAL asphalt that could withstand severe rain corrosion (I swear mechanics are making a killing everywhere fixing wheel alignments and whatnot. Maybe it’s a conspiracy :O). 

That’s not to say everything is fine and dandy however, undoubtly prices of almost everything else will escalate in tow and inflation was projected to hit 6% this year. Time to ask for those pay increments, or start carpooling.

I dodged a bullet the size of a car. March 11, 2008

Posted by Will in Personal.
8 comments

This is my second life and it seems pretty sweet so far, aside from the gnawing pain across the whole of my right torso and the occasional steak knife stabbing agony when I try to mobilize certain muscle groups.

At 8:30 a.m. this morning a Kia sedan became a little more excited than usual and plowed into the driver side of my car with enough vigor to tame a thousand female amazonian warriors should they exist. Apparently annoyed at this transgression my lightweight Satria absorbed the blow like a trooper and spun two complete circles, smashed into the curb, smothered a bush and probably frightened an entire ant colony whose queen upon staring at the sudden and totally rude appearance of my car’s front fender, predictably issued a royal decree that setting up shop at the corner of a deadly intersection seems like an overvalued idea (in hindsight), and proceeded to have three ministers whipped publicly, a thousand warriors ordered to assault said offending fender and had a dozen contingent of scouts recon for a more suitable nesting site.

(This is the part where I write “But I digress” but I happen to like digressing aand it will not kill you to noticed that I had DONE so)

I discovered that it’s rather annoying to have ONLY “FUUUUUUKKKKKKKK!!!!” screaming in my mind when I realized the increasingly high probability that I will die. No time dilation, no slo-mo flashbacks to my kindergarten sweetheart, just pure unadulterated horror. So much for dramatization.

When the spinning finally stopped, and when my faculties finally switched back on one by one I noticed that there was an acrid smell in the air (my airbag had deployed) that seared my throat. I then noticed two pairs of hands grabbing the frame of my door and trying to pry it off so that I can actually be extracted. There were a lot of disembodied voices asking if I’m alright, or where does it hurt and whether I can move. This prompted me to wave my left pinky weakly. There certainly was urgency in the air about all the getting out of car thing but I wasn’t feeling anything much if at all and my seatbelt was still on so things should be alright if I just take a quick nap, aight?

A small defiant part of my mind however was desperately trying to inform me that most (but not all) cars runs on internal combustion engine and those gulp down stuff that makes it combust. Licking flames hmm. OH SHIT FUCKKK (excuse my pathetic literary efforts during a crisis)

So I promptly unbuckled my seatbelt, yanked myself over to the passenger side, unlocked the door, stepped out onto the asphalt and immediately fell down on all fours, coughing. Wiggling my extremities to check if anything important was broken/maimed/smashed I noticed the lack of spilled blood, which was basically an encouraging sign. I then stood and stalked around my expired car, much to the relief of six men (how did they get here so quickly??), who are still asking the same questions save that they are now also asking me to sit down and rest.

It sounded incredibly absurd at the time.

What I saw when I got round to the impact site was even more incredulous:

Car crash

In a nutshell if I had been a fraction slower I would bear the force of the trauma and would probably have a broken spine/hip/be playing D&D with Gary Gygax. If I had been a little faster my fuel tank may have ruptured and pose a great hazard, regardless of whether it exploded or not. Talk about providence.

Somebody handed me my spectacles at this juncture, which I noticed to be lacking the left lens but I put it on anyway.

So we fast forward to various men in uniform buzzing in asking questions, Min Chen swooping in and going postal on the offending driver (who was insignificant to me at the time as to how bedbugs are pretty insignificant to us -I don’t know why) and my Dad finally arriving to send me to the hospital for a checkup, which I found to be rather tedious at the time because my organs felt like they have been rearranged according to alphabetical order i.e. balls retreated into my abdominal cavity and heart dropping to where my bowels was.

I presently found myself on a wheelchair, waiting for a pretty cute nurse to give me a prelim check in the ER ward of a hospital. Both of us had to wait for a doctor and the X-Rays, and it was boring so I did what every self respecting dude would have done if he just had a serious accident and is waiting to find out if he’s about to die.

ME: So, how long have you been working here.
Pretty Cute Nurse (PCN forthwith): Ah…this is my third week and my second day in ER.
ME: Oh?
PCN (Blushing a little): Yeap, I’m a student still. From (Some Uni name lost in the haze of the moment).
ME: Ah. I’m a lecturer.
PCN: Really? Which university?
ME: Lim Kok Wing
PCN (Sagely): Ah, very expensive. Most expensive.
ME: Uh, nah it’s about the same really. How long till you graduate?
PCN: This semester. I’ve been posted to other hospitals for two months now.
ME: Ah so they rotate you around.
PCN: Err… yes
FANTASIZING ME: Tell me nurse, would you mind stripping together with me in the x-ray room so we can conduct a full body examination. With x-rays. And maybe some whiskey to numb the pain.
ACTUAL ME: I teach games. (Picture a burning fighter jet spiraling meteorically into the ground in a huge fireball)
PCN (Feigning interest and surprise): Wow, a game genius! (WTF is that supposed to mean?)
ME: Err…nah I just tell people about what’s fun.

At this point the radiographer rushed in and promptly abducted me into the X-Ray chamber. I didn’t even get to say goodbye. After a tense ten minutes the doctor called me into his office, stuck my X-Ray up on a lightbox and started pointing vigorously to blurish blobs of matter. Well it turned out that everything is where they should be and my skull (they had to X-Ray it FOUR times – yeah it’s thick) hadn’t sustained any fractures. He then gave me a prescript, told me to rush back to the hospital if anything starts to leak (figuratively) and shooed me away.

And so here I am, typing this away while refraining my self from chewing the Celebrax painkillers to save them for tomorrow when according to the doc “you just might get out of bed, good luck”.

Lux Aeterna, or how your life can be made epic February 29, 2008

Posted by Will in Entertainment, Personal.
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I think most if not all of you have heard Lux Aeterna and its various incarnations(compositions). Still puzzled?

Think Lord of the Rings trailer.

It was originally composed by Clint Mansell for the movie Requiem for a Dream, and have been featured an adapted to various movies and their trailers. Even games are picking it up for their own teasers.

Despite the dreadful amount of cheesiness one may expect from this score due to its many exposure to pop culture it remains a demonstrable evidence that music can and WILL reach down to our psyche and yank our soulstrings. I am clearly not qualified to justify or explain this phenomenon but as a listener I’m disarmed by its ability to whip chains around my overactive imagination and yank it around in a crazy fashion to create a constant stream of epiphanies when I’m doing just about anything.

Here’s a youtube sample of the original.

and one composed just for LoTR.

So now, a few easy steps to really make your life more interesting(to yourself only, unfortunately):

1) Obtain the mp3 and pop it into your ipod/mp3 player.
2) Listen when you do your laundry, drive to the store, lick stamps, conduct perfunctory observations of your right big toe, or even (for the hell of it) slap your monkey.
3) Come back in tears feeling like a vindicated hero.
4) Grimace as the sledgehammer of Mundane Life plow mercilessly into the depths of your livid conciousness.
5) Repeat step 2 as many times as necessary.

I love music.

Re:Your Brains By JoCo February 20, 2008

Posted by Will in Entertainment, Personal.
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Convincing the masses that I am horrifiyingly tone death is a pet project I managed to complete successfully throughout the past two decades. However it doesn’t mean that I do not appreciate or enjoy music, in fact being a cornerstone of culture music manages to invoke an insane amount of feelings on my part – a simple melody can be very uplifting for example.

One of the few things I do regret about myself is the inability to memorize song lyrics. It’s very demoralizing when my best pal in primary school could do it right after two or three renditions. I on the other hand, have difficulty recalling the chorus after being locked up in a small closet with the song piped in on repeat, and the lyrics painted on the walls. With a gun pointed at my crotch. I suspect my brain is wired wrongly in some way to never reproduce music.

Hence I generally wasn’t fond of any artist in particular, instead I just pin for the most fun or beautiful melody of the moment and never did notice the lyrics even if I hear them(not that I wanted to during the boyband infested 90s). So I pretty much resigned myself to just listen but not hear great songs like the simple recreational outlets they were.

Until a software engineer turned indie singer Jonathan Coulton turned up with the song Re:Your Brains. Now you must understand that he’s a geek, and zombies are something geeks just get. We even have a manual on how to survive a zombie infestation. But this isn’t what’s phenomenal with the song, its the very fact that I could now *get* a song. And another of his, and another…

THIS GUY ROCKS. LITERALLY.

Watch this video accompanied by the lyrics below. Sing with me folks.

————————-

Heya Tom, it’s Bob from the office down the hall
Good to see you buddy, how’ve you been?
Things have been OK for me except that I’m a zombie now
I really wish you’d let us in
I think I speak for all of us when I say I understand
Why you folks might hesitate to submit to our demand
But here’s an FYI: you’re all gonna die screaming

All we want to do is eat your brains
We’re not unreasonable, I mean, no one’s gonna eat your eyes
All we want to do is eat your brains
We’re at an impasse here, maybe we should compromise:
If you open up the doors
We’ll all come inside and eat your brains

I don’t want to nitpick, Tom, but is this really your plan?
To spend your whole life locked inside a mall?
Maybe that’s OK for now but someday you’ll be out of food and guns
And then you’ll have to make the call
I’m not surprised to see you haven’t thought it through enough
You never had the head for all that bigger picture stuff
But Tom, that’s what I do, and I plan on eating you slowly

All we want to do is eat your brains
We’re not unreasonable, I mean, no one’s gonna eat your eyes
All we want to do is eat your brains
We’re at an impasse here, maybe we should compromise:
If you open up the doors
We’ll all come inside and eat your brains

I’d like to help you Tom, in any way I can
I sure appreciate the way you’re working with me
I’m not a monster Tom, well, technically I am
I guess I am

I’ve got another meeting Tom, maybe we could wrap it up
I know we’ll get to common ground somehow
Meanwhile I’ll report back to my colleagues who were chewing on the doors
I guess we’ll table this for now
I’m glad to see you take constructive criticism well
Thank you for your time I know we’re all busy as hell
And we’ll put this thing to bed
When I bash your head open

All we want to do is eat your brains
We’re not unreasonable, I mean, no one’s gonna eat your eyes
All we want to do is eat your brains
We’re at an impasse here, maybe we should compromise:
If you open up the doors
We’ll all come inside and eat your brains

eof

——————————

Hi-fucking-larious, with a great melody to boot. His lyrics are very honest, funny and matter-of-fact. If you like this one please sample other awesome songs like Codemonkeys(his most famous), I Crush Everything(it’s about a self-loathing giant squid), Creepy Doll(great lyrics) and the poignant You Ruined Everything. He distributes his works freely on his website under the Creative Commons license but you can pay for his tracks if you’re so inclined. My fav part:

I think I speak for all of us when I say I understand
Why you folks might hesitate to submit to our demand
But here’s an FYI: you’re all gonna die screaming

Pure genius.

I’m definitely supporting this amazing talent, just because I can now belt out songs in the shower, in the car and in cafeteria line. If you don’t get him, well you’re not geeky enough :P. For more information visit his site or watch this yahoo news piece.

BRains!!1!!

A surname’s genesis. February 18, 2008

Posted by Will in History, Personal.
2 comments

Predictably, Wilz has bespoke me to rewrite my lost post on surnames. It was initially a body of text aggrandizing the importance of knowing and understanding one’s family name, absorbing the tales of inspiration and adventure whenever present and methods to develop a few when there aren’t any to be found.

I’m pretty hesitant to tread that path again so let’s explore MY surname instead, which perhaps could act as a guide on how you should do the same on your own (with a little less irreverence of course).

Now, one rather annoying problem with my surname is that it is probably shared by some 200 million equally inconvenienced souls around the world. So any projects aimed at exploring the genealogical fronds of my family would be be very much akin to attempts at searching for the second cousin of a queen bee in that angry hive threatening to engorge your prized mango tree. It’s a fruitless task and even if you do find her, you’ll get a stinging realization that she’s nothing really different than all the other cousins.

Throughout the course of my concious life I have discovered that being bright is a quality I occasionally display when I am not inebriated or intoxicated. So instead of attempting to climb up my family tree(this I have earmarked as a post-retirement project) I decided with some finality that it should be much easier to search for the first person to bear this simple name. So simple in fact, that all it takes is a couple of mouseclicks and typing three characters on my keyboard. Be aware however, that I am a self proffered techological wiz(inability to gauge own competence is a calibre common to men like me, but I’m very much certain I’m a little more inaccurate than the rest) and so efforts required on your part may certainly vary.

According to wikipedia:

A popular myth (some say historical fact) states that during the reign of Shang Zhou (“纣王” in Chinese) the last king of Shang dynasty had 3 of his uncles advising him and his administration. The king’s uncles were Bi Gan (also spelled Pi Kan), Qi Zi and Wei Zi. Together the 3 men were known as “The Three Kindhearted Men of Shang” in the kingdom.

Bi Gan was the son of Prince Ding, son of Emperor Shang, was King Zhou’s uncle.

Unfortunately, Zhou Wang was a cruel king and his 3 uncles could not persuade him to change his ways. The state’s citizens suffered tremendously. Failing in their duty to advise the king, Wei Zi resigned. Qi Zi faked insanity and was relieved of his post. Only Bi Gan stayed on to continue advising the king to change his ways. Bi Gan stayed at the palace for three days and nights to try to persuade the bloodthirsty and immoral king to mend his ways.

The stubborn king would not relent and had his uncle, Bi Gan, arrested for treason. Upon hearing this his pregnant wife (surname Chen) escaped into the forest to protect her unborn child from death. She knew, in time, the king would execute Bi Gan’s entire family. In the forest the baby was born. Alone with no one to help, she grabbed hold of two trees and gave birth to a baby boy whom she named Jian. When she reached the nearest town, she gave her child the surname Lin (Chinese character depicted by two trees).

Before long, Shang Zhou was overthrown and killed by Zhou Wu Wang. Zhou Wu Wang knew about the courageous court adviser Bi Gan and sought his wife and child. When he found them, he honoured them in respect to Bi Gan. The mother and child were restored back into the royal family. The new king conferred the surname Lin (meaning woods or forest) on Bi Gan’s son, because he was born in some woods.

According to historical records, people who carry the surname Lin are the descendents of Bi Gan, a loyal subject of King Zhou from the Shang Dynasty.

Pretty exciting, ain’t it? Can’t say I envy the first Lim, but wow have he inherited some serious genes. This post lacks any form of bullet points so I am going to pontificate vigorously and illustrate things you may have missed from the article:

  1. The first Lim would probably have inherited his mother’s courage and his father’s wisdom and infalible morality.
  2. He was probably hell bent on vengeance and ripping somebody’s spine off, though it was impossible since the person in question was already dead.
  3. The first Lim was given birth by a lady who had trees in place of midwives. I think this is pretty poignant.
  4. Being a malevolent emperor/king/deity/anime character never pays off, even if you manage to get rid of three dotting uncles.

That being done, I shall now transpose the above points against my own personality to discover how far removed am I from this ancestor of mine:

  1. Hmm…ok I am probably pretty courageous according to my mates since I have shopped for lingerie(for girls, not myself please)..and err my moral compass probably needs some recalibrating.
  2. Aside from getting pissed off 12 times a day driving to and fro work I don’t really harbor any festering homocidal tendencies. This does make me very un-badass like doesn’t it.
  3. I wouldn’t call myself an environmentalist per se but I do care about the planet we live it.
  4. The only thing I have complete rule over is my cellphone(yes not even my PC and notebook) and I am hardly evil in that respect.

Evidently, my grand forefather would have carved my spleen out and roast it on a spit(made from two branches, I must point out) if he could see how I’ve turned out. Even so, reading this tale of wisdom, audacity and salvation is pretty gratifiying in itself and provides me a lovely platform to humbly admire my heritage. Unlike a myth it seems to be unequivocal in its moral guidance, and like a fiery shooting star across the blinking heavens it effuses a fleeting sense of wonder and belonging.

So it’s all worth it in the end, even if it’s a simple word. Why not take 10 minutes and discover yours?

Indecent Ruminations February 16, 2008

Posted by Will in Personal.
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That’s the name of my stillborn blog before I decided to splash my intellectual graffiti, weird jabbers and silly puns in what was Wilz’s equivalent of an e-lawn. I’ve pitched a solid tent and you can expect various posts on a myriad of subjects, most of which should be written with a certain legal amount of candor and the rest peppered luxuriously with either stolid observations about the world we live(d) in or casually impregnated with what you would call swear words but what I would assume to be a perfectly fucking normal way of communicating shite. Sometimes I go on a rampage and make an offensive cocktail out of them as thus:

Religion is an invasive but necessary form of informational virus which helps shapes our journey on this planet. This virus alters our initial form of “software” DNA and is primarily the reason why we are able to spread our civilizations across the globe so effectively, with legends and myths first providing an ability to store information that both guides us and reflects our state of being and then reprogramming our state of mind from the moment of birth. The question is not whether we should do away with this virus but what could do a better job.

Also, triple fuck that bitch who was texting and swerved into my lane this morning, nearly sideswiping me into the railing.

And similar rubbish jottings. I shall certainly have fun hammering the keyboard, and might even post some of the fiction material I have been working on should I suddenly decide that the public could use a few jolts of literature agony.

Cheers

Postscript: Due to the fact that I inexplicably lost a long post about the origin of surnames (which creatively contains hamsters, lego blocks and my personal flaws) to my blaise ineptitude with the wordpress interface and the ball-stabbing connection I proudly surf in, I have decided to cop out and write my first post about my first post. So there.