Saturday, February 27, 2010

I've been meaning to write...

from loveyourchaos

... So I finally did.

Sorry folks for being missing-in-action in the last while. I took a mini-sabbatical from blogging because of work deadlines (as I'm sure you could surmise from my last little poem). I hope you all enjoyed your CNY celebrations and are well re-charged over the hols to tackle the challenges presented by the new Year of the Tiger.

For my part, I'm really happy to say that I managed to beat my writer's block where my research is concerned (I sorely need a mad rave-dancing smiley here!) :D For a long while there I was drowning in both my own materials as well as those of others, and then for another long while there I had my models and frameworks worked out, but couldn't find the enthusiasm to properly write them down; or I had them written as individual papers but had no enthusiasm to re-write them as proper chapters (and of course, all along I have been bogged down in teaching, in course management, in other people's grant applications, in my own students' research projects, in academic committee work, and reviewing other people's applications, etc. etc., so that I had precious little headspace for finishing my own work.)

But last week, I handed in something that I am genuinely quite proud of. Though it's not the end of it yet and there are still more I need to get done, I'm glad I'm having my full sails up and getting a good head wind.

How did I manage to break through the block? Having a great, genuinely supportive mentor helps, reading this also helps (in particular, Neil Gaiman's top 3 rules:

1 Write.

2 Put one word after another. Find the right word, put it down.

3 Finish what you're writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it.)

At the end of the day, it really is as simple as that. I intend to keep up my good work, thank you very much.

I do realise that I also have other writing obligations that I still need to attend to, especially where blogging is concerned (like I still need to finish my post regarding the 20 publications that most influenced me in the Noughties! And a whole bunch of other things I have wanted to blog in the last while, like the interiors decor tips post I just promised Myblahblahblah, and like the few JDIFF films that I manage to catch this couple of weeks). But I discover that feeling guilty about lack of blogging is far more pleasant than feeling guilty over lack of progress re: finishing my thesis.

So sincere apologies dear blog-friends, but I'd probably have even more periodic absences from my blog as well as your blogs in the near future. (I do admit I read your blogs surreptitiously though, as all of your blogs are just so darned great that I can't stay away, even if I could not bring myself to comment - because doing so will drag me into reading people's replies as well...) So please do keep up your wonderful blogging folks, you've provided me with a source of inspiration and comfort in your blogposts, even if I don't manage to comment to show my appreciation.

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Time... [Updated]

_______surreptitiously, away....
_______remorselessly, by...
_______rapidly, out...

Like water --
Precious, but we have no qualms wasting.
Like air --
Invisible, yet we choke when it disappears.
Is money --
Its value depends entirely on how we use it.

We try to measure it, rationally
by the swiftness of sands as they slip
through the rabbit hole inside a glass;
or by listening to the strikes
of a gong against a bell;
or by observing the shadows
of the sun beneath a dial.

When in fact we count it
by the cups of coffee we've had
as in vain we're kept waiting
yet again;
and then by how quickly
our hearts beat
when we finally meet
our love;
and last
though by no means least,
by the sound of deadlines whooshing past
way above our silly,

Copyright Snowdrops 2010. All rights reserved.

Tiny word changes effected around 1:30am, Saturday 27 February, 2010.

The above poetry exercise is really too clunky compared to the beautiful poetic gems below. Enjoy :)

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Friday, February 12, 2010

Beautiful... [Updated]

"Beautiful" by Christina Aguilera

(Original lyrics: Linda Perry. Amended lyrics: Snowdrops) (Lyrics based on this official version of Aguilera's video rather than on the live performance recording above).


意會到 . 凡事有盡頭
這一年 . 太多事

領悟到 . 平實裡自由
卻不願 . 去低頭

從不想前路一切 .

誰可測前路一切 . Oh... no...

為理想怎麼可 . 放棄


若我願意 . 去放低所有
再不願 . 怕嘲笑 . Oh....

屢敗過 . 才會活得精彩
嚐過了苦楚 . 我也再也不怕 . 哪管他怎想

從不想前路一切 . Oh... no...

誰不敢全力衝線 . Oh... no...

為理想怎麼可 . 告退

No matter what we do
(no matter what we do)
No matter what we say
(no matter what we say)
We're the song inside the tune
(yeah, oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)
Full of beautiful mistakes

And everywhere we go
(And everywhere we go)
The sun will always shine
(Sun will always, always shine...)
But tomorrow it might awake
Shining the other side

No matter what they say
Yes words won't bring us down... Oh no...

還不肯糊渾一世 . Oh... no...

So don't you bring me down... today... oh... yeah....
Don't you bring me down... today... yeah....
願理想終生可 . 堅信 . 到尾



p.s. I know I can't ever compete with Linda Perry's immortal lines of "I am beautiful, no matter what they say". Still, I'm quite pleased to have done this little lyric exercise, even though I know it is still very far from perfect (if any of you have alternative suggestions for some of the phrases above, I'd be very grateful to hear them).

Happy Year of the Tiger, everyone :) 虎年快樂!

p.p.s. Yes, this is my first ever Chinese post since I started my blog back in 2006! It took me four years to finally blog in Chinese, can you believe it? And I had the patience to find each and every single word using a combination of the online Cantonese inputter and Google Translate only because I was trying to work out what lyrics to use at the same time. So unfortunately Chinese won't be a regular feature of this blog in the foreseeable future. But at least I got one done, yay :)

p.p.p.s. My own lyrics remind me of another song, so I'd take this opportunity to also wish all of you 新一年如虎添翼! 同場加映演* "I believe I can fly" by R Kelly:

*I know the last word in "同場加演" should not be "演" in the context being used here, but for the life of me I can't find that appropriate Chinese word using any combination of phonetics or word translations via either the Cantonese inputter or Google translate. So I have to live with this 別字 in my first ever Chinese post, please bear with me. Thanks LCL for the kind correction!

p.p.p.p.s. If anyone can tell me if Christina Aguilera's song has been covered by any Cantonese artist, I'd be really grateful, thanks in advance!

* * *
Lyrics updated on Sunday, 7 March, 2010.

Finally I figured out a way to change the "結尾" phrase at the very end of the song into something slightly more reasonable, by utilising the notes that were meant to be hummed just before it. The whole line is still a bit clunky to be honest but at least there is no awkward shift in meaning literally at the ending.

And to be honest I always suspect that the "糊渾" I used above is probably not quite right either, even though it is the right phrase that I'm looking for. So in all probability there is another couple of 錯別字 in my first ever Chinese post.

Oh, I may as well state here that I would dearly wish Sammi Cheng is still working as she would be my dream Hong Kong singer to perform this song, sadly of course the chance of that happening (as in her ever singing my lyrics to this song, rather than her ever being back in business again) is effectively zero.

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Thursday, February 04, 2010

Reason #19827 of why I love the Guardian...

Not only for its poetry blog, but also because of this brilliant exchange among commenters and Guardian columnists on this thread in response to Sun Microsystem's CEO declaring his resignation via Twitter using haiku:

And on it goes, the rest of the thread almost entirely written in the 5-7-5 syllable format of haikus! (And notice it only took Alison Flood - the columnist who wrote the original post - 4 minutes to come up with her rebuttal in haiku).

Shall I attempt one of my own? Why not :P

Love the Guardian
Not (just) for its left-wing views
But its haiku rows :)

Would you like to try one? Ah go on!

Update on 8 February, 2010:

Another haiku from me:

So nobody tries
This is quite disappointing
Oh come on you guys!

* * *

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Where are you from?

Que sera sera...

Feed my pet!

Currently getting stuck in...

Have just finished...

Me, Anime...

A bunch of snowdrops by any other name...

S is for Sweet
N is for Natural
O is for Open-hearted
W is for Worldly
D is for Dedicated
R is for Romantic
O is for Original
P is for Perfectionist
S is for Special
What Does Your Name Mean?