Tuesday, October 04, 2005

A Glimpse of the Soul

A Glimpse of the Soul

I don't want to write anything heavy today. So let's discuss something light and easy, something which everyone loves: music.

Like everyone else, I carry a personal collection of MP3 music in my notebook. Whenever I feel tired working or when I'm unable to concentrate on my work, I'll plug in my earphones and listen to some of my favourite albums. As one might expected, my taste in music is pretty eclectic. Here's a sampling of what I keep in my MP3 folder:

1. All my favourite Dewa albums:
- Bintang Lima
- Cintailah Cinta
- Laskar Cinta

- They never fail to bring back sweet memories of Indonesia to me.
- Songs like Mistikus Cinta and Risalah Hati always make me misty-eyed

2. Chopin's Nocturnes - by Sandor Falvay
- brings me back to my childhood of moonlit nights and pastoral splendour

3. Kini - Feminin (anyone still remembers them???)
- evokes memories of a specific period in my life when I was so full of youthful exuberance

4. Always in My Heart - Los Indios Tabajaras
- No, I'm not that old, but for some reason I have a deep nostalgia for the 60s
- I also love this album because Wong Kar Wai used it as soundtrack music for Days of Being Wild

5. Chant I, II and III - Benedictine Monks of Santo Domingo De Silos
- I use Gregorian Chants to put myself immediately into a meditative state of mind
- comes in handy whenever I find it difficult to concentrate on my work

6. Bossanova Jawa Vol 1 and 2 - Various Artists
- these two albums are gems that I found in Jakarta.
- Evergreen Javanese classics played and sung to an easy Bossanova beat

Isn't music great? It immediately puts us in a specific state of mind. Music communicates directly to the heart. The music I keep provides a glimpse of my soul--something that words often fail to convey.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

The Greatest Power of All

The Greatest Power of All

We live in an age of terrorism and we have to learn to deal with it. I do not think our own country is safe from the horrors that we see occuring in neighbouring countries. We should never delude ourselves into thinking that such acts cannot happen here in Malaysia. I personally feel that the level of security that we have in public places here are inadequate. But I pray that we don't have to learn it the hard way.

There's no way that suicide bombers can be stopped. They will keep coming because they believe whole-hearted in their cause, however misguided they are. We can only endeavour to make their job more difficult. At the same time we also have to find ways to tackle the injustices that are allowed to perpetrate in many places, which often provide the fuel and breeding ground for such movements.

If there's enough love, tolerance, compassion and magnanimity in this world, terrorism will never have a chance to take root. But we don't live in such a utopian world; the human species is still at the stage where the selfish interests of nations and ethnic groups will always take precedence.

Genetically we are programmed by evolution to ensure the survival of our own kind first, even if it means the obliteration of others. We have not matured beyond the tyranny of our genes.

Through force and violence, certain selfish aims can definitely be achieved. But it is not something that is sustainable in the long run. Empires built through the might of the sword will rise to certain heights but they will also fall, eventually.

No movement that is driven by greed and narrow selfish aims can be sustained. It requires the energy of tyrants and the sacrifice of many for the few. Unfortunately no man, no matter how powerful, can defeat time. The law of entropy will triumph in the end.

The Roman Empire, powerful that it was during its heydays, is but a distant memory now. But one soul, sent so cruelly to his death by Roman soldiers continue to inspire millions today, because he preached something that is infinitely more powerful: love. By turning the other cheek, he managed to conquer an empire.

Weapons can conquer the world, but ultimately only love can conquer hearts.