Category: inspiring

Observing Love part 2

For the past week, I’ve heard of many stories of how people remembered my grandmother. And it got me thinking about why and how that happens, but the only thing I could think of was that people remember different things about a single person, object, or place because of how they interacted with them. With my grandmother’s case, people had only positive things to say about her, and I learned so many things about her that I never knew before.

As I was growing up, my dad and one of my aunts (姑姑) would occasionally tell me stories of the hardships they went through when they were younger, as well as stories of how their mother struggled to support all her children. My siblings and I were not particularly close with our grandmother, so we seldom had the opportunity to talk about her history (and my being an introvert didn’t help). Little did we know that our grandmother could not read nor write, as she didn’t have the opportunity to go to school and study. But she did odd jobs to make ends meet, in order to send her children to school. She was very frugal, preferring to walk long distances just to save a few cents (which, back then, was quite valuable already). And then when her husband, our father’s father, fell ill due to cancer, she took good care of him. Our grandmother proved her commitment and love for her family for so many years, we just didn’t realize it.

Her most important legacy, I believe, is her faith. Many (if not all) who spoke and shared their memories of our grandmother during the wake mentioned our grandmother’s consistence and persistence in serving others. She had a really good heart; she loved to serve others in whatever capacity she can. And one of the things we’ll miss most would be her cooking. For years, she had served members of the church with her cooking, when she got involved in preparing food for the canteen in the old campus of my primary and secondary school. Our grandmother occasionally contributed food for the lunch meetings of the women’s fellowship of the church. In addition, she was known to be a steadfast prayer warrior for the church, that despite her old age and physical ailments, she would remember to pray for the church, her family, and for the unbelievers.

Our grandmother also lived very simply. Everyone in our nuclear and extended family knew of her penchant to wear her favorite old, rose-colored and loose-fitting dress, even during family celebrations. Even when people gave her new clothes and accessories, she would refuse to use them unless all her children will ask her to dress up for formal occasions. When my cousin or my aunt would send their family driver to bring our grandmother to church or to their house, our grandmother would refuse and insist on walking despite the hot and sunny weather outside. She also preferred staying home to rest, to listen to the radio, to read the Bible, and to cook for the family. When she does go out, it was to attend church service or women’s fellowship, go to the wet market, or to visit old acquaintances.

There are still a lot more things I can tell (mostly based on what people shared during the wake) about my grandmother, but what I wish to emphasize is that love can mean differently to different persons. There are so many factors that influences how people define love, as well as how they show it, but for my grandmother, she chose to  exhibit her love through caring for others (sometimes even more than herself). Her countless acts of kindness to everyone and her service for the Lord would be remembered for years to come, and that’s why I feel so blessed to have such a wonderful kin. The Lord certainly looked after my grandmother and our family for so long, even up to my grandmother’s last moments.

Film Quotes

I love watching films, especially ones about romance, comedy, and self-discovery. I’ve compiled the best lines/quotes from the films that I really like, primarily because I wanted to know what love meant to people (at least in the fictional world). We may not realize it, but we sometimes tend to use films as a reference or basis for what love might be, could be. Even when writers and filmmakers delivered stories that are too-good-to-be-true, we still hope that love can happen to us in a similar manner. Movies, then, have established the “ideal” love stories; perhaps that’s why we have the phrase “like the movies.” I also included some inspiring quotes related to passion for a profession or dreams, because sometimes it’s that passion that makes them want to keep on going with life.

“Jaime saved my life. She taught me everything–about life, hope and the long journey ahead. I’ll always miss her. But our love is like the wind; I can’t see it, but I can feel it.” – Landon Carter (A Walk to Remember, 2002)

“What really happened may not have a happy ending. But love just doesn’t happen to girls like me–girls who built their hopes on an intricate web of daydreams. The truth is, is that everyone has issues, and maybe building up a fake, perfect man in my mind was my biggest issue of all. I’ve been walking around with the ghost of my ‘magic man.’ He’s been haunting me, keeping me from recognizing a world of opportunities that were right in front of me. But there’s no such thing as perfection. …Love is for people who are realistic, and smart enough to open their hearts and minds, and to realize that a real relationship is the ultimate fantasy. I haven’t found that relationship yet, but I’ve shaken off the shadow of my ‘magic man’ and I’m finding myself.” -Lane Daniels (Beauty and the Briefcase, 2010)

“The streets are supposed to be about different people coming together. We call this a battle, but what are we fighting for? We’re all here because we have this thing we do–we dance, right? Being a part of the streets means much more than turf or power, it was about bringing something new to the floor. And it shouldn’t matter what we wear, what school, or what neighborhood we’re from, because the best part about the streets is that it’s not about what you’ve got—it’s what you make of what you’ve got.” -Andie West (Step Up 2: The Streets, 2008)

“You never asked me why I love to dance. Do you want to know why? I dance because dance can change things. One move, can set a whole generation for you, like Elvis. One move can make you believe like you’re something more. And some moves, can give a skinny, curly-haired kid that just wants to dance some hope.” -Robert Alexander the Third a.k.a Moose (Step Up 3D, 2010)

“Passion makes people go on to do exceptional things.” -Guy interviewing Casey Carlyle (Ice Princess, 2005)

“I know I upset you when I said being with you was a risk, but the truth is, nothing is really worthwhile in life unless you do take a risk. That’s why I took the risk with continuing the wedding with Kirsten. I thought it would provide me with a cover I need to find a loophole in the law. But unfortunately, we  failed. So if this means I have to give up the throne, then so be it.” -Prince Edvard (The Prince and Me 2: The Royal Wedding, 2006)

 

Music and Lyrics

Music has been part of my life ever since I was young. No, I’m not a talented musician, songwriter, or vocalist, if that’s what you’re thinking. But I did grow up in a family who is fond of music. My dad and his siblings, being second-generation Christians, are familiar with church hymns and Christmas songs. As for my generation, I do have some siblings and cousins who were in the music ministry of the church, so I grew up knowing mostly contemporary Christian music (CCM).

Now that I think about it, not every song I’ve heard (whether secular or Christian music) has appealed to me. There are simply some songs that really speak to me and touch my heart, while some are not so good. The songs I like are usually those that I can easily relate to because of my past experiences, my faith in God, or it’s simply the good lyrics and tunes.

For today, I’d like to share several of my favorite songs. Some are about faith, life, a parent’s love, romantic love.

Inspirations for Change

I’ve never really liked science (mostly biological sciences) or mathematics when I was young. As I’ve mentioned in one of my previous posts, I’ve been more into reading fiction than anything else. I disliked reading school-related textbooks, probably just like every other “average” kid in the world. It was also the time that I wanted to learn more about different languages like Spanish and Japanese (which I still haven’t done). Having read fiction books for years, I knew I was much better in English grammar, spelling, and vocabulary than my other classmates. But for science and math, I did not really mind if I didn’t excel in them.

Overcoming Mathematics

When I stepped into my third year in high school, we had a really funny and kindhearted Geometry teacher. His way of teaching was very different from others–he taught in a lively manner, and he was always smiling despite the students providing the wrong answer. Instead of frowning, he would say some witty comment and encourage another student to try figuring out the problem. I believe many of the students liked him, even if they did not completely understand the lessons.

Geometry was the subject in which I did not have to worry about solving problems numerically. Instead, we were taught about proofing–we had to prove that one triangle was equal to another based on theorems and corollaries. I had no idea why or how, just that I began to like (and appreciate) math just because I suddenly “understood” the logic of proofing. I was actually excited to learn more about math; and when a classmate would ask how I got the answer, I was happy to explain the process to them. And sure enough, my efforts paid off and began to excel in that class.

Fourth-year Physics and Trigonometry ended being not so bad, either. The teachers were less dynamic than the Geometry teacher, but they were nice. Yes, we were back to numerical calculations, but the science and math subjects were not as intimidating as before. Our Geometry teacher showed us that math can be interesting–that we could learn how to like math despite its complexity. He also displayed a very inspiring love for teaching and for God. Having studied in a Christian school, he was probably the first non-Bible teacher who would encourage us to have faith in God. And, the last I heard of him, he had attended a Biblical seminary in order to serve in the ministry.

When I attended university for my undergraduate, despite my initial fears of failing in my math classes (mainly because I did not do well during my primary and the first two years of secondary education), I actually didn’t have much difficulty. Yes, the Plane Geometry was confusing at first, but the other math-related subjects I took for the next four years were not as bad as I thought. Some of them (like Engineering Statics) were pretty easy because I’ve learnt them during my high school Physics class.

Embracing the Sciences

When asked why I chose to study Architecture for my undergraduate, my immediate response would be “Because I want to be an architect.” And the second reason was (which I thought made good sense to me at that time) “I can’t imagine myself studying any Pre-Medicine course. I prefer math than science.” And this was true for many years. Or at least until I was in fourth year of my undergraduate studies.

During that four year, we were required to enroll for a General Psychology class, which I expected not to like. My older sister had studied Psychology for her undergraduate, and I knew she had taken many biological science subjects. I remember her reading many textbooks and class notes, studying for exams, and even taking the cadaver of a cat home to dissect it late at night (I accompanied her in the garage while she dissected the cat). And I didn’t understand why she had to study all those Anatomy, Zoology, Biology classes. Psychology was a mystery to me—I didn’t know what its purpose was until I had to take that Psych class in college.

What I didn’t expect was that my complete aversion (and avoidance) of sciences lessened as I learned more about the history and branches of Psychology. I read our considerably-thin Psych textbook, and ended up doing additional independent research (a.k.a. surfing the Net/Google) about how Psychology could be related to Architecture. Sure enough, there was a branch of Psychology that did apply Psychology concepts to Architecture—Environmental Psychology. Since then, I have occasionally watched TV documentaries (mostly BBC) and audio lectures (from Yale’s OpenCourseWare) to learn more about the field. I grew more and more fascinated about Psych, and a little bit of Neuroscience. It is actually interesting how they are all interrelated—I hope to someday learn more about how people’s behavior can affect architectural design and vice-versa.

Putting Them All Together

Truly, I am grateful for that Geometry teacher and Psych instructor for inspiring me to do better; to not fear failure just because I had one or two mistakes on my exam; to believe in my own skills and abilities; and, most of all, to not fear change. The change I refer to is the change in my interests, preferences, and dreams

One would think that it’s important to stay dedicated or committed to a decision, but I think at this point in my life, I think change is good. I’ve been too used to staying in one place and doing the same things like other people. But taking risks (like my decision to apply for graduate studies in Taiwan) is an adventure by itself—I wouldn’t be able to know my limits if I didn’t attempt to push myself towards anything. Experiencing more things provided me with new ideas (whether school-related or just random stuff), and those experiences definitely enhanced my perception of the world around me.

Love, Laugh, Live

I really like the message of this song–about making the most out of life, and sharing love with other people. The love being referred to is not limited to romantic love, but  also for family, friends, strangers, hobbies, objects, and so on.

The bubbles used in the video remind me of how fleeting life can be. Just as you express awe for seeing the bubbles floating in the air, then suddenly–poof!–it’s gone forever. We have no idea how much time we have on this earth, but while we’re still alive, we should live our life to the fullest. There’s no telling if you’re going to die ten minutes or ten years from now; nor do you know if the opportunity that has presented itself to you will come by again tomorrow.

Also, the song speaks of optimism towards life. Life’s too short to spend it hating other people. Rather, we can use the time we have right now to care for others, to make other people happy, to appreciate their presence in our lives. As they say, “you only know what you’ve got until it’s gone.” So, let’s not think too much or worry about the what-if, should-be, could-be… there are situations where we have to take risks and see where and what life will bring us.

Observing Love part one

Before I even thought of writing about my own interests, I was already inspired by many people who were doing their own thing, because they had the passion for it. What they do may not make sense to us (if not now, maybe never at all), nor will it be fully appreciated, but sometimes they just don’t care what other people think. They are happy doing/creating something, and that’s what really matters.

I’m pretty sure you’ve met someone like that in your life—perhaps a stranger doing spray art in the street (there’s one like that in Ximending actually), a distant relative, an odd classmate or colleague—maybe you’re even one of them. But I’m not saying that it’s good or bad, I just wish to state the existence of these type of people.

Personally, I respect people who, despite the criticisms they receive from others, have made it a point to stand firm in their beliefs, and approach their craft as something valuable to mankind. I don’t have a specific Top Ten list or anything, but I’d like to mention a few people whom I’ve met (if not physically, at least I’m acquainted with them through social networks) that exhibit passion.

Architect Francisco “Bobby” Mañosa

Arch. Mañosa, a Filipino architect and National Artist, is renown for his love of Filipino culture. His architectural designs definitely mirrors that love, and I really admire him for sticking to that belief. I have had the opportunity to meet the legendary Arch. Mañosa in October 2011, when he toured our board exam review class around his house. I admit to being starstruck by him back then, but I was more impressed by how he showed off about the Filipino culture and lifestyle. And he was definitely successful in representing that through his architecture. He actually advocates the existence and the practice of designing Filipino, even though people would argue otherwise.

Indeed, even I am a little hesitant to claim what exactly is designing Filipino, having no firsthand experience of living in bahay kubo (a small hut usually elevated a few meters from the ground) until I visited a distant relative in the province almost 4 years ago. Yes, I knew the basics of what the traditional Filipino house looked like, but I never knew how the people truly lived. And Arch. Mañosa explained how his design accommodated the traditional Filipino lifestyle.

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For example, the house was elevated to almost a full storey high. The kitchen actually faced the main gate, rather than the front door (which was a little to the side), because people in the kitchen would easily see anyone who might ring the doorbell. Also, there were very few doors between every room—the only ones that had an opaque door were the washrooms and the bedrooms. That way, people can conveniently move around the house, and to encourage good air ventilation.

The living room was set in the center of the house, partially enclosed by walls and is illuminated through clerestory windows. Around this living area were several sets of informal tables and chairs, benches. There was no specific dining table in sight—Arch. Mañosa explains that they prefer the freedom to choose wherever they want to sit and eat. They did not need to be confined to one specific table in order to partake of their food.

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The building materials used in his house were organic and native; the way he used bamboo is noteworthy and impressive. Decorative elements in his home were diverse, from wooden spoons, shells/conches, to framed photographs. Arch. Mañosa also showed us the playroom and outdoor custom-made bahay kubo of his grandchildren, demonstrating that he doted on the kids. Even the room in which he uses to relax and watch TV has a miniature table and chairs, most likely to accommodate the kids. Truly, the house was family-oriented, even the shed underneath the main floor of the house were filled with lounge chairs and furniture that encourages interaction between people. There’s even a “treehouse” built in one of the big trees in their yard, to allow people to interact with nature as well.

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Indeed, despite the growing trend towards modern architecture, Arch. Mañosa has always been committed to designing Filipino. He is confident about and proud of his identity as a Filipino, and is encouraging everyone else in the country to be the same. I do hope that somehow this incredible passion would rub off on me, and I could treat my craft as a way of expressing my ideals, values, and hopes to others.

 

First Love

The movie tells the story of a girl (named Nam) liking a guy from her school, as well as her attempts to trying to attract the guy’s attention. Meanwhile, the guy (Chone) appears to be seemingly not interested with the girl, only to to be revealed to have feelings for the girl.

I think one reason why many people loved this movie is that some parts/scenes are things we ourselves have experienced in our life. As I’ve recently re-watched a documentary about psychology, humans possess “mirror neurons” which explains how we can feel the emotions that we see movie/TV characters are feeling. Our brain depends on past experiences to make sense of what we’re seeing, and therefore it feels like we are the characters that we’re watching.

We’ve experienced being hurt, excited, happy, disappointed, confident, nervous, shy—and the list goes on. We might not have the exact same story about first love as Nam and Chone, but we can certainly relate to bits and pieces of the story. And being able to relate to the story is what makes the film successful and inspiring.

Crazy Little Thing Called Love teaches not only about romantic love, but also of friendship and camaraderie, familial love and devotion, love for oneself, sacrifice, perseverance and determination, self-acceptance, and many more underlying themes. The movie encourages you to think about your motivations for doing the things you do. Yes, there are times that we behave stupidly and outrageously for different reasons, and our attempts to attract attention from people around us have failed miserably. But without having experienced failure, we would never realize the meaning and value of success (or love, in the context of the movie).