Tuesday, July 25, 2017

I have my ways you have yours.

Just saw the latest Spider Man Movie with my daughter and treated her to dinner as it was her two days off from work. Earlier in the morning I left the house with an empty wallet and as i left i told my daughter i was going to work and make some money. I made my way to the Auto Air conditioning Shop and as i arrived my friend Ah Huat, with a big smile on his face handed me an 'angpow' or chinese red envelop usually containing ,money.  Remember the numbers you gave me? I placed a bet on it and made RM900.The four digit number i told him to bet on was 1777 but instead it came up 7771 and fortunately Ah Huat had played the numbers around and so ended up still with the amount. I do not understand much about four digit numbers betting but had he betted the exact numbers he would have made a bundle on it depending on how much he betted.
The numbers came up when my friend the security guard at our apartment who happened to be a close friend from his former job as a driver for my cousin's catering business told me he saw these numbers on several cars earlier in the day and told me to play it, As i was driving around i too saw a couple of cars with the same numbers and thought it strange and so told my friend Ah Huat about it not thinking that he would take me seriously but he did and so I ended up with RM100 plus a few other gifts. Later in the evening i decided to cheer up my daughter by treating her to the movie. The moral of this mundane story is off course to believe in yourself, that the Universe or God whatever your faith lies in, will provide and sometimes in ways we least expect.
I raise my hat to all who have raised their children according to their faith and belief especially my Muslim family relatives and friends  As for me having drifted far from being religious all i tell my children is to be good, to do good and they will have to discover for themselves where or what their religious believe may be in time; I have no right to impose my faith and believe upon them, nor would I want to. All four of my children are intelligent and well educated adults and if they happen to read my Blog they would perhaps understand that their father in his odd ways is a Muslim at heart. He may not be a 'good' Muslim as most claim themselves to be, still between The All Mighty and himself, there is no Gods only Allah.
How I practice my faith is between me and my Maker, only He is my Judge, Jury and Executioner. In my spiritual belief and practice I do not fell the need to justify to any man divine or otherwise. I answer to my Lord as I see Him in my heart with every breath I take; He is closer to me than myself. I do not say these just as an excuse but it is the only truth I hold to be true as a;; e;se to me is just mind created illusions. I hold Islam to be the true religion and the teachings of the Prophet of Allah to be impeccable simply because it makes a whole lot of sense. As for my fellow Muslims I hold my mind in silence, no comments. They have their ways and I  have mine; judge me not for you have no idea of who I am. As for those that have been pointing their fingers at in judgement and accusation, i ask them to be aware that their four remaining fingers are pointing right back at them. 
 The Buddha taught of Compassion and Forgiveness and Jesus taught of Love Understanding while the Prophet raised the Banner of Islam upon Unity and Principles, this is my understanding of the teachings of the ancients.There is only One in truth, not two but just One... the I really is non existent; for if the I exist and the Creator exist there is two and this is not possible. That which reside within me, that had existed withing even before I was conceived is the essence of the One and upon death this is returned to the Rightful Owner to become One, Upon His demise or His pari Nirvana, the Lord Buddha uttered His last few words..." I am no more." "Unto Thy hands I command my Spirit!" Jesus was said to have uttered in his last breath.
This is ultimately the letting go of the egoic self, that which the mind has deluded itself with to think, this is who I am. In our ignorance we have most of us paraded upon this earth thinking we are better than others, holier than others, more closer to God than others more sacred in belief and faith than others and God is on our side. To know thyself is not an enactment exclusive to any single religion, it is a Universal Epitaph.   

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Or so it was written.

The ability to distinguish between what is right and what is wrong is the foundation of all religions and it is this principle that that those who believe in them lives by For generations since the first Man ate that which was forbidden he unleashed the 'Dual thinking mind', the feeling of guilt and shame was was man's first taste of what suffering is. What great difference we have from the angels of God is that we are given free will and with it the freedom to choose beteen what is black and what is white. We each of us make our own choices and suffer our own consequences and not all wrong choices are bad choices. In order that we may know that fire burns we have to experience it, this is the reality that human the mind operates by. This personal encounter with fire is real and it burns is real and it causes pain is real.
Consciousness encomapsses all, the experience, the observation, the memories and lessons learned are just the by product of this reality. By not attaching one's self to these experiences, by letting it all go as soon as the experience is tasted, is one way not to be influenced by the phenomena that manifested. Every moment of experience, every event, every presence is duly noted and stored or filed away in the subconscious to be dealt with at appropriate time and space. This is the way of the self seeker, the one whose mission in life is to investigate and identify the true self from the imaginary one; the mind created illusion. Only to man was the power of reasoning accorded by God,the power to Be as he should be; an entity created by the Will of God, with His own imge and manifesting His ninety nine attributes Starting with Love and Compassion and ending with Patience. God;s attributes includes the Beneficent and the Wrathful. Man is imbued with these attributes in him and throughout his life he is to manifest mush of His positive attribute as he can; to be like God. Human consciousness stem from  the realization of who he truly is; that he is the ultimate Creation that God had done. He has put His breath in every single man women and child and He has given us the freedom of choice. We can choose to live like God or lost in a world of mental formations a 'mind created' mirage that we accept as our life; we have to awaken and stay awake as much as possible.
The Creator, He Who Created Life is the owner and at the end of the day we will all say adieu to the audience and return to the Owner. The role that we adopted throughout our lives defines who we are. How we carry out our daily affairs manifesting His virtues albeit being Compassionate and Loving, being  or being Patient and Understanding. When His attributes are being manifested, we are reminded Him, The Lord and Creator of all that is.and...
"He said Be, and it Is."  


Saturday, July 22, 2017

The Haze is Back

The haze is back with a vengeance and one can hardly see the horizon as it covers the distant hills like a thick blanket even on a windy day like today. The Indonesians are happy burning away their forests to make way for one cash crop or another which most likely would be Oil Palm. This has been going on for the past few years now and one wonders if it will ever end and how much vegetation has been destroyed in the process not to mention the wild life that inhabits these areas. Stepping outside of the house gives me a nasty headache and i pity those with breathing health issues. 
Causes. The fires are caused by firms and farmers engaging in illegal slash-and-burn practices as a relatively inexpensive means to clear their land of unwanted vegetation and peat. Sumatra and Kalimantan possess large areas of peatland, which is highly combustible during dry season....Wikipedia.
Such is, all for the money an there is little that can be done about it as money makes the world goes round and for some it is a matter of survival while for others it is in increasing the profit margin. So while the majority of the west coast states bear the brunt of the haze fall out, the large companies keeps investing in these areas to expand their plantations. There will come a day when we will run short of food but not oil to cook it with. Complaining about the issues will only fall on deaf ears and so we learn to live with our own follies till it becomes a catastrophe, another man made disaster. 

Halibut Fishing - 3

What was most noticeable about living on the Island was the fact fact that the air was fresh and clean heavy with moisture as the area was constantly covered with mist, fog and rain and or rare occasion do you find clear sun shiny days. The Sand Point harbor was msot alive and busy every fishing season with fishermen who came from the 'Lower 48'. Most of the fishing vessels belonged to the local Aleut population.  

I am ashamed to say that i did not take time and draw more than I could have while on board the Iceland, It is one of those things about being there and loosing sight of what was important and worthwhile for me as an artist as i sure was never cut out to be a fisherman. The deck of the Iceland itself would have made a great study for any artist looking for something to draw as it was loaded with all kinds of  shapes and coklors...  

Phil Roe was also an artist and did this drawing in my sketchbook using his  fingers and charcoal. Phil was a huge guy who once was a member of the L.A Hells Angels Motor Cycle gang. Phil and i had a face down one night while we were busy hauling in the lines, a disagreement over work. I would have been laid to rest had the captain not stood at the galley door with a gun in his hand.. But i gain a little sense of respect from the rest of the crew member after that for being a fool that I was in daring to face the Hulk.

The 'drum' was lined with eight miles length of the thickest nylon line used as the main line where hooks and snaps were attached to it as it was laid out into the ocean. It was my job to make sure that the line was spread all along the barrel without letting it build up in one place into a hill.. I had two pipes that I used to pushed the incoming line back and forth to spread it out equally; it is not a job I would recommend to anyone with a right mind.
My short experience having fished for Halibut on board the FV Iceland was  the most challenging thing i ever did in my life and something that I am proud of . I may not have been a good fisherman but i was there and i did it. I rode one of the oldest fishing boat from Sand Point to Dutch Harbor, Alaska  a trip that took three days and two nights. This, not too many Americans can boast of as i was told by a very close friend in green Bay, Wisconsin when I returned from the trip.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Halibut Fishing -4

Raja Yoga.
First lesson Mantram (affirmations)
" I am a center, around me revolves my world.
I am a center of influence and power/
I am a center of thought and consciousness.
I am invincible and cannot be destroyed. 
I am invincible and cannot be injured."
                                      Written while on the road to Alaska on Highway 12, Montana.

It was my bad that I did not take note of the details of the book I had with me but  it was my traveling companion along with another entitled, "The Death of Gurdjief at the Foothills of Georgia," The three days drive that took us from Green Bay, Wisconsin was both tedious and challenging as Rob Sergei's car a Chevy Nova had a leaky fuel tank that can only take so much fuel at time an so we had to gauge ourselves keeping an eye for the next gas station along stretches of deserted highways through North Dakota and Wyoming. We made it to Cle Alum, Teanaway valley in the Kent, Washington State area some how. We pulled over and rested whenever we needed to and ate from the can food supply we had with us.As we were travelling on a shoestring budget we never slept at a hota; nor ate in a restaurant. I came to admire Rob Sergei the man who made it possible for me to travel to Alaska for his ability to rough it out. I often wondered what he must have thought of me, this crazy Malaysian who bought a one way ticket North not knowing what laid ahead or in store for him.
Perhaps it was the lessons I accepted from the Raja Yoga and my strong belief in it that saw me through till I was able to experience the fishing trip and later even was able to live in Sand Point for almost two years with my partner who happened to run the only restaurant on the Island, it was called, "The Windward Cafe." Ms. Judy and Ms. Brenda two young ladies from the lower 48 were the owners of the restaurant. During the fishing season the restaurant was filled with fishermen mostly from the south and just about everyone of the had their eyes on the ladies especially Ms.Judy who was still unattached.
On the 4th. of July almost all the fishing vessels came into harbor at Sand Point and so did the F.V. Iceland and her five crew members. We had just returned from delivering about 450 thousand pounds of Halibut at the canaries in Dutch Harbor, Ak. We has relatively good catch and so were ready to celebrate the July 4th. Like everyone else we head for the Windward Cafe for the best Pizza in town. Being one of the last to arrive we were seated close to the entrance all five of us quite drunk from the bottles of whiskey we polished at the dock on board the Iceland. The whole joint was filled with rough tough looking fishermen, captains and crew members sharing fish ta;es about their trips.
With my head 'two sheets to the wind', from the liquor I watched the waitress walked out of the kitchen with two large pizzas in her hands and as she walked away towards the tables I blurted out, "I am in love!" It was loud enough for just about everyone in the room to freeze and all eyes were reverted to our table. I felt the Skipper gripped my arm and said in his serious voice "Shut the f...k up!" But even before i knew wht was happening the waitress turned around with the two pizzas like a ballerina and when I saw her face i repeated myself even louder, "I am, in love!!" The rest was history and i ended living with one of the most beautiful ladies on the island, no more fishing but as an artist instead.         

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Sit back and enjoy.

All along I have been monitoring the Stats of my blog and from it I learned many interesting facts like who reads what from different parts of the globe. The Eastern countries including the Soviet Union even in European countries, most seems to like reading religious or spirituality related entries while The United States primarily likes to read ramblings of my daily experiences. My thoughts and prejudices, my moaning and groaning about life and how to live like I am some kind of a Guru blogger. No sirree ...I am not nor do I claim to be. Suffice to say I enjoy writing and by putting my present thoughts in writing makes more sense to me that to watch some old Western movie with Audie Murphy in it, ( not a bad option I like Audie Murphy, grew up on his movies like "To Hell and Back." my all time favorite War movie, or Gun Smoke.)
Yes the human mind is very entertaining to watch as anything goes and all you have to is think a thought.
There is a Zen Koan from The Blue Cliff Records, that goes...
"A line is cast in the rapids and the greedy is caught,
As soon as your mouth is open,
Your life is lost!"  
You may attain Satori or even enlightenment if you can fully realize the meaning of these lines. 
I realized from observing the readings and graph of my Blog statistics which to date has almost approached half a million hits, that people do read my blog and so over the years it has become my practice to make sure i impart my experiences as professionally and honestly as i could. I earn not a sing cent from Google or any other sources that has frequently advertised at this link, I am not obligated to anyone but my self in how or what I write; it is for own personal entertainment and not to sound too deep, self healing. The only way for me to unload my mind is through expressing every thought and ideas, every circumstances and events, all my hopes and dreams,my knowledge and intelligence, my ignorance and blind foolishness; I am self exposing.
So, if you are reading this entry you know that what is shared here is a small piece of the human mind from the view of an entity that claims to be, 'The Observer'. Who is writing down these words? Who is now aware of asking this question? Now who is feeling like it is a futile and a boring effort to continue on writing these observations. Who am I? I am watching my own mind doing its thing when I make an entry for the day, it is to entertain myself like an addict. At present I am sharing of my life experiences attempting to become a  commercial fisherman in the Bering Sea off the Pacific Northwest from Anchorage, Alaska. Would you like to listen to some 'fish tales?' In every entry I make I try to analyze a piece of my mental formations, a thought or and an idea that about what happened in the past twelve hours of my life. Making sense out of non-sense, making excuses and justifications over things I could have, should have or would have in the past knowing fully well as Lao Tzu pointed out.
"A man who justifies does not convince,
 Not even to himself."
But the mind needs to go on just as life does, so sit back and enjoy the show! It is free and can be entertaining.    

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Halibut fishing - 2

Wrecks found at the 'Spit' a strip of land where the airport is located in Sand Point.
Upon arrival at Sand Point my luck would have it that one of the crew members of the Iceland failed to make it for the job. I silently looked up and praised the Lord for looking out for me at the hour of my need. I would have had hell to pay if i were there with no place to spend the night and not enough money to buy my dinner. The Tundra landscape affords very little shelter in the form of trees and the only hotel in town cost over 80 dollars per night. I had earlier borrowed from my friend Rob $80 just to pay the ticket for the plane ride out of Anchorage to Sand Point. As a matter of fact I was truly on a one way ticket and had burnt all my bridges and buried my options behind me.

Raya Yoga - 2nd lesson.
Raja in Hindi and in the Malay language  means the 'King' or Supreme Yoga or as i understand it to be, Yoga of the Mind. I cannot remember who or where i got a hold of this small hard cover book but it too became my constant companion through out this journey. Along with the practice of Pranayama Yoga, (Yoga of the Breath) and Hatha Yoga, ( Yoga of the physical body), I put to practice this Yoga of the Mind. 

Upon arrival at the Airport at Sand Point I found many wrecks strewn all over the are known as the 'Spit' and they made for great sketching subjects.
Sand Point Airport is located exactly nine mile from the docks where the main road begins or ends depending on the direction one is headed. Sand Point is as the locals calls it a 'one horse town' where there is one thing of the conveniences available, like one post office, one policeman and one bar, one school one church and so forth. Thew Aleuts who are the indigenous people of the island are fair skinned and look mongoloid in appearance and dislike being mistaken for Eskimos. 
I became a member of the Iceland Crew making it a total of five in all.
There was the Captain, Donald Bark originally from Teanaway Valley, Cle Elum in the Washington State and along with him was his nephew J.R who was from Boise, Idaho. Phil Roe was also from Teanaway Valley and claimed that he was at one time  a member of the Hells Angels in LA, California. Last but not least was my friend Rob Sergei from Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.  
The Fishing Vessel 'Sun Dial and her skipper was "Hippie" John.
Most of the fishermen came from the 'Lower 48' as the rest of the United States was known to the Alaskans. They all came to fish during the fishing season when Halibut, King Crab, Salmon are open. Most have a boat to work on when they arrived at Sand Point unlike myself. Most were seasoned commercial fishermen who knew the great risk and the bounty they could expect on a good season, not me, I have never worked on a fishing boat before.
Perhaps it was the 'Raja Yoga' or perhaps it was my own ignorance and foolishness, but I got a good taste of what fishing in one of the world's most treacherous waters was like. i can claim that  I survived commercial fishing in the Bering Sea of the Pacific Northwest.

Halibut fishing -1

The Aleutian Blues

Looking at the Horizon from the deck of the  fishing vessel ICELAND.
This journey is dedicated to two lovely ladies in my life at the time. Upon graduation from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay in 1982 I was stuck with what to do with myself. Living on my  after being divorced and not having much luck at keeping my relationship with the ladies, I had to make a  drastic change of one kind or another. Change came in the form of a one way ticket to Alaska.

Wisdom is a double edged blade that cuts with the Intellect on one side and Faith on the other.
I have often had these  lines quoted in my mind every so often and when it moves me i jot them down to remind myself of the moment and  passion that kept driving me towards my fulfilling my journey. Sometimes i cannot say if these lines were my own or a quot from some great guy in the past; this i am sure was my own two cents worth. I have over fifty journals dated from  1978 when i first started keeping this ongoing sketchbook/journal; these ; these I consider to be my artistic expression worth mentioning about.

On Anchorage's shortest day of the year there are 5 hours and 28 minutes of Daylight - and on the longest day, 19 hours and 23 minutes - taken from an Anchorage, Ak Phone Book.
The journey happened when i met an excellent photographer by the name of Rob Sergei at the Belin Hospital Gallery in downtown Green Bay, Wisn. Rob and I had been invited to hold a two man show of our works, Rob had some of the most fantastic pictures taken from his annual commercial trip to the Aleutian Ilses. The pictures triggered my creative adrenalin and I pestered Rob to take me with him on his next trip, Against all odds he agreed to do so if i could come up with the money to pay for the fares which included two flights, one from Seattle, Washinto and the other from Anchorage, Ak. to Sand Point, Ak; latter I found out that I was short of 87USD when arrived in Anchorage and had to borrow from Rob.

I had taken along with me two books to help me spend my free time along the trip., one was Called  " The Death of Gurdjieff in the Foothills of Georgia," and the other was called, " Raja Yoga". I worte this page from the book while enroute ion Highway 12 in Billings, Montana.
We left Green Bay on the First of May and as soon as we left the city of Green Bay we made a stop at a small town called Little Suamico, where Rob had some friends and who were in the process of putting pine seedlings into the ground as a part of a community project for conservation; i wonder how the 500 or so seedlings are doing today.
" Tell me your Present and I will reveal your future." A quote by Kyroot, whoever he wes was written at the bottom of the page.

"I Am the Outhouse"
A short reflection of time and space while waiting for things to happen in Teanaway Valley, in the State of Washinton.
 dated 5-4-82.
Donald Bark was a sea captain who lived in Teanaway Valley, Cle Elum, ' Washington State; he was the 'Skipper 'of the fishing vessel, "The Iceland" fishing out of Sand Point,Ak. One of his hobbies was that he was an 'Outhouse Collector', he collected 'antique' outhouses like those used during the old wagon trail days. One or two these even had bullet holes in the doors tell tale of  gun fight, in the toilet.

On the First of May of 1982 I set out for Alaska  and on the First may in 1981 a year earlier I was in Malaysia where I had to bury my uncle who was also my adopted father for the twelve years of my life before i was taken back by my immediate family. One of my favorite songs by the Bee Gees has always been , 'The First of May'. I dedicated this journey to my late Uncle while I was in Anchorage waiting for the flight to Sand Point via Dutch Harbor, Alaska.  

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Why do I travel?

Gautama the Buddha left the comfort of his palace, a wife and song in the dead of the night to seek for a simple answer, what is life and who am I? For years he traveled the Northern part of the Continent of India as far north as the snow covered Himalayas where the Yogis and ancient sages dwelled and the deep forests where tigers roam to seek out the great minds of the time. The Buddha Shakyamuni as he was later called became a mendicant monk, a traveller, a seeker of truth. In his long years of travelling he collected all kinds of experiences and knowledge that later he came to the conclusion it all boils down to being awakened from the sleep of Maya or illusion after sitting in suicidal state of meditation as the final stage of his journey. For forty days and nights Shakyamuni travelled within himself in a death defying mission of self discovery and was awakened early one morning with a realization of what life is all about; Buddha's Way came into Being.

George Ivanovich Gurdjieff (/ˈɡɜːriˌɛf/; 13 January 1866/1872/1877? – 29 October 1949[2]), also commonly referred to as Georges Ivanovich Gurdjieff and G. I. Gurdjieff, was an influential early 20th-century mysticphilosopherspiritual teacher, and composer of Armenian and Greek descent, born in Armenia under Russian rule.[3] Gurdjieff taught that most humans do not possess a unified mind-body consciousness and thus live their lives in a state of hypnotic "waking sleep", but that it is possible to transcend to a higher state of consciousness and achieve full human potential. Gurdjieff described a method attempting to do so, calling the discipline "The Work"[4](connoting "work on oneself") or "the Method".[5] According to his principles and instructions,[6] Gurdjieff's method for awakening one's consciousness unites the methods of the fakirmonk or yogi, and thus he referred to it as the "Fourth Way".[7] nother -Wikepedia
 Another  great teacher I was fortunate to have been introduced to early in my life is G.I Gurdjieff and I was attracted to this great mind in a magazine called Man, Myth and Magic sometime in 1970s  I remember telling myself, " here was a man who saw the world and discovered life by travelling."  Later when i was studying at the University in Wisconsin Gurdjieff's life came to me again when a friend loaned me a book by Gurdjieff called " Death of Gurdjieff at the Foothills of Georgia" or something like it. It was a hard cover and green in color and i read it page to page, later i even took the book with me when I left Wisconsin to do commercial fishing in the Aleutian Isles in Alaska; it accompanied me like a Bible. Come to think of it, maybe it was not written by Gurdjieff but about him by one of his disciples, can't remember.
In early adulthood, according to his own account Gurdjieff's curiosity led him to travel to Central AsiaEgyptIranIndiaTibet and Rome before he returned to Russia for a few years in 1912. He was always unforthcoming about the source of his teachings. The only account of his wanderings appears in his book Meetings with Remarkable Men. Most commentators[13] leave his background unexplained, and it is not generally considered to be a reliable or straightforward autobiography.[14][15] Each chapter is named after an individual "remarkable man"; many are putatively members of a society of "seekers of truth".

My friend Ah Huat the Auto air conditioning shop owner where i hang out here has a different take on travelling, he likes to study the people on the street and what they are up to. He likes to ask them what they do and how they like doing what they do. He would indulge in conversations with the strangers he met and try to pick their brains over simple things like what they feel about their ruler or their business. Ah Huat loves to travel although not highly educated as he left school at the age of thirteen he would travel with his wife every year to other countries including Europe and Japan. In his own way my friend has become quite sophisticated when it comes to travels and experiencing other cultures. Last I heard he is saving up to go to Japan again as he is much in love with the people and culture of the country.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Have you gone round the bend yet?

"A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.”

― Lao Tzu
The back packers of the sixties and seventies, those that I had the opportunity to come into contact with and befriend were mostly from Europe and not too many from the United States. More Americans came to Penang as the Vietnam War progressed and the Island became one of the places for R&R for the soldiers. Most of the backpackers were genuine in their interest to learn about the local cultures and most were polite and tolerant of the life and expectations that they found here like the standard of living is below what they were used to back home. There was genuine mutual respect developed between the visitors and the locals and a whole lot of sharing whether it be food or lodging the hospitality extended towards travellers by locals was a positive happening and most travellers left the country with genuine good feeling and a memory worth keeping to take home with.

 “To travel is to live.”
- Hans Christian Andersen

  "The traveler sees what he sees. The tourist sees what he has come to see.”

― G.K. Chesterton
Today, most travellers or backpackers are of a younger age and most are still in school or colleges and their interest and expectations are of a different nature as they are more pampered in their lifestyle and taste most are merely tourists looking tor as much action for least of price. They merely touch the surface of the cultures they visit as they are more keen on visiting more places than being interested in being in a few for a longer period of time, enough to have a good sense of the culture and the lifestyle of the locals. To be able to spend time long enough to get a good taste of the life of the society one visits is more so valuable than being able to say I have visited many countries in my travels. Those who can afford to travel as tourists would often be heard claiming that Switzerland is beautiful with its snow capped mountains and large lakes but China is cheaper although more  hectic and not so clean, Nepal is full of narrow streets and cobbled stones but its air is filled with spiritual energy; Dubai is a sand castle. tourists touches the surface of life where they visit.
 “We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other  lives, other souls.”
Anais Nin - The Diary of Anais Nin Vol. 7 1966-74.
The more daring and adventurous travellers today are becoming less in numbers, these are the long term travellers or as some would call themselves 'seekers,' they grow old on the road and some even die while still going from one place to another like a global nomad. I have met many of this kind of travellers while i was living on the East Coast in the State of Terengganu where I used to hang out at 'Awi's Yellow House, (Google it for details). This Yellow House is well known among the seasoned backpackers from around the world and many return every year and practically lived in the small huts built on the river where the toilet is just a hole in the floor. I dare say that it is a meeting place of great minds as most of those who frequent this place were later in age and has some kind of personal reason for travelling the world, like some being writers while others collectors or artists, and they are on the move to satisfy their vocational needs. As the yellow House is located on the river, there are always those who sail across the seas and anchor their boats next to the chalets to find rest, Each and everyone brought along their own stories to share while each and every individual's privacy is fully observed and respected.
One may not find a five star facility in such an establishment but there is a greater comfort that money cannot buy and if one is able and willing to rough it out, just like the locals, places like these will always be worth travelling for.   

 “Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving."

Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full Sky

Quotes from -Hostelfy Me, com


Sunday, July 09, 2017

Space and Time

To allow for some space for the other to co-exist along with you in peace and harmony is -Compassion. In any form of great teachings of religions or philosophy,by any standard of Paganistic or primordial tribal worship , Compassion is the core belief that humanity was created out of Compassion; the Creator out of Compassion allows 'Himself' to be. Space is common to all and yet each and everyone of us cling to our own individual 'space', and heavens forbid if another invades that space! To be able to share in peace and harmony a common space in this Universe is as much a Miracle as the creation of space itself.
Our common space int the external world is infinite in size and it also the same tight corner of our anxious minds; we are often lost in space! Last night I witnessed the most awesome display of fireworks in as long as i can remember, the last one being while living in Sendai, Japan, and sitting along the Ohashi River in Sendai, my family and I along with the Sendai folks we watched the Hanabi being fired off over the local park. Last night it was at the fisherman jetty off the Jelutong Highway. It was an open house festivity organized by the local Malay Fishermen from around the area. Watching, my only regret was that I had forgotten my Sony Digital Camera! Damn! I swore to myself as I watched the explosive display of light and colors being filtered through the dark forms of branches and leaves! I caught myself from drifting away from my attention and began to feel the impact of this display from within me; I felt the explosions of new stars and planets from my heart! This happened three times from three different locations and angles and my vision was just as mesmerised; I felt at peace.
I chatted with one or two individuals about my experience and one of them told me, If you had your camera, you will not be sitting here chatting about it with me." Yes, and among other things i came to realize, like I would not be telling my trip to the Organic Farm and why I think they shoul visit the place themselves; its a place of healing...bla..bla. Had I been carrying the camera i would have missed whole lot or personal contacts and miss the larger picture; would I? How we share space and even time is what keeps us alive in a more productive and if not creative spirit. When I travelled in the past I had invaded vast number of spaces, physically  as well as spiritually and in my experience I am the master of my space and the environment around me and while in the company of others I share this space for the benefit of all. I stand below nor above those around me and honor their manifestations into my space like guests visiting; not an intrusion. I create a common space of mutual honor and respect accordingly as those worthy of my respect due to age and wisdom and those i need to communicate at a level where both parties are able to grasp. I teach and learn at the same time every time i tell my story or listen to the other. This is the common space we allow for the other to coexist resulting is a higher understanding of it is all about at the end of the day. In the space and time you tell your story and listen to the other's and through telling we observe ourselves and how much truth is in our stories. This is not different from purifying yourself through cleaning up your story, for the story you tell is in that space and time is who you are. A perfect story can only manifest out of a perfect man and very few has lived to tell it. 
I am telling my own story of space and time and how i occupy them. I share my past and present and future in this Blog just like it is my daily routine of keeping a diary to remind myself of who I am and where i am at and where I am headed for. Along with this practise I keep my mind busy by my insatiable thirst for knowledge and skepticism. I like to tear through all the veils that hides the truth or reality of the matter; I scrutinize my life until I find the truth of the matter of each and every phenomenon, each thought and ideas, imaginations and visions I have had am having and will ever have. This is also my practice daily as i sit in Zazen of the Soto Zen tradition of meditation and contemplation. All that had transpired during the whole day becomes analyzed with scrutiny until there is no more doubt on the matter and the phenomenon is laid to rest. This is how I unwind and empty my mind of the day's activities and although not all could be resolved or clarified, you will sleep better. Upon waking up I do the same about my sleeping state in dealing with my dreams if there were any to be dealt with. I do not try to unravel their meanings but i try to see if they were negative or positive in nature and why.

"To be able to provide a tiny space in your heart for somone else to exist, this is Compassion!" - David Lueck of Zen Center, at Green Gulch, Green Dragon Zen Community.

Still....no excuse for forgetting the Sony Digital Camera....... 

Saturday, July 08, 2017

We were invited to a wedding!

With Sofia and Zuleka from Austraia and Italy 

On the way to a wedding, Tafiz, (his real name is Hamilton), who hails from Australia and I decided to take a picture along with one of the most elderly gentleman

Half way through our meal, Hamilton ased me who pays for the cost of the wedding and Isaid him and me by giving whatever we can afford as we shake the hand of the master of the house.

Farewell dinner for the Spanish Visitors

As I headed back towards the  chalets from the river I noticed Paloma, the lady from Spain and her companion getting ready to leave
A farewell picture along with 'Jai', one of the Captain's brother in laws. Jai is in charge of taking care of the  foreign volunteer's needs at the farm, like food and transportation.
Earlier at a wedding not too farm the Farm of  one of the villagers' son. Here is where cultures meets head on right there in the middle of nowhere.
The 'Last Supper for the Spanish couple and a welcome party for the Danish lad who everyone decided to name him Malik and his Danish being Mads.

One for the road, a group of  newly found friends from many parts of the world having a taste of the life at the edge of the jungle in Lintang, Sik, Kedah. 

Friday, July 07, 2017

Cat Stevens or Yusuf Islam.

"Tea for the Tillerman", is one of most favorite albums ever since i was given a cassette of this album by an English gentleman who was travelling by yacht along with another and had anchored off the Penang jetty sometime in 1970s. This was also one of my first few contacts with foreign back packers in my young adult life that had great impact upon my future; they gave me the wandering bug. Cat Stevens became my idol and his songs echoed in my mind till I could sing just about every song on the album as the lyrics had subliminal meanings in them that wakened in me the same similar questions about life around me. The song "Father and Son" became my favorite and i would sing it every time i got myself a guitar and a small crowd to entertain.
Car Stevens has come a long way from his former self of a folk singer to become a Muslim and leading a life he has found for himself in this world of turmoil and religious conflict. He is still dong his thing but only in a more subdued and less glamorous performances unlike before the crowds of thousands in the past. Most of the younger generation has no idea who or what he is all about today but a few of his songs still survives and being remixed into a more contemporary version especially the song "Wild World," a song he wrote about himself. I feel very fortunate to have been exposed to such a great song writer and ballad artist of an era when people were leaving their own borders and exploring the very corners of the planet making the connections between cultures and interpersonal understanding. Back then it was truly a world without borders when travelling was more fun and less costly with a whole lot of paperworks; all you needed was an International Passport. Today they practically strip you to your underwear and treat you with undignified rudeness when you walk into the airport especially if you came from a Muslim country and you name carries a 'Ben' or 'Bin', which simply means 'son of'. 
In the West the borders are down but the barriers are up and those intent upon segregating humanity for their own diabolical agendas are looking for ways and reasons to build permanent walls that would keep others out while their own in like herds of cattle. The human mind that had created the computer to further breakdown the intellectual walls as well as bring greater sharing and understanding between people has become itself a tool to police and subjugate the freedom of masses. This the so called age of , information technology, has become also an age of ignorance and decadence, an age of violence and waste with nature taking the toll of its negative effect.
In the lyrics to his song, 'Where do the Children Play,' Cat Stevens had painted for us what or where our future is headed for. They don't make great song writers like this anymore as today most songs are written and sung mostly of things or thoughts related to sex and violence, the demeaning of the human species. Today the ego sings out louder than the spirit and the younger generation is being fed with more trash than ever before in a more subliminal and diabolical way that only those awakened to the reality of the own being can identtify and recognize this decadence that is the plague eating at our society.


Thursday, July 06, 2017

All it takes is Love and respect.

Just returned from the Organic farm at SRI LOVELY in Lintang where i had spent five days with the intention of attending a wedding at one of the neighboring houses. I was asked by the captain to stay for a few more days so i can give a lift to a french couple who were spending sometime working at the farm. I had a good stay however and met a few more Westerners who happened to be there and new arrivals. One of them is a young man from Denmark by the name of Mads and we called him Malik his given Malay name as has been the tradition at the Farm to give a Malay name to all our visiting volunteers if they happen to have Western names. This is to make them more welcome as a member of our community of Malay Muslim community such that they will member that they were there for a brief period of their travels.
There was a young German gentleman with the given name of Hadi and he seem like he was having a time of his life working in the garden and looking after the sick Italian lady who fell ill with a fever for the few days that i was there. She was later taken to the Hospital in Sungai Petani to be taken care of. She is hopefully recovering when i visited the hospital on my way back to Penang along with the French couple who were very concerned of their fellow traveler Zuleka, her Malay given name had high fever and most probably suffered from dehydration and overwork in the the field harvesting rice.
It is harvesting time at the Farm and everyone are busy getting the rice in before the birds gets to it as there are thousands of tiny birds attacking the rice in flocks daily and there has to be a constant 'bird watch detail' whose job is to scare the birds away from the fields; it is major problem facing the farm today.Other than that there is the occasional attack from the wild boars especially at night. These animals would destroy the rice more than eat it like they have an issue with the growers for some reason. The Westerners spend most of their time in the vegetable gardens growing organic vegetables and when a couple leaves another arrives to replace them like clockwork. It is heartwarming to watch how people from all over the world are arriving to spend a few weeks or days here out of the blue and making acquaintances among themselves and and along with the locals who by now have improved their ability to speak English and their manners towards Westerners. It is a learning experience all around and the land itself gets healed by the tender loving care of sweat and energy of all who drop by as they travel the world.
If this trend continues all over the world where more and more young people are leaving their home or comfort zones and daring to take on the challenges of living the life of another culture and discovering for themselves that we are all in the same boat while looking out for each other, there might still be hope for humanity. When the younger generation have found for themselves the common ground to work from and that 'All it takes is Love and Respect to survive', the world might be able to heal itself slowly but surely. I sincerely hope that more and more young people will travel throughout the planet and find out for themselves how others live and where they fit in with the Whole and how they can contribute towards a positive growth of out Humanity and the Planet that sorely needs this at the moment.  

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Cannon Ball tree

The sweetesat smelling flower i have have come across.

Such perfect design only nature can produce.

I have seen much larger fruits than this before.

The structure of the tree itself is quite mind boggling.

What is beauty if it is not permanent?

Fro the roots to the top this tree has character.

A revisit to the Organic farm.

There was so many chnages and developments at the organic farm since i last visited! The vegy garden has bear its fruits!

The place is beginning to pick in style and color with well cared for fields.

Noth9ng is more beautiful than to see acres of rice ready to be harvested,

The mist still hangs in the air in the distant hills,

Has been a long road but I think we are finally getting there.

Many hands has resulted in this vegy garden and they came from all over the planet.

The home away from home for some and a retreat for others.

Take a walk on the wild side every now and then you need it.

Menuai Padi, Rice harvesting.

Add captioIt was the Rice harvesting time when i last visited the Organic farm It was yten days before the end of Ramadan,

It was great to see the boys and girls in action as they wade through he rice field chopping off the rice stalks in bunches.

The rice grains is seperated from the stalk by the shredder.

The boys were having a great time during this fasting month as most were not fasting!

Time out!

Look! There is a white woman going at it too!

I hold life in my hand!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

I Am an Artist.

Had another vivid dream this morning and woke up with the realization that I am the main obstruction to my own creative as well as productivity. The dream ended with this sense of loss in the effort to make it and participate in a major local Art Show. After struggling through the thick and thin of sleet and snow and falling into drains and so forth I made it to the show where not one person was there but the whole place was littered with art works still in the progress of happening. Stacks of large pieces of papers with sketches on them lay all over the place and some still on the easels, like the artists left them to be continued later. It was an outdoor event and all was wet from rain, it was not a pleasant scene for an outdoor sketching or painting show. I woke p from this depressing dream again as i always did in the past feeling like I have been missing out on my calling; I am an Artist!
No matter how i try to justify or sneak away from my destiny, deep inside i know i was born to paint and draw my hearts out and this i have been denying myself for so long with lame excuses on one kind or another. The blaming trip goes all the way back to my primary school days and through my secondary education and most of what happened has been reiterated in this Blog at one time or another and for now it is no more worth looking back without again being bogged down with more self introspection and fault finding. Suffice to say I realize  now that i am standing in my way of my own artistic prowess as has been told by my one time Professor and Mentor, the late Mr. William Prevetti, when I was a student at the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay. While viewing a Faculty Art Exhibition, Mr. Prevetti whispered in my ear, "Sam, none of these guys can hold water up to your ability as an artist!" I was shocked and taken aback at what he said; I believed him.
Through the years my life was not geared towards becoming a well established artist like my friend and neighbor mr, Richard  Sigberman from San francisco when I was living on 2nd. Ave. Rich also recognized me for what I am and chastised me for not honing my career as an artist. I got side tracked every so often and always there is a lame excuse of one kind or another that has been th cause of my failure, like not having my own proper art studio to work from or worse yet Art has brought me nothing but sorrow and pain. These has been my excuses and perhaps still is although most are not untrue. I realize my God given talent and I realize too how i have it for granted all these years thinking that I am destined to become rich and famous through some other hidden talents of mine yet to be discovered and thus this self seeking Blogging. 
Who am I? I am an Artist and i am a Master in my own field in line with Rembrandt and Hokusai if i had devoted my time and energy in pursuit of my passion instead of getting sidetracked into self seeking and self discovery trip like I have been for the last ten odd years with this Blogging. I know who I am or at least my call in this life if not my vocation, however I have shoved aside my destined status and opted to take a longer route of trying to figure out who I am and in the process often cut myself to pieces and develop a very low sense of self esteem. It is as though I do not deserve nor belong to the echelons of the Masters of Fine Arts of this world. It is time to make that shift, the change of pace in my mind from seeking to having already found and make full use of what i have in me to become truly exalted in my endeavor as an artist; like my Grand father and Father before me.