Thursday, July 26, 2012

Ramadan Blues

My daughter is back and will leave for KL this weekend, I am running around looking for money to get her return bus ticket! She will also need at least five hundred to cover her living cost such as rent and so forth and I am broke. I was in town trying to get a hold of my artworks to sell to those I figured would buy these if I can persuade them to for a good cause, but the shop I left them at was closed. So I came here instead to sit and figure out what to do while writing this blog; it helps for me to think better if i write things down as is;sometimes.
Chatting via SMS with my son in Dubai last night I found out that he is in a worse case scenario than I am and it made me feel even worse for wanting to ask him for help. So where else can I turn to. I will be doing a class this Saturday at the Convent Green Lane Secondary School where my daughter used to attend, but it is highly doubtful that it will pay enough for me to cover my needs for the moment. There is only one more option and that is to ask my cousin the catering business owner for my son Karim's promised bonus of five hundred RM to be paid in advance to help cover what I need for now. Possible but i hate to do it as it will be a major sacrifice on his part and he has already made so much contribution towards helping his sister out in the past already. My friend Lee, well I think I might have over taxed his generosity although I have made sure that whatever he has helped me out with in the past i cover it with giving him back more in the form of my works. Still I am at the end of my wits with my experiment with the 'milk of human kindness' issue in my life; there is only so much milk that one can squeeze out of one cow.
This is the month of Ramadan, a month that is the 'King among months in the Muslim calendar; a month that is filled with hopes and challenges for the faithful and I am not only feeling the thirst and hunger of the fasting but also all the vexations that life can throw at me; I am suffering from a cough that seems to not go away throwing up phlegm and choking the hell out of me at times and migraine headaches most of my waking hours. The Fasting month of Ramadan is both a blessing and a torture for most of us  and for me it has always been more so as I am dealing with getting to know my 'Self'. No issue in life is more sensitive than figuring out one's faith and belief in the after life, one's true belief in the presence of the AlMighty. Allah or God or whatever it is that one belief in. In Islam (my limited understanding), God is the  Ultimate Tester; He put you through the grind of life to ensure your faith is immovable, no matter how dire your needs may be that you do not succumb to despair and neglect to ask Him for His assistance; for in this negligence you have also denied Him just as you fail to show Him your gratitude when you receive the boons that life has to offer.
I must declare that I am far from a ritual oriented practitioner when it comes the worship of God; I am more of a spiritual worshiper; whatever that means. I worship the One in my own ways day in day out whether in the positive or negative sense as i sometimes have been known to look up at the sky and point my finger at God. Perhaps i have 'Hell to pay' in the afterlife after all the mistakes and transgressions i have committed in this life, so be it; I have lived my life as I see fit and most of it according to my own beliefs and volition; I abhor coercion in any form when it comes to my spiritual practice.
Although far from being perfect and often times below average, my life has been considerably lived with a little more excitement than an average man as my reflecting my past in the form of this blog and my journals in the past has manifested. I try to be as honest and transparent in revealing my ups  and downs mostly in the hope that the revelations will help me to see my self for what I am; at least who I think I am; as all these revelations are a product of my thinking mind. I am looking into the mirror of my soul reflecting that which is manifesting before me as a product of my own creation, my own self manifestation; still, Who Am I?

  • Unself yourself...
    until you see your self as a speck of dust
    you cannot possibly reach that place;
    self could never breathe that air,
    so wend your way there without self.
    1. Knowing others is to be clever.
      Knowing yourself is to be enlightened.
      Overcoming others requires force.
      Overcoming yourself requires strength.
        Lao Tzu 

      Tuesday, July 24, 2012

      The Dance of Shiva Nataraja

      Nataraja or Nataraj (Hindustani: [nət̪əˈraːdʒ]), The Lord (or King) of Dance in Barathanatyam; Tamil: கூத்தன் (Koothan); Telugu:నటరాజ; Kannada:ನಟರಾಜ, is a depiction of god Shiva as the cosmic dancer Koothan who performs his divine dance to destroy a weary universe and make preparations for god Brahma to start the process of creation. A Tamil concept, Shiva was first depicted as Nataraja in the famous Chola bronzes and sculptures of Chidambaram. The dance of Shiva in Tillai, the traditional name for Chidambaram, forms the motif for all the depictions of Shiva as Nataraja. He is also known as "Sabesan" which splits as "Sabayil aadum eesan" in Tamil which means "The Lord who dances on the dais". The form is present in most Shiva temples in South India, and is the main deity in the famous temple at Chidambaram.[1]

      The Way of the Indian Classical Dance

      Classical Id most comrehensively embodies it. It is We were given a treat of also thwe most ancient of all the classical dance forms in India.
      Out of the nine recognized dance forms, the only two temple dance styles that have their origin in Natya Shastra and are prescribed by the Agamas are Bharata Natyam and Odissi. These two most faithfully adhere to the Natya Shastra but currently do not include Vaachikaabhinaya (dialog acts), although some styles of Bharata Natyam, such as Melattur style, prescribe the lip and eye movements indicating Vaachikaabhinaya.

      many centuries the dancers were attached to the temples.  This maintained a strong religious flavour to dance.  Even today many of the traditional themes are mythological in nature.
      Kathak (Hindi: कथक) in India has a very rich tradition of classical and non-classical dance.  The Natya Shastra, which is the oldest surviving text on stagecraft in the world, spends a considerable time discussing it.  In the old days of the theatre, the dancers would mime the story while the singers would sing the dialogue.  The instrumentalists would accompany them all.  The nature of the old theatre was such that the dancers occupied a central of the eight forms of Indian classical dances, originated from Uttar Pradesh, India. This dance form traces its origins to the nomadic bards of ancient northern India, known as Kathaks, or storytellers. Its form today contains traces of temple and ritual dances, and the influence of the bhakti movement. From the 16th century onwards it absorbed certain features of Persian dance and Central Asian dance which were imported by the royal courts of the Mughal era.

      Sabhas are the organizations involved in the promotion of classical art forms in South India. Ganamukundhapriya is one such Sabha that specialises in classical dances. A dance style is classical to the extent it incorporates the Natya Shastra techniques. What is it? Well it is for you who are interested to dive into, I stop here for now as it is not my cup of tea as yet.

      Classical Indian dance, in particularly Bharatanatyam and Odissi, as Balasaraswati puts it, is an artistic yoga (natya yoga), for revealing the spiritual through the corporeal. Bharatanatyam is the most widely practised of Indian classical dances worldwide, as it is the style that most faithfully adheres to the Bible of the classical Indian dance, the Natya Shastra, and most comrehensively embodies it. It is also the most ancient of all the classical dance forms in India. 

      Meeting the Guru of Classical Dance

      Accomplished in ballet, modern, and Indian classical dance, Ramli Ibrahim is a cultural icon who has performed internationally for more than three decades. As artistic director of the Sutra Dance Theatre,  Ramli has choreographed stunning works and nurtured some of the brightest dance talents from Malaysia. He was instrumental in transforming the dance scenario in Malaysia by boldly charting new paths and single-handedly establishing Odissi as a widely appreciated dance form.

      He has steered a highly successful International Odissi Festival, Stirring Odissi ’08, in Kuala Lumpur; led Sutra at Carnegie Hall, New York ’08 and was most recently featured at the International Dance Festival presented by ICCR (Indian Council for Cultural Relations) in New Delhi, 2010.

      Ramli’s Achievements:
      • The Fulbright Distinguished Artist Award 1999
      • BOH Cameronian Malaysia 2003 Lifetime Achievement Award
      • Johan Setia Mahkota (J.S.M.)
      • ANGARAG Orissa 2006 Lifetime Achievement Award
      • Federation of Associations of Cultural Promotion (FACP), Asia 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award
      • Natyanjali Trust/Purush Award, Chennai 2009
      • Putera Award 2009 (RMC)

      Up the Penang Hill with Artist Friends.

      The Hitoris looking a IpSeng's pictures taken from his trip to China
      Sui Hoe and Rashid
      Sui Hoe and Me. taken at his Gallery the Alpha Utara Gallery which will soon be moving from the present location to a new venue.
      Reaching the top of the Penang Hill Bellevue Hotel via the Pajero. Meeting  the owner of 'The Bellevue' Dato' Seri Lim.
      Bird's eye view of Georgetown from the Hilltop.
      The last time I was up the Hill I cannot remember but it was way back when and Georgetown did not have so many buildings.
      The Bellevue Hotel owned by Dato Seri Lim Chong keat , our host.
      Yes that tummy definitely got to go.
      Simon, Rashid and myself.
      Was it one or two?