Monthly Archives: December 2008

Lost a roommate

This week, Weijen left Taiwan for mainland China. He and I were roommates at Dharma Drum for about 3 months and a half. We got along very well. He was intellectually stimulating. He helped me tremendously with my Mandarin and with getting used to life in Taiwan. I couldn’t have asked for a better roommate really.

He’s coming back in January but we are not going to be roommates again because his wife is going to come with him (lucky fella!) so obviously they are going to live together.

Oh! Come on!

President Obama should be impeached for coming up with the following statement:

We’ve got a unique opportunity to reboot America’s image around the world and also in the Muslim world in particular. So we need to take advantage of that.

Reboot? Really? Coooome oooon! How can the “US image among Muslims” be “rebooted”? What about “reshape”, “ameliorate”, “change”, and so on? Those words were on vacation? They are too normal? What the hell? Or is he suggesting that he’s going to brainwash foreigners? Because that’s the closest thing I can think to a “reboot” when we’re talking about humans.

We’ve got a poet for president, no doubt!

Seeing Ghosts

Salshdot is reporting on an article in Scientific American about how people grieving the death of loved ones tend to hallucinate.

When I first saw the post on Slashdot, it reminded me of when Ice, our cat, passed away nearly three years ago. For several days after his passing, I hallucinated his presence. I have never thought it was anything else than my perceptual apparatus interpreting various stimuli as “Ice”. (Newsflash: I do not believe in actual ghosts.) Coincidentally, the Scientific American article begins by recounting how Carlos Sluzki’s has hallucinated the presence of his deceased cat.

Death, Symbiosis and Pain

Charlie, my wife’s stepfather, passed away last Friday, US time, Saturday morning, Taiwan time. Unfortunately, it is hard to say much about him in this post. He was not interested in my world and I was not interested in his. I saw him only a few times and during those episodes our exchanges were polite but extremely brief and banal. Maybe we could call this a tragedy of polite estrangement.

What would have been a difficult time for my wife under any circumstance has been made even more difficult by the fact that I am away on the other side of the globe. Skype is a poor medium to bridge the distance in times when comfort is most needed. When a couple vows to spend their life together, their intent is a seed which grows into a symbiotic relationship. This symbiosis begins superficially but as the years pass, it reaches the most intimate corners of the heart. Together with depth comes strength. So a deep symbiosis can bear the strain of distance. Still, distance brings an unavoidable feeling of helplessness and pain.

However, there is nothing special about this pain. Nothing of it which in any ultimate sense is personal. The drama of death and separation plays out everywhere and at all times. Whose drama is it then?