Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Invictus

One of the most inspiring poems ever written, and one of my all-time favourites:

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Invictus, William Ernest Henley - 1875

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Words of Wisdom

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Desiderata - Max Ehrmann


This is so beautiful. Each and every line is meaningful. Thank you, Max Ehrmann.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Unproductivity

My semester break has reached it's second week and I still haven't done anything worth mentioning yet. My Lit Unit 2 coursework question is still staring at me from my netbook screen, and the truckloads of Statistics and C4 homework is still untouched. Its official. I SUCK.

To make matters worse, our A-Level second semester exam results will be out this Wednesday. I can't describe how I feel about it, I'm incredibly nervous and excited at the same time! It's SO BLOODY SCARY.

Meanwhile, I'm starting to realize that I care about someone way more than I should. Actually, I've realized that quite some time ago. What do I do about it? I honestly have no idea. But I guess the best thing to do is to just leave things the way they are. I've been down this road before, and I wasn't greeted with a happy ending when I reached the destination. I just hope that letting things remain the way they are would not hurt me more than if I actually did something about how I feel. Because if that's the case, then I am definitely screwed.

Ramadhan is now well underway and I hope fasting's been good to all of you out there. Lets make the best out of this holy month by counting our blessings and keeping in mind those who are not so fortunate, like the people in Gaza and also the flood victims in Pakistan. May Allah grant all of you faith, dignity and strength to get through it all.

As for us lucky ones over here, lets go through this Ramadhan with moderation and humility. May God bless us all, take care :)

Now, if only I could write this much for my coursework..

Saturday, August 7, 2010

They Just Do It Better

I think you'd be able to guess that I'm not a huge fan of romantic comedies. Most of them tend to lean more towards the 'comedy' side rather than the 'romantic', for instance Bride Wars and Monster In-Law. I have to admit I rather enjoyed both those movies a lot, although they did not make me feel too warm and fuzzy on the inside (which I think is what romcoms are supposed to do to you). They were entertaining, yes, and the acting was pretty good too; Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson in Bride Wars as well as Jennifer Lopez and Jane Fonda in Monster In-Law. However, I felt that they lacked that 'impact' that a good movie is supposed to have on you.

One particular romcom though, did have an impact on me. And that movie is the famous Notting Hill. I've seen it quite a few times, but I only concentrated fully when Astro showed it on HBO tonight. As soon as the movie finished, I fully understood why the movie is so remembered until today. I absolutely adored it :) It had just the right balance of romance and comedy, as well as a brilliant script and wonderful actors. Most importantly, it had that subtlety that I think most romcoms lack. Throughout the whole movie, there was no over the top catfights, annoying-squealy-omg-he's-so-hot moments, and best of all, no sexual references or vulgarities (well I think it did have ONE, but it wasn't important to the storyline). The best part to me was Hugh Grant's unassuming, selfless, funny and utterly charming performance as the bookstore owner William Thacker. Not only was he at his most gorgeous stage, but there was just this effortless quality in his acting that makes you feel for his character so much. He played the character in a way that he was funny yet shy and sad at the same time. And I loved how he told Anna (Julia Roberts) that there are worse things in life than being hunted by paparazzi and having your face splashed across tabloids. In that single scene, he displayed the whole pettiness of the life Anna leads so perfectly that I just felt like screaming "Woman! He's the ONE for you!!"

Julia Roberts played Anna wonderfully. She was the miserable actress, smitten, yet subtle in her amusement towards William's antics and awkwardness. And the ending couldn't be any sweeter, with Anna lying on William's lap in the park at Notting Hill, pregnant with their child, holding hands with him. I know its cliche (heck, that's the whole point of romcoms!) but this was cliche done with class.

The entire movie's setting was in London, which gave it a distinct flavour and character. The director and scriptwriters did such an amazing job, I'm so happy :)

Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts in Notting Hill :) :)

Way before I fell in love with Hugh Grant's acting in Notting Hill, I worshipped him as Edward Ferrars in Ang Lee's award-winning adaptation of Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility. Those who read the book would know that the casting of Hugh Grant as Edward was not very accurate, as Mr. Ferrars is not supposed to be good-looking. However, I guess for movie purposes the directors had to choose someone more commercial looking, and I didn't have a problem at all with that, because Hugh Grant played the character so well! He was the shy, reserved, uncertain and slightly awkward English gentleman that Austen created. I have to admit Emma Thompson did look a tad too old for him (its not supposed to be that way in the book, Austen made Elinor Dashwood a 19 year-old, but in the movie she was made to be 27), but they both made it work, they had the chemistry and Edward's proposal in the end was just soooo SWEET :) To all of you Austen fans, even if you're not one, but you enjoy period dramas, Sense and Sensibility is HIGHLY recommended :D

Hugh Grant and Emma Thompson in Sense and Sensibility :) :)

While Grant's casting as Edward Ferrars might be questionable, Alan Rickman's portrayal of Colonel Brandon was absolutely spot-on. He had the looks, the grave, reserved, serious manner, and also the look of a man hopelessly in love. Besides that, he also looked like a man with a troubled past. He was just absolutely and completely perfect. Alan Rickman is officially one of my favourite actors ever now, and for those who don't know, he's the actor who played Professor Severus Snape to perfection in all the Harry Potter movies. And best of all, he is an actor who just does his job and nothing else. He's not in the papers for being caught DUI, soliciting prostitutes, violating probations or constantly getting in and out of rehab. Such a genius, underused actor :)


Kate Winslet and Alan Rickman in Sense and Sensibility :) :)

So, what do these two favourite actors of mine have in common? They're both British. And they both acted in two of my favourite movies of all-time, both of which featured a cast made up mostly (if not entirely) of British actors. Yep, they just do it be'er, them Bri'ish!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Another Selfish Post

How do you differentiate between who you want and who you need? Or are the two the same?

I miss the company of good friends so much. How do people find friends so easily? I look upon many people around me with a slight envy, as they have someone who will always be there for them, listen to them and understand them. Am I weird or something? Am I too guarded? Or am I just too selfish?

Yes, selfishness is one of my biggest flaws. I love with the expectation of being loved in return. And when that doesn't happen (it never does), I get bitter and either a) look down upon myself and think of myself as being inadequate; or b) I keep thinking how the girl that he is in love with is undeserving of his love, and that I can love him better. I am so selfish. But as selfish as I am, don't lie to yourself and say that you've never felt the same way. Because I believe that we all feel like that at some point in our lives. What makes it easier is when you have someone who understands how you feel exactly. But not all of us have that luxury.

It's not like I can't love or that I don't care about anyone. I care about some people so much, they don't even know it. But the problem with me is, I keep wondering whether they care about me too. And somehow I always come to the conclusion that they don't. And at the end of the day, I conclude that the only people who will ever return my love, unconditionally, is family.

But being human, you would be lying if you said that a family's love is enough. It would be, if only you could limit yourself to only loving them, but the problem is, you can't. You can't help looking up to other people too, caring about them, loving them. But at the end of the day, there is almost no guarantee that they would feel the same about you, let alone love you unconditionally and eternally, like how your parents love you.

So, the question I always ask is, why are we given this ability to love those who don't love us back? It's a selfish question, I know, but think about it. Some people I know laugh at that guy who goes to such great lengths in order to win a girl's heart, a girl who doesn't even give a damn about him, who thinks of him as less than a friend. I say don't laugh at him. His intentions are good and you just don't know how to appreciate it.

In the end, I know I need to find a way out of this selfishness, whether I like it or not. But I just need to know how. And if you asked me what is the best feeling in the world, I'd say it is to love and to be loved in return.

I miss you, all of you.