The Man Who Accepts Blames – by Hafez

The Man Who Accepts Blames – by Hafez

I’m well known through the whole city

For being a wild-haired lover; and I’m that man who has

Never darkened his vision by seeing evil.
Through my enthusiasm for wine, I have thrown the book

Of my good name into the water; but doing that ensures that

The handwriting in my book of grandiosity will be blurred.

 

Let’s be faithful to what we love; let’s accept blame

And keep our spirits high, because on our road, being

Hurt by the words of others is a form of infidelity.

 

I said to the master of the tavern:” Tell me, which is

The road of salvation?” He lifted his wine and said,

”Not talking about the faults of other people.”

 

Learn to love the beautiful faces by noticing

The light down on the face of the Friend; nothing is sweeter

Than taking a stroll around the face that has beauty.

 

What is our purpose in admiring the garden

Of this world? The answer is: Let the man inside

Your eye reach out and take roses from Your face

 

Let’s veer toward the tavern, and turn our horses

Away from the formal church. It’s incumbent not to listen

To the sermons of the man who never acts on his own words.

 

I have great confidence in the mercy biding in the tips

Of your curly ringlets! If there were no evidence of grace

On the other hand, what would be the point of all our effort?

 

Don’t kiss anything except the sweetheart’s lip

And the cup of wine, Hefez; friends, it’s a grave mistake

To kiss the hand held out to you by a puritan.

 

 

Hafez and Omar

Thew two poets are what we discovered recently through radio and travelling. Both were persian poets whose poems conveyed similar viewpoints of life  – Live in the day, enjoy wine, live and let live, and of course contentments.

Below is one of the poems by Hafez:

Do Not Sink Into Sadness – by Hafez

Joseph the lost will return, Jacob should not

Sink into sadness; those who sit in the Grief

House will eventually sit in the Garden.

 

The grieving chest will find honey; do not let

The heart rot. The manic hysterical head

Will find peace; do not sink into sadness.

 

If the way the Milky Way resolves ignores

Your desires for one or two days, do not

Sink into sadness. All turning goes as it will.

 

I say to the bird: ”As long as spring

Baptizes the grass, the immense scarlet blossoms

Will continue to sway over your head.”

 

Even if the flood of materialism

Drowns everything, do not sink into

Sadness, because Noah is your captain.

 

Do not sink into sadness, even through the mysteries

Of the other world slip past your entirely.

There are plays within plays that you cannot see.

 

When you’re lost in the desert, full of longing

For the Kaaba, and the Arabian thornbush

Pierces your feet, do not sink into sadness.

 

Although the way station you want to reach

Is dangerous and the goal distant, do not

Sink into sadness; all roads have an end.

 

God knows our whole spiritual state: separated

From Him and pushed by rivals. Still do not

Sink into sadness. God is the one who changes conditions.

 

Oh, Hafez, in the darkness of poverty and in

The solitude of the night, as long as you can sing

And study the Qur’an, do not sink into sadness.

 

Plymouth – Bantham – Pepolore – Looe – Seatown

We spent a great weekend down in Cornwall and Devon last weekend. Julian caught up with his college friends and I had the opportunities to visit my ‘first’ family in Cornwall during our first day.

For me it was a trip of reconciliation as well as enjoying the view and break from our daily hectic routine.

Loved the cliffs and great walks at Bantham, Loved the glimpse of Peoplore and those quaint narrow pathways; loved Looe’s spectacular coast views as well as the delicious Cornish pastry on the wet wintry afternoon; Loved Seatown’s landscape and beautiful sunshine; And of course I really loved our time in Plymouth on the Sunday morning – reading David Hockney while drinking hot chocolate by the window; outside a blue canopy of sea view with the Hoe.

Somehow I started to feel and think very differently for the past few weeks; it made me feel I am closer to who I really am – Taking more time on things that I enjoy doing such as reading, drawings and good films with my darling and friends…

Bantham

Bantham 1-2-2015

Seatown

Seatown 1-2-2015

Fire in the Blood, by Irene Nemirovsky

”… I don’t know whether people make their own lives, but what is certain is that the life you live ends up transforming you: a calm, happy existence gives the face a gentleness and dignity, a warm, soft look that is almost a kind of sheen, like the varnish on a painting.

.. So I say goodbye to Helene and, beneath the trickle of light rain that falls from the bare trees, I walk in the village… Everthing is permeated by the silence of an autumn evening in a sleepy little village..

… As I’ve said, it was a lovely day, but so nearly autumn that, as soon as you were out of the sun, it felt cold and everything looked suddenly dismal. That even happens at the height of summer, which even the shade gives off a secret warmth…”

Above were excerpts that I took from the book. It was more for the description of the scene than for the meaning of the lines. The book was originally written in French, which I hope to read soon.

On another note Irene Nemirovsky was recommended by a friend of mine. Somehow I couldn’t put the book down once starting it. It reminded me of my uni time when I was such an avid reader. So I am very glad to read again, I almost forgot how much joy and fulfilment that reading can bring.

David Hockney

Below are excerpts that I took from David Hockney the Biography, by Christopher Simon Sykes. He is one of favourite British artists:

Hockney the biography

I encouraged them to go to the national gallery and look first at the old masters, and then go and look at the new masters, and they would see there was an evolution from one to the other,each demonstrating in their own way of their own period. That is what they were going to be doing whether they liked it or not.I told them that they could not live outside their own period.I told them that the influences upon them were going to be the influences that were just before them, and that they should not ignore them. if they rejected what was new, then they were going to become bad artists.They had to look, they had to absorb, and then evolution would take place which is a natural process of life

He looked at his own environment and said: this big city I live in may be grey and black, a dirty city, but there is a magic in it if I look at it closely

Cornwall: Ben Nicholson and Barbara Hepworth

The way we painted was the way Derek Stafford had taught us, which was that unless we were totally committed to our work there was no point in painting at all. And we’re we’re willing committees

Jackson Pollock – it was not just random splashes of paint . There was order to it. — seeing the Pollock show made Hockney realised that his teaching never addressed the problems of the modern movement

One should look upon painting as a means of exploring all the things that most interested me, and that I should paint pictures that reflected this…

David Hockney

Vietnamese rice paper rolls

I cooked Vietnamese cuisine for us last night. The starter, which was the highlight of the dinner, was Vietnaese rice paper rolls with duck slices, spring onion, chilli, Thai basil, mint and Haosin sauce. The flavour reminded me of the one week I spent in Vietnam three years ago.

Somehow this resonated my thoughts the other day that food and memories are closely linked. For me Vietname represented warmth, freedom and free thinking because the three words represented me when I was three three years ago. I really wanted to share it with Julian for the taste but also, in a way, my memory. We are nothing without our memories.

On the same note, I am very grateful in that the few friends that I have are the companions for my soul also. The Vietnamese rice paper rolls were inspired by my American friend. He made them for me when I visited him last weekend. These are such nice memories which are, I guess, one of the reasons that I want to write about them – for myself, for us, and for our forever curious and naked soul.

Burns Night

We were invited to a Burns supper last Saturday.  The first time that I heard of Robert Burns was around ten years ago. His poems struck me as simple yet very touching. Now with two years experience of celebrating the Burns Night, I really start to love Scotland, poems, wind pipes, haggis and of course whiskeys… 🙂

A Red, Red Rose,  By Robert Burns

O my Luve’s like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June;
O my Luve’s like the melodie
That’s sweetly play’d in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I:
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry:

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun:
I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare thee well, my only Luve
And fare thee well, a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho’ it were ten thousand mile.

Venice

Venice in January is restful. The arch bridges, the canals, the colourful buildings along the water and the sounds of the street all made one feel magical. One can easily turn into every scene on the streets of Venice into the object of a painting.

But what really made me feel special about the place was the Venetian cuisine. On a cold wintry afternoon, we went into a restaurant by the water and I was tempted to try its home made tagliatelle with duck sauce. The aroma of the sauce and the texture of tagliatelle reminded me of one noodle disk that my mother used to make for us back in China.

What I found interesting is that sometimes food has so much to do with our memories. Some food, as commonplace as it may seem, can be such a treasure for some. What the taste of tagliatelle reminded me of was my whole childhood where we lived in the village, simple, carefree yet very fulfilling and happy.

While there, we also went to visit Peggy Guggenheim museum. For me visiting art museums is vital whenever I visit a new place. It is the foundation for me to build my memory of a place, without which the visit becomes flimsy and somehow unsubstantial.

Strange isn’t it? We all have our own preferences of fulfilling our soul.

Grayson Perry: Who are you

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On Channel 4 there is currently a program by Grayson Perry – who focus on identity as his subject matter.  For me he really won me over through the third episode: Who are you?

In the program he identified three groups as his subject matter: Irish, BBW (Big Beautiful Woman), and Deaf People, and he used different art medias to explore the three subject matters. If I had not watched the program, I would have had been able to appreciate the art display currently on at National Portrait Gallery.

Definitely worth watching for Art Lovers.

– Program: http://www.channel4.com/programmes/grayson-perry-who-are-you
-National Portrait Gallery: http://www.npg.org.uk/whatson/graysonperry/display.php

Singapore

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I had the opportunity to visit Singapore in September, 2014. It was sunny and breezy when I arrived in the country. Grand Prix was on and all the places that I went to were full of buzz  – be it at Singapore Art Museum, Marina Bay or every restaurants that I went to.

For me Singapore is efficient and very compacted. It seems that very lay out is well thought out in terms of its functionality. Below are some of the places that I would recommend

1. Singapore Marina Bay Sands  – full of shops, restaurants, stunning view and also art exhibitions

2. Singapore Art Museum – it promotes moden art by local or Asian artists.

3. National Museum of Singapore  – for those we are interested in the past Sinagpore.

4. Flower Dome and Botanic Gardens – for nature lovers

Overall it is definitely a country worth visiting.  Lots of people think there are similarities between Hong Kong and Singapore  – For me I would prefer Singapore – full of vitality and optimism, and its recent focus on developping its culture has definitely added another appeal, certainly for art lovers.