On gains and losses

This Tuesday, I had the opportunity to travel to Ottawa with my dad to receive one of the first seven STEAM Horizon Awards for leadership and innovation in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) fields. I met some amazing individuals (Marianne, Jacqueline, Kay, Olivia, Aidan, and Thomas), briefly talked with Leader of the NDP Tom Mulcair, Governor General David Johnston and Speaker Geoff Regan, and had the opportunity to sit in Question Period at the House of Commons. It was a fantastic experience and I am thankful for all the founders of the Award for making it happen! And yet, I also realize how plausible it would have been to gift this award to someone else – like any award celebrating leadership, or community service, or innovation, too many people are deserving.

Often times when I am disappointed by my own shortcomings, I will try to reassure myself by thinking that when I am older I will no longer care about any of it. However, my mentality is hypocritical, as I will treasure and hold dear anything good that happens in my life. If I hadn’t won this award, I would have consoled myself into thinking that this loss will not alter or hinder my life. However, since I have won this award, I have chosen to be extremely grateful and appreciative of this opportunity and financial support, because indeed, it has contributed significantly and positively to my undergraduate studies.

Yet, I’d like to think that a true loss is the lost opportunity for a new relationship, or a new experience, or a new emotion. Because I think it means that ultimately, a loss cannot be contrasted to a gain. Though we can gain immaterial things, we cannot actually lose a new relationship, or a new experience. These unformed concepts will simply be manifested in a different tone with a future event. Our losses, if we go with my definition of a “true loss”, is then simply an inability to bring something immaterial into existence. Fortunately, our ability to bring something immaterial into existence will always remain a potential, so long as we are still linked with time. Continue reading “On gains and losses”

18

18

The night of my birthday my friend and I walked around a church. It was a beautiful United Church built of stone (now modestly tarnished) and illuminated by globes of light (yellow and personal). The church itself is a block away from a very bustling area in the city.

On one side of the building I found a little space in the wall that formed a small rectangular nook. I’d like to say we stayed in that corner for half an hour and pondered life’s philosophies, but the corner felt our presence for a minute, just physicality. It was a mild evening, and though it was already dark I could sense the clouds hanging above. Continue reading “18”

small collection #1

The act of reading and writing poetry is a growing plot of land within my life. Each “small collection” post will feature two of my own poems with complimentary senses.

All of this
All of this, perhaps
quite unusual in its
simplicity of motion
despite omissions and sentiments
unspoken.

Deep in my mind shines your light,
deeper still darkness reigns
I’ll tread and explore
without sinking from a heavy heart
breath quiver to steady.

There are words that cannot be written.
Paths born with every exchange
extend an endless story,
sleeping and waking
by loyal momentum.

One learns far away
One learns far away
and brings it near.
They swim in the heart,
gathering longer, longer
breaths, these moments –
spilling from
mouth and fingers.
They stay close out of
compassion.
Gather
Drink
Inhale
Until, submerged
and drowned in new
consciousness.
A rebirth of the smallest scale.

To speak the words not spoken

The truth is, I’ve been staring at my laptop screen for a long time, not knowing what to write. Not because there isn’t any material to write of, but simply there is too much of… everything.

There are words that I need to leave out, as a blog writer. There are urges, sentiments that I do not mention, because they are impertinent to the content of my post. There are concerns that I want to communicate but do not, because I do not want people to reassure me and tell me I am not wrong.

But since it seems like I cannot proceed with anything else without spilling out these sentiments, in an ironical reversal of my declaration in the previous paragraph, I must attempt to unwind the knot in my mind and speak the words that perhaps I do not have the claim to speak.

I know more, much more, than I did two years ago. I’ve explored my city, met fascinating humans, read profound literature, and experienced many unexpected emotions. Yet it sometimes seems like this new knowledge has made a new compartment in my head, instead of fusing with my old mind.

I read news articles about Ghana immigrants losing their fingers crossing the Canadian border, a Syrian girl who got emergency treatment in a (now-bombed) hospital in Aleppo, the crude conditions of sex workers in Sri Lanka. And yet, I often sit miserably in my privileged life, brooding over a bad lunch or a dress I wish I bought.

Now, I must stop myself. Because I know how people would respond to what I just wrote. They will remark that I have grown- that at least now, I demonstrate more compassion, a willingness to fight for these injustices, an opening heart. This is the truth, but this is only one side of the truth. There are parts of me that are still frustratingly, irrationally entitled. Continue reading “To speak the words not spoken”

Living in the moment, now and later

This is the beginning, end, and neither. 

In all previous years, the coming of winter holiday has felt like a weight being lifted off the shoulders and settled on the ground, waiting to be picked up again with the reopening of school in the new year. This year however, the weight doesn’t have time to rest on the ground for a couple of weeks- it must be dealt with now, now, now.

I had my last class of the year this morning. I joined my mom for lunch, downtown, and spent the rest of the afternoon walking. Walking downtown, in the winter, is a pattern of dark paths fenced by tall buildings and bright intersections of glistening roads. It is a constant hum of motors and chatter, marked occasionally by brief eye contact with a human of different purpose. Occasionally, you may hear chirps. And if you look up; there they are, birds, branches, blue sky coupled with smoke. Continue reading “Living in the moment, now and later”

After Rehearsals: Orchestra Blog, Part 1

1st Rehearsal (09/12/16)
There are many wonderful, often bittersweet, aspects to first rehearsals, especially when you have come to accept that this is your last first rehearsal. There’s the gentle tap on the shoulder that leads to a soul-filling hug, the shuffling of the papers to discover the repertoire, and the first orchestra-laugh induced by your conductor.

One would think that the appropriate way to start the first reading of a piece is carefully. And so it comes as the best surprise, every year, when the first notes we sound are lively, almost up to tempo, and admittedly out of tune. It is the most delightful of journeys; relishing in the long melodies, basking in the uncertainty of the next chord, skipping a bar to catch up to the authority of the conductor’s baton.

I hope that through these blog entries, I will be able to explore the beauty and appreciation of music, the relationship musicians develop through being an orchestral entity, the pursuit of piecing together musical sections to form one complete sound, and whatever other lines of thought that could come to mind.

Many of my dear friends from previous years have not come back this year. They will be greatly missed, their presence never forgotten. Their absence has reminded me of the essence of Youth Orchestra: a dynamic form of expression that is temperamental and connecting. Memories involving music are very hard to dissolve, and I think all of us, wherever we are in the world, can attest to that. Continue reading “After Rehearsals: Orchestra Blog, Part 1”

Short Story: Two Minutes

He was seen from halfway across the school gym. Loose pants, dress shirt tugging from his belt, a satchel. He was nothing short of that man in the romance film with the quiet death scene. Not to mention he was real, he was speaking in the microphone, and he was positively, quiet determinedly, perfect.

His stance he carried like his belongings, loosely and with determination. He spoke with awareness and viewed everything with clarity. Yet, yet, he was still a tad mischievous; he kept that weapon in his pocket, but it was never a secret.

“You saw him, this morning?”
“He was inspecting the books on the shelves.”

There was only one somber cloud: he appeared only for two minutes during the day. Because what hasn’t been addressed is that, the other hours, he spends elsewhere; the other minutes, he dreams in another adventure; the other seconds, he walks as himself, and no one else.