Friday, January 16, 2009

The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng

This book tells of Philip Hutton, born half English, half Chinese and feeling neither, who finds an extraordinary friendship with a Japanese diplomat, Hayato Endo. Their friendship began when Philip decided to show his new-found friend around his beloved island, Penang, and Endo, in return, taught him Aikido.

But what Philip didn't realise was his seemingly-trustworthy sinsei, had other intentions. When the Japanese invaded Malaya, and threatened to harm Philip's family and everything else he loved, he discovered that his sinsei had been harbouring a devastating secret. In order to protect his family, Philip had to make terrible sacrifices, including betraying his own people. As the story unfolds, he began to question himself if he was doing the right thing, and if what he did was the best for everyone. This story questions the definition of love, hatred, loyalty, betrayal, friendship, loss, freedom and happiness.

Its luscious lyrical prose describing breathtaking sceneries, exotic and captivating images, sounds, aromas, and beautiful choreography of fights will keep your eyes glued to all of the 447 pages. One of my favourites:

"I have never seen the light of Penang replicated anywhere else in the world - bright, bringing everything into razor-sharp focus, yet at the same time warm and forgiving, making you want to melt into the walls it shines on, into the leaves it gives life to. It is the kind of light that illuminates not only what the eyes see, but also what the heart feels."

Though it could get pretty overwhelming at times (too much of anything isn't good), the compelling storyline would keep you going effortlessly with its seamless transition from one chapter to another. I thought Tan was also really good at making the characters come alive. Each character would draw you closer to them, as they open up themselves to you. One can't help but to fall in love with them.

You know how they have those 'blurbs' these authors put on the back covers rite? Or on the flaps....If they'd ever ask me for one (HAHA yea yea laugh louder :P), mine would be... "This beautiful story of love and friendship, would capture your heart from its very first page...and bring you to places in your heart you never thought existed..."

Book courtesy of Pansing Marketing.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Very Interesting Conversation

Please read till the end...You won't regret it ;)

An Atheist Professor of Philosophy was speaking to his Class on the Problem Science has with GOD , the ALMIGHTY. He asked one of his New Christian Students to stand and . . .

Professor : You are a Christian, aren't you, son ?
Student : Yes, sir.
Professor : So, you Believe in GOD ?
Student : Absolutely, sir.
Professor : Is GOD Good ?
Student : Sure.
Professor : Is GOD ALL - POWERFUL ?
Student : Yes.
Professor : My Brother died of Cancer even though he Prayed to GOD to heal him. Most of us would attempt to help others who are ill. But GOD didn't. How is this GOD good then? Hmm?

(Student was silent )

Professor : You can't answer, can you ? Let's start again, Young Fella. Is GOD Good?
Student : Yes.
Professor : Is Satan good ?
Student : No.
Professor : Where does Satan come from ?
Student : From . . . GOD . . .
Professor : That's right. Tell me son, is there evil in this World?
Student : Yes.
Professor : Evil is everywhere, isn't it ? And GOD did make everything. Correct?
Student : Yes.
Professor : So who created evil ?

(Student did not answer)

Professor : Is there Sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things exist in the world, don't they?
Student : Yes, sir.
Professor : So, who Created them ?

(Student ha d no answer)

Professor : Science says you have 5 Senses you use to Identify and Observe the World around you. Tell me, son . . . Have you ever Seen GOD?
Student : No, sir.
Professor : Tell us if you have ever Heard your GOD?
Student : No , sir.
Professor : Have you ever Felt your GOD , Tasted your GOD , Smelt your GOD ? Have you ever had any Sensory Perception of GOD for that matter?
Student : No, sir. I'm afraid I haven't.
Professor : Yet you still Believe in HIM?
Student : Yes.
Professor : According to Empirical, Testable, Demonstrable Protocol, Science says your GOD doesn't exist. What do you say to that, son?
Student : Nothing. I only have my Faith.
Professor : Yes, Faith. And that is the Problem Science has.

Student : Professor, is there such a thing as Heat?
Professor : Yes.
Student : And is there such a thing as Cold?
Professor : Yes.
Student : No, sir. There isn't...

(The Lecture Theatre became very quiet with this turn of events )

Student : Sir, you can have Lots of Heat, even More Heat, Superheat, Mega Heat, White Heat, a Little Heat or No Heat. But we don't have anything called Cold. We can hit 458 Degrees below Zero which is No Heat, but we can't go any further after that. There is no such thing as Cold. Cold is only a Word we use to describe the Absence of
Heat. We cannot Measure Cold. Heat is Energy. Cold is Not the Opposite of Heat, sir, just the Absence of it.

(There was Pin-Drop Silence in the Lecture Theatre )

Student : What about Darkness, Professor? Is there such a thing as Darkness?
Professor : Yes. What is Night if there isn't Darkness?
Student : You're wrong again, sir. Darkness is the Absence of something You can have Low Light, Normal Light, Bright Light, Flashing Light . . .But if you have No Light constantly, you have nothing and its called Darkness, isn't it? In reality, Darkness isn't. If it is, were you would be able to make Darkness Darker, wouldn't you?

Professor : So what is the point you are making, Young Man ?
Student : Sir, my point is your Philosophical Premise is flawed.
Professor : Flawed ? Can you explain how?
Student : Sir, you are working on the Premise of Duality. You argue there is Life and then there is Death, a Good GOD and a Bad GOD. You are viewing the Concept of GOD as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, Science can't even explain a Thought. It uses Electricity and Magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one. To view Death as the Opposite of Life is to be ignorant of the fact that Death cannot exist as a Substantive Thing.
Death is Not the Opposite of Life: just the Absence of it. Now tell me, Professor, do you teach your Students that they evolved from a Monkey?
Professor : If you are referring to the Natural Evolutionary Process,
yes, of course, I do.
Student : Have you ever observed Evolution with your own eyes, sir?

(The Professor shook his head with a Smile, beginning to realise where the Argument was going)

Student : Since no one has ever observed the Process of Evolution at work and Cannot even prove that this Process is an On-Going Endeavor, Are you not teaching your Opinion, sir? Are you not a Scientist but a Preacher?
(The Class was in Uproar )

Student : Is there anyone in the Class who has ever seen the Professor's Brain?

(The Class broke out into Laughter )

Student : Is there anyone here who has ever heard the Professor's Brain, Felt it, touched or Smelt it? . . .No one appears to have done so. So, according to the Established Rules of Empirical, Stable, Demonstrable Protocol, Science says that You have No Brain, sir. With all due respect, sir, how do we then Trust your Lectures, sir?

(The Room was Silent. The Professor stared at the Student, his face unfathomable)

Professor : I guess you'll have to take them on Faith, son.
Student : That is it sir . . . Exactly !
The Link between Man & GOD is FAITH. That is all that Keeps Things Alive and Moving.

NB: I believe you have enjoyed the Conversation . . .That student was Albert Einstein.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Scribble Scrabble

Ok, I have a confession to make. I have never played Scrabbles before :P until recently when Odelia from Pansing passed me two Scrabble grams; Scrabbles compiled from Daily Mail. So today, I decided to take it out with me for a walk at the mall, thinking of maybe starting my first scrabble during lunch. And the moment I completed Board 1, I WAS HOOKED.

It's quite a good workout for your brain :) Now, let me get back to my Scrabble. Board 5 now! hehe


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