Thursday, 13 November 2014

As it may be, I've needed to scratch and nibble

As it may be, I've needed to scratch and nibble for everything in life. I've been utilized, misused, sold out and exploited. None of this is my issue. These individuals are at fault. They've never been fair– they've never tended to any semblance of somebody like me. Along these lines, I'm hanging here and will pass on a melancholy, futile demise. It's not reasonable, damn it! On the off chance that you think you're so effective, get me out of this!" 

The other man immediately entered the discussion. He tended to his comments to the criminal who had recently talked. The Scripture reports that he said, "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of judgment? Furthermore we in reality have been censured legitimately, for we are getting what we merit for our deeds, yet this man has done nothing wrong." But, what he was truly saying was this: "We're remaining in the short, thin space in the middle of life and demise. In the middle of nothingness and endlessness. This is not the time for accusing or requesting. This is not the time to declare absence of decency, or to release outrage and condemnations. We are blameworthy. We are kicking the bucket. Anyway this One here with us, this King, is without shortcoming. This is the minute in which to perceive our need of benevolence." Then submissively tending to the King of the Jews he said, 

Jesus, recall that me, when you come into your Kingdom. 

Jesus, recall that me, when you come into your Kingdom. 

(Taize serenade from The Taize Community) 

Both men were blameworthy. Both remained in the break in the middle of life and demise. Both had heard expressions of pardoning that could and would connect the extraordinary abyss between the truth of life and the obscure region of death. The principal criminal was clearly furious, intense and angry. At the same time the best catastrophe was not his outrage, severity and hatred. The best catastrophe was that he had never known the flexibility of absolution. He had not accomplished the liberation of giving up. He gripped and got a handle on at life and the torment it had provided for him. Furthermore as he grasped he got to be oppressed, not by the injustice of that life, however by his own particular unwillingness to pardon others and himself. He had no damnation to fear after death. He had been in a horrific experience for quite a long time – gagging on judgment and panting for the air that could provide for him life. If, if, he would 'give up.' 

The other man excessively was blameworthy, however his blame did not weigh him down. He had a straightforward and immaculate heart – a heart that had not become biting and hard from the agony he had known in life. He held no resentment and some way or another he comprehended that there was more to his future than being a casualty of the dishonorable enduring of torturous killing. He could have been as irate, biting and angry as the other criminal, in light of the fact that it is likely that his life had been pretty much as loaded with disparity. Yet there was one thing that situated him separated from the other criminal. He didn't hold himself or others in judgment. What's more in view of this, his spirit could see virtue and honesty. Also he saw the blamelessness of Jesus. Furthermore in this way, he argued for kindness from that guiltless King. 

Jesus, recollect that me, when you come into your Kingdom. 

Jesus, recollect that me, when you come into your Kingdom. 

Every last one of us has been a casualty of the disparity of life. We have all endured ache and double-crossing. Maybe we were ignored for an occupation advancement, or were diagnosed with disease. Maybe our marriage is not satisfying, or we've lost our darling. Maybe our budgetary future is grim, or our tyke has passed on, or we've lost somebody or something close and dear to us. Life is not generally kind and it is seldom reason.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Let Me Let Go

Let Me Let Go is the third single from Faith Hill's album Faith. The song features background vocals by country artist Vince Gill. Let Me Let Go was also remixed into a pop version and used as the soundtrack for the movie Message in a Bottle. The remix was also added to the international album Love Will Always Win and the compilation album There You'll Be. The song was nominated for a Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal Performance; Hill performed the remix version of the song at the 2000 Grammy Awards ceremony. The footage of the performance was released on a Grammy-themed DVD later that year.

Thursday, 10 May 2012


Asclepias L. (1753), the milkweeds, is a genus of herbaceous perennial, dicotyledonous plants that contains over 140 known species. It previously belonged to the family Asclepiadaceae, but this is now classified as the subfamily Asclepiadoideae of the dogbane family Apocynaceae.

Milkweed is named for its milky juice, which contains alkaloids, latex, and several other complex compounds including cardenolides. Some species are known to be toxic.

Carl Linnaeus named the genus after Asclepius, the Greek god of healing, because of the many folk-medicinal uses for the milkweed plants.

Pollination in this genus is accomplished in an unusual manner. Pollen is grouped into complex structures called pollinia (or "pollen sacs"), rather than being individual grains or tetrads, as is typical for most plants. The feet or mouthparts of flower visiting insects such as bees, wasps and butterflies, slip into one of the five slits in each flower formed by adjacent anthers. The bases of the pollinia then mechanically attach to the insect, pulling a pair of pollen sacs free when the pollinator flies off. Pollination is effected by the reverse procedure in which one of the pollinia becomes trapped within the anther slit.

Asclepias species produce their seeds in follicles. The seeds, which are arranged in overlapping rows, have white silky filament-like hairs known as pappus, silk, or floss. The follicles ripen and split open and the seeds, each carried by several dried pappus, are blown by the wind. They have many different flower colorations.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Learning to let go

Chris Gatchalian believes in theatre that doesn’t shy away from blood, urine or semen. Six years in the making, the world premiere of Falling in Timewon’t “pull any punches in that regard,” the playwright warns.

“Those are parts of life and we shouldn’t be afraid to include them in our plays,” he says of his piece, inspired by the year he worked as an ESL instructor in Vancouver. “It is actually a very brutally honest depiction of these people’s lives,” he continues, referring to the piece’s four characters: proud, anti-Western, South Korean student Chang Hyun; his grandmother, Eun Ha, an ethereal presence and a narrative guide of the play’s action; Steve, the belligerently offensive, fraught American war vet; and the taut, unsympathetic ESL teacher, Jamie.

The action’s looming, non-human character is the Forgotten War, the 1950s Korean conflict that hardened the political divisions between North and South, a still-unresolved relic of the Cold War. Reflecting the more than half-century rift between the two Koreas, Falling in Time’s characters, particularly the men, are spiritually frayed. 

The memory of the war torments Steve (Allan Morgan), who tries to forget its internalized ravages through drink and “having sex left, right and centre — with men and women,” Gatchalian says, while Jamie (Kevin Kraussler) is still reeling and stunted from childhood trauma.

Transported from the expectations of a tradition-steeped, but changing, mid-1990s South Korea to the Western individualism of Vancouver, protagonist Chang Hyun (Nelson Wong) is torn because he’s being made to reckon with his repressed sexuality and new challenges to his culturally received sense of self.

“There’s a sense of an awakening in Chang Hyun that he resists,” says Wong. As hard as it was in Korea without the freedom to explore and express his sexuality, he was able “within the muteness to disappear,” he elaborates. “But to see hard evidence of sexuality in action, and to be participant in it, is a much stronger temptation for him in Vancouver — and he’s very resentful of it in many ways. He’s very much in love with his country; there are elements of his family background which inform his hatred of Americans — and that comes along in the Korean War storyline — and some of the abuses his family faced during that time,” Wong says. “He attributes a lot of negative sexuality to American influence.” And yet there’s a part of him that wants to emerge, because he’s tired of repressing it.
To see hard evidence of sexuality in action, and to be a participant in it, is a strong temptation for repressed Korean ESL student Chang Hyun, says actor Nelson Wong.
(Michael O'Shea)

“It’s interesting playing Chang Hyun because he isn’t any one voice; he’s very much the voice of his ego, and the voice of his body, and the voice of his soul,” Wong says.

For Gatchalian, Chang Hyun showcases a character that is much more complex and sexual than most mainstream depictions of Asian men, particularly gay Asian men. They are usually portrayed as geeks and are completely desexualized, he says.

Falling in Time deals extensively with Asian, specifically Korean, attitudes toward homosexuality, Gatchalian adds. Wong, who is Chinese, says he’s lived with the Chang Hyun character for four years and identifies with his conflicts. 

“Chang Hyun’s struggles with self-hatred and shame and juggling family expectations and family duty are things I definitely relate to, especially as an Asian Canadian. He’s Korean, but these issues are prevalent in the Asian-Canadian community, the gay Asian community. 

“For me when I was coming out, it was a very long process, but I did have an understanding of my attraction to men, however much I tried to repress it,” Wong says. “Chang Hyun is going through the same sense-of-duty motions that he believes, almost in a superstitious way, will help cure him. He’s given family obligations and sort of a checklist of ideals: if he works hard, if he is loyal to his family and if he is prosperous, then maybe he can be perfect or pure or good. He’s a very interesting character in that he deals with his self-hatred and shame. Chris has provided a staging ground where we as an audience and Chang Hyun really get to explore why he connects with people and when.”

“I think all the gay male characters in this play are pretty well-rounded; they’re not stereotypical, and the depiction of gay life is something not a lot of people have seen before,” Gatchalian notes — and leaves it at that.

In refusing to “shy away” from the darkest aspects of the characters’ sexual and emotional lives, Gatchalian says, he met with resistance from producers who liked the play but found aspects of it, such as male victims of sexual abuse, too risqué. “We’re just coming around as a society to talking about that issue, so I think the fact that it is explicit made a lot of producers quite wary,” Gatchalian says. 

The story of one of his Korean ESL students, who was sexually assaulted while serving in the military, was the seed for Falling in Time. “I was the first person he could talk to about it, and it was only here in Canada he could talk about it with some degree of openness,” Gatchalian recalls.

Many forms of sexuality are expressed in the play, Wong adds: abusive sexuality, egocentric compulsion, and vulnerable and intimate communion. “Chang Hyun really gets to explore different ways of being himself through the language of sex.” 

For director Seán Cummings, the play’s explicit sexuality allows the characters to act out their fear and turmoil. Cummings doesn’t subscribe to the popular belief that sex affects everything. “I think everybody affects our sex,” he contends. “I think when you’ve been damaged, violated or hurt on a sexual level, you have to act it out; it always seems, at least for a period of time, you either have to be the victim or the predator.” 

Men have deep-rooted fears of being assaulted, he says. “One could argue that one of the major causes of homophobia is a fear of being victimized; it’s fear of being penetrated, it’s fear of being humiliated.” But Cummings wonders why society finds the idea of men being penetrated a dirty thing, when women are penetrated “as a natural course of events in life.” 

Cummings says Falling in Time’s central question revolves around the role the fear of the feminine — as politically loaded as that construct is — plays in war and aggression. “What I mean is the male perception of vulnerability: it means the fear of being vulnerable, not being able to be vulnerable, and not understanding why,” he elaborates.

Chang Hyun’s relationships with Steve and Jamie give him the opportunity to play different roles, Wong notes. “As much as he’s afraid of the feminine, afraid of acceptance, afraid of awareness, afraid of vulnerability, there are opportunities where he’s given permission to be, and even [finds] strength in those very qualities.” But coming from a culture where men undertake compulsory military service, Chang Hyun has been immersed in a sense of needing to be strong and needing to take action, Wong reminds.

On a lot of levels, it’s the male story, Cummings agrees. “We have a tendency that we respect the masculine because it’s strong, safer, more simple for a lot of people. You just walk this line and do this thing and this is honour. And this is going to win you respect, wars, children, women, pleasure and power.”

But if the power of the feminine is not embraced, then half of who you are is shameful, he observes.

“I think we do need to move towards a more conciliatory, more accommodating, more open, more accepting way of living and being than what we’ve been accustomed to in the past,” Gatchalian asserts. “The whole play is about falling, and by falling, we mean just surrendering and letting go.”