To people of my
generation, the 1986's CCTV version of Journey to the West is the one and only
classic version that should ever exist.
I don't care whether or
not a costume designer from Lord of the Rings had designed the monsters' masks.
They don't matter at all. As a matter of fact, I don't like all the colourful
dresses and make-ups on these monsters's faces in the 2012 version. They looked
Over the few weeks, I have
been watching DVDs of the original series, reminiscing my childhood. I remembered
Singapore's broadcasting station only played this series on Saturday at 3 pm.
At 2.30 pm, I will be making my way down to my Grandmother's house to get ready
to watch it.
I remembered Channel 8
will also show an animal documentary after the Journey to the West episode.
While watching the animals eating each others up, my Grandmother will add in
her views about these animals. It was such great time spending my
As I grew older, I have
different interpretations on the show. In the past, things are just black and
white. All those monsters who stopped Tang San Zang in his journey to the
west are all evil. They should all be eliminated. When I looked back at some of
these monsters, I realised that some of them are actually not that evil.
One example is the spider
sisters demons They didn't plot to harm Tang San Zang. It was Tang San Zang who
bumped into them and disrupted their lives. At the end of the story, you
will see that the Mother of Hen God took them in as maids. She only killed their
senior, the evil centipede demon.
And of course most of the
demons are pets belonging to Gods. They were bored with life at the celestial
palace. When fate presents them with the opportunity to escape, they run and
have fun down at the earth.
However, there is one part
of the show baffled me. At the very last
episode, you would have thought that Tang San Zang and his disciples have
finally made it to the wonderful Western paradise to get the scriptures after
overcoming all these challenges.
To much of their
disappointments, the western paradise isn’t that perfect at all. There are
beings with ugly personalities in the paradise and they happened to be Buddha’s
So what happened is that
these two disciples were instructed to pass on the scriptures to Tang. However
before they agreed to pass the scriptures, they have asked for a bribe from
Tang. Tang and gang couldn’t understand what is going and why the two Buddha
disciples have asked for a bribe. They didn’t give any.
To get back to Tang, the two
disciples decided to pass them the fake scriptures with no writings. Unknown to
the Tang San Zang, he and his gang left the Western paradise happily.
On their way out, they were
attacked by a large eagle who snatched the scriptures parcel from them. The
books fell out and revealed that they have been duped.
Of course, the jumpy Monkey
God wouldn’t have any of these nonsense. He brought everyone back to Buddha’s
court and confronted him why they were asked for a bribe from his disciples.
Instead of chiding his two
disciples for committing the ugly act, Buddha sided with them explaining that
he is aware of the rule and that they were acting on his behalf. He explained
that scriptures are not to be given away freely and definitely not free for
anyone to take.
He related that many nuns
and monks who have collected the scriptures over the centuries were only given
meager returns for their efforts of chanting the scriptures. The Buddha thought
they were too selling their services too cheaply. Henceforth, he implemented a
rule that whoever wants to collect the scriptures should give something
precious in return.
I don’t understand this part
of the show.
Why are there ugly beings in
Why did they extort a bribe
from Tang Sang Zang?
Haven’t Buddhism taught us
that wealth and riches aren’t important? So why did
Buddha tolerate their acts and even agreed that he wouldn't let Tang have the
sutras for free?
Didn’t Tang and disciples overcome numerous challenges? Aren’t these enough to prove that they can have
the sutras for free?
What are the morals behind this story plot?
explains this? If not, let's have a discussion about it.
“Birth rights” - A right, possession, or privilege
that is one's due by birth. I read this TODAY article
Apparently the NTU Deputy
President and Provost, Professor Freddy Boey related in the interview of how
life wasn’t all rosy for him in his early days. He had an especially hard
Prof Boey grew up in a
Kampong at Kolam Ayer. He had 10 other siblings and his parents couldn’t earn
enough to support everyone. So from an early age, he had to work
alongside his mother to try to supplement the meager family income.
He didn’t do well in
school then. He said his parents didn’t care and looking at his terrible
grades, he would probably end up in the ITE by today’s standard. It was only
when his father nearly made him drop out of school that he starts to pay more
attention to studies.
You can read more of how
he conquered the challenges and got out of the poverty cycle here.
I like this quote from him
the most. Referring to poverty, he said
"It really helps
you to be resourceful, to fend for yourself. You don't have the mentality that
'it's my birthright to have this and that', because you assume you have nothing
and, from nothing, you have to come up with something."
I was so inspired by his
life story - Work hard and face the odds fearlessly, one day one will achieve
the great things that he/she had always wanted in life.
The another news which
caught my eye is this:- “Fresh grads expect higher salary, faster promotion:
“A new survey shows recent
graduates have higher wage expectations compared to previous years, and they
also expect promotion by the second year of work.”
Few months ago, I remember reading in the papers that more and more young people are taking sabbatical leave to explore places they have never been to or to do things that they like.
The article somewhat stirred up my almost empty soul. As I take stock of my current life, I realised that I am not leading a fulfilling life. Something seems to be missing.
Just as I was pondering over what I can do, a friend took the big step. She decided to take a break from work and Singapore. She packed and left for Japan to study the mystical language and at the same time experience life in the ancient capital, Kyoto.
PHOTO: Morning Sun
Kyoto is a beautiful place and it is full of festivities. Every photo she took looks like a postcard.
If you are interested to visit Kyoto or like my friend interested to study in Japan, please do visit her blog.
In the column, Brick said that her “pleasing appearance” have been a mixed blessing. She shared with examples of how she have had many treats and leeways from men because of her “lovely looks” but at the same time she felt that she was being ostracised by women because of her “beauty”.
In the concluding paragraph, Brick hoped that as she turned 41 year old, the grey hair and wrinkles will quickly appear so that she could blend in the background. And those women who felt “threatened by her looks” will come to accept her for who she is.
“Wow” was my first reaction after reading the column, then it was followed by this thought - “so this is what it takes to be a columnist, hmmm?" (Just joking)
I must say judging from the photos, she doesn't appear to be particularly attractive, looking from an Asian perception. It could be that she is more charming in real person and we couldn’t tell.
Also from the tone of the article, she had appeared to be very confident of her looks, too confident in fact that it had came off as arrogant. And I thought that she had no more female friends, but yet those friends she consulted seem to share similar sentiments as her that she had been a victim of her looks.
I agreed that good looking people may have more baggages than the average-looking us in proving that they have capabilities as well.
But why blame all things on looks and not other factors? I thought that was a pretty shallow observation. Why didn’t she and her friend look at things in a more objectively and critically way? Maybe it’s the way she behaves, the way she talks and the way she carries herself that is offending and not looks.
I read an article about body language before and it states that women in general are more sensitive to reading other communication signs. It could be that her body language had offended people even before she speaks.
I find that to be highly plausible after reading her entry, ok column, in greater details.
She wrote that “…but when you have a male boss, it’s a different game: I have written in the Mail on how I have flirted to get ahead at work, something I’m sure many women do.”
Wouldn’t this tell you something about her character? She is quite an opportunist isn’t it? As oppose to her sentiments, I don’t think many woman flirt to get ahead at work. Many women I know get ahead through capabilities and hard work. Then if she is willing to flirt to get ahead at work, wouldn’t she also flirt to get special privileges, recognitions and earn good impressions from men. She must have done so very often that it had become her second nature in front of other women’s spouses as well.
If she still didn’t get it, it is her flirting antics that are putting women off.
I remember reading this quote from twitter and I think it aptly described vain women like her:
Behind all their personal vanity, women themselves always have an impersonal contempt for woman– Fredrich Nietzsche