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poems | dictums | musings | my concerted endeavour in the art of parochialism

January 26, 2005

MOVING MY BLOG 

Heya,

Been a long time since I last blogged, and I'm now in the midst of moving my blog to this URL.

http://luqmanlee.com/photoblog

So, please do keep an eye out for it!

Cheers.




January 25, 2005

tril




May 19, 2004

Staff Sgt. Jimmy Massey, speaking on the US invasion and occupation of Iraq in this interview.

Excerpts:

'They received pamphlets, propaganda we dropped on them. It said, "Just throw up your hands, lay down weapons." That's what they were doing, but we were still lighting them up. They weren't in uniform. We never found any weapons.'

_______

'A: Depleted uranium. I know what it does. It's basically like leaving plutonium rods around. I'm 32 years old. I have 80 percent of my lung capacity. I ache all the time. I don't feel like a healthy 32-year-old.

Q: Were you in the vicinity of of depleted uranium?

A: Oh, yeah. It's everywhere. DU is everywhere on the battlefield. If you hit a tank, there's dust.

Q: And if DU is affecting you or our troops, it's impacting Iraqi civilians.

A: Oh, yeah. They got a big wasteland problem.

Q: Do Marines have any precautions about dealing with DU?

A: Not that I know of. Well, if a tank gets hit, crews are detained for a little while to make sure there are no signs or symptoms. American tanks have depleted uranium on the sides, and the projectiles have DU in them. If an enemy vehicle gets hit, the area gets contaminated. Dead rounds are in the ground. The civilian populace is just now starting to learn about it. Hell, I didn't even know about DU until two years ago. You know how I found out about it? I read an article in Rolling Stone magazine. I just started inquiring about it, and I said "Holy s---!"'


_______

'I talked with my commanding officer after the incident. He came up to me and says: "Are you OK?" I said: "No, today is not a good day. We killed a bunch of civilians." He goes: "No, today was a good day." And when he said that, I said "Oh, my goodness, what the hell am I into?"'

_______

'Yes. I killed innocent people for our government. For what? What did I do? Where is the good coming out of it? I feel like I've had a hand in some sort of evil lie at the hands of our government. I just feel embarrassed, ashamed about it.'

_______

'It was just a personal conviction with me. I've had an impeccable career. I chose to get out. And you know who I blame? I blame the president of the U.S. It's not the grunt. I blame the president because he said they had weapons of mass destruction. It was a lie.'

_______




April 12, 2004

macro

macro

macro




HAH, this is becoming more like a photography page! More fun with macro. This time, <1:1 magnification.

cheers.



April 05, 2004

Black tape 

Heh.

I've plastered up my camera during the weekend. Bought some black tape and just covered up all the markings and brandname etc. Now it looks rightfully mean and black.

Not just black. Matte black.

My lenses, lens cap, flash, everything.

Was going into a dodgey area and my camera doesn't really blend in. The trick kinda worked until I popped the lens cap.

Its wierd. You just can't seem to hide the fact that a lens is expensive. The giveaway with my lens was the coating on the front element. It gave off this beautiful purple-blue sheen that everyone kept looking at.

In the end, I just kept shooting and didn't care. But I cared enough that I didn't whip out my monstrous flash unit. Now THAT would have given them whiplash.

In the end, I had to handhold at ridiculous speeds and ended up with blur-ish shots. All arty fartsy, nice and well. Except that I'm not shooting for an artsy crowd.

*sigh*

Why can't they make smaller-sized equipment that can perform just as well?

Ah well. Frustrating weekend that culminated in a frustratingly stupid Monday. Life is just full of surprises, isn't it?



April 02, 2004

I . . . miss . . . . . . . photography . . . . .

I want to live it, breathe it, think it, dream about it and have it dominate the rest of my adult life.

Photography is life.

Perhaps the most stimulating aspect of it is the fact that you're seeing the creations of God, trying frantically to capture that little sliver of an unimaginable spectrum that constitute the whole of his palette of colours and creations.

Sad. I still have my goals, even though no one sees it at this point.

Obsessive? Perhaps not. I'm probably having a massive withdrawal episode right now . . .

A beautiful piece of contraption, designed to record the gifts that have been endowed on us as Khalifah. And yet we go on chugging along with a ball and chain commitment to . . . . just be humans.



April 01, 2004

And if they had believed and guarded themselves from evil and kept their duty to Allah, far better would have been the reward from their Lord, if they but knew!

-103. Al-Baqarah




Semantics, dialectics and all that . . . 

It has come to this.

I’ve been accused of being too entrenched in semantics, in relation to how ideas and thoughts should be understood and communicated to others. I’ve been called an argumentative show-off, who flamboyantly douses counter-arguments by being aggressively blunt. Lately, I’ve even been labelled as a smarty pants, trying to outwit others by twisting words and bending thoughts just so that mine appear to be triumphant and superior, while my opponents seem to quietly disagree.

People say that I’m ill-disposed to ideas, arguments and points that are contrary to mine. These same people say that I should reflect on what they are saying before I should offer them a rebuttal. That what they are offering is but an alternate view that I have not, might not, have seen while I was busy languishing in my little self-absorbed box. These people assume that my age, my experience, my mental state of affairs could not possibly offer me a holistic approach in the counsel of matters.

What do they know of me?

At best, we can lay claim to a partial understanding of ourselves. And yet, if the most intimate individual represented by our person can never be fully understood, how can we even profess to understand, to guess at, or to even know of an intent by a third party?

But how does uncovering contradiction help us to reach that goal? After all, there will still be two possibilities, A and NOT-A: Which one is true? My reply is that the search for the answer cannot even begin until one realizes that one does not know the answer, and prior to my critical demonstrations most people aren't aware that they harbor conflicting views, even at the most fundamental level of their being. Admittedly, however, the building up of positive knowledge to replace discredited claims to knowledge is a task of a different sort, and perhaps can only be brought about by some sort of divine inspiration or mystic transport.

Then again, maybe we can think of it on the model of my other profession: Critical reflection and dialogue might bare reality in much the same way that the sculptor chips away at the rough stone to reveal the refined image of Apollo contained within.

- Dear Socrates


Dialectic discussions, however passionate or impassive they become, are integral to self-discovery and to any pursuit of knowledge.

If one cannot support their opinions, ideas and beliefs in a factually convincing manner, then it should not be the fault of the opponent that his case ends as the weaker of the two.

Individuals interpret words differently. The images or connotations a word conjures up for a person, may and will differ from one to another.

What audacity to have some think that theirs is the appropriate, while scoffing at their opponents attempts to explain an alternate interpretation.



Mental masturbation 

So yea.

I've been keeping away from my blog for quite a while now. Partly because I'm busy (dayjob AND freelancing), and partly because I'm apprehensive.

Someone whom I hold in high regard told me to tone my language down a little, as its a bit difficult to understand. So most times when I reach for the keyboard again, I just get frustrated.

Sad as it may sound, I do think in those words and those exact sentence structures. It gets a little tiring and frustrating for me to try and write any other way - unless of course, I'm naturally inclined that way, at that moment itself. Kinda like making me write in BM. I'd so obviously flounder and trip all over my words.

I can't even hold a conversation with a kid in BM. What do you expect?

I guess my lack of sleep has also contributed to the DOH state of mind that I find myself in most times. All I think about is photography and sleep. HAH.

Photography. Bliss. Happiness. Joy.


I have discovered photography. Now I can kill myself. I have nothing else to learn.

Pablo Picasso




March 29, 2004

Macro!! 

macro

macro

macro

macro

macro

Having some fun with macro photography . . .



March 23, 2004

Are we that different? 

Heh, funny. We believe in the same God, only with differences in the conditions of belief. How then can we believe unconditionally when the fundamental criterion of belief itself is shackled to pre-requisites? There is so much segregation between the two schools, even though we stem from the same seed, the same history and the same fundamental teachings of right and wrong (even the same book – like you’ve mentioned).

I find it contradictory that the very people who are praising God for his divine majesty and almightiness have placed themselves on the same level as Him by propagating the thought that THEIR interpretations of what His teachings and expectations, are THE correct ones.

Honestly, I think that as long as we’re doing His good work in a correct manner, no one should be marginalized . . .




March 09, 2004

Of dogs and men . . . 

Just bought the ‘Art of Seeing 2’, a collection of the best photographs by the Reuters photographers.

Then I treated myself to some photojournalistic work on the Gaza strip on Foto8.

All I can say is that I am so frustrated. It always puts things into perspective for me. Why are we here, doing what we do? Why are cars being improved, bigger houses being built, more money being made, more diamonds being mined and cut, when the most basic and enduring of all that is life, have not improved, when solutions have not been found, and men have not learnt anything of any true value.

Its like society is perpetually immersed in our own little bubble of self denial. If we ignore a problem and just do what we do best, we are sure that others will solve it, that it wouldn’t concern us as long as there is a huge mass of a continent between us.

What am I doing here?

I’ve wanted to live out my beliefs a long time ago. Idealistic as I may be, I was close to doing so once, but I found myself married instead. How does idealism fare with the rigours of everyday stupidity?

The Israelis are building a wall.

Funny how everyone was ecstatic when the Berlin wall came down, and now a new one’s going up. If they build it long enough around, it’ll be the biggest human cage, wouldn’t it?

Are they trying to keep the Palestinians in Palestine, or to keep them out of Israel?

Funny.

I keep getting reminded of a bunch of idiotic Israelis worshipping a golden calf at the foot of Mount Sinai.

I am so convinced that we’ve evolved.



March 03, 2004

check this out . . . 

insectoid!!

insectoid!!

insectoid!!

During the weekend, I saw this most amazing insect while I was out on a walk through some pretty uninhabited areas, on the outskirts of the city.



February 25, 2004

Cuba 

With an amusement that quickly degenerated into a nagging irritation, I watched a feature by the BBC (I wouldn’t touch CNN with a barge pole) on Cuba as a part of America’s Axis of Evil. Its worthwhile to note that while America and Bush are on their pilgrimage to cleanse the world of terrorists, they themselves are openly harbouring some.

Alpha 66, a militant force based in Florida is comprised of Cuban freedom fighters. These civilians are training themselves in combat, and are given free access to military gear which includes a myriad of hi-tech weapondry, not dissimilar from those that are standard issue to the American military. Alpha 66 is training in anticipation of liberating Cuba from Fidel Castro, via an invasion or a coup, and forcibly removing him from power.

America claims that terrorists are allowed to stay and orchestrate their attacks on other countries from within Cuba. Such is also their claim on other countries that are accused of being in cahoots with a whole myriad of terrorist groups. They claim all these, and flamboyantly denounce countries, but it is entirely legal for Alpha 66 to be running around totting American-guns, from within America, while planning their anticipated invasion of Cuba.

Is the American definition of terrorism contextual?

The Oxford defines terrorist as a person who uses or favours violent and intimidating methods of coercing a government or community.

Duplicity, double-standards, and hypocrisy are terms that spring to mind.

The average Cuban’s monthly earnings only amount to less than what the average American earns in a day. Which begs the question to be asked – why are they so poor? Is the country naturally rich, with ill-managed or embezzled funds, or are they honestly broke? I believe the question lies with the American embargo on Cuba.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union, their only major source of commerce was put to a premature halt. With 30,000 doctors graduating in Cuba annually, it is not surprising to note that they are recognised as quite an advanced producer of pharmaceutical products. How can we then blame Cuba for selling their medical products to American-labelled terrorist countries in the region?

How about the embargo?

Can Cubans survive if there is no form of international commerce?

It is exasperating to note that American foreign policies are usually typified by the back’em up in a corner and force them to extreme measures adage. On the one hand, people are expected to improve a whole list of variables that constitute basic human rights. On the other, they are not being given the resources, or the help to. Sure, ask a child to draw and take away the paper, then scream when you find the walls vandalised – brilliant.

Hurrah for mankind.



anyone remember visionaries? 

*in a raspy voice*

'O mist-filled pits, dark, dank, unclear.
Touch all before me, with frost-fingered fear!'


Was a recurring rhyme in my head all morning. Just wanted to share that figment of my past - was from 'Visionaries'. Here's another:

'The arrows turn, the swords rebel.
May nothing pierce, this mortal shell'


and

'By what creeps, what crawls, by what does not.
Let all that grows recede and rot'


oh my god, I'm on a roll

'A whim, a thought, and more is sought.
Awake my mind, thy will be wrought'


oh bloody me

'Shield this craft from one and all,
reflect, deflect, depose and fall'


help me, I can't stop . . .

'Sheathe these feet in the driving gale.
Make swift these legs, o'er land I sail'


. . . . . .

'By nature's hand, by craft, by art.
What once was one, now fly apart'


Got it all out of my system, it did.



February 24, 2004

my distaste . . . 

As I gingerly ate dinner last night, I watched with trepidation, the charade of interaction that was unfolding among my compadres. How is it possible, that individuals can be so self-centered and inanely stubborn most times? Highly educated individuals who have an immense opinion of themselves as well as their escalating social status, are bereft of even the most rudimentary care, when it entails the emotions of those who are closest to them. Even though the problem has been brought to the fore, they refuse to be vigilant of their own conduct. Is self-denial truly a wondrous thing?

The principal concept here is succinctly to ‘satiate self-needs first, and if needed, to do so at the expense of others.’

Unresolved problems within one’s self will ferment and fester, which will in time taint every other aspect of life seemingly unrelated to it. And as the need to hide from raw emotions grow stronger, the refuge proffered by this method of dealing with problems start to appear more appealing, resulting in a husk of a person who is incapable of truly shunning self-denial as well as lame and biased self justifications. This is sophistry at its best, with the soothing of one’s emotions and the stability of a precarious mental state, however erroneous, as its prime objectives. The illusory confidence afforded by the sudden change of a lackluster attitude to one with more spunk, is suddenly taken to be a salve that heals. How long will it last before the problem arises again? Why are people so blind?

Take for example, the theory of Buddhism which is based on a cyclic birth and rebirth. If the problem of human weakness and their culpability to sin was not solved, it would resurface again to haunt, in this life or the next – presenting a never-ending cycle with two constant variables of sin and weakness that would damn one to an eternal ride on this carousel of physical life.

In my mind, Buddhism’s principal theory identified the threat of an unresolved core problem. And Buddha’s solution was to grapple specifically with it. Many other religions have identified this particular problem, but Buddhism was founded on it. That’s not to imply any sort of superiority, but to stress that the problem is prevalent enough for a religion to be based on it and that it has been present since time immemorial!

Take this further then into the raising of children. My compadres are proudly strutting around, brandishing the idea that they will endeavour to raise their kids in ways that are dissimilar from their parents. Ironically, there are so many potential problems and habits with their children that are encouraged to thrive, seeing how its not being corrected in these formative years. Worst out of the bag of evil is the art of manipulation by the child. Favouritism is practiced injudiciously, with the child being mentored in the art of social injustice as well as an appreciation for spite.

With children, most times it’s a test of will and patience. They cry, kick and generally make a racket, just to get their way. Most times, parents don’t always get their way by scolding or screaming back. So it’s up to who gives in first, up to who relents. Now, my brilliant compadres are accustomed to their own little privacy, their own peace of mind and their little precious seconds ticking away. So, what do they do? They constantly give in to the loudest wailer, the most irritating of their kids, the bestest who is able to outwail and out-irritate the best of the bunch. It’s a win-win situation, a wonderful idea borne out of an instinctive corporate mentality. They get their peace and quiet as well as their time alone without the kids, and the kids get their way – the most irritating one anyways.

Wonderful parenting skills.

As the night chugged on, I was treated to an excellent display of opportunistic maneuvering by these compadres of mine, each of them masking the subtle opportunistic nudge with such a profusion of civility and words, that I’m sure the victim only allowed it because of the bond between them.

What can I say except that I am wholly and utterly disgusted. I mean, I make no excuses for myself that I’m judging them, and I make no suggestion that I am any better or that I would not act similarly given the circumstances.

But last I checked, I am not in their circumstances. As such, I see what I see, and what meets my eyes re-acquaints me with the feeling of disgust that turned me off people before the advent of religion in my life. How ironic it seems, that my natural inclination is to run back up to my ivory tower, but religion instead, tells me that I need to jostle around with my brethrens.

Perhaps I’m missing the point, missing a fundamental lesson that is being paraded in front of my blindness. Perhaps, nay. Undoubtedly, religion’s perspective on the issue of seclusion can and will only be understood, insyallah, when I am finally meant to.



February 20, 2004

lamer of a post . . . 

My morning was rocked, when this article prompted a sudden entropy of thoughts on the matter of religion and human rights.

In addition to that, a night spent reading a paper on ethics by Prof. Richard Taylor, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Rochester, has compounded this whirring of conflicting emotions by the flawed arguments (IMHO) that he has put across.

Let me state my disgruntlement.

It is becoming quite disconcerting to note that religion and daily life has been segregated into two different machineries, both running in parallel. People act as if religion isn’t a part of daily life and that daily life should not and need not be, tempered with religion. The above-said people hold that the dictates of religion is fine and well, but the time and place for its practices and ideals, are only suited for the little pockets of time allocated to perform one’s devotions, and only by those who are intellectually impaired by faith. On the whole, religion doesn’t get you anywhere, doesn’t get you anything, and is probably only there to satiate the niggling feeling of guilt typified by those whose conscience is eating away at their little deckled bastion of faith.

In short, both these machineries that are running in parallel are incapable of ever converging.

It is desirous for them to resist the thought that religion is all-encompassing and should very rightly be used as a daily administrative convenience to life. It is difficult for them to accept that it is neither dated nor disparate from modern life, as many would like to believe. That fallacious opinion arises when they do not move beyond the contention of specifics to the essence of the matter.

Most take issue with its practices without first understanding the principles that gave rise to it at the outset. What most would describe as dated, is a direct criticism on the practical consequences of an idea, as opposed to the actual intent/essence of an idea. When the method of implementation stagnates, the intent/essence gets unfairly implicated.

The fault of course, need fully be borne by each religion’s respective devotees.

On another note, the discussion of ethics, morals and human rights have lately engorged me with a distaste borne out of the myopic keyhole approach that most of these ethicists/moralists/activists/(enter what you will) have grounded the basis of their arguments on.

It sickens me that these highly self-righteous champions are bereft of any of the adjunctions that differentiate them from typical naysayers, with theoretical approximations of solutions that are little less than thinly disguised and cleverly crafted polemics.

__

My whole discussion here is, undoubtedly, and glaringly, incomplete, as the notion of rest seems to be the foremost thought right now. I might continue this at a later entry, or I might not. We'll see.

Below is an old excerpt of my post on a forum in response to culture adoption. While seemingly inappropriate for the discussion, it is my opinion that culture abandonment is a contributing variable to the whole equation of certain mindset adoption.

Cheers.

’Is being advanced or modern necessarily better? Are some values and cultures preferable just because the dictates of ours are limiting? Have we asked why? Have we looked at the social change and decadence that has come about from the cultures that we are trying to adopt? If we adopt without understanding, if we perform a 'monkey see, monkey do' just because its cooler, then how are we to circumvent the negatives while retaining the positives of the values that are not ours to begin with? Put simply, who will be morally and ethically vigilant enough to identify human fallacies for what they are? If sophistry is an inherent attribute to humans, then what do we use as an administrative convenience to our lives?

I am, of course, addressing the broader sense of culture adoption as a whole.

Ideas and change are good. But as always, it has to be accompanied by a solid justification.’




Cogito