Sep 26, 2007

When Moon River meets Li-Bai...

Li-Bai was a famous Chinese poet of Tang Dynasty who was known as Poet Immortal in China's literary history. Ask any Chinese-educated school kid to recite one of the poem from 'The Collection of 300 Poems of Tang Dynasty', they'll probably give you the ever famous 'Jing Ye Si', or 'The Thought of Silent Night', or 'Thinking in Silent Night' which was written by Li-Bai.

The meaning behind and the tranquility of the poem made it one of the favourite poem to be recited or sung during Mid-Autumn Festival, or better known as Mooncake festival or Lantern Festival, on 15th of August of Chinese calendar.

I was editing the pictures of the moonlit-last night while listening to a collection of movies original soundtracks.The moon was so bright last night, and it created a strong backlight for all the objects on helideck and made their silhouette stood out strongly.

There's a photo of Affendi looking up to the moon and I finely captured his silhouette against the bright monlight. Some familiar phrases swiftly flashed in my mind sudenly but I couldn't catch them, and almost at the same time, my iTune finished up the soundtrack of A.I. 'Where Dreams Are Born', and continuing the feel of serenity, slowly, seapingly, Breakfast At Tiffany's instrumental 'Moon River' started to play through my earphone.

Moon River is always my favourite track, but I've never heard of a instrumental version of it, and I've never knew that the feeling of the song can turn into such an enhancement when the orchestra created the different layers of depth while the guitar and the flute smoothen the flow just like silk.

I switched to the next photo to edit while sinking deeper and deeper into the Moon River. It was another silhouetter of Affendi. I captured the moment he looked down and sunk in deep thought. All of the sudden, I got the phrase that was flashing in my head just now...

It was a poem. I used to sing it in differet modified versions when I was 7, just because I was so familiar with it..

Affendi and I were having a relaxing chit-chat under the big bright moon and at the same time taking pictures of the moment. It kind of reminded me a tradition of Chinese community which called 'Shang-yue' (Appreciating the moon), which Chinese would do on the night of Mid-Autumn Festival.

It's actually not any special ceremony but 'Shang-yue' is a session where everybody of a family or friends gathers under the big bright moon, sipping Chinese tea, having some light snacks and moncake, and sharing the moment of being together. And..erm, yerp, that was exactly what both of us were doing, except the mooncake and Chinese tea, Affendi and I were 'Shang-ing Yue', appreciating the moon, which I never realized by that time.

I did not realize as well, for real, that that night was actualy the night of Mid-Autumn Festival.

It was like, I just knew what should I do and ask Affendi out when I saw the beautiful moonlit night upon helideck.

Li-Bai's 'Jing Ye Si':

Chuang qian mingyue guang, (Before my bed, there's bright-lit moonlight,)
Yi shi di shang shuang; (So that it seems, like frost on the ground.)
Jv tou wang mingyue, (Looking up, I see the bright moon;)
Di tou si guxiang. (Looking down, I dream that I'm home.)

(I can't type Chinese characters using my Fujitsu, which is still an ironic fact for me.. Whatever it is, there's a translation I found it from, and I did some alteration.)

I decided to not edit the pictures anymore due to the fact that it was the feeling I wanted to capture, not a technically well-composed pictures which have perfect aperture, ISO value, shutter speed, sharpness and so on and so on.

I replayed Breakfast At Tiffany's 'Moon River' and looking at one of the picture, and in my heart, I recited Li-Bai's 'Jing Ye Si', a poem that flashing in my head with all the childhood memory associated.

All of these, the moonlight, the moonlit helideck, the 'Shang-yue' session with a friend, Li-Bai's poem, Moon River, and the Mid-Autumn Festival, all of these, they came together to me in such an instinctive way.

What if Li-Bai was standing at the bank of the Moon River when he composed 'Jing Ye Si', how would the poem turn into? Something else?

I don't think so.

Because the moon is always the same, from Tang Dynasty, to the era of Andy Williams (singer of Moon River) and the movie Breakfast At Tiffany, and to last night when I took all the pictures from a vessel in the middle of South China Sea -- the beauty of the moon never changes.

It's one thing that remain pure and commonly-shared in nowadays life. No any attempts of diffrentiation can ruin it.

"Is mooncake halal?" Affendi asked, "is it gummy like dol-dol?"

I sighed, and told Affnedi, "there are halal mooncake in the market, don't worry about that, and it doesn't at all taste like dol-dol, you should try one."

See why did I sigh? Talking about attempts of differentiation. I hate when my friends are forced to be insecure about the outcome of these attempts, I hate when I sometimes unconciously fall into the trap of these attempts. I hate when someone tell me "only Muslims fast".

This world, is getting more and more opened, but it's also getting more and more compartmentalized.

Moon River meets Li-Bai? If you feel something wrong about it, please leave.

Sep 24, 2007

"Ikke noe problem!!"

It's always good to have hobby, I mean, hobbies.

This time on board, I basically have all my hobbies along: Book, I brought Keith Donohue's "The Stolen Child" and a clip-on-the-page reading light; music, I have the original soundtrack of "Ratatouille" plus a few rock numbers; writing, I brought my diary and a quick note handbook and of course my Fujitsu for blogging; movie, we got a very advanced DVD library on board, plus a 42 inches Plasma in front of an Ogawa massage chair in recreational room, or I just can choose to sit on the couch in my own office to enjoy some privacy while watching "Babel"; working out, we have a fairly equipped gym at deck 3, or we can choose some outdoor activities like deck-soccer or a 21m diameter helideck to stroll on;

... and taking pictures -- owh what else can I say? -- Nick'a Devil is always by my side, and I have the whole vessel as my subject and the crew of the vessel, would be my model.

Yup you bet, I snapped like I've never snapped pictures before on Atlantic Guardian, and the more I click my shutter, the more I feel that I'm going through a reflection process. I started to appreciate spontaneity, disregard all the technical issue behind my lens.

This post is to reintroduce you my Tabblo and my started-to-be-picking up Flickr. And yes, click the Tabblo below to see some pictures of mine on board. Obviously, Tabblo and Flickr, have become my new hobbies now.

Well, it's good to have hobby, I mean hobbies, lots of it. They are just like friends who enlighten up your day. And this time round, me on Atlantic Guardian, I have bunch of new Norwegian , Britain and Scottish friends to hang out with, AND I have my old familiar 'friends' to stay accompanied -- SO, did somebody mention about the fact that being 'ON BOARD' is actually 'ON BORED'? Let me answer it in this way:

"Hei, ikke noe problem!"

Sep 19, 2007

As if no options.

Affendi and I missed sahur today.

The Imsak for our time zone here is around 4:51am and It was 5:06am when I jumped out of my warm blanket. A wake-up call to Affendi's cabin did not mean anything but to wake him up for his prayer at dawn.

Blearily sitting at the edge of my bed, I was struggling amongst some options: to sleep on or to wake up, and also, to eat or not to eat.

YES, I knew I've just missed the valid time for sahur, but not the breakfast time on vessel.

The breakfast is served at 5:30am to 6:30am daily, and it's a typical western breakfast, with crispy hash browns and sunny-side-up, my favourite.

All of a sudden I had another options: To fast, or not to fast. I mean I was worrying about my day on board without any meal to kick start with, so I could choose not to fast *JUST* on this particular day ----

---- I guess I was bleary and dopey and sleepy back then, because I almost made a decision that could ruin all my effort.

YES, maybe you're right. Being a non-Muslim, fasting in Ramadhan is always optional for me. BUT what's the point if you've decided putting a 100% effort to something you believe but you still have this reservation that saying "you maybe don't have to insist too much" on the so called belief?

It's just like we've embarked on a journey, and it's definitely not my way to turn back before the journey ends. Definitely not, not even a thought.

I felt painful somewhere in my head when I suddenly realized I was so close to fall into the muddy trap of my cupidity, my senseless desire. I left my bed and took a shower. I was hungry -- my last 'meal' was peach yogurt after gym last night; the fast-breaking meal before gym was probably burned out during work-out -- but I still had an operation to monitor, I needed to see my surveyor and geophysicist to discuss about the winch failure happened last night.

I still needed to work, and THAT was not optional for me, even though with an empty stomach. Life, as well, does not possess too much options most of the time. Sometime we just need to bear with the situation that we're in, even though the situation is harsh and cruel.

I'm grateful enough to be in a situation where I have LOTS of options, but the option I eventually chose, despite the flexibility that we should have all the times, would be 'as if no option'. What would you do if there's no any other options for you? Yes, we just face it with big heart and great determination, and full patience.

To all my friends who fast during Ramadhan, happy embracing the spirit of being patience and staying focus.

Ps.. Yet, there's a little option I got to choose: I swore to put my handset few steps away from my bed next time -- because it proved, again and again, that most of the time the alarm only woke my fingers up, not myself.

Sep 17, 2007

I am the captain of my dream.

"CPA stands for 'Closest Point of Approaching'," explained Captain Nils, "and this tugboat's CPA is only 0.7 nautical miles away from us. Starboard side, see that?"

My eye sight followed the direction where Capt. Nils pointed to. I saw a tiny point rocking in the rough sea, behind the tiny point was a bigger object. I could only saw them as a tugboat and a barge towed behind only by using a high power binocular. "Velvet II, I saw her name." I put down the binocular and responded to Capt. Nils.

My little assignment from Capt. Nils was to warn the tugboat to stay away from Atlantic Guardian, the vessel we're on, as he believed that the tugboat crew might not understand his warning in English after a few attempts.

"Tell them, In Malay, to stay away at least 1.0 nautical miles of CPA away from us, and let them know we're now having an operation and will sail toward their position soon... Do you know how to use a radio?" Capt. Nils handed me a phone -like radio, "press this one to talk and release it for the other side to respond." He instructed in his strong Norwegian accent.

I took the phone from him, nodded, looked at the monitor in front of me -- it showed that the 'identified target' was 0.6 nautical miles of CPA from us, and the time to closest point of approaching (TCPA) was 10.5 min. I composed my sentence in my mind, looking far to the rocking tiny point on the horizon, and pressed the release on the phone, "Velvet dua, Velvet dua, sini dari Atlantic Guardian......"


No, I do NOT make this up. It really happened TODAY, my 5th day on board of Atlantic Guardian. Even though we ended up got no response from Velvet II and we chose to avoid her eventually, but I could tell you that was one of the COOOLEST experience I had on board!!

Well I don't expect myself to repeat again what is 'my little sailing dream' about, I think I've put it in one of my post in this blog. This time round, the ship is certainly larger and also my vision to the other dream of myself. I mean, HOW ON EARTH I COULD IMAGINE MYSELF DOING WHAT A CAPTAIN DOES? Another thing is, this vessel is waaaaay too sophisticated compared to the dive boat I was on. Note the terminologies that I use here: I compare a VESSEL to a BOAT, period.

So, anything clinking your mind? There's a saying that I heard once upon a time from someone and I remember it well until today:

"Don't look for shortcuts to get what you dream for. Work your way step by step, live your life the fullest, and you'd never realize that your dreams is already on their way to look for you."

OK, I made the quote up.

Sep 10, 2007

Less inspiring OR quite inspiring? (To sleep or not to sleep..)

OK.. it's completely fair if you think I'm kinda pretentious or campy. I DO understand that if someone left his blog not-updated for a month of time while he had all the luxurious to go online and take his own sweet time to try to blog, and suddenly TRYING to put an update from an air-port and claiming that he has been busy before and WILL be busy after ---- that kind of person, besides pretentious or campy, another word I'll use to apply on him, might be.. erm.. dramatic.

So here you go. A drama king trying to explain his case. I know this is going to be a pretty much lame and meaningless post, but allow me to do something herein order to keep myself awaken -- before I miss the flight to K.K. on 4am.

Yes I had been back to KL since 30th of July, and in the process of trying to settle down and switching my lifestyle from a very peaceful Perak to a very hectic KL, I found myself lost in transition. "KL lifestyle isn't that inspiring." This is my answer to the questions that asking why I do not update my blog for such a long time, and it is not any excuses to cover my laziness or so-called 'over-luxurious' KL lifestyle.

---- Or, put it in another way of explaining it, maybe IT IS actually my 'over-luxurious' KL lifestyle that dooms my inspiration and passion to life. Plus the less inspiring progress of my MSc project, life so far, really transformed me into a worm.

However things change recently. I should have realized that my phase of life had changed when we finished our MSc classroom lectures and came back to KL. There are new things I should have immediately jumped into and switched into. Talking bout getting out of the comfort zone.

Things could be pretty much inspiring. Meeting new friends who have same passion and same belief to life hypes things up. I think I'm regaining my enthusiasm recently, thanks to the reassurance from some old good friends, and injection of one whole bunch of new cool friends, and another thing, go and grab Ratatouille's OST. The soundtrack reminds me of how I used to appreciate wonderful music and simplicity.

I think I would most probably eventually fail to keep myself awaken, but let's hope this post doesn't fail me to bring back my passion to life, and also to blogging. At another post, ULAM July has a review now. Go check it out.

The time now is 0059 hours. Nite. Hopefully I won't overslept and miss my 4 am flight.