Monday, 1 September 2014

Being Jewish

The more I read about Judaism the more I come to the conclusion that I still have a lot to learn about G-d (and Judaism). But everything takes time and I’m moving along at a steady rhythm, being guided by those around me, those with the same faith as mine, being guided gently and not blindly.
There are days when I feel like moving to Jerusalem along with my wife and children, or somewhere else in Israel, somewhere where my Judaism doesn’t has to be so restricted. Even though there is freedom in this country where I live (England, sometimes I feel as if my Judaism is restricted. And not just in England but in the whole of Europe. Upon leaving the synagogue, if I forget to remove my yarmulke, I see the strange look that some people give me, a look that I wouldn’t get in Israel. At night, especially on Shabbos, or early in the morning (like right now when I sit down to write), I put the yarmulke on and I leave it there, on the place where it should always be (on top of my head just in case you’re wondering what the yarmulke is), and then I relax and do the things that I wanna do, things that I would still do without the yarmulke on, but the yarmulke represents what I am, what I’m becoming, and what I will always be until the day I die. And even then, after death, I still might have my yarmulke on.
In Portugal, my grandmother’s house is filled with crosses and other Catholic symbols, some of which are a bit spooky, but I say nothing about it (or against it). But if I were to walk in her house with some kind of Jewish garment on, even if it was only my “simple” beloved yarmulke, I would get all kind of weird looks.
Yes, sometimes is hard being Jewish, but to be honest with you, there’s nothing else I want to be.

A love
In this city of despair I found a love like no other;
A love of words,
A love of faith,
A love of a new language,
A language that I thought I would never learn,
And this new love showed me what I am,
Who I can become,
And what I will always be.
Like I said,
It is a love like no other,
The love that I feel for my people
And the love that they give me back.
If I could bottle it and sell it
I would become the richest man in the world,
But this love is free
And G-d gives it to us all.

Too bad that some of us say no to it.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Malaysia sex blogger wanted by police

Alvin Tan, 26, the infamous sex blogger that is part of the famously known Alvivi pair alongside his co-blogger Vivian Lee, 25, is apparently wanted by the police and even the Interpol is on his hunt as he’s wanted back home, in Malaysia, to face trial over several charges against him.
Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said his officers were liaising with the international police to bring Tan back and surrender his passport to the court, and on Tuesday he said,  "Anyone with any information on the whereabouts of Tan should come forward immediately."
Both bloggers still face two charges under the Film Censorship Act and Sedition Act for a "Ramadan greeting" that was posted on their blog last year. The posting contained the words Selamat Berbuka Puasa (dengan bak kut teh... wangi, enak, menyelerakan) and was placed over their pornographic images. Needless to say, the posting caused a stir among Malaysians for their insensitivity. But Alvivi being who they are, they removed the posting and replaced it with a picture of them eating ketupat, rendang and curry puffs.
A quick browse through Facebook showed me that Alvivi have taken down their page.

What now for the duo?

Monday, 25 August 2014

Talking about kindness

This is a poem that I wrote two days ago for my new book, inspired on the events of the past.

Talking about kindness
Once, I walked away from life and I almost embraced death.
Depression led me there, towards that darkness that leads to death.

At the time I was lost, and wherever I looked,
I couldn’t see a smile, a friendly face,
And I must have been deaf then,
Because I couldn’t hear a word of kindness.
Maybe no one was talking about kindness.

Somehow, due to my prayers, and the little faith that I had,
I was saved and given a chance at happiness.
The ones who were deaf to my pleading are now calling me,

But still, neither of them is talking about kindness. 

Qiu Jin

She is hardly known in the Western World and I only found out about her poetry through a friend, but to many people in China Qiu Jin is a national heroine. She was was a Chinese revolutionary, feminist and writer, and was beheaded on July 15th,1907, aged 32 after a failed uprising against the Qing Dynasty.
Though she is mainly remembered in the West as revolutionary and feminist, she was also a respected poet and essayist, but, due to her early death, her work is not that vast. Qiu composed verse with a wide range of metaphors and allusions; mixing classical mythology along with revolutionary rhetoric.
Here are some of her poems:

On Request for a Poem

Do not tell me women
are not the stuff of heroes,
I alone rode over the East Sea's
winds for ten thousand leagues.
My poetic thoughts ever expand,
like a sail between ocean and heaven.
I dreamed of your three islands,
all gems, all dazzling with moonlight.
I grieve to think of the bronze camels,
guardians of China, lost in thorns.
Ashamed, I have done nothing
not one victory to my name.
I simply make my war horse sweat.

Grieving over my native land
hurts my heart. So tell me:
how can I spend these days here?
A guest enjoying your spring winds?

from “Preoccupation (Written While in Japan)”
Unbinding my feet, I washed away
a thousand years of poison.
My heart fired with excitement, I awoke
one hundred slumbering flower-spirits.
But pity my shagreen handkerchief—
Half stained with tears
and half with blood.

Riding a white dragon up to the sky,
Striding deep in the mountains on a fierce tiger.
I am born in a roaring storm with a violent dancing spirit
I shall be holy on the earth.
How could I ever be satisfied with settling down!
Without witnessing Commander Xiang win his great battles,
Or hearing Liu Xiu rumbling war drums
They were only twenty years old but could make their countries flourish.
Don’t blame them for bloodshed but admire them for bravery.
Shame and failure!
I am already twenty-seven
Yet have no glory to my name.
I only worry for my country and do not know how to expel these invaders.
I am glad my great ambitions will not rot and waste away,
Not when I hear the roar of war drums.
Deep inside I am outraged
I cannot get help from my own people
I feel so helpless, so weak.
It is for that reason alone that I am going
to Japan: to rally up aid, to look for assistance.

War games

A Chinese fighter jet carried out a “barrel roll” close to an American Navy plane and came within a few feet of the P-8 anti-submarine warfare aircraft to show it was armed.
War games or silly mind games?
Rear Admiral John Kirby said it was the fourth incident since March of “close intercepts” involving Chinese jets and he said this close encounter, which took place in international airspace near Japan, was “pretty aggressive, very unprofessional and unsafe”.
Definitely silly mind games, for now, but silly mind games could turn into war games.

The US says its P-8 was conducting routine surveillance