Barrelled Thoughts #22

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

It’s October, and I an already feel the chilling North-Westerlies. Finally, autumn has come.

I’ve been waiting for autumn all year! And I recall someone telling me that some changes in life can not be immediately detected. Such as the growing of fingernails and hair, or in this case, the changing of seasons. Although, from what I’ve seen this past week, I beg to differ.

The Friday before the mid-autumn festival, which was on October 2, I was at school for an annual dinner celebration with my classmates and others from NOCSH. I clearly remember that day suddenly being quite windy, but still with a temperature of about 30 degrees celsius. Only one day after that, Taiwan’s early weather warning system picked up the trail and imminent arrival of typhoon Parma. It was supposed to arrive on Sunday, bring heavy rain and possible flooding to northern Taiwan. When Sunday came I decided to stay at home, not wanting to get myself wet. Sitting in my study in front of my computer, I started preparing music for my afternoon reading session.

Fluffing my pillows and sliding open the window, I prepared to embark on my journey to join Katherine Solomon and Robert Langdon as they maneuvered their way around Washington D.C., trying to avert a national security crisis.
Keyshia Cole sang softly in my ears as the air from outside blew forcefully into the room, slamming my door. I love reading, and accompanied by a lovely environment, I could literally go nonstop for hours on end.

While I was reading Dan Brown’s “The Lost Symbol”, I rediscovered a sense of reading pleasure I had not felt in a long time. It’s the type of pleasure only a Dan Brown book can bring. An intense, page-after-page type of reading.
I shivered when Katherine bolted through the chilly autumn night, and I felt water gagging in my throat when Robert was being drowned in an airtight coffin filling up with water…
Brown’s writing is so vivid, in fact, that I don’t believe any other writer could, or ever will, make me jolt in the same way. This is what I’ve been missing in my life. Some fiction; some action. Darn it, I’ve been missing some bloody Dan Brown.

“The Lost Symbol” focuses mainly on another esoteric organisation. This time not so hidden as the previously mentioned Opus Dei or the Illuminati, in “The Da Vinci Code” and “Angels and Demons” respectively, but an organisation that is just as mind-boggling as anything in the book stores today. As Dan Brown cleverly puts it, this organisation “is not a secret society”, but rather “a society with secrets.” He is referring to, of course, none other than the famous Freemasons.

As I write this, I actually only have about 80 pages left until the end. It’s a saddening sight, and I can’t do anything about it. Any suggestions?
The last time I had a Dan Brown book in the palm of my hands was over three years. I remember finishing “Digital Fortress” in three days — it was that good!
Whenever I open a Dan Brown book, I’m immediately sucked into the world in which his stories lie.
Paris, Rome, London, Madrid, Washington. His words put me there and I find it hard to leave.
Thank you, Dan Brown, for another captivating masterpiece.

As Taiwan crawls out of the rubble of Morakot’s passing, I can’t help but to notice the series of natural disasters occurring all around the world. Indonesia’s quake was just one example of mother nature’s intolerance for global climate change. On top of that comes the flooding in the Philippines and the entirely wiped-out villages of Samoa – strange how nobody in Taiwan really talks about these happenings, although it is to some degree understandable, after all, we’re still recovering ourselves.

Off the back of another fierce typhoon, the Philippines are currently preparing for the recuperation of their battered nation. I’m sure they were devastated to find out that the typhoon which left Manila and headed for Taiwan, has now change direction and is flying back towards them once again. Brace yourselves, Manila. Here comes round two.

Tragic stories from Samoa depict yet more disasters. One after the other, these seismic movements and massive storm systems just won’t give anyone a break. First it was the hurricane, which brought an incredible amount of torrential rainfall, then it was an earthquake, followed by a ferocious tidal wave. Strike one, two and three all in the period of 24 hours; enough to put Samoa in the ruins for good.

Apparently, on the night of the tsunami, which was a some time after midnight, a young man felt the quake. Alert to his senses, he ran outside, grabbing an empty fuel barrel and a stick to beat it with, he tried his darnedest to wake up his entire village. Those who woke up and were able to evacuated followed this man in the darkness of the night. With only the moon and the sound of the barrel to guide them, they trekked up onto higher land. Five minutes later, what was left of their village could only be described as “nothing”. That night, he managed to save over a hundred lives.

Honestly, if you are the U.N., or if you’re Red Cross, who do you aid first? JSF.

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