Barrelled Thoughts #62 – Rainy City Sojourn

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

The pattering of rain is a constant in Taipei, which in this time of year is plunged into a rare cool by intermittent cold fronts and northwesters. Raindrops striking the walls and windows of our small rental in Zhongshan District like a chorus of weather emit varying pitches as they fall from different heights, some echoing as they land on awnings before casually gliding off.

Treading carefully past quickly formed and near-invisible puddles on the busy streets, one instantly recognises the sights and smells of this rainy city, the Taiwanese capital, ruled by its made-up and dressed-up city folk.

Having not written anything for this blog in more than a year, I suppose I have our rowdy neighbours to thank for spurring me into action. Lying awake in bed at 4:40am, only imagining how we’re going to complain to the pair next door, the urge to write something suddenly hit me—not enough to make me get out of bed and start typing, mind.

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Barrelled Thoughts #56 – Buda By Day; Pest By Night

Saturday, July 11, 2015

It took me more than a month to experience for the first time Budapest nightlife. I mean not bars, clubs, and kebab joints—although those, too, are aplenty—but rather strolling the city after sundown, after the darkness descends upon the ever sunny Budapest.

Certainly I’d been out in the city after dinnertime? Why, of course. But with sunset closer to midnight than dinnertime, I often find myself heading home at around 9:00 p.m. to rest in order to begin the next day with the same zest.

To stroll a city late at night, I believe, is what weekends are for.

For the first time since my feet touched the sacred land of the Magyars, I was out and about bustling Pest—east of the river Danube—ignoring bar after bar as I arrowed towards the waterfront.

At a night-time glance, Buda and Pest are to one another a contrast of what defines city and suburb. On one side you have Buda, which at night is inky, still, and calm; its only illumination the impressive Buda Castle and the majestic Matthias Church beside it.

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В Чём Соль? – John Scot Feng [RU/EN/CN]

Submitted Monday, May 26, 2014

Предисловие: В университете на уроке русского нам задали написать эссе о том, чем мы не довольны в этой жизни. Лично мне это задание показалось довольно трудным, отчасти потому, что я не люблю (не привык) жаловаться. Разумеется, во всём всегда можно найти массу недостатков, особенно если ты сам хочешь их там видеть. Но, вероятно, стоит смотреть на общую картину? Всё даже не на половину так плохо, как нам кажется. – J.S. Feng

Я многим доволен в этой жизни, но многим и недоволен.

Во-первых, климат. Мне нравится дождь, но почему он здесь идёт постоянно? Мне нравится солнце – его лучи дарят мне позитивные эмоции, но почему оно здесь такое пекущее, а жара такая утомляющая?

Во-вторых, я люблю мою прекрасную семью, но почему они от меня так далеко? Уже прошло около 6 лет с того момента, когда я видел свою сестру последний раз. Тогда она была ещё маленькой девочкой, а теперь уже стала молодой девушкой. Я приехал сюда чтобы стать независимым и изучать китайский, но что я от этого теряю? Continue reading

因為有選擇,才可以抉擇 – 吳穎賢 [CN/EN/RU/UA]

Submitted Tuesday, May 13, 2014

「因為有選擇,才可以抉擇」 我們每一天的生活都充滿了各種選擇,不論是每一個小小的抉擇都很有可能會引起大大的變化,更何況是一些大大的抉擇呢?有一些人在面對選擇的時候會猶豫不決,有些人卻能當機立斷,有些人衝動不顧後果,有些人深思熟慮。 有時候可以選擇是一件好事,讓人覺得自由了,但其實有些時候可以選擇反而會讓人覺得更痛苦。

小時候大部份的選擇都是父母親幫我們做的決定,那時候總會想要自己趕快長大,想要自己為自己做決定。長大了才會懷念小時候可以不用自己考慮、那些沒有選擇的時光。 只不過時間一去不復返,我們終究還是要成為大人,離開可以讓你喘息、讓你有夢可以作的學校,走進灰矇矇一片的社會裡。 Continue reading

Barrelled Thoughts #43 – Dear John, About That Paradox of Yours

Thursday, April 17, 2014

I was sat there on Tuesday thinking about this paradox we humans have. You know the one of always wanting to grow up when we are kids and now as adults, we really wouldn’t mind being a kid again to enjoy the so-called “easy life”?

It’s only natural to say that, as children, we knew not what awaited us after “growing up,” and perhaps we took for granted the easiness and simplicity that came with student life. It’s no one’s fault, we simply didn’t know. But of course we wanted to be grown ups so we didn’t have to listen to all the rules and so we could finally sleep at whatever time we wanted, doing whatever we pleased. That’s what we wanted—right?

The paradox is that when we were “limited” by these rules and by the time we had to spend in school, we saw them as impediments that kept us from being free and happy, but now, maybe more than ever, we are living by these rules ourselves without complaint, just because the ones demanding this lifestyle is none other than…well, us.

The 21st-century generation loves reading about ways to improve health (we probably need to anyway), and most of the time, what’s recommended is not dissimilar to what we were being “forced” to do as children—sleep early, wake up early, spend less time in front of computers, eat a more balanced diet (i.e. more veggies; less fast food), get more exercise, read more books—the list goes on. Ironic, isn’t it, that we are contempt as long as we get to dictate what we do?

I was sitting in my university’s campus the other day. It was sunny and cool—one of the rare crossover days that we get between constant rain and perpetual, asphyxiating heat. These days are few and far between. My days as a student are now in double figures. From the thousands of days in my first year, I now only have around 60.

Two of my days in the week are taken up by my classes and the rest by my internship, so I now appreciate the chance to relax at university when I can. I didn’t ever think of stopping before. But why? Why was I always going somewhere and doing something as a student? Was I really that busy? Maybe. Maybe not. The point is, the past me did what the past me wanted to do—and that’s completely OK.

At work, there is no time to chill under the sun with a soda, neither is there time to wander around aimlessly. Work brings its own rhythm, and that means there’s no time for spontaneity and adventure. And it quite literally eats away my days.

In the past, I might have expressed a longing to return to former times—to be back in school once more. But the truth is that I would never swap anything I have now for anything in the past.

Yes, there were some magical times in the past that I often think back on with reminiscence, or heartache. But the way I am now is a culmination of 24 years of my life. Every scar, every imperfection and every click in my joints is me like I never was before.

Yes, being in school was great, but every phase teaches us something different, forcing us to grow up, and we do what is required of us during every stage. My time came and went. I’m now in my final term and I’m setting myself up for the next stage of my life.

So scholars, workers, fighters: do what you’re suppose to do. Don’t overlook the potentially beautiful things around you. Stop looking backwards, and remember that there’s no rush to immediately look forward. Look at the “now” and enjoy the little things in your life that are afforded to you because of your current position in society.

All these words are first and foremost for myself. I am first, second and third person, but I’m just as happy to share them with the world.

Study, work and live as you’re meant to be. Don’t let the “now” slip through your fingers. JSF.