Thursday, 14 February 2008

All We Need Is

After re-reading the last post, I really feel like I'm dispensing lousy thesis-length papers for posts and I felt like deleting it. But on second thought, this is pointless philosophy anyway.

Today is a really special day because... It's the end of my 1 year driving probation period! Woot. Amongst other things, uh. Valentine's day incidentally happens to share the same day as that so yeah happy valentine's day to those who feel inclined to enjoy it. As for those who don't, well suck it up. Happy valentine's day to you too balls!

Justin was broaching the somewhat inevitable, irritatingly typical and yet chat-worthy topic of 'wassup with valentine's day anyway' and he mused about whether it was really necessary to set aside a special day and then promulgate a culture of 'love', especially since it's unlikely that we as young stupid people would know what the hell love entails to begin with.

I really think that the necessity here depends and that valentine's day exists on many grounds. The hopeless romantics will always make this day happen, whether it is because of those in love or those who lament about not having someone to love on this day (a rather narrow point though, cos on elaboration you can also include people dating, girls receiving flowers etc where love may not exactly be existent). Then there will be capitalists who will market it and milk it for all it's profit's worth. The media needs material anyway, so it will talk about valentine's day. Etc etc.

It works because a lot of people don't really know what they want anyway.

All these things, whether knowingly or not, come together to breathe a certain life into this somewhat silly day in my opinion. Because not only does it create a rather superficial lining to the idea of what love really is, it also unfortunately makes those who are forlorn even more so. FFS!

And Justin just said that from the viewpoint of capitalism, he then applauds it. Haha.

Went for capoeira training in the evening today. We had to end it off early because the triathlon equipment is in the sports hall and the supervising people had to go early (and we weren't actually supposed to be in the hall). Naf has shockingly never been to Clarke Quay, so we decided to head down to save her from suakudom.

Got to know Jia En, this bubbly 17 year-old tomboyish SCGS girl also. It's been nice meeting the capoeira people so far, though I must add that officially, SMU's capoeira CCA only has 7 people now (5 noobs including me) so I haven't had to deal with the CCA being a big one which entails more social obligations, commitments and differences - stuff I had to deal with at Samba Masala and eventually couldn't, resulting in my subsequent falling out and quitting. But capoeira is really a 'fraternita' thing. Everyone in there is family. Maybe when I've achieved a certain level of pedigree I'll start to drop by the Substation where the group really is. They've got hundreds of people there.

This capoeira CCA is a branch of the main capoeira association in Singapore headed by Maestre Ousado (he is, I swear, this really fuckin' fit and zai capoeirista and he's like 60), and we've usually been having lessons under him but he recently had to travel so Xereu, this dreadlocked Indonesian dude who's a really high-level capoeirista, has been handling the last 2 sessions and giving us training.

The last session, which was before CNY, I was stunned to learn that Xereu is actually a 1986 baby. From his skills (he was basically proficient in every aspect of capoeira and can really use capoeira to fight) I thought he must've been practising the art for a decade at least, and with his dreadlocks and all that I thought he was perhaps 25 or 26. So it was really interesting to know how different someone who's the same age as me can be, coming from another country and all that.

So we talked and stuff through bits and pieces of halting English - patience is a virtue :] - and I found out a lot about him and his culture back home and how insanely different things are and yet similar at once.

For starters, he has only been practising capoeira for 4 years and, even though he says he trained everyday in the beginning, that's astonishing. Like I said, he looks imbued enough in the culture to seem to have trained a decade or so.

He is also proficient in karate and tae kwon do and has his own parkour and breakdance crew back home. On further probing, he has actually acted in an Indonesian movie titled 'Battle' (he calls it the Indonesian version of Tokyo Drift with lots of gang references, guns and breakdance battles) and is actively involved in the media, which I guess makes him a media celebrity back home actually. Just the other day, Men's Health magazine interviewed him for their February issue. I dunno but perhaps I'm indeed sitting by the riverside at Clarke Quay talking cock with this dude who just might be a real celebrity figure in Indonesia.

And what really strikes me is his down-to-earthness. It is so pure that it makes me wanna revisit and rethink things. Having done breakdancing and now capoeira, I'm aware of the fact that there's always this old school vs new generation conflict where, for example, the older ones will criticise the new kids for not toprocking and popping enough, only wanting to go straight into the windmills and flares and do the glamourous stuff while skipping the traditional and boring basic steps. But here's the deal with Xereu and what I gather to be the same with his friends: it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter that you joined breakdance because its cool, or if you decide you wanna wear hiphop clothes cos you think its cool. Locally, we get labelled as posers for some of the things we do, and then we don't do them anymore. It's just like the institution of marriage in the idea of love. Across this spectrum of love, the more you focus on the practical things, the more you lose the basic passion behind love itself.

So although he didn't say it explicitly, I was told by his actions, "yeah so I may seem like a poser, but so what? I like what I do." But don't get me wrong, Xereu has really really sick skillz and is no poser. It's just his very innocent, boyish disposition that tells you that he chose to pursue the things he does because he felt they were cool stuff to do (he took up capoeira because he was playing Tekken and was fascinated by Eddie Gourdo's fighting style!), and is a strong advocator of following one's passions. In spite of the obvious cultural differences, I think we all need a little bit more of that perhaps.

On the bummer side of things, my laptop came back yesterday but crashed last night, and has stayed crashed since. My MP3 player hung up and when I brought it to the Creative Care Centre, all they could do was format it for me, effectively erasing my 1955 songs, hundreds of videos and photos. I think I can liken this to some invisible hand of change dealing me a huge blow like some social upheaval leading to a complete political turnaround, so I think I seriously will be much less IT-reliant from now on.

Growing old is nothing more than mind over matter; If you don't mind, it doesn't matter.

Today's Listenables:
Default - Blind

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