Friday, June 24, 2005


Golden Anniversary
Originally uploaded by mincaye.

My grandparents celebrated their Golden Anniversary last Saturday; yup, it's FIFTY years already!

We had one of those big Chinese dinners at the Li Yen restaurant in the Ritz-Carlton; some relatives were invited, including some of my mother's cousins and my grandfather's sole remaining sibling, a sister.

Group photo, L-R: Dad, me, Mum and Sara (my sister), Grandma, Grandpa, Kevin (brother), my uncle who lives in Singapore, and his daughter, Michelle.

The inset above is a picture of the yang chin player. Reminded me of that guitarist, about whom I composed a poem not too long ago (you can read it here). Both play in the background, though of course this guy gets a much more handsome pay than our street friend.

Interestingly, he hardly played Chinese music, if at all; instead, he mostly delivered renditions of familiar 'Western' tunes like Greensleeves and Clayderman's Triste Coeur.

Somewhere during the dinner, I thought of sharing a bit of Eliot's East Coker; I thought some poetry would suit the occasion. However, everyone looked so tired and full after the dinner, that I eventually decided not to waste the poem on distracted ears.

So here it is, anyway, an excerpt from the very last stave:

Home is where one starts from. As we grow older
The world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated
Of dead and living. Not the intense moment
Isolated, with no before and after,
But a lifetime burning in every moment
And not the lifetime of one man only
But of old stones that cannot be deciphered.
There is a time for the evening under starlight,
A time for the evening under lamplight
(The evening with the photograph album).
Love is most nearly itself
When here and now cease to matter.
Old men ought to be explorers
Here and there does not matter
We must be still and still moving
Into another intensity
For a further union, a deeper communion
Through the dark cold and the empty desolation,
The wave cry, the wind cry, the vast waters
Of the petrel and the porpoise. In my end is my beginning.


Joan-Lynn said...

I seriously think your brother and you look real nice in coat and tie. =)

silentsoliloquy said...

I agree with Joan. You look better in formal wear, Ben. ;) Anyway, I've recently realised that despite having just 5 notes.. the pentatonic scale is a very beautiful one indeed. Not as flowerly as the Indian ragas, no doubt, not as full of feeling as the blues scale, but incredible for virtuosity. No wonder rockers like it so much... :)