Friday, April 24, 2009

Penang 2008: A Study in Love

Yesterday I was reminded of how painful some parts of last November's Penang trip were. I have not blogged about it yet, and I think I've finally found a narrative for the pictures and thoughts of the trip.

It was my fault that I did not enjoy it as much as I could (and should) have, for I was a little oversensitive about some things.

Penang. Kaun. Ai Wei. But where was I?

I told Ai Wei I'd keep my hands off the camera, and for most of the trip Kaun operated by Nikon and shot nearly two thousand frames, while I had a roll of Velvia 100 in the Canon.

(T.S. Eliot said this in his banquet speech at the Nobel Ceremony:

"... we must remember the immense debt of every considerable poet to poets of other languages than his own; we may reflect that the poetry of every country and every language would decline and perish, were it not nourished by poetry in foreign tongues. When a poet speaks to his own people, the voices of all the poets of other languages who have influenced him are speaking also.")

Looking back, I find the expression of my thoughts in the photos taken by my friends.

This is an entry about love and friendship, and all the complicated things in between.

* * * * *

Love is about carrying each other, carrying burdens together. Making music together.

Love is cold steel (U2, 'Love is Blindness'). Sometimes communication gets no further than the metal walls we erect between our hearts.

Love is not always honest. Sometimes it is the greatest deceiver.

Love is about growing old together. Stopping at that shade house after a long journey. (Read McLaren's The Last Word and the Word After That and Peterson's The Wisdom of Each Other.)

Love always protects. [ed. 12:42 p.m., 24 April 2009]

Love is rejoicing at reunions. We bumped into the aunty I photographed in May 2007, and I was elated to be able to give her the photo. How surprised she was!

Love is a shadow puppet play.

Love is living in a world of your own while the rest of the world passes you by.

Love is patience and perseverance.

Love is nails. Love is the anchor. Love is the cross. The cross is our anchor.

With Christ in the vessel we can smile at the storm.

Love is looking into a mirror and seeing yourself, past and present.

Madam Justice, where are thy hands? Love is not fair.

Love is the freedom to fly.

* * * * *

A big thank you to some of the people who made a difference in our Penang adventure.

Ibrahim, who sent us back to the Penang National Park headquarters from Monkey Beach in his boat, thus saving us a probable two-hour trek in the rain.

His phone number is stored in my now dead Nokia 3100. I can't recall if I copied it out.

Kenny, a Victorian in the days of Dr G.E.D. Lewis. Then caretaker of 100 Cintra Street, where Kaun and I stayed. One of the most pleasant surprises on the trip.

We will not forget easily the conversation on that last morning! Cambodia. The United States. Raising your 'market value'. Getting away with 'Rasa Sayang' and a guitar.

Three things everyone should learn, and which the world can never take away: Driving, swimming, ballroom dancing.

Us. "Ready, one, two..." *click*

The spell which makes those who never been [sic], wish to go there, those who live there want to stay, and fills those who have spent their appointed hour or two with a longing to return.

-- J.W. Clark. "George Town", in Penang: An Illustrated Guide by Margaret Adams, 1952.

(We saw this quote in the Penang State Museum. Some of the most apt words indeed.)

* * * * *

I listened to 'Faith Enough' among other Jars of Clay songs while putting the pictures together for this entry, and had the introduction guitar line from U2's Boston performance of 'The Fly' running through my head throughout last night and this morning. (It finally dawned upon me that it's the 'Sunday Bloody Sunday' line.)

Now to get back to the parasites. Twenty-four hours remain; here we go!

1 comment:

Kaun said...

everytime I look through the pictures, i am reminded about how awesome the trip was even if you we're going through some thoughts in your head. I guess it's all part of growing up, this pain.

I'm glad we're in this together brother.