Thursday, December 25, 2008

Is it 2009 Yet?

Living in Thailand, a country that is overwhelmingly Buddhist and that has little connection to Christmas makes this season a bit of a lonely one. You can see that pathetic sadness in the eyes of every foreigner here. The feeling is weaker every year that one is abroad but even still I find myself trying to ignore the date and the feeling that I'm just squandering my time. Also, I'm looking for a job, so that's not something I really prefer to do on Christmas week either but it is important.

So, this makes me just really want January to hurry up and get here. Everything happens in January. The Canadian House of Commons will finally get back to work after Harper's desperate prorogation, and he'll either be singing a new, sweet song or Michael Ignatieff will be the Prime Minister. Also, January is the month that we will finally be liberated from George W. Bush!!! Yay! Do I really need to say more? I suppose I do if I want to get picked up in the google results! Ha!

January is also the month that I was born on, 30 years ago. Yes, I will be 30 in January. So, my plan was always to become a good person by the age of 30. I've stopped taking drugs, don't smoke, don't get into bar fights and riots and pretty much obey the law. I'm back in university and somewhat employable. So, I guess I'm on track. And, I guess I have no regrets. I guess I'll try to plan a big trip for next Christmas so that I don't have to be sitting around pondering the meaning of life, the universe and everything on the Lord's Birthday. I could just as easily be living on a mountain meditating, or on Bali being sinful but forgetting.

Forgetting what? It's like that Leonard Cohen song..."I can't forget, but I don't remember what". So, here I am "burning up the road" and going nowhere. December is a deep, dark abyss that I'm waiting for to disappear. I can't make it stop being Christmas, but it will stop.

slightly different topic, went out to a club (DJ station) last night with my Korean friend. Actually, we went to an infamous neighbourhood pub earlier with him as well. Met a few people who work for an NGO in Burma. Interesting that I keep meeting NGO workers everywhere I go now. I think it's a sign.

This is three NGO workers, who work near the Burmese border who I've met in just a matter of days. And it's not like I've been searching them out either...I just keep running into them. Life is often like that. I do want to work for an NGO ...I should point out that that means Non Governmental Organization and that perhaps I should be referring to them as humanitarian or relief organizations instead. Anyway, point is that I want to work for one of them. I see stuff happening around me, bad stuff and the fact that I feel powerless to stop it is driving me up the wall, as they say.

I do do some things. I give some money to different charities. I give money to no leg people and the elderly beggars. I donate my time to helping anyone who needs help, when the opportunity arises, and I try to deny my selfish and evil nature in favour of my higher nature. Value statements, yes I know but it is impossible to be without values no matter how far one buries them beneath lugubrious language.

I do hope that the five people who read my blog will find these thoughts less than interesting. Again, in the words of Cohen: "If these thoughts interest you for even a moment, you are lost".

Merry Christmas, and may it also pass. I'll leave you with some beautiful words from Jikan

A person who eats meat
wants to get his teeth into something
A person who does not eat meat
wants to get his teeth into something else
If these thoughts interest you for even a moment
you are lost.

from Selected Poems 1956-1968

I heard of a man
who says words so beautifully
that if he only speaks their name
women give themselves to him.

If I am dumb beside your body
while silence blossoms like tumours on out lips
it is because I hear a man climb the stairs
and clear his throat outside our door.

from Let Us Compare Mythologies (1956)

I'd like to read one of the poems that drove me into poetry I can't remember one line or where to look
The same thing happened with money girls and late evenings of talk
Where are the poems that led me away from everything I loved
to stand here naked with the thought of finding thee
-Leonard Cohen

What is a saint? A saint is someone who has achieved a remote human possibility. It is impossible to say what that possibility is. I think it has something to do with the energy of love. Contact with this energy results in the exercise of a kind of balance in the chaos of existence. A saint does not dissolve the chaos; if he did the world would have changed long ago. I do not think that a saint dissolves the chaos even for himself, for there is something arrogant and warlike in the notion of a man setting the universe in order. It is a kind of balance that is his glory. He rides the drifts like an escaped ski. His course is a caress of the hill. His track is a drawing of the snow in a moment of its particular arrangement with wind and rock. Something in him so loves the world that he gives himself to the laws of gravity and chance. Far from flying with the angels, he traces with the fidelity of a seismograph needle the state of the solid bloody landscape. His house is dangerous and finite, but he is at home in the world. He can love the shapes of human beings, the fine and twisted shapes of the heart. It is good to have among us such men, such balancing monsters of love.

-- From the novel, Beautiful Losers by Leonard Cohen

Some more selections from here and here.


Anonymous said...

Interesting quotes. I remember Christmas in Thailand. Other than missing my Mom and one day of snow I didn't mind where I was. My wife On is Christian and the day felt as it should in my heart.

My last bar fight was at 45, nor do I smoke or drink now,(although I am suspect of many laws)..all good things come to those who seek them. - Roger

Craig Williamson said...

Glad you've enjoyed them...on another father just informed me that Leonard Cohen's song Hallelujah is currently occupying the number 1, number 2 and number 34 position on the charts. A woman from a show did his song, brought it up to number one which also boosted the Jeff Buckley version of the song and put Cohen's original on the charts as a new entrant at 34! Ha. Sweet revenge on Columbia for having such little faith in the public's apetite for singers who can't sing.