November 27, 2017

A Disturbing "Natural" Killing

I came across this image on a Chinese online community, which claimed that the "mother deer" in the middle of picture chose to fall prey to 3 cheetahs in order to let her kids running away... while I was stunned and sad, someone suggested that was a fake story. So I searched online and found true story, which is even more disturbing.

The true story was recorded by photographer Alison Buttigieg, who capture this killing scene in Kenya, Africa. What was usual about this killing was that 3 cheetahs did not kill impala (not deer) right away. Instead, they played with the hapless impala, while the mother cheetah holding impala's neck all the time, teaching her kids how to prey. After a length of time, about a few minutes, which seemed infinitely long to the photographer, the mother cheetah finally put the impala to death, or "out of misery". While this is already hard to swallow, what is even more disturbing was the reaction of the impala. I better quote the original description by the firsthand witness, because they are simply breathtaking:

The 6th image of the sequence.
by Alison Buttigieg
What is out of the ordinary in this sequence of photos is how calm the impala is throughout its ordeal. It is probably in shock and thus paralysed with fear. It is disturbing how it seems to be posing in some photos, especially in the 6th one as if determined to stay beautiful and proud until its very end. The defiance in its eyes are in stark contrast with its lack of interest in self-preservation. This allowed me to get unique pictures of a kill that are seemingly choreographed in their grace. I wanted the viewer to sympathize with the impala, and at the same time witness with me the disturbing nature of this unusual kill.

I am out of words to say anything anymore...

September 5, 2017

The Sun The Moon and Taking Things for Granted

I just read a Chinese parable another day. It says an old man was asked which one is more important, the Sun or the Moon. The old man thought for a long while and answered "the Moon".
"Because the Moon shines in the night when we especially need it; the Sun shine in the day when it's already light."

I found it inspiring. Taking thing for granted seems to be a major disposition of our humans. Yesterday I read another article on facebook about health advice given by a 104 year-old Japanese doctor. While I appreciated most of the advice, one of them struck me hard: "Energy does not come from sleeping a lot or eating well, it comes from feeling good" Well, I hope the doctor did not mean literally (or maybe the translation wasn't accurate due to the confusion of Japanese language?), because the fact right before me is that if we don't eat and sleep, no matter how good we feel, we die, and we die with horrible feeling. As simple as that.

From what I learned humans' energy does come from foods. Sleep doesn't "provide" energy but without it our bodies cannot function well enough to receive nutrition from foods, so it's equally crucial to our energy production.

Since I lived with chronic health problem for ages, I found, people - of course include me - tend to take physical health for granted. We apprise our mental power so much to an extent that some people literally believe feeling good is all we need to live well. The belief in our mental power is also out of proportion. During Chinese cultural revolution, a famous slogan went like this: "The field produces as much crops as people want." Nowaday a popular phrase goes "There are nothing you can't do but only what you can't imagine." Such beliefs go on and on and it is called positive thinking and it's panacea for all diseases and fuel for all ambitions.

Why people so insist the importance of our mental energy? I suppose the reason is exactly the same as that old man who says the Moon is more important than the Sun, that is: like the Sun, foods and sleep are there almost EVERYDAY, so we ignore them, forgot that if we don't have them there will be no chance for our mental exercise.

The Chinese article that cites the parable story above also talks about mother's love, another thing that many people take it for granted. Yes, I believe physical health is like mother's love, we only realize it's importance when we lose it.

The Moon shines in the night, brings us romantic imagination and fascination, so and so, but it's the Sun who stays there day and light, provides the most important sources for our existence, which made all those romantic exercises possible. Yet, when we enjoy these "luxuries", we think those are all it's about and don't give credit to something that is more essential. Why? I don't know but I suppose that shortsightedness is what we are born with.

September 3, 2017

Thomas Hardy vs. Charles Dickens

I became a Hardy's fan recently, but not yet Dickens', though both of them focused on human tragedy. I wonder why?
Just read some comparison of these two online and I got clues. It says that the characters of Dickens are mostly typical types from the overall population of the time, and the cause of their tragedies are mostly social problems; on the other hands, hardy's characters are mostly more peculiar and the cause of their tragedies are mostly their own personality flaws, or fate.
So may I say that the misery in Dickens' work is more transient and in Hardy's more perpetual? I suppose that the systems of societies change over time, while human nature stays forever as long as human race exist (though this should be not taken absolutely, because some social issues remain long term, and human nature also evolves).
Nonetheless, I found Hardy's world is far more fascinating than Dickens'.  

April 24, 2017

Loss of Innocence

Having a job like teaching art for children, I have a "privilege" to be with younger generations, which made me happy because I am type of persons who don't like to deal with the complication of adults. However, I also occasionally witness some changes - from immaturity to maturity, form simplicity to complication. Most of these changes are pleasant because they are in good ways, however, I realized recently one of my students turned out to be someone whom I would dislike, if she were an adult.

She was only 5 when she came to my studio. She was so pure and pretty, and had passion for drawing or painting. But recently, at the mere age of 10, she is somebody else, totally different from 5 years ago. She became pretentious, often manipulative (even abusive sometime) toward classmates. And her attitude constantly changes depend on whom she is dealing with. She no longer talk spontaneously, every word she speaks out was prepared carefully in her little brain. To put it simply, she acts like a little politician.

I occasionally recall when she was little (though she is still little), feel a little sad about it. How wonderful if human beings can just stay pure and innocence like that 5 year-old girl, who used to tell me that I was her best friend?