Monthly Archives: October 2008

More on some Happenings

Following from my earlier post, consider the following:

From the pages of Malaysiakini.com:

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On Yoga

The National Fatwa Council will be issuing a ruling soon relating to yoga exercise, which is deemed to be deviationist in nature for the Muslims.

Yesterday, UKM lecturer Prof Zakaria Stapa advised Muslims who have taken up yoga – a widely popular exercise which has its roots to India and Hinduism – to stop practising it for fear that it could deviate them from their belief.

“If the Muslims want a healthy body, prayers are the right choice… why must we find alternate ways… a single mistake can deviate our teachings as yoga movements follow the style and tradition of Hinduism,” he was reported as saying.

On Tomboyism

Council chairperson Abdul Shukor had said that many young women admired the way men dress, behave and socialise, violating human nature and denying their feminity.

“It is unacceptable to see women who love the male lifestyle including dressing in the clothes men wear,” Abdul Shukor was quoted as saying.

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There will be a day when probably silat, Tai Chi and many other things may be banned too.

Sometimes I wonder how the brains of certain people are wired. It is really amazing how the whole thought process is done to reach such a conclusion. Isn’t this amazing?

Isolation, isolation, isolation.

Isolation, from many lessons in history, can only lead to the downfall and decline of civilisation.  Of course there are other reasons for the decline of civilisation but isolation is one of them.

The human race progress through exploration and embracing new thoughts and ideas and improving on such thoughts and ideas. Never has there been big progresses in human history that results from the isolation of a community/race. Take for example the Ming dynasty in China. China was once the greatest super power on earth but through a series of policies that is skewed towards isolation, the Chinese civiliation was surpassed and then later made slave. Isolation is a bad word.

Actually, there is no need to go and read history. Just contemplate and think from everyday living. From just thinking about it, we see a thousand reasons why isolation is bad. It creates just so much negative energy and perception.

It is human folly to isolate themselves thinking that by isolating, one preserves what is good and let the other people rot in hell. In fact, most of the religion has ideas along this line. But as human beings becomes more enlightened, we should have the wisdom to know that this human “instinct” that probably has roots in our caveman days is bad and should strive, as enlightened human beings with wisdom, to remove this “instinct” from our DNA and instead foster brotherhood, goodwill, open-mindedness, respect for each other’s way of life, all embracing, all good and well. Never should there be any ill feelings, prejudice. Never should one be racist.

It is a responsibility of us human beings as citizens of the world to strive hard for such a world so that our children, our children’s children etc. will live in an enlightened world.

Dogmatism, dogmatism, dogmatism.

A person should have a free mind and learn how to think for himself or herself. As adults or guardians, the responsibility is to teach people how to think correctly with guiding principles and not being dogmatic and force people to think in a certain way, to be thought police. In history, this is also apparent, where all efforts to be thought police failed miserably. Again, to use Chinese history, think of the Cultural Revolution during Mao’s era. It was a huge disaster! Never should people in positions of power force thoughts on other people. People should be free to choose for themselves and be responsible for their own actions. Guidance and teachings can be imprated and encouraged, but never forced.

No matter how good the intention to force a certain thought, eventually the whole exercise will turn bad and will eventually become an abuse of power. It is inevitable. We must teach our children how to think, not what to think. This is very important.

Come to think of it, it is not easy to live as an enlightened, responsible, sensible and reasonable person in this age of turbulence but it is our responsibility to ensure that the future of mankind is such, that we and our institutions are capable of producing human beings of quality, human beings that are not afraid to uphold justice, human beings that are not afraid to hold their heads high, believing in the best that is in us human beings and fighting for that freedom to be sensible and reasonable.

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Something’s Wrong

Something is wrong with how the government governs the country. Everytime I write a cheque to pay for my income tax, I always have this reluctance to send the cheque but since it is a statutory requirement, I pay all my taxes in full as any good citizens do. But the contract with the government is such that the citizens pay taxes in return for protection mostly (whether from physical harm or a sort of a social security net) and secondly to enjoy the infrastructural improvements that the government should endeavour to improve the standard of living of its citizen.

Every time I write the cheque, I question what am I paying for, I question the unwritten social contract and I get really very angry each time because my personal opinion is that I am at the short end of this so-called social contract.

Just to quote from my own experience, I don’t really feel safe. In my very short time, my car has been stolen before, my house broken into, my mom hurt by snatch thieves, my brother in law’s car almost stolen, my colleague’s daughter hospitalised due to snatch thieve, another colleagues’ house broken into, etc. etc. The incidence of these happening is just too often and just too wide spread. In the news, we read of so many cases of rape, of kidnapping and of murder. What is happening to our society??? What are the authorities doing??? As I type, I get angrier and angrier and I am already been generally considered as a calm and reasonable person. But all these is just so unbearable. This horrible state of a society that we are living in. There is no peace. We are always scared. A country cannot be a good country when its citizens are always scared.

Infrastructure? Look at the roads! Pot holes every where, unfinished and shoddy road jobs, horrible transportation system. What the hell is wrong with those people holding power? The fact that we elected them is so that they can do something good for us good, tax-paying, law-abiding citizens but alas! this is just not the case.

Corruption is one big, big sore in this country. Doubtless, the prime minister is working of weeding out corruption with the arrest of some sharks but the corruption is just too wide spread and just goes too deep. Someone needs to really go beneath it and root it out from the roots. Just arresting a few people here and there will not work. After the heat, corruption will hit us back with a vengeance! A few top immigration guys arrested? Well, will the people that is working in the immigration department stop corruption, if any (ahem), just because some top guys got arrested? Ask me privately and I will let you know. Maybe yes, maybe no. I don’t know. Ahem.

Corrupted, lazy SOB they all!!!! (maybe…)

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Go Players – Calculative Lot!

Besides the professional players there are many other amateur celebrities present at the World Mind Sports Games in Beijing. Among them, of course, are the regulars, such as Christian Pop, Cornel Burzo, Ondrej Silt, Rob van Zeijst, Benjamin Teuber, Pal Balogh, Csaba Mero, etc. However, one amateur player that I have been following is Artem Kachanovskyy from Ukraine. I have been following his games on the KGS go server (his ID: artem92). He has a very solid style and has some very powerful reading skills. Needless to say, he has a high winning percentage. Given that he is just merely 15 years old, his Go career, if any, is going to be very interesting. I met him at the WMSGs and really he is just so young. I couldn’t believe it when he ranked himself as a 4dan but obviously, based on his strength, he is easily 5dan on the European scale.

Anyways, rank is a very deceiving thing and I have cease to rely on it a long time ago. As proven by Artem, he won all his 7 games in the preliminary round, beating many 5 dans and above players. I find a lot of inspiration in him.

On another totally different topic, many people know that there is a lot of similarity between warfare and Go. This is undoubtedly true. Many of Go’s startegy can be applied to warfare and vice versa. Similarly, Go has also been liken to business and there are books written on how to apply principles of Go to business. This is indeed also true. But one aspect that I have come to realise more significantly is that Go players are really a very calculative lot.

I was not very aware of this, probably because I am in general not known to be a calculative person and when I play Go, I also rarely calculate. But perhaps my Go skills have improved a bit and I come to realise that to play better Go, one has to have a keen sense of calculation. One point missed there. Two  points to be gained there. If I play this Ko, I will gain 2 points. This Ko threat will result in me losing one point. Etc. etc. You see, I am talking about very small points. 1 point, 2 points, at most 3-4 points but caring about these points is a hallmark of a good Go player. I have ignored this a lot in my Go and as a result, my Go couldn’t be brought to a higher level.

In the recent WMSG, I have made a concerted effort to give a lot of respects for small points and I realise I can play better Go. This is thanks a lot to one of my Go buddy, Alex Chan, who always seem to have a very keen eye on points and thought me a lot on how to calculate points and pay attention to seemingly “small” points. That guy is amazing in his calculation and there is a lot for me to learn there.

In the mind of many businessmen, my current boss included, the ability to be calculative, even on small points as I have observed, led to many successes.

Okay, in life and in Go and in business, I have decided to be the God of Small Points.

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World Mind Sports Games – More Stories and Pics

During the tournaments, I have learnt in more depth on especially three aspects of the games from the games that I lost. These are:

1. When you reach dan level, you need to know joseki. Memorise them if you have to, by hook or by crook, you need to know joseki. It is best if one can understand joseki and like Yang Yilun said in one of his lectures, treat complicated joseki as if it is a fighting sequence to gain supremacy, but to only look at the variations during actual games do take too much time and is just too mistake prone. Wrong joseki sequences (not selection) will lead to a serious disadvantage early on and it is very hard to recover if your opponent is worth his salt. In some cases, wrong joseki moves will lead to a complete breakdown of the game very early. This lesson is learnt from my game with the Slovak player where a wrong joseki sequence led me to so much misery early on, and then resulted in me having to make a risky deep invasion where my invading troops was finally captured and the game lost.

2. When one has an opportunity to fight, one has to fight and do not give up stones too easily. I thought I know this and I have always, in the past few months, tried as hard as I could to brush up my fighting skills. However, it seems that I am still missing some things and misreading the status of groups. I let my cutting stones die too easily, in a position where I should have split. A wrong judgement on the status of groups is one key reason why I didn’t run away my cutting stones. This happened in my game against Yamashita Keigo sensei. He showed me how I should have continued the attack on his group.

3. Know how to sacrifice stones. Again I thought I knew this already but it seems like I still need to work on this. In my game against my opponent from the Czech Republic, there is an opportunity for me to squeeze his corner and gain quite a significant advantage with a wall facing the center of the board early on. This is a result of one of his mistakes quite early on. The problem with me is I knew I could squeeze but somehow, I chose to start a ko to try to capture all his stones. This mistake is probably more related to greed rather than to know how to sacrifice stones. I was greedy. I wanted to capture everything, which if successful, will give me a huge corner and a very big advantage. However, the ko was too heavy, I needed too many ko threats and hurt my other positions on the board too much. At the end, I lost that game badly.

Okay, some photos:

Photo of our team with Hane Naoki sensei. He is such a wonderful person.

Our first opponent was the team from Chile. They are really nice people and I even get a nice little key chain souvenir from my opponent. I also owe one of the member of the Chile team one great thanks for his advice when I was about to play my last opponent from Azerbaijan.

My game against Yamashita Keigo sensei. What a dream come true to be able to play with the Japanese team. Being able to play with them made our trip that much more amazing.

This is a scene from the living room of our apartment hostel. Go Go Go and Go every single opportunity. We play Go like crazy people. So much fun.

We visited a very famous Go club in town. It is located near the Tian Tan temple. The club looks good and there are some good players there. We met two ladies from Bulgaria who also took part in the WMSG there. The little kid girl is quite strong and played with an old man.

Team photo at Wanfujing. We have such a great team, each one a great personality. Am so happy to know them. We went out a lot at night, and walked a lot.

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World Mind Sports Games – Team Japan the GREATEST!

One week passes really quickly, especially so when one is enjoying the days. We are back from Beijing for the 1st World Mind Sports Games where I participated in the Men Team event. It was an exciting and great tournament! And we got our dream come true which made the trip so worth it, besides the opportunity to participate in an international event and meeting many people from many different countries.

What dream was that? That dream was to play against the Japanese professionals in the tournament. There are basically two ways to get a chance to challenge the professional players. First is that if you are lucky enough to be drawn against them in the first round, the drawing which is random. The second way is to earn the right to play with them by beating your opponents so that you get enough points to have a chance to be matched with them.

And our team got to play with the pros via the second way, by defeating our opponents and we got matched with the pros in the 4th round. My pro opponent was Yamashita Keigo sensei! Imagine having Yamashita Keigo as an opponent in an international tournament! I was totally thrilled and excited. My other team mates got to play with Yoda Norimoto sensei, Hane Noaki sensei, Takao Shinji sensei and Kono Rin sensei. What an experience and of course we got many photos taken ;-)

We met so many professionals there and got to get their autographs on our books and fans and get to take photos with them. I think all of us amateur players had a field day and apparently there are no other events that see so many amateur players playing and mixing with so many professional players so freely and can get such an up close look at how the professional thinks when we observe them discuss and review games. I had a great lesson from Yamashita Keigo sensei despite me not being able to speak a word of Japanese. He showed me how I should have played by just arranging the stones and uses hand gestures.

I cannot but have to express great admiration for the Japanese professionals. Not that I say this because we got to play against them but throughout the whole event, they are just so nice people, attending to fans, always being so nice and kind and obliging, having such a great team spirit amongst them, and such a great respect for the game. They are simply great. The Koreans may be the world champion now but in terms of the game as a totality of human culture, the Japanese are still the top, way way top.

Lee Sedol is really such a painful person and really looked like a jerk. No point being a world champion but has such a horrible personality. He refuses not only to sign autographs but did not appear to have much respects for his fans. Already a couple of my friends who are great fans of him have now turned sour due to his personality.

All in all, it was a great trip and a great tournament and in terms of results, our team had 3 wins out of seven which saw our team being placed at number 12 out of 20 in our group. We should have won 4 games but then again, there is no point to sulk since we have had the great opportunity to play with the Japanese. Personally, I won 3 games too, two games a against a 1 dan and one game against a 2 dan. My personal ranking is number 55 out of 112 players in my group which is quite okay given my 1 dan ranking ;-) (full results page: http://sites.google.com/a/go.art.pl/kamyszyn/wmsg2008/teamsmen).

More stories and photos to come.

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What about movies??

I realised that I have been blogging a lot about Go nowadays and have not written anything about movies. This is probably because I am obsessed with Go recently to prepare myself for the World Mind Games in Beijing, which will happen the week after next, by the way! And many professional players will be there and this is truly a fan trip. I will, hopefully, get to meet Yoda Norimoto and take a picture with him since I am one of his fans. Secondly, it is probably because since I left the movie industry I am watching a lot less movies nowadays. I used to watch at least 10 movies every week, now I am happy to be able to watch just one.

Last week I was at the cinema for the second time in two months (believe it or not!! I used to be at the cinemas at least 4-5 times a week). But luckily the visit to the cinema and the taking of the risk to watch a Hong Kong movie paid off. CONNECTION is a rather good movie. A lot more to be desired but is okay given the loads of crap that Hong Kong is producing nowadays. And yesterday I bought HELP ME EROS on DVD and watched it. This Lee Kang Sheng movie, I think is a step forward for Lee compared to his movie prior to this entitled THE MISSING where we can see the imprint of Tsai Ming Liang everywhere. Tsai’s presence is still felt in HELP ME EROS (not only because he produced it) but Lee’s venture into eroticism sometimes reminds me of Stanley Kubrick. Anyways, I still love Tai Ming Liang. No one can do better than him in GOODBYE, DRAGON INN. That movie is just perfect Tsai Ming Liang.

Since I left the movie channel two months back, I have been hearing various feedback. It is really a joy working in movies and work really doesn’t seem like work. But one has to face the reality of life. If in Go the main objective is to gain as much territory as possible, in real life one has to balance pleasure with economics. The world is ever changing. Life changes all the time. One cannot always only seek pleasure and do only the things that is pleasurable. I wish life is as simple as that but the hard facts is that life is tough and one has to be brave to face the hard realities of life. And for all you know, by being brave and face the hard realities, one grows up to be a more matured person, a person that is wiser and has more substance. If not, by just doing what is pleasurable, one is forever a kid and will never grow up.

But life is all about balance. To find this balance is really the art of living.

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