Monthly Archives: January 2010

Go Lessons Blog

I have just started a new blog on Go lessons. Please visit there is you are interested. The rationale for setting that blog up is also justified. I have written, for the first time, my Go history as well :)

http://mwagolessons.wordpress.com

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Learning Japanese

So, first step to learning Japanese. This “teach yourself instant Japanese” is really good. Easy to follow and relevant. Looking forward to be able to converse in some Japanese, and not just in short words like sayonara, konichiwa, ohayo, arigato, kudasai, sumimasen, etc. but in full sentences and hold at least simple conversations. And unlike other big budget series, this Teach Yourself set that comes with a book and 2 CDs only cost me about RM70. Maybe after I have mastered this book and if there is still some fire in me, I will go and take the hardcore Japanese class, and learn some hiragana and katakana. But as for now, I just need to be able to just converse.

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Rose is Rose, Rose is not Rose

When the Buddha see a rose, does he recognize it as a rose in the same way that we do? Of course he does. But before he says the rose is a rose, the Buddha has seen that the rose is not a rose. He has seen that it is made of non-rose elements, with no clear demarcation between the rose and those elements that are not the rose. When we perceive things, we generally use the sword of conceptualization to cut reality into pieces, saying, “This piece is A, and A cannot be B, C, or D.” But when A is looked at in light of dependent co-arising, we see that A is comprised of B, C, D, and everything else in the universe. “A” can never exist by itself alone. When we look deeply into A, we see B, C, D, and so on. Once we understand that A is not just A, we understand the true nature of A and are qualified to say “A is A,” or “A is not A.” But until then, the A we see is just an illusion of the true A.

Look deeply at the one you love (or at someone you do not like at all!) and you will see that she is not herself alone. “She” includes her education, society, culture, heredity, parents, and all the things that contribute to her being. When we see that, we truly understand her. If she makes us unhappy, we can see that she did not intend to but that unfavorable conditions made her do it. To protect and cultivate the good qualities in her, we need to know how to protect and cultivate the elements outside her, including ourselves, that make her fresh and lovely. If we are peaceful and pleasant, she too will be peaceful and pleasant.

If we look deeply into A and see that A is not A, we see A in its fullest flowering. At that time, love becomes true love, generosity becomes true generosity, practicing the precepts become truly practicing the precepts, and support becomes true support. This is the way the Buddha looks at a rose, and it is why he is not attached to the rose. When we are still caught in signs, we are still attached to the rose. A Chinese Zen master once said, “Before practicing Zen, mountains are mountains and rivers are rivers. While practicing Zen, mountains are no longer mountains and rivers are no longer rivers. After practicing, mountains are mountains again and rivers are rivers again.”

From The Diamond That Cuts Through Illusion, Commentaries on the Prajnaparamita Diamond Sutra. Thich Nhat Hanh

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Bahau Trip

Recently, on the 10th of Jan, the Bahau Arts Society invited us to an event to help promote and teach Go in that area. The society is very active and promotes a lot of artistic and cultural things, such as Chinese chess, calligraphy etc. They are very nice and treated us very well. One thing amazing about Bahau is the high prices of the properties there, which is at least comparable to Kuala Lumpur prices. One reason is because the people there are rich from logging and rubber and because they like to stay where they are and because of the limited number of properties available, demand exceeds supply and thus the prices go up. At least that was what I was told.

Bahau is the romanised word for “Horse Mouth”. I asked why it’s called Horse Mouth and apparently there are no specific reasons. It just happened to be like that. I strongly believe that there is a reason but then the person we asked may not know.

Here are some pictures from that day. And thereafter, a great dinner ensued, thanks to a friend who took us to that restaurant.


The organizing committee. Our association is represented by our president Mr. Tiong (in black shirt) and our secretary, Mr. Chow (in orange shirt).


Part of the audience


Our Malaysia Weiqi Association’s gift to the Bahau Arts Society.


Mr. Chow giving an introduction about Go to the audience.


Teaching games


The kids are totally hooked. Let’s hope they continue to learn and improve.


Old and Young – everyone can enjoy and play Go.


Look who’s talking.

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The Wing Chun of Go

Recently, I got to give a fancy name to close fighting in Go and called it the Wing Chun of Go. This name was inspired in my game with Dennis recently, two games to be precise, where close fighting occurred, one stone touching the other and killing off liberties as they Go, and one mis-reading will mean the collapse of the entire group. This is very exciting Go.

Now of course those quite well versed in martial arts will rebuke me at this point and say that Wing Chun is not as simple as I said, Wing Chun is not the same thing as close fighting, although close fighting is one of its characteristics (those who at least have watched the movie IP MAN will know). Wing Chun is of course a lot more. Most of all, Wing Chun is about flexibility. Flexibility that give rise to strength, just like a bamboo. It is also about the balance of the body. Balance plus flexibility give rise to strength and speed.

So as in Go, in a close fighting situation, flexibility and balance is extremely important and one major factor in determining which player have better flexibility and balance can be seen through the shapes of the stones of the player. The understanding and knowledge of shape is one key factor in fighting and add on to more detailed and superior reading abilities, it can be determined which side will win the fight.

Detailed and superior reading ability can be cultivated and one of the blind spot that I realise is to read the lines of play based on a one way street, i.e. the player only reads what he/she thinks they want the results to be without careful consideration of the other options that the opponent has. This kind of wishful reading is very dangerous because the player did not consider the flexibility of the stones and will often then get big surprises when the opponent does not play along their wishful lines.

Another important thing in Go is the realisation of the “Plus/Minus” factor. In Go, one cannot gain everything (at least between players of equal strength). Here flexibility is important. Letting the opponent get something and one gets something in return is important. Being too rigid and stubborn will result in the player not getting anything at all.

A give and take attitude with a good splash of patience, flexibility and balance, backed by reasonably good reading and awareness of the ever changing stone configurations, should give one a good Wing Chun game. Haha.

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Turn Left Turn Right MV

The movie is not as good, but imho is good enough, as SOUND OF COLORS, also based on Jimmy Liao’s work.

There are two MVs in this video, of which I prefer the second song. And re the second song, there is a better version sang in Mandarin but me being a Gigi Leung fan (one time), here she is!

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Tian Mi Mi – Teresa Teng

A favourite song used in one of my favourite movies of all time, COMRADES, ALMOST A LOVE STORY (movie review by my geeky friend. Click link to read).

Here is my attempt to translate the lyrics:

SWEET AS HONEY

Sweet as honey, your smile is as sweet as honey,
Like flowers blooming in the breeze of spring,
Blooming in the breeze of spring.

Where have I, alas! where have I seen you before?
Your sweet smile is so familiar,
I just can’t recall it now…

Ah!… In my dream!

In my dream, yes, in my dream I have seen you before,
So sweet, your smile is really so sweet,
It’s you! Yes it’s you who are in my dreams!

(repeat)

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