A few months ago, my wife’s friends decided to go on a gathering trip to Melaka. I have posted the “adventure” on this blog before. On the last day of the trip, someone very smartly suggested that each couple pays a deposit of RM100 for the next trip to Fraser’s Hill. The logic is that with the deposit money paid, everyone will make it a point to come to these gatherings, and thus renewing the ties of friendship once in a while.
We did not make it to the Fraser’s Hill but setttled with the Selesa Hillhomes instead. It’s quite a nice place to spend a weekend but there isn’t really anything much there except that you get to have time to spend together with each other and secondly, you can take short afternoon trips to either Genting Highland or the Colmar Tropicale. Other than that, you just cook, sit around, chat, play cards, play with the kids, read, etc.
The whole trip is one big noisy adventure, with 7 couples and 4 kids ranging from 2 years old to 5 years old. It was havoc and with the cooking and all, and kids either running or jumping around, or worse, crying and fighting over coloured paper, there is little time to really sit back and enjoy the scenery and the weather. But all said, it is really worth-it and once in a while, spending time like this with friends and their kids is quite fun.
I had by myself some free time and walked around the place, and a nice afternoon reading Murakami while overlooking the mountain top, the feeling is almost like Mahler’s composing house at the Austrian village Steinbach am Attersee minus the lake. Still, the feeling is such and with such a view, I am myself feeling quite moved and inspired to write something or compose a tune or two. I should have bought that Moleskine notebook, I thought to myself.
I have also thought briefly on my last post and while reading Murakami, one passage, from the “1963/1982 Girl from Ipanema”, struck me:
“Someday..I’ll meet myself in a strange place in a far-off world… In that place, I am myself and myself is me. Subject is object and object is subject. All gaps gone. A perfect union. There must be a strange place like this somewhere in the world.”
I often feel and believe that there are two me, each one at times the polar opposite of the other and at times are the best of friends. It sometimes felt like a tug-of-war, like a game of negotiation and compromise. If they do not fight, I am all well but if they do fight, I will be left a very confused person, without any sense of direction and begins to question the essence of my existence. And thus beginning to feel more and more confused about life until my North Pole and my South Pole reconciles.
During the trip as well, the question of whether human beings are innately evil or good comes to my mind again. I have had investigated this to a large extent many years ago and although my heart would love to agree with Mencius, some parts of me wanted to agree with Hsun Tzu, or in this case, to a certain extent, also Hobbes (North Pole – South Pole thing again). This thought came to my mind again while observing the kids. I cannot but see that these kids are all innately selfish!
According to Hsun Tzu, “… the nature of man is evil; his goodness is acquired training”. He followed by saying this, “… Man is born with inherent desire for profit and sensual pleasure. But, despite these beginnings of evilness, Man at the same time possesses intelligence, and this intelligence makes it possible for him to become good.”
Haruki Murakami was at the MIT just last month and you can read about his visit there as well as download some video of him from this blog.