Thursday, 28 October 2010

The Death of Verse and Prose

Verse is dead and our grasp of Prose as we know it is probably slipping through our fingers at a rapidly-accelerating rate.
With the introduction of the sms-language, L33T speak, and fuelled by the mother-of-all-literary-evils, Twitter, the place for Verse and Prose grows increasingly sparse in our everyday lives. A hyperbole perhaps, but even in the best case scenario, Verse might not be dead, but probably still dying a a cancerous death, and Prose is undergoing a vile mutation; mutating into something almost undistinguishable from what it used to be prior to the Internet-generation.  

My opinion is that the underlying problem very much lies in the general lack of patience in the youths of today. Spoilt by the instant gratification of regular status updates through Facebook or Twitter - in this case, Twitter being the bigger sinner of the two, simply due to the 160 character limit that forces liberties to be taken with the language - the thought of sitting down to read something remotely close to being labelled as "properly written" becomes more and more remote; bringing to light the bigger point of the mind-set that the very act of "reading", as in actually reading as opposed to browsing or skimming through,  feels more and more deterring to seeds of the future.

More and more bloggers have abandoned ship over the last few months or years, and jumped on the "Instant Update" bandwagon, especially to those who used to blog as a means to updating their friends and keeping them in the loop. After all, why bother to blog an entire paragraph, one day at a time, reporting on your lunch, dinner and mood of the day, when you can now bombard your friends with the same information as and when it happens, right?

But perhaps the bottom-line is, they might have been missing the point all this while anyway. I mean, yes, the blog is a means to the end of informing your friends about your life, and keeping them in the loop and all, but more so than reporting your daily activities, a blog could (and probably should) be something beyond a blow-by-blow account of your battles with your bowl of Bak Chor Mee. It is a soapbox, an expression if you will, of oneself - involving one's thoughts and opinions.

A place for your friends, people who not only care about what you do, but also about what you think, to hear from and in the process, better understand you. To quote Descartes as and when I have the chance to, simply to make myself look more intellectual, "[we] think therefore [we are]", and a blog can be an avenue for people to know your inner workings, beyond your outer engagements; but in the best case scenario, to show a keen interest in both.

Whatever the case however, whether there will be a sudden realisation of the time and place for Verse and Prose following the maturity of the Internet-generation - the need to keep our literary skills honed and in a larger sense, to continued to be worthy of the term of being classified as "literate", amidst all the abbrevations, emoticons, shorthands and whatnot - still remains very much up in the air (though the cynic in me has a bag-and-a-half full of reservations).

In the meantime, for an old soul like myself, who still believes in the "olden tongue", I can only continue to write my "walls of text" as the rest of the generation passes me by. Oh, and just for the record, I still don't have a Twitter account.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Pieces of Japan: Day 8 - Rush

26th December 2009
Niseko, Hokkaido, Japan

The additional weight anchored on one of my feet was still something that I had hardly gotten used to. With the increased elevation, the pull of gravity grew more literal as the weight attached to the foot felt heavier and heavier.

Looking down, a scene of snow-covered pines flanked the lift from both ends. Not taking more of nature than necessary, the ski-lift was built through the centre of the pine-filled slope. In a distance, skillful skiers and boarders were sliding and slaloming down the steep slope, performing perfect turns and drawing perfect curves along the snow-filled slopes. 

Hardly being able to speaking the same vocabulary as those who made it look so easy and graceful, at the very least, the mastery that I had gained over the course of the day had allowed me to draw a bond with them on the level of the understanding of the rush - the adrenaline that came with the wind blowing at and through you; the fresh, white powder parting under one's feet from the speed and pressure of the board; the level of mental awareness required for that perfect balancing point to stay upright; and the satisfaction of conquering Nature's challenge through coordination and control of the human body - regardless of how relatively shallow the challenge was considering my level of mastery, or lack thereof.    

Looking up, it was just starting to snow again, as specks of snow slowly descended upon those who were making their ascent, firmly mounted onto the chairs and biding their time to make it to the top, prepping for the rush. Perhaps adding to the climax of the burst of adrenaline through the pacing of the quiet ride up,  the madness that was the ride down was tended to be a moment in itself.

Placing my fingers on my ribs, the painful sting still ran through my body upon the placing of pressure due to the debacle that had ensued earlier in the day...

Trying to board the same 2-seat ski-lift is a bad idea for first-time snowboarders, period. Requiring you to take an awkward sideways position when the lift came up from behind you, we thought that taking the same lift up would be an interesting and potentially romantic experience, in a rather remote sense.

The lift came up from behind us as we tried to find what we thought would be a good position to try to sit down on it. Perhaps it was the anxiety of trying to plant our butts firmly on a moving target - but more likely due to our inherent rawness to the entire scenario - in the chaos of the moment, I remember seeing her tripping over herself and falling to the ground, as I let out a huge gasp and my body locked up, unable to decide on trying to help her up or not.

The ski-lift swept me from behind my knees, toppling my unstable, sidewards-facing body over, as I felt myself trip over myself and moving increasingly fast towards the ground, my descent was rudely interrupted with a huge impact on my rib-area, from what felt like the side rail of the ski-lift chair. I vaguely remember  snow bouncing off my face and sensing something passing by overhead.

When I opened my eyes, the ski-lift had stopped as I lay there motionless for a few seconds, as I tried to get back on my feet. Those seconds felt like a  few hours' worth of humiliation, from receiving the collective stares of bemusement and shock from the snaking crowd that had formed behind us.

That particular first-ride up felt especially long, as a lingering sense of being pointed at by the people riding behind us marked the silence between us; extremely sensitive to any laughter heard believed to be at our expense - and it sure didn't help that I could hardly understand a single word they were saying.. Physically-wounded definitely; but more so psychologically, through the bruising of the ego. 

The lift was approaching the end as I lowered my feet, prepping to slide off the lift as previously instructed. The board met the smooth surface of the little snowy hump, as I tried to find my balancing point. A mere number of meters away from the slope, and I was already on my butt - something I just couldn't get right no matter how many times I tried, the whole getting-off-the-lift thing.

But as I sat there and strapped up, that slowly faded into the recesses of my consciousness, overtaken by the familiar feeling of adrenaline rising from the anticipation of the imminent rush that was about to ensue.

It was the last run, and I was determined to make it a perfect run...

Niseko By Night: Snowblind

A Quiet Walk by Night

Grand Hirafu by Night

Walking through the Storm

Warm Lights of Home