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Archive for March 2017

A friend posted a perplexing problem on Facebook, asking for a nicer Tagalog translation for “ferment” (being a Bisaya, it is difficult for him to translate it into Tagalog). A couple of people suggested “buro” (preserve in salt), which doesn’t really capture the essence of what was needed to be translated.

It turns out it was a poem he was trying to translate. So I decided to translate the entire thing into Tagalog because the poem would lose its rhythm and soul by translating it literally, I think.

And my friend liked it and told me to post it here.

Absolutely Clear Poem by Shams al-Din Hafiz Shirazi – Poem Hunter

Don’t surrender your loneliness
So quickly.
Let it cut more deep.

Let it ferment and season you
As few human
Or even divine ingredients can.

Something missing in my heart tonight
Has made my eyes so soft,
My voice
So tender,

My need of God
Absolutely
Clear.

(my translation)

Huwag agad isuko
ang iyong kalungkutan.
Hayaan mong ito’y sumugat nang malalim.

Hayaang ika’y timplahin at iburo nito
Na hindi magagawa ng ilang tao
O banal na sangkap.

Ang pangungulila sa puso ngayong gabi
Ay nakapaglamlam ng aking mata,
At nakapagpalambing
Ng aking tinig

Ang aking pangangailangan sa Maykapal
Walang pasubali
Malinaw.

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…The Voice Russia, that is.

A nu metal artist in the roster. And she is mesmerizing to watch.

The only time I could play music like this is when I am driving alone in my car. To make my soul-sucking commute more bearable. My girls couldn’t bear to listen to my real music.

Daria Stavrovich made me revisit 30 Seconds to Mars. I would like to see a Jared Leto and Daria duet.

 

On my last day in Taiwan, I checked out that morning from Chaiin Hotel and deposited my luggage in one of the metered storage/boxes at the Taipei Main Station. It was TWD 100 for I don’t remember how many hours. It was a better option than rushing back to Chaiin Hotel, which was a long walk from the Main Station, then walk back again dragging my luggage to ride the airport bus.

After depositing my luggage, I went back to our Taipei office to take photos and say goodbye to colleagues. Then I had lunch with a colleague a few stops away from the train station nearest our office. I had a few more hours to kill before I travel back to Taoyuan Airport.

I went to the Taipei Confucius Temple instead of the more popular Longshan Temple because I always avoid the touristy areas. I am suplada like that. But you know, the older I get, the more I dislike crowds.

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Yes this is a selfie fail

I spent an hour or two in this place, away from crowds. It was peaceful but annoyingly hot at the same time.

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A perfect way to end my birthday trip.

‘Til then, Ilha Formosa.

 

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One of the reasons why I wanted to go back to Taiwan is I wanted to visit the National Palace Museum of Taiwan again. When I went there in 2007, it was a very rushed affair, only an hour or two and only the most precious exhibits were shown to us by the guide (a Filipino-Chinese who migrated to Taiwan). I barely had time to admire the paintings. When I view paintings, especially landscape paintings, I spend so much time staring at them to get the feel of the art work. So I told myself that when I get the chance to go back, I will be spending at least half a day to stare at paintings.

Well, because I am such an idiot, it took me some time before I figured out how to reach the Museum (after alighting from Shilin Station, Tamsui-Xinyi Line, I still had to look for the bus that goes directly to the museum). It was already 12 nn when I got there.

I figured that the best time to go there is between 10 am to 2 pm. By 3 pm it will be teeming with tourist groups. That can be annoying when you’re gazing at a painting and trying to contemplate the meaning of life in 10th century AD.

This Museum has an amazing collection of Chinese art since the treasures from the Imperial Palace in Beijing was carted off by Chiang Kai-shek to Taipei before the Japanese, and eventually the Communists, took over mainland China.

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If I am not mistaken, this is Chiang Kai-shek

What I remember most about the exhibit there is the explanation of my guide about how jade became important to China and the origin of the Chinese character for jade (was a pictogram depicting an axe or some kind of weapon). My guide ten years ago said before the ancient Chinese discovered metals, they used jade as material for to make farming tools. Jade was just a stone, according to the guide, until a craftsman shapes it into being. A skilled artist can also use the imperfections of the jade to create something beautiful, like this lettuce jade, considered as one of the most important exhibit in the museum.

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An ex-colleague of mine, who thought I was ethnic Chinese, said a woman of age must have jade jewelry in her collection so I ought to have some kind of jade bracelet or earrings. But I said I will not fork a fortune for such things. Hahaha. Real jade is expensive.

So you could only imagine how this screen must have cost. The label says this was “given” (quotations mine) to the Emperor of Japan during the war and was returned to Taiwan in 1945, after the war officially ended.

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Here is a slideshow of the rest of the exhibit

Jade

I spent the longest time in the scroll paintings section of the museum. Among the different forms of visual art, I am drawn most to paintings since I dabbled in it when I was younger (charcoal, water colors, a bit of oil but was a failure in that). This painting (I forget what it’s called but the subject is a scholar in a meadow) is not the prettiest among the bunch but this has resonated with me the most. I could almost feel the wind blowing against the grasses and scholar’s robes. I was transported back in time to that meadow, to that moment when the scholar was taking his walk, contemplating about or searching for something.

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Here are some paintings from the collection.

Ancient Chinese paintings

There are a lot of pretty things inside the Museum (about three floors of exhibits) and every now and then they have to take some collections out of storage because the thousands of treasures they have in their vaults cannot be displayed in the museum all at once. When I was there, they had the Tibetan Buddhist Art, Buddhism in China, The Mongol Princess collection (a collection by a Mongolian princess during a brief occupation of the Mongols) and some exhibits I didn’t bother visiting because it was already getting crowded with group tours and school children.

After four or five hours, I went back to Shilin station and hunted for something to eat (forgot to have lunch since I had brunch). I saw a long queue for this one near the MRT station.

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And decided to check it out. I just pointed to the lady flipping the “pizza” which toppings I wanted. It was greasy but not bad for a streetfood in the middle of the city.

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I had enough time to kill before meeting an editor for dinner that night. A quick jaunt at the Shilin Night Market wouldn’t hurt.

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It was quite early to do a night market but there was something to see already at around 6:30 pm. Some clothes, a lot of cellphone accessories, toys and some souvenirs. This market is targeting tourists. And yes, some Studio Ghibli items too.

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After that quick run, I went to this shabu-shabu place along Civic Road and how I found the place, I don’t know. Google Maps saved me. I got back to my hotel at almost 12 pm. Last trains I think run at 11 pm.

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This is how the subway at the Taipei Main Station looks like at 11 pm.

*to be continued

*ok, it took me another two months to get back to blogging about this trip again. Too much stuff happening and this moment is one of those rare times i’m at a coffee shop writing about non-work-related stuff.

I was so hungry after arriving from Jiufen that I didn’t bother going out of the subway. I just went to an underground mall (I think it was K Underground Mall) to hunt for food. Since I couldn’t read Chinese, I didn’t know what to expect. Only when my food arrived did I realize I was at a Japanese ramen shop. Which was Ok, decent enough.

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A bit frustrating on my part since the thing I remember best about Taiwan of 10 years ago were the food and views. I already did the views (Jiufen and Jinguashi), which was already ok but the food part…it was a hit and miss thing. Probably food is better outside of Taipei.

I decided to book another hotel near the Taipei Main Station. Chaiin Hotel is a bit farther than Dairy of Taipei and it took me some time before finding it since it occupies a commercial building i.e. not a standalone building.

It was a bit weird since the reception area is at the basement of that building so to check in, you have to go down first. My room has no windows. It’s like living in a cave again (reminiscent of my stays in Singapore Chinatown)

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DSCF0557 I wasn’t that much interested in shopping for clothes (since I am not what you call a conventional Asian size i.e. I am fat), so I searched on Google for some alternative stuff I can do to kill time.  I am a computer and electronics nut so I decided to pay Guanghua Mall a visit.

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From the land of Asus, Acer and HTC, this computer and electronics mall is underwhelming. It was quite normal, with prices comparable to those in Manila. I would’ve have enjoyed Greenhills more back home, at least I could haggle.

My food must have been really blah that I couldn’t remember what I had for dinner that day. So for brunch the next day, I hunted for something to kick my taste buds. I found it a couple of blocks away from my hotel, in some hole-in-the-wall eatery.

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Yup, another idiotic situation. I went to Taiwan to eat curry. *facepalm* At least this was up my alley. My food the previous day was so unmemorable that only photos remind me that I had something edible. I was texting my boss about the misses I had food-wise and she said, “San ka ba nagsususuot at bakit wala kang success sa pagkain mo? Mali ata mga pinupuntahan mong lugar!”

*to be continued


life in business journalism

crazy. exciting. boring to some but hey, you get to understand the world better when you're a business journalist. you learn to be patient with tons of documents, make sense of numbers and charts. all geeky stuff. this is my story, behind the scenes.
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