Category Archives: philosophy

Score One For The Ladies

Watched the eagerly anticipated “Mad Max: Fury Road” at the cinema recently. Thoroughly enjoyed it. In fact, the Kid and I liked it so much we went back for a second viewing last weekend.

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What did I like about the film?

1) the cinematography was astounding. The film was shot on location mainly in the Namibian desert. Never since the original Star Wars trilogy (the ones with Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford) have I seen a film where the backdrop is a star in its own right. The most haunting scene for me was the one at night where the war rig passes through a desolate area, deserted but for some dead, twisted trees, crows and strange human figures walking on all fours on stilts. Shot with a blue filter, nonetheless. Very Daliesque indeed.

2) the soundtrack was great and in keeping with the action. I’ve watched films that suffered greatly from having an insipid soundtrack. These days there are plenty of talented composers out there clamouring to score for a blockbuster movie, so it’s nice to see relative newcomer Tom Holkenborg a.k.a Junkie XL being given the Mad Max honour. I especially liked how the action was able to incorporate and utilise to great effect a vehicle full of drum-banging war boys and most spectacularly a scarlet-clad, rictus-faced musician on a double-necked, electric guitar that also doubled as a flame thrower. There’s a fight scene towards the end, where this hapless guitarist becomes a yo-yo, literally.

3) the film showed how women were treated as worse than animals or slaves in Mad Max’s post-apocalyptic world. How they were literally milked like cows. Used as “breeders” to provide healthy children to the brutal warlord Immortan Joe. There is a scene where Immortan Joe runs to the vault where he keeps his favourite beautiful “breeders”, only to find them gone, and messages painted on the walls and floor of the prison reading “We Are Not Things”, “Our Babies Will Not Be Warlords” and “You Do Not Own Us”. Charlize Theron plays Imperator Furiosa, a trusted war rig driver tasked to deliver Mothers’ Milk to Gas City down a straight road in the desert, in exchange for gasoline…who decides to help 5 of Immortan Joe’s “breeders” escape. Herself a branded slave taken from her home at a young age, Furiosa takes her war rig off the road and heads east, towards the Green Place, her homeland. Immortan Joe and all his war boys set off in pursuit to bring back the “breeders”.

What ensues is basically a road trip on steroids. Warring factions try to take the war rig for its milk and an extra pod of fuel. Immortan Joe’s war boys all try to stop the war rig and bring back the 5 beautiful damsels hiding within it. Mad Max, played by Tom Hardy, has been living in a cage at Immortan Joe’s Citadel, used as a bloodbag to feed ailing warboys. Nux, played by Nicholas Hoult, is an ambitious war boy dying a slow death due to 2 huge tumours growing out of his neck. When Nux hears that everyone is going after Imperator Furiosa, he decides to join the chase. Only, he needs Mad Max’s blood, so he takes him along on the road. And that is how Mad Max enters the Fury Road story.

I loved how the film showed that you just can’t put a good woman down. I felt it empowered women and cast them as strong, fearless, resilient and resourceful. In times of desperation, all the girls worked together. In one powerful scene, just when Immortan Joe is about to shoot Furiosa in the cab of her war rig, one of his “breeders, the heavily pregnant Splendid Angharad, played magnificently by model-actress Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, swings open the door of the car and stands defiantly in Immortan Joe’s line of fire, thwarting him and daring him to kill her and his impending offspring.

As for Furiosa herself, she’s more than capable of tackling any man that dares threaten her or her precious human cargo. Single-handedly, no less. And I mean that literally, as Furiosa is a one-armed warrior woman. After a few tussles with both Mad Max and Nux, she decides to trust them and uses them to help get them all across the forbidding desert to the Green Place. Which doesn’t exist anymore, much to everyone’s dismay, but that makes for the latter half of the film, the return to Citadel, to take it from Immortan Joe.

On one hand is Immortan Joe’s colony of people with terrible mutations and birth defects, living a violent life where dying in war is the way to enter Valhalla. Immortan Joe controls the Citadel’s water supply, which he turns on when he feels like it. He tells his people not to get addicted to water. And only gives them enough to survive. Milking Mothers are what his human “cows” are called, hooked up to breast pumps just like cows, and their milk stored and used for nourishment or as items for barter and trade.

On the other hand there’s the Vuvalinis’ attempts to preserve and restore Mother Nature’s bounty, in the middle of a desert wasteland. The Vuvalinis are the tribe of warrior women that Furiosa comes from. They and Furiosa reunite in the desert, and the young ladies are warmly welcomed. Later, the Keeper of the Seeds shows one of the “breeders”, The Dag, a large bag containing seeds, and tells her they contain the future, if only there was any good soil to plant them in. The Dag inherits this bag when the Keeper dies, and takes it with her when they return triumphantly to the Citadel. Where there is ample water and hydroponics, and Hope.

Women as Custodians of the Earth, Men as Destroyers.

There was some outcry from some Men’s Activist groups, who called for viewers to boycott the film, calling it a “feminist piece of propaganda masquerading as a guy flick” https://au.movies.yahoo.com/news/a/27915332/men-s-rights-activists-urge-mad-max-fury-road-boycott/. They felt the film was more of a vehicle for Charlize Theron’s Furiosa, rather than Tom Hardy’s Mad Max. Ummm, Duh! The title “Fury Road” should have been a giveaway from the start?

It IS Mad Max’s story. But it is also Furiosa’s story. And for a while, it was Their Story, they made an awesome team. Neither of their stories end, instead they go separate ways: Furiosa, into the Citadel to forge a new future for her people, and Max, into the sunset to feature in the next Mad Max adventure.

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We Are Born, We Live, We Die

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We Are Born
We Live
We Die
Everything in between
Is what matters

So
Make It Count

Everything we do
Affects everything else
Ripples in the water
No pebble on the beach
Stands alone – we are All connected

As a Single being
We are weak
But as a Collective
There is great Power and Strength
In Us

Power to do Good
Power to create Change
Power to Influence and Lead
Power to make this world
The Paradise it should be

We are Born
We Live
We Die
Everything in between
Is what matters

So
Make It Count

AlyZen Moonshadow

The Power of Positive Thinking

I always try to stay positive and happy. Eckhart Tolle teaches that there is no past or future, there is only the present. There is only Now. And if we choose to be happy, then we are happy. So, if we choose Happiness Now, and remain rooted in the present, then we shall remain in a state of constant happiness. No “Pursuit of Happiness” required.

Don Miguel Ruiz, in his Four Agreements, teaches that something is a problem only if we allow it to be. And something can only affect us if we take it personally. So, I try not to take things personally. And I try to see opportunities instead of obstacles, solutions instead of problems.

However, it isn’t always easy. There will always be some people who, wrapped up in their own tangled web of worries and concerns, will drag you down to their level and zap the Spirit right out of you. It’s emotionally and mentally exhausting to go through that, I can tell you! These people have a problem for every solution, an obstacle for every opportunity. Their heads are screwed on upside down. And there is no point telling them anything different, because they have already made up their minds that they are right, and you are wrong.

It takes me a full day to recover psychically from these “Attacks of Negativity”. I’m left feeling drained and need a whole day to recharge myself with positive vibes. It’s also hard to Not take things personally, especially when you are being attacked on a personal level. At times like these, being in the Now can be excruciating.

Yesterday was one of those days. So I turned to my old haunt, Google Images, for quotes about Positivity and Happiness, to help me heal.

Here are my favourites:

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Favourite Quotes

Just a collection of my favourite quotes, curated from my Pinterest board, “Inspirational Thoughts”.

imageThis is so true. I never know how a piece of my Art will turn out, until it’s finished. But I know that if I let my self-doubt win, I would never even be able to start that project.

imageActually, my list is very short. I’m lucky enough to be able to do what I love, Art, on a daily basis. Everything else is a bonus.

imageIf you don’t take that first step, your Journey will never begin. The first step is always the hardest. What if I fall? Ahhh..but what if I fly?

imageI believe in empowering my fellow women, that is why I always encourage and support them, and never think about bringing them down. Why would I? Women are Awesome!

imageI believe we all owe ourselves the responsibility to stand up for justice and equality. Change must begin from within ourselves first, before it can affect the world outside. More people need to wake up to this realisation.

imageSmall minds want you to be just like them, and to stay with them at their level. They can’t bear to see you succeed or move on upwards, so they will endeavour to bring you down to their level by belittling everything you do. Don’t allow this!

imageEven Sylvia Plath suffered from self-doubt at the best of times. The question “What am I doing, why am I doing it, am I any good at it?” is forever on the minds of great creatives. Forget about what others think, just do it for yourself. If You like it, it’s good enough.

imageThis is so true. But there are also “Commercial” artists whose job is simply to churn out piece after piece of art, a la “Painting By Numbers”, to satisfy consumers. Such as commercial Art by Chinese artists for the home decor market. And then there are also artists who deliberately create controversial or expensive art, just to make a statement. Or artists who hire underlings to mix their paints and fill in prepared templates, in order to mass-produce “Art”. So, caveat emptor!

imageWords to live by. We can change the world, if we ALL pulled together, put our differences and egos aside, and really tried. Let’s do it!

imageI love this – the layered background, the turquoise colour, the sentiment. The world is as wonderful as you allow it to be.

Mother’s Day 2015

Happy Mother’s Day to those countries celebrating it on Sunday 10th May 2015. Happy Mother’s Day to my own Mum. And to my 2 grandmothers, both sadly departed, and to my Mother-in-Law, also sadly departed.

I’ve curated some Mother’s Day quotes from good ole Google Images, just to share them here with you. No soppy roses and run-of-the-mill off-the-shelf sentiments here, but a deeper understanding of what it means to be a Mother.

I’m off to celebrate with The Kid today, by Abandoning some handmade bookmarks on the foreshore, and having a look at Rockingham’s “Castaways” sculpture on the beach exhibition. Followed by lunch at the Hog’s Breath Cafe at noon, with a complimentary Mother’s Day slice of Mississippi Mudcake that I’ll let him have. So that is why today’s post is extra early, in the morning instead of after 3pm.

I can’t believe my Jack is turning 13 this Halloween. He is the reason I get to celebrate Mother’s Day, without him there would be no cause for me. In fact, come to think of it, every day is Mother’s Day for me, as we are best friends and confidantes, and we go to the cinema together and have lunch or dinner dates. Or go cycling around town and chill at Baskin-Robbins, eating ice cream. In summertime, we hang out in our swimming pool, diving for rings and doing flips and just chatting. I drag him along to Art Abandonment drop-offs, to ComicCon and SupaNova “geek” conventions. I take him along to my favourite Malaysian restaurant in the city, Papparich, even though he doesn’t like spicy food (he has chicken nuggets and chips there, while I enjoy my chicken curry and beef rendang with rice). We tackle the dreaded Homework together, as if we’re playing the arcade game “Whack-A-Mole”. I listen to his grumbles and emphatise with his various complaints about bullies at school. I fix the squeaks and creaks in his bike…when you can’t find the WD40, dishwashing liquid works just as well. I nag him to tidy up his room (still working on that winning formula). He fills my life with all the little extra chores that I would normally not have to do, that eat away at my “me” time.

I would not have it any other way. Being Jack’ Mother enriches my life. Being a full-time Mother is the hardest job ever, and I haven’t a clue what I’m doing or even if I’m doing it right, I just make it up as we go along. You don’t get paid a single cent in money, the salary is zero. But you get paid with lots of Love instead. And lots of hugs and kisses. And giggles and laughter, as well as tears and tantrums. I love it!

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WAKING UP – over 30 FREE Audio Sessions

Just sharing this with anyone who feels like they’re undergoing a spiritual transformation, or awakening. If you’ve been feeling out of sorts with the world, thinking there’s so much wrong out there and nobody’s doing anything to help sort it. If you’re wanting to do something to improve your life and the lives of others, that doesn’t involve money or material goods. If you know there’s something missing in your life or that you should be doing but just can’t put your finger on it. If lately you’ve been experiencing flu-like symptoms or feeling tired but the doctor says you’re fine. If you start feeling disconnected from the daily grind of life and feel there should be more to Life than working, paying bills and dying. If you suddenly feel like what you knew and believed in or followed in the past now no longer holds meaning for you. If you are starting to realise and are willing to accept that perhaps you were wrong in your past beliefs and lifestyle choices and it is time to change that around completely. If you’re beginning to see past the lies, subterfuge and fabrication put out to the populace by mainstream media. If an event or circumstance make you feel your eyes have been opened to the real truth. If you are just beginning your search for that elusive something in your life.

All these, and much more, are the symptoms of Waking Up. Everyone has their own way or time of spiritual awakening. Some are resistant to it, others are not even aware of it. Others choose to ignore it as poppycock New Age nonsense. Those that have Woken Up know that you can’t Wake someone else up, they have to realise they’ve been sleepwalking their whole lives, and want to wake up themselves.

Waking Up is not a one-time event, it happens gradually and evolves over time; like a tree, once the seed is planted and roots take hold, the first shoots appear and then eventually a sapling grows which matures into a tree. Flowers bloom, die, bloom again.

We are all on our personal Journeys. Everyone’s story is unique and different.
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If you’re the least bit curious about what this all means, then simply register with Sounds True and avail yourself of over 30 FREE Audio Sessions with the world’s leading spiritual teachers and speakers during the entire month of May this year. My favourite teacher is Eckhart Tolle , whose book “A New Earth” was what woke me up last year.

Here’s the blurb about the audio sessions, taken from the Sounds True link:

A growing number of people are beginning to see things in a radically different way. In other words, more and more of us are starting to “wake up” spiritually—to discover an entirely new identity beyond the usual sense of who we think we are.
But what is spiritual awakening, really? How does it happen—and what are the consequences? Is it possible to attune to this dimension of experience at any moment?

In Waking Up, Sounds True publisher and founder Tami Simon speaks with over 30 of today’s leading authors and teachers who will share their personal understanding of spiritual awakening—how it takes place, what changes (and what doesn’t), and how their experiences can inspire and inform our own realization.

Here’s that link again. Please do visit and listen to at least one or two of the speakers. You never know where that may lead you.

Knights in Rusty Armour

Yes, you, I’m talking to you, and you
You all know who you are
And you all know what you are
Yet you choose not to face up to it
…maybe another day
Sweep everything under the carpet
Deal with it later, alligator,
In a while, crocodile
I’ll be with you in a minute
..maybe she’ll forget?

When you want something
You can’t get it fast enough
You’ll move mountains to get it
No obstacle is too much of a hurdle
But when you’re not sure
Teetering on Maybe/No
Then no excuse is too great
I’ve heard everything under the Sun
(Yes, this poem is full of clichés
Don’t I know it!)

Oh, you have to go clean your car?
Your house needs tidying up?
Visitors coming unexpectedly?
You’re too tired?
Not in the mood?
Pissed and broke?
I’d love to, but I’m busy
Tomorrow, maybe, I promise?
I just have to do this one thing
And then I’ll be with you?
Oh, sorry, something else came up
I’m going to have to bail.

Yes, No, Maybe
I don’t know
You sure blow hot and cold
Like an emotionally unavailable
See saw, Margery Daw
If you can’t deliver
Then don’t make promises
If you can’t make the effort
Then take a hike
If you can’t stay on the path
Then don’t set out on the journey
If you can’t stand the heat
Then stay out of the kitchen
If you can’t tell the truth
Then keep your mouth shut
If you can’t finish something
Then don’t bother starting
Faint heart never won fair maiden.

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Apathy Must Die

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I was once in a class where the lecturer asked for the meaning of Apathy. No one answered, so I put my hand up and said “Don’t know, don’t care”. Which was funny and also ironic at the same time.

But now, as I’ve grown older (and more mature, I hope!), I see that my flippant reply may have been rooted in ignorance and naivety.

Why? Because Apathy is the greatest weapon of mass destruction the world has ever seen. Never mind wars or crime – what you don’t stop, will continue. What you ignore, you condone. What you don’t speak out against, you approve of by default.

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Jane Goodall stood up for primates. And it’s thanks to people like her (and Dian Fossey) that wild primates and gorillas even have a future today. Someone has to care, otherwise these creatures will go the way of the black rhinoceros.

So, take up a cause or a dozen. Fight against injustice, cruelty, greed, oppression, discrimination. There are hundreds of just causes out there. You just have to care.

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There is really no excuse for anyone to say “But I’m just one person, how can I make a difference?” Because you Can. Look at the image above…what do you think will happen if you, and all the other “little people” refuse to listen to the voice of insanity, and just leave?

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Some may consider the works and words of Dr Seuss childish and aimed for an audience under the age of 6. But in reality, just like the stories of Winnie The Pooh by A.A Milne and my favourite, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, there are many, many nuggets and gems of good Life’s Lessons to be learnt from them.

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The sad thing is, most of society today have been conditioned by TV advertisements, billboards, the internet, radio etc to do only one thing – BUY. Consumerism is the biggest occupation or pre-occupation on earth, subscribed to by 90% of the population. We go about our daily lives purchasing things that we hope will make our lives more fulfilled…not realising that material things will never fill an emotional void. We ignore what goes on behind the scenes – slave labour, child labour, sweatshop scenarios, etc etc etc, or, if we are not ignorant of that, we convince ourselves that all that suffering is for the greater good.

You wouldn’t buy a Blood Diamond, would you, where innocent lives are killed for the sake of increasing the wealth of a few uber-powerful families? So why do you queue up around the block to buy the latest Apple iPhone?

Yes, the gleaming skyscrapers of Dubai are wonderful feats of architecture. I’ve always wanted to visit that city for its buildings. But recently I found out, to my utter horror, exactly how these wonders of the modern world are constructed. Slave labour. That’s how. Here’s Wikipedia’s entry about it, there are dozens more articles about this atrocity.

Imagine thousands of foreign workers from poor countries enticed by false promises of good pay, job prospects, clean housing…and when they arrive, their passports are taken away from them, they are forced to live 12 to a room in hovels, forced to drink unclean, salty water, forced to work up to 16 hours a day in the searing desert heat, for mere cents.

And up above, in the dreaming spires, a few thousand feet closer to heaven, the rich and beautiful flaunt their wares and eat, drink and make merry. Without a care about the plight of the people who built the very floor they stand on.

Ask yourself – in a city that is so full of wealth, where millionnaires abound, why must their buildings be based on the sweat and blood of poorly paid servants? Can these millionnaire Sheikhs not afford to pay their workers more for their labour? Oh, don’t tell me they’re too poor to afford a few dollars more per hour per worker, too poor to provide clean and hygienic housing, too poor to provide desalinated drinking water?

And what are we doing about this? People say these rich Arab countries are too powerful to go up against. So must we just accept the bullying that goes on? Or must we speak out and continue to speak out, until our collective voices are too many to be stilled? I’m speaking now.

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Another great quote by a great man. Ignorance is not bliss. Neither is Apathy. If you want to see a change, you must first BE the change. Even if you think your voice is too small to be heard, speak out anyway. Someone will hear you. Someone will agree with you. Someone will show you the way.

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And we stand by and watch wars being fabricated by governments, in the pursuit of material gains (oil, diamonds, minerals), and swallow the false background stories they dish out to us?? Why??

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It happened in Plato’s time. It happened in our grandparents’ time, our parents’ time. It is happening to us now. And it will continue to happen unless we stop it.

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This quote is by far the most powerful I’ve come across. And it is by the most hated man on earth. But it is 100% accurate. We are like the proverbial frogs in a pot of slowly boiling water. If we don’t take action now, it may be too late. And sadly, for a lot of people, Apathy has already won.

Remember, what you allow, continues.

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I will leave you with this quote I found on Google, that made me smile and at the same time acknowledge its double-edged sharpness.

Feminist Quotes

Following on from my post yesterday about being a Feminist, here are some quotes I found on Google Images.

Some will make you laugh. Others will make you think. All are relevant to understanding the importance of women being understood and acknowledged as being equals of men.

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I am a Feminist

I was talking to a friend the other day, and I asked this question:

“Why do men always think that if a woman is well-travelled then she’s slept her way around? Why does sex always have to be involved? Can’t men like and admire a woman for her intellect and wit?”

(I should frame this question within its context: I have moved 22 times in 44 years, and I have lived in 6 different countries. I have worked as a Piano tutor, retail assistant, Music Teacher, Library Assistant, administrative assistant, Social Security Officer, Executive Officer and Higher Executive Officer for 2 different Government bodies, and Customer Services Representative for 2 different banks. The countries I have lived in are: Malaysia, Singapore, England, Spain, Ireland and Australia).

This friend, who happens to be male, insinuated that only Feminists think that way, and that not all men think of women as sex objects. (If so, why does he keep making sexist jokes at my expense? Why did he insult me by implying that the reason I moved around so much was because I worked as a prostitute, perhaps?) Joke, right? NO. I not only felt greatly insulted by his remark, I felt unclean, like he was undressing me with his eyes, and I was just a sexual object to be toyed with and not a real person.

Well, I am no Barbie doll.

What my friend was saying is that Feminists hate men and blame everything on them. A statement which is NOT true. That is Misandry (female misogyny). Also, I don’t hate men or blame them for everything – I love the idea of an ideal Man, who is loving, intelligent, kind, generous with his time and money, supportive, fun, adventurous, who knows how to treat a Woman as his equal and at other times places her high on a pedestal to worship at her feet. For a man like that, I would happily reciprocate each and every ideal).

Trouble is, I have yet to meet such a man.

The quote that “What Man Does Not Understand, He Fears, And What He Fears, He Destroys” springs to mind, when wondering why Men have suppressed and oppressed Women for millennia. And yet, despite all Man’s efforts, Woman has survived.

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I never thought of myself as a Feminist until now. My friend’s misconception has led me to read up on what Feminism stands for.

And, rather than think of Feminism as a dirty word, as some men will have you believe, I choose to embrace it, as it simply means I choose to stand for and with my sisters all over the world.

So yes, I am a Feminist, and proud of it. You can throw your sexist remarks at me and make jokes about my gender, but I am Woman, hear me roar!