Seeing

Do you know the story of the blind boy and his sign? He sits on the steps of a building with a hat and a sign which reads, ‘I am blind, please help’. There are only a few coins in the hat; spare change from folks as they hurry past. A man walking by, drops a few coins, but then takes the sign, turns it around and writes some words before leaving. Soon the hat begins to fill up. A lot more people are giving money to the blind boy. When the man who changed the sign returns, the boy recognises his footsteps and asks, “Were you the one who changed my sign this morning? What did you write?” The man says, “I wrote what you said but in a different way.” ’Today is a beautiful day, but I cannot see it.’ Both signs speak the truth. The first simply say the boy is blind, while the second conveys to everyone walking by how grateful they should be to see…

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Gratitude

A couple who has been together close to twenty years, who will be celebrating their anniversary this week, asked if I could pen a few words on gratitude. They call their celebration ‘an evening of Gratitude for all that we have’. I am honoured but am I in a position to say anything? What do I understand of, what are my experiences in, let alone write about this thing called gratitude?

Have you heard of the ‘Mosquito Principal’? As you get ready for bed, you notice your room infested with mosquitos. You take a fly swatter and by some miracle you are able to kill all but one lone pesky mosquito. Chances are you will still be bothered by that one mosquito. If there are 30 mosquitoes and you exterminate 29 of them, you will be on edge until you resolve the last one.

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Mulan

It is much anticipated. Even before the first trailer aired. A Western studio’s interpretation of a Chinese folklore. Disney, no less. With its 1998 animated version to boot. When was the last time there was such a similar ‘big movie’? Ang Lee’s ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’? There was also Zhang Yimou’s ‘Hero’. Both are decades ago. Zhang directed ‘The Great Wall’ recently.

There is a warm appeal about ‘Mulan’. A Chinese female warrior. The trailers are flavourful aperitif with glimpses of Donnie Yen, Gong Li, gorgeous sets, sweeping actions. And Chinese speaking clear, concise, simple English for all to understand. Something that may not necessarily be an appeal for audiences in the East. Talk about simple. Does it need to be this simple?

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Good Morning!

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This morning, on a whim, I decided to say Good Morning to various friends via a Whatsapp message. While I did, I channeled the image of seeing each of them in person, and felt the warmth of such a simple morning greeting. The simple response was a return greeting. A doctor friend asked if I was well. I said I just felt like saying Good Morning. He knew I was going through a trying time on a few film projects and wished I was doing better. A chiropractor friend greeted me then added, anything? Another friend with whom we are collaborating on a project, greeted me followed by an apology that he hadn’t gotten back on an outstanding matter. I said my greeting wasn’t work related, just saying Good Morning. A friend residing in Hong Kong sent me a video of him and his son just finishing a water sport by the beach. A slice of his blessed life. Some just woke up, some said hi and needed to go back to whatever they were doing. And there were those when this simple Good Morning paved the way for an ensuing conversation, picking up where we last dropped off. Then one friend told me he had a mild stroke sometime back. I also discovered a friend’s parent passed on. On this Saturday, I see how the simplicity and sincerity of a Good Morning is a window to the diverse lives of people in our circle…

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A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood

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I finally watched ‘A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood’. I don’t know anything about this film, except having an impression that it might be a cross between Pee-wee Herman and Sesame Street, perhaps with the quirkiness of a Tim Burton movie. The look of the film is deliberately colour-saturated and dated. I don’t know what to expect, and before pressing the play button on Netflix, there was a sense of hesitation combined with a come-what-may resignation. Even though I know this movie has won over some cynical critics and Tom Hanks was nominated for an academy award for his performance, I half expect to stop watching after a few minutes. But I continued watching. So Tom Hanks plays Mister Rogers, Fred Rogers, the iconic children’s TV host who is kindness, decency and patience personified. There is something potentially too on the nose about casting Hanks who is Hollywood’s nicest man as Mister Rogers. It is. Until it isn’t.

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