Thursday, March 29, 2007

of pragmatics and my parents

Recently, I’ve gotten to understand my parents better from what they say from my elang module Pragmatics, Ethnopragmatics in particular. For the non-elangers, practically all of you, pragmatics is the study of language that is used in conversations, i.e. what a speaker really means when he/she says something. Ethnopragmatics will then be the study of conversations in the context of different ethnics or cultures.

This is something from one of my readings by the Jewish writer Sholom Aleichem:

There are as many types of curses as there are people cursing, but the hardest to explain is the mother cursing her child. The child may be crying because he is hungry. The mother bursts out, ‘Eat, eat, eat. All you want to do is eat. May the worms eat you. May the earth open up and swallow you alive.’ This mother loves her child, she is only pouring out the bitterness that’s in her heart in the only way she knows. But in translation she sounds like a monster. (Butwin, 1958:9)

As the translator’s comment shows, reading stories can be an exercise in crosscultural communication—and it can involve miscommunication. If on the basis of cultural practices that a given piece of literature reflects we can formulate some rules of interpretation, we can help to minimize such miscommunication and build crosscultural bridges between readers and writers. In the case of Jewish culture whose vehicle was Yiddish, we can propose, inter alia, the following rule of interpretation:

when people say something like this to someone:
‘‘I want something very bad to happen to you’’

they can want to say something like this with these words:
‘‘when I think about you now I feel something bad’’

Formulated from the Yiddish speaker’s point of view, the cultural script in question might read:

if I feel something very bad when I think about someone
I can say something like this to this person:
‘‘I want something very bad to happen to you’’

When I was younger, ok, not that much younger, I used to cry myself silly when my parents said hurtful things. I've since realised that they don't really mean such horrible words. Rather, it's part of their chinese mindset/culture. Sometimes, we yearn to have our parents or loved ones tell us they love us and all things nice, like what we watch on tv. But what we expect from them is akin to asking them change their skin colour.

In Chinese culture, the only way Chinese know how to express a warning is by saying something like this:

When I feel bad for you,
I say something like this:
This very bad thing will happen to you.

In essence, they just want you to know that this "bad thing" will happen if you continue being naughty/ rebellious, which is something they hope won't happen to you.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

this brought a smile immediately to my face:

The OST of My Name is Kim Sam Soon, on someone's iTunes while I sit in SMC to finish up a paper. I absolutely love this show. And yes, in case you were wondering. It's another Korean drama.

Other than the obvious fact that the lead actor is ohsohot. It's a story of this plump 30 year old woman, with a horrible name to boot, (Kim Sam Soon.. don't ask me what's wrong with this name. I've no idea) who falls in love with her restaurant-owner boss. And vice versa may I add. I could gush about this show for a few minutes but greater things call, like my essay.

When I've more time, I'd post pictures of them (and the other hot korean actors I've been catching in the dramas). In my defence, I don't only watch korean dramas with hot guys. There have been shows that the guys didn't catch my fancy, but the plot and humour more than made up for it. According to my mom, she believes the reason for the popularity of Korean dramas across countries is how they have a philosophical approach to love. In fact, I've been giving advice to some friends based on what I watch... haha. Do NOT laugh. I may end up dishing some for you ;p

So, to apply all those theories and concepts I've been essaying about, I think if Singapore wants to export their media, they really have to stick to their culture. No point trying to americanize everything. Stick to Singlish for goodness' sake. And stop trying to erase it from the face of Singapore. It's the only semblance of a culture that we have.

In fact, I love Singaporean films. Many of the films in recent years have been rather astute at depicting Singapore life. Singapore Dreaming has to be one of my favourites. In fact, just now during class, one of the groups presenting showed the trailer of Just Follow Law. Eventhough I'm anti-FannWong (yes, we even share the same surname), that little snippet made me regret not catching it in the cinema... nevermind, I'd rent it next time and watch it together with my family. It's such a Singaporean thing to do. Laugh at the Singlish, laugh at the kiasu and sian attitude of Singaporeans, laugh at how all the beauracracy has rendered us helpless at times...

I've digressed too much. Back to my essay. After today, my sore back and cramped left arm will get a bit more rest... til the next project. heh. oh well.


it's okay.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

a major reason why I've been feeling tired:

I read Revelations 2: 4,5 on mon for QT,

Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.

I had forgotten my first love. The past two months, I had done my QT, sporadically. And, Qt became something to be "done", while it should be quality time treasured with God. So, it was rather timely that melissa emailed this:

Feed on God’s Word Every Day

Matthew 4:4
But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”

The Bible tells us that God breathed into man and he became a living being. (Genesis 2:7) It also tells us that all Scripture is God-breathed. (2 Timothy 3:16, NIV) This means that when you read the Bible or listen to God’s Word preached, you are imbibing the very breath of God which gives you life.

That is why there may have been times you walked into church feeling tired at first, but left at the end of the service feeling refreshed and energised — God’s Word had breathed life into your body! I have also seen many of our church members becoming healthier, stronger and even younger-looking because they spend time in God’s Word.

It is no wonder that Proverbs 4:22 tells us that God’s words are “life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh”. So if you are under the weather or if symptoms are attacking your body, double up on God’s medicine. Simply feed on God’s Word even more, and you will find life and health flowing through your body again.

Jesus said that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. If it is important to eat our meals every day, how much more feeding on God’s Word. Jesus tells us that we need God’s Word even more than our daily “bread”. He made us, so He knows best what our bodies need daily.

So whatever you do, remember to get your daily feeding of God’s Word. Read your Bible in the comfort of your home or in the office during your lunch break. Play sermon CDs while driving to work or doing household chores. If you prefer something more visual, watch DVDs on the preaching of His Word. Choose whichever form you prefer, but get His Word into you!

Beloved, you cannot live when you stop breathing. In the same way, you cannot live without the Word because it is the very breath of God which gives you life and health!

This reminds me of yesterday's lala-kairos cg. WX had come from cg absolutely tired. He practically had the words: "I just finished essay and boy am I exhuasted" written on his face. But after cg, Ps Jabez commented, "WX, your countenance has changed. You know why? You came for cg!". Yes, tis true. Nothing beats feeding on the living word of God.

Monday, March 19, 2007

One of the things that keeps me very awake.

Coke light or Diet Coke.

Ruth introduced it to me at night cycling last year. I had (stupidly) left my bottle to sit at matt's home. And of course we had to cycle the entire night. And I was really thirsty. I drank a bit and realised it tasted better than all the hype.

And seeing ruth now and then means seeing her, usually, with a can or bottle of Coke light.

I just burped last 5 times. To try and not make burping sounds, yet burp. PAINFUL. gosh. all those gas. bah. But it keeps me awake. My eyes were like tired from all those collecting of data from Singaporean male food-blogs (better known as flogs).

Been told lately by a no. of friends that I look tired. I guess I do. I have been feeling tired. It's been hard to wake up early. And I've not been watching late night korean dramas. ok.fine, I have, save for that one night. To reward myself last tues for doing what I had set out to finish, I finished up the last 2+ episodes of The Wedding. Ohgreatchair and Icantstandnoiseonmybusride were smirking and rolling their eyes when I was recounting the plot to my dear ms.

I paid the price dearly because the next day, I made up by sleeping 12 hours. Doesn't help that I've had a mild (to others' standards. But major to me) pimple breakout. Which I think has to do with me deciding to apply moisturiser with SPF 20 everyday before I step out of the house, because the sun is seriously way too strong. I have henceforth stopped... which is worse: pimples or skin damaged by UV rays. I don't know. Because I can only see the pimples on my forehead now.

Ok, I have digressed. I've gotta go. Was just reminded that I had volunteered my services to compile a project, of which I thought was done by someone else... ta/

Sunday, March 04, 2007

i did bake in the end

orange and butter cupcakes. yummy, with that hint of zest. and brownies for ming. heh.

anyway, there are a few reasons why I take a break from blogging:

1. I am really busy

2. I can also be really lazy

3. I have close to no inspiration.

well, for the past month, it was a combination of the 3, but more so of no inspiration.. if this blog talks about my life and I feel like there's nothing much to say, it's rather telling. It just shows that God and me haven't been that good friends. When life becomes ok and nothing new, I don't have much to right about. So, yup, that pretty much sums up the past month. Stuff have happened. and ya. Now, I'm just tired. But I've got a lot of stuff to say.. which I'd leave for another time, but considering the workload now it'd just not materialize...

Anyway, this just shows how there are times that I can take God for granted and leave Him out of my life, (un)intentionally at times. When I do that, my life suffers, I'd just be numbed to the things around me, and more importantly the Holy Spirit. Things will be ok, and that's about it. close to boring. But that's not because life is boring, it's because I left God out of it.

Yup, anyway, this week was good. Because for some (un)known rason, I got shaken out of it.. and am spending more time with God. Things feel better now;)