Four Feet Under — A perspective contains life

With Haruki Murakami’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, waiting for the bus turns into a curious investigation about the narrator’s life, who previously worked in a law firm and never liked his job. I was the only one sitting on the bench. Shortly, a guy came with two big bag of collected bottles. His hair greasy, his hand slightly shaking, his clothes dirty and smelly a bit, and he is stunningly skinny. That’s all I could collect as the tell-tale information about this guy before he starts to talk.

He opened a bottle, drinking avidly. Seconds up, I found myself not really reading Murakami.

“Excuse me ?” He said to me, in the meanwhile, taking tobacco out of his back pocket, trembling.

“Yes?” I answered.

“Sprichst du Deutsch?” (Do you speak German?) As asking, he seems to offer me his tobacco.

I shook my head, hoping not to get involved in the conversation, and certainly I don’t have any lighter.

“Do you speak English? ” He smiled and asked again in a nearly perfect English accent. His voice low and reserved.

“Yes.” I answered.

“Can I smoke here? ” He asked me.

“Yes.” I answered.

He smiled, and said “I just want to know, do you mind if I could smoke here?”

Here? In an open-air bus stop with nobody around? No-one has ever asked me this question before. Or no-one cares about it. Wait a sec. Does he want to start a pick-up conversation by saying that? I thought, waiting for the next question. There was nothing. He started to smoke.

It was pleasant for me to be asked, to be considered. It was a quite gentleman gesture to ask, but on the other hand, I was judging him by his appearance. Perhaps, he is homeless, drunk and not polite. No, he might be none of those.

Getting on the bus, I started to think about a crowdfunding project I backed month ago — Four Feet Under. A crowdfunding book project on Unbound, non-fiction. The author collects stories from homeless people in London, taking photos of them, getting to know them, telling their stories. Haven’t read the whole book yet, but I know that among them, there are business man, orphan, and so on. The title comes from their perspective, meaning that they see the world from “Four Feet Under“. But aren’t we all are, sometimes? We judge people from four feet under? We judge them by brand, clothes, professions, social status? Is “Four Feet Under” their perspective or ours?

It was always my dream to talk to homeless people, regardless where. I knew they all like us, carrying stories, burying pains. But I never have done so. Not sure what’s the reason. It could be a lack of courage, or simply couldn’t careless. Things and thoughts got buried easily by time. The author did what I have always wanted. Hoping to read it soon.

(This post is not sponsored by the crowdfunding project Four Feet Under. Simply some personal thoughts.)

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Happy ending or happy editing?

img_1882I have never been a big fan of any zoos. As a kid, zoos are more like a stinky place to go, and the animals are either not moving or too far to see. I especially remember one panda in the zoo in my city, reached a pretty old recordable age — thirty six if I’m not mistaken — always had his/her butt to the fans, admirers or visitors. I was not amused. Zoos in China never cultivate me any enthusiasm about caring animals, the myth of them and so on, rather, I name the stuffed animals every time I got after the zoo visiting. You know, just to make them human, and create a happy ending.

But today, “culling” as a keyword stuck into my mind after reading the article in New Yorker “Killing Animals at the Zoo“. I didn’t know about it, that they are killing healthy animals in the name of culling, and when Parker writes the reason to kill the healthy male giraffe is “genetically unnecessary”, I felt the coldness of words, of how human brain works. The logic! I saw machines that made by people, functioning. Surely as they state, surplus animals could be exchanged but there is no fairy-tale world, once there is the birth, there is the death. But did the baby Marius got the right to choose his euthanised death? No. Genetical engineers had it. It reminds me an article also from New Yorker I read years ago, it was about an institution called BGI in China, I think, about genes and research. Is it really soon that we could edit life and death, starting the practice from animals?

On the other hand, there is a public dissection including school kids. While the newly wed are talking about how to educate their future children about where do they come from or about death, kids are displayed with dismembering a dead animal scene. Yes, it’s a more direct introduction. Is it good ? Maybe Danish people are right, as the first country to legalise pornography. They are as open as we could ever imagine, but still, I hold my opinion on it. Being exposed to such an act, even with the purest scientific purpose, the seed of cruelty could emerge and grow. Is it because “science” has been unlimited exaggerated, and “feelings” have been neglected? Maybe a balance could be better.

More and more often, I see photos on a Chinese media mobile portal from car accidents suicide sites and so on, bloody photos have been published with few blurs. When these have been normalised by the media, people’s gonna “tolerant” more bloody photos or scenes. It’s like a training. And once the education is missing in this specific part, it is not a promising road.

Somehow, I still believe in happy endings, and this is under the condition of knowing there could be as much cruelty as I don’t know in the world. I still feel cold-blooded toward the words “genetically unnecessary”, when rare and precious in the mammals world is the top priority, they could edit a precious giraffe, and kill the un-wanted ones, what if once again, we think Hitler is unique, will the moral boundaries be set up towards it?

After Watching I AM. Shimon Peres

He was so wise and humorous. Fortunately to watch this documentary, well done. So many words, hard to compose, but every time hearing Mr. Shimon Peres, there are inspirations and continuous life spirit. It will probably continue.

This documentary is successful to tell us, each one of us came to this world with a mission. A mission could be large as a statesman serving his country, a mission could also be as trivia as finding the simplest happiness while sitting under a tree alongside with a wild flower.

Nowadays, people with the smallest ego could brag their ambitions as shallow as they just want to be famous and remembered by, without knowing that life is and will always be a myth, not all the smallest achievement in people’s lives could be interpreted as a potential to change the world. No! Start to reflect on oneself, start to experience and be objective.

From the beginning, and maybe even mid-way of the life, we may still not know what is the mission of our life, but gradually we will. We could walk with the mission until the end, or could choose not to notice and get by. Once I was told, she believes that everyone comes to this world in order to learn lessons. Simple. Just to learn lessons. But how passive it is! How defensive it is. Perhaps in life, there are more things we could encounter rather than lessons, apparently, we could sense, feel, see, appreciate and live!

There is mission, then, there will be sacrifice. People hardly have both. The documentary also reveals Peres and his wife Sonia’s private life. Sonia decided not to accompany him to live in the President Residence as well as been buried separately. Surely, Peres certainly confirmed love and faith, but also, more importantly, there is the free choice. As a free person, people choose over their own free wills. How fantastic!

The documentary also reveals political events from certain point of view, as an always hot-debated issue, Middle East, Israel and Palestine can hardly be decided over a plain simple sentence. The focus is not the political correctness in a controversial region, it is the person, who remained in the politics, won all the medals of the world, read hours per day, kept working until the last moment of his life. Maybe, that could be the lesson we learn.

Check out “I Am. Shimon Peres” on Netflix

https://www.netflix.com/title/80064348?s=i