London Blast

daily manifestation of thoughts

Reflect on L.O.V.E. and L.I.F.E.

I have never thought about this before. I happened more or less a month ago, and the memories of that night is still vivid over my head. After chatting with Guillem, a guy from Barcelona, I realise how important it is to note down our feelings and journey towards love, or maybe not only love, any minor details in our lives. Writing is a process of self-reflection – you rehearse what has happened again, which will further enhance your memories about your past. In that way, you will never repeat the same mistake again (most probably).

At this point, I sit down at my favorite coffee shop – Costa Coffee – located at the busiest and touristy Oxford Street. I am very inspired to record every significant moment and conversation . I am sorry about my past – because of my laziness, I tended not to write anything about it. So, basically they are ALL gone. I am trying to re-capture my history. I hope it works.

Recently I took more initiative to meet my new friends. For the last week, I had hang out or dinner plans with my friends, my schedule was pretty packed. After having settled with my Sri Lanka visa from Monday to Wednesday. I sent text to my friends and invited them for dinner and chat. I am really proud of myself, trying to arrange meetings with Dutch girl Martine, Italian guy Giovani, Catalun guy Guillem and Middle East scholar Simon.

Wednesday, Spanish dinner at Cafe Spanish near Piccadilly Circus with an Italian guy Giovani;
Thursday, Cuban dinner at Cuba Libre near Angel Station with Simon;
Friday, girls cooking night with Bunmi and Ailsa at Isambard;
Saturday, house ‘mini’ party at Spanish guy Guillem’s place near Arsenal Station.
Sunday, time with God.

Looking at my packed schedule, I would say I am getting increasingly sociable. I am willing to take one step further to have inspiring conversation with friends. Throughout the process, I showed interest to discuss deeper topics with friends. I should write separate posts for each dinner, because they all deserve to be remembered. These are my final months staying in London – I am planning to feel like a Londoner.

L.I.F.E. is good

After having a long day at the United Nations Forum, enough discussion and reflection on the nuclear weapons and structure of the UN. The entire day was truly amazing. I then went to Covent Garden – one of my favorite places in London. I sat down at Smug for a classic green tea yoghurt, while at the same time charging my iphone with my Macbook. Spontaneity is enjoyable. I haven’t planned to go to enjoy myself here in advance. I knew my legs were extremely tired, I still insisted to attend Guillem’s house party. In fact, I talked to him for dinner on Saturday few days in advance, I asked him to have dinner with his Italian flatmate Selena as well. Three of us went to watch the final Euro 2012 near Kings Cross station two weeks ago. At that time, I had an amazing conversation with Selena about environmental protection. She was specialised in marine science, and she dived many times into deep sea to collect marine samples. I was truly impressed by her passion towards the environment. We talked about sustainable development on the train. I expressed my concern for having too many plastic bags and too much consumption on earth.

After I have arrived Guillem’s house, they have started cooking. What surprised me was that Spanish cooking technology – a plastic box which you could simply put all ingredients in it, and it will be done after few minutes cooking in the microwave. The box made me laughed so much. Even though the dinner was simple, it wasn’t taste like truly delicious; I still enjoy my chat with Guillem’s flatmates, Selena and another French guy Arthur. London carries a strong liberal attitude, we are more likely to chat with other “friends” on a wide range of topics. We didn’t think eagerly to discuss on specific topics. Rethinking of my conversations with friends back home, we tended to talk with a narrow scope of things, about movies, celebrities, local news, food and travel.

While drinking glasses of wine, (though we complained the Catalun wine was bad, it just cost $5.99 pounds) we talked about politics in Spain and Italy that the presidents were in power for many years. Selena displayed dissatisfaction towards Berlusconi. Guillem talked about the Spanish miners strike in Madrid. I connected with the idea of the newly elected socialist president Francois Hollande in France. I am filled with European ideas and politics. Our conversation went naturally, it shows the importance of reading more European news, culture, history and language in order to get engaged to different conversations.

Having finished our simple dinner, Guillem suggested to meet his Italian colleague near Bricklane in East London. Of course, I love to meet more new friends. Selena hesitated to join, but in the end she came, that was interesting. Three of us took the bus and walked a long distance to arrive a bar called One Hundred Thousand. As the bar closes at 12pm, we went to the club nearby and ordered a summer drink “Pimm’s”. Amazingly speaking, three of us are the single-child in our families!!

L.O.V.E. is just like a miracle!

On our way back home, Guillem met with his beautiful colleague Priscilla. She has a long blonde hair, wearing long blue coat and obviously her slim and sexy body figure is so perfect. Guillem shared about his admiration of Priscilla to the two of us. It was my first time hearing a guy confessing honestly about his admiration to a girl. Both of us tried our best to give him different advices, since he planned to have a final dinner with Priscilla before she left London in a week.

The main issue is that Priscilla has a boyfriend in Italy, Guillem likes her. In the beginning, I thought he was crazy trying to have a date with her. When the conversation moved on, he simply wanted to display admiration. He wanted to be on her list of special friends or VIPs, and to make her happy. He argued that all girls are happy if guys compliment them with whatever means.

Guillem repeatedly said the encounter with Priscilla and her bunch of friends on the street was a miracle. He struggled to have a drink with them and somehow he blamed Selena and me not taking the move to go for another drink. It was funny that I carried a heavy bag with my Macbook pro, it was frigging heavy that we took turns carrying it.

His admiration towards Priscilla inspired me that we need LOVE in our lives. Perhaps his confession towards Priscilla made me feel safe sleeping in his room for the night. In the morning, he made a simple breakfast – ham and cheese sandwich, with a glass of cold chocolate milk. We discussed further about LOVE. He commented that I am quite reserved towards LOVE while talking about his special girl friend from Barcelona.

During our breakfast time, we talked about our dreams – he planned to do a PhD in corporate communications in Manchester about stakeholders, which is also a project he is working for the company. We also talked about our family that his dad and mom got divorced when he was 12, and the fact that his mom owned a bookshop. I truly enjoyed the openness with him. It was amazing. He talked about a romantic festival on April 23 – Books & Roses Festival. Traditionally, girls give books to guys while in return guys give roses to girls. Very romantic. I was impressed by all these tradition – and Guillem said I am a traditionalist! Yes I could still remember our conversation at the bus stop outside Martine’s house, he told me where he lived  in a an agricultural town near Barcelona.

I still have a lot to write about however it’s time to attend church service at All Souls – give thanks to the Lord for all these memories!

 

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Miracle Rain

So strange. I dream to be a writer, but I have never had the courage to reveal the genuine feelings deep inside me. From today onwards, I should commit myself to take note of my feelings. I don’t know how to reveal my real thoughts, but it used to me in the past, it seems to be the habit of writing has disappeared. All the images, sound and moments are still vivid in my memories, this is the power of human brain. We can still dig into our brain and recall what we have been doing in the past few months, years and so on. I want to tell my friends who are reading this.

Definitely June 22 2012 means a lot to me, but the date should be linked together with June 11 2012. What happened on June 11 caused the memorable night of June 22. It was a rainy day in London. I randomly attended a political seminar about “Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Modern Democracy” at the British Academy. I have never thought my smile at the end of the seminar, and our walk together in the rain would bring us together to the Starbucks coffee nearby at the Picaddily Circus. He might be the one, might be my life partner, might be my lover, who knows?

Perhaps the rain made me so uncomfortable to the extend that I wish I could spend more time to chat with him. Or it was a beautiful excuse. I won this time because he was persuaded to sit down for a cup of warm coffee after the political seminar even it was 8:30pm at night. Another reason could be that we found ourselves both studied at Brunel University, it was encouraging for us to sit down and discover other commonalities.

I asked him, “Shall we have a coffee nearby? I am very wet because of the rain.” He displayed a gentleman gesture, I have never thought that he would. He showed initiative to pay for my coffee. I was impressed. As time flies, I don’t recall exact sequence of our conversations, I wish I could have recorded it. He told me he was 32 years old, and then asked about my age. I was stunned. I lied about my age, I didn’t think it was a mistake that time. I was afraid that he would say something like “oh you don’t look that old”. I was nervous when I heard him telling me about his age. Why did he want to know my exact age? Maybe he was testing the waters by looking at our age difference.

That was my first encounter with Mr. X, I would call him this way to make him anonymous in my diary. We talked about terrorism. Strange, euh? I was so into this topic probably because I was doing my research project about terrorism in Sri Lanka. I told him about my project and he said he could help by telling me that he knows some British Tamils.

Deep inside of me, I realized I have met another male version of myself, a reciprocate or a twins. He also worked as a journalist before and he told me he worked for a news clipping agency for three months. What he mainly did was to read a huge pile of newspapers every day. At this point, both of us met. Imagine there are millions of people on earth, we live in different places, we have our schedule, our work and family. It makes much more difficult to sit down with a stranger for 30 minutes over a coffee. Yes we were strangers few minutes ago, but after we have discovered each other, I think I am into him.

I think I will refresh this part of memory over and over again. I gotta go to bed, take a rest and refresh my mind. It’s 5am and I couldn’t sleep because I still haven’t sorted things out. My mind is filled with him… is this a fantasy? Or is this a sign that I like him so much?

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Experiment things around. When it cones to production, just like encountering an alien.

Thanks to my passion to film production, finally I met my production crew and manager at Devon Road with my greatest friend Mandy. We first met at Costa Coffee in Oxford Circus. Then we met his friends Mark and Harry at Holborn.

Film production after all is my dream. Feeling great to produce my first documentary in life, brining about a deeper insight on a social issue around us, giving a voice to the voiceless, just like what Al Jazeera has been doing. Media pluralism is an ideal that every citizens are expecting of, especially in the digital era, the massive explosion of information, and with the Internet as a democratic platform. I admire the media landscape in UK, besides the recent phone-hacking scandal of the Rupert Murdoch Empire. We can see larger degree in the freedom to publish and a large group of citizens being actively engaged with the standards of the media.

I love to reflect on the state of journalism at some point because it gives ourselves a reference on where we are heading to in the future. The main reason for starting an independent film project is to experiment the making of film, and to understand the importance of reflecting deeper issues behind issues.

I was happy to hear that my production manager Abu was satisfied with my footage being shot in various demonstrations. I didn’t use a professional camera, just a simple Olympus XD-1 camera, but it has stated it can produce HD quality of film. Now the most important step is to look for potential interviewees, and to select images and footages. We need to think about the names of the documentary as well. Here I wish all the best with the making of my first documentary.

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Planning for Networking Events at the University (Part 1)

Perhaps Jan 12 would be my first meeting day ever, or simply, after leaving the university in 2008, I have never attended any committee meeting so far. Today was really special.

Event planning involves problem-solving and organizing skills, you need to be very detail-minded and being able to foresee any possible problems or situations prior to the events. The most important part is the execution and cooperation as a team, sometimes, things will not be always happened as expected, you need to be assertive in directing your team working towards the same goal.

The 1st Asia and Pacific University YMCAs Conference on August 2008. Photographed with guests at the opening ceremony.

The 1st Asia and Pacific University YMCAs Conference on August 2008. Photographed with guests at the opening ceremony.

I could recall the last biggest event – the first Asia and Pacific University YMCAs Conference. I was selected as the president of the preparatory committee of the conference, as it was the FIRST conference so far, I did not have any guidelines in preparing for it. That was a challenge. I had 6 months left before the conference really happened. I discussed with the deputy president on our proposed working timeline for the team, and tried to prioritize the agenda for the meeting. First we need to decide on the guest speakers, the theme and the framework of the conference together, then we need to break down into several teams such as programming, public relations, promotions, social service, finance, and someone to be responsible for the venue. I was enjoying the process in making every decisions with my teammates. The theme that year was the “widening income gap between the poor and the rich”, as a result, there were around 160 participants from Japan, Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong of course. I was so impressed that I was able to invite a leading sociology professor from the University of Hong Kong to deliver an opening speech.

Enough with all these achievements, they have become part of my history. Deep inside of me, I love organizing events, from personal parties to professional conferences. The underlying motivation is to meet and network with people from different backgrounds. The last day of the conference I organized, a lot of participants thanked me with all their big smiles, that was already rewarding. At that moment, I felt all the hard work paid off!

I would think in this way: events make people connected. Yes, Facebook and Twitter did, but by simply talking with each other virtually, people did not understand with each other until they have met. Events are platforms for people to share ideas, to consolidate knowledge, to inspire creativity, and after all, to bring our society progressively a big leap forward.

Imagine one day our society does not hold any events, no press conferences, no business meetings, no birthday gatherings – will people still communicate with each other? Maybe but very limited.

One more thing is that, events help develop human relationships. You meet this financial accountant the first time in an art exhibition launching event, then you meet him again in a wine tasting event, you recognize him, and you will say, “We met before at that event! We share so many common interests!” Probably he knows that you are preparing to start a company, and he volunteer to help you in planning the budget.

I would say, for every person we meet, chances are we will mutually be motivated to re-connect among ourselves, to help each other in our career or personal matters. That’s what events and the idea of networking are all about.

It seems that I have been writing a lot on this issue. And today’s meeting was about organizing social events for the School of Arts at the university, I represented the postgraduate journalism stream in attending the meeting. There I proposed the idea of having a coffee time among students from different majors, such as music, creative writing, theatre, film production and journalism. The team will be planning a major night show on February 29, there will be ice-breaking quizzes and performances, of course there will be some alumni sharing their stories, I can’t wait until that night!

Actually there are more to share about today’s meeting but I spent most of the time recalling the past. Time for laundry, I will leave the rest for next time.

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Recovering from throwing up

Food keeps us alive – what will be happened without it? The past few days, I experienced traumatic throw-up after consuming some amount of seafood at Barcelona. The vomiting experience was never pleasant – from the flight, at the airport and on the bus. My head was dizzy and the only brain signal was to ‘throw up’ food from the stomach! I acted abnormally or simply like a zombie, but I learnt a lesson from all these: never eat the freshest seafood unless it is 100% guaranteed clean.

However, it is hard to judge what seafood is clean or not from the pair of human eyes. Human beings are fragile, our immune system cannot fight against ALL bacteria, especially cancer or AIDS. Most importantly, we are destined to die one day.

I enjoyed the traditional paella so much in Ibiza.

Back to the personal issue of nausea – the seafood I ate was Asian green mussel (Perna viridis) which is also one of the ingredients in the famous Spanish dish paella.

I have no idea why I could vomit three times within twenty-four hours, I thought I got better after vomiting twice, but the action of ejection came very naturally when I was on the bus. After that, I felt worse, I was holding a plastic bag with my luggages on my way back to my residential hall in Uxbridge.

My pair of feet and hands were powerless, I didn’t have energy to move and the only thing I wanted to do was to sleep.

Then, when I got back to my room, I slept from 9:30am to 5pm, compensating the sleep deprivation in the previous nights. The moment I woke up, I was so scared of eating, because I was afraid that whenever food I eat, I would throw them all up.

Initially, I thought I threw up the first time in Ibiza because I was drunk. Now I knew it might not be true, the reason could be that I was suffering from food poisoning.

For the next time, when I vomit again, I know what I am going to do: Check out here.

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Counting down to New Year: 2012 Resolution

The end of the year again. It’s December 31. Sitting in the room of Hotel Montano, located in Ibiza, I’m writing down my new year resolution:

1. Bigger ship of friends

Sometimes I’m wondering whether I’m lacking of social skills or I have some problems with my personalities – observing myself in different social situations, I tend to present myself not enjoying this group, but I choose wanna be with another group. Or am I expecting too much from friends? In 2012, I wish I could expand my network of friends, especially best friends.

2. Write fast, write better

I started with writing blogs in mid-december, proving there will be progress in achieving this goal. Definitely, writing more helps me to think more critically and diversely. I enjoy the process of thinking social problems, the reasons and the solutions of the issues. In 2012, I have to write even more.

3. Passionate to cultures

Embracing different cultures is a stepping stone towards peace –

4. Learn more social and global insights

The list still goes on

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Unsafe haven of illegal organized crimes in Barcelona

While the US has been focusing its attention on holding terrorist organizations like Al-Qaeda accountable for its terrorist acts, and the Metropolitan police overreacted in the London riots earlier; on the other way round, Spain as one of the European nations, has tolerated a series of organized crime happend inside the city – indicating the fact that the weakness of the local police to capture the head of these organized crime in a punitive fashion.

It is scary that transnational organized crime is appearing in different parts of the world, even in the case of China, crime organizations recruit people to commit organized crimes. Similar case in Spain, as there is even a website called ¨Thieves´Academy Barcelona¨ educating and training mainly Eastern Europeans to be thieves, as the website has published an article called ¨Thieves´academy translated¨. What matters most, is the ability and resources the government putting in to curb the growing crime numbers happened that might, in the long run, affect the reputation of the city, the revenue from tourism as well as the confidence of investors in the city.

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Christmas Devotional

My dearest God, thanks for giving this wonderful day, my expressions aren’t literally poetic but I truly want to extend my heartfelt praise to you. Today I am inspired to rebuild a closer relationship to you, Christmas is all about you, transforming yourself into flesh. I worshiped you at the Wembly Arena yesterday, to glorify your name, because your name is above all names. You are the center of my life and the world, nothing else matters.

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Love to be shared with hundreds and thousands

I have been sending out my customized Christmas card to my significant friends and teachers through email in these few days. I emphasize the fact that Christmas is a season to share love, joy and hope among ourselves, or in the human race.

Crazy thought or thanks God for his enlightenment: I am going to share Christian love and joy to the protesters in the Occupy London. Sharing, after all, seems to be a fundamental concept of communism and socialism, it rejects the fact that the powerful dominates the society. But how can I transform the concept of Christian love to a well-received way? It posed a great challenge to me since most of them are critical to the government and politicians, they will be critical to other Gods or religions. What they need is facts and evidence. Still, I am crazy enough to let myself go for God’s calling to spread His love and care to them – to bring them hope in our lives.

What I need is to think of an approach – to dissect their unhappiness towards the society right now, how Christian love can ease their unhappiness – but Christian love shouldn’t be a way to stop them from demonstrating, the two elements should not be of conflict of interests.

I need to design some leaflets printed with some God’s message, possibly invite them to browse the Bible or videos online, or some information about the closest church. I would not to volunteer to God that I would be on this mission to bring all the lost souls to God’s kingdom.

I need to prepare myself to be challenged. I need to defend for Christianity, for God and for whole human race. Pray to God that I will be enlightened with Holy Spirit that I will be able to speak with God’s power. May God listen to the prayers. Amen.

Later,

 

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