A Window into Life in the Suburbs


"Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these." Luke 12:27 (NIV)

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Getting ready for church

There's a lot of talk death in our world.
It's not as if it's never happened before but we've sent off a couple of famous actors in the past week and then there's the horrors from the Middle East that don't seem to be going away any time soon.

When I was growing up in a neo-Confucian, syncretistic, inconsistently superstitious South Asian context, we were forbidden from even using the word death. Apparently the mere use of the word would hasten its arrival.

But I'm getting ready to be with fellow Christians tomorrow and we'll be talking about death again... a good death... the death of our Lord Jesus Christ. We won't just talk about it, we'll sing about it too.

If it weren't for the death of Jesus, not only would death would be really, really depressing, so would life. 

Only the death and resurrection of the Son of God can bring life to people dead in their sin.

That's why I need to go to church on Sunday... to remind myself of this truth and to celebrate it with others.

"Is it true, mum?"

When we decided drive the 13 year old to her new high school this year, I was dreading the entire exercise. It would be the most boring 40 minutes of my life.
Then I started playing music in the car... all kinds of music not just "Let it Go", by the way... the 40 minute drive round didn't feel quite as monotonous. It didn't improve other people's driving but at least it made the whole gig more tolerable.

As a bonus I rediscovered some old favourites and some 80s stuff that I grew up with which was loads of fun.

I think it was when I was playing a series of tearjerkery love songs that the 7 year old said to me, "Is it true, mum?"
Well, that took me by surprise. My brain quickly kicked into deep analysis mode... Is she asking me an ontological question? Or did she wants some facts?
So I asked her, "What do you mean by 'true'?"
Apparently she wanted to know if the content was reflective of real life situations which I thought was interesting. When I was a school kid listening to soppy songs, that question never occurred to me. I think I didn't even think about the lyrics all that much... they were sort of there... to give people something to do with the music other than humming it.

She posed that same question again when we were listening to a Simon and Garfunkel song, "He was my Brother".
Halliday would say that she was exercising the heuristic linguistic function in her language development.

It's a good question though. I'm glad she asked it... it's nice to know the kids do think about things and use their brains at least some of the time.

Or at least when food isn't involved.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Why I read Pride and Prejudice once a year

To say that I love reading would be akin to me saying that I breathe. Reading is, in many ways, the air that I breathe.
I often tell people tell that Pride and Prejudice is my favourite book of all time and I read at least once a year. I liken it to an old friend and a comfortable pair of pyjamas that you slip on because you know what to expect and it can be relied upon to deliver every single time.

Pride and Prejudice has been adapted numerous times and has become the template for romantic comedies and melodramas all around the world. Clearly the storyline resonates universally. Even the great PD James has written her own P&P fan fiction, which was in my opinion,a  rather disappointing effort considering the calibre of the author involved.

However, the romantic story of flawed first impressions isn't what draws me to this novel over and over again. For me, Jane Austen is, first and foremost, a master of irony and understatement. And P& P is a very funny read no matter how many times I've read it.

P&P puts things into perspective for me because once in a while I need to be reminded of what good writing is really like and how high the bar has been set for me.

Jargon Makers

The husband and I had an interesting but succinct conversation about academics and bureaucrats yesterday. We're both convinced that they're all cut from the same cloth. Birds of a feather etc... that sort of thing. Their impulse to invent new jargon is probably only exceeded by their need to reinvent the wheel with annoying regularity. Having had not just a taste but a gutful of both in recent days, I find it terrifying that these people rule the world... that they are responsible for public policy and apparently... occasionally, the execution of it. Often I wonder if the obfuscation is a deliberate thing that they do to... you know.. control the conversation.

Why this rant? Well, I'm a part-time university student again. Yup... need I say more? A part-time postgraduate student to be more precise. The student thing started last year and I've been limping along with that bit of baggage since then.

Maybe I'm a simpleton but my question is: Why ramble on for 5 pages when you can do it one paragraph...