“My crown is called content: A crown it is that seldom kings enjoy.”
- Henry VI, William Shakespeare
I can’t help it. This is going to be another post about the King’s College Chapel. But when the photo challenge theme for this week was announced to be ‘Grand‘, this was the first thing that came to mind. Huge, ancient, majestic — this is definitely a building fit for kings.
This photo was taken on the side of a Chinese chicken rice restaurant in my home town of Batu Pahat, Johor. Whole chickens roasting under the sun (and car exhaust), sleeping dog, bicycle, school shoes, the sewer, and boarded-up windows … Continue reading →
“Knock me down I’ll keep on movin’ —- it’s the art of losing.”
- The Art of Losing, American Hi-Fi
Wise words from Florence
I’m settling — thank God! The past few weeks have been a real challenge but we’re finally in the penultimate week of Michaelmas Term!
The secret, I feel, is to be sure of yourself, and know that however unstable you feel, there are always other people in the same boat with you, fighting the same battle as you, but perhaps with different enemies.
Anyway when I was walking around Florence in the summer of 2011, I didn’t expect to stumble upon this odd piece of wisdom on some random wall on some unidentifiable building. It’s a good way to remind myself that sometimes I need to take things easy and unwind a little bit, you know?
Which is exactly what London tomorrow will be for! Have a good weekend, people!
Books from floor to ceiling — my kind of place. This photo was taken at the Central Science Library on New Museums Site, my new refuge. I now spend more time here than at Haddon now that I’ve found my table in that special corner almost entirely secluded from view, next to which is also a hidden spot where I can pray unrushed, and completely undisturbed. Plus, it’s only a two-minute walk from my department. What more could I ask for? (Except for the undergrads to go home early so I can have exclusive access to the library?)
- ‘What Color Is the Sacred?’ by Michael Taussig (2006), in Critical Inquiry, vol. 33, no. 1
I’ve been thinking about Ghana so much the past few days, in particular our childhood homes in Manet Cottage and Regimanuel Gray. Lately I’ve been watching a show on Channel 4 called ‘A Place in the Sun: Winter Sun’ with my mom, in which a real estate agent goes to exotic locations like Barbados and Antigua in the Caribbean or Spain to help find a holiday home for cash-loaded British nationals who are looking for a place “to get away in the winter” (and having experienced the beginning of winter here I can totally understand why).
“And they say, ‘Where’s that crazy girl? You don’t get drunk on red wine and fight no more.’”
- The Background, Third Eye Blind
When I was young, I hated going to school. For the nine years or so I spent going to seven different schools in four different countries in two different continents, I’d wake up in the morning absolutely dreading the fact that we had school that day. I’d arrive in school that morning with my heart hammering in my ribcage and a certain uncertainty plaguing my consciousness — I was always afraid of not being in the right class at the right time, not having done the right homework, not wearing the right uniform, you name it.
Apparently, the Cambridge City Council has one very important rule: no building located within a ten mile radius from King’s College Chapel can be built any taller than said Chapel. As a result, Cambridge does not have many tall buildings (or accessible ones, at least) so there is little possibility of appreciating the view of the city in the horizon from a great height. Consequently, I find myself constantly gazing upwards at the imposing buildings that have been around for centuries, but I find that this is not so bad either.
One such building is King’s College Chapel. It is simply massive and magnificent; on days when the sun decides to come out, I could stand there and gaze at it for a very, very long time and not experience an inkling of boredom. King’s and Queens’ College both have starkly different architecture; while King’s is more known for its late English Gothic architecture, Queens’ buildings on the other hand are largely made of red bricks, and the layout of the college itself is actually quite intimate, much unlike at King’s.
Whenever I am at one of these two colleges, I always feel like I am transplanted from the present to another time. Buildings are, in a way, time machines in and of themselves. What does this tell us about how we experience the present? Sometimes I wonder if Time is more than just the ticking of the clock and the movement of the second/minute hand on our watch.
Allah (SWT) says: ‘Take one step towards me, I will take ten steps towards you.
Walk towards me, I will run towards you.’
- Hadith Qudsi
Things just keep getting better and better, alhamdulillah. The best thing about living in a Western country and studying in an institution with Muslims being one of the smallest minority groups around is that I am constantly forced to think about where my next prayer is going to be, and where my next meal is coming from.
« Qui dit : “c’est facile comme de prendre un bonbon à un bébé” n’a jamais essayé de prendre un bonbon à un bébé. »
- Robin des Bois
Enough complaining; in this second attempt at Daily Post’s ‘The Hue of You’ photo challenge I just want to take a moment to reflect on a small selection of the amazing things I’ve encountered during my walks around Cambridge.
The historical buildings and extraordinary architecture never cease to amaze me, and sometimes I still find myself intentionally taking the long route and passing through King’s Parade on my way to my destination just so I could spend a couple of minutes gazing at King’s magnificent Chapel. I also almost always bypass the heart of Queens’ and cross the Mathematical Bridge to get from what is affectionately known by Queens’ students as ‘The Light Side’ (west of the River Cam) and ‘The Dark Side’ (east of the river where Queens’ older buildings are located) just so I could appreciate my college better in an attempt to console myself after Queens’ got some serious bashing for the ugliness of the Cripps’ and the Erasmus building during the two times I went punting).
On King’s Parade there is a shop that sells nothing but sweets; I believe this is known as a confectioner’s. For the life of me I cannot remember the name of this shop but from the first moment I saw it, it took my breath away; candies and lollies of every shape, taste and color are in there. Due to time constraints I have yet to accept their invitation to come in and gawk at all the candies the shop houses, but for now I am content with just ‘window-shopping’. Interestingly, the French translation for ‘window-shopping’ is actually faire du lèche-vitrines, which literally translates into ‘licking windows’. Coincidence? Peut-être.
The colors of these candies bring me back to my childhood, where I think I never was fed enough candy to fulfill my childish desires. Now I am older I find myself still craving for these sweet things. Yet sometimes I think these cravings don’t only come from my desire to consume these candies per se, but rather, holding a lollipop or a candy cane in my hand just brought me back to another time, another place, one I can’t go back to.
So here’s to the memories.
A jellybean representation of the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge.
“Sometimes people say that anybody can make observations and write a book about a primitive people. Perhaps anybody can, but it may not be a contribution to anthropology.”
- Some Reminiscences and Reflections on Fieldwork, Sir E. E. Evans-Pritchard (1973)
If I had to pick a color to describe myself at this particular phase in my life, it would be blue. Daily Post’s ‘The Hue of You’ photo challenge this week has got me thinking about my particular position in life at this very moment. It feels like I am making huge leaps, but while airborne I can’t quite enjoy the view from above because I’m actually really worried about whether I will have a safe landing or not. What if I crash?
I was walking around Piccadilly Circus in London yesterday with my mother and brother and found these golden statues leaping from the edge of the roof of one of the buildings. This is how I feel: