March 2008


Read a small segment of this incredible story of the three genders, told by Aristophanes at Plato’s Symposium, in a history book which I’m reading for leisure currently. Although fictional and mythical, I think his story gives us a deeper look into gender and sexuality, and hopefully leads to wider acceptance towards the different genders. His story’s so fascinating that I’ve to do some research on it.

Basically, the Symposium is a philosophical dialogue written by Plato sometime after 385 BC. It is a discussion on the nature of love, taking the form of a series of speeches, both satirical and serious, given by a group of men at a symposium or drinking party at the house of the tragedian Agathon at Athens. The Symposium is often considered one of Plato’s literary high points. Although this may be far from its original purpose, the dialogue has been used as a source by historians exploring Athenian social history (particularly the symposium as an institution) and sexual behaviour. There were seven participants at the Symposium and one of them was Aristophanes, who was, could you believe it, a famous comic poet. (-.-) Initially, it seems that he was to be “played for laughs”, but his origin myth for the three genders is both fantastic and serious at the same time, earning immense popularity.

Don’t take it too seriously. Just read it for fun. You’ll find it pretty imaginative and entertaining. 🙂

 

Aristophanes’s Speech from Plato’s Symposium
(written 360 B.C.E in The House of Agathon)

In the first place, let me treat of the nature of man and what has happened to it. The original human nature was not like the present, but different. The sexes were not two as they are now, but originally three in number; there was man, woman, and the union of the two, of which the name survives but nothing else. Once it was a distinct kind, with a bodily shape and a name of its own, constituted by the union of the male and the female: but now only the word ‘androgynous’ is preserved, and that as a term of reproach.

In the second place, the primeval man was round, his back and sides forming a circle; and he had four hands and the same number of feet, one head with two faces, looking opposite ways, set on a round neck and precisely alike; also four ears, two privy members, and the remainder to correspond. He could walk upright as men now do, backwards or forwards as he pleased, and he could also roll over and over at a great pace, turning on his four hands and four feet, eight in all, like tumblers going over and over with their legs in the air; this was when he wanted to run fast.

Now the sexes were three, and such as I have described them; because the sun, moon, and earth are three; and the man was originally the child of the sun, the woman of the earth, and the man-woman of the moon, which is made up of sun and earth, and they were all round and moved round and round because they resembled their parents. Terrible was their might and strength, and the thoughts of their hearts were great, and they made an attack upon the gods; of them is told the tale of Otys and Ephialtes who, as Homer says, attempted to scale heaven, and would have laid hands upon the gods.

Doubt reigned in the celestial councils. Should they kill them and annihilate the race with thunderbolts, as they had done the giants, then there would be an end of the sacrifices and worship which men offered to them; but, on the other hand, the gods could not suffer their insolence to be unrestrained. At last, after a good deal of reflection, Zeus discovered a way.

He said: ‘Methinks I have a plan which will enfeeble their strength and so extinguish their turbulence; men shall continue to exist, but I will cut them in two and then they will be diminished in strength and increased in numbers; this will have the advantage of making them more profitable to us. They shall walk upright on two legs, and if they continue insolent and will not be quiet, I will split them again and they shall hop about on a single leg.’

He spoke and cut men in two, like a sorb-apple which is halved for pickling, or as you might divide an egg with a hair; and as he cut them one after another, he bade Apollo give the face and the half of the neck a turn in order that man might contemplate the section of himself: he would thus learn a lesson of humility. Apollo was also bidden to heal their wounds and compose their forms. So he gave a turn to the face and pulled the skin from the sides all over that which in our language is called the belly, like the purses which draw tight, and he made one mouth at the centre, which he fastened in a knot (the same which is called the navel); he also moulded the breast and took out most of the wrinkles, much as a shoemaker might smooth leather upon a last; he left a few, however, in the region of the belly and navel, as a memorial of the primeval state.

After the division the two parts of man, each desiring his other half, came together, and throwing their arms about one another, entwined in mutual embraces, longing to grow into one, they began to die from hunger and self-neglect, because they did not like to do anything apart; and when one of the halves died and the other survived, the survivor sought another mate, man or woman as we call them, being the sections of entire men or women, and clung to that.

Thus they were being destroyed, when Zeus in pity invented a new plan: he turned the parts of generation round to the front, for this had not been always their position, and they sowed the seed no longer as hitherto like grasshoppers in the ground, but in one another; and after the transposition the male generated in the female in order that by the mutual embraces of man and woman they might breed, and the race might continue; or if man came to man they might be satisfied, and rest, and go their ways to the business of life. So ancient is the desire of one another which is implanted in us, reuniting our original nature, seeking to make one of two, and to heal the state of man.

Each of us when separated, having one side only, like a flat fish, is but the tally-half of a man, and he is always looking for his other half. Men who are a section of that double nature which was once called androgynous are lovers of women; adulterers are generally of this breed, and also adulterous women who lust after men. The women who are a section of the woman do not care for men, but have female attachments; the female companions are of this sort. But they who are a section of the male follow the male, and while they are young, being slices of the original man, they have affection for men and embrace them, and these are the best of boys and youths, because they have the most manly nature.

Some indeed assert that they are shameless, but this is not true; for they do not act thus from any want of shame, but because they are valiant and manly, and have a manly countenance, and they embrace that which is like them. And these when they grow up become our statesmen, and these only, which is a great proof of the truth of what I am saying. When they reach manhood they are lovers of youth, and are not naturally inclined to marry or beget children, if at all, they do so only in obedience to custom; but they are satisfied if they may be allowed to live with one another unwedded.

And such a nature is prone to love and ready to return love, always embracing that which is akin to him. And when one of them meets with his other half, the actual half of himself, whether he be a lover of youth or a lover of another sort, the pair are lost in an amazement of love and friendship and intimacy, and one will not be out of the other’s sight, as I may say, even for a moment: these are the people who pass their whole lives together, and yet they could not explain what they desire of one another. For the intense yearning which each of them has towards the other does not appear to be the desire of lover’s intercourse, but of something else which the soul of either evidently desires and cannot tell, and of which she has only a dark and doubtful presentiment.

Suppose Hephaestus, with his instruments, to come to the pair who are lying side by side and to say to them, ‘What do you mortals want of one another?’

They would be unable to explain. And suppose further, that when he saw their perplexity he said: ‘Do you desire to be wholly one; always day and night in one another’s company? for if this is what you desire, I am ready to melt and fuse you together, so that being two you shall become one, and while you live live a common life as if you were a single man, and after your death in the world below still be one departed soul, instead of two, I ask whether this is what you lovingly desire and whether you are satisfied to attain this?’

There is not a man of them who when he heard the proposal would deny or would not acknowledge that this meeting and melting into one another, this becoming one instead of two, was the very expression of his ancient need.

And the reason is that human nature was originally one and we were a whole, and the desire and pursuit of the whole is called love.

Aristophanes (448 – 380 B.C.E)

我观看《SPOP 万岁!音乐大典》(3月23日)的唯一原因是台湾的萧敬腾 (Jam Teng).

我第一次知道这个人应该是从杂志上。当时他在台湾的《超级星光大道》的踢馆挑战赛指名挑战该节目最火红、最受欢迎、最有实力的杨宗伟,两人同时选择演唱曹格的《背叛》,而最后由萧敬腾获胜。萧敬腾那醇厚又极具穿透力的歌声,加上在台上能够让人目不转睛凝视着他演出的舞台魅力,成功地、迅速地虏获了许多歌迷以及媒体的喜爱和注意力,让他迅速走红。我在YouTube看了他那场表演后,也就败给他了,哈哈,他的实力绝对是不可忽视的。

原本想要参加《超级星光大道》第二届比赛的萧敬腾,却被制作单位安排到第一届踢馆,在该节目只出现了仅仅的三次。也不过是三次罢了,但每一次他出现,收视率都很高。三次短短的亮相,他没赢得什么比赛第一名,却凭个人实力及魅力,成功一炮而红,一夜间成为家喻户晓的明星,各大唱片公司向他招手的对象。

既是是不善言语,不懂得客套,在访问时答案都是两三个字,是出了名的“省话一哥”,萧敬腾的粉丝还是越来越多,媒体对他的喜爱仍然不变。

有些人是天生的明星,这一点我坚信。

很开心他已经签约华纳,并在准备个人专辑,预定今年5月推行。

以下是萧敬腾在《SPOP》的演出,一共唱了张信哲的《太想爱你》,张惠妹的《解脱》,张学友的《三天两夜》和他本人创作的《海宇恋》。敬请欣赏:

哦,对了,今天是萧敬腾的21岁生日。祝他生日快乐。:)

在星爷众多又卖座又叫好的电影之中,我最最最喜欢的不是《少林足球》或《功夫》(虽然我也非常爱它们),而是他的两部 《西游记》电影: 《西游记之月光宝盒》和《西游记大結局之仙履奇缘》。

看似一味装疯卖傻地搞笑,电影中却隐藏了许多无奈、感慨、悲伤的伏笔,让人在想大笑的当时,也为孙悟空的无奈想大哭。

其实周星驰的《西游记》是爱情故事。

其中以一下这个对白最为让人难忘: 

“曾经有一份真诚的爱情摆在我面前,但是我没有珍惜,等到了失去的时候才后悔莫及,尘世间最痛苦的事莫过于此。如果上天可以给我一个机会再来一次的话,我会跟那个女孩子说‘我爱你’。如果非要把这份爱加上一个期限,我希望是。。。一万年!”

WAHAHAHAHA!!!

I’m a HUGE fan of Stephen Chow 周星驰 aka 星爷, so I think this video totally rocks!

星爷 VS Nelly, who would have thought, man!!!

ENJOY!!! 🙂

“DJ Kuso, 史提芬 周, Nelly, The Remix, (星爷rap) Yeahhhh 

怎么样呢,我又跳出来啦

(Nelly) Ohhhh

(星爷) 喔,你妈个头啊,喔!”

*gasp* There was, as quoted directly from the disseminated email to scold all of us, a FLOOD at one of the dark rooms at the HQ.

After the service engineer had assessed the facility, it was found that the detector roller had not been placed correctly on the roller grips, thus causing the overflow of the fixer. As a result, the dark room was flooded.

I’m pretty sure that they are exaggerating when they said “flood” but this is till by no means a joke or something trivial to be taken easily because for the entire morning, no one could use the dark room. Even though it’s none of my business since I’m not even based at HQ in the first place and I don’t use the laboratory facilities. Yet as I’m considered as one of the research staff (clinical research is still research), I’m constantly sent one of these “preaching” emails.

But I’m surprised at the extent of human negligence, or to put it more precisely, total disregard and inconsideration towards other users, of some of the laboratory staff. Although it’s not our property, by failing to take care of the equipment (which I may say, are all super duper expensive) or even damaging it accidentally, you cause great inconvenience for other innocent users, as well as for yourself actually, as you’ve to wait until the laboratory buys a new one. How can anyone be so darn stupid.

Negligence is the rust of the soul, that corrodes through all her best resolves.

– Owen Felltham

Well, I did mention that I’m a bit haywire.

Which is why this is my 3rd blog post for today. 😛

I actually watched TWO movies yesterday, one at the cinema and the other on the Internet. Yes, I do LOVE my movies very very much haha. Thank you very much.

The former is of course “Horton” which I’ll try to blog about tomorrow, should time permit. Because it’s such an awesome movie, I’ll definitely need more than mere minutes to praise it to the heavens which is what this movie absolutely deserves. The latter is a 2006 Japanese movie, “Boys Love” which interestingly never made it to the theatres even in its homeland Japan. Instead it was released via DVD directly. However due to the overwhelming commercial success of it, the director directed and completed a new version “Boys Love theatrical edition” which was subsequently released in the theatres.  

Before you jump into any conclusion about the movie, probably due to the cliched title, I’ll describe it as an emotionally charged, moving and thought-provoking piece of work that explores the loneliness and emptiness someone can feel despite seeming to possess plenty, and how these two factors can drive this person to do the most terrible (in most people’s opinions) things to him/herself. Which unfortunately happens to more people than you and I know of.

This 83-minute film has meaningful proverbs popping up at vital segments, which help to enhance, or in some cases where people are unfortunately less sensitive (to put it in a nice way), help people see how the characters and their relationships develop during the movie. I LOVE the idea. The proverbs really make the movie more artistic, even though the acting of the two young men isn’t up to par with what I would’ve expected from the Japanese actors.   

To name a few favourites:

We meet, come to know each other, fall in love and part right after.
This is how many sad stories evolve.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Without the slightest doubt, there is love in this world.
What worries me is how to express it.
Osamu Dazai

As long people have friends to share their sadness,
it becomes easier to bear.
Shakespeare

In love there is only one law: to make your love happy.
Stendhal

The greatest joy Love can give you, is to take your lover’s hand for the first time.
Stendhal

Love is a sacred madness.
Renaissance Proverb

If somebody asks why I loved the way I did,
I’ll answer that both of us were authentic.
That is my only answer
Montaigne

The ending is of course saddening. What else would you expect from a movie titled “Boys Love”? I didn’t drop a single tear throughout the entire movie, even when Noeru, well, had a very unpleasant encounter (to put it bluntly), except during the last minute. The last scene was at the beach and the guys were sitting on the shore facing the sea. Mamiya looks at Noeru who’s “sleeping peacefully” (ie dead) by his side, with his head on Mamiya’s shoulder, and says, “With this, we’ll have no regrets, right?”. He gets up, carries Noeru in his arms and walks into the sea. He walks and walks deeper into the sea until the waters cover them totally and you can’t see their heads anymore. *credits roll*  

Let me put this straight first: I condemn suicide. Suicide is nothing right and everything wrong. You put a knife through your loved ones’ hearts when you end your life on purpose irregardless of the reason to do so. It’s selfish. I even think of it as the greatest sin of all. To look at it clearer, “Boys Love” actually romantize (no such word but you get what I’m trying to say) suicide for love, which to be logical and sensible is just plain WRONG and may misguide the young and the immature.

But Mamiya’s words can’t help but ring constantly in my ears, my brain, my heart.

All of a sudden I felt what he was feeling and I just started sobbing.

Love is really a sacred madness.

When two people cry together for the first time,
they understand how much they love each other.
Emile Deschamps

I’m not sure why but I’m in a much better mood this morning.

Could it be because I enjoyed a hearty English breakfast (complete with Earl Grey tea) today?

But wait, I’d the same breakfast yesterday too. (-.-)

Eh, come to think about it – there’s some slight differences in the meal even though I ordered the same set on both days.

Yesterday I’d an omelette but today I tried scrambled eggs.

This morning I didn’t have any hash brown too because I’d to wait if I wanted one and I was lazy to do so. Besides, I never really like hash browns.

That is it.

Conclusion: Omelettes and hashbrowns are VERY BAD for my mood. STAY AWAY FROM THEM (mental reminder).

 

Okay, just ignore my ramblings. I think I probably suffer from bipolar mood disorder.

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