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June 28, 2011

I have pretensions of being a good writer, but as I see it, it is in no way related to my command of the English language.  It is merely a vessel I am most comfortable in, and one that accords me the most freedom to express myself.  If anything, fluency in other languages has made me more sensitive to the nuances of expression, widening the possibilities of how I articulate. 

In recent years, I have grown to appreciate the inter-lingua uses  of  latin, a fusional & highly inflecting language, understanding of which certainly adds profundity and substance to english words. Almost everyday in Brazil I would rediscover words used in the most common way by the commonest of people; felicidade means happiness, fumar is to smoke, edificio is building.  It’s a daily serendipitous event, discovering that such basic words had such elegance. 

With Chinese & Japanese, sometimes I would come across expressions otherwise untranslatable in English, explanations of which are comprehensible only if you’d factor in cultural considerations.  In fact, as my competancy grows, I delight in being able to catch the minute etymological differences between  mandarin & its cantonese counterpart.


Like many good writers, I am technically competant, but unlike most other writers, I am not a storyteller.  I do not see beauty in just telling a story.  Like a painting that is open to interpretations, I try only to convey a feeling and invoke emotions in a well weighted sentence. I prefer my writing to be wisps of air. I want to be Borges.

I prefer to take risks.

Taking risks is to not be limited by traditional structures of phrasing. Often I stray and it becomes too laborous and too pretentious. There is certainly as much danger in saying too much as it is by saying too little. I am careless with grammer & speeling.  I revel in complexity, and even more so when I emerge from the maze and everything is untangled and condensed to a singular point.

Its rewards are tremendous.


Late nights

June 10, 2011

Again I find myself in an empty room, way past midnight, supervising unfinished work.  This time it is in the office of a subcontractor in Prai, Penang.  The system which we commissioned had too many non-conformities, and the documentation trail reeked of material which were either difficult or plain untracable. I am now working with these guys to rectify these problems, all in time for my client’s inspection rep tomorrow morning at 9.

But today I learnt integrity, that some work cannot and should not be compromised, the real meaning & the personfication of “maintaining high standards” is a relentless pursuit of excellence.