Monday, December 21, 2015
Recently I finished reading the novel Silence
by Shūsaku Endō. It was pretty good and I learned new things. By the middle of it, I was reading this book hoping that I would find answers to my life. It tells the story of Christian missionaries in Japan. You see, there were a time when Christianity somewhat flourished in Japan, but before it could really take off, there's crack down on it and all the Christians were badly persecuted. The book tells the story of a young priest who went to Japan illegally with his other priest friends. They were curious and really wanted to know if their well respected mentor who previously did so well with the Christian community and managed to convert huge followers, really did apostatize. Throughout this journey, the priest had to witness Christian Japanese being tortured, his priest friend died, and he too in the end put his foot on a fumie
[Side Note: This week in Japanese class, I learnt a new word, fumimasu which means to step on]. Suffice to say, this novel is a bleak one. The priest being the man of God tried to keep faith, but he couldn't help wondering why God was silence throughout everything and that's the reason why I began to read this novel looking for answer.
I think it's self-aggrandizing of me to think that the restlessness in my life requires God to give me answers. It's not like I'm being put on a stake in the sea to be left to die. I do see that what I think as problems in my life are so minor, there are people who live in war zones for God sake. If anyone should get their prayers' answered, then these people should be first. However, there are many times in my life, mostly the restless nights in which I wonder why this is what God choose for me and I just want God to tell me His plan for me. Yes I know, some of you reading this will be like, you want things to happen, make it happen, don't wait for God to fix your problems. Well ... okay ... anyways, for me reading the novel, I was looking for answers on how to deal with what we perceive as silence from God, as being abandoned. I have to say I didn't get quite an answer on that. Well the author himself is not a theologian, he's an author. This is a story, not a self help book or a book to help you find answers in life. If you need help in your quest to find life answers, you are perhaps better off talking to your religious leaders. This novel is not trying to preach or anything. It's a story of a person being put in a difficult situation. I have conflicted emotions about the ending. It seems to me the priest was at peace with what he did but it also seemed he had to do worse things later on. I do wonder what the stand is with institutions governing religions. Is it okay to deny God if it means it will save your life? Say for example, ISIS ask you to deny your God and convert to Islam to stay alive. Say you do it, you do the whole five prayers but each day inside your heart you pray to the God you believe in, are you still committing a big sin? I think the merciful God wouldn't fault you on that. Anyway, I'm looking forward to watch the movie. It doesn't seem to me like a very easy book to be made into a movie. It's not a very long story and the ending may come as disappointing for people.
So anyway, didn't expect to finish this book before the year ends, but I did. So so far, I have completed 9 books this year (almost double the goal). I suddenly realize that all the books have similar theme of a journey, or is it that every story is just simply a story of a journey? Here's the list again this year:
- Moby Dick - Herman Melville → the journey chasing the white whale.
- Le Petit Prince - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry → the prince took a journey to different planets and we all get reflective because of it.
- The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro → the butler took a road trip to meet an ex-colleague and reminisced about his life.
- All the Light We Cannot See - Anthony Doerr → one of the character in this story went through different places as a NAZI soldier in times of war.
- The Martian - Andy Weir → the main character had to traverse some distance in Mars alone in his attempt to go back to earth. Seriously the movie didn't do this arduous journey much justice.
- The Ocean at the End of the Lane - Neil Gaiman → Okay the journey theme may not fit all that well here or perhaps it is, like with every journey we take we find ourselves returning to the same point? I don't know, I didn't fancy the book.
- The Moor's Account - Laila Lalami → total journey story, the main character went through 3 different continents in this book and a lot of walking was involved.
- L'Extraordinaire Voyage du Fakir qui Etait Resté Coincé Dans une Armoire Ikea (The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir Who Got Trapped in an Ikea Wardrobe) - Romain Puértolas → the title has literally the word journey on it. Another miss for me this year, I don't like it much.
- Silence - Shūsaku Endō → the priest took a journey across oceans and if we want to get all philosophical about it, his faith also underwent a journey and transformation.
So now I am reading A Thousand Splendid Suns
by Khaled Hosseini. The book's cover has a little girl walking on it, another journey. I haven't progressed much and so far I like it. I love stories :)
On other news, been watching the Korean drama, Empress Ki
. It was shown on the local TV here and I managed to catch it a bit here and there when I was flipping channels during commercial breaks. You know, I do try to make an effort to not be one of those girls who watch a lot of Korean drama so I just never. The only other Korean drama I have ever watched from beginning to end was Princess Hours
. However, from the little I watched I thought Empress Ki
was pretty nice. The thing is I didn't follow it from the beginning and then it's only recently I found out that it's shown 2 days a week and from 9 pm to 11 pm. So off to the internet I go to really watch this from the beginning. The first episode surprised me because it's showing what's going to happen in the future and I began to wonder if I'm gonna hate this drama if that's how it ends. By the way, I think I will just always love period drama, be it Western or Asian. So anyways, in this drama I found myself loving the Koryo king a lot, played by Joo Jin-mo. He's kinda handsome though if he's shot at a weird angle, his nose looks kinda big. Anyways, this makes me think if my taste in guys perhaps have changed. I'm thinking that the younger me would have love the other emperor more, played by Ji Chang-wook who is perhaps more good looking. I don't know, perhaps it could also be that the character that he played as someone without a spine whatsoever really makes me can't stand him. The other day I saw an ad with him on it and he does look really handsome. I think what I'm trying to say is, I am really older and as I am older I see things differently like me getting drawn to more mature guys. This is not something strange I guess, but the realization that it is this way because I'm myself is older is kinda like a light bulb just went on :P
Okay, this might be my last post of the year because I'm too lazy to write, remember I have Empress Ki
to watch :P Gonna go home for the new year, making it since I don't know when that I'll be spending the new year at home with people. Decided to do it because it's a long weekend and being alone on new year never fails to get me more depressed with life. Hope I'll feel better at home. Have a great holiday you guys! :D
:) eKa @ 5:36:00 PM •