19 July 2006

Glasses for the Ears

I got a call last night when I was in the shower, and no, no one died this time, so I turned it off, got out and picked it up and, honestly, I didn't quite understand what her clattering was about. I mean ah, her words were as confusing and blurring as my ungoggled sight. So I was wondering, does the vision have anything to do with the hearing? Could it be that one is more concentrated when one sees better?

14 July 2006

Attacking the Alps on A Cycle

Friends sent me links to the Taiwan Cyclist Federation's 2006 Taiwan tour page asking me whether it's the one I'm going with. The answer was no, I don't do group tours. But, well, this is not saying that I hate cycling with others, just that the way they advertise their tour is unattractive, if not unacceptable, to me.

Let's see some facts: 1) they have SAG wagons (support and gear) carrying all your shit and fixing your rig should it break, 2) they give you a certificate once you've triumphantly cut through the finish line with tough upper lip, 3) they've got every dodgy details sorted out, including the tricky accomodation and nasty food so that you can race like Lance.

The problem is clear, isn't it? They don't promote bicycle travelling, but cycle competition (I do love cycle competition though). Because when everything's taken care of there's no travel, the uncertain elements are gone and people are just cycling preprogrammed following the circuit. And once the nature of bike travel, i.e., the luggages and the uncertainties, is being stripped off, there's no genuine appreciation of the land your cycling on because the effort you're making is not authentic, you're actually cheating, made believe cycle touring. And they give you a certificate and a medal, making the 1000km unloaded ride (well, not exactly, you're still loaded with your heavy credit card and incredibly weighty cellphone) sounds like attacking the Alps on a fully loaded cycle.

What worries me is that it will promote the rider and general public's false understanding of cycle touring and once this mode of cycling is being accepted as the norm, the traditional cycle touring will be persecuted as not being safe enough thus should be cast away and forbidden. Just like the newly constructed Qinghai–Tibet railway will marginalize the hapless Tibetans under the righteous banner of economic development. It reminds me of neoliberal globalization.

This whole focus on competition annoys me, but what really gets me is that the pamphlet says that it will be a once in a lifetime experience with some fella says that he hopes to do something in his 20's that will make him smile when he's in his 80's.

02 July 2006

The Train Ran out of Railroads

An unwelcomed yet expected phonecall came earlier tonight when I was having dinner. It was strange actually knowing that he had no chance at all yet harbouring the miraculous breath, not appreciating the great prospect. Now that breath is extinguished and I feel strange again. It came true.

Just before the call dad was saying that my cousin and others saw the spirit of my uncle when they were burning paper house and stuff for him. If that was true then spirits do exist, where do they go? Yeah, I know it's an age old question as to where do people go when their time's up, still I find myself wondering. As you know, I'm not a man with great religious faith so I can't claim that you'll be reborn or go to heaven or hell. I can't be sure, how can I? I can't affirm something that I don't believe.

Newton (or was it Galileo?) made a model of the solar system and his disciple asked who made it. 'No one', he replied. But of course someone made it and we know who. But, is it the same in the world we live in? Which one is real? Reincarnation or heaven or hell? I don't know, but I do know that when I die I want to see my old friends. And I hope I do see them.