In Search of A/The Point of Life

Archive for January, 2011

THANK YOU OUR FRIENDS FOR YOUR WELL-WISHES FOR OUR FIRST YEAR OF EXISTENCE

On 12 December 2010, we marked our first year of existence. Here is a selection of some of the lovely messages we received from some of You:

Share

In the chaosmos of RUNNING AGAINST and RUNNING AWAY: Our deliriouslydelicious 6am loops in myopicdarkness at Regents Fark. Alternatively, hitting the hamster wheel.


The first snow of Nondon, November 2010.

In the face of a snag, what can we do?

1) Our natural (insofar as there is such a thing as nature?) instinct is to fight it. Resist it. Put up a bloody good brawl and, if in the end we are nearly dead from the bloodiness, at least we have put up a good fight.

2) Yet, if fighting seems futile, and if it is wiser to not fight but fight by opting out, so be it. Rather than a sign of weakness, running away is a tactic of survival and can be a wise sign of strength, too. The Tarahumara Indians of North Mexico – superathletes capable of running ultradistances for days on nothing more than skimpy rubber sandals – first resisted the colonisers by running. The more danger encroached, the further and deeper they ran. As Bernd Heinrich observes (and reports of himself), (we) runners are guided by dreams and madness as much as we are by logic; stubbornness (the sisu that we see in the amazing flying Finns) and resilience as much as pragmatism.

In December, as Nondon experienced what has been repeatedly described as ‘unprecedented’ ‘arctic’ weather conditions, we ran into the conundrum of ‘running away from’ versus ‘running against’.  We were undecided if which was better (or the lesser evil), to fall in icy conditions outdoors (as we did in January 2011 in the Swiss alps while visiting Heidi, and on 17 December on our way to the opening of our exhibition), or to admit defeat and run indoors instead and risk falling off the treadmill (December 2009)? Which is a better fall? Which lousy choice is less lousy?

As 1.57m (Yes, when fully erect. Yes, back fully straightened. Yes, neck standing upright.) ex-tropical beings in a most recent life, our war with the Nondon weather looked like a farcical David-versus-Goliath mud-wrestling (or snow-sloshing) match. Yet, in our determination to raise two or ten fingers or twenty fingers and (callused) toes at the weather, we have been undertaking 10km dashes at Regents Fark at 6am, whenever the weather was clear. Being myopic, the darkness protects us from being fully awake and alert, but also grants us an other lens of lucidity, enabling us several orgasmically endorphin-filled sessions. Then, the first heavy snow fell in Nondon in late November, we were initially in denial, and continued to run outdoors. Wrapped up as Michelin Man, we treaded carefully and slowly. Did it feel good? NO, of course not. Running in layers and layers of heavy clothing will never be a comfortable option; neither is having to run watching every single step. In some senses, we could read that this sort of running as so compromised as to not do justice to the notion/spirit of running (do we hear shades of the pro-life versus pro-euthanasia debates here: better a bad quality but prolonged life, or one shortened  – perhaps while one is on top of one’s game – but lived to the full?).

Hence we decided that it was perhaps wiser that we stopped being obstinate in trying to outrun nature, but to let her do her job, or whatever it is that she desires or needs to do, and that we went for an alternative option. So, it has been the claustrophobic and soggilyventilated hamsterwheel in a gym for the wussy hamster. Outdoors, we have no problems whatsoever running 10-20km at a pop. On the treadmill, however, we sometimes struggle even with ONE kilometre. Yes. We are shocked too, and could not decide if we should laugh or cry (and use the tears to lubricate our psychological resistance to the machines)? Where has that inertia/animosity/fear come from?

Fortunately, that was then. The arctic conditions seem to have left Nondon, and we are back to our 6am (and lately, 5:30am, for our day does not feel begun unless/until we move our body) runs at our beloved Regents Fark. At the expense of paid gym membership, but feck it. Give us the great outdoors, anytime. (and save us from the disturbing phenomena of swinging ponytails in OFFENSIVELY LOUD west coast accents, trashy TV programmes, short men pumping iron, mouldy floors of showers). We take comfort in the darkness, as if the darkness protects us. On average, we meet (or rather, sense, or run into, and sometime bump into, given that we can’t really see them) about 15 runners (and about 8-15 cyclists, who go about in groups/herds, unlike us runners who go about [in life too?] necessarily [?] in solitude). We say neither ‘hello’ nor ‘good morning’; instead we are quietly work on, as if there is a tacit understanding that we are doing what we have to do. Of particular significance is an elderly (or simply beard-y? For, once again, being myopic, and especially so in the dark, we have no idea) man whose waist is tied to his labrador (or what looks likes of such a dog, for we are not able to differentiate dog-types, though we are certain that the most loathed of the canine family would be the chi*&%hua, which looks more like [somebody's idea of] a joke. Except that it is unfunny). (We think/ assume it is a dog (?), although once again we have no way to confirm, unless we put on our glasses, but any extra thing we attach to ourselves is but a burden, and surely we do not need any burden, so we will have to take it that it is [or was] a dog.). A strong dog (and master) this labrador, or labrador-ish dog is, for it runs at a very strong and confident pace, every morning, leading his master forward. If we had a cat (THE BREATHTAKINGLY BEAUTIFUL BRITISH BLUE, FOR INSTANCE!!) we would train her to do the same for us. The weather has turned muggy, so much so that we have been sweating unseasonably more than usual, and the dry-wick shirts do not help.

Could we possibly use our excess(ive) sweat production to lubricate the hardship and human and inhumane suffering that is to come in the remaining 593 (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ONLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ALREADY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) days of our life?

Share

MEETING AND NON-MEETINGS IN NONDON: KAIDIE AND CLIVE ANDERSON

To conform to the jolliness of the new year spirit, we had compiled a list of things that quicken the heart. Now that we are past all that intoxicated partying and feelgoodness, we now share a list of some of our pet peeves as Nondoners  / Nondon runners, which include:

1. Young and / or bad and self-righteous parents with strollers in tow, and obese-people blocking our paths when we are running; 2. Anything flapping from our body when we run (hair, clothes, flesh etc); 3. Having to run as Michelin Men in Winter; 4. Why we have to pay so much for good crisp bubbly in this isle; 5. Why we have to pay so much for seafood in this isle (and it is an isle!); 6. Pollution from the traffic 7. The taste of Nondon tap water; 8. Dogs and more so, dog-owners who, like parents, have the stench of smugness (‘I am sure the whole world ALSO adore my cute dogs/kids! Look at their envy!’) when we want to shout to them: ‘Leash up your bloody poodles and please wipe up their poo and your silly smile when you let them run after runners’; 9. Short men aggressively pumping iron in the gym; 10. Middle-aged men.

This post is about the final point. Specifically, we are drawing your attention to 3 exceptions from the media world to this final point: they are our beloved, in no particular order: 1) Jon Snow 2) Jeremy Paxman 3) Clive Anderson. (Actually, 3.5, if we  include 3.5: Ken Livingston since he appears often enough in our favoured Have I Got News For You, we can consider him as a media figure and hence save our arses and stay clear of politics).

Hence, when the opportunity came up for a chance to catch THE UBER-BRILLIANT Clive Anderson in the flesh, we jumped at it. On 20 December 2010, Monday 11am, in conditions described over and over again as ‘arctic’ by the media, we visited the BBC Radio Theatre in Central Nondon, to be ‘live’ audiences of the Radio 4 programme Loose Ends. (This is not the first time we attended BBC events – previously we had risked ill health and visited BBC to catch a glimpse of another middle-aged man we fancy, Grayson Perry, with CFTE [Companion For The Evening]).

As expected Clive Anderson was bantering, at top speed, first thing he stepped onto the stage. As expected in a way as well, Clive was not 6feet4 (and we say this being seated in the second row, but at least he was not pumping iron). As this recording was to be broadcast on New Years day, Anderson urged us to sound merry. So we did, clapping and cheering wildly. We were treated to music by a ukulele band, and appearances by guests from television and theatre. It was good fun, compactly packed in a single hour. Watching the superbly intelligent and witty ex-lawyer ‘live’, unedited yet ever-so-brilliantly sharp, reminded us why we admire him.

At the end of the show, we wanted to approach Anderson – while he was still lingering on stage, and we a couple of yards (whatever a yard is) away, yet not close (or civilised for us) enough for us to shout. Unfortunately, one of the ushers -in black of course- prevented us from doing that, in a firm tone.  We repeated our requests, and the usher did too, in a firm voice ‘of authority’. This unleashed an unpleasant memory from a previous life, when we had an experience of our lifetimes when we underwent layer after layer of interrogation (and patting down, and ransacking of our bags inside out, et al) when we were boarding and leaving the El Al to attend a lovely film festival. We glared at the lady, silently. We left the studio and stomped our icy feet on the icy ground.

Meeting, yet not quite meeting -is that not what Nondon excels in?

Share

THANKS to EMMANUEL, SHEA, ANONYMOUS and ERIC, SPRING HAS COME EARLY TO NONDON. GBP £600 raised for our marathon – another £1000 to go.

When Spring arrives, cherry blossoms bloom. The time when cherry blossoms bloom indicates the beginning of the new year, a start of something new. A start of something new also means the end, or death, of something not new.  It is only the middle of January, but Nondon has been seeing double-digit temperatures (Celsius, not Fahrenheit, darling. While we are at it, not the imperial system, not inches and feet. Nor stones, nor yards, nor miles, darling). It has been so warm that we have been running in sleeveless tops (Nike Dri-fit) and shorts (Nike-somthing-or-other)- still we sweat, as slimy roast pork does, as if it is Spring, even as if Summer. We run best when we run/feel/are light; last Thursday, at a muggy 13 degrees celsius, we ran a strong 17km exploding with endorphins along the canal, to Victoria Fark and back again. It was one of our happiest runs of late.

Last Saturday, we passed the GBP£600 mark in our donation drive for our run for Shelter at the 2011 Nondon Marathon, ALL THANKS TO OUR FRIENDS EMMANUEL, SHEA, ANONYMOUS and ERIC AULD. THANK YOU VERY MUCH – your very generous support has given us a lovely push in the midst of a still dire economic crisis. We have 2 months left. Just another £1000 to go. Go we will!

Let us end this little post with a little quote from writer-runner Haruki Murakami. We are not usually fans of his work as we find that they can be a little too cute, but we slurped up What We Talk About When We Talk About Running in a matter of hours (in the midst of writing/repairing 15,000 of our own words). That which we find meaningful, we will have to devote another fresh post to, but at this point, with the photograph of the unseasonable cherry blossoms in the middle of Winter in Nondon, we want to juxtapose the very final paragraph of the book on page 197 here:

Some day, if I have a gravestone and I’m able to pick out whats carved on it, I’d like to say this: ‘Haruki Murakami 1949 – 20** Writer (and Runner) At Least He Never Walked.’ At this point, that’s what I’d like to say.

Share

So we have explained who ‘we’ are; now THIS IS YOU! … So there you are. Nice to meet you, too.

Just as running is an accessible undertaking, our tactic of trans-dimensional running can be utilised by anyone. Those who submit themselves to what William Gibson terms as the ‘consensual hallucination’ of Cyberspace, and those who cower in fear from the Digital Revolution alike, will find the tactic useful, too.

In our previous post, we have explained the use of the personal plural pronoun ‘we’ in our work. Now, the  question is, who on googleearth are you?

Reproduced above is a section of our weekly report  with regards to the audience-ship of this breathtaking running log /travel blog: So there are nearly 700 of unique you-s who read this blog daily; on some days there are only 821 pages viewed, while on others as many as double that (1552) pages get read. On average you read 1.66 pages each time, for a duration long enough for you to be registered as unique.

So there you are. That is as far as we are able to establish. We have no idea however with regards to your background, location, character, gender, height, weight, sense of humour (if any?), political view, world view, if you are passing by, or if you have run into this by mistake, or if you are a regular returnee running with us all this while, or if you are reading with disdain, spitting at your computer screen. You are probably a mixture of some of these.

Well, nice to meet you, too. We are Kaidie.

Share

WHO AM ‘WE’? The use of the personal plural pronoun explained in this interview we had with Shiseido Singapore.

A couple of months back, Kaidie’s efforts were featured in an online site by the Singapore wing of the Japanese cosmetics company Shiseido, from which the images above are quoted. We also answered a few questions, which are reproduced here. The image of us above has been appropriated from another realm, before our birth, in October/November 2009, in an other interview.

Q: What’s your philosophy and attitude towards life?

Hello World. We are Kaidie, a trans-dimensional runner, looking for The/A Meaning of Life 3.0, by running for 1000 days within and across various dimensions of reality: ‘Life 1.0′ (the primary world – including the city of ‘Nondon’), Life 2.0 (the realm of imagination, as well as online realities made possible by ‘Web 2.0′), ‘Life 3.0 (the hybrid realities enabled by ‘Web 3.0 on our portable wireless devices), as well as ‘Life 4.0′ (the hypothetically-named ‘Web 4.0? and other future technologically-enabled realities, as well as other cycles of our lives to come). We die on the last day of the Nondon Olympics on 09.09.2012, so do join us on our quixotic quest! With this mission in Life, you can tell that we aim to live our Lives to the full, while we are here!

Q: Why Kaidie?

‘Kaidie’ is a variation of artist Tan Kai Syng; or rather, it is more accurate to say that Kai Syng is the Life 1.0, real life version of Kaidie. That said, Kaidie is also all of us out there: the users of the Internet, the people who go online in the time-space of  ‘consensual hallucination’ (as William Gibson labels the Internet). So, Kaidie is one, but Kaidie is also many, and any one of us can be Kaidie. hence the utilisation of the plural personal pronoun of ‘we’. As Cyber-theorist Sherry Turkle says, instead of asking ‘Who am I’, the more relevant question is ‘Who Am We’ in the age of multiple identity today, which the Internet further magnifies (1996). Our ‘we’ embodies Kaidie, Kai Syng, Kai Die, Kailive, Kailives, Kaidie Absent. It also encompasses the ‘i’ of iPad, iPhone, iPod, and ‘You’ or Youtube, and You of the Times Magazine Person of the Year 2006, and or ‘my’ of Myspace. But this is not a homogenising we; neither is it the implicative Coalition ‘we-’re-in-this-together’, nor the patronising Majestic Plural. Instead this ‘we’ includes the different shades of us, in different contexts. It’s an orgy which celebrates all variations of us!

Q: What do you hope to achieve and what’s next for Kaidie?

Kaidie runs to look for the Meaning of Life 3.0.Whether we succeed or not, we must die on the last day of the Nondon Olympics on 09.09.2012. At this point, we have about 670 days left, so we still have no clear idea of how we will die, or if we would succeed in our quixotic quest. With regards to the question of ‘what’s next’, we can only speculate: perhaps we will succeed in finding what we are looking for, and, as they say, ‘live happily ever after’, or rather, ‘die happily after’. Or, Kaidie might move on, literally and metaphorically, to the next stage of her life, and become ’4thlifekaidie’! You, my dear Reader, can have a say in all this!  Write in and give Kaidie advice on her journey, and contribute to her Lives, now and forever!

Q: Describe the most beautiful moment in your life.

In our short life in the past 11 months, there had been many beautiful episodes such as when we disappeared, one of our Facebook Friends offered prayers to look for us. We believe that there will be more beautiful moments to come in the next 670 days, so do look out for it with us!

Share

UPDATABLE GLOSSARY: LIFE & ITS DEPARTURES (what better time to deal with this than the break of the new year )

GLOSSARY/ WIKI ABOUT THE UNIVERSE OF KAIDIE / LIFE 3.0,?AND THE THEATRE OF CHARACTERS (ongoing). SEEKING DEFINITIONS AND MULTIPLE+ ALTERNATIVE DEFINITIONS! CONTRIBUTE NOW!

VARIATIONS OF LIFE:

* Here:

* There:

* There there:

* Right to die:

* Right to live:

* Samsara:

* Reincarnation:

* Parallel life:

* Life:

* Living

* Being:

* Existence:

* Multiple Lives

* Life as illusion:

* Life as transient:

* Life as a movie (HD? Flicker film?):

* Life and its variations:

* Life and its imitations:

* Fate:

* Destiny:

* Outrunning our destinies and fates

* Eternal return:

* Endgame:

* Happy Days:

Before (our) meal time.

Frogs before (our) meal. Do write down your last words to your loved ones before you depart (what would YOU say?)

Share

We go to bed and dream our recurrent dream of riding the Trans-Siberian, in loops. We wake up, in cold sweat, to (another) new year. Livid, we run a deliriouscatharticmadloop in a myopicdarkness at our favourite Regents Fark at 6am. We only begin to calm down with the words of Bruce Chatwin:

One afternoon in the early 70s, in Paris, I went to see the architect and designer Eileen Gray, who at the age of ninety-three thought nothing of a fourteen-hour working day. She lived in the rue Bonarparte, and in her salon hung a map of Patagonia, which she had painted in gouache.

‘Ive always wanted to go there,’ I said. ‘So have I,’ she added. ‘Go there for me.’ I went. I cabled Sunday Times: ‘Have Gone to Patagonia’. In my rucksack I took Mandelstam’s Journey to Armenia and Hemingway’s In Our Time. Six months later I came back with the bones of a book that, this time, did get published. While stringing its sentences together, I thought that telling stories was the only conceivable occupation for a superfluous person such as myself. I am older and a bit stiffer, and I am thinking of settling down. Eileen Gray’s map now hangs in my apartment. But the future is tentative.

Bruce Chatwin,  ‘I Always Wanted to go to Patagonia’, 1983, in Anatomy of Restlessness, Viking, 1996, p. 13.

Share