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PeaceMaker

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Please find below some of my journal entries over the years. They're really nothing to write home about, except if you have too much time on your hands;-) ok, I jest, but they don't necessarily reflect the real me. Then again, I have plausible deniability;-)
February 1996 ] January 1998 ] February 1998 ] November 1998 ] 6 Nov 1998 ] 9 Nov 1998 ] March 1999 ] June 1999 ] 17 June 1999 ]

Friday 23rd February 1996**

Good Morning Saul,
How is life chilling and grooving with you? University life treating you well? And how about your necessary consolidation of notes? Tut-tut. So many questions to be answered dear chap! I am really sorry however, for not having written for some time; in short, I've been a lazy bum. In fact, I have not written to anyone for some time; I've adopted a predilection for sulking as opposed to digging into academic stuff. You see, life over here, or rather, for me has just been going from ostensible undulating success to an undulating nadir; Fortunately though, it's gone on a better high now; I need that to be maintained otherwise come a few months time, all my self-esteem and confidence would have been shattered by the passage of time and the oh so ever tedium that has unfortunately and inexorably been injected into my life as a result of not having passed all my A-Levels with a 'C', but only with one A. Once again, I've probably thrown you into complete obscurity; allow me to recap.

Remember that in my last letter, I told you that I had to take my SAT(Scholastic Aptitude Test) and TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) and that they were paramount for entry into Vesalius College. Well, I did take both tests and it turned out I did very well in my English section, getting 620 over 677 which is tantamount to getting 91.3 % or so. So that was groovey, however, what wasn't was the fact that I got only 56% in my maths section which was below required standards; apparently I needed 62% or so. Anyway, as a result of this, I was told that I had to start University next YEAR! Can you believe it? Next year! I would have become an old man by then. The main point anyway is that, by a stroke of luck, something and someone told me to go and see Gillian; I did. It turned out I DID NOT have to take the Maths again. My GCSE Maths was enough, and to think that I had to wait about 8 more months before getting onto University, provoked an intense feeling within me to go and strangle the University administration. So, hopefully, I will be starting soon - a course in International Affairs & Economics. Sounds superbly interesting, I'm looking forward to it. At least the necks of the Vesalius administration will be free from GBH .

Now now Saul, please do not shat all over me for not having asked much about you; I needed you to understand the reason why I've seemed like a reclusive woos not going out; I've been very worried about my future academic life that's all. It doesn't mean I shouldn't go out but the fact is, I took it for granted I would get my A-C grades in the other three subjects, but to no avail, I did not! So, it kind of left me feeling down in the dumps, preferring to sing the blues with Lenny Henry instead of going out and enjoying oneself , cos the way I see it, academic confidence and academic success are preconditions for enjoying oneself. I hope you kind of catch my drift. Look Saul, I will not bore you any further okay; I just want you to try and empathise with me and also try to understand the fact that as soon as my definite entry (hopefully a letter should come giving conditions inter alia concerning my entry ) is established and confimed and my work begins to gain a maintained momentum of apparent success, I will start feeling good and coming out MORE. Let me hear you say it one more time !! I WILL COME OUT MORE. So, please bear with me.

Cool,now lest I forget, the Vesalius College E-mail is : vesalius@vnet3.vub.ac.be. I'll write to you later to confirm my acceptance.

Now, I hope you enjoyed your VALENTINE's day with your beloved Suzie . Ho are your courses going. No, no not how they're going, but how are YOU coping with them? Difficult? Impossible, Brain-rackingly impossible? or just mellow? Give me info man before I bath all over you! Right, say no more. What am I on? Oh yes, thank's mum for those 10grammes of Prozac. Eh???! I think I'll discreetly leave you right now Saul before you potentially explode with frustration.

Cor, how I wish I could be a Spacema-aan, [cos] I always wanted [me] to go, into Space man (INTERGALACTIC Christ)... | It's totally unbelievable that We're spending most our lives in a gangsta's paradise... | I really hope Today is gonna be the day...[that things work out for me cos] I don't believe that anybody feels the way I do about [me] now... Now, I think I'll leave you with music spinning in your mind; Ciao and please DO NOT forget to write okay. Thanks for being patient enough to read this letter!!

Hasta Luego amigo

**this was a letter--no journal entry. Its poignancy, I feel, comes from the fact that this was a point in my life when the expression "down in th dumps" was a cruel and horrific understatement.


Wednesday ‘ 7’ January 1998

Sometimes one has so much to say; other times, not so much. As I write, I am sitting down, listening to Al Jarreau’s Heaven and Earth , as the pungent - albeit quasi-pungent - smell exuding from my socks travels up to my nose. Incidentally, mum is almost finished having her bath and the time is about 17:48.

I am, in fact, contemplating going downstairs to read some useful information which might be helpful and propitious to my eagerness surrounding the courses I anticipate taking once I start uni next week. If all that makes sense, then send me a bill for authorship. Huh? What am I on about? The usual nonsense I guess - Searching for a superfine love… - where I have come from, where I’m going and to whom I must account.

The new year started quite …. Shall-we-say - inauspiciously : rain, wind, deaths and several more deaths in Algeria. I say several and feel so guilty that it sounds so indifferent, yet it is not that I am. The situation in Algeria is appalling, nay terrible, abysmal: 400 + people dead in the space of about 8 days - men, women, children; it’s frightening, and to make things worse, the international community - namely the industrialized countries - give jack shit about the situation. As usual, something has to be seen to be done and to strengthen their diplomatic tergiversation, one hears claims that the Algerians are (allegedly) refusing any interference in their foreign policy; in other words, hands off - private business - yeah right! Seeya! Peace.


Monday 1 February 1998

So. It’s one of those weeks again, or at least, it seems like it is going to be one of those weeks replete with pressure, pressure and more pressure from all directions. This is already the fourth week, or rather, we are in Week 4, and it seems all so strange: time is flying…with proverbial speed. I’m still trying to catch onto it, but it is not waiting, or ready to wait, for anyone. It’s relentless, determined, determined to take me , us, on a destination, our own destinations – wherever that may be…where? Is it me who is going mad, or is it that we must, as Scully maintained in Season Three episode of the X-Files, Revelations, that we must sometimes “come full circle to find the truth”.

What is the truth, though? What, anyway, do I perceive the truth to be…about what? About education, life, my loves? The truth is that , education-wise, I could be performing better than I am. Sure, my GPA has improved, but there is more to studying than getting a good GPA – there’s the assimilation of information; the consistent and conscientious studying, the application of certain theorems, etc… Personally, I don’t think that my record these past three weeks can safely attest to this: it’s been scanty, rough, undulating. It’s not that I’m not intelligent, because I know that when I put my mind to work, by gum, I work. It’s just that somehow I have convinced myself – stupidly so I guess – that I work better under pressure!

Check this:

  • ¨ Monday: gotta re-read notes for HIS-212; study some STATs
  • ¨ Tuesday , gotta do Stats, if not go through books (more books) for bibliography on Thursday.
  • ¨ Wednesday: continue to finish bibliography (x2) for Thursday – politics and politics! Thursday interview with Mr G. at Reuters.
  • Week of 8 February, I have to hand in essay on Reuters (800-1000 words!)

    So, I guess the tough better get going, no?


    Thursday ‘ 4’ November 1998

    Boy oh boy oh boy. It’s been one of those days: busy, busy busy. You know one of those days you have a class at about ten or eleven in the morning, and don’t get home till say, six in the evening.

    In any event, it’s been quite interesting. Came up not too long ago after watching one of my favourite cop shows, Homicide: Life on the Streets. In tonight’s episode, Frank Pembleton and Bayliss had a prisoner they were transporting to New York, die on them. Wait for it: the sadness on the situation, as expressed very well by Andre Braugher (who plays Pembleton), was that no-one would “now know what he is - what he did”.

    Such little statements like that generate intense debate between myself and my parents -especially when the show ends on that note. Such situations somehow expose the vulnerability, if not occasional futility, that policemen face and feel when dealing with convicted felons, murderers - what have you - whom they despise and yet, have no control over their fate. You can sometimes almost see the disgust and the anger at these criminal’s deeds, written on their faces. How do these cops do it? How do any of us cope?

    Some of us seem to manage okay. Or apparently so, anyway. I am definitely not one of them. Ofcourse, I wouldn’t , with about three ten-page papers to write would I?

    There is one I have to write by the end of Week 13 for Philosophy; one on Gomulka, a Polish Communist, for my History of Eastern Europe course; and a paper on nationalism to finish for my politics class as well as write another one - luckily my last - on genocide? Maybe?

    Speaking of which, I was reading something on genocide last night when I feel asleep. I had one of the strangest dreams ever: it involved a lot of skulls and people dancing without any eyes. There was, I remember, some kind of extermination - me included, being one of the skulls - and a very weird sensation. Next scene, I was normal again. A nightmare? I’d like to call it a bad dream. Oh yes, advice for posterity: don’t read any disturbing or horrific stories before you snuggle into bed.

    Ah yes. Today was an interesting experience at the Writing Centre: the proverbial tutor, became the “tutee” - if you will. Yes, I was the tutee. I’m not sure how ethical it is for a tutor to turn into a tutee, but there you have it - I did it today.

    You see, I had an essay which I wanted her (my Writing Centre Co-ordinator and tutor) to take a look at. I figured that since she was free, I would run it past her. I don’t regret it one bit, because she was very patient and supportive - not to mention attentive - to the language I had used for my essay. She made the note of pointing out to me that certain “registers” (of written work in this case) needed consistency. For example, one wouldn’t use, in their essay, “replete with; respective times; reminisce over, etc “ and then use a slang word like “gob-smacked”. It clashes with the register of the piece. In other words, if it is meant to be an “intelligent” piece of writing, then the style needs to be consistent with the vocabulary.

    There was also an explanation as to how very different a word, or an idiom, sounds when it has one word missing - or not. Take, for example, the ‘word’, “in future” and “in the future”. What is the difference between the two? A very subtle one: the first means, or at least, is indicating that one will do something from now on. However, with the latter, it has connotations of a time to come where one will be able to do x or y.

    Wow. It all makes for a colourful day I say. Nevertheless, I believe more than ever that English, contrary to what some anglophones may feel, is truly difficult, because one word can make so much of a difference in the meaning of a text or the exclusion of a word can nuance a piece of writing adversely (or positively) and change the whole meaning of an idea one wants to convey. I expressed this frustration to my tutor who, also expressed frustration at how difficult it is to explain grammar sometimes.

    All in all, though, I would have to say that the day has turned out quite well. Apart from public transport - save the trains - on strike thus rendering train traffic relatively dense, I think I can look forward to my 10:00 morning class on Eastern Europe tomorrow with considerable enthusiasm. No, don’t tell me I have read the WRONG chapter. Wait a minute, have I even finished reading it? I guess it’s at this stage I say “goodnight”. Or, at 1:25am, should that be “good morning”?


    Friday ‘6’ November 1998

    There’s a party going on tonight – yet I can’t go. No, rather, I am not going. Since high school, I’ve been one of those rare specimens who do not attend parties -- if one attends at all – but instead ask people how they went. NO, I’m not a hermit. The truth of the matter is that I LOVE parties – but I like to keep them at a minimum. If there are consecutively planned parties, then I am put off. As simple as that. People ask me, “Are you coming?” And I say with a straight face, “no, I can’t” knowing that I could if I weren’t (a) broke, (b) not really interested in partying every Friday.

    I consider myself the quintessential Taurean in that regard: the one who adores his home, security and materials? Wrong; the one who enjoys “homey” things alright, but is congenial/sociable -- like myself. Ask any of my high school classmates and they’ll show you what I am like when I “partay!”. Clean shoes; neatly pressed clothes and brogue shoes to conquer the dance floor -- that’s me. Here at uni, they probably think I’m a big-time hermit or perhaps something less pronounceable. They aint seen nothing yet.


    Monday ‘9’ November 1998

    I think I’m going slightly mad. I’ve been talking to myself practically the whole day, trying to suss out what to do, what plans to work out so that the coming Wednesday -- armistice day -- can be a fruitful, productive one. So far, I have come up with only ONE productive idea: sleep. It would do me some good to redress the balance, so-to-speak, towards my sleeping habits…

    Anyway, the thing is I probably won’t be able to sleep that much. I know I have work to do – and that is enough to turn my black hair gray. But then again, knowing me, I will probably sleep for about nine hours and get up too late to do any work at all. Then I’ll be back where I started. Hmmm. Ain’t life grand. It’s tough sometimes, but someone is got to live it, no?


    Wednesday ‘10’March 1999

    I’ve just taken a break from reading about Causation in History, by E.H.Carr, to reflect on life at college so far…

    Well, for a moment there, there was a bit of darkness, but hopefully I am moving towards the light now. The darkness comes in the name of Statistics, or what is endearingly known as Stats. Why do people call it that? Just Stats? What, is it for the sake of brevity, or just a way to soften it? I donno; all I know is that I was advised by my Statistics teacher on – when was it -- Tuesday to drop it. He said that I would have to get full marks – that is, 100 percent – in all my quizzes and exams from now on, to pass the course with a “D." Right, no blow to my ego at all. Just let it all slide and drip.

    The thing about this semester was that I knew I was going to take six courses, and that therefore, I would have to have an effective time-planning mechanism, if you will, to operate what was/is a heavy semester. Nevertheless, things have turned lop-sided much to my chagrin – and my parents also. Unlike Maths, I was ready to grab the horn of statistics by the horns, and conquer it; instead, it’s all come to naught.

    The strange thing though is despite the relief of having dropped statistics, I am sad to let it go. I have been in that class for, what, seven weeks now, and felt I was part of the team, though I knew we were all of mixed ability. Now, I feel a type of loss, sort of bereavement. Perhaps, I am exaggerating here, but I don’t know. I feel somewhat contrite. I know that I have not only let my parents down, but I have also let myself. That’s the real tragedy.

    Goodnight.


    REVELATIONS (June 1999)

    I believe that at certain points in our lives, we experience a catharsis whereby everything that we currently believe in seems to metamorphose into some kind of obscure and abstract concept worthy of an idea for a surreal story. What do I exactly mean by this? Well, first of all, I cannot really give any bona fide ideas concerning the statement which I just made due to the fact that I am only a student, but what I can say is this:

    I believe that the society and world in which we live in is becoming increasingly secular. No-one really turns to God as much as they are supposed to these days. Go to any “modern” school and you will find that the pupils are not really being taught ethics or values worthy of a Christian or whatever. Instead they assume you know these things. I believe this a misconception that many begowned academics ought to take stock of. By gum, we need this. The question left hanging however is this: why, oh why have I brought up this subject at all? Well, I was really touched by what Scully said in The Xfiles last week on BBC1. Maybe a brief recapitulatory transcipt of the conversation that transpired between the priest and Scully might help:

    SCULLY: Forgive me father for I have sinned. It’s been about...six years since my last confession. Erm...since then, I seem to have turned away from religion. I’m not sure quite why...
    PRIEST: Have you come to confess?
    SCULLY: No..erm..I know this man..erm, a friend and usually I can discuss these things with him...but this time, it seems I can’t....Father, do you believe in miracles?
    PRIEST: Ofcourse; I see them every day: the rising sun, the birth of a new child...
    SCULLY: No...erm, I’m talking about things that defy explanation....things that I believe helped me save a young boy.... Now I’m not so sure whether I saw them at all....
    PRIEST: Why do you judge yourself?
    SCULLY: Erm, ......because my partner didn’t see them. Yet usually, he’s so ...open....
    PRIEST: Maybe they weren’t meant for him; maybe they were meant for you...
    SCULLY: Is that possible?
    PRIEST: With the Lord, anything is possible. Maybe you needed to see these things...
    SCULLY: To find my way back? PRIEST: Sometimes we must turn full circle to find the truth. Why does that surprise you?
    SCULLY: Mostly...it just makes me afraid....
    PRIEST: Afraid?...
    SCULLY: That God is speaking but no-one is listening.....................

    {Scene fades out}

    If there is anything which touched me about this particular episode which I did not watch in its entirety, it is the last few words spoken by the priest: “Sometimes we must turn full circle to find the truth...why does that surprise you?” I believe this to be a truism, because if we look at everything that we do in this life - some of which is good, some of which is a bit questinable - the more we do something, become accustomed to a bad habit orwhatever, the more and more we draw away from our true selves, the part of us that is supposed to be a paradigm of the Lord’s ideals, principles and philosophies. It is said that God made man from his own image. I think this is true. Maybe not literally, but evidently, metaphorically, yes. The reason why I found the priest’s words so heart-lifting and useful wasd because it was as if God himself was talking to me, telling me that I must go back and trace myself. In my case, it applies beautifully. Last year this week, I was terribly depressive because I had failed to successfully make the SAT for Vesalius, and now, a year later, I am about to take the FINAL exams there. How time flies, and how time makes us think. It sometimes makes me think but not often enough. Those words of wisdom has really helped me and helped me those few days. So I decided to act, and look back. I read my diary from last year and found out how bad conditions were for me. I realize now that I am very lucky- lucky to have parents like I have (even if I sometimes have altercations with them or get peeved off with them) . It is true, sometimes we must go full circle to find the truth and not only someties but all the time. Life sometimes really does give us a bumpy ride. Taking stock of this useful little quote may help in the future. Strangely enough, it is always something small that seems to regenerate our batteries and bring some kind of stability to ur lives - whether it be a prayer or a wise statement made by a friend. Maybe, it’s this little thing which has the potential to maintain some kind of sanity in our brusque, tempestuous and competitive lives. Amen.


    17 June 1999
    Sometimes, it’s good to get a clear perspective on things. Wipe the glasses clean, and regenerate one’s batteries.

    At the time of writing, traces of the great show The Pretender – with Andrea Parker, Michael T Weiss (Jarrod X), Sydney mostly – are actually in the process of receding (if you will) from my mind. I must admit, though, that Mz.Parker – irascible, bitter, yet very sexy – is not far from my thoughts. God she is SO sexy. I like her a lot despite her character, y’know. I think Sydney is incredibly patient with her. Almost Christ-like, which is very admirable (to say the least).

    Anyways, The Pretender (on VT4 after Father Ted) is one of the few things I wanted to broach when I sat down here to get this all down.

    First up, there was a debate on Kilroy this morning. Now, make that not a debate per se, but rather more of a…what shall wecall it ? episode – yeah, we’ll call it that -- of the programme in which One Night Stands was the topic of discussion. There I sat with mum in the hall, eating my breakfast and watching – rather pathetically I have to add – beautiful, young women recount tales (some men too, but please drop the adjectives ! !) of how they had been involved in one-night stands, etc, etc. Is that a hyphenated word btw?

    Well, I countered that in a society in which – I did not put it exactly in those words – but in a sdociety that is practically secular, bereft of any morals, and is practically morally bankrupt, are one night stands bound to represent the symptom of so-called Western, liberal society ? Am I making sense here btw ? Bottom line is this : in such the imperfect world that this is, can we not expect one night stands to happen, let alone sanction their occurrence ? I’m using sanction as endorsing, not as in US-Iraqi oil embargo thingy-me-bop.

    Well, yeah, I think it is.

    Also in Neighbours, the quite personable Amy Greenwood character – played out by Jacinta Stapleton – took some helpful advice from Lance Wilkinson – played by Andrew Bibby – who took her to see the planes as a way of inspiration. I have to say, it was inspirational I found.

    That said, apart from my queue-jumping paragraphs, what I do – oh, it’s summer period officially today – find almost reprehensible on my part, is the vicarious thrill I obtain through programmes like Neighbours, Eastenders, etc… I sometimes find it dorky, if not disturbing. I mean, it’s okay to feel as if you’re there with them, orat least, being able to identify with the characters, but come on, it’s not the same exactly is it ? Though there is the cautionary tale of – make that tales of – be careful what you wish for, you might just get it !, and …Truth is stranger than fiction, you cannot help but sometimes proclaim that you’re in a rut and that life is truly and utterly boring. Make that boring.

    Yes, it has been royally boring this month of June 1999. What, I’m broke. Make that very broke, deriving vicarious thrills from the above, and a couple of other tv shows, sitting at home getting to either walk Phoenix – some fresh relief to tell you the truth – mow the lawn, or listen half-ear to Mum and Dad fighting over some pecadillo. God, it can be so frustrating. Yes, that feels good, good, good. It was wonderful being able to derive pleasure from such simple pleasures as writing. I mean, come on, how boring is that really. Hang on a sec, I’m going over the top, someone STOP ME ! ! !

    Alright, I’m stable now.

    So, I have racked my brain interminably trying to think of a way to advertise myself and make some money for myself – all to no avail. What am I doing wrong here ? I have incurred some debts to top it all off , which I ofcourse do intend to pay off in due course. But, but, but, I need money. I need jobs. I am doing my very best – « keep it up » the Max Sunrise quality within me echoes – to remain sanguine, yet, yet, my conviction remains intact that I am doing something wrong somewhere. Knowing a problem exists and scratching one’s head incessantly with what Brooke Satchwell aka Anne Wilkinson called « existential angst » is increasingly becoming the order of the day. Initially, my plan was to finish off Great Power Diplomacy notes onto the POL-211 site I have created. I need to finish it off. I am waiting till the 25th. By then I would have done a lot in my room and got rid of – hopefully – many papers.

    Have you noticed that I’m using a lot of italics. Symptomatic of existential angst or what ? !

    Eastenders, as usual, was interesting. Ricky and Bianca, and Sonia, Lindsey Coulson (Carol), and…yeah, in Brighton – Dan’sthe name. Only for Dan to realize that he knows Bianca from somewhere. Meanwhile, as the teletext put it, the Albert Square posse – Gianni and Steve Owen – are hot on the trails of whatmecallit – Teresa (Di’Marco) and Joe Absolom aka Matthew, who, incidentally, is running for dear life after he realized the walls of his conscience were gradually closing in (with tremendous speed) over his knowledge of Saskia’s death – make that his implication in it. Allow me to elaborate, his aiding and abetting – aiding Steve to bury her in the woods – Epping Forest I believe. It was, basically, an accident that really – and I mean really – turned sour.

    Just don’t party on a weekday… it’s a Tuesday afternoon… Jennifer Brown ? ? on Radio Contact (106.9 FM).Teachers open our eyes to the world…guardians of our social heritage… But the influence of good teachers stay with us. They are the…ones that really shape our life. Dr.Jonathon Sachs, Chief Rabbi, speaking on Thought For the Day – Radio Four (LW 198 BBC Radio Four).

    Bottom line of all this : I am twenty-two years old, no girlfriend...– so what’s wrong with that ? – and I really want things to shake and move and I mean shake and move in my life…It’s gotta to….oh, I don’t remember now. Just struggled for about 5 mins trying to get the sound right for my sound system…it really has buggered up, but I guess I derive – there’s that word again – cold comfort from the fact that Britney Spears – very attractive 16-yr-old – is right : My Loneliness truly is killing me.

    2 :26am Goodnight, or, Good Morning mate.

    Later.


    Last updated: Thursday 22 January 2004 @ 1.32am CET
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