- At The Moment of My Mind -

Taking leaps of faith only to fall in step with Him.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Minamoto Yoshitsune (1159-1189)
(Part 2)

Yoshitsune's war efforts were recognized by the court, thus was granted the same titles as his brother Noriyori. This infuriated Yoritomo who didn't wish to see his youngest brother to be involved with court politics.
Well, too late.

Around this time our hero met the lovely Shizuka Gozen, a shirabyoshi, who performed dances for gods. She became his favourtie concubine, and during his last years, she followed as he fled from his capital residence and into hiding.

However, later she became pregnant and was deposited in a temple where she was found and brought to Yoritomo. Here she was questioned on the whereabouts of her lover but she stayed loyal and remained silent. She then gave birth to a baby boy who, by the orders of Yoritomo, was put to death.

If that wasn't enough, after she recovered, she was the ordered to preform a dance. She was forced to preform in front of Yoritomo. So she did and in the middle of it all, she burst into a defiant song declaring her love for Yoshitsune. This, of course, made Yoritomo pretty pissed and wanted her executed on the spot but because she was a dancer for the gods (a quiet famous to boot), he was convienced to do otherwise. She was commanded to shave her head and become a nun. She did so but a year later she died, presumably out of despair for her lost lover and dead son. She was only 19.

Yoshitsune continued on fleeing from the capital and went to his past mentor, Fujiwara Hidehira. Remember Fujiwara was already an old man before, so this time, he's practically on his deathbed. But before he died, he made sure Yoshitsune was installed in a small mansion, well cared and protected. However, this didn't last long, as after his death, one of his sons, Yasuhira, decided that Yoshitsune had to go.

Yasuhira went against his father's wishes and offered Yoshitsune's position to Yoritomo.

In the dead of the night, a small army crept close to the mansion, and it was there Yoshitsune with his faithful retainers faught their last battle. In the very last moments, Benkei, his most loyal friend and retainer, blocked the main door way with his very own corspe by impaling himself on his own sword. After Yoshitsune realised there was no escape, he killed his own wife and children, then commited sepukku. With the same dagger that old man Fujiwara Hidehira gave him. He was 30 yrs old.

"Their exploits and presonalities have been so embellished by legend and choronicle, so operatically distorted by Kabuki and Noh drama that, except for a few facts about their accomplishments and their deaths, they have become men of glamour and mystery."

"One can visit Benkei's tomb in the ruins of Hiraizumi but does the great monk really lie there? None one knows."

Lynn Guest, 'Children of Hachiman'

Of course, this doesn't stop Yoshitsune into becoming a legend in Japanese history.

Not only there are famous skits preforms by Kabuki and Noh based on his story, but there's a PS2 game also titled Genji (I'm playing it at the moment. The graphics are amazing but game play is alright. Nothing really exciting or new.)

In Japan, there's a TV series playing, also based on his life. The actor playing Yoshitsune is Hideaki Takizawa.

Well, at least they weren't kidding when they said he was a hansome fella.

For a more detailed record go to this site http://www.samurai-archives.com/yoshitsune.html

It has dates, names, places where he battled, etc, then whole kebab. For some reason I can't find much on Shizuka Gozen. Perhaps she herself is a myth, incoperated into the his legend to bring in a sense of romance and tragedy. However, there are many people who believe that she really existed. She herself was also so popular in legend that...

"Centuries later, when the first Geisha appeared they claimed the beautiful and spirited dancer [Shizuka Gozen] as their ancestor."

Lesley Downer, 'Geisha : The secret history of a vanishing world'

As for his tyrant of a brother, Yoritomo, he went on to install the first Samurai Dokoro (samurai government if you will) and became Shogun (the highest rank a samurai can achieve) but his power and rule didn't last long.

He fell off his horse and suffered internal injuries. He died soon after. It was rumoured that he saw the ghost of the betrayed Yoshitsune, back to haunt him. Whether this is true or not, one can only imagine, however, keep in mind that a samurai is a superb horseman among other things. In one hand he might be delusional, on the other, his horse might have been startled by something else and threw its rider off.

The samurai dokoro's power soon became corrupted and full of conspiracies. The title shogun was, like the Emperor, placed on a child as a mere puppet for the real hands of power. The last was the Tokugawa shogunate which fell in 1868, around the time of Perry's first visit to Japan. The shogunate was Japan military government, 2nd in power only after the Emperor, for nearly 700 years.

Minamoto Yoshitsune (1159-1189)
(Part 1)

The first time I read about this legendary samurai was in the book 'The Children of Hachiman' by Lynn Guest. The book iteslf came to me by chance.

A friend was migrating to Australia back when I was 15yrs old. Right before that, her house flooded because of a storm the previous night, so they had to clear everything out. At the same time I was visiting, saying goodbye and so on, when her brother invited me to pillage any books around.

I was happy and picked two books. One of them being 'Children of Hachiman'. At that time, I found it kinda boring and set it aside for many years, until one boring afternoon I picked it up again. After that it became one of my favourites.

Yoshitsune was the youngest son of Minamoto Yoshitomo who died while he attempted to defy the Taira Clan. Later one of his wives and children were found but not executed, Yoshitsune was one of them. Instead, he was sent to a temple where he ran away before he was forced to take his vow.

Later he was given the Sword of Hachiman, which was a legendary sword said to be fored by the great Hachiman God himself. It's been passed down from father to son in the Minamoto Clan for generations. Although by rights it should've been passed to Minomoto Yoritomo, his eldest brother......but for some reason (his talent perhaps in handling a sword) it was passed to him.

He ran away to Mutsu, where the governor, Fujiwara Hidehira, gave him shelter and treated him like his own son. At the time Hidehira was already an old man but still go on hunts on horseback daily. He admired Yoshitsune for his youthful vigor and sword skill. So much so that he passed Yoshitsune a priceless hierloom, a small dagger (usually used to preform Speukku).

Later our young hero goes to join his older brother, the head of the Minamoto Clan, Yoritomo. In his youthful mind, perhaps, he pictured his brothers and himself, riding side by side, charging into a battle or something equally dramatic. But it was said that he never got along with his older brother, who was a proud and suspicious man. Disillusioned, Yoshitsune vow to prove that he is a samurai that one can be proud of.

Off he set to win victory after victory in the name of the clan. It was an era of war, of one powerful samurai clan against another, Minamoto VS Taira.

But the Taira has some pretty big connections. One of the Taira daughters was given to the Emperor and have birth to a son. Taira Kiyomori, head of the Taira Clan, was the grandfather of a future emperor.

Many things contributed to Yoshitsune's downfall. During the preparations before a war champaign, he argued with Kajiwara Kagetoki, one the right hand men of Yoritomo. This later further fueled the animosity between the two brothers. Later Yoritomo refused to grant Yoshitsune court titles, the same that was given to Noriyori (also their brother, older than Yoshitsune, younger than Yoritomo), eventhough Yoshisune had won many battles and deserved the honour.

A lot speculated that Yoritomo was jealous of Yoshitsune's popularity among the common folk and people of the court alike. Not only he inherited the Sword of Hachiman but he was reputed as a good looking fella with an even greater reputation as a cunning strategist and brilliant general. Most probably Yoritomo feared that his younger brother would raise an army to take over the position of head of the Minamoto Clan.

[end of Part 1)

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Tung Tu Lung Tung Chiang

When my mother starts changes all the curtains and scrubbing the kitchen walls, I know it's close to Chinese New Year. My mother, given her occupation in life, has always been a tad 'sot' (crazy) about cleanliness. Her motto, if she has one, could easily be something like "Cleanliness is next to Godliness." Or something along those lines.

Then there's the shopping. Woah the shopping. It's as if we don't have enough stuff already in the house, she went out buying who knows what for the new year. Other than the 'must have' for the new year such as new clothes, the usual tibits and drinks, ang pows, new money, etc, etc, etc. There's also the 'don't need but get it anyway. Decorations and whatever ki ling ka lang she needs to decorate the house with.

Just yesterday my sisters skipped into my room, clearly walking on air, and said "Sis! Would you like to see what we got for chinese new year?" Actually I don't care much, but to amuse them, hey why not? They are cute when they are excited.

What I am looking foward to is the Dancing Lions from Chung Hua School. Every year I would try to make it in time to watch them preform. The loud drum beats, the crowd of people, the kids sitting in front just so they can touch the lions as they pass by. It's rumoured that if you manage to get a peice of fur from the lion, it can be kept as a good luck charm.

[Yes that guy is wearing make up. Looks like the monkey king, doesn't he?] ----->

I only know of two lion dance troupes. One from Chung Hua Middle school and another one from the chinese community of Seria. I have a friend who belongs to the latter. He has been 'tung tu lung tung chiang' for 7 years now. I hope this year I'll be able to take some pictures to share with everyone.

There's a lot of superstition for the new year. First everything and EVERYTHING, down to the last sock, underwear and fish bowl, must be cleaned. That is to wash or get rid of the bad luck of the previous year. On the stroke of midnight, everyone would put out pow chang or fire crackers to ward away the evil spirits and bad luck. All the doors, and windows even, would be open to welcome the new year and again, good luck. Along with the mosquitoes.

On the first day of CNY, cannot sweep or clean the floor, or else the good luck might be swept away. Eeveryone would wear all their new clothes, wish mom and day fatt choy (wish you get real holy to golden frogs rich, Daddy & Mommy.) Then start receiving relatives and later go out with friends to visit other friends and er, spread the wealth around a bit so to speak. Or maybe to rake it in. Hehehe. I will not lie to you, alcohol will be consumed, nonsense will happen, and good thing I don't usually drive while going pai nein (visiting).

Chinese New Year is mainly celebrated by the chinese but over here we have other races visiting and enjoying the festivities as well. Like Patricia, even though she's a muslim now, she will be opening her house on the 29th and everyone is invited. Hahaha, Pat will kill me if her house overflows. >_<

<------- [Chinese New Year celebrations in San Francisco! How cool is that?]

I myself am a christian but I still continue to celebrate chinese new year. I mean, hello, I may believe in God but I'm still chinese what. I'm sure there's nothing in the Bible that said 'Thou shall not eat nien kao or receive ang pow.'

But that's what Chinese New Year is all about. It's visiting relatives and friends, wishing them a prosperous year, drinking to their health and looking foward to a good year together.

Hehe, I can't bloody wait.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

WiFi at Wy Wy

Last time I wrote about WiFi at OGDC where it wasn't a hang out. It was a place where parents bring their kids out to surf on their laptops. I suspect it's an attempt on the parent's part to show there's more out of their house. Normal outside stuff like, you know, the sun, the man eating koi.

Since the cost of getting a Laptop has gone considerably down recently, I see more and more of them mushrooming everywhere. Carried in sleek laptop bags, in cybercafes, at home and heck, even my executive was provided one from the company.

So it makes sense that other cafes or restaurants start jumping into the WiFi bandwagon. Hey, if there's money to be made from metro geeks here, why not? After all, the savvy cool crowd who hangs out here and those who hang around just to look at the cool crowd, ain't really enough. Gotta catch them all.

This is place is formally known as Restoran Nasi Ayam WyWy. The locals just call it the new WyWy place at Pandan Lima.

It's quiet a large place with an outside area for smokers. Inside there are open tables and cosy booths for family and couples to dine. I like hanging outside cuz they have sockets in case my josey's batt dies. (For some reason they don't have them inside the building.)

The menu here is fairly decent with a wide range of stuff to choose from. However, that doesn't guarantee that all of them are tasty. I just like their teh and honey dew bubble milk tea here. I haven't eaten anything from here so far that I particularly drool for. I think it's because they have such a wide variety of dishes that they don't specialize in any of them. Their chicken rice, only so-so.

However, their range of drinks and deserts are good. I had a fruit salad + yam ice cream sorta like ABC desert the other night here. It was good.

Although the WiFi sucks at times, 7 out of 10 the WiFi here is decent enough. I come here mainly because it's closest to my house. It's only a 10 mins drive. Much better than the 20 - 30 mins drive (depending on traffic, there's often big trucks or vehicles slowing the traffic on that particular seria road) to OGDC.

Why is it called WyWy? It's probably opened by the same two brothers who opened the big chain of game/accesories/mobile stores called WyWy and JJ (Jill & Jill).

Or at least that's what I heard.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Don Mozarella talks about Do and Don't


1. Don’t toss your friends around like they are nothing to you. In the end, you end up being nothing to anyone.

2. Don’t diss your friends just cuz you have a new job, new life, new wife, new gf, new bf, whatever la. Fixing up a broken friendship is a bitch and a ½.

3. Don’t think your friends will understand all the time. Yes they understand that you can’t hang with them or that you may not reply to their messages but if you don’t understand how they miss or care about you, well, go get your head fixed.

4. Don’t be a p*ssy and stay angry with friends just cause they make a mistake. Think about how many times you have made mistakes and how good it feels to be forgiven.

5. Don’t take advantage of your friends, cuz you’ll only be taken advantaged on by leech suckers friends. They’ll be the only ones left clinging onto you.


1. Do be forgiving and honest with your friends. Only those who remain are honest enough to tell you in your face they care about you and when you’re being a total bitch.

2. Do remember that ‘friends forever’ isn’t really true. Friends can’t be there for you forever. It’s impractical. But treasuring your memories with them and staying friends even if they are at the other end of the earth, is possible and even better.

3. Do take the initiative and invite friends out for a night in town or a dinner and drinks at your home. If everyone is waiting for the other to do something, then pffff, better start talking to your plants.

4. Do miss your friends and call or msg them sometimes.

5. Do share things with friends. Share your fun, share your misery, share your successes, share life.

As for me, if someone cuts me, fine. I forgive you. Pretentious pompous portentous pricks. Have your people call my people, apologize, then maybe we’ll do lunch.

Or according to Don Mozarella, I should just go to the matresses and shoot them.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

You Can Like the Life You're Living, You Can Live the Life You Like. (From the Movie 'Chicago')

Out of the blue, a friend asked me today, "Why are you so addicted to the internet? What about your real life in Brunei or your family and friends? Don't you think you are missing out on what's available here and now?"

In a way I can understand what she's trying to tell me. The grass isn't always greener on the other side, but I want to find out for myself, is that so wrong? Let me point out several things and just randomly rant.

Okay I admit Brunei isn't all that bad, it's still a developing country so I'll cut her some slack. Brunei is a deep emerald of a jewel, with the friendly people, low crime rate, oil & gas income, green stuff everywhere and overally a very relaxing environment. I have a few malaysian and singaporean friends who came over said, "Brunei is so peaceful (yes i know, abode of peace) and relaxing (not much traffic or rush rush or kill kill, dog eat dog going on here)"

But seriously, do you want to be retired before you even started to live? There's a whole world out there just waiting for you to explore. If you think that everything worth discovering has already been discovered, then you are wrong. I don't mean travelling or backpacking through europe (although that's a good idea too) but even in your own living room, communicating with other people from other countries. It's an enriching experience by its own right.

Then you learn to socialize and start caring about people, listen to their stories and descriptions about their country or environment. What their ineterests are and sometimes their worries and problems. In a way, for me, it felt good to be able to help my online friends somehow just by listening to them, talking to them, giving or receiving advice. Just goes to show, a world of people who never met can still care for each other, is not such a bad world after all.

On this kind of road in life, there's just so many ways we can choose to travel it. My way is different from yours. I love Brunei, it will always be the country where my heart grew up in. It doesn't mean though, that it will be the place where my heart stays. You think we would be able to fly to the moon just by talking or dreaming about it? If you have the technology and means to go there, why not?

There is just so much out there to discover, to learn. So much to learn...*lol* I will forever thirst for knowledge. So since I don't own a Jet or millions of dollars where i can just go anywhere and try out anything with just a snap of my fingers. *I don't think it'll be a rewarding experience at all. Would be fun but not rewarding.*

For now I only have Josey (BenQ Laptop) and Renee Baby (Toyota Rav4) . So why dun just let me explore the virtual world to my heart's content? Cuz in the end, I'll still swhich off Josey, drive Renee Baby back to my home in Kuala Belait, Brunei Darrusalam, and say, "Hi, mom, hi sis, I'm home."

Monday, January 02, 2006

Heeeelllloooo 2006

God created the world in 7 days, so I will try to create a better life with 7 New Year Resolutions…

1. Try to understand people better. (My brother is the exception because I think his brain is running on amoeba power.)

2. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

3. Finally pay off my car loan.

4. Budget better in order to save up and travel. Locations I wanna visit Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Canada, Japan, China, England and America.

5. Study and better understand the complexities of online games.

6. Drink less coffee and more H2O.

7. Actually stick to my resolutions this year! XD