Life Codecs @

Ruminations. Reflections. Refractions. Code.

Oct 7, 2008 - martial arts movies

Claws of Steel, Jet Li

Just watched this movie a while ago, very funny stuff. It’s a fairly classic kungfu movie featuring Jet Li as Wong Fei Hung. I shall say no more except that it was highly entertaining, I laughed throughout most of the movie. Of course, I crack up pretty easily – but I’m sure it was actually funny :P.

Ah well, bed time, flying out tomorrow (well day after, late tomorrow, early morning day after), whee!

— Kamal

Oct 3, 2008 - arts personal

Through the barricades

Just listening to Spandau Ballet’s ‘Through the barricades’, a beautiful song, old, but timeless. The lyrics are just amazing, definitely worth a listen.

Oct 2, 2008 - personal

Night Beach

I spent more time at Port Melbourne beach tonight, the wind and the sea and the sand, the sky – decorated with diffused streaks of silver and grey – with its plethora of stars shining brightly, faint semblances of clouds on a mostly clear night. Wow they sure keep my spirits up. I feel their majesty, cold and yet warm at the same time, powerful and yet soothing, the Creative Intelligence permeating these elements of nature, reminding me, “Hey, stay strong, stop crying… things will get better…”. And I managed, I held back, and subdued a surge of emotions that would have normally forced me gasping for breath again, held back not in a suppressive way but counteracted with a more positive outflow. Thank you, Father. I pray I can keep this up.

Hmm, it is nice to sit on the sand… then have the wind, initially not there, come up to greet you, the waves going slightly stronger, the stars brighter. In the distance, the twinkle of lights from various sea vessels. Beautiful.

Well, time to enter dreamland. Sleep is returning, though I still wake up rather sad in the morning… but it is getting better, just need to keep my spirits :).

— Kamal

Sep 30, 2008 - arts

Laliya – A Unique Group

I am by no means an expert on music or musical instruments, so I apologise in advance for the less-than-ideal description that follows, I realise some hardliners will consider my lack of musical vocab blasphemous :). I realise something else too, I keep using the American realiZe rather than the Brit realiSe each time I first type. Argh. Anyway…

A few days ago, I was in Perth for neither business nor pleasure. As I walked the vast city streets (not…), I came across street performers – this is quite common in Melbourne, but it was the first time I’ve seen it in Perth (arguably I don’t live there so this is a dumb comment…), they were a group called “Laliya”, consisting of one male – using some form of mini electrical guitar hooked up to amps and footpedals, and a didgeridoo – and one female using maracas and a drum or tabla like device (hit with the hands). Together they made music that captured me for a long time, I rarely put out change to street performers, but I spontaneously did in this case. I even bought an AUD 25 CD of theirs. So yeah, I was quite fascinated. The music would probably be classified as some variant of lounge or new age – but that is for classification’s sake, it is like calling Enya’s music new age. Enya is Enya. Similarly, I’d call Laliya’s music, well, Laliya music.

I won’t bother describing the music – one, because I do not possess the necessary language skills to properly justify what I heard, and two, because that would be akin to describing the taste of sugar to someone who hasn’t had it before – futility is certain, no? But if you ever are in town, I believe they performed next to the Safeway, whichever mall is there, on Murray St. or Hay St., can’t remember, but do check and see if they’re around.

Going off on a tangent, if anyone has recommendations for decent didgeridoo music, comment away.

— Kamal

Sep 29, 2008 - personal philosophy


Way back (okay I ain’t that old) when I was a teenager, I became vegetarian for about 3 months, influenced by a friend who was involved in a spiritual movement that considered the practice crucial. I stopped mostly due to family pressure, and being too young to understand why I did that apart from influence or have any access to material supporting or disagreeing with the practice, I simply succumbed. I regretted it a little, but eventually it was no big deal. Ever since then however, I have read many spiritual references, and come across many movements that promote the practice. And in my mind a struggle began, constantly attempting to justify why I did not think vegetarianism was important for spiritual progress.

Yet, something still nudged me to at some point seriously consider it, I am not sure what it was, whether it was some form of subconscious guilt, an inner guidance, God knows. With the recent events, as my stomach finds it hard to eat anything, I have been eating mostly light green food, except today where I had a veggie pizza at my friend’s. And something has changed in me, it is as if my mind in its state of sadness (or clarity? Bah, the monkey that is the mind!) has explicitly rejected meat-eating, I am not quite able to explain it, nor will I try, but I have decided to be vegetarian once more. I pray that I am able to keep this practice consistently henceforth, I feel it is right for me.

On a more general note, I am not fanatical about it (in the sense that I do not care if others do eat meat, not that I will only adhere to it when I can – the latter would defeat the purpose :)!), never have been, and if those of you who know me find me acting fanatical or preaching – hit me with a rubber duck or something (you know, since I don’t eat meat and all, a peking roast duck would probably be too cruel for me :P).

I have had conversations about vegetarianism with several people, and I have to say I find certain explanations from Caucasians to be the best. In general, vegetarian Indians and Asians tend to have been brought up in strictly vegetarian families, they tend to have a more hardline view on the matter. But people who practice of their own accord, they have a unique, often very personal view of things. An old Caucasian friend of mine, one of the gentlest souls I know (though I have not met him in ages), told me when the time is right, it will happen. An old lady, another gentle soul (whee, I know gentle souls!), who was very active in the Quakers movement said the same. A dear friend I hold in high-esteem, became vegetarian because she took care of different pets including chickens, and the thought of them being killed proved too much. At the time I did not believe I’d have actually voluntarily given up meat eating, and in a way they were right, and I am right – it is voluntary, and yet it is not, it just feels right, like for me personally, there’s no other way to go.

So, on the question of vegetarianism for spiritual progress – is it important? The answer is of course “it depends”, we live in the realm of relatives, nothing is absolute (and yet, there are absolutes that we often must hold on to so we don’t get shoved around… damn all this balancing!). At the end of the day, one has to do what one feels is right. I believe it is right for me, but I certainly do not feel it is absolutely the way to go for everyone. I do believe strongly in one thing though, humane killing (oxymoronic as that sounds) of the animals is vital. If they are to be used to sustain more life, at least they should be treated well while they live, and killed in a respectful way, involving little or no pain. In that sense, I believe the Muslim “Halal” concept to be a great way to go.

Oh well, time to attempt to sleep. Good night, blogosphere.

— Kamal

Sep 28, 2008 - personal Uncategorized

Hello, Wrold!

Well, here’s my second attempt at blogging. I will not say much of the first, except for this sentence. The title of this post would be familiar to anyone who’s worked with programming languages, except perhaps the spelling mistake. Of course, it is deliberate. A C programming lecturer of mine mistyped that for our first example, giving us a good laugh. Indeed, we are/were a lame bunch. He is an awesome fellow, with skills that I strive to achieve, as such I have decided to honour his version of “Hello, World!”. Yet this is not a techie-only blog, perhaps it is not even just a blog. It is my attempt to rekindle my love of writing, it is therapy and venting, pleasure and pain, it is an expression of me, whatever “me” is. — Kamal