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Inspirational Quote of the Day

"Growth is not built around a life of ease but through a/the path of discomfort." —Unknown

Friday, November 28, 2014

Friday Finds: Pablo Neruda

This is the season of Pablo Neruda for me and I went on a hunt for his books. I have in mind used books and found them to have character, just like this man. Special.

With great bargains and free delivery, there is no reason not to shop online. I had an awesome time on and bought 13 Pablo Neruda books, and one other really interesting non-fiction, The Man Who Loved Books Too Much recommended by my friend in the US. I worked successfully within my budget of US$50, and on average each book—even the hardcovers—costs about US$3.50. Awesome deal, isn’t it? Here are the stuff I bought...

Non Pablo Neruda books:
  1. The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession by Allison Hoover Bartlett

Pablo Neruda books:
  1. The Book of Questions
  2. Veinte Poemas de Amor y Una Cancion Desesperada
  3. Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair
  4. Memoirs
  5. Fully Empowered (English and Spanish Edition)
  6. Captain's Verses (English and Spanish Edition)
  7. Fully Empowered
  8. Still Another Day (Spanish and English Edition)
  9. Pablo Neruda: Nobel Prize-Winning Poet (Hispanic Biographies)
  10. Neruda at Isla Negra
  11. Pablo Neruda: A Passion for Life
  12. My Life With Pablo Neruda
  13. Late and Posthumous Poems, 1968-1974: Bilingual Edition is one of my favorite online booksellers. The other one is Both offer free delivery worldwide.

P/S: Hmmmm… I think I've bought two of the same books (Fully Empowered)…


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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thursday Text: PELLICOLE DI CARTA. Da Gogol' a Tim Burton: Quindici romanzi al cinema

Today, I'd like to share from page 55 of Pellicole di Carta (ISBN: 9788896120040) a compilation of writings by various contributors of book-to-film adaptions. I bought the book in November last year when I was in Rome, Italy, at a publishers' book festival Più libri più liberi (check out this post) at the Palazzo dei Congressi. 

I added this book to my personal library because it would be interesting to read in Italian, the thoughts about the power of words brought together by two artistic worlds: between literature and cinema, between book writers and film directors; about novels being brought to life the second time, metamorphosing from text to image. 

My friend from the Press Office of National Central Library of Rome, Gianluca Parisi, bought it and I followed his recommendation. We bought this together.

So here it is, a page from the book and I selected the story of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Alice nel Paese delle Meraviglie) by Lewis Carroll. This chapter is written by Nicla Pavesi. Have fun with Italian!


Alice's Adventures in Wonderland ha dato origine a molte trasposizioni cinematografiche, la prima addirittura nel 1903; sicuramente indimenticata la versione come cartone animato della Disney nel 1951. L'ultimo regista che si è cimentato in quest'opera è Tim Burton con Alice in Wonderland, uscito in Italia il 3 marzo 2010.

Gli interpreti principali del film sono: Mia Wasikowska (Alice), Johnny Depp (il Cappellaio Matto), Helena Bonham Carter (la Regina Rossa), Anne Hathaway (la Regina Bianca), Michael Sheen (il doppiatore del Bianconiglio), Stephen Fry (la voce dello Stregatto) e Crispin Glover (il Fante di Cuori).

La versione di Tim Burton si discosta moltissimo dal romanzo di Carroll; prima di tutto Alice è molto più grande: non ha più sette anni ma ben diciannove. Non ricorda più nulla delle sue avventure nel Paese delle Meraviglie avvenute dodici anni prima, ma ogni notte è perseguitata questi incubi a cui lei non riesce a dare alcuna spiegazione. In seguito alle morte dell'amato padre, si reca con la madre a una festa, che si scopre essere quella del suo fidanzamento! Infatti durante i festeggiamenti, Lord Hamish Ascot le chiede di sposarlo e Alice, ignara di tutto, non sa come gestire la situazione. Decide allora di inseguire nel bosco un curioso coniglio che aveva già visto in precedenza: il Bianconiglio. Lo rincorre e lo vede gettarsi in una buca ai piedi di un piccolo arbusto; Alice si sporge all'interno e vi cade dentro.

Le scene seguenti (la caduta nel tunnel, la bottiglietta con la scritta "bevimi"; ecc.) sono fedeli all'originale; quando Alice riesce finalmente a entrare nel giardino, incontra il Bianconiglio, il Ghiro, il Dodo, Pancopinco e Pincopanco che parlano di lei come se fosse una salvatrice e chiamano il Paese delle Meraviglie "Sottomondo". Alcuni di loro però appaiono dubbiosi, non sono convinti che si tratti della vera Alice; la ragazza è naturalmente sempre più stupefatta, non riesce a seguire i loro discorsi.

Per risolvere il dilemma sull'identità di Alice, il gruppetto decide di recarsi dal Brucaliffo, una sorta di Oraculum; questi rivela che il destino di Alice è uccidere il Ciciarampa, un mostro sanguinario al servizio della Regina Rossa (Iracebeth), nel Giorno gioiglorioso e di liberarli così dall'oppressione della Regina Rossa. Lo stesso Brucaliffo osserva però che la ragazza che si trova di fronte non assomiglia quasi affatto alla vera Alice.


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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Languish or Flourish?

Today I learned two new terms about Positive Emotional Attractor (PEA) and Negative Emotional Attractor (NEA) in my Coursera course on Inspiring Leadership through Emotional Intelligence. Here’s a quick snapshot of PEA. The PEA is:

  1. Being in PNS (Parasympathetic Nervous System) arousal; feeling positive and hopeful; thinking about the future, dreams, and possibilities;
  2. Being optimistic, focusing on one’s strengths;
  3. Excited about trying something new, experimenting; and
  4. Being in resonant relationships.

Just last week I was talking about my learning style (identified as "pragmatist") and I'm happy to see that it is resonating well with PEA, which I learned today through my own self-directed study.

Also not forgetting that negative emotions are stronger than positive, it is, therefore, important to spend 3 to 6 times in the PEA as the time spend in the NEA to compensate for it. I was thinking about this for quite a bit. While we can’t totally ignore NEA (feeling negative and fear; thinking about the past or present, expectations of others and problems, etc.), I do think NEA has its place and is useful to keep us on our toes. A little bit of stress is good for us!

I also like the sound of the loving-kindness meditation. Related to this thought, please check out the video by Barbara Fredrickson on Positive Emotions Transform Us. I would certainly like to increase my daily diet of positive emotions by “cultivating,” “generating,” and then of course, “directing” this positiveness to others around me (even to my pet cat, Trio!). Languish or flourish? I want to flourish. Let us flourish, my friends!


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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

POEM 20, by Pablo Neruda

Tonight, I'm the mood for Pablo Neruda. In the mood to read one of his poems, Poem 20, in four languages: English, Italian, Portuguese and of course, Spanish. Here they are...

Source: Poetry Ireland

First, in ENGLISH:
Twenty Love Poems: And a Song of Despair

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.

Write, for example, "The night is starry
and the stars are blue and shiver in the distance."

The night wind revolves in the sky and sings.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.

Through nights like this one I held her in my arms.
I kissed her again and again under the endless sky.

She loved me, sometimes I loved her too.
How could one not have loved her great still eyes.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
To think that I do not have her. To feel that I have lost her.

To hear the immense night, still more immense without her.
And the verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture.

What does it matter that my love could not keep her.
The night is starry and she is not with me.

This is all. In the distance someone is singing. In the distance.
My soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

My sight tries to find her as though to bring her closer.
My heart looks for her, and she is not with me.

The same night whitening the same trees.
We, of that time, are no longer the same.

I no longer love her, that's certain, but how I loved her.
My voice tried to find the wind to touch her hearing.

Another's. She will be another's. As she was before my kisses.
Her voice, her bright body. Her infinite eyes.

I no longer love her, that's certain, but maybe I love her.
Love is so short, forgetting is so long.

Because through nights like this one I held her in my arms
my soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

Though this be the last pain that she makes me suffer
and these the last verses that I write for her.

Veinte poemas de amor y una canción desesperada

PUEDO escribir los versos más tristes esta noche.

Escribir, por ejemplo: " La noche está estrellada,
y tiritan, azules, los astros, a lo lejos".

El viento de la noche gira en el cielo y canta.

Puedo escribir los versos más tristes esta noche.
Yo la quise, y a veces ella también me quiso.

En las noches como ésta la tuve entre mis brazos.
La besé tantas veces bajo el cielo infinito.

Ella me quiso, a veces yo también la quería.
Cómo no haber amado sus grandes ojos fijos.

Puedo escribir los versos más tristes esta noche.
Pensar que no la tengo. Sentir que la he perdido.

Oír la noche inmensa, más inmensa sin ella.
Y el verso cae al alma como pasto el rocío.

Qué importa que mi amor no pudiera guardarla.
La noche está estrellada y ella no está conmigo.

Eso es todo. A lo lejos alguien canta. A lo lejos.
Mi alma no se contenta con haberla perdido.

Como para acercarla mi mirada la busca.
Mi corazón la busca, y ella no está conmigo.

La misma noche que hace blanquear los mismos árboles.
Nosotros, los de entonces, ya no somos los mismos.

Ya no la quiero, es cierto, pero cuánto la quise.
Mi voz buscaba el viento para tocar su oído.

De otro. Será de otro. Como antes de mis besos.
Su voz, su cuerpo claro. Sus ojos infinitos.

Ya no la quiero, es cierto, pero tal vez la quiero.
Es tan corto el amor, y es tan largo el olvido.

Porque en noches como ésta la tuve entre mis brazos,
mi alma no se contenta con haberla perdido.

Aunque éste sea el último dolor que ella me causa,
y éstos sean los últimos versos que yo le escribo.

Venti poesie d'Amore e una canzone disperata

Posso scrivere i versi più tristi stanotte.

Scivere, per esempio: "La notte è stellata,
e tremano, azzurri, gli astri, in lontananza".

Il vento della notte gira nel cielo e canta.

Posso scrivere i versi più tristi stanotte.
Io l'ho amata e a volte anche lei mi amava.

In notti come questa l'ho tenuta tra le braccia.
L'ho baciata tante volte sotto il cielo infinito.

Lei mi ha amato e a volte anch'io l'amavo.
Come non amare i suoi grandi occhi fissi.

Posso scrivere i versi più tristi stanotte.
Pensare che non l'ho più. Sentire che l'ho persa.

Sentire la notte immensa, ancor più immensa senza lei.
E il verso scende sull'anima come la rugiada sul prato.

Poco importa che il mio amore non abbia saputo fermarla.
La notte è stellata e lei non è con me.

Questo è tutto. Lontano, qualcuno canta. Lontano.
La mia anima non si rassegna d'averla persa.

Come per avvicinarla, il mio sguardo la cerca.
Il mio cuore la cerca, e lei non è con me.

La stessa notte che sbianca gli stessi alberi.
Noi, quelli d'allora, gia' non siamo gli stessi.

Io non l'amo più, è vero, ma quanto l'ho amata.
La mia voce cercava il vento per arrivare alle sue orecchie.

D'un altro. Sarà d'un altro. Come prima dei miei baci.
La sua voce, il suo corpo chiaro. I suoi occhi infiniti.

Ormai non l'amo più, è vero, ma forse l'amo ancora.
E' così breve l'amore e così lungo l'oblio.

E siccome in notti come questa l'ho tenuta tra le braccia,
la mia anima non si rassegna d'averla persa.

Benchè questo sia l'ultimo dolore che lei mi causa,
e questi gli ultimi versi che io le scrivo.

Vinte poemas de amor e uma canção desesperada

Posso escrever os versos mais tristes esta noite.

Escrever por exemplo: A noite está fria e tiritam,
azuis, os astros à distância

Gira o vento da noite pelo céu e canta

Posso escrever os versos mais tristes esta noite
Eu a quiz e por vezes ela também me quiz

Em noites como esta, apertei-a em meus braços
Beijei-a tantas vezes sob o céu infinito

Ela me quiz e as vezes eu também a queria
Como não ter amado seus grandes olhos fixos ?

Posso escrever os versos mais lindos esta noite
Pensar que não a tenho. Sentir que já a perdi

Ouvir a noite imensa mais profunda sem ela
E cai o verso na alma como orvalho no trigo

Que importa se não pode o meu amor guardá-la ?
A noite está estrelada e ela não está comigo

Isso é tudo. A distância alguém canta. A distância
Minha alma se exaspera por havê-la perdido

Para tê-la mais perto meu olhar a procura
Meu coração procura-a, ela não está comigo

A mesma noite faz brancas as mesmas árvores
Já não somos os mesmos que antes havíamos sido

Já não a quero, é certo
Porém quanto a queria !
A minha voz no vento ia tocar-lhe o ouvido

De outro. será de outro
Como antes de meus beijos
Sua voz, seu corpo claro, seus olhos infinitos

Já não a quero, é certo, Porém talvez a queira
Ah ! é tão curto o amor, tão demorado o olvido

Porque em noites como esta eu a apertei em meus braços,
Minha alma se exaspera por havê-la perdido

Mesmo que seja a última esta dor que me causa
E estes versos os últimos que eu lhe tenha escrito.

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Mailbox Monday: The Ugly Renaissance

I can't wait to dive straight into this one! I love the book cover and its intriguing title. Anything that has to do Italy gets my attention. The Renaissance period is not just about the good and the beautiful, but also about the bad and the ugly, and out of these birthed history’s greatest masterpieces.

Renowned as a period of cultural rebirth and artistic innovation, the Renaissance is cloaked in a unique aura of beauty and brilliance. Its very name conjures up awe-inspiring images of an age of lofty ideals in which life imitated the fantastic artworks for which it has become famous. But behind the vast explosion of new art and culture lurked a seamy, vicious world of power politics, perversity, and corruption that has more in common with the present day than anyone dares to admit.

In this lively and meticulously researched portrait, Renaissance scholar Alexander Lee illuminates the dark and titillating contradictions that were hidden beneath the surface of the period’s best-known artworks. Rife with tales of scheming bankers, greedy politicians, sex-crazed priests, bloody rivalries, vicious intolerance, rampant disease, and lives of extravagance and excess, this gripping exploration of the underbelly of Renaissance Italy shows that, far from being the product of high-minded ideals, the sublime monuments of the Renaissance were created by flawed and tormented artists who lived in an ever-expanding world of inequality, dark sexuality, bigotry, and hatred. 

The Ugly Renaissance is a delightfully debauched journey through the surprising contradictions of Italy’s past and shows that were it not for the profusion of depravity and degradation, history’s greatest masterpieces might never have come into being.


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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Duomo di Milano (The Milan Cathedral)

I MISS ITALY. So, so much. For those who follow my blog, you'd know that I'm crazy about the country, literally in love with it, and couldn't wait to be back. Until that happens again next year, I will have to be contented with just the memories I brought back from il bel paese (the beautiful country).

Today, I'd like to take you with me to Milan, specifically, the Milan Cathedral (or Duomo di Milano in Italian). This magnificent Gothic cathedral took nearly six centuries to complete, and it is the fifth largest cathedral in the world and the largest in the Italy. The view of the Milan city from the top of the Terraces is amazing! Enjoy!

Duomo di Milano is dedicated to Santa Maria Nascente as indicated on the signage above.

The Metro is just right outside this awesome Duomo.

This picture was taken after I came down from the Terraces. By then (almost noon), there were lots of people in the Piazza. I arrived very early in the morning and totally enjoyed myself with very much less people.

A man reading.

I was awe-struck.

It's time to climb the stairs to the Terraces. But before that, you'd need to buy the ticket.

Halfway up. I love this window.

Cute biciclette (bicycles)!
All my photos are taken using this guy that has been with me for the past eight years or more!


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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thursday Text: SANDOKAN LANUN MALAYSIA, by Emilio Salgari

Today, I'd like to share from page 79 of Sandokan by Emilio Salgari, recommended by my Italian friend from Venice. If you're interested about the background of how I came to know about this book, please check out my previous posts (here and here).

I have decided to post regularly on every Thursday a section of non-English books that I'm currently reading. For this week, I will begin with this one. I hope you'll enjoy it! This is in Malay, a language I'm fluent in. If you're unfamiliar with the language, especially my non-Malaysian readers, you will now get a feel of it...


Muara sungai membentuk pelabuhan semula jadi yang terlindung daripada badai laut oleh rentetan terumbu dan tebing pasir. Pokok sagu, mempelam, serta kebun pisang yang sarat dengan buah yang masak ranum meminggiri pesisir pantai; di sebalik pokok itu, berkericau ungka dan kera yang bergayutan pada pokok gambir, sirih dan kapur barus.

Pelbagai jenis kapal berlabuh di sungai itu. Perahu Melayu, Bugis, Borneo dan Makassar, jong besar milik orang Jawa yang layarnya beraneka warna, jong Cina yang besar dan sarat, serta kapal Belanda dan British yang kecil. Sesetengahnya sedang memunggah barang muatan sementara yang lain menunggu masa yang sesuai untuk belayar.

Orang Dayak berderet-deret menjala ikan di sepanjang terumbu dan tebing pasir. Sekawan burung albatros dan burung simbang terbang bersimpang-siur di teluk itu.

Sebaik-baik sahaja Hegoland melabuhkan sauh di tengah-tengah sungai, Sandokan mengamat-amati kapal yang ada di sekelilingnya. Matanya tertumpu pada sebuah skuner kecil yang dilengkapi senjata kira-kira tiga ratus meter dari muara sungai. Kedudukannya menghalang setiap kapal yang hendak masuk ke situ.

Setelah diamatinya dengan teliti, wajahnya berkerut dan dia menyumpah dengan perlahan.


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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Southern Italy Bookshop Series: Libreria dell'Arco in Matera

I always make it a point to visit bookshops whenever I travel. In my last post sometime in August this year, while I was still in southern Italy, I blogged about a cute bookshop in Ruvo di Puglia called Libreria L'Agorà (view here).

Today, I'd like to take you to Matera in the region of Basilicata to a bookshop called Libreria dell'Arco. Come with me!

Welcome to Liberia dell'Arco!
(Address:Via D. Ridola, 37 – 75100 Matera
Telephone: +39 0835.31.11.11)

Let's go inside the bookshop now...


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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Academic Writing (Session 1 of 3): Interesting Insights into Educational Methods (From Andragogy to Heutagogy)

Today I attended the Academic Writing class facilitated by Dato' Dr. Anthony E. Sibert. There will be two more sessions in the coming weeks and I'm looking forward to them. Besides the obvious topic on writing assignments, Dr. Sibert also touches on the educational methods and learning.

In the session, I learned something new about educational methods namely pedagogy (I'm familiar with this), andragogy (the term is new to me!), and heutagogy (new to me!). Heutagogy jumps out to me because it is a form of self-determined learning with practices and principles rooted in andragogy. I'm a big fan of self-directed learning, so when Dr. Sibert elaborated on heutagogy, I was elated because heutagogy takes learning to a new level. But first, since this is my first time exposed to the term andragogy, I'd like to take a brief moment now to examine it before I sing the heutagogy song. Although the word itself is new to me, the concept isn't because I've always adopted the approach to my personal learning and development.

Andragogy (self-directed learning) was defined by Knowles in the 1970's as specific to adult education and characterized by learner control and self-responsibility in learning, learner definition of learning objectives in relation to their relevance to the learner, a problem-solving approach to learning, self-directedness in how to learn, intrinsic learner motivation, and incorporation of the learner experience. Sounds great? Wait until you hear about heutagogy.

Heutagogy (self-determined learning) applies a holistic approach to developing learner capabilities, with learning as an active and proactive process, and learners serving as “the major agent in their own learning, which occurs as a result of personal experiences” (Hase & Kenyon, 2007, p. 112). This sounds just like the approach I've been using all this while for my self-development such as learning Italian and other foreign languages, photography, and even for work. My pursuing of this MBA also fits in nicely in my grand plan. I'm definitely looking forward to incorporating my personal experiences into the MBA studies!

I'm talking from a learner's perspective but if you are also interested in the role of the educator, you can read more about these educational methods from the IRRODL (International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning) website. It's the same website where I obtained the above definitions, recapping what I heard from today's class and also as a part of my own further reading. The Southern Cross University offers good information too (read this).

Finally, a "CAN DO" attitude is very important! (I'm happy to note that once again I hit the jackpot on this one...)


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