30 January 2010

May - December

Today, I am sharing a short writing by a friend of mine who doesn't want to be identified. He said it is just random thoughts he put down on paper. I think regardless of how good or bad the writing is, it is a great reflection of the human heart. Mr. B. told me to go ahead and publish it so here it goes.

29 January 2010

Bigger And Becker Part 2


How did I spend my 11th birthday? I just sat around at home because Mr. B. had to go to work. I was able to do a lot of contemplating, actually a bit too much contemplating for a bear. I was thinking what I want to be when I grow up.

I thought of the great humans that made great contributions to the world. I thought I want to be like one of them.

Maybe I can be as great as Leonardo da Vinci. He is a polymath, painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, botanist and writer. Then I thought that is a bit too much to handle. It may take a few lifetimes for one to accomplish all of that.

Perhaps when I grow up I could be another Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and influence an entire era with my music. Maybe not. Mr. B. once mentioned that I could be tone deaf.

Something more contemporary maybe. I could be a David Beckham and be popular in sports. People make a lot of money there. Then I thought I have to run and run and run around the entire football field and I got tired just thinking about it.

James Cameron! He is a great role model! I can make 3D animated movies of brown creatures in a make believe land named after a Greek goddess who opened a jar and was forever blamed for releasing all the evils of mankind, and make billions of dollars! Maybe not.

How about Michael Bloomberg? He is a politician, media magnate, billionnaire. But I heard that he is not a nice person, so I don't think I want to be like him at all.

Mr. B. came home with lots of food tonight - barbecued meat and duck, sausages, beef noodles, fried rice and vegetables. D. came to join us for dinner too. D. did not forget to buy me a cake because today is my 11th birthday. Mr. B. said I can have the cake all to myself because today is a special day for me.

As I look at the red cherry topping on my cheesecake, I thought of my other bear friends. I promised myself that someday, I will buy a bigger cake on my birthday so we all can eat together, I gave Mr. B. a bear hug and told him that when I grow up, I want to be just like him.

28 January 2010

Bigger And Becker Part 1

In about one hour and a few minutes from now, it will be my 11th birthday. Mr. B. said that I am a big boy now and that as I grow up, I will not only get bigger but also get better.
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"I got my very first greeting today, Mr. B. Look!!" I showed him the ecard I received from Panda, the lazy bear, who I came to know through this blog.
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"That is great!" Mr. B. said. "That means you have friends!"
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"But I don't know what that shining thing in the card is. It looks like a ring. And Panda, the lazy bear used my photo without permission too!
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Mr. B. sighed and gave me a big hug. "Now that you are a big boy, you must learn to share. You must also learn not to complain too much about life. You should be very thankful and happy that you have friends who remembered your birthday."
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"What should I do tomorrow on my birthday, Mr. B.?" I asked him.
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"First thing you do when you wake up tomorrow is to pray and give thanks for all the blessings you have in life." Mr. B. said as he cuddled me. "Then you should thank all the people who reads your blog. Because they are all your friends who come to visit you everyday despite of their busy lives."
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"Will I have a cake to eat too? Just like last week on your birthday?" I asked.
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"If you are a good boy, you will have a cake."
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I know I should be happy about this day and I should be celebrating. But somehow, I seem to feel a bit unsure. Perhaps that is a part of growing up, or maybe because I am becoming like human.

27 January 2010

His 24-Hour Day


"There should be more than 24 hours in a day!" Mr. B. announced upon arriving home tonight. "I can hardly do all that I need to do in one day."

I watched him running around the house muttering to himself, changing to house clothes, cleaning up a little, preparing dinner, then finally settling down on the couch to watch his favorite TV show while chomping down on fish soup and steamed rice.
It was already 2 hours later when he got off the couch to clean up his dinner mess, make a quick phone call to D., check his BlackFairy, fiddle with it for half an hour, clean out the garbage, then settling down again to check his emails and Facebook.

"There should really be more than 24 hours in a day!" he said again. "How can I ever do all that I have to do in one day?"

He told me he need to go to bed early because he has an early meeting tomorrow morning. "If only there are 30 hours in one day. That would be great." he said.

"I don't think it would make any difference, Mr. B." I told him.

"Why not?"

"Because then you will be spending 10 hours sleeping, 12 hours going to, staying and coming from work, and 8 hours running arund the house!" I amswered.

"That is true. But I will have 2 extra hours to watch TV!" he answered as he prepared to take his pre-bedtime shower.

24 January 2010

B. So Kewl


Russell Sprout, backpacking bear and aspiring travel show host talks to Mr. B., the elusive character in Becker’s Eyes but the proud guardian of the net’s most endearing bear in a very rare virtual interview on his birthday.
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Russell: Happy Birthday, Mr. B.! For starter, can you please explain a bit about that photo?

Mr.B.: That was taken many, many years ago. Inspired from the Antoine Doinel character in the French movie Les Quatre Cents Coups. I just thought of it when my brother took that picture. A lot of people actually liked it. I am quite proud of it to tell you the truth.

R: So you like French movies?

B: I used to watch a lot of them when I was younger. Now I have an almost complete collection of Truffaut in DVD.

R: I am sure a lot of people can relate to that. Since it’s your birthday today, we are going to do something different. I am going to ask you random questions, and you are going to answer me with the first thing that comes to your mind.

B: Sounds fun to me!

R: Suppose you were having a dinner party and could invite three famous people, who would they be?

B: Nigella Lawson, Angelina Jolie and Shayne Ward. Nigella to help me in the preparation, Angelina for latest showbiz gossips which would be a great dinner topic and Shayne for entertainment. Makes sense?

R: Perfect sense. What did you want to be when you were 10 years old?

B: Twenty years old.

R: I am sure you still want to be 20 now. What would I find in your refrigerator?

B: Right now? Apples, ice cream, bottled tea, fresh eggs, butter and Chinese ham.

R: You can make a feast with that! Which South Park character are you?

B: I would say Eric Cartman. Would you agree?

R: Oh yes definitely. You are so Eric. So if you could have any super power, what would it be?

B: Be invisible at will.

R: Do you install toilet paper so that you pull from the top or the bottom of the roll?

B: From the top. Or from the left if the roll is standing. That goes the same with kitchen paper towels. Always. No other direction.

R: What would you do if someone gives you 20 million without any obligation right this moment?

B: In US Dollars?

R: Okay, let’s forget about that. What kind of salad dressing are you?

B: Caesar salad dressing.

R: Pasta sauce?

B: Cream with mushrooms, bacon and green peas.

R: Why haven’t you seen Avatar?

B: That kind of premise does not interest me at all.

R: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

B: Star of a hit West End musical. As Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera, then as Alex in Aspects of Love, as Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar. I will not do Joseph because I don't want to spend half the time on stage with only loin clothes. And I can't fo Starlight Express because I cannot rollerskate.

R: What profession would you not like to do?

B: The one I have now. Okay, edit this part out. I mean, seriously.

R: Who in the world, alive or otherwise, do you admire most?

B: Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber. I will kiss his feet when I meet him in person. Okay, his shoes maybe. Okay, maybe not. But I will be totally speechless.

R: Ever came close to meeting him?

B: No. But I did meet Sarah Brightman and told her how much I admire her. That’s close enough, isn’t it?

R: You can say that, yes. One final question before we end this interview. If you are granted one and only one wish today, what would that be?

B: Give me that 20 million. In US dollars.

23 January 2010

The Fat Of The Matter


Mr. B. glanced over the computer screen and saw what the doctor just typed. Obesity. The word he feared most. Somehow he know a day like this would arrive. That he will be officially labelled as obese. The dirtiest 5-letter word of all. The ultimate insult.

"I want you to come back for another check-up next week," the young lady doctor said. "I need to monitor your cholesterol level."

Cholesterol. Another dirty 11-letter word. That evil thing that results from stuffing yourself with nice things such as foie gras, scampi, escargot and chicken fried steak.

"You need to lose your weight in two months." the doctor continued.

Lose weight. Mr. B. gains weight just breathing in air. Must he stop breathing?

"I might have to put you on weight loss medication. We'll see." she explained.

Medication. How did he come to this?

He came home feeling defeated but with two shopping bags full of groceries. He made grilled fish, aubergine with mince pork and tofu with broccoli for dinner with D. but hardly ate anything.

Eating. The root of all evil. This should be outlawed. Together with all the great chefs of the world. And the culinary shows too.

I gave him a big hug. Things will be just fine I kept telling him.

20 January 2010

SOP To Death


Mr. B. works in a place (called the pfunny pfarm) where standard operating procedures or SOPs are common. According to definition, a standard operating procedure consists of a set of instructions having the force of a directive, and covering those features of operations that lend themselves to a definite or standardized procedure without loss of effectiveness. It is supposed to be an effective tool to drive performance of a company.

Where Mr. B. works, there is an SOP for almost everything, then there are SOPs that governs the little SOPs. The mother of all SOPs. If you have undergone through one of these, you will definitely understand how SOPs make you want to pull all the hair off your head followed by muted scream. That is what Mr. B. feels like doing everyday.

After careful studies, I come to realize why humans invent these kind of directives. There are only two probable reasons : one is to make incapable workers not do anything in fear of violation; and two is to make capable people fall into the depth of insanity sooner than necessary. Then there are the preachers of SOPs. Those who are in the know who's barks are more powerful than their bites, those who are all talks and no actions (because actions may result in the violation of the SOP).

I try to imagine what the human world would be like without SOPs, with no rules and restrictions. Will the world be in chaos? Will humans cease to move forward? Perhaps not. All I know is that too many of that will only lead to the collapse of the system it was trying to put in order in the first place. I think the world is confusing as it is without the SOPs and the SOP preachers.

17 January 2010

Becker's Eyes: One Year On


Russell Sprout, backpacking bear and aspiring travel show host brings you the highlights and sidelights of Becker's Eyes in celebration of the blog's first year anniversary.

On 17 January 2009, Benedict Kieran decided to start his own blog. He wanted to share his views of a world quite peculiar yet very dear to him, the human world. Today, as we celebrate the very first anniversary of Becker’s Eyes, here are some of the behind the scene look at how this popular blog is created on a day-to-day basis.

Do you know that:

Becker writes most of his entries in the evening when he is most inspired.

He credits the original owners of quotes, song lyrics, photos and videos that he uses. Although I think he missed out on a few, but don’t blame him, he is just a bear.

He sometimes go back to past entries to correct grammar or wrong spellings, add a few phrases here and there. Like readers would care. But he insists.

He learned Photoshop basics in order to retouch some of his photos for posting or advertising. He hasn’t perfected his skills yet.

He spends a lot of time thinking of creative ways to advertise his blog. He has at least two loyal readers – a panda and a sheep.

He is, up to now, still being referred to as the alter ego of Mr. B. He denies this and says he shall never hear any of it again.


Based on the readers comments, here are some of the more popular quips taken from various entries:

I see humans around me as tired souls, trying to "feel" and trying to "be".
Nothingness

he remembers how thankful he is to have a comparatively mundane life with someone he cares about sharing simple joys.
The Girl With Kaleidoscope Eyes

Maybe some day, I too will be like Kermit and show the world that every wish could indeed be heard and answered.
The Lovers, The Dreamers And Me

Is there a place for me in heaven too? I sure hope so, because Mr. B. will be lonely without me by his side up there.
Did He Die For Me Too?

I personally think his problem is not his weight but his height. If he were 3 feet taller, his weight would be perfect.
Nothing To Wear

I may not be able to clean up his house, but I will try to clean up those little specks of bother in his life.
Specks Of Bother

As long as we are together, I believe I am always home.
When I Think Of Home

Bullies and divas both think they are intellectually superior than others. That is their common delusion.
The Bully And The Diva

I think life is like sukiyaki. It is all different things mixed up in one single pot.
Life Is Like Sukiyaki

Life could be complicated and frustrating sometimes. But I think there is no need to stop and muse over that for too long. One should just step on the gas and move on.
Hopeful Travellers

Wise Monkeys? I don't think so. They are just covering their eyes, ears and mouths in order to pretend nothing evil is happening around them
Three Wise Monkeys


There you go, dear fans! Some of the best of Becker’s Eyes. Here’s wishing Becker many more years of happy, happy blogging! And of course, he will definitely appreciate your comments, suggestions, sharing and reposting to help promote the site, and donation. Oh well, maybe not donation. He eats very little.

Signing off with love, Russell

15 January 2010

Defying Crabbity


This week has been particularly difficult for Mr. B. Firstly, his big tummy wasn't feeling very well for most of the days. Of course he only had the fried snack and Texas fried steak he ate Sunday evening to blame. Secondly, his second week affair with his new little toy called the Blackberry, which I renamed the BlackFairy, has already resulted in the invasion of his private time too much too often. As a result, Mr. B. has been quite grumpy all week.

"I am so looking forward to this weekend, Mr. B.! It's my blog's first anniversary!" I told him excitingly.

"Great." he answered flatly without even looking up. "I need some rest this weekend too."

"I wish I know a way to make you happier, Mr. B. It was a tough week for you."

"It has been. And I still have some work to finish over the weekend."

"Oh...can I help you?"

"I don't think so."

"Would you like me to say nasty things about the pfunny pfarm?"

"That won't change a thing, will it?"

"Let's buy a cake to eat and celebrate!"

"We'll see..."

Walking away dejected, a song started playing in my head. That song from the musical Wicked that sings of how one wants to live without limits, going against the rules that others have set. That scene where the misunderstood green witch enchanted a broomstick to levitate and, pursued by the Wizard's guards, rises from the ground above the angry mob, who tried in vain to "bring her down."

I wish Mr. B. could fly high above all the things that trouble him - including the evil witch that gave him the BlackFairy, so he won't be grouchy anymore.

12 January 2010

Blackberry


"What is that thing you're playing?" I asked wondering why Mr. B. has his face only about 2 inches from the device he is holding.

"It's called a Blackberry. It's really a wonderful thing to have." He said showing me his new toy. "I can receive and reply to emails, make and take phone calls, accept or check meetings and appointments."

"But why would you want to receive and reply to emails, make and take phone calls, accept or check meetings and appointments when you are already home." I inquired further.

"Oh, because I am being paid a lot of money which mean that I should be on call anytime of the day and any day of the week. I have to be sure that people who are looking for me can find me." he said as the red light started flickering again indicating new incoming mails.

"So that means you must receive and reply to emails, make and take phone calls, accept and check meetings and appointments anytime and anywhere?" I asked again.

"Yes, that is very true. Of course it has all these other functions too, like photos, videos, music, games, all of which I never and probably won't ever get to use." he patiently explained.

"I understand. Because a Blackberry is used to receive and reply to emails, make and take phone calls, accept and check meetings and appointments."

"Correct."

"Why do I have a feeling this will not get anywhere, Mr. B.?" I asked.

"I dunno..." he replied as his thumb rolled the trackball frantically.

It must be one of those days. I sighed a little and walked away from Mr. B.

09 January 2010

Though Your Heart Is Aching

"Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long-shot.”

Those were the famous words of one of the greatest humans who ever lived on this planet. Charlie Chaplin. Born to a dysfunctional family of alcoholic father and mentally-ill mother, Chaplin survived desperate poverty in his youth to become one of the most creative and influential personalities in the world. Who would not recognize the image of The Tramp in derby hat, cutaway tailcoat, baggy pants, oversized shoes, whangee cane and moustache?

In 1936, Chaplin made what was to be his last 'silent' film Modern Times (his next movie The Great Dictator contained a scene where he actually spoke). In the film, Chaplin played a factory worker on an assembly line struggling to survive in a modern and industrialized world. Although it spoked about the Great Depression era in the 1930's, the harsh conditions and the indignation suffered by common employees in a capitalist world are the same and the message is just as significant now as it was back then.

After a series of mishaps including moving from one job after another and being arrested and jailed, the movie ended showing the Chaplin character and the gamine (played by Paulette Goddard) walking down the road, uncertain of their future but yet hopeful that everything will be just fine. The accompanying music in that final scene was later recorded as a song called Smile sung by Nat King Cole.

Sometimes when I look at Mr. B. and what he goes through working in the Funny Farm, I envision him as The Tramp himself - an awkward but good-hearted character who behaves with the manners and dignity of a gentleman despite his the desperate condition at work. As I watch him wobbles out of the house in the morning and wobbles in at night complaining about his day, I hope that he can see that however tragic life may seem to be from up-close, it is quite funny if only one steps back and sees it with a hopeful heart from a distance.

04 January 2010

New Year, Old Self, Good Cop, Bad Cop


Most humans make some kind of resolution for the New Year. For some, to lose weight, for others to find the love of their lives. But I can bet my bear paw to say that not single human in this world vowed to work harder or put more effort at work in the coming year. Not one. I can also bet my other bear paw to say that not one single human vowed to be the same old nasty, annoying, unlikeable self this year.

First day in the funny farm and Mr. B. was tortured with threats from the person he worked for. It was short of giving him an ultimatum to dismiss members of his team who were deemed incompetent by that person's doubtful standard.

Some time during the day, Mr. B. had a realisation. He was awakened to the fact that this person wanted him to be the bad cop while staying to be a good cop. Suddenly he understands why all these years, this person has been provoking him behind closed door, manipulating him through all sorts of means to get rid of people that this person has very strong biased against.

It is the New Year. It is unimaginable that some people's life could be so sad and lonely that the only source of joy is seeing other miserable and shroud it under the pretense of helping others. Very sad indeed.

Mr. B. said he may suddenly decide to go shopping for Balinese furnitures in where else? Bali.

02 January 2010

Harry's Fingers

Charlie Bit My Finger.

That was hardly a significant occurence, especially coming from a pair of brothers in Thames Valley in the U.K. But that very short home video from 2007 made its way to the cyberworld and became the most viewed clip in YouTube ever garnering almost 150 million views as of today.

Some people say the clip is Shakespearean. That it contained a full range of human emotions within a very short span of time - love, pain, fear, forgiving and of course, Charlie's almost-sinister laugh.

In the adult human world, there would have been other possible results:
1) Harry smacks Charlie in the head real hard.
2) Harry sues Charlie of physical harm or harrassment.
3) Harry takes it to the boss and Charlie will be fired.
4) Harry seeks another opportunity to get his revenge.

In the meantime, the real Harry and Charlie recently welcomed their new baby brother Jasper. They started a blog in March 2009 with more than 300 followers already. And none of the two ever attempted to place their fingers in Jasper's mouth.

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