Posts tagged King David

Three Minute Cartoon and 3 Minute B&W Tragedy

Some of my first year, Kazakh students waxed very philosophical in their in-class writings last week.  They witnessed two 3 minute clips and were asked to write about their reactions on what they saw and what message they thought the producer or director of the movie was trying to get across.

 G.K. The cartoon named “Match Scratch Fever” is conveying two messages to the viewer.  First of all, it’s trying to say that no matter what challenges one faces on the way to accomplishment of his/her goal, he/she should never stop trying because it might happen that at the very moment one stops pursuing his/her goal some brilliant opportunity might befall upon him/her.

Another thing that the cartoon is trying to tell is that all of us should live our lives to the best of our abilities and not be afraid to take the risk.

 A.T. I think this short cartoon is about two things which we should keep in mind.  The first one is about persistence.  Don’t give up any business that you started.  Do it until finish.  And second is about what part we take in this world.  We are on our place do functions what we out to do.

M.K. There is one of the matches getting out of the matchbox.  It moves and tries to get fire. Nothing seems to be achieved, but, trying and trying, it gets its body separated, having some kind of legs.  That is one of the meanings – even getting no closer to your aim, you benefit somehow.  And other trials, again and again And when it thinks it cannot get a fire, stops trying.  It gets what it wants – and that’s another meaning – all the best comes when you don’t try that hard.

And when it finally gets fire, it is happy, yes.  But did it really need it?  That’s the main thought I’m picking up from the cartoon.  Sometimes you don’t really need what you’re trying to get.

 Z.S. It’s a funny cartoon.  According to this cartoon, I understood that everything is possible in this life.  If you really want to reach something you can do this.  Nobody can interrupt to come true from your dreams.  First of all, you have to have a big wish to get.  For instance, this match isn’t afraid to run risks, he wanted something new.

 V.K. As far as I’m concerned, the producer wanted to say that we should keep trying and it’s important not to lose hope.  Everything will be fine in the end (fine = as you wish).

 A.M. This is very funny and at the same time is terrible movie.  Of course the match is a symbol, but to guess what author means, is not very easy.  Maybe this match symbolizes a human that all his life to achieve some goals, but when he achieves it, he dies.

 D.B. What does it mean?  That we should try to reach our wishes and then will become happy? Or we should be more careful with our wishes?  So, I think it is better to become sure you really want something before doing.  I don’t like the idea of dying.

 The second 3 minute clip was based on a famous song written by a king who had been highly favored from his humble position as a shepherd boy.  He was very musical at a young age and later he became a brave and great warrior who defeated many enemies.  In time his victories went to his head and he became lazy.  This king should have been a true leader out campaigning with his men but instead he fell in love with a married woman, got her pregnant and had her husband killed in battle.  When he was finally confronted with what he did, he wrote this very amazing song which a woman in this B&W 3 minute film puts into dance.  The following is what my students wrote in reacting to this short clip.

 A.T. I think this clip is mostly about our lives.  Her dancing is like how people live in this world – mechanically, without any emotions.  It is obvious that we all try to do what society wants us to do.  We are like robots.  The factory’s and railways pictures, in my opinion, shows that all today is dependent from economics, industrialization stuff and we forget about our natural sources which is described by empty branches without any leaves.

 A.Y. It was so black and I’m scared.  The woman danced strange and showed her loneliness and fear.

V.K. This shows something associated to a lifeless world.  The lady in the movie is hopeless, seems to me that either somebody who was close to her died and now her life is EMPTY (like all the places and subjects shown) or she might be incurably ill…

 H.J. She looks like she wants freedom, but her everyday life is very routine and repeated.  She really tried to escape from that but it turns out useless.  She is the only living thing in the movie, however even her color is black and white.

 R.R. Every section of this film demonstrate that life of this woman is empty.  Empty table, empty cup of tea, black and white colours shows that this woman in tragedy.  And in my opinion this tragedy is because of not having any aims in life.  I think it is seen she she walk on the train road.

 N.A. I think her life is a kind of empty box…and also the empty cup.  I think that the cup was her life, and when she turned it nothing changed.

 P.P. I understand that the girl was like a machine…maybe she was under stress.  But life is not white-black, it is colorful.  It depends how we see our life.

 A.S. I’m not sure what this film is about but it might be about our life that is so boring, we goes through the system and don’t realize what is really happening.  Maybe our life so strict and there is no real happiness and love, not for self-love but for others.

 Y.S. Her dance is not just dancing.  It’s like struggling against something.  I don’t know exactly.

A.M. This movie is about an unhappy and probably lonely girl whose life is grey and routine (without any changes, last day is the same as present one). And she suffers, her dance is her soul’s sufferings.

 K.B. I don’t like it because this short movie defines a very strange fear and loneliness.  This woman looks so unhappy and remote from all the world.  She is suffering of something.

 D.B. There is nothing kind or pleasant in the movie, everything is sad.  Sometimes she dance some strange rude dance, sometimes she is sitting upset at the empty table, with vase without flowers.  Sometimes we see the hand which asks for help.  So, it’s a very unhappy movie.

 A.I. Crazy Dance.  Process of bringing “color” to her life.  She is dancing aggressively and always raises her palms up, kind of asking God about something. Because her life is dark, empty, meaningless. Maybe she wants to change through this “ritual dancing” and maybe she is trying to clean up her sins, like when her feet are being cleaned.

 G.K. The whole idea of this movie clip, to my mind, lies in one word – “desperation.” The girl in the movie is probably trying to take all negative energy out of her and get somehow distracted through a dance.  And all the symbols used in “Psalm 51” are the symbols of loneliness.

 Yes, this is expressing exactly how the highly revered King David of old felt and how he confessed his guilt in Psalm 51.  Read it for yourself to know his loneliness, desperation, unhappiness, struggle, suffering

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O Little Hills Skipped Like Lambs

Waking up at 5:00 am to the coolness of the morning, I made a beeline for our north balcony to witness the pink of the pre-dawn sky to the east. After making my coffee, I went to my meditation spot looking out to the mountains from our south windows.  I did my daily reading and sipped my coffee gazing to the foothills and the snow peaked mountains above.

Today I was reminiscing and reflecting on where I was 16 years ago.  I was in the Twin Cities teaching ITAs (International Teaching Assistants) at the University of Minnesota. I was also in self-imposed physical training for the Twin Cities marathon (26 miles) for October 1992 when thousands of runners come from all over the U.S. to run it.  I was in top physical condition usually running in 5, 10 or 15 kilometer races every other weekend.  I ran a few half marathons of 13 miles but that was many, many pounds ago.

Sadly I sustained a stress fracture during a 10 K I was running a day after I had peaked at 20 miles in my training for the THEE marathon in my home state.  The Twin Cities Marathon was meant to be my farewell run around all my favorite lakes in the Twin Cities before I headed to Central Asia to teach on a Fulbright Scholar grant in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.  I was averaging less than 8 minute miles, I repeat myself, I was in top physical form.  I LOVED the freedom of running, especially in the early morning hours when there were no cars or people around, it was peaceful and cool!  Minneapolis is an attractive city in the summer and fall, especially in the fall with the autumn leaves.

When I first arrived in May 1993 to Almaty as a Peace Corps trainer, I took to the hills with the same energy I used while going up and down the hills near the Mississippi River.  For exercise in Almaty and taking a break from Peace Corps training, other trainers and I battled the dusty switchbacks to get to the top of Kok Tobe.  Back then, the cable car was in sad disrepair and everything appeared to be in past tense of Soviet glory days.  Kind of like me today when I will traverse up the back roads to Kok Tobe.  Right now, I feel so past tense concerning physical exertion.  I’ll be with my Minneapolis friend Kim, from 20 years ago who has lived in Kazakhstan since 1995.  I’ll be huffing and puffing, like a cigarette smoker, while she will be skipping along the road like a frisky lamb.  Kim is in superior condition because she is an aerobics instructor; I’m a writing teacher chained to my desk.

I can’t help but reflect on what shepherd boy turned into King David penned in Psalms 114 when the Jewish people were delivered from their captors in Egypt, from verses 4-6: “The mountains skipped like rams, the little hills like lambs.  What ails you, O sea, that you fled? O Jordan, that you turned back? O mountains, that you skipped like rams? O little hills, like lambs?”

What imagery did David have in mind with mountains quaking and moving?  Mountains and hills should remain stationary, it is the rams and lambs duty to flit about from rock to craggy rock. The next verses might explain: “Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob, who turned the rock into a pool of water, the flint into a fountain of waters.”  Apparently King David desired his readers to know that God is in control and all powerful.

My thoughts sadly return to the Chinese who have suffered from a recent earthquake and aftershocks where they have positively witnessed the movement of what seemed stable.  Now they have dams that could possibly break and flood their homes, will their suffering ever cease?  King David wants his audience to know, God is in control and He will bring deliverance as He did with the Israelites.

Therefore, my thoughts turn to the Chinese sad plight and not my own of not being able to skip up the path like a lamb to Kok Tobe.  It should be a fun morning being with my long time Minnesota friend Kim and witnessing the changes of our walk from what I remember 15 years ago.

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