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tower of light

April 2017

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the whisper known as loneliness

A while back iris242x asked me to list ten books which had the biggest influence on my life. Rather surprisingly, it took me very little time to arrive at the answer. The list, to my surprise, had an almost even divide between fiction and non-fiction, with six male and five female authors (although I suppose I really don't know what is the gender of Hong Ling these days...).

  • Norwegian Wood by MURAKAMI Haruki
  • Night Watch by Terry Pratchett
  • Biographies of Deviant Vampires by HONG Ling
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Eileen Chang's collection of prose
  • The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston
  • The Age of Umi Ikaba (海行兮的年代 : 日本殖民統治末期臺灣史論集) by ZHOU Wanyao
  • Censoring History by Laura Hein and Mark Selden
  • Imagined Communities by Benedict Anderson
  • Thought and Behaviour in Japanese Politics by MARUYAMA Masao

This is, of course, a rather eclectic collection, and I don't make the pretension that the works listed have comparable literary or scholarly value. However, the personal impact of each is real—in many sense, each of them have either been a gateway towards self-realization, or a window into some profound, personal truth.

And lately, I keep thinking of Maruyama Masao's words—not his piercing academic treatises, but a single observation (and one that is probably off-the-cuff) that I encountered while reading him in the mountains. I cannot vouch that I have the exact words right, but what he said was roughly this: "The loneliest feeling in the world is when everyone around you believe in something that you don't."

Maybe that's why the anger in me never dies.
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