We are all tasked with building the Republic of Heaven here on earth, and it’s a philosophy that ends The Amber Spyglass and fits well into my view of life. Heaven as a term is re-appropriated here to mean something entirely different than its traditional definition. The Republic of Heaven exists in what you and I choose to do with our every waking moment in life. Do we choose to fight for those who are marginalized and left behind? Do we choose to further the pursuit of knowledge of our own world, whether through science, art, literature, music, or even the most personal and private discoveries? Do we cherish the land we live on? Do we cherish the interactions we have with the fellow humans who thrive alongside us? Do we instill values in our friends, our families, our siblings, our offspring, the strangers we pass on busy streets or in subway tubes or in bustling airports by treating one another not as disparate enemies, but with the knowledge that we are all Dust, all chemicals and particles that swirl into existence and fill the leaves, the trees, the lakes, the streams, the birds in the air and the beasts of the land? Do we stretch out our arms to accept the ferocious and unending beauty that does exist in the experience of being alive? Do we learn to embrace the desires, the loves, the emotions, and the sometimes fickle forces that bring our bodies joy and completeness and give us glimpses of something larger than ourselves but never better than the worth of a single life? Or do we turn our eyes to a world in the sky and simply hope that one day, things will be better than they are now?

Mark reads The Amber Spyglass, and I collapse in a puddle on the floor. (via lyrabelacqua)

Underrated Books - His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
When you choose one way out of many, all the ways you don’t take are snuffed out like candles, as if they’d never existed.

Underrated Books - His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

When you choose one way out of many, all the ways you don’t take are snuffed out like candles, as if they’d never existed.

There are some things, some subjects, too large for adult fiction; they can only be dealt with adequately in a children’s book.

Philip Pullman (via germmagazine)

The “His Dark Materials” trilogy is banned but you should read it anyway


“The Golden Compass,” “The Subtle Knife,” and “The Amber Spyglass” by Philip Pullman, 1995, 1997, 2000

Spoilers ahead.

Why it’s banned/challenged: Because it’s about killing God. Well actually, it’s about the innocence of childhood and the oppression of indoctrination, as told through the metaphorical device of literal spirit animals and parallel worlds. But when I made the mistake of asking a particularly religious friend if she’d read the trilogy she said she never would because “it’s about killing God!” Never mind the fact that she knew literally nothing else about the series or why God needed to be killed within the context of the story. According to the ALA, the reasons for its banning include “political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, and violence.” Philip Pullman is a noted agnostic (not an atheist, as he has been called), and has faced severe criticism from Christian groups who see the books as an attack on their religion. In defense of Pullman though, Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury, supports Pullman’s message, arguing that his writing actually criticizes the “constraints and dangers of dogmatism and the use of religion to oppress,” not Christianity itself. I guess the nuance is a little too subtle for chronic book banners to pick up on.

Why you should read it anyway: Because with or without the theological metaphors, it’s a great fantasy story and a heartbreaking coming-of-age tale. It’s well-written and accessible to both the young adult market and adult readers. I have read “The Golden Compass” twice in my life: once when I was a teenager and once when I was an adult (at which point I read the whole trilogy in rapid succession). The first time I was all “Sweet! Armored bears and hot air balloons and a world where everybody has a talking animal friend!” The second time I was all “…oooooooooooooooh.” What I’m saying is: if you’re worried that these books will make your child an atheist, worry not. The theological discussion will sail safely over their heads until they’re old enough to make up their own minds about their religious leanings. And hey—wouldn’t you want your children to be wary of blind faith in corrupt adult powers? I’m just saying…

I highly encourage you to read the trilogy in conjunction with John Milton’s “Paradise Lost,” on which “His Dark Materials” is very loosely based. Pullman takes a different approach from Milton, and instead of condemning human beings for what Milton saw as their worst flaw (independent thought, to over-simplify), praises them. Also, you should try to get your hands on a copy of the UK edition of “The Amber Spyglass,” as the American edition mildly censors a discussion of the main character’s budding feminine sexuality.

Three o’clock in the morning. The soft April night is looking at my windows and caressingly winking at me with its stars. I can’t sleep, I am so happy.

Anton Chekhov, About Love and Other Stories (via larmoyante)

Good week so far :) highlights:

  • watched a friend give an impromptu ballet solo at Bliss. It was my first time seeing her dance ballet, and it was so lovely seeing how graceful, joyful and in her element she was :) 
  • went to the White Lady for burgers after Thursday Paddington and had a really great convo with aforementioned friend. She gave up being a professional dancer because she realized it wasn’t what she wanted to do day-to-day, and ended up pursuing physiotherapy instead
  • she was so brave and inspiring - it further strengthens my conviction that nothing ever goes to waste. Not passion, not seemingly misplaced goals or efforts, nothing. Everything happens for some reason even if it isn’t that clear to begin with
  • discovered Buddha Doodles through Bexlife. The drawings are so cute and I like the little quotes :)
  • finished His Dark Materials and it was completely amazing. NO WORDS TO DESCRIBE.
  • kind of not looking forward to the Easter weekend because yoga, Zouk Art, Viva Zouk, and Bliss are all cancelled :( what am I going to do next Monday and Tuesday?! 

Much love,


#oatmeal with creamed honey, peanut butter, chia, pumpkin seeds and almonds :) #breakfast #healthyfood #latemornings

#oatmeal with creamed honey, peanut butter, chia, pumpkin seeds and almonds :) #breakfast #healthyfood #latemornings

Happy to finally receive my #sasa package! Best part of the day so far :D #mybeautydiary #kissme #dollywink #sunplay #biore #mentholatum #beauty

Happy to finally receive my #sasa package! Best part of the day so far :D #mybeautydiary #kissme #dollywink #sunplay #biore #mentholatum #beauty

Hello everybody!

Good week so far :) don’t really remember everything that’s been going on, but:

  • went to Kura Sake Bar and Restaurant last night for dinner. Although it was a lot pricier than the Japanese places I usually frequent, dinner was great and I tried a lot of new things - including fresh octopus in wasabi sauce, deep fried prawn and tofu balls - and had my favourite soft shell crab sushi! :)
  • watched Divergent which was well-paced, action-packed and a REALLY good movie. I’m tempted to read the books now, even though I’ve been into dystopian fiction for quite awhile and I told myself I’d take a break
  • I also downloaded a new ebook reader for my phone (Moon+ Reader) which I’m absolutely loving at the moment! It’s so much better/more user friendly than the epub reader I had before. I’m also keen to try Kobo though, as I adore pretty ebook readers
  • I’ve started reading The Golden Compass, the first book of the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman (I think I’m behind on the times because this series was immensely popular when I was in late primary/intermediate, only I never really found the time to read it) and I really really like it so far. I also have the Earth Children series by Jean M. Auel in my collection - that’s another one that was popular quite a long time ago that I haven’t gotten around to reading - and I’m very much looking forward to it!
  • heading off to the shore for a cha-cha workshop at Limelight Studio tonight with some international instructors visiting Auckland. Excited for my first proper cha-cha lesson :)

Much love,


Hello all!

Feel so productive today :) I basically spent the whole afternoon running errands, and I’m finally at my desk again now that it’s 4.28pm. It feels amazing having almost nothing immediate left to sort out and to not be concerned with the fact that I might have forgotten something.

Although today was a rather hectic day, yesterday was nice and enjoyable :)

  • went to Sachie’s Kitchen in Parnell for lunch - the sushi was alright but I’m much more interested in the cooking classes they have available, especially the Vietnamese and Thai ones!
  • also went for a kind-of run (it was actually excruciating and I didn’t enjoy a minute of it, but the most important thing I suppose was that I did it)
  • had my first hatha yoga class which was great! Everyone was really friendly, my friend teaching the class was both humorous, patient and calming, and I felt super energized and relaxed after class
  • then at night to zouk for a spot of dancing. We focused on revision and practice this week, and I got some helpful advice/feedback from my favourite zouk instructor
  • of course a productive day isn’t complete without a treat, so I had a really good cheeseburger from The White Lady after zouk and ate it while enjoying the cool night air in Newmarket Train Station Square :)

So that’s been it for the week so far. Hope everyone is enjoying the last few warm days of summer-not-quite-autumn!

Much love,