Thursday, July 5, 2018

PLAYING THE FOOL

Antares as the Fool @ 1982 (photo montage by Hari Ho)


In 1982 my friend Maureen Ten (who has since relocated to Sydney) decided she wanted to stage a freewheeling version of William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. She insisted that I take on the role of Feste, Olivia’s Fool, and I immediately agreed, since I have always had a soft spot for Maureen.

Rehearsals dragged on for months and more than a few began to regret committing themselves to this project – but finally the play opened and ran for less than a week at the British Council Hall. It was a resounding success!

People loved it, some returning for a second or even third performance. I suppose it was the unexpected blend of styles that made the whole thing flow better than it felt to the cast, while rehearsing it in fragments. Maureen kept pretty much true to the spirit of Shakespeare but playfully allowed individual performers’ quirks free rein. Needless to say, the utterly muhibbah and motley cast managed to insert a great deal of local flavor and humor into the production.

As Feste, I had to come up with tunes for three songs. I was still in my Bob Dylan phase, down to my frizzy hairdo, so I played the songs on my guitar with a bit of harmonica – accompanied by a bit of flute played by an expat named John Moore on two of the songs.

Recently, I felt prompted to resurrect my songs from Twelfth Night and, thanks to Google, easily found the words online. While re-learning to sing them, I was struck by the apparent simplicity, yet nonchalant profundity, of Feste’s first song:

What is love? ‘Tis not hereafter;
Present mirth hath present laughter;
What’s to come is still unsure:
In delay there lies not plenty;
Then come kiss me sweet and twenty,
Youth’s a stuff will not endure.

O mistress mine, where are you roaming?
O stay and hear; your true love’s coming,
That can sing both high and low:
Trip no further, pretty sweeting;
Journeys end in lovers meeting,
Every wise man’s son doth know.

Feste poses the age-old question, “What is love?” – and then proceeds at once to answer: Love’s reality dwells in the moment, in the now, not in some imaginary future. Just as one laughs at a joke immediately - not minutes or hours or days later – the moment is all we truly know, the future is unknowable and predictions are unreliable. To hesitate and postpone brings no reward – be spontaneous, obey your impulse, do it now, while you still can, before the years weigh down on you.

Feste then addresses his Muse directly: whatever your heart desires is right before you, not some other place – and true love encompasses the entire spectrum, from the sublime to the ridiculous. All yearning, all desire ultimately leads to union (sacred and/or profane) and meaning and purpose converge when One finds the Other. This arcane knowledge has survived countless generations: it's always NOW and it's only about LOVE!

That’s powerful wisdom compressed into what could easily pass for just a frivolous ditty sung by a Fool. No wonder the Bard of Avon still speaks to the human spirit after so many centuries. In that one simple song is all the sage advice one need ever heed. Eckhart Tolle says more or less the same thing in his ground-breaking book, The Power of Now, but not quite as elegantly or concisely.

[First posted 4 February 2012]

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

My Son, the Reincarnated King of Mu! (updated)

Life with the Pertak Hillbillies ~ old photos, sweet memories

The High Hut aka Jabba @ 1996. Took about two months to build and cost me less than RM2,000. Our hillbilly fambly lived here without electricity... until a freak mudslide in October 1999 forced us to evacuate.

Best bathroom I ever had!
Thought I'd found the ideal location, about 30 yards from a gentle 200-foot waterfall called Lata Puntung (Blowpipe Falls), right below Bukit Suir - which I later learned was the abode of the dreaded langsuir (jungle sirens akin to harpies or vampires).

It was quite spooky when I first moved in around April 1994. Whenever I was away for a couple of days, I'd return to find the food left for my dogs untouched but putrefying and crawling with maggots. Didn't take me long to discover why my dogs and the local folk seemed so wary of the location. It was the scene of a tragedy that occurred around 1907 when a mining tunnel (the eerie entrance to which was scarcely 50 yards from my High Hut) collapsed, burying alive 200-300 workers. Nobody can say exactly how many died, as the mine owner made himself scarce, fearing bankruptcy from having to pay compensation to the miners' families.

Fortunately, I had quite a few visitors who were geomancers, healers, shamans and wizards - and their collective efforts to ritually cleanse the area eventually cleared the psychic murk and brought more vitality and cheer to the spot.

Star Commander Lee Ahau Ben Anoor-Antares in his Pleiadian scoutship.
Ahau, Antares & Anoora at the High Hut @ June 1996 (photo: Jesse Hang)
Father & Son, June 1996 (photo: Chief Jesse Hang)


Father & Son @ 2008 (photo: Gabriel Herbst)


When my son Ahau Ben was born (at 2:00 am, 21 March 1996, at the Kuala Lumpur Hospital) everyone noticed that his head was remarkably large. (The photo at right was taken on his 13th day on Earth.)

He had to be delivered by C-section as his mother's pelvis was a little out of whack due to childhood polio. So when I first saw him, his curly hair was neatly pasted in tiny beautiful ringlets around his enormous head. I greeted him in star language and welcomed him to this funky and exciting but pretty much messed-up planet.

Our jolly joy boy rarely cried and smiled most of the time, a beatific Buddha smile. Before his first month I was calling him Doctor Baby because he seemed to be healing his mother Anoora's wounded heart by gazing at her with pure adoration whenever he suckled at her breast. Initially she couldn't handle the emotional intensity and had to quickly pass the infant to somebody else.

Anoora was hydrocephalic at birth, a melon-head baby who looked so grotesque her mother immediately offered to sell her to a nurse. However, her father intervened and sent the infant to Pahang to be raised by relatives. When I first met Anoora, she had no grasp whatsoever of what love was all about. Now her own baby was tutoring her on a daily basis.


This came as no surprise to me as I had established contact with the incoming soul during Anoora's pregnancy, and it had "told" me its original home was the Great Central Sun and that its mission on earth was to demonstrate the power of love. So I chose to name him Ahau Ben - Mayan starglyphs meaning Sun God and Skywalker or Celestial Messenger. Later I read somewhere that the last king of Mu (a lost civilization many have confused with Lemuria in the Pacific) was named Ahau. It now appears that Mu may have - in truth, if not in fact - referred to a vast bioregion encompassing East Asia and what is now known as Australia (see map below)!

Our Big Head Boy never learned to crawl. I guess his head was too heavy to be supported by his limbs. Instead, he inched along the floor on his bottom for a few months - until one day he decided his legs were strong enough to try walking. From early infancy, Ahau was exposed to many languages: English, Temuan, Cantonese, Tamil, star language... and he was always attentive to birdcalls and animal sounds. Ahau's great-aunt Mak Minah often sang Temuan lullabies to Ahau. Long after Mak Minah's death in 1999, Ahau still listens raptly to the entire Akar Umbi CD, occasionally singing along.

When he was around six months, he enjoyed squatting by himself a short distance from our High Hut and I would observe as he smiled secretly to himself, as if conversing with invisible folk.

I had expected Ahau to learn human speech quickly but he did just the opposite. His vocal range was astonishing: he could produce extremely high-pitched squeals that reminded me of dolphins and sometimes he uttered distinct syllables in an unknown tongue. Certain phrases would be repeated consistently, but it sounded like no language known to any of us. One day he distinctly said: "Maniam!"

And from then on he began experimenting with endless variations on the theme. I began telling friends that Ahau spoke Maniamese - a language consisting of only one word expressed in countless ways. Subsequently he switched from Maniamese to Bunyip - a language spoken by only one person on earth, Ahau Ben, affectionately dubbed The Bunyip.

Close friends and family began to express concern about Ahau's inability or refusal to communicate in recognizable human languages. I teased him about being a non-English-speaking Bunyip and he would smile and go, "Ho ho ho!" in as low a register as he could muster (this was before his voice broke). He apparently understood just about everything people said to him - but only very rarely would he deign to communicate in English. 

When he was three, I went away for more than a week and when I returned, I distinctly heard Ahau say, "Welcome back, Daddy!" as he threw open his arms for me to lift him up.

One day a friend's 10-year-old son rushed out from the room where he had been tickling Ahau and excitedly reported that Ahau had said to him: "Okay, that's enough!"

Nevertheless, I finally succumbed to well-meaning advice and took Ahau to see a specialist at Tawakal Hospital. The Egyptian neurologist who examined him said the only way to ascertain if there was any problem would be to do a series of MRI scans. So Ahau was made to swallow some liquid anesthetic which knocked him out within 15 minutes. It was quite surreal to watch my unconscious boy being wheeled into the MRI chamber - it was like a scene out of a sci-fi movie. 

We waited anxiously as the neurologist studied the magnetic resonance images. Finally, he turned around and said: "Well, the good news is the scans show his brain is perfectly normal, no fluid in the cranium, apart from this bit of mucus in his sinus passages."

I enquired if there might be some medical explanation for Ahau's disinterest in acquiring the routine skills other kids his age find easy to master. The neurologist mulled over this for a few moments, then he said it could be due to any number of factors - from genetic to environmental, he couldn't really say for certain.

He remarked that Ahau had the largest brain of any kid he had ever encountered. "He could turn out to be a supergenius... or maybe he's really an alien," he added with a smile. His parting words were most reassuring: "My advice to you is to keep him away from doctors!"

Well, there are days when I wish Ahau was like other kids. It would be nice to hear from him the inside story on his mother - what it was like being in her womb for nine months. Every father relishes going on long walks with his son, doing a bit of male-bonding and stuff... but, then, I'll never forget the look on Ahau's face when he saw me being wheeled into an ambulance in December 2009. Without a moment's hesitation, he ran up the steps and plonked himself on the seat beside me, determined to accompany me wherever I was being taken. His surrogate mum Mary (above, right) had to forcibly drag him out, reassuring him that his Daddy would be fine and that he could visit me very soon...

When I emerged from a 5-day induced coma and regained my strength, I kept hearing Ahau singing to me from a few feet away. I was convinced that Sungai Buloh Hospital was only a short distance from Magick River... later I realized that my mind was operating in multiple dimensions and that Ahau was watching over me from the astral plane or dreamtime - perhaps his natural habitat.

I was shown a glimpse of an alternate universe where telepathy made human speech redundant and reminded that Ahau had chosen to incarnate through Anoora and me because it was the only way he might escape school - where his brain would be formatted and stuffed with useless information, rendering him incapable of completing his mission. He didn't travel all this way to conform to human expectations.

A few years ago, Ahau had met a Mayan clairvoyant named Carlos Palada and taken an instant shine to him. We looked on in amusement as Ahau plonked himself on Carlos's lap and began "talking" excitedly to him in a series of high-pitched squeals that sounded like some antique dial-up modem. After 10 minutes or so, I could no longer contain my curiosity. I asked Carlos if he could understand Ahau's language, and Carlos explained that Ahau was transmitting high-frequency packets of visual data, decodable only to somebody with an activated causal chakra.*

"Well... what's he telling you?" I asked, and Carlos said something I'll never forget:

"He was showing me video clips of what this place looked like about 80,000 years ago. There were dinosaurs around then. He's from a fifth-dimensional race that only appears on third-dimensional planets like Earth whenever we're undergoing a massive transition... their work is to stabilize the electromagnetic grids... his last visit here was sometime before Lemuria was destroyed."

Ahau's favorite spot in the whole wide universe!
Whenever Ahau's stubborn resistance to acquiring basic skills gets on my nerves, I have to remind myself that I actually heard this report from Carlos Palada - an amiable guy with emerald green eyes, working for a Japanese construction firm in Singapore, when I first met him in 1997 at a Flower of Life workshop. Carlos had absolutely no reason to make up such crazy stories.

I mean, even if Ahau's an alien... why can't he brush his own teeth, dress himself, open bottle caps, wipe his own bum?

Ahau, Anoora & my grandson Max at Soluntra's Rock
I can hear Ahau sending me a burst of high-pitched audio signals which might translate into something like: "Where I come from intelligent beings don't grow teeth, don't wear clothes, we drink directly from the clouds, and there are no assholes that require wiping, because we're smart enough to eat stuff that doesn't turn into shit!"

Okay, okay, okay, Ahau.... I'll cut you some slack.... for now.

__________________

* In May 2014 Ahau gave us a scare when he collapsed in fits and had to be hospitalized for 5 days. The doctor at KKB district hospital took a long time to intubate him and when I asked him why it was so difficult, he declared that Ahau's larynx was like no other he had ever seen. "Nothing wrong with it, just that it's not a normal human larynx." It was only then I understood why Ahau refused to speak human languages - his vocal cords are simply not designed for human speech.

In the wee hours of 21 December 2017 I found an Arabic-subtitled video on YouTube summarizing the Pleiadian involvement with Earth's evolution and did a screen capture of this unusual map:


Postscript: When a friend heard about Ahau's 5-day hospital experience she intuitively sent me some Transfer Factor (a colustrum-based tonic that reboots the immune system). Ahau enjoyed the orange-flavored chewable tablets and finished his two-month supply. Miraculously, he began to really flesh out, acquiring impressive muscle tone in the process. Here are a few portraits of the former King of Mu taken since 2015...

Ahau making his way upstream while Bonzo lazes on a rock

Ahau with a sling after breaking his left humerus on 1 January 2017
Wefie with his dad (who has also acquired some middle-age spread)
Portrait of the 21-year-old Ahau as a robust young lad

[First posted 21 October 2011, reposted 21 December 2017]

Monday, July 2, 2018

A neuron-mutating classic performance! Michael Brecker Band ~ Hamburg 1987



The legendary Brecker brothers, Randy & Michael, first came to my attention when both joined Frank Zappa's recording & touring outfit in the late 1970s. This classic recording was from the Hamburg Jazz Festival 1987 when both brothers were featured with their own bands. This is from the Wikipedia entry on the Brecker Brothers:

The Brecker Brothers was the musical duo of Michael (saxophone, flute, and EWI) and Randy Brecker (trumpet, flugelhorn), who recorded commercially successful jazz fusion albums together in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. They had a notable hit single with "East River" in 1979. It reached #34 in the UK Singles Chart.

Older brother Randy first became famous as an original member of the group Blood, Sweat & Tears. He appeared on their debut album Child Is Father to the Man in 1968. In addition to recording their own compositions, the brothers frequently played together as session musicians on albums by many other artists.

They were heard on Todd Rundgren's hit "Hello It's Me" which reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1972. Other notable appearances include Parliament's Mothership Connection and the debut album of the Japanese fusion group Casiopea.

The brothers were touring as members of Frank Zappa's band in the late 1970s and appeared on the 1977 album Zappa in New York. Both brothers also had prolific recording careers as leaders of their own ensembles.

Their collaborations came to an end in 2007, when Michael Brecker died from leukemia.

[First posted 1 October 2013]