Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Silmarillion

This is why the copy of The Silmarillion my neighbour lent me maybe two years ago roughly looks like.  It was published in 1979, so its pages are completely yellow, with extremely tiny font, and every time you turn a page there is a one in two chance that you'll tear the edge a little. At the time, what happened was I got past the first chapter, nearly died, skipped ahead to the eagerly-awaited chapter Of Beren and Luthien, didn't understand a word, went to the last chapter, which I finally grasped, then gave it up as a lost cause. But I never gave it back to my neighbour (eheheh) because although back then I succumbed to weakness and gave up, I knew that one day I was going to master The Silmarillion once and for all.

Friends. That day has come.

First of all, let me explain. The Silmarillion isn't an easy read - at least, I found it exceedingly difficult, and I've tried my share of classics. It's basically a history of Middle-Earth, wa-ay before the setting of The Lord of the Rings, that was written in bits and pieces by J.R.R. Tolkien and later compiled by his son. It's about twice as hard to read as a sejarah textbook. Alright, for me, reading The Silmarillion is just impossible to do. You have to study it. Half of the names of everything is in Elvish - worse still, each clan of Elves have a different tongue - and you have to know the meanings. Until now I'm still floundering in the complex geography of the book. If you think the geography of Middle Earth is bad, wait 'til you realise that in The Silmarillion, you have to know the geography of the divine realms as well, and how it's connected to the mortal lands. (And the names of these places keep on changing.) There are a lot of confusing names, of both people and places, that sound alike - take for example Fingolfin and Finarfin, brothers who have sons named Fingon and Finrod, and the worst part is, many of the characters have more than one name in more than one language. Almost everyone is interrelated as is expected with early civilisations, and you just completely forget who belongs to whose house and whatnot. The omnipresent Valar, which are something like gods, except they're not, are also always there to divinely confuse you. In fact I think the Valar was the most complicated part of all.There is no story, just tales and tales that go on and on, and that's why I like to say that The Silmarillion is like a textbook, except that our textbooks chaptered are far more systematically. They would throw you a fleeting line at the beginning, like, oh, this guy thinks this fair maiden is easy on the eyes, and then two hundred pages later, when the lady marries someone else, you're expected to know that the aforesaid guy is furious at heart because he liked that girl before, and of course you don't even remember that singular sentence. The book covers a very long span of years, with a very big number of battles, which means that the book covers a lot of lives and a lot of deaths. Basically, once you get introduced to a character, more than half of the time as soon as you get to know them they die, in numerously painful and imaginative ways. If it weren't for the helpful family trees and index at the back, I never would've gotten through this book.

But I loved it. I feel very "learned in lore", and I'm over the moon. I got through every single word, no shortcuts, right up to the index, and this has been a tremendous accomplishment for me. Any Tolkien fan would love this book, although not every Lord of the Rings fan would. It's pretty much unconnected to LOTR, with few character crossovers, only Elrond, Galadriel, Sauron and minimal Aragorn. Alright, I'll be honest. I wanted to read this book just for Beren and Luthien, the ancient tale which was mirrored by the fate of Aragorn and Arwen. Why I didn't just read that one chapter I'll never know, but I'm glad that's not what I did. The Silmarillion was an amazingly rich, brocaded tapestry of history and mythology, a hundred per cent fictional, insanely detailed, and inspiringly original. It was beautiful and heroic, tragic and powerful, fully worked out high fantasy legend, all out of Tolkien's impossible head, and as if I needed any further convincing, it truly proves that John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was one of the greatest writers that ever lived.

Alrighty. Now that's done and over with, I'm going to go re-read The Lord of the Rings.

Monday, June 20, 2011


Today in school I felt like how I did when I stayed up til 4.30a.m. to watch the FIFA games.

Which is funny, because all I did was watch eight hours straight of the Lord of the Rings before going to bed at one in the morning.

Note to self: When embarking on a LOTR marathon weekend, make sure you spread it out over the weekend instead of cramming two movies into the latter part of the last day.

I always thought that the extended versions of LOTR were like three hours per movie. It turns out I was far off the mark.

Time flies when you're watching LOTR.

It's nice to know, that even after all this time, I can still say some of the lines before they're delivered.

It's nice to know that LOTR can still cure anything.


Headache today was worth it. I'm the happiest girl alive.

Monday, June 13, 2011

My Sacrament of Confirmation

I've been looking forward to getting confirmed for a really long time. Before this, I'll admit it was for not so very noble reasons, but I think when the year started, something kicked in that made it mean so much more. After dutifully fulfilling my 24-hour social service, my two-day Living the Spirit Seminar, my four-day camp, these three events which successively grew in awesomeness, I was readier than ever. To tell you the truth I lived the week or so after Confirmation Camp in a feverish frenzy just waiting for the big day. And, I hope you know me well enough to realise that as superficial that this post may seem, I had a hold on both my head and heart.

Well, 11 June 2011 finally came and went, and I received my fourth sacrament, the sacrament of Confirmation. :)

This a card from my godparents, which I would love even if it weren't from London, which it is.

With a necklace and a "Remembrance of Confirmation" ribbon. Loove.

My confirmation name is Elizabeth, by the way, which would make me Jacie Elizabeth Tan Cheng Hwee if I cared to put into my IC. Why? Three reasons.

Elizabeth, mother of John of the Baptist
Elizabeth Bennet
Elizabeth II the Queen

Don't laugh, okay. It's a very nice Englishy name and it's most importantly, biblical.

Wearing a nametag sucks even when it isn't confirmation day.

Lol, and this is something I bought myself last Christmas.

My confirmation mass was held on the weekend of Pentecost, too, which I think was really lucky, being it the weekend of the Holy Spirit and all. :)

I've been dreaming about my confirmation dress for years now (lol at me go ahead) and last year my sister Jamie gifted one to me. It was the loveliest, prettiest, sweetest white dress I'd ever seen, exactly what I'd been looking for, and I love her so much for it. 

There was a bit of a rush finding a cardigan for it in the end, but I think it still looked nice.


Also bless Carlo Rino for having 50% off on the rockingest pair of white wedges ever.

My hair was a problem, since I didn't want to go to a saloon but if you've ever tried to style my hair you'll know how difficult it is to do anything with. In the end, with the help of the Lord of the Rings and the worldwideweb, I found out what I wanted. It looked simple, but was made possible only by my mommy. Kudos to her, man. She practiced diligently for ages until we finally got it right (with the help of hairspray, of course. Lots.) And thanks to Chalystha for advising. :)

The mass was *sniffs* beautiful. Celebrated by the archbishop, Fr. Simon Yong and some random third person. Haha sorry I seriously don't know who he is, a friar of some sort. I will ignore the fact that I was sweating like a mad cow because I got a leeedle bit of fan where I was sitting and I was sitting right in front so I couldn't fidget. (Lol this is the seventeen-year-old newly-confirmed talking!)

And now, let me tell you a story. Jacie wants badly to be confirmed by bishop. There is 80% chance those on the left will be confirmed by bishop. Those on the right will be confirmed by priest. Group 1 sits on the left. Jacie is in Group 1. Jacie is happy. Jacie discovers she is among those reading Prayer of the Faithful. These people sit on the right. Jacie has a sad. A very, very big sad.

But in the end I was confirmed by the bishop. ;)

It was a very stone moment for me. Actually, a couple of very long stone moments. It was so stone that looking back I'm a little bit scared at how stoned I was that if I ever wanted to do drugs before I definitely never will now. It's so scary when your mind doesn't know what your body is doing. Everyone was like stalling when we were supposed to go up and I was, well, stoning and I didn't even know that that was the moment or that I'd actually gotten the bishop like I'd wanted and I forgot that I was supposed to reply him (but I did, okay, because if you've been Catholic long enough you just know the responses to these things) but I was just really happy 'cause he said my name really nicely so it was worth wearing that stupid name tag and then I was anointed with the oil and then it was over and I slowly stopped stoning and slowly started feeling happy. I'd been looking forward to this so much it's good that it wasn't anticlimactic or anything but it sure was pretty funny that I didn't know what was going on.

Haha, and of course my Prayer of the Faithful has to be the longest with the most punctuation.

Oh, yeah, and Chalystha and Xin You came. :) Chalystha has with me this long-standing promise that she would attend my confirmation mass, and she did. I was so freakin' happy she came. And with Xin You, of course. I can't believe the two of them sat through a full-blown Catholic mass for me. I've already told them it meant a lot, and I'll never forget it. Haha, and Andrew Chin came as well. To see us all get confirmed. :)

Call me cheesy if you want, but I felt blessed, because it's on that kind of day that you want to be surrounded by people that you love.

Sarah Nunis, one third of my girls in SFX :)

Kristie Chew, the dancer

Jane Wong, my group member

My sponsor

My precious Rachel

Our Richard

Chalystha and Xin You :D

Philip Philip Philip Tay. I don't know why I'm so glad he's my Confirmation CC, but I am. The picture is as blur as he looks. :P

My new godparents - Aunty Immilda and Uncle Anto. Watched me grow up, they did.

Last but not least, my family. I love them so much.

Oh, and the bishop, minus hat which fascinated me throughout mass and before and tongkat.

And now I feel guilty that I don't have group pics so this is half of my batch LOL.

People I didn't get pictures with but wanted to: Stuart Thomas. Herman Ramanado. Andrew Chin. Monica Kok.


So ends one journey, but opens up another, which shows you that faith is a path you walk that really is forever.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I'm teetering on the edge of indecision.

Confirmation Camp was equal parts awesome and good.

Two completely different things.

Should I attempt to blog about it?