Beautiful stench…

The Durian: a fruit that smells so pungent, hotel elevators across Thailand forbid them from entering. It’s true. There are signs posted with its photo and a caption that reads, “you have Durian, you can’t climb.” One night, while waiting for three drunken trannies to exit, I started wondering how this sweet and delectable fruit could have acquired such a repellent odor. How its genes mutated in such a way that forced people to pinch their noses while eating it. Then I thought of its hard and jagged exterior and surmised its biological aim: to keep others from penetrating and tasting its inner beauty.

The unconventional coffeeshop…

Although coffeeshop chains like Starbucks and Coffee Bean & Tea have their merits (and free wifi), who doesn’t prefer the coziness of a strange cafe hiding in the urban shadows of night. Take this one in Xi’an, China. Not only are its tables adorned with crystal skulls, granite coasters and miniature squirrel portraits, but its tea leaves are to die for, its jukebox plays the best acid jazz and the wifi signal is pretty damn good. So cheers to strange and unconventional coffeeshops all over the world. May your ambience grace us with warmth and wonder. IMG_0960

Imagination empowers religion

What is the one virtue that connects all spiritualities? In my opinion, it’s Imagination. Upon visiting mosques, churches, temples and grottoes, and hearing the soulful rhythm and melodies of hymns, chants and musical instrumentals, I’ve come to the conclusion that art and music has elevated spirituality more than doctrine itself. The proof is everywhere. Sistine Chapel. Sultan Ahmed Mosque. Angkor Wat. Mogao Grottoes. Borobudur. Prambanan. Notre-Dame. And that’s not including the myriad of sacred masterpieces displayed at galleries and national museums. Imagination has delivered creative texts like David and Goliath, Ramayana, Golden Elephant and the Great Flood. Imagination has conceived religious fashion like the papal tiara, hijab and orange robes worn by monks. Imagination has inspired followers everywhere in so many ways and will continue to do so until the sun sets on humanity. So the question must be asked—Where does this boundless imagination come from?