What makes a person happy? Even for a while?
I know what makes me happy. To make something of beauty like when I made a kaleidoscope in my school science lab all those years ago. And I imagined just for a swift moment how nice it would be to share the magical moment with some one.
My grandfather had just passed away at that period of my life and I felt terribly lost It was my first period of "low" in my life. Furthermore,my mind was on an over drive because my dad was grieving and in pain. I had never seen my dad sobbing loudly - that happened in our kitchen at Kung Ping Road the day after my grand dad passed away.
We had seen my grand dad's body lying in state in the living room in his house in Sungei Merah and I had seen how my grandmother and the aunties clean his body in preparation for the final wearing of the seven layers of funeral or burial clothes. We were caustioned gently not to drop our tears on the body. I can further remember as if it was yesterday how my aunt told us quietly to make sure that the cat would not jump over the body.
It is strange that today as I key in these words on the screen I have that "loving feeling" inside me. Instead I have that nice feeling of happiness of having been part of a large warm family and being able to remember all those moments of sharing even sharing grief.
At an age when most children would have fear some how I did not harbour any inhibitions regarding my grand dad's lifeless form. He was a big man and he was lying there so straight and peaceful. He had generated great respect because he had a lived a long life and had made a fortune against all odds.
When I went back to school after the funeral a few days later (we had compassionate leave then for funerals from school) After a few days of "sitting around and paying respect to the dead" I thought it was too sudden that our science teacher wanted us to make kaleidoscopes! But that turned out to be a special wow or yahoo moment for me . And later, I remember, the school's open day was gorgeous when our kaleidoscopes and many other exhibits were displayed for the public to see.
I will always associate a kaleidoscope with my grandfather after the science exhibition. As I look at the numerous patterns I would think of him and how much he had given to us his grandchildren. He had worked so hard - His life was like the plain mirrors - plain may be. And as life changed from the Sibu Foochow pioneering days and as more Foochows were born each one of us added colours to the plain mirrors and we all created different coloured patterns together.
Today Sibu is indeed a kaleidoscope of colours and people. And life keeps changing!
I loved the science lessons because I enjoyed the hands-on-learning. And even then I often wondered why other kids got so bored about learning.
Today as I write this I just want to be fancy free and think about all the beautiful patterns a kaleidoscope can make.
In retrospect I had that marvellous feeling inside me then - that sense of wonder for something beautiful and I wanted to shout from the roof top.....nope ...I just have to shelf that moment in the cells of my brains....and no kindred spirit to share it with. Many of my classmates thought that I was a little crazy...and a little different. At times I prayed that I could be just normal like them. :) :)
Here are some beautiful patterns I found in the Internet...see how miraculously beautiful they are....God's mysterious hands in the creation of mirrors and beauty....the spectrum of colours which make us so happy. And I just wanted most of all to see my grandfather appearing in the kaleidoscopes.
I remember being very happy making it. And I loved looking at all the different ones made by my friends as I loved the patterns .Actually I never got them out of my head since then. At times I remember them. Recently I went to town to look for one but could not find any. I was disappointed.
Why is it that no one makes them any more now?
Aren't science teachers teaching about mirrors and reflections?
I hope my school mates and friends who are reading this posting will remember our science teachers : Mr and Mrs. Kuruvilla ;Mr. Temple and Miss Fries. The science labs are still the same in Methodist School Sibu after more than 40 years!!
And finally an unusual kaleidoscope :
Our lives are like kaleidoscopes - forever turning and having different patterns. One thing leads to another and sometimes the same patterns come back again and again. But the colours are up to us to determine when we make them. More blue? More pink? More green?
We are in control of our mind when we allow ourselves to do so .
Let us share the beauty of a kaleidoscope with all those around us.....be happy once in a while. There is indeed a God who is the creator of all things bright and beautiful.
A toy kaleidoscope tube
Patterns as seen through a kaleidoscope tubeA kaleidoscope is a tube of mirrors containing loose colored beads, pebbles or other small colored objects. The viewer looks in one end and light enters the other end, reflecting off the mirrors. Typically there are two rectangular lengthwise mirrors. Setting of the mirrors at 45° creates eight duplicate images of the objects, six at 60°, and four at 90°. As the tube is rotated, the tumbling of the colored objects presents the viewer with varying colors and patterns. Any arbitrary pattern of objects shows up as a beautiful symmetric pattern because of the reflections in the mirrors. A two-mirror model yields a pattern or patterns isolated against a solid black background, while a three-mirror (closed triangle) model yields a pattern that fills the entire field. Etymology
First attested 1817 in English, the word "kaleidoscope" derives from the Greek καλός (kalos), "beautiful" + είδος (eidos), "shape" + σκοπέω (scopeο), "to look at, to examine"
Known to the ancient Greeks, it was reinvented by Sir David Brewster in 1816 while conducting experiments on light polarization; Brewster patented it in 1817. His initial design was a tube with pairs of mirrors at one end, and pairs of translucent disks at the other, and beads between the two. Initially intended as a science tool, the kaleidoscope was quickly copied as a toy. Brewster believed he would make money from his popular invention; however, a fault in the wording of his patent allowed others to copy his invention.
(source : Wikipedia)