Archive for the Reflections Category

Complicated Simplicity

Posted in Reflections, Thoughts and Musings on October 24, 2008 by shiying86

In life, whether you like it or not trouble comes.

It’s not a world where we live alone with our own thoughts and feelings. Is life easier that way? Maybe.

I am reminded once again that you can try all your might to avoid hurting other people, it was good intention, but the outcome might not be so with others.

Also, remember to love yourself, above everything else. Not in a self absorbing way, but in a simple smile that you can retain all in your heart-one that does not blame or beat oneself up when the world goes wrong. Or when trouble comes knocking on your door. No WHY MEs. 

A person is in a situation because of many factors. In Buddhism it’s call Karma, an act of cause and conditions. What best illustrates this: is to ask yourself look back at your past, your likes and dislikes, your action and your speech and others who are involved in the situation too, and suddenly all will come clear. It’s simple numbers(actions/thoughts/speech), but add in a few formulas(different people) and trying to fit the whole thing into a logical sequence that satisfies the equation(situation at hand), not so easy anymore.

Human love complicating things, I love complicating things. And yet we strive for simplicity, I salivate over simple designs as they are the best solutions in life, not to mention sexy!(think:minimalist or macs!) However, a patch job-with design, your holed shirt or life issues would never ever work. But that’s what we do: cover ups. Easier than solving the root of the problem. but too much patch jobs complicates designs and hides the beauty of simplicity.

“making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.”-Charles Mingus 

The process of getting is in fact, complicated. So in order to simplify, we tend to over-complicate. Doesn’t make much sense to me, but on the way of working this one out.



Posted in Architecture, Art/Inspiration/Creativity, Reflections, Travels and Adventure on June 27, 2008 by shiying86

Sunnataram Pagoda

Photograph by Cheng Tuck Lim

I have always been awed that it took inexperience monks a total of 5 years to built this monument from scratch. It is indeed a building thats stands for greatness, time and strength. Like an architect I met there said, “Even if you laid one bloody stone up there, you will still feel proud to be able to say that ‘I helped built that.'” To be able to built an ancient pagoda with today technological advances gives no suprise to anyone. But to understand that this came by with limited funds, inexperienced designers and monks as builders, is enough to make any person swoon. Not to forget this pagoda is not a off-the-shelf copy. In order words, its is unique.

However, my recent trip there, I learned from a monk with no prior design experience that architectural design like everything else, begins with a pure and good intention.


Photograph by Cheng Tuck Lim


The intention of wanting to do good.

Sounds too simple to be true, but every single detail, idea concepts is about the intention you have and the action you make, the steps you take and the end results produced.

All determined simply by that sheer power of intention. Certainly, I have no intention to say that, once the intention to built something great is there, hocus-pocus it happens- but rather, the importance of this intention. I have often complain how hard architecture is, and sometimes its not about the amount of work involved, but rather how it messes up your head.

All the intentions that one may have, not necessarily, it can be realized. Adjustments to be made, expectations to be crushed. It drives me crazy when I start pondering the purpose of me doing this, changing that, altering this, and designing that. Why? How? What? There are so many paths to reach the same goal, which one am I choosing? but before that, how do I even determine my goal?

This is where I learn how important intention is. The strength of a good intention lies in how bloody badly u want that intention to be good. Sounds wrong? Case in point is the Gratitude Pagoda. There could have been many ways to built it-they could have raise enough money to get builders to do it, they could have just copied off some pagoda in Thailand (Who would care anyway?) or simply, build an easier, simpler one-like the usual concrete cement ones coated in brilliant gold paint. BUT it is a self-designed sandstone pagoda. Something you can only find in NSW with its abundance of sandstone, a signature that this monument will stand against time and tide. 

Photograph by Cheng Tuck Lim

The intention to give something back to the Buddhist community produced a masterpiece. The greatness does not merely lie in the aesthetically pleasing monument, as the outcome of wanting to built a pagoda to house the Buddha Relics; but it is also to bring people together to help built this monument. When a visitor approaches it, His ears pleased by the chiming of the bells when blown by wind; His eyes marvel the timeless stone structure; His heart feels peace with it sitting among nature, both palms just naturally come together as he breathes in the essence of spirituality. This is the effect that how architecture can effect one person. But to deepen on that concept, to understand that the number of bells were used not only for that reason but it is also etched with blessings on it. Every single one of them, so when the wind blows, may the blessings fall upon everyone. The eight turning corners to represent the noble eight fold path. And much much more. This is one building that people want to study, to admire, not just for its beauty, the multiple meaning it embodies.

Not one to appreciate architecture? Well, that intention to spread goodness is in every stone, sweat, and time invested in the building. What proves to be great, is not the greatness itself, but the ability to inspire others to do great things. 

“When others look at the building, they see how beautiful it is. But I see the beauty in it because of the Metta (love and kindness) and willingness of many different people coming together to help built it.” 

This strikes me that-it is for the simple intention of spreading goodness to building a pagoda that one realizes that it all clicks. The determination of staying true to the right intention, allows the building to inspire others to actually help realize the goal and also inspire them to have similar intentions. The intention slowly unfolds into inspiration and has a domino effect and many different people-to when it is being built extending to the future to when it becomes a ruin. If you are able to see and understand the underlying workings of buildings as such, or create that inspiration in others, the satisfaction is indescribable.

Architect’s Perspective Drawing

Getting good marks on a project I work my ass off one whole semester definitely did not give me as much satisfaction as help throwing gravels down to form the foundation/mixing cement knowing that my efforts would actually make a difference in someone else’s life.


Posted in Grunt,groan,sigh, Reflections on March 12, 2008 by shiying86


Ever felt inferior when you met someone/many others who are significantly better than you? better at studying; at time management; at singing; at socialising; at sports; at cooking; at hooking up; way better looking; more talented; funnier; heck, probably a roll ball of all the above and even more, like maybe give any adjective and just add -ier or the word better/greater. In short, it makes us feel like a loser. And if the loserish pang is there most of the time, the disease is simply known as low-self esteem plus low confidence.

Although the above might hit many of us, I don’t think many a times, we seldom identify ourselves as people with little confidence.


On the other end of the spectrum, we might just meet someone, and just grew a bit more arrogant, show-off or complacent. Not that we are such people, most of the time, we just claim that “Hey! I still speak to that person very nicely!” That is very true, but just that this time around, the situation is not much different from before, although your ‘greatness’ or ‘talent’ was not boldly displayed to the public; you are maybe just the other confident or ‘better’ person on the other side.

So, am I trying to point out who’s right and who’s wrong? Who’s better and who’s not? Absolutely no one.

We swing from one side to the other, time to time, at times remaining nuetral, but once again it could just spiral into a vicious little cycle.

If you think you have low-esteem, a few motivational camps or books can be your cure; while, if you are on the arrogant side, learn to be humble and learn to look at the good sides of other people as well, cos’ no one is completely absolutely, greater than another. We are all humans, anyway.


However, that is not the solution. Most of the time, we are a little of both. As with most ‘mental diseases’, we will never try to cure it, till we need to see a psychiatrist.

Dig a bit deeper into the root of the problem, and you will realise this whole who’s better issue, is merely a comparative nature/behaviour of grounds that we protect or care about deeply, consciously or subconsciously. It’s something like when an ugly beast starts treading onto your beautiful rose garden that you feel that it does not ‘fit’ to be in there, simply because it’s too ugly and it will ruin your flowers(not that you know, as the beast may turn out to be a kind-hearted 1-st class gardener); Or just when you feel like shriveling in your place into a tiny ant and crawl away silently cos’ you feel unfit to stand where you are.

All the above, simply stem from a simple insecurity. We compare, because we are insecure. We put ourself on a higher pedestal when we seem to be better, we fall down the steps when we are with so-called better people. At this point, you should realise how over-rated this better word is. Who’s to judge anyway? It’s that white haired guy, called Judgement in that head of yours and mine.

Don’t like a Judiciary system living in your head? Want more freedom and happiness? Simply, be satisfied with what we have, what we are and how we got by to this point. Sound too simple to be true? Well, the best solution are the simplest one.

P/s:If that Judge says that this is just a stupid person’s blog and that you are wiser than me, and don’t listen to me, then, you are wrong. Cos’ I’m better. Oops… did I just commit my own crime?

In between

Posted in Art/Inspiration/Creativity, Reflections, Thoughts and Musings on February 26, 2008 by shiying86

Not Black,

Not white,

Where to draw the line?

A grey area blurred,

confused, by this gaping distance between two ends.

A place in time,

People having good times;

It was all so familiar,

yet I don’t belong here.

It’s like running on a scale,

Which ever edge I stop,

I tip the ends and fall.

But when I get back to the centre,

I realise it’s no longer linear,

I was running in circles,

in this never ending cycles.

Scandinavian trip-Copenhagen

Posted in Grunt,groan,sigh, Photography, Reflections, Thoughts and Musings on February 12, 2008 by shiying86

My trip to Denmark was unforgettable in just many, many ways. It is where I shed tears, felt terribly homesick, nearly lost a finger but also saw the best contemporary architecture and lead quite a luxurious ‘design’ lifestyle. oh! not to forget, I was offered drugs in Christiania. Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark is a small and quaint city, with a fabulous old city charm. Famous for its beers (think Carlsberg), minimalist design and former power symbol of the Vikings era.

Nyhavn, Copenhagen’s famous cafe street by the canal. Sadly, winter time does not exude the bustling cafe atmosphere. Nonetheless, the colourful and flat facades are delightful to watch.

It was just like the movies as whole flock of pigeons flew past my head. Birds here are obese. They are the size of chickens in Malaysia.

Rådhusplasden, the square in front of Copenhagen city hall with Tivoli Gardens on the back drop. Unfortunately, the historic amusement park was close as it was winter time.

I was going to quote from travel books, but I figured the best way that I could ever described it is that the place feels almost too perfect.

Some nooks and cranies off Støget, the world’s longest pedestrain road

What I mean is that-they are extremely eco-friendly, trains super-efficient(wish London tube could learn a thing or two), everything is high-tech, people are extremely polite, city is clean and the standard of living is very very high. Danish pay extremely high taxes, as such, the city is well planned, heritage are well preserved and people are generally very well-off with high-quality public amenities. Now I understand why it was rated as one of the top few countries on the Human Development Index (HDI).


Outside Kongens Have, meaning the King’s Gardens

Outdoor skating at Kongens Nytorv

All that amounts to= GREAT designs and architecture everywhere.

The famed ‘Little Mermaid’ of the great story-teller Christian Anderson, and yes, it’s little.

I love seeing vines growing on the old buildings. It breathes a scent of historical past, mysterious and engaging. 

Amelianborg Palace or known as Marmorkin

Amelianborg Palace central square with sentry guards that MOVE

I swear- these people, live, breath and speak design. Design is so well integrated into their lives that they understand the artistic language. Not only do they appreciate design, but to them, design are solutions to living problems. From musuems, design centres, shopping malls to the cutleries I used at home- are all designer’s. Yes, a lot of times, designer’s stuff=expensive, but the difference with them, is that they appreciate design intent, and most importantly, those archi bullshit that we crao about during presentation, they realise it here. It always sounds like bull shit to me because it’s too impractical to built them, but here, they make it work and they all look amazing.

Despite their very moody, rainy and extremely cold scadinavian weather, I enjoyed walking few kilometres a days, basking in what I call design heaven. I mean c’mon, when i enter shopping malls, I see furnitures sold AND discounted that are exhibited in Sydney’s Power House Museum; I got to see buildings that I saw in books; I nearly died in their bookshops as they have so much archi books and design literature that are SO hard to get here. Sigh.. too bad i couldn’t carry them back and they were mostly in Danish.

I encountered many misfortuntes in Copenhagen, but it was also where I learned the most. Learning how to cope with living in a country you can’t speak their language. Learning how to stay calm in a dire situation. Learning that there are many types of people in the world. Seeing the contrast of a poor country like Cambodia to a rich developed country like this, and feeling lucky that I am in between. Learning that being rich is not exactly as happy as I think it is. Learning that when everything is so perfect, you don’t know what imperfection is like. What I learned best, is why people born here are more profecient in design and art. Ah.. and now I know how to differentiate this season’s Gucci from the last, branded goods shopping trips with my aunt were simply enlightening.

As Las told me,” In Denmark, if a child tells the parents they want to be an artist, the parents would be so happy. But if a kid told the same thing to an Asian parents…”

“They will commit suicide…” I replied without an eye blink. I know I’m drama-ing, but honestly, most of our parents would flip. I remembered my Asian uncle scolding me: I will be poor selling pictures on roadsides, when I claimed I wanna trod down the designer’s path.

All in all, it’s the experience that counts. A warm smile a freindly gestures goes far. Even far up North, and definitely down South. Every human being can be so different, and yet they can be so similiar. Culture, lifestyle, appearence, language, scenery and even weather makes us all a different person. Travelling helped me open my eyes to the phrase of people from all walks of life. But really, what everyone wants is just genuine love, kindness and happiness in their lives. And all those things mentioned above characterise and mould a person’s lifestyle. You can be rich and you still suffer; you can be poor and still be happy. Nothing defines anything, and nothing is always as what it seems. An open heart, open mind and big smiles goes a long, long, long way, even on the rainy days and painful moments. To see through darkness, and believing that like everything, it passes and light is at the end. This whole travel made me understand myself a bit better, made me grateful for the good people I am often surrounded with, showering me with love, kindness and support. Really, things are taken for granted till you lose it /away from it. Believe me, even a 2 mins familiar voice can be a huge moral support to 2 days of depressing weather and a series of SERIOUSLY unfortunate events and a lot of stupidity on my part. Honestly, I got through those bad times, just by ranting in my head, knowing that my freinds will empathise me when I recap to them-that kept me sane enough to think, plan and move further along the way. 

On a rare day that I saw sun: Scandinavian sunset

Shades of deeps set purple paints the scadinavian sky

Post addition:Honestly, my photos  do not do justice of the place at all. I hardly took pictures/most pictures turned out shitty, of many more places I visited. One thing that seems to show in the pictures is how harsh the scandinavian weather is, and it affects my photography mood. Plus, my camera lense keeps smoking up due to condensation. I don’t have a lense protector, which means that taking pictures in the rain was dreadful.

There are a few pictures that my photos failed to mention:

Slotsholmen. Christianborg Palace under construction

Slotsholmen: an island seperated by the city sentre by a moatlike canal and is the site of Christianborg Palace, Home to Denmark’s parliament, Teatermuseet(Theatre Museum) and the Royal Reception Chambers. I visited the ruins of Absalon’s Fotress, the underground excavation of what’s left from the previously burned down castle in the 1167 as well as Copenhagen’s slot.

Christianshavn: A place where photography was prohibited but fascinatingly alternative community to the rest of Copenhagen. It’s known as a ‘Freetown’ where hippies and groupies live in. Pusher Street used to be famous for drugs with former army barracks and more run down housing circling the area. There were grafittis painted everywhere-walls, buildings colourfully transporting me to the 80s hippie culture. People were dressed gruffy and very hip-hop. Despite the government crackdown, it is known to all that drugs were still sold here and I was offered some as well.  It was a cold day when I visited the place, many gathered around tanks of fire smoking cigars and manacing dogs roaming freely. A far cry from the sophistication of most parts of Copenhagen city.

Lousiana Modern Art Gallery: The landscape and building worked together beautifully to complement the experience of appreciating art

Lousiana: Sculpture becomes part of the landscape

Other musuems and galleries: Statens Musuem for Kunst(Denmakr’s national gallery), Nationalmuseet(The National Museum), the Danish design Centre, The Jewish Musuem, Lousiana Museum of Modern Art (My fav)-Loads of Picassos and Giocomettis and Ny Carlsberg Glptotek-a vast collection of Gaugin’s paintings and Rodin’s sculptures.  

Denmark is a very expensive country to visit and live in. Proper planning have to be made to save cost and pray for the weather’s cooperation if you’re visiting during the winter months. I will always remember that, planning and execution, are never as expected but prior planning is always a must for the latter to happen.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
and sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
and looked down one as far as I could
to where it bent in the undergrowth

Then took the other, as just as fair,
and having perhaps the better claim
because it was grassy and wanted wear;
though as for that, the passing there
had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
in leaves no feet had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less travelled by,
and that has made all the difference

-First Verse by Robert Frost in The Road Not taken

This poem sums up my first travel to Europe and the guts of doing it alone. Would I ever do it again? I don’t know, what I know was that, it ain’t easy as it seems but “I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference”.

A Weekend in England Countryside

Posted in Life's simple pleasures, Reflections, Travels and Adventure on January 29, 2008 by shiying86

One of the main highlights of my Europe trip was spending a quality weekend with an English family.

It was just refreshing to escape the hustle bustle of London for a weekend to the beautiful, peaceful and lovely countryside of Cornwall.

I stayed with the Parsons family in Truro, Cornwall, South of England. It’s a small, but important town because of the existence of its monumental cathedral.

From left:Paul, Catie, Elaine and Jack

I don’t know if they know this: but I really enjoyed my weekend there. Not only did Elaine accommodate me in her Notting Hill apartment, the family invited me to stay for a weekend with them, paid for my transport travelling down there (and it cost a bomb) AND paid for the expensive meal on the train so I could travel first class.

Not to mention, I was given my own room, wonderful food and most importantly an invaluable experience of just chillin’, not doing anything (a great break for planning any trips!) and relaxing with the family.

The weekend was the last days of Christmas so I was lucky enough to see their elaborately decorated Xmas tree cute socks hanging above the chimney hole.(sorry, no pics, told u, I was chillin’ and lazing that weekend.)

Xmas Deco:Edible Ginger Bread House

The amazing thing was that the house used to be an old folks home, now, converted to a house and it’s aged more than 50 years old. It has Old English Victorian windows, doors and the stairs creaks when u walk on it. An absolute old English charm that was just too cosy for me to resist.

Paul cooking pasta for dinner. Yum!

I can just recall the warm and cosy feeling at the pit of my stomach, as we watch the dad cook dinner, singing along to oldies while we chatted, laughed at nothing in particular. The warmth of the cooking and the Elgar or maybe it was more of the great family time that they spend together. I don’t think I had a terrible childhood, but somehow, I wished I had these sort of moments with my family. I guess in Malaysia it’s just too hot to stay in the kitchen and the maid is the one cooking most of the time. The whole evening was framed and imprinted in my memories forever, for this is what I think family means as we sat together on the dinner table watching Whose line is it anyway? laughing hard, sipping red wine.

Catie in the living room

Oh, and I nearly forgot a very important member of the family! Who lies under the table when we eat dinner, jumps and lick my face in the morning, taps the kitchen door to ask me to open it and nearly knocking me down when we first met. He understands human language so well, he’s like a 8 year old kid. Puts my dogs to shame. Maybe i should start schooling them in the UK. Heard education there is pretty good.

Please meet Rex, the uber-smart collie!

I am touched by how they embrace me with open arms after not seeing them for almost 10 years. Elaine is a close family friend and we don’t even have real blood relations, yet, when living there, they treat me exactly like one of their kids-no extra special guest or any of those pretentious sort of nonsense nor did I feel left out in anyway.

Catie and Jack at Falmouth harbour

The last time I saw Jack and Catie, they were just babies. Now 13 years old Jack is a com whiz and churns out special effects videos on you tube like a pro. He had no qualms showing it to me and elaborating all that he knows about Adobe After Effects and showing me his light-saber projects. The little Star Wars fan is really a com-whiz, earning him a scholarship in school and used to be a chorister in the cathedral, and it’s not easy entering the cathedral’s choir. In fact, it is very prestigious.

Catie’s doll house

Catie was absolutely adorable, a little shy with me in the beginning but not long after we were sharing secrets and exploring her gorgeous doll house. She just have this beautifully innocent and melodic soul that i can’t help liking her. She’s young yet matured and lovingly trustable. She would tell me stories about schooling in England, what she does with her free time and I was dying to hear about Christmas and Christmas gifts (she loves dragons, ponies and her doll house is AMAZING).

Her mum used to be a model and beauty queen, and I can see that beauty emerging in her as well.

A dose of all these Makes me understand why Enid Blyton wrote those stories, why Asian kids can dream about acorns(I saw so many double the size of my fist!), snow and bushy tailed squirrels but we can never relate to their existence. And here, the kids are living my childhood dreams. I would describe it as lyrical, like a lullaby… a melody so familiar that it cradles my soul, the lyrics so clear as the sun shines down on the fields. Now, I’m craving for more…

The Penair back garden: the post in the centre is bird food, with a pond, bridge and stone steps leading to the front porch.

This lovely view is just a lookout from the kitchen door.

Kitchen view

I especially love it when Paul starts explaining to me about places, Oxford, Paris, England and the travels he has been to. No, he doesn’t do it in a grandfather-ly sort of way. He just shares his knowledge, while I listen attentively(trying to absorb as much as my pea-sized brains could); his life as a student in Oxford University, Cornwall, the house and just their life. I never expected it to be so fun, but it was. It gave me a taste of having an Ang Mo “dad”.

They brought me out to town for grocery shopping-one of my absolute favourite way to explore a place. While they buy ingredients to prepare the yummy-licious food I had the whole weekend.

The butcher and his pheasants “Here, hold it up and you’ll get better pictures!”

Truro Cathedral

Wet and Rainy in Truro Town

Despite the grey weather, it did not dampen my spirits there. Though when I was shown the gardens, apples trees, blueberries etc., it looked really bleak and I secretly wished it could turn spring for one moment to let me see it flower and fruit. Guess I have a reason to return.

Reflected view of countryside on train

My heart felt heavy as I hugged and kiss the family goodbye before boarding my 4 and a half hour train to return to London.

Do you see me?

THANK YOU Parsons family for the absolutely wonderful weekend. Truly, madly, deeply. The whole experience enriches my life, brought out the little child in me, and I am thankful for this opportunity. You all may think it’s just an ordinary weekend, but to me, it was the ordinary-that made it extraordinary. I miss all of you, and will definitely return again and hopefully in a few years time, it would be me returning the favor when Jack or Catie comes to visit.


Wake up call

Posted in Grunt,groan,sigh, Reflections on December 12, 2007 by shiying86

This call came at an ungodly hour, in between my need to really study hard for my Gen Ed summer course and getting hold of my aunt in Denmark to inform her that I am heading to Europe before Christmas (something I’m pretty sure she won’t be happy to know). And I have less than 10 hours to buy my ticket there.

Plus, I’m supposed to be heading to Cambodia in 9 hours time.

Fortunate or unfortunately, I stumbled upon stuff that informs me what Malaysian youths, like myself are up to these days.

This is what hit me: I know nothing about my own country. Youth have come a long way, and here is exactly what I wished for years ago when I was a college kid in Malaysia.

These people, my fellow country friend, my peers, my voice–all fighting, expressing, demonstrating, learning and most importantly doing something, passionately for the country, for a better cause, better future. All contrary to my views of Malaysia being a backward developing country and that most kids these days can’t be bothered with how the country turns out to be because their life has just been all too comfortable.

It is indeed a relief, a comfort to know that actions are taken and voices are channelled actively and rightfully. At the same time, it’s a tight slap on my face, because I am the bratty Malaysian kid that complains and criticises, but ignorant of what is really happening out there.

Take the Nov 25 Hidraf rally for example, I failed to read between the lines when clearly the purpose of the demonstration was not as simple as “handing up a memorandom to the British Monarch” for millions in compensation for the Malaysian Indians. This article beautifully highlights the Indian plight and captured the essence of the issue.

Ultimately dear Malaysian friends, people aren’t drawn to the streets, risking all they have, simply to sue the British government. No, that is simply not logical. They are moved to such lengths by deep-seated frustrations, and pent-up humiliation.

We can either choose to dismiss the event as a communal aberration, or we may seize the outstretched hand of the helpless Indian, and pull him into a truly noble cause. The future, my brothers and sisters, is in our hands.

by M. NITHIYANANTHAN, a Indian Malaysian studying at Princeton University

It is these words that deeply shook that Malaysian part of me.

In Malaysia, a Malay problem is a national problem. A Chinese problem is a racial problem. An Indian problem, however, is not a problem. And as long as things remain that way, we will have simmering Malay anger, simmering Chinese frustration, but boiling Indian desperation.

by johnleemk

and here’s another one that candidly but undeniably truthful picture.

High Court of Malaysia taken on a rainy day

I can’t even decide if I will return to Malaysia after my studies have been completed, nor do I know what I could do.

But i do know, that in knowing, I woke up to my surroundings. Next up is to embrace the truth.