So Goes My Life

Since 1976, the Toronto International Film Festival yearly brings together a collection of culturally diversified films from more than sixty countries. The people behind this festival aims to lead the world in cultural and creative discovery through the moving image.

It was amazing to witness a display of exceptional dedication from the TIFF organizers and volunteers. They systematically ushered a flock of moviegoers who were there two hours before the movie starts.

Unfortunately, there was a long line ahead of me. Nevertheless, I’m still grateful.

I didn’t plan to participate this year. However, through my friends’ generosity, I was able to watch, not just one, but two movies.

Bwakaw, a film by critically-hailed director, Jun Lana, is about Rene, a man who discovers his unconventional sexual preference at a very old age and who sees himself imprisoned by the consequences of his delayed decision. This led him to become repulsive towards the people around him. His agitations became a rich source of humour in some scenes. Distraught by guilt and loneliness, he approached each day lifelessly nearing his deathbed.

During the course of his melancholy, he adopted a stray dog, whom he named Bwakaw(because of its voracious appetite), and developed a profound friendship.

One riveting scene I got drawn into is when Rene is consoling his dog during its dying moments and professing his deep friendship to it. The inevitable arrived, Bwakaw, breathes its final breath and closes its eyes,bids farewell to its closest friend. ( Is there an award-giving body for dogs?)

This tragic loss, as well as his failed attempts of gratifying himself, brought him to realize that life is still precious. The film ended with Rene walking on a long street, going through life despite of unfavourable endings.

Indignant over a 30-million lawsuit filed against them by a record company, Jared Leto and his band mates in 30 Seconds to Mars, made a feature-length documentary, Artifact. The film depicts their tumultuous experience battling against unfairness within the imploding music industry. It explains how unfavourable the recording contracts being provided, at present, to artists, who later on accumulates an enormous amount of debt.

It also gives a detailed account of how they struggled and persevered through unpleasant circumstances while finishing their album. Ultimately, they never lost track of what’s important – their connection, their passion, and their music. In hindsight, this led me to realize how piracy disregards the musician’s efforts and the life he poured in order to complete his artwork.

In my opinion, both movies similarly staged one important message. An individual’s direction in life determines his destination. In his inspiring book, The Principle of the Path, Andy Stanley significantly points out, “What captures our attention influences our direction.”

Rene paid so much attention on regrets and on the life he wanted to have while Jared focused on his rights as a musician and on the injustice he is suffering from. Both of them struggling over, what they believe, they don’t deserve.

The outcome has a ripple effect. It is bound to influence the direction and destination of people within their circle of influence. Rene’s friends and acquaintances had difficulty associating with him while Jared and his band mates encountered disagreements among themselves and difficulties pursuing their career.

Both of them sought advise from people. Both of them focused on what they can do. Unfortunately, both of them would still be facing, up to now, an unfinished battle.

It’s my one year anniversary living in Canada today. And my life is still a work in progress (and its not easy as pie!). Instead of coming out a list of resolutions, one question inevitably popped out in my mind. I asked myself, “Am I consistently giving my attention to things that merit my attention?”

Honestly, my attention is drawn to what, I believe, is best for me.

To discern what is best, the Psalmist prayed, “Lead me in the path of Your commands, because that makes me happy. Make me want to keep Your rules instead of wishing for riches. Keep me from looking at worthless things. Let me live by Your Word.” (Psalm 119:35-37)


I am learning that life is not a series of unrelated decisions. And it is hard to decide when my hands are so full of myself. This limits me on making that best decision in my life — to let go and to lean heavily on God.