600km Walking Pilgrimage through Spain

Written by Denise Chng Lisan & published on September 2 2008

From the moment I discovered an ancient pilgrimage path in Spain in June last year, the attraction of walking hundreds of kilometres towards an assured destination grew on me daily. My eagerness to go on a month-long journey on foot across the steep slopes, lush valleys and forests of the Pyrenees, and through countless small towns and villages, was part of a subconscious quest to find depth and meaning in my life. At the age of 33, I was approaching – prematurely, perhaps – what seemed to be a mid-life crisis.

Straits Times Life! Article,Denise Chng Lisan,Camino de Santiago,Camino Frances

Letter from Quebec: Preserving Heritage

Written by Denise Chng Lisan & published on November 8 2008

'TRAVEL is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living,' wrote Miriam Beard. Life in Quebec is now my teacher, pointing out my knowledge gaps and honing my ideas of living - be it language, culture, life-skills, or the environment.

Denise Chng Lisan

The Art and Poetry of Marcel Gagnon - part i

Posted by Denise CHNG Lisan On Saturday, July 26, 2008

On my first week here, I discovered a treasure along the coast of St. Laurence river. I was told that there is a special place built with lots of love.

In a little town called St. Flavie about 30km from where I am staying lives an artist by the name of Marcel Gagnon. I presume he must have built his auberge by hand, because every part of the place seems handcrafted- with his signature cement sculptures. It is a gothic like little hotel, with restaurant and an art gallery that houses his and his son's art works. Outside the auberge, he crafted 80 life-sized sculptures of people, and a string of these people leading into the waters, into the sunset. One could either interpret that these people are lining themselves up to suicide, by walking into the waters. Or one could interpret that these people are mystical figures of the water, walking onto shore, visiting the lovely compound. I found out later that this huge piece of work is called "The Great Gathering" (Le Grand Rassemblement). In one of the art pieces by Marcel, he interprets this sculpture on canvas, and draws fairy ladies walking onto shore, and even having wings to fly if they choose to. It's a fantasical world, in this once little known village by the river.

What touched me most (at first) is reading a poetry by Marcel, outside the auberge, called "La Voie". If you take a close look at one of the pictures I attached here, you can read it in his original words, in french. I will attempt to translate it into english, in my own words. But I will not bear any liabilities from my mal-interpretation, I hope. =)


As I find myself in the middle of my life,
I searched for the meaning of life
I searched in the sports and in travel
I searched in the politics and in the performances
I searched in the religions and in the books
I searched in hard work and in the luxury
I searched for different ways
Even the ways of searching

One beautiful day
I found it without searching
I have been looking too far, externally
in others
I have been looking for the impossible
to realize that there was nothing to find
As we already possessed it within us

Now I know that life is made
by the little and the big present moments
Now I know that we have to detach ourselves
to love more strongly
Now I know that the past
does not bring me anything
Now I know that the future
sometimes make me suffer distress and insecurity
Now I know that we do not need to travel into space
to be happy on earth
Now I know that goodness and simplicity are essential
And that to make others happy
I will have to be happy first

Now I know that we can help others
simply by example and by shining
Now I know that acceptance is a guarantee of happiness
And that nature is my best Master
Now I know: The response comes from
the same place as the question.
Now I know that I live,
Now I just live simply.

Marcel Gagnon

(Translated from French by Denise Chng Lisan)

0 Response to 'The Art and Poetry of Marcel Gagnon - part i'

    Ave Maria - Lourdes, France

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