23 August 2010

Sleeping in Singapore

There's "Sleepless in Seattle" and there's "Sleeping in Singapore".  Yes, lame comparison since they don't have anything to do with each other.

Whenever I am in Singapore, the one thing that I truly enjoy is the peace and quiet.  At night, there is no sound of traffic or of people walking and talking.  There is almost complete silence.  It's so deathly quiet that sometimes I find it hard to sleep unless I am very tired.

In KL, I hear the occasional cars or motorbikes zipping by.  I may even hear the party people (as I like to call them) returning in the wee hours of the morning.  Occasionally, if I am not too deeply asleep, I can hear the morning azan in the distance.  I've become so accustomed to all of these sounds that, often, I don't even notice them.

It's only when I'm in Singapore that I feel the difference.  Even now as I am writing this, there's no sound except for the whirring of the fan.  It's almost like I am the only living creature on earth.  Of course I'm not since Stephen is in the next room.

How glaring a contrast this is to my usual Monday at work!  Some say that "silence is deafening".  

I like it.  Not everyday but once in a while, I like it.

(pics from photobucket)

14 August 2010

The Inconvenient Truth

As is usual on many Fridays, I was on the bus from Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur to Novena, Singapore. The weather was bleak and the short thunderstorm caused a flash flood in Bangsar. Fortunately, I had a driver yesterday and he managed to avoid the knee-deep water. The water receded after 20 minutes and the bus left promptly at 2.30 pm.

The sun was shining again after the heavy rains.  

As I traversed the bottom length of the peninsula, I saw how the weather changed from grey skies to clear blue sky with the sun shining.

It is a long journey covering about 380 kms. I usually spend my time enjoying the scenery. It’s cheap entertainment but so good for the soul. If it's too hot, I sometimes draw the nice grey curtains and watch a movie. Sometimes I sleep or catch up on some reading. Occasionally I use my laptop. I mean really as a laptop. There's no table so it sits on my lap and measures up to its name.

These days, thanks to my Blackberry, my friends keep me company all through the journey. I'm never lonely. They send wishes for a safe trip. They comment and joke and I smile quietly. Technology can be so kind to those who know how to use it.

Since I travel so often, I've watched all the movies that are available on the bus. We each have our own small TV screen and there are more than 50 movies to choose. I haven't been browsing the choices lately because there are hardly any new shows now. Today, I just checked and found the documentary by Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth. I'd seen it before so I let it run, without the volume.

It's about global warming but it set me down a different path. Actually, the title got me thinking about how the truth is inconvenient. I guess it is the main reason why people lie.

Of late, I'd been spending way too much time wondering about the lies that people tell. I believe that this springs from not being able to face the truth. So they make up stories, moving on and beyond the boundaries of courtesy.

These pathetic liars need to get a life. I'm sure if you are reading this, you might feel that you do know someone like this. How often have you felt helpless against the backdrop of such a network of deceit? I've felt despair too but never for too long.

You ask why? What do I do? Actually nothing!

My life is full of goodness. When your plate is full of good stuff, it's not difficult to push aside the people made of bad stuff. The sad thing is that they don't even know it.

Al Gore really got me thinking again, not only about global warming but also about the people, out there, who can't stomach the inconvenient truth.  In their minds, the truth is inconvenient. 

Should I pity them? Yes.

some pics from photobucket

07 August 2010


Lately I've noticed that many people are using shortcuts when they want to communicate either via their cellular, on facebook or tweeting. I think I also see it in emails and blogs. I suppose I erase those from my mind as soon as I see them. I really can't stand the shortcuts. Perhaps people think that the English Language is theirs to butcher!

(pic from here)

Well, I am guilty of using some emoticons and shortforms like LOL (laughing out loud) or IMHO (in my honest opinion).  My favourites are the smileys.   However, I don't allow it to become a part of my daily routine.  Anyway, I do it to save time and when I know that it doesn't detract from what I mean to say.

Generally, I'm one of the old-fashioned types that firmly believe we should follow all the rules (as best we can). I know I'm not perfect but I'm mindful and conscious of what I write always.

When I used to teach, one of the lessons was about using the word "only". Each sentence is different if you read it carefully.

ONLY I kissed Stephen yesterday.
I ONLY kissed Stephen yesterday.
I kissed ONLY Stephen yesterday.
I kissed Stephen ONLY yesterday.
I kissed Stephen yesterday ONLY.

I wonder if any of my students remember this.

Pics from photobucket