8 April, 2014 § Leave a comment
30 December, 2013 § Leave a comment
spent about a week wandering the streets of hanoi. never knew it was over a millennium old. coming from a place with less than 50 years of independence, it was a sobering experience to arrive in a city like this.
the scale of the city, the hanoi way, is just right. it is not a city laid out in grids; with every other turn, it draws you inwards only to guide you outwards to the other places where life happens. there is a sense of connectedness; time past, time present.
it is a city that is testament to the rich and vast culture of the vietnamese people and the sophisticated urban planning introduced by the french.
once the eye grew accustomed to the riot of colours that mark most of the buildings, the colonial villas were eye-openers.
each day, i would look forward to the surprises which the city held.
quaint cafes which present, to those who successfully navigate through the dingy alleyways that hide their secret, a breathtaking view of the city.
a taste of modern french.
and a taste of the old world at an eatery patronised by Catherine Deneuve. the local flour had a particularly coarse and dry texture. the meringue of a sticky gooey variety. still, it was nice to savour the treats in a quiet of a idle morning, with just the right amount of sunlight from the street, and in an unadorned space from a different time.
there was the hanoi of old.
the quiet spaces to escape the city.
but what i particularly enjoyed was the opportunity to make pictures of what one experiences walking through the city. i hope you’ve enjoyed them too.
here’s to more adventures in the new year.
10 November, 2013 § Leave a comment
Endured an unstimulating week in the workplace comprised of moments of banality that could make flowers wilt. After all, only that much exertion and adventure is involved when one puts lead to paper to mark for the 26th time “(which consent shall not be unreasonably withheld or delayed)”.
My mind does not handle being repressed well. The response is an upsurge of a violent desire to be reckless and abandon the world, and the duties and regularities that are a corollary to modern life and consumption. It calls out to the imagination to be saved from a state of mere existence. It craves for something new to reestablish that connection with the universe.
There is little I can do about this situation when I am still struggling to figure out how to use my compass without a destination. So I take walks through the city and take bus rides to savour the journey. To make myself feel like I am heading somewhere with a hidden purpose.
After all, we must all seek out something in a lifetime. That which will draw us to, and draw from us, the fire that illuminates this human condition.
My favourite walk is predictable: Alighting at a back alley on the fringe of the heart of the business district after sunset, past a sleeping Chinese temple, cross the road through a lobby with a frightful Dali sculpture of a man mangled by time, a moment to say hi to the Botero bird in bronze that seems pleased with himself in every moment, and to stand quietly to take in the sight of the handsome Fullerton Hotel with the romance of the majestic rain trees and the Anderson steel suspension bridge across which bullock carts once traversed. Then through the tunnel towards the waterfront and my favourite concert hall.
This time, before the end of the tunnel, I am caught in a moment of serendipity. A moment that obliterated all the noise and grime that had found its way into my heart during the week.
1 September, 2013 § Leave a comment
I was feeling apprehensive about the company getaway at a foreign island that required me to spend 3 days with more than 100 humans. Not so much because I could not handle them, but because they might feel uncomfortable by my ability to tune the world (and them) out. In other words, I was concerned that they might not be able to handle silence.
I too find silence a challenge. The world in my head is never silent; awash with colour and rhythm and sounds, and if I am less fortunate, noise. It is a bit of a double-edged situation – I am at once porous and permeable to everything around me (for that is the aspect of me that perceives everything indiscriminately); at once needing to exert a countervailing force to keep noise on the outside. The stronger the perceptive force, the stronger the resistance required.
Being around people is tiring. I cannot stop taking in information. Too much stimulus. I end up feeling desperate for stillness.
There was a time I thought that if I could find silence I would find stillness, but it all actually works the other way. When a moment of stillness finds me, the world and all its noise falls away (of its own accord requiring no effort whatsoever). There is in that space only me and that which has captured my gaze completely.
Stillness happens sometimes when we are face-to-face with beauty. Beauty that is at once humanly indescribable and devastatingly temporal; and this confluence silences the noise inside in an instance, slows all bodily and cognitive processes to its minimum; places you inside this infinite space of connectedness. Takes your breath away.
Ever so fortunate that I have nature for company no matter where I am, I have two special souvenirs from the trip – a glorious sunset and my very first upside down rainbow.