Friday, December 02, 2005

Far From the Madding Crowd

As I get older, the urge to get away from people and hide out on some mountain swells stronger and stronger. With each passing year, I harbour a wistful longing for a mountain abode surrounded by a large body of water so I can see who's coming for me to shoot them down before they reach shore.

This is especially poignant when I notice how people are treating each other nowadays. What's happened? Has the elimination of geographical barriers due to the information evolution created a situation where people have lost all respect for individual privacy or value? I've had a bad time of it, sure, but I thought that was just my arse luck ... till I got a message from an ex-colleague and girlfriend this evening. She had some very bad tidings. Without going into details as I do not want to betray her confidence ... she got screwed by her company and things are dire.

It's a trend I see happening with greater frequency here. The economic recession was a wonderful excuse for corporations and small business to exercise their right to screw with their staff. Even when the economy was improving, they held on to the same principles and made no changes to their corporate policies. It has made for a workforce that strives by backstabbing, brown-nosing and bullshitting.

Why is that shocking? Surely that is a global phenomena that has been going on even before Hoover decided to don a frock, play like his namesake and vacuum clean Hollywood? Because, unlike cities like New York or Hong Kong or London, Singapore used to be a fairly friendly little island. People worked hard rather than stab hard. Sure, you had your usual Dilbert deliquents but on the whole, it used to be a fairly nice city. And before I get flamed, I have nothing against the abovenamed cities ... I am just referring to the reputation they have obtained for being hard cities/countries.

It has built a society of extremely two-faced and superficial people in Singapore. Culturally deadened. Materialistic aware. Again, this is a generalisation and there are of course exceptions to the tragedy. I used to like Singapore. But this last return to this Guarded City (for those not in the know .. that's a pun on the country's claim to fame as the Garden City), I have found Singapore to have changed .. for the worse. It's a pity.

Now, I try to keep to a core group of people. A lot of the people I meet here (and this relates to both expats and locals) have made me long to slash my wrist with a jagged pebble rather than listen and watch their facades of celluloid reality. I have become more and more leery of superficial social events and people ... to the point where I think I may happily turn into a recluse if not for work.

So when I got an offer to get off the island, all expenses paid, to Indonesia to teach a workshop ... I agreed. Highly unusual for me as I seldom accept workshops nowadays and I am still a little weak from my illness. Actually, I think I still have not fully recovered. But the idea of leaving the madding crowd behind for a quiet, backward little island, even for a weekend, really appealed to me.

My only concern is that I will be teaching for 5 hours and my strength may leave me so the poor ladies who will be taking my classes tomorrow will have a hard time. I will make them go through their drills more intensively than normal so I can conserve my energy. I am already feeling sorry for them.

It will be the first time I have taught a workshop based on this discipline. I've taught this to my own students in regular classes but trying to teach a full choreography within 5 hours ... is achievable if not for the fact that this dance disciple requires a lot of emotiveness. It is hard to teach and unfortunately, some just never can "get" it. You can teach technique but you cannot teach soul. Well actually you kind of can sometimes but it takes time.

Anyway, off I got to bed so I can catch the first ferry out. Maybe I can catch some sun since I look like a space invader right now. I'm so pale I think I glow in the dark .. and that's just wrong.

Till I return, hopefully with some funny updates, have a wonderful weekend my friends. And especially to 3A who sent me the song ... I loved it! So me.

And now I am feeling maudlin as I've just watched Angels In America. What an amazing series. It totally deserves all the accolades. I was reaching for my tissue box.

So a thought before I fade to sweet oblivion ... When you can feel for someone more than yourself despite how bad things are for you, it shows you have not lost hope. That empathy reveals you cling to a hope that things could be better - for you seek within yourself or somewhere within this cosmos to somehow ease the pain and hurt of that person. Say a little prayer, blow gently on fading embers, sleep away some of your lost innocence. Awake to stretch your hand tentatively into an uncertain dawn. Hopefully someone in the mists will reach out to hold your hand, if not in guidance, at least in companionship. For those eking a life of quiet desperation, forgotten or foresaken by society, I hope there is a hand out there for you.

For Marie. From your hand in the mist.

Note: I cannot remember where I found that picture from but I just remember it is from one of the remarkable artists on CGtalk. If anyone can remember whose it is, I will attribute it accordingly and hope till then he/she does not mind me using it here.

Categories - Rambling Prose


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