Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Tuesday, 30 March 2010


That’s why this airport systematically ranks the top spot in international surveys on the best airports in the world. By the time you stroll from the gate and pass immigration, the first pieces of luggage parade on the belt already. I spot my bag, take it carelessly off the belt, and put it on the trolley. As usual, too heavy for the few days only that I have been away. I seem to want the same variety of choice in my hotel room as when opening my wardrobe at home. With a stubbornness that appears impossible to extinguish, I keep packing more outfits than I possibly can wear, even if I’d change clothes twice a day. It’s Friday evening, and there’s a busy relaxedness in the arrival terminal, as many business travellers come back to start the weekend after their overseas trips. I am lucky; I don’t have to wait all too long before I can step into a cab. I gaze at the slow peak-hour traffic through the window, as if I were in a train looking at an ever-changing landscape. There’s dreamy music on my MP3 player; a muse plays in my dreams.

There seems to be one long traffic jam all over the island. Finally, I almost reach home. Then suddenly my phone rings. “Sir, it appears you have taken the wrong bag off the belt just now. There’s a gentleman here with a bag that apparently looks very similar, and it appears to be yours.” I feel like sinking through the floor. The sight would be ugly though, as I would immediately be overridden by the car behind us and smashed into bloody pulp on this Singapore expressway. They could rename it into “RIP” then, instead of “PIE”. The news of my stupid mistake is a cold shower in stead of the warm one I was looking forward to. I promise to the lady who’s calling me that I will U-turn straight away and make my way back to airport. What else can I do? I need my own bag, and there’s somebody waiting for the one that is now in the trunk of this taxi. I hang up. Well, “hanging up” is no longer the appropriate term with the modern phones nowadays. Try it!

I feel so stupid when I tell the taxi driver what has happened and ask him to drive back to the airport. He can’t help but laughing, and of course he’s right to do so. I change my mind and let him drive me home first, more based on economic considerations than out of sweet revenge for him laughing at me and wanting to prevent him from earning even more money from this ride. I step into my own car and head back into the evening jams. Two hours after arriving at the airport back from my trip, I am there again.

As if I were a high profile criminal, I have to be escorted by two policemen to go back into the transit area, where the “Lost-and-Found” counter is located. And of course, a shift change just happens to be scheduled at my unscheduled time to go back in to return the wrong bag. After half an hour of waiting, two junior officers finally show up. They walk even more relaxed than they would if they would be wearing nothing but their beachwear and sunglasses, in stead of a blue police uniform. How to be stressed if your first duty of the day is to walk a distracted, silly boy like me through a glass panel over a distance of 30 metres…It’s a happy coincidence that the glass panel slides open before walking through, without them even having to whisper “open sesame”.

I step into the “Lost-and-Found”, and see my travel bag immediately, patiently waiting for me. If luggage would have thoughts, then my bag would probably have been shocked to find out that he actually had a twin brother, and hurt at the same time, realizing that I had mistaken this other fellow for him. But he would be grateful too, I guess, my faithful travel companion, knowing that I have shown him around to many more destinations than a plastic supermarket bag or a leather postman’s bag ever will.

“The other passenger did not wait any longer,” I am told. “We will bring his bag to his home. The man was OK with it, but his wife was very, very angry.” “Oh, isn’t it always like that?”, I tease them. To my surprise, all three females in the room agree. Self-knowledge is the basis of all wisdom. I smile as I squat down to look at my bag. Yes, this is mine. But the similarity with the other bag is striking, so I somehow forgive myself already. Not only is the bag identical, but also all other accessories are affixed in exactly the same manner: the frequent flyer tag, the padlock, the “priority” ribbon. What a disappointment: I always thought I had my own style. In any case, I may not be unique after all, but I am definitely stupid and distracted, and I haven proven it once again. ..


Three days later: another plane, again insane. After take-off, I turn on my laptop, I plug in the mouse, and the power cable into the socket. I put my headset on, ready to enjoy some music while working. Nowadays you can work more relaxed in the plane than in the office, not interrupted by colleagues at your desk or incoming calls. You can even take your shoes off, have a sip of champagne and be served at your every whim by most helpful crew.

I notice that my laptop is operating on battery power, in stead of the power that is supposed to be tapped from the plane seat. Strange. This plane looks like new; I can hardly imagine that the socket is faulty. But nothing is impossible. The seat next to mine is not occupied, so I try the built-in socket in that seat. Still the same: my computer keeps discharging battery power. I try a few more times in both seats: in, out, in, out… (shake it all around). I know that my battery won’t last for the full 7 hours of this flight. So I turn to the stewardess and ask her to check if the electrical sockets may be faulty perhaps. Just as she walks away to go and check the central monitoring panel, I discover the reason of my power problems: I forgot to insert the other end of the cable into my laptop!
I apologize with a smile. “What else can I do?”. Déjà-vu...

Monday, 29 March 2010

BJÖRK: "Wanderlust"

We have come again to that knee of seacoast no ocean can reach.
Tie together all human intellects, they won't stretch to here.
The sky bares its neck so beautifully,
but gets no kiss.
Only a taste.
This is the food that everyone wants,
wandering the wilderness.


Sunday, 28 March 2010


Let me see your face today
For this ain’t like no other day
Let me hold you, pinch your cheeks
Unfold the mysteries of your dreams
Wrap myself around you
In the lightness of the morning daze
The brightness of some sunny days
The times that were
And those ahead
For they are the arms, left and right,
That will hold you, ever tight.

Friday, 26 March 2010


Let me tilt you higher, and show you to the sun and moon. We dance in a whirlwind of reflections. No reason will ever be good enough; no answer will suffice. “I’ll be there, as soon as I can fly”. Little birds grow and stretch their wings. If they were made to crawl on land, they would not have wings in the first place. There’s no difference between heaven and earth except for the way we imagine it to be: do you fly with your head in the clouds, or are your feet firmly rooted in the ground? Do you look up, or down? Are you a giver, or a taker?

Each day brings gifts. I am a lucky man; a simple soul dressed in complex patterns. Eros and Thanatos. Our two basic drifts. They steer us from much deeper than we allow them to appear. Numerous hidden motives underlie each act, like many strings are woven into fabric and a collection of tiny dots makes a painting. The closer you look, the less you see; we don’t listen to notes but to melodies. You may drown in the details while learning how to swim. So feel the current and not the drops; discover music where others hear noise. Come to me, and I shall teach you what I know. And what I know, is that I know nothing. But that’s a lot already.

We have more than one life in a lifetime. Shake your own like a bottle of orange juice, and it will taste so much better. Grab your chance, for chances change, and probabilities probably change as more chances become probable. There’s sweetness in bitterness, for also a lemon has ripened in the sun. Victory comes through hardship. And there’s a safe harbour for every ship, eventually. Who’s holding my wheel? Me, myself, and I eventually.

Speaking of stars. I am sharing the breakfast table with a Hollywood celebrity this morning. This hotel seems to attract them like a light bulb appeals to mosquitoes on a warm summer evening. He’s much less of a star to me than the millions of real ones I looked at flat on my back in the desert. Just another guy. Still, I give him the benefit of doubt, though I have always found it ridiculous when people wear sunglasses indoor. We all have our flaws. So I “Apologize”, I kind of like his songs, and his entourage seems to behave normally too. Being up and ready at 8 o’clock in the morning. Admirable. Morning glory; a new and different story.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

孫燕姿 : 天黑黑 (STEFANIE SUN: "Tian Hei Hei")

When all questions
Are answered before being raised
A look exchanged
A silhouette in an open door
A split second
And so much more
I bite my tongue
I step away
And yet I stay

Monday, 22 March 2010

Sunday, 21 March 2010

SUSAN ASHTON: "Blessing In Disguise"

塞翁失馬 (Sāi Wēng shī mǎ)

"Sāi Wēng Lost his Horse"

Sāi Wēng lived on the border and he raised horses for a living. One day he lost a horse. His neighbour felt sorry for him, but Sāi Wēng didn’t care too much about the horse, because he thought there were worse things in life but to lose a horse. After a while, though, the horse returned with another beautiful horse, and the neighbour congratulated him on his good luck. But Sāi Wēng thought that maybe it wasn’t a good thing to have this new horse.

Nonetheless his son liked the new horse a lot and often took it out riding. One day, Sāi Wēng's son fell off the horse and broke his leg. Because of his broken leg, he couldn’t go off to the war, as was expected of all the young men in the area. Most of them died in the war.

This proverb is said when bad luck turns to good. Certain bad luck is actually a blessing in disguise.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

BOW WOW: "Big Dreams"

Big dreams, small dreams, they drift like white clouds against a clear blue sky. There’s not a single day without weather. And not a single day without people talking about it either. We build our lives on columns, Doric, Ionian or Corinthian, as if giving a label makes things more comprehensible. There are temples for every religion, and altars for every sacrifice. To win is to loose, and to choose is to loose. So who chooses, wins. Does the weather forecast matter, if the sun is shining bright?

I tend to speak in haze of mystery, but words are clear if they appeal to you. Like music, you must undergo them with intuition, not analyse them in terms of mathematical patterns. Facts will be forgotten, for a human memory lasts for a lifetime only. Feelings will fade away too, eventually, and yet they make a lasting impression, remain eternally, like fossils printed on our soul. How many people really do matter in a lifetime? A handful, at most. So tell me, would you like to miss your thumb, knowing that you need it for almost everything you grab for? No, right. That’s why. Cherish those who truly matter, those who make a difference to you. Nobody can change us except ourselves. And yet a few, not many, can make us look at ourselves from a different angle. Some call it love, some call it friendship. But what’s the value of a word in a world with more than 200 languages, and a multiple of dialects. There are different shades for every shade of grey; and there are less colours in a rainbow than the number of ways two persons can relate to one another. There may be an expiry date to relationships, but there need not be an expiry date to love for a person. When two ends meet, you have a new beginning.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

孫燕姿 : 遇见 (STEFANIE SUN: "Yu Jian")

People do silly things in search of a legacy. The postman who brings my letters hasn’t read none of the names that will be remembered, eventually. There’s fame in anonymity. History is written with hindsight, by those who have a plan for the future. They mend it, bend it like Beckham, and even someone like him won’t pass the test of time. Few graves are built for eternity. Most of us find it even hard to keep track of what’s happening in the lives of their immediate relatives, even if they live nearby. There are borders to family stories that seem to be marked at three generations, four at most. Even royals, whose blood lines are documented up to many centuries ago, have no clue about who those ancestors really were beyond a name and a date of birth and death. History is a verb written in the present tense, and it starts now…

Saturday, 13 March 2010

LED ZEPPELIN: "Rock And Roll"

Do you have a story to tell? Are you a writer, or are you being written. Do you speak, or do you listen? Do you shine, or are you shone upon? Do you choose to rock, or to roll?

SISTERS OF MERCY: "Temple of Love"


Monday, 8 March 2010

CROWDED HOUSE: "Four Seasons In One Day"

Embrace the shadows, and they will disappear, as they dance with you, eyes-wide-shut. What a difference a day makes. Four seasons in one turn of the clock's hands. Vigorous energy sets me into motion, and I pick up the pace with the steadiness of a pendulum swing. Where there was gaze before, there is focus now. I don’t need a physicist to proof that the insignificant clap of a butterfly’s wings can change the weather. There are caves in a man’s heart so deep that the light of reason can’t reach.

Saturday, 6 March 2010


A hopeless anxiety conquers territory in the depths of my imagination. It’s staring, with the despair of a restless tiger in a cage. Aggression drools from its atrocious jaws. It sharpens its claws, scratches the floor with its horrifying paws. I’m possessed with fearless demons, that haunt me and eye me like a falcon its prey. Thoughts are merciless and cruel in their patience, for they circle endlessly, as vultures in the sky over carrions in the sand.

Love is meant to be more than an echo of your own voice. Deafening sounds the silence of the unanswered love; but equally hollow is the sound of loneliness of the selfish person. For in the end, the more (s)he wants, the less (s)he will be wanted. What fool ever came up with the idea of the hare and the tortoise having to race? The winner may loose eventually, after all. For sour tastes victory that has to be celebrated alone. I am not a fighter, I am not a racer. All I want is to move, and feel the breeze blowing through my hair.

FRANK SINATRA: "Lonesome Road"

Travel broadens the mind.

METALLICA: "Nothing Else Matters"

…for it’s not that it matters; since seldom it matters. Yet sometimes only when it’s gone, you realize that it did matter.

Friday, 5 March 2010

BEE GEES: "How Deep Is Your Love"

How far do you wanna go for love, or how far will love go with you? How deep do you wanna cut to find love, or how deep do you let love cut into you?