This post was written last Sunday evening on a notebook while sitting alone in a bar alone and getting slowly drunk in the process.It was not published earlier because of the recent tragic events.
Looking back on these notes now the first thing I can say is that damn, I didn’t realise that my handwriting was this bad.
So here goes.
While going downtown I passed by a rich neighbourhood and on the sidewalks I counted about eight asian servants each walking a dog which, it is safe to say, belongs to their boss. Or master depending on how much dignity they are left with at the end of the day. A couple of them were chatting together, their dogs sniffing each other. It was quite a surreal scene, one of those where you are not quite sure what country or reality you are in. For a few moments I thought I was in an uptown suburb of Manila or Saigon.
By the way if any geography prick comes in to inform me that Saigon is no longer called like that he or she will be kicked out. I like the city’s old name, it is a beautiful name.
On this night I decided to take my old student wallet with me. Perhaps out of nostalgia or perhaps because I wanted to remember what it was like to actually have a wallet on me – I haven’t carried a wallet with me since coming off the plane at Larnaca airport back from the UK. I thought I would be making a clean break, a new chapter in life and probably some other stuff that did not eventually happen. So there it was, my own little leather time machine. Inside I found
An undergraduate library card
A postgraduate library card
A copy card
A picture of me and a girl taken inside a coin operated passport photo booth
Coins with her Majesty’s head on, in various sizes and thicknesses. Metal mementos
A train ticket to Liverpool
I decide to keep the wallet and everything inside it. The worst it can happen is giving a penny to a shopkeeper.
I took a walk downtown before coming here, of the kind that has become almost customary on Sunday evenings. Passing by the new national theatre building I couldn’t help but think that pretty as it was with its curving architecture it looked a bit flimsy, with all of its metal,wooden and plastic bits. Flimsy in that it didn’t seem like it would last for more than a century it if it was abandoned and left to its fate. That’s the thing with old buildings, those made out of stone, they were built to last. Even modern concrete crumbles down after a few centuries. If the whole human civilization became extinct and alien archeologists came digging, those are the buildings that they will find and those are the ones that will tell out story. The other ones, those like this one, they wouldn’t be there at all.
I could never get used to flip-top notebooks. I still manage to get confused every once in a while and flip to the previous page instead of the next one
I’m thinking about the sea now, and coastal cities in particular. Living on the island’s only inland city does make me strange, the feeling of being the odd one out. But it’s also the feeling that this city does not end, it goes on forever if not in the present then in the future. There’s this nagging feeling I get whenever I visit a coastal city and that’s the sea itself. It’s the feeling that there is an end to the city, a permanent border, one which it will never be able to cross. A limitation. A restriction. And who knows, perhaps I’m the only one who makes these thoughts, perhaps these are the result of freak reactions between my environment and my life.