Friday, June 02, 2006

Day 2

5.15ish: Toss and turn in bed, unintentionally pull light cord and cause it to fall on its switch and switch on

Two seconds later: Sit up in bed wondering how on earth I ended up outdoors at noon

Another 2 seconds later: Realise it's not outdoors, it's a long way from noon, and I am now wide awake

5 minutes later: Get SMS from friend saying something to the effect of, "I don't know why but I'm suddenly wide awake, and look at the time!"

10 minutes later: Give up on going back to sleep and decide to drive to nearby park to enjoy quiet time at sunrise

20 minutes later: Decide, since I am officially Free with Nowhere Else to Go Post-Quiet Time, to do something a little different. Head for National Monument instead.

10 minutes later: Spend peaceful 35 minutes enjoying birdsong and frog croaks in Lake Gardens.

35 minutes later: Head home for much-needed sleep.

Reminder of freedom
I don't think anyone could call me patriotic (and most people call me Ren, anyway) but seeing the monument reminded me of how much I have to be thankful for. Sure, life here isn't perfect, but neither is life anywhere on Earth. As I live my life the best I can, I hope I can make some small but significant difference that will prove those long-lost lives will not have been given in vain.

An old man stood
My mind just replayed this image of Ah Koong, my nanny's father-in-law, standing at attention every evening when Negaraku played on the TV at 5.00 pm. When I first began to notice him doing that, I was about 3 or 4, and I remember thinking it was pretty funny that he would bother to stand when no one was watching. I was told it was because he had experienced the hardships of war and Emergency, and he appreciated the freedom he could now enjoy.

We're built such that we find it hard to appreciate something unless we know how miserable life is without it. Now, about 20 years later, I am beginning to appreciate what it was that brought an old gentleman to his feet at 5.00 every day, whether or not anyone else was there. Not because I've tasted war and physical oppression, but because I know I'm living in freedom now.

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