at a snail's pace

to be with myself and center

If the world should stop revolving spinning slowly down to die,
I'd spend the end with you.
And when the world was through,
Then one by one the stars would all go out,
Then you and I would simply fly away.
~ Bread, If

The world just went to hell today: as if the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the Japan earthquake were not enough, there's a massive, incomprehensible riot in the UK, and the US stock market short circuited and went haywire.

Coincidentally, today is Singapore's 46th birthday.  It's tough to celebrate though, given the turmoil.  Sure, we had the day off, but it's not much of a day off when your entire day is spent watching and waiting and biting your nails and just trying to hold on to whatever has not collapsed yet.

I took this picture a couple of months back.  The bench sits in Fort Canning park, one of my favorite places in Singapore: it's a park in the middle of the city, just off Orchard Road.  When I first saw Fort Canning Park, it blew me away.  Stepping into the park felt like stepping into a sacred place, where all activity ground to a halt, and everything slowed down to a manageable pace.

As I walked through the park however, I couldn't understand, for the life of me, how busy, expensive Singapore, could spare the space in a prime district to build a park.  Surely, it made more sense to build more commercial buildings which would generate income and make everybody more money.

Years later, after bearing the scars of going through the rat race that is a corporate career, I have come to realize: how can busy, expensive Singapore, indeed, how can anyone, afford not to have such places of quietude, given just how maddening life can be.  Without such quiet episodes and places and moments of serenity, everything would just unravel.  The frenetic pace of living would pull us in a thousand different directions. and we would surely come undone.

In a world as mad as ours, we all could use a quiet little corner of the world where for just a minute, all is calm and at peace.