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Showing posts from April, 2011

Playing the Enemy by John Carlin

What a year for the 11th general elections to be held. Singaporeans seem to have taken up the cry for revolution that was sparked off by protestors in Egypt. I wonder if the fall of the economy in 2010 did not also bring down with it the implicit faith that the masses the world over, had in their governments. But this elections is more complicated than that. It's making me regret not taking a political science module this semester, that's for sure.

The large turnout at the rallies reminded me of the book, Playing the Enemy by John Carlin. In it, Carlin wrote an account of how Nelson Mandela worked for the eradication of apartheid in South Africa, from the time he was incarcerated through his first few years as President. He didn't just enforce policies to work towards that aim, he embodied the message he was bringing by forgiving his jailors and being the bridge between the Afrikaaners and the native Africans.

Mind you, the title doesn't bear any significance in this con…

Perfect attendance

My aunt on the far left, on a family trip to Malaysia.
Tay Beng Hay. Iwouldn't say that she had no option but to live with us. Anything would have been better than taking up the role of permanent caretaker of a house crammed with 3 families and their brood of 9. Even if she were the spinstress aunt with little social experience other than the terrorizing first (and last) day of primary school, I'm sure there were options.

I can picture it though, how she would have shrugged her shoulders in that resigned way of hers, and bowed her head to a life she was familiar with. Laundry, home-cooked meals, quiet hours spent staring into space.

Till now, I couldn't say if we brought her more joy or pain. There are vague memories of her quiet presence during spontaneous performances by the organ or the piano, and then the subsequent low humming that signaled her appreciation for our music. A wan smile or two sent our way as we clustered around birthday cakes or the odd, random occasions…