Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas in Manila

I will be flying back to Manila this afternoon. I will be there until New Year's eve when we will be flying back home. I spent the weekend going to the museums. There were some good exhibits but I found later that one of them will be open free to the public from 24th to 4th of next month. I should have waited but I guess I saved some time next year. I wanted to go to the Marina Barrage but did not have time. I planned to go the next day on Sunday but decided to spend the day watching DVD. I am watching the HBO classic 'ROME'.

The mini-series is one of the best series I have seen in years. The first season I think was better than the second season. I started to read about the characters in Wikipedia this morning. I nearly finished with the second season and will continue when I get back. I don't have the time to finish all the episodes today as my flight is at 4 in the afternoon. I also reserved the audio book 'The 12 lives of Caesar' by Suetonius. I think I will not have a chance to read once I transfer abroad. I have had many thoughts about transferring over the weekend and I guess most people in the office think I will not transfer. I guess moving is more an act of will than anything else.

I always envision the life of other people who are now there, how they are living their lives now, how they have adjusted and assimilated. I then have dreams of my own life, the transfer of my family and the other things that concerns us during the move. I would then compare and contrast and see who had the better life. I think this instinctive act of comparison is how I adjust to the new life. I remember my grandmother who always challenges us by comparing each other, with my brothers or cousins. I think this has made us lose some self esteem or made us more competitive and aggressive. To judge our lives by comparing with the lives of others.

Perhaps this is also the explanation on why I go to all these museums or shows. To be part of some social elite, one that is aware of the trends in art, literature or architecture. I realized that I am a snob and I like elitist things. Then I try to imagine the life of the ordinary folks where I will be transferred soon. I realized that they may be more simple and down-to-earth folks who have no desire for stuff like art, literature and architecture. They are the more practical and pragmatic people, people who are ultimately the more happiest and simplest people. These folks are not driven to seek decadent pleasures like some people in sophisticated cities do.

But I guess that is the life that I must lead. I think I should focus more on the labor of writing and it will be similar to my life back home where I had a house and car to maintain. It will be a life filled with day to day stuff of maintaining a household unlike here in Singapore with housing flats maintained by the government. So I will have less time to read but maybe more time to focus on completing my book. Reading will be more a luxury there where quality books may not be as accessible as here. The library system here is probably the best in the world, geared towards a sort of citizen elite but resulting in some sort of sophisticated decadence I think.

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