Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Chasing Sunsets.


I have found a place in Singapore where I can watch a decent sunset. An unobstructed 270-degree arc of the horizon with almost 160-degrees of sky. Beautiful. And the pollution from the Jurong island industries make for stunning displays of colour in the sky.

And remote. About the only structure in sight is the Tuas power station in the distant background. It is a good drive from the end of the AYE, into the bowels of Tuas, right to where the road ends on the map. Then offroad onto a unmarked dirt track onto a land reclamation zone. Then hike for another good kilometre or so.

Unfortunately the light pollution is still too bad to see any stars after dark.


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I miss the wide open spaces of Australia. Where it relatively much easier to get away from the maddening crowds. Even without a car and relying solely on public transport, it was much easier to find quiet places to think. Places where the only other humans were at least a kilometre away and where it was quiet enough that you could hear your own heart beating.

Growing up as a teenager, Punggol used to where I would spend hours wandering around in the secondary undergrowth and exploring unmarked tracks and small beaches that were too unimportant to show up on the maps. And to just sit and to think. Unfortunately that childhood place no longer exists after urban planners dropped a four-lane highway to SengKang New Town, a marina and beach front development on top of it.

I think every society needs quiet spaces. Accessible quiet spaces. And I do not mean members-only golf country clubs with private rooms.

Our urban society is much poorer for abandoning ancient rite-of-passage rituals like the Walkabout and the Vision Quest. Without rituals to mark the changing phases of our lives. Without the quiet spaces to help focus inwards on what is really important. We get so caught up in the day-to-day living that we forget to live.

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