Saturday, January 22, 2005

P Minus Two.

Two more days to my "holiday" in Perth. For background, see P Minus Twenty. Arriving there should be an interesting situation considering that I have neither accommodations nor transport arrangements fixed. Nor do I have anybody in Perth I can call to bail me out of jail. No worries, mate.

Last Thursday night, the bunch of us going to Perth were working out a rough itinerary for the trip. Not the easiest thing to do since we were arriving and departing Perth at different times and more importantly, we have different expectations and agendas for our travels.

Me? I am just happy to go to Perth and see what the city has to offer. Assuming Perth has not burned down to the ground by the time I get there. [ Okay. Before anybody threatens to set me on fire, I clarify that last statement was a joke in bad taste. ]

So far the only concern I have is of inadvertently upsetting my travel companions (who would be arriving two days and five days later). Unlike my usual planning-obsessed self, I lean towards a carefree attitude when on vacation. Carefree to the point of careless. Even to the point of devil may care. I believe the Australian word for it is larrikin. The SO was just reminding me again that not everybody is comfortable vacationing without some semblance of a structured itinerary, and that I have to exercise some self-restraint over impulsive behaviour.

Then again, I have known these folks for a long time (and their partners for more than a while). Which is saying a lot since my preference is to travel light on my journey in life. I do not have many emotional anchors, and even fewer material deadweights in my life. Only recently have I been giving thought to "putting down roots" - an issue which has seldom crossed my mind in the past.


Which reminds me of the lost Theory.

There was this bunch of us in the university at the Age of Infinite Wisdom - when we were sure about everything we needed to know in life, and nobody could teach us anything else of significant importance in life. At that point, we came up with a Theory. To be precise it was never actually articulated as a coherent Theory, but rather expressed as a collection of Ideas. The passage of time had congealed them into a form that can be thus described:

The Theory was that the government gave us poor university students huge loans which were interest-free only during the study period, in order to ensure we worked hard to get jobs after graduation as soon as possible in order to service the loans. This would acclimatise us to the idea of debt and indentured servitude. And in the time it took to pay off the student loans, chances are that we would have decided to "buy" (lease for 10 years) a car, or get married and "buy" (lease for 99 years) a HDB flat. Which, of course, has the side effect of a 30-year (or 7-year) debt - effectively "locking" us into a lifetime of debt repayments. Hence the only reasonable escape from the trap was to live a frugal life and never succumb to the temptation of "buying" a house (HDB flat) or car in Singapore.

I know it is a ill-conceived Theory but we were of Infinite Wisdom then.


Sometimes I feel like I am the sole remaining person who remembers the lost Theory?

Given our responsibilities today, this is probably going to be the very last time we get to pull together an ad-hoc trip under three weeks' notice. And that saddens me. We are all "grown up", or at least they have. I am still fighting the process - growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional. And more soberly, perhaps we are all growing apart.

And in case it crosses anybody's mind.. I will be back in Singapore after about two weeks. It is not a one-way ticket. Not as long as The Box is still here (another story for another day). And not until the SO is ready...


Blogger Singapore Calamari said...

I forgot which parts of the theory I had participated in.

But it is definitely not lost to me. Yes, I have succumb to the materialism and bought a car and am in debt for the next 7 year. But the theory is still vividly in my mind.

I am not going to justify my reasons, as they are definitely non-economical ones.

I am still working towards the "FIRE" goal. Along the way, I do some "negative" things. I guess we all do one time or another. But it is important to keep the goal in mind.

But in the meantime, I wanna live life for a while.

January 22, 2005 11:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi, i really never expected anyone to follow the link on the comment i left and arrive at my blog.

but yeah, i think at the end of it all, its the best thing to do to make up my own mind and views on how i feel about things. i mean, heh what's the point in just blindly following others :)

your blog is interesting tho. yet another to add to my list of reads :)

piggiejan from xanga :)

January 23, 2005 2:01 PM  
Blogger Symbol said...

Hey, good to hear you're coming to Perth. Hope you enjoy it your time here. maybe we can find the time to meet up. Be sure to keep us updated on your travels at least.

January 23, 2005 3:05 PM  
Blogger Fat Fingers said...

enjoy your "holiday" :)

January 23, 2005 5:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I haven't been to Perth, but folks I know who live there say it's probably the only city to have totally free public transport (bus, tram, ferry). So roads are quite car-free and pedestrian friendly. Of course, the tax payer ultimately pays for this, but one could argue the positive externalities of uncongested roads, less accidents, lower pollution, less stress, less eyesore of huge carparks and better urban aethestics more than make up for it. That the state or city council there doesn't seem to regard transport policy as a revenue generating tool, and the presumable idea that people there don't see cars as a must-have status symbol probably helps.

It's always interesting to see the public transport models of other cities and wonder how Singapore's model performs in contrast. Methinks the present profit-maximising albeit selectively regulated system tends to yield few of the real efficiencies and innovation of private enterprise as well as the public interest due of public services.


January 24, 2005 11:37 AM  
Blogger sari said...

no, u gotta pay for transport. Only blue cat, red cat.. those are free~ they stop at every stop.. suually ard city area.. =)

January 24, 2005 9:55 PM  
Blogger elin said...


January 25, 2005 8:40 AM  

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