Outside inside

All is as if the world did cease to exist. The city’s monuments go unseen, its past unheard, and its culture slowly fading in the dismal sea.
– Nathan Reese Maher

Singapore to Kuala Lumpur: Fellow passengers make their way back to the bus, after a short break at one of the rest stops on the North South Expressway, Malaysia.

I make this bus trip from Singapore a number of times each year to visit my family in Kuala Lumpur. Familiar as I am with the stops and starts of the journey, I’m normally fast asleep at this particular point in the ride. I spent my final years of secondary education commuting to a school on the other side of the island: it was a two hour ride each way by bus only, or an hour and twenty minutes if I wanted to bus-train-bus-walk it with half the population. The choice was simple. I’ve come to regard long bus rides as a kind of respite from the world.

Years of doing last minute homework on school buses meant I could (and still can) write legibly while commuting. My long bus rides during those years meant I also got a lot of sleeping done. There’s no lullaby like the muffled drone of diesel engines, while the sway of a large vehicle rounding urban streets is a rocker like no other. It was one of the few spaces that suspended the mindless rush for more that sculpts the people of the place where I was born.

I still gather wool, read, write, shoot and nap at my best in transit.

I was jolted awake to this, out the window of the double decker in a fleet that persuasively claims to be “a better way to fly.” The view is always interesting if we are lucky enough to catch it in the right light.



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