terse & at large

GRRRRR. Arrrgh. And sometimes a travel log.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

People Watching

I was sitting at the Piazza by Pabulum at The Atrium with KC this morning, working on the captions for the show. It's interesting the people-watching opportunities that arose from being at our vantage point:

The two men in the über-swanky business shirts and bad ties (bankers, I think) who walked through the exhibition space, gesturing at it like it's some sort of annoyance, an obstacle between them and their high-paying jobs/power meetings. There's just something über-soulless about them too, the way they glanced askew at the images of death, destruction and loss.

Young couples using the space to steal a grope in public. Yes, we saw you. It does give 'Glimpses of Light' a whole new meaning... 照光 (or is that 走光?) and all.

Young males trying to impress their girlfriends with their own interpretations of the images. In front of the photographer who shot them. Amusing more than anything, really. I like how the interpretations were mostly wrong: "Yah, here, the photographer is trying to say how desolate the landscape is, so is their [sic] hearts." Er, no. Not really.


There is an equal number of people who would stop, and look at the images, taking time out of their lunch hour, to fully appreciate them, to the other people who don't give the exhibition space a second glance. One wonders if they even noticed its presence. There were tourists who were upset that they would miss the opening of the show on Saturday, and then there were the local Yuppies who can't wait for the exhibition to be over so they don't have to take a detour around the courtyard.

I think of the lawyer of Abi's blog and I see the same soulless blasé attitude these people have. It's yesterday's news, innit? Let's talk money again. Let's plan for our rosy futures where our children think of becoming doctors, not social workers or teachers, and go to expensive schools for their reputation and posh-factor. Death and destruction is so passé.

I am reminded of the chance encounter I had with an ex-girlfriend at a taxi stand during the period I was printing for the show (it's okay, the missus knows about it). We talked briefly. And as cordially as ex-couples can after a long period of not seeing the other person - that is, all awkward and weird. When she asked what I had been doing, I told her of my trip to Aceh.

* blank stare *

resulting in...

* alarm bells ringing in my head *

Aceh?

Uh, yes. Aceh.

Aceh... I'm sorry, it's not familiar...

Aceh, one of the worst-hit areas of the tsunami disaster? Where upwards of 160 000 people are confirmed dead and another 120 000 are still missing, and presumed dead? Where, for weeks after the disaster, bodies are still being turned up? And there are 9 000 new orphans in the DPCs?

Uh...

Well, come for the show anyway...

I say: there's nothing like this to close a chapter of one's life, however belatedly.

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