return to Pulau Ubin
The last time I went to Pulau Ubin was in the year 2012 A D., if I remember correctly.
That time, I was in a group of about 12 people. But today, I went alone.
I saw a neglected or abandoned garden patch. There was supposed to be lemongrass and other edible plants but most of them had shrivelled up.
I saw a well. There were water skaters: insects, not humans.
I saw a monkey climbing a tree. I cycled down one path but heard rustling in the thick cover of the forest that surrounded the path. Was that a growling? I turned my bicycle around and fled.
Talked to a few male humans. They reeked of quiet desperation. “I wish I had money to smoke cigarettes,” one middle-aged man seemed to say, who was chest-high in a pond, scooping up unwanted plants.
“I wish I was rich,” another young man seemed to say, while selling bicycles for rental.
What was that quote from Thoreau?
“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. From the desperate city you go into the desperate country, and have to console yourself with the bravery of minks and muskrats. A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind. There is no play in them, for this comes after work. But it is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.”
Or something like that.
And, not to forget the employees of the eatery where I bought and ate some fried rice. They seemed to be wasting away – vegetating – in their eatery, waiting for the scant few customers that arrive on a hot and humid weekday afternoon.
What did these men have to look forward to in their lives, other than more drudgery of selling their time for money, which in turn, perishes all too quickly?
But I have nothing more than them, except God's love for me. I am only rich in one thing: God's love. And nobody can take that from me. Thank you, God!