I am not a sociologist. But I suspect that when you temporary move someone from one environment to another, that causes a temporary change in behavior that may linger for a little bit when you move that someone back to the original environment. For the last two weeks, in France, I constantly kept an eye on the sky. The quality of light on my subjects and finding the spot to have the most beautiful blue sky as a background is something I would look for when taking pictures. I observe that the portion of the sky that is nearest the giant light bulb – the sun – is often less blue than the portion that is furthest away from it. Of course, how deep the blue is depends on the absence of cloud, the air humidity, and the time of the day. At least that is how I would form my theory literally from thin air as I explained to Cynthia in the car this morning. In any given normal day in Singapore, I would not pay that much attention to how the sky looks like. But because I was so used to watching the sky while we were holidaying in France, I have this temporary habit to pause and scan our atmosphere. What a beautiful day this morning! I could see patches of light blue in the sky hiding behind countless of fluffy cotton-like cloud. I read somewhere that there is a terminology for cloud of that form. But I forgot what it is called.
“How come the blue sky in Singapore is not as blue as the one in France?” asked Cynthia. And that was when I pulled out that theory of mine from thin air. She bought it, like she is buying all my bizarre theories. The same way as I am taking everything that she attempts to cook. That is what couples do, yes?
This morning, the blue sky dotted with fluffy clouds was exceptionally adorable. At one spot, we caught two patches of blue sky, in two different taints. A lighter blue on top and a darker blue at the bottom, separated by a rather thick thread of cloud in the form of a white scarf. As we looked ahead, we have seen something unusual. A skyline that was not there before we left town two weeks ago. We can see the faraway commercial buildings, a view that was blocked by the long rows of trees along the highway. What happens to the trees? The tall ones are now replaced by the shorter ones, younger looking ones, different looking ones, with different types of colors, in the form of an inverted mop. Part of the highway expansion project, perhaps?
I think drivers in Singapore should at least try to rent and drive a small car during one of the overseas trips. Like a 1.4 litre diesel car that we drove in France. I have become more aware of the slower moving vehicles on the road. I have become – temporarily – a more gentle driver, which surprisingly good I am feeling.
Last evening, we drove pass Cineleisure at Orchard after watching a movie at the very building. Cynthia exclaimed, “Look, there is a new McDonald’s!” We visit Orchard often and where does the McDonald’s come from? We were away for merely two weeks! More shockingly, we noticed a brand new building facing Cinelesiure, linked by the new McDonald’s. I searched deep into my memory. A long time ago it was a road. And the road became a green patch of state land, a park perhaps. I thought hard till I hit a mental void. Then suddenly I thought of the Japanese animation Evangelion:1.0 whereby mechanical buildings spawn from the ground at night changing the landscape of the entire city.
I am serious. Where does that building come from?!
This morning, after I parked my car at my office area, in the far east of the city, I greeted the lady who handles my season car park payment. She was not her usual self. What’s wrong, I asked. A lizard (gecko), she screamed. Geckos are friendly animals. They eat up the small insects. I tried to explain. She jumped out of her counter, called out in Malay, and soon a male cleaner came by with a broom. A type of broom with short, hard bristles. Leave it alone, I pleaded for mercy on behalf of a harmless animal. I have not seen someone murders a gecko in real life and I was speechless as I saw the cleaner in one swift motion pinned down the animal with the broom and stepped onto it. And I saw a lifeless gecko. A sizable one.
Outside, the sky was as beautiful as an hour ago, when Cynthia and I stepped out of our home. I wonder when I will stop admiring the sky and return to my usual routines. There are things that are out of our control (poor gecko); there are things that we can influence (more gentle driving on the road); there are natural gifts that are free (the sun, the beautiful blue sky, and the shape-shifting clouds); and there are ever changing man made landscapes that remind us that today is not the same as yesterday is not the same as the day before.