Monday, April 26, 2010

Thinking with words/5

"Some people would stay with anyone, just to stay with someone."

"If being beautiful is everything that matters to a woman she will turn her beauty into a reason to scorn her."

"A serious person is not one who never laughs."

"I tell you just in case nobody did it before: when you bite the little ring that pierces your lip the faces you make are not cool at all.

"No permanent jobs, insurances or pension schemes. Recklessness is the best safety net one could use."

"Your sentence is good if you repeat it and like it and then write it and read it and like it again, as if the one who thought it were not you but someone else."

Click here for other thoughts

Photo "Thinking", by Fabio

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The right passport - Malaysia-Singapore border

The immigration officer holds the stamp in mid air, while she's searching the passport for an empty page. Then she stops, scrutinizes, frowns and mumbles: "Why do you keep getting in and out of the country?". Sometimes, besides the seals, also bad luck and fate can fall on the pages of a simple passport. I point out that this is only my second time, the previous visits dating back more than a year. By coincidence the visas are on adjoining pages. 
She checks the dates and relaxes, but only a bit. "Never mind, you'll explain that to my supervisor." They show me to a room, no windows, neon tubes. It's full of immigrants: most of them are standing. It's a world map of faces, a drone of languages: Indians, Pakistanis, Sinhalese, Indonesians, Filipinos, Cambodians, Thais and Burmese. I'm the only westerner, the officer calls me and in a matter of minutes I'm a welcome guest. My prison cell-mates continue to wait: they will have to wait longer, they've always been waiting. Their eyes are swollen, their cheeks are taut, but somebody looks at me a gives me a smile. If I were in their shoes I would be green with envy.
I set off for the causeway, on my way to Singapore, this huge shopping mall disguised as a state: while my mind is gliding on slide-like thoughts I've already forgotten the ineffable power bestowed on a nobody...if he's got the right passport.  

Malaysia-Singapore border, December 2003

Photo "Immigration check-point between Thailand and Laos", by Fabio

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Breakdancers - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

They're muscular, handsome, with trendy hairstyles. Whirling and dancing with power and elegance among girls and tourists who smile and take photos. It's their stage, their time, their crowd and their show. 
Every time that a dancer is done with his number he looks at his mates, makes a gesture, a face. It's a little hypocrisy, a non-admission of guilt: the exhibition is denied, disguised as rehearsal. 
Or maybe it is just their ancestral embarrassment, camouflaged with American movies bravado.

Photo "Breaking the street", breakdancing in Kuala Lumpur, by NTLam (CC), from flickr

Monday, April 12, 2010

Metallic - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

At first there was only one: the golden man. A bold Chinese with suit and top hat, totally coated with metallic paint. You could spot him in Bukit Bintang, motionless, posing, with a donation can and a newspaper cutting: an article about him, complete with a picture. Then, in the same area, the silver man appeared, and not long after that the purple one too. This one stays seated and wears a mask, not even the effort to paint his face. In the meanwhile the golden men have multiplied, but they are only clones, with no theatricality at all. The genuine one, unparalleled actor, now poses with a silver painted female colleague. 
Three ringgit for a picture, you can see them everywhere, some surrounded by a crowd, others in a empty space. 
In Asia a good idea has to be squeezed with haste: copyrights and patents don't live around here.

Photo "Genuine golden man and his silver colleague", by Fabio (Phone)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The city's soul - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

It seems that Kuala Lumpur is getting its charm back.
It used to be a great place until a few years ago. Then something changed and it became a bit dull, shallow and vain, all fashion and fast cars. As if it was trying to emulate Singapore, only selecting from its negative features. Little by little the city soul is coming back, as if it was waking up after a long and deep sleep.
This is great news, an encouraging change: one cannot come here just for work and good food!

Photo "Dove in Lebuh Ampang", by Fabio

Thursday, April 8, 2010


"Decadence can be interesting...if observed from the outside."

"More and more newspapers will charge for their online editions...millions of bloggers say thanks for the favor!"

"Drama 2.0: my mum has joined a social network. I've always thought that I was her adored son but I've just been demoted to the rank of mere friend!"

"When it comes to red wine one just needs to buy a bottle...a good reason to open it will present itself soon."

"In the right spot, with the proper soundtrack and after a couple of drinks...Bangkok can become a sort of psychedelic dream..."

"I'm not the materialistic type, but if it wasn't for the money...I'd rather not go through some of that rubbish..." 

Click here for other thoughts 

Photo "Thinking is timeless" by Papyrarri (CC), from flickr

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Stay out of the cage!

Photo "Caged!" by VinothChandar (CC), from flickr

Don't give up! Remember?
You got out of the cage with nobody's help.
The outside world is a jungle, with predators and raptors,
insect viral bites that slow-fry your bowels.
The cage is safe, an aseptic bell jar,
screened from uncertainty, danger and darkness.
Its calls are tempting, like a fluorescent juice,
like sleep that wraps you up after your teeth have clattered.
But there's a veil of curare on the rim of the glass,
and torpor is only a disguise for frostbite.
Don't give up, stay outside!
The jungle is risk and gambling with life,
but your skin becomes leather and your soul will condense:
your heart crams itself, gulps down and globs, 
nerves and capillaries reach out and grope,
making contact with the tips of the roots of the world,
sucking its lifeblood and carrying it up.
Don't give up, don't go!
When you got out you were rickety, grazed, worn-out,
but you did hold out,
you'll be a jaguar soon!