Monday, June 20, 2011
Friday, April 22, 2011
Saturday, February 12, 2011
This morning I watched Singapore awaken from the 61st floor perch of my hotel room while sipping coffee. The weather is archetypal equatorial. It is hot, and incredibly humid at this time of day. In view are the Singapore River's entry into the harbor, the in vogue entertainment and restaurant venues along the Boat Quay and Clark Quay sides of the river as well as a large swath of the cityscape. As the sun rises, the mist of ground fog is noticeable. The whole process of sun against wet ground is easily observed from my vantage point, as the humidified mist rises up towards me. The view, while not opaque, is getting thicker, and for a moment I literally have my head in the cloud of ground fog as it rises and dissipates in the relentless sun. It seems to me that it is an apt condition for this languid Sunday morning in the land of Somerset Maugham and Rudyard Kipling. In fact, the view from my skyscraping room includes the Raffles hotel where both English authors stayed during the late, pre war, and colonial times here.
From experience I know that in a few minutes the sun will have risen further and win another decisive victory over the wet ground. It will soon be hot enough that there will be no visible ground fog and the entire conversion of ground water to disconnected molecules will occur at ground level, invisible to the human eye. However, it won't be undetected by the human body's thermostat and anyone walking below will soon be perspiring in an involuntary but futile attempt to cool down. To their frustration, there is no evaporation to allow the heat exchange, as there are zero breezes to fan it. I turn back into the room, close the patio door, and lock out the heat & humidity. It is Sunday morning, and although the conditions call for a languid response, this is Singapore and there is no such response here. I am returning to the work on my desk as business demands call, and work overrides pleasure. I spent all of Saturday traveling to this city and subsequently meeting for five hours with young execs from two parties contemplating a merger deal. I have only ten days to prepare a report for the board of one of the companies involved. They have asked for an opinion, my opinion. Frankly, I am unabashedly proud of that while, but at the same time, I'm struck by the weight and gravity of the trust. My equatorial, Somerset Maugham inspired, reverie is soon to be forgotten. With a last brief thought that I probably had just had my entire weekend respite in those few minutes of sipping coffee and watching the hot sun and the wet ground replay their timeless morning tug of war, I am turning my thoughts back to the work. This is Singapore today. This is Asia today. I do not know how long, at my age, I can keep the pace. Most of Asia today is a very young, energetic, and impatient place. Almost every thing I do these days is laced with my own frequent furtive glances around the landscape for a place to recline and watch from a less engaged position.