I try to escape often while I am living here in Singapore. It is a very small island and is it very densely populated and there is much madness about the place. I think that the heat and the humidity has a lot to do with it. It is incessant. It fosters a culture of heavy drinking which accentuates the madness.
It literally does drive people crazy.
I am home now. I have escaped. From a function – not the Island. It is 10.30pm on Friday night and I have been out after work. It is a bloke from my work's 40th birthday today and there were drinks on. There are always drinks on here on the Island. I don't drink alcohol very much. Some people have accused me of being un-Australian for not drinking. I tell them that I think that is ridiculous and that I don't give a fuck what they think.
Give a fuck.
What they think. Well most of the time anyway and particularly about me not drinking.
I just don't really like the taste of it very much and I dislike the effects of being drunk. I really dislike the after effects as well. Hangovers are horrific. I equate it to catching a disease on purpose.
Now don't get me wrong - I am not anti-alcohol. Drink as much as you want just don't do horrible things like slur and vomit and fall over. Not near me or on me.
I won't like it at all. I would much prefer to drink a fresh lime juice or a lemon soda. Something tasty and refreshing. A beverage that won't make me act stupidly and then cause me to be sick.
The people I was out with tonight are very nice and there were a lot of them. There was celebration involved and there was an active intent by many to get drunk.
To get hammered.
To get out of control.
I don't really get this and I can't relate to it either. I don't enjoy being out of control. It is scary. I understand that intoxication gives many people a sense of confidence that is otherwise not there but I am not sure why.
This is known as Dutch courage.
I know a few Dutch people. I have been to Amsterdam and Rotterdam and I have taken the ferry from England to Hook van Holland. I have seen the dykes.
The term ‘Dutch Courage” came about in 1650 when a Doctor named Franciscus Sylvia from the Netherlands created a type of gin as a form of medicine to calm soldiers before they went into battle. It was created to foster bravery and became known as “Dutch Courage”.
I shall impart this knowledge to someone tomorrow. I shall share this newly acquired insight. Knowledge should be shared. Wisdom however cannot. Wisdom can only be accumulated - through experiences.
The majority of the people that I was out with tonight are quite happy drunks. I know this because I have seen them in action before. Drunkenness tends to accentuate emotions. There seems to be a great deal of hugging and back slapping and even honesty when people have had a few. Some people can be ugly drunks though and alcohol can cause tempers to fray. Violence can emerge – both verbal and physical. I don't enjoy witnessing this drunken violence or being a victim of it so I tend to escape these events early.
I slip away.
I don't think anyone really notices as they are so caught up in their drinking.
I escape in other ways from the Island too – both physically and emotionally. I walk around Singapore with my iPod on and I play my music very loud. However I observe what is going on around me with keen interest.
I don't block it out.
Bizarre things happen here in Singapore all of the time. I sometimes write what I witness down. I talk to strangers quite a bit as well. I unplug my earphones and engage. I always do this with a smile. I find that most people actually talk back to me when they realize that I mean no harm. I have interesting conversations and I make new friends.
People interest me.
I am friendly by nature and I am curious too.
I am fortunate in my job as well in that I can actually physically escape from the Island to do my work. I am required to in fact. It is in my contract of employment. I have always liked travel and in my job I get to travel a lot and I get to travel in style. I fly Business class all the way and I stay in 5 and 6 star hotels. It is a pleasant perk of the job that I do.
I find refuge in words too. I read a lot and I like to write as well. I record what I see and what I experience.
Just for me.
It reminds me of what I have done and where I have been and sometimes it reminds me who I am as well.
I am a fugitive here though in Singapore.
I need to escape.
Lest I go mad.