March 2, 2008

brush with terror

Posted in Musings tagged , , , at 10:13 am by myrlinn

A few days ago, something unusual greeted us at the Singapore Immigration checkpoint (the one at the causeway going into Malaysia). There seemed to be lots of uniformed officers just standing around observing the crowd, or walking around. There were also long queues at the counters.

On the way back, we saw something else extraordinary. Sitting in our bus, we passed a long, long, long line of lorries — must be a few miles long — on the roads leading up to the Singapore Immigration checkpoint. An incredible sight in efficient Singapore. The drivers had been waiting so long that some had climbed out of their lorries to chat with each other.

Then yesterday, there was a public service message from the Singapore police on my mobile phone, the first time this has happened. It was so surprising that I thought at first it was a hoax. But, no, it was a real message advising the public to inform police if they spot the terrorist who escaped from a Singapore detention centre recently.

All this got me to thinking, my father lived through the Japanese occupation of Malaya during World War Two, and the turbulent post-war years. But, my generation, we’ve not had to face the reality of a police or military presence in our daily lives.

This little brush with terror woke me up to how people around the world who do have to do so must feel. My heart and prayers go out to them.

It also got me to thinking: Why do we human beings create situations where we destroy each other?

It’s a pattern that keeps recurring, even when it doesn’t make sense.

This quote, one of my favourites, seems appropriate somehow:

“Prime numbers are what is left when you have taken all the patterns away. I think prime numbers are like life. They are very logical, but you could never work out the rules, even if you spent all your time thinking about them.”  (Christopher Boone in “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” by Mark Haddon).

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