Tuesday, November 25, 2003

The Catharsis of Change

The Catharsis of Change

I've never seen Jalan Wahid Hasyim so clean and empty like today. There's another rare sight: parents and kids in resplendently new Lebaran clothes. The people in the streets of Jakarta normally look worn and grubby but today it's different: there are no beggars in sight and even the street hawkers are taking a break. The venerable Sarinah itself--the hub of this area-- is closed. The only place that's still open and crowded is the MacDonalds next to Hard Rock Cafe.

I am surprised but pleased to see my favourite Internet cafe open. So here I am happily blogging and reading my morning cyberpapers.

After almost three months, I'll be making a trip back to KL again later this evening. I've been living outside Malaysia for almost 6 years now. The good thing about being away from your familiar environment is that you get to rethink and reinvent your life. It is difficult to do so when you are mired in daily affairs and buried in familiar surroundings.

Sometimes it is good not to remain too long in one place. Everytime you leave, you have a chance to start anew. You physically and symbolically leave behind all the things you have no need of.

We all have gone through the experience: Only when we shift houses, do we bother to throw away all our unwanted things. We are forced to choose, select and discard because we cannot possibly carry everything with us.

But the clutter we have accumulated in our lives are more difficult to dispose of. We cling to our bad habits and familiar surroundings because we have built ourselves a certain comfort zone that shields us from painful things that we do not want to face.

Such deep fears can sometimes be cured only by the catharsis of change. We are yanked away from the familiar and are forced to fend for ourselves in a strange place. Exile is like a therapy. Hopefully we return a better and healthier person.

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