Saturday, February 28, 2004

Late Morning Reflections

Late Morning Reflections

Spending time alone in Bangkok helps me to gather my thoughts. It was blissfully quiet this morning when I went out to grab a sandwich for brunch before embarking on my seven hour work marathon. For some reason I thought of my friend D., an American and an ex-colleague who is now in San Francisco.

D. was laid off from his job after the dot-com and telco crash in the States. He was glad to leave his job because like me, he was rather disillusioned with the corporate world. He was married with kids but he longed for that carefree bohemian life that he used to lead. I remember five years ago during my short stint at the Menlo Park office, he told me that he found the movie American Beauty extremely engrossing because he could empathise with Kevin Spacey's character.

It took me many years before I understood why. The last time I heard from D. a few months back, he was divorced and was working part-time as a bartender! But he was happy because he had found the courage to reinvent his life: He had decided to leave the IT world and embark on a new career in biotechnology and environment-related fields. He even went to the extent of taking high-school chemistry and biology classes so that he would have the basic qualification to enrol for graduate courses in those fields. He wasn't afraid to start from scratch again.

I look forward to those occassional e-mails D. would drop me every now and then. The last time D. was in this part of the world, he was having a month-long holiday in Bangkok, right after he was laid-off. At that time I had just decided to work in Jakarta and was busy handling the logistics of my move there. We didn't get to meet. He wanted to visit Jakarta but his wife was grumbling back home about his long absence.

Sitting at the cafe in Bangkok this morning, I thought of D. and realised how much of an inspiration he has been to me. If he were here, he would be showing me around the city. But I'm always happy to be alone in a strange place; it gives me the space and time to think and reflect on things. I think I'll probably send D. an e-mail later tonight, asking him where I should go in Bangkok. He'll be extremely envious.

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