Friday, April 07, 2006

Symphony of Insects

Symphony of Insects

Sprinkling rain and the rumble of thunder in the distance.

A bit of rain in the late afternoon is always good--it douses the heat of the day and cleanses the air; too much of it, unfortunately, causes havoc, especially here in the Klang Valley: flash floods, traffic jams and falling tree branches.

It's that time of the day when lines from Debu-debu Kuala Lumpur, flash across my mind:

Di celah-celah itu gadis dan teruna berpegangan tangan. Mengadap sungai yang airnya mengalir lesu. Berbisik di senja itu. Bercinta dan berdusta...

What made us all come from all corners the country to pursue our dreams in this cesspool of humanity?

I think of all the people out there; I think of the executives working in that catacomb of steel and glass; I think of all the magnificent structures that have sprouted up in this metropolis in the last 20 years; the hypermarkets and malls that mushroomed in every densely populated suburb; the glitzy bistros and clubs that line the sidewalks of the city; and I wonder: Is this the life that we want?

We love the excitement of living in the city don't we? We are willing to tolerate the bad air, the incessant noise and the perpetually gridlocked traffic so that we can party at the coolest nightspots in town, enjoy the widest range of shops and restaurants and most important of all--get a chance to claw our way up that corporate ladder of success.

I've been waking up at 4am every morning this week. That's the only time in my middleclass neighbourhood when you can't hear the sound of humanity--no TV, cars, no wailing babies, no alarms going off. And I noticed--when I listened intently--there's alway the quiet sound of insects in the background--that monotonous drone, almost orchestral, growing louder the longer I listened. And they brought me back immediately to the sound of rubber estates--the distant echoes of my childhood.

For a moment I pitied those displaced insects. They belong to that rustic paradise of my past, not this false urban utopia of concrete and cars. Their incessant songs seemed like unconsolable laments for a lost Zion.

Now, every morning I look forward to this symphony of insects, immersing myself in its serenity until the first light of dawn begins to break, and humanity awakens; and another episode of cinta dan dusta begins...

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