Saturday, July 13, 2013

A Decade Ago

What a pleasure it is to have finally found the time and space to post this blog entry! How swiftly time passes--without me realizing it, this blog is already 10 years old!  What has happened in my life this past decade? This is probably a good opportunity for me to do some reflection.

I started this blog when blogging was just becoming the latest craze on the Internet. In 2003, the American invasion of Iraq had just begun; everyone in cyberspace was debating about the justness of the war. Everyone was "warblogging".

In Malaysia then, Jeff Ooi and Oon Yeoh were the first serious socio-political bloggers. Jeff Ooi was against the war and Oon Yeoh was on the side of the Americans. Both their blogs had a huge following.

Inspired by the these bloggers, I too started writing, and my first blog entry was posted on the 19th of March 2003. It consisted of only two cryptic lines:

Writing this from my office in Jakarta.
Love the city. Love the isolation.

I was warming up :-)  And yes, I was living in Jakarta then--perhaps the happiest period in my life.  Unlike now, I had time on my hands. Time, which I thought could be put to good use by blogging.

Initially, my blog entries, like everyone else's, were mainly comments on currrent events. Ocassionally, I would be inspired to post some philosophical musings like this entry that was posted on April 16, 2003: A Meditation on Time.  Entries like this were later to become my specialty, mainly because I found that I could write on such topics with reasonable ease. And the writing process itself was curiously therapeutic to me.

Of course, I had a lot to write about my life in Indonesia then: my observations about Indonesian life, especially the delights of Jakarta. I was and still is extremely fond of Indonesia and Indonesians. I found that I could blend in very easily with the locals and I was thoroughly entralled by the history and culture of the country. There was so much to discover and learn. There was so much to savour. Everyday was an adventure. I wrote so many entries like this, this and this, attempting to understand my love for the city and the country. It was a love affair that lingered until today.

I blogged from the office and on weekends, at the cybercafe. I was staying long-term at budget hotel then. Those were the days when Internet access in hotels was still considered a  bit of a luxury and Wi-Fi technology was just being introduced to the market. Internet access was difficult and slow. But for some reason, that was the time I was blogging most prolifically.

My years in Jakarta were like an exile for me. It was an exile from the corporate world of Singapore and Malaysia, from the ceasely barrage of e-mails and con-calls--the lifeblood of multinationals. I wanted some time to reflect, some peace and quiet to look back on my life.  And after that period of exile, I decided to return to Malaysia, to start a different chapter in my life. This new chapter spanned a decade but that is another story for another blog post.

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