I would never have expected a feminist novel to carry such precious and truthful ideas. Not that I am masculinist. Hardly so.
Virginia Woolf had a room in Cambridge, mine in somewhere far less prestigious. Nonetheless, the same principles still apply. To a 19th Century lady, or a poor student in a metropolis with exorbitant property prices, a private room where study and thought can flow unperturbed is a precious resource (that and air-con where humid and hot). It is a sort of sanctuary where the quiet finally allows so much time as is necessary to pen down enough ideas to write a full chapter.
In a sense, such endowment also comes with the burden and pressures (although, yes, also the encouragement), of those who have gone before and produced manifold new insights, art or discoveries with their rooms.
Perhaps the greatest joy will come from, once again, being an individual, unrestrained by the interests and hence differing ideas of others. It is an opportunity to be one’s own captain, and fully chart and execute the course of navigation alone.
Where the room is located is key, though. A room of one’s own in 1965 China is of little merit, for ideologies would have penetrated the walls and wafted into the PLA officer’s nose. A room of one’s own in 1945 Nagasaki might not be a room the next year. Or tomorrow.
Likewise, not all occupants realise the magnanimity of their privilege. It is at once both fascinating and maddening to note how although human faculties permit such profound thought, many hearts and minds do not. So many refuse to remove their pull-tab cum safety sticker that prevents the battery from touching the contacts. Or maybe they do not even realise what they are capable of, which is actually sadder than the former paragraph.
This writing is not complete without mentioning the role of mental illness in brilliance. Perhaps it is the sheer volume and quality (ingenuity? controversy?) of thought that sprung from the minds of Abe Lincoln, Leo Tolstoy, Charles Darwin, Isaac Newton and Beethoven. Any correlation with living in their own rooms? In isolation and buried, consumed even by their radical racing brains? Could it be that there is much brilliance in the world, except that only these with their own rooms could shine?
The world is still wrought with little pockets of secrets, still with all the potential to change paradigms all over again. That frontiers have been pushed does not mean they cannot be pushed again. And again. And again. Ironically, the biggest of ideas often come from the littlest of confined spaces.
I am proud of my little country and its little rooms. We have in the past thrived on ingenuity. Yet the world is not so kind, for whatever merit that is earned must be continually renewed. More little rooms and little people in those rooms represent the future. Today however, we also talk about collaboration and big rooms. I guess we need both, for there is much work cut out for us.
As for me in my little room, there is, too, work to be done. Work starts on Monday. Que será será, pero con suerte es muy buen.
P.s. Sieving through my Tumblr and seeing beautiful photos of Edinburgh is slightly depressing. I promise to take nice photos of Jurong West. But some comfort in the fact that I am genuinely excited for school, and that I will have access to $2.50 菜饭 (which may or may not be a good thing). Also extremely crushed that the In-N-Out Burger thing was a stupid April Fool’s Joke. Stupid. Bad news became bad news. Grr.
Top 10 Overwater Bungalows
Whether perched above a quixotic lagoon somewhere in the remote waters of the Indian Ocean, or accompanied by a glistening plunge pool, these overwater bungalows that seem to float above the azure surface of the water are as close as you can get to paradise.
- Water Villa with private plunge pool at Dusit Thani
- Ocean Pool Villa at Kandolhu
- Royal Overwater Two-Bedroom Pool Villa at The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort
- Laamu Water Villa
- Overwater Faré at Vahine Island
- Waterfront pavilion with pool at Niyama
- Senior Water Villa at Constance Moofushi
- Water Villa at Villingili Resort and Spa
- Overwater Villa at Song Saa Private Island
- Ocean Bungalow with pool at Huvafen Fushi
The week has been most tragic for so many. In sum, Israel mounts its offensive on the Gaza strip, MH17 is downed by an SAM and closer to home, NBS FOC is cancelled because of 4 seizure cases.
When we are asked to stomach these and all the while proclaim how the love of God is as real as it was before the world turned pathologic, it is nothing but the tallest of orders.
Rewind time by 24 hours. I’m reading The Good and Beautiful God by James Bryan Smith. Chapter 2 invites the reader to do two things - bask in silence (5 minutes every day), and to admire God’s beauty in daily life.
The world is one of anxiety disorders and uncertainty; it is no wonder why. Are we really going to be people who, pursuing our cause, take time off to appreciate the wonders of creation? How do we reconcile the warring imagery?
My time in silence has always been restful. For my ‘assignment’ on beauty, I picked human anatomy (as would a pre-medical student eager to start school). I have long pondered the factors that govern early embryological development - how can a single cell transform, almost certainly, into a fully-functional, intricately sculpted human foetus with anatomically correct tissues and organs? At my level of proficiency, it is already an amazement how gastrulation can cast cells of the different germ lines into the right orientation.
But it is a perverted world. On Wednesday I attended a class at church, and Pastor explained how we overcome the penalty, power and presence of sin. The penalty is settled for the Christian believer, and ridding the presence is to come. That leaves us to spar with the power of sin. John sets out a wonderful analogy in his first letter, explaining how in ‘(overcoming) the evil one’, we are young men.
Where sin, injustice, malice and destruction lie at every corner, the answer is not to either dwell on it or to ignore it. The advice is to be stakeholders and stewards, to acknowledge and live in spite of it, to be strong and courageous, to help those in need.
Perhaps beauty is not only what the world was meant to be. Perhaps it is a sign of things to come, a handle onto which we can hope, because as much as the world says, the crux is not in the today. It is in the days ahead, for “this hope we have as an anchor for the soul, both sure and steadfast" (Hebrews 6:19).