On being soothed

June 30, 2010 § Leave a comment

My brain feels like it’s filled with fuzzy balls, dandelions, and lamb’s wool. Or something. Apologies to anyone reading this for the protracted silence on this blog. Another year older, and another year closer to learning how bowel-churning deadlines, the World Cup, and lack of sleep combine together to create an occasionally-drooling, occasionally-ranting Sloth Monster Extraordinaire.

I have met the monster, and the monster is me.

I had a good four days last week when I went over to Langkawi to visit my sister. Free from Bukit Monyet (where my sister had stayed on my previous trip, and which deserves its own book, much less blog post) and its many ghosts, real or imagined, I could enjoy the pace of Langkawi life for what it is – peaceful. And it’s a bloody cliché, for a true-blue city girl to come to Langkawi and find it “peaceful”, to find even its poverty “charming”.

Unabashedly romantic view of the sunset from the jetty point

The bird. (Famous Eagle construction at the Jetty Point, called 'Dataran Helang', or, Eagle's Landing. CHECK it out. It is hideous and that's the first thing you see when you arrive by ferry.)

And I don’t find poverty charming, but in Langkawi I have to remind myself NOT to, as otherwise even its poverty fits neatly into the tableau of the picturesque mist-covered mountains over the horizon of the blue seas and cows placidly chewing on grass and toothless young ‘uns running free with no underwear. It was relentlessly soothing.

Relentlessly soothing view of an the mountains on an overcast day from my sister's apartment

Each time I’m in Langkawi, I’m a little bit perplexed. Long touted as the ideal tourist destination for its beaches, the Langkawi of today is a sad mix of modernisation gone awry and nature modified to go astray. Though millions of ringgit were pumped in during the 90s to ensure that it would be our leading tourist destination, like many other projects started by the Malaysian government, it’s simply been forgotten.

Relentlessly soothing view of ships on water

For those of us who come in from other cities and sit about, revelling in the “peace” and marvelling over the bizarreness of having “nothing to do”, it’s all fine and dandy. But I always wonder what it’s like to be one of the people living there; those who know Langkawi as home, and who had put up with the encroaching modernity in the hopes that it would bring about sustained modernity, but who were only left behind with empty shells of buildings, a tainted natural land, and the influx of boorish tourists during every school break.

Relentlessly soothing view of greenery

Anyway, I’m back from Langkawi… and have been back for almost a week now, but have been ruined in the meantime by a super-drinking session that left me hungover for days. Add that to the mix of deadlines and late nights for the World Cup and I’m left with the kind of mental capacity that thought my puppy was a massive rodent out to kill me when it dashed across the living room.

Reading seems a MONUMENTAL effort, although I have started Wilkie Collin’s No Name, which is delicious, delicious fun. Captain Wragge is so repulsive, he’s also delicious. Also, I’ve been churning through some graphic novels and manga (courtesy of the friend who devised the evil concoctions that led to the Big Hangover), and will probably bore you all to tears with some meandering thoughts about those at some point in the next few days.

I’ve also written up the first part of my Angela Davis review-guide thingy, and am waiting for Part 2 to write itself, which I’m guessing will happen if I scrunch my eyes up real tight, focus, and do The Secret thing.

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