the beauty of the ordinary

by wynlim

There were plenty of times within the past few weeks that I’ve wanted to write but I’d stopped myself – I’ve always desired to put out a good post, it didn’t really matter if there wasn’t an audience but at least I know by the end of the post I have given my all to it. 

That is the problem. I seldom have the time and space where I can give my all to a blog post. 

Yesterday I finally somehow remembered when I started this posterous blog, it was meant to serve as a travel log. When it was incepted last year with my trip to SF, I wrote pretty much everyday. I rambled on and on, writing about ordinary but personally beautiful sights I had encountered, about the gratitude I had felt, even about the onion dispensers I saw in Costco. 

Partially it was driven by me falling head over heels in love with SF, partially I simply wanted to write so I could remember it from the future one day.

Once in a while I’ll read my own posts during my 3-month journey in the US last year and they never once felt mundane to me. I guess that is what that really matters – writing for my future self to reflect upon, not for any other reason.

I have come to realise what makes life truly beautiful is the capacity to find the extraordinary out of the ordinary and that is why I love travelling so much. Having a foreign perspective allows me to see the beauty in different cultures, beauty which have since been neglected by the locals because of the daily grind.

I am guilty of the same when it comes to Singapore. And I derive the opportunity to learn when I hear what other people have to say about Singapore during my travels. 

Yesterday I chanced upon this live performance amongst the crowd at mongkok. It was pretty awesome and there was a crowd gathering. When the song ended everyone clapped passionately but nobody took out a single cent. I dropped a small note into the empty case feeling all awkward because I was the only one to do so, half feeling sorry for the performer, wondering how much and how long she has to sing in order to get a little monetary return. 

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I wondered if I was missing some picture. Perhaps the same crowd gather every night showing their support but they cannot afford to give on a regular basis. Perhaps they don’t feel the way I feel – how much it takes to be standing there singing. Perhaps there’s some part of the local culture I don’t understand and I shouldn’t judge. 

But I enjoy the thoughts which pop up in my head – a constant string of questions. 

I passed by a street hawker trying to sell her catch of the day before the day ends. She was telling her prospects how the various types of seafood would be cooked best. For some reason I was very moved by the scene, I guess it represented some form of an authentic connection between the seller and buyer which is quickly disappearing with fancy gigantic supermarkets these days.

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I recounted the event to my foot masseuse later on and she gave an exclamation of horror, wondering how I could be enamoured with the non-existent hygiene in such street selling. 

I didn’t consider the hygiene factor at all and I still don’t. The same scene, provoking extremely different reactions. 

That is the beauty of the ordinary, it is really up to us to capture such fleeting moments and listen to the story each moment has to tell. 

Stories like superamit’s pop up in our conscious stream all the time, serving as gentle reminders for us to treasure the ordinary. But we just keep ignoring them, indulging ourselves in our falsely perceived busyness. 

I tend to fall into this trap myself, despite having a few episodes of bad health – swearing each time I’ll never take my health or time for granted again, only to end up doing exactly the opposite.

I tell myself gently that it is okay, being aware is better than being in perpetual denial, if I see myself as a piece of software perhaps it would take multiple iterations for myself to get it right. 

Sometimes I had been so wrapped around with work that I think I feel too drained to be anywhere else apart from what I call home in my temporal locations. I keep forgetting that surrounding myself with different sights everyday have an empowering and energizing effect on me. 

But I think I am slowly getting better at this – I instruct my lizard brain to take a step back and I will myself into going somewhere, anywhere. 

Each time I am successful with that, I am always rewarded with seemingly ordinary events which move the core of my soul.

For that, I am grateful. For the desire to always be engaged with my own life, I am grateful.

For being able to write this seemingly random blog post and post bits of my thoughts into a space where people may one day find it by serendipity, I am grateful.

If you happen to be reading this, I am too, grateful, for you have graciously spared me a few minutes of your attention.

Thank you.

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