On my way – Thursday, 10 February 2005


I wanted to wait for the flying machine to ascend into the air again, but a few points need to be made before I forget something.

1. Exactly one year ago I contemplated most sincerely the idea of returning to South Africa by the end of February [2004]. The fact that it is again the month of February, exactly a year later, and that I am sitting on a plane on a runway on the island of Borneo is therefore a golden opportunity to wonder whether I made the right decision a year ago. I can certainly say that I do not know what could have happened, had I pushed through my “March revolution”. What I can do is safely affirm the opinion for the record that the past 12 months in Taiwan have been good – in some ways much better than one could have imagined in your most optimistic outlook. My life is still in Taiwan; the people who have mattered to me the longest, who in some cases had known my name even before I uttered the pronoun “I”, are still at the southern tip of Africa. That is why I am sitting on this aircraft right now, in a window seat, with the Southeast Asian morning sun that is warming up my right arm. Just over five months since I have last seen my family, I am again going “home” – for two weeks.

2. As I shuffled through the airport terminal at Kota Kinabalu on the way to the smoker’s corner, I could not help but observe dozens of other people. A nasty thought once again grabbed hold of my mind: I have a pathological fear of boredom.

3. Point of Power: Reckoned this morning at Kaohsiung airport that every person has a central point of power. Everything you do, where you do it, how you conduct your daily life, with whom you share your existence, and how you choose to apply your life will either strengthen this point, or weaken it.

[02/06/15: Think of your existence as an ointment or a salve, or something similar. If you are “Tiger Balm”, you are wasting your life if you apply yourself to a piece of wood. Apply yourself to an insect bite, and you are on the right track – the correct application of a very specific value.]

* * *

(Twenty-four minutes past four according to the electronic alarm clock on top of the TV in Room 533, at the Allson Klana Hotel outside Kuala Lumpur.)

Sometimes, in the bathroom mirror of a room in a transit hotel in an unfamiliar city in a country not my own, I see myself as I “truly” am: stripped of the clothes in which I appear, alone.

(On the dressing table are my camera, my notebook, my passport and a plane ticket to the country where I was born, and back to the country where I now live a fairly decent life.)

Sometimes I see myself as I appear: alone in a hotel room, in a foreign country, on my way.