[Probably from early 2009]:
This shrinking island already has lovers of solitude backed up against the edge. Am prepared to retreat eastwards all the way to sleepy changi village; but even there the rumbling of development and dreadful crowds can be heard…
If the powers that be do raise us up to Population X or 6 million spores, that gentle splash you hear, may just be me falling into the eastern seas, pushed off changi coast by the relentless encroaching crowds…
Living in tents out in the country sounds mighty fine. But am sure you are aware that in giving up the social contract, you gain wonderful space and breath, but lose the benefits of modern communities.
Having pondered and weighed severely the crucial pros & cons of the migration issue myself, I concluded that my need of kopi-tiam teh-tarik done-just-right, far outweighs any mundane ecclesiastical yearning for personal peace and enlightenment.
Seriously, jesting aside, the solitary call of the natural man (or woman) is plainly heard and keenly felt. But herein lays the knotty dichotomy of the recluse trader who wishes for nothing other than to trade in the quiet seclusion of his hermitage –
there on his multiple screens the roar of a thousand battles rages, where multitudinous armies gather in hosts of formations, boldly arrayed under colourful flags and pennants, drawing breaking and redrawing again countless battle lines, in an endless cycle of thrusting and withdrawing.
Mayhap some ancient words can shed some light:
“You should know that the great sages/recluses live in the cities and towns; why stay still and alone deep in the mountains?”
-Chang Po-Tuan, on integrating illumination, Understanding Reality
Admittedly, sagacious words can seem too remote; a more modern perspective may provide some poetic balance:
“This is the most beautiful place on earth.
There are many such places. Every man, every woman, carries in heart and mind the image of the ideal place, the right place, the one true home, known or unknown, actual or visionary. A houseboat in Kashmir, a view down Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, a gray gothic farmhouse two stories high at the end of a red dog road in the Allegheny Mountains, a cabin on the shore of a blue lake in spruce and fir country, a greasy alley near the Hoboken waterfront, or even, possibly, for those of a less demanding sensibility, the world to be seen from a comfortable apartment high in the tender, velvety smog of Manhattan, Chicago, Paris, Tokyo, Rio or Rome – there’s no limit to the human capacity for the homing sentiment.”
-Edward Abbey, opening paragraph, Desert Solitaire
Incidentally, Abbey’s domus of choice is the red, dusty canyonlands and lonely sky of Arches National Park, Utah, outside his trailer door.