Ever been in a place, looked around and taken note of the surroundings critically? We should. Why don't we? Well, I'll say life would be more interesting. We will feel things are not so mundane.
I was at the airport on Tuesday evening. Due to one of the worst monsoonal storms ever to hit this part of Malaysia, a friend's flight was delayed.
Aimlessly, I walked around the the two floors of the airport, from the outside unloading/loading/taxi zones into the arrival/registration/departure hall and out again.
In some places outside I could see groups of anxious passengers' relatives and friends awaiting their folks to arrive. These clusters of persons squatted around on the 10-cm above ground stainless-steel rings that were placed around all the giant pillars. Even along the room's external walls there were similar stainless steel bars running by them. People were also seen squatting on these. There were no benches. There were a few scattered chairs around.
It was surreal. The pillars had lamps around them at the top but the lights were out at some pillars. Others had bright glowing lights which emitted a romantic warm glow beneath, casting long drawn shadows at crooks and crannies around us.
Walking by the waiting room, I noticed the lack of proper lighting. Parts of the inside were in semi-darkness. Were these many persons seated on comfortable chairs expected to just wait for time to idle by while others would be in peaceful slumber?
Around the waiting room was a Ministry of Information booth. I hate to mention that it is so much a typical propaganda mini-board heralding what the government wants the masses to believe. The postings had big news about doing the "correct, correct, correct" things and certain positive acts carried out by the government. From local news it went on to international ones: one, which I recognised was an extract from The Borneo Post, citing an international news report about aid to the Palestinian clause.
There was even a direct quotation that the prime minister had made about the need for an efficient delivery system at one end of the reading board. Surprisingly, no attributions were made as to all the newspapers that had published these news. For a second there, I thought I was in the bad old days of Mao Tse-Tung's Peoples' Republic of China.
Close to this place was a large grocery/bakery store. There were lots of the usual delicacies at their usual airport prices. What caught my eye was the posting placed against the store's glass walls advertising its products. It stated that Kueh Lapis was available for ordering. Alright-good enterprising idea with high prices... Probably with quality as well with such exorbitant prices.
However, something else caught my eye!
Looking at the choices of cakes with ingenious attractive names like Roll Fido Dido, Roll Spider Web, Roll Lino Stitch, Roll Mozek and so forth, I was struck by the funniest cake name: Kek Cinta Kolesterol (transl. Cholesterol-lover's Cake)! Hell, I guess I wouldn't mind having a heart attack while having a munch on such a delightful rich creamy cake!
Finally, last but not least of my observations, at that time the reality of life was rudely brought to my attention: I could see the hundreds of birds up on the few palm trees outside the airport. They were causing a ruckus, probably due to the worst storm that ever hit Miri for such an incredibly long, long time.
Thankfully, two things brightened what would otherwise be mainly a truly gloomy day: a couple parted ways with a romantic kiss ... and amusingly, there were-AHEM-shall I say a pleasant distraction when attractive wholesome travelers with juggling assets walked briskly by right before my very eyes dragging along their luggage behind them ...