Thoughts at 37,000 feet

The following was written on an Etihad Airways flight from Abu Dhabi and Mumbai, and miraculously posted via the airport’s over-taxed free WiFi network.

Oh my God, it’s over, it’s over.

The thought has only just struck me, 37,000 feet up in the air, two-thirds of the way between Abu Dhabi and Mumbai. The trip I booked and anticipated and counted down to: it’s over and it’s done. And now I am going home. Alone.

We didn’t have the chance to have a last hug. We couldn’t have, anyhow, since public displays of affection are frowned upon. But there was a car stuck behind my taxi, and as it blasted its horn at us Calum only had the time to pass me my bag and give my shoulder a squeeze.

The last glimpse I caught was of him standing at the corner, pulling a cigarette out of his jacket pocket. He waved, and it already felt like he was too far away. Then the taxi pulled away and he was gone, shielded from view by the grey block-ish frame of the building.

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A week in Abu Dhabi

Skyping CalumWe’ve never been big on couple selfies anyway, but over the past two months all photos of us together have really just been Skype or FaceTime screencaps. (I don’t know if Calum screencaps calls like I do, but sometimes there’s just a nice shot – the odd moment when Skype isn’t being weird and pixelated – that I want to keep.)

For one week, starting tomorrow, it’ll be different.

Tomorrow I’ll be on my way to Abu Dhabi. It’s a budget airline and I have to spend seven hours in the airport in Mumbai doing goodness knows what (I’ve filled up my Kobo Mini) before actually arriving in Abu Dhabi, but I don’t care. As long as I get there, I don’t care.

Calum asked me to write a blog post before my trip. He asked me to write about what I expect to find in Abu Dhabi, a city he finds at once interesting and depressing and puzzling and fascinating. He asked me to write about what I hope to find, so that I can look back when I write about what I’ve found.

I started this post this morning. I wrote it bit by bit, making a word appear on the screen before hitting ‘delete’ on my keyboard and watching it disappear again. I went to lunch, then came back to it. I went to dinner. I packed my bags, I vacuumed my floor, I worried about paperwork I don’t need to worry about until at least a month later. Now I’m back, making words appear and disappear in this post again.

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Race, xenophobia, discrimination and inequality – presented in Storify

How often do we properly discuss race, xenophobia, discrimination and inequality in Singapore, especially in a somewhat formalised setting? Not very often, is the answer. Which is why I jumped at the chance to attend the panel discussion organised by SMU’s Wee Kim Wee Centre and ONE (Singapore).

I was going to take notes and write up a report on the event, but ended up live-tweeting it instead. I’ve put all my tweets together in a Storify just so it’s easier to read. I’ve also added some notes to elaborate on certain tweets, links to provide more background information on issues and some tweets I received during the talk with people sharing their thoughts.

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