Thursday, September 11, 2008

I Guess I'll Never Understand

That was 7 years ago. I was not having a typical day. The world was not having a typical day.

At that exact fateful moment, I was alone in a hotel watching those haunting and surreal images on TV. It was a business trip which I will remember for the longest time. The venue was Bangkok. The date was Sep 11. The local time was around 8pm.

The earlier part of that evening was spent gallivanting the bustling Bangkok night streets. There was no reason why I had to end the lovely evening early. Somehow, I headed back to the hotel and decided to spend a quiet evening watching TV. What I did not bargain for was getting to witness the earth-shaking incident that sent the world weeping, LIVE, on the TV.

The story reported was unbelievable and mind boggling. I had no one to ask or verify with. I had the urge to call someone but I didn't know what to ask. I sat through those horrifying images till late at night. I wondered if the world was going to be the same the next day.

I did not understand what was going on.

The next morning was assuring. I saw calm faces at the hotel cafe. People were reading morning papers without any unusual facial expressions. Conversation over-heard sent no pulses of excitement. I sensed no panic. I was greeted by friendly hotel staff who attended to my needs. Everything was just fine and so it seemed. As assuring as it appeared, I was not at ease. Those images got to be real !

I just did not understand what I saw.

When I was at the meeting, I tried to probe my newly acquainted business associate if he was as uneasy. I was disappointed. He brushed the incident off lightly. His seemingly nonchalance was a great contrast to my cleverly masked anxiety.

I did not understand why.

Our car zipped past the US Embassy. The intensified security presence outside the building was unmistakable. That seemed to be the only sighting that was in agreement with how I felt.

I did not understand why.

Back in Singapore a couple of days later, the reality began to sink in. Many were talking about it ceaselessly. Emotions were varied. Some tensions were felt. Understandably, we reacted differently towards the disaster. One thing I was rather sure... we all did not understand why?

7 years on, I still do not understand why. Why must human hatred be so extreme that nothing else seemed to matter. I guess I will never understand.

I pray for peace.

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