Friday, 22 May 2009
It was late and we had just got home, flopped down on the sofa and turned the little telly on. An advert announced the live screening of the final of The American Idols - at 8AM the same morning. But, we had watched a few programmes in Durban and got interested, so decided to wake up for the spectacle.
For two hours we were glued to our seats. The show was a veritable who's who in the music industry. Star performers included Lionel Ritchie, Cyndi Lauper, some others and the eleven other top finalists. Though stars as they may be, they weren't the stars of the night. The last two standing were. Strangely, these two artists were completely different; in looks, personality and music style. What they did have in common, however, was the fact that they are brilliant, brilliant artists and in the end the vote could've gone either way. A record vote to boot - 629 million votes !
What a way to start your music career, with 629 million fans. And I say that because I think that even though that number would've been split this way and that, both finalists were of such a high calibre with "nice person" personalities, that they garnered support whether they got one's vote or not. So, both walk away with 629 million fans at least. In fact, the competition was so strong that I wouldn't be surprised to see at least the top five recording an album in the next year.
Cindy and I are settling down here in Joho Bahru. The people here are amazingly hospitable and friendly. We had dinner with Thomas and Evelyn, the pastors of Cornerstone Church, and their son Marcus on Wednesday night and then with Deryck and Tertia(expats from the republic of Hout Bay) last night. It was excellent listening to all of them tell us their stories of how God has been involved in their lives.
We have an awesome three bedroomed condo all to ourselves. The swimming pool is big and always empty(Apparently Malaysians don't take too kindly to swimming) and we've already swam a few times. Air conditioning and swimming pools score highly on my must-have list here in South East Asia.
We've been given a maroon red Renault Rusta to drive about in while we are staying here, affectionately nicknamed Rooster. It's great being independantly mobile, especially in a country where fuel is so cheap. Singaporeans, living on an island so small, have to suffer the prodigious financial burdens ladened upon private vehicle owners by the government; but then their public transport system is incredible.
The difference between Singapore and Malaysia is quite vast. Singapore is a little speck on the map and Malaysia consists of two large seperate land masses and a few beautiful tropical islands. And if Johor Bahru were the rest of Malaysia, I would say that Malaysia is not as wealthy or well kept as Singapore. In fact, people cross the Straits everyday from Malaysia to Singapore to work there. Goes to show, it's not what you have but how you manage what you have that ultimately counts.
Speaking to Deryck, there's apparently a bit of bad blood between the Malaysians and Singaporeans, for the usual reasons, land and master-servant perseptions. [Isn't it concerning that globally neighbouring countries are worst of enemies?]
Founded by Britain in the 1800's, Singapore gained independence from them in 1963 and summarily joined the Malaysian Federation; but two years later withdrew. Since then they have become the financial powerhouse in South East Asia. According to Deryck, Singapore's success has caused Singaporeans to have an overflated opinion about themselves in relation to the Malaysians. Funny thing is that Singapore is dependant on Malaysia for fresh vegetables(They have no land of their own to grow their own crops) as well as fresh water. Not to mention the cheap shopping Malaysia affords them(Prices are half of what they are in Singapore).
I love Singapore and her residents and Malaysia and hers for very different reasons. Individually both have steel rods of hope for a great future, but together how much stronger could that assertion be? What kind of life would be possible if people would only begin to try to understand and meet their neighbours needs?