Tuesday, October 15, 2013

1193. A sprint past a graveyard in Scotland in 1969

Sheraton Hotel near Montreal Airport, Canada
Oct 15, 2013

When my coach passed a cemetery, I recalled an incident in 1969 when a kind Scottish couple in their late 50s invited me to their house for dinner.  I had arrived in Glasgow to study veterinary medicine under the British Government's Colombo Plan scholarship. At 19 years of age, I had never boarded an airplane and I flew by BOAC to London alone. At the railway station to catch a train from London to Glasgow, a Caucasian Londoner warned me not to leave my bags unattended. At the Glasgow railway station, 3 young people greeted me and took me to Kelvin Lodge where I would be staying.
Some time later, this Scottish couple invited me to their house for dinner as they were to be my guardians. I took a bus to their house and had a pleasant dinner. At around 10 pm, I had to catch the bus back.

There was a cemetery I had to pass by. Like the image in this article. Neat rows. Darkness of night in the Winter of 1969. I was a 19-year-old boy whose furthest trip from home was to Bentong, Pahang by train and bus and had not encountered funeral wakes and visits to grave yards in Singapore. I walked as fast as I could, covering my neck with the scarves against the bitter cold breezes. Or were they the souls of the graves enveloping me? My heart beats were explosive and I could not slow down in case a ghost pops up from the grave. Do ghosts exist? I was not ambling alone in the cemetery to find out. I could have been murdered there too, in retrospect, since it was dead quiet but there were residences nearby as in the image.   

I do not read ghost stories or watch horror movies unlike many youngsters and so that trip running past the graves was much more memorable to an impressionable young adult.

Kindness to strangers and helping non-relatives are values many older Singaporean parents do not teach their children.  So many grow up to be selfish and thinking of how to enjoy themselves. The school education system is changing to teach values of compassion, empathy and others but how successful can the system be if parents do not play their part?

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