January 5, 2009 6:33 PM

It's somewhere between tragic and strange to see how some of my friends, intelligent and talented as they are, are forced to struggle against the banalized, unimaginative milieu of this island-state, when those same struggles would immediately vanish if they were to step beyond that vast ocean which overwhelms them into isolation.

It's incredibly difficult to live in a self-proclaimed paradise, one that aims to conceal any fissures in its idyllic facade (which includes you, the unexpected iconoclast), believes life is only possible by its finite terms, and hocks itself, almost masochistically, at every opportunity; You can't have much respect for a place like that, in all the forms it takes, even if you have no choice but to continue living there.

Most people who find themselves at odds with such a place's ideals usually have to turn inwards. It creates an unnatural and stifling tension; you have to become blind and dumb and deaf to your own living space to get beyond it; in short, the air that surrounds you is dead to art or artful living. I had intuited this coming out of high school, left as soon as I could, and saved myself. But this is the reality that my friends continue live in, and, short of a miraculous self-realization, it will always to be their reality, because they are invested in it as much as any individual is in their surroundings, even if their identification may be antagonistic.