50-something living a 80-something pace
I lived in the Philippines for two years. The first time I experienced Filipino time was when I attended a public meeting in the Philippines. The guest of honour had arrived but most of the audience were not there yet! No one seemed to mind it. There was a massive traffic jam.
Another time, a group of us were supposed to attend a meeting in the next town but the car broke down. I was worried about the people who were waiting for us at the other end. I said, “Shouldn’t we at least try to call and tell them that we won’t be there?” My driver friend said, “It’s ok. We don’t have to let them know.” That was the time before mobile phones.
My Filipino friends brought me to a movie at a megamall in Manila that was to start at 2 pm. We didn’t get there till 3. We walked into the movie house right in the middle of the movie. After the movie ended, we stayed on to watch the 4 pm screening to catch the first half which we had missed because we were late. We didn’t have to pay for another ticket. In fact, we got our hands stamped when we exited the movie house. My friends said, “We can come and watch it again if we want to after our shopping.”
What at first shocked me, perplexed me, irked me, later became something I learned to value and enjoy. I don’t always need to be in a hurry. Where I am is where I’m supposed to be. Who I am with is who I’m supposed to be with. I learned to live present in the moment. I returned to Singapore after my two-year stint promising myself that I would never go back to living my life like a clockwork.
The first day after I returned to Singapore, I slipped right back into my old rush-ian self. I had to go to town to get my phone set up. I rushed back to my car as quickly as I could after my transaction. My expensive one-hour parking was about up. If I crossed the hour, I would have to pay for another one-hour block.
In Singapore, every works like a clockwork… the trains, the buses, appointments. Most things are on time for most part, except for Chinese wedding dinners. Learning to live in the moment is still an effort.
Fast forward 15 years… I’ve been living with Mum for about six years now. I’ve become a 50-something living a 80-something pace. With Mum, nothing is ever in a hurry. I am revisiting Filipino time each every day with Mum and enjoying it. Mum is teaching me to be in the moment.