if you had three wishes

Photo by J - he wishes for us amps to hold hands everyday. Heh.

J says I am an diehard optimist. So it seems out of character for me to have a distrust of an optimistic activity, however structured and organised. 

A few weeks ago, such suspicion was stirred when a group of old folks were invited to write their wishes for the future, and to float these wishes on inflated spheres in the Marina Bay. Surrounded by the indifference of glimmering skyscrapers and integrated resorts, it was not difficult to start thinking - Com'on, who would fulfil their wishes? For whom do they wish? What difference would this make for their lives, our lives? 

Some of the old folks I was chatting with appeared at first a little surprised at the request. Maybe no one had asked them about their wishes for the future before. After all, this was a question more often asked to 8 year olds, it is the young who have aspirations, dreams, a future - there are always wants with the young.  But we seldom asked those older than us, even our parents, about their wishes. The old folks surprised me with their readiness to offer their views, the earnestness which they seemed to take this exercise. I should be ashamed of my lack of... perspective, belief?

With many not being literate, they asked if I would help them write it all down instead. And watched as I did so; repeating to make sure I caught what they said. So what did I find myself transcribing? Give me more money? More love? Or perhaps in yusheng-tossing fashion, "huat ah"? 

They wished, almost unanimously, for these three things, and in this order: peace for the country, health for everyone, and joy everyday.  

I was hanging around an afternoon concert today where the average audience age was maybe 60 or more. The singer laughed and said that this was a roomful of "been there, done that" people, and the audience cheered in affirmation. 

Friends and my sweet J, if you've lived a life where you could say "been there, done that" or even just "been here, seen this", would you persist in wishing peace for the country, health for everyone, and joy everyday? 

And to think that I almost forgot, ampulets actually reads 安普樂, the three characters for peace, the everyday, joy. 


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