The Sound of Silence

KL Diary Number 1

Hello darkness, my old friend


I’ve come to to talk with you again…

To date, I have taken 11 long haul flights this year, with flying times between 11 and 16 hours. Experience shows that it is pointless fighting jet lag. I try to sleep as much as I can whilst in the air and then I take short naps in between keeping awake at my destination.

Obviously it is a real pain if you are up when everyone else is sleeping. Thankfully there is Project Studyroom. Besides taking my dad to the hospital for his appointments and treatment, this is what I have returned to KL to complete.

Or try to complete.

In the dark of the night and in the silence of the room, I resume where I stopped, noticing that no further progress has been made since I left at the end of July. There are more books in bags but this time, I concentrate on the magazines, company reports and newspapers of which there are stacks and stacks. I am ignoring the volumes of filed paper for now, and also the volumes of loose paper.

I know what I want to achieve, which is maximum floor space and minimal hoarding.

Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence

At the very least, I want a large section of the floor clear. In terms of space, let’s aim for 1.5 평, or roughly 5 square metres. 평 (pyeong) is the old method of measuring floor space in Korea and 1.5 평 is the size of a very small student room. I can work with that goal in mind.

In order to shame my dad into seeing the extent of his inability to get rid of old paper, I date the piles of company reports and newpapers.





Continuing with another session in the room, I place all the following items under a makeshift Entertainment section of the floor: DVDs, CDs and cassettes. Oh yes…cassettes.




We don’t have a DVD player or a CD player and certainly not a cassette player in the house. Otherwise I would have at least tried to put some music on whilst cleaning and clearing. For now, I just have my thoughts which go undisturbed as I work away.

My dad doesn’t dare to say anything when I am in the room. I think he is secretly happy and frightened in equal measure: happy because someone is helping clear the mess, and frightened because I might go on strike any time. The moral of the story really is that we should just clear up as we go along, bit by bit and day by day. I can’t shout this out loud enough for everyone in my family to hear.


The Song:

The Sound of Silence, by Simon and Garfunkel, is as old as I am. Paul Simon says he wrote it when he was 21 years old, and it was written in his bathroom with the light switched off in order to better concentrate. The song hit number 1 in the charts in January 1966 although it was a failure when it was first released earlier. It is now considered one of the 500 greatest songs of all time according to Rolling Stone magazine. I have a CD of S and G’s Greatest Hits. The children scoff at CDs but then I do have a very lovely Bang and Olufson CD player.