I live on a tiny 704sq kilometers island city whose ruling governement has been the same for the last 40 years. This same government recently told me that my tiny island city is more than capable of sustaining a population of 6million people with ease.
So I decided to do some research while considering the statement issued.
To put words into numbers, my island city home is about the size of Chicago or 3.5times the size of Washington D.C (that’s what Google tells me..) but our current population (5.35mil) is more than Finland (5.26mil), UAE (5.31mil), Ireland (4.72mil), Norway (4.7mil) and just slightly behind Denmark (5.54mil) and Slovakia (5.48mil).
Yes.. My island city home is a very very cramped place.
Whether we are as cramped as compared to China, India, the U.S., Philippines, Turkey, Germany, Indonesia or Russia – I really won’t know, that would require me to process too much math and math really isn’t my thing… Sorry!
In this city, we have no choice but to build our homes up towards the sky. Like many of my fellow countrymen, I live in the public housing estates, in a block of flats that goes up 12 storeys, 10 units or families per level. This set up only applies to the older buildings… Newer ones goes up to 17 storeys and above, with the same amount of units per level, if not more.
What separates you and the dude living upstairs and next door, is a pretty thin, hollow concrete slab. You hear him clearly from your bed. You hear him walking, shifting his bed, and practicing his drum kits.
You hear him every single day.
You hear your next door neighbour as well.
And the family staying in the next block – about 3 average sized 4 door cars parked in a parallel line separates the 2 blocks.
You hear the parents screaming at their daughter for having a boyfriend while still in school.
You hear her scream back, saying she hates them..
You can hear the baby living downstairs too.
When you step out of my house, you get caught in endless waves of human bodies, rushing to work, rushing off work, for dinner and home.
At work, it’s the same thing. You are constantly surrounded by people needing, wanting your attention. Constantly bombarding you with information whether you like it or not.
You are expected to give and provide a certain level of energy to keep these people engaged and happy.
By the end of a work day, you are completely drained and all you want to do is escape back home, to your sanctuary.
And then you remember the neighbors.
On a weekend when you head out to town for some entertainment, it’s the waves of humans again.
If people knew where they were heading or what they were doing, it probably wouldn’t have been that suffocating.
Half the people you see walking pass you look like zombies.
No objective, no goal, no mind.
When I am alone, I finally have time for my own thoughts. It is finally quiet enough for me to hear my own thoughts.
When I am alone, there is no need to entertain or please anyone but myself.
I can go anywhere I want, do whatever I like without having to consider what my partner might want or be interested in.
It does sound selfish and frankly, a little anti social at times but I’d like to think I’m entitled to being selfish every now and then.
Being alone gives me a sense of peace and calm that would otherwise be lost in this noisy world.
Too much information, too many opinions, too many people fighting to be heard. Too much noise generated to try and fill that dreaded silence people sometimes equate to being alone or loneliness.
I think people sometimes dont understand that noise does not equate vibrancy or life or being opinionated.
If everyone talks at the same time, who’s listening?
If no one’s listening, doesn’t that mean you are just contributing to the pool of noise?
Being alone doesn’t mean you are lonely, and being constantly surrounded by people doesn’t necessarily mean you are not lonely.
I’ve always thought, that people avoided being alone because the notion scares them – as my lecturer puts it, humans are social creatures, we inherently crave acceptance and contact with another human being, and we all have a certain fear of dying alone.
There’s nothing scary about being alone I think. Being alone doesn’t mean you are deprived from human contact, it just means being selective.
It will not kill you to be alone, it is loneliness that does.