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Thursday, July 10, 2003


Last Tuesday BBC Television commemorated the Iranian Siamese twins Ladan and Laleh, who died in Singapore Raffles Hospital after a vain attempt to separate them.

The BBC showed footage of a domestic scene depicting Ladan and Laleh earlier in their life. In the scene, recorded by a low angle film camera, the twins are seen installing a photo camera; cocking the self timer; and running off to their best ability: head to head, frocks flying and positioning themselves just in time to reassert for a family picture.


posted by Walter at 7/10/2003

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

WHITE GIANT (Neighbors II)

Framed by the opened kitchen window on the third floor of the apartment building opposite mine; the white cat sits perched dangerously close to the window’s ledge. The animal fell down to the street several times during the past years, but survived unscathed thusfar.

My neighbor used to sit in her place. He was a giant of a man with exceptionally big feet, which forced him to wear custom fitted shoes. Each morning he would read his paper in the kitchen, smoking heavily, dressed in pijamas only, rain or shine. He loved to make long walks, in a steady and undeterred pace, but never saluted or responded to anyone.

Two years ago he deceased.

The white cat is an occasional lodger with his widow, an elderly woman of German descent. She’s introvert, critical and observant, with a great sense of style. Her voice has a musical quality, tinged by a heavy German accent. Sometimes I talk to her in the street in front of her home. I'm always struck by her uncanny gift for noticing quirks, latencies, and paradox resident in our culture.

The white cat is watchful and irreverent of physical danger. She keeps the street under close surveillance, almost as if she’s expecting the giant to return and reclaim her place.


posted by Walter at 7/08/2003

Monday, July 07, 2003


It’s 8.00 AM. G. my neighbor is standing in the back garden of his home, clad in a house-coat, and smoking a cigarette. He is facing the primary school playground situated in the center of our housing block.

As I’m looking down at G. from the second story of my house; I witness a forlorn, clueless actor on a bleak podium. He’s perched slightly forward, his left leg resting on a stool, drawing smoke from his cigarette in a succession of nervous puffs. The scene has become a recurrent view. G. has to smoke his cigarette in the backyard because he adheres to the contract settled with his wife which decrees: all smoking done outside.

His spouse D. ; mother to their two children is a pleasant, big woman with an energetic and jovial air.D. operates from her office; an artists management agency; based in the couple’s home. Often she sits in the garden engrossed in extensive phone calls with respective artists and clients, occasionally doing so by pacing around their yard, in the process of which she’s absorbing all of it’s space. D’s professional persona is prominent and assertive, driven by bossy bravado. Although her husband is a tough, short tempered and vigilant character, he mostly pulls the short end of the stick when it comes to negotiating domestic rules with his wife.

If occasionally I speak to G. in the street, he’s mostly on guard and aware, conducting his conversation in a whisper; a trait which he developed in his position as a high-profile e-banking security supervisor. Since my neighbors have become residents of the neighborhood he remains locked in a tight and reserved pose which seems at odds with his wife’s easy going, casual manner.

Her voice is high pitched, almost shrill, often she concludes disputes and business dealings with a characteristic giggle that drifts across the school’s playground like a turkey’s mating cry.


posted by Walter at 7/07/2003