So I have written a book – a couple actually – and I keep a blog (who doesn’t) – and I get read a bit. I would never get on social media and say “Buy my Book” – nor sell it for 99c or give it away for free. It is not about teenage vampires.
I am Peter. Peter is me. I am he.
I am an Australian expat living and working in Singapore. An ‘expat’ is an expatriate. It is someone who lives outside of his or her native country – in case you didn’t know. I have been here for nearly five years and I am old enough to know better.
How time has flied. Or is it flown? Either way it seems to have passed very quickly.
I live here alone and I miss my family.
I miss them a lot.
Living in Singapore sometimes delights me but it often bores me. Mostly it baffles me. It is weird and wonderful and at times woeful. The natives are friendly but it is a transient place.
People come and go. They hither and thither. They breeze in and out. It is a rotating door.
I travel a lot for my work and I spend a ridiculous amount of time on planes and in airports. I like to read a lot. I devour books and sometimes I write.
Just for me.
Words do it for me.
They really do.
I like to swim and surf and the ocean is my friend. I recently discovered a love for mountains too. Big ones. I often talk to strangers. This sometimes alarms people – especially on trains and buses but less so on planes.
I don’t know why.
I mean no harm.
It is a cautious world that we live in.
I talk a lot and I often pat stray dogs. I have yet to be bitten. I have a golden retriever and his name is Bob. He is much travelled and he now lives back in Australia with my family. He lived here in Singapore for a while with me but this is no place for a dog. It is simply too hot and humid. Bob turned fifteen yesterday and he got a turkey bone for his birthday.
He loved it.
Fifteen is old for a dog and Bob is more than a hundred years old in human years. He wobbles when he walks and he groans when he stands and he is as deaf as a doorpost. He still thumps his tail and grins a lot though but he sleeps much of the time.
He is one my best friends and I miss his unconditional love.
I stand and give up my seat for old men and women when I catch trains and buses and it annoys me when others don’t.
Stand up that is.
I have opinions and I voice them and I mostly speak my mind. Occasionally it is to my detriment. Age and experience has taught me that it is wise sometimes not to.
Speak my mind.
Silence can indeed be golden.
Biting my tongue hurts though and sometimes a f***er just needs to be called a f***er – no matter the repercussions. When faced with choices and making decisions I endeavour to do what is right. I am acutely aware that I fail some of the time but I try not to do much wrong. I try very hard not to cause any harm. I believe that it is better to be reckless and right than to be culpable and erroneous.
We should all of us challenge everything.
I admire and respect kindness and I value morals. Remember them? The words “Please” and “Thank You” are easy to say and they carry weight. So too does a smile.
Mother Teresa said, “Peace begins with a smile” and who could or would argue with a Saint?
I want peace. I crave and yearn for it.
I believe that we are formed by what we desire and we are shaped by what we experience.
I would like to say I never lie but that would be a lie – however I try to be honest most of the time though.
Or is that a lie?
It is not.
I do not like spiders or snakes or bats and my favorite animal in the world is the wombat. There is no hatred or war or divorce in the wombat world.
I also like whales and dolphins. I have swum with them before.
Guns frighten me and I don’t get wars. Violence appalls me. I don’t think of myself as a coward but some things scare me. I am fearful of clowns and cornfields and being buried alive. If I were ever to see a clown emerging from a cornfield with a shovel in his hand I would run like the wind.
I fear losing people who are close to me – although I know that this is inevitable and it has happened before. I found such loss harrowing and excruciating. Grief is a deep wound that takes much time to heal and there are often scars.
Tempus anima rei.
Time is the soul of things.
I am sometimes terrified about tomorrow.
I can make a killer curry and I also make a mean pesto sauce. The recipe for the pesto sauce was handed down to me from my Hungarian great grandmother. It has a secret ingredient that would surprise you. I like anchovies – however they are not the secret ingredient.
I ring my mum on Tuesday every week. If I don’t ring her she worries and it worries me when she worries. This only worries her more.
And so it goes.
I wish I could speak French, Italian or Spanish, as I think that they are musical languages. I also like listening to Welsh and Irish people because to me they also sound like they are singing.
I think that giving is generally better than receiving and I truly believe that those who have – have a responsibility to those who have not. I used to feel that I was living to work but I don’t anymore and I feel better for it.
Life is short – live it fast.
An Investment Bank employs me and it is a BIG one. My job mostly satisfies me although occasionally it baffles me. Irrespective, I am happy to take my Employer’s money as it keeps the wolves from my door.
What I do is not who I am though. I once thought it was.
Then I grew up.
I now value contentment more than success – but that is easy to say.
I swear quite a lot and much of the time I don’t f***ing notice. They are just words and are forms of expression and emotion. I am aware though that my profanity upsets some people.
I don’t give a f***.
I like to go to places that are difficult to get to and where my Blackberry has no reception. Such places are getting harder to find. It doesn’t stop me seeking though. I waiver between being an agnostic and an atheist but I believe in myself – most of the time.
I am my own faith.
I am a cautious optimist and I believe that most people are inherently good.
Until proven otherwise.
I try and learn something new every day. It is not that hard and it doesn’t take that much effort.
I understand that winning is not everything and I have learnt much more from losing. I am more experienced in losing as well. My life is littered with mistakes but I have moved rapidly on from them for my ability to change the past is something that I long ago accepted as being an impossibility. However I love things that seem impossible.
Erring has made me stronger – and perhaps wiser.
I am worried about what we are doing to our planet and to ourselves. We are choking our air and are poisoning our oceans and species are being made extinct. Wars rage and the Rich get richer and the Poor get poorer.
This sometimes dismays and enrages me.
I try to shun temptation unless I can’t resist it.
The unfairness of inequity often disheartens and infuriates me and I worry too what legacy we will leave to our children – and our children’s children.
I am a bit of a worrier sometimes.
I seek wisdom but I understand that it is difficult to find. I know that we cannot find it in books or on the Internet and we will never stumble upon it.
We accumulate it – through our experiences.
I think that Goodness is the key to everything.
“Bonitas non est pessimism ease meliorem”
“It is not goodness to be better than the worst”.
However this is all just my opinion.
This is just a bit of me.
Peter – Sleepless in Singapore
Other bits and bobs of spurious information you might (or not) find interesting:
What you did to get them published – I had an agent who found me via my blog – I hadn’t really thought about writing a book until then. They were the Viney Agency in London. I liked the Editor they gave me – a lady named Val Hudson – but they and I didn’t really know my genre and it all got a bit tedious. Some friends did the self publishing thing for me off the back of an “A to Z” challenge I stupidly agreed to do. Agreed to let the book be published – under my real name – with all (or any) funds to go to a Charity I Chair. We build schools in Nepal. See the “B” story – Bless You You Bye Bye Yoko
Any other interests / hobbies you have: Nothing of any significance and pretty boring – I work, travel, read and write. I occasionally go to Nepal and build schools and install green energy systems in remote Himalayan communities I am Australian – so I have an opinion about most things and can talk the leg off a chair
Give details of your book(s): This one is called “Alphabet Soup – 26 whimsical tales of travel and trauma”
Why you wrote the book(s) – I’m an expat who travels a lot, likes words and spends a lot of time on planes and in airports. Fills the time observing, conversing and writing stuff down. Did an A to Z challenge and ended up with 26 “stories”. Friends did it for me – all money to go to charity (I have a well paid day job)
Give details of your books – Alphabet soup is a fairly whimsical view of my perception of life and encounters with people. I talk to strangers a lot and seem to be a magnet for lunatics
A photo (or several) of yourself that you won’t be embarrassed by. – All photos of me are embarrassing! I am not pretty
I can be found lurking online at:
BTW: I do have reviews from different sites which include:
“You made me laugh and then cry on the one page. Few people can do that. Who are you?”
“It is always a pleasure, Peter, reading your stuff – it is as though I am along for the journey – with all that entails …”
“It has nothing to do with your story (which as ever was informative, entertaining and funny) but it perhaps reflects the knack that you have for writing pieces that are full of humanity and provoke the swapping of tales … long may you continue to be an oddity lodestone”
“Oh, Peter The Sardonic, you’ve done it again! Is it just me or are you the funniest bloke on the planet? I’ve recommended your blog as an antidote to phone bills, tax assessments and election campaigning. More please”.
“Another superb piece of writing …you have something very special about your work” “Another well told comedic tale with your lovely wry twist”.
“OMG it’s not often I laugh out loud consistently at blog post after blog post, but Pyotr… fair dinkum mate, yer killin’ me. And you are wasting my time. I have work that needs to be done. You’re a writer like me, so you know that wandering off and reading other people’s hilarious words is like putting one’s finger in a dyke and stopping the trickle of income. No income has trickled all morning and I need to get my finger out, but I can’t. You should be more considerate and stop writing your blogs. What my money stops altogether, and I have to stop eating. It will be your fault”
“LOVE this! You are a raging, sarcastic, witty comic genius…”
“You are a peculiar individual, very funny and surprisingly clever at times”
So there you go
Like your work Chris
Love and Peace dude