Saturday, June 17, 2006


I’ve always loved the word ‘bourgeois’.

The word means ‘the haves’ (as opposed to the ‘have nots’) in French, and the pronunciation has such a flair and flow to it it always makes me laugh. Actually the word has a negative connotation. Decadence, wasteful, unnecessarily luxurious living, over-indulgence, and the like. For the leftists, to be bourgeois is to be part and parcel of the conspiracy by the ruling elites to suppress the lower classes. The bourgeoisie, with their snobbery, their luxuries and lives built upon the miseries of the underprivileged, are ‘digging their own graves’, according to Marx. For one day the oppressed shall rebel, and overthrow the established order based on injustice and all kinds of direct and indirect forms of suppression.

So to my surprise I discovered that citizens of Strasbourg are actually called: Stras-bourgeois. True to the name, Strasbourg and its people are clothed in a extravagant air of superiority and opulence, in the way they dress, walk, behave, and even just the aura they radiate. Prices in the city are perhaps two, three times the average, certainly when compared to neighbouring Germany. For a cheap guy who’s been living in Holland—the land of the thrifty and stingy—it’s a culture shock every time.

No matter, for perhaps fate has it that I’m destined to come here time and time again.

It's already the fifth day of my second trip here. Had trouble getting here because of chaos and ridiculous delays with the train (write about that later, but I blame the Belgians...), but it was worth the 13 or so hours of travelling in non-air-conned carriages.

Saw my friend, her mum, both of whom I've not seen a while. And then there was little Sunny, perhaps 'the' star purpose of my visit. I never imagined such a little being could have so much effect on me. The way he wriggles, the way he babbles, the way he smiles and frowns, the way he moves his little hands and feet... sweet is an understatement.

This is the first time for me to be so close to a baby, but somehow I managed to get into the role of 'carer' without much trouble. When I first took him in my arms the other day, he didn't struggle or cry, just lay there in my arms and looked at me with his big inquisitive eyes. And for a while we looked at one another, as if we had seen each other before.

Admittedly, he is a quiet little baby, unlike those screaming babies you dread to meet on airplanes. He sleeps a lot, and when he does cry (when he's hungry or just did a poo-poo) it isn't an ear-piercing or irritating shrill, but a soft, muffled cry. I've been spending some time with him, just lying next to him as he sleeps, or holding him in my lap. He likes to clutch my finger and not let go. And on his face is the stare of innocence, as his eyes dart from left to right, taking in the first impressions of the world he has entered into.

I thought it would be extremely exhausting taking care of the baby...all those hectic scenes and crises you see on tv and in movies, of the mum/dad running around like headless chickens to deal with the puking, the mess, and what not... but so far it's been alright. Sure sometimes i have to get up once or twice in the middle of the night to make milk, but other than that baby Sunny has been quiet 'cooperative'. He doesn't whine and cry as much, and that's a good sign for the mother (my friend) who's already exhausted and suffering from the first bouts of post-natal depression.

When I can I'll upload some pictures for you all to see.
Perhaps you'll be touched by him, as he did me.

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