Friday, December 12, 2008
In a rash moment of vanity I've used my own picture. This means that I'm the only person ever to have won RD's Photo Of The Moment thing twice. It probably won't change my life.
If you've been to Singapore you might have seen old geezers like these ones. In HDBs, a council type of housing thing, but without the violence and smell of urine and cabbage that we have in English council estates, they build these communal areas, for people to enjoy and use. People hang around, often sleeping on benches, but not in a trampy way. You see them sitting quietly and reading or chatting to each other or just enjoying the moment.
Also, in this particular one, there are about five or six draught board table things. Most afternoons there's a group of random old blokes playing on them. The look of intensity on their faces is only matched by those on the faces of their audience. There's little conversation and the long spells of silence are punctuated by sudden outbursts of raucous laughter and the loud clicking when one player bangs his pieces on the board as he captures the other chap's men.
The thing that got me was how friendly and accepting they all were. People stroll up, sit down and watch for a while, then wander off without saying a word and no one bats an eye lid. I found the spectacle to be a spectacle in itself. Sometimes the crowd is more interesting than the sport.
I was a little bit nervous about taking pictures of them, thinking that I might get frowns of disapproval, lynched or something. But I didn't want to ask them for fear of upsetting the spontaneity of it all, I didn't want them to suddenly start posturing and posing because of a camera being pointed in their direction.
So I quietly stood on some stairs nearby and smiled at them in a confident way. I took some pictures and waved goodbye and thank you when I left.
If it was Carrom I would have stepped up to play. Draughts is a bit intellectual for me.