Contemplata aliis Tradere

A meagre contribution to the mission and work of the Order of Preachers: my reflections, thoughts, ideas and the occasional rant on matters mainly theological, philosophical and ecclesiastical, drawn primarily from my reading and experience of life and the world. Striving to be always Catholic, firmly Christian and essentially Dominican, flavoured with dashes of Von Balthasar.

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Location: Oxford, United Kingdom

A son of the English Province of the Order of Friars Preachers (Dominicans); born in Malaysia but have lived in the USA, Singapore, the UK & the Philippines for varying durations. A pilgrim and way-farer, a searcher for Truth on the journey of Life... "Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine, There’s always laughter and good red wine. At least I’ve always found it so. Benedicamus Domino!" - Hilaire Belloc

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The Closeness of Friends

"To take friendship out of life is to take the sun out of the world" said Cicero in his Dialogue on Friendship. In saying this, he was certainly influenced by Aristotle and I believe this beautiful understanding of friendship has also influenced St Thomas Aquinas and the Order of Preachers.

The photo above of two of my best friends in Singapore was taken yesterday, my last in that city, before coming up to Kuala Lumpur, where I am now. On the spur of the moment, I had gathered a few of my oldest and dearest friends for a sun-downer at my favourite pub: 'Muddy Murphy's Irish Pub' in Singapore. We had a wonderful few hours of banter, laughs, intellectual discussion and solving the Church's problems! We were joined too by new aquaintances and they quickly joined the circle of friends. For me, it was a wonderful way to end a very brief visit to Singapore.

What is wonderful about this city is the fact that Singapore is an island-city-state, and within certain circles it is like a village. Everyone is connected in some way, whether by school, parish or interest. This makes it easy to meet new friends. Moreover, because the country is so small, people can generally get to a meeting spot within 30 minutes. This means that gatherings like yesterday's are easy to arrange and manage. As such, whenever I return to the island, although I've not lived there for 9 years, I can still meet up with old school friends, catch up and have a good time. It's almost as if I never left and of course, I get to meet their friends too. The fact that everyone is so close - by geographical distance and acquaintance - makes it easy and a delight to organise parties and drinks-evenings!

I think Singapore is unique in this way. Only last month in England, I tried to for arrange a small group of my friends to come together and sing, as we have done for years. It proved virtually impossible. Everyone lives miles apart, with a myriad different schedules and pressures. Travelling to meet just one friend involves several hours and many tens of Pounds Sterling. With such distances, the telephone is the best way to keep in contact. It was a real pity as I would love to have had one of my renown 'Wine Evenings' in Skipton and enjoyed the same banter with my old friends in England, but it was just proved too hard to find time and get everyone together, although I managed to see a few of them individually... What a contrast from the Singaporean experience!

So, this post is dedicated to my friends in Singapore. I am grateful that we are able to meet so easily and amiably and I thank God for that. For their friendship is surely as bright in my life as the Singapore sun...


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