Scrape the walls and you’ll find warmth…


“L’amour, c’est lorsqu’on convie l’autre à la table de sa solitude” – Aphorismes sous la lune et autre pensées sauvages, Sylvain Tesson

It’s funny how things can change in the course of just only a few decades. Transportation systems like railways, roads, streets, or telephones used to bond people from different social classes and places together. But now, they have become a place where people commune together within each own’s thought bubble.

People digging their heads into their smartphones is now a common sight in Bangkok, while reading a book would catch so much attention. (side thought: so much attention that the 2015 military government had to ban people from reading George Orwell’s ‘1984’ )

I was cramming my midterms on the MRT (Bangkok’s underground metro) the other day when the man next to me, after peeking into my book several times, started a conversation. It wasn’t a significant conversation, just the normal “oh so you’re studying this?” kind of talk, but it struck me how talking to random people could make you feel strange…in a good way. The man even wished me luck on my exams before I got off the train.

I then remebered the warmth I always feel after giving and receiving smiles from people I walk pass…but why am I so afraid to commence these smiles or talks?

Could it be that most of us are so lonely because we have lost the skills to open up a conversation with people we meet, and then we turn to rely on our friends on social media to quench this feeling?

Would it be possible for all of us to have the courage to put our smartphones down and start scraping the walls that blocks us from each other?

The short film “Gratte Papier” perfectly shows us the reward of having the fearlessness to start connecting.

(Gratte papier is the French noun for an employee who writes the documents in an office. However the short film was referring to the literal term as the verb gratter means to scrape and papier means paper)

The film is shot on a French metro, showing us the various people who hop on and off this transport, and then focuses on this particular man (probably a university student) who takes out his book to read.

During this train journey, different people sit down beside the lad, but things gets interesting when a quite attractive lady sits next to him who also pulls out her book to read. The two catch each others glimpses, so the young man decides to underline certain words in his book to communicate with her. They then flirt, but it was a beautiful flirt to me. Two humans communicating without sound but with words that only they can understand. Words that only they can hear.

The film ended happily by having the lady giving the young man her phone number so that they could now start to communicate with sound.

I come to think that if the couple were swiping their phones up and down, no one would dare to peek their nose in to try to find out what each other were reading? While as, when it’s a book, it’s a object so it doesn’t feel like your interferring with other people’s business?

I dunno..I’m babbling….

29.6__ /20 October, 2015



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