Found myself at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies this morning as part of my 'professional development' and had a jolly good time being developed there. It was pleasant to be talked to as if I were a reasonably intelligent person for a change, rather than have to suffer through the usual cliched repetitions that somehow pass for what I am sometimes informed is my 'training'.
The ISEAS premises house a rather tasty little bookshop with quite a variety of their own publications appertaining to the research they've done in the region. And they have an excellent library with, at this time, an engaging display commemorating S. Rajaratnam, one of the founding fathers of the nation - and quite obviously the best read of them all. I say this because a number of the books he left to the library are on display (from an overall collection of over 5000) and it was highly enjoyable getting to look at what had once been on his shelves. Nothing pretentious, by the way, just an eclectic range of paperbacks of all sorts reflecting a man who had a genuine life of the mind and a sense of curiosity about just about everything you can be curious about. It was strangely easy to warm to him just looking at what he'd once loved getting stuck into. (Don't ask me how I know he loved those books, just take it from me I do.)
The visit in its entirety made me keenly aware of the scale of what I don't know about the region - which is more than plenty - and planted a desire to at least mildly alleviate some of that ignorance. A small but potentially significant development in itself.