19 Ramadhan 1436
It's difficult to avoid becoming somewhat self-absorbed during fasting month. In a way, that's part of the point of the exercise, though bearing in mind the caveat that the self-absorption needs to be aimed at improving the self. But it's easy to see how unhealthy such an emphasis on self might be if not balanced against a keen sense of other people and their trials and tribulations.
It's partly for that reason that just lately I've been keen on following the news with an even greater degree of attention than I might normally lend it. (Though I must confess, I was hardly aware of any news from anywhere in the first few days of the month, cut-off, as it were, in Maison KL.) Unfortunately, as is so often the case, there's been so much bad news of late that it's easy to fall into a kind of despair about the world and its ways. And I'm increasingly finding myself bewildered to the extent of being rendered officially clueless by events that seem to escape any straightforward explanation.
To take one worrying example: despite following events in Greece pretty closely for some time now I am completely at a loss as to what yesterday's referendum was really about and what is likely to happen next On one level it's fascinating, like following the plot of a particularly engrossing novel. On another, it's disturbing to think of what life must be like at the moment for the average Greek who just wants to get on with the usual business of living. Noi told me about watching an interview with an old chap there who was sitting disconsolately crying since he couldn't draw any of the money on his wife's pension that they so urgently needed.
I'm just hoping that the whole shebang won't fall to pieces, causing irreparable damage to those who have no choice but to ride upon it. The thing is that, at this point in time, I can't see any certainty that the falling to pieces won't take place.