Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.
–Haruki Murakami, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
I have always wanted to write a piece about the Anne Frank House.
Anne Frank is one of the millions of victims of the Nazi prosecution of the Jews during the second world war. In 1933, when Hitler comes to power and establishes an anti-Jewish regime, the Jewish Frank family went into hiding at 263 Prinsengracht in Amsterdam i.e. the ‘Anne Frank House’, also referred to as the Secret Annexe in Anne Frank’s diary.
“One day this terrible war will be over. The time will come when we’ll be people again and not just Jews!” This is an excerpt from Anne’s famous diary which is now one of the world’s best-selling books.
A visit to the Secret Annexe in Amsterdam was heartbreaking. I saw the depressing living conditions of the family in hiding – an extremely dark and narrow house; people in hiding have to stay indoors 24-7. The curtains are always drawn. And as described in Anne’s diary: “During the day our curtains can’t be opened, not even an inch.”
I started reading Anne Frank’s Diary after the visit, and I’m very inspired by her talent to express her feelings so articulately through writing. I also admire her character and confidence in standing up for her values and opinions. Mind you, she was only 14. Particularly reflecting this in a Malaysian/Chinese context, the culture of fear to stand up for something. The fear of being judged as being disrespectful for ‘talking back’, and it’s such a taboo especially to your parents. Nonsense. I don’t agree with this style of upbringing. All kids learn is to shut up, and poor child would never learn the proper way to challenge ideas and channel their thoughts – a vital skill to survive in the modern world.
In the museum, there were exhibits depicting the harrowing faith of Jews under Hitler’s anti-Jewish regime. Photos are not allowed, and according to a sign, this is because the visit may be an emotional one for some visitors.
The queue to get in was almost 2 hours, and it’s all worth it. It has opened up my mind, learned a bit of history and has given me inspirations.
This is it – a part of that teenage dream – traveling to one big city, solo, for business, in heels and in suit. I feel like an adult, all grown up. Had to be brave, had to speak and be heard.
10-mins ferry ride from Central Pier to Tsim Sha Tsui. Avoided the rush hour train situation, paid a lower fare and…I had this view to remember.
One evening after work, took a stroll along the harbour, thank God for nice Spring weather.
This amazing view from The Mandarin Excelsior.
Room service after a 4 hour+ flight and a long day coming.
And whenever I’m on my own for my extended stay, there was this not-too-shabby iClub Fortress Hill Hotel, 5 minutes walk from the Fortress Hill MTR, 3 stations away from Central. Appreciate these huge glass windows with lots of natural light – not the usual case on budget, in Hong Kong.
…where retro and heritage are the new cool.
Has it been a year? Some photos I casually snapped using Olympus (then), on a 2-day-1-night adventure with the white car we hired from Penang Airport, which faithfully brought us to the many amazing places.
I’m sure there are more photos, lying somewhere in my old Samsung phone. That night in the neighbourhood pub, more lights of this beautiful island, and all that food adventures…