Theory of Relativity

[Written on a plane trip]

DistanceAs an Australian, I find that I am less concerned by distance than some of my Singaporean friends. One of the things about Australia (and I daresay something that Americans will relate to as well), is that I can be in Sydney, drive for 10 hours, be in Melbourne, but still be in Australia.

Living in Singapore, I occasionally drive to Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), a three-hour drive. Local friends will exclaim “Wha, so far!” Distance, as I have discovered, is relative. In Singapore, if I were to drive for 10 hours, I would have crossed two national borders, and be in a third country – Thailand (Singapore and Malaysia being the other two countries).

This morning I had breakfast in Bangkok (Thailand), shopped and had lunch, got on a plane, and will be having dinner with family in Singapore three hours later. It still amazes me – being able to experience the best of a number of different nations, cuisines and people in different countries in the same 24 hour period.

It reminds me how small this world is getting, and it reminds me about the time when my husband and I were “courting” and during the first year of our marriage. We spent most of our time in separate countries – but with mobile phones the distance was not as far as one might think, despite the geography (we were separately in Australia and Singapore).

The ten or so international SMS (text messages) a day, and a minimum of two phone calls, reminded us both that it didn’t matter where we were on the planet, our hearts were together.

I am pleased to say, that after eight years of marriage, through countless arguments, cultural differences, bad times and good times, that the distance between us is still small, and the love big enough to reach around a planet should we ever be physically apart. We are truly blessed.

I hope it will always be.

Comment posted by ozlady
at 9/23/2007 11:13:32 PM

Hi Justin,

I sometimes get a blank look from Singaporeans when I tell them that Sydney (the city itself, including the metropolitan) is around 6 times the size of Singapore.

It’s all relative!

Thanks for the visit!

Comment posted by ozlady
at 9/23/2007 11:00:41 PM


Not having been in India I could not draw a comparison, and from what I have heard, the distances are certainly relative, where it could take far longer than what I am perhaps used to.

I have heard of the Delhi to Chennai journey, and other such distances, taking 2-3 days and this can sometimes be hindered by a bad road or a broken down bus. I intend to travel there sometime in the next 2 years, and it will probably be an eyeopener in terms of distance.

As for love, it can conquer almost all, can’t it?

;) Cheers!

Comment posted by Cuckoo
at 9/23/2007 4:10:48 AM

Aww it was so good to read about the distance being immaterial between you and your husband. It should always be like that. Isn’t it?

And for your definition of distance…

Well well well, I can say even India is on the same platform. You drive for 12-14 hours and you havn’t even covered half the distance.
The train journey from Delhi to Chennai (a city in south, but not the south most) takes 36 hours to give an example.
So much diversity in terms of language and food but we are in the same country !! No passports needed !

Good post, Steph.

Comment posted by Justin Tan
at 9/23/2007 3:54:52 AM

Excellent post! I still have the Singaporean attitude towards distance, having lived on that tiny island for most of my life. I remember very clearly the time when the huge size of Australia first struck me. We were flying from Singapore to Melbourne, and I looked at the onscreen map and saw that we had reached Australia. Being a Singaporean, I couldn’t help but feel that we more or less had come to the end of our journey. 3 hours later, we were still flying over Australia and Melbourne was nowhere in sight! That was when the vastness of Australia really hit me.

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