Useful words and phrases

January 10, 2010

The first Changi notebook is 493 pages long. It consists primarily of notes on tropical diseases, sanitary arrangements and the eating habits of the local populations. Towards the end of the notebook, however, the emphasis changes with space increasingly devoted to books and articles. (Future notebooks would be filled with the lectures attended at Changi University.)

It’s as if a sort of accommodation to circumstances is being made with the initial observations of the world around him giving way to a more internal (and disciplined?) activity.

Sometimes the note taking seems to become an almost mechanical activity as with the pages headed ‘useful words and phrases.’ What their precise source is I cannot tell but besides the obvious self-improvement aspect they may simply have been a good way of filling up time.

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