J Y Pillay, Acting President of Singapore, met yesterday with George W Bush, Acting President of the United States. Bush visited Singapore to take advantage of the rare opportunity to completely mess up the traffic patterns of a whole, if small, nation. This was Bush's first visit to Singapore in three years, when he got me to avoid going downtown for half a week to avoid the traffic tie-ups. This time he came closer -- in fact, at one point he would have been within sight of my apartment, if my apartment were on the other side of the building and if I were at home when he was around. (I was at work instead.) I'd hate to think that I'm being pursued by a President of the United States or any other nation, since I lack the part of the brain that filters funny comments between making them and saying them to people who could draft me.
Bush's first bit of sightseeing was going to the Asian Civilizations Museum, where he got to look at women in various Malay, Indian, and Chinese dresses, and went on to play a local variant of the xylophone. Unfortunately, he tried to play with a very serious, determined look on his face, and while I can understand not wanting to look like he's doing something frivolous or whimsical considering the pounding he's taken the past month, you just can't look stern while playing the xylophone and not look more ridiculous than you would if you put a goofy grin on your face. I couldn't make out the tune he was playing, except I'm sure it wasn't the first twelve notes of ``Those Endearing Young Charms.'' I don't know what the later notes sound like, since they never got to it in Warner Brothers cartoons. I've thought about searching for the song in MP3 or similar format, but I'm worried about my computer crashing.
Laura Bush was around too: she stopped in at the National Library for a reading session and questions and answers from Singaporean children. I didn't catch which book she read. The first question she got was whether she was popular in America; she said she was. She also got the chance to look over rare books on Asian history dating from the 16th through 19th centuries, which are ordinarily kept in dehumidified rooms for protection against the natural climate around here. They haven't been removed from careful storage since ... well, June, when the Emperor and Empress of Singapore visited.
Actual Singapore President S R Nathan, meanwhile, is in Egypt.
Trivia: Pope Leo X's chancery created over two thousand salable offices during his papacy. Source: The March of Folly, Barbara W Tuchman.
Currently Reading: Fred Allen's Letters, Fred Allen, Edited by Joe McCarthy.