Notebook

Creative Travel Plan

In Time We Travel

Notebook

FICTION BENDING REALITY

Extracts from My Notebook & Journal

The following entries are extracts from my Diary and Journal where I document thoughts, ideas, observations and events as I travel— in particular in regard to the developing novel. Currently as we are limited in our travel due to worldwide restrictions, I believe these entries will give you the opportunity to have broader experience of the locations where the novel progresses.

Developing Novel: The Singapore Stone

In these chapters:

Protagonist Nick Campbell has travelled to Singapore as he believes there is a chance the fragment of rock in some way contains a lead to resolving the enigma he and friends unwittingly released as a teenager...

He suspects that a stranger they allowed to accompany the three friends on what would have been a simple boyhood adventure has acquired knowledge that threatens humanity. A teenage girl, Meagan Fahrston who had joined them on that day was believed to have drowned as a result of ensuing events. She has recently become known to Nick as having survived, but her story raises doubts as to its truth in her evasiveness to explain further. Though surviving, he learns that her life is again in danger.

Travelling, pausing and getting inspired. Writing scribbles that turn to stories or need time to germinate in the fertile mush.

What The! Notebook

Publishing Nightmare

I slept poorly last night and on opening my notebook I was stunned to see what I had written last night. The text was illegible, written in some strange script. I flung back the covers and searching around found my glasses and after jamming them to my face, the text morphed to legibility.

Later that morning there was a knock at my hotel door.

The first printed books had arrived. My reaction was dismay when I opened first one, then another and found each one in the box was the same obscure Sanskrit styled text that was chiseled on the “Singapore Stone.”

I read the following which is reproduced below.

“Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.”

(Or words to that effect—but in a Sanskrit-like script, faint and obscure with no obvious meaning.)

It would seem that the text reverts to its obscure format with any attempt to share, unless one is positioned correctly. This was what I was warned about.

What is "The Singapore Stone?" You might ask.

In 1819 a spherical shaped rock split in half with the two sections angled apart was discovered at the mouth of the Singapore River. What made the stone unique was the undecipherable text chiseled on one smoothed face of the split boulder. It remained within the scrub and undergrowth until some years later, the river was experiencing a period of development and the area cleared to make way for increasing traffic.

Currently only four fragments still exist and as such one of these has been verified as original and is on display at the National Museum of Singapore. What is the obscure message and why do only fragments remain, and one, as a national treasure?

After learning that a segment of this rock was on display at the National Singapore Museum, I sought to visit and attempt to understand the mysterious message that might reveal the complexity of a problem I myself wrestled constantly.

Let me take you with me on my journey by way of my diary, journal -and ultimately The Novel:

"The Singapore Stone"

Diary/Journal Extracts

Date blurred- Early January 2012

Location: Asian Civilisation Museum - Singapore

Journal

  After passing several buildings, a pale yellow classical stone structure came into view.   

Wiping the perspiration from my face I read its name portrayed in simple concrete letters high on the roofline…

‘ASIAN CIVILISATIONS MUSEUM’

 Eager to unearth the answer to the mystery I quickened my steps past the trimmed shrubs with brief relief from the heat offered in scraps of shadow and on turning the corner sighted the ornate arches of the entrance. Gaining entry into the cool and vast elegant foyer, I soon discovered and read information directly relating to the myths surrounding the Singapore Stone. Slowly turning the ring bound card pages of a display book I was amazed that what I had seen in the scroll found in the mansion on the Taarum River, was here illustrated in cartoon-like full colour. Sensing a woman waiting behind me, I stepped aside leaving the book open.  ‘I beg your pardon. I wonder where this stone is now?’ I asked her.

She was a history teacher and informed me that:

‘…one portion of the stone now resides in the the National Museum of Singapore—not far from here.’ She continued, ‘…two or three other parts of the stone had been taken elsewhere many years ago, probably India— Calcutta, I believe,’ but shrugging her shoulders, added that she ‘…had no idea where they were now.’

 She said she didn’t know where I would find further information, or even if the fragments did still exist.

I returned my attention to the book, slowly turning the large card-thick pages and continued reading the stories relating to the stone. Were these mythical tales based on long blurred facts? Real events altering history where one could only comprehend a hint at the truth by mythical stories. 

"The Singapore Stone" - A Fictional Encounter

Introduction

The letter I received from Nick Campbell that compelled me to investigate his story. It would appear that his writing was to a degree affected, stilted and difficult to read. I realised I must act fast. With the little information he provided there was no time to lose. Ahh, the profoundness of those words, I was later to reflect on…

But more on that later as I have a plane to catch.

But why not come with me? 

                       Here’s a copy of his letter. You can read it as we travel.

"The page with an image of four sages floating in space struck a powerful surge of recall back to Tarrum Island."

As soon as I saw the image of the four sages floating on the boulder as it skimmed across the sea, I recalled the incident ten year earlier at the island. Four of us guys in our mid teens who had no respect for the archaeological relic we had stumbled on — further than it could be souvenired for our own selfish purposes. I had subsequently learnt on revisiting the site on the agreed date that one of us had selfishly added insult to the group by effecting further plunder, and so rendering our blood pact obsolete. My suspicions assured me it was the uninvited guest that accompanied us to that sanctuary who wreaked havoc to our agreement—Julian Lord-Xzion.

Well despite the distortion the world was about to endure as a result of his obvious release of these “forces,” I was more than mildly pissed off at his disregard for us, his fellow confidants, who will be seriously disadvantaged by his actions. There is no other way. Our blood pact must now be broken. I hope you will understand. I should be released from hospital today.

Can you contact the others? The Authorities have now placed a perimeter around the site. They claim it is a location for a building project. Ha! 

Next they will have bells chiming and be claiming it is an out of control religious movement.  

Excerpt: "The Singapore Stone" -Draft

Singapore-2012

Continuing - Asian Civilisations Museum encounter where Nick learns more from the woman he met in the museum.

Asian Civilisations Museum

‘There is something else I would like to show you. Come with me,’ she said.

Nick was startled as he thought she had moved away, but turned, and with a deep breath, followed. His pulse began to race and heart skipped beats in an attempt to keep time.

Walking with her as she nodded in appreciation as he admired other artifacts before she grabbed his arm while directing him to a particular glass case. ‘You see this urn that has retained its perfect condition. Few know of the secret it holds…

 

The Cask in the Display Case Transforms

Excerpt: "The Singapore Stone" -Draft

Asian Civilisations Museum & National Museum of Singapore

Date: circa 2012

Nick Wonders if he is Hallucinating?

Nick gazed at the ancient cask as it seemed to fade and transform with a vibrance that jolted through his head. He took a step backward as he raised his hand to his eyes, shielding them from the glare.

Could he be close to finding the missing segment he required? The section that could be used in place of Julian’s piece?

Would it complete the puzzle? But how could he convince the museum to allow him access to the stone with the scrutiny necessary. He almost ran from the building and he smiled at the receptionist repainting her nails as he resumed a more dignified walk before he left the building descending the stone steps two at a time.

On the steaming streets with the directions given to him by the woman, he headed half-running in the direction of the Singapore Museum. Fifteen minutes later, despite one wrong turn and dead end, he slowed to a walk, remembering he’d forgotten to ask for a map. He retreated into a curio shop where he bought can of Solo soft-drink. In a display rack he found a street locality map. The guy at the counter scrawled with a red texta marker directions across his map. At last he found the impressive domed building. With a handful of brochures, he continued on through a long tiled hallway, his footsteps echoing. Nick wondered if museums and galleries were specially designed to give the eery feeling of awakening dozing spirits that tolerate or often resent our intrusion into their twilight world?  He glanced around and raised a hand to the back of his head where the hairs had suddenly risen and prickled as he felt an unexplained presence watching him. The silent eyes hidden in small glass domes above monitored his every step. Was that all? The watchers expecting him?

They danced around him, ancient shadowy figures, displaced from their refuge, and held by the slowly revolving gears of eternity, challenging him and his intent. He recalled the Melbourne exhibit and the lingering shadows. Had they followed him onto the plane? Friendly figures behind, urging him on. Others darted in front. Distorted faces were pushed aside, opening the way. Urgent, jumbled messages skimming his mind chattering voices raised in repelling attitudes. But still he was drawn on through the haunted corridor.

Uphill the floor devoured his footsteps. His energy sapping, the air thick as molasses. Was this some sweet smell of success? Sweating in the effort. Out of focus swimming vision. Eerie light filters down, menacing. His steps trembled the floor as the gleaming tiles seemed to shatter under his each forward step. Had he violated some eternal tango? Don’t look back. An echo in his brain. Threatening low whispers circled around him.

Stone Exhibit

To the display presenting many antiquities. ‘Do you have a ticket to this exhibition?’ asked the guy at the door.

‘I hadn’t realised… Do I have to go all the way back to the foyer desk?’

‘Up there.’ He pointed towards a ramp leading towards a ticket dispensing machine, ‘you can get a ticket. ‘Credit cards are okay if no have cash.’

Nick started to select. Adult, All special displays…

Kimino Clad Help

‘Maybe I help,’ said a soft female voice behind him. ‘Today, entry free all exhibitions.’

It was a woman in a dazzling kimono. She tore a ticket from the roll she was carrying. ‘You still pay get talk on headset…’

‘…But the guy at the door…’

‘He new here. Headset… I give free…use here one. Plug dicky, not good, give jiggle it.  Come okay. Have problem come back.’

‘Are they necessary? Maybe I can read the titles?’ Nick realised he had used some difficult words and was about to simplify his question.

‘They are essential.’ She smiled at her display of competent English while nodding and hands pressed together in a wai.

Slightly puzzled by her burst of clear English, Nick wondered her origin.

Waving in the direction of the exhibition, she said, ‘Go now… hurry. Time no wait.’

He was granted entry into the Ancient Singapore display and avoided explaining the free entry day to the doorman.

Having entered the recently built and inspired construction, with many levels having branching off points leading from the circling ramp as it descended from a height equivalent to three stories.

Singapore National Museum

Thursday 8th Nov 2018

National Museum of Singapore-
National Museum of Singapore-
Stairs-National Museum
Stairs-National Museum
14th-century-settle. Diorama Museum
14th-century-settlent Temasek. Diorama Singapore Museum.

Journal

Second Visit to see the "Stone"

Today I have visited the Singapore National Museum for the second time. A number of years have passed since first time I was directed to the domed building by the school teacher I met at The Asian Civilisations Museum.

  On my first observation I attempted to photograph the puzzling rock. I have not deleted the futile blurred image. More modern art than historical investigation. This time it had been added to a new display and set at the entrance to the “Discovery Exhibition.”

Having entered the recently built and inspired construction, with many levels having branching off points leading from the circling ramp as it descended from a height equivalent to three stories.

Entering the first part of the display and listening to the taped messages with the corresponding prompts and numbers displayed on the floor…

I continued on through to the various levels and was surprised to see the Singapore Stone or a portion of it displayed in the dark room illuminated dramatically by lights. But was disappointed that it was still— as in my previous visit— protected by a clear, but photographically thwarting, reflective perspex. However, this time I had come prepared with practiced technique and a camera capable of low light image capture.

Since the Original Blurred Photo of the Stone Has Disappeared...

This is a Picture of Some Seaweed Instead that indicates the complexity of the network that the Protagonists Nick and Megan face in eliminating Julian Lord-Ekxzion and his destructive dominance and control. Can they thwart his enterprise without being drawn into the corruptive hazardous matrix themselves? If they use the same ancient forces to neutralise his facility, will that cause them to align and morph into the same evil and monstrous beast? Could they hope to operate within, using the artifacts from the same source as Julian’s Proton G-Sphere and eliminate the destructive effects and so bring in a new reality?

Excerpt: "The Singapore Stone" -Draft

Nick examinines the Mysterious Singapore Stone.

Nick entered the room and could immediately sense the strange force encompassing him.  The room steadied and with his grip on reality restored, examined the badly worn markings on the rock. His mate Todd had not told him of any effect that the proximity to the stone had on him. Possibly it was the build up and only in his imagination. Or did he withhold any effect that it caused. It was not as large as he expected. Only about two feet across and less so in height. The Sanskrit-like letters carved in the stone made no sense to him. Peering at it intently he followed the shape of the letters. He could make out the letters ‘b’ in lowercase and a simple uppercase ‘G’ that was similar to English. He wondered if one of the letters could be a lowercase ‘e.’ Even if he could make out the glyphs, he realised that trying to understand it would be futile. He spent a short while wondering what secret this stone possessed –or at least this portion of the original stone. He wondered if the wind and rain over the decades had conspired to eliminate the message. Could it have been some sacred text that mere mortals should not have privy? Did it tell the end of the world…or how to get there? Or some other information that in the wrong hands spell disaster… or enable the possessor untoward power.  

There was no one else in the room. Great, he thought. Moving up close to it he unclipped the cover over his camera lens and because of the glass protection, to get the most accurate image decided to do a manual focus without flash. There was just enough light and with a steady hand he’d avoid any blurring.

Singapore Stone- A Later Clear Photograph
Singapore Stone- A Later Clear Photograph

Excerpt cont...

 Denied a Photograph

An attendant walked in doing her rounds. To Nick she looked like she was pulled in from her usual work as a matron at arms in a prison. She shook her head firmly, waved a finger then pointed toward a sign.  

 “No photography allowed!” In bold print.

 ‘ Damn.’ Closing the case, he lowered the camera and swung it on the strap to his hip as she marched on into the next room.

Journal

Researching the History of Singapore.

Previously it was known as Temasek, and even in the 14th Century it was a prized location for ambitious Empires to covet.

Both Siam (Thailand) and East Javan empires desired to command this lucrative position at the southernmost point of the peninsular. However they found it was impervious in repeated attempts to invade. The prime resistance was the sturdy fort that stood on the bluff overlooking the straits. In 1395 the reigning Shah in a vengeful act made the mistake of putting to death his youngest wife for a trumped up indiscretion. Her father happened to be his bandahara (treasurer) who sent word to the Majapahit Dynasty in Jungala (Surabaya in present day East Java) that if they attacked, he would open the gates to the fort and allow overpowering the settlement and so have his revenge.

Accordingly this occurred, but instead of being resettled by the invaders the stronghold was abandoned and the Majapahit fleet departed back to Jungala as their own empire in East Java was under threat. 

The Sanskit-like script on the stone fragment in the Singapore Museum was suspected to resemble the Kari variation of Java and I began the idea of investigating the historical evidence in Surabaya that could shed some light on the mystery writing. As it happened I had the opportunity to stopover at Bali on the flight back to Melbourne and travel to Surabaya or even Trowulan Ruins of the Majapahit— not too far distant from Surabaya. As it happened, I could not reach Trowalun in the few days I had available, so I visited Mt Bromo instead, with its legacy of the Majapahit empire and Hindu religion. 

Far from being in the wrong location for my research— I had found a goldmine.  

Journal

Location: Mt Bromo - Eastern Java - Indonesia

Saturday 17th November 2018

My Struggle to The Rim of The Caldera

My Expedition to Mt Bromo active volcano

Why would I travel to Mt Bromo in my search for discovering the source of the Implications concerning the Stone?

1394 Invasion of Temasek (Singapore) by the Majapahit ships from Surabaya, Eastern Java. With the belief that the script was a Javanese variation of Sanskrit, and the calculated time frame similar to the inscribing of the stone… Maybe there was a connection? 

I had learnt that in the expansion of the Majapahit Empire, Temasek was a difficult obstacle and was thus avoided after initial attempts by both Siam and the East Javanese forces due to the impervious fort that was unable to be breached… Until an opportune chance arose with the unjust killing of a wife of the ruling Shah of Temasek.

Ah, that mover of action… revenge… in this instance by the father of the young woman, who was indeed a man in a position of power. Bandahara (Treasurer) to the Shah.

A message would be sent to the Majapahit king that Tapa would open the fort gates and allow the over run of the fortifications.

Who would deliver the message? Who would be a willing accomplice. Possibly, I could imagine, none other than a young man earlier in love with, before thrust aside by the Shah (who she continually rejected) and who would subsequently condemn this innocent woman, a victim of his other wives, jealous of her youth and beauty, to lingering death demanded by that scheming ugly sisterhood. 

Mt Bromo Visit and Investigation

I travelled by bus from Denpasar in Bali to Gilimanuk and crossed by ferry to Ketapang (Java) and on by coach to Probalinggo. From there I continued by shuttle bus to Comora Lawang at the rim of the Caldera. After a few hours sleep a group of us were rising at 2.30 to climb aboard a 4WD to be delivered at the base of an ascent to a lookout over the caldera. From this vantage point we could watch the sun rise on the volcano.

Journal


Entering through the narrow access, immediately the sandy track steepened. 

I struggled to adjust to the pitch blackness after the lights of the busy road and swept a hand out to feel for the edge as I began the climb. Why didn’t I think to grab my torch. It’s of little use stuck in a bag at the room…

tussok-climb-bromo-view

 …If I started using the phone light to see the track there would be no battery for photos.

My camera’s battery had a short life— but a fully charged powerpack was my lifesaver. However, the 8 hour bus trip back to Denpasar without a recharge by mains would be redlining all my reserves.

It seemed like an eternity that I struggled up the slope, grasping at tussocks of long grass and stumbling to my knees frequently as I missed the path. Actually it was probably less than twenty minutes when within sight of the top, I rested with my arm against the rough bark of a tree. Regaining my breath, I raised my head and could see a mass of lights not far ahead. I continued on upward. When I raised my head again, all the lights were gone. Had I blacked out? No, I was fine. Staring into the darkness with my eyes straining, I could see a soft glow that slowly grew brighter. I was nearing the lookout, and turned, scanning the dense crowd that had now parted, leaving a space where I ascended the last easy steps to the observation point.

In the semi darkness there was a surreal feeling of contagious expectancy. Moving between the groups of people clad in coats, scarves and woolen beanies in the still and cool last moments of the night and the impending dawn, all seemed prepared for an event of profound significance. 

The sunrise had been spectacular and I had some great photographs. I had left the viewpoint (where I had seen the paved broad steps that others had used for an easy ascent!) and after taking the last shots was about to descend (by the rough path that now looked easy in broad daylight) to the 4WD Toyota’s that had brought us here, when I sensed a presence of someone beside me. I turned and drew a quick gasp of surprise. It was her…

Durga Hindu Goddess

Did this young woman have the protection of Durga the goddess and the strength that sustained her through the decades/centuries elapsed since her time in that past life she was betrothed to the 23rd child of Roro and husband?