Tara Jadwani-Bungar14 August 2017
The word ‘wilderness’ conjures images of towering trees, forest paths, bubbling brooks and open skies. There are no buildings, no signs of human habitation, and there is a stillness or silence punctuated only by the wind, birdsong or animals scampering over leaf litter. This form of wilderness is linked to a longing for a life that is more in touch with the natural world. At the same time, this wilderness, in its emphasis on pristine, untouched nature, excludes human beings. How can we exist in wilderness if our very presence alters it and makes it less wild?
Singapore, 2012: Kannan, my uncle, dies aged fifty-one. Cause of death: myocardial infarction – heart failure. But the disease that ravaged his lungs and consumed his body goes unmentioned. My uncle’s tuberculosis (TB), contracted on a working-trip to India, went undiagnosed for 10 months.
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