Which Train Are You Taking?

Life is a train trip toward death –
the destination indiscriminate to anyone;
The view along the way is what matters,
and the symbiosis of you and the others.

When I sit on a train I look out the window. I get excited when there is something interesting – new landscapes, animal fights, unusual weathers, etc. The view outside keeps me awake if: 1) it keeps changing; 2) it’s my favourite view that I never get tired of.

At the same time, inside my cartridge there are people both good and bad. Some of them are interesting and I enjoy talking to them a lot, while some are so boring that I stop talking after a very short time. Many things may happen inside the cartridge, either involve me or not. They may be fighting and I need to stay awake to stay away from danger to myself; or they may be playing a game that I’m interested to join. But if everyone is sleeping, my concentration then will be only on the outside.

If nothing is interesting, neither inside nor outside, I will then fall asleep. And the next time I wake up again I would be so sad to find myself reaching the final destination already – my journey is over. I’m dead. I only lived the short period when I was awake.

Therefore, what I’m trying to do on my life’s train is to stay awake as much as possible therefore make the active engagement time as long as possible. And that depends on how interesting and variable both the view outside, and things / people in the cartridge. 

The view outside represents the vibrance of life (countries, cultures, natural environment, stages of life, social status, etc.). Whatever inside represent people and society closely related to me (which may also change, people can move from cartridge to cartridge if they want, but most choose to stay on one seat). 

When we started off the journey we were put on a train chosen by our parents. When we grow up, we may get off that train at any station and transfer to another one that we predict we would like better. In the end, birds of a feather flock together. We meet people that chose the same train with us. People who chose the train called ‘Always Spring’ sits peacefully on their seats and slowly fall asleep one by one, after taking some beautiful but never changing pictures, and gratefully thanking god for giving them a peaceful life. People who chose the train called ‘Tropical Island’ may experience storms, drizzles, scorching sun, warm sun, big waves, calm water, etc. And they put on music in the cartridge, planning lots of activities everyday… It’s all personal choice. Many like to sleep on the train. Others like to make every second count. There’s no right and wrong or good and bad. 

What we just talked about is only the ‘normal’ world, the ‘regular’ trains. There is another kind of trains – the Express, named after ‘Discrimination’, ‘Nationalism’, ‘Pollution’, ‘Climate Change’, etc. Express trains don’t stop at any station, there is no possibility for passengers on these trains to transfer. So, who are on these trains? Some black people, some expats, more and more animals and plants, etc. They don’t have a choice for other trains. They are put on the express trains the second they are born. These trains goes a straight line – the shortest path from birth to death. All they see outside the window are endless storms. The clouds are so thick there is no sunshine coming through. Which means… basically they can’t see anything. And inside the train, there is panic, self-loath, sorrow, anger…

A good news is, we humans are the ones that are capable enough to change the ratio of normal trains and express trains. Right now, more and more express trains are seen running on the rails. If we don’t actively control that, perhaps in a few decades there will be no more normal trains. The Express should be destroyed. Rooms should be made on the regular trains for the disadvantaged, for the animals and plants. Give them the rights to choose their own trains as we do.


I always say my anxiety comes from not enough time to do all the things I want to do. However, after this train of thought I gained new perspective. Oh the joy of speculation. Since my choice is nothing like ‘Always Spring’, my anxiety emerges when things are not changing, when I get bored. I don’t want to be falling asleep, which means shorten my life. Therefore, it’s not that I’m worried I don’t have enough time to do all the things I want to do, but rather, it’s not interesting enough – the vibrance is not enough. It’s a representation of subconscious fear of death.

To further develop this metaphor, I think in a sense, some people don’t even want to stay on the train all the time. Because they are consciously aware of the destination most of the time and they don’t like it. They want to escape. They pick a station that they like to get off, then start to wander off the trail to explore the area that they like. Typically for females, they may have some friends who made the same choice at the beginning but one by one they decided to return and take the next train. They lost connection little by little, because the girls are more likely to concentrate in their little families and disconnect with old friends, unlike men. And the few females left become solo travellers. For males, they seem to keep in touch with their friends on the train quite well (easier for men, which is unfair – another reflection of traditional gender discrimination), which psychologically made it easier for them to explore for a longer period.

However, there is one misfortune in this metaphorical journey – if you intentionally chose to walk, you will still get to the destination at the same time with the trains. 

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