I will be in Boston from 7 to 12 November.

Boston is the only city that I have lived in for an extended period of time, other than KL. Even though I hated the Boston weather, I still feel a close kinship with the city. Boston is a city of great politicians: when I was a student there in the early noughts, the Senators were Ted Kennedy and John Kerry, the Governor was Mitt Romney, and the mayor of Boston was (the lesser-known but no less great) Thomas Menino.

Boston is well-known for its great universities, foremost of which are MIT and the other university upriver which name I have forgotten, and also Boston University, Boston College (a different school), Brandeis, Tufts and Northeastern. The renowned Berklee College of Music is also in Boston. When I was there, the Malaysian saxophonist Jari (Ja’afar Abdul Rahman Idris) attended Berklee for his advanced music degree.

Boston has great sports teams, home to New England Patriots and Boston Red Sox (and also to Boston Celtics, which have seen better days). The Patriots and the Sox won the NFL and MLB championships in 2004. The Sox’s victory was particularly sweet because (1) the Sox last won the World Series in 1918, and (2) they defeated the hated rival NY Yankees in the semifinals. Bostonians were partying like crazy the night the Sox defeated the Cardinals in the 2004 World Series finals. But I remember a greater celebration after the semifinal win against the Yankees. Even the normally dorky environment at MIT turned jubilant that night, with people putting aside their problem sets (temporarily) and going out on the streets to rejoice. An Emerson student unfortunately got shot and killed by Boston police during the celebration:

Boston has a special place in US history — Paul Revere did his famed midnight ride in Boston, and the earliest battles in the US Revolutionary War took place in Lexington and Concord, just outside Boston city limits. Many of the founding fathers of the United States, such as Sam Adams, John Adams and Thomas Paine, were native Bostonians.

All that aside, what I really like about Boston is that the population are really chill and tolerant. There are places in Boston you’d like to avoid after dark, but most areas are safe. I shed a tear when the Boston Marathon bombing happened last year — it was like the city losing its innocence. People couldn’t imagine something like that happening in Boston, let alone at MIT. During the pursuit after the bombing, the bomber ran to MIT, and then killed an MIT campus police. I was hooked on the Boston police blotter feed and CNN throughout the ordeal.

Bal 019k

That was me in 2005, just before graduation. It was early summer, I was hanging out in Boston Common with my pal Irsal Mashhor (apa khabar bro? How’s NYC?).

Looking forward to the trip!


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