The passage of time is a disconcertingly irksome phrase when looking towards the misty future. It is not incorrect, of course. Passage itself can certainly be a sprightly verb disguised as a clunky noun. But all the while it is hindered by the insinuation that there can be no lateral movement: as time moves steadily on, the ensconced victim might as well be in a tunnel, a cairn, deep underground, mouldering, mildewed and stale, lacking any fresh, spontaneous breeze of momentary inspiration. The cloister of time? No thank you.
As such, time is generally referred to in its passage form only when looking back. The past may have been just as misty, but it is given golden clarity in hindsight. Context is crucial here. Context, of course, is what gives any thing, physical or otherwise, its definition: rain during a drought is a blessing, of course, and during a flood, a curse; likewise, excitement during a time of rest, wariness during a time of honesty. A passage is something that needs, perhaps desperately, to be moved through. It has a beginning and an end, but otherwise an ephemeral formlessness. Time’s ‘passage’ makes sense in retrospect only because the end result is now known, for better or for worse. Here it is temporal context that is definitional: My time underground was confusing until, suddenly, I saw the sun; he was always quiet until, one day, he began to sing.
In this work by Htein Lin, the passage of time has wrought an indisputable frenzy. Personalities have clearly made their mark, and are continuing to do so. At the moment, there is plenty of energy and individual motivation, but very little central organisation. Plants will grow without a farmer, of course, but no garden will. The future may appear full-spectrum, but how will hindsight affect this particular passage?