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Ladies and gentlemen we have clear sunny skies on the morning of September. August has been the longest month spent wallowing in a mixture of self-pity, fear and absolute dread for impending judgment, a constipating process of trying to feel alive again. Searching for the right words, surviving post-production, recollecting the feelings of having time to yourself at the end of a school day, went home before the sun set. But mostly spent searching; for the right time, the right attitude, and the right things to say.
You can’t find nothing at all, if there was nothing there all along.
It’s been 4 years and that song is still sticking around. That time of the year again when the MSN nicks change to “wake me up when September ends”. Ah the familiar scent of examination angst. Seems like ages since I learnt anything substantial. But I’m learning to enjoy this. People are starting to panic, SMSes and emails are decreasing. My phone hasn’t made a sound for two days in a row, and I’m experiencing the joy of more than 10 seconds of undisturbed silence.
Wrapped in a pullover, staring at my notes under the lampshade on a Sunday evening.
I would pack up and go. It’s different out there, the little island I reside on is but a secure sanctuary, a poor mimesis of the open, diverse and crazy, crazy world we live in. To experience what it would be like to live in my own 100 sq ft apartment, fix my own meals, taking care of boredom by getting out and meeting strangers. Going home to a transistor radio, rumpled sheets, and dusty floorboards. To start afresh on a tabula rasa, where the only reason for existence is the sun in my eyes and wind in my hair.
Commuting catharsis (them):
“Look at that RI boy: so nerdy! *unconstrained laughter (but only because they were in a crowd and being in a crowd made them tough)
(From opposite side of the road) “EH CHIO BU! Ya ya that one is Richard’s girlfriend, you know, A Div B-Ball captain? Ya lah – OEI CHIO BU!” *runs to surround her like screaming fans and not touch her because Richard would beat them up if they do.
Commuting catharsis (me):
Their shifty glances towards my
get-up and avoiding eye contact to my face that says “I AM GANGSTA SHUT YOUR FACE”
Congratulations on getting printed on one FULL PAGE of the newspaper’s Urban section! However, when I actually managed to take my eyes off your picture (which was SUCH A CHALLENGE!) and onto your interview, “Being ‘indie’ means independent, so I don’t wear what others wear.” Then you dialectically claim getting your clothes from “Topman and Zara”, which is disturbing, considering how a billion other people probably get their clothes there too. Did you think retailers produce one shirt per design? Did you think before blathering answers that make you sound like a complete idiot?
‘Indie’ my ass,
Sophie the famous vegan is spewing psychobabble about her “strict vegan” diets again. In that bohemian outfit and big curly locks that “magically radiated a glow after (she) decided to go vegan”.
Vegan is not something you “decide to go”. It’s not trendy nor is it a Nu-movement – hell, the Indian Buddhists have been vegans since 500BC. You don’t see the monks going about floundering their hair and getting all critical about meat eaters and fat monikers.
Her proposed cordon sanitaire to save nature makes me want to shave off all that hair and make a broom, the “natural” way!
It’s all cool if you keep to your own refrigerator sanitized from meat and blood, but don’t go opening up my fridge and judging me by the gross-eries I buy. “That came from the stomach of a pig.” Oh yeah, thanks Miss RealityCheck – before you told me I thought belly pork grew on the sunny fields of underpaid farmers in Brazil. Am I supposed to worship you in your shrine of soy milk (they have
so much protein
!), wanton skins and other tasteless ‘natural’ food now?
Note to self, “For every animal you don’t eat, I’m going to eat 12.”
The sun-kissed showers of rain in the morning.
I remember the girl in the movie, whose only dream at 18 years old was to drive a hundred miles to sink her feet into the Pacific Ocean. It was sensational – the instant connection to the entire world through a mere touch of her skin to the earth’s.
My dream when I turned 18 was to get through a productive rehearsal of a Shakespearean play.
I’m the oyster and she’s the sea; I want the expansive spirit, the eternal youth, and the thirst for adventure and connection. The strong scent of evergreen.
Part of me knows this isn’t about exam stress. As school lulls to a close, I’m getting increasingly impatient spending my time like this. I’m sick of talking to people I don’t want to talk to, looking forward to nothing much after prelims except a new set of problems, and basically the whole idea of school. Dano was right – why can’t we just sleep through the whole 18yearsold phase and wake up when we’re 20? It sucks when you have something other than the biggest thing in your life to worry about after the biggest thing in your life ends.
The lipstick mark on your glass (of half finished water – anything else at this hour and your stomach will act up), the coaster it rests on (hey you’re a coaster person), the warmth of the fur rug you held close to (hinting of your perfume), your watch which you left behind (like always).
Not everyone deserves someone. Someday I will accept that it is okay to enjoy this. The muted and whirring television, the echoing subway lights.
The click of (your) heels against my bricked porch. You’re back for the watch and I rumple my hair (like always).
I’ll be driving and driving, stopping only at the busiest cities to watch people zoom by. I like trying to catch a quick glimpse of a face that belongs to a body which feels like it needs to be moving fast. Probably why I can’t get enough of Tokyo – how calming it is to be the indolent, benign body in the middle of jostling strangers too busy to notice your stares at their direction. In the subway, all you can hear is the bemused shuffling of fabric against fabric and the rhythmic clicking of heels; no one stops for conversation.
40 minutes left.
Looks like I won’t be applying early for scholarship applications. Absolutely hate it when I step out of the examination hall knowing that I screwed up majorly. It’s frightening how every little thing I do now is so much more directly linked to the ultimate purpose. Halfway through the Math paper I went blank for about 20 seconds wondering how bad would it be to apply for scholarship with this kind of academic performance. Whether in less than 2 months time, this is how it would be – the paper doing me and not the other way round.
Random question: to be buried or cremated?
I get my own piece of the earth forever, even after my bones and teeth have turned into fairy dust. But I’m going to have to insist on fresh lilies and roses (with stems and thorns and leaves and all) in three colours: black, white and red to be showered upon my turf twice a year.
No staying put at one spot pour moi. I’m traveling the world. I want my loved ones to take me everywhere. You’ll say the urn was half full, and I’ll say it was half empty.
Glowing and finished
like a varnished surface
of an apothecary table, supportive
and taut. The teeth contrast the tan –
Ivory on bronze, sun-kissed
On a winter’s day, a mannequin’s
Elasticity, clean and speckless
Fresh as an after dinner mint.
The pores were invisible,
yet they spoke aloud
About their ease of breathing, the au naturel
diffusion between the elements and
body through your skin. Moisturising,
Your fashion stylist, and you already
own the latest season and
of first impressions made, radiating life.
The tectonic movements on your face
over the years
Pales the earth to woeful imperfection.
What I’m looking forward to most? Couching in front of the TV like a sack of potatoes for hours with only the Playstation controller in my hands. Oh glorious days, where the sun/rain will make it impossible to go out, and time will be guiltless whittled away by advancing through the storyline of Final Fantasy, the Breath of Fire series and more. I haven’t even finished FFXII and I had already forgotten where I had kept my console. After this I will have a mere month to catch up on lost times before I’m shipped off to serve the nation.
Is that high-nose-pompous-ass-faced walk supposed to delude me that you have balls distended between your legs? And those two lumps at your chest are what, overgrowth of fat cells during puberty? Please, girl, don’t bother. I learnt, with sizable shock, that there are lesbian girls vying for you, crawling on all fours from Istanbul to your doorstep just for the touch of your nether lip. They even bring cakes and pastries, and cry for three whole weeks when the rendezvous is over!
I suggest using some of that cream from the cakes and shaving your girl moustache (GOD you’re ugly!).
I want to be in a enormous library, sparsely occupied by academics who are genuinely here to read. It’ll be cold outside, with a hint of sunshine, and I’ll have a stack of books I picked out from the shelves of a variety of sections in front of me, reading intently. Gathering material for my sociology / culture / philosophy / environmental or behavioral science / literature research paper, taking handwritten notes of interesting ideas. People ask me what I want to study in university – this is the closest I can get to a clear picture for now. Varsity rules.
My face hasn’t really changed for the past 3 years. I look at my childhood pictures and even from there, I haven’t really changed much. The people around me grew taller, slimmer, fatter, and I basically have retained in this mesomorphic build with stumpy limbs and joints. My waist is negligible; after inhaling my food, my stomach is capable of doing things like converting all the fats and crap I consume to carbon dioxide which I simply exhale. Each year adds a few more crow lines on my face when I smile. These wrinkles masterfully disguise the youthful boy below.
It’s the new breed of 14 year old boys– the grungy glasses, patchy tan (which they
can’t perfect), looking bemusedly retrospective yet with hairstyles hinting of punk rock and roll. Hot topics of conversation: hair products (to the extent of exchanging/smelling each other’s bottles of wax when they meet), latest hairstyling tips, taking pictures of each other’s hair using their camera phones (nonchalant; absolutely NO trying to look good on camera, yet snatching the phone to QC the photo after it has been taken).
Also I found a wandering ant in my room. What is up with the universe?!
I HAVE FOUND THE WORD. The word to describe Aoki’s music from Breath Of Fire series, when people ask what’s the difference between Uematsu, Mitsuda and Aoki’s style of game music. (Oh who am I kidding, no one would ever ask me that.) The word is: Jazz. Aoki’s music, even the various battle themes, is way jazzier, funkier and more upbeat than the now conventional orchestral styles. I think most game music were like that, until Uematsu’s FF music style changed it all from all late PS1 games onwards.
Last paper tomorrow. I want to buy PS1 games after this.
When I was young, on the way back from my nursery school, my grandma and I would walk really fast to avoid the gossiping neighbours who usually congregated downstairs at around 12 noon. My impression of her remains as an energetic woman who wastes no time pretending to get along with people she did not give a damn about, ie. whoever does not have her blood running through their veins. She deemed friends unnecessary; the half a dozen menopaused desperate housewives to talk to. Instead, she would tell me everything and I would absorb it all with a greedy ear.
I hate it when someone leaves me a message to “Call me,” and not the state any further details or reasons for the seemingly important conversation. This is especially unnerving when I’m unable to do so immediately upon receiving the message, forcing me to spend the meantime thinking and worrying what the matter is. Pessimistic imaginations unsettle me much and I like to have a quiet mind. Oftentimes the pessimism is uncalled for, but that doesn’t stop the distracted thoughts. Things are ugly when we assume the worst and too often, not good enough when we hope for the best.
I don’t like it when I’m unsure of what I want to do. I want to run away and not look back. I want to lead the exciting yet seemingly unreal lives of the fictional characters I see in TV shows and read about in books. I don’t want this questionable dread, this false feeling of mitigated freedom. They say we have options, but the system chains us down. Sometimes I feel like I’m a circus bear, slowly fattening up to be showcased to the world after I’ve mastered my tricks of excessive pondering and overworking in this meaningless existence.
15th day of the Lunar month. Easily my least favourite Chinese festival – mooncakes and pomelos are hardly tasty delicacies. Yet I recall fondly the school nights when my neighbours would gather and ring my doorbell (I was always the host) after their dinners just when night began to fall. We would grab our lanterns and go downstairs to light what seemed like thousands of candles (from what seemed like infinite stock) around the perimeter of the playground and no wind would tease us. After that, we’d sit close, silent around the magnificent glow, feet plunged into the cool moist sand.
The mornings seem to start later and I don’t get up at night anymore trying to recall chemical equations and the differences between Kantian and Humean epistemology. Been sleeping a lot, and the days are spent watching Desperate Housewives and Heroes, and lying down with music in my ears and lyrics on my lips. Life seems to come to a halt in the transition between episodes and tomorrow, everything’s going off at full steam again. These couple of days have been too slow, and I could use a pick-me-up. Something’s worrying me but I’m not too sure what that is.
Some said the world would end in fire, some said in ice. From what I’ve tasted of desire, fire seems to be euphemistic for “extremely high carbon levels” and “idiotic human behaviour”. Corals were sprouting from the water-clogged pits where the school track-and-field team practiced long jump (and where we secretly built those mini-sandcastles after their trainings). We learnt to live with species of flesh-eating bugs by baiting them with stray-cat meat; I found use for the long, thin knives you got me for Christmas. The ice-caps melted, but we were prepared with our waterproof valentines and permanent transparency markers.
The sky was a lovely peach-pink: a bloodflushed face after exercise, the flesh of a startlingly sweet grapefruit, the colour of wallpaper of a toddler’s bedroom. 7pm supposed to bring dark skies, but there was a strange afterglow – one would need a lamp to read, but stick your head out of the window and the air is coloured with a end-summer-pre-autumn hue; the angelic sight lasted for a whole 34 seconds. The air was crisp and cool, crackling and prickling as it passed the nasal cavity. And if I closed my eyes, the trees would sprout strawberries and cotton candy.
It’s like I’m ramming straight towards the brick-wall of adulthood, without a helmet. I have no idea what’s happening half the time, and can’t seem to take the advice to “focus on today”. It doesn’t really seem like a feasible plan, since my idea of “today” will change drastically in a mere few months time. What am I going to do? Soon I’ll hit 20 and BAM, I’m an adult. Then I’ll be 30 and suddenly, I’m 30 and still clueless about my life. My battery-life on earth is close to 25% already. I want to live a long life.
Yes, another mediocre month. But this one was different – in the experience of new lows. Can’t recall the last time I was forced to think about the impending future, the changes that are gonna take place and the emotions that follow. Things are going to get crazy over here, and I’m trying too hard to hold on. University, scholarships, exams that matter, studying overseas, training to be part of the country’s defense team – this time, it’s all a huge deal. Every decision I make will impact me much more than those I made a few years ago. Angst @ results.
Sudden craving for peanut butter. A thick, creamy slab spread across the thickest and softest slice of white bread, and the stickiness it creates and the delicate sweetness dissipating slowly into every corner of the mouth. Sometimes when I feel like a lump of uselessness and lethargy, I’ll take an ice-cold shower. My shower foam and shampoo scents are delightfully awakening and refreshing. Am finding myself needing that shower more than twice a day nowadays, even when I’m feeling clean. Alternatively, I will go down for a long, long swim and not feel like coming up until noisy kids invade.
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