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Everything you like, I liked 2 years ago. And then having to listen to you drone on about how wonderful it actually is?
I know it doesn't mean much if I learned to appreciate a song 8 months before it started playing on the radio, and subsequently, in everyone's heads; I know it doesn't mean a goddamned thing. I know it shouldn't irk me, but it does. I know I should get off my high horse. I know I should feel nothing, but all I could think of was a nicer way to say, “Been there, done that, bitch.”
If you're going to stop me in my purposeful tracks, you better have a bloody good reason. Here's a tip – do I look like I'm at a stage of my life where I can afford a car? Or a platinum card? Surveys ought to be done via electronic means (go paperless!) and if you need donations, just don a small tin can and I'll know what purpose you're accomplishing by standing there like a roadblock. Spare me the preamble, cut the crap and get right into it. Is that asking too much, or were you trained to waste my time?
List of food products that can be consumed past their expiry dates (tested and survived to tell the tale!):
- Dry baking needs (flour, cream of tartar, sugar, baking powder, etc.)
- Chocolate (refrigerated)
- Potato chips
- Home-baked chocolate fudge cake (refrigerated - enhanced cocoa taste!)
- Combat rations
- Chewing gum
- Ice-cream (on a stick)
- Bottled water
- Cinnamon powder
- Mixed nuts
Additional list of stuff I want to test (and add to previous list!):
- Fruit juice
- Canned food
- Haagen Daaz's Rum and Raisin (the weird smell put me off, but I'll be braver next time!)
Beautiful day today. Over here, that means a temperature that won't make you perspire even while standing still, and a heat that won't toast you alive the moment you step out of shelter. Note: not a common phenomenon.
We don't go out on such days. We crack the shutters to let the air in, turn on a little music, and read by the carpet, a margarita on a coaster. The tunes play through our head, and we hum along. The unfiltered light gives the room a comfortable glow. It's all we ever want, and could be all we ever need.
Young and restless, let us go on a roadtrip to nowhere. First tickets out of this country, right smack to the middle of a straight desert highway, where for the first time, you can see the road you're headed towards miles ahead before we arrive. Run outta gas, hitchhike some, make new acquaintances. Listen to unwritten stories at the back of a trailer, hit 'em and run. Leave footprints in the dust, laughter in the air, and eager hands everywhere. Starve a little, forget your hometown; the people around here come with no grudges. Dance party, the summer lasts forever.
Parents of the world - quite frankly, if you can't control your children screaming their lungs out in public areas, then you should've just used birth control. Or a childcare centre, where the child will be trained to shut the hell up and behave or be forever deprived of his parents' love and forsaken any possibility of their loving embrace. No one really needs to hear foul-mouthed toddlers showing off their new vocabulary to blushing commuters. Such filthy words coming out of such a young mouth. Wake up - your children have no future if you refuse to give a shit.
Sitting on a tank and staring up into the explosively starry sky - the night has never been so beautiful on our side of the world. Roar of the 1500hp engine, the ticklish static in your ears as the signal set beeps to life, along with the previously silent voices of your crewmen in their compartments, sleepily testing the intercom system. Head out of the hatch, feet on the seat, face to the invigorating night breeze. Glancing back to see the convoy lights form up for miles behind like an airplane runway. Does it get any better than this? Not likely.
I know this is important, but it's not easy getting off my ass to get things done. To end my love affair with inertia. To check the boxes in the to-do list. To iron and straighten out my paper-mâchéd body crumpled in a mess every morning on the bed. To face the sun-kissed days and headbutt straight through into this mad, mad world without a helmet. To not scavenge the fridge for expired leftovers, suffer food poisoning and fall unconscious onto the carpet, allowing flesh-eating bacteria to feed on my body from inside out.
You know things are really messed up when you turn on an English channel on TV and see a Japanese movie airing and switch to a Mandarin channel where a blond-haired American rambles on,
without the aid of Mandarin subtitles
. Looks like globalisation is not just stopping at lifting of tariffs - TV viewers have got one coming if they think their air space is immigration-protected! I imagine my grandmother in front of her TV to find the only channel comprehensible to her now stuffed with pretty white boys, and cursing in dialect at the pointlessness of it all.
Forget the sign that says no entry - we're going in. A section of troops, plunging into the darkness of the jungle ahead. We felt it before we saw it - a step and a plunge into knee-deep mud. Few steps later, not an ass was dry, and our mouths spouted filth that befitted the sorry state of our disorientation. Tempers flared. To turn back or to press on. The hilarity of the situation would've been more appreciated, if not for the beeping signal set running out of power. An hour of aimless trudging through a swampland later - who's laughing now?
In retrospect, I didn't hate my entire experience as a conscript soldier. Got to do things I would never have the opportunity of doing in a thousand lifetimes, lived in moments of pure adrenaline and exhilaration that I found myself believing: if I were to die right now, it would all be worth it, having had the chance to feel like
. You learn to appreciate small things that make you smile for the rest of the day. Learn to suck it up, go to bed at night hoping for a less sucky tomorrow. Learn to grow the hell up.
Your reflection awaiting you at the end of your tequila seems tired. You search for fabric - a pillow, a worn-out sweater, upholstery, the frayed edges of your T-shirt and grab on tight, as if sucking out its warmth would be a close substitute for human contact - a thing of a past so distant you can't help but wonder if the rules for it have changed. Is it okay to ruffle someone's hair now? Has the social norm to look away when people on the street smile at you been eradicated? Has it finally become acceptable to smile back?
Each time I reorganise my closet, I would make a silent promise to myself to stop buying clothes for at least the next two years. Yet I find myself here again, fingers caressing the fabric of this T-shirt/shirt/jeans that seems, at this present moment, to have been tailored and made
for me alone. Another perfect fit, another unique design, another snip off my wallet. The sensible one in me screams, "It's gonna end up in your (growing) pile of 'What was I thinking?!'" but all I could hear was the shop assistant asking, "Cash or credit?"
Surprise party for my aunt's 50th birthday today, pre-arranged by my cousins with the help of the entire family. Uncles, aunts, husbands, wives, in-laws, cousins, girlfriends, future cousin-in-laws - a bustle of activity centred around the birthday girl and the 5ft-tall matriarch known as "Grandmother". Kids screaming at Wii, adults laughing hysterically over poker, heated debates over the latest tabloids and/or politics - not everyone can tolerate this level of noise reverberating in a 4-room flat. The newbies shuffle away to a corner engaging in quiet conversation, notably appalled that we do this every Saturday.
It's the 5th time I'm behind the wheel, and still my parents are flinching at every other vehicle that is within a 10m radius of the car. At every turn, every junction, every red light ahead, I have reminders thrown at me from the front (Father) and rear (Mother) passenger seats: Brake now, brake, brake. Watch out for that cab! Slow down, slow down. My father casting shifty glances to the mirrors every few seconds (incidentally, something he hardly does when HE's behind the wheel) and my mother (I presume), grabbing on for her dear life, face green with fear.
Put on that T-shirt; yes, that one which hints of heartbreak and false optimism. Couple it with a pair of jeans and you're ready to strut down the boulevard. Take the sunlight as an excuse to don that pair of kitschy shades to hide those empty-looking eyes. Walk through the crowd like you're a separate entity of your own. Wait for those sliding doors to open, and sashay your way into the retail outlet, pulling off those shades with one hand and ruffling through your thick mane with the other, making an entrance for no one to see.
So there's the part of your life where you go, "What the hell is this? Why is it going to end? When does it get interesting?" Newflash: This is it. It's not going to end. It doesn't get any more interesting than this. You're always going to start the day by waking up, going through random blah that no one but you is ever interested to find out about for the next 18 hours or so, and close the day by crawling back into your hole and knocking yourself unconsciousness for the next 8 hours. It doesn't get any better.
Leave the bourbon on the shelf. For once, let's try to be honest about our problems here without getting wasted, shall we? After all, we're both too familiar with the alcoholic route to our conversation: raised voices and broken furniture. Let's avoid that road this time, and try sitting down and talking things out, like normal adults. Allow our sober minds to speak reasonable words. Words we won't regret after one of us slams the bedroom door and we both bury our heads into a nearby cushion and experience the slow breakdown of a relationship built on deceit and pretense.
Wow, I see your Facebook update:
"Finds it amazing how gossip can spread so fast. REALLY CREEPY."
"Thinks...hmm...the world is so small!"
First of all, any update that seems to be inviting people to comment (because you so-cleverly hid details through so-subtle phrasing) might as well have the line, "ASK ME ABOUT THIS PLS I'LL BE GLAD TO RESPOND COYLY BUT SECRETLY LOVING THE ATTENTION BECAUSE I AM SAD THAT WAY." But to include a clichéd saying, and appear all surprised at the discovery of its truth? My hair-ends are at attention.
Take an inch, give a mile. That's how it's gonna be, isn't it. Like toy soliders standing on different borders of a map, playing out a soundless war on the coffee table with our miniature guns and empty magazines. Slow down, take a free pass, I'll leave this sector unoccupied just for you to have your "alone time". No one's watching, scout's honour. Gather up your defenses, rethink your tactics, and launch another pre-emptive. Let those plastic figurines feel your anguish.
...What's that? Another shot, this time without my defenses up? Sorry, you just haven't earned it yet,
Say what you want: I'm going to judge you. When you wear eye-liner and proclaim that you're totally "pulling it off". When you decide to match it with
colour. When I'm skimming through your iTunes' Top 25 Most Played tracks. When you start off saying something, and then stop yourself suddenly, as if waiting for us to beg you to continue talking about Boring Incident #31. When you pout and say nothing, and end the day with a blog entry riddled with bullshit that makes the cyberspace a little more disgusting with your worthless angst.
Four more minutes, and the spin-dry cycle at the Laundromat would be done. Stick the bookmark in your novel, blink your drying eyes. The fluorescence bouncing off the shiny machines are blinding, so stare at the spinning blur through the machine's glass door instead. Collect laundry in basket, walk upstairs to apartment and heat up dinner (leftover donuts from office this morning). Iron the creases off your shirts and the smile lines off your face. Take long, hot shower. Have dinner over Wheel of Fortune in boxers, and forget the regrets in your life for the next 30 minutes.
3.20 in the afternoon. When the deafening sound of a whirring fan silences everything else in an empty house - that's when you'll see it. The dust against sunlight through your tinted windows. The first book you learned to read, tucked in between the stacks of old Ikea catalogues and National Geographic magazines. The mug with a mysterious tea-stain that never goes off no matter how you scrub it. The blood-stained T-shirt you were wearing on the night in the streets, where tempers flared and bad decisions were made. Your childhood dreams, before reality took the wheel.
Summer child sitting by the water. The photograph has faded over time – the sunlight is now a dull bronze on his freckled skin. With three words written behind, “A simpler time.” When exactly, was this said “simpler time”? Five years ago? Fifteen? When we forgot the answers to multiplication tables and had to tip-toe and stretch our necks to get into roller-coaster rides - how long ago was that? Sleep through our teen years and wake up in our mid-thirties, blurry-eyed; an unaccomplished mess. How long more till the wait for the final push across the edge?
Translating a Mandarin Song 1 (On beautiful imagery lost in translation): Ming Tian Hui Geng Hao. Softly awaken the soul in its deep sleep, slowly open your eyes to see if the frantic world is as it had always been: spinning ceaselessly on its own. As snow descends upon the mountain of desire, setting the hearts of youths on fire, our tears will dry up along with the shrivelling of long lost memories. Raise your heads in search of the wings of the sky and a lark will appear, bringing with it distant chaos and the cruel fires of battle.
Taken by the hand and led by the heart, to a path familiar only to those who have dared tread upon and intrude its solitude. How many souls have stumbled upon this place, seeking redemption for sins committed in folly? 21 and restless: this is how life gives it to you, and this is the only way you will get it. No other way around it: crash without a helmet and curse yourself for forgetting the seatbelt. Good choices come only with age, so until then, keep your wits steady, hold on to your horses, and enjoy the bumpy ride.
Dear Middle-Aged Man,
Insooth, I agree with you whole-heartedly: The view from here is astoundingly beautiful. However, I cannot help but disagree with your method of expressing your overflowing emotions: Singing Cantonese folk songs aloud. You must be aware, after all, that we are both naked and alone, sitting in a natural open-air hot spring, and are no more than 5 feet away from each other. So unless you're trying to serenade me into seduction, I suggest you don't follow me while I depart to hit the showers, before getting my bare ass out of this place.
Wow, I royally screwed up the formatting for my 25th entry. Plus, the Chinese song which I had intended to input (明天会更好) appeared in hanyu pinyin instead. Quel shittiness.
So what I'm doing here is saving entries on Open Office on my Dad's laptop for the last 5 days of the month, since that's the closest to any form of technology I can gather for the next 12 days or so. Sans internet too, just like in the good ol' floppy disk days, when I had to delete pictures on my PowerPoint presentation to make it fit in the "portable disk".
Marty tells me of the hip action and look he wants to achieve by dropping a link on my Facebook Wall (Commented: Why go all the way down there when I can just leave you a video link?).
As the video loads, I hear Beyoncé ordering all the unattached women to the dancefloor. I groaned and closed the explorer tab.
I comment on Marty's Wall: "I am recommending hip reconstruction, which will help you walk. What you're looking for here are dance classes and possibly a sex-change operation (Link to my med school dorm-mate Dr Frank's Facebook page)."
In front of the camera with a 10-second timer, the family was quite a sight - Husband, wife, three children (two boys and a girl). The missus has an unearned swagger, her narrow hips betraying her history of pregnancies but revealing the secrets of painful deliveries and difficult dilations. And here stands the man long as life, and thin as a lie, smelling faintly of future failure. His right hand presses on the small of his daughter's back, displaying his pedigree to the world. Five steady smiles lasting 10 seconds, which all dropped at the sound of the shutter click.
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