REPORT A PROBLEM
The streets are dark already. The glass window of the library is fogged up, faces drawn in condensation by poseur-readers bored by their books. The fluorescence from the lamps bouncing off white walls serves as a nice contrast to the dark blue outside; the place literally reeks of rustic academia. No computers, online databases or influence from the dehumanised world, only pages in varying shades of white and yellow, effervescing with unmoderated knowledge from our ancestors – this is as good as it gets. After hours, grab a book, find a corner: you don’t have to leave till it’s after eight.
Spend today looking through old class photos, and recall all the classroom gossip, canteen chatter, and creations of student-teacher scandals. Then encounter upon your childhood crush that lives next door since you were 8. For eight years the two of you were in the same class, but never spent so much more time than a walk home together everyday. Remember her jet black hair and brilliant green eyes, and how she sent you a Christmas card that you never had the guts to reciprocate. Today, cross the road and convince her that that was the bluest Christmas you ever had.
You hate the way your boss stares at your breasts when he speaks to you. Today, arrive at work in a T-shirt purchased at a hippie joint that has a graphic face on the front, where the two eyes are strategically printed right where your nipples should be, and the mouth strikes clean across your belly button. Ask casually, “Boss, how many copies of the meeting’s agenda do you want made?” Ignore his haphazard reply to your chest and smile secretly to yourself as he says, “I never noticed how pretty your eyes were.” He’s finally appreciating your facial features!
How I miss all those email forwards we use to send to each other! How our hearts fluttered each time our inbox had more than 3 unread messages each time we opened them, and we’re shivering with excitement while the page loads our email titled, “FWD: fwd: fwd:Fwd: READIT IT’S HILARIOUSLOLLL”. How I miss whispering a wish under my breath before scrolling down to read the answer, seeing an animated gif prancing on my screen or being assured that I’ll get kissed by midnight. How I miss forwarding it 30 times back to the idiot who sent it to me.
You look utterly disgusting in that off-white, undersized PE T-shirt you’re wearing and parading around school in. Is the faded yellow supposed to make you look like you’ve rolled in the mud to many times to give a shit about looking like you’ve stepped out of shit? Cos that’s exactly how you look like – fresh out of the toilet bowl. You probably smell like that too, but I dare not wander too close to confirm my suspicion. Your pudgy arms look like oversized sausages squeezed out from your sleeves, lumpy and flabby.
Get toned or get stoned,
I’ve always wanted to scribble some message on the lecture-theatre table, something that would garner a response of some sort, doesn’t have to be overblown. It would be kind of like a long distance communication with complete strangers, and I’ll have something to look forward to at every lecture – reading his (or her) response. From a battle of wits, random trivia, or perhaps unintelligible drawings and doodles, the strangest acquaintances will be formed. Of course all the while knowing that your table-pathy partner could be someone close to you. And that the messages could be erased by an OC geek.
“3 days, it’s only been 3 FRICKIN’ DAYS!” Martha ends up burying her face in her hands, and her fingers grasping onto her straight hair. That’s how long her $120 wash, blow, curled locks took to go back to its boring parallelism again.
She shakes her head and gives an “oh-well” kinda shrug, before picking up her 2 year-old infant from the child-seat and heading off to run errands.
Her child was pulling on to the ends of her already straight hair, and shot me a look from the back of her neck, as if asking me not to tell.
I understand someone completely when they describe a person they know as ‘reminding them of sex’. The details of their contours: broad, lean and tan for guys and a small, pixie-like demeanor, average length hair for girls. Their faces are slightly sunken – perhaps after losing all those calories, and their eyes are heavy, yet glazed over by a glassy film, as if they can gaze into your wildest passions. The sordid details of their orgies stank under their very nostrils, and they smell of Dettol, fiery Indian spices and mint when they’re clean. You’ll know one when you see one.
If I were to be able to choose my talents, it would be singing. It’s not difficult to imagine, on a make-shift stage set up in the hot afternoons, singing till the skies
turn dark. And the climatic performances saved for right when the sun turns the horizon into a blazing orange streak, and everyone in the open field is swaying not because they feel compelled to, but because they want to. I want to make people cry and give them that feeling of standing in a 5,000 strong crowd and not be afraid to let it all out.
The skin on his face is slowly flaking away. Everytime I see him, it’s like snowdust on his cheekbones; the wind comes and carries them along. 2 weeks later his face would’ve shrunk to a third of its original size because of this terrible dermatological problem. He would appear stressed, and his cheekbones would protrude obscenely, remarking at his thinning cheeks. So when he doubles his bet during the poker game, think before making comments like, “Such a lousy hand still wanna raise – must be afraid of losing face!” It’s a friendly game, don’t turn it into an awkward situation.
Admit it – nothing feels better than releasing a full bladder which you’ve held on to for the past 2 hours due to inconveniences which prevented you from “going”. The final dash to the toilet, hearing your bloated bladder bounce back and forth against your pelvic bone with each step, the feeling of a water-jet clogged in your urethra as you fumble to unbuckle your belt, unzip, and the initial adrenaline rush as hot, fresh urine emerges at full blast. You would shout in ecstasy but that’s just inappropriate. You enjoy the whole 30 seconds, every drop released is a sensation.
I don’t know what I can’t stand about her. She leans against the kitchen door, head cocked to a side, and engaging in casual chatter with my mother. As Mother prepares for dinner, she stretches her neck to “casually” inquire what she’s cooking tonight, eyes staring intently into the wok. Question after question, she praises Mother on her culinary skills.
I saw her making a sandwich for her children before: a slab of jam on the middle of the bread, folding the bread in two, and smearing the two halves together to “spread” the jam, resulting in a flat sandwich.
I kinda expected him to be there, even if it was late in the night. When you’ve grown to know someone and watch him slowly sprout into a seedling, it’s like it was written in the science textbook – so predictable. Still it was strange – the familarity was mixed up into a desperate distance that has materialised on so many instances, adjusting itself like a music player volume control. The deliberate reluctance to acknowledge each other, pride and self-importance, each refusing to give in. Something was shattered along the way, and we’ve only the fragments to tell us what it was.
Apparently, it’s the trend now to wear big white things known as the “Bluetooth” device on your ear! Maybe it gives you the edge of a busy working man having to deal with calls from clients every other minute (read: I’m successful!). But your booming business is not so evident in the way you sat there throughout the entire meal, eating and talking to the people at the table. The device you attached to your ear that screams, “Time is money! I’m too busy to talk to you!” makes your complete lack of phone calls ironic. It’s stupid and ugly.
I love it when I go through an album I’ve had for a while and come across a song that makes me go, “Wow, I didn’t know this song was nice!” It’s a nice feeling, like wakening to a different drumbeat, and getting hooked onto the rhythm. Like finding a new dimension to a forgotten memory. Whenever someone tells me a song is nice, I liken the feeling to visually perceiving a fresh and clean face. Easier to envision a guy I guess, the whole shaved and glowing look. Girls have all that hair over their eyes to hide behind.
Coincidentally today I saw a very clean-looking girl on the bus. Her face was glowing; the moment she stepped on the bus it was like the light reflected off her and radiated brilliantly off the maroon seats and grey interior. She smiled and it felt almost sinful to look at something so beautiful. She sat in front of me, and stared out of the window the whole time, in deep thought. No MP3s, handphones, or chattering friends. Absolutely independent, cruising through the bus ride in her own mind. Is it possible to be thus blown away by a random stranger?
It was the little sparkle that made me smile today. The typical jock sitting in front of me during Chemistry lecture had fallen asleep slumped on his seat, his notes slumped on the table. The girl beside him took one look at him, quietly pulled out his lecture notes from under his comatose hand and filled out the blanks in the notes, after which she placed back gently under his unaware hands. When he woke up 45 minutes later, she asked timidly, “Are you okay?” and he responded with a nonchalant nod as he stretched his arms.
My heart melted.
There really are some people sticking around planet Earth sapping natural resources that should just disappear. “Disappear” being a euphemism for “get lost and die”. Do not mistake this as a symbol of vice. Seriously, these disruptive teenagers who do absolutely nothing for society but cause worry and anxiety in people who fear to be caught in the collateral damage when they start “angsting”. They curse their own parents, they destroy their bodies and their future, their children (should they even have any) would be devil spawns. Their shameful portrayal of humankind almost begs the question of their own existence.
Mornings like this are heavenly; post-dawn showers, the chill of the previous rainfall not warmed up by the sun yet. The puddles in the ground, like blotches of ketchup seeped into black tablecloth, but not quite enough to create depth and drench your shoes as you step into the wet spot. Suck a breath in, and your nose clears immediately, and it feels dry and icy (the best feeling in the world). A woman sitting on the pavement, waiting for her child’s school bus, using a broken branch to attempt splitting a fallen flower open: a moment of accidental over-zealousness.
Boy with hair like the sun – when are you ever going to settle down? When are you going to hold on the something or someone and decide to never let go? Home is when the day ends, and the entire chorus starts their harmony, “So come on…come on…” When the people invaded the room today, did it not feel awkward, like you had to pack up, and move along, like an accidental tourist who’d overstayed his visit? Just when you were getting comfortable, it’s time to move along. Drop the pillows, leave the keys behind you.
It starts with goodbye.
Suddenly the children started screaming at a flying object, and then pointed to it as it came to rest on the front door of my grandma’s house. 3 of my relatives turned to each other, realised their thoughts were linked, and smiled in reassurance. A few words were exchanged for the unenlightened ones – apparently my grandfather had come to visit in the form of a green cricket.
And tonight was the night my grandma decided to clear up the room and return old belongings to my relatives.
Thus it was all done under the watchful, unmoving eye of the cricket.
Today I saw a girl wearing the “I am slutty” T-shirt I saw from the window display at New Urban Male. I…I didn’t know what to think. It was like sliding down the short spiral of a fusilli pasta, a girl wearing a shirt with a print that describes a guy wearing a shirt with a print that which seems to be describing a girl (forget the term man-slut for a moment). The ironies were piling up in confusion. “Man trapped in girl’s body”, “transvestite” entered my mind.
But ultimately, wearing a men’s tee saying “I am slutty”?
Little events in Lecture Theatres are making me smile a lot this month. Seeing the boy in front of me suddenly drop his normal demeanor and rub his head uneasily as he sits next to the girl whom he’s fancied for a long time but never gathering the courage to tell her. The sudden softness in his face, timidity in his voice, and sheepish-ness of his gestures are both hilarious and heartening at the same time. But naturally, tragically, the smiling girl was oblivious, and he shifts his glasses, ruffles his hair, and tries so hard to ignore her sweetness.
He won’t do anything today. He told himself that while sitting under the cherry tree, watching the birds in flight chasing the sun. And so the world came to an end, and the final picture he had of it was the cherry blossoms swaying above him. I wasn’t doing anything, he insists, and this huge thing just fell on us and I was caught in the collateral damage. So now what? He’ll continue doing nothing, because he was afraid that if he had new thoughts, the final picture will disappear in his mind, like a dream does in the morning.
Why does no one appreciate the time capsule concept? Sure, it’s not totally original, but who’s saying that it is? I seriously want to kill those people who refuse to film and instead, choose to stand outside whining, “OMG I DUNNO WHAT TO SAY”. Shut up, sit down, you’ve one minute, so stop wasting my (and others’) time. Surprising and pleasant are the quiet ones who only say a few words before filming, but pour out painfully honest accounts of their lives and emotions. Ten years later, I look forward to seeing their triumphant faces and the woes of others.
Why do I find it so hard to accept the fact that it is 100% ALRIGHT to smile at strangers? Regulars on the bus whose homes and destinations I know too much about – what’s wrong with giving them an acknowledging courtesy? There has to be something fundamentally wrong with the fact that it is fundamentally wrong to smile to people you’ve never exchanged a word with. As the bus door closed I took a quick peek behind, only to see empty seats behind me. Yup, smile directed to me, but totally bounced off my elite and uncaring face. -hates myself-
I totally believe in karma. Yet I don’t know if what I’m doing here, flaming all these nameless people, is considered hypocritical. I’m not sure how people let it all pass. All the crap that we see in public, in the world today: why do such people exist? And most of all, why are most passer-bys freaking oblivious to their incredulous stupidity? Has everyone gone numb that it’s now “normal” to see people behaving like total shiteads? Have parents come to accept that their children will forever be branded as the liberi fatali of our era, the contradictions of evolution?
Maybe I’ll become a photographer when I grow up. I won’t have the obsession and eccentricity of most of such self-proclaimed ‘artists’ though. I won’t carry around my heavy technical gear and looked all equipped and ready to film a documentary. I won’t bend over in the middle of a crowded street without warning and freeze in front of my specimen for 10 seconds, before clicking away furiously. I want to travel the world capturing various aspects of culture and life, people and faces mostly. All I’ll have with me is my passport and my trusty camera phone. (K810i ftw!)
Finally cleared up the truckloads of worksheets and cleaned my room. Work from term 1 is filed and put away, ready to be whipped out and referred to with little hassle. My table looks even bigger when there’s nothing on it, and my room regained its look of a showroom in Ikea. I realise I am unable to focus on a cluttered table or room. I tried pushing everything off the table and studying once, but ended up spending the whole day clearing my room. It’s strange, but I recall better habits from myself. I even found a sweet wrapper.
Tonight was spent laughing, amongst many other things. Hiding the fact that we’re no longer relevant, no longer in power, trying to leave all the sadness aside just for a while and laugh the night away. People falling face down on the floor of their own house, random conversations in the middle of the night amongst 13 strangers from completely different worlds coming together and forging the strongest (and most dysfunctional) friendships. 13 different personalities, 13 different pitches of laughter echoing in the dimly-lit living room, 13 different ways to say, “It’s been a great year. Thanks for the memories.”
The Tip Jar