National Stadium, Singapore, 17 April 2010.
With S. on my right, two other members of the motley crew on my left, and the band all over the place, I sang, screamed, banged balloon sticks together, waved, clapped and jumped some.
Never mind the horrendous heat and humidity, never mind we didn’t know some of the songs, never mind that our shoes were steeped in mud; we will gladly do this again.
The concert was awesome. Even without the fireworks, fancy lights, fantastic graphics and stage, and confetti, I think we would still have been very high. We would still have been very, very satisfied.
And that image of us seated by the roadside waiting for our ride, having a post-concert singalong interspersed with conversation…
(taken with the iPhone)
From a height, Tokyo, Japan, November 2009
I don’t do well for birthdays. I forget, or sometimes, despite some effort at remembering, I don’t manage to make wishes and/or presents materialise in good time. And in the spirit of such patchy brainwork, it just occurred to me that this coming Saturday will be someone’s birthday.
Someone who doesn’t need me to celebrate his birthday anymore. Someone who, if he were still alive, I may or may not have attached import to the day (on the day itself). I think I am the sensible sort. But sometimes, the night gets to you, and some thoughts that run into your idling mind take root and spin a few circles before they’d leave.
I remember the words that came to me that night in November, just before I flew off for Japan. As they go, these moments come suddenly. That was me tearing at the departure lounge, typing into my iPhone not too furiously. That was me telling myself there’s no need to be this way, and hey, who ever managed to type properly while suffering from impaired vision. And then, as swiftly as it seized, that moment let go its grip.
When the day comes, I will be in a rather good mood, I expect. For one, a colleague (affectionately known as “saigang warrior”) will be getting married.
But then I remember another image. The one of Daddy standing at the window, staring into the north. I asked what he was looking at, and he talked about the trees and how they remind me of his carefree days. He was always missing something, it seems, or holding some sadness within.
Maybe, I learned melancholy from him.
Naoshima, Japan, November 2009 [On a bright day while travelling] .
I don’t suppose we were thinking so hard about it, but then April 2010 is good news. [And it isn’t even over yet!] Nothing spectacular, but I am learning to count my blessings.
One. I got my driver’s licence. I am only licensed to drive automatic transmission cars, because someone who was also learning at this ripe age of past-25 told me how manual transmission cars can be a pain to learn. Yes, yes. [Privately, I also believe in age dulling my reaction time, but no one really want to believes it.]
And lackadaisical as I am, I am pleased I didn’t take longer than a year from the time I first signed up. I am really glad to be over this rigmarole. I know it is not a big matter and my cheer is probably somewhat laughable to my friends who have had their driver’s licences for five, ten years already.
Two. My sister managed to get a placement for a teaching post that will mean a year in Japan for her. Who knows what it will entail, but it is a good opportunity, and will undoubtedly be a good experience.
My little sister has done good for herself, and on a certain level, I am somewhat surprised that she had chosen such a course of action. All I did was to proofread a “Statement of Purpose” and crossed my fingers for her. She had to pass through so many rounds of selection, and I have no doubt she presented herself very well.
I am very happy for her. And proud.
(OM2N + Superia 400 film)
We are on the train from Salzburg to Vienna. Snow blankets.
Maybe, if I were a person of deeper passions, someone who felt the lows more acutely, or experienced the anger more deeply, I would be able to come up with answers and/or achieve resolutions more easily.
But I am not. I am the cool, detached person prone to over-thinking and internalising. I let snow fall and accumulate, and then am only given to action when I discover that I am snowed under and some shovelling needs to be done.
(taken with the iPhone)
Innsbruck, Austria, February 2010.
Oh, look into eternity and ask for a fresh beginning.
(OM2N + E100G)
Salzburg, Austria, February 2010
One suddenly exhaled and said he wanted to quit, because he didn’t like the person he had become. I said I knew that point very well. As the years pass by, the tendency to judge (anything, anyone) increases. Your writing becomes too simplified (a strange inconvenience), and you live life like a question-asking machine (and how many people can appreciate that, even if to you, it is purely a matter of pursuing logic).
The other simply teared, suffering from testiness which appeared to me to have resulted from a confusing mix of expectations and feelings of entitlement.
Yet another lamented that, “I am not her type. I think she wants someone with his head in the clouds, someone to dream with her, someone cool enough. Look at us! We have this day job, and we are so much a part of the Establishment.” (or words to that effect) I comforted him by saying at least there is someone to bring the money home.
Oh, I feel it all.
This has been a very strange two weeks. Maybe there is some cosmic weirdness upon us that we hadn’t detected.
Sigh. Maybe I should be glad that March is over.
(OM2N, on Provia 100F film, converted to B&W)