2 am musings

My state at 2 a.m. is blatantly not the best – my mind not the clearest, my fingers not the nimblest, my emotions not the stablest. Today’s piece is probably one of the most fragmented compositions I have ever made, but I’m not regretting it, at least not in this state of mind.

A close friend of mine is currently tangled in some emotional mess – relationships that weren’t meant to be, she said. His version of the story, of course, lamented the girl’s situation, showered her with compliments on the way with his sorrows. {Does it really matter who is who, or which gender pronoun is used in this? I pondered.}

{Does it really matter who is who, or which gender pronoun is used in this? I pondered.}

Would their love work regardless of the problems identified? Should practical concerns, like long distance, wacky Skype calls, periodic returns be of importance?

I certainly have no say nor the experience to say yes or no towards their decision to split – nor can I say for certain that the reason for splitting was an idiotic one. Afterall, who am I to judge?

She or he might meet up one day. On the streets. Under the casted shadows of the night. Probably he would be drunkenly stumbling. Maybe she would apologize and take a left to the caliginous space he never seemed to like. Maybe she would go pat him in the head again, just like old times. Maybe, maybe not. Who knows?

Hope is what he can grasp on tightly for now. Her hands enjoy the thorns of roses.



Trying to be poetic (2) – Tenses (1)

Some say there is nothing more heart-wrenching than the future.

Seeing you dissipate into the obscure crowd as people and time pull us apart; Tasting your frosty, bitter goodbyes; Hearing the screeching wind past us by as you took a step back; Letting go of your hand just like your heart has let go of me; Wondering if the warm California sun would melt away your frigid demeanor; Handing you a suitcase void of memories – as if you were the occasional tenant in someone’s life, leaving minor, almost imperceptible scratches on the wallpapers, tiny blotches on the furniture, a faint, lingering scent in the room; Questioning if you thought it was for the best, to clear up room for another occupant, perhaps a permanent one.


Trying to be poetic (1) – Colours of the rainbow (Part 2)

Green: Her words, her fury, her jealousy; His denial, his refusal, his Gallic shrug; Her hesitance, the stains on the face, his calloused palm; Promises to turn over a new leaf, the perennial spring, the fresh smell of leaves wafts up.

Blue: Her sorrows, his misery, they swallow; Shared blue curacao, her pills on the floor, his midnight blues staring into her cerulean ones; ‘Why?’he demanded, ‘I was feeling the blues’ was her reply,the cobalt shades spilling on the floor.

Purple: Her pallid face, her icy hands, the lifeless stare; Fingers grazing against her skin, her dress wet, his brow furrowed; 911, he pressed, calm and cold, stated the facts. The twirling of the red and blue, the alarm bells, the zipping up of the body bag.

A myriad of shades, her demise;

Trying to be poetic (1) – Colours of the rainbow (Part one)

Red: Her dancing shoes, her bold lips, her passionate love; Her warm embrace, her vivacious laugh, her lingering perfume; The way she entices everyone in the room; her red scarf floating in the air, mindless and airy; her fingers trailing down his back.

Orange: The dance hall, the chatter, the swirls; His strong cologne, her sweet scent, the intertwining of hands; The glowing on her cheeks, his hearty chuckle, the curtain call; Orange surrounds them: mellow, warm, dreamy.

Yellow: Sound of the crickets, the chirping of the birds, the lazy yawns; His mustard sweater, her lemon dress, their used highlighter; Some gold in October’s hair, fiery spurts, another blonde comes along; Yellow – the leaves, the flowers, their love;


Dissing: On Tutors

Living in a city where students are forced to fight tooth and nail to secure a place in university – many render themselves as machines that work day and night, going back and forth, to and from tutorial centers to acquire ‘skills’ to tackle the eventual public exams.

As the conventional type of student who, under the societal pressure and parent’s expectations, plan to go study in university and embrace a golden future (as they promised) – I go off to tutorial centers as school ends, gobbling down chunk after chunk of information needed.  After years of going through tutorials, I believe I do have a certain grasp on whether or not the tutor is effective in teaching us and providing sufficient material for the subject.

So, on a humid summer afternoon, I went to an English tutorial class in a rather popular tutorial center, planning to acquire and gobble down the skills one can apply in tests/exams (you name it). First of all, the tutor ended up 10 minutes late, unapologetic and went on combing his greasy hair with his fingers. He then resorted to explain his tardiness with an excuse (and I am not making this up) ‘ You students would be late anyways so it is alright.’. I was going to let that slide until he started to play Youtube videos of him doing makeup on a female companion – not entirely sure if that was professional since half of the video consisted of laughter and incoherent phrases in Cantonese, aka not teaching material for a good 5 minutes. Furthermore, us students are graced with not one, but several phone calls that the tutor had to take, without any explanation.

Secondly, his habit of boasting his students and asking about the schools the students attend struck me as a boastful, conceited, obnoxious fool who plans to wow kids by throwing out names of prestigious schools. His handout, which had a coverage of at least 3 pupils who attained 5** (yes, sure congrats), had their facebook pages, marks and essays out. It was certainly great fun to watch the tutor specify that he himself are friends with them on Facebook, that he actually grabbed their shoulders as they took pictures, and that other tutors are bluffing. The thing is, we as students really don’t care about whether the picture is genuine – we care about the methods that can help us with the public exams. His smirk and arrogant flick of the eye as students introduce their school names simply is an insult – coming from a moderately famed school myself, it is facile to see how NOT EVERYONE from a ‘good’ school is exactly excellent in English or any subjects, as a matter of fact. It is simply an obnoxious and preposterous message he is sending: that students from common schools are weaker – thus not a student for the tutor to befriend. The commercialization behind the befriending process is abhorrent and making me nauseated. It definitely doesn’t make me more confident of you as a tutor with your friendly pats on student’s back – it makes me regurgitate as you neglect and demean less-able students when both types of students are similarly applying for your courses.Thank you very much for consolidating societal ideals that students differ in value by means of their results.

Thirdly of all, his tactics and skills taught are nothing but bullshit (bear with me, by the time I’m reaching this length of a rant my anger is consuming me) – counting words essay by essay to teach us exactly how many words a straight 5** student would need to write seems more of a teacher telling Form 1 students how to write. Sure, that could have been crucial information we have missed – but no use for using up to 20 minutes explaining how many words are needed. State it and hit the road. Secondly of all, giving us completely unrelated ideas such as correlating intimacy with pals as ‘adding them on Facebook as siblings’, to me, is completely jaw-dropping in a bad way.

His cheapening of a language is also appalling – but yes, I do agree that the entirety of the education system is pretty messed up in general with Chinese and English watered down to a set of skills and techniques rather than a culture to be appreciated and understood. Students choose to memorize skills, skim read, mechanically copy sentence by sentence rather than to understand the historical background, the ideals or messages the author wishes to bring; Students choose to fit in difficult words between lines in order to score higher instead of creating a lyrical piece that reflects themselves, and the list goes on. However, his level of rendering a language to lines of garbage is beyond imagination: By throwing grammar and spelling out of the window, one can score high marks on the writing papers is EXACTLY WHAT HE BOASTS ABOUT. He cares more about spectacular results rather than embracing the inherent rules of the language itself – because it is not English that he teaches but cheap dreams that he sells.

Plenty of my school’s alumni have applied for his courses, and have achieved good grades, passed exams with flying colours. Not entirely sure how they got it by absorbing tons of rhetoric without substance in his classes, but congratulations for being another cog in the machine for shameless promotion, utter bullshit and pure insolence.



‘I know what you need’ & What exactly is ‘love’?

As I was leafing through one of the best short story collections by Stephen King – Graveyard Shift, I came across a peculiar and intriguing piece named ‘I know what you need’. Long story short, the ever-gorgeous Elizabeth met Ed, an odd but sweet guy who seems to fulfill every single one of her secret desires/wants. With the death of her fiance and Ed’s ability to comfort or mollify her at the darkest hours, they started a relationship that seemed to quasi-perfect.

One of the greatest questions raised in the short, and I quote, ‘He’s made you love him by knowing every secret thing you want and need, and that’s not love at all. That’s rape.’

So what exactly is love? What are the elements that constitute love? Is fulfilling wishes a vehicle of forcing others to fall in love? Is it mental manipulation?

First of all, just to clarify, I am currently single and deem myself as a ‘forever alone’ prototype, thus I am nowhere qualified to state what exactly is love, but am doing so just to throw out some of my thoughts. Love, in my opinion, has a three-fold structure: Passion, intimacy and commitment (we are excluding polygamy in this discussion unfortunately) Passion originates from the attraction between the two, be it mental or physical, also the element that is considered as the rudimentary one. Intimacy refers to the closeness/proximity between the partners, the amount of communication and understanding that flows between the two. Commitment, on the other hand, is about the trust and confidence either have in each other. It should also be noted that loyalty happens both ways, needs both time and concrete evidence to sturdy their faith in each other.

Secondly of all, fulfilling others’ wishes or appeasing the other is, what I consider as, a form of understanding and a way of showing love and care. Yes, a relationship should be a two-way process with both of the participants willing to sacrifice themselves or strive to make the other happy. It is by making both of the people jovial in a relationship, but not one.

In the story, Ed is adamant in making Beth happy, peppering her with gifts, fixing chairs in her beloved positions, appearing in the moments of her life where she needed him. In my perspective, Beth is in need of the emotion support that Ed offers. My line of logic runs as follows:

  1. There is no fault in Ed, whose talent in detecting and deciphering other’s thoughts is natural – his gifts should not be deemed as sin. I think it is an agreeable fact that he has no wrong in possessing the talent that he was blessed with.
  2. Secondly, Ed’s acknowledgement and his actions bring no tangible harm to Beth herself. In fact, Ed is offering emotional support at the RIGHT times, when he knew she needed someone to come by – he actively took up the role of taking care of her, making sure that she wasn’t emotionally lapsing after the staged death of her fiance. As their relationship blossomed, he tried to perfect every little detail: the softness of the chair, the way she liked the house to be tidied, the level of physical intimacy she aspires to have. At her pace, at her liking. Ed never did rush her or force her into being intimate or into a relationship in the first place – as he clarifies, he wanted her to be with him when she’s comfortable, unforced and willing.
  3. Thirdly, his intentions. Sure, he did use voodoo magic to cause her fiance’s death – but one point to note is that Beth herself was forced into marriage with her then fiance, who also stated that she was unwilling and unhappy with the relationship. Instead of allowing her to go with a decision she would regret, Ed used malicious methods to save Beth out of the relationship crisis she was in. Not saying that Ed was right, just stating that he did try his best to cast aside things Beth dislikes, and in coincidence, his best interests are also vested in the death of the fiance coincidentally. One thing we can be sure of is his desire to be with Elizabeth – which has grown since kindergarten days. It is one thing labeling it creepy and unwanted, and another to say that it is a strong, unwavering desire. He definitely never overstepped his boundaries, given that he knew WHAT SHE WANT, and he fulfilled all of WHAT SHE WANTS. By realizing her wants, he gains her love and trust, which in this case, is a win-win situation. It may sound like a contract, but it is of unspoken terms, and furthermore, even if Ed can predict Beth will fall in love with him by doing those actions, what’s wrong with that? Many people endeavor to win the heart of others – some by buying flowers, peppering their crushes with attention and many more other tactics that work. Once this unsigned contract breaks under the condition that Ed can no longer satiate Beth’s desires, Beth can still choose to love him or not – at the end of the day, she is not bounded to Ed, but to her criteria in men and her own choices in everything that Ed is able to perfect.
  4. Fourthly, is it psychological manipulation? If he acknowledges what she wants, and fulfills her wishes accordingly – does it count as forcing her to love him? After all, many people wish to find a partner completing a set of criteria, ticking box after box of ‘handsomeness’ or ‘niceness’. In real life, should dreams be realized, it is an undeniable fact that some can fulfill absolutely every single wish the other has with extreme measures. So what exactly is Ed’s fault for accomplishing everything that Beth wants and needs? I personally think it can only be manipulation when he actively controls what she wants and thinks of, but fulfilling the wishes she thought of under free will is a disparate thing. By definition, Ed would have to change her behavior or perception to things to qualify himself as a cheap, nefarious con of emotions – but he never did. He created an image of himself that was sweet and caring, and as long as it didn’t falter or cease to be true, it is very possible that Beth will continue the relationship since she likes her boyfriends to be able to make her happy – a very understandable requirement. Ed was willing to change himself, to alter his own image to make Beth happy, and there is nothing wrong with that unless Ed uses this image to abuse Beth’s emotions and then reveal a horrific personality later on after gaining her trust -which is untrue in the story. He fit into his character seamlessly and was actually willing and happy to do so, and I see no fault in that.


Leaving (3)

She was fading quickly. The ivory white blended with her gown, the rate she was sprinting tells me that it was impossible to reach her. The distance is too long, my speed was too slow – for some queer reason nature had a way of sucking people into unfathomable dimensions, and she was one of the unfortunate experiments. I was just the control experiment, lacking of any reactants to push me forth. All I could see were the splashes she makes while running; the accelerating pace of her footsteps; the swaying of her soaked hair –

Something protruded my skin. Stabbed, to be more accurate. The stinging sensation rushed up, the sharp pain mangled with my frustrations, overwhelming my nerves. I looked back just to see tiny needles prickling my legs, these tiny objects covering most of my back, forming dots of blood and painting wiggly, irregular streaks of bright red. My vision started to blotch in crimson, the sourness of blood wafting to my nostrils, my thighs felt so powerless and tired. The needles kept sticking onto my skin, piercing my veins and blotching my pale skin with candy red coloration. The red came flooding in, at first drop-wise, then forming a puddle, and further on the road, began to faze in with the water.

It was pitch dark.