Youngest kid of six with an inferiority and black sheep complex, but determined that God saves not just his soul to heaven but the remainder of his manic-depressive life, so others won't say he became a Christian and remained a jerk.
i won't be transparent before i'm opaque. and you'll get to know me starting from the small things: who my favourite bands are. what kind of movies i like. who are my heroes.
I’m convinced that when confronted with sincere, real love, the Jesus factor will become obvious. But let’s not plant the cross before we carry it. I’m not trying to con you.
Some dreams are meant to be achieved. I know that. But maybe other dreams are meant to drive us, privately. Never known to anyone but ourselves.
It is a sadness that, when choosing between crying and sighing, will choose sighing. I'd almost say that melancholy is being sad about sadness itself.
On memory and nostalgia
It saddens me when life moves forward and people decide that certain things are worth forgetting.
I've learnt that the word irregardless is filed as a non-standard word in the English language. That's a lexicographer's way of saying it's not a real word.
Crowds are fickle things. So when we stand in the thousands and cry against the present government, do we know who we're actually crying for?
People always want the best for themselves. But I want to sometimes take second or third or fourth best, just so that the loser down the road doesn't always have to come in last. It must feel like shit to always come in last.
On growing old
Leasehold property make me feel sad. It doesn't matter how old the family photos are that you put on your wall. It's your family but it's not really your wall.
I ask you, if God loves everyone, and if God is also incapable of loving evil, how can there be such a thing as an evil man?
On a daily basis
One line quips, like this.
Monday, May 22, 2006
When I was ten, we had Physical Education (PE) in school once a week. Whenever we had PE, we’d have to have a change of shorts and singlet – usually in the colours of our sports house. But it’s not easy to change into shorts in a boys’ school. Some kids can make things complicated if you change in front of each other, and without proper changing rooms, the only other alternative were the perpetually wet toilet stalls, wet with what I never wanted to know.
So I used to wear my sports shorts under my school uniform shorts. I was in green house, so I used to have green shorts underneath the dark blue uniform shorts. I did this for about a year. Sometimes, if you’re not careful, your sports shorts might actually be longer than your uniform ones, and when this happens, it’ll stick out like a hem. It used to happen to some of us, but nobody really cared. Where it did happen, it was only once a week, on PE day, and even then, you knew exactly why the boys chose wearing their sports shorts underneath instead of all the other options.
There is a breed of teachers in primary schools who are decidedly cruel. For some strange reason that may or may not be connected to low self-esteem, these grown adults like to pick on innocent defenseless young children and humiliate them. I’ve seen many in my time, and one of them – not the worst, just one of them – was an English teacher called Mr Ho.
The teachers have a table in the canteen that is the teachers’ table, where they all sit during lunch and talk about politics or whatever. It’s quite near where the kids sit. One day, a PE day, I was just walking by the canteen when Mr Ho called me. I was ten. When you’re ten, you don’t talk back to teachers, you completely respect their authority over you. Mr Ho summons me to the teachers’ eating table full of other teachers. Some were my teachers, some weren’t. Some I had impressed in school, some I was dying to impress.
“Fergus”, he tugs at my shorts. “Why is your Sunday longer than your Monday?” and he laughs. The other teachers watch on.
I knew something was wrong. I just didn’t know what. I don’t remember what I said in response, but he made his figure of speech ten-year-old friendly.
“Why is your inside shorts longer than your outside shorts?”
I think I said “It’s for sports”, but I didn’t even dare to go away until he dismissed me. I knew he wasn’t dealing with it from a disciplinary position because he didn’t care. He laughed with the other teachers and sent me off.
I felt so embarrassed that day. I didn’t know where to put my face in the canteen, and for the rest of the day, I didn’t know where to put my sports shorts either. At that time, I thought it was the prerogative of any school teacher to humiliate students like that – in spite of my parents lodging the odd complaint or two about some terrible teachers, I still grew up with a sense that a student had little protection to all the small things that cruel teachers wanted to do to poke fun at them.
Today at church, we had a young adults session that involved going back to past hurts and reconciling them. I’ve worked through a lot of my major hurts already – from being unfairly forced to reach school late, and getting punished for that, to being cross-dressed as a child and getting laughed at – and so from the depths of some long forgotten past, this small incident came back so clearly today.
Why is your Sunday longer than your Monday?
It wasn’t monumental. But as the years stacked on, and as I slowly developed a poor self-image right into the throngs of uni life, only God knows if Mr Ho’s cruel words played no part. As for me, today’s resurfacing of this incident will mark the end of my hurt.
To a Mr Ho who thought Std 4, 5 and 6 English in St Andrews Primary School, Muar, Johor in 1990, thin man with crew cut hair and a deep voice, to you, whether you’re reading this yourself, or if your children who are now college students are reading this, or if anyone who knows of you is reading this, I forgive you. You probably don’t know that your words hurt a 10 year old boy really deeply, but they did. Nonetheless, you’re off the hook now, because I’m forgiving you, and I’m filing your callous words somewhere between “spoken without thought” and “spoken under the influence of some demon” – no, I’m really serious about this. I really forgive you. I hope you’re living a fulfilled life as a retiree now, because I somehow suspect that in the early 90s, you musn’t have been a very happy man. I also hope that you’ve become more of a man since then. Because the boy you made fun of is now a man. So I hope you’re one now too.
Labels: gender, identity, society
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