Wednesday, 2 April 2008

They Don't Live In Time Capsules

This is a post about stuff related directly and indirectly to 2 friends of mine, who have no relation whatsoever to each other (at least from what I know). This post is spontaneous, as with the thoughts that were conjured from thinking about these 2 people.

One was a JC schoolmate, a soccer team mate and a really all round good chum to me who left for Australia more than a year ago. We hadn't really been meeting up before he left anyway, so it's been a really long while since we last had something to share about, especially if you factor in the 2 years of army as well.

For me, he represents quite a bulk of the people I knew from a much different time compared to now. This sounds obvious, but when I somehow recall the laughs and stupid things we did fucking things up and stuff, it is so, so different it is seriously remote. There were stuff we talked about that I can't fathom myself talking about now (both in the sense of myself having outgrown talking about some of those things, as well as, when taking the audience into consideration, some things only those friends would understand and reciprocate), and there were things we were all doing that I thought would continue... Well, forever I guess. At least, I didn't think I would've stopped being who I was back then.

Yeh I know, it could've been anyone else from a past time who might've triggered these feelings, but that's just what I thought of in successive waves of memories when I saw him on Facebook and added him. Looking at his photos now, it's the seemingly unimportant yet tangible things that define how long it's been. I'm single, he's got a girlfriend now, I'm at SMU, he's studying in Australia, I'm like... I dunno. Playing soccer on and off, doing capoeira, studying in the faculty of social science, having new friends now who are hardly anything like the friends I had last time coming from a neighbourhood school-ish background. And he's having quite an illustrious 'career' as a church group leader. It is all quite fascinating in a pointless way.

The other, much sadder case, is my ex-neighbour. When I was in primary school, she and I used to wait for the school bus at the void deck near the lift. I think she was 1 or 2 years younger than me. We hardly talked - it was our moms who were the bridging factors as always, as they conversed heartily about anything from rising prices of toufu to how school exam papers are getting weirder (they still are when I look at my brother's homework) to their layman interpretations of government policies. I only briefly recall a few instances when I talked to her. There was once I was locked out after coming home from school cos my mom was late coming back, so I hung out at her place for a bit and played some gay toys with her. When we were a little older, like 12 or 13, we were both from Mavis Tutorial Centre, so there were times I spoke to her a little when I saw her around.

But I recall her as a really respectful girl. She'd always call me 'kor', as if her parents had ordered her to do that, or she might've just called me that cos she felt like it or something. And we'd say hi when we saw each other around the block. But then around the age of 16 or 17, I shifted out a couple of blocks away, and I haven't seen her ever since.

Today, my mom bumped into her parents for once in a long while, and found out about her and told me. Apparently, cos she's 1 or 2 years younger, she should be in university by now. She's a bright student. But because she is suffering from a mental disorder, which I would later find out to be obsessive compulsive disorder, she has been stuck in polytechnic for 5 years. Her folks are really sad. And I instantly felt sad upon hearing it because it is really shocking to realise how things have turned out this way.

I ponder quite a bit along the lines of disabled people and of people afflicted with chronic illnesses that severely disrupt their livelihoods every now and then, because it is something that is easy to brush aside simply because it doesn't affect you. It isn't particularly anything specific that I think of - rather, it's just an overarching view that life isn't fair. I see a young guy in a wheelchair struggling to board a bus. I see deaf and dumb people signalling to each other on the train. These people will never get to experience life the way that most of us know, appreciate and enjoy. And the hard fact of the matter is that some of these people, if I were to be sympathetic, hardly deserved any of this. Imagine you were born this way. I'll bring it down to shallower terms for most people to understand. Hell, you wouldn't be able to have a favourite sport. You have half your job prospects removed. Finding a girlfriend would be a real bitch. You might even die a virgin. And half the time you are expected to say positive things like, "it ain't so bad!" Just so that your loved ones, and maybe yourself, would be convinced that you're okay. I'm not saying afflicted people aren't okay. But there are just all these things.

While I know that if we all kept thinking in such a pessimistic manner, none of us would be moving through life the way we should. But this is the perfect challenge to my personal ideal of anything being as bad as you'd only allow it to be. If I were to be afflicted with a disability, would I be able to say so clearly this way anymore? I've always believed that my mind is stronger than my heart, not that I like it this way sometimes, but would this crumble everything that I am?

I would like to meet these 2 friends of mine someday again.

Life is a whim of several billion cells to be you for a while.

Audio Candy:
You Am I - Berlin Chair


Angie said...

Surprise! Hahah. I like this post.(:
I think that although there are so many things that are taken away from people with disabilities, they have a way of looking at the world and a strength of character most of us will never attain, being as fortunate as we are. And that is definitely worthy of respect and perhaps even envy.

Jose said...

hahar a surprise indeed.

i'll definitely agree on the perspective part. it is also perhaps somewhat like brooks from shawshank redemption who, accustomed to years of life in prison, cldnt cope in the outside world and killed himself. but of course im not trying to paint such a bleak picture inasmuch as the extremity of the difference in outlook pertaining to where u are.

it wld be really fascinating to be able to walk the walk in the shoes of the less fortunate.