Friday, June 8, 2012

You are Oxford

Walking down Pullens Lane one last time, I say good-bye to the potholes on the ground. I remember a time when I was so afraid to walk down this road at night. Light rain falls, as is right. A woman struggles with her luggage. I walk as close as I can to the side to give her space. A gust of wind blows, and the branches of the trees by my side sway as if they are waving good-bye to me. I can hear them rustle through When You Were Young. The Killers has always helped me with leaving. I walk past the undergraduate halls, down John Garne Way to the corner shop. I buy two packs of cigarettes -- one is a spare. As always. I tell the shopkeeper that it is my last night here. He asks me where I am going. I tell him I am moving away. He smiles and says okay. I walk home, take a long look at the pond outside my hall, open the door to my flat, go into the kitchen and grab a beer -- my last.

We remember, then eventually we forget to remember. I have forgotten what it is to be cold. Through my tears, I will begin to remember. Yes, reader. I do cry. I prefer doing it when I am alone. Sometimes I fail, but I am human after all.

I will forget this place. When I am home, I will forget. That is a promise. I will forget wishing for the hand reaching for my shoulder, asking me to stay. The hand that never came. I watch the trees sway ominously outside my window. I hear my door clatter with the wind. But I will forget these images, and in time, I will forget Oxford.

One full circle. View from my window in Spring/Summer

But we never really do what we tell ourselves to, sometimes, do we?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

On insomnia

Sleepless night? Tried to go to bed at half-past three in the morning but failed to do so? Tossed and turned? Felt like your brain was about to explode with all that thinking? Watched the walls of your room get brighter with the rising sun?

Crawl out of bed and write! I will reach seven thousand words tonight! Well, this morning, actually. Seeing that it's half five and all. Damn birds won't shut up.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

On This River is Wild

Sitting on the no. 13 bus -- it's a little red bus, single storey. Watching life race past, the people, the roads, the shops and the grass.

So I'm sitting on the no. 13, listening to This River is Wild by The Killers. I feel better if I put the video here:

And I'm thinking, this song defines me at this moment:

This town was meant for passing through
But it ain't nothing new

Oxford's just Oxford. Everything will be as is even if I came back here years and years from now.

But then there's that whole zombie scare in Miami:

Run for the hills before they burn
Listen to the sound of the world
Watch it turn

Yeah we must run for the hills, as paraphrased from Max Brooks' Zombie Survival Guide. Brandon Flowers knew what he was singing about.

I don't think I ever seen so many headlights
But there's something pulling me
The circus and the crew
Well they're just passing through
Making sure the merry still goes round
But it's a long, long, long way down

It's a long, long way down. God speed you boy. This river is wild.

Someone told me that that's the problem with people these days. They pay too much attention to the lyrics. Well I must apologise. It's almost eight at night and it's still bright. I'm from warmer climes where dusk falls at seven. Does something to me.

So, yeah. I pay much attention to the lyrics. But if you ignored it, This River is Wild is still a wicked song.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

On leaving Clive Booth

I tend to form attachments with certain places. I get unbearably sad when I leave places I've come to be fond of, especially if I've been there for quite some time.

Eight months isn't very long, but I've become attached to my room. It's a nice little room. It's warm, it's cosy, it's bright. I have people living opposite whom I've taken to spying on, and the view's quite pretty. I love it that the sun has changed direction since I moved in here in October, and during sunset, the light hits my window and I get streaks of vermilion streaming in.

There are so many memories here. I've had two flatmates, both of whom I got along with. I've written (or at least attempted to write) stories. I've been extremely happy and extremely sad (the latter of late). I've been elated and depressed. I will miss this chair, which I was sitting on when I said that conversation's the first thing to go. This chair that can hold the weight of two. The tiny bed that can fit two sleepers. The electrical sockets that don't really make sense. The bathroom light that keeps on blowing. The upstairs people who have bumpy sex. The windows that can't open fully. The view from the kitchen. I know that I'll probably come back to Oxford in the future, but this room I can never come back to.

I must be able to deal with leaving. They say that age hardens you, but I find myself getting more sentimental instead.

Most of all, I guess I am sad about leaving because it will mean that a part of my life is over. Student life is over, and it is time to get back to reality. Someone said that it's as if my room's another dimension. It is. To me, it will always be a magical place -- a little room were memories and art were made.

Flat I4B

Monday, May 7, 2012

On Before Sunrise

I can't bring myself to re-watch Before Sunrise. I don't want to ruin the memory of what had been an extremely good film to me. It had happened with 500 Days of Summer -- I loved it when I first watched it. It was smart, quirky and heartfelt. When I tried to watch it again, I thought that it was trying too hard. I couldn't get past the first fifteen minutes. Unfriend me if you worship the film. French Kiss was also a similar experience. I watched it a million times after a bad breakup. It was very good therapy. Years later, it has become a placebo I no longer need.

Now, trying to write about a chance encounter, I know that Before Sunrise would be the perfect build up to the emotions required. But I can't watch it again. I can't even remember the details of the film, but I just know that when I turned the TV off, I just went, 'Whoa. What a script.' I don't want to ruin that moment encapsulated in my mind. I'm afraid that I might find the film pretentious.

I'll re-watch Before Sunrise when I'm ready. I might just find it as magical as back then. And yes, I do realize that my last post was a pretty damn long time ago.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Because I didn't manage to submit my poem in time...

... for class, here it is.


i watched your shadow

in the long evening sun

golden and black

i heard your laughter

as your shadow grew wings

and flew away

when the sun went down

we walked

when your skin turned blue

we walked

when my skin turned cold

we walked.

My hand in your pocket

you spoke of great things

i smiled and nodded

don’t burn out

keep your shadow

don’t burn out.

Friday, March 2, 2012

On smoking habits

Who else does not drag their first puff of a cigarette, but instead, after lighting it, immediately expels the smoke? I don't remember when I first started doing this, nor the reason. I've been smoking for so many years. It's one of those habits you acquire along the way, like keeping your lighter in the cigarette box, or always having a spare box at home, just in case.

When I started smoking, I was so afraid that the smell would stick to my fingers, so I devised a new way of holding my cigarettes. I'd hold it like a joint, but inversely, so the burning end would be facing me, then I'd turn my hand around so that my three remaining free fingers would be cupping the side of my chin whenever I took a drag. Sure it looked ridiculous, and sure a number of people commented on it. The exes I went through during that period were not particularly fond of it, but did I care? Anyhow, I realized that my mom wouldn't sniff my fingers, so I stopped doing this eventually.

I used to hold the lighter well away from my face when I lit it up, then slowly brought the flame to my cigarette. Pretty sure my close friends would remember that habit, because they still bring it up once in a blue moon when we're all talking about my peculiarities. I guess I've always had a fear of getting my eyelashes singed off by an unruly flame. I also stopped doing this after a while. It's not very effective when there's a strong wind blowing, and it's a waste of lighter fluid.

I chain-smoke when I'm in a social situation, which is why I tend to be a hermit.

And contrary to popular belief, I will quit smoking one day. Someday.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

On the mother of all dream quotes

As he lay with his head on my lap, hurt eyes looking up at mine, he said, "I don't mind if you fool around, as long as (you don't let me find out)."

Brain, why you give me weird, vivid dreams.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

On my bed (Y U NO PUN)

I have realized that it was not the banality of William Boyd's Restless that constantly made me doze off. It's my bed. Today I tried reading Stephen King's Gunslinger whilst lying on my bed, and promptly fell asleep. Me, falling asleep reading Stephen King. That's like fish walking on land.

Wait, what, they do?

Oh damn.

Me, falling asleep reading Stephen King. That's like ... something unimaginable anyhow.

I think my bed is packed with, well, germs, definitely, but I prefer to think that it's packed with a load of sleeping powder. You lie on it and BAM you're under. The very thought of it actually makes me drowsy. And it's just me. This bed and I, we have a very special relationship, alcohol notwithstanding.

This has been a post written by someone who is neither here nor there.

Friday, February 10, 2012

On opening a Malaysian pub

Because there are simply too many German/Irish shit pubs in Penang.

My partner and I will call it BUBBA CHILLS. It will be at Kelawai Road, right next to Gurney Paraporn. Well, somewhere near that vicinity anyhow.

It will have records of classic 60's and 70's bands/singers all over, and it will play the funkiest tunes of the hey-days of rock. If anyone wants, and if they don't play shit music, they can play live at BUBBA CHILLS.

Smoking will be allowed. Matter of fact, it will be an absolute must.

There won't be peanuts served, but prawn crackers. Less messy.

We will serve good old pub food. BUBBA GRILLS. None of the inedible spaghettis and whatnot. We will serve steak, bloody and true, with a good serving of chips. We will serve Ramli burgers for just twice the price. Fish and chips, none of that Dory shit. We will serve you fish from the market if we have to!

Partner has requested for desserts. BUBBA DESSERTS. Doesn't exactly rhyme, but I haven't come up with one yet. Best I've got right now is BUBBA MEALS. For lunch, you know. Pretty neat.

And our beer will be inexpensive. None of the unpronounceable German stuff. We will serve you manly beer! Tiger! Anchor! And if possible, Buds and Red Stripes and Fosters. If you want expensive beer, go somewhere else. We just aim to get you tipsy and happy.

Now all we need are investors. Call me.