Wednesday, July 27, 2011

On nicknames

I think most of us have childhood nicknames we'd rather forget, till we meet that childhood friend or obnoxious relative (like me!) who would rather die than to let you forget it. Especially us Chinese, who seem to lack ALL political correctness and give each other insulting nicknames.

I have a cousin, he has a proper name and all, and he's all grown up now, but everytime I see him, I never fail to embarrass him by calling him "Ah Boy". It pretty much sends him back to being 12 and covered in snot. Best thing is, we went to the same university, so imagine him walking along the foyer, all popular and hip, girlfriend in hand, surrounded by groupies. Then somewhere from far behind him, someone shouts, "AH BOY!!!!!" Oh I truly enjoyed the pure embarrassment on his face as he turned to acknowledge me. If I were him, I would have just ignored me and ran the hell out of there, but he's a nice guy and all, and he wouldn't bully his cousin this way. I think this is the mildest nickname of all, albeit a little childish.

Then there's my neighbour, Kevin. We grew up together, buddies and all, and we used to call him "Ang Tua". It's Hainanese for leader or something, except that somehow, the term brings to my mind the image of a turtle. I blame him for it. A more degrading nickname for him was "Mong Kang", which meant something like fool in Hainanese. I still occasionally call him that. Why all the Hainanese nicknames? Because he's Hainanese.

One of the best nicknames for another childhood friend would be "Or Too", which means Black Pig. Why? Because he used to be chubby (think he still is), and he has a very dark complexion. Until today, I still think of him as Or Too, although I have since discovered that his real name is Kenny. He's getting married too, I think. Wonder what his wife would think if she found out his husband used to go by the name Or Too.

And my list of childhood nicknames: "Kau Ka Cheng," which sorta means little destroyer. Then there's "Ito Tan," 'ito" meaning to play, because I didn't really like going to school and all, preferring to play with Ang Tua and my toys. "Junior," which Ang Tua used to call me because I think he had a problem pronouncing his Ls. And, probably the most embarrasing one, "Ah Gu," which means cow, because I was born in the year of the ox. Sometimes accompanied by a low moo-ing. Most used by Or Too, I suspect in revenge for calling him a pig. A black one, at that.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

On Su Tong

The moment I open Raise the Red Lantern, I feel like crying and slitting my wrists. That's what it does to me. I ought to stay away from Su Tong.

Just for the sake of updating my blog.

Anyway, if you feel like falling into a fit of depression, try Su Tong's Raise the Red Lantern. My god, it sure as hell puts me into a mood.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

On being awkward with people I hardly know

I am quite a shy person, really. Refer to below post about making the first move. It doesn't have to be a romantic first move, even friendly first moves have me tongue-tied and unable to make coherent sentences.

Here's an example. Earlier today, I was waiting for the lift with a colleague in the same department. I have never said more than a sporadic 'Hi' to him. The lift arrives. We enter. There is the silence no grave can match. Best thing is, our office lift takes a millenia to move. We wait. I give no inkling that I acknowledge his existence. I stare at the panel that indicates the floor number with the interest one would give when watching George Clooney doing karma sutra position #14 with Scarlet Johanssen. Then suddenly, Colleague decides to make a chirpy first move, despite the fact that more than three minutes have elapsed from the time we waited for the lift to the time we actually entered it.

Colleague: Hi, Julia!

Julia: Ohai.

Julia looks at the floor and shifts her feet in embarrassment.

Colleague: How are you?

Julia: Fine, thanks.

A second passes by painfully.

Julia: (mumbling) The weather... haze. (Points at the ceiling of the lift)

Colleague: (Didn't catch the last bit about haze because Julia was swallowing her tongue) Oh yes, very hot.

Julia: (Very uncertain about what to do now) Yes, also got haze... (Points at the ceiling of the lift again)

Colleague: Ya, today very bad.

Julia: Ya, today is the worst.

Finally, sweet finally, the doors open and we walk out, both hurriedly. I suppose my awkwardness is infectious. As we part, I half-turn to him and say at an audible level suitable for a mole, 'See ya', and walk to my cube where I proceeded to dig a hole and die inside.