The Comfort of Death

Two weeks ago, I finished a book called Lucky: A Memoir, by Alice Sebold; Alice Sebold was also the author of the bestselling book, The Lovely Bones. The memoir was about her rape, back when she was 18 and attending college. The details of the rape were graphic. But knowing that she had a bestselling book made it easier for me; it allowed me to realise that there is life after rape.

I was quite uncomfortable reading it. Being male puts me in an akward position (no pun intended). On the one hand, there is the horrors of rape, and on the other, there’s this sickening and perverted subconscious self that says, “I wish I was the one ****ing her”.

Newspaper Reports

Recently there was case in the newspapers, where a girl, 17 or 18 at that time, was stripped by a group of five girls in front of a group of boys. The girls who stripped her told the boys watching to sing, as loudly as they could, “happy birthday” — their purpose? to drown out the screams. And this happend in Punggol Park — my very own backyard of sorts.

I told one of my friends about this case. He looked a little shocked, but seemed less than upset about it than me. Then he asked me where it happened. When I mentioned “Singapore”, he stared at me at disbelief and started shaking his head. I looked back at him with an expression that said, “yeah, I couldn’t believe it either”.

A Walk in the Park

Now, imagine this. You’re walking in the park enjoying the peace, when suddenly you hear screams. You turn to look in the direction the screams are coming from, and wonder if you should check it out or not. But the screams are immediately followed by loud singing, “Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you!” it goes.

You can vaguely make out some screaming, but the singing’s too loud. The peacefulness interrupted, you mutter under your breath, “inconsiderate bastards” and continue your walk, oblivious to the fact that you’ve just been tricked by some cunning adolescents, and that there’s a girl back there, somewhere, screaming for your help.

In Her Shoes

Now, put yourself in her shoes. You’re held back by a couple of girls, each holding on to one of your hands. Another three girls standing around watching and taunting you. Five of their male friends are also standing around, watching their every move. They know it is wrong, but they’re enticed by the erotic nature of this very act — a catfight — now, tell me, which guy could resist?

You’re begging them to let you go. Suddenly, one of the girls starts looking around and, in a casual remark says that perhaps they should strip you to “teach you a lesson.” The other girls pick on that idea, and start agreeing that “maybe we should, b*tch!” By now you are shaking; scared out of your wits.

You wonder how this day turned out like this. You wish your hands were free so you could pinch yourself awake; this nightmare isn’t real — it can’t be. You try to shake loose, but their grip is too tight. 30 metres down the slope is a footpath, there’s people down there! Many of them! You scream and try to shout for help. But the moment you screamed, one of the girls raised her hand and slapped you across the face.

She orders the boys to sing, and they do. Your subsequent attempts for help are drowned out by their singing; how happy they seem! The girl, angered by your screaming, starts ripping off your clothes. You try to stop her, but cannot. You look around, crying, screaming, but are helpless to do anything. When they are done, they throw your clothes away, leaving you standing there, naked.

The boys are still laughing and singing. You think of your parents, your friends; you think of God. How could He allow them to do this?

They let go of you, and you fall to the ground, crying and trying to preserve whatever dignity you might have left in you. They leave you crying there, and walk away from the area. What they don’t know is that they’ll never leave your mind.

Tortured Life

Whenever I read about rapes or tortures, I always hope that in the end, the victim is killed. It serves as a comforting thought that she/he may have suffered then, and suffered a great deal, but at least now they are no longer suffering.

In this case, the victim survived. She went on to file a police report. Now 24, she has to go to court, re-live the experience in front of even more people.

Isn’t death, then, better?

Girls Are Like Fruits

I love to think about love. Like any hot-blooded male, I am constantly on the lookout for girls whose beauty exceed the norm (in mathematical terms, not the mean, but the median).

Girls, like fruits, come in all shapes and sizes, colours, and flavours. One cannot look at one girl, then another, and then start comparing them. That would be akin to comparing apples to oranges.

The human mind works in strange ways, especially when it comes to fruits. Asked which fruit one preferred, between apples and oranges, one might choose apples. Between apples and grapes, one might choose grapes. But when asked if one preferred grapes or oranges, though logic says grapes, one might say oranges.

Logic, when applied to the human mind, has a long way to go.

The Skinny on Full-bodied Girls

Some girls are as thin as Donald Trump’s hair; while some, let’s just say, require two tickets to sit on planes. Either way, each has their supporters and detractors. Again, apples and oranges, or perhaps in this case, carrots and cabbages.

Instinctively, one is able to tell if a woman looks good or not. When I see a girl who looks good, I ask myself, “makes good girlfriend, or wife, or both?”, just for the fun of it. They look good, but in different ways. I tend to think of beauty two ways: as beautiful as a Porsche; and as beautiful as a sunset.

“She’s a Porsche,” I wonder to myself, if she’s good girlfriend material.

“She’s a Sunset,” I wonder to myself, if she’s good wife material.

If she’s both, she’s like a Porsche driving down a lonely road through the mountains, at sunset.

Today I saw quite a few pretty girls, but all pretty in distinctively different ways. Looking back into my past, I realised that I’ve been infatuated (when is love real love until death confirms it anyway?) with such a diverse group of girls, you’d think I was looking to date a jury.

Tall, short, thin, chubby, Chinese, Malay, mixed race, speaks English, speaks Mandarin, quiet, extroverted, loves reading, hates reading, loves sports, hates sports etc,.

I then imagined these girls holding my hand, and walking down the street with me. I imagined myself as one of the people along the street (but, not me, doh), looking at me, and this girl. What would I be thinking? “They look perfect together,” or “what’s she/he doing with her/him?”, or “that’s an odd couple”.

I’ve never quite managed to imagine myself matching perfectly with any girl. I don’t have trouble thinking about girls falling in love with me, but I do have trouble thinking that one day, it might turn out to be true!

I am uber-curious as to how my girlfriend/wife would look like. Each time I think of how she’d look like, and picture us together, I start thinking of durians with carrots — “how odd they look!”

Time and Sleep

Time — how precious you are! But in being precious, you destroy me! How cruel you are!

Loving you so, so much, I try to make sure you go unwasted. Yet, my mind can only take in so much; trying to do everything at once, I end up doing nothing! The irony!

Shall I do this? or that? or perhaps this? or perhaps that? Oh dear, what shall I do!

Sleep — stay away, I have to deal with time! No, you shall not have the better of me!

But oh how tired I am! I cannot do anything properly, but yet, I must… oh how I must.

Sweet, dear God, save me from myself!

Increasing Readership with Hot Coffee

I love Don’t ask me why, but I do. I am also proud of it, though due to the rather personal nature of some of my posts I’d rather not let anyone close to me (family and close friends) read my posts — still, I don’t actively stop them from viewing anything. I just let it be — if they find out about my having a website where I publish my writings, and wish to read my posts, so be it.

I do, however, get a real kick when strangers visit my site. I log visits to my site; I know approximately (a very rough estimate really) how many people visit my site each day. And when there is a general increase in such visits, I feel as if the value of my site has increased — like stocks or shares of a company.

Recently I read in Digital Life, a supplementary paper that comes free with The Straits Times, about a blog convention held in Singapore. Apparently it allowed “curious readers” to find out who “the face behind the blog” was.

The article created another curious reader. I was curious… …why wasn’t I invited?

Hot Searches

Anyway, as a sidenote to that main article, it also talked about how blogs that had written on the recent NKF scandal got immense readership, due to the interest this scandal had generated.

I thus had this bright idea on how I might increase readership of my blog, and perhaps break into the “bloggers convention” club.

Maybe, if I write about popular topics, things that people search for, readership of my website would rise.

Immediately my mind asked, “What are people searching for?”

Ho ho, look no further:

  1. Google Zeitgeist
  2. Yahoo! Buzz Index

Man, this was too easy. Write about the popular stuff, and people will flock to your site; easy as pie!

Nah, who am I kidding? It was more like easy as pi. Writing about popular stuff isn’t my forte; I hate the masses, as much as I love them. I hate writing for the masses, while secretly harbouring the wish that they would read my writings — the perfect relationship I’d say.

Anyway, after I decided I wouldn’t pursue my “writing about popular topics” plan, I had a little fun and went through the list of popular searches. I saw this term called “Hot Coffee”.

Now, I love my cuppa — if I go without my cup of joe, I get headaches; and if left untreated, I spread it to those around me. But I found it strange that people might actually search for Hot Coffee… I mean, what’s up with that?

Not Your Average Cup of Joe

Then I checked out the top news stories in Yahoo!, and it seems “Hot Coffee” is not your average cup of joe. It had more to do with hidden sex scenes(!) in the game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

I guess you want to find out more about this coffee, ya? Read the full story on Yahoo!; but before you click that link, note that the article is pretty long, and you might want to make yourself a nice hot cup of coffee before reading it! Happy sipping!

The Murder of the Old Chinese Girl

Background of the Story

The story of Chinese national Liu Hong Mei’s death made headlines here in Singapore. She was murdered by a man called Leong Siew Chor, a 50-year-old Singaporean, who then chopped her body up into several pieces and dumped them into the Kallang River.

Growing Up – Girl to Woman

Not to show any disrespect to the now deceased Liu Hong Mei, but when does she stop being a girl, and start becoming a woman? 22 years of age seems an awfully long time to remain a girl.

I would have thought that when a girl/woman reaches the age of 22, she would be referred to as a “woman”, or at least, “young woman”. Why then, did so many print publications in Singapore constantly refer to her as “22-year-old girl”? Was it not to gain sympathy for her cause?

The Dark Side

I am not fit to judge anyone, and less still someone I know close to nothing about; but who is to say that Ms. Liu was such a saint as the newspapers painted her to be?

Was she perhaps not in some ways at fault for her death? The more I read of how “tragic” her death was, the more one-sided I felt the media to be; and I just couldn’t help thinking that there was something missing — where was her dark side?

Out of His Mind

Although the soap opera-ish circumstances of how her death came about kept the story going, it was really the post-murder activities of Mr. Leong that really caused such a sensation.

We all wondered who in his right mind would commit such a gruesome act as cutting the body up into pieces and dumping them, forgetting that most people in their right mind would not commit murder in the first place.

Had it been a simple stab-to-death, left-to-die in some-dark-alley kind-of-death, would it have made such a hoo-haa?

Innocent-looking Superhero

And it didn’t help that the murderer looked the most part a normal man; he even came equipped with the most dis-arming of devices, large, round prescription glasses.

He had glowing references from people who knew him that would have made the Pope proud — how then could he do what he did?

Improvements of Old Methods

Some of my friends and I discussed the way the body was cut up. We decided, with the magic of hindsight, that chopping up a body into such large pieces was a rather disasterous mistake for Mr. Leong.

He should have, in my friend’s words, “chopped her up small enough such that the fish can eat her all up”, thus leading to no evidence of a body.

Some thought burying her body parts would have been better. Burning was also considered; so was discarding them piece by piece into the neighbours’ (yes, the irritating one) garbage bins. We were on a roll.

As you can see, my friends and I love learning new things, and discussing how old, ineffective methods of doing things might be improved.

To Say Something, Anything

Somedays I have absolutely nothing to say. But I say it anyway. For the sake of writing something — anything — down.

I open up my journal, if it can be called that, and doodle in it.

Starting first with a few casual strokes of the pen, some simple geometrical shapes; these slowly take on a life of their own; sometimes they take the form of coherent pictures, sometimes they remain as just lines screaming for an identity.

The Urge to Write a Letter

I have suddenly gotten this urge to write a letter. Maybe not just a letter, but many letters. I want to keep in touch with old friends; with acquaintances. Today an old friend, W called me up; unfortunately I wasn’t there to pick up his phone, but nevertheless we managed to exchange a few text-messages. It was strange communicating to him — he did not really feel like an old friend, and was more of a stranger really — I mean, I haven’t talked to him, nor seen him, for almost 5 years!

How wonderful, I thought, if we had communicated through these past years, perhaps through the mail, or e-mail or something. Then maybe we wouldn’t be such strangers? Then perhaps I wouldn’t be lying if I said that I was genuinely interested in catching up face-to-face?

But alas, it is not so. I had tried to communicate through these years (without meeting personally) with a certain R, only for things to go quite awry, almost to the point of emnity (again, my brashness in writing could have played a rather big hand in this estrangement).

Of course, I understand that even a lot of communication via e-mail or mail still does have its limits. Take for example my relatives living in England. When they come to visit, even though we communicate often via mail, we still take time to adjust to each other during visits; the awkwardness simply doesn’t disappear even with frequent long-distance communication.

Pleasureable Writing

One thing though that prevents me from actually communicated frequently with people via e-mail (or mail) is simply that many people (in Singapore at least) simply hate writing. They associate writing with the pain of examinations or tests or of work. Writing for pleasure is a shadowy concept that people here simply cannot comprehend.

Thus, should I write to an unsuspecting friend of mine, he or she might well curse me for creating the need for an obligatory write back. He or she will have to “make time” for this “chore”, thinking about what to say, thinking about how to say what they want to say. And it doesn’t help either that the mother-tongue (mandarin) of most of my friends is considerably stronger than their English, which is, technically speaking, my mother-tongue, and my stronger language.

Electronic Communication

And then there comes the problem with electronic communication. Although largely an I.T. student, and a lover of all things I.T., I have not quite accepted eletronic communication as a good inter-personal communication medium. The coldness of a computer, the lack of touching something the other party had touched (ooh, I love the scent of sweaty hands) is something that alienates a person from the message he or she is trying to send.

You cannot see the handwriting, thus you cannot judge the force with which a certain writer is writing the letter. You cannot see the stretch marks created by tear-drops on paper. You cannot smell the scented paper, so carefully chosen for a special person. What you see are words, words on a screen, giving you dull, black-and-white facts.

The worst thing about eletronic communication is its cost: its free. Think about it: if a person wrote to you via snail-mail (the traditional form of letter-writing, you know, pen and paper, post-office etc,) would you write back via e-mail? Of course not. You’d want to write back via snail-mail — it’s only basic courtesy; he or she paid good money for that paper and envelope, not to mention the stamps, and the trip down to the post-office. This person didn’t just sit at a computer, and suddenly out of boredom decided to open Outlook and type a letter out.

Taking the Trouble

This person decied that he or she wanted to write to you. Then did something about it. Labourously looking for a piece of paper, an envelope, and stamps in a dusty drawer, then taking out a pen (something some of us computer-inclined people have forgotten how to use) sat down and wrote the letter. Would you write an e-mail back? No! Or, if you’re even thinking about it, don’t!

But that brings us to another dilema. Should we write a letter to another person via snail-mail? We wouldn’t want to make him or her obligated to write back via snail-mail. We actually wouldn’t mind an e-mail back, so long as it was well thought out, or at least comprehensible.

And since e-mail is free, wouldn’t it make more economic sense to e-mail? And surely since its free, and you’d want the best for your friend as well, you decide that if he or she is going to be obligated to write back, we will at least play nice and let him or her write back without paying a cent.

A Problem with Instancy

I’ve got a problem with instant communication. I simply have no idea how quickly I am supposed to get back to a person. Take for example this afternoon when my friend text-messaged me. His message was something like “how are ya?” that sort of thing. So I reply within a minute. Then his reply comes the next minute. Then my reply again within one minute. When does it stop?!

It’s almost as if a whole telephone conversation would be text-messaged across. And then suddenly you wait one minute, two, then three, then ten, then half-an-hour and there’s no reply. You read back the last message, and you realise: ‘hey, come to think of it, that message might have meant that “okay, get back to you some other time dude”‘. But you don’t really know. So you wait a while longer by your phone, till you’re really sure.

With e-mail, I normally write quite a bit. This quite a bit normally covers what I’ve got to say for perhaps a week, maybe two. When I click send, perhaps conditioned to snail-mail, I do not expect a reply all that soon. So when I do get a reply almost instantaneously, with someone replying my two week’s worth of blabber with two lines of words…

Quick, write to me

When replies come too fast, maybe within a day or two, you wonder whether to reciprocate the quick response with another quick response. If you do, that means that the conversation between each e-mail start to get thinner and thinner. Eventually, you run out of things to say, and you simply stop writing.

If you decide to play the waiting game, and wait a while before you reply, it might come across as rather rude: “I am not worth a quick reply? You jerk. I took time away from my work to reply you so quick and you take your time to reply me. We’ll see about that.”

I think I need more practice on e-mailing.

Oh boy, who shall I write to today?

A Love Poem

It was a class outing,
One I didn’t really want to go.
A lazy pig I was,
I simply didn’t want to show.

I hated gatherings like these,
Where one had to force a smile.
Superficiality —
It simply wasn’t my style.

I do not remember much,
That day seemed like a blur;
Except for that special time,
When I kicked a ball around with her.

“Are you ambidextrous?” she asked,
After I kicked it with my left;
But I hesitated to reply,
And pretended to be deaf.

[You see, I didn’t know what it meant,
And was too embarrassed to ask;
If I asked her for its meaning,
At me would she not have laughed?]

“You can kick with both feet?” she continued,
And I thus had it understood.
What she meant to say was that
My footy was really pretty good!

“Yeah, sort of,” I replied,
Being the humble little me,
And kicked the ball back to her,
So my ambi-skills she could see.

I never thought I’d fall in love,
And definitely not that night;
But fall in love I did,
And it never felt so right.

Further Reading

As with many poems, a little background on the author’s background can help in its understanding. I highly recommend you read one of my later posts, The Vacuum in My Heart to fully grasp the meaning behind this poem.