Macau – The Chinese Sin City

23rd September 2014, Tuesday

Since Macau was an hour away from Hong Kong (by ferry), we happily devoted a day to the gorgeous region. The not so gorgeous part was the actual ferry ride– check that; the ungracious people we were sharing the ride with. There were heaps of tourists (mostly from the mainland) who needed a huge dose of the ‘chill pill’. They were so anxious and ill-mannered. They pushed and they elbowed. They ran. Yes, they were literally running towards the ferry, dragging their luggage. This sight was actually quite incredulous, because seats were already allocated. And once the Macau ferry terminal was in sight, a whole bunch of them got up and hurriedly gathered at the exits. We were beyond perplexed. Everything was a competition. And don’t even get me started on the Immigration lines. That’s another ordeal by itself.

Macau Tower + Bungy Jump

It was past 11am after clearing immigration. Our return ticket was also issued for a different ferry terminal than what was planned, so we had to reshuffle our itinerary around. The first destination was to the landmark Macau Tower – to grab lunch, but primarily because I had a bungy jump booking at 1pm.

After lunch, we paid the entrance fee of $135MOP to the observation decks. Hong Kong currency is widely accepted in Macau, so thank god for that.


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The ‘Beneatha’ In Me

Something happened in literature tutorial today that I’ve been dying to pen down. The class was amidst a discussion on Lorraine Hansberry’s play, ‘A Raisin in The Sun’. My prof was being quite critical of the character ‘Beneatha’. He commented that while her ‘dream’ was nobel in some sense, as compared to her brother’s, it was quite self-serving. Whereas, Walter’s dream was essentially rooted to his family.

“Professor, I’ve got a question. Don’t you think that we are being too critical of Beneatha? I mean, she is still studying in college– so she’s quite young. And in that age, isn’t that normal? To waver between identities and ambitions?”

Prof goes on to poll the class on whom they agreed with; him or me. (He wasn’t being condescending; it was all in the name of intellectual discourse.) The results of the poll was pretty evenly split. So he asked a few people who agreed with him to respond with their viewpoint.

A girl, whose name slips my mind, spoke up. She remarked that Beneatha should be around our age– and that should translate into some form of maturity to consider her family’s needs rather than just her own. “Her dreams are quite selfish,” she said.

Prof surveys the class once again, “Who agrees that Beneatha is selfish.”

Majority of the class’ hands were raised; mine included.

“So you changed your mind?” he asked me.

“No. I agree that she is selfish. But shouldn’t that be expected of her? I feel like it is a phase that many of us go through, even at the university level. We are still in the process of building our self-concept, and it tends to be more selfish than not. So I was just wondering if we should hold it against Beneatha for thinking a little too much about herself.”

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“Seriously, What Are You?”

“What are you?”

“Human.”

“No, seriously.”

“Racially ambiguous.”

 


I have been perpetually subjected to questions about my race/ethnicity over the past 21 years. It’s really such a pity that most encounter with fellow Singaporeans boil down to my race and the colour of my skin. Why can’t we all be colour-blind? I guess we never will be until our dear government decides to remove the ‘race’ category under our identification information. In other parts of the world, nationality would suffice. But here, it boils down to racial divisions – Chinese, Indian, Malay, Eurasian, or Others.

Alas, I cannot change such social predicaments. So I heave a huge sigh, and try to have my fun with these racially-conscious people by giving them ridiculous responses. My best one yet is ‘mocha-flavoured goodness’. But in all seriousness, my formal answers do vary according to my mood. I usually start with ‘mixed’ as a standard response. But these busybodies would never be satiated by it. So, I say ‘Chindian’ (a common term in Singapore to denote Chinese–Indian). And if they have the misfortune to become privy to my official race (as per my ID) their vision gets swirly from confusion. “What the hell is Ceylonese?” they’d ask. Then, I would heave another huge sigh and give them the full picture.

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Twenty Eleven: The Year of Suffering (Part Four)

Parts: OneTwoThree| Four|


“I am going to die. This is it.”

Thoughts run through his head like wildfire. A few nurses and a doctor hurriedly tend to him in the emergency room. They ask him a deluge of questions. His panic stricken face responds with either a nod or a shake. There is no other way to communicate his response given all the medical paraphernalia they had hooked onto him.

“Your oxygen level is too low at below 80%,” the man with the stethoscope says. “We’re going to have to transfer you to the Intensive Care Unit where there will be a machine to help you breathe. You understand me?”

He nods. “I am going to die.”  Continue reading

Twenty Eleven: The Year of Suffering (Part Three)

Writing 101, Day Sixteen: Third instalment in the series.

Parts: OneTwo| Three| Four|


He stoically sits in the college library and gazes at the undulating movements of his friends’ mouth. Marcus and Samuel takes turn to thrust historical facts down his consciousness. They are going at rapid fire, maximising every second of the hour before the start of the A-Levels History examinations. “Dude, are you even with us?” Marcus drags him out of his stupor.

“Yeah, sorry. I think I’m all good with the fall of Communism,” he says. “Basically Gorbachev holds his dick in hand as his wonderful policies exacerbate the fall of the Soviet Union – right?”

“Right,” Samuel responds, “Global Economy – anything you are unsure of?”

“I can’t remember shit about China’s economic zones or whatever the fuck Japan did to theirs,” he says.

“Fuck!” Continue reading

Twenty Eleven: The Year of Suffering (Part Two)

Writing 101, Day Thirteen: Write about finding something and use it as the second instalment for Day Four’s post.

Parts: One| Two| ThreeFour|


11.11.11

It was a day that held the promise of hope for many – closing their eyes and making secret wishes. Somehow, the world had it in their heads that the repeated numerals had a magical potency that could defy logic. He was one of them. His naiveté, however, got expunged when the doctor called the time of death. His Mimmi was gone – and so was the promise of hope.

The rest of the night was all almost a blur. He could only recall things in flashbacks, with little consideration for the concept of time. Continue reading

When all is abruptly forgiven

Writing 101, Day Twelve: Write a post inspired by something you’ve overheard.


“YOU ARE SUCKING THE LIFE OUT OF ME!”

I hear my sister’s voice permeate the entire flat. She is having one of those bad days again, and he’s probably paying the price for it. I get off my bed and open the room door to see what all that commotion is about. My sister looks defeated. “Sometimes, I really have no energy to deal with you. My life was so much easier before you came into it,” she says to him solemnly.

He doesn’t say a word in response. His eyes speak for him. He looks positively broken, tilting his head slightly towards the ground. My heart wrenches. I know I should probably be on my sister’s side, but his handsome face just has that effect on most people. He draws people to himself and buy them over with his beautiful and expressive eyes. Just like that, his debauchery gets forgotten.  Continue reading