Friday, September 22, 2006

The Jester

Gazes fell upon her as she took every step toward the table. Her every muscle inched graciously as she walked past the glass panels, walking past every curious passer-by as their focus moves with her, as their focus zooms in on every inch of her presence. Every step she took, she felt as if she was pushing away air. The gazes fell upon her and away from her like satin is to arm, and the tense attention glides past her contour and wraps her tighter from behind. Pad, pad, pad. She's there. She looked up into the one-way glass pane and stared at her reflection. Her hands reached into her pockets and she fumbled about, finally fingers touching a familiar shape. Out came the clipper comb her mother kept for years and friends of hers get fascinated about. Out came the technicolour pins she brought for the show. Out came the rubber bands she needed to hold her crown glory in. Her fingers wrapped themselves around the clipper comb and ran it through a sea of hair, parting the knots and smoothing the strands. All the time, she stared into her reflection's eyes, daring for it to blink or to move. Her hair was done. She picked up the rubber bands and split her hair into teo ponytails, tied it just above her ear, making sure her hair flings itself nicely outward. She found her pins redundant and turned to get her makeup.

As she returned to her open vanity table, she slowly applied the foundation sponge on her cheeks as she took in the gazes that rained upon her. She could feel curiosity. She could feel interest. She could feel excitement. She could feel sceptism. She could feel the vast space of the room, the contrast of textures from acrylic to carpet to the hardness of the chairs. She could feel the sunlight pouring in through the windows and the light pouring in through the glass panels; all turned cold when the aircon disseminated across the floor. Her character emerged, and her mindset morphed. Her serious self was gone, the jester's here.

As the show went on, she laughed and sang to the children, but her head was well aware of the jobs at hand. She acted in front of the kids, knowing she really did not mean what she says. She sat there bouncing on a ball, knowing the gleeful expression was a mask. She wondered, at that moment, how much life was an act. How everyone wears a mask, how people just perceive you to be what you give.

Curtains down. She dropped her smile, she dropped her energy. She walked hastily behind the stage and let her throat sing. Coughs errupted into chains of gasping and she choked some more. Her mask was still on, her costume was still on. But the curtains were down. Did the audience see her gasping and lying on the floor? No. Did any of the audience see the hard work any performer that day did? No.

"The heart is a lonely painter" A Biennale artist said. Indeed. For the work of anyone is untold, and unknown unless people see it for themselves.

As the kids scamper outside and the parents leaving happy and content; the curtains stayed down and the crew remained quiet. They packed up their stuff and leave. The gazes were no longer there. The curiosity, the sceptism, the excitement was all gone. But she could still feel the vast space of the room, the contrast of textures from acrylic to carpet to the hardness of the chairs. She could still feel the sunlight pouring in through the windows and the light pouring in through the glass panels; all turning cold when the aircon disseminate across the floor.

Monday, July 24, 2006



Clenching her teeth, she dragged the oak dining chair across the kitchen inch by inch, sweat trickling down her temples, her frock clinging to her sweat-soaked body. With all the strength she has, she made sure the chair made no noise, slided the legs barely above the floor. With each heavy step, Alice's arms ached. The dining chair was too heavy for her to bear, but her wrought eyebrows fueled her own, their determination exuding across her knitted forehead. As her muscle ached and pain seared into her tired back, she continued the journey and finally reached the cupboards on the other side.

She slumped on the chair, catching her breathe for the longest time. The humid afternoon air filled her lungs and gave her life, the humid afternoon air also made her eyelids heavy, made her drowsy, her determination and goodwill forgotten for the moment. She sat very still, merging with the quiet surroundings, moving as one as the silence ecked on. As each breathe filled her lungs, energy surged through every vein until she regains her libido.

She opens her eyes and started climbing that chair, reaching out to the cupboard door and swung it open it one swift moment. Mama always told her that it makes less noise. She reached for that candle box and hugged it tight against her chest with one hand. That swerve almost knocked her off her leverage. Her palm was clenched tight on the cupboard door, her heart pumping after that misadventure.

Her eyebrows unfurled and her eyes glistened, half the job is done now. She scrambled down the chair, leaving it standing by the cabinet. She scuttled to the dining table and stared at the cupcake in it's glory. It was Marie's favourtie, raspberry walnut, with nice white icing and her name written over it in nice big letters with red polka dots dancing around it. She put down the candle box and took out a waxy sticky from it. Pink she chose. She stuck it nicely in the middle of the front, her trembling fingers taking great care not to smudge the icing. Mama put it on this morning.

She lit it with the child-proof lighter Papa gave.

A grin spread on her lips as she gets excited about the surprise for Marie. Any six year old girl would feel really proud of themselves if they managed to fool their older sister and surprise her with a birthday cake.

She cupped the cupcake like it was her favourite doll, and walked out with cautious steps towards the hall. Marie was reading a book, comfortably cross-legged on her favourite couch, where she would always be on Sunday afternoons. Alice walked towards the couch, staring at the flame and wishing it would not go out. She looked left and right, and anxiously glancing at the couch. As she neared Marie, she held her breathe. Marie might hear.

Marie heard the padded footsteps, heard the little muffled giggles ALice was trying to hide, she pretended to read her book and gauged where Alice was. As Alice padded towards her with great care, Marice posied herself against the couch.

Alice's prescence got nearer, and Marie got more tensed. Alice was almost there...almost there. Her lips parted and a breathe drew in, as she got ready to shout surprise.

Then, a head popped out by the side of the couch and two bright voices rang into the air.


Laughter bursed out of the sisters and they hugged amidst the giggles. It wasn't a successful surprise party, but it was a pleasant surprise.

It was the year when Marie blew the candle with all the happiness in her heart and ate her favourite cupcake with all the content she can have, with little Alice on her lap hugging her.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

False Impressions

Disclaimer: Some people would know where this story's inspiration come from, but it's nothing near how I felt. No worries.
Her fingers were strongly clasped, wringing that heirloom handkerchief she held intertwined in the tension of the moment. Her pupils dilated, her mouth tight. She stood at the windowsill, as still as that afternoon air, as quiet as the warm sunlight glowing across the landscape. Those two silhouttes kissing by that pine tree in her yard were oblivious to her watch. No one saw that figure in that baby blue dress standing at the window, no one felt that gaze of jealousy wash over them, consuming every moment of passion they were sharing, crushing it. She scrutinized every inch of the guy, fighting back her tears.

He looked like her fiance.

Anger built up, jealousy rushed through her system, she could no longer breathe regularly. Blinkly profusely, she tried fighting back those tears, those bawls of sorrow. This cannot be possible, she thought. Half of her want to run down and clarify, half of her want to lie down in this room and mope because her heart felt so. The room started spinning, her brain started getting confused. It's only her heart speaking to her now, and any time, she will break that dam and tears will flow free. Happy memories ran through her head like rapids, hitting hard at her agony as every scene flashed before her eyes.

A hard gasp stabbed the air, and she fell, grabbing the windowsill for support before she hit the window pane. All the anxiety vanished into the air. Consciousness got the better of her, and she calmed down. The room stopped spinning and she could hear herself breathing, hear her surroundings. She looked out the window; those two are still at it.

A click was heard, the door creaked open. She turned her tear-streaked face around, and saw her fiance. A wave of relief and reprimanding washed through her every vein and her soul, as she rushed to hug him and sobbed heavily, her corset heaving against his chest.

He said nothing, and just hugged her tight.

His trust and his reassuring hug made her sob harder, made her feel more foolish. That regret and relief overwhelmed her, as both of them stood there hugging and she crying; whilst those two strangers by her yard are still kissing.

Sunday, July 2, 2006

The Singaporean Mindset

I was going to write about something happy, but it didnt turn out very well. Just couldn't bear to write something of such nature in my blog. I'm not one of those "I brushed my teeth and ate breakfast" bloggers. I'm a story blogger! So here I am writing about the Singaporean in me.

I shuffled the three books in my arms and walked towards the counter. I gave an apprehensive glance towards the cashiers and one led me to an empty counter. I heaved all the books onto the table and looked around as the cash register beeps in recognition of the barcodes. That inquisitive smile popped into the corner of my eye. I turned and gave her a tight smile, taking out that blue card with the shiny Mastercard logo in that corner.
I wonder when would I be able to proudly declare the prescence of that nice shiny logo.
As she cashed in my purchases and packed them into a carrier, I nonchalantly asked if she could spare me bookmarks of any sort. Her eyes widened and she queried: "Well, we do sell a few there." Hand waving towards my back where very expensive bookmarks were hanging off the shelves, their plastic packaging glistening like pirate's gold; nothing good. So I turned back, and said: " Urm, no, not those. I just wanted something to mark my books cuz' I'm reading on the way home." Sheepish grin. "Oh you mean those free ones?" She scoffed. "Nono, just any piece fo scrap will do, even a card." I tried to salvage my pride and image.
Isn't this what all Singaporeans do? Expect a free gift and deny that you want it. Oh, shameless me.
"Well, you could use that." She points at the receipt. I conjured up a amused face "Right! Why didn't I think of that. Alright, thanks alot. Bye!" I beat a hasty exit.
Then again, why no free bookmarks?

Saturday, July 1, 2006

kiss me beautiful

Let's just say it can never amount to much, but it can amount to so much.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

July the First

I'm a lazy blogger today. In honour of the times when Singapore was a land of freedom for the smokers.