Category Archives: Personal Life

Call me by your name – exploring myself

Hmmm… Hmm.. Peaches..

I chuckled as I thought of the word, the fruit that I’ve never tasted, the experience that I’ll never have. Yet, I chuckled, not of the absurdity, but of envy.

I don’t envy the pain. But I envy you the pain.

Has it started out of the curiosity? started with the movie, the intentions were so subtle, especially of Oliver’s. The famous, everyone loved, Oliver. What did he want. Why did he want it when he could have everything. But not the love of another man?

Anger was what I felt after the movie. More than curiosity. I was angry with Elio. Is it better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all? Would Elio’s pain worse by not knowing that Oliver would love him back? Would hating Oliver been better than to have lost him after the intense love affair?

Is it better to speak or to die?

I hated Oliver for being such a cold hearted bastard. What do you want? What do you want from Elio? Does Oliver really love him that much? Can’t you leave everything behind and be with Elio? Why would you lift him so high only to crush him to the ground? Maybe he chose slower death, for speaking would also mean death.

I moved to the book as soon as I finished the movie. I wanted answer to Oliver’s coldness. There has to be more than fear of people finding out. For love should be stronger than fear.

On my bed in the mid South Australian winter, it was ten degrees Celsius out but it was cold enough to be snugged up under my warm blanket in the middle of the day. Page by page I got hooked into Elio’s simple, plain, honest narrative. As he ushered me to his version of curiosity, I forgot about Oliver for a while and wonder around my own teenage memories or anytime I’ve felt attraction to someone. Where did it start, why did I like them.

It was late afternoon when I took a break. Oliver was still a stranger, Elio had grown into hate loving him. He hated his coldness, his “later!s”. He hated that he desired him while unsure why.

The next few days for me was hell. I was drowning in this melancholic, saudade. I searched myself for answers. Why did I feel this way? Why do I feel this way? What am I feeling? The longing for someone I desire who desires me back? I thought of people around me, the beautiful people I desire. Is any of them my Oliver?

As I lived through my days hiding this piece of emotion I was carrying, Sufjan Stevens songs fed my sorrow. His simple voice, so simple and beautiful. His was the music that I would play in the background when I read the book. His was what I listened when I write this piece of me down.

I yearned for free time to continue Elio’s story, which I don’t usually do with books. I read when I have absolutely nothing else to do. But I was willing to give up my dancing time and tv time to read this piece of work.

Continued on Elio’s struggle in acting on his desire, the movie was really close with the book, to the exact conversations they had. The one when Elio vaguely confessed his desire and Oliver weirdly understood. The one when Oliver touched Elio’s lips and kissed him. The exchange of notes and the midnight meeting.

What Oliver said after the first time they kissed was the only obvious clue for me on the struggle that Oliver was having. That brought me back to being curious about Oliver. Was he afraid of people finding out. Was he ashamed of what he desired. But he had kissed him. That was something to be ashamed of.

So far we’ve behaved. We’ve been good. Neither of us has done anything to feel ashamed of.

On the note, what does that even mean, grow up? Grow up and understand the world that they were in? Grow up because love between two men is wrong? Grow up and do what you wish. Talk to me if you want it. Touch me when you desire it.

Grow up, meet me at midnight

I loved that one detail in the book after they had made love for the first time. Elio was physically uncomfortable and emotionally disgusted by what they had done. Oliver was showering Elio with great love and caring while Elio was unsure if he would still desire him. Oliver was scared. Maybe scared of both being found having sex with another man and scared that Elio didn’t love him as much as he did. He went to the town later after breakfast and was so happy that Elio came to see him and shown that he didn’t hate him. And that was when I fell in love with Oliver.

From that moment on, I longed to read more about Oliver. Say something, Oliver. I wanted to know him more. I loved that scene when Elio found Oliver on the rock next to the sea. I loved Oliver’s relationship with Vimini. I loved it when Vimini was around talking about Oliver. I loved it when Oliver ate the peach.

It struck me that all I wanted was for someone to love me back.

One thing I didn’t like about this book or movie was that there was no much detail around the friendship between the two. There were summaries. Oliver loved Elio for his abundant knowledge of music and literature. While Elio seemed to have attracted to his coldness, fame and physique. There were many unwritten conversations between them on their routine next to the pool, swimming or jogging. Oliver was also a very intelligent man. But the lack of details made the story less plausible. Do they really love each other that much?

Even when they were in Rome, their relationship was not more than physical. However, I loved Elio’s interaction with other people in Rome. There were moments where Oliver was not in his mind. And just like that Elio was alone in a train station.

And that brings me to Elio’s conversation with his father. That was when I weeped on a Thursday night cozy in my couch. Out of the whole book, this was what touched me the most. I understood why I was weeping. I wasn’t sad because Elio lost the love of his live. It wasn’t because I felt lonely either. I weeped for I wished I’ve had someone like Elio’s father who would say those words to me. Words full of understanding, compassion and love. For he was not there to judge Elio, but to be there when he needs him. I was longing for someone to know my struggle in its purest honest form, without saying a single word.

Just remember: I am here. Right now you may not want to feel anything. Perhaps you never wished to feel anything. And perhaps it’s not with me that you’ll want to speak about these things. But feel something you did.

Feeling something, emotion, even the terrible ones, is what make life feels alive. For feeling pain is better than feeling nothing at all. I enjoyed this week as I was filled with this unusual emotion. I am looking forward to finding more books like this. Something that make me wanna throw everything else away and be with the it. Or maybe someone.

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The empty desire jar

Desires are one of the key fuel in life. They drive you forward into meanings. Without desires we are corpses, inert and rotting. With desires, we work toward achieving them.

Circling back to the source of a desire is meaning. It is a very chicken or egg question. What comes first, the found meaning that creates desires or a natural occurring desire that produces meanings.

What are desires. Wanting to be somewhere. But why. Maybe that somewhere is beautiful. Why is it beautiful. Mountain ranges, snowy peaks, long roads, clear water lakes, autumn coloured forrest. why do they matter. I don’t know. But I still want it.

What about disappointments. Unfulfilled desires, where do you keep them.

How badly do you want something. How much are you willing to pay. How much do you have.

And what about the meaning of life. Why are you chasing these desires if life is meaningless. What drives the desire to fulfil your desires.

Let’s start with the desire to find meaning. If you believe your meaning of life is to reproduce, your desires would be to reproduce, raise good children. Having those desires in turns gives your life the meaning. Where do we stop.

Living a life without meaning stripped me off the privilege of having desires. Desires come and go. The difference is I don’t have a strong desire to fulfil them. That turned me into a walking dead. Am I even alive.

The lack of desire used to be my pride, a liberation from the need to chase dreams. A bravery act of strength of depending in me and me only. A protection from being disappointed and a carefree attitude to never feel miserable. But it has turned into a wall. I’m too scared to break the wall, to have desires, to be disappointed.

Having no strong desire is wearing me down. Every time a desire pops up I will fall into this pit of misery questioning the meaning, fighting it down. But how long can I keep up with this empty jar?


Exploring rare emotions

This is an attempt to immortalise this moment of my life so that I can come back later and maybe relive it again. Or better if I can experience this again.

Not that this is a pleasant emotion, it’s indeed of heartbreak and unfulfilled desires. But it’s rare nonetheless. I don’t regret having lived this moment nor that I wished this had not have happened.

I sat next to my speaker which was playing sad songs. Damien Rice’s, John Mayer’s, Adele’s and Sara Bareilles’. Also a bunch of other songs that I picked up over the previous days which amplified my emotions. Dido’s “Thank You” for the fantasy of having you in my life, “Bizarre Love Triangle” made my heart drop every time and started thinking of you again, and Sara Bareilles’ “Breath Again” for the desire to have you in my life.

Everyday for many days since I met you was a terrible day. For that one time we chatted pass midnight but not about you and me, for that every time that my phone buzzed with your messages and my accelerated heart beats only to talk about something else, for that one time we met and resisted myself to get closer, and for the rest of the time for waiting for your attention.

For that thought that I’ve finally found someone, that I am lovable, that I deserve an angel like you. To be dropped into pieces that it was my delusion. For you were never attracted to what I am. That you only wanted a friend.

And then for that hope that lingers, that I can make you love me, that I can make this work. I showered in your coldness instead. But I stayed for the hints of warmness.

So I sat next to next music hoping, weeping, regretting, daydreaming, embracing this emotion. For this is not desirable or pleasant. But at least it felt like something. The pains make me feel alive. For this is better than feeling nothing.

So I wanna thank you for that. For sparking something in me again. Though it won’t last for long because I’ve started to forget you, but maybe I’ll see you again. Maybe you’ll find me. Maybe I’ll meet some else.

 


Lost in the cultural translation

There are many differences one can spot upon moving from an East Asian culture to a European ones. I was tempted to say western culture in place of european, but feel that Australia is not exactly geographically western.

I have a friend from Malaysia who’s recently moved to Japan. We’ve had a few great conversations regarding home away from home and how cultural adaptation can be a pain in the arse. It hit me one night that we’ve came from the same place but have ended up in two very different world. I asked her to take a picture of the night life scene of the bar that she’s at, but was quickly turned down that it’s not appropriate to take picture in public. That’s how much Japanese value their privacy. If it’s in Melbourne, everyone will be fighting to be in that picture.

I was struck by the fact that I’ve been adapting slowly without noticing it. Australian’s culture I would say is a very extroverted one. It is encouraged to share your thoughts all the time, and it is kind of ingrained and it’s not natural for one to be reserved. Even the more introverted people I’ve met have shown no drawback in expressing their opinions in a public settings.

I suspect that it all comes from the initial education system. Having none of the data to prove that, but by pure guessing only, I guess the school system in Australia encourage student’s participation from early age, removing the barriers of seniority and layers of authority. In contrast with the ones I’ve came from, students are thought to acknowledge the seniority and authority to the point where the people in charge are almost always right. I’m not arguing which one is better or which is right or wrong, it’s the matter of the results that interest me right now.

Australians talk to their teachers and bosses like a friend ( to some extends ), I couldn’t even look my teachers in their eyes while they were teaching. Their teachers are staffs, hired to teach. Our teachers are worshiped as a hero and are to be respected and their orders followed. Their parents job is to raise the children to be useful to the society. Our parents main priority is to make sure we will take care of them when they are old and useless.

I’ve written this with so much negative biases toward our side of the culture to the point that I need to defend them. Their parents have their government to help support their children, student loans, free educations. My parents have to work hard everyday to save up to my college fees. Their parents have retirements plans. My parents have almost no saving when I started college. One would have said that if our government was better at supporting my parents in the early years, they would not have to burden their children.

Their system have produced a relaxed, cool lots. We’ve grown up to be a fighter that will lose everything when we stop.


Down south to OZ

Is it just me or the last few prompt has been sad? Empty, would I want to be optimistic about this?

It could just be my current mood I guess, also because I’m listening to Damien Rice. That beautiful bastard has a heck of a collection when it comes to sad song. (hint: check out his song “The Greatest Bastard“)

I’ve moved to Melbourne just a couple of months ago and had been wanting to write about the experience about it, but I was probably too empty to make out anything until now. But somehow when I start to write, all I can think about is the past.

I guess I’ll list 10 things about melbourne that I love so far to convince myself that this is a great decision.

Currency

The money is here worth much more than the previous countries I’ve been (Malaysia and Indonesia). The tax can be crazy, but it’s still a pretty good deal. So earning Australian Dollar means more buying power and also I will have more saving to travel especially around SEA where most of my friends and family are.

Weather

I wouldn’t say I loooove the weather, but I’ve started at the wrong time. When I first got here on mid April, it was getting very cold. There were nights as cold as 8 degree Celcius. And colder nights are ahead of me. But it’s great when the sun in shining and when spring comes, it’s will just fine.

Swing Dancing

I’ve started swing dancing last year in KL and have been hooked since. It’s a type of Jazz dance and it’s a lot of fun. Compared with Salsa which is much more popular, I find Salsa is too intimate and I can’t really handle that in public.

KL has like 2 social dance event a week. So I mostly dance once a week and maybe go to classes sometimes. In Melbourne, there are at least 1 event everyday. It’s like heaven.

Service

The service here is much more expensive but it’s much better. I’m so surprised on how easy things are done here. People are very friendly and they understand that they are paid to make you feel comfortable and welcomed. And it’s probably by law that customers are protected in the best way possible.

Arts

It’s amazing how much lively this city can be. Again it sucks because it’s winter,but when the warmer and dryer wheaters come, the city will be alive with live performances on the street, painting, art shows. It’s beautiful.

Ramen

I love Ramen, and it was pretty expensive back then in KL (compared to local food). I can eat Ramen every day in here and it won’t really break my bank account. I’m spending the same amount of money for other types of food anyway.

Coffee!

It’s amazing how much coffee they drink over here. It’s pretty normal to go for coffee break a couple of times a day. I’m not a coffee addict but I do love a good cup of coffee once in awhile. Living in Melbourne means that you’ll always find a coffee shop wherever you are.

Water

You can drink from the tap, which is a luxury back home.

Bicycle

I grew up riding bikes. Having the chance of bringing that back to my life brings back tons of childhood memories. It’s a flood of nostalgia and a couple of near death moments with my bike. Can’t wait to buy a bike and explore the city with it.

Meetup

Meetup here is huge, just like Swing Dancing, there are more options and bigger community. Even though the people can be a bit colder and harder to befriend with, the fact that there are more options makes it a better chance to find friends.

I’m feeling better now. It’s true how setting our mind into positive things can bring us into better mood. But I’m addicted to sadness, what can I say.

More on the KL to Melbourne move stories to come. Let me know what you’d like to read more about. If you are in reading this in Melbourne, tell me what you like the most about this city.


Those left behind

It’s getting boring because every recent posts I’ve made starts with something about haven’t written anything for a while. So is this post.

Many things have changed. The biggest of all is that I’ve moved down south to Australia. I’d like to talk about those I’ve left behind.

I’m a cold person, trying very hard to keep it that way. I can be very friendly with people, which most often do. But I distant myself from commitments and closeness. You can say that most of my friendliness are more of matter a professionalism rather than my style.

However, there are some special people that genuinely like me ( arguable and is subject to the judgment of time ).

These special people aren’t necessarily kind or caring. But these special people are those who are willing to spend the ups and downs with me, those who cracked through my icy wall and leave me out in the open, left me vulnerable.

I miss them.

Now I’m back in my cold shell in this cold world, wandering around hoping to bump into a new special people that I can melt my frozen wall for.


First Dentist Experience

I grew up in a small town where most of the people I know have fake teeth. Often I followed some of these people to the dentist and indirectly interacted with the dentists. I remember how distinctive the smell of every single dentist office I’ve been to. In my family itself, 5 out of 6 of my sisters have detachable teeth. My mother often carry her teeth in a plastic pouch filled with water. Yet, in my 27 years of life, I’ve never been the patient until today.

My dental plaque had been accumulated since the early development of my adult sets of teeth and recently has been getting extra attention after a friend of mine mentioned it. It’s hard to find a dentist in where I live until recently. So I’ve made up my mind a few weeks ago to get the plaques cleaned. Still, I was battling with busy schedule and work.

When I finally find the time to do it, it was today. As I walked into the dental clinic, the awkward encounter begins.

The first awkward encounter is the question “How can I help you?” question. I answered with “removing my plaques”. The nurses (or whatever you call them) didn’t seem to understand me but requested my details anyway for registration. I gave them my IC and waited for a while. A few minutes later, a nurse called me into the room and I couldn’t help but grinned at the idea of me lying on the dentist bed. I smiled when the dentist lowered the chair and started asking questions.

“What do you want to do?” asked the dentist.

I tried my best not to laugh, thinking about the jokes about dentist loving to talk to their patient despite their mouth being occupied with the dentist equipments. “I want to remove my plaques” I said.

Yet, the dentist still look confused, so I flashed out my teeth and point to the bottom gum where the plaques are most visible.

“Oh, scaling” confirmed the dentist. Apparently that’s what it’s called.

The procedure was very uncomfortable. Squeaky and hushing sounds of the equipments in my mouth and the effort to keep my jaw dropped for almost half an hour, with some occasional pain when the plaque is in the deeper part. And the most annoying of all is the constant flow of water sprayed to my mouth in the process where I felt like I’m drowning and trying to control my breathing from my nose only. I choked a few times and had to ask the nice dentist to give me a break.

“It’s just water” said the dentist every time I felt choked and try to clear my throat.

During the entire process, there were moments where I couldn’t do anything but lay there with a tensed up body like I was being tied to a bed and tortured. And I couldn’t help but look around emptily, trying to relax, stare funnily at the dentist and nurses, and making sure I remember to breath from my nose. I wonder, what would you do?