面临二十

一眨眼,二十年已经过去了。
现在的我已经完成12年的教育,也快要服完兵役了。现在的我也应当做些打算。老实说我并没有什么专长也没有一个属于我自己的成就。老实说,我是一位无名者,一名还在对未来一无了之,一无打算的无名者。

但这并不代表我没理想,没梦想。相反的,这却代表了我对未来的期望。记得年小的我曾想长大以后当艺人明星,长大后才发现那太离谱所以才改换成老师。现在的我因个个理由也不知道未来要从事什么行业。但虽是这样,我依旧对未来还充满着期盼。

生命轨道上,始终还是要经历生离死别,还是要经历许多风风雨雨,还是要面对突如其来的事…虽说这些经历最终能培养人格,磨炼毅力,我依旧害怕。

现在大家几乎对每件事都要求完美,要求完整。就有如红酒配红肉或是面包配牛油。只不过一个精致,另一个却平淡一些,但也却表现出富裕与贫困生活中的一些完美搭配的例子。我们追求毫无瑕疵的生活虽说极端一些,但却没什么不对的。可惜,在追求完美和完整的境界中,好多人是乎忘记了缺憾也有可能是一种美丽。没错,你那微烤焦的面包仍还是带着出烤炉香气,依旧还是可以大口大口的吃。身为无名者的自己唯一可以做的是铭记自己的谦虚,找出不足的地方并加以改良。

这二十年里,我成长也成熟了。
这二十年里,我托着亲朋好友的福过着完美的每一天。我满足经历得到喜怒哀乐的每一个情感。我满足桌前有饭,柜里有衣的生活。我感谢赐予我生命的父母亲,我感激陪伴着我走到今日的人。

这二十年里,我长大了。

Photo credits to Lye!

The Boy in the Picture

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While rummaging through the drawer in my relative’s house, I came across the photograph of a little boy at a garden. It is an old photograph. It was bright and sunny, and flowers bloomed in the foreground and back. I presume it was spring. He held onto his aunt with one tiny hand while the other cupped and pressed against his right temple, his eyes gazing away from the photographer. That boy, clad in T-shirt and red shorts with a red baseball cap, is me. I have zero memory of the events that unfolded that day in the garden. I do not recall why that boy had his hand pressed against his temple. In fact, I am not even certain if I was pressing against my temple or merely trying to shield myself from the sun.

That is the problem with photographs. While we willingly or unwillingly let ourselves be frozen into stillness, hoping to retain its memories – childbirth, birthdays, graduations, marriage, even deaths –and emotions, you realised that you retain a little of it, sometimes none at all. I do not despise it, neither am I fond of it.

But there is something worth capturing. Something that makes even the timidest man venture into unchartered grounds or foreign territories to capture the unspeakable and unthinkable.  Otherwise, I imagine Photography being a dying trade.

I find it amusing, still, that the boy in the picture is me. But how much of him is retained in my bloodstream? It has been more than 10 years since that picture was taken. I have completed 12 years of compulsory education. I am about to complete National Service. My physique, my voice, my train of thoughts, my linguistic capabilities, and my preferences have changed. I am unable to comprehend his decisions and his actions. Likewise, he would be eluded by the choices I will make or the hobbies I have. In so many different ways, we are unalike. Yet that child, in T-shirt and red shorts with a red baseball cap, is me.

I yearn to peek into his mind. To see his train of thoughts when he took his first solo elevator ride, his first solo bus ride, his first durian … I wonder if he had paced back and forth at the lobby, taking a deep breath to calm his nerves before taking a step through the hole in the wall. I wonder if he had anxiously looked out of the window as the bus halted and the commuters alighted and boarded, or had he merely followed the crowd. I wonder if his face creased in disgust as he inhaled the pungent odour of the spiky fruit his father had pried open, or had he simply dismissed the smell and tore apart the flesh of the tropical fruit with his milk teeth.

Had he decided to take a different route home from school, would he still be me today? Had he decided to be vegetarian, would he still be me today? Had he arrived late at the hospital with a burning fever when he was four, would I still exist today? He – that is I- had gone through many dramas, many of which I yearned to have prescience of.

Regardless, the photograph, taken on that long forgotten day, still remains foreign.

This is the problem with that photograph: that little boy in it reminded myself of who I used to be and who I no longer am.

What I can see is what I am not.” – Aleksandar Hemon, The Lazarus Project.

*Disclaimer: This post is greatly inspired by a passage on personal identity from “Betraying Spinoza” written by Rebecca Newberger Goldstein. I write with the hopes of improving my writing, feedback appreciated.