Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The (lost) Aura / Self-delusion vs. Self-worth

I have a paradoxical thing regarding reunions - I'm sure quite a few ppl do as well.

At GW's wedding dinner, I was reunited with a few failiar faces - Peisun (I'm so touched that she stored my HP no as Babe, after sooooo long - think we haven't met since, like.... dunno when?), Mdm Quek (my beloved Biology teacher), and one of my idols, Tiger Tan, especially when I aws sitting beside him throughout the dinner.

Still remember how I think I first met him - he was the first teacher I met in sec sch, when we had to report to the sch that we had been posted to after PSLE.

How he had struck fear in everyone and anyone - he's simply the icon of BP.

How we had to keep our long, pointed, colourful Beng/Lian combs and elongated Valentino/Ferragamo/"insert any other Beng/Lian brand" wallets whenver he went on his rounds.

How he had conducted public "barber sessions" durng recesses to guys who kept long hair.

How myself and another classmate were called into his personal office for a lecturing of sorts on failing the History prelim paper (though he was still ncie enough to give both of us each a provisional pass, i.e. 50%).

How he made us read by borrowing books from second-hand bookstores and distributing it in class.

How he played a part in convincing me not to drop A Maths, that there was still hope for me, after I was the only one in my class to flunk A Maths badly at the end of Sec 3. (Still remember how I did my A Maths exams - attempt every question w/o arriving at the final answer, hoping to scrap through with marks given for my half-hearted workings.)

How our class managed to trick him into eating a piece of sushi laced with lots of wasabi without his knowledge during Teachers' Day celebrations, and his priceless reaction upon consuming it.

And how, ten years later, I was sitting beside him, chatting about the school, about teaching, as an adult.

And I slowly realised, the aura, that mystique, those days of Tiger Tan, had been forever etched in memories of yesteryear, only to be savoured, no longer experienced.

He's just simply it - the Icon.


Zhikai was kind enough to 'tom-pang' me to somewhere further from town and nearer my place where I can catch a bus ride home in double-quick time.

Had a chat with him regarding the state of affairs in this society - how bread-and-butter/survival issues are paramount to exist here, ahead of ideals and the self. How it is inevitable to be subsumed under pragmatism, the Dark Side.

A particular example he quoted struck me, because it sounded all too familiar as a rhetoric - the one about one who loves art, but would not be able to survive in this reality even if one has a degree or something higher in art due to the lack of interest/focus/attention.

The circularity of "X is -this-. Because X is made to be -this-, one made to believe in X. And because one believe in X, then X is -this-.

But it's not anyone's fault - that's the way this society has been engineered to work.

I'm just prolonging my delay for the inevitable defection to the Dark Side.

It's gonna be a helluva delay though - I'll make sure it will be something worth etching into my memory, my last bastion of idealism.

Signing off............ The bastion will fall, but not without fighting and glory................

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