Sunday, January 06, 2019

The Old and the New

Yes, it's been a while since I've written.

Not that I've entirely abandoned writing - never that - but these days I've been otherwise preoccupied. You see, I've rediscovered an old love of mine; and that has led me to stray just a little.

Hence the time away. Fear not though, worry warts. Charming Calvin and I are doing perfectly fine - in fact we just came back from a romantic evening walk checking out the budding new cafes in town.

My old and rediscovered love is for the humble lil pencil.

Years back as a child, I was the ultimate doodler. Once I could reasonably pick up that trusty old pencil, I scratched bold graphite on every possible surface I could find. Even now, a quick investigation of my old bedroom would probably uncover some hastily scribbled doodle on the wall in whatever medium I was using back then, from kiddie crayons to pencils. Never too far from some wildly ambitious artistic project!

Always time for a sketch!

Much later when my father was in and out of the hospital, the pencil helped me while away the time as I drew little sketches on the edges of my notebooks. Certainly drove away the incessant boredom at some of my more boring classes. Even more so during the interminably dull lectures in university where the didactic professors would drone on and on about human physiology. So to the pencil I found refuge, doodling caricatures of my crusty old tutors for a laugh.

But as I started the grueling years of my housemanship, I somehow left the pencil behind. Rushing for ward rounds with the prosaic pen in my white coat pocket, there seemed little time and opportunity to sketch. All regrettably sacrificed on the preeminent altar of medicine.

Can certainly afford the most gorgeous pencils these days. Even the best material money could buy. But I somehow lacked the drive.

Till Inktober came along.

For the sadly uninitiated, Inktober is basically an art challenge that prompts daily sketches every day for a month. Nudged along by some of my artsy friends in the art market, it wasn't long before I was spending almost every day doodling according to the prompt of the day. Don't think I've ever been that happy whiling away the hours. Though I might spend ages on just a tiny lil sketch, I found myself far more satisfied with the time used!

Since then I've filled several sketchbooks - albeit really small A5 ones - since I do my best sketches at work. Hanging around waiting for the next crisis to happen seems to be the best time for me to center and calm myself down with a quick doodle.

Makes me wonder sometimes why I left this love behind.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Battle of the Break-up Buddies

Weddings are a time for friends and family to gather together to celebrate the union of someone near and dear to them - to that other person. Hopefully well received of course. Apart from the exceptionally rare Romeo & Juliet tragedies where the church aisles are literally dripping in fresh blood of mutual enmity, generally weddings these days have both sides of the union in collective accord with each other.

Pick a seat, not a side, they would normally claim at a wedding.

However though a handful may be mutually shared friends of both the bride and groom, let's not fool ourselves into believing there isn't a secret dividing line through the aisles between friends of the bride and friends of the groom. Even when they meet up with new people as a couple, that new friend would still gravitate towards one more than the other. 

With certain few exceptions. 

His friends. Her friends. Trust me, they all know where to stand. 

So friends of the bride and friends of the groom can be clearly seen on opposing sides during such ceremonies, with few jumping across the centre to join the other side. So it was to my surprise that I noticed something peculiarly off when I snooped through the wedding seating for a friend's coming wedding. 

Paul : This is the final list? 
Friend : Yes. 
Paul : Wait, where are your friends? 
Friend : On the list. 
Paul : No. Those are his friends. 
Friend : Those are my friends too. 
Paul : Umm no.  
Friend : Common friends!
Paul : His friends. 
Friend : Common friends!
Paul : Nope. Invite your own people!

Clearly so. Though admittedly it was a pretty short list, it was obviously lopsided with none of her friends, her classmates, her colleagues... her people in that sense. 

Though many would claim that a relationship only matters to the individuals involved therein, let me tell you it isn't always true. When a couple finally settles down to a somewhat committed relationship, they also bring whatever emotional baggage they have been lugging about before, random rabid relatives - and also their own passel of crazy friends.

Only the really foolish would eschew the previous platonic / plutonic ties of their partner. The smart ones play it well so that his or her friends inevitably become their own as well. Even so rarely do those friends actually abandon their original comrade to become even more of a buddy-buddy to the new partner. 

Ties that become ever more apparent in the event of a breakup. Or even a break. 

When even the most amicable splits forces their friends to choose sides - so yes, even those supposed common friends. Those old college drinking buddies that he brings to the relationship, those brash working mates that come over for board games sometimes, they would inevitably drift back to his side. His friends, and yes no matter how close they may have become in the interim, would still muddle back through some misplaced sense of friendship and camaraderie.  

Really not so common actually. 

Thursday, September 06, 2018

To Tweet or Not To Tweet

That's a question I can answer quite easily.

When you're in doubt, just don't.

There are times I'm glad I came of age at a time where the internet was still in its babbling infancy so my totally trashy drunk photos of youth aren't splashed around for semi-posterity for all to see. Since social media wasn't always around, I've always known to be a lil more cautious of what to let everyone else see and what not to.

Or at least realized that what you send out into the internet could remain there forever. And anyone - and yes that includes internet trolls that could crawl out of any nook and cranny of the dark web - could place a snarky disrespectful comment.

But some easily bruised young-uns these days don't seem to have realized that pertinent fact which is how I came to read a repeated retweet. Basically something like this.
When I say I'm ugly I'm not looking for sympathy I'm legit just venting my fucking feelings. I'm allowed to feel unattractive. My feelings are valid. Don't just say 'But you're just so pretty' like okay. But I don't feel like it right now. Fuck off. Let me have my emotions.  
Really. So many thoughts.

Dang. What didchu say? 

Seriously number one. Gosh so incredibly churlish to all your soon to be ex-friends who actually tried to support you in their own apparently misguided way. Sure, it's not the right way according to you but at least they tried. So swallow your entitled pride and take that consolation pill.

Number two... well yes, your feelings are valid but isn't theirs as well? Your hastily shutting them would be invalidating their feelings and thoughts as well, no? Aren't you doing exactly what you wouldn't want done to yourself?

Number three is somewhat disconnected from the tweeted post above but about parenting and children at large. Perhaps it is good that our Asian Tiger Moms actually told us to shut the fuck up sometimes. Perhaps we shouldn't entirely dismiss the old-fashioned option of having our children remaining respectfully silent at certain times. Their feelings are perfectly valid of course - but there are times they shouldn't be so quick to express them all the time. Seriously. Bite your lip. Impulsively coming up with such a hostile response in public would probably earn a quick maternal whack across the back of our heads for being absolutely, almost criminally, discourteous.

Since perhaps you should have known better than to post such a comment on the web for anyone out there to see - and comment.

Last of all, imagine how much worse you would feel if all and sundry had agreed with a resounding 'Yes, you're ugly.' For someone who hasn't felt very handsome for his entire life, believe me I would rather have compliments than not.

Sunday, September 02, 2018

Pat A Cake Bake A Bun

One thing I rarely do, at least in real life, is talk about my work. Seriously, I've already spent hours over there so why would I want to keep talking about the exigencies of my day-to-day medical drudge. Perhaps a few hilarious titbits here when I have my other colleagues around but I try to keep that to a minimum. There's really very little need to impress on my friends how wildly important and needlessly busy I actually am.

Point of fact, I actually try the opposite and at least pretend it isn't half as time-consumingly laborious than it actually is. Is there any need to extol my own virtues by claiming to have saved lives by the dozen in a week or to exalt my name by brandishing my published journals for all to see?

Obviously not.

I know I'm good, there's no need to remind anyone. So yes, most of my friends here blithely assume I'm living the life of a semi-retired socialite with few cares and worries. Perfectly fine since compared to the insane nerve-wracking days of slaving away in the inner city hospitals of the capital, this is basically a paid beach holiday. 

Sort of.

But it's still work.

Hmm. Should I crush her like this strawberry? 

So when a real socialite of the Crazy Rich Asians stereotype comes along to whine about her lack of free time...

Barbara : Oh my, you catch so many television series! And read so many books! 
Paul : So can you I think? 
Barbara : Oh I couldn't! How do you find the time? 
Paul : Well prioritize your time a little? 
Barbara : Oh I simply can't. So little time I tell you! I can barely even finish my nails!

Oh so many things to say, especially to an entitled debutante who works at absolutely nothing and spends her entire late morning, confirmed on the ever-reliable Instagram, constructively talking to her pet pussy for hours. That's on the busiest of her days.

And she has no free time.


Darling, when you have the time to whine about being oh-so-busy, you aren't that busy.

But I also do know this particularly expensive strawberry would be utterly crushed by even the mildest censure I could come up with. Even my patented side-glance would be enough to excoriate her. Self-harm is quite possible and I wouldn't rule out intentional suicide at all. Mean I might be but at least I draw the line at intentionally pushing delicate exotic blooms off a ledge.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Grindr This Tindr

With the plethora of opportunities available for gay men these days in the dating world, I don't find myself envying them. Well... not by much. Granted the easy availability of social apps has made it so much easier to score a decent date - or even a quick hookup depending on the exigencies of the moment - but it has also made them just a little too particular in their choices.

When it was only the five openly gay men in the town, it was relatively easier to date since there wasn't all that many bachelors available on the marriage mart anyhow. Now with the headless torsos on display on every dating app in town - with even the most closeted 'I am so discreet on the DL' boys coming out with their very own unflattering dick pic, dare I say this has caused quite a few to be so awfully finicky that I'm close to whacking them across the head? 

Unless you're only on the prowl for sex, why are you discounting people so easily? 

Friend : I simply can't find anyone to date. 
Paul : Well let's check out your Tindr then.
Friend : I'm sure there's no one. 
Paul : How about bachelor number one? 
Friend : Too many shirtless pics. 
Paul : And that's bad because? 
Friend : Just too many. 
Paul : How about bachelor number two? 
Friend : Not enough words in his description. 

I say bachelor number one and two but my friend was flicking away at the Tindr dates like it was a swiping game. Barely a micro second glance and it's already a swipe left. 

I could keep writing on the reasons for swiping left but some are so inconsequential that I found myself at a loss for words. Even the tiniest of imperfections is reason enough for a rejection. One ear bigger than the other? Smile too wide? Too many friends? 

I'm sure he could find something wrong with even this! 

Look, Prince Charming, if you're gonna refuse every bachelor in the land for some silly reason, there's never going to be anyone for you. And that's all only based on a superficial profile with a couple of random photos, including the obligatory shirtless thirst pic - and a brief description of likes and dislikes. 

From that, you're able to tell whether someone's good enough for a date?  

Oh come on. Talk about reading a book by its cover. 

Be a little less fussy. The best dates I've been on are the ones I didn't expect. You can never tell from that serious expression on his face that he could be the greatest comedian ever. You can't tell just from the sculpted pecs bursting out of his tank top that he's actually the caring sort who boils homemade soup for those he loves. You can't tell from a three line description that he actually writes dramatic telenovelas for a living. 

Is it really so hard? One swipe right is all it takes. 

Unless the other fellow is also a tool and doesn't swipe in return.