Friday, November 03, 2006

Family portraits

Family portraits.

Most of us have them hanging in that special place down the hallway - even I have several professionally framed ones up on my dining room wall in special pride of place. Different generations of a single bloodline sitting together laughing and talking, there'll be that ubiquitous graduation photo with cap and gown, the crucial wedding shot where the bridebites her rouged lips looking nervous while the groom beams blissfully with eyes bloodshot from last night's hangover. Sometimes looking at the rows of photos, I feel that little pang in my heart.

Don't get me wrong, I haven't recently been orphaned and deprived of the singular pleasure of having a family around who loves me. I do have that at the moment with my almost uncomfortably large brood of aunts and uncles, cousins and relatives. Uncomfortable would be a severe understatement for them since come Chinese New Year or any other festive celebration, there's always a rowdy, boisterous army of kith and kin ready to wreak havoc back home in Penang.

But when it comes to the smaller, more intimate occasions, Christmases and birthdays, it's always left to my brother and me. Although he has started a small tribe of his own, it certainly doesn't match those of my parents. Doubt there are all that many in this reproductively challenged generation of singles and doubles that could possibly match up to having a football team full of siblings ( and that's with a few backbenchers too ) ... but sometimes I do wonder what it's life to have more than a handful of brothers and sisters bickering and quarrelling over the most trivial matters. You see them on serial familiy dramas all the time... barbaric hordes of family members diving for that final piece of chicken wing, squabbling sisters pulling hairs over that first place in the shower come New Year morning, brothers brawling over control of the all-powerful remote.

In her more pensive moods, my mother would confide that she wished she could have more children and I've never disagreed. Reason enough for me to keep in close contact with my plethora of unruly cousins - who unfortunately enough now live in all farflung corners of the Asia-Pacific region :) Always wondered what it's like to have a big sister giving unsolicited advice and possibly tossing the large hair brush at me when I don't listen. Or a little brat of a brother who's gonna sneer and complain that my secret porn stash has been clogging up the hard disk. Or that little sister who's gonna steal my MP3 player and not return it. Ever.

A clean shave
Me, my brother and my sister-in-law...:)

Say what you will but trust me, it certainly beats having the same regular partner for Monopoly and Uno month after month :) Is it any wonder that after being involuntarily thrown together on a daily basis for twenty years, my dissimilar brother and I started developing in wholly opposite directions? Even my sister-in-law wonders that we could have come up from the same womb with the same upbringing - and sometimes even I start to think that one of us just might have been switched at birth.

Every once in a while my sweet little niece ( well, that's when she's not throwing one of her hissy fits ) comes over and asks me when she'll ever have cousins of her own ( possibly instigated by her subtly matchmaking mother ) and I find myself unsurprisingly at a loss for an answer. What do I tell her? How do I tell her? Do I lie by telling that her bachelor uncle's vehemently opposed to the institution of marriage and the act of childbearing? Or do I tell her the sadder, convoluted truth - that this country certainly isn't ready to face the chilling spectre of a gay man adopting?

Yeah. Family portraits. They do make you think.

...***...


Not gonna leave everyone feeling depressed and down in the dumps of course, especially since news of my nomination has put a queer smile on my face :) After all, it's certainly not my style to wail and moan over things we can't change... and hey, it's not all doom and gloom in the queer world since every once in a while, if you're lucky enough you do meet the one guy who becomes your family.



Just ask Kevin Walker.

15 comments:

Ban said...

The chilling spectre. Is that a dream you won't persue?

BTW, video rocked. Not that I have any idea who the guy is.

Will said...

You ALWAYS put a queer smile on my face!

ikanbilis said...

i don't have family portrait. you have such a unique family =) i suggest not to adopt just for your sweet little niece unless you're ready to do so, but i'm available if you want to adopt one! LOL

matrianklw said...

I know exactly how that it feels to have an elder sister who smacks me so often that I've become numbed to it and a younger brother who just couldn't get enough of taking over my life! Stuck in the middle.

JL said...

I am the only child in my diminutive family. My cousins are at least a decade older than me. Because of the age gap, we hardly hang out together. I pretty much grow up as a lone ranger. Don’t get me wrong, I like my cousins very much and they are a bunch of wonderful & amiable people, but sometimes I just wish that I have at least 1 or 2 cousins who are around the same age as me. It's even better if I have a bro or sis :)

You are very fortunate to have a brother ^_^

Congratulations for the Nominations!

ShaZaReenE said...

you know what... i think feelings are seasonal too... like flue or something.
early this year i found many depressed for the most unlikely reasons, and now this family business and soul-mates comes along... hmmm...
i know what you mean...

hrugaar said...

I have a huge clan of cousins, all good-looking and talented and successful. I'm very fond of them all - but when I'm with them, or see photos of them, I can't help but feel the odd one out, the black sheep of the bunch, or (as the guy in the video says) just out of my league. I always seem to be on the outside looking in, which is kind of isolating.

xavier said...

ur post just reminds me of the hallway full of potraits on the wall in my house and my grannie's...

though many are black and white, and supposely creepy.... i somehow kinda like it... i like to see how the family branched from the earlier generations...

and i am no worry cos my brothers have done a good job, producing 8 nephews even before i graduate from uni with my first degree :)

snowdrop said...

"uncomfortably large brood of aunts and uncles, cousins and relatives..."? maybe we ARE related after all... *pengsans also* :)

mooriel2 said...

I always thought it'd be excellent to have a sister to take the heat off me. Like Snow White & Rose Red.

THE HONOURABLE SHAH said...

the family potrait thingy...i certainly know how you feel. with nieces and nephews growing up (the number would be 9 next year!), the killer question does pop up once in a while...especially during family gatherings. but i still have my eldest brother as my armour! hehe...a pushing 40-year-old accountant who has everything but still single. oh, i've checked - he isn't gay.

Anonymous said...

...little brat who's complaining about the secret porn stash clogging up the hard drive...

That's my brother alright. LOL! You put it in your blog!

Wanna switch? You can have the little brat. I'd prefer if he didn't go through my stuff. =P

savante said...

Go google it.. and I did mention it earlier, Bunny.

Thanks, will :)

No family portrait? Why not? Go take a few, ikan bilis.

I'm not the middle child, matt :)

Wish I had more than a brother, jl.

IT's a weird feeling, shazareene. Bet those with larger families would think we're crazy :)

Fortunately I'm not one of the black sheeps, ru. Just one of the unknowns :)

No worries, my cousins are doing the same, xavier.

You saya punya auntie ah, snowdrop? Would that make tompok a pakcik?

Ooh. You gotta read Fables for that, mooriel :)

Pushing 40 and still single, shah? Why!

Yeah, you gave me that cute idea, sam :)

Paul

Steven said...

Ah, family.

Can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em.

Wait, I'm not so sure on that second part...

Spot said...

Fables by Bill Willingham? Just finished Vols 1 -3, hence the refernce. :)