The knell of silence

There are times in life

When happiness is a world away

And all I hear

Is silence


There are times in life

When their happiness is a world away

All I want to hear

Is their voices


Because I try

Because I care

Because I understand

The silence


I don’t want the same

Silence for them

It torments and

It breaks you


Suicide’s a dirty word

Or so they say

But no one realises

It’s the preceding silence


Promises are meant

To be broken

Expressions of love today

Become nothingness tomorrow


There are times in silence

When life should be a world away

And happiness is

To end it all

“An area sunk below its surroundings”

For all the words that I have in my heart, there is none that I can write it out.

Outside looking in…

I smiled when reading a thread in a discussion forum where people could post words from their heart which they find it hard to express to their significant other.


Some of them were heart-wrenching. Some could induce a silly smile. Some were totally naughty.


Yet at the end of the day, they were all far and distant from me. And I realised that I could only relate to them because all around me, the media speaks of love, romance and relationships – in songs, in conversations, in advertisements, in radio jingles, in words, in gestures, and in images.


No matter how they represent the purest and most candid forms of expressions, I have no voice – not even a word – to add to what was already being shared. I could have been pretentious and fabricate something just to join in the chorus of lost loves, previous loves and current loves. I could have delved deep into the recesses of my mind and the darkest crevices of my heart to pull out the faintest of memories that could induce words (that were) never spoken to the many crushes in my life.


At the end of the day, I am nothing but an envious onlooker holding onto regrets that span more than two decades of one’s life.

The “hanyu pinyin” rant

I hate those hanyu pinyin names we were forced to use for the greater part of my growing up years in school. Being Cantonese, no matter how Mandarin provides a common platform for the Chinese to understand one another, to me it is another dialect. (As much as I appreciate how it has made things easier for many people, the simplification of all Chinese characters from the traditional style has also “dumbed down” the cultural significance of the language. But this is an entry for another day.)


My name in hanyu pinyin is downright awful. In Cantonese, there is a nice ring to it and due to how it is pronounced, I have a fairly unique “middle” dialect name which I can use interchangeably as an English name. However, I will cringe whenever someone addresses me by my hanyu pinyin name (which thankfully is a rare occurrence these days). Which begs the question of how I managed to survive my formative years being called by that name almost every single day at school, at play and at home.


Now, this rant was brought to you specially by Facebook.


I know many people have played this nifty application almost to death, burning away hours of productivity and navigating through its many nice applications. The greater significance of Facebook is ultimately establishing contact again with long-lost friends or poring through page after page of search results for the name of some old flame (and cursing to selves about why the ex in question didn’t get a less common name). I can certainly appreciate the arms in air feeling whenever the extensive search proved to be fruitful, which ultimately leads to more poring over every detail on that said person’s profile page (and I suspect the first stop would be the person’s photo and followed by any info on that person’s relationship status, and then, photos of girlfriend / wife or boyfriend / husband).


So how does this hanyu pinyin rant fit into all of these? It’s simple. The use of hanyu pinyin became somewhat less popular a short time after I left secondary school. Almost everyone switched to their dialect names. Therefore, typing in my ex-classmates’ hanyu pinyin names (as I know them) in the search section of Facebook would usually yield less-than-satisfactory results. Trying to find these contacts wouldn’t be half as hard as finding the needle in a haystack when you have to think of the various permutations of how a certain Chinese character is pronounced in dialect. What’s more, because all and sundry were forced to speak Mandarin, no one knew (or remembered) which dialect group a particular classmate belonged to.


Now, I received an invitation to join a group recently. It was set up by one of my secondary school classmates and imagine my delight when I realised I could burn hitherto precious productivity time at work by trawling through my ex-classmates’ profile, admiring the pretty faces of their significant other (for males) and ogling at how well those pretty lasses who were once decked in drab uniforms have matured (was about to put the word “aged” here) and criticising their choice of beaus.


The problem now is that because I was so used to their hanyu pinyin names, I have to match faces to their dialect names. Therefore, except for “guesstimating”, I would have to contend with having new set of faces to admire and be a silent participant while everyone else put the Wall section to good use.


At the same time, being someone with a weird dialect name and having put up a hand-drawn version of me as my profile photo, it’ll probably cause some of my ex-classmate grief when they try to establish who I actually am.


Ah… fun and games.


(“Yesterday Once More” by the Carpenters was repeating in my head as I was typing this.)