The favourite activity in the morning was re-sampling Faye Wong’s songs on the smartphone and adding the ones I would love to listen on repeat mode to the “Favourites” playlist. Re-sampling because being a rabid Faye Wong fan, I owned almost all her albums sans the compilations and would have listened to every song. So, there was some joy when I got to a rather obscure album loaded in the phone and then, was treated to songs that were once favourites but somehow forgotten.
Unlike the earlier years of my adulthood, these songs didn’t conjure the sudden desire to reminisce. Every album and every song would bring about instant associations to a period in my life. One of her albums “Di Dar” would remind me of the days of the two-hour commute from home and camp and throw up images of me with earphones plugged into the CD player and how the dread of another day in hell loomed. Another album of hers “
Chang YouScenic Tour” reminded me of the short two-week stay in Petaling Jeya when I loved the songs in the album so much that it was on repeat mode. And of course, the guffaw from one of the mates who remarked the cover of the album indicated to him how Faye was trying hard to copy Bjork.
Yet, in listening to the songs on the train this morning, the associations and connections were faint and distant. Perhaps this was about the passing of time or how, being on the cusp of hitting the mid-thirties, the emotions – even the negative ones – have mellowed considerably.
Whatever it is, Faye remains an evergreen for me. Of my CD collection, her albums take up almost 40%. When there were rumours that she would be returning to the Chinese pop scene after a long hiatus, there was a bit of excitement bubbling in me. And on the train this morning, I toyed with the idea of taking a plane to Hong Kong or Taiwan if she were to hold a concert in those parts. Though I might be mistaken, the chances of her staging a concert in Singapore, in my mind, seem remote.
I mightn’t have thought about Faye and toyed with seemingly absurd trips to other countries just for the sake of attending a concert if I had owned certain spiffy electrical device, which I would consider “distractions”. Maybe it’s weird to many out there, but I really do treasure whatever time I have when I could just allow my thoughts to wander.
Images, sounds, faces, smells, unintended body contact (!) and gestures when I do the daily commute on public transport were triggers and good places for my brain to begin its little journey. It could lead to ideas, stories forming in my head (with tragic plots most of the time), a sudden urge to listen to a particular song (and then, disappointment when it is not found on the damn smartphone), the faint memory of a good read, the need to check Wikipedia, and many others. Because the destinations of these little journeys were uncertain and invariably infinite, it is like giving myself the luxury of a little adventure. All of that in that short thirty-minute ride home or to work.
Of course, there will be days when the brain would shut off all thoughts and refuse to budge. And then, there are those little magical moments when my gaze would fall on that face of a (nameless) stranger whom God, in all of His creativity, chose to endow with beauty. There would be no more journeys.
So, despite being presented with an opportunity to “molest” a certain electronic product made by a certain company last evening, I didn’t have to put up much of a resistance. Perhaps this was influenced by a bad experience I had last year (when I was desperate to land in my hands a popular smartphone from this company). Perhaps it was because these thirty-minute adventures were too sacred for me.
Of course, I have considered how this would effectively help to reclaim a long lost habit – reading. I no longer have to battle the need to buy hard copies of novels, biographies and other non-fiction books and then the sad realisation of the reality – the cramped room has no space to hold them (notwithstanding the fact that the ex-sarong kebaya girl has moved out). And with its many applications, games and other features, I would be well and truly distracted.
Unless I somehow get it as a prize or a present (read: it’s NOT a hint) or it becomes affordable, I would steer real clear from any shops peddling this. I really like that thing, but I would do well enough not to get it for the moment.
I enjoyed their company last evening, all four hours of it. In between the conversations, I thought about coincidences, memories of the past, the differences between the 25/6-year-old version of me and the current one, and lessons about relationships. I liked the chilli crab cut fries. I loved it when the juice from the mini Kobe burger was introduced in my mouth as I bit onto it. I liked how facades of people I had never met were stripped away to reveal faces with stories behind every gesture and every lingering word.