Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Little Girl and Hand-drawn Flowers

“Why do you want to be so different from everyone around you?”

A question I’ve never given a truthful answer to before

Picture from deviantart.com. Words by Robert Frost.

The highlight of the week in my old all-boys secondary school was the PE period. 10 minutes before PE, all the dudes were already fidgeting, feeling the rise of adrenaline for a rough spot of footie to come and the rise of impatience at whichever teacher that was taking the pre-PE class. 5 minutes before PE, more than half the guys were already at the field – all changed and raring to start.

"Boys."
1

Of course, there was always someone who would not share the class’s enthusiasm for football. That someone would consider it a perfectly silly and futile exercise (Honestly, twenty-two sweaty guys chasing after a ball in a huge field?). That someone would not even bother to bring his physical kit to school. That someone would instead pack a good novel to read when he was left alone in an empty classroom when his mates were out in the field (laughably) emulating Beckham.

That someone was me. That screwball. That insufferable elitist slash Mr. I’m-Just-Too-Cool-to-be-Like-You.

I don’t give a sh!t how many goals Manchester United scored against team X in that game Y nights ago. I don’t care if Real Madrid bought Beckham like a whore for some insane sum of money, or that Rooney bangs senior citizens, or what kind of razor Zidane uses to shave his nuts. I have no interest in sports cars and could barely tell Porsche and a Toyota apart – let alone all the model types with names that sounded as if they belonged to government experimental stealth bombers. I insisted on buying only the cheapest, most durable and practical Nokia phones as opposed to getting those MP3 player + gazillion-mega-pixel camera + game console + GPRS + ICBM launching capabilities type of mobile phone hybrids which my friends worked two part-time jobs simultaneously to pay for. I have never worn a pair of jeans in my life. What I know about gadgets won’t fill a thimble. I’d pick a long, thoughtful, artsy movie over an action thriller any day of the week. The anime/manga japanophile culture had left me unmoved. And oh, I detest seafood don’t lynch me, please.

The thing is; there seems to be an overwhelming personal drive to choose2 differently from my approximate majority. It’s not that I’m trying very hard to be a social freak – it’s just that being different comes so naturally to me. Whatever the flock does, I do not.

The standing postulation is that I get a colossal kick out of saying “I don’t do that,” and watch people stare at me incredulously - which I assure you is rather far from the truth. The most recent time anyone asked me the question at the top was regarding my total dependence3 on the Keith L. Moore’s Clinically Oriented Anatomy textbook (which most people deemed unreadable), and my complete ignorance of the contents of B. D. Chaurasia’s Human Anatomy trilogy (which everyone thought to be essential and sure-to-fail-if-you-one-if-you-don’t-read). In spite of the odds cited against my favour, I passed anyway *takes a bow*.

The book everyone thought was crap.

Maybe I’m just afraid of losing my individuality – so afraid that I don’t even mind walking off the nice, paved, flower-skirted roads.

Maybe.

Now, let me tell you a story. You like stories, don’t you? Everybody likes stories (yeah, even me);

Between the period of time when I was three and six years old, I studied in a missionary kindergarten called Pei Daw. Frankly, I can’t remember much from my time there - just snippets of playground games, scenes where I wetted my shorts, and this truly massive Indian girl who sat beside me in one of the classes. I remember that we were supposed to leave the classroom everyday in a line of twos and that the boys were forced to hold hands with the girls while standing in that line. I remember replacing another boy in a skit during the annual graduation kiddie performances because he couldn’t act for peanuts. I remember that there was a durian tree standing in the middle of the playground and that our teachers would forbid us to play there during the fruiting seasons4. I remember that I can read and speak Chinese better at that age than I can do so now.

Memories, memories, dressed in black-and-white – but one particular memory stood out in colours;

I was sitting alone by the drain watching the other kids play in the playground. Frankly, I don’t know why but there I was – alone.

A little girl wearing a bright red skirt came and sat beside. In one of her tiny hands was a box of colour pencils, and there was a piece of paper in the other. She showed me that piece of paper and I saw that she had half-decorated it with drawings of flowers – uniformed, five-petal blossoms in red.

“Can you help me draw more flowers?” she asked me earnestly in Mandarin. “I want you to fill the paper with flowers.”

I wordlessly took that piece of paper from her and proceeded to draw, solemnly copying the flowers she had already drawn on that piece of paper. I drew mine in red as well, and all of them had five petals – just like hers. I even drew them the same size.

But before I could finish, she took her colour pencil and her paper back, and walked away.

Ps: In case you haven't yet realise it, I have already answered the question in the beginning.


The one and only,
k0k s3n w4i

1 I'm saying this not with an affectionate smile, but with my eyes rolled to the back of my head.
2 Keyword.
3 T-O-T-A-L D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-C-E. Not even class notes (because I've lost most of them). And not even Netter's Atlas of Human Anatomy (because I was too cheap to buy one).
4
Durian + Heads of 3-to-6-year-old Kids = Tragedy + Lawsuit

10 comments:

thanatos said...

hmmm...we do have some thoughts in common. basically i think i'm like you in lack of enthusiasm for football, sport cars, and phones. but i love seafood.

pity i don know you earlier...haha...

being different is not so bad after all. you see things not visible to others.

cheers.

Michelle Chin said...

I see "Grey's Anatomy" instead of "Clinical Oriented Anatomy"...
@_@

michelleg said...

haha.. i use keith moore as well. it's not bad. but i love the pictures drawn by netters. he's super awesome in painting. maybe u can be the next netters (with ur skill in drawing)

hmm actually still dun get the little girl with the flower. but mayb there's a hidden meaning there..

ingshan said...

mayb dat girl expected him to draw diff type of flowers?
haha~ who knows...

michellesy said...

Is being different something that you want rather than something you just are?

Each to their own I say. This coming from someone who's an oddity twice over =)

For I happen to have an unnatural (for a Malaysian anyway) fondness for the written word - books would be best, but even nutrional labels will do in a pinch.

Plus I was an orchestra geek for the better part of my high school years.

Although I have to admit, all this could be nullified because my school was known to be full of freaks anyway. The guy I sat next to in Secondary 2 memorised mathematical log books in his spare time. Scary stuff I tell ya =)

May I say how refreshing it is to meet a guy who does not think sports is the be-all and end-all of life (good luck finding one in sports-mad Australia!) and who doesn't have a PS3/ XBox 360 permanently attached to his hand like an extra appendage.

Although I still don't get what a weakness for seafood has to do with being male? Hmmm......

ps: Moore's kicks serious ass, even though I used Van de Graaf's more during my undergrad years. If you couldn't find it in Moore's you couldn't find it anywhere we used to say. It takes a brave soul not to be scared off by the heftiness of that tome though =)

Zzzyun said...

i think moore's is not bad. i used it (the clinical anatomy version) with my nettler's.

nothing wrong with being different if it suits u i guess.

btw whats with the flowers thing? how did u draw it differently?

Innocent^^Guy said...

Its not a boy thing to be into football, or sports car and stuffs like that. I am not into football. I dun give a rats ass to what happens in the football world and the only time I did, was because I had some stakes in the world cup :P I think its just a matter of being interested in or not. I skip PE all the time while I head to the library to study. But if you're telling me that we're gonna play basketball, I'll skip study all the time to head to the court for some game!

I have no comment on the medical part cos I'm not a medical student and I hate doctors. But hey, I do love books. Although I don't read them as much, I just love the smell of new books, and i love to buy and stock them up in my room. Makes me feel like I'm the studious type when I'm actually not

And finally, I don't really get the story, but I just hate it when people come around asking me for a favour, and then when I'm trying to work things out for them, they just tell me that they don't need it anymore(a metaphor of how people come in to your life and leave you when you are not done with them). It's like I was taken for granted.

U've got plenty of comments here and u better show yourself soon before your readers get angry...

Innocent^^Guy said...

and i just notice u have a lot of michelle frens ;p

Wan Yean said...

sin #1: u detest PE lessons.
sin #2: u dislike football.
sin #3: u compare a porsche with toyota?

repent now, before it's too late for you to be a real man.

take it with a pinch of salt. :)

k0k s3n w4i said...

@thanatos
HA! Seafood. I know I'm still special!
LoL. Ok, but on a more serious note, I think we CAN hit off pretty well.
And, the downside of being different is that one tend to NOT see things visible to others.

@michelle chin
Sacrilege! Grey's Anatomy Fan! Burn her on the stake!!!! (House fandom unite!!!)

@michelleg
I personally liked the diagrams in Keith better.
And I hide meanings in most of my postas.
To date, no one had guessed why I named the girl "Kate" in my "Kate" post.

@ingshan
Smart boy. You win - sort of.

@michellesy
Hit the nail on the head as usual (thought footnote 2 was a dead giveaway).
I must say you're terribly well read - and I'll agree that Malaysians aren't the world's greatest bibliophiles.
And the seafood thing, it's just one of the ways I deviated from my "approx majority".

ps: you might not have heard of Chaurasia, but hell - you can find a ton of stuff there that's not in Moore. It's essentially a condensed versh of Gray's.

@zzzyun
I didn't. ;)

@innocent^^guy
I've never gambled in my life as well (not even with relatives during new year).
I get the whole "ingrate" sentiment.
The point is, this happened when I was 4 or 5. Kids think differently then. And things that happened at that age had a strange way of shaping your life in entirety.

Sry for coming with replies late tho (I assure you that i like replying comments as much as I love writing posts). I had a whole week's worth of sleep debt to pay off. :p

Ps: I like Michelles. I find them excellent listeners.

@wanyean
A true man dares to break conventions. Are you ready to be a man today?

*takes pinch of salt and throw it at wanyean* :)

@everyone
Tomorrow, I'm going for that UTSAV writing competition I was coerced... err... persuaded firmly to participate in. Wish me luck, folks!