Friday, June 15, 2007

A Bit of Blue Sky in a Mouldy Old Matchbox

"There are sheeps in the field
Grazing on noonday's blues,
And a daisy in the middle
Wearing seven different hues.

There is a fence which stood around
The sheeps, the field, the daisy too,
And an angry, ancient shepherd
Who waved his crook at you."

His Name is Yesterday
by Jonah Kensington,
English poet and writer

If you do not already know me at the time these pictures are taken, you might be in for a bit of surprise.
I was a very different sort of guy back then.

I enrolled into the Taylor's College in Subang Jaya when I was 17 for reasons I have mentioned, and will not address again.

Before that, my life had plodded along in a pretty linear and monotonous fashion. The friends that surround me in my primary school years were pretty much the same ones that went with me to secondary school (some of which I even knew from pre-school). Had I chosen to go forth to the Sixth Form, I'd probably still be keeping the same set of friends and acquaintances now.

Maybe that's why friendship was not something I valued greatly in those years; the same faces had been sticking around for too long and I have taken them for granted. Whenever I lose a best friend, I would just shrug it off and make a new one. If I don't like hanging out with a particular clique of friends anymore, I would just change my seat in class and join a new clique. It was no biggie - there were plenty of buddies to go around. I was never suckered into any of those
"Best Friends Forever" crap.

An incomplete class portrait. It's the last day of class, after all.

But I did not go to the Sixth Form. I chose college.

Though I did not expect it (and have never admitted that before this), it was 'unsettling' to suddenly be in a school where there was less than three people I know by sight - and not one from that three were from familiar ol' Malacca High. Gone was the monotony of the white and olive green uniform1 - the diversity of colour people wore in college was almost obscene. The guys dressed to impress, and the chicks - well - dressed to 'express generously'? For the first time in my life, I have to learn to sleep in the same room with a stranger (James, you were tops!).

In toto, it was almost like I was shipwrecked and was stranded in a whole new freaking country.

When I found out that I was put in a different class from even the few people I do know, my heart sank like a cart-load of bricks2. I actually marched up to see The Anaconda3 in his office to see if I could negotiate a class change and be with the girl I came to college for.

Looking back, I'm glad he said "No."

The class trip to Sunway Lagoon for Zue Wen's farewell get-together. I still have my "I'm Big" shirt back then. Coupled with my surname, I was a regular walking barrel of laugh, I tell ya.

The class of PM10 2004/05 is the best darn group of people I have ever owned the pleasure of belonging to. The loud, brash people *coughKLpeoplecough* I disliked initially ended up as my closest, tightest friends - and very soon I became as loud and brash as them.

Our Genting trip. I think it's my life's calling to ruin group photos (thanks for reminding me, Jen).

It surprised me how closely knit we were till the end.

During lunch, we were always the biggest, most obnoxious bunch of kids in whatever food place we chose to infest. We averaged a 15-head group most of the time - and we always have to take 15 to 30 minutes to vote for a place to go to since there were so many of us.

In our DOTA glory days, we would systematically challenge every class and beat them. Pretty soon, there wasn't a single team in Taylor's that could bring us down4. We even trashed that Kok Seng Wai's5 class team (haha, who's the bigger Kok now?).

Then there was our regular skating trips to Sunway Pyramid's rink where I discovered I was a natural (stop laughing, dammit!). We played tag, raced and challenged each other to do stupid stunts. Falling on my butt had never been more fun.

We had wacky poolside birthday parties, the occasional get-together dinners, protracted Lingo duels (when, as Yun put it, "we would not-listen-in-any-class for weeks") , really late movie nights (and really, really late night walks back from Sunway Pyramid after that), record-breaking carpools (and the dreaded run in with the cops)...

I wasn't a stuffed-shirt duffer back then. I actually had a life (and no blog).

Fishing with plastic bags and 'char sio peng' at Matang, Sarawak (check out the insane number of fishes in the water!). We were always dead serious when it comes to doing childish stuff.

What I really love about this wonderful, crazy set of people was how natural I can act back then. I was never a particularly cool kid, but somehow, it never mattered how goofy I act when I was with them. Hang tight to your pacemakers, I'm going to spout a cliché now;

They accepted me for who I am.

My personality mattered then. My words; my opinions; my dumbest, most idiotic antics - they all mattered. I wasn't "just another colleague" like I am now.

I was a friend. I had friends.

Damn, I fucking miss you guys right now.

This is one of my favourite pictures. I won the fishing competition, by the way, with one fluorescent blue and two orange double-inchers. John (behind me) continued fishing because he refused to accept reality.

If I must name one moment when I truly know I belonged, I'll name this one;

We were in a glass elevator in the indoor theme park of Genting Highlands. Suddenly, out of the blue, I said;

"Hey, let's sit on the floor of this elevator and ride it up and down a few times and see if people would come in!"

No one said "that's a dumb idea, man," or "you're so lame." Everyone promptly dropped on their butts (even the girls), and every time the elevator reached a new floor and the door slid open, we would stare blankly at the people who waited there. Then as soon as the elevator door closed again, we would laugh hysterically. The utterly baffled faces of those folks who didn't dare walk in when they find ten 18-year-old grinning, college kids sitting cross-legged on the floor of a posh-looking elevator; those faces were bloody priceless.

Like I said;

My words; my opinions; my dumbest, most idiotic, award-winning-lame antics

They all counted for something.

I got ruining group pictures down to an art-form. This was the first and only (and last) time I ever enjoyed seafood with so much gusto6. I did however acquire a taste for jellyfish ever since. Thanks, Yinn Khurn (top right), for shelling the crabs for me, man.

Village people
I ruined this one too, haha. It was the Rainforest Festival at the Cultural Village in Santubong, Sarawak.
It was also my first clubbing experience and I actually... err... boogied. Fire in the Forest Disco!

I managed to convince Keat Seong to pull a face with me in this one. We were in some crocodile farm an hour outside Kuching and John let me drive his car there. Now that's trust, considering that I only got my license less than a month ago at that time (Okay, I admit he didn't know that).

The all-dudes group-shot during our private prom. I looked away on purpose. Success!!!

We were a bunch apart - so apart that we even boycotted the Taylor's Prom and held one of our own in Prego's at Westin. There were no long speeches or dumb ceremonies or emcees. Just fun, good Italian food, lame games we enjoyed, jokes only we could understand... and most importantly; there are friends. All friends.

Just friends.

It was a thousand times a million times incomparably and immeasurably more meaningful than any fucking, pay-per-head, stick-in-butt affair the Taylor's student council could cook up.

I can't believe my eyes got wet writing this post. Guess I'm just sad that I would never again find another bunch of friends that meant as much to me as these crazy, insane, unforgettable people. We all went our own ways. Some of us may have found even crazier, more insane and unforgettable friends to hang out with - while some of us (or maybe just one of us) only have a bunch of old photographs to looks at while wondering where did all the great times go. That's how I feel. I felt that the best years I'm ever going to have in my life is left somewhere in the dust behind me.

And that lame, fun-loving, spontaneous version of me you see in these photographs;

I guess he died the day I said good bye.

Just isn't the same,
k0k s3n w4i

1 No light blue, unfortunately. I was from an All-Dudes-School all my life before that ('cept pre-school but does that count? Kids that age are practically amorphous gender-wise).
2 I was so distracted that I actually walked into the wrong class (a pre-engineering class to boot) and sat there for nearly an hour before I realised I was in the wrong place. It wasn't my fault really. There's a 'Kok Seng Wai' in that class. I assumed that they just misspelled my name in the list or something.
3 My personal moniker for Mr. Ananda. Is the old terror still reigning there?
4 We even had a match with the GAYA Clan once - the supposed champions of DOTA in the state at that time - but we were utterly and completely stomped to the ground. They got lucky.
5 Refer footnote 2.
6 "Land animals should eat land animals. It's the natural order of things," I always say.


sXydeViL said...

=) Ive been there..
I think its juz exam tension. Chill dude! And well, all da best tomoro!

Zzzyun said...

"We had wacky poolside birthday parties, the occasional get-together dinners, really late movie nights (and really, really late night walks back from Sunway Pyramid after that), record-breaking carpools (and the dreaded run in with the cops)..."

sounds so familiar. it's the life i have now, the one apart from all the studying, that is.

sometimes i wonder how will i feel when i go overseas to do my next phrase. looks like i have a faint idea now.

i'm so gonna appreciate what i have now.

coz good frens that accept u for what u are, indeed is hard to find. *bows head in agreement*

bubbly soda said...

Those were the time... Though gone by always cherished isn't it?

People develop, you did and same for them, but being able to look back and still cherish and be glad and grateful for that period in life matters the most!

Friends, not acquaintances are valuable as 'people' are individuals! Alike but never the same.

Rabbit said...

Gosh, i cant imagine if i meet u one day, and decide to camwhore with u. I'll definitely smack u if u do all those funny faces to ruin the pictures. Keke!

p/s: Entries about PD are on their way!

szulyn said...

the good old times!

lunch when we stand in front of the gates, deciding where to go..then you guys will talk bout dota during lunch everytime with no fail. kuching trip was one of the best trips i ever had with a bunch of friends..

ahhh..damn. i miss everyone :(

michellesy, exile from the land of kick-ass char koay teow said...


I gave it all away a very long time ago.

I gave it away because I thought a life of state-sanctioned discrimination - one where my life and livelihood could be swayed by the whims and vagaries of muddle-headed politicos, was too much to bear.

It is too much to bear.

But life here without my friends isn't exactly a frickin' Garden of Eden either.

Win some, lose some, they say.

What if what I've lost is a piece of my soul I will never get back?


ps: Heck, you have cool friends.

pps: Heck, you're certainly talented at spoiling every single group shot by doing the unexpected.

ppps: Heck, where do you find friends who will be your personal crab de-sheller? =D

gee said...

hey you.

muka aku copyright la wei.

bayar sikit, boleh.?

yalah. mana kawan kawan belaka?

suggestion for your next post:
kena kejar oleh vietnamese while helping khang gee to buy mineral water. isnt that cool?

gee said...

and for the genting picture that you posted up there, iwas actually squatting down while u guys were busy taking photos. :) look carefully ei...

bevE said...

I could say a lot of things, on what I think, on what you thought, but it's too long for me to put in one comment, and I'd rather make it a post of my own. Besides, it's your moment, and your memories, what right do I have to impose superior opinions on that? Mm. I dunno.

bevE said...

but u're terrible for saying *coughklpeoplecough* >_>

michelleg said...

i know how u feel. it's not easy to make good friends who'll accept you and listen to what u hav in mind.

for example, just now i was trying to say something (in a group of people chatting) but nobody bothered to listen. it SUX! honestly i dun really like my life here in IMU, 'cept for a few frens. they are merely my acquaintances.

can't wait for NZ..

Anonymous said...

the last pic : love what u did!

Jen said...

i made the best group of friends i could ever hope to have during my first few weeks of college. we stuck together like glue for a year and well, naive and wishful thinking made the pain of losing them all the more greater. a wedge was driven between us and things were never really quite the same after that.

different from your situation i suppose. you were forced to leave them behind.

but its hard to find people who are on the same page with you no matter what. its hard to have to start from scratch with new faces and weigh every move, for fear you appear to be completely unlike them, and be left out. its hard to be able to look back at all the old pictures and moments. its hard NOT to miss them.

but still, you just keep being yourself and know that you WILL find friends can make you feel the same way again.

p.s. this post really hit home.

Jen said...

oooo.. but i do have another group of friends from secondary school and we've stuck together ever since. i'm never giving them up for the world =)

pinksterz said...

you like telling me i made a totally wrong decision in leaving my college life. considering those friends i left in pasum, i must say i do regret my decision back then. and considering those kind of people i get to know here.


i am drafting something like this post of yours too but maybe i won't publish it. i dunno. sometimes i hate to remind myself of memories. cause i am scared i will still clinging onto it and won't be able to move on with life.

k0k s3n w4i's said...

I'm gonna need more than luck (just finished the paper). something along the line of a miracle.... of biblical proportion.

You are making me depressed T_T
Glad you got a goof clique to hang out in - and I'm sure you'll be able to get another one once you get there. I seem to have lost the knack to make new friends.

I dunno about all this cherishing. it seems to be making me more depressed, haha.
But yea, I do cherish them.

I make dull pictures interesting k! you shud thank me if I pull a face. can make you look prettier.

OMG szulyn. I didn't know you read my blog. I thought that time you dropped by was a one time deal, haha.
And I forgot about out half-an-hour lunch-place elections! Oh dear... The last reunion wasn't quite long enough. We ought to do another one pronto!

The way you write it, the I-S-A would be scratching their heads trying to decipher whether what you said amounts to something they can book you for, LOL.
P.S. the deshelling was a one time deal. I said i'll only eat it if he do it for me. and that was the first time ever I had crab - I never even eaten crabsticks before that.

Ingat la, bang. gua ingat lagi ko buat bising kata nak balik... kata tak nak bermalam di Genting. Eleh. Akhirnya ko ber-gay ngan Keat Seong jugak sekatil.
XD... Mana ada saya kata orang vietnam? Gelap la bang. Tak nampak.

Superior opinion?...
Superior opinion?!!!
Got more superior than mine ma?
Well, it's up to you. this comment box is open for everything. Sing praises. Dump curses. You can even blog here if you want. Saves me the trouble of going over to your blog and read, haha.
You're a Londoner or KLite now?

I get that too. So I just spend most of my time not talking. That's why I started blogging =)
Wanna start all over in NZ huh? Hope you get a good clique there!

@kit sze
the labels or my last moment head turn? :)

It's bitter if you lose friends thru some 'wedge' (as you called it). But then again, it'd bother me less than what I'm going through now. "Friendship withdrawal" syndrome.

but still, you just keep being yourself and know that you WILL find friends can make you feel the same way again.

Not in the next 4 years for me, girl, from what I can tell. You hang on to your friends, okay? Enjoy it as long as it last.

It's good to pen it down. It'll carve a smile on your face (then there's the mandatory "oh fuck they are gone!" moment after you finish writing). I'd like to read yours.

michellesy, paranoic and newly converted JSMN fan said...

That, dear sir, was my intention.

For as you know, I am deadly paranoid.

I also like to talk in riddles - but not as much as Vinculus does =P

Voon said...

Can we hold on to those dear for good? I wish. Alas it never works out like that. I always tell myself, this is God's way of making you grow, out of necessity and out the will to end our sorrows.

Mischique said...

Aww...that's such a sweet warm post you wrote about your buddies back in KL. You know...the best days of my education life has got to be the days when I was in KL as well. DOTAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!

k0k s3n w4i's said...

Gee, I tot you're more of a Norrell person (I know I have distinctly Norellish characteristics in me)

God didn't need to do specifically that to help me grow. AT least, I wish He didn't. But, I dun believe in him anyway (at least, not this week).

You're a DOTAthlete too?!! phwoar!!! Challenge?!!
Too bad not many of my ol' buddies read my blog... sigh~

Princess. said...

:( :( :(

oh btw.
lost my phone.
sad case.
text me please.
gracias. :)

k0k s3n w4i's said...

it's your fault anyway, LOL. you always ponteng and tooooooo cool to go on trips with us. if you have any pics of both me and you, send it to me! I can rectify that easy enough :P

How did u lose ur phone? and err, i can't text you. I got a new phone and... erm... I sort of... lost your number? SORRY!

U ought to update ur blog more oft