31 Dec 2012

Reboot

Here I am, just a little more than six hours away from January 1st 2013 in my time zone.

It's really nothing more than a roll over onto the start of another year, but we see it as something much more meaningful and monumental. At the basic level, it's proof that we've survived another year without wiping everything out.

But what we more commonly talk about is how the first day of the new year signals the cleaning of some slate. It's as though the addition of one more day somehow presses a button, and suddenly you become pumped and ready for the challenges that await in 2013. And somehow all the grudges that you held up until the very last femtosecond of 2012 just magically vanish.

Honestly I find that a bit silly.


26 Dec 2012

Christmas: Epilogue

Once upon a time, there was a girl.

She liked Christmas a lot. Not just because of the presents, but because she got to meet Santa, and hear the carolers sing, and have fun with family and friends. In fact, the presents were the least of her concern.

This Christmas was supposed to be pretty similar to the previous ones she celebrated. It would always start with her running down the stairs towards the Christmas tree, where she would find a few presents, neatly wrapped and gingerly placed beneath it. She would tear through the wrapping to uncover the gift she received, as her parents happily snapped away with their camera, capturing those precious moments of joy and excitement.

However, this Christmas was noticeably different.

"Hey Daddy! I found something on my other present!"

"...Other present? You sure you didn't mistake it for mine or Mommy's?"

"No, it has my name on it! See?"

This was quite strange indeed, for Daddy had secretly bought only one gift for her. He counted the boxes underneath the tree... strange, there is one extra!

"Um, honey? Could you come down here for a moment?"

Mommy trotted down the stairs. "What's wrong honey?"

Daddy quietly explained the situation to Mommy, while the girl was holding up the extra gift at different angles, trying to find out what was inside.

"...I only purchased your gift, darling. You told me that you were responsible for buying the book–"

"–which I did! Yet that box looks like something much larger than the book I got for her! What's going on?"

"Mommy! Daddy! Can I open this up nooooow?"

The couple stared at each other. Mommy sighed.

"Alright honey, you can open it up."

"YAAAAAAY!" And the girl ripped the outer wrapping into countless shreds, revealing what was underneath...

25 Dec 2012

Christmas Night

Ding! Roger's phone produced a musical chime as it rested on the dresser.

He didn't need to check the phone to figure out what the chime was for. He set an alarm to remind himself of tonight's event, which he had already been preparing for during the week. Finding some proper clothes, searching for an appropriate present, thinking of fresh conversational material to work with... it had been such a long time since Roger attended a party event with other unfamiliar guests. He dared not make a fool of himself.

A little dab of the cologne here and... done! He looked proper in his suit and tie, hair in place. Nothing wrong in the appearance department, though it looked like he put on some weight in his face... or did he actually lose weight before?

It still felt weird to Roger, going for an event that he had been invited to on what seemed like a whim by a fresh face. Maybe Dominic was one of those people who went through a dramatic life-changing experience that left him with a hyper optimistic view on life? Then perhaps he'd still be happily content with the bottle of wine Roger would bring along to the house. After all Roger had absolutely no clue on what Dominic might like, apart from... well, Christmas itself really.

Finally Roger was ready to set off to the glittering house, still dazzling thanks to the decorations he helped Dominic put up not too long ago. Although it did look like he added extra touches to the exterior, because it seemed like the house grew younger. Odd.

But that wasn't the only odd observation.

There was a crowd of people gathered in front of Dominic's porch, looking eager to get the party started. Apparently all the other guests were already here, but they couldn't enter. What's going on?

24 Dec 2012

Christmas Eve

"All right, guys. This is the final song of the night! This one is for Madison!"

The crowd cheered. The build-up began, with the intense bass and kicks getting more rapid, and the synthesized melodies growing in volume. 

And as the drop came, the dancers on the floor exploded into their freestyle movements. Nobody was made fun for their quirky muscle jerks. This was the time to let it all out and immerse in the music.

The technicoloured lights pulsed in time to the pumping beat. Everyone was getting hot and sweaty, but nobody cared. They were lost in the melody and rhythm, just what they came here for. The night was still young. 

"...and that's all from me! You've been a FANTASTIC crowd! This is DJ Rick signing off!"

The exhilarated crowd whooped in appreciation of the great performance Rick gave, as he handed the decks over to the next performer lined up for the adrenaline-hungry audience. 

Finally he could relax! Rick quickly went to the restroom for a quick change and freshening up. Boy was he famished after hours of spinning at the decks! But where could he find a place to eat this late at night?

He checked the digital clock on his smartphone: it was 15 minutes after midnight, less than 24 hours before Christmas arrived here. Maybe there was still a 24-hour diner around here...

23 Dec 2012

2 Days to Christmas

"'Tis the season to be jolly, fa la la la laaaa, la laaa la laaa!"

Sure he may have looked like some bumbling idiot singing that out loud. He didn't care though, because he had the right to enjoy the season to the fullest. C'mon, it was the time of giving and spreading joy! The stifling clothes and scarf won't deter him from expressing his feelings physically!

He wouldn't have known this joy if he hadn't met a certain classmate in college who would become one of his best friends. That friend had such an optimistic outlook on so many things in life, it gradually infected him like a pathogen. And he liked it: so many of his worries became easier to deal with, and his life turned a full 180 degrees from that point.

As he skipped merrily along the pavement, garnering even more stares from puzzled onlookers, the merry fellow pondered: where was that friend now? After being in the same classes for so many years, they ended up separated since graduation, and he couldn't find the address of the new house. It would be quite a bizarre coincidence if they should meet now...

...hang on. Was that the friend? He could almost certainly recognise the person... what the heck, he took the chance to be flat out embarrassed in public (as though he wasn't embarrassing himself already with his prancing and fa-la-la-ing). 

"YO SNOWY!"

22 Dec 2012

3 Days to Christmas

"Bah, it's the same stupid Christmas specials again!"

The old woman sighed and turned off the TV. The holiday was just getting too stale for her now. The same old shows, same Christmas songs... the novelty was wearing thin. With the freezing weather making gardening impossible, what else was she left to entertain herself with? Knitting? There wouldn't be anybody to appreciate her half-hearted attempts anyway. 

Maybe she should have learned to use the computer and surf the Internet more proficiently, but it would take her really long to get used to the so-called "user-friendly interface". More like "youth-friendly", she thought. How did those whippersnappers make sense out of the strange pictures and rectangles? Seeing her son doing an Internet search was already like watching an alien operating foreign machinery...

The point was, she didn't want to be cooped up in her home any longer. Perhaps some fresh air would do her good and lighten her spirits.

And so she found her way back to the streets. She might be old, but she was still fit as a fiddle and sharp as a tack, which she attributed to taking long walks like this. She was searching for the bistro restaurant where she met her to-be-husband (bless his soul) for the first time, and was later proposed to a few years after that. The same restaurant had taken in her kids as new customers, and following them her grandchildren too. Now if she could find the exact same table that she and her husband liked to sit at...

What do you know? Still virtually unmoved from its original position. Wait... was that... it can't be. Was she hallucinating??? But there's a man sitting right there who looked like her husband from the back! How could that be?

"Excuse me..."

21 Dec 2012

4 Days to Christmas

"And what would you like for Christmas, little girl?"

"Um... I really want a nice little doll with pretty hair and a pretty dres— wait I already have those! Er...  I guess I want a huge floating castle in the sky where there are lots of colourful clouds around that I can jump on and there are princesses and princes and a king and queen that live inside the castle, and I can ride with them on magical unicorns that leave behind pretty shiny rainbows beneath their feet, and I can just sing and dance and play with them forever and ever! Yeah!"

"Wow, little missy! That sounds like quite a tall order... I'll see what I can do for you! Ho ho ho!"

"Thank you Santa!"

"Okay that's all! That was the last one! No more queueing until tomorrow! Santa needs a break!"

That announcement was the sound of kids' expectations being let down, but to "Santa" it was music to his ears. The man in the red costume and the fake beard finally heaved a sigh of relief as he sunk into the velvet throne he was stuck on for the past hour. Finally he could do what we wanted to do... which frankly he hadn't decided yet, but he was sure it would have to be done far away from children for a while.

He gave a quick wave and smile to the slightly disappointed children who were watching from the sides, and disappeared into the closet backstage. The suit and beard were itching like crazy, and he was so desperate to take them off!

20 Dec 2012

Past Entry 18

28th December 2011

So yet another Christmas has zipped past for me. I'm getting really anxious and worried again. Not only because after this holiday will be school again, but also my last year in Raffles. Most of my memories so far have occurred within those compounds, although I think my memory's starting to fail me. 

After going through 2012, and assuming I do well enough to graduate from JC, I'll be declared an alumnus of RI. Well that was supposed to happen 2 years ago, before the merger happened, but that's a small technicality. And once I become an alumnus, I have no idea what's in store for me after that. Honestly I don't have much of a clue as to what to pursue in the future yet. I used to be so sure of what to study, what job to take etc, but with both pressure and unexpected obstacles taking their toll, I can't place much confidence in coming up with a good plan yet.

5 Days to Christmas

(SCENE: a WOMAN is sitting down on one of the benches located along the side-walk. She is huddling up in her coat, trying to keep her irritated nose under control. She occasionally sneezes, blowing her nose with a piece of tissue. A white-haired tall MAN enters stage left. Just as he walks in front of her...)

WOMAN:
Ahh...AAH...AHCHOO!

MAN:
(gets out of the way) Whoa! You've got a nasty cold there!

WOMAN:
Oh my gosh! I'm (sniff) so terribly sorry! Did I get anything on you? I have some tissues you can use...

MAN:
Naah it's fine, I'm clean. Thanks for the concern! I think you're the one who needs help though.

WOMAN:
Oh don't mind me. This kind of cold usually goes away in a few days... I hope...

MAN:
Tell you what, let me get you a hot drink. That might be what you need.

WOMAN:
Oh it's okay! You don't have to do it for me, I can get it by myself later—

MAN:
Don't worry! Besides I also came to get my own drink too, so I might as well do you a small favour.

WOMAN:
No I insist, you don't have to trouble yourself over thi—

(The MAN quickly exits stage right.)

WOMAN:
Geez... I wish this freaking cold will (sniff) go away soon... I can't miss the Christmas Eve play or it'll be ruined!

19 Dec 2012

6 Days to Christmas

Christmas is inching closer. But he didn't really care about it that much.

He did like the festivities going on: the music, the gift exchanges, the food, he didn't mind all of that. However there was one thing that bugged him.

He was a Christmas baby.

Everyone was always fussing over what to get for who, which places they should go to, what to where, which carols to pick for the door-to-door carolling, but not everybody knew about his birthday. Even if they did know, their own Christmas plans often took priority. And he would be left alone to commemorate another year of his existence in this world.

Once again he lamented this fact as he sat on a wooden bench, admiring the scenery that the park had to offer. It was one of the few places in this district to be shielded from the noisy bustle of the crowd in the Christmas season. As usual he wasn't planning on what presents to get for his friends, but what cake he should buy for himself this year.

His solitary space would be momentarily disturbed by another man who took a rest on the same bench. Interestingly this uninvited guest was young, but had white hair on his head...

18 Dec 2012

7 Days to Christmas

"Please sir, have a heart!"

Just like the others, the man whisked past Rose, treating her no differently from the background scenery.

It was so hard for her to compete against her rivals standing next to their red kettles and ringing their bells, let alone fight with the other numerous distractions in the streets. She was just an insignificant woman holding a metal can, blocking the path of passers-by. But she knew it was something she had to do it for her cause... for her son.

She heard the sound of coins falling into the metal can.

Now who was this donor who looked past the bell ringers and dazzling Christmas lights?


17 Dec 2012

8 Days to Christmas

"Daddy, are you sure Santa's real?"

"Of course, honey. Why do you ask?"

"Then why are there so many Santas in the malls and on the streets?"

"Well... those aren't actual Santas, they're just his assistants. It's hard for him to be so many places at once, so he gets many people to help him quickly spread the Christmas magic! But Santa's definitely real, Jane!"

"Oooooh!"

Phew, another nice save. But how long could he keep this up? Surely she must know the truth at some point in her life. It was already heartbreaking to see her ask the mall Santa for her mommy back the past few years. She still thought Mommy's in the North Pole, where Santa also stays. Truth is, even he had no clue where she went. He just came up with that convenient lie, given that it happened on a Christmas Day...

"Daddy! Is that Santa over there? But he doesn't have a beard..."

Huh? Who was she pointing to?


16 Dec 2012

9 Days to Christmas

[Posted on December 16th]

Err... Hi. Sorry I haven't been writing more often on my blog. Life's been CRAZY. @_@

Christmas is coming soon, and I've been so busy preparing for the party on the eve! You know, the class party I keep stressing over. Of course I'm in charge of it because I'm the class monitor.

There was so much stuff still left to settle: the decorations, the food catering, the entertainment... I was almost on the verge of just cancelling the party because I thought I wouldn't be ready on time! 

But I knew I couldn't cancel it. This party was my final chance to meet him. I wanted the party to be as perfect as possible, so I could impress him.

I was so overwhelmed. What should I do? >.<

I would have just called it quits there and then... but this guy I met today helped convince me otherwise! 

15 Dec 2012

10 Days to Christmas

"That would be seventy-nine sixty, please."

"Okay, here's my credit card."

The queue's getting longer. He better work faster or the boss would harp on him.

"Thank you, have a nice day!"

"You too."

Oh goodness, there doesn't seem to be an end to the line! Some customers were getting visibly annoyed, staring at their surroundings, looking at their watches and phones, humming and hawing...

Gaaah! I wish somebody could just take over for even a few minutes! 

Maybe it wasn't such a great idea to take this job, because he didn't consider the rush of people that would appear around this time of the year. For some reason he completely neglected the near inevitable scenario of the Christmas shoppers flooding the departmental store. His mind was too transfixed on desperately finding a way to earn his living independently. 

Was he too hasty to move out? He was too swamped in the work to have second thoughts now.

14 Dec 2012

11 Days to Christmas

"Yup. It's definitely looking a lot like Christmas."

The giant, furnished pine tree didn't reply back. It just stood as majestically as before, bathing in the attention by the public.

"Where is he? He's already half an hour late! Did he forget our date? Let me call him up..."

She rummaged through her red leather handbag. Normally she didn't wear red, but given the festivities it seemed appropriate to dress for the occasion... or in anticipation of it. Ah! There was her phone. She pressed "1" on her speed dial. Made sense, since he was number one in her heart at the moment.

The winds were getting chillier by the minute.

"We're sorry, the number you're calling is unavailable. Please try again la–"

Darn it, does he even know about the date? The lady grew more and more impatient, pacing around in her red stilettos. Again, to reflect the festive mood. But that seemed to matter less and less, as she was feeling a mix of anxiety and frustration. She could have been hanging out with her "sisters", gossiping and shopping in the newly opened mall down town. Perhaps she should ditch him... yeah. That'd teach him a lesson on punctuality and keeping promises.

"this is wat u get 4 takin ur sweet time gettin here. >:(" And send.

With a flick of her rouge hair she briskly marched her way to the mall. "Hey Melanie? Yeah it's Sylvia. Are you still there? Yeah I don't think my boyfriend's coming, mind if I join you gals?"


13 Dec 2012

12 Days to Christmas

"You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout, I'm telling you why..."

Great, the Christmas songs are back again. Just another reminder to people to fulfil the bothersome task of scouring for gifts, and make a troublesome trip to meet relatives. Practically every radio station is blasting out these songs at this time of the year, so changing the channel wouldn't help. But he couldn't turn it off, simply because he needed to be able to listen to the traffic and weather reports.

Fortunately he didn't have to endure that much longer, since he had finally just reached his house. No more of that pop drivel assaulting his ears as he waited in a traffic jam! Eagerly he entered the warm toasty building, changed to looser clothes, and just lied down on the couch. The hot bath and cocoa drink would have to wait for a while.

...was that a tapping noise?


12 Dec 2012

Christmas: Prologue

Once upon a time, there was a girl.

She was slumped on the cobblestone ground, sobbing. She couldn't care about the world around her anymore. The snow, the lampposts  the wind... all of it just meaningless now. She just wanted to be alone, just fade away and disappear.

She was denied of her wish when a mysterious tall man came along. She wanted to run, but she had already run all this way into an unknown place, and her body was too tired to move. She wanted to scream, but the cold air was too much on her throat. And nobody else would be able to hear her anyway.

"Are you alright, girl?"

11 Dec 2012

300

No I don't mean the movie, I mean the posts milestone I've just attained!

How about that? I'm not boasting that I've managed to churn out 300 entries of pure gold, because frankly not all of them are like that. But if anything it could be an indication of my persistence and dedication to this site.

Then again many other bloggers would have already hit this number much earlier, due to their higher frequency of posting on their sites. So actually having 300 posts isn't too huge of a deal. If this blog somehow hits 1000 then I'd be qualified to make a bigger celebration out of the number of posts.

Actually I thought of putting this off until tomorrow, when the date will be a nice 12/12/12, but then I already had something planned on that date, and double posts will seem weird. That's why I'll do the 300th post today!

So what did I learn 300 posts later?


7 Dec 2012

La Fin et le Début

Well I finally got started on this darn project that I set myself up for. And I decided to go in a slightly different direction.

I initially thought of doing 12 different stories, all of which will be tied together on Christmas Day. Then I felt that it'd be a bit too troublesome to make each one a story. So really now each of the twelve days before Christmas will have a chapter instead. That way I don't always have to give a small story. But everything will come together on Christmas Day still.

While that was going on, I also briefly checked in on the online Twitter feed. Apparently I chanced upon the #noir12 hashtag, where people's tweets would flash up on the "tweetboard" situated over there in real time. From what I gathered looking at the tweets, I thought that the people there were really... bored.


5 Dec 2012

Preparations

So I've given a little bit more thought into this kinda insane plan to start out 13 original Christmas-related stories, posting them one on each day starting from 12 days from the holiday. On Christmas day itself I could tie them all together into some finale. I might just start on the first one afterwards... or tomorrow... or... later. I think.

Others are also making preparations right now, including those RI(JC) students that decided it worthwhile to attend an expensive and glamorous dinner event to enjoy last moments with friends. Searching for suits or dresses, arranging transport, hiring grooming services... it all adds up to that one night where they get to make their best physical impressions on onlookers.

Perhaps some are taking this thing too seriously, as though it's the last time they'd see each other again. Well sure it's the last time they'd be together as 17/18-year-olds still lingering in their post-exam euphoria, before they seemingly get shoved into another stage of adulthood. Still, it's not like the batch, let alone the class, can never ever meet up again in the future. We wouldn't be together as classmates anymore, but we can still keep in touch as peers. With many social channels like Facebook and Twitter, it's been easier than ever to maintain contact.