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    Saturday, February 12, 2005

    It’s that time of that year where I plan to blog excessively, test my patience with dial-up Internet access, deal with headaches as a result of oversleeping, and of course, field that ever-refreshing question of when I am getting married. 28 August. So far, things have been quiet and fairly uneventful, except for that brief moment when I had some juice from a mandarin orange I was peeling, squirt into my eye.

    I had all these things planned for the break. I was going to clear up my paperwork, clean up my hard drive, organise my documents, balance my bank account, pay my bills, learn the words to “Drop It Like It’s Hot”, see how many cock jokes it takes before it gets old, and watch “Nip/Tuck” on DVD. However, as soon as I arrive in Melaka, time slowed down. And there is something in the water in Melaka that makes me sleepy all the time. And it usually happens after I eat.

    My grandmother is 87 years old. She does not see or hear well. She does not recognise me or most of the people around her. There are so many thing that I regret that I never did with her, like take her to China or ask her about her life. Language was an issue but I can’t help but think I should have done more to narrow that communication gap. After all, it can’t hurt to better my Chinese.

    However, my parents are healthy. The perceptive and poignant side of me tells me that I should not let the failing with my grandmother repeat with my own parents. But right now, I am not exactly rolling out a strategic master plan to hang out with my parents. Life is funny that way. Perhaps the grandparents are here for us to make our mistakes, learn from them, and not let them repeat with our parents. I am babbling.

    And while peeling an orange the other day, I started thinking about life and stuff. An orange will make you do that.

    I started off with the frequent thought of the cancer which is people of Salak South or Kuchai Lama or some equally backward hick community with people who have no concept of common sense and civic consciousness, let alone personal hygiene. I digress.

    Back to the orange. It made me think about the effects of climate on the human spirit and attitude. I think it is logically to assume that people who live in countries where seasons change are likely to be more productive than people who live in countries where the weather is the same all year round. Of course, as with most of my bullshit, I have no empirical data to back this up. I am just pulling all this out of my ass.

    It is logical to me and I speak with some personal experience on this matter. If it is the summer, you want to work on your house and get it done before the fall comes and it gets colder. If it is winter, you want to do whatever it is you need to do in the winter before spring comes along and then you have to do spring stuff.

    However, in a country where the weather is the same all year round, there is a higher probability that things will be put off to the next day because “it can always be done tomorrow.”

    But is it really the weather that makes the difference? I think it is symbolic and it represents renewal. As the season changes, it is renewal; from what the person wears to what the person does in each season. Whereas, one the flip side, take a country like Malaysia, where it is the same all year round. And it reflects in the spirit of the people.

    For me, that orange was telling me that it is that renewal we all seek. That’s why some people travel so much. We say we like to travel because we get to see and experience new cultures and people. But what we seek is a sense of renewal. Travel provides a temporary high in renewal and it usually wears out. Then we feel the need to travel again. It becomes an addiction because we say “I feel so rejuvenated and refreshed after I travel.”

    That’s what the travel agent wants you to believe.

    The problem with travel is that it is a retrospective form of renewal. The person is “refreshed” only when he or she is holding on to the travel experience. This is when the person goes on and on talking about the holiday and how great it was and how lucky he feels because he saw starving children in Cambodia. Or alternatively, he goes on superiority complex to say he has had better (“You know, this sort of nonsense never happens in Sydney while I was there.”) and then acts that way with a false sense of confidence. I usually want to whack someone like this in the face and laugh openly at him.

    On the other side of the spectrum, alcohol and drugs may give you that sense of renewal, but some people think it’s fleeting and destructive. However, it is very immediate and cheaper than traveling. With alcohol and drugs, you are thrust into a different physical and mental state; a crude form of renewal with the added bonus of a 35% chance that the person not being able to maintain an erection during intercourse. Also short-lived but more destructive and almost no chance of any retrospective value unless your buddy was videotaping you during your renewal process.

    We constantly seek renewal whenever we feel the need to rearrange our furniture, get a new wardrobe, repaint the wall, or switch to Mac. In some ways, we all know this but we end up with the same temporary solutions and then we come back to the same fundamental issue.

    The question remains. How do we get that effective form of renewal?

    From my brand new twelve-step self-improvement program available to you at a low introductory price of US$299.95!

    Honestly, I have no frickin’ idea. Although I have a clue that is has to be forward-looking. Forward-looking in the way that has people with children, or more specifically, people with babies, are happier than people without children. They look forward to each new development of their child. Of course, all this goes to hell when the child grows old enough to start handing out blowjobs. More troubling if the child is a boy. Suddenly, the parents develop the need to travel. Oh yeah…that goal-setting crap would be part of it too.

    That was some orange.

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