I really feel that, most of the time. Good people always die first.
I know I wasn’t a good person to start off with. In the first month since I started college I managed to get 90% of the people that I knew during orientation to at least loathe the sight of me. Nobody told me why, and I never knew until a classmate walked up to me and said “You’ve been a big sucker, and everybody hates you. You know why?” Of course I didn’t. If I knew, I would have tried to make things a little more comfortable and accommodating for everyone.
"Nobody told you so because you write in your blog that you cry at night from the prospect that people actually dislike you," she continued. I asked her to give me a list of things I should improve on, or at least make myself less socially-awkward and more socially favourable among my peers. She dished me a laundry list of my own imperfections. I studied it hard to change for the better.
Afterall, I’ve always wanted to be a good person. Not popular like the prom king, not lovable like the teacher’s pet. I just want to be nice to everyone and hope that people will treat me so.
As I changed for the better, I realized yet another thing. First impressions last, well, virtually forever. The people that disliked me still avoided me. Nobody really talked to me. The three cliques in the class simply chose to overlook my existence. Other than the three cliques, there is really nobody left for me to hang out with. Maybe except for Ivan. He’s the only one that I talk to.
I’m stuck on the fence, hanging by a thread. And the worse thing is that I have changed. Yes, I changed for the better, sometimes too nice, with some of the people in my class going to the shameful extent of treating me as their tool. I’m good at certain subjects. They made me their tutor and gave nothing in return.
My birthday came and went. The rest of the class threw a small celebration for me. I got a few gifts from classmates. For a moment, I felt sheer joy. And then there’s this guy whom I’ve been helping him with his lectures and tutorial for the past 2 years. He never said anything to me.
And there’s this graduating class video (the soundtrack was replaced because YouTube decided that I have infringed some copyright). Do you know who labouriously compiled all the photos and made a video out of it? Nobody even had the humility to deign to help me out with the video. Everyone simply assumed that “Oh Terry will get the job done and if he don’t we’ll make sure he’s in deep shit”. I could still vividly remember there was a biology mock test coming up right before the video submission deadline and I was the only one toiling away in front of the computer with my notes in tow.
Nobody. Not a single soul, offered any help in one way or another. Eunice did. She gave a storyboard for me to work on and provided me with music.
I was their tool. When they’re done, they just left me there to die. I was so sure that the world is going to end on me, I really thought of taking my own life.
* * *
Then came university, when things are a little better. The new university experience for the girls, and the two year national service for the guys, seemed to have diluted all the negative karma pointing at me. I thought it was over.
In university my friends knew me as the nice guy who is too nice most of the time, sometimes to the point of being an annoyance. In two year’s time I transformed as a person who is bad and everybody hates, to a person that is too good that annoys people.
Class reunions were rarely a joyful event for me. Most of the time I attended because I felt obliged to do so, for old time’s sake, perhaps. While everyone chatted away, talking about their previous shopping trips, lunch dates and outings, I realized that I was brutally left out of the loop.
While everyone was at the barbeque pit, I stood in the corner silently sipping on my cup of fruit punch. I tried to play nice, and the only questions I asked was “Do you need to refill your fruit punch?” And all I get is a nonchalant reply.
It kills me to see them having a sustained, active social life with their college friends - from their stories and Facebook photos, I can feel that they’re having a smashing good time without me. Well, that’s true. I kill a good party because nobody in the party likes me.
It kills me even more that even as I inch towards my 9th year in Singapore, nobody really cared for me. I have few friends to give my heart too. Don’t get me wrong - I would love to love, I would like to like, just anybody. But they don’t want me around.
That’s why I fear class gatherings. I fear group outings. I fear hanging around with a lot of people. I’m tired of being ridiculed as the good guy of the present, or the antisocial guy of the past.
* * *
As I picked up photography and design over the years, I thought I would have made people respect me a little more and not trample on my ego like their carpet. I thought it would have made me a more dignified person.
It didn’t. A photography job that went bad in January this year left me a bitter taste in the mouth. Since then I swore to myself never to do events photography until I have mastered it. And even when I go with my friend for photo outings, I couldn’t help but feel isolated and distant from the rest. Some were close to me for awhile and then just ditched me for the better. And what am I supposed to say? “Thank you for using me as your tool?” or anything to the effect of being grateful and humble while I’m being humiliated and used at the same time?
* * *
I never thought of fighting back. I thought anyone would have the shame and humanity to at least appreciate what I’ve done over the years - to help them out when they need, to do things for them when they command, to change for a better person that suits their taste better.
Good people die first. Maybe I should just cut my wrist and end it all. Perhaps a celebration would be thrown because of my passing, a farewell party to the most disliked person my friends have ever met.
The plan didn’t quite work out, but I’m glad I’m a better person. At least if I die, I die trying.
“now we are off to melaka to see a bit of the countryside- we are in “food coma- a meal every two hours- here you are asked-have you eaten?”—Martha Stewart (source) makes me proud to be a Malaysian. Yea, we do have insanely tasty and affordable food here.
I just got off the phone with a friend who lives in Key West. She was incensed.A small army of local service industry workers, fishermen, poets and patriots attended a town meeting offering—begging, really—to lend their time, their effort their boats, their hands to BP to help clean up the mess that had been made. The mess that was threatening their wildlife and their livelihoods.“Yes!” they were told, “Yes! You can volunteer!”Except that they can’t volunteer without taking a hazmat course, The course would cost $600. To volunteer.“Well, BP will reimburse us, right?”Well, no. Sorry. BP had allotted $10,000 for tuition supplement in Key West, and it had already been spent.This from a company worth $3.9 billion dollars.
British Petrol. You should be fucking ashamed of yourself.
sorry for the late reply (again). I'm terrible with emails and messages really because sometimes I don't know what to say or how to translate my thoughts into words! I'm really happy for you though :)) you're back already?
Oh, no problem at all :D
Yeap, I’m back already! I have a Malaysian number too, if you want to reach me or something. It’s in your Messages.
I’m supposed to attend an Adobe CS5 roadshow and product launch in Suntec City tomorrow. I carpet searched my room for my camera charger but to no avail. Called up my ex-roommate who moved out a few days back, and what he said was:
Oh I was just about to tell you. I think my dad packed your charger into the car and it was so deep inside I couldn’t find it so I wanted to tell you (blah blah blah)
Why the hell didn’t you tell me earlier? The I was just about to tell you line is total bullocks. If you have told me a few days back I would have enough time to get a charger. Do you know how irresponsible is that?
I don’t care how deep your limousine is. Fucking dig it out. You know that a photographer can’t work without his batteries, or their charger. Either one.
I can’t make you reimburse me for buying another charger, right? Then that’s $100+ flying out of the window. I work hard for the money, buddy. Don’t ask me to get a third-party charger either. Third-party battery yes, charger no. Unless you want it to melt and blow my bedroom into confetti.
And now I have 37% battery left with a 9-hour roadshow to cover. Thank you. I’m so pissed right now I can explode and shut down all airports in a 300-mile radius.
Hi Terry. I just wanted to say that I always love seeing your comments on my Tumblr blog.
No problem, Sterling :D I really love your entries too. Looks like you’ve got a love for cars, eh? And I find it really heartening that someone actually has a desire to learn something not in their discipline - like you learning so much about how ATP works. I’m really, really loving your enthusiasm in everything.
So, have a great Saturday evening and Sunday :) It kind of bothers me that it’s only 6.20pm over at your place and it’s already halfway through Sunday here. Darn, so much for living on the other side of the International Date Line, buddy :P
Over the past few weeks, as exams neared I found myself incapable of committing myself to write something thoughtful everyday. Now I truly understand how hard is it to be a writer - writing is not about weaving a story out of thin air. It requires a keen eye for details, an open mind, and a tasteful, tactful selection of words.
The conclusion of the feared virology paper marked the start of my four-month summer break (yes, you’re reading it - four months). Just as the previous semesters, the novelty of a long break starting after the exams was very short-lived. What really sank in was a sense of loss and confusion.
Now what? I would ask myself. I desperately need a coherent plan to ensure that I don’t waste the next 120 days away and seeing it fade into a chapter titled “The Wasted Summer”. I have done exactly the same thing shortly after I graduated from college, doing nothing but lazing at home. While I did picked up better designing skills over the period, I always felt that I could do better.
* * *
The afternoon immediately after my last paper, I met up with a secondary school friend of mine. He contacted me a few days back intending to interview me for an article he was working on, about social media and how people interact online.
His main focus was on chatroulette, partly because of the amusing idea of meeting strangers online behind a veil of anonymity, and partly because I did wrote a short entry about how chatroulette made me realize that it’s simply an extension of man’s limitless voyeurism.
We had lunch at Bakerzin, the interview was conducted shortly after the meal. I think we talked for a good 20 minutes, gulping down so much water we had to make a mad dash to the restroom. The rest of the afternoon were spent catching up with each other’s lives at Starbucks.
* * *
Ming texted me in the evening asking if I wanted to join her friends for a night out in town. I happily obliged under the preface that we’re not going clubbing. I’m not a big fan of a toxic, deadly mix of deafening music, insane party-goers, alcohol intoxication and perhaps, drugs. Ming echoed my opinion and we ended up at Clinic instead.
The house drinks were awful. The shots tasted like cough syrup, and the only saving grace was the slice of strawberry straddling the glasses. Rion ordered cosmo on my behalf because Ming said that since Betty had cosmo and I was such a hardcore fan of hers maybe I should give it a try. It wasn’t half bad.
Halfway through our session this Caucasian guy came from behind, and out of the blue moon he hugged Ming and I with his hands. How are their drinks? He asked. I stammered (perhaps in a wee bit of drunken stupor) and I could only remember myself repeating almost every other word she said.
Shortly after he left I was sober and I turned around and asked Ming if he took anything from us. Ming gave me the cheeky smile and said she immediately body-blocked her bag when he came in. My wallet was on my lap. It wasn’t gone, I heaved a sigh of relief.
Rion started to ask what kind of person I would like to have a relationship with. I laughed it off until I realized that he was actually semi-serious about it.
His stomach started to growl and he suggested that we walk to Chinatown for supper. It was 2.30 in the morning. Walking 200m along a deserted street that is usually choked with traffic in the daytime felt good.
We settled for porridge and tofu, talked a little more over supper and it was already 3.15 before we knew it. Ming and her friends shared a cab home, dropping me off at the nearest bus stop to catch a night rider.
The bus took another 30 minutes to come. Waiting around me were the stereotypical nightlife folks - the punks, the crossdressers, the underage deviant teens, the cosplay girls. But I didn’t feel unsafe. Everybody was minding their own business, waiting patiently for their buses to come.
Mine eventually came, and at 4 in the morning I arrived at my stop. I alighted, flagged down a cab to take me back to my dorm. The driver and I talked along the way, and I was delightfully surprised that we actually chatted so much I nearly missed my destination. The fare came up to $7.20. I gave him a $10 bill and alighted.
At 4.30 in the morning, I slept like a dead pig on my bed.
GD03 - Singapore Architecture: The Historial, Cultural and Socioperspectives
Off to sit for my architectural paper. I think I’ll be preoccupied with vomitting whatever I’ve managed to squeeze into that tiny cranial space in the past day.
I have to say that I really enjoyed the course though. The project allowed me to pour through architectural blueprints of buildings, go for on-site tours, sometimes trespassing into secured areas to check their utility pipes and *gasp* garbage chutes.
So, wish me luck. I still have two more papers to go after this, both of which are equally nightmarish - biophysics II and virology. Someone just stab me now.