Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Field of Snippets

There’s a field right outside my house in PJ, and there’s much to bask in terms of people watching. Snippets give glimpses into people’s lives.

There’s an old lady who doesn’t move particularly fast. But when she walks she really keeps going, outrunning both me and the Energizer Bunny in terms of keeping it going.

Her T-shirt has a logo you can’t quite make out in the front, and “Pusat Perkhidmatan Chew Mei Fun” (Chew Mei Fun’s Service Center) on the back. The “Chew Mei Fun” is a lot bigger than “Pusat Perkhidmatan,” which I’m hoping is not symbolic of the size of the political ambition over the weight of the service.

There’s a young man still in his office clothes, except for sandals, pushing around his toddler in a stroller. He’s had a full day at work and knew that he had to make the most of the remaining daylight with his young child. I sometimes think it odd that we value sunlight but spend most of it indoors. Would we be happier on the night shift?

A bunch of teenagers play basketball in their school uniforms. It’s not a full-fledged game, just going around one half of the court. Out of habit and instinct, these groups always seem to end up on the side of the court closest to the street. Which also is the side of the court closest to a big muddy puddle where the ball often ends up after missing the basket entirely. Ten plops into the mud and the necessitated use of a stick to get their ball out doesn’t seem to suggest to the teens that they might try the opposite side of the court.
But then, they do call this place “Kuala Lumpur”. Which for our non-Malaysian readers, means that our capitol city is called “Delta of Mud”. Not exactly in the same linguistic intention as Los Angeles, let me tell ya.

Some of the older generation of Indian ladies don’t view walking around a park as any less fashionable dignified as any other activity. Thus the full-length evening dress, gold necklaces, and scarves. They look surprisingly more natural in that garb than in a tracksuit.

Another bunch of youngsters kick a volleyball around, aiming to hit a tree. The tree wins.

In the morning, there’s usually a Mercedes Benz with a “P” sticker, indicating that there’s a new “Probation” driver using his or her parents’ car. But it’s usually there before nine, next to the line dancing and tai chi. Something tells me it’s the mom or dad, not the new license holder that’s parking the car. Which is a pity, coz those tai chi people really have some style.

There’s a specific bunch that only comes out when it rains cats and dogs. They play a game in the middle of the basketball court that involves being in a circle and laughing like hyenas when the ball hits someone’s head. I keep thinking that the next morning half of them are gonna get sick and learn their lesson. But they’re a resilient bunch, and someone upstairs takes more pleasure in their enjoyment of life than their lack of concern for health or common sense.

Two friends meet, walking in different directions. They stop for a moment to catch up. They would have stopped for two moments, except that one of them has three dogs who have an entirely different idea. Who’s walking who?

I pop in a set of headphones and do my thing around the field. You know how people like to hum along or sing along to music? Well, some classical musicians have an inclination to conduct what they hear. The problem is of course that other people think you’re downright weird if you do that outside. So the question really is whether your satisfaction at connecting to music by waving your arms about is overweighed by people thinking you’re nuts. And if it is, then you subscribe to the tenet that the assumptions that people create based on what they don’t know, are valid. Rather than (an albeit idealistic) perspective that diversity is not limited to understanding other people but accepting them even if you don’t understand them. Perhaps the reason why we don’t do things like wave our arms about if that totally works for us… is that we protect our own inclination to judge people who do things we don’t understand. So in a sense, not waving your arms about is as dangerous as people staring at you for waving your arms about.

I think that sort of balances things out in a lose-lose sort of situation. I figured today that if that’s the case, then I may as well have some fun in the process. Today’s joggers got a silent demo of the conducting of selections of Evita. And surprisingly enough, not many seemed to care one way or another.


stev said...

an interesting snippet view of things

mud delta. kekeke ><

amelyn said...

Cool observations... :) stuff I took for granted when I was one of those kids playing basketball... :)