*The Pointless Writer*
has a life you're completely uninterested in. But it's okay because I can write. No abbreviations. No shoddy grammar (though I'm not immune to mistakes). Just quality writing on sometimes completely pointless topics.
UnPoints of Note
1. I write when fancy takes. Sometimes, fancy takes many months of leave.
I had quite an interesting experience a few days ago, which caused me to reflect on Singaporean public transport culture.
Now, I’m sure those of us who have taken the MRT regularly at some point in our lives know that most commuters squeeze their way into any gap possible to get ahead, be it to get on the train or to get through the gantry. I, personally, try not to squeeze my way past other people to get on the train as I find it akin to queue-cutting, which annoys me greatly. However, I find that edging myself into any gap that opens to make my way through the gantry facilitates human traffic flow, and that the need to speed up the flow of people through the gantry outweighs the need for polite queuing, especially since many people enjoy running for the trains pulling in.
So I saw an opening near the gantry and automatically slid into it to quickly tap my EZ Link card before the gantry could close after the person just in front of me, as is common practice. Horror of horrors, I was unexpectedly elbowed by a Caucasian woman behind me, who proceeded to exclaim, “How rude!” whilst complaining to her companion, another Caucasian lady.
I was more stunned than sorry, I must say. It isn’t everyday you get scolded for doing what every other commuter is doing, after all. It did prompt me to wonder, though, if this is what ex-patriots or tourists who chance upon the peak hour think of us Singaporeans.
Presumably, the lady was retrieving her EZ Link card. Still, with the gap she’d left between herself and the gantry, I’d assumed she was giving way to others while she looked for it, as most of us commuters do. It was quite a large gap, considering that I managed to slip in with my bulky schoolbag without jostling her. And I kind of wish I could explain this all to her so she doesn’t have such a terrible impression of Singaporeans. We just have a different set of commuting etiquette than she’s used to, but it’s etiquette that people follow nonetheless.
I recounted my experience to two friends, and one was vehement that I had done nothing wrong while the other agreed, though less heatedly. It makes me wonder, though, if foreigners find us rude. Not very good for tourism, is it?
The Grumpy Orange
I wasn’t always a mandarin orange, you know. I used to be beautiful, desirable. Now I’m an unsightly lump. What did I do in my past life to deserve this?
I remember when my skin was soft and supple, velvety, even. Now it’s hard and thick and pockmarked. I suppose I can’t complain much about my smell; at least, people seem to appreciate it. Although, I personally prefer my old light floral scent to this sour citrus smell.
But enough on the past. It’s over. Gone. Ka-put. A wise bee once told me, “Never regret stinging someone after you do so. It’s too late.” So, I shan’t regret welcoming that bee in with my nectar and accepting the darned magic pollen that turned me into this.
Actually, I take that back. I regret it, completely and wholeheartedly. Life used to be peaceful when I was a flower. I hung from my mother’s branches and enjoyed the breeze. People strolled past me tranquilly and enjoyed my sweet scent. Since I turned into an orange, it’s been traumatic experience after traumatic experience. Don’t be fooled if someone tells you beauty comes after metamorphosis and shows you a butterfly. That’s the butterfly. Not me. Not this roly-poly body o’ mine.
The first traumatic experience came in being plucked off my mother. The indecency of such an act! Did no one teach that human any decorum? Doesn’t he know that we oranges fall from the branch when we are ready and ripe? As it is, I was plucked roughly and cruelly from my mother’s gentle arms long before I was ready! I wasn’t soft and sweet yet; my insides were still uncomfortably hard. That’s not all. I was then squashed into a tiny space, and a very cold one at that! Words cannot describe the panic I felt. Imagine not being able to ripen! Being unripe is no joke. It’s quite a pain.
Time was impossible to measure without the periodic caresses of a passing breeze, and I felt as if death had come early without me being eaten. Eventually, we were jostled around again. But then, I continued to be squished between countless other oranges. To my tremendous relief, the temperature was higher, high enough for me to ripen a little. And though the circumstances seemed dire, I held on to the hope that someone would eat away the cumbersome orange flesh and scatter my seed so I could grow into a tree, finally!
Again, there were no breezes, but this time, there were hands, and I used those to count the time. I was held snugly by various hands, and then, finally, taken away from the horrid box where I’d been for the past 102 hands. By now, I was fairly ripe, and I trembled excitedly at the prospect of being planted.
Alas, my desires were thwarted yet again. I was passed from hand to hand while I got overripe. I don’t speak much Human, but I think it was some sort of tradition to torture select oranges by passing us from children to parents.
The long and short of it is: I was thrown away. Thrown away! My orange flesh was eaten, but my seeds haven’t been scattered, haven’t been planted in soft fertile soil. I screamed at them to at least throw me on soil so I can burrow my way in and grow, but they ignored my cries. I will never feel the wind rustle through my leaves, the way my mother has so gloriously described!