The Public Life of a Private Person

23 06 2009

I always thought the word “blog” sounded like the name of a word game popular with teenagers, childish adults who happen to be proficient in the English vocabulary and groups of people who didn’t have to work but rent chalets in the weekends for barbeques, walking around aimlessly in thong slippers and group make-out sessions.

Oh wait. I may be thinking of Boggle.

My dad asked today, “This is one thing I don’t understand; why do people blog? What is so useful about writing a diary about your personal life that you don’t necessarily want people to know on a website for all the world to see? Why are you so stupid?” (Quotation marks make exercising your creative license so much more realistic, but even then, that really was the gist of what I got from him.)

He was speaking in reference to the accident I wrote about in my last entry that, at the time of writing it, I felt I needed to get out of my system, hoping the topic would never resurface in conversations again. So my dad’s last question does have it’s relevance.

You may also like to note the one and only comment from my most ardent one and only biggest fan surfacing a day later at the bottom of that post. She just so happened to be at my family table tonight, raving about my humour in writing and how everyone should go take a read. “The Father’s Day one was so farnee! Pity about the accident.”

3 sets of eyes suddenly turned to me wide-eyed. “What accident? What happened?”

I rolled my eyes and proceeded to perform a badly edited re-run of the chain collision that gave me a week-long bout of misery, shame and embarrassment.

I was subsequently subjected to a whole new round of misery, shame and embarrassment.

“Do you know you’re in debt?”

“Why you waste money on car rental? Where is your sense of priority?”

“Wah lau. Last car some more.”

“You know you could have just borrowed my car.”

“Next time take MRT lah.”

“Why you go and blog about this if you didn’t want us to know?”

“Why you so stupid?”

And so, walking home from the MRT station with my iPhone in my hands and a cigarette in my mouth, I continue with my highly successful habit of being stupid by blogging about things I probably don’t want people to know about.

Why do I blog? I don’t gain anything out of it. I’m providing light entertainment to a grand total of 4 people, all of them in my immediate family. And of my ginormous fanbase, only 1 bothers to comment regularly.And that one faithful reader just happens to be the one that got me into trouble in the first place, conveniently and quietly leaving the table while the free-for-all stares in disbelief and questions about my intelligence level started to fly in my general direction.

I blog because I need an outlet. I write because it’s really the only way I know how to communicate in a true comprehension. I publish because I hope that one day my words will be able to inspire imperfect people with imperfect lives to laugh at themselves, and I wait for the perfect people to like what I say and offer me a job. I speak my mind of my own life because I want my son to read this one day, to know who daddy is, to know what he did, when he did it and how ridiculous life can be even for a 30-year-old man (give or take a few years), and most importantly, that it is perfectly fine to be living an imperfect life.

I have a blog called My Ivory Throne because it’s rhe one place I can really offload shit, and there’s really a lot of shit in here, my shit, my words, my memories, that will remind me of how I survived, teach me how to survive and survive beyond my years (as long as I keep backups).

My dad still thinks it’s stupid though.

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What Am I on Google?

13 06 2008

On a very rare slow week, I have been skiving on my lappie at work and suddenly, in an idea almost as wacky as cross dressing for my wedding album, I googled my own name in Google, and here are the relevant results (relevant to my person, I mean).

I gave up after page 25. Some of the other Winston Tays I’ve seen in the search have really gold-gilted lives. CTO of Hewlett-Packard lah, research writer in chemical engineering lah… wah… and then me. As a friend once taught me, Jack of all trades, master of none. Pffft.





My Father, the “Lao Hee Low”.

10 06 2008

My mum called me this morning telling me my dad had spent the night at a hospital for gout pains. Apparently a friend had to drive him from work (he was on night shift) to Alexandra Hospital because of the excruciating pain he was feeling, ad the doctors had told him to rest in the hospital and head home in the morning.

As far as dad’s medical history was concerned, this was almost unheard of. My father has an occupational history of the last 16 years without a single sick day, and would rather tough it out in the office than stay home and lay in bed nursing a fever or some such minor illness. He is also a colon cancer survivor with the determination to survive that’s as strong as steel, and even when he went into surgery to remove the cancer from inside of him, he contemplated taking leave to do it. Incidentally, that was 17 years ago.

My father was, and still is, on the payroll of the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority, and has gone through grunt work, up to supervisory positions, and even all the way into management level. During this time he has always stood up for what he believed in, even when it meant standing up against what he didn’t. If not for the fact that he was working for government, he’d probably be a mafia don by now.

Case in point (and I am trying my best to portray as accurate a picture as I can): at one period in his career, my dad had been relegated to guarding illegal immigrants’ lockup cells. When he told me this story, I was envisioning one of those Mexican police station lockups with my dad and a colleague sitting in an open area in front of the cells smoking and playing poker or something (of course, this being Singapore, it is very likely much more mundane than that). The guy he’s supposed to report to (this young hotshot university graduate that liked to pull rank, especially to older, more experienced staff, as a show of breast feathers) walks in one day while they were smoking and playing poker and starts shouting at them for skiving at work.

As he drew nearer to them, my father – still seated – starts reasoning with him (what do you expect him to do? British-Royal-Guard the lockup with 4-hourly change-of-guard ceremonies?), but the impertinent bespectacled man starts screaming down at him in his chair, bringing my dad to boiling point. So my dad gets up out of his chair and looks down into Officer Suddenly-Realising-His-Subordinate-Is-a-Head-Taller and starts telling him in a louder-than-comfortable voice, “Show some respect,” while raising his index finger to Captain Wide-Eyed and slowly pushing his glasses back up his suddenly sweaty nose bridge and into his face – hard. A few months later the university graduate requested a transfer out of that department (my dad says the guy tried to get him transferred, but was told of my dad’s history with ICA and decided to do it to himself instead).

Of course, this may be a little more dramatic than what actually happened, in which case, do forgive the idolising son who has not encountered any other person in his life with such a strong personality.
Which leads me to the epilogue of this entry. Over the weekend I heard my dad had gone to get himself checked for some immobility in his left arm, and he did a very similar thing as I have described above to the doctor that was unfortunate enough to have been tasked to show him his ECG results. It went along the lines of him flipping out int he doctor’s office, telling the poor physician that his results cannot be trusted and that he should eat the file his ECG results came in (or something).

He was diagnosed as having suffered a stroke and a heart attack.

Strength is measured in many forms, not least in physical attributes, and more intangibly, character. But while strength can be taken from the body in many ways, it is not easily diminished in a person’s character, so long as he has held on to that strength his entire life. Say hi to my dad.





So my wife goes, “Start a blog!”…

3 06 2008

My dear 2-month pregnant wife suggested maybe 2 nights ago that I start a blog while I was complaining about a commercial that was showing on TV.

“You should start a blog,” she said. “Put down all these comments you make about all these funny things into words for all to see.”

Or something like that.

I have thought about it for a while. Having run a blog a few years back, I realised not only do you need to sacrifice a fair amount of privacy, time and brain cells into creating a compelling read, the commitment it takes to keep it running is also very daunting a challenge for me.

I will first state here that I am not going to be one of those bloggers that will paste in song lyrics, horoscope readings and any blog equivalent of song dedications on radio that end with “Stay Kool and Funkee 4Eva”. No, this is going to be serious commentary about serious issues, like why the Ramen Ten ad lady with those irritatingly big eyes never puts any food in his mouth in trying to demonstrating how delicious the food is, and why on a Pizza Hut ad, after 1 bite of a pizza, the couple on TV would rather do anything else rather than keep eating. (Incidentally, I have since switched to Sarpino’s Pizza for my home delivery dinners.)

This blog is also documentation for the new upcoming Tay in my life (I plan to read random entries of this blog to my kid during bedtime to lull the little bugger to sleep more quickly), a record of the trials and tribulations I have had to face as the guitar-toting husband of a pregnant wife and, later, the father of a soon-to-be rebellious teenager.

I think most importantly, I will look at this as an outlet for myself to vent, as most bloggers will. But I promise to vent creatively, as I slave through my life, a hapless 18-year-old stuck in a 30-year-old body and still not willing to grow up and act my age.

And if, for any reason relating to the content of this blog, I ever lose my job, get publicly ridiculed, arrested, stabbed, poked by an old lady with an umbrella, refused service at a chicken rice stall, or disowned by my family and shunned by my friends, I have only my dear loving wife to blame for suggesting I start a blog in the first place.

This blog is dedicated to you, baby.