Photo: Remi Jacquaint
I’d like to think I have a universal face. That’s probably the reason why people tend to speak to me in their mother tongue at first meet. I’ve been mistaken for a Filipino, Thai, even Vietnamese, but I seldom get people speaking to me in Chinese, which actually makes up half of what I am.
As a result, what’s supposed to be just a transactional conversation often turns into a tactical decision. Should I continue speaking to them in Malay, or do I reply in Chinese and risk a follow-up conversation that I don’t have the energy for?
Photo: Oscar Keys
“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realise they were the big things.” —Robert Brault
You may or may not have heard about that introduction quote. Which means it may or may not be a cliché by now. Writers are often told to avoid clichés because their meaning tends to be downplayed by their popularity, but sometimes there is a reason behind said popularity. And one of the reasons for anything being popular is because they’re true most of the time, being relevant even during boring times, like my occasional runs.
I like running because I can figuratively run away from my problems and sometimes even make the leap to the literal. It helps me meditate on my life’s troubles without having to deal with the brunt of the pain, being distracted by shortness of breath and all. These thoughts never seem to end: the perils of my future, my ill-spent days zooming by, never achieving greatness in my craft, fear of death—the usual.
Photo: Joan Sorolla
So I woke up one day with this ache that ran from my neck to my hand. The pain was a solid six (on a scale of ten), and it was constant enough to interfere with my day-to-day.
Googling wasn’t the best of ideas, since the symptoms matched that of a heart attack. Two doctor appointments and one Chinese masseuse (not a sitcom) later, I’m still perplexed as to what it was.
Why am I doing this again?
It was Monday, I’ve ran four kilometres, and finally approached home stretch. I know, five-kilometres is paltry by runners’ standards, but it’s more than enough roadwork to set my lungs on fire.
Why? Just why? All for 300 calories? Who’s going to care anyway? I’m not even a decent runner. Why don’t I just walk the rest of the distance? God I need to breathe so bad. Why am I doing this again?