At The Wet Market

It is seven and early in the morning:

The bustling Sunday wet market is filled with people –
Grannies buying chilli to be cooked with bean sprout for the family,
Mothers buying fruits for the health of their delicate young ones,
Father and son out getting groceries for a vegetarian lunch;

There in the vegetable store stands the usual vegetable men
In their singlets and Hokkien slangs they shout prices and promote their greens
Where housewives and maids haggle for an extra broccoli or tomato
While the market grows busier and noiser as the morning passes by the minute;

There amongst the crowd works a young girl – no more than seventeen:
She is working up a sweat selling vegetables and collecting money
Where her hands smell of coins and a mixture of different roots and greens
Not exceptionally experienced she appears but enough to be of help;

Possibly a family business it is for her and a good vacation experience
Helping out at the vegetable store in the wet market –
Something which most teenagers these days do not get to go through
And who likely are not willing to dirty their hands or work up a sweat;

To tolerate the smell of all the different meats and vegetables in the wet market,
To learn to appreciate the redolence created by a variety of produce is
In itself a process not many are willing to go through or to adopt for a living
Even if it brings a reasonable income – contentment can be of question;

it is nonetheless a good experience and a profession as any other
Though not necessarily one that is suitable for every other;

It is seven and early in the morning
At the wet market.

Another Vibration

I feel the movement many times and many ways,
Each time my spirit lifts and I look up to see if pinky stirs, 
But time and again pinky stays asleep at the corner of my eyes, 
And after each time my eyes look down again to face the dull numbers and words; 

All day long with each shake of the table I look towards pinky, 
But she stays in her slumber no matter how many times I look,
And as pinky stays dark my disappoint becomes a given with each glance,
Expecting something each time knowing that there would for me be none; 

To my left and to my right screens light up alongside the faces of people,
Through it all I continue staring at lonely figures and dejected alphabets,
Hoping for pinky to light up soon so that my face will brighten too, 
Hour upon hour she stays not with me but elsewhere without anything for me; 

Maybe there weren’t that many instances,
Perhaps in my anticipation and yearning I imagined a couple of them,
Thinking that maybe with the next one pinky would flash your name,
That perhaps finally my waiting would be over and my wish fulfilled;

Another vibration. 

 

 

(Hope you enjoyed the little scribblings up there, but the next vibration indeed was from my phone – the battery died and it was the vibrations of it shutting down. Haha to the imagery of darkness and solitude comes the imagery of death and conclusion. How humorous really, what an afternoon)

Four O’Clock On A Sunday

It’s four o’clock on a Sunday (it sounds like a song) and the music plays,
The soft chatters coming from all round occasionally allow the tunes to filter through,
Yet the melody is foreign and the voice strained but mostly unknown and uncared for
While the guitar rifts gently flow as frets and glances are exchanged across tables; 

A boy and a girl sits close by at six o’clock staring into each other’s eyes,
sipping love potions through straws and getting lost in other worlds,
Many more around stare at chemical symbols under mood lighting,
Hoping to find the right formula to answer life’s biggest questions;

You sit elsewhere drinking coffee while I sit here wondering where this is all going; 

The sun shines outside and a set of notes is dropped,
Every table a different feeling, a different conversation, a different group,
Sitting together in the same space taking in the same tunes and smells,
Yet everyone is living a separate life experiencing a separate feeling and taste;

What do you want to do with your life, 
At four o’clock on a Sunday? 

(Starbucks) 

To My Left

I look to my left – a weariness and a frown,
The smooth contours of your face distort into creases of frustration,
The pain in your eyes overshadows the glow which were to be in its place, 
A pout forms over your lips as you take another sip from the cup;

You don’t deserve to have to go through it all,
This heartache and sadness never was meant to be yours to bear,
You could be much happier doing something better elsewhere, 
There is no need to have to go through this hardship on your own; 

Incoherent is what the A levels has made me today,
To my left is a picture of what the O levels has painted in the fray;

This makes no sense, 
Neither does it to my left.

Being A Friend

cool, cheery evening

Words that we utter may sometimes appear so insignificant, so unnecessary, and at times even so cumbersome. We genuinely try at times to be nice to people that we know and we tell them, ‘hey, whatever goes wrong just drop me a text, I’ll always be here for you’. Or we might say, ‘everything is okay, I’m going to be here and see you through it all’.

I’m sure we’ve all said those lines to people, be they people close to us or otherwise; I’m quite certain too that you have heard people telling you that too, that they will be there for you (as all good friends do) and that there is nothing to be afraid of or worried about.

So what’s the purpose of saying that really?

It works on two levels, or at least between two main ideas (do allow me to buy insurance here). In fact, I just discovered a third reason from my interactions with a friend as to why people say it but I would however, leave this one out until maybe just one sentence towards the end because I suspect it might not sit easy with people.

On one hand, it is to affirm the relationship between the two of you and to provide confidence. It doesn’t matter if you or your friend can be or will be there (or not), just the idea of someone being there is enough to be a great source of comfort, support and encouragement. The thought that there is a shoulder there to lean on, a sleeve to cry on, a ear ready to listen is sufficient to tide people through the toughest of times, the roughest of patches. That is the first, that people say it and use this idea as a form of support rather than actually turning to the person and using that shoulder. Those who provide this assurance and affirmation may or may not know the effect of their words, but it is definitely positive and can go a long way towards aiding others through rough rides.

The second is that people tell others this because they really can and want to be there for the people that they are telling it to. They have the capacity and ability to provide the help that is needed, whether it be either financial, physical, emotional or mental. This is a direct offer of a lifeline, a source of help that can actually be tapped on in times of need. There is something more concrete and real in this, and it does the same as per the first scenario, except that it goes beyond in that it is actually feasible.

For the final reason, it is bred out of a desire to feel like there will be someone there for you as well. It means (in simple simple words) that you say it so that you can feel that since you want (whether can or cannot) to be there for the other person, he or she will similarly also want to and can be there for you as well. It is also to keep people close to you, in that you try to make people feel that they are important to you such that you in turn can feel important and significant to that person as well. This, I am afraid, is bred out of insecurity and a sense of inadequacy of the self; that you need external support to be able to feel secure, that you need to depend on external sources to be able to feel safe and yourself. It is not the happiest of scenarios, but it happens far too often and with far too many people.

Since it’s Sunday, let’s move away from humans and talk a little bit about God. I think that’s one of the things that God, working through churches, cell groups and pastors, is trying to tell us: He is always there for all of us. Some of us, when we encounter difficulties and destabilising waves, are often clouded by the gloomy circumstances that we fail to see past the situation to see the light. It is wonderful to feel and know that God is always there for us, always ready to lend us a helping hand, always ready to direct us through ways which we sometimes are not aware of and at times miss; we do sometimes lose sight of God when we feel that our problems and circumstances overwhelm us, but I’m sure God understands that.

Here’s a verse. Isaiah 40:29 – He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

On a friendship and relationship level, I think that is what it means to being a friend – to be willing to give your love to others both in times of need and in times of plenty, in good and in bad times, in happiness and in sorrow. We very often enjoy the benefits of friendship and do not contribute back our part in supporting the other person, that while we enjoy their company in fun times, we disappear and dissociate ourselves from them during times of crisis and disaster. If you love the other person enough, you will look towards him or her even in your own testing moment of need.

Being a friend; beautiful yet never easy.

(thank you for making me realise that. It explains well why when people ask me who you are to me.. I still tend to say best friend before other things)