Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Singapore & me

As a secondary student in the school band(trumpet), I've played the score. As a uni student, I've watched Australian production in Sydney. This weekend, I'm taking a trip down south to watch it again with gf. The show? Phantom of the Opera.

Somehow as the day draws near, I just started to think about my connection with Singapore. Not that I have any relatives living in there, just that if I were to think of Singapore, I can say what I remember most from Singapore were a couple of unpleasant & painful experience- one work related and the other personal. Today I just feel like expressing one of them.

Last Friday while driving back from Leisure Mall, this song that was played reminded me of someone I used to know.

I hate the world today
You're so good to me
I know but I can't change
Tried to tell you
But you look at me like maybe
I'm an angel underneath
Innocent and sweet

Yesterday I cried
Must have been relieved to see
The softer side
I can understand how you'd be so confused
I don't envy you
I'm a little bit of everything
All rolled into one

I'm a bitch, I'm a lover
I'm a child, I'm a mother
I'm a sinner, I'm a saint
I do not feel ashamed
I'm your hell, I'm your dream
I'm nothing in between
You know you wouldn't want it any other way

So take me as I am
This may mean
You'll have to be a stronger man
Rest assured that
When I start to make you nervous
And I'm going to extremes
Tomorrow I will change
And today won't mean a thing
Just when you think, you got me figured out
The season's already changing
I think it's cool, you do what you do
And don't try to save me
I'm a bitch, I'm a tease
I'm a goddess on my knees
When you hurt, when you suffer
I'm your angel undercover
I've been numb, I'm revived
Can't say I'm not alive
You know I wouldn't want it any other way

It's funny how the title of this song is changed here in Malaysia. The title was originally "BITCH" but here it's known as "Nothing in between" and the words "bitch" were censored -might as well just ban the song.

Anyway, back to this song. I was reminded of my ex from Singapore whom I met in Sydney. It wasn't the "Oh I miss her" or "I still think of her" crap but I thought of how bad I was burnt by that relationship, the painful experience that brought some reality into my life. I don't think I've shared much of it with anyone- sure gf knows about it but not the complete details of how it ended(or rather, how I wanted it to end).

But first, let me clarify that I'm not saying that she's a bitch(I wouldn't use that kind of word on anyone). Just that one of the CDs she asked me to get for her while I was on holiday in Malaysia was Meredith Brooks's CD which featured that song.

It's kinda painful when one puts so much hope in a relationship that when it turns sour, nothing (at that point) could really make one feel good about oneself. The worst kind of breakups are those that happened over the phone. She completed her studies and left Sydney in March 1998 while I still had one more year to go. Less than a month, over the phone she told me it was over. In retrospect though, some of the stuff on the lyrics do describe her, the part about I need to be a stronger man, her being ever changing, etc.

I can tell you, my final year in uni was probably the worst time of my life. Maybe it's because I was away studying overseas, unable to gain access to support from my family & friends back home. I still remember how hard it was for me then to sleep at night. To be more precise, it was the fear of going to bed feeling alone- the chilling nights of Sydney wasn't helping as well(perhaps not that cold but I sure felt cold then). The future I was planning for was destroyed in an instance. My ego took a huge beating and I lost whatever meagre amount of self-esteem & security I had, all because I placed my security on the wrong thing/person.

The worst part was how I tried to end it. I couldn't bear the thought loneliness so I told my dad then that I wanted to come back to Penang for the mid-year break. Since she had left her electric guitar in Sydney, I thought maybe I could fly to Singapore first to return the guitar and let her know what I was going through. I wanted a proper a closure on the relationship. I wanted a break in person, not over the phone.

So I flew to Singapore with the guitar. Tried to get her on the phone to make arrangements to hand it back to her and close this painful chapter in my life. In the end, it was her mother who came and met with me- the ex was avoiding me by not returning home that night before. I didn't get my closure that I was desperately looking for. And it took me almost 3 years to stand up again emotionally. I did get some comforting words from her mom though- I think she felt bad for what happened to me. She took me around Singapore for half a day. In a way it's kinda weird but I appreciate what she did. One of the things she told me was when she heard that her daughter was seeing me, she asked ex's elder bro(who's also studying in Sydney then) if I ever bully my ex. His response? "You should be thankful your daughter is not bullying him..." That trip ended nowhere....

I really want to have a wonderful experience in Singapore. Too bad the other experience which is work related made my memories of Singapore worse. Nothing against the people there(Ben Tang, I'm cool with you!), it's just that I can't really talk fondly of my trips to Singapore. All other good childhood Singaporean experiences prior to that were totally destroyed.

I optimistically look forward to my trip this weekend. I want something sweet and wonderful, that I can look back and tell people, "Hey, I had a great time in Singapore!"