Saturday, January 07, 2006

51. Zero Six

Right, so 2006 is here. And 2005, a fond farewell to you it is for some, and a "yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker" for others. As for me? Indifference.

With that in mind, it's appropriate that this blog's first entry of the year is to post a shout-out to two close friends who've had contrasting ends to their zero five. One experiencing jubilation, and the other, something else entirely.

Let's start with hearty congratulations to yet another buddy who's tied the knot. Well done, you poor sod. They've really gotten to you haven't they? I mean, here's a guy who was giving up his carefree bachelor days of not putting the toilet seat back down after taking a piss in exchange for sharing the rest of his life with someone who would eventually get fat and nag him incessantly. And he couldn't look any happier. Jeez man, I mean this guy was literally bursting through the seams with happiness. If there was ever a more delighted person in the planet, I have yet to meet him.

And what a wedding it was, though you wouldn't have thought it initially. It started off innocently enough, with most guests arriving after 8 even though the invitation card explicitly said to be there at 7 sharp. It was your typical by the numbers Chinese-sytle do. At first I was kinda winging it really, my bummed out ankle making it all quite difficult to have much fun. Luckily the table I was seated at were with some other dudes we were all tight with, thankfully negating the need for small talk with a bunch of strangers.

The food was ok if not expected, the scraps that were left at least. Did I also mention that those guys I was seated with were also the greediest bunch of bastards in the world? Looking them eat was like watching something from a wildlife program on the Discovery channel. Nasty stuff.

K, like I was saying, you more or less know what's coming for the night. Besides the usual menu, there'd be the slide show showing in the bride and groom in all their youthful glory, and there'd be the cutting of the huge fake cake which I have no idea what purpose it serves, then there's the toasting led by the best man or gal doing their level best to stir the crowd but always followed by muted yam sengs in reply, and the usual speeches where 50% of the guests would be too drunk or engrossed in the self-importance of their own yakking to bother about (yeah, like their conversations were so important that they couldn't hold it up for a few minutes to hear the words of the people who organised the whole thing, bunch of wankers). Other than that, there was a life band playing swing, which is always a nice touch and a welcome change from listening to another Bryan Adams or Michael Learns To Rock cd.

Then the big end for the night...the groom's speech. At least most of the guests would have the decency to pay attention, most that is, some people you just can't reach. It's all pretty standard till now. But then, something unexpected happens. Upon finishing his undying thanks to her parents for raising such a lovely bride, he nervously declares that he hadn't actually officially proposed to her and would like to take the opportunity to do so now. But that's not really the unexpected thing (you'd be surprised how there aren't any proper proposals in marriages nowadays, they just seem to happen, as if it's a given, scary ain't it?). Of course we all find it rather sweet in a thank-God-it's-him-and-not-me sorta way (doing something like that in a hall filled with 600-odd people staring at you is not something that men aspire to do, fact).

The unexpected thing is when he asks the audience to forgive him for what is to happen next. Immediately us guys in the audience feel a sense of dread creeping up on us...something was rotten in the state of Denmark. We all instinctively knew what was coming next. Needless to say, our worst fears were confirmed when he proceeded to grab the mike for a solo singing performance, backed by a piano no less. Those feelings of dread were soon replaced by sheer terror when we heard the song selection he had concocted for us all. And what was it? 'Twas a medley consisting of You Raise Me Up, Flying Without Wings and other like-minded tunes that's been blocked off by my mind (just like how some guys who've experienced really, really horrible things like being anally-raped or being forced as a child to have a perm would suppress those memories). To cap it all off, he goes on bended knee for the most hair-raising proclaimation of love undying since the days of Michael Jackson and Bubbles.

We cringe in our seats as the spectacle of it all unfolds before our eyes, observing him in a mixture of raw horror and wonder, hell even the chicks on our table are close to choking on their own vomit. The guys? Well let's just say that some of us on the table couldn't even bear to make eye contact with one another, possibly out of fear it'd be perceived as being homosexual.

But as the grand events unveiled itself in all it's disturbing glory, there was something other than nauseam and crippling fear we felt, respect. Hell yeah. You had to give props to the guy. I mean here he was, as nervous as hell, spouting stuff that would make Strawberry Shortcake and her friend Blueberry barf, exposing his deepest emotions in front of hundreds of people, mostly uncles and aunties and countless acquaintences of the dad and mom he could be buggered to remember. Now that's what you call a display of love. Who else would go through such lengths to make a fool of himself? Just to make a very special night that extra memorable, no unforgettable for the woman he loves? Well, a man in love is really a fool come to think of it. There's no other explanation for it.

The heart is an organ of fire no doubt, and that fool's lucky to be so caught up in it's rapture. And I thought stuff like this only happens on Friends.


About a month ago and old uni mate I haven't spoken to for more than 6 years got in touch with me. I, of course, was pleased to bits. This guy is like just about the most decent guy I've ever met. A real stand-up guy, you know what I mean? He was already a senior the time I first enrolled, and he stayed a few rooms away from me on my floor in the hostel. Considering the amount the stark-raving loonies prowling round everywhere, I was pretty lucky to have someone around who had some semblance of sanity.

Anyway, so him being a senior and everything, he was sorta like the guy everyone looked up to on our floor, the wise mentor if you like. Heck, lots of fellas went to him if they ever needed any help with their English or just wanted to chill out and listen to him recount his uni experiences, and heck, he sure had many a regal tale to tell. We always could count on him to dish out the dirt on a lecturer, some nasties seniors, and even a fellow or two residing in our college. But he was stern when he had to be too, like how all big brothers had to be, and would straighten you out a bit when you needed straightening out. Best thing about him was that his room door was open to everyone, irregardless of race.

I remember some of the best times I had in the uni was hanging out with him and his roommates. And talking bout roommates, boy did he have his fair share of colourful ones. There was this one singh guy who used to strut round our floor half-naked in the wee hours of night, with his waste-length hair unshackled from his turban. Fuck, did that one scare the beejesus out of a few of us whenever we had to go to the common loo after midnight when the hallways were dark. Imagine walking through a dimly corridor, and seeing some long haired naked being prowling around. Then there was this quiet and unassuming Japanese guy whom we all initially thought was a super nerd who had his nose always burried in his books. He couldn't really speak English well either, and we used to take the piss out of him all the time. Sure it was mean as hell, but he was good-natured fella, and put up with our shit. Super guy. We all found out later that he was quite the psycho, and seemingly had a blatant disregard for personal safety (he once almost dismembered a finger in a game of cricket 'cos he didn't bat with gloves on). Plus, further investigation revealed that he was also a pervert (I only just found out that he had a wide selection of hentai delivered to him from Japan every month, now we know why he had his nose burried in those books eh).

So anyway, like I said, it's been ages since I last met up with him. The last time I saw him was at his wedding bout 6 years ago. Then we just lost each other's contacts and, you know the drill. Luckily another mutual friend somehow got hold of him and he passed on my contact to him. Anyway, we met up for some coffee to catch up on old times to see what he's been up to. As far as I knew, he had taken up a teaching position in a prestigious international school (he graduated in physical education). It suited him, he always had those noble attributes all dedicated teachers have. He was also a kick-ass athelete in his own right, being captain of the hockey team and all and was not too shabby at cricket either.

So it was to my surprise when he told me he was no longer teaching, that somehow, he had been suspended indefinitely from his position in his school for 'disciplinary' reasons. Say what? This guy was like the epitomy of discipline. Something surely had to give. Sure enough, I get the whole story, and boys and gals, it ain't pretty. His story goes something like this:

It seems that my friend had made several enemies in school amongst the teaching staff. Being who he was, someone who always would speak his mind whenever he knew he was right, he stepped on a few toes, especially amongst the expat teachers. While some teachers would pamper the students cos they were mostly children of VVIPs and corporate bigshots, he would have none of it. Fearless eh, and foolhardy I suppose. But a man without principles is not really a man, that's what the movies tells us anyway.

Now he had this particular rival who was vying for the affections of a fellow teacher with him. Needless to say, he was in the front seat and the rival, who incidentally was the school's discipline teacher, was not too happy. Plus, there were numerous instances when my friend would go straight to the principal whenever there was a major disciplinary issue with the students the discipline teacher was rather crap at his job. In fact, he had already been involved himself in some of these disciplinary issues. There was this one incident where one of the students, was caught sneaking off from a boy's room in the dorm, not once but numerous times, which is entails an automatic suspension. The case was reported to the discipline teacher, and lo and behold, nothing gets done because she's shagging him as well. He already had a rap sheet from other schools, where he was sacked from one for having sex with one of the students. But somehow, he had endeared himself with the top hierarchy and the expat community and consolidated his position as an untouchable.

There were numerous other events, too long to go in detail here. These things go on for a few years, till one day my friend gets called up by the disciplinary board. It seems that some charges had been levelled against him. Two in particular stood out: causing physical harm to students, and the other, quite incredulously, molesting some male students. And before you could say Anwar Ibrahim, he was suspended pending further investigation.

So the investigation goes on, then he's finally called up for the tribunal, where they don't pass him the details of the allegations against him till the day itself, and it's a hell of a thick folder. It smells like a set-up straight away. And to cut a long story short, he was asked to leave. Fellow teachers (the local ones) who made a complaint or who wished to testify in his defence were issued show-cause letters for doing so. Something was not only rotten in the state of Denmark, it was fucking festering. I can't really do his story justice, but needless to say he was left high and dry by the school he so dedicately served for a good ten years.

Like I said, I know this guy. Ain't no way the charges they levelled against him were true. Heck, if it was, wouldn't it be already a police case? Makes no bloody sense. Needless to say, he ain't giving up without a fight. He's taking it to next level and has gotten a lawyer to take up his plight. The lawyer had advised him that it'd be a long and arduous battle, a costly one too. My friend currently is doing a temp job, having been jobless for the past six months or so. He's a strong dude, and my respect for him grows even more considering with all the adversity he's gone through, he's still fighting and won't stand down from his convictions. Now that's someone who can hold his head high.

And to that wanker discipline teacher and those involved in humiliating and destroying the reputation of this honourable man, all I can do is quote Bono when he sang: "Don't believe in Goldman, his type like a curse, instant karma's gonna get him, if I don't get him first", a reference to Albert Goldman, author of The Lives of John Lennon, a book which stirred controversy for it's many allegations and unflattering potrait of Lennon the man.

Yeah buddy, what goes around, comes around. You can be sure of that.


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yuppies said...

dude.. ain't a blogger myself. but, sure enjoy readin ya blog. keep on rawkin dude. cheers.

clans said...

to be a rawk and not to roll

joe said...