I stumbled upon Eisen’s blog from Allen’s, and now I like reading him.
There’s raw disgust.
The entire body is in fact a cistern of blood, held back only by a thin wire mesh of compacted flesh. Slit N’s throat, and his coppery red blood will pour forth like a fountain, unabated until he draws his last breath. And there’s the whole cluster of organs, nicely stacked one atop the other: the lump called the heart, the black lungs, the churning stomach, the hulk of a liver, kidneys, intestines, bladder, pancreas. I technically could pull out N’s intestines from his belly button and have enough cord to strangle him to death. And then there’s all the mucus, amassed in his nasal cavities and the lining of the oesophagus, and the inky, putrid bile inside the gall bladder, and the urine silently collecting in his bladder, and the shit being slowly squeezed along the large intestine like dark brown toothpaste, and the semen stored in his testicles, waiting to spurt forth in future acts of coitus… It is horrible trying to imagine N fucking someone. The image might horrify him too
Screwing my girl on a concrete floor littered with spread-out pages from my term paper. Or Honours Thesis.
In the midst of coitus I shall stare at paragraph four and think “hmm I should have footnoted my citation in the middle of the sentence, not at the end. The end is entirely of my phrasing.”
And I remember that inconspicuous library back in Singapore, the wooded area next to it with several pavilions, a very run-of-the-mill place built for mundane activities like sitting down and resting after a long jog through the nearby park. That was the place we met again after five long months. There was no fireworks or fanfare, no balloons or popping of the champagne. It was almost anti-climatical. We didn’t know what to say when we saw each other again. But the tears flowed; they were real. The expressions were real. The kisses that followed were real.
And there’s him trying to deal with his inadequate Chinese.
And that other time a few months back when I was assigned to Changi Airport at 5 am in the morning to interview PRCs who would be flying back to Chengdu for the first time since the great Sichuan quake. As usual, I had to prepare a set of questions beforehand by writing them out in English first and then translating them painstakingly to Mandarin. What made it worse still was the fact that almost all of the Chinese present at the airport were sombre, subdued or full of sorrow. And there was I, stumbling over my spoken words as I tried to pry them for details of their shattered hometowns, why they were going back, do they have any relatives trapped in the rubble, how do they feel about this great disaster, etc. The two hours I spent at the airport gathering interviews and quotes was the longest two hours of my life for a long, long time. As I ate breakfast at Terminal 2 while the sun rose outside a sense of shame slowly surfaced in my gut. I wished I could connect with those newsmakers on a deeper level, get to understand them truly and feel their pain and their worry, but I could not, even though I technically spoke the same language as them. With my inability to communicate fully with them, I was reduced to merely mining them for good quotes and anecdotes.