Monthly torture for boys

Traditional boy's haircut
Traditional boy’s haircut

When we were kids, my two brothers and I underwent a traditional Chinese haircut (minus the queued tail) that, for most boys at that age, was already a minor form of torture. But the torture was tripled—at least for me—because (1) it was done monthly, (2) it was done with an old razor featuring reusable Gillette blades, and (3) it was done by my father during his often-grumpy moments. Continue reading “Monthly torture for boys”

The perennial boy scout

Rockwell - The Adventure Trail
The idyllic images I had in childhood, which I tried to reproduce in real life.

Ever since I can remember, there’s this mindset, or tendency, or personality trait, that runs deep in me: I have this keen smell for approaching adversity. It’s a constant anticipation verging on a perverse wish, or sense of challenge, for some looming adverse event to unfold so I can see if I, together with people around me, can face it head-on. Continue reading “The perennial boy scout”

The motto that didn’t make sense

When I was a Grade 4 newbie at the Kamuning Elementary School (having transferred from the neighborhood annex near K-D or what is now Erestain St.), I was a highly focused student who observed all goings-on, obeyed all my teachers, followed all the drills and assignments, and mostly kept to myself except for a handful of co-nerds (or were we co-dorks?) like Raymond Co and Goldwyn Azul.

it doesn't make sense
My schoolboy motto, inscribed on a quiz paper.

But as the school year wore on, I gained more confidence, indulged my curiosity, and began to show my incipient rule-breaking tendencies. One early object of this curiosity was the Chi Rho sign that some of the girls in class always wrote on top of the test papers, quizzes, and theme papers that they passed. Continue reading “The motto that didn’t make sense”