The melancholy man @ 41

The melancholy man @ 41
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It is quite a challenge finding 41 pictures of me to do this montage!

Dear Boys,

I’m forty one this year, and unlike your mum, I was never a big fan of celebrating birthdays.

It is not as if your mum has big birthday celebrations, but the least was she has it, every year, her family would celebrate her birthday, even the lunar one. Me? The only birthday I vividly remembers was my 12th birthday, that’s it.

While I grew older and earned my own money (I started working when I was fifteen), birthday, as I know it is a significant day, especially when it’s mine. There is something special about me, on that day, but I couldn’t figure out what. So I started taking leave from work on my birthday, not to celebrate with cakes and parties, but to spend time with myself. That was until I met your mum. She usually fuss over my birthday, not me.

Until now I still cannot understand what birthdays is all about.

Birthdays depresses me

In fact, as the years pass, I get more depressed.

Depressed that at my age, I hadn’t accomplished anything ‘big’, nor did the things my peers are doing. Yes, keep up with the Jones to get to me sometimes. Of course the consolation is, that I lived a mediocre life, free from worries, debts, major diseases, war, poverty, and all those things. I should be lucky, contented and happy!

I am not, and I can’t figure out why.

So what’s the surprise?  

I don’t see the need to figure it out, so what if I do figure my life out? I’d never be able to get out of it alive! So what if I created a solution that save the world? I’ll still die?

Legacy? What’s that?

At the most selfish level, nothing I can ever do, can save me from death. Death is certain. but people are busy celebrating ‘birthday’ and not too concerned with deathday. Well, death is the ultimate storm on anyone’s parade, huh. We’d all rather looked at the happy, dandy side. Focus on the birth-day, nevermind that death is on the opposite side of the same coin.

It is at this juncture, I get stuck. Even in writing as of now. Death kills my writing…

Death kills everything I can possible think of. It is over before I can even think about the beginning. I simply don’t have the upbeat optimism good vibes to overcome death, no one can, I guess. So why even try so hard?

And yet, I cannot reconcile with the reality that I am put on earth to just convert Oxygen to Carbon Dioxide. I am made for something more, I just don’t know what. Hell, I’m such a genius.

I live for you

One thing for sure, I think I am here for the both of you boys, and your mum. Other than the three of you, there is no one else. No one else who knows that I really existed, whom I really matters in their lives. It is the three of you whom, if I for one reason, disappears, dies or get kidnapped by alien, will grieve for me, worry for me, thinks of me, and cares about me. And for I play a key important role.

I’m always grateful for your mother’s love. She has been the most incredible woman, at the same time, dumbest to follow this melancholy man. I guess that is what love is all about, she believes in me  more than I believes in myself, and she takes my shit, all the time, dust herself off and continue to love me. I cannot be here if it is not for her. Sometimes, I let her celebrate my birthday, not because I am important, but it is because I am important to her. And my birthday is an important day to her, much more than it is an important day to me.

So the big Four-One is upon me, and I’m still here, doing what I am doing, everything looks the same, for me. The only thing changing is the both of you boys, growing up, while your dad is growing old. I hope us celebrating your birthdays year on year will give the both of you some meaning. This is what is blog is all about, a dad’s introverted hope that you can make better sense of your lives, and use my life and folly to make sense of yours.

41

 

 

Your Dad, The Dog Whisperer

Dear Boys,

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Nancy, my Pug

Back when I was still staying at Bedok South, I cam across a little dog that was left at my block’s provision shop. The auntie at the shop say someone left the dog there and she was feeding the dog water.

It was an affable creature, totally lovable. I was probably 16 years old? There was only one response, bring it home!

It was a pug. True pedigree Pug. not a mongrel, not any street dog.

Fat little bitch. My mum and I named her ‘Nancy’, well for a good reason, my mum thought she looked kind of like the recent First Lady of US, Nancy Reagan. So we called her that ever since.

And it didn’t occurred to me why would anyone want to throw such a lovely dog away. It didn’t occurred to us to bring her for a medical check up. We just took her in and she became part of us ever since.

I’ve always been a dog person. Before Nancy came along, I was kind of frolicking with dogs and mutts. Back then they served a more utilitarian purpose, more like guard dogs. Those dogs I came across and played with are all mongrels, average size, hardy creatures, totally lovable.

Lucky

There was a ‘Lucky‘, a mongrel who actually belonged to my dad’s neighbour. He had a shop/warehouse in Eunos, and the next door guys makes roller shutter doors, the company was called ‘Standard roller shutter’. I think they are no longer around.

Lucky was a great dog, he know his way around Eunos and live, came and went as he pleases. He eats whatever we feed him and I will always remember, cycling to the Eunos wet market to buy $2 worth of slop; scraps of food from the mixed vegetable stall and bring the big bag of rice+whatever the hawker have left, mostly meat. Lucky will eat them all up. Oh, yes, he eats ice cream too, but with a brain freeze look after that. Lucky also chases cars, trucks and anything that has 4 wheels on.

He was as loyal a dog as it can be, even though the mutt don’t technically belong to us, he followed me everywhere; he often followed me and my mum to the bus stop at the main road, which will need him to climb and cross an overhead bridge. He would wait with us at the stop, watched us board the bus and went his way. The very next day, we will always find him back at the shop.

As a mongrel, he’s not the cleanest mutt, and has his fair share of dog’s breath, stink, fleas and ticks. I would pluck them off him, take a hammer from my dad’s tool box, and put that flea out of its misery, between concrete and hammer. blood would splatter on some of these big fat, juicy blood sucking fleas. The fleas couldn’t flee fast enough from me. Ha ha.

Back to Nancy

So Nancy came to stay with us. and by then she was already a fully gown dog, so our attempts to house train her failed utterly. She pee and poop almost all over the house. We would get angry and beat her after she she mess up doing her business; she would give us the most sorrowfully sweetest look. We cannot be angry with her for long.

While she was with us, she is just the sweetest dog. My parents were going through a divorce and she was our constant source of comfort. Pugs are generally mild tempered, and Nancy was just that. Not the sharpest tool in the dog world, but she is certainly the sweetest. Sometimes, she do earn her keeps as a ‘guard dog’, as she would know the presence of a person before we hear them. And if it was me coming home, she would wag her small curly tail, happy like only a dog can be.

On quiet days, she’d be happy just to sit with you, while you rub her tummy, message her face, play with her fats. You can rub her chest, that little cluster of pointy fur that bunched up there.

It was only good for a year.

One day, Nancy wasn’t her usual self one day and we couldn’t figure out why. She lost her appetite and drank a lot of water. I was working then and I just couldn’t get my mind off her. She was not the jumping cheery self. Just tired and lethargic.

I bought her to the vet, and they checked on her. They pinch her and the skin sort of clumped together, a sign of dehydration, which could goes to show some kidney problems. They would have to keep her there overnight to observe her.

So I left.

She never came home.

The next day, the vet called my mum at home (those were the days mobile phone isn’t that mobile yet) and told her that Nancy’s condition has deteriorated overnight, and they will have to put her down.

That was that.

I never get to see Nancy, never got to say good bye.

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Nancy, basking in sunlight, I often laugh at her doing this, it is as if, she is solar powered, recharging, her leash is like a power cord. LOL.

I have very little pictures of Nancy, these were the days digital imagery wasn’t prevalent. But my memory of her is deep and still is. Having a dog changes a person. You cannot be a complete human being if you have no relationship with an animal.

I finally can understand why she was left abandoned at the void deck by her previous owner(s). They’d probably knew about her condition, and couldn’t afford the maintenance. Or she has grown up, and they have grown tired of her. But even though she was only with us for 1 year, I’m sure we gave her the best possible life all the way to the end.