After three butt-numbing hours at a friendly neighbourhood Internet Cafe, I made my home slowly, mind still reeling from the sudden change of atmosphere. Came to a road, and stood there, suddenly undecided whether to cross it or not.
Neighbour’s rather cute son calls from nearby bus stop, “Where are you going?”. “I dunno,” I replied, still in that befuddled, confused state. He laughed at my answer and beckoned.
I made my way over and sat beside him. Turns out, he was waiting for a bus to take him to the city centre. Works at one of the chic watering holes at Asian Heritage Row. We start talking the usual shit (how is ur mother….public transport sucks…very hot these days)
A somewhat battered looking Proton Saga pulls up in front of the bus stop. Three rather sinister looking males in their late 30s to mid 40s in the car. Two alighted and went past us to the shops behind. The driver remained.
Cute boy said, “These guys look like bad guys from old Malay movies.” Laughter burst forth, then I restrained myself, wondering if driver actually heard the boy’s words. (Apparently he didn’t).
Then I told the boy. “Hey, you conjured up images of A.Galak, A Rahim and their horrrible laugh.”
“Who are they?” boy asks.
“Never mind. Before your time. Anyway, it is to speculate and assume things about people we’ve never met before. Imagine, others might have their own first impressions about us”
Boy was quiet for a while. Then..”You are right. We don’t know everybody, and we can’t make assumptions about people we don’t know.”
“Hey,(he continues) imagine everyone knows everyone in the world…like a World without Strangers?” I stared at him….hmm…interesting thought.
I said, “Then mass communication would have to change and adapt. Communication would no longer be able to be impersonal…..bla bla bla….but if you ask me, I think it would be quite tiring. Just imagine how many people you have to greet every morning as you leave your house? Hi Joe, Hi Kak Wan, Hi Uncle Lim, Hi Shake…..whew!
He grimaced, “Yeah, you are right. I already dislike making conversation with too many people. I think I’ll just wear a T-Shirt that says
HI EVERYONE. I’M WEARING THIS T-SHIRT BECAUSE I DON’T FEEL LIKE GREETING EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU.