Waking Life

Went to pass Chups the bag on Saturday, and watched Aeon Flux with her and KY. Aeon Flux is a movie based on some MTV-produced animation about some lesbian leather-wearing anarchist who kills people. It’s not deep, but it’s produced by MTV and you would be stupid for assuming it to be otherwise. In fact, compared to the animation, the movie made a little more sense. The movie is about as MTV as it gets – I give full marks for style and gloss and close to zero for plot.

I’d like to say something about bad science, though. The writers tried to factor in some moral dilemmas about *spoiler* cloning but the issue is so trivialized it’s laughable. Aeon (the main character) thinks about it for about a second before she decides it is wrong and that humanity should die out before cloning should be accepted as a reasonable means of reproduction. Look out for the chemistry lab of the future, featuring what looks suspiciously like a slow-cooker and a home-DIY chemistry kit for thirteen year-olds. And, of course, the big hovering machine that runs on air and produces no waste produce. And yet I’d actually recommend the show, just because it’s pretty to look at.

It horrifies me to think that it was stuff like that that got me thinking I wanted to be a scientist in the future.

Then I went out with WC on after finding out that he would be at home alone for the next couple of days when all the studying Malaysians (his roommates) go back to their homeland. Whilst for some people this might have meant the freedom to bring chicks over to play ‘monopoly’ (or whatever game you prefer playing with chicks), I had the sneaking suspicion that WC would find it more than a little difficult to score monopoly chicks, his work having something to do with medical biology and, as such, unlikely to result in encounters involving chicks of any kind (despite what DSTA might say about hot young scientists).

It was rather sad, thinking of him all alone at home, watching TV and having his meals by himself. Mainly because I’m in the same situation. Renting a room is a sad experience when you don’t really get along well with your roommate. Not that I’m on bad terms with mine, but it’s just difficult to communicate with him. I’m as good as alone at home all the time, really, because I rarely ever talk to him. Not that I expect to have raving-good adventures with the people I live with, but it would be nice if we had some meals together or talked more, I guess.

And I do think sometimes it’s my fault for not opening up more and talking to him when I do get the chance. Though it’s difficult, because of the age difference. And the fact that we tend to see each other when in various states of undress in the shower or toilets (errr… you know what I mean).

I wonder soemtimes if life would have been more exciting if I’d rented that room with the mentally-disturbed guy. Short, but exciting.

So anyway, we went off to Orchard and walked all the way down to Suntec (the good thing about going out with lonely guys is that they don’t mind long walks), stopping off at NewAsia Bar along the way. Somewho along the way we ended up talking about taking photos with no people inside – you know, scenery shots. I found them stupid and useless – I’ve thrown away a good many shots because they were quite pointless, since I’m hardly a good photographer and I’m not the kind of person who can connect with a shot that doesn’t have a human face in it. There’s no story otherwise. If you want a nice picture of a lighted cityscape – buy a postcard.

WC’s counter-argument was … well, he had no argument, but he did give some poetic crap about life being like an empty photograph and that we’d all end up alone anyway – which is impossible to refute, because life is empty if you want to look at it like that. I wasn’t sure how to respond to that, not having been exposed to WC’s brand of fatalism in a long time.

And yet, I should be, because I think he does represent Chinese (or migrant Chinese) pragmatism. Survival is key. Earning enough to support a family, raise the kids and occasionally bring the clan for vacation is the-right-thing-to-do. Mother, especially, exemplifies the life to its fullest.

And sometimes when I talk philosophy or think pseudo-intellectually, I can hear Mother’s voice in my head, telling me that it’s all nonsense and that the only thing I should be interested in is how I can get food on my plate. And I do wonder if my desire for romance, excitement, meta-physical enlightenment, for some kind of epiphany are nothing more than imperialistic cultural advances (from you-know-who).

And yet, even Mother, my pragmatic-counterfoil, has her weaknesses. I remember once trying to tempt her into a religious argument (as well as to show her that the money she’s putting into her son’s education is not all for nothing – he can argue about religion – whooo) and was most unpleasantly shocked when, after presenting some silly atheistic argument against the existence of any higher power, she broke into tears and said something about there having to be something more.

Talk about fear and trembling.

I guess the long point of this detour into nothingness is this – don’t take photos with no people in them unless you facy yourself to be a pretty good photographer and capable of capturing something in an image. A photo that has no point, no art to it is like a life with no meaning.

Feeling a little bit guilty that I hadn’t gone to see my parents over the weekend (bad son! bad bad son!), I headed back today to perform my familial duties, which consisted of sitting in the living room with my mother listening to her complain about the wayward nature of today’s youth and making cursory comments about the news, to which she would snort and reply that it was all nonsense (an occupational hazard of teaching primary-school children – the shrinking of your more-than-three-syllable vocabulary – everything was nonsense). I retreated into my brother’s room for some solitude when my sister woke up to distract her with cries for nourishment.

For a God-fearing christian, my brother watches some pretty alternative stuff (though it might be argued to be quite as god-fearing as he is is rather alternative, actually). Found Waking Life – that guy who wrote Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. If I told you it was a lengthy animated movie with no action sequences and long talks and quotes from basic philosophical views, would you venture a guess as to whether I enjoyed it?

Not too hard, huh?

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