Y is for Yes.
A few years ago I decided I would say ‘Yes’ to everything — jobs I was offered (I freelance); invitations to parties; dates, the lot.
I did not regret it and I must say it opened a lot of small, but interesting doors, and led to me having a whole bunch of incredible experiences.
After that, I reverted to my usual habit of being more cautious and (you could) say wishy washy about my approach to life. The last six years have not been great and I faced a whole lot of financial struggles and emotional upheavals. I just wasn’t inclined to say ‘Yes’ to anything. Often, I wasn’t able to say ‘Yes’.
Things started getting better again at the end of 2018 and so, feeling much more positive than I have in a long while, I decided that I would start saying ‘Yes’ again to as much as possible. In case you’re wondering, saying ‘Yes’ does not mean you’re not allowed to bail if you realise whatever you’ve agreed to do is not for you. However, so far so good. We’re coming to May, I’ve enjoyed the first four months of 2019 and am looking forward to the rest of the year. Yes!
X is for Xylophone.
I had to pick xylophone because I looked it up ages ago and did not quite get my head around the explanation of why the word is spelt with an ‘x’ and not a ‘z’.
You can read it here and I shall too. Let’s see if it’s clearer (to me) this time round.
W is for Weretigers and Tigerweres.
In Malaysia we don’t have werewolves because we don’t have wolves.
In the days when our jungles had yet to be driven back to the extent it has been today, it was the tiger that posed a threat to humans — a threat that was probably largely imagined as these creatures are not known to seek out (and attack) humans.
There were men who were said to possess the shamanic ability to transform themselves into tigers or leopards. ‘Harimau jadian’ is the Malay term for weretigers. Some men learnt how to transform so they could protect their property/plantations and communities; others did it for nefarious reasons, to kill out of spite, or for revenge, even as paid assassins.
In one of my short stories, based on a Keralan folktale, a tiger learns how to transform himself into a man and eventually takes a human wife. The tiger comes to a sticky end in the folktale, but I decided that my dear tigerwere, Ali Ahmed bin Ebrahem Ali Ahmed, deserved a better fate.
V is for Violin.
As played by Itzhak Perlman.
This is my go-to track when I need to recover from life.
U is for umbrella.
I like carrying a foldable umbrella in my bag because I’m paranoid about getting caught in the rain. I also keep an umbrella in the car, just in case. The number of Giordano umbrellas my kids have taken with them and lost! It’s heartbreaking. Sorry, I am somewhat attached to my umbrellas, but I have lost so many myself. I can think of one in a particular, that I bought at Tangs in Singapore. I was desperate and paid too much for it — a white collapsible umbrella that was really beautiful. I don’t know how to describe it, but you could tell just by looking at that it was a high quality umbrella. I lost it and I still think of it although it was thirty years ago. Yes, you can laugh!
I’ve suddenly thought of those oil paper umbrellas from my childhood, the ones that made a ‘stretching’ sound when opened and had a distinctive smell. I wish they still sold them, and not as curiosities that cost the earth. And what about the old black umbrellas with clear glass or plastic handles with flowers inside the glass/plastic?
I have only recently discovered that you should not leave an open umbrella indoors as it acts as a portal for ghosts to enter our world from hell. I guess I’ve let in dozens of ghosts!