Tuesday, November 15, 2011

honestly, why can't I be honest?



I've always wanted to sit in a little outdoor cafe in Paris and and eat a warm and buttery croissant while watching the people go by with their coats sweeping out behind them in the chilly air, while reading a book- and have some cute foreign boy sit down opposite me and say "I like (insert author here) too". It's always been something I felt I had to do, just like riding a big red bike with little strings attached to the handlebars in a long ankle-length skirt while listening to She's Got You High by Mumm-Ra down the pebbly backstreets of a obscure German countrytown. (I blame The History Boys)

What I've come to realise, though, is that all these fantasies can be fulfilled in Singapore. I don't need a beautiful red bike with little strings down the ends of the handlebars like Francoise Hardy- my banged up, rusty, trusty old bike with incredible suspension will do just fine. Pebbly backstreets of a rustic countrytown is pretty, for sure, but perhaps pedaling furiously through Bishan Park, with the wind rushing past you, singing the "ooo ooo OOOH oo" part of Temper Trap's Fader really loudly while bobbing dangerously on your bike, and grinning at the annoyed joggers who give you irritated stares is brilliant enough.

I don't need an outdoor cafe in Paris, all I need is an outdoor Starbucks beside the Singapore River, with a gorgeous view of the MBS. I don't need buttery croissants, I need to try new things, like Big Bens and Bagels. I don't need a cute foreign boy to complement my taste in books, all I need is a good friend who already knows what I like to read. I don't need to watch well dressed people walk by in their boots and coats and hats, perspiring tourists with cute and fat children are even more amusing. And that is what I realised while studying with Gracie at One Fullerton yesterday.

Also, while reading Rei's blog, I felt this immense respect for him- he's so brutally honest, something I aspire to be. I think it takes a heckload of courage to speak your mind, something which I lack. Sometimes I think about my life and wonder if I'm merely existing. I'd hate that. I don't remember, but I read somewhere that making friends was easy, it was making enemies that took courage. In fact, most of the great men and women who stood by their convictions were persecuted for it, including one who died on the cross.

I'm much too- as Alan Bennett calls it "acquiescent". Basically, that means I'd rather please than be honest. It reminds me of this article in The Economist that said it was human nature to lie. The article claimed that lying- it keeps everyone happy, it keeps us from being depressed all the time, it keeps marriages intact, it keeps countries from war, it keeps families from falling apart, friends from turing into enemies. I don't subscribe to that. I believe that there's always a way to break something to someone without lying, tactfully, and kindly. EVEN the age-old "do I look fat in this dress".

"You look beautiful" would suffice. It's the truth- and even if she does look fat- she looks beautiful. Is that not more important? Anyway, when a woman asks something like that, she's probably not looking for the answer, she want to know you love her.

So I'm going to try to be most honest. With people, but mostly, with myself.

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