14 July 2010

Where are you from, darling?

"Where are you from, darling?"


"Singapore... Malaya? You know Malaya?"

"Yes of course."

"I was there from '52 to '54. Youngest soldier. I was 16 when I was recruited."

"Oh my, 16."

"Oh, Malaya was a wonderful place. It was very humid, but the people are so friendly. I had a wonderful time, when I was not on duty. There was a General Hospital in Kuala Lumpur. You know Kuala Lumpur? There were many pretty nurses there. My mate had to stay there for a while and he really enjoyed it."

"Lucky him!" Laughter.

"Did you go out with them?" Cheeky look.

A pause.

"No. But I used to go out with this girl from Malaya. She was Chinese, like you. We went out for a long time. Almost the whole two years. And when I had to come back to England, I asked her to come with me. She said no. Her family - her mother, her sister - they were all in Malaya. She didn't come back with me."

"Ohh. Oh dear."

"Many years later, I got married, to a very lovely lady and we moved out here to London. Not far from where we are now, you know. (Inaudible street name) We lived in an apartment building. Not long after I moved in, this young lady stopped me outside my house and said, 'I know you. I have seen you somewhere.' I said, 'I beg your pardon. I don't think we have met before.'"

"Was it one of the nurses?"

"No it wasn't. A couple of weeks later, I was walking my youngest daughter, heading back home, when I bumped into the young lady again. She stopped me, and she said, 'I know you. My mother knows you. You are Patrick.' And then she pulls up this photo of me and her mother together."

"It was the Malayan girl I used to go out with."

"Oh my god. Was her mother in London too?"

"No, she stayed on in Malaya."

"Did she ever visit after? Did you write to her?"

"No, I don't think she ever came to London. Just her daughter came."

"And you know... We are both married. My wife is the most wonderful lady in the world, and we have children. Oh, she is such a darling, my wife."

"No yes, I am sure she is very wonderful."

A pause. I continued:

"It's ironical that she didn't want to come to London, but the daughter came instead."


"But that's life, you know."

"Yes... I was going to say that too. Life's lament."

One smile. And then two.

Life's lament, fond thoughts.

(Singing in the Rain music in the background)

Just so we're absolutely clear, city folks...

WE are the ducklings (from Lake Windemere).

Not sure what goslings look like. We don't go near them as they have an annoying habit of pecking at butts.

Bonjour! Je suis un jeune cygne

cyg·net (sĭg'nĭt)
n. A young swan.
Middle English cignet , from Anglo-Norman, diminutive of Old French cygne , swan , from Latin cygnus , from Greek kuknos.
Air is now cleared for the previous post!  I'd have failed both of those questions had they asked me in science class.

08 July 2010

British summers

Flashy bikes, sunnies and flirty skirts.



A very humble salesgirl salary of the elder sister supports both, and even brings them to London.

This is not a question of economics. It is a question of generosity and love.

04 July 2010


羡煞朋友在郊外找到完整的蒲公英,我最近去 Cotswold 时也抓了一颗来拍拍。

《蒲公英》也是»王安忆早期的创作之一。 我外婆好像和她父亲或舅舅是远亲。

02 July 2010

The infinite violet-rose of the artichoke heart

This cronopio's wild-artichoke clock is a wood artichoke of the larger species, fastened by its stem to a hole in the wall. Its innumerable leaves indicate what hour it is, all the hours in fact, in such a way that the cronopio has only to pluck a leaf to know what time it is. So he continues plucking them from left to right, always the leaf corresponding to that particular hour, and every day, the cronopio begins pulling off a new layer of leaves. When he reaches the centre, time cannot be measured, and in the infinite violet-rose of the artichoke heart, the cronopio finds great contentment. Then he eats it with oil, vinegar and puts another clock in the hole.
- "Cronopios and Famas", Julio Cortázar

Return of the ladybirds