vignettes

some scenes in the month i’ve been back in malaysia (i can’t believe it’s been a month now):

  • the first time i had dim sum in over a year. sleeping over at yin mei’s house a few days after i arrived home, and her dad bringing us for a dim sum breakfast the next morning. radish cake, chee cheong fun, siew mai, egg tarts, baos. milo for the both of us, yin mei said hers tasted plasticky and she didn’t finish, but i thought mine was the most delicious thing in the world. the way they make it in these places, always so powdery and thick. the taste of the food made me euphoric: there is definitely something about malaysian food that is fundamentally different from any kind of english or american food, and if i had a better sense of taste then maybe i could say what it is. maybe it’s the way it’s steamed or how the balance of soy sauce is always perfect.
  • the rain beating hard as we wait in my mother’s car for it to stop so we can get out and meet my cousins, aunts, uncles and grandmother for the latter’s birthday. when it rains in malaysia, it always turns the sky into the colour of dirty drain water. the only time i ever see my relatives from my mother’s side of the family is during the annual celebration of my grandmother’s birthday, which is always held at the same restaurant by her house. every single year, a chinese restaurant by the side of the road, where it seems as if there is only the same single waitress delivering food to all of the tables, relentlessly friendly, and her upper arm muscles strengthened from the years.
  • i think the skies become the same colour whenever it rains, regardless of the time of day. when it rains in the early morning, or at high noontime, it’s the same colour as when it rained that evening. when it rains in the morning, it gets so dark i have to turn on the lights, and as someone who can only really wake up properly if the sky is in full colour outside, it puts me in a bad mood. generally also having the lights on in the morning puts me in a bad mood: too harsh and unnatural for the first light after waking up.
  • smoking indoors with the window open while it rains outside. i think this is one of the nicest feelings ever.
  • listening exclusively to rap, trap and grime for the past month since coming home. for some reason, i can’t stand listening to any of the indie or pop stuff i used to listen to before anymore. indie used to be my favourite genre of music: i loved listening to sad, melancholy voices singing in weird, abstract metaphors while some instrument i don’t recognize goes on in the background. but i can’t stand to listen to anything except the trashiest music these days, where every other word is a swear or a slur, and every line is either about fucking bitches, making money, some high couture brand, or all of the above.  i can’t stand listening to “good” rap either. either it’s something completely garbage with a great beat, an easy chorus to sing along to and verses i can easily tune out, or i can’t listen to it at all. bonus points if the rapper has a dollar sign in his name.
  • boredom, above all else, boredom. the kind of boredom that gives you a headache. the kind of boredom that is just pure waiting. waiting for the close of the day and sleep beyond. boredom that is disinterested in everything, boredom that becomes impatient while having to perform the most mundane tasks–using the bathroom, checking the fridge, any bodily function that just urges attention, when all the mind wants to do is lay very, very still. boredom that just wants to listen to the same mindle$s garbage every single day, because it doesn’t want to be bothered with thinking about anything too deeply.
  • the bluest evening i’ve ever remembered seeing. i don’t tend to pay much attention to my surroundings (funny, since most of the bullet points in this post have been something to do with the weather), so i don’t know if this was usual for malaysian evenings, or evenings generally. but truly the bluest, most melancholic evening i’ve ever seen. the whole world outside my window turned blue. quiet inside except for the sounds of my mother preparing dinner in the kitchen and some music she had going on, a famous song on the piano that i don’t know the name of. the blue the same deep, otherworldly blue of aquariums.