How I Began Dance

I have delayed this post for as long as I thought was appropriate for delaying since it seems to be in the spirit of bragging what is precisely the unbraggable – my dance experience (?) (so many people call it journey but mine is wayyyyyy too short for me to merit it with that term).

So anyway, I thought I would write this post for anyone out there who:

  • Really want to start dance but have no idea how to start
  • Believe you can never dance but really want to move with the sleekness of BTS, Kyle Hanagami etc etc
  • Always let your fear crippled you so far (like I did).

Just to clarify, I am not proclaiming myself as an experienced dancer nor am I saying that I am qualified to give any kind of professional advice on how you should go about doing it; what I will be doing is to document everything I can remember I went through and maybe when I am 80 years old and read this I will be like, HOHOHO I did out of my comfort zone once in my life!

No Dance Background

Perhaps the most intimidating idea to me in beginning dance is the fact that I had absolutely no dance background. Yep. Not even those basic ballet class for toddlers between 3-5 or the likes. If you want to force it, secondary school implemented mandatory Chinese dance once a week but I honestly didn’t like it nor did I try, so it was more of shuffling around for that hour till it ended.

I remember before the most recent commitment to dance, I had once tried a Kpop dance class in Dance Factory at Jurong East in August 2015. It was a bad experience because the class was learning a continued choreo for Big Bang’s Bang Bang Bang, and the session I went was the last day. I couldn’t catch the choreo at all. It was downright, lowkey embarrassing at the very least. I felt humiliated even though I later learned that this is actually normal. What was I expecting? Immediately slaying the dance when I have never moved this stiff body before? Hell, in moments of panic I can barely differentiate my left and right side!

I had no background in both dance and music (and the latter will come to haunt me later on, as you will see), and I gave up on the idea of dance after that fateful class in 2015.

Until the December of 2016. 

Trying Dance Again…with a personal instructor

In November 2016 I was on vacation in Shanghai and I thought to myself one random night…what would my greatest regret be when I am 80 years old, crippled and confined to a wheelchair? I thought about the fact that I never learnt to move my body properly. So I did something quite profoundly dumb: I searched on carousell for personal dance teachers, and the most affordable one was $8 an hour if I travelled to Scape, or $12 an hour if she came to you. I picked for her to meet me at NUS where we used the glass mirror for the next couple of weeks. I came back from my vacation and we started.

Boy was I terrible.

I had no basic coordination to speak of – my movements were rigid and stiff, and I could not remember past 1 eight of routine EVEN WHEN it was repetitive. Looking bad on it, I realized my only source of optimism might be the fact that doing it makes me lose a hell lot of weight. I was supposed to have dance daily, but I found my personal dance teacher rather irresponsible given that she would cancel class almost daily for 4 days in a row citing various reasons. Once when I was already leaving my house, she messaged to say that she hurt herself and I had to double back home. Another time she messaged to say that she overslept and would be a few hours late…which led to my choice to cancel. The number of problems coupled with my already waning confidence made me like dance less and less then.

So I kind of gave up on dance again…

CFA (Center for the Arts) Hip Hop Course

It has come to my notice only of late that this is a greatly unpopular course conducted by CFA NUS, and yep I took it in 2016 with Ken. Ken is fabulous because even though he mains in Funk and has no interest in hip hop at all, he did it just so I won’t freak out going alone.

The course was taught by Ash Ali and his student Venus – both are amazing dancers and I believe that I would have learned more if not for the fact that I was always condemning myself in my head during the class. I will feel locked down in my body, being completely unable to execute even the most basic of steps as I seethed in frustration and humiliation.

At that point of time I disliked the entire course because I felt it was too advanced for me (I had to take beginner instead of intro since the latter clashed with my class timetable). I felt inferior and full of displeasure…but never really doing anything to help myself improve. Basically, I was a bitter grouching ball of dissatisfaction who never tried to change her own situation.

The course ended in late March and I gave up on dance, thinking I will never do it again in my life since I was such a nightmare…

Until July 2017.

Restarting All Over

It is funny because what inspired me to try again was my MOE training whereby they talked about “growth mindset” and “set mindset”. Growth mindset means believing that anything can be changed with the right effort, guidance and that you will improve. I realized all this time when I had tried dance I had secretly never believed in improvement: I condemned myself thinking that “I can’t dance”. With this change of mindset, I told myself I would not give up this time. I would stick to a strict schedule and go for classes at the dance studios.

That day was 21st July 2017.

So the studio that I started with is Converge Studios (at Tanjong Pagar/ Cityhall), then I also started attending Oschool at Scape, and Beatfactory also at Tanjong Pagar. Contrary to what I thought, there are so many studios with various prices and different styles and difficulties. I will review them in the next post so that you know which one is better suited for you.

Anyway, this time I decided I did not want to continue with Hip Hop since I had problems with my rhythm and beats as well as coordination. Instead I changed over to street jazz/ jazz funk whereby there are less things requiring me to be bouncing on every beat and more of attitude and sass.

In fact, I would recommend all who are new to dance to make street jazz your first genre – you will be exposed to not just jazz, but also hip hop (in acceptable amounts, hehe), contemporary and even waack and lock sometimes. It is a fusion category that will facilitate your transition into the exciting world of dance. What’s more Street Jazz demanded a lot of confidence and sass that I could not muster easily: so having made my skin thick enough to do it meant that your thick skin will enable you to go far in other genres.

Keeping the Practice

In the first two weeks when I restarted dance, I went for dance classes 3 times a week and did body isolation and redid moves that I had trouble during the class at home. For instance a classic street jazz plie with a knee pop (ok there is no standard name for it, so make of it what you will). My body was still really stiff, and now sore, from the practices but I told myself that I didn’t care about looking bad, and much less about the pains.

I felt that I wasn’t improving as much as I would like, so I pushed my practice time to about 7-10 hours a week, engaging in back to back classes which really killed me since my form was pretty poor. So was my stamina. I can still remember Ben Chia’s Pon De Replay choreography which, albeit not difficult, was so fast that I felt like I had run a marathon when the class finished. It was sheer exhaustion but also, sheer happiness knowing that I am pushing on.

Slowly, I began to see twinkles of improvement, such as doing moves more nicely, or remembering a bit more of the routine than I did when I just started. Till this point when I am writing this entry, I still find routine remembrance the hardest for myself because I have the propensity to panic and my mind just goes blank. But I was definitely definitely much much better when I started…since I can only remember the first two moves then and nothing else HAHA.

Joining NUS Jazztitude

Auditions for NUS Street Jazz crew called Jazztitude was opened in late August, around 5-6 weeks after my intense self practice and trainings. Till today I can’t believe I dared to hope to get in but I actually did it! It was a magical moment when I realized that my dream of dancing more came true: I however believe that it was not on any accounts of my dance excellence that I got my position in crew, but perhaps a nod towards my efforts and dedication? I signed up for both the semester classes, one taught by Bryan Lee from OSchool and the other one by Poca Xie from Converge/ Recognize Studios. Bryan’s style was more to my liking and simply amazing. Poca’s one was equally awesome, but tend to be a lot faster and less intuitive to my limbs ( I account that to my own noobness).

We have crew training every Thursday and I find crew trainings to be enriching be extremely extremely stressful. Partly because the instructors came with an expectation that everyone has some degree of experience in dance so instead of the usual 4-6 eights (that are also relatively well paced), to perhaps 8 eights with moves even in the half counts, which meant that we learnt more than the supposed 8 eights. My brain was saturated like how the tiny CAC studio was saturated with crew members. The room was small with barely enough space to move. I’m usually flushed to a corner against the wall, but I am not complaining since 1. I am still happy to be in crew 2. any other position is just as bad given the cramped conditions.

Some trainings are better for me than others, but usually I don’t do well during crew trainings. We were taught by Wei Zong, Bryan, Hazri, Choon Hui (I am still sad that we don’t have Zelia, she is amaze-balls). Usually if I look halfway decent during the choreos, I am pretty happy already. Also, I realized Hazri’s choreos are the more difficult ones to me BUT I STILL LOVE IT. His dance is really sassy and I shall make it a point for me to go to his Converge class some day.

Onward to December 2017

We are preparing for CACTUS performance in February 2018 now and I am still happy and grateful that I have the opportunity to be part of the amazing crew that I once watched in 2017! I realize that however little, I have still made improvements when I watch my own videos and that makes me really really happy hehe.

Okie, I realized I haven’t talked much about the technical aspects like which studios to go, and how much you should train since I am dealing with the emotional aspects (which was more of the issue for myself) and I promise to do that in the next post!

 

 

MOBAAAAAA

So as some of you know, I have been quite addicted to MOBAs like Dota. I would have played LoL but I haven’t downloaded it yet. Starting a new game always poses a lot of entry barrier.

Hence, I tried Mobile Legends instead.

Upside:

  • Play on the go, don’t need to be rooted in front of my laptop (Also, my new laptop cannot support games properly without overheating, since it is no longer an alienware. Sobs)
  • Play with friends yayyy
  • I am a noob and Mobile Legends has a huge share of noobs who cannot play Dota or LoL properly and falls back to playing a shadow of MOBA game called ML. So, I don’t get dissed too badly!
  • Easy last hits compared to Dota

Downside:

  • Actually the toxic level is about the same, just that on laptop people can type faster etc while on ML it’s a phone game and people can’t type as fast etc. Doesn’t mean they don’t want to – they will try at every possible chance they have.
  • Noobs here and even noober than noobs in Dota and the noobs in ML think they are REALLY GOOD which is the main problem (i.e. yours truly). This is because ML lets you climb up Warrior rank without dropping star: you gain stars if you win and lose no stars for losing. Which is a bad bad bad idea IMO.

This morning was the greatest rage I ever suffered in playing this terribly addictive game. As a noob player myself, I think it is okay if you can’t get any kills (well as long as you don’t die too many times) or basically you are noob. the worst part is being a self assuming noob. This morning’s team match up was bad from the start. We had:

Layla – Marksman, ranged, carry

Balmond – Tank, Melee

Karina – Assassin

Miya – Marksman, ranged, carry

Eudora (me) – Mage, ranged, nuke

YOU SEE WHAT’S THE PROBLEEEEM?? Two freaking marksman (none of which who are good enough to carry well by the way, Layla killed 2 and died 5-6 times I can’t remember).

None of them are willing to change to another hero – which is another nagging suspicion I have: they cannot play another hero!! When I was in my Warrior/Elite/Master phase, I owned total of like 5 heros and I can only play 3 properly. I suspect it is something like that. I mean, I would prefer to think they can’t play other heroes than to think that they are just selfishly hoarding what they want. (You can do that if you are playing match ups, but not ranked….)

Gah. Afterwards the two marksmen both DIE DIE want to go mid lane. Which usually has one person. And then weird weird Karina has to come and squeeze with me and Balmond at the bottom lane, which is the second weird thing of the year. so we have 2 heros at mid, 3 at bottom and enemies easily pushed top. Balmond and I kept binging the top and still no one goes…until we lost a tower.

THEN THREE PEOPLE WENT TOP. MID BECAME EMPTY.

Enemy took mid.

THEN ALL THREE WENT BACK TO MID.

LIKE WTFFFF errrrr???

And mind you we are not ganking or anything ok, that was like the what? First 2-4 minutes of the game and we lost a couple of towers to sheer stupidity.

Out of rage I scolded the marksman on the team, which of course I should not have done. But again I don’t know what else I could have done since I was guarding a lane on my own against 2 heroes and they were just having some kind of pilgrimage back and forth the lanes. The funniest thing about when you tell people they are doing something wrong, their first response is always, “You very good meh. You not very good why you tell me I no good.”

Which kind of makes sense I suppose. But not really. It is like, I don’t have to be completely beautiful myself to be able to judge who is beautiful? I also don’t need to be ugly to tell that someone is ugly?? Okay bad example. But you get it.

Anyhoos. Staying off the game for a while because whatever ranked game I play recently is always a loss and I dropped 8 stars since then. Haiz.

How I Maintain the “Skinny”

(This is a sarcastic, dark-humor post. Please don’t take me seriously. Stress makes people do funny things.)

So the question is: how do you keep your weight down once you have lost weight? As you know I lost weight from almost 63kg to around 52kg today.

Recently I realized that my weight doesn’t go up as much even when I eat high calorie food every meal. For example on that one day I had roasted chicken rice for lunch. Then I had Mac and Cheese, Garlic Bread, honey roasted wings adn pizza for dinner. I thought I will gain at least 1kg the next day. But nope. I stepped on the weight scale and to my pleasure it was still 52kg. It was still 52kg the day after that day – it was kind of strange.

But you see, the thing about weight loss is not about what you eat or DON’T eat in one day. It is an accumulation of those. Like how I don’t gain weight from eating one giant unhealthy meal, we are also not going to lose weight from eating one meal of salad. You get what I mean? If you want to keep it down, then keep eating less than what you spend (meaning input < output) and after a few months, your weight will drop.

Anyways.

I stopped eating regular meals recently. So busy I can’t remember to eat. I don’t feel hungry. When I feel hungry I don’t feel like eating you know? Like I see the food (it is always the same food at NUS FASS Deck, duh right?) and I don’t have an appetite. Out of maybe the 10 stalls in Deck, let me assure you that perhaps only 5 stalls are edible – the rest have serious hygiene and taste issues. Out of the 5 remaining stores, some have freaking long queues at lunch time – like Yongtaufoo and chicken rice, sometimes even Western. I don’t like queueing – I rather eat something I don’t like. So I have 2 choices left. I have been eating these 2 stalls for a VERY long time till I am tired of the food. Hence, I just stopped eating. Or I eat very early. Like laksa YTF at 9am or 10am in the morning. Then a linner at like 5pm. Or no linner. Eat a dipper (dinner+supper) at around 9pm.

Yesterday I ate a brunch at 10am of some homecooked fried rice. Then I went to school and felt stressed all day and forget to eat anything substantial. My next meal came at around 7.30pm. I was strangely not hungry till I saw food at 7.30pm. I think I saved a lot of money yesterday.

I am running on Coffee and random snacks now. So freaking unhealthy – I know, but main meals? No mood for those when you have a 2K word essay due in one and half day and you still don’t know what the heck you are writing.

At moments like this, I want to sleep, cry and shut out the world – maybe even dig a hole in the ground and hide in the hole forever – till the time passes. But the bad times won’t pass until I face it, you know? I know life is equally shitty for the rest of you or even worse – especially if you are my fellow coursemate in the same modules. Every 3 days hand in one 2.5K word essays. Coz we are essay writing machines.

Today I had presentations. 2 of them in fact. Prepared for them to varying extents but mainly my mind was  more like “don’t care”. I am so so tired. I just want to sleep. I wanted to sleep when I was talking during my presentation. My friends say I sound very confident and calm. But it is really because my brain was so sleepy I couldn’t even have the adrenaline rush to feel anxious.

Cherlyn is my BFF in lit now, together with Brian I guess. I love her, she is so amazing and she brightens each of my terrible day in school. In my worst moments, I text her and I feel better instantaneously. I had actually given up on trying to find a friend in Lit or in school until I met her in American Lit. It is like, probably the only good thing that happened out of American lit is the god-sent Cherlyn (thank you for ditching Boring Bizz and coming to Exciting Eng-lit, Cherzzz). The thing about her and Brian is that they are so real. They don’t try to praise me or something just to make me like them. They don’t even try to appear to be nice. They are just themselves – human, with flaws and incredibly sincere (so far la hor, let’s not extrapolate HAHA).

Of course got other amazing people, but I will keep them on my mind instead 🙂

Who am I if I am not…”good”?

It has been a rough week and I have been completely burnt out and exhausted.

It will continue being a rough week for the upcoming week, and honestly at this point as I am typing this, I feel all the enthusiasm and zeal seep out of me with the final straw landing on my back.

You would think I am exaggerating, and I probably am, depending on your point of view.

I got back my grades for a module assignment for which I had put in plenty of effort – research, consultation, going through it…I did it all. Somehow, when I got it back, the grade just…sucked.

For all my effort, it wasn’t even at the median.

For all my research and work, all I have gotten back was a crappy bottom of the cohort kind of grade.

For all my enthusiasm and interest in the module…I have been slapped in the face with the renewed understanding that perhaps, just perhaps, interest and passion were not enough.

I will be truthful. The lousy grade stung. When I saw it, my heart went from the rapid drumming of anticipation to a steep plummet down a deep dark abyss. The abyss that I have slowly been spiralling into for the past week, only to be pulled out repeatedly by my best friends and buddies. The abyss of self-doubt, of fear, of tremendous amount of stress.

The deep, cold tunnel of “I am so fucking done”.

I know that the typical comfort I get from feeling really moody getting back a poor grade will go something like this: grade does not define anything. Don’t let your grades define you. You are so much more than that. 10 years down the road who remembers what you got for that one assignment for that one module? Also, never never ever compare yourself with other people.

Unfortunately as far as the construction of self-identity goes, my grades have and will always continue to define a part of me as long as I am a student. It is not just about creating my self worth on an arguably arbitrary value on a assignment marked by professors who have seen a million permutations and combinations of the same work. It is about a sense of pride that is repeatedly hurt and diminished – I take a strong sense of pride in my work, in completing it early and in presenting what I have tirelessly found out in the process. I take my modules because I am either interested in it, or I have no choice but to take it.

Imagine you went into a module loving every little bit of the content and thinking that you do know it well enough to write a good paper…then bam.

It kills you a little inside.

It sounds awfully pragmatic and realistic when I confess to myself that the moment I saw the terrible terrible grade upon my gradebook, my interest in the module took a sudden and rapid turn to intense dislike and was that…rejection? Frustration? The change was swift and fast, cold and unfeeling like the grade that was mocking me from my computer screen.

I even scoffed at myself a little bit for being so interested in learning for the sake of my own interest. Why did I ever take this module that jeopardize my CAP, my grades, my chance of a first class honors?

It was also at this moment that I pushed aside my just-started research for a soon to be due essay and started questioning myself on why I felt so broken and lost.

If everyone was right and if grades don’t define me…what does?

I felt so frustrated. The frustration extended to my other module’s presentation tomorrow too. I could be doing extra. I could be more interested than most people and more enthusiastic in researching and learning. I could go the extra mile but what I am reminded is “keep within the time limit of 10 minutes” for your presentation. It frustated me that my extra efforts aren’t acknowledged.

This has been a bad week.

Next week. Next week. I fear it.

 

Don’t Dare to Sleep

Okay before you think this is going to be some creepy ghost story thing, let me clarify – it is not.

It is about my sometimes occuring insomnia. I don’t know why I even have insomnia given how unimaginably tired I am after a long long day, but yes, sometimes I am totally drained and exhausted BUT MY MIND WON’T LET ME SLEEP.

It is nastily annoying, let me assure you.

This is why I am still awake at 12.21am and not sleeping because I am worried that when I go to bed, I will be awake till the WEE HOURS OF MORNING and not sleep a single wink. Which sucks totally, because it means…

  • I could have watched Kitchen Nightmares in that period of time
  • I hate lying around and not falling asleep it makes me feel like I am even a failure in something you cannot possibly fail at. What the.
  • My heart gets all angsty and I can feel it beat way too hard and too loudly for my own comfort.
  • I keep checking the time and feel more and more frustrated with every moment I cannot sleep
  • I think about having to wake up early the next day and panic about not sleeping now – surely I will die in my lecture the next day

Overall, I intensely dislike insomnias. I mean, seriously, who likes them?

The weird thing is this: I don’t get insomnias often. Like maybe once or twice a month at max or sometimes none at all for liek a whole half year.

BUT. When I get them they all come at once.

Meaning, if I have insomnia one night, I will probably have it either next day or sometime in the week. Partly fuelled by this intense fear of having insomnia. Or by the fact that because I didn’t sleep well one day, so I took a nap the second day and that made me TOO ENERGETIC at night.

LIKE TODAY.

I was horrendously tired though I did not have insomnia yesterday – I had it on Saturday night. I was giddy with exhaustion and by 6.30pm after dinner. I fell asleep and woke up at 8pm.

Means according to my now screwed up body clock, my body believed 12.27am now to be something akin to 12.27pm in the afternoon.

I don’t dare to go to bed. I don’t want to lie there for hours listening to my brain go mumble jumble and then have a cranial rock concert all by itself. No thanks. I am in control, Brain. You can’t just keep me up all night as you wish.

But I can, muahahah, smirks my Brain.

Argh. Now I am having imaginary conversations with my brain. My brain is like the type which refuses to focus when it needs to and refuses to rest when rest is due. Damn it. Then when you most need it to focus like during an exam, it gets really sluggish and sleepy.

Please don’t recommend sleeping pills. Sleeping pills don’t work for me in the one time I tried them. I had some stress issues in 2015, my mom gave me 2 pills to help me to sleep properly and I woke up at 8am the next day bright and fresh like I had never eaten pills at all. Again, my system may be malfunctioning so I can’t be that sure.

I am just typing away so I don’t have to go to bed…maybe I will go watch some shows instead.

Tootoos, update another time.

The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini

It has been quite a while since I have the time to properly settle down and read a book with all my attention. Usually I am so busy that even with my assigned literature texts, I am reduced to googling for their plot summary and themes. This time, thanks to recess week, I can finally indulge in my old hobby by reading Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner for my South Asian Literature Module.

My verdict?

It is beautiful, and so so very poignant.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

I have only read up to the fourth chapter so far and Hossini has already brought me through a roller-coaster of emotions – disgust, rage, displeasure, sadness, sympathy… The character of Amir is both worth sympathizing with yet at the same time contains a “mean streak” that makes me resent him.

I love how Hosseini has crafted Amir to be this beautifully dilemmatic character whom I cannot decide whether I want to hug him or slap him – his desire for paternal love and affirmation is so relatable that I feel anguished that Baba constantly deny him of the affection he tries so hard to earn. I see Amir’s possessiveness of Baba mirrored in myself as a child, where I resented my parents showing other children any form of attention or affection. I feel my heart break a little for him when he hears Baba speaks of him disapprovingly – he is trying so hard to change himself to be what Baba wants him to be, but alas, it is not in his nature. Baba – unable to appreciate the nature of Amir – pushes him away time and again, shutting him out both physically and emotionally. The pain is so clear in Hosseini’s words. Hosseini’s language has powerfully evoked all sorts of emotions in me through his short but impactful description of Amir’s stream of consciousness – his hurt and rejection, his insecurities and cowardice.

My heart hurts whenever Hassan is brought up in the story. He is a chararacter whom you cannot help but feel so sorry for because of his social circumstances and also because of the treatment he receives from Amir whom he considers to be a close friend. I feel peeved even when Amir plays “harmless pranks” on him as I see a potential for the harmless pranks to grow into something larger. Just as Hassan’s daunt in facing the bullies evoke a sense of admiration in the readers, Amir’s silence and cowardice is a cause of both disdain and irritation – yet at the same time, you can’t help but empathize with him to a certain extent.

I can’t stop analyzing Hosseini’s brilliant use of language, pauses, sentence length, intertextual references and foreshadowing that send chills down my spine. My text is full of sticky notes and highlights now and I really loved every sentence I have read this far. Never did I think that I will enjoy reading a book so much, so undistractedly again!

It is a tragic piece – so poignant that the story will stay with you long time after you read each chapter.

Meh I have a lot of opinions on everything. (Surprise y’all! Why do you think I have a blog?)

I just don’t really feel the need to verbalize it or argue with others on what we think. Like if I think a certain manner, okay! If other people think a different manner, that’s cool too. I will nod at you in recognition that you share a different view, but I don’t necessarily agree with you.

I don’t think everyone needs to agree with each other all the time. It would make the world view very homogenous and boring. though extremists who disagree with each other violently are crazy scary too, so I don’t know which one is worse. Bland uniform world or one with people lunging at each others’ throats.

I am giving you a false dichotomy. Hehe.

We can disagree peacefully and judge people secretly HAHAHA. I keed.  I mean we can be all fluffy little unicorns embracing everyone and everything.

Though technically, I don’t think you wanna embrace a unicorn as you will be speared through your heart.

#randomrambles.

 

Antonio Gramsci is Haunting Me

Forget about Romeo. As in the Romeo in the classic of Romeo and Juliet.

Instead, remember Antonio. Antonio Gramsci. This dude has been haunting me and my modules since year 1.

I have a poem for him:

“Antonio! Antonio!

Wherefore art thou subalterns?

Deny thy oppressors and thy structure

Or if thou wilt not, then live subjugated

As cultural hegemony is everywhere.”

 

Okay that was lame shit. I had to get it out of my head though, or all throughout the day my brain chants “ANTONIO ANTONIO” as though it is calling out for some long lost lover (ooh alliteration!).

 

30 Seconds Mistake

Waking up at 6am to make it in time for 8am class has always been a challenge for me. Gravity just seemed to strong and I always feel that powerful attraction of my bed in those particular mornings.

The day before when the alarm went off at 6am, I reluctantly dragged myself out of bed, go through the usual morning routine before trudging down to the bus stop. I plopped myself into a seat, feeling myself sag from exhaustion as I nodded off in between a half sleep and half conscious state.

At the next stop, a significantly protruding belly appeared in my unwilling peripheral vision. I glanced out at the corner of my eyes. The belly was really big, probably many many many months pregnant for it to be so huge (I mean, I don’t know how much the belly grows each months, hence the vagueness). I felt a huge sense of reluctance. Why do I have to be in this seat? I grouched to myself. Why did she have to stand next to me.

Moral obligation and selfishness fought each other like the traditional tale of angels versus demons. I peeked at the belly again without raising my head, as though wishing for it to disappear and move on. I didn’t dare to raise my head for fear of eye contact – in which the case I know I would have to stand up. After a brief struggle of perhaps a minute, I finally tapped the lady on the arm whilst standing up to offer her my seat simultaneously.

I wondered why she didn’t move.

I looked up into her face at last.

“She” was a man in his late forties, with a giant potbelly that now seems to be scowling at me.