Friday, June 22


Woke up this morning with a bang in my head, and a thump in my stomach. I spent the better part of the bad night getting intoxicated at east 21, while putting on my best behavior towards our work colleagues from abroad. Obviously, somewhere in between two shots of tequila and a couple glasses of whiskey, my aim to be prim and dignified somewhat fell apart. Drinking has been part of a social function where my work is concerned, as that’s where everybody seems to gravitate after a particularly long dinner and lots of senseless conversation with people you only get to meet every three years or so. Earlier that night at dinner, the boss came over to each of the girls, and there’s not a good many, to talk us sweetly into joining the boys for a few swigs afterwards. It’s been several years since we have done anything like this, so I felt that I couldn’t say no. Neither could Jo.

I remember all those years back when some, or rather most of us, were still single, that drinking seemed an essential part of our work life. There’d be days in a week when we would look forward to settling down comfortably at our nook in the Bronx, and our favorite waitresses would be waiting to serve us with our favorite frizzies. Just chilling out, singing ourselves senseless at the karaoke, making little conversations about mostly nothing….it was the quintessential single loser’s life. Yet, good in a way. But after we all got married, the habit seemed to naturally drift away, as everyone, too, drifted apart. The smoking went, the incorrigible flirtings went, and so did the love for liquor. I for one, never really tried to look back, as I have no good reason to be proud of, whilst I was under the influence. There was never a time that I managed to stay sane and sensible, as I have never been accustomed to drinking an iota more than what I am supposed to.

Last night was not an exception either, for me whose relationship with alcohol is not casual and light, like having a quick puff of cigarette outside and flicking it gingerly with the finger, and after a few more, I get done and back to my routine. So anyway, as I have obliged our visitors, I started out with a light beer. I never intended to drink any more of it at first. I had my heart fixed on just sitting silently in my corner and watching the loud band playing, not really keen on getting into tête-à-tête or feigning to want one, with the boys or the girl. The officemate next to me discussed about getting cocktails next. To be honest, I’ve never been socially educated about bar drinks, the margaritas and daikiris are greek to me, but I am willing to imbibe anything to my limits, and be acquainted with it every then and now. So, it is with a twist of irony that we settled in ordering a concoction named “sex in the beach”. This was after all a night of fun and team building, and I was not worried about raised eyebrows or wry admonitions. Not when I absolutely aimed not to get wasted.

But before the “sex” could come, the boss started passing glasses around, something on the rocks, and he was aiming for the girls, while the boys cheered us on to drink. Needless to say, I obliged again. And again. And then before I could hold out for breath, there were little jiggers for the cuervo floating on the candle lit tables, and one landed on the spot next to my sanmig. To drink or not to drink? Perhaps something was beginning to take place in my head, that suddenly things started to look a little easy and groovy. You know…people were loosening up and smiling more silly, and I knew for the life of me I was heading to my destruction. And yet, I drank it all up. Second shot of cuervo, washed it down with beer where the tube ice has completely thawed and joined the yellow liquid. For the boys, or the men, this bravado for drinking was a matter of who was more virile amongst them, and whose culture (all Asians) definitely could hold it best….I didn’t give a damn. For me, it’s my devil beer or the deep blue sea. I was slightly aware that I’m beginning to get red in the face like a devil. I was flushed and free-wheeling….

We had all walked out of the bar for some whiff of the night air, and we went to the nearest gazebo where we could overlook the laguna. There was the flickerite in me saying that I should take some photos of the beautiful lights, but there was no way I could get myself to do that. Not anymore. I was beginning to feel my temples tight across my head and the throbbing pulse inside became more and more pronounced. I had decided to hold my drink down now. But what’s the use? The shamelessness of my act had oozed itself into my bloodstreams and I have begun to lose track of who I was, or who I was with.

I wouldn’t say that I acted a fool, but I had definitely said some things that I might not otherwise say when I am sober. That’s me. I have lucid awareness of what I was doing, unless I fell asleep and be elsewhere in my mind, away from the rowdiness and incoherence of my surroundings. But I was woken up, not a few times, and I know that a mix of drinks, and drinking uninhibitedly one night in every three or so years, ultimately lands me into something I would half-regret the next day. Because people will start telling me, with a slight sardonic chuckle, that I had pointed to an idiot or a sucker, or whispered some insolent,mean quips, that made them laugh out loud at the amusement of it all, while the idiot i try to ruin sits across me, wondering why this girl is so boozed up and suddenly looking rubbish. I lose.

Wednesday, June 6


Reflecting on the events of the past weeks, I cannot help but suspect that something is up with the year 2007. Many unpleasant things have happened, not to me but to people I know and care about, and I can only wish the unfortunate string would be cut off this very instant and we can go about our business like we’ve always used to, minus the hard luck. As for my own life, it’s still the same…not so good and not so bad. I have a lot to be thankful for everyday, especially that the kids are growing up fine and healthy, but personally I have not found a good reason to really inhale and say “this is the life”. I am not complaining, but God knows I would be shamefully lying to myself if I said it is sweet and nice. There is the perennial pattern of being poor and sucking up to the system, and I mean all systems. In my mind I am a grand dame of some neverland, but in reality I am one of the nameless millions who carry on with their lives wishing for something better, and yet not getting as much as a notch higher, where comfort and quality of life are concerned. Is it because I am married into poor money, and that having children has been a poor choice as well? Oh god I wish not, because really I wouldn't trade any millions, if I had it, for the happiness I feel with my little children. But still, you wish for those millions, don’t you?….not for yourself, but for the children who right this very minute play in the yard, blissfully unaware of the worries and consternation you feel, while you look at them with sad eyes. I think that I have completely owned up to my responsibilities as a parent, and I can never be selfish enough to think of my needs, in deference to theirs, but it is the apparent truth that to fulfill whosever needs, we must provide….

On the other hand I recently finished this book, The Awakening, by Kate Chopin. It is a story of a married woman , Edna Pontellier, whose life seems to be in a cage, but not in a bad confining way, as it seems on the surface she has everything: a wealthy life, a generous husband and two lovely boys. However, deep inside her she wanted to be free of society’s rules, to be unlike all other women who conform and do as they were expected. She was awakening to a new sphere where she comes to be her own woman and appreciates her physical and external powers, which were pregnant with sensuality and the passion she otherwise found lacking in her relationship with her husband. She took on a lover, believing that she could sacrifice the unnecessary things and reject society’s expectations, and find the self she thought she had lost in the roles she was condemned to.

However in the end, she had to make her own tale’s conclusion, as her discovery of maternal giving and loving had led her to understand that she could not go on with her unique and independent sense of self, by being what she wants, and having to be a mother to her children and a wife to her husband, all at once. As her lover rejects her, she walks into the water and swims away from the shore and from everything, thus the suicide. And, probably, the belated purpose to find herself again.

Once I put the book down, I thought…is this me? I don’t mean the lover or suicide, even if to be honest I had entertained the thought of the latter vaguely once or twice, but yeah what the heck, any form of dying is painful unless you’re born with case of catatonia. But seriously, is this how some mothers or married women must feel? Somehow? Is there a minutest moment in our lives where we feel that having married and raising kids have made us lose our sense of womanhood, of self, of personal growth? And if like Edna, we live in a society, that in spite of its modernity, has double standards, and still frown at women who indulge in their individuality a little too openly that it threatens to tear up their so-called moral fiber, well…are we to assume a mute compliance, and be the perfect mothers and wives, loyal only to our masters? Maybe I can, or will not.

I am afraid though, that when I feel I have too much to fight for my evolution as a woman, in the event that I have the full command of my freedom that I could finally grasp it on my fingers, I would be much too old and useless to enjoy, or even want it...

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