Monday, June 23, 2008

Lugged myself out of bed at an hour unseemly of my usual bad habits, if only because the internet failed on me last night and I had a lot of work to get done before my morning class.

Can I just say, I do love Getty's Creative section -- for all its horrible corporate monsterishness sucking the soul out of photography, turning photographs into visual equivalent of a Magnetic Poetry Kit when images can mean whatever you want it to mean, and goddamn whatever the photographer was trying to express.

It's still too early to say, and this day could go either way, but everything has been swell so far and I hope it stays this way.

I realised something yesterday (a rarity in my recent haze of i-don't-know-ness) that I no longer feel sympathy or empathy for a lot of what I see. The boys shoveling rubbish, the rickshaw wallahs sweating it out in the sun, the handicapped beggars that approach me. Which would thus require an admission that, yes, a lot of my initial perceptions were coloured over with a glaze of pity.

Now I no longer know who reads this blog, this admission could potentially come back to haunt me. Regardless, I still feel it's important to note how my thoughts and attitudes have evolved.

This is all still slightly confusing for me. Did I pity them? Did I learn how not to care anymore? And if I'm wrong about this, what's the cause of my recent disinterest in everything?

There was a lot about people that drew me in. It used to be addictive. The every day stories of people we meet. People used to fascinate me. I wanted to hear their stories, to get a glimpse of their spirit, to share what I had seen and learnt with others.

You see, I was never really interested in the privileged. I wanted to hear about the struggles, about the overcoming-of-odds, the way people survived in ways I never could. I was familiar with the privileged, after all, I was one of them. In this sense, I was always looking for "the other", looking for lives I would never be involved in unless I actively sought them out.

I'm not sure how pity comes in here, and my mind is too scattered to understand it properly now. All I know is, a couple of months ago, there is no way I would have been capable of what I'm doing now -- yelling at CNG drivers who ask for more money, getting pissed off and walking away from rickshaw wallahs, ignoring eye contact with child beggars and not even bothering to smile or make small talk anymore. Not all the time, but often enough to puzzle myself.

A big reason is that I have accumulated so many negative experiences here, I may be projecting all this anger and frustration on whoever I meet. The fucking racist remarks and shouts, the ill-disguised bitchiness, the snide jokes and remarks, the loud laughter that erupts after I pass by -- all these things that constantly makes me feel like a circus freak on parade. A lot of it is just plain rude, and I may have tolerated all I'm able to tolerate.

And I know I shouldn't take these things personally, and I had been doing a great job of ignoring all this - just have to try a little harder, I guess.