Sunday, July 06, 2008

Be Patient This Gets Amazing

I was gearing up to do work but I've squandered the last two hours looking at Edwin & Maria's wedding photo outtakes on Facebook, defending myself against Ah Lan who 冤枉我, editing old photos so as to use in this blog post, and reading about the pig that's going to make everyone think twice about eating bak kwa.

The blog title has got nothing to do with its contents. I just really wanted to use it because its the name of the new segment on The Daily Show and it makes me giggle when I hear it. Anyway, nothing 'amazing' happens to me. But I did pick up new internet lingo today:

"I am 5n. u?"

That's a first for me.


It was my mom who told me about the news item on the miracle pig. She called earlier, just to chat. I always imagine that when they call, they're secretly hoping to hear me say, "I've had enough! I'm coming back tomorrow!" Hence all the negative questions (Are you stressed? You sound stressed. And unhappy.) and reminders about the cats (Rasco is so fat now! You should see her!)

And in between the small talk and debriefing about the homebase, she said, "Oh, your cleaner friend came to the house just now, looking for you."

Nazrul, who told me almost three years ago that he was never coming back to Singapore to work, actually returned. He told my mom he is working in Woodlands now, and I don't know if he's still a cleaner, but chances are that he's found himself a better factory-based job.

He showed up at my house today, looking dapper in a formal shirt (according to my mom, except she used the word "smart"), and asked if I was at home. He wasn't even sure if he had found the right house. He was polite and nice, and tried very hard to remind my mom who he was.

Of course, my mom didn't need a reminder. She had seen my photos, and he and his colleagues had dinner in my house once (a pathetic meal compared to the lavish feasts they lay out for their guests here). Besides, we see them downstairs every day. She told him I wasn't home, that I was in Bangladesh. He asked when I was coming back.


I can't help but laugh as I imagine him trying to politely explain his sudden visit to my mom. Nazrul was never nice or polite to me. He had a deliberate arrogance, always brusque and always spoke to me as if he thought I was a bit of a joke. Do you have any idea how difficult it was to get him to smile in the photo above? I knew it was mostly an act, but still, I liked him for that. He was the only one of the three that completely ignored my camera. He simply could not be bothered with me. In that way, he was the most accommodating, and I think he was the one who understood me and what I was trying to do best.

There has been several moments here, in Dhaka, when I thought I saw him. I was always mistaken. I figured it was highly unlikely, since he has land in Gazidpur and would not have a reason to wander the streets of Dhaka. But still, I hoped to run into him here, in his own country. I wanted the tables turned.

These are some old photos from when I was doing the project. I don't know why I never got around to uploading them.




It defies all my expectations that he remembered me, that he wanted to speak to me again and took the effort to show up at my house. And this is happening at a time when I feel almost completely disillusioned with what I once thought was my passion -- I simply cannot express the importance of this occurance, and how much this gesture means to me.