Letters of Life

Last Weekend

I don’t usually chronicle my weekends; That’s more within a teen’s ambit of bookending their appointments, flitting from activity to activity and journaling them.  But it was an unusual weekend, kinda, in that it was a mad dash from dawn, literally, to midnight.  

The momentum got going late Friday night. For some reason, the idea of running got into my head. Now this in itself is a new thing. I *never* think about running. Running is not something one mulls over with a silly smile on one’s face, like a secret favourite hobby, or being a closet Keane fan. It is pain, sweat, heat, sweat, pain, sweat. . . you know the drill. You can’t even wear nice clothes while doing the drill. And the shoes . . . next to Asics, Saucony runners are the most unglamourous footwear of all. (But they are weightless and I love ’em.) I promise you won’t see me in them unless you are in my running group, and these brave folks have seen me without makeup too. Not a pretty sight. 

Wouldn’t it be good to run in MacRitchie Park Saturday morning? I mulled to myself. Say, at 6.45am? I text-blasted the usual suspects and six of us turned up at dawn the next day and hit the trail like it was an old friend. 

Afterward, we had breakfast at a hawkers’ centre, then I rushed home to shower and change before heading to church for a Christmas bazaar meeting. That took a coupla hours, and then a friend and I scooted to my place to park the car so we could take a bus to Orchard Road.

Over Cantonese carrot cake and cheong fun at Ngee Ann City, I got into this interesting chat with my friend’s fiancé, who works in Washington D.C.. He has more degrees than a thermometer. At the University of Wisconsin, where he took the requisite MBA, he decided he needed a Master’s in education as well to equip his vision of starting a school and a community centre for kids from lower-income and impoverished families in the DC area. Then, in his second year, he decided to pick up a law degree. His first degree, at Michigan, was in economics and philosophy. Of couse, you can imagine, that chatting to someone like that is extremely interesting. It’s always fun to talk to people who are smarter than myself. 

After lunch, I walked to ION to meet my Canadian friend for a round of shopping.

These shoes were (not) made for walking. . .

Shopping is walking. By this time, I had spent four hours in these shoes and was to spend another three in them. Still, the time flew as it always does in the shops, and then I took a taxi home to meet my vocal coach for a session. So I sang for an hour and then she left, and everyone had a quick dinner before piling into the car for the Esplanade to watch a local musical. After intermission, I surrendered. I lay my head on Andre’s shoulder and promptly fell asleep. 

There’s still Sunday to go, right? My big day. In church by 8.15am for a run-through of the songs for the service. After church, 19 of us, a mixed bag of foodies and runners, partook of a magnificent dim sum (again!) at The Fullerton hotel. If wishes could have been fulfilled that day, it would have been just one and the same: For a room upstairs so we could all collapse from eating three meals’ worth of refined Cantonese food. Squid-ink dumplings, anyone?

In the evening, I reconnected with an old schoolmate who is now a record producer and is a close, personal friend of

Lee Hom in glasses

the guy in the picture. Since we hadn’t spoken in 20 years, it was major catchup time. He was going on tour with the multi-hyphenate singer-actor in China soon. Maybe, come October, I might be presented with an autographed picture, if I’m lucky.

But I *am* lucky. I had a magnificent time where it seemed a beautiful chord progression was being played out through the weekend: The conversations, lyrics and poems, the blessings, forming a song, forming a symphony.


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