Thanks, Roger, for losing to Tomas Berdshit 6-2, 7-6(3) and failing to defend your title in Cincinnati. Thanks, Roger, for being so awesome that two minutes after I reached the tennis courts at NUS, all it took was a quick mental reminder that you lost while I was asleep to put me in a mood that was not at all conducive to play tennis. Thanks, Roger, for being such an inspiration that I lost all inspiration to play a sport that I have come to love on my own terms, just because you lost.
I really can't remember the last time I played so badly, and was such a brat about it. I nearly had a complete melt-down. I wasn't even tired, the weather was actually good for the first hour, but when I mentally noted that I looked like I didn't want to be there, it all went downhill.
It went like this: Framed more shots than usual (which is really saying something); physically ready to go but mentally tired; couldn't keep a forehand in the court; couldn't rally for more than 3 shots; missed simple fucking sitters that usually don't even require any mental effort on my part; couldn't get into position; couldn't deal with heavy topspin balls; and timing was way off.
I made no effort to hide that I was feeling crappy. In fact, my feeling crappy was on full display in my body language and constant muttering of insults to myself under my breath. Sometimes, when the ball isn't doing what I want it to do, and it happens way too many times, I hit myself on the leg with my racquet.
It's quite stupid, right? It's surely damn retarded. Maybe I tend to take things too seriously, but what's the damn point of playing tennis if, after so long, I still suck at it? What's the damn point of doing anything worth my time, really, if I can't do it well? What's the damn point of doing something, just to be bloody average at it?
The reason I haven't been writing - that is, apart from how I'm too lazy to push myself but there's a reason for my laziness - is that I absolutely cannot bear, absolutely cannot bear to be just average at it. If I take playing tennis badly that badly, and tennis isn't close to being the air that I breathe the way writing is, imagine what I would do if I put effort into this writing thing and at the end of it, still produce utter crap stinking of mediocrity.
On the one hand, it's sad that I'm still repeating the same refrain after so many years. This was precisely what I said about writing when I was, oh, 19 and in law school, 20 and in law school, 21 and in law school; someone who used to read my old diaryland read those entries in which I expressed this sentiment and told me, quite bluntly, that I was quite stupid not to pursue this when I know it's something that I want to do (to put it mildly).
On the other hand, it's more complicated than that. Let's start with the most basic fact: I live in Singapore, I am Singaporean. Who gives a shit about Singapore? I don't even read much Singapore literature (using this word loosely) because I have scant interest in reading about things that I see and experience every day. Reading, at the most base level, is an escape from life; it takes me to all these different worlds that I will never, ever get to experience in my limited time on this planet. Why would I read a tale about the life of an ordinary Singaporean peppered with little details of Singaporean life when I am Singaporean and I live in this country?
Further to the above, there's something very particular about Singaporean writing that's markedly unoriginal and rather run-of-the-mill. I realise that this is a very broad generalisation; but a quick glance-through at the winners of the NAC's Golden Point Award for Short Story - English will substantiate, at least to some extent, my broad generalisation. The writing isn't disastrous as a whole (though one of the winning entries annoyed me with all these "big words" and the writer's too-formal way of writing that made the story stilted and stiff and thoroughly unejoyable to read), but it lacks a certain spark. And to add on to my point in the preceding paragraph, reading about the characters' lives in junior college and how some of them are scholars, blah blah, depressed me a little.
But most importantly, I have nothing to say. My experiences are sheltered at best, non-existent at worst; I have lost the ability to imagine; and I have no content with which to weave a story around the emotions that I want to write about. That said, emotions are boring, they are useless, and for me, they are utterly predictable and banal. Who cares about the life of a suffering lawyer who doesn't want to be a lawyer? The reasonable reader would point out the obvious - bitch is whining about being in a privileged position and should just shut the fuck up - and mark it down as the silly whining of an idiot who doesn't know what a good life she has. Who wants to read about the heartbreak of a girl who was stupid enough to fall in love with an asshole? Again, the reasonable reader would not get past the first two pages without rolling his eyes and saying, Bitch please, there are more problems in the world than your stupid love life.
In both instances, the reader would be correct. So what the hell am I going to write about? A big bag of nothing, that's what. This blogging shit isn't doing it for me, not the way it should; it's not enough. Yet, at the same time, I can't do anything else. I can't. It's not good enough. Nothing I've written is good enough. It's all bullshit. It's mediocre, sub-standard, average crap.
To avoid failing at what I love most, I choose not to do it. At least, that was the excuse that I used in the past, or when I was stuck in a dreadful office 10 hours a day, 5 days a week.
Now that I have all the time in the world, I'm forcing myself to confront this monster, this deep-seated dread that I genuinely feel when the writing issue crops up mentally, and do something about it. It has to be done. I'm not asking to be a best-selling writer; the people that know me well will know that I look down on most best-sellers and that I'd rather be a soulless lawyer for the rest of my life than to make it rich and famous by producing crap like Twilight, etc. All I want is for literate people to read my works, tell me that they're good, well-written, and that they take away something personal from them.
That is, that's all I want at the moment. I consider myself reasonably ambitious (therefore, red fucking flag all over the place re. me having zero interest in making partner at a law firm), but that's a subsequent hurdle to be crossed.
I don't want to talk about tennis, really, because it's not interesting anymore. I didn't watch Roger lose to Berdshit so I can't say anything about that. I guess the only thing that I will say is that I would find it hilarious if Nadal fans are taking comfort in the fact that Roger's losing early in tournaments too, because Roger is 5 years older than Nadal, who's supposed to be in his prime.
To be fair, Nadal's an early bloomer. He beat Roger in Miami as a teenager. I mean, he's won 6 French Open titles and he's only 25.
It's just a bit sad that he seems to be declining now, so soon. I don't know. A part of me is glad because it means Roger's record will be somewhat intact; another part of me is fucking sick of Novak Djokovic winning every damn thing in sight, so it's bad, bad, BAD for tennis that no one is challenging him. I mean, the only person he's lost to the whole damn year is Roger in Paris this year. And Roger's 30. And he's declining. Who the hell can bloody step up to the plate and slay this Serbian monster? I mean, seriously. Talk about a fucking weak era. The World #4 is a headcase who lost meekly to Nole in Australia. What? The World #4 can't overtake the World #3 as #3 despite the #3 being 6 years his senior. I mean, the #3 is the greatest player of all-time, but even the greatest player of all-time ages. Have I mentioned he's 30 years old?
I want neither Nadal nor Djokovic to win the US Open. But if it had to come down to the two of them (though I don't see Nadal making it past the QF unless he gets a draw full of Spaniards), I'd take the Serb any day. At least he can play on hard courts. It would be an utter travesty if the clay court king wins another hard court grand slam title.
I know I'm damn stupid but I really really really am wishing against all rationality and logic and objectivity for Roger to win the US Open. The 2008 Open was the first tournament I ever watched in full. He won that one. It was his only grand slam in 2008. How fitting would it be for his only slam in 2011 to be in New York?
COME ON ROGER.
Lastly, I would like to talk about the minor accident that me and Wei Chuen got into while driving back from Orchard yesterday.
We stopped at the red light next to Newton MRT station. We were on the left lane, with the taxi stand on our left. Ahead of us there was an obstruction. Traffic was rather heavy, as always; there was a long big lorry on our right.
Wei Chuen signalled right and edged his car slightly into the right lane. While waiting for the light to turn green, there was a taxi to our left who kept edging towards us, as if trying to squeeze in ahead of us as soon as the light turned green.
When the light turned green, he stepped on the accelerator and started to turn into the right lane. The car barely moved 2 inches when I noticed that the big long lorry on our right was actually moving at the same time as us; before I could tell him "be careful", I heard the sickening sound of metal crashing into metal.
The left side of the front of the big long lorry had hit Wei Chuen's front right wheel. The impact wasn't great, but it was big enough for the lorry to hold the smaller car in place and render it immobile, because the edge of the lorry was lodged into the rim of the front right wheel.
This was my first accident; the only scrap that I got into so far while driving was driving too close to some sharp pole while turning out of a carpark at NUS and scraping off the side bar of the door of the passenger seat. The lorry driver got out and started taking many pictures of the accident. The first thing he said to Wei Chuen aggravated him enough for him to raise his voice and retort with some degree of exasperation and annoyance in his voice.
You must understand that Wei Chuen is a very cool guy. He's very relaxed; he doesn't shout at people; unlike me, he doesn't get easily annoyed.
The accident definitely annoyed him. The driver served only to further stoke the flames of his irritation. The driver accused him of crashing his car into his lorry; Wei Chuen, incredulous, said (in Chinese) that he'd already signalled right; he'd edged his car out; and that the taxi to our left kept encroaching into our space, so he couldn't have turned back anyway. The wonderful driver even told his boss that we smashed into him, which was a tall story, for I am unable to conceive of how Wei Chuen could have crashed into the lorry if his car was slightly ahead of the lorry?
Wei Chuen's car was stuck. The driver got his workers to get out of the lorry and all of them tried lifting up the car to dislodge it from the lorry. A few attempts bore no fruit; and out of nowhere, a man in shades and bermudas, emerging from a Mercedes Benz parked at the taxi stand, approached us and said, "Do you need help?"
That was the surprise of the day. Unsurprisingly, he was the only person who offered to help. Apparently Singaporeans are so opportunistic that they would go past the obstruction, also known as the accident, by coming round the left lane, which was now wide open due to Wei Chuen's car being stuck there, and snaking past his car onto the open road. I was hovering around the car, at the left side, the left lane, and all these cars were going past me. (Would it have been contributory negligence if one of them had knocked me over?)
In the end, with the help of the Mercedes Uncle, the lorry driver got back into the lorry and managed to dislodge his lorry from Wei Chuen's car. Wei Chuen picked up the rim - completely smashed - and dumped it in the backseat. We then moved the vehicles to the side and Wei Chuen exchanged contact details with the driver. I stayed in the car this time.
Halfway through, I saw an LTA Enforcement officer ride by on his motorbike. He rode by. Since he was riding a motorcycle, it was apparent that he was not blind. He rode by and didn't stop, just rode by as if nothing was out of the ordinary. This might have been when the car was still trapped in the middle of the road, I can't remember.
But then, these fuckers are paid to mete out fines to "errant" drivers and motorcyclists, so what did I expect from them? Apart from basic human decency, I really don't know.
The driver pissed Wei Chuen off somemore by being a dick about not reporting the accident to the insurance companies or whatever. He drove back in a bad mood, pissed at the asshole lorry driver, annoyed at this burden that suddenly fell into his lap.
As a result, we didn't have our usual Saturday date. He settled this thing with is dad.
I'm just glad it's settled, and that it was just a minor accident, and that he wasn't hurt, and that nothing happened when he drove us home, and himself home, with one wheel missing its rim.