Yan's Corner - In Touch

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Being Kindergarten

Holiday is a time to read books that you have bought for quite a while but no time to read. I grabbed hold of “When there’s a will” from my bookshelf at home before leaving home for Sing-Land for a week of holidays.

This is my third day here. Rachel and Christopher are fascinated by the world of books here. The uniquely Singapore is not the “wild wild wet”, the “no-other-comparable dolphin show”, “the Christmas lightings at Orchard”, it is the smell of the books. I overheard Rachel said, “Wow, the books smell so nice.”

Yesterday, at the check-out counter of a bookshop, Chris rushed to the counter and asked if he could buy another book. I took a look and said, “That’s a kindergarten book.” He said, “It’s okay to be kindergarten sometimes.”

The lady behind the cashier was amazed by Chris’ response of being “kindergarten”. I readily accepted her compliments and felt “kindergarten” too at that moment.

Back in the hotel, I continued with “When there’s a will”. The author, John Mortimer is 81. He was a British barrister. To his credit, there are 27 novels and short story. He is the creator of the Wordsworth-quoting lawyer Horace Rumpole. Two years ago, he wrote on reflections on what he has learnt from life. “When there’s a will” is the book of reflections of Mortimer’s reflections.

I thought this story “On Staying Young” fits in well for this delighted mother who wants to be “kindergarten” –

Read his wisdom,

I live surrounded by ageing rockers. Joe Brown of The Bruvvers is in the next village. Jim Capaldi of Traffic is in a nearby town. George Harrison, until his untimely death, lived in Henley, and our great friends are a beautiful pair of twins, known to us as the Heavenlies, who are married to members of the group Deep Purple.

John Lord, the keyboard player and one of the founders of the group, has changed his life and now successfully composes classical music.

One of my own changes in life is more rapid and fundamental.

I am at my first rock concert, admittedly late in life. Deep Purple are giving a concert in Oxford. The theatre is packed with an almost all-male audience, many of them playing air guitar or standing with their arms raised, swaying to the music.

I am standing in the wings, drinking champagne out of a paper cup as the band crashes triumphantly through the sound barrier. Ian Paice completes a miraculous drum solo and throws his sticks into the applauding audience with the elegance of Marie Antoinette chucking out a few cakes to the hungry mob below her windows.

As I clap enthusiastically, a man standing beside me asks, “Are you Ian’s Dad?”

“Yes,” I say modestly. “I’m Ian’s Dad and we are terrifically proud of the boy,” It was a moment of relief, a sudden escape from too many other problems. I could give up being myself and concentrate on being the delighted father of a brilliant drummer, if only for half an hour.

Occasionally, meeting other rock bands and talking to drummers, I become Ian’s Dad again. All this only points to something I should mention in a will, the importance, in a long life, of changing it whenever possible.

That really sounds 18, not 81!

1 comment(s):

Hi Yan,

What Christopher did at the bookshop, at a relatively young and innocent age, most probably tell of his yen for variety in books.

What John Mortimer did appears so familiar to me - a chance escape from an otherwise boring routine life filled with daily problems and stress, even if it's only for a minute or an hour. It's a kind of get-away; and on many occasions, it comes not by chance, but through one's deliberate "manipulations" so to speak.

But, from my personal experience, the temporal happiness or ego trip, such as the one by Mortimer, will usually be followed by a deeper sense of despair - and sad to say so, the higher the ego trip, the deeper the despair.

Happy Holidays !

By Anonymous JPsc, at 12:18 pm  

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