Friday, March 25, 2011

The long awaited Excursion to Jalan Raja Chulan

I woke up and thought to myself,'' It's now or never!!!'' and so I hopped out of bed and googled the map of Jalan Raja Chulan. An hour later, I was on  my way to the bus stop.

I waited 45 minutes for U45, the infamous bus to come.  I was seriously considering to turn back and wallow in self-pity after standing and sweating under the unyielding mid-day sun. Minutes into standing in the bus, I saw kindness unfold before me, a Malay school boy stood up immediately upon seeing an elderly Chinese grandma boarding the bus with a little boy. And the grandma thanked the school boy and let her grandson take the seat. Then an old man beside the little boy asked whether he'd been hardworking, a standard question when a Chinese elderly sees a school child. The boy shouted,'Yes!!' and the old man patted the boy's head in encouragement. The same old man then reminded me to hide my wallet and talked about his experience of witnessing how pickpocketing was carried out in the 1980's. These little acts of kindness remind me that there is still warmth among city folks. And I get a glimpse of how the Japanese must have felt when disaster struck their country. Here, the poor public transport service, the rising crime rate and the inequality have more or less brought the people together, helping and encouraging each other in small but significant ways.

               And then, when i reached the place I'd been dreaming about since the first time I saw it 3 years ago, I jumped out of the bus and strode towards St Andrew's presbyterian church. Located strategically on the famous Jalan Raja Chulan, against a backdrop of lush greeneries, it gave me a feel of what old England must have looked like. I've always have a soft spot for English sceneries, thanks to childhood reading materials like Enid Blyton's. That explains why I love going to Fraser's Hills( although I've only been there once) and Cameron Highlands, and the high class resident area full of houses with English gardens built in the colonial era near my alma mater.

                               Anyway, I took out my makeshift stool, sat on it quiet awkwardly and began sketching the church. For the whole hour or so when I was sketching and painting, only one passerby,a Caucasian tourist, stopped and looked. I smiled at him and he smiled back. He left after a few seconds. Other than that, people  just walked past me. Seemed like I'd worried unnecessary that I'd be attacked by robbers/bandits/foreign workers/pirates while sketching alone.

Then, tired and hungry, I proceeded to Changkat Raja Chulan, remembering that it was connected to Changkat Bukit Bintang, which'd lead me to the Golden Triangle. At around 1pm, Changkat Raja Chulan, was practically deserted, except for a few tourists wandering around, presumably from the Golden Triangle. I could not have hoped for a better time to sketch. The last time I arrived there to sketch was already late evening and unfortunately for me, it'd sprung to life, brimming and buzzing with foreign, rich looking businessmen and tourists. The last thing I want was for some waiter to throw coins at me and ask me to leave.   I identified the most sketchable building( striking colours, not too many details) and settled down. 

Halfway through, a beautiful waitress from the restaurant I was sketching crossed the road to look at me sketch. She gave a few praises and asked to see my previous sketches. After the unpleasant experience in Bintang Walk,  I half suspected that she'd been ordered by the manager to chase me away. But after seeing my sketches, she left and asked me to continue sketching. There was a foreign worker who stood in front of me to watch me sketch and after a few minutes, walked back to watch me again, until the waitress came. Hmmm, i wonder if she'd been ordered to 'save' me instead of chase me? I really need to stop thinking nonsense. Anyway, it started to rain, so I got up and walked towards the Golden Triangle. And so ends my first solo sketching excursion! 

Post Exam Stress Syndrome

       I have been self-destructive since after the exam. Binge eating, binge sleeping. Anything to avenge the psychological deprivation in the past month. Funny how the human mind works, logically, after such deprivation and longing, the final release should have resulted in bursts of euphoria. And all I felt was a deep sense of hollowness. I felt lost. Nothing I did gave me the happiness I expected. But then again, I was sort of expecting what I call, the 'post exam stress syndrome'.
        It is not something new to me. I've had it since the secondary 3 government exam, PMR. At that time, I was confused of the hollowness I was feeling, which could be aptly described as anhedonia. And now, after battling extreme stress, exam-themed dreams every night, I'm battling anhedonia. But of course one of the reason behind this, is the worry that the battle has not been won, the possibility that there's six more months, gone along with plans to go overseas and family and friend time. 

Anyway, results'll be out next week. Mimu mimu...