Thursday, August 19, 2021


On Wednesday, I had a night to remember. It was a lovely night to remember Singapore by. As I’d said, MJ told me he’d booked massage sessions for us. So we left work, had dinner and teh peng, on his tab. We’d never really had the time to spend outside of work so this was the first time we were talking about past loves, the idea of the loves of our lives, and all that jazz. We then went for the massage. The two masseuses were very amiable and entertaining, at just the right amount. They both spoke Chinese interspersed with English. If you don’t know, I understand Mandarin but I try not to speak it in Singapore, because first, I don’t understand why Chinese immigrants expect non-Chinese people to speak Mandarin to accommodate them, whilst never putting in effort to learn a different language, say, the Malay language of my heritage. Why should I compromise my language and culture to accommodate yours? Secondly, Mandarin itself is a tough language. One of my half-Chinese half-sisters doesn’t even really speak the language even though she had ten years of formal education of the subject, and I am well aware it’s super easy to butcher the intonations, so I steer well away from it, unless I’m outside of Singapore and speaking Chinese actually helps me somehow. Anyhow, so my masseuse was massaging my feet and explaining the different flaws there were in my health, like sleeping late, not sleeping well due to waking up to pee, etc etc, and I was very amused because in contrast, MJ had none of it. I would wriggle in pain from my massage, whilst MJ enjoyed his thoroughly, all his masseuse said was he could feel that MJ takes whey protein for his gym sessions. Don’t ask me how he knows that, I’m not a massage therapist. When the massage ended, MJ said he would get ice-cream for us next, so we did. He got me a hot fudge sundae, and then we sat at the intersection in Singapore that reminds me of the famous Tokyo intersection, and had our ice-cream. Eventually, we began talking about more serious things. The lululemon Singapore leadership bench is going through a shuffle, and I know my team has been feeling…. not-so-good vibrations about the upcoming changes. Each team/store in Singapore operates and feels like a family, and families generally don’t like being taken apart. Even for me, I have a deep loyalty to my manager Sherie, I don’t think a lot of people know why, but I attribute my growth in lululemon to her. The year I joined lululemon, I’d gone through that bad friend breakup with my best friends of fifteen years ish, so I took very long to open up to my team. After a few months, it was Sherie who coaxed me to take a chance on my team, to trust them and watch the process unfold, and since then, the thirty or so people I’ve met in lululemon are some of the people I would trust most with my life. Okay, but I digress. MJ and I were talking about major life changes, and the fact that he doesn’t feel like he belongs in Singapore, either, but he feels more bound to his family than I do. A lot of what he said obviously resonated with me, that he’s a dreamer, and a believer, and I’ve seen it in him through the eight months we worked together. I know MJ has always been emotional, like I am, but I don’t think he’d ever felt encouraged to express his emotions, given that he’s a guy, and in Singapore, as in many parts of the world, men are still not encouraged to be sensitive. While I watched him struggle, I knew he was a kindred spirit, that he gets as attached to people as I do, that he feels very strongly about people, more than money, or any other factor. I began hugging him and rubbing his shoulder, and he started tearing in my arms while he sat next to me, on those steps right outside Ion. You should already know this about me, that I melt easily when I see people being soft. You might not know this part, but I’d already told MJ before that night, a while ago, that I was romantically attracted to him, but it’s not reciprocated. I don’t think he’s romantically nor physically attracted to me at all. At first, I was like, ack that sucks, I have dreams about him but he doesn’t have such dreams about me (disclaimer: I do not control what I dream about and also, working around physically fit people in lululemon, I’ve also had such dreams about the girls, but that’s another story for another day), but then I thought about the night again. He bought me dinner, brought me to a massage, and had ice-cream and poured out his soul to me, and he did all this, not with the intention of bedding me, but just for the sake of my company. On that night, I realised the whole thing about romantic love being overrated, and that platonic friendships should be placed alongside if not above romance! People who take care of each other, and go on friendly dates with each other, for the sake of wanting to take care of people without needing to be taken care of in a romantic sense?! That’s the basic sense of community. Ironically, community is also one of lululemon’s core intentions so indirectly, they got the job done. Anyhow, when I look back on my memories of Singapore, I will always, always be glad to have gotten a best friend in MJ, and I will always be fond of him.

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