Sunday, December 04, 2005

Twinkle Twinkle

Xiao Ming was a rather fortunate boy. He seemingly had a large majority of local schoolchildren in his employ, strenuously pounding pen against paper in transcribing his daily encounters, grinding the moral lessons within for ease of inculcation. In that way, he had been a celebrity from birth, with teachers, parents and students alike addicted to his literature, breathing the permeating eraser dust of Confucian values and idealistic endings.

His relations said he was precocious. You would be too, if you spent as much time thinking as he did.

What confused him at present, though, was why four letter words would earn one a good slap and an ensuing spanking when used in English, and yet, when used in his mother tongue, would be assessed as evidence of one’s linguistic flair. He dutifully attributed this contradiction to the all pervasive and highly invasive Western Influence, with an accompanying apt nod of the head and cocking of the neck. He missed such simple problems, for they almost served as a distraction. The black clouds ushered the white out of the sky, and he lay still on his bed once more.

Stardom, however, still carried its usual perils in his world. He did after all have a lot to live up to. In fact, it was in his very name. Xiao Ming – small, and bright. Like a star. Except that stars weren’t that small, come to think of it, they could swallow, cleanse and consume worlds in a blink of an eye. But for most purposes, he preferred a petite image. In any case, even his companions, or what was left of them, claimed that he was all “Spaced Out”. It seemed that fate conspired to elevate him above the common, observing benevolently as the world ran its course and exhausted itself, open for his taking. After all, stars always had a bright future, which was of course a particularly spectacular death, although the exact time that “future” would come was always accurate to only a few million years.

Anyhow, it was for this future that he was alive, bothering to draw the next breath and to pump the next beat of his tiny heart. It didn’t matter at all what he was by day, because then he was but a hapless boy, fresh off Madam Tussaud’s wax press. Except for the bed sores, the limp mouth, and the broken body; she wouldn’t make those, no one wanted them. The same way no one wanted to know what really happened to Xiao Ming, so long as he remained a shining beacon, an example to all children under the age of twelve, after which they were surrendered to the other stars; Madonna, Britney, and dear old Celine. Well, even a paralyzed boy was better than those three, he supposed.

As the amber light streamed through the slits in his confinement, he reached down and picked up one of his bedtime stories, written by a schoolchild of seven in slender cursive on paper with blue stripes. Xiao Ming and the Awful Car Accident, the title proudly proclaimed. According to this one, he had crossed the road without looking, but the car had stopped in time and everyone learnt a lesson. How touching. He sensed the sting of salt in his eyes. He didnt know what to feel.

Then it was night again, his turn to shine.

~A solemn tribute to chinese, which i am not taking next year

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