I was excited, more than that, going out with a girl for the second time, technically not, just for a calligraphy competition, nothing much. Morning 6.30 was our appointed time, I reached her home at 7, half an hour late to fetch her. Mistake number one: late. I really should do something about my time management… but, is there such thing called time management? I jested internally.
Google Maps, location set to Thean Hou Temple, heading straight there. No traffic, and we chatted throughout the journey, talking mostly about school and her part of life heavily affiliated to having more friends in China via using a music app. As we reached our destination, I had to pay a parking fee (乐捐-donation) or else I could not enter of RM 5, ridiculous.
It was too early for the registration of the competition, the problem was that we had not signed up for the competition. This whole idea was from Cat, not me, my style of writing did not stand a chance in winning or whatsoever, but I was just curious to see what the calligraphy world had shifted into, and just for the sake of accompanying her to this competition.
I had breakfast there, it was another ‘robbery’, RM 7 for a vegetarian meal that I could get at RM 2 at my area, Cat did not and she was on her phone for most of the times. After breakfast, we headed to register, a serene and polite lady dealt with us, she was very professional in handling our late registrations. She got us through with a cinch.
We saw a group of non-Chinese students thronging the registration booth, I felt that our culture was slowly promulgating into the Malaysians at overall, it was an honour. We waited, chatted lightly here and there. It was difficult finding a topic to talk about, but we were talking about experiences with these calligraphy competitions.
Taking place, with minutes to the competition, we took our places. This time around they had tables which was a stark improvement compared to last times where no tables were provided for us to write on. Anxiety kicked in, she sensed it in me quickly, it had been a long time since I participated this kinds of competitions. She talked me out a little, but I was in the best state of my mind, never intending to win.
I weaved my best type of writing style which was 99 percent disqualify-able in most of the competitions. If I had to follow the rules to lock my calligraphy in boxes, it would not divulge the dynamism in my calligraphy. I took the long shot, and yes, my intuition told me that I could not win. However, I was not here to win, I was here to look see look see.
After satisfied, we handed in our best works, and there were a number of pros that were present. I saluted some of them, they were really, really good. Consulting the ego inside me, I viewed a lot of the works from other people in order to learn from them, to be in the know of the trends set by the calligraphy community.
Three hours gap, it was mundane, I walked around the Thean Hou Temple, it was scorching hot! Cat stood around with her phone’s battery low, sad case for her, she could not spend more time on her phone. A though struck me, I asked Cat to help me to take a picture to upload it on Instagram.
We did chat, but most of the times we just stared into the crowd, waiting, patiently and silently. She was burned out from the last few days of her deprivation of sleep. I was just terrible in starting conversations, we were waiting for most of the time. Until the hall was available for seating, we went in, and Cat slept inside there for an hour or so, I took a shut eye at regular intervals.
After the long wait, the results were out, and I was not surprised that I could not get any places, neither did she. I took a glance in all the works, it was merely just a bias from the judges, I took no account about how they view my style of writing anymore, it was just acceptance from this point. However, on the bright side, my writings were recognised and given to the Japanese, why shed light to this petty business?
Sad, we wasted almost a day without any ‘real’ results. I fetched her home, we talked, and I used the wrong way, causing me three toll fees. We did not have lunch together because her parents had cooked for her. She thanked me for today, and I appreciated her presence with me and giving me the realisation that I am a mundane bore.
Thoughts, after having a conversation with her, I just realised that my network of people is really small as I am an introvert and find it really hard to fit in to the society. I do not choose to neglect the society, but my personality did. She is very attached to her phone, and she told me about the severity of phone usage by her, it further accentuates my fear of the paradigm shift into total phone ‘life’. She clearly does not belong here, I cited that to her, she should go out and pursue her life in China, that is what I see in her. Hopefully she will see this post.
A day out with Cat.
Are you like me? Do you have any tips to be better in conversations or just being a better and more not boring person? Leave them down in the comments below!