Life-changing experiences? After some hard consideration, three stand out. They
have the most impact on me.
The happiest day of my life was my tenth birthday. All my friends had been up
'Top Buz: It was a ride I had begged, pleaded and
cajoled my mum to let me go. Her reply was, 'You are too young to go
alone. On my tenth birthday, my sister said she would accompany me. It was a
great sacrifice on her part as Irin had a fear of heights. Looking down a
three-storey building would make her retch. I was too giddy with happiness to
realize what a great sacrifice my sister was making.
I screamed and screamed
with excitement as we were thrown up and down, left and right, round and round.
It was utterly exhilarating. I did not
notice that my sister was utterly quiet. When the ride stopped, I turned round
to see my sister rigid with terror. That experience stood out in two ways. One,
I loved the ride. It started my love affair with all rides. Two, I will not
forget that my sister would (and still does) do everything for me.
I was still as giddy when I was in the last year of primary school. I was
impressed with a girl who claimed to be everything. I would hang at her very
word and believe her utterly. One day Molly claimed that she just walked through
the graveyard alone in the middle of the night. And that it was not the first
time! Why, just recently she ... I was her slave.
The scales fell from my eyes when we were trapped in a lift. We both lived on
the thirteenth floor. We were going home after tuition and I was listening to
Molly, entranced, when the lift gave a sudden jerk. It creaked and plunged. Then
all at once it stopped. The lights went off and we were in total darkness.
Before I could utter a sound, I felt Molly clawing my arm. She was screaming
hysterically. 'I can't breathe! There is no air! We are trapped!' Molly began to
wail and howl.
I was dumbstruck. Suddenly, the lights came on and the door opened. As I
moved to the door, Molly pushed me away and dashed out of the lift. It was the
most terrifying experience of my life. When the lift started falling, I could
feel my hands going clammy and my heart hammering. I hate confined spaces. What
was more frightening was Molly's behavior. I could forgive her panicking at
being trapped in the lift and that the stories of her courage were mere stories.
I cannot forget how she shoved me out of the way to get to the door, or, that
she boasted to the world afterwards how cool and collected she was. I have since
learnt to be more discerning and not to be so gullible.
Recently I had a more traumatic experience that left me with nightmares. My
cat was missing. I went round the apartment looking for Sheba. I could not find
her. The whole family split up to go to look for her. She had been missing for
I was downstairs, heading to the rubbish collection area when I thought I
heard a faint mewing sound. I hurried over. There was a huge carton. I peered
into it and saw some movement. 'Sheba! You poor dear! Is it you?'
Then I saw it. Lying partially covered by the papers was a newborn infant.
There were ants crawling over it. I quickly called my parents. Its eyes were
close. Was it dead?
By the time the police and the ambulance left, I was bawling. The baby had
died. The poor baby. The poor mother! To have to abandon her child! Why? I kept
asking the question.
These experiences have left an indelible mark on me. Life's lessons have taught
me to value my family and to be responsible for my actions.