"So we lunched at Lau Pa Sat and talked through the surface of our lives. I told her my glorious pretensions and she smiled back with a charming reticence. I asked her what she was doing working for Mr Tan? Surely she could find something better? She said it’s just a job and she was biding her time while readying her heart and soul for the Universe. I told her I could relate to that. We talked about the dreariness of everyday life, how most things were old cabbage and wet socks. I told her I was getting out, moving to London where I could lose myself. I lectured her on the courage to move away from one’s comfort zone. She smiled at me and suggested Lombok rather than London."
Excerpt from A Long Bicycle Ride Into the Sea, a story in We Rose Up Slowly
A Long Bicycle Ride into the Sea:
- is about a young lawyer, coasting along in privilege, who is challenged to get wet to prove his love
- examines unconscious assumptions, and how a sense of entitlement and the shallowness of one's gaze obscures self awareness, intimacy and growth
- shows the effect of this on relations with others
- contains passing references to small law firms in shophouses in Tanjong Pagar, Prada suits, Raoul cuff links, Lloyds shoes, Louboutin heels, silver charm bracelets, Benny Hill flirting with Emily Dickinson, Halal eating houses, a HDB flat in Clementi, a Hokkien Sponge Bob Square Pants, Lau Pa Sat, Billy Wilder films, Wayne Rooney and Fernando Torres, Amitabh Bachchan and Maggie Q, Kong Hee and Lawrence Khong, Ai Weiwei, Miroslav Tichý, Henry Darger and Beatrix Potter, Justin Bieber and Taufik Batisah, the planet Zog, and the song 无条件为你.
- Why so many names dropped? I wanted to show the pretentious superficiality of the narrator and how this obstructs his ability to achieve deeper relations with others.
- He is bewildered by the things life end up throwing at him, and so he should be.