Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Taking the rap

My two new housemates, a couple, are really really young. In every sense of the word.

For one, they are almost one Chinese zodiac cycle younger than me. Generation gapS siah...

And their 言行舉止 is a even bigger giveaway of their youth.

No, writing this down is not due to envy on my part. Nor is it a complaint. Rather, it is just to put down my observation that Singaporean teens seem to grow old (ok, a better way of phrasing it is "mature") faster. I've taught students of comparable age range back in Singapore as well as in Australia. And now after observing my new housemates for a couple of weeks, I have come to the above conclusion.

My new housemates do add a little vibrance to the apartment. And love. Oh yes, they are very open about their show of love for each other. So much so I feel a little pai seh about stepping out of my room too often. Don't want to be a 電燈泡, you know. I shall refrain from describing their er… open displays of love here.

Recently, the boy bought an electric guitar and amplifier. Now that certainly worried me because I work from home. My fears were realised as he began practising in the living room, and at a rather high volume too. Fortunately for me, and a credit to him, he took in my plea for a quiet workplace and henceforth, practised only from the sanctuary of their room, and at a reasonably low volume too.

All went ok until two nights ago. He was practicing past midnight and I didn't really notice (my internet radio was tuned to UFM100.3, as usual). But our neighbour, an elderly lady, certainly did. Keep in mind as you read this that Australians sleep really early, like 8p.m. This neighbour was apparently disturbed from her slumber by the noise.

Anyway, I thought I heard a few loud and impatient knocks on our main door. A pause, followed by more vigorous knocking. I lowered the volume of my speakers to check out what was happening. That was when I noticed i) he was practising on his electric guitar after midnight and ii) that was most certainly an angry neighbour knocking on our door. As I opened my room door, I heard him stop strumming, then putting back his guitar and zipping up its case. Yes, the apartment I stay in is THAT quiet, especially at night. I stood there waiting to see if he would come out and answer the door. It should be as obvious to him as it was to me it was our neighbour. Or so I thought.

More knocks on the door and he didn't come out. I sighed and decided to face the music (pun unintended). To my neighbour's credit, she did not give me a dressing down, but just stated the facts in a stern manner. I apologised on my housemate's behalf and promised to speak to him. Which I did, and he only managed a timid apology to me.

No, I wasn't angry on having to take the rap on his behalf. It was just another display of youthful brashness and the subsequent fear to face up to its consequences. I've seen too many such displays to feel any anger. One day, he will learn it the hard (sadly for him) way. It's a necessary path to adulthood, I suppose.

And one day, 慧 will have to go through it too. My mum always say she might not be around when it happens. I always reply that I will be around should 慧 need any guidance.

The electric guitar episode did remind me that I've REALLY gotten older. I was also reminded of a Cliff Richard's oldie, "The Young Ones". Maybe that's why my dad likes that song so much...

142 days to go.


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