With a name like Pang and a fancy notion that he is
an artist, you would think that this so-called photographer would at least have had
an unhappy childhood to account for. Besides making the lousy excuse that just surviving
daily is agony enough, he really has little to justify his fretful if not tortured
soul. If you choose to indulge him, however, he will recount an incident at the age
of three, of eating some comely red thing that tasted like a grenade going off in
his mouth which subsequently, in perfectly Freudian fashion, turned into a form of
masochism so virile he indulges in it by frequenting the nearby Indian restaurant
so regularly the chef wants to name his new tosai recipe after our chilly-challenged
Well, maybe that still doesn't prove anything to you. You want some sordid soul-scarring
anguish, you sadist you. Alright then, there was this girl whom he had a crush on
[yes, it involves a girl, the source of all boyish woes...]. She was the daughter
of his father's friend in Singapore. One day, during a family holiday to the island,
when they were bunking over at this friend's apartment, for no apparent reason, this
aforementioned girl, aged eleven, possibly in the early stages of dealing with PMS,
grabbed hold of her father's belt and for no apparent reason [yes, you have said
that], well for absolutely no bloody freaking apparent reason, she began to hit Pang
blow after blow after blow, amidst screaming and yelling and variously bemused parents.
Shocking, huh? Well, that wasn't the painful part. The really painful part was the
cast-iron belt buckle. The word 'crush' took on a new meaning for Pang.
Okay, Pang says he wants to get serious. Hmm... Let's humour him. Yes, Pang? He says
that what really gave him this confusion, this sense of vagueness, this need to do
his tedious autobiography in third person, is the most hair-raising of traumas -
late puberty. And what can be more demanding on a kid's emotions than going through
that testosterone transition without parental guidance? Sent on a scholarship at
the age of twelve to Raffles Institution, Singapore, he was initially giddy with
thoughts of freedom; barely a teen and without supervision, he was ready to conquer
the world. So he thought. Six years later, in the same miserable hostel, in his room,
two hundred miles from home, all alone on his eighteenth birthday, and by some accident
of introspection, he stumbled upon a question, "Do I have any... friends?";
as the architecture of his soul collapsed into a void within him, he stopped what
he was doing, stared out the window into the night sky, gazed back to the mess in
his room, looked out the window again, closed his eyes, and crumpled onto the floor
beside his bed, and wept.
He finished his 'A'levels later that year. He was just beginning to realise who his
friends were when his father promptly plucked him out of Singapore and plonked him
into KL where he didn't know a soul. He was registered into Limkokwing Institute
of Creative Technology. He graduated in December 1995 with a diploma in graphic design,
and a major in photography. He hasn't, however, collected his diploma yet. After
all, we all know that it is the tragedies that count... and though trivial in the
passing of grander schemes, the implosion of Pang's tiny universe was so utterly
devastating that he now spends his days wandering the earth; singing to himself as
he wanders; praying as he sings; and knowing as he prays that he still has a Friend
who wouldn't mind listening to him as he rambles on and on, about spices, about misplaced
infatuations, and even about the overwhelming aloneness of confronting the night
sky with an unanswerable question.
Well, here he is, ladies and gentleman, three years after graduation and still as
idealistic and neurotic... No, Pang, that is all the reader can take, I'm afraid.
Wait, don't blame me if you bore them! Hey, get away from me - what are you doing?
Put down that tripod right now!!...
by pang [ april 1998 ]
friends of Pang | the recovery centre
Pang Khee Teik ï email - email@example.com
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