Monday, December 31, 2012

Letter 642: Distant Star

2 Decembers ago, I tasted liberty and freedom. Today, liberation found me again in a squeaky white plastic chair at an Asian hairdresser's, having my long hair chopped off. In my (almost) 10 years of being in Australia, I have never had my hair cut by an Asian hairdresser. Despite what people say about how Caucasian hairdressers do not know how to handle Asian hair, there are some who styled and coloured my hair really well. So I've never ventured into an Asian salon until today. Today was an exception, because I'm sick and tired of battling with split ends and tangled messes that long tresses bring, and because I tend to live so spontaneously these days, I couldn't be bothered making an appointment for a haircut. So, armed with the comfortable knowledge that most Asian salons do walk-ins-- and are generally cheaper in pricing-- I found myself headed straight into a relatively decent-looking salon that had Korean and Chinese characters splashed on its orange signboard. I thought I was getting a Korean hairdresser, until she slapped the bib over me and asked me if I wanted a wash and blow-dry in fluent Mandarin, assuming with such ferocious confidence that I'd know how to speak her language. For all she knew, I could be Korean (or so people tell me). 

Her name, as I later found out, was Hui. Unlike most hairdressers, Hui tended to work with quiet precision. In particular, she wasn't as chatty as your ordinary hairdresser. Which was a huge relief, because it meant we didn't have to make small talk about the weather, and it meant that I didn't have to divulge what I do, where I work, my marital status and my whole life story to this random stranger cutting my hair. I felt strangely comfortable with her while she was snipping my locks away in our little bubble of silence. Maybe I will go back to her. She did a pretty good job for 30 bucks. 

The story of the hairdresser alludes to the many "firsts" that I've had this year. 2012 has been a hectic and challenging year for me, yet for all its relentless pursuits, 2012 has been kind to me too. With the help of fellow colleagues and friends, I managed to pass my Fellowship exams. With the help of my "personal accountant" (i.e. The Other Half), I managed to save up enough to build a house to call home. And with the aid of a very efficient wedding planner, I managed to organise a wedding for a close-knit group of 37 people. In other words, I passed my exams at the first go (I was preparing to re-sit), became a first home owner, and got married for the first time (I hope there won't be a second time!). To me, each of these elements required meticulous planning and preparation, so I am unquestionably thankful to whatever forces are out there in the universe that may have helped conspire these 3 elements and made it work. It feels remarkably emancipating to be able to achieve all these milestones in such a short period of time, and for this, I am eternally grateful.

I am also extremely appreciative of the acquaintances made this year-- most notably, my wedding planner, my photographer, my baker, and my florist. A couple of days after Christmas, I found out that my florist-- who supplied the most gorgeous flowers for my wedding-- is actually from the town in which I work. Apparently he said I saved his father's life once when the latter was in hospital. I did not know what to say except that the world is smaller than I thought.

All good things must come to an end, I suppose-- my 6 week holiday, and the year 2012. To conclude the year, I am sending a secular prayer out there for those in agonising need of finding perspective through kinship-- I hope you find it in the warmth of a thousand human heartbeats.

Have a blessed new year!!!


Kenny Mah said...

Happy New Year, dear Jun --- It's been a wild, wonderful 2012 for you (congrats yet again!) and may better & more amazing things come for you this 2013! :D

Jun said...

aww... happy new year to you and your devil too kenny!!! hope to catch up again either your country or mine :P

Atien Dyana said...

happy new year!! congratz dr jun.. :) so happy for you.. finally tie the knot.. im still waiting mine.. 4 years.. anything can happened.. :( keep praying the best.. :)

by the way, i think you should know (asking permission hohoho), i mentioned your name at the end of my post.. :)

Jun said...

dyana: hello dyana! happy new year to you too! haven't had time to check for comments- sorry about the delay! so you're tying the knot in 4 years? wow, congrats to you too!! dun worry about mentioning me at the end of your post, that's ok :D