The ghost of Christmas

December 25, 2017

I happen to believe the beginning of maturity is when we step aside and let those we love be perfectly themselves. That’s to say we have a resolution not to bang them into shape to fit our own idea of what the world should be.

If in loving them we do not love what they are, but only their likeness that mirror ourselves, then we do not love them: we only love the reflection of ourselves we find in them….that’s just terribly selfish.’


‘I can’t pin down exactly when I started associating Christmas with my personal embattlement to connect with civilization. It could have started when I first turned the wheel of life here as a farmer eight years ago. I remember making an effort to be part of the Christmas spirit on the first year. I told myself, it would be good for you! I fashioned a rather impossible yet passable looking Christmas tree with dried twigs. It looked good when lighted provided one doesn’t look to closely at it. Cooked myself a proper meal and even got plastered. Mostly single malt whisky. I could remember being deeply distressed by my apartness from everything that I’ve always associated with Christmas. That feeling gradually sharpened with the passing of every year and gave way to a quiet acceptance that I am really quite unsuitable to the air of Christmas celebration.

The break probably came one Christmas night. I can’t remember when precisely, could be on my fourth or was it the fifth year. That night I decided to slip into the darkness of the jungle to hunt. I trekked all the way up to the mountains by moonlight. At the very top I looked out on an almost surreal scene, shards of indigo moon beams illimunated the nearby ferns that I knew to be my world. To the far distance over the curl of the shoulder of distant hills. The lights of the city swelled just enough to make out that other world which I once belonged too. I remembered being mesmerised by the quality of the light. It was very silent, eireely beautiful…I remember the air tasted of cloves. Yet what hit me most profoundly at that moment of intense solitude was not that I yearned to be part of that distant world of pulsing light, but the awakening realisation that I can no belong there any longer.

Christmas in years thereafter developed into a sort of itchy sweater. One wears it only because it’s decent. But it’s discomfort always reminds one…you’re exiled. I loathe it’s approach so much I even brought Christmas Day forward by three whole weeks in an attempt to desecrated it in the way the derange would declare their kitchen a protectorate. Or their lavatories a sovereign state complete with a towel flag, and when the day fell as it always did on the 25th – all it seemed to be able to inspire in me was hopelessness. I felt marooned in the finality of realization I was damaged goods, condemned to always to look at Christmas from the outside in and all I could do was hunker down and wait for it to pass like some evil comet.

In the years that followed Christmas gradually lost it’s fragile hold on me, it’s a season that doesn’t seem to quite fit into my life any longer – I work in place where no one either celebrates or cares to remember Christmas. The few friends I have are to faraway. Besides the line is always lousy and to even bother to try connecting. I did at one time convince myself I had to try harder to return home to the convivial, warm-hearthed gatherings and reunions that was Christmas. But the gravity of the wild exerted such a pull on me that as soon as I made plans to return home. I would be filled with morbid anxiousness and guilt that I have to stay…and the wild always won. Perhaps…maybe my militant refusal to return home had more to do with my repressed conviction that all it would ever do was to serve as a reminder of all the different ways in which I can no longer fit into urbana Singapore.

It’s conceivable. I may gone way too far off the razor’s edge. So far that I cannot seem to retrace my steps. Maybe. I Lanced all of my will of power, spirit and soul into what I consider to be the singularity of the holy sanctity of my hill of beans mission. Maybe that squeezed out everything else…Christmas included….only for the wild to fill that no man’s land of emptiness between yearning and unfulfilled desires…with all its terrifying green constancy….fingering….permeating and transforming my very essence of being irrevocably into a rather curious caricature of who I used to be. Someone who can only look on at perfidious faced revellers thru my looking glass, the internet with a mix of curiosity and what I can only describe as aching estrangement that only serves to confirm the finality of my disease.

A remnant of who I used to be, knows of that world, but like the mystical lights of the city seen from the distance of untouched mountains….it’s so very far. A star. Not just any star, but one that’s fixed so far in one corner of the universe that the light streaming out of it could well be the final crie de couer of a star that has long cooled, shrivelled up into a blacken cinder and extinguished forever. I tore away from it in embarrassment like a man who remembers yet doesn’t. Grasping at straws…summoning all that’s familiar in vain…..always from the detachment offered by the abyss of distance…like a soul who belongs to the wild.

Merry Christmas.’

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