“Oh the night, here it comes again…
It’s off with the jeans, the jacket and the shirt.”
– La Cienega Just Smiled, Ryan Adams
When I was growing up, I remember perhaps once or a couple of times a year my hometown of Batu Pahat, Johor in Malaysia would have a fun fair somewhere at the edge of the small town. At night when we’d go into town to run some errands or when we’re rushing between my maternal and paternal grandparents’ home at the opposing ends of town, we’d always pass by the bright lights and the ferris wheel and the spinning teacups, but never once taking a turn to check them out for ourselves.
The thing about being back in Batu Pahat is that things are always tense; there is always something to do, someone to satisfy, somewhere to be before closing time draws near. Over the years, especially years after the warm presence of my late grandmother has faded since her untimely passing, Batu Pahat has come to represent for me a ghost town of some sort, full of ugly ghouls from our past. Every road trip that takes us out of that town is a most welcome relief… and I realize that in some ways I am actually slowly turning into the stereotypical city girl (budak bandar) who just can’t wait to run away from her small town roots. But perhaps this is always why we never get the time to do such things — go to a fun fair, see a movie, go on a picnic, visit the hot springs. My father, being the uncreative person that he is, was never the first to suggest we do such things, and plus, he was too attached to his family to ever think of spending another second apart. I secretly believe if we hadn’t had such a nomadic life, I would have a tragically boring childhood.
But I can’t help it. I really can’t. Sometimes the problem isn’t the town itself, but just… the people. And all that they represent; all that I’m trying to run away from.
Today after five hours straight of being stuck in my department in one seminar after the other my housemate and I decided to check out the fun fair in Midsummer Common which is only going to be here until this Monday. Although the day started out extremely dreary and gloomy, towards the afternoon the sky surprisingly cleared up to give way to clear blue skies with a sprinkle of clouds and some much-needed sunshine. The wind, however, never did leave, so the weather never quite got any warmer than 12 degrees Celsius.
Let me just say that after a childhood of never getting much opportunity to indulge in fun fairs, I find them to be full of wonderful surprises — in short, a good place to make good memories. We didn’t go on any rides this time, but I welcomed the feeling of excitement I got from just being a distant spectator nonetheless. We walked around, but the cold forced us to retreat to Mill Road, where we got an unexpected tour of Anglia Ruskin University, courtesy of my housemate, instead.
This was quite an impromptu outing, but with all the readings I’ve got to do for the proposal, it couldn’t have come at a better time. And for the sake of future good memories, I hope Spring is finally here to stay for good.