Archive for November 25, 2008


I went for a haircut today.

‘What style do you want’, the hairdresser asked. ‘I want it short and spiky’, I replied.

Short and spiky. These two words never came across my mind when I went for haircuts in the last twenty five years of my life. I used to comb it neat and shiny, as how Chow Yun Fatt did. I stuck to that hairstyle not because I adored him, but because my hair is thick, bushy and fast growing. The combing process was easy and fast then, and faster if I was generous with the hair gel. It also allowed me to keep my hair longer before I need to visit my barber.

Early this year, a few of my colleagues started to suggest me to change my hairstyle. They believed that I may look younger. No doubt that I looked more matured compared to anyone who’s in my age. Peer pressure is an amazing thing, and it changed people real fast. Despite my 25 years of Chow Yun Fatt hair style, I changed to durian hairstyle just weeks after their pressure.

Talking about the hairstyle and age always remind me of one particular interesting incidents during my stay in Sarawak General Hospital.

It was a hot Sunday evening. The hospital used to have a number of visitors on Sunday, especially evangelist from various churches. Two young guys in their early twenties from a Methodist church approached me that evening. As usual, I responded well to them, regardless the church they came from.

They started the conversation by asking how was my health, recovery and where did I came from. After introducing themselves, only one of the guys continued to talk to me. I presumed that they must have agreed to take turn to ‘preach’. As he spoke, I could notice that his hands were trembling. He was rather anxious and was trying hard to hide it.

When he was about to finish his ‘preaching’, he was warmed up and started to chat with more confident. Before he ended the conversation, and trying to be friendly perhaps, he asked a few more questions, including how old am I.

I had never expected him to ask such a question and somehow at that moment I started to understand why peoples, especially the ladies, are not friendly with such question. Reluctant to give him a direct answer but trying to be as courteous as possible, I twisted my reply, ‘What do you guess?’ For a moment I felt that I was the smartest man on the earth.

I was proven wrong in the next few seconds. Before I continue with the story, I have to clarify that my hairstyle then was the Chow Yun Fatt’s, since that was the most appropriate hairstyle for a patient. By the standard of my ward, that was already considered as overdone. Inside the ward, people only cared if they could survive the treatment with all body parts still intact and finally heading back to home instead of mortuary upon discharge.

Opps, let’s get back to the story.

He guessed my age. ‘Erm, I think you are around thirty to thirty five?’ he replied. I was not sure if I wanted to laugh or to cry. The two feelings were so antagonistic to each other. Hoping that he will end the conversation soonest possible, I simply replied ‘Yup, just around that age.’ Ok, thank you, goodbye and sayonara.

Again, I was proven wrong. He kept the conversation alive. After we chatted about other topics, he started to feel comfortable with his increasing confident and he went back to the same old question again, ‘How old are you, actually?’. Oh man, are you running out of topic? The voices in my mind started to argue with each other. Tell him the truth. No, just tell him you’re thirty, don’t hurt his feeling and confident. NO! I can’t tell lies, not to a kid who just shared the good news with me, Jesus is not going to like it.

‘Twenty six, actually’, I replied, finally. ‘Just almost near to what you had guessed’, I added, hoping it will soften the going-to-be-awkward moments.

His friend dropped his jaw and his eyes bulged out in disbelieve, not because of the truth in my age but because talking his friend had just make a silly assumption on someone’s age. It’s kind of the-foot-in-the-mouth moments.

‘Oh…’, he replied in between shocked and dumbfound. For the next few seconds he was having a hard time to figure out what to say next.

‘It’s okay. My friends used to say that I always look older compared to my age’, I said, to broke the silent.

‘Oh, I am really sorry….’, he replied, still thinking hard what to say.

‘Haha, never mind. How about you? How old are you?’ I asked, trying to shift the attention to him.

‘I’m twenty two’, he replied with a big grin. ‘We’re just about the same age. Nice to meet you. We got make a move’, he added and ended the conversation. Glad he did.

Okay, back to the hairdresser I met this afternoon. He was quiet and looked as if his mind was bothered by something. A bothered hairdresser is a dangerous person, let me tell you. He cut my hair as if my hair owed him a million dollar. Rough and unfriendly. Thank God anyway, since his mood did not impede his professionalism. I went back with the style I wanted. And my head intact.

November 25, 2008 at 11:47 pm Leave a comment

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