Saturday, October 16, 2010

Book - Insist on Calling it Angst


I have just recently bought a complete record player hi-fi set and have it installed in my bedroom. I have even got hold of a copy of Feima’s (Fat Mama, Maria Cordero) old record album, with the intention of listening to it while I work on my manuscript. With eyes closed, I listen to the songs while mulling over possible subject materials. Suddenly wafted the opening tune of a very familiar old song. Oh yeah, it is called “Perhaps not fated”  (
也許無緣). It was a song I listened often to when I was a 9th grader selling ice-cream. At that time, I worked in an ice-cream parlor in Causeway Bay from six pm to midnight daily. Every night, I would play this song not just once, but repeatedly. 

也许无缘流泪在眼前没说半句话别早已飘远” My ice-cream parlor’s co-workers asked me why I loved this song so. I said I love its melancholy, that sense of helplessness. As my co-workers were much older than me, they chuckled and said, “Only a 9th grader student, what do you know of sorrows? Or of hardship? Haha!”

So true, now that I think back. I of yesteryear truly had nothing worth grieving over. Perhaps all youths are like this. Whereas in truth, while ensconced in happiness, but had to go looking for worries.  It is like when one’s stomach is constantly full, one does not appreciate its sweetness as much. Conversely, a sprinkle of bitterness adds spice to life. Youths do not comprehend the true meaning of angst. To coin faddish catchword, they insist on calling it ‘angst’. I agree! Actually, youths do have their own brand of angst. It is just that in the adults’ eye, teenage angst does not constitute as real angst. But for me, I think a bit of self-pity wallowing is quite acceptable. However, self –pity and self-depravity should not be mentioned in the same breath. In today’s society, youths like to come up with excuses to justify their permissiveness: brawling, truancy, drug indulgence, or self-degradation for money, even self-destruction. All these behaviors and their so-called angst run counter to each other; totally unacceptable.

Reminiscing on each of my maturity stages, it is not hard to see that they were all fraught with obstacles and challenges. The absent angst from yesteryear has finally found me. No need to search, it has already manifested itself at my door. Although I confront it with an optimistic attitude, but if given a choice I would choose to live the carefree and worry free life of yesteryear. But as people grow up so will worries appear; can’t avoid or hide from them.

At this point of my writing, I replay that song again to evoke the sentiment of my so-call angst, to feel if these two kinds of then and now angst transcending over space and time are in anyway similar.

pp 84 – 85

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