Don’t you think so?

I was browsing through my collection of stories, and found this one lying somewhere in wait. Perhaps I was feeling patriotic then, because this one was nestled along with the other taxi-man story under a folder named, “Malaysians”.

And Pui Yee dear, I can’t wait for your very interesting plot of combining Malaysia, fantasy and time-travel altogether. :)

Methinks me shall write a story on people for NaNoWriMo. It’ll be fun.

And now, onwards, to the nameless story.

I watched him as he watched the others that surround us.

I looked away when he turned to me, eyes bright, absorbing every detail, every wonder, every strangeness. I looked back when he focused on the giggly women that served him. They were eager to please, and he was wonderfully polite, and so well-composed! They said. He laughed as he tried to explain just what he needed, and they kept calling one after another, to find just what he wanted.

He smiled when they succeeded, and they cheered when they did.

I asked for a pot of tea, Chrysanthemum tea. It arrived fifteen minutes later, tasting like bitter black tea.

He took pictures, of his food, of the people, of the food. Food was more interesting sometimes. Same ingredients, different colour, different texture. He glanced around, taking a picture of the baby seated just two seats away from him. People, they were the same, different colour, different culture.

I watched him as he nodded for the three awkwardly posed men to sit with him. It was too crowded, they said. And there was no where else but here. He smiled, and took a picture of them later, when they had their orders taken by the same smiling waitress from before.

They looked the same, the four could’ve been a family. Brothers to the end. But strangers they were.

He stretched and allowed his camera to ‘zoom’, ‘whir’ and ‘click’. A typical Malaysian family of four discussing what to eat, what to drink; captured forever in memory.

I looked away when he turned to me again, eyes behind another eye. Poised, I waited for a moment to be captured in time. I didn’t hear the ‘click’ this time.

I wondered, what made him stand out among the crowd? All looked the same, he looked no different. Asian, we all were, human, we all were. I wondered, what did he think when he took picture upon picture, memory upon memory.

Why did he want to save all this? Why here? Why here?

Ah well. I watched him as he got up, cradling a small backpack, holding a small container. He was getting more food, tempting Chinese delicacies. The waitresses smiled, and gave him just a little bit more.

I looked away as he turned towards me, got up slowly, and made my way out.

Perhaps he watched me, perhaps he took a picture, a memory – of the Malaysian child, no different than his own, that watched him eat. A Japanese man, sitting down calmly, one leg shaking like that familiar ah pek around the corner, eating dim sum.

We are not so different, you and I.

But we are all attracted to that which is different.

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