Thursday, August 18, 2016

inspired… the other way

I did pop by with Jo. The Marine Terrace meet-and-greet.

(On a side note, PSLE Oral went off without a hitch, the screaming couldn't be heard at the school)

It was a madhouse. Unlike the later session at Raffles City, this was an uncontrolled mob.

* The only photo I took because I took one look and retreated to the far off side where people mainly stood still

A seething mass of heartlanders, many dressed in red, I saw familiar faces everywhere because many of the kids, and their parents, from Day's school were there carrying home-made posters and whatnot. The early-finishers from the PSLE oral exams were also scurrying around trying to get in a good view of the hero (they did; at least, Day’s friend did, as I think the kids are somewhat smaller and can squeeze through adult armpits).

He did a circuit, stopping at the carrot cake stall (I hear from a photographer friend that the guy has become thoroughly sick of carrot cake by now), going round to the kaya toast coffeeshop, and coming back on stage. (I also feel for the poor carrot cake ladies, who have been looking a bit tired after conducting interviews and posing for photos and videos for at least two days)

We barely even got a glimpse of him because the media scrum surrounded him on all sides, even while he was on stage, holding their cameras and video-cams so high up all of his 1.84m was completely blocked. I heaved and managed to hoist Jo up as I carried her around her knees, but as other kids were also carried the same way, it didn’t work.

* The craziness

As he left, right in front of our eyes, a fight broke out. A guy who appeared to be holding a personal drawing pushed forward, perhaps desperate to give it to Schooling before he left. The security guards walled around the charge, shouting at the guy to stop pushing. The guy shoved two fingers, hard, against a guard’s head. Everyone started pushing, shouting and people nearly fell over. Schooling himself, who at the moment was giving a thumbs up to someone else behind me, looked completely bewildered. I cowered with Jo in one corner and I noticed that the guy seemed to be a special needs individual. He looked completely bereft when the posse left.

What do my kids make of all this spectacle?

I think they have become determined that they never want to win an Olympics medal.

The moment right after Schooling won, I went through the spiel about hard work and making your dreams come true, and asked the kids, Wow, what do you all think of this?

They were very proud of the moment. But Jo responded right off the bat: I never want to do this. So pressurizing. The whole country is looking at you, and you have to train so hard. I don’t want to wake up at 4am to train before going to school. Anyway I don’t know what I want to do.

When Schooling returned, as every other piece of news unearthed more and more of his personal life, and parents on the school Whatsapp chat groups started to gush over Schooling sightings, Day actually got really mad. “What the hell, mama. People should give this guy a break. I think he just wants to rest.”

In the aftermath of Marine Terrace - which was frankly a bit scary - Jo has decided she wants to live her life as another free-and-easy face in the crowd. 

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