Living With Stories

by Patrick Liew on July 29, 2011

When I was four, my uncle bought a projector and screened rented movies for the kampung (village). He became very popular and I fell in love with ‘moving pictures’ ever since.

When television was introduced to Singapore in 1963, my family was too poor to afford a TV. I used to stand outside my neighbour’s house to watch black-and-white programmes.

I was such an ardent TV fan that it must have moved my neighbour’s hearts. They invited me to their home – the only kid in the whole kampung – to sit on the floor and watch TV with them.

English movies, Chinese movies, Malay movies, Indian movies… I watched them all. They transported me to another world, another dimension in life.

During school days, my pocket money every day was only 20 cents, barely enough to cover my daily expenses. The price of a movie ticket was 50 cents – a price that was almost beyond my reach.

Still, I would carefully save my money and spend part of it on my favourite movies. It was worth every single cent.

Movies created a spark in my imagination. It juiced up my life and taught me how to spice up other people’s lives – especially with stories.

While serving my National Service, on my nights off, I would slip into Nee Soon Theater, just outside my army barrack. It was an open air theatre and the audience sat on wooden and creaky benches to watch reruns of movies.

Imagine watching a movie in humid weather and at the same time, swiping houseflies and other insects.

You might think it was uncomfortable – you‘re wrong – I was too distracted and immersed in the story.

You might not believe this – every now and then, I would join the crowd to clap when the heroes appeared – usually at the nick of time to save distressed damsels.

We might even stand up to jeer at the villains.

I am not ashamed to make this confession. As a die-hard romantic, I am a sucker for a good story.

I believe the stories I hold close to my heart will shape the ultimate story – my life.

If I am not happy with my current story, I can work with our Creator to live out the best of the remaining part of my story.

I can also choose to close this chapter and start a new one. I can also end this story and start a new story.

In the future, I will have to tell my story in one way or another to my loved ones and friends.

The moments of reckoning will also arrive when I will be reminded of my story. I will have to re-live the story in my mind.

In the evening of my life, there will be a lot of time to reflect on my story. I hope they will give me good dreams.

When I move on from this world to a better world, I will leave behind my story. That matters more than anything else I will leave behind.

I pray it will be a good story. A story worth telling – one that will inspire others to craft their stories.

So, what’s your story?


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