Titles are a hassle. It’s so difficult trying to come up with something that would adequately encompass whatever I’m going to write.
Especially for this post – calling it childhood isn’t exactly right because there are so many things that still define me to this day. Calling it the present seems to suggest that this is a story is a disparate, separate piece. Which, of course, isn’t true either.
But I suppose there are certain things that should be parked under a separate category. Tales that are self-contained in and of themselves; some presents that have little or no bearing on the past. Those are stories for another time.
For now, I’ll describe the things that have followed and are still following me – perhaps for the rest of my life.
I was told that I was born on 24 December, 1994, some time around three in the afternoon. Before you go “Whoa, Christmas Eve!” I should tell you that it was my mother who “chose” the date. Apparently I was about a week overdue and the doctor had to induce labour.
Why didn’t she pick Christmas Day?
“I scared got no doctors and nurses on 25th mah. Plus want to let them rest also lah. Don’t want to trouble them,” was her explanation.
Either way, that makes me a Capricorn. Born just after the Winter Solstice according to an online friend that believes in astrology pretty fervently.
Traditional Capricorn Traits:
- Practical and prudent
- Ambitious and disciplined
- Patient and careful
- Humorous and reserved
- Pessimistic and fatalistic
- Miserly and grudging
Does this give you a better idea of who I’m purported to be? Or shall I elaborate?
Ah, consider also that I was a week overdue. Meaning that if I had been a brave child, unafraid of this cold, cruel world, I would’ve most likely been born between November 23 and December 21. That would’ve made me a Sagittarius:
Traditional Sagittarius Traits:
- Optimistic and freedom-loving
- Jovial and good-humored
- Honest and straightforward
- Intellectual and philosophical
- Blindly optimistic and careless
- Irresponsible and superficial
- Tactless and restless
I like how optimism and its antithesis are described by both astrological signs. As if my mother’s decision to introduce me to this world on 24 December gave me the disease of Pessimism. Maybe Dysthymia, PTSD and BPD were lovingly bestowed upon me, like an unorthodox form of epigenetics.
I’m not saying that I don’t believe in astrology. It’s not as simple as that. I just think there are so many confounding variables to consider. For example:
- Scenario 1: There is no such thing as astrology other than the one described by humans. But I can’t ever know that, I think. Meh.
- Scenario 2: There is such a thing as astrology, but the more popular practices that pervade our society are sorely lacking in accuracy/only partly accurate. Maybe it’s also beyond humans to ever refine the discipline (?) to a level that all ~7.5 billion of us can be neatly sorted into 12 boxes.
- Scenario 3: There is such a thing as astrology, but the way we’re studying it is completely wrong from the get-go and we don’t know any better to correct it.
You probably think I’m a nutcase by now. Well, the “borderline” in BPD does imply borderline psychosis, so you’re not far from the truth. Hurray!
Also I’m pretty sure my antics are excusable because I’m humorous and almost philosophical (late by three days – darn!).
I was also assigned the name Shermin (王丽铭).
One of my English teachers in lower primary asked us to find out the meaning of our names. Somehow, in the mid-1990s (wow I feel old now), there wasn’t an Internet page for the meaning of the name Shermin. So I got my sister to search it up, and she got the results “Song of Joy”. Wah, nice meaning, I thought. I was born to be joyous. Maybe it’s why I love singing so much, too.
In fact I felt it was so nice that I made it many of my in-game names, including MapleStory and Gunbound. Look, it’s even in my Facebook URL.
It was only much, much later that I realised “Song of Joy” was the name of a cover by Arnold B. Sherman. Darn it, Joy escapes me once again. Le sads.
Recently I then went to Google the meaning of Shermin again.
The name Shermin is Muslim Baby Name. In Muslim the meaning of the name Shermin is: “Shy”.
Eh, what’s a non-Muslim doing with a Muslim name? Or was I born a Muslim? Or, regardless of humans’ practice of Islam, is it the truth that permeates the world, thereby allowing anyone to use their words?
Not many people believe me when I tell them I’m shy. I should tell them about the origin of Shermin.
On to my Mandarin name: 王丽铭 (Wang Li Ming).
As with so many other things, I have no clue about the origin of 王. But it means ‘king’ in Mandarin, at least in present times.
丽 could mean a variety of things. According to my mother she intended for it to convey 美丽, as in “beautiful”.
铭 comes from 铭记, as in “to engrave; to remember something deeply”.
Pretty meaningful. Except if you put my entire name together it now sounds like “King; remember my beauty”. Hell to the naw.
I don’t like my names very much. Which is why I’m going to adopt a new one – more on that in a future post.
Actually, the names of my three elder sisters form a pattern with mine.
My eldest sister is Sharon (Pinyin: Wang Li Juan). She’s 35 this year = 12 years older than me = one full Chinese Zodiac cycle. She works as a nurse.
My second eldest sister is Shawna (Pinyin: Wang Li Rong). She’s 32, working in my dad’s bus transport company.
My third eldest sister is Sheryl (Pinyin: Wang Li Wen). She’s 29 and works at a bank.
It’s not pleasant living with three elder sisters. For one it’s noisy as hell. And then, because all four of us have extremely different personalities, we don’t get along very well on most days.
Okay, to be more accurate, I can’t speak for them. But I don’t think I get along with them well. I say this because I wouldn’t trust them with the intimate details of my life (and yet I’m airing them on the Internet. Invisible audiences are strange things, yeah). I still do talk to them, of course. We talk about our dreams – literally, what we just dreamt of the night before – and laugh about it. And we don’t fight over inane things like television channels and who gets to eat the last piece of fried chicken wing.
This is a pretty optimistic, Sagittarus-like description of my sisters and I though. I think you’ll come to find in my future posts that I don’t always possess this capacity to be positive. Like a true Capricorn. Hah.
What other things follow me without my permission?
These things are common to many. Names, families, histories, identities, interpretations and meaning…
But it’s an interesting exercise in self-reflection to see what I find worthy of mention and remembrance.
I wonder if you feel the same way?
In Chapter 1, Part 2, I’m gonna spill more beans on my relationship with my family, and some beans on the ambitions and personal beliefs which have lasted through 23 years.