Contributed by Chun Win Ee, or more affectionately known as Datuk.
It’s been a week since Long Duc, but my life has resisted returning to routines. I attempt to do what I need to do, but my focus intermittently gives way. Everything that transpired still feels like a dream, and every memory I replay like a favourite film. In those scenes it was always a dirty and dilapidated place, but that setting was just about right for meeting perfect people who could make any and every day great. It’s the most pleasant paradox of choice: picking the most enjoyable moments we shared.
I really liked the part where we woke up to breakfasts of Bahn Mi or Maggi Mee, before squeezing together on reluctant trips to school in that vintage Mercedes. Also the part where we gave piggyback rides to the kids, as well as the teaching and repeating and repeating. Or the part where we were all inept at cement-mixing, brick-laying and mural-painting. Discussing who’s the Golden Booty over lunch; complaining about how the chicken’s only 5% cooked but eating it anyway. Begging EVG to let us get sugar cane and Sam Dua puh-lease, from “just this one time” to every day. Burning bridges over bridge, guessing who’s the Merlin and giving him an Oscar. Doing the rain dance and enjoying the dismay of those who did laundry, while praying that our own won’t turn out smelly. Chasing after commando chickens over mudfields and desperate ducks plotting their own prison break. Intensely fun dance practices that ended up with only us being our own audience. Even the painful scenes where we plucked grass under the scorching sun, sweating buckets. And seeing the darkest sides of people in the finale, blinded by a 海鲜猪肉大餐 desire.
It’s been a week since Long Duc, and my days are beginning to be mindlessly busy again. In every idle moment my mind wanders, invariably finding its way to a familiar place 900km away. I let go of everything else and watch the film unfold. Such precious screenings I smile lightly and let warm fuzzy feelings linger gently, sinfully. My heart feels full. That is enough until the next idle moment. I look forward to seeing my stars of Long Duc outside my mind’s silver screen, as every time we meet it’s a ticket to a 10/10 treat.