Sunday, October 23, 2011


Maybe it's because I'm Asian.

 We were down to the last roll of toilet paper in our house, so I ventured out to get some more. I live about five minutes from the nearest Coles, and so I headed there and bought a roll of 18 Kleenex rolls because they were on sale.

The moment I left Coles, my head started plotting my journey home. The main criteria for my path of choice? As little human contact as possible. So that I don't bump into anyone I know.

Why is that?

Imagine if you bumped into a friend at the supermarket. After the cursory greetings and small talk has dwindled, your bored mind starts to wander down to their shopping basket.

 "Hmmm. Milk. Cereal. Bread. Eggs. Oh, instant noodles. And laundry powder." - and because we are all secretly insecure bitches inside - "Look -*snigger* - he bought Home Brand."

(I love Home Brand. Some of my best buys are from Home Brand.)

Then suddenly you see the toilet rolls. The slightest scrunch, discreet yet noticeable, appears on your face. Eew, he poops.

Your friend now notices your eyes trailing into their shopping basket, judging their private life. They see you imagining them on the toilet bowl, going about their big business. They try to close the door on you, but they can't because the door is in your mind.

There is a subtle nervous swing of the body and basket away from you, and they put on their best fake smile and then hurriedly say their goodbyes, quickly heading to the checkout counters, abandoning the rest of the things that they were actually there to buy.

At least that's how it goes on in my head.

I don't know what it is. Everybody poops. That's natural. Yet somehow to me, being found buying toilet paper is like, I don't know, being discovered buying condoms. By your strict Convent nun school teacher.

Karen tells me that the Australian men here buy their condoms with a swagger. Yup, they will think, the smug smile on their faces obvious as they looked around the shop and then at the cashier, I am getting some. Look at me, everyone, I am getting laid. 

Where as if I were to buy condoms, I think I'd be more like, I'm sorry I'm having sex, unknown checkout chick. Please don't judge me.  Come on credit card, swipe, swipe, swipe! No, screw the plastic bag, oh wait a minute, double bag it!   

(Okay, so that's actually not true. I won't actually be using my credit card at all. What, you'd think I'd leave an electronic trace of me buying condoms?)

Random Memories: Eight Years Old

I'm not sure if you've experienced this as a child, when your parents send you into the shops to get the groceries?

I mean, day-to-day items are fine, right, but, you know, certain other things are not.

I remember going into the local convenience store in our Taman (suburb)and amongst the other things I was sent to get, were some urm, sanitary pads.

I remember the Indian checkout auntie glaring at me when she picked up the box of Sanitas - "Oi, boy, you no shame ar you, buying all these things?"

I looked at her blankly, not quite understanding what there was to be ashamed of. I had no idea what were in the boxes, or why I should be embarrassed about the contents.


And then there was the time when I was buying condoms from a 7-Eleven in Malaysia as a medical student for a tutorial on Sexual Health. I was with a guy friend and my sister then, and I nervously eyed the selection on display before choosing a few, hurriedly putting them on the counter.

The tudunged (head-scarfed) Malay girl behind the counter stared at the condoms first and then blinked at me incredulously for awhile, before picking them up like they had AIDS, to swipe the barcodes.

"Eee... jijiklah..." (Eew... that's gross) she said, just loud enough for the people in the next street to hear.

Her service with a scowl said it all. Rapist.

Now you see why I am scarred?

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