The Bait For A Debate

Sex. It is always the best bait for a debate. Bring up sex and their attention perks up. They will drop what they are doing and drop their pants if there’s a chance for sex, I imagine. It’s so easy to get the guys talking or more accurately, bragging about their sexual prowess. When it is quiet and no one has anything interesting to contribute, just mention ‘sex’ and the whole room is alive once more. Numerous debates ensued whenever the old man brought up the subject about sex. Who has a long dong – the longest dong? My next blog should be titled The Three-hour Bong with the Long Dong. Bet the readership will skyrocket!

It is just, oh, so predictable. Boys will be boys but old men? Why, they still think they are young boys. Why do old men still get excited when the discussion is about sex? Maybe they are still horny despite their physical limitations. Or, maybe they are simply reminiscing about their youth. Just let go, guys; it’s something we can’t control. It’s as certain as day follows night and as inevitable as having that “gotta go” feeling which comes with our ageing bladder. Always, the old man will be bombarded with a litany of responses and without fail, the matter of their first love will crop up.

Sex? It ought not be about sex. Now, if you think of it as making love…aaaahhh.

Love is a many-splendored thing!

Why is our first love so unforgettable for so many? Was it during an age of innocence or was it the idealism about falling in love for the first time? Was it the first-time emotion that can’t be forgotten rather than the person? Feelings…nothing more than feelings.

Feelings may not be positive, of course. Maybe for some, their first love meant a disastrous guilt trip or a sense of abandonment for the first time – an innocence lost – that could never be forgotten or a betrayal of trust that could not be forgiven – especially if one’s virginity was sacrificed (or gifted) for that love?

Rolling down on my face…
Trying to forget my feelings of love.

Sex is way overrated. He did too many three-hour sessions… maybe you haven’t experienced it and that’s why you’re still intrigued.

Three hours? It took him three hours to convince the partner to agree to do it!

Three hours? Prostrate (sic) problems? A blockage?

Three hours? He kept looking at his watch?

Three hours? Did he have to make coffee mid-way to keep himself awake?

“His trigger got jammed,” said another.

Wo-wo-wo feelings
Woe-woe-woe feelings
Again in my arms….

Why hold a woman when you want your fingers to be free?

I worry for him sometimes. First it was his unverified long dong, now it’s his imaginary three hour sessions! Sigh.

Hah, he has gone quiet. Perhaps he can’t find his three-hour recording; such a long session needed several C-60 cassette tapes.

See what I mean? Bring up sex and they can’t stop talking. Bring up sex and they will think of love. Think of love and some will think of their first love.

For all my life I’ll feel it
I wish I’ve never met you, girl
You’ll never come again

Some are happily married, of course. Those are the lucky ones. The old man is one such lucky guy too. Come next month, he and His Mrs will be married for 42 years. “Lucky?” he asked. He said it has nothing to do with luck. But of course, he is wrong. Love needs luck, unless you believe in the son of Venus. Cupid, whose playful habit of shooting arrows at innocent hearts, continues to be responsible for bad match-making. Today’s rate of divorce only excites lawyers.

“Sure, you need luck to meet the right person,” I said.

“You’re dead meat if you marry the wrong person!”

Can you imagine the lonely nights by yourself? You’re downstairs bogged down with regrets whilst she is upstairs, oblivious of your sorrow. It isn’t just the long flight of stairs that physically separates you from her, but also the stifling chasm between two strong minds that won’t connect due to their utter incompatibility in logic and jarring philosophical mismatch. Where once they were all over each other like a rash, they are now planets apart like earth and the dark side of the moon, both facing the same direction but never seeing each other. Like a broken synapse, there will be no direct communication and understanding between them, even if they tried their darnedest. Yet, like the moon and earth, they are good together. Earth benefits from the moon in terms of time, weather, tides and migration cycles of some animals. Shielding earth from strong solar winds, its magnetic field helps make it a more liveable place. Tides helped with evolution, apparently, as early forms of life were able to migrate to land. The moon’s gravity slows down earth’s rotation, turning our time into 24 hours a day. Yeah, earth is better off with the moon.

In spite of their many differences, they are good together.

I stole a quick glance at the old man. He was day-dreaming at his desk, not looking at the two big computer screens in front of him. Realising I was looking in his direction, he promptly straightened his back and busied himself at the keyboard. “Don’t disturb me please. I’m flat out like a lizard drinking,” he said. Such a weakling, I thought. People who pretend to work hard when they are being observed aren’t honest with themselves. I simply walked away. Thinking I had switched my attention elsewhere, he helped himself to a cracker biscuit and wiped his oily hands on his cardigan. I wasn’t quite sure which was stranger, to see a grown man wiping his dirty paws on his clothes or him wearing a thick cardigan in the middle of summer. A frigid winter in the US and Europe and a cold Adelaide in the middle of summer.

“Global warming my arse,” he said.

The old man said love and marriage are two different things. Love may lead to marriages but marriages often break up. Couples from arranged marriages sometimes end up in love. His parents who were match-made had a rocky marriage of sixty seven years till death parted them. Love is the enabler for a marriage but not the glue. The glue requires composites such as respect and trust. Love is just a feeling and feelings do not often last. Lasting marriages need commitment and compromise. It is shared experiences and true friendship that will continue to bond a couple even if the other ingredients have waned. The old man still looks up to his old man for his staying power and by that, he didn’t mean his dad’s sexual prowess, although they did produce eight children and four miscarriages in quick succession. His old man was born poor, in Shaoxing, China. Penniless, he arrived in Penang like many of his peers, literally with a shirt on his back and not much else. “From such dire beginnings, he scrubbed up quite well,” he said about his old man. He struggled for yonks but he got lucky. He met the woman who was destined to be his wife – in case you’re confused, she is the old man’s mother. No doubt, the woman had a suspicious mind – forever accusing her hubby of this and that, complaining a laoban should work in the business – she did not understand he was working on the business – and many a time made him as mad as a box of frogs with her tirades about missing money in the till. He was not the type to whinge about his bad luck though, not that he ever said marrying her was bad luck – he would not cry even if a shark bit him.

“That’s the power of love?” I asked.

Feelings like I’ve never lost you
And feelings like I’ve never have you
Again in my life…..

The old man’s mother had a suspicious mind. Fast approaching the centenary of her birth, her brain is starting to exhibit signs of dementia. A suspicious mind mixed with dementia is a cocktail of immense tragedy for her ageing children. None of them seem to be able to accept that their once loving and caring mother can turn into a delusional and toxic mess. She can’t help it anymore, dementia has seen to that. The sane ones will know not to engage and avoid the hurt from her comments. The less stoic ones will be forever hurt and cannot accept the ridiculous accusations. “I hope you’ll have the sense to deflect or walk away when that happens,” I said. My unsolicited advice produced a deep furrow on his forehead and not much else. Maybe there was a soft ‘grrrr’ but that could have been from his dog. There is a noticeable increase in paranoia and more frequent episodes of her things going missing – not because they had grown legs or somebody had stolen them but due to the more mundane but equally stressful sudden memory loss.

We made her our matriarch. Treated her like one with our filial piety. We allowed her that unwarranted sense of entitlement. No use regretting it now! And we sure can’t blame her for being self absorbed and believing she did everything right for us. She surely tried her best to be a good mother and that’s more than good enough. Poverty deprived her of basic education, yet she fought for us; made sure we all went overseas to further our education. We are forever thankful for our education, without which we would still be plebs toiling for a master and not knowing what freedom is. Lest I forget, she was always there for me, except for a few years in my mid-teens when the mahjong bug got to her. Reverent, strong, steadfast and thrifty, we never went a day without a meal even though we were a big family of eight hungry mouths.

The matriarch and her ladies-in-waiting

Sex. The bait for a debate about sex, gender and the trans. People are so woke these days; we can get cancelled for mentioning words like ‘mother’ and referring to someone as a ‘she’. It used to be so simple but today, we are told sex is no longer binary. I woke up one day recently and discovered a large segment of society sees sex is not just male or female; someone can feel they are both or different! I get it. We should not be marked by our sex organs. Happiness for the transgender. Happiness for the creepy too for the male voyeur can simply claim to be a woman and enter women’s spaces such as public toilets. It is amazing to see how the minorities have the power to dictate this debate. It won’t be long before we see all-gender bathrooms in public places. Maybe I am wrong. Maybe the transgender are no longer the minority. Does erasing sex as a legal category reduce gender-based bias and inequality in our society? I don’t think so. Women have always had power. Women can be strong as men can be weak. It is not about our gender; it is about our will and spirit.

For me, a woman is someone who has ovaries and a man is someone who can’t be pregnant with a child. History is written by victors, it is said. Yet, women have always featured prominently, even at one of the earliest moments in human history. I used to believe the Chinese had the earliest written texts, you know, Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching, The Analects and The Doctrine of the Mean by Confucius. But no! Our earliest writings were by a woman. Enheduanna was the first known writer in all of human history, around 2300 BC. She was the daughter of Sargon who conquered the cities of Sumer, believed to be the oldest civilisation in this world. Installed by her father as High Priestess at the Temple of Nanna, her writings were a thousand years earlier than Genesis, assuming it was Moses who wrote it and fifteen hundred years before Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey were written. Much of her early works were about Inanna, the goddess of love, fertility and war to the Akkadians, Assyrians and Babylonians. The religious mythology of these races had a significant influence on the Old Testament, e.g. the story of Noah’s Ark and the flood reflected the many older flood myths of Mesopotamia. Enheduanna, a woman who should be much revered at least in literary circles is hardly remembered today. But, women are well represented; we have great writers in recent history, powerful women such as Jane Austen, Enid Blyton, Agatha Christie, J.K. Rowling, and many others.

To rule men – usually the stronger of the sexes physically- women had to be stronger in mind and spirit; they had to be strongest in their resolve, discipline, tenacity and the brains to outfox the schemers. China had Wu Zetian, the only female emperor and Hua Mulan, made famous recently by the eponymous movie and Empress Dowager Cixi who held power for 47 years. Previously a male god, Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy. changed into a female form so that she could be more revered. The British Empire had Queen Elizabeth II, a figurehead who didn’t wield real power yet held the fallen empire’s 57 colonies and territories mostly together as a commonwealth. A woman highly respected for her charity work, Elizabeth II was the longest-serving monarch in British history. Any monarch who reigned over a country for 70 years without losing their head deserves admiration. Power to that woman indeed, soft power that it was. In the Bible, we have the Virgin Mary to shock us in awe of her magical powers. Humans need miracles and what better miracle than for a woman to give birth to a child without ever having sex. Could the authors of the Bible have been woke? We don’t need your sperm! I was intrigued to read more about her powers. But, I was disappointed. A thick book, the Bible does not say a lot about the mother of Jesus. She is mentioned on only three other occasions – at the wedding where her son turns water into wine – a deed I would have been severely punished by my dad, had I surreptitiously substituted whisky for Chinese tea; at a sermon when she attempts to see her son; and of course, she is there at his foot when he was in great pain and despair.

Earlier this week, the old man and His Mrs watched Tar, a movie about a composer/conductor of the Berlin Phil, one of the oldest orchestras in the world and perhaps the most acclaimed. Cate Blanchett deserves all the accolades she gets. What a fine female actor she is! It is amazing that her small country can produce such female giants in the film industry – the other is Nicole Kidman. The old man thoroughly enjoyed the story which allowed a viewer a rare glimpse into the world of classical music and an insight into the workings of a professional orchestra. The story of the lead character in the movie, Lydia Tar, is about a distinguished woman conductor in the male-dominated world of orchestral conducting. Currently in the US, there are no women chief conductors among the top 25 orchestras. What does it take to be a maestro? You need to be a musical genius, a strong personality with faultless time-keeping and inspirational zest. One who needs to be powerful and strong on the podium to gel everyone together and convince them of the musical vision and hopefully realise that goal together – a challenging task in a top orchestra that is populated by the best players who have their own egos and musical interpretations. None of those attributes are the domain of men, so will the next woman maestro stand up please?

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