Of Boys & Men: A Yum Cha Session


Today, I sat down with a few of my closest friends from high school for a yum cha session. This yum cha session was long overdue, and it wasn't an easy task to gather all of us together. Work commitments and their own growing circle of acquaintances had eaten up much of their time but we finally managed to gather, sit down comfortably and just chat the night away. Just like the old days.

I realized several things during this yum cha session. While none of my friends have grown any older (thankfully), almost all of them had this weathered look; a hardened expression hidden beneath the wispy worry lines forming on their brow. It was a look which spoke of the hardships and the hours put into their respective working lives. One of my friends had deep, sunken eyebags, a product of the 6 hours of sleep he was afforded, while he toiled away at the 14 hours of work daily. It wasn't a pleasant sight to behold.

Our topics of discussion too had changed. There were still the silly, nonsensical talks of our youth (we're all still 23 after all) peppered in between sips of our teh o limau ais, but the bigger topics of the night included terms like "housing loans", "EPF funds", "shares", "mutual funds" among other strangely new subjects. I sat there with a silly smile, nodding my head at the appropriate times but not comprehending most of what was being discussed. I was, after all, just a student.

Gone were the days where we would have long discussions about video games, or the latest music on the charts. We used to 'chase the stars', as they say, and talk about celebrities and their lives. It was just the right topic to talk about when we were in high school and surrounded by idols. Tonight was different. There was no talk of games, or anything even entertainment related. Tonight was all strictly about "mutual funds" and the "cheapest car loans with lowest repayments".

Our gossip sessions now included what happened during office hours, about colleagues and their antics. We would still sometimes reminiscence about our high school friends, like we did in the past but only for a brief passing moment before going back to which colleague is having an argument with which other colleague. The office, it seems, is a very interesting place to be in, with its plethora of topics to talk about. We laughed very hard about something, but I cannot for the life of me remember what it was.

Even the topic of girls had become a tricky one to maneuver around. Where we would once compare the prettiest girls on our Facebook friend list, it had become something tamer. One would expect the conversation to deviate to girls every 7 seconds, but it would leave the single ones pretty much depressed. The topic of girlfriends is also a sensitive one, as not all of us had a girlfriend and those who had girlfriends were kind enough to not brag about their happy, non-single life.

There was a lull in the conversation, possibly a first. One friend pulled out his phone and started fiddling around with it. Put that thing away, we said. I need to reply this email real fast, was his reply and he continued fiddling with it, fingers tap-tapping rapidly on the screen. We looked at each other, shrugged and continued sipping at our iced tea. Nothing is more important than replying a client's email at 1 AM in the morning.

I checked my phone; 1:34 AM and involuntarily yawned. It surprised me, because I'm usually a night owl and could stay up to the wee hours of the morning. My heavily eyebagged friend yawned too, probably because yawning is proven to be very contagious and we called for the bill. There was the usual pushing around of the bill and as to who would be treating everyone like we did as students, but tonight, we were fully aware that anyone of us could easily pick up the bill. Except me, of course, because I was still a student.

Today, I finally realized that something among our group had changed. In a few more years, we'll be discussing politics, and about our children and how expensive it is to financially maintain a family. Today, we had become adults.

Not me, of course. I'm still a student.


You Might Also Like


Popular Posts

Follow me on Facebook

Coming soon