Every morning, I wake up to the sound of that dreadful alarm. I look into the mirror, with only the whirring of an electric toothbrush humming melodies to my mornings. After that, a morning shower turns everything from sluggish to frisky. My day started off slow, but I’d give it the benefit of the doubt that things may change. I am just happier that way. One could say that I was being kind to myself.
I opened the door and in came the sun rays of realization. “It’s time to begin the day,” it said. On my commute, I always pass by this roadside musician. I called him “初四脸” [Read as Chor Sei Min in Cantonese. Translates to “The 4th Day of Chinese New Year Face.” A colloquial term depicting people’s long faces on the 4th Day of Chinese New Year because that’s when everyone needs to return to work after the holidays.]
Even with a large audience recording him, he maintained a dull expression that never matched his delightful music. How I wish it was his tunes narrating my day instead. I stepped in front of the cameras and dropped my spare coins, as usual, ruining the crowd’s perfect Instagram post in the process.
At the office, gone are the days when we worked with each other. Now, everyone insists on others working for them. Senior staff shoots down good ideas claiming “it wasn’t how things worked around here.” In truth, we knew they couldn’t stand the juniors stealing their thunder.
Sometimes, I complied. The team had tight deadlines to chase, so, time conservation takes precedence over social justice for now. It was far from ideal, but it was a necessary evil for the group’s well-being.
During lunch, the working class dined in a feast while a little girl goes around selling homemade cookies. Like an overly-eager salesperson, she recited cookie poems at every table to entice people into buying. Despite the cuteness, most shook their heads to politely reject, followed by a whisper of compliments as she leaves. But this time, I decided to make a purchase just to tell her these praises. She probably didn’t understand much; nevertheless, she still gave a nod before moving on. My colleagues gave me the weirded-out look. Why would I pay someone just to compliment them?
At the stroke of 6 PM, there’d be an exodus of people from the office. Some beaming with laughter, some drained. Not wanting to be a wet blanket, I delayed my exit whilst the cheerful crowd left. It was nothing personal. Rather, just me preferring calmness after work. With the cookies in hand, I slowly made my way home. From afar, I could see Chor Sei Min still busking. The crowd never ends, but the money in his guitar case hardly ever had the same luck.
Chor Sei Min was hoping to make enough for dinner, but the people couldn’t care less. Something had to be done, hence, I photobombed the cameras and placed the cookie jar in front of him. The crowd wasn’t pleased and started shooing me away. I would’ve moved, but something caught my eyes. For once, Chor Sei Min’s expression was equally beautiful with his tunes. He gave a minor smile in return and for a moment in time, everything felt… right. It was a scene that only the beholder could understand.
That night, I laid on my bed feeling like a kid who’s just discovered how to ride a bike. Because I realised kindness became all the different identities that I adopted throughout the day. Whether it’s the active empathy of The Equalizer or the passive compassion of The Compliant, everyone did their part in bringing us closer to utopia. This isn’t a flawless story about an individual changing the world with kindness, it’s a diary of a boy who went to work one day and became different manifestations of kindness. What about The Writer you ask? Well, he wishes to share this with the world:
“There’s no k_ndness without “I” because kindness is me, kindness is you, kindness is all the identities we hold.”