Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Once a doctor told me that our memory remembered only what it wanted to. He might have been poking fun at my negligence to follow his instructions, but I agree with him that memory is a weird thing.

Take my own memory for example. Of all the events in many years past, it chooses only the more pleasant ones to remember. True, the unhappy memories are still there, but they're all blurry like faded, unloved paintings discarded to the obscurity of an attic. All due to a trait called selectiveness.

But memory as I know it doesn't just select, it also distills the past down to a handful of choice sensory remembrances, which when evoked could trigger an acute nostalgic emotion. For me, these remembrances could be a sudden stillness at noontime on a sultry day, or the rustle of a broom sweeping in the yard amid the pungent smell of burnt leaves. They all belong to the baggage I'm taking with me till the end.

Through my window I can see the opposite house painted white and green with a pot of yellow chrysanthemums blooming by the front door. I can hear birds chirping in the morning and insects chirring at night. They are just ordinary things my senses pick up everyday, yet years from now they may become one of those precious impressions my memory will have retained.

Like that doctor said, the way of memory is unpredictable, and who knows what it will choose to remember.

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