I have been finding old classmates on facebook lately (partly in my research work – I love how being a writer means you get to justify all manner of things as research! But I’m not pretending OK, research is very important), and I noticed that one of the Important Transitions out of the dire purgatory that is adolescence is the acquisition of cool specs.
With about 80% of the population myopic (might be different now – but this was the stat when I was in school) Singaporean kids have a corner on the spectacle market. Singapore is unrivaled in spectacular spectacle options, and yet, as 13-to-18-year-olds, we opt for the dowdiest, most awkward little frames possible. Whether round or square or what have you, they pretty much proclaim to the world that you are a Nerd. This shouldn’t actually matter in a world where nerdom is the norm, but somehow it does. Perhaps the globalization of coolness, or something pseudoacademic like that.
^Sometimes, adolescence makes you feel out of place. Alien, some would say.
Anyway, around about JC/first years of uni, suddenly everyone acquires cool specs. These are the funky harbingers of adulthood – frameless ones, and, even more audacious, colourful, or bold, or hipster specs. This was a Singaporean phenomenon before the current global hipster glasses thing, btw. Invariably, when JC seniors arrived by the bundle on teachers day, they wore cool specs. And we, the beige-uniformed masses, would stare admiringly at the sophisticated, self-assured way these specs were worn, along with (an assortment of) funky hairstyles, highlights, man-jewelry, and maybe even ang moh boyfriends with cameras in tow.
We knew that we, too, could one day be cool. That it is a matter of time before the acne clears up, the braces come off, and the experiment with contact lenses somewhat irritates our bleary paper crisis undergraduate eyes, and a pair of specs is necessary, even desirable. At this point we have several options. The loud and opaque ones? The architecture-student ones? The flashy Hong Kong movie star gold rimmed ones? Sarah Palin hot-mum specs? The possibilities are endless.
Suddenly the awkward adjustment up the bridge of the nose is a sign of urbanity and self-assurance, rather than the embarrassed apologetic gesture of the besieged mugger. Actually, it isn’t. But we’d like to think so.
- My soul doth magnify the Lord.
- And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
- Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid;
- for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
- Because he that is mighty,
- hath done great things to me;
- and holy is his name.
- And his mercy is from generation unto generations,
- to them that fear him.
- He hath shewed might in his arm:
- he hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.
- He hath put down the mighty from their seat,
- and hath exalted the humble.
- He hath filled the hungry with good things;
- and the rich he hath sent empty away.
- He hath received Israel his servant,
- being mindful of his mercy:
- As he spoke to our fathers,
- to Abraham and to his seed for ever.