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Start of new month & new week & (slow start to) new day.

January was a great month but last Saturday I got upset by Bian Chan’s fatuous piece on Salinger in the Straits Times. Not sure if he’s an idiot or he just interviewed a bunch of idiots but the piece comes across as saying that Salinger is too ‘quintessentially American’ to impact Singaporeans though Catcher was the required reading of pretentious wannabe intellectuals who now admit it doesn’t do anything for them.

To quote Gwee Li Siu (whose FB rant I only saw after I calmed down–somewhat)

Can I take this chance to say how shocked I am with ST Life!’s way of compiling responses? It’s one thing to include varying opinions on Salinger; it’s another to include people who clearly DIDN’T read his books and have an opinion!

He puts it better than I do. In fact just reading what he wrote calmed me down and now I’m going to put it behind me.

But first I just want to say though that ‘red hot rage’ doesn’t describe it for me. What I felt was more like an icy cold rage—lightheaded, dizzy and seeing light shards.

I’ve learned two things from this:

1) The Glass family was ‘my’ family for years.
I don’t think I would have survived adolescence without J D Salinger’s written assurance that I wasn’t the only one feeling like the only one.

Thanks, Li Siu, for doing the same thing for me on Saturday.

2) Road rage. I never understood it till now. I’m a happy driver. Someone rear-ended me at a light once & we ended up chatting about my old school which his wife & daughter were both from (yes, he paid for the damage).
But on Saturday after reading the article I was ready to smash the writer’s face in/gouge his eyes out/choke him on his scrotum.

No, it doesn’t make sense at all I know that now.

But still, I’m going to make February a good month for me by staying away from the ST Life section!


2 Responses

  1. Again, you’re welcome, Ovidia — and it’s Li Sui. I did think that, in its rush, ST Life! asked all the wrong people (save a couple) to comment. Why didn’t it ask the generation most directly affected by Salinger’s books? To then turn around and say “We Asians dun get Salinger” is just bad argument.

    I so hate it when people have ultimately no reason to write a negative obituary. Your description of “icy cold rage” was how I felt too — albeit in a smaller dose!

    Take care!

  2. Horrible. But then again you know how *seriously* the ST takes arts-related journalism /rolleyes

    Thanks goodness we have the internet, is all I can say.

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