Friday, April 20, 2007

Certifiably Nuts!

Some time back I got memed by Jordan to write Six Weird things About Myself. Now seems as good a time as any to post it.

I can't tell my right hand from my left. Honestly. If you're giving me directions and you ask me to turn left, I have to think "Which hand do I write with? So that's the right hand. Which hand is left over? So that's the left ... and I ought to turn - Damn! missed it!"

Usually I ask passengers to say "Your side" or "My side" in the car.

I thought I was the only person in the world thus afflicted, but one day I was trying to find my way to Universiti Malaya with Raman and Lorna Tee in the car (we were going for a meeting re. the first litfest) ... and it turned out neither of them knows their left hand from their right either! (Yes, we did get there ... eventually!)

I've since learned it is a form of dyslexia: no wonder I can't spell either!

(And is maybe connected to the fact that I have Attention Deficit Disorder - at least mildly.)

I once won a sporting bronze medal and it was presented to me by a king.

It was actually, not the Olympics, or the Commonwealth Games but the teacher's bicycle race during sport's day at Malay College 1986. I'm very proud to have got bronze, even though there were only three of us in the event. The Sultan of Perak (later king of Malaysia) Azlan Shah presented the medals and we'd been practicing for days to get the bow just right.

I've eaten termites.

Haven't you?

My students in Nigeria showed me how. First, wait till it rains and hundreds of termites are flying round your porch light. Place a bucket of water below the light and hit them down into it with a broom. Wash the insects in water until the wings fall of. Then fry them very gently for 20 minutes. There is no need to add either salt or oil as their bodies contain plenty of both. Delicious.

I've heard ghosts.


I was living in Meriden, near Coventry, in a brand new house which my father had built on a piece of land bought from the local council and adjacent to a large housing development. For several nights over the course of a week I was woken in the wee hours of the morning by the sound of dozens of children playing in the garden, laughing and screaming. (It sounded just like a school playground at recess time!) The sound gradually died away. When I got up to look the sound stopped and the garden and those of all the neighbours were completely deserted. I wasn't dreaming, I pinched myself very hard each time it happened. One night I could stand the suspense no longer and the moment I heard the voices I leapt to the window.

At that instant the sound cut off completely.

If it wasn't ghosts, I'm bonkers. (Possible.)

I have long conversations with imaginary people.

Usually authors, usually about the book I'm reading. Usually highly intellectual. (Of course.) Often out loud. Often extremely heated. I get angriest with Louis de Bernieres for making Captain Corelli disappear for such a long time. Ian McEwan is surprisingly good company. Annie Proulx intimidates me.

(Go on, certify me.)

I have an art gallery in my head

While I'm drifting off to sleep I often see the most incredibly beautiful, constantly shifting, patterns in vivid colours. It's just like having an excellent art gallery behind my eyes. I don't know if anyone else experiences this ... but it's an amazing gift.

So now that you think I am completely nuts, I pass this meme on to the following strange and interesting people:

Kenny Mah
Lydia Teh
Angry Medic

RULES: People who are tagged should write a blog post of 6 weird things about them as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave a comment that says ‘you are tagged’ in their comments and tell them to read your blog.


acid burn said...

your story about ghosts made my hair stand!! what a way to start the day!

YTSL said...

Wow, when Sharon Bakar puts one in her category of "strange and interesting people"...I'm actually feeling really flattered! Though, Sharon, I'm YTSL -- because those are my initials -- rather than YSTL...though I still do reckon that you mean(t) me! ;b

In which case, I think I'll respond to this meme over on my blog this Sunday. :)

sky said...

your conversation with authors--i'd like to hear them answer back.

bibliobibuli said...

ytsl - and i get confused with ytl! ystl, ytsl, told you i was dyslexic

sky - yes i must ask them if they'd mind being recorded

Dina Zaman said...

aiyoma i have barely recovered from the brochure gig and now i am tagged... ;0 ok ok will do later...

bibliobibuli said...

take your time dina. i took several weeks to pick up jordan's challenge! (or if you don't want to do it, just ignore it lah, we know about your strange ways anyway!)

Chet said...

We do?

Oh, I'm on the list, too, and below Ms D.

Thanks, Bib.

Kenny Mah said...

Annie Proulx intimidates me too. But then, I don't have conversations with her in my head...

And now, I'm hungry for fried termites. Yums.

I'm certainly strange, but I'm not sure if I can find anything interesting/weird to tell about myself. Let's see, yeah?

I might just take up your offer (to Dina, but hey) of skipping it if I can't find the time. Just did the Thinking Blogger one and that one was exhausting! :P

bibliobibuli said...

skip by all means, kenny

or if anyone else wants to do this, please pick it up

Jane Sunshine said...

Hey Sharon, I've got the 'conversation with writers' thing going on as well. That was first on my list and mine involves chatting with Zadie Smith about Gramsci et al. Nice to know someone else equally mad in you.

SecretHistory said...

Hey, I can totally relate to your first 'weird'. when someone says something in on your right, I have to think first which hand I write with and that's right and the opposite is left. It is a form of dyslexia? Do you have a name for it?

And as for sound of children playing in the night? There are many stories like that especially in many hospitals' compounds. Maybe your place of stay was once a hospital. Another thing is maybe you are like the next 'Charles Dickens' who can hear his characters from 'Pickwick Papers' talking in his head.

Jordan said...

Well, finally! Definitely worth the wait, though.

I have ADD too, so I can relate, though I never screw up left and right.

The thing about the ghosts is really spooky!

And I also see colours and patterns when I close my eyes.

Haven't eaten termites, but you never know, since most of my students are Nigerian. I'll have to ask them about that.

bibliobibuli said...

kenny - annie proulx keeps sitting on my shoulder when i'm trying to write, i'm really scared!

jane - i'm glad you chat to writers too and i'm not the only nut! i'm lucky that i now get to interview them and can have those conversations

secret history - yes, i read on several websites and forums that the left right thing is found in dyslexic people. i'm now wondering if i was dyslexic as a kid because i had a terrible problem with spelling - almost every other word was wrong when i wrote essays.

the piece of land had been a field, but i wonder if there were ever fairs there or something like that. but then again, it might just have been in my head and not something outside. i couldn't tell and maybe that was the really frightening thing. (but it has never occured again)

you didn't strike me as someone with add too, jordan. clearly you ain't hyperactive with it. anyway, have you been officially diagnosed? i haven't, but it's pretty clear to me after reading books and hanging round with my nephew.

the colours and patterns thing ... maybe it's more common than i thought??? wish i could capture those images, i'd become a famous artist

your nigerian students will know about eating termites and more besides. give them my love and tell them i miss nigeria such a lot.

gRaCe said...

i got tagged by my friend for the same title too. it was really tough for me to think up of 6 stuffs tht makes me weird. hahaha...

i think i've heard of a ghost too and ermm..seen one or two or three or.. darn scary i tell ya..shadow in a cloak moving across my room, a 'person' sitting on my chair next to my bed, sounds of coins jiggling and chains being dragged around in the middle of the night.. Brr...!

fizah said...

hey, i use that "my side" and "your side" method too when driving! haha.

animah said...

Sharon, just got an idea - how about a post on who sits on your shoulder while you write, and who would you like to sit on your shoulder while you write.
At the next book club, I'll tell you my ghost stories.

YTSL said...

Hi Sharon --

As promised -- have got my own "six weird things about myself" post up today. Hope you have fun reading it! :)

Jordan said...

Well, if you remember the six weird things I wrote about myself, one of them was that I have Tourette Syndrome, and my ADD is basically a part of that. I can be pretty hyper, I've just become really good at toning it down.

bibliobibuli said...

grace - goodness, that is spooky

animah - you know what - you could write the post (just a short one) and i can stick it up). in my case it's only annie.

guest bloggers with something intersting to say about books/writing or a question to throw out to the world are very welcome!!!!!

ytsl - great stuff. you are also certifiably bonkers.

jordan - yes, and having met you, it really surprises me! it just shows how well these things can be overcome. did you ever have to take ritalin??

Chet said...

Finally wrote mine here.

Writing them has brought back a lot of memories. Thanks for this, Sharon. And I mean it in a good way.