Last night I watched a play in the Malaysian Playwrights series, called A Goldfish Tale. I was already feeling bad after coming back from the hospital but since the tickets were already bought and all, I just went anyway, with my friend Jody and his mom. Due to the mental and emotional state I was in at the time, I didn't think I would be able to concentrate on the show but I did, and it a really painful experience.

It's the story of a boy having to come to terms with his dying grandfather, squabbling aunts who are only worried about their inheritance, the distance between him and his dad, and his own aspirations to start a new life away from his family with an American work visa. A story about growing up.

While obviously not an exact replica of my family but I can relate to a lot of what's going on, and it touched a lot of sensitive nerves in me to the point I was nearly in tears.

That's the thing with the local playwirights. The stories they tell are so close to home that it's sometimes painful to watch cos you have seen and lived through those experiences. The last local play i saw, 'Stories for Amah' had a similar impact, but not quite as strong as this. That one was about the identity crises of the Eurasian heritage, of which I am one myself.

It's not like watching something like 'Taming of the Shrew' or 'The Importance of being Earnest' where everything is set in a distant land and era and it just all seems like a fairy tale.

If anything, watching 'Goldfish' made me feel even worse, which is in fact a HUGE compliment to the playwright, Choong Chi-Ren, and the whole production crew. It is taught that if your story/direction creates an emotional response of any kind in your audience, it means you've succeeded as a storyteller.

My Goldfish Tale