Latest TODAY column: My Vin Diesel Mom
As I write this, my 60-something, just-retired-teacher mother is traipsing with a tour group, through Rohtang Pass, 3,790m above sea level, in India.
This is the same woman who, two years ago, fractured her ankle trekking in some remote village in Vietnam, and had to be carried in a makeshift stretcher by four strong men from the mountains to the nearest village hospital to be X-rayed and treated.
She then had to take an overnight train to Hanoi (with a chaperone as she could not walk), where she received further treatment in a bigger hospital, and then was flown back to Singapore to an awaiting ambulance that took her to Tan Tock Seng Hospital for surgery.
The scar from the stitches is still visible, and she still has metal pins in her ankle.
And now, she is in India, on some mountain.
My Vin Diesel Mom
As I write this, my sixtysomething, just-retired-teacher mother is traipsing with a tour group, through Rohtang Pass, 3790m above sea level, in India.
This is the same woman who, two years ago, fractured her ankle trekking in some remote village of Vietnam, and had to be carried in a makeshift stretcher by four strong men, from the mountains to the nearest village hospital to be x-rayed and treated.
She then had to take an overnight train to Hanoi with a chaperone (as she was unable to walk), where she could receive further treatment in the bigger hospital there, and then flown back to Singapore to an awaiting ambulance that took her straight to Tan Tock Seng Hospital for surgery.
The scar from the stitches is still visible, and she still has her metal pins in her ankle to this day.
And now, she is in India, on some mountain.
Actually, her exact words in her SMS were, “I am now at Rohtang Mountain Pass, 3790m. We took a scooter round part of mountain. Good fun.”
Make that, in India, on a scooter on some mountain.
My first thoughts were: that’s some solid mobile coverage, if she could send an sms from this mountain.
My next thoughts were: she doesn’t have a Class 2 motorbike license!
Being the knowledgeable Singaporean that I am, I googled “Rohtang Pass, India” because I had no idea where it was. The search results were not very comforting, because one of the entries was a news headline from The Times of India, dated October 14th: “300 people rescued from Rohtang Pass”.
That is why, when I see my three-year-old daughter scale the window grills, or my one-year-old son launch himself off my bed, I am not surprised any more. They got it all from grandma.
No wonder she was suspiciously vague with the details when we asked her where she was heading this holiday. “India, lah,” was all we were told. I think she wanted us to think it was some leisurely tour conducted in a big aircon tour bus.
Oh, did I also mention that she did some scuba diving in Kota Kinabalu with my youngest brother on some TV travel show?
I do not know where she finds all this energy. I get tired just playing a late night of Halo 2 online on my Xbox, let alone mountain trekking.
To be fair, online gaming is another kind of extreme sport. Okay, you do it sitting in the living room sofa in your pyjamas, at 2 am in the morning, and you don’t sweat a lot, but it is still hardcore, ok? I mean, my thumbs are totally worn out from all that running about and killing my friends online.
Granted, it was my computer soldier doing all the running and killing, but I felt tired even watching him do it.
On the release date of Halo 2 itself, we gave each other looks and were saying things like “tonight hah? We are meeting online, right?” and “You got yours yet?” and “Your wife letting you play or not?”.
Other men meet at pubs to drink themselves under the table, we were making appointments to meet online and shoot the crap out of each other with rocket launchers.
We were particularly looking forward to the Deepavali holiday, not only because of its profound cultural and religious significance in our multiracial society, but also because we knew that we could game late on Deepavali Eve. The only decent gaming time we sad adult geeks have are holiday eves.
So we gathered online on Wednesday night, introduced ourselves to some friends of friends, made fun of each other’s gamertags (“eh, who’s ‘sharkbite’ hah?”), then proceeded to pummel each other with every known human and alien weapon and vehicle in the Halo 2 universe.
We giggled whenever someone jumped into a virtual room only to meet three other guys waiting to shoot him from three directions. And tittered when someone else got kung-fu-ed with the butt of an SPG assault rifle. And screamed for help when one of us was being chased by four members of the other team.
Occasionally, a wife would pop her head out of the bedroom door, and chastise one of the husbands for talking too loud or letting the machine gun fire happen at too loud a volume. Or a girlfriend needed to be walked home. Or one of the guys had to take a Panadol for his headache. But that’s just the lot of macho commando men on an online killing spree.
Then by 3am, we had to drop out of the game because it is hard to be engaged in such extreme military combat when you are dozing off in your sofa, drool dripping on your controller.
Now if I can only convince my mom to take up something less extreme than her mountain holidays, like play Halo 2 online. I am sure she would kick ass in one of my games. At least then I only have to worry about her being blown up by a well-aimed rocket, and not fracturing another ankle on some mountain.
mr brown is the accidental author of a popular website that has been documenting the dysfunctional side of Singapore life since 1997. He is what gaming communities call Frag Bait, for his profound skill in being such an easy kill.