The City of Angels

I mean that quite literally of course. Los Angeles.

I loved California. I still do. It stole my heart in a way that Chicago never did. To paraphrase a popular song, I Left My Heart in Southern California. (yeah, yeah I know, San Fran is actually in Norcal) Well, I sure did. The eternal sunshine on the pavement, the little cafes at the sidewalk, the beaches! The long, long freeways crisscrossing each other, high and low, dusty grey lanes that went on and on for hours and hours. The almost absolutely perfect weather.

Though back then I didn’t know that! About eight months into living in the US, I still had adjustment issues. I wondered why kids were so loud, why people addressed each other by their first names, why no one automatically assumed the teachers were right. I swore up and down that I would always love Singapore more than the US. I took perverse pride in maintaining my accent even when my sister lost hers.
But little by little my heart was won without me even knowing. There was a lot for a kid to love about the US. Firstly, (and to me, most importantly) there was NO HOMEWORK ON WEEKENDS. In Singapore they used the weekend as an excuse to give you more homework, because everyone knows more homework means better grades and better grades mean better students. At least that’s how it worked in Asia. The first time a teacher said “oh I forgot I can’t give you homework, it’s Friday!” I think my mouth fell open.

The TV channels! I mentioned it in the previous chapter but it was so huge it me as a kid that I’m mentioning it again. There were even MORE things to watch in LA. The cartoons there were to watch! Batman The Animated Series, Animaniacs, King Arthur, Prince Valiant, Goof Troop, Talespin…the list goes on and on. They didn’t have this kind of variety or quality in Singapore, no sirree. And that was just the cartoons! They had Star Trek : The Next Generation and even weird stuff like Mystery Science Theater 3000. My parents could never understand why I was so taken with that show but I loved it. I mean, a guy and two crazy robots watching old black and white films and talking crap about them? Not every episode was good but those that were were golden.

For a nerdy kid like me, the sheer amount of fantasy novels in stores was amazing. I wasn’t just limited to Dragonlance anymore. I could pick and choose from any number of titles! And oh, wonder of wonders, ADULTS were also buying them! Amazing. My cup had runneth over most assuredly.

It was an open, caring, warm and friendly place. Oh, not all the time of course. I was subject to racist slurs and bullying as well (more on that later). I can remember the exact first time someone was racist to me – a pretty blond haired girl named Bridget near the swings at school shooting me an icy look and saying something about my piggy eyes and yellow skin and her brown-haired friend (not as pretty, but definitely not as racist) gasping in shock and saying “Bridget! How could you say that!”

And so even though I said I loved Singapore and I hated America, things were changing in ways that I could never have foreseen. The environment changes us, and that is often something that we don’t really have a say in. Kids are like sponges, they take in everything. I began to be acculturated to the US almost against my will.

School there was much different from the upper middle class, rarefied and educated atmosphere of the Chicago Lab Schools. It was more…real, for lack of a better word. The kids were rough, they spoke their minds, they were genuine. They said what they meant and did what they wanted to. I remember a tall, bespectacled Jewish girl (Leah, I think her name was) once turning to me and saying “Ti’An, you are weird” to which I replied with “thank you.”

Oh yeah, and no one could ever pronounce my name, not in the two years and nine months that I was there. Everyone (especially the teachers) was always so polite and apologetic and I never minded. I was actually deeply touched that they tried so hard but I didn’t know how to tell them at that time.

My time at Woner Elementary was probably the most fun I had in school all my life. The work was so easy I had often completed it before the teacher had finished talking. Yes, I read the textbook and did the problems during the lesson itself – nerdy Asian kid for the win!
We had a rule in class where if you finished your work early you could go to the back of the class and read whatever you wanted. I must have read every book in the book bin twice over. It was quality stuff too – the Magic School Bus, the Chronicles of Prydain, Judy Blume and others.

And the lunchbox! I gotta tell you about the lunchbox.

So we were supposed to a book report on Dr Mr Henshaw, and one of the assignments was to make a lunchbox alarm. (If I’m not mistaken this is an assignment that is still given in American elementary school today) Anyway, so yeah, nerdy Asian kid, gotta get another A right? But I’ve got two left hands when it comes to arts and crafts. What to do?

Dad to the rescue. He whipped up some kind of contraption from a discarded alarm clock and managed to attach it to my makeshift lunchbox. If you pulled the lid up it would go off, and boy was it LOUD. Well, the lunchbox was done – time to take it to school.

The kids loved it. Even the teachers were amused. One day during lessons a girl (oh wait, it was the brown haired girl from earlier!) reached over and tugged the lid up, setting it off in the middle of class. It was a riot. No one did stuff like this in Singapore, that’s for sure.

I loved the textbooks in the US and I would read them cover to cover before going to class. Yes, more nerdom. But I couldn’t help myself! They were just so interesting and informative and they had stories and pictures and questions and…not like the textbooks in Singapore, which were structured more along the lines of turn to page 57 and do questions 1-7. I particularly loved the History one, which had myths and fairytales from all over the world. My early love of myths, legends and King Arthur had found fertile ground.

At this point my father’s family wanted him to go to China to do some business with them. My paternal grandfather was a bigtime (for Southeast Asia at least) biscuit maker and some of my uncles and aunts wanted him to go along and help out. So he did. I was pretty broken up about it at that time but I didn’t even know…it’s sometimes hard for kids (and often, adults) to realize what they are really feeling.
Someone else did though. My school principal, James Finston. There was a day in school where something set me off and I really turned on the waterworks. I cried so much that the homeroom teacher (A Mrs Yamaguchi if I recall) got so cheesed off she asked my seatmate, a plump girl named Clarissa, to take me to see the principal.

He listened to me carefully, politely and gravely and told me that even though I was unhappy that my Dad left that I just couldn’t cry like that anymore. At that point in time I was so deep in my tears that my conscious thoughts were more along the lines of “yeah, whatever” but I think I was also touched that he took the time to talk to me like that.

Now you’re going to expect me to tell you that Clarissa was a pretty girl. Yes she was. Satisfied? She was also the first ever girl to give me a Valentine’s Day card. I wish I could tell you that I have the card now but I don’t – I have no idea what happened to it. But I can remember the moment when she shyly gave it to me with two hands and my confused expression as I took it. Oh my God I was such an idiot when I was twelve! Clarissa, wherever you are, thank you and I’m sorry I never gave you back one in return.

What else happened at Woner Elementary? I sucked at kickball and no one ever picked me for their team. It was ok, I would just read my fantasy novels. I hung around the teachers and wondered why they never talked to me – it was because I was supposed to talk to the other kids! I sat by myself and tried to design my own games seated at the corner of the stairs.

I think after a while some of the boys got curious and actually came over to play them with me. I was all blasé and “well yeah I guess we can play” but inside I was ecstatic. Which kid wouldn’t be, if people played the games he designed? I had this wargame that I based on Military Madness/Warsong and me and two other kids had a great time playing it.

Which led to another of my favorite memories of the US. Every week at Woner there was a mini-ceremony in which they called up a random kid and presented him or her with an award for something he or she had done. Try finding this in Asia. Week after week I just dawdled at the back of the class lines, not paying a whole lot of attention. I mean, whenever they did this back home it was just boring speech after boring speech in the hot sun until we could go back to class, right?

Until one day my name was called. I couldn’t quite believe it. I got up on stage in front of all the kids and a beaming James Finston presented me with a piece of paper to “Kain Highwind, (first names comes first in the US!) for integrating into a new school” I guess the teachers had seen me gaming with the other kids. Standing there on the stage with all the applause around me, I didn’t know what to say or do or feel. I was so happy but I didn’t know how to express it, so I mumbled something and then I went back to my place at the back of the row. But inside I was beaming.

Among my other exploits in elementary school, I managed to feed a Jewish kid (one of the two guys who was gaming with me) pork, which is another of the more heinous of my childhood crimes. It was barbequed meat from a Chinese store and I honestly did not know it was pork. Sorry about that Allan.

Oh, and the choir! There was a school choir and I was in it. Actually the whole class was in it, you didn’t get a choice in the matter. The choirmaster was this serious looking fellow with a beard who took music very seriously indeed (I would learn later in life that most people who choose music as a career were like this) but managed to make it extremely entertaining for us kids.

What did we sing? Disney songs. We were singing Under the Sea that year and I enjoyed it a great deal. I had always been quite musically inclined even back in Singapore (despite certain early disastrous piano lessons) and I really appreciated being given the chance to sing.
I wasn’t the only one to enjoy California. My Dad certainly seemed to enjoy being part of the Halloween committee in charge of building a haunted house. He became a house husband, taking care of us, bringing us to school and the library, cooking food and generally being a caretaker.

Ah, Halloween. My child self would have so loved to dress up but he was too shy and reserved to do so. My sister wasn’t though. No, she LOVED Halloween. She told me that later in life that was why she got really into cosplay (a sentiment shared by many cosplayers, I’m certain) She was a fairy princess one day and an elf the next and the candy? It was just a bonus. The costumes were where it was at.
You’re probably wondering what kind of friends I made in the US. I didn’t have many – being a shy introvert who read one too many books will do that to do – but there’s one I should mention.

David was a tall, lanky kid with glasses and we went around everywhere. I think at that time I was really into Piers Anthony’s Xanth novels (everyone has a Xanth phase) and that was what we talked about while wandering around the school at recess. Everyone joked at how we looked like brothers – even though he had brown hair and I had black. I think he even came over to my house once. We definitely went to the arcades together at one point. I think he was my closest friend in the States though I didn’t realize it at that time. All I longed for was C and C, who were far away back home.

There weren’t many other friends in school. Though there was a Spanish kid named Fabio who was also a transfer from Woner Elementary. We sat next to each other in the same computer class in and after a while we became sorta kinda not-really friends. I can remember him explaining Spanish curse words to me once, and I felt a sense that I had been taken into his confidence somehow.

Looking back over the years I can see that maybe I would have wanted to make more friends but I think that when I was there it was just all too foreign for me to accept. Kids from different cultures make friends in vastly different ways. I always felt a bit…distant? It’s hard to explain. Like I wanted to be better friends with everyone but I didn’t know how. Maybe it was my parents’ own lack of friends affecting me in ways that I didn’t realize, or the new environment, or my childhood shyness – most probably all of the above. I’m sorry guys. Especially to that black kid who was so keen to show off his karate moves in front of me that day at the quad at recess. I think we would have been good friends.

There were friends around the block where we stayed though – faculty housing just a ways from the main UCLA campus. There’s no space to talk about all of them but I will mention one.

Jennifer Birks was at Woner with me and I think she may be the first girl I ever liked (without realizing it at that time of course) My mental image of her is always her rocketing into our living room, giggling and talking without realizing that she had popped her bubblegum into her long brown hair. “the girl with the flyaway bubblegum hair” my mother said of her, and she was right.

We were kind of close. I was very into Shadowrun on the SNES at that time I can remember playing it with her quite a bit. She would always pronounce Kitsune’s name wrong – actually, so did I. We sat on this huge radiator near where my apartment was with the trees above and the stucco wall behind us and talked about everything and anything. Even today I can still remember sitting there with her, her infectious smile as she listened to me and the way she slipped off her seat and sped off home with the knowledge we would do this tomorrow.

She tried to get me out my nerdy Asian shell. Or maybe she was just being her usual vivacious and cheerful self. She would make jokes about “I vant to drink your Bud” (Budweiser beer, that is) and her favorite phrase was “well excuse ME for living!” whereupon you were supposed to say “It’s alright, just don’t do it again.” I resisted and resisted until one day just for the heck of I gave in and said the right words. She was pretty happy and told me how I finally got it, jumping up and down with her brown hair flying this way and that.

I actually started crying writing this. I think that my younger self loved her more than I ever knew back then. Eventually she moved away but I still have this letter that she left me. I never wrote back to her because…well, you’ll see why.

Yvonne was another girl that I knew. We carpooled with her on the way to school but the extent of my interaction with her was playing charades with her and her mother. Which was quite fun! But I think that we were just too different. I was into video games and fantasy novels and reading and she was into…I have no idea actually, the passage of so many years has dulled my memory somewhat. She was a very pretty girl though.

You’ve no doubt noticed at this point that I am mentioning pretty girls. Or rather that ever girl I mention is pretty. Well, that’s because I hit puberty in the States, and puberty is where…do I need to spell it out for you? Of course as a little Asian kid I didn’t quite notice it myself, and if I did I would have been mortified. What? Me? Interested in girls? IMPOSSIBLE.

But hormones had become their steady advance and there was no stopping them. For about a decade later back in Singapore I would wonder just why I (unlike almost all other guys around me) didn’t usually find Asian females as attractive as their Caucasian counterparts (except maybe for Indians and Japanese) Then one day it hit me and I slammed my palm into my forehead. Because I hit puberty in the States!

Today I am happy to relate that I find all females beautiful (because they are!) But there was also a long time in which I had a marked predilection for blue-eyed busty blondes. Sigh. Curse you Budweiser and your subliminal advertising!

We took a short holiday back to Singapore at around this time. I was so excited to be back in Singapore that the first thing I did was rush to the phones and call up my friends and say “hey guess where I’m calling from?” I called C & C once a month in the US but it really wasn’t the same. I wanted to see them and play with them and have it be like old times.

I managed to make it back for Connor’s 11th birthday party and it was a blast. We played with Super-Soakers and ran around screaming (well I didn’t scream, I was far too well-behaved for that) and generally had a great time. Then we had cake and ice-cream and went back to his room and played some more. He had a lot of other friends over (more than I had that’s for sure) but I was always confident that I would be his “bestest buddy” forever.

It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows, far from it. My mother was worried that having already having terrible Chinese before I left for the US, I would have even worse Chinese when I got back. Her way of fixing this problem was to get me to read an introductory Chinese text and hit me with a cane every time I got a word wrong. Despite majoring in education and pedagogy she didn’t seem to realize that that wasn’t a very effective method to teach a child anything.

She would beat me until I got through counting one to one hundred in Chinese. My Chinese at that time was so bad I couldn’t even say the numbers right and by the time I had gotten to a hundred I had been hit over fifty times. I was bathed in sweat, crying, with snot dribbling from my nose, before the torture was over.

Obviously by this time something was quite, quite wrong with my mother. Even the most rulebound, strict, cane-wielding Asian mothers have limits. But my Dad was in China at this time and I accepted this as just par for the course. She said that my eldest aunt often beat her children much more! (About eighteen years later I would discover that that was indeed true, but that their father also stopped her before she went totally nuts.)

Despite that, it was a good trip home. I looked up and I saw the blue of the evening sky filter through the casuarina trees and I was happy.
Halfway through my time in LA I was ready for 6th grade, which meant transferring to Ralph Waldo Emerson Middle School. It was pretty different from Woner Elementary but I had already gotten my sea legs back there and I made the transition quite easily. I do have to mention one teacher though.

Of all the schoolteachers I’ve known in my life, Mrs Raleigh stands out. When I first saw her I understood what writers meant when they spoke of a “handsome woman.” She was a tall black lady who seemed born to be a schoolteacher. Learned and wise, firm and authoritative but no martinet. She had a warmth to her that I think everyone in the class felt, even those who heckled her (as 6th grade kids are wont to do)

She urged us to urge our parents to vote (not that mine could) She spoke boldly and broadly on a variety of topics. She didn’t seem to be afraid of anything or any question. I have no idea what turn the conversation took in class on that day, but with her customary warmth and good humor I can remember her smiling broadly and amusedly and saying “the anus is…the hole in your buttocks.”

Another time there was a conversation about the Three Musketeers and someone asked who the author was. My nerdy shell had more or less been broken by then and I burst out with “Anthony Dumas!” A boy next to me shot her a glance and asked why I was such a genius? She smiled her broad smile again and said “maybe it’s because he reads.”

I have so many more stories of school in the US to tell, but only one chapter to do justice to them all. I had been touched much more deeply that I would have admitted to myself, or indeed, did admit to myself for many years.

Being slammed into the lockers one day by an angry black student – I can remember wanting to punch him but not daring to. Trying and failing to look down the shirt of a pretty Iranian girl (hey, twelve year olds have sexual desire too!) Running and falling during Physical Education and swearing (the first time I did in my life) and the other kids pointing and saying. “hey look, nerd boy cursed!”

Mr Smith, a handsome jokester of a math teacher who always managed to teach well. For years I wondered why the girls in the class always talked to him so much until when I was older it finally dawned on me that they were FLIRTING WITH HIM. Mrs Spears, always firm, always fair. My social studies teacher (whose name I cannot recall) a very pretty young lady who dressed up as a cat for Halloween and almost set my twelve year old heart on fire. Mr Weiss, given to trick questions and a constantly deadpan expression, who let us watch movies during Halloween with five fake knives stuck into his chest.

Then there was the Julian Kingsley affair.

So you have this little Asian kid with the huge spectacles reading all the time and totally wrecking the grade curve. What happens? Well, three Jewish kids get angry and jealous, that’s what happens.

The ringleader was called Julian Kingsley and he started heckling and teasing me mercilessly. There was another one called Richard and once he punched me in the stomach once so hard I doubled over. I was going to backhand him in class but I didn’t. I probably should have though? I don’t know – I was so Asian and such a Good Boy that I didn’t dare.

It got pretty bad, so bad that the teachers had to step in. We all talked to the school counselor, a really nice guy by the name of Mike Presley. He saw my parents first and then saw me and then eventually called in all three guys.

It wasn’t a very fun experience for a twelve-year old and I can remember writing “Julian Kingsley’s penis is a shivrelled up little worm” in my notebook where I wrote all my games. One of his friends spotted this and was about to get into a fight with me until Mrs Raleigh stopped him. He was all like “but he’s writing about my friend’s penis!” which to be honest looking back at it twenty-three years later, was a perfectly normal comment to make. Quite a good friend ‘ol Julian had back there eh? Of course what I was feeling at that time was “I’m going to write whatever I want about your stupid friend’s stupid penis.”

Eventually my Dad spoke to Julian’s Mom (who was all “Boys will be boys” and “Julian would never do THAT”) and things quieted down. The offending party shot me dirty looks in class but never did anything else. I was all like Hahaha, Justice Has Prevailed! (especially ironic to me because at that time the Power Rangers were big and Julian and gang were into them) but in later years I realized that his Mum must have put the thumbscrews to him because his actions were making their upper middle class Jewish family look bad. Imagine this getting out at your cousin’s bar mitzvah! What will the neighbors say? Of course I don’t know if that’s exactly what happened but those thoughts occurred to me more than once.

Home life was much the same. I played lots of games and read lots of books, as I had always done. When Dad was away Mum would sing Disney songs with us and watch lots of videos from the nearby store (we had this particular Garfield video that we loved) I told Meimei stories and we acted out scenes from books and it was great.

Eventually my Dad also returned from his brief stint in China to take care of us once more. I was really happy to have him back. It was a cold autumn morning and I went right up to hug him and we both didn’t say a word.

The US was also where I first fell in love with my sister. No I don’t mean it in that way. I mean that I became really, really close to her.
I can actually sort of remember the exact moment. It was when we were back in Singapore for our short holiday I was watching her sleep and it suddenly hit me that this young, small and beautiful person was in my care, and it was up to me to do the best I could for her.

Transfixed by her childish innocence and beauty, I sang her a wordless lullaby. I touched her small hand and wondered at how soft it was.
Perhaps another child would have felt much differently. But I was Asian, (or at least moreso at that time) and I had no qualms about protecting my younger sister, or feeling such a powerful sense of responsibility for her. Far from it – I think that young boy relished the duty.

I did what any twelve-year old would do…no, that’s not true. I did what few twelve year olds would do, in any age or culture. In Chicago I colored paper doll dresses for her. I bathed with her (I remember this causing a raised eyebrow or two with Carmen, our Latino domestic worker) I watched TV with her. I read her books. I played games and she would watch in rapt attention.

And the stories! I would tell her so many stories, acting them out. Even today the memory brings a smile to my face. She would sit and watch as I went through the motions, doing the voices, the actions, the poses, everything.

It never struck me that what we were doing was strange, or that it was rather unusual for siblings to be this close. I just accepted it as normal, as I accepted everything else as normal – Mum and Dad almost never speaking to each other, Dad being the bad guy, doing your homework before playing any games.

I think what also attracted me to anime later in my life was the strong bond often displayed between older brother and younger sister. It is definitely not as typical in Western works, especially American media – in which the older sibling often considers the younger one a pest. But later in my life I could readily see my younger self in all those characters on screen. Watching one older brother and younger sister after another fight evil, pilot giant robots, transform into demons and everything else in-between, I remembered everything that I shared with her when I was so young and we were so close.

It was not apparent to us at that time, but it was in LA that the first cracks really began to appear in my mother’s perfect facade. Not that the rages of the past weren’t already a dead giveaway, of course. Her panic attacks got worse. As a kid I was never really that aware of them. I mean, I knew we couldn’t go to certain places and we avoided high-rise buildings but I didn’t really know why. It was just another of those things that we took for granted.

In LA though, there was a time when we were going to a restaurant and during the drive my Mum’s face got tighter and tighter until she suddenly said to my Dad “Jing Huat, I can’t take this anymore, go back.” My Dad looked angry and puzzled and said “It’s only five more minutes till we get there” but he drove back all the same.

But I think the final straw (and the first hint that something was really wrong) was when during the whole Julian Kingsley affair I walked up to her during dinner one evening and said “Mummy, I don’t want to go to school anymore.” This was the US, so I could be home-schooled instead. It seemed like a possible option and one that my parents had discussed to some degree.

She stood up, threw a plate still full of food at the wall and stormed out of the house. My sister and I were shocked into silence. My Dad held us a bit until we managed to sleep somehow and my Mum came back later at night. They never talked about it (normal for our family) and we were just so relieved that Mum came home that we never said anything either. Remember the rule of thumb during Mum’s rages was to just stay silent until Mum came back. She came back, so everything was ok.

I don’t think she ever liked the US. In later years she would always talk about the earthquake and the crime rate, never any of the nice things like the “bee place” or the food or the friendly and smiling cheerful people. Her work was a huge drain on her and so were other things – other things that we had no way of knowing the truth about at that time.

She worked late into the night, way past our bedtime. My memories of her of that time are her working, working, always working and reading. We did spend some time together watching TV and the like, but usually she was reading and preparing papers. I can remember going to sleep in the big black bed with my sister and she would turn to give us a wan, tired smile. The last thing I would see before falling asleep was her bent over her work, the pale yellow of the desk lamp making her seem far older than she looked.

She was obviously overworked but I never really knew what she was so worried about. In the interim where my Dad was in China she often said she was anxious about how her two kids would manage…but they were managing fine! I could take care of my sister and tell her stories and as long as someone cooked we would be ok.

It was around then that she began to confide in me about how horrible my father was. I remember playing Uno one evening with her while my father and sister were out together and feeling kind of proud that I had been taken into her confidence. At twelve years of age I had no knowledge that that was wrong, and I had no chance against that concerted agenda of poison.

I loved my mother. If she said that Dad was bad, who was I to argue? How dare that man hurt her? Just sitting around, never doing anything (he did the groceries, the laundry and brought us out on weekends, not to mention cooking and cleaning) and wasting his life. She wanted him to do his PhD (like her) but he didn’t want to. What a bum.

And all this time I continued to rent and play games. What do I mention here? I’ll start with the Illusion of Gaia. Not your typical SNES RPG, it dealt with philosophical matters like mankind’s destiny on the planet, and reincarnation.

It was the scene where Will plays a tune that leaves them among the stars and Lily says “I feel like I am back in the womb” that really got me to thinking about matters transcendental. I think it was the first time I realized I was having a spiritual experience while playing a video game. There were others before, (Nei dying in Phantasy Star 2 – something that still tugs at my heartstrings whenever I think of it) but it was only when I was twelve that I was really aware of something beyond just the realm of the senses.

As I grew older I began to think more deeply about philosophical and spiritual matters. One might say that twelve is way too young, but hey, kids think much more deeply (not to mention truely!) about these things than anyone might think. Actraiser made me question what it was that a God might do for his people, and a people for their God. Soul Blazer has a line that I can remember till today. “If a man kills one man he is a murderer, if he kills a hundred he is a hero.” And that last scene with Lisa looking into the sunset is burned into my memory forever.

As my time in the US ended, the capstone was most probably Final Fantasy 6, which remains to this day one of my favorite games ever. Why? Everything about it is good. Gameplay, story (especially the story!) and the especially the music.

The music! To this day it remains one of the finest videogame soundtracks ever. If you have never heard Terra’s theme, or seen the Magitek armor walk over the snowy fields of Narshe with it playing, then you haven’t really lived.

I won’t say too much about FF6 here because millions of words have already been written about it on and off the Net. But I will say that to this day I still try my best to live by Terra’s words – “Life gains meaning in the living.”

I think FF6 is when I really started to get into video game music. I walked up and down the corridor outside singing the pieces to myself (a capella) because I didn’t want to bother anyone at home…and also because I was kind of embarrassed about it. I think at one point I could sing every piece in the game from memory. I thought the tunes were fantastic and still do.

Three years passed faster than we knew. Before I knew it we were headed back to Singapore.

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