Burmese girl

By Edith Choy

Photo by Aung Khant Maung on Unsplash

A beautiful Burmese girl, right next to the train doors, leaning against a panel. Her long and shimmering, metallic pink-coloured grooved dress leaned against the oil splotched acrylic panel. Her grandeur did not fit into the sanitised and predictable train cabin. Her eyes fixed on her phone, I could make side-glance casual observations easily. Her long and straight black hair was tied into a neat ponytail mane. Her fringe was short, straight and defined. She looked both elegant and neat.

It was at City Hall station she entered. Opposite the National Gallery, many groups of Burmese would gather to eat and catch up. But I could not imagine her there. She could not sit on the ground in that dress. Would she? I imagined she could have been meeting a cousin who has come to visit from home. They met at the eatery, but it was a special occasion to have someone visit from home, so she dolled herself up. Or her aunt from home told her about an eligible Burmese bachelor also working in Singapore. They were out on a blind date. She was texting him, which could explain why she was glued to her phone. Her body language and facial expression did not suggest excitement though, so unlikely. Probably the cousin.

She looked out of place. There were other girls on trains who dressed well, but elegance was reserved for girls going for prom, or women attending wedding banquets. I cannot remember the last time I saw a lady in a dinner gown or a train. They would take the grab if in their heels? No one else seemed to be overtly looking at her. Are people in Singapore generally desensitised to sights out of the ordinary? Had they seen enough of the spectacular on Netflix? I felt it a waste that no one else seemed to be appreciating the beauty of the Burmese girl. I took some notes on my phone to mentally remember her appearance. There was no way I could and would furtively take a photograph.

When I opened my eyes after a short doze, the Burmese girl was no more. She was a transient sight, as beauty usually is; unless it is emitted and felt from the inside. But here she is still in this piece, captured in my memory.

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Edith Choy

Edith hopes to be a meaningful voice amidst diverse perspectives, and an ethical and edifying writer. Please connect! IG: @choy_edith