February 28, 2006
The girls play the piano and dance to kids’ party music. They laugh and giggle in childish fashion. They fade away as rapidly as time descends.
I recently met a cousin whom I’ve not seen since I was 10 years old. Fourteen years have passed by quickly. It was by sheer coincidence that I bumped into her in a new church that I’ve been attending recently. Mei-Hsien leads the young adults’ cell group every Friday night, together with her husband Terry.
Her face is easily recognizable, and I would have been able to tell it was her even if we weren’t introduced. Over the weekend, it was strangely comforting to be able to see such a familiar face amidst the sea of strangers. I can’t quite explain it, but when perchance my eyes happened to breeze past her, something inside clicked – as if some distant memory from my childhood had awakened once again.
There must be something within us that constantly collects, collates, and computes everything we see and experience and observe… all the way from the very beginnings of childhood. Some we might not readily recognize as having seen before, but upon its reminder things fall in place. It is a mental image of our entire lifelong collection.
Then again, there have been extreme cases of memories being implanted into the human mind. Psychologists have conducted experiments whereby memories are falsely introduced to the person. When experimented in two different means, the memory induction of a written sort is more pronounced than of an imagery. This is because when you read a supposed personal diary extract, your mind immediately conjures up images of what really had taken place, inserting personal details like colours and clothes; as opposed to being shown a plain photograph with no room for imagination.
But this is no false memory, and I know it. It’s so good to have caught up with my long-lost cousin after so many years.