Questions. My life is stuffed full with them: examination questions, intellectually demanding questions, and personally challenging questions to name a few.
But none of them came close to this particular one, which was posed by an annoyed friend as I was cheering in a nerve-wrecking swimming race: "Why are you this loud?"
This was definitely a first for me, for discovering the source of loud voice never crossed my mind. I was stunned for I did not know how to phrase an answer - and simply sniggered instead.
I have yet to find a satisfactory answer to the aforementioned question. What i do know is that this innate trait comes from the faraway Hainan Island, passed down through generations, catalyzed by dominant 'loud' genes. Yes, we Hainanese are well-known for our inability to control our 'volumes'. I am Hainanese myself. When I see a rat at home, I shriek. During dinner, we Hainanese have to practically yell for someone to pass the sauce. Even when one cracks a joke, my friends would be embarrassed at how loudly I laugh.
I used to hate this trait, for I would make a fool out of myself at times. For instance, I was the target of numerous killer states because I unintentionally spoke too loudly in a quiet thus-far seminar. When I was younger, I never failed to give myself away in every single hide and seek session for I found it almost impossible to keep my mouth shut. In short, growing up as a 'loud' child was no walk in the park. I was often gawked at when the pettiest matters had me enthusiastically shrieking like a madman.
However, I am told this subconscious habit of mine is a beautiful blessing. In malls, I pinpoint relatives easily from their distinctive voices - something that is practically de rigueur for all Hainanese. I now even believe this 'loudness' will prove its worth as I speak out prominent global issues I care about, be it racism or corruption. True, we need passion and sincerity to deliver our points; but booming vocals would not...