The Ramblings of a Broken Watch

by Ahn Wee

Around 4 to 5 years ago, my sister handed me her wristwatch: a sort of graduation gift she received from a relative living overseas. Four to five years after, I am still wearing the same watch. The only thing that has changed was its glass lens which I accidentally broke 3 years ago. Now, looking at it I’m afraid I’ll also have to change its batteries. A friend of mine suggested I buy a new one instead but I hesitated—you can’t buy sentimentality. You can’t buy history. However at the back of my mind I also thought—yes, you can create new memories to be sentimental about. History never dies, it only grows older and older. One simply needs to connect the dots. Once again, I thank myself for finding ways to disagree with me.

Its funny how I think of this now, and its been months since my portable time teller has stopped working. A few more months it will almost be a year since it stopped working. I’m rather worried by the duration of this negligence and its possible insights to my personality and physiological markup like perhaps I’m just insanely absent minded or perhaps these are one of the early signs of schizophrenia or Alzheimer’s. If there’s any comfort into this (supposed) “ghastly” level of personal negligence: my broken watch still gets the time right at least twice a day. Its true, I’m not kidding my watch is correct for at least a minute, twice a day at 6:00 am and 6:00 pm. Interesting, huh?

Well here is what is more interesting: the claim that time doesn’t exist. The whole commotion that time is a man made concept. An illusion of passage where it doesn’t exist. A reflection on a series of events glued together to make a past. An exclusive awareness of the existence of oneself makes a present while a series of predictions, hopes and goals make a future. And here I am with this leather, glass, and metal contraption of numbers which is supposed to tell me of something that does not even physically exist in the first place! How strange!

On the other hand in my personal opinion as a self-proclaimed pundit, I think its wrong to say that time doesn’t exist while it may be right to claim it as an illusion under certain situations. If I remember one of my lessons in Geometry class from high school, the concept of postulates dictates that once my teacher writes stuffs on the board no student has a right to question it whatsoever because it just is(by the way I was trying to be funny). Simply put, there are some things in life that are necessary conditions to keep other process and structures of living possible. Its a postulate, a truth that one believes in and it will persistently exist through our conscious effort into proving it so. Imagine the the horror of realizing that your 6 pm flight is actually a 6 am flight. To better expound on what I mean into a phrase: time is man’s taxonomy of experiences. Namely experiences to be recalled in memory, experiences to be aware of, and experiences we would like to partake in. Time does not only live in our heads, its a pair of looking glass we wear into the world. Through my eyes, its a 9:33 pm as I wonder about the various people I know living under different time zones like how is my Dad at 6:34 pm?

I wonder. I wonder.

I guess that’s why its called a “watch” huh?