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Mean Girls [ 2007.03.21 ]

All right, I accept it. I am a sucker for pretty faces. I rented “Mean Girls” just because I like the cuteness of Lindsay Lohan. I didn’t see it at the cinema since I knew that none of my friends would ever want to go with me and my then boyfriend (now husband) would give me no respect for life. Normally, I would not mind going to a movie alone but not this one. I was afraid that all the 13 years olds there might give me a weird look and call me a ‘pathetic grandma’.

I secretly and patiently waited until the DVD came out. Bear with me and let me shamelessly tell you again that I adore Lindsay Lohan! Go ahead and call me a loser but I do love that movie! Lindsay played a girl who was home schooled all her life in Africa until her parents moved back to America and enrolled her in a local high school. Things got interesting when she tried to adapt to the new culture and environment.

Of course things tend to get blown out of proportion in a typical Hollywood movie. High school turned out to be a hostile battleground. Our heroine was pure and innocent but in order to fight the popular gang, she had to become one of them. Our lovely girl unknowingly evolved over time into a “mean girl”. The movie was witty and way better than I had expected. Made me laugh, made me think and almost made me cry. I do not feel guilty for having watched this movie anymore. I even praised and recommended it to my friends openly.

Now if we take away all the exaggeration we are left with a small element of truth. The essence was pretty clear to me. We are mean when we are young. At one point, we all hurt somebody’s feelings. Not that we intend to do so but sometimes we just do not realize it. It made me think of two little incidents in my juvenile days. First, in 7th grade, I passed a note back and forth with my buddy during a boring class. We expressed how we did not like this one girl.

Some how the note got passed around and she read it. She never spoke to us again. She had every right to do so. I was not really affected at that time because I did not really like her that much to begin with so I did not care that she was not my friend anymore. Now that I had time to reflect on it, I felt bad and guilty. I hurt her feelings. She probably thought that we were good friends but what a bad way to find out that I did not really care for her that much! I would be hurt too. She moved to another school the next year and we never met again.

Another memory was far worse. I was even younger, about 6 – 7 years old. I spent a lot of time at my grandmother’s then. There were many other kids about. We usually went out and played together at the village playground. There was this one kid, the smallest and youngest around. He also wanted to play with us. Did we let him? No, of course not. We called him names and chased him away most of the time. Why? Because he did not have a father and his mom was a little mentally ill. As I grew up, I got busy with other things and had no time to play around with my old playmates anymore. We grew apart and I forgot all about that poor little soul. Until after I watched “Mean Girls”, something triggered me to think about that boy. I am sure that he thinks that his childhood was hell. It pains me to think that I was one of the reasons. I found out from my mom recently that the boy is now living in the same village (we moved away). He did not turn out to be a criminal or a drug addict. Not all people are fortunate though. Their childhood can influence what they do in their mature lives. I am glad that at least the little boy turned out all right.

Maybe these people already forgot. Maybe my partners in crimes already forgot. But I still remember and feel bad until today. These seem like little things but I can never forget because I know that what I did was wrong and I never said sorry. The sad thing is I think I will be too embarrassed to apologize to these people even if given a chance.

Wallapak Polasub (PhD), Professor: Dept. of Economics at Kasetsart University

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