I’m Terrible At Remembering People.

I just recently activated my Facebook account so that I could check out what my mother has been posting on her profile because she recently celebrated her birthday. I usually keep my Facebook account deactivated because I don’t like using it; however, I do occasionally activate it so that I can see photo updates posted by my family and other relatives. This time around, I decided to keep my Facebook account active for a while so I could keep up with what they posted on their profiles.

Since my Facebook hadn’t been updated for a long time, I updated my profile with my most recent photo. I also went through my Facebook Messenger and read some of the old conversations—which made me realize that I have no memory of certain people I talked to, nor do I recall any memories I had with them or who they were to me. I’m not sure how to put it, but it left me with a strange feeling. Urg, I’m not sure if “strange” is the right word to use, but I have no memory of them at all, despite the fact that we appear to have known each other at some point in the past. I tried so hard to remember them, but I couldn’t recall anything. It’s very frustrating because to this day, they still remember me—they remember my name, my personality, the memories I had with them, and most of the other things about me, even though those things are long gone. 

When I updated my profile with my most recent photo, I got people who commented on that photo saying that they hadn’t heard from me in a long time. I haven’t responded to anyone yet because I don’t feel comfortable enough to do so. How can I respond when I don’t remember some of them? It would be really awkward to even ask who they are, and I don’t want to offend anyone. 

This reminds me of a story, during MAHA events a few months back. I was one of the staff members who was involved with the event. I ran into someone who was apparently one of the cadets during the National Service Program. Oh, by the way, the National Service program was a military-style training program here, in Malaysia.

When he saw me, he excitedly yelled my name, “Kaklong! Hanny Quinn!”

I was surprised because only my old friends call me by that name.

“Sorry, do I know you?” I said as I turned around.

He continued, “It’s me, Wan, from the National Service.”

Confusedly looking at his face as I was trying to remember. I asked once more, “Who?”

He said, “Oh! come on. It’s me! We are in the same Charlie company” and he went on, reminding me of who he is.

I was so confused that my colleague, who was with me at the time, began to interrupt, saying, “Don’t bother reminding her. She even forgot who she spoke with yesterday and what people told her an hour ago.”

Thank God. That really saved the situation and made us all laugh. 

I tried to be as friendly as possible to him because I didn’t want him to feel uncomfortable. I felt so bad because, no matter what he said to remind me, I couldn’t remember anything. We were in the National Service together, in the same unit, but I have no memory of him at all. Now, I really wish that we had a time machine so that I could go back in time and observe myself in the past to help me remember. Well, of course, I remember some of the people who were in the National Service with me, but apparently not everyone. I’m glad that he does remember me, though. Seeing his joy when he sees me really puts a smile on my face. He is also one of the people who commented on my recent photo, sarcastically telling others who were in the same National Service with us that I don’t remember him. 😂

But here’s the thing: It’s easier for them to remember me because I was a female cadets leader for Charlie Company during the National Service. I was in charge of roughly 40 female cadets. When combined with male cadets who were in the same unit, it was about 100 cadets, and we also had cadets from different units. I was also a leader of my platoon and in charge of the female dorm. It’s impossible for me to remember everyone. 😂 Damn, I really miss being in the National Service. I think my stamina was at its best when I was there. But yeah, they all still call me “Kaklong,” which means “big sister.” I hadn’t heard a friend call me by that name in a long time, and now that I’ve reactivated my Facebook account, all of my old friends have commented on my updates using that name, and it feels weird. Haha. 

This is one of the reasons why I don’t like it when people approach me in public, as there is a high likelihood that I won’t remember. I am terrible at remembering people. As far as I know, I have already forgotten the majority of the people from my past. Let’s say, you are my old friend, I bumped into you and I just walked right past you without giving you a second glance—that was not because I purposely did that trying to ignore you, but it was simply because you are a complete stranger to me. It’s as if a portion of my memories have been completely erased. At least on social media, I can take as much time as I can to recall who you were to me. If in person, RIP, I’d get panicky because I’d have to fight with myself to remember in order to avoid an awkward conversation with you, which obviously won’t help me to remember either. 

So yeah, if you are someone from my past, just know that it’s very likely that I don’t remember you.

You no longer exist in my memories.

We need to go back to how it all started, “Hi, I’m Hani. Nice to meet you.”


X, Hani. ❤




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