One of the things I used to really pride myself in when I was young(er) was the fact that I had perfect eyesight. Jiarong just reminded me about that time in primary school when I told him about how the nurse who tested my eyesight went all like, "Your eyesight very good ahhhhhhhh, perfect eyesight ahhhhhh" (OMG! WE REMEMBER THE DUMBEST THINGS!)
Especially so when everybody in my family is short-sighted except me! I am either adopted, or I am pretty damn lucky, and I am still struggling to know which one it is.
Anyhoo, all of this (partially) changed when I was diagnosed with Red Green Deficiency when I was around P5 or P6. (Cue sad music)
Ok, it sounds very tragic, but it's not. Basically, it just means I supposedly have "troubles" differentiating between green and red. But I can see both colours just fine. I see the traffic light colours correctly what - from top to bottom, it's green, yellow, then red, right? You cross the road when it's red, right? Right? Right?
I was diagnosed because I wasn't able to read the numbers during the colour sight test. You know when those nurses would come to your primary / secondary school and ask you to read what's the number amongst the assortment of red and green dots? Yeah, I remember not being able to even see a number. It was just a bunch of dots. So that was when I was referred to a specialist.
And I remember stepping into the specialist's room, where I had to read another set of numbers, this time with my mother by my side. But the difference between the primary school one and the specialist's one is that I could actually see numbers! I was so happy cos that means I'm not colour-blind right?
I read the first number and I remember my mother going, "Oh dear," and I was so confused, because I could clearly see the number. And as the patterns went by both specialist and mother looked more and more concerned. As it turns out, colour blind people are supposed to see a different set of numbers than the colour unblind people. So I was fucked from the back without even knowing it.
I even remember the specialist looking at me dead in the eye, and said in a serious tone, "Travis, you are colour blind," like it was a terminal disease and I was going to die. And to be honest, at that point, I wasn't even convinced I was colour blind leh! But I guess I can't blame myself because I also thought I wasn't fat, when in actuality I was really fat.
(But of course, no surprises again when I did my NS check-up last year and I got marked for colour-blindness too for reading wrong numbers just like that time)
BUT. Despite all that, I never actually thought my colour-blindness affected my daily life in any way. I still got my driver's licence so nothing wrong there what. I even think I got an edge during my O Levels Chemistry Practical Exam because I was able to get the invigilator to tell me the colours of my solutions – something I had trouble in, but I am pretty sure was not because of my problem. A dark brown solution sometimes confuses you whether it might actually be reddish-brown also, right? So what am I supposed to write?!??! SOMEBODY PLEASE VALIDATE WHETHER THIS IS A UNIVERSAL DILEMMA!
Up till my time in poly, the only other incident that made me realise the existence of my deficiency was when I created an icon in Photoshop and thought it had a nice, subtle, pinkish hue to it. When I showed it to Jiarong he asked me why I decided to give it a greenish hue (I tried to find the icon again but I think I had since made the icon super pink so I see it as pink furrealz now. By the way, 100x100 icons used to be all the rage y'allz! I feel so old school!).
But that was literally the ONLY time. So I just simply thought that maybe it only affects me when the colour is very subtle.
It wasn't until my poly days when I realised this deficiency has encroached upon another element of my daily life – flagging cabs. It's so weird. Let me try to explain it.
Let's say I'm standing by the road, and I'm looking out for a cab. Far into the horizon, I see a cab approaching – and I will see that the text on the LED screen on top is green! Means it's available! Yay! But as it gets closer, I will realise that the text is actually red. It was actually hired right from the start. And it's happened many times, so I highly doubt it was a one-off uncle-dont-like-my-face incident. I'm so sad :(
I wonder how many uncles thought I was weird for flagging when they're clearly red...
Anyway, I decided to blog about this because now I think my actual eyesight, which was once perfectly 20/20, is starting to deteriorate too.
I've been having to squint my eyes at things at a distance lately, to read things like signs and shit. I didn't actually notice I was doing it until Magdelene pointed it out to me a few days back. Sigh. I AM ALREADY 20! ISN'T MY EYESIGHT SUPPOSED TO STABILISE NOW!!!
Oh well. Maybe cos I stare too long at computer screens already, especially with my job and stuff. Can't be helped I guess! If I ever do need to wear specs I hope I at least look hot in them.