Macam Biasa
October 24, 2007

The great Greek philosopher, Heraclitus once said "You could not step twice into the same river; for other waters are ever flowing on to you."

Nor was the quote at the back of my head neither do I get a word of it. I wanted to write about 'changes' and thought starting with a quote would be sweet. So I plugged the term into Wikiquote and voila, a sleek point of view from a Greek philosopher with a funny name.

As far as I could remember, I've been getting my haircuts at the neighborhood Indian barbershops. From the days when I'll be sitting on a stool on top of the barber chair with my dad getting a haircut beside me, to the days when I'll drive to the barbershop on my own with my dad needing no mending of his hair... as he had none.

Throughout the years, nothing but the price changed.

The sight:

Barbers will always have the best hairdos. Walk into any local barbershop and you'll never be greeted by a lad sporting a Don King. They will always stay at the helm of the shiniest or best-permed hair in town; every inch shaped to perfection. Barbers, they are the exact opposite of fortune tellers who tell fortunes for a living.

And the sound:

It never mattered at all that I don't know a word of Tamil... I've grown to getting used to getting a haircut while listening to RTM Radio 6 (Minnal FM nowadays). It's a phenomenon I can't quite explain. Let's just say a haircut is to Tamil radio what Ben Affleck is to Matt Damon. I suppose.

Above all, it's the hospitality that has never really changed at all. I've always felt welcomed whenever I set foot into their sub-zero temperature shops. There's that Cheers 'Where everybody knows your name' vibe to the place. I used to meet up with my schoolmates at the barbershop a lot back in the day.

Most importantly, they never make you wait. Should all the barbers are busy working, one will attend to you as soon as he's done with his customer. Even if you do have to wait, there's always a copy of Cosmo magazine from a year or two ago laying around to keep you company. 'Turning her on...' in '95 will still be good in '05.

When I started working though, there was this realization that managed to creep into my head, somehow. I didn't want to go to these barbershops anymore. There was this sudden urge for that Supercuts/Great Clips professionally trained 'hair-stylist' treatment; at the very least. Then maybe once in a while, a visit to Thomas and Guys wouldn't hurt. In short, I wanted to be Ross Geller.

Consequently, I tried a nearby unisex salon or more elegantly termed, coiffure; as preferred by their hairstylists. The minute I set afoot their welcome mat and take a glance around the place, I felt as awkward as a stripper at a baby shower. I just did not belong. Surrounding me were the entire cast of the Disney Channel's Cheetah Girls and the only thing that gave me a sense of comfort were the pictures of hairstyles for men on the wall.

The chairs and mirrors weren't that different from what I'm used to. The hairstylists though, were a bit, how do I put it... peculiar. Well, maybe not to most but I'm not used to hanging out with people resembling Project Runway contestants. And the number of questions they ask you before they actually start cutting your hair; I may land myself a job there without noticing it after answering them.

At the end of the day (literally maybe, took them quite a while), I can safely say that I did get the Supercuts treatment that I wanted. Only to realize that while it may be what I wanted, I was definitely not what I needed. All I will ever need is the old school, traditional, cut to the chase, Indian barbershop treatment for the middle class working man in me.

And to Siva Barbershop I went a few months after my coiffure experience. No question asked as upon seating on the chair, I only had to mutter three words, "Macam biasa cha..."

Bet he understood what I meant as much as I understood that Heraclitus quote.


i miss my penang barber, who only charged me RM5!!! for haircut. these days in KL i've been a frequent at quickcut. RM12 for 5-10 minutes cut and haha the free comb they'd give you after each cut. welcome to McD's of the hair styling industry. few years back, i used to frequent Stylo (indian barber's place near Petaling Street), hehe like you said, i got used to the tamil 7pm TV2 news and the tamil songs/ads/programs they play from radio. sadly, the barber i got used to before left and open other shop! ;-( a friend of mine told me that sometime these Stylo barbers are called to cut Dr. Mahathir's hair. I have no idea whether that's true or not.

I have always, always hated hairstylists!!

They never, never ever have anything good to say about my hair - their standard remarks- too dry, aiyoo manyak rosak lor!

why can't they just shut-up and just cut!

Jadi macam Syah... pi gunting rambut kat Que Que Cut, Mid Valley.

Speaking about hairdos & hairdonts,it somehow reminds me of our grooming class during d-good-ol-days in our induction where d-famous-u-n-gochik alwiz kene "attacked" in the class, awarding u alogether as role-model-yg-tidak-sesuai-dicontohi-oleh-semua-lapisan-masyarakat... ngahaha~ =)

Not to mention myself who also got "fired" bcoz of my bangs. Demmit, keep ur hands off my "remos" u-wicked-image-consultant-u.... =P haha~

Still i think, d image consultant, wuteva her name is..really had a crush on u lar, serih...dont cha think? *wink*

dude, aku igt ko kene suruh keeper man city pakai kain pelikat je la kalo main..brapa gol dia lepas ari tu? x igt lak..ahhahaha..

haxa: bro, ure the last person to worry about ur do man. 3 weeks at pipe and not a string of yer GI do was hurt haha.

zura: hairstylists aren't all that bad in my book; especially those with them long sultry soft fingers. :)

sari: masak lomak daging salai podeh bilo ekau nak buek open house ni, lamo dah aku tak poei pandan ni ha. ekau buek la yo mentaro rayo ado laie ni ha.. ajak kengkawan kau yang lawa2, ese nak jumpo.

anim: yeah, aku igt. silap strategi la aritu. tgh mkn kueh ngan teh tarik kat luar tak sedar suma org dah masuk hall tu sedar2 kerusi suma full, tinggal kat depan 3 bijik elok2 utk aku gocik ngan faiz. argh.

jeghi: ko ckp pasal apa ni bro? mana ada apa2 jadi, ok je city.. no 3 in the league. tak lama tuka tempat ngan man u. pastu season abih.. haha..

serih. kau mmg best. aku enjoy baca tulisan ko. mmg kau memahami middle class cam kitorang ni.

keep up the good work bro.

Dr. Love, 3 rules:

1. city above man u?naaaa...
2. wajah grooming bukan contoh - aku dan kamu. I swore that after that horrible xperience, I frequently visit my barber.
3. But above all, kudos to you man - u r among lelaki kl terakhir yg rambut x terpacak!!keep it up, tlgla jgn buat rambut mcm tu, kwn..

pie, middle class ke apa apa kelas pun, janji ada kelas.


1. lu tengok ah by next week city no 2, bawah arsenal aku tak kisah sangat.. bawah man u je aku jadi gatal2 sket, alergik.

2. haha gi mampos ngan grooming.

3. thanks mate, it's not hard to not look like an asshole, really.

cukur botak aje serih

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Photography by Azalia Suhaimi

  • Asrif, b. 1983
  • Subang Jaya, Malaysia
  • asrifomar[@]gmail[.]com
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