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Keith Tse


  • Writer's pictureKeith Tse

Washing Machine

A terrifying image that I have seen is a man being shoved into a washing machine and churned along with all the clothing for the duration of the laundry which kills him by turning his insides upside down, which, horrifyingly, does constitute known cases of infant deaths as some neglected babies have been noted to have crawled into washing machines and have died as a result. I have a problem with motion sickness, and in some of my worst nightmares I have found myself trapped in an imaginary washing machine where I get tossed around and lose my head. Nonetheless, if we avoid being shoved into a washing machine and all the nastiness of being tossed around, laundry washing is of course a hugely positive and beneficial process as it removes all the dirt, cleanses our belongings and returns them in their best state, and it does so by rampantly stirring the mixture of clothing, water and detergent in a complex and dynamic process which somewhat resembles stirring a bowl of soup. This was taken to be an analogy for competition, a major trigger which gets the best out of us by getting us moving. If we take this into account and reconsider being shoved into a washing machine, the whole process of laundry washing may seem slightly less sadistic, since it is otherwise a powerful stirring mechanism which forces us to get out of our comfort zone and work to our last breath. Furthermore, by mixing everything into the laundry basket we enter into a collective competitive environment where the presence of others stirs us as well. This is another image I visualise to myself whenever my levels of motivation are falling low, namely being shoved into a washing machine along with all the dirty laundry that needs to be cleansed, and whatever happens in it I am certain that I’ll come out cleaner and better as long as I beat other pieces of garment to the fore. A washing machine may be terrifying, but it is also a fantastic mixer and differentiator of ingredients which separates the best from the crowd. As the saying goes, ‘no pain no gain’, which in the context of me facing a terrifying yet productive laundry machine I would prefer to paraphrase as ‘no fear no growth‘, which, as we know from Batman Begins, is key to personal development, namely the instinct to overcome our inner demons and come out the better of them.

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