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Visa is a marketer at a Singapore based tech company. He told me his stories about cigarettes over Facebook, and here’s an attempt to consolidate what he said into a few paragraphs: 

Visa was introduced to cigarettes by his bandmates when he was 17. He was hanging out at his drummer’s place and his family wasn’t home, so they smoked in his living room and ashed into a teacup. His first smoke was a Viceroy menthol light, and it was something they bonded over while watching videos of musicians they liked. To him, it felt like freedom.

Later on, Visa and his bandmates often smoked rollies as they were broke, and also smoked Storm King over late nights when they were recording their EP. In that period of time, his girlfriend didn’t like that he smoked and that was hence a factor for their break up, but she eventually picked up smoking as well. They eventually got back together and are happily married.

Visa’s dad smoked since he was young, so he grew up in a house that smelt of cigarette smoke, and he always found the smell calming. His dad smoke Kent and later switched to Marlboro Reds, hence the smell of Marlboro Reds reminds him of home.

Once in awhile, he’d buy different brands of cigarettes that reminds him of a particular person or to incite a sense of nostalgia. Dunhill Menthol reminds him of an old friend who is rarely in Singapore these days, and Pall Malls or Winstons reminds him of his younger days when everyone was broke. He also enjoys the occasional Gudung Garam.

To Visa, smoking can serve to be useful in a variety of circumstances. It can help him bond with people he has just gotten to know, be an excuse to get away from things (especially when his friends ‘jio-ed’ him for smoke breaks during army), or even as a way to calm oneself on a late cold night while looking at the city lights.

Cigarettes can calm or agitate, sand off the edges or give a gentle buzz depending on the way you drag a puff. Ultimately, it fills him with content when it swells and fills in your chest, and sometimes serve as a punctuation for his ‘otherwise unwieldy firehose mind’.

Nowadays, Visa doesn’t smoke as much as he used to. He occasionally smokes Dunhill Reds, as reds have a deep, rich nutty taste that goes really well with coffee or a beer. As compared to U menthol and Marlboro lights that he smoked during his army days, Dunhill Reds felt the least flavoured and treated. Visa likens it to how over time, people prefer less sugar in their coffee.

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