Sunday, April 29, 2007


I think I’m smoother after my first-ever spa experience today.

Full-body massage, essential oils, steam-room, scrub, mask, bubble-bath!

Miss, can you turn over please?
Miss, it’s time for the steam.
Miss, this is the body scrub.
Miss, you can go shower now.

A deeply personal experience that I shared with a complete stranger.

She thumbed every major joint on my body. She tugged and stretched all my fingers and toes. She rubbed chunks of dirt off my body. She painted me with milk and honey. She treated my body with care.

And I have a newfound respect for my body. I look at my body anew now. Every bit of me has been given a new lease of life.

It is fascinating.

My hair smells sourish-smoky. I wonder if it is normal.

Friday, April 27, 2007


We share secrets with others, only because it makes us feel better. Because we are no longer the one who has sole custody of this burden of knowledge. Because we want to show others we know things they don’t know.

Whispered stories that grow in magnitude with each telling. Pieces of paper folded many times over. Secreted away in biscuit tins, pouches under your pillows, pockets sewn deep into your trousers.

The secrets people hide
The things people do to keep secrets
The secrets people keep
The keepsakes we secret away

Alliances broken, and formed. Friendships found, and lost.

sTuCK iN a RuT

Sometimes, I get stuck.

Locked into a situation I do not like. Trapped in a condition I do not enjoy.

Stuck in a rut.

Lost in the whirlpool of my mind.

Disoriented and dislocated.

It is in times like these that I need to trust my friends. To trust my friends stand taller than me. To trust my friends can help me.

Trust is a difficult lesson.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

cOnTEmpLatiNG mY KneEs

I like my knees.

Of all the body parts below my waist, my knees are the only ones that I can bring close enough to my eyes to study them (as opposed to, say my ankles or my toes).

The skin is stretched taut when I’m sitting down, making them the perfect canvas.

They knock into furniture, warning the rest of my body against potential bruises.

They bear the brunt of my falls, carrying the scars of battles won, and lost.

And when I am sad, they support me.

When I am lonely, I hug my knees.

When I am tired, hunched over panting, I hold my knees for comfort.

When all seems dark, they offer solace for my weary head.

When I can stand tall, their dimpled faces cheer me on.

The knees are the best parts of the body to draw on.

I like my knees.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

tAkiNG yOu fOr GranTed

Through the years, I suppose I must have gotten used to you. Like how I look up into the sky and expect to see the moon and stars every night, perhaps I expect you to stay my friend always.

It feels like we have known each other forever, yet how little I know about you. And that seems to be how I am with my friends. I can’t tell if you have grown taller or lost weight or highlighted your hair or bought a new bag. I’m bad with these things.

I know the person, and the person is who I remember. She’s the deep-thinker, he’s an adventure-seeker, she’s the impatient one, he doesn’t like cats… It’s almost as if I don’t look at you anymore… I just kind of get used to you being around.

Sorry. It is not on purpose that I may have taken you for granted.

I promise I will try my best to look harder the next time.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Mr. D

Mr. D is stalking me.

He likes to visit in the quiet of the night. Unannounced.

And I always entertain him. Because it seems the most natural thing to do.

Because Mr. D feels dangerous. Because Mr. D has seen things I never imagined were possible. Because Mr. D is like the forbidden fruit.

Maybe this is the lure of him. He is deep, dark and mysterious. He makes me explore bits of myself I did not know were there. He shares with me thoughts I never dared to think. Stripped down, naked and raw, he forces me to look, at me.

And every time he comes, time seems to stretch on endlessly. Like a forever moment.

Yet I continue to flirt with Mr. D. Sometimes not by choice. But I always give in to him.

Perhaps, deep inside, I desire Mr. D. For all that I don’t know about him, I want him to be part of me.

They said curiosity killed the cat. Who knows?

Sunday, April 22, 2007


She has good days. Days that are clear. Days when the world seems full of promise, with a myriad thousand things to do. Endless possibilities. And she feels powerful.

She has bad days. Days that are dark. Days when she can hardly stand to find her way out, the world collapsing in on her. Endless traps. And she feels useless.

On her good days, she laughs. The huddled-over, tummy-clutching, tears-in-her-eyes kind of laugh.

On her bad days, she cries. The huddled-over, tummy-clutching, tears-rolling-down-cheeks kind of cry.

She runs, she skips, she flies. She’s on top of the world.

She crawls, she begs, she hides. She’s cornered in by life.

Good days taste like chocolate-coated marshmallows.

Bad days leave a bitter-sour taste in the mouth.

You have a choice, you know. What day is it going to be for you?

LeFt bEHiNd

Have you ever walked along a road and found one forlorn shoe missing its mate? Or an umbrella flapping uselessly on its back?

I wonder, have their owners really been in such a rush? So much of a hurry they could go without a shoe? So much of a scramble they were willing to brave the rains and leave the burden of an umbrella behind?

What must be behind their thoughts? What must have distracted them so completely they had to walk away from these things?

If I were in such haste, what would I leave behind?

Saturday, April 21, 2007

fOr aLL oF Us wHo LovE

“Don’t feel bad about a love that lives only in your dreams. Don’t feel ridiculous. You are not some lovesick teenager waiting for the telephone to ring. You know it is hopeless. You understand it can never be. But you continue to believe, you continue to want the best for her [him]. You don’t stop caring even when you know that there is nothing in it for you. And that’s what makes platonic love feel like the greatest love of all.”

(from big mouth strikes again by Tony Parsons)

Friday, April 20, 2007

fiRSt oUtiNG

Today is the first day I brought Roger out. And I was anxious.

Maybe this is how mothers feel when they bring their babies out the first time. The preparations she needs to make… mentally, logistically, practically.

Like how I shopped around in multiple places before I found a suitable overall for Roger. Like how I fed Roger full and let him rest early last night so that he would be ready for today. Like how, when we were out, I kept checking on him to reassure myself that everything is OK.

It’s a challenge. This constant nagging fear. This nervous energy that is trapped inside. So much tension. Like how two marbles collide and spin off in opposite directions.

We spent 7 hours out and now we’re on our way home. Roger sits quietly on my lap. Listening to my tortured rantings.

He didn't cry. Neither did I.

Roger is the best ThinkPad I could ever have asked for.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


It’s interesting how much difference a hair cut makes. To me, as a person.

Like so much of me depends on how I look to the rest of the world.

Chopped off my long locks today and my head feels so light.

(this is a little scary but yar... goodbye hair!)

And in some strange way, I feel different. About myself, as a person.

Like how I define myself rests on what hairstyle I’m sporting.

Although I’ve recently started to fret about whether my slippers match what I’m wearing for the day, I try not to let that get to me.

It’s terrible to live in the shadow of someone else. So don’t.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


They tell me I am brave.

But I have never felt brave.

I have never seen myself as a fighter.

Because I think I would just like to go and sleep and never wake up.

Yet every day I still awake from my slumber.

I still have the next 5 minutes, and the next, and perhaps the next.

And every moment my body still remembers to breathe.

So while we’re at it, do not forget what you owe to your self.


You know when a person has inadvertently become part of your life when your user IDs and passwords bear their name. As if you cannot get enough of the person, and need to continually remind yourself of their existence, in whatever way you can.

It’s interesting how some people just come into your lives and settle there. For better or worse.

And frustrating how difficult it is to forget. As if you need to re-learn how to live your life again. Your first birthday, your first Christmas/ New Year, without him or her.

So just when you thought you are ready to go it alone, you realize you are not. Because you have built little reminders of that person, into your daily life and living. And these reminders… well, they remind you.

What’s my password again?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

tHe PoiNT

dEStRuCtiOn: Look... it's not that easy. Let me tell you what you get. You get life, and breath, a world to walk and a path through the world... And the free will to wander the world as you choose. ... Listen, Matt. Everybody dies.

Matt: Then what's the point of anything?

dEaTh: The point? Walk the world. Help to feed the hungry, help comfort those in pain. Do what you can to leave the world a better place.

(from The Wheel by Neil Gaiman)

Saturday, April 14, 2007


I can’t quite decide if I like kids.

I mean, I like kids’ stuff. From Sesame Street to Mickey & Donald to SpongeBob and even Play-Doh. And when they were around, I loved Smurfs and Care Bears.

Kids. Their boundless energy tires me. Yet it is this same boundless energy that forces me to look beyond myself.

Ethan (a lovely 4-year old boy), was crying his lungs out at the lift lobby yesterday. And I sat there on the steps bewildered… “How do I stop his tears?” No amount of coaxing, trying to read Thomas-the-Engine story, patting his back, trying to carry him, holding his hands… none of it worked. He screamed all the louder. Until his mum came back from buying chicken rice across the road.

Ethan (still the lovely 4-year old boy), was dancing his heart out for me in his living room, hardly a half-hour after we managed to get away from the lift lobby. And I sat there on the sofa bewildered… “How do I share his joy?” He pulled me by the hand, he sang, he told me about Thomas-the-Engine and his friends, he showed me a drawing he made of his own hand and foot. He hugged me after every song.

I suspect kids have an innate ability to know when you are sad and need some love. And they love you without any reservations. They love you with fierce determination. They love you with an I-don’t-care-if-the-world-is-falling-apart-but-I’m-going-to-run-into-your-arms-and-hug-you-anyway kind of love.

You start to notice, the world is not just about you, that there are beings beyond you. Kids make you re-look your world.

And when I leave them and the little ones ask for “aunty”, I know they like me.

Perhaps I like kids… I think.

tHe WhiTE nOiSe of LiFe

She first knew something was wrong when she saw the packet of Ruffles potato chips that she had bought half a year ago still lying in the cupboard, way past its expiry date.

She used to snack, in bed, at night, when reading her books. Now, she no longer enjoys eating. It is as if she had lost her appetite for both food, and life.

She used to whistle, snatches of tunes she had no words for, by the sink, while washing the dishes. Now, she no longer feels. It is as if the music stopped one day.

She used to sing, favourite songs, in the bathroom, when she showered. Now, she no longer remembers the words. It is as if her mind had forgotten how to be happy.

The silence just crept in one day, and shut everything down. It muffled her senses, blanketed her interactions, settled into her life.

Silence. So deep, so angry, so powerful.

Stop. Stop the TV. Stop the music. Stop reading.

Stop. And listen.

Can you hear the silence?

Thursday, April 12, 2007


You have flown
with your dreams
on gentle wings

I’m alone
on my own
I’ve given you everything

You see, I told you
you can fly
So reach for that
brilliant blue sky

And while you’re there
Search for where
The fluffiest white cloud you can see

Please pluck a handful just for me


i drew this

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Wounds heal over leaving scars. If you pick at the scabs too early, the wounds re-open.

A body at rest for long periods will atrophy over time. If you work it too intensely, the mind may react by going into a manic frenzy.

Stroking the cat’s fur is quietly therapeutic. If you pull at her tail too hard, she will snarl at you.

A little self-pity is comforting. If you cry too much, your nose gets all stuffed up and you can’t breathe properly.

Couple of hours of snooze is refreshing. If you sleep the whole day, you suffer a terrible headache after.

But I think a drug-free slumber is the best.

And contrary to what I see on TV, blood stains do wash off, in small blots at least.

These are some of the things I learnt over the past few weeks.

I like what my friend wrote: “in medio stats virtus”

In the middle lies the path of virtue.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Was trying to beat the rain on my way home from the MRT. So I took a shortcut by crossing the big field. Because I remember my mum telling me, “The diagonal is the shortest distance between two points.” (I’m reminded of Pythagoras’ Theorem although I don’t think this has anything to do with it… I just want to show off that I know this thing called the Pythagoras’ Theorem.)

The rain didn’t hold, unfortunately (blame it on the short legs). I got soaking wet. And muddy feet from walking through the field.

If only I had kept to the original route I take every day, I would only have gotten soaking wet (and I managed to get a copy of Today today, so I would probably only have gotten mildly wet.).

No muddy feet to deal with. Sigh.

Don’t take the shortcut. You’ll never know what you missed by taking it.

Monday, April 9, 2007


I fought with him again last night, and I lost.

I lost my temper.

I got angry. Really angry. When I didn’t want to be.

I hate losing! I want to win too! (maybe not always, but just sometimes?)

So I retreated into bed feeling lousy. Feeling like a loser. Feeling terrible.

Nursing my wounds. Feeling sorry for myself. Until sleep knocked me out.

Does it matter who won and who lost in the fight? Not when I woke up, no it doesn’t matter now.

The sun continues to rise up from the east, the hours continue marching forwards, and life goes on. And I did manage to wake up to another day. What more can I ask?

Maybe it’s not about winning or losing.

Have we fought the good fight, and have we learnt when and how to let go?

Sunday, April 8, 2007


It’s raining outside, flashes of lightning, rolling thunder and all.

I remember a rainy day many years ago. It was my birthday then, and I was in New Zealand. I don’t remember which birthday it was, although that afternoon plays itself out in my mind like a movie reel. So weird, the mind, how it remembers certain details and forgets others.

I was visiting a friend. We had just had lunch and she was on the phone, so I was sitting by the sofa staring out into the streaks of wetness pouring all around us. And I was reminded of home. And my friend’s mother remarked, “This must remind you of home.” And all I could do was nod.

At that moment, I felt like a tragic heroine, thousands of miles away from her family. For the sake of education, she left home to pursue her dreams far far away, away from the familiar comforts of her home, her family, her friends. Despite all the trials and tribulations of staying with strangers, being the only Chinese in her classes, combining a difficult mix of subjects together because she was convinced her purpose in being was to leave an indelible mark in the world at large.

Those were the days of being young, being hot-blooded, being filled with grand thoughts that I could change the way the world moves. I felt very keenly the sufferings of the marginalized and wanted to be the heroine that would set all the broken and unhappy free. I pondered on the mysteries of life and very badly wanted to make a difference. I wrote in my diary, “I want to be a love letter to the lost world.”

I’m older now, mellower. I no longer crave for the melodrama. I no longer embrace the world with the passion I once did. I'm tired. Now, I measure my days out one sentence at a time, repeated many times over, hoping I make sense somehow.

Life happened, and it changed me.

It’s raining now? Gotta go close the windows.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

gReEN sMeLLs LiKe tHIs

The man is navigating a big truck on the field beside the house. He drives in neat lanes, up and down, weaving himself from one end to the other. He’s a good driver, that man. And he’s giving the field a grooming.

I love the smell of just-cut grass. If green had a smell, it would smell like this. Green and raw and fresh.

It reminds me of little children playing, the sun shining, wispy white clouds against a pale-blue sky, vast tracts of green stretching into forever.

And I thought about the grass. About how the grass needs to be cut before you can smell the green. About how the grass needs to be broken through before you can smell the raw. About how the grass needs to die a little in order for you to smell the fresh.

Like a person. Needing to let go of the old so that the new can grow.

To break-down, so that you can re-start.

For only in being broken do you learn which are the pieces of you that are essential to your being, and which are the pieces of you that you can leave behind.

I know I will never be the same again. But does being broken make me any less of a person? The jury’s still out on this one…

Thursday, April 5, 2007

GoOD fRiDay

Today, I observe a day of silence in love and gratitude to my big brother, Jesus, who laid His life down for me 2000 years ago.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007


Last night, Mr. D visited me again.

As usual, we talked. Mainly philosophical stuff. For some reason I am in a very pensive mood every time he visits.

You know, the big question WHY?

Why is the sky blue?
Why is the grass green?
Why don’t I have a clue?
Why I am so thin?

Actually, our concerns were more mundane.

Why are they so slow?
Why do I work so hard and get paid so little?
Why do I look like this?
Why is it so hot?
Why am I not rich?
Why do they put all the nice shows late into the night?
Why can’t I be taller?
Why aren’t my eyes bigger?
Why is my hair so frizzy?

Why me?
Why life?

We spent a long time discussing, dissuading, debating, deliberating.

And then our brains toppled over.

Sometimes, there is no answer. And, you don’t need to know the answer to go on. Just, go on.

I don’t ask why anymore. Go on, Mr. D, and go well.


She said it’s like a hangover.

I feel it’s like riding on a roller coaster, blindfolded.

She said it takes time.

I feel it’s taking forever.

Hangovers aren’t nice. Neither are roller coasters, blindfolded or not. The last time I took a roller coaster was when I was 7(?), in Genting, and I did not like the experience. I can’t remember the last time I had a hangover, though. But I remember desperately crawling for that handful of panadols in a world that had seemed to invert itself upside-down (or inside-out, depending on how you look at it).

Today the cocktail is geared up a notch with a new addition. She goes by the name of Amitriptyline (it’s a little difficult to know when to round off the first syllable… Ami-trip? Amit-rip?... yes, it does make a difference.).

It’s all about control. And losing that control.

Learning when it is OK to let go. That it is OK to let go.

I want the hanging-over to stop!! And don’t take your time.

Monday, April 2, 2007

fOr yOu, My fRiENd

For talking to me, explaining to me, listening to me
For making me laugh, helping me see, cheering me on

For the dinners and the DVDs
For Ribena

For noticing, stopping, asking
For lighting a candle in my darkness

For holding my hand when we explored the streets of Geylang
For telling me I can be a heroine too

For sharing with me Dream of the Endless

For not judging
For not giving up

For letting me cry
For giving me space

For believing

For your time

For you, my friend

Thank YOU

For you taught me, in the end, to forgive is to set myself free

bLacK biRd

I woke up to the sun glaring on my face – I had forgotten to draw the curtain last night.

A palm-sized black bird with fierce-yellow beady eyes sits by my window making a lot of noise.

I wonder what the racket is about.

Is he calling out to his mate?

Or perhaps he is yelling to his family, “Hey kids, here! I found some lovely bits and pieces we can use for that bathroom extension we’ve been wanting to put in our nest!”

Or he’s cheering his friends on while they compete in an aerial race from Block 352 to Block 373, “Come on, Danny! I know you can do it! Just put your head down, keep your eyes on the landing spot, extend your wings… that’s it… and FLAP!”

Or, he’s clearing his throat.

Or maybe he’s just being a palm-sized black bird with fierce-yellow beady eyes sitting by my window making a lot of noise.

I wonder if he knows he is making a lot of noise.

And he said, "Now is not the time to ponder the meaning of life."

Sunday, April 1, 2007

bAlaNCiNg Act


In professional circles, they call it “cocktail”.

Often, a fine balancing act to get the right concoction. Calibrating, mixing and matching, ruminating, dispensing, trying, believing.

A cocktail infused to your self.

A little like life, perhaps. This constant trial and error. Some people are better at the art of living (or is it failing?) than others.

To find your own path. Out.

"Out, damned spot! Out, I say!"

Out of the darkness. Out of the pain.

I put salt on an ulcer in my mouth, and the pain shot right through my nose and into my brain.