Friday, August 31, 2007

sTeP bY StEp

When I was little, I loved doing puzzles. All sorts of puzzles. From math to jigsaw to those where you have to trace the line to identify which fish Joe caught. I also liked to play connecting the dots. It’s an experience in itself when you trace through the numbers and see your creation come to life.

And one thing I learnt from playing connecting the dots. There are no shortcuts. You need to move from 1 to 2 to 3 and so on. Otherwise, you end up with a mess, and you can’t see what the thing was meant to be.

Like being caught in the muddle of life, unable to trace any meaning or value or worth to your existence. Until you figure out that 2 follows 1 and 3 follows 2. “Step by Step” was the motto in my primary school.

I’m ready to take the next step now.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

tHe LoGic oF PaCkiNg

Packing, whether for a trip or vacation or moving houses, always starts off with the best of intentions.

There is this initial period of rational, logical, thinking. Where you try to categorize and organize the things you need to pack into groups. And this initial period tends to be slow, measured, thoughtful. For each piece of thing that you pick up, brings with it memories. It is as if they have a life of their own and a story to tell as well.

But as time goes by, your energy sags, weighed down by their stories. By this time, you no longer hold the book or dress or CD and try to remember where you bought them, when you last used them. Your thoughts are perhaps not as logical, but impulsive.

And right at the end, the packing becomes a frenzy as the day of your departure draws near. Things no longer stand in and for themselves, they become thrown together in a heap of near confusion.

I don’t remember where or how or with whom I got this T-shirt I’m wearing today. In fact, I look at my room and I don’t remember how each piece of thing came into being.

I wish I could.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

aNotHeR PoEM

And yet again, the deep darkness comes
Tranquil, comforting, safe
The night vibrates with insects’ hums

I sit by my window
Looking out into the darkness
Wondering, wandering, what lies below

Far away the moon sheds its light
A round, glowing, orb
And they call me a child of the night

Monday, August 27, 2007


They are having a fight again. And this time, as always, is worst than the last time.

C is sitting down, looking at the floor, pouting. B is striding up and down, huffing and puffing.

C says that since she got there first, she should have that. B claims that he is stronger, so he should have that.

That is being clutched tightly by C, while B tries desperately to lunge at that.

And this childish war of epic proportions continue, while I struggle to go on in life without that.

Sleepless, starry, silver, night.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

LiViNG bY tHe SeA

I succumbed to the call of the sea again. And this time, I ventured out further than I have ever tried before.

In my mind, I was like a dog paddling to the rock ridge out from the beach, so that I can sit on it and ponder the world. I barely made it, panting and all.

Being in the sea does things to you.

Distances become difficult to measure because there’s just this vast expanse of water around you. You feel so alone, it can be scary.

Distances become easy excuses to step away from people for a bit and be by yourself. You feel so alone, it can be comforting.

I think I would like to live by the sea.


When you left, you left behind many things. Many things that remind me of you. Some of these things I hold tight in my dreams. Some of these things I wish I could forget. And sometimes, I suddenly remember, you.

My ballet teacher likes to say that your body will remember the stretches that you do, so the more you practice, the more your body will remember.

Memory, is a very strange being.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Family, they make you laugh, they make you cry.

Friends, they make you happy, they make you sad.

Human relationships are complicated, complex.

And they can be tiring, exhausting.

Yet if you put in the effort, relationships can be rewarding. Interactions can be meaningful. Actions can be fun.

If there was something I could hang onto, I would have fought hard for us.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

a QuOTe

“Some birds are not meant to be caged. Their feathers are too colourful. And when they fly away, the part of you that knew it was a sin to cage them rejoices. I guess I just miss my friend.”

I think I heard this from Shawshank Redemption.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

fUrRY AniMaLs

Animals make me happy. Furry animals make me happy. Big furry animals make me happy. I love to hug them and tickle them and bury my face in their fur.

If I weren’t such a scaredy cat about blood and useless at science, I would have loved to become a zoologist. Or a zookeeper, but then cleaning up animal shit is not exactly what I’m after either.

I guess I just love playing with dogs. They have this innocence in their big wide watery eyes that draws you to them.

And always this tacit understanding that you will protect them and they will protect you. Like a friend whom you can trust implicitly.

Nose-kisses from dogs make me really high.

Friday, August 17, 2007

tO YoU...

... who believe in me much more than I believe in myself.

Some goodbyes are harder to say than others.

Some hugs you wish you could hold in your arms forever.

Some moments linger and play themselves in your mind over and over.

But I suppose it is time.

Go well, my friend.

“Goodbye” is the hardest word to say. I hope I won’t choke.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

bEiNG mE

The rain is falling in sleek threads that join the sky and ground.

Somewhere, two crows are arguing.

The strains of “The Prayer” are playing in the background. Charlotte Church and Josh Groban. I wish I had a voice that could sing so beautifully.

I wish. I wish. I wish. I wish a hundred million wishes.

But you know what? Sometimes it is enough just to be me.


A piece of gauze has fitted itself over her being. The world feels muffled.

Like the spaces between waking and dreaming. Soft spaces. Shifty sand.

The little mermaid gave up her being and her voice so that she could have legs like a human, in the hope that the prince will love her. But he did not.

She lost her mermaid soul. For the love of a man who did not love her back.

What have you lost?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Today, I thought about fruits.

Some fruits fall off from their tree when they ripen.

Some fruits we have to pluck from the tree when they ripen.

And fruits that are unripe when plucked from the tree, they still ripen.

So even when something inside us is broken, we can still continue to grow.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


To be near you. To be free.

Monday, August 13, 2007


I recently took up ballet lessons again, after a near-20-year hiatus. When I was young, I dreamed of becoming a ballerina, dancing on tiptoes, dainty and graceful. Somehow, that never happened.

Fast forward 20 years, and you have a lumbering cow (me) amongst a group of lithe, flexible, pretty, completely stretchable teenagers. It takes one adult ballet lesson to really show you how old you are.

Just the other day, while my classmates all did splits on the floor, I was standing there looking on in horror and helplessness. When will I be able to achieve that level of flexibility? Will that even be possible at my age?

Yet actually, I am blessed enough to still be able to sign up for adult ballet classes. I still have control over my hands and legs, however uncoordinated they may be. I can still walk and run and bend and jump, even if not gracefully. I can still breathe every breath with purpose and with strength.

I suppose I am contented with being the lumbering cow for a while.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

My pATh

I have a fixed path that I walk every day to get to the train station.

On rainy days though, my route gets disrupted as I have to make detours to avoid getting wet.

Just last week, I was horrified to see that part of my fixed path has been blocked off for building a new playground.

And a week later, I am still disoriented at having to alter part of my route because of the construction works.

It made me think of life. You get so used to doing certain things in a certain way and you forget that there are actually alternatives to what you are used to doing.

Or maybe sometimes, the prospect of change is too frightening.

But on the new path, I have encountered many different and interesting things. Like the black cat that is forever asleep. And beautiful blossoms of flowers. And the sound of little kids playing and laughing.

Change, can be refreshing.

Walk out of your comfort zone and come experience the world.

Friday, August 10, 2007

riGhT oR WrONg

Feelings, as they tell me, are not right or wrong. They just are.

Decisions, as they tell me too, are not right or wrong. They just are the decisions you make at particular points in time.

Thoughts, I think, are not right or wrong either. They just are the thoughts that pop into your head.

Dreams, as I like to tell myself, are not right or wrong. Big dreams. Small dreams. Fat dreams. Tiny dreams. We need them all.

For it is our dreams that keep us alive.

Thursday, August 9, 2007


A lot of the questions we ask, we already have the answers to.

Sometimes we don’t ask the questions because we don’t want to know the answers.

Sometimes we ask the questions because we need to hear the answers.

Is it cowardice that stops you from asking, or is it complacency?

Is it courage that makes you ask, or is it compassion?

Are you ready with your answers?

Wednesday, August 8, 2007


I was listening to Pachelbel’s Canon on my way home. It is one of those haunting melodies that stay with you long after the music has stopped.

The music reminded me of happy times. Times when I laughed. Times when I can see light in life.

The music also reminded me of unhappy times. Times when I cried. Times when life is only darkness.

That is how it is with some things in life. They continue to echo in your head long after the event is over.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007


Many years ago, I thought I had found the answer to life. That the reason man lives and rises above all the other creatures of the earth is because man is a meaning-seeking creature. For it is in that search for meaning that we really live.

Many years later, I learnt otherwise. That man does not live by reasoning alone. Rationalisations can only get us this far. Life is about feeling too. To live so that we really live.

My wise friend said, “You live and you plan. Living is not expecting. Planning is not controlling.”

Monday, August 6, 2007

a PoeM

He wears the tattoos on his body like a shirt
She wears the frown that lines her face with hurt
Different people, different stories
Different persons, different worries

I wish, I hope, I pray
That darkness goes away

She draws the curtains to keep the lights out
He draws from his memories and yet he doubts
Different people, different priorities
Different persons, different disabilities

I wish, I hope, I pray
That darkness comes my way

Sunday, August 5, 2007


Between two tall coconut trees the other day, I laid down on a hammock. Between the warm afternoon sun and my book, I fell asleep on the hammock. Between the crashing of waves and whispers of the wind, I weaved cotton-candy dreams on the hammock.

Like a fish caught out of water, I lay in the netted hammock. Like a coward who fears life, I fretted about lying in the netted hammock. Like a child exploring the world, I took in the wonders of lying in the netted hammock.

And for that moment, I felt peace hug me.

gEt rEaDY

Her hands chattered, like her teeth chattering in the cold
Her breath slowed, like her blinking slows in the cold
Suddenly, she feels, for some reason, old
Or perhaps, she has always, always been old

Sadness seeps into her
Penetrates her skin
Eats into her soul

It is so easy to give up
So easy to give in
So easy to give way

Happiness jumps upon her
Infuses her spirit
Permeates her person

It is so difficult to let go
So difficult to let live
So difficult to let pass

Are you ready for life now?

Saturday, August 4, 2007

tHe BLaCk cAt

The black cat is sleeping. It is sleeping everyday, every time I walk past it. Sometimes, it is curled up on the wrought-iron garden chair. Sometimes it is curled up under the wrought-iron garden chair. Sometimes it is curled up on the cool cement floor with the sun brushing its black fur.

I wonder if it has a name. I wonder when it wakes up. I wandered over and touched it on its soft slightly wet quivering nose and it gave me a dirty look.

Let sleeping cats lie.

Friday, August 3, 2007

tHe SeA aGaiN

Swimming in the sea is a whole different experience from swimming in a pool.

You don’t know when you might hit the deep end. Sometimes, the shoreline gradually recedes as you are walking out to sea. Sometimes, it ends abruptly, pulling you into the waves suddenly.

There is a lot more buoyancy swimming in the sea. You do not have to contend with the hundred human bodies all packed together into a rectangular space.

Most of the time, you don’t know where you are going. The undercurrents and the new waves pass each other by and if you’re lucky, you float. Otherwise, you choke on a mouthful or a noseful of saltwater.

And if you get stung by a jellyfish, put some lime juice on it.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

tHe SeA

The sea. Holds a kind of mysterious charm. Dangerous even. And it drew me like a magnet.

Walking along the beach. Learning lessons from the waves.

Swimming in the saltwater. Riding the waves.

Listening. The rhythm of the waves.

Perhaps this is what it sounded like when we were in our mother’s womb. Perhaps this is what makes the sea so comforting.

I was at the sea today and I learnt how to walk on water.