Saturday, May 31, 2008

THerE iS tHis

Lie low. And trust no one.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Thursday, May 29, 2008

dR. HoUSe

Writing has been slow in coming. I’m hit with the sleeping bug. There’s a woozy feeling in my head, like a little ball of pain being kicked around. The world feels a little hazy. Perhaps if you look, you’ll find my eyes glazed over.

I’m sick. And my body is so whacked out from trying to fight the bug that I’ve spent the whole of today doing nothing much but sleeping. Even my appetite is off… but maybe that’ll take care of the extra pounds I have been worried about.

It never fails to amaze me, the wonder called the human body. When it detects any trace of illness invading, the internal engines start revving up. When a fever springs up, I know my body is hard at war, and I’m rather proud of it.

Oh, just get me the doctor. Dr. House, please.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

cLAsh oF ThE tiTAnS

Have you ever encountered a situation where what you do in a practical day-to-day environment clashes with some fundamental belief inside of you? Like your boss asking you to lie to that annoying client who calls every other hour, that she is out for a meeting. Or knowing your friend who is calling in sick is actually going for a job interview, but you tell no one. Or sometimes just conveniently bringing home office stationery, and letting them stay at home.

And on a more macro level, what if the career you thrive on goes against your deep-seated values of right and wrong, of good and bad, of what you hope to rid the world of vs. what you perpetuate in your job?

Closeted, and conflicted.

Debated, and dejected.

Guess I’ll have to go with the lesser of two evils.

Monday, May 26, 2008

The DReaMeR iN mE

It is said there is a time and a season for everything. How do you know?

How do I know when is the season to pursue my dreams? How do I know when is the time to give up on my dreams?

It is like flying a kite. If you hold on too tightly to the string you deny the kite a chance to soar and reveal its beauty in the skies. If you let go too quickly the string may snag in the winds and you lose your kite forever.

I am a big believer in dreams. Or I used to be. I believed in all the fairytales of happily-ever-after, naively thinking that if I dreamed hard enough, my dreams would come true. I had dreams of writing books and winning the Nobel Prize for Literature. I had dreams of becoming a famous ballerina. OK, I admit it, I was a big sucker for dreams back then.

Time has made me more jaded now. Cautious, perhaps. You learn to be like that, when you’ve had one too many dreams ripped out from inside you. It is depressing, you know, when all that you ever believed in betray you. And as you watch on in helpless horror, you realise the world has adopted a new logic that now defies your understanding.

Maybe I didn’t dream hard enough.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

cOmE hEAr tHe siLEncE

Oh, the sounds of silence!
how they behoove and awe me.

There are flaming blue eyes which speak
better than any eloquent vocalization
stammered from soft lips.

The sound of a baby girl's smile
when so peacefully sleeping in pink bliss.

The sound of a star going super nova
creating beauty for all to behold.

The sound of God's orchestra
filling my head with wonders.

The sound of an angel's wings
taking flight outside my window.

The fantastic sounds of silence
without hesitation,
consideration or cadence,
plays music to my heart,
like an arrested heart with a new start,
elated with a quickened pace of life.
"Listen to the sounds of silence!"

(Sounds of Silence by Ogden McGahan)

Friday, May 23, 2008

RanTiNG aT tHE sUn

It is so hot these days an egg could cook if you cracked it onto the hood of a car under the sun. That, and it takes roughly 5 ice-cubes to cool my drink from room temperature to a moderately cool refreshment.

The heat compels certain changes in my habits. I perspire so much when I’m out that face towels are now acquiring permanent residency in my bag. I go through 2-3 changes of clothes daily because they get drenched every time I return home from a trip out. My daily activities are limited to a not-more-than-5-feet-away-distance from 3 key electrical appliances: the fan, the aircon, and the refrigerator. And staying hydrated has never taken such high priority in my life-list.

So I realise I don’t function very well in hot conditions. It slows me down. The rate of atrophy increases exponentially as the day wears on. And the humidity frazzles both my nerves, and my hair. Have you ever noticed how oily your nose gets when it’s all hot and humid?

It is times like these that make me wish I were an Eskimo living in an igloo. Or perhaps not.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

tAKe YoUr tiME

He said, “Take your time, do it only when you’re ready.”

How do I know whether ready is here? How do I know when I’m ready?

How many times have I held back, thinking I’m not ready? How much time have I wasted, thinking I’m not ready? How many opportunities have I missed, thinking I’m not ready?

Is being ready really a state of being? Or is it just another construct of our imagination? Is being ready a way for us to anchor our being into the dimension of time? Or is it just a convenient excuse to procrastinate?

Well, ready or not, here I come!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

PerFEctLy iMPoSsiBLe

"All of us failed to match our dreams of perfection. So I rate us on the basis of our splendid failure to do the impossible."

(William Faulkner)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I know what I know. I do not know more.
I know what I know. And yet I know so much less.

Knowledge is a blessing. They say knowledge is power.
Knowledge is a curse. They say ignorance is bliss.

Knowing comes from a sense of openness, of acceptance.
Knowing comes from a sense of wanting, of asking.

What do I know?
What do you know?

I am who I am, and 2+2=4.

Monday, May 19, 2008


It is dusk. The hour of day when humanity heaves a collective sigh. For some, it is a sigh of contentment, at a day well spent. For others, it is a sigh of relief, for having gotten through the day. For others yet, it is a sigh of disappointment, at another day just like any other day.

Cyclone in Myanmar. Earthquake in China. News these days always put me in a strangely reflective mood. It’s a dissonance when I look at the faces of those who are broken, against programs about living the high life and where to splurge for the latest whatever.

It is dusk. Myanmar has finally agreed to receive international aid from its neighbouring countries. After 148 hours, a survivor buried in the rubble from the earthquake is miraculously still alive. For family and friends, I guess it is a sigh of joy. And a quiet acknowledgement that God must have played a hand in this somewhere.

Dusk. For me, it is a time of thanksgiving. For in gratitude, I found humility.

Saturday, May 17, 2008


"When we have loved someone and that person dies, what happens to all the love we invested in that person? The Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai offers a bold and arresting image to answer that question. He suggests that a person's body absorbs and stores all the love it receives in the course of a lifetime, from parents, from lovers, from husbands or wives, from children and friends. Then, when the body dies, it pours out all that love 'like a broken slot machine disgorging the coins of all the generations,' and all the people nearby, and all the world, are warmed by the love that has been returned to them. People die, but love does not die. It is recycled from one heart, from one life, to another."

(from Living a Life That Matters by Harold S. Kushner)


These days, I’ve been following a hospital drama on TV. In the few recent episodes, we see a couple who learns that their unborn child is afflicted with Down’s Syndrome, and they face the terrible dilemma of whether to keep the child, or to abort it.

At the same time in hospital is a mentally disabled girl who was raped by her colleague and got pregnant. Her parents opted for an abortion, as the girl has no way of looking after both herself and a child given her mental disability.

So the couple looks at the reality of bringing up a mentally disabled child, and struggle with the idea of aborting their child (the couple happens to be doctors themselves).

Where do you draw the line? The advances of medical science have allowed women to be able to “select” which sperm donor to impregnate herself with. It has allowed parents to know if their unborn child is suffering from any disabilities, thereby allowing them the “choice” of whether to keep the baby or not. Not to mention cloning and the Brave New World of 1984 or Walden Two.

I just think we shouldn’t try to play at being God.

Friday, May 16, 2008

tHIs LiST iS MiNe

“Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens… … … I simply remember my favourite things, and then I don't feel so bad.”

I saw some children laughing at the playground today, and this familiar tune rang in my head. Remembering “The Sound of Music” always makes me smile quietly to myself. The escapades of a runaway nun-to-be and seven children raised to be little soldiers, what more potent combination could we get?

So I made up a list of my favourite things too:

- rainbow after a light shower
- Oreo cookies with milk (and Baileys!)
- fairies and unicorns
- waking up smiling from happy dreams
- snuggling in bed with a book (on a cold day!)
- the smell of freesias
- a meal with friends
- nose kisses with dogs and head-butts from cats
- a handwritten letter in the snail mail
- watching “The Sound of Music”
- ballerinas fluttering on their tiptoes

- dressing up for a glam night out
- orang utans!

What are your favourite things?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

tO KiLL oR Not To kILL

Euthanasia, is the topic of discussion for today.

From what I hear, there appears to be broadly two camps. One camp speaks of respecting human rights, including the right for a person to kill himself. The other camp talks about respecting human life, and bids us keep in mind the sanctity of our being.

A person is deemed adult, independent, and able to make decisions for herself when she turns 18 or 21 or some such age as a country’s government and judicial system so dictate. From a logical point of view, the fact that I can make independent decisions for myself on what to do or what not to do, implies that I have the right to choose to kill myself, so long as it does not cause harm to others.

Yet human life, or any life for that matter, deserves to be respected. Religion aside, we all know our life on earth, the very fact of our existence, is this big fluke that happens only once. Life, as we know it, is to be regarded as sacred. Which is why murderers get put behind bars as punishment when they kill someone.

It’s a tough call. I have the right to make decisions regarding my own life. At the same time, my life deserves to be treated with respect. So when I do decide to kill myself, will I be no different than a murderer?

And he also said to me, “Be gentle with your self."

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I aM ReaDy To FiGHt

I could sense he was coming. It’s difficult to explain, this sense. But I know it, in the deepest part of my being. I can recognize this familiar stirring. Like how some people can smell the rain coming. And I was right.

Mr. D dropped by for a visit. Actually it wasn’t too long ago that I saw him. But the last few times I met him have been lackluster. It was a little different today. We spoke about dreams, about goals, about aspirations.

While I had lofty thoughts of saving the world, Mr. D felt that human existence was just a slow walk to death. While I wanted to be able to effect change in the world, Mr. D felt that nothing we do makes a difference. I look at the enormity of life, and I am humbled. Mr. D looks at the enormity of life, and he is defeated.

There was a time when I would have agreed with Mr. D. But I have come to take a different attitude towards life these days. More relaxed, perhaps. A world-view that has expanded. Something about hope and grace.

So follow your heart for your heart knows best.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

i Am nO GoD

I’ve been doing a fair bit of reflection these couple days… (I tend to have this brooding mood that hits me every now and then). This time, I have been reflecting on the concept of making mistakes. And it is interesting how the realization unfolded before me, like walking through a long dark tunnel and then seeing light at the end.

Making mistakes is part of human nature. It is like our physiological need to eat, to sleep. Making mistakes is part of our human condition. From the perspective of a perfectionist like me, this is disturbing. I don’t like to make mistakes. But to deny this glaring truth is to deny the very essence of my own being.

Knowing this brings with it a sense of relief. I don’t have to keep up with the pretense of being the goody-two-shoes all the time. I don’t have to grovel for acceptance from my friends, because they love me for who I am. I don’t have to worry about being wrong and making mistakes because we all make mistakes, silly mistakes, dumb mistakes. They come in all shapes and forms.

And you know what? That’s OK.

Monday, May 12, 2008

ThE BodY sPEaKs

"Over the years your bodies become walking autobiographies, telling friends and strangers alike of the minor and major stresses of your lives."

(Marilyn Ferguson)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

dOWn & uP

Imagine the rush of letting your bicycle carry you down a slope with your hands off the handle-bars. Imagine the exhilaration as you leap off the plane in that moment between free-falling and opening your parachute. Imagine the adrenalin pumping as the roller-coaster tumbles and rumbles over razor-sharp bends.

Today I saw a little boy cruise down a slope on his bicycle, with his hands in the air, jubilant at having conquered the world. And it reminded me of something. Before being able to let your hands go, before being able to leap off the plane, before being able to swoosh down on a roller-coaster, you need to first find your way up.

Some people reach the summit without much effort. Some people struggle to get to the top. And some people just take it in their stride.

Perhaps, it is a matter of relativity. Or perhaps, it is a matter of ability.

I know I have it in me to reach those peaks in my life, even after I have hit ground zero.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

iN MeMoRiUm

This is one of my favourite art pieces, which I have fondly nicknamed "The Lone Fisherman". For some reason, this picture seems to be an apt metaphor for the Cyclone Nargis that hit Myanmar, and the reluctance of the military junta to allow international aid.

My heart aches for the hundreds of thousands who perished and who are missing. And my heart aches even more for the millions who are left behind. Left behind to pick up the broken pieces. "The Lone Fisherman" artwork is made by painstakingly cracking eggshells on a piece of black lacquer wood to create the tonality and depth of the scene. The juxtaposition between purposively shattering something and having to put together the shattered pieces stands very jarring.

So while we complain that our pay is too low, while we eye that latest handphone from Nokia that we want to buy, while we can access the modern conveniences of the Internet and MSN and blogging... I hope some small part of us remembers to be grateful, and to be giving.

There is much we can be grateful for, and much that we can give, indeed.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

BaiL mE oUT

Baileys and milk, a soothing concoction
Baileys and milk and Oreos, a sinful combination
Baileys on ice, simple and quick
Baileys neat, ready in a tick

I am addicted to Baileys. I drink it almost every day. I like the richness and the power inherent in the drink. And in that blissful moment from being sober to getting tipsy, the world feels like a less scary place to live in.

So in the middle of the night, a shot of Baileys in hand, I take what peace the world has to offer.

Monday, May 5, 2008

wARm & fUZzY

It is not often you see a union of two people who leave such a deep impression on me like my ballet teachers. They are a husband-and-wife tag team who runs our ballet academy. Their passion for dance infuses every lesson they teach. It is rare to see two people who share the same enthusiasm and beliefs they hold towards ballet. And that, to me, is like a match made in heaven.

I often wonder dreamily about the days when they were both in the same ballet academy. It seems so romantic to be a ballet partner with someone who is also your soul-mate. And I can only fantasize about the synergy and beauty and grace of a pas de deux between two people who are truly in love with each other.

At the very least, it leaves me with a very warm and fuzzy feeling inside after every ballet lesson.

And there is hope.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

LoVE, mE

I read a note my grandma wrote back in 1923
Grandpa kept it in his coat and he showed it once to me
He said, “I know you might not understand but a long long time ago
Grandma's daddy didn't like me none but I loved your grandma so”

“We had this crazy plan to meet and run away together
Get married in the first town we came to & live forever
But nailed to the tree where we were supposed to meet instead
I found this letter and this is what it said:

“If you get there before I do
Don't give up on me
I'll meet you when my chores are through
I don't know how long I'll be
But I'm not gonna let you down
Darlin' wait and see
And between now and then til I see you again
I'll be loving you, love me.”

I read those words just hours before my grandma passed away
In the doorway of a church where me and grandpa stopped to pray
I know I've never seen him cry in all my 15 years
But as he said these words to her his eyes filled up with tears:

“If you get there before I do
Don't give up on me
I'll meet you when my chores are through
I don't know how long I'll be
But I'm not gonna let you down
Darlin' wait and see
And between now and then til I see you again
I'll be loving you, love me.”

(by Colin Raye)

tOo MUch, FaR ToO mUCh

I bought new furniture and re-decorated my room. There was too much clutter, too much junk, too many memories.

I tried to get rid of as many things as I could, and realized, to my horror, that I have so much. Too much, in fact. And I feel bad, for all those who are lacking, who are wanting, who do not have the simple basics of food and clothes and shelter. Even though we donate the things, it doesn’t make me feel any better that I bought that extra bag and shoes on a whim. Because money comes easy, I take it very much for granted. Like it is my birthright.

So hereby I do solemnly declare that I will buy nothing but food and transport for the next 3 months.

Friday, May 2, 2008

mY gENie iN a BoTtLe

It takes guts to do what you are doing. Putting yourself out on the line like that. Yet that is what makes you so special. Your ability to be no one else but your self. Maybe “ability” is the wrong word. It is more like being in a state of constant self-awareness. Without the need for posturing and pretending in front of others. Nothing. No one else but you.

And it is this very essence I want to bottle up and use as my magic potion.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

bRiDGes & BriDgES

Will you really love me for who I am? Is this the sense of empowerment which you speak of? Can I truly find the freedom that I seek?

This is the bridge over troubled water. The bridge that comforts, that encourages, that lays itself down for you.

So we'll cross the bridge when we come to it.

And while we're at it, remember to burn the bridge after you have crossed it.