Monday, June 30, 2008

LovE & kEYs

"I think somewhat furtively of all the keys I have ever received or given. A sign of trust and, when they are given without strict utility or purpose, a token of love. When we give a set of keys, or are given them, or when we return them, or take them back again, might this be how love is measured out, between lovers?

More accurate to say that, for lovers, each is the other's key. A matter of precise adjustment, exactness of contour. Nothing to do with complementarity, in fact. The key does not complete the lock. It opens the lock, it activates it, lends its power to it. The lover gives the other back to himself or herself, to the fullness of which he or she is capable. With that enigmatic hardness proper to love.

Love once fled is either a closed door or a door impossible to close. Think of that: of our loves as a bunch of keys, each in turn opening or closing, not our whole being perhaps (there is no such thing as our whole being), but this or that portion. A drawer here, a district there, a door, a vehicle.

It's time I let myself out of the house."

(from "How Are Things?" by Roger-Pol Droit)

rAIn RaiN ComE AgAin

The rain brought some relief, at least, albeit temporary. The oven-hot, rainforest-humid, glue-sticky weather has been draining. In some strange process of kinetic force osmosis, the sun seems to grow stronger by sapping my energy. And I grow weaker and more weary under the heat. The cool breeze following the rain is a welcome change.

Now it is dark. There are flashes of lightning across the sky. Lightning without the thunder. I wonder if this means there will be rain again? Rain when I am sleeping is the best. I don’t get wet, and my body rests more comfortably with the steady drip and drop of the rain.

Expect isolated thunderstorms in the northern part of the country tomorrow.

Sunday, June 29, 2008


That was all they could do to help. There was only this much they could do. And yet, had they tried harder, had I tried harder, maybe things wouldn’t have turned out the way they do now. But they say, there is no use crying over spilt milk. Perhaps.

Ms. M and Mr. D were there. They were there when it first started. They are here now that it has started. Sometimes my breath still catches when I think of how we began as strangers and ended up as even stranger bedfellows. Life.

Cynicism is unintentional. It can be tiring trying to undermine everything around you. Yet I wonder if they see it as such. The harder I tried, the more my breath caught. Memory.

Everyone is the rest, that’s why they are called the rest.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

bEDtimE PrAYeR

As I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
If I should die before I wake
I pray the Lord my soul to take

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

i AM bETter THan YoU

I’ve just finished reading another memoir of a Holocaust survivor. While their tenacity and courage inspire me, I often wonder how people can turn against people and torture them so ruthlessly. And it set me thinking.

When I was in school, my friends and I formed pacts and alliances following the likes of Famous Five and Three Investigators and Nancy Drew. These cliques were exclusive, membership being guaranteed only because one is judged to be a “good” friend, however we defined that. There was always someone who fell through the cracks, access denied. We taunted them by using our special code-words and secret language while in their presence. And isn’t this a form of “torture” as well? Inflicting pain on someone else for no apparent reason other than that we think them somehow inferior to us.

Have I always been such a supremacist? Have I always looked down on those who have less than me, who knows less than me? Have I always thought myself one rung higher than the girl next door?

Humility is not one of my greatest virtues. Pride is not one of my greatest faults.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

reSPeCt The DEaD

I’ve been following a blog written by a veterinarian assistant, detailing the animals she has had to put to sleep on a daily basis. Morbid as it may sound, this is perhaps her way of paying respect to the life that once was.

Suddenly I’m reminded of Mother Teresa, and her fight to shelter and care for the sick in their very last moments. Instead of letting them die out on the streets, she brought them in and clothed and fed them.

And sometimes, I think of my own mortality.

And I think, there is no dignity in dying.

Monday, June 23, 2008

a REspoNSibLE LiFE

"We had to learn ourselves and, furthermore, we had to teach the despairing men, that it did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life - daily and hourly. Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual."

(from Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

iT's NoT tHE SamE

I have a problem with surrogate mothers. Not personally, for I don’t know any. But I have a big problem with surrogate mothers who come from the same family. Read this newsbyte from US:

“A 52-year old woman has given birth to her own twin grandchildren after serving as a surrogate mother for her daughter and son-in-law.”

That bothers me. It bothers me a lot. Giving birth to one’s own grandchildren defies the law of nature. Imagine the child growing up with his family tree all screwed up. Imagine the child whose birth mother is also her grandmother, her mother also her sister. Screwed up, man, I tell you. Screwed up.

There are certain principles in life I cannot compromise, and this is one of them. I am unable to accept man messing around with nature. Sure, I have compassion and empathy for infertile couples who have tried their hardest to conceive. But I think getting my mother impregnated with my husband’s sperm is just plain wrong. Actually, that sounds disgusting.

I rest my case.

Friday, June 20, 2008


"I ask you for strength and wisdom, not in order to be superior to my brothers, but so that I can overcome my greatest enemy - myself."

(from Chronicle by Paulo Coelho)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

GraCE enD

I fell from grace
From the human race

I fell apart
In playing my part

A deep dark conspiracy plot
Turns out to be just my lot

Fan the fire burn the flame
Leave the listless and the lame

Not long ago
You told me to go

So drive me round the bend
Let it come right to an end

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

i ThiNk

It is not the fear of the thing itself that makes us scared. It is the anticpation of how and where and when it will happen that gnaws at our being.


Monday, June 16, 2008


As a bear needs to hibernate, so do I.


Saturday, June 14, 2008

thE HumBLe peDOmETeR

I jogged 6,314 steps, a distance of 4.419 km, and burnt 173.1 calories today. That’s according to my new toy, the pedometer. I was never a health freak. But I must admit the pedometer is really neat. I clip it onto my shorts, press a button and off I go. It’ll be way cool if they could build a pedometer that has stopwatch and radio/ mp3 functions. Then I wouldn’t need to go around with 3 separate pieces of equipment.

Technology has evolved so fast I feel old suddenly. When I first started working 8 years ago, one of my first projects was to ask people what functions or features they want to see on their mobile phones. Remember, that was an age where mobile phones were just chunky pieces of bricks. I scoffed at how ridiculous some of their ideas were: camera phones, phones with games, phones that allow video-conferencing, phones that are miniature PCs, and all of these to be packed into something light, neat, and portable.

And today, I am entirely dependent on my mobile phone with its 2 GB memory stick, 3.2 megapixel camera, mp3 and radio, and a whole host of games and calendar/ reminder functions. We have the clamshell phone, the swivel phone, the sliding phone. We have phones that are so slim I’m afraid my fingers might break them while sending an SMS.

All these within a decade.

It’s scary how fast time flies. It’s comforting how fast time flies.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Thursday, June 12, 2008


I was at the hospital today. Studying the map. Trying to decipher the floor-plan. Registry of live-births just across the corridor from the morgue. Like some twisted version of Murphy’s Law.

We celebrate the birth of a new life. We mourn the end that is death. And in-between, we fumble and stumble and rumble our way through. Knowing we have started the journey, knowing we must finish the trip. Come ride with me, the more the merrier.

I wonder why they say Friday the 13th is an inauspicious day?

My iNNeR ciRcLE

I was having dinner with a group of close friends, and I realized something. Situations around us may change (we were once colleagues working in the same company but now all of us are working at different places). We may change (we grow older, some of us got married and now have kids). But the friendships remain the same.

The same excited anticipation in meeting up. The same habit of talking so loudly it is as if we owned the restaurant. The same safe comfort in the presence of one another. The same jokes we will never tire of telling, and hearing.

Guess what? Happiness is simple.

My formula? Good food + Good friends = Great day.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

eVErYThiNg is MeANinGLesS

"Meaningless! Meaningless!" says the Teacher. "Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless."

What does man gain from all his labour at which he toils under the sun? Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever. The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises. The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course.

All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again. All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing.

What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which one can say, "Look! This is something new"? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time.

There is no remembrance of men of old, and even those who are yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow.

I, the Teacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. I devoted myself to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under heaven. What a heavy burden God has laid on men! I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

What is twisted cannot be straightened; what is lacking cannot be counted.

I thought to myself, "Look, I have grown and increased in wisdom more than anyone who has ruled over Jerusalem before me; I have experienced much of wisdom and knowledge." Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind.

For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.

(The Book of Ecclesiastes 1:1-18)

Monday, June 9, 2008






Saturday, June 7, 2008

fORgivE & FoRGeT

You left me at a time when I needed you most.
How can I forgive when I cannot forget?

He chose to die instead of fighting.
How can I forget when I cannot forgive?

She gave up when the darkness descended.
How can I forgive? How can I forget?

For the needle in the haystack,
That self-same straw that broke the camel's back.

Friday, June 6, 2008

thE PoiNT is ThiS

They say persistence and perseverance pay off. But sometimes, they don’t. Sometimes, you need to take a few steps back before you can move forward. Sometimes, you have to fall a couple of times before you learn to be steady on your feet. Sometimes, you need to endure the depths of despair before you value the sanctity of your joy.

Nobody likes failure. It makes you look stupid. Especially when you try to fight for a chance that already belongs to someone else. I don’t like failure. I don’t like to look stupid. I am wary of sticking my neck out, in case it gets hacked off.

When I got back my disastrous Honours dissertation, they said not to take it badly because that wouldn’t be the most important piece of work I will write in my life. But at that point in my life, it was the most important thing to me. When my boss decided to let my colleague run the project instead of me, she said not to worry there will be other opportunities. But at that time, it was the only opportunity I had that I worked hard for. When my ballet teacher decided not to let me stand in front, he said the scholarship students have the obligation to be on stage and perform for the school. But the performance is supposed to be by adult ballet beginners, so I don’t see why they put in the professional dancers with us.

I sound petty, jealous, full of envy and anger. I am, I don’t deny that. Because sometimes I think, life has short-changed me. But then I think everyone feels cheated out of life at some point or other.

I should be glad that I at least have life, and that I am able to walk and walk and walk, till I reach journey’s end.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

"i HavE A DrEAm"

One of my favourite speeches of all times.

"And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of 'interposition' and 'nullification' -- one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; 'and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.'

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day."

(excerpt from I Have A Dream by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.)

Monday, June 2, 2008

tHe LovE ThaT i HavE

“What do you love about yourself?” my friend asked me today.

“My mind. And my writing.” I answered.

“What do you really love about yourself?” he insisted.

“Being able to think. Being able to write.” By which time I was starting to wonder if it was a trick question.

“But anyone can think and write.” he continued.

And it set me thinking, and writing. Is that all there is to my self worth? Thinking and writing help me make sense of the world. I need to ruminate on things. I need to set my thoughts down in writing. I’m introspective by nature. And I love the “high” that thinking and writing give me. And if truth be told, I want the world to know about my thoughts through my writing. In the vain hope that perhaps, my writing would resonate, with someone, with anyone.

Friend, maybe you’re right. Maybe it’s a cop out. To live my life through thinking rather than living.

So, what do you love about yourself?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

aNd TheN tHeRE is ThiS

Before you blame someone, check if you have really done all you could.