Thursday, April 30, 2009


"It's the possibility that when you're dead you might still go on hurting that bothers me."

(from The Bone People by Keri Hulme)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

LetTEr tO a FriEnD

Dear friend,

It has been a very long time. We used to chat almost every day. But something has changed. And I don’t know what. Except that we have stopped talking. I am wondering why.

It was serendipity that brought us together. You are the elder sibling I never had. I trusted you with my secrets. And I’ll still tell them to you. If only you would listen.

Did I do anything wrong? Or perhaps I had forgotten to do something right? Unless you tell me. I would never know.

For I would hate to lose this friendship. If it were over some small and silly misunderstanding. So tell me don’t make me guess.

I would make it up to you if I could. You just need to be patient with me.

So don’t go.


Monday, April 27, 2009


A couple of weeks back, I began on this quest to do at least one good deed every day. While I haven’t actually been successful in practicing this on a daily basis, the times when I do remember to lend a helping hand have been very fulfilling personally.

It has made me a better person, being able to anticipate the needs of others. It has made me more courageous, in approaching strangers to ask if they need help. It has reassured me, that there is still hope in the human condition.

Giving, unlike taking, is a boomerang.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


I am not an adventurous person by nature, preferring to stick with the true and tested. But over the years I have also realised, there can be no progress without trying. Imagine how boring life would be, if there was just one road for us to walk on.

I look at the choices I have in front of me in a different light now. I no longer fear change. Trying something different and failing at it is a learning experience in itself. It sounds flippant but at least you’ll know the next time that that road leads to nowhere.

At a T-junction now, so which road do I take?

It is difficult to know where you are going if you aren’t sure where you have been.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

iF nOT a, TheN B

I am not exactly an organization freak but I do like to have my things placed neatly with their own categories (a fish tackle box for my earrings, a coat hanger stand for my bags, drawers for my CDs…). It disturbs me when things are strewn all over the place – an uncomfortable, inchoate feeling.

This categorizing, as I learnt many years ago in my linguistics classes, is what helps us make sense of the world. Or the sheer information flux would leave us paralysed.

And I’ve noticed this about myself. That I like to box things into right or wrong, good or bad, white or black. Leaving almost no room for ambiguity. For things ought to be if not right then wrong, if not good then bad, if not white then black.

Bi-polarity, seems built into my system.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


I’ve been reflecting a lot these days. Being in a job I dislike forces my mind to wander. I start thinking about my distant dreams. Begin to feel disgruntled with my life. And time to think and reflect is not always the best for me.

Often, I am amazed by people who are able to go through life steadfastly. Not that ignorance is bliss, but it must be nice to be able to just plod along and plod along. Yet my being needs to ask questions, seek answers, look for meanings.

It’s like a bad habit, this thinking, reflecting self.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Why is forgiving so difficult but blaming so easy?

Monday, April 20, 2009


I like Natalie Portman. She’s beautiful. She has a Harvard degree. She can speak 6 languages. And she can act. Some people just seem to have it all – the looks, the brains, and the brawn.

At times, they inspire me, to further explore and recreate my self. At times, they leave me desolate, unable to face my imperfect being. Like playing a game of tug-of-war, that has gone on too long, and my hands are chafed.

He told me, though, that we are always a work-in-progress.


“That’s not fair!” I shouted at him.

He looked at me and said, “Life’s not fair. Not meant to be fair.”

Who would have thought, that something like this, could happen to me, again. Every time I come close to achieving something, it gets thwarted by situations that are beyond my control, circumstances that are no fault of mine. Like I am carrying the burden someone else has left behind.

Karmic restitution.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

bEtweEN GooD & gOoD

I recently discovered this quaint little café near my work place, and I’ve been recommending it to my friends. What I like about this café is the homely, slightly out-of-synch-with-the-outside-world kind of feeling. I also like the fact that part of their proceeds goes to helping the poor (in particular, the purchase of water purification tablets for those who were struck by Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar last year.)

One of my skeptical friends asked, “How can you be sure they are really donating the money?”

Another of my cynical friends said, “Well, they are only doing this to get more business, because the typical person likes to think they are doing good somehow, so they would patronize the shop more frequently.”

While I like to believe that every person is good – until proven otherwise.

Friday, April 17, 2009


There are some lessons a lifetime of learning can’t teach you. They have to be experienced, before one can make sense of them. There are also some lessons a lifetime of experiences still leave you none the wiser. It’s as if you have been programmed to overwrite your system, each time you experience that thing.

Like pain. How easily your mind forgets the pain. Or how readily your mind conjures up the pain. Forgets so you can go on. Remembers so you can go on.

“Do not make the same mistake again,” he said.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


In my newspaper research recently, I came across an article that smacks of eugenics, and it made me ponder.

Eugenics, in any form or shape, disgusts me. Eugenics, for whatever rhyme or reason, repels me. Eugenics as a concept should not exist. Not even for a big utopia fan like me.

Man has no right to meddle with the laws of nature. Much less propagate that only certain people are allowed to reproduce because they are smarter or better or whatever. Or compulsory sterilization of those who are less smart or not as good. Man is not born to play God.

Go fly kite!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

My JoB

Because of the economic downturn, I recently suffered a 40% pay cut. And instead of getting my pay monthly, I am now a daily-paid worker. Suddenly, I feel like I have been demoted to the lower echelons, living an almost hand-to-mouth existence.

And I realise I am starting to valuate the worth of things based on the number of days I have to work. Like I want to get a new camera phone, and the model that I am eyeing costs about $550. That’s about 6 days of work for a new phone. Is it worth it? Or my intention to go on a holiday could cost up to $2000. That’s about 20 days of work. Is it worth it?

I hate it that my thinking has become so practical. I hate it that my working day has a monetary value on it. I hate it that I need to resort to calculating a thing’s worth in relation to the number of hours I work.

I hate my job.

Monday, April 13, 2009

FoOD foR ThoUGht

I don't normally like to post links but this video made me choke. I think you should watch it too.


LifE iS a JOuRnEy

I like the metaphor of life as a journey. That we move from destination to destination to destination until we reach our final resting place. That there are different forks in the roads that will lead us to same or different places. That sometimes, we don’t choose the path but the path chooses us instead.

Metaphors be with you.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


What are days for?
Days are where we live.
They come, they wake us
Time and time over.
They are to be happy in:
Where can we live but days?

Ah, solving that question
Brings the priest and the doctor
In their long coats
Running over the fields

(Philip Larkin)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

My bANdwaGOn OF fRieNDs

I have a bandwagon of secret friends. We meet rarely, always by chance and not by design. Yet every encounter, brings to light how similar we are to one another.

We fall into the same conversation topics easily. We chat about the insanities of life naturally. We share our badges of honour and battle scars with pride. But most importantly, we give one another the permission to be ourselves.

These secret friends of mine, have fought the same demons that I have. They have walked through the same tunnels like I have. And perhaps, they can claim the same victories as I can.

We knew they were bad thoughts, but we kept thinking them anyway.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

pAY it FoRwaRd

I love the movie “Pay It Forward”. Apart from an excellent cast of talented actors, the whole concept of paying it forward warmed my heart. I like the idea of alternative giving. That you can give without expecting anything in return. Freely. That someone else can receive without owing you any debts. Subtly.

My new mantra: “Do a good deed (or two) every day.”

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


"Do or do not. There is no try."


DarK vs. LigHt

My friend once said that we all have our own moments of darkness. That behind every smile hides the teardrops no one sees. Deep down, we have our insecurities – demons we grapple with, wars we have to fight. And perhaps to some extent, we are all wounded beings.

Sometimes we play willing victims. Sometimes we claim bogus heroism. And sometimes, it’s easy to get lost in the darkness.

They tell me it’s a matter of attitude. Think positive. Send love, not hate. What doesn’t break you makes you. Refiner’s fire and all. And perhaps, it is true. Without the darkness there can be no light.

So light a candle, don't curse the darkness.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


I was reading an article on Scientific American about how humour can strengthen the psyche and ease pain. And it suddenly dawned on me, how humourless I have become in the last few years. I don’t think it was a conscious effort to deny humour. It just didn’t seem appropriate for whatever was going on.

Cognitive dissonance.

iNVeRse ReLAtiOns

When I was a little child, I could hold forth on my own about anything and everything under the sun. I could talk nineteen-to-the-dozen about whatever. I had an opinion on all the things that were around me. The world didn't scare me.

I can't do that anymore. Part of growing up meant I had to come to terms with my own ignorance. I don't necessarily understand the things happening around me. Often, I am stumped by the question "Why?"

The older I grow, the less I know.

Friday, April 3, 2009


The lonely lunches give me a lot of time to think. As I sit with my cup of coffee or tea, I watch the world go by. Lovers holding hands. Mothers pushing prams. Men and women in power-suits. Students chatting and laughing.

And I think about the lives of these people. Who they are, where they come from, what they are doing. Sometimes, I like to create stories for them. People-watching can be very interesting.

Usually, I get very caught up with my own life. Plodding along in my own circumscribed world. So much so that I forget, there are others around me. Some better off, some worse off. With life as our common denominator.

For while life continues, no one knows the end. Only fairy tales have endings.