Sunday, November 29, 2009


Remembering was tumultuous. Details you want to hide and hide from surface. Emotions you thought you had laid to rest returned. The rawness of the experience left me catching my breath.

Remembering was necessary. To exorcise the demons of the past. In facing them with the wisdom of hindsight, you negotiate a way out.

She told me to go back to the safe place.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


Don't jump to conclusions.

Friday, November 27, 2009


It is night and the playground is empty. It feels kind of spooky walking in a deserted playground. If you listen hard enough, it is almost as if you can still hear echoes of the children’s ghosts. I pick a toadstool stool, and I sit down. To contemplate the darkness around me.

I don’t remember if I was fond of playgrounds when I was young. But judging from my fear of falling down and being embarrassed, I would guess not. Although, I think I might have liked see-saws and swings, structures which playgrounds are doing without these days.

I’ve been thinking a lot about children recently. Perhaps that is why I wandered here. I am at the age where it’s appropriate to “have children”, not that my biological clock is ticking in any sense. It’s just that a lot of what I do lately involve children, and I hope a lot of what I do in the future will involve children too. You see, I would like to be a speech therapist specializing in children’s speech issues.

My inspiration comes from many years ago. I was then a teenager helping out in a school for the handicapped. Most of the kids in my class were non-verbal, on top of their physical disabilities. Each week, I’d go down to the school and help them with their schoolwork, like colouring, or writing the alphabets, or counting. Sometimes we’ll put the music on and let them dance. I tried to interact with them as much as I could, always feeling a little sad that they were unable to communicate with me.

On my last day there, this little girl came up to me. She took my hand, pointed, and said, “Watch.” My eyes filled up with tears.

And that moment, is what I hope to recapture.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

HanD IN hAnD

It was late afternoon. Shadows were lengthening. We were walking in the botanic garden. Hand in hand. I was happy. My heart bursting with joy.

It was a long while ago. We took many walks together. In fact, we did lots of things together. I am not even sure if you remember.

Then life happened. We parted ways.

Just because there’s no one holding my hand now doesn’t mean I can’t reach out and hold somebody’s hand.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A pHOto

There is a photo of me hanging on my bedroom wall. It was taken by a very dear friend whom I have since lost contact with. In the photo, I am standing on some rocks facing the ocean. You can only see my back view in silhouette against the dusky backdrop.

I was visiting my friend at that time. She had just picked me up from the airport, and we were going back to her place. En route, we stopped at the beach. I remember being very fascinated with some people who were riding horses on the beach. Although that was many years ago, the day is still as vivid in my mind.

As time passes, different people come into our lives. Some stay for the long haul, some drop by for a little while. I cherish my friendships a lot, and it saddens me when I lose contact with someone. I am sentimental in that way. One of life’s hardest lessons for me is learning when to let go.

I think of my friend often. And I wonder how she is doing.

Monday, November 23, 2009

ThaT pOSteR gOt Me ThiNKinG

As I was on my way to the post office today, I came across a poster with a picture of an old man. Worried family members had posted it because the elderly gentleman is missing. He is suffering from dementia, so he doesn’t know his way home.

That poster got me thinking.

When I grow old, would I rather have a feeble body or a feeble mind?

I love my mind. I love being able to think. I cannot imagine living without my faculty of thought intact. Yet ironically, when I am losing my mind, I probably would have no clue that I am losing my mind. So would that still matter?

I love my physical body too. Most of it anyway. I shudder to think of the time when my body will start failing me. Or when pain starts to eat away at my being. At that point, would having my fully functioning mind make me any happier knowing my body is degenerating?

I don’t know the answers. Do you?

Sunday, November 22, 2009


I remember there was a phase in my life when I was trying to figure out the concept of regret. “Regret” by definition means “a feeling of sadness about something sad or wrong or about a mistake that you have made, and a wish that it could have been different and better.” (*according to the Cambridge online dictionary)

Put like that, regret seems a little futile to me. Things have already gone wrong and you are feeling sad, and wishing that it could have been different or better. But that sadness and wishing won’t do anything to change what has happened.

Do we really want to continue feeling sad and just wishing? It becomes so easy to get stuck in a rut like that. I know, because I’ve been stuck in this rut for long enough. Slowly, I have come to the realisation that what is really important is not the feeling sad part, but what you do after (or even while in the midst of) the sadness.

Regret is passive, but we are alive.

So I have decided. I am going to stop feeling sorry for myself.

Friday, November 20, 2009

YoU & mE = We

That was one of the better conversations we had in a long time. Where thoughts flowed smoothly, words came easily, a kindred banter. And I loved that we could laugh together, sharing jokes, sharing life.

Over the years, we have come to an easy understanding of each other. Where I can read your subtext and you can read mine. And I rest assured in the knowledge that my secrets (or at least, most of them) are safe in your keeping.

I am filled with a warm fuzzy feeling. And it’s kind of nice.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The BiG biG HouSE

When I was very much younger, I had this vision of how I want my life to be when I grow up. I wanted to build a big big house. And in that big big house would live all the people I like and admire. Friends, cousins, relatives… It didn’t matter, as long as the person is considered “nice” in my books, he or she would be invited to stay together with me in this big big house. I literally had a lot of dreams about this big big house, even down to details like the structure of the house, how the rooms looked, and who is supposed to stay in which wing.

Over the years, I have met and befriended many wonderfully kind and generous people. Whether it is a chance encounter, a brief moment of passing, long-time friends, occasional colleagues, family members, these people have touched my life in so many ways. And in my books, they get to stay in the big big house.

As I grow older, though, I realise the impracticality of having so many people under the same roof, not to mention the logistical nightmare that would ensue. Yet I miss my dreams of the big big house where all the nice people have the opportunity to stay together and to make the world a better place.

You are invited.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


The cat is sitting on a ledge on the 11th floor of the building. While it looks around curiously, I am watching it with eagle eyes, praying that she doesn’t lose her balance and fall off.

That is how I am with a lot of things in life. I am a worry-wart. Whatever is happening around me, I always think of the worst of the situation. And I do that almost unconsciously, like a reflex.

I can’t be sure but I think such a state of mind has robbed me of a lot of spontaneity in life. It undermines a lot of my experiences of the world.

I always think cats can teach us important lessons.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

tHE saMe

We share the same birth month. I don’t know why but it makes me happy to know that. Another one of these coincidences I like to call serendipity.

Sometimes I wonder if I am reading too much into things. Noticing signs and patterns and believing that they are the work of divine intervention.

It’s silly when I think about it. Like I am all of 16 and having a high-school crush again.

A mirage. Except that it isn’t.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The PaCiFisT iN Me

I consider myself a pacifist. I don’t like to stir up trouble. When the majority decides on a particular matter, I tend to go along with it, even when I might not agree with it wholeheartedly. Not that I don’t have my own opinions about things, or am unable to hold my own against the world, but I just don’t like to create unnecessary conflict if it can be helped.

However, recently, I find myself slowly losing patience and tolerance for some of the things that my friends are doing. Increasingly, I am finding it difficult to act nonchalant about some of the decisions that they make. Not that they are into organized crime or anything like that, but it bothers me that they say one thing and do something else.

I can only close my eyes for this long, before I have to open them again.

Friday, November 13, 2009


Bearing grudges, as they have told me, is not healthy. Hate brings with it deep psychological and even physical trauma. Forgiving, as they have told me, is good. One needs to let go of the hurt in order to move on.

I have often wondered, though, what forgiveness means. Does the act of saying “I forgive you” do it? Does it mean you have forgiven when you no longer feel the hurt inside? Does time really make things better?

I no longer know how or why.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

mY LifE sO FaR

There are two people I credit with saving my life. And I mean this in the most literal sense. They grabbed hold of my hand, and yanked me out from the dark hole of despair. At a time when I had given up, they did not.

There are three people I credit with giving me life. And I mean this with the utmost sincerity. They stood by me, and refused to take no for an answer. At a time when I did not want to give up, neither did they.

There are a number of people I credit with enriching my life. And I mean this from the bottom of my heart. They encouraged me, supported me, and most importantly trusted me. At a time when I needed it, we laughed together.

I owe too many people too many favours.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

DrEamS & NigHtMaRes

I can remember the day in excruciating detail. From the time I woke up with a sense of calm anticipation, to the time I went to bed with a sense of quiet resignation. There was never a moment of doubt or hesitation. For that day was in many ways the culmination of all my years of dreaming and fantasizing.

I don’t remember being exceptionally happy that day. Nor was I terribly upset. I was, in a sense, beyond feeling. And perhaps that, was what pulled me through. The floating sense of being there and yet not there. A dreamscape.

Now, it just feels like a nightmare.

Monday, November 9, 2009


It is eventide and the birds are chirping their last songs before darkness comes. Everywhere, people are hurrying home. You can hear mothers calling for their kids in the playground. As I sit here, wondering, and watching the world go by.

I once used to be part of this after-work hubbub. Contending with tens of thousands of people to get home. But I guess I am lucky in the sense that I have been able to walk away from all of that. Except that I sometimes miss dressing in my power suit and strutting my way downtown.

Still, I don’t think I miss work.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

cLimbiNG sTaiRs

In my desperate bid to lose some weight, any weight, I have recently taken to climbing stairs as part of my exercise routine. It’s like a drill, going from the first floor to the twelfth floor, again and again and again. Like swimming, the inane repetition is strangely therapeutic.

I work on my fractions when I am climbing the stairs. Every three rounds make a fifth if I am doing 15 laps. Or every four rounds make a quarter if I am doing 16 laps. Or every nine rounds make a half if I am doing 18 laps. And so it goes.

The trick is, I don’t look back. Or at least, I try not to.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


"The thing about life is one day you’ll be dead."

(David Shields)

Friday, November 6, 2009


I have been mulling over the concept of The One – The One person who is supposedly your friend and soul-mate and lover and companion and all things complementary to you.

For a long while, I took this to be the gospel truth. That somewhere out there is The One for me. And truth be told, I had my eyes locked on The One for quite some time. Long before The One even noticed my presence, I think.

The flaw in the logic of The One is that it narrows your field of vision. And it limits your interactions with people. But most critically, it places too much responsibility on The One. For how many of us can find a friend and a soul-mate and a lover and a companion all in the same person?

Or maybe, it’s just my luck.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

mOck EXam

So I took a mock “exam” this morning for the GRE. And I did horribly. Apart from a bruised ego, there is also the realization that I need to study. A lot more.

Problem is, my brain is getting rusty. I can almost hear it cranking up with effort when I am doing the sums. And that, is not good.

What I thought I knew, I don’t know. What I do not know, I still don’t know.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


It has taken me all of 32 years to figure out that I am the same as everyone else, and yet different.

That we are not so different from one another to escape trials and tribulations in our lives. We all suffer. That we possess unique skills and talents with which to conquer the world. We can all shine.

While it may not be a liberating insight in itself, it is an interesting paradox to consider.

Everybody is a snowflake.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


I have been thinking.

I try so hard, yet it always seems as if I haven’t tried hard enough.

Perhaps, there is no lesson to be learnt.