Monday, November 15, 2010


It is interesting to me, that there is a certain vanity I succumb to, even in death. When I was a teenager enamored with romanticism, I believed that drowning was the most beautiful way to die. I don’t know if I saw it on TV, or a painting, or read about it, but I have this very vivid mental imagery of a lady walking out into the sea, back facing me, dressed in white. And she walks deeper and deeper into the sea, while I look on. I know she is going to die the further she walks, but there is something so heartbreakingly beautiful about the scene that I don’t stop her.

Even before that, at a time when I was devouring all the Chinese classics on screen, it was in fashion to die of TB. It felt dignified, coughing up blood and laying down to rest for the last time. Ladies could cough discreetly, holding exquisitely embroidered handkerchiefs. This coincided with the time I was always coughing as a kid. I remember regular visits to the doctor, and endless bottles of horribly-artificially-flavored medicine. I also remember wondering if I had TB too and could die in this poignant way, in a garden with the cherry blossom petals all around me. Straight out of a scene from "Dream of the Red Chamber".

Yes, I was weird even as a kid.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Today, as I was stepping out of the shower, a vaguely familiar feeling hit me. I had experienced something similar many years ago, in a hotel room, also while I was stepping out of the shower. It was very momentary, flitting. I believe it is the feeling of being homesick.

Now, I rarely get homesick. I have been away from home often and long enough to develop a kind of callousness towards my physical location. Yet there is something about bathrooms that trigger a rather soulful mood in me. Not that there is anything exceptional about my bathroom at home. It is fitted with the usual toilet paraphernalia, and old enough that there isn’t a separate shower area. So it always takes me by surprise, to realize that the bathroom represents what I miss about home.

The bathroom is my safe haven. I have spilled secrets and tears in the bathroom. I have had brilliant flashes of ideas while in the bathroom. I have sung my heart out in the bathroom. The bathroom is my hiding place.

Enter at your own risk.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Pain (any pain - emotional, physical, mental) has a message. The information it has about our life can be remarkably specific, but it usually falls into one of two categories: "We would be more alive if we did more of this," and, "Life would be more lovely if we did less of that." Once we get the pain's message, and follow its advice, the pain goes away.

(Peter McWilliams)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

i THougHt I kNeW

What had always made math and science a little intimidating to me is that you either get it right, or you don’t. I remember feeling disadvantaged in math and science exams, because the answers are so clear-cut there is no way I can argue for my case, if any. 4 x 8 is always 32. Limewater always turns chalky when you introduce carbon dioxide to it. If you release a block of a certain weight down a plane of a certain incline, it will travel at a certain speed and come to rest at a certain distance. It was this certainty that defined math and science.

At least, that was how my world held up, until I learnt that nothing is certain in medical science. That many language disorders have no known cause. That etiology not specified is the norm and not the exception. That there isn’t always agreement on a cure. That there are as many treatment options as there are clinicians. That there is a lot more grey than there is black or white.

I am beginning to realize that perhaps growing older and wiser is not about knowing more or having more answers. Perhaps growing older and wiser is about not knowing, about having more questions than you have answers for.

I don’t know, do you?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Of lIFe & DeAth

"As a well-spent day brings happy sleep, so life well used brings happy death."

(Leonardo da Vinci)

Monday, September 6, 2010

bE bRaVE

Some people are born braver than others. You can tell. They are your classmates who raise their hands to challenge a teacher. They are your friends who go bungee-jumping and skydiving. They are your family who are game to try the new 360-degree roller coaster ride. They are the people who stand in the middle of the suspension bridge and jump, hands up in the air. And then, you have people like me.

I go through the world on tiptoe, afraid of making mistakes. I hang on for dear life on swings, afraid of falling over. I stand at the edge of the ocean, afraid the waves will swallow me. I say yes to everything you ask me, afraid of letting you down if I don’t. I carry the weight of the world on my shoulders, claiming it as my God-given burden.

The monster is still under my bed. The skeleton is still in my closet. The fear is still in my heart.

And I say, “BOO!”

Sunday, September 5, 2010

SenSE & nON-sENsE

Every once in a while, I stumble on something that doesn’t make sense, yet is not necessarily nonsense.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Since I was quite young, I have known how tenuous my relationship with my home country was. In my somewhat nomadic life, moving from country to country to pursue my education, I don’t think I ever felt that I truly belonged anywhere. There is a word to describe this that I learnt in an anthropology class many many years ago – “ballastless”. And from the first time I heard this word, I knew that it was my word.

Perhaps because I do not feel tied to a particular country, it explains why it is easy for me to take-off and settle-down in new places. Perhaps because I have been fed an almost all-American diet of TV programs, it explains why I have always looked upon the US as my ideal country. Like many who have found the great American dream alluring, who have gone before me.

I have struggled with my existential crisis for a long time. It used to bother me, a lot. Maybe it still does, just that I have become more accepting over time. Now, the Asia where I come from is a melting-pot of peoples and languages and cultures. We morph easily from one persona to the next, from one language to the next, from one culture to the next. The Asia where I come from is a convenient label, a matrix of latitudes and longitudes.

“You speak English?” the Americans would ask me incredulously. “You speak Chinese?” the Chinese would ask me equally incredulously.

I rest my case.

Friday, August 27, 2010

i dESiRe

In the few years that I worked, I had managed to save up some money. Ridiculously, work took up so much of me and my time that I had little energy left to spend the money I earned. So it was not without a sense of pride that I watched my bank account grow, sometimes by leaps, sometimes by bounds.

I was happy to rest secure in the knowledge that I could go out and indulge in a $12 ice-cream, as much as I could buy a $500 8-megapixel camera phone, or take a $4,000 trip to the US. All of which I did at one point or another. Which was a big deal, if you know how stingy I am.

Except that now, I look at the life of my friends, with hunger and desire. I see them move into newer and more expensive housing. I see them go on trips to exotic lands. I see them buy a $200 dress. I see them settle into a $50 meal without flinching. I see the freedom that financial independence brings, as I come to terms with giving up that freedom.

How often have I tried to convince myself that I am a worthy investment? That pouring my life-savings into my education now will bring significant returns on investment in the future? That I should not freak out every time I have to pay my school fees? That I have to get used to the austere and Spartan lifestyle of a student? That I have to treat $20 meals with respect and distance?

I am not a greedy or materialistic person. But I would like to enjoy a cup of Starbucks’ coffee every now and then. I would like to wear pretty new dresses sometimes. I would like to enjoy the Kenyan safari too.

And the Bible says, “Do not covet thy neighbor’s goods.”

Friday, August 20, 2010


I have been sitting on this blog post for some time now. My thoughts and feelings are so confused I am not sure I can put them into words. You know when they say there are some things you can only understand when you experience it yourself? This is one of those things.

Long before the meeting, I started to prepare myself for it. I watched TV programs to get an idea of what I might see. I searched for information from the internet. I read books to find out more. I rehearsed what I imagine would happen in my mind. Yet nothing, nothing could have prepared me for this.

My last class meeting for the summer of 2010 took place in Harvard Medical School. The meeting was with cadavers. Apart from the excitement of gaining access to such a famous school, I was also at the same time a little anxious. My previous experiences with dead bodies were mainly of friends and relatives ensconced within the safe confines of their coffin, behind a piece of glass. And most recently and painfully, having to claim the body of my good friend from the autopsy room at the forensic mortuary. She didn’t even look like herself. They had wrapped her up in something that looked like a white trash bag, and I remember feeling awful that her body was being associated with trash.

So I walked into the cadaver lab with a lot of conflicting emotions within. 5 dissected cadavers were lying in black zipper bags on steel tables. The walls were decorated with the tools of the trade – saws and hammers and knives of varying sizes. Huge operating theater lights hovered overhead each cadaver.

They had heads, the front halves of their heads at least. They also had faces, fully intact faces. Some had their arm muscles exposed. Some had their chest cavity opened. Some had the top of their skull sawed off. But they all had faces. And I happened to be assigned a couple of facial muscles to identify. It was a very surreal experience touching a dead stranger’s face, trying to locate which muscle lies where, and to do a show-and-tell to my classmates. After that though, once you face the face, it becomes very easy to interact with dead strangers’ body parts. So I held a man’s lung and heart, fiddled with someone’s ribcage and diaphragm, fingered cricoids and thyroids and hyoids, and poked around a woman’s tympanic membrane.

I have turned vegetarian since. To preserve some shred of sanity. Too many people I know have been dying around me lately. And now, I have to deal with the guilt of desecrating the bodies of too many people I don’t know.

I wish I had reached out and touched her face then.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Sunday, August 8, 2010


"I have seen flowers come in stony places
And kind things done by men with ugly faces
And the gold cup won by the worst horse at the races
So I trust too."

(John Masefield)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

tHE paSsaGE Of wRiTinG

I miss writing. I miss the hours I could spare, staring into space, waiting for the ideas to come, for the words to materialize. Now, my days are packed with reading (mainly of the textbook variety), sitting in lectures (hoping we can be let off before 8pm), and revising (more flipping of textbooks to copy out important points and then to try to commit those points to memory). So I spend considerably less time on writing, and subsequent initiations of the writing process just gets harder each time.

I am lazier too, I guess. Now that my writing has transferred to the electronic word-processing realm, I no longer carry little notebooks with me to capture my thoughts. And even if I’m not crazy lugging my laptop everywhere, anyone would think I’m crazy if I started yanking it out every other minute to type. Not that I think Roger ThinkPad would enjoy the constant booting up and shutting down.

So I’ll have these random interesting thoughts, and say to myself, “This is a really great idea for my blog!” Within the next 10-15 minutes, unless I attend to it consciously (and forcibly), I would have forgotten what I wanted to write.

I recall in my studious undergrad days when I lived and breathed language and cognition, I read somewhere that says we have about 30 thousand thoughts running in our heads on a daily basis. I don’t really know how to quantify thoughts, but 30 thousand of anything is a staggering amount.

And I just need that one. That one little thought I can catch and write to life.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

a PoiNTe oF nOtE

One of the more interesting things (amongst the many) in my transition to Boston (or US in general) is having to consciously change my spelling. If nothing else, to at least look more credible in the work I hand in for marking. Because, I was brought up in the old-school British English (remnants of British colonialism in my part of the world), and took my major exams from the British board.

For the longest time, I have been ignoring those squiggly red lines that come up when I type an incorrectly-spelled word. Not anymore. As part of my assimilation process, I am learning to put aside my “British roots” to embrace the “New World order”.

So now, I don’t see the “colours” of the rainbow, but I see the “color” of the blue summer sky. I am not as “sombre” contemplating spelling as I used to, because “somber” seems more intuitive. It is a fascinating “realisation” for me, to “realize” the differences in the two spelling systems of the same language. And while I do like “jewellery”, I think I can get used to liking “jewelry” too.

But I think I’ll stick with calling my “mom” “mum” and not “mom”. Some habits are hard to break.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

LifE CyCLe

While many people may not like hospitals, I actually find them really exciting places. I have to walk through the hospital every day to get to school. And the moment I step inside, I feel this buzz in the air around me. There is all this hustle and bustle that goes on, flurries of activities, a kind of system within the chaos.

I think what really touches me is this whole notion of people working to save other people. I have been on this side of being saved, so I fully appreciate the dedication of those who are on the other end doing the saving.

I am not smart enough and resilient enough (too much blood scares me) to be a doctor. And anyway I might be a little too old to start pre-med now. So studying to become a speech language pathologist is my little way of contributing to this cycle.

Maybe not to save lives, but to be life-giving.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


What I lack in aptitude, I make up for with writing.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


It’s been a little over a month since I relocated to Boston. It’s been a little over a month since I started school again. It’s been a little over a month that I am living my dream to reality. Sometimes, when I’m ambling along the sidewalks, I have to remind myself that this is not just my imagination. That I am in my dream country in my dream school preparing for what I believe is my dream career.

I look forward to each day of classes, even though lectures are 4 hours long. I struggle with the assigned readings, my concentration is not what it used to be. I wonder how much of myself to put out there, in my first tentative steps at making new friends.

Coming to a foreign land and learning to settle in is exciting, challenging, frustrating, interesting, amusing, scary, intense, lonely, and wild. Exactly like life, I guess.

I am a mixed bag of emotions.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


The thing is, I have not dreamt of you. Yet every day, so many things remind me of you. In my mind, it seems almost as if I can see you. In my mind, I still talk to you. I have so many stories to tell you. I have all these things to show you. I have so many questions to ask you. I want to ask you, “Why?”

A lot of people say it is futile to ask why. Be that as it may, it is difficult for me to not know. Like a jigsaw puzzle that is missing a piece. And that disturbs me greatly. I don’t know when this questioning will stop, or if it will ever stop.

Once I start, I won't be able to stop, and that, would be very bad.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

tHE pRooF

Writing has always been something very intuitive for me. I do not pause to think of whether the sentence is grammatical or whether there is subject-verb agreement. Most times, I work on the theory that “it sounds right”. In fact, I am hard put to explain what is an adjective or adverb or a passive sentence. When I need to parse language down to that level of detail, it often eludes me.

It is sobering for me then, to learn about speech and language disorders. To know that a skip in my gene sequence, a knock on my head, or even just simple old age, could lead to a breakdown in communication, is humbling. When I see videos of kids trying so hard to express their intent, adults so frustrated that they cannot remember the name of a loved one, something in me stirs.

Have you ever marveled at the fact that when you say, “Aren’t you feeling a bit cold?” and the other person stands up to close the window, that something miraculous is happening between the two of you?

And that, is the only proof I’ll ever need that there is a God.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Scars remind us of where we've been. They don't have to dictate where we'll be.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

tRiButE To a FriEnD

I am a fighter. I am tenacious. I do not let the tears blur my vision. I do not let the sadness hinder my path. Even when the darkness seems to trap me in a forever moment, I know the moment will pass when I eventually walk out of the tunnel. I will not be beaten. I will continue walking. I will not give in.

I choose to trust my friends. I choose to be happy each day. I choose life, for myself.

For my very dear friend B: You are all of these and more.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

wHo sAiD

Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see.”

I say, “Do not sit here, waiting for the sky to fall.”

Sunday, May 30, 2010

i LeaRNt

In that space between knowing and unknowing, I learnt a few things…

* That a moment can be the most beautiful and it can also be the saddest at the same time.

* That letting go is more painful than holding on.

* That it is equally important to be able to love and to be able to accept love.

* That it is not always the case that having something is better than having nothing.

* That grieving for the loss of someone still living is as difficult as grieving for the dead.

It’s a matter of perspective, I think, whether you experience each day as a blessing or a curse.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Close your eyes and wait for the world that is spinning to come to a stop.

Monday, May 24, 2010

To bE pERfeCt

I am a perfectionist. I need my life to be perfect. Perfectly ordered. Perfectly respected. Perfectly lived. I allow for no mistakes in my perfect world, not from others and definitely not from myself.

Living in my world is harsh, sometimes impossible. So I make up a lot of different realities in my universe. Except that they are not really realities. More of a construct of my imagination that I often take to be real.

Relationships within these made-up realities are perfect. I am a perfect little girl loved and admired by everyone whose lives I have touched, and I have touched many. The galaxies and the stars revolve around me, the world grinds to a halt without me.

I draw my strength and life-meaning from the love that others accord me. I live my life vicariously through what I believe are the expectations of those around me. My desire for perfection draws me into a spiraling circle.

Without the esteem of others, I am sometimes lost. Often, I am unable to live up to my own expectations. It is almost as if I would cease to exist if I don’t somehow fit within what I think others want me to be.

I should not pretend to be, someone whom I am not.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


I believe in signs. I believe in signs with a passion that verges on obsession. And yet, I often miss signs. Not unless I apply myself to retrospective ruminations. By which time it would have been too late to be able to do anything.

When I was younger, I believed that everything that happened to me was foretold by signs. I even banked how my day would turn out based on the combination of numbers from my bus ticket. It would be a good day if it turned out to be lucky 21. I was that serious.

“I really think too many things have come in between to be an accident.”

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

tO LeaRn AgAiN

We met. We ate. We laughed. For a few hours, grief left us. For a few hours, we let the happy memories in, learning to celebrate life again. For a few hours, we enjoyed the unbearable lightness of being.

Perhaps these moments will come easier. Perhaps these moments will come more frequently. And eventually, we will come to terms with our loss.

We take what lessons we can, and continue to shuffle along this mortal coil.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

i RemEmBEr

A lot of the mourning happens in the midnight hour. When the light of day fades, the pain becomes more acute. Without the distraction of living, death comes into stark focus.

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross said that there are five stages to the grieving process: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance. She forgot to add Guilt. She forgot that we will always ask ourselves whether we could have done more or better. She forgot that survivor’s guilt underscores any of our efforts to come to terms with a death so close to our hearts.

My memories betray me. I remember the many holidays we took together. I remember meeting up to study for our exam. I remember the hours and days we spent talking. I remember our shopping trips. I remember we both wanted to go to the US to further our studies. I remember our pact to grow old together.

I know I must move on with my life. You would want me to do that.

Friday, May 14, 2010


Amidst the darkness, perhaps this is what I need to hear.

"I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing."

(Agatha Christie)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

RidINg WavEs

The world feels blurred over, I seem to be in some kind of daze. I am in pain, a confusion of thoughts whirling inside my head. Sleeping and weeping offer no respite.

Why does it hurt so much when we lose someone we love? It is as if they have taken a part of us with them. We are left with little holes in our being – a private joke we laugh over, secrets we huddle to hide, dreams we build together – little holes that can no longer be filled.

They tell me that with time, it will get easier. That remembering you will be less painful. That the thud of my heart every time I recall that I was supposed to go and see you that day will eventually stop. That I will one day be able to look at your photographs and not cry.

So I ride out this wave, while waiting for the next one to hit.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The LaST TiMe

Something extremely painful happened last week. My very good friend decided to take her own life. I wonder why we say “take her own life” when in reality, she had chosen to leave her own life instead. What demons tormented her mind, I cannot even begin to imagine. What I do remember is the last time I saw her, our bodies locked in a goodbye hug, before I stepped out of her house. It was a Monday.

She died on a Tuesday morning.

Suddenly, the days and dates become very important. They are the only temporal markers we can hold onto. They help us to make sense of this distorted space-time dimension. As if building a chronological story would breathe life back into her being. To begin again at the beginning.

The last thing she said to me was, “I’m going to lie down for a while.”

Rest well then, my friend.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

aND so iT SeEms

I keep asking myself, “Why?”, even though I know the answers. It seems to be the only question that makes sense.

I keep saying, “No”, even though I know the truth. It seems to be the only way to keep my heart from aching.

I keep telling others, “I’m OK”, even though I know I’m not. It seems to be the only answer to assuage the guilt I feel.

Today I gave my friend a yellow rose, before she flew up to heaven.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

iN MouRniNg

A grief beyond tears.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

eMboDiED CogNitiON



It’s funny. My fingernails grow so much faster than my toenails. I would have completed two rounds of trimming for my fingernails before I even notice my toenails need clipping too. And even then, there isn’t much to clip without gouging too deep into the raw flesh inside.

Wouldn’t the mechanism that is responsible for producing nails be the same for both my hands and my feet?

Saturday, May 1, 2010


I remember it was at a group sharing or meeting or some such event at university, where we had to introduce ourselves to one another, with the usual, “… and my hobbies are…” My friends in New Zealand had really exotic pastimes like tramping or mountaineering or horse-riding. I stuck with my usual reading and writing, and added sewing as an afterthought.

Even as a child, my hobbies were relatively low-key like collecting stamps and stickers. Outdoorsy stuff was a little intimidating for me, they provided way too many opportunities for me to get hurt. Which probably explains why I still can’t skate or ride a bike to this day. So it must have been a bit of a miracle that I did manage to learn how to swim.

I am generally a person of little movement. Which basically means I could be holed up in my house the whole day, not go out into human civilisation, and still be OK. If I were a gas, I think I can be described as inert. And when I was in US last year, I concluded that I could go for four days without speaking to anyone (before I go mad).

He said I am not a good conversationalist.

Friday, April 30, 2010

cOMing OuT

The windows of the apartment unit opposite mine are always closed. It must be quite gloomy and stuffy inside. Placed near one of the windows is a scratching pole. At times, if I am lucky, I can catch glimpses of the cat lounging atop the platform of the scratching pole behind the window. And I have always wondered, if the cat would one day like to come out to play.

Couple of days ago, I saw the cat sitting outside the window. There was a little gap between the two panes of sliding windows. I am not sure if the cat nudged them open, or if the owner had accidentally left them opened after cleaning the windows. I was freaked because the cat was perched on the ledge 11 floors above ground. It would not be good if she lost her footing.

My worries were unfounded though – she went back in after sitting outside for a spell. Cats are very agile. And someone was telling me that if they fall from a high floor, their chances of survival are actually better because they then have the time to adjust their position for a safe landing. How cool is that?!

I guess sometimes, the cat just needs to come out for a breath of fresh air.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

mY LifE

Very often, I would sit and wonder, if my life is made up of missed opportunities. It feels as if I am always just a step away from reaching something. I don’t exactly know what that something is, nor even if that something really exists.

Very often, I would sit and reflect, if my life is like playing a game of catch. It feels as if I am always turning the corner too slowly. Playing catch with something that is elusive is tiring. Especially when you don’t know what it is you are trying to find.

Very often, I would sit and imagine, my life is filled with moments. It feels as if I am stitched together with snatches of time. A work-in-progress, never really completed, a patchwork quilt of moments.

The moment has passed.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


I was having a weird attack of sinusitis some nights back. Both my nostrils were blocked and I couldn’t breathe properly. It was like having a really bad bout of flu, or after a session of intense crying. Neither of which I had nor did.

I have always thought that our sense of smell is a particularly unique and important sense. Because it is tied up so closely with breathing, with keeping our life going. In fact, I have written a whole story about smells and smelling. I quote a paragraph:

“It’s interesting how smells are woven so intricately into a part of our existence. More so than the other senses put together. For smells are tied up with our breathing, tied up with that which sustains life. You can shut your eyes, cover your ears but you can’t stop your breathing, can’t stop yourself smelling the life that is going on around you. We need to breathe to keep alive, and the sense of smell comes as a necessary part of each breath we draw. There lies a tenuous connection, between living and sniffing.”

That was many years ago. At a time when I was still naïve. At a time when I still believed in fairy tales and happy endings. And I suppose, that was what I needed at that time. Some kind of hope to hang onto. Some kind of smell to lead me home.

For no matter how difficult it gets, the trick is, keep breathing.

Monday, April 26, 2010


I wonder how the world looks,
For someone born blind?
In their world,
How do the trees and flowers look?
How do the animals look?
How is life like in their world?

I wonder how I will survive,
In that formless world?
In that empty space,
Is it just void black?
Or will there be shafts of white?

Would colour make sense,
In the world of the blind?
Do they have colours in their dreams?
How would they recognize,
The people and places and animals?
Matching each name one for the other.

For the names they learn are abstract.
Without imagery,
Without context,
Without juxtaposition.

How tall is the giraffe?
How big is the elephant?
How pretty is the flower?
How sturdy is the tree?
How blue is the sky?

They don’t know.
Neither do I.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

iN ThoSe EyeS

I dreamt of owls. When, I can’t tell. I only know I dreamt of owls. Much of the dreaming has left me since I woke, but I remember being mesmerized by big glassy eyes looking at me. I could see the reflection of the moon in them so clearly it is almost as if I am flying in the sky.

Eyes have always scared me, to be honest. Whatever they say about your eyes being the window to your soul, I think it’s true. I feel threatened, vulnerable even, when someone looks me in the eye. I actually find it difficult to maintain eye-contact over a full conversation with someone. My gaze often falters. Which may explain why I am slightly better at giving presentations to a large crowd. The number of audience doesn’t scare me, I much prefer being able to cast my eyes over everyone and no one in particular.

Animal eyes though, are another matter. Well, mammalian eyes at least, are fine with me. I love looking into those pools of darkness, and feeling their love in return. When I look into the eyes of a cat or a dog, I just know that everything is going to be alright.

Oh, and I know I dream in colour because there was something red in my dream that the owls were carrying.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

MemoRY reVisiTEd

Last week, us Inner Circle ladies met for dinner (we had crabs, it was yummy). Been a while since all of us could come together, what with family and work and church commitments. So it was really nice to catch up on the latest. And of course, a good dose of reminiscing about the past.

We were trying to establish how far back our memories went – when we were 3? Or 4? Or later? I think I must have been about 7 when I started to have memories that are more coherent and continuous. Before 7, my memories remain patchy, based only on certain key events. And even these, we don’t know if we reconstructed what happened from looking at photos and hearing accounts from our parents. Or if they really left an indelible mark on our consciousness.

Memory is strange in this way. It cannot be replicated, each memory is unique. Yet memories are always changing, affected by time and space and experiences and encounters. There is no right or wrong to memories, no good or bad. Although perhaps, memories can be real or invented.

Memory, if it is not refreshed, starts to detract from reality.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

GoOD dEedS

Some time back, on this blog actually, I made a resolution to do at least one good deed a day. I must confess I embraced the spirit of this resolution much more heartily than I could execute it. Because it is so much easier to walk past the blind man singing his heart out, so much easier to feign ignorance when people ask you for help, so much easier to just turn and go on your merry way. So no, I have not managed to do at least one good deed a day.

Helping people, I think, involves putting yourself out on the line. And maybe, that’s what makes the whole deal awkward. Perhaps because I have not integrated a helping mindset into my daily living, it feels like I have to step out of my comfort zone in order to help people. Sometimes that can prove embarrassing, like when an elderly man vehemently refuses the seat you offer him. Sometimes that can prove time-consuming, like helping the old lady inch her way from the bus stop to the train station. Sometimes that can be frustrating, like trying to give directions or explain the train network system to someone who does not have a good grasp of English.

It’s not about repayment. It’s about making good with your life.

Monday, April 19, 2010


If there’s one thing I both love and hate about myself, it is my emotionality.

I haven’t cried so hard in a long time. I was literally bawling. It was during my usual weekly fix of CSI, when Warrick Brown was shot, that I started to cry. For so many years, I have been following the show. I was with them from the time they solved their first case, to watching their characters grow and thrive. I have learnt to recognize the techniques they use to pick up fingerprints and test DNA and check for gunpowder residue. It is almost as if I grew up with the team. I’m practically part of them. So when Warrick died, I was crying with Grissom and Catherine and Nick and Sara and Greg and Brass. For we had lost one of our colleague, our friend, our family.

It happens when I am reading too, whether it’s about real people or made-up people. When Uncle Tom died in “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”, I cried. And I cry every time I read that, no matter how many times I have read it. The same happens when I get to the part where George pulls the trigger on Lennie in “Of Mice and Men”, the tears just come rolling down.

Empathy comes to me naturally, like breathing or blinking my eyes.

Friday, April 16, 2010


"We do what we must, Lucien. Sometimes we can choose the path we follow. Sometimes our choices are made for us. And sometimes we have no choice at all."

(The Sandman: Season of Mists by Neil Gaiman)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

sEcrETs ReViSitEd

I have secrets. I have my own secrets, and I keep others’ secrets.

I don’t like secrets. They are hard to own, even harder to keep.

The secrets that I own are like shadows that won’t let me go. The secrets that I keep cling like backpacks on my soul.

I have a secret that makes me very happy and also makes me very sad. This secret is so big I don’t dare to own it. This secret is so fragile I don’t know how to keep it.

This secret, goes with me to my grave.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

ThoUgHt eXPeRiMenTs

I remember having wacky conversations with some of my friends. We would usually lounge around and chat a little after lunch before going back to work. Being infinitely curious as we always are, we wanted to come up with some predictive measure of reading people’s psyche. So we constructed some thought experiments. I am not sure we had any form of theory to posit or results to quantify, but the thought experiments were interesting, if not enlightening in some way.

We started with the basic question of whether you would rather starve to death or eat yourself to death (courtesy of my father – but that’s another story in itself). Our opinions differed, of course. Most of us were concerned about the physical aspect of it – weighing the suffering that comes with being hungry vs. being too full. Some of us wanted to starve to death for vanity reasons – unwilling to succumb to being fat even unto death. I actually think this is reminiscent of the “live to eat” or “eat to live” debate, and your choice probably reflects a little of your personality.

We had a variation of the starving/ stuffing question, and that was whether you would rather die from heat or from the cold. I haven’t figured out the psychological relevance of this question, but I’ll get there eventually.

The other great big thought experiment we had was to try to place a value on your personal beliefs and habits. I am actually very proud that we came up with this one. The idea is for you to think of something you normally would not do, and I will start by offering you a certain amount of money to try to change your mind. I will keep bidding higher and higher, until I reach a point when you will relent. It is a great way to discover the importance of the different beliefs you hold relative to one another.

An example. For me to eat mushrooms, I probably wouldn’t mind doing that if you gave me, say, $100. But if you want me to drink my own urine, I wouldn’t do that even if you give me, say, $10,000. So although I hate mushrooms with a vengeance, I actually place more value on maintaining my human dignity.

If I really had to choose, I would die a skinny Ice Queen.

Friday, April 9, 2010

i Am...

I used to have crushes. I used to write love-notes. I used to shower people whom I have a crush on with my love-notes. I was relentless yet coy in my pursuit of them. I am smart in that way.

The crushes were harmless enough. There were only three categories of people I had crushes on. They were either youth leaders in church, or teachers in school, or seniors in school. They became substitutes for the elder brother or sister I do not have. I am needy in that way.

The love-notes were different enough. There were the straightforward letters and cards expressing my gratitude for their friendship. There were the handmade gifts like bookmarks for their birthdays. And when it was someone who really meant a lot to me, I would compose poems using their names. I am creative in that way.

Some of these people I have completely lost touch with. Some of them have become good friends now. Some of them were friends for a little while but life took us in different directions. But I still remember every single one of them, as if we had just met yesterday. I am sentimental in that way.

I no longer have crushes. I no longer write love-notes. Crushes are over-rated. So are love-notes. Now I can stalk people on facebook, I can email and MSN, I can call and SMS. No point killing the earth with my precious and pretty note-paper.

I am realistic in that way.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Writing comes to me in waves. Against the backdrop of constant chattering inside my head, there are better days and there are worse days. There are days when the writing just flows, running from little streams into rivers into seas into the big wide ocean. Ideas come from everywhere, stories wait to be told, words magically weave themselves into beautiful prose. There are days when the writing is trapped, an invisible entity caught in an invisible world. Words trip over themselves, sentences stumble, paragraphs don’t make sense. The mind echoes with emptiness and the world looks bland. Neither pretty flowers nor blue skies inspire.

Lately, I have noticed a subtle change in my writing. More accurately, I feel something different when I write. There is no longer the heaviness. There is a clarity that wasn’t there before. There is coherence where it was once wanting. It’s hard to describe but I think I might have hit something of a “Eureka!” moment in my writing.

I had always assumed that these moments were unruly, unpredictable, uncontrollable. Most of the time, I only recognized that I have these moments when I don’t have one of these moments. And in the last few months, I have had little reason to shout “Eureka!” at all. In fact, this most recent dearth of inspiration had me worried. I thought the time had come for me to admit that I just don’t have what it takes to be a writer, that I have been caught out, that I am a fraud.

Until I made this remarkable discovery: my creative output is in direct proportion to my creative input. The more I read, the more I could write. The more I fed myself ideas, the more the stories came. That my gift with words can be reduced to simple math and supply chain management is sobering. That inspiration need not be random is liberating.

I visited the Dream King again, and he left me clues that led me to my muse.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

tHE riPe YoUNg AgE

I will be turning 33 this year. Supposedly falling within range of the prime years of my life, whatever that means. And in 3 short years, at 36, I will be disqualified from attending the World Youth Day. As I prepare to go back to school, I have been reflecting a lot about me and my life so far.

At 33 I have never bungee jumped. Never cheated in my exams. Never travelled to Europe. And the only time I tried scuba diving, I was so seasick it was all I could do to not puke into the water. But there are many things that I have done too. Like travelling in the US for 2 months. Like working and getting my own paychecks. Like not working and enjoying the dividends from my previous paychecks. Like trying to climb a mountain, albeit unsuccessfully.

There are people who draw up life-lists, bucket-lists, of things they want to do or achieve before they die. I have a friend who does that, systematically setting up goals and resolutions, and systematically following through on them. I lack that kind of discipline and mental fortitude. But I think the real problem is, I don’t really know what I want.

Or perhaps, it is not so much me not knowing what I want, but more that what I want keeps changing. Because my dreams and desires evolve through time, a natural consequence of my different life situations. When I was young I wanted to grow up. When I was in school I wanted to be a ballerina. When I went to university I wanted to be a writer. When I started earning I was greedy for more money. When I got too tired I decided to stop working. When being stuck in the rut proved no fun, I now want to study to be a speech therapist.

I will be turning 33 this year. I will be returning to a full-time student status in June. I may not have a life-list. I may not be able to define what I want clearly or articulately. But I have promised my self, to give nothing less than 200% of myself in whatever I’m doing.

And I am going to kick some ass along the way!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

a SicKNeSs

I am sick. I suffer from the Grass-is-always-greener-elsewhere Syndrome, otherwise known as the Disease-of-perpetual-discontent. It leaves me exhausted, with its attendant symptoms of self-doubt and second-guessing. It robs me of joy in my life, for I am unable to feel happy or satisfied with whatever situation I am in. It messes with my head, compelled to calculate the hundred permutations of “what if”.

The way I see it, there might very well be both physical as well as psychological causes. I suspect I must have been born with a defective gene that is extremely susceptible to random jealousy and greed. Despite years of patient nurturing, contentment is a concept that seems difficult to integrate into my system. It doesn’t help either, that I have an overactive imagination. My mind needs to explore all the different possibilities, unable to focus on following through with the choice that is just made.

I don’t think there is a cure-all. But I suspect it’s one of those ailments that given enough time, one will just learn to cope with it. So we take it day by day.

For self-awareness is the first step towards self-improvement.

Friday, April 2, 2010


I have, through the years, amassed quite a large collection of my writings, in various forms. It’s funny given how much I love writing, that I have never been disciplined enough to write in any organized manner. I don’t really keep diaries or journals, not in any systematic way anyway. Unlike Anne Frank, I find it awkward to do the “Dear Diary” thing. It seems wrong to burden any one (or any thing) with my perfectly boring life, day in and day out.

Many years back, when having a personal computer was not the norm, I would write what I needed to write in longhand. Buying good pens became a matter of great importance. I believe the structure and build of the pen affects your handwriting, and how well you can write. There was this particular brand of pens I had to use – Red Leaf – because the ink flow gushed and left beautiful blots when I wrote, and I love blots. I haven’t seen Red Leaf pens around for a long time now. But I haven’t really been writing in longhand for a long time now either.

Yet I wasn’t as picky when it came to writing surfaces. In fact, I could write on any scrap of paper (sometimes even on my arms and knees), which caused a lot of problems when I am trying to establish some form of chronology to events. There were some half-hearted attempts at trying to give more order to my writings. I bought a stack of small pocket-sized notebooks which I carried around with me everywhere I went, to capture those random thoughts that flitted in and out of my mind. I took my unused school exercise books and filled them with quotations that touched or inspired me. I also invested in several larger hardcover journals to record some of the more significant events of my life. Finally I introduced a dating system which I still use today, to keep track of my writings over time.

The greatest revolution, though, has to be the advent of the internet, and more pertinently, the inception of this blog, that gave real structure to my writing. Actually, it might be more accurate to say that this blog has provided an avenue for my formless thoughts to form. This blog has given me a platform on which to rant and rave about the things inside my head. This blog has forced me to be more disciplined in writing, as much as being disciplined about what I do write.

Leather. They say the 3rd year means leather. I am surprised the 3rd anniversary of this blog came and left so silently, that I didn’t even realise it myself. I would have very much liked to celebrate it with you. You are, after all, a big part of the reason why this blog has gone on as long as it has.

To you, my readers, Thank You.

A quESTioN oF eQuaLitY

The first time I was acutely aware that our lives could be very different one from another was in junior college. Up until then, the high school friends I’d hung out with were all “middle-class” like me – a roof over our head and three square meals a day meant we weren’t lacking in any material sense, but we definitely weren’t rich enough to splurge on things like branded clothes or eat in expensive restaurants. So it was a rude shock to me when I discovered that my then 17 year old classmate had never taken a (public) bus before. Never. She had no need to. In her entire pristine life, she had always been chauffeured everywhere by her mother. I was horrified!

It took me a pretty long time to come to terms with that. I don’t know whether to describe my feeling as envy or jealousy, or perhaps a bit of both. But that incident jolted me awake, and that was my first experience with social stratification. Of course, I started to be painfully conscious of all the things I did not have in comparison to my classmates. More importantly, though, it forced me to think about those who have less than I do.

This profound revelation coincided with that phase of my life when I was all gung-ho about saving the poor and marginalized of the world. I wanted to be the Nelson Mandela who led his country out of apartheid. I wanted to be the Mother Teresa who cared for the sick and dying. I wanted to sweep all the beggars and buskers off the streets and give them shelter and food.

I also started pondering the meaning of the phrase “All men are created equal”. Because obviously, not all men are created equal. Some are born into rich families, some are not. Some are born whole, some are not. While a billionaire can decide on a whim that she wants to go to the Swiss Alps for a walking trip tomorrow, the blind man sitting there peddling pens and tissue packs wonders when his next meal will be.

Every artist who respects his craft knows, not all are created equal.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


I don’t like mushrooms. Anyone who has known me long enough would have heard of my close-encounter-of-the-third-kind with mushrooms, and how scarred I was from that experience. I have sworn off mushrooms since I was 12, no offence to the Smurfs and Smurfettes who reside in them.

Mushrooms are a strange breed of “vegetables”, if you want to call them that. They are actually fungi, and honestly, I do not understand people who can ingest fungus. The other gripe I have with mushrooms is, they either have no taste (like Enoki or Portobello) to value-add to the overall dish, or they have an extremely pungent smell (like Chinese Black mushrooms) which can be overwhelming.

There are always exceptions to the rule though. I am particularly interested in one type of mushroom – psychoactive mushrooms, also fondly known as “magic mushrooms” or “shrooms”. Apparently, people who have taken these “shrooms” can experience profound and life-changing insights that they describe as mystical experiences. In fact, Johns Hopkins Hospital has conducted studies that show that these psychoactive mushrooms gave people an experience with substantial personal meaning and spiritual significance. In a particular study, a third of the subjects reported that taking “shrooms” was the single most spiritually significant event of their lives.

How can I, a seeker of meaning, miss out on this?

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


I’ve been having a lot of dreams lately. Not like an isolated dream here and there, but many dreams, within a night. Psychedelic dreams. Dreams where I can taste food. Dreams alone, and with people.

The dreams come to me in fragments. Sometimes I wake between fragments, remembering little except that I have emerged from a dream. Some dreams though, I remember, long after I’m awake.

I don’t know if I am somehow expected to fit the pieces together. Disparate dreams, where I am supposed to weave into a coherent narrative. I don’t even know, whether there is logic or method behind these dream fragments.

Every night, as I lie in bed, I will cajole “nice memories” to come. In hopes that my dreams can reconstruct those memories, and maybe even build on them, to prolong the “niceness”. Like daydreaming, but not really. My mind works like a broken record, always turning back to look at the past, forgetting the world of possibilities ahead of me.

There are some dreams you hope will never end while at the same time hoping that they will end.

Monday, March 29, 2010


They say survival, the urge to stay alive, is a basic human instinct. I wonder though, when push comes to shove, whether I will be desperate enough to, say, drink my own urine in order to keep hydrated? I think it takes guts to be that desperate, and I doubt very much that I have that in me. My gut is good at sensing things that go amiss, and not so much of a warrior charged to fight for my life.

I also wonder, not infrequently, if I’d been left to languish then, what would have become of me now? Probably still mucking around in the soft places, playing the tragic heroine to no one in particular. But I know for a fact, nothing would have persuaded me to drink my own urine to keep alive then. I would not have done it for anyone else, and definitely not for me.

Over time, I learn to be grateful, that I have not yet been put in a life-threatening situation. That all I have to do so far is just to play with the possibilities in my mind. I take each day as it comes. No more, no less. And when the day of reckoning arrives, well, we’ll just have to see how that goes.


Sunday, March 28, 2010

BeauTiFuL SaDNeSs

To my good friend P, who is hurting. I hope you find your peace soon.

"I love life...Yeah, I'm sad, but at the same time, I'm really happy that something could make me feel that sad. It's like...It makes me feel alive, you know. It makes me feel human. The only way I could feel this sad now is if I felt something really good before. So I have to take the bad with the good. So I guess what I'm feeling is like a beautiful sadness."

(Trey Parker and Matt Stone, South Park, Raisins)

Friday, March 26, 2010

uNDeR thE tReEs

Our friendship goes way back. To a time when it had seemed impossible we would be friends. But over time, reality unfolded in ways we could not have predicted. Life happened in ways we could not have imagined.

What first started was when you broke through my wall. The wall I had carefully built over the years to protect myself. Somehow, you saw me hiding behind the wall, small and scared. And you proceeded to take down the wall, brick by brick, until you could reach me. I have forgotten how long it took, except that I was both awed as well as annoyed at your patience.

Yet once we connected, it was electric. We were, for each other, the sibling we dreamed and prayed for, made more poignant because we shared no blood relation. We spoke daily, often more than once a day. It seemed as if we could never run out of things to say to each other. We would share our day in excruciating detail, and still we would be eager for more. I miss that sometimes, just picking up the phone to call you and have a conversation until forever (or until someone else needed to use the phone).

You were always the stronger one. You were always the one who took care of me. I was so unschooled in the ways of the world then. And you were, and still are, very generous of your time and love. For that, I will be always grateful. And I want you to know, that in your darkness, I am only ever just a heartbeat away.

I remember now. It was a sunny day, and we were standing under some huge rain trees for shade. That was when we spoke our first words to each other. Tentatively.

That, was where our friendship took flight.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

hABiTs & RouTinEs

The first thing I do when I wake up is to comb my hair. The last thing I do before going to bed is to comb my hair. I wonder when I started doing that. The first thing I do in the shower is to shampoo my hair. The last thing I do in the shower is to rinse the conditioner off my hair. I wonder how I started doing that.

Whether it is through boredom or a heightened sense of awareness, I have been observing my self closely these couple of days. It strikes me as interesting, that I don’t know when or how I picked up most of the habits and routines that guide my daily life and living. And I refuse to believe that these habits are instinctual, in the way that cats and dogs instinctively scavenge for food when they are hungry.

When I was working in market research, trying to uncover the mysteries behind these auto-pilot habits was akin to a pilgrimage in search of the Holy Grail. Businesses think, rightly or wrongly, that understanding how consumers react and interact with their products and services would provide the key to increasing consumption and therefore profits, making the world a better place.

I hope the Grail is large enough that everyone can take a sip from it.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


They said I became very quiet when it happened. It was the world that appeared to be very quiet when it happened. Music stopped. The grand symphony of life stopped. Everything seemed to ground to a halt. And try as I might, I just couldn’t get the engine revving again.

That was, and is, the defining moment of my life. When I recognized that the world could actually go on without me. It was an understanding that brought about a great sense of relief. Without the weight of the world on my shoulders, I am free to explore and develop to my full potential. Without the need to fulfill your expectations, I can walk free from your shadow.

Whether I fly or fall, I’m on my own now.

tHE cLeANeR thE CuT

I was watching an episode of Grey’s Anatomy the other day, where I learned that if you have a severed limb, the chances of reconstructive surgery are much higher when it is a clean cut (as opposed to, I don’t know, a bad break with bone fragments?).

This is a very interesting bit of information, which I have been turning over in my mind for the past few weeks. Because I guess the same can be said for relationships as well – it is much better to have a clean break than to hold on to something that is messy and tenuous. Like sharing a pizza, where you want to make sure the piece you pick has been properly cut through rather than struggling with the whole platter of gooey cheese.

So I will be brave. I will let go and take the next step free-falling into the world.

No strings attached.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


The internet connection at home has gone a little wonky the past few days. I spent the whole of today trying to fix the problem, without luck but with lots of frustration. If only I could crack the secret code behind the IP and the DNS, just like how I managed to figure out the inner workings of the cistern when I was younger. I remember feeling very pleased when I could get the toilet flushing again, after I improvised a key-ring to fit the ball and the lever together.

Life without the internet feels a little awkward. We wander around the house, listlessly and aimlessly. As if the TV and the music and the books and the nature outside is not enough to occupy me. I wonder actually, what is the attraction of the internet, that makes me so dependent on it. After all, I had spent the first half of my life without it. And I got on fine. At least, I don’t think my life was compromised in any way without things like email or internet banking.

I do not like to admit, that I am defeated by technology.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

cOMinG UndoNe

You can delete a sentence that sounds wrong in a paragraph. You can untangle shoelaces that are tied wrong. You can spray-paint over that little scratch on your car. But how do you un-hug a person? How do you forget someone who has touched you this deeply, this powerfully, this intimately?

Perhaps you never do.

I spend my days looking. Sometimes frantically, sometimes deliberately. Looking for the piece of jigsaw that would fit. Looking for the pair of eyes that would meet mine. Looking for you. Because I desperately needed someone who could understand the pain of my loss.

Perhaps you never did.

Some things, when done, cannot be undone.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


"You and I both know, there is a great difference between justice and the law."

Monday, March 15, 2010

aND pEopLe Ask...

And people ask,
does Despair despair,
does Dream dream,
does Desire desire?

It is simpler than that.
He is Dream.
It is Desire.
She is Depair.
Take away the despair and there is nothing left.

(Neil Gaiman)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


A friend was telling me the other day about her son running the track-and-field heats in his school. It reminded me of the many runs I had to participate in when I was a young student.

There were those runs for Sports Day, of varying distances, where we compete to win trophies. I never won anything, not even a medal or a decorative ribbon. There were runs we had to do as part of our physical fitness test. I hated those, and barely made the passing grade each time. And there were the “X-country” runs, of ridiculous distances, that went on forever. I normally try to fall sick during those, or let myself be distracted by the scenery around me and veer off-course.

Not once have I come in first, or second, or third, at any running event. I guess I’m the proverbial kid who always gets picked last to make up the numbers, rather than for any sporting talent. Which was fine by me. I once even pretended I was allergic to rain to escape from a game of Captain’s Ball that my friends insisted on playing even though it was drizzling.

I think in life we encounter lots of different circumstances that mirror those runs. Is it a Sports Day kind of situation, where defeating everyone else is the ultimate aim? Or a physical fitness test sort of scenario, where you need to get a Pass in order to move on? Or a “X-country” long term thing, where you need to invest lots of time and effort and focus?

For me, being able to complete the run is an achievement in itself. So even though my friend’s son came in last, he still won.

Because maybe, all we need is to be slow and steady.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

NeW fRieNDs

I made many new friends in the last month. Which is a bit of an achievement. Especially given my somewhat lazy and anti-social nature. And as one gets older, there seem less and less opportunities to make new friends.

Surprisingly, I found myself enjoying the process of getting to know people. I like listening to the narratives of people’s lives. I like to tell stories about my life. And before I know it, friendships have formed.

It had been a good month in the hostel. We shared lots of laughter together. We shared lots of frustration together. We kept our doors opened for one another.

I miss the New Moon.

Monday, March 8, 2010


"Just because you are blind, and unable to see my beauty doesn't mean it does not exist."

(Margaret Cho)

Sunday, February 28, 2010

i aM hAPpY

After three weeks of not having much to do, there was a frantic scramble over the last three days. The result of which is that I have to pack my bags and move once again. I often wonder if the blood of the voyager lives in me.

This time though, I am going to a happy place. I received an offer to study Speech-Language Pathology from my dream school. I am going to the States! And it makes me a happy girl.

Bizarre events have happened over the last three weeks. It has spooked me. From cemeteries to robberies to stabbings. A friend once told me, if it is meant to be, the journey will be very very smooth. But this fork along the road has been full of obstacles, so perhaps I made a wrong turn somewhere.

I definitely believe in signs.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

LonG dAYs

The days are really long. Too long, in fact. I spend a lot of time sitting and staring out into space. As if willing something to appear before my eyes. Something that would occupy me, possibly consume the whole of my being. The initial enthusiasm at leaving home to pursue my studies has been abruptly and rudely dampened. And they say first impressions last.

The longer I sit having nothing to do, the more I start doubting my own ability to be a student again. I look around at the fresh young teens straight from high school, and I am reminded of how old I am in comparison to them. Not that I am embarrassed about my age or anything. It’s just that knowing I am almost twice the age of some of them can be a rather sobering epiphany.

I am having a terrible headache from sleeping too much.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


"You can't turn back the clock. But you can wind it up again."

(Bonnie Prudden)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


He likes telling stories. I like listening to his stories. In his stories, I learn a lot of truths about myself. Some of which would have been buried with me had he not reminded me of their presence.

The first time I spoke with him was entirely coincidental. Well, actually all the times I have spoken with him are coincidental. Somehow, we remember each other even in the coincidental, haphazard way that we meet.

The last time I met him, I was going through a pretty rough patch. “Don’t give up,” he said. And that was the most important thing I’d heard said to me then. In a way, it is almost as if he understands me better than I do myself.

It’s been a year. If I see him now, I want to tell him that I’ve found a point again. I want to tell him I’m really pursuing my further studies in speech therapy. I want him to be proud of me.

And they call him “boss”.