Thursday, December 01, 2011

The Heaven of Animals
Do terrapins go to heaven? I reckon so. I really hope so, too. It might be a result of my cult-obsessive reading of the Narnia series, or from that innate idealism which always gets in the way of practicalities. According to the bible, though, we're going to see our pets in heaven. (Maybe that's why atheists call Christianity "consolation".)

From the book of Genesis,

 “To every animal of the earth, and to every bird of the heavens and to every creeping thing on the earth, in which is a living soul, every green plant is given for food.”
Genesis 1:30
Animals have souls. 

The Peaceable Kingdom, painting by Edward Hicks;
 Credit Wikimedia Commons

Loopy's terapin, Mr Turtle The Second, died today. We didn't know it had died until we googled "How to tell if your terrapin is dead", and poked his head various times to find that it had stiffened. 

Loopy: I think it's dead.
Me: I don't know. Google says that we should wait at least 72 hours, because its hard to tell with terrapins. They say to wait till its limbs fall out and starts to smell. Ugh.
Loopy: It's dead. My Aunty says if you poke it in the head and it doesn't move, it's dead.
Me: Alright then poke it and see!
Loopy: I don't wanna, you do it!
Me: *poke*
Mr Turtle The Second: *is still*
Me: *poke*
Mr Turtle The Second: *remains still* 

Me: *poke*
Mr Turtle The Second: *remains still* 
Me: *poke* *poke* *poke* *poke*
Mr Turtle The Second: *remains still*
Loopy: It's dead.
Me: Sigh. I guess so. Shall we have a burial?
Loopy: Yes.

Loopy was really sad because Mr Turtle The Second was the smallest of her terrapins, and as she said put it, the cutest. We used a wedding gift box from a few years ago as the casket and lined it with tissue so give Mr Terrapin the Second a respectable send-off. 

We brought his body to the park outside my house and used plastic spoons and chopsticks to dig a little hole for him. It was right beside the beautiful new connection to the Kallang River from Bishan Park. We reckoned he should be buried where he might have longed to be- in the river, with rocks and fishes.

After a short prayer and a song (Loopy said to sing a song but I couldn't think of any so I sang Amazing Grace. I didn't think it was a completely appropriate song though. I kept cracking up in the beginning because it seemed such an absurd song. But I've never presided over a funeral before, so I cut myself some slack.)

We allowed his friend (who I assume is Mr Turtle) to say his final farewell to Mr Turtle The Second before Loopy brought him to see the Turtle Doctor. She said all her terrapins were falling ill. I found it intriguing that she paid more than $20 dollars to provide medical treatment for a terrapin that costs $2, but thats the love for a pet for you.

After that, I went for a short jog with my brother, before going on a longer one after that myself. I was thinking about animals, and heaven, and it was a strange jog. Also my brother was being exceedingly and surprisingly sweet.
Marcus: Jie, I don't think you should go and run in Bishan Park by yourself at night. It is very dangerous. Do you know there were 6 dead bodies found in some reservoir recently? 
Me: Really! Which one? Peirce? MacRitche? 
Marcus: No, no I don't remember- it was some Paya Lebar reservoir. Better not, better not. You run the other way, its better.
Me: Okay (:

-Halfway through my jog-
*Phone buzzes*

Me: Hello?
Marcus: Eh Jie are you okay anot? Dad says if you got into any trouble it will be my responsibility because I didn't take care of you. Aiya I should have come run with you. You better be okay ah.
Me: Hahaha! I promise. 

Teehee <3

Dear Lord, I pray that Mr Turtle The Second is happy where-ever he is.


Wicked Song Of The Day: Wonderful

Elphaba, where I come from, 
we believe all sorts of things that aren't true
We call it-- History.

A man's called a traitor 
or a liberator
A rich man's a thief 
or a philanthropist
Is one a crusader
or a ruthless invader?

It's all in which label
is able to persist

There are precious few at ease 
with moral ambiguities
So we act as if they don't exist!     

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

No Good Deed

I watched The Pianist yesterday. I finally understand why Polanski was so widely lauded for his film. The Pianist is haunting in its barefaced and undisguised telling of a survivor's story. The main character is not a hero. Jewish Wladyslaw Szpilman did not join the arms of his fellow Jews in the tragically valiant uprising against the Germans. He lucked out. He escaped, he hid, he ran, and most of all, he survived. The Pianist is therefore not romanticized; in fact, it is almost dispassionate. It is a story of one man's incredible ability to survive. It does not try to justify, and the portrayal of the discrimination and treatment of Jews is not overtly shocking or overly gruesome, and perhaps made more powerful in its subtlety. For example, there is no scene which shows the deaths caused by the gas chambers. Like in Amen where Gerstein's expressions are used to convey the horror of the gassings, in The Pianist, conversation is used.

Another moment in the film is when the German officer walks down the rows of Jews shooting them in their heads. When he comes to the last shivering and trembling old man, the gun runs out of bullets. That precise moment where he clicks the gun and it is empty is tremendous. Zoom in on the Jewish man's face. White in terror, but also, perhaps, a hint of hope? Then slowly, without increasing the pace of the music or movement, the German reloads his gun, and then shoots him. Its a brilliant cinematic feat. Awful, horrible, and so, so tragic it makes you so mixed up.

I'm supposed to be de-numbing myself from the effects of History Exams. I wrote this during the period of intensive studying.

"The fact that I can say 20-50 million people died during the Great Leap Forward without blinking an eye.

The fact that when I read that out of the 29 million Russians that died during the Second World War, 20 million were peasants, all I think about is what a great argument that will make.

The fact that when I say, in 1932, about 7 million Ukrainians died of starvation, the first thing that crosses my mind is that it is half of the total death toll of 14.5 million.

The fact that I don’t say “In cold blood, Stalin murdered and killed more than 1 million innocent people” and say instead- “To maintain power, Stalin used terror to eliminate his political opponents”.

The fact that when I see “Hitler murdered 11 million Jews”, I think- Hitler murdered about 5.7 million Jews, not 11 million. The rest were non-Jews.

The fact that they have become numbers to me- statistics, arguments.

The fact that I need to be de-numbed, and soon."

To be honest I cannot be sure watching The Pianist and war movies will help any. But at any rate, I think it makes me think. It makes me remember the dead, the sacrifices, and at the least, it reminds me of both the depths human morality can sink to, as well as the good we are capable of during most trying situations. 

On this thread of morality, Wicked is throughly thought provoking in that sense. It's marvelous how just one song can capture the dilemma that I face, the internal struggles that sometimes plague me. Why do I do good, really? Stephen Lawrence Schwartz is a genius. Hearing Menzel sing makes my hair stand on end. She can seriously hold a note for, forever. When she screams/sings FIYERO, I just can't. All the emotion makes me want to burst. 

"One question haunts and hurts, 
too much, too much to mention,
Was I really seeking good, or just seeking attention?

Is that all good deeds are, when looked at with ice cold eye
If thats all good deeds are, then maybe 
thats the reason why

No good deed goes unpunished."
- No Good Deed. Idina Menzel.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Before IB ended, I promised myself that the moment I had finished my exams, I would devote my freshly freed up time to annoying my siblings. The result, I am proud to report, was two days of revelries around town with my brother and sister in tow.

Yesterday, I dragged my younger brother to town to watch Puss in Boots. I desperately wanted to see You Are The Apple of my Eye (and I still want to see it), and we discussed the possibility of passing my younger brother off as a 16-year old midget because the show is NC16, but he backed out because he claimed my "crying and yelling" about how "HE ALWAYS HAS TO DEAL WITH THIS KIND OF DISCRIMINATION. WHY. WHY. WHY?!?!?" would be too humilitating for him.

So we ended up seeing Puss In Boots- and it was, to put it plainly, bad. I sat in the cinema, thinking that the entire movie was vaguely dissatisfying. Think The Adventures of Jack Sparrow, but instead of a handsome, eccentric wacko as the main character, you have a cartoon cat who has childhood issues, minus all the dreadlocks, pirate slang and grittiness. I thought Puss was alot better as a fringe character, because as a main character, and although he was funny, he wasn't enough to work with as a primary character. I would have liked to see more fairy tale characters integrated, and a more intricate building up of their personalities.

But either way, my brother enjoyed himself. We both had Pasta-mania before the movie, and Marcus got really hot and bothered cause I wanted to know if they would change the number of the "We Have Served 1 4 8 7 9 9 8 6 Plates of Pasta" sign hanging outside the kitchen. The numbers are removable and changable, and I they could have won my eternal loyalty had they agreed to change the last number plate to "8" after my brother's cabonara and my aglio. But upon inquiry, I was told that "we never change it, it's for fun". I was desperately crushed, and my brother said I was being embarrassing again, although I cannot see why.

We had an hour and a half to kill before our movie, and so we traipsed down to Scape, where there was a massive Volunteer Day Exhibition going on. We were hopelessly lost because Scape is a very unnecessarily confusing place. Following the instructions on the awesome promotional balloons I had gotten from the volunteers along Orchard Road, we finally found the exhibition hidden below the flea-market, in some underground Scape area. It seemed like the only people around were middle-aged men with their families and school excursions, but we didn't much mind.

We went to have a look, and walked through a miniature little man-made forest while the guide expounded on the importance of preserving Singapore's biodiversity through Bio-Cameras, and Weed-plucking. We learnt about the Singapore Guide Dog Association, and how guide-dogs would immediately switch into professional-mode when their harness was put on. I loved how incredible it was that they were so similar to us. How we code-switch- when we wear formal suits and dresses we immediately straighten our backs, and try to remember with fork and knife to use for which course,   compared to when we are sloppy in our FBTs and baggy tees. I was really intrigued, and spent a good 15 minutes talking to the lady at the booth.

After the movie, we went to redeem some free food at the Volunteer Exhibition, where we got free Haagen Dazs Sticky Chocolate ice cream, curry puffs, and Gloria-Jeans coffee and ham and cheese sandwiches. FREE, completely free. It felt absolutely brilliant to eat free food- said JS who later joined us

"Don't you feel uncomfortable that we're the only ones here who seem to be without a purpose and just pigging out? Almost everyone is in uniform, or from some volunteer organisation."

And I said

So we ate and ate and later with our tummies all filled, managed to meet a Minister who was at the convention, and then I got to further embarrass Markie by swinging beads along Orchard Road. It's really alot easier than it looks, much like hula-hooping, except with a gigantic set of beads. Worst thing was, my jeans had slipped down a little during the bead-swinging, and that was really terrible because the old Bead-Swinging Man and me had gathered a rather huge audience. I asked my brother later what colour they were (my undies), and tragically, I had worn my purple undies that day. Of all the colours to wear :(

Then three of us got ourselves sugar rushes at Candilicious with Sour Tube Candy that cost 5 dollars, and when my brother and I walked through the door when we got home we crashed really bad. I felt like my mind was shutting down on me, closing the blinds, saying goddnight prematurely, and it went all dark and nice.

TODAY, I managed to convince both my sister and brother to come with me to the Toy Museum at Seah Street. It was hilarious to see their faces as we had to walk 5 levels of old toys, old Mickey Mouses which cost $35K, creepy looking dolls, tops, and marbles. You would think anyone would like to see colourful toys- but apparently not. They dragged their feet around like pieces of lead and complained about how ridiculous it all was.

Mei: Omg this is so gross. I am so creeped out right now. Like seriously. I am really, honestly creeped.

Jonny, added some fuel to the fire by adding:

"Yeah I think they told us to start from the 5th floor so as we slowly make our way down to 1st floor they prepare to kill us on the 1st level".

I have to admit the dim lighting, the glassy eyes and multiple clownish toys was rather creepy, but REALLY NOW, what about cultural capital and all that?

I rather enjoyed it, it was nice to see the development of toys from being distinctly national (Japanese toys were easily distinguishable from, say China-made toys before the 1960s). And then when it hit the Swinging Sixties, the toys became more and more homogenous. It was nice to imagine those 50 years ago, children playing with dolls and cars, monkey marching bands and marbles instead of Angry Birds and Wii. Touching things and using their imagination to amuse themselves instead of staring at screens which don't leave much room for creative thought.

All in all, I think, my weekend with my brother and sister was brilliant.
How I thank god that I have them. :D

"Nah nah nah nah nah nah nah 
I will not let you go"

Friday, November 25, 2011

Botanic Gardens
I like to think that little kids sometimes have the most important lessons to teach us. We often think we have lots to to impart to them, with our wealth of knowledge and experience, and we miss out on what they have to teach us. I reckon children are lots smarter than we give them credit for. They retain that wide-eyed curiosity that we lose with age, and it give them an edge over us.

Today Eu and I take her brother Eusebius to Botanic Gardens, and I learn lots from him. He's a brilliant kid, and I reckon he knows more about what art is than many of us do.

Here is his take on art, M&Ms, and picnic food.
"Art tastes like ham."

And it does! I would know; I tried it.

Botanic Gardens is beautiful. It's even more beautiful with a wonderful friend like Eu, a nice book, and a cute kid. Even though I spent an hour walking from the MRT end of Botanic Gardens to Swan Lake, and even though we had to make multiple trips to the Cool Room which, was, according to Eusebius, "super cool, get it?", and had to eat mushy M&Ms in ham, it was a wonderfully satisfying morning.

Quote of The Day:
"Okay then, you lead the way, smart girl."
- Eusebius

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

honestly, why can't I be honest?

I've always wanted to sit in a little outdoor cafe in Paris and and eat a warm and buttery croissant while watching the people go by with their coats sweeping out behind them in the chilly air, while reading a book- and have some cute foreign boy sit down opposite me and say "I like (insert author here) too". It's always been something I felt I had to do, just like riding a big red bike with little strings attached to the handlebars in a long ankle-length skirt while listening to She's Got You High by Mumm-Ra down the pebbly backstreets of a obscure German countrytown. (I blame The History Boys)

What I've come to realise, though, is that all these fantasies can be fulfilled in Singapore. I don't need a beautiful red bike with little strings down the ends of the handlebars like Francoise Hardy- my banged up, rusty, trusty old bike with incredible suspension will do just fine. Pebbly backstreets of a rustic countrytown is pretty, for sure, but perhaps pedaling furiously through Bishan Park, with the wind rushing past you, singing the "ooo ooo OOOH oo" part of Temper Trap's Fader really loudly while bobbing dangerously on your bike, and grinning at the annoyed joggers who give you irritated stares is brilliant enough.

I don't need an outdoor cafe in Paris, all I need is an outdoor Starbucks beside the Singapore River, with a gorgeous view of the MBS. I don't need buttery croissants, I need to try new things, like Big Bens and Bagels. I don't need a cute foreign boy to complement my taste in books, all I need is a good friend who already knows what I like to read. I don't need to watch well dressed people walk by in their boots and coats and hats, perspiring tourists with cute and fat children are even more amusing. And that is what I realised while studying with Gracie at One Fullerton yesterday.

Also, while reading Rei's blog, I felt this immense respect for him- he's so brutally honest, something I aspire to be. I think it takes a heckload of courage to speak your mind, something which I lack. Sometimes I think about my life and wonder if I'm merely existing. I'd hate that. I don't remember, but I read somewhere that making friends was easy, it was making enemies that took courage. In fact, most of the great men and women who stood by their convictions were persecuted for it, including one who died on the cross.

I'm much too- as Alan Bennett calls it "acquiescent". Basically, that means I'd rather please than be honest. It reminds me of this article in The Economist that said it was human nature to lie. The article claimed that lying- it keeps everyone happy, it keeps us from being depressed all the time, it keeps marriages intact, it keeps countries from war, it keeps families from falling apart, friends from turing into enemies. I don't subscribe to that. I believe that there's always a way to break something to someone without lying, tactfully, and kindly. EVEN the age-old "do I look fat in this dress".

"You look beautiful" would suffice. It's the truth- and even if she does look fat- she looks beautiful. Is that not more important? Anyway, when a woman asks something like that, she's probably not looking for the answer, she want to know you love her.

So I'm going to try to be most honest. With people, but mostly, with myself.

Friday, November 11, 2011


I've just finished my History Paper 3. When I took a thick, inky black marker to cross out 11 on my calendar stuck to my cork-board, I felt a strange thrill creep up on me making grin like a fool. 

I'm sitting, here at my desk, thinking that I haven't blogged in ages. I read up on blogging and journaling and I realised that I'm not the only one who finds blogging cathartic, a whole host of other people do too. I feel marginally comforted in this. It's not a waste of time, you detractor fools! It feels like I'm receiving a warm, crisp, cup of coffee from myself, and not the awful black coffee but heavenly hazelnut coffee or Nescafemocha.  

That said, I will attempt to blog more regularly. It's so nice to tap tap tap tap away at the keys and not think too much and let the words appear on the screen on whim. It's nice after a tough and stressful paper. It's nice after taking a nice long run and cycle. 

It's nice. It's 9:32 and I know this isn't the end- it isn't the end of my exams yet. I still have biology and business left, but it feels so wonderful to enter into this quasi-comatose state and see words words words floating around on my screen. I feel like a drunkard. 

I attribute it slightly to the lack of sleep for the past few weeks- but mostly to my exhausted brain. It's not that exhausted, but it thinks it is. It is an irritatingly lazy brain. I wonder if there is a way to shock it alive from its current state of inertia. I don't even know why I'm chuckling at "inertia" because it's not even that funny- I'm just going slightly crazy, I reckon.

I can do this forever, type nonsense at myself like I'm insane when I should really, really be reading up on Business and Biology. Mr Connor would say this is stream-of-consciousness. 

So I've finished my English, Maths and History papers, and it's been an absolute relief, like a big red ten tonne truck has been lifted off my back. I'm pretty certain a 45 is out of reach at this point- and I am hence aiming for a 42. Assuming I get 2 points for my EE and TOK and 6 for English and History, I'm praying awful hard that I'll manage a 7 for Biology and Business. 

Oh exams, exams. 
Go away. 

I wanna be a renegade. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I'm Just A Kid 

18- that's me. Once again, it is past midnight, at 1:28am and I'm freezing in my study room with my hairs standing on end and cold seeping into my bones. I've flung my window wide open so the chilly air can come about me and keep me company.

On my birthday, I was reminded of how much I didn't deserve my friends who came down to my house to surprise me even though they had history/math/geog papers the next week, and even though I had done nothing to warrant such absolute loveliness.

In the morning at 830am my mother pounced on me like a great hunting cat and yelled at me to WAKE UP CHILD AND GET DOWNSTAIRS BECAUSE GRACE IS WAITING. I was all annoyed and rather disoriented and said "Why you getting so uptight, mom! I told her 830!"

And she said NNNNRGHHHH.

And I said NRGGHHHH back.

So I woke up and got downstairs (in my PJs) because Grace was waiting. We were supposed to have a nice breakfast together somewhere, and I was perplexed because I had told Grace to come up to my house but instead she stayed downstairs to wait for me.

SUDDENLY across my condominium's green field ran Hanjie (yes HJ you totally spoiled it XD hahaha not really) and then from the behind the bushes out popped the heads of Carissa, Je Sern, Jonnaye and Krystal shouting SURPRISE or HAPPY BIRTHDAY or something along those lines but I cannot remember because I was much too speechless and stunned. I was floored, because it never crossed my mind that they would have come down on a Saturday morning just for me. Plus, I had been practicing my shocked face for Monday when Carissa would surprise me in school. (See prev post)

They dragged me down a looneytoones themed party with hats and paperplates and table cloths and we all dined on the yummiest Macdonalds pancakes I'd ever eaten. I HAD ALWAYS WANTED A PICNIC BREAKFAST WITH LITTLE HATS AND PLATES (,: It was the most awesome birthday breakfast I had ever eaten. My heart was all bursty because I was so absolutely touched- these guys had prelims the next week, (Carissa had history and bio, and JS maths, HJ maths and history, Jonnaye history, Kryst bio and hist, and Grace maths and geog) and they bothered to drag themselves out of bed (Kryst didn't even SLEEP because she came straight from Avalon) to come down to my house at the break of dawn to make me happykids. And happykids I was.

I kept asking God what in the world I ever did to deserve such friends, and since I couldn't come up with much, I settled on telling him THANK YOU. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. AND THANK YOU.

While feasting on delicious Macs breakfasts and teaching JS that "no one drinks fullcream milk" and taking pictures, and pouring cereal for ourselves and apologizing to my momma ("I looked downstairs from the balcony and saw all the little heads of your friend hiding behind the bushes, all crouched and ready and then I went to check in your room and your were ASLEEP."), three familiar faces strutted down my condominium pathway to our picnic table.

I did a doubletake and didn't believe what I was seeing- Cleo Qing and Shereen had come down to surprise me in the morning! I ran towards them like a dramatic girlfriend from the movies in tears (not really) and sputtered some embarrassing incoherent stuff. They had come to surprise me at my house, and after many tried, they had located my unit, only to discover that I was having a picnic downstairs.
So we scooted over and had a mass picnic with everyone and I spent the morning laughing at the people who made me who I am today- both in secondary school and in AC.

Then we traipsed off to surprise Vanessey whose birthday was last week in this beautiful Kbox room with the most spectacular cake I'd ever seen. I met Natsey, Gloria, Dionne and it was brilliant reliving the old days bellowing APOLOGIZE and LOW at the top of our voices, remembering sec3 camp all over again.

At night, my momma decided to take us to a Peach Garden. My pops attempted to embarrass us all in the restaurant:

Pops: So, where are the peaches? Do you guys have many peaches around here?
Waitress: Ummm, ummm. Diu bu qi, wo bu zhi dao. (Sorry I don't know)
Pops: But it's called peach garden!
Waitress: *flustered* Umm!
Mom: Sorry, sorry, he thinks he's very funny.
Waitress: Deng deng, wo qu wen yi xia. (Wait a moment, I will ask someone)
Me: Hahahahahahah this place is ridiculous they should as least sell some peaches to deal with people like you.
Mom: *sigh*
Waitress Boss: Hi, sorry, we don't sell any peach items.
Pops: But wh...
Mom: (cuts him off) Yes, thank you :) (smiles)

I <3 poppa.

Before that, Bobbers, Ser, Inez, Weiting and Cra and Cryst, and Kryst crashed my house while I was showering before dinner. My mom kept hammering incessantly on the door hollering HURRY UP OUR RESERVATION IS GOING TO BECOME VOID so I sped bathed in under 5 minutes and like didn't really scrub and threw on the clothes I was wearing in the afternoon and ran into my study to grab my phone and then-


I literally screamed "Ahhhhhhhhh" for about a minute back into their faces because my heart nearly fell out of my chest in shock at the multitude of people who had sprung up into my face in my study room. Loopy was chortling and asking me why I walked around my bedroom undressed and I said NO I DONT and she said YES YOU DO I said NNGHH. She had baked me the most scrumptious lava cake with hot chocolate that oozed out of the top in a heavenly warm sweetness that melted me down to my toes. Loopy DOESN'T BAKE. And she baked for me- and I was all oozy and melty inside. Bobbers and Ser and Cra and K wrote me the most tear-jerking letters which made me miss the old times so much I wanted to sit in a time machine and go back back back back to it all.

Perhaps the most wonderful part about my birthday was when Mei stuffed a printed letter into my hand during dinner at Peach Garden- and for some reason, tears began to stream down my face like a freaking Mississippi and wouldn't stop. I was sobbing and heaving like a old hyperventilating woman and my family was staring stunned at me and the restaurant was eerily quiet as if honoring my moment of sheer emotion overload. I couldn't bear the feeling of love that spread over me- Mei who had been so caught up in her exams lately had taken time to write me a card. It was as if all the prior pain had culminated in a moment of love and I couldn't stand the relief and happiness that flooded over me like a bright light.

But I'm really 18 now- and I cannot do anything but thank god for waking me up for 6570 (18X365) days. Thank god for breath. Thank god for helping me arise from sleep to a new shining day 6570 times. Thank god for rain and shine and pain and joy. Love. Madness. Hope. Infinite Joy. Infinnate Joy. With a church sound to it.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

You Make Me 
Fall out of bed.
Sing like a bird.
Dizzy in my head.
Spin like a record.

I'm 2 hours and 46 minutes into being 18, and I am sitting in pitch dark typing this in case my grandfather stomps out and starts yelling at me to get into bed.

18 years old is a surreal, strange age to be. I'm on the cusp of womanhood- imma real woman now- watch me own this, man. Peter posted a FB picture of me years ago where I was wearing this t-shirt and completely disastrous pair of mannish looking pants that skimmed right below my knees and I was grinning like an idiot. I looked so completely blissful in my own little fashion timbuktu land.

Like Marshall, I WILL MAKE A SWEEPING DECLARATION TO BE MORE WOMANLY SO THAT I WILL NOT DIE A SAD WIDOW. And like Marshall, my friends will mock me and declare that my nature in etched in the middle syllabus of my name and all is futile.

But unlike Marshall, I will be the epitome of 18 year old womanhood. Just watch me.

I spent a first moments of my 18 year old-ness jogging my my favourite boy. My papa and I went for a brilliant midnight run and we ran till I couldn't feel my lungs and the dark night air washed away my worries. Then my sister gave me the best present of all- a hug.

And she told me: "Jie, I really really love you. And  I'm sorry if I hurt you. If you go abroad to study I'm going to miss you terribly."

And then I said: "I love you, Mei."

And then she said: "I love you more."

And hence my birthday was made. 

That's all I need, I think. My family, my friends (some who actually remember my birthday, which is honestly something that really touches me because I always try so hard to remember birthdays but fail so I understand the difficulty), and God.

My other favourite man is my Gong Gong. He is the cutest, loveliest, most belligerent man I have ever had the fortune to meet.

Carissa, the beautiful child, wanted to surprise me on Monday in school for my birthday- and she called home to ask my Aunty what type of cake I preferred.

my gongong picked up. As a third person spectator who was sitting at the dining table, I imagine the conversation went something like:

Cars: (Disguising her voice as a boy's) Hello, can I speak to Aunty Yeni please?


Cars: Um. No no, I want to speak to Aunty Yeni. I'm not Marcus.

Gong Gong: WHAT?

Cars: I'm Amanda's friend Carissa but...

Gong Gong: *Cuts her off because he cannot really hear much* AMANDA ITS YOUR FRIEND, THE CARISSA GIRL!

Cars: No, no! We want to surprise her on monday with some cake...


Cars: *Dies inside*

Gong Gong: *Perhaps he realises his folly* (Whispers very audibly) Your friend wants to surprise you on monday with some cake. 

I grabbed the phone and started to laugh and laugh and laugh till I nearly choked on my spit and fainted and Carissa was sad because "My first time planning a surprise for anyone, and what a terrible, terrible failure

But I said it was the funniest thing that ever happened to me and that she just made my day and would she please still surprise me on Monday- and I promised I would be very very surprised.

I love my GongGong and Carissa so much I could burst with Happiness. I really could.
Here's a picture of my Other Favourite Boy.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

And We Feel Like Rain, 
When The Words All Sound The Same.

To: Wile.E and Speedy Gonzalez, the genius behind it all.

Today I am reminded of three things.

Running in the rain barefoot is not pretty. See Exhibit A

Exhibit A.

2. Running in the rain barefoot is sometimes painful. See Exhibit B.

Exhibit B.

3. Running in the rain is bloodybrilliant.

It's my virgin Solo Barefoot Rain Run and I might or might not have received Strange Looks but I couldn't see because I wasn't wearing my glasses, and also, it was raining. I was running and running and running and I couldn't feel and I the cold was stinging and the winds made my eyes hurt and my shirt stuck to my body and Motion City played like a record in my head

"And the pain reminds us that we're still alive."

So, thank you, you two.

Your Faithful Apprentice.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

So They Stuck To The Small Things

It's teacher's-day-cum-last-day-of-school-sort-of.
After my jog, I looked out from my balcony and into the black-dark sky, into the wind, the wide expanse of space, and felt like an insignificant ink dot in the passing of time. 

To survive my insignificance, I have decided to stick to the small things, the small blessings, the small gifts from my good old God. I can think of many small things, but today will begin with someone who left me with many things- memories, laughter, and joy. 

So, here goes. 


I've never had a teacher who came close to what Ms Eu was to me- she seemed like a little 5 year old child stuck in an adult's body. She yelled, she jumped, she hopped, she pranced around barefoot, she threw food at us, she brandished marker pens like a samurai sword and threatened the boys with castration. She told us the lamest jokes, drew the most immature pictures you could ever, ever imagine. 

And this crazy lady taught me how to think, she gave me confidence in my writing, she updated me about world affairs, and always, brought joy to my week. 

So, Ms Eu:
For the first lesson when you screamed strange things like YOU NEHS NEHS and jumped around like a patient from the mental asylum.
For never judging. 
For caring so much that you grabbed your Xstudent to help our class with oral.
For always being the happiest, craziest teacher to us, no matter your mood. 
For understanding us hormonal teenagers.
For stuffing us with food like we were your favorite little farm animals.
For treating us all as individuals.
For making me laugh so hard I cried every. single. lesson.
For saying Joel brought his whole family to the first SOT lesson+dog (because everytime I think about it -even now- I crack up like a loony)
For introducing me to the world with videos.
For not only teaching at, but learning with us.
For talking to me after/before lessons and asking me how I was doing.
For buying me my first piƱata .
For trying so, so, hard. 

And most of all, for loving us all. 

Thank you, Ms Eu. 
Happy Teachers Day(:

Monday, August 08, 2011

You Did Not Bear The Shame

G, S and M have been showing me how to live my life- properly. G taught and is teaching me how to seize the moment, to think out the box, out of the norm, out of the conventional, she's teaching me what carpe diem really means, and it's making me very excited.

It's drawing closer and closer to IOC and Prelims and End of Years and somehow I just feel like living it up more and more, and I'm beginning to sense the urgency of it all. I have only 4 months- only 4 months left to spend with the most darling people in my life- Grace, Krystal, Carissa, Trish, Jonnaye, Judith, Ryan, JS, Hanjie, GidX2, Limheng, Darren, Marcus, Sien, Leeks, Vanessa, Yiann, Gordon, Emily, Angie, Carmen, Vange, Mong, Joshua, Nick, Neo, TimG, Sarah, Anna, Toj, JK, Julian, Eus, Wenxi, Esther, JY - and all those who have touched me in some way or another.

I feel so melancholy, because after I graduate, I won't see these people around school anymore- I won't beable to bumb into them along the corridors, I won't hear Limheng's annoying YALAMMM or Sarah's "AMANDA!" along the corridors or Eus's cheery morning greetings, or Joshua's intensities, and Nick's loudness and Darren's random questions and discussion about our faith, and Neo's outbursts of superpowers, and Grace's silly schemes, and Krystal's perpetual hunger during and between classes and C's daily treats and this and that and this and that and all that which makes me very happy.

I have gone running with (real names not revealed to protect identity of those involved) Speedy Gonzales and Wile E Coyote on Thursday, and under the pouring sheets of rain, and dripping, we bonded through (in the words of Gonzales) "pain and rain". I have red and raw blisters to show for it, and a mocking Mr Connor who made jibes at my running in the rain. It was brilliant- I would never forget how I felt I was living, I was in the present, I was there, I was feeling and being. I might have gotten a demerit for it, but perhaps it was all for the best.

On Friday, I got into trouble again- this time because I was lazy to climb 5 storeys down to retrieve a Mac charger from JY. Grace decided that we should fling down a rope to hoist the charger up- saving energy and having some fun in the process. We tied together bits and pieces of clothing, jackets, and kindly donated ties from the boys and slowly lowered our makeshift rope down.

Alas, alas, it was caught in the 3rd level window. I erroneously assumed it was a student who had hindered out brilliant scheme, and yelled down "HEY YOU! LET GO OF OUR ROPE!"

Call it what you will- they were famous last words.

A teacher's voice wafted up through the shutters to "let go of the rope immediately." I was stunned into silence and there was a huge flurry and frenzy amongst us as we tried to deny involvement- but my jackets and the boy's ties were in jeopardy and I did not want to be responsible for anyone getting in trouble for bad attire and hypothermia- and we had to retrieve the clothing somehow.

Fortunately, my courage (or stupidity) was not misplaced, and Mdm S was an amazing sport about it, and her class was in stitches. Mdm even told me that she couldn't believe her eyes at first- and I had to apologize profusely for disrupting her class with swinging clothes outside her window. Trust me, it was a difficult apology to make without cracking up.

Then we had a wonderful squash dinner, where we said farewell to Coach Tim, and C and I spent a wonderful time at my place<3
Tonight I watched Valkyrie and I feel so blasphemous for thinking that death is romantic- when it isn't. The director of Valkyrie, Bryan Singer, created an utterly magnificent movie. He's an absolute genius. The script, the music, the actors (Tom Cruise/Jamie Parker), came together like a perfect blend of ingredients, creating the most terrifyingly satisfying movie I've ever watched since Crash and Inception.

The music, I think, was the biggest plus- it was so elegiac, so mournful, and so artfully placed. For example, (SPOILER ALERT) when Olbricht and Lieutenant Haeftan were executed, the music was swelling and sad and crashing, like a huge devastating wave, but when Stauffenberg (Cruise) was shot,  the music just stopped, sudden, shocking right after the gunshot. The silence was like a blinding smashing of reality, a reminder of the reality of situation- the reality of the courageous and bloody sacrifices these Germans made during Hitler's Reich. It was a reminder that this movie was not fiction, but a reenactment of history, of the truth. It was a reminder of the reality of death, deaths.

The script of the movie is so brilliant- I watched the last 15 minutes of it about 7 times so I can remember exactly what the characters say. My favorite line is when Stauffenberg says to Olbricht right before his name is called to step up to be shot, executed, "Look them in the eyes. They will remember you."

It's so brave, so painful, so stupid, so courageous- it's sheer and open defiance in the face of oppression and wretched, debased authority. It's almost poetic, but I hate to call it so- it seems wrong and shallow.

All this is fresh from memory because I replayed it so many times my brother thought I was a morbid fool. Which perhaps I am?

The movie was fantastic because it felt like it was made "so that the world would know that we were not all like him". This is to quote one of the Generals before he was executed for treason, plotting to assasinate Hitler in the July 20 Plot, Valkyrie.

This is on the German Resistance Memorial in Berlin
"You did not bear the shame
You resisted
Sacrificing your life
For freedom, justice and honour"

This post is dedicated to Stauffenberg and all those who fought for what their sound heart was telling them- that being a traitor to the German state under Hitler was the right thing to do, and that to be apathetic, to fall into the status quo, who knew that to accept the treacherous atrocities was a cowardly choice.

This post is dedicated to those who possessed the courage to make thing happen.
Thank you for teaching me courage.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

More Than Words Can Wield 

These moments grip me so hard I feel like crying and laughing at the same time and I don't even know why. I attribute it either to womanly foibles or my out-of-whack emotional makeup. I think I am more a ball of matter than a thinking being because I feel so much, so fast, so intensely, so rapidly. I imagine I'm a little ball of emotions, melting from from a stormy blue hue, to a warm and golden cadmium yellow, to a ebbing peaceful shamrock green, to a screaming scarlet. Changing, changing, and changing, like a chameleon high on aphrodisiac. I reckon it's why I have little sense of subtlety, because I'm feeling so much that everything strains at the seams, waiting to burst the dams of my facade. 

This weekend was one I want to remember forever. I am wrapping it up in a nicely packaged box and placing it near my heart. Friday began with cross-country where I felt genuinely happy while running in a new place, hearing it all pound in my head, feeling my heart beat like a oversized african drum, feeling the wind in my face, feeling my own ragged breath, feeling the smiles of the wonderful teachers who were stationed at different stops. Feeling, feeling, feeling, straining at the limits of my physical capabilities, and then spending time with T, talking, jogging and learning. You've been a perfect present from God to me y'know Trish? It's been wonderful talking and raving and running with you- you're a feel-er too, and it's absolutely brilliant.

Then I spent the rest of morning gallivanting around West Coast, trying to get the the double Js to lighten up, acting like a 5 year old with Grace, throwing caution down the freeway. And I don't care if you tell me kid means baby goat; it sounds more happy than child to me, so deal with it, please. We found an obscure shop selling all types of tape, drank Koi and then in the evening I watched my friends do their stuff on stage. It was a stunning show of talent, molded around Natalie's script, so honest, so genuine. It took our deepest insecurities, things not nice to think about, unpleasant to face, uncomfortable and awkward, took them and turned them into a play of (at risk of sounding like a overused motivational speech) fighting for what you believe it. Yep, that was slightly cringeworthy- I'm sorry, but it was the best I could think of!

Saturday was languid and slow, of realizations and sleepy mornings, and of sadness and meeting strangers, and old friends, and midnight runs. I think I might be in love, in love with the night. Which is very dangerous, as being in love usually is, because school is in the morning, and I am a creature who is fueled by sleep. 

And then there's death- which is so pervasive and unfathomable. 
SY has just passed away and it's disconcerting. Uncomfortable, and I'm not sure what to feel. It's not even confusing, it's like I'm not feeling anything, and it feels awful because I cannot summon the sadness  and it won't come. I feel heartless. 

I don't think it's normal for it to be more difficult to decide what to feel then to deal with the natural influx of emotions. I don't feel sad, because he was suffering and I think he'll be much happier in heaven where he probably is right now. All I feel is traces of pity for his family, and I feel like sweeping them into my arms and giving them all the comfort I can extract from my being. 

Dear Lord, 
I know you will take SY into your loving arms. I offer up this prayer for him and his family, that you will cover them in your love, to take away the hollowness from their hearts.

I've said it before, but death painful if only for those it leaves behind. 

When I die- I want there to be a celebration, with a live band and I want my ashes to be thrown into the wind. When I die, those I leave behind will remember me, but they will rejoice. 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

I Wont Share You

It's been a while. I have just eaten a huge, huge lunch (instant noodles+curry+prata+blueberry yoghurt+apple+kiwi+cadbury chocolate) and my tummy is so full I feel like all my energy has accumulated and pooled in there and my brain is a-floating somewhere away in the sky. I'm listening to "Asleep" by The Smiths and the aircon is blasting and I'm cold and Morrissey is singing me to sleep is and it's all adding to my semi comatose state.

It feels like one of those days where everything is still and quiet and suddenly all your hairs stand on end for no reason. It feels like of those days where music is not words but emotion. It feels like one of those days you like you're in a dream and you can't decide if it's a good dream or a bad one. The Smiths are gorgeous. Asleep does something to you- it's The Smiths at their darkest display of human emotion, magical as well as destructive, a song so deeply tortured yet enchantingly beautiful, most like the shadows of the human soul.

The past week has gone by quick and I never knew it was possible to feel such contrasting emotions in such a limited frame of time. It has been multicoloured, from the fervent splash of happiness stemming from a delightful Racial Harmony celebration, to the slow emotional ebb of pulsing reality when we received our midterm results. Then there was the wonderful comfort of seeing Alex, Tieh, Shaunald, and some other seniors return to visit school again- because I knew, I just knew, that Queen was right- These Are The Days Of Our Lives.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

(On Two Kinds of Laughter)

Have been reading this author called Milan Kundera lately. I went to the library to look for a book called "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" by him, but it was loaned out- I found another gem instead:

The Book Of Laughter and Forgetting

It's a sad, strange and disconcerting book, with sharp moments of wisdom and dollops of disturbing scenes which stir up your thoughts like a Wizard of Oz-esque tornado, sending them spinning and churning like Toto and Dorothy. It's a book about life, about politics, about sex, about smoking, about thinking, about poets, about writing, about more thinking, about death, about laughter, and basically about everything elusive and human. In fact it's rather unsettling. I wouldn't recommend reading it while emotionally unstable; might be dangerous.

There are some excerpts which I kept re-reading and re-reading because I couldn't understand it, yet it made so much sense.  It made no sense, yet it made so much sense. Reminded me of G 's quote today from The Civil Wars- I don't love you, but I always will.

Here Kundera postulates on (two kinds of laughter)

"The first time an angel heard the devil's laughter, he was dumbfounded. That happened at a feast in a crowded room, where the devil's laughter, which is terribly contagious, spread from one person to another. The angel clearly understood that such laughter was directed against God and against the dignity of his works. He knew that he must react swiftly somehow, but felt weak and defenseless.

Unable to come up with anything of his own, he aped his adversary. Opening his mouth, he emitted broken, spasmodic sounds, but giving them an opposite meaning; whereas the devil's laughter denoted the absurdity of things, the angel on the contrary meant to rejoice over how well ordered, wisely conceived, good and meaningful everything here below was. 

Laughable laughter is disastrous. Even so, the angels have gained something from it. They have tricked us with semantic imposture. Their imitation of laughter and (the devil's) original laughter are both called by the same name. Nowadays we don't even realize that the same external display serves two absolutely opposed internal attitudes. There are two different kinds of laughters, and we have no word to tell one from the other."

Semantic imposture.
They've tricked us with language and meaning and life- they've tricked us they've tricked us they've TRICKED US. Which laughter do I laugh? NO. They shouldn't both be called laughter to begin with, they've tricked us. The devil's sound should be called something else. I reckon "haighter" would be a good name. "Laugh" is a homonym for "Love" and "Haight" sounds like "Hate".

Haighter [Haig-ter]
The action of making sounds of unadulterated evil.

ORIGIN Related to Dutch haten (verb) and German hassen (verb) or Old English hate (noun), also to laugh.

And here's another-

"Laughter? Do people ever care about laughter? I mean real laughter, beyond joking, mockery, ridicule. Laughter, an immense and delicious sensual pleasure, wholly sensual pleasure...

I said to my sister, or she said to me, come over, shall we play laughter? We stretched out side by side on a bed and began. By pretending, of course. Forced laughter. Laughable laughter. Laughter so laughable it made us laugh. Then it came, real laughter, total laughter, taking us into it's immense tide. Bursts of repeated, rushing, unleashed laughter, magnificent laughter, sumptuous and mad... And we laugh our laughter to the infinity of laughter.. O laughter! Laughter of sensual pleasure, sensual pleasure of laughter; to live is to laugh profoundly."
Laughter; the strangest things like this crack me up-

Seeing Cedric holding his beloved pooh he had left forsaken at my house one day after a week was strangely funny. I texted my aunt and uncle when I found it and for some reason it was unbearable funny at the time.

I cannot think why.

Perhaps it was the strange but captivating charm of watching a little boy and pooh reunite.

Today was supposed to be a short and sweet post about my brilliant weekend meeting Bing/Wei/Dear/Nao/Shee/Qian again for a wonderful picnic near Swan Lake at Botanic, like a dream, with cheerful weather and gentle winds and green hills and happiness deep in my soul.

It was supposed to be nostalgic reminiscence of the old days with the gang, a lively ode to BH and newly minted in his 19 year old glory. 

It was supposed to be about how Harry Potter 7PII was melancholy and nerve wracking but ended on a comically unsatisfying note.

It was supposed to be a general rant about Neville's heroism and my beautiful Mei, and how stupendously glad I am to be her sister. 

I reckon I get too distracted by my own thought sometimes- it is awfully annoying.
Next time, maybe.

But for now-

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Skinny Love.

Dear God,
I want to scream and shout and cry and laugh and sing and kick and yell and holler and hit and sob. I want to live.


Wednesday, July 06, 2011

She Spoke Words of Wisdom 
Some people think that we have to go on epic globe trotting journeys to uncover the unfathomable mysteries of life. Some people think only a 3 year long holy mountain pilgrimage will reveal the secrets of being alive. And then there are the lovely Douglas Adams fanatics who believe that they already know the meaning of life, the universe and everything.

3 year long holy pilgrimages up unpronounceable mountains in South East Asia might well provide the deep insight we all inherently search for. I don't even deny it- in fact, it sounds like a promising adventure for me. Perhaps I will finally find an answer to why I waste my time in the day and then stay up panicking and studying for tomorrow's exam. (Like thus).

The reason why I am thinking about wisdom is because of my darling Aunty Yeni. She's been with our family since I was 10- that's 8 years ago. She saw me up through my angst ridden pre-pubescent years into my current self actualized state of being. What she has done for our family is obviously well above the job scope of an average maid- she juggles being a a cook, a counselor, a cleaner, a nanny, a Markie-watchdog, a chauffeur (kinda), a masseuse, a personal shopper, a collector of old newspapers, a Missus Fix-it, a finder-of-lost-things, a control to my Gonggong's stubbornness, a friend, and a source of never ceasing comfort.

Our family adores her- and we absolutely cannot do without her. We resemble a rabble of lost sheep without her belligerent directions, explanations and guidance. My brother closes out his Youtube window instead of just minimizing it when she roars "I KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING, MARCUS". And when she bellows "I'M COMING TO CHECK" he actually switches off his computer, which is more than my feeble threats and my Gongong's nagging can do.

My sister depends on my Aunty Yeni for everything- including making her bed, finding her lost items ("Aunty YEEEEENI I can't find my library books!"), cooking, and basically most of her daily requirements.

My Gongong needs Aunty Yeni because she can talk to him for hours on end, guffawing at his jokes, howling "MY DARLING GONG GONG" when after they argue about one of their random marketing issues. And even if he won't ever admit it, I bet he'll miss her the most of all of us when she leaves for Indonesia two years later. She's his constant 4-D buying, marketing, news watching, massaging, hawker center buddy. She relieves his loneliness- the loneliness of growing old without my Mama.

My parents love Aunty Yeni too- she gives my mother the best massages, makes her her favorite mee siam every Friday, and when she has cravings for porridge on Saturdays, Aunty Yeni never fails to whip up a steaming pot for the whole family. My Aunty Yeni calls my mother "my mommy" even though they are almost the same age, and my mom refuses to let her go home, desperately lengthening her contract for as long as it can go.

Aunty Yeni appreciates my daddy's photographic/biking enthusiasm, and keeps his expensive equipment in shining, tip-top shape, all the time. She even tells her friends to shop at Coldwear to boost business for my dad's company.

No one could adore Aunty Yeni and her quirkiness more than me. She provides a blurry comfort in the morning as she gives me morning massages that shock me out of bed when I miss my alarm clock. She is a continuous source of love, adoration, food, advice, and comfort. She rather knows inherently when I'm in an awful mood, and cooks my favorite yi-mee, or creeps up behind me with a cup of milo to cheer me up. And it is in this simplicity that I find the most profound wisdom stems.

Today she was talking about her hateful husband, who allegedly waited for her for 8 years to get hitched. When Aunty Yeni offered him a huge sum of her savings to start a business, he splurged it all away and didn't return a scrap, nor bother to apologize for spending half her life-savings. Aunty Yeni is surprising calm about all this, though. She's got a beautifully optimistic outlook on life.

"I've got my Gonggong, I've got my mam, and my sir, and my 3 children. God has blessed me. I am happy."

This from the woman who grew up dirt poor, slogging away to upkeep her family back in Indonesia. This from the woman whose incompetent husband took her precious savings of 20 years working as a maid in Singapore to set up a doomed business and then splurged the money away.

This is wisdom.
If I could swear, I would swear it's wisdom. Since I cannot, I believe, very strongly, that it is wisdom.

Then she taught me somethings about life that I've always knew, but not really known, like how most things that strike us are things we sort-of-knew presented in a clearer way. My Gonggong had presented a picture of her going back to Indonesia and being courted by handsome men.

"You can't eat a handsome man." she observed. "You can't lick him when you're hungry. Only very salty."

I had laughed so hard the noodles I was eating nearly slithered out of my nose. Ick.

"Why you laugh? It's true. You cannot eat the handsome man. No matter how hungry your stomach, no matter how little money, you only can lick the handsome man. No use."

Then she went on to share with me that

"Love is from your little deepest deepest heart. When you love the man, make sure he love you very very much, otherwise your little heart will break because man is not good sometimes."

She basically taught me the very principals of life and it's simplicity, how to guard your heart for the right man, and to look beneath the appearances. All in her very own way.

Wisdom can come from anywhere, as long as we are listening.

She spoke words that would melt in your hand
She spoke words of wisdom
In the basement 
Many surprises await you
- Two Door Cinema Club. Undercover Martyn.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Young Folks

It's Father's Day today.
To celebrate, our family traipsed off to Sentosa for 2 days and booked a room in Sentosa Resort. It's a quaint looking resort located opposite Siloso beach, near the Wavehouse. Perhaps the best thing about the resort is that it is built around a huge, crashing waterfall which tumbled into the swimming pool. Evidently it is man made, but it was very majestic anyway. I've never before seen a waterfall in the midst of a hotel swimming pool, and it wasnt a measly 1 meter water fall either, the lousy sort where you duck your head into a crappy little cranny and feel twitch in impatience as water flows onto your back from a little rock.

It was certainly nothing like that. It was much closer to a real waterfall, about 7 meters high, with (ostensibly) purified, organic, oxygenated water pouring down from the skies like a sheet of hail, smashing belligerently (I am having a rabid impassioned love affair with this word because I am reading about a Soviet anti-religious organisation called "The Union of The Belligerent Atheists". It is extremely strange to me that people go out of their way to proclaim themselves to be "belligerent", and I find it very perplexing. Hence I have been using the word copiously as it reminds me of a bunch of belligerent atheists railing against the heavens like little warrior ants, brandishing their little spears and knives, pumping them into the air, shouting of their belligerence and fearsome nature. Honestly guys, stick to theorizing) into the pool.

The short two day vacation was spent with the most adorable bunch of children, who completely charmed me their, well, charm. There was darling Emma and her silly older brother Evan who had turned so white and sat so stiffly on the airlift up the luge that it cracked me up. There was little 4 year old Dawn, the baby femme fatale who scared the bejesus out of my horrified younger brother with her very unsubtle attempts to hold his hand, and proclamations of his sudden new status as her "boyfriend". When she announced nonchalantly to the lady at the buffet breakfast booth that she was "going to see her boyfriend kor kor Marcus", I was terribly amused. Her mother, Aunty Sue was explained "It happens alot. Boys usually get very terrified of Dawn". My brother sat there trembling in the face of her attention, shifting uncomfortably in his seat- it was the most ridiculously funny scene I'd witnessed in a long time.

Then there was David. Perhaps one the most flattering things that could happen to you is when a 7 year old develops a crush on you. David is an awkward kid with huge, sad, beguiling eyes and surfer-boy tanned skin. I had taken care of him when he was 6, and he remembered me as Manda Jie Jie. His mom, Aunty Jen, told me surreptitiously that he had had a crush on me- but then he acquired a girlfriend called Bea on his trip to Phuket last week.

Aunty Jen: David's catechism class has the most beautiful girls. Right David?
David: No. 
Aunty Jen: Yes! There is this exotic little darling, she looks like a young version of Penelope Cruz called Maya, and these pretty pair of Chinese twins, and anther very gorgeous little dear who's half French. 
David: I don't like them. I like Bea.
Aunty Jen: Why not? They are very pretty!
David: Because they laughed at the boys when we lost to them. Bea would never laugh at me.

All this was novel to me. It was also very exciting to have a little 7 year old have a crush on you. I was intensely flattered and shone with sheepish glee all the way home in the car. But it is also very unnerving to discover that such issues plague a child as young as 4 years old. I'm convinced that relationships are starting earlier through the generations- I have no recollection of ever having feelings for a boy when I was 7. Much of my mind was occupied with remembering which was my left hand (the clenched one) and my right hand (my swimming lessons were traumatic because when my instructor said "Amanda, lift your left hand out of the water when you're doing free-style!" I wouldn't remember which hand it was because you couldn't clench your hand and swim, and I would cry), and other more pressing issues like how to steal the last kit-kat from the fridge without my anyone finding out it was me who ate it.

Come to think of it, that still happens now. But- not the point.

Point is, the only time I thought about boys was when they poured sand down my shirt at the playground, and when we played block catching together, and when they had burping contests. And all those times I only thought of them in one way: sweaty and gross. Then I would join in. 

So anyway, I had heaps of senseless fun with the motley crew of little hormone riddled children, as we had slide competitions at the brilliant swimming pool, rode on the Segway, and played on the Luge, and built sandcastles at the beach, screaming and yelling. I had so much fun I nearly forgot that I had piles of unfinished work back in the hotel room. But not really. It was rather difficult to forget.

At night, I took C, JS and Grace to church for the first time, and then had supper. I'm not sure if they enjoyed Mass itself, but I was really grateful to them for bothering to come down. It felt really nice because I wanted them to experience what I experience every week at mass. It felt like a was opening up a part of me to them. Friends are brilliant things(:

My Papa and I took a night walk around Sentosa when I got back from Mass- I love spending time with my Dad because he's such a wonderful guy. I reckon we're similar in many ways, our easygoing nature, our fascination with the Great Outdoors, our penchant for adventure, our streak of recklessness, our ability to strike up conversation with strangers, our forgetfulness, and our deep and possessive love for people we care about. In the morning, both of us leaped out of bed at 5am to catch the sunrise. Mama, Mei and Markie were groaning and griping as we dragged them from their quilts to hike across the beach in time for the sunrise.

It was sad that we didn't catch the sunrise because we were on the Southern Most point of Singapore (the wrong side). Apparently it wasn't the best place to wait for the sunrise- but we had fun anyway.

I really love my daddy, so much. He's so selfless in so many ways, and probably the nicest man I know. Thank you God, for blessing me with such a fantastic daddy. HAPPY FATHER'S DAY.

After this mini-vacation, I reckon I should really get down to work and plunge myself into a work-induced semi-comatose state.


"It doesn't matter what we do,
where we are going to,
We can stick around
And see this night through."
Young Folks. Peter Bjorn and John.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

It's close to midnight, and I'm listening to Metric on loop.


Metric is amazing. How do they do it? How do these people make such amazing music? It makes me want to cry. Such brilliance. I mean- Grow Up and Blow Away. That's wisdom right there! It's absolutely frightening, growing up, and then getting blown away by reality. Blown away by the truth, which, for all of TOK's propagation of it being the ultimate pinnacle of knowledge, is sometimes the last thing we want to hear.

I'm in the middle of my June vacation now, and I've been busy trying to finish my assortment of assignments, while struggling through a mountain of history notes. I kid you not. When I say mountain, I actually mean tremulous, foreboding piles of rainforest carnage. It's all splayed across my study room floor,  silently mocking me in its sheer volume. I can practically see Mao in my dreams, and really, he is the last person I want in my head while I'm free of his iron rule on my time. 

I know I'll get through it, though. It'll take some time, packets of yummy hazelnut coffee, inky fingers, blurry eyes, frozen grapes, and the cold blooded destruction of a small forest (I'm sorry!), but I'll make it. I will. I know I will.

Sometimes, life has a habit of flooding over me and rushing me along in it's overwhelming tide. I often forget what I'm doing here. It helps to remind myself, I reckon. In no order of importance:

1. God
Probably the only thing that keeps me going when I'm in one of those existential ruts is vaguely recalling that I have a purpose- to do my best in everything, not for myself, but so as God's little baby girl, he'll be glorified. I sometimes think of it as doing my best in everything so that people will know God is an awesome daddy.

He doesn't usually descend like a saving grace, to infuse me new found bursts of motivation. God's not a powerbar- because he's not temporary. Mostly,  he is my internal compass that keeps me in the right direction. It's all rather passive, and it often requires large amounts of discipline to not throw my notes out of the window and lose myself in one of Gerald Durrell's paradise islands.

 2. My friends
The thought of getting through all this together, all of us in IB- trudging through all of it together and emerging stronger, albeit sleep deprived and jaded, but nevertheless, armed with new ideas, dreams, and convictions- together. Battling through the IB storm is worth it because of the crew members I've found, and we are definitely sailing together in the adventure that awaits us.

(Did I say Pirates wasn't that terrific? Depp was a swashbuckling darling, and as always, he charmed with his wonderfully kooky mannerisms. But the plot felt slightly ridiculous and contrived at times.  If it had been one of Neil Gaiman's movie adaptations, I would have sat back and soaked it all in. But it wasn't. It was Pirates of the Caribbean, and I was expecting raw, gritty, and slightly gory pirate warfare. Being assaulted with a carelessly developed side-plot and a seemingly random additions made the plot seem highly disorganized and unnecessarily cluttered. Although could be that I missed Orlando and Keira and I'm being shamelessly biased, or those two retarded pirates who popped their eyeballs were not there to provide some slapstick comedy. Whatever it is, it was lucky that what the plot lacked in originality and clarity, dear Johnny redeemed with his screwball logic and wit<3 LOVE JOHNNAAYE)

But I digress.

3. My family
I want to do my parents proud because they've put in so much effort for me. Plus I want to bring them to Corfu island when I have enough money. AND MONEY MUST BE EARNED SOMEHOW. Unfortunately. If only I had my own little sailboat- I'd sail away with them. I'll be the captain, and they'll climb aboard. (I love Styx<3)

On another note, I've just watched two movies- Crash by the brilliant Paul Haggis, and Inglorious Basterds. Two words: Mind.Blown. Or is that one? Ah, whatever.

On board I'm The Captain
So climb aboard
We'll search for tomorrow
On every shore.
-Come Sail Away. Styx.