Sep 29, 2012


Do you know what it's like, for example, to want alcohol so much that even when you aren't drinking it, all your thoughts morph into it? Even though you're not drunk, you're never really sober. You can't snap out of it. You aren't actually taking a sip, but that's not enough. You should be steering your thoughts away from it.

Slap yourself awake. Get addicted to something else. Give your thoughts something else to cling to.

A Warning

You think you're back on deck, dry and comfortable in your change of clothes, when the fish catch up with you to let you know you've dived into the deep again.

Where's your face mask? Your depth gauge? Your lifeline? All on the boat where you left them, along with your brain.

So cage up your heart! Keep it under constant guard. It slips away like a wish, disobeys like a child. Throw away the keys; why didn't you lock the gate in the first place? The heart is a deceitful girl; she makes you tell lies so you don't realise she's gone off again, on an eagle's wing, delightfully seeking the worst spot to take the plunge. Chide the monster. Hose it down with oil, so that it loses the ability to attach. Dehydrate it; let it squeeze itself dry, so that there's nothing left but the blackened walls and the stone.

You don't want to be anyone's doll. You're a heck of a gem. Don't let the child reduce you to a copper-coated soul and desperate tunes. Stop being that pathetic dog. Have some backbone; show yourself who you can  be.

Sep 18, 2012

On Meeting Someone New

Sometimes I'm too eager to unwrap myself, too trusting too quickly, I forget to take a breath and stop to think. Some people who don't know me well say I'm a mystery they'd love to read. They want to know what makes me sing these melodies of words. Well it's nothing really. My life isn't interesting; it's just that my heart soars and crashes very easily.

I'm a lot like you. I'm a lot like most people. Maybe the mysterious package I'm looking at right now is how people look at me. Hello friendly face, we both know there's more to your happy eyes and my droopy ones. I am, pretty much, an open book; all you have to do is hold me. Let me unwrap you; take me through the crimson deliriousness and show me the bare bones. I will, in turn, unwrap my glass shards, which are a heck of a reward, because they cut into me when I hold them up for you to see, too.

Nice to meet you.

Guess who :)

Sep 17, 2012

when your heart breaks for those who know the truth

Sometimes you want to believe in something so bad. You've given your life to it. The hungry demons are at your every corner trying to lure you out of your little idealistic hole. You try to fend them off but you only have two hands. No, I know this is right, I know this is right, but the only other person who agrees is God, maybe, hopefully.

People tell you you're just being stupid. They've seen the world. They know nothing turns out like you think. Doing well in school doesn't mean you will have a nice family and a nice house. Putting trust in people means you'll either get cheated or very disappointed. Thinking you have the power to make a mark in the world is simply delusional. Being ever-ready to help only means you're asking to be walked over. You can't make it big through honest means. There is no such thing as a community of pure love - there are always the politics and the gossip, or they just want your money. You'll never get anywhere if you don't take the tried and tested route. Going into education to inspire and enlighten young minds is a spark you see only in the eyes of young, newborn teachers. Trust the vetrans. They know.

NO, they don't know; ignorance irks you, arrogance puts you off, selfishness is something you don't understand, but when you meet someone who has lost hope, all you feel is a hole in your heart. You suddenly feel listless. You don't feel like speaking to anybody, you can't even write, you don't want to listen to a song, you just feel like all of the light in your heart has been sucked out because you're imagining a minute in their shoes.

Hope is your every breath. Hope is the food of your soul. Sure, it only means your heart gets thrown down on the floor every day, but you just can't help but hope. It's irrational hope. They still say I'm naive. Some of them think it's cute, how naive I am. They assume I haven't been hurt by the world. Of course I have. I have more than those who don't hope. It's just that I can't stop from hoping. It's all I do.

it takes an ocean not to break

Sep 16, 2012

To: Every single person who knows me

Hello, this post is to everyone who knows me, whether we were classmates in primary school or acquaintances in ACJC or you're my future Yale-NUS schoolmate. I'd just really like to know what you think of me. Like, everything you can think of - be it a particular memory where I helped or hurt you, or a string of personality traits, or behaviours I should change.

You can drop me an email at, whatsapp me, Facebook message me, drop me an anonymous Formspring...whatever. But if you would rather not leave your name, I'd love to know at least how we know each other. Or in fact, I don't even really have to know you. You could be a random Crescent / AC junior who chanced upon my blog or something. I'd just like to know everything you think about me - whether I'm a friendly listening ear, or whether I need some backbone, or whether I need to stop being such an airhead, or whether I wasn't a fierce TRIC. I'd just really like to know how other people see me. Please do include constructive negative comments; they're more helpful in the long run than nice ones.

Thanks in advance, everybody. :)

Sep 9, 2012

RE: Letter to Singapore

You’re more than people just scraping by, dreaming of money and five-star hotels. You’re a hell of a lot more than just a good air-conditioning system. You’re everybody, not just the dream citizen; you’re the Malay kids skipping school, hanging out at Peninsula Plaza in black jeans and trucker caps. You’re the unemployed kopitiam uncle with his songbirds. You’re the schoolgirl holding hands with her classmate, hoping the teacher doesn’t see. You’re every one of them, but for some reason you just won’t acknowledge this. You like to hold on to this idea of you being this clean, perfectly efficiently city, when really it’s the dirt that makes you who you are.
- Letter to Singapore

No, it's true. The crime rates are low, the sidewalks are clean, the restrooms are good. Singapore's a great city to come to to work, but I've always felt like it was never much of a place to live. To grow up. I've always felt more than safe here - the closest I've ever come to being a victim of harassment was when a couple of guys wolf-whistled from the park across the road in the afternoon (and that was when I was fourteen and butt ugly) - but perhaps it's been a little bit too safe. I always tell people that you can't live unless you've died.

Singapore isn't a place to die. There's no room to die when you've got the grades to worry about, the endless piles of homework and the teachers and parents breathing down your necks, the school that keeps you engaged in a myriad of activities from before the sun rises to after it sets; the focus on the safe route to success. People assume that one always strives for the best - "best" isn't a personal perception, but society's. People assume that if you're capable of getting into law, you're going to go to law school. If you're doing the humanities in university, they assume it's not because you chose it, but because you had no better option.

We all know this, really. But it's okay, because we're equally as tired of it as you are, and our generation is about to change this. Give the nation some time. We're such a young country. Most of our parents are older than Singapore. This nation has only just crawled out of its years of hardship, turbulence and turmoil - third-world status, racial riots, the war - to become the efficient, safe, rich country it is today. The dream of our grandparents. We've only just realised this dream, and the ecstasy of having reached it is infecting the minds of those who grew up with Singapore. Mainly our parents and grandparents. It's only understandable that they make sure we continue to fight for that success. Dog-eat-dog. Fierce competition. They're terrified of returning to that state of turbulence, even if they see only a glimpse of it again.

My paternal grandmother survived the war, where six of her brothers died. My grandparents' house was broken into, and the millionaire family became bankrupt overnight. My mother grew up in a village in a family of ten, and all of them would share a single fish or chicken for dinner. Poverty was real, even just forty years ago.

All of my mum's sisters climbed out of that. From that lovely village in Ipoh, they're now in KL, Singapore, Australia and America, big houses and nice cars and a great education for their kids. Their generation has seen a lot - from the times of poverty to the present, where university education is the norm. Where you can be a millionaire and still be unable to afford a condominium. Of course you would expect their generation to want to make sure their children find nothing but success. Never find their way back to that hole of despair again. And what better a route to success than the tried and tested way?

"You’re more than surviving. You’ve done well. But now you need to stop holding your breath, stop acting like everything can be taken away from you in an instant. This kind of warlike paranoia isn’t doing you favours. You could be so great if you just relaxed and let go, just a little."

Singapore is, like you say, a bit to obsessed with this idea of material success. We've achieved it - streetlamps at every corner, Marina Bay Sands, one laptop per student and two per working adult - but this success is so new that the generation that fought for it is still so afraid of going back to what we once were. You're twenty. I'm nineteen. We grew up in a time of peace. The times in which a people grows up do affect the characteristics of the country when that generation takes the lead. A large part of our current workforce and leadership grew up in a time of hardship, and despite the success, they're still in fear mode.

And it's almost time for us to take the lead in this place.

Sep 4, 2012

so, write

There's no way you can fully accurately describe this feeling, this stone heaviness in your heart that spreads to the rest of your body like an infection that seeks to paralyse you one inch at a time. Freeze you over so that all that remains is a blank expression and that stone. You want to make it known so bad but there’s no word that puts it across well enough.

So if you can’t describe the feeling, you try to let others know how you feel by bringing them into your pit. You craft a story that transports them to a similar dark world, that makes them feel the same heartache that you do. Then you can go, “That heaviness you’re feeling right now? That’s what I’m going through.”