May 24, 2013

How do you rate something so subjective?

Where do you place your confidence in your talent? By the number of likes you get? By the shares? By the comments? By the people you've impacted? By the number of page views? By whose appeals more to the community? By who uses bigger words and by who's got their technique down? By who's got their stuff published and sold on a website?

How do you rate something you can't put a number to? How do you judge something you can't tick off a checklist? It's very easy to feel unconfident in your ability, when someone else who's nothing much seems to be getting it all. And you think, am I really not as good? How do people see my work? Does it really move their hearts like I hope it would? Is this going anywhere, or should I just give up and seek something else?

It all ends when you put your confidence in other people. You have to realise that no matter how many pageviews and shares and likes you've got, you mean nothing to them anyway. So what if the blogger with lousy English gets more likes than you do? So what if the impossibly untalented artist gets more online hype? So what if the croaky singer is more popular because he's cuter? You can only believe in yourself. It's all you can do. Come to terms with the fact that even if you really do suck at it, it's all you know, and it's all you can continue to do. Remember that even if no one bothers even to give you a mildly interested glance as you strum away or paint those caricatures, you're doing it for yourself. The beauty of the world all encapsulated in that one song, that one piece of work, only for you. Don't be greedy and expect others to affirm your talent. It means nothing to them. Do it for yourself.

May 23, 2013

"So how've you been doing?"

When I answer (genuinely) that I've been doing great, it's a good thing because it means my situations are positive and I haven't been thinking or feeling. When I answer that I don't know, it's better. It means something might have the capacity to drag me down a well, but I'm numb to it at the moment. I don't know what it is, and my mind's not looking for it. Enough inner self-restraint to keep me from harm. When I say I don't know, I'm usually looking at my day and my thoughts and feelings and wondering what I've actually been feeling at all. When it's nothing, it's usually the safest, and I'm grateful that a day went wasted instead of getting caught in that spiralling darkness of the pointlessness of life.

i find shelter in this way / under cover hide away

I'm very tempted to close in on myself. Just burrow into myself and crawl inside and stay there. A little shell, self-sufficient, there's no such thing as a hole only friends can fill. Nothing is important, because nothing really is, and you shouldn't deceive and disappoint yourself with all the hype about the latest big event or a friend's flourishing music career or trying to make the world a better place. Nothing is important, we are all only minuscule specks, and the world will cave in on itself one day. The friendships you form are insignificant because it's all only in your mind, they have their own lives, you try to break into them but you always fall far behind. You might as well not try - it leaves for less heartbreak. You do nice things for people and people say thank you but you don't even deposit as much as a seed. You look at yourself one day and you realise the person you've become; if you were to step out of yourself and observe you, you'd hate you.

Burrow, burrow, the world looks like a pretty place but you detached yourself from it a long time ago, and it will never satisfy you. Once in a while you stick your arm out and try to grab at something, hoping it's real, hoping it'll grab back, but it never does. You're left with an arm outstretched into the dark, as you wait.

Haven't you learnt already.

May 17, 2013

My birthday fundraiser for World Vision Singapore

Hello everyone! For those of you who haven't seen the message on Facebook / Twitter / Instagram yet, here's what I'm doing this 20th birthday.

This year, I'm asking that you don't give me presents or treats. They all mean a lot to me – cute balloons, books and plane tickets alike - but I know the money spent will mean much more to others not as fortunate as we are. We lead such comfortable lives, and the things we take for granted here – clean water, proper sanitation, healthcare and vaccination, food – aren’t available to everyone.

In conjunction with my birthday, I'm setting up a fundraiser for World Vision Singapore. I'm planning to raise $2028 for fourteen small causes, including deworming for 10 children in Vietnam, vaccination and immunisation for 20 kids in Laos, tuberculosis treatment for 70 villagers in Myanmar, farming / livelihood training and cows / chickens / sheep for families in need.

As of now, $1221 has been raised, and we've got $807 more to go! My birthday's tomorrow and I'm hoping to be able to close the fundraiser by then, but if it isn't possible, I might extend the fundraiser a little.

I really hope that you see the value in helping to provide practical help to household that really need it. Please check out my fundraiser at, and I do hope you will be moved to contribute, too!

Many of my friends have already very very kindly and generously contributed to my fundraiser, and for every person who gives, I write them a little message of gratitude, because I'm really, really very appreciative of every single giver, for their kind hearts that are willing to do good. You can check out the list of awesome contributors here! :)

Primary school and beyond

(This post isn't done yet, because I want to add more pictures but my hard disk is at home. Will update it tonight!)

So, I'm holding a birthday fundraiser, and two of the amazing people who have contributed are my primary school besties, Rachel and Teressa. For every contributor, I write them a little note of gratitude, but because I've written so many letters to Rachel and Teressa already, I thought it'd be nice to write a little declaration of our friendship. And it's too long to post there, so here it is!

 Rachel and Teressa were classmates in P3-4, and I came to know the both of them in P5, when I was row leader and Rachel was assistant row leader. I wrote in my diary that I was 'sitting beside a nice girl called Rachel'. :) We started hanging out together when they introduced me to JJ Lin - "There's this singer called Lin Jun something...?" "Oh his name is Lin Jun Jie. Check out his albums! He's really good" - and the rest was history, both with regard to my ultra-fandom for JJ and our decade-long-and-counting friendship.

We had our first sleepover in P6 I think, and when all the P6s went to Malacca after the PSLE, the three of us and Marilyn shared a suite. All the memories - bubblegum, cockroaches, giving Joey the potato chips that the cockroach might have touched, Joey's insane singing in the bus... t'was a good trip. We continued having sleepovers even when we went to different secondary schools, and then to different post-secondary schools. We used to make it a point to meet every Teachers' Day, being a public holiday and Teressa's birthday, and since Rachel's birthday is shortly after, too.

We always have this funny tradition of gift-giving whenever we meet, because there's always an occasion - Valentine's Day, Christmas, birthdays - so there's a lot of squealing and nice boxes and 'thank-yous', and then when it came to upper secondary and JC, it became a lot of I-owe-yous, haha. But I love how throughout the years of our friendship, we've always been very open to each other about everything that's going on in our lives. The three of us create such a safe, trusting environment, and that's very precious.

I guess I'll talk about a few memories I remember very distinctly, and will always hold precious to my heart. I remember playing Dead or Alive with them on Teressa's xbox in her movie room in Sec 2, and how we were all screaming and going crazy and shouting DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE!!!! All that junk food and chocolate in the movie room every year. I remember our 2011 sleepover. I remember us watching some Korean awards and Rachel went "That singer is 17 years old. She's 17 and she's receiving an award and the whole world is looking at her." I remember our deep conversation about our dreams and the future, while Teressa was drawing away on that cool box with the light. We were talking about what we liked to do, and wondering what career paths we could go into in the future. I remember once doing a blog post about church when I was feeling very troubled, and both Rachel and Teressa individually sending me long emails of love and encouragement, where they shared their personal experiences. That was beautiful.

I remember our Harry Potter movie marathon not too long ago! I remember our National Day picnic at Marina Barrage, and the one we had before that at the nice field - I think that was our first picnic ever - playing JJ songs and having a great time just relaxing, away from school stress. I remember Teressa talking about being so tired, so tired of her animation course in Poly, while Rachel and I encouraged her to stay on and fight it out. And Rachel and band in JC.

Oh, and with Rachel...I remember the first JJ event I brought her to. We were standing in the first row, And JJ came so close to us.
LIKE, CLOSE. And when Rachel snapped this shot he was singing 不流泪的机场. She was all hyperventilating and JJ laughed a bit and  gave her the peace sign. (I have it on video!)

Dear Rachel and Teressa, here's to the conversations we've had that reflected the different stages of our lives, whether about CCAs, guy issues (ok mainly me) or the future. Here's to the things we've shared and the love that guards everything we do and say. Years and years later, Teressa will still be drawing, Rachel will still be baking and I'll still be writing. Here's to a decade of friendship, and many more.