Oct 31, 2013


Sometimes you chance upon a conversation with / the writings of someone you don't know very well, and you realise they have a whole depth to their character you'd never have realised. you start to see their hurt and fears, you see what gives them hope, you see the beauty that spills out of the intricacies. every intricacy of character is a gem. and then you realise they're much more beautiful than you thought. You fall in love with the person that they are, with every piece of their heart they are wiling to bare to you. they're no longer a passing face and the shallow, simple-minded person you thought they were.

You, as you read this, I hope you see a bit of the inside of me. I hope I take you on a journey to the depths: to my fears and weaknesses, to the vulnerable side i hate that is so huge. I hope I allow you to see that much more of me and perhaps I seem to you now more beautiful than if you were just to pass me by.
It's time to make changes in my life. In all areas.

Time to start doing my readings earlier, doing them all, planning my time better, putting more thought into my work.
Time to arrive for class early and alert.
Time to sleep earlier: 2am is fine, 1am is fantastic, 4am needs to go
Time to start pleasing my professors.

Time to start doing random nice things for people, because a little gesture goes a long way.
Time to stop fighting this selfish, self-pitying side and just getting out there and forming stronger bonds with people.
Time to stop feeling shit/afraid about things you cannot help, and love selflessly regardless. You really can't do anything about it so STOP FEELING LIKE SHIT and make yourself useful
Repeat: Talk to more people!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Time to put in more effort into my appearance, seriously Karen, a tee and shorts and slippers and specs every day isn't doing you much good

Now write all this on a big piece of paper and put it up so you make sure you work at it

adieu (a preparation)

i pat your feathers, comb them down
hand you a drink and put it away when you've had your fill
i put my wings around yours, tell you to stand up straight
look the sky in the eye and be determined: it'll work this time
and tell you not to miss me (or am i only reminding myself?)
count to three

and watch you fly

Oct 30, 2013

your face popped up on my screen oh you're so cute!!! if only i knew you now, but i don't, anymore

Oct 29, 2013

to the self-conscious

"For whom do you act, and who will pay attention to you?"

This is to you, to every self-conscious girl.
remember this whenever you spend half an hour wondering what to wear, when you freak out when you run out of contact lenses, when you won't be seen in town without make-up. Remember this every time you try to put up an act. When you try to be somebody you think other people would like more.

Think about your closest friends. They've seen you in your PJs and with your hairband and face mask on. They've seen the ugly sides, those beyond your appearance - the times you've shouted at them, said things uncharacteristic of a beautiful you. They've seen you cry and they know your every insecurity but you are still beautiful to them. Nothing you do will make them see you differently.

When those who matter see you as beautiful regardless, there's no point in fretting about how you look, especially when those to whom your appearance matters most are the people who don't really matter anyway. you dress up only for yourself: because you want to reflect your inner beauty, to remember to carry yourself with elegance and poise, to remember who you are.

You see me in unironed shapeless tees and FBTs more than you see me in schoolwear (which isn't that different, either: a random tee, shorts and slippers). My fringe could be up and my eyes could be swollen and you don't see me any differently. And when I've got a nice dress and make-up on and people say "omg karen you look so pretty today" i walk up to you wondering if you'll notice but you still do not - i am the same karen you see in the unironed tees and FBTs. (it's intriguing; i really wonder what things look like through your eyes). When I'm burnt black by spending a week in the sun, you don't make a single comment. When I fret over my specs and fringe all you say is "wtf karen". At times like these I remember, again, that nothing I do will ever make a difference anyway. I will never compare (no one ever will) and I will never earn the sort of compliments you give because you are completely unlike the others and I absolutely cannot fathom how you perceive things but it's fantastic anyway. and it doesn't matter, because I am your little sister and family disregards what other people tend to see. And that is extremely liberating.

Oct 28, 2013

"sometimes I use drunkenness as an excuse"
"to see who will bother?"
"just to see who will care for me the same way I care for them"

Oct 27, 2013

"goodnight, karen. thank you for listening.

you can be my backstage girl."

(edit: thank you for being my backstage girl)

wow wow wow

We pray, God give me a vision! And He loves that we want to work on His plan with Him, so He gives us a role. And we treat it like gold. We want nothing more than to do it well and bring Him glory.

How often have we been so consumed in our duties that we forget what we're doing it for? 

We walk this narrow path carefully, sometimes maybe a bit too focused on the duties. Sometimes we say FORGET IT IT'S TOO HARD. Sometimes we keep our eyes on every single pebble and crack, and on every step we take, to make sure we're still moving in the right direction. We forget to look up. We forget that this wasn't meant to be done only by us. We forget that there's a whole world that He wants us to look at while we're walking down this path. Look up and look at the beautiful grass and the endless sky. Remember that the only reason He put you on this path was because He wanted you to continue being with Him, relying on Him. 

behind the scenes


I am more than content being behind the scenes while you run your show with your co-host. I tweak the controls, make sure things run smoothly, do cool things with the lights. I make sure your earpiece is working right. I like to give you little directions occasionally, but mostly I just like seeing you do your thing and being proud of you either way. You and your co-host have some really good stage chemistry going on and I like watching it. Everything's on-the-spot improvisation and how well it works out really depends on the chemistry, and you think you might have found the one. Every show could swing either way, though; you can never tell. When you're nervous I calm you down backstage, tell you you're fantastic, give you a hug and make you believe. When it doesn't go as well as you'd hoped and you're feeling down, I'm there. I want to be the one to do your hair and go through the plan with you and smile when you crack a really good pun because I know you've been waiting to use that one.

Why wouldn't you want to be the co-host? On stage with him? 


I'm not good for that role. I'm not funny and charming and I don't have smiley eyes and a captivating smile. I would freak out on stage and be a terrible co-host. The glamour is enticing, but I know I don't want the role. My job isn't as exciting and when all you're focused on is your show with your co-host sometimes my job feels a little unappreciated, but I know I'm important too. I'm comfortable here. It's safer. It's okay. I'm not the star of your show but I am still with you all the way. I love your co-host, and she's fantastic at what she's doing, and she's learning the other skills too so that she can help out more and more with the backstage works, but no one will replace my role as personal-assistant-cum-crew.

When you tell me how great the show was and how amazing your co-host was, I am happy. Someday I will find my own amazing partner and perform my own art; maybe I will write a book, and he will illustrate. But while there are only two in the foreground, the background workers are important too; you will be my PA, just like I am yours.

I am more than content.

Oct 25, 2013

Why we're ugly inside

I'm not always the person people think I am. I have an ugly side and it judges and mocks the things around me. And I want to be a nice person. I don't want to have this ugly bitch living inside me saying things I would never say. I hate this person. And sometimes I reprimand myself strongly; other times I'm just scared. I'm scared of the person I really am inside. People see the nice side and it's really lovely that people say I'm approachable and interesting and a nice confidant. And I love them for that. Through these times, their beauty shows. But sometimes I am an ugly bitch of a monster inside and I'm like, do I know who I really am?

I'm pretty sure that the reason I'm perpetually insecure with people is because I know this terrible person that I am, and I fear they are like me.

I was talking to a friend about this today, and I guess we both realised that it's not uncommon. It's not as big a deal as we think, because many others have this ugly side too; they just hide it. And my friend said "why are our instinctive feelings so raw and primal and self-serving?"

And I, trying to reassure him, and trying to make myself believe, said

"because if we only know good, then what's there to contrast; what's there to be proud of? Yeah, I know. It sucks. I hate who I am. But we're born selfish. It's what living things are. The whole idea of "goodness" as being selfless is a social construct! The whole Plato thing - we approve of justice and fairness only because we'll minimise our own chances of being unjustly treated". It's selfish down to the bone.

"But yeah. The choice you make in spite of the voice of the beast - it's something worth being proud of. If you're a perfect pure innocent kid, you don't do your actions 'in spite of' anything. There's no sense of courage, sacrifice or perseverance. You're simply going along with your flow."

"I don't like this idea of 'for us to know what good is, we have to know evil'. It doesn't make sense. Why can't we all just be good?"

"There's a reason the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil was an option God didn't want us to take. Now we know all these things, but we're also hence faced with the option to do bad things, instead of just innocently following Him and doing everything good and lovely. 

"And about comparison, it's like the MRT. I used to detest the MRT fares, but after staying in the UK for a month I vowed never to complain about Singapore's transport system again, because ours is so efficient, spotless and cheap in comparison. You need comparison to realise what's good. Like, what if there was no pain in the world? Then there wouldn't be love either. We'd just be numb. Which is why I'm very happy to be in this zone of romancelessness now. It's boring, but if I start liking someone I'll go through all the pain again."

At cell group Daniel happened to touch on the same topic, and it really helped me remember why we go through all this. Sometimes, God breaks us to make us better people.

Take pride, for example. A lot of Christians are proud. You've seen the moral arrogance, or the holier-than-you judgements.

A lot of the times, we are people we don't want to be. We have ugly things inside us. But here we have someone who's willing to enter into an everlasting relationship with us; someone who is perfect in love and goodness, and who makes us feel beautiful, too. And most of us don't want to be bad, ugly people. We look at people full of love and goodness and it warms our heart. If we were given a choice, we'd do away with these elements of hate. The moment we allow Jesus to shape our being, we are presented with two roads: our own path, and His.

Why does God allow us to be broken?

When we come to the end of ourselves, when we realise we are in an ugly place and there's no way to reconcile this, we have Him. When we die to ourselves, we let go of our pride and resistance, and let Him shape our hearts.

Daniel reminded us that when we walk closely with God, the way we think and speak are transformed, too. That's the most important transformation: the 'renewing of our minds'. God changes our hearts. I don't remember having this ugly side so angrily manifested previously, especially when I was in SOT. I was a much more loving, thoughtful person, and my words had a lot more grace and encouragement. I want to speak like that again. I want to be a person full of love.

Now I realise that when this monster of a girl emerges inside me, I know who I don't want to be. And I know that I want to be more like Him: loving, uplifting, gentle, someone who can touch and warm others' hearts. I want to be a good person.

This is God's call for me to repent: shuwb, turn around, turn back.

Oct 24, 2013


Everyone knows someone who's just effortlessly perfect.

And, I mean, it's easy to dismiss and ignore someone who's perfect in all the superficial ways, but when someone comes along who is perfect, yet broken, yet her brokenness makes her even more beautiful and perfect - like a porcelain cup broken and even more exquisite when it's fixed back together with all its imperfections - how are you supposed to feel?

I know somebody who is perfect. She is extremely beautiful in every single way, in every intricacy, and every imperfection makes her even more beautiful because she is. She is beautiful and she doesn't even need to try, or see the need to. See, the thing is she isn't even trying to be beautiful but it spills out of her anyway. She is beautiful, she is a kitten you want to pick up and protect; she is a jewel that becomes more brilliant the closer you look at it.

And she is broken, and her personality is made even more deep and beautiful. She is a perfect human being in her joy and her pain and the strength that emerges. She is perfect in the strength of her values. Virtues. And everything comes her way because she is so effortlessly perfect inside and out and even when things don't go her way she's beautiful and perfectly perfect anyhow. She is beautiful and she is full of the purest love and what do you do when you meet someone so beautiful?

Sometimes I find myself angry. Sometimes I ask myself why she is so perfect right to the very depths of her heart. And then does that make me a monster? She's so beautiful and she oozes nothing but love and my anger makes me a horrible monster.

No one can think anything negative towards her because she is so beautiful and perfect and full of love and care, and I personally think she is the most beautiful, brokenly perfectly beautiful human being I have ever met. Well, no. There's another one I have always considered the most beautiful, and they're pretty similar in many ways. What differentiates this girl from her, and all the others?

Maybe it's also the quietness, the gentleness of spirit that says she doesn't know how beautiful she is, and doesn't know how to use it. There is a beautiful confidence, but also a river of calm, of tranquil humility that does not want to show this beauty to the world.

I think it's the effortlessness in everything she does. She doesn't try to be beautiful in the things she does or the way she looks but she is perfect that way. And every ounce of beauty that spills from her eyes and her smile and her art is nothing more than a trail on the floor because she has so much of it she doesn't realise how special it is. She doesn't try to make a big deal out of any of these things, and her incredible talents are nothing much to her. Maybe what makes her even more beautiful is the fact that she doesn't treat the things of hers as if they are. The rest of us, we have our one silver coin and we treasure and polish it and it is our one prize. She, she leaves these trails of diamonds wherever she goes and you wouldn't even see it unless you stooped down and peered, and you pick up these amazing things in your hand and go "why would anyone treat this heck of a gem like that? it's beautiful, it ought to be up for display" but she has so much of them everywhere and she doesn't even notice or care.

The rest of us clamber for even the glimpses of this beauty, while we still cling on to our one silver coin.

Maybe it's the way everything gravitates towards her, and how she is so beautiful, yet so virtuous. She is everything beautiful you would expect of a girl. Most beautiful girls only have it in the superficial sense, or only in the inner and the virtuous sense, but she has it all. She has it all because she is so beautifully broken.

How is one supposed to feel?

Here I was, not wanting to think anymore, not wanting to try to decipher my own thoughts, but then she popped into my mind and I haven't cried this hard in some time. If she reads this, I don't even want her to know it is her, because I know how bad she'll feel and how confused she'll get and it has nothing to do with her; I'm the monster; and she is so beautiful and so vulnerable and broken yet perfect and nobody would ever want to cause her any hurt.

What now?

Forced stupidity (TLDR: a rant)

As I was walking back to my room I thought, perhaps the key to happiness is not to think.

There are some things I would rather not analyse. Some people say it is important to stop yourself every now and then and ask "what am I doing? What exactly am I feeling? Why are you doing this to yourself? What do you really want?"

I think it's better not to give a damn. Do not care. Nothing matters nothing hurts and some answers don't want to be found.

A lot of drama is self-created. Girls think too much. I think too much and it drives me crazy. Some days I return to my room and just lie on my bed and try to swallow in as much of the clouds as possible to make myself believe that I am surrounded by sky and the vastness of the earth, instead of being shoeboxed into a measured, artificially constructed, engineered space. Some days I collapse on my bed my heart aching and my head not wanting to think because thinking puts me down that spiral again because i do not know. I don't know what I want. I don't know what I feel. Don't want to be committed to any claim of thought because it means there's something I think I want, and I DO NOT KNOW. Don't want to be responsible for anything, for myself, don't want to say I strongly believe anything because i do not know. I know the visions He whispers that make me break down, and I know what heartache feels like, but that is all. I do not want to argue about intricacies and my stand on anything because it shoves me into a corner and there is so much to learn from the entire spectrum.

I haven't been able to concentrate on things lately. It makes me feel guilty, because there is so much to gain in every class and I'm paying my own university fees and this is such an undeserved opportunity, but I just cannot focus. My mind wanders. And then I don't know what I want for anything, I don't know what I am feeling about anything, I don't know anything and I just let my mind spiral.

If anyone asks me what I feel about anything that's going on at all, I will say I do not know. I know how things are going, and that as long as I continue letting myself be open things will turn out really well for myself, but right now I don't know anything and I don't want things and people and yet i NEED things and people and I cannot get my head to decide.

All I want to do is remove myself from this web of thoughts and conclusions I am expected to reach. I don't know what I want for anything and I try very hard to be a nicer person because that's what everyone expects (and what I expect), and I know some people need me and I cannot let my selfishness get in the way of that, and I definitely need people too. Maybe it's just better to go through the motions. To not think about what I really want and why I'm doing this and just let it be. Aloof from my own thoughts, indifferent, refusing to face the tangled equation

but then that's not happiness; if happiness is the positive side of the spectrum and pain is in the negative, then aloofness and ignorance of what will bring you pain is the neutral ground: numbness. Numbness isn't bad, too. It's better than forcing yourself into the negative half while you try to figure out yourself, especially when there's no point thinking about things you want but cannot have. Perhaps if I reach a conclusion, an absolute, then the hopelessness of that absolute will drown me anyway.

On a side note, sometimes I look at things my friends write and they're so beautiful. So beautiful and so much better than what I can ever achieve. I wish I could write like them. Here I am, confessing that writing is the only thing I love to do and have to do, and I see the things that simply drip out of the fingertips of my friends who don't even say they love writing or whatever and what do you do when you see talent so beautiful that the artist doesn't even bother displaying? You don't know what to do with the buildings you've built your entire life because they can't even compare to the masterpieces they keep away. You stand there looking like an idiot to yourself. I don't know what I like or what I want anymore.

Oct 23, 2013

(we may only have tonight)

I lie near a big fat tree, close enough to admire the shape of the leaves but distant enough so it doesn't block my view of the (starless) sky. The waves make music when they meet the rocks. I hold my own polished, carefully carved piece of wood, and make my own music.

(This is my escape. I have a funny aversion to city-ness that emerges whenever I get too cooped up. In Sec 4, when I was studying for the O's, all of a sudden I went "NO MORE AIRCON NO MORE FLOURESCENT LIGHTING" and had to study out in the open (like at the stone tables at Jurong East - no kidding), or at least where the desk was lit by natural lighting. Today, all of a sudden, I felt like I just needed to get away. Too much time has been spent in this one building; too much rushing of readings, too many chats and homework sessions in a shoebox; too much that has to be planned out every day. Tomorrow's my class-free weekday and I'll be rushing around from 9am-5.30pm, possibly till 8.30pm. Then there are the readings and assignments due on Thursday.)

Put down that polished piece of wood. Stop creating your own artificial music. Didn't you come here to escape? Listen to what the waves have to offer. Don't curl up. Lie flat on your back. Spread your hands across the mat. Palms upward and open. Let your legs lie long. Feel that still chill. Breathe in the freshness. Absorb it.

But flat on my back with my arms spread out, I feel vulnerable. Awkward. Ugly.

Stop it; the only other person here doesn't give a damn anyway, so there's no point being all self-conscious. Be courageous. Go ahead. Face the sky and tell it that you want this.

I put on my slippers and walk westward in search of a nicer green spot where the streetlamp isn't so glaring. There's a pretty little circular arena surrounded by trees. Engineered. Cute. As I walk along the fence between the land and the sea and seriously contemplate climbing over, I hear him singing. It's funny, how his singing voice is imprinted in my head, but it's not the same way for his laugh, even though it's so freaking distinct and I can detect it better than I detect my own name being called across the hall. I look back and he's singing Tears In Heaven, trying to play my guitar. I can't help wanting to laugh and I turn back to look at the mass of lights on the sea. Now that I spend a little more time looking at it I realise why he was wondering why there were so many lights. Way too many. It looks like there's a city there but it's just a couple of islands used for manufacturing/refining whatever. And all the ships.

After a while I walk back and he's not holding my guitar anymore. Looks at me. And I'm like, what? So he continues playing his minus-ones and singing and I'm silent for a while because I just want to listen. Not the usual strong clear happy singing voice because this is a park and it's past midnight; more shaky and slightly off but hearing these imperfections is something that makes me smile, because it makes it special.

Rhythm Of Love, and he picks up my guitar and pretends to strum because it's such a strummy song, and I realise he would be that much cuter if he played the guitar. (I wonder if my love for amateur strumming has any influence on my image)

And it doesn't matter that there's nothing to say. It doesn't matter that as soon as the mat is laid he lies down and closes his eyes and I try to play whatever I can and then walk to the fence to strum and sing to the sea. It doesn't matter that he isn't in the mood to talk, because I'm often not, either. It doesn't matter that this trip is another one of my weird just-gotta-do-it-spur-of-the-moments where I ask him out of the blue to accompany me wherever, just because. It doesn't matter that there's no agenda and no food. And there is comfort in knowing these things don't matter.

Oct 21, 2013

I've been unable to concentrate the entire day. Head's been in the clouds through the lecture, seminar and readings. This is such an inefficient use of time. One of those days you just really don't want to do anything and lie in bed and let yourself dream. Yet I have to do my readings and go for class and attend the talk later and do my readings for tomorrow and worry about after-school programs and if I don't get started soon I'm going to sleep at 3 again. Yet sleeping late seems to work better than sleeping early because it puts you in survival mode and letting your mind wander is a luxury.

Can't pull my head out of the clouds now.

And then I remember why I must keep myself cold, protected, proper. One wavering moment and my mind descends into this. I have wasted a whole day.

But I don't know if I can continue either route anymore.

I need a day of nothing.


she lets it seep into her skin, touch memory, takes in every single detail: your smell your fabric your heartbeat your weight your head your breathing
she takes a touch-photograph and preserves it in salt
black: some things are felt better than seen
she keeps it guarded in a treasure box in her heart and only at bedtime
does she curl up and unlock the parched picture
and you are there, your arms and your chest
five seconds preserved, stretched, frozen in time and replayed a million times (it is all she has)

Oct 20, 2013

Youth - Daughter

And if you're still breathing, you're the lucky ones
'Cause most of us are heaving through corrupted lungs
Setting fire to our insides for fun
Collecting names of the lovers that went wrong
The lovers that went wrong

We are the reckless
We are the wild youth
Chasing visions of our futures
One day we'll reveal the truth
That one will die before he gets there

And if you're still bleeding, you're the lucky ones
'Cause most of our feelings, they are dead and they are gone
We're setting fire to our insides for fun
Collecting pictures from the flood that wrecked our home,
It was a flood that wrecked this

And if you're in love, then you are the lucky one
'Cause most of us are bitter over someone
Setting fire to our insides for fun
To distract our hearts from ever missing them

Sometimes it's hard to feel worthy, feel wanted, beautiful, and all you need is someone who isn't afraid to remind you that they don't find you repulsive. That you are, in your ways, a perfectly okay human being.

Thank you for being unreserved. I really, really needed that. Not just an embrace, but one that said you weren't afraid.

Oct 18, 2013

How To Feel Ugly

we are here in the world that is mine and only mine to give, and today it is ours. you run your fingers through my hair and tell me about your family, your old god-forsaken town, punctuated with jokes and the crazy things your dad used to say. i tell you about mine and you understand why i am the person i am now. guarded, silent, cautious. why i edged away. but not today.

not today, today you share my little kingdom, today you are mine.

your hands are warm your fingers are thick and they are wrapped around my forearm. "see, you're so skinny, you need to stop throwing away half your dinners" "i'm just not used to eating so much" "well whatever, you're beautiful either way"

i try not to flinch at the word, tell myself to soak it in, let it linger sweet like it was meant to. who said my beauty had to do with my proportions and how much i ate? every day i look at myself and say i am beautiful inside where few discover. whether i'm an anorexic stick or a whale, i am beautiful, and do you see?

i believe you do.

your hand on my waist. i lean closer.

i see myself in your pupils, distorted, monochrome. but when you look into my eyes you see what's within. i am beautiful; you make that known to me. you might make me believe, with the way you let me keep close without turning away.

the slightest hint of a curve forms at your lips as your gaze meets mine. i believe i can smile, unafraid. my guard is down. my beauty is laid out before you; read it, read it like braille, feel what it has to say.

your lips touch mine so naturally, our breaths intertwine

and tentatively you let yourself let go. cautiously you add pressure, you let your hand hold the back of my head as you push me closer. i fight the warning sirens, an all-too-familiar defence mechanism. they slowly die out. i fight rigidity and fear. i let myself relax.

you reach for the clasp of my loose blouse; it slips off as gently as your touch. skin meets skin and you are beautiful. my body is the surface of the water you are an electric cord. you infuse me with beauty. you make me believe, not because of who i am, but because of what you give me. your hands reach behind for the clasp of my bra. so easily the cold air comes, i am vulnerable, i am vulnerable with you

a chuckle: "that's pretty small"

i dismiss it but you smoothen your large warm palms over me and it is not like you expect. you push back for a while and let out a longer chuckle, just chuckling at me

i am the ugliest fuck in the world

don't expect everyone to love like you do

A lot of the time we feel we shouldn't give more than we take in a friendship - give and take equally; don't let someone be your priority if you're only an option.

I've come to realise that sometimes it's harder to pull away than to continue giving and loving. Maybe we're meant to love. Maybe sometimes we'd like to disregard reciprocation and just show someone love just because they're amazing and you want to. Just disregard the arguments for fairness, and disregard the pain.

Sometimes we hurt and pull away because we expect. And I've told myself to stop hoping and expecting but I still do, and things rarely live up to expectations, especially people. Maybe the key is in not expecting. Maybe it's just in doing what you want to do, and letting love lie just like that. Maybe the key is in learning to stop leaving your giving hand outstretched.

The key's in knowing that you are a unique individual who perceives the world and friendships in a certain way, and accepting the fact that not everyone's like you.

It's something I told a friend recently, and as I taught her this important life lesson, I knew I was reminding myself, too. It's something I've yet to learn, evidently now. Hopes don't die easy. You have to kill them again and again.

here's something we need to learn about life
we love people, a lot
but not everyone loves like you and i love
but it doesn't make them wrong
they just have a different way of doing things, but it doesn't mean they don't love you
personally, i love my close friends a lot. and sometimes i sacrifice a lot for them
like i'm sacrificing my lecture for you now
but i can't expect them to sacrifice the same for me
not because they don't love me
but they have different ideas of friendship, and different priorities and mindsets
people are just different, and the problem is that we look at how we are and expect everyone else to see things the way we do

okay if you say that being close friends doesnt mean that she will do the same things for you
then what if your close friend actually did nothing much for you over the years
like, not willing to spend time with you, she isnt even there with you when youre in the biggest shit in your life

some of my close friends have never wished me happy birthday
but so? it doesn't mean i should hold a grudge or anything
it doesn't mean they don't love me

like how is that even a friend to begin with
if you really care about this friend and you know your bff exists how would you even forget abt it

i can't hold a grudge just because they didn't do something i would do
because that's not how they operate
do i just turn my back on them when they don't reciprocate like i expect them to?
that'd be really really not understanding of me

id prolly just not even care when its their birthday. simple
you treat people how you want to be treated right?

yeah, i know how i want people to treat me
but i know that i can't expect everyone to be like that
not everyone thinks like you and i. not everyone lives life like you and i
and it doesn't mean they don't love you
and we do things in certain ways but some people don't
just cos my friends don't seem to reciprocate when i give, doesn't mean they don't love me
i just have to suck it in and understand that certain people do things differently

but the thing is, why are u sucking it in when it doesnt really benefit you

because i can't just burn a bridge like that
that doesn't mean they don't love me
and it doesn't mean that they're not worthy of being friends
jacey, you're a beautiful girl
you're amazing in your loyalty and it's very, very very hard to find
but few people are like that
and it's not that they're bad people
they're just brought up differently, they grew up differently and they do things differently
maybe they're not as emotionally sensitive and able to detect feelings like you do
but that doesn't mean they're bad people
you're a beautiful person, jacey. i just need you to know that not everyone is beautiful in the exact same way as you

Oct 17, 2013


once the lights are off and i get comfortable in my bed i look out at the rectangle of a midnight blue canvas and the world is so big
the pang in my heart suddenly rises again, spreading through my chest so strong,
my arms, they hug a black hole of nothingness; they ache from the tension of the absence of you
they are closed around thin empty air and they cry out for your warm human body (only yours,
only yours will take the ache and replace it with that gush of comfort
hot chocolate and marshmallows and a quilt on a cold day)

and i need you so 
so instinctively, naturally, a survival need
so strong i can't believe you don't telepathically feel it
these thoughts are bigger than me they are so big don't they reach you?
so strong it cannot be only me
these arms are tightly wrapped around anything i can find that might resemble a human body
but my nerve cells cannot replicate your electricity

(p.s. this will completely spoil the mood of the piece but shit i just realised it's 6 lines and 8 lines and it ends with a rhyming couplet (just pretend body and electricity fully rhyme okay) OMG I HAVE A FREAKING SONNET SO WHAT IF IT'S 6 THEN 8 THIS IS A SONNET)

Oct 15, 2013

so many blog drafts & waitlist items


Oct 14, 2013

not broken, just bent

I'm sorry I don't understand
Where all of this is coming from
I thought that we were fine
Your head is running wild again,
my dear, we still have everything
And it's all in your mind

Oct 11, 2013

A Beautiful Sort Of Love

I don't like watching romance movies and I don't like reading romance novels. The former usually makes love seem too easy, too simply woven, too seamless, and the latter always puts that pain in my heart that I can't remove.

A lot of the time I hear about people getting together and I'm like meh. Not necessarily disapproving, but often not very supportive or just like yeah whatever. I mean, it's the age of being-and-then-not-being together. It's the age when you come in and out of love in a few months. Or it's, just, like, I don't know. Doesn't sound like much. A lot of love comes about because you were searching for it, not the kind of love that comes about because you just loved each other for who they were as people and as friends and over time your roots grew so deeply intertwined that one day you realised that there was no way you could be apart. The former kind is often not very interesting or wow-worthy to me.

But today I screamed for two minutes straight. Pei Yun was witnessing my craze and she was laughing and she said it was so heartening that something like that concerning other people could make me so incredibly happy, even for that moment.

Today I was reminded of the kind of love that is worthy. Today I was reminded that it does happen, that some people are not relationship-scouting machines but love finds them anyhow in the most special of ways, in laughter and carefree insanity, that it does not have to be the heavy depressing self-killing painful type that I am so familiar with, all I remember and write about. Today I was reminded that it can happen. Maybe something finally purely happily beautiful can happen one day (although, looking at my personality, it seems like I subconsciously only like painful things), and maybe someday I will find someone to grow with, whom I love and who loves me purely for who we are, purely as beautiful people, and then one day we will realise that our roots have grown to a stage where we are inseparable. It's not something I need now, and I think it will only hinder me at this point, and let's see what circumstance brings a few years from now.

This post is dedicated to a beautiful girl, a fantastic guy, and their God-bound love that is just so lovely. Thank you for this reminder; it #gmh

Not Funny

So, when I'm presenting something alone in front of a group of people, my hands tremble, or I get lightheaded and start blabbering rubbish, or I can literally feel my heartbeat going crazy. At the very least, it feels like my head's in a whirl. It could be something like standing in my seat to ask a question or even remaining seated and reading out a piece I wrote, or having a small solo role in a group singing performance. That's the worst, because my hands and voice start shaking, and it's a friggin' SOLO. The only few times I haven't had this problem include leading during Christian Fellowship at Yale-NUS, and, like, maybe a couple of SOT preaching tests out of the 5 we did.

Having a full script dramatically reduces my chance of my head going blank and spinning. When I did the super-fun Sports Updates announcements in ACJC during the sports season (GOOOOD MORNING AC!!!!!), I had a full script with pauses drawn in with a marker and stuff, but I still spoke really fast and apparently I looked like I was bouncing about 'cos I was tiptoeing at the podium. My preaching tests were also fully scripted. I guess it's a bit different when I'm reading out my creative writing pieces because those are personal and important to me. 

Dancing is very different because you're in a large group (at least the dancing I've done, anyway); you're a small part of something big and you don't speak, you don't stand out, and your role is to be a building block in a masterpiece. That's fine. You put on an identity of collective anonymousness, bigger than yourself yet not yourself. I miss that. I miss dancing the Crescent Dance way - no big technique, just a lot of energy, because I can't do technique for nuts. 

Singing in an acapella group when I don't have any solo part is okay. I like being in the background. I like harmonising because you're in the background but still adding in your little bit of flavour. And you can do whatever you want with the harmony. 

Now, I really don't like going up in front of a group of people to do stuff. If it's scripted it's okay. But definitely not when it's supposed to be entirely unscripted, spontaneous. And especially, ESPECIALLY, not when it's supposed to be remotely funny or creative.

The last and only other time I ever did something like this was at the OM tryouts in AC. I did NOT know you were supposed to be funny. I thought it was just some problem-solving thing. And the only reason I went was that my OGL was hosting the tryouts and he was convincing us to go and I was the OG rep. The whole hour I was in that room I wanted to die. Just dissolve and die zomg. 

Today I honestly wanted to exit the room halfway because I was feeling so incredibly uncomfortable, but I stayed, because my good friends are really good at & passionate about what they do. 

I mean, the most important thing is confidence. You can walk up there and make a fantastic joke but if you sound small and uncertain people won't laugh (or they will out of an uncertain sort of pity). If you tell a really lame joke but are really confident throughout people will laugh anyway. It's all about the aura. Yeah I felt like dissolving today. It was great, though, and my friends are fantastic. I just really don't belong in some situations. 

When I read out a piece of writing, the best response is usually a moment of heavy silence, followed by applause. It's supposed to leave something hanging in the air, leave you with a heavy note, a thought that demands attention, silent contemplation. I'm not used to this whole unscripted funny thing. It's really a bit scary. The people who can do it, though, are geniuses. Especially if they're from Singapore. Lateral-thinking government-edcuation-system-defying geniuses.

On a side note, this school is full of them. Geniuses. I was just really lucky to have applied in a round where few people had even heard of the school. Like, in my round, 800 people applied and like 90 got in or something. In contrast to Round 2, where there were like 10,000 applications and 100+ acceptances? You can't even compare that. I was just really fortunate. So I shouldn't really feel bad about being really incompetent. I mean, they're geniuses. I'm less-than-average in a school of geniuses but at least that just means I've got so much to learn from. 

I might think about going back for an improv workshop sometime, maybe. Because I love seeing my good friends doing what they love so passionately. Even if I spend the couple of hours wishing I wasn't there. Then I'd just mentally smack myself for not learning from the same lesson a third time now.

Oct 8, 2013

shi jing #81

If along the highroad
I caught hold of your sleeve,
Do not hate me;
Old ways take time to overcome.

If along the highroad
I caught hold of your hand,
Do not be angry with me;
Friendship takes time to overcome.

(or this)


Was looking at a picture we took the morning of the big moment (omg only last year), back at our old spot, and it brought back memories. I haven't really looked back and relived that day ever, I think. I don't know why.

I didn't let my high hopes show that morning but I was secretly hoping for 5. Wasn't expecting to have my name called but would've been silently disappointed anyway. I calculated the probabilities in my head, evaluated my chances, but I just wanted to stop thinking about it. I can't remember if I was worried or not. Probably had a mental dam blocking out the tsunami of overwhelming worry. But then I found a space with G and the rest of 'em and all my own worries disappeared. It was all about my friends. It was a collective excitement. Shouts and high pitches and seemingly-empty-but-actually-very-weighted threats.


The name floated around in the air at first, and then G and I realised it was THAT Sarah - OMG WE KNOW HER - and we went wild. Top Arts student! Stood up and screamed and burst with just sheer happiness, happiness for her, for us, a happiness of pride, selfless pride. And then nothing of myself mattered anymore. I wanted to hear the names of people I knew. Why would I care about myself? Just overwhelmed with happiness and hope for my friends.

And then the 7s ended and I was just screaming and clapping all the way and so happy for everyone, and then started the 6s. We're the first class to be named, and I was hearing G's name in my head, and L, I was so excited, so excited just when they said "From 2AH" because it meant a good friend was going to be really happy, G, call G -

"Karen - "

It didn't really register in my mind, but maybe a small part of me I couldn't consciously detect was bubbling with name-detector fluid. I sprang out of my seat before my conscious mind realised what was going on. G jumped up beside me and screamed-cheered as I ran. It slowly sank into me as I ran in front of the school towards the steps that led to the stage. I only remember cheers and my hand over my mouth and I was kind of chuckling, not really making a lot of a sound, like a small laugh of disbelief, like the instant you're a slumdog millionaire.

That's what I remember best. Running with my hand over my mouth my head in a buzz just not knowing what to think.

Oct 6, 2013


God, how I miss being close to You. To hear from You gently, to feel Your embrace, Your joy. We had our times of pure joy. Skeptical philosophies and doubts, doctrines and traditions aside, You are about the relationship, and I am so far from You. I'm sorry that it's been so long since I've spent quality time with You. I'm sorry I don't set aside time to worship You. I'm sorry I always find something to occupy my night, I don't put You as priority. I miss You. I really miss what we had. Help me. Draw me near again, take me on a ride with you, show me Your ways again, let me dwell in Your presence again, let me soak in Your love again.

Oct 5, 2013


On Athens:

"It is interesting to observe that Attica...was remarkably free from political disunity...
"When people were driven out from other parts of Greece by war or by disturbances, the most powerful of them took refuge in Athens, as being a stable society; then they became citizens, and soon made the city even more populous than it had been..."
- Thucydides

The walls speak of hunger strikes.

A spray-painted declaration of hate of The System,
frustration, fear, fascism;
a man laments lost love.

They stand outside their shops and beckon,
push flowers into your hand and demand that you pay;
they are willing to make concession.

Look up at the ruins of glory.
Marvel at the ancient majesty
as the man on the street tells you about
their sixth year of recession.

there must be a war to fight

I remember one afternoon, we were sitting at our usual Council spot on the bleachers. You looked at me and said "we are veterans."

Love is a war. It could be a war against other people, or against the barrier keeping you from being together with that someone, but it is mostly a war against yourself.

When I am in love, I hate myself. I hate myself for falling and I hate myself for every ounce of hope every time he turns to talk to me. I hate myself for the leap in my heart every time I see his name appear on my phone. I hate myself because when you are in love, you ruin yourself.

You carve out a bit of your flesh and dedicate it to the gods of euphoria and every tingling, bursting, exploding sensation. Every single time you see him you carve out a bit more of your flesh. A bit more, and a bit more, and when you two finally get together you're slicing off chunks of yourself at a time. It's worth it. And then when all the fire has burned out and the ashes blow away you are nothing.


I do not believe that things come easy, and I don't believe that they should. I don't believe that a battle should be reduced to a walkover that leads to everlasting peace. There's nothing to treasure, no pain for you to know true happiness. We live with battle scars. The one with none has a happy life, but it's all only a vast plain. No countours, no valleys and mountains to run your hands over. The one with none does not have the blessing of depth of existence.

On my Greece trip, Sylvia said out of the blue that I was a "good storyteller" and a "very interesting person". I've never thought of myself that way. I don't really think I've talked to her before this trip, and I'm glad that I had the opportunity. I shared some things about myself, but I thought I left out anything that would actually give the stories depth. I skimmed over the JC story. Didn't mention the days just before the A's where I'd rush back home from school and mentally force myself to sleep so that I wouldn't cry myself down that pitless well and drown in panicky hopelessness again. Didn't mention coming to school looking like a zombie for two weeks. Didn't mention that he stopped talking to me a week after our first kiss.

Didn't mention how much it hurt, how much it freaking hurt every single day. Or how deeply I felt for him, how just seeing his name handwritten would make my week. I went over my JC and Crescent stories the way a plane flies over an entire country, missing out the details that makes it anything significant. And yet they sympathised. Baoyun raised a toast to me. Sylvia said I was an interesting person. I'm not sure if I should be flattered or if I should feel slightly indignant, since I didn't do my stories justice; stories like these take a lot more time to unravel in a way that gives you a full account of their worth.

I've given much thought to the curse of the blessing of writing. I only found my passion for writing after my breakup in Sec 4, and it was always fuelled by pain. Pain adds a lot of depth to your being. Pain can come in the form of drama, or even in the lack of it; in the agony of waiting, in self-reflection, in longing. But it helps you appreciate something so much more. And that's why I don't feel something can or should be won easily. Love is an entire universe. Joy is only less than half the experience. It's like an iceberg. Love is based on so much more, so much that's buried deep within the recesses of your memory, a foundation you would rather not remember but that completely shapes the blessing on top.

Oct 4, 2013


Day by day, I am realising that I do not really know you. It both intrigues and frightens me - more of the latter, and I jolt with the reminder that, in fact, I do not know you. I only know the parts I bother to see, but how do I try to uncover what I don't know?

Day by day, I also realise that our tree has no roots. It's like we built a building without bothering with the foundations underground; like we added floors before the cement even hardened.

This frightens me because when you take a dive like that, the only place you can go from there is back up, your eyes red from the salt, your body hurting from the impact.

Day by day I become more and more reluctant and afraid. Considering aloof, safe hermitism, where I do not let anything touch and prick me. Or perhaps the opposite - being friends with anyone and everyone and keeping myself too occupied to remember that none of them are close. Where I keep to the safe hard ground, because the floor is the only thing I can trust, and I make myself forget the exhilaration and the importance of being completely immersed in the sea.

(afterthought: I click 'Publish' and then I look up from the screen and see pictures of people who matter. People I haven't caught up with in so long but who still bother, who still love me, with whom I meet up and it's like time hasn't passed. This is why I need all the strings of photos in my room - to remind me of the people that I keep in my heart's treasure box.)

Oct 3, 2013

Star-gazing in Greece

The most beautiful archaeological site ever, situated on Mount Parnassus, where we posed for pictures at the ruins of the temple of Apollo and sang random songs to test the acoustics at the ancient theatre. We spotted tiny tunnel entrances and made our way through them like archaeological explorers, watching out for cobwebs and protruding rocks from the ceiling, just to see where they would take us. (My thighs are still aching from all that duck-walk.)

Yet another Epicurean-style big lavish dinner, with jugs of wine and lots of good feta cheese and salad, at a homely-looking restaurant called Bacchus. Unfortunately we only had one night in this lovely town, so we decided to walk around in the hope of chancing upon a spot suitable for star-gazing.

The twelve of us climbed steps and wove through residential neighbourhoods, trying to escape the streetlamps. Halfway through our little adventure a couple of the guys decided to go and try to make friends with the German tourists instead. We passed houses and hilly roads, finally turning left into what seemed like a park, walking a distance in until it was dark enough, and lay down.

We tried to keep silent.

An almost-inaudible whisper: “What does the fox say?”

We burst into laughter, got annoyed, tried to shut up; someone else would make a funny remark, and we’d burst into laughter again.

“Okay, guys, let’s keep one minute of silence.”

Not a sound, apart from the two cricket-like insects on either side of our path trying to communicate. I stared into the night sky – I wouldn’t call it ‘black’ with all the stars punctuating this canvas.

Thirty seconds later we heard an approaching zoom. “OMYGOD CAR GUYS!” In a flash, the spot where ten teenagers lay was empty (save for a couple of bags); we were all huddled at the side in terror…as the car calmly passed us by.

“WALAO GUYS SERIOUSLY!” “I SWEAR IT WAS COMING THIS WAY!” “SHOOTING STAR!” “Are you sure it wasn’t just your imagination?” “I saw a star move!” “OMG ANOTHER SHOOTING STAR! OKAY THAT WAS A SHOOTING STAR.” We all shuffled back into position and kept our eyes peeled for shooting stars.

It was cold. We shared bags for pillows and huddled.

This would seem like the kind of magical Friendship Forever moment, or a sentimental poetic lapidary-inspiring moment, but all I was focused on was spotting shooting stars. And how Teck Yuke’s bottle was sticking out of his bag and hurting my neck. I apologise for the unromantic reality.

Today, back in Athens, the girls and Eugene chanced upon A For Athens on our way back to the hotel and decided to take the lift up to the rooftop bar to check it out. The view was beautiful – pale-coloured shops and houses sloping up towards the Acropolis and Parthenon – so we ordered two bottles of wine (that came with a whole bunch of free snacks, too; how I love the laid-back generosity here) and braved the chilly wind to share our little life stories that were shouted over the music and punctuated with high-pitched laughter, sympathetic awws and toasts.

The view from the bar. Credits: flickr.com/photos/strangelover (I haven’t uploaded my photos today)

When we were done we realized there was an indoor “lower deck” to this bar. We stepped in and were greeted by a weird guy who stretched out both his arms, gesturing for a big hug. We all simply edged past him; it was quite hilarious, really, leaving him all awkward and outstretched – clueless Asian tourists, he must’ve been thinking. The other guy at the end of the pathway was trying to get us to dance, so we shuffled around for a bit, with a couple of twirls and grooves. Everyone else was just sitting at their tables and trying not to look like they were staring. Weirdass Asian tourists. After ten seconds we were like okay what on earth are we doing people are staring and these guys are weird let’s just go. The first guy was now behind us, his arms outstretched to form a barrier, refusing to let us go, while bobbing along to the music. We laughed at first, and then Sylvia pushed Eugene towards the man as a distraction; Eugene gave him a hug while the rest of us scurried away. Back in the lift we were laughing ourselves insane and trying to comprehend the weirdness of the past two minutes.

Two nights, two completely different atmospheres; a special kind of bond.