Monday, November 04, 2019

INGLEWOOD

I went to The Conscious Festival on Saturday. It's basically a festival that's for cleaner, greener, more sustainable living in light of climate change. There was a booth by Underground Theatre Singapore. A performer was wearing a mask, seated in front of a typewriter. They asked if I wanted her to write a poem based on what she thought of me, and she began typing as I watched.

The world may take freedom as a fluffy impractical moss.
But your heart knows better.
That freedom is the fuel of our soul.
And your life is an example for the world to see.
An example that the world needs in this time of strife.
It moved me so much I'm still thinking about it. Sure, perhaps it's just one of several poems or sayings the person might have had and they were lucky to apply it to me, but it still really strikes me as very appropriate.

I went for a session at Crubox, it was the first time I'd tried boxing. I don't know if you know, but you have to keep your hands up at all times when you're boxing, so you can defend your face if you need to. My arms were the most tired they'd probably ever been, but it was fun. I think I'll sign up for a package at Crubox, since my new employment benefits allow me to claim them anyway.

It reminded me of my first ex-boyfriend, he had a punching bag hanging in his room. He said it was a good way to release his anger and at the time, twelve years ago, I didn't understand it and I didn't like this need for an avenue to release anger. Twelve years later, I realize what he meant. At the time I went for the Crubox session, I was going through stuff with my family, so I told myself to just take out my feelings on the bag.

For the past several years, I think when I go through things, I would automatically feel sad and tune into the sadness but recently, I think I've been channeling more and more of it into anger, which is a great fuel for energy.

Last week, I worked for fifteen days straight and I was so tired I ended up spending the last few nights just crying out my exhaustion. Along with Lush, I've also been working at another retail workplace, so when I wasn't at one, I was at the other. I was on my feet for pretty much fifty hours a week.

Sometimes I listen to songs, and I read things, and I know that the strength of a human being extends way past two retail jobs, I know people are struggling in poverty and there are parents juggling three odd jobs and not getting enough rest or sleep. I tell myself this is just how capitalism works, and if someone else can do it, so can I, but honestly, if this is the norm just to survive, it really needs to be changed.

At my new workplace, yesterday, there was a lady who was shopping, and her teenage daughter was waiting for her. The daughter told me she used to also have pink hair, as well as dyed the entire spectrum of colors, before having to shave her head because her hair was pretty much damaged to death. She said she didn't enjoy her head with a shave because she couldn't pull off the look, but her mother came along and said she looked super cute with a shaved head.

This suddenly made me emotional, thinking how some parents are supportive of their children regardless what they do and want to do, and how some parents would flip out if their daughter wanted to shave their head. Sigh.

I only just realized if I move to the US, I would probably be surrounded by people who speak Spanish, so I think those are my next lessons to go for.

You know, and it gets into this whole issue of border security, you know, who's gonna say that the borders are secure? We've got the House and the Senate debating this issue, and it's... it's really astonishing that in a country founded by immigrants, "immigrant" has somehow become a bad word. So the debate rages on and we continue....

I got one job, two job, three when I need them
I got five roommates in this one studio, but I never really see them
and we all came America trying to get a lap dance from Lady Freedom
but now Lady Liberty is acting like Hilary Banks with a pre-nup
man, I was brave, sailing on graves
don’t think I didn’t notice those tombstones disguised as waves
I’m no dummy, here is something funny, you can be an immigrant without risking your lives
or crossing these borders with thrifty supplies
all you got to do is see the world with new eyes

immigrants, we get the job done
look how far I come
look how far I come
look how far I come
we get the job done

it’s a hard line when you’re an import
baby boy, it's hard times
when you ain't sent for
racists feed the belly of the beast
with they pitchforks, rich chores
done by the people that get ignored
ya se armó
ya se despertaron
it’s a whole awakening
la alarma ya sonó hace rato
los que quieren buscan
pero nos apodan como vagos
we are the same ones
hustling on every level
ten los datos
walk a mile in our shoes
abróchense los zapatos
I been scoping ya dudes, ya’ll ain't been working like I do
I'll outwork you, it hurts you
you claim I’m stealing jobs though
Peter Piper claimed he picked them, he just underpaid Pablo
but there ain't a paper trail when you living in the shadows
we're America's ghost writers, the credit's only borrowed
it’s a matter of time before the checks all come
but...

immigrants, we get the job done

the credit is only borrowed
it’s America's ghost writers, the credit's only borrowed

ay yo aye, immigrants we don’t like that
na they don’t play British empire strikes back
they beating us like 808’s and high hats
at our own game of invasion, but this ain't Iraq
who these fugees what did they do for me
but contribute new dreams
taxes and tools, swagger and food to eat
cool, they flee war zones, but the problem ain't ours
even if our bombs landed on them like the Mayflower
Buckingham Palace or Capitol Hill
blood of my ancestors had that all built
it's the ink you print on your dollar bill, oil you spill
thin red line on the flag you hoist when you kill
but still we just say "look how far I come"
Hindustan, Pakistan, to London
to a galaxy far from their ignorance
'cos

immigrants, we get the job done

por tierra o por agua
identidad falsa
brincamos muros o flotamos en balsas
la peleamos como Sandino en Nicaragua
somos como las plantas que crecen sin agua
sin pasaporte americano
porque la mitad de gringolandia es terreno mexicano
hay que ser bien hijo e puta
nosotros les sembramos el árbol y ellos se comen la fruta
somos los que cruzaron
aquí vinimos a buscar el oro que nos robaron
tenemos mas trucos que la policía secreta
metimos la casa completa en una maleta
con un pico, una pala
y un rastrillo
te construimos un castillo
como es que dice el coro cabrón?

immigrants, we get the job done

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

PING PONG

I just got back from meeting my aunt and grandma at my aunt's house. My sister and cousin were also there. We were talking about why my mother and I had fallen out, and my aunt and grandma were trying to understand my point of view, which is that I'm atheist and therefore cannot see eye to eye with my mother when she tries to advise me to be a better Muslim, and the fact that we make each other unhappy when we live in the same house. My mother has tried via texts to persuade me to come home, saying she loves me and misses me, but I know the underlying reason is she doesn't like the fact that I'm living with Lucas while we are unmarried. She even said she knows that I'm happier now, but she still wants me to move back, which then begs the question: why does she want me to move back despite my experiencing more happiness here and now? Do I not deserve to be happy? Despite the fact that I explained many times why I'm an atheist and why I do not want to live under the same roof as my mom, believing that it provides the healthiest solution to both our mental health, my grandma and aunt tried to convince themselves that it was simply an issue of wrong timing, that I haven't received some sort of enlightened vision from "god", and not that I have made an informed decision not to believe, based on all the facts and reality I am able to grasp. Near the end of this discussion, my sister Lyssa, whom I'm actually very close to, disclosed that she's mad at me, because my mother has confided in her that she's sad that I'm not living in her home, and also that several of my relatives have also texted Lyssa, asking about me. This really upset me, for multiple reasons. I have suggested to my mom many times, that she should seek therapy to help with accepting change, yet she hasn't. She carries on praying and praying, seeking a solution that simply does not exist and will not exist. My mother has always engaged in parenthood in a traditional Eastern/Malay/Asian (?????) way, and so she has been used to emotionally manipulating us and guilting us. To her, she loves me and cares about my best interests, and that's why she wants me to live at home, and to listen and follow her ways. She doesn't think it is in my best interests to live on my own, and pursue my happiness the way I see fit, because it will not benefit me in the "afterlife". I have asked her: if you really love me, why would you not want me to continue living with Lucas when I am happy here? She did not reply. Next, my relatives who are texting Lyssa under some pretext of concern for me. Excuse me, I have my own phone number. I am open to conversation. My sister, however, is another matter. She is known to be the quieter one between the two of us, which is why when it comes to difficult conversations with our parents or any family members, you can hear my voice and my controversial opinions, and rarely hers. She never relayed to me that any of my relatives were asking her about me, and she likely would never have. If you have something to say about me, say it to me straight. If you are afraid to say it to me, whether for fear of hearing what I have to say in response, or for whatever reason, keep it to yourself, and don't say it. Don't say it to my sister, don't say it to my mother, don't say it to my grandma. My sister is trying to cope with her own life and readjusting to life back in school. She does not need anyone telling her any comments about me, and I do not appreciate your pretense of concern. If you want to meet me to convince me of your dying concerns, go ahead and make a date with me. I have to warn you though, I hold two jobs and work every single day to save for my education in New York, so my time is goddamn precious. If you have something to say, it better damn well be something good that I've never heard before. Otherwise, keep it to yourself. Lastly, I know that some people (in Singapore) probably think I don't care about my mother and therefore I'm not thinking about her and am not staying with her. I'm going to put it simply. Before I dyed my hair pink, my family had enjoyed a phase of peace and lack of commotion, and I always clown around at home and made everyone laugh. You can ask anyone. I have the personality of a joker, and I know it. I do care about my mother and I have cared for thirty years, but thirty years is long enough. I don't want to be a hypocrite any longer. I want to be an inspiration for the younger generation to know that, you know what, there comes a point of time where you have to stop blaming your parents for your failures and shortcomings, but along with that, you also have to stop living under fear of their reproach. You are your own person, and the only person's happiness you are and can be responsible for, is your own. If my mother chooses to make herself unhappy about me, that's up to her. That ball is in her court, and I'm no longer playing that game. I know I make myself happy and I make many people happy, but if someone chooses to be unhappy about me, I will step away, and let them reflect on their own choices.

Monday, October 21, 2019

FORCE QUIT


Last week, I shared a post by Ryan Creamer on Instagram Stories, with the caption "this man makes me so happy I'm alive at this time if ever he becomes problematic just kill me" bc I think he's super cute. If you don't know who Ryan Creamer is, he uploads wholesome (pure) videos onto Pornhub with wholesome captions and it's just the funniest. For e.g., he has Asa Akira and I Do Not Have Sex at a Hotel, Snapchat Compilation of Me Respecting Your Boundaries, and Secretary and Boss Enjoy Healthy Working Relationship. HAHAHAHAHAHA HIS VIDEOS MAKE ME LAUGH SO MUCH.

Tina replied asking "is that ur ex? jk lol" to which I responded "omg now u mention it i had a photo of him in this exact pose outside spacex lololol" and then we left it at that bc whatever, right? Wrong. Because my life is a simulation, today I found the photo without even meaning to, when I was trying to do something else on my MacBook. The thing is, I was sure I'd done a purge of all things from Summer 2016, and nothing should have stayed anywhere on any cloud?!


Please, can someone please tell me how to exit this simulation?????? How? What is going on? Why???

TBH the real takeaway from this is the entire world should become acquainted with Ryan Creamer's videos on Pornhub.

Friday, October 18, 2019

YEEZUS

Yesterday I said something that made me think "oh no, I am the fuckboi" I'm the fuckboi!!!! Fuck fuck fuck I never thought my life plans would include being a goddamn fuckboi. Time to talk to my therapist. The outro to Runaway (the song) is still amazing to me, it's somewhere in this Runaway film that features multiple tracks - I think it happens at around 20:00.


and I always find, yeah, I always find
yeah I always find something wrong
you been putting up with my shit just way too long
I'm so gifted at finding what I don't like the most
so I think it's time for us to have a toast

let's have a toast for the douchebags
let's have a toast for the assholes
let's have a toast for the scumbags
every one of them that I know
let's have a toast for the jerk-offs
that'll never take work off
baby, I got a plan
run away fast as you can

run away from me, baby, ah, run away
run away from me, baby
run away
when it starts to get crazy
then, run away
babe, I got a plan, run away as fast as you can

Thursday, October 17, 2019

STOP CRYING YOUR HEART OUT

'cos all of the stars
have faded away
just try not to worry
you'll see them someday
take what you need
and be on your way
stop crying your heart out

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

I'M NOT A BAD PERSON

Yesterday, news broke that Sulli, a celebrity in the Korean pop industry, had ended her life, because she had received malicious comments from online trolls. She was outspoken about her feminism and it wasn't perceived well by the Korean community. They hated on her even for having her "free the nipple" beliefs. Beyond just the hate comments, the Korean idol industry has always been rife with strict routines, from their diets to their dating lives, and immense pressure and scrutiny into their work schedules, with little to no regard for each individual's mental or even physical health.

I found out last year that seeing celebrity suicides triggers a response in me. I saw my response at Anthony Bourdain and at Kate Spade's founder's death, and talked about it with one of my previous therapists. One of the things I learned from the community that practices therapy is when someone says "I want my life to end" they very rarely mean that they want life itself to end. Instead, they want life as they have known it to end. They don't want their own life, but if they could have another brain, another body, another sexual orientation, another life where they weren't being bullied or pressured by their community, they would want to live. People commit suicide when they don't see a way out of the lives they have somehow gotten into, and they can't get the help they need. It didn't help Sulli that Korean netizens spew vitriolic remarks on a daily basis. One of them even said she only did it for attention, despite the fact that Sulli is no longer around to receive any attention now that she's dead. Before she died, Sulli had a post where she said "I'm not a bad person."

Another thing I learnt from therapy is if you numb yourself from bad feelings, you will also numb yourself to the good. So I sat with my poorly feelings tonight. I thought about my mother, telling me that nothing I do ever makes her happy, that I have contributed nothing in my adulthood. I know she has tried to reframe her words but the fact is, why do people ever say such things? I understand moments of anger, like say you're waiting for your food at a restaurant and you tell them off for bringing the wrong order, I get that. At what point, though, does a person stop caring at all about another human life as to make a judgment call on their worth as a human being? How does a choice of hairstyle turn someone into a bad person? How much can I try to receive some validation for the self-worth I yearn for, only to have it knocked down again?

I don't know where I'm going with this. I just want to sleep.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

CARTOON NETWORK

The entire day I have been thinking that eleven and fifty-eight make sixty-nine. I don't know why. I remember one of them had 1158 tattooed on their arm and I asked whether it was to help them get home when they're shit wasted. I wonder if that was true. I don't know what I feel about Kanye but I realized I somehow actually know more of his song lyrics than I thought I did. Baby I got a plan, run away fast as you can. Run away from me, baby, run away.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

UNTITLED GOOSE GAME

In the repertoire of things Lucas and I have done together, we have put together an IKEA bedframe. He got a new bed because he's always had a single and obviously we need more space for the both of us. I hope we sleep better now. I have found that I am actually more methodical and systematic than he is, I kept having to bring him back to the manual so we could follow the diagrams but he would simply slot in the parts and screw them on without checking they were the correct parts. His motto was to fail fast and learn fast. Hmmm. Today we both learned something new about bed slats, so if we ever landed on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and that appears as a question, we could be one step closer.

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

NON-DECISIONS


This is still my favorite movie. I don't know if it will always remain my favorite movie, but it has been so for the past three years. I think I like it a lot because it reminds me of being young, and of being in love. I think I'm kinda more of an "adult" now, I have plans and I'm working on professional goals, etc. I have a little more of a pragmatic stance to love and relationships. Once upon a time, I loved the idea of love and believed in it wholeheartedly, I would wait for a charming prince to sweep me off my feet, we would dance among the stars, just like in La La Land. Sure, it's a frivolous film somewhat, but it's so beautiful. I love the idealism of it. It breaks my heart, all the time, thinking of the what-ifs, the could-have-beens, the consequences to all the alternative decisions I could have made in my life. Los Angeles holds so much beauty in my eyes, and I will always have the softest of spots for it in my heart. Oh, to be young and free and happy. I wish I didn't sound so jaded.

Monday, October 07, 2019

HE ALREADY IN MY DM'S

So, in the past two weeks, the news in Singapore has been that another student from NUS was not fairly punished after having molested a woman, because his university grades showed he had "potential to excel in life".


Preetipls, being our sole vigilante, took to Youtube to release a Truth Hurts parody of the situation.

In other news of my own life, I've been living with Lucas for the past week. I came home a week ago having dyed my hair pink. I'd always wanted a head full of pink hair, seeing as it's my favorite color. My mother went apeshit, she ranted and said I'd contributed nothing to the house even after a decade of adulthood, and that nothing I do ever makes her happy. My sisters were as upset as I was, and I cried with two of my sisters that night. Then I packed a suitcase and left to live with Lucas. My mom has tried to gaslight me and said that she meant differently than what she rambled on that night, but I'm done! I don't need to live in an environment that's unhealthy for me and that tries to mould me into something I'm not. She's right, I'm 29, I can make my own decisions, especially what color I want my hair to be.

You can bet your bottom dollar I'll be taking photos of myself with pink hair because I'm 100% that bitch. There's been a lot of change in my life that I'm still trying to ease into, so the photos will have to take a backseat for now.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

STREET FIGHTER

I went to a session held by Penawar tonight. Penawar sort of means healing in Malay. They have community healing sessions for Muslim-raised women and non-men in Singapore, whether or not those people still identify as Muslim. Today's session was about relationships. One of them said she's also atheist, and she's polyamorous. We discussed societal pressure, mostly from our own family members and communities, to subscribe to conventional relationship structures. We discussed how women get pressured to marry, when they are in relationships or even if they decide to pursue their careers or other passions instead. One of them said a rideshare driver told her that by doing her PhD while she was nearing her 30's, she was basically ruining her chances of getting married, never once asking whether she has any interest in romance. We also discussed healthy strategies in approaching romantic relationships for those who were so inclined. We talked about fighting styles and how we could learn to fight better and more productively, with our partners. We shared our different reconciliation gestures. It was refreshing because this is a community of people who were raised similar to the way I was raised, and they broke out of the same pressures to think the same ways as I do. I felt very validated and affirmed in my life choices. Fifteen people ain't so bad. I don't feel alone and unheard. Yesterday I felt really angry at something silly and irrational from something one of my family members did, and as I was seething in anger by myself, I thought I needed to seek help. Today I learnt that everybody has a dark place when they get really angry, and that anger is just as valid an emotion as any other, as long as you don't choose to act on it to hurt anyone else. People shared their fits of rage, some of which sounded quite violent, and I realized it's only violent if there is destruction. Otherwise, if you scream into a void, it is perfectly healthy because all that overwhelming burst of energy has to go somewhere. Women are particularly disadvantaged because rage and anger are more prescribed as "male" emotions and reactions, and sometimes I don't feel justified in showing my anger, but we are all angry and we have the right to be. Also, many of them chose unconventional ways to be in relationships, and I feel emboldened and empowered by them. Everybody has a different definition of happiness and everybody has a right to pursue it.

Friday, September 27, 2019

ECHO CHAMBER

If I ever decided to raise kids, I would get them into the practice of meditation early in life, and let them be adept in it as a skill for their own future. The thing about meditation is, I used to think it was about emptying your mind, which was impossible to me, but recently I've been using an app for guided meditation. It works wonders (I say, well aware I sound like an infomercial). When I meditate, the person - who has a soothing voice - tells me to think about certain things in the present, in my present, feeling my breath, listening to sounds. I don't know about you, but as a person who consumes as much media as I do food, my brain never stops. In my head, I am thinking about Hasan Minhaj and Jameela Jamil, Tan France and Taylor Swift, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Elizabeth Warren. I think about my ex-boyfriends and about my current boyfriend, I think about whether my current boyfriend will ever become an ex. I think about how much I actually like and accept change now. I think about the impeachment and how much I don't like to consume media about Donald Trump yet am constantly bombarded by such information. I think about brownface and sexual assaults, I think about the games I am good at playing, I think about many, many things and I am always thinking. So when I meditate, I think about one specific thing, and I'm being trained not to think about anything else. Your brain can only focus on one thing at any one time. So I focus on my breathing. It acts as a divider, between my constant streams of consciousness. I like meditation and therapy and I am glad they work for me most times. Sometimes I forget about the tattoo on my spine, it says "the fact that you're alive is a miracle" and I do feel such a way, indeed. I went for my pelvic ultrasound scans last week for the terrible period cramps and will have a consultation with the doctor next week. I hope I am okay.

Friday, September 20, 2019

VINDICATED

I watched the three-part Netflix series about Bill Gates, it's called Inside Bill's Brain: Decoding Bill Gates. It touches on the Bill and Melinda Foundation endeavoring to solve public sanitation in developing countries, eradicate polio, as well as deal with climate change. In one of the episodes, he says when he was young and still coding, he would just lick orange Tang powder off his fingers because the body already has water inside it and it would be mixed for him (!!!!!!!!!!!!). I thought the dynamics between him and Melinda are very interesting, she was also a computer scientist but she doesn't have a brain that processes information as easily as his does. Sometimes Lucas says I am smarter than he is, and I don't like when this happens, any time I'm in a relationship that my partner says I'm smarter, I'm unsatisfied. I don't quite know why. I think it happens quite often in my relationships though, because there is something about me that is relentless in pursuing, consuming and processing information but I feel like... I don't know if this is quite the right way to put it, but I feel like I want to be inspired in life and if I don't have a partner who's "smarter" than I am, then I will not be inspired. Of course, there are many ways to define smart and intellect, so there's a bit of a see-saw on that. In any case, Bill plays bridge with his partner Warren Buffett, and I love playing bridge, it's my all-time favorite card game. Not many people know how to play it in Singapore and I know it has this reputation of being an old-person game, but I love it and enjoy it and could play it for hours and hours. Bill Gates grew up with massive luck and opportunities, his family was well-off, and that connected him to more wealth, monetary and otherwise, in the world. I wonder where I'd be now if I had had his fortune. I don't have his brain, but I do always think I would have achieved much more if I only had the connections to the right resources. Today I learnt that Bill Gates aims to solve climate change by using nuclear energy. Before today, I was under the impression that that would be a staggering risk that's not the wisest choice to make, but the third and final episode of the miniseries made some rather compelling arguments for it. I know by default I'm supposed to hate people like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett because they're rich, old, white men who've amassed so much more wealth than should be necessary for anyone's lifetimes. Morals notwithstanding, he's a genius, and like it or not, at a time of climate change and in an aura of doom, some innovation, intelligence, education and optimism is appealing and very contagious. Whenever I watch shows like this and people are pushing boundaries, I think perhaps there is hope.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

DAYLIGHT

Oooooft. It's been A Week. I saw that a new Netflix show had dropped, it's called Hello, Privilege, It's Me, Chelsea, a documentary by Chelsea Handler. When I saw the title, I was apprehensive because this is a white woman who's made it in the comedy world, making a documentary about white privilege. How many ways could this go wrong? Oh, so many. I watched it waiting for it to go wrong, I thought "oh no, she's going to profit off of her own privilege of the ability to make this documentary and she either doesn't realize it or is conscientiously doing so!!!" She starts by interviewing a room full of people of color in college/school, and the good thing is, they were not afraid to call her out on it, on all the things that could also go wrong. I think they made her feel rightly uncomfortable, they didn't hold back, so that was a good tone to set for the rest of the show. She goes on to interview black men, a table of Republican white women (who, of course, true to form, did not see any privilege), she goes to Oktoberfest and calls out other white people, yadda yadda yadda. I thought it was a documentary done very well, even as a person of color who anticipated all the ways it could have gone wrong. She interviews an ex-boyfriend, highlights the fact that when she was in her late teens dating a black guy, when they were caught doing drugs or breaking any law, she always got to slide under the radar and the boy always got punished, and he did 14 years in jail, in total. The only difference between them was obviously? Their skin. The message from the documentary is it no longer is about people of color holding the conversation and justifying their pain, their disenfranchisement, their disadvantages in society. White people have to have the conversations, and they have to be comfortable with making other white people uncomfortable. I do think this documentary should be viewed by all white people, but if you are a white person who doesn't already believe white privilege exists, and that every white person benefits from it (regardless of the class of society you are from: white trash vs upper echelons), I doubt you would be here, reading this? I hope everyone I know would certainly be aware of the privileges they hold.

Two days ago, Lush Singapore had its staff party, and I got ready at Lucas' place, while he was at work. One of his housemates, Sonia, is battling breast cancer, and she's on hospitalization leave, so that was the first time I got to properly talk to her. I told her I'd seen my mom go through her battle with breast cancer too, and we compared notes on family and whatnot. Sonia went to graduate school in London, and she told me the best place for fish and chips is Poppie's in Camden Town. Not that I have any plans to travel to Europe anytime soon, I'm going to be a broke student for at least the next four years. We shared our love for tea, and she loves Disney, so she lent me her seashell-shaped Tarte makeup palette for me to bring as an accessory to the staff party, 'cos I was going as Ariel. I had a very chill time bonding with Sonia, and I look forward to becoming proper friends with her.




I had lots of fun at the party. I was in the lip-sync battle, and I "swam on the floor", and even though I can't do splits, I did a death drop, just to make my RuPaul's Drag Race-watching friends in my team proud. If you'd followed my Instastories, you'd have seen all my awkward moves, but lots of people replied saying I was cute and I'm so glad these people love me!!!!!! It's all worth the bruises I have on my knees from the death drop (also documented on Instastories)! I made a major booboo on that night, though.

So firstly, because I'm in Singapore and because a majority of Singaporeans wouldn't know, I gotta say that cisgender people are people who identify with the gender they were assigned at birth, according to their sexual organs. For example, I identify as female, which aligns with the female sex organs I was born with, so I am cisgender. After the lip-sync battle, after I'd taken off my Ariel wig and swam and rolled and done the split, I was panting and I looked at the other representatives of the other teams. My first response was "oh my god I'm the only girl here", and the girl next to me, she's not cisgender (meaning she's transgender) but she identifies as female and for as long as I've known her, she's identified as female. She said "and what's that supposed to mean?" and then I knew I'd fucked up, so I apologized and I've apologized again since then, and I think she's forgiven me, but I'm not sure.

Today, Lucas sent me an article with a photo of Justin Trudeau in blackface for a college party twenty years ago. He was supposed to be Aladdin. I can't speak on behalf of Justin Trudeau and what his thoughts on it now are, he's been interviewed by Hasan Minhaj on Patriot Act and sometimes it does seem Trudeau is yet another lip-service kinda guy, and he doesn't really follow-through with his policies, so I can't vouch for his character. The photo was from two decades ago, though, and social stigmas change, so I don't think it's fair to hold him accountable unless he truly doesn't show remorse for it. I always think it's shady when political opponents bring up events from beyond a decade ago, because we've all made mistakes, and we've all changed and moved on from things we used to believe and do. I used to believe in God and sins and I felt guilt at premarital sex, and now I'm a completely different person in three years, so I'd say twenty years is a long enough window for someone to have educated themselves and moved past their old mistakes. I do, however, believe that when you've fucked up, you should just own up to it and believe you've fucked up and are changing to do better, and then commit to that. I'm saying this because I know I fucked up with my "I'm the only girl here" comment, and it was wrong and I was in the wrong.

I really want to attend a Patriot Act live taping session. I'd love to meet Hasan Minhaj. My four favorite people in the world are all in New York: Hasan Minhaj, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Taylor Swift. I'm not there yet, but I will be soon enough.

Friday, September 13, 2019

ALLURE

I went to therapy today. First of all, I might really be bisexual because I keep thinking about my therapist's voice and laughter. So that's not cool. I already have my own issues piled up, and I never imagined sexuality to be added on to the pile. I also don't know how to bring up to my therapist that I might be attracted to girls because I've never felt it before but I'm feeling it now for her. She must be like "omg here we go again, yet another client thinks they're falling for me" and also, half of my session I'm talking about my relationship with Lucas, so how would this even fit in with the rest of my feelings?

This week, I was resting at Lucas' before work, and I found out the extent of how messy his hidden stash in his wardrobe was. He had charging cables tangled with contact lenses on top of socks stuffed into umbrellas in a mess of hair products. I called him a man-child, which he wasn't happy about, then we set on a project to organize his room, buying compartments and bins from Muji. I'm a very organized and tidy person, if you didn't know, my wardrobe is color-coordinated and everything I own has to have a place where it can be kept. I thought that was the Asian in me, until I learnt the ways anxiety can manifest. His room is much cleaner and more organized now, and I felt extremely productive this week.

Next weekend, we have tickets to The Projector, to see a recording of a BBC interview with Margaret Atwood, who wrote The Handmaid's Tale and its sequel, The Testaments. Both are about a sexist dystopia in which women have practically no rights. I've read The Handmaid's Tale, it was Lucas' gift to me, and he wants us to watch the TV series together before the interview. I liked the book for how it was written, but the subject matter weighed heavy and drained me. Sometimes I think Lucas doesn't feel what I feel, of course he's not a woman and in this lifetime, men will never be stripped of their rights the way women are. He watches and reads things for entertainment but I come from a community (regardless of the fact that I don't believe in Islam nor any religion), that in certain areas of the world, make it dangerous or impossible for girls to go to school.

I can now see and hear my therapist the way I can visualize Lucas in my head. She reminds me of Ruby Rose because she dresses and presents androgynous but her voice is soft, definitely softer than mine. I find myself very intrigued by her. Do I bring this up to her or???? Is there a conflict of interest, should I change therapists? *rubs my temples* ....why does my brain make things so tough on me.... I just snorted at a retort to no one... You know how everyone thinks I only date white men? Well my therapist is Asian and I'm clearly attracted to her so take that!!!

Saturday, September 07, 2019

MISS AMERICANA
& THE HEARTBREAK PRINCE

Taylor Swift's new album, Lover, is quite a bop, I think there are an equal number of tracks between this and on 1989 that I really love. The only bonus is perhaps this one has The Man, a song about feminism and how much more a woman has to do to be "on par" with a man, and Miss Americana, which is an ode to politics. It's about the general vibe of American politics, and how her team is on the "losing side" and how she's so sad she paints the town blue. Taylor Swift singing about politics is character growth and maturity and I'm very proud of her I don't care what you say!!!! Apart from those two, I really, really like Paper Rings, which is a fun bop about how if you like someone, you'd marry them, even with paper rings.

I absolutely adore my therapist's smile and laugh, and voice. So that has me a little confused, but sexuality is fluid and on a spectrum, so!!!

It's been a godawful long week. I went to the hospital to see the gynae for my nightmare of period cramps and got prescribed very strong painkillers. In a couple weeks or so, I have to go back for a pelvic ultrasound to check whether I have endometriosis or whatever other dysfunction in my reproductive system, or if my cramps are just excruciating for regularly performing periods! Fun!!!!!! Also the gynae was in the exact same room as the one I was in during my miscarriage three years ago, because that's the only hospital in Singapore dedicated to women and children. Fun, fun, fun.

I'm sore all over, I need a massage, and until now I don't think I've felt like I want to marry anyone with a paper ring. In seven billion people, what are the odds that someone else aligns with you in pretty much all the ways that matter? Do you think I could find someone who doesn't believe in the death penalty, supports the LGBTQ+ movement and gender and sexuality equality, thinks the political centrist stance is basically one of cowardice and not a real stance, is willing to work to protect the environment for the sake of underdeveloped communities of the world who don't have the fortune enough to survive impending climate change -- as opposed to working for money until they die, believes Palestine is and should be a free state, doesn't believe in religion and is free enough to voice it to the world, listens to Taylor Swift and yadda yadda yadda? Am I the only one? How do I calculate the odds of this?

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

NOT SUMMER

The time has almost come upon us. I should have been asleep three hours ago but as you can see, I am clearly not. In about three days, it will be three years to the day I took the flight back from LA, then discovered that I was pregnant, then miscarried. At which point, my great depression commenced. Even still, I yearn for LA. Or perhaps especially so, I yearn for LA because LA was pre-depression. I love the sun, I love the beach, I like solitary hikes by myself because if you still haven't been able to tell, I don't even really like talking to most people!!! (Or perhaps this was a post-depression thing.)

Anyway, today I was watching the videos of my second trip to LA, the two-month solo one, and I actually giggled thinking of the man I fell in love with. He is (was? don't know) a scientist with SpaceX, and he raced cars and motorbikes and he did not treat women particularly well, at least not while I was there. When I told Adam that Joey insisted we tip our pizza guy, Adam scoffed and said "that's what we all do here!" ....I literally loved someone for being a decent human being, doing the bare minimum, least ever. Don't twist my words, I still don't think he's a bad guy, he's a guy with good and bad sides, like we all are, but truly, what on Earth was I thinking??

In fact, even Adam is a privileged kid, in my eyes. And the Ben who was in Singapore, his Harvard education was fully funded. (One of them voted Bernie and the other for Hillary.) My current boyfriend hates the corporation he works for, hates Elon Musk and Richard Branson and capitalism, and wants to join the guerrilla fighters to save the environment (what guerilla fighters??? I don't even know!!!!). What is even my taste in men and what connects them all to each other?? White skin and the fact that I can insult them all and they have to accept it 'cos their ancestors colonized my continent??

Sometimes, like Joaquin Phoenix's character in Her, I feel like I've felt the most intense version of everything I'm ever gonna feel in my life, and the rest of it will just pale in comparison.

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

SIMULATION THEORY

A few days ago I had a dream in which we were all living in a simulation. After the dream, I have been feeling extremely calm. Muse is performing at the Singapore F1 race in two weekends, and I'm hoping to catch them live again. They were one of my two favorite concerts I've ever seen live, the other being Taylor Swift, so yeah, I guess I live in extremes. If I were a sim, I wonder if I'm an entertaining one. One time, Adam said that the way I think is very different from how other people might think. I hope my value as a sim is not in the way I'm perceived by men, that would be so boring. I must have inherent values and skillsets besides my dating history. I'm taking this way too seriously. My therapist might wanna know about it. Lucas has been making me watch Star Trek: Discovery, he's a Trekkie and wants me to be one as well. If I were in a simulation, I would find myself a very boring subject 'cos all I ever do is watch Netflix. Then again, if the non-simulated person was watching us in our simulation, and all they ever did was watch us, maybe they'd find it relatable that all we ever wanna do is watch Netflix. I was reading A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking, and I was halfway through it. It was a chapter about quarks, integer spins and whatever, and I realized I could no longer follow it. I couldn't picture it in my head, I didn't understand and I began questioning why I thought I would be able to understand quantum physics from a book, considering I didn't do well in high school Physics. It did not track. I stopped reading it and perhaps I will watch it on a Youtube video instead, perhaps illustrations may enlighten me better, although again, why I even want to understand quantum physics is beyond me, besides the fact that I know my brain is capable of it (with patience) and I want my brain to know all the things it's capable of.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

FOSTER THE PEOPLE

I went to my friend's 21st birthday party last night. After we'd eaten, we played Mario Kart on Wii, a round of foosball, and a round of life-size jenga. Sometime during the party, Lucas said he was bored and if we went to parties that his friends threw, they would have better music and better aesthetic. My period is due tomorrow, according to the app, so I might be extra touchy, but that struck my nerve. The music being played was the type of music I listen to, and the aesthetic was exactly the aesthetic I had for my 28th birthday last year, and I showed Lucas a photo of it. He tried to backpedal, but I was pissed off. Lucas says he doesn't think I'm basic, and he doesn't like "basic" people, but I'm the poster girl of basic, and I'm not ashamed of it. I unabashedly love Taylor Swift and pop music. I love the look of mass-produced fashion, or at least I don't dress "alternative". I love what I love, and I don't like people who shame other people for being proud of what they love (unless it's, you know, guns or whatever). Lucas said he didn't mean that he thinks he and his group of friends are cooler than myself and my friends, but he used the words "better music" and "better aesthetic" and that's close enough. Secondly, whatever the aesthetic and music being played, he was there with me, and being bored while I'm right there next to him, also annoys me. Having conversation with a loved one should not depend on where you are and what you're doing.

Anyway, I went for therapy this week and I told Lyssa about it. I said it sort of reminded me of this Hindi movie we'd both seen together, where Shah Rukh Khan acts as Alia Bhatt's therapist, and she falls for him, romantically. I think if you have a good therapist, you are likely to find yourself being extremely fond of them. I like my therapist a lot, I don't know why, is it because they let me say my darkest thoughts for an hour (because they're being paid to) or because I feel safe with them. Who knows??? I think health insurance should cover seeing a therapist, but I highly doubt that will ever be the case in Singapore.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Friday, August 23, 2019

THE GREATER DEPRESSION

Every time I think I'm not depressed, I read some news. The latest is that the Amazon is on fire, not even accidentally, but intentionally so by the president of Brazil. If you have not read about Bolsonaro, there is an episode of Hasan Minhaj's Patriot Act on Netflix that summarizes the Brazilian president. Every day while commuting to work, I think a hundred things. What if there were a worldwide tax on having children? Every birth is taxed a billion dollars, so only billionaires can have kids. The billions collected in taxes then pay for environmental repair. I've slowly but surely inched toward the conclusion that it's unethical to have children. It's unethical to the child because their generation are the ones who'll have to face rising temperatures, rising costs of food due to farming and agricultural difficulties from rising temperatures, rising everything!!! Our kids if we have any, are going to be burdened by the boomers' generation and it's not fair for these people!!!!! It's also unethical toward the collective global environment because kids are new people, who are then taxing on the environment. As my own person, I can choose to refrain from using plastic bags, stick to using non-disposable products, eat sustainably, buy only secondhand clothes. But the moment I introduce a baby to the world, that new life now needs diapers, pacifiers, new clothes, new furniture, and kids love toys and unnecessary things!!!! We are living in an era of the greatest depression with no light at the end of the tunnel. I understand that kids are, on a cellular family unit, supposed to make people feel happy and fulfilled, but in the grand scheme of things, these tiny tots are distractions from reality, and the reality is the planet is on fire!!!!!!!!! I'm not blaming anyone who already has kids, but jesus christ it really is tough to have conversations with my friends, because I am at an age where I'm surrounded by people who are giving birth. I truly think we should at least wait till someone comes up with a real solution to climate change before going back to having kids. The worst part is the billionaires really do not seem to care, they have the money to live in mansions, they ride around in their comfortable cars, they don't know how the rest of the world suffer in our tiny apartments, sweating while walking to take public transport (which doesn't work nor have functioning A/C), so they're not at all motivated to solve the issues at hand. The only thing billionaires care about is money (I'm certain the only way you can become a billionaire is by caring very much about money), so the only thing that might work is taxing them, so they either pay to have babies, or they don't, 'cos they don't wanna part with the money.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK

Sometime within the past month, an influencer called Preetipls made a reaction video calling out the main media agency in Singapore for using brownface. The agency and all involved parties made a half-assed apology then Preetipls was reported, for "inciting racial conflict" or whatever. First of all, here are 9 Phrases Allies Can Say When Called Out Instead of Getting Defensive.

This is what has transpired in the past few days. I would like to say this is not personal, I don't care about this person's exact identity and you shouldn't, either, but this is the general tone you can get from the majority of Singaporeans. They don't understand racism, they downplay it when they're perpetrating it, they focus on their own hurt instead (and in doing so, are still not focusing on the hurt they have caused and how they can learn from it) and this is exactly the kind of reason I'm beyond ready to leave this goddamn country. Just FYI, 76% of the population are Chinese, 15% are Malay (that's what I am), and ethnic Indians make up 7.4%.

Also, I will be using names from One Direction instead of real names, except for mine, because you clearly know who I am.

Louis: Hey sarah, I get that u were offended & u prolly misunderstood me bc what I'm saying didn't mean that u r not Malay. Just meant that ur skin colour defines u at the first look. Aft knowing u it's like speaking to a white girl. & i've told u this like so many times. I guess I said it the wrong way this time. My bad for that I'm sorry. But what I'm disappointed abt is u not coming to me straight & going around telling people what I told u. It really hurts to get stab in the back just like that.

& also, I rlly said that bc I didn't want to include u with like me saying other Malays lazy. Bc I think u r not?? But I'm rlly sorry if I offended u.

Sarah: Hey Louis, I'm not sure what went down between Zayn and yourself, I think it might have been better if she'd talked to both of us together so we could clear up exactly what happened and what everyone thinks. The reason I brought it up to Zayn is because you made a racist remark that Malays don't do things well the first time and create a double job. That statement itself was wrong, if Niall really didn't do her job with stacking the paper bags, maybe it's really just Niall's fault and you could have just told her straight.

Then you said you didn't consider me Malay, which is another offensive statement. I know I don't agree with traditional Malay views on gender and families and whatnot, but I cannot change my race. Just because I don't practice certain cultural or religious beliefs doesn't mean I can change to being not Malay. I was offended because I am Malay, and because I disagree about all Malays being lazy. Maybe they are "backwards" in terms of mental health, or male-female relationships and sexuality etc, but i don't think that someone who is Malay is automatically lazy or incompetent at their jobs. Just because you don't identify me as Malay doesn't mean I shouldn't be offended on behalf of my race. My family members are Malay, my close friends are Malay, they might not have similar political beliefs as me but they've all worked hard to get very far in their own professions.

Even in our own store, I think Liam has always been hardworking. She puts in the effort with training notes, she does what she needs to as a keyholder, so when you brought her up about the perfume shipment thing, I felt it was unfair. Even if she really didn't help on that day, I still think it's not right to just lump it under the fact that she's Malay. It's just not right to use a person's race as an excuse to calling the whole race lazy or incompetent.

I'm sorry I didn't go straight to you, but I wasn't sure how. I think you knew when you first said that all Malays are lazy, that it was a remark that was offensive and problematic, and that's why you tried to differentiate me away by saying I don't count as Malay. You were already trying to take away any reaction I could have to your statement and I was the only Malay person working on that night and I didn't know how to bring it up.

Not everybody can get along with everybody, but I hope you really change your mindset about all Malay people. I hope you have more Malay friends and know that maybe if there any flaws in them, you can teach them whatever you think can be changed. Otherwise, you may miss out on different experiences in life just cos you think Malays are lazy. Behavior can be changed and learnt, and I don't want to ever believe I have any characteristic flaw just because I was born in whatever community. For example, I was born in a Malay family and you acknowledged that I'm "different", so if I can be different, then all Malays can be different from each other. Some could be lazy but it doesn't reflect on any other Malay.

Louis: First of all, I did not say Niall Malay that’s why create double job. I have just been cleaning up after her through my entire shift - like cleaning demo bowls and refilling tissue all. Which she should have done bc I didn’t see her do anything after that. At that point I did not say anything abt Malays yet. It was only until I recalled during the perfume shipment she also didn’t help that’s when I said it? But I’m just saying that bc during the perfume thing only the Chinese were doing all the packing and unpacking. But ok enough of that.

Yes saying it is wrong but that’s what a lot of people think? & im sure u have made negative remarks abt Malays before? But ok my bad for saying such nasty things about them.

Yes for sure I know Liam is hardworking it’s just that coincidentally she was at that situation hence i said it bc I’m annoyed? But I’ve alrd apologise to her bc I know she’s not one of those Malays?

& I love u guys as Malay friends as colleagues I can feel else way? It’s just two diff situations?

I just felt that u rlly dk the whole story bc all u heard was bits and pieces & u took that info and generated it real quick? Telling Zayn is fine? But why tell Harry & Liam? I see no point to tell them? It just seem rlly childish to like not clear the air with me and start creating issues between me & the others?

Sarah: I was the person you said all this to, how can i be the one who heard bits and pieces?

Louis: I didn’t even tell u everything
Bc u seem so uninterested
So I just stop talking
U rlly gave me no reaction at the ffm then I just keep quiet alrd
I didn’t even expect it to escalate this way? And I rlly never even think so much? I was just having a Long day from school stuff & coming to work having to clean up so much rlly sucks
I swear if I knew u would take it v personally I would have watch what I said?
And I know words that come out from me isn’t always the nicest
But I never expected u to take it v seriously
Whatever it was I apologise sincerely for all these unnecessary commotion stirred in you & ur close ones I didn’t mean it ok?

Again, I just want to say this isn't about this particular person or setting, I just think the system in Singapore is fucked. I think more people need to be held accountable, especially when you work in a workplace like Lush. I feel like Lush holds itself by its brand values, by accepting people from all walks of life without prejudice, so making race-related comments, even in a casual way, makes me extremely uncomfortable. I really want to move to New York, so that I'm not the most woke (for lack of a better word) of people, how weird is that. It's tiring when I really am so progressive, and that I'm vocal, so every time someone fucks up, somehow it always ends up on my shoulder to call them out, and I JUST WANT TO LIVE.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

AVENTADOR

I'm so tired of love songs
tired of love songs
tired of love songs
just wanna go home
wanna go home
wanna go home

Monday, August 19, 2019

CIRCADIAN CICADA

A couple days ago, we had this question asked at work: which of your character traits has been most useful? I hadn't decided on mine, but Cat and Cheru said it was my authenticity, or the fact that I can be real. I'm glad they said that. I do like that about myself. When I like or dislike anyone, it is very obvious, I cannot act otherwise and it saves me a lot of effort and time. Sometimes I also feel like trash, and I break down, and I have never seen the need to mask it, not on social media nor in real life. I don't like people who are inauthentic, I don't think life is a bed of roses and people shouldn't pretend that it is. Anyway, yesterday I read that one of the problems with cleaning up plastic in the oceans is that it's broken down to microplastic bits and it would be a monumental task to sort out the plastic from oceanic life and other stuff, rendering it impossible. I know you can magnetize certain plastics, so if all that plastic was magnetized, it could be attracted to a magnet. Otherwise, all hard plastics manufactured from this point forward should be magnetized so that in a decade from now, you could use a gigantic magnet to basically attract all the plastic in the oceans. Any businesses making non-magnetizable plastics should be fined a hefty sum. I don't know if this isn't feasible because it costs much more to produce such plastics, but tbh, the alternative cost is our Earth continuing to die, making it uninhabitable, which is the ultimate cost, isn't it? Alternatively, scientists should really synthesize a bacterium or animal or whatever, that only eats or breaks down plastic, and release the bacteria/creatures in the oceans. I don't know why this issue is pressing me so much (actually I know why, bc I don't wanna see this planet burn to hell), and also I'm not a scientist, but Jesus, CAN SOMEONE OTHER THAN ME PLEASE COME UP WITH IDEAS. We're in 2019, we've got nuclear reactors, we've changed our approach to quantum physics a myriad of times, we're trying to colonize Mars, and no one has figured out what to do with plastic waste in our waters?! For fuck's sake.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

COMET

I pray for the wicked on the weekend
Mama can I get another amen?
oh, it's Saturday night
swear to God I ain't ever gonna repent
Mama can I get another amen?
oh, it's Saturday night

INTUITION

I don't have a degree, my highest level of education so far is a diploma from a Singaporean polytechnic. I'm older than most college students but I do know I'm gonna put in my all, and be the best student I've ever been in my life. You might also know that I don't have the richest of parents, and each of my parents has at least three kids younger than I am (my mom has three, my father has five). If you do believe in me as well as in furthering the education of any individual who wants to study, please consider contributing funds for my tuition. It would be nice to be able to focus on studying and pulling the best grades without having to worry about putting food on my table, although I do know the occasional instant ramen is part of an authentic college student experience. I also intend on going for therapy, so my mental health is in check while I study. Also, I do think the planet doesn't have very many centuries to go before a climate crisis, so I don't believe there is any reason to hoard your wealth for the future. I used to think I'm a pessimist, but I think I'm just being a realist now. I'm currently applying for all sorts of scholarships and funding opportunities. There are first-in-family scholarships I can apply for 'cos neither of my parents has a degree, immigrant scholarships, minority scholarships, and returning/continuing education scholarships 'cos it's been close to a decade since I was last in school. I don't know if I'll receive any of it because there are always going to be thousands upon thousands of applicants competing for mere hundreds of spots. I'm trying, though. I can't wait to go back to studying! Thank you for always being with me on all my journeys.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

GENESIS AND CATASTROPHE:
A TRUE STORY

Once every couple of years or so, I think about one of my favorite short stories, that also happens to be historically factual. It was written by Roald Dahl in 1962. Roald Dahl has written famous children's stories, one of which is my absolute favorite, Matilda. However, he also wrote many twisted and dark adult stories, which I also absolutely adore and favor.
“Everything is normal,” the doctor was saying. “Just lie back and relax.” His voice was miles away in the distance and he seemed to be shouting at her. “You have a son.”
“What?”
“You have a fine son. You understand that, don’t you? A fine son. Did you hear him crying?”
“Is he all right, Doctor?”
“Of course he is all right.”
“Please let me see him.”
“You’ll see him in a moment.”
“You are certain he is all right?”
“I am quite certain.”
“Is he still crying?”
“Try to rest. There is nothing to worry about.”
“Why has he stopped crying, Doctor? What happened?”
“Don’t excite yourself, please. Everything is normal.” “I want to see him. Please let me see him.”
“Dear lady,” the doctor said, patting her hand. “You have a fine strong healthy child. Don’t you believe me when I tell you that?”
“What is the woman over there doing to him?”
“Your baby is being made to look pretty for you,” the doctor said. “We are giving him a little wash, that is all. You must spare us a moment or two for that.”
“You swear he is all right?”
“I swear it. Now lie back and relax. Close your eyes. Go on, close your eyes. That’s right. That’s better. Good girl...”
“I have prayed and prayed that he will live, Doctor.”
“Of course he will live. What are you talking about?”
“The others didn’t.”
“What?”
“None of my other ones lived, Doctor.”
The doctor stood beside the bed looking down at the pale exhausted face of the young woman. He had never seen her before today. She and her husband were new people in the town. The innkeeper’s wife, who had come up to assist in the delivery, had told him that the husband worked at the local customs-house on the border and that the two of them had arrived quite suddenly at the inn with one trunk and one suitcase about three months ago. The husband was a drunkard, the innkeeper’s wife had said, an arrogant, overbearing, bullying little drunkard, but the young woman was gentle and religious. And she was very sad. She never smiled. In the few weeks that she had been here, the innkeeper’s wife had never once seen her smile. Also there was a rumour that this was the husband’s third marriage, that one wife had died and that the other had divorced him for unsavoury reasons. But that was only a rumour.
The doctor bent down and pulled the sheet up a little higher over the patient’s chest. “You have nothing to worry about,” he said gently. “This is a perfectly normal baby.”
“That’s exactly what they told me about the others. But I lost them all, Doctor. In the last eighteen months I have lost all three of my children, so you mustn’t blame me for being anxious.”
“Three?”
“This is my fourth... in four years.”
The doctor shifted his feet uneasily on the bare floor.
“I don’t think you know what it means, Doctor, to lose them all, all three of them, slowly, separately, one by one. I keep seeing them. I can see Gustav’s face now as clearly as if he were lying here beside me in the bed. Gustav was a lovely boy, Doctor. But he was always ill. It is terrible when they are always ill and there is nothing you can do to help them.”
“I know.”
The woman opened her eyes, stared up at the doctor for a few seconds, then closed them again.
“My little girl was called Ida. She died a few days before Christmas. That is only four months ago. I just wish you could have seen Ida, Doctor.”
“You have a new one now.”
“But Ida was so beautiful.”
“Yes,” the doctor said. “I know.”
“How can you know?” she cried.
“I am sure that she was a lovely child. But this new one is also like that.” The doctor turned away from the bed and walked over to the window and stood there looking out. It was a wet grey April afternoon, and across the street he could see the red roofs of the houses and the huge raindrops splashing on the tiles.
“Ida was two years old, Doctor... and she was so beautiful I was never able to take my eyes off her from the time I dressed her in the morning until she was safe in bed again at night. I used to live in holy terror of something happening to that child. Gustav had gone and my little Otto had also gone and she was all I had left. Sometimes I used to get up in the night and creep over to the cradle and put my ear close to her mouth just to make sure that she was breathing.”
“Try to rest,” the doctor said, going back to the bed. “Please try to rest.” The woman’s face was white and bloodless, and there was a slight bluish-grey tinge around the nostrils and the mouth. A few strands of damp hair hung down over her forehead, sticking to the skin.
“When she died... I was already pregnant again when that happened, Doctor. This new one was a good four months on its way when Ida died. ‘I don’t want it!’ I shouted after the funeral. ‘I won’t have it! I have buried enough children!’ And my husband... he was strolling among the guests with a big glass of beer in his hand... he turned around quickly and said, ‘I have news for you, Klara, I have good news.’ Can you imagine that, Doctor? We have just buried our third child and he stands there with a glass of beer in his hand and tells me that he has good news. ‘Today I have been posted to Braunau,’ he says, ‘so you can start packing at once. This will be a new start for you, Klara,’ he says. ‘It will be a new place and you can have a new doctor... ”’
“Please don’t talk any more.”
“You are the new doctor, aren’t you, Doctor?”
“That’s right.”
“And here we are in Braunau.”
“I am frightened, Doctor.”
“Try not to be frightened.”
“What chance can the fourth one have now?”
“You must stop thinking like that.”
“I can’t help it. I am certain there is something inherited that causes my children to die in this way. There must be.”
“That is nonsense.”
“Do you know what my husband said to me when Otto was born, Doctor? He came into the room and he looked into the cradle where Otto was lying and he said, ‘Why do all my children have to be so small and weak?”’
“I am sure he didn’t say that.”
“He put his head right into Otto’s cradle as though he were examining a tiny insect and he said, ‘All I am saying is why can’t they be better specimens? That’s all I am saying.’ And three days after that, Otto was dead. We baptized him quickly on the third day and he died the same evening. And then Gustav died. And then Ida died. All of them died, Doctor... and suddenly the whole house was empty.”
“Don’t think about it now.”
“Is this one so very small?”
“He is a normal child.”
“But small?”
“He is a little small, perhaps. But the small ones are often a lot tougher than the big ones. Just imagine, Frau Hitler, this time next year he will be almost learning how to walk. Isn’t that a lovely thought?”
She didn’t answer this.
“And two years from now he will probably be talking his head off and driving you crazy with his chatter. Have you settled on a name for him yet?”
“A name?”
“Yes.”
“I don’t know. I’m not sure. I think my husband said that if it was a boy we were going to call him Adolfus.”
“That means he would be called Adolf.”
“Yes. My husband likes Adolf because it has a certain similarity to Alois. My husband is called Alois.”
“Excellent.”
“Oh no!” she cried, starting up suddenly from the pillow. “That’s the same question they asked me when Otto was born! It means he is going to die! You are going to baptize him at once!”
“Now, now,” the doctor said, taking her gently by the shoulders. “You are quite wrong. I promise you you are wrong. I was simply being an inquisitive old man, that is all. I love talking about names. I think Adolfus is a particularly fine name. It is one of my favourites. And look-here he comes now.”
The innkeeper’s wife, carrying the baby high up on her enormous bosom, came sailing across the room towards the bed, “Here is the little beauty!” she cried, beaming. “Would you like to hold him, my dear? Shall I put him beside you?”
“Is he well wrapped?” the doctor asked. “It is extremely cold in here.”
“Certainly he is well wrapped.”
The baby was tightly swaddled in a white woollen shawl, and only the tiny pink head protruded. The innkeeper’s wife placed him gently on the bed beside the mother. “There you are,” she said. “Now you can lie there and look at him to your heart’s content.”
“I think you will like him,” the doctor said, smiling. “He is a fine little baby.”
“He has the most lovely hands!” the innkeeper’s wife exclaimed. “Such long delicate fingers!”
The mother didn’t move. She didn’t even turn her head to look.
“Go on!” cried the innkeeper’s wife. “He won’t bite you!”
“I am frightened to look. I don’t dare to believe that I have another baby and that he is all right.” “Don’t be so stupid.”
Slowly, the mother turned her head and looked at the small, incredibly serene face that lay on the pillow beside her.
“Is this my baby?”
“Of course.”
“Oh... , oh... but he is beautiful.”
The doctor turned away and went over to the table and began putting his things into his bag. The mother lay on the bed gazing at the child and smiling and touching him and making little noises of pleasure. “Hello, Adolfus,” she whispered. “Hello, my little Adolf.”
“Ssshh!” said the innkeeper’s wife. “Listen! I think your husband is coming.”
The doctor walked over to the door and opened it and looked out into the corridor.
“Herr Hitler?”
“Yes.”
“Come in, please.”
A small man in a dark-green uniform stepped softly into the room and looked around him.
“Congratulations,” the doctor said. “You have a son.”
The man had a pair of enormous whiskers meticulously groomed after the manner of the Emperor Franz Josef, and he smelled strongly of beer. “A son?”
“Yes.”
“How is he?”
“He is fine. So is your wife.”
“Good,” The father turned and walked with a curious little prancing stride over to the bed where his wife was lying. “Well, Klara,” he said, smiling through his whiskers. “How did it go?” He bent down to take a look at the baby. Then he bent lower. In a series of quick jerky movements, he bent lower and lower until his face was only about twelve inches from the baby’s head. The wife lay sideways on the pillow, staring up at him with a kind of supplicating look.
“He has the most marvellous pair of lungs,” the innkeeper’s wife announced. “You should have heard him screaming just after he came into this world.”
“But my God, Klara... ”
“What is it, dear?”
“This one is even smaller than Otto was!”
The doctor took a couple of quick paces forward. “There is nothing wrong with that child,” he said.
Slowly, the husband straightened up and turned away from the bed and looked at the doctor. He seemed bewildered and stricken. “It’s no good lying, Doctor,” he said. “I know what it means. It’s going to be the same all over again.”
“Now you listen to me,” the doctor said.
“But do you know what happened to the others, Doctor?”
“You must forget about the others, Herr Hitler. Give this one a chance.”
“But so small and weak!”
“My dear sir, he has only just been born.”
“Even so... ”
“What are you trying to do?” cried the innkeeper’s wife. “Talk him into his grave?”
“That’s enough!” the doctor said sharply.
The mother was weeping now. Great sobs were shaking her body.
The doctor walked over to the husband and put a hand on his shoulder. “Be good to her,” he whispered. “Please. It is very important.” Then he squeezed the husband’s shoulder hard and began pushing him forward surreptitiously to the edge of the bed. The husband hesitated. The doctor squeezed harder, signalling to him urgently through fingers and thumb. At last, reluctantly, the husband bent down and kissed his wife lightly on the cheek.
“All right, Klara,” he said. “Now stop crying.”
“I have prayed so hard that he will live, Alois.”
“Yes.”
“Every day for months I have gone to the church and begged on my knees that this one will be allowed to live.”
“Yes, Klara, I know.”
“Three dead children is all that I can stand, don’t you realize that?”
“Of course.” “He must live, Alois. He must, he must... Oh God, be merciful unto him now... ”

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

ROARING 20'S


this is my roaring, roaring 20's
I don't even know me
roll me like a blunt 'cos I wanna go home


I have unpacked my luggage after our trip to Japan. It was a lovely summer vacation, we experienced many things together and we ate a lot of good food. Ten days next to someone is a long time to spend, or maybe it seems that way to me, 'cos I've never been in a proper relationship and I've never lived with anyone with the exception of my family. Lucas and I spent quite a bit of time talking. We talked about why we wanted the things we want in life. Sometimes I think relationships could turn out like a quadratic graph, and once you have reached the maximum value of the curve, you can only go downwards. Conversely, perhaps once you have reached the minimum value, you can only go upwards. If it's a good relationship, maybe it's more like a sine curve with ups and downs, instead of a quadratic function. I don't know, I'm just a 29-year-old girl who regularly talks to myself, what do I actually know??? I was reminded of when I was friends with Khalis, whom I sort of used to date, ish. At one point of time in our friendship before we just lost contact because of life, he said his girlfriend at the time didn't like him being friends with me, even though I had never met her and I never made a move on him once he had a girlfriend. At another point of time, he told me that I reminded him of the agape definition of love, which in common terms means I have a love for everyone. I don't know where this is going. I'm in the midst of taking out a bank loan for my studies in New York. I am very excited to be doing women, gender and sexuality studies in one of the most sexually liberal places in the world. I think one of the hardest things to reconcile in my life is the fact that my mother is religious and regularly in denial, like when I was leaving for Japan with Lucas, my mom asked me to "respect myself and the relationship", which means she honestly had high hopes that I wouldn't be physically intimate with him. In contrast, I believe the women (and hopefully men) in my course will be much more in tune with talking about sex openly, engaging in and encouraging it healthily, as well as fostering difficult conversations in regard to intersections of race and sex. While I'm moving to New York, Lucas is also planning to move there with his career, and I think the general plan is for us to move in together. However, I also think that this Asian (or at least Singaporean) thing of moving out of your parents' place right into your marital home doesn't allow for much independence in between. I think, at 29, I have the emotional maturity and independence of a much younger person in say, the US or Australia. I want to be able to live by myself and explore the person I am, and my own life, at least before I settle down. I don't know where I'm going with this, it's like life has just begun for me, and I don't want to think of it in terms of being me with respect to Lucas, I want to be a separate and independent entity. Don't get me wrong, I love Lucas very much. I look into his crystal blue eyes and think of when a guy at Naoshima told Lucas he had beautiful eyes, and I encouraged the flirtation between both of them by telling the Japanese guy (honestly) that Lucas thought he was cute. I love it when I'm the person rubbing sunscreen onto Lucas' sunburned neck and shoulders. I love giving him a foot massage that simultaneously relieves his foot pain and also tickles him, so that he's torn between wriggling and keeping still to enjoy the massage. Lucas is amazing, politically aligned with me, is soft and sweet and affectionate, he's intelligent and smart, he makes me laugh and I make him laugh, we're great together. And yet. And yet I still don't know where this is going. I feel like I haven't had the time that some people have had, to find out who I really am.

Thursday, August 08, 2019

MUROI

About half a month ago, Lucas sent me a text asking me to choose a slightly upscale restaurant in Japan, he gave me a rough gauge of 250 SGD (about 180 USD) upper limit per pax, but that he would be willing to spend, as long as we could be guaranteed a dining spot. I went through the list of Michelin-starred restaurants in Japan, and decided on Muroi in Kyoto.

I don't usually do reviews like this, and I don't think this could even come close to doing justice to our experience tonight, but Lucas and I each had the best meal experience of our lives. That is a cumulative fifty-six years of life, and he's done some pretty extensive travelling, and I haven't done too shabbily myself.

When we arrived, we were asked to remove our shoes and sit in front of the bar, instantly making us feel at home and comfortable. We started out a little bashful, I'd never dined at a Michelin-starred restaurant, and so we felt like plebs not fitting in.

However, through the course of the night, Chef Muroi kindly took the time to explain each dish to us, and even when he wasn't sure of the name of an ingredient in English, he would translate it on Google to explain whether something was a river fish, a garden vegetable, a fruit, etc.






This was one of my favorite courses, a soup made with the spring water collected from Kiyomi Pass, and pike fish. He asked if we would be comfortable slurping it from the bowl, or if we'd like spoons, but of course we opted to do it Japanese-style, and slurped straight up. What surprised me was it was a clear soup, and yet it was extremely tasty. I usually favor heavier cuisines like Malay and Indian spiced gravies, so it blew me away that this light soup seemed to me to be so delicious.


I've always liked sushi and sashimi and these were so fresh, served with regular soy sauce, plum sauce, and a spicyish cucumber sauce (from right to left), all of which I finished up even after I was done with my sashimi.






Melt-in-our-mouths duck breast with Japanese mustard. Another one of my favorites.

Over dinner, we got more and more chatty. We asked Chef Muroi what he liked to cook, and which city was his favorite, 'cos he's lived and worked in many cities. He said he likes London and Italy, and that the people in Berlin were nice, that it seemed to him as though the people in Berlin had learnt after a great divide, to be nicer to each other.

He asked about ours, so I said I didn't have much experience, but that I liked New York City so far, because I was able to make friends more easily there, although I must acknowledge that due to the way I look and also to my very open nature, I cannot say I've ever had a problem making friends anywhere.

Chef Muroi said he thinks New York is so-so, because from his experience, only people with money would get anywhere in New York, but everyone else is sort of on the sidelines. I thought it was so refreshing that this extremely successful chef was so candid with us, that he spoke openly about the income and wealth inequality.

We told him we were moving to New York, because I'm starting school there, and he said that it made sense for me, he said the dress I was wearing made me look like Cinderella, and that I would belong in such a fashion capital. He wished me luck for life in New York, and Lucas and I felt more and more at ease.

He asked how we'd heard about Muroi (the restaurant), so I told him. Chef said summer is a very slow period because it gets so hot in Japan, and that winter, spring and fall are much busier months, with more people travelling, and generally moving around. He also very cordially invited us to come back and visit in future, and I feel like if I were monetarily capable, I would definitely want to return to taste the menus of different seasons.




The desserts were among the top three desserts I've had in life, we had a glass of watermelon juice which was unbelievably fresh and sweet, Muscat grape, fig, melon as well as Japanese peach, accompanied by white chocolate on the side, and to top off the meal, we were asked if we'd like ice-cream.

Ice-cream is my favorite thing in life so we said yes, of course. We had sugar cane ice-cream topped with blueberries, and honest to God, if it were possible to have an orgasm from food, I'm pretty sure I had it. The thing is, I was full to burst because my dress was rather tight, but every single bite I took made me feel so good, I just kept going on.

Before we left, Chef and the most adorable elderly lady who was helping him in the kitchen (whom I refered to as Obachan although I wasn't sure what their relationship was) packed some onigiri up in a plastic bag for us to have for breakfast, completely out of the blue.

We left after I'd exhausted my Japanese language I'd picked up from Terrace House (I basically repeated eh sugoi!! and oishi!!!! a dozen times) and then!!!! While we were walking, at least five minutes away and thirty meters from the restaurant, I heard "Sarah! Sarah!" and it turns out that Chef Muroi himself had run after us, because Lucas the pleb had left his tote bag under his seat at the restaurant.

And that's the story of the best meal of our lives. The food was amazing, and some of it I didn't understand because the ingredients I'd never heard of in my life. I know, though, that it was delicious, that when some of the food melted in our mouths, it was extremely pleasant and a surprise, that when it was sweet it was inherently in the ingredients themselves, that the flavors were brought out because they complemented each other.

The most important thing was it felt like a priceless experience. Read more about Chef Muroi here.