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 bead 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.

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

FLORENCE + THE MACHINE

It's my last night in Tokyo, with Lucas. Travelling with a partner is very different from what I'm used to. I used to couchsurf and make friends easily, but different phases of life call for different experiences. This place holds a lot of memories. My sharp memory has always been a double-edged sword, I remember all the details and forget none. When Joey was here, he sent me photos of a patchwork doll he saw in a park. Adam had a half-Japanese girlfriend, he introduced me to Terrace House and I still continue to watch it and think of him, and Bennett was extremely excited when he told me he'd found the exact same ramen in Brooklyn that he'd had in Japan. I am happy now, though, so I look back and I thank every person for having gotten me to this point of happiness in my life. On this trip, Lucas and I have each had some bowel movement problems. My period started yesterday, and I usually have a bit of the runs when my period cramps are bad. Last night in bed, Lucas asked when my worst menstrual period had been, and I told him about the time in May/June last year. I usually know my period cramps can get terribly painful, but this one time, they still managed to surprise me. Even though I was on my off day, wearing a comfortable sweater and having eaten a full meal of pasta and drank a mug of hot chocolate during a premium cinema experience, I still could not get through the entire movie, so I went to the nearest public restroom. In the toilet, the cramps were so bad and I had absolutely no energy to go get painkillers, despite the full meal, so I lay down on the cubicle floor clutching at my stomach for two hours waiting for the pain to subside. Lucas has no sisters and he doesn't have the best relationship with his mother, so I told him what I have experienced and seen as a woman, and maybe as a woman having grown up in Asia. Due to the fact that for much of history until recently, medicine as an industry has been dominated by men, sometimes male doctors misdiagnose and underdiagnose symptoms and conditions faced by women, right. The fact is, sometimes periods can hurt as much as a heart attack, and they can actually take a toll on the mental and physical wellness of a woman/anyone with a period. So, anyway, I told Lucas that sometimes extremely painful periods are caused by strange, abnormal things like the fallopian tubes being twisted or in the wrong positions or any such thing, and sometimes I wonder if that's what's happening in my body because I don't believe period pains should be so excruciating. Having listened to me describe the things that could be wrong with a reproductive system, Lucas turned away and said he was queasy 'cos he couldn't handle the thought of blood. This man!!!!! White men are the most fragile!!!!!!!! Anyway, we went through mishaps in Nikko because we wanted to see a waterfall, but we kept missing the bus schedules and whatever, but even though I was tired as fuck, we were both deliriously making each other laugh, and as I started off in this post, travelling with someone is massively different than travelling by yourself. I wanted to stay angry when things didn't go my way, but he made me laugh against my will, and anyway Lucas is out of the shower, we are heading to Kyoto tomorrow, travelling with the love of your life is gr8, 372163/10 I absolutely recommend and I hope you find the love of your life okbye. I might write a little bit better when I get home or when Lucas isn't looking over my shoulder, I would not live here because it is extremely homogeneous and they are not used to seeing a dark-skinned person and every time I feel like they're looking at me, I can't tell if it's my outfit or it's because they're not used to seeing a brown person!!!!!!! All photos and superfluous captions are here.

Monday, July 22, 2019

MARGARET HAMILTON



I just woke up from an unexpected hibernation. Just got back from Good Vibes Festival in Genting Highlands in Malaysia, with my sister Lyssa, and Lucas. It's my first music festival at 29, and my body is absolutely wrecked. All I have to say is, if you are given the opportunity to and you're interested in such things, please go before 25 because man, I had no energy to keep up for two straight nights. It was fun, though. It was so great to be there with two of my favorite people in life. We came home and after the flight, the three of us had lunch with my mother, who was driving us home. Last week, Lucas also had his first dinner with my family, meaning my parents and three sisters. It was fun. He tried to let my parents know how it works to have two passports (he has an Australian and a Polish/EU one), which somehow was mindboggling to them, because the Singaporean government has done a mighty good job of using propaganda to convince our citizens of its power and ranking, despite the fact that you cannot hold more than one passport if you have a Singapore one. I am exhausted! I have to wash my boots from the weekend, and go back to sleep. Lucas and I are no longer flying to New York this summer because it turns out I may be able to start school without having to sit for any assessments, so we're going somewhere else instead. It will be my first time to this place but everybody who's been there has loved it, so I'm looking forward to it. It also is the origins of my all-time favorite food in life. Fun!!!! Life begins when the church ends!!!!

Sunday, July 14, 2019

JUST ADD WATER

I spent some time with one of the people from work I'm closer to, Kyrene, and we talked about what we both thought of love. She said she doesn't really think romantic love exists, more of a convenient justification for people to marry one person and procreate/copulate. I am inclined to agree, I'm not sure I can see myself committing to one single person for a lifetime, and then we both read an article in which science says love doesn't exist. I told Lucas about the conversation I'd had with Kyrene. He knows, as it stands, that I don't even really know what love means, or I have a warped idea of it. The fact is I saw my parents in a turbulent relationship. While fighting, one parent would ask me to throw away something the other had bought for them as a gift, the other would tell me not to. Whichever side I picked, I would still be wrong and one would still end up angry at me. The next thing I knew, they would tell me they loved each other and loved me. So now I have to keep unlearning what I've been taught love was. I have to tell myself that drama does not mean love. I have to re-parent and teach myself that I do not have to love a distant/avoidant partner, one that I have to work and plead to receive attention from. Lucas knows all this, and we speak about all this, and he read yesterday's post and we talked about it and how it affected him. He said, of my conversation with Kyrene, that he's known for a long time that what we know as romantic love are just chemical reactions in the brain, mostly to perpetuate the human race and all that jazz. He said, still, that he knows he loves me, because he and I want the same things, that we believe and work for the same things, that he's always wanted a partner he could talk to like a friend. We sang karaoke, just Lucas and I. We are both not the greatest singers. In fact, that's being very nice to our egos. Neither of us sings well, but enclosed in a tiny space, we listened to each other's warbling voices. When I am at his place, we play Taboo and we have our own inside jokes, like all couples do. I don't claim to know what love is, most of the time I don't know what it is, but whatever I feel for Lucas, it is strong enough to keep me safe and protected for a long, long time, I hope.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Hello, how are you? Did you get that promotion you were working so hard for? I hope you've met someone new. Sometimes when I'm in a car I wind down the window and it feels like that summer. Hello, how are you? You finally started that band you've always wanted to, and it looks way cool. I'm so proud of you, and I hope you receive that token from your parents. Hello, how are you? I wonder if you know every time someone talks about horoscopes I think about you and how much you knew about them, you said you had to know something well, before you could hate it and rebutt it. Hello, how are you? I will always have fond memories and a special place in my heart for you, telling me about the @midtownuniform account and when we laughed together at such Chads in Manhattan. Hello, how are you? I have loved and missed you all and sometimes I wonder if your ghosts will all stay with me even as I collect more memories with the love of my life.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

PANDORA'S BOX

I just finished reading Inheritance by Balli Kaur Jaswal. I don't know why Lucas recommended it to me so strongly and he even got me my copy of it. He kept saying I would be able to see how much the writer seemingly hates Singapore, which is apparent through the different characters' rants about it. As I read it, I completely related with many of the viewpoints of the "East" versus "West" that has always seemed to plague us. I also wonder if Lucas actually subconsciously meant for me to pick up on the mental health issues in the book.

When I first read the chapters introducing the protagonists, I started to feel confused and dizzy. It felt very intense, but in a way I'd never really felt, regardless of the book I was reading. So one of the characters has bipolar disorder, and she doesn't get diagnosed with it until she's close to thirty, and her family being a traditional Punjabi family pre-millennium, have never heard of bipolar disorder either, and they don't deal with it very well at all.

As I read Inheritance, I kept feeling discomfort. I must say it was written very well because I wanted to keep reading it, but it struck my raw nerves. I imagine that it must be like when I read a novel about someone struggling with sexuality issues and I enjoy reading about how eloquently it's written and communicated, but could and would never feel the pain that an LGBT reader would feel reading it.

I kept crying at the end of Inheritance, especially because she writes that in this case in particular, it was genetically inherited, and the father who didn't raise any of his children all that well, also has bipolar disorder, or at least a serious enough mental illness.

My sister has depression, and my father, I think he has bipolar disorder, or at least he has also been diagnosed by the institute of mental health in Singapore. Every time I think of all the things I abhor that he's done, I wonder if any of that could have been contributed by his mental illness.

I also know I have a tendency towards mental instability. I remember things I wrote, about Joey, or Bennett, or whomever the subject was. Some things I cringe about, and some things I feel outrightly embarrassed by. I remember one instance in which I blacked out, I don't remember what happened in a block of 24 hours, and I have a female anatomy, so anything could have happened to me in that time period.

It worries me, and it saddens me. Most days I function as normally as any person would, but it takes a lot of energy. Any day that passes without event is a day I subconsciously give thanks for, that I got through without constant monitoring, or medication.

There are things about me that are always at odds with myself. Sometimes I think, people are right, I shouldn't write about everything. It will live online forever, and I will only embarrass myself by it. On other days, I tell myself, the people in Singapore are used to a cookie-cutter, squeaky-clean impression of life. There are not many people who may find support or even relateable anecdotes of someone with shaky mental health. I want to tell you that I exist.

I smile and laugh a lot, but a lot of the time, that is not how I feel. On many days, for many hours, I think the human population is too stupid and it will be left behind. I think humanity has no hope to deal with climate change because everyone has their heads in the sand, like ostriches. I think in this day and age, if you're not depressed, there must be something wrong with you. I think things like this, and it worries me, because I know part of me isolating myself and putting myself on a different level, is definitely my mental stability.

My biggest fear is that I'm legitimately crazy and that I'm too much to handle. I'm scared Lucas will stop loving me because I will say something in a moment of psychosis or paranoia. I'm scared I will never be able to make something of my life, because I'm cuckoo. I really want to be able to do something in spite of this.

Monday, July 08, 2019

NATASHA BEDINGFIELD

It is the third day of my period and this is already my third period I've had since being in a relationship with Lucas. My cramps are still constant, but Lucas has been taking care of me with a rubber waterbottle filled with hot water, and now I have some sanitary products at his place. There is already more color in his room since we got together, there's something pink of mine hanging on his clothes rack, there is the purple Taboo game we were playing. We are still getting to know each other, and hopefully I speak for both of us when I say we both love what we discover each day. I really hope everybody who wants this, finds this. I say everybody who wants this because I know it would be silly to assume this is what everyone's happiness is, some people are happy by themselves, or happiness to them is finding love or company in different people, and that's cool for them. We've booked our airbnb for the upcoming trip to New York, it's actually a train ride across in Jersey, but if I do get in school, we will be living in one of the boroughs, so there is no hurry. I'm very nervous just even thinking about going to school, I would be one of the first two people in my extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins to be studying overseas. The first one went to Australia, and I will be more than twice the distance and time away.

Monday, July 01, 2019

JOLLIBEE

On days I need a little bit of a perk-me-up, I talk to Tina, or Irene, who are both at least half-Asian, and have faced their share of racial intersectional issues, and who both now reside in the US. I think generally people, whether from work, or the ones I've met through my travel, or my family members or whatever, they just let me ramble on about my thoughts, and I'm like the train that never runs out of steam. I do, actually, really depend on people propping me up every now and then, because I'm a human bean, and I never know if the course I'm setting sail on is ever the right one, if there even is such a thing as a right one. It takes so much time and energy to keep resetting myself, as if I have a map and compass, to decide whether there are parts of myself and my past that I want to reconcile with my future, or to simply leave it all behind.

These are the things that have helped me through the past week.
Irene: I think it's so important to understand what's wrong with society in the country where we live and the difficulties in our own race in order to breakthrough and unlearn the toxic behaviors. It doesn't mean we don't love our background or our ethnicity, but it's also the best parts of ourselves that get hidden because people prescribe to tradition and convention and don't feel ready to confront reality.

What's good is that many Singaporeans younger than us, especially women, are more and more open and aware of these goings-on and feel bold to take it into their own hands to explore who they are and be against the Asian patriarchy. But it's also gonna take time for things to catch up there.

And yes, while over here the dialogue is more ahead than a lot of places in the world, there are still so many difficult issues going around here, which I'm sure you are aware of! But it definitely is somewhat better living somewhere urban and has much more open leanings that are people-centric and with a social justice understanding, ie. where you've already been like NYC. (But of course a lot of hidden political affiliations that some ppl don't wish to display)

It's a very Asian thing where if you are outspoken that they expect you to just keep your opinions to yourself and fall in line to maintain harmony. Difficult, man. Sometimes we gotta voice out things because it's the right thing to do. 

Tina: I'm so sorry about your second friend. It's painful, but growing up and growing out of friendships is an unfortunate side effect to growing up in general. Different people for different stages.

Feminism is also SO relative and it's unfortunate when people fail to neglect that relativity. I've read your posts and you're very clear on the fact that you know your stance isn't like the majority of people around you. Like yessssss you're aware that your views are more US-centric (which is why you wanna move lmfao duh).

Feminism, racism, intersectionality means different things for different people especially when you put into context that everyone lives a different life with different needs.... but it's so upsetting and heartbreaking when friends warp your views against their own and make you out to be the bad guy when you're trying to communicate that relativity with critical reasoning and respect.

I'm sorry about your friend, but I'm so happy you've found solace and more in your partner. You're a radical romantic and you deserve this!

Lucas: For me the biggest culture shock is Singapore itself. Having lived and been in other Western countries (excluding Eastern Europe in my definition of Western) the US, while liberal in many places --- especially NY, is probably the least liberal of western countries but compared to Singapore it's still decades ahead. So I can't imagine how it would be coming from SG to somewhere where you can do so many things I take for granted.
I'm in the midst of scheduling my CUNY admissions tests in August, and it will be nice to be able to wear just one layer or so in New York! Also, I will have to start studying soon.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

A GOOD PLACE




When you are not in a relationship, you think that it's close to impossible to find and be in a happy one. You see your friends in happy loving relationships and feel happy for them, but you live vicariously through them, because it just doesn't seem to be something attainable. You are such an individual: aren't we all? I used to think I'd never find a piece that fits. I'm impatient, I'm so fussy with my social justice demands, yet still problematic in some ways, I think I don't belong. I want to be different, and I think, no, no one could be as different as I am. One day I received a message on OKCupid and I think, ugh, here is another guy performing feminism to get in my pants, asking for what I'm reading. Then I find out he speaks a bit of Singlish so I don't have to really explain its nuances though sometimes he does amuse me with how inaccurate he is. He tells me he has something embarrassing to share, then shows me his cryptocurrency portfolio. “This is the most capitalist thing I've done.” He has (a little) money but is embarrassed, almost, to have it. Could I have found a more suitable person? We talk about our fear of death, we laugh about signages that are over-the-top, we vogue and dance and fret over political situations in the world. If you have not yet found love, don't ever stop believing you're a goddess and that someone will worship you the way you deserve to be, and you will want to do the same for them. It may take a few detours, but all of it is worth it. Post-script: category is... Sarah rambling off on one of her tangents #love #infinitypool #vogue #bougie #asia
A post shared by Sarah Mei Lyana (@sarahmeilyana) on


Just couple things. Sometimes I wonder if someone really paid Lucas to be just about the most perfect, suitable partner for me, I could ever have. But then he does something that gets on my nerves, so I know it's real.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

SHADE NEVER MADE
ANYBODY LESS GAY


I love the aesthetic of this video (it's a rainbow for pride/LGBT) and Lucas has already suggested we have our wedding aesthetic like this so, yes, perfect men do exist if you look for them.


Lucas' name is Lucas Martin Kiss, which means we have the same initial for our middle names (in case you stumbled here from another universe, my name is Sarah Mei Lyana). He said when we get married, we will have similar initials, because he will be LMK and I will be SMK, and I said "bold of you to assume that I'll be taking your last name when we're married." In any case, his family name is Kiss, which is super fun to make hashtags with for our wedding. #sealedwithakiss #youmeikissthebride