Saturday, June 30, 2018


Why do I even cry over men? I'm done. Dua Lipa is right, I mean, men don't want to go through the bad times with you, they don't need to be in your life. When you're finally happy and settled, they all come crawling back. Geez. I'm so done with this shit. My life is waiting for me. I have no space in it or patience for any man who can't go through hardship, which is all men. Bye, bitches.

Friday, June 29, 2018


Today at work, most of my colleagues asked if I was okay, without directly asking about what had happened. I talked to and laughed with them and I wanted to hug them, and every time I said I was okay, I know that's another day to add to my not being okay, and. And I love my family at work so much, and I wish we all enjoyed our job much more, as much as we love each other and each other's company. Every time someone asked if I was okay, I felt their concern and now I'm crying again. I have been left so many times, I feel more scared than anything else, of letting myself be vulnerable. I wonder if I can ever really say I will be okay with being alone. I wish I had had love, and felt unwavering love from my parents so that I would have confidence in my own self-worth. But I don't. I wonder if I am so different that I cannot be loved. I'm out.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018


I want to change the world
instead, I sleep
I want to believe in more than you and me
all that I know is I'm breathing
all I can do is keep breathing
all we can do is keep breathing

all we can do is keep breathing
all we can do is keep breathing
all we can do is keep breathing

Okay so it's back, I'm full on weeping while the world spins madly on. When I'm in New York, I hope to bump into Ingrid Michaelson or Sara Bareilles or the grand jackpot of Lin-Manuel Miranda. I mean, given the shitshow of the past three years I've had, I think it is high time my good juju returns. Please. Please, God, please. Or universe. Or other people. Just, please.


Ben and I broke up. It is official, we just broke up because we're not in the same place and it's too difficult and there are too many things to figure out. I guess this is the healthiest thing for me now. It was a good run, now I'll just have to see how long it is before I delete the Instastory highlights tab I have of him. I sort of want to leave it there, because it makes me happy and I want to keep my memories of him, but I also know it might prevent me from moving on. I don't think I'll delete the things I have of him. I'm okay, though, better than I would usually be. I think it might even be because he's been such a good man and a good person and all around treated me so well, but I really do wish him nothing but the best. Obviously, I did cry after we broke up, but I've stopped. If you're my friend and reading this, please don't ask me about Ben, please, please, thank you very much.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018


Yesterday, while watching The Incredibles 2, I started getting period cramps so I left the theatre but before I could get painkillers or a hot drink, it just hurt so bad I had to go to the toilet. It was then even more painful and cold I laid down on the floor of a public toilet cubicle and stayed there for an hour, before I summoned the last bit of my energy to move to a nursing room and napped for another hour. I know not everybody gets such bad cramps but I wish everyone would, at least once, just so you can empathise what it feels like. Viv is flying back from Sydney, where Advil is available, so I'm asking her to get some for me for future periods. I don't know why even painkillers need to be unattainable for me before they work. My brain and body are in cahoots for me to want to die. Geez.

Sunday, June 24, 2018


Last night, I was washing my face when it actually really dawned on me that life is short, and I only have one shot at it. My time is already very temporary, and if I end it myself it will be even shorter than it could, would have been. Regardless of whether it is my own doing, my life will end. Sometimes I guess I want to end it because life and the world get really difficult to live in and live with, but my death doesn't make a difference to it being difficult. I want to see whether it gets better, I want to see if the world can crawl out of this shithole, and if it doesn't, it's okay, because we are all going to die anyway. I don't know if this is the default mindset everyone has, and sometimes when I'm in the frame of mind to see my life through, I really hope it continues and I follow through, but I really sometimes get very affected by curveballs, and I can feel like two extremes of a rollercoaster, so although I do wish I could control my feelings and attitude, I am easily thrown off. That needs to get fixed, if possible.

Saturday, June 23, 2018


      American journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones writes about the racial segregation and inequalities of schools in contemporary USA. There are many things about the American case that are unique to that society, but there are also many inequalities there that are mirrored elsewhere. In a 2017 interview, Hannah-Jones spoke about something that was deeply moving. She had placed her daughter in a public school that is perceived as a terrible school even though she has the means to place her in a different, 'better' school. A lot of people thought she was making an odd choice. But for her, it is a moral issue—what is at stake goes beyond her child's well-being. If she put her child in a private school, she would be doing what many middle and upper-middle class parents are doing—undermining the integrity of the public school system with their flight. She puts it this way: "It is important to understand that the inequality we see, school segregation, is both structural, it is systemic, but it's also upheld by individual choices. ... As long as individual parents continue to make choices that only benefit their own children... we're not going to see a change."
      A lot of my research and writing in the past decade have been about institutions and policies. I have talked primarily about how we need to rethink the principles underlying our policies if we want to see more equal outcomes. I still believe that if we want to see significant change, we need to have collective action, we need to work to alter big structural things—rules, regulations, criteria, principles underlying policies. But doing this more recent research, I am also continually reminded that life is lived at the micro level, at the level of everyday decisions, everyday interactions, everyday exercise of power and agency and responses to constraints and restraints.
      Nikole Hannah-Jones is a tough act to follow. She is right to say that inequalities are also reproduced by the individual choices of those who have the power to make choices. This implies an extremely uncomfortable conclusion for those of us in positions to make choices: the choices we make, even when we think are just about us, are in fact also about others.
      We who have the power to make choices disproportionately shape outcomes and limit options for people who don't have the power to make choices.
      It follows that if we don't share the power to make choices, we will never see a change to those things we say are bad or unacceptable to our society. When those of us who have the means maximize our own children's and our own families' advantages, we are contributing to strengthening norms about achievement, success/failure, that undermine our fellow citizens' well-being. Everyone may say "I want my children better than me," but not everyone can see this to fruition nor have the same impact on standards and norms when they do.
      As parents, we must therefore think very carefully about what we are doing when we demand that teachers assign more homework, when we ask questions about what standard our kids' peers are at, when we micro-manage our kids' lives, when we pay for tutors, when we fight to get our kids into certain schools.
      Equally if not more important, we must ask what we are allowing to perpetuate when we do not resist a system many of us can now see is deeply problematic. If those higher in the social hierarchy, ahead in the pack, refuse to pause and change their ways, the call to extend assistance to the low-income or to 'level up' will continue to ring hollow.

      Embedded in what I have said lies inherent conflict in class interests as well as the potential for class solidarity. Regardless of class, everyone is subject to state policies on education. It is becoming increasingly clear that a high-stakes, examination-oriented education system exerts costs on parents and kids across the class spectrum.
      We should care because we are losing potentially valuable human resources. We will all grow old in societies populated by other people's children; our well-being depends on their capabilities (economists such as Nancy Folbre have thus argued for seeing children as public goods. See Folbre, 1994). We contribute to public education precisely because there are collective returns on this expenditure. To enhance our shared well-being, we have an interest in ensuring that all kids growing up in our society can fulfill their human potential.
      The circumstances and experiences of low-income families reveal the deep inequalities embedded in our education system—the focus on narrow definitions of abilities, the demand for precocity, the reliance on parental involvement and commercial services, together undermine the democratic promise and potential of mass education. As a society, we speak loudly and proudly about meritocracy and equality of opportunity. As a matter of ethics and morality, we should all care about the undermining of these promises, and we should fight to resist this erosion of our shared ethos.
      The requirement of narrow ways of being, of precocity, are not easy to attain for any child. The financial costs, the time expended, the harms done to familial relationships, the stresses exerted on our children—these are significant. In the long run, all of us must ask: to what end? Is it worth it?
—reproduced from This Is What Inequality Looks Like by Teo You Yenn

Ask me and I will lend it to you, or if you'd like, I will buy you a copy.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018


Yesterday, Qis from work asked whether anyone had ever told me I was zen, because she thinks I'm zen. Cheryl thinks I'm mellow, Kyrene thinks I'm chill, and now Qis calls me zen. It's strange, because if you know me and read my words, I don't think zen is apt in describing me. Yet, for nine hours every day, the people I'm around think that is precisely what I am. I wonder why. Maybe it's my thoughts and disposition towards work that make me act more calmly and I could adopt that attitude in other areas of my life. I would love to be zen, though, my mother is still high-strung and dramatic, so I would love to be mellow instead. Perhaps it is that my mother is high-strung and dramatic that I reflect and mirror it in environments apart from work, I cannot be zen if my familial counterparts do not set an example for me to either mirror or absorb. In any case, I used to date a guy called Zack, and I bumped into him last week. Given how small Singapore is, it is a wonder he is the first ex-date I've bumped into. He read that I wasn't talking to Ben so he messaged me to make the first move to talk to Ben first. How quaint it is, to receive dating advice from someone I used to date. Does this stuff only happen to me? Ben said he needed space, and that's why he wasn't talking to me, but after this morning, we talked again, I think we've decided to give this a real shot, maybe until the next hiccup comes along. Zack and I said we might try to hang out platonically in future, and I'd never thought that was possible but perhaps if a mutual care and concern exists more than attraction does, it will work. Last night, I'd told my sisters I might have a bad night if Ben says he wants to end things and my sister Lyssa said "no way, he could not let you go" and I told Ben this morning, we had a right laugh. I love my Ben. (For some reason, my sisters have a pet name for him and it's Bernard - pronounced BerNard to rhyme with Hard.)

Tuesday, June 19, 2018


My period is late. There is no cause for concern, I haven't gotten any since Ben left, hehehe. I'm guessing it's just delayed 'cos of my extreme lows in the past two weeks and I was kinda sorta a nervous wreck in the lead-up to emceeing for my best friend's wedding. I just don't like when my period is late 'cos then you feel bloated and whatever. At the moment, immigrant children are being detained, separated away from their parents and families, and I wonder why anyone would want to continue living in this precise world and timeline. The people I come into frequent contact with, the ones I interact with on a daily basis, I don't think they know what is going on. Or, on the off-chance they do know, I don't think they care, because they're still talking about other things. I don't fault them for it, because even if I were surrounded with people like myself, what can we do? Human rights issues have deteriorated since Trump was elected (not by the popular vote, I may never let go of this) two years ago, and people have protested, and called up senators and talked about it, but nothing much changes. Today I feel on the slightly more positive side, sometimes I feel so overwhelmed and heavy and drained and I want to end it all, but, when I'm not at the point of acknowledging the futility of life, sometimes I really think I am quite rare. I allow myself to think and feel the entire spectrum, it's like I am the mental health and spiritual epitome of "go everywhere / do everything". One day something might tip me over the edge, maybe not. Ben used to say (I say used to say because at the moment we are not talking), "you deserve the life you dream of" and maybe if I hold on just long enough, I will find I can achieve the life I dream of. Perhaps not.

Monday, June 18, 2018


I was an emcee for my best friend's wedding, my period is supposed to be here in the vicinity of today's date, so I feel really bloated, I had a fall-out with Ben (not to say that we don't love each other, because even now, even when we're not supposed to be talking, we do love each other and still say it), because that shit happens, I felt so many feelings along with being proud of Atiqah for having done it all, that include feeling really much like Phoebe, Joey and Rachel did in Friends, and that's being financially unable to keep up with my best friends, I want to really take a break from life and socialising, but there is one final wedding in mid-July I'm attending, and then I would really like to take a break. I want and need all the me-time.

Thursday, June 14, 2018


I went to the Institute of Mental Health this morning, accompanied by Viv. I told the doctor, who was a Singaporean Chinese male (which may or may not have contributed to his diagnosis), everything I had been feeling, and he says from what I told him, he doesn't think I am depressed. I haven't been feeling tired enough to remove myself from work and not participate in life, I still eat, and most importantly, I have not harmed myself despite feeling a lack of enthusiasm for life and living, so I am not in need of immediate attention. When he asked whether I had ever gotten into trouble with the police, I said my mum disapproves of me and she is a police officer. He clearly hadn't expected it and he guffawed loudly, so then I wondered whether he thinks I am not depressed also because I was cracking jokes, although sometimes I think the funniest people are clearly the most depressed. That he doesn't think I have a mental illness was somewhat a relief, that he didn't even really make any appointment for me to see a therapist was not comforting. I will not assume to know better than a qualified mental health professional to say I am certifiably depressed, but I wonder if he thinks the default state in life is to be aimlessly wandering, that he doesn't even think it's a problem that I don't find life fulfilling. Also, like in most other social aspects, Singapore is most definitely lagging behind in mental health, so perhaps I should seek a second opinion. I told Viv and Ben my diagnosis, and they were both also surprised. I also told Ben the amount I paid for the session, I said it more to like be sarcastic about how useful it was (I paid XXX for him to tell me I'm not depressed), but Ben instantly sent the exact amount to me on PayPal. In USD! Which means I made a profit??? I told Viv this and we wondered if he really went to Harvard. Perhaps his certificate is forged, his Spanish module cert is definitely dubious.. I am kidding, of course, I suppose he really wanted a buffer just in case my finances are tight, but I am just always so pleasantly surprised that Ben is so kind and so reliable. In my previous experiences with men, they do not often measure up to your expectations, which are usually the bare minimum you'd expect of a decent human being. Three nights ago, my sisters did the sweetest, most wonderful thing. The youngest knocked on my door, then said the three of them had something to say to me in the living room. When I got there, they said they had decided to spend thirty minutes each day, to have sister time with me, to help me to feel less depressed so I wouldn't want to end my life. That was the most adorable thing so that's what we've been doing, we watched Aladdin and Mulan and Alex Strangelove on Netflix, on three consecutive nights. After my session today, Viv and I had breakfast then I went to her office and read while she worked, before my shift started.

I have been reading This Is What Inequality Looks Like, by a Chinese female sociologist and university professor at NUS, the top university in Singapore. It has been making waves on local social media and has been lauded by academics even in the US, for the parallels that you can find regarding inequalities in many nations. On the one hand, I am glad that all the privileged Chinese people on my island are finally paying attention. The Singapore government likes to pride itself on being clean and green and shiny, it refuses to acknowledge the deep cracks in the system, the fact that meritocracy is not meritocracy if the starting line is not the same. The professor who wrote the book sounds almost surprised, while doing her research, that there are many families who struggle in Singapore, who have to make do with letting all their kids sleep on a single mattress in a one-room flat, that some of them, some of us have bed bugs at home, that we have to boil water to have warm showers, et cetera et cetera. These families being discussed are unfortunately mostly of my race. Of course, recently I have subscribed to the notion that you shouldn't have kids unless you can afford to, but if rich people and poor people actually really subscribed to it, the rich would continue to perpetuate and the poor would die off through not much fault of their own, and that is a true injustice. Also, it is funny that this Chinese woman says it and suddenly it's like the gospel truth when it has been said by my people for decades, and only taken as whining and complaints. Look, if I had received the same education that she had, I would be just as eloquent, and I would have as much platform and agency. But no --- my people are not heard because they are not well-educated enough to air their grievances in a way that, somehow, I have been blessed that I am able to. For months and years, I have said that I want to improve myself, I want to study, or get a better job, or a better-paying job. People give me advice as if I haven't been trying, as if it doesn't depress me every time I am told I interviewed well and yet am still rejected. People, usually Chinese people with paper qualifications, tell me that firms are no longer looking at just certificates, but it's funny, because despite that being the only difference, I have still not managed to level up. Why, if companies really believe that degrees are not everything, have I not seen it in any action so far? I am a smart person and I am aware of this, so before you give me well-meaning advice to exploit this, that or the other, please give me enough credit by believing that I have tried, and failed, and tried and failed, again and again.

Saturday, June 9, 2018


After reading the last post, Viv texted me to say she would also assist me monetarily in seeking therapy, and I can treat it like a mental health Patreon (it's a platform for creators and artists) so she can keep reading my words on this blog and eventually perhaps even my novel. It wasn't her intention but I cried at her text. I agreed to see a therapist, so maybe later I'll go check the IMH website. I don't know what the trigger for this is, but I know from experience and from reading materials, that sometimes there just is no trigger. I keep recalling my mother saying it is a good thing I had the miscarriage because I would otherwise have had to live with the burden of a child conceived out of wedlock, and then I recall again that I was that child to her, and that she had to keep me because it was too late for her to do anything else. I think about my grandmother saying I shouldn't be saying these things on the internet, like these are shameful things, and I wonder if there is something wrong with me that I don't feel ashamed. I'm exhausted and I don't want to exhaust anyone else. Every night someone has to monitor me to see that I don't do anything to hurt myself. Every night someone asks me to make plans for the next day and the next day and the next so that I don't die that night, so that I make it to my next day's plans. But for what? What is this all for? I don't know what the payoff is. I feel like it takes a lot of effort to keep me going and I don't know if it's worth the payoff. I don't know if life sucks because it sucks this much for everyone and I'm weak or it sucks more for me because my brain and body just don't produce the same amount of chemicals that other people do. I had a talk with a best friend about this, I asked if she would forgive me if I took my own life, and she said she would be so angry at me, but she eventually would. I am very tired of being strong for anyone else and even for myself. This is exhausting.

Friday, June 8, 2018


I was talking on the phone and crying about Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade. Ben asked me to see a therapist, to which I said I just needed to save enough money to take a break. Ben said I could do both, so I said if I see a therapist, I wouldn't be able to save to take a break. He said he would send me money to see a therapist, and although I don't see myself accepting it, he told me to think about it and now I just keep tearing, by myself. He really does love me. I think when you have parents who haven't shown their love by being supportive and encouraging and solid, it is very hard to believe that people can really love you. One of my earliest memories was of myself at a single-digit age, perhaps 5 or 6, and my real dad scolding me and making me stand on my chair in the restaurant throughout the meal. I know sometimes people think kids don't know anything, but things like that can and will probably stay with your child for a lifetime. The thing is, while my father did that, I realise my mother did not even dare to stand up for me and stop him. What a weird man. I hope his five other kids have better futures than I do.


I love Anthony Bourdain's show, Parts Unknown. I also love Kate Spade's bags and colorful designs. It sucks to know they both took their own lives this week. I used to be scared of committing suicide when I believed in God and hell, because I believed what they said, that taking your own life was the greatest sin and you'd be in hell for eternity. Now I no longer believe in hell. Now I think and think about how tired I am, and how I want to just take a break from work, I want to take a break from life, but I can't because I cannot afford to rest, I don't come from a family that affords any rest for anyone. I wish my eternal rest would come soon. I am in a cab home from doing shipment at work, today I wanted to write about the things I am grateful for, but I cannot come up with any and I just want to sleep.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018


I am constantly growing and learning. I must be lenient towards myself, and towards everyone else, while they are growing and learning. Life is chess, not checkers. I like the person I am even if it is difficult, even when times are difficult and my life is difficult and even as I struggle. I like it, and I do not want it to end, despite my unending tiredness. There are a myriad of layers to my person and nobody else can be me better than I can. When I was much younger, I believed wholesale in what the government would tell me, things like prisons keep society safe, and then I realised I had close family members in jail, and that the odds are stacked, that sometimes it's so hard to make ends meet, even when you put in the same or more effort as anyone else but are not guaranteed the same results, that you turn to a life of crime, anyway. I mean, of course, if the system fails you even though you play by the rules, you will lose faith in the system. I used to believe in the concept of virginity, then I realised if anyone judges you based on what you do with your body, whether you sleep around or are a sex worker or you dress like a different gender from the one you were assigned at birth, then the person judging you needs to grow, because you are much more than your body, much more than just whether you touch someone's hand or kiss their mouth or allow their penis into your body. You are what your heart does and feels. I used to believe that some part of me must be a golddigger of some sort, because I heard tropes of Asian women going out with white men for their money. Then I realised, if I, as an Asian woman, have been brought up by people who still control what I wear at 28, who still tell me not to stay over at a man's place at night, if my best friends and most of my social circles get told the same thing, then no matter how much Asian men deny it, they have been brought up with very similar values, at least those in Singapore. And if my best friends and family members don't question these things, then chances are, neither do the men. Only I break out of this mold, because I'm tired of this. I'm tired of living in a country that tells its society it is ungrateful to be displeased, when there is no minimum wage in Singapore, when there is a government that raised the retirement age by 10 years to 65, meaning the 20% of our income that goes to them (the CPF) every month, will still never belong to its people, that means that its citizens will have to work forever, and never be able to spend and enjoy what is rightfully theirs, in their prime ages. I'm tired, I'm tired, I'm tired.


I watched Her with Ben last night, we shared a screen on Google Hangouts. It is one of my favorite films, but it also overwhelms me with so many feelings I cannot take it all in one session. Sometimes I think I am better off alone, because I tend towards instability and I don't want to bring that into anyone else's life. Cheryl, my work friend/senile grandmother at work, asked how and why I seem so contented all the time, and I said I wasn't contented, so she asked how I seem so mellow all the time then. I think I keep a lot of things inside and write, and then I weep. I'm feeling a lot of things so I would really appreciate if nobody asked me anything.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018


I am in a cab to accompany my sister Lyssa to the breast clinic at KKH. She's got an appointment 'cos she has lumps in her breasts so the clinic is doing follow-up checks to know what they are, although the doctor did say there is probably nothing to worry about. My sister is one of my favorite people in the world, the other being my grandmother, and she is probably half the reason why I'm still here in Singapore, the other being my grandmother. My sister has bouts of depression because she lost the people closest to her from a very young age. Sometimes I think she isn't as strong as I am, sometimes I think I couldn't be as strong as her. I hope my sister is fine, because I am way too tired for any other scenario. I think about my mother when she battled stage three cancer, and I think my mother is also an exceptionally strong woman, and I know this, I held her in my arms when she was at her frailest, throwing up nothing but bile in the middle of the night, and I think my mother did not ask to get cancer, did not want to get hardened from the experience. And yet get hardened, she did. She doesn't believe in her own human strength, so she attributes it to a god. She thinks she was saved by the grace of a god she cannot see, and she would like all of us to be graced by the same god. Lyssa and I have always joked about the odds of one of us getting breast cancer, my mother has four daughters so the odds are really kinda stacked that one of us will have it sometime. Soon enough, we will know whether to remove Lyssa from those odds. Yesterday Lyssa and I planned to get her a Nintendo Switch in a tech online flash sale, and I thought it would help distract her, because she tends to be really depressed, and I cannot afford to bring her to migrate with me, so I thought of letting her play her games, that I can afford. There were only 5 units though, and we missed it, so I will perhaps have to get it at full price for her. But first, lumps in her breast.

Sunday, June 3, 2018


Kyrene told me to watch this video, and firstly I love the fact that the guys are doing what girls are usually doing to be objectified in music videos, ie. look cute and do weird things to be "sexy" like sucking their fingers, or other things, and washing cars, etc etc. But also the boys actually look super hot/cute in the video, so if all men agree to doing the same things that females are subjected to, perhaps we could all get used to this.

Friday, June 1, 2018


It's exactly two weeks to Eid and Atiqah's wedding. It's the second wedding I'm a bridesmaid for this year, the first wedding I will be emceeing at in my life. When Eid and the wedding have happened, the major highlights of this year will have passed and I can breathe easy and not be too tied down to Singapore.