Friday, August 31, 2018


I got a Kindle while I was in Beijing, and I've been reading much more than I did, prior to getting it. I finished reading The Hate U Give, which is set to be released as a motion picture, I'm very excited for! It is a sad story, based on very real events, about a black girl who sees her black friend being shot by a white police officer, and all the politics that happen after it. You know you see it in the news so often, but as a non-black person, usually like it affects you momentarily and then you forget about it and you're able to shut it out. Reading it as a novel, though, you really sort of immerse yourself into the feelings of a person who is living the experience, who can't escape the life they have been born into, and it's so sad, I teared every couple of chapters -- although, might not be the most accurate of benchmarks, I am very easily moved to tears. It's also written well, that despite the heaviness of the themes, I learned a lot about her specific black culture in her black neighbourhood, the pop-cultural references they make, her having to navigate being one of the only black students in a posh white school, especially given that she lives in a "ghetto". I honestly empathised with the black people she knew who fell into crime and drug-dealing, who did it because they had to, to save someone else they loved, etc. I would write an actual review, but I have no time at the moment. I currently just downloaded Educated: A Memoir and it starts off with a quote.
The past is beautiful because one never realises an emotion at the time. It expands later, & thus we don't have complete emotions about the present, only about the past. 
— Virginia Woolf
I don't quite know what the book is about yet, but I think I'll enjoy it. It's been a very good week, I've been quite busy at work, but also doing things for myself. My colleagues have nothing but praise for my tattoo, so yay. My mother does not know of it yet, so things are still civil at home. This weekend is the first anniversary of Lush Vivocity, so it's been a year of monthly overnight stock shipments and inventories, of training sessions at 8am on Sunday mornings, of learning to care more about people and animals and the environment, of me writing captions for @lushvivocity on Instagram (I always make a disclaimer that I don't write them all the time -- depending on my shifts, so if you see a pun, it may be mine, but it may also not be). We're having a pretty special weekend ahead, with compounding sessions for bath bombs and bubble bars. I think I will have a busier year-end period ahead, 'cos of the Lush Singapore staff party, and then I'm also involved in the Christmas showcase, and Christmas at Lush is a huge deal. I really actually like Lush a lot, and given that you can find Lush in many different parts of the world, I'm hoping it's my way out of here. So far, I've been looking at North America, but we'll see where things take me.

I think it has been a long time coming, but I finally see where I am, where I can be, and am happy with it. I learned a lot of my triggers for anxiety and depression in the past two years. First it used to be my periods, because blood would make me think of the miscarriage. Then it would be delayed periods, because obviously one time, when I didn't get my period, it was because I was pregnant. Then it was falling sick, because when I met the man who got me pregnant, it was when I had just gotten better from being really ill. Then it was sex, because clearly you can only get pregnant if you're having sex (here is a life lesson for all you kiddos: pulling out is not protection! if you're a girl and you don't want to get pregnant, please be smart enough to either be on birth control, and if you're not because you grew up in a weird sex-taboo environment like I did, be sure that your partner is wearing a condom! good luck!) and I kept learning and learning, that a lot of situations had the potential to spin me out of control. But now it's been almost two years to the day I left LA (we're seven days away from it), and I think I have learned and know enough. Enough to realise that some things are triggers, and I have the ability to either be triggered by it, or compartmentalise it as a thing that happened once because I wasn't aware, but then put it aside.

I subscribed to the New York Times crossword, but a lot of it is American-contextualised, so I'm not very efficient at doing it yet, though I do think I'll get better. We all get better from somewhere.

Thursday, August 23, 2018


all the shine of a thousand spotlights
all the stars we steal from the night sky
will never be enough
never be enough

towers of gold are still too little
these hands could hold the world
but it will never be enough
never be enough

Jenny Lind, who was born in 1820, was an illegitimate child, and she was semi-fictionalised for The Greatest Showman, but she was someone who actually lived, and historically, she really was born out of wedlock. Two hundred years ago, it was something shamed upon and two hundred years later, it still is something shameful in my community, and two hundred years from now, it will still be the same, unless something changes in between. I have lived 28 years, and in 28 years, my mother still lives with the guilt, and she has not forgiven herself, which is something I have carried within me ever since I learned it was something contextually bad, at maybe six, or seven or eight, whenever it was that I found out. In the Muslim community, women are encouraged to veil themselves, and the partial basis of this is actually a positive thing. When you are veiled, it takes away the realm of superficiality, and incentivises people to look beyond your clothes, that everyone is similar when you're not just looking skin deep, and it forces you to judge people based on their characters and personalities, not just how they look. People being people, this got bastardised, and the Muslim community are just about as superficial and judgmental as everyone else. Suddenly, the veil and having tattoo-free skin were the only obvious marks of being good people. Muslim women are not allowed to paint their nails, as it prevents ablution and prayer, so if you see tutorials by Muslim women, if they happen to show a bit of hair, or are wearing nail polish, you can bet your bottom dollar, there will be comment feuds about these things. Zayn Malik, who has tattoos on his skin, has similar comments on his Instagram, which highlights only one thing, instead of the non-Muslim community being judgmental towards Muslims, it has just become about Muslims being judgmental within themselves. It doesn't matter that Zayn is a philanthropist and could donate millions of dollars of his earnings, the one thing people will be fighting about are his tattoos. I have a major problem with traditional Muslims and other religious people believing in such rigid codes supposedly set by their divine being/s. If you believe the god you have complete faith in will judge someone based on whether they have tattoos, or whether they were born to a set of married parents, whether you are conscious of it, you will tend to have double, triple, quadruple standards in dealing with people. I watched a local Malay drama recently, in which this lady was evaluating whether a Malay man would be deemed suitable of receiving funds from community aid or something like that, she thought he had tattoos and was apprehensive of him, until they found out it was temporary henna and his sister had just been practising on him, after which the social worker instantly softened towards him. I was so irked by that, as if if he'd had real tattoos, it instantly meant that he wasn't a good, honest and hardworking person. These are still the values being perpetuated in Malay drama serials, these are the things that my family members still think. When I talk to my friends and colleagues, I know in Singaporean society, a majority of the older generation are still not accepting of tattoos. I tell them about how long I've been thinking of getting a tattoo, and I tell them that my family will look upon me differently, and my peers who already have tattoos always seem a fraction colder towards me. I know they know that I don't judge them differently based on what they want to do to their own skin. Yet, every time I talk about how difficult it is for me, I know it seems like I am just like my family with their old values, that I would still judge someone based on the superficial, instead of the facts that they are the most motivated people at work, the bravest with their businesses, the kindest and most accepting with their hearts. I know there will be conservative people who will look at me with my tattoo after this, and think my mother has failed in raising me, and if you are one of them, I would like to assure you, my mother has done no such thing. She is now a staunch Muslim, she is very hard on us when we are not, and she has done nothing to let me know that she would accept me with a tattoo. However, based on the fact that I am the illegitimate child, I will never be enough for my mother. I have been pretty much depressed on and off for the past two years, because of my miscarriage, and despite living in the same apartment, under the same roof, my mother has not acknowledged my condition, no matter how many nights I spend crying myself to sleep. I live in a family and community that would rather impart their own beliefs and worldviews to their children, instead of validating their children's individual mindsets. This is why I think a lot of people shouldn't have kids, if you think that the kid will always remain a kid and not become a person of their own, and if you will disregard your kid if they believe different things. This is also why I want to move out of Singapore. Singapore is not the most liberal of societies, that's true, but a lot of people in my generation have come to terms with it, because they have individual freedoms within their family units, and I don't. I don't have the freedom to wear what I want, to do what I want with my body, to stay out whenever I want with my own time, so I conflate the lack of freedom in Singapore, and the lack of freedom from my mother, and I think, I need to be at the first place I grew up learning was a place of freedom: the US. I am not happy here. This is also why I look for love from man after man after man, because I have never felt enough here, I don't feel like I belong and I have never felt enough for myself. I want to be somewhere else, where I can feel enough just as the person I am. I'm not saying my mother doesn't love me, but if she had the choice to only have conceived me after marriage, she would choose it every time. My mother is disappointed in herself, so I know the choices I make with my body will always disappoint my mother, but I would like to accept myself for my choices in life, I want to know that I own my body and I can do what I feel is right for me, and I am enough for me.