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 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.