Thursday, January 31, 2019


If you Google polar vortex, I think the definition is "so cold Sarah could die", I mean literally try it and see. The temperature in Singapore now is 88°F, which I have lived in for 28 years. The temperature in Queens now is 13°F. I don't believe in God but who do I pray to for help?


When it's good, it's easy. Sometimes you try so hard and you blame men for not trying hard enough, but I think I've just now learned that the fact they don't try means they don't think you're right for them, and that's okay. When it's good, you don't have to stay up wondering why they're not holding onto you while you sleep, you don't have to struggle wondering why you're still awake while they sleep, you don't have to make up conversation by yourself while they're driving, you don't have to provide justifications and qualifications for love, you don't have to wonder why they don't seem to say they like you very often, you don't have to grip onto topics of common interest and pretend you understand their lingo, because they won't do it for you. Sometimes it's good, and you can talk about anything, and they will feel warm and comfortable, and you will like their dorky video-game-three-lives-heart tattoo as much as they like the tattoo on your spine, sometimes they will tell you you are beautiful and you believe it, sometimes you think they are just as beautiful and try your best to make them believe it, sometimes they are wonderful and feel just right, and sometimes you play games and it's easy to connect because you like the same things and dislike the same things and sometimes, it's easy because it's good.


Is there a scale to impostor syndrome? Is it measured by how often you feel it, how intense you feel it, the duration of time for which you feel it in any one moment? Over the last few years, I've read about nationalist rhetorics, of Trump and his goddamn wall, of Brexit, and you know the gist. I wonder if anyone looks at me in New York and thinks I am here to steal a job that should rightfully belong to someone who was born here. I feel less than, I feel not good enough. I don't even have a college degree, I've never been to college. I tend to think a lot about what other people think about me, and I worry all the time, that people don't want me here. It's silly because I have brains and I'm capable, I'm sure I can do a lot of jobs just as well as other candidates, plus I have the hunger for it, to prove myself, to prove that I belong. Singaporeans qualify for the H1B1-Singapore visa, which costs 460 USD to file. $460, that's the same price as like, a new phone. Why not? Why not me? Why not now?

Also, upon further pondering, I just thought about the people I know who weren't born in Singapore but are living and working and studying in Singapore, and I don't think any of them is stealing anyone's job so, pfffft, shut up and settle down, Sarah. If someone has a bigoted opinion about immigrants, you shouldn't care about them.


Bukankah saya seorang berbangsa Melayu? Apabila saya menulis CV, saya mencatat bahawa saya boleh berbual dan menulis dalam bahasa Inggeris, Melayu dan juga Mandarin. Namun, jika anda boleh membaca tulisan ini, anda pun akan faham bahawa saya tidak berkebolehan untuk berbual atau menulis dalam Melayu secara lancar. Saya tidak tahu apa CV dalam bahasa Melayu pun. Apabila saya menulis dalam bahasa Inggeris, ternyata saya selesa dan berpengalaman menulis dalam bahasa Inggeris, apabila saya menulis dalam bahasa Melayu, tulisannya seperti seorang kanak-kanak berumur enam tahun. Perkataan demi perkataan, saya berfikir dalam bahasa Inggeris, dan saya fikir, apa perkataan ini dalam Melayu. Sesungguhnya saya rasa ini sesuatu yang patut dikasihan, kerana bahasa Melayu adalah bahasa yang sungguh romantis, bahasa elok untuk menulis pantun, dan saya tidak pernah menggunakannya, melainkan menggunakan bahasa pasar untuk berbual bersama keluarga saya. Adakah ini makna sebenar seorang bilingual? Saya rasa sememangnya tidak.

Am I not Malay? When I am putting together a CV, I state that I'm able to speak and write in English, Malay and also Mandarin. However, if you can read this, you'd understand that I don't have the ability to speak nor write smoothly in Malay. I don't even know what CV is in Malay. When I write in English, it is obvious I'm comfortable and experienced writing in English, when I write in Malay, the writing seems to be that of a six-year-old child's. Word by word, I think in English, and I think, what's this word in Malay. I do think this is regrettable, considering Malay is a romantic language, a language for poetry, yet I have never used it but to speak coarsely with my family members. Is this what it really means to be a bilingual? I think not.

(Also, I wrote this awkward paragraph in Malay first and then I wrote the smoother, more eloquent paragraph in English. Sigh.)