Wednesday, July 29, 2020

WHEN YOU ARE YOUNG
THEY ASSUME YOU KNOW NOTHING

i) A couple of nights ago, Dhuha sent me a DM on Instagram. A decade ago, we were in a hobby group (?) on Facebook, called #TVWhores, because we all watched quite a bit of TV. I think they were geekier (I mean this in the highest respect and I think I wanted to be as much of a geek) than I was, they watched Doctor Who and stuff like that, but we'd bond over Community and Sherlock, and such TV shows of that era. Anyway, Dhu moved to Vancouver for work, and I never really kept in contact with her, but she dropped me a message.


I felt an instant relief at seeing her message, because up to that point, I personally knew zero (0) people in Canada. Now I know one!!! Dhu lives in Vancouver too, but on the mainland, whereas I will be offshore on an island, 1.5 hours away by ferry (how quaint is that???!!!). I cannot explain it, it's not as if she will be holding my hand taking me to school, but my fear decreased exponentially and my excitement was allowed to be more prominent. 

I am really ready for Canada. If you don't know how Singapore is, it's like an entire country like New York City. It's a concrete jungle, and no one even sings songs about it, about how you're able to be free and creative, because you're not. I want to be in Canada, and be a faerie in the woods (HAHAHA), and sit by a creek, and do my assignments and read books, and not worry so much about climate change, because there won't be a human person being stupid and careless everywhere I turn. Also, I've seen Dhu's photos on Instagram, and it looks amazing. Trees always look so good in Canada???? 

ii) I went to Sarah's community class last week. She's starting her journey as a spin instructor, and in that one class, she made me cry. She put on this track without lyrics, and she told us to close our eyes, and to thank our bodies for having taken us so far, for having gone through all the deep and dark times for us, for still being here. I was probably having a moment in my mental health, but I was feeling proud of my body, and I shed a couple of tears.
 

I've gone for yoga and spin classes, I'm swimming more often, I run when I need to clear my mind. I just signed up for a boxing package. I haven't gone climbing in literal ages. Actually, the last time I climbed was in LA. I want to climb again to give my arms more of a workout, so I think I might take up a few climbing classes in August. 

You know, I went through a mental health journey before joining lululemon, so I'm very aware of when people overexercise to distract themselves from going through whatever they're going through mentally. I try not to do so, but I can see it happening quite often where I work. I hope I can be as good an influence on them as they are on me. I want to suggest that along with sweaty pursuits, we can claim a bit of the budget for crying pursuits (working title lolol). Physical healing can only go so far, one day when you've spent too much time at the gym, you still have to take time out and visit a therapist to talk about what's going on in your brain. I feel like lululemon could take up the suggestion in a more positive manner than other workplaces, they do offer quite extensive ways of employee welfare, and mental health is a huge part of someone's welfare.

iii) Elon Musk Tweeted a ridiculous Tweet about Das Kapital. I wonder what his partner Grimes thinks about it. Imagine being so smart you can plan to colonize Mars, and yet still be so staggeringly stupid you think pronouns suck, that leftists just want everything for free, while you amass more wealth than you could spend in your generation or your children's, or your grandchildren's. I wonder if everyone working at SpaceX is a dudebro. 

The people there must be between 20 to 30 years younger than he is, and younger generations are much more exposed to compassionate thinking. Come on, Joey, your ex- and future partners are counting on you, your partners and your friends' partners must have imparted some of their compassion to you and your dudebros. You made sure to tip generously, you paid rent when your housemates couldn't keep up with their payments, because you know some people cannot help the situations they were born in or got themselves into. Wealth is created through labor, and billionaires profit off of the labor of the working class. 

You all know this!!!!! I am manifesting all of my debating knowledge, of conviction, of persuasion, to all the people who are working with and for multibillionaires. Late-stage capitalism is not sustainable, because it works by exploitation. We can create a more sustainable system, and we must. No one needs that much wealth, and more importantly, no one should live with that much wealth, when half the world could not help being born into poverty.

Monday, July 27, 2020

FOLKLORE

Tonight is one of those nights. Personally I have had a good day, many good days. However, there are thoughts with dark edges swirling around in my brain, tonight. I think about Yemen and I think about how billionaires shouldn't exist. I think about how one single billionaire could help a humanitarian crisis because I cannot. I am literally two degrees away from a multibillionaire. The last time I spoke to Joey was maybe nineteen days ago. He asked if I was still alive. It's almost like a running joke between us, except given the state of the world, there is a lot of seriousness underlying the joke. Joey said the US is sucking so hard right now, and I know for a fact that's a red flag, for someone who loves America as much as I remember. He still works in SpaceX, still could talk to Elon Musk if he wanted to. Could I write a letter on behalf of Yemen and ask Joey to pass it on? Very likely. Is Elon Musk likely to give it any notice? Highly unlikely. Four years ago, almost to the day, I sat next to Joey in his bed in the house on Manhattan Beach and I said Elon Musk got where he was because he had white privilege. Joey said he didn't, Elon didn't have an easy time growing up, so you know. When privileged people cannot see their own privilege, they are not inclined to help those without. I don't know what Joey thinks now, four years is a long time. They say when you meet someone above the age of twenty-five, their thoughts are set for life because the prefrontal cortex is fully developed at that age. I, however, always change my views after learning new information, and I'm thirty, so I have hope. For Elon Musk, though? I'm not so sure.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

MCM

Today I learned that a person I used to see in debate circles, Imran Rahim, has been accused of sexual grooming and predatory behaviors while he was a debater or while he was coaching as a debater alumni (alumnac?? Is alumni the plural?? Idk you'll have to Google this yourself). He's married to someone I would say is the most popular Instagram influencer in Singapore, Andrea Chong. I also used to see her coming down to debates tournaments to support him, etc. I say Imran has been accused because I haven't read firsthand accounts, but there have been corroborating allegations all published through a political party member whom I would think can be considered quite credible. The party member who posted the allegations seems of sound mind and employs logical argumentation procedures so I wouldn't think he would bring to light false accusations, although I could be wrong. Imran wasn't the most handsome of people, but finding Malay men in debate circles is near impossible, because as you might have figured, educational systems in Singapore are quite, quite classist. I obviously always was a little in awe and impressed by him, this eloquent and confident suave Malay law student representing the top university of Singapore. I really do wonder if the allegations are true. I would like to know, because if there's one thing I hate, it's people with power getting away with abuse. He's since issued a statement that there is no truth in any of the allegations, so I really hope the PAP (the very powerful incumbent political party in Singapore that Imran just so happens to be in) conduct a real and thorough investigation. Although some of the allegations seem to be from debating times, nearly a decade ago, I think what's important is, if you've commited a mistake or more, you own up to them and commit to the change you might have made. This is so that the victims and survivors are not gaslit, are given some sense of closure, and are not left fearing for future potential victims. Also, I didn't see Imran nearly often enough to make any kind of judgment on his character, but hearing the allegations, I'm not at all surprised. The debates circles in Singapore were rampant with predatory acts. The debates coach who used to teach me and the team I was in, was known for his shady behavior. About five years ago, although that was when I was 25 and very much already an adult, and he was no longer my coach, he still tried to ask me out alone to a bar in Clarke Quay, and I highly suspected it was to proposition me for a casual one-nighter, so I bailed at the last minute.

Friday, July 24, 2020

THE 1


I'm doing good, I'm on some new shit 
been saying "yes" instead of "no" 
I thought I saw you at the bus stop, I didn't though 
I hit the ground running each night 
I hit the Sunday matinée 
you know the greatest films of all time were never made 

I guess you never know, never know 
and if you wanted me, you really should've showed 
and if you never bleed, you're never gonna grow 
and it's alright now

but we were something, don't you think so? 
roaring twenties, tossing pennies in the pool 
and if my wishes came true 
it would've been you 
in my defense, I have none 
for never leaving well enough alone 
but it would've been fun 
if you would've been the one 

I had this dream you're doing cool shit
having adventures on your own 
you meet some woman on the internet and take her home 
we never painted by the numbers, baby 
but we were making it count 
you know the greatest loves of all time are over now 

I guess you never know, never know 
and it's another day waking up alone 

but we were something, don't you think so? 
roaring twenties, tossing pennies in the pool 
and if my wishes came true 
it would've been you 
in my defense, I have none 
for never leaving well enough alone 
but it would've been fun 
if you would've been the one 

I, I, I persist and resist the temptation to ask you 
if one thing had been different 
would everything be different today? 

we were something, don't you think so? 
rosé flowing with your chosen family 
and it would've been sweet 
if it could've been me 
in my defense, I have none 
for digging up the grave another time 
but it would've been fun 
if you would've been the one

I gotta give a shoutout to Taylor Swift for dropping a surprise eighth album, the first song of which I really like. Thanks for giving 2020 something worth remembering for. It sounds majorly different from all of her previous music. It's way more chill. The name of the album is folklore and it really describes the music.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

CO-SLEEP

Dear,

I think it's time. Maybe I am in a different headspace now, maybe I'm not. I have got sunscreen on, so I'm trying not to cry it off, but I've also learned from many people that when the tears come, let them come. At our birthday celebration last year, I told you about the man who had made me feel unsafe by making a remark that was insinuated to be about what I was wearing. My reaction to this sprang up from many emotions. My body has stored many different memories in its muscles, some stored way down and buried, and I think one of them was the time I was followed home at midnight and flashed by a man at the staircase landing. In Singapore, supposedly one of the safest countries in the world. When that happened, I was again asked why I came home late, what I was wearing, and this time last year, I did not want to have to defend myself. As my best friend, I just wanted you to allow me to feel hurt and upset, even if you did not feel it with me. You said the man who passed his comment to me might have had protective intentions, but you didn't acknowledge the underlying message that if he's telling me things about my clothing, it's a free pass for other men to leer at me based on what I wear. I should be able to wear whatever I want to wear, and if men are being predatory, tell the men to stop being predatory. The onus is not on me to protect myself. A month before that, you said you felt as though we weren't doing as well in life as the other two. I still don't know if all three of you felt that way, or it was just a feeling you had. I'd never really felt such a thing, but the conversation changed, and I was happy to plan my future with your tips to help me along. You used to tell me your husband had also gone through difficult family situations in life, but he still "made it" and was taking care of his mother. I felt like you had a benchmark to cross off milestones in a person's life, and I was falling behind. I didn't realize it at the time, but I was sad you felt that way. I didn't think I was less successful than the other two, or than any of you three. Perhaps I have different milestones I celebrate in life. I celebrate being able to love and be open with my feelings, I celebrate having had mental health issues and overcoming them, little by little, year after year. I celebrate knowing when a relationship has run its healthy course and being able to end it. I celebrate being open about therapy. I celebrate being a pioneer that other people turn to for advice on what is acceptable moral behavior and what isn't. Maybe I don't celebrate success as reaching career milestones or stable finances in a world that defines your worth through your capital income, and I'm proud of this. There is so much I didn't say to you, from that one conversation, and maybe it just stung me enough for me not to know how to approach it. I have enough on my plate, never being enough for my mother, for not being religious, for having been conceived out of wedlock. I was sad that I didn't seem to be doing well enough for you. I do not fault you, we may have different mindsets and the way our friendship ended was my responsibility to take, and I take it. I do miss you, and I loved you. We had sixteen amazing years together. I have feelings for men I spent only weeks and months with, and I still do. My brain and body remember all the things I went through with you. The characters we met, like Naya and her straight-out whackjob delirium, the times we were both bitchy and mean about other people, the way you took care of me more than my own family could have. I appreciate you and I will always miss you, but I have become much more radical than a lot of people we know. I am more Marxist than the people I know at work, I am the most outspoken atheist that any of my extended family members have possibly encountered in their lives. I wish I could go back to a year ago and have a civil way of getting closure for both of us, but I am so tired. I am so sad and tired from trying to fit myself into spaces I don't belong in. I'm tired of having to justify myself and my actions and my thoughts to my family and friends and colleagues. I don't know what's happened in your life, I barely know if you're really the one who's had a child, but I will always hope for the best in your life, and I'm sure, I choose to believe you are doing the same for me. I have to tell y'all something. The worst possible way to cry, and you can trust me on this because I've gone through many variations, but the absolute worst is crying while wearing a mask so your tears and snot are wetting it through and you can't wipe it. My boss saw me crying when I arrived at work today, and she said crying is a sign of being vulnerable, and that is strength. Shoutout to Sherie, I love you, thank you for giving me time and space.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

DEUTERONOMY

I woke up at 5am this morning to get to work by 7am. We did visual merchandising which is when we have new items and change up the look of the store before it opens. It was a good shift but my entire body is aching. The DOMS I've been suffering from Sunday's ashtanga class has been quite intense and it's lasted until now, I'm not sure why. 

I had sushi and ice-cream with my fellow lululemons today. I'm really easing into the family and I'll miss them a lot when I'm overseas. I need to sleep early tonight, I'm exhausted, even though I've really been trying to offload or spread out my tasks. Work has been quite good, though. There's a lot of planning to be done and I'm excited to see how the execution will turn out. 



This morning, I received a text message from Tina and it was actually everything I really needed to hear, but now I just need to shower, eat and sleep. Today I am grateful for the little big things, and for Tina. Of all the things in New York City, I am grateful to have met her.

I hope Kanye gets the help he needs for his mental health.

Also: my mom got home and she asked me to change from my shorts to something longer, because my sister's ex-boyfriend is over at our place to play games on the Switch. In this household, women don't have rights and I look forward to Canada and anywhere else I have rights.

Monday, July 20, 2020

ABERCROMBIE

I met a friend from high school who follows my previous best friends on Instagram. The friend asked me about them, and I said I didn't know anything, but they then told me the one I was closest to, might have had a baby. This brought back so many feelings, I'm trying to sit with them right now. The friend I met asked whether I'd ended the friendship over a petty reason, and then I asked myself, did I become the ultimate epitome of my biological dad having abandoned us, by dropping my friends? I don't know. A month or two before we fell out, I remember the closest friend of mine saying it was a good thing I was going back to my studies, because she thought that she and I were the less successful among the four of us in a group. I had never thought of it that way, and when this conversation happened, I internalized it instead of bringing it up with her in a healthy manner. I may always regret having all the issues build within me, and between us, until I eventually broke and instinctively decided to stop meeting her. If she's a mother now, she's in charge of molding a future life and I really hope for the best for her and her family. Unpacking all my feelings at this news is going to take an entire therapy session.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

PAPER MARIO

A thing that I say to my therapist more often than not is that I'm bored. I don't know if that's actually what I'm feeling, or if I'm using the correct word to describe it, but I always say I'm bored. I'm bored by the human condition and how predictable people are, and how often people take the boring path most taken. I don't mean this in terms of career, more like in mindset. I used to work at Lush, right, and I knew someone who bought Lush stuff and said that Lush is expensive, and they wondered why, because higher prices weren't good for the customers, obviously. One of the reasons Lush is slightly steeper in price is it pays for ethically farmed ingredients, it supports socioenvironmental causes, etc. However, the thing that gnawed at me was I worked for Lush, meaning even as a salesperson or brand ambassador (as Lush calls their salespeople), I deserved to get paid a working wage. This person did not consider that the price of the products clearly factors in my wages, and I felt slighted. True, I may not have had to study very much to work at Lush, but it took me a lot of energy to constantly be facing strangers, and be "on" at work. Nobody, no matter how congenial they are, nobody is nice or wants to be nice all the time. Yet service staff are demanded to be, while at the same time not given enough respect to apparently deserve working wages. I attended a healing session for feminists yesterday, and we all shared our instances of misogyny. We talked about how women are usually unconsciously given the task of reparenting themselves, reparenting their spouses, and then also parenting their kids. Reparenting means unlearning what was taught to them by their parents and relearning what they would want to have learned instead. It's a lot of invisible emotional labor that nobody pays women for. I'm bored by people expecting me to educate them about "social justice things" and then saying it's my fault when I don't. I didn't go to school for this, I haven't gone to school for this yet. Everything I know, I read through Instagram posts, through online articles, through academic papers. I didn't pay for any of it, except with my time and energy. If I, as a retail worker, can carve out the time and expend the energy required to educate myself and keep reeducating myself, most of you with your multiple degrees must have some more leisurely time than I do, to do the same, unless you are paying me for it, in which case, sure! I'm bored by people who don't feel good about themselves and set out to make others feel bad as well. Come on, do you know how much of a cliché that is? You have got to stop thinking being broken is a good excuse to break anyone else. I'm bored that you're not doing the work on yourselves, acknowledging the flaws within you, so you can actually be better and do better for you. I'm bored of people who veer towards either the extremely emotional or logical sides of things. The former refers to my mom, who pays too much mind to her feelings, but spends no thought on her mind. The latter, to people who think they are Rick Sanchez, that think it's possible and even encouraged to boast about how brainy they are and that feelings are not real, not important. Rick Sanchez has an abusive manipulative relationship with his closest companion Morty, and his daughter Beth keeps lingering, hoping for scraps of his affection. All of them are broken, and they allow themselves to be. Also, none of them are real, which should be enough reason that you cannot be Rick Sanchez, you literally are not able to. I'm so bored by people who may be affected by toxic masculinity, who don't display the softer sides of their sexuality, or even acknowledge it fully, because of conditions placed upon them by other broken people. You are all clichés, and you bore me. I'm bored that you haven't realized that being in touch with your brain that can always be improved with more information, as well as your heart that can always expand with more compassion, would make you a much more interesting person. This world has been around for eons, and the fact that we are in this situation now, means we've all indulged in being broken for far too long. This is what happens when we're all thinking of only ourselves, without being in connection with the seven billion other people who are alive. Aren't you bored of this already? Wouldn't you want to see or know how the world could be if we all dived a little deeper, and cared a little more, to change ourselves, instead of taking everything at surface value? Wouldn't it be more interesting to see something we've literally never seen before?

Saturday, July 18, 2020

WATERPIK

Today my sister told me that I grind my teeth and snore when I'm really knocked out from work. Lucas has never told me the same thing. He says he's never noticed it so he might be a deeper sleeper than I am. That means I need to get a mouth guard. I lost my retainers after my braces years ago, and I'm too cheap to replace them with real ones, so I'll find some silicon mouth guards to protect my teeth from the grinding in my sleep. I've been using sunscreen daily for the past week. I've never used skincare, apart from cleansing my face after makeup. I never really envisioned myself being old, and so have never tried to safeguard against wrinkles in old age. I feel like I'm really coming out of survival mode, and into planning mode, that I'm actually putting on sunscreen so I don't get cancer. I also have incorporated caffeine and niacinamide into my skincare routine. I don't know how effective they are, as many people have pointed out, I generally already have very clear skin, but I hope this routine proves itself to be useful as I age into my forties and fifties.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

YOU'RE ONLY YOUNG TWICE


we're not in love
we share no stories
just something in your eyes
don't be afraid
the shadows know me
let's leave the world behind

take me through the night
fall into the dark side
we don't need the light
we'll live on the dark side
I see it, let's feel it
while we're still young and fearless
let go of the light
fall into the dark side
fall into the dark side
give into the dark side
let go of the light
fall into the dark side

beneath the sky
as black as diamonds
we're running out of time
don't wait for truth
to come and blind us
let's just believe their lies
believe it, I see it
I know that you can feel it
no secrets worth keeping
so fool me like I'm dreaming

HAPPY

My depression is at an ebb, and I have had almost three good and happy weeks. I must acknowledge it, lengthened periods of happy times don't come too naturally nor easily for me, so when they're here, I recognize and appreciate them. Today I went to collect my new identity card. While re-registering for it, I had to fill in my religion, and now it's stated as "no religion". When I posted it on Instagram, a friend replied that I had guts and strength. This is because the conflation of race and religion in Singapore is extremely strong, and unrightly encouraged by the government. If you're born Malay, you are automatically assumed to be Muslim and that is your identity. Being a vocally ex-Muslim Malay is not easy here, to this day I have acquaintances who don't understand that I can be Malay without being Muslim. They think that as long as my identity card states my race as Malay, I immediately cannot consume pork. Also, I am shunned, sort of on the down low, by some of the Muslim community. I think my mother feels more ashamed to admit to anyone else that I am no longer Muslim than she would feel at anything else. 

Anyway, besides collecting my card and going to work today, I had dinner with some ex-colleagues and very lovely friends from Lush. We laughed so loud we were told by the café staff to lower our voices. Amazing. After that dinner, some girls from lululemon were having KBBQ and so I joined them for that. We shared embarrassing stories and I told them about the French guy from Tinder who was very rude to me (one day when I'm in Canada I may talk about the implied prostitution but not while I still live in this household). It was a good, good, good, good night. Tomorrow I start my day off with therapy, then a work shift, followed by a yoga session (I finally managed to book a mat at Hom Yoga!), ending the night off with two friends from my high school. This Saturday, I have three Zoom sessions, two with the mental health collective subgroups and one with a healing feminist circle. I'm not sure why I've been overbooking myself so much that I don't even have time to do any actual work, but that's life. I'm happy and I'm happy to be happy.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

RISE UP

I finally got to watch the Hamilton film on Disney+. If you have yet to watch it, please do. You don't even have to pay to see it in high quality now! Since the Black Lives Matter movement, Lin-Manuel Miranda has acknowledged that Hamilton the musical may be criticized for paying homage to Hamilton, a man who married into a family that exploited slavery, even if Hamilton himself did not directly do so. I love how Lin is so quick to be accountable for anything problematic he could be involved in, or that he directly created or engaged with. He says criticism is valid, instead of being defensive, and I think that makes for a better world. I have a tattoo of a lyric from the musical, that's how much I love it. Every time I watch the bootleg version on my laptop (now I will have a better version thanks to Disney+), I am reminded of my time in New York. The Disney+ version obviously has clear and crisp audio, so you can hear each lyric being rapped or sung, together with impeccable visuals, so you see the best angles of the choreography and don't miss any of the facial expressions of the cast members. It truly could be the best free way to watch Hamilton, and appreciate the lyrical genius of Lin-Manuel Miranda, barring if you won lottery tickets to see it on Broadway, which may be suspended for a long, long while thanks to the 'rona. I honestly cannot express how much I would like everyone to see it, every time someone sees it for the first time, the first thing they do is tell me they finally understand why I love it. The mood of the musical is perfectly the mood of New York City, the hustle and bustle, but also of New York City especially in the time of now. Underlying the Trump administration and all his debauchery, is a strong electric current that runs through the city, of dissatisfied people wanting to start a revolution. Hamilton was a key factor in the USA's revolt against the British to gain independence, and maybe at this moment in time, there is a Hamilton-esque figure in the world, rising up in revolution against the greedy capitalists of New York City, against late-stage capitalism. The musical is perfect to me, it's intelligent and snarky and funny and warm and brave and everything I always want to embody. I hope that when people watch it, they think of me. Not in a I-know-Sarah-loves-this-musical kind of way, but in a wow I could see Sarah writing or doing exactly what Hamilton did kind of way. Of course, Hamilton kind of sort of brought about his own downfall, and perhaps, thanks to the musical, I never will. What is history for, if not to learn from?

Monday, July 13, 2020

CUMPLEAÑOS

It's been rainy the entire night and morning so it's a little gloomy but the weather is also nice and cool. That's not usual in Singapore. I swam yesterday, for a longer time than I'm used to. It's great. It's getting near impossible to book a mat in my usual yoga studio, given the COVID-19 distancing precautions. I have sweat money to use courtesy of lululemon, so I'm thinking on whether to sign up for a Ritual gym membership. I did their online sessions during the lockdown and I like the style. It's a little scary though, when I go to a professional gym or yoga studio, I'm likely to be the least fit participant there. I do know it's not a competition with anyone else, and it's only to improve my own fitness and strength, so there's that. 

I've had two good weeks, with the aberration of the Singapore elections. That was very disappointing, but I cannot say it was too much of a surprise. We'd always known the boomers will take a longer time to come around. I'm reading Americanah by one of my favorite people in the world, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. She wrote a cute short book and also presented a Ted Talk, We Should All Be Feminists. I like the Americanah book so far but haven't gotten too deep into it to have any thoughts about it. I've also been watching Say I Do, a Netflix series where one half of a couple proposes and plans a surprise wedding for their partner. They all have had very serious issues, with health or finances. It's nice to see that they all get the amazing dream weddings they deserve. It's strange when I see such weddings happen in films, I think that's a pipe dream and unattainable, but these people are regular real-life people who may not even have the comforts I have in my life, are granted the most beautiful, special, meaningful occasions, so. I don't know what's realistic and what isn't, anymore. 

Today my mentor scheduled an online 1:1 session and I was a little nervous, as I always am. She just took five minutes to pass on some compliments that they'd discussed about some things I do at work, and also to check in on me. That was great. I am determined to make this a third good week.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

SPICE GIRLS

In the past year, I've distanced myself from people who used to be my best friends or close friends. These were for a variety of reasons. They did not acknowledge toxic masculinity as being insidiously present in our racial and religious community. We don't see eye to eye in politics and they don't support minimum wage. They didn't really see systemic racism in Singapore. They're not feminist. They're not vocal enough. They don't believe in therapy. This applies to a range of people I used to meet very often, and describes perhaps up to ten people I was or still am friends with. I have equally high standards for the relationships I'm in. My partner is in a company that doesn't support black lives? I will raise the issue. He reads Marxist books written by old white men but not brown women from Southeast Asia? Also called into question. You're a Democrat but you voted for Clinton instead of Sanders? That means you still don't empathize with class issues and you're dropped. Anyway, all this to say, as long as you don't value the life of a marginalized person (black / woman / LGBT / minority / poor / disabled / immigrant, etc) as much as you do your own life, and if you don't use your voice and platform and privilege to amplify theirs, I don't think you're entitled to my time. In this aspect, I think I've made my boundaries very clear. 

Saturday, July 11, 2020

JALAN KAYU

The election results are pretty much out and it's an improvement from 2015, but barely. It could have been a much better improvement and there were some extremely close battles and margins, but it still slid to the worse outcomes. I am angry. I have a right to be angry. I am sick and tired of living in a world that the previous generation brought me into, without much consideration of how I and the future generations would get through it. I am sad. I am very sad for all the efforts that went in, for all the still younger generations that could have tilted the results, the ones who are exposed to more balanced resources, but who were denied the vote, and who still have to make their ways through the same tough obstacle course, for at least the next five years in Singapore. If my generation ever leaves a legacy, I would like it to be known as the ones who took it back from the most selfish generation and carved it into a more caring, less self-centred system of living. To soothe myself to sleep, all I can think about is, at least I will be in Canada for at least the next four years. I'm sorry, Singaporeans. This country has let us down. It has let us down time and time again. Fuck off, Singapore. 

Friday, July 10, 2020

V

At 30 years old, I still wear my heart on my sleeve. I allow myself to be vulnerable and open up to the deepest joys and sorrows life can bring. I am human and I am proud of it. An important thing therapy has taught me is that there are no wrong feelings. What I feel is the right feeling. I don't have to think I shouldn't be feeling this, or it's not okay to feel this way. I feel it, and that means it's okay, because I'm still alive and life still goes on, so it must mean it doesn't defy the laws of physics for me to feel any kind of way. This applies when I'm feeling unexpectedly happy, or excited, or disappointed, or angry, or decidedly still in deep liking with people I thought I didn't. My feelings are okay, and I am okay. I voted, and it was quick, but I still felt nervous. I am but one person in my district, but it felt so big, so much beyond me. Somehow this feeling reminds me that I am made of stardust, and that I am the product of millions of years before me. That feels okay.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

THE AND STANCE

I had a therapy session this morning. I brought up a recent thing between Lucas and I, and my therapist is trying to get me to be comfortable using the "and" stance. This is when I think of an incident in my story or from my perspective, I think about the incident from his perspective and I reconcile that what I feel and experience can be true and valid, AND the things that he feels can be true and valid, at the same time. This may sound logical to anyone else, but it's quite foreign to me. I don't know why, I just was never taught the exercise. I don't know why I think in false binaries and dichotomies and as if everything is a zero sum game. My therapist is trying to get me to eventually be able to have difficult conversations, by myself. I don't know about you but I'm not a fan of difficult conversations. However, I am an adult now, and I can do the adult thing, and that means having the difficult conversation. I also told her about the unexpected thing that happened. I framed it rather positively, or at least I said I saw growth, because I think there has indeed been growth and development, so she received it positively, or perhaps she has a little different of an impression than she cares to let on. Tomorrow I vote for the second time in my life, and then I can wind down and breathe for a little while.

SANDWICH GENERATION

I had a very good day. I collected a pair of sneakers that I'd won in a contest. I had dinner with Noran. I'd missed her and it was so good catching up. I was doing alright for a year or so but now before I sleep, I spend an hour wondering why people do the things they do. Maybe it means nothing. Maybe it's all just Rick and Morty. I keep rambling to myself and giggling, and nobody knows why, except for one person, but do they even know? Do they????? I have no clue. Today was a good day and I've almost had two solid good weeks, and all I need now is just some relatively good election results this Friday, please and thank you. Please, Singapore, please. Also I'm just trying to write this out but my sister is talking nonsense to me so I'm out, gotta tune in to her now. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

BIG BLUE HOUSE

I was supposed to wake up early to do some work today, but found that I'd gotten my period. I just took a Naproxen, which is the NSAID I take for the cramps. I hope it works, I had some errands to run today, and I'm really not in the mood for this. Imagine thinking someone is Joe Alwyn, but they think they're just some rando, how's that for a segue. I really need to get my work done, but I'm so sleepy and tired and out of it. Please, body, please cooperate with me, in return you may have ice-cream this weekend as a form of delayed gratification. The shit I have to tell myself, honestly, I am a child. Why do I type ice-cream as ice-cream when it's actually ice cream? Hmm.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

IRREVERENT

This morning, Tina sent me a Twitter link to an article that ICE is making international students leave if their classes are moved online, so we commiserated over/celebrated the fact that I didn't continue with my application to the college in New York. If Trump gets re-elected this November, I will have nothing more to say. The global atmosphere of dread would not ever dissipate if that happens. 

She also said it's wild that we have our races displayed in our ICs. 

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Today I re-registered my IC with a new photo as every 30-year-old Singaporean is supposed to do. I just realized it's called an identity card when I'd thought all along that it was an identification card. When I was 16, I was even more of a dork than I am now. I had badly-rebonded hair, I couldn't keep my mouth closed when I smiled because I hadn't gotten braces yet. In the time since then, I've had some pretty heavy times but I have also had the best times I've had in my life. I want to go back to 16, when I didn't think of climate change everyday, when I didn't know about socioeconomic injustices and was blind to my own privileges. Then again, maybe 15 years later, I will also have experienced even more unbridled and as yet unknown joys and passions, who knows. Maybe I will cringe looking at my photos at thirty years old. I look forward to it. (I still really resent the Race marker on our cards, but that's another long story.)

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The Singapore government denies that it's used for racial profiling, but the Singapore government isn't honest about a lot of things. The fact that it says Malay means that I will be put on a back burner if I'm looking for a place to rent, or if I'm applying for jobs, until they don't have any more Chinese people to fill up the space. I used to be able to get away with it better than other non-Chinese people in Singapore, because I'm not religious and I speak their language, so I always stated in forms that I can actually speak Mandarin. I no longer do so, even when I can assimilate, I refuse to because it means making myself less than, or admitting that I'm less than unless I'm similar to them. 

An up-and-coming minority-race woman politician, Raeesah Khan, whom I've likened to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, is being persecuted because she's called out the systemic racism that exists in Singapore, and the political party in power says she's sowing discord among us. She's not in my district and the gerrymandering by the PAP is strong, but I really hope she wins in her district. We vote in three days, so the entire country will have heightened anxieties until then. I will have to bring it up to my therapist. I will remember to sit with my feelings and feel them, instead of writing about them.

See you this weekend, with some good news, I hope.

THE SCIENTIST

No one:
Absolutely no one:
Me: this song was playing when...
come up to meet you
tell you I'm sorry
you don't know how lovely you are
I had to find you
tell you I need you
tell you I set you apart

tell me your secrets
and ask me your questions
oh, let's go back to the start
running in circles, coming up tails
heads on a science apart

nobody said it was easy
it's such a shame for us to part
nobody said it was easy
no one ever said it would be this hard
oh, take me back to the start

I was just guessing at numbers and figures
pulling your puzzles apart
questions of science, science and progress
do not speak as loud as my heart

tell me you love me
come back and haunt me
oh, and I rush to the start
running in circles, chasing our tails
coming back as we are

nobody said it was easy
oh, it's such a shame for us to part
nobody said it was easy
no one ever said it would be so hard
I'm going back to the start

Monday, July 6, 2020

SUPERNATURAL DELIGHT

Today, my aunt came over to teach me to sew using a sewing machine. I turned some of my old dresses that have become tight for me to wear, into cushion covers. I can use them for decorative throw pillows when I'm in Vancouver. We then watched the political party debate for this Friday's election. It's my second time voting (we're only legal to vote at 21 because the government is highly suspicious of "younger ideologies" and doesn't want to lose their power) and I had to break down to my grandma, why we need to vote opposition this time. It's not my first time saying this, but we've never changed political parties as our government since gaining independence 54 years ago. It's not a coincidence, it's because the incumbent government make it legitimately impossible for us to vote for a strong opposition, given that they don't allow strong opposition parties to form. 

It gives me hope that most of the millennial and younger population are taking to social media to voice very sound ideas, though I do hope there isn't a silent boomer majority going to vote otherwise. My grandmother says she doesn't really understand what goes on, and she's always voted for the incumbent because she votes out of fear. I try to translate the knowledge I have into Malay, so that she understands the Singaporean way of looking out for only yourself, is outdated. That the fear is only there because of the current government, and that we can foster a much healthier, more inclusive and sustainable political environment for ourselves if only we believed in it and voted for it.


Exactly four years ago, I took a plane to Los Angeles for the second time, this time by myself, and it would eventually change my life, in ways I would never expect. It was a very interesting summer. My memory (or perhaps generally everyone's memory) works much better with tactile experiences, and so that's what I remember of LA. I remember when I put my hand on someone's hand while he was holding the clutch and going from 0 to 100. I remember going to a Dodgers game and not following it at all. It was my first time at a baseball game and I got myself a hotdog, not knowing that night was going to be a heck of a night. I remember sushi and a man telling me he didn't used to like sushi until after high school. I went rock-climbing, I slept in the attic of a wooden lodge in Tahoe and watched the Perseid meteor shower. I had sticky date ice-cream. I had lots of ice-cream over two months. I learned what dulce de leche was. I learned what horchata was and really liked it. That was still in the time of Obama so things were still relatively very, very good. It's a very romantic place and I understand why legions of people flock to it, and stay there. I remember everything. Sometimes I forget, but today I remember how it feels to have love coursing through your veins and pumping through your heart to stay alive and to feel alive. I think it's time for a rewatch of La La Land.

TONY STARK

When you enter the lululemon store I work at, the floor has a quote inscribed into it. It says: "this is not your practice life. this is all there is." I've been seeing it more and more often now, and I'm trying to decide if it means something to me. Also, last week, a guest asked me whether I had bought any lululemon stock because they're a great investment and my brain was like, "are you gonna buy them for me? If I could afford to buy lululemon stocks, why would I be here on the floor exposing myself to COVID-19 serving you?" I didn't say so, however, I just said yeah, the company is in a good position, which is true. Even with the quarantine, people kept buying lululemon products online to work out at home, and I will sometimes not understand people at all.

Two weeks ago, I asked Lucas whether my tattoo was looking any faded, given that I've been going swimming and my back is exposed to the sun more often. I've had the tattoo for as long as I've known Lucas, which is at least one year. For the first time, Lucas found out the sunflower was joined to its stalk made of the quote, and not a sunflower randomly joined to a vertical string of words. 

.......I've been with him for a year and he didn't know it was supposed to be a stalk! Do I need to have a cover-up tattoo or does everyone else know what it's supposed to be? Given its placement, the only photo I have of it is when I got it done. It looks like a sunflower stalk, right?

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(tattoo by: @maxinengps) There is a sunflower on my spine, whose stalk is a quote from my favorite musical, Lin-Manuel Miranda's @hamiltonmusical, in the song That Would Be Enough. Sunflowers are the only flowers I really like, I'm not much of a flower person. I like sunflowers because they grow tall and towards the sun, drawn to warmth and brightness. I'd like to think I relate to that a lot. The quote is “the fact that you're alive is a miracle”, because as was the case for A. Ham, there were certain points in life that pushed me down, kicked me into the ground, and I would feel it easier to give up and end my life, but instead, I just kept on keeping on. The decision to have a tattoo is not an easy one for me, my family is religiously and culturally Muslim and disapprove of tattoos, to put it very mildly. To them, tattoos mean that a person's skin is perpetually stained, unable to be “cleaned” by ablution and that person is thus unable to perform their five daily prayers. I don't understand instructions with little basis I can identify with. I am a very honest person, I never cheat nor steal, I don't sexually harass anyone, I accompany my grandma to the market for grocery-shopping, I care for animals and the environment, and if a god exists and that god judges me for my skin instead of the intentions within my heart, I don't think I'd want to respect such a figure, anyway, let alone pray to one. I can be good without god, and I am. I also love that this tattoo is as permanent as my body, and as temporary as my life. This life is mine, and so is this body. More words on sarahnadetheworld.com. #tattoo #ink #spine #sunflower #love #life #hamilton

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Sunday, July 5, 2020

v2.0

I went to have dinner with Aileen sometime earlier this week. On our table, there was a bookmark-shaped card that had prompts on it for conversation starters. It was designed so that you'd put down your phones and engage fully with your meal companion. Our question was "what is the most awkward experience you've had with a crush?" Aileen went all the way back to kindergarten, when she told the boy she liked that they had to hold hands because the teacher said so, although the teacher hadn't.

Mine was comparatively much more recent, which is possibly not a good thing. When I was in high school, I had a big crush on a senior called Khalis. I thought my crush was pretty obvious to everyone around me. A couple years later, after we'd both graduated and were in different schools, my best friends got him to be at my birthday party, because I wanted to learn to play drums so they'd engaged him to teach me to drum. I never knew the arrangement, whether they were paying him or whether it was for free. 

Anyway, so this Khalis guy, he was the coolest dude in my mind. He danced, he drummed, he drew (because he's an architect). When I went for drumming sessions with him, I never knew if my heart was pounding because of the goddamn DRUMS or because lord, he was so near me, and I think, or I know for sure, he knew the effect he had on me. 

After a few sessions, I told myself, what the hell right, fuck it, I only live once. I told him in no uncertain terms, that I liked him and I wondered if he'd actually go out with me, or consider me as a partner, or something. He then said "Sarah, you know if I wanted to sleep with you, I would have done it easily because I know you would, right. You're a cute person but I think we're good as friends." 

I burned up in embarrassment. That was maybe the first bout of real rejection I'd ever faced, mainly because he brought up that he could have slept with me if he wanted to, and let's be real, it was probably true. To this day, I wonder if it was the best way he could have done it, to have given me absolutely no hope nor leeway, or the worst, for being so brutal. 

For months and years, I still admired him and placed him on a pedestal. This went on and on until maybe a couple years ago, I realized he was literally just another guy and didn't see him as being integral to my life. I think the last time I talked to him was legitimately two years ago. 

Khalis was the guy who actually told me I remind him of agape love. First of all, I don't know if that's just a thing men say to girls who like them but whom they don't have reciprocative feelings for. If that's a thing, someone needs to tell me now, so I stop feeling this amount of special, lololol.

All this to say, through the entire thing with Khalis and actually just through my life, I've never known whether guys were flirting because they liked me, flirting because they knew I liked them and because they could, or they were not flirting at all and it was all genuine platonic friendship on their part, and I misconstrued it because of the feelings I had. I like to think I'm more mature now, but am I, really? In many ways, I suppose I could say I am but in other ways, maybe not.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

LORD AND SAVIOR

It's been a good week. I swam three times, I cooked great meals, I went to therapy. I finally celebrated my 30th birthday (two months late, lol) at Odette, now that restaurants are open with safe distancing. Odette was bougie af but I still think Jaan was better. I woke up at 7.30am this morning for a swim, and perhaps that is why I'm extremely sleepy now. I love swimming, it literally exhausts me and calms me such that I cannot begin to describe everything that's happened this week. I had good feedback at work, therapy was useful to throw out things that have been on my mind and have my therapist see them more for what they were, than I could. Tonight I'm on a call for the mental health collective I'm part of. I wrote a proposal for them this week. I'm on another committee in my lululemon store that I'm writing something else for. I would like to finish writing everything I have to write so that I can get a bit of actual rest next week. The Hamilton film is out on Disney Plus this week, does anyone have an account that I can bum off of, HAHAHA. Tina and I planned to have a video call today, and I'm really looking forward to seeing her face. Happy 4th of July, y'all.