Saturday, August 29, 2020

I CHING

A couple of nights ago, I was doing a box shift with a new colleague, Millie. She's a theatre performer who was acting in London before she had to come back to Singapore due to COVID. She heard me listen to Burn on my break, so during our boxes shift (when there are only lululemon staff in store), she played the Hamilton soundtrack and we sang and rapped together. She has a lovely voice, obviously, being a performer, and I was so happy to be talking to her. She told me about The Last Five Years, another musical that sounds absolutely heartbreaking, I think I'm going to love it so I'm going to have a listen to the soundtrack. There's also a film version with Anna Kendrick that Millie doesn't have the best impression of, so I won't be watching that yet. The concept sounds fascinating, it starts at two different points of the timeline in a relationship, so for the woman, the play commences at the end of the relationship, and for the man it starts at the beginning, and they only sing together on one song when their timelines intersect in the musical. I'm intrigued, and also preempting certain sadness at the story.

Last night, I visited Tami and her little baby Bima. He's just a little over a month old. When I arrived, he was being fed his night bottle of milk so I carried him and fed him the last half. He was adorable, so smol and his voice was gentle and soothing. He was gurgling enthusiastically and I melted. It's been such a good week. I am very grateful for it.

Tomorrow, I have a SYNC meeting, it's getting quite convoluted and I don't really like things that are messy so I feel a little iffy. Then I have to go to work because a girl has to pay her bills.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

DRUNK UNDER A STREETLIGHT


vintage tee, brand new phone 
high heels on cobblestones 
when you are young,
they assume you know nothing 

sequin smile, black lipstick 
sensual politics 
when you are young, 
they assume you know nothing 

but I knew you 
dancing in your Levi's 
drunk under a streetlight, I 
I knew you 
hand under my sweatshirt 
baby, kiss it better, I

and when I felt like I was an old cardigan 
under someone's bed 
you put me on and said I was your favorite

a friend to all is a friend to none 
chase two girls, lose the one 
when you are young, 
they assume you know nothing 

but I knew you 
playing hide-and-seek and 
giving me your weekends, I 
I knew you 
your heartbeat on the High Line 
once in twenty lifetimes, I 

and when I felt like I was an old cardigan 
under someone's bed
you put me on and said I was your favorite 

to kiss in cars and downtown bars
was all we needed 
you drew stars around my scars 
but now I'm bleeding

'cause I knew you 
stepping on the last train 
marked me like a bloodstain, I 
I knew you 
tried to change the ending 
Peter losing Wendy, I 
I knew you 
leaving like a father 
running like water, I 
when you are young, 
they assume you know nothing 

but I knew you'd linger like a tattoo kiss 
I knew you'd haunt all of my what-ifs 
the smell of smoke would hang around this long 
'cause I knew everything when I was young 
I knew I'd curse you for the longest time 
chasing shadows in the grocery line 
I knew you'd miss me once the thrill expired 
and you'd be standing in my front porch light 

and I knew you'd come back to me 
you'd come back to me
you'd come back to me
you'd come back 

and when I felt like I was an old cardigan 
under someone's bed 
you put me on and said I was your favorite

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

AJ HACKETT

I went to Sentosa with Tif and suntanned for three hours. On hindsight, it maybe wasn't the best idea. We're both red, and I don't usually burn, I just get brown, but this time my skin feels raw and dry. Eeps. Yesterday was such good sunny weather, and the water was cooling without being cold, so I guess that's why we could splash about for that long. I put on sunblock but I'm not sure how effective it would have been against skin cancer. Only time will tell, eh. I also met another longtime friend for dinner and had such a lovely time catching up with her over easy conversation.


Tina has told me she'd get me a winter coat for Canada, and honestly, she feels like the big sister I never had. I mean, I'm very close to my cousin Hazwani but she's only a couple months older and I don't think she tries to be my elder sister. Tina, though, I really trust her like a big sister. I have seven younger siblings (who even still has seven siblings in this day and age?) and it feels nice not to feel like the oldest sometimes.

I'm on the way for a visual merchandising shift. I'm a little behind schedule, and may need to rush at the train station, but that's life.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

ABBOT KINNEY


This morning Adam messaged me to say Hamilton is fine. I've known him two years and he wouldn't watch it at all, so I'll take what I can get!!!! He used to be a music critic (now working at Know Your Meme) and he says of Hamilton, musically it has its charms. It's the small wins, y'all. Take them where you can. 

I tried to coax some opinion of folklore out of him, but he hasn't listened to all of it. I thought he wouldn't actively hate on it, because some tracks off folklore were co-written with maybe the frontman (or guitarist? I dunno and don't actively care) of The National, and I know Adam lurrrrves The National. 

You know I had a few American boys (the Bens, Adam, Joey, etc) and the USA is not at its greatest right now, or anywhere near its greatest, so I tend to worry about these men in America. Sometimes I wonder if this is how a mother feels, I just wanna have a dashboard that says, they're all alive, and they're all okay. It helps when they intermittently text me to ask if I'm alive or to tell me about the things they know I listen to. Stay alive!!!!! (Hamilton reference that no one apart from myself will get, sigh.)

Sometimes I feel like people think I'm a.... social experiment, for lack of a more appropriate term. They read my words and view my Instagram stories, and they observe me, but rarely interact with me. It gets a bit lonely, being an Other. I don't really enjoy it, I wish I could extend my hand and have more people on my side. I would like it if more people were open about their mental health, or even just about their daily thoughts, and to fight for what's right on behalf of people who can't. I don't understand why it's such a novelty to be an open book. To such a point that I have to move literally across the world to find my tribe so I fit in. I'm a regular human bean, I enjoy memes, I can watch Selling Sunset on Netflix and appreciate the properties. A couple of nights ago, I met a friend from Lush, her name is Seri, and we had such a good time just laughing over past shitty Tinder dates.

I am on the way to work and the shift hasn't started but I'm grateful that Adam reached out, I'm grateful that my sister made toast for breakfast and my mother made steak for lunch, before I left for work.

Friday, August 21, 2020

TONIGHT YOU BELONG TO ME

The car I'm in has some really sombre melancholy string music playing and it's got me in a funk. Today I had a really nice two-hour chat with my mentor Val, and she said I provide a different perspective from anyone else's in the team. I made a jokey allusion that it could be that my brain is wired differently, due to my on and off depression. I used to really like rollercoasters and fast cars, but recently sometimes when I get into a car, my chest gets really constricted and I feel a fear, I don't know why. It's like I want to reach out to Joey to drive safely and ride safely. I think about this one time I was talking to Adam about Kafka, and I didn't know there was a writer Kafka, I thought it was just in the title of a book. I felt really embarrassed but at the same time I felt also soothed by his reaction to me. It felt like a friendly hug or him squeezing my hand. This happened while we were chatting across the world so it wasn't physically happening. Sometimes when you immerse yourself fully in any situation, it is difficult to separate the you that exists now from the you that was tangled with three, four, five men ago. I don't know if you know what Muslim or Catholic hangover is, or if I'm using it correctly, but having grown up two decades believing that at the very end of all this, I would be guaranteed a spot in eternal paradise, to switching to a mindset that when it ends, it just ends, gives me crippling anxiety at times. I want a salve to rub on my spiritual being, but I don't want to lie to myself with stretched out niceties. I think what cripples me about it ending when it ends, is the fact that this temporary place is so painful and broken. I wish people were just nice and good for the sake of being nice and good, to make this world a better place, to save someone else from their crippling anxiety, maybe. I wish there were no religions or rat races for money and accomplishments, but people helping people to get through the dreariness. I don't feel so good.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

SMOKESCREEN


a rush, a glance 
a touch, a dance 

look in somebody's eyes 
to light up the skies 
to open the world and send it reeling 

a voice that says, "I'll be here" 
and you'll be alright 

Last week, Jayden sent me a message for a work stint, and y'all know your girl has to always be hustling so I said yes. He owns a production studio and was being filmed for a docuseries for CNA (it's the Asian version of CNN) and needed a model for a photoshoot. When you're the model for a shoot, they call you a talent, although I needed no talent at all. I was just born with the looks they needed. 



The inspiration for my makeup was 60's Twiggy, and my makeup artist was Benji. I loved his work on my face and hair. Honestly, I wonder why they don't call the makeup artists the talents instead, because they are way more talented with what they do. There are few things more luxurious than going for a shoot and having yourself prepped by a makeup artist and fashion stylist.


That's Josiah the stylist. It was my second time working with him, and we had so much more fun this time, maybe because I was the only model and we had more chances for interaction. I really like working with Jayden and Josiah. I think they're very conscious of cultural connotations, and every time Josiah wanted to put something on me, he'd verify whether I had ethnic ties to the accessory (like a nose ring and chain, for example). If they were taking photos of me with a cloth on my head, if it looked like a hijab, they'd style it differently, because despite being a Malay, I do not identify as a Muslim. 

In this shoot, we had three different shots and concepts, but with three different things raining on me. The first one was sparks, so Josiah stood overhead behind a partition and held sparklers that sparked down on me. I was super happy that happened, because I'd missed Singapore's National Day fireworks the previous week, but now I had my own personal ones raining down on me, and the shots looked fucking ace.

The second one was glitter confetti. It was a retro vibey concept, and for a couple of the shots, the confetti actually caught the glint of the camera flash and fell at the perfect angle near my outreached palm, to look like a diamond sparkling in the photo. The moment the snapped photo was reflected on the monitor, we all looked at it and it really looked like the photo had already been DI'ed (agency speak for editing with Illustrator). 

For shots of things raining on you, they obviously do it more than once, just to get the best option. Josiah and Xuan (the other makeup artist) collected the confetti once it had fallen onto the floor, to drop them on me once again. As the confetti was glittering like diamonds, Josiah encouraged me by saying it was a vision of my future, with riches and luxuries raining down on me.

Jayden was directing my poses while taking the photos, because if you've forgotten, I'm not actually a model. He kept saying "broken wrist, soft fingers" and one of the producers, Ami also kept saying the same thing and flicking her wrist up and down, and honestly, everything was hilarious and I had to keep from laughing just so they would get some useable shots. When she sent me the release form, Ami signed off her email with broken wrist, soft fingers, and I LIVE FOR IT!!!!!!


The last shot was with water, and they played Rihanna's Umbrella.

In between one of the shots, we were filming scenes for the B-roll, which is just extra scenes they can intersperse with regular footage, just in case of shortage. Jayden and Josiah were styling my outfit while I just stood there like a dummy, but then Josiah felt a tiny scroll-like thing in one of my blouse's sleeves, so he said it could have been a message from a child worker in India, saying "please save me" and from that point on, I could not stop laughing at the idea. I ruined the entire B-roll, they were always trying to have a conversation and I burst into laughter at the thought of it. 

Also, they used a sliding camera to pan in and out while filming the photoshoot (how fucking meta is that), and I had to glance right into the filming camera, and right there and then, I felt it. It was my Taylor Swift moment. I WAS BASICALLY TAYLOR SWIFT!!!!!!!


Josiah sent me a message yesterday to tell me that it was just a piece of a broken hanger that had fallen into the blouse. Dang. I thought we could go on a rescue mission to save a child worker. Or perhaps it's better that no child workers were involved in the making of our shoot. 

The entire lights, camera, action of it all made me think of La La Land. I cannot wait till the shots are ready. They are honestly fantastic, without even needing to be touched up. The concepts and planning were stunning. Back to regular programming. Remember, when you're taking photos: it's all in the broken wrist and soft fingers. 

Thursday, August 13, 2020

WE WERE MERELY FRESHMEN

I just ended my therapy session. I talked about how irritable I've been. Lucas was late to meet me last weekend and I lost my temper. I've never liked when people arrive late, I think it's irresponsible and being responsible and accountable is kinda one of my criteria of being a decent human being. However, in the past week or so, I've been just tired out from work. I've taken up more shifts than originally allocated because I need to save the money. Working at my job is physically tiring, I'm on my feet for seven hours, and our masks always have to be on. The fact that I have to wear a mask the entire time already adds a discomfort and ensures shallow breathing for half my day, but what takes the cake is seeing crowds of people who don't follow protocol for social distancing, who wear their masks the incorrect way of only covering their mouths, etc. I don't like people who make light of the pandemic, we've seen thousands of unnecessary deaths, and if you insist on doing your shopping in person instead of the online options that are readily available, at the very least do your part to keep yourselves and the people around you safe. My therapist came up with five methods to check in with myself when I'm on the floor working, I must remember to try them out and check back in with her on their efficacies. 

For some reason, this morning I thought of something I'd heard from Khalis when we were much younger. He's a Muslim, and at the time we had this conversation, I think I was questioning religion and faith. Khalis said he'd watched a video in which scientists played a Muslim prayer or gospel song, and measured the heart rates of control groups of people, finding out that the Muslim prayer had a calming effect and that the people were "at peace". He brought it up as if it was conclusive evidence that Islam was the one true faith, and that even science could back it up. I looked at him, with what I'm pretty sure was puzzlement, and let it go, but what I was thinking was, that's not a scientific experiment. Or at least the results are not very conclusive of much. They didn't play any other religious tunes or hymns from any other faiths to compare the results with, they didn't play even non-religious songs in comparison. For all you know, it could just be that the prayers were low-pitched, and low-pitched sounds from any instrument and in any language would have calming effects. Khalis is a Malay man, though, and if there's one thing I know about Malay men, they hate being proven wrong by Malay women, so I kept quiet. Why am I thinking about that now? Who knows.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

NOTICE ME, SENPAI

My family has just arrived home after a drive to a 24-hour supermarket. We went together because my sister Lyssa has just passed her driving test and received her licence today. We had our parents, my other sister Aqilah and I, all trying to advise her on the drive, on the freeway, to the slope up the mall carpark, to doing U-turns. It was an entire hour of anxiety and cortisol, so I'm allowing my body some time to return to its baseline, which to be honest, is probably always pumped with more adrenaline and cortisol than found at most other people's baselines. When I am in Canada, I hope my sisters come over and take turns to drive. It will hopefully be safer in my university town and the rest of Vancouver Island, I know Singapore is just overcrowded with people and vehicles. 

Today at work, someone said my perfume smelled peculiar, and I found the remark peculiar, as well as interesting. I was wearing my Twilight body spray from Lush, which is a relaxing, comforting scent made of lavender and tonka, something akin to vanilla. Everyone else at work had said today they loved it, and they knew it because it's a signature scent from Lush, and I wear it occasionally anyways. The reason I found the remark peculiar, is because it came from my boss, and I've always liked the scent she uses, but I've never been able to place it, nor have I been able to ask her what it is. I really like her scent, but I don't know if it's because her perfume is a nice one, or because I find her very attractive. I'm still a tiny bit intimidated by her, which I think a lot of us are, and I don't know if that plays into the power dynamics as well. She has a girlfriend, and I'm also in a relationship. However, I'm mature enough to admit that being in a relationship does not prevent attraction to other people, as well as to acknowledge that repressing any thoughts and feelings would just strengthen them. My boss is also a spin instructor, and I work at lululemon, so you can expect the entire team to be fit and strong and overwhelmingly attractive. Everyone has such tight and toned bodies, and it is very hard to deny their physical allure. Today, as friends, she asked whether we liked boobs or butts, and I'm pretty sure I went around trying to stabilize my heart rate after the superior I'm attracted to was asking me that. Sometimes I literally stutter at work because I'm surrounded by such fit people. This is rather unlike me, y'all know I'm an extrovert and I'm usually very sociable. I have now been relegated to being the beta. I suppose the time had to come, lolol.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

TITANS

In a recurring dream, I absorb the feelings and energy of everyone in the world. Every single dissatisfaction, every joy, I absorb all the vibes and then there is an explosion once I have absorbed it all. The explosion is a cold blue, and nothing breaks or physically moves. I think people and animals die more from the aftershock than the initial wave. The explosion wipes out all living things on Earth, and then there is peace. It feels like something I have seen on Heroes. I don't recall the storyline of that show, except that Hayden Panettiere is a cheerleader and I think the wiping-out scene is about her. I think. I find dreams very hard to describe, perhaps because they are not always lucid or easy to explain, nor bound by the laws of physics. I wish I could connect to a program that could display my thoughts, exactly as I visualize them. There must be a way this is already happening. I don't know what the dream means, maybe I just think it's a cool scene visually. Maybe.

I walked past a few schoolkids on my way to work today. They were talking about who they thought would get the top score in History in their class. I remember those days in my life. I wonder if those are the conversations that will happen in my near future. Will it be as competitive? Will it be more collaborative, given our subject of study? A year ago, I was in Japan. I am really looking forward to a year from now. Tina asked whether I was going to be in Canada for winter this year because she's planning gifts, and I think this is the cutest thing ever. It feels so adult, I don't know why. It reminds me of when white kids are asked by their mothers to write thank-you notes for their gifts.

Monday, August 10, 2020

SAFETY CAR

Last weekend, I learned a lot of things. I learned about Abella Anderson, Mia Khalifa, and gloryholes. If you don't know what those mean, don't Google them because I don't want that to be on me. I ordered truffle butter to be fancy, and Sue asked me to look up truffle butter on urban dictionary, so now I know what that is. Now, every time I spread truffle butter on my bread, I will think of something else. Yesterday was Singapore's National Day, which is when we gained independence from the British. It's only the 55th National Day. I worked the entire day, and I was absolutely flat-out broken by the end of the shift. You'd think, given that people have been working from home for months, a long weekend wouldn't actually mean anything, but we were still overworked on the retail front. Working on a public holiday can really break your spirit, and it's not worth the 1.5x pay, at all. After work, we went to Mount Faber to catch the fireworks. There were many other people there, I suppose because we had all Googled the best place to view fireworks from. We went to the peak of it (not actually very elevated but relative to the rest of Singapore, it's a peak), but I think the locations of the fireworks were changed because they know people were gonna be at home due to social distancing measures. Thus, although we were the closest to the sky, we saw none of the fireworks, only orange tints behind buildings, and heard the sounds. So typical of Singapore. I feel like they know I see nothing special here, so there were no fireworks for me. Sigh. I'm in a car to work now, I had and have no energy to deal with public transit. It's still a public holiday and I'm still working, so please pray for my soul. I actually don't believe in prayers, so it would be nice if you just dropped cash into my account, thanks. I haven't even gotten to work but I just wanna get back home to have a nice, long, relaxing, pampering shower, so I look forward to that. Also, if someone could just remind me to bring home my truffle butter from the work fridge, that would be perfect. *chef's kiss*

Thursday, August 6, 2020

BLOODBANK

My mouth guards arrived, so I hope I don't grind my teeth to death. I want to get Teva sandals because I need sandals that are very comfortable, but perhaps I'll wait till I'm in Canada, so I don't have to bring them over with me. Also, when I arrive in Vancouver it doesn't seem like it'll be the proper weather for me to wear sandals, so we'll see. My cousin and I walked past a skate shop a few days ago, and I was sorely tempted to get a skateboard or rollerskates, even though I am thirty years old!!!! Last night, my heart palpitated for a bit, and I'm very sure it had something to do with the explosion in Lebanon that I read about, and suppressed in my mind for the entire day. My therapist says to let go of the things I cannot control, so that's random chemical explosions, people who refuse to wear masks, anti-vaxxers, etc. I learned a while ago, that the reasonable people who should be having kids, the people who understand the gravity of global warming, of income inequality, are more unlikely to have kids, and conversely, people who are anti-vaccine and the like, are more inclined to continue having kids. This means, a decade or two later, voting will be skewed to conservative policies because reasonable people will be outnumbered. For that one single reason alone, I would adopt if I never had my own kid.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

TALLEST TIPTOES

I think my favorite moments in life are the ones that seemingly have no consequence, though are likely to set an entire timeline in motion. Playing beer pong with Solo cups before we trail off, I walk behind you on the roof. I asked why the pool had been filled in, and you respond, why would we need a pool when there's an expanse of beach to swim in, so close by? Fair point, I think. The place must have been flipped and sold for a fortune at least once by now. I walk barefoot in the grass, soft and a little brittle from the clumped up soil, wary of the blades of green that tickle and may yet cut me. There is nothing to do, and all the time to do it. Water has to be near me, perhaps because I am fiery, I am fire, all the time burning and feeding on oxygen. Unlike the blessed, I am affronted by a disregard for consequences. How could they do this, why would they say that, what does it all mean? I flicker and grow, engulf myself in flame, then I turn to that life-giving water to put it out. It feels nice, it's cool and soothing, like aloe on sunburned skin. I want to run my fingers through your hair, just barely touching your scalp for a sensual massage. How intimate and yet, by most measures, inconsequential.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

THE LAST GREAT AMERICAN DYNASTY

there goes the loudest woman 
this town has ever seen
I had a marvellous time
ruining everything 

I am still very much enjoying the discovery of folklore. I like the feeling of having slightly different thoughts and emotions each time I immerse myself in a track. One day, years from now, I will listen to the same tracks and think about this time in Singapore, perhaps. I have loved having Taylor Swift as the artist I grew up with. On New Year's Eve turning into 2015, I sang (meaning I butchered) Mean in a dive bar in front of a man whose parents lived in a cosy house in Topanga. I always sing Mean at karaoke, always. Then a man played Love Story while I watched him on his turntables, and I have never associated the song with anyone else since. Last year, I watched the Reputation tour concert on Netflix with Lucas, and he somehow got brainwashed into thinking he likes her music, although he's never listened to the songs from the album again. I really like this album. I like how the aesthetic is her with braided hair walking in a black and white portrait of the woods, and I cannot wait to fulfill my cottagecore fantasies in Canada with folklore as my soundtrack. 

I know you think I'm crazy, but I always feel an affinity with Taylor. When she released 1989, I was all happy and I was dancing in LA to Shake It Off, etc, and I hadn't had The Miscarriage. Then Reputation dropped and I also had a lot of angst at men and my mother and in general. Last year, I fell in love, and Lover was released, and it was very pink and gold and rose-tinted and infatuated. Now, folklore is here, and there is a lyric of how Taylor is now buying gifts for her exes' babies. She's outgrown her angst and pettiness and I feel a little bit like that too. It's in the way I remind myself that sometimes when I'm feeling out of sorts, it could just be a simple primal human unmet need: have I slept enough and do I need to sleep? It's in the way I'm adulting and have paid my annual medical insurance premium and my second student loan interest instalment even though I haven't even commenced my studies. One day, as testament to how adult I am, I will drop my studies and start a dropshipping business and completely give no fucks about and buy into consumerism and capitalism, and that's how you know I have become An Adult, because adults are sellouts. 

I had a whole other thing on my mind but wow I went on a Taylor tangent. Did you know I'm still collecting a list of rich people I can email about partial sponsorships of my studies? I include my PayPal and Venmo and all sorts of things and I think my emails are always very funny, except when I'm depressed. Or maybe they're even funnier then. I was watching the second season of the F1 show on Netflix, Drive to Survive, and they showed an investor in Haas, who's actually dropped off, he owns a company called Rich Energy, which is like, the most douchebag name for a company? Like, who greenlights this shit, don't these people have devil's advocates? Speaking of F1, I still think Carlos Sainz has a perfect face and you cannot change my mind. Also, one of Lucas' housemates is a triathlete who competes for his country (now suspended because) and his bicycle is made of carbon fibre so it's the lightest thing ever, and I was amazed at how I could lift it easily! Lucas says it's what F1 cars are made of, so they are light, too. 

I met my SYNC group members for the first time this week after the lockdown. We're writing a proposal together to submit to a grant for funds that will funnel into mental health in Singapore. I feel very encouraged, and I'm actually glad I have more time before school to nurture it into existence. We had a really good session, we had dinner before starting work and asked questions to get to know one another, and I was so pleasantly relieved to find that we were mostly on the same wavelength, even humor-wise.