Monday, July 6, 2020


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.


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


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.