_Write pt. 2: hello/goodbye

I went to a farewell dinner last week. I only just met him at the start of the year, and a few months later, it was already time to say goodbye. The new normal these days.

It wasn’t quite the case back in the safe bubble of my homeland. The sameness, the confidence you find in the familiar, the phone numbers you’ve memorized. The day I left with a couple of small luggage and a freshly renewed passport in tow, I knew I drove a wedge between old and new, but it has since proven to have separated the before and after in more ways than I expected.

Roots have given way to wings, but making new friends grounds you and calms the “new kid on the block” anxiety that chews on your insides. Depending on your situation, you’ll likely gravitate towards fellow transients. You cling to them like a barnacle clings to rocks. The ease builds every day, and you slowly, sometimes without realizing it, build a new safe zone. But just when you thought you’re settling in, it comes and pulls the rug from under you. They announce their departure, quit their jobs, pack their bags, and you’d go to more than one of their farewells. Because you’re clingy and sad, and it’s hard to say goodbye. Friends forever, right? (Thank you, social media.)

From a young age, friends have been the kid next door, your classmates, your cousins, your parents’ friends’ kids. And for some strange reason, you always counted on them to be around. Now you know it always isn’t the case.

At the risk of sounding like One Tree Hill’s Peyton Sawyer, people leave, and as one of those who left, chances are you’d find yourself among the transitory flock. They come; they stay for a while. And when they leave, you’ll be going to a farewell for the nth time and wishing them the best in all sincerity, partly because you know you’d want the same for yourself if and when you choose to spread your wings once more. If you do decide to nest, there’d still never be a shortage of cause to celebrate. Someone will always need a proper sendoff. Someone will always come and need a reassuring welcome.



_Write pt. 1

I want to write about the things I think about all the time. The things that have lodged themselves in the folds, which I imagine my brain to have or so I glean from illustrations. I want to write about the things that I don’t want to think about. The things that somewhat overwhelm me with the amount of mental prowess I estimate they’d require. Those that I so conveniently tuck away and conveniently forget, albeit momentarily, as I proceed with honing my urbanite zombie, mobile phone-obsessed, social media-thirsty self. There are times when I catch myself realising, as I sit in the office at midday, how cloudy my thoughts seem to be. How much more effort is needed now to enter the “flow” state. How rare it is nowadays to get an “aha” moment. This isn’t new. The problem is, it’s become more recurring. A no-fail cure that has saved me from this malaise time and again was to write. It could be a swift hack at the keyboard at midnight (I can only really think when it’s quiet or when I have classical music blasting at my eardrums) or a long drawn affair where I stroke, caress, look back at every word, every sentence. Oh my, look at the time. And so now, I write. My fingers type; downloading the steady stream of words in my mind. No self-editing for this one. Not now. No self-censorship. I just put down the words, the words that are thoughts, the thoughts that are things, the things that I think about and those that I don’t.

Okay. Done.


Blank Space_

A clean slate. Pretty much how this site looks like at the moment.

Confession. I’ve been itching to post an entry for the longest time but couldn’t bring myself to do so until I get the look of this page right. As evidenced by all the white space that you see, I have not been able to do so just yet. But (and that is a very big but), as the note tacked onto the bulletin board inside the office lift says (and I paraphrase), you just have to start. Nothing ever happens until you do; all else follows.

And so I populate this page with three short paragraphs. Not the best of (re)starts, yes. But oh well, let’s begin_

A Study (of K) Pt. 1: Eyeglasses

Those Eyeglasses. She rests on top of your nose confidently, sitting squarely on your face. Like a knight guarding the gate, she opens the doors at your bidding and shows you the world. Once she boasted of a pristine pair of clear plates and a fine, rigid frame. You laid your eyes on her, and she was never the same. How you’ve smudged the glass with your fingerprints, and the frame, rubbed off by your incessant, unconscious touch. She’s seen better days. And yet, she wouldn’t have it any other way.

She revels in the idea of holding your vision ransom, and on days when she’s feeling feisty, she’d distort an image or two, throw in a couple of blinding flashes and blurry shadows, and giggle silently as you rub your eyes in disbelief. She falls faint down the bridge of your nose, trusting that you would catch her, and she smiles as you slide her back in place, basking in the assurance that you’d never let her fall, never let her break, never need to replace her. She observes everything with you, wistfully wishing to know what you make of the things you perceive, what goes on behind those eyes — eyes that look on from daybreak to dusk, eyes that rely on her, a supposedly impartial and unclouded ally.

When you finally take her off and place her on your bedside table at the day’s end, she looks on anxiously as you sleep, watching your eyes quiver behind the closed lids. She envies the dreams that show you worlds she never could and cannot begin to imagine, and she waits impatiently for the sun to reappear, the morning to dispel the dark, the light to tear you away from that other place and bring you back to the world of you and her.

Then you open your eyes and always find her.



Yes friends, I already turned 25 last June 04. I already spent a quarter of a century on the surface of the earth living, working, playing, and somehow feeling apologetic for this super duper late blog update. And yes, my ’25Before25′ project has long expired. Although I thrive in the pressure of time constraints and as much as I wanted to keep my eight-month deadline, I have made the painful but inevitable decision to let go of its original time frame. Upon closer inspection, I’ve realized that even if I tried to be sensible in setting those tasks for myself, they were still unrealistic. I overestimated my ability to complete them in mere eight months, given the resources I can allot to it, my work schedule, and all the other things going on in my life.

On the upside, I’m proud to say that I did not let this setback stop me. I could have easily just scrapped the whole thing altogether, dismissed the idea of demolishing bucket lists as a gallant but frivolous undertaking, quietly swept this little pipe dream under the rug, and forgotten about it. But I didn’t.

However small the steps I’ve taken so far, they have already opened me to new and wonderful people and experiences that I wouldn’t have otherwise come across. As I earnestly endeavored to fulfill my project, I learned that truly doing things is so much more than just crossing off one task after the other. When you open yourself, you get so much in return, and this creates a sense of an overflowing of goodness that leads you not only onward but deeper as well. You will keep coming back for more. That one thing can lead to another, which may not be on the list but is equally if not more worthwhile.

This little adventure of mine started out as a singular mission. It still is, but it has also become a source of a wealth of joy that makes it very hard to stop at just learning to do things, like swimming or surfing. Heck, I want to keep swimming and surfing!

I haven’t been able to chronicle my exploits, but I have made progress. I definitely will share my experiences here soon. And although my eight months have long been up, I will continue to slash off one by one (Battousai style) those that I have yet to accomplish. I’ve been thinking of changing it to ’25@25′, meaning to destroy the list while I’m 25, but I’ve decided against it. This has been a continuing lesson in widening my horizons and creating wonderful opportunities, and I remain to be an eager learner of how to make good things happen. I fully intend to finish what I started, and as life continues to unfold, this project will serve to complement the many blessings and challenges that will come my way, guaranteeing myself a kick-ass year (or years) ahead.


Photo credit: whoreders.blogspot.com

Empire State of Mind

Originally written November 25, 2012

When Harry Met Sally. Sleepless in Seattle. While You Were Sleeping. If I learned anything from watching romantic comedies, it’s that these fairytales are just that, tales — tales spun by dreamers who sprinkle them with pixie dust and cast them off with the wind, waiting to fall on the shoulder of a young woman, who then hears a faint but distinct whisper that tells her to polish off the dusty dream of her very own Happily Ever After.

Sally hated Harry. No love at first sight there. Sam lost his wife. Annie and Walter were two rights that make a wrong. And Lucy? Why, she fell in love with the wrong brother.

Funny that I am writing this as I sit inside a plane. I realized after my first full viewing of Sleepless and a little bit of An Affair to Remember too in a sense, that I have been to New York City, but I have never been to the top of the Empire State Building. Maybe there’s a reason I have not felt compelled to visit the well-known landmark. Maybe on the day that I finally make my way up to the top, there he will be, waiting. And we’ll look into each other’s eyes and really see each other for the first time. He’ll take my hand, and as we touch, there it is. Magic.

Or not. Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks can keep their scene to themselves, thank you very much.

Far from illustrating ideals that women (and men) should aspire to, rom-coms tend to propagate unrealistic and fantastic archetypes and expectations. No one should have to compete with those adorably flawed and perfectly imperfect creatures. Real life has already given us more than enough stuff to deal with.

So what exactly am I taking away from all these gooey, over-sentimental big screen romps? Why am I writing this with my heart still recovering from the meltdown wrought by that particularly stirring closing scene? (Really, I am not kidding! I am still entranced by its ending. It’s probably one of the cheesiest scenes I have ever seen in my life. And that ‘magic’ bit is so unbearably corny! But. I. Just. Can’t. Help. It… So sue me.) I am simply reminded of my belief that everyone is entitled to his or her own fairytale. It doesn’t have an expiry date, nor does it have to – how I hope not – adhere to Hollywood formula. Life is not like in the movies, and that is absolutely fine. We all think we know that, but a little reminding once in a while won’t hurt. I prefer mine to be written with my own hand anyway. A clumsy, somewhat naïve writer though I am.



I still have so many things from 2012 to tell you! This is my first step to conquering my blogging backlog. I will start gnawing away at it again soon!

The Proust Questionnaire


It’s been ages since I last answered a set of questions that are supposed to reveal something about my personality. Too lofty an aspiration for a kid’s slam book for sure, which is just as well. My grade school friends would have been ill-advised to take the words I scribbled in the notebooks they passed around as gospel. I’ve put in far too many ‘TMTM’s’ in them anyway; I wager you could even swap the names of the girls in those notebooks, and it wouldn’t make much difference.

I have heard of the Proust Questionnaire before, but I never got around to filling it out. Thinking about oneself like that can be a rather ponderous exercise that I typically avoid. I read about it again tonight on Man Repeller and thought suddenly that yes, if anything, this could be fun. I took the online version on the Vanity Fair website a while ago and found that my answers resemble that of Joan Didion’s the closest, which is great. And what the heck, I’m an adult now (or at least I try to be), and I can handle dishing out some honest answers right here.

Your favorite virtue.

I have two — courage and generosity. I melt in the glow of those who have them in abundance.

Your favorite qualities in a man.

Tenderness, kindness, and strength of character

Your favorite qualities in a woman.

Her fragility, her strength, and her power when she learns to wield it well

Your favorite occupation.

That of people who create (mostly in an artistic sense). One that involves working with words and design.

Your chief characteristic.

My affinity for stories

Your idea of happiness.

To be loved, to love, and to lack in no good thing

Your idea of misery.

Isolation and being stuck in the limbo of self-doubt and insecurity

Your favorite color and flower.

I would say blue, but I don’t have a lot of blue things. Seeing yellow makes me happy though. I don’t know enough about flowers to have a favorite. I would say ‘rose of sharon’, but you won’t really believe that, would you?

If not yourself, who would you be?

Someone who is truly good at something I truly love to do/be. Or probably a movie/theater actor — a sort of dream, if you must know.

Where would you like to live?


Your favorite prose authors.

Kazuo Ishiguro, Milan Kundera, Haruki Murakami

Your favorite poets.

Sylvia Plath — something about her and her work frightens and resonates with me.

Your favorite painters and composers.

Impressionists and Surrealists. No favorite composer (at least I’m honest).

Your favorite heroes in real life.


Your favorite heroines in real life.


Your favorite heroes in fiction.

Batman and Heathcliff

Your favorite heroines in fiction.

Catwoman, Elizabeth Bennet, [edit] and Holly Golightly (how can I forget!)

Your favorite food and drink.

Bitter dark chocolate. Beer and white wine.

Your favorite names.

I am very much bent on naming one of my future daughters Alexis.

Your pet aversion.

Dishonesty and hypocrisy

What characters in history do you most dislike?

Hitler and co., I guess

What is your present state of mind?

Meandering but obstinately hopeful

For what fault have you most toleration?


Your favorite motto.

RIght now, it would have to be ‘Keep Moving Forward’.

How you would die if the option were yours.

A very happy, very old woman

Go try it yourself! I would love to read your answers. 🙂