Wonderland

I had a strong compulsion to return to Coney Island for a while– to see the rides at Luna Park at dusk, to walk along the boardwalk during sunset. There was something about the neon lights and bright rides that invoked in me a certain kind of longing, as if I had a fond childhood memory there I am trying to bring back to life. Except that I’ve only been to Coney Island as a tourist, in my adulthood, so I found this strong nostalgia out of place. 

If I were to analyse it, maybe this is one of the reasons: a day out in a wonderland like Coney Island signifies a celluloid-screen childhood outing, and maybe deep down inside I crave a picture-perfect wonderland experience with someone. Maybe that is what that longing actually is, and Coney Island just happened to fit into the spot between cultural influence and expectation. 

It’s funny, because I am someone who is used to my own company; and dare I say, assured in it, preferred it, that I hardly ever feel lonely. When I am with people, I feel that I have to be ‘on’, that I must engage, that I am constantly thinking and thinking. When I am alone, I do not leave impressions, there’s no observer, I’m in that quantum state of anonymity, and it is liberating. 

Yet there are days I do get lonely. And as I grow older, I find that those days occur more frequently. Sometimes I want to be amongst people, share experiences, share a joke, communicate. Yet even as I recognise these wants, there’s a part of me that thinks: this is a vulnerability. It is a Flaw to not be self reliant.

I guess the sum of it is that I am still very much an island, but I feel, I want, more visitors now.


Please enjoy these photos of Coney Island. I am very much an amateur photographer, so the light flares are horrid, do forgive any technical and artistic flaws.

Reviving an old blog

I’ve been thinking about it for a while– about starting a website, collating a decade’s worth of solo travel & writing in a digital archive.

I knew too, that this digital archive already exists in a way– except that it hasn’t been updated for years.

I started this blog in 2010, and in the mad fodder of stereotypical young adult angst posts, were entries documenting my writing process, my inspirations, my travels. Unfortunately, the last entry in this blog was made in 2015, making it a good five years since I last touched this space.

So I dusted the cobwebs off this blog, looked through all the entries made from 2010 in a bid to clean up the gunk. Cleaned up the formatting. Reminisced about old times.

I am 31 years old this year. It is interesting, seeing these old snapshots of myself, taken a whole decade ago when I was 21. A younger time; a more restless, self-centred, and ignorant time, if I were to be honest with myself. Some entries, I deleted. Others, I switched to private mode. The rest, I retained, in an effort to preserve some historical/sentimental mementos of my youth.

Many things have changed after I stopped updating this blog in 2015. Inside my little bubble universe, I got a new job, travelled to many different countries, got comfortable with adulting, something I didn’t think I was capable of. And while my writing is still a slow, ongoing process, I am glad I kept at it, even though there were many times Real Life & Work rendered me too busy to do writing on the side.

Outside my private sphere, the world is different; kids are more worldly compared to me at their age. We’ve talked about tolerance for decades yet nationalism and rhetoric hatred is still on the rise; we’ve talked of saving the planet yet governments are still cutting down swathes of rainforest and sending their trash to other countries.

Moving forward, I am looking to populate this blog with more regular updates about my travels and writing. It may be that I will have more travel-related entries; after solo-tripping for so long, I do have many stories to tell, including my disastrous climb up Mount Merapi, and my gun range visit in Siem Reap. I can’t wait to get started.

Shadow Days

I really haven’t updated this blog for the longest time. There’s a fair bit of entries that I have to put up, but before I do that, maybe just a brief update. It is a little personal, and I made it vague because reasonz, but here goes.

For the longest time, almost two years, I was a total mess emotionally over some issues. I was functional and I did not appear sad most of the time; I was still the same old me when I was out with friends. But it was a constant thought in my mind, a constant thing that brought me down, and it affected me far worse than it ought to. Endless nights. Depressing thoughts and what-ifs that kept haunting me.

In late 2012, I took a break to distance myself from the shit. I stopped going out with my friends, except for a few close ones. I deleted my Facebook. I started running more than I usually did. I spent a lot of time helping out during my company’s events, more than I should. I spent a lot of time alone, read a lot.

It was hell but I would not say it was bad for me. Even though it was one of my most depressing periods in my brief, 24-year life… I learnt to let go of a lot of small stuff, picked up guitar again, made new friends, realised how much my friends cared for me, and improved myself. I hope, anyway.

I’m much better now. With distance comes perspective and detachment. Eventually, I even reached a resolution. And I have not felt this free for two years. 🙂

It takes the bad to appreciate the good, and I have learnt to be grateful for the friends I have, the wonderful people I am surrounded with, how lucky I truly am. I have a family that’s one of the sweetest I know. I have friends whom I know will always get my back. I have wonderful colleagues.

I know it sounds damn corny and it sounds like I am one of those super irritating hyper happy people. Which isn’t true – I get irritated at the smallest of things and the things I am insecure about can wreck me up for days. But I have learnt to appreciate things that are going well.

So if you have been a part of my life, thank you, for making me the way I am today. You may have made my day better in one way or another and I may not mention it, you may not know it, but you did.

Can I stay this positive forever? I’m not sure. One of my deepest fears is that I will be back in the same pit I was in those two years. But I will do my utmost not to backslide into that shithole again. Another one of my fears is that I will lose what I am grateful for. That I have no control over, so I just want all my family and friends to know that I love them, and I treasure my time with them… 🙂

_________________

Hard times have helped me see
I’m a good man with a good heart
Had a tough time, got a rough start
But I finally learned to let it go

Now I’m right here and I’m right now
And I’m open knowing somehow
That my shadow days are over
My shadow days are over now

Kindle

I was a fairly voracious reader when I was younger. I used to go through books like a sick person go through tissue.

Then, as usual, I grew up and grew busier, picked up bad habits like not returning library books on time and thus incurring fines and thus avoiding borrowing books to avoid paying the fines and thus stopped reading as often as I did. There’s also portability – I usually forget to bring books with me when I go out, so I can’t read them when I am waiting for someone, or queuing, or taking the train. In fact I believe that I wouldn’t be able to finish reading long-ish sagas at my age now, compared to when I was younger. It’s one of the reasons I do not want to pick up Game of Thrones; because I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to finish them.

But I still love reading and I’ve always made resolutions to read more often. I’ve wanted to buy a ebook reader for a while now, because I thought that the convenience of it would spur me to read more.

And thus I bought the Kindle 4 this week.

I had a lot of misgivings about buying a Kindle. For one, the price. Secondly, it’s a lot of hassle buying books from Amazon when you are from Singapore. Gift cards and US-based addresses and whatnot. (Thankfully found a solution around it…. hehehe). Thirdly, the practical side of me keeps saying, if you are going to blow money on a mobile reader, you might as well get an iPad or some other mobile notepad shit that can read books and play games and run other apps. Why buy a device that just allows you to read?

Those arguments are valid but I bought it anyway… I’m not sure why but maybe the bookworm in me just wants some new fangled toy to play with.

So far I loveeee it!

I bought Kindle on Saturday afternoon. By Saturday night I’ve finished reading Warm Bodiesa book I’ve wanted to read for a while but they didn’t have it in the library. I also started reading A Short History of Nearly Everythingwhich is kinda deep and thought-provoking, so I read it in little bits (yea I tend to read multiple books at once… probably that’s why I can’t finish reading books). Today is Sunday, and I’ve finished reading I Am Legend and World War Z (although that probably doesn’t count because I’d read WWZ before; so today was just picking out my favourite parts and rereading them). I have also found tons and tons of other ebooks and I cannot wait to start on them omgwtfbbq.

(If you know the titles I have just named, you will probably notice that most of them are from one particular genre. Hehehehehhee. I am so bloody predictable).

Maybe it’s just me being excited about my Kindle. Maybe in a month’s time I will toss the Kindle to one side and go back to not reading regularly. But I love it so far. I love the matte screen, how it feels as if I am reading from a book instead of reading from a screen. I love the convenience of being able to lug it into the toilet and wherever I go. I love the long battery life. I hope this Kindle will last me a while!

My thoughts on running

So I am starting to get really into running (disclaimer: I’m sorry if you follow me on Twitter and have seen me update about running like a million times. Sorry!).

It used to be I couldn’t run for 10 minutes without feeling like I’m going to die. Now I’m better; I try to run 5km weekly at least, more if I can. I’ve completed a 5k, signed up for a 6k, am looking to join a 10k, and eventually I hope to complete a half marathon and then a full one. 🙂

It’s still not easy for me to run. I’m not a very sporty girl, and that means every time I run my body has to work extra hard. I’ve lost weight but I’m still a fatty putting my body to the limit, and I am constantly outstripped by runners who look like they are grandparents and grannies. I run well on level ground, but hills and slopes always take a toll on me and my timing is almost always worst when I run on uneven terrain.

Still, I never thought I’ll say this, but… I enjoy running. After the first 1 or 2 km, my body understands that damn, I am not going to stop, and it settles into… I don’t know what you call it, but a state of mind? My breathing becomes even, my feet settle into a regular rhythm, and I zone out. That’s when I feel like I can run forever, or at least until the next slope arrives.

I’ve also discovered that running is truly, really, more of a case of mind over body. If I were to have amnesia right now but have my physical body (and stamina) unaffected, I would not be able to run as much as I did now. It takes time to realise that your body can take more than what you think it can (but of course if you are truly breathless don’t push your body more).

After 23 years of physical inactivity, discovering that I can run and that I love running is a fucking epiphany for me. I feel happy, I feel confident; I know I may be a slow runner, but goddamn, I can run, I can run, I CAN RUN!!!

The deepest fear I have right now is that I will suddenly lose this drive, or that I will, carelessly, get an injury that will stop me from running for months. I honestly don’t know if I will start running again if I were to stop for a few months, and that fear is keeping me paranoid. I stretch properly before and after every run, I rest my calves if they are sore… I even started to eat more healthily so that my running can improve. I even hesitated before writing about my sudden running rush, because I am afraid once I write about it, I’ll jinx myself and wake up the next day hating everything about running.

So here goes hoping I didn’t jinx myself by writing about it. 🙂

To all the fellow runners in Singapore and in the world, happy running. It’s a fucking beautiful sport.

PS: Check out The Oatmeal’s hilarious account of his ultramarathon experience.

Dum dee dum

Supposed to post once every week but this week I have been really busy and I haven’t done so.

So this is just to say that I had a really good weekend and my house now contains a black kitten that I am helping to foster at the moment. 🙂

I haven’t decided on a name for her yet but she’s lovely. Today I watch her stalk her ‘prey’ – a balled-up paper ball, shoelace and a cat toy – attack and kill it, and then bring it back to a dark corner to chew on it to her satisfaction. She is also very timid, and every time my mom/dad speak loudly she will scamper to the area underneath the washing machine. And she will emerge with more dust on her than the inside of a vacuum cleaner. But she’s getting better – just now she approached my dad when he was sweeping my room instead of running away to hide in a dark corner.

Photos soon!

A non-CNY post in CNY week

A bottle of Hennessy, by the poolside, 3am in the morning. Bless and Nic and I were talking about whether we would rather be someone’s temp or home base. Are you a person’s escape? Or are you the ‘at-the-end-of-the-day-I’ll-still-return-to-you’ person?

Also, Tori Amo’s Sleeps with Butterflies is a perfectly apt song of this temp/home base struggle:

You say the word
You know I will find you
Or if you need some time
I don’t mind
I don’t hold on
To the tail of your kite
I’m not like the girls that you’ve known
But I believe I’m worth coming home to
Kiss away night
This girl only sleeps with butterflies
With butterflies
So go on and fly then boy

 

Hahaa this is funny

Me: Have you heard of this song called Gloomy Sunday?

Brother: No.. why.

Me: It’s a scary song! It’s known as the Hungarian suicide song. It is said that many people committed suicide after listening to it.

Brother: Oh really?

Me: Ya! Wiki it. Oh wait, let me send you the link to the Wikipedia page.

Brother: So is it really sad?

Me: It sounds very depressing actually.

*sends to brother Wiki link via MSN, and continue reading Wikipedia*

Brother: *comes to my room* Oi, can you play the song? Is it really scary?

Me: Huh? Why don’t you play on your laptop?

Brother: Why don’t you play it on yours now?

Me: I don’t want to! I’m scared to get the song stuck in my head.

Brother: I don’t want to play it on my laptop either!

Me: Well I don’t want to listen to it! It’s scary!

Both of us are wimpy kids.

what i’ve been up to.

 

 

______________

Several events have happened over the past few weeks, including my graduation, several weddings, and the beginning of my new lessons.

I’m gonna miss studying. It’s not that I am suddenly all gungho about exams and shit; I’m sure I will still complain bitterly and savagely if I ever had to take another exam or write another 2000word essay on the merits of negotiation and mediation in public relations, but I do miss the process of learning about new things.  That’s the geek in me. 🙂

Other random thoughts I have:

Clubbing

I am now thoroughly convinced that I have zero, zilch interest in clubbing anymore. I cannot honestly remember the last time I really really got wild and enjoyed myself in a club. It’s not because of the company – I have awesome friends and I can’t think of clubbing with anyone else.

I don’t know why. There’s something about the social scene at clubs that make me stiffen up and clam up and want to go to one corner and just down bourbon Coke all night and not dance. I feel fat and ugly and as if I have two left-feet and want to go home. Ok I shall shut up about my insecurities.

Anyway, so this discovery that I hate clubbing doesn’t go well with the fact that David Guetta is coming to ZoukOut! And yes I do want to see him spin in person despite my anti-club attitude.

Ah well. We see how things go. Maybe I’ll like clubbing suddenly.

Write write write

The first thing I did after I graduated (well, after the motar-board throwing and obligatory taking of photos and lamination of cert, of course) was to sign up for Nanowrimo. I’ve actually wanted to participate in this for a loonng time but November had always been a cursedly busy month for me in terms of exams. So now that I’ve graduated, I’m going to try it.

No, I don’t know whether I can meet the 50,000 word deadline. I also do not know what’s the quality of the writing that’s going to come out. But hopefully it will make me not proscasinate anymore.

Wish me luck?