Thousand Word Days & Ten Years of Blogging

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I don’t often do challenges – that’s not to say I don’t like to challenge myself. I’m allergic to habits wildly spontaneous, and since most challenges work on a habit-forming model, they don’t sit well with me.

I was trawling through my old blogs a while ago, and an hour later, I had removed every trace of myself aged 10-17 from the Internet. That’s because I was a little shit. But these 38 deleted blogs led me to the year I started blogging – 2006, when blogskins.com was all the rage, and everybody used Cbox. Oh, those days. Coincidentally, this ten year mark coincided with my one month of being on the Thousand Word Day challenge. Seriously, does Heaven schedule these things?!

Writing has been something I’ve been very ill-disciplined with over the years – only writing when inspiration struck me over the head with a club. Those days, I’d sit down and bleed words, but otherwise, I was losing a lot of content every day, simply by not penning them down. It wasn’t until I got to Korea that I decided to make it a part of my day. And the challenge?

1,000 words of writing a day, or 3,000 words of reading a day

30,000 words later –

Continue reading

80 | Redoing It


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A new semester began two weeks ago and since then I have been severely sleep-deprived. Nevertheless, it was good to see 02 again, with all their silly antics. It feels like home. We have a new batch of freshmen now and it’s so odd to be the seniors but I feel like 02 has toned down and we’re growing into our roles.

The biggest things on my mind have been our annual Dinner & Dance, schoolwork (which I should really be used to by now) and other writing-related commitments like work, theatre, poetry. Dinner & Dance was splendid and although the weeks leading up to it were mad, the moment I saw HR all gathered in the same hall and enjoying themselves, it was all worth it. 🙂

Another reason why I’ve enjoyed April was because it was National Poetry Month and we had SingPoWriMo! The challenge was to write one poem for all 30 days of April and I did it even though I didn’t post it on the group daily! Poems like <temujin>, <stolen sunlight>, <modern day mulan>, <breaking into graveyards> were poems I never thought I would write. Sometimes the first step to getting a poem down is actually writing it no matter how bad the first drafts are. I also edited old poems, easing them into new forms, such as <translating iv>. Writing poetry became my asylum and it is becoming a happy habit! 🙂

Days that I feel like I’m being bogged down, I go for shows and enjoy some time at a bar w/ a good drink afterward. If not, cafe-hopping is always welcome! Heavy on the expenses but for the load it relieves.. 🙂 It’s worth it.

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Here’s a cup of Shirley Temple on the house to get you through May! 

74 | White Rabbit Red Rabbit

 

I am a little stunned, and to a large extent impressed by how tight-lipped people are after coming out of White Rabbit Red Rabbit.

It doesn’t come as a surprise that I didn’t know what the show was about when I went in. After all, I’m the sort to buy tickets blindly. But when I came out, I had already had my perspectives changed a few times. Should I be proud to say I’m the first person to step into the black box for the entire run of White Rabbit Red Rabbit? Nothing to be proud of, but still. The program booklet states that this play is a cold reading, meaning actors have never seen the script before, and will read it for the first time as they perform this play. The originality of this is apparent right from the beginning. Fangda and I were just discussing TV Tropes over dinner (it ruins your life) and when we walked out he was saying with a tinge of awe, “.. and we were just discussing originality just now.. this is it. This is the stuff.”

In other words, go and catch it. It’s a play that defies all theatrical conventions and goes straight for the jugular of your perspectives and soul.

72 | élan

(n.) distinctive and stylish elegance; impulsive, confident ardor

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I can’t actually remember the last time I posted here at a time other than the twilight hours.

It’s still a rather busy period for me but I’ll keep this a little more concise. Just wanted to drop an update because of Chinese New Year and the dozens of other things going on (at the same time). It’s driving me mad.

The week of my birthday I was down with laryngitis and hated it so bad. I don’t know if it’s because I came to poly or something else, because even now when I’m working my ass off, I still feel absolutely happy to be here, so it was painful for me to miss school because of an illness. It’s the environment perhaps, for someone who cannot stand mundane, routine things, poly is basically a dynamic, energy-filled bubble to be in. Of course with 02 around.. there’s never even a quiet moment.

Shortly after my birthday, I went to TANGS and treated myself with the birthday voucher they gave. Wanted to get a Minkoff which I’ve been eyeing for the longest time but Doorstep Luxury only stocks it at Robinsons Heeren. Will be going there to check it out soon enough though!

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Mushroom Superga!

I’d initially had my sights set on the Cotu 2750 in Black but I decided that it was too mainstream and opted for something else. I’m happy with this colour: it’s cute, and I’ve been comfortable trotting around in this pair because of the excellent arch support. In other news I am also kicking myself and tripping more often because my old Rockports used to feel like air but this pair’s heavy. Then again some close friends reassured me that I’d trip even if I were barefoot so.. I guess.

Celebrated Claudia’s and Janice’s birthday with the class on 30 Jan, and here are the photos –

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Janice looks the same height as us.. ahem.

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Pretty Claudia! 🙂

And as always, a mad camwhoring session always ensues:

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We took it even further and had a private birthday celebration (with candles) for the December baby Micaela, Jan babies Iffah & myself as well as the soon-to-be 18-year old Eunice!

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We celebrated Chinese New Year at home that evening with a comfortable dinner but it wasn’t absolutely fantastic because my mom refused to cook dark sauce chicken – her best dish – on the account of it being black. Frankly though, I don’t care if I have bad luck for a year if I have dark sauce chicken every morning. That stuff is dope.

Second day, we headed to Grandma’s place, and here’s my FOTD, very shamelessly.

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Lipstick: YSL 12 Corail Incandescence

Got to see my always beloved grandma and torture her by taking one thousand and one photos insisting that she pose nicely. She gives me this long-suffering sigh every time I do it, as if to say, “This girl has tortured me for 18 years and she’s not even close to stopping? Damn..” Well no, Grandmama, I’m going to continue it. 😉

Also got to see my little furkid! Always a furkid even if she’s close to 7x my age in dog years now.

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She was excited because so many people were around!

She was so happy that we were all in the house and got a bit mad excited. Bought her some cookies and she showed me the wait command that I’ve been trying to teach her – you know, the one that requires imba self-control on their part. She’s such a good girl :’)

Not much went on except that I had my cousins come over on Saturday and well, although we’re not close it was good to see them! Nothing beats having so many people you know. Of course, I’m an ambivert so this is just the extrovert speaking.

Thereafter we headed to Godma’s house for lo hei which is like the highlight of this year’s CNY. So much good food, company and.. gambling. Had a mahjong session where I struck it lucky and even better – banluck in a big group! I think it’s much more fun like that, even if almost every time I got banluck, the banker ran off with 15 points. 😉

On Monday the others came over to my place for erm, financial recreation. Mahjong the whole day, then banluck, KFC and brain games. I really don’t know what I’d do without my friends from school. Life would be disconcertingly quiet. Mic also made splendid cheese muffins which had pearls on them (they nearly broke a tooth) and they were so delicious.

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Introducing the people who always itch to meet and play!

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Fraser, bc she’s one of the closest seniors and she’s so lovable.

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Cynthia, and even I find how close we are now a pseudo-miracle. 

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Micaela with her pretty puppy eyes. I know what gets you now, Eunice.

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We look very similar I think, everyone gets us mixed up.

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The guys – Ben and Yuanchen! 🙂

This concludes all the merry-making that went on during the new year. Once I began school, things went awry.

On Wednesday, I went to collect a Rebecca Minkoff Bailey Card Case that was a splurge for my birthday. Guess what? The next day, I lost it on the way to the MRT. I don’t even know how. The second best part was that even the temporary card dropped out of my pocket on the MRT. Sigh. That was one dreadful day. Practically $100 flew with my ez-link and cardcase so if anyone finds it please return it to me!

Other than strange misplacings such as these, schoolwork has been picking up. We’re nearing project submission and final week, which is never a really good time. I stayed up till 5AM just this Thursday to finish up DBE and Gen Ed, and concussed for 15 hours till this morning. That’s because I have way too many things going on at any one point of time – schoolwork, Korean, translation, writing, driving, friends. Last year, I used to plan dozens of days in advance but now I’m reduced to taking it one day at a time. I’m not complaining, I’m just saying that it’s hard, you know? Even when I know why I chose to bring all these into my life there are nights that I can never really justify the pressure placed on me. It’s not fun waking up feeling like emotional crap knowing that you can’t take it out on anybody, there’s going to be even more shit heaped on you throughout the day and then coming home knowing it begins again a few hours later. Or, you could adopt my mindset and tell yourself that however shitty a day is a new one dawns in a matter of hours, so don’t fret. That’s been my cure lately. Oh and also, more hugging than is necessary.

The one thing that has been keeping me sane are my theatre dates. I am living from one theatre production to the other because that’s the way I stay motivated. Just this Friday I -ahem- left class early to go for a theatre production – Art by Yasmina Reza, produced by Nine Years Theatre. After watching Enemy of the People and now Art, I really feel like Nine Years Theatre is the company to watch out for, the one company I would love to work for. I’m really very thankful to Nelson, the director, who patiently answered my questions after shows.

One thing before I start telling you why Art is an awesome show though, a quick note to all students watching shows: can you guys please keep quiet? I know your school subsidized these tickets, it’s probably even free, but for us we are paying audience members. Please at the very least display some theatre etiquette. I don’t want to name schools but it was highly annoying when audiences are shifting in their seats throughout the whole show, and when it’s at the Recital Studio, one person moves, the whole row moves. I rocked back and forth basically the entire show! Also, is there a need to laugh whenever the actors cuss even mildly? When they stand, when they sit, you laugh. When they talk, you laugh. They stumble over their lines you laugh. Someone even shouted a response extremely loudly to a rhethorical question during the play. HELLO?! Have some sense! I am very supportive of schools bringing their children to the theatre but hey, this is not the right way to watch a show.

Now that that’s done with, Art is a splendid show. If I had to pinpoint a success factor I’d say it’s the actors. The feel that they gave me was, in Chinese, 游刃有余, I felt like they never even hit the depths of their acting prowesses. Their acting transformed a potentially tiresome play into a riveting one. I am not a huge fan of Yasmina Reza’s writing style, but the way she writes conflict is definitely, non-negotiably skillful. The difference between this and God of Carnage (which I hated) was that the conflict was much less contrived. I felt like in God of Carnage they could bloody well have walked out at any point of time and ended the conflict (realism, right?) but in this one I felt that it was less contrived – the conflicts stemmed from the character’s personality and was thus more organic. I’m guessing wildly here, but it worked. It threw me a variety of emotions – I felt my heartstrings tugged when Yvan was caught in the middle of a rapidly digressing friendship, Marc’s obnoxious self was completely unbearable, and respect for Serge grew the more he stayed calm in this conflict. It was also pretty comical and I’m guessing that making audience members laugh when the characters portray fury, anguish and deep betrayal is no mean feat. See what I mean, these actors are at the top of their game!

More than all of these, Art pulled the rug out from under me with regards to my notions of friendship. What are the foundations of which our friendship is built on? Why do we continue to see each other? What did you see in me, and I in you, that made us become friends? What do you do that I object to? What would I do if you bought a grand white painting for 200, 000 francs? What would I do with you in a conflict? Are there any things that I wanted to say but never got around to saying? Also, with regards to Art, I’ve begun to come to the conclusion that yes, art is always subjective. Art is what the viewer interprets of it. If I say a blank white canvas has a million rainbow lines and thus is touching, then so it is (to me). That’s my insight for now, I’m sure it’ll be challenged soon enough.

I have only watched two productions of Nine Years Theatre but they are fast becoming a season-ticket company, meaning, a company that I will buy season tickets for. Simply because the work they produce is of such high quality. I think Nelson as a director is very sensitive to character, in the sense that he understands a character well and can portray it to the audience in a way that is both simple to see while the layers and complexities of the characters are not compromised. The production team seems to be the same one at Enemy of the People and they are a force to be reckoned with. I loved the simple set (don’t I always) because they seem to create magic out of the simplest of props. Oh, what I would give to be able to volunteer with this company. 😦 Thank goodness I managed to get tickets for this!

On a more personal note, after having been out of theatre for some time, I thought the passion might have died off. After all when I first started in SRT’s Young Co, many people thought it was one of my newest fads, and there were also moments of insecurity, but then again, it was because I wanted so badly to do well. But now I realize that there never is a “do well” in theatre. It’s all about the process of creating a work from scratch, collaborating with a bunch of other talented people who are just as delighted as you are to be in a creative space, and working through kinks, problems and having fun together. If I may say so I used to be arrogant when it came to theatre, but I’ve resolved to take a humbler attitude. Just being able to participate in theatre is a joy in itself – I don’t need to be the one working on it or writing it. Just partaking in an art people spend hours pursuing, being part of a message to be conveyed, to be touched and connected in soul with is beautiful. This is what I am in theatre for isn’t it, not to have my work on the stage but to be connected with and to connect with. I am starting over, and this time I am doing it different.

My next show is on Saturday, after the Nine Years Theatre dialogue in the afternoon. I’m going to watch Yue Opera and I’m not sure how I’ll find it, but I’ll let you know. Also, my theatre budget is projected to exceed $1k this year, and I’m not surprised. Ah, the joys of going to the theatre – it always feels so much like home.

71 | Unceasingly

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I suppose the only thing that would justify me putting up a huge poster of me in a ridiculous kaftan top (because it is bitterly chilly out in Singapore no less) and with a pizza in my hands is that I am turning eighteen and this puts an end to.. nonsense. Or perhaps it is just the beginning. I do not know.

It only really began to set in yesterday – reality, I mean – when Mom gave me a hug and congratulated me on turning 18. Then came a flurry of texts and phone calls, most memorably Noel, because he finally busted out the words he’d tried to say for months, Elainn, especially when her relative busted in and told her to keep quiet, and then the voice recordings by Janice which were viciously hilarious, the social media flood from Jean and then the quiet text from Liansheng (which, really, was probably the most surprising). 🙂 I didn’t think anyone else would call but Kaiyang – Kaiyang – called and congratulated me as well. Plus points for sincerity? He’s certainly very proud of it!

02 gave me the most unique memory today with a celebration. I was told there’d be extra class of a module I particularly hate so I was cursing and swearing all the way up only to be pleasantly surprised at the door with paddlepop cake and a birthday song. Thank you guys! They’d heard I’d like to have a class gathering like we did at chalet and that’s exactly what we had, bonding over pizza (CHEESE PIZZA!) and talk. That’s exactly how I like 02!

20140120-222409.jpgKaiyang, squirrel incarnate.

20140120-222520.jpgThis looks so much like a family portrait I can’t even.. all it’s missing is a frame.

20140120-222532.jpgWith Cynthia, who so kindly organized this birthday gathering & gave me this fisheye + macro lens!


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Eunice and I are beginning to look.. alike.

20140120-222539.jpgDirty Juliet’s in the house.

20140120-222558.jpgMandatory shot with the mama, and the daisy-selling, truffle-growing farmer twin.

20140120-222551.jpgFinishing up the paddlepop cake. Look at the chaos 02 is in behind us.

Second surprise of the day came when I was doing my work in my room and I looked out to the living room where – lo and behold! – a fat cake sat there squat. Good golly, was I surprised.

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This came as a totally unexpected surprise because when I was little I used to cry – like bawl the entire kindergarten down, whenever someone sang me a birthday song. Teachers said I was shy, but I prefer not to say that now because who would ever believe me? In any case, I think my parents just wanted to see if I’d grown up.. to see if I would still bawl. Na-uh. By the way, Swee Heng’s raspberry cheesecake is delicious! It’s not rich but it’s fluffy. Oh, it’s quite decent, I should say!

I received many gifts today and for that I am downright thankful. Those who wrote me letters, thank you. Words are one of the most beautiful language love can be conveyed in and I am so touched by them, simple as they are. Those who gave me gifts to go along with them, thank you again, because I never for a moment really wanted anything except your company 🙂 Thank you for making my day extraordinary, even though I tried to keep it low-key. Thank you for the kind wishes and blessings in all sorts of languages, whether it’s by personal text, social media or a face-to-face wish. The intention behind these are downright moving, especially when someone texts you after a long hiatus from your life! Perhaps these are what birthdays were made for – to reconnect people who’ve drifted away..?

I’ve felt incredibly loved today, but perhaps it’s time to remind myself that year-long this love hasn’t changed. Some of these people especially, I know they love me unceasingly, but I know it with my head and not my heart. It’s high time I transferred that knowledge where it can be best put to use healing battle wounds!

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18: in eighteen seconds you can rip someone apart, in eighteen minutes you can do basic housekeeping for your room, in eighteen hours you can deliver new life, and what have I done in eighteen years?

Looking back, I’ve made my fair share of blunders, been the more loving one a fair amount of time, worked like my life depended on it. So many fond memories, so many people who’ve crossed my path, some of whom have paths that have intermingled with mine for over a decade, others inching their way there, most just seeing the beginning of the perilous journey to lifelong friendship. I can gladly say that these people, each and every one of you, made footprints just crossing my path, and these can’t be erased. A small word, a kind gesture or a smile could have profoundly changed the way I look at things, and as much as I try to let them know sometimes someone slips through. Here are my thanks, for being on this journey with me and for altering my life just as I’ve (hopefully) altered yours. 🙂 That’s why humans are made for socializing, we create dents and prints on each other’s lives until the fabric of our lives each become like unique, well-worn leather. Some are pebbled, some are grainy and some are cross-hatched, but they’re all still leather and we each leave special somethings on each other’s canvas. Our actions, thoughts and words come back to us through a thousand sympathetic fibres, connecting each of us cosmically, a common feeling of what it feels like to be human leaping between us. This is why I believe in people first and foremost (and on a more down-to-earth scale, why I am in HR)!

It’s tough thinking of what I’ll be in the next 10 years. I suppose I can’t tell with even 20% certainty, but if I had to plot a trajectory I’d say that I’ll probably still be dabbling with languages, linguistics and people. I might have left theatre, or I might be contributing to the local scene. I might begin writing fiction (which has always intimidated me) or have sworn off poetry. There are so many things that hang precariously in a balance, and every day is full of work to get myself from here to the future that I envision myself in. It’s a little tough reminding myself to work hard now so I can live comfortably in future, yet preparing myself for the possibility that I may not have the opportunity to live as comfortably as I live now. Either way I believe that as long as languages/linguistics and people are a part of my life, somehow or rather I’ll come out okay. I’ll be fine, if not happy. These two things are my anchors, or, dare I even say it, the reason why I live. For those two alone I have so much gratitude to give!

In conclusion, 18 is a fine age, and I always say this – I treasure my youth. To be in an age where time seems to crawl and you are free to explore, free to love with abandon and free to chase everything under the sky that catches your fancy, I sense that this freedom is not something I can keep for most of my life. I shall cherish it while I have it, or not begrudge it when it’s gone. 18 brings a sense of finality, a close to my childhood years, and an opening to my adult years. It brings the smell of family and grocery shopping and bills on the wind, but also brings with it a heightened sense of perspective. No longer am I looking up at others from the ground. I am at eye-level, and I am ready to contend and connect. It tastes of naivety, fearlessness and endless hard work, but it’s one step at a time till you have your feet on the clouds.

70 | Appentence

(n.) an eager desire, an instinctive inclination; an attraction or natural bond

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Clearly, 2014 started off with a bang. The first cohesive activity I had was chalet with (of course, who else?) DHRMP02, and I can proudly say that we are really extremely bonded. The entire class has this class spirit I’d never experienced with other classes before and though we clique, we’re close even between cliques. This chalet simply brought us all closer together!

Headed to the chalet at Pasir Ris Park after collecting my Longchamp Planetes (which, by the way, I am obsessed with) and proceeded to enjoy the night barbecuing, sticking flowers in our hair and having heart to heart talks. First round of heart to hearts came over drinks from 10PM closing in on midnight, and round 2 came after we stormed Mac at 2AM in the morning. We basically sat in a circle and talked about our future, our lives, our dating preferences, all the way till 6AM, and thereon we were very kindly disturbed by Kaiyang till 7AM.

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Headed home after chalet only to (no surprise here) receive texts from Fraser and Tongwai for a mahjong session. This is where the miracle begins. Having slept 3 hours, I showered and headed all the way down to the north-east to play. Gave myself the very convenient excuse that since I’d been “deprived of proper playtime” during holidays, I should indulge. Came back after 1/2 a round and proceeded to eat and concuss my way to morning.

School began, and things went absolutely crazy from there on. The first week has been so intense, I don’t even know where these activities came up from. Monday started off on a rather hectic note, which I should really have taken as a warning, because once Tuesday came all the big bombs were dropped without warning.

Scooted off after school with Kimtat to Queensway to collect chapter tees & have dinner before heading to SCCCI for translation lessons. By the time the end of the lesson came round I was so completely bushed (but happy). Wednesday was a trifle more tiring as I had lunch with Eunice and Micaela before rushing off to National Museum to do front-of-house for Nine Years Theatre’s Enemy of the People, as part of the M1 Fringe Festival. I was definitely tired, but you can bet I was happy. Had the immense good luck of watching the show, considering that all tickets were sold out. Best part? The post-show dialogue went on for an hour, and I was inspired by how they said they do Chinese theatre simply because they can. Yes, exactly because I can. 🙂

Thursday was spent welcoming my grandaunt and uncle from Malaysia with dinner at grandma’s place after a long day of catching up on work. Apparently didn’t get to do much, because I got stuck on accounts for a mighty long time. Slept early that day because Friday was simply a piece of hell (or heaven, depending on your perspective). Woke up at 8AM for the earliest lesson I have in my timetable, and when that ended at 10AM, Russell & I hauled ourselves to SPCC for course counselling till 1PM. Which I must say was a great experience. Surprisingly this year, nobody really asked about psychology. Most enquired about the HR component of our course. Splendid indeed. I hope to see you all in DHRMP’s freshman orientation next year!

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Had a short break and a cup of coffee at home before going down to National Museum for my second night at the front-of-house. This time was even more enjoyable. There’s something about going back to the theatre that makes me feel like I’m heading right back home. Handled some admin work while the show went on and facilitated the post-show dialogue. I think I did front-of-house 3 times out of 4 shows they had simply so I could hear the post-show dialogue go on. Boy, it’s always interesting to hear what the audience has to say. If you missed Nine Years Theatre and their production Enemy of the People this time, you’ve definitely lost your opportunity, but catch their production of Art by Yasmina Reza in February in conjunction with Huayi 2014!

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Helping out at Fringe 2014 has given me a bunch of new friends from across the theatre industry, people who saw me day after day and began discussing theatre with me. I’ve also been given insights on how to do front-of-house, how things work behind the scenes, and it’s still a dream I hold one day that I can finally be in the theatre not as an audience but as someone who’s played a part in production. Best case scenario, I’m the surtitlist or even better, the playwright, but if not – I could be stage hands and be just as happy! That’s the joy theatre gives 🙂

Had my last Korean exam at ezSAM before heading off for dinner with my Korean classmates, and later SRT playwrights. What a hectic week! And just when I thought it was over, Monday came around.

This week will mostly be filled with catching up on project work and academics. Oh, and booking shows. I’ve got all my shows penned down in my planner and by the looks of it I will exceed the SGD 820 I spent on 2013’s theatre season. Just Huayi alone is enough to dry my wallet, what with shows like 《如梦之梦》,《南海十三郎》,《江南好人》,and the one I can’t miss, 《艺术》. Maybe these shows will displace some of the guilt and misery I feel for missing The Necessary Stage’s restaging of “The Best Of..” why Chelsea when everyone’s raved to you about the show why do you do this to yourself?

I shall be busting some money on Amanda Lee Koe’s Ministry of Moral Panic tomorrow. Decided to give it special mention because all my esteemed reviewers have given this book the thumbs-thumbs-up and after Sam’s very successful marketing pitch, I am now on a craze to get the book.

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Before signing off for the week, I must share this with you, if only for the boasting rights. Hahaha, things like that aren’t daily occurences.

Some may know that recently, I’ve been increasingly addicted to Korean rappers such as Beenzino, Verbal Jint, Tablo, Dok2, YMGA, Paloalto, Drunken Tiger, etc. I’m new to the hip-hop fandom so I’m not going into all the fan battles or disses, but this is cool stuff.

Masta Wu is a rapper who very quickly ascended to the top of my favourites list because of his drawn, slang-filled rapping. His smooth tone, delayed beats and flow just draw you in before you can say “Rap it.” I unwittingly tweeted and tagged him that day while raving about his songs and bingo! Here he goes, favouriting my tweet.

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I suspected that he favourites all fan tweets but hey, I was in for a glorious surprise when I found myself on the same list as Lydia Paek, GD, CL, Dara and Peter Chun. Talk about a highlight in my week.

Pardon the small-time fangirling, will you? It’s been a long time since I’ve indulged in it. 🙂

66 | Augenblick

German (n.) lit. “in the blink of an eye”; a ‘decisive moment’ in time that is fleeting, yet momentously eventful and incredibly significant.

I’m finally back here after the hell that was presentation week. I finally feel like all my previous “hells” finally culminated into one blowup week, and I’m not even sure how 5/7 weeks of hell even occurred, but the important thing is, it’s over, and I am pretty much free to do whatever I want. Nah just kidding, I still have term papers.

I actually drafted this post something like 2 weeks ago, but because WordPress and iPhone photos don’t like each other, I couldn’t flip images. I tried everything, rotating on iPhone, rotating on my computer, rotating on WordPress, and nothing worked, until the idea hit me to try the iPhone WordPress app. Ya right? Slow. All these pictures here could date way back, but they’re here now, so enjoy!

Hit Cake Spade with Janice during HBL Week, and I had a really embarrassing moment there. Janice will give me grief for a lifetime with this one scene. All this hubbub started with that transparent cup you see. Usually in cafes they serve cappuccinos or coffees in general with white cups and or large glasses but I swear I’d never seen a cappuccino in a transparent teacup with a transparent saucer to match. Apparently I said “WOW!?” really loudly and Janice didn’t even dare to look at the server. Talk about shame hahaha.

Exciting incidents aside, I finally tried the tofu cheesecakes which were highly raved about. Was it up to the hype? Let’s just say I had 3 slices of cake that day. Just can’t get enough of that stuff. I mean, the fruits are fresh, the cheesecake is not too thick and it’s not very sweet either. Really appreciated the digestive biscuit base and it tasted delicious too! Bought more cakes to share with the family and busted about $80 on cakes alone. Now no one will believe me when I said I never used to be a dessert girl. In my defence, I am still not one, I’m just a cake kinda girl. 🙂

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Janice also ordered a ramekin which was way too sweet for me. This will tickle all you chocolate lovers out there, but I like dark chocolate and this was just sweet. Cloyingly sweet. Didn’t finish this but it was so pretty I had to take a photo of it!

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In most exciting news this week, my Daniel Wellington watch arrived! I’d been eyeing the watch from Justtangy for a few weeks and when Kwerkee had a preorder, I just couldn’t resist. I thought the Classy watches would be too small for me, although the Swarovski crystals were pretty, so I ordered the Classic with two straps – the Oxford strap was from Justtangy and the original Bristol strap. Changing the strap was the first thing I did – I mean, I see no sense in wearing leather to school everyday. Maybe for functions. I really enjoy the Oxford strap though, fall colours like navy blue, royal red and emerald green are my absolute favourites and I really can’t stop looking at the time now. 🙂

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Another event that nearly drove me crazy with happiness was when my little girl Charis came back from Beijing for a few days. She’s really got my me wrapped round her pinky finger. She is really good at manja-ing me, by the way. I can never resist her. Anyway I hope my little one enjoyed her stay. They say distance makes the heart grow fonder and I suppose that’s true. 🙂

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Outside matters aside, every day has been really enjoyable with 02. One thing about 02 is that we are all friends. If we bitch about someone, we’ll go and tell that person in their face, sooner or later. We trust each other, and we’re basically classroom hooligans. Asked Ms Juliana during PTN what her impression of 02 was and she said “dynamic”. ORLY? Just dynamic? Nah, we’re basically energy on legs. Whether it’s having class lunch or having unglams posted (cough, Micaela, cough) I really enjoy their company and they make me miss school on the days I decide to, er, call in sick. I hope we preserve this camaraderie until we’re in Year 3 and beyond, because God knows this is hard to come by.

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Also celebrated birthdays with my family this month. 🙂 Here are all the kids in a rare family shot (and probably one of the few that were actually successful) that a family girl like me would cherish for life. Stuffed myself at the Crystal Jade steamboat.. but then again I’ve not been watching my diet these few days.

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If I didn’t get my information wrong, I believe we’re the first and the earliest class in HR to take both presentations and boy, was it a rush. I basically slept all of 3 hours before DBE presentation, and slept 15 minutes for FOM presentation, and mind you these were on Tuesday and Wednesday, not to mention they came after a week in which I only slept 20 hours in total. That will explain the eyebags and the bad complexion. I have no idea why they choose to stuff a project with such a wide scope within one term, but we did it anyway. I mean, we’re used to this right? Business students are used to making miracles with presentations anyway. /sigh/

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More recent shots after our last presentation. I completely have no mood to study for my written papers now that I’m done with my presentations and that’s a really ominous sign. That also says that the picture above is me step studying. On the same day, Claudia and I both turned up in nautical-themed tops, and I discovered how many people in class were into Heirs.. basically about 1/4 of the class is hooked on this drama and we’re basically just catching up to each other’s speeds and trying not to spoil it for the rest.

Having said that, Heirs is a really good show. I mean, it’s rare for me to like a Korean drama because they’re so melodramatic, and truth be told I really go for actors/actresses – if there’s a few people I like you can be sure I’ll be watching it. All these are rather chanced upon because I don’t naturally start watching on my own. I watched Heirs because Eunice recommended it and I was bored after FOM presentation on Wednesday – and boy did I regret not heeding her advice to start after exams. With Chanyoung, Kim Tan and later Hyo Shin, they got me hook, line and sinker. I thought my heart would shatter for Cha Eun Sung’s plight but no, it shattered for Kim Tan’s predicament. 😦 I am now stuck at Ep 16 trying to wait patiently and not buy a ticket to Korea and rob the SBS studio for the remaining 4 eps. Worse still it’s broadcasted twice a week (and I thought waiting for On Call 2 was bad!) and I am not the most patient of people. Which you might have gathered already, from the way I’m speaking like a drug addict would.

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The past few weeks have been tough on me and the people around me. I’ve been easily irritable, although I don’t get angry easily. I keep babbling when I’m tired (because I just can’t shut up, can I?) and that must have irritated the people around me to no end. School wasn’t the only thing to hit, there were a few other things and deadlines going on at the same time as well, but despite being relieved that it’s over, I realized that I don’t really lament my busy days. I lament the days when I’m stuck at home feeling shitty with nothing to do but I don’t complain about the days in which I only have 3 hours to sleep. This amount of activity scares me because I’m never sure how much more my body can take, but the thought of having nothing to do scares me even more. In fact, it frightens me stiff. My time with SRT’s The Young Co. ends next January and other than some personal reasons why I’d be quite heartbroken to leave, I’m terrified that I’ll have nothing to while away my time. I’m currently tossing around the idea of going for another mentorship programme, or taking a second diploma in translation. Let’s see how much I can save, I guess. I quite like the idea of leaving my writing alone for a while and relaxing myself by indulging in languages.

SRT-TYC has been an amazing journey thus far. We concluded our last external workshop with Rikki, touring director of Peter Brook’s The Suit and have one last workshop with Bill on 7 Dec. Our short pieces will be going into production after that and the trepidation and insecurities are doing me no good. Next year on, we’ll part ways and though the industry is small, I’ll have no reason to meet my other lovely playwrights again. Over this year we’ve met almost every week. We’ve exchanged works, talked about insecurities, caught amazing shows together, and I’ll miss them dearly. I’ve grown close to a few of them and they’re all people I don’t think I could be here without. At this point of time I guess I’ll just have to reiterate my own point that every moment is fleeting and every meeting, transient. These are people I’ll continue loving and memories I won’t quickly forget. They’ve started me on a journey that I hope won’t see completion anytime soon, and where it goes from here is my own call. 🙂 It’s always nice to know I have buddies around though. It makes me feel like this is less of a steep cliff, but rather, just an uphill climb.

Exams will be over in a week, and then it’s partying all the way till New Year’s Day. Till the next time, then! x

65 | Baby Steps.

It’s been one hell of a week, guys.

Last week I said my crazy week was a prelude to a hell week. And I wasn’t joking at all. It was quite literally hell. Every single day I was dragging myself everywhere. I don’t know how my body is coping with all of this. I don’t have the capacity to plan forward any more, I’m just living each day as it comes. Yet though I may complain, I do not regret.

The whole week was filled with academia, projects, writing and language classes. Oh, and the unforgettable Singapore Writer’s Fest 2013, but we’ll get to that. The constant exhaustion peaked on Wednesday when I stumbled home after my playread at SRT and asked, “Why the hell do I do this?” Existentialist crisis, I know. I’ve always told myself that I don’t naturally have enough discipline, focus and aptitude to license any slacking and so I work two times harder to be where I want to be and occasionally I just ask if that’s really what I want. To subject myself to this kind of insane schedule just to be able to pursue my dreams. I guess there is really nothing else I want to do with my life. Someone reminded me  to think back to my initial motivation for pursuing theatre and I realized that there isn’t. I dabble in poetry as well. Language and words just flow in my blood, it’s not something I can distance myself from. All my writings come from a rather primal need to catalogue my world, to process the insanity, atrocity and blessings around me. It’s a visceral, burning need for me to write so I can deal with.. life at large. I can run, but I can’t hide.

I was very happy on Saturday because I got to meet one of my favourite people in the world and go for my very first Singapore Writer’s Fest! Imagine, a $15 pass (which I felt was pretty justified after the first workshop) and you get to attend so many events. I attended a panel discussion with Desmond Sim & Alfian Sa’at, two of my local favourites, as well as attend a rather entertaining discussion on Singlish in Literature. I was enjoying myself until lo and behold, my phone’s display decided to die on me.

I am not someone who can’t live without my phone. In fact, after the initial disbelief (it is a 2-month old iPhone that’s only been dropped twice, and the second time was on a pillow) I was enjoying the rest of the day being uncontactable. I’m not saying I enjoy dumping people on their asses but I’m beginning to realize that people are just throwing me their own problems without thinking of how to resolve it themselves. So I told all of them to settle their issues themselves until my phone was fixed, and left it at that.

In the evening we got to attend a poetry event, which took us around Biennale exhibits while poetry by heavyweights such as Aase Berg, Ng Yi-sheng and Cathy Park Hong were being performed. And boy, it was a beautiful event. I don’t think I would have enjoyed it quite as much with the distraction of my phone. There is a certain familiarity about being in a world shrouded in words and language that calms me and gives me strength. I felt so refreshed by the end of the night! A most memorable day indeed. 🙂

The next day, I headed to get my phone fixed and thank goodness, Singtel gave me a one-for-one exchange! I don’t know how much more difficult it would be to get through e-learning week without my phone. I think the guy at the counter must’ve been amused when he saw the delight on my face, because I honestly felt like I’d struck gold.

In the afternoon I left Korean class early to meet FD, and we headed for another panel discussion where Anthony Chen, Heman Chong, Park Young-ha and Kuo Jian Hong were discussing the utility value of art. Interesting proposition but probably not so for me, because if I didn’t think art was useful I wouldn’t be ready to dump a life’s work into it, would I? Furthermore, I am not a very rational person when it comes to choosing between passion or stable living. I am still very adamant that I will give up all for my art, or you could also say I live with rose-tinted shades. Hmm.

Went to the main pavilion to ask if there were still tickets for Jung Chang’s workshop on Monday (and I was so desperate sigh! Unforunately, there weren’t any left) but the consolation came when I went to the shelf and found two books of Jung Chang’s that I’d been searching for extensively to no avail: Mao, the Unknown Story & Empress Cixi. Now, if you haven’t guessed already, I’m kind of a ancient China geek, and Empress Cixi, Wu Zetian as well as Chairman Mao will always be enigmas to be. So I forked out $42 (with discounts from festival pass!) to buy these two books which total about 1.8k pages of beautiful history chronicled –

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We then proceeded to grab more books at Esplanade Library. Oh, the two of us, we’re unstoppable, really.

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In conclusion, despite it being a very draining and rough week, I have felt very very loved indeed. My friends have been there every step of the way – calming me, making coffee for me, making me laugh, loving me, encouraging me – and I’m charmed, thank you very much, I’m charmed indeed. 🙂

61 | I’m Alive

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Bottom picture (L to R): Juan Jackson (Doctor), Nathan Hartono (Gabe), Sally Ann Triplett (Diane), Adrian Pang (Dan), Julie Abueva (Natalie), Linden Furnell (Henry)

Pangdemonium has nary a time disappointed me completely with their productions. In fact, most of them are stellar. I’ve watched quite a few in the short span of a year or so: Swimming With Sharks in 2011, and more recently, Rabbit Hole. Now, it’s a fantastic staging of Next to Normal.

This is the fifth performance so far and already people have been saying that it’s better than the Broadway version (which is a really high call). To be honest, I’d been skeptical of local musical theatre, and even more doubtful when people told me it’s better than Broadway. Yet NTN went far and above my expectations for a local musical theatre piece, and I am now a diehard fan.

First of all, let’s start with the stellar cast. Sally Ann Triplett plays Diana, the bipolar mother who is still reeling from grief. Her powerful performance each night makes you wonder how she summons the emotional strength to keep at the role powerful at a visceral level. Although frankly speaking I should have expected this gut-wrenching performance from her after the sitzprobe I watched, I still got socked by the depth of the paranoia and fear portrayed. Adrian Pang plays Dan, the stricken father who is trying to hold his family and wife together as he struggles not to fall apart himself. Oh, Adrian, your performance was the most heartbreaking of the nights. Never mind that your role was meant to illicit tears, but your depiction of the unerringly faithful, vulnerable partner was heartrendingly realistic and beautiful.

Nathan Hartono as Gabe was a splendid choice for me. He has enough exuberance and the energy to bring the whole concept of being alive to another level entirely. His voice, although lacking in vocal power, has a metal edge and even takes on a really sinister undertone as he sings Aftershock. For a soothing singer like him I was really surprised. Julie Abueva packs a punch in her performance of Natalie, the angsty teenage girl who is forced to bury her own desires and hunger. She was angsty, yet not overbearingly so, leaving space for the audience to empathize and love her back. Oh, and as Matthew Lyon of InkpotReview puts it, she still sings like God’s younger sister.

Juan Jackson and Linden Furnell as Doctor & Henry were commendable as well. Juan Jackson put up a great showing with the rock parts yet a persuasive performance when trying to convince Diana to stay in treatment. Linden Furnell is a spectacular rendition of younger Dan/faithful lover who doesn’t give up. I don’t think anyone left the theatre untouched by Henry’s devotion and love for Natalie!

Overall, I felt that the set design of this local production was better than the Broadway one, if not least for the fact that the Broadway production had 3 levels which could leave one feeling a little distanced. The set of the local production left you feeling like Gabe was constantly either running about in Diana’s mind or manifested himself in her delusions. He was very rarely out of her mind, in fact. The two-level set also made it convenient for Gabe to run around while singing I’m Alive, a perfect example of how ubiquitous he is. The set definitely worked in his favour.

I watched this production twice, and I have no regrets. Next to Normal is a musical that gets under your skin and pricks you long after you have left the theatre. Again, this is a thought-provoking piece, and definitely not for the feel-good musical theatre lovers. If Pangdemonium restages it, I would rewatch it (again) and purchase anything they’ll record. This is definitely in the running for my top 5 favourite stagings of the year.

My tracklist of NTN songs has been looping since the day I left the theatre, and here are my top 5 favourite showtunes:

1. I’ve Been – Aaron Tveit and J. Robert Spencer
Perfect track to showcase Dan’s undying love for his wife even through the most shocking and tough days. And that harmonization is simply a piece of Heaven, it moves me to no end!

2. A Light In The Dark – J. Robert Spencer and Alice Ripley
Persuasive husband convincing wife to take treatment. Another really tear-jerking moment in the musical. Sigh!

3. Why Stay? – A Promise – Alice Ripley, Jennifer Damiano, Adam Chanler, J. Robert Spencer, Aaron Tveit
A very brutal question thrown right into our hearts and then a reminder of a promise that Dan/Henry made to Diana/Natalie. Heartwarming!

4. Perfect For You – Jennifer Damiano, Adam Chanler
Isn’t this the most unorthodox confession song ever? I still love it though.

5. Make Up Your Mind/Catch Me I’m Falling – Next to Normal Cast
I think this has the whole play summed up. Damn. The feels.

58 | Not A Height to Scale

Had a leisurely time the past few days despite the rushing because nothing really ruffles my feathers when I can still cough out time to relax with my friends, esp my closest ones! 🙂 Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Folded this heart at Macdonald’s on Saturday just before Trojan Women. The paperclip was supplied by Liansheng, and you can imagine the look of surprise on my face when he magicked this out of his wallet. A man who carries paper clips around in his wallet all the time. I like.

I really liked the young actors’ rendition of Trojan Women. It was my first time watching this piece performed so great job Vanessa, Deborah and Vignesh, you guys have gotten this piece so imprinted in my mind now. The lyrical feel of the entire text is simply amazing – thank you Ellen McLaughlin for adapting this! It’s a simple tale with not so simple repercussions and messages that almost ask you to get up and do something about the way things are at present.

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Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset Mahjong with Fraser, Yuanchen, Kimtat, and Haikal on Monday 🙂 I’m improving, and I have never been more attracted to this game before. IMG_1142 New iPhone cases from society6. I am smitten – both of these are very me, don’t you think? Also, don’t even try putting a name to the kind of style I like. It’s very erratic, eccentric, eclectic, whatever you call it. It’s anything but ordinary. Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset   Hit Pies & Coffee with Mummy on Tuesday – nothing beats Flock I still say! We went there primarily for The Cheese Ark where I bought a block of Francine cheese. Lovely salty taste that melts on your tongue. Mild yet not bland and definitely still flavourful. What’s not to love?

Happiness is accumulated like a tub of water after a downpour, and it’s never something that you have to actively search for. Sometimes happiness is simply looking around and being aware enough to collect it as it pours down on you.