Friday, November 18, 2016

MY DEAREST, ANGELICA

Today I was looking for a notebook to pen my thoughts in, because I had some inspiration for my writing (if you just stumbled here from an alternate universe, I'm writing a novel) and I opened my travel journal, the one that says "get lost" on its cover.

I came across the pages of "people I've met along the way" and read the little snippets that I'd written about some of the people I'd met earlier on my journeys in LA. I stopped writing down these notes when I met Joey, which is a real pity, because I should've written something about Annie! And Sam, and James! And William! And Bill! I mean I did write about them online, but I wish I had something on paper.




I knew if I wrote about Joey, I'd run out of space in the "people I've met" section, so I wrote about him in the later, unlined pages. I type out these paragraphs later so you don't have to decipher my penmanship.





It makes me feel.... a very weird surreal nostalgic feeling reading all of this, just three months down the road. It makes me feel like, despite all the changes, all the discoveries and bitterness that's been introduced in my life, I remember all these things and I still feel them, and I'm somewhat still the same person. Somewhat? I think that's a good thing? A little bit, slightly.

This is what I wrote about Joey, if you care to read. I honestly, really, unabashedly feel exactly the same as the last time I saw him, which was about two and a half months ago.

People I've Met Along The Way: (sidenote --- I feel this would make a good title for a novel)

Joey: first name Joseph like my celebrity crush Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Goes by Joey 'cos that's what his mum calls him. Has an older brother. Joey's father is not game enough to order spicy food, but apparently likes food that is spicy, according to Joey. Has an older neighbour/friend Russ, who seems to treat Joey like a son, and whom Joey regards as a bit of a dad figure. I love observing their relationship. According to Russ, they share the same birthdate: July 13 but I haven't found out if this is true, not even sure that's Joey's birthday.

He has previously dated a Chinese lady, and an Indian lady, and some of my ex-colleagues used to joke that I "only date white guys", so I'm not sure what that means about both Joey and myself: do we fetishise each other? O.O

Joey presently works as a structures engineer for SpaceX. For one of our "dates" he gave me a tour of the SpaceX facility. I have never had such workplace envy, not least because it was/has always been my best friend's ambition to be an astronaut. I wish Han had gone for the SpaceX tour, or that she could meet Joey. He seems to be stretched thin by SpaceX, even his housemates know he spends too much time at work. When we were at SpaceX, though, I saw rockets that had been outside the Earth's atmosphere, that were blackened and waiting to be repainted and re-launched and Joey was explaining the parts to me, I knew that unlike many people, he is privileged enough to be involved in the future of all humankind, should Mars prove to be a viable situation for us.

He likes fast cars and bikes. I don't think the words "slow" and "regular resting heart rate" exist in his dictionary. He raced in the canyons, with me, both in his Mazda and on his Triumph. One night, while we were driving back from Malibu, I was admiring the stars actually twinkling in the black sky above the sea, and although we were going really fast, Joey let me hold his hand on the gear stick and I drifted off to sleep. That's when I knew I felt safe with him, regardless where we were, what vehicle we were on, and the mph of said automobile. I trusted Joey, and "fast" became my new "resting heart rate".

He plays piano and violin and he also has a turntable. I asked what he wouldn't be able to live without, and he answered "making music". The first time I met Russ, Joey was scratching Taylor Swift's Love Story for me.

Despite my ramblings, Joey is a pretty unassuming guy. The day I met him, I was making my way to his house from the Dodger Stadium after my first live baseball game (that I clearly still don't understand). I remember Joey said it would be expensive to catch an Uber from DTLA to his place in Manhattan Beach, but I sent him a screenshot gloating about the low fare I'd been offered and accepted. Even when I first laid eyes on him, he was the decent, quiet one among a house of partygoers. I thought he would be harmless. Unlike Taylor Swift, I still didn't know he was trouble, but it's the quiet, unassuming ones you have to be on the watch for, because even when they're stealing your heart, they don't seem to know it, but then, nor do you.

Friday, November 11, 2016

THE WORLD TURNED UPSIDE DOWN

(music: Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story - Original Broadway Cast of Hamilton)


I pray God or whatever forces there be grants me patience, grace and strength to approach this post with civility.

So two nights ago, I published my opinion on Trump's presidential win on Facebook and I ended it with the fact that the presidency, like everything else, is temporary and for the Americans to keep their hope and faith.

Yesterday morning, there was a long comment from a distant aunt about how our own ordinary citizens' lives are also temporary, and that for society to be a better place, everybody should play their part to be better people, and for me to start being a better daughter/granddaughter, in my own life, etc.

She ended the comment with "sorry not sorry" and I was groggy and too lazy to deal with shit, so I deleted it within possibly twenty minutes of it being posted, I think. On hindsight, I should have left it there so other people could and would have understood how tactless this woman is.

I'm not sure how old she is, I haven't seen her for years, we're not even friends on Facebook ('cos I'm not interested in her or her life), she just used to follow me (I finally blocked her yesterday) but truly, she and her mother are the most typical Malay women you can find.

They just love to "jaga tepi kain orang" (poke their noses in other people's business) and they have this holier-than-thou attitude that irks me so much. I mean, do you not receive enough fulfilment in your own lives that you have to keep tabs on other people?

My grandma, who is the most patient and understanding angel alive, has tolerated the commenter and her mother for years, but she made the mistake of crossing me on the wrong day. I am not my grandmother, I am not my mum. You best be sure of that.

This is when I wish I had left the comment there, because my response is about to be a long one, and it's warranted, I assure you.

People like her are the precise reason the system is flawed. She thinks that politics are a "distraction" from real life, that everybody is able to have a fine-and-dandy life if they were just "good people" living "good lives", because she's been able to live a life of privilege so far, she's a Muslim woman who doesn't live in the US.

The reality for non-deluded people is that Trump has been blatantly racist and sexist, especially Islamophobic. If you're just really, really close-minded as to only care about what happens to "your own kind", there is empirical evidence that Muslim women wearing hijabs are already being harassed, leading up from his candidacy all the way through now, that he's won.

They are your "Muslim sisters" and they're unable to lead the same kind of life as yours, do you care more now? Do you have more empathy than apathy?

Beyond just Muslims, black Americans and Latinos, Asian-Americans, basically every person of colour is less safe in the US now, because Trump is racist and promotes racism. I'm not making this up, you can do a quick Google search to see the reports of people making disgusting remarks like "shouldn't you be sitting at the back of the bus today?"

I'm not just targeting this ridiculously ignorant aunt from now, but it's just my general thought flow.

As a decent, average human being, I feel appalled at Trump's win, but as a woman, I feel discounted. Hillary Clinton has had much more political experience, but because she's a woman, any mistakes she's made have been piled atop and pitted against her whereas Trump, who has had absolutely zero experience, just waddles up and is instantly given more credibility. Have you seen his speeches? He doesn't have any solid sense of direction on policy, he barely even makes humanly sense. Why would anyone trust him to lead a country? Oh, that's right, because he has a penis.

Ever since Trump's win, some sort of voter's remorse has turned up and people are making all sorts of excuses for it, or maybe they're just really desperate to cling to some hope (in which case, I understand, y'all get a free pass #sarahcasm).

Apparently, the explanation is majority who voted for Trump are working-class citizens dissatisfied with the status quo, and looking for a change (I actually just scoffed at this ludicrous idea, I admit). Okay, so the voter demographics have been released, right.

People who voted for Trump were majority white people, whereas Clinton voters were exceedingly African-American, Latino, Asian, etc, people of colour. So, here goes, right, if white people are dissatisfied with whatever has been going on in Democratic-run America, then shouldn't people of colour be even more dissatisfied?

Or has the situation changed so drastically since I've been there, that somehow people of colour have gotten better jobs than white people, they're earning more, there is no such thing as racial discrimination, blacks are living in better and safer neighbourhoods, that they're really, really satisfied, and therefore are voting for Clinton to preserve the status quo?

Or wait one second.... Could it be.... that Trump voters are actually *gasp* misogynistic racists, looking for any way, any way at all, to keep the edge that they already inherently and systemically enjoy over people of colour, and they're using "dissatisfied working-class" bullshit as an excuse for their vote? No way! That's too much a stretch of my imagination. Overwhelmingly white voters voting for Trump? Coincidence!

Even if there is some dissatisfaction with Democratic-run Congress, people from the grassroots who want a change and voted for Trump? Trump, who has suffered multiple bankruptcies and been bailed out by loans of "only $1 million" from his daddy, who is as far removed from ground zero as you could think of. If people are voting for Trump thinking that he understands their working-class problems, then, I mean, like, I can't even string together a coherent sentence to express my sentiment, I'm basically Trump making a speech at a rally. The excuses just get more ludicrous.

If we concede that the above working-class demographic exists, then say what you want, but these people are definite selfish racists and/or sexists. You cannot vote for Trump to "change status quo" (I call bullshit, but for the sake of discourse, we'll go with it), without accepting the disgusting hate-filled, mean-spirited, discriminatory remarks he's made about pretty much anybody who's not a white male.

And if you've accepted that your leader whom you want to change working-class conditions, is a racist, misogynist bigot, then chances are, so are you. You can pretend you're "closing an eye" but let's just be real and honest, you probably wholeheartedly agree with Trump's sentiments.

I'm not saying I'm surprised that majority of white America are ignorant bigots, but I'm saying if you are, then stop hiding behind the thin veil of "dissatisfaction with the status quo". The only status quo you're dissatisfied with is that America is not white enough for your liking.

*

So, since the Great Meltdown of My Life, all I've been doing is colouring. I've had my colouring book for ages, but I've only started using it recently to pull myself out of depression.

When I found out that I lost it, I was really disturbed so I removed Joey from all my social media and blocked him, and immediately regretted it (borderline bipolar), because he'd been there for me every step of the way and I missed him.

I'm a little too proud to add him again, especially because I'd already blocked him before and re-added him again all the way a while ago (I call borderline bipolarity), so if I do it again, he must be like "oh, this girl, what am I to do with this girl".

But then we talked again (this is the last time in this post I will mention it but: borderline bipolar), and it was about the trip to Japan that he's taking with his friends/colleagues that I met while I was in LA. I was gonna go, and I was really excited (especially because I've never been to Japan), but neither my parental nor financial units agree, so. I guess not.

Joey and I were thinking about the..... problem that led to the meltdown, and we were wondering how to avoid it, so we thought of the same thing at the same time, and I was incredibly amused that he was one step ahead and was going to go through, it was so funny!!!! Unfortunately I'm not going anymore so I don't know what happened, I just know when he said what he did I burst out laughing.

Anyway, I wanted to ask Joey whether he voted, and whom he voted for, but he seems apathetic about politics, because he's a white male, and either way, the results wouldn't really affect him. I also knew that Cali was a surefire Dem vote, because: California, and Cali is one of the most progressive places in the world.

I thought about it but then I realised Trump denies climate change (lol gud luk America yur prez no beliv in climate change!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) and Joey is scientifically anal, if anything. I hope that means there is no way Joey would have voted Trump. He can be such a condescending, mean piece of shit; one time, I was reading something and he was on Facebook on his laptop beside me, and some friend of his made a stupid comment about a SpaceX failed launch video, and he was gonna make a snarky remark about it. Joey also loves to patronise me, what a piece of shit.

.....I say he is a condescending piece of shit in the most affectionate of ways, because I can be a condescending piece of shit myself. I remember last week Shahida said Islamophobia isn't racism because Islam isn't a race, and I think I might have rolled my eyes and actually retorted "you've got to be kidding me!" but then I told myself "stop it, Sarah, she doesn't read the same things you do, she has other areas of interest, don't be an asshole" and also for future reference to all who don't know: Islamophobia definitely counts as racism, but that's another tangent for another day, if you're interested.


One of the first things we did together was colour at a Wurstkuche restaurant while waiting for our food. That was the day we had ice-cream together, and he said "what's up cutie" at the beach and I remember giggling and thinking "this douche, how do I like him so much".

That day we were squeezing in a car, and he was gonna show his colleagues/friends a photo of his housemate's car wrecked by an angry ex-girlfriend, but he was scrolling through his camera roll, and I saw a photo of me from Instagram, it was from years ago, when nothing had happened to me yet, when I was still a kid ---- I hadn't been used or cheated on, I hadn't lost a life, I hadn't grown up at all, and I loved that photo, and I liked that he saved it, it has a purple background, which always makes me wonder what he sees it as, sometimes he thinks purple is blue.

I miss Joey so much. He has an older neighbour/friend Russ, who apparently hangs out with Joey, 'cos he lost his son when his son was Joey's age, and he reminds Russ of him. I think it says a lot that Joey has so many housemates, but Joey's the one who spends time with Russ.

The first time I met Russ, Joey was scratching Taylor Swift's Love Story on his turntable. Russ entered the room, and the first thing Russ said to me was "Joey's a good guy"... then last week, Joey told me Russ took him to a hockey game and that "Russ is a good guy" and I absolutely adore their pseudo-father-son relationship.

Russ is hilarious, one time he texted me asking where his keys were, and then found them in his fridge. ????? I think it's superbly adorable that Joey takes care of him, one night Russ was wasted and was in Joey's room, Joey put him to bed. And when I was a little bit too far gone, I kept telling Joey I needed to go to the toilet, and he asked me to pee in the bushes, but I refused, and I insisted I needed to pee, the poor man was like "what will I do with this girl????"

Joey has a bit of a "carer" vibe, I think, I mean I guess that's why he took me in and practically babysat me for a month. Like everyone, he also needs to be taken care of, though. I don't mean in the cook-him-food or iron-his-clothes sense (because for one, he was the one feeding my hungry stomach all the time and for two, his house has no iron --- apparently they don't believe in ironing their clothes, what a bachelor's pad indeed).

It's funny, my mum said I don't know what love is, at 26. Clearly I don't know shit, but she knew what love was when she had me at 18. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯









One of the first few things I asked Joey was what animal he'd choose if he could turn into an animal, and he said "an owl, 'cos they can turn their heads all the way round" what priorities????

So like i) you can tell I like rainbows and ii) colouring truly proves therapeutic for me, it just keeps me in the moment. I would have written my novel, but I was very unstable and disturbed for a very long time, and I didn't want it to seep unconsciously into my words and writing.

I'm truly grateful to everyone who's been incredibly supportive in all your diverse ways. I don't think I can name names, because my mum's all about, like "keeping up appearances" (do we live for God or other people, really?) but, thank you all.

As it is, on any given normal day, if my emotional range could be compared to the size of a living creature, it would be a whale, but when.... this happens, add in all the hormonal fluctuations and suddenly my emotions are the whale's mother. I feel everything.

I was looking through my US photos and got to when I read Joey's thesis, for lack of reading material.


See, when you love words, you read pretty much anything.

Some nights are harder than others. My thoughts drift to whether it was my fault, whether it was stress from what happened in my family, whether it was because I was eating nonsense food before I found out, is it because I'm always cold? will it happen again? where is it now? and it goes on and on but then I ground myself to Joey.

He doesn't know about it, he doesn't even have to be thinking of me, but he's my anchor. He's like the Tengo to my Aomame (although I didn't even much enjoy/like 1Q84 for the read, I just appreciate a few principles in it).

I just pray for his safety and for his peace of mind, yadda yadda yadda, and then it gives me peace of mind. I think, in the next year ahead, I really am going to take a break (or give my heart a break), I'm gonna go back to my plans of learning to drive, and cut out all other distractions.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

I SURVIVED BUT I PAID FOR IT


"Alexander, come back to sleep"
"I have an early meeting out of town"
"it's still dark outside"
"I know, I just need to write something down"
"why do you write like you're running out of time?
come back to bed, that would be enough"
"I'll be back before you know I'm gone"
"come back to sleep"
"this meeting's at dawn"
"well I'm going back to sleep"
"hey, best of wives and best of women"


It's strange how the shortest song in the entire two-hour musical is also the saddest, it's not even a minute long on the soundtrack. The above are its lyrics in entirety. I don't know what the saddest part is, that Alexander is writing "a note for his next-of-kin" as per the Ten Duel Commandments (another track off the musical) or the tiny sad violin part towards the end, or that "I'll be back before you know I'm gone" is a lie.

After having had the most traumatic experience of my life, my parents found out from a bill (addressed privately and confidentially to me, but you know, what the hey) and the one person whom I thought would understand, asked me why I was even inclined towards the decision I'd made. I found out for the first time in my life, that my dad and paternal grandmother hadn't wanted me, but, and I quote verbatim, that "it was too late". She didn't even share my grief for the biggest loss I've faced in my life.

I've always felt way too much, I've been called naive for always being such an advocate of love, and now I feel like, wow, I always fight for the wrong cause. I clearly don't know anything that happens in life. I've grown up a year in the past month or so, I think. About time.

Love is ridiculous. I don't know what love is. What is it?

Is it knowing that a person's favourite ice-cream flavour is dulce de leche? Is it the way you can hear someone's voice saying "hey boy" from a silly webcomic? Love is a waste of energy. It took up so much of my brain space, my memory of how someone made a joke about Daft Punk when we watched Pacific Rim, how they explain about the 3D printers at their workspace, how they calmly take everything apart, trace out parts and basically reverse engineer a car and tell me about drawing a rough model on CAD, then put it back together, all while letting me observe. How they tell me about a Spanish lisp. How every time I see grapes, my first instinct is to finish them like I did at a party we were at together. Is it in how you tell them to take care of themselves, and they say "I'm not very good at doing that" and you feel a heartache, which is ridiculous because the heart is an organ that pumps blood to your entire body and it shouldn't be feeling any ache or pain unless you have a heart attack.

A random entitled man sent me messages on social media in the last week, that I didn't respond to because I had clearly been going through too much, and it is my prerogative to reply to my social media messages or decide not to. I don't even know who he is, we're not even social media friends. His third message was "am I not Joey enough?", I suppose maybe he had gone through my past Instagram/Facebook posts to have seen me rambling about Joey. I don't know what his mindset was with this message, that I would think it was sweet that he had gone through my previous posts? That I would be provoked into replying? No, you're not Joey enough, and you don't even know the fucking half of it.

Love was something I felt a lot of, it's precisely what got me feeling attached to something that wasn't even anything yet. Why? It wasn't developed, it didn't exist. What a waste of feelings and energy and space and memory and everything. I'm sick of feelings. I'm not ready for love, whatever the fuck it is. I think it's all a farce. My life is a joke, anyway. I cried so much at the meltdown with my parents, that was the most I'd ever cried in my life, which is tragically funny, because I cry a lot, at any given time in my life.

I met my cousin today, she gave me a care package.




It's mostly chocolates, which is mostly what I need. She incidentally got me Swiss Miss hot chocolate packets too, which is the brand I drank in LA. Bill's housemates would make it for me when they woke up and made coffee for themselves.

Like everyone there thought I was a little off for drinking hot chocolate, especially Joey and his friend Bryant when we were driving in the canyons, because we'd just been driving in 100-degree (F) weather and Joey's car isn't even air-conditioned (he stripped it down to its bare minimum so it would be light).

I can't help it, I have a perspiring condition which means I'm always losing heat and always cold, and hot chocolate warms me up like nothing else does.

The past four weeks have been the worst time of my life, with absolutely no other period coming anywhere near. I haven't felt this down before, and will probably, hopefully never feel this way ever again. Let's see, I'm alive. I'm alive. I'm alive. That is all.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

PRAY YOU WON'T FADE AWAY

On Saturday night, my best friends had a sleepover at my family's new apartment. I had a lovely time with them, dressed up in our onesies and playing charades, eating junk food and catching up on life.

Sunday morning, after Han had left early, my grandma received a call that my cousin Nurul had passed away in a motorcycle accident. It was heartwrenching when I first heard it from my grandma, her voice was breaking and she was trembling and I couldn't bear to hear it.

Atiqah and Shahida stayed and kept me company for a while before they left.


My sister Lyssa is currently on a short holiday in Melbourne, and it's sad that she didn't get to send Nurul off, as the two of them were really close. Lyssa wrote something about Nurul.




I saw a few other posts on social media about Nurul's passing, from my cousins who were closer to her, and her best friend.




Hazwani and I were together at the hospital and also pretty much all of the weekend, and whenever we saw or heard news of it, we'd each start tearing up. We're both such crybabies and we needed to rely on each other for strength.

We had to wait a day for post-mortem to be done on her body, as it was a road accident. When we went to Wak Imah's house (that's Nurul's mum), I hugged Wak Imah and she started breaking down again. She sobbed and, in heaves and breaks in her voice, she whispered in my ear to forgive Nurul of any wrongdoing she'd ever done to me, which was honestly one of the saddest things ever.

As a mother, she wanted her daughter to be sent off in peace, and she asked for forgiveness from everyone who came to pay their last respects, from her friends to her ex-teachers to basically anyone. It was just so, sad. I can't even come up with any other word apart from extremely sad. It just gutted you, hearing such a tone in a mum's voice. How could you ever convey that there's nothing her daughter's ever done towards you, that you'd miss her daughter too?

Yesterday was the burial. As we are a Muslim family, before the burial, the corpse has to be bathed and prepared in the Muslim manner.

When they carried her to the living room for everyone to give her a last kiss and say their prayers for her, her three brothers broke down and her father fainted and Wak Imah's grief was audible, it was palpable. To see four grown men and a middle-aged woman try to hold onto her, and to convey as much love and longing as they could, everyone else in the room was of course floored, and started bawling as well. It was inevitable.

For Muslim corpses, the body is usually wrapped up to the neck, and the face is exposed for the family to kiss. For my cousin, some of her facial injuries and scars were visible, so it was covered up to above her nose. I implore you to be safe on the roads. If you're riding, please, please try to ride as safe as possible. If you're driving, please drive slower, to prevent such accidents. You could save a life.

Nurul was only 19, she was so young and most of her cousins were older than her. We saw her growing up, and she hadn't even reached an age where you would be a full-fledged adult, knowing what you'd wanna do in your life. It was sad that she hadn't achieved her potential.

Her mum was crying because it was just sudden and unexpected. It's real, it's true, you always think it's something you read in the papers, someone dying young and tragically, and it doesn't happen to you, and then it does. Her mum was struggling with the little things, like in the recent week when Nurul was trying to be manja (affectionate) and asking for hugs, and Wak Imah thought she was just kidding and gently rebuffed her requests.

I feel so bad that she regrets such things, but it could have happened to any of us. It happens with everyone. We all do it sometimes, and we never know whether it could be the last time. Sometimes when I try to hug my mum, she says things like "what have you done now?" or "how much money do you want?" when all I want is just to show I love her.

When you love someone, show it. Show it as often and as deeply as possible.

Yesterday evening, after we'd buried her body at the cemetery, Hazwani said the same sentiments that I had:



Nurul was from one of the family units in my extended maternal family that used to have quite a bit of strife and conflict (one of the other unstable ones is my own), although they were steadily solving things, just like my immediate family too.

Like my own family, she also grew up not being financially privileged, although if I think I've got it hard with my divorced family situation and money problems, I must say even I was luckier than Nurul, in some senses.

However, like my mum, her mum also strived to provide anything Nurul and her siblings would want, that the kids in our generation could afford. Despite being on the receiving end of some of the toughest cards life could deal, Nurul cared so much about her family,

This next photo was from the time we were at the JB house last year, and she was filling us in on A'an's latest legal issues. She cried while telling us the recent plight, because she was very close with her brother, and she missed him while he was away.


I was thinking back on that occasion: what a turn of events, that her brother is now distraught over her passing.

During that family sleepover, Nurul was the highlight of the night. It started with her telling us a joke, and none of us laughing, at which she asked why nobody laughed, so we said the joke wasn't funny, and she earnestly said "okay, okay, I try harder" and her tone was so pitiful, we thought she was so cute and laughed for a good long while.


We tried to reenact the joke-telling scene but as expected, this time, everybody seemed to find everything funny, so we kept laughing at her joke even though we initially hadn't. Rubbish leh my family. :')

Then there was the other time, even longer ago, the girls hung out together:



Nurul was on freaking point while rapping Super Bass by Nicki Minaj.



You can also see snippets of her from the same night we karaoked.

I went through some of the photos I had of her....



Kak Dila's and Kak Ina's wedding...






And all the past Eid celebrations....

I wasn't the closest to her, but I know, seeing from her family situation, that she was a strong girl. She was inquisitive, she was caring. Early last year, when I went through some guy issues (as I tend to do), she showed her concern and support, and she expressed it in such loving and loveable terms. She said she liked to read what I write, but she'd like it when I cheered up and wrote more positive things like I usually do, and it really touched my heart. I want to thank Nurul for being so close to Lyssa, to give my sister a chance at witnessing her strength, her hopes and dreams and passions, and for Lyssa to play the part of advisor and counsellor. Nurul Atiqa, if you can somehow know our thoughts and sentiments now, your family love you very much, and you were such a light to those who knew you. I hope and pray, that wherever you are, whenever you need, you are given the light that you shone on us when you were around. We love you, and now we know God loves you more. You are so blessed.


Smol bean bbgirl Nurul Atiqa, so adorable. One of my memories of her was when she broke her arm (it should have happened around the time this photo was taken, it was when she was really young), and when her arm was in a cast, I remember her asking her mum whether anyone would marry her. It was the most random thing you could think about with a broken arm. Oh Nurul, may you be surrounded by love now, and may God pardon all your sins. Rest in peace, baby girl. Your cousins and aunts and uncles and parents and siblings will pray for you.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

YOU HAVE MARRIED AN ICARUS
SHE HAS FLOWN TOO CLOSE TO THE SUN

(music: Burn - Phillipa Soo)

do you know what Angelica said
when we saw your first letter arrive? she said,
"be careful with that one, love
she will do what it takes to survive"

After Rami Malek won the Emmy for Best Actor, I was very intrigued about the show Mr Robot, and was really pleased to know that it's on Amazon Prime, for which I had a subscription 'cos I wanted to watch The Man in the High Castle.


But, as always, Singapore has a personal vendetta against me, so....


Due to "geographical licensing restrictions".... Mr Robot is not available to me on Prime. Jeeeeez, srsly, Singapore takes away the most minimal of pleasures I can ever hope to find. All I want is to watch a TV show in HQ!!!!!!!

The internet being the internet and the source of all things, I streamed it from another site, albeit with a gazillion times pop-ups and not in HD.


Still managed to finish watching the show by last night. The second season finale just aired this week, so if you're thinking of giving the show a go, I think it's a good time to play catch-up.




If you haven't watched the show and intend to, please skip this entire chunk of text of me rambling about it. There are definite spoilers within. If you're skipping it, ctrl-find the next asterisk or just scroll to the Youtube videos embedded below.

After having watched both full seasons, I think I might be finally starting to like it? I couldn't decide even while I was watching. I think the building up of the premise of FSociety and taking down Evil Corp (whose logo is very reminiscent of either Dell or Enron) was intriguing for the first couple of episodes of season 1, and then it kinda stagnates for a few eps, until the whole Fight Club premise is introduced. There is honestly not much plot progress in between, you could have skipped five episodes in the middle of S1 and not miss much.

I thought Tyrell was a lovely character with control-freak tendencies, until his wife Joanna came about. Holy crap, Joanna Wellick is one of the strongest, sexiest characters I've ever seen on TV. I think she's so freaking interesting, I was wondering whether that's just how all filthy rich people live, with their idiosyncrasies and quirks and power play fantasies, omg I wanna be Joanna Wellick. Head Bitch in Charge alert!!!!! I thought it was ludicrous that Tyrell managed to strangle Scott Knowles' wife to death, is it that easy to kill someone? The guy who played Romero is Ron Cephas Jones, father to Jasmine Cephas Jones, who plays Peggy/Maria Reynolds in the original Broadway cast of Hamilton. Just a fun fact for me.

The Fight Club thing, the two identities of Elliot/Mr Robot was really back-and-forth on the interesting scale in my opinion. Like, on the one hand, when Elliot finds out that Mr Robot has plans that he doesn't agree with, he could have just taken measures to prevent those plans from being carried out..... Until we find out that he was in fact in prison, which just upped the game, like YESSSSSSS, I knew this was not real? Elliot not being able to hack into Ray's marketplace site 'cos accounts are "by invitation only"? Come on, this guy hacks pretty much everyone he knows and he crashed the biggest conglomerate in the world, why wouldn't he have been able to hack into the marketplace??? But anyway, so then he gets released into society, because Mr Robot played a part in dealing with Whiterose/Dark Army to facilitate the early release. At this point, Elliot is cognisant that he intentionally landed himself in jail so that he/Mr Robot wouldn't be able to participate in FSociety's dangerous plans. When he's released, why doesn't he tell Krista that he feels unsafe? Why isn't he institutionalised for the good of society? He clearly needs to be medicated to keep Mr Robot under or away from other people. Or like, he wasn't even really monitored for his mental health, IDK. Just a little weird. Speaking of which, one of my hosts had a housemate who is seeing a psychiatrist, and she did seem a little on the zany side, my host said she kinda has an addiction to Adderall, the way a lot of rich kids in the US have addictions to prescription drugs. I didn't know how strong Adderall is, but if Elliot uses it as a substitute for morphine, it must be pretty damn strong. I don't have experience with anything but weed and magic mushrooms, so I don't know jackshit, lol.

Another thing is WhiteRose, the transgender role played by BD Wong. When he plays Minister Zhang, he speaks Mandarin a little more fluently than when he's in the role of WhiteRose, I'm not sure if it's 'cos he has to maintain a slightly higher pitch in his voice. When WhiteRose (the lady version) speaks Mandarin, it is the most kang kor (awkward) thing ever, like please stop, your voice/language is grating!!!!!!! While we're on the topic of Chinese things, when FBI agent Dominique goes to Beijing Airport, it is way nicer than it actually is. I mean, I know of course they didn't really fly to Beijing for the scene, but it's just not true to life, which I can confirm 'cos I was just there for my layover two weeks ago. I had a six-hour layover in Beijing Airport and China is the one place I freaking hate having a layover at. Six hours of sun-up time, with no Facebook, no Instagram, not even able to check my Gmail, and to buy a VPN just for six hours is ridiculous, so all I can do is try not to rot to death. Speaking of VPNs, watching Mr Robot is really tempting me to go on and learn to code. I mean, coding is basically a language of its own, and I'm good at languages, right? I'm good at figuring out "if/then" or conditional statements. Darlene uses her hacking ability to trick Postmates into delivering food to her, and of all the things I watched on the show, I was most tempted by that idea! I could get free food delivered to me whenever I want, HAHAHAHA. Also, I could get around stupid geographical restrictions and watch whatever I want, whenever I want. I already have a learn-to-code app on my phone, could be a great investment of my time. :)

I like Agent Dom, she ups the stakes 'cos now there's like a time limit, can they progress stage 2 before the FBI catches up? I don't know what to make of Angela, I used to like her, until she becomes crazily brainwashed and goes over to the Evil Corp side. I mean, I thought she might have a deeper motivation and try to bring them down from the inside, but it seems as if she truly has become enticed by the power and reputation that working at E Corp allows her. Like... Angela, Y U GOTTA SELL UR SOUL???!!!

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END OF MR ROBOT SPOILERS.


I heard this song on one of the eps, and I found it familiar. If you listen to the bridge and chorus, I feel like you would probably have heard it too. I tried to see which other shows it's been featured on. Apparently Perfume Genius have had their songs on Suits and How To Get Away With Murder, both shows I also watch, but it wasn't this song. Would anyone know whether it could be on any other film or TV show soundtrack, without having been credited on their Wikipedia page?


I was watching Masterchef yesterday, and they played Another Love by Tom Odell ---- one of my favourite songs, I love how it's pretty much a crescendo throughout "and I wanna cry/I wanna fall in love/but all my tears have been used up/on another love/another love/all my tears have been used up", but only the music, so I was wondering, if a show plays only the instrumentals (say, Queen by Perfume Genius as above), would they have to credit it? Maybe not? IDK?

Anyway, I was just looking at the REAL CHUNK OF CRAP I typed about Mr Robot, and it reminded me of the time I sent some stuff to G, my French best friend, and he said this:


In a world where everything is said in 140 characters or less I am quite the resistant. I really, really like words, and I love overflowing with words.

Sometimes I think because I'm a literary geek, I would like a scientific geek to complement my existence. But who knows. Maybe if I have another literary geek as a partner, our offspring (if we have any) will be the biggest literary geek and rule the world of literature. Maybe.

The time I was staying with Bill (my last host), he saw me typing on my laptop, who even knows what it was, I'm always typing on Facebook or my blog, or working on my novel, and he said I'm the fastest typer (typist?) he's ever seen. I'm sure he exaggerates but I do type quite fast, I think. I'm such a millennial. It would really help in my coding aspirations. :P

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Five days after I landed back in Singapore, was Eid-ul-Adha, or the time when Muslims in the world perform the Haj pilgrimage. My extended family had a gathering at my mum's place.


Aqilah and I were part of helping my mum prepare her prawn noodles. Aqilah peeled, I sliced in half. We also ate some of it as a reward for working. ;)



I was so glad it was a major family occasion just as I flew back, 'cos after two months away, I was back to all the glorious Asian food. Imma learn how to cook my favourites before making my next move (the permanent one).





There was so much food, Lyssa and I had two rounds, and of course I fed her. With my hand, not even with a spoon. It's no wonder why Asian families tend to be more close-knit than Western ones. My sister is the most manja person in the world, can you please find me another 20-year-old being fed by her 26-year-old sister???



Fam in the kitchen. You know how one of my favourite quotes is "play to your strengths"? My fam's strengths lie in food, and I'm so blessed.

I was watching Gordon Ramsay's show, the one where he cooks simple dishes with his children, and his rapport with Tilly is the adorablest. When I have kids, I'm gonna teach them to cook from when they're tiny. But first, I need to learn to cook. Or I could use Gordon Ramsay's cooking app. Apps are EVERYTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!





Hazwani and the kids were playing the Wii. It was some exercise mode, and Hazwani was twisting her hips round and round, so cute hahahahahaha.

Speaking of cute, have I said how we have the cutest kids in our family?










They were playing in my luggage because: Y NOT?????


SO KIUK, they so manja even until so old! I hope Lyssa and I are like that even till we have grandkids (which one of them does!).






:) :) :) ♥ ♥ ♥




I have no clue if all 9 of my postcards have already arrived, but I know three have, and those three arrived after I was back in Singapore, HAHAHAHA. Jet lag affects even my postcards.

After my family gathering, I decided I had time so I was finally gonna move/settle into my new room for the next nine months or so. (I think I'm gonna make my permanent move in July, after the next Eid.)

First things first, the bar/shelves for my wardrobe were not where I wanted them to be, so for the first time in my life, I worked on them myself.




LOL just 'cos I dated an engineer who liked to fix things himself, I think I can do everything myself now. I went to find my stepdad's toolbox and fixed the shelves. It worked. Of course it did, lol.


This was my room as I unpacked shit from my boxes from the previous flat.

It took one day to unpack/organise, which was more efficient than I'd even expected of myself....




If you've ever wondered what an almost-all pink collection of shoes looks like (no I know you've never wondered, and now you will never have to), here it is.


Lyssa has been my sister for 20 years, but even till now, she opens my drawers and is like "you're so... pink" and her tone is I think split down the middle between impressed and grossed out.

I have this weird niggling feeling that my grandma asked my mum to give me one of the master bedrooms so I would stay in Singapore. She thinks I'm that easy to bribe, hahahahahahah. No but rlly tho, my grandma was really kinda pleading her case for me to stay, I guess 'cos she pretty much raised me and really dotes on me. I'm glad she'll have Lyssa when I'm away, plus Lyssa is her favourite. o.O



I have a bathroom in my own room, I've (my mum and stepdad) pretty much made it in life!!!!!!! :P







For two days, I just watched Mr Robot. I was basically on my bed and watched it day and night.

You know, I was telling my hosts all over the US that my family has usually not been the most financially stable of families. And it really wasn't. But then I came back to this, and it seemed as if we were pretty comfortable. I think my immediate and even extended maternal family may finally have come out of the worst of struggles? It seems like we're a little bit better now.


I was arranging all my little knick-knacks on the ledge/windowsill (is it a windowsill if it's on the inside? lol).






Everything, with the exception of the wand I just purchased for myself at Universal Studios Hollywood, everything, on the ledge, is a gift from someone else. Even my drum sticks were gifts!

I've been reading a couple of articles about people living the 150-items life, to declutter their lives, and I know it's a bit of a classist movement, that you can only even afford to declutter, if you could afford to have many, many things in the first place.

I would really like to aspire to it. If not 150, at least I'd like to keep the number of physical items I have to whatever it is now. I really like and appreciate that you're all the sweetest people ever, I honestly have the best people in my life. Please know that I know this even if you don't ever get me a gift.

Please do not get me anything for Christmas, or for my birthday, or a souvenir from any place in the world. I promise, I know that I, along with other people, am in your mind. Considering that I want to move around/out sometime soon, having a lot of things just doesn't make any sense.

I guess, the only things I would like/accept (NOT that these are obligations) would probably be food --- mmm food souvenirs/sharing meal experiences are the best, or books, which I can pass on once I'm done reading. Otherwise, please please please, I have enough of everything. I'm at the stage of my life where I want to collect experiences, not things.

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I think, despite all the tumultuous stuff that's happened in my families (two separate ones) so far, we're floating on, alright. My paternal grandmother just had a major surgery, and I'm visiting her today. Sometime this week, Lyssa and I went to see her, and we met our father for the first time since.... shit hit the fan last year.

We heard stories from him and our grandma (his mother) and, we kinda softened? It's like, we used to isolate him and never cared to understand anything from his perspective but sometime this week, we just became soft. Some things that you see cannot be unseen and some things that you know, cannot be unknown.

I guess it's a good thing we learned. I hope we get to have a paternal family gathering sometime, with Ira and our grandma, etc. Maybe then I can leave with an easy heart. I don't know. Sometimes I'm just tired for everyone.

I might have a plan for a short travel in November, but I also want to/should spend that money on driving lessons too. I wanna get my driving licence in Singapore before I leave permanently in July. I know you know I'm not rich enough that I can do two expensive things at once, and I should really settle my finances before doing anything exorbitant again. I also really need to be able to drive, so when I'm overseas if I'm moving/moving stuff around, I can do it on my own. I think I'm on the right track though.

I think, things are finally getting better. I wish driving was something you could do at your own leisure, but here, there's not much space to just practise/learn on my own. It's not something I could learn on an app, like coding, lol. We'll see.

I gotta pick my opportunity costs wisely, but now-me is very, very bad at predicting how bad future-me is at following through.

I'm starting work soon, so I think there won't be much updates till maybe November. There were eight posts while I was in the US, one post per week, so y'all can go back and go through those if you haven't. I'll catch up with you soon. So Much Love from Sarah Mei Lyana. ♥