Monday, May 09, 2016

I AM EXACTLY
WHERE I NEED TO BE

(music: I Lived - OneRepublic)


I like this song a lot. On my last day working for I Am... last year, Din dedicated it to me, asking me to listen to the lyrics. I hope it rings true for me and my life, now and always. I hope I never get scared to live my life, the way I want to, I hope at the end of it all I can say I lived.

Last week, my immediate family, my uncles and my aunt's family went to our JB house in Malaysia for the long Labour Day holiday weekend.

My baby cousin Anna Sofea is still so tiny and precious.



Look at her, so itty bitty!

We played Scrabble, and had conversations, basically just had some quality family time.


My mum was trying to demonstrate her childhood game, Zero Point, which is a game played with rubber bands linked together, or a skipping rope, but we had neither, so she basically conjured one up (with help from my sisters), and played with it. If you're wondering why all her daughters are weird, this is it.

On our last day in JB, we had a hearty fresh seafood meal, my favourite! My grandma says (loosely translated from Malay) that the only things I don't eat are rocks and stones, so you'd be hard put to find a food that I'm not happy eating --- although that's not true, I do actually have favourites over some others.




We had salted egg yolk crab, omg yes please may I have some more.


While finishing up my food, I suddenly felt really grateful for being where I was, and being who I am. I thought of my life as a sort of confluence, a point where two or more paths meet and cross. I'm glad I'm a Singaporean, a foodie destination that's so balanced between Asian and Western.

I'm privileged enough to have great choices from Europe/"white people" food, but I'm yet more privileged to have grown up with authentic Malay/Chinese/Indian/Thai/Japanese/all sorts of Asian food. I eat and love eating things like durian, salted egg yolk, sambal, kicap, etc etc, things that I might not have gotten accustomed to eating had I not grown up here.

You know how some people turn up their noses at food they think is strange or beneath them? Well I'm glad I'm not one of those.

The seafood place we went to for dinner is a sort of kelong kampung (fishing village), houses on stilts, kinda.







This one had the most adorable, irresistible puppy-dog eyes. It was not as scraggly as some of the many others, I don't think they get much food. :(

On Friday, I went for dinner with my team. It was the first time we were hanging out, outside of work hours, mainly because broke-ass me has been eating her packed lunch in the office, and I have had no time to socialise. :(




The above three photos were taken with my iPhone 6s, and I'm appalled at the quality. How can such photos still be taken in this day and age! When there are phones like the Samsung Galaxy S7 whose USP is low-light photography!

...lol. One of my team's clients is a telco, so sometimes when we do up collaterals for them, I learn about the latest telephony gadgets and stuff. The S7 comes in pink gold, which is so, so tempting, but you know, broke-ass me is broke-ass!

Anyway, the main reason I'm attracted to it is because of the colour (and low-light photography is an excuse) so yeah, it's not even a legit, valid reason. I'm just being ridiculous. Lyssa and I have ascertained that we are definitely team Android and not Apple, though.

So anyway, I had such a good time with my team. We had wagyu beef BBQ-style buffet (ahhhh that reminds me of when Nick and I were in Koreatown in LA) and the beef quality was so good and delicious, probably 'cos of the marbling.

Dinner conversation was slightly shocking because I didn't expect some of the responses put forward by my team members. Zach related some of his hilarious trips though, from something called candy flip when he could experience the minuscule details of emptying his bowels (reminiscent of Trainspotting!) to "I'm one with the bong/fused to the steering wheel" kinda anecdotes.

As my mother is a policewoman, I feel obligated to make a disclaimer that all our collective experiences were out of town (lol not that my mum gives a fuck).

Sex was also on the table (as conversation fodder, not literally, although some of us would like some) as well as past relationships and regrets, etc etc.

I think Grace was quite tipsy and she kept laughing uncontrollably at the silliest things, and that would set Yanling off on her own giggles, it was really fun and amusing to be with them all in such a different setting. I think they're all nice people, with good "core values" hahahahahahah.

Zach said he wondered why people blog, and I felt like I wanted to say something, but as Nick once observed, I don't actually open up very well in person, I'm way more honest on my blog/online/in text, because of course, the possibility of "rejection" is diminished, and the accountability delayed.

But also: I was already tired by that point of the night, so no navel-gazing.

Zach's question made me think of a Taylor Swift quote, though.


She's a songwriter and lyricist, and she's most honest about her feelings when she's writing her songs. Similarly, I fancy myself a writer. I do want to publish a book (or two) one day, and the only way to have a book is to write.

I enjoy writing, it's just what I do and what I have to do, to live. Of course, the material I blog about is inconsequential to most people apart from myself, but I have had people tell me not to stop.

People from my school who don't necessarily keep in touch but still want to know how I'm doing, or people who may not be able to be as free to travel as I am, who get a glimpse of the world from my travel experiences. Or the friends I've made who are overseas, either people I meet during my travels or local friends who are moving around, who want a connection to life in Singapore. There are also people who for some reason like my honest style of writing, so they read.

There are a variety of reasons, but as long as people enjoy reading, and I enjoy blogging, I don't see why not. :)

But also, like Taylor, I have many feelings, I feel too much about too many things and I never repress them because I think having feelings is being human, so I write about it.

Today, I went to watch Romeo and Juliet at Fort Canning Park (such date material, well I guess it's a good thing I was there with the love of my life ;P), put on by Singapore Repertory Theatre.

On the way there, I was on quite an empty train, as it was already nearing evening and it's a work night, so not many people would be making their way to town. As I sat and used my phone, someone stood in front of me, and I'll be honest, I thought "why on Earth must this person sit next to me, there are so many seats, ergh".

I looked up and it happened to be Shahida, who was also on the way to celebrate Mother's Day with her family, hahahahahah.



You know when best friends coincidentally go to the same carriage in the same train, it's bestfriendship for life. ;)







When I grow up, I want to be my mother.



I made aglio olio and potato salad, and I'm not always fantastic in the kitchen (I'm a little scared of knives and fire, lol so not a friendly match) but these worked out pretty well. Mum ate it and said it was nice, although I know she was obliged to.






R+J was alright. I can never quite place whether I like the story of Romeo and Juliet. On the one hand, the suspension of disbelief has to be strong in this one, and I get a little irked because they fell "in love" somewhat at first sight, it was more like.... lust? They barely knew each other..

On the other hand, they were willing to go through all odds and stick it out and die for/with each other, and that makes it romantic, I suppose.

In any case, I enjoyed just spending time with my mum, we were being silly and ridiculous and laughing at each other.

My mum and I don't get along well sometimes, but that is the case for every human being. If you are a person with thoughts and feelings, you will never be able to get along 100% with another person who has their own thoughts and feelings. People are just made different. She's raised me and loved me, and she's honestly my role model in life, so it was good to be happy with her.

*

I turn 26 in two/three days. Before I turned 25, I thought 25 was a milestone but having gone through this past year, I think getting to 26 changes everything.

The end of 2014/all throughout 2015, have been a heck of a bumpy ride. I have pretty much done the mental and emotional equivalent of whitewater-rafting.

There was the guy who made sexual advances on me in text, despite the fact that we had been carrying on a very platonic friendship.


The screenshot above was me declining, which was fine. It was the fact that he followed this up with more sexual suggestions, after I'd already said no, that I just cut him off.

Then there was the guy, the douche of all douches in my life, who made me believe, over a month before we finally got to meet, that he was befriending me as a person, and turned out to just be having a fling and cheating on his fiancée.

This was after the fact that over the course of our "friendship", I'd told him that I find it hard to trust men because my father was a serial cheat, so I'm subconsciously wired to believe that all men want is physical pleasure and don't look at me as anything more. He knew this, and he still abused my trust.

And then, there was this amazingly horrifying experience wherein I mistook a disgusting Patrick for someone I thought was my friend from school, and this guy sent me a video of someone giving him a blowjob, after I'd said no and that I didn't want to.


Of course, I blocked him immediately.

Two years ago, in Singapore, the land proclaimed to be safe and sound and low in crime, I was followed home by a man, and he was at my staircase landing, grinning to himself while holding his penis.




That was the first time I'd ever actually felt physically threatened by a stranger.

Fun fact though: More than half of all sexual assaults are done by someone known/familiar to the victim, so while stranger danger is a problem, even more so is familial danger. I think it gets even harder to face up to abuse and assault like that, because the victim doesn't want to feel like a traitor, etc. It's even more heinous in that it's insidious and the victim feels unable to escape.

And then, as if to end my year on a consistent note as the turbulent earlier months, I found out my dad was cheating again, despite the fact that his youngest child, my youngest baby half-sister was not even half a year old.



Sometimes I honestly just want to scratch my hair out and up and leave, especially when there is this inherent expectation that my mum/other people have of me, to perform as well as my peers are doing at my age, to be successful in their careers and stable enough to hand over as much money as they are, and still have ample savings.

I mean, don't get me wrong, I have been careless with my expenditure for the past few years, and that's on me, and I have also always tried to give my mum a token sum out of my salary, but honestly, sometimes I feel like the fact that I have my sanity intact is worth a big deal already.

Of course there are people who have savings, of course they are stable, they weren't being pushed back and forth about their parents' financial issues, their parents worried for them instead of the other way round.

At the moment, though, I know my finances are slowly but surely improving, and I shouldn't compare myself to another person by age alone, because everybody has a different path in life, and the fact that I'm working myself out of debt is good enough for me, for now. I also slowly believe I'm fortunate enough to be going through it now, while I'm still young, so I have learned my lessons for when I'm older. I will never take it for granted again.

No but the bigger takeaway of the above examples, actually, before my dad's case, was that generally, men do not give me the agency to say no/make my own decisions. They push and push and push until they are all but raping you.

For some reason, some men still don't understand that no means no. No, I did not solicit an explicit video from you. No, I do not want to progress this friendship beyond the platonic. No, I did not invite you to follow me and show me your penis. No, I do not want to be a part of cheating if you have a partner.

Again, I'm slowly beginning to feel that I may be grateful that I'm a female. Yes of course it's harder, but at least I'm not on the other side, unable to (or very rarely do) feel the actual lack of safety that I currently feel. I'm glad I'm not a douche, an entitled male who is making someone feel unsafe.

As a woman with the experiences I have had, I have slowly been shaped into a feminist. Yes generally, most people believe in gender equality, but I want to take an active stand in making it happen.

If you are cheated on, leave. You deserve better. My mother had six-year-old me, and almost newborn Lyssa, when she left my dad. She's happy now.

The last example I have has to do with race:


I am again privileged to have grown up with Malay and Chinese familial ties and influences, so as far as everyday conversations go, I understand both as well as English.

Again, I'm glad that I'm not only a person of colour, I'm of a racial background that people still look down on in Singapore.

They still say the same things about us, "why do they have so many kids when they have no money", whilst here I am, witnessing first-hand how hard it is for myself (though not really, I'm still working-class, I guess, so I will not try to misappropriate the daily struggles of someone who's struggling more) and some of my extended family members to get out of the rut they were born into.

It gives me a slap in the face, not to be racist, not to take it for granted that someone was not born with any privilege that is currently afforded to me.

I think what I'm most satisfied about is that I've seen growth in myself, from maybe a decade or eight-ish years ago, to what I am now. Yeah maybe I used to be a pushover in terms of romantic relationships, or I used to be sexist myself, or xenophobic and racist.

All the misfortunes that have happened to me since, have only turned me into a better version of myself, I hope.

I identify mostly as a feminist, and I'm proud of it. For at least the past three years, if I've gone on dates, I pay for everything that I consume/purchase. This is regardless of how rich the man is, or how "gentlemanly" he wants to be.

I believe in it because if I pay for everything myself, as chauvinistic as my date may be, he won't be able to say "what a waste" if nothing happens between us. He can't say he "was used", the way men so often like to say, when the woman doesn't like him enough. It's never a transaction, and there is not the least bit of expectation for it to be.

I believe in it because the less a man has to pay for me/women as a whole, the less justification there can be for any discrepancies between a man's and a woman's wages. Even $200 makes a difference. Do you know how many tampons $200 can get? Lol.

I believe in it because the guys who believe in "gentlemanly" are the same ones who buy into gender performance and are likely to be the ones who think that raising a kid is primarily a woman's job. "Hey, wifey, I'll be a man and pay for your expenses, but could you quit your job and take care of our kids?" No fucking way.

I believe in it because the less he pays for me, the less power/control a man is able to feel over me, the less say he has over me, the more he will pay attention that my "no" means "no".

I know I can't change the world myself, but I hope that when I have a daughter, she doesn't have to feel threatened or unsafe or appalled by men's behaviour, that she doesn't have to try so hard for her words to be respected, that one day, her daughter will be just as respected as her son.

There is some of this that some of you will not be able to identify with, you may not understand how Asian/Malay mindsets work, but I have much, much more to work for and fight against, as a Malay woman. Yes, people in Asia still treat their boys better than their girls, their woman expected to take care of her man.


I am 25 years, 11 months, 28 days old (which I like because both 11 and 28 are two of my favourite numbers). I finally feel like I'm growing into myself.

I have recently begun actually believing in a "mantra" you've probably seen or heard before: you are exactly where you need to be.

I enjoy being me: this confluence of languages and food and ethnic cultural practices. In between struggling to be affluent and wishing I had been born with a silver spoon and actually being happy that I am where I am, that I have struggled financially and that life doesn't come easily, that I appreciate money and what it can buy, but also actually understand and feel that I can be happy when I don't have it. That I identify as a woman of colour, that I understand the microaggressions that a woman feels on a daily basis, that I understand the microaggressions a minority race feels on a daily basis.

I enjoy being me: I am bright enough to think, brave enough to feel, strong enough to break and grow, fortunate enough to have been tried and tested, have been blessed enough to be loved by and have loved good men at different stages of my life, men like B, and Nick, who took care of me (both said for me to listen to my family and be safe with them, any man who thinks for you and cares for your family is a good man), and to have met not-so-good men who have used me and betrayed me, those who appear only to make me appreciate the good ones when they come along.

I used to wish that I was someone else, but I no longer do. I'm happy I am myself, and I am exactly where I need to be, to get to where I want to be.

Happy 26th birthday, me! :P So Much Love to all of you who have stuck it out with me!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

I WANNA SEE,
WANNA SEE 'EM DANCING

(music: Part of Your World - Sara Bareilles)

up where they walk, up where they run
up where they stay all day in the sun
wandering free, wish I could be 
part of that world

what would I give, if I could live

out of these waters?
what would I pay, to spend a day
warm on the sand?

betcha on land, they understand

that they don't reprimand their daughters
bright young women, sick of swimmin',
ready to stand

oh, ready to know what the people know
ask 'em my questions and get some answers
"what's a fire and why does it -what's the word- burn?"

when's it my turn? wouldn't I love,

love to explore that shore up above
out of the sea, wish I could be
part of that world



I think it's so adorable, from Sara starting off the performance with jokingly asking the audience to fuck off, when they told her not to use the microphone, and her getting everyone into the chorus, and people following along the monologue, and Sara actually narrating the sound effects, while singing

I can't wait for her to be Ariel in The Little Mermaid concert, which I will probably watch in a cinema version or on Youtube or something. I miss her concert, when someone just a row behind me proposed to his girlfriend with a song that I would use at my wedding (pretty standard wedding song, to be honest).

Speaking of weddings, April has been a rather hectic month, with weddings and birthdays and whatnot.

Two weekends ago, Farah got married to the love of her life, Hanis. I still remember when Farah and I were working in the same office and he baked brownies for her, and it was delicious and it was such a sweet gesture.

Photos at the wedding were taken by Ainul, who is the tallest girl I know, I think. I mean, I think my family is tall, and then there's Ainul.




It was Hanis' birthday but he had a surprise bouquet for Farah.





He also had a really sweet, really touching wedding vow and I was close to tears but I didn't wanna cry so I distracted myself by talking to someone else instead hahahah. I cry at about 99.42% of all weddings I attend.


I'm so, so happy for Farah and Hanis, may the happy couple last forever!


I am... family! But also how on point is Ainul's outfit???? She looks straight out of the 80's, so adorable with her hairband and polka dot dress. ERGH CUBIT BARU TAU.

After the wedding, we went to play board games at the games cafe at Prinsep St, because my work daughter Noran wanted to. Why we so manjakan her ah, why.




Min is like the Ed Sheeran to my Taylor Swift. I love Swift/Sheeran's friendship and I think that's how Min is for me.


Ini minah tudung tak kuasa.


Noran and her boyfriend were really cute and kept doing things like taking photos together, and he would randomly kiss her, and it made me miss Nick, and I got so very wistful that night.





This was the point where we were all just waiting for Noran to make the wrong move and make the Jenga tower collapse. Case in point: Min taking a handful of popcorn for entertainment.



Whoops!

We also played this game I'd never heard of before (HOW AND WHY), called Dirty Minds.




I am the worst at it, I had the fewest points all the time because my mind was the dirtiest and I could not for the life of me not think of innuendo????? It was really fun, it challenges my brain hahahahaha. After Taboo, Dirty Mind is probably my favourite game.



much glam such wow




ni dah apehal eh kena sampuk ke?

Last Monday, Ekta's family held a surprise party to celebrate her 25th birthday as well as her final exams for uni, and possibly her entire life. At the last minute, her father realised that all the guests' shoes outside the door would have made her suspicious, so he grabbed them in quickly. Poor uncle!




She said she'd guessed that something was up, but not the magnitude of it, still.



Ekta and her adorable niece Anya. Ekta was going to sing Under The Sea to make Anya laugh, and she counted off "one, two, three" so everyone would sing with her and she sang loudly and nobody else did, and it was so funny I was so amused by both Ekta and Anya, really everyone mintak kena cubit.






I'm so proud of our modern-day Mother Teresa. She's got great plans ahead, and I think she'll love what she's doing. It's the best one could ask for!


I like the tradition of feeding everyone else your cake, I'm not sure what it means, though.



Happy family. :)

On Friday, for Atiqah's birthday, the girls and I went to Hyde & Co. which is finally Halal-certified, so I didn't have to feel bashful about eating there with my besties. ;P



Derrick (who owns the cafe) remembered me from our Pangdemonium days, and unexpectedly sent over a complimentary cup of iced apple tea! That was nice!








Us saying our "Asian grace" by taking photos of the food. Does anyone know why this is such a popular thing among Asians and not Westerners????









The food was really good, and we especially liked the nasi lemak risotto and the chilli crab pasta. The beef brisket man tou was also quite good.


The aftermath.



Atiqah and her outfit of presents. ;)

(Also: inb4 all of you start, yes she's gorgeous and smart/studying to be a doctor, and nice, and quite literally renders me speechless with her existence all the time, have no idea how I hang with perfect crowds of perfect people.)


The lemon cake that we had for dessert was sooooo gooooooood. Shahida and I couldn't contain ourselves, it was really damn good. We are definitely going back for more of everything!



The cafe is more specialised in teas, instead of coffees, which makes it really my thing, because I love teas! I really gotta take my hat off to Derrick, the cafe is impressive in all aspects.

On Saturday, I met Bhavs and Ekta, this time to celebrate Bhavs' birthday early.



Asian grace. Can I get an Amen? (To be honest, the food here was so-so, so there's no need to mention the place. The staff were nice, though!)




Bhavs and Ekta were doing their initiation of me into being a Sindhi (heheheh Bhavs = Cindy). They told me to watch Queen and Yeh Jawaani Hei Deewani on that very night, and not sleep at all. Leken kyaa?

Hindi is one of the eight languages I aim to be able to codeswitch in, in my lifespan. It's not one of my focuses at the moment, though, I don't have much time to watch lengthy Bollywood movies.




We went to Non Entree desserts cafe afterwards. (Sorrynotsorry, too lazy to type the accented E's.)




We ordered the mango ice sago thing, that's shaped like a Rubber Duckie. This was so refreshing and one-of-a-kind! I liked it!



We also had the matcha lava cake. WAH THIS. This is possibly, probably the best matcha food item I've ever had. It was soooooo gooooooood. Matcha cake of the perfect consistency, with matcha molten lava oozing from inside, served with azuki, and ice-cream and waffle biscuit. WAH SHIOK PLEASE I want again.

While walking back to the train station, we saw this:




Is it got no point to say beware! railing???? Is it people crazy liao make stupid signs??

Speaking of is its, Huda and I were being fucking annoying (as we are) before we met on Sunday.

\


If you don't understand what the heck we're doing, congratulations, you're not annoying. (which means: fuck off, you can't sit with us.)


Here lies a photo that lies about how annoying this one can be. I don't mean annoying in a bad way, though, I can be just as annoying and I love that we are so annoying without annoying each other.





Huds had the pistachio and some other ice-cream I forgot, I think possibly 'cos it's not one of my favourites (although the pistachio is A++++++++++++ on point).


I had earl grey lavender and banana choc chip crumble. May I just say my favourite food OF ALL TIME is ICE-CREAM.




We joked about how we became friends because of our blogs, how we were in the same school but did not talk to each other apart from TAGGING EACH OTHER'S TAGBOARDS. And the multiple tags because there were character limits to a tag, and the worrying about whether the hover-link colours would match our blogskins, isit funny or not last time that was our world and worries????


Huda is bless, thank fam YOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

*

So recently, I've been losing weight. I used to be able to wear a ring on my ring finger, but now my mum has had to wound some thread around it so it would fit the same.


Hahahahahaha what, it looks like cling wrap??


I wear two rings on my finger, both are from my family. Because familial love is for life, after all.

Some people ask why I'm so thin I'm practically disappearing. Or I can see my colleagues trying to lose weight, and saying I have it easy because I'm skinny.

I don't pretend to understand and I don't deny that being bigger-sized comes with its fair share of troubles and stigma, I wish it wasn't the case because I don't know which ugly-on-the-inside fuck decided that being skinny was beautiful, what is so attractive about it, it's just shallow.

Sometimes, I think if I'm in a really ironic mood, or completely not ironic, I would just tell them the truth. The truth is made up of a few factors.

I have overactive sweat glands, and I perspire all the time. I'm not inclined to putting on weight. I'm broke-as-fuck, I was working three jobs for the past two months, and I didn't have enough rest. I also didn't have money to spend on food, so I packed food from home for lunch, and if I was still hungry, I would get snacks from my office pantry. Sometimes I would be in too much of a rush travelling from the office to my other jobs, I don't have time to eat dinner. My appetite diminishes when I'm lovelorn, and despite being hungry, I don't seem to want to eat. I woke up the other night from a dream that I'd written to the man I love, pleading for him to wait for me. I can't get back to sleep, so I stay up the rest of the night, night after night, crying and tossing and turning. I think and I think and I think about him, but I tell myself, if I do go over, I would be adding on to his worries. I don't want to worry him, he has had enough stress in his life. Once upon a time, I would fight for my loves, fight to get what I love, be so self-assured that as right as they are for me, I would be right for them. Now, not so much. I know he has gone through enough in his life, I know of things that have happened that are really hard to face up to, and I just want the best for him. I think, some other girl who's from there, who doesn't have to fight to stay there, who doesn't have to make him fight for her to stay there, would probably be best for him. He has had enough drama in his life, as have I. I feel slightly more mature than I used to be. I think, I must really like this guy. I like him more than I like myself. I know he would be good for me, but I, I wouldn't be good for him, and I don't want that. I am an adult.

You are welcome to pick and choose any of the factors if you want to lose weight, and see if they work for you, but me, I think I'd rather exchange my life with any of you and be happy instead. It is exactly two weeks till I turn twenty-six. I used to wish for money or love or material things, but now all I want is to be happy. I want to be happy for and despite and because of all the things in my life.

May the month of May bring so many flowers after April showers! (PS. I don't like flowers so that's not literal. I like ice-cream. Please take me out for ice-cream, I would love multiple ice-cream outings for my birthday. Thank you.)

So much love!