Saturday, November 22, 2014

THE SKY IS YOURS

(music: Jason Mraz)

This Monday, I met Shahida and Freya and we had dinner together before the Jason Mraz concert. Freya had bought a ticket for herself alone after we did, but we still went together. While we were seated at the basement of Star Vista, a Sistic photographer came to take a photo of us.


Good cameras and good photography make my day.


Look at the difference between the official photo and the one from my camera! Sheesh. Mine is also a DSLR. -.-

The photog asked us whether we wanted an extra ticket because she had one, and it was a better seat than the one Freya had originally bought for herself, so she swapped! So lucky! :))))

During the show, Jason quoted a Sufi poet Hafiz: 'Even after all this time, the Sun never says to the Earth, "you owe me". Look what happens with a love like that - It lights the whole sky.'

It was such a brilliant verse to share during a brilliant show filled with love. Jason was so personal, he shared very important lessons on how he deals with life, and seeming to wake up under a rainbow, especially when you don't wake up under a rainbow most of the time.

He also talked about his best friend who was diagnosed with a type of cancer, which was what The Remedy is about. I finally heard the poignant side of The Remedy when he sang the lyrics, in his amazing acoustic way.


The visuals were so good, their vocal harmonies, instrumental acoustics.


They did this thing where Jason made us all close our eyes, and sing/hum along "home" to their acoustic instruments, over and over. It sounded and felt the "ohm" vibration reverberating throughout the massive theatre, and it was so positive and such a lovely feeling. It felt strangely infinite.

There was also a performance where they shared Jason and Mona (Raining Jane's PERFECT percussionist)'s experience on an expedition to Antarctica, learning about climate change, during which they played the song to the music video, so it looked like a perfect lip-sync. IT WAS SO CUTE AND FUN.

Penguins! Seals! All the cute things!


This is my favourite rendition of Plane, not that the studio version is not incredible enough.


God, what they did with this. I LOVE IT. LOVE PLANE.


A short instrumental by Raining Jane.



They did I'm Yours, still fun! The scatting at the end was a slight bit different from the 2012 Tour is a Four-Letter Word show at Gardens by the Bay, but both were equally fun and awesome! I love how he changes up his songs/performances to make it all so worthwhile!!!!!!!!!

It was a truly unique, positive, lovely, love-filled show, and I'm glad I went even though I haven't listened much to his new album.

After the show, Shahida and I went to their hotel to get a photo with Jason. We missed him by a bit, but we got one with Chaska the guitarist. I am in such awe and have so much pride for Raining Jane though, the four-girl piece (cellist/percussionist/guitarist/bassist), every one of them multi-talented and so brilliant.



After that crazy event of slight stalking, I went back to NTU with Shahida to sleep in her dorm room (which is no longer hers 'cos she's moving out today!!!!).

I felt so content after the concert, and also something which I'd been desperately waiting for happened during the concert, so I just felt so full of positive vibes! YES! Omg that happiness and relief I felt, I was just :'))))))

The next morning, we woke up to a rainy morning, had breakfast in bed with each other.





I love Shahida. Loved staying up to ramble on to her all our crazies, our deepest most irrelevant nonsense. Love her inner and outer beauty.

It was the best Monday as far as I can remember, and I am grateful for every moment of it. Thank you God, for letting me catch Jason Mraz again, and enjoying it as much if not even more (IS THIS POSSIBLE???) than the first.

Thank you for all the magical musical moments I've had this year (Yuna/PTX/Sara/Mraz). Thank you for the bestest ever friends you've put in my life, who agree to my ridiculous ideas like going to stalk celebrities at their hotels at midnight. Thank you for unexpected surprises of a constant love returning.

All I can say is "YES!" and I'll keep thinking "love" / "love" / "love" / "love-uh-love-uh-love!" even when I'm down, to get myself back up. Love is really all I need. All you need is love. :')

Thank God for life. Thank God. Just. I thank God. Alhamdulillah.

(Also if you're currently struggling/having a tough time, I love you, and I pray to God to give you strength. Always. It gets better. I promise you. I don't always wake up under a rainbow, either. I just only look at rainbows. I won't let the dark clouds get me down, and I will try not to let them get you down, either.)

Monday, November 17, 2014

LOVE THE PLAYERS

(music: Blank Space - Taylor Swift)


I just love this song and video and how Taylor just reflected all the mockery the media made of her, into another mockery. Like a mockception. Taylor Swift keeps getting better, and makes us all love her more.

Kellynn put it in the best way possible, and in order to never forget it, I shall include it here in a blockquote:
"THIS VIDEO IS SO INTELLIGENT AND SELF-AWARE I'M TRYING NOT TO CLAW MY FACE OFF IN GLEE
Watch as Taylor takes satire to an extreme by unreservedly mocking the dominant one-note sexist media narrative of her as the obsessive, crazy ex-girlfriend who spends all her time curating a gallery of ex-boyfriends and writing songs about them

Lots of visual intertextuality with previous videos (the white horses, the balcony, the camera modestly backing off as the couple begins to kiss, the OTT doves floating out from behind the tree). The sarcastic little shrug at "I'll be your queen"!!! There's such a level of self-aware performativity (she's literally! word-for-word! Performing! The script that everyone loves to present her as only capable of using: "oh my god / who is she? / I get drunk / on jealousy!"), and she's playing on the trope of the feminine mystique/the rich, extravagant, hysterical, landed housewife... so many clever moments -- the visual nod to 'Twilight' (and its attendant caricature as books only for stupid teenage girls), the calculated literal "BLANK SPACE" that is her pretty, accessorizing boyfriend, the way she turned his shirt into a paper cut-out (bc everyone loves ~mocking~ her for being all ~quirky~) and at the same time that clever 00s Mean Girls homage!!!

She's really smart and she knows exactly what she's doing and she's reaaaaaally bored of being characterised as the chick who's hung up about her exes when no other dude singer gets the same shit and she's got a blank space, baby, and she will fuck you over plus she will outsell you in records and wear red lipstick whenever and wherever she wants

tl;dr AMY DUNNE"
No but really tho. To quote from Shake it Off, "I go on too many dates / but I can't make them stay / that's what people say / that's what people say / mmm-mmm" it's so sexist?!

If a guy songwriter sings about multiple girls, he's scoring, but if a girl serial dates, then she can't make them stay??? Why can't it be about her not staying because she doesn't wanna???

Anyway. Last week felt like a really long week. Probably so because of my period. My period makes everything feel longer.

I went for sushi with Reen.


We were at Muji because she wanted to get a pen. We heard a guy say to his friends, "I don't even know why I'm buying a pen! I don't even go to school!" in the sassiest way possible, and we were both giggling to ourselves. Sounds like something I would say.






We were both wearing glittery shoes. We're too fab for you. *airkiss* hahaha only kidding. Only half-kidding.

We went to Smiggle where we bought more pens.

I wrote Sarah ♥ Vivienne to test out the ink on one of them, because Viv lives in Tampines and Smiggle seems like a very Viv place (rainbows!!!). I do shit like that. I write Sarah ♥ -insert name- in the neighbourhood of anyone I know lives there.... despite the fact that I live in Yishun and I don't even hang around Yishun and I know it.




(My dentist is gonna tidy up my teeth in December and so my braces will be off really soon!!!!!!!!!)

"A girl's gotta do what she gotta do!" - quote of the night by Reen. We caught up about our lives, and it was really funny and heartwarming and I love Reen, I really do. She's so sweet and bright and the best thing is when she comes up with the most unexpected quirky or naughty things, hehehe.


She gave me a packet of random stuff, like tea and candy and hair lotion and stuff. It's so Reen. I love it about her. All these tiny surprises.

On Thursday, I met Han for an event of sorts, but I didn't have my SD card in my DSLR, so essentially I lugged my camera along for no reason. Oh Sarah, you're such a genius. #sarahcasm

I don't have any photos of the night, but we met really sweet ladies and we got complimentary head massages which we both really needed. Then we caught up, the way Han and I catch up. She'd just returned from her trip to Korea, so she filled me in about it.

After the event, I headed back to the cafe, for a little photo-taking session.


I am... received a Food & Service Excellence Award 2014 and boss Jam and lady boss Kyla had just collected it at a ceremony at MBS. We were the only cafe to receive it among all other restaurants. The pressure is rising. As it is, some people already dine in at our cafe expecting restaurant full-service attention. :/




I wanted to Photoshop someone in beside me but I'm not THAT GOOD AT PHOTOSHOP. :P (to be honest, I'm useless with Photoshop)


Abang Jam and Kyla were looking so gorgeous in their evening wear!


AWW CHO KYOT.


:)


Sarong being Sarong refusing to smile for the camera.


LOL Sarong so QT. Not as QT as my QT but okay la haha. (Did I just call him my QT I need to stop.)

I remember Reza saying he doesn't exactly love his workplace, and he was surprised to know that I do. I actually love my workplace ie. the cafe. It might tire the fuck out of me, I could have conflicts on a day-to-day basis, but the satisfaction of knowing that people actually enjoy our food/service, and would recommend us, is priceless.


We love receiving positive feedback (as does everyone, I'm sure).


The difficult part is in negating a negative impression. We make slip-ups, of course we do. We're all only human, prone to human error. Whenever that singular customer of the day receives unsatisfactory service/food, they're so inclined to publicising it everywhere and making sure nobody else visits.

On the other hand, people who receive excellent service aren't as inclined to write good feedback or spread the good news. The bad stuff sticks and the good stuff slide.

In any case, it's been more than a month since I last spoke to Reza? Wow, that's fast. People really just come and people go. I'm so over it. Nothing is permanent, there's no point in trying to hold on. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, it doesn't.

Remember I said G's grandma passed away, and he hasn't contacted me? I told Min and Noran about it. Min is kinda my default bro since he's Luke's cousin and Luke used to be my big bro who took care of me at the cafe. Noran is one of my cafe "daughters" who's closest to me.

So after a week, Noran asked whether I was okay that he still hadn't texted. I said "yep it's okay" and Min heard it and told Noran "she says it's okay but it's not okay" and I really wanted to just cry but I shook it off. You're not supposed to say such things!!!

Last night:





I spent months getting to know him, and I was there for him when he was upset or angry or tired, and he was the same for me. And we shared good news and vacations with each other. He let me rant about feminism, we rambled about movies and favourite places and things.

He really said he would be there as a friend when I travel to Paris (and tentatively live while working there), but then he disappeared. I know his grandma passed and they were close and I know it's terrible news, but it's been a while and he's completely ignored me, even though I tried to find out how he was.

I was feeling so emo, I just sobbed for a good twenty minutes yesterday, while Lyssa tried to console me. It's just sad, I thought we could have stayed good friends, regardless. After crying, I walked around my room, cleaning it up, and muttering nonsense to amuse myself.

Lyssa said "how are you so optimistic even when you're sad? I'm not even sad and I'm always sad! tomorrow is your off day, you should just cry it all out now!"

I told her it's precisely because it's my one off day in the entire week, that I wasn't gonna ruin it by crying and moping and wallowing endlessly in self-pity. I'm not a weak person, I don't need a man. If he doesn't want or need me in his life, I don't need him in mine. #dustsoffshoulders

*

In any case, Freya found out Jason Mraz and Raining Jane are staying at the hotel she works at.




Why do I never see the celebrities I like at our cafe???? If only Joe would walk past, my life would be MADE. I'm gonna go watch Jason Mraz and Raining Jane later, because Shahida treated me to a ticket. I have the best people in my life, and I love them, and I thank God for it. Thank you bb Sha, love you!!!

Thank you God, for all the love. If it happens, I'm happy. If it doesn't, imma just shake-shake-shake! Nothing can touch me.

oh my God, look at that face /
you look like my next mistake

Monday, November 10, 2014

KEEP CALM &
SHAKE IT OFF

There is a person I can't quite gel with at work. I've been trying to let it slide for about two weeks, thinking it would be a temporary... issue, but it doesn't seem to be going away.

I first noticed something amiss when one of our bosses told the part-time staff during our night debrief, to "listen to the floor captain". If you're a leader, you don't need your boss telling anyone to listen to you, they will do so naturally.

One of the guys I've been working with for about a year, Qim, snapped at me, about the floor captain. I've seen him work for a long time, and usually he's very chillax/lepak. But this time, he said "tell your floor captain to get his own pen!"

Another time, he said "tell your floor captain to get his instructions right" because even I can tell, by observing the fc's interactions with other people, that he changes his demands instantly and doesn't even realise it.

One moment he says he doesn't want to see cleared plates/utensils on the ledge, the next moment he says he doesn't want the servers to run to the runner's station at the back.

The two things contradict, because if he doesn't want the ledge to be filled, then the servers can't leave them there, but neither does he want the servers to leave the front of house empty, so what can the servers do: wait and stand around for a runner to take the dirty plates from them??

We were talking about it yesterday, and Qim said he finds that the fc is too "by the book" and I find that he's too bossy.

My sister even feels like quitting 'cos she can't stand to work with the floor captain. You know how you hate being told what to do just before you were actually going to do it anyway? Well he did that to her, thinking that she wasn't going to take somebody's orders when she actually was going to.

I think the most apparent conflict is between myself and the floor captain, though. I just can't stand people asserting authority over me when they have no right to. It's like everything he brings to me must be my first priority, and that priority has to keep changing based on whatever he brings.

Everything he's involved in is urgent. He brings a bill folder to me at the cashier, says it's "urgent" so I do it first, then when I'm done, I realise the customers have left and they want us to keep the change. What is so urgent about that, I will never understand.

Then when I actually do the bills first, and he sees the iPads lying beside the cashier counter (iPads which the servers use to take orders but they were all dying around the same time so they literally just left it there), he demands to know "why are these not charging?!?!" and I'm like, dude:

They've been there less than a minute and I've been clearing bills, you know. It's not like I'm intentionally leaving the iPads there to die so my servers can't use them. I mean, you and I have the same goals. I'm not trying to bring my cafe down, the cafe that I've worked at longer than you have.

Yesterday was the penultimate situation. I guess that's why I'm blogging now. So one of our servers Hani had an order that I was to key in at the cashier because she didn't have an iPad. She forgot to complete the order with the pasta sauce chosen, so I asked someone to ask her and get back to me.

The floor captain, thinking he knows everything that happens in the cafe and has to be involved in every single step, saw me about five minutes later, and the order hadn't been keyed in, so he snapped "you STILL haven't keyed in??" so I raised my voice to say "I JUST asked Hani what sauce it is!"

And he got pissed off/upset at that. He really thinks I stand around not keying in orders for the heck of it, when I've been so busy clearing bill after bill, that I can't personally run to Hani to ask for the complete order.

It's like he thinks when he's not around, nobody is doing anything productive, because everybody needs him to tell them what to do.

Newsflash! Leadership 101: Luke never had to assert his authority. Luke didn't like being called the manager, he always said we are all colleagues, and he did the same thing everybody else does. That's why everybody was so happy to work for him and with him.

If you think having a title or senior position gives you the right to bark orders at everyone else below you, then you clearly need some leadership lessons. You need to trust that your staff know what they're doing, not hound them every few minutes to look over their shoulders.

Even if my sister is a part-timer, she's also chalked up enough work hours for months to be able to handle her responsibilities.

I don't understand what this ridiculous situation is. I have a feeling he's never been in a position of authority, so he doesn't know what it entails. Don't get me wrong, he is a nice person, yes he's smiley and cheery outside of work, but ever since the title "floor captain" came about, it's been such a pain.

I can see even the new part-timers rolling their eyes at him when he comes around with his million and one instructions that change within a few hours.

He is a kanchiong spider and he needs to back off, chill out, and realise that, even when he wasn't floor captain, even when he wasn't working at the cafe, we were all running smoothly, so the entire responsibility of the cafe operations aren't actually lying on his shoulders.

What irks me is when he's beside me at the cashier, he's always like "there's a bill from just now" "blah blah blah" when I've actually had my eye out on those bill folders/whatever and I know how long they've been there when I'm doing something else, like getting cakes or whatever.

In contrast, whenever our big boss is at the cashier, as in the boss of ALL OF US, he just asks "Sarah okay?" giving me time to compose myself even if I'm busy, so I can reply "yep I'm okay!"

You know what I mean??? Like, if our big boss can be chill and composed or at least appear chill and composed even he's not, then why do you feel like you have to stress yourself and everyone else out????? KEEP CALM AND TRUST YOUR COLLEAGUES, BRO.

*

This might be a bit of paranoia, but sometimes I think some people don't see the weight I pull in the cafe.

I would just like to say that everybody has their own forte. Some are good at art and designing, some at cooking, some at interacting with customers, and mine is in writing. I might not write for a living, but I've always written as part of my livelihood.

You may not see me running and physically exerting myself as much as the other staff, but my brain is always working. I do take photos and think of write-ups for the cafe, I pull my own weight and try to expand our customer base and increase the percentage of repeat visitorship.

I do want the best for the cafe too. You might not be able to see it on the surface, but my brain is working for the cafe even past my working hours, which yours doesn't have to. I check emails on my off day, you don't have to.

I don't judge you for choosing to work out your body instead of your brain, so don't judge me for the exterior of my physical stagnation because my brain is not as lazy as yours seems to be (but that's only on the surface, you might think a lot for all I know).

You do what you do best, I do mine. I know our boss appreciates what I do for the cafe, so your opinions can't touch me. /dustsoffshoulders

As Taylor Swift puts it, "haters gonna hate-hate-hate-hate-hate! I'm just gonna shake-shake-shake-shake-shake! Shake it off! Shake it off!"

*

In other bad news, G's grandma passed away last week. I know he needs a hug and someone to lean on, and I've never wanted to be there for him as much as I do right now. I guess sometimes a physical person is all you really need for comfort, and I can't give him that, since he's 6000 miles away.

Maybe this is the make or break. There is only so much I can do.

tak semua kau rancang akan berlaku
mungkin nasib tak menyebelahi aku
entah mengapa engkau yang aku cinta
mungkin lebih baik kau ku lepas saja

Saturday, November 01, 2014

START OF HOW IT ALL ENDS

(music: Yellow Flicker Beat - Lorde)

Sometime last week, I'd decided to dress up as Katniss for Halloween. Then that disgusting incident happened last week that made me hate on the male population for a bit, and I was kinda wary of going out into crowded areas, and I didn't feel like mingling with people.

Then I thought about it some more, and I realised I didn't wanna let one man ruin my general inclination to trust people, or have enjoyable experiences, so I went ahead. I especially wanted to be Katniss, since she's sort of the current trendy female symbol for freedom, rebellion and strength (apart from the Emmas: Watson/Stone).

Some people thought I'd dress up as the girl on fire, with a siren-red dress, but I didn't want that Katniss. If I wore a red dress, I could have been any celebrity, and not on point at all. I wanted the arena!Katniss, in her windbreaker and boots, etc.

The problem was I didn't know where to find a bow and arrow. Practically everybody whom I talk to on a daily basis knew I was looking for a bow and arrow, from my family to my colleagues, and they tried to help, but nothing matched up to the film.

Hanisah had alternative ideas for me...



"if you're hungry you know what to do" ok Han.

Me being me, determined to a fault that I am, I managed to hunt down a bow and arrows (geddit geddit).

I met Shahida and her hall mates at Clarke Quay. She had kickass makeup and really looked freaky as Annabelle doll from the recent movie, and I loved her creepiness, but she's studying to be a teacher, and she doesn't like her students potentially seeing her photos on public domain, so no photos of her here! :(




After hanging out with them for a while at the bridge, I felt very restless.

The group of them were being really cute and funny while they were high and drinking, and I was very amused at their ridiculous conversations, but some things are more enjoyable when you know the crowd you're in, and I didn't belong there, and I haven't partaken for years (Sha doesn't drink either), so I didn't fit in.

I left Sha with her friends and walked around Clarke Quay by myself to take photos of people's costumes.

It was easy for me to stay in character since my general disposition is to stay aloof, observe everything from the outside looking in, and not interact with people I don't know, anyway. There were many groups who saw me and exclaimed their recognition "eh! Hunger Games!" and I would break into a smile and acknowledge them, though.

I like that it was highly unlikely that I would have found another Katniss around. All the other girls were dressed the way Mean Girls describes Halloween, an all-access unabashed pass to dressing skankily. Skanky rabbit, skanky cat, skanky giraffe, skanky rhinoceros. If it's skanky, it passes for Halloween.

No shade though, I used to dress like that too. Remember my Lara Croft: Tomb Raider outfit that barely resembled two pieces of cloth? I try not to recall, either. HAHAH.

When I left home, I was feeling slightly self-conscious because my makeup was minimal. I felt inadequate because I knew everybody else would go wild with their makeup and mine was as close to natural. I was so tempted to put on eyeliner but the Youtube tutorial specifically did not include eyeliner.

So there I was, walking around alone, covered up in my windbreaker, and barely-there makeup, carrying a damn bow and arrow and not smiling at anybody and therefore NOT inviting any attention at all, and still I had guys hitting on me, by virtue of i) being a female and ii) being alone.

They were always in pairs, though, I don't know, do guys really use wingmen??? The first pair were N and C (I shan't use their real names), the latter dressed as Donnie Darko, and they yelled "Katniss!" so I smiled and nodded, which they took as a signal that they could run in for a hug??? How?!?!

So they hugged me and said "I love you! I'm Peeta!" etc etc, and I just wanted to leave, but they said they were going to Attica and they could get me in blah blah blah. I declined and walked away.

The next pair of guys asked whether I was alone, I told them I was looking for my friends, and they asked if I wanted a drink, etc. I was just. Amazed. It's really a numbers game to them. The more women you hit on, the higher the propensity of it working on one of us and the closer you get to some game. It really does not matter who. It just has to be a female.

And then another time, some jerk just grabbed one of the bows out from the holder that I slung over my back, and when I looked back to glare at him, he returned it but with a cheeky look. I wish it had been a real bow and arrow I was using and that I knew how to actually shoot, because I might have aimed one at him.

Regardless, I stayed safe and untouched and unharmed the entire night, which is quite a feat to manage in Clarke Quay on Halloween. Think Padang-crowd on National Day, just different kind of crowd in a different location.







Despite the minimal makeup, I'm quite happy with how the photos turned out.

After Clarke Quay, they wanted to have supper at Swee Choon so I tagged along.


This is Nick. He is ridiculously hilarious. We were waiting for a table, and they missed our turn, so he started cussing them nonsense in a thick mainland-Chinese accent.

Sha and her friend Yasmin were looking at the menu trying to figure out if there was anything non-pork that we could order for ourselves, but Nick said "everything is pork la! this Chinese! even the vegetables also got pork inside" and IDK why but everything he said was just so funny.

I think it was the alcohol he drank. He didn't realise how funny he is.


Before I met them, I'd asked Sha what her friends were going as, she said "Scarlet and Nick" so I thought it was Black Widow and Nick Fury or something, but he was just a Nick. His name is Nick lololol. But also her friend Yasmin was Scarlet/Easy A.

When I sent G photos of the night, he went on a tirade about The Hunger Games. I get where he's coming from but now I also know how people must feel when I throw shade on them for reading Twilight or listening to crap music, etc.








All my pride at having pretended to be some kind of feminist symbol vanished.

It wasn't even only that it's an unoriginal idea.

I don't believe originality could exist in such an old, pretty-much developed world like ours. I mean, before Inception happened, someone must have thought of controlling/manipulating people's dreams, among the billions of people who have lived on Earth and had ideas before we did.

It didn't detract away from Inception being a brilliant film, because it was well-executed, a good balance of philosophy and action-thriller. The thing that sucks is that he just thinks The Hunger Games is a horrible film franchise, complete with poor direction, and I love it???

He and I usually have matching tastes in movies, though. He likes or thinks the movies I like are good enough, things like Fight Club and Amelie, Her and Moulin Rouge, but to be trash-talked for Hunger Games. GAHHHHH all my good feels as/for Katniss are gone.

The good thing is (because there's always a silver lining), he really is quite passionate about his movies, and I appreciate that.

#notetoself: watch Donnie Darko/check out all material G mentioned, okbye