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a little less than the girl next door
19 November 2015 @ 04:54 am
am thankful that for the sleepless nights i spend needlessly vexing over matters, there's the keyboard to work my good ol' pachelbel to take my mind off things.

for how much i detested lessons as a kid, i've grown up finding myself grateful for the know-how now and the catharsis that playing so often provides (despite being so crappy at it).

am really glad i invested in a keyboard here in hk. the feel of the keys aren't as soft and smooth as that of a good piano, but its greatest feature for me is the volume control -- no longer do i have to restrict playing to daylight hours or the early evening. just a few hundred sing is a wonderfully affordable price to maintain my sanity!
a little less than the girl next door
14 November 2015 @ 02:33 am
...the girl roused from a fitful sleep in the early hours.

In the darkness of her bedroom, the LCD screen of her iPhone lit up as she clicked to check if any message had come in while she was sleeping.


She lay in bed, trying to fall back asleep. Something felt different; she didn't like it.

She didn't know it then, but she had adapted to Sarah's nightly routine of breaking her sleep into two, getting up hours before the sun rose to potter around for a bit before returning to bed.

It was those couple of hours every night that they would find themselves somehow meeting, heart to heart, mind to mind -- albeit in little bytes of Helvetica Neue on an LED-backlit screen.

Perhaps she was lonely. Perhaps she was lonely. Either way, it didn't matter, because here she was, tossing in bed, because once, for a little while, they shared their lives, but now, Sarah was gone.


That was her being melodramatic.

Sarah wasn't really gone; Sarah was on a holiday. In fact, Sarah would be back really soon.

The girl knew this, of course. But she had to scour for inspiration to churn out a romantic-sounding little piece befitting of the New York Times' Modern Love column.

She'd never quite make a Modern Love columnist; the girl knew this too, of course. She'd never have the patience for a lengthy, swoony pseudo-love story. But she didn't particularly care.

Really, the girl wrote because she thought of Sarah and she missed her.

(note: this piece of "fanfic" written upon request!)
a little less than the girl next door
20 September 2015 @ 03:04 pm
arrived home totally zombified two hours ago, did my first load of laundry while taking a good long scrub in the shower and am now nicely moisturised everywhere with a mask on my face and the clothes spinning in the dryer as i let the white noise wash over me and put me to sleep. how much better could life get? ... if i didn't have to be back at work tomorrow, for starters, heh.
a little less than the girl next door
One night, my roommate’s hookup rolled over in the dark and asked her in a half-murmur, “Is this a special thing?”

Confused, rubbing the sleep from her eyes, she asked him to repeat himself. She wasn’t certain she had heard him correctly.

“Never mind,” he said.

Later, she worried she had missed a crucial moment, one she would never get back. But if she had misunderstood, she risked showing her hand by revealing that she wanted him to stick around in the morning. It was too scary a prospect, so she never said anything.
a little less than the girl next door
11 May 2015 @ 02:36 am
here's a brainless post: didn't watch the drama, but song is nice, sufficiently light and not overly consuming; i like the sudden change in rhythm in the chorus.

我們 總渴望幸福 而幸福定義是什麼
擁抱眼前的感動 或是找一份永久
如果說我懂 又為何 還是撲了空

我們 都需要幸福 而幸福是否發生過
愛的當下堅信擁有 怎麼卻又放開手
這一次愛 能不能 留住幸福到 最後
a little less than the girl next door
31 March 2015 @ 12:24 am
here's a note originally meant for facebook, but then i decided not to post it there after all:

Singapore's own little "umbrella movement"

I don't like the word "emotion", have never liked it. Yet this week I've swung from emotion to emotion, have been trying to make sense of it, am still trying.

On Monday morning, lying in bed upon waking and checking my phone immediately for breaking news as had become the habit over the week or so before that, I felt a strange sadness -- over the death of a man I did not know personally and (as a friend put it) had ever been in the same room with only once, when the MFA Diplomatic Academy was launched in 2008.

Over the next couple of days, I was moved by my fellow countrymen's outpouring of grief, touched by their unexpected show of unity, surprised at the intense international media coverage that didn't let up even several days after, and proud of the considerable number of political "close friends of Singapore" that I didn't quite know we had.

By Wednesday or so, however, I was beginning to feel a little ambivalent about the increasing public display of emotion; I mean, I've never been quite comfortable with even the word alone. I wondered if it was getting excessive; did so many people really adore him so much? Not being in Singapore and being connected to them only via the web, I felt like I couldn't get a good enough grasp of the extent and complexity of the sentiments on the home ground.

Then all of a sudden, I found myself having to defend my fellow Singaporeans on precisely the matter I was secretly unsure about. I tried to explain to those who raised reasonable questions; I came up with analogies (albeit imperfect ones), pulled in some historical context, invited them into our shoes and to walk around in it, tried to get them to understand or at least see things from another perspective.

Later in the day, scrolling through my Facebook feed, I started to feel somewhat annoyed by a small handful of posts, written by non-Singaporeans who had clearly spent little time -- if any at all -- in Singapore, who knew little about us, our history, the tiny intricacies of our local politics, who had spoken over such matters to probably less than a handful of Singaporeans in their lifetime.

There were posts that lambasted our government and civil servants over an anecdote that I interpreted as a mere manifestation of culture differences, those that condescendingly referred to us as the wealthy North Korea (which was immensely amusing except for the tone taken), even those that expressed hope for Singapore to one day be granted true democracy. I felt, privately, slightly disturbed by these posts.

But not as disturbed as I felt the following day, when I started seeing fellow Singaporeans actively shutting down genuine discussions over some of these issues. Non-Singaporeans were told off over an innocent observation that we were probably the only country whose citizens would heap so much praise on their late leader who had ruled with an iron fist. To other less-than-fawning remarks, people said things like "if you have nothing good to say, then just shut up".

And these were conversations among friends from around the world, not just petty squabbles among fellow Singaporeans. I was embarrassed and horrified -- what poor representation of Singapore, what would others think of us then? How can we hope for others to spare a thought for us if we cannot even try to understand and accommodate their curiosity or bewilderment?

By Friday, I was irked yet again, this time by another group of people -- those Singaporeans who employed their intellect, years of good education and talent in writing to (while raising some points worthy of real debate) disparage fellow Singaporeans over their display of grief.

One particularly offensive piece condescendingly referred to "how crippled and stunted our culture is. All this triviality and pornographic display of sentiment ... I've never seen our society look so intently upon itself, and do mostly nothing but slobber uselessly" in its opening paragraph. It went on to lay the blame of Singaporeans' personal, individual censorship of recent less-than-fawny LKY articles entirely at the late leader's feet...in much the same way (except in the opposite direction) that he had suggested others were thoughtlessly crediting to him every little thing that turned out well for Singapore.

What intellectual snobbery. Maybe the majority of those who spent half their day queuing outside Parliament House might indeed be less likely to want to engage in deep philosophising. But that doesn't make them any less worthy human beings than the writer.

Then on Sunday, the day of the funeral, I found myself seated within earshot of a person who spent the day moaning over "What?!? LKY again!?!" and repeatedly reading aloud written paragraphs about him in a high-pitched mocking tone, stopping to scoff every sentence or so. This one didn't even have an argument to make. Thankfully, by then, I could muster only mild irritation, having been nearly exhausted of my narrow, very Singaporean range of emotions over the past week.

Later in the evening, scrolling through the Lees' eulogies given at the private service, I felt a muted sorrow for the grieving family, and also slight relief that, for the rest of the nation at least, we could look forward to things regaining some semblance of normalcy tomorrow.

Among my many scattered half-baked thoughts this past week is the hope that non-Singaporeans might realise that if they actually lived in Singapore and had, say, years worth of a wide range of Singaporean friends on just their Facebook feed alone, they would get to see for themselves the whole spectrum of views and voices that make up this city state.

Over the past few days, I have admittedly restricted most less-than-fawny opinions to private chats among closer friends. It is out of consideration for others whose emotions may be running high, and because I value harmony among my friends more than trying to prove "intellectual superiority". Surely this is as much "censorship" as is someone deciding against posting a complaint about one's boss on a Facebook account shared with colleagues?
a little less than the girl next door
01 March 2015 @ 01:57 am
the churches i go to these days don't do hymns the way my sg church does. i find hymns very much deeper and more meaningful than many of the more contemporary christian songs -- many of these hymns were created in their writers' deepest, darkest moments -- and they have truly comforted and reassured me since young -- even these recent days when i try to drown out all straying, negative thoughts with them -- perhaps also because i grew up with them and so feel transported back to a time of safety and security when i hear or hum them. goodnight.

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day;
Earth's joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.

I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter's power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.

I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death's sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.

Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven's morning breaks, and earth's vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.
a little less than the girl next door
25 October 2014 @ 06:59 am

the theme song of that 1997 tcs basketball drama series i posted on facebook recently, it seems i still like it a lot!

studying the lyrics with fresh eyes and new perspectives 17 years later, they still seem quite meaningful to me although all that youthful quixoticism, that 不知天高地厚 in the lyrics really jump out at me now.

that aside, there are still many parts of the lyrics that strike a chord with me now, especially in light of recent events and my biggest challenges -- and at the same time also biggest opportunities -- at the moment.


i especially like the last line: "总有一天我会登上 这世界的顶端". it's not that i seriously expect to or even aspire to actually reach the pinnacle of my line of work (which would probably make me a media magnate, lollol). rather, it's the spirit of the lyrics that i identify with, that are uplifting for me:

that if i keep on challenging myself, pushing my own limits and bravely facing all my fears and anxieties and the countless other obstacles that come along my way, one day i will eventually get there...wherever "there" means, i have no real idea, maybe the journey, the satisfaction of making progress along the way is the reward itself.

rewording the lyrics for fun as a teenager back then, i don't think i was particularly inspired by the lyrics -- at least not in the areas of my life then that should have really mattered to me (such as in schoolwork). as a fresh secondary school pupil then, i didn't know how to study hard because before then in primary school, i had never needed to put in much effort in doing well before; good grades just came naturally until i was up against other kids just like me.

but things are different now. i know now all the effort (and long years) that would be required of me in order to make my way up there (wherever "there" is, just somewhere not here, presumably higher and better than here) and much of how to get there. the only issue now is the tenacity, the discipline and the patience that the quest calls for.

i guess that's where these lyrics come in. my point being that, 17 years down the road, this song remains just as meaningful to me, if not much much more. no doubt despite all my private cynicism, i have still retained some of that youthful quixoticism. :)
a little less than the girl next door
02 October 2014 @ 04:07 am

my thoughts for the day.

actually these hong kong students carrying the occupy central movement? they're exactly the gen x and post-90s kids that companies and bosses have been complaining about these past years.

in that they're "soft" and "lazy" and "irresponsible" and "apathetic" and all that jazz until you make them feel like they have a larger purpose in life, like they're on a noble, sacred mission to change the world -- then they'll gladly go through hell and high water and give up all their daily comforts to stand in the sun and rain day and night and pick up rubbish and shield policemen with their umbrellas for you. causes drive them.

i have my views -- both pro-establishment and pro-democracy ones; i've had my observations from these past few days of excitement -- of the police, the students, the two extremely, disturbingly split sides of society here (my experience this past week is that neither side can accept any discussion at all about how the other side's argument might not be all wrong). but who am i to judge what's a good cause, what's not, and who's more right than wrong?

what really matters now is how to move on from here. and i really can't quite see how.

the one thing the government did most right this week was to get the police to stand down and stop the tear gas and pepper spray. and i applaud the protesters' orderliness and consideration and good pr strategies so far.
a little less than the girl next door
21 September 2014 @ 02:26 am
guybrush is gone, as you should already know if you're on my facebook. i am, naturally, very sad; have spent the past three days in intermittent tears, so my eyes kinda hurt right now, especially whenever tears start welling up again.

i'm not the type to cry -- so much and so hard and so long. it might seem like i appear sadder now when my cat was dying than when people, human beings around me died in the past. and i won't deny that that's true. that's because guybrush didn't understand pain, he didn't understand suffering, didn't understand the paralysis that suddenly came upon him. you just can't explain something like that to a cat, and we were just left helpless to help him when we were the only ones he could look to at such a time of need for him. and animals, pets, they're not evil the way humans are or can be, they don't and won't and can't ever hurt you the way humans can or will or do, they're utterly innocent creatures that surely deserve none of the pain and suffering that come with life. that's why i cry for animals over human beings.

it hurt a lot to watch him suffering the last couple of days. to just rush to him whenver he makes a meow, to just be beside him trying to figure out just what he wanted, trying to feed him the water he was drinking in excess, drying his paws, wiping his mouth, just stroking and scratching him and repeatedly telling him we love him and that it was alright to go and that there was no need to wait for anyone; but he still held on, held on, even as his breath grew weaker and weaker until the vet came and helped him end it all. my poor, poor cat.

it hurt a lot, not knowing if he knew he was going, if he understood what we were doing, how we were trying to help relieve him of his suffering, when the vet and her assistant, two unfamiliar people, came and anyhow meddle with his hind leg and shaved it and stuck some needle into it. it hurt when the vet said he had gone, one eye still half open, and then he gave several sneeze-like spasms over the next minute, which she said were heart muscle reflexes although he was already dead, which i believe. stranger would have called them "the throes of death".

it hurt when they prepared to take his lifeless body away. when she lifted him up and into the big black bag. his furry furry still-warm body, like he was still alive, but his head just drooping to the side as she lifted him up and put him in and tied up the bag and took him away. my cat is dead. my cat is dead.