Tagged: life

the end of a chase

i was 24 years old when i started this blog. having grown tired of blogger’s lack of refreshing new templates (and my inadequate coding skills), i made the switch to wordpress. i spent 3 years on blogger and twice the number of years here. adding up the short time spent at easyjournal (my first blog!) and xanga, i have blogged for a good 10 years! (even if i was not always consistent in penning down my thoughts on the internet.)

all that blogging in the last 10 years did not yield major improvements in my writings skills or made me famous but this past decade has definitely brought about significant and wonderful experiences that helped made me who i am today. the twenties were not as exciting as what i have imagined – my early twenties were confusing, stressful, depressing and angry; the mid twenties presented a turning point for me to end a long list of self-inflicted emotional turmoils; and the end of the twenties opened me up to the happiest period i have ever had in my entire life.

the landscape of my inner world experienced its biggest shift in the last one to two years that i sometimes feel that life can be categorized into before and after 28 Jan 2011. the subsequent effects of the momentous day only became apparent a year later. perhaps, that’s the reason why blogging has been very difficult in the last 2 years. this space was created for me to vent and share my thoughts and, evidently, there were more things to vent about and more time to share in the beginning of this 6 year blog affair. while many others see a blog as the one place to document enough thoughts to re-visit at an older age, i see every blog as a different stage in my life. this space has served its purpose in being this great memory bank for my challenging twenties and i honestly feel that it is time for me to move on (instead of finding new ways to motivate myself to blog here).

there are different milestones to achieve at different stages in life. i am filled with excitement about being 30 (and i haven’t met anyone who is not excited about it) because it is such a good and important time to take stock and see how you can take everything you have built in the last 10 years even further. there are enough professional and personal endeavors to keep me focused and occupied for the next few years and it would be interesting to see how i go about achieving them.

if most of my twenties were spent chasing after liberty, i would like my thirties to be a decade of creation, of knowing my identity and settling comfortably into it, of curating relationships, values, beliefs and material things so as to be the best that i can possibly be.

this new journey may or may not be documented in another blog. commitments are hard to keep. for now, i am very happy to wrap this up after 6 years.

a new chapter in life awaits. 30 begins!


where to go from here?

i think i have outgrown blogging. started the year with the intention of posting at least a monthly entry but it turned out making one for a quarter was equally hard. it isn’t because there is nothing to write about but it is no longer as easy as it used to. most of the time, it ends up with me asking myself this question “…and this post of my thought or an experience is important or worth my effort because…?” after which, i would probably end up putting down the key points in my journal for future reference. 

still, i never quite gave it up because it is such a pity to not continue something that i have kept going since july 2007. 

happy 6th year, starcrash. i wished i knew what to do with you. 

10 suggestions for life

listen to (or read) ben bernanke 2013 commencement speech if you have a chance. i thought it was a really humbling and compassionate speech.

couldn’t agree more on life being a life long project of developing oneself as a human being and i couldn’t help but think of my meritocratic Singapore when he questioned about the fairness of meritocracy.

he really got to me when he started talking about how people who are most worthy of admiration are folks who have coped most courageously in the face of adversities – people with little schooling but who through honest and diligent labour, has managed to clothe, feed and educate their families deserved greater respect and greater help.

reminded me of what henry james once said “3 things in human life are important. the first is to be kind, second is to be kind and third is to be kind.”

gone from facebook

i’ve finally deleted my facebook account! unfortunately, its effect will only be made permanent 14 days from now.

first deactivated my account on 11 feb 2013 only to find myself re-activating it a week later to accept friends’ request. however, that didn’t stop me from removing the app from my iphone or restricting my logins from the macbook to no more than 4 times a month.

fast forward to 3 months later, i realized life’s much quieter without the distractions of facebook. and because it is quieter, i find myself happier on most days. and because i now lack a time/boredom killer device, i had to retrain the brain to occupy itself with other means like reading on my kindle, reading more meaningful tweets, reading books borrowed from the library, journaling, thinking about my goals, priorities and habits.

of course, i’m not here to say that you can’t achieve all that with facebook in your life. people react differently to things and i’ve finally come to the point where i genuinely feel that i am not missing out on much without it and that i like myself and my life a lot more when it is absent from my life.

i guess, that’s the most important point isn’t it?

four wives

i got this from michelle:  

This is something to think about:  4 WIVES
Once upon a time there was a rich King who had four wives.

He loved the 4th wife the most and adored her with rich robes and treated her to the finest of delicacies. He gave her nothing but the best.

He also loved the 3rd wife very much and was always showing her off to neighboring kingdoms. However, he feared that one day she would leave him for another.

He also loved his 2nd wife. She was his confidant and was always kind, considerate and patient with him. Whenever the King faced a problem, he could confide in her, and she would help him get through the difficult times.
The King’s 1st wife was a very loyal partner and had made great contributions in maintaining his wealth and kingdom. However, he did not love the first wife. Although she loved him deeply, he hardly took notice of her!  
One day, the King fell ill and he knew his time was short. He thought of his luxurious life and wondered,    I now have four wives with me, but when I die, I’ll be all alone.’
Thus, he asked the 4th wife , ‘I loved you the most, endowed you with the finest clothing and showered great care over you. Now that I’m dying, will you follow me and keep me company?’

‘No way!’, replied the 4th wife, and she walked away without another word. Her answer cut like a sharp knife right into his heart.
The sad King then asked the 3rd wife, ‘I loved you all my life. Now that I’m dying, will you follow me and keep me company?’  

‘No!’, replied the 3rd wife. ‘Life is too good! When you die, I’m going to remarry!’ His heart sank and turned cold.
He then asked the 2nd wife, ‘I have always turned to you for help and you’ve always been there for me.  When I die, will you follow me and keep me company?’

‘I’m sorry, I can’t help you out this time!’, replied the 2nd wife. ‘At the very most, I can only walk with you to your grave.’  

Her answer struck him like a bolt of lightning, and the King was devastated.

Then a voice called out: ‘I’ll go with you. I’ll follow you no matter where you go.’ The King looked up, and there was his first wife. She was very skinny as she suffered from malnutrition and neglect.  
Greatly grieved, the King said, ‘I should have taken much better care of you when I had the chance!’  
In truth, we all have the 4 wives in our lives:
Our 4th wife is our body. No matter how much time and effort we lavish in making it look good, it will leave us when we die.  
Our 3rd wife is our possessions, status and wealth.When we die, it will all go to others.
Our 2nd wife is our family and friends. No matter how much they have been there for us, the furthest they can stay by us is up to the grave.  
And our 1st wife is our Soul. Often neglected in pursuit of wealth, power and pleasures of the world.
However, our Soul is the only thing that will follow us where ever we go. Cultivate, strengthen and cherish it now, for it is the only part of us that will follow us to the throne of God and continue with us throughout Eternity.  
Thought for the day:
Remember, when the world pushes you to your knees, you’re in the perfect position to pray …
Pass this on to someone you care about – I just did.
Being happy doesn’t mean everything’s perfect.  It means you’ve decided to
see beyond the imperfections.  


i was rushing for time today.

i missed the bus. i missed the train. my heart was beating so fast from all the rushing -even jay chou’s voice couldn’t calm me down.

as i was waiting impatiently for the bus, a thought crossed my mind.

what is impatience?

impatience = when the heart moves faster than time.

saw this on alex’s msn, “if you want pretty nurse, you need to be patient.”


12 January 2007.

it has been 1 year since my grandpa left us. wow. time really flies.

i still remember his face because i see him on my study table everyday. i dream of him sometimes – they are like silent movies – moving pictures with no sound. in my dreams, he is always in his baby blue stripes boxers sweeping the floor.

i think of him sometimes. his departure is my first and closest encounter with death. that moment was so silent, so peaceful and so final. i revisit scenes of his last few moments and the events that unfolded after he took his last breath in my head often. i don’t know why but it makes me cherish the people around me a lot more.

although grandpa died of old age (an expected loss but still a painful one), his death made me realise that life is fragile and death is final. any random person around me can leave and not come back again. once you realise just how precious life is, appreciation and love for the friends and families around you becomes so much easier.

those few nights of staying up at the wake, watching the joss sticks and candles (they have to continue burning so as to ensure his journey to another world remains lighted and that he doesn’t walk in darkness) while playing mahjong all the way to 7.30am, were probably the only time we cousins get to bond and hang out together. we placed the mahjong table in front of our grandpa (infront of the table holding all the offerings and his picture) and laughed, played and joked through the night while grandpa watched over us and we watched over grandpa. we took hourly breaks to burn joss paper so that he will have money to pay whatever that needs to be paid at the other side of the world.

in the midst of all the pain that came with losing our grandpa, there was so much love in the air. all of us were hard at work folding joss papers during the day because us kiddos wanted grandpa to have more than enough to spend. we folded joss papers from afternoon to night while the adults mingled and entertained my grandpa’s countless friends. we started the day by offering grandpa a joss stick and our well wishes. we ended the day by guarding him throughout the night.

and we bid him goodbye with a mixed of tears, relief and pain.

love you, gong gong.

we all miss you.  

an old entry, a year ago.

My grandpa passed away at 8.54pm, 12/01/2007.

I was at the hospital since 1.30pm today. The doctor came to speak to us about grandpa bad condition and bilateral lung infection. She told us they’re giving him the strongest antibiotics and that it is common for bedridden patients to end up like this. I also met the physiotherapist who tried to straighten Grandpa’s legs but his efforts were in vain. In the end, he placed a warm towel over Grandpa’s chest and started massaging it. He told me this is to move the gunk in the lungs so as to make the suction easier later.

I was alone at the hospital in the afternoon. My 3rd uncle went home. My grandma went to seat at the lounge. My mum and 5th uncle went for afternoon tea. 3 more relatives came over to see him.

I was doing my English assessment and looking at my Grandpa all day. He didn’t sleep at all – all he did was to lay on his side and stare into space. Compared to yesterday, where his eyes were darting left and right non stop, he seemed more at peace today.

Tears kept welling up in my Grandma’s eyes as she sat in the chair and look at Grandpa. I wonder did she sense that he was going to leave soon. My heart breaks everytime I see tears roll down her cheeks.

Tears keep welling up in my eyes too. I walked away everytime someone came over and tell him to let go and leave in peace. I wonder can Grandpa hear us.

Evening came. All of them left at about 7.30pm. My 3rd uncle and I offered to stay until Julian’s dad shows up. I think everything is fated. We all thought Julian dad will come at 5.15pm but he didn’t. 3rd uncle gave up waiting at about 8.20/5 pm so I was left alone in the ward.

I don’t know why I got bored of reading “Confessions of a Beauty Editor” by Linda Wells and decided to look at my Grandpa. I thought he looked a bit different so I decided to get out of my seat and talk to him. I walked over, leaned forward and place my hands on his head. I noticed tears in his eyes and I said “Don’t cry, Grandpa.” I took the rag we placed on his head ( to cool him down) and went to wash it. Came back, wiped his tears and head and folded it into a square and placed it back on his head. I started stroking his head and saying random things to him. I told him that he hasn’t slept all day and that he should sleep so he has energy to see his 2nd brother tomorrow (arriving in Spore on Sat evening). I just kept stroking and smiling at him. He stared at me for a while and I thought “Wow. Finally. He’s focusing on something.” I remembered telling myself at that moment “What kind gentle eyes you have…” and I realised he wasn’t breathing….

His heart was still beating and I thought maybe the oxygen mask wasn’t placed properly so I adjusted it. Still no breathing. I was so scared and then he started breathing again. I was so relieved. I looked at him again and he looked at me with really really gentle eyes and then he closed his eyes. Julian’s dad came in smiling and I told him what happened. He said, “You sure a not?” I asked him to go over and take a look. Grandpa was breathing and then he stopped again. Julian’s dad tried to feel his pulse and he asked me to go get the nurse.

What happened next was a total blur. The nurses drew the curtains. Julian dad started wiping away tears on my Grandpa face. A lot of machines were pulled into the ward. The pulse was low and then I saw straight/flat line on 2 of the monitors… Julian’s dad was filming my grandpa last minutes – I guess he wanted my grandpa’s younger brother to see it. He started playing those calming (and very sad) chant songs for my Grandpa.

I was already crying then. I sms Julian and told her that Grandpa has left us. I don’t remember how everything happened but I cried really hard when they took away his oxygen mask, The fact that he had tears in his eyes as he took his last breath makes it even more painful. I called my mum and couldn’t even say “Grandpa left le…” without choking in tears.

Julian then walked into the ward. I couldn’t bring myself to go inside so I stood behind the curtains and peep through the gap. Her dad informed the rest of the family and the 3 of us waited for them to come. My 1st uncle came with his wife. Then my grandma came with 5th uncle & 2 cousins. Then my 2nd uncle, followed by the 3rd uncle came. The 3rd uncle was so pale because he left like 15 minutes ago – it must be a great shock to tell grandpa “i’ll be here tomorrow” and receive a call informing him of his death 15 minutes later. Life is so fragile sometimes. The cries were so painful to listen to. The interns just watched me cry. I wonder is this their 1st time dealing with a death case because they looked as shocked as us.

The nurses changed Grandpa’s clothes and moved him to a room called “Last Office”. My mum came and saw her dad lying there – all pale and lifeless and broke down in tears. Again, I left the room to squat outside because I thought the atmosphere was too tense. The undertaker arrived. My parents, Julian , me + grandma went back to grandma’s place to get his clothes and belongings.

It was so sad doing that. Julian was looking through his clothes and found a white cotton shirt that my Grandpa love to wear and when she saw that she choked “Omg, his favourite cotton shirt” and you could see her eyes well up. Then we took his beloved watch (he used to wear his watch everywhere), glasses and some cardholders he used to carry with him everywhere. We collected all that and went back to the hospital again – 2nd uncle hopped in and Julian alighted and we headed to a place called Western Casket.

The undertaker went through with us the procedures and we chose a coffin. After that, we went in and took another look at Grandpa. They were saying “Tonight come here. Tomorrow go home” to my Grandpa. It was so sad.

We drove back to my Grandma place once everything was done. The uncles took down anything that was red. They took down the huge painting in the living room too. 2nd uncle cut lots of tiny pieces of red paper and I went around with him from floor 1 -9 pasting them on walls. He also cut out bigger sized red paper for us to fold into ang baos. It basically consist of 2 $0.10 coins and we have to wrap them with red paper and red threads and give it to the people who came to pay their respects.

My grandma took out a bag of red papers and red packets she has folded – stuff she has done on her own before my Grandpa’s death. THAT totally breaks my heart. I wonder how she felt doing that alone at home – cutting the papers and threads and folding them. It is so heartbreaking to prepare for the death of your loved one. My grandpa funeral shot was taken 2 years ago. It’s a really beautiful picture of him. I like it a lot.

It’s 4.06am already. It has been a really long day. I’m so tired. We all have to go to Grandma’s place by 8.30am tomorrow. That’s less than 3 hrs of sleep.