"It feels weird to give this story a name. Calling it a story in the first place makes it sound like it's fiction, like it's not real, like it didn't happen. But this story did happen, and this story does have a name. Because stories are alive like people, and if people have names so that other people can remember who they are and what they did, then why can't stories have names too?"

- The Patchwork Doll, by tsukiiruka


Sunday, 6 April 2014

Chapter 7: Awakening

The Patchwork Doll is a personal endeavour chronicling my real-life experiences battling eczema.

The Patchwork Doll by tsukiiruka
Chapter 7
Awakening

We all have our own 'inadequacies' - something that everyone else seems to have, but we lack. Something that everyone's able to do with relative ease, but never appears by our side. Something that makes us feel sometimes that we are lagging behind, not living as much, not as alive as others are or are able to be. We revisit conversational tidbits and storybook adages that tell us that we are not born equal, that everyone has different talents and abilities. But we never really understood them because that was never what we were quietly aching over.

And then we find that place in time and space where we are the people we've chanced upon in dreams, where we become the people we would always be in a different reality, comfortable, natural, and free.

And this is what debating and singing is to me - where I'm no longer a sleeping doll with dried red seams and tied up dreams, where we compete in the race of words, of dancing syllables, and of human truths. A place where I at once lose track of time and yet must be made acutely aware of it, because every second and all the milliseconds in between, are settlements for every living letter that kisses my lips goodbye as stories are spelt out. A place where breaths are timed to slip through the narrative's natural cracks, so that they can escape without slicing slivers of deliberate words and chosen tones. A place that paradoxically fills you with peace and adrenaline, a place of strength and vulnerability - of being what you want to be. A place where you live as the people around you live, rightful footing are now in place of once awkward steps, and you breathe as they breathe. A place where the rhythmic forwarding of tales echoing the beating heart that you are now keenly cognizant of is a comforting lullaby that caresses your mind into life. A place of no longer feeling inadequate, or out of place, because you are now one with the fleeting words bursting with colour and momentum and floating thoughts of every synchronised dreamer.

Who wears the mask then? The one you were born as, or the one you now become?

Then we remember that the question never really mattered, because we are not the sleeping doll birthed in a factory with a frozen face and useless grace in hinged limbs. We are not a mask, because our faces contort in countless ways that even we will never have the privilege of personally witnessing. We are not a sleeping doll because we react, we grow, we scream.

And it is in that place we remember and finally understand as we awaken, that
We live, we are alive, and we can be more than a doll with her default factory settings.


At a Debate Tournament. Photo Credits: Lucas Li




Despite having so much to do in so little time, was fired up to write this after watching the video below and being reminded of the joy and solace I find in certain things a midst the chaos and the noise.






Sunday, 9 March 2014

What is Your Story?

"Journalists should:
- Show compassion for those who may be affected adversely by news coverage. Use special sensitivity when dealing with children and inexperienced sources or subjects.

- Be sensitive when seeking or using interviews or photographs of those affected by tragedy or grief."

Seeing my newsfeed flooded with pictures of people grieving over the missing #MH370 makes me wonder whether journalists still even attempt to abide by this, in the undeniably cutthroat industry of news media, especially online.

And I wonder - would I myself be able to properly balance between the need for persuasive imagery in capturing the audience's attention and ensuring sensitivity for those that are captured in the image?

//

Posted the above status on Facebook after doing some readings for class this week. What I love about studying in WKWSCI is how literally everything I'm learning always links quickly to everything else that I read about or see in the world. I guess that's how I know that I'm finally where I belong in terms of choosing the right course or the right place of education - when what you're studying opens your eyes to the things you didn't used to see in the world, when you're now able to make instant connections between what your professor is excitedly talking about in lecture and what's happening to real people in your society, when everything your read or hear makes you think because you see scenarios being played out in your head and the lives of everyone this will have an impact on,

when you want to know what you can do to undo the mistakes of others, to salvage the bad situations, to begin to unravel the stories and untangle all the knots, to pursue the goodness in the world, and to make the world a better place.

That's when I know that everything I'm reading and hearing is not for naught, and that we all can make a positive difference in the world.

One thing that I always got a tad frustrated and upset at seeing is this:

"Faith in humanity restored"

because it's not really faith if it had to be restored isn't it?

We all need to play a part in keeping the faith and spreading love and goodness in this world.

Or at least, that's what I believe. If you really had so much faith in humanity, if you weren't focusing on all the bad things in the world, if you were seeking out the good and helping to propagate it, then you would see that humanity is the one thing that can never truly be eradicated from this world.

That for every bad thing that's happening in the world, you can just as easily find a good thing as well. The problem is that we're so good at remembering the bad, and dwelling on our hurts and losses, that some of us aren't taking the time to celebrate and marvel at all the goodness that does exist in this world.

Perhaps I'm not one to talk since well part of my blog is filled with stories of the nightmare that I once endured and the darkness that still occasionally creeps up on me. But here's the thing - I just as equally, if not more, celebrate all the wonderful things that have happened and are happening in my life.

If you can't change your life, change your perspective.

Back when my skin was still amazingly terrible, I used to have people tell me all the time that they felt sorry for me, that they pitied me, that I was a 'poor thing'. My retort to that was always to tell them that everyone has a different story to live, and this is mine. And that whenever I'm going through, I'm certain that it must be essential in bringing me to greatness, that it's somehow important for me to overcome it so that I can do something even greater.

I'm not delusional - I still cringe when I say that actually. But it's almost like I'm some character in a fairytale, some prince or princess or hobbit or even the dragon on a epic journey.

But aren't we all characters in stories? And as I typed this question, I suddenly remember why I started writing about my experiences with eczema in the first place and just re-read part of my first chapter/the words at the top of my blog:

It feels weird to give this story a name. Calling it a story in the first place makes it sound like it's fiction, like it's not real, like it didn't happen. But this story did happen, and this story does have a name. Because stories are alive like people, and if people have names so that other people can remember who they are and what they did, then why can't stories have names too?

And this is also why I love finding out other people's stories (heh in particular their love stories ^^) - because everyone has a unique journey. We may have common elements, common characters, common feelings even, but we all have different perspectives, different histories, and everything can lead us to different futures depending on the decisions that we make along the way.

Remember those stories you read where choosing a certain path brought you to a different page where you again had a different decision to face? Those were fun. And it was even more fun because you knew that you could always go back to the start, do it again, choose differently, and you'd do precisely that just to see how all the different scenarios played out.

Life isn't like that though, we can't turn back time, we can't go back to the first page and start the story again.

The only thing we can do is keep writing, keep turning the pages, and keep going forward in life. You may not be able to change the past, but you can most certainly decide your future.

So what story will you write?

As for me, one of the things that I'm trying to do is to keep the faith, and keep goodness going. And I posted this as my status yesterday:

Tried withdrawing money from the ATM at Bishan MRT this morning before work, only to have it return my card without dispensing money. Had to waste time standing at the ATM and calling the bank (while repeating the story to people who started queuing cos I didn't want them losing money too), and the lady on the line said it was a hardware issue and that according to the records the amount didn't get deducted. Was relieved to hear this and headed off to work (late!). Now that I've checked via ibanking though, turns out the amount did get deducted! Zzzz. THANKFULLY THOUGH, I am pleased to say that the lady I just spoke to on the DBS hotline, Phoebe, was very nice, polite, and efficient! She apologised right away very sincerely (which I must say did help cos I was quite irritated), and immediately presented me with a suitable course of action. No fuss no muss! I was still annoyed after the call and wondering how long it was going to take for it to be resolved but guess what - they refunded me the amount and she called me back to let me know this BEFORE I could even finish typing this post. I LOVE PEOPLE WHO TAKE THEIR JOB SERIOUSLY AND PROVIDE EXCELLENT SERVICE.

Update 11pm: Sent an email to Customer Service to commend the staff! It is only right to encourage and recognize people when they do wonderful things. DBS Bank. Living, Breathing Asia

//

And now to go back to the question at the very beginning of the post:

And I wonder - would I myself be able to properly balance between the need for persuasive imagery in capturing the audience's attention and ensuring sensitivity for those that are captured in the image?

I'd like to think so. And if I'm not able to do it now, then I'll learn how to.

Because the only way we can change the world, is if we start by changing ourselves.

So what's your story?

To be a better version of myself today than I was yesterday.
-Tsukiiruka 

Sunday, 23 February 2014

I'm Okay with Not Being Beautiful (But I'm not Okay with Other Things)

I'm sure being a good, decent, nice person is worth more than that.


What I'm going to say is not directed at the people who were actually involved in these scenarios... just in case they read this. These are thoughts that reflect my general outlook, merely illustrated by the chosen event(s).

I actually have a number of issues weighing on my mind, and after thinking about them (despite 5 looming mid terms/tests) I realized they all had a common theme so here it is:

I don't understand why some people seem to get so upset when they see others happy (or despite seeing others happy), and have no qualms about going out of their way to destroy it.

I get (beyond) infuriated and (tremendously) upset at this.

WHY. Would you want to interfere in someone's life? Surely you'd only do so to save them.

But if they're happy? Oh right, you still think you're saving them. (and some just don't care)

Issue 1:

This is something that I've been meaning to post for a long time but haven't because it's so hard to find the right words to say. Even now, I'm not sure what's the best way to say this, to accurately express my thoughts, to succinctly explain my feelings, but I'm going to try anyway because trying beats never trying at all. So here's dusting the cobwebs off a post that's been sitting as a draft for a while and clicking post:

I'm Okay with Not Being Beautiful.

Or being Ugly.

Or being Unattractive.

Or even having wounds that are Disgusting.

Hold on, relax, don't panic, I'm not bitter, have low self esteem, or have body image issues.

In fact, I feel the complete opposite.

I've accepted that my body is going to look a certain way, perhaps forever, perhaps it'll change, I don't know,

I've accepted that I'm not going to look like a hot model in short skirts and short shorts,

I've accepted that I'm fine with the way I look and that I have other things I'm good at, other ambitions, other priorities.

I'm just happy that my ambitions don't have to do with being some runway model or celebrity or superstar, because I'd probably never make it looking the way I look.

Quite recently, I've had an encounter with someone that was trying to make me look good (for good reason really).

I'm the sort of person who believes very strongly in improving oneself, "upgrading", "levelling up", in all aspects of my life. As long as it isn't against my values, doesn't hurt anyone, and it's genuine self-improvement resulting in a healthier, happier, more well-rounded person, why not improve oneself?

So I'm fine with learning tips and tricks to look better, to feel better, to do even greater things. As someone in the communications line somewhat, I'm also keenly aware that image is everything. I know that people buy into how you look and the way you deliver the message, sometimes unfortunately, much more than the valuable message you're delivering. I know that in order to effective in what I do, I also have to pay attention to the way I dress, the way I look, even down to the bag I carry and the wallet I have.

So I was fine with everything that was happening, until it came to this question thrown at me regarding my skin:

If you could completely heal your skin, get rid of the scarring, look better, wouldn't you want to?

-
-
-
-

And my answer was... no, not really.

Everyone has different life experiences, different preferences, different priorities.

For some, they may want to do because they'd genuinely feel better and less distressed because our judgmental society will no longer stare at them or continually ask questions when their scarred skin is exposed

(I continue to have friends shocked at my skin when they see it so I understand the feeling completely)

And that's fine, if that's what you want. There is nothing wrong with wanting to look good, or feel good.

But that's... not what I want.

I'm not saying it's something that I Don't want, but it's just not something that I feel is important to my achieving my dreams, my goals, or even staying happy.

Yes, Staying Happy.

I'm someone who's already happy, content, and passionate about what I'm doing in life. And that, has been the greatest healing factor (lol like Wolverine) for my skin.

Whenever I'm stressed out about embarking on some large scale project/entwined in an issue I don't like, am not passionate about, or don't agree with, my skin will FREAK OUT for me and be in a terrible, terrible state. Complete with open flesh wounds, dripping pus, and of course, fresh red blood.

I'm perhaps fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to have a legitimate reason for myself to continue being a happy, content, passionate person, who needs to find new ways to make such passions sustainable.

My overall health has improved by leaps and bounds, so even when there are flare ups, I have no problems with managing it. Sometimes it still hurts, but it's nothing compared to the pain that I used to feel every day for 10 years.

But yes, I'm happy and content with the way I look. Really.

You know what makes me unhappy? When people are unhappy despite me being happy.

Issue 2:

Stereotypes are not the problem.

Differences in values are not the problem.

Diversity is not the problem.

Narrow-mindedness, perceived superiority, and just plain old meanness are the problems.

There will also be stereotypes - born out of the extreme limited knowledge and exposure that we have to certain topics, issues, people.

If we can admit to ourselves, understand, and remember, that all that we know is not all that there is to know,

if we can remain open minded to knowing more, exposing ourselves more to the world, finding out more,

and remain humble, and not devote a care to perceiving superiority, or judging what someone is worth based on who they are or what they've done,

(Bullying, Bullying)

to remaining nice. If you cannot bring yourself to be a contributive member of society

If you somehow, just somehow, cannot bring yourself to help make the world a better place,

Then just be nice.

Just nice.

To not say or do mean things.

Is that really so hard to do. Really.

Something that I still don't understand.

Whoever is reading this, just be open minded, okay?

Don't make the world a worse place to be in.

/

Same thoughts, different time:
Make the world a better place and think of yourself first.
Being Judgmental


Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Scribbles of a New Year: Would You Attend My Wedding?




[Scribbles of a New Year, where I've done away with any hard sense of written structure and just... scribbled my verbal musings or the thoughts hidden in my head]

Right off the bat I'm going to say this:

Unless it harms another person in some way, then a person should not be made to feel bad for their choice of preference. Some people like blue, some people like pink. I don't stand for the notion of negative remarks, criticism, or just plain meanness when it comes to putting someone down or making them feel bad or strange because what they like or prefer isn't in accordance with what someone else thinks they should like. It is rude, ridiculous, and should be relegated to the darkest depths of humankind that hopefully should never surface. To disconfirm another's identity, existence, or quite simply, the freedom to choose or love is appalling and beastly. Why beastly? Because we are relying on what we 'feel' is wrong, our instincts. But don't people know that a lot of our instincts are trained? Instincts are not just inborn or innate feelings of right or wrong, they are conditioned into us, for us to rely on when time is of the essence and there is no time to think or consider. Instincts are meant to save lives, like jumping out of the way of a speeding car, or dodging a knife that's coming at you. Instincts were not meant to be relied on when they perpetuate stereotypes, or put people in their supposed places, or draw lines where there are none. Instincts are meant to save lives, not destroy them.

And it is on this note that I say this: For those who like their fairytale wedding, that's lovely. Go right on ahead, enjoy the wedding that you have envisioned with the beautiful satin and silk and knight in shining armour or handsome prince. That is your dream, I hope that it can and will be your reality. 

I believe that if you accept one extreme, you must accept the other if not both extremes can't exist. If it is fine and dandy for one to have an unconventional wedding, then it must be fine to have a conventional one. Neither should be scorned by mere relegation to a box or category. If we scorn one, we degrade the other and likewise.

So for me, I have my own version of what my dream wedding would be. And all I hope, as I've been describing to people for the past year or so, is that those who are used to a certain idea of what a wedding is (depending on your culture and society) would open their minds to it. Open not just to the idea, but open to remembering what the point of such a party, a celebration, is for. And while there is the option of come those who will and stay away those who won't, I like big parties unfortunately. Big, happy, noisy (but not too noisy) parties. So while those who matter won't mind and those who mind won't matter, I guess I still hope that those who are supposed to matter will indeed not mind.

If I could really have my way:
I'd have a big, open venue that doesn't cost much. One where people can breathe in the fresh air, and run around screaming without fear of causing a ruckus or damaging expensive chairs or tables or table runners or carpets.

I'd get people to bring yummy food as a wedding gift if they wanted to give something. Homemade shepherd's pie, baked brownies with some special recipe, even a tub of KFC because well I really like fried chicken.

I'd order pots of curry chicken from my favourite 'bubble tea shop' in the heartlands because it's one of my favourite things to eat when I'm with him. It's delicious, it's cheap, and the shop holds so many fond memories of our countless afternoons or evenings spent there just enjoying the food and each other's company, of conversations of times past when he was a young boy and used to eat there too.

I'd make him cook. Not the aglio olio he's quite happy about and his housemates like eating, but packets of chicken flavoured instant noodles with lots and lots of egg stirred into the piping hot soup. Because it is the meal that fills my tummy and warms my heart when we are busy doing our work but I am hungry. It is the meal that he will prepare when I turn to look at him with big questioning eyes and a kiddish pout and he stops all he is doing to make sure I don't starve (ok fine I don't starve because I'm always eating), and every bite to me is the most delicious thing in the world. I love it because it really is delicious (I swear), but also because it is made with love, patience, and care - cornerstones of everything needed to make good in the world.

What might be the most expensive thing on the wedding menu - Canada dry ginger ale imported from the Great White North (unless they already have it here then yay) because it reminds me

of how I was freezing in the house while he insists it is warm weather when it is anything above -10 or -15, 

of when I fell down on the steps the moment I stepped out because of the surprising ice from the night before, 

of when I was happily squishing my cute, pink, furry, winter boots into the snow all the way to town and loudly proclaiming "mush! mush! mush!" with every step not knowing there was a lady behind me because when I wear my winter hood I can't hear anything much and then she suddenly appears and says "really interesting sounds effects!" with a laugh and a smile but I couldn't hear what she said anyway so didn't feel too embarrassed until he told me what she said.

For the decorations:

I'd have a lightsabre archway. We've discussed and I'm willing to allow black roses with gold gilded edges to be entwined around the lightsabre archway because it will definitely look prettier and pretty is nice and I like nice.

I'd want lightsabres on every table instead of candles or chocolates or bears or flowers. And people can just pick them up and have epic lightsabre duels.

But of course, all in all, I'd like colour coordination for the whole thing.

For the activities:

and this is perhaps my favourite part.

I must have a great big dancefloor. Must. And the DJ should be equipped with a wide, wide range of songs. Not just pop or modern. I need the oldies that I like, and the DJ should have the metal songs he likes. And whatever has a good beat and the vibe that we are feeling at the time will be played and people should just be dancing and having a great time without thinking about how they look or worry about people laughing at them. Just like the time we danced (or moved in an awkward manner if you're going to be picky) like crazy at the New Year's Eve party after the medieval dinner and tournament (something that I've always, always wanted to go to and finally got the chance to!!) and screamed the lyrics to Livin' on a Prayer and Billie Jean and when I was singing along to Holiday(!... Celebrate!) because I love oldies and was telling him about my friends having a hard time when we have a performance because I don't know any modern pop songs and they don't know the oldies I know lol

And then, loads and loads of non-laggy computers with L4D2 and CS and DoTA and whatever makes sense and we can all play overnight and well however long the party (and money I suppose) lasts. And when people get tired and hungry we can all order Mcdelivery or go eat pad thai to refuel before continuing.

For attire:

I can't say I don't want people to be all dressed up and look pretty and handsome because I like dressing up. But the most important thing would be for people to be comfortable because I hate being uncomfortable most of all and people should dress nicely and comfortably so that they won't have to leave halfway or sit down the whole night resting their feet instead of dancing because they wore uncomfortable heels that hurt or are too high to dance sigh

I hate wearing heels because they hurt and so I wear shoes that are comfortable that allow me to run and skip and even walk (don't know why this even has to be mentioned!) happily and teach and learn because if people have wisdom to share why do you subject them to torture in order to project an certain image before you deem them worthy enough for you to listen it is ridiculous.

And maybe because I was in pain for such a considerably long part of my life now that my skin has healed I refuse to subject myself to even more pain because now I am finally feeling free and happy and able to feel perhaps the most bittersweet feeling in the world: alive.

Not the walking dead because my mind is numb in trying to block out the pain and my energy is sapped in healing or even because I'm limping or literally dragging my legs half the time because I can't stretch my skin without tearing the wounds open and of course having loads of bloodied wounds makes me literally look like the walking dead but yes I am no longer the walking dead and I never want to go back there.

/

So my vision of a dream wedding is this:
A great big celebration of love, pure and simple.

Weddings are meant to reflect the union of two people. These two people, with histories, preferences, unique lives. Why shouldn't these be allowed to be reflected? And all the above are what I'd like to share in order for people to 'relive' our journey. Not just passively watching a slideshow of pictures, or worrying about how much they should put in the angbao.

I imagine a village celebration (not that I've ever been to one) where people gather and bring food they've cooked that afternoon and drink and chat and be happy and noisy, where some folks from out of town return to celebrate with everyone. 

A great big party.

So if you were invited to my wedding would you attend? And would you attend happily?

//

Happy 2014, and may your life also be a great big party and celebration.


Saturday, 16 November 2013

Feel Closer to Home (With Google)



A few weeks ago I decided to apply for the IAB Fellows Program, supported by Google in partnership with Hyper Island - a digital marketing and advertising program.

The application form challenged us to do something creative to convince them of why we should get a spot - a video, tweet, even an instagram picture.

Having never tried my hand at making a video before, I decided that this was the perfect opportunity! I wrote a script, tried storyboarding, and scrambled to find clothes and props etc. I filmed the whole thing by myself using a point and shoot camera without a tripod stand! So there are definitely some not-so-excellent quality scenes in there. Tried re-shooting the scenes but just couldn't get it right. Will definitely need to learn more techniques to shoot better scenes next time!

The inspiration behind this video was about how I used all sorts of Google programs to connect with my darling who is currently overseas (which you already know because I have... another video of a speech I made about it! Haha).

So while I didn't get in (yes, be sad for me aww), it was definitely a fun and enriching experience for me no matter how short it was. The time, effort, and money (I paid to use the song, felt that it matched what I wanted to convey really well!) spent on it was worth it. Will definitely be learning more about camera angles and things like that sooooon!

Speaking of advertising and marketing - my social media marketing internship boss' birthday is TODAY!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BOSS QIYUN

Thank you for being so awesome, and teaching me so many things throughout the internship. I'm so glad to have met you, as well as Nicole/Nikkiko (who is now my school senior woohoo)! Thanks for always keeping us in mind and in your heart hehe. Thank you for the opportunities that you have given me even after I completed the internship. May you have happy and fruitful days always!

Go check out her entertaining blog filled with her thoughts and reviews here!


To end off, here's the quote I came up with and used in my video that really sums up what I feel when anyone who's important to me isn't around:


Feeling homesick because home is where the heart is and my heart is with you <3




Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Original Poem: My Eulogy's Not Your Apology

If I die tomorrow,
Will you remember me,
Everything I ever was,
And all I longed to be?

When you come to my funeral,
What will you say?
Will it be the same
As your words to me today?

Will it matter how I died,
In whose hands I perished,
Or is it more important
How I lived, if I was cherished?

The headlines will all read
That a girl was found dead,
With no obvious wounds,
Just lying in her bed.

Look closer if you dare,
Look closer and you'll see,
Looking right back at you
With eyes wide open, is me.

And then you will, as usual
Turn away, try to pretend,
Erase the sight from memory,
Twist the truth, but it won't bend.

And as usual though you've turned,
My eyes just won't close.
I continue gazing at you
Stuck in my frozen pose.

When you finally reach out your hand
As you should've long before,
Instead of always kicking me
And showing me the door,
You'll know just how late you are
As your hand touches my skin.
Reaching out won't touch my heart.
Like you, I'm now ice within.

You recoil like you always do
When I share with you my pain,
Even when my blood doesn't flow
Somehow, you stab me yet again.
With thoughts that focus on yourself
On what you could've done,
To absolve you of the guilt you feel
As though you shot me with a gun.

The wounds may not be obvious,
The weapon's clearly concealed
But look beyond the surface
And all will be revealed.

If words carried no weight
Like we'd like to believe,
How do words convince someone to love,
Yet cause another to grieve?

Let it weigh heavy on your conscience,
Though it won't be for long,
You'll be at it soon again
Since you never thought it wrong.

As you can tell, nothing changes
Not even when we die,
Even when people gather
At your funeral and cry.

So if I die tomorrow
Please don't cry for me
Because all I ever wanted
Was simply to be free
From words that sting
And cut and blind
And wound and graze
And sear and grind
And burn and hurt
And maim and slice
From people who don't bother
To ever think twice.

For my murderers who seek redemption,
In case I die tomorrow,
Who think their sorry will change things
And take away my sorrow,
Your future cannot change your past
Even if you change today.
Sorry for your sorry,
But I died yesterday.



This particular poem was written for the same module that I wrote Crossing Lines for.

But for this part of the module, we have to incorporate our writing in more than one medium i.e. it cannot just be writing. You could incorporate it in a song, a video, a play, or some audience-interactive item.

Here are the pictures of my project!



You find the starting point of the tape, and slowly unravel it to read the poem.





The words are small, the tape is delicate, and the poem is long, so take as long as you want to read it










The last part of the poem is inside the coffin, so you'll have no choice but to open it to complete your reading.





The final phrase of the poem.





Then you realise that the coffin is empty, except for this note.



//

If you have ever used your words to bully others, please stop.

Sometimes, people forget (or ignore) just how powerful their words can be.

Words can heal, but they can also destroy.

Words can encourage, but they can also threaten.

Words can change a person, for the better or for the worse.

Words change the person who speaks it, and the person they're spoken to.

So at the end of the day, be prudent with your words.



Saturday, 9 November 2013

La Crazy Cat Lady Turns 20!







Happy Birthday to the awesome chewpewpew, my crazy cat lady cactus friend!

Thanks for being such an important part of my wkw family :')

Thanks for always being 100% straightforward, 100% trustworthy

100% supportive, 100% encouraging,

but most importantly,

100% you :)

Glad you enjoyed the birthday dinner!

~

Speaking of the family:

Houdini on WKW theme days!



  
2014 FOC Chairwoman KAMINI being all scary at the Halloween party!



And last but not least:



THANKS to the fantastic people above I managed to get my beancurd tarts (and survive school so far)!



Special thanks to YX for collecting it for me, MK for accompanying me to hall to get it, Victor for driving back to school when I forgot it (heh)



YX wants you to know how awesome he is:

THIS. HAHAHAAHAH.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Original Poem: Crossing Lines

Parallel lines will never meet
Because they stay the same
But when the lines propose to bend
Do they then begin the game

Depending on one's curves
Or how one turns and twists
As they fumble to know better
Every line from thighs to wrists

Some lines get close, and closer still
As they court and interact
But no matter how the bent line tries
They just never intersect

Turn the line on your face into a curve
But first, something has to change
Someone has to vary
In their attitude or range

Before you can see your path 
You must first plot the points
So gently trace the outline
From their soft lips to their joints

Be careful as you toe the line
Between a friend and more
A window of opportunity
May turn to chasing out the door

Such is the danger that you face
But don't be dismayed
All of us have our own lines
For some, the ends are frayed

Even when the wounds have healed
The red lines still remain
To remind you of the time that's gone,
Love that's lost, and also, pain

Stuck behind the battle lines
But move on, we all still must
Find ourselves a motivation
Whether love, life, or lust

Whether walking a straight line or curve
When you finally reveal
That you've conquered heartbreak
And are ready to appeal

To get an exponential growth
It seems we do require
A big change in our formula
Subtract caution, add desire
Then multiply the number
Of people that you meet
Divide by the ones you like
And when numbers fall, repeat

It's not an easy task at all
To find the right relation
Keep exploring, guess, and check
And hope to find the right equation

At the end of all those numbers
What do we then hope to find?
Non-imaginary candidates,
Any number in their prime?
But love is not so easy
Not when you want eternity
You need a dash of irrational
That continues infinitely

Square pegs don't fit circles
And love can be quite elusive
But if you find the right fit
Then it's not hard to be exclusive

Just go to the very core 
It all depends on you
To go and find your very own:
Square root of two.

//

Which part of the poem speaks to you? Which part did you like? Feel free to share your thoughts, feelings, or stories :)

It's been a while since my last post, and this is one of the things that I've been busy with for the past 2 weeks. I wrote this poem for one of my modules in school. 

Monday, 14 October 2013

Make the World a Better Place: Think of Yourself First



Some of the things I've been trying very hard to remind myself of lately, because when things start getting crazy, people start getting crazy:

1) Love always, judge never.
Who are we to judge what is right or wrong, or who belongs? Extend compassion and seek to understand others as a first response. We shouldn't jump to conclusions regarding people or situations. Be as open minded as possible, and then be even more open minded than that. Always seek to create an inclusive society.

2) Be responsible for who you are - the thoughts you have and the words you say.
Don't be careless with what you say, or give excuses for what you think. Always, always, question yourself first before you question other people. Don't be afraid to change your mind, but also understand why.

3) You can be whoever you want to be, and that starts with who you are now.
Is who you are now the same as who you want to be? If not, what's stopping you? Changes don't have to be big, grand, declarative gestures. You can literally be who you want to be now. If you want to be an artist, when was the last time you drew something? Want to be a photographer, what was the last picture you took? Don't just start today... begin now.

As it says on my blog, twitter, and instagram:

To be a better version of myself today than I was yesterday.

Something that people have been telling me for quite some time is that I sound very PR (Public Relations). That means that generally the things I say sound very safe, neutral, and well... nice to hear. The connotation of that however, is that these words may be insincere and don't really reflect how I feel.

That's a sad thing to think. The first rule I communicate to my students is my zero tolerance for lying. If you give me the wrong information, then I won't be able to make the best decisions possible. That annoys me, so I do not tolerate lying.

So when I give my 'PR-sounding' statements, I genuinely believe in what I'm saying.

But

I don't deny that sometimes what I say may not reflect 100% how I'm feeling at that moment as well. I believe that there are things or people more important than myself. Also, that the person you currently are, does not need to be the person that you will always be. Just like my words above, I believe that other than people having the awareness of who they are at the moment, they should always ask themselves who they want to be and if they're really behaving like that person. Hence, when we answer questions, we are also reflecting what we are aspiring to be like, what we believe in

At a gathering with my friends on Saturday, one of the questions I was asked was: What are the top 2 traits of my ideal partner.

I must admit, I'm really not a very fun person to be around when these kinds of questions are asked. There's nothing exciting or gossip-worthy about the things I say. In other words, I really am a boring person who probably won't be able to provide a juicy sound-bite for the media. So naturally, my first response was that I couldn't possibly point out 2 specific traits of my ideal partner, because when you love someone you should love them for who they are.

PR?

Pushed further for a legit response I said: I don't think it's good to break a person down into the traits they have and to prioritise certain traits over the others, we shouldn't value one trait over another, and that it wasn't a fair reflection of the person, that when you love something you should try to love everything about them good or bad...

Ok, I still wasn't answering this question.

So eventually I did succumb and listed some things that I genuinely felt were worthy of praise, because these are the things that I feel we should all aspire to do or be. Like, caring about other people more than yourself. Showing everyone love and compassion. Being a good person in that way.

I can't really remember what exactly were the things I said, but at some point someone did ask me something along these lines: But doesn't that mean you aren't special to him?

My answer to that, my personal perspective of this is, if you really love him then you should love him for who he is. It's not really about whether he makes you feel special. When you really love a person, he brings out the best in you, and you want to be a better person because of him, and perhaps for him. When you really love a person, you cast aside your ego and your pride, and you care more about that person than yourself. When you really love a person, he shouldn't have to make you feel special in the conventional sense. But he should make you feel like you can be a better person, for him, for yourself, and maybe even for the world.

These are all things that I honestly, took a very long time to understand. Even now, I'm still trying very hard to understand what it means, and I know that I'm very far away from being that person. But it doesn't mean that it doesn't represent who I'm trying to be, even if I'm still not there yet.

Another word that people like throwing at me is 'idealistic'. However, they use it like it's a bad thing, as though I cannot view the world this way because... it doesn't exist. I don't disagree, it doesn't. That's exactly why it's 'ideal', the best possible outcome that you should strive toward. But it's so dangerous when people say something is idealistic, maybe there's the connotation that it will forever be an ideal, as if it can never be achieved, just because it isn't a reality now and possibly never will be. Just because something will never be achieved in its entirety, or even in your lifetime or the generations to come, shouldn't stop you from trying to work toward it.

Usually people feel that things sound very PR, because they sound unbelievable, too good to be true. There must be a caveat, a hidden condition somewhere.

But doesn't something only sound too good to be true, because we don't believe that people will actually bother to do it?

And that's one of the problems that I have. People not bothering to at least think about and strive toward being a better person, whatever 'better' means to them. People not even trying to come up with an ideal, and not working toward that ideal. Reality is there for sure, but reality can change. We can change.

One of the things that I also strongly believe in, is that the words you say strongly influence the way you think other than the usual way around (thoughts influencing your words).

Another question that was asked was: What is 1 thing that people do that turns you off/pisses you off

This is yet another question that I sometimes don't think should have an answer to. I've written blog posts about Being Judgmental or the Impressions that we have of others.

I don't like my own thoughts and perceptions about people doing things that pisses me off, because I feel like I'm judging them for something that I may not even have sufficient information on to draw a proper and objective conclusion. It feels irrational, and really just... mean.

That's why, even when I have an initial response or thought for things, I don't say it. Not because I'm trying to hide who I am at the moment or what I'm thinking, but because I feel that I have to resolve my own thoughts and feelings instead of saying it out loud for entertainment purposes. If I say it, it feels like I'm giving myself a reason or an excuse to legitimize the way I feel. Especially when the way conversations go is when people usually add on with their own agreement and some funny story that emphasizes how hating on people in this instance is okay.

But I don't think it's okay.

I think judgment should forever be reserved. Don't just reserve your judgment for the moment, reserve it forever. Eliminate it if you can.

Because we don't know enough, and it sucks that people aren't even interested in trying to find out more.

Here's (roughly) my thought process when asked a question:

1) Do I know everything?

- I can never know everything.

2) Fine, then do I know enough?

I'm not able to know if I know enough. But since these questions are usually asked on the spot, with well... no chance to do research or check if your perceptions are right then usually I don't know enough when asked the question.

3) Is it important that I form a conclusion at that point in time?

Sometimes questions are asked to establish a preliminary understanding, or they may also be critical to deciding on the next phase, which may be information gathering or if there's no time then perhaps we must make do with what we know at that time. But if it isn't important for me to form conclusion at that point in time, then why am I allowing myself to jump to conclusions?

4) What am I jumping to conclusions for?

What decision am I making that requires me to come to a conclusion? Am I in an position where the decision-making process is exclusively mine and I have no choice but to make a decision?

5) Is the decision important enough that I am willing to take the risk involved in jumping to conclusions?

If the answer is no, that the decision is not important enough for me and I'm not in a position where I'm forced to make a decision, then let's go back to the initial perceptions:

6) Why do I have this initial perception and reaction?

-  Is it fair? Is this based on enough information, or am I basing it on a one-off incident?
-  Is it objective? Have I looked at enough perspectives, or am I looking at this from only one angle that may not provide the whole picture?
- Is it useful? Does having this perception allow everyone to make better decisions?

8) If it's not important that I come to a conclusion, if what I'm thinking is not fair, not objective, and not useful, is it possible for me to change this initial, instinctive reaction that I have?

9) If the answer is Yes, then do I want to change it?

10) If the answer is yes I want to change it, then the first thing I do is remember my first question to myself, which is that I do not know everything. All judgment is suspended, and I throw away all excuses for feeling those kinds of feelings or thinking those kinds of thoughts about other people. When that happens, I can't answer the question that's asked of me because I no longer have a judgment of that person. To me, having no answer for certain questions, feels like the better thing to do than just giving an answer for the sake of having an answer.

[Shwen, now you know what's going on in my head whenever you tell me something and insist that I'm thinking something but not saying it :P]

People should concern themselves less with what other people are doing, if they aren't going to follow through with knowing more, and doing more useful things with the knowledge. It feels like nowadays some people are just satisfied with throwing random comments at another person, in a bid to feel superior, like they 'know something'.

So make the world a better place, and think of yourself first. Concern yourself with becoming a better person before you demand that of others. Create a better world for yourself and for everyone.



Be the change you want to see in the world.
Mahatma Gandhi

Friday, 4 October 2013

Wonderland & The Wonderful


Time flies.

This photo, among a few others, was taken almost an entire year ago at Jurong Point.

It was my very first *photoshoot* (if you consider it that) and I was photographed by a very awesome person.

My awesome colleague, friend, and now schoolmate, Nicole, also known as Nikkiko.


Schoolmates in 2013!

I'd never done a photoshoot before. She was sweet, patient, and gave me lots of tips on where to put my hand, how much to tilt my head (LOL), stuff like that.

So naturally, when it was time for me to do my long-awaited birthday photoshoot in May, I asked her to do me the honour as well!

I've had eczema for 12 years now. 10 of those 12 years were... horrendously terrible. Let's just say I never thought I'd recover this much, much less remotely look or feel photo-worthy. It's hard to want to take a picture when you're in pain all the time. It's harder to try and look normal, it's almost impossible to want to bother to look decent.

In fact, during this photoshoot, I still had a big open wound on my leg. So my sock kind of got stuck to it during the photoshoot and I had to pluck it off when I got home. Ah wells.

But with all that somewhat behind me, I set out to have a birthday photoshoot.

The theme that I chose was Wonderland .

Wonderland is whatever you want it to be.

A place that holds special meaning to you, and maybe only to you.

A place where you feel like you belong. Like you're exactly where you need to be, where you're meant to be.

A place where you feel safe and secure, where nothing can hurt you.

A place where you feel free. Where you can run, jump, and play.

A place where you don't feel pain.

A playground, a home, a wonderland.

And now I'll let some of the pictures do the talking:












Looking at this makes me feel like I'm staring at a painting. I'm not even sure if that's still me I'm looking at.



Yup, I just gotta have a harry potter robe + lightsabre photo :D



End of the photoshoot, time to carry BigSheep home!






And now, for my video story filmed and edited by Nikkiko :D



Check out the rest of the photos from the Wonderland Photoshoot here (: