31 Dec 2013

Another Year (6/7)

"Thank you so much for coming here, guys! Even though I've got, like, a nasty flu, and there's like, a great rock concert not too far from here, you peeps are still staying here for me!"

Of course Harold was. This was all part of his mission. He was here to enjoy himself in more ways than usual, in this lush windy park under the starry sky. Amidst the cheering crowd, he was here to resolve a question in his heart. If it went unanswered before he was due, he would suffer greatly.

So here he was, gazing upon a blond beautiful woman sitting on an illuminated stage, armed with a guitar, a tambourine, some sort of drum, and what looked like a strange alien form of technology packed in a long rectangular panel on the floor. He guessed it was a loop pedal for Skelli to provide her own accompaniment on the fly. And he would be right.

30 Dec 2013

Past Entry 27

30th December 2012

Finally getting down from the brief break to top up on Past Entries. A break from what exactly? That whole Christmas series that spanned across 14 days, which forced me to come up with so many different characters with their own personalities and backstories within a time constraint. From what little feedback I gathered, I guess it turned out better than expected. No idea if I'll do something like that again in the future, especially considering that I won't necessarily be as free as I was when writing that series out...

So I'm on the second last day of 2012, peering over the cliff as we transition into a new year. It has been a heck of a year, and I'm not talking about just the 'A' Level exams. Many significant events occurred, both in the small local scale and on the larger global scale. I might have changed somewhat over the year too. I'm not sure.


Another Year (5/7)

"You sure you don't wanna join us?"

Again with that question. Why was Chester so persistent in roping Harold into his party plans? It wasn't like Harold would liven up the occasion at all. Maybe this bright-eyed kid in an adult body just really really wanted to cheer up a dying acquaintances. Sucks for him then.

"It's okay, I said I had other plans."

"I know that, but what plans?" Chester probed further, frowning in suspicion.

Well, what answer was Harold going to throw at this annoyingly inquisitive guy? All Harold wanted was a time alone at this café, sipping his beverage in peace, and then he showed up for a drink too. Harold couldn't just say he'd spend time in front of a television screen, armed with beer and cigarettes. That'd just spur Chester on even further to drag him out to the party.

29 Dec 2013

Another Year (4/7)

A blonde woman invaded Harold's life today... in the form of posters and TV ads.

"Skelli", the stage name that she performed under... speakers all over town kept blasting that name, along with the name of the newly opened park nearby. It shouldn't matter all to Harold. He didn't need to concern himself with something as trivial as a female singer performing for the New Year's Eve concert, not when he had his own personal plans.

Yet the details were stuck firmly in his head: 8pm onwards, at Sicberry Park. He even still kept a flyer promoting the concert on that rackety coffee table in front of the sofa. Maybe it was the unholy power of advertising that caused him to be interested in her. Maybe there was something more to Skelli that intrigued Harold. Clearly that wasn't her real identity... so who was she?

28 Dec 2013

Another Year (3/7)

Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick.

Every twitch of the second hand, Harold's life ebbed away. He used to be afraid of death. Afraid of having everything taken away from him too suddenly. Afraid of losing the things he treasured forever. Now? He was annoyed with the agonizing wait. The longer he remained here as a living being, the more space he was taking up unnecessarily.

Harold couldn't take his eyes off the watch wrapped around his wrist. The timepiece used to mean something. It used to symbolise the connection between him and a friend, but now he couldn't remember who gave it to him, and for what occasion. It had become merely a device for keeping track of the pace of things in his life, and nothing more. Yet he hadn't gotten rid of it for many years. Perhaps he wasn't bothered to. Perhaps he couldn't bear to.


27 Dec 2013

Another Year (2/7)

Another trip to the ATM.

Harold's teeth chattered ever so slightly, obscured by the black scarf he wore around his neck. Why was this queue so absurdly long today? Were they all scrambling to deposit their cash gifts into their accounts before it escaped their minds? And all he wanted was to get some more of his savings so he could survive the next few weeks.

Well, "survive" was a funny word to use in his case. He was dying. Why did he still concern himself with surviving? The end was near and he knew it. He might as well get on with it as soon as possible.


26 Dec 2013

Another Year (1/7)

"...and we hope you had a fantastic Christmas yesterday! Viewers have been sending in photos and videos on our Facebook page, showing how they spent Christmas with their friends and family..."

The television crackled and flashed colours into Harold's eyes. Only after a while did he recognise the colours to be of the daily morning talk show host. He was too lazy to sit up from his tattered leather couch to watch from a more comfortable distance. He didn't care that the beer bottle was partially obstructing his view. He didn't mind the stench of cigarettes and alcohol and chocolate and popcorn swirling in the apartment. He didn't give a crap about the fact that he hadn't been anywhere out for Christmas.


24 Nov 2013

Just Friends

Do I have any best friends?

Perhaps in some time in the past, I did. I don't quite remember. Not that I don't have people that I interact with in positive manners. I have found partners that I can hold a conversation with, that isn't limited to just talk about the weather or the recent news in the papers.

Nowadays? I tend not to have super close relationships, romantic or platonic. Family still holds a high priority for me. I can make and break friendships, but blood ties are much less replaceable. This doesn't mean I don't like having friends. I'm fine with acquaintances. I'm fine with a small circle of more-that-acquaintances. I'm fine with Facebook friends(not too many though). I'm even fine with pals from other online communities that I participate in.


17 Nov 2013

Tolerate? Appreciate.

Singapore. Proudly self-proclaiming herself as the multi-racial, multi-cultural island nation. Always preaching the values of racial and religious harmony.

Yet the words that are often used in this context are "tolerance" and "respect". 

Not saying that it isn't fine, but it seems limiting. I mean, you can tolerate and respect your boss or teacher, but that doesn't mean you have any good relations with him/her, right? And that isn't quite in line with the idea of harmony. You can tolerate and respect other races and religions by just not talking about them at all, by simply ignoring them. Everyone in Singapore can confine themselves to their own bubbles of cultures and sub-cultures, while being respectful and tolerant. But it'll be kinda boring. It won't be harmonious, just – well – not in a state of conflict.

Why not take it a step further to appreciation?

10 Nov 2013

Fusion

I guess I could say I have a sort of fascination for fusions. Combinations. Synthesis. The like.

I like stumbling upon interesting music remixes and mashups. I've even tried making a few on my own. I also get drawn towards games that let you experiment freely by trying out whatever fusions you could think of. Doodle God and its derivatives took that further and explored the creation of a world almost purely from the repeated act of combination. Magicka gave players the power to mess about and figure out good spells from the combination of elements. 

Not that I don't like vanilla options. I can appreciate purity, but I suppose I like realizing the potential from the numerous permutations that could arise from what we're provided with. Great ideas can arise. New interactions can be discovered. A window of opportunities can be opened. Sometimes failures surface. Sometimes surprising gems get formed.

3 Nov 2013

Past Entry 26

3 November 2012

Well there. It's been a really long time – at least it feels long – since I've written the last Past Entry. All this time and I'm still sticking to that unimaginative name.

I'm less than 34 hours away from the start of the 'A' Level examinations. I'm not entirely sure when I want this post to be released, because I'm not sure what I want to remind myself of about the past yet, or which part of my future I'm curious about. Maybe I just want to calm myself down before the mania begins.

Why I don't want to publish it as another post today is partly because I don't want to keep harping on it to others within such a short time span. It would just make me sound even more whiney than I may already be. Or at the very least, I would sound over-worried.

27 Oct 2013

Rise of the AMAs

No, I'm not referring to some music awards show, nor a medical association of any kind. Rather, AMA stands for Ask Me Anything. And it's catching on as the new term for the Q&A session on the Internet.

How did this AMA abbreviation come about? I didn't really bother with intense research, but it is very frequently used in Reddit, particularly in the IAmA subreddit. No, IAmA is not an abbreviation. It really is the words "I Am A" crammed together, because you can't have spaces in a subreddit name. And it's a wee bit of a trouble to input underscores. The founders of the subreddit might not have actually invented the AMA term. I'm really not sure. But those who frequent /r/IAmA are certainly the most prominent users of the term.

20 Oct 2013

:-|

I guess it's not completely wrong to say that I'm emotionless.

Not that I don't feel any emotion at all. I do. I'm not a soulless robot. I am capable of feeling joy, sorrow, anger, ecstasy, despair... just that I tend not to show it. I guess it's because I don't really want to, and even if I did, it's a bit hard for me to express myself as such physically, somehow even more so for positive emotions. Probably why I seem a bit more open online, since my online personality has slightly different language quirks from my offline self.

Now why is it that I don't really want to wear my emotions on my sleeve? Or anywhere on my body?

13 Oct 2013

Bored on the Internet

Wonder what's new on <insert online platform here>?

Can't believe somebody actually believed that stupid hoax.

This musician sounds pretty interesting.

Yet another person who puts the ' in "its" when it shouldn't be there.

Why does this video have this crazily high amount of views???

6 Oct 2013

Me + Myself

Are you okay?

No, I'm not.

Why not?

I still don't feel like myself.

That's really vague. And that's something you've been saying a lot.

I know, but I can't pinpoint it. You know how horrible I am at narrowing down my feelings.

But surely there's something else more specific that you can mention?

Not really...

29 Sep 2013

Singapore Blend

A lot of times we Singaporeans keep asking ourselves, what exactly is Singapore's culture?

We could provide a few elements: fascination with acronyms, ERP gantries, celebration of food and shopping, and probably an attraction towards queues.

But honestly, we don't have that much that's truly unique to us. We either borrow a lot of cultural elements from nearby Asian countries, or from the Western powers from USA or UK. Even "kiasu" and "kiasi" aren't completely unique terms, they're Hokkien. And the durian isn't an exclusively local fruit. The "lah"s and "lor"s and "liao"s are all borrowed from other languages like Malay and Mandarin. That Singapore Girl on the Singapore Airlines planes isn't wearing something uniquely Singaporean. We're simply a whole mixture of other cultural components.

But that is Singapore's distinctive trait: a huge-scale intermingling and cross-breeding of diverse cultures, across space and time.

22 Sep 2013

Uncomfortable

Oh no, sure. I don't mind. (Please, I really want to be alone.)

Er yeah, these fries are not too salty. Not bad. (Why are you asking me these nosy questions?)

Uh yah, the weather's been hectic lately. Today seems unusually pleasant though. (Please, I'm not your weatherman...)

Um... I don't really come here that often, but this is one of the few fast food restaurants that I don't mind. (Why are you suddenly conducting an interview now?)

Oh so you're from there? I've heard it's quite pleasant, with a few interesting quirks. (I don't know where the heck that is.)

15 Sep 2013

Not Quite Myself

It wouldn't be a complete truth to say that I'm feeling just fine.

Am I sick? Well, at least not in the sense of coughing or sneezing or running a high fever. But my mind doesn't seem like what it used to be. Okay, technically my mind is never what it used to be just a moment ago. But I seem to be in a vastly different mental state compared to, say, a year back. It's almost like my mind just shifted gears, but it's stuck in a really uncomfortable setting.

It's getting harder to get myself out of my anxiety cloud. And it's happening more often, without warning. I can't anticipate when it'll happen, but I always end up catching myself suddenly in the midst of this swarm of negative thoughts in my head. And these thoughts... I can't make sense of many of them. They're just abstract presences that flood my head, and all I can do at the moment is momentarily ignore them, hoping they fade away. That's what happens most of the time.


8 Sep 2013

Not a Teachers' Day Post

No, I didn't put up anything special for Teachers' Day.

Even if I were to, it's quite a bit too late for that, whether I consider Teachers' Day to fall on September 1st or September 6th(the Friday before the week of lesson-less days). Those whom the post would likely be dedicated to would probably be too busy to read it now, especially in the advent of the approaching end-of-year examinations.

So in this post, I'm not going to show my appreciation for the efforts of the teachers that I've encountered over my lifetime so far.

25 Aug 2013

The Night

Quiet.

Nobody around me. Only the sounds of the wind whispering and mumbling to itself.

I don't remember the bench being this hard. Might be the recent hot days.

That lamp post really should be fixed soon. The light's barely glowing.

20 Aug 2013

Random Questions

I'll just leave a whole slew of questions like notes on a cork board here. I may come back to them later, or you can ponder over the questions yourself and try to answer them. Maybe treat them like General Paper questions. Whatever the case, I don't want the questions to just die away in my head because they seem worth thinking about. So here:

It is pretty much common sense that science can help to boost the arts, e.g. by providing new production techniques and platforms, or by providing propagation tools to increase exposure. But how can the arts help the sciences in return?

Is algebra hardly more than just a stepping stone for improving analytical/logical skills?

Why do some stereotypes seem to persist, despite lots of attempts to debunk the stereotypes?

18 Aug 2013

Watcha Doing?

This sounds a bit weird to say on a personal blog, but I don't want to always keep talking about myself.

You're right in guessing that my life is currently not wildly interesting enough for me to share about. Also I don't exactly have a good enough memory to reminisce about my personal past. I barely remember anything of significance from my days in primary school and earlier, and I feel like I'm currently losing my memories of my other school days too.

But it's more than just that.

11 Aug 2013

Red & White: End

"Mom, don't worry. I'll be fine. I'll see you again for Chinese New Year!"

"Haaii... how come this week flew by so fast?"

"Mom, it's okay. Time will fly again, and before long you'll be picking me up from the airport again."

"Yah! Bro will be fine! This isn't his first trip there, you know."

"Sigh... Darling, just be safe, and don't do anything stupid!"

"Alright, Mom. Dad, take care of the family, okay?"

"Haiyoh, why you suddenly sound so serious? You don't have to worry either! We can manage."

"...you're right. So... see you."

"Bye!"


9 Aug 2013

Red & White: Part 10

"Hey Sis, wanna go down and get a snack?"

"Er... sure. Mom, Dad, we're going down, okay?"

"Hah? Why? Stay lah, got nice beds, got big TV screen, can still take photos from here!"

"Aiyah, we don't have much to do in this hotel room other than that. Fireworks over already, we might as well walk around, right?"

"...okay lah okay lah. Just don't fool around at the club–"

"Mom, it's way too crowded at the clubs now. We won't be able to enter anyway!"

"Just remember to come back up here!"

"Got it. Bro, let's go."

...

Red & White: Part 9

"We're leaving in an hour's time!"

"'Kay."

Gaaaah... had a bit too much to drink last night... the headache's clearing up a bit though.

*ding*

Hmm? Who's that online?

"Hey there! Thought I could pop in here online while you're around!"

"Oh hi! Aren't you supposed to be sleeping around this time?"

"Nah, I can hang around for a few more hours. So I heard you went to a party yesterday?"


7 Aug 2013

Red & White: Part 8

"...and then I was like, 'Cannot be so bad la', then he was like, 'Seriously! I hear already nearly made my ears bleed!' So he linked me to the video..."

Am I really no longer a "true" Singaporean?

"HAHAHAHAHAHA! Oh my god, I had the same reaction! I was like, 'Some people actually approved this???' It was so unbelievable!"

I was born in Singapore, and my citizenship is technically Singaporean, but I don't feel like I belong here as much as I did last time...

"...my mom asked me, 'Eh, they ran out of ideas for the chorus, is it? How come no words?' Then my dad said, 'Don't need words lah, nowadays these youngsters listen to all these pop songs, always got a lot of EH or WHOA or YEAH or UH, dunno meh? They think like that can get all the young kids to like the song mah.' And then..."

I only feel comfortable coming back here as more of a tourist, than as a child coming back home.

Red & White: Part 7

Maybe I have lost touch with my own country.

Perhaps I've been away for so long, I forgot the reasons I liked my homeland.

Maybe not. I've been here long enough to come up with reasons not to like my homeland. That's partly why I left in the first place.

I mean, as fantastic as this country is for her excellent progress within quite a short timespan, and her ability to make her mark on the world several times, she's still too small for big dreams. 

Still pretty conservative mindsets in several areas. Still afraid to take certain risks. Still very reluctant to let go of her children's hands and let them play. And we wonder why we don't have that many people willing to push boundaries and lend more weight to Singapore's name.

6 Aug 2013

Red & White: Part 6

"Aaaaaaiiiiiyyyoooooo how are yooouuuu??? Haven't seen you for soooooo looong!"

"I'm good, thanks aunty."

"Good, good! You like your job there?"

"Yeah, it's a great job!"

"Good, good! If you're happy, I'm happ— eeeeehhh heeeelloooooooo! Haven't seen you for sooo long toooo!"

Phew. Got some time and space for myself. Yesterday Mom treated me to a buffet at home, and now she brings us to this restaurant for dinner. Does she think I have a bottomless pit in my stomach?


Red & White: Part 5

yo wassup!!!

eh ur back already?

wat u mean "already"? my flight damn long leh

like nearly 20 hrs

wah so long ah

ya lor

haha u not sian on the flight meh

got my own entertainment of course

books, music player, game console, etc.

orh... so how's life been there?

5 Aug 2013

Red & White: Part 4

"DINNER TIME!"

What the heck?!? Who's in my apartme–

Oh right. I'm back in bedroom. I forgot. It's almost like I never left the bed back there.

"Oi Bro, Mom already said it's dinner time."

"Yeah, hold on."

Wow, I can smell it from here!

"Ahh, you're awake. Come come, I cooked this especially for you! I know you miss the food here!"

Holy crap! Why's there so much – oh. She told her, didn't she.


Red & White: Part 3

"YO, BIG BRO! OVER HERE! YOOHOOOOOOO!"

Oh my goodness Sis... do you not feel embarrassment at all?!?

"Er... hi Sis."

Just smile and wave... smile and wave. I've already got more attention than I need.

"Waaaaah, you look so tired! It's afternoon leh, why you so sleepy???"

"Aiyoh, Sis, it's like 3 am back there. Normally I'd be fast asleep now... *yawn*"

"Okay lah, go back then rest."

"Eh... where's Mom and Dad?"


4 Aug 2013

Red & White: Part 2

"...some refreshments, sir?"

"...huh? Wha?"

"Would you like some refreshments, sir?"

"Oh. Yeah, sure. You've got apple juice?"

"Yes sir. Just a moment... here you go, sir."

"Thanks."

Mmm... how long has it been already? I didn't even realise I fell asleep. Probably too excited the night before.

Eh... this apple juice's okay, I guess. I've had better. At least my mouth's not a dry desert any more.


Red & White: Part 1

"We're sorry, but the number you've dialled is currently unavailable. If you like, please leave the message after the tone." 

*beep*

...

"...hello? Yeah it's me. Just wanna tell you that I'm at the airport terminal right now. It's kinda packed right now. I guess a lot of people also want to go back home around this time too.

"Anyway, I'm stuck because the flight's been delayed for quite a while, dunno why. It's been an hour already, and we're still unable to board. Ah well, more time for me to shop around here for stuff that you'll probably yell at me for not buying back. Seriously, how many perfume brands do you need?

1 Aug 2013

Past Entry 25

August 1st 2012


As always, I'm reminded by just how unforgiving time can be, prohibiting people from using do-overs and having to live with their mistakes until the end. From the month of one emperor to the month of another, my time here in school is running out.


So currently I'm doing this entry while in school, I guess as a way to soak in all of the atmosphere around me while I still have the chance. This spot right outside the Hullett Memorial Library is pretty conducive for things like this, getting nice breezes of fresh air while perhaps drawing inspiration from the greenery. I wonder how many people actually read the old framed-up newspaper articles on the walls here? Appropriately enough it reinforces the idea of time flying like a rocket when we don't want it to...

28 Jul 2013

Different

Maybe I'm too tired of sameness. Perhaps even sick of sameness.

I never really liked being in any kind of uniform, not even in primary school. It felt like I was treated as a non-human property of the school. Well I guess there are rational reasons for implementing the wearing of uniforms, but I still didn't like being in a uniform. The uniform I wore often came attached with so many unfair negative assumptions about the wearer, it became close to a real physical burden to wear them.

When I listen to music, I don't stick to the same radio station all the time. I always shuffled around, sometimes going for non-English songs, sometimes going for less mainstream music, sometimes even just listening to random online streams. Somehow I can't get myself to be exposed to a single genre of music for too long. I can never have one favourite music artiste or one favourite genre at all.

21 Jul 2013

Sunday Night

Sunday nights are really one of the worst parts of the week.

Well they used to be alright for me, because I'd watch the Sunday night movies on TV with my family, at home or over at my grandfather's house. It was a nice little time to get together and enjoy each other's company, temporarily postponing the thought of Monday's creeping arrival. If we were coming back home from my grandfather's house, reality would sink back in, and the returning heavy feeling inside me reminded me that I'd have to be in school the next morning. The slow emotional songs on the car radio didn't help much, and seeing the orange glow of the passing street lights seemed to amplify the music's effects.

Now, Sunday nights seem to feel even bitterer than before.

14 Jul 2013

Nightmare

He is in a cashmere bathrobe, reclining in a comfortable leather couch, reading an autobiography as he rests near the crackling fireplace. The mansion is safely shielding him from the icy cold winds outside.

He is back on his bed in his pyjamas.

He is in an art museum, surveying the works hung on the bare white walls. Some speak to him from the heart with tender words. Some fail to communicate to him.

He is back on his bed in his pyjamas.

He is looking around for some cereal, rummaging through the cabinets.

He is back on his bed in his pyjamas.

7 Jul 2013

Youth

There once were two twins, born as mirror images of each other.

They shared the same interests, played the same games together, and laughed at the same jokes. Every day they would run up to the hill to have some fun. The hill was easily identifiable, as there was a large apple tree at the top. The boys would sometimes lie underneath the tree to rest from their games, pointing at the clouds that flew by, trying to decipher the shapes.

One day, one of the boys said to the other: "I won't be able to play as much with you any more. Mother and Father say I will have to start schooling."

The other boy replied: "That's fine! We can always play afterwards, when you've come back and done your homework!"

The first boy smiled. "You're lucky you don't have to go to school, you know."

"Really? I think you're luckier. You get to make new friends in school and have fun with them."

"Don't worry, I'll bring them back some day, and we'll ALL have fun together!"

The second boy smiled.


30 Jun 2013

Ripples To Tsunamis

Times are changing. The future is even more unpredictable than before.

We are in a century where possibilities multiply and materialise even faster than before. The cross-pollination of ideas is accelerated and broadened even more. The reach and application of technology is exploding. Experimentation and open-mindedness are accepted and encouraged. Perceptions are more quickly adjusted as we get more exposed to different perspectives.

The future is even more malleable and volatile than before. We have more impact in our actions now.

Is this a good or bad thing?

23 Jun 2013

Haze/Heart

I see less than before.

My path has become more obscured.

For now I can do naught but wait.

It was only a slight hindrance before... or at least I convinced myself it was. Then things just built up. And didn't stop.

I couldn't do anything except watch.


16 Jun 2013

Father

What do you give to the man who gives a lot, yet doesn't ask for much in return?



Do you give him another belt to keep his attire from falling apart?

Do you give him another tie to make him look as smart as ever?

Do you give him another watch to help him keep in touch with the flow of time?

Do you give him another pair of boxers or briefs so he can continue to protect his modesty and feel secure?

Do you give him another normal shirt or pair of pants to expand his normal wardrobe?


15 Jun 2013

Past Entry 24

15 June 2012


Oh my goodness. That was one intense piano recital I just had.


A video camera with a red light aimed at me as I played while the examiner scribbled things down from time to time, occasionally looking up to me with a stern cold look. That certainly didn't help me with the hands-doing-weird-things-for-no-reason problem.


Well I'm done with this at least. If I fail I'll guess I'll try again next year, sad to say. If I pass however, that leads to another question... now what? What else should I aim for now? Because I think at this point it's probably safe to assume I wouldn't be doing much physical activity during my NS stint after that medical check-up, I'd also assume that would leave me time to pursue other stuff during the two years. 


So I thought maybe I should try working on composition and theory now. I DO have a grade 8 theory qualification that's equivalent to the prerequisite for LMusTCL... but then seeing the exam format makes me wonder if I'd be taking quite a big leap from grade 8. Then I wonder what other things I could be doing... and realise there's not much. 

9 Jun 2013

I'm Sorry

I'm sorry, but this can't wait. I don't think I can keep waiting for the next time I see the counsellor or another MO or a psychiatrist before I say this. It's been flooding my mind and I need to get it out.

I'm sorry that I've turned out to be one of the few exceptions that's quickly slipping through the cracks in your system. I had suspicions very early on, but never acted on them.

I'm sorry that I restrained myself so much in the beginning, and now I'm paying the price. I'm sorry that I had to drag in so many people that shouldn't even be involved in the first place. I'm sorry that I'm regressing and I didn't anticipate it earlier.

I'm sorry that I pretended to be strong and capable of facing the new strange challenges that I faced, even when I'm not. Faking it till I made it never did, and still isn't working for me. I'm sorry that I'm failing so much at adapting to the culture, the regimentation, the system... I'm hopelessly lost.


Beyond Me

It's getting to the point that I'd really rather spend my time in places other than real life, like my dreams. 

That's not to say all of my dreams are pleasant. There are a few scary ones. Even so, I know I can change the dreams. I've been gaining a little bit more control in my dreams. Funny that at the same time I seem to be losing control over my real life.

My dreams have variety. I may be chilling in the mall, watching a movie in a cinema, playing a game at the arcade, having a nice lunch at a bistro, attending a seminar... or I may be running away from a beast rampaging through the cities, cutting through buildings like butter... or I may be an unlikely hero wielding a mystical sword journeying towards an amethyst tower, ready to slay the evil wizard... or I may be at a theme park experimenting with my ability to fly and defy gravity... 

And my life? My weekdays are strictly confined to a routine that I absolutely hate, and my weekends are mostly spent doing brainless stuff just to recover from the accumulated stress and damage from the weekdays. 

8 Jun 2013

Struggle

Maybe it's time to openly admit I have been too overconfident in myself at the start.

I came into NS thinking about how much the experience would suck if I already entered with a heavy cloud of pessimism over my head. The plan was that I'd adopt a positive attitude towards this. Take in all the new sights and sounds. Treat every event as a learning experience that would someday prove useful to me later on. Make new friends. Have fun.

So I did. For a while. Then I started losing my grip some time through BMT, but I hid it. Looking back, I should have already mentioned something, and I would have been sorted out, preventing the mess that was to come from ever happening at all. But I didn't. I thought, maybe I'm just having problems adjusting to the regimentation, and I just need more time, even if it'll take longer than most people. And I stuck for a while longer, like how I'm expected to react to adversity.

2 Jun 2013

From Ah Boy...

Ten years since SARS struck... that's really something to think about.

When SARS hit, I was still a mostly blissfully ignorant Primary 3 boy who was mostly glad that I didn't have to go to school. What I generally remember was having to stay at home, with no homework other than some weekly/daily(I can't really remember) journal exercise to practise our writing skills... probably. I was just happy I could relax at home, unaware of the emergency situation going on around me. Medical staff frantically tending to the infected while assisting in the screening of other patients... victims dealing with the agony of the symptoms... relatives and friends worried about the possibility of losing their loved ones... We were hit hard, but we bounced back.

So much has occurred over the ten years. After the recovery, Singapore advanced in various areas, boosting our odds of survival in this ever-changing hectic world we live in. Mindsets also changed, and we had to become open to new possibilities. Healthcare and medicine are still constantly improving, among other fields of expertise. Of course, we're still fighting against obstacles, some returning with a vengeance. But we've become much stronger, much more capable.

Am I still the same blissfully ignorant boy from 10 years ago though?

26 May 2013

Two Years Of Our Time

(Maybe I should have started doing this earlier, because most of those who I know care about this have already booked in back at their respective camps...)

Alright. I read that commentary in today's Sunday Times, regarding National Service. Yes, that one talking about ways to help our servicemen feel more appreciated during the mandatory service we have to complete. Somehow I feel obligated to comment on this. It won't be easy, knowing I could step on quite a few toes if I'm careless, and put myself under the spotlight for the wrong reasons.

Then again it seems that MINDEF is becoming more receptive to suggestions and opinions. The topic of NS has – at least to me – popped up in parliamentary sessions and newspaper forums (technically fora but that sounds kinda weird) more frequently in recent times, without invoking any wrath from the powers that be. It's Probably partly due to submitters of STOMP that have the ability to blow up any uniformed personnel's actions to non-proportionate levels, whether said actions are good or bad.

Apart from that hot topic of ensuring soldiers' safety during training, another issue has come up regarding the fact that the newer generation of soldiers are asking for more from their service. And it's no longer merely a problem of the allowance. Not many of us Gen Y/YZ/Z guys like to do things without reason or meaning anymore, myself included. (I really don't like that Gen Whatever label though.)

The newer generations of soldiers who ORD'ed consist of people who tend to toss about words and phrases like "sian", "boring", "brain rot" and "ill-fitting vocational job", to describe their experience across the two years. Of course they'll follow up with "necessary", "deterrent", "protect our peace" and "ensure our vulnerable country's survival": we all recognise that we cannot do away with NS completely.


19 May 2013

Just Clearing My Mind Here

This is how I imagine it:

I wake up from my bed. The sky's still a dim blue.

I grab the remote from the bedside cabinet and switch on the TV, while I head to the bathroom to freshen up. The morning news today, fortunately, has delivered more positive content than negative. 

I take the hotel key card, close the door (ah what the heck, I'll let the housekeeper tidy things this time) and take the lift down. Time for a scrumptious continental breakfast.

Alright, back in the room with a fuller stomach and a freshened mind. Grab my laptop, equipment, and other necessities. I'm outta here.


12 May 2013

?????


¡↔+'& _]â@Ü _]$_ â'& ╩[â_/ %↔♣/_]â@○ $*↔+_ ♣↔_]/[%, %â@~/ â_'% ♣↔_]/['% &$¡ _↔&$¡.

¡↔+'& */ ¨$[_↕¡ ╩[↔@○.

â'♣ @↔_ ♣↔_âÛ$_/& _↔ ~↔♣/ +¨ ╩â_] %↔♣/_]â@○ @â~/ $@& &â○/%_â*↕/ ©↔[ ¡↔+ _↔ [/$& ]/[/.

%↔ â@%_/$& â'↕↕ ○âÛ/ ¡↔+ %↔♣/_]â@○ _]$_'% [/↕$_âÛ/↕¡ ♣/&â↔~[/ $@& â@~↔♣¨[/]/@%â*↕/.

5 May 2013

Why No Face?

I thought I might as well address a trivial question that has been asked to me more than a few times: 

Why do I use variations of the Facebook silhouette as my profile picture?

The most immediate reason is that I don't want to use my actual face. And why do I not want to use my actual face, even though there are photos online that have me in them that I'm tagged to? Of course this isn't merely just maintaining anonymity. I know I'm not completely anonymous mostly because of my ties on Facebook. 

Rather, it's firstly because I don't want EVERYONE who comes across my social media pages and other related sites to know what I look like so easily. I don't want to get so easily recognised by strangers on the street just because they've seen my profile and like what I put up online. At least let me accomplish greater achievements under the more public spotlight before I deserve that degree of recognition!

28 Apr 2013

He Waits For The Bus

He waits for the bus.

The world's just beginning to stir from its slumber, so it's still mostly quiet. Just how he'll like it to be for the rest of the day. Too bad he never has his way with that.

The bus wheezes a little as it slows down in front of him. The transparent plastic doors swing open, waiting to swallow the next victims. He sighs and gets on board. Fleeing from the jaws won't help his situation any further.

He gazes outside the cold window as the beast of metal and plastic continues searching for more morning tidbits. He used to be able to see details of the people and cars moving along, and the static scenery zipping by. Now it's merely just a blur of dark colours to his eyes.

21 Apr 2013

An Impossible And Probably Ineffective Dialogue

You're just getting ridiculous. And testing my patience.

Normally I'd just think that you're like that, and that's the way things are. End. But now more and more, I really wonder if you're as unbiased as you claim to be. Or at least your fans claim to be.

For so long you've been teasing me with golden apples, only to snatch them away from my line of sight at the last few moments, and throw them into the raging seas. I initially just attributed that to your playful nature, and did nothing. Besides you also "played" with other people like this too. And sometimes, you'd give me a few pieces of silver fruit instead, which isn't too bad.

Now though, even the silver fruit are barely seen at all. I really wonder, are you running short on your supply, or are you just being stingy towards me? Or are you going to throw that "you've got to work it to earn it" line at me again? Because I know it's irrelevant in this case.


14 Apr 2013

Sounds of Singapore

I've had this idea floating in my head for quite a while now. There's been lots of debate and discussion over each year's National Day song(s) for Singapore, in recent years. "Why the melody so weird?" "Lyrics so forgettable leh!" "Aiyo very hard to sing!" "Don't even have the word 'Singapore' in it! ...okay lah, actually got, but still only like one or two times only!" "Eee the lyrics so lame!" "This hardly describes Singapore at all!"

So I've been thinking: what if we just shift the emphasis away from lyrics altogether?

I'm not saying just come up with a National Day composition without any singing at all. I won't mess with tradition! Instead this is an idea that I've considered doing for quite a while, but never really found enough time or motivation to do it yet. In essence, I may want to make a collection of music that might better summarize what Singapore means to us. Not really songs, but more like soundscapes: sounds that are commonly associated with Singapore, weaved together in a musical way.

7 Apr 2013

Time Out

Perhaps falling into a deep slumber wouldn't be so bad after all.

I used to think that it'd totally suck if I fell into some super long coma where I would be out for months or even years. And that's totally logical thinking. Who'd want to spend so much time being unable to move or eat or drink or walk around and spend time with friends or play games or whatever? There's so much out there to do if I had the choice. 

Life was, and still is, buzzing about out there, not waiting for me to dive in and experience the wonders. The waking life, at least. But I think I've grown more and more weary of the downsides of this waking life. 

31 Mar 2013

Utopia?

This is a world that I saw. A world of beauty, of joy, of knowledge.

This world looked and felt so spectacular. Well, not too completely different from the world I'm in. Streaks of familiarity still exist, but a lot is vastly improved. At least improved in my opinion.

The level of technology there has surpassed ours by miles. They have succeeded in perfect resource management: no wastage, and unlimited production of material goods. The free flow of ideas is no longer under oppression of corporations solely focused on profits. Diseases were no longer a problem at all, and cures for new viruses/bacteria were immediately developed. Intercommunication technology has never been more powerful.

24 Mar 2013

Dreaming

I should finish this drink soon, I remember I have something to attend to afterwards... a meeting, I think. I'll come back another time to enjoy the rest that this coffee shop has to offer.

Was this place always this cold? I mean, I do like the coolness of the air here, but today seems unusually chilly. The jacket I'm wearing seems to do little. Now where am I supposed to head to... wait, what do I mean "where am I supposed to head to"? I know where I'm supposed to go! It's just along this winding alley here. Geez, I've taken this path for months already.

Oh wait, I remember now. Some silly appointment with a client complaining about some trivial problems. Even on a Saturday I can't rest. Well given the profession I've landed myself in, it can't be helped...

18 Mar 2013

A Celebration Turned Into A Rant

Had quite a bit of fun today. Well not technically today since it's already like past midnight, but it was a few hours ago.

St Patrick's Day was celebrated along a small portion of Boat Quay, and the presence of green and clovers was more than noticeable. My dad and I came along to see the usual beer-drinking and merrymaking being formalised into a properly organised event for the first time here. 

We got more than what we came for. We also happened to chance upon Baracuda Batucada, the energetic group of percussionists from Ngee Ann Polytechnic that drummed out infectious arrangements of rhythms and sounds. Needless to say they gathered quite a few crowds, and got many listeners bouncing to the beat. That itself was already pretty enjoyable to watch. 

On more than a few occasions, a few adventurous people who just couldn't contain their bodies anymore decided to spontaneously break out into dance in front of the performers, who clearly didn't mind. In fact it just strengthened the performer-audience rapport, and showed evidence that music can still reach out to people even without the presence of a melody.

It was a nice scene: the listeners were at least smiling if they didn't dare to answer the urge to dance, and the performers were doing what they did best with genuine joy. All this happened on a bridge that illuminated boats glided underneath, surrounded by various buildings that housed some of the finest in outdoor or indoor dining and entertainment. The air was cool and breezy. The energy level was high.

10 Mar 2013

Follow Your Heart

"Follow your heart. Don't cave in to peer pressure or society's preconceptions."

That's a recurring idea in many of the talks I attended across a few various university Open House events. The speakers aren't wrong: it's hard to put in the required effort to succeed in a field, when you're not really passionate about the subject at all. And if you graduate and go into a related job, you won't enjoy your job enough to do your best either, instead compromising both yourself and the industry concerned. It's generally agreed that pursuing one's dream will be to the interest of the majority. 

I think this rising mindset is partly to do with the fact that the younger generations, including myself, have been more exposed to childhood movies. And not just any kind of childhood movies, but those that liked to express the idea that following your heart is a recommended path, even if it means a path with more resistance or risk. We know that one protagonist who was heavily discouraged from straying from the safe path set out for them, only to defy such pressure and truly shine in the role that he/she really belonged to. Like that one girl who would be a highly qualified doctor given her excellent academic performance, but instead went to take on her true love of singing on stage. Or that guy who was to have continued the family line of baseball superstars, only to deviate and take up the "less manly" role of dancing. (Actually I've no idea if such movies were made, but if not, I thought of them first!)

3 Mar 2013

A Bit Lost

This month's going to be one heck of a month, being loaded with such heavy decisions.

'A' Levels results get released, and BANG! Open House events at the local universities spring up. I've been to two so far, and though I've narrowed some of the choices provided, the remainder of choices left are still quite a lot. And I haven't seen the remaining schools I could apply to yet. 

I'm not completely clueless as to what I want to pursue, but I haven't been able to pinpoint to sufficiently specific fields yet. Ridiculously demanding things like law are definitely out, of course, but I don't feel that much closer to forming a feasible plan for university. I really have no idea why I don't have any strong inclination towards any particular path...

24 Feb 2013

Sweet(s) Destruction

I'm trying really hard not to fall back on talking about the monotonous routine in my life, and how I'm still not fully comfortable with the circumstances I've been thrust into to deal with for 20+ months. 

So I'll avoid that.

Instead I thought of discussing a particular game that has mysteriously swept across the nation, captivating players that are mostly above the intended target age group. A game that is sugar-coated with cute colourful art and a sort of underlying plot, but possesses interesting game mechanics that have helped in holding a firmer grip on fans.

Yes, it's Candy Crush Saga.

17 Feb 2013

Adjustments

I still think all this feels a bit weird.

I know it's been more than a month since enlistment, and more than a week since my deployment, but I've yet to settle in. And it's not just because I've absolutely never held a job before. I can't get used to the people around me just yet. It's not completely the fault of their personalities and characteristics. It's just me.

But I'll give it time. I have to, because I'm pretty certain I'll be stuck there for the rest of NS. I need to adjust soon, and make the remainder of the two years as painless as possible.


11 Feb 2013

Water Snake

Whoops, got a little carried away relaxing over the break! No matter, a day late isn't too much of a deal here.

So what to fill this blank slate with tonight? I can't say too much about the CNY stuff, because this year's celebrations are considerably mellow compared to last year's. Might be partly to do with the fact that the dragon has left the building in favour of the snake. Might be partly due to the horrid rain too. I have no idea when was the last time it rained on the start of a Lunar New Year. We did still have some fun, just maybe not as exciting as before. Simple conversations, exchange of greetings and oranges, lion dance performances, they were still there. Games, not so much.

Speaking about the rain, it seems to have wreaked havoc all over the island, especially in low-lying areas. Those online pictures of flooded coffee shops and campuses are just a few of the many testaments of the impact. Certainly must have caused some problems for school orientation events and pre-CNY gatherings...


2 Feb 2013

19/19 Complete

At last, the roughly 4-week programme has been done with. And I've been tasked with the instruction to report to an even further location on Monday. Seems I really can't have things my way in the army.

It wasn't all gloom and doom though. The last week was mostly one big social networking session, with the added distraction of preparing skits. "Hey can you add me on Facebook? Then you can send me game requests!" "Do you use WhatsApp? I add you to my group!" "Follow me on Twitter okay?" Of course there was the important administrative stuff behind the scenes, including which recruits go where to do what.

So can I say for sure that the past four weeks were enjoyable and productive? Frankly, no. If it were under my control, I might have put those four weeks to better use. Or I might have wasted those weeks just like how I might waste the remainder of the two years. But I can say that I've learned a few important tidbits during that time, and made a few new acquaintances that I could possibly rely on.


27 Jan 2013

From Dragon to Snake

You know what? I think it's time to deviate away in content for a little bit, even if it means two posts on the same day. I don't want to just blog about my time in national service!

I guess it'll be convenient to touch on Chinese New Year festivities, since it's coming up shortly in two weeks. The first ever public holiday of 2013 after New Year's Day! Most superstitious Chinese don't really treat this as a good time for romance and baby-making though. After the big boom in the previous year of the Dragon, the upcoming year of the Snake would expect to see dips in births. Still that doesn't mean we can't celebrate the ushering in of a new lunar year. Fresh starts are always welcome.

Though this time, I think the celebrations with the family members may be more muted. The thrill and novelty of family reunions seem to be running thin. In fact it might make for a more enjoyable celebration if we went outdoors going sight-seeing, taking in the festive sights and sounds, especially on the eve of the first day.


14/19 Complete

I guess I could say that things went more or less smoothly the past week. Amazingly I didn't screw anything up in a major way.

I anticipate that the next week will be one filled with mixed emotions. The delivery of certain news, the eventual splitting of the company, the ceremony on the final day, all of these in one week. How do I feel about the BMT ending soon? Partly ecstatic, partly bummed. It's freedom from one place, only to be "caged" in another. Quote marks are there because it isn't that horrible of a workplace, but restrictions still apply.

Of course I didn't take away absolutely nothing from my experience in BMT so far. Firstly, regardless of PES status(excluding F), discipline and cooperation are to be expected, with good reason. Military operations can fall apart if any personnel fail to work together tightly. Even if it's "just a desk job", things can go horribly wrong. This could be extended beyond military life though. Just about any part of your life can fall apart without self-maintained order.


20 Jan 2013

9/19 Complete

Honestly I still feel like a horrible misfit in the army. Just that perhaps after crossing the halfway point of the BMT, I feel slightly less of a misfit. Not as lost as before, but nonetheless wandering through unfamiliar forests.

It's pretty much a given that I'm very unsuitable to be on the field holding firearms. Now I'm starting to think I may not be able to handle clerk-related stuff as well as I may have initially thought. And that's why I'm all the more hoping I'd be successful in joining the MDC with my piano ability. It's something that I'm certainly decent at, and something that I wouldn't mind doing full time. I'd rather take piano keys over computer keys as my instrument of work in the remainder of the two years.

The problem is that even if I were sufficiently good at the piano to make it through, I still may not make the cut if somehow the higher-ups deem it a necessity for me to remain as a clerk, e.g. due to manpower shortage. Though I think the likelier case would be that I'd be more valuable as a performer... I hope.

13 Jan 2013

4/19 Complete

4 days gone, and I'm still sane. I think.

I still feel like this is some really really long dream that I've yet to wake up from, and that the moment I wake up I would realise that I never needed to take up NS after all. And I would go on with my day merrily, without worries.

I wish. 

But I'm already grateful that I've gotten a nicer, more lenient deal, being able to book out daily and not being subjected to hardcore training in the outdoors. 

And as wildly impulsive as it may sound, I threw my name into the list of applicants for the Music & Drama Company. It did sound crazy, knowing that I would have very likely been designated to a nearby base to work as an office clerk, and yet I thought of doing something that will take me to somewhere physically much further. However, would I rather do something that's unfamiliar and — well, frankly, sounds boring, or commit to something that I find both more in my territory and interesting, for roughly two years? 

Of course I'm not in for the "drama" bit. I'm quite rubbish at acting. Or being a cheerful and outgoing guy on stage. As for singing, I suppose I could keep in tune and not sound whiny. And occasionally provide vocal harmony. Maybe I could be a supporting singer???

5 Jan 2013

Next Phase

So my first post of 2013 isn't on the first of January. Big whoop. I wasn't too bothered with keeping on time this year.

But here we are. This blog site is officially in 2013. And with that also comes what I expect to be some interesting future content ahead.

No doubt the significant changes in my life, e.g. actually working a full-time job, will influence what I'll post here. There'll be new things to learn, new quirks and glitches to be encountered, and possibly new people to talk about. Then again... I did spend two years with (almost) the same people too, and I hardly mention them even while protecting their identity. So, it'd most probably be just general rants and thoughts, except now I'd complain less about school and more about work. And that sounds just like what a typical average adult will do. I think.