Monday, March 30, 2009


There exists this network of friends, acquaintances that I have who are....well, let's just call them the walking wounded. These people, like myself, come from a past scored by an underlying thread of deep unhappiness and dysfunction. The ones with angry emotionally abusive parents, whose parents fought then divorced, the ones used as pawns in a game their parents played, the one whose formative years revolved around alcohol and gambling, the ones who grew up in physical abuse and neglect, the ones who may have had to manage drunk unruly parents or take over the reins of a household because the parents just couldn't or wouldn't. These are wounds sustained as children, carried into adulthood and worn as unseen scars for the rest of their lives.

They manifest in so many ways. As anger issues, as alcohol abuse, in self destructive and self mutilating behaviour, as over weening self confidence. Promiscuity. Further physical abuse. Drugs. Crippling shyness. Issues. Baggage. Phobias.There is no end to this list.

E asked me recently, of the highs and lows of the last few years. I told him that my life only began when I left home for Australia. That the biggest win in my life, was when I left and finally managed to get enough distance to think and breathe and heal.

I didn't do much in Australia. I'm not and will never be one of those restless go-getters with a resume full of activities, president of XYZ club, captain of ABC team, editor at random magazines etc. I don't have that. I had instead, what I'd always wanted. I had a quiet and peaceful life. Like the Banana Yoshimoto character in Kitchen, I healed by leading a quiet existence. I learned to cook, appreciate food and wine, had dinner parties, attended church, learned to make friends, fell in and out of love... I had a gentle, idyllic life for several years in which I learned to be a whole person.

The biggest win because I found myself in those years. Most people have those soul searching moments in their teenage years, their major epiphanies,their self discoveries. I had mine there at age 25. Before I left,I was only half a person and had been only this half person for as long as I could remember. I drifted through life disinterested and disengaged. In all those years, I never stopped having a death wish, perching uneasily on the line between life and death,waiting to see which way the wind would take me.

Then last year,I was faced with moving back to Singapore. I admit, I did not really want to come back. I wanted life as it was in my blue and white Melbourne apartment to continue indefinitely. I looked around, took stock and decided that this time, life in Singapore would be different. If it killed me, I would no longer allow my past to get in the way of the person I wanted to be.

My past dogs me still, appearing in my peripheral vision at times, in the unstable clutching fears that awaken me at night, but my past is no longer relevant. It has taken me 27 years but I have finally left the ranks of the walking wounded.

I still see them though. It doesn't take X-ray vision or any particular gift at psychoanalysis to see the links between the past Cause and the present Effect. I talk to people, ask a few questions and there it is. The scars, fresh and livid staring up at my face as they talk of the past.

Leave, I tell them. Walk away from a life lived in fear and negativity. Embrace life. Have confidence, faith that things will get better. Find love and resolve not to make the same mistakes.


On moving back

There has been a lull at work recently, a lull which has given me time to sneak out and have tea with my mother, read blogs at work and catch up with friends.

Those who follow my blog know, that I only just moved back to Singapore in June last year after being away for nearly 5 years. The last six to eight months have been spent trying to adjust back and trying to rebuild a life here.

During that time, I've used this blog as a space to just vent my feelings of frustration and confusion at having to adjust to starting work(for the first time!) and living in a new city. I whinged (alot) and made constant reference to the crowds that throng the train stations, conveniently forgetting to mention the fact that the terribly efficient transport system is what allows me to get up 15 minutes later in the morning and run from work to town to meet friends easily. I don't think I did Singapore justice during those months.

There are things about Singapore that I love, really and truly love. Here's the list.

Family and Friends

What can I say? I grew up here, received the bulk of my (somewhat sketchy) education here and I have a network of friends and family here that I was never able to truly replicate in Oz.

In my first month back, I met with my aunts, had teas with my mother and sister and caught up with long lost friends. I was able to be around when my mother sprained her ankle and she in turn was able to help me out when I sprained mine in the following month.(Yes, klutziness is genetic after all!).

Plus, I'll be able to be here when an old friend gives birth to her first child and I seriously can't wait.


I loved my Oz Church to bits. It was the place I went to and cried every Sunday for several months after my breakup with Ex. There, I licked my wounds and allowed myself to heal. Oz Church helped bring me back to life again. It was and still is a safe, warm and welcoming place of worship. But it was also young, pentecostal and had a really large congregation that focused more on social initiatives and not thorough grounding in the Bible.

When I came back, I knew the kind of church I was looking for. I wanted quiet, a smaller congregation and a place where I could ground myself in the Bible. My SG church is all of that and more. It was worth coming back to Singapore just for the bible study classes. I now have a fuller and deeper understanding of the Christian faith than ever before and that is a gift beyond words.

Public Transport

Forgive me while I gush.

The public transport in Singapore is unbelievably good. The trains run on time, the buses show up every 10 -15 minutes like clockwork. I don't live near the city but I'm in the city within 25 minutes of getting onto the train. While I don't always get a seat, I am always assured that on weekday mornings, a train will show up within 3 minutes of my reaching the platform. Taxis, while expensive are also relatively easy to flag. It enables my busy lifestyle and allows me to save money by not having to buy a car,two things for which I am immensely grateful.

There are other great things about Singapore. The tropical weather(love wearing tank tops and skirts every weekend!), crime free streets, good and cheap hawker food, the list does go on.

But, all that having been said though, I still stand my ground that the day will come when I will probably move away from Singapore again. There are things that I want that Singapore just does not have.

Tree lined streets, open spaces, a less demanding education system, work life balance, countryside for camping, hiking and the like, gently spaced out suburbs, affordable landed short, I'd like to move somewhere with more space, mental and physical.

But until then,I'll wear short shorts and tank tops every weekend, plan short getaways to Southeast Asian beaches, take the MRT everyday and eat my fill of yong tau foo.

Life's short, so it's probably better for me to quit whining and get with the program of enjoying Singapore while I can.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Way We Were

The year was 2007 and it was chilly autumn evening in Melbourne.

Boy and I walked down Swanston Street,arms locked around each other,talking, laughing. The reassuring bulk of his back, warm under my hand.

We'd just watched a movie and I was exclaiming about how enjoyable it had turned out to be.


So many streets, so many movies,so many meals.

Koko Black. Boba. The Constant Gardener. Coffea. The Commune. Fish and Chips.Cinema Nova. Brunetti's.

Boy eating fish and chips, driving me somewhere, ruffling my hair, playing the guitar.

Even now as I prepare to move forward,I am assailed by memories of old times. Of how my head fit perfectly into the hollow of his chest. The way he stroked my hair as he held me. Of falling asleep cradled in his arms. The hugs that seemed to go on forever. His nicknames for me. Waking up to the sound of his guitar.Eating foccacia with him on Saturday mornings and watching the Iron Chef with him on Saturday evenings. The way he teased me and made me laugh. The way he carried chocolate mousse across town for me when I was sad. His gentleness and courage. My life with him was not mad highs and lows but a consistent string of peaceful sparkling happinesses. He made me feel loved, treasured and healed.

Unforgettable times.


I won't close this blog like I did the last one. This post is to Boy. A reminder of the years we spent together. Of the good times. Of the love.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Up until the first quarter of last year, I had been consistently and almost constantly attached for the past 9 years. I haven't been single for more than 6 months since I was in school. Last year when Boy and I were forced to break up due to circumstances, I decided to use the time to doing all the hobbies and things I'd always wanted to try.

This is not to say that Boy kept me from any of it.He didn't, but the fact is that when you're in a relationship,there are time constraints.

I tried dance, first salsa then swing and promptly fell in love with both. I spent nights at work and out with girl friends. I felt so alive that I was amazed. This time that could have been lonely and spent eating ice-cream on the couch turned into the best and most enervating period of my life.

For a long time, the thought of another relationship didn't cross my mind. But in December, I realised that for the first time,I felt ready. Ready to date again and to try again at another relationship. I didn't desperately need one, but I knew that if the opportunity arose, I wouldn't mind trying again.

So. All this brings me to this.

I'm very tentatively just starting to date again. It's terrifying and exhilarating at the same time, taking these baby steps into unknown territory, especially since I've always been one for long term relationships and not casual dating.

Uncertainty. Trepidation.Excitement.Joy.

They're all there. My goal is not to let fear stop me.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


I've been busy,madly busy for about 1.5 months now and it feels so good to spend the day at home, chilling, listening to Jamie Cullum and surfing random sites.

I'm grateful that I've been able to eke out a few precious hours here and there for dance and to enjoy the support of close friends and family. Special thanks go out to Boy who was back for his summer break and used one of his last few days in Singapore to help me pack my stuff for my company's move to a new building. Moving day was the day after the trial ended and I was so drained and exhausted by then I couldn't move.

I haven't much more to say for now, still really tired and drained but there's a blog post in the pipeline about my first ever trial experience and also about some new friends I've been making.

Oh and before I forget. To E, who thoughtfully sent me food while I was sick and still working, thank you. Your gift lit up my day.

Below is a cute video of the American Boys Choir doing the Beach Boys, its hilarious! So I'm spreading the love!