Arts & Entertainment

The return of MY king

Now, most girls I know lurvvvvve the blonde and wimpy Lego-less (yeah well, he grew up without Lego so you can’t blame the poor man). But someow, fair and pretty men just don’t cut it with me. I like my men manly. And so, I find myself defending the merits of strong, sensitive, rugged and manly men against the onslaught of screaming female teenyboppers who are rushing to the hair salon to bleach their hair the same shade as Lego-less himself.

Ahhh…..I can’t wait for December 7 to arrive. The return of my manly king.

The organised chaos

A perverse me

Have there been times in your life when you know that doing something is wrong but you still went ahead and still did it anyway?

Perhaps you’re doing it despite the fact that it is wrong. Or perhaps, you are doing it because it is wrong.

Sometimes, I think that I belong to the dogged group that does something simply because it is wrong.

For example, listening to manically depressing songs even though I am drowned in my own pool of misery.

Such as now.

One song that is almost a permanent fixture in the playlist of my iPod is Silent All These Years. I have two versions of it. The first version belongs to original singer Tori Amos and features Canadian poet, Leonard Cohen on vocals. The second is homegrown singing sensation Stefanie Sun’s.

Now, I am a late adopter of this song. I only started listening to it years after its release. But its lyrics grew on me. It seems to be about me, for me. Loneliness, inability to fit in, a voice trying desperately to be heard, to be understood.

Been feeling a little blue lately. Thinking about life and how sometimes, life is just not fair. People who already have everything, get everything. People who have nothing end up getting nothing. It’s almost as if God is telling me, You have nothing to lose and definitely nothing to win.

I once thought I had a winner, that I had finally struck lucky. That I had gotten something right for once.

It turned out to be wrong. And now I am at the crossroads, wondering where to go now and how I am going to survive in this cold, cold world.

In the meantime, I’m just one more casualty of this life. After all, we’re probably too easy.

Arts & Entertainment

Of girlfriends and fatsos

Been meaning to talk about these two books that I read (or rather, reread) last week. But then, my baby was hit by a misbehaving OS update and was down and out for a couple of days.

Anyway, the first book is actually one of my favourite. It’s written by Jane Green and the title of the book is Jemima J.

The unlikely protagonist of the book is a plump woman by the name of Jemima Jones. Now, Jemima is a sweetheart and a fantastic writer but her beautiful nature is obscured by her body fats. She is, as we are told, a UK16 (huge by our Asian standards). She is lonely and to stay sane in grey, gloomy London, she eats. And eats. And eats.

Jemima works at a local newspaper agency. She’s a great writer but because of her physical unattractiveness, she is overlooked by her editor. In addition, she is lorded over by the beautiful and slim Geraldine.

Now, Jemima has a huge crush on her colleague Ben Williams but because he, like most men, have a thing for slim young things like Geraldine, she dares not let him know.

Of course, as most stories go, Jemima will eventually lose all her weight, emerge as the sexy butterfly that was hiding in its cocoon, become a writer and get her man. But as most stories go, she will have to first face several hardships before fulfilling her dreams.

Cliche? Totally. But nonetheless, it’s a book that makes one feel warm and fuzzy inside. I have read it at least three times and I never fail to be amazed by Jemima’s courage, good heart and strength. The underdog will have her day. Hurrah!

The other chick book that I read was Rebecca Wells’ Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. It was made into a movie starring Sandra Bullock a couple of years back.

This book focuses on the relationships that bind all women – between friends, between mothers and daughters and women’s relationships with themselves.

Sidda Walker, an up and coming theatre director, was badly misquoted in a New York Times interview and was subsequently “disowned” by her highly dramatic mother, Vivi. In trying to mend the relationship between herself and her mother, Sidda seeks the help of her mother’s best friends, the Ya-Yas and consequently finds herself on a journey that leads her to understand her mother and ultimately, herself.

Enjoyed this book tremendously even though the multiple narration was a bit confusing. But loved the adventures that Vivi and the Ya-Yas had. Their enduring friendships, strong bonds and unceasing love is something that I would like to have. Their connection no only drew themselves closer but also created a kinship between their husbands and their children, the Petites Ya-Yas. Overall, the antics that the Ya-Yas did made me laugh and the pain that Vivi and Sidda went through made me tear.

Fabulous book for a lazy day in.

The organised chaos

Memory Flashback #1

This is one of my favourite actually, one of the few that I have of my dad.

I was four or five at that time. Dad was not working that day and we decided to walk my sis to primary school. On the way out, the green man of the traffic lights in front of the school started blinking and my dad wanted to get across quickly. He (this is kinda tricky) put both of my small hands onto his forearm and then lifted me up, with my hands grabbing his bare arm. He then ran across the road with me hanging like a swing, his broad arms being the strong branch supporting the swing.

I don’t know why this memory has stayed with me through the years but I remember feeling exhilarated and loving the feeling of flying through the sky.

Arts & Entertainment

Every beginning is only a sequel

Finally caught the movie Turn Left, Turn Right today.

It was not bad actually, not as terrible as reviewers would have you believe. Enjoyed some of the new characters that were introduced in the movie and liked how some of the pictures in the book were transplanted to the big screen.

But felt that the script was quite a let down. Jimmy Liao’s prose is simple and elegant. The movie’s script was pretty in-your-face. It’s almost as if the scriptwriter wanted to prove that the protagonists were really meant for each other.

Meant to catch it with Claydoll but that poor girl was stuck in NUH with an eye ulcer *horrors*. Not bad, at least now I know my way to the hospital. Watched it with someone else instead. See, there you go. Fate. We meant to watch it together, two crappy Singletons, but her ulcer decided to give her problem today and my weird friends decided to go to NTU career fair instead of watching movie with me. So you see? Sometimes there is no point planning so far ahead because when Fate wants to meddle, She will meddle with you no matter how meticulous your plans are.

For things that you might be waiting for, well as the poem goes, “Not quite ready yet to become their Destiny”. It’s just not the right time yet.

The organised chaos

Do you know me?

It was with much amusement when I found out that a friend had told another friend that he didn’t think I could cope very well when I am stressed. He felt that I can’t handle things properly when I am stressed and might seriously be burnt out with the amount of work that I have to do in my capacity as the head of the committee.

While I thank him for his concern for my welfare, I also dismiss it like a fly buzzing around my head.

After 22 years of living in this high-stress society, if I couldn’t live with stress, I would have gone mental and booked myself a permanent bed in Club Mad (as a colleague puts it, aptly). Besides, what did he use to judge me on? The fact that I had recently gone through a very trying and emotional period?

Really, I do not know what I could have done in the 3+ years that he has known me to earn this piece of observation/judgement. Firstly, it’s not as if we have always been close friends. In fact, I would say that it’s only been recently that I really got to know him better. Secondly, he’s only known me for 3+ years. He doesn’t know what I used to be and what I have gone through in life. Does he know, really, what kind of stress that I have had to live through?

Since he was so candid in his opinion of me and I do know that he wasn’t being malicious or mean, perhaps I could then be as equally candid and say what I truly feel about him and also, his assessment of me.

Firstly, he is a real good friend. He is as loyal a friend as you can get in this fickle world. In fact, I would say that loyalty is his greatest virtue and perhaps, his greatest downfall also. He is loyal to his loved ones and sometimes, it blinds him. He does not see what others see. And by being loyal, he can overstep professional boundaries in order to protect the one he loves. His actions, though generous in nature, become misguided. Things that he should not be involved in, he leaves his mark and hence, a sour taste in people’s mouths. All in the name of love and loyalty.

Secondly, though his motives in not wanting me to be in the executive committee are sweet enough, I cannot help but feel that it is not sound judgement. His yardsticks are not accurate and it becomes a personal and not professional assessment. To find out how I work under pressure, perhaps he should have spoken to my comm members to find out firsthand from them. How I behave in personal and professional environments are two separate things.

Thirdly, I cannot agree on his (or perhaps, their) method for deciding my fate. As a 22-year-old, I am an adult and should be given the chance to defend myself and debate my own decisions. Doing all that behind my back and without my input is being, to put it negatively, sneaky. I was not given the chance to argue my case, I was simply told not to go. Is that the right way to go about doing it? I do not think so.

I really don’t like it when things get political.

The organised chaos

6 Degrees of Separation

For the past 15 years, I have never thought much about my late father. He has largely been absent in my life and I don’t really feel the loss. I have my mum, sis and a warm assortment of aunts and cousins for familial love, whether I have a father or not seems inconsequential. I have never had a problem talking about him, he was just someone distant. My memories of him are few and vague.

But today, for once, I felt distinctly uncomfortable talking about him. I didn’t want to think about a father whom I never really knew. I just didn’t want to talk about him and how long it has been since he passed on. But it just so happens that a colleague of mine is a fellow Hainanese. We were joking about our so-called “connection” when he asked for my father’s name. Once he heard it, his face changed – it rang a bell.

Throughout the afternoon, he tried to find out more about his family’s connection to mine and it turned out that his elder brother knew my father. He was even present at my father’s wake, an event I remember vividly.

It was almost as if a shutter in my mind suddenly opened. The sense of loss that came over me was acute. I have been a fatherless child for 15 years, I have lost out on having a father for so long. I thought about how my mum has been struggling to bring up two young girls for 15 years, how hard it has been on her.

It made me realize all these have caused me to feel lonely always, even when I am among friends. I never really had a happy childhood – it’s not easy to be happy when your mother is mostly absent in your life, when you cry almost everyday for two years because you feel fearful and alone.

This sense of loneliness and of not having someone who understands me plagues me everywhere I go. No matter what, it will always be with me, it would not leave me alone, ironically.

It seems as if I have been alone all these years. And that I always will.

Arts & Entertainment

Turn left, turn right

Thanks to Ash, I had the chance to look through the book of the upcoming movie, Turn Left, Turn Right.

Written by Jimmy Liao, it’s a simple story book, told through beautiful water paintings done by Liao himself. Initially, I had thought that the storyline was interesting, without reading the book. It tells of how a man and a woman who, although neighbours, never met each other because one always turns left and the other, right. Hence, they never knew of each other’s existence. And it is only through a series of events that they finally meet and fall in love.

The premise of fate is tempting enough. And now that I have read the book, I am truly a fan of Liao and the book.

Sure, one could always dismiss it as romantic fluff. And I do not deny the fact that the idea behind the book is a romantic one. But the distinction between Liao and other romance writers is that he dishes out simple ideas, with a simple plot without the heavy use of soppiness that many writers are prone to using. His prose is clean and pure, almost like dew glistening in the sunlight. It’s almost sheer poetry, like looking up into the sky when the sun is setting, with purples and oranges blending perfectly. Reading this book is like drinking a good cup of tea – the taste is light without being cloying, it goes down smooth and easy.

This book is thought-provoking without dumping philosophical crap on the reader. It makes you wonder about life, about fate, about the person you could meet or the person who might be waiting for you, just as you might be waiting for him. And since in reality, life is not rosy and nothing ever goes perfect, his book reflects that too.

Could the person you bumped into today be the one who’s meant for you?
Could the one you are waiting for be just right next to you?

In this busy, bustling city, sentimentality is a flaw and not a virtue. The idea of fate is no longer applicable, humans slip in and out of the dating game as often as the sun rises everyday.

I believed in fate. And still do, actually. But after getting burnt, the idea of fate and meeting that one person who’s meant for me seems further and further away. I don’t want to play this game anymore, I don’t want to live on false hopes and in castle dreams anymore.

But this book is different. It doesn’t tell you that love comes easy to everyone, that love is all happiness and no pain. It tells you, gently, that sometimes, you need to wait patiently for love to arrive. That it comes unexpectedly. That if you keep willing for something to happen, it won’t but once you stop hoping for it, it will come to you soon enough and in life’s little ways. That love can hurt and can leave one in melancholia.

That perhaps, just perhaps, if you try walking in another direction, you might just get a surprise.

The organised chaos

Breathe…..

Today has been a hectic day.

There are two events tomorrow and I am involved in the preparations of both. Calling up the media, sending out invitations, preparing media briefing books, name tags…..etc. Plus, there’s also a launch in Malaysia on Wednesday that I am coordinating.

How refreshing.

I didn’t exactly have the time to sit down and twiddle my thumbs and I felt pretty good. There’s a certain sense of purpose and a clear feeling of jubilation, knowing that everything I have done will go towards creating an event.

Even after tuition today, I wasn’t tired and drained as I used to be. I was listening to my beloved iPod (which now comes in 20 and 40GB formats!), listening to an aptly named playlist “grrrrl power!” when the jangly guitar strains of Michelle Branch’s Breathe rang in my ears.

All of a sudden, I wanted to fly, I wanted to taste rain on my tongue and I wanted to just throw my arms out and spin round and round until I grow dizzy. I wanted to race home, laughing and flinging my arms out. I wanted to dance on the road and sing as loudly as I wanted to. I wanted to jump up and punch my fists into the air.

And I did.

Not everything, of course. I started running, running as fast as I could in my filmsy heels. I ran and ran, hanging on to my handbag and pressing my earphones into my ears so that they wouldn’t fall out. And I didn’t even care that some old ladies were sitting on the benches at the roundabout, looking at me as if I was mad.

I was happy. For that exhilarating moment, I was happy and reckless. And it felt good.

And I take it just a little bit
I hold my breath and count to ten
I’ve been waiting for a chance to let you in

If I just breathe
How do you fill the space in between?
Oh no, everything is alright
Breathe
Every little piece of me
You’ll see
Everything is alright
If I just breathe

Sometimes, all we need is just to take a step back and take a breather.

Arts & Entertainment

Michelle Branch’s “Hotel Paper”

Really enjoy listening to Michelle Branch and her new album Hotel Paper.

There may be people who write her off as just another pop teen queen. But her music is actually not what you call “pop”. Her lyrics (yeah, I’m a lyrical person) are simple, honest and thoughtful. No fanciful hyperbole (ie. no I will always love you till the day I die, you are the one I will always love crap) here. Just simple insights about love, life and relationships. And even the token breakup song in the album is not your usual soppy fare, none of the cry here cry there emotions. Just, as I said, honest and reflective.

Plus, she opts for the band sound, with a real live band backing her up, rather than unnatural, synthesized music that many singers opt for. There are funky beats and heavy guitar strains in her songs, elements that I like in my music nowadays.

It might be an album full of songs on love but somehow, Michelle Branch carries it off with a quiet grace and maturity that seems to be lacking in many singers nowadays. She sings with her soul and her words come straight from the heart. And it moves me. From the very simple It’s You to the I-don’t-give-a-damn Are you happy now?, she seems to mean every word that she sings. And it helps that the melodies (well, mostly) are pretty strong.

So why am I waxing lyrical over her? It’s because I truly believe that she is one of the best young female singer I have heard. Her previous outing, The Spirit Room is lyrically driven too. In fact, I put her right up there with the likes of Jewel who is a personal favourite.

Her music just suits my mood nowadays……pensive…..introspective…..but never depressed…..