The organised chaos


When you are suffering from agonizing cramps and in dire need of friendship and affection, it’s always nice to know that one of your closest friends is just working in the building next to you in ulu-land.

It’s great that she takes time off work to meet you for a while, to be with you for that short period of time. And it’s funny when you see her making her way to you past yuppies decked out in long-sleeved shirts and pants and she is horribly under-dressed in sleeveless tee-shirt untucked over jeans with some bling at the butt and sneakers.

What’s even funnier is that you are dressed in exactly the same shabby way. Right down to the bling on the butt.

It’s not the first time that this has happened, where we dress in similar or same clothing, or have cravings for the same foods, and it’s not going to be the last.

She’s probably not going to read this till a week or five entries later, just like she never answers my phone call till maybe three hours later, but I will be sad when she leaves the godforsaken place because it was nice to know that she is somewhere in the vicinity, even if we don’t exactly meet up very often.

Good luck in advance (or belatedly, depending on when you read this) for Thursday, tootch!

“!(imgcenter)!(Bimbo friends)”:

The organised chaos

Farewell, valiant son

Goodbye, Mr Rajaratnam (1915 – 2006).

I never knew you well because your work was done at a time when I did not exist, and when I was a child with little or no political knowledge. The pledge was just something I recited everyday during assemblies and it did not matter to me who wrote it.

But you were a founding father of my country, and I respect and admire the fact that you had used the pen to fight many a battle. Watching the past speeches that you had made, your intelligence and articulate nature shone brightly and it is clear that when you left politics, when you were besieged by the onset of dementia, we lost a great mind.

Death comes to us all, no matter how brilliant we are. My eyes welled up with tears seeing your coffin, because it only emphasizes to us that Death is really part and parcel of life. All that warmth, liveliness and wits all reduced to nothing but a cold body, soon to turn to dust and seep back into the welcoming arms of the earth.

Do we care? Amidst the hustle and bustle of life, work, exams, is anyone shedding a tear for you? Would I have bothered if I were an A’level student buried under common tests and CCA? Are we truly an apathetic young generation?

“Here lies a man.
We are sorry to see him leave the earth.”

Indeed, we are.

Wander, my friends from the soundtrack of Battlestar Galactica Season One

Little Miss Shopaholic

Oh New York, London and Milan!

The best part about the new job is that I get to view pictures taken from all over the world everyday. They could be of politicians, of events, of sports or of fashion shows. With the recent run of the New York, London and Milan Fashion Weeks, here is what to expect from the designers for Fall 2006.

Continue reading “Oh New York, London and Milan!”

Everything Else

Music 4 Mondays (19): The one about all because of you

I’m forced to fake a smile, a laugh
Everyday of my life
My heart can’t possibly break
When it wasn’t even whole to start with

I recently rediscovered Kelly Clarkson and I have to say that her voice and songs totally blow me away. Who would have ever expected an American Idol alumnus to make good and become a Grammy award winner, beating veterans along the way?

“Because of You” stood out, in particular. Apparently written when Clarkson was merely 16, it describes the emotional baggage that weighs and prevents everyone for loving and trusting again. The MTV left me in tears because the loneliness and helplessness echoing the lyrics and video resonated deeply.

I was so young
You should have known better than to lean on me

I do not come from a privileged family. When I was a child, I barely saw my mother as she worked long hours in order to bring up her two girls. As a result, I was forced to be alone and independent from a very young age.

I could still hear the sounds of children playing in the playground below my flat as I stared out of the windows, caged in because my mother was not at home and I wasn’t allowed to go out on my own during the holidays. I could still see the sympathy in the A&W cashier’s eyes as he allowed me to buy a $1.10 drink for ten-cents less because my mother had only given me a dollar and was standing a good distance away, having been thrown into an angry tizzy because of my badgering requests to buy a soft drink.

When my form teacher in primary school started picking on me everyday for no apparent reason, I would cry alone at home but did not tell anyone. That was one of the most painful and lonely period of my life. For two whole years, I endured her verbal abuse, her taunts and her cruel jibes in class in silence. There were times when I contemplated suicide because I was so lost, so confused and so humiliated by the public lashings. I had nobody to turn to because my family was never there. When I finally graduated, I turned my back on the school with my head held high.

Because of you
I find it hard to trust
Not only me, but everyone around me

But the combined damage was done. Everything adds up and in the end. I believed that I was inadequate and flawed in many ways. And that was made worse by secondary schoolmates who messed around with my head and told me I was an emotionally burdened and insecure individual.

For years, I carried those memories with me. I did not dare to trust fully in people, not even my closest friends. Many times, I was driven by jealousy and possessiveness because I rarely had anything and I did not want to lose anything or anyone dear to me.

I’ve learned the hard way
To never let it get that far

It’s only recently that I began to grow and be my own person. I gained the confidence that I never had, and believed in myself and my talents. Taking a good look around, I rediscovered who my true friends are, those who did not need me to buy their love and affection. I changed and become a better daughter, friend and partner.

I will not make the same mistakes that you did
And I will not let myself cause my heart so much misery

It took a long time but I finally saw my true reflection in the mirror. I saw myself and chose to be who I am, rather than what I have to be. There may have people who made me the way I am but I want to break out of that mould.

I can’t carry on blaming them for who I am today.

Kelly Clarkson – Because of You

The organised chaos


The sista came back for lunch today and we – Mum, her and I – sat at the kitchen table sipping our tea and munching on snacks. I can’t remember the last time we did that, the three of us sitting around the table and enjoying some familial time together, but it sure felt good. It also threw up some pretty funny and serious conversations.

Me: Why are you doing things in reverse? People get married first before buying a flat.
Sista: I don’t want to get married because I want to get a flat, you know what I mean?
Me: Huh? But as long as you two know that you are getting married for love and not for the flat, why does it matter? He didn’t propose by saying “should we get a flat?” right?
Sista: (ponders for a moment) Yeah, that’s true.

Me: So when will you be getting married?
Sista: Not so soon. Probably at the end of the year.
Mum: Good, good. If she is getting married at the end of this year, then you will be getting married next year.
Me: My boyfriend hasn’t proposed. Besides, I’m still young.
Mum: He should.
Me: …….

Me: You should have a baby before you hit 30. Biological clock and all.
Sista: Me?! I haven’t got any maternal instincts at all. If a baby wails, I would probably give it a good smack.
Mum: When it’s yours, you would think it’s cute and adorable when it cries.
Sista: That’s true.
Mum: You should give birth while I have the energy to look after your child.
Sista: That’s no reason to have a child, Ma!!
Mum: Oh yes it is. She (gesturing to me) will have her mother-in-law dying to look after her children since Jimmy’s brothers haven’t produced any. I can then devote all my attention to yours.
Me: I’m not the one getting married!!
Mum: You should be.
Me: …………

Next time, I should just keep my big mouth shut and let them natter away.

After that, we took the matriarch to a nearby Starhub shop where she finally got the mobile plan changed (to one that allows her to send SMS, she is very funky now) and a shiny new Nokia clamshell.

Now, my future brother-in-law and I have this ongoing joke where I would demand he buy the Sista a “bling” (read: ring) for their engagement. While at the shop, the Sista showed me a text message from her significant other: “Tell her I’ll see her around and that the bling is on the way.”

To which I instructed the Sista to reply: “Better make that a big bling!”


Everything Else

‘Tis D-Day

This is awful.

Everywhere I read, everyone is talking about what surprises they think their boyfriends are going to give them, the 99 roses that was sent to them and the fancy dinner they will be having at night. Why are they so willing to give in to the foolish event called “Valentine’s Day?”

Here I am, ready to go to bed after tuition, and the boyfriend is on his way home from work. No celebrations, zilch, zip, nada. In fact, I can’t really recall the last time I received flowers from him. But even if we had gone out to celebrate, we would most likely have ended up in Changi Villge, or the like, savouring a plate of nasi lemak each. That’s just the kind of couple that we are.

And as I write, I am also contemplating the other meaning that Valentine’s Day had during my school days. Back then, it was Friendship Day and the choir mates would all have a ball of a time in school.

Sadly, as I grow older, I find myself having a more cynical view of life and friendships. I used to love going for choir practices because of the friends I had made. But in recent times, I observe that certain people, whom I used to think were pals of mine, were turning out to be nothing more than empty acquaintances. Friends make time and effort for one another, that’s a given. My motto is that if you cannot be bothered to expend some energy on maintaining the friendship, then I am not going to waste my time on you either. If you are so easily like the rats following Pied Piper, then go ahead and run off headlong into the river.

There will always be people whom you try to care for, and who never seem to be there for you when you are in need. Toxic friends like these are to be ruthlessly weeded out and thrown into the bins.

Also, do not try to foist emotional blackmail off on me, like “I want to be your friend but am too proud to ask” and then do actions that clearly indicate the opposite. Others may believe, but I don’t and I am not interested in anyone who is keen on changing my mind. If you were never there for me when I was broken and in tears, then you can jolly well forget about me offering you the olive branch. I did that once and received no affirmation and that’s the only chance you will ever get.

Am I heartless? Perhaps. But I would rather have a few friends close by my side than to have meaningless relationships with others whom I can only hang out with, but not confide in.

Arts & Entertainment

Brokeback Mountain

After all the hype about gay cowboy love, does Brokeback Mountain really deliver?

In a nutshell: Yes.

The movie’s homosexual theme will most likely be its main attraction, as well as its main repulsion. There will be people who would want to watch it for its ability to break boundaries, and others would avoid it like the plague simply because it’s about two men who are in love with each other. But really, put the homosexual theme somewhere out of sight when watching and just take this movie on its own. You will find it extremely moving and beautiful.

Lee Ang (or rather, Ang Lee, as he prefers to be known these days) is quite the master of human emotions. When he helmed The Hulk some years back, critics pointed out that he had painted too sympathetic a picture of the jolly green monster and had neglected the action aspect. Portraying human relationships is what he is best at, and this is exactly what he has done for Brokeback.

The characters of Ennis (Heath Ledger) and Jack (Jake Gyllenhaal) are remarkably different and yet similar. Ennis is the responsible family man who tries to repress his feelings for Jack but fails. He is unwilling to break from societal norms and instead, seeks a balance between what society dictates as the “right” thing to do and his love for Jack. On the other hand, Jack is the emotional one who is willing to risk everything, even death, to be with the person he loves. In their relationship, he is always the one making the first move, never hesitating to satisfy his own needs and wants. He may be interpreted as being relatively weaker than Ennis, who personifies the typical alpha male who says little and sees himself as the sole breadwinner of the family.

Their intense love for each other is the backbone of the story and watching the movie, you start to feel wretched on their behalf upon realising that they can only express their feelings openly for each other in the wilderness of Brokeback Mountain and at only a few times a year at that. Instead of cringing inside, as Lee delivers frames of the two holding each other tenderly against the wondrous mountainous backdrop, you begin to see them as a real couple and wish that there is a way for them to be together.

Unfortunately, cowboys are not meant to fall in love with each other in those days and the unexpected, shocking tragedy can bring tears to your eyes.

!(imgleft) Gyllenhaal)!

The casting was fabulous and honestly, who could ever imagine Heath Ledger convincing audiences as a gay cowboy? But he was, and so was Jake Gyllenhaal, whose gorgeous blue eyes begged, implored and basically melted everyone’s hearts. Michelle Williams, as the long-suffering wife of Ennis, was wonderful too.

The movie moves at a steady pace and its lush pictures of the mountains, coupled with the generous use of silence and nature sounds, makes watching a rich and fulfilling experience. The recurrent guitar strains of the musical motif adds a sentimental and emotional angle to the scenes.

There were certain scenes, such as the first sexual encounter between Ennis and Jack as well as the lovemaking scenes of Ennis and his wife Alma, that felt redundant though. Cutting these out could make the movie tighter and easier to digest.

Judge Brokeback Mountain by its own artistic merit and you won’t be disappointed.

[Let’s play tag! , , ]

The organised chaos

Happiness is….

…having your conductor tell you, via an online forum: “I know you will sing well and learn the songs well on your own”.

In all my years of singing under his direction, I have never heard words of praise or encouragement pertaining specifically to me pass his lips. I have always believed that I am just a mediocre singer, nothing great to crow about given the talents that surround me in my section. Suddenly, it’s almost as if I have been given a vote of confidence and I feel gratified knowing that my years of singing have not come to nought. He did not have to reply to my posting, but he did, and those few words certainly made my day.

…getting proposed by your other half with not just a huge piece of rock but also an iPod.

In case you get the wrong idea, I have not received any offers of marriage. Instead, this ingenious proposal was conceived by a clever self-proclaimed geek. Isn’t that just sweet of the dude? He not only produces a huge piece of rock (nice simple solitaire) but also a gorgeous piece of gadget. Which girl would say no? Men everywhere should learn from this.