Tag Archives: singapore

Separation 

    

“For what separates dawn from dusk is day
And what separates joss from ash is respect
And what separates you from me is time
And if you lose even the memories
Then we will truly be apart”
– from Separation by Daren Shiau

***

I remember that twilight hour. I had emerged from a small bookstore where I had been browsing through Daren Shaiu’s Peninsula whilst broodily negotiating an online sale. It had been a long day.  Earlier I had walked through the bright green compound of Dempsey Hill visiting art galleries, along the way stumbling upon big wire cages full of noisy parrots and a dreamy green pond with fishes the size of small sharks. I had a difficult time in Anna Berezovskaya’s exhibit. It was all so beautiful and whimsical and other-worldly, yet I struggled to immerse myself in it fully because I couldn’t stop wrestling with myself in my mind. The second exhibit (Zhu Yan Chun’s The Substance Series) returned me to mountain paths and natural pigments, and I breathed easier.

 [The day’s clippings]
In the glow of early evening the meandering lanes of Duxton road had me scaling a hill and passing the entrance to a small park where I met a big cat, a miniature tiger-like creature.


I lingered a while in Monica Duxton’s exhibit- A Universal Truth, feeling soothed by light and space. When I stepped out to wander again, I looked at all the corridors and windows a little differently. A universal truth indeed. I also felt curiously tempted to get a drink, after a long period of ambivalence to alcohol.
Stepping out of the bookstore, I walked past shophouses to the main road which was lined with cars making their way home from the city. I felt very subdued, and a little bothered inside.

Across the road was a set of flats. Rows of disorderly bamboo laundry poles stuck out from stacks and stacks of faintly glowing squarish windows. Behind them, the dramatic silvery towers of a newer housing development jutted out like a swords. Pattern and juxtaposition. This is also poetry, I thought to myself. The mixture of lights and street sounds left me mellow and dreamy, and I felt myself suspended, like the light in the sky, between darkness and day.

After a long train ride I would arrive home, where I would make myself very upset with my verbal blunders, overanalyse the transaction I had earlier completed, attempt to clean my room, annoy those around me, and end up feeling very hurt and trapped and childish and taken advantage of.

I’m not sure how the evening ended. But once again the night would have come, dark and cool, closing the day and dividing it from the next. It used to bother me terribly, the way one day did not flow smoothly into the next like verses in a song do. It often felt like someone was taking a scissors and cutting each day and each moment off from the next.

In the end, I am not quite sure how to end the telling of this story. Perhaps I shall simply allow it to retire, close this pandora’s box of memory, creep beneath the covers. The words of Alvin Pang float to mind:

“Let waking divide
this day in which you walk
from the past
which already is less
than whisper, fainter
than a breath’s caress.”

“Make space with your words
so those who come after
may hear their own voices
in your silence, deepening.”

(From a poet is instructed by the death of his master) 

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The Little Prince at The Fullerton

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On Monday I went to view The Little Prince Art Collection up on display at The Fullerton. The collection consists of 14 sculptures crafted after the illustrations in the book. The sculptures were really pretty and true to the illustrations. I felt quieted walking amongst them, lifted into the vast, contemplative, star-filled universe of Saint-Exupery’s imagination. There’s something peaceful and childlike about all his drawings and writings – and I guess it is that simplicity and sincerity that makes the story of The Little Prince all the more endearing and moving to people living in the complicated world of today.

Now I feel like trying to read Night Flight again.

***

“I am looking for friends. What does that mean–‘tame’?”

“It is an act too often neglected,” said the fox. It means to establish ties.”

“‘To establish ties’?”

“Just that,” said the fox. “To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you, I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world . . .”

***

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The Little Prince sculptures will be on display in Singapore at the Fullerton Hotel until 31st May 2015.

The days that we wander/wonder

In the first few days after summer began, I spent a lot of time walking aimlessly about, struggling to figure things out in my mind and feeling a little confused inside.

During one of these drifting afternoons I stumbled upon an exhibit entitled The Days that We Wonder/Wander – a display of works revolving around the themes of journeying and mental dilemmas.

The installations were calming somehow. There were lots of silvery, shattered things, representing fragmented mental processes. I saw words and images that emboldened and dazzled and enveloped, and I think these things will stay with me a for a long while.

That day, I thought about the way our minds shimmer and shift and shatter, the days that we spend wandering inside ourselves trying to understand, the ways that we all reach for balance and stability, control and safety, coherence and perfection.

It’s rather like standing in a dark night on snowy ground after a snowstorm has passed, watching the stars fall one by one from the sky, filled with a sense of brokenness and a little bit of boldness, a willingness somehow to shine bright if only with fragments. And the heart wrenching words of Sylvia Plath come to me again: why am I given / These lamps, these planets / Falling like blessings, like flakes / Six-sided, white / On my eyes, my lips, my hair / Touching and melting, Nowhere. 

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Dual/Duel by Zen Teh

For friends in Singapore, The Days that We Wander/Wonder is at Jurong Regional Library until 20th May, and is held in collaboration with CHAT.

Welcome to the Botanic Gardens.

 A Singapore/Dog-themed photo post, since it is the first day of Chinese New Year, and one’s thoughts inevitably turn towards home. Back to the jungle, comrades.SAM_0589

Welcome to the Botanic Gardens.

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A thirsty Riley clambered onto the fountain to get a drink

(Don’t worry, we pulled her down and gave her a proper drink. After snapping photos of course)

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Snowie looking pretty handsome.

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Smiling face~

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For need of some human presence: the not-so-photogenic biped on the right happens to be me.

I loved the atmosphere at the botanic gardens. The balmy weather, the many dogs getting a long awaited day out, families and children chatting comfortably in Singlish amidst towering tropical trees that mark out a small but familiar and very well-loved landscape. This Christmas there was nowhere else that I felt more of that elusive sentiment that says “this is home”.

““I’m planting a tree to teach me to gather strength from my deepest roots.”  ~Andrea Koehle Jones, The Wish Trees

Happy chinese new year everyone! Have a fruitful year ahead (:

Riley attempts to sunbathe =^..^=

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This is our very zen Spitz, Snowie. His pastimes include moon bathing, traffic listening and flower pot inspection. He also likes to sunbathe.

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Our lively spaniel, Riley, would very much like to get his attention, but is usually met with indifference. One day, she spotted him sunbathing, and decided to give it a try.

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“So, how’s it going?”

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“Kinda glaring, isn’t it?”

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“I’m itchy, are you?”

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“Did you hear something? I gotta go check it out. Bye for now!”

Sitting still is probably not her kinda thing. But it was cute watching her try 😉

Random Blips and Banana Milk.

I often feel like I’m running on an energy deficit. Uplifted from a comfortable heat and thrown into a frigid winter, I just want to curl up like a hamster under my fluffy duvet and listen to the rain fall.

Various impressions and the occasional notion of responsibility appear like blips in a fog that is my mind; ripples on a digital screen. Before my return to London I stared at my suitcase and asked my brain what I needed. No answer. In the end, I returned to London leaving behind my student pass, railcard, student discount card, camera charger and phone charger. Jetlagged, I texted friends (bless them) at 4am in the morning despairing over how lost I am these days.  

Everything moves slowly. And I resist moving more than slowly.

Yet, I’m still itching for something or someone to shatter my energy conservation policy (to borrow a line from Hyouka). A whole year has passed since I graduated from school, and it feels like daily life will never regain that rhythm and colour it had before. I try to hide it because it seems so ungrateful a sentiment but in truth, I am highly uninspired. Is life overrated, or am I wrong somewhere?

Pondering, dreamily, lazily, with essential waitrose banana milk on a cloudy Wednesday afternoon.

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