Angel Down

Ever since my post on Monday morning, my knee hasn’t been getting better. I changed my bandage and dressed my wounds alone at home yesterday and took a good 1 hour. The bandage was stuck to my skin, and the only way to remove my bandage was to rip my skin off along with it. The pain numbed me: I was only a step further away from stuffing my mouth with a towel (to prevent screaming). I am glad I did this before my housemate came home, because after she came home she asked if I needed help with my bandage. For some reason, I don’t feel very comfortable getting help from her, or let anybody see me in this vulnerable position.

The only exception was Yin Mei & Darren. Shortly after my fall on Monday, they called their Resident Advisor and insisted that I go to their student accommodation to get my wound properly bandaged. They’re my close friends and I’m really comfortable with them anyway, so it’s fine. I still can’t believe my fall was so bad, it affected my everyday living and daily routines. I couldn’t hold a pen properly, couldn’t bend my knees so I’ll have to take longer routes to avoid stairs, waste time waiting for the lift, and worst of all I couldn’t dress myself easily. It’s so frustrating 😦

The last time I had such a bad fall was in 2015 when I twisted my ankle and tore my tendon. My leg swelled. I never had such a bad knee injury before, not even when I was younger. As they dressed my wound for the first time Yin Mei said I could hold onto her held if I wanted to. I did, but only squeezed it gently. I don’t know if my pain tolerance has become higher over the years but I’d like to think it did.

Fast forward about 10 mins later, my wounds were dressed. Then something happened. I cannot say for what specific reason in this blog but I looked at my friends and I cried. I cried not because of the pain in my wound but because I was so touched by Darren’s actions. I was looking at him throughout, and as he moved about the room, I felt hospitality at its finest. I felt friends sacrificing for me even though it might get them into trouble. Afterwards, I thanked him.

“That’s what friends do,” “he said.


I’ve been thinking about my best friend in the army. For some reason, Yin Mei and Darren reminded me of my best friend. He phoned me that night, for a quick call while he was in the army.

Time had suddenly became scared and precious. “Lights out” was two words which set the restriction on every national serviceman’s time. “hey, how are you?” Voices of his bunk mates, chanting a synchronised cheer, rang in the background. It was almost impossible to hear him over the other end of the phone.

We chatted for what seemed like hours. As he rambled on and on about the daily duties, insights and exciting narrations about army life, I knew we had all entered a new phase in life. With him, I usually talked about myself and that made me feel very guilty. I felt selfish. It’s not that I didn’t bother to ask how his day was, but he was always the listener. This time, I was so glad he’s talking—I want someone to unload their amusements, recounts, burdens, whatever—on me for once.

“Hold on ah,” he blurted out without precaution. At the other end of the phone, I sensed that obviously someone had entered their bunk. I paused.

“YES SERGEANT!” Masculine voices bounced off the phone into my ears. I could hear all of them, and my best friend’s voice, loud and clear. Immediately, I felt the strict presence, the aura of confined routine in NS from the other end of the phone. I felt it. Two words had strongly summarized what my friend was going through, even though I’m listening from miles (and an ocean) away.

In a sense, freedom was taken from both of us. I guessed he had it worse, haha. Australia took my freedom but also gave me liberation in return.

Just then he was back again. But only for a split second. “Got to go,” the line clicked abruptly before he himself could finish that three words and before I had the time to respond. And once again I am filled with silence on the other end of the phone and in my own room, closing in around me.

I feel neither happy nor sad. “Wow,” I thought. “That’s the military for you.”

War movies. I have always romanticised them. I don’t know if it’s wrong to do so, I can never know the full impact of war on loved ones unless I have been born in the era of war. I just think its such a great thing for countrymen to fight and die for a great cause.

“Tomorrow I’m throwing a grenade.”
“My rifle…”
“Have you ever held like, a real gun?”

Talking about weapons and shit like that with my best friend, makes the books and movies feel so real. That terrorism, war, defence, and everything is actually closer than we think. I don’t know what to feel about this until I hold an actual grenande.


 

FIVE FOOT TWO: A LADY GAGA DOCUMENTARY

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Spent the past few days at home watching Netflix: stumbled upon a Lady Gaga documentary. I have always loved Lady Gaga since 16. Although I always wrestled with her obscene music videos, outrageous fashion and seemingly eccentric behaviour, there was one thing that stood out: I knew she was always genuine with her fans. I used to be a Swiftie but something that drove me away was that I felt that Swift wasn’t truly loving to her fans.

One thing that inspires me greatly about Lady Gaga is that she is an Aries, like me. I’m not an astrology freak but the fact that we shared something in common made me look up to her as a role model more.

I loved her new album, Joanne. In fact, I think everybody should listen to it. I loved it because she was simple in this album. It was also the most personal album (cmon, the album name proves it already). I got to see the true essence of her character—under those wigs, heavy make-up and even for who she was, Stefani Germanotta. She made me want to be strong, to fight for the things I love, to be passionate and emotional, she made me want to be original, to be a creator and to be open-minded.

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I laughed so hard at this scene. HAHAHA. I love how they capture little things like her posting on Instagram!

I loved Joanne’s tracks, how the tunes sounded more maudlin. “A million reasons” is my favourite. “Joanne” had such a deep meaning with her family. One huge struggle faced in the documentary was her health. Her body breaks down every now and then, enduring the physical pain and emotional stress behind the scenes gave me a different perspective of her apart from what we see on the outside—the usual fame and glory. Who knew that before she came out to greet fans, she was inside the dressing room breaking down and in pain? This documentary follows the whole process of it and shows some of the rawest moments in her life.

My favourite Lady Gaga quotes in the documentary:

“You have to go to that broken place in your heart to write songs. Sometimes it’s like open heart surgery, you know? Making music. Every time, its invasive.”
I totally agree because I have experienced this in the process of creation. I wrote poems, created art, designed things with a broken heart. This quotes just inspires me more. It inspires me to be creative and put a little piece of my soul out there.

“You weren’t born to fit in. You were born to stand out, to speak up, to live life out loud.”
This was so powerful. It’s like a command. That everybody is destined for great things.

[on gender] “However, she becomes more powerful, she has to flee. And I think that this is also, like, something that women have to do. Whenever you become more powerful, there’s always opposition.”
The fact that if you’re a woman, you’re owned. Feminists will oppose this but currently, I have no comments and thoughts about gender equality whatsoever. I wouldn’t call myself a feminist, I just want to be clearer who I should be as a woman. Should I be aggressive? Assertive? Cute? Sexy, or weak?

[saying when she was in physical pain] “Put Trump on. That’ll knock me out. All you need to knock you out of your trauma is to be further traumatised.”
I laughed at this. I love the fact that she still can make a joke out of the situation and pain she was in, hahha.

My favourite jam for the week is her song “Angel Down”. When I first heard the chilling lyrics, //Shots were fired on the street// By the church where we used to meet// Angel down, angel down// But the people just stood around//  I trembled from excitement. Flashes of the church I used to seek refuge in in Singapore went through my mind. Not only was it relatable to my personal life, but I immediately knew it drew a huge parallel to TVB’s HK drama, No Regrets, about World War II. In the drama, shots were legit fired in the church the male & female lead used to meet. The lyrics matched it perfectly, almost as though it was written for the drama. Counting on the chances that I might have been wrong in interpreting the song, I googled it, but what I found further confirmed my sentiments:

“I was overwhelmed by the fact that people just stood around and didn’t do anything about it and that the justice system continues to over and over again not seek justice for these families,” —Lady Gaga on Angel Down

In the church was where I told my best friend I wanted to help kids in underprivileged families. It was where I cried, prayed and wrestled. The church was also a prominent feature in No Regrets. I have adored that show for a long time, it is so personal to me.

I can’t believe Angel Down matches all these and from what I see, Angel Down paints the scene of the Japanese invasion perfectly. “Where are our leaders?” gave the lyrics a political perspective, almost screaming, “So many people were maligned, suffered indignantly in World War II, where is the justice?” Till this age, the fact that people had to live in constant anxiety bothers me too. Refugees in the Syria, in Jordan? Given my strong feelings about war, I love war heroes who go out of their way to bring the weak and vulnerable to safety. Which is why I love the female lead in the Chinese TVB drama “No Regrets”. I fucking look up to her.


I know that the caged bird sings by Maya Angelou

Yet another piece of beautiful literature about the black prejudice in America, growing up, gender inequality and more. Fucking mature and beautiful. I finished reading it this morning. Considering I had spent more than a month on this book, it was a long time I took to finish it.

I can’t believe Maya and her family moved SO MANY TIMES. I think I’d go crazy if I moved that many times in my childhood. The idea is just so foreign to me, you know? I know how change terrifies a child badly. They are nervous about this change, as their lives are uprooted again during their young lives. I remember the feeling when things are about to shift when I was a child. I would hold on to it as my circumstances threatened me.

The theme of abandonment is very clear in the book. The adults accept racism as it is while the children questioned it. “The inability of Uncle Willie or Momma to explain it or confront it at Bailey’s urging shows how deeply even they have taken it to heart. For although they accept racism and the system of segregation that it furthers, to understand it or confront it themselves might mean they are unable to live under this system themselves.”

This is so powerful because I could see this trait in adults, in fact, in my parents. Most of the things they can accept as it is can be things that can be fought, and I don’t know why they simply accept it without fighting. To fight alone would simply mean too much energy. As a child, there are many times where I questioned only to be met with a reply, “shhh, children shouldn’t bother with such matters.”

Racism, as Angelou presents it here, is an “enigma,” a “humorless puzzle,” something that cannot be understood, but that Uncle Willie and Momma and the people of Stamps have gotten used to. When I read that, it was crazy because “getting used to things” is not a good sign. It is getting comfortable and settling for less, and that thought makes me super uneasy. I could have resigned to my fate that I wasn’t going to a university, but I fought for my place here in Australia. It took effort and hard work and tears, but I’m glad I fought out because I can never live a life being sorry for myself.

Maya was very vulnerable in her autobiography and I admired that not only because I have trouble being completely transparent about my private life to my viewers/readers, but also because Maya gave out details about the sexual bits of her life! That is a big thing for me, because I am extremely self-conscious to whom I am narrating my (sexual life) stories to because a lot of people in my social circle tend to judge. You can’t freely blabber your mouth like that on social media, you know what I mean? But Maya freaking published a book—on rape, her sex recount, her pregnancy. That’s some courage right there.

She used exaggeration in the book so often. She is also very maudlin, which I love. She is a young girl with a taste for drama; and in some sense, I think I am quite similar to her. I put excess sentimental value in things I shouldn’t have put in, and see things in cinematic angles. Sometimes, no one understands such people, and to find someone who can see things through the same lens of melodrama as you….is hard. I wish my best friend could, but it is difficult to explain things that must be felt, and each time he fails to understand it frustrates me, hahah. I completely give up.


Alright, that’s all for the book review! On a side note, it is my grandma’s 100th birthday today! I also want to travel with my mum someday. I hope by the grace of God this would come true.

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