Spring

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Spring is here!

Just came back from grocery shopping at the shopping mall near my house. Today was a bit special, my housemate offered to walk with me from our house to the mall. I have never walked before, have always taken a bus, and it was very nice of her to show me the way by accompanying me. She had just moved in and I have never actually hung out with her before. The walk was 30 minutes, and to walk together means I would have to sustain a conversation with her for 30 minutes.

To my surprise, it was such great ease. We talked non-stop, there was no awkwardness at all, in fact, so much laughter and the conversation felt so natural. She was very talkative, very bubbly; there was hardly a gap of silence, and she gushed about the benefits of walking, “Yeah you should walk! I always walk and listen to my music and the walk is not long at all! In fact, it’s part of my daily routine now. And it is spring, the weather is so nice and the flowers are in full bloom…look!” as we walked she pointed, and we stopped occasionally to admire the flowers. The walk from our house to the mall was a bushwalk and we had to pass through a creek, where we see flora and fauna of species which I have never seen before (and certainly not thriving in Singapore).

“I’m definitely missing out!” I said in response and meant it. As she talked with such gusto and introducing me to the skatepark nearby, the mini supermart nearby, I felt a pang of embarrassment. I have lived here since May and have never walked to school or to the mall before. She has only just moved in and yet already knows so much about the neighbourhood. Ever since I came back from Europe and was curing my jet lag, I was usually late, and rushing for the bus and stuff. I never got to make the extra effort to wake up early, breathe in some fresh air and admire nature as I walked to school.

All I can say is I have made the decision to walk to school from now on. I am so so excited to listen to music and think about life while walking, or to just get a bit of exercise amidst my busy schedule. I have recently planned to meet up with a friend and she suggested instead of the usual hanging out at a cafe, why not go to a park and get a bit of running done? I loved the idea.

I got to the supermarket and have realised that I have never bought foods that I really wanted to try before. Mainly because I don’t know how to cook them, and I was too unmotivated to experiment. Then I got home and made some strawberry milkshake for myself for the first time since I’ve moved in. I realised have not used the blender even once, I seldom used the rice cooker, and I always use the microwave. I have not noticed how the flowers in my backyard have started to bloom.

I paused because I was trying to get some sort of insight here. Perhaps I was too absorbed in my own life and what I’m doing in school, or what’s online at the moment; that I’ve never stopped to appreciate beauty unless I’m travelling. I have not ventured outside my comfort zone to try new recipes or to even use the blender, instead of buying packet drinks and milkshakes all the time. I think…I lived like this not because I was lazy, but because it is too easy to fall back into a routine. We always think there are more important things occupying us, when in fact maybe…it is these little things that keep life fresh.

I love spring. The flowers are a sign that the weather is getting warmer, and should be a sign for me to stop being so absorbed in my own world, and to walk to school, too.

Passion and Fire

“Hear this, young men and women everywhere, and proclaim it far and wide. The earth is yours and the fullness thereof. Be kind, but be fierce. You are needed now more than ever before. Take up the mantle of change. For this is your time.”
—Sir Winston Churchill

Speaks to me a lot, because I know I have a vision, perhaps even a global revival for the youths of today. I can be kind and fierce… the question is, is this my time?

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When we are young, we are filled with all energy and hope and passion and fire.

I was watching this documentary on American rappers in the music industry and they say we creators, us, we have to keep feeling and keep owning this fire; and implement our passion with discipline and consistency, because if we don’t it’s going to fizzle.

I hope mine never runs out.

I know in the creative industry, in the business of blogging, youtube and content creation, we have to market ourselves. This female rapper, Awkwafina, was talking about how she thinks she probably couldn’t be marketed without her music (her niche). I think so, for me, too. I have to have something that complements me…a kind of craft, a skill I can hone. Asian female, I am short, petite, normal looking, nobody would notice me. Some people (like celebrities and fashion models) can be marketed as themselves, as it is, as their personalities; but I don’t think I can be marketed like that. The thing is I am still not sure about my niche: is it art? Is it design? Is it in my writing? Or my video editing? Or photography? On top of all these, I still have so many things I’m interested in like acting, modelling, singing. Even though I have 0 experience in those. I have to find and market my niche.

My friends and I were talking about YouTube (the Asian Hollywood lol) yesterday and how it’s so oversaturated, that in order to really stand out, we have to be smashing original. Thinking about this repulses me, but it does not quench my drive for innovation. It just quenches my interest in YouTube. I DO NOT wish to be a social media influencer or a YouTuber, but I just enjoy creating videos. How does it make sense?? HAHHA. I have to be original and innovative.

Growing up, I am taught by my mother that Asians have no place in Hollywood, or in any creative industry for that matter. When I wanted to venture into the international market, my mum and others would tell me that as an Asian, I would always be treated with inferiority. It only has been in the recent year that I studied more on race, gender and culture in University; and I think the world is changing to become more inclusive, so I refuse to be defined by race or gender. I am still working on my insecurities though: my Singaporean accent. Not so much because I’m not proud of my culture, but because people have such a hard time understanding me when I speak Singlish. I feel embarrassed, and even though I have successfully shaken off most of my Singlish accent, learning how to speak in standard English; there is still this nagging doubt: If I wanted an acting career, would they accept the way I speak? If I wanted to have my own talk show or go into public speaking, would people recognise the way I speak? Would international employers want me to go into news reporting, for example? Race and gender is a barrier that the world is slowly overcoming, but what about accents? I want my face to get out there and I want to represent the weak, to give a voice to the silent, to inspire. I have to be comfortable in my own skin.

 

Marvel

Here’s my favorite quote from Captain America:

“A strong man who has known power all his life lose respect for that power, but a weak man knows the value of strength, and knows compassion.”

And Spiderman Homecoming:

Peter Parker: I’m nothing without the suit.
Tony Stark: The more you shouldn’t have it.

How true. The things we hold onto most tightly are the exact things we should let go. Because if not, it becomes an unhealthy idol, the more we can’t live without it, the more danger we put ourselves to, let ourselves and our worth be defined by it.

I realize I can learn so much from Marvel. Thor used to think he’s nothing without his hammer. The more he shouldn’t have it, because it actually hurts him. After it has been taken away from him, how much true potential within him was uncovered?

And Doctor Strange:

Ancient One: Arrogance and fear still keep you from learning the simplest and most significant lesson of all.
Strange: Which is?
Ancient One: It is not about you.

but really at heart, Doctor Strange is about losing one of the things that define you (in this case, his work) and this sense of salvation when you embark on a journey to rediscover yourself.

Forget self-pity and panic and pride. What will be your mission now?

Something that I always ask myself whenever I fall.

Ends of the earth

This morning I awoke having had the best sleep of my life. That’s great because before I slept I prayed to God for a good sleep. I think I am immune to jet lag. My jet lag, if of any existence at all, is cured now. However, I have chapped, dry lips, lips that are unable to adapt to the dry weather after a humid British summer.

This morning, I did what needs to be done, and ordinary life begins again. Opened my fridge, and apart from some bad food, there was nothing in it at all. Threw out the expired foodstuffs. Drew up a grocery list. Did my laundry. Scrubbed my shoes. Glad to see my Nikes back again, my Nikes which I missed for one month. Swapped my Oyster card for an Opal card.

Civilian life

1.02am.

I should be sleeping now. I had just braved 14 hours of flight, a 2-hour transit, then another 7 hours of flight again. I am physically exhausted, unwell, and hungry. With the girl beside me on the airplane coughing like mad, I am not quite sure if I had caught the flu. I should be sleeping now, but my first night back in Sydney after more than a month of being on the European roads has led me to feel emotionally overwhelmed, and this would be the perfect time to blog.

I’ve had 2 crying fits so far. One on the airplane back to Sydney, another here, in my room. I feel like I’m supposed to come home from my travels and to feel like I’m home, but instead, I came to Sydney, and I’m having a hard time figuring out if this feels like home. I have met my parents briefly on the transit in Singapore, mainly to pass them souvenirs, and I was gone in a moment. Funny how traveling from one side of the world to the other side can make me so emotional. Different time zones, currencies, weather forecasts, accents…it’s complicated, troublesome, yet…a mark of freedom. A blessing.

The month flew by fast. I enjoyed myself, and was very busy every day, and hence felt like I did not have the time and energy to digest my adventures while I was there. Now, when it’s over, it’s almost like everything came crashing down at once, every emotion, every thought, memory, sense, and I find myself struggling to unpack my thoughts.

One of my most vivid memory was that in Leicester Square. It was a fine evening, and Katerina and I were passing by, just to see a crowd of people surrounding a street basker. He was good—like really good. Holding an acoustic guitar, he sang to Ed Sheeran’s ‘Perfect’, the melody enveloping the whole place and setting the perfect mood. Kate and I stood still, and listened like the others, because he was so good. The streets look after it had just rained. It was beautiful.

On the plane, I heard it again. I close my eyes, and I could instantly picture the scene in my mind, I was instantly transported back to Leicester Square. Tears streamed down my eyes. It wasn’t just because I was sad to leave—not so simple. I couldn’t exactly place my hands on why. I was immensely grateful to God, I think it was that London has been my dream for the longest time (about 10 years) and the realization that I have been there just comes down on me all at once. Then I pictured future me, years down the road, looking at photos and reliving the memories. I wonder how I would have felt. Would I feel like how I felt when I relived Japan pictures? Langkawi pictures? I wasn’t that attached to those places. Would the memory feel fresh in my mind, or distant? I had prayed that my memories stay vivid.

Another thought that made me cry was the concept of time. Hostels, luggage, accents, coach trips, London underground—all these things only occur once. Isn’t it weird? Time passes in a linear way, when that moment is gone, it is gone forever, and new memories grow stronger in replace of old ones. There can be only one flower there at one point, one moment, one accent, that particular flavor in borough market, that particular note echoing in Queen’s Theatre. Even if I went back to London again and did the same things again, it won’t be the same.

I started to think about the near future—the time when I must return to Singapore. I have been so used to being on the road, having personal space, living alone…I’m not sure if I can adjust back to the sheltered life of a Singaporean kid living with parents anymore. I had my own bank statements, my own days planned, my own curfew, own dinners taken care of, own friends, own documents to sign and no one to account to. With independence comes great power. Not that I ever exploited that power, but this independent lifestyle of mine is about to come to an end and it is my biggest fear.

The past month felt like I’m having a gypsy life, jumping from one city to the next, with no plans, no itinerary, just going. It is not a holiday. It is being ON THE GO. I thought of a Sherlock parallel that brings tears to my eyes…I felt like John, John Watson adjusting to civilian life. John had been in military service in Afghanistan, and since I am so attached to the series, I never thought it would impact me this way.

Going back to Singapore felt like adjusting to normal, civilian life again. Returning to one state and adjusting—I have to bear in mind that it is a closure of one chapter of my story and the opening of the next…doesn’t mean it is not going to be beautiful. Because heck, just when I thought my life had ended in February this year, a lovely European chapter unfolded before my very eyes…