Thursday, February 02, 2017

'tis the season

how was your chinese new year? i seem to be getting that question a lot recently. is it just a customary way of extending greeting, or can they perhaps sense a little difference from within me? a little more detached, a little less mirthful, a lot more stressed.

as we grow older, the festive season is no longer about getting together with your closest relatives, laughing and giggling, receiving red packets, eating delicious food and wearing pretty clothes. it seems to be an endless list of chores, one after another, check boxes to tick before the 15 days of the lunar new year is over. in fact, the seemingly endless things to do starts before the end of the year, stretching all the way until the 15 days of the lunar new year is up. one duty after another, stacked up on ends into one high tottering tower of tension. today is the 5th day, and i still have more than a handful of things sitting prettily on the list.

meeting old friends and busy relatives should have been gratifying but everybody wants to talk, nobody wants to listen. the little games they played should have been fun but they were all so engrossed with materialism. the rich aunty who was not satisfied with a RM200 lucky draw. the guards and cleaners who rotated work station every 15 minutes so that they can get more red packets. the captain whose service was unabashedly motivated by a red packet. where does the spirit of the chinese new year fit into all these?

but isn't it the same every year? this endless list of customary things to do. this eternal greed. this shallowness. this isn't the first year, and barring any unfortunate events happening to me for the next 365 days, this will not be the last year. why is this the new year of discontent? why does the ugliness that escaped the pandora's box seem especially glaring to me and ruffles my feathers so? even as i sit on my wicker chair, swinging right and left, with the chirping of the birds and the din of the traffic intertwined, i don't have the answer to my questions still. perhaps this is what i needed. an escape. a sanctuary to hide for a little while and immerse in my thoughts, a shelter to introspect and reinvigorate, away from everybody, away from all the demands and expectation. perhaps i am weary.

chinese new year wasn't all bad. there were the friends who showed sincerity and enthusiasm. the sweet man who bought lunch because it was his first time meeting me. the nice couple who was heartfelt. the old friend who was modest. the relatives who came from afar to say hello once a year. the husband's friend who tried to make me feel less awkward. the dear friend who wished me better late than never. the kindest in-laws. and the lovely friend who asked me how my chinese new year was.

Thursday, November 17, 2016


sometimes i forget the beauty of life. like right now. i can't see beyond the ugliness enveloping me. i try to live my life so diligently every day, so hard, so sincerely. one cannot control how others act or how others think but i live to satisfy my conscience, at the very least. to be there for everybody as much as i physically possibly could, to fulfil my duties in the various roles of my life, to love and to listen.

but nobody sees it. even worse, nobody feels it. i stop, i stand in bewilderment, i falter in a daze. i am lost. then why do i live my life so onerously, i ask myself. why do i take the hard road? when none seems to appreciate. when none acknowledges. if i am giving and no one is receiving, what am i doing? if i love but someone doesn't feel it, what was i feeling? what does that make my life? what does that make me?

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


i don't get it. i thought as you grow older, you grow wiser. you understand things. but i don't understand how some can blatantly lie, or rather tell the opposite of a truth, right in your face. at the dinner table. both times, different people. are dinners cursed? or is it normal for families to tell lies and i am the naive idealistic one?

the lies are not of paramount importance, which makes it even more confounding. i get lies to cover up lies. i get lies to hide some important facts. i get beautiful white lies to let others feel better. but lies that nobody gives a damn about.....why? and families at that. why? why say you don't know, when you very well know. why say you didn't, when you did. it wasn't like either of the answers had any consequence. if they lied so that i will not know the real them, then who are those that i know of as my family? who and what lies inside the physical embodiment of those i know as family?

if i can't even believe the words that come out from family, whose words can i believe in? if i can't even trust family, who can i trust? what is my life without belief and trust?

sometimes i believe that this world was never meant for me.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016


some days i'm so tired from what life throws at me. sometimes i can struggle on and i work late into the night, even after a full day of running around and pleasing everybody, because the pile of work will still be there waiting for me come what may. i have to care for the one that was thrusted into my life, i have to care for the one who is on summer holiday, i have to deal with a string of things going wrong in the house, i have to care for my mother in pain, and then my ailing father, i have to cook for a household of 12, i have to make sure others have their meals, i have to deliver my end of the work for the office, i have more on my plate than anyone can sanely juggle.

other days i'm so exhausted that i can barely hold my eyelids open. i thought i could do no more, that i am on the brink of collapse. i thought that i could take in no more, i have done all that i could with my two hands and super-woman capability. i thought that i will go berserk if i have to juggle more. but life throws a fast ball and i am left with little choice but to struggle on and do more.

i'm tired to the bones. i'm exhausted. i''m stressed to the max. but i'm grateful that i can be there for her. i am thankful i am given the chance to love her and care for her, to show her that she means the world to me. sometimes i am frustrated, because she is frustrated, and she in turn takes out her frustration on me. but i know i'm just tired.

i'm tired because those around me are falling down one by one and i only have one pair of hands to catch. i feel like the energizer rabbit who is running low on power. i'm babbling. i'm drifting. i'm too tired to think.

Friday, July 15, 2016

a fleck of dust

they think that i must be nurturing and loving; that to take care and to provide is in the innermost core of my being, my basic instinct; because i am a woman. they do not see how much of a struggle it is for me every day. i struggle to be what i am expected to be, to go against the wilful carefree soul that is dreaming at an open podium or park, savouring the cool windy breeze that is caressing my face and tugging at my hair, enjoying the company of my own thoughts. answering to no one, answering for no one. i remember when i was 12, doing exactly that. alone by myself, with no one to keep me company and no one to talk to. i don't know if i have always been that way or if it started then. no one to take care of me and no one for me to take care of. nature or nurture. i became me.

the years creep by and responsibilities silently piled on, without warning or reason, not taking no for an answer. i am now an adult. people see me as an adult. and they expect me to behave as an adult. to some extent i guess motherly instinct does kick in when you have younger ones. you do think about the how, when, what, where of their well being. even then, it is a struggle sometimes. you do not nag, you do not remind, you do not lecture, you do not profess to have wisdom to impart on the next generation. it is not you. you believe that people should make their own choices and live with their mistakes. you think to each his own. yet you live the live as a mother. you strain your throat to articulate reminders and annoying communication, because it is your duty. because it is expected of you.

however, it is not an all-encompassing love. you do not have a sudden desire to feed all the children in the world or educate the next generation. you do not suddenly become a saint overnight. yet, without so much as a word of warning, or a question whether it is alright, i am suddenly thrusted with not one, not two but three pieces of baggages. the scream is stuck in my throat so hard that it makes me gag sometimes. that others have the right to trespass into your life, your lifestyle and you have no say in the matter. that your feelings have an even smaller play in the situation. that another did not want to spend their time educating, nurturing, accompanying and providing for their own, and so i now must, and my own will is irrelevant. the injustice, the infringement, the inconsideration.

i have no one standing beside me. no one that speaks for me. no one that considered about me. it makes me feel more insignificant than a fleck of dust in the massive cosmic space. perhaps even worse are the flimsy excuses and justifications; you don't have to do this for them or you don't have to do that for them. i cringe and i bite my tongue. i wouldn't if i don't have the baggages in the first place. but i do because you thought it was alright to pass them on to me. justifications, who doesn't have them.

thus is life. we don't ever live our lives the way we want to.

Friday, May 27, 2016

missing a page that was

i'm feeling very nostalgic today. took a very long walk down memory lane, until my calves are tired and my emotions whimsical. a book written so wonderfully, the words jump out of the pages and fondle your senses; it was what started me on this reminiscence. i remember someone who wrote so beautifully, someone who said that he wanted to use words to accurately capture and portray what a picture could, someone who could use the evolved symbols of our language system to paint emotions, situations, descriptions, location; just like an artist with his brush. i miss that so much. i miss reading the beautiful words of a writer, so vividly expressed that it touches. i miss the old blogger group too. i don't quite miss the scrutinising eyes of random strangers or the judgemental views of people who doesn't know or care on the pages of my life, but i miss the interaction, the lively banter, the laughter and the camaraderie. i miss the introspection.

i logged into facebook with my blogger profile and peeked into what everybody was doing. there are little changes in everybody's life; change is the only constant in the universe. even though we do not interact anymore in the blogosphere, as that world is so passe, but it makes my day to see everybody happy and healthy. she has moved on to other careers, he did not get the little patter of small feet that he was so looking forward to :(, the old one is still learning, still keeping up with trends, they wished my cobwebbed page happy birthday, she has deleted her account, he is still talking cock, her two kids are so big now, he has unfriended me (for goodness knows what reason!!!) and some i can no longer remember their blog or their avatar. the only congruity it will seem is that none of them blog anymore. i guess it is a given, after 10 years, that everybody has moved on, to try newer things, to go on with their lives, to do something different. only i remain, solitary, in this infinite colossal impalpable world, with my own thoughts, as it should be, introspective. i am reminded of why i have continued writing, for whom i am writing, and my love for the written language. i am reminded that i am an introvert.

i scrolled through my blogs, re-reading old posts and publishing old drafts. with the passage of time, many posts that were once 'sensitive' lost the power to hurt and i am now comfortable with posting it for all to see. things that i have forgotten, stories and settings that have been dismissed from my mind, i read them again. the only witness to the flipping of the pages of my life and my journey.

Friday, May 20, 2016

the meaning is what you make of it

i hear it a lot: what is the meaning of life? many of us come to a crossroad in life where we ask ourselves, and others, the point of our existence. what is the reason we are put on this earth? i guess to ask that, to some degree one has to be a theist, to believe that there is a higher power that controls our very existence and that we did not just appear as a result of the right ingredients, the right condition, at the right time. or perhaps we are just very lost individuals, seeking for things to make sense in our very short time on earth, hoping that we are able to make a difference, no matter how small and hoping that the world will remember us in its infiniteness.

at 45, i have realised that there isn't any all-encompassing 'meaning' to life. what your life means is what you want it to mean, what you need it to mean; or in another word; how you want to live your life. if you are breathing and moving, you are probably already living your life and have part 1 of life101 down. i always hold the ideology that we make decisions base on what we are, who we are, so even given another life, without hindsight, we will make the same decisions in the same circumstances. so no point fretting. no point regretting. no more what ifs.

most, when pondering on this question, are looking for motivation to achieve greatness, or simply just something more than mediocrity and duldrum. they want to know if they are wasting their lives or whether they should be putting a little more effort. but by what yardstick can you measure one individual's life that is only uniquely theirs? for some, saving lives and finding the cure to cancer are things that they are destined to do, others touching the lives of others through their sincerity and love make a world of difference to those around them. to each his own. thus i do not believe that there is a general maxim by which to live your life. we discover what we want, what we are capable of, what we seek and we live it to the fullest, or not, depending on what brings meaning to you.

i do not believe that the motivation to fully live our lives come from analysing the meaning of life, or seeking for an external enlightenment. we are motivated by seeing, by listening, by empathising, by caring and loving, by living. with empathy, we choose to make a difference in the ways we can. and hence is the meaning of your life; to live it, to see, to hear, to empathise, to care and to love. consider yourself enlightened. go live your life.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

this human is out of service

the doc said my emotions are affecting my kidneys ,which in turn affects the rest of my body, amongst some other tcm mumbo jumbo. sigh. what can i do? it's not like i have control over my feelings. i'm sad, and the rest of my body is feeling it too. can i shake the sadness out of my system like a little etch-a-sketch? can i erase and forget about it with an imaginary heart-board duster? do i continue to sulk and mope until my blue pity bag is full, then i chuck it into the nearest dumpster? i am aware that i have mood swings; days when it is a struggle to even maintain a smile, and days when i go about as normal. sometimes i walk around in a daze waiting for the frown to turn upside down. is it actually more physiological, rather than psychological? the body affects the mind? or the mind affects the body? maybe it is just hormonal imbalances. maybe it is just metabolism out of whack. nobody's life is perfect. nobody is exactly where they want to be, doing what they want to do. but life still goes on.

Monday, May 16, 2016


how are you doing, some asked. she has left - i wanted to say. it was at the very tip of my mouth. but who would care? would they care that i am sad she has left. or would they care that she is no longer around. sadly, neither. no one in this world cares about either. and so i swallowed those words down my throat again.

one day, perchance, i told the man who asked after me many many moons ago. the one who extended a friendly touch when none bothered. i don't know why i did. maybe i thought he could understand now because he understood then how painful it was for me. i wanted to tell someone, needed to tell someone, to share the grief i had been carrying around like a lost puppy, with no direction, no destination. i told him that she has left.

who is she, he asked. my instinctive reaction was to drop the detestable phone, scamper to my bed and pull the covers over me, to hide from the shame and repulsion. that one last person in the world who had an inkling of what i went through then had totally erased the memories from his cranium. or maybe he never did know. maybe i never did open up, even though his kind text messages were enough to assuage the pain in my heart. i understood now that it was me he was enquiring after so long ago, not her. i wasn't angry with him, but i didn't want to desecrate the memories by having to explain it. and so i said never mind, it's not important. even though it was. it was a very important part of my story, of my pages. and i continue to hold it inside of me.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

the mythical creature

two doctors. one clinic. a whole world of difference.

an idol in modern times is akin to a mythical creature, like the unicorn and elves. i've idolised actors and actresses when i was young, based on nothing more than their looks and the personality that they portrayed in the selected few movies and dramas. as i grew older, faced with the ugly facets of reality, nothing much impresses me. wealth, power, fame, looks, i've seen giants top giants. i have observed them boasting, yet trying to appear modest at the same time. i have seen arrogance and fake humility. can i honestly say i am not also guilty of a certain degree of haughtiness? conceit or impatience, sometimes the lines blur a little.

i met him perhaps twenty years ago. i forget. when i was an still an impressionable individual. i thought that he was the best doctor ever. him and another, who has since passed away. out of all the doctors, and for some strange reason i seem to be seeing quite a few, he stood high amongst them, and i am not referring to his stature.

yesterday i am reminded why i idolise this doctor. he is the very embodiment of what a doctor should be, at least in the perfect imaginary world. he arrives for work at 6 a.m., when most of us are burrowing our sleepy heads deeper into our pillows, denying the existence of the new day. he never hurries during the requisite q & a, listening patiently to your problems and questions and explaining every single thing in depth. his memory is comparable to an elephant. as i have not been back to his clinic for dinosaur years, they have completely vaporised my old records. i sat down with a clean empty file in front of him, expecting to go into detail about my past to refresh him. he took one look at me, a second look, and exclaim ,"haven't i seen you before?". he could go into detail about everything; that hubs is hongki, what problems she had, how hubs' mother was diagnosed with lung cancer, the position of the cancer, my grandmother's cancer even and all these took place a decade ago, at the very least. he will probably serve well as my bibliographer, if i had any story to remember and tell. the next visit, he was there and waiting for us, eventhough we were suppose to be the first early bird patient. he was enthusiastic, he was passionate, he was efficient yet careful about his diagnostic, he was thorough, he was full of energy and he was not young, he was personable. when he referred us to his partner for further consultation, he came in personally to brief him and hear his opinion on the case, eventhough he has an endless flow of patients lined up to see him. he was not only passionate about looking for abnormalities within his field of medicine but the patient's overall health. he was the one who identified mil's lung cancer eventhough his area of expertise was neither pulmonology nor oncology.

how many doctors have you met that are already jaded? too tired to explain because they have met too many ignorant and stubborn patients. too careless with their analysis because they are tired. one more, one less, no difference. too egoistic to think it is their prerogative to keep the patients waiting. too long immersed to be passionate about saving the world anymore. too specialised to even consider that the illness is most probably something else. i had a doctor diagnose my mother as possible parkinson's simply because she was referred from a routine body check for a perceived rigidity in her hand and put on medication to confirm it. the doctor did not for a second wonder if it could have been caused by trauma to the hand muscles. i had another told me my grandfather was fine following his admission into hospital, only to have him pass away in the middle of the night.

befitting this iniquitous world, it is the comparatively lacking one that is conferred with a title. then again, this lack of superficial conferment agrees with his noble image of a doctor. perhaps the other was more qualified, i wouldn't know, but he didn't note an earlier observation on the file in his very hand before providing an inconsistent preliminary diagnosis.

perhaps he is a horrible person in other aspects of his life, i wouldn't know as i do not not interact with him

to all good doctors out there i wish them a very long and healthy life. to all good doctors out there i want to thank you from the very bottom of my heart on behalf of humanity.