Thursday, December 22, 2005


When I gaze
into your blue eyes,
my heart quivers
and leaps
into the air
and longs to surf
the waves
of the ocean
that lies beyond.
My language to you
is as foreign
as yours to me,
yet I long to
unravel the secrets
in your heart
so that we can speak
of oneness.


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

ice cream moments

some fun-loving people from the part time crew i work with at haagen dazs. we had a christmas party two days ago. but too bad our manager had to work the full shift and had to stay behind the counter most of the time.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

asking randomly

can we respond to diehard pragmatism with surrealism?

can we overcome certain social conventions that limit us with truths from heaven that set us free?




or maybe i should watch princess mononoke ( by hayao miyazaki) the second time.

P/S; i think Abdul Halim is right though. it is probably better to have sympathies for both, ie pragmatism and surrealism.
i was, however, referring to pragmatism in its extreme form. i assume that we calculate and reason too much in excessive pragmatism leaving no room for the fantastical, instinctive etc. and life can become quite dry and sterile. it's always good, however, not to be biased against both in their moderate forms.

Monday, November 28, 2005



next to where i work , there has been an ongoing outdoor photography exhibition by a French guy named Yann Arthus Bertrand along the street of orchard road. it will be here to stay for a few months .
All his images were captured while he was flying in the helicopter. He went to many countries and offered glimpses of a variety of cultures, some radically different from our own.

it's nice to have somebody reminding me to look at life, including our earth, from a different perspective. things can look very different and surprising! everytime i take a short walk to the ice cream parlor from the mrt station, the images accompanying me have the effect of bringing me to another train of thoughts. well, of course, the novelty wears off. the first time i saw the photographs was almost two months ago. however, the mental reminder will always remain.

i realize that i have been looking at my circumstances and life horizontally most of the time. the scenery has become too repetitive and will be nice to climb, or soar a little higher than where i am usually, and look down, taking a bird's eye view. strange, it always takes another person to remind me of that. i don't really do that automatically.

then, when that happens, we might live, breathe and walk a little differently from what we are used to. well i supposed it's a MAYBE. or certain challenges might have different answers. an issue that produces despair might look magically hopeful again.




or we can also try out other angles, not just from a bird's eye view, just to have fun.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

his color, his lines

last saturday, i went to zouk ( with dor win. it is one of my favorite dance clubs that just re-opened after about a month of renovation. as i was dancing away in velvet underground, i spotted one of Keith Haring's paintings on the walls. everytime i look at his works, i get some kind of fresh energy. few days ago, i chanced about a book about Haring in borders and bought it at 19.95 singapore dollars.

and then, i have some words :

as i see him and his lines,
i sense a love so untainted,
a dance so bold and wild
and a voice
so honest.
i crave to participate in
his rhythm,
to break away
from this nauseatic cage
of organized sounds,
to leap once again
into a maelstrom of
eternal youth, of joy
and of sweet mania.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

mum & dad

last weekend, my family went to a restaurant called " out of the pan" for dinner. one habit of my dad's is sketching people around him on whatever piece of paper he has.




my mum doesn't draw, but she can certainly cook. this was prepared by her one week ago for the family. it's vegetarian and organic, the kind of diet my parents live on.



Tuesday, November 08, 2005

bits and pieces

hung out with with Gerard and Song Ann last sunday. we drove to holland village and sat at the Gelare Cafe for hours. i had gelato waffle and a little cheescake, a refreshing change from haggan dazs ice cream at work. after that, we headed over to Thai Express for dinner and i ate curry noodles which i personally felt were not spicy enough. then we continued chatting till ten at night. it felt awesome just being able to talk and listen ceaselessly, sitting in the middle of holland village and sometimes giving one another odd ideas for life. it also gave me an opportunity to steal more than two cigarettes from them. coffee talk is fun . it's safe. you propose an idea, imagine the scenario, but never really facing the consequences.i also get to learn more about politics and music from Song Ann and Gerard respectively. they asked me about comparative literature which i majored back in college. i had a difficult time defining it to them. the strict definition eludes me everytime i try to explain it to somebody. Oh dear!!

i love the SMRT trains in Singapore. Traffic here is getting too heavy, and traveling in a car makes me feel sluggish and irritable. Taking the train is like stepping on the elevator to anywhere you desire. It's fast, efficient, clean and minimalistic. There are cool advertisements to gaze at, those above the windows, and the ones underneath your feet. Besides, I love reading on the train. I can also stare at different kinds of people,furtively.....but not voyeuristically. Clean, Efficient, and Fast. That's an aspect of life i like about Singapore. However, at 8.30 in the morning when i sometimes get on the train to town, it feels different. It's overly crowded with people rushing off to work. it makes me feel like a faceless and colorless digit, especially when i have not gotten my caffeine fix.

Friday, November 04, 2005


last week, i bought these blue marbles while walking around little india with a friend. they only cost one singapore dollar. however, besides gazing at them occasionally, i don't really know what else i could do with them. let me know if you have any ideas.




Wednesday, October 26, 2005




during lunch today, my grandma showed me how my mum and uncle looked like when they were kids.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

i prefer working at haggan- dazs in the weekends. for the first time, i worked on a sunday.the streets of orchard road become more vibrant with different sorts of colors. there are many more people to serve ice cream and smile to. it is better than standing around, idling in a weekday morning, and trying to occupy ourselves by sometimes eating and re-tasting the ice cream in front of us. most of the customers in orchard road are tourists. seeing them in their casual outfits has definitely stirred the nomadic spirit within me again. i want go traveling again. but first, i want to travel in my own country. God knows how many interesting places and corners i am ignorant of. i want to get myself a bus guide soon, and start wandering around on foot as well, taking photographs.Is this place a labyrinth, or just an uncomplicated world filled with straight roads? i will find out soon.

last saturday, i did get out of my country just for a day, the first time since my trip to Shanghai. i was asked by a friend of mine to perform, along with some others, for an annual event held by the singapore bible college. we played mendelssohn's lobegesang and psalm 52 in a small ensemble to accompany the choir. we played for the Malaysian audience in johor was really nice to re -connect with old friends in the ensemble i have not seen for ages. The picture above is my violinist friend playing with his own shadows.

i love Rachmaninoff piano concerto 2. i still can't forget the concert early in october, when the ad-hoc orchestra i was in accompanied Tedd Joselson (an American pianist living in Singapore) as he gave his wild interpretation of both Rach's piano concertos 2 and 3. He made me fall in love with the music again. There is definitely a difference between merely listening to it on recording and actually playing the music. Joselson has such an erratic and unpredictable way of playing that i find very the same time, he also helps connect me with the music emotionally. so today, i read up a bit about the piano concerto number 2 online. It was actually composed during the recovery phrase of Rach's depression and was dedicated to the psychiatrist who successfully helped him. well, that is the official view. There is an alternative family report which suggests that the secret inspiration behind his music was actually the psychiatrist's daughter and it remained a "shadowy presence during the composer's subsequent married life." This report is regarded with skepticism by scholars. However, i do wonder if it is possible for Rachmaninoff to compose this piece without having the feeling and agony of having fallen helplessly in love with somebody? There is also another interesting website, whereby a person creates digital images as he hears the individual movements of the piano concerto. The images are kind of wierd. However, the process seems interesting to me. Check it out at

Friday, October 21, 2005

this is where i dream, write and think. it's safe here.

PICT0034sometimes, hiding behind a mask makes me feel protected and secure, and even unchallenged. but there are times when i wish i could just reveal that little secret within me. i guess we all have our secrets. there are just so many ways to keep them. while idling, we can always go enter the chambers in our hearts and surprise ourselves.

u know, i used to have really wierd dreams while i was in ann arbor. they seem to have become a little too normal lately here at home!!

Friday, October 14, 2005


will watch it with my sister and her friends tonight. just click on the title to see what it is all about.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

ice cream

i have grown to like the variety of ice cream flavors in haggan-dazs. i work there part time now, few hours a week. when i was a customer, the flavor i used to go for was always macadamia nut. i never explored other options. but now, i get to taste rum raisin, panna cotta raspberry ( the latest flavor of the month), midnight cookies and cream, strawberry cheescake, branded cherry etc. my favorites are those that contain alchohol and nuts. what don't really go well with me are sorbet flavors.
how do these weekly hours of serving ice cream in haggan daz influence my life in the future? i am curious to find out too.

the very apparent effect is that it constantly makes me crave for ice cream , especially at night .

that's good. it makes me look forward to my next shift, which is this coming Friday.

check out

Monday, October 10, 2005

china 003

Yesterday, i was reminded to be thankful in a sermon.
That brings me back to one of my favorite verses in the bible " be joyful always, pray continually and give thanks in all circumstances." ( 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) It never fails to inspire me, especially during trying times.

i guess i know it is important to be thankful. but somehow, the words of the pastor have challenged me to increase my thankfulness. According to him, being thankful helps us deepen our appreciation for the existing elements in our lives. Consequently, this appreciation increases their value. Wouldn't it be nice if Christ can help broaden my perspective, allowing me to give thanks for the seemingly trivial details that i have always taken for granted? In the new testament, Jesus always seem to see the value in insignificant things and people( from the societal point of view). Instead of seeing the lack in them, He sees the potential in them. He has what we would call " eyes of faith." I have the desire to rely on His eyes, to see the miracles, the magic in the mundane. There are interesting possibilities in one given moment in life, but if only I could see them!!

My desire is that a heart and attitude of thankfulness would be a natural and spontaneous response to the situations in life, instead of it being a conscious and deliberate effort. But I supposed a conscious act becomes a habit, which ultimately becomes natural, like breathing? i don't really know. All i know is that it refreshes the mind to have this feeling!

There are dreams to be fulfilled, desires to be met and obstacles to be overcome. But won't it be helpful to begin the foundation of our journey with a feeling and perspective of thankfulness?

china 180
( a garden in Shanghai)

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

i hear you

The road led me to that
strange encounter with you.
The beauty you produced had
allowed me to travel to a world
that I would like to know better
and to live in.
Away from the distractions,
and away from the demons of prudence,
we journeyed towards a wild adventure of
passions, desires and forbidden yearnings.
Then I start remembering the sorrow
in your melodies,
which haunt me in a deep way
and it makes me realize
how much more seductive this sadness sometimes is
than the happiness that lies around me.

written, 4th October 2005.

Monday, September 26, 2005

tom's midnight garden

In one of her entries ( Katie Beth talked about re-reading "Pride and Prejudice". That got me inspired to re- read "Tom's Midnight Garden", one of my favorites as a kid. Katie wrote that "as you get older, the way you understand a book changes as you use new eyes to read it." That is true. i remembered crying when i was nearing the end of the story at the age of 10. Last night, i did not cry. However, i was still able to connect with the magic i felt as a 10 year old child. it's about a boy who was sent to his uncle's place to avoid the measles that his brother was having at home. That was when he discovered the midnight garden, a place that only existed in his reality and in the characters he encountered in the garden. Our conventional sense of time and space is challenged as we enter the place with Tom, only if you allow it. It's in there that he found his playmates, especially the girl, Hattie, whom he was terribly fond of. Therefore, during this stay at his uncle's home, which was otherwise boring and mundane with no friends to play and connect with, he found his adventures all at night, when everyone was fast asleep.

Up till now, i remain in love with the imagined reality of the midnight garden. The story also strikes a chord with me given that i have such die- hard nocturnal habits. Tom's garden was not perceived by his family, but only by the people he played with and those who chose to see it. In that place, time becomes a non-entity, and reality comes alive! Love, connection, work and play become one.

At first, Tom was hesitant to enter that place when the clock struck "thirteen". At last he gave in to his instincts.
The door " was not locked, he found; only bolted. He drew the bolt, and, very slowly, to make no sound, turned the door knob.That's when Tom found the moonlight, and "it flooded in, as bright as daylight."
It's nice to read the story. It gives me the courage to listen to my instincts. Quite often, i see this bolted door in my life, and a gleam of light coming through. i never quite do much about it. The next time i see it, i hope to push it wide open and go for the bright moonlight.

Maybe one day, the imagined will become real.


( image from an exhibition by brian gothong tan)

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

the dance of shermaine

and so sher and i decided to wander around orchard road after our gigs on sunday. i happened to have my digital camera with me :)

gig time 003

gig time 002

Sunday, September 18, 2005

the sound of silence

three nights ago, i went to bed at 2 am. then woke up suddenly at 5 am. couldn't go back to sleep so i filled a paper with some words, after which i slept again into the very late morning:

Pebbles fill the sky
one psychedelic night
that drives me to ecstasy
and then
back again,
to earthly sanity.


Madness, i sometimes long for you.
In you, i see no rules and
no lies.
In you , i see a freedom without boundaries.
The music i hear,
is structureless and tribal,
yet true
in its innocence.
i continue to long for the day
when I could party with you
into the night that sees no day,
and into the days that see no end.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

My grandma (dad's mum) has five daughters and eight sons. When the whole family gets together, it is a riot! Usually, it's only during Chinese New Year that everyone comes together for a celebration. This evening was my grandma's birthday. Been away for 6 years, it was overwhelming to encounter so many familiar faces again. it's regrettable that I am not fluent in hokkien/taiwanese ( a chinese dialect) and therefore, not being able to communicate well with my grandma, who only speaks the latter. i can only ask and say simple things to her like, " happy birthday"," so how is everything?", and " do you still play mahjong?" and....that was about it. Many times, help will come from the translators around me.i hope to do better!
Actually, I was never really too close to the family on my father's side. i thought that when i attended the birthday party tonight, i would still feel quite a bit like a stranger, since I was away for 6 years. But surprisingly, I was able to connect with my aunts and nephews like never before. I felt more personable with them than I was 6 years ago. I never imagined I would laugh,joke and tell personal stories I had in the states with five aunts around me on a table, but I actually did.It was quite a family reunion.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

i want to remember

i hope that the spirit of shanghai will remain with me. i went there with minimal expectations, thinking that it was going to be predictable. but i was wrong.i had been to several cities but nothing beats the intensity i personally felt around me in shanghai. now that i am back, i want to be able to remember that intensity and have it close to me. i want to remember the excitement, the boundless enthusiasm, the youthfulness not only of the young, but also the old. i also want to remember xi-an and its free-spiritedness. i want to remember the youths breakdancing in public and the street musicians playing in the muslim quarter. The Mausoleum of Qin Shi Huang (秦始皇) and his Terracotta Army, together with other historical attractions in the city, transported me into a chinese past that sometimes seems strange and even bewildering to me.
most importantly, i want to remember the journey i had with my mum, and how healing took place in my relationship with her, in spite of the sporadic difficulties that came between us. i want to remember each time i went to Christ for help ,He answered my prayers. and that no matter how far i have at times fallen short, He heals and has already forgiven me.

Dancing horses. that is how i see my trip to xi-an and shanghai.

and of course, the journey with my mum continues.....

Thursday, September 01, 2005

flying to china with my mum in two hours' time. will be back later next week.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Running not away

for some issues,the road to healing is nothing really complicated. i told myself to keep walking straight, and to fix my eyes on the unseen. sometimes, when i saw the underground tunnel, i was afraid to enter. i was afraid of walking alone, and not being able to get out again. but it was not the case. i did walk out, and i saw the crystal river, with trees lined up on both sides. i ran to touch one of the leaves and felt that wonderful sense of hope again.

Monday, August 29, 2005

i cycled to the beach. it was nice to be next to the sea,listening to the sound of waves and gazing into the boundlessness. once again, i fell in love with freedom.

Friday, August 26, 2005

jazz night

i met up with gerard, yunfeng ,luke and hanyu on thursday. some of us ate char kway teow at far east plaza. since it was my first time meeting gerard after a few years, i was trying to get used to his language initially. luke said that we were like venus and sort of amused him just watching both of us communicate.i mean, we both spoke english, but somehow, our wavelengths seemed to meet at awkward points that turned out really funny. gerard is a musician and is sometimes filled with bizarre imaginations and humour that it takes some time for me to understand him.i mean this in a good way, and i really enjoyed my conversations.i told him that maybe he should be a filmmaker.

in the evening, gerard brought some of us to the jazz bar in boat quay. it was beautiful. the japanese lady playing on the piano was just amazing. there were also the bass guitarist, drummer, and another female singer. to be honest, i don't listen to a lot of jazz, and the latter has never really made a strong impression on me. yesterday was quite different. it's just the way the japanese pianist played her music. she was very bold and experimental. i was also very drawn not only to the way she connected with the sounds but also other players on stage. she certainly got me a little more curious about jazz.

improvisation is a good thing.

Monday, August 22, 2005

xi'an and shanghai

my mum and i will go traveling in China soon, in the first week of september. if it all works out, we will spend 3 days in Xi'an('an)
and 2 in Shanghai(
one seems like the city of the past, and another is like the place of the future.what would it be like to go from one to another, in less than 3 hours?
i remembered going back to USA from a two week vacation in Europe few years ago. it was like returning from a different era, a different time in space. it felt very odd. the architecture and atmosphere in Europe certainly provide a very strong and intimate sense of history. At that time, i wasn't quite sure which place I would like to belong to ( imagine if i have a choice). i felt torn.
i wonder if there will be a stark contrast between Xi'an and Shanghai since both exist in the same country? i suppose being in either place allows us to appreciate both the distant past and modernity a little better? or maybe traveling there will alter my assumptions & impressions about the two places completely.
i don't know. i will find out in september.

anyway, i don't feel too well today. i couldn't sleep last night. the latte i drank yesterday evening kept me awake.i am re-learning my lesson about caffeine intake in the evening! besides, i have a very bad sore throat. everytime i am out of the house, i have a lot of deep-fried, barbecued or spicy food. they taste so good that i can't stop eating!so my mum made orange juice and chrysanthemum tea to sooth my throat. just for today, i will rest content with home-cooked food.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

love in the time of cholera

i just finished reading the book, Love in the Time of Cholera, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. It was about a man, Florentino Ariza, who fell deeply in love with Fermina Daza. However, circumstances did not allow them to come together, and Fermina got married to another man. Her husband eventually died, and it was fifty-one years, nine months, and four days since Florentino declared his love for Fermina. Florentino remained in love and would do whatever it takes to be with her again.
In real life, the majority of us will not wait and endure 51 years to be with someone we are in love with, especially when life keeps throwing impossible hurdles. i supposed some may perceive his waiting and romanticism as foolishness. Perhaps there are other more worthy goals, and dreams worth fighting and dying for. Well, personally, i did feel sad for him throughout the entire story, because no matter what he did to get closer to Fermina, there would always be insurmountable obstacles along the way, including Fermina's indifference.However, at the end, even though Florentina only got to spend time with her after her husband had died and when she was old and withered, i was surprised by the transcendental joy in him.i didn't quite comprehend the infinity of his love for Fermina. Maybe he could have many other great things in life or a good marriage had he given up on Fermina , since he had risen to become an influential businessman. But it was poignant to see that in spite of how old and unattractive Fermina had become, no joy seemed more complete, more soothing and purer to Florintino than the reality of just being next to Fermina and talking to her.
Each and everyone of us has something to wait for. We all have different desires, dreams and visions. Therefore, the meaning and manner of waiting are unique for each person. We give it our own definition. Sometimes, the world may not agree with what we are waiting for, but some of us continue to wait. Of course, doing it lazily and passively does not get us anywhere. i feel that magic happens when we wait with hope and action. From the story of Florentino, i am reminded that waiting can be such a beautiful thing!

Monday, August 08, 2005

Picture 008
when i first came face to face with david i was rather nervous. i didn't really know what to say. i admit that i am just not that great with kids and haven't got a chance to hang out with them too much. but i have always liked to smile, and so i started smiling to david. at first he was a little wary of me , but gradually, he grinned back. and then i began making funny faces, and before i knew it, i began to like and feel comfortable with the language i was using to communicate with david. there were not many words involved, but it was definitely an interesting and fun language, with laughing, funny faces, and all that.
david is Shermaine's one year old son. i saw my friend for the first time after 2 years.the friend whom i used to travel, play music and go crazy with is now married with her one year old child and giving him her complete devotion as a full-time mother. it was a refreshing & novel feeling, just being around the two of them together.
Picture 005 Picture 006 Picture 014 Picture 016 Picture 028 Picture 010

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Picture 053 at last,i feel mostly recovered from jet lag.took me longer than i expected!

it's my country's 40th birthday this coming Tuesday!
Picture 036 Picture 035
& so my dad was thinking of expressing some good wishes, graffiti style........
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Picture 038
Picture 039