Sunday, December 24, 2006

we are right here in India, Jaipur.

tomorrow we will spend Christmas in Agra, where the Taj Mahal is.

we have been here for 6 days & i am enjoying the unpredictability of the journey.i have about 7 more days to go before i head back home on new year's eve.

i have limited time on the internet so i can't stay here much longer,but enough time for me to wish everyone a Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Let's party

I had the privelege to party madly with some free spirits who came into my path last week. sometime these moments were so intensive and colorful that when you look back, they almost seem like dreams hidden within our souls, and like a story that does not have an ending.

it is great when a story does not have an ending, because then it can continue into this coming new year, and possibly beyond . partying is great for the soul because then it can dance to an unpredictable rhythm that leaves us


I am flying off to india next monday, having our Christmas there, and coming back on new year's eve. It should be fun. I guess i cannot stop partying,

and the story continues.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


beijing 049 beijing 061

beijing 082

beijing 091

beijing 098

beijing 108

I was there in Beijing for 4 days last week for a music gig. I did not get to travel much, just Tiananmen Square and a bit of the Forbidden City. What I fell in love with were the new friends I played music and partied with, the comfortable winter, and the Peking duck.

Monday, November 13, 2006

"I dream for a living." — Steven Spielberg

"Existence would be intolerable if we were never to dream." Anatole France, French novelist.

"If a little dreaming is dangerous, the cure for it is not to dream less, but to dream more, to dream all the time." Rembrance of Things Past. Marcel Proust (1871-1922), French novelist.

Monday, October 23, 2006

opening up my eyes

i think it is very tempting for me to be indifferent to my surroundings that i feel familiar and comfortable with. Due to this sense of familiarity, i assume that i have nothing important to learn anymore. it happens to me quite often.

talking to foreigners and travelers who do not grow up here in Singapore or around the region opens up my eyes to the many more opportunities to learn and explore, about our selves as individuals and the society we live in.
i am ashamed that many times, my heart and eyes are closed. Subconsciously, my experiences in the distant past ( as a child and teenager) seem to have given me fixed and predictable perceptions about the place i grow up's only when i talk to these people, that i realize singapore and southeast asia could be as exciting and intriguing as we perceive it to be, and that existence here could be always seen in a different light,always shifting, depending on our feelings, the color of the sky, the music we play and the lovely souls that come into our path. in the past, i would never have any strong desire to travel to cambodia, vietnam, bangkok or indonesia.
the curiosity was never there. i took the regions surrounding me for granted.

but now, i want to go places around asia.i have a lot to learn, and i dont' want to miss anything that could alter my life, maybe not dramatically but in every little bit that accumulates to a lifetime metamorphosis.

when i was in the west for 6 years,i was constantly bugged by a sense of wanderlust because the whole place was novel, and therefore exciting to me.
this place that i used to grow up in, and my surroundings could possibly be also very fascinating and romantic if i would open up the eyes of my heart and imagination.

and of course, this is my dear sister seen in a different light:

portraits 084

Monday, October 16, 2006

colorless rules


it is amazing to have conversations that are psychologically and emotionally unrestrictive, with few boundaries to hinder deeper understanding.

it is always such a liberating, beautiful experience.

i admit that i am currently in a pretty conservative society, and certain topics and social behaviours are still forbidden or even frowned upon, even though there are no external rules being imposed on us. the rules are implicit ( or invisible) but once you break them, there are sometimes accusations and opposition. In a western society, there seems to be less social "punishment" against unconventional behavior.

Recently, i think i might have inadvertently broken one of the unseen rules. it has nothing to do with religious conduct or anything, but i supposed i had been so used to a free and liberal society, that maybe i have forgotten how to behave accordingly in the one i am in right now. this morning, i received an email of emotional accusation from somebody for something i feel that i am not at fault. yet from her perspective, i might have done something not so right.

just because something is wrong in this society does not mean it is wrong elsewhere.
and if a person accuses me solely based on his or her own unique perspective, it would be hard to enter into a fruitful discussion. I think there is a difference between cultural sensitivity and strict and uncompromising adherence to certain rules that sometimes restrict and inconvenience other people.

i desire to continue the path of freedom, and of a clear conscience. I want to be free from condemnation even we are made to feel guilty for not being able to conform to certain colorless rules in a society.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

nowadays, i have to learn to rest in Him, and to wait.

i am dealing with certain absurdities in my life recently.Things in my imagination and intuition come into conflict with what I see in reality, and emotion and reason culminate into a chaotic mixture,and fiercely contradict each other. On the outside, things are operating smoothly, and life is going fine, with violin teaching and music making to soothe the frayed nerves. I am thankful for music in my life. On one hand, music arouses the emotions contributing to the intensity i would rather not deal with at times. Yet on the other, it offers me a way of solace, a hiding place and an expression of the heart that words cannot express.

In Christ, in music, i will wait in silence, and let Him take care of the beautiful absurdity of it all, till the storms pass by.

"Those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength,
they will soar on wings like eagles,
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint."
Isaiah 40:31

Monday, August 14, 2006


i wish there were more graffiti art in Singapore. but of course, it is a tiny island. if it is truly allowed, can one actually imagine what the landscape would look like? it's quite unlike a bigger country say like the USA or China, where graffiti can occur anywhere and the place would still look rather unaffected. correct me if i am wrong!

at the same time, singapore is getting just a little too tame for the soul. when i gaze at graffiti art, there is always the urge to join the wild, the untamed, the rawness of it all. now that it is not really around me i have to look elsewhere, and sometimes, allow the imagination to soar. but how high can it soar? at the moment it is resting on a plane and i am waiting to go to new dream spaces, where i will be surrounded by clouds and angels and friends and a lover. i won't mind just experiencing a glimpse of heaven :)

the messages can get quite intense in graffiti art. i sometimes find it hard to express anger. graffiti is a spontaneous and honest way to express how we feel without caring about how other people is a secret and safe place. right now, i am not angry. just pretty excited about tomorrow. well, nothing significant i know is happening, but oddly, i feel excited. maybe because my perception of what a new day is all about is gradually changing. there are always instances where God throws pleasant surprises at us, catching us off guard. it usually happens when i delight in Him. " if you delight in Him, He will give you the desires of your heart!"

it just feels pretty good to be floating with the river of life, that comes from Him. If only i could express the feeling of riding on this river through graffiti, say near where i work or hang out. but hey it's okay, i will find other means really soon.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

that garden



the gardens 053

the gardens 026


I thought maybe we could create this garden together. somebody told me of this place seven years ago, and it was hidden somewhere in my memory. and then, i was reminded of it again one month ago, in a dream. in the latter it was winter, but in that room with you, it was warm and cozy.

so i went around singapore, snapping pictures sporadically, hoping to capture glimpses of this dream that burns in my heart.
the images are mere shadows and are not complete . but we will continue searching for the secret treasure, and hoping against all hope that the impossible can be attained.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

the anniversary of a secret

how long can one hold a secret? i just realize that i am approaching almost the first year anniversary of its birth.
it came into being somewhere in august last year.
i never told it to anyone, and i am glad that it is still in my heart, and the Heavens have given me the patience to sustain its being. otherwise, without the latter, i fear an explosion, of my mind and heart.

i am hoping that this will lead to something elusively beautiful. I am believing that God will be my loving ally.

i saw two cats running wildly across the road moments ago, from my room's window. it was half hour after midnight. i want to have the energy of the night. i was talking to a friend in the car this evening and she told me that when she couldn't sleep, she would do stuffs like blogging. i was suddenly filled with a sense of nostalgia for the days in ann arbor, when i would go to bed at 4 am, always doing anything, like talking with friends, writing, or just playing ping pong or pool.

i want to be more awake at night. the latest i slept this week was on wednesday at 3 am, when i came home a bit buzzed from just a bit of red wine while partying in " Butter Factory" so far one of the coolest club i have been in singapore. i loved the graffiti-like designs all around. i loved the spirit of freedom they induced within me. after that we had some of the most delicious chinese food in town in a 24 hr coffee shop. there are times when i fell in love with life in singapore. that night was definitely one of those days!

tonight was sweet as well. a bunch of us went to the beach to chill. it is always nice to be near the sea, laughing, eating and talking.

Monday, May 29, 2006

"pictures of an exhibition"







so i signed up as a photo assistant to darlene ( the girl blowing the balloon) , a photographer from nyc. she was here for two weeks with her friend julia.
it was cool, because i was assisting in a work that was born of love, improvisation and great fun. it began with darlene's idea, and then we worked towards it, using resources available here in singapore.
first, darlene took portraits of people who walked into the bookstore she was shooting in, together with the objects they brought that best represented them.
after that, she hung these portraits in another exhibition space. and positioned the objects in an enclosed area, where there was a video camera capturing the movements of people who entered that area.

it was fun trying to build frames with plywood,spray white paint on plants,books and slippers, blow up white ballons, running around doing errands for the photographer, listening to them talk about their beautiful lifestyles in new york city, and of course, laughing with them.

personally,the whole week's experience had been kind of dreamlike and intense;intense because of the need to meet the opening date of the exhibition. on the closing night, my dear friend,ben, sang some opera music with me accompanying him on the violin. it was a nice way to end the whole event- with music, which includes Bach's soothing aria "Schlafe mein Liebster" which also means "Slumber Beloved."


on the last night before they left home for nyc, we had steamboat in chinatown and it was julia's first time having it! and then, ben and i introduced them to cactus juice, which turned out to be quite a refreshing experience for them :)

Monday, May 15, 2006

inspired by late night wanderings in woodlands with a friend

the winds are carrying me, to new places, new hopes, new directions. it feels different, all of a sudden. i am still on the same island, here in singapore, but somehow, there is a breadth of fresh air suddenly being blown in my face. maybe it's because i started chatting with him. i am in love with his presence. well, i am not romantically attracted to him. furthermore, he is gay. but being with him makes me feel that every detail, every experience is refreshing. people can make such a difference to your life. it's not the place, it's not the food. it's people.

i just want to fly. i suppose i don't need to do it physically always , in order to have an adventure. i want my ideas within my heart, my soul, to soar into the space ahead, to create something for myself and others. i want to enter a foreign land with these mad thoughts within me, to break out of this cage that is imaginary, inside and outside me.

thank God we have people to do it with ! i have allies! i have loving, supportive associates that will journey into this place of freedom, grace, beauty and madness.....with me.

these days, i am dancing in my heart, quite wildly. i don't really want to go back to being that tamed lion i sometimes am. i want to stay in the jungle, in the wilderness forever, always trusting that an ethereal way will be provided. we will fight and free ourselves from silly oppression of any sort, and from victory we fight.

pardon me for this sudden euphoria.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

tiny fantasies


the wanderlust is back to haunt me a bit. I am now reading Che Guevera : a revolutionary life ( by Jon Lee Anderson) after being inspired by the movie "the motorcycle diaries". I also start thinking about Jack Kerouac's "On the Road" which i read three years ago. Thanks to them, i fantasize about being on the move again, going places, even relying on odd jobs to sustain myself. for now, i will stay in Singapore . but for a few weeks at the end of this year, when i will probably take a break from violin teaching, i want to take off travelling in Asia,encountering interesting souls along the way. I am thinking korea, india, or tibet, places i have never been. will it ever happen? we will see!

for now, i will live and exist in the world of Singapore, approaching life here as a nomad, always yearning and longing for the heavenly homeland. I don't know why, but this mindset actually allows me to enjoy life here, because every single day is like the continuation of this journey upward bound, with surprises and challenges delighting me along the way, sporadically, beautifully. it is liberating,
I remember C'S lewis saying that if we aim at heaven, we will have earth thrown in. i don't remember the exact words though. Nevertheless, this approach also frees me from the rules and legalistic mindsets that used to stifle me in the past.

it is a different experience from many years back, when a significant chunk of my memories in Singapore was mired in depression, helplessness and endless worries, and when the perpetual feeling of never having a sense of belonging plagued me.

when God promises His children double restoration for all the things they have lost, He really surprises us no end.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

good news: i bought a digital SLR canon camera on Monday . i had fun playing with it this afternoon!

bad news : my mountain bike that i had for years was stolen today.

Monday, March 27, 2006


yesterday, ben, a friend from my german class, told me about a dream he had two days ago, he dreamed that he was in a place, and he suddenly felt oddly and intensely connected to the universe. he is not religious or anything, but he felt that there was a huge creative power guiding him. he started to point at something in space, and out popped something, like a work of art. he did it again and out popped another one. whatever direction he started pointing, something amazing would come out of it, even though i was not given the visual details of these products. during that time, he was also very much aware that he was dreaming.

i felt quite inspired so i did two mini pencil drawings of his dream this evening, but i don't think it really captured what he initially conveyed.

besides practicing german together, i like jamming with him on my violin. we did it yesterday, together with another pianist friend of his. Ben is an opera singer and i think our sounds go quite well together. i am sure there's more fun and experiments ahead for three of us and we plan to meet next sunday again.

two weeks ago, near to midnight, my friend brought me to her church because i begged her to play on the organ for me since i hadn't heard the sound of the instrument for ages. we had to walk through a pretty deserted area before we arrived there. not only that, after we reached the building, both of us had to climb over the walls like midnight thieves in order to get inside the hall with the organ. it was fun and suspenceful doing that. tianling played mostly Bach on the organ and i was just there, listening. it went on for about an hour or so. i was like in a completely different world, just alone with the music. it genuinely felt like a sanctuary, faraway from the urban culture i had been living and caught up with these past 8 months. after that, we had to climb over the walls again and started heading home.

it's nice. it's nice when your friends bring you to their dream worlds.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

to begin with


A playground it shall sometimes be,
this land, this home,
filled with a sense
of the unreal, the mysterious,
the unanswered.
Every color has its tale,
a story that amazes me
with its brutality and fervor.
Indulging in the coziness of
empty halls, mansions and gardens,
I begin to sculpt
with the clay I chanced upon
in the nearby woods,
dreaming that one day,
a statue of an angel
would come alive,
startling me with his dance.


Sunday, March 05, 2006

that moment


It is what I remember
that drives me out of the tunnel
into this wide open space
with autumn leaves and used cigarettes
combined to give me a feeling
of nostalgia
for that moment I imagine I did
spend with you.
Your face seems elusive
and yet so filled with goodness.
Did we ever enter that alleyway
where the silence
enveloped us, asking us to
pause, to think, to turn away
from the gaze of the outside world?
Or did we actually ignore it
and continue following the noise
of the traffic ahead of us
forgetting our feelings,
disguising our thoughts
only to churn them out
in violent graffiti
in yet another silent alleyway.

Monday, February 20, 2006

let's see


howard zinn says in one of his writings." The way that society tends to classify us scares me. I am a historian. I don't want to be just a historian, but society puts us into a discipline. Yes, disciplines us: you're a historian, you're a businessman, you're an engineer. You're this or you're that. The first thing someone asks you at a party is " What do you do? " That means, " How are you categorized?"

i think there are a variety of roles we can play in this life, in the society we are in. we are not bound by the characteristics of our profession, our work. i label others, and others do the same to me. we do this in order to get an understanding of who another person is. but it would really be nice if we also free ourselves at the same time from the limits of that definition. then i think we are also free to explore other aspects and dimensions of our personality. it would be a dream life ( for me), to switch from one role to the other and back again, effortlessly, and yet still retain the essence of our identity. it's an ideal to be attained, unless of course one day, i think differently.sometimes, i find it hard to get outside of the mould that i have inadvertently created for myself and therefore, fail to listen to the inner desires to try this or that. i supposed it has something to do with rigidity. once i get comfortable with one "label", i will sometimes think myself crazy for wanting to do things that have little to do with that label.

yet, sometimes, the desire gets so intense that all i really want is to forget about the fixation with definitions and follow that voice. i will see where these desires will lead me and whether i will actually listen to any of them!

Friday, February 10, 2006


i bought many dvds this week since they were on sale in HMV. "Sideways", "Lost in translation", " The motorcycle diaries", " Finding Neverland", and "Mostly Martha". I have watched all of them before except for "Mostly Martha". I was feeling nostalgia for certain sentiments and moods they evoked even though i don't have vivid memories of the story details. Films speak to us differently at various points in our lives. I am curious to know what associations , thoughts and feelings would arise now when i watch them again.

around 8 months ago, i lost my wallet in Ann Arbor ( USA). I remembered losing it after watching "Kung Fu Hustle" in Michigan Theater. I never got it back even though I did search frantically everywhere. Yesterday, a Michigan grad student emailed me and told me that he found my student card lying in the alleyway behind the Theater. after such a long while, i don't really care about the wallet anymore, with the money ,social security card and all that, but it's nice that something of sentimental value like the student card had appeared there and Paul Griffiths, the guy who found it, had offered to sent it to me by mail.

kids thrive in the imaginary, it seems. i have been teaching this five year old kid, Grace, how to play the violin. her mother wants me to get her interested in music and the violin. it has been quite a challenge to keep her still, and make her play notes on the instrument. i realize that the best way to communicate with her is through the use of fictional characters, role play and imaginary situations. For example, it is hard to make her play the whole of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" in one go, especially when she finds the new notes very difficult. the only way it seems is to tell her a story about a family of stars that have somehow descended from the Heavens, and have landed themselves in her violin case. she has now to give a concert to the stars, to keep them entertained, especially mummy and daddy stars. that's when she begins to play through the song a little more enthusiastically and excitedly. i am still learning her language in this whole process!

Sunday, January 29, 2006


i miss being in the USA....already. i miss being in a liberal environment. i think i am saying this because i just came back from visiting my relatives for the Chinese New Year celebration. it was like entering a world that has grown foreign where i feel like a reluctant be honest, i do not have a sense of belonging. i never really have.

it's okay. i am quite nomadic so it's fine for me not to feel that i don't belong in my own home, my own families, my relatives. sometimes, traditions, certain people or even we ourselves make us feel condemned for being this way. the thing is, i have always sensed this even when i was younger and there were times when i felt guilty. but i have learnt today, not to feel condemned. i am learning to be free. i don't want to justify myself to others anymore. ( " There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus!!" ( Romans 8)

the mental and emotional connection was missing. this evening, i felt like a wraith without sight of anything concrete, anything tangible.

these are but my honest feelings. i can no longer hide them. i want to get out, to a place where i truly belong again, and i believe i will find it!

or maybe, there is a change of perception that can help me when such feelings emerge. maybe that is something i need to learn as a person , about ADAPTATION or submission.

we will see. ...and i believe that "the truth shall set me free" once again! Praise Him, for giving me real joy, peace and HOPE all this while. It's really awesome to fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen! " For what is seen is temporary, but what is eternal."

Friday, January 20, 2006

sharing with you

a beautiful poem by Gary Snyder, an American poet :

We are free to find our own way
Over rocks-- through trees--
Where there are no trails. The ridge and the forest
Present themselves to our eyes and feet
Which decide for themselves
In their old learned wisdom of doing
Where the wild will take us. We have
Been here before. It's more intimate somehow
Than walking the paths that lay out some route
That you stick to,
All paths are possible, many will work,
Being blocked is its own kind of pleasure,
Getting through is a joy, the side-trips
And detours show down logs and flowers,
The deer paths straight up, the squirrel tracks
Across, the outcroppings lead us on over.
Resting on treetrunks,
Stepping out on the bedrocks, angling and eyeing
Both making choices--now parting our ways--
And later rejoin; I'm right, you're right,
We come out together. Mattake, "PIne Mushroom, "
Heaves at the base of a stump. The dense matted floor
Of Red Fir needles and twigs. This is wild!
We laugh, wild for sure,
Because no place is more than another,
All places total,
And our ankles, knees, shoulders &
Haunches know right where they are.
Recall how the Dao De
Jing puts it: the trail's not the way.
No path will get you there, we're off the trail,
You and I, and we chose it! Our trips out of doors
Through the years have been practice
For this ramble together,
Deep in the mountains
Side by side,
Over rocks, through the trees.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

where am i?

it's nice to get out of the comfort zone. it's not a cozy experience, of course. but every time you do something unfamiliar, something that you have never felt like doing before due to many reasons, like doubts and fear of failure, you feel that you have grown a little. that's how i sense bits and pieces of my experience in singapore have been like. anyhow, i have been here for about five and a half months, and i am still in the process of figuring things out. it's nice to get perplexed and then finally receiving the clarity at the end. there's a lot to learn in this journey both back home and into the future.
my desire for this new year is to have the opportunity to try out alternative ways to handle any situations, as opposed to the familiar ways i have been used to. another thing. i am quite a passive character at times and i want to take more initiative this year in certain aspects of my existence. well, many things are easier said than done!

nevertheless, we continue on the path.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Narnia, The New Year, and Kids

Happy New Year everyone! I had a good week just chilling, partying and spending time with friends and family, not to forget taking a seven days' break from scooping ice cream. I hope you guys experienced an awesome week of celebration as well to usher in the year 2006.

I also watched "Chronicles of Narnia" last week. It's definitely a relevant movie for me to anticipate the days ahead. I haven't got to read the book by C.S Lewis, but i would love to now that i have watched the film! The storyline is very simple and predictable. It does not really have the complexity of "Harry Potter" or "The Lord of the Rings". Yet, it is exactly the simplicity of it which is powerful. As the title tells us, the story is about the witch , the lion and the wardrobe. It is also about the adventure of four beautiful kids who inadvertently entered the land of Narnia. At the end of the story the good gains victory over evil. We all know what was going to happen at the end, yet i enjoyed every bit of the battle, the tears, the joys and the sweetness that comes after the victory. There is emotional satisfaction that comes with it.
It's a dreamland beyond the wardrobe, yet the psychological connection with the kids going through the wilderness of Narnia, battling evil forces, dealing with their own vulnerabilities, weaknesses and the occasional conflict between reason and instinct, is compelling. Many times we do not enter the wardrobe because it's not logical, just like the older siblings, who felt that way in the beginning. However, once they followed the voice of the youngest child, Lucy, their enchanting adventures begin!

Certainly an encouraging movie for dreamers.

And of course, it's good to know that kids, like Lucy in "Chronicles of Narnia", sometimes see more than we do.