This and that

September 26, 2016

Hi, September has been quiet here, and it is passing. I thought I had news, then I didn’t, or rather it turned a different sort of information, then I had news of different sorts again.

The brother-in-law visited, and we were sad to send him off yesterday. I ought to be vacuuming the apartment, dusting literal cobwebs, but there are corners in my own mind asking for airing first.

I am generally the sort of person who speaks frankly, and prefer frankness in return. Two weekends ago I said I’d choose honesty over happiness, and say it again. I abstractly understand that there are perfectly delightful people who would have happiness over honesty, and while that is rather mind boggling for me, I see carefully choosing another’s happiness at the expense of one’s honesty as a startling expression of love. I still prefer honesty, though-

I acknowledge that submitting another’s happiness above one’s honesty is superior to direct arguments for self. Ideally, both parties are free to speak openly and eloquently without fear of the other backtracking too quickly. I would love to speak fully and hear you speak to the end- a complex situation benefits from both perspectives explored as thoroughly as possible.

But argument is an art, and I’m afraid I sound more like a bull sometimes. And it isn’t too logical to stand ground against a bull. My toreador rarely fights with me. So I lose anyway. Don’t wna lose anymore.

I don’t like what this is going to mean for me, but this twisting in the pit of my gut is familiar by now. I’m going to try, and hopefully it will be worth it.


Syrian refugee and refugee volunteer.

Credit: the atlas of beauty


September 4, 2016

[husband ate hell fish last night so he’s lying in bed after multiple toilet trips]

Me: it’s dinnertime, let’s go eat
Him: I’m not feeling well dear
Me: [throws a tantrum and storms off to play solitaire]

-one hour later-

Me: [comes back to the bed and curls up next to him, waking him up]
Him: mmphrf?
Me: [starts tearing up]
Him: why are you crying?
Me: I’m hungry!

– he then resolves to head out to get me food, but I suffer a fit of the conscience and insist that I have stuff in the fridge and can cook, and he can rest at home. After a twenty minute argument which involves locking him out of the balcony in a bid to get my way, he wins –

Me: [bursts into tears]
Him: why are you crying?
Me: because I feel ashamed of my earlier tantrum and now we’re going out even though you’re not feeling well!

-we head out to a new place and I eat the best Margaret de canard of my life-

Honey, if you’re reading this, I love you and you’re the husband I don’t deserve<3 I’ll make it up to you somehow.

A second poem

August 31, 2016

Credit to mantarui, whose WordPress made me realise I’d missed yet another year of singwripomo, or whatever it’s really called. Ohwell. Two briefs caught my eye and I decided to be a fashionably late participant (or thief, really, since I’m not actually linked to the movement; I don’t even know how to).

I also decided to write on tea, firstly because I am very fond of the beverage, and secondly to protest against the idea that cooled tea might be better thrown away- that is heresy.

Drunk Tea’

I drank my first cuppa when I was thirteen
The sec4 senior I had a crush on and I hiding from the rain in Bishan park
At a store which no longer exists
I was uncertain but he urged me to try
this paper cup of hot Lipton tea
Afterward we resumed rollerblading,
pavement killing as many earthworms as I’d never seen before or since.

Tehsuidaibanshao is how I like it now
The scary tattooed dude with dark purple lips taking over
his wizened grandfather’s lorong eight stall makes the perfect tabao.

Mommy hypothesized last week that I need tea to recover from her shopping sprees
She asked me every morning after to get meself some, and once made it for me.
I was brusque when I shouldn’t have been.

Safe, safe tea, safety,
Drink (n), drunk, drank, drinking.
Solace in semantics
Darjeeling’s advertisement on the sidebox promising to make difficult conversation better,
Acarchon’s “every time is a good time for tea” teapot which I didn’t buy although I liked the words.

Remember this: drunk tea and I hand-in-hand
Walking intoxicated down that sunset boulevard
Waving at you
The headyness of everyday living.

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Today was community, the names and faces who spell love. I ate too much at a lunch prepared by our helper with both sets of parents, two kid cousins and sister-in-law. Plonked myself down for tea with roadside durian fellow, whom I reminded was chained to me; I’m not letting her go. Was late for dinner with friends ten years old; they’re coming over in a few months so I don’t have to say goodbye to them, I’m glad I don’t have to say goodnight to them. Met a lady I would consider an older sister if I had to define our relationship; we shared life stories and reflected on motherhood. She told me stories of the finance style she manages with her husband and I replied with stories of my growing up. When we walked out of Coffee Bean, I saw my friends again; they had been at MacDonald’s waiting for me. We spent more time together. Such love it is I have been blessed to know, friends I don’t deserve but have anyway. Our wedding day had been friendship-driven and these were the hands and feet who had given their labour of love. In a society where vendors take over various areas and strangers are hired for their skills, I knew every face in each team, and most of all, we meant something to every one of them. Such preciousness, love entirely unmerited. Did I mention, last night, my sister-in-law asked me a question about parenthood? That if I have issues and Hubbasaur has his, why have children? What a stunner of a question. Why have children indeed, knowing the flaws we each have and will inevitably bear onto our progeny? The question stumped me for the night and today. I brought it up to fellow roadside durian consumer, and two heads were not better than one. If anything, we tripped each other more, with our acute awareness of our shortcomings. But the talk at Coffee Bean shed light. There were two thoughts: one on reflection, and the other on the lifebuoy of moral commitment. In choosing to bear children, we capture some of the hope God must have in us; our risk-taking God, who knows full well our propensity to rebellion and still decides to love. Our choice to give life also reflects, to some extent, the life-giving character of God. Hope and reflection are powerful impetuses. Since by childbirth and parenthood we take on the qualities of the best of them all, ideology waves the green light.

these unreplicable things

August 9, 2016

i don’t think you know what your visit meant to me
i don’t think i knew either

i don’t think i knew how well by you i was loved
at least not until this summer

now you’re home but i remain
just me here to remember

to wait for photos to relieve the days
then set a date for november