throbbing nerve pains

January 4, 2013 § Leave a comment

i am having an uncomfortable nerve pain on my right jaw. i used to clench my teeth together due to anxiety. i didn’t have a problem with this for some time and now it comes back. i feel crappy about this because this means i have to find more ways to relax myself. though i can do massages, they are quite costly and there are tons of other things to pay for. including my annoying mother who thinks i should get my brother a water heater for his house. but he’s not been such a wonderful brother to me all throughout my life. but my mum thinks her children must stick together. i just think my brother is the one not reciprocating and not acknowleding my efforts. 😦


unpublished letter! another one!

November 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

I was a bit mad at the debates in parliament about the death penalty on drug trafficking. I didn’t know such words like ‘cooperated fully with kingpins’ can be used against drug traffickers who have already told their lawyer that they did not cooperate fully but was influenced to do the task. It seems the debates did not take any consideration of the discussions activists have raised on the ground. I can’t think of any other better explanation than to say the MPs have a lack of experience and understanding of what’s happening on the ground. In view of this debate, I wrote to the Straits Times on this issue and my letter was not published. I sent the letter on 12 November 2012 and reproduced here a copy of the full letter without edits.


I refer to the report on 12 November 2012, ‘MPs debate changes to Misuse of Drugs Act’ by Imelda Saad on Channel News Asia.

As a Singaporean, I am glad that the issue of Singapore’s safety is taken seriously and debated upon in Parliament to decide what is best for us all. I cannot agree more with our MP Christopher De Souza, who shared that what we’re debating today is not ‘child’s play’ and that once we mis-step and open the flood gates, the war on drugs falters.

On top of this concern, I wish to also share that we must also see the big picture. We must ask ourselves where these drug traffickers get their produce. Who are the suppliers and how did they get drugs into Singapore considering our immigration checkpoints are strict and secure?

MP Alvin Yeo also raised concerns about drug mules who claimed that they cooperated fully with the kingpins. While MP Yeo expressed this concern because there may be such cases that prove this, he must also see that there are cases where the drug mules have been coerced into trafficking and made unaware that the produce they’re carrying are drugs.

Dr. Intan Azura also lamented that the alternative sentencing of life imprisonment may be wrongfully misconstrued by young and ‘unscrupulous’ drug traffickers who may conceive this alternative sentencing as an opportunity to peddle drugs. In my opinion, Dr. Intan’s intentions are understandable however I believe our legal system will ensure that the traffickers who have been given life imprisonment are the scrupulous ones and those who were sentenced because of being pushed into the act will undergo a thorough investigation. I believe our legal system will at least do this much.

In my view, as a Singaporean who really appreciates the safe and secure regulations we have in place, I cannot imagine that a young life has been taken away due to circumstances and the legal system’s investigations of the whole process did not include further investigations into the masterminds of drug peddling, who are the ones that manage to get their hands on the drugs and distribute them to traffickers to sell on the streets.


November 9, 2012 § 1 Comment

i’ve just turned 30 this year. i feel a lot more different now.


February 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

I appreciate these things :

  • a roof to live under
  • food on the table
  • a mother, a brother, a distant father, a distant sibling
  • a few good friends
  • wages, a job even when it’s temporal

I am sad about these things:

  • failing a writing test to a job i really wanted to learn from
  • no motivation to do any art

the perennial family disputes

January 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

I was unaware of certain cracks in the new relationships my family and I have formed with my in-laws. This week, the cracks opened itself up and we’re tossed into temporary chaos.

My mother had a dispute with her daughter-in-law. The matter is very trivial. My mother’s message to my sister-in-law was misconstrued as threatening. Her rather callous message (in my opinion) was to tell my sister-in-law that she must not discriminate my brother who is now her husband. My mother’s point was to show that she does not take light if society casts an evil eye on her eldest son. In my opinion, she is being possessive and showing her insecurities to the young couple.

The icing on the bitter cake came when my sister-in-law responded to her message. That’s where the situation elevated into a new level. She accused her mother-in-law of being jealous as she is a divorcee and told her not to see her again. Ironically, when my mother spoke to her daughter-in-law’s mother,the conversation was quite explosive. There was no agreement that my sister-in-law’s words were harsh for a young woman to say to her mother-in-law. However, my mother was accused of turning a molehill into a mountain by being authoritative and show varying degrees of firmness to her daughter. She said that my mother was not speaking respectfully to her daughter.

My mother had temporarily cried over the matter but being who she is, the thoughts stayed with her for a long time. She is unable to shake off the words and replied to my sister-in-law by thanking her for showing her true colours.

In retrospective, the disputes started even before the two got married. My sister-in-law had a child out of wedlock and to circumvent the situation, the couple were married off. To make things worse, my father did not represent my brother as the wali (groom’s representative) to solemnize the marriage. In our community, this is a big sign of worry. Most will know that this means, the father is disapproving and that the son refused to listen to advice. Soon, the first child was born and months later, the second baby arrived. The speed at which my brother’s life changed was amazing. I didn’t know how he could cope with such a huge change while he is still a young man yet to spread his wings in life.

In a plural society like ours, these incidents make me laugh. I felt there is no escaping family disputes and all I can really do is to indefinitely laugh at the first signs of a potentially risky dispute building up or even blog about it.

a fair amount of judgment call

January 13, 2012 § Leave a comment

six months. not bad for a new job, new colleagues, new boss, new office.  in retrospective, the amount of time i spent on non-profit work could have been shorter. five years was too long. in plural capitalistic societies like singapore, it is imperative to move on from a job after a few years. for higher salaries, higher posts, higher expectations.

not exactly in a better position but i’m getting more pay and more time to myself as compared to five years of non-profit work. time spent on solving other people’s problems and leaving mine aside. diminishing the self in a crowd of others. i’m a contract staff now. i am not leading things, i exist with a team, i work with many departments with varying degrees of firmness. i am remaking myself into something the system required of citizens. nothing negative about it, just realistic.

my job? i’m asked to exercise a fair amount of judgment call. at the same time, i am required to keep the boundaries in view. which leaves me in between hesitation and resolution. it seems i am not to take everything at face value and double confirm everything to keep myself safe. and well, to keep the system safe and soundproof. which means i’ve had to run to my colleagues a few times to ask if it’s the right move. i don’t dislike the task though.

on days when we’re bored or feeling sleepy, conversations fill the room. chatty female colleagues talking about everything from movie stars, fellow male colleagues, lunch options, weekend badminton outings, former colleagues, future of our jobs and also family. regular things people talk about. en masse, as a group, we combine our heads to overcome moments of lethargy. the unpredictability of our future environment fuels our current conversations the most. then, as if to not leave conversations dampened with negative scenarious, we’ll come up with suggestions on possible company to apply jobs to. i’m so touched by their conscience, i’m really lucky to have these women to bounce ideas, jokes and worries with. this form of office sisterhood is very rare for me. and i don’t dislike it at all.

i’ve got a bloodline looking for the root

November 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

mummy must have said something in the past that made me think my parents met at a prata stall. in fact it is not true. they met while mummy was briefly working as a parking attendant and dad was serving his national service. mummy did not fail to add it was a brief job stint which i suspect is because she’s not proud of these past jobs she’s had – i think she had dreams of achieving but was unable to reach her potential due to various reasons. one was how strict her dad was on letting her have her freedom to be socially mobile. in fact it was my grandfather who told mummy to bring dad home so that he could formally meet him and arrange their marriage. i grew more and more sad thinking about this. my parents had to marry not because they wanted to but because they wanted to please mummy’s dad! it is no wonder that their marriage was so tumultuous and at the same time, implicating me and my brother’s development. I can’t help but feel she should not have told me or at least tell me earlier on in my life to cut short the emotional highs and lows I’ve had to go through just to feel a little less sad about my upbringing. Sigh.

Two post-colonial bodies…

met at a carpark…

going about their business…

led by dreams of shooting the moon…

an accidental meeting and a legacy of disaster afterwards…