Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Travelling 2014.1

Rain from a (noise) machine to cancel out the construction noise next door. I'm in the W Taipei and the only soundtrack on my laptop is playing (in the mood for love) because the internet keeps buffering. It suits the mood well. Today it is charcoal-skyed. Small drizzle blows into the sheltered walkways and the silhouette of the mountains in the distance embracing the city fades into a water-colour of mist and shadow. Yet another discovery of a city - eye-awakening, heart-awakening, soul-awakening, mind-awakening - that we drove into on the limo. This sort of awareness is very romantic when done in the cool of early spring, with husband (for the first time) and with everybody being so polite and sweet. The buildings were at first drab, grey, dusty and silent. In the city where we are, lights pulsate azure, christmas-green, scarlet - a modern oasis of expensive and very polite shops surrounded by the greyness of the city. I have not visited any archaic buildings (wanted to saunter to the Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall a few blocks away today but the rain kept me indoors, as did physical limitations), have eaten a more Japanese than local cuisine (we're in the Chinese version of a little Tokyo and I've been buying bread of the loveliest descriptions: macadamia nut croissant; pomelo and honey bread; azumi bean and moshi bread; etc.) I've eaten and drunk more sugar than normal in the past few days but that's fine, I've also been downing plenty of bottled water. Last night we had the view of the city from eighty five stories up. The beads of city lights made it more alive in the night than the day, but they were so far away from up there - flat, flickering urbanscape with the periphery of mountains also flattened in the might of being eighty five stories up. Nightscapes like these are so familiar yet so different. It takes a getting out to go in. Eslite bookstore is Kinokuniya-Borders-Idee shop. We don't have such luxury in Singapore anymore. More exposed I'm less impressed by the designer items but it's still nice to have around. I still love Kinokuniya though but how wonderful if it came with a music section - a whole world to spend the day in-type of space. By the way, comfort on a holiday is having four big plush pillows in bed and Financial Times and New York Times delivered to your room and at the breakfast table. I've enjoyed several articles these past days, while abandoning my will to attack my newest book of architectural criticism (I got into the introduction proper today in bed in the afternoon). My Chinese has not improved. I just tell them I'm Singaporean when they stare blankly at my croaked and crooked second language. Fortunately, I have husband to guide me around and be my face. I become the meek, silent, smiley wife by default of my staccato grasp of Chinese. Haha.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Eight Days

of weddings (x2), family time, sleeping time, recovering-from-flu time, flying time, luxury hotel stay time, at-home-with-husband time, friendship time, flower-shopping and overwhelming flower-arrangent-and-transportation time, eating time. (can we expend on this? too little description for too much) Today we ended with plenty more sleeping and ramen at the airport and iced desserts at the foodcourt, and an ice cream after lunch.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


Working from home and trying to drown out construction noise means I get to re-acquaint with my old music: nouvelle vague, lisa ekdahl, belle & sebastian, the shins, sufjan stevens and yes, michael learns to rock.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Mid-Week. Here Comes The Sun

There is a time for everything, and there is a time for everyone. The problem with social media is that the myth that everybody needs to follow a time table of achievements in life at certain points in their life is magnified.

Next year I will be 33. That sounds a lot farther off from the twenties than 32. Looking around me, everybody is unique and so should their lives. I like mine, personalised, my own. I have felt pressures at times, regrets - who doesn't? But perspective and respect to chart one's own journey is of utmost important. At 32, the most important things in my life are God, family, friends, good health, and a clear conscience, and the most amazing husband/best friend money can't ever buy.

Recently, I've started reading my books again, eschewing bedtime Facebook and Instagam and random Internet surfing for a good, slow pacing across paper. I'm trying to read all the books I have bought or received in the past years that have been left on the shelf, unread, new, slowly yellowing. Last weekend, I started on Jeffrey Eugenides' The Marriage Plot. It's got a nice thickness, and when I opened the book, the smell of the paper hit me - that same smell I was familiar with through my youth peeling open a new book, ambling through bookshelves. Doing seemingly mundane things - like choosing the right wrapping paper, writing and snail-mailing letters - that I used to like to do and not thinking it's a waste of time...

Spending more time being analog allows me to be more reflective and calm. I don't need to know what others are up to. I just need to know what husband's doing in the next room, or if my mother is well. I try to look around me at the trees, at the people when I walk out for lunch instead of copying the drones of people walking head down into their phones.

On God, I must say, there is some mending to be done. This year I've been quite angry with him, and I have to learn to trust Him again. Of course, I know He still exists, I still pray to him. But it's like a typical friendship - no? When there are kinks, we have to iron them out. For a start, I'm trying to be grateful for answered prayers.

Saturday, August 24, 2013


These nights we have taken to long walks after dinner, once or twice a week. The first time it was just taking a detour from dinner to cold storage, taking the backlanes of homes where we are cocooned from the noise of the road. The second time it was past Frankel, through the Siglap hills behind where, if you stand at the top of some roads that lead downwards you see straight to the Marina Bay area. A view of the miniscule Flyer, of Gardens by the Bay and Marina Bay Sands, of the CBD encased in a cloud of sunset's rays from so far away romanticises the city more than usual. Last night, we decided to go see flamingos and cockatoos. To reach the garden of the family who makes Anchor envelopes, we walked pass the petrol kiosk then into the lane where husband used to run through to junior college, just making it on time to grab his trumpet to play the national anthem for the school. More than ten years ago where we were in our uniforms, he took me to see the flamingos for the first time. He was wearing a cap, I remembered and told him last night. When we arrived at the house with the modest 70s arhitecture, we couldn't see the flamingos. They were kept in. But through the whitewashed boundary wall slats we saw the cockatoos. The cobalt one was most magnificent with a sharp, long tail and eyes the colour of the sun. There was a white one and several green ones, under the Bonsai-like threes. Long walks are good, especially now I'm keeping off running due to weak knees (at thirty two!) and we leave our phones at home so we can talk and hold hands and decide off the cuff which path to take. + + + By the way we have a new Herman Miller Eames chair at home, the new wood shell one, which I won at Xtra. It sits well at the head of the dining table, also in walnut. My blue one is more special to me still though, because husband bought it for me.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

How to go about having a good Saturday

A cute husband is a cute husband is a cute husband.

The best things in life are: a cute husband, a cute family, cute friends, a cute perspective on life - cute in every sense of the word. If you have that, all is well.

Other perks that are good to have: a quiet afternoon, ginger tea for heartburn - sometime in nice teacups - being able to appreciate things in life, being able to pray, fresh fruits, yakult, cutting your nails, good books/magazines all around the house, adequate sunlight, adequate shade, freshly washed sheets, a good jog with good running shoes (the best thing about running at the beach in the evenings is seeing so many happy, contented faces of people all around just doing their thing - lying on a mat by the water, laughing by the water-ski...where I usually jog, different kinds of people sit at the stone edge reading a book, two lovers, waiting for the bait to catch...most are just looking into the distance, at the ships the stop still like a painting, at the silver and grey reflections in the water, at the sky and its many facets of clouds and shades of blues, at the hint of the city skyline on the left, to an infinite horizon on the left, and everytime, I think how nice to capture all of these in a frame) and coming home to a cup of nice cold water on the kitchen counter left by the husband, the feeling of carpet threads through the toes, sunscreen that smells so nice, sushi, procrastinating on writing an article and upon typing, realising the words are slowly coming together, husband's suggestion of yong tau foo at chinatown market tomorrow.


Saturday, June 29, 2013

June is...

_family trip to Melbourne for sister's wedding: long drives, babies, penguins, wedding photography, rain, sunshine at Brunswick, Chinese food at Box Hill, cold cold cold, layers.

_birthday: an impromptu trip to M.D sale where I found a pair of shiny, silver slipper flats that originally wasn't meant to be, birthday peking duck at imperial treasure super peking duck restaurant, design film festival, birthday letter and origami, birthday passionfruit meringue cake from husband - a surprise at the end of the day where we ended up having half a cake each - pop and rock card rocks, family fun and a cool Eames chair. Validation, suspense and curiosity. Also, family love.

_best present is 32 years of family love, and 13 years of being swept off my feet, everytime.

_today is a writing weekend. target is two articles and also, a run and a swim in new bikini.