Saturday, 29 October 2016

Red Fingernails

I'm typing this with red fingernails. Like painted ones.

What is the meaning of always initiating first? Is it routine, or is it obligation?
I just came back from Rocky Horror Picture Show, a marvelous cult classic. I wish more freshmen had shown up. I also am pretty disappointed a party that happens every week (I mean sure this is Halloween, but there's the next few days) was preferred over this. And I know part of it is of course, peer pressure.

I think perhaps this is where my greatest annoyance comes from - dependency. It's not pretty, I know I have a strong support base and that I cannot live on my own, I know that I'm also affected by F.O.M.O, etc. Yet I cannot shake the feeling that I am more independent than many others. It could be true, given my age, my foreign-ness. But it can get lonely.

I know now that sometimes I feel this urge to deceive - because I want a deeper connection - and that it's unhealthy and I yet I've been excusing myself by saying I'm adapting. It's true that I am, but also that urge means that sometimes I've gone too far and I will eventually bear the consequences. I'm driven by this strong impetus to connect people, and be friends with everyone, and to show people that everyone is complex by being an example. My second deepest annoyance, (or first) - assumptions others make about others.

Other things - I think I've somewhat given up trying to convince people by contest. Maybe some wisdom is telling me Tolstoy was right, people can't be convinced.

My hair's still wait and the clothes are in the dryer, but it's so late.

I need to whip out my camera again.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016


I have not thought this much of home in a while.
Or at least not in this pseudo-dramatic fashion.

The Apprentice was a really good film. (Not to be confused with the shitshow literally by Donald Trump) Throughout the film I was thinking about Junfeng's choices, and I was thinking about home. I recognized it all. And in the end the most feel-good films are about recognition, of tropes, of symbols, of people.

I recognized my and all my friends' and families' HDB flats. I recognized the buses and MRTs, the people, the language, the food, the sights and sounds. I don't know where to begin.

To begin on feelings of being foreign here, to begin on how Singaporean am I really, to begin on my perceptions of other Singaporeans here, Singaporean-ness in general, the whole shebang reminding me of when I questioned my otherness to other AEP students probably only to realize the irony of it.

I can't blog without digressing. And honestly I should be working, as always.
The intimacy and closeness I felt with the genuinely Singaporean character of this film, past race, language, or religion truly, was not lost on me. Some combination of pride, nostalgia, duty, entrapment even. I have always been genuinely optimistic about the weakness of cultural barriers at a certain socioeconomic level (and I am fully aware of my privilege here) but unwilling to give up this individuality that I know is the last step of true assimilation here. Because I love my country, I love it's music, food, people and vibes. I love my neighbourhood and my family and friends. I love all these things despite.

Quintessentially my personal, superficial human problem I've always had is loneliness in a romantic sense. But I recognize that my ambitions and principles don't align very nicely at all. In a sense, if I were to think about a serious relationship I would be asking my partner to firstly stay in Singapore (which is fine if they're Singaporean) but also if I were to join the foreign service... a huge burden and sacrifice that I'm unwilling to place on my partner for pure feelings of egalitarianism. I cannot ask my spouse to do the stereotypical 'sacrifice for husband's career' nonsense because I genuinely want to be part of the progress of gender equality, but also because my character is not to ask for someone's favour.

That was a difficult point to make not least because I'm basically revealing a serious intention that can come off as too strong should a future partner read it. But I guess that's what I signed up for following a principle of honest and open blogging. Obviously things change and people will be mature about it.

This leaves only kind of short-term, for-fun relationships. And I'm not the most sure where I stand on that. Probably ok with it. Credits to Maria and Agneska for helping me to re-evaluate all of these things.

And then there's my otherness. There are certain habits that I do not shake, and attitudes I have not shed. Thankfully this fraternity, genuinely open as it is, gave me space to be myself for the most part. But I do think about it. I've come to realize that somehow, I'm not just different than locals, but different from Singaporeans in a significant way. It's a little lonely sometimes that in my effort to essentially not fit, and be middle of so many things, I'm probably just kind of an aside for most people. But I risked it, I chose to constantly push my comfort zone.

This has all been a long time coming, and I still can write more. Let's go on for a bit.

I miss ISRC and old groups of friends. But I also love being in this fraternity for its essential qualities. I wish it didn't have to be this way at all yet know why it is. I know that many things live in some fantasy optimistic land and this is how I learn - in compromise. My ex-roommate has always brilliantly put things that my current roommate has not yet talked to me about.

I feel it deeply, I'm more like non-frat people than frat people yet because I chose, my agency makes me a frat person. Does that make sense? I've always thought choice in the end, was what mattered most: not your inclinations, upbringing, some pseudo-psycho-determinism. But I know that if I did live at Jess/Agneska's place I would be more comfortable, but the insatiable hunger would remain.

Maybe it all boils down to this: I'm here on a clock and so I never feared to try because it would essentially reset. I'm here as an observer and participant, and in the end my blog is my true space and true self. I regret only somewhat that I did not choose the path more traveled, and I think in my dying days I will have more inner vitality than if I concentrated solely on academics and things I knew.

Thank you Ben for the instant laksa (which I'm eating now because I guess you could say it's a good first occasion), and thank you for your time if you're just a random reader.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

The second sex

I guess I didn't have the heart to start my homework till I've recorded some of the passion I have for this stupidity.

The thing with women is,

they are smart, stupid, dedicated, lazy, creative, dull, deep, superficial, strong, weak, independent, needy, skilled, mediocre, funny, lame, adaptable, inflexible, loyal, flaky, disciplined, turbulent.
They are varied in character and aptitude, they are full human beings, and so don't tell me about locker room banter or apparently 'alpha male boasting'. This is not 'natural' for boys (it's not unnatural either, mind you). If you don't mean what you say, why are you saying it?


Painted my door for 10 hours instead of doing homework.
Retiring before starting my career apparently.


Lately been unable to pen down my thoughts even though they are important, mostly about how I've changed, or 'reacted'? I wish I had the time to make more people smile. I wish I was as clear as a person, but deep in my guts is a gene built for refusal.

It was strange that Dom thought I was hard to read... then again I guess I haven't exactly heard people saying I'm easy to read(?)

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Hierarchical and Institutional Power

The title was just the answer which I never got to say in class today.

In truth I wanted to blog yesterday immediately after seeing Mel again in a while. It was really nice catching up with her and frankly just nice to have a long 1-1 conversation with another person again. I brought this up with Steele just now, another reason why they are important to me. It's because I can really bring out the person, their unique character, I can know them, for their strengths, flaws and aspirations, I can experience the fullness of their being. Sometimes I wonder if I'm too dramatic in spirit for my own good (probably). This is what separates me from 'the typical Singaporean', or maybe not, because I don't truly know what goes on in other people's minds. I just know there is a deviance that is apparent in Karen and Yi Hai, and Tze Yang... there is depth I can feel.

I wasn't sure what to make of it honestly, we both know it was a little awkward avoiding the rootbeer keg in the lounge kind of - that we have some history, however brief. Wasn't sure if I would have liked it to have been mentioned, maybe closure, or no. I still like her, but I know somehow it won't work, not really. Given some different circumstance, or some later time, who knows. Or you know, maybe she doesn't really care about that anymore, which could certainly be the case. But I have so much respect for how mature she is, and how the relationship was.

I've aged a lot since then... I don't know if I'll fit it in anymore, going back. It tires me to think about how all the friends I've made here will be gone... it tires me to think about how much of a prick I used to be. It really is just tiring to be alone. Yet the ugliness of it, I've also become more aware of - that I'm selfish, that I'm picky and that I'm not as ready to give up my individuality and freedom as much as I used to think. In the end, so many things are ephemeral.... I just thought about how I didn't give Daniel my blog, even though I wanted to once. Am I just looking for permanence in age?