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shining lemon
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This is a personal diary.

Do not steal the above photo because I took it.

Reading
shining lemon
reminiscene
On a re-reading kick of DWJ's books.

Haven't been reading any books for the past few years, partly due to work, real life commitments, big move across continents, marriage and now that I've finally have some time to myself... my love for reading has caught up with me again. People just can't stay away from doing the things they love for long, I think.

And as I read, I realised something: how I missed reading GOOD books and DWJ's literary style!

As a young child, I was a voracious reader. I'd read anything and everything that I could get my hands on. Weekly trips to the library were a chore to my mum because she had to help me lug back 12 books every single time. That changed as I grew up; I could go to the public library myself and bring back all the books myself too. My zeal for reading didn't go away even with increasing schoolwork. And then somehow, it just went away when I hit my mid-twenties mysteriously.

I highly suspect that it was because I'd read a lot of good books and there just weren't many more good ones left for me to find out. A walk to the bookshop nowadays leaves me disappointed and hollow, a flip through the pages of so-called bestsellers would make me shake my head or cringe. I'm no literary critic, but only a pathetic few caught my eye, or my heart. The last bestseller I'd remember reading was 'The Book Thief' and I was astonished; how could this be good? To me, that novel was like a beggar pretending to be a rich man. Maybe I'm exaggerating, but nonetheless, I wasn't impressed and was sad that I'd wasted my money and precious time over such a book. The last book that I remember amazing me was 'How to Breathe Underwater'. Now, that, is a good book (short stories). I've re-read it thrice. But I only remember that.

Maybe I haven't been following up with the literary world, or maybe as I grow older, my interests and tastes have narrowed down to such a point that I've become very picky with what I deem good, and therefore, what I'd want to read (and continue to the end). Even the books/reading-related LJ communities that I used to subscribe to have now become ... desolate. So quiet. No more new posts, no more new reviews, no more contributions etc.

Is it the Internet, or social networking, that has created this dearth of good, gripping books? Back before the Internet was invented, a lot of people seem to love reading. The slow yet fulfilling gratification, happiness and joy one can get from reading a good story has now seemingly been challenged by the instant yet hollow gratification one gets from the Internet: pornography, FaceBook (gossip and eavesdropping in another form), YouTube... no don't get me wrong, I'm not pushing the blame onto the Internet (I do love it), I'm just postulating. People say that libraries are dying out because of e-books and whatnot, but sometimes I wonder if it's really true.

I used to see a lot of people reading (regardless of the material), in the bus, on the grass, wherever a good spot of sunshine or light can be found during my time. But the kids nowadays seem to be more engrossed with their phones, playing games, surfing FaceBook, chatting with their friends (why not face-to-face? again I wonder) etc. I know adults (including me) do read news on the Internet etc, be it via a computer or phone or tablet, but I'm talking about reading. Has anyone realised that kids nowadays don't really fancy reading? They hardly know any good books.

Or maybe, I just don't see the literary nerds or geeks around anymore. 

eye stye
shining lemon
reminiscene
I have an eye stye, for the first time in my life. I think I rubbed my eyes too hard when I was trying to remove the mascara.

I went to the doctor today and he brought in a first year medical student. Pretty lass.

He asked her if she knew what this was, and she shook her head. I was shocked. Even I know that this is called an eye stye.

I'm beginning to lose faith in the younger doctors. Scary.

Cynicism
shining lemon
reminiscene
Sometimes, just sometimes, I want to be positive and tell myself that, yes, people can be kind and nice and polite and considerate......

Most of the time, this notion get swatted away as instantly and automatically as a fly comes into my field of vision.

Human beings, are just not like that, for who knows? 90% of the time?

Sometimes I wish people would be more upfront and honest with me rather than beating around the bush until the bush catches fire and I smell the smoke...... oh, wait, is the smoke supposed to be a smoke screen? *inserts sarcastic laughter*

I don't think I ever want to lend a helping hand or listening ear to anyone who's not my friend; not looking for compensations but sometimes, a 'thanks' doesn't even come. I've been taken for granted and made use of for so many times that I've lost count.

Back to reading then.

My despise runs deep...
shining lemon
reminiscene
Sometimes, some people make me feel so disgusted.

Maybe I am over-sensitive. Maybe I am strange. Maybe I am in the wrong.

But seriously, I hate nationalists. Especially if they come from the country with a red sun on their flag.

faux pas
wtf?!
reminiscene
I don't even know how to pronounce this correctly.

Just the other day, my husband and I were getting ready to do some grocery shopping. We opened our door and saw our neighbour (across our door) coming out too. They were all decked out in nice clothes which were definitely nicer and smarter than their usual attire. Not saying anything at all, seeing how I look like shit all the time. I just want to say, they look nice. My neighbour is an Indian family, and they have a daughter and a son, and the little boy of 5 years old is the one of the cutest little people I've ever seen.

So me being the friendly me, decided to make some light conversation as we walked to the lift and waited for the doors to open.

Me: Hi! Where are you guys going?
Indian Dad: Oh, we're going to the church.
Me: Church?
Dad: Um, yes, for prayers.
Me: Indian church?
Dad: (pause with stern look) Yes, a church. Ismaili church.


Yes, I know. That was one serious faux pas. I wasn't being mean or sarcastic or even racist at all. It's just that I hardly see Indians in churches, and I thought perhaps he wanted to say 'Indian temple' but was worried that I might not know, and so in order to facilitate the conversation used 'church' instead. And while I was trying to understand whether he understood what I was perplexed about... and this whole mental gymnast thing occupied 90% of my brain power (not a lot, I know) and I ended up, actually, asking him, "Indian church?"

Gosh. My husband shot me a look that said 'you betta shuddup now' and I promptly switched my focus to his adorable little boy. I wanted to apologise for my mistake by sending some of the yummy pecan tarts I made but my husband advised against it. I googled up Ismailism and it seems that it's a branch of Islamism. So it's not a church, it's more like a mosque.. in simpler words for a Singaporean for me to understand: Indian muslims.

Do you think perhaps I should make some nice desserts for the kids...? I feel bad. I'll make sure my utensils are clean and contains no gelatin or pork or raw blood.

Women are not cattle.
shining lemon
reminiscene
It's been almost two months since my last update. Oops.

I don't mean to neglect this journal... I love blogging very much, just that it no longer takes up a central part of my life as it used to be. I mean, I sometimes even think about the stuff that I want to write here just before I sleep... and I end up being insomniac and not drifting off to sleep until the morning light filters through the white blinds and by then, my husband is up and ready to go for work.

And when I finally wake up groggily at 12 or 1pm, half the day is gone. I start my day doing house chores, preparing myself a light lunch, learn my Japanese, surf a little internet, prepare dinner... and then my dad has ended, sort of. But I do have things I want to write about, it's just that I never got around doing it.

Recently I started to watch 康熙来了, which is a very popular and long-running Taiwanese talk show that is akin to Jimmy Kimmel and Ellen DeGeneres, just that it is ten times more sarcastic and the talk show hosts often go all out in an attempt to expose their guest stars' secrets etc. While I don't dig the gossipy part of it, it is indeed very funny and comical sometimes and the witty repartee helps me to retain my Chinese skills I think.

Just a few days ago, my husband and I were watching this show and they invited several men who were known in the Taiwanese entertainment industry to be 'good' at guessing women's ages from their physical appearances, such as their arms ('butterfly', i.e., flabby arms), shins, kneecaps, necks and etc. To a Westerner, this is obviously very devaluing and rude to any ladies but the truth is, men do this all the time to women. While they might not verbalise their thoughts always, most men do sort of 'grade' women through this kind of evaluation, which of course, needless to say, is hardly accurate and extremely dehumanising. Afterall, women are not cattle where you can just focus on one physical aspect of a body and give it a value (in this show, age). But the point is, women often judge other women based on their appearances and they often voice it out loud (which might be worse); I am guilty of this too. Sometimes when I see obese women wearing mini-skirts, I can't help but to think why would they want to show off their unshapely legs and cellulite-embossed thighs to the public? Are they trying to attract attention, albeit the wrong kind? Or are they trying to make a statement that perhaps, obese women can wear mini-skirts too? This goes the same for skinny women; I can't help but to sigh when I see them because they really look like a pair of chopsticks to me.

So I am guilty of this too, I admit.

But you know, women knows this too. And this is why we want to make ourselves pretty, keep our bodies in shape and etc. It's because we know how harsh this world is, and that people do judge other people by their appearances, and first impressions go a much further way than we think. They stay, and they stay with us for a long, long time. We want to create and maintain a positive image in other's minds, and while I don't think that itself is necessarily wrong, it's not necessarily healthy either. There's already so much discussions and flak happening in the society and internet that one would think that people would know judging women based on their physical appearances is bad and unhealthy... but we still continue to do it. Beauty pageants are one of the best examples; judges, usually men, rate beauty contestants based on their external appearances. I wonder what goes through their minds, both the judges' and the contestants'. Are they choosing a cow? Or a horse? The legs are not long enough, check. The chest is not big enough, check. The nose is too flat, check.

As a woman, I find this very sad. I personally don't think I judge women to this extent, but when I catch myself doing it, I tell myself not to do it again. There's just no meaning in it. An obese woman might not be very physically attractive, but if she has an amazing character/personality, wouldn't you want to be her friend or even date her? When I asked my husband about this, he looked at me as if I'd asked a stupid question. His answer was no. And I understand. I'm not even defending my husband, because if I put myself in his shoes, I wouldn't be very interested in dating an obese guy too. Perhaps you might think we are shallow (I assure you that the both of us are neither attractive nor slim) but the cold, hard truth is that, physical appearances do matter. Society has sort of attached a stigma, a negative connotation to obese people and it's hard to erase this off people's minds. No matter what people say, or try to detract away from this, the truth is that gyms and health foods industries flourish because people WANT to look good and appeal to the rest of their kind. There is nothing wrong with this. Everyone wants to be in a group, any kind of group, instead of being osctracised and alienated from the rest with a label that says, "Too Fat. Out.".

But enough with the size and weight. Humans are never going to escape from labelling other people fat, and it's better for obese people to get their weight down not so much of this (although it sure is a very compelling, and very good reason too) but more because of their health. We all know, fat clogs up our arteries and no one is out to die young. This of course, excludes people who are genetically predisposed to be fat.

What I really want to talk about, is how we humans, have become so harsh on our fellow people, and so shallow together with this outward appearance issue. It has almost become like a religion, I feel. We get bombarded by so much media and advertising and for younger people, who are also subjected to extremely strong peer pressure in school and clubs etc., that we have to come to subconsciously idolise skinny and beautiful people. Adults might not feel it so keenly, but teenagers start to worship these models or actresses and suddenly, it's no longer just size or weight. It's also how your arms are, your nose looks, your teeth etc. I personally don't find myself very fat; I am a bit chubby because I've gained weight recently and the truth is, compared to the Caucasians living here, I'm smaller than them. Yet on the other hand, I'm a little concerned about my image too. Am I getting 'butterfly' arms? My love handles are more visible now? My thighs are getting thicker? Rationally, I know that as long as I am healthy it's good enough. But why is it that the images that appear inside my head are of beautiful slim women who do not have an extra ounce of fat on their bodies?

I think I am digressing (I am now thinking of female objectification too) but I guess, I just feel overwhelmed by that talk show that I'd watched. Women are judged on their external appearances. By men, by women, and by themselves too. The contestants seemed proud that they could have a body of a twenty year old while they were in fact hitting forty or fifty. The focus of (what? I wonder) nowadays has shifted dramatically; it's no longer character, intelligence, integrity, charm, etc., but whether you have a washboard tummy, a high nose, double eyelids, pearly white teeth. And young women, inhale and embrace this in its entirely, conforming themselves, shaping and moulding their bodies, to try to achieve a certain kind of image that they think is the golden standard of beauty.

It's not a sin to want to be pretty. I want to be pretty too.

But it's wrong to sacrifice certain things for beauty, things like self-identity, self-esteem, confidence. Many women's confidence nowadays have become so fragile and brittle; a perhaps careless negative mention or remark of their external appearances sends them into a downward spiral and they soon struggle to climb up that ladder of assumed beauty again. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe women throughout centuries have been like this. I don't know. I'm just verbalising out my thoughts now.

But I think, whether I've been clear and rational and composed, or whether you've understood my entry or not, is really not that important. I just hope that when men, or even women, wants to make a certain remark about somebody else's external appearance, to be a bit kinder if possible. Or better still, don't make any remark. Imagine that stranger as one of your spouse, or one of your siblings; would you want them to be subjected to meaningless verbal attacks on their facial structure or body shape?

I've remarked many times on obese people. It's not so much that they gross me out, but more that I find it amazing how anyone can get that big. But I repent, and I would like to be a better person next time. If that obese person were my child, I would not want others to make disparaging remarks on him/her.  

(no subject)
shining lemon
reminiscene

The windows cleaner guys came today.

Argh.

Why can't they be clear? Do they want to wash the windows on 6 June or tell us to close our windows on 6 June?

Either way this is stupid and making me feel more like a fool.


Soda Green
me in cartoon form
reminiscene
I went to Soda Green's concert yesterday. It was their second time performing in Singapore and I was really disappointed that I couldn't go to their first concert then.

How should I put this into words...?

Some things are indescribable. Some things when confined to words, loses its luster and becomes dull; this is how... emotional I felt when I heard 青峰 sang. To top it off, it was live. LIVE!

And it was then, when I heard him sing, it was then, that I realised,

"Ah. So this is how it is like, when a singer pours his heart into the song as he sings."

So many soulless singers, singing so many soulless songs... 青峰 wasn't like that at all. You could tell that he really loves to sing, and the conviction, his belief, his emotions, if only you could hear him. Hear him live.

Cookie for me: They came down from the stage and as one of the guitarists (阿福) walked past my aisle, he walked over to me and gave me a high-five. A real high-five. But I was so surprised that he jumped over so fast that I was still holding the light in my right hand as our palms hit. I guess it was because I was smiling so happily at him. *embarrassed*

The highlight of the concert?

When I heard him singing this. My mind got blown away and I teared.


A Thousand Years
petal heart
reminiscene



JO asked me to listen to this song. I think this song summarises his love for me. I fell in love with this song when I heard it, and I can't stop listening to this. This song reminds me of the twelve long years that we've been through and how I will never stop being afraid.

But.

Whenever I think about his love for me... all the rest pales in comparison. The other 'I love you's that I've heard so far have been counterfeits, imitations, shadows of the real thing. How do I know? Because I've experienced and have the real thing.

I've mentioned this to JO before, but I will say here again.

I am so very grateful to the love he has given me, because it has established in me the self-esteem, self-worth, confidence and knowledge that one can only build based on real love. He loves me for who I am, the whole package, unreservedly and me undeserving of it. And I think this is so very important in a woman, or should I say a person, so that she or he will never settle for less.

Love is not a commodity; it can't be traded or purchased. We should never ask for it, but hope to receive it while we dole it out carefully and cautiously. But I think a lot of people, especially women, don't understand this. Many young girls hoping to receive love from the wrong people, or in the wrong manner, sacrifice a lot and in the process, unknowingly lose themselves in unthinkable tangible and intangible ways.

I remember this conversation that I'd once held with a guy. He thought that women wanted to look pretty because they wanted to. I told him that is partially true but if you think a little deeper, why does she want that? Why is the pursuit of beauty neverending for most women? It is because most women (including me), to certain extent, base their self-esteem and self-worth on their appearances. In essence, they want to receive attention (good type), and eventually, love from everyone else. Almost all females in developing and developed countries have been indoctrinated by the media and society and culture that looking good is important, if not, critical.

But once you find someone who loves you entirely, wholesomely, regardless of your physical attributes or character faults... vanity fades away like darkness driven away by light. That someone, who is not your family or relative, has no reason to love you but yet loves you so much, creates something very solid and deep inside you, your soul and your heart. And that something is a strong buffer and shield that will help a person, especially a young person against many external, negative forces that will eventually come as s/he age.

The ultimate love must come from God.

What do I want to say?

I am grateful to God, and to JO for loving me.



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