People and photos and memories. Reminding myself about the things to savour, things to ignore, things to be grateful for.

Tokyo dreaming

So happy to have been able to speak to Emphy today and catch up on news about Chika along the way.

You know you are really friends with someone when you feel so good about their achievements, it’s almost like you’re the one who has accomplished it.

Also: Young the Giant in May, and I just bought an amazing shirt on Etsy. I kind of love the slightly tumblrified tint of that website which still doesn’t really go over the top with hipsterdom, just loads of really cute things and ephemera that you really, really, need.

Three years now

I have learnt so much about myself, my society and the world over the past three years; sitting here on this sofa on a sunny spring day I am suddenly grateful , for I know that this happiness and confidence that I have gained is a sustainable one that will give me much experience, comfort and reassurance in the many long years that lie ahead. But who’s afraid of the future now? Because I know now with a certainty that I can look forward to it, that I can stand up to it and conquer it, and that I can leave legacies that hopefully help to make this world a more beautiful place and that people will always have something good, something meaningful and something worthwhile to remember me by. End of another chapter, start of a new and exciting one. I have been lucky, and I am glad.

I’m grateful for all of it–whether it was quick and passing or something has lingered too long. There is not one thing that I have been through that hasn’t been a lesson that led me to this moment, and I can’t believe how great life keeps getting.

Saturday, mid-April

Working on my dissertation, thinking about things I want to write and that have yet been written, people that I miss and people that have been forgotten, seeing families and children and thinking about how many thoughts every single one of them must harbour in their mind. 


Originally featured in the New Beginnings competition on Writing the City:

My dear child,
The year is 1959, and every night when I close my eyes I am afraid of going to sleep. The wind drifts through the thatched roofs of the house like tired ghosts, and if I turn my ear away from the pillow I can hear the burning cries of the Japanese almost as if they’ve never left, syonan-tobanzai. I chant sayonarasayonara under my breath, like a talisman, exactly the way that my mother taught me to. For besides this she has nothing else to give, all our savings have been reduced to banana money, useless paper that my father arranges and re-arranges meaninglessly, repetitively. Hold on tight, for I will find you soon.

My dear child,
They are coming for us. They are coming because of the language we speak, and the stories we tell on that stage, my beloved stage. Teacher Kuo Pao Kun with his genial smile used to tread across these wooden floors weaving worlds that I melded blissfully into as I sang, as I danced and I acted. But he’s gone now, detained (without trial), they say. Be careful when you are walking home from school, my mother said, don’t let them think you are one of them, protesting against educational reform, angrily pushing away at the wall of progress that will only keep rising higher and higher. I nod and conceal my knowledge from her that your father is one of those angry young men clad in white shirt and khaki pants – No to the destruction of Chinese language and education! Academic freedom for all! The year is 1967. I pray that you will still be able to understand my tongue when I next write to you.

My dear child,
I am writing to you from a strange and alien place. The year is 1982 and the nights in this apartment unit are claustrophobic and torrid. No more are the dogs chasing the cat, the koi fish and the pond and my bare feet on the soft wet earth. We are in a good place now, they tell us. The television and the radio blare tunes in four languages and the public parks below are carefully sculpted like hair on a balding man’s head. Nina and Mohammed from next door are shy and reserved, but very kind to us. Your father has found a delivery job and I am trying to learn the meanings of the multiple acronyms on these tax return forms. I look at the whitewashed walls around me and think about how you will not feel out of place, unlike me, because this shall be the first place that you will come to know.

My dear child,
They are still looking for the missing plane. I have gotten up at six a.m. so that I can speak to you through the screen, where you are eight hours behind, and the conversation has become stilted and terse. People should stay put where they are instead of causing trouble, you are saying, especially here where it is getting so crowded you can barely even breathe. Like the workers who rioted and the rude people from elsewhere caught on stealthy cameras beamed up through video channels, they have to know their own place. But they are like you, they are like me, they too are lost and trying to find their way home, I interject. You smirk. Since when have you ever travelled out of this place? I clam my mouth shut and hang up. My mind winds itself back to eras and eras ago. My dear child, I pray that these words find their way to you and do not end up adrift like debris from the disappeared aeroplane. The year is 2014.

Yuen Sin (April 2014)

Spheres of influence / Networks of power

Finally, civil society activism is another means of engagement for evangelical Christians. The AWARE takeover was enacted through democratic and constitutional means. The Christian-influenced group Focus on the Family is also actively engaged in a variety of social and welfare programmes. Such modes of activism, which utilise civic avenues, constitutional means, or corporate tie-ups, will only grow as middle-class Christians become better informed and better educated. In addition to conventional tactics such as petitions or traditional fund-raising , they will adopt the vocabulary of capitalism and corporate-speak to expand their networks and influence. All this is symptomatic of an increasingly educated middle class evangelical Christianity using its cultural capital to further their interests.



The Squid and the Whale

Bernard: Ivan is fine but he’s not a serious guy, he’s a philistine.
Frank: What’s a philistine?
Bernard: It’s a guy who doesn’t care about books and interesting films and things.
Bernard: Your mother’s brother Ned is also a philistine.
Frank: Then I’m a philistine.
Bernard: No, you’re interested in books and things.