At the end of all this

At the end of all this,

You won’t forget the person that you have started out as
You will continue to live on words and words
You will die with your dreams intact and your friendships unsullied
You will remain,

You will always remain.

no place

Working on the skeleton of an article for China Outlook, thinking about home and family and strength that manifests unspoken, blood that is thicker than water, afternoon heat wearing off and music stretching into the night. Every day I learn something new and precious at the same time.

I’m so happy when I get to write, words of any kind, and when I get rewarded or at least minimally recognized for it. I don’t think there’s anything else that I’ll really like to do, at least for now.

The Place Where We Are Right

by Yehuda Amichai

From the place where we are right
flowers will never grow
in the Spring.

The place where we are right
is hard and trampled
like a yard.

But doubts and loves
dig up the world
like a mole, a plough.
And a whisper will be heard in the place
where the ruined
house once stood.


We have been on the road for almost three weeks now, trailing through moutains and lakes, tongues and transit lounges. At this very moment I can almost taste the hot burn of ban mian on my tongue, the lull of the scorching afternoon heat, the sultry evening air and people, people everywhere, City Hall and Clarke Quay and stifling little Yishun Bus Interchange. Familiarity rears its head in different ways, in the tilt of an accent and a language, in people whom you have been living with in close proximity for a year, the intimacy of unspoken thoughts, the sounds in the early morning haze before you wake up from slumber. Two or three years ago, everything seemed to have changed but now it all remains ever so the same. Summer, I am waiting.


Wandered around the moors today with Wenli who came to visit from Cambridge, and actually walked the city walls for the first time ever which was surprisingly therapeutic. We also discovered an art installation in a little tiny medieval tower and met loads of nice people. Seeing Yorkshire through her eyes…I think I will really miss this place, a place where so many different types of memories have been made, a place where I have learned so much about myself and others, and negotiated through so many new and different experiences.

On the other hand I think I’m really excited for the family to come up next week, and for me to be able to share this place with them. There is so much about this locale and home that I would like to reconcile, and I think that there is so much more they can understand about my life here, and also our relationship with one and other, when we spend these three weeks together.

Just one last obstacle to clear before I leave, but it is okay, I will not let it get me down. That I can safely say.


If you want to write, just write. Keep doing it and don’t stop. Never tell yourself that you don’t want to be heard, that you will be not good enough.


When it has all been said and done

End of three years of literary theorizing, of seminars and books and ideas and places and people…I’m glad to be able to have so much independent space to myself to pursue the precise ideas and theories that I am interested in, to be able to link the personal things in my life to broader questions in academia and philosophy, and all in all to understand myself and my place in this world so much better. It was a lovely day spent all in all; had to wake up really early to get some minor changes done on my dissertation bibliography, and then met Pippa in town for lunch and walked around basking in the sunshine after that.

Also kind of excited about Myanmar travel plans with Jesmine Tan crossing fingers that it will happen soon! Always been a place that I had wanted to visit for multiple reasons, many of them personal and emotional. I think Lucy Lippard’s mantra that place is the locus of desire really fits well in this context. Just started writing more at so that I can get all these thoughts and ideas about space and place out of my brain and mapped out in a more orderly format. I think why I really do enjoy writing so much is because it is such a release from the endless train of thoughts in my head, and it is all the more better when you manage to shape sentences into coherent, articulate and perhaps even lyrical chunks.

I often think about the things that I lack and the things, qualities and mindsets that I would like to acquire but I think after yesterday night and this morning I’ve decided that it really is that simple. To do what you feel like doing and what would make you the most happy because it is the most meaningful pursuit, and not because you are afraid or shy about what others people around you would do or say. To be with people for who they are not what you want them to be, and to stay true to yourself even as you continually strive to be a better version of yourself. There are some apologies to be made, some catching up to be done, some long conversations somewhere in the distant future…I am at peace now, and this has been a long time coming. Looking back it’s been a pretty decent year, I’ve met loads of genuine, sincere and interesting acquaintances and had some good conversations with people like Pippa, Eline and Yoshimi – I think people who dare to venture out of their comfort zones are the ones who always leave the deepest impression on me.