It’s not like…

“You look like someone who can protect yourself,” he told me.

“I feel like I can’t settle for this life anymore,” she said.

Two lines that stuck. July’s a strange month. You’re going to overwrite yourself at the end of this month, she said.


Back with that strange drifty sense of assurance this morning again – like I was seven years old again, waking up to the June holidays and feeling like the world was full of promises. I don’t want this careful optimism to end : I have realised there are bigger and more important things in life, and that I want some things to work out for myself.


Wandering past and into the Capitol Building yesterday evening, doubling into the Substation on Armenian Street. I’ve been waking up to paddle-pop skies and quiet mornings in the newsroom, feeling strangely divorced from the crushing routines of everyday life. I, too, will like to be part of that buzzy crowd at the bars of Capitol, the people rushing through the Raffles City basement for dinner dates. I’m upbeat about the ongoing programme at Substation and am itching to work together with people from various disciplines, to question and make things and put together all the things that have been brimming up inside my head.

Manchester by Adam O’Riordan

Queen of the cotton cities,

nightly I piece you back into existence:

the frayed bridal train your chimneys lay

and the warped applause-track of Victorian rain.

You’re the blackened lung whose depths I plumb,

the million windows and the smoke-occluded sun.

A girl steps from a door, her cotton flecked shawl

is the first snow on a turf-plot back in Mayo.

You’re the globing of the world, a litany of cities;

Osaka, Orizaba, Gabrovo: cast in your image.

Your warehouses bloated by curious needs:

butter, shellfish, clog blocks, bleach.

Your little merchants, hawking Lucifers and besoms

to set a small flame guttering in a wet-brick basement:

in the straw and wood shavings a mother’s lullabies

bear their freight of love and typhus.

In the small hours I remake you and remake you,

until you grow faint as a footfall on a fever ward

and I wake from my imagination’s gas-lit parlour

and whatever I seek to have or hold or harbour

is pure curio – a wreath of feathers, seashells

or human hair, a taxidermist’s diorama.

on the 969

On the 969 this evening, got an upper deck seat
Sun streaming in through the windows, first-class seat to a sunset

It struck my how surreal that moment was : one moment we were going through quotidian, heartland tampines – singapore locked in the stupor of the afternoon heat, blank, empty faces washed of emotion – and then someone takes a phone out of his pocket, starts snapping pictures; a couple in the front row seat stirs, eyes widening as they take in the crazy orange hues, a fireball sinking down into the horizon

I thought that moment encapsulated how I feel about this city: it’s small, it’s complicated, but there’s beauty and deep insight lurking beneath the surface – if you know where to look. A nice birthday reminder to myself – to keep rooted, to remain in the present.

things i miss

I realise I miss being alone – It has been more than two years since I had full control over my life and all the little mundane tasks: cleaning the house, doing laundry, washing my hair, cooking – actually contributed to a strange sense of zen that I realise I have abandoned since coming back. Things in my room are in disarray, I have been fumbling through things, passively knocking back on the bus. But I’ve been cycling to the station every day now and tonight I went to the supermarket after work, came home, cooked, sorted out some things, thought about life and things. It’s been a good weekend of re-discovering this again.


Old draft of my life that I found – when was this written? 2014, when I was all alone in London? 2013, when I was trying to make it in York? I have no idea but I want to keep this here, for posterity:

And then once in a a blue moon a day like this comes along, a day when you wake up in a cold room and frost shimmering out of your room and you feel as if you have been transposed into somebody’s else’s life. You lie in bed, your back to the wall, and remember. All you want to do, is listen to the slow lull of Chinese tunes and dance across HDB rooftops in the light of the setting dusk. All you want to do, is banter with the auntie in broken English at the coffee shop and feel the sultry heat melting beads of sweat off your back. You are brushing your make-up on, pulling your best clothes on, trying to be a strong cosmopolitan woman in this strange new world.