#2074| millennial lingo


Robe: Pomelo

Question: Will your cat ever love you, or is bitchiness just their aesthetic?

Aesthetic is a word i’ve been using quite frequently, in a mildly self conscious manner. The thing about living with two quote-unquote millennials is that they are always talking in this lingo i cannot understand, which seems specifically designed to make me feel old and out of touch. Damn you! I said. I am mainstream and in the know. Stop making me feel old! But my sisters just stared at me and sniggered.

They said. What’s woke? What’s shook? What’s triggered?

I know lit af
, I said.

And they shook their heads at me sadly (apparently not the same shook they were referring to earlier). Lit af was so 2016, jie, they said.

… Whatever. Get-off-my-lawn-style grumpy aside, it’s been interesting. All I’m taking away from this season’s millennial lingo is, kids these days sure are keen on the past tense.


#2070 | Calm down, it’s Taobao – Cheapest Thrills

Hey guys,

A quick post, one so you guys can all CALM DOWN, as it’s been approximately 4 days since I instagram storied my Taobao buys and got swamped immediately with over a hundred emails despite specifically saying that I would write a post when I had more time. Somehow, everyone seemed to assume that they were the exception instead of the norm, and this fifty of the hundred odd emails started something like: I know you said you would eventually write a post, but could I quickly just…

Well, guys, I’m not sure what point I was trying to prove with the above beyond the fact that FINE PEER PRESSURE WORKED. And here I am! With a list of my cheap buys, PLUS LINKS, so you guys can please calm down and let me go back to writing my thesis in peace!!!!!

(ha ha ha im not really grumpy, more like amused by the sheer number of people who went nuts about my cheap buys. I guess this just proves that everyone loves a deal, and also that excitement is catching? I dunno.)

Ok so, I use Ezbuy since I cannot understand how to navigate the Taobao site itself. This is not an Ad for ezbuy, I dont even know anyone working in Ezbuy. My sister is the one who taught me how to use ezbuy (the app and the site), which thankfully, is a ton easier to use than Taobao. Ezbuy is essentially a taobao agent based in Singapore, that is a hundred percent in English, so obviously it is both a life saver and your wallet’s worst nightmare!

Also, I’m just gonna use the Ezbuy product stock pictures, cos I dont have time to shoot nicely, and also cos this is a rushed and informative post more than a #aesthetic one, ok??




This is the number one thing everyone harassed me about, perhaps because it is so damned cute. It’s a toothbrush/kitchen utensils holder, and any dripping water gets drained out from the elephant trunk. Comes in a variety of colors, but the off white is the cutest IMHO.




Can put behind your back, or hug it to sleep on your desk for a midday nap. So cute i bought one for my boyfriend and one for myself. What? Its only three bucks!




So worth it lah! It looked great when it arrived, the magnetic flap is a stroke of genius, and it even came with a free silicon keyboard cover! But I didn’t want it, so I gave that one away.

4. RETRO MAROON BOWLER BAG. $16 (but when I bought it, it was 13. So maybe the price fluctuates)



I dunno why bits of the stock image is mosaic-ed off. It just occurred to me that maybe this is a fake bag from some famous brand, but I dont know enough about designer bags to identify it. And besides, the design is so common! In real life, this bag is great, though the shoulder flap is a bit lame. Still would buy again tho.




HOW DO THEY MAKE MONEY AH? This is one of those times where you just shake your head and go, china. You are amazing China. I cant believe it’s only two bucks, this thing is so damned useful! And I love that it comes with a little hook so you can hang it up in your Airbnb toilet when you travel, or something!




This is a damned weird photo, dont ask me why there is a sleeping baby on the stock image. Because its a quiet mouse? I dont see the point. But this mouse is wireless, which is awesome cos i hate wires, and also, it is gorgeous in real life! The rose gold shade is mega pretty. I got it for my office iMac, which I bought second hand off carousel for $400 in case any of u accuse me of being a rich bitch. All about the budget life, y’all.




Aiyah, very indulgent right? But I was gonna use this to upcycle one of my study tables at home. Until I got home two days ago, and my study table was GONE, because my dad took it to his office for goodness knows what. But this is still a cute buy, I think. I’ll find another use for it.


Ok guys, that’s it. Sorry for the rushed post, I wrote this in half an hour because I have this thing called a thesis to write, and it is due in some months, so, you know. Life.

Ok love y’all stop harassing me for links they’re all here now, bye bye!


#2069 | life update; feb


Ola, guys

No, I am not drinking two cups of coffee. One is my boyfriend’s. Though I would not put it past myself to drink two cups at a go, or three, or four…

Anyway. Like I’ve been complaining rather self consciously to the people around me, life has taken a decidedly more contained outlook this year thus far. This relates mostly to matters of academia, where my not so secret double life as a masters student has been cannibalising most of my time, of which I’d already had limited supply. This mostly means that in between commercial work, hosting, teaching, and thesis-writing, I have a window of about seven and a half minutes to do other things like try and have some semblance of a social life, and so my social circle has shrunk to about three – my boyfriend, my cat, and my other girlfriend who also rents office space at the Hive a desk over from me.

The self conscious element kicks in because I know that all things considered, it is a good life. A brief sacrifice of social life / fun is hardly a blip in the grander scheme of things, especially since, as everyone tells me, it’s only till August! But knowing that and feeling it is completely different matters. All my friends have gone out to play šŸ™ I told my boyfriend, and I wanna go too.

Then go, he said.
I cant. I’ll feel guilty.
Then don’t.
But I want to play too.

And so the conversation loops and drags on. Sometimes I just loop the same conversation over and over to see how long it’ll be before the boyfriend tosses me a glass of wine to shut me up. But his patience has been both amusing and impressive thus far.

The only till August part saddens me too, because I love being in school. I love it! I’ve always been the type of kid who loved going to school everyday because I am a nerd and i love learning about new things that i may not have had the chance to encounter otherwise. I think I only started hating school when I was eighteen, and that was because I am seriously not a morning person (side note: all three classes I’ve taught so far have been extreme morning classes, and so I’ve started to think the university has an agenda against me.. or something). But even then I freakin loved finding an empty spot by the study benches to drink cheap 3-in-1 coffee and eat dollar-seaweed-chicken and study with friends. And so it’s damned if you do, damned if you don’t, because I wish I had more time but I love the thing that is precisely taking up all my time, ie. school, and so.. I don’t know. This is a good problem to have, and a privilege, and I am just being a whiny bitch.


Having a 4pm beer by myself on the roof of my office during my 7 minutes of free time per day

In any case. The commitment I made to myself to not go out and play till, I dunno, August – with the exception of 1. momentous occasions, aka my friends getting married or something 2. friends playing the friendship SOS card, aka someone broke up, someone has a emergency and needs support, someone etc etc etc 3. a friend from abroad dropping in to singapore, which happens more often than you’d think – has given me the mental freedom to devote nearly all my time to work and writing. The idea was to start off with 1-1.5k words of academic writing per day, then on alternate days either moving on to replying business emails and working on commercial work, or continuing my academic research and marking student papers. So far the plan has been functioning okay. If nothing else, I had a moment where I realised that no matter how spontaneously I’d like to believe I can live my life, I am still ultimately the sort of person who thrives on routine and compartmentalised decisions. The word neurotic has been used on me far too many times in the past year. I cannot find it in myself to disagree.

In concrete terms tho, this meant that in Feb I read two books, wrote about the best six books in my past six months, had a new editorial out for Paypal SEA, started working on phase two of my Times x Jemma Recommends book collection which is rolling out soon, and hijacked exactly two talks (one talk show for power98, one hosting gig for huawei mobile) with what I thought modern feminism represented, despite them both having engaged Jemma and not Jemimah to speak. Which, again, is how I realise that no matter how hard i try to keep them apart, my two worlds always inevitably end up crashing into each other. The other day I went to school and told a student I liked her eyeliner. Horror!


BTS of recent gigs i did

In general I was feeling pretty productive and proud of my progress work wise and academia wise, but that is not to say (i explained to the bf) that i dont miss just hanging out with my friends. I wish i had something else to sacrifice, like a video game habit, but i dont. Which is why I was so chuffed when we decided to work out of a starbucks instead of the office yesterday, and a couple of our friends nearby crashed!!!!!!!


And suddenly life was flowers and rainbows again.

A new week. Onward, I say. Happy Sunday, y’all.


#2066 | #LAdiaries – One Cold Night in DTLA


The Broad Museum, Los Angeles
Wearing: Her Velvet Vase

My time in Los Angeles was very short, and very sweet. My first time in the city of angels, and for only four and a half days. And no Disneyland! That’s how you know I’ll be back, no disneyland. Ha. I am so predictable as a basic girl in her twenties. I was there on a work trip, as mentioned before, and in my Griffith post I mentioned us not actually having any scheduled free time. But what free time I did have, I made the most of. Consequently my short sojourn in Los Angeles felt like a good block of time spent doing many different things (half of which full credit goes to Airbnb’s wonderful itinerary). Today’s story revolves around this one cold night I had alone in DTLA, after my half-day Airbnb Experience with The Adventureman had ended. I’d found myself back in the city feeling the soft lapping of jet lag and skin kissed by salt and sun. I thought to myself, four days in LA. No time for naps. I can nap when i’m dead (a sentiment I actually heartily disavow on a regular basis, me being a girl who loves my sleep). And so I showered, changed, and headed out again.

My remaining half-hour of sunlight for the day was spent in an uber with a lady driver who had a personality bigger than the sum of our carseat space. She sang ditties nonstop, had no idea where she was going, and then told me that it was sad, real sad! that her GPS was full of shit! A real tragedy, she said again, shaking her head at me, in between breaths of singing along to Bruno Mars. It was like living in a reality tv show. I didn’t really know what to say, so I shrugged and smiled. It’s sad, she said again, then dropped me off outside The Broad.

Im not someone who loves to spend my entire day indoors in a museum when traveling, but I have to say, some of the best museums Ive seen have really blown me away. I snuck into The Broad on my media pass (dubious looks from the guard, but he waved me through anyway) and it was a nice, easy museum that was also very enjoyable. It’s small, for one, just two storeys, and each exhibit is properly explained in real-speak. That is to say, the way a friend would explain it to you, and not in some highfalutin art speak. I wandered around on double speed, moped a bit about having to skip the Yayoi Kusama exhibit (a 1.5 hr wait was too much of a luxury i couldn’t afford), and left after slightly over an hour.


“Contemporary Art”

When I emerged it was dark. Dark in LA is not like Dark in Singapore. There are dense city lights you chalk up to light pollution, but the stars shine so bright you forget for a moment everything you think you know about science and the sky. From The Broad I basically ran down the road to the Frank Gehry Walt Disney Concert Hall, something I’ve wanted to see for almost five years now. Architecturally it’s a wonder, but you forget all that then you’re faced with the hall. You just stand before it, overwhelmed. Touched? Is it too silly and cheesy to say I felt my heart clench? But it did, and so I will. Some things just take your breath away. Though fair disclaimer – I’m the type who cries at everything. The first time I saw the Eiffel tower at twenty one, I sobbed. Little girl dreams come true and all that.

The Walt Disney Concert Hall was everything I hoped it would be from the outside. People slowed as they passed it, to look up in wonder. Sighs were heard. Other people smiled. The occasional tourists brushed by me holding everything from iPhones for selfies to huge DSLR for mood shots. I gave myself ten minutes to gape at the Hall – I had agreed to meet the rest of the Singaporean media at In-And-Out for our first iconic burger experience in half an hour. But ten minutes was all I needed. When something is as innately beautiful as that, you don’t need much skill. You just need to be impressed, let yourself savour the moment, then snap once.


the beautiful Walt Disney Concert Hall by night

One day, I told myself, I’ll watch a concert in there. My uber driver honked.

Half an hour ride. It takes half an hour to get anywhere within the city, it seems. I have to admit that the ride there was cold and disappointing. Where was the bustle of the movies, the charm of the streets? Outside the car it was quiet and dark. The stars shone on. The pavements did not. I wondered where all the people were, and something floated back to me as if from another life: a friend casually telling me that you party in LA, at the house of someone if you know someone who knows someone.. bar culture isn’t as strong as it is back in other cities while I looked on in envy. Well, I thought. This is me, looking in from the outside. I know no one, and so the city turns from me.

I do have a flair for the melodramatic, if you hadn’t already guessed.

In and Out appeared so suddenly I must have dozed off in the car. A yellow and red neon monstrosity! The famous Sunset Boulevard. Still feeling mildly underwhelmed, I went in and got seats for the four of us. Somehow defending an empty booth as a single asian girl against hungry Americans seems every bit as iconic an experience as any other. Glares all around! I kept my head down and looked at my phone. I act big when I’m on home turf but abroad I’m always so afraid someone will come and punch me for no good reason. I watch too much TV, I think. And the rest arrived, and we had the famous burgers they talk about, “animal style”.


In-n-Out Los Angeles

I am heartbroken to be the bearer of unpopular opinion. The burgers were alright. We all stared at each other while eating, making eye contact, waiting for the first person to whimper or moan. It’s always a strange and communal experience, eating messy food with people you cordially know. We got much friendlier later, but these were early days, hours. Finally, Adele spoke up. They’re.. okay.

What a relief! We agreed that they were neither the best nor worst burgers of our lives, and I volunteered my own experience at Shake Shack in New York – mindblowingly average. Do I just not have the right kind of taste buds? Who knows. In-n-Out was really cheap for what it was though, and the old school American diner experience was enjoyable if only because we (I?) pictured myself in a different time, different age half-subconsciously when munching down on my chow. I told my friend this later and she looked at me in disgust. You’re crazy, she said. Those are the best burgers in the world. Ah, well.

Walking down Sunset Boulevard post-meal we all seemed half hopeful. Herein lies the avenue people write songs about. Make movies about. Herein lies the avenue where things seem dead past 7pm. What was going on? We made small talk, wondered where all the people were, agreed that there had to be more to LA than this. Privately I felt personally let down by the city, let down by pop culture, let down by what hollywood had led me to believe. No lights, no bustle. Druggies on the road, neon signs indicating a special kind of ‘pharmacist’. Cause and consequence. The most exciting thing we saw was a 24/7 grocery store – because everyone loves grocery stores. What kind of peanut butter can you get in America that you can’t get elsewhere? Is what i’m saying.

On and on we walked. It felt like we were afraid to give up and go home, because to do so would be to give in to the city’s rejection of us. We could be fun. We could be exciting. Why wouldn’t it open up? At least, that’s how I felt. Only four days in LA, and I’d be damned if I were to waste a night and go home early just because i couldn’t find something new to try.

We passed a comic book store and a couple of people lingering outside, smoking, laughing, and talking. Again I felt the sense of being left out wash over me. I walked over and asked them where they were going, what they were waiting for. There’s a comedy show starting soon at the back of this comic shop..

Lo and behold!

But the comedy show was sold out. Next door, however, had yet another show that had started fifteen minutes ago, that still sold standing room tickets for five bucks. Yes? Yes? Obviously. We went in.


Enter: the best five dollars I spent in LA. The Nerdist School Stage, which was the name of the comedy improv club we went to, was fantastic. I personally love comedy shows, but I know they’re not necessarily for everyone. A lot of people are adverse to comedy shows because of the heckling, and Improv both eases that fear since the comedians use their own material, and grants you access to comedy anyway.

Three shows, we watched, and the last of which was performed by this group called Beyond The Disney Vault. Where the rejected disney movies live is their tagline. They consist a group of improv actors and musicians (pictured above), who start the show by asking the audience for a word. They then improvise an entire MUSICAL, complete with original song, harmony, and actual character script, on the spot.

It was incredible. I could not even begin to comprehend the kind of talent an individual would have to possess, as well as the kind of insane chemistry with the rest of one’s troupe, to be able to invent, harmonise, and stitch together a coherent piece of work on the spot. And in case you suspect the musicals were pre-written, the audience word thrown out for our show was “Boomerang”. How do you anticipate that?

An hour later, we stumbled out of the club and into the cold, raving and amazed. We were down to two: Kenath and Adele had left earlier, citing jet lag. Serene and I wandered around a bit more, me half reluctant to call it a night, ready to go some more, her wanting to get back to the apartment to Skype her kid. We settled on a workable compromise: called an uber, and asked her to detour and drive down Hollywood Boulevard so we could see it from the car on the way home. It was like a free tour – the old lady who picked us up was so excited to explain the history of the different buildings up and down the avenue of the stars, we couldn’t imagine a better way to have seen the Boulevard. And things were actually happening on that street, people were snapping photographs of the stars on the floor, there were movie theatres, shopping malls. But we sped past them all, gaping at the lights and people, semi-grateful we were able to relax and admire from the darkness of the car.

A left turn onto the freeway. Hollywood Boulevard over in ten minutes and behind us. As the freeway opened up to fluid traffic and the harmony of car sounds, I felt, rather than saw, the city dim around me and cleave to the star spangled sky. Amazing, amazing. Still high from the comedy show rush of exhilaration, I thought of the evening and what we’d done, what we’d seen. Moments of highs and lows, the emotional arc of discovering downtown los angeles. And I thought to myself: not bad. Not bad at all.


#2064 | feng he ri li


Neon sign from Hello Confetti Dreams, available for purchase or rental. Website.

Well, well. Day four and the chinese new year festivities seem nearly over, the dust settled, so on and so forth. How was everyone’s festivities? Sufficiently awkward, I hope. Last year a friend and I were groaning about the impending visitations, more because it seemed the fashionable thing to do than anything else. I don’t really suffer from the extended family meet ups the same way most people do, and when my friends complain that they face strange and inappropriate questions from the fam, I privately thank God that my family is more or less chill with most things. Besides, four, five (?) years in the media has kind of rendered me immune to strange and inappropriate questions. You know what I mean. Welcome to the new reality, is what I am saying.

But anyway. Back to it. Said friend had procured a newish girlfriend and she was to meet his family for the first time. His family, unlike mine, loooooved to ask questions of the childbearing hips Mulan-matchmaker variety. So he claims.

How ah.
How what.
I’m putting together a list of weird things they might ask so I can formulate funny comebacks ahead of time.
Good luck with that. You know it’ll be useless right? In the face of an awkward question you’ll just –
– shrivel up and die. Yes i know.
I hope your chinese new year is awkward as hell.
Shut up.
It’s a blessing in disguise, my friend. Awful scenarios are a gift –
– to creativity? You always say that.
A gift ripe for the pickings.
Ugh. The worst part is you’re right.
I hope you have the worst CNY ever.
I hope you have the worst CNY ever.
Thank you.
I know.

Afterwards he came back and said that the visitations went well. Too well, in fact.

Is that disappointment I detect?
I asked. He shrugged. And i thought to myself, how human we all are, to secretly hope for shit to hit the fan, just to lift us all out of this predictable boredom masquerading as happiness. Is that too pessimistic for the new year? I don’t think so. Alternative storylines to follow, and all that.

This year’s storyline didn’t differentiate that much from the norm. There were visitations, just the right amount of weirdness, and a lot of napping. So much napping! The exhaustion of the last half-year has returned with a vengeance, and again I am reminded of how my one superpower is being able to fall asleep anywhere. Couches, trains, buses, under your dining table. Last night we were playing charades at another friend’s place and i just barely managed to pretend i was imitating something when i had actually dozed off for a hot minute. I laughed about it later, in the car home, about my super power. My boyfriend looked at me and said, stop romanticising narcolepsy, Jem. And that was that.