There are very few things better than raw fish in the form of Salmon but i think two things fit the bill. The people who have been emailing, messaging, and dropping me messages of love and comfort via all online portals, i am so so grateful. I would give all the girls a hug and all the guys a pat on the back because, you know. Nan Nu Shou Shou Bu Qing or however you say it. Im pretty sure that’s how you say it. I cant believe you all would take the time and effort- strangers and friends alike! Here are photos of my cat that might interest you:
Stereotype that all people on the internet love cats aside, the other thing that beats salmon sashimi has only got to be salmon sashimi with a topping of friends. Last night, Amanda, Edwin, Candice, YangQian and I went for salmon sashimi down at Orchard Central’s Kiseki. The original plan was ice skatin but amanda had no pants (dont ask).
Other things i have been up to include:
Yes, I’m re-running in the upcoming elections for a new term as NTU HSSMMC’s HonGen. After one year as the school’s Social Director, spent making speeches (yakking away) at various school and social events, this year I promise to write you emails (love letters) and take up a role more involved in the internal workings of the club.
There are things I want to do as the HonGen. Things not currently done in any of the other schools to the best of my knowledge, and things a bit too long for a blogpost. HSS Students: If you’re curious, come attend my rally on the 28th August, 7pm, at HSS Sem Room 9.
With that said, relevant experience I have include:
– having been a professional copywriter and Social Media Strategist for Havas Media MPG/MC Asia Pacific for the past 1.5yars
– being the current Social Media Community Manager for Air Asia Expedia’s Backick.com
– Having had my own blogger’s column in Campus Magazine Singapore for 6 months
– being a Digital Influencer for Sony Singapore, Microsoft Singapore, Cozycot Singapore, Changi Airport Group and FRANK by OCBC.
– also having written for Coca Cola Singapore, DBS, KLM/Airfrance, RWS, Toshiba, Moving Images, NTUC Lifestyle, LAMC Productions, Volkswagen Singapore, and Swirls Bake Shop amongst many others.
Be there: 30th August
At the Square: HSS Foyer
On Time: 10am-4pm
With your: HSS Matriculation Card
If you have questions, drop me a PM or raise it up during the rally’s Q&A section. A thumbs up and share would also be greatly appreciated! 🙂
& as per tradition, yes, I
Will sing for Votes.
For those of you not from NTU or NTUHSS, now wondering why you stuck around to read the top chunk of words, thank you. If you have friends from NTUHSS, run and tell them. And if you dont, here’s a story for you to thank you for sticking around. I wrote it for my creative writing module class last week, it’s an adaptation of The Green Ribbon from In A Dark Dark Room and other scary stories, a collection that i loved as a child. Yeah, white sands public library. It was my hood.
Original story here:
And my own adaptation after the jump.
‘maybe she’s cheating on you’
I looked up from my coffee. Sip, ‘I doubt it’, sip. ‘It’s not like that,’ I murmured, vaguely irritated that that was the immediate assumption of a spouse holding a secret, and more so that it was my first assumption as well. When i married _ i knew i was marrying all her secrets and baggage, but to make a fuss of it presupposed that i was free of baggage, which i was not, so.
‘i mean, she spends all this time out and i don’t even know how you two hold conversations she lives on a completely different plane- i tried making conversation with her. I really did. I asked her where she got her dress and she told me about some declawing problems she’s having with her cat!’
L spat out the last word spitefully. I thought you liked cats, i said, and she frowned. I do. It’s just that your wife talking about cats make me uncomfortable. And she’s got this .. dodgy aura. Defensively: I prefer to think of it as mysterious. I drank another sip of my latte to avoid looking at her.
‘and she doesn’t want to have kids! like, she is vehemently opposed to having kids. I mean, i’ve mentioned adoption to her and you should have seen her face. i tried teasing her about it and she just stared blankly at me and said– No, I don’t want children– as if she were speaking about chlamydia!’
i tried drinking another sip but my well of escape had run dry. I looked up steadily for the first time in our conversation and launched into words. I understand that- sort of. On a different level i feel like she doesn’t want children- is mentally incapable of the idea of conceiving- because she already is pregnant, with words, ideas, and all her secrets. And she’s not maternal naturally, she doesn’t notice children or coo over them; it feels like she’d be the kind of mother who forgets her child needs to eat or can’t swim before throwing them in a pool. I don’t blame her. I try to understand it, and sometimes if I’m lucky enough, i keep up.
I look straight into L’s eyes.
‘I still think she’s cheating on you.’
And i was sure that she wasn’t. I met _ at a very strange point in my life: i was ten, and she had mint flavored candy. I really didnt stand a chance against that. We were in the same class all the way till last year of college, when i finally asked her out formally. She was also always at the height of fashion- no, it would be more accurate to say that she had her own sense of fashion divorced from logic, common sense, or seasons. It could be burning out and she’d be decked in a cream sweater and maroon capris. It could be freezing and she might be dressed in the sheerest of dresses that bordered on indecent but somehow looked classy. I abhorred writing about her in any sense because she was the kind of girl who was a cliche on paper, but was anything but in reality. Anyway, whether it was due to my lack of skill as a writer or the situation itself, any written or verbal description of her never turned out right, always tinged with the stigma of contrived writing. Secretly, i suspect that it was what drew me to her, the certainty that i’d never be able to pin point her exactly or define her with my language as i did so many others, a consistent chase and challenge which of course landed me smack in the middle of every chauvinist stereotype.
We are back to talking about fashion because as strange as it seems, it’s the centrifugal force driving our plot. _ pulled off whatever she wore with an effortless and unassuming aura, which of course is another cliche right there. But no matter what she wore, it gravitated around her jewelry. She seemed taken by jewelry or accessories of all sorts, but most specifically the ones you wore on your neck. Thick, gold chains, scarves, chokers, pashminas- they were always the center of any outfit. It was a look many other girls in our school tried to imitate, unsuccessfully. Around the same time the girls in our cohort learnt to stop falling in love with the gay boys, they realized that this was her signature look and stopped trying to pull it off altogether. Once or twice, a newcomer or ambitious junior would try, only to be shamed into abandoning her valiant effort when standing in close proximity to _.
When i finally asked her out, she mused aloud about hair and coloring for about five minute and i stood there in the hallway, in my graduation gown, tapping my foot awkwardly and trying to figure out if she’d heard me. When i was about to give up and slink away in shame, she looked at my left hand curiously and asked- ‘so, coffee?’
The first dinner date we had two weeks into our ambiguous relationship, she ordered gin and tonic, and poured it into a potted plant when the waiter turned his back. Exactly two weeks later, we went back and the plant was more robust than ever. Later, she told me that that was the precise point in time she decided to agree to a steady relationship. I never found out the name or type of that particular plant, but ever since then i bought a different potted plant each month and brought it back to my apartment in tribute. By our first year, i had watered our relationship into a blooming garden of twelve. You see what i mean about cliches? Isn’t every female protagonist a quirky girl lying outside the parenthesis of the typical college student? Isn’t she always difficult to grasp and understand, yet an exhilarating joy to be with? Doesn’t she always make your heart ache with pain and burst with joy simultaneously with the knowledge that you are and never will be good enough to match up to her, yet are lucky enough to be living parallel to her? Is it love that exponentially increases the MPDG quality of each female to the individual perspective, or do girls like these naturally glow? In any case, I went along with it, feeling very much like a child doing the stupid trust fall thing of which i never was a fan. I started putting all my faith in signs, and investing too much significance into everyday occurrences. When one of my plants fell sick, i panicked and foresaw an argument in our newer future. At the end of each month, i wrote poems and waxed lyrical about closure and setting suns and all other forms of pretentious things. Logically, i knew I was being highly stupid, but oh- it was wonderful, this stupidity. Wonderfully wonderfully delicious.
Our first kiss, i tugged on her scarf and pulled her to me- she brushed my hand away lightly laughing, but when i tried pulling off the scarf again she stood up and looked at me with startling clarity. ‘This was fun, but i must go. By the way- i don’t like people touching my neck.’ And she was gone.
For a month afterwards i psychoanalyzed the word ‘fun‘ much to the frustration of my friends, and started realizing that i had never seen her bare neck before. I grew increasingly obsessed by it, but quickly realized that it was hopeless to ask her about it directly because she either replied to another imaginary question that i didnt ask, or simply got up and left. I started resorting to pathetically sneaky ways: when we moved in together, i tried hiding her scarves, necklaces, chokers- but she always produced more. She must have spent a fortune on her accessories- i cannot even begin to fantom her monthly expenditure. Still, that my curiosity was eating away at me must have been horribly obvious to her, and finally she exclaimed in frustration- Okay, i’ll explain it one day, okay? But leave it be for now or – and she pulled out the ultimate threat- it’s over. I knew she was serious because that was the first time i’d heard her go above fifty decibels.
So in fear that i would lose her, i avoided the subject like the plague and proposed too soon. I proposed to her for two years straight and she said no for two years straight but her no was always a no, comma, leaving the sentence of our relationship open ended for interpretation.
Because i started the narrative defining her as my spouse, you already know that we did eventually get married. It was uneventful, not because it was boring but because everything paled in comparison to the moment exactly two minutes into our wedding dinner when she laughed at some joke and her silk scarf slipped ever so slightly. A hand quickly flew up to readjust her scarf, but my eyes caught a flash of green: an emerald ribbon encircling her neck.
Over the years of our marriage there were several other instances where i caught sight of the green ribbon again- once, when we were swimming, when i unzipped a dress for her and casually pushed aside her choker, when i accidentally walked in on her shower- but she never offered an explanation for it, and my fear of losing her outweighing my curiosity, i never asked.
Besides, she was a private person. We drew boundaries for everything. What previously i perceived as quirks were redrawn and redefined over the years to indicate issues. If i missed the specific scheduled watering time for our garden (which was by that time, rather large), i had to wait till four in the afternoon to do it. Initially, this was a huge point of contention for us- no normal person wakes up at 6am to water the plants, and at 4pm i’d be at work, so our plants would obviously wither. ‘i didnt realize you aspired to be normal‘ she said scathingly, and i started waking up earlier instead of risking other arguments. I had to turn my back when she wore her contact lenses (god knows why), and we were strictly not allowed to disagree with each other in the kitchen. If she walked into the bathroom to pee, i was to pretend that i didnt notice. Bodily functions seemed to embarrass her. When she gleamed with sweat, anything i said to her would pass through unnoticed, as if I weren’t there, because if i wasn’t there i wouldn’t know that she perspired and by conclusion, it didnt exist. Sometimes she went off for the afternoon and i would never know where she was, because her phone was a one way communicator from her to the rest of the world by her own dictation, and any texts or calls to her mobile didnt exist because she never acknowledged them. Compared to these, the green ribbon seemed almost normal. Life was always unexpected, which they say is the best way to live, but it was also always endlessly tiring. Despite this, it never crossed my mind to leave her. Outside the brackets of our relationship, I ceased to exist.
Out of respect for her intense need for privacy, i never mentioned the green ribbon nor her queer habits to anyone else- though my frustration with her secretive ways had ways of shining through the cracks. This, along with the fact that my thoughts rarely strayed from her, meant that almost all conversation with anyone else gravitated towards her. It went without saying that my best friend hated her.
‘i mean, it’s not that i don’t try‘
L swirled her coffee around, previous memories of my defensiveness that quickly degenerated into arguments between us surely replaying in her head as she contemplated the phrasing of her next words
‘it’s just that i think she makes you as psycho as she is, you know? i mean, you don’t even take sugar anymore because she “doesn’t like the grainy texture of sugar” and you used to be the ice cream queen of high school’
i thought about it.
‘you don’t like seeing clusters of dots either because they make you uncomfortable’, i pointed out, and earned myself a glare.
‘It’s different. You know it.’
‘And i’ll have you know that trypophobia a scientifically proven medical condition!’
Just like that- the tension was broken, and we both doubled up in ridiculous laughter, acutely conscious that the subject was just artfully tiptoed around and not actually concluded.
It wasn’t a particularly special coffee date i had with L, but i put it in because I felt that some context was necessary to understand the attitude my friends took to my wife, and that it would have been nice anyway to include my best friend somewhere in this recount. This went on for years- L dropping hints everywhere that I should leave her, my growing frustration with both L and _, unable to comprehend yet completely understanding of their inability to just make good and get along for my sake. This sentiment remained long after my friendship with L expired, and it was this memory that I called upon while sitting at _’s deathbed.
‘how do I look?’
I stared at the mess of a woman in front of me, her pale face a striking splotch of compassion against her dark hair.
‘great’, I lied, and rolled my eyes partly because we both knew that I was lying and partly because my eyeballs were the only things that could move without my crumbling to pieces.
‘such a liar,’ she smirked, and for a moment hope bloomed in my chest. Then, seriously : ‘i owe you an explanation.’
Yes, you forgot to water the plants, but i forgive you.
She put a hand to her neck, and suddenly I was afraid.
What were we without our secrets?
I put out a hand to stop her, and then she stared at me and we were back in the hallway in our graduation gowns, we were back on the couch where I was sloppily trying to get her scarf off, we were back in the middle of the night where I reached for her and she turned away because contact not initiated by her was a hard limit, and whether this contact was emotional or physical the limit remained. We were ten, and she was standing in front of me sucking on a mint and in that moment she sat down next to me and glanced sideways through her lashes in a way no ten year old should have known how.
‘you look hungry
she proffered the box of chocolates.
‘go on,’ she encouraged, and I reached for the box and it was of course no longer a box but a ribbon, the ribbon, and as I tugged on it it I watched blankly as her head fell cleanly off, off, off and rolled onto the floor as lifeless as the ribbon that held her head and neck together for years was.
Next to me, she popped another mint chocolate and stood up, smoothening her skirt down.
‘i think you just got your period.’ she commented, glancing at my skirt. ‘Better get that cleaned up. I’ll let your teacher know you’ll be late for class.’ And I stared after her in wonder as she walked off, swallowing the last of my mint.