462: Remember 2012

I feel like every year is a struggle to recap every memory that I’ve accumulated over the past year, but part of me feels like it will all go away if I don’t write it down somewhere. This is especially since the work week leaves little time for rumination; or if it does, it leaves even less time for writing it down. Things go by in a blur, mainly (and probably) because things which happen are generally the same things, week in and week out, and none of it is particularly worth remembering. 

Case in point: I don’t remember how I spent the new year, crossing into 2011 — or at least I didn’t, until I read the previous year’s post. Then I spent it working (and working and working), going out every Friday night, till it came to a point where I was too tired to do anything other than sit somewhere and chill the hell out, purely because there was so little time to do any of that. But none of this is really worth noting because these descriptions will be the same each year, and I consciously refrain from naively thinking that any of this will change in the years to come. And maybe it finally is time to admit to myself that I have to grow up, whether I like to or not. 

What else is there? There have been too many extremes this year. So many people are getting married (maybe it is the season? The age? I guess), but there have been far too many losses. Days spent in the hospital, rushing there after work (and I am beginning to realise that maybe they deliberately kept me free so that I could run off on time, or maybe it was some kind of divine intervention, but in any case work was slow and there was still time to spend, together, by a bedside, filled with endless tubes and medicines). Flower parades. Prayers, family gatherings (funny how families only knit better together after a major loss), coffins, processions, hearses, funerals, a bit of mindless levity. To recover for a while, and then to have it all happen again. It would be incredible if it were not true. But why would anyone lie about this sort of thing?

I miss her, we still do. Strange how these things manage to make families closer together (some of the time), and we find ourselves doing more and more things together, or perhaps it is because the shadow of impending loss is now removed and for better or worse (and even if we might be afraid to admit it), we all feel marginally less burdened by it. So there were family lunches (that have not occurred all too often), increased communications, games, drinks, boat rides, after work dinners. Good is good, but if I never stand in the viewing chamber of a crematorium ever again it will not be a moment too soon. 

I have a feeling that the coming years will be spent trying to recapture lost youth. Trying to recreate feelings that seemed so new and momentous and stupendous, that made me want to hold on to it forever. And do it again and again and again. As a result I feel like my thoughts are no longer new, and even the sense of euphoria which we constantly aspire to through concerts and endless jumpings, the pulsing beat and the aching legs and the alcohol and the boys who pick you up — well, that’s just it. Trying to be back to something. Back to Bali, where we were young and stupid; back to London, where we spent endless nights just being Singaporean; back to Bangkok (I still don’t know how I feel about Bangkok, but that’s too complex and deserves a separate post by itself). I felt best when I was drifting through the night in the haze of music on the beachfront, not thinking and not worrying and just enjoying. I had no other purpose to be there. I would go just to feel it again. It makes me sad that it cannot always be like this. But maybe I would enjoy it less if it were always like this, though it cannot be the case that any of this is worth all that other pain. At least I think, it cannot be.

People talk about being depressed when they see the blue sky turn to grey to black in the confines of their small office, but in our firm success appears to be measured by the size of windows, and right now ours is a small pane of glass that looks out not into the messy sprawl of the CBD but the endless scroll of shopping options that pop up incessantly on my secretary’s computer screen. Sunlight appears to require rationing. It is as if we do not require any, and that unnecessarily depresses a person. It will be a long time before we graduate to the kind of level that entitles us to a window where daylight is allowed to stream in unmolested. But well, some people are more equal than others.

I liked Melbourne, and with good reason, since it has all the reasons why I should like it. Bookstores, cafes, bars, not much shopping (but no matter), good food, and I was not a stranger in a strange land. But what I liked more (and this is true of every holiday) was not having to think. Or do anything. It unsettles me when my desired state of mind is vegetative. Case in point: K gave me a Kindle for Christmas. This is one of the high points of the year, even though it came at the end of it. But all I’ve read on it are science fiction novels, fantasy novels, and romance novels. Things that I otherwise would never spend money on (but also partly because I tear through them) but also things that otherwise would not require much brain power. Case in point: my writing, if it even exists these days at all, is less reflective, less lyrical. Even my angst appears to sound less beautiful (haha). A dried up well of lost plots. 

This sounds like a whinefest. It probably is, because the general sense of drudgery appears to overshadow most of the good things, which are often numerous but have little impact. When I was younger I felt like anything could happen. When I was younger I was taught that anything could happen; I could be anything I wanted to be. This is probably true still now, but maybe the problem is that I don’t know what I want to be, or whether I want it enough. I feel like these days we keep setting ourselves up to fall. 

Where was I? This was meant to be an actual post in which I try to drum up all the honesty I have within me and give myself an account of the year to remember. But the truth is I remember less than I ever do, and everything bleeds into everything else. I’m stuck in a rut and I don’t know what to do. I think the aim for the year will be to find some direction, though chances are that I may lose myself searching for it. Maybe take some time off, go travelling (properly). Find a new job? Find a real job? Find something that allows me to do things that I didn’t previously know that I wanted to (because I didn’t have time to want them)? It appears to be a race, before the time runs out on me.

Like they say — “you play, you win, you play, you lose. You play. It’s the playing that’s irresistible. Dicing from one year to the next with the things you love, what you risk reveals what you value.”

May the losses be fewer this year.

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457: remember 2011

Wow, how does one even begin? The beginning of each year is always so far away in your memory. It feels like you have to dig through so many things just to find the exact time all this started. Strangely enough, I don’t remember what I was doing at the exact moment the clock turned. I think I was at somebody’s house, I was possibly cheering with somebody with something in my hand; mostly I remember lying on somebody’s couch with two other people, and funny how that turned out. Our band of three quickly moved from one broken heart to another, then drifted away, then somehow we became four, fantastically and strangely, and now we seem to be back to two again, and everybody finds their ways in life, or chooses to go back to whoever they should love best. 

I started work. Work is a shitty thing, and it leaves no time for anything. The days pass as quickly as they come, and even though the week seems so long, Friday always comes soon enough, and when you look back on the past five days everything seems blurry and nobody knows where the time goes. When there is time there is always time for alcohol (and sometimes there is only time for alcohol), when we stumble out of our offices half-dead when the sun is always down. 

We went away. Every year I go away, because it’s just fine to get away and out of this city.  This year it seems worse, because the buildings are always the same every day in and out, and they press on you like dead weights. But this year there is no over-arching theme, no journey of self-discovery, no epiphanies. Or maybe I’m just too tired to think about any of that? These days I want to just leave everything behind and give my brain a rest, pretend I’m a kid again with no responsibilities, and I wonder how far it is that I’ve come and how far it is that I still have to go. But this year — it seemed like I went back to a lot of places, that I haven’t been back in years. So much revisiting. KL, America, Hong Kong, Fukuoka. To MAF, even, where I have not been back since second year, looking down from LT5 at the little kids and the little lights and the mass dances. As if after the previous year’s whirlwind explorations, it was time just to get back to where it all started. And it was strange, going back to see things you only knew as a kid. But I saw new places, and I loved new things. I never thought I would love open spaces, because I am a city girl, and the night lights are what draw me back to cities that never sleep and are always open with something to do, and something to see (and something to eat). But when the roads go on forever and all there is is nothing, more and more of that nothing, even the nothing is beautiful. When you are driving everywhere, always going somewhere, always stopping by, always thinking, looking, just being — it’s a great feeling. I felt free, with my head up over the sun roof snapping pictures like a crazy kid Asian tourist, far away from reviewing agreements and figuring out what derivatives were and drafting and amending and proofreading… 

This year I had hopes. Things happened. Things were bad, but bad things always get better. And funnily enough, though there may be no end to this tunnel, sometimes we find others in that darkness. It is good to have someone to conquer cities with, to walk side by side with you, to know where you will always be going even as you do not know how, to endlessly be able to see into the future, where things will not be as shitty as they seem now. It is a good thing, to have someone to journey with. It has been a long time since I felt like this. 

But every year it seems there will be something you pray you have to be strong about. To tell yourself that if you can handle this, you can handle anything. Last year I said that I will never be fully prepared for just how unfair life can be. I don’t think I ever will. Every once in a while, the child inside keeps emerging to ask “why me?”. There is no answer. It is a bit disheartening to realise, that no matter how old we are, some part of us will always be children. But adults have adult responsibilities, and have adult facades to maintain. We can no longer cry or hurt like we used to. There must be a new way of coping, of being strong, of going forward despite everything. Every December it will seem as if there is something to be strong about. Sometimes I feel like if I mentally prepare myself for this it will be better, but I’m tired of thinking that letting my guard down is a bad thing. We often wish that life would be simpler, and so we try to make it so. No strings, no emotions, no consequences. But our quest to keep things simple always leaves us in a mess that manages to get more and more complex. It would be easier to acknowledge that sometimes, it is not possible to not think about things and hope that they fly past you. But sometimes facing the problem alone is enough to want to make you give up the battle. But what else can we do? Be strong, be strong, and pray that each year will be better than the last. 

The last year passed in a quiet blur. No parties, no hoo-ha. Just a few people round a table, drinking beer like we always do, as the seconds passed and the shutters went down. Every year it is the same wish, and maybe this year more than others. I still wish life were simpler; and I still hope that I will be happy.

451: long way home

I always dreamed at that some point in time, I would get to take the road below. That I would either drive along it, come across it, get to take a picture like it. I spent my days in California winding up and down those mountains, camera in hand, waiting for the moment this vista would appear. As it turned out, it didn’t, and I was driving more than I thought I would.

I always dreamed that at some point in time, I would get to take a road trip. Drive along the endless roads, windows wound down, the wind in your hair. Feeling young. (I know I make too much fuss about this sentiment and that people are tired of hearing about it, especially when there was a time when I was all like, “fuck this ‘把握青春‘ shit”, but funny how time flies, and funny how things change, huh?) As it turns out, the windows were closed much of the time. The sun was crazy hot and I got sunburnt through the open roof. I stuck my camera out the top and hoped it wouldn’t get whipped away as we wound up the mountain. We started off listening to the Eagles (“Take It Easy” near Winslow, Arizona — always a dream) but slowly it became cheesy 90s pop music and the nostalgic songs of our childhood. Sugar Ray, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Texas. The New Radicals. Spice Girls. And while we drove into Los Angeles, a mini karaoke session, with 张惠妹 in the air.

The country is so different from anything I’m used to, simply because it is so big and everything I imagine can be there will be there. There is everything and nothing. There are miles and miles of nothing. The rocks cave in and lean towards the highway like lovers. They are only restrained by nets. The streets in the city are grids, and sometimes they cage people in, walking round and round in circles with nowhere else to go. Round the block and you’re back where you began. You go somewhere by not going anywhere at all. There are endless pancakes and burgers and limitless views and sprawling metropolises to see if you climb high enough. The clouds are fluffy and white and always have a silver lining. You can always see the storms from a distance. Funny how this land of plenty keeps pushing against the debt ceiling. The debates played on and on in the motels at night.

Comfort is sometimes such an unnecessary thing and it always needs to be earned. I drove an SUV. I drove on the wrong side on the road. I forgot, after a while, which side was right. I was confused, just like how it was when I first stepped into Holland. I nearly got knocked down looking the wrong way for traffic, as I did before. But this time, not on foot, not on a bicycle, where the repercussions are few. At worst, it would have been a broken arm and a few scrapes. (Been there, done that.) But here it was a car, and the cars are always speeding and always enormous. The highways are freeways and are not always free. The roads go on forever and there aren’t always lights. In the darkness, we must somehow find our way. When the route loses itself in the distance, sometimes we begin to cry. But we get home safe, and so all is fine.

The truth is, dreams are dreams, and the reality is sometimes better.

446: remember 2010

The question one inevitably asks is — how did it come to this? Was it worth all of it, and how it came about? How did you even get here, and how were your thought processes? Did you even think it through at all? These are questions that zoom through your mind on a cloudy Friday night, lying on the ground staring at the sky. The sky offers no answers. Eventually we must still solve the puzzles ourselves. And still, the question is — why?

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445: the sun in your eyes makes all of the lies worth believing

I feel like this December hasn’t really been here for me. Or maybe I haven’t really been here this December. The days after the exams passed in a whirl, and I haven’t actually gone on a holiday in December itself for a few years. (Well, technically two years ago I was in London, but…) This year the Christmas festivity seems a bit lacking. I haven’t feasted much, I escaped from the Christmas games this year to go buy coffee, I feel like I went to Korea and came back, and suddenly it’s Christmas. Not to mention everything in between…

In any case, like I posted earlier somewhere else, Seoul is a bit underwhelming. I suppose I went primarily to visit my friends, but I didn’t get to see much of them either. It was not unbearably cold, and I sort of missed the frozen toes (somewhat). Part of me rejoices in being cold, though the dry skin was a bit unpleasant. I missed the little things — hot soup and steaming tea and cold hands, sniffly noses (just my sinus), huddling up in a cafe looking down at the streets, people watching, exploring neighbourhoods. I mean, I’d explore neighbourhoods any time of the year, but I suppose I like winter just because I don’t get it here. In any case, I felt a bit displaced. Like I didn’t really belong anywhere, and I didn’t know what to do. It was the first time I’d felt this way, probably because at times I felt completely helpless. In Western countries you’re clearly a foreigner, and everyone automatically switches on foreigner-mode with you. They reply you in English because it’s the most likely language you (and they) will speak. I can survive in most other Asian countries, because I can read most of the signs. In Seoul, I was neither here nor there, a foreigner and yet not. A foreigner was not like me — she didn’t have black eyes and black hair, nor was it so patently un-obvious that she did not speak Korean. But I couldn’t understand most of it, and I couldn’t read all of it. When I tried to go shopping I was at a loss as to which language to begin speaking. English? Chinese? Japanese? Most of the time I zoomed through restaurant menus figuring out the katakana, only to realise the owner spoke Chinese. English, my first weapon of choice, was virtually useless. I felt vaguely handicapped. Imagine my sigh of relief when, at Hongdae one night looking for a club to go to, I finally heard an American accent drifting in my direction. It sounds a bit warped to me now.

But other than that, some places were pretty nice, and seemed like it merited more exploring. Apgujeong, even though I had no money. But there were cool cafes and little bookstores with planners in all shapes and sizes, random postcards and stickers (the Shimokita kind of neighbourhood, except five times more expensive). Hongdae, with its art-school vibe and pulsating clubs and quirky indie shops in the afternoon. I’m sure there’s more hiding somewhere, underneath the grey concrete that lines the Han river. I know, I sound so unenthusiastic. It really wasn’t that bad. But I think somehow I’ve lost my travelogue writing urge. Or rather, the spirit is willing (but the body is weak). What words? There are few words these days that come to me. Hmmmm.

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439: phuketeering

Life has… not been great. I’m tired out, but I can’t get to sleep till the sun rises. My head is in a mess all the time. Waking up early is so hard, but I don’t sleep in the day either. I don’t understand how I function, if at all. It may have something to do with the endless work that just keeps coming. How am I going to survive working life like this, when I balk at the prospect of four assignments in one week?

In between then and now, my friends from Austria came to visit. Then they left, and as they left my laptop decided to crash (again). As a testament to the impermanency of life, etc, because now I have nothing and one year later all the iPod ripping software is not freeware anymore. They offer you a 100-file trial. It may not be much, but over one year I had about a thousand songs. And in the ten years before that (before my laptop crashed and I left my iPod on the plane back from Holland), I had about ten thousand. A thousand a year seems correct. But it was ten years’ worth of music. Yes, I’m still sore. Because now I don’t even know what I don’t remember.

Also, I went to Phuket. It was one of the nicer weekends this month, seeing as the others have either been clogged up with work or spent hungover (or spent hungover but still clogged up with work). It was also a harried getaway (in between assignments), but like I told someone, you live now, or you live never.

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436: may all your wishes come true

DisneySea and Universal Studios. Probably the second and third happiest places on earth. But I’m a ride junkie, even though I love Winnie the Pooh to bits. So the theme park that gets my vote is Universal Studios, just because it has a rollercoaster that I got to go on five times. It was the first time in the history of me visiting theme parks that I didn’t have to queue more than 45 minutes for the most popular ride. My longest wait (for Thunder Mountain Railroad or whatever it’s called)? 3 hours!!!!

Joy at the height of summer. Much love.

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435: all this hate and love

Maybe it’s true what they say about big cities; maybe it’s not. What is more certain is that life goes on the way it has for years, regardless of the tourists that come and go, snapping pictures for their travel albums back home. Funny how scenes of every day life translate into souvenirs, as if you would make a lovely picture just standing outside and taking in the laundry. But you do make a lovely picture. I don’t know what to say about Japan. Most of these were day trips, achieved by taking a train out from the cities, filled with skyscrapers and illegible Japanese neon signs. Here the lights go off by ten, and the streets are empty after dinner. We wandered slowly and tentatively, afraid to break the hush. Once in awhile we pass by a convenience store (truly convenient), refuel, go on our way again. A bicycle stops, and a high school jock gets off. He wears his track suit, his dyed hair is painfully brown, illuminated against the harsh flourescent lights. They step in to flip over magazines along the aisle, filled with covers of pretty girls with big boobs.

These cities are old and quiet and the residents cycle through everyday life with steady momentum. People are less brash, more polite. The air is fresh and cold. The mountains continue to exist, as they always have, without our presence or help.

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423: we no speak americano

I’ve been on a shopping roll lately, even though I’m extremely broke, just because I feel like I need to buy something. These days my purchases run the entire gamut of strangeness — last month I bought two pairs of black wedges, one which I’ve been going clubbing in (4 hours’ dancing! No pain! JOY!) and one which is finally getting shipped to me on Thursday. Yay! Then the ASOS sale came and I bought crazy and retarded and useless things. Like a bright yellow leather satchel and pin-studded sunglasses and a mesh top, all of which are completely unsuitable for work. But who cares!

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422: shanghai days

The crowds in Shanghai are getting to me. They are rude in the most uncomplimentary way possible. On the trains it is a war, to see who can get in or out the fastest. A woman drops a newspaper through the platform gap while jostling her way through the door. She bends to pick it up, and gets her head pushed by someone else. Nobody apologises. It is normal. It happens all the time, every time. Somewhere someone is rushing off to save a life or attend to an emergency or meet a lover. Or not. The crowds seethe.

In every country the big cities are the most unbearable. Under the skyscrapers the shadows cast by the bright lights hide the ugly actions of a people. Everyone is moving, moving, inexorably moving; towards an unknown destination, or perhaps unknown only to me.

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421: football and friends

So that was that. It was no doubt ignominous that I had to watch Germany’s last game in two years on a crappy online stream because our local TV channel was too much of a cheapo to air the third place match, something I was rather miffed about considering they promised to show everything from the semi-finals onwards. But I guess you can never rely too much on these things.

I’ve said it before but there’s a reason why I like the Germans. It’s only recently that they’ve begun to change the way they play football, but their players have always been solid and cohesive and rarely prone to theatrics. Perhaps it’s because they all play for the Bundesliga, but it’s always been a joy to watch. When I first watched Kahn in 2002 I was enthralled — even before Iker Casillas came along, he was a stunning example of how a goalkeeper could be captain and lead his team. Players came and went, and Michael Ballack stuck — I never liked him much, though he started out being the same bright promising player that Thomas Muller now is, and to me it was a blessing that he was excluded from the current lineup.

The third place game highlighted how important Muller was to the team: without him, their counter-attacks fell apart, because they couldn’t trust Trochowski (and rightly so, since he couldn’t finish whatever anyone else started) and the resulting disintegration of the German spirit during their game against Spain was devastating to watch. But no doubt they deserved to lose, though I still think generally South Americans and Spain tend to play football that is not entirely genuine. Nobody doubts their passion for the sport, but surely one could do without the diving and wailing and shouting at referees in a show of innocence and then the deliberate stamping on of their opponents’ feet. I like games to be clean and honourable and such antics do not sit well with me at all, particularly if a team has good enough players in the first place. It’s one of the reasons why I’m not entirely keen on watching the final anyway.

After the game I logged on to Facebook and M messaged me for a bit. We talked about graduation and life and how he’s going to move to Austria once he graduates, just to see if it’ll really work out. Everyone thinks about doing crazy things in their lives once in awhile, and clearly few have the guts to actually do it. We talked, I felt wistful and envious at the same time, and I missed M very much. Halfway through he asked if I wanted to Skype.

It’s not that I didn’t want to — I just couldn’t. I’ve never been entirely comfortable with the idea of Skype. Videoconferencing isn’t the same as talking on the phone, though many people feel like there isn’t a difference. But talking on the phone doesn’t require your undivided attention, nor is it offensive or rude to be doing something else at the same time. It could be one of those irrational fears, but I’ve had enough of times where I’m getting called on for “not paying enough attention”. Skyping is like setting up a virtual date; either you’re on it or you’re not, and if you’re on it you’d better put in some effort. It’s not the same kind of chat I’m used to — I do ten different things on my computer at the same time, and Skyping means I have to put everything else on hold in the meantime. I know some people do that, clicking windows and reading websites while Skyping, but the video element is entirely too intrusive, and I feel compelled to give the other person my 100% attention. There’s just no other way around it. Also, the last few times I tried multi-tasking, I got dumped. It may or may not be related, surely, but there’s that, I guess. I’m always afraid something’s going to explode in my face the moment I look away from the screen. It’s too stressful. I can’t take it.

So I spun a flurry of excuses, which sounded lame even to me, but I couldn’t help it. “It’s 5am and I look like shit,” I replied. “Oh come on,” he said. “I haven’t shaved my middle eyebrow in three months.” In my mind I could picture his drawl, and him sitting comfortably on his chair with one leg propped up, his table littered with random things. I laughed, but I still refused. I felt so guilty. Strangely enough (or not), I’ve never been much of a conversationalist. I can write reams of paper of stuff, but I rarely feel comfortable talking about nothing to people I don’t really know. (M, though not really one of them, is also not someone I see regularly.) Small talk is not my forte, and for all the posturing, my hesitancy is always clearly reflected. In my mind I can see my own eyes darting about, left and right up, searching for the appropriate rejoinder, the next question to be asked. Often I have no idea.

It’s one of those things I need to work on, I guess.

420: shanghai nights

Shanghai is overwhelming, and full of dust. My face is going crazy (again) adapting to the weather — the air is smoggy and you can’t see much beyond the next few buildings, though it has cleaned up considerably. A walk along 南京西路 revealed lots of lights, which line the sidewalk, and now it looks like any other street in any other city. Who knows if it’s because of the Expo? A leafy boulevard, flashing lights, but believably Shanghai, because the crowds still jostle at every opportunity possible and refuse to apologise, and crossing the road is a game of who-dares-wins. Rules exist, but are rarely followed. People rush through the roads as if they own them, while cars honk frustratedly as they stall on the tarmac. It doesn’t matter if the light is red or green — the road is a sea of people, moving inexorably towards the Bund as if they were the water. We walked all the way to the Peace Hotel before deciding the adventure was pointless. And then made our way back along the entire stretch of road, the same way as we came. Weekends in big cities are inevitably crippling — nothing can be done, because the entire city is out on a mission to conquer their vacations the same way tourists come all the way to Shanghai to do.

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418: i packed my life in boxes

Despite being virtually bed-ridden since I got back from Shanghai (all I’ve done is stay in bed, stay online, upload pictures, watch soccer, eat, sleep…), tonight I decided to do something productive before I wasted the rest of my holidays being sick. So I finally decided to clean my room up (somewhat).

Most people start in the day, when they have all those hours in front of them. For someone as lazy as I am, the only time I am motivated to do anything is when the weather is cool and the air is quiet, i.e. 3am in the morning. I finally unpacked all of my luggage, organised some parts of my table (still a mess). I threw away virtually four years of university printouts. And then I turned my attention to the files that had been sitting on my shelf for years. I opened one of them, and started sneezing due to all the dust. The file was bright yellow, still had my school badge on it (remember those?) and still proudly bore my 15-year old handwriting. I re-discovered how much of a sentimental nut I could be, when I realised it was all A Maths stuff. Then I saw my JC notes, all the photocopied lit essays from my classmates, a Pinter essay where Mr P said, “Obviously very intelligent, but also greatly indebted to the Ronald Knowles article — actually, ‘indebted’ is a kind word” to which day I am still ashamed of (but what the hell), random articles on revisionist history. I took all of that out, and now all of it is going to the bin. I feel a vague sense of loss.

Am I the only one who keeps things that long? I still have Christmas cards from primary school. And a huge-ass 16-postcard-long birthday greeting for my 16th birthday from my best friend when we were in secondary school. These days few people send me things, so there is less to store away. But still. All of it reminds me of a life I used to have, and I say that without any negative connotations.

Over the years I’ve kept feeling like I’m standing on the brink of things, where life brims with limitless potential. There must be an age where life stops feeling like that; where the potential seems to stop. Yet, it’s not here yet, so well, what the hell.

(Sorry about the constant layout changes. Still trying to find a theme that doesn’t mess up my photos… not happening yet.)

417: i hope you get your dreams

I could say a thousand things about Japan, but nothing quite beats the visuals, and the way the city lights dance in your eyes. Mishaps, stress, mangled Japanese, almost-missed trains aside, there was loads of fun, laughter, alcohol, and a shit load of things to see. Every time is different. Every time you go back, you always get to know a country better.

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415: awesome possum

I’m back! But only for awhile. I’m trying hard to keep up this writing thing, or I fear I’ll lose it forever. Already I’m falling (way) behind on the travelogues (I was supposed to write about Turkey & the epic Europe trip many months/a year ago; will I ever get down to it? The answer is possibly — no) and before I know what’s happening I’m being whisked away on yet another travel adventure. This time back to Japan (cue collective shout: “Again?!”; so yes, I confirm for the benefit of all disbelievers, again), then Shanghai, then Bali! I haven’t told my mum about my $98 air ticket to Bali, though…

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405: 珍珠奶茶

I kind of liked Taipei, but Hong Kong brings with it a familiar smell of laziness. I’ve just spent my time here walking around all the old places. I feel like I need to venture out somewhere. Tomorrow I attend a wedding! Excited.

404: remember 2009

We’re here again.

As I write this I feel an insane sense of relief as the year comes to a close. It’s not that it was bad (it wasn’t — far from it), or that it was unexpected (it was — but that’s not the point). More than anything I want to collapse from sheer relief and amazement that the start of this year has turned out so differently from the end.

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