Monthly Archives: February 2012

She almost had it all

Whitney Houston (1963 – 2012)

Where is the sense in all this? one asks. Where is the reason, the fairness, the justification?

There never is any. Not for something like this.

She was one of my idols, much more so than the likes of Mariah Carey and CĂ©line Dion. Her music was some of the earliest that I learned, and her voice was one that I used to cut my own voice and singing style on. I wore out the soundtracks to Waiting To Exhale and The Bodyguard long before I wore out my Spice Girls and Backstreet Boys CDs. I Will Always Love You, though originally by Dolly Parton, was the very first demo track I recorded, and was what got me a lounge singing gig — my first ever paid singing job — when I was only 20.

But now she is gone, at the impossibly young age of 48. After all those years of struggling with substance abuse and a marriage that ruined her in so many ways, and then seemingly having overcome them and planning what could have been the greatest comeback of any artist ever, Whitney Houston is gone.

She was a superstar, a legend, a true icon. There was never anyone like her, and there never will be. And with her passing, the music industry will never be the same.

Below is my absolute favorite song by Whitney — not, as most people’s is, any of the songs from The Bodyguard or One Moment in Time, or even The Greatest Love of All — but one from the slightly less favored Waiting to Exhale:


“Never again.” That’s what I said to myself
Never want to feel your kind of pain again
Just when I think it’s over
Just when I think it’s through
I find myself right back in love with you

So why does it hurt so bad?
Why do I feel so sad?
Thought I was over you
But I keep crying when I don’t love you
So why does it hurt so bad?
I thought I had let you go
So why does it hurt me so?
Got to get you out of my head
It hurts so bad

Be in peace, Whitney. You have always been one of my greatest inspirations, to do what I love to do: sing. I will always, always, always love you.

Rebuild the bridge or kick away the ashes?

Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian: two people who defined the completely ambiguous meaning of the term 'BFF' by fighting for the most-famous-but-least-talented-celebrity title

I’ve been doing a very unusual thing this year — well, unusual for me, in any case. I’ve become reacquainted with some very old friends — from as far back as primary school — in an attempt to inject some variety into my social life. As tantalizing as this may sound, it really isn’t, as they are people I became friends with when I was younger and then lost touch with due to the circumstances of my life and my own personal development.

I will admit that it was slightly — only very slightly — awkward at first. For most of my life I’ve never been known as one to keep in touch with old friends, either because my family moved around so much that I was never in one place long enough to hang on to the friends I had, or because my own personality made it impossible for me to reach out to people and initiate any sort of connection at all. But thanks to a tendency to chatter senselessly when nervous or uncomfortable, the initial awkwardness passed.

And I found that I was enjoying myself very, very much.

So when Afham heard this, he looked at me as though he were seeing me with new (and very confused) eyes and said, “So why don’t you do that with some of the other friends you lost more recently?”

Again, quite unusually, I stopped to ponder that suggestion. He was right when he said that I have lost a few friends* over the last couple of years, and this time it was due to my increasing impatience for and complete refusal to tolerate what I call ‘flaky’ people. He was also right to point out that as I already have so few friends in my life to speak of that it may or may not be wise to throw away any more, or keep burning my bridges at the slightest feeling of irritation at any one person.

I came close, very close, to picking up the phone to text — never call! — one or two of these people, but kept stopping short. Yes, these characters had at several points in my life been as close friends as I allowed myself to have. But, like any relationship, those friendships fizzled out for specific reasons, so there is nothing to stop those same reasons from coming back when the friendships are rekindled. As Becca put it, “She was a transparently insincere friend before and she has no reason not to continue being a transparently insincere friend.”

As determined as I am to keep the friends I have recently regained, it appears I still have much to learn about friendships. But I now stand more firmly than ever on one ground: that if a person makes no effort in keeping a friendship alive, then said person is not worth keeping a friendship alive for either.

* I will not drop names here, because as much as these former friends annoyed me, they don’t need any more than my own silence to let them know what lousy friends they are.

Cloudy with a chance of choice

Two days ago, I watched the latest episode of Grey’s Anatomy, which featured an alternate universe depicting what life could have been like for the Seattle Grace staff if the circumstances and choices they made had been different. Aside from the fact that everyone seemed to go around with thinly-veiled misery, the episode got me thinking about what my own life could have been like if I had done things differently.

However, the episode also advocated that no matter our choices in life, there are certain things we can’t control, and however differently we do some things, they still lead us back to the way things are supposed to be. They call it destiny.

Recently, I’ve met up with some people from my past (not any of those), even from as far back as from primary school, and meeting them made me wonder, however briefly, how different my life would have been if I had done things differently. If I had never moved to the U.S. and remained here in that crazy, physically and mentally abusive relationship. If I had stood firm with my decision to go to London for school instead of allowing my father to talk me into going to the U.S. If I had worked harder to find a job after graduation and turned my last relationship there into something real. If I had gone along with convention and found myself a ‘nice Chinese boy’, as Becca put it, and not chosen to inject a little diversity with an interracial relationship.

Inevitably, my thoughts shifted to one of the most defining times of my life. What if I had never been at Starbucks that night — or what if I had been sitting inside, far away from the sidewalk and the people walking by? Would I have just spent the next x-number of months continuing to wait for Greg, the (now) lost love of my life, to come around and decide he would like to try and love me in return, especially after listening to me profess my love for him three times in a year? Would we have had the relationship I had always dreamed we would, only to have it fizzle out some time later because one of us would have succumbed to the pressure of keeping up that perfect relationship? Would I eventually have ended up back at Starbucks after all, perhaps to slump into another one of my crying jags, only to run into Afham all over again?

I’m not sure how much I believe in destiny, even though people who hear the story of how we met declare that it was ‘meant to be’. I admit it was sheer coincidence that I just happened to be sitting at one of Starbucks’ sidewalk tables when Afham happened to walk by and recognize me, but everything that occurred after that became a consequence of the decision I made to move on, thinking Greg was lost to me, and try and find some semblance of happiness — not mention normalcy — elsewhere.

They call it destiny. But the way I see it, it’s only the options we are given that can be considered destiny. Because ultimately, whatever become of our lives is purely a manifestation of what we choose to do with those options.