Monthly Archives: March 2014

That Laugh, loved always

hong fei

“I waited for you all night; can you please show up more often? You really no manners wan lor!”

Every time we played mahjong, you would ask the ‘mahjong gods’ for this hong fei (Joker) tile, so that you could sek (eat/win the game). So now, this hong fei tile from my mahjong set is yours for keeps. I don’t know how and when I will ever be able to play mahjong again without seeing your empty seat at my dining table, but I know that I would give up all the hong feis in the world to bring you back.

I remember the times we snuck out in your car to Decanter, DV and Segambut for lunch and dinner so that I could vent about the difficulties I was going through. I will never forget those nights we stayed up playing mahjong and eating the world with Becca and Sophia. I will always smile when I think of the way you lit up any room with That Laugh. And I will always appreciate the way you so selflessly gave your time (and ears) to anyone and everyone who needed it, and never asked for or expected anything in return.

I think back to my time as a magazine writer, and I realize that even though we never actually worked together — unless clinging on to the same sinking ship counts — you were one of those closest to me during my stint there. Thank you for everything you taught me in the short three years that I’ve known you. Thank you for listening to me when it felt like everything and everyone I worked for was against me. Thank you for the love, laughter and hope you always inspired in me. You were taken from us much too soon, but God obviously needed you more, and I will always be grateful that He lent you to me for this short period of time.

Be in peace, my sweet, sweet friend. You will always be a winner in my eyes. You lived your life to the fullest, and there are few who can say the same for themselves. You may not have had the perfect life, but you tried your best to make life perfect for all of us. Your heart was so big that it could support us all, but it was just not big enough to support you too. I don’t know if I will be even half as lucky in death to see you again as I was able to in life, but I hope with all my heart that I will, someday soon.

Sleep now, and keep the angels happy with That Laugh.

I love you always.

– In loving memory of our precious purple unicorn, Yeow Mei Ann

purple unicorn

Been there, done that

Going through the angsty female motions because I’m watching Hercules on HBO at this very instant. Megara has always been one of my favorite Disney heroines and the one I relate to the most, because she is everything the sappy sickly-sweet girl isn’t.

If there’s a prize for rotten judgment
I guess I’ve already won that
No man is worth the aggravation
That’s ancient history: been there, done that

I thought my heart had learned its lesson
It feels so good when you start out
My head is screaming, “Get a grip, girl!
Unless you’re dying to cry your heart out.”

No chance, no way, I won’t say it
It’s too clich├ęd, I won’t say I’m in love
No chance, no way, I won’t say it
This scene won’t play, I won’t say I’m in love
You’re way off base, I won’t say it
Get off my case, I won’t say it
At least, out loud, I won’t say I’m in love

I Won’t Say I’m In Love, Susan Egan –

Sink or swim

drowning

I learned to ride a bicycle when I was about five. Or, if you like like, I learned to ride a bicycle without training wheels when I was closer to seven. I realize that may have been a little late in life, considering I learned to dance on my tiptoes and climb trees at more or less the same age. In hindsight, that also makes it rather ironic: I was happy to risk breaking my toes or neck, but lived in fear of scraping my knees from falling off a bicycle.

It was my father who achieved the feat of teaching me to ride without the training wheels. He got tired of my mother’s mollycoddling and helping me balance myself without the training wheels, so one evening, he took over and when I wasn’t looking, he gave one hard push that sent me sailing down the street on two wheels. And the rest is history.

After that miraculous evening, my mother kicked herself for not doing what my father did. After all, she had signed me up for swimming lessons and left me alone with the instructor, quite certain that if I had nobody to turn to for emotional or moral support, I would pay the utmost attention to the instructor and at least, quite literally, learn to keep myself afloat.

So when I think about it now, between my parents, they taught me one of the most valuable lessons of my life: no matter what life throws at you, you take it in stride, do with it what you will and, with a little tough love, you move on.

This is something that I’ve had to do a great deal over the past year. When I realized that my job was turning into a sinking ship, I threw caution to the wind and abandoned it. When I fell in love with someone whose life circumstances I knew I would have a hard time getting used to, I took a big breath and allowed myself to fall anyway, thinking that I would learn to deal with the circumstances along the way. When I took up a new job with virtually no idea how to do it, I figured I’d wing it and feel my way around on the job and learn how to do everything myself.

But what happens when you end up getting more, much more, than you bargained for? What happens when you suddenly find yourself riding your bicycle downhill, with no way of stopping or slowing down without crashing headfirst into a tree or freefalling off a cliff? What happens when you find you have a cramp in your leg and the currents come sweeping along and end up pulling you under, and you have no way of clawing your way to the surface?

I thought that if I jumped in the deep end myself, I would be able to swim to the surface, however long it took, break it and then keep myself afloat. I thought that the circumstances which have defined my life and what I am for almost a year would eventually become easier to live with. I thought that even if they didn’t get any easier, in time I would learn to care less about them and handle them the way I’ve always handled my problems: divide and conquer, and take the spoils later. Instead, I seem to be regressing day by day, becoming increasingly bitter and resentful, and finding, to my horror, that I’m capable of taking my thoughts and words to the darkest depths of human civility.

God knows how much longer I can keep this up. God knows how much longer I can swallow my anger and resentment, before I end up saying something I can never take back. But come hell or high water I will beat this, because at the end of the day, if there is nobody to pull back my bicycle or drag me to the surface, I will have to break the surface myself.