Rambles

I write & shoot (photographs) occasionally

Month: January, 2015

sunrise

the sun is a yolk dipped in honey

picked up with tender hands lifting higher,

higher

richness drizzled across the sky

clouds poised like eager young faces to

absorb daylight in its glory

they are gold-tinted pillows beautifully fragmented for miles

an obscure chessboard for humans below playing

a game of hope

middle ground

fallen leaves dance in the afternoon

scraping across the park grounds

wanting to be kites but cursed with wings too wrinkled, too broken, too crisp

daintily hovering rather than humbly walking

daintily hovering rather than proudly soaring

cursed to be

not something and not nothing

absence

A starving man cannot be physically sustained by the thought of food. How many memories do you need to fill up a person’s current absence in your life? Slowly it seems that the void is taking over as closeness becomes a faraway memory that I need to draw inspiration from, enough to repeatedly convince myself that this is enough to sustain our friendship.

The responsibility and difficulty circles around the same dilemma: we don’t want to let go. We will cling to what we have, stretch our imaginations into the future.

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Going away can make you miss a place, or it can repel you from the place even more. But often, it is difficult to fully ascertain the validity of either claim. These days, she speaks of ‘home’ in another continent altogether, where their verbal exchanges have impressed a new lilt upon her tone. Her home has shifted away but mine stays rooted here. To me, this will still be the home where we created adventure trails around the swimming pool as children, shouted ‘Marco Polo’ and hid beneath the bridge on artificial rocks, took pride in hanging upside down on parallel bars. Every year or so she flies away from home, back to a land of childhood memories and stagnant relatives. Every year, we are still here.

forgetting to remember

It scares me how little time it takes to forget someone. Someone who has painstakingly woven herself into the fabric of your daily life, and now with each passing day and absence she is unravelling from the connections that she has sacrificed so much to form. When I try to remember her now, what comes to mind first is no longer her larger-than-life smile, but the ghost of her happiness lingering in her dead-steady eyes on the staircase that last day I saw her, the vulnerability that cracked her to break down and open into a smile again. In midst of absence our lives still go on; the class feels a little empty but in a little while the sense of unwanted familiarity will start to sink in again as it has before.

dreaming, sleeping, awakening:

3 states of consciousness that exist.

dreaming:

A state where everything we think is real is truthfully unreal. A time when we took spoken word as gospel truth, when our utmost worries circled around unkind ice-cream aunties in the canteen and broken glass slides in science labs. When our lives revolved around yellow and white checkered boards and hopscotch outlines in the parade square, where fitness corners were really not for doing anything fitness-related. We spoke to anyone without fear.

sleeping:

Everything is real, but we are not aware of that. We thought nothing of pinafores that drooped over our knees and messy hair after physical education class. We only know of how things are; nothing of what they are supposed to be. We wore loose jeans, knew nothing of pop music, instead equipped with an uncanny vocabulary of Mandopop songs, unconsciously accumulated over the years of Chinese radio stations in the car.

awakening:

We are too painfully aware of everything. It is a thin line, and we are expected to know what is in and what is out. The whispers are more often than not figments of our over-imagination, but they echo the loudest like tidal waves crashing down. And as the waves recede everything appears painted in a new light: the world is flooded with tragedy, poverty, sadness, misfortune, death. So many things are bigger than us yet it is so difficult to step out of our bubble, so we remember and forget the bigness of the greater world intermittently. Who is good, who is bad; who is popular, who is not; who is rich, who is poor; who is smart, who is stupid, we obsess over categories as if our lives depended on them, and these categories dictate what we can do with each person. But maybe without these boundaries now we cannot determine who we are.

It is all about appearances, so fake a smile and nobody will question your act. It is not what we experience at night: once you awaken, you cannot hide in a dream again.

more bangkok (i.e. missing traveling again, hence finding excuses to post photos)

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words

Break down what I am saying now. It is nothing but vowels interspersed with consonants, alphabets repeating themselves intermittently, each trying to form part of a larger story.

Words make us understood; words make us most easily misunderstood. Words bring so much joy, the effort someone takes to line up individual fragments and construct a beautiful story that is forever imprinted in our minds. Yet words are the wicked thorns that curl around our hearts and breed in them seedlings of resentment, what lash at us so freely and unrelentingly to leave scars that never heal. Words destroy; words heal. Words breed love; words breed hate. Eventually I will use too many words or none at all, lingering in middle ground where I will feel no joy or pain.

(She started, but then she stopped, because words brought too much pain.)

back to school

hair tamed, reined in by dull black elastic bands

sparkles shaved off nails, aloe vera varnish leaves its scent

bodies buttoned up in stark white blouses,

fitted in pleated skirts, modest flare

today again we are near identical

enclosed in uniform screaming our school’s name

but this is really the last time we will be this way

uniform chess pieces played by the same game

my date with SAM (Singapore Art Museum)

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This last photo shows my favourite exhibition of the lot. A series titled “You and I” by artist Song-Ming Ang, it strove to encapsulate music and the relationship that people share with it.

This is what the description said: “Ang invited audiences and visitors to his website to write him a letter, sharing with him what they might consider to be personal. In return, the artist compiled a personalised mix tape of songs from his collection of music, in the form of an audio CD, as a reply to the participants in this project.”

It was surprising and yet heartening to see envelopes stamped with places from all around the world revealing pieces of information about the writers’ lives I never thought anyone would share with a stranger. I recall reading about love lives, suicidal inclinations and many other things that different people held secret or dear to their hearts.

And there I was, walking around observing framed letters and choice pieces of music, bringing home bits and pieces of lives scattered around the world and their accompanying tunes.