A dream within a dream

He stared at the brick red fluid drying up on his arms. Then he raised his right arm and took a whiff. Unmistakable, stale iron. He flinched, then looked up and glanced around. Hooded men (women?), maybe ten or twenty of them, sitting around him in a large circle.

They watched him slowly gain awareness behind their veils.

He couldn’t remember the last time water tasted so good. After walking for miles and miles in scorching hot sun he couldn’t even stop to appreciate the wide meadows filled with flowers that he passed along the way to the shop. His mouth was parched, his lips cracked, and all he could do was press on.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Movie Review: Before Trilogy

11.jpg

  1. Before Sunrise (1995)
  2. Before Sunset (2004)
  3. Before Midnight (2013)

I have to say that I’m really not a romance genre type of person when it comes to movies. Romance movies always seem so sappy and just… overly cheesy to me. I was half expecting myself to dislike the first movie but man was I blown away by it.

Some people might not like the trilogy because the movies are pretty minimalistic, being filled with conversations and not much action (if any). But it is in the actors’ performances, their chemistry and the movies’ poignant, thought-provoking lines that warrant the home run. The movies, especially Before Sunrise, were filled with beautiful scenes of Europe – Vienna, France, which were a feast for the eyes. And I’ve never seen such authenticity in movies in a pretty long time. All three movies were so good, which was surprising because I half expected it to start dwindling in quality, but that was totally not the case.

It was also interesting to see the progress with the times, given how far apart in time the movies were produced and released. You go from not having any mobile phones (in the 1995 movie) to using Skype and taking videos with the mobile phone and everything (in the 2013 movie). Actually, I was also struck by how empty the streets looked in 1995… and how much I would’ve liked that.

Overall, this trilogy is a realistic outlook on love and life, nothing too fancy, and it will surprise you. If you like movies that offer different perspectives and think about even after they’ve finishing running, this would be the movie trilogy for you. I recommend watching them straight at one go (which will take about 5-6 hours). I wouldn’t say whether it’s a happy or sad ending, but it’s a satisfyingly realistic one.

Overall rating: A+

A little bit about what my ratings mean:

  • A: Worth a watch.
  • B: May appeal to some audiences.
  • C: Don’t even bother.

A love letter

Dear Singapore,

I have known no other city as well as you. I have caught glimpses of other cities as I grew older, but I guess it is like the way with lovers who’ve been together for decades – there’s nothing that can replace that love strewn together with the sense of familiarity. You’ll always have a special place in my heart, no matter where the future takes me. I’ll always be rooted to you, whether by choice or circumstance.

I am in love with how freely I can walk the streets at night. I love the crisp night air, and how it feels like to cruise on the roads at night. I love how city the Marina district is with towering architecture of banks and other commercial buildings in the Downtown Core, and how it overlooks the sea and the vast array of familiar landmarks associated with Singapore. The city lights twinkle with the night breeze.

Cities are very similar to one another, driven by demand and supply leading to a consistent backdrop of high-rise commercial buildings of MNCs strewn across the globe. But there’s always some things unique to every city, and Singapore is no exception. That face of Singapore, short of pretentiousness – the heartlands, with its hawker centres, coffeeshops and void decks, shop spaces beneath HDBs, mama shops… these are all things I’ve grown to love and appreciate.

There are a few places in Singapore that I hold dear to my heart. Be it rooftops of buildings like Star Vista, certain malls in the Orchard/Somerset district, or malls of Jurong East, or Esplanade, even if they have become strewn with faded memories of past lovers and almost-lovers with time. The grass patches of Marina Barrage, beaches and parks on off-peak periods… even certain parts of the University I’ve spent 3 years in.

Of course, I do think about the grass on the other side, where life proceeds at a slower pace compared to the breakneck speed here. But I know that everything comes with tradeoffs. I’m not sure what the future holds for me, and my feet itch to crawl the world and truly see with my own eyes what is in the books and movies and shows that I consume. But my heart will always lie with you.

Love,

A true-blue Singaporean who has spent pretty much all her life here in this city she calls home.

These days the lights flash in multicolour and everything is akin to a running reel of The Truman Show. On paper, it is all fine and dandy. Between the lines, the words crumble or fade out altogether. I am breaking myself down completely and rebuilding my insides stone by stone. I have to falter in order to move forward. I have to make mistakes in order to learn from them and become better. And the focus is on doing my best in everything that I do, and learning to let people in instead of shutting them all out.

unspoken volumes

For someone who knows a lot of words, I find the most meaning not from the tongue, but from what we say with the being. It is the way we lock eyes at once in a crowded room, the way you make love and how you left, quietly, without any notice, until there was nothing of us, or the people we once were. A build up of make believe, an empty room with nothing but darkness.

of city dwelling

in this city that never sleeps,
the lights blur and the camera clicks
constant rush and our brains mush
a haven of comfort and convenience
and in this ecstasy, there are no words
to describe what i’m feeling

in this ecstasy, i may be
ecstatic. or in
complete misery, but who can tell?
sure, everything’s swell
so long as we’re dancing even in hell
all is good, all is well

TEDxNTU 2017: Here’s to the Gamechangers!

Today I attended my very first TED talk! And it definitely wouldn’t be the last. Although I couldn’t make it for the entire event, I’m still really glad I made the choice to go for at least the first half, because I left with lots of mental nuggets and new perspectives from the wonderful speakers of today.

2017-10-07 23.54.37.jpg

Some of the ideas stuck with me:

  • Love and hope are manifestations of human agency. And the thing about human agency is that it most obviously surfaces in situations where there is lots of oppression, where there is little freedom. And hate is also a manifestation of human agency. But it is always better to come from a place of love than a place of hate. A place of love is where flowers can grow, and a place of hate is a desolate wasteland. And don’t be afraid to challenge the ways of the past generation, as long as you come from a place of love.
  • Sometimes we don’t get to change the world, but we can change another person’s world. Having a love for humanity can change the world one person at a time. You’ll never know how much your actions can mean to another. Even if it’s just a simple genuine smile to a stranger who looks like he’s had a bad day.
  • Your world is basically just you looking at the world. You can rewrite your story to make it a better one.
  • Personal: How do you want to live your life? What are your priorities? Should life be about continuous learning? Is that the key to making life interesting? Can we really achieve anything we want in life? Are you brave enough to go all out for the things you love?
  • Personal: The thing about privilege is that it’s invisible unless you’re without it. Privilege seems also exponentially related to how far ahead one gets in life. Education is a key to overcoming a lack of privilege, but the quality of education one receives is itself a marker of privilege, and again, differs enough to differentiate who gets ahead and who doesn’t.

Two sides to every coin

The Internet is a great place to unleash our deepest thoughts. You find people becoming more honest with their state of mind, and you realise that an unsaid thing is shared between many of us. We all have demons within us that we struggle with, although these tend to come in various forms. I wonder if perhaps this is a norm. And it ought to be treated like a norm instead of being stigmatised. To be conscious is like all things – there are always the good and the bad. The good thing about consciousness is a deeper depth to life itself, and the bad thing is also the depth. Maybe it’s not about getting rid of the demons, but being okay with living with them. To know that they will be a part of you forever, but not letting them win.

At the deepest core of me, I know that being alive shouldn’t be like this. Being alive shouldn’t be plagued with all these sicknesses of the unseen that comes with modern day living. Then again like I said there’s good and bad to all things. Perhaps it’s about sacrifice – we are inflicted with illnesses of the modern day so that we are not plagued with diseases of the past that are now treatable, like polio, smallpox and TB. It comes with a more convenient way of living and not needing to worry about a roof over our heads, the next meal or predators that might infringe upon us. We are now more free physically in exchange for being less free mentally, and are now more prone to becoming trapped in the labyrinth of our minds.

Perhaps, this is a good argument for going primal sometimes. We are, after all, animals, and perhaps it’s good for us to reconnect with that, be it through exercise, sex or walks in nature. Anything that gets your heart pumping and your body moving. Perhaps this reconnection with the physical part of us is the key to finding balance in a world that’s increasingly going mental (pun intended).