#212: There’s nothing wrong with sobriety in moderation.

“What is man, when you come to think upon him, but a minutely set, ingenious machine for turning with infinite artfulness, the red wine of Shiraz into urine?”

I’ve taken to recreational drinking recently, on the weekends when my friends and I finally have a chance to meet up, commiserate our horrible work weeks and drink to our next week of our sad little lives with only the tinkling of glasses and the miserable company of each other, which really is good enough now I think of it. It’s not always that bad, we do meet up for more joyous / neutral reasons. Drinking is fun when it takes a backseat to a larger purpose of the gathering of people.

Its a bit of a problem when you have one too many drinks and end up vegetative for the whole of the next day, though. When I used to drink in abundance and without care, I was always chastised by my mother for not moderating my intake. I tend to drink it – whatever it is available – like water, especially when water is not available. (Bringing a glass to my lips helps to make awkward silences less awkward.). I’m slowly learning to appreciate moderation in drinking. I am however, regressing in my moderation of staying up to ungodly hours, as exemplified by the time now (2+ AM).


#211: Yeah, they’re invincible, and she’s just in the background.


“Although the life of a person is in a land full of thorns and weeds, there is always a space in which the good seed can grow. You have to trust God.”

Happy Lent everyone! Lent started this Wednesday! What a good timing, right after all the Chinese New Year festivities. Despite all the miserable fasting, Lent is a time of renewal and celebration to turn back to God.

For Lent this year, I’ve decided to give up my daily cup (or two, or three, or four…) of trusty kopi-o-kosong that had fueled me through sleepy lectures and lethargic training sessions. I’m not completely dependent on it – its more mental than anything, really – but its a crutch that I’m looking forward to get rid of. So far I’ve survived three days without, not feeling any worse for wear. I didn’t swear off caffeine though, so I’ve replaced it with copious amounts of tea (which is not that potent) and – if I do end up splurging at the Nutrifirst warehouse sale tomorrow – potentially pre-workout (which is…very potent).

Hope I don’t die by the end of 40 days. Not from lack of coffee, but from a paradoxical caffeine overdose from all the pre-workout. With a side-effect of an empty wallet.

I’m missing the spirit of my Lenten abstinence, right…

#210: No one understands that you have given everything. You must give more.

To put it kindly, I am more predisposed to being ‘driven’ and ‘motivated’, but I think a more accurate term would probably be something along the lines of ‘obsessive-compulsive’. There is some strange tendency in me to take things a little excessively if I had my way with it, and when you are bright-eyed and wet-behind-the-ears the world feels like your oyster! You can do anything and everything! Activities not contributing to this overall personal growth just seems so pointless. I remember distinctly a night some years back, when it was 2 am and I was fighting the lethargy, thinking to myself that you know what, sleep is such a goddamn waste of time. I can do so much more if I had all the time I wasted sleeping.

It was a very intense urge, a compulsion to be a robot.

Rest is a concept that makes complete sense factually and logically, but one I can’t really comprehend…emotionally? Mentally? Work done almost always correlates with results to me, which is counter-intuitive in cases such as 1) overtraining or 2) trying to study but eyeballs falling out from exhaustion. Something about the time spent on something, even if ineffective (or counter-productive) just…means something to me.

Of course, such extreme drive doesn’t just continue indefinitely. Losing steam sucks, especially when against your own will. Isn’t it odd how you can wish to not want to feel a certain way? If you want to not want it, can’t you just…not want it? If you want it, why would you not want it? It ‘would be nice’ if I wasn’t so hard on myself all the time – but would it really be nice? Would I really be happy, settling for not-so-good or dropping things I’d like to do due to lame reasons like time constraints (there is always time, it depends on how much you want it), the need for rest (what is rest??)?

(Well, NO, because one of my greatest fears is mediocrity.)

Is there really a way to accept personal limitations while still maintaining a sense of drive and motivation? I think this is my greatest hang-up – if I ever put my foot down and acknowledge with my heart that there are some things that cannot be achieved regardless of the time and effort outpoured – then why does it matter? Why would all things matter at all? I do go through such personal crises on a regular basis, just wondering why I bother to do anything when decades down the road I’m just going to be ashes and dust in this big world that revolves perfectly fine without me (or humans…or living creatures) and the universe eventually converges to a black hole singularity and implodes. (When I was younger this sort of scenarios scared the ever-living shit out of me. I recall a family trip to Bintan in the early 2000s where I stargazed with my brother and he enthusiastically informed me about black holes and other astronomical phenomenon (his main interest then) and I was so terrified of being swallowed up by a black hole and being spaghettified and what would happen to me or my life or my memories?!) The same scenario now gives me a calm, soothing sense of existential nihilism. Calm and soothing is good though, right?

Luckily (?) such crises don’t last long, even if they occur often. Maybe in some sense it counter-balances my extremism with a dose of another extremism of the other end. Maybe that’s why I’m still fairly functional, which would suffice quite well for now. I’m still in the process of sorting my own big mess out, and maybe logic will one day prevail and allow me to understand and embrace that I can’t be everything I want to be. And then further down the road, maybe this realization wouldn’t hurt as much to lose faith in the whole damn universe.

#209: No matter how carefully you stored the lights last year, they will be snarled again this Christmas.


How quickly things change! For better or for worse, this year is almost over and a new year is upon us soon. I know I barely updated at all in the past year. There’s always so much to say and no way to express myself!

This Christmas has been a lot more…secular. The tree is not up. The house is bare, and almost always empty. My parents have left for overseas and won’t be back till next year, and us siblings act separately. Christmas this year is no longer a family affair, which used to start at Advent. We would be set up the tree and place the baubles, getting nagged at for missing a spot. We would drape the lights over the branches and argue at night whether to leave them twinkling in the living room until morning. We would try very hard to convince Dad to leave the clock alone – it had a feature which allowed it to play Christmas tunes incessantly – and he would ignore us until the tunes bore him 5 minutes later. We would go for Christmas mass together, KO at 2am when we return home, and have a lazy lazy Christmas day.

This year, on Christmas, I woke at 730 and trained chest. I went to the mall, walked aimlessly for a couple of hours, pushed along by the crowd, and returned home. The highlight of my day was probably the home-made salmon burgers I baked for dinner. (They really were quite good)

It sounds sad, but it’s alright. It’s just a little different, and that’s not a bad thing. I’ve had my fair share of parties before and after the 25th, and I spent them with some amazing people! I like being alone, but they are worth socializing for.

#208: Distance means so little when someone means so much

It’ll take me 2705h to walk to you!

It still takes me a while to comprehend the magnitude of the distance between us and the duration that this separation will last. When people ask me about where you are going and how long you’d be there and how long your course of study is, all I get are very very sympathetic reactions. I guess they don’t really have much else they can say!

The ache is real though. When I find something cute to buy for you, I’d do a double-take and consider whether I can send it through post. And when I find a nice new restaurant to try it’ll sink in that wow, I need to find someone else to go with. And when I see other couples walking shoulder-to-shoulder, I miss that..spatial closeness I’ve always taken for granted. I could reach out to punch your arm when you crack a bad joke, I could pat your silly floppy hair, and lean into your embrace. I could complain about your sweaty hug. I could nestle my frozen fingers in the warm crook of your elbow.

Now I can’t! It feels very weird, like something is missing (because it is). Miss you.

#206: Love me and the world is mine


Place your head on my beating heart
I’m thinking out loud
That maybe we found love right where we are

Last year, you were ill and I had a ton of work to do so you crashed my room in UTown and slept for a couple of hours, after which we ate Subway unceremoniously and you left for home. It wasn’t the best day, but I think it was okay. But the more I thought about it the more I felt cheated of a romantic day. Why, brain?  I mean it wasn’t too bad, everyone has their off-days and that day just happened to be one. 14th February isn’t intrinsically some date of special romantic significance. It’s all because consumerism something capitalism something materialism something something.

Something stupid about social media is this weird pressure you get from nothing. Everyone’s relationships are different and it’s ridiculous to try and compare them, much less online where people only put the good and fun parts up and leave the rest offline. So today by midnight, like last year, I have already seen so many posts of surprise flower deliveries and grandiose Valentine’s Day set-ups, and more and more appeared as the day progressed. And I asked myself, I really really asked my heart what all these meant to me.

My answer is: I guess it’s really cute. It’s appealing to be accosted with a bouquet of exorbitantly priced flowers, it’s appealing to have an beautiful celebration with a fancy dress, 4-course meals, expensive gifts and romantic selfies, knowing someone was willing to drop all that money for you (even though it’s a terrible financial decision I do not condone).

Did I feel like I should be disappointed that I don’t have all these? Well, maybe a little bit. Did it actually make me disappointed? Not at all. So why should I feel weird that I’m not feeling disappointed? Being not disappointed is awesome.

Other people can go buy flower arches and whatever makes them happy. What makes me happy is to just be with you and do stupid things. Which I’m already doing! What’s more to ask for but more of you.

#205: 道不是教


Your love’s making all things new
You’re working in all for good
For the things of this world
There is hope renewed
In the life that is found in You

The Lord works in wondrous, wondrous ways! I know You have been listening to my mom’s most earnest prayers, and slowly but surely, in Your own time, they are being answered.

Humans are daft. We think we know all there is to know, and that we don’t need God. But in the face of tragedy, when we can do nothing, when we know nothing, when we are completely helpless, we realise that in all these bad times and the good ones, we truly need Him. For His providence in our good times; for His mercy in our trying times.

We can try to understand the world and everything that happens with human knowledge, but ultimately it all feels hollow. And so we turn to God, to anchor our experiences in Him and make Him the reference point. I feel like a sheep who was once lost in the huge field of God’s graces and have no idea where to start looking, how to begin comprehending, until the Good Shepherd came over to nudge me in line so I can keep Him in my sight always.

Today being the first day of the year, we have resolved to pray the rosary once a week as a family.

That thing’s powerful man.

Happy New Year everyone! What a wonderful way to start my year (even though I didn’t exercise today)! I will tomorrow, but I bet my perky bum it will be crowded with half-hearted New-Year-Resolution gym-goers and I won’t get a good workout in.


#204: As long as we know in our hearts what Christmas ought to be, Christmas is.


Merry Christmas! Yes I know it’s been a long time since the previous post. No not much happened in my life. Yes I know Christmas is technically over, but for me Christmas has just begun! Until sweet baby Jesus gets baptised my weekends will still be filled with all the joyous Christmas hymns.

This Christmas, my lazy family decided not to get anybody any Christmas presents, because we’re lazy and also because Christmas isn’t the time for all these materialistic decisions. Instead, we attended mass back to back on Christmas Eve starting from 9pm till almost 2am and ended up being half-dead zombies for the whole of Christmas Day. Extremely satisfied half-dead zombies. I woke up early to attend another mass because my choir was rostered, and I’m glad I did because I got to listen to the homily I slept through. And another giant blessing this Christmas was when Kang accompanied me for one of the masses! I’m glad you came with me. Next time maybe we’ll attend an English mass instead and hopefully it would be a bit more fruitful for you, but nevertheless I’m still really really really glad you came.

This is what Christmas ought to be. Not artery-clogging Christmas feasting, not pacing around the shopping malls finding useless presents for acquaintances you feel obliged to gift, not a big party with loud music and a lot of booze; but staying up at midnight mass, coming home and collapsing in bed at 3am in bed with the peace of Christ in my mind.