Soaking In Gratitude

xixi

A knock echoed through my empty apartment one unassuming Tuesday afternoon and a raspy voice followed after. “Kuai di!” he bellowed and I tottered towards the door, expecting to receive yet another parcel — the result of cheapass China products and too efficient online shopping.

Receiving mail is one of the greatest joys in this tech-savvy era, but when you receive 20 tightly wrapped parcels in the short span of a week, it can turn into the biggest pain in the ass. This time, instead of brown cardboard boxes mummified in too much cellophane tape, it was a Styrofoam box.

Attacking it with skilled finesse — something I have mastered over the months of opening countless parcels, it revealed bubble wrap. A layer of bubble wrap so thick it completely concealed what it meant to hold. 2 ice packs fell out. I lost my mind. What the heck did I buy?

After layers of peeling, it revealed a 1.5 feet long (think in terms of Subway sandwich lengths) pumpkin tartlet. From who? A friend I happened to meet up with while visiting Beijing. Why? Because she bought it for me once and I couldn’t stop complimenting it. It sat there, in that huge Styrofoam box, smothered in bubble wrap and ice packs, still cool to the touch. So cool it burned a fiery hole in my heart.

I haven’t met many people after moving to Shanghai. I’m a firm believer that socialising takes too much effort and I’m not the kind to build relationships I don’t see lasting the dissuasion of time. Exchange students? Not my type. The locals however, surprise me. Generous, companionable and down to earth, they have found an incomprehensible way of wriggling into the depths of my heart. They are the kind that grow on you. The kind you never expect to root in the depths of your soul and flourish into something larger than love itself.

Good Things

Ginko Leaves

I feel obliged to post something because I usually write something when I draw. But the words are not coming and somehow it might be a better idea to leave these Ginko leave here untainted.

Big things are coming and I’m not sure if I’m ready to share it with the world. Fingers crossed and hopes are held high — maybe with a stroke of luck, everything will be alright.

Growing Up

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Been working on my e-mail signature, resume and LinkedIn profile for the past tens of hours and I’ve reached one conclusion — growing up is difficult. Also, LinkedIn is like a sinister version of Facebook where every move you make is scrutinised by potential co-workers, bosses or competitors. It makes uploading a profile picture one of the most stressful things I’ve done this week and that’s perhaps the reason behind why the summary of my life still remains an empty space on that page.

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There are tests to sit for and exams to take, but somehow I’ve been learning to take things easier these days after that particularly hectic September — and my first step is to take my time when it comes to replying work emails. I believe that things will fall into place, if not today, maybe tomorrow.

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I Will Be Great

giraffe The other day we were at Starbucks, you picked up a magazine and leafed through it absentmindedly, periodically stopping to take a sip out of the Hojicha Latte set upon the table, equidistance from you and me. When the swishing of pages paused for a little too long, I barely noticed, until I felt the uneasiness of your eyes boring holes through the book I was holding.

“Is this your article? Oh my god, it’s your name! In a legit magazine. In Starbucks!”

“Yeap, that’s me.” I quipped before snatching it over to snap a photo for my mother who’s still hung up over my drop out from Law School. “What is that.” She cooly replied.

I want to be big in the industry. Big, as in you’ll be saying my name in hushed whispers big. Big, as in you’ll be envious of my life spent living aflutter and be jealous enough to leave spiteful comments on my Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Big, as in big enough to pick up a random magazine on the news stands and either find my name in the mast head or as reference in a feature.

The sad news is? I’m still frightened. Frightened of the gargantuan figures in the industry, of the interviews I have to attend and the small talk I have to make. I am inferior of the way I talk, the way I laugh and the way I hold my wine goblet when a toast is proposed. I hide behind my laptop, behind the false sense of security it provides me, pushing out words I carefully compose and artfully string into a melody.

The sad news is? I’m not there yet. Not near, nowhere close. But it’s okay, because sometimes it’s fear that sets the heart ablaze and lights up the long winding road ahead. And I’m alright with that.

Some day, I will be great.

Chronicles of a Kitty Seeking Fanatic

imageThe title contains a factual error, because I do not seek a mouthless kitty that looks as though it’s been electrocuted and neither am I a kitty fan. However, having a title that reads “Chronicles of a kitty seeking fanatic’s disinterested +1” might seem a bit of a mouthful so I decided to settle on the erroneous title anyway.

I will attempt to chronicle my experience in queueing up for the limited edition “Singing Bones” Hello Kitty available at all McDonald’s outlets starting 12am (if it happens to be 24/7) this Thursday morning.

1115pm: Decided that since we’re stuck doing nothing and inspiration is not coming, perhaps a site survey of nearby McDonald’s might sound like a good idea. Especially since my brother made a pact to collect the entire set of Hello Kitties for his fiancé.

1120pm: Even before reaching the traffic light that’s closest to the McDees located at the Pasir Ris Sport’s Complex, cars with hazard lights on have already lined up till the bus stop opposite Downtown East. Why? They’re queuing at the drive through to get their kitty. Brilliant move, waste of petrol.

1130pm: Parked the car and decided to try our luck at the physical store anyway. Realised it looks like the entrance to a concert at the Indoor Stadium. We were told coupons have already been given out, and that if you would like to wait (in the hopes that someone would buy less than the limit of 4 kitties), feel free to do so. We left.

1136pm: Picked a friend who wanted to join us, headed over to (outlet name concealed so nobody will know who we got kitty from), convinced that because it is inaccessible and has no residential areas nearby, we stand a chance.

1138pm: Queues look longer than when freebies are being given out. Thankful for the relatively cool weather.

1140pm: Coupons given out! Crowd seems to be dispersing and disappointed faces whip out their phones to capture a sign that states “Hello Kitty sold out” — we’re assuming it’s a form of proof to angry girlfriends, and for boyfriends to proof their sincerity. We didn’t get a coupon. But managed to secure a spot as the first people to get a non-couponed kitty while everyone was snapping photos and heading home. Score.

1145pm: The wait is boring, we make small talk with others in the queue with us. Senior couple behind us hopes to buy 4 kitties for their daughters. Cute.

12am: Release the kitty! Queue isn’t moving, all I want is my Mcspicy really.

1230am: People are carrying bags and bags of kitties, will you guys sell them?

1235am: Just for fun, whipped out my iPad and scribbled “WTB @ $25”. Proceeded to put said iPad on my head and wait for offers. No offers, just weird looks. Consider STOMPing myself to get a $50 remuneration.

1245am: Transaction spotted! Old uncle selling kitties for $50! Supposedly a fair price since he queued for 3 hours. Too free?

115am: We’re near the end. The situation is tense. Wait, did someone say no more kitties? What about those with a coupon? I hear someone’s voice breaking. She’s crying. Over a mouthless kitty. Lord help humanity.

117am: “We’re sorry no more kitties, only those with coupons have kitties. 7 coupons? Last 7 kitties left.” We wait patiently. Meals are dispensed without kitties (hallelujah McSpicy!), but hold on a minute. Didn’t you say no more kitties? Where did that one come from? Don’t think you put in paper bag we don’t know ok!

130am: Request to chat with the manager after I am settled with my McSpicy — I honestly just wanna know what he thinks of this horrific kitty queueing frenzy and the magic behind conjuring up kitties when they supposedly have none left.

135am: Manager has great service attitude. I think he should switch jobs and become a PR instead. I’m impressed! He asked if we really wanted a kitty, but desperate woman sitting next to us screams ” IF THEY GET IT I WANT ONE TOO!”. We reject politely, saying that if we get a kitty now, we’d be starting a war. I’m happy with my Mcspicy anyway.

145am: Everyone says we should get the kitty from the manager. I buy Mcwings and proceed to whisper in the manager’s ear while pulling serviettes out from the brown box “If there are extra kittes, you know where I am.” I think I may have sounded too breathy. Manager says ok.

230am: We’re done with the food. Manager is missing. We insist on collecting our kitty when the lady next to us leaves (in case she reports us for coercing the manager into giving us a kitty.)

235am: I head to the counter unabashedly. “Your manager said he will give us a kitty when the rest of the people leave. Can I have the kitty now?” Manager is taking a smoke break, staff heads out to find him.

240am: SCORE, we get one kitty for $4.60. It looks ugly. Even the box is black. We carry it back with us in a paper bag.

3am: I am back to work, inspiration finds me. I wonder if the kitty blesses me. Nah, I think it’s the nuggets and fries that’s fuelling my brain cells.

330am: Brother texts to say the sister-in-law is at Funan queuing up for kitties. They only open at 7am. Insanity takes human form in girls who have a kitty obsession.

2pm: Receive text from school musical committee saying we should sell kitties for 90k to raise funds for our musical. Realise kitties are being sold at $1000 now.

230pm: I lose faith in humanity.

Sobered Rambles

I suggest you read this post first, because only then will you truly appreciate the entertainment this one will bring.

This morning, I thought a mediocre nights sleep sobered me up enough to attempt a humorous and moderately interesting post for this website. Boy was I wrong. Here’s what happened.

I want to confess that last night I had so much wine to drink, I had (repeated use of the exact phrase in the same sentence) absolutely no idea what I was typing when I emailed the story I was working on to my editor. I also have no recollection of what I produced last night and was thoroughly afraid of opening my mailbox to review my drunken rambles this morning. 

Lucky for me, everything turned out better than expected and I have somehow or rather concluded that I am a talented drunk writer. Except I spelt Wednesday as Wedneday and missed out the e in Patek Phillipe. 

I am also still searching for my contact lenses, which I have seemed to have removed (?! I successfully complicated a simple sentence) subconsciously and left somewhere. Exactly where (repeat again!) I do not know. 

I was obviously not very sober, and made a fool out of my usual flawless (snort) writing record. Laugh all you want, alcohol makes us feel like geniuses and act like fools — and only the best of ’em are brave enough to admit (and dissect) their mistakes after sanity is regained. 

Excusez-moi?

WP DPWAHAHA

After owning this blog since forever, you can now find out who I am by clicking the page link right below my header. Or alternatively, visit www.braintango.wordpress.com/who-am-i.

Also took the chance to do some doodling since being trapped indoors with deadlines pretty much turn your brains into mush. A little cluttered, a little maniacal and a little too abstract to understand. Don’t ask me what it means, because I most likely have no answer too.

Happy sunny days guys, the skies finally cleared up.

Pasar Bella

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This place needs some colour, and I need to hone my photography skills. So in a bid to achieve the perfect balance between both, I’ve decided to bring my camera out more often, and develop an added diligence towards post processing the photos I take.

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Singapore’s a small place, but for an island state that’s got nothing but an eternally shining sun and high humidity, I say we’re not doing too bad in terms of keeping our lovely selves entertained. 2013 alone has seen the opening of the SEA Aquarium (which I am DYING to visit), Adventure Cove, River Safari and Pasar Bella. It’s a good year to pretend you’re a foreigner in your home country and prance around the new tourist spots armed with a pair of shades (to mask the local face) and a camera. At least that’s what I did.

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Despite it’s obscure location, (Pasar Bella is tucked away in the depths of Turf City’s Grandstand, a place only accessible by those fortunate enough to own a car or have the means to take a cab) I dragged Daniel down with me on a punishingly sunny Saturday afternoon — in a cab of course. Holding the hopes of visiting a market like the ones in Australia, a memory I although only vaguely remember, was pleasantly sweet and was one I looked forward to reliving.

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The verdict? I love it. It’s the combination of being able to pick up bite sized food (pound cakes, macarons, sausages, waffles), admire fresh and exotic produce as well as bask in the concept of how happiness can be so simple. It’s like going to the market with your mother, only this one’s air conditioned, filled with things you’ve never seen before and so affordable. Buy a peach for a dollar and chow down on it while you walk pass little booths selling temporary tattoos and little cakes. Relish in the joy of having too many choices when picking a bottle of beer to quench your thirst. Head into the cheese shop that smells strangely like unwashed socks and share a block of cheese you can barely stand to smell.

It’s the experience that really counts here at Pasar Bella. It’s the energy, the food, the concept that appeals and makes me feel like going back there again this weekend even though it costs me $20 to get there. It’s the feeling of being away from your little cosmopolitan city, yet being in it at the same time. The crowd is genuine and polite, the food not exceedingly delicious yet satisfying because of the entire experience it provides.

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Have nothing much to do this weekend? Take a little excursion down to Turf City and discover this little gem of a place. Pretend you’re not stuck on this sunny island and pick up anything you want in the faith that it holds endless possibilities. I made a Shashuka from the peppers, rocket leaves and spices I bought the other day. Who knows what you’ll end up making too. 🙂

Summer Dreams

Summer

There are so many things I would like to do, so many dreams that have already begun to sprout. But sometimes dreams remain in the depths of your imagination because reality gets in the way, and after you’ve awoken from this hot summer haze, you’ll realise there’s a reason why they’re called dreams in the first place.

Back On Track

“When I love someone else, someone new, I will see parts of everyone in him. All of my old lovers will come together like artifacts in a museum and rest on top of my new love. You go everywhere with me, don’t you understand? If I gave you a piece of my heart once, you have permission to hold on to it forever. “

Read more at http://thoughtcatalog.com/2012/a-note-to-anyone-whos-ever-loved-me/#kHLCcIAYiSHOcXyK.99

Haven’t really gotten the time to sit down and write something (granted, I’m writing everyday, just not for this blog…) but I am still reading! And enjoying myself quite a fair bit at work. I’ll be back really soon! But in the meantime, hold on to your chairs and countdown…because its FUHRIDAY!

And its time to party. <:-)

(Yep, that’s a party hat.)