Monday, May 31, 2010

Last song

A poem.

Is it important, to think so intensely
When all these, too, shall pass?
A month later, would anyone remember
A fleeting thought, like a whisper
A tearful soul, in the hand of a stranger
Or the one unanswered prayer?

Perhaps it is wiser to live in the moment
when the essence of the moment gives us the dignity to last the days ahead.

I think of you, and I smile because
You are near and you are here
just for me, just for one last song.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Short term memories

We have such short, short memories. It's almost like a disease.

If not for the photos we took or the journals we scribbled in, our memories, our thoughts and happy moments would have been something that did not take place because we could not remember.

Yesterday, TheBoyfriend wanted to surprise me with a trip to the rabbit breeder where I got Mushroom. And, with a baby rabbit of my choice. But instead of the response he expected, I burst into tears. For it was there when I first got acquainted with Mushroom, amidst the Himalayans, Flemish Giants, Dwarves and Lops and I chose Mushroom, instantly. He sniffed my feet and happily ran out of the door, and ran back. I'm not ready to have another pet just yet. I worry that my current upgrading scheme would bring about another premature ending. I worry that if it's a baby rabbit it would not survive in my care.

I could not bring myself to throw away the pink food bowl, his pink and purple ball and his toilet thingy till today. I was hit by a sudden memory of him digging happily - it was his hobby to dig, as if he was making a burrow. And I felt a strange feeling of wanting to smile yet cry, something which I've never - if rarely - felt before. I'm quite in touch with my feeler side lately.

We are only human. We miss the ones we love dearly. And while being petless may seem great for a while - you do not have to 'report' to anyone, clean anyone's cage daily, or keep making trips to the supermarket for xiao bai cai and carrots... we are human after all and we need some form of companionship. Having been best-friend-less for a while now, I can say that I look to Mushroom as a close companion and even talk to him, he seems wise and I can always feel better after sharing my innermost thoughts with him and patting his head, which he loves.

I have such a short, short memory that I almost forgot what my TheBestFriend did for me.
No matter how lousy his character is or what bad impression he left others because of his misdeeds, it wasn't like that for me. It was the purest, most beautiful form of friendship one could find. A person willing to protect me from harm at all costs, willing to listen to me for hours, eagerly spending every PH watching movies, and one who sings with me through life's sorrows and sadness.

If not for his 1 year of bestfriendship, I wouldn't have bravely faced the future. And although I was chargrined to know that the good times' are too short for me to accept, I accept now that we should remember the sweetness of the memories, and not accept a substitute when we're not ready.

If I had bought some pet right now, I don't think I can feel for it as much as I do when I'm ready to accept someone new into my life. And I think, with a grateful heart, what these 2 creatures have done for my life. When it's time to let go, it's time. Mushroom may have been the bestest pet I've ever had, but I don't doubt the future ones would bring me less joy. Derrick may have been the bestest friend (male - I have one female BFF in Oz) in need for one year of my life, but it was a happy, fulfiling year and I don't doubt that despite me finding another one now, it would erase the gratitude I have towards him. At any age, we still need best friends.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Dreams of snow globes

Dreams of snow globes - short story. Once again in the life story of Allegra and Mark.

Mark sat gingerly at the edge of her bed, using his fingers to gently stroke her fingertips. She seemed peaceful, almost smiling in her sleep like an angel who would never wake up. The monitors strapped to her body bleeped from time to time, according to her vital signs. Everyone was praying for her. Would she wake up? Mark wondered. He had already lost his father. He had always wanted to start a family when he was young so that his children would not be fatherless. He touched her hair gently. Wake up, he whispered.

I love those snow-globes. Even though I never bought one, in the places of my travels, I would go into the gift shops and peer into the intricately designed cityscape inside the globe, and shake it. The tiny city would be covered with snow, or with little happy glitter specks. I love those globes the way I love hand written long love letters. It seems that we have become so technologically advanced that we have forgotten about what it feels like to read someone’s handwriting.

Walking barefooted on the sand with Mark. Wandering through meandering roads that lead to nowhere. Remembering the way he crinkled up his eyes in a warm smile when he saw me appearing.

With each shake, it reminds me about how fragile love is, one swipe of the hand can lead the city into a magical place of pure, clean, snow and glitter, or by not choosing to do anything, the city stays as it is, untouched, but sterile, and perhaps hostile.

Where are you now, Mark? I do not dare to let my mind return to the place where we once wandered happily. Fearing it would be more bittersweet than happy memories, now. Do you know that I think of you everyday? Yet I don’t seem to hear your voice, Mark. I don’t seem to see myself in your eyes. Where my soul is in, I don’t know. Perhaps it has turned deaf, and blind. I think I am dying. I can hear the sound of my heart, and it tells me it may not last the distance. Have you experienced the pain that comes from waking up one day and reading the headlines, and knowing that for sure, there is a sinking feeling in your heart – an omen that means that life as you knew it would never be the same? When I saw those planes flying into the landmark buildings in a country far away from me, somehow, I knew. I love planes, watching them takeoff. I love the feeling of flying in my dreams. I knew it was a sign, an omen. My best friend told me so, too. The beginning of an end, he said. I spiraled into a depression that even you knew nothing about. The emptiness ate me up, even when you were by my side. Even when I was with people whom I knew and loved. Only when I was travelling, on a jet plane, to a foreign land, then did it seem I was leaving it all behind. That was why I always travelled. To the same place. Almost every fortnight to a place I knew I could find peace. I had always left all my tears behind at the border passing. It seemed that each tear I cried made me weaker and helped the darkness to consume me further. I vowed not to cry. But tears consumed me daily.

Days spent in the national library, poring over Austen classics and reading aloud poems by Wilde and Pablo. Endless sunsets on benches and evenings whispering about how we loved each other. Those were my best memories about the times we shared.

I wanted to escape from the darkness haunting my mind. I left you, again and again. Reasons. Excuses. I was involved in my career advancement. I was involved with someone else. I was too busy. I was cooking up excuses to cover up the essence of my heart, that it was consumed with a grief that was bottomless.

She saw a bright light, and murmurings in the background. She stirred, and opened her eyes. She beheld her beloved’s face in front of her. And his eyes, filling up with tears, dripping soundlessly below, the kind of love that does not need words.

I’m back, Mark, she whispered in her heart. I’m back.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Livin' in the present

I just did a handwriting analysis and I have to say the results are scarily accurate. They said that by changing your handwriting you can learn to change your life too... Though I wonder how true that will turn out to be, it's always intriguing to me to learn about some aspects of my persona I fail to see about myself.

(based on the way I write my 'm's)
'Diplomacy is one of Rachel's best attributes. She has the ability to say what others
want to hear. She can have tact with others. She has the ability to state things in such a way as to not offend someone else. Rachel can disagree without being disagreeable.'

Well, now I know that, I can be at liberty to disagree with others...oui?

Anyway on all those personality tests, I've always scored those words, that I am someone who 'lives in the present'. That's good in a sense - not overtly sentimental about the past, but bad in the sense that I cannot foresee the foreseeable future, the next steps - I used to have a 5 year plan, it seems ridiculous now to follow my childish ideals.

Perhaps when we grow older, we turn a blind eye to some things. Some of our standards are lowered. Some things, we take it easier. I don't really feel strongly about things the way I used to, one way or the other. In my mind, I just don't want to be bothered by such ways of logic no more.

I met an old school mate whom I have not seen for 10 years, yes, a really long time! It's strange how we can just catch up where we have left. Even funnier, she remembers all the things in the past to crystal clear clarity whereas... I can't even remember some of the episodes! Did that happen? I kept asking her...

I used to pride myself on only remembering the good things in life...I chose this way of life, still being friendly to those who have hurt you deeply, at least cordial. But is this a good way?

Right now, I can't even remember the simple things, or the sad things that happened, to the ones around me, as well as myself. It's only through reading what I wrote a long time ago, that I begin to feel, again.

Sometimes I wish I can remember such sentimental things with more clarity. The first times, the sweet times, then I would have a really strong reason for being who I am now. But it seems that together with the bittersweet moments the sweet moments has also gone down the drain... leaving me with gaps in my memory as if there were holes in my brain.

I must remember the past things that shaped me. The ghosts of the past, the songs that brings such bittersweet memories... perhaps long forgotten, the name of the song and the tune might stir up some memories in you. Yes, have I really forgotten? The lost years, the days of no realisation, the struggles through sweet victories won... Yet somehow, sometimes walking past building landmarks, looking at old photos, reading old diaries, remind me of what I have fought for and won. It's strange because it's been years that I have thought in this manner.

A kind friend sms-ed me, 'At least I know that I'm not alone.'
I thanked God that I am not alone.

I used to write many short stories and poems. These days, I'm itchy to draw on these thoughts to write again.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

'Ren Yuan'

There's this chinese word, 'Ren Yuan', which loosely translated, means 'favor with people', or a likeable personality.

No English description can do it justice, because I think it means more than favor, more than being likeable. If you use another religion's term, it is 'an enlightened being', some people who are far ahead the 'how to win friends and influence people-curve'.

The Boyfriend tells me I have it. Ren Yuan. I was chatting this week about what defines that. Not to be unbearably thick-skinned, but I think one of the factor is having good looks. Not TOO good-looking, ironically, it works the other way and people will hate you for being TOO good looking. (Yes girls hate guys who are too good looking too.) Good-looking enough, or memorably good-looking so that if you are just a passing acquaintance at events, people will still remember you, and remember a favorable impression as well. The worst thing is not being remembered for anything, or being remembered by anyone.

Memorably good-looking.

We have a mutual friend who works in sales, however, she doesn't have this factor. In fact, although she has a degree, I don't think she will do well in interviews, somehow, people just have a bad impression of her, an impression which truthfully, might be worse than what she is in reality. Somehow when she calls you, you feel tense and give a fake smile... such people shouldn't be in sales. She's not ugly, in fact, may be above average, but somehow you just give an inner cringe when you see her approaching.

The other factor to 'Ren Yuan' is having an 'enlightened' key factor of some sort. To be liked and be friends with virtually almost everyone, any race, age, or religion.

I mentioned previously that when I was in Melaka those years ago, on my own, exploring the town that wasn't yet so commercially developed, there were many strangers who offered me rides in their car, stopped to make sure I wasn't lost despite me just standing on a street and not asking for directions... I thought they were just genuinely nice but now, I also realise that not everyone would be given the same treatment in the same scenario.

For those who always complain they aren't being treated fairly, I think it's the 'Ren Yuan' essence that comes into play. Like some people, despite their good looks, they make it into the category of 'you either love them or hate them'. They always wonder why so many people hate them. Despite being nice and all.

But for those with 'Ren Yuan', virtually everyone likes them.

A celebrity that comes to mind is Utt. Somehow, I've always asked around, and everyone seems to like him, me included. Because of his Ren Yuan, he doesn't have much gossip or bad press surrounding him or even people who want to lash out at his decision. I really can't find anyone who hates him. Zoe Tay is another one if you stop to think about it...

Sunday, May 09, 2010

R.I.P. Mushroom, I miss you

Discovered my bunny, Mushroom, had passed in the wee hours of 8 May (Saturday) when I was preparing for a roadtrip to Melaka.

Although he suffered from a chronic flu, it was so sudden and unexpected for him to suddenly go. I couldn't believe it and kept telling him to 'wake up' as sometimes he sleeps in such awkward positions that looks dead.

I cried all the way to the Melakan border. It's those deep kind of wracking cry which comes with a heartache after. Somehow, subconciously perhaps, I knew something was going to happen. In the last few days, I had developed insomnia - something which I hadn't for ages and also became a bit depressed, seemingly for no reason. In my insomniac night state I would go frequently to check on Mushroom and pat him. Perhaps that gave him comfort in his last days. Also, during the last few days, I spent more time with him, taking photos on my BB. The first one is one of those which he posed for me. I even told him I love him. Maybe subconsciously I knew he wouldn't be around for much longer.

It was always my wish and desire to keep a Holland Lop Rabbit for a pet, and Mushroom more than exceeded my expectations. I'm very sad to see him go.

A tribute to Mushroom

Mushroom was a most curious and cheerful rabbit, my most beloved and adored pet. He had lop ears which he likes to keep flat back, one of his ears always popped out when he heard me calling his name. He always thinks he's hungry and his favorite fresh foods were xiao bai cai, baby carrots, cherry tomatoes and grapes. I will never have another rabbit like him; the way he meant so much to me.

My furry little friend's hobby is digging. He doesn't chew up stuff nor eat his night shit (form of nutrition), like most other bunnies.

He was a rabbit that had a spot in the bottom of my heart, which ached badly when he passed. Life with him was too short and the memories were all happy. He was never temperamental or angry, and loved to hear me sing goodnight. Although he had a chronic flu which ensured he stayed svelte and cute-sized like a round ball, he never let it get him down. He was always active and also has many expressions which he only showed to me: wise, suspicious, exuberant, hesitant...he is also quite vain and can sit still for hours, letting me groom and powder bath him, which is quite unusual for a rabbit.

I think he is quite intelligent and understands English although he cannot say a word.

I miss him dearly. No pet can replace his permanent place in my heart.

He was laid to rest with my favorite scarf - so that he will be warm, no more flu - and his favorite snack, buckwheat.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Defeated Queen - ( 敗犬女王 )Ep 9 ( 6 øƒ 8 )

Sob... Xiao Tian is so touching!

I think this show will open many older women's minds to consider younger guys.

Remember my young days also, heh heh, feeling quite ancient nowadays.

May continue watching on the link. =)

in times of need, a lesson learnt the not too hard way

Just met up with the new-old friend. He's quite similar (yet different) to 'The Architect-who-does-not-want-to-be-called-that'... in the way that we can talk from Orchard to Ang Mo Kio and back. People always say such of my male friends are eccentric and weird, or boring... but to me they are quite kind-hearted, empathetic, altruistic and entertaining. Maybe I'm the one who is weird to be able to clique with them. Or being a rare persona, I actually enjoy weirdos' company.

That's why weirdos have normal friends too?? In any case, they are normal to me.

I realised the new-old and I, have many things in common, or rather, common bugbears. Somehow talking to such individuals made me realize, or see, certain things in a clearer light. All of us have our personal crises, moody moments and jubliant days. Although we did not broach the subject, my mind wandered off to those times, the moments of crises.

It really saddens me that there's a lack of gusto and panache in some of the more laid back individuals who can be called 'friends'. It's been said that you know who your true friends are in those crisis moments, those times of need. Notwithstanding some of their other faults, I found it touching that my true friends really reached out to me in those moments, supporting me throughout, with sms, emails, chats, meetups, whatever it took for me to regain my balance.

Of course they have probably gone through some traumatic events in their life too, to be able to share your pain.

But how about those with whom you have labored with, gone through ups and downs and shared many things and a long span of years and times together as friends, but yet at those crisis moments, they choose to sit on the fence, mistaking what you are going through for some 'growing up pains 'or tempermental flares; or pretend to be oblivious to what you are going through? This is like adding salt to your wounds and it's what separates the wheat from the chaff, what draws the line between BFFs and hi-bye friends.

Sad but true. I was really quite amazed by who could have been there... but chose not to be. (And also by who chose to be there. It might not be who you thought was close to you. For instance, a girl whom I never got to know better because of our busy conflicting schedules, made time for me EVERY SUNDAY at dinner time when she got to know about my crisis. So touched! She's now happily engaged to a guy who also showed such concern and met me up just as often, during my crisis. They deserve each other!)

The sad feelings are like a past relationship, a relationship you thought would never end and how happy you were, sharing and doing everything together, each day, but in the end, it turns out the feeling's not mutual, or you love him more than he does, which is always painful when reality hits.

You wanna shout !#$%##!!! WTH!!! This is what I get in return for our-so-I-thought-close friendship, a cold shoulder and nonchalant behavior...but you can't because you are too depressed already.

Anyway, I'm already over it long ago, having matured sometime between the ages of mid-20s.

I just thought that people really are hard to read and sometimes you hope you can give the person a second chance but then again.

Sometimes I really miss my dear, dear friends, there are many I'd like to meet oftener but again, it's our conflicting schedules. Like Chestnut(in another country). Ange (same.) Architect (workaholic). Fang Sista. Ms Lee. Giffy. YH. Joel V. Ohhhhh... dear, dear friends.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

an interesting job indeed

Just watched 'The Blind Side' starring an unrecognizable Sandra Bullock. It's a great movie. Very well-done acting and scripting. It's about Christian values but not overboard preachy. Most of all, a believable remake of a true story! I thought it would be overly weepy and emo but it's not, yay! I enjoyed it tremendously and so will you.

One friend remarked to me today that out of all the people she knew, she thought that I had the most interesting jobs. It's a compliment! (I hope...) Well, the titles are interesting enough...and so are the people I meet in the line of work. Doctors, Parkour founders, Restauranteurs, Exercise gurus, Chicken farm owner, Dog farm owner, Authors...yeah most people would not get to meet them.
But with a sigh, I ponder over my 'choices' and wonder if I could have done something, more stable. At this age, there's no more 'playing', but doing something meaningful and career-enhancing.

Design/creative jobs just don't feed and clothe me well, despite the fact that I'm good in it. Can I find something else that I'm good at that is lucrative? This current job seems to be, although I don't want to say too much until I'm a bit more settled in. I'm really thankful for this opportunity although at the same time it's also a risk, but I hope I can make it my career and help many people at the same time. I always find it meaningful to help people in my line of duty.

And in line with the recent news articles over the jobs debate, it's not my fault that I change jobs so often. I suspect the hype about younger workers changing jobs more often is all in a bid to get companies to 'see' older workers as more valuable, being less likely to change jobs. Of course, I also don't have a good impression of those who don't stay in the job for more than 3 quarters, and repeating this behavior time and again. 5 jobs in 5 years type of person!!! It seems frivolous, it seems that they have not decided what they want to do and are wasting all the employer's time and effort. Of course, part of it may be they make disastrous choices. It is always a gamble to take up one job and not another.
I think the job market has changed so much that it's impossible to stay for long in a SME. All my previous bosses fell with cashflow problems, which is ultimately frustrating if you intend to stay in the job for long-term. Of course, staying with the co might 'pay off' in the long run, but so far I did not have this mentality. Maybe I'm scarred from previous occurrences. After all, can you really trust your efforts with a boss who cannot manage his finances and owe you some months of CPF or claims....?

Anyway, I'm blessed to have some good experiences in my jobs too, so I shall not complain. Just take it as an investment for a lesson learnt, as what they say. In all, there is more 'good' than 'bad', I choose to see it that way. The people I've met and friends I've made, in a nutshell, is priceless.

In my current line of work, hmmm, let's say I view many people CVs and help them to be 'in' or 'out'.
I got to see some inspiring CVs like those from humble background, not even passing secondary school, dropped out and have to take ITE courses... from a minority race... (which not many cos like to employ, truth be told), working from the bottom and becoming a success story...a manager of a team with good sales result... really inspiring! And they are nice and humble on the phone. In this line, the benefit is that people will be really grateful to you as you are the 'judge'. One funny lady even made me laugh by asking me to matchmake her too! (Being 'single' as well.)
However, there are nasty people too. When I spoke to a lady applying for a bank job, she kept asking the specific scope and nature of the job, which I replied that I would prefer that the bank hiring manager himself told her the minute details and not hear it from me. (Duh.) She just nastily said, 'Oh, so you don't know what the job is about isit?' I wanted to clobber her. And this is just the first round of interview. So rude! Today, I had another rude case. A guy who kept blabbering on and on about how this bank (Bank Y) is so slow to respond to his application whereas Bank X was immediately accepting him, and kept going on and on about how they are so slow, so lousy, the position is nothing much compared to X position, the clients were not as high net worth as claimed... etc...!

He seems so reluctant for this job, which he applied for, and kept grousing to me over the phone....and behaved as if he was 'helping me' instead of the other way round! He really riled me up and I just cut him off saying 'So do you want to proceed with your application?' He was very impolite, I guess this is the way he treats people, without respect. The position was quite a prestigious one, with many people from private banks experience, applying,...really impressive people earning more than the expected salary requirements... and with his experience of only working in Prudential for a year, does he really expect Bank Y to fall head over heels to employ him... I regret calling him!!! The inspiring guy who dropped out of secondary school who became a successful sales manager, is etched in my memory because a few days later, he called to thank me and even told me to put him for any job of a similar capacity. So nice. Unlike Mr Rude.

I think the way you treat people goes a long way. Rude service staff always gets on my nerves. (Yes, especially those who insist on speaking Mandarin to me, heavy accented Mandarin and I do not understand a word.) I do sympathise with the store in a way, they perhaps employed the wrong person. But after all, I may be spending quite a lot of my hard-earned money at your store, so the least I expect is some basic courtesy.