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14th Aug 2016 01:28 am...
Joseph Schooling winning the gold medal - another perspective: something to brighten the hearts of ordinary Singaporeans who have not wanted something with as much intensity as he has.
9th Aug 2016 09:10 pm...
Well, I've decided that I should return to keeping a record of my days, as I did in my childhood and adolescence - especially so in my childhood, when a diary entry was the merticulous recount of after-school life; after I hit teenagehood, it became a vent for my peaks of emotion, which happened more often than not. Because of that, I adopted the attitude that a diary was for the moments when clarity was needed, from the murk of overwhelming feelings, and as a result, when my days stabilized, I had less and less use of one.

Yesterday however, it properly struck me that my lassez faire attitude was partly born from my deproving memory - it's so easy to let days slip by when you don't remember what happened even a moment ago; everything becomes unimportant except the present. I suppose this is a way of achieving clarity again.

The way Donald Trump managed to actually get so close to becoming the president of the USA seems to me to mark a jarring opposition between the systems of democracy and meritocracy. A democracy requires no credentials, it only requires that you capture the hearts of people during campaign time. When you think about it it seems strange that a country's governance rests on such a contrary system from meritocracy, because intuitively you would think that these positions require the best that meritocracy can provide.

It also highlights the absence of adequate checks and balances for candidates for that position. First, it is appalling that presidential candidates are not held to any standard of honesty, consistency, or rudimentary understanding of what actually goes on with the country's policies. Should there not be a vetting system to filter out ignorant candidates? We ask foreigners basic questions of our country before we grant them citizenship; should we not subject applicants to the highest office of a country to a more demanding test?

Second, I feel that candidates should be held accountable to whatever promises that were given in the course of a campaign. This is difficult to implement for several reasons. One, things change, and what was right for the country at the time of the campaign might not be right a few months down the road. In such cases, when there is a reasonable chain of cause and effect to lead to the failure of carrying out the promise, it is forgiveable. Two, the implementation of promises has to deal with many shareholders, the first layer being congress' votes. Then, I think that at the very least plans should be made considering all these different factors and proceeding from the consideration of these factors. If all you have are just spoken declarations of what you will supposedly effect in a country, if you actually get elected to office but do not carry out your promises, there should be consequences for you, just as there are consequences for any employee who fails to perform their job.

Anyway, as to today, it was my first visit, with rita and lcy, to a trampoline park. I must confess that it is not to my taste - I have found that my body dislikes vertical acceleration, and it applies to this as well. The rock wall was cool I guess, but I still prefer the traditional way of being strapped to a harness rather than falling into the foam pit, especially when said pit stinks of the sweat of eons of users.

It speaks of age too, that we are a lot more reserved about trying out stunts than we would have been as kids. I'm too wary of the ways the body can twist and result in pain.

In the afternoon, we travelled to Chinese Garden for a Pokemon Go excursion. I must admit to some gladness for an excuse to explore a part of Singapore with the weather we have, and I was surprised at how pleasing the gardens inside were. I suppose it's a way of celebrating National Day too!

After that, a much needed, utterly enjoyed drink from Gong Cha - Alisan Milk Tea. It's been hard fitting bubble tea in my life as it makes me feel bloated as a post-meal drink, so I am glad for this opportunity after sweating buckets in the afternoon sun. Also, that I can enjoy it so conveniently unlike when I was in the States :)

I think it's working out, writing whatever down. The more I write the more I think of to note down as well, no pressure to maintain a structure or coherence. Which is also why I'm doing this in LJ now, instead of Wordpress, since my wp is linked to Facebook and I am growing increasingly uncomfortable sharing my thoughts and feelings publicly. I realize I am less interested in developing a closer relationship with other people than ever before. I remember a time when I wanted to find people who would understand me, and I wanted my blogs to paint a sort of complete portrait of me, whether in terms of my thoughts or my likes - tumblr, for example, was a way to express my taste. It's strange that that feels so distant now.
29th Jan 2016 12:51 am - Grander scheme of things
It's hard to accept the notion of balancing as a fact of life. It used to be that I would actually look forward to working life, because it felt as though life was leading in a direction where you focus on fewer and fewer things - specialisation, per se. From 8 subjects in secondary school to 5 in JC, and then just 1 or 2 for university - wasn't the logical conclusion that work life would just be one thing to devote yourself to? And so I would gradually give up on what I viewed were not relevant: CCAs, supposed interests.

When university rolled around and I found that my course of study was absorbing, I felt satisfied with the possibility of giving up everything else, as I supposed myself to do when work started. Of course I could never have been one of the most passionate geeks around - my attention span was too scattered, my expectations of myself not high enough. There were so many other things to enjoy doing!

I guess what I want to examine further is, is there a long term goal I want to go after? A grander scheme of things to achieve, outside of day-to-day fulfillment?

If there isn't, is that ok with me?

I will admit that up till now, I have viewed articles of successful people who devote their lives and guts to their business with the attitude that that's not the lifestyle I want. On the other hand, I admire people who are contented with their lot in life, even when there is no sense of progress.

Kenny's interview moved me, however, when he answered that he wanted to be remembered for making an impact on Singapore literature. Perhaps the difference is that the success he is going for is not an end in itself, but a means for something bigger than the self.

I'll mull further on this - is there something bigger that I can see myself investing my time and energy in?

If there is, is it possible to balance that with the other aspects of my life, most notably time with lcy?
20th Sep 2015 11:31 pm...
do you remember - the unapathetic days,
the days not filled with joy

Reading poetry, while reminding me of a sensitivity I still - astonishingly - possess, brings me back to those days when I felt the urge to sound out what I thought and felt. Valuable thought processes that were recorded, now re-read, surprise me with bits of my character that I

I didn't have a satisfactory conclusion to that sentence. Those bits of my character were inextricably mixed up with circumstances of those days when I wasn't challenged to a satisfactory extent, was satiated by conversations temporarily, but returned to hunger soon after.

Is it age that fulfils one?

Perhaps it is the added freedom. Right now, I am the most satisfied by my academic life as never before... I have forgotten how much I love the act of creation.
20th Sep 2015 11:09 pm - The limitations of memory

Reading a poem, I am reminded of my infinite losses: to witness beautiful things, and be unable to hold them in my mind, at the same time.

Yet I remember too, that this is what enables the joy of rediscovery - coming across the face of someone you loved before, and forgot.

30th Jun 2015 03:12 am - Resolve is very much needed
It has been decided - I will embark on projects that wholeheartedly absorb me. Some of these projects might have been thrust upon me, but I will muster up my enthusiasm and carry them out with the greatest sense of adventure. I have been guilty of squandering my time and having my world shrink till my perspective is quite awry - no more.

I have been undertaking projects that I have felt are necessary, but hardly those that fill me with enthusiasm. What is the balance? I own an enormous need to increase my knowledge of OS and complete more research for what is sure to be a challenging next semester, but I have done little that will put me in the way of inspiration for the aforementioned semester. Above all, planning and discipline are sorely lacking. I have been content to meander...

Surely it is time to start on the app that I've announced to everyone I would work on. A concrete plan needs to be drafted for the coming weeks - barely 5 weeks left - I must not allow all the things I want to do to cripple me with indecision.
6th May 2015 02:56 am - Finishing up the semester
Another happy post!

I think my team did a smashing project and presentation this semester. True, I wasn't the happiest all the time, especially when having to pick up after team members who don't seem like they care as much, but I'm really proud of what we managed to achieve. It looks good!

Some time soon I need to start submitting things for competitions. That's one thing I really need to pick up slack in. Also, preparing to push our game out into the app store, because it's something worth being proud of and played.

One more week till I go back to my darling's arms <3
15th Apr 2015 02:29 am - Two hundred year old kois
I had such a great day today! I just thought I should note it down to remember it. A lot of the time I'm just stuck in the ETC doing work, but I'm so glad I had the opportunity to go out with friends today and over the weekend. Today with Steph, Arim, Jake, Qing (Team 10!), Brentt, and Adam (great people!) - gosh I laughed the most I had in ages. It made me feel like I belonged to a group, even as I know this is rarely going to be repeated. Saturday with Tim, Jake, and Larry, learnt tips and tricks in pool - have to admit someone knowing what they're doing and teaching it is sexy. Both times at bars, I'm starting to dig bars as a location to hang out, since they open late, good for our schedules. No night markets, no shopping centres, but I guess when in Rome do as the Romans do. Previously I had reservations because I associated bars and alcohol, but it's really ok not to drink - the point is the conversation.

Earlier today Jesse said of my game - "Monstrous K-factor". That was thrilling. It's splendid to get positive feedback from people you respect, and Jesse is someone I hold the highest respect for - he's able to distil things down to their essence and give insights at an unprecedented rate.

Going back to today - shark fins as games for change with continued episodes in the next competition, ballsac father as the shark, ballsac father in vector art so as to magnify to life-size and bigger, kois forming bridges for yoon generals (and jesus), the nature of life, eternal japanese gardens, livestreaming koalas that are the point of stillness in the middle of moving plants, horses pooping on the fourth wall in the cave, ...
11th Feb 2015 04:17 pm - Poetry starts with absences
Poetry starts with absences.
As if the new vacuum
has to be filled with syllables,
words astumble, lights
tiny against the darkness.
This is my lamp
secure on this well-lit street.
Holding back the black
until the dawn should come.
28th Oct 2014 11:14 pm - A lesson in fun
So: BVW is really a lesson in team formation, what teams are fun to work with, what teams not so much.

Also: today, a lesson in how impressive one can get given the right combination.

For the latter, I never imagined that a world could have that level of immersion, especially not one that only has three weeks (or actually just two, when it comes down to that.) That world exceeded all my expectations and even killed a little something in me-- it was so fantastic, so mindblowing, so much attention to detail, so rich in narrative; it wasn't just cute, it was good. Production-quality good.

Can you imagine how many times they played the game through in their free time, and decided to just add something in because they can? This isn't something I have done for my own worlds, at least not for fun; I stitched my world together this round out of necessity, not out of joy.

And a lot of my joy is really from doing something together with a team that is synchronised, that wants to do something as well as I want to. Although a lot of the time I want to do something well because I expect it of myself, and not for the fun of it. That's what this team has that I don't.
16th Oct 2014 03:25 pm - On the future
Remember this feeling of being inspired, remember the need to test, frequently, remember every detail, remember that you are creating an experience that aims to mean something to people. Bring people together. If nothing else, hold on to this.
28th Jun 2014 04:53 pm - Alone at home
Your shirt soft from washing
is what I wear over
to water the plants at night.
You are away in China.
The token you left,
settled on the bedspread, speaks
of washing cycles, rhythmic
routines, torque so certain
the next moment
you will return to claim it,
me, back as yours:
No pledge stronger
than the habit
of living together, washed
to be worn again.
15th Jun 2014 02:44 am - Time and time enough
Would you go back, four years ago,
to scan for her in the lecture hall?

The uniforms swarming past you,
the afternoon sun on the corridors.

Perhaps you were in
one of her photographs, a distracted blur

Or you saw her cap
sweeping the pool for the polo ball.

In those days you dreamed
about your perfect girl,

borrowed lecture time
to play Requiem in the foyer

And maybe she stopped to listen,
noting the stress, the heavy refrain,

not suspecting a future
to meet, to speak, even fall in love.
29th Apr 2014 05:04 pm - Refrigerator Napkin
My mother thinks
the napkin I stuck
on the refrigerator
is symbolic of something:

Disposability. Her value
in my life. My
thoughtlessness.

How to explain
that, at 3 AM,
after doing the dishes
so she wouldn’t need to,
it represented
the immediacy
of feeling, how
it was the first surface I found
to write “Happy Birthday”?
18th Apr 2014 05:28 pm - Such sounds
Wash sky out of colour.
Wring symbol out of words.
Rain drips down in mornings
that start hours past noon.
Stubborn spoons conduct food
which dismount from mouth.

What action, from this room?
This room is full of static,
ions clashing in my skin.
Fan on top churns and churns
sour milk of my body.

“Stay with us,” I catch such sounds.
I am, look –
my body is not moving away.


(Challenge was to write a poem without the letter 'e'. Bonus challenge: at least 10 lines.)
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