Saturday, April 07, 2012


"... They must have a sense of reality of what is possible. But if you are just realistic, you become pedestrian, plebeian, you will fail. Therefore you must be able to soar above the reality and say, 'This is also possible' - a sense of imagination. ..."

-- Lee Kuan Yew: The Man and His Ideas
p. 103
The Straits Times Press, 1998

Thursday, January 19, 2012

I have days where the profound illogic of appealing to emotions really gets to me.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

My new work has changed me beyond all recognition. I exercise an entirely different set of skills than before, and my old skills have rusted away somewhere from the pressure of using the new set day in day out. As I sit here wearing jeans again on a workday (training day, actually) for the first time in eons, I wonder what it all means.

At least my new skill set has enabled me to speak up more tactfully, so that difficulty at least has passed. In the "all things shall pass" manner.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

I have not truly written anything for more than half a year, as I have been adjusting to my career change. Perhaps a few things remain to be updated:
  1. I have been engaged since last September but officially engaged since last December :) the proposal was memorable.
  2. I am amazed at how my husband has loved and continues to love me through my career change.
  3. My work environment has changed from being non-hierarchical to very hierarchical, and also from a predominantly male working style to a predominantly female working style. As a result, I feel underutilized in my current work environment and unnecessarily chastised for speaking up. We shall see if this changes after I have passed my probation period in 2 months' time.
  4. We are going to buy a HDB flat.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Another poem of the same structure by Toh Hsien Min, from the same collection. Coffee, yum yum. I think poems which have this structure have particular aesthetic appeal to me.


Yesterday I met a man who had
A coffee-pot atop his head. The pot
Held every droplet percolated through
The years. Which left him whole, his name unsaid,
His values sure and solid, like a clot
Of soaked granules that once made fragrant brew.

Tea-plants come from China. One may compose
A picture in which Emperor Shen-Nung finds
Some tiny leaves cavorting wildly in
His boiling water. One sees his sculptured nose;
His lips are firm, anticipatory
Almost. A courtier reads out two more lines.

He questioned how the veil became so thin,
Why he could almost see her, brow to chin.
I heard the foam-white rumble of the sea.
"I don't believe I've met you," answered I.

I told him of a vision I had seen.
The dealer, gaunt and heavy-eyed, is cold.
With practised hand he deals out playing cards.
One hopes for king or ace, but draws a knave;
One strokes his charm, another pats his gold.
I see the pokeweed outside spread like guards.

One hopes the needle will go through the eye
Of the camel, that visions of a darkened nave
Will blow away the mind whose thoughts are grave.
There is no need to move in any way.
A cup of coffee next to yellow flowers
Stares out the ash-tinged night, to smooth, warm day,
When we've turned round both ends, and life is ours.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

To some extent I have a dystopian view of life, exemplified by Toh Hsien Min's poem below. From his poetry anthology The Enclosure of Love (Landmark Books, 2001).


All night your shrieks and screams ripped through the house
As though borne on the wind from some untamed
Savanna. In the morning you were well.
The lilies nodded whitely. You would rouse
Every so often from staring into hell
And say, "The colours, the colours," as if ashamed

And yet in awe. I rose, went out, stared at
The patchwork fields, and, sometimes, idly dreamed
Of being home, yet never leapt across
The apathetic brood of lame regrets.
And you were their reluctant albatross.
Your wings were strong as iron. What you seemed

To be, or were, too freely gave out line.
It was like swimming in watery sand turned brown
With blood, while dolphins swirling in the reefs
Laughed as they saw the evening sun decline
Into a sparking, darkening sea of griefs,
And calmly watched the water-lilies drown.

Monday, November 22, 2010

"By now we'd learned a great deal about how to discharge people, how to prepare them for the terrors of freedom - learned just how pragmatic an art psychiatry was - how getting someone back to the 'real' world was not a matter of THEORY or TECHNIQUE or SELF or OBJECT but of the nuts and bolts of where will they live and how will they eat and what will they do all day long and who will they have for support to keep them from the killer isolation and thoughtless savagery that we have numbly come to call 'civilization'. Malik's LAMBS network was a blessing, and by the end of the week we had discharged almost half the Emersonians, each hooked up with a buddy."

-- Mount Misery, pg 171
by Samuel Shem
published year 1997

"But with many of the others, as long as we were open to something happening and free of thought and not too focused on chasing that 'click', sooner or later the 'click' would be there. Then we would see that what a person in the solitude of terror had always thought of as his or her secret and unique sickness - what psychiatry labels 'psychopathology' - is in fact, when opened up to plain view, not such a terrifying sickness at all and not even all that unique, but more or less commonly held, and just a part of being human."

-- Mount Misery, pg 168
by Samuel Shem
published year 1997

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