Rainbow colours everywhere

I went down to a centre for a volunteer interview today. After how the previous interview panned out, this went very smooth. While I know it’s for a volunteer position, I don’t take it lightly.

I’m looking forward to have some mornings occupied with meaningful activities – the way I designed my life to be.

Though I told the coordinator that I’d want to commit for 3 months for now, if this suits my new rhythm for the year, I’d gladly extend the stint.

Side note: a little walk in the market near the centre landed me a suitable toolbox for the flowers.

Advertisements

Whatever.

I’ve been getting a lot of ‘whatever’s in my farewell notes.

‘All the best in whatever you do’ is the pretty standard one from those who don’t quite know why I left. But I can’t blame them since I’m not exactly crystal clear on that either.

It’s so comforting that in Psalm 1:3, God says that as I am like a tree planted by the rivers, I bring forth fruit in its season, my leaves shall not wither, and that whatever I do shall prosper. This verse just got even more real for me. So, so comforting.

Listen

Hear the voices of the non-words.

I had an interesting conversation with Immanuel on our last day in Bangkok and I’m thankful to be able to engage in such spoken words with him.

My mind always ventures into arenas that my hands don’t dare to go. Sitting at Roast on our last day of the trip, I observed our surroundings:

  • Local staff working at a hipster joint
  • Blonde lady with her very adorable blonde baby
  • Thai couple with their equally cute baby
  • Fellow Singaporeans just like me, taking photos of their stylish brunch dishes
  • Thai lady with impeccable English with her Singaporean friend, talking about work matters and life
  • Japanese ladies with a little child
  • Thai lady eating alone

Many other patrons there, but these are just some specific ones.

It’s easy to dismiss them as just fellow patrons of Roast, there for a good meal. But we all have our stories. Some to tell, some to alter, and some to survive.

In my short life on this side of heaven, I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs, but I would call myself extremely blessed. Many others live lives far tougher than I can imagine and far more horrific than I can empathise.

I admitted, quite sadly to Imm that I find it difficult to empathise with the lives of the food sellers, motorbike taxi drivers and masseuses in the land. I try to define each profession because there’s something belittling about generalising a people as the typical person from a place.

Would the young lady stall owner at Soi 38 dream of a life bigger than her stall? Would she want to travel the world? Is she even from Bangkok? Or what did she have to leave behind to come here to prepare food for others?

Do the bike taxi drivers hope to put on better shoes than the Onitsukas that we saw a group of friends admiring as we walked through the streets to get to brunch? Are they married? Do they have children and what do they hope for their children to have?

Do the ladies helped by Alingon, mentioned by Erwin McManus in The Last Arrow want to see a better future for their daughters? Or have they resigned to the route of prostitution? Every time foreign hands touch them, do they still shiver in fear and cringe in disgust? Or have they grown numb to the abuses?

Immanuel comfortingly put that perhaps empathy can be done without necessarily understanding someone else’s shoes. Perhaps empathy can be simply admitting that – there’s no way I can understand what you have been through.

I know I was made for more than this, all my comforts, my blessed life, my good days – but my hands feel so small. Where can I overflow to?

Changi Airport / Staying the Path

I love this place. Changi Airport has been a huge part of my life. My memories of it as a child aren’t that clear. But the memories I have of it when I was still in Anglican remain vivid.

I remember dashing into the train after school at Tanah Merah, and doing silly things at quiet areas with my friends. Lying on the stairs, pretending we were mannequins are among the many things we did there as teenagers. Many of those spots and now gone but I’ve kept some in photos for my personal viewing pleasure. Camera phones had just come out then and though the quality isn’t good, it’s at least a preservation of the stupid things we did.

I remember studying at the airport. McDonalds, TCC, viewing galleries, Burger King, staff canteens, and I’ve lost count. All the food options made it so convenient. Students in Singapore study here all the time. It’s the one airport that I’ve seen people actually come all the time to do non-airport things. As an adult, I spent countless nights here marking assignments at Krispy Kreme and again, the viewing gallery.

I remember all the flights in and out of the country. The several short trips with my friends and the rare long one to Italy. I remember crying the entire flight back from Paris, and leaving with joy in my heart for my honeymoon in Japan. Trips are always something I look forward to but coming home to the warmth of Changi Airport cushioned the disappointment of coming back to real life in Singapore.

I remember all the good meals I’ve had with my family at the airport – from fast food, to cafes, to ramen, sushi and tonkatsu, to hawker fare, to Penang cuisine, and our ever delightful Aston’s. It’s the one activity that we all enjoy and living near the airport made it our favourite ‘mall’ to go to.

As I write this, there are countless families hanging out here, children running around or scooting while parents watch them knit these memories into their childhood.

Today, the airport has served as my place of refuge again. I come here whenever I don’t know what to do (both in the lost and bored sense). I brought a book that Immanuel got for me from Hillsong. Bobbie Houston’s Stay the Path. I listened to the audiobook before but as I’m reading it now, it seems pretty fresh to me. Which should be a sure sign that I should terminate my audible subscription.

I love how Ps Bobbie talks about being convicted of who I am, where I’m headed, and what I am about. Because these are the exact questions I’m trying to answer in this season. Through journaling and blogging, I’m hoping to pick up the many pieces of my life – scattered thoughts, rushing too much too fast in my career, and the next transition I’m facing. By no means do I consider myself a leader, but I do desire to be a servant. Many times I’ve struggled with pride and self-righteousness, and beating myself hard over things that don’t even matter to others. With 90 years left, I want to live my life clearly. I may not always have clarity, but I want to be clear about the person I am about.

And that bit on ‘what compels you’ got me. To know the things I stand for and care about, and know the things that I can let go. Not everything is meant to be put in such deep focus, and for me in this season I know my focus isn’t working in a school and teaching large classes, and handling all the responsibility that they zap my energy, drain my mind and take time away from my family. Did I do exceptionally well? No. I’m not on that track. If I wanted it, I guess I could slog even harder to get it. No guarantees though. But I think I did a fairly good job, considering that my rankings were decent. I genuinely cared for some students, got along well with my colleagues, and did many things for the school. But none of what I did compelled me.

I enjoyed parts of my job but rather than energise me, I was perpetually drained. One can get drained on a job but I couldn’t deal with being drained and being in front of my students. What a role model I would’ve been if I continued next year?

I made the decision to leave now so I wouldn’t have to find out.

So many thoughts on just the first 2 chapters. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of it.

Sebastian’s / At the Myo

Jie brought us to this place that she frequently patrons, and it turns out that they moved to their own space which was right where Imm proposed!

Excellent wagyu truffle rice, which would have been so much better with an onsen egg. But it’s not like I love egg yolks anyway…

Mummy’s aglio olio with chicken

Off the menu clam soup – usually served with spaghetti

French onion soup

Mushroom soup

Lamb chops

Yx’s double portion spaghetti with steak

Discovered this sparkling yuzu drink

Har Cheong Gai

I’d definitely go back again, for the wagyu rice, clam soup and the view of our proposal venue.

At the Myo
Address4 Everton Park, #01-42, Block 4, 080004
Sun-Fri: 12pm – 9pm
Sat: CLOSED

Impact

I’ve been struggling with the concept of impact. Particularly in my previous career. I found too many relationships too fleeting and I couldn’t reconcile it with what I’m doing.

After so long of struggling with esteem, purpose, meaning, and just not being too pleased with the comparison of who I am and who I want to be, R summed it up in this quote she handlettered for me:

And I take heart that in the midst of all the voices of accusation that shout that I should’ve done more, I had one extremely sweet girl who got me a little bag because she saw that the one I used at work was stained.

If the 4 years I had spent, putting my heart and soul, tears and all, had amounted to this, well, I think I have succeeded.

Fall down 7 times

On his daily ‘going out’ ritual – something that seems so mundane and natural to me can actually be a ritual to another. What insightful comments on our dealings with fashion – so much of it unnecessary.

 

 

 

Some excerpts from the book.

People with autism live with different norms, understandably because of the way they are thinking. Each individual, with autism or not, is different – so why hold us all to the same standard?