Tuesday, 12 November 2013

No one, but yourself.




I owe no one but myself my own living.

It's my life, and I choose the way I lead. 

So bow down to no one, justify to no one. 


is what a single, bachelor, chauvinist would say.


But it really is more than just me, myself and I. 
When more bonds are forged, more extensions of responsibility are tethered. 

We all have different goals/people that we doggedly slog for every day.
In peace I love,
In tribulation, dig deeper, I still love. 

For those that are worth my sweat and tears, I forge ahead. 



Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Flowers



Flowers, a thing of nature and when in bloom plays a part in the big circle of life that Simba is also found in.

Flowers, while practical in its original and rightful place serves up to be very useful. 

Flowers, when plucked, removed and unplugged from the circle forcibly and violently, loses every bit of its original purpose. 

They then redefine their purpose of existence. 

The purpose of not being purposefully practical. 

Now, in a vase, it adorns the site it resides, the artificial space it stands. 
An organic reminder to an otherwise very artificial and concrete-like urban environment. 

The romantic in me will put them in a bouquet. 

The purpose of not not being purposeful.
On top of costing a few more cents than the edibles; chocolates and cookies.
Holding less sense than an artfully designed iPad or iDevice.

Flowers, redefining the purpose in today's all-purposeful life. 

Flowers, because the beloved deserves.

Beauty, second to none. 












Tuesday, 22 October 2013

it pays the bills, man.



These two lads spontaneously posed for me, smiling brightly into the camera and providing such a good shot. The countenance and expression is priceless.  Is it that only in America that I find the boldness to take such shots? Or such subjects are hard to find in the more reserved culture like ours.

The gardener in his overalls is one of my favorite shots in US. Upon inquiry, he spoke about how this job 'pays the bills, man'. While the passion is to deejay, he willingly (or is compelled economically) took up this gardening job to make that dough to pursue his passion during his leisurely hours.

As far as I know, this is pretty exclusive; to be able to do what you love and make it a living outta it. Well inculcated with pragmatism, we are bred from young to engage in something 'useful' and profitable. Pursue your passion in dance/football/painting as a career is almost not feasible - but of course I am speaking generally. 

Not many of us are as lucky as those select few: those who are not just talented enough to be absolutely brilliant in these aspects, but also fortunate enough to be given opportunities to shine in these situations. 





Saturday, 12 October 2013

A Flurry of Events







After a brief hiatus, here we are again. 

Once more, with fleeting human interactions, compelling (single)subject matter, 

Enjoy.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Breath of Fresh Air


A redefinition of smoking by kerb side
The notion of being at ease and in one's comfort. The perfect acceptance of how one can simply dress the way they want whenever they want. 
Whoever said pyjamas are strictly bound to the bedroom hasn't been to America, and specifically San Francisco where individuality is all the more celebrated.
He/She who spells pyjamas as pajamas is entitled to at least that; the freedom of exercising one's free will via their dressing.
To be truly comfortable in one's skin, now that's a real breath of fresh air.
Here in Singapore, it's almost sacrosanct that we stay true to the Asian values, as if Confucius had never died. 
I pick 'Humility', one that can be expressed via our dressing and the virtue that can be most related to conservativeness. 
The other extreme: Arrogance to the extent of being obnoxious can also be represented via our dressing. The louder the clothes, the more distasteful it is. 
It will probably take a little longer before we can recognise the fine line between 'being outstanding' and the individual 'just being him/herself'.
Technology has arrived. Proliferation of social media(and the relevant technology) has engendered a greater acceptance or 'tolerance' in the masses for fashion and behaviour alike.
Is it really a natural progression towards individuality as modernity creeps in?
Perhaps.



Thursday, 12 September 2013

Everything Else Is An Aberration








You stand the test of time, unfazed and unaltered.
You stand my stench, wincing with slight grimace.
You stand en pointe, sturdy and stoic.

Because everything else is a deviation
Because you are the only entity that holds true
Because everything else is an aberration

My brief (and valiant/miserable attempt of) ode to you, the one who has just attained legal adulthood, is how I shall begin this mini-series.

This milestone is only the start. It merely entitles you to jail time and not detention in troubled homes.
It also grants you entrance to the subordinate court instead of the juvenile variant.
You can now strut the clubs within American borders without feeling ridiculed by how Singapore’s(of all places) legal age is 18.

Some things do not change, though.
You are still unable to voice out any sort of political/religious dissent in public.

How bleak and pessimistic this outlook of our world. These are the times we live in. Fortunately for me, you provide me respite, the first break of light post dawn.

You are my Fermina, my Lolita, my Daisy and my Cheryl.

The concept of infidelity evades me. When I have someone like you, it takes an outright defiance of logic to hanker for anything else. Because no one else can match up to what you can provide. Not even close.

Our bodies wither with time.
Our love, if quantifiable, will not diminish but only grow to become stronger.
There are many more 21 years to come, and let this be the milestone that always reminds you on the first step towards reality.

The reality that the shelter above your head will no longer be propped up by the mighty arms of your parents.
The reality that you will be putting yourself up for constant and perpetual review by your peers and your superiors.
The reality that nothing comes free in this world; that without toiling, you shall be bereft of the comforts that you currently own.

This somehow seems more like introspection, an outward profession of what I feel about myself.
In any case, the bereavement that I can imagine is way too much for me to take. I know better than to let someone like you slip from my fingers.

It has also been proven that we are loss averse than gain-driven. If so, let me be constantly reminded of the possible nightmare that will drive all my dreams to ground should the time happen that I am no longer worthy of you.

Guileless as always
Z

Monday, 9 September 2013

The Only Exception




This is nothing more then a review of what has became.  

I have never given this a good thought, but what really draws me to one person; the thought of being in close proximity with one individual and across an extended period of time.

A timely article I bumped into while browsing through the Sunday Time led me to this interesting phrase – ‘short-distance’ relationship.
As a modern kid in a modern age, I am no stranger to the acronym of LDR.

SDR comes along as opposed to LDR. There are countless examples during this highly connected era that sees couples being separated by physical distance as they go on exchanges and work trips.

I have never been an advocate of LDR. I cannot be kept apart from the other. The fabric of the relationship will be stretched beyond measure, the dynamics warped to adapt accordingly. Skype and Viber becomes the most used apps(instead of application, savvy eh) on the devices and sleep is put to a halt while one accommodates to the other’s conscious hours.

Minus all of that, the torrential amount of loneliness flows out in the form of tears while we tackle the daily obstacles without the physical presence of the other; the shoulder(familiar) to cry on, the embrace(familiar) to hold onto.

This is not a didactic doctrine where I hope to amass support for SDR, but a mere subjective preference that I truly think has as much cons as LDR. Putting the pros aside for a moment, the logical extension of being in constant proximity is the amount of friction that one can expect.

Quoting a peer: ‘SDR is akin to a litmus test for the real deal, the wedded life’.
Living under one roof prompts so much interaction, and unless it is a mansion we are talking about, much physical space has to be shared inevitably.

It is almost impossible NOT to interact. It could be because of a minor tiff that led to a war of silence. This silence is still within the bounds of logic and I can definitely tolerate. But the ‘other’ silence is hard to fathom.

For convenience sake, let’s call it the mythical silence. In this closed setting, can any other forms of silence be experienced without either one of the couple feeling odd?
Initially, this mythical silence will inadvertently nudge me to think ‘could something be amiss?’ or ‘did I do something wrong?’ or ‘it must be me dammit’.
As witnessed from the thought process, I have the habit of taking things a little hard on myself. Isn’t it simply easier to put everything on my shoulders?

If it is myself to blame, then it is me who has to change. If the problem lies with me, then I can change it! I can evoke the change with my own volition. It is always trickier ( and perhaps unfair ) to demand the other to adapt, though whether it is for the better is another story.

Before I leap off the edge of digression, if I am the source of the strange silence, then I can stop it by engaging the lass with endless rambles. That I can do. But really, is it necessary? There are a million ways to go about thinking this, of which I have gone through about 99.9% of it.

I cannot determine if it’s a blessing or curse to always have the tendency of overthinking. A thoughtful boyfriend, this I am, literally. But an overbearing one? Now that’s worth a second thought. Am I overbearing? –hmmm- wait am I really overbearing? What did I do to make me seem that way?  

All these for just a moment of silence between the missus and I goes to prove my abovementioned point.

SDR has just as much of a toll on the relationship as the LDR, albeit of a different nature. Even so, I pick SDR over its counterpart any day.

Continuing on the warped idea of the mythical silence, I became more adept at handling it with time. Soon enough, this queer silence became something of the past, or maybe it didn’t pass. It merely became a vernacular ‘wall’, a feature which we simply choose not to regard as imposing on us.

Not disregard because that will just be rude but that it simply got sidelined into a commonplace figure.
Then I started thinking about how our fore-parents have managed their own relationship such that their union remains as I speak.

Maybe the seal of a ring is so powerful that it binds two into one in the most tangible and permanent manner. It could also be the legal certification that glues two together. Or it could be the legal complications should otherwise happen; custody battles, alimonies and shit.

Casting the pessimism aside, the physical proximity only means no escape for either party should shit really hit the ceiling. Borrowing the veil of silence simply cannot do.

So, the con of the SDR ultimately culminates into a practical and positive force; that I may have the courage to absolve either of us from the blame of being the firestarter. Like how we often hear in movie plots of revenge saying ‘turn your fury into strength’, I believe that this friction is only a source of growth.

Friction is the source of growth for all natural(majestic) landforms. With friction comes your Mount Everest and Grand Canyons. Since we humans are things of nature, it is only logical that the law of nature applies to us; that friction between two parties will only encourage growth. Brief disclaimer by Chris Martin: nobody said it would be easy.

This is merely one of the many other examples that I experienced during our brief stint in the US. Though I risk divulging too much information, I honestly do not see why it needs to be clandestine.

If anything, the summer trip in US should be heralded as a preview of wedded life. It has offered her useful insights on many sides of me that she never knew. Hell, those were sides of me I never knew of myself.

While most of this trip was planned beforehand, there were many other eventful occasions that happened fortuitously. I am never a big fan of living life according to a checklist so I kinda revel in the fact that many beautiful things happened spontaneously for us.

I for one am worried that my habits will scare the lady off but since she is still hanging around, I guess I am not as disgusting as I thought. Then again, she might have superhuman tenacity. Whatever it is..

Thank you for being by my flanks.

p.s: to the only coloured addition in my monochromatic world. 

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Eye on The Prize



Eye on The Prize

“it’s not what you are looking for but where you look for it.”

This is akin to saying: if you're not finding the right answer, you're not asking the right question.

I often find myself asking the wrong questions. Time after time, year after year, I trudge in my muddle of a life without finding the right answers to what I seek.

I bum around, bump around and before I know it, bruises all around. Then I realize, it must be because I am not looking for the right things in my life.

I have always painted my life with very broad strokes, never really going into the fine details with a 0.28mm pointer. For some reason, I started going into specifics, reasons that I cannot pinpoint with laser-like accuracy but I cannot say I am wishing otherwise.

I start to be very certain of what I want and where I can find it. We all have a limited amount of lifespan/time/attention. The only way I realize I can maximise it is to do what I do best.

For those who have watched ‘Limitless’ (starring the very suave Bradley Cooper), the elixir-like NZT kinda sums up my point. It is and I quote from the show “as if I know what I want and exactly how I can get it.”

So we meet again, the dilemma of being a jack of all trades or a master of one.

I guess I rather be a Master of one with minor dabbles in every other things in life. Greedy much. Realistically speaking, without the help of NZT, I find myself often ‘missing the point’. By that, I mean losing track of where to find that which I so desire.

Part of that could be due to having too many things going on at once. I, like many other of you, have many desires, endless wants and is always on the search to satisfying each of them.

By this time, the little angel on my right shoulder is saying “then you gotta prioritise what you deem most important!” then I realise it’s my mother shouting from behind.

Yes, I know I know.. with much resignation. But the truth in her nag-like tone is absolutely spot on.
Perhaps the real mastery that I should learn here is Time Management.

It really isn’t magic or the occult that some amazing peers can achieve so much with whatever time there is. It’s as if these ‘high fliers’ work with 25 hours a day.

Then again, some of them are of a different breed, a higher hierarchy in cranial evolution.
Now then, the mind-boggling questions to ask are “should I spend ten years mastering something that I do not have a talent for? Or “ should I spend that same ten years doing something I am supremely genius at, and achieve twice/thrice the amount of output?”

On that premise, I set my lens, calibrating it and focusing it on the handful of things that I think I am good at.
If by the end, I do not come out of this with a pot of gold in my arms, is it because I am looking at the wrong map, or that I am simply not a good digger?”

Damn, here I go again.


Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Incarceration: Part 4





The dearth of freedom.
The policing of the self, restraining of the id. 

Often, the flash of blue and red light is sure to make me straighten my back in my seat, check my speed limit (if I am driving) and inspect my actions.

The regulations that bind us only make the society a functional one, a cohesive one, a safe one to be in. 

While it does not stifle me, the thought of having 'Big Brother' watching my every action makes me internalise the discipline of checking my own behaviour, aligning it to the permitted.

Huxley's Big Brother is still a source of inspiration for many more dystopian-based films and books. 
The dystopia in movies like Judge Dredd, Oblivion, Total Recall all share the same concept of having that totalitarian authority who watches our every single move, restraining us, exploiting our privacy. 

Interesting as it is, the idea of oppression can really be depressing. I have never been a fan of being told what to do. While I like how efficient it can be, like reading off the instruction manual of building a 1:100 Gundam Robot model, there is absolutely no room to express any creativity.

It isn't a bad start for people to tell you what is the right way to do certain things. We were socialised from young by our parents, then teachers, then the society. 
I guess for me, National service preceded the society. Somebody had to do it, to kick me out of my nest and it's either I make flight or shatter my bones. 

So, though the laws make me desist, they really aren't all that bad; to serve as a benchmark for the greenhorns of the society.
We are all human, and that means even the law-enforcing, straight-faced cops that we see patrolling the streets. They have their own problems, chained by the very system which they serve to enforce. 
Ironic as it seems, for some of them, it is a calling and not a mere employment that pays the bills.

The bright smile of the lady officer, her relaxed demeanour, her soft countenance reveal a much softer story inside that starched and stiff uniform that she has on. If I may write a script for her life, it'll be her having a few children and that they're all proud as hell to have a police officer as a mother. 

Alas, this also marks the end of the lengthy incarceration series. Much of this was inspired by the surrounding environment which I call home. Juxtaposing Berkeley to Singapore, I must say it is a stark contrast in not just the daily lifestyles of people, but how the different environment inculcate different values and nurtures unique personalities. 

While Singapore has got many more regulations, I cannot help but feel comforted to know that it is so much safer and better a place to grow up in. 

It is not incarceration when we(not just I) all benefit from it.