B is for

(Behind schedule, really. Super sorry I lied about posting twice a week, cos once a week is even an achievement for me. I very intelligently began this alphabet challenge right in the middle of crunch time during my semester, but, fear not, my thesis is done and I am back!)

Battlestar Galactica

battlestar-galactica-w

This is the most traumatising, life-ruining, soul-crushing, emotion-sucking show you will ever lay your eyes on; I highly recommend it. Before I first started this show, I thought Alias was the one show that messed with me the most, but, man, was I truly ignorant. After watching BSG, I have even inherited a fear of over-investing in television series because of how emotionally drained I was, so beware of this side effect. Despite this, it will be one of the most worthy and life-changing shows you will watch. (I am referring here to the 2003 re-imagined series.)

While I can’t say to be in the ranks of hardcore sci-fi fans, science fiction has definitely been one of my favourite genres ever. I love that sci-fi always reinvents the universe, relocates humanity, only to point out the very same issues and complexities that we face, and even highlights them because those are the familiar things. We might not have laser guns and living machines but science fiction worlds are amongst the most similar to real life of all.

For the uninitiated, Battlestar Galactica is a military sci-fi series that originated in the 1970s, where humanity has migrated to what is known as the Twelve Colonies and is lodged in a war with machines called Cylons. In the re-imagined series in 2003, Cylons were created by humans to be enslaved by us, but evolved to be more ‘advanced’ and more dangerous than humans could ever know. In short, Cylons obliterated the Twelve Colonies, and an old model space battleship becomes the only rallying point for the remaining human fleet. They become the resistance.

Not only are the extreme moral situations on the show extremely interesting, all the characters are obsessively watchable and super real. My absolute favourite (no surprise to anyone who knows me, really) is Starbuck, who in the 2003 series is a genderflipped version of a brash, aggressive fighter pilot who drinks most of her calories. She is hot-headed, cocky and super flawed, but also amazingly loyal, dedicated, resourceful, and a fantastic pilot. What is truly revealing is that when the new showrunners announced they were reintroducing Starbuck as a woman, there was widespread backlash from existing BSG fans, so much so that actress Katee Sackhoff received death threats and was booed during her appearance at Comic Con. Way to be open, sci-fi community!

A lot has changed since 2003, definitely, but perhaps the problematic norms, ideals and power relations that shape our communities today continue to merit the existence of shows like BSG so that we always challenge ourselves and ask ourselves how we can be better humans. In short, watch this show.

Brunch

Brunch is a super interesting phenomenon that has captured the Singaporean population with the recent advent of cafe culture and Instagram. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some eggs benedict and pancakes, but I have to wonder about the neocolonial elements of the whole thing. Brunch has secretly always existed in Singaporean Sunday routines with fried beehoon, kway chap and other great hawker breakfast foods. But it is only characterised as brunch when it is suddenly Westernised and takes place in cafes. Singapore is an interesting country because we are probably the only country in the world that loves our colonial masters to the point where we credit them for founding us and revere the very man who transplanted British authority structures into our society (cf. Raffles statue). This colonial hangover is everywhere, in how we prefer Western brands, in how we believe the West = quality, in how anything that is imported from the West has a price premium, in how we believe people from the West to be smarter, more eloquent, more charismatic, etc. In my research project on Instagram, people even express how they rather Instagram food photos of eggs ben than char kway teow.

I am not immune from this hangover, especially when I correct people’s grammar, or prefer watching British shows, or travel to the West a lot. Singapore is truly super weird, and our cultural identity has a odd mix of pride and shame. We are a bunch of contradictions–Asian and Western, modern and conservative, local and global, all of which are dialectics that are not just abstract concepts but lived realities. I just wish people are aware of just how much, and the next time they go to brunch, they will think about how many neocolonial elements dominate our lives.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Holly Golightly says in the film, “Nothing very bad could happen to you [at Tiffany’s]. If I could find a real-life place that’d make me feel like Tiffany’s, then – then I’d buy some furniture and give the cat a name!” A few weeks back for one of my Media and Globalisation classes, my prof made us do some exercises to describe our home. One of the students said that she never truly felt Singapore to be her home because it offered so little to her, and she wished she would be able to find her Tiffany’s. That really struck me, and I guess I’ve been thinking about it since.

Where is my Tiffany’s? Where is yours? Have you found it?

I wonder. Is it where I can truly be myself? Is it where all my loved ones are? Is it a person? People in love would tell you that a person could be your home, and I myself have been prone to such a sentiment lately. But, they say, you can’t make homes out of people. You gotta make your own home.

When I was younger, I craved a media career that could give me glamour and a never-ending busy schedule. Nowadays, I just crave to make a difference; I don’t really care where I am. A part of me always wonders about a corporate life (and by that I mean a big public relations agency), whether I would love it, whether I would be good at it, and probably just to prove that I can do it, and perhaps I will try it for a few years, but most part of me also wants to know that I will be engaged in the social somehow. Be socially conscious. As I embark on a career search the next few months, more of these ramblings will materialise.

Perhaps, Tiffany’s is not just one place, but a feeling. And you just gotta be able to imbue your own life with that feeling.

Beckett, Kate

Hahaha and we have gone full circle back to fictional things. Kate Beckett from Castle is my favourite fictional lady ever. Ever. Ever. Her mention here would probably mean I will not talk about Castle under letter C, but I make no promises. There was a point of time in my life where Castle was pretty much all I talked about, and it continues to hold a special place in my heart despite its drop in writing quality. Kate Beckett, in particular, is one of the main reasons.

There’s nothing really that groundbreaking about this show or this character; she’s no Starbuck. But Kate Beckett is really extraordinary. When we first meet her in Season 1, she’s just a by-the-book cop who has to put up with mystery novelist Richard Castle’s shenanigans, but already she was bursting at the seams with a complex inner emotional life, and the show promised that there was so much to know about her that it could fill a book. One of the first things to note about Beckett was that she was a great detective, and she commanded other detectives at work. She was the boss of people, and that was just that. There was no commentary on it, no special attention paid to it; her authority was just taken as natural and it was great. As the show went on, Beckett was allowed to be both feminine and a cop in power. She never had to de-feminise herself, she never had to pretend she didn’t have a personal life, and her abilities as a hardcore detective were never questioned on account of her femininity. (Except maybe the high heels were a little unrealistic, if I had to admit it.)

But my most favourite part about Beckett is definitely her moral integrity. When her mother died and the killer was still out there, she became a cop because she was haunted by it. But her desire to bring justice to people who were just like her went beyond her personal grievance. Her commitment to justice, and fierce dedication not to cross the line over to revenge, was the most admirable story arc I’ve witnessed. Again, it’s not the most original story; superhero vigilante storylines deal with this all the time. But the fact that this amazing woman was cast as the bearer of justice was just five million times of great.

Kate Beckett is my hero, and I always wish I could be more like her.

(Update: As I was writing this post, a part of the ceiling fell in my lecture theatre and my fellow students’ reactions were to take a picture of it. Too bad this wasn’t the C entry, or that chain of events would have definitely made it in.)

Circumference

There is something humbling about the quiet camaraderie of vehicles cruising home at 4 pm in the afternoon the eve of the new year. Everyone is content; no one is mad or frustrated in traffic but everyone feels the pull of home. I feel the weight of everyone’s return, light and comforting. Chinese New Year might seem to descend into a weekend of selfies and outfits of the day shots and general spiral of vanity on social media, but most people remember the heart of it, and it’s great.

My family is a small one; my extended family doesn’t extend very far. But in recent years, we’ve had the privilege of getting to know one another better despite our differences and years of distance. Family is an awesome unit. I’ve always believed the notion of family to be a fluid one; we make our own family, and we make the effort to become family. There’s nothing quite as gorgeous as found family bound not by blood ties but by choice. But at the same time, blood relations are blood relations after all. (Notwithstanding those relations you need to cut out of your life for self-preservation purposes,) I believe the slightest of blood relations should be treasured, even if age, class, interests divide you.

It seems oddly appropriate that my family and I caught August: Osage County over the weekend. I’ve heard a reviewer comment that watching the movie will comfort you because either your family is not as screwed up as theirs or you realise there’re other families out there as terrible as yours. Every family has its special brand of weirdness. Some families will have customs that baffle others, even if those within take them as a given. Different families have different love languages, but all we need to know sometimes is that love is there, and family is a place where it is nurtured. Ultimately, each family is also the same.

My family is not the same family as it was two years ago; some members have come and gone, and it has extended to include different people. But I guess that’s the point – that family is never static and never isolated. Life changes and you have to let go of some people, and invite some people in.

Family is always found family after all, always renewing and always changing.

The Indoor Chronicles

Good evening, fellow humans! Here’s an administrative/personal update of sorts that usually doesn’t appear on this blog but is warranted due to my messy move.

Since my move from Tumblr to WordPress, my blog has been surprisingly well-received amongst readers of diverse profiles, and I thank you for the views and comments. I’m very much looking forward to the interactions we’ll continue to have as we share our thoughts and loves and lives. My WordPress is now completed and organised, including my measly About page. Come say hello!

For my new (and old) readers, I mainly post Musings about life, love, stories, people, moralities and lessons, but I also give book, movie and film Reviews, and compile Lists of random things. I absolutely love borrowing the wisdom and beauty of other writers (Quotes) but also love writing creative Prose. Have a dialogue with me in my Conversations section or get to know a little bit of my personal life as part of my Diary.

The most recent news plaguing my country (Singapore) is the persistent haze, a result of “slash and burn” forest fires in Sumatra:

THE world reacted with incredulity yesterday when it discovered what a “Singapore” was. Some clues to the existence of the city-state began emerging on Wednesday, when millions of orders for respiratory masks began crashing Amazon’s servers.

Political insinuations and counting of blessings aside, the haze has only reaffirmed my lifestyle choice of staying indoors, such that I’ve consumed an insane number of hours of TV in the last few days and have translated that to reviews in my drafts.

So, you know, join me as this blog documents my transformation into a vampire. Well, mostly.

Howdy, wordpress.

A long time ago when I was still in my teens (gosh I’m not in my teens anymore), I had a WordPress account. Most of the entries were lyric-titled ramblings that reflected a growing sense of self-awareness and a tendency to highlight struggles of the self, and in fact a lot of the posts had the very same writing style I still adopt. I’m not sure how much I’ve changed and how much the content of my writing has changed, but here I am again, a few years later, still the same girl, a different person.

Anyhoo, I’m back here on WordPress, having ungracefully crashed my Tumblr content into a new blogging platform. The change is nothing truly dramatic; I just thought for a long time that Tumblr does not facilitate long text posts and content-based interaction, and wanted more in this direction. Right now my blog is still a mess, and I am trying to edit my archives to ensure that previously reblogged posts are credited adequately, etc. Right now the Tumblr ask posts are also a mess, oops, so I’m very much a blog under construction.

But yes, join me here, if you could. You can email to subscribe from my content and comment on my posts more easily. If you wish for me to answer anymore of your questions, just leave a comment and I will be happy to.

Now, back to work.

Mother

There is no one in the world I wish to protect more than my mother. It may seem kind of ironic that I wish to protect my mom, rather than the other way round. But sometimes I feel like a lioness standing guard in front of her cubs when it comes to my family.

The truth is, my mom never explicitly taught me many things. I learnt what I did and became who I am by reading a lot, depending on a sharp sense of logic, and forming my own opinions without her help or input. Any strength I have I also somehow built on my own, and I try to use it to (emotionally) support my family. My mom never really did much parenting, you see.

But I could never be who I am in the world without my parents, without my mom. I became who I am very much on my own, but only because she gave me freedom to be who I want to be. My mom never gave me any idea I couldn’t be what I wanted, and I love her for it. For sure, until now she asks me why I’m not studying law or going into the civil service. But she never limited me, and I couldn’t be more grateful. Until now she always encourages me to seize any opportunities that come by, even at her expense.

So, even though I sometimes feel I can be emotionally independent of her, I could never abandon her. And I will always be her defender.

Your love is my turning page.

It’s Valentine’s tomorrow!!! To tell you the truth, I’m not a fervent fan of the holiday. It’s all teddy bears and red roses and chocolates and candlelit dinners, which in this world is all about restaurant deals and really jacked up prices at florists. And of course I’m a believer in showing your love for your loved ones every day, and all your loved ones too, not just your significant other. But you know what? I hardly talk about my boyfriend on this site, so I shall chatter on about him for a while (haha babe are you reading this.)

I definitely have a type. This I found out from being an enthusiastic television fan, and from the varying amount of feels I had for different characters. I realised that I was always fond of the kind, good, hardworking and loyal ones. They didn’t need to be particularly spectacular or interesting or emotionally complex. In fact, I love when they are simple, and everything about the person is simple, because it’s clear to the person what is important in their life, and they will always fight to keep it.

So, instead of the Doctor on Doctor Who (though I absolutely love him of course,) my fave will forever and always be Rory Williams. Not the Time Lord who promises me all of time and space, but the lone boy who waits outside a box for 2000 years just to make sure his love is safe. Instead of romantic Richard Castle, I prefer the stable, loyal and sensible Kevin Ryan. I love Matt Saracen instead of Tim Riggins in Friday Night Lights. And I would probably love a Hufflepuff. (I love both Harry and Ron equally, but gosh the utter lack of fulfillment of Ron’s potential in the later books!!! And did he even exist in the movies srsly.) 

But, ya, I think it’s safe to say that the person I’m in love with in real life possesses all those qualities. He’s loyal, kind, filial and sensible. And I’m so lucky to have met him. He might not watch all the tv shows I rave about, he might not be the most romantic dude, he might not understand everything I do or love, but he loves it when I’m happy or healthy or well-rested or productive, because he wants the best for me, and I think that’s the most gorgeous thing. 

I hope you all find that for yourselves, not because one needs a relationship in life, but because one needs a person who supports your happiness in this way. 

Not much point to this post, but Happy Valentine’s Day! If you’re completely utterly hopelessly head-over-heels in love, congratulations!!!! Life can be so great, and love is wonderful. If you’re in love, but the love has plateaued to an unexciting companionship, don’t forget that love is not all about the fireworks, but about staying beside people who are worth it and worth you, and who deserve you. If you’re not in love or not yet in love, you are still surrounded by all the love in the world. Happy Galentine’s Day!! And last but not least, remember to love your family. (:

St. Valentine was imprisoned for performing marriages for soldiers forbidden to marry, so we should celebrate the immense capacity he had for love, and just how far our world has come in accepting and reveling in all the kinds of love we have for each other. 

TUMBLR ASK: YOU SHOULD POST MORE! I ABSOLUTELY ENJOY READING YOUR POSTS, YINING!

Dear anonymous person whom I probably know in real life, please attach your name and identity to your request so I can contextualise it.

What happens if you fall in love with a writer?

(via karenfelloutofbedagain)

Lots of things might happen. That’s the thing about writers. They’re unpredictable. They might bring you eggs in bed for breakfast, or they might all but ignore you for days. They might bring you eggs in bed at three in the morning. Or they might wake you up for sex at three in the morning. Or make love at four in the afternoon. They might not sleep at all. Or they might sleep right through the alarm and forget to get you up for work. Or call you home from work to kill a spider. Or refuse to speak to you after finding out you’ve never seen To Kill A Mockingbird. Or spend the last of the rent money on five kinds of soap. Or sell your textbooks for cash halfway through the semester. Or leave you love notes in your pockets. Or wash you pants with Post-It notes in the pockets so your laundry comes out covered in bits of wet paper. They might cry if the Post-It notes are unread all over your pants. It’s an unpredictable life.

But what happens if a writer falls in love with you?

This is a little more predictable. You will find your hemp necklace with the glass mushroom pendant around the neck of someone at a bus stop in a short story. Your favorite shoes will mysteriously disappear, and show up in a poem. The watch you always wear, the watch you own but never wear, the fact that you’ve never worn a watch: they suddenly belong to characters you’ve never known. And yet they’re you. They’re not you; they’re someone else entirely, but they toss their hair like you. They use the same colloquialisms as you. They scratch their nose when they lie like you. Sometimes they will be narrators; sometimes protagonists, sometimes villains. Sometimes they will be nobodies, an unimportant, static prop. This might amuse you at first. Or confuse you. You might be bewildered when books turn into mirrors. You might try to see yourself how your beloved writer sees you when you read a poem about someone who has your middle name or prose about someone who has never seen To Kill A Mockingbird. These poems and novels and short stories, they will scatter into the wind. You will wonder if you’re wandering through the pages of some story you’ve never even read. There’s no way to know. And no way to erase it. Even if you leave, a part of you will always be left behind.

If a writer falls in love with you, you can never die.