Take it as a way of seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, or the silver lining among the darkest clouds. We had, for the briefest moments, agreed to be a part of each other’s minuscule lives. You and your world of complicated math formulas and physics theorems, and me with my universe of books and late night dramas. We had, for the slightest of time, allowed each other into our world of paranoia. You and your compulsive mood swings when you are stressed or focused. Me and my fear of social judgement. While we found solace in each other, I am afraid our recluse cannot last.
It has been a pleasant journey with you, at least for the four or five months we were together. But 2016 is coming to an end, so are we.
Take it as if you met someone, whom you reckoned will stay but did not. Take it as if you met someone, whom you thought would love the good and embrace the bad but did not. Take it as if it is a way of life, an act of growing up. Take it as if a door closes and a new one opens.
Nothing really happened between the two of us. We were just two confused youths who were trying to find our sense of belonging and entitlement. We were just two individuals who had crossed paths and walked side by side.
It never really was your fault. Truth is, it was mine. After all, I suggested the split. After all, my heart fluttered. After all, I realised I was not ready. I did lead you on a wild goose chase. I did waste your time. I did fail to embrace the notion of love – of its glorious rays of affection, of its sentimental ways of loyalty, of its never-ending cycle of forgiveness.
I was a jerk. You aren’t.
And I thank you for appearing on that crossroad in that impossible crowd. I thank you for appearing in that café where we managed to drown out the cacophony and immersed in what I thought was a meaningful conversation. I thank you for heeding my request for solitude. I thank you for showing me the side of me that I never thought I had.
And I am sorry. For everything that had happened.
2016 has been a cold, hard year. And I am glad it is ending.
I should have known that we never really had a future. And that I had been played like a blind man in a maze. There is no denying that I was a fool. A fool who stood rooted and stared in disbelief and awe as you conveniently strutted away and disappeared by the corner. A fool, who lost hours of sleep that very night staring into the empty ceiling, admiring the air of confidence that had emanated as you broke the silence with words that eventually turned into a toxic spiralling mixture of anger and confusion within. A fool who hastily dismissed the slightest inkling that an estrangement was imminent. I should have known better, but I did not.
It’s funny how I was physically present on days when you were a pathetic broken being filled with desolation and self-pity but you have never witnessed any of my struggles, much less give me a hug or a pat in the back. It’s funny how I thought I was addressing your physical needs with paper money and late night cuddles when you had eyes perpetually glued to the device that croaks every so often. It’s funny how I failed to notice that your device was filled with names of other men whom you claimed to be your colleagues when I knew you were unemployed. It’s funny how I was never the one who has the final say.
I lay on the bed every night wasted and wondering what went wrong, only to fall into a slumber after spending god-knows-how-long on your social media profiles where you posted pictures of your new lover at places I once brought you.
I guess I am a fool. Unlike you. You, who picked yourself up fairly quickly, are strong and I can never compete with that strength that I once loved.
the relationship between the two of us
summarises to dull dinners where
ordinary content equates to great conversations,
followed by champagne popping that
we toast to all the empty promises
we know we will make, and eventually
a refuge in each other’s body
where we let our souls dance to the city lights.
Over the weekend, Blue Bean Production has launched and concluded her inaugural play. “Dear Jay”, the brainchild of both Euginia Tan and Benedict Leong, explores the journey of how Leonard (Benedict Leong) struggles and copes with the death of his only friend Jay (Zenda Tan). “Dear Jay” weaves together a touchy theme, a taxing plot and a fresh cast of actors, turning it into a heartfelt and thought-provoking production.
When we talk about plays or stories with the theme of mental illness as one of its cores, we usually like to see them in a lighter shade. Mental illness is a touchy theme to dab on, probably because it is unseen yet so real. More often than not, we tend to see some form of closure and overcoming of a particular obstacle in such plays or stories. However, rather than exploring the process of conquering anxiety and death, “Dear Jay” elaborates on the struggle of people living with mental illness.
The chemistry between Zenda and Benedict stood out superbly. Their portrayal of “Jay” and “Leonard” was raw and real. (That said, I could not help but wince when Zenda fell and inadvertently hit her head on the floor in the scene when she physically struggled with her inner demons. I was in the second row when that happened.) Leonard and his confessions of feelings to Jay, even after her death, made the struggle with his own crippling anxiety and loneliness intimate. While Jay’s concern for Leonard, before her eventual suicide, was heart-warming.
I thought it was brilliant to showcase Jay’s and Leonard’s inner demons, played by the ensemble (Vivienne Wong, Juliana Kassim Chan, Darrell Chan, Nicholas Bloodworth and Adam Amil Sharif), who continuously repeats words of negativity – shame, hatred, self-doubts etc. I felt the play could use more of that and reduce Leonard’s monologue. Too much of it made it hard to catch. What ultimately stuck in my head was “So, it is a disease to be young.”
There were several other scenes that stood out as well.
One of it was the interaction between Jay and Leonard in the ward when Jay had returned from the councellor. Jay, who struggles with weight issues, had been asked to show how big she thought she was with a string. She later realised that she could “disappear” after Leonard measured it to be way smaller.
The other was the silence between Leonard and his father over the dining table. Leonard’s father’s outward show of affection by constantly picking food up for Leonard eventually builds up an invisible pressure within his son.
Overall, “Dear Jay” was not overtly pretentious, it is an honest production that speaks to the soul. Blue Bean Production did amazing for their inaugural play and I look forward to seeing more of her productions in time to come.
*Meanwhile, I thank a very special friend of mine – GILLIAN ONG – for having me and a friend over.
Christmas is all about the joy of giving (and receiving). I was rather privileged to be able to participate and win on several giveaways, so much so that I felt inclined to give back. With mere days left before the big day, I am quite sure many are frantically searching for the right gifts for the special person, close friends and family.
Questions like ‘What to get?’ or ‘Is this good?‘ or ‘How realistic is this?‘ will undoubtedly make finding the right present an arduous task.
With these in mind, I thought, why not make life easier and help narrow down options? Why not help address your physical needs, emotional needs and intellectual capacity? Why not golocal, support local?
Here are my top three choices:
RUGGSAC prides themselves in intricately fusing their ingenious way of problem-solving with their forte of creating bags befitting modern trends. Equipped with an amiable attitude, RUGGSAC offers not only excellent bag designs but also swift customer service.
I am beyond overjoyed when I received the above Blue Haro laptop sleeve ($38). The series of laptop sleeves was released earlier in September and has gained quite some popularity, not only for its variety of designs but also for its versatility – From how I see it, it acts as both a laptop sleeve and a clutch. And did you know, the velcro used was specially developed? It does not scratch your laptop screens and does not catch thread or clothing.
We can never really run out of bags to use. And if a bag screams fashion, I’d say go for it. Meanwhile, I have successfully collaborated with RUGGSAC and as such quote “lerology” to receive a 10% discount!!!
I like food. That is a fact. Nothing pleases me more emotionally and physically (yes, I address the emotional aspect first) whenever I am served good food – salads, mains, desserts, snacks etc. So when I received the Boufé Christmas Hamper ($39.90), I almost cried.
Located in Phoenix Park, Boufé (pronounced as Bou-fay, not buffet) Boutique Café, is the brainchild of Erick Wang, Sean Lee and Dennis Lim. Opened in early 2015, Boufé is one of the most relaxing and hipster place for one to indulge in great café delights.
With Christmas around the corner, Boufé offers not only a celebratory Christmas Hamper but also a special Christmas exclusive menu. While I was unable to savour everything during my visit there, I made it a point to order their Christmas dessert – Milky Way ($8.50++).
Milky Way is a white chocolate yoghurt mousse, with honey genoise (an Italian sponge cake named after Genova), chocolate sable (the crispy biscuit base), calamansi jelly. This dish is not only aesthetically pleasing but also presents an out of this world explosion of sweet goodness and a slight hint of tanginess.
Boufé Christmas Hamper and Christmas Menu will only be available till the 30th December.
As an aspiring writer and host, I am inclined to surround myself with loads of reading materials. Perhaps it is for the love of language, perhaps it is for the sake of self-improvement, or perhaps it is a great pastime. Then again, nothing really beats having a good novel in lap and a hot coffee in hand.
What I am recommending is a title that I have been eyeing on for quite some time, and I finally managed to grab a copy of it at the Singapore Writers Festival early November.
Introducing: Kappa Quartet ($24.90)
Synopsis: Kevin is a young man without a soul, holidaying in Tokyo; Mr Five, the enigmatic kappa, is the man he so happens to meet. Little does Kevin know that kappas—the river demons of Japanese folklore—desire nothing more than the souls of other humans. Set between Singapore and Japan, Kappa Quartet is split into eight discrete sections, tracing the rippling effects of this chance encounter across a host of other characters, connected and bound to one another in ways both strange and serendipitous. Together they ask one another: what does it mean to be in possession of something nobody has seen before?
There is something about Daryl’s work that intrigues me. The way he meticulously strings characters to characters from one chapter to another is itself a work of art filled with many discoveries. While one expects such a plot to be a complete mess, Daryl has proven himself to be quite the concise and skilful storyteller, capable of crystalline prose and enthralling content. It is no wonder that Kappa Quartet was longlisted for the Epigram Books Fiction Prize in 2015.
United International Pictures organised a special surprise screening to some lucky people on the 17th December at Green Room in The Projector. I was one of those lucky few who managed to win a pair of complimentary tickets, and frankly speaking, I was not disappointed. Thankfully, my friend whom I invited shared the same sentiments. What really followed was a night of thorough thrill.
What turned out to be a supposed casual ride home from a party turns 3 girls, Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy), Marcia (Jessica Sula) and Claire (Haley Lu Richardson), into kidnapped victims. Their abductor, Kevin, played by James Mcavoy, is a man who struggles with 23 different personalities – Barry, Hedwig, Patricia, Dennis etc.
Split not only tells the thrilling classic tale of survival as these girls struggle to seek help from the various personalities, but also outlines two others. On one hand, we have Casey’s flashbacks throughout the movie when her father and uncle took her out into the woods to hunt. On the other, we also have the interactions between Kevin, his various alters and his trusted therapist, Dr Fletcher (Betty Buckley). At the end of the day, all these adds up.
What really stood out throughout the film was how strangely creepy Mcavoy was. And in ways more than other, this was really addictive. While relying a little on the costumes changes, Mcavoy presents his various alters through skilful swapping of his demeanour, his facial expressions and his accents (Hedwig was such a cutie!). Of course, it is worth noting the various costume changes:
There is Patricia with her heels and scarf. There is Hedwig with his yellow raincoat. There is Barry with his beanie, his simple pullovers and his briefcase of fashion sketches. There is Dennis with his spectacle, his shirt neatly tucked in and his OCD.
After a few not so outstanding productions from M. Night Shyamalan, Split was undoubtedly an amazing comeback. Shyamalan made us guessing throughout the film, leaving us in urgent need of answers while still having our whole body tensed up. There were a couple twists throughout the movie. What is noteworthy here was how the venue was unravelled. Nobody would have guessed it.
Finally, the movie ends off on a rather satisfying note, leaving most answers answered. For hardcore fans of earlier productions from Shyamalan, you will be in for a little surprise.
Split hits the theatres early next year on 19 Jan 2017.