Ma & Love

When I was young, I didn’t live with Ma.

Many thought the both of us weren’t close. But distance has a way of bringing the hearts closer, and we were, as cliche as it sounded, the best of friends.

At 10pm every night, knowing Ma was home, I would pick up the cordless phone, lie on the sofa, punch her number, and call her. And we would chat.

When I was young, school was everything I cared for. Naturally, my conversations with Ma would revolve around that topic. We would talk about everything. Many times, I would imagine Ma standing by the balcony and listening compassionately, nodding her head and breaking into smiles as I shared snippets of my stories.

We would talk about the food I ate, the bus ride ‘home’, the girls I liked, the people I met, the things I learnt … Sometimes, Ma would reminisce her younger days and I would struggle to stay awake because it was past bedtime.

Sometimes Ma shared about her experience as a rebel. How she would get into fights to protect the weak and for the righteous. Sometimes Ma shared about her dating stories. How girls used to chase her when she was the notorious tomboy of the crowd. But mostly, she would share about how I came to this world.

She used to mention how I was a rebel like her because I refused to exit her vagina. And after 24 hours of deliberation, the doctor, had to resort to using a vacuum. She told me what my name meant. That is, when translated, “happy” and “lofty”.

Those 60 minutes conversations would be lost amid the receding radio waves yet remain forever etched in memory.

Life was simple then. Until age and responsibilities caught up. The 60 minutes conversations would fall short to 45 minutes, then 30, eventually 10. And sometimes the frequency of dialing would decrease altogether. Ma must have expected it.

Today, I am 22 and Ma is 53. I moved back and am living with Ma. I am in my prime but she is experiencing menopause.

Today, I know that the idyllic portrait I painted for Ma when she speaks with someone over the phone would never materialise. On the contrary, she would sit on the sofa, beer on the table and cigarette in hand, chatting away.

Sometimes, I would try to start a conversation.

“I’m not managing my life well.” I’d say.

Silence. She would look at me, hold her hand up, speak something into the speaker, cut her call promptly, before looking straight into my eyes and telling me to deal with it. She would take in a sip of alcohol and a whiff of cigarette, and wait not for my response but my solution.

Distance has a way painting false pretenses. But false pretenses are not necessarily all benign in nature. In any case, my interactions with Ma taught me many life lessons that I am grateful of.

Perhaps to Ma the manner she interacted with me was her way of teaching. To her, the 60 minutes calls were a substitute for the lack of contact comfort in my childhood. While her savage face-to-face communication was her way of telling me to solve problems and not rant about them. Ma was uneducated but she has always been an educator at heart.

Perhaps to Ma the way she greeted my question with silence was her way of encouraging me to try even if that meant I would come face to face with nothingness. Perhaps to Ma, trying was all that mattered because if everything fail, I would walk away with no regrets.

But for the longest of time, there is one thing Ma is constantly silent about relationships.

And I pray she never will.


Cutting connections

I am sorry. I gave you your chance. You didn’t take it.

October is here.

Time to grow up.

Time to declutter.

Time to be reborn anew.

Don’t miss me. And don’t worry, I won’t miss you.

Finding Happy 1.0

Life’s been a blur.

I’d be lying if I say I am busy. I’d also be lying if I say I am free. I find myself wondering how can one be so happening and unhappening at the same time?

At the very least I found what I like. Who I like. Why I like them.

At the very least I am giving them a chance. To embrace the love and hatred altogether.

I haven’t been reading much lately. The last book I read was “Still Alice” by Lisa Genova. And I have to admit that the content is still fresh in my head. I refuse to touch anything else. Maybe I have truly become lazy. I don’t know. But I reckon I ought to start reading soon if I want to complete my 2016 new year aspiration.

On the other hand, I wrote poems. Many poems. I gave them a fixed number of syllables, a fixed structure, a fixed word count per line and so on. I am proud of them. I’d like to think that they are poems, I really do, but I know they aren’t. Just irrelevant words and random sentences jumbled up together aesthetically presented – content-less.

Just like me.

Photo credits: Lye.


I am in the midst of what I call a form of “literary rehabilitation”. I guess you can call it a kind of recluse. Do not expect to hear from me anytime soon. Nor should you expect to see long posts. Nor any haikus. Until I figure out what is wrong with me, I will disappear. I hope it won’t take long. But I promise, I promise that I will return better and stronger. So sayonara, writing.


it’s been a mess lately. i was a mess. mary came down yesterday and called me an asshole. i shrugged. then as per normal she ran away. kate was devastated. martin tried to console her but to no avail. the thing about mary is that she is blunt and she is always right, and the thing about kate is that she misses mary alot and wants her to stay. martin, the poor 6 year old, knew something was wrong but just don’t possess the capability to handle the situation. and i stood there in the midst of all those and did nothing. well not absolutely nothing, i heeded hugo’s advice: let it all go. hugo is smart and intellectual and realistic but he rarely appears, and when he does things get done. the truth is, i need hugo. but he is no where to be found.


today it rained. and i have never liked the rain any better. in a way, i feel comforted. you see, things haven’t been working well for me. i get irritated frequently these days, and i get tired as a result. that’s not all, my hypocritical metre went bogus and i am going mad, and sad, and restless. it’s not depression because if it was i would have drowned myself in cheap wine. i hate whining about it but i guess it is a form of relief. the subject matter, the whole mesh of emotions, is hard to describe, and i shan’t go into details; but the thing is i feel sad for no apparent reason. one moment i am laughing at the Chewbacca lady and in a split second, i felt bad.

lately, i feel as if things are not going to work out. i feel as if my life will plunge into turmoil at every bend. i feel as if people are turning on me, i feel like i don’t belong here nor there. i feel betrayed when letters don’t return. i feel both equally starved and full at the same time. i feel insignificant. i feel bad. i feel bad for feeling bad. on the bright side, i no longer suffocate and i guess i have grown a little.

i wish i feel better. i really do.



“So I heard you made it into university, congratulations.”


“So which course did you apply to?”

I’m sor

“Must be English, right? You have always been great with written words, it would be a waste of talent if you didn’t enrol into some English course.”

Thank you but –

“Gosh, I’m starving. They all look so appetising. Hmm. What should I have? Fish and Chips?”

“Nah, shan’t. Too oily.”

“Al Fungi. I shall have Al Fungi. Waiter. Can I have the Al Fungi please? What do you want?”

“Al Fungi.”

“Make it two then. Thank you.”

Thank you.

“I’m so happy for you really. Study hard yeah? I know you have it in you.”

Thank you …