twentyfive-ish thoughts

photography & words

of travels & words





Every time I go away from my little red dot, I come back with more ideas – quiet ones, noisier ones – and not as rested as one would have thought for a holiday.

London, how I’m getting used to your words and smiles and weirdly shifty cobblestone paths when we’re already in the 21st century. How I laugh hard at your crass musicals (yes, Book of Mormon!) and try to stuff my face with so much of your delectable food (Bermonsey’s Zucca, crazy cakes at Balcon’s afternoon tea). How I think I may take a break from you because there can actually be too much of a good thing.

Paris, I wanted to give you another chance again. Fill me up with the romantic notions you offered to everyone else. I saw you through the eyes of a local (not me, my friend who kindly translated everything) and I saw your quiet opening up to the English-speaking world. But my  favourite moments would still be in your museums (oh, the beauty of Henri Cartier-Bresson’s exhibition at Centre Pompidou) and bookshops (0fr.!) where language never plays a barrier.

I hope for more moments, and I’m thankful for them too.

of labels, and then some

You know how the teachers leave comments in your primary school report book, remarking that “she’s a born leader”, “she needs to be more conscientious at her work”, or even “capable of better grades”? I think we subconsciously replay these words – made so early in our formative years – in our minds, and try to fit ourselves into every letter.

I sometimes feel at odds when I get told “you’re a born leader” – but I’m sure they didn’t get the memo that “born leaders” should have come with automatic “be at ease with public speaking” modes. I’m just someone who doesn’t want to waste time discussing things to death when there are solutions and things to be done. Perhaps this leaves me to be the sucker who picks up slack when everyone is perfectly happy waiting for the sad volunteer.

Perhaps. But then I tell myself, Life is too short to keep on playing a waiting game. Who knows what my next step can achieve? Now if only I can feel less self-conscious, less shy about everything, and if my bravado would cease from crumbling through the obviously-shaky voice..

of letting go (not the song)



A few days ago, I went for a meditation workshop – more of a chat, laugh about life’s experiences, and some quiet time. Ajahn Brahm made example of the coin toss: when decisions get too difficult and you’re blinded by the pros & cons, you flip and your reaction to what you get is really what you (do not) want. Also, he asked us to leave our past and future worries behind and live in the now.

Living in the now may sound impractical, or even unfeasible, so I’d have thought but I agreed that by worrying about what the next step could be, or what should have been done better.. such worries could be set aside while you bask in the present because Life is passing you by even as you get all worked up about something that isn’t anything.

Today’s picture was taken when I went to the waters off Ubin, and I thought of my mother. We scattered her ashes into the sea after she was cremated; because stealthy scattering of ashes at Botanic Gardens could get us in trouble even as she would have loved being with her favourite plants. I kid, but I was reminded of the grief that surrounded us as we tried to let go of her with every fall of the powder that used to be her.

Let us move on from our grief; our worries shackle us. Let us find our paths, through lesser worrying and more doing. Tomorrow will be better because of today.

of a forgotten place (again)

Joo Ave 1

I took a stroll around Joo Avenue and Sing Avenue before meeting a friend for coffee. It’s a sleepy area off Rangoon Road, where if you have already heard, cafes and eateries are starting to creep in, just as they’re doing (alarmingly so) at Everton Park. In fact, local goods bazaar Public Garden has set up a pop-up this weekend, if you’re in the area.

Look at the grilled gates and darkened cement. The festive red bits in the potted plants and the very cheery yellow of those orchids. How difficult it is for orchids to grow, if you don’t have the time (or green thumb, as I do not) to give them love. I searched for vague mentions of Joo Avenue, and found that there was a Joo Avenue Primary School, which started in 1964, but closed its gates in 1987 due to poor enrollment.

The happiest schooling memories could have been said to be of the primary school days, where teachers try to instill the love of learning in you, where you write endless corrections, and you didn’t have correction tape though you wish you could (and why not, you’re almost 10!). The tuckshop that sells iced jellies for 20 cents, and plates of noodles that go for a remarkable $1 or less back then. I’m glad my primary school is still around, though they’ve moved away from where I grew up. What’s your primary school memories like?



of some early 2014 reflections

Dakota Dove 1

Dakota Dove 3

Dakota Dove 2

Welcome to my world – of memories I want to keep close to me, even on a grey day with heavy drizzle. I found the old tiled-playground in Dakota Crescent, and I spent some moments just recollecting what it was like to be yesterday; to have the only worries of “did you study for tomorrow’s test?” or even “maybe I should have asked for a little bit more pocket money from my parents..”.

So yesterday, I began my momentous 2014 with a laparoscopic ovarian cystectomy. What’s that? Basically, I went for a colonography last September just to be safe, and they incidentally found an unknown mass in my left ovary. Well, silver lining, I’d say?

The dermoid cyst was 10.5cm, or so, my groggy brain tried to recall, and I spent the whole of yesterday preparing for an early-morning operation, breathing in funny tasting anaesthetic gas, and waking up past noon wondering if my head was going to fall off every time I looked around. We always take health for granted, in fact, everything for granted, till we come close to losing it.

Be safe, be healthy everyone. I’m taking these couple of weeks to rest and just be quiet.

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