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I read an article recently blaming the “Singapore material girls” for the low birth rate of Singapore. It quoted an SMU study which showed that Singapore women are way more materialistic than those from other countries.

“When it comes to looking for a potential spouse, the top criterion for Singaporean women is a man’s social status. Next on the list is kindness, followed by a lively personality. In contrast, American women value kindness the most, followed by looks, then a man’s social standing.” – said the article.

First of all, the people polled were all from SMU. So isn’t this study significantly biased? SMU students, I feel, are different from students from other Universities. They are more business-centric, which means dollars and cents matter more to them. It is certainly not a representative view blanketing all Singapore women. Secondly, it is seriously offensive to say that all women are more materialistic and looking for social symbols.That is to say we have no abilities or competencies of our own to establish ourselves in society and that we are still living in a traditional world where we are dependent on men for survival. Please, we are not in the 1950s any longer, we can love a man without checking out the size of his wallet first.

Sure, status is nice to have. A  fat wallet and a great car is a nice thrill. But it is not a defining factor for most of us. To me at least, even if a dude is the son of some reigning empire here, if he is a boring old sod or an arrogant playboy, it is still a deal-breaker. Who would want to live with splashes of money without intellectual conversations? Without a sense of humour, or someone with passion for his work? I would much rather go for wit, for love of life, for dedication, for attentiveness – all those things you can’t pay to have, even if you tried.

Women here, well at least a lot of them, are not superficial creatures. We can get our own bags/car/jewellery, thank you very much. It is quite ridiculous when people attempt to lump all of us together in a silly survey and go: “There! Women are materialistic here! Blame em!” This just serves to perpetuate the stereotypes Singapore MEN have of us, and you know what, I think THAT is the reason for the low birth rates. That men don’t have the confidence to get a Singapore woman because they read into these perceptions and thus shun us. So we are left conquering the world on our own.

Think about that.

running

Here I am, Lord, and I’m drowning in your sea of forgetfulness 
The chains of yesterday surround me
I yearn for peace and rest
I don’t want to end up where you found me
And it echoes in my mind, keeps me awake tonight

– Casting Crowns, East to West


Sometimes i wish, with all my heart, that i could sleep and never wake up.

It all feels like deja vu. All of it. My life going in circles, always ending the same way, beginning the same way, ending the same way.

Why. The endlessness of it crushes me.

I’m not meant for this life, this life of meaninglessness and pain. Of deep-seated loneliness and barrenness. Of selfishness and cruelty.

Perhaps I deserve all of it. Whoever said I deserved to be treated like a princess, treated with care and respect like the way a daughter of God should be treated, is lying. 

bottle stopper

She woke up with a start from a deep dream. She had dreamt that they were in a tiny house of their own and he was talking to her.

Sitting up, rubbing the sleep from her eyes, she made a sleepy sound at the back of her throat.

He walked in the room and saw her – she was slouching, curling her legs and tucking her feet comfortably beneath the sheath of peach chiffon dress spread around her, hair tousled and eyes heavy-laden.

He leaned down and pressed his lips to the top of her head, then kissed her forehead softly, her nose.

“My sleepy princess,” he said with a smile.

void

The doors slammed shut, one by one, with satisfying clicks of finality. She had helped them along, given them a little push, ran away.

She wanted them to leave, but longed for them to stay.

She could hear them trying to get through to her, but it’s as though they were speaking through a thick glass pane – their words muffled and a mumble. She turned away; unresponsive, ambivalent, guilty, distant.

Her arm lifted itself halfheartedly as though to reach out to them, a last ditch attempt.

She could see their angry faces on the verge of giving up on her, not comprehending, disappointed at her perpetual cycles of abandonment.

Death, written all over her face, the muscles drawn tight. Her lips moved stiffly, her eyes a picture of vacantness.

I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to, but I can’t, she thought. Unable to feel, unable to react.

She felt a rush of air escape from her as she freefalls further, sucked deeper into the void.

She dropped her arm resignedly.

shrink wrap

Sitting quietly at her desk, she stares at a spot for five minutes, not moving.

The scene before her shimmers lightly.

Suddenly she feels strangely disconnected from the world, from herself.

It’s like she was an alien entity, looking out from within a skin that was separate from her. A body pried from her soul, a stranger to herself.

It’s so weird, she thought dispassionately, abruptly aware of every nerve ending prickling her spine, yet feeling as though she was distant from it all, looking at herself from afar. How is it that I’m in this casing, she wondered, able to move my limbs, touch my hair, feel my lips? That I’m trapped within this body, inside looking out?

And the people surrounding me in their translucent sheaths; do they know they are merely in this hollow shell, controlling their hands and feet like socialized robots?

Sometimes she wondered if this was all real, if she was in fact dead and these images that she sees are mere dreams or wisps of memory, or worse, some deluded state of mind.

What is the point of it all, she thought. Moving a finger, opening my mouth, smiling. She felt barren, depleted, blank – as though her circuitry has been temporarily wiped out and she forgot what it was like to be normal.

They speak to her but she is not there, unable to respond, her insides dug out leaving a gaping cavity.

Just recently, news emerged that Steve Jobs is rumoured to be worsening in his condition. He had pancreatic cancer and is currently on another long leave of absence. Reports say the frail-looking founder of Apple supposedly has only months to live.

What is Steve Jobs thinking now, she mused, flipping through photos after photos of the business magnate holding various new models of the iPhone, iPod and Macbooks over the years, his face ageing with time, wrinkled with years.

She stared hard at his face, wondering if beneath the smiles he knew what was in store for him, wondering if he had known, would he still care about concocting the latest iPhone models, or conquering the world with his gadgets in this brutal electronics race?

What is the point, she thought again, to fight and to struggle, to rake in the money, to be number one, only to have your life mercilessly cut short, unable to enjoy any of it? To work so hard and then to die, be replaced, forgotten?

Shells, all of us. Merely ants looking out of a covered window, trapped.

long lost

Is it me, or have I changed a whole lot since becoming a journalist?

I was glancing through my old blogs, struck by curiosity after a certain nosy lil friend chanced upon one of them with her excellent snooping tactics, and was immediately thrown off by the tone of optimism and quiet contemplation in there. The youthfulness of it all seeps through, jarring, because I no longer can go back there.

I look at the things I come up with now, and I see them tainted with weariness and half-assed haphazard thoughts, a reflection of a mind exhausted by hours and hours of mulling over words. I see them filled with quick anger and cynicism instead of a measure of calmness.

Nowadays, words fail me. An irony, considering it makes up the majority of my job.

But what else can I say that I haven’t said? Or maybe I just don’t find it necessary anymore, the only avenue of my release – gone.

And there you go, I’m at a loss of what else to say.

take a peek

loves:

the crackling sound of pages being turned in a book

cold droplets of a light drizzle falling on her face

imagining herself playing the lead character in a reflective long-running film about her life (her soundtrack will be entirely made up of heartbreaking melancholic tunes)

breathing in the odours of frozen food in the freezer (you can catch her getting a whiff ever so often)

the feel of a hand weaving itself through her hair

the smell of a freshly minted book

keeping her ‘treasures’ in a chest and imagining her future grandchildren gushing over the precious memories like gold and silver


hates:

feet squishing around in wet/damp shoes

being ignored, because that means she is not worth it

the sound of metal grating against each other as a shop owner pulls down the shutters

the very existence of cockroaches

the loud echoes of motorcyclists roaring furiously past a quiet residential estate at night