NEW YEAR NEW ME – Looking Out

Photo by KE ATLAS on Unsplash

Another year, another me. It’s a bit strange – I started this blog as a legitimate blog with some poems from time to time but over time it quickly became a place for me to publish pieces which I could not find homes for, or pieces I just wanted to let loose onto the world instead of being tethered to my notebook.

I can’t say that I’ve changed too much in the past 4 years – I feel like I’m still, at my core, the same kind of person I was, albeit somewhat happier. I do have my demons from time to time, but I’ve learned to invite them in for tea. I’ve learned to find a support network, to be able to rely on others, to be vulnerable and be soft. I’ve learned to relax (somewhat) although the stress of knowing the end to this path weighs heavy.

New Year’s Resolutions – I made some actual ones for once this year! We made resolutions while passing (and downing) a bottle of red wine – so we had to think of resolutions on the spot. I think I made 3 (but I can only remember 2):

  1. To see more, do more, experience more. I’m stepping out of my comfort zone really soon and I want to expand it even further. I want to be comfortable as who I am – I want to grow and grow.
  2. To be comfortable with showing affection to others. I keep thinking of myself as some kind of observer, lone wolf / background character kind of guy and I can’t help but make fun of people and generally avoid my feelings (if any) but this year I’m going to work on that. Last year I had some breakthroughs, even if short-lived, but I’m confident that I can make it this year. I want to be able to tell people I love them without having to go in such a roundabout fashion, I want to be close to people, I want to connect, I want to cross their paths once in a while on purpose, etc.

Writing wise – I’ve been in a slump for some time. I keep reverting back to familiar topics of writing and I have little inspiration to write beyond that. Everything I’ve thought of feels very contrived – especially when I’ve been trying to actively submit my work to journals and competitions. Granted, winning the Arts House competition was great (as it forced me to write 10 ekphrastic poems! wow!) but I feel like my peers were so much better. All of these make me want to write even more – my end-goal is still the manuscript, but can I get it done by April?

As such, here are my writing goals:

  1. To develop something I can comfortably call my ‘writing style’;
  2. To broaden my topics and themes;
  3. To finalise a satisfactory manuscript halfway through April.

One might wonder – who the fuck cares what your resolutions are? You might be a friend, or a random stranger who stumbled upon this blog. In either case, I hope that in the act of posting these publicly, that I can find the courage in my heart not to run away from these goals. I want fulfillment, I want success, I want so much and I know I have to work hard to get those.

Wish List

First, patience. Second, patience –
but to a reasonable degree. Patience,
such that I may wait, without an inkling
of what you were thinking. Maybe
take a few centimetres off me, so
the distance between us can shrink,
by that inch which seems like a mile.
Perhaps, fingers just a centimeter
shorter, so that our palms could
match – 2 significant figures.
Lastly, a heart that is small,
so I may let nobody else in,
not even by a hair’s breadth.

SPWM Day 2
Published on QLRS

To Mimic The Behaviour Of The Blissful

The same-old, age-old, all-too-familiar facial movement: it’s like wearing a pair of old jeans. Same same but different. Likewise, the smile’s stretched out, stretched out to reach the ends of the world, and the teeth are bared- an impromptu dentist inspection, files of recruits falling in, trying to stay still, stay tidy, et cetera et cetera – with the eyebrows raised, ready to strike. A naturally man-made phenomenon. If the situation calls for it, you should appear happy; if you detect the same-old suspicions of joy, ditto: monkey see monkey do. Be their mirror, just as they were to you; they smile, you smile, because we are all happy, joyful, exuberant, altogether now. Yet, the creases in your forehead betray you: layer onto layer onto layer – Son, are you bothered by anything, Son, did anything happen , Son, you could practice smiling more, Son – parataxis, questions like quack doctors clamouring to save the sick, to revive the dead, to console the cheerless.  They pile up in the corner of my lips. I can feel them, pressing onto my cheeks, both from the inside and the outside; much like that time when you knew you were happy, but you didn’t show it, not by nurture but by nature; yet you caught yourself smiling when no-one was around to see it. Back then, you knew that smile was beautiful, even without looking at it.


I have a problem with smiling.

I’m very conscious of my teeth. They’re very crooked. Some in some out, some big some small. I didn’t brush my teeth enough when I was young. I was also often told that I didn’t smile a lot, or I always appeared moody: so I believed that this was the reason. But I could still smile with my mouth closed, so it wasn’t the cause – I soon realised that this disconnect existed for me, between emotion and action, feeling and behaviour: I could be happy but still appear the same, to be in the default state, the ‘stoneface’…my family won the lottery with my A-Levels certificate a few days ago. My mother was ecstatic, telling me how lucky she was to have bought 4D that day with the certificate I finally got back from my friends a few months after it was released. Who has the time to visit  old HCJC in the middle of sunny Singapore when you’re spending every bloody day in the mosquito-infested jungles of Mandai and Joo Koon? I digress, but she hugged me and I could see just how joyful she was, her smile was from ear to ear, and I suppose I was happy too, because honestly I am, I was, I swear, but then I caught a glimpse of my face in the display cabinet door, and I soon saw the ridiculousness of it all – a mother smiling, joyful, embracing the son, standing there limply as though in the wake of a car accident. 

will probably revisit this sometime, had difficulty ending it….I’ve made about 4 revisions now. I also wrote about this subject back when  I was way, way, way angstier. 

Anyway taiwan comes next week. the jungle awaits me…