Thursday, 30 October 2008


青春之后,认输之前。I didn't invent that, 阿信 did.

* * * *

Someone told me that in this season when nights are cold, people feel lonely a lot. He says that the sight of fallen leaves are unbearable, because of the emptiness it stirs up in the heart.

Those who tried to explain the feeling of loneliness are fools. How do you visualise a void? How would you grapple a heart with regrets? How could you scream out loud without being heard? For those who understood, it means no more than the word. For those who don't, they won't have a clue even if a book is written.

The autumn wind is cruel. Leaves fall, flowers wither, passion turns cold... constantly reminding one that all good things are ending. It is a depressing time, as if the world is dying. There ain't much more to anticipate, except for the bitter winter snow and days without warm sunlight.

Fortunately for season's change, spring will come once more and bring new hopes. But in life, seasons do not repeat. What is missed will be missed forever, what is lost will never be found. Life stories are not to be rewritten...

Which season in life are you at? I think I am in summer, like the weather in the little isle which I live. Regrets may be too early to recollect, but I hope there won't be plenty.

* * * *

读一首, 后 青春期的诗,感动着。

五月天 - 如烟

Or listen to song here

我坐在床前 望着窗外回忆满天
生命是华丽错觉 时间是贼偷走一切

七岁的那一年 抓住那只蝉
十七岁的那年 吻过他的脸

有没有那么一种永远 永远不改变
拥抱过的美丽 都再也不破碎
让险峻岁月不能 在脸上撒野

我坐在床前 转过头看谁在沉睡
那一张苍老的脸 好像是我紧闭双眼
曾经是爱我的 和我深爱的
带不走的那些 遗憾和眷恋

化成大雨降落在 回不去的街
再给我一次机会 将故事改写
还欠了他一生的 一句抱歉

有没有那么一个世界 永远不天黑
星星太阳万物都 听我的指挥
月亮不忙着圆缺 春天不走远

是我来自漆黑 而又回归漆黑

有没有那么一朵玫瑰 永远不凋谢
永远骄傲和完美 永远不妥协
还不如一片花瓣 曾经鲜艳

有没有那么一张书签 停止那一天
最单纯的笑脸和 最美那一年

有没有那么一首诗篇 找不到句点
青春永远定居在 我们的岁月
男孩和女孩都有 吉他和舞鞋
笑忘人间的苦痛 只有甜美

有没有那么一个明天 重头活一遍
让我再次感受 曾挥霍的昨天
无论生存或生活 我都不浪费


Wednesday, 29 October 2008

From SG to Incheon

Even after a thousand times, some drills have to be repeated faithfully the same way.

Fasten the seat belt, rearrange blanket and pillow, know your Captain's name, revise safety video, and wait... taxi... then the aircraft picks up speed, the metal wings flap. As the wheels remove themselves from the ground, my heart skips a beat.

The tragic accident of SQ6, which hit obstacles on the runway in Taipei CKS airport during take-off, is still fresh in my mind (a lot of people will remember this because it is the first fatal accident involving a SQ flight). Who knows this could happen to me today and life would mean a different thing in just split seconds. Not that I am being morbid, but the only certainty in life is death and for all the others, there are endless possibilities.

A glimpse of Taipei from over 11,000m above.

History can be made digestible by movies. I learnt a few things new today: “欲望使人年轻”、“冷天扇扇子可以让人更冷静”。More importantly, a calm mind and the right strategy are keys to success (never mind if it's the goose or turtle formation). Know thy self, know thy enemy, old fashioned but words of wisdom applicable in every era.

A name rang in my ear, Zhao Zilong. He was the hero, of course until Tony Leung appeared. What was the Battle of Chi Bi all about? The movie never say. But in the most superficial layman manner I shall explain, this was an important battle in history because the good guys (Liu Bei and Sun Quan) defeated the bad guy (Cao Cao) even though their troops were out-numbered by 4 times in the number of soldiers. It was all based on the wise use of strategies and strong morale plus unity. And apparently because the good guys won the battle, they secured the red cliff area, which seems like an important segment in Yangtze. Get it? Hmm.. I think we have better leave the details for the great story teller to tell us in the next movie.

It is fast approaching the 8th anniversary of SQ6 plane crash. On 31 October, many will weep once more. I wish for those who have lost their loved ones, to feel less grieve and find strength in life and those who have lost their lives, to rest in peace.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Seoul, so?

He must hate it everytime he sees me lug the suitcase out from our storeroom. Just like I hate the fact that there are always one too many thing to pack.

Last time, he left his toy inside my luggage. This time, he tried to pack himself into it.

He stepped onto my suits!

Reality check. Eh eh, you're never going to fit in.

I have lost the ability to decipher information from the weather forecast. The temperature fluctuations from day to day are so confusing that I have decided to pack for 2 seasons just in case.

I feel a little uneasy about this trip, but on the other hand, glad that I will be spending some time away from home. I guess we all need a "vacation" from one another occassionally.

Going to miss my forest,
Miss my monkeys,
Miss my dog.

Also going to get some advice on how to carry such a thick stack of notes on a day to day basis. My wallet's going explode!

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Before the next milestone...

I woke up one day and realised that I have grown old.

The settlement of fine lines on my face makes me look like a new person. The lines are like tree-rings which reveal the age of a tree; but unlike tree-rings, which also record the climatic conditions of each year in the lifetime of a tree, you cannot tell if a particular year was harder than another from those lines alone.

I have created a reserve of people and events which I carelessly shoved away as "forgotten". Maybe it is the passage of time that has caused compartments of memories to be slowly erased. Of course I have to admit that my "attention radar" has reduced over the years, making it harder for people or things to score a point with me (not easily impressed, huh). Perhaps, some were unimportant in the first place to be remembered.

Without realising it, insecurity has creeped into my life. As people aged, they become insecured about their lives, their relationships, their finances... their future to sum it all up. As life becomes stable and routinised, people draw comfort and security from the monotonous lifestyles and are afraid to change. With more possessions to provide a secured and comfortable life, there are more possessions at risk of being taken away. It is funny that insecurity should breed from security and simply put, life like this is a sad irony.

I ponder on my thoughts a lot lately, about what 40 years could mean in a person's life. Why 40? Because it is the next milestone in my life. When Chopin died at the age of 39, he left behind a legacy of Nocturnes which still plays in my CD player, on nights more than 150 years after his time. Che Guevara led Cuba into revolution at the mere age of 28, and even though he died young, those 39 years which he lived were glorious, making him a significant icon of the 20th century. Coincidentally, on 9 October, the day when Che was murdered, we will also remember the birthday of a great musician of our time, one who shot to fame during the 60s as The Beatles (and continued to become a peace-activist), and was shot dead in 1980 when he was just 40. John Lennon demonstrated to the world that 40 years is enough to make a hell lot of differences (and noise).

Although there is still a journey before I would reach 40, I feel each day that I am running out of time. I do not want to become someone famous, and I have no desire to lead a revolution, but I am constantly afraid that my time will be wasted in a life I live only for myself, that I would be forgotten, as soon as I passed on, as if I have never existed in this world. Most of all, I am afraid that there is no purpose for my existence and that I am merely living a parasitic life, wasting the world's resources and air, which are already scarce.

Thoughts like these keep me awake at night, wondering what I should do to make my life "right". There is no question that I have to change, break away from my current routine, move out of my comfort zone, "erase the old concepts" and pursue something "more real". But what is real? If I can do things that will make a difference to someone's life, even though it is just for one person, I guess that makes me feel real enough and is what I should pursue.

Wait for me there, my purpose! I'll find you by 40, panting maybe, but I'll be there.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Excuse me, but I need to tell you the truth

I think I'll have to spend forever to learn, how to tell a friend the truth without reservations.

Many times I have thought my friends were making the wrong decisions. However, despite my struggles, I chose to not say a word. I often asked myself if I have failed my duty as a friend, especially when those decisions led to catasrophes in the end. Would things have turned out differently if I had spoken my thoughts? Maybe not.

I had a great way of getting away with my silent indifference, that is I respect my friends and thus their choices and decisions. Saying that I have confidence in them when I have none in my words - is that hypocrisy or cowardice? I am merely a coward trying to avoid confrontations.

Differences in opinions are often the root cause of conflicts, arguments and maybe war in the most extreme sense. Take Pedra Branca for example, they think it's theirs, we think it's ours... nothing more than differences in judgement and interpretation. And who's telling the truth, who's a liar? Vote for the Republican or the Democrat? I don't have the faintest idea. It may be politics, but is also a mind game, convincing you and I to take sides.

The frienship band was a popular item during our teenage days. If you remember how it was made, by making many knots on strings, this colourful embellishment which we wore around the wrist is strong and durable, like how real friendships are meant to be. In a way, my friends, those years that have passed and moments which we have shared, are like the little knots we tied on the strings. Surely, it can endure some careless words and inconsiderate actions. And more importantly, the truth... even when truth hurts sometimes.

I often gazed into the dark sky, hoping to see a shooting star. Millions of shooting stars occur each day, but because of our limited view of the sky (I understand we see only 0.005 percent of the sky), we would have the chance to see only about a dozen per hour. Don't need a genius to calculate how much we have missed because of this natural limitation.

Same applies in life. Amongst the 6 billion in this world, our paths crossed. It is the amazing work of fate no doubt. Friends are hard to come by, more so those whom we have spent a quarter our lifetime with. Perhaps we should not let the "limited space" in our hearts to cause us to lose a few... because these guys are hard to find, much harder than to sight a shooting star.

Food for thought: Speak the truth with a little bit of diplomacy, and never with an empty stomach :-P

My view of the beautiful night sky tonight, full moon. 月圆人团圆。

Saturday, 4 October 2008

From that September morning onwards...

Years ago on one September morning, I came to Cross Street with nothing more than a bachelor degree, thinking that I would make a short stint there of not more than 3 years.

I ended up staying on much longer than I expected, 3 years short of a decade in fact.

Little did I know on that September morning that the years ahead would consist of many life changing experiences. Some of my happiest and most devastating times were spent at Cross Street. From there, I've built a career, made a bunch of friends and accumulated a wealth of memories.

Memories are like wine. As they aged, they become sweeter. I have finally unpacked the bag of stuff I brought home from Cross Street a year ago. The little things in this bag tell so many stories, I wondered why I have left them unattended in a corner for so long...

How many of these can you recognise?

2003 - 2006. Hamtaro and Timothy Seah (missing here) were the wardens of 女人街who ferociously guarded our workstations against intruders.

Birthday in Blue 2003. Trying to pose with poker faces... but none was successful.

2003 at our favourite steamboat place. We were almost 20 men & women strong back then. (Note the alien dog and Shoe peeping at Cowboy)

2004. People were crazy about William Hung. Our favourite pastime at the ailing construction company in IBP was watching video clips of Hung and mimicking his moves. I had the lyrics of the song stuck at SSR's workstation for the longest time!

Trans Siberia 2005. Travelling for 23 days with over 100 hours on trains. From St Petersburg to Moscow to Siberia to Mongolia and then Beijing. St Basil Cathedral, Lenin, Lake Baikal, grassland in Mongolia, Great Wall of China... an unforgetable vacation in short, with marvellous companions.

2005 GEM award. Sometimes going the extra mile means keeping mum and doing nothing. Received after being ruthlessly blasted by a client for no reason whatsoever. Fortunately my boss was there to witness it all.

2006. These pens commerate the many nights I spent at SGX Centre. Night after night I had takeout for dinner. Never once we ate at LPS cos I never saw the satay stalls open as I was working hours longer than the satay vendors.

There we have it! The first baby in our group. K was borned on 11 July 2006. His 1 month old gift box.

2006. Notes from Dahan and SSR from their "visits" to my cube. Dahan wrote this on my memo pad when I first got them after turning "M". SSR left her "trail" when she visited office on a weekend during her maternity leave.

Christmas 2005 - 2006. I still haven't found out who was the Mystery K who got me the hand cream for gift exchange.

2004 - 2007. Witnessed so many sweet unions and happy moments.

Time flies, places change, people come and go. Someone once told me that the only thing constant in life is change. I may not be able to stop the clock from ticking, maybe I can't keep a person who has his mind set on leaving, but I can seal every memory... from that September morning onwards.