riverofcurios: (paperbag)
i'm sitting at the seats outside the bibliothèque rené rémond, with a pain au chocolat i got during my daily gosselin run. it's only been 3 weeks -- so short, but yesterday walking to the metro i suddenly got the sense that i'm not ready to only spend three months here. i love the routine of making breakfast, grabbing a yoghurt from the fridge and eating it while walking to the metro. insert the paper ticket and wait for the train towards nation, and alight at pasteur to change towards aubervilliers, and alight at rue du bac for school. when everyone turns into the tiny escalator bringing us up next to boulevard raspail we all get a rude rush of cold air to the face. then i locate the LCL bank and make a turn toward boulevard saint-germain and walk to rue saint-guillaume. sometimes, if i'm early enough, i stop later at solferino to grab the gosselin pastry before walking slowly to school.

which is strange, because just until last week, heading back to paris was always bitter-sweet: the assurance of going home always had a slight tinge to it like i was headed for hell, too. the end of exchange looms so near, because i'm already making october plans, and soon it will be november then december then january... there is so much to see, and the urgency always gets to me. while i love singapore, and there's a comfort in home at the other side of the globe, i also feel like this could be everyday.
riverofcurios: (paperbag)

the skies were overcast the entire day, only letting the sun out for a minute and the moon still had to shy behind the clouds. there was a steady drizzle but a vicious wind that turned my umbrella inside out constantly, and the raindrops washed my cherry red boots. the raindrops, the rivers, always seem to capture what little sun london has and it is so beautiful to me. it was at most 17deg the entire day and i almost forgot that we were in the thick of summer -- what a thrilling end to august. i wish i could capture moments in vials: then, i would always revisit how tonight felt. the euphoria of having just watched charlie and the chocolate factory (a childhood favourite) and walking back to charing cross in the light drizzle and never-ending cold beating down on me with cars and buses swooshing past. the easy familiarity walking from edgware road station to the apartment. i wish this could go on forever. this thought keeps coming back to me -- that tiny fleeting thoughts i've ever thought insubstantial and of no weight actually have come forward to fruition somehow, and maybe one day the big dream can actually be something.


Aug. 24th, 2015 05:33 am
riverofcurios: (lanterns tangled)
admittedly 22 didn't get off to the most positive start -- a barrage of heartbroken texts from a homesick friend, and a close friend who wished me while acknowledging the recent distance between us both. and then to battle yet another bout of food poisoning (again) in the morning that sapped my energy and saw me lying on the toilet floors or couch and breaking out in sweat despite the 15 degree temperature in the apartment. if anything, i'd like to think of it as me cleansing out all the toxins from the past year as i turn 22. (ha ha)

so much for seizing the day! after i tried to sleep off the nausea, it was 1 or 2pm when i finally set out. a bowl of udon, and a trip to the v&a museum for the soul. and there's nothing like a light shower and that london chill to soak your lungs in. i count myself infinitely lucky, to turn 22 in my favourite city. and i am just absolutely dreading heading back to paris now. 
riverofcurios: (paperbag)
i love the cold and dreary, so there's always a certain cache about places and cities being ruthlessly smothered by the clouds and rain. paris these two days has been unwaveringly hot and sweltering -- it's like i never left singapore, and paris doesn't feel so special as it did two winters ago. on the flip side, in the heat it feels like Any City and i haven't had to deal with pesky gypsies or syndicates etc and have felt generally safe walking alone and about, which is good. but i do feel frustrated and angry at the heat and sweat and wish i went off to london earlier before exchange starts (it's 23 degrees there, so ideal). it's a week to london, and i'll be paddle boating through the river with xn and catching the book of mormon with sham (hopefully)! i'll be heading off to poland alone tomorrow -- so scared. sometimes i overestimate myself and how independent and brave i think i am. i teared leaving the house for changi, and again waving bye to my family at the airport. and then i full on cried just as i was boarding the plane but a kind stewardess gave me a box of tissues, so embarrassing. i never knew how hard it was to leave home till now -- i'd always liked to think of myself as a hardened and numbed individual, but perhaps (thankfully?) over the years i've learned to soften the edges.

anyway i shall also take this chance to say -- HI JOYSIE :) 8 years of knowing you and you're finally on my livejournal. hiya! 
riverofcurios: (paperbag)
Screen Shot 2015-07-19 at 10.59.55 PM
@alexstrohl: Overcast evening in the Fjords of Norway. The more I think about weather, the more I realize I'm constantly chasing cloudy/stormy weather. Nature comes to life under the rain.
i wrote this a while (a month??) ago, with the view that it should be revised somehow, but i saw the above instagram post this morning so it caught my heart, given my love for 6am mornings and tropical thunderstorms and london fog and all:

a half hour before i was due to leave the office that wednesday, the clouds unleashed the torrents of rain it had been holding onto the whole day. the skies blackened as if on cue, and i scrambled to secure an umbrella and to find myself home. the indescriptness of the cars and motors going by and the rains from infinities past temporarily blurred any notions of time i might have held, and for that moment i may have seen singapore as how it used to be. under the sun every other place looks angry and too new. you see the buildings and the problems, but the rain pummels down to soften the edges – the neon lights shine brighter and the complaints hushed. it doesn’t seem to rain so heavily at night most times in singapore, so it is always the rarety of rain, (especially when i am not under the shelter of home or school) that makes me think myself into the past – it is harder to do so where there is too much sun, because it is so usual and so everyday. when we think of history, we hardly factor in the rains and winds. history is only painted in the binaries of night and day, and forget about the rainy days where people are crossing puddles to find shelter, or where raindrops hit their face and drench their feet. when it rains, it brings me a little closer to history, and the people who have tasted the rains that had fallen on my skin and my hairs, the surroundings disappear and it is all human.

i was thinking about timing -- who i was before, who i am now. and how much of the phrase 'wrong timing' seems to have come into play for me. but -- maybe it isn't wrong timing. suddenly i remembered how i look at people as phases: accept that they come and go, and if you're lucky you find people who are the longest phases. so maybe it isn't wrong timing as it is the right timings for such a short time. because what i've ever lamented as falling into the bucket of 'wrong timing' could only seem so right then -- now, the culmination of me that encompasses all these missed chances will never be right for them again. which will always be a refreshing thought, that as we all move forward, regrets don't retain the same shapes anymore. no more mourning, no more melancholy, but a silent sweet reminisce and a hope for the future that will always turn out alright, i guess.
riverofcurios: (paperbag)
long ago, a person i used to know spoke of summer as that of a homecoming: that of a reprieve from the newly-ordinary life over There, bright lights and familiarity. i yearned to know summer like he did; summer as a window of comfort from a life of adventure and fun. but summer is mostly dull, and repetitive, and more so this year. summer is a window tightly shut, and keeping the haze in. life is slowly buffering, and while there are still some things new in the promise of summer, i am looking to europe in the fall. so much of now seems to already be in the cabinet of ‘before exchange’; who i am now will not last, because there is a new 'me’ quickly emerging – and thank God, because for the past 2 years i don’t think i quite knew who this person was, and never quite adjusted to her either.

it’s funny, because 2-3 years ago i had always had an arbitrary marker of 'summer 2015’ carved in my head: it was always some lofty ideal, a life into something else like i’d always dreamed. but now it has steeped into something quite underwhelming, and is rather the sole barrier i face to move into the cool air, gloomy skies of something else. during reading week my mind was flying off into times before -- the occasional 00's tune on shuffle, that day when C and I were stalking each other's entire instagram streams till 2012, 2011, the meeting of people from places past -- and so burdened by the weight of nostalgia. it's nice to know, the turns and detours i've made in life, and where i'm going to be. 
riverofcurios: (paperbag)
 it was probably too much grocery-store sushi for supper that sparked the series of vivid dreams last night. i was running so much in my dream that i woke up at 4, tired and overwhelmed. the dreamscape was a blur amalgamation of some indistinct village of sorts, and my own estate now. it was dusk, and i ran back and forth between the two places, meeting strange things and weird creatures all the time. i don't know why i kept running, or why the dreamscape was what it was, or what were all the strange things around me -- only an indelible, all-encompassing sense that i was scared, an uncertainty that perhaps i had made some mistakes, and maybe left someone, something, important behind. for all the vividity of last night's dreamland, the only thing lacking was any clarity at all. 
riverofcurios: (paperbag)
i forget now, when and where it was recently that i suddenly wondered about the immediacy of memory, or rather its far-ranging potency, accessibility in the past. memories, so many of them, that used to surround themselves floating about the tips of my fingers have now taken residence somewhere else i don't know of, and it is getting harder to pry the buggers out lately. things are getting so far from me now, and it never fails to surprise whenever i meet a memory that used to be so familiar, but now have vestiges left behind elsewhere, maybe in another me, in another time. and it takes so much effort to claw back the pieces, and there now exists endless speculation on many parts, including my own, on the components and feels to a memory. it seems so sad, that things that were once lived out and retold so many times over find an expiry date to themselves, and it kind of gets more tiring with age to find these things in us again. and it's sad, too, that these things become so far from us, and life now is all lies, or half-realities on the burdens of subjective memory when we try to guesstimate and grasp at impossible, spectral lives we thought we lived.

(p.s. i found enough boredom and procrastination to change my lj layout after 4? 5? 6? years!!! to the 2-3 people who still read this pls go check it out on my main page instead of ur friends page just this one time lol hooray recess week. altho it was rly cos i had no idea how to craft a website design i liked so i decided to go easy and edit my lj layout instead lulz #attainablegoals)
riverofcurios: (paperbag)
i think all the time, about the universe and its finiteness — how there are limits to the combination of actions, behaviours and facial features that are expected from humans. words and faces start to repeat themselves through time, and everything starts to feel awfully tired and repetitive. infinitives make us forgetful — tireless hoping against the grain, among the routine may help us disremember the truth that this is all there is so everything carelessly fades from the conscience. but i want to reawaken the conscious — that every choice is borne from a hidden impulse that escapes ordinary notice, so much an expression of the individual that at each split second of decision, multiverses branch and explode into creation. multiple lives that could have, would have been if only we had said one more word, kept another word.

looking at 2015, and seeing my peers begin to graduate with bachelors and starting work as i only begin to finish my year 2… mostly i’m surprised at who i am, and how my life is going to be. being on this path makes me more cognisant, more wistful sometimes, for the paths that i imagined for myself or could have easily set off on, or pose themselves as missed opportunities. there was the one, so often dreamed of where i could be in london or green english fields and in a few months, graduating as a law student. maybe there could be one where distance proved not too daunting for affection, or one where i would be too fearful of the prospect of a gap year that i would gracefully matriculate into nus fass in 2012, that i could be the compassionate and kind person i wish i was or continued with my simple love for art and drawing as a kid and pursued art and design as an adult.

but with each universe and its obvious non-manifestation in my life brings a gratitude that somehow, things do turn out for the best and so differently from what we ever imagine, too. i used to think of 2015 in distant terms, like a far-off future with a wiser, older, still hopeful me and a love too-optimistically still alive. but 2015 is here, and past ambitions and dreams have faded, but it feels like things are becoming to come alive now. it's me, it's time for me. 

the best

Jan. 16th, 2015 11:42 pm
riverofcurios: (paperbag)

we embarked on an impromptu trip back to the alma mater after seeing troy go back for coaching at acjc, and in usual fashion, met with difficulties. the first was that we should have made appointments with teachers, and the second was goutham's slippers. it was a shame that we missed j siau by 10 minutes, and that vgoh was stuck in a meeting till 6 and was irritated at our persistent calls (not really a shame, no). it's some kind of wondrous that year by year we have more to tell our teachers, and more they want to know about us. we walked the stuffy corridors i always thought looked like some lame rpg game, and missed it all, even the times i felt so suffocated by it all. alma maters are special, no matter the nature of experience, because no one else but alumni can feel the connection and belonging to each tile, stair, corridor or bench. we sat down on void deck tables as usual, though they were awkwardly arranged vertically, and talked of the days of 2010/11 as we know them so well. surrounded by students who seemed like mini-selves of a few years ago, and i wonder if we always looked so small and unassuming then, and how the most unacquainted of relationships from opposite ends of the void deck then somehow still come up after graduation. mostly, recently, i'd been thinking about how i feel so different now, so divorced from my 17/18 year old self when i remember my feelings and frustrations then still in full clarity, and that i only feel the resonance of my youth insofar as accumulated experiences and remnants of social relationships and life consequences.... and i am still having trouble sometimes adjusting to who i am now, and where i am. who i am now is a fine line between steadiness and passivity, both of which i am unfamiliar with though i am leaning towards the latter, and most times the stability could almost drive me to self-destruction i think.

ghee: remember the time when our cards got confiscated by mdm tham-
goutham and i: YOU WERE NOT THERE!!!
ghee: hahaha i thought i could edit myself into your memories since i was barely around in j1. i've already edited myself into more 2010 events than i actually was involved in.

(the night before, our belated christmas pork luck)
me: his name is KP.... the first word is an indian word, and the second is a mathematical word
(everyone starts throwing out stupid names like kumar parallelogram or kamal pythagoras etc)
goutham: KRISHNA PASCAL (hits the weak glass table)
(everyone guffaws and throws back their hands in laughter)
(table tilts 45 degrees and all the cider and beer bottles topple and clang noisily and a wine glass breaks)

it's so strange that up to a few weeks ago i could say that i am going to paris 'next year' and now it is 'this year' and i am so scared. firstly because i was never a huge fan of paris, i'm not the sort that you can peg as one who would coo over being in the city of lights/romance or the eiffel tower (frankly neither impress me) when i would rather be in london, (i have learnt that divergences are sometimes a blessing and that london will come if it has to) and because of the paris terror attacks recently as well as the sydney siege, that has reminded me to the consequences of global cities no matter how endearing they are to me and the growing salience of isis. or maybe this whole paris thing is a conspiracy to sensitise me again to life's highs and scares. my school is the top political science institute in france/europe which makes it seem a more worthy target, not discounting the fact that it is right smack dab in the centre, adjacent to key monuments and governmental institutions. these were aspects i craved in applying for exchange, but they are boons as much as they are banes, and i am only beginning to realise this so acutely now. and i’m wondering if the coming-reality of war will make me a more compassionate, more deliberate person in my relationships and efforts.

the other day i was making a flat white and commented to suat 'i actually find flat whites more beautiful than lattes with all the latte art and what not' and to my surprise she enthusiastically agreed with me and i'd like to think there was a deeper bonding that happened as we mused over the unseeming aesthetic of flat whites, with their glossy topped swirls of brown crema and white steamed milk

also i am putting less effort into writing, and into trying to string sentences pretty. there is so much in my head i want to unpick that writing them all coherently would take up sosososo much time....... that i rather spend sleeping or watching videos meh. what happened to the girl who would sit trying to find that one word??? i've become the type of person who wants the pragmatic, practical sort of things -- the summer internship, the research assistant role, the coveted exchange position to somewhere prestigious, and I HATE IT ALL, i used to hate these kinds of people but for the sake of a 'stable future' it seems i must. i suck.

riverofcurios: (paperbag)

The reason we frequently get our predictions wrong is that the human mind reasons by analogy and extrapolation. We are drawn to internally consistent "stories" about the world as we know it, and we tend to project these stories into the future, often in a linear and mechanistic fashion. But just because a story is consistent or coherent does not make it correct as a prediction of the future.

Daniel Kahneman, the Nobel Prize laureate for Economics in 2002, puts it this way, "[T]he exaggerated expectation of consistency is a common error. We are prone to think that the world is more regular and predictable than it really is, because our memory automatically and continuously maintains a story about what is going on, and because the rules of memory tend to make that story as coherent as possible and to suppress alternatives. Fast thinking is not prone to doubt."
riverofcurios: (paperbag)
i'm sitting in my starchy and worn ac sweater which is nice and scratchy against my skin, my nose is runny and it is december again. it always shocks me now, how little i write or think anymore and mostly i only battle with my personal frustrations of how dull and vanilla i've become. i no longer have to battle with the abstract notions of sadness or nothingness that drove me to words and words upon pages in the earliest mornings trying to find rhyme or reason because i have the mis/privilege of attacking instead, the corporeals of essays and injuries and people. where once i could only grapple with some mysterious concept of sleep that always eluded me and convinced myself that i was an inadequate being, my feelings of inadequacy can be found in the concrecity of myself in relation to others in so many areas-- which while still distressing, is a sick sort of comfort in the kitsch of it all.

i am going to paris next fall. i was initially excited, then scared, and now very much meh about it all. but there must be some reason why my friends say that a french education will be of benefit to me rather than the one i would have wanted for myself, and sometimes i believe that my opinion for myself bases lowly in the cosmics of my life and i never know what's right for me anyway without hindsight. but i am excited to be alone.

mostly because i am no longer my own, and this whole year finds itself, in tiny bits and pieces, threaded to so many people and places, that i feel very much worn down. it is exciting, because for a long while, singapore found herself almost as an inevitability in my life, the infinite that scares me so much. but as much as i want to be alone, i already know that i am, because this year i feel myself tied to people i find i don't really know now, and it scares me because i will soon have no one else i suppose. i will say this because it is near the end of 2014: i wanted this year to be one of numbness, but so many days i felt like bawling and yelling. i think this may have a hitback in 2015. 
riverofcurios: (paperbag)
i had a dream this morning. while i’ve forgotten most of it, what i remember is that you coloured the impressions and atmosphere of the entirety of the dream — feelings of awkwardness and uncertainty toward you, but yet the small fleeting lightheartedness i used to know of us creeping in like tiny winds. not sure how to reconcile the two, but dreaming of you was strange considering we haven’t talked in over a year. i only remember this — walking to the subway with you (because in the dream we were placeless), and stopping short of sending you off on the platform. you acquiesced easily, if even to hide any notice of the abruptness, and as you descended down the escalator framed by the foliage looking at me, an awkwardly guarded and proper ‘goodbye’ slipped out of my lips and that was that, and it suddenly strikes me how reminiscent this dream was of the last time we met, me boarding the bus harriedly as we rushed the final goodbye.
riverofcurios: (paperbag)
"Transitology... seems to have taught us less about the causes of democratic transitions than it has about our own predilection to imagine opportunities for manufacturing change we hope to see, even under apparently difficult circumstances.

It is worth revisiting an important but often overlooked point made by Tilly about the importance of timescale to theories of democratisation to help understand why it is so hard to formulate grand theories that can explain and predict not just broad patterns, but also specific events. As Tilly points out, the process of democratisation could occur on the political equivalent of a geological timescale, like the process by which organic matter is transformed into an oil frield; or it could occur on a much shorter (and more familiar) timescale, like the planting and cultivation of a garden; or it could fall somewhere in between. The challenge for scholars of comparative democratisation is that we still do not know which timescale applies."

disparate thoughts:

  • i really hate learning about theories, so it's surprising that ulfelder's description of transitology read like poetry to me. it's always unexpected that between the science and jargonistic tendencies of political scientists, you see a little of yourself in the world... or maybe a little of the world in you.

  • the other day i got really sad when i realised that the blueberry cakes and rosemary butter cakes and tarts don't look as towering or magnificent as i used to remember, and that it is all my eyes. and it is made all the more stark when everyone else can see it except you

  • sometimes it scares me, how everyone in my life seems to be converging to the same inconstancy, proving me wrong all the time then. i hate that i am always disappointed by the inconsistencies of people, more so when i've thought the contrary to them all along. worst joke in the world.

  • with everyone moving to beautiful places, i set forth with this annoying determination on this impertinent task to find the beautiful in this country

Screen Shot 2014-09-21 at 9.46.54 PM
march 2014-september 2014
from morning light to the final glares of day
riverofcurios: (paperbag)

But there are times, when I think about you and I miss… something. I don’t know that it’s you I miss, actually. It’s the feeling, or rather the realization that I could have loved something that unabashedly, that fully and truly.

maybe i was a little in love with the pain. if nothing else, things were vivid. i wasn’t numb. i was legitimately depressed (and even did a disastrous three day dance with lexapro) but the summer had a kind of cracked beauty to it, the darkness illuminated by some genuine flashes of light, cosmic reminders that i wouldn’t always be feeling that way. there was beauty in the world… and some of it would be mine.
riverofcurios: (paperbag)
cycling last midnight was tiring but so, so exhilarating. it is some kind of magic to be cycling with new friends across the newly-quiet terrains of hitherto-unseen estates in the still of night, and speeding along so as to have the wind caught in your ears and billowing through your shirt. i mean it's not like the burning in my glutes or upper thighs were very welcome or comfortable but the captivation of rediscovering the cold of mornings and the -- no other word for it -- pretty, harbours dotting our coastlines in the backgrounds and lights forming in the waters in a dance i never once saw was something else. then we sat down at a bench facing the airport and an unknown jungle, watching the blinking buoys and having large aircraft fly toward and over us. we didn't make it to the sunrise, but my friend did point out pegasus and andromeda watching over us.
riverofcurios: (paperbag)
other than trying to decipher my own feelings most times, i think i write to find the words for 6am mornings, tropical thunderstorms and london, the ones that struggle to emerge from the beauty of fog and still. at 6 this morning the skies fell so angry, demanding to be heard but begging me to go back to sleep. the thunderstorm and rain purported to be typical of this island was so strange and surreal -- that the everydays in humidity and sweat are washed away by the winds. last sunday i walked to the train station in the cool of the after-rain and thought of london, and its possibility. all i know from being 6 to 7 years of age were the dark 6am skies that were chilly and the rain threatening to tear the trees down and london, the 'other' city to singapore. and at six i didn't know of anything else -- the cold rainy mornings and london were all i knew. and when i try to find the words for all of these things, i am trying to move to a reality i used to think was true. my reality now is painful and dull and i miss my sadness, and who i used to be. the rain was beating against the window next to where i sat on the bus and there was a tug at the heartstrings to feel the way i used to, some dull echo of ghost feelings and thoughts and a year, two years, three... they distance me from who i want to return to, which is all very shocking for me.
riverofcurios: (paperbag)
what a cruel marker of the last two years, yet i have grown so cold to everything else i can only laugh bitterly to myself i think. some things now are pressing reminders of what used to be, and how while contexts and places can remain impossibly stubborn and same, people pass, and emotions change... oh how they change. and two years later i am sitting on the carpeted floor again, just now wondering when i got so comfortable with an alien concept of home, and settled for mediocrity. but some things still stick, like my inability for small talk and the laziness of being anything near social. oh, and people still think i am gallivanting in london and studying there like i hope, and it's amusing, the ferocity and stickiness of certain impressions.

i have done away with the silly rules i had set myself when i was 18, and i realised this with the ringing of my shrill voice in my head circa 2012 claiming that "we never sleep on the last day of church camps!" and heading straight to bed at 12 last night, the last night of church camp. it is difficult, also, to ignore the memories of a 'something more' blossoming in the wee hours of the morning in a cold hotel room, when i tuck myself in to an empty hotel bed with the reminders of a friendship gone sour. it has been two years, and i have dwelt on it too long sometimes, but mostly i only remember the pain of it all which seems so recent -- which is why it shocks me: the distance of two years, and everything since then.

i never remember anything anymore -- don't want to remember, either. sometimes it feels like forgetting is overrated, that we are only under its spell of blinding passivity and careless distractions. but i have overturned passivity on its head and forced so much into the caverns of the mind, or perhaps further than that. i used to want to remember everything, and now i want to forget it all -- it has become second nature. and i never feel as much as i used to anymore, so much so that i seem to be walking in the echo of a past self. someone else is emerging, and i don't know her yet.

i am so tired all the time, even when i am sitting down. more so when i am sitting down, and i don't want to get used to this. i already get the sense that summer is passing me by, and soon i will be trapped in another 9 months of clockwork and tiredness and exams and i feel like puking thinking about this.
riverofcurios: (paperbag)
what happiness would it be for those who live among us, if our external appearance were always a true mirror of our hearts; if decorum were but virtue; if the maxims we professed were the rules of our conduct; and if real philosophy were inseparable from the title of a philosopher!
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