Saturday, August 08, 2009


You need to justify your actions before you shoot us? That's new. That could be interpreted as weakness, Daddy. [pause] I'm disappointed in you.

I'm not gonna shoot anybody

You shot at me before

Yes. I'm sorry, I regret that. You ran away. But shooting at you certainly didn't help matters. Of course not. You're, far, far too stubborn

If you don't want to kill me, then why did you come?

Our last conversation, the one in which you told me what it was you didn't like about me never really concluded as you ran away. I should be allowed to tell you what I don't like about you. That, I believe, would be a rule of polite conversation, you know.

That's why you showed up? And you call me stubborn. [Pause] You're sure you're not here to force me to go back and become like you?

If I thought there was a chance of forcing you... but of course that will never happen. You are more, more than welcome to return home and become my daughter again... anytime... and I would even begin to share my power and responsibility with you if you did. Not that you care...

So what is it? What is it, the thing... the thing that you don't like about me?

It was a word you used that provoked me. You called me "arrogant". To plunder as it were a God given right.

I'd call that arrogant, daddy.

But that is exactly what I don't like about you! lt is you that is arrogant!

That's what you came here say?

I'm not the one passing judgment, Daddy, you are.

No, you do not pass judgment because you sympathize with them: A deprived childhood and a homicide really isn't necessarily a homicide, right? The only thing you can blame is circumstances. Rapists and murderers may be the victims according to you, but I call them dogs and if they're lapping up their own vomit the only way to stop them is with the lash.

But dogs only obey their own nature So why shouldn't we forgive them?

Dogs can be taught many useful things but not if we forgive them every time they obey their own nature.

So, I'm arrogant. I'm arrogant because I forgive people.

My God! Can't you see how condescending you are when you say that? You have this preconceived notion that nobody... listen... that nobody can't possibly attain the same high ethical standards as you so you exonerate them. I can not think of anything more arrogant than that. You, my child... my dear child you forgive others with excuses that you would never in the world permit for yourself.

Why shouldn't l be merciful? Why?

No, no, no. You should. You should be merciful. When there is time to be merciful. But you must maintain your own standard You owe them that. You owe them that! The penalty you deserve for your transgressions, they deserve for their transgressions.

They are human beings

No, no, no. Does every human being need to be accountable for their actions? Of course they do! But you don't even give them that chance. And that is extremely arrogant... I love you, I love you I love you to death. But you are the most arrogant person l have ever met... And you call me arrogant! l have no more to say

You are arrogant, I'm arrogant. You've said it, now you can leave

And without my daughter, I suppose?


I said without my daughter?

Hmm, yes!



Well, you decide, you decide... Grace, they say you are having some trouble here.

No. No more trouble than back home.

I'll give you a little time to think about this. Perhaps you will change your mind.

I won't.

Listen, my love... power is not so bad... l am sure that you can find a way to make use of it in your own fashion... Take a walk and think about it.

The people who live here are doing their best under very hard circumstances.

If you say so, Grace. But is their best really good enough? Do they love you?

I always thought that it was my best that wasn't good enough, but I realise, it's the other way around and time shouldn't be wasted. But still, thank god I have neither such power nor responsibility.


[No. What they had done was not good enough, and if one had the power to put it to rights, it was one's duty to do so. For the sake of the other towns. For the sake of humanity. And not least for the sake of the human being that was Grace herself....]

If I went back and became your daughter again, when would l be given the power you're talking about?


At once

Why not?

So that would mean that, I'd also take on the immediate responsibilities at once. I'd be a part in the problem solving... Like the problem... of Dogville.

We can start by shooting a dog and nailing it to a wall over there beneath that lamp, for example. Well, it might help. It sometimes does

It would only make the town more frightened, but hardly make it a better place. And it could happen again. Somebody happening by revealing...their frailty. That's what I wanna use the power for, if you don't mind. I wanna make this world a little better.... If there is any town this world would be better without, this is it.


Shoot them and burn down the town.

You want the curtains opened? You don't need them anymore. What do you think?

I think we should open them. I think it's appropriate.

Friday, August 07, 2009

I knew he'd be back.
Not pleased.
I woke up at 9.30, from a bit of a nightmare involving murder and escape, but happy nonetheless. I always wake happy, so it must be my natural disposition.

I decided that I'd take a walk this morning. So I took off slowly, onto Gibraltar, past Malta and past Cyprus. The regal black and white mansions aching in their colonial memory, grave next to the tiny bright flowers, bursting. I used to walk in Vancouver with Jarrett, but Singapore is nothing like that. The air is not crisp but thick and warm, like a strong, soothing cup of tea. It is even a tad bit misty. Signs of neglect stand out from the general cavas of aged pride: the peeling paint off the houses, the white shamed with dirt, and trees extending their roots into the concrete, breaking them apart with the weight of time and nature.

A small concrete structure nestled in the green beckons to me. I notice a small flight of stairs behind it, leading to what must be a private clearing fresh with flowers. But there stood a door, by the side of the abandoned little building, framed with banyan roots and decaying plants. I turned away, a little ashamed of my cowardice, a little excited with the prospect of sharing this find with my brother or a friend, for later. After all, I was alone, and I know a bad idea when I see one - now. I walked away, my thoughts turning to that little wet mist-shrouded chapel in Cherra, Meghalaya. What was it he said? That western theology had too much of a two-dimenstional view of spirituality, that the spiritual world was real and that this is an area within Christian thought that needs to be developed. "All these 'gods', Pan and the lot, they're real." And the I thought about my brother, and his stories, and how I stopped him in mid-sentence. There are some battles I do not wish to fight.

Oh Shillong. I thought about how similar these old colonial houses were to the petite wooded abodes we found while trudging up the hill to see the sunset. Both European in flavour, wooden and floral. But the houses there were warm, cheerful and the flowers larger and brighter. There were smiles and churches and lively puppies, the noise of 30 ruppee taxis braving steep drops and sharp turns down the mountain, honking their horns. Here, I see grasscutters, and one lone gaudy ang-moh girl walking down to the main road. Then the military security rolls by, in their armoured vehicles. THIS is our neighbourhood watch. I brush off a stay spider's web that I had unwittingly collected and move on.

I guess I do like nature. I wonder why this hadn't dawned on me before. Perhaps for the first time, I have spare time and the mental space to wander. I stopped to watch three butterfiies chase each other around - why do they do that? They were the same shade of brown as the dried leaves that were scattered around me. I stood still to I watched another dead leaf fall gracefully onto the grass.

Death in beauty, beauty in death, and the shadow that my happiness casts is called pensive.
There are (at least) two different kinds of anxiety: The sort that moves you to seek change and the sort that mellows into a green, accepting, sadness.

With perspective, both can be good.

I enjoy my sadness, and it's difficult ways.
~ EF.
Remember how they told you to cut your losses and run?

Thursday, August 06, 2009


Under the noonday heat tinted green by the foliage that shrouds the porch, I am working on proposals and reports. A knocking above catches my attention and I smile a little, already knowing the sight I would behold when I raise my eyes. The translucent roof is clamouring with a little bird feast and I watch for the little scratchy feet that hop around - the only part of the bird I can see. She (or he?) is hard at work, violently abusing a nut or a snail for lunch. The perfect black lines that join and her ankle in the shape of a rake tells me where she is, and I can see her victim bouncing around, subject to her hungry beak.

I thought about running upstairs to rescue the poor snail. I thought about how scary it must be to feel so trapped, to have no where to run to except into your shell - a poor fortress. But then either laziness or a sense of subjugation to nature took over and I watched her cute feet (claws) patter around the roof before she took off, satisfied.

I enjoyed watching her eat. But I guess in every gift comes a cost. Be wise in the balancing act.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Out of context

H: Canada is like the fruit of knowledge of good and evil in the garden of Eden

S: that could be the nicest thing anyone has ever said about Canada. I assume it was a compliment.

H: Blogging it.

S: Good, the world needs to know.
It's alright, take your time to find your peace. We'll be right here with you through the darkest dawn. Come on, come on, come on, come on now you can't make it on your own.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009


"等一下,等一下,我要吗人了!我要吗人了!" G mumbles into the phone, before hanging up and turning on me. I had walked in that monday afternoon after dealing with ICA and had done a full star-jump (nothing less) to announce my arrival in his office.

"Where have you been? Worried for you! You disappeared! Could have been kidnapped, dying somewhere, we don't know?!! Also, you never turn off your computer!"

It had been the weekend, I don't come to work on weekends.

Tuesday morning, I relearn the art of wearing heels and had Metric join me on the way to the meetings. "Hello! I haven't seen you for a couple of days!" She smiles (beautiful beautiful smile) over the tea cup she's using to warm up her hands.

It had been the weekend, I don't come to work on weekends.

Needless to say, I am learning what it means to be loved, and to feel safe again. Even if it means that people can care for you and appreciate you in a distant, professional way.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Right now, I'm a ball of good things.


For some reason, I am living in here a lot now. I am not quite sure why. Wiggle room for the mind? Either way, it's better this way.

"I'm so lonely here
everyone is gone
everyone meaning you"

From Nagaland to Bangkok to Vancouver, you're always holding my hand.

On that note, I should've visited in you Tanzania...
"I think you don't have the slightest clue of who you are".

And that's when it all started. I'm still uncovering new bits of information every so often, like shards lodged in the soft tissue of my brain after the fall out. "Oh hello..." It's a wonder that my desire for amiability, compassion and grace was turned into foolishness, insecurity and weakness. I guess I'm still slowly learning to growth in strength as in grace. At any rate, I don't think that that was true of me at all, but I can't say that I care enough to justify it. Only know that it won't happen again.
2 hour afternoon naps do not bode well for the night. Neither does stuff like... this. The walls are yellow and the mirror reflects the weary smiles that somehow light the dark. Green petals and post-it notes strewn around flash brightly asking for attention. Always asking for attention.

Somewhere Alfie cries, and says enjoy his every smile you can see in the dark. Through the eyes of Laura Mars, how did we get so far? ~ Gold Dust :: T. Amos

Who gave you permission to do this to me now?
Being finite has its plus points: There's only so much space within my attention span for stuff. So something's gotta give and I am going to use that to my advantage.

On another note, I worry that Laura did it, while Hannah didn't.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

I awoke close to 8, my body still moving gingerly from yesterday's walk, ravenous. Oh the little things that remind me that I am human.

Glen speaks gently to me from 8000 miles away, "it's natural no?". I guess I am too harsh on myself, my expectations, my fears and my desires. And yet I am hard pressed to reign in this torrid energy quickly, toward some sort of productivity. Time lost means less will be accomplished, and I've already let too many moments trickle past, with nothing to show for them - yet. I guess everything will eventually be crafted into something beautiful at the end of the day by hands quite other then my own (thankfully). I'm still young, and that's my fault.

Still, I don't know what to make of this new vulnerability that seems to have shown up right at the center of everything. Translucent, light and pale, I can't tell if she's an angel or a ghost.