Chrysalis

With uneasiness, I drag my fingers across the surface
Hoping a part of me lingers and stays

With sadness, I squeeze my eyes a little tighter
As my heart continues to flutter

With unwillingness, I hasten my pace
Understanding that it’s my turn to step down in grace

With acceptance, I turn around
Watching the pieces slowly fall to the ground

With happiness, I laugh
When one forms from two different halves.

With love, be free.

 

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Au revoir

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When you’ve lost something, then you’d realize how big of a hole it has left behind.

It feels empty when I walk out and I no longer see you lifting your head to peek at me.

There is a void when I come home and I no longer see you eagerly waiting for me to play with you.

To my beloved dog, au revoir.

Freefall.

I often noticed it too late and caught myself sighing in exasperation while saying “Well, this is what life has brought me to,” with an apt amalgamation of defeat and conscious ignorance.

The advancement of technology has left me more impatient than ever before. On nights when my shape-shifting LSD-like dreams stop haunting me, I find myself ignoring warnings about seemingly alarming dangers of staring at my dimly lit phone in the dark, searching for a conversation partner across the Pacific Ocean. Talk over text on nights like these are emphasised by the painful waiting, quiet whirring of the ceiling fan, and the ever-loving weather of this country, which despite the heat I make sure to cover my feet. It’s the fleeting feeling that I will never have another conversation like this again that makes it strange yet so familiar at the same time. Again and again, these conversations happen. Again and again, I ask, “where do you think where you will be in five years?” I made a point to stop asking after I received a “five-year-karuna” nickname in jest.

Despite my unabating obsession with the nostalgia of imagining the future, I strained to defy it. I rigorously debated major decisions until it has been known to those around me and myself that I might be doing it with intent to torture my sanity. The contradictions fueled my anxiety which I desperately attempt to curb only to end up in a Catch-22 freefall.

“Well, this is what life has brought me to,” is both a testament of my being and a statement to taunt the mind games I put myself through.

It could also be a hint of indifference to uncontrollable variables and my refusal to be culpable of my own fallacies.

Writing about food – Me?

When I sit down on quiet nights to reminisce about my childhood, all I can think about is food. The little time that I got to spend with my father when I was a kid was always after dinner. My father would snuck me out, quietly away from my mother who’s rather strict about our diet then, and we would drive 20 minutes into town just to get satay.

It wasn’t particularly amazing satay. We would stop by to get a stick or two, happily munching away in front of the stall while getting smoked smelly. On the way back home, I would fall asleep in the car and my father would willingly carry me back home and tucked me in for the night.

Nowadays, when I obsessively jot down my day in my journal, the first thing I need to write down is my meals. What did I have? At where? Was it good? I even started a little notebook filled with recipes and notes about my little experimentations with baking. (More flour to add chewiness to my chocolate chip cookies.)

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When I began my journey as a photojournalist, one of the projects that caught my eye was this photographer who went around documenting people who ate alone in our society that can’t seem to stomach ‘being alone’. And I started documenting bits and pieces about everything related to food – markets, stalls, recipes, people dedicated to food.

Throughout the years, my observations and experiences in documenting people showed me how easily food brings people together – just like the satay excursions. Almost every major festival has a symbolic dish of its own. Think eggs on Easter day, pineapple tarts on Chinese New Year, turkey for Thanksgiving, the list goes on and on. Families spend ages in the kitchen cooking up a huge homey meal during these festivals. Some families have their own secret recipes for certain dishes, and they have to have those dishes every year!

When dating a guy whose background was completely different from mine, I found the easiest way to introduce him to my culture was through food – my mother’s fried rice, fried mee hoon that I love, a warm bowl of porridge that will cure anyone’s homesickness.

Never would I have thought there will be a day I have to write about food for a living. Some truly happy moments that I have experienced involved me rolling my eyes back in satisfaction as I savoured food that tasted out of this world. But how do I translate all these feelings into words? How can I make people who are sitting behind a screen, taste?

I feel severely incompetent in expressing those moments. The people that I see talking about food are experienced brash chefs who spent years and years toiling away in the kitchen (think Anthony Bourdain, Gordan Ramsay). To be honest, on some days when I write about food, I feel useless. How can I make someone eat something with just words?

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How can I convey the happiness that I feel when I eat something so tasty that it washes away all my stress from work that day? Or when I need a pick-me-up, I huddle in a corner with a tub of ice-cream or a simple chocolate bar and that would cheer me up instantly?

Seven years in the news industry, and I have chosen this path. I have made quite a few turns, far away from what I envisioned myself to be five years ago.

I have chosen this path. I know that I love documenting everything about food, especially the people who work so hard creating them. I love food – and here’s to hoping I am able to be my truest self when writing about it.

 

Solace

14717092_10154079665898123_5848165847140840219_nMy ‘weekends’ are usually on Thursdays.

I stepped into the bar – unusually quiet – late in the evening.

It might sound a bit cliche as I tell the bartender that I ‘drink to forget’. Sometimes it’s stress, most of the time it’s more of a tongue-in-cheek thing.

Halfway through the night, the entrance creaked open. It was exceptionally loud and clear as there were only six of us in such a small space. We all turned and stared as the door swung open. As if it wasn’t dramatic enough, the music stopped playing in my ears and I waited in anticipation.

A middle-aged lady with short bob and glasses peeked in. She squealed, froze and ran back out.

By the time the bartender ran to the door, she was nowhere to be seen.

Maybe she was surprised to find a room full of liquor, dimly lit behind an unassuming door.

And it is here, when I need a break from the chaos, bright lights in this city, that I can forget.

毅力


偶爾在睡意還沒離開我的時候 會不小心踢倒放在床腳的盒子
每次把它放好時 心裡總會涼一下

--
《你好有才華!》

才華,它好像屬於你的,可它真的屬於你嗎?

黑人作家James Baldwin能清清楚楚寫出被歧視的人們的感受,痛苦的經歷,那全是才華的功勞嗎?

10歲開始因為是黑人,走在路上被歧視;從小被養父虐待;這是他的經歷。他能寫出讓你感慨,思考,重估自己的故事,不是因為他的才華,而是在種種痛苦的經歷裡,他的毅力,堅忍不拔的性格啓發他的文字。
--

當初我熱愛的相機已放在一旁好久了。以前曾經和朋友說過《為了生活,有時候想做的東西只能擱在角落。》

朋友總會問起 為甚麼不接婚紗等類似的案子。
攝影師會喜歡 會愛上攝影是因為背後有他想說的故事。

而我為甚麼當初拿起相機,是為誰說的故事,常常會在深夜裡檢討自己睡不著時浮現。

“Talent is insignificant. I know a lot of talented ruins. Beyond talent lie all the usual words: discipline, love, luck, but, most of all, endurance.”

小巷

14141997_10153936011148123_580893457241553076_n陌生的城市裡 喧嘩的街道
我騎著單車 穿越小巷
尋找一個能夠休息的地方

看見灰暗的小巷裡 離大路不遠的地方 有點亮
騎著騎著想想 是這裡嗎?

開門的那剎那 一股濃濃的咖啡味 還有宋冬野那吹眠的聲音
慢慢的 我感受到了

還記得那晚我隨手拿起吧台上的一本書
讓我久久待在咖啡店裡
看著隔壁桌的年輕人 好想告訴大學時的自己
「il faut aller voir」

我花了多少時間 才發現這一趟旅程 並不是我要的尋找夢想
也不是逃離現實
而是看別人生活 再來看看自己 看看未來
穿越自己停格在裡的思想


『地方』 已經找到了
現在只剩下
「il faut aller voir」