To My Sister On Her Wedding Day – Part 2 of 4

Growing up, I found it hard to comprehend the need for tradition. What is the point of holding on to customary beliefs when our thoughts and actions are so modernised? It was during the course of prepping for my sissy’s wedding that I came to connect the dots.

Traditions are like the threads that connect the dead and the living.

Traditions are a set of guiding rules our ancestors’ practice when they were alive. It is a way of life and forms the framework of their beliefs. To disown traditions is akin to disregarding their belief system and therefore, acts as a form of disrespect. The dead can no longer come back. It does not matter that we continue with traditions. Yet we continue for the reason that though their bodies no longer reside with us, they are kept alive through our sheer act of keeping with traditions. When we keep to traditions, we keep our ancestors alive. This is what it means to be immortal – to live on in the lives of others.

I was never one to believe in marriage. Acts of betrayal often unfold before my very eyes. Infidelity seemed to be a recurring theme in relationships; only a handful have happy endings. It was conflicting to watch my sissy move on to the next phase of life. I know life has no guarantees, what more a union between two different individuals. As a result, I grew incessantly paranoid that the person I love could be placed in an undesirable situation.

Yet strangely in time, I learned to let go. Perhaps it was age, growing wiser with each passing year. As humans we have limitations and there is just so much we can do to help another. Or perhaps it was the act of faith kicking in. Faith that she is as tenacious and resolute as our mother, standing by her choice with unwavering conviction.

Choose your friends carefully. They are a reflection of you.

No matter the reason, when I met the band of brothers, I was finally reassured. It is often said that people are reflections of their five closest friends. The type of people you surround yourself with speaks of your values and what you stand for. And these guys were a group of fine young men. As with all major events, minor issues were bound to occur. Without the contributions of everyone (brothers, bridesmaids & family members), this day would never have been realised. It required team effort and everyone was a team player. I knew my sissy had found her team and that the members would look out for her. She had finally found her place of belonging.

My parents have been married for 30 years. Recently I asked them what makes a good, lasting marriage.

‘忍!!’ mom replied in a comical manner.

Then turned serious and said, ‘Look more at their strengths and less at their flaws. Bad days happen so it is important to remember the love.’ Dad, on the other hand, faced trouble explaining. He says it contains a myriad of factors but ultimately concludes that, ‘Marriage is a commitment. It requires give and take, and a huge amount of understanding.’

Are there happy endings? A perfect match? The sacred soulmate??

The ‘one’ is a myth. It only means, ‘the one who works to make sure you two fit.’

With that, I wish the newlyweds a blissful marriage. Of an entirely new world filled with a band of colours. May no tough moment set your hearts apart. Till death do us part.

(All photos used are courtesy of Red Dot Studio)

For Part 1 of the series – To My Sister On Her Wedding Day – Part 1 of 4

Never For Money, Always For Love


It is enthralling to observe the shift in my psyche. They call it growth, but I call it breaking barriers. I never want to spend my days towering tall above others. I want to spread my arms far and wide. To hold the entire world in the palm of my hands and quiver at the majesty of it all.

Perhaps I am older and more set in my ways. I feel sorry for the people I have left behind yet I vibrate with an excitement for all that is to come. In the end, the small stuff don’t matter. Love, to me at least, is the core of the human existence. I look at people and I see this sparkle of light that shines right off their skin. People look so beautiful and I wish I could hold everyone and remind them of their worth.

After all this time, I still choose to believe in the good of others. If we are the sum of our choices then perhaps I am the after light; for only in darkness can light be revealed.

Black Coffee & Tangled Sheets

I feel less writer’s block and more a walking mess of disorganised ideas. There is a definite flow of words and ideas coursing through my veins. It merges and blends with all that I see and experience. Yet when I lay in bed with my journal page spread open, there is no synergy between the mind, heart and soul. Meaningful thoughts are lost midway, like a tourist speaking in a foreign language – most of it simply gets lost in translation.

It is a strange feeling to feel ‘plugged’. You want to create and produce and you know you are more than capable but it feels like you’ve lost your magic and a bit of your spunk. You look inside and there exists an endless spiral of musical notes. You look into the mirror and all you see is the face of an untuned piano. Till this day, I still marvel at how different one can view a person in a sense that what you see outside is never truly what is revealed on the inside.

Life right now is like a series of staccatos. Transitions after transitions, the image on my viewfinder flickers and is constantly on a move. Race too fast and I find myself ahead of the notes; slow down to smell the flowers and I fall behind the music. It takes a hard amount of effort to stay disciplined and keep to the tempo. Still, in those moments where I harmonise with the melody, no matter how short, the chords ring a true blessing. Such instances fuel my motivation to be better than who I am.

When it comes to your career, “No” is just someone’s opinion, nothing more. No one can advocate for you or make it happen like you can. You have to be your own best cheerleader. – Elle Kaplan

I talk a lot about how it’s not the outcome but the progress that matters. As often, it is easier said than done. I know my desire, my ultimate end goal. I understand the steps it takes to get there is not easy and designed to keep me from reaching it. I speak of sacrifices, of a fork in one’s life where we are faced with a crucial decision on which turn to take. I understand, I truly do. But it ain’t easy.

Some days you wake up and light gets into your eyes. You are curious and creative. You see the world with an intense possibility. You march to the beat of your own drum. It doesn’t matter if there exists no such rhythm in this world; your music will spur the crowd on behind your tail. And then there are days where the shutters are down and light can’t get it. You watch the world tick by with a painful awareness of how most people simply get by in monotonous motion. You watch them and see your future self. You are scared of who you might become. Or worse, who you will never become.

On such days, the best is to simply exist. And maybe start typing even if words seem stuck because look at what I’ve just created – 500 words in 60 minutes. And all I wanted to bring across is how much light you have brought into my world.