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Sunday, 31 August 2008 by ranon

it's your day today. and i couldn't help but think back to the 27th of may this year. you made it different. i remember the surprise at night and the dinner that evening. it was special and for that one moment, i felt ready. i was ready to give it my all and somehow, i don't think any part of me has changed since that night. i'm ready to embrace the change because i had you and there was nothing else that mattered. but things are different now, and all i can sincerely hope for now is for you to enjoy your day today, to make it special and unforgettable like you made mine. just because you're different, and special to me. because if i had my way, and if things were like they were before, i want to be the one there with you to make it all the more special. the card you gave me has made the journey back home to singapore with me, and for the first time since summer started, i took it out to look at it and i smiled.

and i guess that's how i know you were different from everyone else who has crossed that line with me. just thoughts of you can make my day. like when i was on a bus home one night and i thought of your cheeky grin, that smug look that is so perfectly captured in that msn emoticon. i smiled to myself so foolishly i bet i looked silly. and although in recent weeks, i saw for the first time, the inevitability you saw, i refused to bow down to it because no one has ever made me feel this way, not even the one whom i spent 3 three years with. it's hard to put it in words the way you make me feel because you changed alot in me, and you released alot in me.

and for the first time ever again, you made me realise what it means to miss someone so badly it hurts. it's an overused phrase but i've come to understand what it means because that's how you make me feel. it's 16 days till i get back and if it were easter all over again, we would be counting down the days together. but now it's just a one sided affair. it always has been the case in the last few months i guess. just wistful hoping for a iron cast certainty. and i chide myself these days for being so foolishly optimistic and for dreaming up a fantastical future that is premised on my one-sided dreaming, especially since you've shown no signs of hope.

i am a slave to my dreams. so happy birthday.

rough in transit

Saturday, 23 August 2008 by ranon

i dreamt of this song last night which is pretty rare seeing that my dreams seldom have a soundtrack to it. you gave this song to me, or rather, i first heard of it together with you in my room on your laptop. it's hard to walk away when the mind's so unwilling and so bent on the past. it's harder to walk away when the disillusioned mind entertains impossibilities to come. but it's good knowing that i will never match up even after this summer because of an inescapable truth that is me. we'll have tales to tell from this summer now that it's almost over, some tales i do not want to hear as much as i want to because i don't think the mind will take it as well as yours did. but i want to know and it's such a contradiction. i don't know how our second year will turn out and i'm very apprehensive. all i know now is i can't wait to see you when we get back because 3 months has been long enough, no pretensions about that. looking at photos can no longer suffice and we'll have a decent conversation that has eluded us for the longest time, just because i think we're ready.


Thursday, 21 August 2008 by ranon

i have so much to say now that i'm back from cambodia and vietnam but few words can entirely capture the whole experience of being in countries so different from other countries i've been to. both countries were amazing. angkor wat in siem reap was a step back in history, and a step towards a sprained ankle. hobbled around with an elephant's calf for a week but it was so worth it. ta prohm and the bayon's architecture was mindblowing for a civilization from so long ago.

and then it was to phnom penh where we were caught in a flood and we were stranded on the streets with murky muddy water that came up to knee level. the kids playing it the water and swimming in the roads made the whole experience so much more enjoyable and happier, save for the fact that my flip flops snapped and i tripped on a curb (coz you can't see them when the water's that deep) and my camera decided to go for a dip in the water to cool off.

went off to sihanoukville by the coast and it was just two days of lazing by the beaches eating seafood, listening to the waves, reading my book and getting my fair share of massages. partying in sihanoukville was crazy with newly made friends from france and the uk. didn't help we were all pretty wasted and the abundance of CPGs (Cambodian Party Girls) made the whole night much more laughable in retrospect. and who could ever forget the t shirt and towel fight back in the room.

then it was back to phnom penh to see tuol sleng genocide museum and the killing fields which was a terribly sombre affair. the khmer rouge regime was a monstrosity and witnessing for yourself where the mass graves were located and seeing the place where pol pot's clique conducted their interrogations and locked up people was just bone chilling. the stupa at the killing fields was stacked with the unearthed skulls of those buried in the killing fields and it was just disturbing to see their empty hollow eyes stare out at you. you somehow feel their desperation and the helplessness. they were defenceless and had no way out. yet in the killing fields, you see grass growing in the holes where the bodies were recovered and it somehow seemed to represent a salient hope for the cambodian people. that life continues and flourishes despite its dark past and history. and i guess closure's really all they want now, and the chance to finally move on. the cambodian people are a strong bunch i guess, but when you see the children on the streets who come up to you tugging at your sleeves for money or to get you to buy something from them, or when you see landmine victims crawling on the beaches begging for money, it's quite hard to say no when you want to help. you can't help everyone and giving them money just keeps them on the streets. it's conflicting sometimes, but the resilience is there.

and then it was off to ho chi minh city in vietnam. now i wasn't too impressed with phnom penh, it being the capital of cambodia and all. it was messy and dirty and just chaotic everywhere. but ho chi minh was a totally different story. it was messy, yes, but there was this semblance of an order amidst the chaos. saw the cu chi tunnels and their underground system was very impressive and tactical. crawled for three hundred metres with liang and we were dying, and this was only one small part of an immense system that covered hundreds of kilometres all the way to the saigon river. and then there was the cao dai temple which, without meaning to be offensive, was perplexing. it's a vietnamese religion founded in the early 1900s and believers worship amongst many others, jesus, guan yin and lao tzu. the entrance of a temple has a painting with three of its patron saints in it - victor hugo, sun yat-sen and some vietnamese poet. it was really a mix of culture and influences. but the most perturbing thing about the whole thing was the cao dai symbol. an eye. it was just piercing and penetrating. yet, watching their afternoon prayer was an experience in itself, with hymns in an unknown language. it was uplifting actually. and of course, the highlight of the trip was my swanky new tattoo. three hours of sheer pain but it was all worth it :)

i guess at the end of the trip, i'm just happy to be where i am now. despite the elephant ankle and the demise of my camera, the trip was inspiring. the countryside was mesmerising - the tranquility and the innocence of untouched beauty and land. understanding the turbulent history of two of our neighbours puts alot of things in perspective. singapore's entrenched in a region with such a violent history it cannot be ignored. we talk about hitler and germany in world war two, and we talk about rwanda and darfur in recent times, but there's so much still ongoing that needs to be done to rebuild such a torn up country. we said we've learnt our lessons after the defeat of the nazis, but the pol pot regime occurred as recently as 1980. much more needs to be done to rehabilitate its people but as of now, camdodia deserves all our respect for its natural beauty, it's ancient heritage and painful history.

it was a well deserved break from everything i guess, and to think. receiving your message in ho chi minh was reassuring so thank you. and travelling with liang was probably the best choice i guess. it's hard to find like-minded people who do not bore you even after 10 days of facing each other 24 hours. so yes, kudos to ROGER. roger that. haha

photos are on facebook. my photos end at phnom penh after my camera's dip in the water. rest of the days are with ROGER.

i just want to know the truth

Monday, 11 August 2008 by ranon

beijing got me thinking. the city turned out to be better than i had expected it to be. the skies were polluted as predicted, with not a hint of blue at all. but yes, walking the streets of the chinese capital, you notice this endearing sense of patriotism and unifying spirit that has brought together the people. everyone was so determined and so driven to make the olympic games a roaring success. this unity is perplexing in many ways, but perhaps the hardest task for them has to be sustaining it after the games. brushing aside the obvious bread and butter issue of its economy growth, it's more about the spirit of the chinese people. what is going to hold together the diverse mix of people in the world's most populous nation? the sichuan earthquake was perhaps a catalyst to this grand show of unity, and with the onset of the games, proved to be a powerful and engaging force to bring the nation under one umbrella. the policemen on the streets, the olympic volunteers, the soldiers at the airport - they all have one thing in common, and that is the drive to make this experience as astounding as possible for the visitor. it was humbling i say again, to see a nation so amalgamated and so dignified at the same time, and almost so eager to please, that being said in in a non-condescending manner.

scaling the great wall was breath taking in every sense of the word.

and it's off to cambodia and vietnam tomorrow to satisfy the wanderlust in me.

and this was probably the reason why the day dragged by despite the dream i had of you this morning. it jolted me out of the silence that has endured between us in the last 6 weeks. how much quieter can this silence get.

i dreamt of you this morning. your shirt travels with me. it's been to china and is headed to cambodia and vietnam in 8 hours. i just want to hear from you, to know you're ok and happy