Thursday, 2 December 2010


yep. ive been inactive here. i will try to write sth when a story worthy of writing comes up. meanwhile, im on wordpress and fb =)

i only update the "books ive read" portion

Wednesday, 30 June 2010


Fried Monty on Emerald Farm

Written & directed by Jonathan Lim

with music by Bang Wenfu

Starring Jonathan Lim, Rodney Oliveiro, Judee Tan and Dwayne Lau

2010 seems to be everyone’s anniversary, and Chestnuts wants to beat on that drum too! So come fly your flag with us as we celebrate 14 13.5 years of being Singapore’s wildest live parody show!

Jonathan and friends are back with a breathtaking bundle of sizzling spoofs, merciless musical mash-ups and Uniquely Singaporean silliness! Starring Rodney Oliveiro and introducing, from our sell-out Xmas edition, new nutters Judee Tan and Dwayne.

This year’s targets include
The Full Monty, The Karate Kid, Lady Gaga, the Twilight Saga, Ip Man 2, Emily of Emerald Hill, NDP 2010, The Pupil, Alice in Wonderland, JJ Lin, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Animal Farm, The A-Team, Boeing Boeing, Kick-Ass, Kit Chan in December Rains and Dick Lee’s Fried Rice Paradise … PLUS pink dots, blocked drains, bus-stop fights and overpriced sports packages galore!

Don’t miss :

  • Ris Low’s sister – it doesn’t get boomzier than this lor!
  • Pondan News Asia : How to Train Your Draggin’
  • Nightmare on Glee Street : “If you sing in your dreams, you sing for real…”
  • The Importance of Being Emily
  • Regulation VS Censorship : This is home, surely, as my censors tell me…

Sunday, 13 June 2010

iris murdoch's style

i notice the following motifs in iris murdoch's novel:

  1. the mistress of the marriage left and the couple reunited (failed menage-a-trois)
  2. homosexual relations
  3. a damsel in distress (female protagonist)
  4. an elderly man, who later died at the fringe of post-climax
  5. comments on god (not so much on religion)
  6. main protagonist is a male
  7. the story is around a group of elitist, usually from oxford
(the following was written on 15/06/2010)

and that is because she is exploring the motif of 'love'.

Monday, 24 May 2010

charlotte's web

charlotte's web is a story about friendship that we can all relate to. the compounding help of the animals in the farm is touching and the wit of charlotte who hatched up a plan to save wilbur's life, is commendable.

the first magic lies in the friendship between wilbur, a pig, and charlotte, a spider. they are different animals of different backgrounds and way of living. naturally, they do not share anything similar nor have a reason for a symbiosis relationship. they lived in different environment and have different diets. they do not share a common interest even. yet, amidst of all the differences, charlotte befriended wilbur and was willing to sacrifice herself to save a friend whom she just met for a few months.

it made me think about being prejudice we have against one another, back then and even now. this is where the first moral of the story lies. white wrote the story in 1952, a short period after WWII where most of the men are sent to war and women and blacks are allowed to work to keep the economy buoyant. there was a mixture of different ethnicity working in the factories doing simple and manual labour. this mixture has created friendship for some of them. and slowly homogenised the races together. it was also written shortly before the african-american civil rights was granted in america in 1968.

there is a stark similarity between the event that happened in america during that period and the ones seen in the barn. and as an ardent supporter of anti-segregation who wrote many essays on internationalism, white has deliberately, and wittingly, weaved his ideas into the fable he wrote; calling to his reader to see the redundancy of prejudism.

next is the use of obvious imageries and metaphors to convey the same motif.

set in a barn, it is reflective of the simple lives the people in america lived in then. they perform simple tasks and pursuit mandatory needs. the animals in the barn represented these people living in poor and rural conditions after the great depression and the basic work they kept doing to bounce back the economy. the setting is fitting for the situation it was back then and the menial tasks they perform to keep on going through the hardship.

also, the use of animals run by farmers draw a parallel image to the government-people setting. the people in the story are like the government as they represent the thinkers and shapers of the society while the animals represented the layman who worked around the fate given to them. the big decisions made in the story were done by the people e.g. the sending of wilbur to zuckerman's barn, zuckerman's decision to put wilbur into the county fair contest, the winner of the blue ribbon, the decision to award the special prize to wilbur for his 'miracles'. while the animals worked with the decisions and actions done by the people.

and the attitudes the animals had in the beginning were negative. they felt they had nothing more nor less from each other, as said by the old sheep "we're all the same, wilbur. we don't envy you." they were resigned to the unfortunate fate that had befallen on them. it was similar to what the americans felt during the post great depression and WWII. however, it was only after charlotte had decided to take on the responsibility to save wilbur's live the animals start to contribute their help. this cliche hero behaviour moved us and made us see the beauty and urgency to save an innocent's life (wilbur's).

it's something i was thinking of when i was doing the play.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

rationalising reason

no. it's not true. it's not always true. you rationalise the reason. you thought through the reason and why it happened and you've come up with a rationale. you created that rationale. the rationale behind the reason was not there. it was never there. you made it there. you put it there. you made it up. you created that rationale. how am i supposed to believe you? you made me believe you. you made me believe what you said. you tricked me into believing what you said. how can i know that you are not lying to me? you made me see your point. and now, i cant see mine. i cant see anything but what you said. you made me believed you and now i lost faith in myself. you beast! you liar! what you said created a belief for me. something which i didnt have and now i cannot think! you made the reason up. you gave me the rationale. i hate you.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

numbers and fear

1 in 4. 15 in 60. 25 in 100.

1 in 5. 50,000 in 250,000.

2 in 5. 40 in 100. 200 in 500.

what do they mean?

nothing to the layman like you and i. yet experts use these statistics to relay information that make us worry. why and how so?

looking at it empirically is like looking through a microscope; the image is enlarged. consequently, it becomes 'more obvious' and the and effect on us - the consumer - is inevitably greater. this is what the experts wanted. and, of course, providing such data make their arguments more convincing.

however, if you start expanding the numbers to greater numbers e.g. "1 in 4" becomes "25 in 100" and to "250 in 1000", and so forth, you see that the probability is lowered; much, much lower.

take for example a recent statistic on breast cancer in singapore. it states that "1 in 4 women have been diagnosed with breast cancer." take a population of 4.8mil (i round down to the nearest hundred thousand) in singapore and estimate that about 40% of the population are women, that would be around 1.9mil. you would then be among 480,000 women to be diagnosed with cancer. that is a big group of people but you could also be among the other 1.4mil who aren't going to be diagnosed. the odds are different for everyone. and this is ignoring other contributing factors. should you be so afraid?

i am not saying that you should forget about taking that mammogram or keep postponing it but don't let the "1 in 4" figure scare you to hysteria.

on a more general note, i think we should be aware of the math done and figures shown. the numbers have been simplified for our understanding. but the implication may create some misunderstanding.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

betty and identity

i saw the last episode of the final season of ugly betty a couple of days ago. i had the urge to watch it again after reading a review about it. the writer said it was an eye opener to the latin culture in america and there has never been a series quite like it. besides making america ferrera a household name, it also introduced us the different perspective of the latin americans; away from the negative views that had been regretfully associated with them.

i watched a few episodes before the last to understand what had happened so far and also to see how has the show changed. it looks like there have been major changes to the show since its debut in 2007. in seasons 2 and 3, we 'lost' betty: she wasn't the same girl we first met and fell in love with and that would have probably caused the ratings to drop sharply. i was disappointed with the changes so i stopped watching after the first few episodes of season 3. it was when i got to know the season was going to end i decided to revisit the series.

however, i find that the producers manage to win back our hearts towards the end. we have a new looking betty but inside she is the same as who we first got to know her. she has become more successful and the stories of the other characters were well-developed before coming to a proper closing. (i shall not elaborate on their respective stories for it is too long) i would say that the show came full circle and i am very pleased with that.

and it brought back the central theme of the show: identity. betty won our hearts with her adorable personality and showing that it is important to be and remain true to ourselves regardless of the circumstances. this part of her come back in the final season after we see her losing it in seasons 2 and 3. we are who we we are. she showed us that in a difficult situation, the decision that most comforts us - though strange or opposing - is the best one. it may not be the right one - although rational - but if it seems wrong to our guiding principles we should not do it. it is because it not something that we would do ourselves.

and this inspiring theme inspired me to understand myself. it is only when i know who i am would i be able to make it through the toughest challenges. other people offer opinions and advice but the final decision has to come from inside. it seems easy but it is not. in a place where we are most vulnerable we allow ourselves to be influenced by outside voices making it worse. the only way to listen to ourselves is when we know and understand who we are. it is only then it is easier to separate distractions from our own venerable voices.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

thoughts on writing

i feel like i should write. i find it a nice feeling to write about my day or what i feel or think. there is a good feeling i get from doing this. maybe i should be a writer.

i can imagine myself typing long articles on an issue that i have a reaction for. or writing in a magazine or papers as an anonymous writer.

i may not have the maturity or grip yet but if i invest i could see results. i am quite earnest about this.

there is already a pool of writers out there. a pool of good hard-working writers. and i find that i should join that group.

i am not very good at creative writing, that is something i kinda just realised. but there are other types of writing such as academic, expository, argumentative, etc. and i can tap on that.

i feel like my genuine interest in writing has grown; and i write better now. i am more proud of my work now than how they were a few months ago.

what do you think? should i be a writer?

Tuesday, 30 March 2010


i woke up today feeling different. nothing seems to have changed yet i don't feel right, as if i have been 'taken out'. i am afraid, lost and in pain. my mind was in a swirl and my body felt separated. it was distinctively different and i thought, in that instant, that maybe i should sleep in for a while more.

i woke up again, several hours later, feeling the same. i knew it wasn't going to be good day. and for the days to come, i will not have it good.

i took a shower and let the water ran.

it felt quite good just standing under the shower. i could think for a short while before i went back to the state i was in. it wasn't a hangover, because i don't drink. it was more real than that. i felt like purging almost all the time.

perhaps it was the exhaustion or the weather (it had been raining heavily since the night before), i don't know. but if it is one or the other i don't think feeling 'bad' is one of the things i should have. what is bad about being tired? the mind mainly blanks out while the body recuperates and that means more sleep. it helps that the weather was on my side.

whatever it was, there was guilt attached to it. i could feel the guilt, the slow chewing power of guilt eating away parts of my inside bit by bit. what have i got to be guilty of? or maybe, what am i not guilty of?

i recalled what happened the past few days: besides partying all night on friday, and skipping my entire day of prayers, and then back to work on saturday morning, which was i rudely awaken by the rattling noise at home resulting to only three hours of sleep for another ten hours of work followed by five hours of sleep that night for another fifteen hours of work on sunday - all done with my prayers skipped.

and on monday i was too tired i cancelled all my appointments and slept for most part of the day. though we cannot catch up on lost sleep i thought of simply resting - proper rest (the last time i had one was months ago). but that didn't help much.

and then the mind wondered about what could've happened if i had been born smarter. would i have topped my school? would i have gone to stansford? would my life be better? would i have done things differently? the depressing thoughts went on relentlessly, which made my bad state worse.

i started thinking about what went wrong. what went really wrong?

i don't know.

i couldn't sleep properly either. all that sleep i had, i wish they have been good ones. and i dreamt. for every ten minutes i woke up i remembered i dreamt. and that was how it was the entire night and during my afternoon naps.

something is wrong. i know it. but i don't know what it is.

i feel the pangs of the pain. it hurts. then it goes away and comes back a few minutes later. it's troubling. and it is affecting me. why?

i let the water ran still. i hope that the water can still my heart and wash away the pain. just for that minute, or two, i want time to stop and hear only silence.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010


when you try so hard that you feel like your heart is about to leap out of your mouth. when the thoughts get too intense no other thing could penetrate. when blood gallops through the veins leaving no time for you to breathe. when you breath grows thin and shallow you cannot think. the fingers become numb and then the hands and the whole arm. it moves down, further down to your gut, hardening the muscles solidifying the bowels. you start to not feel. you lose the senses and consciousness. the brain then starts to react but jammed. the system is failing, falling, crashing.

this is madness.

Sunday, 14 March 2010


(this is how you prove 11 is a prime number)

i like school. i like learning things that i may not apply when i go to work like chemical bonds, or electron size. but they give me good head start. i get to show off. everyone loves a genius, except for himself. well sometimes.

alice said she has gone to meet the rabbit. and mr wolf is reading birth of prison by foucault. the girl with the red hood is cooking porridge for goldilocks. cinderella and ariel said they are coming with perseus but they didn't say when. the small men are still in gulliver's stomach looking for moby, the dick. willy is swimming with spot. the swan is on a date with pinochio and the cricket is trying to run away from mulan. i have barney with me but he's too big. besides he's purple and i don't like purple. dorothy was supposed to lend me her sneakers but the cow took it with aries's shoes to jump over the moon. the fork and spoon are drinking tea with lady bracknell. everyone is busy leaving me alone.

but i don't worry. i am here watching the sand before i get to blow the horn. i'm excited! wonder what magic is going to happen next!

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

the r.e.l.i.g.i.o.n

we choose our mothers. before we are born, we have them exactly what we would like them to be. there is a catalog of mothers in heaven. and god lets us choose whom we want to be born from; and the life we want to live in.

and when we die, we don't actually die. to die means to cease living. but we still appear in people's memories. to some, we are still afresh in their minds. so i don't think we truly disappear. as long as we are remembered, we keep on living. we leave our physical body but we still live on. in the afterlife, or on earth. those stories that we were told are bullshit. can we prove that there is a heaven and/or hell? we were told, rather, cautioned, that we will receive our rewards and punishment in the 'afterlife'. i choose to believe that 'an afterlife' is just a word. what really happens, we don't know. we can't talk directly to god; we are too disgusting for that. only the purest of existence are allowed to, like archangel jibril (gabriel) and the prophets.

so when we die, don't believe what they say. they don't know it too. they just bullshit something 'rational'. it's inconsequential. think about it. it is something that is believed, but not proven. and that is how it is going to be for many time to come. it is quite enough to have a belief. that is substantial.

this is how i think we go:

1. we move from god's haven to someone's womb - to house us while we develop into a human form, like a caterpillar in its pupae stage - of our choosing.

2. we come out and learn about this new environment.

3. we find that it is enough, we tell Him that it is enough, we decide to move on.

4. we leave 'our body' and the dust layer behind. it is the dust layer that gets the punishment and reward.

5. while we move on to somewhere.

where to? i cannot prove. no one knows because we don't come back and tell those after us.

oh! i forgot. when we move on to somewhere else, we divide ourselves. we have some on earth, where we had stayed. and we have some elsewhere in the universe. the rainbow is a cosmic vagina. everything springs out from it.

Monday, 1 March 2010

i fell in love with a boy

i fell in love. with a boy.

he caught my eye when he first walked into the room. since we're strangers and i didn't want to be assumed as too forward, i didn't say anything to him. but i kept looking at him, secretly.

finally, that one day came. we exchanged a few words. i was calm and also extremely thrilled. i was being professional, we were becoming colleagues.

as time went by, we became more comfortable with each other. that was when we had conversations. i couldn't remember what it was but it felt natural, not awkward. not at all.

bien sur, we got closer as the production started to take on a very good shape. i was still embarrassed to start the talks but i feign being nervous.

soon enough, we came to a point when it was acceptable to open up our personal lives. i asked him and he answered. i had to carefully thread as i know he has a girlfriend and i didn't want to come off as too strong. success.

on the last day, before i went on stage for the last time for that show, i pried a little more. this time it was different. it was emotional.

he told me about his history: where he'd been and how she stayed on. and like lightning, very swiftly it hit me and i felt it. between them, it is deep and profoundly beautiful. i understood the strength and love between them.

and time had stopped.

i fell. it hit me very strongly and i fell. i couldn't hold up i had to let go.

a day has gone by and i'm still lamenting. i don't know why i cannot let him go. maybe it's because i made it too close to my heart.

or maybe, for that brief period, i had fallen unnecessarily and unknowingly in love with him.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

middle east

turkish. that's what it was. the music sounded so far yet distinctly clear, distinctively native. one can recognise the pulsating rhythm, intonation, modulating tones of the voice accompanied by traditional instruments all together conjuring the image of arabian women belly dancing in their charming costumes in a harem of men drinking and laughing among themselves as they share the stories of their lives; the good and memorable. what these men talked about doesn't matter. it's the ambience and tranquility of the room that bring about the sweet and romantic feeling that does. we don't feel lost when we are high. we feel powerful.

i fell in love with turkish culture after reading orhan pamuk's snow. it wasn't the first book written by him that i picked up, but it is my personal favourite. there is something seductive about the controversy. "i love rattling cages", someone once said. so do i.

but i do not wish to create trouble. i only wanted to have a good time. to enjoy the music and maybe a company or two before going back to my life. there would be no trouble in making friends or chatting with strangers. it is a place for conversation. to have plain conversation taking place and verbal exchange of little stories. stories that tell a little bit of its teller. a tale of someone's life. a tale of some truth. i wanted to talk to some of those people and hear what they have to say about their experience, opinions in general matters and insight to their mind. i want to be surprised. i like surprises.

the music was inviting and i became tempted. it was good. it felt good. i felt good. and i have not been feeling good lately. it was just right i paid the club a little visit. if it doesn't work out i only have my eyes to shut.

and in i went.

it beautiful inside. the lights were dim, the music was strong and crowd was ravenous. the setting was crude and atmosphere heavy. the sound of voices filled the room and the air was thin. it was quite hard to breathe through the smoke but i felt that it was fine. i have no complaints. the huge space meant that this was an ordinary club with a good mixture of people. i looked around and familiar myself with the space such as where the toilet is, emergency exits are, best bartenders are strategically placed - the important things. it was perfect.

i am quite relieved i knew no one, and no one knew me. i'm in a strange world of strangers. everything around me is new and refreshing; a change in my normal routine live. the music has got a nice beat and rhythm. my body quickly adapted to the surrounding. i felt a pulsating gusto to live again, "joie de vivre!" it was weird but i like it. i felt good, almost natural and necessary so i sat down and ordered myself a drink.

i looked around and saw a ruffled hair caucasian, nicely trimmed beard and mustache, good looking physique and considerably tall, he seemed to be waiting for someone; a clean shaven pan-asian with a nice tan and cute haircut (could be a surfer) quietly sipping his bailey; a bald, classy, sexy and suave black man in his business suit standing at the corner by himself; a middle eastern man who looks like a greek god; and a lean emo with tattoos covering his body and his ears pierced drinking beer at the other end of the counter. i decided to say hi to the greek god.

what happened next? it started off like this:

"nice music", i said first.

silence. and i felt terribly embarrassed. the music kept playing. i didn't know if i should run or stay cause this man clearly isn't interested in me. i tried to look at him but he didn't glance back. i was flushed with humiliation i turned away. suddenly, i felt a hand grabbing my arms.

"ten seconds", he replied.

because it happened too quickly it made me confused and i gave him my horse face. "oh my fucking shit! pull that face away, pull that face away!" i told myself and quickly put on a tight smile.

"next time, give a proper introduction," he replied.

great! first time trying my luck at a club i made myself a fool and a received pep-talk. what the fuck!

"sit down. now, where we we?"

what happened next?

here's a clue: bedsheets

Sunday, 17 January 2010

i will wait

he said he is coming. so i waited. we wait for those who said they will meet us and, especially, when they say it is urgent.we don't go away or have a no-show. we say 'yes' and make our way down as soon as possible, no seconds delay. we come down early and wait for them to turn up. in the meanwhile, we think up of many possible scenarios: maybe he's going to tell me he's got cancer and only a month or a week left; or he's going to blow himself up in a public area; or he needs money to pay off his debtors; or his mother is in the hospital and he's very upset and troubled; or he's in love with me but he's marrying someone else; or he's going away for good; or he's going to take me on date at the empire state building and his private jet is picking us up from here, ... we cannot but simply conjure up images that may or may not defy logic and our rational state of mind because we are not in our rational state of mind.

he sounded tired and worn out, almost dead, over the phone. i would've said desperate but it's better to be safe. you know how dead some people sound like over the phone like life has been zapped out of their life? i'm not talking about being boring or jaded; that's pathetic. i mean that's a pathetic state. i call that state 'pathetic', as if they're dying for attention by being dead so that other people will inject life into them. that's predatory and i resent predators of such kind. why are they alive and living around us anyway? they should be dead, buried, or not even given life. that way they won't sap the life out of us and/or bore us with such nonsense. my friend here is dead, a different kind of dead.

his voice was high strung, panicked. i could almost see him before my eyes, like an apparition, being white like a ghost. maybe he's terrified. maybe it's terror that's plaguing, the most extreme kind because only such thing would drive a man to such a state. what else could it be? someone who is simply afraid will not call for help. it's a small matter and he can take care of it, and of himself. but someone who's is more afraid, like my friend, will be whiten by the fear. the fear, so great, it becomes tangible and it can be more than just felt. it seeps into the person's life and gets hold of what's within. it runs through the same blood as its host and breathes the same air. it starts to become part of you and you start to lose you. that is when the mind, your mind, starts to lose itself and you feel divorce from your soul. the separation is meant to tear you apart from within. that is how fear wins.

that was what happened to him. he's almost gone now, he's almost lost. he is soon not to be himself and if he hadn't make the call i would've lose my friend, my dear friend, forever. we know how painful that is. we will not forget about it after it is done. we will carry on the pain, the guilt, for as long as we can before alzheimer's come to the rescue, assuming it comes to save us from the pain, or we would carry it with us till we die and then leave it there with the underground creatures. these are sacred beings that's been trusted to keep our secrets. they keep the stories of those who've gone up or down for judgement. they're the filters, filtering out the unnecessary bulks and debris of what we've brought onto our lives leaving the soul pure and simple for easy judging. my friend has a story. he's storing it to me. i will take his story to history.

the rain clouds are gathering in fast, even the ominous weather is telling me something; this is not going to be good. all i can do now is pray he's got time to meet me and tell me what he wanted to. i will wait no matter how late he's going to be. a cab stopped a few metres in front of the park entrance. my thoughts began to swirl in a frenzy. i wanted to run over but something was holding me back. i don't know what it was but it was strong, very strong. was it me, my own doing, or something else was doing it for me? i tried to get up but i couldn't. that's weird. i tried again, this time with more strength and courage. i don't know why i needed that much effort to stand up but strangely, it did. someone stepped out. could that be him? i peered forward to get a better look but his back was facing me. he's wearing a black coat and a black hat. why did he dress like that? he doesn't usually dress so bleak. still, i didn't let it bother me. it was more important for me to talk to him, or him to speak to me. it is him whom i'm meeting. he's the attention here, not me. 'please come'.

lightning flashed a few times which caught my attention momentarily and i looked up. damn, i got distracted. when i regain my attention i saw the taxi driving off but he was no where to be seen. he's gone! no one else was seen in the park! was that him whom i saw or someone else? was my mind playing games and coming up with images that weren't real? did i really see him or was i imagining things? it can't be! i don't imagine things. i do get distracted but i don't hallucinate. i never hallucinate! 'nate!' i called out. 'nate! nate! i'm here!' no one responded. i could hear my voice echo through the park but the reply i wanted didn't come. maybe it was someone else that i had mistaken. i mean, people do make mistakes. but how could it be when he - the man - looked exactly like nate? was i thinking too much about him that i accidentally pasted his image on someone else? was i? it can't be. 'nate! nate!' but all i could hear was my own echo.

silence weighs down heavy on me. i started to think that he didn't make it. that he got into an accident while trying to meet me! oh dear! i killed nate! i killed my own friend! if i hadn't asked him to meet me he would've still be alive. i killed him. i caused his death and he doesn't know about it. i killed him before his cancer (presumably) got a chance to get to him first. what's going to happen now? the police must know the truth. his death must be justifiably told. the autopsy must speak of the truth, the real and entire truth, of his death; that it is not just an accident and he just happen to die because of the accident. it has to speak of the truth. the truth must be told, it cannot be concealed. no, not for cases like this. i must admit to my causing my friend's death. he died because of me.

oh my, he died because of me. he died because of me! he took his own life because he didn't want me to suffer. he didn't want me to take on his story. he didn't want me to carry on with what he's got. he didn't want me to know about his pain, and hurt, and languor. his story was his to keep and passed over to the underground creature for only they could take it. they're mute and stupid. so it was ok for them to keep it because they can handle it, it won't affect them any bit. they won't feel anything because they can't. they won't think about it because they've got no brains or sensory system to deliver 'feelings'. and that makes them sacred and trustworthy. of course, it hurts me a little bit that he'd rather let something else keep his story and not me but he must have his reason. and i trust him. i have faith in what he's going to do because he's always known what to do and how to do it. i don't know how but he just does. that is the magic about him.

he is smart and caring. and very intelligent. he cares about what he says and how he says them, careful not to offend anyone. he knows how powerful words are and he doesn't wish to misuse them and abuse others, like some people. he understands the extend of his actions and words and thus wishes to use them for good. a historian by academic training he also has got a wealth of knowledge inside that brain of his. unlike me, the language major, he gets to visit excavation sites and many other fieldtrips anywhere in the world to sudty and truly comprehend the subject. i love hearing him telling his stories when he gets back. you can see how much he loves the subject; his eyes would beamed brightly, and his intonation varies and his arms will move around cutting the air and he would smile - that sweet charming smile - always. he makes me feel alive.

and he doesn't want me to die along with him, with the truth of his last few stories. he didn't want me to know about the truth, his truth, from his story, because then it'll be too much for me to bear. he didn't want to let on his burden to me; a burden presumably. why would he ever think it's such? i'll not call it a burden. nothing about him is a burden, especially his stories. his stories give me life. i live by his stories everyday. they're uplifting and insipiring. and when you hear him pepper a few words of wisdom occasionally you too will adore and admire him. stupid nate, why would you think that? anyway, then it means that his decision to meet me and die on the way - by killing himself - was his way of saying goodbye, i love you! yes! of course, he's always been the romantic and caring kind capable of doing something unorthodox like this. this then mean his death should be celebrated! and not mourned or regretted. he doesn't like these passe kind of thing, he's never approve of such behaviour and decision anyway. of course, why didn't i think of that earlier.

isn't that ironic? that you don't tell things to those whom you care about? why is that? they say it's because you hurt most the one whom you truly love. but without saying anything, isn't that betrayal? do real friends betray one another? i guess in certain circumstances that's necessary. i won't blame him. we've known each other for years; i don't remember how long because it felt like yesterday. i know him. and he is like that: secretive at times. i only got to know of those that he didn't tell when i accidentally stumbled upon clues from other people. i think god wants us to play fair. and my dear nate wants to play a game. even if he didn't tell, i'm bound to find out somehow. that's the beauty of our relationship; it doesn't need to be said to be known. i don't care if others find out because that doesn't matter. it doesn't mean anything. so long as we have this, i feel safe. and i think i may have an idea of what he's thinking and about to do.

last year when the world trade centre collapse nate told me he's going to america. he didn't tell me the reason then but i knew it will surface eventually. the day after he left i went over to his place. he asked me to help him keep an eye on it while he's gone. i decided to stay there for a few days, or at least till he comes back. i did his laundry, clean his house and of course, went through his closet and drawers and wardrobe. he doesn't need to know and he will not know because i will put them back just as i how i found them; destroy the evidence, destroy the suspicion. i found nothing unusual. he came back a week later while i was sleeping on his couch.

just a week ago, nate called to arrange for a lunch meeting. this wasn't unusual. what was unusual was what happened during lunch. first he invited me over le carre's (a very posh restaurant where only the rich and famous dine, i don't know how he got seats). then he asked me to order anything i wanted. and throughout the conversation he kept talking about the good old times. i tried to tactfully ask him what's the occasion but he simply ignored and carry on. i tried again, this time he cut me in and asked about my estranged brother. i was getting irritated but i said nothing to spoil the day. we sat at the restaurant till evening and he drove me home.

i thought about our bizarre lunch meeting and speculated many things. was he going away or did he find out he's going to die or he met up with my brother or was i going to die and someone wanted to kill me? but why me, i'm not famous or dangerous. the last person i offended was my brother and that was months ago. whatever it was nate didn't want to tell, and it was soon before i could find out. i stayed up that night. i went online to read up on 9/11. i was trying to figure out if there's any connection between nate - who's residing in singapore - and america. was he an activist of some sort? or an undercover assassin and it's his time to be killed? what had the collapse of the wto got to do with him? was he involved in the conspiracy? i saw pictures of the terrorist training and videos of their plans but not one of them looks chinese. in the end i switch off the computer and tried to sleep. at the back of my mind i am convinced nate has got nothing to do with the attack, or the supposed one coming up this weekend at one of the mrt station.

it's been half an hour and still no sign of him. i wanted to go home but part of me insisted that i stay. 'maybe he is coming and got caught in traffic jam.' or maybe he forgets.

just then i saw another taxi stopping front of the garden entrance but no one came out. i waited for a few more seconds and still no one came out. maybe the taxi was waiting for someone. i didn't want to think much of it so i directed my attention to something else - the leaves. have you looked at the leaves before? i'm not talking about seeing them on trees, i'm talking about looking at them; observing and studying them. most poeple won't care about the leaves. i don't. but today, when i saw those leaves fluttering in the wind i began to realise how sad it must have been for the trees. they're trying so hard to hold onto their leaves but because of the strong wind those leaves were stolen away. sure they'll grow new ones but they can never replace those that they've lost. there is no substitute for those whom we care about. we can have a replacement but that won't replace the thing that we lost. imagine how the trees must be feeling when they have to keep replacing those that they've grown fonder for. only the memory of it is left, attached to the skin of its being. my phone rang.


are you there yet?


wait for me.

and he hung up.

i was relieved to hear his voice. at least i know he's still there. yet i had a feeling that might be the last time i would hear his voice.

i let the engage tone play on over the phone. for some strange reason, it gives me a form of comfort.