Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Plunge

Today, I looked over the edge and leapt.
And when I did, my senses went awry.
I was assaulted by a tirade of apprehension and uncertainty,
but I stood firm on the anchor of hope.
I was tempted again and again,
to steer to the safe waters of the coast,
but resisted the contemplation,
simply because I have already taken the plunge
and I must move forward.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

They taught me

People I would like to meet before I fade away: Lee Kuan Yew, Condoleezza Rice, Maya Angelou, Archie Weller. And not just to meet, but to hear them pour their hearts out about things that matter to them, to take in their experiences, to receive their wisdom, to learn from their mistakes and to hold them in admiration and respect.

They have each impacted me in ways unique to their lifetime contribution to the world at large: Lee Kuan Yew politically, Condoleezza Rice intellectually, Maya Angelou racially, Archie Weller socially.

If I were to write a biography of a famous person, it would probably be Maya Angelou. Why? Because she went from a victim of abuse to a fighter of cause. She fights for the cause of women; black women particularly, justice, human rights, Aids, political stability and a whole lot of other causes affecting the voice-less; people who can't speak or fight for themselves.

Though I live and breathe in a comfortable, progressive and stable environment, I owe it to Maya Angelou to fight my fledgling cause of being a writer - to document the history, aspirations and achievements of our lives and to offer solace to others who identify with my writings.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


A worthy cause – the investment into humanity. The help rendered below may seem small compared to the vast, pressing need of thousands of victims; nevertheless it is better to help even one, than not at all. I speak for myself.

Straits Times - Feb 12, 2009

Photographers' mission to help tsunami victims

By Gwendolyn Ng

PHOTOGRAPHER Alex Soh can still recall the ache he felt as he watched a sack of rice fall off a truck in a Sri Lankan village and a group of boys scramble to scoop up the grains as rain pelted down.

Batticaloa village was just one of many that had been devastated by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Yet, more than five years on, residents are still struggling to rebuild their lives.

Mr Soh, 36, was there six months ago with The Rice Project, an initiative he started with his photographer friend Triston Yeo, also 36.

Its aim is to document the lives of tsunami victims, even though the disaster has faded from international headlines.

The ambitious undertaking began with him organising a photography competition requiring participants to submit a photo essay on the theme of 'Living'.

Instead of cameras or cash, the prize was a 10-day photo expedition to Sri Lanka last August to distribute rice and document the lives of people in Trincomalee and Batticaloa, two of the worst-hit towns on the east coast.

The team that went included the six competition winners - student Damien Chng, 17; systems specialist Tom Low, 32; and photographers Aaron Lim, 27; Denice Lim, 20; Jean Loo, 24; and Casandra Wong, 22.

Along with taking photos, they distributed 16 tonnes of rice to more than 500 families displaced by the tsunami and civil strife.

An exhibition of their photographs will be held at VivoCity from tomorrow to Feb 22.

Prints will be on sale and the money raised will go towards building about 50 houses for tsunami victims later this year.

'As we distribute rice, we hope that the stomachs of the tsunami victims will be momentarily filled,' said Mr Soh.

'However, this is only a temporary measure. The next step would be to restore houses in the affected areas.'

Copyright © 2007 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved. Privacy Statement & Condition of Access

Source: http://www.straitstimes.com/Singapore/Story/STIStory_337157.html

Wednesday, February 04, 2009


I took the train all by myself to the airport, hoping to be as near as possible to the departure point of the country; to be near another country - maybe Melbourne, maybe elsewhere, I don't know.

I refused to listen to my usual podcasts, so I wouldn't be listening to other voices, and forced myself to listen to my own voice. I desperately needed to listen to my heart's cry. It has been whimpering all along for many months now, and I have simply ignored it, by getting myself busy with other things and listening to various podcasts. I have stopped listening to music because I wanted to gain knowledge, not just melody and relaxation. After months of ignoring the whimpers of my heart, I think it just broke. You know how sometimes when you break, but you just can't cry? The tears just won't flow, and you just purse your lips, refuse to speak to anyone and nurse your heart break.

I walked the length of the airport to look at the departure flights to various cities of the world, and wonder why I can't be on one of those flights.

Reaching the end of the airport, I sat down to write. As I do, I realised I have stopped empathising with people in worse plight than mine - people earning less in harsher and more hostile environment, working in less rewarding and fulfilling jobs. I have taken my eyes off them and looked in to myself instead and seen a deeper hole, a darker black.

I am jaded and burnt. I have lost my axe head and purpose. Like a chess player cornered at a game, I don't know which next move to make.

As I walked the airport once more, looking at the various departure flights, I thought:

What if I go to the most beautiful place on earth but have not friends?

What if I behold the most glorious sight and have not love?

That was when I decided to go home. I found my feet hurrying back to my husband and family - familiarity that is my solid foundation.