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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Farewell my black balloon

Let the weather have it's way with you

Farewell my black balloon, let the weather have it's way with you

Farewell my

Black balloon

Shu at 5:33 AM


Sunday, April 13, 2008

the best is yet to be

Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made:
Our times are in His hand
Who saith "A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid!''

Shu at 8:55 AM


Friday, March 28, 2008

...Qu'est-ce que je ferai maintenant? personne ne peux me dire..

Close to one year ever since my last post, I'm finally in Paris. And I've been here for the past 3 months. Life's become both more complicated and easy at the same time that it's hard to see where one starts and the other leaves off. I needed an outlet of sorts, so it's back to reviving the deadblog which hopefully stays dead except for my thoughts of the moment. University has taken a bit of getting used to, cos 90% of it are americans, and 80% of the students here are on exchange - meaning, the turn-over rate in my university is pretty darn high. Other than the occasional frustrating ignorance that some Americans in my school tend to show at the worst times (i.e. complaining nonstop about the french in the middle of a crowded metro filled with french people who understand english), I've made some pretty good friends, and I'm glad I have my french friends from my travels before, because otherwise, I'd have no time to practice my french at all! Everyone in the university speaks english all day, and all my friends from university speak english outside of class when we hang out, so I don't really have much contact with the french language except for making the occasional order in a restaurant or when buying something from the boulangeries. Does anyone else see the irony in this? (!) Anyway, I'm pretty happy with my academics though, cos I've been getting full marks on my essays and exams for psychology classes and business modules even though I usually party the nights away and fail to wake up for classes the next morning. So things seem to be going well. At least on the surface.

I'm still torn up over everything that's happened..even though I try to repress it in the hope that things might change if you've learnt your lesson. I know I said I'd give you a second chance, and since I've agreed to do that, I'm going to make it all or nothing, instead of constantly bringing up feelings of bitterness and mistrust whenever we hit a problem. But deep down inside me, something's died. It died the moment I found out what you did. And it died even more when you lied to me outright although we both knew what happened. I don't know if what I feel now is love, or the fear of being alone again. And I definitely don't know if after all that you've done, I can look at you and still feel happy that we're together. Because right now, I have to consciously push back thoughts of your betrayal and look you in the eye and tell you I love you. Somehow I don't feel right when I do this, and so I know the love I have for you is no longer the same, nor as completely selfless as it was before. I know it's possible for you to look at me and tell me you love me even whilst doing things behind my back, and that makes me scared..because, what if it never ends? how will I ever be able to tell? your words tell me nothing anymore. And yet sometimes they tell me everything, more than what's really there.

Love isn't meant to be paranoid. I'm not here to watch over your every move and be your babysitter in case you fall again. I guess I'm still bitter over the fact that you haven't grown up. Someone's going to have to teach you, so that you'll learn there are more important things in life than short term thrills, and that when you finally learn, you'll be all alone again looking for the next love to bring meaning to that empty, meaningless life of yours. I don't want to be that someone. I'm trying now, but I'm realizing that I might not have the strength of mind and self to take it. I don't want another blow, and yet someone has to help you learn. Could you save yourself, for someone who loves you for you? Things would be much easier if you'd only just have the strength of mind and control to help yourself. No one else can save you, yes, I could try, but I'm starting to fear that I might just end up in the deep end, as fucked up as you are. I want to cut myself loose, but I hate that with what you did, you just ruined the next few relationships that I might have because I know I'll be bringing the scars you wrought with me and someone else will have to have the endless patience that I had with you, trying to make things right again. You of all people should understand that. Afterall, that's what happened to you. I thought that since you knew how it felt on the other end, you'd be the last person to do something like that to anyone. But you did anyway, and that's what makes me so disillusioned. I don't know how long this will go on for, and whether you'll be strong enough to change completely, but I do know that one more strike and you're out. Because there's only so much I can do to psych myself into believing that you're a good but misguided person who just hasn't grasped the idea that you can't have everything nor all the pleasures in life. For every new pleasure that you take, you give up another that you once had..

Shu at 2:36 AM


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

With every mistake we must surely be learning.. still, my guitar gently weeps

Overdue updates as usual:

Just got back from a short trip to Hong Kong with Reina :) And I've gotten the place which I have long coveted in the American University of Paris. But lo and behold, who would have thought (riiight), now that I've gotten it and the excitement has worn off, reality's setting in. A few things have been plaguing me ever since I received news of my acceptance -

1) a hefty SGD$70,000 sum to pay per year for a total of 3 years is really too costly a burden for my family to handle. Even though that includes tuition, housing, living, transport and more or less everything I would have to spend to live in Paris.

2) Daily life in Paris isn't actually as exciting and appealing as many would have it seem. Sure travelling in Paris is awesome, but I know living there would probably be very very different. The pace of life is really slow for one, shops close by 5pm everyday and almost nothing's open on Sunday. That means, no more supper! Or 7-11's. Or spontaneous midnight cook-outs. Haha okay, now that sounds really random but believe me, it's the small things like these that you'll miss when you're there. It's also really really expensive as most people already know. So that cuts out alot of creature comforts and leisurely habits. Main reason why I'm still keen on studying there is because only by living there will I get to learn the language fully and quickly.

3) Do I really want to leave everything and everyone behind in two months time? To make a completely new life for myself in a foreign country right now? No. Not really. Sadly, the times when I am ready, I never had the chance. And now that I'm not, opportunity sorely presents itself.

4) I probably would have to transfer out to a cheaper university partway again, (my dad wants me to head to Shanghai or Beijing because it'd be useful to have contacts in Europe and China), but damn... at this rate, I won't be graduating any time soon. Not that postphoning the date at which I'll be due for working life is such a bad thing though. Alas if there's nothing else more, the least I could say is that I've studied in three different countries in the span of my degree:x

Although I have countless more doubts about the huge move to Paris, I do know that staying in Sg will not be any better for me. I definitely can't study in NUS anymore, and no other university over here has the course that I'm looking for. So let's see what one semester of Paris brings before more re-evaluation of my life, I guess. I'm sure things will work out somehow, it's just a matter of time and muddling in between crossroads for now. So while most of my peers who know what they want to do move on to the next phase of corporate jobs and lifestyles, I'll be yet another lost sheep of my generation, making stupid mistakes along the way and trying to find the right path that makes it all worthwhile in the end. Chalking it all up to experience's sake seems to make up alot of what I've been doing these days in the cases of folly. But just how much will it take before I get it right?

Hopefully I won't be wrong about this because it's just too high a price to pay this time :/

Shu at 11:22 PM


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Love Bade Me Welcome

Love bade me welcome; yet my soul drew back,
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning
If I lacked any thing.

"A guest," I answered, "worthy to be here";
Love said, "You shall be he."
"I the unkind, ungrateful? Ah my dear,
I cannot look on Thee."
Love took my hand, and smilingly did reply,
"Who made the eyes but I?"

Shu at 10:50 PM


Monday, December 25, 2006

Last, long update before I leave.

Okay, ironically, Xmas eve is the only time I've had to myself so far. A whole day's worth of self-recharging and thinking. I was looking through some old pictures from my May/June Europe trip and I realized I haven't yet updated fully about it as I said I would, especially the not-so-good parts. People have also been asking me about backpacking in Europe and so, whatever I can recall for now, I will write about here. The rest will have to wait for another time when my memory proves more receptive!

From the looks of my earlier post written in Milan, I really was quite scattered haha. Running around Europe on whims and spending half my trip on the train or the platform waiting for the train to come in seems to be the case most of the time. Did I mention the amount of times I'd missed my train just because I'd miscalculated the time it took to:

1) Drag myself out of bed/couch/floor at unearthly hours in the morning

2) Walk the 2-3km to the busstop with my 20kg backpack

3) Rush to the drugstore to try and buy a bus ticket, whilst trying to understand and speak the few choice foreign words in my limited vocabulary

4) Then rushing back to the busstop after realizing my bus is there already and the next bus comes at a 20minute interval

5) Getting onto the bus all dishevelled and out of breath, with my pride all but nonexistent by then, my shoe(s) in my hand or something else falling off in the process due to my completely un-glam rush for the bus

6) Reaching the train station and trying to read all the signs that point me to the right counter for buying train tickets (there're special ones for eurailpass holders, latecomers, internal trips, international trips, etc..) It gets so maddening when it's in a foreign language you can't read for nuts..argh!

7) Queueing up whilst hoping like hell you'll be able to get your ticket before the train leaves

8) Reaching the counter after 10 or 15 mins of queueing and be told, "Sorry, you've been queueing at the wrong counter", or "Your train is leaving now, you'll have to take the next train which leaves 293470238hours later" or something to that extent because at that point in time, even 2.5 hours would seem like eternity after all that damned trouble you took to get there.

I swear, if this trip didn't seem like an Amazing Race re-enactment, then I don't know what is. For every minute lost within each interval, it accumulates and accumulates till the time I reach the train station, I've no time to get a good place to sit, let alone change some euros to buy myself a meal before the 8 hours of forced famine on the train with nothing to eat. Sometimes, buying a train ticket doesn't always mean you've got a seat for the next few hours for sure, haha. I can't remember where it was - somewhere in italy I think, but there were a few times I was forced to half stand/squat on my backpack for the whole journey because the train seats had been oversold to my frustration. I guess this is where you learn that planning ahead is the golden rule when it comes to transportation! You definitely do not want to try arriving past midnight in a foreign country and not knowing how to get to your destination from the station. Also important, is remembering the main words in other languages at each country's train station like 'exit' (eg. sortie in french), 'platform', 'train carriage', 'ticket counter' and etc. All the small things. Kind of hard when you're moving between 4 countries like a pin ball on coke for 2 months straight. Your cultural meter tends to go a tad haywire.

Of course, another problem with my spontaneous whims was that I had to find people to let me crash at their place at realllly, really, last minute notice. Think arriving at the train station in Austria and calling up people on the spot to see if they might be free to let you stay the night(s). Thank god for the kind souls who were laidback enough to endure my last minute pleas of help! And yes, I was staying with strangers the whole time, except for when I was in Paris. That's why I didn't kill my budget with some 20euros a night hostel accommodation and what not. And yes also, I know it's not safe staying with people I've only emailed once or twice before, but this is where Hospitality comes into play. Here onwards, I'm just gonna copy and paste from the hospitality website cos I'm a bit tired of having to explain to people what exactly it entails:

"What is it?

Our aim is to bring people together - hosts and guests, travelers and locals. Thousands of members around the world help each other when they are traveling - be it with a roof for the night or a guided tour through town. Joining is free, takes just a minute and everyone is welcome. Members can look at each other's profiles, send messages and post comments about their experience on the website.The club is supported by volunteers who believe in one idea: by bringing travelers in touch with people in the place they visit, and by giving "locals" a chance to meet people from other cultures we can increase intercultural understanding and strengthen the peace on our planet.Come onboard - join the largest online hospitality exchange organization! You will meet friendly people and find free accommodation when you travel to any corner of the world. There are no obligations (you do not have to host anyone at your home!), membership is free and we would love to have you in our world wide web of friendly people! "

And there you have it. To sum it up, you contact a person whom you'd like to stay with through the site, after having a look at his/her profile and references left by the people that they've hosted/stayed with before (they can't delete these references, so this prevents weirdos from getting to host people). And if he/she is free to show you around or let you crash at their place, then they'll do all they can to bring you around and show you what it's like being a local in the country you're visiting (eg. finding the cheapest yet best eats in town, partying at places only locals know about, learning about the language and cultural norms..) The whole thing works both ways. And you don't owe them a thing, except for gratitude of course. But in a way, it's like passing on the spirit of hospitality to other people you meet later on. I thought it was some dodgy organization at first, but damnnnnn, this thing has changed my life, or at the least, made realizing my travelling dreams much easier.

I cannot begin to describe the many people I've met on that trip. Although I was travelling alone, I wasn't really alone, except for when I was on the bloody train I guess. It's just such a nice feeling that you get from the small things, like when you talk with someone on the otherside of the world, and find that you guys grew up watching more or less the same things, albeit dubbed in different languages (Doraemon, Captain Planet, Flash, Mcguyver..) haha! You realize that despite cultural differences, people still connect in the same ways. And over a glass of alcohol du jour, conversation naturally flows easier no matter the language barriers ;) I met some great people, but of course, there were one or two weird ones as well :/ These were the ones that caused me to change my original plans at such a last minute mostly. I'd just grab my backpack and leave the next morning even though I just arrived that night, if the person I was supposed to stay with wasn't giving off good vibes.

Anyway, here's how the trip went, if I recall right:

Paris for 2 and a half weeks--->Avignon (France)--->Marseille (Southern France)--->Aix-en-Provénce (France)--->Marseille (S. France)--->Nice (S. France)--->Cannes (S. France)--->Milan (Italy)--->Venice (Italy)--->Milan (Italy)--->Nice (S. France)--->Antibes (S. France)--->Milan (Italy)---> Bern (Switzerland)--->Milan (Italy)--->Rome (Southern Italy)--->Milan (Italy)--->Vienna (Austria)--->Innsbruck (Austria)--->Milan (Italy)--->Marseille (S. France)--->Paris for another week.

Messy, isn't it! As you can see, Milan was mostly the travelling base cos it's right smack in the middle of the 4 countries. Red is the route I took the last trip. Blue is the route I'm planning to take this coming trip. I leave for Paris this wednesday, hopefully I don't stray too far from the original route...although it's usually the case. :/ So yes, it's bonjour-s and que pasa-s for me this time round! I'll be gone till January the 18th, and then it's Full Moon Partyyyy in Thailand!

Seeing that I'll be missing quite a lot of school, I'm thinking of dropping out first, before my transfer overseas in june/july. In the meantime, I'm hoping to take up a TOEFL course so that I can get a job teaching English in Beijing. The pay is surprisingly high! Just got back from Beijing, and it's one of a kind. My first impression of Beijing was terribly mistaken, when I got in from the airport, all I saw was bleak-looking trees and dull industrial buildings whilst being blown away by the cold winter winds, this led me to think Beijing wouldn't be as interesting as I heard it would be. But after the first few days of walking around and exploring Beijing, amidst the hu tongs, peking duck, forbidden city, summer palace, etc.. I was won over by it's old-china charm. It didn't hurt that my host in Beijing, a swedish-israeli traveller who's been living there for 2 months plus now, showed me the abundant nightlife in BJ as well as initiated me into his amazingly friendly, friend-circle over there. :) So days were spent with friends and family seeing as much as I could in Beijing, shopping at yasiu and si tan, stuffing myself with all kinds of cheap, delicious food, whilst nights were spent laughing at ktvs, drinking in bars and clubs at sanlitun and other places which names I forget. You can just imagine the state of hedonism I was in, haha! If I were to choose between working in Beijing or Shanghai, it would be a tough choice for sure. The Winter in Beijing kills me though. :/ It was -11degrees celsius when I left, and most times when I'm coming back from a night out around 5am in the morning, the winds just blow me away. I've had my bag AND jacket physically blown off before. (?!?) Crazy winds man. Too bad I was only there for a little more than a week though :( It's always hard leaving people behind for some place else, but it's only the natural order I guess. You make friends, some better so than others sometimes, but you still have to say goodbye and move on sooner or later as long as you're on the road.

I've written so much. I can't believe it, ha. Looks like this will be the last post in a while, unless I've some time to spare in Europe. Here's some videos I took the last trip:)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9EtlNTg4UM (Top of the Eiffel Tower on a really windy day)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mHnxURIvKi0 (We happened upon Gay pride day whilst walking in Paris)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yEb4koyREGw (Aix-en-Provence. Nico my host, desperate for a lighter, uses the toaster instead, haha!)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGEd5jgF3ao (Paris. Berrrts family and him showing me how to eat raclette, a typical french dinner.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUZnggdjB14 (Venice. Main square filled with pigeons!)

The rest of the videos are too random, I'll put them up next time, too sleepy now. See you guys when I get back from Europe then! Enjoy New Year's in Sg :)

Shu at 12:11 AM


Thursday, November 23, 2006

Et tel une sentinelle..

And so finally, after 5 months... Where the hell have I ended up you may ask.

Still in sunny, sunny Singapura. NUS, to be more exact.

It's strange that even after so long, 3/4's of my friends think I'm either a) still living it up in Shanghai, b) studying in San Francisco, or c) backpacking in some unknown developing country. But I guess that's what happens when you return and don't bother to renew friendship ties. I'm too flippant about important things for my own good. It's the bittersweet realization that all good things, though end they may, still have a tiny place in your heart, if not anymore in your thoughts. And it's alllll gooood :)

Still really mixed up over university though, because I think I know what I want to study and where, but there's still this niggling feeling that it might just be another one of my whims and fancies which fade over time. It's making me feel like I'm still stuck in the decision-making process of 2005 whilst everyone's already settled in and halfway done. Would be interesting to look back on this in a year's time when I've finally transferred out, and think about the things that led me to make my decision, whichever it's gonna be.

I haven't travelled in a while. I know to many, travelling is a luxury, but I'm sure if you know me well enough you'll understand my love of moving. It's so much more than just the final destination. The experience along the way is what makes it all worthwhile. Looking forward to the end of the year where it's gonna be Beijing with my family, and then Paris and Barcelona to visit friends made on the previous trip till January the 18th. Would be halfway through school by then, so I'll have to settle my modules online somehow whilst I'm travelling.. :/ New Year's Eve is gonna be amazing though! Baptiste just told me that he and the rest like Uwe, Robert, Paul and Ralf are all gonna be in Paris as well for NYE. Talk about multi-national reunion of the 'singapore' brotherhood as he likes to call it, haha. A year has passed... this NYE reunion will definitely be funny. :) And I foresee a night of good food and mad revelry especially if Bapt's planning it.

In the meantime, exams are here, in 5 days to be exact. I've got to get my mind sorted out, and stop getting distracted! Food seems to have taken over alcohol as the main vice right now. So it's back to studying then!

Shu at 12:19 AM