Letters of Life

Month: January 2012

Off The Wall

The wall I was talking about? It’s still there. Oh, I’m not fenced in. Yet. But I must admit I am editing my thoughts and ideas even as they come in, like acquaintances through my front door, invited, but suddenly screened in the hallway just as they’ve taken off their shoes. I look them up… Read More ›

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Days Are Numbers

I’ve got Alan Parsons Project playing in my ears because I have to admit, that after writing a marathon of posts with last month’s 23 and 15 this month when I used to average 9 on a good month, I am finally hitting a wall. And APP’s sound is nostalgic and somehow inspiring enough to… Read More ›

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On Reading, Books, and Kim Basinger

I am such a slow reader these days that I wish I were Kim Basinger. To be exact, when she played My Stepmother Is An Alien (1988). There’s this scene in the movie where she runs her fingertips over the spines of books over Dan Aykroyd’s fireplace. She pauses, fingertips over a Shakespeare anthology and… Read More ›

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Dragon Chow

We’re our own dragons as well as our own heroes, and we have to rescue ourselves from ourselves. — Tom Robbins, modern American author Today was Day Two of the Lunar New Year, which in Singapore usually means a second day in a food marathon for the Chinese. In a bid to rescue ourselves from… Read More ›

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A Chinese New Year Memory

Each Chinese New Year the four of us, my parents, my brother, and I, would drive to my grandfather’s Serangoon Gardens house in Walmer Drive. My mother’s father lived in a semi-detached one-storey cottage with my grandmother and a dachshund named Gretel. There, we would meet aunts, uncles, cousins, eat pineapple tarts, drink F&N orange… Read More ›

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Light

Most people think that shadows follow, precede, or surround beings or objects. The truth is that they also surround words, ideas, desires, deeds, impulses and memories. —Elie Wiesel, writer, Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate (b. 1928) The shadow of a word Is its opposite The shadow of an idea always bigger The shadow of a… Read More ›

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On Sweetness

Definition: Old English. swete “pleasing to the senses, mind or feelings. What does it mean when we say someone is sweet? One who is sweet is one who is charming, caring and thoughtful in speech and actions without being conscious of it at all. Like when the ten-year-old takes a sip from his cup of cold water… Read More ›

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Walking in the Rain

Let the rain kiss you Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops Let the rain sing you a lullaby The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk The rain makes running pools in the gutter The rain plays a little sleep song on our roof at night And I love the… Read More ›

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Realism, or The Line Between

In this excerpt from a short story by renowned fantasist Peter S Beagle called Professor Gottesman and the Rhinoceros, a Swiss-born professor of philosophy brings his niece to the zoo and finds himself being spoken to by an Indian rhinoceros. “Professor, it was indeed I who spoke. Come and talk to me, if you please.”… Read More ›

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Beauty Is Evocative of Something Else

“Beauty is nothing other than the promise of happiness.” — Stendhal, French 19th century writer  

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Finding the Self in Fiction

The thing about Jeffrey Eugenides’ writing is that every paragraph has been crafted such that at least one true sentence, or one true image, resides in each. The result is that his book, The Marriage Plot, is such a satisfying read. This excerpt describes the heroine, Madeleine, studying for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) as… Read More ›

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Both Sides Now

I let my vocal coach, a professional singer-musician for 25 years, read this and asked her if she could put a melody to it. How nice if I could sing it on days when I felt under Grace and in the Flow. Upon reading it, she said it reminded her of a Joni Mitchell song…. Read More ›

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Both Sides Now

If you read this and could ever put a melody to it, let me know? How nice if I could sing it on days when I feeI under Grace and In the Flow. It kinda reminds me of a Joni Mitchell song I heard when I was about eight or nine. Maybe eleven. Do listen… Read More ›

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When You Get Onto The Computer

American blogger-author-social media marketer  Seth Godin, (Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?, 2010) and founder of Squidoo.com, a single-page website generator, provocatively titled his recent blog post thus: “The First Thing You Do When You Get On Your Computer.” His post was the idea that if the first thing you do when you get on the computer… Read More ›

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Check Point

Several times a month, I make myself useful by going into the office. There I write checks to pay invoices and bills sent to the clinic-surgery run by Andre. In Singapore, dates on checks have to be carefully written to fit a format that fits into six little squares: Day/Month/Year. Single digit dates and months… Read More ›

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The Faces of Cambodia

Photographs by Chan Kwai Onn and Daniel Sim We played games, gave prizes and Christmas gifts and even hooked up a photo printer in the village to a dangling electrical socket to print out these portraits of the children to give them as mementoes. They say that every picture tells a story. And so it… Read More ›

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All About Yv

“The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, nor the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it’s the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when he discovers that someone else believes in him and is willing to trust him.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson, American poet, 1803–1882. This post is written for a friend,… Read More ›

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A New Year’s Words

For last year’s words belong to last year’s language And next year’s words await another voice.    TS Eliot The first hour of 2012 found me standing on the esplanade by the Tonle Sap, a tributary that flows into the great Mekong River. The warm and windy air stank of old mud and sewage. We… Read More ›

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