Letters of Life

Making Connections (Friendship) rss

One of my favourites: My thoughts on friendship, love, and affection.

In the Moment

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22:42, Thursday, 13 November, 2014

    Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life. Omar Khayyám (1048 — 1131) Riding pillon behind Kimmy on her moto (the Khmer nickname for motorbike), we rode the wide lanes of Monivong Boulevard in downtown Phnom Penh. It was a sunny Saturday afternoon, we’d just had lunch at a North Korean restaurant (Pyongyang… Read More ›

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The Strength of a Castle

A classmate in the girls’ school I attended gave me this castle for my 16th birthday. It took pride of place near my bedroom window. When I got married and moved out, it came along, as did many artifacts of youth, for what is a new marriage but a continuation of that youth? It occupied… Read More ›

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Something Older

Before being fully grown, still half-strange to one’s self, there is the magical acceptance by another, the endless talk of nothings through days that break the heart, that count for something in the passing of thirty years.  Scattered conversations, time upon time. No, it’s more, but nothing more than what it was.

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Friends From The Hundred Acre Wood

A narrative from an online issue of the magazine McSweeney’s called Christopher Robin Friend Requests the Residents of the Hundred Acre Wood  set me thinking about my own Hundred Acre Wood, the place where childhood and youngness resides. Followers of Winnie-the-Pooh would know the Hundred Acre Wood is the forest which Owl and Rabbit (Tigger, Kanga and Roo,… Read More ›

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A New Friend

It was eight o’clock and the hotel cafe, though small, was bright with light shining through  tall glass panes. I scanned the people sitting down to breakfast, all familiar faces, wondering which group I could possibly share a table with. As I walked slowly pass the first few tables, I saw that an elderly man whom… Read More ›

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Friends

Upon finding out that someone from our small group would be having his wedding dinner in a neighbouring country up north in six weeks’ time, the group of friends did these things: 1. Invited themselves to the dinner, making light of the travel upcountry (they mentally started to rearrange busy and lucrative Saturday work schedules,… Read More ›

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Twins (Not Really)

My twin, Go. I’ve said this phrase so many times, it has become a reassuring mantra instead of actual words: Mytwingo. We were born in the ’70s, back when twins were rare, a bit magical: cousins of the unicorn, siblings of the elves. We even have a dash of twin telepathy. Go is truly the… Read More ›

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Sharing, Not Just Giving

A morning spent with my friend, Dr Tan Lai Yong, a former missionary who is now a resident fellow at the local university, always sets me thinking. Lai Yong recently returned to Singapore for good after 14 years doing humanitarian work in Kunming, China, and remains deeply involved in volunteerism and community service. Whether it… Read More ›

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Conversations (Part II)

To my newest subscribers, Thank you so much for all the likes and warm comments on featherglass, which I deeply thank the people at Freshly Pressed for publicising. Last weekend has been quite surreal, and it was amazing to feel connected to the blogging world like never before. I hope you’ll keep visiting featherglass: the… Read More ›

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La Dolce Vita

An old teaching consultant and an old hack strolled into a chichi French cafe awash with sunlight and tourists. The old teacher held forth on the benefits of four-hour sleep patterns, cholesterol, and the kingdom of Catalonia, while the old hack tried unsuccessfully to get the attention of the waiters who were playing a kind… Read More ›

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A Moment In Time

As someone who loves music—who doesn’t?— and who loved watching music videos growing up—who didn’t?—dabbling in video editing was something I used to like doing. (Anybody?) It was like cooking except it took way longer: Assembling footage, collating the stills, selecting the music, writing captions, creating a narrative, and editing everything to the groove, the… Read More ›

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A Party Like No Other; Or Why Surprise Parties Last Forever

There are many kinds of birthday gifts one can bestow on the important people in your life. They range from the spoken wish, the wish that is texted, emailed, written on someone’s Timeline, handcrafted cards, presents, simple dinners, the throwing of parties, whether big or small. If you’re like me, you like giving other people… Read More ›

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Conversations (Part 1)

A recent conversation. Me: I can’t speak French because I can’t roll my ‘R’s. I sound like Elmer Fudd. Seriously. Friend: Rrrrrrr . . . Rrr–rrrr. I learned that from a cat. Me: I could not learn it from anybody. I tried. I cannot. How’s your cat? Friend: My cat’s OK. I learned it from… Read More ›

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When Style Bunny Meets The Elk

Elks are a highly adaptable species of deer, found mostly in mountainous regions and forested habitats native to North America. These rugged creatures came to mind when I was reflecting on how I came to befriend a few outdoorsy types a couple of years back. I thought about influence, and whether it was possible for… Read More ›

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A Word of Thanks

You read between the lines, listened in the midst of the busiest hour, and you understood, because you knew me and it mattered.

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Gifts from the Heart

A nocturne, evocative of night, wafts out from my laptop as I write. It comes from a CD, a double-album of Arthur Rubinstein deftly weaving an aural tapestry from  the epic works of a legendary Romantic composer. Those nocturnes, along with The Visible World (2007) by American author Mark Slouka, were gifts from an old… Read More ›

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Grey

Part Nine in the Colour series. A child of beautiful white and elegant black, grey encompasses all the lovely things of its perfect parents. Grey ( I prefer the English to the American spelling “gray”, for the “e” makes the word look elegant and lively) is favoured both by the sophisticated, the simple, and the… Read More ›

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Scintillating Conversation

A break from the series on colour. I was looking for an orange picture in iPhoto to go with a post about the colour orange when I scrolled onto this. I realize it’s been a while since I’ve had text-message conversations like this one. Much as I long for less technology, some days are just… Read More ›

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Symmetry, or The Elegance of the See-Saw

There’s something about a see-saw that makes a child race towards an empty one. It’s inert, tilted at rest, promising a fun ride of ups and downs. But you can’t be alone to ride one. And if you’re small, it’s not much fun sharing a see-saw with a big person. Like you, I’ve always liked see-saws…. Read More ›

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Day 31, Lent 2012

The last lap, as it were, of the Lenten season. Just nine more days to go. I will be writing about my insights of Lent 2012, the lessons I learned, etc after Easter on April 8th. As it stands, it appears that numbers are acquiring an unsual significance this time round. For instance, this happens… Read More ›

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Nymphs and Nicknames

Interviewer: Last week the Royal Festival Hall saw the first performance of a new symphony by one of the world’s leading modern composers, Arthur “Two Sheds” Jackson. Mr Jackson. Jackson: Good evening. Interviewer: May I just sidetrack you for one moment. Mr. Jackson, this, what shall I call it, nickname of yours. Jackson: Oh yes. Interviewer: “Two sheds.” How did you come… Read More ›

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Eirene

Credit: eilish.deviantart.com/art/Fairies-99603591 The first time I properly heard Chopin was when I was given a casette tape (yes) of the pianist’s ethereal Nocturnes, those will-o’-the-wisps of night music, evanescent and evasive, quite out of one’s grasp if one were only a recreational piano player. I used to pop the tape into my mini-compo (yes), and… 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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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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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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Christmas 2011

Gift hunting during the Christmas season, I wandered into a baby store, in search of a toy or two. And no, the recipients were not necessarily under 2 or 20 years of age. At Christmastime, one has to be creative. For the legitimately-aged baby, I found Sophie, France’s best-selling giraffe teether-toy. Then, I found Amos… Read More ›

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Lessons in Love

First written: July 20th, 2011.  How many times have you been in love? More than once, if that’s what the question implies. The question might also imply that such a simple question is best answered with the hindsight of 20/20 vision. The nature of adolescent love is such that when things don’t work out, one… Read More ›

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Post-Race Reflections of Fellow Running Mates

The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.” — John Bingham (b. 1948), American marathon runner who believes that the goals of running are to have fun and finish—and that for a vast majority of amateur athletes running fast should not be the only aim. We five… Read More ›

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And Twist of Fate

This post is written on deadline as my connection only lasts 20 minutes (minus mail-checking, etc). Read this first. Thanks. Dear Wolff, I am so glad you reacquainted yourself with the erstwhile Beagle.  It’s not my fault, it was serendipity, you said. Sleight of Hand is a trove of beautiful stories. The thing is, short… Read More ›

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Serendipity

Jonathan: This is the ultimate blend to drink. How’d you find this place? Sara: I first came in because of the name: Serendipity. It’s one of my favorite words. Jonathan: It is? Why? Sara: It’s such a nice sounding word for what it means: A fortunate accident. – From the movie Serendipity (2001) What makes… Read More ›

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Naugahyde And Other Funny Memories

The word came up, apropos of the furnishings in a fast-food chain purveying Japanese fine burger(s) and coffee. “Naugahyde.” * The last time I said that word aloud must have been ’round about 1985. Like Proust’s involuntary remembrance of how the taste of a madeleine shot him back into a golden recollection of childhood, my… Read More ›

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August Moon Part II

I’ve got the distinct impression I’m supposed to write about my birthmonth of August. At a personal level, this month will go down in memory as one peopled by old friends, new friends, young old friends, new older friends, and everyone in between. This includes faraway friends, who out of nowhere messaged me that they… Read More ›

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Reminiscing

~Fairy tales richly illustrated was something we loved. Every year around this time, a friend rings me up. We met in the ST newsroom a long time ago, both newbies, both a little terrified of the editors, vulnerable in the big, messy, open-plan office where stories of crime, court cases, politics, sports, and every day… Read More ›

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The 44th Parallel

“The true secret in being a hero lies in knowing the order of things. The swineherd cannot already be wed to the princess when he embarks on his adventures, nor can the boy knock on the witch’s door when she is already away on vacation. The wicked uncle cannot be found out and foiled before… Read More ›

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First Impressions (III)

Last weekend, a friend brought a guest to church. She was a young woman who climbed mountains. In fact she had once climbed a mountain in China. How high? About 6,000 metres, she said matter-of-factly. Her down-to-earth reply encouraged me to share my experiences in climbing. It took about 10 seconds. I described a recent… Read More ›

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First Impressions (II): Be Nice Now

First impressions can be 100 per cent way off course, but they do count. This might surprise you, but more people than you think do not, or did not, have a good first impression of me. (Is this old news?) And so, I will work on making a better first impression. Since I am now… Read More ›

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First Impressions

This little story puts paid to the idea that first impressions–by this I mean the immediate perception based on a brief analysis of outward appearances–don’t amount to a hill of beans. Detractors say don’t judge a book by its cover. But human nature is full of biases and the mind categorizes before you can think… Read More ›

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The Richest of Sunlight

The blinding sunlight, sieved through the translucent window shades, lost all of its glare but none of its brilliance as it washed the walls of the living room, painting them a clean, soft white. Outside, the treetops’ gold highlights and white sky were reflected in the beveled glass panels of the kitchen doors, glinting and… Read More ›

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Sunday Afternoon

Every point in one’s life at which one loses everything is far more a beginning than an end, for one has lost merely the past, and one has yet to gain the future, and eternity itself. — Douglas Gresham, Lenten Lands: My Childhood with Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis, 1988. Yesterday, there was a lunch… Read More ›

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A Not-So Ordinary Day

It’s late, but the later it gets, the more I need to write something to capture the day just gone. This song, sung by Olivia Newton-John, captures how I feel. Press PLAY. It’s not just the laidback easy feeling of the song, a quintessence of seventies’ pop, that encapsulates how I feel. Today was rather… Read More ›

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