Letters of Life

Sessions of Sweet Silent Thought (Reflections) rss

Written when in silent and pensive mood. . .

I Need A Day to Remember Her Name

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9:31, Friday, 2 October, 2015

Is it because her name, as posted on social media, is so very long? Or exotic? Or strange-sounding? Is it because the person who wrote that comment wrote in a language that wasn’t native to him? Maybe he meant that after that day, after seeing that photograph, he would not ever forget the name of… Read More ›

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Crazy

  The answer I found is you stay away from the people who make fun of you, and you join these ad hoc groups who understand your craziness.  — Ray Bradbury If you’ve been on this earth as long as I have, you find that sometimes, these ad hoc groups come out and look for… Read More ›

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Under a Pale Blue Sky

September, when I was young, tended to be melancholic. Or should I say, I was melancholic whenever September came round. September at seventeen was rainy days and solitude in an empty house in a quiet neighbourhood that had since become more upscale than it ever was when I was living there. The rain soothed my spirits,… Read More ›

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Emerald Hill Days

On this little tropical island, there is a very old town house on Emerald Hill. Built at the turn of the twentieth century, this old house has been lovingly restored, with handmade bricks on a wall in the inner courtyard where two koi swim in a pond under a skylight. I have never been inside these… Read More ›

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Diary

Inspired by English playwright Alan Bennett’s Diary in the London Review of Books (9 Jan 2014), I decided to pull actual content from my 2013 pages of a journal.  30 January. The tragedy of the two young brothers who died when a cement mixer accidentally crushed them as they were riding a bike home from school… Read More ›

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Repost: A Christmas Memory

Driving home for Christmas, With a thousand memories . . . Chris Rea, Driving Home For Christmas (1998) Christmas used to come less with presents, more with baggage. Absent parents in my youth meant a silent house, no plans for turkey dinners, always relying on the kindness of aunts and uncles to remember to invite… Read More ›

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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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Seen

Phnom Penh, 16 November 2013 dragonfly unable to hold on to the grass blade – Matsuo Basho (1649)

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Now Settled, A Word of Thanks

It’s been quite a ride getting published in Freshly Pressed. I realize there’s a  lovely group of editors and writers in the WordPress community who work hard sifting, shortlisting, and using their well-honed “built-in, shockproof, bullshit detectors” (Hemingway) to curate an interesting site that looks constantly freshly-pressed. Warm thanks. Appreciate all of you fellow readers, writers… Read More ›

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A Case for Not Bitstripping Yourself

How charming, the idea of turning yourself into a comic version of yourself. How effortless to plonk yourself into a two-dimensional world of flat colour where you can live out your fantasies. “Instant comics and cards starring YOU and your friends (capitals mine).”  That’s what greets you when you open the Bitstrip app. In this… Read More ›

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Sentimental Lines

Looking for some old pictures for an upcoming project, I found a handmade book given to me by a friend from my days in the newsroom. He was a soft-spoken history major who loved classical music and everything to do with the performing arts; he ended up editing an arts magazine for The Esplanade where… Read More ›

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How To Look Younger While Actually Ageing

Yesterday afternoon, over coffee with a running mate (no, I’m not running for any office), I told him my exact age. I should have prepared him, but he was shocked. He himself is a little younger, but still, he was shocked. This shock is precisely what women of a certain age like to generate. I… Read More ›

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In the Moment

I found this draft of what I call a ‘mood piece’ written more than a year ago; words attempting the capture of an instant, words more about emotion and sentiment than about having anything important to say.

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What I’m Reading

In Muriel Barbery’s The Elegance of the Hedgehog, we enter the mind of a precocious 12-year-old French girl through entries in her journal, and this excerpt describes her experience sitting on the benches of the school gym at the performance of her school choir. The scene is set thus: So yesterday, off I headed to the… Read More ›

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The Papa Hemingway Writing Challenge

In answer to the Weekly Writing Challenge this week, I’m pulling my archive drawers open and riffling through old posts for “a bloated, nasty, air-filled paragraph.” Then, I’m to “edit it until it cries for mercy.”  I’ve chosen several lines from my introductory post on featherglass for butch— I mean, editing. The post is about… Read More ›

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No Reservations Required

Put simply, to reserve is to keep, hold back, or withdraw, something which is meant for future use. If someone is ‘reserved’ it is inferred that the person is withdrawn, does not offer information about himself freely. He holds back. In this age of (mis)Information, I’m inclined to think that being reserved is an advantage,… Read More ›

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On Surrender (Easter 2013)

I’ve always been involved in church Easter productions. It has run the gamut from being part of backstage operations dressing the cast in their costumes or lighting the stage, or being part of the worship band, or arranging the Sunday decor. This time it’s quiet. I haven’t been appointed, or rostered, or asked to help… Read More ›

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To Laugh Is To Really Be OK

There is a thin line that separates laughter and pain, comedy and tragedy, humor and hurt. — Erma Bombeck, American humorist and author The sadness can drift in like a fog from an inner sea of melancholia, and it doesn’t leave, whether I’m alone or alone in a crowd. If I am not alone, but… Read More ›

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A Coincidence of Cosmic Proportions

What’s the likelihood of a shootin’ star falling down to earth the same day an asteroid sideswipes Earth? Tell me, did you fall for a shootin’ star One without a permanent scar And did you miss me while you were looking for yourself out there? Some etymology: The root word meteor comes from the Greek meteōros, meaning “suspended… Read More ›

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Ash Wednesday

Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, the reflective season that precedes Easter. Ash Wednesday is the first of 40 days of prayer and fasting and for some of us, going without something we indulge in, by comparison a very small act of renunciation to remind ourselves of the great sacrifice Christ made… Read More ›

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Of Cool Nights and Pineapple Tarts

The lunar new year, which the Chinese celebrate all over the world, is a good thing. January 1st came too early, it wasn’t a cause for celebration. I think it took the whole of January just to get used to the idea of 2013, and for everyone’s schedules to settle and take root. Today is… Read More ›

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The Hour Before Dinner

A recent road accident killed two young boys, who were brothers, riding on a bike. In an urban city like Singapore built right up to the edges, road traffic accidents are frequent occurences, and cyclists seem to court death each time they take to the city’s backlanes, roads, and highways. But these two boys were… Read More ›

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Walking In The Rain

Being in the tropics means that rain-walking is summer-cool, not harsh with sleet and snow.  And I’ve been walking in the rain all morning. Ponds formed where the pavement dipped, and the ten of us sloshed through them, getting wetter as raindrops dripped onto our heads and shoulders under shared umbrellas meant for one. Socks and… Read More ›

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To Love “The Hobbit” Is To Read The Book

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat; it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort. The film’s narrative… Read More ›

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My 2012

Since sixteen, I’ve kept a diary. The current one is a cloth-bound journal with lined pages, which I turned back to read almost a year’s worth of entries, picking out what I thought were highlights of a year in a life. These highlights come with related posts, and I hope you’ll read them if you… Read More ›

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A Christmas Memory

Driving home for Christmas, With a thousand memories . . . Chris Rea, Driving Home For Christmas (1998) Christmas has always come not with presents, but with a lot of baggage. Absent parents in my youth meant a silent house, no plans for turkey dinners, always relying on the kindness of aunts and uncles to… Read More ›

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A Thread of Anticipation

‘How lovely that bit of gossamer is!’ thought the princess, looking at a long undulating line that shone at some distance from her up the hill. It was not the time for gossamers though; and Irene soon discovered that it was her own thread she saw shining on before her in the light of the… Read More ›

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The Unchanging

The more things change, the more things stay the same. — French novelist Alphonse Karr (1808-90). My last post was two weeks’ ago. No, I didn’t go anywhere. Yes, maybe I did. I thought I was in transition in a metaphysical sense, and I was waiting to get off the train. But I’m journeying across… Read More ›

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The Unknowing

Now for something bloggers are allowed to do every once in a while, i.e., write something so about themselves without sparing a thought to their readers that it’s as indulgent as eating a small box of chocolates alone in a roomful of chocolate lovers. I allow myself to do this at least once a year… Read More ›

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Of Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness

There are no seasons where I live, only weather that is either hot and dry or hot and wet. The sun has been shining fiercely for weeks now. There’s a restlessness that comes before a storm, and I dream of when the Northeast monsoon winds will finally carry rain from the waters of the South China… Read More ›

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Sea Anatomy

  In my recent venture into the sunlit depths, I realized that a lot of coral resemble the insides of our bodies. Looking at a giant brain coral for five minutes in the warm waters of the South China Sea, I wondered, which design came first? The brain coral or the brain of man? Is… Read More ›

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Fools One, Two, And Three

A long time ago, there was a game called The Fool’s Errand. It was written by early game designer Cliff Johnson first for the Apple Macintosh. After reading metaphysical poetry in the daytime, I loved getting on the Mac in the long winter evenings just to play the meta-puzzle game at college. After I graduated,… Read More ›

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Moments

“In a person’s lifetime there may be not more than half a dozen occasions that he can look back to in the certain knowledge that right then, at that moment, there was room for nothing but happiness in his heart.” — Ernestine Gilbreth Carey, American author (1908–2006), Cheaper by the Dozen In the light of how… Read More ›

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Love What You Do. Get Good At It.

Recently, an online news source featured some commencement addresses, speeches given at the graduation ceremonies at notable institutions in the US. My favourite was the one given by TV comedian and satirist, Jon Stewart, of the Emmy-award-winning The Daily News with Jon Stewart. Love what you do. Get good at it. Competence is a rare… Read More ›

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Fatigue

In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit. — Albert Schweitzer, philosopher, physician, musician, Nobel laureate (1875-1965) The second day of the week can very often… Read More ›

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Some Notes Post-Lent

Forty days is a long time to subject oneself to abstinence of anything. One man’s giving up Facebook is another woman’s abstinence from shopping, and in my case, it was both and then some. Revelations about myself (I’m constantly in denial), about where I’m going and where I’m being led — these take more than… Read More ›

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3:16

There’s no other verse in the Bible so well-known that it needs no reference to the Gospel it comes from. For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.  John 3:16 Sometimes I don’t see it anymore—the way one… Read More ›

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Once and Again

Dear subscribers, I must apologise for the lack of a link on the previous post, which you can read here. (This is what comes of experimenting with stickies.) http://wp.me/pJydR-kT What are some things you find hard to refuse? #3 has always been a tough one for me. Take today, for instance. Coordinating a wedding, alone,… Read More ›

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Come Saturday Morning

Ever have one of those days where you’ve gotten back late, you have to get up in about seven hours’ time–provided you sleep now which isn’t possible because you’re writing this–and you’ve made up your mind that you are going to run while it’s still dark and early, and when the day starts, you have… Read More ›

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What Defines A Leader Most

I had a chat this morning with my uncle who, after working at a multinational company, had since retired to a life devoted to mission work and giving his time and expertise to various Christian organizations (amongst these Alpha, YWAM, the Million Leaders Mandate, and the Bible Society). Some of his adventures have included a… Read More ›

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