Tag Archives: Love and Friendship

“When I first saw you I fell in love and you smiled because you knew.” – William Shakespeare

I remember this song from a movie I once watched with D. I remember that when the soundtrack played, we were both very silent for the whole length of the song, and then, a thousand thoughts had ran through my mind. It still is, when I am with people that my soul is at rest with – that there are sometimes the knowing silences – we are sharing, caressing each other’s thoughts while impressing on ourselves the selfish other worlds that we keep within ourselves- and when we return, at the end of the silence – we are so awakened by the intensity of the moment, and the other gives me nothing but a knowing, secret smile. Dark, secret desires from our solitude, but there is the fragility of other things to think about when we return back to life.

R shared of this Arab-esque moment too once, with me and S, and how she returned to reality and the world too fast. We are afraid to fall into the silences, and yet when they come, there is an endearing obsessive quality about them – the way one is in the middle of a game – in the intensity to continue and throw and risk everything in that moment. It is selfish, but also ardently precious and beautiful.

R and I are like that – we are eternally falling in and out of love with other people,but so secretly and nonchalantly, that they may never know.

I found an old photograph of when I played Blanche Dubois from Tennessee William’s A Streetcar named Desire. R and I, R was my Mitch. I loved being Blanche, her manipulative, vulnerable ways, the ways to play with light in the setting, the darkness of the underlying subtle denouements, the screeching of the train rails – Tennessee Williams remains one of my favourite and most respected playwrights of all time, and I still have fond memories of his plays – especially Streetcar named Desire and The Glass Menagerie.

BLANCHE. You love her very much, don’t you?

MITCH. Yes.

BLANCHE. I think you have a great capacity for devotion. You will be lonely when she passes on, won’t you? [Mitch clears his throat and nods] I understand what that is.

MITCH. To be lonely?

BLANCHE. I loved someone, too, and the person I loved I lost.

MITCH. Dead? [She crosses to the window and sits on the sill, looking out. She pours herself another drink] A man?

BLANCHE. He was a boy, just a boy, when I was a very young girl. When I was sixteen, I made the discovery — love. All at once and much, much too completely. It was like you suddenly turned a blinding light on something that had always been half in shadow, that’s how it struck the world for me. But I was unlucky. Deluded. There was something different about the boy, a nervousness, a softness and tenderness which wasn’t like a man’s, although he wasn’t the least bit effeminate looking — still — that thing was there … He came to me for help. I didn’t know that. I didn’t find out anything till after our marriage when we’d run away and come back and all I knew was I’d failed him in some mysterious way and wasn’t able to give the help he needed but couldn’t speak of! He was in the quicksands and clutching at me — but I wasn’t holding him out, I was slipping in with him! I didn’t know that. I didn’t know anything except I loved him unendurably but without being able to help him or help myself. Then I found out. In the worst of all possible ways. By coming suddenly into a room that I thought was empty — which wasn’t empty, but had two people in it … the boy I had married and an older man who had been his friend for years …

[A locomotive is heard approaching outside. She claps her hands to her ears and crouches over. The headlight of the locomotive glares into the room as it thunders past. As the noise recedes she straightens slowly and continues speaking.]

Afterward we pretended that nothing had been discovered. Yes, the three of us drove out to Moon Lake Casino, very drunk and laughing all the way.

[Polka music sounds, in a minor key faint with distance]

We danced the Varsouviana! Suddenly, in the middle of the dance the boy I had married broke away from me and ran out of the casino. A few moments later — a shot!

[The polka stops abruptly. Blanche rises stiffly. Then, the polka resumes in a major key]

I ran out — all did! — all ran and gathered about the terrible thing at the edge of the lake! I couldn’t get near for the crowding. Then somebody caught my arm. “Don’t go any closer! Come back! You don’t want to see!” See? See what! Then I heard voices say — Allan! Allan! The Grey boy! He’d stuck the revolver into his mouth, and fired — so that the back of his head had been — blown away!

[She sways and covers her face]

It was because — on the dance floor — unable to stop myself — I’d suddenly said — “I saw! I know! You disgust me …” And then the searchlight which had been turned on the world was turned off again and never for one moment since has there been any light that’s stronger than this — kitchen — candle …

[Mitch gets up awkwardly and moves toward her a little. The polka music increases. Mitch stands beside her]

MITCH. [drawing her slowly into his arms] You need somebody. And I need somebody, too. Could it be — you and me, Blanche?

[She stares at him vacantly for a moment. Then with a soft cry huddles in his embrace. She makes a sobbing effort to speak but the words won’t come. He kisses her forehead and her eyes and finally her lips. The polka tune fades out. Her breath is drawn and released in long, grateful sobs]

I want to dance the Varsouviana again.

Sometimes…there’s God…so quickly!

I love the pure beastiality of this moment. One of the finest cinematic moments of all time – and Marlon Brando was just awesome.

In many ways the veneer of Blanche is so similar to mine own – and it may be that Nat King Cole’s ‘It’s Only a Paper Moon’ is a song deservedly mine as it was hers.

Cheers to all the women who read this blog and know exactly what I mean.

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And on a lighter note…yes I still rely on the kindness of strangers:

Afternoon cakes, a gift from my dearest SH, from Patisserie. We loved the cakes so much, and I indulged especially in a darling blueberry confectionary.

The last week … has been unforgettable, to say the least. I went on exploratory journeys with JRV and old friends…walking the streets late in the night singing for supper…having lamb moussaka in random Turkish restaurants, JRV recounting Persian food in Germany. Walking under the rain with J and co. in City Hall, the quiet light of old hotels under the rain, stories of little Korean girls who fall in love with J, finding out what Orchard Towers is (I have lived in naivety in the past 23 years yes,), japanese rainbow salmon/yellowtail and Dir En Grey becoming a centerpiece for a hunger song on the third floor of Raffles City, girl techno in the bubbly happy darkness next to a war memorial, having dinner with the lovely K where we shared about love and loli, an incredible and very, very epic Black Alice tea party coupled with almost thirty girls, in the car with ZT talking about Fanny Brawne and John Keats, falling asleep to JRV’s last message.

How can I even start.

(from WH’s album, my photos have not been processed yet):

Will share more about the tea party next time. A thousand things to finish – lots of work and other administrative matters.

When I finally get my car…I want something like T’s Honda Civic Type-R! It was gorgeous.

I am so happy and weary- but a good state to be in.

I wish I could finish my insider trading/ margin calls cases soon before June sets in – to finish all my cases on hand before I go for the bar course.

I’m sorry to all my law juniors and literature tutees that I may not have reverted to all your recent essay queries yet! Things have been so busy! I’ll try to be back and will answer each and every of your messages soon. ^-^

The red roses and still thriving, and are the first thing I see in the morning. Thank you.

I am different from you Beansprouts, flowers keep me alive. Of sorts. (I’ll let an orange tulip take the brunt of your legal rebuttal)

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Nuovo cinema Paradiso

Alfredo: Once upon a time, a king gave a feast. And there came the most beautiful princesses of the realm. Now, a soldier, who was standing guard, saw the king’s daughter go by. She was the most beautiful one, and he immediately fell in love with her. But what could a poor soldier do when it came to the daughter of the king? Well, finally, one day, he managed to meet her, and he told her that he could no longer live without her. The princess was so impressed by his strong feelings that she said to the soldier: “If you can wait 100 days and 100 nights under my balcony, then at the end of it, I shall be yours.” Damn! The soldier immediately went there and waited one day. And two days. And ten. And then twenty. And every evening, the princess looked out of her window, but he never moved. During rain, during wind, during snow, he was always there. The bird shat on his head, and the bees stung him, but he didn’t budge. After ninety nights, he had become all dried up, all white, and the tears streamed from his eyes. He couldn’t hold them back. He no longer had the strength to sleep. All that time, the princess watched him. And on the 99th night, the soldier stood up, took his chair, and went away.

Salvatore: [later in the film, Toto gives Alfredo his interpretation] … In one more night, the princess would have been his. But she also could not possibly have kept her promise. And it would have been terrible. He would have died. This way, however, at least for 99 days, he was living under the illusion that she was there, waiting for him.


Now or never;

Some pictures from last week… I finished Amy Tan’s Saving Fish from Drowning, and it was utterly brilliant, I loved it even more than the last Kate Atkinson book I read, which is quite radical given popular prejudices against Amy Tan (directed at you, Beansprouts) and it might just be my favourite book in the list so far. I really enjoyed it and did an unconscious comparison with Conan Doyle for much of the journey, but more about that next time. It makes me rather intrigued to meet Amy Tan in real life (where is she currently residing?) and the book is definitely on my Top 5 list this year.

My idea of bliss. A good book, tenzaru udon, and soft shell crab on the side. I am seriously not sure who is the star.

I’m a new sworn fan of Bonitochico, go local designers! Their designs might be simple, but they are tremendously versatile and can be matched for night or day.

Please keep me off the t.v. I never used to watch t.v. But now even a sappy Hong Kong courtroom drama (Hong Kong law no less!) is enough to keep me glued to the screen, though everything is too saccharine sweet.

Now or never, baby make up your mind.

Now baby or never ’cause I been so good to you
Now baby or never ’cause I’ve been so lonesome, too
Now baby or never if I mean anything to you
Now baby or never ’cause I’ve wasted so much time
Now baby or never and you must make up your mind
Now baby or never it ain’t no fault of mine

It’s got to be yes or no
It’s either you stay or go
You can’t leave me on the shelf
You gotta commit yourself
It’s either you will, or you won’t fall In love with me

– Lisa Ekhdahl


Falling stars and fishes;

“I am like a falling star who has finally found her place next to another in a lovely constellation, where we will sparkle in the heavens forever.” — Amy Tan

Once again, I am in the middle of a new book.

Each time I read a book by Amy Tan, I always feel quite disturbed because she is known for Joy Luck Club (yes, that “other book”) and the strange thing is, people who know the Joy Luck Club have not actually read the Joy Luck Club. These range from pageant winners who tearfully name it their favourite book every year in the Chinese Community of Vancouver (a fact related by Will), random guy friends who regard it gingerly as the ‘girly’ book and relegate it to a pile of second rate emotive books, as if Amy Tan is an author destined to be praised, but never to be reread.

But I have always had an affection for her works- The Kitchen God’s Wife, The Hundred Secret Senses – they stir a secret longing in me, and will me to a world which is so distant yet so near. Story-telling is at its best, with myth and reality conmingled in the simplicity of a short story – the swans are always representative, the fish are speaking words, the spirits come alive from their graves and dictate how their stories are told. Far from being relegated to ‘Chinese American literature’, I think Amy Tan is one of the best contemporary authors in our current age, and she stirs up secret fears, the characters uniting in an absurd sort of ‘reality mosaic’ that is testimony to the complexity and rootedness of modern day living.

And in a little way, admitably, I always feel a little stronger when I read her books.

“I had on a beautiful red dress, but what I saw was even more valuable. I was strong. I was pure. I had genuine thoughts inside that no one could see, that no one could ever take away from me. I was like the wind.
-Lindo”

“No two languages are ever sufficiently similar to be considered as representing the same social reality. The worlds in which different societies live are distinct worlds, not merely the same world with different labels attached.”
— Amy Tan

“‘Now you see,’ said the turtle, drifting back into the pond, ‘why it is useless to cry. Your tears do not wash away your sorrows. They feed someone else’s joy. And that is why you must learn to swallow your own tears.’ “
— Amy Tan

“Sure I loved him – too much. And he loved me, only not enough. I just want someone who thinks I’m number one in his life. I’m not willing to accept emotional scraps anymore.”
— Amy Tan

The book I am currently reading- Saving Fish from Drowning, by Amy Tan.

The synopsis of the book begins with a quote:

“A pious man explained to his followers: ‘It is evil to take lives and noble to save them. Each day I pledge to save a hundred lives. I drop my net in the lake and scoop out a hundred fishes. I place the fishes on the bank, where they flop and twirl. “Don’t be scared,” I tell those fishes. “I am saving you from drowning.” Soon enough, the fishes grow calm and lie still. Yet, sad to say, I am always too late. The fishes expire. And because it is evil to waste anything, I take those dead fishes to market and I sell them for a good price. With the money I receive, I buy more nets so I can save more fishes.”
— Amy Tan

More on the book as on Amazon:

Twelve American tourists join an art expedition that begins in the Himalayan foothills of China – dubbed the true Shangri-La – and heads south into the jungles of Burma. But after the mysterious death of their tour leader, the carefully laid plans fall apart, and disharmony breaks out among the pleasure-seekers as they come to discover that the Burma Road is paved with less-than-honorable intentions, questionable food, and tribal curses.

And then, on Christmas morning, eleven of the travelers boat across a misty lake for a sunrise cruise – and disappear.

Drawing from the current political reality in Burma and woven with pure confabulation, Amy Tan’s picaresque novel poses the question: How can we discern what is real and what is fiction, in everything we see? How do we know what to believe? Saving Fish from Drowning finds sly truth in the absurd: a reality TV show called Darwin’s Fittest, a repressive regime known as SLORC, two cheroot-smoking twin children hailed as divinities, and a ragtag tribe hiding in the jungle – where the spritesof disaster known as Nats lurk, as do the specters of the fabled Younger White Brother and a British illusionist who was not who he was worshipped to be.

With her signature “idiosyncratic, sympathetic characters, haunting images, historical complexity, significant contemporary themes, and suspenseful mystery” (Los Angeles Times), Amy Tan spins a provocative and mesmerizing tale about the mind and the heart of the individual, the actions we choose, the moral questions we might ask ourselves, and above all, the deeply personal answers we seek when happy endings are seemingly impossible.

But in a way, I always felt the plot is never the point for authors like Amy Tan, Kate Atkinson. It is as if she finished the book and someone tried to fit a New York Times version of a blurb in.

Anyway, I just started and it is as addictive as my neighbour’s hawthorn sweets, haha! I just finished Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Tragedy of Korosko, and have generally bad things to say about it, though Sir Arthur is pretty much one of my top favourite authors, having penned the marvellous collection of Sherlock Holmes which captivated me for months. I still intend to finish every one of Sir Arthur’s works in hope I might find a gem somewhere.

I had a lovely, lovely conversation with Beansprouts last night! (Do you ever feel disoriented reading this blog dear Beansprouts, when the conversation moves from addressing you one moment and a silent audience the next) He shared with me his favourite Monet painting, and I absolutely adore it, I think I gasped a little when I saw it. Titled “Snow at Argenteuil”, it is the largest of  than eighteen works Monet painted of his home commune of Argenteuil while it was under a blanket of snow during the winter of 1874-1875.

From Wikipedia (don’t you just love Wikipedia!):

Most of Monet’s Snow at Argenteuil pictures from the winter of 1874-1875 were painted from locations close to the house on the boulevard Saint-Denis (now number 21 boulevard Karl Marx) into which Monet and his family had just moved. This particular painting shows the boulevard Saint-Denis looking in the direction of the junction with the rue de la Voie-des-Bans, with the river Seine out of sight to the rear, and the local railway station behind Monet’s back as he painted.

And a cute little section on Manet, who is apparently also a distinguished painter (that I have not heard of):

“In December 1879 the painting was acquired from Monet by Théodore Duret. Recalling a conversation with the artist Édouard Manet, Duret years later reported that, ‘One winter he [Manet] wanted to paint a snow scene. I had in my possession just such a piece from Monet. After seeing it, he said “It is perfect! I would not know how to do better”, whereupon he gave up painting snow.’”

Oh dear, but I feel like Manet so often in so, so many things!

On another note, I love receiving prizes! I’m a little girl again. : )

I also bought myself a present…my first Shirley Temple skirt! I fell in love with the print …and it was such a quaint design with coffee cups and newspaper print that I so wanted to wear it and go to such and such a coffee shop and have that same cup of tea. The same way Agatha Christie characters dream of meeting their long lost friends in little tea shops and the exact tea cup they would drink from (on another note…have I mentioned that Agatha Christie has the most morbid and delicious fascination for tea cups? Her knowledge of tea cups is formidable).

On a side note, I have a new mobile number which I left in my fb. I know it has been forever, but since I am relatively unimportant I hope it wasn’t a hindrance!

The office is giving us a corporate discount for iphones 3gs, but I am not sure if I need one, if you know what I mean.


Laughable Loves

Rather depressed and lonely tonight, there haven’t been pictures uploaded lately, as haven’t felt in the mood for that.

 I feel more ancillary as the days go by. Wishing something could happen to whisk the current state away of longing.

When you miss someone but that someone has forgotten about you.

When reading Kundera, I often feel like the other character, the ancillary person, who is evoked to made a point, whom is tested on like a social experiment to effect the point of the certain professor. I’ve practically finished the whole of Laughable Loves, and when I finished the book I stared into the air blankly for a period…and then suddenly broke down into a long cry. I don’t know why it happened, maybe it has been due for some time.

On another note, the cat has grown independent and does not want to be cuddled any more.

I read this passage from Kundera which I loved :

She experienced this same anxiety even in her relations with the young man, whom she had known for a year and with whom she was happy, perhaps because he never separated her body from her soul, and she could live with him wholly. In this unity there was happiness, but it is not far from happiness to suspicion, and the girl was full of suspicions. For instance, it often occurred to her that other women (those who weren’t anxious) were more attractive and more seductive, and he knew this kind of woman well, would someday leave her for a woman like that. (True, the young man declared that he’d had enough of them to last his whole life, but she knew that he was still much younger than he thought). She wanted him to be completely hers and herself to be completely his, but it often seemed to her that the more she tried to give him everything, the more she denied him something: the very thing that a light and superficial love or a flirtation gives a person. It worried her that she was not able to combine seriousness with lightheartedness.

Another one:

Why in fact should one tell the truth? What obliges us to do it? And why do we consider telling the truth to be a virtue? Imagine that you meet a madman, who claims that he is a fish and that we are all fish. Are you going to argue with him? Are you going to undress in front of him and show him that you don’t have fins?

If you told him the whole truth and nothing but the truth, only what you really thought, you would enter into a serious conversation with a madman and you yourself would become mad. And it is the same way with the world that surrounds us. If I obstinately told the truth to its face, it would mean that I was taking it seriously. And to take seriously something so unserious means to lose all one’s own seriousness. I have to lie, if I don’t want to take madmen seriously and become a manman myself.

But in truth I am taking these out of context, it is better you pick up Kundera’s Laughable Loves– a truly remarkable book, although a tad disturbing and the stories encircle your daily consciousness long after you have read it…and submerge into your daily conversations… like a lost pin at the bottom of the ocean which is indecipherable but you know it is lingering there, waiting to prick you and leave you wanting.

The first story Nobody will Laugh was particularly my favourite…has the aura of the song…(was it the Beatles?) I Started a Joke…and started the whole world crying…

I’ve never read The Great Gatsby, though loved the movie. It reminded me in the strangest of ways to Philadelphia (and yes, made me depressed that it was haute couture after all, Katherine Hepburn in haute couture!) and I’m in a sudden mood to read every single novel that F Scott Fitzgerald has ever written.

Nicole was the product of much ingenuity and toil. For her sake trains began their run at Chicago and traversed round the belly of the continent to California; chicle factories fumed and link belts grew link by link in factories; men mixed toothpaste in vats and drew mouthwash out of copper hogsheads; girls canned tomatoes quickly in August or worked rudely at the Five-and-Tens on Christmas Eve; half-breed Indians toiled on Brazilian coffee plantations and dreamers were muscled out of patent rights in new tractors – these were some of the people who gave a tithe to Nicole, and as the whole system swayed and thundered onward it lent a feverish bloom to tuch processes of hers as wholesale buying, like the flush of a fireman’s face holding his post before a spreading blaze.

I want images, I want fancy, I want to escape in a book and not come back for the moment. But every ten pages, I read a line of Schweser – see, my cat is now poised over the page which discusses the relationship of coupon rates to duration- she always sits over the blackest of pages, and becomes a little blacker herself.

I feel a little better writing all these, although my thoughts have scarcely formed words.