Swampy smell of early mornings

The strongest scent memory I have is the swampy smell of the early morning mist. You don’t get the scent at 9AM or later in the morning. Swampy smell doesn’t come from just rainy nights, even during nights when the air is warm and still. Perhaps I’ve been staying in areas where the greens are fertile in the vicinity, that is why this scent never seem to leave me at all.

I wouldn’t call it a comforting or even pleasant sort of smell. It is strangely familiar because Continue reading

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Papa Loves Mambo

Daily Prompt posts: What sort of music was played in your house when you were growing up? What effect, (if any) did it have on your musical tastes?

Back when bulky music players were used (not forgetting the pair of cassette decks that were attached to that sturdy, tough-looking machine!) and the majority of us still do buy music in physical forms of CDs…

There were a couple of CDs that Mom will always play in the house, for as long as I can remember. All of them are mixtapes. We don’t usually buy new music whenever it’s out, so it’s the same few ones that we listened to. 70’s, 80’s and 90’s disco hits, Texas-Cowboy kind of old school music and love songs. Recently, I was also helping Dad to download such music that he’d want to listen to and sing to while he’s on the road, as well as mixtapes to listen to during work. How can you not love the dancey beat of these chart-toppers (as claimed by him) during that time?

Mom and Dad pretty much have the same music taste. One thing I know for sure: They listen to Air Supply, alot. For the male duo achieve such an overwhelming success in mainly the love songs that we listen to, it’s really impressive! I love them too! A favorite of mine is Bread and Blood.

I do not think that my present music taste have any resemblance to theirs since they’re not fans of really melancholy and ‘depressive’ kind of songs (which is what they’ll call it). However, I do like their kind of dancey songs which I’ve listened to when I was much younger and those certainly still do strike a chord when I come across a familiar tune or lyric of the songs somewhere else. Sometimes, I still do go back to YouTube or my every day playlist to listen to some of the songs I loved since I was a kid.

Check out the playlist I’ve compiled some of the songs that were listened to, by my parents, still significant in my memory!

Zero to Hero: Day 3

Thought I should start the new year by making an experimental move on a big writing challenge. This is my attempt to write up on the third day’s assignment to start off the Zero to Hero challenge! The first two assignments are pretty much summarized in my About page.

DAY 3: WHAT’S ON YOUR MIND?

Today’s assignment: write the post that was on your mind when you decided to start a blog.

I’ve had this blog for slightly more than one and a half years now (September ’12). But I only consider myself  to have started blogging consistently early last year when I was having my internship.

I didn’t have a positive outlook when I first decided to blog. It was more of getting the negative thoughts out of my mind and the only way was to write about it – sieve the thoughts through words and hoping that the negativity will eventually waft away on its own over time. There was is no use talking to anybody about how you feel about yourself. The kind of advice you read in self-help books and Google only makes you feel even worst off when they only work on the people who face similar self-esteem problems as you do, but just not on you.

The spur moments that got me writing happen only when I feel sad or frustrated about myself. Putting down my thoughts in black and white allows me to become aware of my problems. They don’t scare me as much as before the next time I face them because I know that they’re already there, for the longest time I can remember when I blogged about it. It just takes time to overcome those, a long while. Music and writing got me past that phase. Presently, I feel differently about blogging, compared first time I blogged. The more I blog, the more I feel like a writer. The imaginary bubble that sustains my self-worth. Blogging is the closest thing I can do to feel like one, apart from writing letters. It feels nice to write even when I am clear that I can’t write as well as the other bloggers I’ve followed here.

Words and language are the most amazing inventions which ever came into this world. We read them in books and indulge in the lives of others – which we, or just myself, will probably never be able to experience them in real-life. Sometimes, we don’t prefer to be ourselves. We just want to stay in the shoes of others and live their lives, experience what it feels like to have their courage and dignity. The brilliance of the writers to craft art out of his only tool: words. We pen them down on paper and they could express so much more than what one’s lips can say.

Daily Prompt: I Was Here | Alien’s note!

Daily Prompt posts: You are the first astronaut to arrive on a new, uncharted planet. Write the note that you leave to those who come after you.

Hopefully no one on Earth realizes that I’m the first earthling to land on the new planet. I’ll be leaving a prank note under the identity of an alien or an unknown creature on this planet before I get on my spaceship back home to Earth. Hopefully when that note gets discovered by the first person (supposedly), it becomes a mystery hit and then stirs up a big-time investigation in research centers, making the headlines in the newspapers on the following day.

Get out of here right now. We’ve had no disturbance before and the possible beings who could disrupt our lives is you Earthlings. 

This isn’t the place for you. Do not even consider this as your Planet Earth version 2.0. Do not even think about taking some of what’s belonged here on this planet back to your labs to scrutinize every bit of it and churn out conclusions on the survival conditions of this planet. This planet is no replacement for Earth – so instead of seeking for another planet to shift the 7 billion of you here, why don’t you channel your efforts to savage the deteriorating health condition of Planet Earth?

Before our population comes alive here, leave immediately. Once awaken, none of you are spared!

With Regards, the friendliest oh-well-let’s-say-I’m-an-Alien around here

Daily Prompt: Memories of Holidays Past

Daily Prompt posts: What is your very favorite holiday? Recount the specific memory or memories that have made that holiday special to you

I can’t recall any specific holiday where I did enjoy celebrating that occasion with anyone.

I like Christmas though. Maybe it’s because of all that buzz that’s created in anticipation for Christmas day. And this daily prompt came up right at this timing – the nearest holiday that’s being celebrated internationally; Christmas in less than 10 days!

It’s the coziest holiday yet. Even when you’re all alone on that Christmas night, it feels good to just curl up (on your own) under the blankets on the couch, facing a nice and warm fireplace. The night will be perfected with some oldies music like Johnny Cash’s or Frank Sinatra’s. Or you could put up some classic jolly Christmas songs and fall asleep to those.

The season, winter, makes a big, big difference in creating that celebratory atmosphere for Christmas. December just isn’t December without snow! In Singapore, the places I’ve gone to which have given me the closest Christmassy feeling are in hotel lounges and lobbies, churches and in Orchard Road. Oh yes, Changi Airport as well! A few days ago, I visited the Airport and one can’t simply drive past and turn a blind eye to the decorations they’ve put up along the roadsides; on the trees, and inside the place as well.

Below are three images I found on the website. This is my second time seeing all these and only now did I realize the link between these three images – they’re actually major attractions of different countries!

Trojan Horse in Turkey (?)

I see that’s the reverted Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy!

Taj Mahal in India!

Also, I remembered for the past 3-4 years, or even longer than that when I was a kid, I tied up stockings (which are in fact, my school socks) by my bed frame on the nights of Christmas Eve and on the actual day. Although I knew that Santa Claus has always been this mythical figure (whom ordinary men like us get paid to pass off as him to roam the streets and malls to surprise little children and for photo-taking sessions), I can always try my luck to get Mom to put something in it, but I don’t think she ever did notice that school sock that’s draped by the bed frame. Even if Santa exists, it’s unlikely he’ll be able to ride his sleigh past every HDB unit in Singapore with the still air to drop presents for the children.

But nevertheless, Christmas isn’t all about making snow angels and snowman, cone trees stringed with colorful ornaments and mini light bulbs around it, Santa Claus, dinners with the must-have roasted turkey and the fireplace. A family dinner seems quite necessary for an occasion like this, maybe replacing the turkey with the chicken – so it’s like a reunion. I think that’s the essence of Christmas where family members gather together.

The main reason why I love Christmas is because of the visuals I see around me. What a feast of sights and sounds! It makes me happy even when I have nothing, or little, to look forward to Christmas Day. But to experience a White Christmas is definitely one thing I look forward to doing in the future!

Daily Prompt: A Bird, a Plane, You!

Daily Prompt posts: You get to choose one superpower. Pick one of these, and explain your choice:

  • the ability to speak and understand any language
  • the ability to travel through time
  • the ability to make any two people agree with each other

I think I’ll pick the first one ; the ability to speak and understand any language. It’s already in my long due to-do list. I was hoping to learn one language at a time, starting with the local languages, then proceeding to the ones I’ve always wanted to learn for no reasons – like French because it’s always been perceived as a beautiful language and I like listening to how the French talk and looking at their lips when they speak. Ah that’s the only quirkiest reason why I’d want to learn a new language!

Learning a new language would be more difficult than Math. I tried to learn Malay language by borrowing books from the Library and watching tutorials on YouTube, ‘apa khabar?’ is the only phrase still fresh in my memory. This, I’m certain that the commitment wasn’t enough. I’ve tried to pick up French with books, purely with that. It was OK to spell out the words, but not the accents and the pronun-cee-asion – only to learn that each and every word in French has its own unique pronunciation, uniquely for that word. This was the major problem I experienced when I took up a French language module in school. Unlike the English languages, different words can have the same pronunciation, e.g. to, two, and too.  But given a choice between Math and picking up a new language, I’d still rather learn a new language from scratch, than to do Math. Even if I don’t perform well in that, it’s still far more enjoyable than dealing with algebra and numbers.

I had consider the second option of travelling through time – back to the past and to the future, but to think about the movie I recently watched, About Time ; a movie I didn’t enjoy because it made me feel really tiresome while I was watching the movie which lasted for 2 hours. As tiresome as the lead character while he was travelling back and forth in time, repeating those scenes he’d have avoided mistakes, or certain tragedies from happening, and some moments where he’d perfect it to make it memorable for his love.

If that is a temporary superpower that will go away after awhile, it’d be nice to be able to relive the moments you treasure and undo the mistakes. But I’d not want that kind of ability living in my blood for the rest of my life because I’d likely misuse it and lose control over that ability.

Daily Prompt: Inside the Actor’s Studio

Daily Prompt posts: On the interview show Inside the Actors’ Studio, host James Lipton asks each of his guests the same ten questions. What are your responses?

1. What is your favorite word?

The word ‘Paradise‘ came to me. A hell-colored flame sky. I first came across this figure of speech in the lyrics of two songs.

Velvet Crowbar by Lana Del Rey:

“Flame colored paradise for you darling,
but death doesn’t come with a warning.”

Angels Forever by Lana Del Rey:

“Paradise is a hell-colored flame sky.

Those lyrics have become my favorite ever since I heard them – especially those lyrics for ‘Velvet Crowbar‘. The literal illustration of Heaven is not too unconvincing. Heaven does look flamed when you’re looking up the sky from Earth.

Later, I found that the phrase originated from Nabokov’s novel, Lolita ; “… a paradise whose skies were the color of hell-flames – but still a paradise.”

Paradise – a heaven of temptations.

Continue reading

Daily Prompt: Eat, Drink, and Be Merry… | End of the World in Thanksgiving style

Daily Prompt posts: …for tomorrow we die. The world is ending tomorrow! Tell us about your last dinner — the food, your dining companions, the setting, the conversation.

I’d have McDonald’s. It’s an option I will try to avoid during lunch time every other school day, for I don’t want to die from having too much of it. But unavoidably, I will still have it at least once a week now. I’ll have my favorite chicken nuggets, maybe 20 pieces of it! – today, I will not listen to anyone reminding me of whatever these chicken nuggets are made of. Then I’d have some fried chicken. Just like what Minny Jackson in The Help movie has said, “Fried Chicken just tend to make you feel better about life.”

I’d not want to miss having a word with anyone who has been a part of my life, and sharing my food with them. I don’t usually favor parties, but maybe an ‘End of the World Party’ will be helpful in this situation now.  Continue reading

Daily Prompt: Pep Rally

Daily Prompt posts: We all know someone who could use a pep talk… so write them one!

Talking about pep talk, it reminds me of an inspirational speech in a movie I used to watch! My favorite teacher, who used to teach me the subject, Literature, back in Secondary School, is accustomed to using films and screening plays as a means of incorporating learning values in us, which are of course related to what we’re about to learn / learning.

How I love those lessons… of movie screenings!

There were a couple of inspiring films she showed us, like Rain Man and the Freedom Writers. The significant pep talk I remembered comes from the movie, titled Coach Carter.

I’m no part of any Pep Rally and it’s quite unimaginable to see myself doing a pep talk to a team of people and then, they’ll convinced by it. But I’ve dreamt of being able to do that! Maybe to just serve the purpose of comforting or encouraging myself during my down moments.

I can’t write a pep talk, but maybe I’ll share this one from this movie to anyone who could use a pep talk – to a few people I know of who are feeling discouraged and inferior at this moment, anyone and including myself who needs it now and then for the same reason:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It’s not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Daily Prompt: (My) Golden Hour | Not a morning person!

Daily Prompt posts: 6:00AM: the best hour of the day, or too close to your 3:00AM bedtime?

My golden hour has got to be close to my 3AM bedtime! I am never a morning person and never will I ever become one who enjoys stretching out of bed to the 6AM alarm set for school, work or any other things. To think about it, tomorrow is my first day of the final school semester, which means waking up early for school on consecutive week days ; but not as early as 6AM, probably close to 7AM. Having to get out of bed at any hour before 10AM is unearthly!

The thing about past midnight and 3AM that scares me is the lack of life outside the house. What makes it worst is the ghostly tales I’ve heard from others or I’ve read about. Staying in my room, past midnight is a perfect idea. The thought of walking home alone at night scares me already! Ever since I’ve moved to another place, the neighborhood which I’m presently staying at becomes really quiet when it approaches the evening. Barely any traffic on the road, or people under the void decks, in the playground or along the pathways. It’s not as brightly-lit as the neighborhood I used to stay in.

And I’m easily spooked by the silence of the night. Out of all other times of the day, the scenes from the various horror movies I’ve watched have got to play in my mind right at that moment. I fear for whatever that lurks behind me while I hurry past the corridors to my house, panicking to open the padlock securing the metal gate and quickly closing it after me when I’m inside the house.

The 6AM darkness scares me as much as well. It’s not the darkness that scares me, as there’s so much uncertainty in a room with the lights off. The fear of darkness doesn’t only apply to kids, it continues into adulthood. But I try to use logic to comfort myself that 6AM is technically and “legitimately” the morning hour already, so whatever that has ambushed itself in the dark at night will be gone by now. And that, life comes out at the hour.