HELLO STRANGER

wow. its been way too long. i almost dont recognize you anymore. i was going through the 100+ posts that kept this blog alive – all i felt was disgust. WHO WAS I? i wrote so angrily, so childishly and so blatantly. i felt so disconnected with the person that i was that i deleted the bulk of those entries. all thats left behind, are the ones i still want to be associated with. the dark years are over for me, a new light has begun.

what happened between then and now? i cut myself a proper break from the nasty chain of hopping from one relationship to another. for two years, i remained single. it wasnt easy at all, especially when all ive ever been for nine years straight, was in and out of relationships. to make matters worse, i was 30 and all my friends were either married or with babies. i was on the odd chair they had to pull in at group gatherings infested with couples. i couldnt contribute when the moms spoke about which pram in the market was the best, or matters on breastfeeding or the arduous birth labour they experienced etc etc. dads in the group would try to set me up on dates with their single friends… ah my dear friends 🙂 thank goodness i quickly got over my insecurities of not fitting in to societal norms.

i chose to see the world. so i embarked on adventures.

made my way to america with a close girlfriend. we went skydiving – best experience ever! i wanted to get over my fear of heights, it was so liberating. then i met a guy at a random bar, we chatted and the next thing we know, we booked ourselves on a flight to explore bueno aires together – it was the most spontaneous thing i did ever. as the months grew to years, i found myself getting stronger and more okay living the life as a singleton. i enjoyed movies alone, enjoyed meals alone (people-watching helped too) and i started to enjoy holidays on my own; flying around the world to meet friends. i felt such a sense of empowerment and confidence, and of course, real happiness. i was able to enjoy sunsets without having the need to share that moment with anyone. i felt invincible.

and then he came along. he is always positive, always has a bright smile for everyone he meets, is genuinely interested in getting to know people… in short, he is everything that i am not. i think it was his full-sleeved tattoos on both arms that attracted me to him. that bad boy facade didnt fool me. it was a nice balance to his genuine good-naturedness. he brings out the best in me and friends have said that ive never looked happier. there’s a spring in my step and my entire being was just fuckin glowing all the time 🙂

i am 33 this year. looking back now, i am so proud of how far ive come in terms of self-realisation and personal growth. if i had a chance to live my life all over, id choose to live this same life.

15 FILMS

i got sent this challenge and i found it to be rather interesting so i thought i put it out here. who knows? u might have a pretty wicked list of films that i might wanna check out.

THE RULES:

1. list the first 15 films you’ve seen that comes to mind and that you love.
2. don’t take too long to think about it. complete it in no more than 15 minutes.
3. post your list of 15 films under “comments”.

DAS EXPERIMENT

in German. directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel.

FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS

based on the book by Hunter S Thompson. directed by Terry Gilliam.

OLD BOY

in Korean. second installment of The Vengeance Trilogy. (the best of the three, in my opinion). directed by Park Chan-wook.

TITANIC

directed by James Cameron. won 11 oscars. (dont judge me, ive watched this over 30 times.)

2 DAYS IN PARIS

in English/French. directed by Julie Delpy. a gritty real-life story about love. no sugar coated nonsense here.

HOSTEL

original script by Quentin Tarantino. directed by Eli Roth. the concept of killing presented in this film got me thinking for weeks.

THE PIANIST

directed by Roman Polanski - one of the most powerful films, about the resilience of the human spirit, that ive ever seen.

INGLORIOUS BASTERDS

a Tarantino masterpiece. Christoph Waltz's performance was stunning.

BIG FISH

directed by Tim Burton. this is my happy film. i watch it whenever i need to renew my faith in the magical things in life.

LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL (LA VITA E BELLA)

in Italian. directed by Roberto Benigni (who also won an oscar for best actor in this film)

THE BOY IN STRIPED PYJAMAS

directed by Mark Herman. one of the most disturbing, yet beautiful, film endings ive ever seen.

ZEITGEIST, THE MOVIE

documentary by Peter Joseph (watch it for free by clickin on the link above the poster)

FIGHT CLUB

based on novel by Chuck Palahniuk. directed by David Fincher. this film is quotes galore. class A.

THE READER

based on a German novel of the same name by Bernhard Schlink. written by David Hare and directed by Stephen Daldry. very intrigueing story of love and discovery.

THE BUCKET LIST

directed by Rob Reiner. i turn to watching this whenever life gets me down.

those were my top 15 at top-of-mind recall. what’s yours… i wonder 🙂

RECIPE: MY COMFORT PASTA

ive always been a tomato-based pasta typa gal. i love the clean sweet-sour sharpness of tomatoes as opposed to the “jelak”-inducing cream-based varieties. (rich foods tend to make me feel “jelak” so i stay away from those where possible) ive had a pretty full-on weekend. being up at 630am, to host events, on TWO CONSECUTIVE DAYS caused my ageing body to launch itself into protest mode. the only cure was to whip up my no-fail comfort dish: rigatoni (my fav typa pasta) in tomato sauce with chunks of my fav greens aparagus + broccoli, crisp-to-perfection streaky bacon and a generous sprinkling of pine nuts, topped with thick freshly shaved slices of parmigianno. SUNDAY DINNER TREAT ♥

RIGATONI - i got this packet from jones the grocer, these get al dente in 8minutes. for single serving, only 2 fistfuls of rigatoni's needed. resist the urge to add more to what might seem like a pathetic amount in the boiling pot. PASTA EXPANDS so dont go overboard.

BABY ROMA TOMATOES - these are sooo sweet and will give this pasta a nice balance in flavour. i love my tomatoes so ive used 8 of these babies for this dish.

FRESH BASIL - why use dried when you can use fresh? and if you have these growing in a pot in your kitchen, you're daaamn lucky. cuz they're fresh, you can add loads. i used about 8 leaves.

PINENUTS - these are a lil pricey but worth every single cent imho. love the nutty buttery crunch it adds to my salads and pastas.. that is IF i dont go overboard snacking on 'em whilst prepping my dinner. absolute fav fav fav.

ASPARAGUS - i prefer medium spears; has more crunch/bite and they're less stringy. i've used 5 spears for single serving of pasta.

BROCCOLI - 6 tiny florets. i know these may seem alot in addition to the asparagus but i LOVE my greens. cant ever have too much of 'em. TOMATO SAUCE - i like Hunt's cuz its 100% natural. i HATE HATE HATE those bottled pasta sauces, vile tasting. use fresh tomato sauce and you'll taste the difference.

STREAKY BACON - used 5 strips of bacon for this dish. i prefer streaky bacon to back bacon cuz streaky has more fats which will flavour the olive oil its fried in and the overall texture of fried streakies add a comforting crispy fattiness to this pasta which i love.

prep the basil, roll 'em up into an herb joint.

slice thinly, set aside.

add the rigatoni to a boiling pan (observe the seemingly pathetic amount of pasta? well im tellin ya, thats the perfect portion), add loadsa salt - this will be your only chance to add flavour to the pasta. if you like your pasta bland, then obviously dont add any. add boiling water and cook away for 8mins or til al dente. (i pre-boil some water in a kettle and pour over the pasta. its just faster via the kettle than sitting cold tap water on the stove to boil... the latter is akin to watching paint dry. ive got no time for that. life's too short.)

cut the bacon up in coarse chunks and throw them into a pan ON HIGH HEAT, with some extra virgin olive oil. make sure they're spaced out. you want them fried to a crisp, not broiled.

almost there... still a tad too pale for my liking.. be patience, cant rush perfection.

TAH DAAAH! crispy bacon! dish out onto kitchen paper, set aside. (leaving flavoured oil in the pan)

throw in diced fresh garlic, asparagus spears and broccoli florets into the flavoured oil and stir fry for a minute.

throw in the mini roma tomatoes WHOLE. those babies will cook nicely on the inside and give a burst of liquidy sweetness like that of oven baked tomatoes. stir fry the lot quickly for a coupla minutes.

add half a can of tomato sauce..

throw in the shredded basil, stir around, mix well.

the rigatoni should be done by now. drain and add to frying pan. stir and mix well. turn heat to low.

add some fresh ground black pepper.

throw in the crispy bacon at the last minute and mix well. i wont add any salt cuz the pasta's flavoured and the bacon bits are salty. turn off heat. get ready to plate up.

add some pine nuts at the end (i add loads cuz im a nutter)

topped with some freshly shaved parmigianno-reggiano. under the italian law, only cheese produced in the parma, reggio emilia, modena, bologna and mantova provinces can be labelled "parmigianno-reggiano". the same cheese produced outside of these italian provinces are labeled as "parmesan".

MY COMFORT PASTA, enjoyed while watching The Iron Chef on the food network - BLISS.

and there you have it, my comfort pasta recipe. to round off the weekend, i’d like to share this mind-blowingly amazing video with you. a good friend, Kenny, posted this on my FB wall and i thought it to be UBER GENIUS. i think you might enjoy it as much as i did.

(if you cant see the video, click HERE)

*INK *INK

shots taken using my LUMIX LX3.

we get our inkjobs done at FLYBACK TATTOO (4th Floor, Far East Plaza).
call JERRY for appointment: 96871122

Jerry ROCKS.

 

my friend

 

 

inner arm ink jobs hurt so beautifully bad

 

 

almost done. face of calm.

 

 

my ink: Freiheit. it means freedom in german.

 

 

ink transfer onto skin

 

 

pleasure in pain.

 

 

blood and ink. oh what a beautiful mess. almost done.

 

 

I LOVVIT XXX

 

EMO

“as we grow up, we learn that even the one person that wasn’t supposed to let you down probably will. you will have your heart broken probably more than once and its harder every time. you’ll break hearts too, so remember how it felt when yours was broken. you’ll fight with your best friend. you’ll blame a new love for the things an old one did. you’ll cry because time is passing too fast, and you’ll eventually lose someone you love… so take too many pictures, laugh too much and love like you’ve never been hurt because every sixty seconds you spend upset is a minute of happiness you’ll never get back.

A DOSE OF MADNESS

was at TAB over the weekend for Don Richmond’s acoustic set. twas a very intimate and chillax vibe, with guest performers Vanessa Fernandez + Mark Bonafide + the Don & Drew reunion, all made for a purrfact late sunday evening do. all our friends were there so it was wise-crack/corny jokes galore over pints of beer and erm, single malt whisky on-the-rocks for me 🙂

Don, ever the natural performer, entertained us with his sheer talent, heart/soul and natural sense of humour. we laughed here and there when don cracked a joke or two between his songs. the night however took a sharp turn when a member of the audience, a 16 year old boy (how he managed to sneak into TAB, i dunno), started reacting, albeit over enthusiastically, to don’s performance! and almost instantly, all of us started to twist and writhe in side-splitting bursts of laughter at this boy’s seemingly crazy display of inhibition…

i laughed. guilty-as-charged. but it also got me thinking after.

this boy’s probably slightly “screw-loose”, granted. but i found it heart-warming and refreshing to see such an unbriddled show of support, otherwise unheard of from us “sane” people, towards an artiste performing onstage.

and i thought to myself: how lovely would it be, if we could all break down our walls of inhibition and dance and sing along, as and when we like, with huge smiles and not a care at all in the world..?

“A person needs a little madness, or else they never dare cut the rope and be free”Nikos Kazantzakis

THIS MOTHER’S DAY…

one of my favourite photos of momma and i. taken when we were at the (now defunct) Van Kleef Aquarium. think dad was the photographer… im just assuming. its one of my favourite photos cuz we’re both smiling/laughing at each other so naturally. its rather significant cuz mom and i grew apart during most of my teenage years… those years were dark. i still try to block that period out. we only found each other again during her cancer years. im glad we did. she became my best girlfriend ever.

a quote i found on the web from an indian philosopher: “the moment a child is born, the mother is also born. she never existed before. the woman existed, but the mother, never. a mother is something absolutely new.”

…and because i still exist, she will continue to exist within me.

happy mother’s day to all the mothers in the world, you are truly an extraordinary breed of people… just like my mom was xoxo

LIFE AS IT IS

“Lollipops turn into cigarettes. The innocent ones turn into sluts.

Homework goes in the trash. Mobile phones are being used in class.

Detention becomes suspension. Soda becomes vodka.

Bikes become cars. Kisses turn into sex.

Remember when getting high meant swinging on the playground?

When protection meant wearing a helmet?

When the worst things you could get from boys were cooties?

Dad’s shoulders were the highest place on earth and Mom was your hero?

Your worst enemies were your siblings. Race issues were about who ran the fastest.

War was only a board game. And the only drug you knew was cough medicine.

The most pain you felt was when you skinned your knees, and goodbyes only meant until tomorrow?

And we couldn’t wait to grow up?”

-Author Unknown

THE LIGHT OF MY LIFE

right smack in the midst of the chinese new year festivities, when most of you are either food-comatosing on pineapple tarts/abalone soup and/or attempting in vain to recoup your losses from mahjong/blackjack/poker, the Lee family on upper boon keng road had decided to SPRING CLEAN THEIR STOREROOM. we also got rid of our couch, (we’re STILL COUCHLESS as im typing this btw), lookin to get a proper TV bench to sort out storage for our overflowing “media area” and also to sort out the ridiculously overflowing shoe-rack situation.

this was a “project” that was 3 years late. we were in such a hurry to move in and settle back then that we chucked all the odds and ends into the bomb shelter and closed it up… inside that space was also our mom’s secret metal file cabinet. we never really gotten round to opening it up, thinkin its just legal documents/files of obscure boring paperwork stuff… oooh boy.. were we wrong.

this whole “spring cleaning” process took place over 2 evenings and one full saturday. our living room was FILLED TO THE MAX with junk and boxes! i found boxes containing old bags of mine (eek i had really dubious taste back then), ryan’s army uniform and boots, we rediscovered our shisha, old photo albums, ryan’s stamp collection and his italian football scrap book where he kept newspaper clippings of all his favourite teams…. i found some old awards, cds, embarrassing photos and even love letters! it truly a trip down memory lane.

and then we decided to open up our mom’s dubious metal file cabinet. wah. i couldnt believe the stuff we discovered… hardcore. stuff she kept were HARDCORE. i found my birth card (it has info of the time i was born, how much i weighed, my size at birth etc), all my report books/cards from when i was in NURSERY SCHOOL, my swimming achievement patches, even the bus card i had when i was takin the school bus back in primary school! she kept everything… you know how i was afraid that i’d forget her and have nothing to remember her by? well, after lookin thru her cabinet, i decided to scan everything.. the letters we wrote her, the things we made for her… cuz when i read those the night before, i felt close to her again.

my highlights:

PAP report card.

omg. i was such a badly behaved kid. while most kids either had a “good” or “very good” for conduct in class, i only managed a “fair”. and the teacher was being kind. i vaguely remember getting so pissed off at this one girl in class that i pushed her off her seat. mom was called to school… apparently that girl got hurt and was bleeding. from then on, no one wanted to hang out with me during playtime.

yup. that was my irritating senget-lipped-rascal face when i was in kindergarten. my mom wanted kids with curly hair so she PERMED my straight glossy locks. PERMED! i wasnt even 5 yrs old and i was subjected to chemical treatment. its like you could even forgive me for reacting violently towards that kiddo i pushed. chemicals prob gotten to my brains.

we couldnt afford to buy mom anything when we were little, so we’d create recitals for mom as gifts during christmas time and on mother’s day. we’d usually draw up a performance programme sheet for mom. this was one we did when we were abt 7 yrs old..

and on mother’s day a coupla decades ago, we gave her 3 gifts: we packed our cupboard, we made her a surprise breakfast and we used our “hard own” money to buy the breakfast. LOL. the surprise breakfast and the money we used to make that surprise happen were considered as two separate gifts! what were we thinking..??! LOL.

mom wrote EVERYTHING down. i found this lil post-it note where she documented my chicken pox experience like a lil post0it blog of sorts… its in mandarin cuz my mom’s mandarin-Ed. she speaks perfect english but was more comfortable using chinese words. so now i know i had chicken pox on wednesday 27th may 1992 which ended 3 days later on saturday 30th may. i dont really understand the rest…

and then mom sunk into depression after dad left us… this was written when i was still a catholic and believed in the concept of a god.

how irritatingly positive was i? LOL!

omg. then i found my very first NRIC! it was like laminated style.. i think the 79’ers were the last batch of kiddos who had these made! ancient!

and taaadaaaah! evidence that i once took busses! these retro bus cards and stamps were awesome la! its one time flat monthly fee in exchange for UNLIMITED TRAVEL! (not loving the photos on the cards though)

and then i saw this. this was the year i FAILED NEARLY EVERY SINGLE SUBJECT except english and literature. like everything. i was retained in sec 3. sigh. it was sooo embarrassing.. i was the oldest girl in class. didnt help that i stuck out like a sore thumb cuz i was so freakishly tall! but i needed that hard knock. i didnt set my priorities straight back then. i was focussed instead on my dance career (i had danced professionally from when i was 13, it was a juggle between that and school) and neglected my studies. blessing in disguise: i got to know Charlene. (we’ve been best friends for years now)

i remember my principal’s, Sister Cecily, words to me: “you need to get down from that high horse you’re riding and focus your energies on whats more important.”

back when mobile phones were not common and unaffordable, we wrote notes to each other. mom had to work coupla jobs to support us so she was hardly around at home.. this was the best way to keep in touch. (she kept EVERY SINGLE THING i wrote to her.. even notes about pocket money. its like STACKS of it that filled one briefcase. these are only some..)

we made this lil “map” of sorts, came complete with a toy compass, to lead mom to her present.. this was done by Ryan when he was about 7 yrs old:

a briefcase filled with every single card we made her…

mom used to make me write notes detailing the amount of money i need for school and the reasons why. i think its probably her way of keeping track of the money flow. this was one of the maaaaany that ive written to her over the pocket money years…

BOOK EXHIBITION! we were such nerds.

omg. i found it. my malaysian passport. back in those days, we could apply for a malaysian passport once we turn 18 (without parental consent). this symbolised my freedom. i’d make day trips to JB and then got bolder and made frequent weekend trips to malacca. i was dating this eurasian doode from malacca back then.. he lived and worked in singapore so we’d travel back and forth on his motorbike. mom didnt like this doode. in fact, she confiscated this passport back then to stop me from hanging out with him and this is the FIRST TIME after so many years that im laying eyes on it! LOL! (i eventually broke up with him cuz he was getting abit too possessive and psychotic, guess mom knew best)

my surname was “oliveiro” back then.. after my dad. but we changed our names to “lee”, after my mom, cuz we decided that dad was too much of a jerk for leaving us that we didnt wanna bear his name. i legally changed my surname when i was 21. so this was PRE-21 OMG! my face.like.a.bowling.ball.

more letters/notes…

this was a letter of apology. i freaked out the night before my “O” levels results and didnt go home.

this was back in polytechnic.. an attempt to reassure my mom after she received a warning letter from school abt my poor attendance. (realise at this point that i had to apologize ALOT as a kid?! lol. i wasnt the easiest kid to live with i admit, my mom really had her hands full when it came to me..)

AT WENDY CHENG: ARE YOU READING THIS? MY MOM GAVE ME FALSE EYELASHES LEH! this was when i was a dancer with the People’s Association Modern Dance Group… so i must have been 13-15.. around there la.

after my dad left us, mom destroyed every single photo that had my dad in it. like everything. without warning. they were all gone before the morning came and we were left with vague memories of how my dad looked like. but my darling Ryan managed to keep one hidden away in his stamp collection book that we found while we were spring cleaning… precious. they were such a handsome couple.. they were married on valentine’s day.

we thought that was it. UNTIL we discovered this: tucked away in the abyss of mom’s dubious metal cabinet, was our family photo! this is like the FIRST TIME since dad left us that we are seeing this photo. its very very very precious. guess that dragon lady had a heart after all. sentimental la she… guess she never stopped loving my dad. she really had a tough life la that silly woman. i miss her loads man.

with dad gone (for the longest time, left us but he’s still alive somewhere) and now mom in the recent years (cancer), ryan and i have had to survive as independant individuals from a very young age. so much, that its easy to forget that we were once part of a rather happy and complete family. and that photo just somehow pulls it all back together into one piece again. i hope to reconcile with my dad. he’s living brunei now. bet he still doesnt know mom passed on. ive reached out thru my cousin that we’re willing to forgive and forget but he’s yet to respond to that.. its been over a year. i guess he cant deal with the guilt? the burden of guilt drives us to do silly things. sigh. but whatever his reasons may be, i hope to make peace before really he leaves us for good.

thats all.

xoxo