Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Changing of the Seasons

Dis me looking for job prospects as an English grad

I am now officially an unemployed English graduate. And if you were wondering, no, I don't intend on becoming a teacher.

Instead, it's autumn in England, which is where I'll be for the next year for my masters programme in world literature at Warwick University (yes, this place again). I consider this a passion project - an extension of my undergraduate degree, far more than a deliberate delay to enter the working world. I really only have my parents to thank for this wonderful and generous opportunity, because all the postgrad scholarships I applied for rejected me lol.

Nonetheless, there is so, so much to be grateful for. I know right now it seems like I'm living the dream, but the last year of my life has been the hardest so far.

Upon returning from my exchange programme last year, I had to deal with the aftermath of breaking with my boyfriend of almost 5 years. Friends and family were surprised that I ended the relationship during my time overseas, thinking that a relationship that had survived phases like his national service and my entering university would easily tide over just 6-months of long distance dating. I heard rumours that people in school thought I had found a foreign beau while I was away. #lolpls.

Truth is, it was this distance that allowed me to see that wonderful as he was, my ex and I were at different places in our lives and he could not provide me with some of the things I felt I needed from a potential life partner. When I met him for the last time, he held my face and told me we had to move on. I wished him all the best with his new girlfriend, although it honestly took me a while more before I was truly convicted of these words. Now, more than a year on, I look back fondly on the love and friendship that we shared, and will always maintain that he is one of the kindest and most patient people I've had the privilege to meet in this lifetime.

Since then, I've kept myself busy with a slew of masters applications, part-time jobs and tinder dates. I suppose I was rather successful in all three endeavours, considering I start grad school today and I landed myself a fantastic internship experience at Epigram Books over the summer. I also am seeing someone, though not from tinder. He is good at math, excel sheets and Chinese. In other words: not my usual type but makes up for everything I lack in day-to-day living. Plus points for dimples.

It was a hard road getting here, but there were also many little successes that I'd like to take stock of: my graduation thesis being selected for a gender symposium in NTU, co-writing a children's book that will be published this month by Epigram books, one of my poems in an anthology by Math Paper Press that will be launched during the Singapore Writer's Festival.

love you mum and pops
Above all, I am thankful. Thankful for friends that have stood by me when I was whiny and bitter, took me out shopping when I was heartbroken and baked me cakes for my birthday. Thankful for my family; for my parents' love for me and their love for each other. Thankful that my brother has not yet given up his fight with mental illness. Thankful for my other brother's humility even though he is honestly fucking kickass at beatboxing. And thankful to Jesus and his blessings, even though faith is a messy, complicated thing that I will probably never figure out.

See you guys around, and I hope you've been well too :)

Sunday, 9 October 2016

The Weak Bitch's Handbook: Travelling the UK

I know, I know. It's been so long since I updated with a travel post despite all my promises to. My writing took a turn halfway through my exchange when I'd experienced a paradigm shift of sorts. There was just so much more to travelling than taking photos and writing travel guides and I was happily lost in all of that. The previous post I wrote upon my return was somewhat about that - the realisation that my experiences were mine and I didn't have to feel obliged to share them.

But lately I've been separated from the last batch of friends I made on exchange (the sg warwick kids have finally started term) and waves of post-exchange nostalgia have hit me hard. Looking through my albums I realised that I've still got some photos here and there that haven't seen the light of day, so why not give them airtime while reviving this space?

So here's hoping that the remaining instalments of The Weak Bitch's handbook will allow those of you who are reading this to discover their own adventure, take a 5 hour bus ride to wherever and perhaps find themselves along the way.

I'm starting with UK just because.

Monday, 23 May 2016

The Strong Bitch's Guide to Surviving Sexual Harassment

Feel the weight of his arm against your shoulder through an inch of down and nylon. Feel it for two days afterward.

Shake his hand when he offers it because you don't know how to say no. You never knew how to and you still don't, your mother never taught you. She taught you not to follow strangers, she didn't tell you what to do if they followed you.

Reject him politely when he asks you if you'd like to get chips.

Stand there like a fucking idiot as he tells you to turn around to show him your ass. See his hands grope you through the air.

Feel his hands on you although they were never there. Dirty, dirty, dirty.

Ask yourself if there is anything you could have done. There is always something you could have done. Something you should have worn, something you shouldn't have worn. Something you should have said, something you shouldn't have said.

Today instead of covering yourself from neck to ankle in winter clothing you should have also worn a helmet maybe.

Today instead of being an Asian female you should have been born a white male.

Today instead of waiting for the bus by the main road like a normal member of society you should have waited inside Tesco.

Today you shouldn't have cried because it is not your fault.

It is not your fault.

Go home and take the longest shower anyway.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

The Weak Bitch's Handbook: Don't Miss Your Bus in Lyme Regis

Hello, it's me, I was wondering if after all these weeks you'd still read my blog. Before I get on with the actual stuff here's a quick life update: I'm done with my sem at Warwick (drowned in essays, thus explaining the absence in March) and I'm currently on a 3 month tour around Europe.

In February I took a trip down south to Exeter to visit Olivia and we took a day trip to Lyme Regis, a coastal town known for its fossils and for being the premise of John Fowles' The French Lieutenant's Woman. I know this sounds very boring to non-lit people but I assure you Lyme was one of the quaintest little towns I'd ever been in. There were artist nooks at every corner, and every door was marked with the imprint of a fossil - utterly adorable.

Sunday Squares: Santorini

Hello from Crete, Greece! I'm currently at the airport waiting for my next flight out to Rome (I know, even I'm finding it hard to keep track nowadays). 

For a few days last week I was in Santorini, an island so beautiful it was surreal. But I'm not gonna lie, it was one of the most expensive stops I've made so far in terms of accomodation/food and living expenses.