Beyond this wonderland

March is drawing to a close, and so are a couple of chapters in this crazy rollercoaster ride I like to call my existence :) Speaking of rollercoasters..

Universal Studios is pretty darn cool :D I think they've done a really good job with the limited space they have, and there's more to come apparently! After the chaotic scuffle to wake up, get out of bed, get tickets and get there, we finally made it. One heck of an awesome day, in spite of being the girl in the middle and screaming myself hoarse.

Spent Earth Hour in the dark, with IT geeks talking about startups and iPhone apps and whatnot. I'm liking how every year turns out so different :) amberella chutney on bread, weird youtube vids, coffee, more coffee with kahlua, a documentary on dolphins and the launch of my career as a tattoo artist :D A different kind of Saturday night.

This is a belated mention, but we finally made it to Pulau Ubin last weekend. Happiness for 4 sunny hours on a bike, among forest trails, mangrove swamps and the mildly wild outdoors. A huge BBQ dinner followed, courtesy of my awesome landlord :D Ate too much, again. And topped up with Mexican food on Monday night, and that yummilicious Bakerzin sammich on Tuesday over lunch with Sid. I'm going to miss our ladies' lunch club~!

Domi left on Tuesday, chica left on Thursday and my somewhat longterm relationship with Pi ended during the week. About time! I loved it more towards the end though :) Happy stories from the kindred spirit and chica gave me goosebumps and a reason to smile, amidst all the madness.

The work week's been hell-ish, but the late night conference calls with QJ in Beijing and Seh Kin in Kyoto made things bearable :) Thanks to Stef my love too, for cracking me up with those retarded online conversations :D What would I do without you guys :p The new office has an awesome view and spiffy red furniture- it also called for manual labour all of Friday and most of Thursday. I've never seen so many boxes in my life! Packing up on hands and knees with the radio on full volume was good fun and a welcome change- with a Turkish lunch in between :)

Friday night with Reverie, good friends and martinis. Sunday night with Opshop, long lost buddies and pizza. Awesome tunes, a chilled out location and amazing vocals.

Homemade goodness, family councils and a Swedish fika inbetween, complete with lingonberry cheesecake :D I felt so loved, stuffed and sleepy~!

The ebb and flow goes on, with the obstacles and undercurrents constantly changing. My lifelines- thank you for keeping me anchored and sticking with me :) The ones who are leaving- take me with you! I'm not sure I'll make it out alive otherwise :p

Shifts, again

I woke up everyday this week wishing it was Friday, and on Friday morning I wanted it to be Tuesday so I'd have more time to deal with the avalanche :p

Domi's here for the weekend :D Pigged out at Annalakshmi's before heading out to J bar and a stroll around the city. It's a different world out there, at night.

I think my relationships with most people can be classfied as 'all or none'- either I give it everything I've got, or don't bother much. And every once in a while, someone comes along and breaks through those walls and defenses.. and then they're gone before you know it. I'm going to miss you like hell buddy. Friends for life though, right? :)

Good news on Tuesday evening, bad news on Thursday morning. Hang in there mom and dad. And stop telling me not to worry :(

A dark and rainy Saturday morning :) Trippin' around in the puddles and splashing about Arab St and Chinatown. The tooth relic temple, the sultan mosque, the Malay heritage centre, Ang Siang Hill, Sago Road, Club Street. Kebabs, prata, buriyani, teh halia, blueberry cheesecake + granny's surprise ice cream, laksa, carrot cake and tang yuan. All in a span of 8 hours.. *phew*

I'm off for some serious snooze time now.. Nitez yo!

So darkness I became

I never thought I'd actually take to songs like this :p QJ, I hope you're proud of me!

On another note, Happy St Patrick's Day peeps! The time has come to seek out my Irish hunk :D

15% concentrated power of will

That kind of describes my mental state these days :p The song's been running on loop in my head ever since Friday and the trailer for the Karate Kid.. Jayden Smith is adorable by the way :D

Finally watched Up. I think the hype that came before it sort of set my expectations way too high, and I found myself wondering why people were raving about it that much.. But it was all right on the whole, and certain bits tugged at 'em heart strings :)

Stereolounge on Thursday with the boys, and girl. Free hennessey + apple soda cocktails, interesting conversations and a stockpile that disappeared almost as quick as it appeared ;)

Screenings, caffeine deprivation, kaya toast and the lazy mid morning. Two rounds of pool, sorely overdue :) Rockfest, the sibling and the impressive bass solo/vocals. He's getting better, and the band's a lot tighter now :D The checked shirts band from Sheares was pretty good too.. brought back memories of the days gone by..

A very late lunch with my favourite rockstar, finally :D So much has happened in such a short time, it was like hearing about life in fast forward mode. Coffee by the beach and a good conversation- what more do you need on a Saturday afternoon?

Home club on Saturday night, courtesy of the resident DJ :) The two guys up there had some serious skills- their hands were all over the place :p A little more hip hop would've made me happier though!

Another rainy Sunday afternoon, this time spent trapaising around the city trying to pick up Sistic tickets :p Cinnamon happiness in between, before finally making it to the Quest for Immortality exhibition :D The ancient Egyptians were a colourful and funky lot I have to say- their belief systems, rituals and craftsmenship made me feel like I was peeking into a completely different realm of existence.. literally. I suppose I was :) Main highlight of the afternoon: having my name stamped out in hieroglyphics :D

Monday brought in renewed chaos in the form of recordings, meetings and agendas. The moment work avalanches, it's like my brain decides to take an extended vacation into procrastination-land :p The swim helped, but there's a long way left to go. Hopefully I'm still on the right track. And my passion card arrived in the post :D

I'm really trying hard with this patience thing, but sometimes it all just gets to me.. I wonder how much longer I'll have to wait.

I'm all out of breath
My walls are closing in
Days go by
Give me a sign..
-Breaking Benjamin

Have your brain hacked by music..

Credits to Sufen for sharing :)

Faves and raves

Woke up at 6 something to the sound of rain :D Huddled further under the covers and snoozed a bit before taking my cuppa to the comfy chair and sitting there for a good half an hour in the company of Pi and the downpour :) An awesome start to the day, even if it meant going to work half soaked :p Then came the cinnamon granola bars~!

Work's piling up, and I'm not sure if I should be happy or worried.. Just take it as it comes I guess :) The chopstick adventures turned out to be a complete fail, so wanton mee in my world is still consumed with a fork :p Highlight of the afternoon: the blueberry chocolate muffin :D

Faves and raves was on in the evening, but a stop to say hello to the brownie hoarding one at NLB before that :) I love walking around the city at that time of the day; the sun's just setting, dusk is approaching, the rush hour crowds are interesting to watch, and the lighting (and the Esplanade!) makes for some cool photographs. I just wish my battery hadn't died :p

The screenings were pretty darn good. I'd seen the first one, In our own words, before, but it was just as good watching it the second time :) It highlighted the inner and outer struggle for acceptance, tolerance and understanding perfectly, in both a subtle and very realistic way.

cracked me up, but I think everyone of us can relate to it on some level, and that was the beauty of it. It also got me thinking about how much we take for granted, and how our expectations and demands have evolved as a result of the 'convenience' of living in a technologically advanced world. Ok that was a mouthful, but you get what I mean right?

The Hedgehog Complex was my favourite though :) I loved the way the director had used different angles and lighting to capture the different perspectives and emotions of the actors, and he portrayed the concept of a person's life 'behind closed doors' so nicely. There's always so much going on beneath the surface, but the most you ever get to see is a glimpse of the complexity of it all..

Then it was a long wait, a long ride and finally home to the family drama till midnight :p I really do hope that one day, I'll be half as great a parent as my own are.. And that's still a tall order :)

'Scuse me while I kiss the sky

Every once in a while, that weekend comes along, leaving you insanely happy and high on life :)

5km, finally, and twice in a week :) Still some way to go before perfection though. But at least I'm still alive :p The company lunch at zam zam, with all of us smelling like murtabak all afternoon :D New projects, new colleagues, new reasons to smile.

Martinis (best appletinis ever~!) and steak sandwiches with the girls at Mortons, dinner and drinks with the boys at CQ. Weird conversations about being killed by a Malay cop and cynical wisecracks about Singapore. The rum n' coke vs melon martini drink-off, and more rum n' coke on the house by way of the cow-themed lucky draw! The random run-in with QJ, the arrival of the duo, Eski Bar and the absinthe that had no effect on me, and margaritas at Iguana. I think we redefined the word pubcrawl :D

Kaya toast and yummy mango sago, >_< x 15, Alice in Wonderland, random archery tryouts, posing for marathon publicity for Facebook, the hunt for the elusive 'fro, onion rings and pathetic attempts at jaywalking, Reverie for 2 minutes, Somerset 313, the gorgeous hat, and the really cool goodie bag :D A chilled out evening, Jersey girl and the much needed sleep :) That was my Saturday.

Domestication, before heading out to the Gifted Artists children's exhibition on Sunday. I LOVE the Red Dot museum :D It's such a funky and artistic venue for all that creativity. The exhibition was amazing- to think of how 6 year olds can come up with stuff like that is just beyond me :) And we got to meet some of them too :D The themes of violence and nightmares were interesting- it made sense in a way.. and the self portraits and interpretation of trees were uber-cool :D There's just something about kids that helps put stuff into perspective- the simplicity of their world :)

Kayaking adventures beckoned, and we found ourselves back at the lake, except we got on the kayak the wrong way :D But we talked and laughed and had a blast, particularly in the mud and under the bridge :D The aching arms and legs were so worth it! The one with the mop then joined us for the Brazilian Rhythms at UCC, after the scramble for dinner- not a bad show, except jazz isn't really my thing. The drummer and pianist were something else though :O

Another crazy week looms ahead, but hey, its only 5 days till the weekend :D

Innocence in their eyes

Children make you want to start life over.
-Muhammad Ali

A few personal favourites :)

Peddling DVDs in the shade (Phnom Pehn, Cambodia)

Smiling for the camera (Ayuththya, Thailand)

Horse rides at the park (Prague, Czech Republic)

Amidst pollution and poverty (Delhi, India)

Sunshine, smiles and a spiritual journey (Phnom Pehn, Cambodia)

Chords around the street corner (Uppsala, Sweden)

What's with this big glass pyramid anyway? (Paris, France)

At one with the ocean (Penang, Malaysia)

You've got mail (I can't believe I'm doing this)

Dear Amri @16,

Greetings from Amri @24. Yup, I'm 8 years older, zilch taller and not much wiser. But due to intense pressure from Asela and Terng (yes, 8 years down the road, I'm still friends with them, though I'm not entirely sure why), I've decided to write you a letter of sorts and try to warn you of what's to come, so you can brace yourself and not give into the emo-dom that'll threaten to engulf you.

Life as a teenager is going to be tough, I won't lie to you. You're going to be confused, angry and sad, sometimes all at once. But those years are also going to be the best and happiest of your life, and come 19, you're going to look back and want to start regressing in age. So live life to the fullest, and don't have any regrets. On a side note- those years in school are most carefree ones you'll ever have- so live it up, get in trouble, and make the best of it, because it's those memories that stay with you the longest. Live by the lyrics of Baz Lurhmann's single 'Everbody's free (to wear sunscreen)'; I still do.

Don't take the academics too seriously. Study hard and do your best when you need to, but make sure you have fun along the way. Those end of term tests and marks are not going to matter in couple of years, but what will stay with you are the recollections of those all nighters that you pulled, mom waking up and keeping you company at 4am, and dad driving you to the exam and trying his best not to panic on your behalf :) Learn as much as you can, when you can, about the world and stuff outside the textbooks, because time becomes more of a luxury when you get older. And take the sports and extra curricular stuff to heart- it pays off later on.

Family. The quarreling will never stop, and you'll feel hard done by, and yes they probably were too strict with the 12am curfew. But they love you, will be proud of you no matter what, and really want what's best for you, though they might not be experts at figuring out how to put this across the right way. In spite of feeling like the world will end if you don't go to that party, it won't, and they know this. So listen to them and be patient with their stories from the years gone by, and give them the respect they deserve; bringing you up is a lot harder than you think, and you actually turn out pretty decent in the end.

Boys. Well, I still don't quite understand them. It's true, they can be absolute jerks at times. But like you, they're just trying to find their footing, and are just as confused, even now :) In a couple of years though, they'll stop being such idiots and settle down, and some of them will become your best friends.

The girls. We're still the closest of friends :) Forgive the fights over the same boys, the hormonal mood swings and the times they might have stepped on your toes, because they're going to stick with you whatever happens, and will always be there for you, across the miles and different time zones. They'll change with time, but so will you.

You. Don't worry too much about figuring yourself out. It doesn't get any easier as the years go by, but it's a process and it happens eventually, and making those mistakes and learning those lessons are all a part of it. Just keep picking yourself up and dusting yourself off. And time heals. You might be cynical about this now, but really, its true. The arguments, misunderstandings and heartbreaks will seem like distant memories of another life in a few years.

This letter is a lot longer than I thought it would be, so I shall stop the ramble here and wish you the best of luck in the years to come. Don't stop believing in yourself, and don't give up on those dreams, no matter how lofty they might seem right now. And keep that sense of humour intact; stick with your values and stay true to yourself- it's hard to go wrong if you do :)