peter’s laws

Peter’s Laws for the Navigation of Life, the Creed of the Sociopathic Obsessive Compulsive

1. If anything can go wrong, fix it! (To hell with Murphy!)
2. When given a choice, take both.
3. Multiple projects lead to multiple successes.
4. Start at the top and work your way up.
5. Do it by the book… but be the author.
6. When forced to compromise, ask for more.
7. If you can’t beat them, join them, and then beat them.
8. If it’s worth doing, it’s got to be done now!
9. If you can’t win, change the rules.
10. If you can’t change the rules, then ignore them.
11. Perfection is not optional.
12. When faced without a challenge, make one.
13. “No” simply means begin again at one level higher.
14. Don’t walk when you can run.
15. Bureaucracy is a challenge to be conquered with a righteous attitude, a tolerance for stupidity, and a bulldozer when necessary.
16. When in doubt, THINK!
17. Patience is a virtue, but persistence to the point of success is a blessing.
18. The squeaky wheel gets replaced.
19. The faster you move, the slower time passes, the longer you live!
20. The best way to predict the future is to create it yourself!

(via girlsack, but words by peter safar, the father of CPR! you’d expect such a feisty attitude from the man who figured out how to cheat death ;)

city-memories blurring

blurry cities

i missed this place this weekend. we’ve made it something of a habit to cycle for an hour to this clearing, sit for a while till our legs stop tingling, cycle back and then adjourn for coffee, gao factor optional. there’s a lot to see at east coast park — grown men inching forward fearfully on rollerblades, kids pedaling with fury like their lives depended on it, but this clearing at our halfway mark is my highlight.

it’s special because it reminds me of many places at once. first, there is the bend off the main road and past the short posts in the ground, quite like where my white cement south davis path met the charcoal gravel and the roundabout. then there’s wild grass you can’t quite see past, which takes me back to colder, slower mornings with sam. only now there are no karst peaks or riverbanks, and i’m not rushing to grab a jamba juice before fiction class, but that’s okay. no more mourning. I don’t remember everything, but i remember the most precious minutes. i know them well enough to realise that this clearing in eastern singapore is my personal portkey, and being here is like having a familiar hand to hold in the dark.

20 baghdad street

masjid sultan

my parents brought me to their secret breakfast haunt at bussorah street two days in a row. it’s 7.30am. we pull up. the street is quiet and still in shadow, but the light glints gold off the masjid sultan domes. we pick up packets of nasi lemak. my mother peels the little fried fish and my dad mixes all the chili paste into the rice, which is unusually light for a typically indulgent dish. the proprietor makes the drinks out of a little corner of a french eatery with red walls and framed posters, and i’m sure the ice coffee i have is my new favourite. some days the weight of the world is on your shoulders, but on others, go ahead and exchange that for thirty minutes of better things. claim your right to early morning magic.

begin anywhere

today was really difficult for me. i am a perfectionist, so most of the time, all I need is someone to tell me not to sweat the small stuff, to remind me that today’s worries won’t matter a week from now and will be forgotten in a month. but sometimes, mountains are not made out of molehills. they are what they are — jagged-edged, imposing, and the terrain makes it unfeasible to lead up to a vantage point. it makes me sick, made me dissolve into tears today when my sister sat with me on the steps by the fountain, made me scoff at the irony because i can’t deal with these anxieties easily, even though i research anxiety every day — why we choose to avoid and escape when the rational option is to desensitize, grow used to things, change the way we think about unfortunately undesirable necessities — and also because it was only yesterday that i read Frost’s The Road Not Taken with my english class and stripped it of its misunderstood Hallmark-card surface meaning. Frost wasn’t telling us to dare to be different, but to just…take a road. Choose one and begin anywhere.

That’s funny. the last time I struggled with change, I found a postcard in a Californian convenience store that told me to ‘begin anywhere’, and it hit home so much that I took a photo of it (ha!), blew it up and framed it in the centre of my Davis bedroom wall. And here we are again. My scientific knowledge battles with the stories and poems that I carry all the time. Which will last longer? Here we are again.

crossing gazes

crossing gazes

life brought me on another little adventure yesterday. got my sandals and ankles soaked by rain gushing down the slopes of Lock Road, but made it to the Mizuma Gallery in time to share a moment with some intense, photorealistic portraits by Hyung Koo Kang. i haven’t been trained to understand art as connoisseurs do, can’t decipher hidden clues and cheeky conversations embedded in histories and brushstrokes and angles, but there is always something universal, something visceral about a bare room and a haunting image.

the happy list #8

best tuition classes are made of these
1. Surrender to fun. My English tuition classes are coming to an end, and I couldn’t bear to spend the last few classes going through syllabus material when my students are done with their exams for the year. Instead, we had mini-muffins, kept a poem in our back pockets, and had a masterclass in speed paraphrasing with Taboo. A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, and these kids found more confidence in the language via this game than through weeks of direct practice. Best class ever.

little india magic hour

2. A full day date. Our dating life often makes me think of the poem above. I’d have to stop and think if you asked me what we did on our 6th anniversary (which was just last week), but I remember flashes of the everyday moments vividly. I remember him waving hello after an econs tutorial from four storeys up, before we started going out. I remember us having cokes after long days of walking up mountains and temples and crawling through caves.

And I’ll always remember what we did on Tuesday. Tea for him and coffee for me, time and space to sit, scheme and dream. A trawl through favourite textile and tailor shops, and a text from him the day after filled with exclamation marks and encouragement when I told him I might have just got my first writing assignment for a print magazine. That was the day I realised two things: first, that some little moments are just big ones in disguise; and second, that his support gives me more strength than I ever thought possible.

spectacles for the sick

sewing tiny hems
3. Making do when you’re sick. Caught the flu bug and couldn’t think through the giant excel database I’m tasked with completing this week. Instead of feeling rotten and sleeping, sometimes you just need to put your granny specs on and channel the fuzzy energy elsewhere. Today’s target of choice: making the hems on my DIY silk scarves as tiny as I could get them. Switched over to a special blue thread with a beautiful sheen, and it makes the little stitches photograph like dots! Swoon.

mid-week encouragement


I don’t reblog many things on this site, but this is special and needs to be shared and remembered. Sounds like an ace method for a simple, joyous life.

Funny that this might not have meant much to me a year ago, but really hits home now. No matter how your week has been going, take heart!

sewing diaries #4: camera strap

DIY camera strap

My old camera strap was worn out and due for a replacement, but new straps from canon run around $30 USD, and customisable handmade options on etsy cost even more. Is it just me, or do these tech-accessory things cost so much more than they should?

Found this embroidered fabric in new york last year and i’m relieved my fabric hoarding is finally paying off. Happily spent a quick hour today sewing tiny, almost invisible stitches to make myself a brand new camera neck-strap — currently feeling very thrifty, and very pleased :)

Have a happy weekend!



Never/land ended its short run last weekend. It was a laugh-a-minute, happy-tears-at-the-end sort of musical, and I wish you had been there to see it. I’d been helping with costume sewing/art needs here and there, but I was roped in for the final week of rehearsals and for the shows to assist with makeup. Don’t know if I’ve ever been in a room with so many talented people — gorgeous, wide-eyed ingenues, pitch perfect soulful singers, dashing and hilarious leading men, adorable dancers.


As I was doing the makeup for one of the pirate henchmen (styled as chinese opera painted villains, no less), he asked “are you happy that it’s going to end soon? then you and samuel will get to spend more time together.”

“well, yes”, i replied, “but it hasn’t really been difficult at all.”

There are few joys greater than watching my love in his element. I always knew he was giving so much of himself to the production, but it didn’t really hit me till the lead actress introduced him for the curtain call as “the person who always inspired us and told us to believe to see. Our director, our composer, our lyricist…our everything”. In that second, your heart swells, and you just don’t forget a moment like that.

Continue reading “never/land”