the happy list #7

wild honey pattern
24 foxy
camel stripedotty

1. Celebrating birthdays. Shared a beautiful brunch with my mother on monday, and then collaborated with sam’s cast & creative team for an old-fashioned surprise on friday. Cakes, cards, glitterbombs.
2. Found a few things in stores i truly loved and could not leave without!

rites & regulations SG

supertree stargazing 2
supertree stargazing

3. Finally getting to really relax. Nothing does that for me like a night at the theatre and an impromptu midnight jaunt.

Rites & Regulations by Platform 65 — a double bill of aWake and The Coffin Is Too Big For The Hole — was my first intimate, interactive pop-up theatre experience. It was a backpacker inn lobby we were ushered into, but the space was soon morphed into a quintessential singaporean void deck, the location of a taoist funeral, and the meeting place of death and comedy. Left thinking about ghostly baby powder footsteps and (after)lives in boxes, but eventually made it through the air thick with incense, just in time for supertree-stargazing as the gardens grew quiet and the night became cool.

the happy list #6: my week

getting crafty

#1 Getting crafty: Figured out my way around pliers and played with an accumulated stash of gold & brass pieces to create some minimal, graceful gold things for my fingers and wrists. also visited my favourite local designer, Pris of Ong Shunmugam, for some scheming with lace and fabric swatches, and to learn the ropes behind…


#2 …assisting with the Ong Shunmugam booth at the Blueprint trade show. My shopgirl dreams come true! Instead of regular customers, we were there to present her new collection – a lush array of batik, brocades and prints woven into reworked Asian silhouettes and dresses – to retail buyers, bloggers, magazine editors and writers, and it was a great glimpse into the industry. The business of fashion and style is cut-throat for sure, but it was inspiring to be amongst entrepreneurs and witness how true talent and genuine personalities can outshine the advantages of money and marketing any day.

congratulatory card
yishun dam

#3 The constant joy of friends, old and new: we are little girls in blue pinafores in one instant, and in a flash we are freshly minted graduates, still the best of friends. And then there is Sam, whose hands fit mine perfectly, who always knows what to say to lift me out of a dark place. There have also been impromptu dinners and suppers by the water, with a friend who i’ve come to regard as my rock & listening ear, and another who is one of the freest souls i know. On wednesday we were going down the long stretch of yishun avenue 1, and then finally found ourselves on a narrow strip of road straddled by rocks and water, and ate our sandwiches and wraps by the light of street lamps, private jets and industrial flame. Friday saw us at west coast, legs stretched out under the moonlight with the night breeze in our hair. Friends make life easy, and make us whole.

The Happy List #5

1. Feasting with friends.
cafe le caire, by wans

(photo by tan wan lin)

We had the mezzé at cafe le caire before languorously sipping on beers elsewhere, and it’s $16 for plentiful portions of hummus, tahina, olives, salad, babaganush, chickpeas and feta to be scooped up with flatbread. Also, the fluffiest falafel I’ve ever had! This incredible photo is by my talented friend wan lin, who is ace at capturing sunsets with practically any kind of photographic equipment.

poached eggs/group therapy cafeThe poached eggs at Group Therapy cafe were perfectly smooth, covered in hollandaise and crushed black peppercorns and served on light, thick toast.

2. A georgette blouse I want to pair with dark denim and gold accessories every day


3. The gift of words

finallySam bought me this book I’ve been stalking at Kinokuniya for years — a collection of (love) letters exchanged between Rainer Maria Rilke and Lou Andreas-Salomé. Here is a section that made me melt:

Now I am closing my manuscript folder: the Visions are in it, the 12 novellas, many of which I will some day read to you, letters, pages filled with notes, and Ruth. Did I not myself write these lines once in some dream filled with presentiments?

“…until the whole world dropped away from me
And nothing of all that life remained
Except a boundless gratitude
And a love stretching on forever!…”

If they had not existed, I would have written them now. How wonderful that they do exist. For hence this strange exchange: I can express my happiness in your words. –And thus you in turn will understand my happiness. Is it not so?

starHe caught me sitting on the floor by the shelf, swooning and lost in its first few pages, and I felt like a guilty voyeur. I’m not very far into the book, but my favourite little detail so far is how Rilke signs off — it starts off formally with his full signature, but by his third letter he is René Maria, and then very simply, René.

5. My parents, Lauren and I are headed to Malacca tomorrow for what’s left of the weekend! I haven’t been there for ten years, but I’m looking forward to trying satay celup for the first time, visiting a man who restores antique jewellery, a popiah skin maker and a red paper cutter, and just wandering around with my dusty but trusty camera!

The Happy List #4 — a bird has come to live with us!

#1 This appeared on top of our hanging plant about a week and a half ago, first noted on my twenty third birthday:

a bird has come to live with us

A very stylish, method-to-the-madness bird’s nest! None of the humans in my household has seen Mama Bird yet; she’s shy and flies away every time we try to get closer. The most we’ve seen of her is her long, mushroom-brown tail feather that sticks out of the nest while she sleeps.

How do we know she’s a mama bird?



surprise !

From the speckled egg surprise, of course!

#3 The video below is what came out of the previous post. The wonderful POSKOD.SG was featured in a Channel NewsAsia documentary, and I was very fortunate to be included alongside David and Priscilla as we re-staged our cheongsam story. I wish we could have heard more from the editors and the creative team, and seen more behind-the-scenes footage, but this was a crazy, fun first for me and I am grateful. Thanks to my father for procuring a recording.

Even crazier? Seeing my sisters go bananas over seeing my face on the television screen! If you have not hopped over to POSKOD.SG yet, please do! There is a beautiful photo essay on the old Capitol Theatre right now by Philipp Aldrup and David Ee, with captions and words as incredible as the photographs:

“For decades it was filled with stories, with films from Asia and from abroad….It became a big part of how people in Singapore saw the world, what they dreamt of and where these dreams could take them. But how about the dreams of people today? Have people been asked what they dream of, for their city?”

#4 I am done with my thesis, or at least I have decided that I am done. I had thought that I would want to celebrate when it was over, but more than anything I am ready to bid it a hasty goodbye, and take a long holiday from Microsoft Word and crossing off markup changes, one comment at a time.

What I need: silence, sun, and some non-scientific words. Will you come wrap me up with love and a poem?

The Happy List #3

Blessings (big & small) to be grateful for:

dreams woven from lace and batik

#1 A quiet friday miracle, three hours amidst lace dresses and refreshed tradition. Certain days remind you that dreams can come true, sometimes, if you want them badly enough. Most of my time is devoted to school, but any time I can take off to chat with inspiring people is so precious. It feels like a parallel universe where an uncertain future is exchanged for a brighter present. There are new ways for us to be sensible again.

gussied up green

#2 Fifteen minutes to get rid of two weeks worth of chipped red polish and paint on a shiny new coat of dark moss green

cobalt blue paisley silk scarf

#3 Wearing this square of silk draped around my neck today and it feels like a constant hug, especially in the freezing cold of the psych labs in school. This is my early valentines gift from Sam, and I don’t know what I like more about it: the flecks of lilac and peppermint green, or the fact that he has a matching, smaller square to fit in his jacket pocket!!

The Happy List #2

It was a good weekend after a hectic week in school — two presentations and a psychometrics test I didn’t study hard enough for. These assignments and projects don’t scare me as much as they used to, but I still dislike busy periods because an extra five minutes in bed always comes with a disproportionate amount of guilt, there’s never enough silence to hear my own thoughts, and phone calls always end too soon. As I dive head first into the last weeks of the semester, here’s a list of good things to hold on to until it ends — no monday blues!:

Happiness is…
to share1. A sushi box to tide us over till Midnight in Paris and popcorn, perfect for sharing. I claim the avocado rolls and you go straight for the unagi, but we get one salmon nigiri each. Dessert is two halves of a fleur de sel caramel macaron, alternating bites just like we took turns with the chopsticks.

the colour of rust and chinese new year2. A pretty new blouse to wear, the colour of rust and chinese new year. Purchased at a sweet mid-season sale discount, perfect with dark blue denim and custom jewellery that will be on its way to me soon!

these are the fantastic things to do today3. Putting some pep into to-do lists. “These are the fantastic things to do today!” — cheap trick but I swear it works!

aftermath4. First brunch in a long time with the whole family. Lamb chops, mussels, shotglasses of scallops in citrus juice and pink peppercorns, ten different types of tiffin curry. An (arcade) motorbike race after with my sister, familiar smells of the marble foyer and the bowling alley.

The Happy List #1

I’ve been in a funk lately. A personal project ended up being a bit of a letdown when I’d hoped to be giddy with pride. School became a languid drift from class to class, my growing to-do list no longer instilling purpose or healthy fear in me. A friend suggested taking days out to explore the city with my camera and a cafe address, to feel refreshed and inspired, but my HK trips left me too penniless to enjoy six-dollar coffee. So I stayed home and sat in a circle of penny-pinching misery, fell back into routine — the one thing I swore I would never do, post-dreamy california life.

This week, I decided to have no more of that! Once, I wrote a list of about thirty or so little comforts for a friend going through a rough time, as reminders to find joy and gratitude in the everyday, every day. In that spirit, here’s one just in time for the weekend!

my svpply favourites
1. Productive Window Shopping for the Penniless! Recently discovered svpply, which works like a visual scrapbook of products you love and can save to ‘buy later’. Not sure I can afford a thousand dollar antique trunk, but a girl can dream! It’s also fun to watch your style take shape in front of you, if you’re not one to typically overthink these things :)

IMG_6748cheater pain au chocolat
2. Kitchen time and baking cheaterbug pain au chocolats with my sister was the perfect antidote to a wet, grey afternoon. We had chocolate lying around in the fridge, and wrapped up the chunks in store-bought puff pastry to make treats for the family. Recipe here.

3. Last night just before bed, I called Sam, who happened to be exceptionally cheery. He started humming a happy jazz tune, which I asked to listen to. Instead of putting the phone to his music speakers to give me a preview, he sang. the. whole. song. It was so cute and silly, and I laughed and smiled till I fell asleep.

4. I was a total champ at friendship bracelets in primary school. After spying some woven, beaded bracelets on etsy, I had to whip out my favourite childhood Klutz books again, figure out the knotting patterns and started weaving with whatever skeins of cotton embroidery thread I had left. 45 minutes of kiddy glee!