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Many people, on first impression, see me as this Sassy Fun-loving Confident young thing They peel the first layer, and ...

How well do you know me?


Many people, on first impression, see me as this

Sassy

Fun-loving

Confident young thing

They peel the first layer, and see that I'm just as....

Intense,
and deeply passionate about things that matter to me.



A person who dreams of one day achieving...

Big Things.


Then, they peel another layer and see this other side that is

Tender, insecure...
and vulnerable



... and they're thrown off guard.


But those who choose to stay, become Si Hui's friends
and they know that I actually have

a whole lot of class,
and a whole lot of laughs


Then there are friends who are granted the special privilege of seeing

the weird
and really really weird

... side of me.

I reveal my different sides to different people. Sometimes a combination of fun and weird, or a combination of intense and confident. I used to think I was Medusa or a cursed two-faced snake.

But I realised that I'm made of this strange concoction of bold, funky, vulnerable, intense and quirky. All mixed and jumbled up into a wonderful person called me.

And the ones whom I can truly call my friends, recognise that 'me'. And when they see all these different sides, they will still nod and say, yeap, I know that girl and I love her so. (hehe!)

Having so many different sides to me - all of which play a leading role - I thought I might be a little mad. But I suppose a little madness won't hurt anyone eh? Cuz at least I ain't boringggg.g.

----

Well, didn't that sound a little like poetry?? Why thank you, thank you very much.

As you can tell, I love Emma Stone and Michelle Obama :-) Zooey Deschanel and Elle Fanning not too far down the list as well.

Was a little inspired after reading this New York Times article called "Our Mothers as We Never Saw Them" and I was quite intrigued by it. The author asked several people to send in photographs of their mothers when they were young like in their 20s, and their interpretation of them. She sees that society places value in certain traits of young womanhood - of being spunky, fun and wild - which are qualities we don't normally associate with mothers.

Therein lies the problem:

"But if these characteristics are a prerequisite for a properly executed womanhood, does becoming a mother divest a woman of such qualities?"

The author continues,

"In studying these photos, and each daughter’s interpretation of them, I’ve come to wonder what traits we allow our mothers to have, and which ones we view as temporary, expiring with age and the beginning of motherhood. Can a woman be both sexual and maternal, daring and responsible, innocent and wise? Mothers are either held up as paragons of selflessness, or they’re discounted and parodied. We often don’t see them in all their complexity."


This was something I never quite thought about because I always assumed my own mother was never the sort who was wild and fun-loving when she was younger. Even now. That's cos I've always seen my mother as my MOTHER. The one who protects, compromises and nurtures. I'd never wanna see my mom as this young sexual being lol, that's quite sick.

But I've come to realise that hey, my mom must've had her fair share of good fun when she was younger and that she probably had to sacrifice quite a bit of her self and personality while transitioning to motherhood. It's like part of your identity changes or is taken away when you become a mother. Or maybe she didn't have that part of her sacrificed, and maybe she's had that fun side to her all along and I refuse to see it that way.

I must say though, the article is quite skewed towards the Western thinking of how young women should behave or embrace being wild and free things. I believe it's more conservative over here, don't think many people necessarily see sex appeal as a good trait for young women haha.

Nevertheless, it's surprisingly also helped me in my process of understanding my parents a lot more... They were also learning and growing, just like we were when we were babies... maturing together and making sense of what it means to be parents in this strange confusing world. Making mistakes and sometimes leaving mental scars on their children who take them along into adulthood. Some people crumble and refuse to become parents themselves knowing what their parents did to them. They're afraid they'd make the same mistakes and inflict the same kind of hurt on their own children.

But I think it's important to understand and accept that they're only human. That they never wanted to hurt their children because they're only doing what's best for us. We can only forgive, for they too, had it tough.

Now when I look at my mom (or my dad), I wonder how much of their young self is still embedded in that 50+ year old body. Did they often feel conflicted while looking after me and my brother? Did their "self" make a lot of sacrifices? Which parts did? And which parts remained?

Plus, now that they've "finished" taking care of me and my bro, since we're working adults, are those parts that they lost coming back to them? Do they feel like it's okay to revisit some of their lost selves? A case of Benjamin Button perhaps?

One thing's for sure, their kids definitely got a bit of weird from them. Running through the Tan bloodline for e t e r n i t y .


Anywhos, a Happy Mother's Day!

And thank you May's mom for birthing her on this day :-)

Let's talk about the recent JC mergers. I was from Tampines Junior College, Class of 2010. And although I never fully enjoyed my time ...

Does it matter which school you came from?

Let's talk about the recent JC mergers.

I was from Tampines Junior College, Class of 2010. And although I never fully enjoyed my time there, I did feel a tinge of sadness for the fact that a part of my educational track would be erased.

Good ol' times eh.






When I first read the news, it felt like a second blow to me.

Because the first blow was dealt during an earlier batch of school mergers last year. I had lost my secondary school then. And for that, the pain was more acute.

Coming from a school in the heartlands can make you feel quite tiny, especially when you're up against giants who come from the elites. Introductions to new friends at JC and University were intimidating (in fact, it didn't just end there. sometimes that inferiority complex creeps on me at my workplace, too) And to have that school taken away from you, you feel not just tiny.... you feel...... almost non-existent and well just, forgotten.

It's like you're not that important. You're always told you're important (every *cough* school is a good school *cough cough*), but you're not quite that important (relative to other schools). It's like your grandma telling you, hey I cooked your favourite bak chor mee because I love you and you mean the world to me. But hey your brother's better at school and therefore more capable (assumptions *cough*), so yeah I'm adding extra mee pok into his bowl. Well, I may seem bias but I'm not really bias. You'll understand. (yeah i understand ah ma *coughs blood* gees someone please call the ambulance)

While I see the government's point of view - falling birth rates, reallocation of resources, supply and demand - and truly, I always understand why they choose to make certain decisions... I wish they'd communicate their actions a little better. Sometimes, these actions can come off as insensitive, judging by the uproar (which will eventually tide down as they all so often do) and not only that, perpetuate certain negative thinking and labels in our society. It almost reinforces the belief that certain schools aren't as worthy of keeping, in a top-down approach. And it can be quite unhealthy because it seeps from the branches all the way down to the roots.

Logically, I understand that schools with low entry points should be the first to go because high entry points normally reflect good institutions that'd produce students with stellar results. They've more resources and are therefore better equipped and I've heard about some of the courses and seminars my friends from these schools used to organise/attend when they were students. ASEAN conferences, Cultural exchange programmes to China/Europe, Competitive sport meets like swim and athletics meets (like really competitive, not Kindness VS. Respect House kinda sports day event with milo vans ya? i still love you milo van nevertheless). If all these aren't strange sounding to you then you're probably one of the fortunate ones to have had all these while you were at school. Because taking part in these activities helps mould character, talents and skills. It then sets you up for bigger things in life. What's more, the connections you make could take you even further. It's a privilege and not the type that you should be ashamed of. You're lucky and I'm happy that you got that kind of education. I wish I had that kind of education too while growing up.

The stark reality is - that's not what every school offers, and not a typical school experience every kid can claim to have. That's the difference between going to a "good" school and "not-so-good" school.

So if you ask me, I'm not up-in-arms as to why they're taking away my secondary school + jc.

We all know. Nobody needs to say anything... we all know.

Although the argument could go - "why are there more resources channelled to these schools then?" I'm not gonna go down that slippery slope. Because I think that's not really the point. I think we can go bigger than that, and beyond this whole privilege argument.

Instead, I implore people, society, and heck even the government, to not devalue or forget what an education is supposed to mean in the first place. For each and every child, individually. Whether dua pai or not-so-dua pai school, an institution is a lever to a child's education but not the entire means to an end. That a child is not valued solely for the institutions they attend. That they're not any less or better because of the institutions they attend. That even though some institutions don't and can't provide as much resources and accessibility to knowledge than other institutions can, I hope we remember that every school at the end of the day, has the same, fundamental goal -

which is to provide the young a strong foundation.

One that will equip them with skills and knowledge - life lessons as well - throughout the rest of adulthood.

And they shouldn't be judged for the rest of their lives solely on the grades they achieved in those institutions.

Moreover, we often forget that sometimes it's the intangible knowledge that's just as important as theoretical knowledge. Lessons that teach children values like grit, hard work and resilience. Experiences in the form of laughter, joy, and a bit of pain. Sometimes these are knowledge even the most well-equipped school cannot impart and the best teacher cannot teach.... Because they come in the form of play, friendship, and the unlikeliest of ways - mischief. Scoldings, warnings and repeated failures.

It's easy for me to say things like that. And sometimes I find it hard to convince others and even myself to believe in the intangibles too, because there is simply no way of measuring the intangibles. No PSLE, no O/A Levels to tell how much a child has grown from experiences. No one's gonna be given an A grade for learning from past mistakes. How do you measure that? And so we'd rather focus on what's easy to measure and control - and we use them as yardsticks to measure a child's worth.

And just like a cog in a machine, they learn to live up to what's expected of them through these yardsticks. A never-ending cycle trying to meet parental/societal expectations. These days, I reckon the young aren't even trying to meet those expectations. Because they've taken it upon themselves - it's become their own personal mission. It's no longer external - it's internal. And they've forgotten that they're still growing and learning about themselves. They've forgotten to grow in areas and ways nobody expect them to. Forming and forging their own ideas, values and paths.

That's really important.

While I value the intangibles, knowledge in the form of books and subjects like Science, Math, History and Literature should not be forgone or discounted. They are and have always been important. For what is a lawyer who knows not the rule of the land. For what is a doctor who knows not what drugs to prescribe to his patient. For what is a scientist who knows not what chemicals to create a reaction. What I'm trying to say is knowledge comes in various forms and can be attained in varied ways. Some different from others - a little faster, a little slower, maybe even a little quirkier.

We grow in our own ways, and at our own pace. Whoever we so choose to be, wherever it may be.

It's difficult to change the system - it'll remain this way for a long time. But I think mindsets are easier to change... and that's the first step. I hope people at least remember what's important at the end of the day.

----

Before I end this post, I'll share with you a touching session I had with the last batch of Coral Secondary School students last year. I never wrote about it, because I never found the right moment to.

I remember writing to the school that I was saddened to hear of its merger, and that if there was any way I could contribute to my alma mater, I would be more than glad to. I got a reply from my former Physics teacher, Mr Ong Wei Jin, who is now heading the student affairs department I believe. He said he'd be glad if I could give a sharing session in the form of a little motivational speech for the Secondary Four/Five students heading for their O/N Levels in October. I thought well yeah, sure.

Over the few months, I scratched my head trying to think of a theme. What should I say to them? I knew that by the time I delivered my speech, it'd be a little too late for last minute cramming. So I decided to be a bit more forward thinking.

And so the time came for me to deliver my speech. Right before I went up, Mr Ong said to me, "You have 5 minutes to capture their attention, otherwise, gone, they won't listen to you." Scared me man, but na, I stuck to my guns.

I began my speech and told the audience - a mix of Express, Normal and Normal tech students - "You've got 7 Years". That they may go wherever - the next step could be ITE, JC or Poly. Wherever it is, and however long it may take, if they keep working at it, they'll get to wherever they want to - University or that dream job they've always wanted. I gave them 7 years because it took me that long to get to my dream of becoming a journalist since the age of 15 y/o.


I showed them this picture
If this little munchkin could get to her dream workplace, hell, you can too. Just keep working at it, and it doesn't matter if you're in Coral now, just keep working hard. People may laugh at your school name, but heck lah. And you might not understand why you need to do well in E-maths and A-maths now, why you have to study algebra cos who's going to use algebra in real life? I told them I had those questions too, but you must keep working at it, and every step you take will take you where you need to be. That you may not understand now, but you will eventually. So. just. keep. hustling. And ace that examination.

Do it for yourself, not for anyone else.

I saw it in their eyes. The boys - the ones I thought wouldn't listen to me. The noisy ones who sat at the back of the auditorium, fell silent.

And all it took was just one girl to nod her head, with a look of quiet conviction on her face, to convince me that my job there was done.

The common misconception is that neighbourhood school kids are lazy and stupid. But don't you see? These kids, they have hopes, aspirations and dreams too. They have opinions and valuable ideas to contribute as well. The sad part is they're part of a ruthless education system that doesn't see their worth sometimes. And to prove that they are worthy, they've to join em' to beat em'.

Right now all they need is a chance, from you. And I sure as hell hope they'd take that chance on themselves too.

As for myself?

I will keep hustling.

Even I, succumb to that whole mentality every now and then that I may not be worthy enough because I didn't have such a bright head start. But often, I remind myself that despite the long journey to get here, it's still a long journey ahead.

And in the end, it really doesn't matter.

The thumb drive left me as soon as I found it a year ago. The one thing that had altered my life quite dramatically and sank me in the dee...

A year on...

The thumb drive left me as soon as I found it a year ago. The one thing that had altered my life quite dramatically and sank me in the deepest abyss - one that took me a year to claw right out.

I've been wanting to write this post, but... where to begin? At a lost for words and I still find it hard to write this post actually. I don't wish to go back to a tiring and trying time.

Yet, I want to write this from a place of strength. Because here I am exactly one year on since I found out about the dreadful news and standing tall and strong - re-energised and enthusiastic about life. I want to remember where I was and what I've learnt.

One thing I experienced, which I hadn't experienced before, was sitting in the darkness of my very being. To feel the deepest, darkest range of emotions. It was a time when I felt sadness gnawing at me day in, day out. I had never felt that sort of sadness in my life before... when living was almost as good as nothing. I had forgotten how to laugh heartily and had thoughts that ate at the very core of my soul. I think... I had even lost a bit of me.

By losing myself though, I was on a search to find and build on whatever that was still left of me. I began to see and notice things that I had never seen or felt before. Despite my very tortured soul, I started to see another side of the world - a beautiful one. Darkness shone bits of light in places that I never knew existed. Melancholy had in a way, afforded me a sense of sight.

And I read this off a senior's webpage (he shoots wedding photography and is pursuing film as a career). It's a passage that I think encapsulates a lot of what I'm trying to say:

"Photography is a bit like my public life while filmmaking is a bit like my private life. My photographs tend to be of happy things and my films tend to be about not so happy things. My literature teacher used to say that if you were never sad for a day in your life, you will never understand poetry nor find real happiness." - Ivan Tan.

He went on to make a point - One cannot exist without the other.

That was something I came to understand. Without negative emotions, you can never truly feel the most positive of emotions. I've learnt how to sit in my sadness and embrace it for all that it is. An emotion. A feeling, just like happiness and joy.

Even... anger.

I often struggle with my darkness. You know when people say you've gotta embrace your imperfections? I used to interpret that as things like smarts, talents and looks. So I never quite understood the meaning of embracing your self, your whole-hearted self. I've come to realise it's also about your darkness... To be able to sit in your darkness of jealousy, rage and hate. To know that you have those things in you, and that it is perfectly, completely normal.

I remember watching a couple of documentaries where they try to uncover what makes a human bad. Like when I watched a docu about Nazi Germans committing crimes against humanity. Why did they do what they did even though they knew it was evil? I can't remember the name of the documentary but I remember what scared researchers most was the fact that those "other" human beings.... they were not in any way extraordinarily different. They were not evil or psychotic. They were actually very much normal human beings like you and I... Who had loved ones, who liked to have a good hearty time and a barbecue...

Which says a lot about us. That as human beings, we all have a monster within us. That we have the capacity to hate, to lie, cheat, steal, be corrupt, you name it. A bad person isn't bad because he was born evil. No one is born evil. And guess what? Scary as it may seem - You and I, we also have the capacity to act on our darkness.

“There is not always a good guy. Nor is there always a bad one. Most people are somewhere in between.” - A Monster Calls, 2016

Us - you, me, we are all very complicated creatures, with thoughts that can be very wild and very dark. I no longer chide myself for having dark thoughts, because I've come to realise that they're alright. That I'm alright.

And not all is lost because... what you think is not important. It's what you do that's important.... You may have the deepest, darkest, most horrendous thoughts in the world, but believe me, they do not matter. What matters is how you choose to act on them. Some people choose to lean in on them, while others choose not to.

The fact of the matter is, it is your choice. And your life is dictated by your choices. Never beat yourself for what you think, for they do not matter. I repeat: What matters are your actions.

Once I came to accept that, accept all of my complexity, I realised what it means to really truly accept my self.. For all of my weaknesses, strengths, scars and darkness. They make me whole and I only need to embrace them.

I'm not gonna lie. I still struggle because there are times when I think that I'm going against my principles and morals. I try my best, and I try my best every god damn day. And to do your best... shouldn't that be the only thing that matters?

I still wonder why my friend took his own life. And... though I will never truly know, I believe that he did what he did because he struggled with his own thoughts. Thoughts that gnawed at him every day. That reminded him of how much less of a human he was, when in fact, all that he already was made him a very whole, wonderful and beautiful human being.

While I wish he'd never left, in a way, his death has given me something, made me bolder and stronger. I confronted my greatest fears and questioned the very reason to my existence. His death also reminds me of the values I hold true to my heart, and the beliefs I choose to pursue. That I remember what's worth fighting for.

But mostly, to enjoy the ride while it lasts~

That was something he'd taught me when he was alive.

Found this two months back
Little snippets and nuggets I find of him, would be like treasure to me. I'm glad we took this polaroid. He had one of us, and I have one of us :-)

It was the last picture I ever took with him, before I left his apartment and returned home from New Zealand...

This time, he left me. But he also left me with lessons. Lessons that I will take with me. And a part of me thinks that his cheekiness plotted it all out haha.

Kindness still lingers in his eyes from photos that I see and sometimes I feel like he's still here. And you know what Maya Angelou said, "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did... but people will never forget how you made them feel".

And I still, have not forgotten.

Heard my phone vibrating this morning so I woke up and was asked to be recalled early in the morning for a shift, but I couldn't cos I&#...

end of an era, beginning of another

Heard my phone vibrating this morning so I woke up and was asked to be recalled early in the morning for a shift, but I couldn't cos I've plans in the afternoon. And now I can't go back to sleep so.. whatddya do? Blog!! Hahaha.

But mainly it's because... TODAY IS THE DAY that I move to the New Campus at Mediacorp. Officially!! *cries* I've been waiting for this day for so long and I'm super excited + happy cos the old campus at caldecott is just miserable as hell. Then again... whist lying in my bed, I was thinking about all the good times at caldecott as well lah. After all, I was there when I was an intern three years back and then I came back as a full-time staff... a significant amount of memories. 

I thought it was quite amazing as well that I got to close the last News 5 show at Caldecott. I mean.. it does feel a bit surreal since I've been watching the damn bulletin since I was a kid and who knew I'd be doing the very last show as an adult. It is bittersweet indeed. Very.

So the past few days, my colleagues and I have been going round taking photos around the campus. And now, this post will help document some of what I'd like to remember :)

Good times, bitter sweettt.

A picture with this big ass sign outside our office
Hangin' off from the top
Btw here's Ria, a wkwsci intern!!! Ahh I love her lah, she's crazy
This was another day - my colleagues said everyone else was taking photos in the day so we had to take one at night as well ahaha competitive
Current affairs department!!
Where my heart has always been because of its people~
Yatieeeee
I swear we look like sisters here leh
She's going on a sabbatical for a year to YOLO!!! She said it herself hahah so cool ah?? 
But mainly it's cos she wants to spend time with her daughter Adyna... 
I've always admired her. When I was working with her as an intern, she was so so so driven and I always admire people who hustle. Then when she had her baby, things got a bit tough and she found it hard to balance work and mommying her baby. And I can imagine the pain she had to go through and is still going through... Sometimes, I find that scary as well because I'm someone who's so career-driven, yet I want to be a momma and a good one too, it's just tough having to juggle both and still be good at both. 

BUT what am i sayinnnn, I'm still young, ambitious and hungry. I can worry bout those things lata~


Hottest librarian you'll ever find,
Who's looking after....
TAPES FROM A LOST ERA
Jeeees these tapes are prehistoric. I don't know how old you guys are but I remember as a kid, my family had to use these chunky DVR tapes to record stuff and watch recorded shows on TV. THESE are things still around in the library at Mediacorp

It was crazy when I first saw and used them three years ago. I couldn't believe we were still using them to archive stuff. Like, that's the dinosaur age man, time to move on bruhhhhs.

Still cool though. I remember one time as an intern, I had to search for old footage for a producer and I trawled through tape after tape after tape and it was amusing yet intriguing for I saw some old footage of Singapore so rarely seen or forgotten...


Good lighting ;-)
Then came the final day of work yesterday
Being just absolute idiots
Makin full use of whatever we could find
Now ain't Mediacorp a kampong??
FINAL SHOW IN THE STUDIOOOO
Photo with presenter Jill
(secret: I still find presenters intimidating even though I work with them so closely LOL)
Dead office
I'm glad I was part of this caldecott era... Not many young people would be able to say that. Maybe it's not something to be proud of to begin with la hahah but I'm still so glad I got to experience this :)

From here onwards.... to new beginnings!

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