I’m sorry.

Fire extinguisher to flame.

I’m really sorry.

Ointment to wound.

I could’ve done better.

Lifting the lid off a bubbling pot.

I’m so, so very sorry.

Glue to slow-spreading crack in delicate, delicate glass.

* *

I’m sorry too. I want to be better for you.

Gloriously soothing balm for the thorns in our words.



I’ve spent the past four years writing academic papers, pieces of writing that ranged from 2 pages to something crazy like 40 pages.

Works that needed a ton of research, and a ton more of analyzing and synthesizing, referencing and citing (always a huge pain in the buttocks).

Writing research papers is not new to me, I am no stranger to coming up with thesises, searching through books and journals, pulling out referencable material, condensing them and articulating them in (kind of) smart sounding ways.

And so I am more than just a little disappointed to find myself here, a mere 2 months after leaving college, staring at the computer screen, fingers poised on the keyboard, desperately trying to draw out a single-paged composition that is stubbornly refusing to show itself.

I’m trying to write a press release about a workshop that took place two weekends ago, I admit I’ve never written a press release before, but it shouldn’t be this hard to write. I mean, it’s all facts, information that I already know from having been there, done it. But nope, my blank mind is in no mood to cooperate with me tonight. This same mind that is used to crunching mountains of research information into a (semi) coherent paper is now having trouble turning a bullet-pointed list of Who-What-Where-When-Why-How into two short paragraphs of a few sentences.

Is this what leaving college does to you?

(But isn’t it funny I can still blog? Eh? Eh?)


The parents left for London today. Just in time for the Olympic madness.

They’re going on a 3-week tour of Western Europe, just the two of them, which leaves the remaining 3 members of my family all alone to fend for ourselves.

This means washing and cleaning duties to be shared, and cooking to be done.

My dad told me to drain out the water filter, or sommin’. Did you know, we now have a water filter that talks? You make a selection among 7 options on the touchscreen menu, and a female voice goes, “Drinking water coming down”, all sexy-like, and water comes down a narrow pipe. You press the button again, and there she goes, “Water supply suspended.”

Seems like a very unnecessarily fancy piece of equipment, especially since for the past year I’ve been getting my supply of drinking water by walking to the kitchen sink and turning on the tap.

And speaking of equipment, I have a piece of sad news to share.

It seems that my Macbook, dear ol’ buddy of 4 years, my partner who hasn’t once left my side since our first acquaintance, is on its last legs. It has gone through a lot, man. A lot of rough traveling. Every time I travel, it is hastily taken out of its snug pocket in my backpack for security checks, then hurriedly shoved back in again afterwards, only to be kicked under plane seats and piled into overhead compartments after each transit. In school, it is put on messy table tops and on unmade beds, it is laid on my lap at an angle and left on sticky kitchen counters. Sometimes, it is even left sitting precariously on top of a large amplifier on those weekend nights when regular speakers don’t cut it. It never gets proper rest — I turn it off once every two weeks.

I know, I know. I could’ve taken better care of it. But it’s been 4 years, and its struggle to survive another doesn’t seem like it would end well.

Honestly, this is the only thing I have that’s been with me throughout all 4 years of college. No matter which part of the world I was in, this thing was always with me. I got my Bachelor’s Degree with this thing! I got it at a time way back when there was still an “us” and a “them” — us with our smooth white Macbooks, and they with their shiny silver Macbook Pros. Now you couldn’t buy regular Macbooks even if you wanted to, which makes me sad.

One day, I’m gonna wake up and try to turn this thing on, only to find that it is utterly, irredeemably dead.

My new problem then would be this — I have no money to buy a new laptop. Help!

Stew, Cambodia

I don’t know if my last post makes it obvious enough, but I’m missing Grinnell.

Right now, I feel.. bored? That life is too slow-paced? That I’m lacking stimulations? That the Malaysian heat is slowly cooking me, turning me into a sluggish heap of meaningless existence, keeping me stagnant, slowly stewing me in my own boredom.

Isn’t it weird? A few weeks ago, I was still in Grinnell, and life was like a bullet train, speeding from one stop to the next, leaving me with hardly any time to catch my breath. So many things happening, so many things to be dealt with, so many people running everywhere, so many words being spoken, being written, being read. So much information, so many exchanges of so many kinds.

And now, I’m back in Malaysia, and suddenly I have so much time. Time, the one thing I didn’t have enough of in Grinnell, I now have in abundance in Malaysia.

* * * * *

Thank god I have a trip to Cambodia planned! An effective way to kick me out of that pathetic mood that got me writing the nonsense above.

So yes, I’m in Cambodia. When I stepped out of the Phnom Penh International Airport and into the streets of Phnom Penh for the first time, the one thought crossed my mind was — my god, this place seems so much like Ghana!

The dusty roads full of potholes, the endless stream of motorcycles weaving around cars and pedestrians, tarp-covered stalls by the roadside, children balancing large tubs of goods for sale.

This is an image that development and modernization will soon erase.

I’ll write more later, very tired.

Till what’s next, Three

Seeing that graduation is next week, and most of us will be going to far off places and probably not seeing our friends/guys any time soon, the following is a legitimate frustration, expressed in a (possibly fictitious, possibly not) conversation:

“So my period came.”

“Oh shit, worst time to be on your period! Are you going to do it anyway?”

“I want to, this’ll be our last time, but I don’t want the mess.”

“But you can do it in the shower. No mess.”

“Yeah, but that means we’ll have to do it late at night.”


“Oh but I don’t want to get my hair wet at night.”

“Maybe you can wear a shower cap?”

“… a shower cap?!”

* * *

I can’t believe it. What I do with these people in the next few days will be the last time ever that I’m doing these things with them, in this setting.

Once you grasp the significance of this, it is very hard not to become emo.