Sunday, 24 July 2016

“Sometimes, she found the mystery of other people almost unbearable to contemplate: rooms within rooms inside of each of them, an endless labyrinth of contradictory qualities, memories, desires, mirroring one another like an Escher drawing, baffling as a conundrum.” 
The Private Lives of Pippa Lee
You eventually learn your place in everything.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

The second time I watched 500 Days of Summer

It was after dance class that Rachel and I walked past an anti-cafe at Scape, Orchard only to discover that the movie they were screening was 500 Days of Summer. We tried to recall the story then and there, and I realised that it was a good six years ago since I first watched it. It didn't make any sense to me back then - while somehow I managed to latch onto its hype and merely watched it thinking that oh WOW it's an indie film. I suppose my young self was thinking that watching an indie film would be just one of many perceived ways to be labelled a "HIPSTER". Good grief I was so lame!!! But I was invariably confused at the screenplay and plot, and understandably so. I could hardly form any reasonable opinion on well, love, back then.

Not that much has changed from then to now - I didn't suddenly have a wealth of personal experiences or anything like that to draw much insights upon, but what I did develop was a belief (or perhaps more of an ideal?). I thought a lot about how I should go about writing this, or if I was in any position to broach this topic at all, since I probably can't tell anybody what love feels like or what it should be. But then I figured that perhaps it would be interesting to hear what defines love or what love is coming from someone who doesn't know a thing about love. And how my appreciation and understanding of the movie took a different direction this time around.

"Open your mind, believe it's going to come to"

I will have to admit that I am quite the idealist, at least when it comes to love and romance. I have a really soft spot for romantic movies, shows, stories and the like which often leaves me sobbing like a neurotic, overly emotionally-attached person. I would think about the story for days on end, albeit wistfully sometimes. But I found that my beliefs began to take shape in the light of such ideals. I think we all know how expectations could contend as a positive or negative thing, but whether or not they are realistic, becomes another matter altogether. Let's just say... I strongly believed in the idea of soulmates and finding "the one" (as I'm typing this I feel quite embarrassed because "the one" sounds corny now that I think of it omg). Often I struggled to reconcile these ideals because every time I start to question whether soulmates really do exist, I would eventually brush it off with a self-assuring belief that such things simply differ from person to person.

Recently however, I wound back at the same question yet again. Am I just waiting for the idea of someone that may not even exist? Or am I being impatient? Slowly, I started letting go of that notion but still, I couldn't quite get rid of it entirely because even if you didn't find "the one", I still believed that everyone would find "someone".
"Maybe some people were meant to fall in love with each other but not meant to be together" 
I'm in the process of learning not to measure and not compare things in absolutes - or in other words, to appreciate that for everything you invest in, it is a risk being taken. To stop thinking that I MUST be sure of something when we can never be sure of anything in actuality, to stop thinking that every direction you take MUST have that specific end in mind and then your goals start to conflict with your expectations without you even realising it. Perhaps it's time I stopped expecting so much out of anyone before I would have to learn it the hard way and realise that I was wrong about everything I chose to believe in. Very much like how Tom was wrong about the girl he thought was everything that was right for him.
"If Tom had learned anything... it was that you can't ascribe great cosmic significance to a simple earthly event. Coincidence, that's all anything ever is, nothing more than coincidence... Tom had finally learned, there are no miracles. There's no such thing as fate, nothing is meant to be. He knew, he was sure of it now."
I guess I will never be sure of it until I experience it for myself, and my beliefs may even change sometime from now. But this seems to help put things into some perspective and realistically so, that you can't expect but only hope that every romance works out well. Perhaps I fear the possibility that it would all amount to nothing and I fear the things I can't explain or do not expect, which turns out to be a fault of mine. To adapt really loosely from the film, you could meet and fall for someone at any one point in time - temporarily, at the wrong time, too late or... forever. It could be just about anyone, any place, any time for that matter. But the bottom-line is, maybe there is no point in a search for anyone at all, such things are just circumstantial at best. Anyway, I really liked that at the end where Tom invited the new girl, Autumn for coffee after their interview, he promptly settled it with a:
"We'll figure it out"
We'll all figure it out indeed, we need not worry.

(On a side note I just really needed to mention how simply adorable and quaint the cinematography of the film is!!)

Monday, 20 June 2016

On walking the path less travelled

"Let the beauty of what you love be what you do." 
― Rumi
I've never properly told anyone the reasons precipitating my decision to pursue nursing in college. Always felt it would be awkward talking about myself for so long in any introductory conversation so I would often cut to the chase and tell everyone just one or two. I've been questioned a lot about my educational choices since secondary school, but while I never made it to top schools, I came to love wherever I was because I had space to grow, space to fall and enough space in my life to be filled with people I now hold close to me.

So... "why nursing?"

In all honesty, it was never one of my ambition. I had multiple interests a mere few years ago, some of which still remain - crime and investigation, journalism, history, maybe archaeology and healthcare. I remember harbouring intentions to become a curator in a museum, or be a forensic scientist, or a travel journalist/columnist but I realised that such interests were difficult to pursue in Singapore and eventually dropped these aspirations out of practicality.

Healthcare related topics however, became an enduring personal interest for me. I thoroughly enjoyed reading up on diseases, viruses, human anatomy and physiology, cancer and stem cells - I willingly searched these up when I came across them. It naturally made studying biology a lot easier as well. Maybe it is a blessing that healthcare is currently undergoing major changes and as more hospitals rise in the heartlands, a considerable amount of manpower is going to be needed to sustain its operations. Because I started to seriously consider a future in it. I strongly believed in finding meaning in something I was going to do for a very long time.

But back then prestige seemed to weigh heavily into every important decision you made.

The idea of becoming a nurse did not hold the same prestige as say, becoming a doctor, a physiotherapist or a speech therapist or a dietitian and arguably, it still doesn't have that prestige attached to it.  A very impressionable me, was admittedly very caught up in the ideals of how I would like people to regard me and an image of what I could be. But life takes you to places, and I'm glad that it took me somewhere in a time where I was making a crucial decision.

After A levels I started working in a polyclinic and realised how multi-faceted nursing really was. From health assessments, performing immunisations, complicated dressings, diabetic counselling to traiging and giving emergency treatments, I had no idea nurses held so much autonomy over so many aspects of care. I observed, did my research and read testimonies of nurses and students alike. My entire outlook began to shift then, because I realised that as an allied health professional (if I ever became one) I would specialise in one aspect of care, but in the case of nurses, they practically handled everything else. They are all-encompassing individuals; vigilantes, an advocate for their patients, educators, a friend, a support system, clinicians.

Perhaps it isn't a profession that has the prestige, but as I would later learn, it definitely has a great honour.

Around the same period of time, my grandma had her second fall and was admitted to the hospital again. They also discovered that she developed a moderately sized sacral bedsore, which is usually a result of prolonged pressure on your bony parts - she hadn't moved for days. Nobody had attended to her incontinence as well so the added moisture merely contributed to its worsening.

This was the time where my relatives started to fall out with one another, because nobody had the capacity to take care of her and they were pushing the responsibility around. It was upsetting. I accompanied my mom to the hospital everyday to visit her and I took the opportunity to observe the nurses working in the hospital setting and got to learn a really simplified version of how to dress a wound. It was intriguing and exciting watching them hustle around the ward handling the multitude of tasks on their plates. I started to appreciate how basic care was something of second nature to them and on top of that, they knew their patients and even their family members very well. They were the ones who spend the most time with the ones who are in their time of need and I admired that.

This incident was what sealed the deal for me. I felt that whatever events that precipitated were really unnecessary and that well, if there was anyone in our immediate family who could care and take care of everyone else, that could be me! Of the things that I consider the most important to me, heart, mind and purpose, nursing easily fulfilled everything. We would acquire medical knowledge, be running around, unbounded by a desk, making a difference - doing small things with great love. I finally made my decision.


People do not comprehend why I would subject myself to such a "dirty" job, doing seemingly menial and mindless tasks. What people don't know is that these tasks often help nurses to identify the first signs of any thing that might potentially be wrong with a patient. Yes we change diapers, we clean butts a lot, but that's not just all there is to that. Is there constipation? Bleeding? It could indicate a patient's tolerance for their diets, fluid intake or hydration. It could help pick up clues to potential colorectal or gastrointestinal problems. Doctors rely a lot on the nurses for these signs and symptoms.

We watch their diets, keep track of the number of times they go to the toilet, track their progress with ambulating themselves, feed them, deal with medical instruments and troubleshoot them. In the mean time we have to accommodate nasty or self-entitled people who make countless demands, or care for the elderly with dementia or patients with personality disorders no matter how much they try to push you to your limits.

Serving medications may look like a simple task, but it takes a lot of studying and numerous checks in order to ensure that you don't mix up the 5 to 10 medications of 5 to 6 patients. We must be aware of the diagnosis of the patients and their medical history, the pharmacology of the medications to ensure that the wrong medications were not accidentally ordered, or that the medication is contraindicated in the patient. We keep a look out for potential side-effects and are there to advise them and break down what the medications are for so that they feel that they have a better sense of control over their conditions.

And there are many other things that I have yet to learn and experience, but I could say that nursing is definitely not what many people would have imagined or witnessed on the surface. I used to get upset when people tell me that it was a "waste" to do nursing, or when others would ask, "nursing need to study one meh?" or "why didn't you just go to poly?" I know there was no ill intent or anything like that and I actually did anticipate these questions, but over time you just learn to revel and take pride in what you are doing and forget about the naysayers. It'll be difficult challenging the mainstream beliefs of people with regards to nursing, but I'm glad I'm a part of this challenge now. And as I'm writing this my heart brims with so much satisfaction and fulfillment, looking back on how this short year of a journey has brought me so far from the start.

I'm where it feels right to be in.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

It’s not just other people we need to forgive. We also need to forgive ourselves. For all the things we didn’t do. All the things we should have done.

― Mitch Albom
There's a thin line between positivism and negativity. I tend to border on the latter in times where I am left to wander in my own stream of thoughts - things that I could have done, could have said, could have reacted to, all that could have been. But I've been actively trying to redirect these 'could haves' into what has been instead. Some days are definitely better while others are more dreary, some are filled with joy while others a certain moroseness. My heart feels more complete with reprise when I am able to absorb positive emotions from people around me, when I feel genuinely inspired by the littlest of actions which might not even be outwardly noticeable to others. But I've come to learn that such moments are simply unique to every individual as is how contentment thrives upon different outlets and mediums of expression.

To me, contentment is largely based upon the quality of my interactions with people and immoderately, the value of each and every action and my fulfillment of time. It makes me upset when I fall short of any of these and it would seem like things then start to retract to the other end of the scale. I'm thankful for this stint I have at the moment - I see it not only as a personal challenge but also an opportunity to start being grateful for every single moment, every piece of time. I am seizing the day, in quite a literal sense of the phrase. Making it a conscious, active decision to pick out at least one positive thing that happened within the day helps to dull out worst moments, even for a tiny bit. But at the very least it not only keeps you grounded and appreciative; it also helps to lift your spirits high.

Monday, 2 May 2016

A thorn, an acquiescent

It's the month of May, the month of summer vacations and the start of hopefully, a convalescent and productive few months. April was full of perils and it was a really turbulent period, simply because for some amount of time (as evidenced by my sporadic posts below!), I was frantically trying to keep my head up while drowning in assignments and work. I kept recalling the earlier parts of the semester which were happier times, filled with so much positive energy and hope in general. It made me upset that I allowed myself to falter so early and this constant self-directed chastisement was more of a bane that made matters worst. But I suppose these bad times which are though not enduring, are meant to stay with you through. “You start with a darkness to move through but sometimes the darkness moves through you.”

But as Jason Mraz croons, "The absence of the light is a necessary part"

It's funny how every time I write here, it's due to a discovery of sorts - more often than not about myself and others, occasionally about the most arbitrary of things, very often as well, just a visual collection of days and weeks and months even. I get consumed by my shortcomings fairly easily and I've come to realize that I lack the confidence that I so long to have. And if I can't love myself, how do I expect to give it to the people around me?

And so, I am now on a mission. To love myself more: to give myself credit for the little things that wind up as an oversight because of my fixation on a larger prospective which is simply an ideal that may or may not transpire. To slow down, appreciate and dwell on the beauty of the time. To stop retreating to the excuse that "but it's really just who I am" because who exactly am I anyway? The self is an image of who you think you could be. 

And perhaps thinking that the right things happen at the right time, that everything falls into place eventually would turn out to be just a lofty illusory, that is holding me back rather than giving me a sense of assurance. I'm on a mission too, to be a more unreserved and unconditional person, because I know that I am capable of giving so much more. 

In other news, this marks the end of my freshman year, even though it would be six weeks of clinical attachments later that our summer vacations would officially kick in. It has otherwise been a rather uneventful semester, save for more growth and commitments. 

The Performance Series 10k across Punggol Waterway Park and Coney Island yesterday with Shiyin! We signed up for it a mere month ago without any prior training so in the following weeks we would meet up on Monday evenings after school to run around NUS, which gets really tortuous by the time we reach the sloping hills my goodness. But considering that this is twice the distance we're used to running on our own, it's an achievement :) The place was really beautiful, and it helped that we were running in unfamiliar terrain, I loved it because I could marvel at the place and I never got bored of it. We returned back to my place after that and napped for an intense six hours. I've never had such a deep, worry-less nap for a really long time. 

The shirts were in a horrendous neon orange, but well it was a really good experience nonetheless. 

And new hair colour - ashy nude brown though I really don't see the ashy tones?? But I hope it will grow onto me eventually :) I particularly like this feeling of wholeness and peace I'm feeling at the moment. 

Friday, 12 February 2016

I'm going to have to admit that I've never felt worst about myself in a long time. I have absolutely no idea why I bother looking into these things.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016


You get a little smaller each time you open up to the world. But your mind becomes a little larger knowing there's just so much left to fill.

Instances of deep, truncated thought have passed and gone all too frequently, at every opportunity I have to stay silent. It also comes with this resonating belief that I think (or feel) too much for my own good. I can hardly produce any answers to the questions, questions and questions that seem to rise through the west to the east of the matter that sits behind my eyes. Statements and observations that mean absolutely nothing except to me, and somehow there doesn't seem to be a way to explicate them in any logical manner or in any way I'd prefer to have admit. It's superfluous, unnecessary. Who has any time for that?

And as I try to figure out the things where I have little means of an explanation, I could rely only on good nature to pass me by. Patience and the struggle to grasp hold of acceptance. I'd like to think of us as planets, which align today; gravitating around your own heavy mass, revolving around the greater Sun, passing by another once in a while, crossing paths with comets, meteors, space junk, have a visiting rover or space man for that matter. But still distinguishable, independent and thriving on the inside with people or beings that sustain you. 

I am constantly at a loss for words having been tired out by fighting my own internal battle. 


But there is no one there to watch you, what do you have to fear?