Life

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176 articles in category Life / Subscribe

I have only been to two funerals that I remember. One is my grandfather’s funeral from my Mom’s side, who died of lung cancer when I was eight. I didn’t remember the songs we were singing, but I remember we did sing some songs. I remember going to the funeral house at night and talking to relatives and strangers alike. I remember sitting down on the side of the casket, my sisters sitting beside me, listening to the pastor talking. I remember looking down the casket and seeing Kung Kung lying there, wearing a flawless black suit and white gloves, his hands folded on top of his chest. There were two white cottons stuck on his nose holes. I remember the funeral the following morning, where we throw flowers and water to the freshly dug earth.

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Having been engaged for almost one week, I want to tell you that life’s pretty much normal. Despite what my friend told me on the day, I slept very well, thank you very much. I cleaned my apartment and had coffee and went out with friends.

I’m happy that I’m engaged, but apart from being self-conscious about the ring on my left hand’s fourth finger, life’s still, pretty much, the same.

A lot of people see proposal as something life-changing. It’s such an important day, and there’s so much pressure to make it perfect. It has to be a surprise. It has to be something very meaningful. It has to be grand. It has to be magical. And remember the year where everyone seems to propose with a flashmob? Yeap, good luck topping that off.

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It was our fifth anniversary.

We actually never knew the exact date when he first asked me to be his girlfriend. I thought it was on a Thursday night. He thought it was on a Wednesday the next week. So we settled on something: let’s make our anniversary the day when he first asked me out for coffee.

Our fifth anniversary, or five years after he wrote on Facebook chat, ‘Let’s have coffee’, started like any other day. The only thing that was weird that day was the fact that he was already on my doorstep at nine-thirty in the morning. Usually, we would have just started saying good morning at nine-thirty on a Saturday. As he lived one-hour away, he would have woken up at seven that morning. It was weird, but probably he was just wanting to prove something.

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Every time I encounter a mini quarter-life crisis, I change the wordings on my About page.

There was one time when I chose to divulge everything – putting all personal information about my life. Another time, I chose to be seen as a professional, and tell the chronological story of the jobs I did and the ones I’m doing now. Other times I get emotional and tell the backstory of the blog and how I come to ‘be me’.

I can promise you that it will keep on changing.

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Some months ago, I was involved in helping to run an event. My job was to do the comms work – writing articles, sending emails, updating statuses and images on social media. But if you have been involved in running an event for one hundred people, you would know that everyone would be doing multiple jobs, and not just the one they are assigned to.

Doing an event is hard. It is draining and tiring. There are the pre-event activities, where you try to spark people’s interest in coming to whatever it is you are holding. You would then have to call the sponsors and manage the activities. You would have to call the caterers to provide food. You would have to be present one hundred per cent during the event, and help every department that lacks manpower.

That day, I had been working since morning and all that had been going inside my body was one cup of coffee. By one o’clock in the afternoon, I was starving. I headed back to the main room as they would be serving lunch.

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For me, twenty-sixteen started with a text.

My family – my parents, my first sister, her husband and her baby boy and I – were spending our Christmas and New Year’s holiday in Japan. We were somewhat lost, and trying to find our way back to the hotel from the train station. Suddenly my phone rang. My cousin sent me a Facebook chat: ‘Ella, are you in Japan? My father told me to tell you that Empo is currently at the hospital. She has stroke.’

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As we are getting older, lip service is getting more culturally needed too. Back in our teens, we might say to out friends, ‘Your pencilcase is cute!’ or ‘Where do you get your phone casing? It’s so pretty!’

Probably those comments are harmless – it’s just something we say to each other to make each other feels good about themselves. It’s encouraged for children even, teaching them how to care for their friends and say nice things about them. But who do we learn it from? Our parents.

Just think about it. Growing up, you see how the adults converse with each other, and in the beginning there would be a comment of, ‘You’re getting so skinny!’ or ‘Ahhh you’re so pretty today!’ or ‘What a nice dress!’

So without realising it, we begin to adopt the same culture.

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Have you had one of those sleepless nights where you’re tossing around on bed, feeling like sleep just an embrace away but when you try to hold it, it slips away?

Well that’s a very poetic way to describe insomnia, and yesterday, I just couldn’t get myself to sleep.

During those excruciating hours, I kept on tossing and turning, and creating a mental imagery in my head to buy a bedside lamp as soon as possible. Ever since I watched the movie PS. I Love You, I have always wanted to buy a bedside lamp. Clearly, I hate being all cozy in bed only to come to the realisation that I have to kick this wonderful blanket and walk to the other side of the room to turn the lights off. There’s an exact same scene in the movie. Holly keeps on tripping due to the dark, and she wants a bedside lamp. I want it too.

For the longest time, I was on bed, thinking of what kind of lamp should I be getting, and how much an IKEA one will cost. Then I was thinking about something else, something that’s not entirely foreign but not necessarily pleasant.

I was thinking about regrets.

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