All posts tagged: Prose

What I Might Have Told Myself (One Year In)

Having just passed the one year point of running my own non-profit functioning – arts collective/business entity thing is something of a triumph, because despite the lack of referential models and extremely limited business experience, we made it this far. We’re at a point of assessment, evaluation and revision. One year of data in the form of incidents, project successes, delays and failures, trouble-shooting, and make-it-work moments has given us a model to at least move forward from. This was always part of the deal: to weave our own path as we move on it. There is this word – 感慨 (gan kai), something like an emotional imprint that causes you to sigh, to pause, to exhale – a moment of littleness in the presence of something bigger: knowledge, a person, truth, recognition. This post is my 感慨 in the presence of the last year, Turning over the recent past The learning curve is steep and full of turns. This means if you keep yourself open to understanding and learning, there’s no way you can’t learn …

Shelf Life: The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye by Sonny Liew

I first heard about Sonny Liew and this graphic novel (like many others), through the NAC grant controversy, and became interested in the book that caused such a stir amongst the ongoing conversations about censorship in Singapore. I also heard about its overwhelming popularity, its sold-out print runs and overwhelmingly positive reviews. So I decided I had to get my hands on it, and when I found a copy lying on the shelf at Page and Panel at the Toronto Reference Library, I grabbed it without hesitation. Phenomenal. Phenomenal. Phenomenal. The sheer variety of comic styles that show up in Chan Hock Chye is ridiculous, and imitated to such wonderful precision. The presentation of these strips, styles and colour splashed across the page, perfectly organized and placed page to page is itself a design feat, and such wonderful attention to storytelling. The sketch lines of pencil drawings, the creases of sketch paper, the tape used to hold down strips, the colour of strips, the texture…I could go on, but the point is, all these details are carefully …

Shelf Life: Ru by Kim Thúy

“I am lucky that I’ve learned to savour the pleasure of resting my head in a hand, and my parents are lucky to be able to capture the love of my children when the little ones drop kisses into their hair, spontaneously, with no formality, during a session of tickling in bed. I myself have touched my father’s head only once. He had ordered me to lean on it as I stepped over the handrail of the boat.”  Kim Thúy is such a masterful storyteller. The voice of her narrator meanders almost effortlessly between different space-times and histories, navigating through them through details that are often presented in breathtakingly ordinary ways: a colour, the changed tense of a word, an object, a person. There is a term for the way she writes: 細膩.       “Without writing, he wouldn’t have heard the snow melting or leaves growing or clouds sailing through the sky. Nor would he have seen the dead end of a thought, the remains of a star or the texture of a …

OOTD: The Other Side Of Strength

Spring time for those caught in the academic grind is probably the most exhausting time of the year. The novelty of learning has worn off, replaced by the monotony of repeating class timetables, looming deadlines, and washes of fatigue.I no longer quite remember what I came to university to achieve, instead what I know is how many papers stand in between me and the end of the semester. Working back to back jobs for almost 2 whole years, stacking jobs on top of each other and also finishing up my Masters has definitely tested the ends of my capacity. I chose to shape my professional choices into this kind of life, but there are days where I feel the tiredness seeping all the way into the littlest parts of me. Some days I work toward the singular goal of a cup of tea and my music at midday, or a bubble tea in the evening and a couch potato session with an episode of something not in English. Simple things I use to hold on to …

In a Good Way 我的自由年代

最近過的有點喘。 當左手握著一堆必須做的事情,右手捧著我慢慢熬著的想法,腦袋就會散散的。 What do you do when both hands are full? 最近在想我要用我的手做什麼事情?我要製造什麼樣的東西?我想留住的是什麼? Lately I’ve been looking back at how long it took me to get here, and the words I’ve had to write and rewrite to come into the comfort of saying. What does it mean to be able to say what I say now? What does it mean to be able to do what I do now? To some I’m at the beginning of a journey. To others I’m at the end of another. I have been struggling with the need to explain. 之所以能到這個地方,我捨棄了到少個我,抗拒了多少個懦弱,反省了幾次? There have been many moments lately where in a conversation with a new friend (and lately the new friends keep coming!) I’ve felt a growing sense of familiarity and relief: oh, there is understanding, a kind of comfort. The energy I find in these moments is brand new, unprecedented. Excitement like a sunflower finding itself in a field of heads all looking for the same thing, all nodding to some quiet love whisper. It reminds me of a lonely and …