Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The pain

The pain winded me.

Sharp and stabbing, it was worse than any of the pain I've had in the last few days. Where heartache had turned to a physical pain, that left me feeling almost bruised, like I had been punched in the chest.

I have become more accustomed to the vacuous abyss over the last few years.

Nothing. Feeling nothing.

Pain. Was new. It made me feel alive, while feeling like it was robbing me of it.

He was my ...

How do I even describe what I've never had before.

Someone that brought me so much happiness. Joy and zest for life. Drove me. Inspired me.

And then just suddenly disappear leaving me wondering...

Did it even happen?

Did I somehow manage to fall for something that did not exist?

But if it was not real... why am I here. Curled in a foetal ball. Tears running down my face uncontrollably. Pained with the knowledge that I lost something special.

That took me a whole lifetime to find.

Except... it was just on a one way street.

It hurts.

*This was first published on the 8th of Aug 2013.

Selamat Datang Bali Indonesia

The sun is shining so bright that it hurts my Marni clad eyes. I scarcely can believe that it is already Sunday. Two nights since I arrived in Bali.

Friday night was.. somewhat unexpected. But magic can be created from spontanaeity. Lots of good times.

Which sort of ended like this...

But.. that again, is another story which we shan't go into just yet.

So,  why am I here on this beautiful sunny isle girls and boys. Well, there is a long story to all of this. A tale of friendship and love. The abridged version of the tale goes like this: The Fashion Festival Bali.

So I'm sitting here in a beautiful hotel called The Stones at Legian..

And boy, it is beautiful.

I am actually rather surprised that I've never heard of this resort before which is apparently a part of JK.W. Marriott- The Autographed colllection.

Plus the people here are so warm and welcoming.

At nights, the place becomes aglow with light. And we're not talking normal lights. This is the kind of light that appeals most to the ah lian in SARA. Disco type glow lights. The kind that people use to pimp their rides. The neon blues. Acid greens. Fluorescent pinks and yellows.

Photos to come.

Meanwhile, stay tuned for a post on an up and coming designer I love love love.

This post was first published 25th Aug, 2013

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

My detour

Her face was ashen. Almost grey as she came to a stop along the slope at Braddell. Clad in a bright neon green polo, leaning on her walking stick, I could see she was finding it hard to catch her breath.

I had my handbag, and two huge boxes of Old Chang Kee curry puffs in my hands. Already a little winded after my meeting, getting drenched in the rain, and a very strange episode of heart pains that left me absolutely breathless from the debilitating viselike pain that radiated from my chest.

I checked my watch. It was 5 mins past the time the office party was due to start. But I couldn't help it.

"Hello Aunty.. are you ok? Can I help you walk to where you are going?"

Without hesitating, she threw her bag off her shoulder and handed it to me, and another plastic bag she held in her right hand.

"Thank you so much miss," she said in Mandarin as she immediately took my hand and leaned in.

"Where are you going Aunty?"

"I live just there, Blk 105," she said. As I observed her breathing that came rather laboured. Worrying me a little.

"Ok Aunty.. I'll walk you back."

We spent a few quite minutes as she caught her breath. And despite my perilous heels, I was grateful I was wearing them. They slowed me down so my pace matched hers.

"Where were you aunty? Have you eaten? What were you doing just now?" I asked, hoping that I would at least get some infomation so that if anything happened, at least I knew something.

Her name was Aunty Ng, two kids. Both moved away, and she has been living the last 20 years by herself in a one room flat at Toa Payoh North. A small rental.

She had been exercising earlier.

Suddenly, she looked at me concerned, "Aiyoh miss, were you going to work?"

"Yes," I replied.

"Then you better go. I don't want to make you late!"

"No, its ok aunty, we have all the time in the world. Take your time. Let's get there slowly."

I walked with her as she leaned in. Talking when she could. "I am more than 80 plus. But so sorry. These days, whenever I walk. It's like that. Like I'm about to die," she said, with a wistful smile.

It stabbed at my heart.

We finally reached her house. Small. Clean and neat.

A mattress to the left of the entrance, with a purple flowery batik sheet. A blue plastic fan on top of a plastic chair provided ventilation.

I could see further into the flat that was probably no bigger than 100 sq ft, that she had a fridge in a small kitchen, and had a few clothes on poles in the kitchen, drying.

"Aunty.. do you have paper?" I asked.

I wrote down my numbers for her, and my name in Mandarin. Since she found "Sara" hard to pronounce.

"Aunty, if ever you go for your exercise again, and you need help to walk back. Or if you need help at all, just call me ok?"

She gave me her home number. I gave it a call to make sure it was the right one.

The cute little Auntie went to the phone and picked it up.

"Hello?" she asked, looking like this was the most excitement she'd had in a while.

"Hello Auntie, its me!" I said, my phone,cradled to my ear.

"Who is this," she asked again.

"Auntie its me, turn around," I chuckled.

"Aaah. Oh its you ah. So the number is correct ah," she said, still talking to me on the phone as I stood, barely a metre away.

I smiled. Yes, Aunty. Call me any time you need.

"You are such a nice girl. Thank you so much." Aunty Ng said as she closed the door, waving to me, " I will rest a bit, and probably will feel a bit better later."

I waved and walked back to work. Sweating now. About 20 mins late for my office "belated NDP party".

I wanted to call you. Get a virtual hug.

But I couldn't. Can't.

Not anymore.

7.21pm now. About to leave the office. And am supposed to head to Paragon for the opening of the Burberry store.

I think, I am going to pop by Aunty Ng's first. Make sure she's ok.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Kindness begets kindness

I have often believed in the powers of being positive.

Some people have called it "The Laws of Attraction" and put it in a book and charge you to tell you the same one thing that is pretty obvious..

Be happy. Smile. Be nice.

Basically - treat people the way you want to be treated.. and really. Life will just pay you back in kind.

Take for example.. two weeks ago on July 25th, I had a long day at Legoland. While the skies over Malaysia were overcast - the heat was still searing, and it just sapped every ounce of energy that I had.

That said the geek in me - still enjoyed the unveiling of the Lego Miniland Star Wars Death Star.
750,000 pieces of lego. Seriously. If I could have stolen it, trust me. I would have.

Just that it didn't quite fit into my Mulberry handbag.

That said..
The interesting part of the evening was when my mom said we needed to go back to Ikea because my sis wanted the same chest of drawers I got last week.

Yup- MALM - mirrored chest of drawers.

They were about 699 when I first saw them and thought.. yeeeah. SHINNNEEEEEE. I wants one!
And my sis, aka "The Enforcer" was like.. are you cray.. that costs way too much for just.. a chest of drawers.

BUT- little miracle- last week it was half off and only $299!

So- yesterday, momsy and myself made a trek back to Ikea. land of 50 ice cream cones and a dollar hotdogs. (BTW- the $2 for 4 choc filled donuts are a must try.)

And there... sitting in the AS IS section.... slightly scratched.. but totally fine.. $169!  FOR THE VERY SAME CHEST OF DRAWERS. Just that it was a display piece.

Hello. I have said this time and time and again. This gurl.. totally loves a bargain. And knows one when I see one. So, I grabbed this - and a lamp that was $10 down from some equally ridiculous price because it was dented. Lamp is going to the corner of the room. Why would I care if its dented at the base. I care that it used to be $80 and now I'm getting it at a steal!!!!

So, after purchasing these great deals, and telling my momsy that I would take the banged up one.. We tried to arrange for transport and delivery. Stupid thing was- we went there at night. Stuff we ordered last week, was being delivered today. And we missed the 2pm cut off and everything was already locked and loaded in the trucks. So we had to either pay $50 for delivery, or bring it back ourselves.

Thing is- despite the many things we bought the last time, it also set us back $50. So it seemed rather senseless to shell out the same amount for just a lamp and some shelving right?

AH. But you forget.

This was a display set. SO not only was it heavy. It was already ALL ASSEMBLED.

So... sara had a little brainstorm, why not try to disassemble the chest so it can fit.

After many enquiries, all Ikea would do- was lend me the tools for it.

So there I sat. With an audience of 4 men sitting on different black leather couches.. none of which offered any assistance even when I was struggling to move the heavy cupboard on the trolley...

I was feeling pretty proud of myself- figuring out the chest like a puzzle, but 10 screws down.. It suddenly dawned one me. Once I took this apart. It was never going to be put back together again. At least. It will never be the same again.

So.. I told mom. No. Let's just try to bring it home.

We head down to the carpark and when mom backed up the boot... it was there I had the sinking realisation that no matter how we pivoted this darn thing.. this junk wasn't gonna fit into that trunk.

Mom was starting to get really tired..

And then.. I said.. wait. Don't panic..

A truck next to us was just about to drive off, and I ran in front of it to stop it from moving away. Then... tapped on the drivers window..

"Hi- I am soooo sorry- but do you think you can help us..."

I related to this Ah Beng, as he listened patiently. His kid, with dripping ice cream, wanting to hurl his hot dog bun at me from inside the truck. (I don't blame him. It was already 10.30pm. Kid must've been tired.)

"Don't worry- I'll pay you.." I said, pleading.

"It's not about the money. If Sengkang, I'll say yes la.. Just that its Katong. It's a bit late, and a bit far.." - said Ah Beng.

"Please.. I really don't know what else to do.."
*sara pulls puppy dog eyes*

"Ok, I'll follow behind you la."


When we reached home. Jason, as I learned his name later, did not even want money.

But, I gave him a small token of $30 any way.

What do you know. I had just been to Legoland right?
And for some strange reason.. I had 3 complimentary tix instead of just one pair, along with two $10 food vouchers.

How much are the tickets worth? Usually, about 140 MYR (about S$70 each).

That said though. I was completely grateful to Jason. His selflessness and willingness to help me?

I was just glad I could bless him with those tickets. Apparently, he and his 4-year-old just went there not too long ago and loved it too! So I can't be happier that it went to someone who will appreciate it.

So you see...

Kindness, begets kindness.

Isn't it amazing when everything just... falls into place and just works out?


To my Unicorn

I once wrote a long time ago in a blog I kept - what seems now like ancient history (moblogs - where I was 'hostsara') :

Where are you my prince,
I have loved you all my life.
Now I all you have to do...
Is find me.

It must have been haunting or definitely left an impression, because it was printed on the covers of notepads as a quote from me during one of the Moblogs promotional events.

And here I am, 10 years later. Still waiting. 

People have asked me before - what do I want in a man? What type of guy do I want? A question that yet again, popped up yesterday in a conversation after church with friends, where they proffered options for my sister, my pals, but none for me.

To be honest, I have no "type" per se.

It has never been about a certain job. Or a race. A look. A shape.

It's just... a feeling. Something that clicks on the inside. 

The closest thing to a clue that I have to what I want, is this ..

With me, it never has been about the physical. That to me, is merely a bonus. I need someone to unlock my mind first, before the rest follows, and believe you me, it is hard indeed.

Every single guy I've met, has succeeded to some extent. To some degree. But was always lacking in some way or another.

"The Love of My Life" for instance - A shame. Because when we were in love , we were young and carefree. And as much as my heart and soul wanted it, my mind, did not follow.

On the rare occasions my mind was captured, often times, my heart or soul, was lagging behind.

I once shared with a dear friend, that I want someone who.. I will feel comfortable with, in my "slack glory", looking dishevelled without a shred of makeup on one of my mission trips.

Someone who won't grumble when we might need to be in a place that does not have electricity or running water - and who will keep me sane while that happens too, laugh along with me, hold my hand and say, "Hey babe, we'll get through this together," and not just run to the hills - as one guy I dated, once did.

Someone who is game enough to experience life with me. Whether it be dining with royalty, or dining with beggars in rags by the roadside, as long as its by my side.

Whether I'm in rags. Or all dressed to the nines.

Because both are me.

The same me. Just.. different sides of me.

Would I ever find someone who could accept me... for me? All of me. Not just the parts they want?

I've fantasised about living away from it all. On a mountaintop, or island, far away. As long as there was a body of water nearby to calm me. A sanctuary. Where I could escape, till I needed to head back into "civilisation" and glam up and "put my face on" to head out.

Would anyone be able to do that with me?

What I have wanted, is someone who can make me feel alive. Feel the whole spectrum of emotions.

A partner in crime. A Bonnie to Clyde.

I don't care even if that means the person takes me on a roller coaster ride.. the highest of highs, and the lowest of lows. Even if it means that at times, I might be curled up in a foetal ball, crying.

I have long believed, that that is what love should be. Wholly. Fully. Completely. At least, for me.

All in.

I remember having this conversation once, what seems like a lifetime ago.

"Why can't you just give everything up? Can't you be satisfied living a normal life? Be a wife, have kids," he asked over the phone as we were arguing, timezones apart.

"Normal - that is the one word that scares me the most. I don't want normal. I want extraordinary," I argued passionately, tears running down my face as I wondered why he didn't understand.


I've always wanted to love someone so much, that I knew he had the power to crush me. And yet be able to trust him enough with my heart to know that he would not.

For as long as I've lived, as much as I've felt for someone. As much as I have loved. As much as I have given, I've always felt that something was missing. Something in me was still under lock and key.

Many a time I've thought that maybe.. finding someone that unlocked me - all of me - was impossible.

A perfect fit, as much as a myth as the unicorn.

It just.. didn't exist.

Settling, many a time, has seemed like the easy way to go when the usual firing squad comes around. "Why aren't you attached? Married? Settled down? Have kids?"

Well meaning friends also have the sensitivity of sledgehammers at times.

"What happened?" one asked tactlessly over a game of pool once, "You seemed like the most likely to get hitched and have babies, and you're like.. not." she said, as she told me about her perfect life. Two kids. Dogs. Cars. Big house. The works.

As much as I felt a twinge of regret, I know in my heart, that none of the guys before would have brought me my happiness. Neither, would I have brought them theirs.

I could be, as happy as I would be in that situation I guess. If I thought that was all there was.

Except now, I know. That isn't true.

I know that I can love with every fibre of my being. Heart. Mind. Soul. And body.

Now I know that it is possible. Anything else will feel like I'm just settling.

Will I find this again? Someone who makes me feel... alive?

Who knows.

But to my unicorn.

I hope you are out there. And waiting for me. The way I've been waiting for you.

We all are travellers in this journey called life. And all I want is to be able to hold your hand, and walk down this path together. Skipping. Hopping. Jumping. Like 10-year-olds. Because that's how I am. A giant big kid really. 

I just hope that you will recognise me when you see me.

And that you will grab a hold of my hand when you do...

And never let me go.