Tuesday, December 30, 2014

=) Almost time to say goodbye

This year has been an interesting one...

Well, for one, I experienced... something that I haven't really had in a long time. But I had a lot of prayers answered. One of the ones at the top of the prayer list: That I would learn to feel, and open up my heart again.


"And now I also know that if you come to love someone, fear comes too"
- Do Ming Joon, Ep 14, My Love from Another Star


That. Was the biggest lesson I had of 2014.

A really good guy friend of mine (who I happened to date like a lifetime ago - but we figured we were more like twins than anything) and I had a hilarious conversation that went somewhat like this some time in Nov this year...

Him: Damn
Me: Yup.
Him: Well, you didn't tell me you felt that way about him.
Me: hahahaha.
Him: So... it's over?
Me: Sigh. Yup.
Him: I'm sorry hon.
Me: This "emotion" thing. It SUCKS.
Him: Uh huh.
Me: I really don't know what to do.
Him: I also don't get it. ... So, what should I do now?

It was pretty funny really. Two people, who once dated. Who bonded over the mutual inability to FEEL. Bonding over meeting their kryptonite, who made them feel all sorts of things that they've never felt before.

At the end of the day... I am happy that... I finally met someone that had all the elusive qualities that I always thought I would never find in just one person. (Hence, why I have never settled down. I don't want to be unfair. I know that if I feel 'something is missing' I'll give it my all, but... my heart and soul won't be in it. And that's just... settling.)

Happy that I met someone that I knew.. that I would and could (and did) make the right decisions for. And I'm proud of myself for it. Knowing that I've grown, and am different from who I used to be.

I'm happy even though... I never quite bargained for the fact that the one person that had all the puzzle pieces that I wanted in the box, also... had the flaws and vices that have hurt me most in my life too!!!!

(But I totally should have seen that one coming right?! hahaha.. Ying. And Yang. 

OF COURSE, that would be the way life would have it. Otherwise, why would i be the #comedychannelforthegods, right?)

All in all.. I'm just happy that the story happened any way... even though it may not have had a happy ending.

Just thinking back.. all the memories I have from it... they make me happy. And even though I've let go and moved on, the occasional memory still makes me smile like a goofy sap to myself. So... can't have been a bad thing at all. =)



I'm grateful for all the travel I've had this year. Because that was a big prayer answered. I remember last year, at the beginning of the year I prayed that this would be a year filled with travel. And indeed, it has been.

That I spent time in all the places that I really wanted to go.

I am grateful that.. some of the things that I wanted, very specifically, that all came to fruition.

My family... is healthy. And alive.

In general... I honestly... have nothing to complain about.

It has been an amazing, wonderful year. One of love and loss.

And though some of my friends, and relatives, have taken the earlier bus to heaven... I am grateful that they've reminded me of how precious life is. How short life is.

I'm also grateful, for the new lives that have come into the world. Friends.. and oh, some of the most adorable babies... and such cute reminders of the love that I have around me and have surrounded myself with.

And... the even newer ... interesting people in my life. ;-)

I am even grateful for the past that has seemed to come back into my life over the last few week.

The Ex-retrospective life has been giving me. Goodness knows why. But it has been... interesting. Fun. Funny. Amazing. Healing. Surprising even at times. And.. I am grateful that all of them have been a part of my life too.

The only regret I do have for this year, as it comes to a close?

Sky dive.


I promised myself that I would get it done this year. And sooo many times I was so close to doing it. But it was always either bad timing. Or even bad weather!

But, I won't let that stop me.

2015.... I'm excited.

Bring. It. On.









Friday, December 26, 2014

A secret


This year was I think the first time in 10 years... since TLOML... that I experienced something that... I don't even know how to define.

It was real. Scarily so. That I... was out of my depth.

One of the frightening things about it was... for the first time, I did not see an end. And that in itself... was scary.

Like a previous post... with that apt poem by Lang Leav...

"I don’t know if what we had was love, but if it wasn’t, I hope never to fall in love. Because of you, I know I am too fragile to bear it."




Thursday, December 18, 2014

Where are you.. My Do Ming Joon

Have you ever watched "My love from another star"?
For the last 6 mths.. I have felt like that is my life.
Career... taking a dive.
Getting depressed.
Just doing anything you have to do at work, because... that's all you know.
Grinning and bearing it, even when you hate it.

I've laughed to myself a little.. When I've realised what I'm doing.. saying... experiencing.... was almost like a scene on the show.
Kinda funny eh.

I guess.. I can only take comfort in the fact that her career turns around.
And things, take a turn for the better.


I was reading the synopsis recently on dramabeans, and I realised that quite a lost was lost in translation... Or sometimes, not translated at all. Like in scenes where they were reading either messages, or books, or journals at times.

This particular scene jumped at me.... because I never realised how poignant the selection of poetry or books were in the show. 


Min-joon arrives home and hears the voices next door as Mom urges Song-yi to stop crying. Heart heavy, he picks up his book again (the Miraculous Journey story) and resumes reading, the words landing with poetic sadness:
Look at me.
Grandmother made a wish.
I learned how to love.
That was a terrible thing.
It hurts.
My heart hearts.
Please help me.

Excerpt above from http://www.dramabeans.com/2014/02/you-from-another-star-episode-17/

Saturday, October 4, 2014

yesterday I wore a dress of cobalt blue..
hoping that at the end of the day
that was long and tiring and crappy
with my boss yelling at me..

that I would see you.




Monday, August 4, 2014

今天, 我好伤心。
就让我今天伤心吧。

这次, 就让我热腾腾的眼泪不停的流下来。一滴一滴地堕落在好久没弹起歌的钢琴上。

因为我通常就是带着笑容面对世界。

我通常, 什么都是用微笑来带过。

可是我今天, 真的不行了。

今天, 我真的累了。

今天, 我怎么努力, 也不能勇敢。

我走了之后。。。

你会想我吗?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Everything happens for a reason - the miracle of meeting a real man

When some people ask me why, at 35, I am still single - one of the things I hate hearing is, "Don't be so fussy la!"

I have never been fussy. And my basis, has always, and will always be a connection. Regardless of what I may say, I am a romantic at the end of the day. 

So I believe, that everything happens for a reason. On top of that, my mom always tells me, everybody in your life, is there for a reason, a season or a lifetime - so I've always assumed that our purpose in life, is to find out why we were placed in other people's lives. It is one of the reasons why each time I meet cool and interesting people... I prefer getting to know them one on one. Spending real time with them.

Over the last few weeks or so, I've come into contact with quite a few males who have opened my eyes quite a bit, and truly have, by action, showed me what being a real man really was about. All of them just behaved that way of their own accord; not forced, not coerced, and definitely not while grudgingly being nice and accusing me of being a princess.

Each of them in their own way, has led me to believe that maybe, I've not been fussy enough. And I mean that as a true compliment.

Because they have made me realise just how a woman should be treated. They've truly nailed the gentleman thing.

Perhaps I have gotten used to guys who tell me they are gentlemen - but then let the door swing in my face. Walk faster than I do even in foreign countries, with me trailing behind (which, in some instances, can be an issue of safety, really). Who do not bat an eyelid, nor pull out their wallets, or even volunteer to contribute when the bill comes. Do not get even get me started on guys who get fresh with you - and take "hands on" to a whole new level.

I can give you an endless list of names of men and personal encounters, reasons why I probably stopped believing that true gentlemen really existed. Perhaps, in some way, God or destiny, brought these people into my life, to give me hope and to remind me to raise the bar. Hold men to higher standards. Instead of just expecting losers.

From the sweetie, sneaky hottie - from Ottawa, Ontario, that I bumped into in Madrid that made packing fun, who made me realise, that not all men were opportunists.

To even the Keanu Reeves lookalike who massaged my feet while at a pool party, or the awesome (and devastatingly handsome) Daniel Hilarion, who kept refreshing my drink and making sure I was well taken care of while I was in their company - each of these men I'm mentioning in this post, opened my eyes to the fact that there are nice guys out there.

So even if some of them are only destined to cross paths with me for that one moment, I am grateful that they did. If only because I am happy that they taught me to not expect so little from men. That not all guys are scum/douchebags/manboys. And that when men want to, they can really step up.

Some of these men, I was privileged to spend more time with in Spain, getting to know them, and truly observe "their natural behaviour"/ in their natural habitat.  In fact, I'd say every guy I hung out with in Spain, Willy, JB, Rovi, Mong, Jimmy, Rain, Chris, Paco - to even our bus drivers, our tour guide - all of them were fine specimens of males, so I'm just going to mention some standout episodes that come to mind.

Just like there is no such thing as the perfect woman, there is no perfect man. But some of them, come pretty close.

Like... Rain for instance.

What a sweetheart. We chatted quite a bit on our #VivaCodorniu trip even though we'd never met before. And on our last night in Madrid, we started talking about relationships.

He opened up and shared with me about a relationship that really hurt him. And I have to say.. I am amazed how this man has turned it all around... from thinking that life only handed him bad cards in love - to the sweetest proposal he made to his fiancee.

And while every proposal story is sweet and memorable in itself, I always think, that credit is due, when real effort is put in.

Director extraordinaire: Rain Pengson

You see, a guy who makes an effort in a proposal, I think shows in some way that even when shit hits the fan, he is willing to work at the marriage. Even if a proposal does not go to plan, the effort, the time put in to think about how to propose and when... to me, it shows how much the man values his partner. It's not just about the size of the diamond or the price of the ring - neither of which would move me.

But watching this video, had me tearing up. Of course oo one expects something this elaborate or creative, because Rain is pretty one-of-a-kind. But, I just feel that it is a pity these days, that men hardly ever even go on their knees to ask the woman they love for their hand. 

Maybe I'm just a traditional sort of girl. But I was impressed. Rain gave me hope that there are guys who are romantic out there. And there is such a thing as second chances, and fate. So thank you for that. =)




Amazing right?

Another man I was honoured to spend more time with was Ro!

Rovilson Fernandez is amazing. And I'm not just saying that because he was the first winner of Amazing Race Asia.

This guy, pleasantly surprised me one time after our trip to a vineyard. He had seen that my shoes had gotten muddy, and were crusted with dirt. He disappeared, then emerged with wet paper towels, and proceeded to kneel down and clean the mud of my shoes!

I actually jumped and got shy because you seldom see guys who are that gallant and giving. Read as:  I'm just not used to ACTUAL gentlemanly behaviour. These are things we read about in classics written by people who are long dead. I didn't think they still happened in real life. Let alone to little ole' moi!

And having a guy that big, get down in front of you in an act so humbling... well, needless to say, his selflessness impressed me and really made me think - when was the last time any guy I dated, had done anything that was not selfish, or was this giving?

This immaculately dressed TV travel show host is gregarious, loud and fun-loving. He just is BIG. Big and tall. Big personality. Big voice. You can't miss him. But that's all just a facade.

Much like me though, he also is a bit of a recluse. He's actually shy.

The best thing about him though, the gentlemanly part, was never fake.

Ro! Now joins the list as one of my favourite men in the world

And then there was Mong Alcaraz.

Now Mong to me felt like one of my "brothers from another mother" from the get go. =) Perhaps, also because we shared a love for shoes, added to the fact that well he does know one of my real-life "bros" - a childhood friend of mine. So Mong felt like an instant homie.

A blurry shot of Mong in soundman action, outside THE oldest bar in Barcelona.

Now this is not a clear shot of him at all. But google Mong Alcaraz, and you'll realise that he's FRIGGING FAMOUS.

Besides being in two of the hottest bands in the Philippines, Sandwich and Chicosci, he is also engaged to the hottest momma on legs, Mel Lozano.

Check out Sandwich's awesome music video - New Romancer, starring Mong  dude in beanie.


Now Mel, is one of those intimidatingly super cool girls. Pretty. Petite. Insanely talented. I mean for crying out loud, the woman is a Cannes Film Festival awardee! Add that to being a mom to their lovable baby Mira, and still being incredibly fit, I should logically be slitting my wrists with paper* in sheer despair at my own ineptitude.

*"Death by papercuts" is a sara-ism, a term for a slow and painful death. Usage eg: Watching that boring play was like death by papercuts.

But instead, spending time with this couple made me think... "aww... I want that some day". They fast became one of my favourite couples in the world.

They never stayed angry at each other, if they ever were. And what struck me about the two of them was that they just worked. They knew when to give. When to step back and let the other do their thing. They were very together. Yet totally independent.

When Mel was working on producing and directing the travel show "Team Philippines" was filming - Mong stepped up and was soundman/crew/gofer. No airs. No, I'm-a-diva-superstar, I-don't-hold-booms. He just let Mel do her thing, and supported her, and chipped in with work.

He was also a supporting and loving partner for whenever Mel had new momma duties. And what was super sweet, and Mel probably never knew this - but the one time she skipped dinner because she was feeling ill and Mong still came out with the rest of the crew - he was a different man. He was quiet, concerned, and checking his phone every two seconds with brows knitted in worry.

You just knew that while we were having awesome food, at an awesome place, with an awesome view, his heart was not really there. Mong was just missing having HIS PERSON by his side, enjoying the experience with him. He could not wait to get back to the hotel fast enough, and I thought that was just incredibly cool.

You know how I've mentioned before, there are just some couples you look at and you just know, yeah, they're gonna work. They will survive.

Yup. They're it. And just thinking about them puts a smile on my face.

Fingers crossed, here's hoping I'll find that some day too.


And let's not forget, my main man, Paco.

What can I say about this incredible man.

But Pacopacopaco. He just puts a smile on my face. And the photo below is one of the times I will always remember for the rest of my life.

Given, I have ice cream in hand. So logically, the choc and ice cream lover in me would be smiling. But, what you don't know, is just 10 minutes before this, I was sobbing uncontrollably at a bullfight. Like full on, mascara running, makeup streaking, unglamorous, unstoppable type crying.

I've seen bullfights on TV before, but seeing it person, was quite a different. and emotional thing. Paco had put so much time and effort into getting tickets off the blackmarket for the night after our bull run in Pamplona, and I don't think they came cheap at all.

But once he saw me cry, he dragged me out of the arena and spent one of the most lovely afternoons I had in Spain just walking around with me in the city. It was really nice to just talk and connect.

One of my favourite things to do in life is really have deep conversations, about nothing and everything with another human with a great soul. And meeting one as special as his, is nothing short of amazing.

He always put the needs of everyone, before himself. Always tried to make sure everyone was as happy as possible.. he was the host with the most.

And above all, he has won a loyal friend in me, for life.

*sara thumps chest and flashes what she thinks is some gangster loyalty sign*

With my Pacopacopaco =) The man who always knows how to make me smile
Also another fine gentleman, was JB. Justin Bratton.

Just like my MBF (male best friend aka Tomur), JB has often been mistaken as my boyfriend. Probably because we're just so comfortable around each other as pals.  

He was one of the best travel buddies EVER.

And this I say, also because both of us had our trips extended, so I had more one on one time with him in general.

Even sharing a room with this dude, was not a problemo. Hanging out, was always easy. Talk. No talk. It was never awkward at all. If I needed to sleep, he just let me. If he wanted to just head out and do his own thing, he did. And always checked in to make sure I was ok.

Best thing ever?  I NEVER, had to carry heavy stuff when JB was around.

Now we had a really long trip.

A 6 hour drive back from Madrid to Barcelona.

A 7 hour plane ride from Barcelona to Doha.

A 7 hour transit in Doha.

A 7 hour plane ride from Doha to Singapore.

So you know JB's momma raised him right, because he was always taking care of me through the whole thing. My bags. My welfare. Whether or not I was sleeping. Eating. Everything. He always made sure I was taken care of first. When I was sick, he walked around looking for a pharmacy for meds. In the planes and the airports, he carried my bags almost all the time. And of course, opened all jars and bottles for me. =P Honestly, if he wasn't around, I might not have been able to eat or drink at all.

The fact that he can speak a little Spanish was a major bonus, because he totally took care of ordering food too.

All you have to do with this specimen though, is make sure that every once in a while, you keep him hydrated with a damm beer.

Best travel buddy ever: My muchacho, Justin Bratton. With a Damm beer.

Moving on from the Spain trip.. there was this wedding filled weekend, where I caught up with some of my fave bros.

First of all, my AH BENG got married!!!!! =D And Brendan, more affectionately known as brabra to the rest of us, wed an awesome "ang moh lian" and I couldn't be happier for him.

But every single one of the boys in this pic below, is a perfect gentleman.

From Pete - who always has been an awesome host whenever any of our pals has set foot in Indonesia. I mean this guy is such a gentleman even to us, his mere friends, from small things like picking us from airports, and stocking the car up with mineral water for those fresh off flights. To noticing really small things, like, getting a driver to turn the air conditioning down if there was a little sneeze, or walking slower just to talk to my mom who might be lagging behind - this one is like.. fwah - aunty killer power to the max.

To Gary - who moments before I had to get up on stage to host the wedding dinner, helped me with my wardrobe malfunction. 

The red sole of my shoe was totally breaking off from the rest of my shoe and folding over and tripping me up. Gary saw the problem, and within minutes, the "McGyver" had a new roll of duct tape, had folded a piece over, and was kneeling at my feet, pressing my shoe together. AND IT HELD UP! (In fact, thanks Gary, the shoe is still intact after your "repair work".

I mean... I have no idea how in the last 3 weeks, I've managed to have 3 such lovely, charming men at my feet assisting my clumsy, calamity-filled life. But all I can say is, I've definitely been blessed.

From Left: My co-host for the wedding, Jeremy, MY AH BENG - Brendan, Ricky, Gary and Pete
Last, but certainly not least. Two cutie pies. Jeremy and Mike.

One of which by today, I have to bid goodbye to. And I'm honestly quite upset about, so I'll just talk about him for now.

I've mentioned him on my blog before as MFAM aka My Favourite Ang Moh. Mike Asbridge.

I have nothing but love for this man who I met on a trip ages ago. It is ironic, that I was only on this aforementioned trip, with a diva of an ex who was trying to patch things up with me. Funny enough, I left that trip with a few really good friends, sans ex. =)

And Mikey, was one of the good things about that trip.

This Kiwi boy, has cooked for me. Has listened to me cry over guys who have broken my heart. Has watched football matches with me - AFTER cooking nachos with guacamole and chilli he made from scratch!!! And he has always. ALWAYS. Been a perfect gentleman. 

He is one of the few guys whom I have always, and will always, make the time and effort for. And I am truly sad that this man I call my friend, is moving back to NZ. Yes, I do get that having free accommodation if I decide to visit, is definitely an upside, I mean, being the gentleman, he's already offered of course.

But... I'm really, really going to miss this man in my life. Just.. being close enough to know that I could just pop over and hang if I wanted. 

=(

Good Luck back home Mikey. SG is always gonna be here if you ever decide to come back.


Jeremy, me and Mike, flashing our Asian V's while Mikey still can.


Mikey has always been a good sport too - at his farewell party some time back.




So to all these men I've mentioned.. whether in brief, or more..

Thank you, for showing me what real gentlemen are like.

And for showing me that there is more to being a man, than just having the right equipment.

*curtsy*

xx
sara

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Thinking

So I shivering ever so slightly in the lounge of Doha Hamad International Airport....

Shaking my fists at the sky for
1. Not grabbing that shawl I  considered putting into my carry on as I was leaving the house.

2. Not wearing pants.

Not that I'm not wearing any pants. I'm just wearing a skirt. A leather studded skirt to be precise.

Not one of my finer moments in judgement.

After,  a close to 5 hr conversation on the plane with a rather suave architect named Charlie, who had the most amazing stories. ...

I have come to the conclusion to the question he had asked. ..

"Do you feel any pressure (sic - to get married?"

I don't really. Not the way most people do.

Don't get me wrong,  when I sit with my friends who have the cutest kids.. With husbands who are awesome. .. I do get a tinge of envy.

I want that too.

But I don't want it with the wrong person.

I do miss caring for someone. And someone caring for me. But sometimes,  I find that ... It seems to be more of a distraction if the person isn't. .. supportive of the things I want to do,  or achieve.

In the last few years,  there have been only a few people who have been able to break through my defenses.

One guy,  I always thought was perfect guy. . and I could actually picture myself with.

The other. .. Well. He captured me. Heart. Soul. Mind. But. .. I guess,  I did not mean the same to him. He never once. .. fought for me.

Which is. .. heartbreaking. 

Oh well.

My neck is aching. And I have 7 hrs to kill.

So I leave you with a pic of giant teddy in Doha.

And the awesome pool.

But I'm freezing way too much to even consider jumping in.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Cabbie Story... of the white haired maiden


"WAH!! You can speak Chinese ah," the cabbie uncle exclaimed in surprise in Mandarin. "I thought you ang moh! Your hair la... why leh? You want to be ang moh issit," he chuckled.

"No la Uncle, I just wanted to make a big change... This is cool la."

"Waaaah... come to think of it, your hair colour look more like 白发魔女 (the white haired demon maiden)"

I smiled, amused.

"Actually hor, you know ah.. her hair wasn't always white leh. Did you know that?"

"No leh, I never read the story before..," and I buckled in, knowing I was going to not only get a story, but an education.


It's actually quite sad, the white-haired maiden was very pretty, but her hair turned all white because of heartbreak, when her lover betrayed her.

"Aiyoh.. he cheated on her?"

No no. Nothing like that.

You see, her name was Lian.. and she was a vigilante like Robin Hood but she was a skilled martial artiste. And the guy, Zhuo, was actually going to help rescue his father, whom she and her group had captured, and stolen provisions from.

The thing is, they met by accident before he went to rescue his dad. And they already had sparks fly.

It was only during battle the next day, that the young Zhuo realised that the woman he had to fight, was her.

Eventually, they still fell deeply in love.

It was actually a mistake one day that he attacked her by accident, and she was heartbroken, thinking he betrayed her love.

And because she loved him so deeply, when she fell asleep heartbroken, she woke up, transformed- her whole head of hair had turned white.

Still heartbroken, both at her lover, and now, at her loss of beauty... Lian fled.

Zhuo, spent the rest of his life, trying to find her and make it up to her. Trying everything, including hunting for this special flower that could turn her hair back. Except it was a rare flower that bloomed once every 60 years.

"Wah, that's very sad Uncle... did he at least manage to succeed?"

I don't know.. I know that for years, because she was so heartbroken, she could not forgive him even though he tried very hard to win her back.

I remember in the show though, that he did finally find the flower. But once he had it... something happened and it got crushed or lost or something.


"Wah, Uncle, thank you for telling me that story... You know... I also changed my colour... because of heartbreak you know, and I didn't even know the story then."

The rest of the trip, I fell silent, contemplating all the events leading up to why I had gone for such a drastic hair change.

No regrets, but... interesting how legends can somehow come to life too, eh?

I can only hope, that my story will not have a tragic ending.


No guarantees on the hair colour though.

=P


*curtsy*
xx
sara



Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Prayers work!!!

My birthday is now officially over...

But the ONE THING that I prayed for.... got answered!!!

Honestly.. I really didn't think it would. But... hey..

Now I'm just HAPPPPPPY =D










*curtsy*
xx
sara

Monday, June 23, 2014

YAY!!!

I'm excited!!

the name saraannk.com finally belongs to meeeeee 100 %. (well... once everything gets transferred over from someone in scottsdale arizona?)

Wootz.

Ok.

Now to figure out how to do this thing. *sara looks confused*



Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Excuse me, but you want to be my model?


This is.. a bit hard for me to talk about still. Because I've never really shared about this experience of mine in detail. I've shared about this once on Razor a long time ago in brief - when we were talking about a police case about a girl who was taken advantage of. Why didn't she see the signs earlier? How she could have avoided it.

I will talk about it, solely because, I think too many girls go through this. And in fear - because the photogs have compromising photos of them etc - do not speak out. Do not report the perpetrators of the crimes. And while I did not go through an experience as bad as some of the girls I know have... It still is mentally harrowing for me. And is still hard for me to talk about. I still feel embarrassed when I think about it. 

Which shouldn't be the case at all.

 A LOT of girls get cheated in the hopes of becoming someone famous, or becoming a model. Tons and tons and tons of girls a year actually get snapped in compromising poses, all because they get trapped in positions they could have avoided being in in the first place. (And in some countries, they experience worse, get kidnapped, and sent into prostitution rings. So always, always, have your guard up. You can never be too careful in this industry. And sometimes, even those who seem to be your friends, other models/ agents/ bookers - have their own agenda too. From landing you jobs that you find... eventually are more escort jobs - to getting you hooked on drugs which they traffic so you are stuck. Yes. These are just some true horror stories, and I've seen victims of many sorts.)

To be fair... It can happen to anyone. And even more so now with the internet which opens up more doors for predators.

But I know these things do happen. Because it happened to me.

I could have gone through worse. And I got away relatively lucky. But it still haunts me. Perhaps it is a mental thing. Knowing that me - someone streetsmart, who had about at least 4 years of experience in the industry at that point, could still be gullible enough to be vulnerable and be taken advantage of.

Getting offered test shoots as a model is pretty normal. Lots of photographers actually want to work with you if you are good, and it works out to be mutually beneficial. They get a good test subject to try new shooting techniques and lighting with. And the models get great shoots to beef up their portfolio.

But these days, especially as we get more desensitised to highly sexualised images - I worry many more girls are being taken advantage of, even by professional and legit photographers too.

I find, even sometimes while browsing a friend's - a model now based in New York - instagram feed, that some of her pictures, while very nice, do come across as well.... questionable. They are toeing the line a little too closely. I wonder if the photographers have an entirely pure agenda.

But because she is a model... no one really says a thing. Everyone just thinks.. well.. she's a model. She wants to be a VS model. I guess it's expected of her... Right?


AND THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED TO ME.

So.. this happened back in 2002.

I was doing a shoot. A legitimate shoot for a bridal magazine. And I remember the photographer, a short, rather stout man from Taiwan, who worked at a prominent bridal studio along Tanjong Pagar.

After we had finished the shoot that day, he asked if I was keen on doing a couple of test shoots.

Like most models, I jumped at the chance to get more shots into my book.

But, on the day I was supposed to do the shoot itself. I just had a bad feeling. I'm not even sure what it was. Premonition maybe.

My bf at the time (yes, the one I used to call TLOML), and I, had just gotten into a quarrel about how I behaved at events. He felt that I was too flirty with people when we were out - though for some reason, he never realised that most of the ones that I was "flirty" with, were gay. And I on the other hand felt that I had to socialise and be friendly as part of my job, and that he was just being possessive and jealous.

TBH, I think at the time, we both we right and had our points. I could have been less friendly. He, could have been less possessive.

BUT, that quarrel....  well. In a way, was the start of the end.

That morning itself, when I had a bad feeling, I had asked him to come with me for the shoot.

Because he was still angry with me, despite the fact that he was not doing anything that day - he completely refused. Turned me down flat even when I told him that I had a weird feeling about it.

When I turned up at the shoot, there were certain things that were amiss - that at the time.. I guess I was still too wrapped up in my emotions to notice.

I had met the photographer at his place, a condominium along Club Street. And when I asked where we were shooting, if we were going over to the studio that was just a street away, he said the lighting was better upstairs at his place.

I was a bit unsettled at this. But, again. This is not that an unusual a request. And, he had taken some really, really great shots of me at the photo shoot for the magazine.

Hair and makeup? No artists present. Well... I had done shoots before with my own hair and make-up.

Where are we going to shoot? - The bedroom. The lighting was better.

Go get changed.

When I changed, he asked if I had anything else sexier.

I remember he was using a small camera. Sort of like a leica. Why was he not using the big camera? This was better. Had a grainy quality he wanted.

He took a few shots. And asked me to change again.

When I was back. He took a couple more shots. And then asked me to take off my top, very casually. Like it was no big deal.

I said no. I was not comfortable with that.

He started scolding me, telling me that I was being very unprofessional. That I was not being a good model. That people won't hire me if I was so un-cooperative.

At that time, my mind became a complete blank. I couldn't really think. Here was a photographer, that shot me days earlier at a professional shoot. I actually was scared that I was going to be blackmarked and thought of as a bad model. I'm not sure how, or why, but I started to question whether or not I was being professional. Whether or not I was being rude, or in the wrong.

Somewhere while he was yelling at me, he came at me, and ripped my top apart. Exposing my breasts. As he roughly handled them as well. I remember... feeling like a piece of meat. And having a metallic taste in my mouth.

And yelled more in Mandarin.

YOU ARE NOT ACTING PROFESSIONAL.

YOU ARE NOT BEING A GOOD MODEL.

WHO WILL HIRE YOU IF YOU ARE SO CONSERVATIVE.

Telling me that my breasts weren't good enough. They were too far apart. That I would never get hired for shoots.

I don't know if he continued shooting. What shots he got.

I only remember pulling my top together, and tears falling down my face. Asking if I could go.

Him being angry. Telling me I was a horrible model anyway. To just get out. The door was unlocked.

I don't even remember what happened then because my mind was in a daze.

All I recall, was walking.. and walking.. and suddenly I was outside a stall called Big Chicken, at what is now POMO Mall along Selegie Road.

I called my boyfriend. Told him I was coming over. Asked if he could pay for the cab as I had no cash on me. He said to wait, he would come get me, but I told him I just needed to leave then. Right at that point.

I think he sensed that something had happened.

When I got to his place... he asked me what happened. And I couldn't even bring myself to say it. I was too embarrassed. But I started blaming him. For not coming with me to the shoot like I had asked and begged.

"Why didn't you come.." I screamed at him, tears running down my face. "The one time I asked you to come... And you were here! In Singapore for once. But you didn't come..."

"Well, even if I came.. if I said anything, you might have just told me it was part of your job what."

It felt like a slap to my face, because I had not even told him what had happened. And to be honest.. till this day. My memories of everything are patchy. All I remember was grabbing my stuff hurriedly.. and wanting to get out of there fast. I don't even know how I got from Club Street to Selegie, because I know at the time, I had been broke. So I definitely did not catch a cab.

It took me a week before I could finally come to terms with what happened. And told my then bf.

Two weeks, before I spoke to one of my agents about what happened. Soo-Ann jie, from Fly - was the only one I could speak to about it. I told her everything. And she asked me what I wanted to do. She said that the company would support me if I wanted to press charges.

I didn't.

And it was something I do sort of regret.

I had only just finished Miss Universe barely a month before... and the media spotlight was still glaring on me and all the other contestants.. it was tough. Everything we did. Every misstep we took. Every stupid thing we said in any stupid interview. Was brought up again and again and again. Published in tabloid magazines. In the papers. Nothing we did... not for some of us anyway... was private.

I already had felt like I had been made a fool of enough. All the forums with their hateful flaming. The people with their unkind words. How stupid. Ugly. Fat. Tranny-looking we were.

To me, I wanted to just forget about it and move on. Not risk having something blow up and out of proportion. I was embarrassed because I prided myself on being street smart.. and yet, I had been conned, into a situation like that. Me. A smart cookie.

The thing is.... it wasn't over. About 3 weeks after the incident.. I got an overseas call on my phone. I still remember where I was when I got the call.

I was sitting with my then-bf at the old Marche at what used to be Heeren. And there was this lady that asked for me by my Chinese name. When I answered, she started yelling and screaming at me - for having an affair with her husband.

The Taiwanese photographer, not only outraged my modesty -- gave my number to his wife -- and made me the scapegoat for his affair. When I had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH IT.

He probably knew that I would be scared, because I did not know if he had compromising shots of me or not. He probably just wanted to protect his mistress. And my number, was the easiest one to give.

But Crystal, (the Taiwanese photographer's wife) called me and hurled verbal abuse at me over the phone. It just sent all the memories flooding back. The fear. The confusion. The resentment. Disgust.

I told her that she had the wrong idea. If anything, that I had been a victim. It was only 3 phone calls later, because i kept hanging up on her - sick and tired of trying to explain myself - and drained from all the emotions... That she finally listened, and realised what I went through.

She apologised to me. Said she was sorry.

Said that she will try to get any photos of me back from her husband.


Till this day. I don't know if he took any photos. And I did live in fear for a while, that if he did, that some would emerge and cause a scandal. I don't even know if he had any film in his camera. Because this was somewhat the pre-digital age.

But for a few years, Crystal. The photographer's wife. Kept calling. Telling me that her husband had gotten some Singaporean woman pregnant. Laying her problems on me. How she had a son, another one on the way, and how she was still taking care of her loser husband's mother, though he was refusing to give her any money.

Each time she called, I was filled with a familiar sense of disgust. Revulsion. It made me relive the moments again.

I took the calls, because I felt guilty that I couldn't help. I hoped to God at the time, that the woman he knocked up - hadn't been someone who had been taken advantage of like myself. Though I was told, she was the sister of a bridal client. Who knows.

For those three years, each time she called, I felt betrayed by my then bf. Who at the one time I felt I needed him to protect me.... didn't.

I know I held it against him, thought it wasn't his fault.

I know that he held it against me too. Getting molested. Though it wasn't mine.



The thing is. These things DO HAPPEN.

A photographer asking a model to pull your straps down. Take your bra off.

I don't know when to tell you that it falls within the lines of the profession. Or when it does not.

A friend of mine, a top male supermodel, told me once about a big shoot he had in China for a huge men's magazine, where halfway during the shoot - he and the other male models were told to take off their clothes.

The other male model - who was then just embarking on his international career- just took everything off straight away, while my friend gasped, and asked the other guy, "Don't you have any pride? We don't have to do this. Geez. Put your pants back on."

The other male model, now, a very famous one hailing from the Republic, just shrugged. And continued.

The shoot still went on. My friend, in his swimmers, and the other guy, naked. The images - all splashed in their full glory in a magazine.

YOU DO HAVE CHOICES.

These are the things that go on behind closed doors. Behind the scenes. Behind those glamourous pictures you see touched up in all their photoshopped glory.

This is the industry, that I still feel shocked, when I see parents willingly pushing their kids to get into. Because it's not something that a child - no matter how physically developed, and how much "potential" as a supermodel she might have - should be exposed to.

When I was at a show last year, and met a pretty, but insanely skinny and tall 12-year-old, being nudged forcefully toward the gaggle of media and photographers... a very tall, thin blonde girl - who had just been put in sexy lingerie for a magazine shoot, and on the cover of that magazine...

I just...

I am not exactly the most conservative person around. I have no qualms with racy shoots. But I think there is a line that we all have to draw somewhere.

I shared this story, because I saw this article, written by another blogger on the blacklisted photographers in Singapore: http://www.thydowager.com/juicebits/2014/01/14/caution-top-15-blacklisted-photographers-in-singapore/

I spotted a few names I am familiar with as well.

I have been approached and called by Devine TWICE. Want his hp number - I still have it stored here on my phone. Just in case. He wanted to hire me as a host for a "private event, in a limo. With 8 other girls. All in underwear. To celebrate the anniversary of a lingerie brand."

It was supposed to be a private party for girls - but... no. For some reason. He and his crony, would be in the limo itself.

The girls? Supposedly clients.

The brand? Still secret. It is a high end brand. With very high end customers.

Why would they want to be in their underwear/naked in a limo together - I asked?

Are you willing to do it? It's only for 30 mins, at $5k.

- If the sum, which is about 1.5 times my pay in a month at my full-time job, is tempting even for me. What more a young girl, filled with hopes, and dreams, and plans to buy a new branded bag or handphone?


If you are a young girl and in modelling - I urge you to please, look through these photos. These names. And even if these men are not on the list..... Please, keep your guard up.

They can easily use a different name. Change their numbers. And as soon as one is clamped down, another creep seems to pop up. And some of them, just reappear even after they are exposed to the public for what they are.

GREAT protection we have here in SG as models. Where there are no unions. No lists for legit agencies. Or photographers. And anyone who owns a DSLR, can hand out a namecard and call himself one.

But take local supermodel Sheila Sim as an example. She got to where she is today, without a single racy shoot. She has not even been shot in a bikini. It is something she has simply REFUSED to do from the start of her career, till this day.

Don't think it's harmed her career one bit if you ask me. Clients who want her, just work around it.

So if a photographer tells you that you can't model if you don't do a shot like that? Hogwash!

This is only ONE STORY, out of my many strange encounters. Being approached for weird shoots while I am on the way back home. Being asked to shoot for Playboy - by really- an engineer?

I have had obscene calls on my phones. Heavy breathing. Asking me to participate in surveys, that suddenly take a weird turn. And these days I'm sure young girls are faced with much worse. They have different approaches. Starting with being a friend on Facebook. Instagram. Ask if they can shoot you. And you might feel flattered that they are asking for you to be their model. Maybe even another modelling friend recommends you, because she has shot with this photographer before.

And worse still, some of you actually PAY to get your photos taken by these so-called photographers.

Please. Please. Please. Check. Check. Check. And Verify. Are these people legit. Do they have a portfolio? Who else have they shot? What kind of shots are they? Compare those to the ones in magazines. Are they REALLY similar? Or somehow, do they have that cheap feel. Tacky makeup, and usually, are of girls in all manner of undress.

Fashion, is about clothes. Not the lack of it.

And please also be aware, that even if they are professional and legit - if you have a bad gut feeling, get out of there. Take the case of Roman Polanski, and the then 13-year-old Samantha Gailey (now Geimer). He, a famous director, had even asked her mother, a model and actress, if he could shoot her daughter, for an issue of Vogue that he was guest editing.

The girl was brutally abused and raped. Her tormentor, protected for many years.

The person. Legit. Premise. Legit. But what happened, I'm sure.. was horrible and harrowing. And it must have been torturous knowing that he was out there, and not caught.

She said one thing in her testimony, that struck a chord.

"... I realized he had other intentions and I knew I was not where I should be. I just didn't quite know how to get myself out of there."

All I am saying is..... girls and guys out there... just... be careful. Ok?

Don't make the same mistake I did, of thinking it only happens to someone else.


*curtsy*
xx
sara








Sunday, June 15, 2014

OH PHEW I am not pregnant


Heh. Ok. I mean, getting pregnant at this point would probably be an immaculate conception.

BUT, moving swiftly on.. I read up about my pregnancy dreams since I was slightly freaked out by them. And I am rather pleased to see what was written.

To be honest, not that bad.

This was on Huffington

What can I learn about myself from dreaming about being pregnant?
"Pregnancy dreams are often multi-layered and speak about something inside -- represented by the fetus -- that has not yet been acknowledged or presented to the world," Mead says. "I find that people who have disowned goals and desires often dream of pregnancies. For example, someone who might have wanted to act, but chose the safe path of being a lawyer, may be plagued with pregnancy dreams until he or she takes steps to at least connect with that earlier passion.


This was on a couple of sites, including dreammoods

To see a baby in your dream signifies innocence, warmth and new beginnings.  Babies symbolize something in your own inner nature that is pure, vulnerable, helpless and/or uncorrupted. If you dream that the baby is smiling at you, then it suggests that you are experiencing pure joy. You do not ask for much to make you happy. If you find a baby in your dream, then it suggests that you have acknowledged your hidden potential. If you dream that you forgot you had a baby, then it suggests that you are trying hide your own vulnerabilities; you do not want to let others know of your weaknesses. Alternatively, forgetting about a baby represents an aspect of yourself that you have abandoned or put aside due to life's changing circumstances. The dream may serve as a reminder that it is time for you to pick up that old interest, hobby, or project again.
If you dream that you are on your way to the hospital to have a baby, then it signifies your issues of dependency and your desires to be completely cared for. Perhaps you are trying to get out of some responsibility. If you are pregnant in real life, then a more direct interpretation may simply mean that you are experiencing some anxieties of making it to the hospital when the time comes. 
To dream of a crying baby symbolizes a part of yourself that is deprived of attention and needs to be nurtured. Alternatively, it represents your unfulfilled goals and a sense of lacking in your life. If you dream that a baby is neglected, then it suggests that you are not paying enough attention to yourself. You are not utilizing your full potential. Alternatively, this dream could represent your fears about your own children and your ability to protect and to provide for them. 
To dream about a starving baby represents your dependence on others. You are experiencing some deficiency in your life that needs immediate attention and gratification.
To see yourself or someone as a baby in your dream refers to your desire to be cared for and nurtured. Alternatively, the dream may mean that you or someone is behaving immaturely.
To dream that a baby is walking or dancing refers to the potential and possibilities that life has in stored for you. The future looks bright. The dream may also be a metaphor that you need to take baby steps in your relationship, toward your goal, in a work project or whatever undertaking. If you have a baby in real life, then the dream is a reflection of your hopes for that baby.
To dream of an extremely small baby symbolizes your helplessness and your fears of letting others become aware of your vulnerabilities and incompetence. You may be afraid to ask for help and as a result tend to take matters into your own hands.
To see a dead baby in your dream symbolizes the ending of something that was once a part of you.
To dream that you are dipping a baby in and out of water signifies regression. You are regressing to a time where you had no worries and responsibilities. Alternatively, such a scenario is reminisce of when the baby is in the fetus and in its comfort zone. In fact, some expectant mothers even give birth in a pool, because the environment in the water mimics the environment in the uterus. It is less traumatic for the baby as it emerges into the world. So perhaps, the dream represents your search for your own comfort zone. 



So, being "pregnant" or "having a kid" not so frightening afterall.

Apparently, if you're sexually active, these dreams will usually coincide with your cycles as well.
So.. well. No need to worry about that bit.

There was a site though, that said that it is surprising how many dreams like these usually landed up in pregnancies, but....... I'm not going to think about that.

That said... I have so much to talk about, yet so little to say.. So. Gonna end here. Sometimes, less is more.

*curtsy*
xx
sara

Do you believe in dreams?


Do you believe in dreams?

Once a long time ago... maybe around.. March or April last year, I had a dream. I dreamt I had a kid. Well, I guess I was still getting used to having a kid around, because in the dream, I had left the child in the kitchen as my mom and sis were still there. I remember my friends in the house, buzzing around. One of them tsking me when she asked where my kid was, and I said.. somewhere.. My mom and sis, yelling at me from the kitchen. My sis nagging at how it was irresponsible of me leaving the kid there with them. (My argument being that I knew it would be safe there with them.)

I remember looking out of the house to a scene I've never seen before. Looking out and it was grass.. and I could actually see the sea or ocean. From the living room. I had never seen this place before.

But I recall looking down at the baby in my arms, and thinking, OMG. I. Made. This. Human. O_O

I told the dream to a friend the next day, and my friend asked, who was the father? Well, the father wasn't in the dream. At least, I don't recall. She also asked what the baby looked like at least.... and as hard as I tried to recollect, I just couldn't. My mind drew blanks.

Then a few months later.. I met this friend who showed me a piece of property he bought, pretty much in the middle of nowhere. He must have thought I was a total idiot because as soon as I saw the picture, I teared up. That was the view I saw. It was... crazy to me that I had seen it in my dream. What did it all mean?

-----------------

Last night, I had a dream. I don't remember all of it. But again, it was a dream that felt so real and was so... distinct when it was happening.

Perhaps, it is because I haven't slept in a long time. I don't know. But it was a long detailed dream.

Now, I only recall bits and pieces of it. Travelling alongside my other half. Doing all sorts of really cool, interesting, dangerous things. It was... pretty amazing. And the thing is, at every turn, it actually felt like I was doing those things.

The last thing I remember, was being in a boat, or ship or kayak or canoe, honestly, I don't remember which. All I can recall, is being capsized. And feeling the strong currents pulling at me from every direction.

Being rescued... and holding on gratefully to the one that held me.

And a doctor. Telling me, "I know you enjoy all of these things. But, you need to slow down now that you are pregnant."

And... looking down at my still flat stomach at that point. With the one that I loved.. How he held me. And was filled with wonderment and awe as I was.

It was... strange.

Surreal.

Ask me if I remember the face of this person.. I don't. I wish I did. But I don't. I just remember feeling loved and secure as the guy wrapped his arms around me from behind, his hands settling on my belly. There were no doubts. No worries. No hesitation. Just... the comfort in knowing that he was there. He was happy. He wanted this. And he loved me. It felt like.... how I guess, a confident trust fall should be. Knowing that you are falling but you will definitely be caught by the one you love. It was..... really an amazing feeling.

And then I woke up.


Honestly. I don't know if these dreams will come to fruition.

I am used to having them come to pass, but I do know that some of my previous dreams were averted because of choices that me, or the other people in my dreams, had made.

Are they Freudian?

Self-fufilling/prophetic dreams about my future?

Or maybe, in all three pregnancy dreams that I've had.. I just had a bad stomach. Ate too much or something.

Who knows.


I have had some really strange deja-vu's in the past... where while it happens, it practically feels like an out of body experience because everything I had dreamt, right down to the little details, the words that come out of my mouth, what I am wearing, the surroundings.... all exactly as I have dreamt. And it makes me slightly queasy at times.

Maybe it's like Sliding Doors. That Gwenth Paltrow movie. Where alternate realities of myself in parallel universes are crossing paths.


Note to self: I must not overthink it.


Que Sera Sera.

*Curtsy*
xx
sara


Saturday, June 14, 2014

Where are you?

I am at work.

Meet up? Haven't seen you in ages.

Hmm... ok. Wait. Is it your birthday or something just in case I missed it?

You already wished me on my birthday.

oh. *sheepish grin* Sorreeeeee.... Forgot la. Ahjumma liao...

See you in ___ at XX.


And so, I went. 

"Let's get out of here."

"Huh, but I just got here."

"Ok, We'll stay for a while..."

"Err. Yeah. You asked me to come."

"Well, didn't you come to send me back home?"

"hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. I'll have an orange juice."

"Btw, this is for you miss k," he said, as he handed me a rose with a roguish grin.

My eyebrows shot to my scalp. 

Within less than 30 mins, I found myself in a cab and being pushed out in front of a house that I do not live in.


"I'm sorry.., " he said.

"Huh? About?"

"Us."

"Huh? Where is this coming from?"

"Nah.. I've just been thinking. And I'm really sorry. I never.. handled it well. Two years ago."

"Geez babe. Like you said, it's two years ago."

"Yeah. But... I am sorry. I could have handled things better. It was just, too intense for me."

Flashes, flitted through my mind as we sat there, comfortable in each other's company. Memories flooding back.

"I know. I knew even then, you couldn't handle it at that point. You were still... getting over stuff...," I said.

"Do you think we would have worked?" He asked. His expressive face, looking boyishly charming. And those dimples. Damn. Those dimples. 

"We could have couldn't we. I just messed up," he said before I could even reply.

"Nah. You were going through stuff. You weren't ready. But if you were... I guess. Yes. We could have."

"But, I'm ready now. I'm changing. I want to change. I am not drinking so much. I'm slowing down. No more partying."

I looked at him and laughed. "I'll believe it when I see it."

"Do you think... I still have a shot?"

I think, I looked at him with a mixture of sadness. and a quizzical smile.

It was.. so long ago.

And yet... there were still some.. feelings. Residual chemistry perhaps. Even the slight, excitement that maybe, this time.. some thing could really work.

I think, we both still had a soft spot for each other. But.. even with those soulful eyes and those charming dimples and that megawatt smile..... 

Something was different. 

We chatted. And chatted. And chatted. And it felt like, the days, months, years, had not gone by at all. It felt.. the same. Comfortable.

And yet.........

I just knew. A part of me wanted to try. Was still tempted to try. I knew I could.. But.....

There was that gut feeling... that the moment had passed him by.



I believe that, if a person is right. You will make the time right. I don't believe in the concept of right person, wrong time. If you feel it is the right person. You will make it the right time. Or you will turn back, to try and make things right again. To make it the right time.

I thought back to the time I thought he was.. well, a possibility. We spent every waking moment chatting to each other. Talking. Hanging out. It was intense. It was fun. It was.. pretty amazing. But there was always this... niggling feeling.

But it continued going strong even when we both were away for a month.. And when we got back too. Just that after a boys trip he took with his mates ...... after he let his pals voices, opinions... their teasing and ribbing get to him.. He pulled back.

And when that happened... it hurt me.

I cut him out.




So far, in all my life, I think, I've only had that..... feeling of dead certainty - you know the one people tell you about... the, "you'll know when you know" that this person was something special to you- type feeling .... Once. Once in my whole life.

I always had times.. intense beginnings, that crashed and burned equally fast. Where I some times would think... hmm.. yeah.. maybe...... could be... who knows... it feels nice. Yup, I think he could be...

But only once. Once in my whole life... did I feel like someone stopped me dead in my tracks. And there was this... "OMG. Where have you been? You're finally here!" type feeling. Where it felt like.. my whole soul came alive with this person...  That all the feelings, emotions filled me with a mixture of happiness, though it was tinged fear. (Probably, more a... is this even real. Nothing can be this good. Can anyone even be this happy? This is probably going to end badly if it feels this awesome. Because nothing can be that awesome!)

But there was always this... thing. A gut feeling. That this person... was more than something special. 


And no, that person, was not TLOML. (In fact, it took me two years with TLOML, to realise that I loved him, and think, yes.. this might be the person for me.)

This other person, pretty much came in like a wrecking ball. Because it was so intense, and I felt, so connected, even on a telepathic level almost... it felt like, we had already known each other forever. 

The thing is... we never did know each other. And I don't think he ever tried.

Which was.... a pity.

I guess, the fact that nothing ever worked out despite that strong gut feeling that I had.. that feeling of certainty almost. I'm not sure any more. I don't know if I can ever believe in my gut again. I keep.... second guessing myself.

I only know... that with me... once the moment passes.. I guess... I'm not sure if it can ever be gotten back.


I guess...

Yet again. Whatever will be, will be.

Que Sera Sera.

xx
sara


Monday, June 9, 2014

Eh Ang Moh - I'm not insulting you lah


So not too long ago, someone exploded and said "I know you're insulting me!"and almost started a fight - when someone called him ang moh.

Honestly... I was a little shocked, especially at his indignant outrage. In fact, everyone was and told him to chill.

Ang Moh - while it has derogatory CONNOTATIONS....... (Connotations: an idea or feeling which a word invokes for a person in addition to its literal or primary meaning)

WAS NOT. And I repeat. IS NOT, meant to be a racial slur.

I have NO clue where some people get the idea that ang moh means a red devil or red ghost. Or something worse. No my dear friends. Stop reading whatever weird guidebook some other friend passed to you. Ang Moh, is not meant to be a slur or insult.

Ang Moh literally means RED HAIR. It's Hokkien. Ang = Red. Moh = hair. Really. It's that simple.

But, just like every other word, can take on/infer different meanings depending on the usage and delivery. (see **definitions below if you need help) Just like the sentence, "You're a dog." - cool/ugly/disgusting etc - it all depends on the usage.

More often than not, when in Asia, and Caucasians are far and few between. So the term is used more as a factual description/ identifier. Just like how we go around the world, and are called Asian. That is what we are. 

An Asian could be say, a British Indian and identify himself as British. And yet people will ask him where he is REALLY from.

The thing is, if you are a Caucasian, and you say you're American, we don't ask you where you are really from. When fact of the matter is, you're probably an immigrant like the rest of us in our respective countries too. Just that in Singapore, we use the term ang moh, because truth be told, we can't always tell if you're an Italian from America, or a Swede from London. ( In fact, some of my pals don't know their own lineage either! ) Like we're lumped as Asian when we are abroad, it can be hard to tell if someone is from China, Myanmar, Thailand, Pakistan, Philippines, Malaysia etc.

In Singapore, if you've stayed long enough, you might be able to, and will possibly say something like, "Yes, my lovely Indian friend invited us over for Deepavali." Or, "That Malay man over there dropped his wallet, please pass it to him." You might be able to tell and differentiate between the races based on their names, how they dress, or even physical characteristics. Well, good on you!

And we would do the same if we would, but, like it or not, with this global economy.. it can be hard to tell based on accents or physical characteristics anymore! Take a friend of mine for instance, born and raised in Australia, to a Swedish Mom from Norway and Italian Dad from the UK.

O_O I mean....




Wait till he and his Malaysian-Chinese wife have babies.

(And sidenote: Malaysia, is a country. But Malay, is an ethnic group. A Malaysian is from Malaysia. But a Malay person, might not necessarily be from Malaysia. Just like there are Chinese people all over the world. Indonesian-Chinese. Singaporean-Chinese. American-Chinese. Parisian-Chinese.)

But before we get into a debate on Nationality, Ethnicity and Race... (which I can talk about for hours...)

Like it or not, we are who we are. I am probably "That Asian chick with blonde hair" - now. And I don't take offence to that.

Honestly, whether or not Ang Moh is used as an insult, or is derogatory, is really determined by tonality. Tone Pitch. Delivery.

Just like 'hey' can be used in a variety of ways, and have different meanings conveyed.

Hey.

HEY!

HEEEEYYYYYYYYY!!!!

Or heeeeyyyyyyyyy

Can make a world of difference from someone being curt. Someone yelling at you to get out. Two friends who are excited at bumping into each other unexpectedly. And well... a little flirtation even.

Visual examples.


















In almost every part of Asia, the terms used on Caucasians, have probably mostly been coined a long time ago by people who usually were more fascinated to see someone exotic to them, with fair skin and different coloured hair.

So... Ang Moh... Can range from being neutral descriptor, to, well, yes...... an insult.

But you'd usually know if I (or anyone else for that matter) is insulting you. Depending if my tone is friendly or dripping with disdain.

I actually went around, and asked a total of 31 people - both local Singaporeans of all races, and, Caucasians... about the term "Ang Moh".

While it is the Caucasian pals who are definitely more sensitive to the term and feel it is derogatory, those who have lived here for longer, don't seem to think so as much. And almost all the Singaporeans never thought of it as a slur or an insult. Just a factual categorisation. Many put Ang Moh - in their heads, as a racial category, alongside Malay. Chinese. Indian.

Sounds much better than the previously used official government term "Others" - don't you think?

Of all the Singaporeans I spoke to. Slurs and derogatory and insults, were deemed to be things like: Slitty eyes. Chink. Darkie. White trash. Bai-yii. Mengali. Frogs.

Offensive terms because they poke fun at certain traits, stereotypes or characteristics. They are in essence, coined with mean-spirited attitudes. Not factual fascination.

So, the next time, if someone in your neighbourhood smiles and refers to you affectionately as ang moh - wear the term like a badge of honour.

Just like... MFAM - My Favourite Ang Moh (you know who you are)

Or like a friend of mine, who stayed with me for a while, did, and should.

When the hawkers around my house went, "Eh, your that ang moh friend never come with you ah?" - I knew that my pal had been accepted as one of them. Someone they had started to look forward to seeing on a daily basis.

Stamped. Guaranteed. Chopped. Approved. Accepted.

Meanwhile...

Here's what most of us Asians, constantly have to put up with when we're on the other side of the world. (Heck, I still get some of these even here in my own backyard! Even the classic line at 0:17)





And FYI. According to Wikipedia:

**Ang mo (simplified Chinese红毛traditional Chinese紅毛pinyinhóng máoPe̍h-ōe-jīâng-mo͘) or Ang moh is a racial epithet describing Caucasian (White people), mainly in MalaysiaRiau Islands and Singapore, and sometimes in Taiwan. It literally means "red-haired" and originates from Hokkien (Min Nan).[1] The usage is similar as in the Cantonese term gweilo (鬼佬, "ghost man").
Other similar terms include ang mo kow 紅毛猴 (red-haired monkeys), ang mo kui 紅毛鬼子 (red-haired devil), ang mo lang 紅毛人 (red-haired people). Although the term had some derogatory connotations, it has entered common usage in Singapore and Malaysia and refers to a Caucasian person or, when used as an adjective, Western culture in general.
The earliest origin for the term "Ang mo 紅毛" could be traced to the contact between Hokkien (Min Nan) speakers in Southern Fujian province of China with the Portuguese people and Dutch people during the 16th and 17th century.
During the 17th century, the Spanish people and Dutch people had colonized Taiwan and built Fort Santo Domingo in TamsuiTaiwan, also known as "City of the Red-Haired" (Chinese: 紅毛城; pinyin: hóng máo chéng; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Âng-mn̂g-siâⁿ) in Taiwanese Hokkien. This city was built by the Spanish in the 17th century. Following that, Dutch people were known in Taiwan as "Ang mo lang 紅毛人" (red-haired people) inTaiwanese Hokkien. This is most likely because red hair is a common trait among the Dutch. This historical term "Ang mo lang 紅毛人" continues to be used in the context of Taiwanese history to refer to Dutch people.
The Chinese characters for ang mo are the same as those in the historical Japanese term Kōmō (紅毛), which was used during the Edo period (1603–1868) as an epithet for (northwestern European) white people.



Don't mean disrespect to anyone.
Don't mean to throw no shade.

Just, telling you like it is.



*curtsy*
xx
sara