Reprieve

another summer break signaling another year gone by – likely the most challenging one i’ve had yet in this small lifespan of mine. i’ve sadly lost so many things in the short course of this year, but thankfully a lot of time was spent dreaming. and yet more importantly i’m learning how difficult it is to put into practice any lessons learned. but more on those another time… it would be nice to take a small break from those thoughts for a while.

i’m finally home for summer break, after a week or so tying up loose ends in NYC and another week spent on holiday with kafka, where i slept away almost every hour of each day. as always it is great to be back but this time it feels different. i almost feel like my time spent in malaysia is on some kind of a quota, and it’s running out. that’s a silly thing to say, i know, because i could be here for good after graduation, but who knows if that’s for sure? yes, yes, we are in control of our own lives and we all should do what we want to do, but the question is when exactly do we do what we want to do?

every year when i come back my grandmother looks thinner and thinner. she’s been on a speaking strike for some time now, but today i got her to call me by my name through bribing her with a ham cheen paeng, one of her favourite things to eat. it was a small triumph but i can’t help but wish really hard that all those years ago when i was 12 i’d gone to eat porridge with her at the little restaurant next to the bus station under the hotel in genting. but she’s got soul, and she’s a soldier.



12 Comments

S

Use the quota well – might be too late for porridge now, but do cherish the ham cheen paeng moments : )
Going back ‘for good’ seems like such an eternity to spend time back home, but things are never the same again when loved ones move on.
Here’s to grandmothers and all the lost time : )

Why is she on a speaking strike? And shouldn’t the romanisation be, ham cheeM paeng?

ah, free will. are we even choosing? after i bought into the philosophical idea of determinism a few years ago, i stopped kidding myself that i’m in control, but the illusion is certainly empowering. have you seen synecdoche, new york? it was a life-changing film for me.

Good question. What do we want to do?

Glad to hear you are back home. Enjoy your time there! Then go kick ass at your internship. :)

Christina

“..but the question is when exactly do we do what we want to do? ”

All the time =), because you assimilate.

“we all should do what we want to do”- to a certain extent, yes, but the older i get, the more i feel that in some instances, life will gently guide you to where you belong, and you will know it when you’re there.

if not, there’s always ham cheen paeng to munch along the way (or gigantic pretzels if you’re back in nyc) :P

quaintly

S: stretching out the minutes as far as i can, yes :) though porridge moments are irreplaceable

k0k: hmm! you might be right. i always thought it was cheen as in deep fried :p and no havent watched synecdoche ny but i’ve heard many good things about it. perhaps that shall be my next long haul flight companion. and i think choice and determinism don’t necessarily cancel each other out!

michelle: hopefully that becomes clear

jian wei: ei you faster kam bek also la! where is your natl loyalty :p

christina: hmm i dont know if it’s always so clearly defined :(

jun: i used to feel that way too, but these days i’m realizing that some small amount of early preparation goes a long way. and i hate (nyc) pretzels! ham cheen/m paeng all the way :D

Hey Su Ann,

Hope you’re well. It’s been a very-very long time since I last commented on your blog, it’s great to come back a year or so later and find you’re still here. Hope your life is treating you well and the past year has been full of opportunities and happiness. Keep it up :)

Dakota

This is in relation to your post subsequent to this one. I think you shouldn’t consider yourself as weak for feeling that way. The truth is in almost on our relation with human beings, there’s not one where it can be 100% honesty. That’s what I believe, because our words and actions are always interpreted relative to the listener’s interest or values. And the people in the world is somehow like a crowd of actors and actresses, each seeing themselves as playing the central role. So in a way, the other person is always perceived as supporting actor or actress to the persona’s narrative. I don’t know what I said here sounds like it makes any sense, but I hope it does.

With regards :)

Oh what I’m saying is that whatever you’re feeling now, is a desire that each of us have, the need to have our existence understood, an affirmation of our individuality and person, so that the our whole project called life, will not end up being futile or lose its meaning :)

Xor

how silly… understanding one’s existence only through something outside of oneself. but that’s just how i was built, incredibly weak like that. —-> everyone does that including you. i think you need more pondering on this.

quaintly

dakota, hey you, long time no see! hope all is going well. :)

db, your thoughts are so eloquently put. thank you for sharing them with me! they’re very comforting on this quiet morning. btw i never knew you read my blog! it’s nice to encounter you here. :)

xor, hmm, ever read any descartes? :) also, just because “everyone does it”, doesn’t mean it’s not weak, right?

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