Wednesday, January 30, 2013

tick tock

I realised to day that I am 16 days away from my first valentine's day in a post-puberty mixed school

In primary school, valentine's day wasn't even a proper celebration of anything
I never even registered in my mind and if you asked me when it was i wouldn't have known at all

In Secondary school Valentine's day was basically friend's day so i'd write heart shaped cards to my friends and sometimes my teachers and give out chocolates and hugs

Who knows what it'll be like in JC?

reading writing and 'rithmetic

So because i am kind of free since school hasn't started (2 days left oh my)
i accompany my dad every Wednesday to teach the kids who come to our church for tuition

OK, so at first i was apprehensive because i'm pretty good at learning stuff but I've never really tried teaching.
I quickly proved that i wasn't that great at teaching because i was assigned to a group of P5 and P6 kids who had never done algebra (except for the P6 kid) and i was supposed to explain to them what algebra was
So i tried to tell them that in algebra, letters are numbers. So this letter (pointing to the y on their worksheet) can represent any number at all, from 0 to infinity. One very earnest boy in thick black spectacles caught on pretty fast, and so did the chatty girl next to me, but the last little squirrely looking boy just didn't get it and kept copying from black spectacles boy. Even after i explained it twice over, and even helped him do some of his exercises, he still didn't grasp it.
Luckily (for me) i was transferred then to the secondary group. I sat opposite a Sec 3 boy from China who did his work quickly and quietly and didn't ask me anything or talk to me at all even when i asked his name. I also sat next to a very sweet Chinese girl called Han Qian, who i helped with her Sec 3 amath. She was lovely and kept looking worried that she couldn't do this or that when it was all really careless mistakes.
It was really nice sitting next to her because we just talked and she's actually a really nice person.
I promised to lend her some of my old school notes and essays for stuff like social studies.

That was all last week

This week (today actually), i was first assigned to a VERY chatty girl called Swetha ("my friends call me sweetie pie") who we all thought was P2, until she told us that she was actually P3.
I helped her come up with a story for creative writing, diverting all her attempts to draw and colour in her characters ("you can do that later, Swetha")
In the end, she came up with the idea of a girl whose father makes a special medicine which she wasn't supposed to drink, and when she drunk it it caused her skin to turn green, which made her father jump in shock. Just as i was telling her that her character had to have a name and couldn't be called she, i was transferred to teach 2 sec 1 kids. The girl, Evi, was very friendly and told me all about herself.
But when i asked the boy questions, here's kind of how our conversation played out:

Me: "So, what's your favorite subject in school?"
Him: " I dunno"
Me: "Oh....So, what subject do you do best in?"
Him: "I dunno"
Me:"Oh....So, how may times have you come here before?"
Him: "I dunno"
Me (a little desperately): "Is this your first time or have you come before?"
Him: "I dunno"

Really? i felt like such a failure. I made them both do a composition, and marked it, and talked through their mistakes (which were mostly using the wrong tense for both of them, while the boy rushed the ending of his story so it was very disappointing because the beginning was quick interesting) Then i talked to the girl before they went into the room for a bible story.
I saw Swetha and my father still working on math so i went over, in time to hear my dad call her "Swetha...Sweetie Pie" and her indignant reply "No! Only my friends call my sweetie pie."

During Bible Story time Swetha was just as funny, asking for "The god to give us lots of food" when they asked for prayer requests

And when we drove home she was with her friends, dancing in the church canteen.

Wake up in the mornin'

(sorry for the trying to sound like ke$ha title i'm just in one of those moods)
anyway, what this post is REALLY about is my brother's problem with waking up in the morning
you see, ever since he started secondary school, he's expected to wake up by himself instead of my mum waking him up
this is also because his school is in (Oh my goodness) sembawang and so he has to wake up a 6 o clock to get the early train to school
So, my dad bought Tim his very own beepity beep alarm clock from Ikea, and Tim faithfully sets it for 6 every morning
when morning comes and his alarm clock sounds, he doesn't wake up
and the terrible thing is, I do.
So i'm lying there semi conscious, hearing this annoying beepity beep noise repeat itself over and over, and trying to will Tim to get up and shut it off
Usually he either
1) takes and AGE to get up and switch it off
2) doesn't wake up for so long that my mum comes to shut the infernal noise off
3) gets pushed/shoved/hit by a very grumpy half awake me and wakes up and turns it off (i promise this only happened once)
i suppose i am partly to blame for this problem
because i used to use and alarm clock when Tim didn't have to wake up at 6 o clock.
and so when my alarm went off, he could continue sleeping
And so while i blundered about in the mornings getting ready and stuff, he'd not hear a thing because he'd train himself to block out the sound so he could keep his precious 30 more minutes of sleep
and so i have made him immune to alarm clock noises
and now karma has worked it;s evil magic and i suffer in the mornings because of it
so please, do any of you have any suggestions on how to wake him up, aside from using beepity beep alarm clocks?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

just a thought

it has struck me how much i am made of other people
i mean obviously my mum and dad biologically made me
my habit of drinking water in the morning before i do anything is inherited from dear daddy
my rolling eyes at lameness is inherited from Hannah and developed (and perhaps perfected) by Tavi Gevinson
I started saying 'not even kidding' because i heard someone say it and thought it sounded cool
i had a phase of tapping the edges of my pointer fingers together when i was nervous because i saw it on TV once i think
i bite my lips (rather, chew my lips) because i saw Anne, the girl from the famous five books by Enid Blyton, do it once before she ran for help to save the rest of the gang.
I'm trying to find a piece of me that's totally original
It's kind of depressing when you realise you aren't your own person

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Alone on a wide wide sea

I recently came across this whale (pictured above), who has lived her entire life without a friend, a community, a lover.
She's all alone because she sounds different from all the other whales. While they call at between 12 and 25 hz, she sings at 52 hz, which is really low, just above the lowestr note on a tuba.
Theories about why she calls like that include the hypothesis that she is a hybrid between 2 species of whale, or that she is malformed, or even deaf.
But the fact remains that she keeps swimming in the wide wide sea, singing a song no one can hear, understand, or answer.

The original article is here:

Monday, January 21, 2013

On the Shoulders of Giants

Add caption

Yesterday night i stayed up late to watch the absolutely incredible match between Djokovic and Wawrinka.
It seemed like it would be another touch and go match, Djokovic is the world number one after all, and Wawrinka is seeded 17.
But it was a very tough fight
Wawrinka has an absolutely smashing serve and a really beautiful backhand, it reminds me of Federer's because it looks effortless yet it's powerful and effective
But Djokovic proved why he is number one and won 12-10 in the fifth set
It was a absolutely glorious game (i almost wrote simply glorious but then again it was far from simple)
Tennis at it's best, both of them riveted on the ball, committed to the game, determined to the last and great sportsmen.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Heaven is a place on earth with you

Andrew Quah really has very interesting observations
Like in Youth Camp, we went to a workshop called "would you go to heaven if God wasn't there?"
Which is a probing question in itself.
And he gave the perfect answer (In my opinion)

"Hell is described as a place without God.
Therefore, heaven without God would be hell."

Such intelligent simplicity.

And today (since i'm right now going through a lana del ray song phrase- Summertime sadness&videogamesss)

The line in video games "Heaven is a place on earth with you" reminded me of what he said

psalm 139

Auntie Peng asked us last week to think over psalm 139

"For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.My frame was not hidden from you 

  when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body;    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be."

Today when we talked about it in Sunday school (or rather didn't talk about it, we were quiet. Still, it's better than what it was last year), we talked about what it was like to be made in God's image and inherit his characteristics and being made for community which was all right
but when i thought about it on monday/tuesday (late monday night/early tuesday morning) i actually looked at it in a different, more personal aspect.
I thought about vanity and envy
because that week i'd been  kind of 'fan-girling' (i don't fan-girl but i don't really know the right word for what i was doing) over Elle fanning and her sister and basically half admiring half feeling jealous over their good looks (which, as you will see from the pictures below, is perfectly justifiable. they really do have very good genes) (sorry, a spate of pictures here but i told you, i was faux 'fan-girling')

And then when i did that passage, i thought about how god made me ME and well i'm made in his image and feeling jealous over other people's good looks is silly and ungrateful and superficial. SO i made a resolution.

I will accept that they are beautiful and that i will never be beautiful like that
And i will not care
Even if i think in my head 'i wish i could look like that' (it's probably inevitable for a while) i won't tell anyone, and just squash those thoughts and tell myself they are insignificant and hopefully they'll soon become non existent.

MBS sleepover number 2

This time the sleepover was different
there was still the celebration, especially since we were surprising Grace for her birthday
There was also the sense of weird detachment
i think i was trying to forcibly distance myself from my friends because i knew that i might not see some of them often
next year we'll be absorbed into creating new identities, finding places in the social fabric of junior college
so i apologies for me being anti social and painting in my journal and only taking 4 pictures

Hair chalking

I'm sorry but it just does not work
Maybe i bought lousy hair chalks (it was like $5 for a packet of about 18 i think)
so yes
which is sad because i was really looking forward to going out with 5 colours in my hair, just like that Mcfly song.

Friday, January 11, 2013


Honestly there is nothing like going back to secondary school to grind in the fact that you really have graduated.
I walked into school, feeling awkward and shy, like a sec one again. Everything was the same but i felt out of place. My uniform felt stiff and small on me (though the belt still hangs from my waist-they really need to improve their design of the uniform) and i didn;t know where to go or what to do (being 20 minutes too early to meet my friends)
Thankfully i met Kasee and we went on a tour of the school together. revisiting old places and trying not to look conspicuous.
Then i had lunch, which was Xia Mian, which i had dreamed of having but when i had it my stomach was doing flips and twists and the noodles tasted slimy and i returned my bowl half eaten and felt guilty over the children in north korea and africa
And then i trooped up to the hall with the rest of the sec 4s.
what happened in the hall is hard to explain
im not going to say my friends reactions because that would be a betrayal of confidence.
so i'll try to say what i felt instead of what i saw

Throughout the entire experience imagine dragons song AMERICA was playing through my head

"rise to the top of the world
america don't you cry
lift me up
give me strength to press on"

the first memorable emotion i can recall now was when they screened the valuable mention people (those who made good progress) because i saw a name of a friend and i was so pleased i literally felt my heart lurch with joy. After that i felt kind of electrified because it had begun
results revelation

And so i was eager

Then they screened the results for those who got 7 or more A1s. The first screen (filled with SY kids)
was tantalising and wonderful when i saw familiar names.
The second screen had a girl from my class
And i began to feel worried
It was selfish i know
but i felt sad and a curling up and dying inside me that said, nope miriam, you didn't make the cut. You aren't there, your chance is over. From your class only one made it
and it wasn't you.

And then

the next screen


I was so relieved The bit inside me that had begun to die sudden begun floating.
i literally had this feeling of myself filling with some kind of magical air or something thing made of pure happiness and gratitude it was incredible
and tears
i dont usually cry but
tears literally came into my eyes because i was so so so relieved

and then we had to collect our slips

and this is what was on mine

EMATH     A1
BIOLOGY          A1

so there it is.

and then began the bouts of comforting others, and celebrating with others.
And in the midst of all the screaming and the excitedness i heard a chorus of "MIRIAM!!!" and saw emily and the choir juniors upstairs waving at me and doing thumbs ups and it was so sweet and lovely to know i had support there :)
you are all amazing

i can't say anymore it wouldn't be authentic because the happiness isn;t exactly word worthy.

Thursday, January 10, 2013


I'm getting my O level results back in about 4 hours 15 minutes
save me

Monday, January 7, 2013

i'm limited so limited

WHAT WOULD I DO if i could if i weren't tied  down by money, afraid that i'd be plunged into poverty and be unable to do the things i like and slowly starve to death.

Well, i would be a writer when i felt like it

I would write books and give them to people

I would keep going to school so i could keep learning about the world because i think that's one of the most wonderful things-learning about all the secrets of this earth,

I would take biology AND history AND literature AND knowledge and inquiry AND chemistry AND geography AND mathematics in junior college because results wouldnt matter so i would be able to learn all of them all the time and now have to confine myself to becoming a humanities student or a science student because i want to learn all of it

I would travel to africa and america and paris and other places taste their food and immerse myself in their culture

I would own many many pets in an absolutely BIG BIG house.

I would have an absolutely BIG BIG house and i would design every room

I would have seven children and not worry about feeding them all.

I would wear beautiful dresses everyday and not worry about the cost because there would BE no cost

I'd work in a hospital and a modelling agency and be an air hostess and be a minister of parliament and a journalist all at the same time (while being a writer)

I do think money ruins alot of things

For all anyone knows i might end up being a secretary to a horrible man with a pot belly, staring at the screen all day and writing endless meaningless things like
"28y9258`3948y`p33u53981p35831p8 positive transaction bankruptcy 49671[346901[-2490501325ui32[139025u[1235u negative HTML error
75030303321035971-359032190 addition minus subtraction032849`]
328`5-132895132 over charge
38`-329125p percentage increase

and all the time be wishing i could go back to my children and my cats and my half finished book manuscript.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

When i grow up

I've decided that when i grow up i want to be a writer
i will write stories, fictional stories about people whose lives i imagine, or imagined lives of people i know.
Of course, i'll have to be something else too, like a nurse or a journalist or a grocer or a radiologist.
But on the way home from work, or when i'm on holiday, or after i meet someone who understands me, or after a heartbreak, or after a burst of happiness, or after i say goodnight to my kids, I'll curl up somewhere with my cat exploring my shoulders and write about myself and the people i love, but in different bodies, times and instances.



Sometimes i wonder if i live enough or if i live too much
i wander about and think thoughts
as i walk and i try to find someone who thinks the same thoughts
and i wonder

How can anyone ever think the same as i do
and how can he love me
if he doesn't understand
that i need to think through every bit of the world?
i need to turn it over in my head and taste it for what it is

maybe it's because i'm away from school and not learning all i can
that i've been recently feeling a longing for a life that is lived in careless abandon
even though i know that that life
is wasted
and not for me

Youth Camp 2012

Camp this year honestly started bad.

I knew that people were going to camp at 2 pm but i didn't know i had to so i decided to wait until Hannah went.

Until i got a call from Gloria. And realised i was like 2 hours late. So i plodded to the bus stop. And then got a call from Gloria saying they were picking me up (it would be faster) so i began walking back home. And it started Pouring

Literally pouring

I took off my shoes to stop them from getting wet but by the time i got home my entire bag was soaked and i had to rush upstairs to get a new one and transfer most things to the new bag.

But that was nothing because when i got to camp i realised they'd held up their meeting and everything just because i was late. Which made me feel horrible and selfish.

Still, things picked up after that because i had the most lovely room mates and we just went crazy and laughed till we cried. I honestly was so happy i had such funny people in my room that first night because it helped me relax and forget about all the frazzle and frenzy of the afternoon. And before we slept aaron fongcame to practice for worship the next day and day 3 and we were all relieved that he wasn't unsure despite missing practices. On the contrary he was superb, so we didn't have to worry.

The next day the campers were coming in, and i met my group, the smurfs :)

Nathaniel Raj
Ming Kai
Joshua Yap
+Sze Ern

It was a bit daunting because this was my first year as an 'older youth' (which i was continually reminded of) and so i was supposed to look after the younger girls. Still, at least i knew who they were from my mum's sunday school class, so i didn;t feel too estranged or weird around them.

Still, new groups always take time to get used to, which was basically what day 1 was about.

(I'm sorry, writing this so long after it actually happened means i can't really remember what did happen)

Oh, i forgot.

There was an ice breaker game which i really loved which was where you paired up with a friend and linked arms. and the catchers had to try to catch the runners who could be 'safe; by linking on to person A's arm then person B (who was linked to person A) would become a runner and be vulnerable. I thought it was good because you got to talk to different people a lot. Unfortunately at one point i didn;t get that you couldn't link to the same person twice (which was why i left you hanging there toby i'm sorry haha) But it was still fun anyway.

The other best thing about Day 1 (and for me, this was the best thing in the whole of camp) was the worship

Gloria was the worship leader for that day and the songs she chose and the way the musicians played was so amazing, no technical mistakes at all, just magical. But what was even greater was what God did. Just before worship, we had a big problem. The mikes didn't work because there was a problem with the mike wires, even the spares we brought from church, and the guitar amp couldn;t plug into the house, which meant it would be softer than usual. It was really worrying because all the time spent calling Kevin (who was already very stressed as camp comm) and frantically plugging things here and there meant time gone from practice, and less time till showtime.

Because i don't really understand how things plug in for all the amps etc, i decided to just kneel and pray, because that was the best help i could give. I told God how much we wanted this to be a good worship set, to left the campers spirits and prepare them for 4 days of learning about God. Ho we wanted to showcase His power and love and how the wires and stuff were distracting and troubling. I asked him, if it was in His plan, to fix it please.

And he did.

Just like that, the mike wires worked

It was magnificent. God was absolutely magnificent.

And worship later was magnificent too. I really felt God there, enveloping me, loving me, soaking in every note we sang. It was so beautiful.

I don;t know if i will ever top that worship set. It was the closest to God i have ever felt in my life, the time i felt His Him-ness most. But it's definitely a worship set i'm not going to forget in a hurry

The next day, we had WET GAMES, which are always fun.

Smurfs made SO many water balloons which Joy and I transported by slinging them onto our blue flag, and staggered with it on our shoulders (encountering Anders who wasn't even breaking a sweat even though he was carrying a huge bag of water balloons). Still, it was worth it because when we got there we had enough water bombs for me to make

plus soaking the tmnt flag :)

But that was the high point of day 2 and things went steadily down hill after that

Day 2 worship was the most unprepared worship set ever because we had had alot of trouble finding a pianist. Joy eventually volunteered (thank God for her) but we only had the short half hour before worship to practice. We tried and tried to get everything to an acceptable standard, with smooth transitions and as little technical errors as possible. Gloria was lovely and helped me fixed my slides while i struggled to get the team to smooth out all the problem areas. But i still didn;t feel convinced that we could do a good job.

And, no surprise, nothing turned out as i hoped. We made so many technical errors, i came in wrong for my favorite song of the set, and by the time we reached the camp theme song i was just wishing God would cause a power cut or something so we wouldn;t have to continue. But I'm not a chandler for nothing and so i stuck my chin out and endured it. But i loathed every minute of it. I was so daunted by the mistakes, and what was worse was looking into the audience and seeing bored, tired faces. I felt like i had let the campers, my worship team, my sister and God down. And as Ollie prayed before the message i just plugged out everything, cursed myself and tried my hardest not to cry.

Going to camp comm debrief was hard that night, but the criticism wasn;t that hard because i knew i deserved it. I told Christy, Emly and Gloria how depressed i felt and they were a great comfort, but i still felt ashamed. It's the kind of feeling you get when you fail a subject and you can't look your teacher in the eye because you know she expected better.

But life goes on in camp and next day was THE amazing race. Last year was the greatest amazing race of all time (in my opinion) and i was excited to see how this year's one turned out.

Unfortunately it rained.

Chirsty, Emily and I decided to leave early with Ollie when it looked like the rain wouldn't let up, to get supplies for Toby's surprise birthday party. I was sneezing and sneezing (because of the rain) and feleing and fizzy in my head, but it was very fun going to clementi mall with cheez and em and looking at delicious cakes and buying gingerbread things for people and a slice of cake for Joy because she was such a superb group leader i don't know how to fully write my appreciation  but she really was amazing, taking on all the group leader duties alot of the time because Nathaniel wasn't as experienced, being so prepared and writin cheer sheets and everything, looking out for the younger girls and at the same time always being ready for a chat with juslyn and I, and even giving up her prom to stay with the group. She was just fantastic.

The night was  really strange i felt like i was floating around all the time not in a good way. I kept sneezing and i had to leave twice during Ollie's message to go to the toilet and hoard more tissues. And later during group discussion i almost fell asleep (unheard of!) i woke up thrice that night, soaked in sweat, but shivering, and i was so glad there was that bolster between cheezty and me so she wouldn;t (or would be less likely to) catch my germs.

Unfortunately waking up so many times at night meant i absolutely conked out during the morning and i woke up too late for the morning meeting and cheezty and juslyn had gone to prepare for toby without me, which for some reason i was very worried about (not everyone needs you miriam) and i hurried to help them stick balloons up in the canteen and then bring them back up and stick them around the table outside our dorms.

Still, i was really happy that christy was so happy that Toby had a birthday 'surprise' (although he accidentally stumbled right into it and had to be told to go down and come up again)

I honestly can't remember much of what happened after that except
1) playing cheat with the smurfs plus anders (i won)
2) having an absolutely fantastic group discussion session with caleb yap. He explains things so well and i can still remember his analogy on renewing our minds is like refreshing a laggy computer page (not opening another page but refreshing an existing one) and his discussion session made me convicted to start to make make christ my ultimate treasure as a new year resolution.
3) Planning madly for the skit and then rushing to the boys dorms for worship practice
4) moving all the worship equipment to the wonderful new talent night hall after being chased out of the old one by a crabby old man (Who said "OK?!?" with a face that aaron fong imitated with hilarious results)

Talent night was as talent night is. funny, embarassing and tear jerking to different degrees.

and candle fight was wonderful. There was almost a 'build up' just like in a novel, where we trekked through the 'jungle' to get to the quarry which looks marvellous, day and night, and all lighted our candles and let loose!

Jeremiah 9:24 "But let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me,
that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness,  justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord. "
This camp definitely let me know more about God, let me see him in the people around me, let me hear him through the messages, let me show him as i tried to live as his imitator, and let me feel him in a way i've never felt before.