Stolen moments

The human mind as usual, is complex.

My own mind, burns with cold logic and rationality on most days, and stays insufferably confused in that minority, when muddled emotions skitter around in an uncertain manner.

Reading old diary entries makes me realise again, just exactly how much one’s memories fade over the years. The present is moulded by decisions from the past, and it’s fascinating to see how unconscious habits of today were consciously shaped by decisions I made so long ago.

Take for instance, the way I stylise a particular name on the annual birthday cards. I’d always assumed it was a whimsical thing I did on the fly, but the entry I reread last night, makes it clear that I’d actually given thought into the initial design, a good twenty years ago. I’m mildly impressed with 17 year old me.

“But one thing that really captivates me is her smile. Or her laugh, for that matter. Watching her really makes me forget my own problems.”

Of course, nothing ever goes quite the way we want it to, especially the tender unrequited dreams of youth. We’ve all grown up and moved on, and life continues at its own pace.

At the same time, I guess some things never really change.

I told Stan about my theory the other day, about how one’s spouse is never the perfect half, the romantic “You complete me” moment of realisation we hear about in Hollywood, when one person finds his soulmate. I’ve never quite had that, and I suspect most other people don’t. I make it work by spending time with other wonderful souls, those lovely people that complete me in their own special way.

To be clear, I’m not alluding to any form of physical communion –too much of that excessively principled boy who’s always fearful of doing the wrong thing, remains in me to ever attempt something fatally irresponsible– but rather something more spiritual. It’s the simple joys of enjoying each other’s company. The warmth of reunion in a hug. Reliving shared memories, ranting about life. The fun in singing a duet just right. The pleasure of sharing good food together. Smiling at old punchlines, or that well-remembered pout that makes me fondly smile. The satisfaction of a deep conversation, something that goes beyond the usual banal topics. Being able to trust and confide, share little secrets you can’t tell anyone else. Chuckling at a good joke you can both appreciate equally well. Looking into someone’s eyes and just listening, without judging. Being able to agree at times, disagree at others, and also share a viewpoint without being overly insistent on being right. Laughter and smiles, thoughtful gestures, simple yet priceless gifts I hold so dear.

I call them stolen moments, a reprieve from my daily grind.

Honestly, I count myself a lucky man. Most married men never get the luxury of having relationships like these. They devote themselves to their other half, and that’s that.

I have an understanding spouse, two children who have turned out pretty well so far, a decent job, and life in a country I’ve always hoped to live in someday.

And I have these other people I share something special with.

Life is never simple, isn’t it? I feel like I’m in one of the best situations I could have ever hoped for, but yet I dream about something that will never come into being. The only time I can consummate such fancies, is in the hidden domain of my nocturnal dreams, where I can live out those irrational lives and pretend it is all real. Just for those brief moments.

I remain thankful of their presences in my life, and will do all I can to keep things as they are.

It doesn’t stop those dreams, however. And I suspect it never quite will.

If my kids ever read this, just know that I kept my old diaries, so that you can read them and perhaps gain a measure of understanding about how your father was like, and how his thoughts shaped the person he eventually came to be.

Signing off in the manner of old, NMTR.

(No More To wRite. Why the R, and not a W, young me?)

17 Nov 2018, on board a flight home.


I fear death less, than the moment of realisation, when it is all too apparent, that my mind, nay, my memory becomes nothing but an empty white canvas.

Family, friends, love, everything I hold dear, anything I hold of regard, even the matters I loathe – all of it fading into obscurity, a haze that the mind struggles to remember once existed.

Truly, death would be sweet release, compared with the agony of living, and not remembering. The monotony of existence, without experience.

Would there even be remembered pain, if I am but a fleshly automaton, doomed to repeat the same motions incessantly, without the volition to better the self?

As that day creeps ever closer, I can do nothing but live my days out the best I can. To be true to the self, to live without regrets. To roll with every punch, to laugh at every unexpected blessing, to be thankful, and bask in the mundane ordinariness that a simple, uninterrupted routine brings.





A work in progress.

Sidenote: this is my very first post using Gutenberg. Should be interesting ten years down the track.

On to the main thought at hand.

I’m 37 this year, and despite past years of seasoning, frustration still threatens to break my sense of composure at times.

Frustration with the way things are progressing, ever so slowly. Frustration with the pace other people work at. I’ve learnt that everyone has their own pace, and their own priorities in life, but it doesn’t make things any easier.

I feel the seconds ticking by, and my life slowly vanishing, bit by bit. There could be so much more, but I’m bound up in unseen chains, waiting upon the whims and wills of many others.

There is merit in patience, in discussion and exchange of ideas, and in thoroughness. I get all of that.

I’m not the impatient youth of yesteryear.

No longer that kid, who blitzed through his exam papers as quickly as he could, because that was how he worked.

No longer that thoughtless youngster, who raged at the corporate workplace, because the right thing was never done, and seldom rewarded, if ever.

The years have imparted through painful experience, a modicum of patience. That the fastest, isn’t always the best.

No matter – I still chafe at the invisible bonds.

WJ tells me, it gets easier as we get older. How he’s feels almost zen-like at 39. I can only hope that I get there, someday.

Unrelated: here’s one of my favourite quotes.

“Death is lighter than a feather. Duty, heavier than a mountain.”

― Robert Jordan, The Eye of the World

A busy Celtics day.

Where to begin? I had a very good stretch of sleep last night (eleven hours), so woke up feeling pretty refreshed and then, the news hit.

Rondo’s ACL tear basically kicked my corner of the internet into a frenzy, so the bulk of my day was spent talking with fellow fans on Twitter and Facebook, shoring up the media presence while feeling a little dejected at the way this season is going. (And of course, attending to work as well.)

I’d just finished a post on the Rondo-less Celtics, so this will go online tomorrow. A similar post will be online (hopefully soon) at US Sports Down Under, so we’ll see how much reach the content has.

Time for the Celtics to get their act together and make a final run. I’m not bearing high hopes on Banner 18, but let’s look for a good playoffs run at the least. Cautious optimism, that’s how I see it. One step at a time.

(And damn, it means I’m never going to be seeing Rondo on my trip in March.)

Get well soon Rondo, I’m looking forward to seeing you on the court once more.

A reminder of school.

So I got an invitation from an ex-classmate to attend the secondary school’s Founders Day in March, which I had to decline because:

  1. I’m not in Singapore, and
  2. I’ll be in the States at that time.

A real pity, because I would absolutely kill to go. Okay, maybe not kill. Would you accept everything short of that? I really wanted an excuse to visit the place, and this sounded like a first-class reason. Hell, I’m being invited!

It’s been years since I last returned to Ngee Ann, and I know I’d absolutely enjoy walking around the place once more. The place that holds so many fond memories, those years that left an indelible impression in my life, and –of all the educational institutions I’ve attended– the one that’s had the most impact on my life. The teachers, the friends, the fun things we did, so much of it is still stuck in my mind on an endless loop.

Perhaps I’ll get another chance to get back to school. Until then, Ngee Ann lives in my fondest memories, along with all the dearly beloved people from way back.

I miss you all.

The one about the rotator cuff.

It sure seems like childcare is taking its toll on my body. Funny how various bits and pieces are breaking down after I began this stint. If you skip the tendonitis on my left knee (old injury), I’ve got my lower back, a wonky right knee (recovered), a shaky left ankle (sometimes) and now a possibly torn rotator cuff. It had been going on and off for a while (I kept thinking it was because of my sleeping posture), but it’s gotten pretty bad right now.

If I had to rate this pain on a 1 to 10 scale where 1 was an antbite and 10 was extreme kill-me-right-now pain, this would be a 5. I could probably grit my teeth and ignore it, but it is bad enough right now to cause noticeable discomfort.

Symptoms: Pain when moving right shoulder forwards and backwards. Pain when moving arm upwards. Did not lift heavy objects with sharp pains being felt. Did not lift heavy objects with right arm – weird no? I’m a left-hander, and I carry Elly with my left arm most of the time too.

Self-diagnosis: Degenerative rotator cuff partial tear. Probably not a full-tear.

Treatment: No effing idea. According to the unreliable internet, stimulating blood flow is a must. Physiotherapy is recommended, surgery in extreme cases.

End of basketball for the rest of the year, possibly? I would really hate for this to happen, but damn.

(I’ll play one-handed if I have to. With a shoulder brace dammit.)

(Unless I was ordered to stay off basketball or risk permanent injury.)

Baby steps: The fever continues.

So, fevers are common in the young. Which means I can look forward to days like these for a very long time.

It’s a good thing the children’s hospital (RCH) is pretty close if anything happens, all that’s left is to try and bring the temperature down while getting on with life. Like William said, it’s a part of life so I guess I just need to suck it up like the rest of them suffering parents out there.

Days like these make me wonder how my mum managed to get through it all. Like honestly, effing fevers on and off all the time, for years? FFS this is a ridiculous phase that gnaws on the nerves if nothing else.

The thermometer is going to be an unexpectedly good friend in the days ahead.

I am very thankful that I read Secrets of the Baby Whisperer, and that it stuck around in my head long enough to remember the golden mantra – when the baby is unsettled, take a step back and analyze the action/reaction instead of endlessly trying something in the hope that one would work.

V was getting upset with Elly because she kept squirming and crying in V’s arms. So I took over, tried the same tack (which of course did not work). I noticed she kept moving like she wanted to get out of my arms ASAP, so instead of getting offended I placed her on the beanbag to see what would happen. She turned on her side and immediately went into the sleep routine.

It turned out that she was feeling too hot, which made total sense. How would you like to be cuddled by someone when you’re feeling all too hot, and all you want to do is to sleep?

Good book, plenty of very useful tips. Hopefully I’ll continue to keep this in mind, and observe with an objective mind rather than having preconceptions. (This applies to everything in life.)