sample text from ben lmao
i had a mostly nice day today, got out of bed around 7.30am and left the house by 8.30am. i found a table by the window at berwick street and ben came by later, i wrote 600 + words today, but had to compensate for yesterday when i did absolutely nothing (tuesday), and then the day before on monday i wrote 1000+ words, but that had to compensate for not doing anything on sunday. it was colder today than it had been recently, but in the afternoon the light was nice and ben and i walked back to my flat so i could grab food before going to see the doctor

lee kuan yew died on sunday night and it's surreal to recall that when i'm looking for specific quotes in his lectures, that i'm reading the words of a dead man. i don't think i really cared to think about singapore in political terms, before my internship with the ips. that summer i read all of his memoirs, and felt especially touched by his relationship with his wife. i was sitting in bed checking twitter when i saw the tweet by the PMO announcing his death, and i found myself crying and felt surprised; i thought i would cry, but i didn't think i actually would, organically, without trying to move myself to grief. that night i felt grateful to be living in a flat with other singaporeans, i opened my door and said hey, lee kuan yew passed away. i've mentioned this to other friends who aren't singaporeans and they've seemed unsympathetic, which i can understand i guess. if i were in singapore right now i'd want to be placing flowers at the parliament house, i don't care if there's a queue. i wish i were in singapore right now, reading straits times articles like the one announcing the 24 hour mrt service. it feels beautiful to know that a nation can rally around a death as important as his, and remain respectful in spite of everything he might have done. i just opened another article and saw a picture of his coffin and tears welled up - i want to think abt this more at some point, to understand why the death of someone i've never met makes me cry/affects me in a way i don't think i've felt before

lately i've been thinking about the use of the word 'friend', how that seems to cast a wide net over the number of people i know, and yet when i think about trying to tell someone something important i feel lazy, or exhausted, or anticipate not getting the sympathetic reaction that i desire. also don't want to go out of my way to make someone else care about something that only affects me, also the realisation that as much as i might instinctively want to be understood, i don't really need to. i have this space i guess, when i type things here i feel like i understand myself better, and maybe that is as good as speaking to someone else

anyway this morning i had an email that was like thank you for submitting we will be accepting your piece for our journal. and then i thought about the afternoon i wrote that piece, how time slips away when i write, it's like when ben and i talked about our flying dreams, how we are almost always doing a swimming motion, because that's how your body remembers it, floating as though suspended in air, fully in control and able to go anywhere. that's how writing feels like to me

for dinner today i ran out of dumplings and tofu king, so i tossed frozen edamame into the hot pan and then cracked three eggs into it, and put a lot of lao gan ma and my leftover kimchi and i've been working on my dissertation since, just rearranging sentences and trying to be concise. it's so easy to be like 'blah blah blah + three complex ideas woven into one sentence that runs over six lines' & then it takes a while to shave that down. my sleep has been bad lately, i didn't sleep last night - just closed my eyes and let images swim around, unable to regulate body temperature normally again which is why i went to the doctor today. my laptop is running out of battery and i think i'm going to stop looking at my dissertation word document, it is somehow 10pm. i'm at about 4000 words, i think i will be fine as long as i don't panic. finished season five of good wife today and i'm going to watch the first episode of fresh off the boat now it looks good and funny jessica huang is how i want to look like when i'm a wife except i don't think i'll ever have glossy straight asian hair that i can toss over my shoulder when i'm angry


parking at one of the cafes at ucl while waiting for ben to walk here to meet me. this morning i met one of my tutors, i've been meeting him every week to speak to him about the progress of my essay. while walking here i realised i hadn't talked abt the trip i took with my class to berlin and i want to write the things i remember about it while i can still remember

one of the nicest things about the trip - which was for the elcs7001 module, citizenship memorialisation and modernity: the case study of berlin - was the fact that i got to hang out with a bunch of cool people i probably wouldn't have gotten to know if we hadn't gone on the trip together. i recall taking the train to the airport, getting frantic at london bridge because trains to gatwick kept appearing but the ticket that our tutor gave us was for a specific company's trains.. after getting on, i suddenly remembered that i was going to spend the next few days with people i wasn't close to - besides chris - but that thought felt ok. i think the reason for that was bc of the framework of the trip - having a stipulated purpose, it wasn't something we could opt in / out of, most of the days were guided, and i guess everyone was equally unfamiliar with everyone else. after the first day or so when everyone started warming up it felt really nice, like a sense of solidarity and camaraderie that i haven't felt since maybe junior college, when you had a 'class' that you belonged to and had to do things in that group

on the first night we got to the hostel around 5pm, i had been up since 7am and felt exhausted, but after putting our things down our tutor said he wanted to take us on a walk around unter den linden, and so we marched out in the cold and stood outside the reichstag, then walked towards the brandenburg gate etc. all the way towards museum island. i did german in year one and year two, and it was nice getting to flex that part of my memory, glimpses of comprehension when we walked past signs that point to the bibliothek etc. i feel good about my mandarin classes this year, but i guess the fact that all six/seven of us - singaporeans/hongkong ppl from arts and sciences - requested to switch out of whatever language we were doing back into our mother tongue, without realising that other ppl had also requested to do the same points to the way languages are taught at ucl. feel strongly that two hours a week is insufficient. sometimes i think, am i getting too old, is there a point at which my learning is going to stop - when i won't have the time to do the things i want to do - are these all the languages i will ever know. i keep thinking that i want to spend a year somewhere, germany or china or taiwan doing language study, but also i need to shelf thinking abt future for now, and finish essays.

anyway on our way towards the pizza restaurant we stopped outside the Neue Wache, where the kathe kollwitz memorial statue was located. the statue depicts a mother cradling her (presumably dead) son. in the weeks before the trip, i had begun doing readings/research re: what exactly i wanted to write about for my research project/essay, and had toyed with the idea of writing abt the representation of females and maternal feminism - in particular the installation of this statue is problematic bc it doesn't distinguish between the different victims - the victims of the holocaust, the fallen soldiers, the victims of the gdr period - of the different wars in germany, it lumps them all together as one uniform group, also the space is problematic bc it is a site linked to prussian/german imperialism & the celebration of state power.. but walking up to the statue, even tho it felt touching and i felt angered it also didn't feel any kind of inspiring, like if i wrote a 4,000 words on this subject i would just be regurgitating existing arguments & not doing anything interesting or new

so on the second last day before we left/thursday we were given the late morning & afternoon off to go wherever we wanted to.. in the morning we met a woman at bernauer strasse who gave us a walking-lecture/tour. it was so cold, i stamped my feet a lot and drifted away from the group, looking at the different blocks of flats and tried imagining what it would be like to live here. felt unable to concentrate, kept drinking from my 2l bottle of water and had to pee every half an hour. after our seminar i left the group - and there's always that immediate relief, when you're finally alone, which speeds up into determination/motivation to get whatever you wanted to done

i took the train down to the zoo. i think i had told some people i wanted to go, but no one else wanted to/got disparaging looks from the other chaperone. i joined the queue for the admission tickets and then walked through the gates alone, and it felt so good to do that. also, walking around and looking at the different animals felt like i was walking through a tunnel that took me back to when i was small, holding someone's hand and running around in the heat. i don't remember the last time i went to the zoo, maybe ten years ago. spending the whole afternoon alone was nice. i sat down in the primate house for a while, watching the monkeys scream. i think what i like, about being alone, is not talking. like it's nice not to have to communicate i think, bc so often that requires more effort than i would like

i really like the sand cat and also the orangutan is so bizarre like why don't they just cut its hair instead of letting it drag all that extra weight around like a giant smelly mop

anyway when i got back to london i decided to switch my topic from the kathe kollwitz statue to writing abt the zoo, and my tutor was hesitant at first and unsure if i would be able to have enough material to write about, but now i've finished my essay, and this module / the trip / the essay is one of the best things i did this term


i didn't finish typing this post and now it is the next day (thursday) i didn't sleep well last night, but got up at seven anyway and then sat at timberyard working on my dissertation. for a while i kept thinking 'six weeks' that's a while, but then i counted the number of days and it's 38, that's really not a lot. i wrote up a chapter then walked to school to see my dissertation supervisor. i made myself tell him when i disagreed with what he was saying (the previous time we met i just fumed quietly in my seat) and it turned out to be an encouraging and constructive session. and he said he was looking forward to read it

about berlin - the first time i went to berlin was in 2011, with adele & zhuox & huishan etc, four years ago really. when i return to a place that i have been to before - but a place that i'm still not familiar with - i can feel myself trying to match photographs to reality, and also memory - separate from images, like just a feel/instinct i think - to where i'm at, like when i walked around wannsee conference hall, i remember feeling very affected and crying the last time i was there, but this time i felt like i was detached from the parsing of the texts i was reading. later, lucy arrived and we walked out of the entrance to the lake at the back of the estate. it was so nice, nearly six pm, i forget how calming water surfaces can be. the way it feels endless, lapping at the edges, there wasn't anyone else around and for a long time lucy and i sat quietly looking out towards the lake. it was really nice seeing lucy, when i / she first came (back) to the uk she would sometimes stay in my dorm room in schafer, and while hanging with her i realised that i no longer distinguish between internet/irl friends, like what 'internet friends' really means is that we became acquainted via twitter/tumblr but like, i see them as often as people i met irl. we took a bus and then a train back to lucy's and had dinner together, lucy is living the dream i want to live in berlin with my bf too

i'm sitting at yumchaa, it's 16:28 and today the sky has been the same shade of light grey all day, like you can't tell where the sun is or the direction of the light, and it makes me feel like leaving for somewhere else without telling anyone. after posting this i will try to write the next chapter of my dissertation, maybe i can get another 1000 words in. yesterday night i knocked on jy's room to ask him a question, and carrot was like i don't think he's in, it's wednesday he has bible study, and then carrot and i ended up talking for nearly five hours. for a while at first i felt aware that i wanted to go back to my room to work on my dissertation but then i was like i haven't had the time to hang out w rot i can make up for it tmr (which i did)

i checked mediafire n it seems like quite a number of ppl downloaded the last ebook i did a link to so i am going to upload the kindle version of another book that i read recently and loved so much i hope you like it too

dept of speculation by jenny offill (mediafire epub)

this book is so beautiful, i'm happy i have a physical copy of it (feel bad uploading free content but i want to share but also if you like it please consider supporting her/buying a physical copy)

my tickly cough is getting better

this week is the last week of final/third year, today i was walking towards the library, and noticed that the construction on the corner where waterstone's is has finally been completed; for a while pedestrians weren't allowed to walk on that side of the road, but i would forget, cross over, then have to cross back to the other side after being told that i wasn't allowed to pass. in first year, the building opposite schafer house had been covered in stilts all year round; one day i looked up and there were dark glass windows extending into the sky. the thing about still being here, is that while i know that i will miss all of this in time to come, i can't feel it yet, i don't know what i'll miss. and with exams & essays coming up that's all i've been thinking about, and looking forward to plans for summer, while living here is slipping by so quickly. i guess that's all i really wanted to say, i wanted to type something while this is still the present, for me to look back on when it's over. as though this could serve as some form of consolation, so in the future when i sigh and say i miss london and being a student so much! i can also say, but the whole time, towards the end of it, at least i knew i would miss it!

there was one day this week, when i woke up later in the morning, and i woke up feeling like i was back at hartham house with rowan, when i would wake up after staying up late, the house empty because she had already left for work, waking up to the spring sunlight falling in thick lines through the blinds. it felt like there was no one else around in the flat, and i wouldn't have wanted anyone else to be there to interrupt it. and for a moment there you feel like you can do anything

i keep thinking that i want to be able to construct a house/space that i will be happy in, and now that i have lived in different places for a little bit i have a stronger sense of the things i would like to set as basic conditions, but really all i want is for my bed to be next to a window that lets the morning light fall through, and a kitchen that's large enough for me to cook in without elbowing someone else in the face. thinking about this makes me think about where i'll be next year, but that's still vague and i don't want to think about it yet. although, there's this part in 'preparation for the next life' where zou lei talks about how they would spend so much time outlining the fantasy of a future: they would get married, she would get immigration papers, he would no longer be sad about the war. they would be happy together. ben and i do this sometimes: we'll get to be in the same place, we'll both have jobs and get to live in a place where it's only chilly sometimes and there are 7/11s round the corner where you can get fishballs and chicken nuggets and the food markets close late so we'll have places to get snacks when we're hungry. i'll have the time to write and read and he'll have the time to play video games and work won't be depressing or sad and we won't be exhausted when we come home. but of course that's a dream, the same way this year is/was a dream that will be drawing to a close soon, and for all i know we won't be in the same place after this year ends, and we'll have to make some hard decisions. ben is always like it'll work out don't worry, and i'm like, okay we'll see what happens and figure things out then

really like preparation for the next life and would highly recommend it to anyone. i read it on my kindle, here is a mediafire link to download an epub of it if anyone wants to read it preparation for the next life (epub) free download (lmao) the way i send an epub to my kindle is with this website

don't think i've ever written about my skin before, which is funny bc it's a big part of my life, being itchy and allergic to a million things. when i imagine myself in someplace new - when i go to another city - i forget that i will still be itchy there :) sensitive to a lot of things like dust in old places and a lot of times i wake up and there are little dots of blood on my bedsheet from when i scratched myself in my sleep. whenever i get new bedsheets i'm like can't wait to bleed all over these again! and my dad always says haha well this is proof you shouldn't stay in london the weather is too dry for your skin. my skin seems to always be really warm, like it's giving off heat and is warm to the touch, it makes it hard to sleep at night bc my body isn't regulating temperature properly. whenever i see (western?) doctors they always give me the same things, antihistamines and steroid creams which don't seem like long-term solutions. on the other hand tho, i never need to turn on the heat panels in my room bc i am my own personal heater :) today i googled 'hot blood' and found a lot of tcm articles that seemed to accurately describe my symptoms, in a way that's more detailed and relevant than 'western' doctors. one time i was given a steroid jab and didn't feel itchy for over two weeks and was like omg this is how everyone feels my quality of life would be so much better if i didn't itch all the fucking time. i really should try.. doing a gluten-free diet or alkaline diet but i like food too much.. although i guess since it's getting close to easter / no school / i'll be home all the time it probably would not be that much of an effort to do it, and if it works - eating more spinach and broccoli and kale and fruit isn't a pain, but giving up crisps and shortbread are - i guess it would be worth it. one thing i'm grateful for is that ben doesn't find my skin unattractive, or if he does he's able to ignore it.. i'm not sure i'd be able to do the same. one time he said ur perfect n i said no if i was perfect i'd have perfect skin u dumbass n he said well that's bc it's hard being an angel -_____- ok i hv a sweet bf not actually complaining

what else should i talk about ~ this afternoon after class i came home and watched an episode of good wife (season five is getting good) and the room was cold enough for me to get under thick blankets, and when my whole body is cold i feel so comfortable when i am surrounded by blankets, it feels like i'm sleeping in a cloud. i fell asleep and dreamt that i was eating several things, walking around by myself and then sitting alone in my room holding a bowl of pork dumplings and eating it, and then i woke up from the hunger/desire for pork dumplings, i think mostly bc right before i fell asleep i told myself i would walk to chinatown to buy groceries. when i was younger i would similarly dream of eating, but often this would be a dream in which i binge-ate my way through a cake, or something. and i would wake up with relief that that didn't actually happen. now that does actually happen, except i don't think of it as binge-eating, it's just me regularly eating a lot of food. today in the kitchen carrot was talking about her going to the gym, ~ preparation for summer ~ and i said i don't really care about my weight anymore, and carrot said well it's because you have ben, and i guess that's true - he is what buffers me from the rest of the world. but then i'd like to think that even without him i'd still feel okay about myself / parts that constitute myself

anyway i walked to loon fung and was surprised that they did not have anymore tofu king :( or large packets of vitasoy, so i just bought the tiny 250ml packets that you could get from vending machines in junior college. also bought two packets of pork & coriander dumplings, a packet of frozen edamame, packet of kimchi, packet of medium firm tofu. when i went back to singapore over summer i wanted to eat edamame the way i eat it all the time here (dump it at the last minute into my rice cooker so it is perfectly steamed when the rice is ready) but found edmame really expensive and also never shelled, always sold in pods. in general i guess i've found singapore more and more expensive the last few times i've flown home

not surprised by this but also like ... i don't want to live in the most expensive city ~
also did you know that you can get behind the economist paywall on ur phone by turning ur browser private / opening incognito window idgi why are companies not doing monetisation right if twenty-three year old girl can get around it

re: my age i keep forgetting my age, thinking of myself as somewhere between 22-24, like i'll think... oh yeah, i'm 23, not 22, or right, still 23, not 24. it's bizarre, i don't think i've ever felt that way at other ages, maybe this is just what it'll be like from now on, never really getting used to the age you're meant to be. lately i've been reading articles where 'successful' ppl are described as attaining first achievement by 21/22 and i'm like MAN I'M SO OLD RITE but also, i think i've done pretty ok, the most important thing i did was getting out of the part of my life where i was sad all the time and being like fuck u i'm going to work hard and do well and never look back! and then i met a boy and fell in love, hehe

a thing i was thinking about today was the transparency paradox, i don't remember the actual term for it but it's meant to describe how everyone feels like everyone else can see right through them, can tell what they are thinking or feeling, but like everyone else you are actually really opaque. and you realise that people only know as much about you as you tell them/allow them to know. this is important to realise, i think

i'm having fun typing this but i should start reading the book i borrowed from the library re singapore & globalisation, bc i'm planning to see my dissertation supervisor this week. i really don't like him, i feel like it doesn't matter if i type this here bc i doubt he will see it also not naming him anyway. but the last time i saw him i spoke to him abt my concerns re: tying the different things i was interested in under one cohesive research question, and he responded along the lines of 'that's not what i'm an expert in, why don't you do what i'm an expert in, which is this' and i felt really angry. recently i've noticed myself generalising specific acts of behaviour into evidence for 'white male superiority' and like, i've had to take a step back and ask myself whether it's just one shitty person instead of indicative of some broader race/gender hierarchies

two weeks ago i finally signed up to be a 'reader' at the british library. i really like that they call members 'readers'. the first time i tried to sign up, i didn't have all the necessary identifications, so i had to return another day with my passport and a proof of address. sitting there after i had been waved through there were a lot of other people who didn't bring the ids they needed and they all got really mad at the receptionist. the Folio prize fiction festival is happening soon at the british library interested in seeing ali smith, jeanette winterson, deborh levy as well.. but i've bought tickets to see the 'on betrayal' talk because ben lerner and jenny offill will be speaking & ben lerner's 10:04 and jenny offill's dept of speculation were two of the best books i've read so far. i checked my book blog yesterday and i've read twelve books so far, four each month and that makes me really happy

the reason i'm writing this blog post is bc lisa sent me a snapchat saying she read my blog when she felt like she missed me so i was like i'll give her something proper to read! and rowan also says she reads my blog when she misses me. hello rowan i miss you and i am thinking about you and how nice it was to live with you last year, i took living with a person i could hang out with all the time for granted. last year whenever i felt funny or anxious i could always knock on rowan's door and roll into bed with her, this year it feels more like being cordial and saying hello occasionally, although i know that has more to do with the fact that 1) we don't have a living room/shared space to interact with 2) i'd always pick ben over hanging with anyone else, probably last year if ben was around i wouldn't have gotten as close to rowan as we did

some books i have lined up in my kindle to read: night film by marisha pessl, absurdistan by gary shteyngart, feminism is for everybody by bell hooks, the second sex (oh! i forgot that i was halfway through that) by simone de beauvoir, can't and won't by lydia davis

i can smell ben but he's not here
update: 15th march 2015

seven weeks till essays are due on 27th april:
anth of china - 2,000 words
mandarin project essay - 1,500 words

dissertation - 10,000 words
berlin zoo essay - 4,000 words
global health justice - 3,500 words
international pol economy 1 - 2,000
international pol economy 2 - 2,000

total left: 17,500 ÷ (7x7) = 357 per day
words to write per week = 2,499

getting faster!

2nd march 2015 - note to self

nine weeks till essays are due on 27th april:
anth of china - 2,000 words
mandarin project essay - 1,500 words

dissertation - 10,000 words
berlin zoo essay - 4,000 words
global health justice - 3,500 words
international pol economy 1 - 2,000
international pol economy 2 - 2,000

total left: 21,500 ÷ (9x7) = 383 per day
words to write per week = 3000