April 20, 2015 § Leave a comment
I visited Bali for the very first time a week ago. Despite it being a tourist attraction, we avoided the usual hot spots and headed straight to the beach for a good surf. There were anxieties attack all over me but we moved on quickly to the ocean. Looking straight into the horizon always give me a good sense of calmness. There is a certain charm in the endless possibilities of blue skies and deep sea bed that brings in hope.
We got on the board almost instantly. My instructor was strict and didn’t speak much English. He didnt teach me much of the rules or ground of how to read waves but just the simple techniques of holding a board & pop-up. That was it. There was no duck dive, lining up etiquette or anything more. But he guided me along well with stern words of “get on the board”, “up now!”, “paddle fast” and so on. It got up a few times but fell most of the time. It was exciting and disappointing. I wanted to ride the waves and maneuver my way around. It was like learning how to walk all over again. The fundamentals of taking baby steps before you can do a marathon.
It made me wondered how many times have we been down that road. That road of wanting to do something bigger and moved on to bigger things in life but not getting the fundamentals right. Not having the patience to sit out or just be on the board for a while and wait for the right wave to come along. On the very last day, we didnt have an instructor but paddled out to sea at Batu Bolong. We just hanged around on the board with the line and waited. Big waves came but I ducked dive most of them. I tried riding one or two but fell almost instantly. Got up on the board and paddle out again. I told my friend, “the hardest part is going back”. It truly was, after you have ride those waves you were washed closer to shores again and had to paddle out. And as all surfers know how difficult it is to paddle out again when the a 5-7 ft wave is right in your face. Not just one but wave after wave. Finally you are back at the line with everyone else, waiting for the right moment or wave to come by again.
Then it starts again in my head, should I ride this or the one behind that? Am I ready? Was my friend ready? Was she going to ride with me? All these came in and before you know it the wave is in your face again. A great deal of life is like that, we keep on having waves in front of us, but we need to choose which ones to sit out and which ones to ride. Surfing is a new sport but is so meditative. You cannot predict what is coming to you but you can control your movements, well most of the time.
I have been picking the wrong waves and riding the bad ones. The ones that keep on making me fall and get wiped out. I have failed in having a balanced personal life. There sort of balanced that makes you happy inside and not just on the surface. The kind that allows you to experience life fully so that you can be a better person and not be with someone who puts you down to build themselves up. It has been hard for me to realized this pessimistic views. But there is some hard truth to be put up with and forgive. Sometimes I wait for the other to forgive what I have done but over the past few months, I’d realized that forgiveness won’t come easily because of pride or stubbornness. So like all Eat, Pray, Love adventure, forgive yourself.
Send love and light to the person when you think of them, and drop it.
They might not be your friend anymore or talk to you ever again. And you can fight tooth and nail to get the attention only to realized how intoxicating it can be to both sides, that both deserves to be truly happy.
After accidentally swallowing tons of sea water and getting bad tan lines, I had come back to the sunny island with a better perspective. We all sometimes hate to admit that it is our own fault for damaging a perfect something or what could be. Many months ago, I was that person crying on the bathroom floor wondering what was wrong. Others couldnt relate or deal with it.They got frustrated at me, they gave up, they walked away and felt disconnected. I wondered physically, mentally and emotionally. I was afraid to lose control of one aspect of my life that was so precious but still did. It is extraordinary painful.
I slept outside the villa room on the last day. The quiet view of sunrise was lovely and I ignored the rooster’s loud greeting or the scent of cows. There was a lady who gave offerings every morning. I wondered to myself how she had such discipline to arrange such a small affair everyday and devoted her time, a large of her life, to this. And yet it came so naturally.
I am getting back on the mat again. Almost everyday before heading to work or after work, exploring the practice and letting it go. Not that I am not making effort to fight for what I want but I am learning how to pick which waves to write. Ask for what you want but don’t want too much of it, too much happiness too much pleasure can make you sick and lose yourself, but also find the balance.
April 4, 2015 § Leave a comment
Before you think I am going to start being a thoughtcatalog or quotes filled posts, I want to apologize for not being rather positive over the last couple of months and if you stopped reading them, good for you! No one deserves some bad energy or receive any bad circumstances of these sort. It took me a while to realize that you can’t always think “oh I am going to be myself (which can be angry, hot-tempered, defensive sort) and the person who loves me is just going to take it all it in a snap”, because they don’t even deserve that.
I think you should be the best for the person and yourself. Instead of dwelling in an unhealthy deep sphere of thoughts, think what is best for others and yourself. Of course you got to decide which is clear. Can you give as much and not feel neglected? Or is it just unconditional? Can you give unconditional love?
These days, there is a lighter air to breathe in. Finding clarity in events and trusting what is best for the situation. I may be reading more self help articles, meditating/doing yoga or exploring new depths, at least I am gaining something and hope that I can give back the same way others have been giving. Might not see it now, but it might become very lovely one fine sunny day. That could just be a day away.
March 23, 2015 § 1 Comment
I haven’t forgotten about this space. I have been thinking about it but haven’t got the chance to pen the events down. We have been getting by recently with the day to day routines of the shop. Perhaps, the day to day routines that get into us weigh each other down or make each other’s day. We get by well on most days, laughing at customer’s awful hairstyles, outfits, their odd comments or chatting with them about the community, food they love to eat, how’s their day and so on. The good and the bad.
Sometimes spending so much time together can make us complacent. Everything exciting becomes boring, anything pleasing becomes dissatisfying. A simple dish becomes boring and a cup just does not cut it anymore. But at times, I believe when they can be as simple and as good it can be just as it is. It just needs a little bit more kick than usual, perhaps a new ingredient or a change of perspective/look to give it more life.
Yesterday’s Sunday feast was quite interesting. Tabbouleh, butter chicken & naan & rice pilaf, falafel wrap with tzatziki and greek yogurt blood orange. A play with Mediterranean ingredients and spices. I finally got to make Yotam Ottolenghi’s sort of food and serving them after dining there years ago.
Been reflecting on many things these days, how complacent we became with one another. To answer for all the things we should have done and why didn’t we do it earlier? Perhaps we never had the same vision of what it is today or what it can be. Perhaps I never saw or planned what’s next, I just simply wanted to be in the present until. That sort of thinking clearly got me no where near what is needed essentially, just wants. Then you get what you want and not what you need. A personal struggle. There is no pride in the reluctant acts, just simply stubborness. And perhaps I have already lost the chance and missed the boat, it won’t come by again. Sort of feels like the end of the world for now, but it’s another experience to accept the flaws, and not making the same mistakes twice.
We will always ask, even to ourselves, why didn’t we do this earlier? But better be late then never. I’ve learnt this the hardest way. And perhaps lost enough to have a section in the “lost n found” department to myself.
These days, I’m writing less, not that I don’t believe in writing, but I’m trying to act more. Walk the talk you know? Needless to say, there has been many whiskey nights, coffee and cigarettes days. A close friend said I haven’t been myself and it took a while to realize that. When you lose sight of that, you start to doubt everyone around and that hurts people. They won’t forgive until you forgive yourself, at least that is what they want you to believe.
February 22, 2015 § Leave a comment
We sat in a cafe near the Central Business District, high sky scrapers and people in office suits walking pass us as we spoke about our little idea and commongrounds. We brained storm on words and how to connect the dots. We told ourselves (23/01/2013) that this might make or break us, but gave it a shot. But it came about well, so well.
We are emotional beings. With attachments hard to separate from the past and present. With decisions based on sense or sensibility. Innate beings who take the next move even with preconscious based on the heart and thoughts. These were our trigger points to create something related with what we do daily, eating. Though some of us may not cook/bake daily, at some point we step into the zone of a stove, sink, and fridge. Perhaps making something for ourselves, to keep our bodies going or feeding someone special to put a smile on their face.
Elodie and I often share our experience of food and cooking. We love what we do daily with food (photography, shopping for ingredients, exploring cooking methods etc, feeding people and sharing). We wanted to draw the connection between food and moods to bring an awareness of how they are interdependent. We want to bring people together and share their experiences so we can learn from them and perhaps even cook a few dish or two.
So finally after two years of working on it, here is our work, Kitchen Stories.
We launched it in Kinokuniya Singapore on 14th Feb and got great support from family and friends. Thank you so much for everyone who turned up. I will be selling it at Necessary Provisions and Elodie will sell it on her website. It is also available on Page One and Bloesom .
My hopes for readers are that they understand what keeps them craving for the certain food, and making the same thing when they have that particular feeling or occasion. It is also that they look beyond the dish in front of them and take a deeper thought to how it came about. The person who made it, the way its been done and how it came together. They always say less is more, but truly, there is so much more than what is seem or may be. Happy reading,please drop us a line or two about your thoughts and your own kitchen stories.
January 31, 2015 § Leave a comment
Once in a while we get into a limbo with the path we are on, this limbo has been getting on this path for a while now. The roller coaster ride is rather unenjoyable and I have been facing the effects (think head spinning or throwing up kind of symptom). Worse still, dragging people along with the ride.
Have you ever been attached before? Was it emotionally supportive? Was it honest? Did you seek comfort in it or find difficulty in the differences? What I meant by “attached” doesn’t narrow to a boy/girl relationship but personal bond with another human being or collective group. A caregiver, parents, lover, siblings, mates or what other noun you want to give it.
We all form attachments very differently. I read in an article that we experience pure emotions for the first seven years of our lives. Babies pick up emotions from their surroundings and act out according for the rest of their lives. Of course this being said, it isn’t exactly the same because of changes in environments but will not differ far from.
These days, I have been searching for explinations and answers to many events. Seeking for assurance and completion to what is and how it came about.
The environment I grew up in was quite a typical Chinese family. Bread winners, family dinners, sports, academics. We spoke about things for sure, sometimes they were cast aside for more rational decisions, sometimes they were taken heed of and supported. It was good and bad. There were both sides. They were not always balance. They were like, a roller coaster ride.
I got tired of it and as soon as I could get out of it, I did. Little did I know, I got myself into another one. The trend follows, as you can read.
The awareness of wanting to get off the ride so be on a smoother one took a while to shape. First there was understanding, then seeking for answers from any directions and persistency to keep asking, then realizing it can only be fixed with grace, time and plenty of attention.
It is quite common in our culture to dismiss feelings for more “important” developments. So we reveal less to people to avoid arguments or heated discussions. We get by with doing things together here and there, ticking the box off the lists and so on. But what may seem to be neglected snow balls, and soon we all drift apart. I did for sure. I was a teenager just like anyone else, seeking for acceptance and approval from home and society. I went about, experiencing them in different levels with an open heart and mind. Hoping to find depth/growth or sense of security in differences rather than separated.
Some lie or hide to avoid conflict but it just creates a debit in the relationship bank everytime that is done. And sometimes, putting the credit bank takes twice the effort. It doesnt have to be seen or act out in front of the other, but something one does when you think the other doesn’t know/ You see that is the beauty of trust and respect in an intimate strong relationship.
Relationships, the very good ones, are not easy. If they are, there won’t be so many heart breaks, separations or any matter of that kind. It is quite interesting to believe that human beings have been living for so many centuries and yet we still find books, researchers, further analysis and solutions to fix behaviours.
I see family come and dine at the shop. You see the ones that talk, laugh and share; then the others that get fixed on their devices because there is nothing to talk about. The later more than the former. It is so natural for us sometimes to deflect something we don’t want to deal with, and move that attention to things. Shopping (a guilty pleasure for ladies), eating, gaming, cars, devices and so on. We just stop caring, thinking why should we when the other doesn’t.
I think we care we just don’t know how to show it. We have different ways of showing and the way of showing is so important to the other. Because everyone receives love differently.
That differences if can be overcome and understood, with sacrifices and a bit of more salt, can be quite delicious.
I found a quote my brother read somewhere: if you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far go together. For someone ten years younger than me, I hope he remembers it ten years later. We need to slow down and understand each other a bit more before moving on.
January 16, 2015 § Leave a comment
It took me a while to realize this, but like they say “better late than never”.
There’s always been a grandeur in chasing dreams, a somewhat deep seated sense of fulfillment to be part of the kitchen. It has always been about making simple food with great ingredients to make a lovely meal for everyone to gather around the table and enjoy each others’ company.
I have experienced real connection with people in this trade. Real connection without technology. Real sincerity without an agenda. People who put their heart into this and stick to it; people who thought it was for them and get stuck in between.
I got stuck in between. The world may seem like black and white but most of the time it is grey. The two colours are extreme, and by extreme I meant it is almost impossible to put a label. A few years ago, I wanted a pastry degree. I love baking, writing, photographing and getting to know people’s perspectives/experiences with food. Many wanted to be chefs, well most of them. They wanted to run a kitchen, a food business or be the next celebrity chef. Wanting to be noticed, wanting to be heard and wanted people to enjoy the food we make. No matter how big or small prerogatives were we had one thing in common, we love food.
Over the years, I keep stumbling onto pebbles and rocks. Walking into crossroads, taking off in directions based on what is felt right, perhaps not the most sensible decision at that time but paid off with time and effort. While writing on the side and helping out in the kitchen, I’d applied to journalism school. I wanted to write more than I wanted to be in the kitchen. I was so scared I couldn’t get in, I stayed up many nights re-writing the essays, asking for testimonials and recommendation letters. When the offer came, I rejected it. Not once, but twice.
Priorities changed, I placed the relationship ahead. It took a while to adjust as anything goes. Good things take time, great things take more time and effort.
The cookbook we have been writing for months will be out soon. It took a while, as anything goes. I feel a sense of relief but also nervous for what will entail next. Others have chapter two, mine just begun. I wanted a clean slate two years ago, leave town, get a recognized degree, come back and be more permanently desired. But I pushed that option, put more things on my plate then i could digest and got overweight with responsibilities.
Was it a wrong choice? Was it all worth it? I started to question and question. I needed answers and assurance. The confidence faded and turned into insecurity. So the thoughts of standing up for anything were forgotten. But as this cookbook comes to a close, I slowly understood what everything is about and how they are coming together.
I never wanted anything more than just be a cook or baker who writes. The daily essentials of being present to life, looking into each others eyes have real conversations, and taste food we ought to.
I fear for the day we forget how respect one another and worse still take each other for granted. That day will come, but for now, I can only do my best to be present and hope others can do their part too.
January 8, 2015 § 2 Comments
so here it is, a short passage for the faint hearted
Tonight’s heart has a vague overcast. It bears worries and tiredness from a day’s routine, of trying to just be a normal human being and to get by what is normal. In this lonely evening, there lies a peculiar sentiment of lost. Floating like an empty boat on a quiet river with a deep current moving swiftly down the slippery slopes. Even though it flows with the course of nature, of what seems to be one of the most beautiful rhythm in life, it yearns a purpose. A meaning for its every movement and gesture, a subjective cause to a significant effect, a genteel pleasure to a given pain, along with a sweet misery for a dramaturgical end.
Tonight’s moon is bright. It beams with hope and light that cannot be foreseen but hope to achieve. It’s full and trustworthy beyond measures but gradually fades back and forth with the misty clouds. Like the heart, it wants to shine but with the overcast it can only wait for a slight wind to blow the clouds away. Until then, it sits discreetly, long to be noticed while watching the world get by. People of all sorts gather and separate between empty spaces; taking flight to flee fear or fighting for the heart’s longing; swoon over delicate memories; to finally whispering to each other romantic words in the fading hours of reviving twilight. Would they know that there will not be anymore?
Tonight, whilst holding on dearly to the moments: seemingly sincere and quite pure, light laughters and sad happiness, it is too dark for faith. So the earth looks up and soaks in luna’s sheer essences. It finds redemption in fine melodies and sense in imperfections, an appetite to satisfy till satiate. There it shares the last glimpse of brightness, the last dance in the fleeting instant of overwhelming truth, yearning for a tender appreciation not given until the sun rises upon the horizon.