July 23, 2008


everyday after work, i find myself looking for something i dont even know.

i'll walk into the Ole Supermarket at the Twin Mall. sometimes i come out with 3 pastries, sometimes 1, sometimes i dont buy anything. today i bought a sandwich.

i'll walk aimlessly along DongDaQiao Road, hoping to come across an interesting store that would catch my eye. there never is any treasure to stumble upon.

i'll walk into many titbit stalls, fast food eateries and sweet-smelling bakeries along the way. sometimes i look at the menu, feel disappointed, and walk out. most of the time, i buy something i dont even want to eat. but i finish it anyway.

i'll browse through Zara, Mango, Jessica, and other the retail outlets at The Place, twice over, in the casual, women's and men's section. of course, i've never once found a decent piece that i wanted to try on, or buy for someone.

then i'll go to every bus stop, trying to find the right bus to take me back to the apartment, even though a part of me already knows i'll end up getting on a random bus after checking 10 bus stops. the bus conductor can tell me the way anyway.

or i'll feel the wind brush against my skin every 3 minutes in the subway station, because i watch every train open its doors.. but never get in. because i just cant be stuffed to join the mass of angry people mashed up inside the train.

and i'll get to Dongzhimen station, and confuse myself with the gate entrances despite having moved into the apartment for almost a month now. and after making the same mistake everyday, i'll walk into Ole Supermarket again, this time at Ginza Mall, and look through their bread section that i already know like the back of my hand. i'll still walk around the aisle anyway, deliberating, but knowing that it would be the same variety as yesterday. most of the time, i end up buying the same flaky pastry with butter cake inside. the one time i bought their chocolate cake, i almost puked from the sickly sweet chocolate syrup and abundant cream. today i bought yogurt.

i'll then walk to the mini supermarket opposite my apartment, and pick up cheap, random junk that i know will make me hate myself when im done with eating them. but i do it anyway.

and every night after hating myself i'll try to sleep, but end up tossing and turning. or having little naps with vivid dreams that bother me. and so i dont really sleep.

i drive myself to the point of disgust at the food i eat, the money i spend, the time i waste and the lifestyle i lead. but i also cant be bothered to change.

i think something inside me has died.

and i dont know how to go about it anymore.

July 20, 2008

love weekends

especially waking up to a stream of sunlight gently flooding the room on a glorious afternoon. it's idyllic to just lie in bed snuggling against Honey, Whale-phin, three other pillows and a light comforter. makes for a great start to the day.

today's screening of Boomtown Beijing provided an insight into how the lives of some of the city dwellers have changed in tandem with the upcoming Beijing Olympics 2008. on a beautiful Sunday afternoon in the cozy Salud Bar at Nanluoguxiang, a few of us AIESECers trespassed into the seemingly ordinary lives of a passionate 12 year old child, a righteous taxi driver, a visually-impaired athlete and an educated elderly man. irrevocably linked, all three harbour noble dreams of making a difference for themselves, their family, and the country they call home.

the documentary was admirably local, touching on the importance of before and after rather than focusing on the grand show of today. filmed a year ago, the story tries to capture the essence of Beijingers living in the countdown of the upcoming Olympics. the film explores the tribulations of a young boy who wants to be an Olympic torchbearer, a taxi driver who wants to be a model citizen for the world to see, a determined athlete who wishes to bring home a Paralympic gold medal for his country, and a determined old man who wants more than anything to share the Chinese art of stick-flipping and ribbon-dancing.

it makes me think of how far Beijing has come since the days of extremely-tight government control, of how astounding sky scrapers now adorn the city's grey skies, and of the changes it has brought to society. in the subtle ways of society behaviour, materialistic desires are interwoven with a genuine need to retain sanity in a city where rapid growth is the only way to go. some have gladly embraced the economy growth, and along with that western cultural infiltratons and mindsets.. but is it at the expense of their identity? the children of today no longer do their own farming to bring rice home, while the old still plant vegetations in their relocated apartment compounds because they cannot let go of a lifestyle that was so ingrained in them.

do the locals all wait in anticipation of what the Olympics has to bring, or have they already spit out the bitter taste of what is to come in light of critical media spotlight from the world? do they understand the government's ambitious plans for infrastructure and technology, or do they clamour away at the remaining bits of familiar sanctuary soon to be given up for modern housing? what is the best way to preserve cultural heritage while alleviating poverty and providing a higher standard of living for the huge mass of people living under the five-star-red-flag banner? does such a way exist without compromising the virtues of yesterday?

if there was something i took away from today, it's that behind every champion is a multitude of failed attempts by other determined but forgotten souls. and it is the latter that makes the outcome extraordinary.

July 08, 2008

funny how

chinese men wear their shirts halfway up on the streets, showcasing tummy glory for all to see. the feel of cool breeze against sweaty skin must be well worth the exposure..

a bowl of 小豆面 doesnt taste as good as it should in a solitary meal, as compared to when there was company. how come it makes such a big difference?

text on the computer screen seem to get smaller each day. i have been enlarging the text size to 150% their original size, or hitting the Ctrl + too often. this cant be a call for spectacles...?!

changing rooms in china gyms have no doors, no curtains and no shame. the shower hall is a mass of water and naked bodies that strut their stuff like no tomorrow. awesome.

senior managers have a publicly-assumed right to throw tantrums in mid-day. throw in an unfortunate local employee, some heels and a pretend-nonchalant audience to boot. that's office drama for you.

every monday has been a renewal of diet vows, because they keep getting broken with KFC cravings, McDonalds dinners, instant noodle suppers and ice-cream indulgence. did i mention beer?

having a slightly less harrowing trip on the subway involves spending more time traveling. just leave the house half an hour before you should, and work another hour overtime. simple measures to tire your body, but rest your crowd-averse soul.

moving closer to work also meant leaving loved ones behind.. in a way. got so attached to wangjing and its people that it felt like i was moving away from home, instead of moving into a my own home. why does every little thing remind me of goodbyes?

there is a distinct odour in every mode of public transport. step in for a whiff of everyday stench. welcome to Beijing, where sun and sweat play together in summer.

having a shower is essentially a game of luck. the temperature rotates from icy cold to steaming hot in 3 minutes. i shower for 15. one minute you're testing the water.. the next minute you're jumping out of it.

walking is the best remedy for everything. heavy dinners feel lighter, lines of thought become clearer and heartaches are less of an ache. the puppy search in the rain with a good-hearted korean stranger was cool. now moving on to finding comfortable working shoes..

things start falling into place just when you thought you have hit the roof. you look back and laugh at yourself, and be thankful for the friends who not only put up with your crap but waddled in the mud with you. you both, especially.

im looking forward to the best 前并 opposite the apartment tomorrow. crispy goodness, cant wait :D

July 04, 2008

different name same game

how do you expect me to believe you?

you and your sugar sweet words and beautiful bluntness. i may have unwittingly played your game before, but it was naivety that did me in, and unjustified assumption that made you lose the match. the first time was nothing more than empty guilt, but the second time you made me hope. it was obvious the fittings did not suit the layout, yet i turned a blind eye to the misfit. thrice stupid, except this time, i am not going to let it get past tonight. i may have partook of your luring scheme, but this is only a short-term stay.

i just cant believe you almost fooled me again.

there never is a right one, is there?

silly me, to spend my few free hours searching for something, anything, that could remotely deceive me into believing that there could be a connection, however small that link may be. of course there were the right moments. the casting glance lasts a split second too long, and you know in that instant that there is meaning to more than meets the eye. the customary parting step, the barely audible whisper that traces the last farewell.. and more. the design is perhaps more creative than before, but there is still nothing one can do to the blueprint. and so the same people half-battle, half-concede to a setting that is so strikingly similar to what was before. no agreement. no resolution. no truths. or maybe this is the truth.

to want to believe, to secretly hope, to be afraid of being disappointed again.. these are the traits of the willing fool.

apartment-hunting sucks.
so does the humid weather, horrible civic attitude of the local Chinese and the reckless drivers on the road.
it is fucking rock bottom when the past catches up with you, and you are reminded of things you thought you forgot about.