having my Cake, eating it – and not counting every last calorie

you spin me right round, baby, right round August 8, 2009

Filed under: life — c*devotchka @ 5:01 pm

like a record baby, right round, round round.

gosh, what a hangover.

before we drink ourselves to certain cirrhosis, we (Di and i) thought it was in our best interests to sign up for marathons, quit weekly drink-to-death sessions. and living like there’s no tomorrow isn’t good for Sjogren’s, so i declared “i ain’t clubbing for a long time”.

yeah, apparently 2 weeks is a pretty long time.

wine + vodka + whisky = hole where stomach used to be.

the real problem is in saying NO. NO. EN-OH. NOOOOOO.

dali’s friend: hey, dali, let’s go out.

dali’s brain: no, no, you must not.

dali’s mouth: ok! where?

our house is a crime scene ripe for the moral police’s picking. damaged shoes in the dining room. top + bra strewn at the base of the tv console. jeans, belt, random lip balm on rug outside the bedrooms. on screen, this may look like quite the opening to a saucy angelina jolie + antonio banderas sex scene. but in reality, it was the opening to the scene of a mascara-smudged madwoman flailing her arms on her bed like she was flying.

ravi took pics.


am not going to post unflattering pics of myself. that would be so un-myspace of me.

so right now, i am going to work on saying EN-OH. NO.

well, after tonight’s late night teh tarik, supper session. then, er, maybe.


j’adore Ho Chí Minh! August 27, 2008

Filed under: travel — c*devotchka @ 2:25 pm

Ho Chí Minh is everything and nothing i expected!

on arrival, i thought, whoa! the airport is a whole lot prettier than i thought it would be! i’d expected a mollusk of a soup can, much like some airports or immigration counters i’ve been to. but it was bottom to ceiling glass windows, clean floors, clean clean clean.

it was CLEAN.

the immigration officer? very gentle, low voice, with a sweet gaze, as if to ask “where are you from?” without as much as uttering a word.

not that he needed to, he had my passport. he gave a small nod and a small smile when he was done.

very nice.

there are bikes. and then there are bikes.

there are so many bikes in Ho Chi Minh, i’m inclined to think there are more bikes here than there are people (much like there are more sheep than there are Kiwis in NZ) although one bike can pack 2 adults and 2 children, all masked like they were off to some Saigonese masquerade ball at a community hall. the masks they sell for bikers here are so pretty, i want one. except i’ll look like a retard and a half riding the Singapore trains with a paisley face mask. BUT, going by how many disgusting people there are on Singapore’s public transport, maybe i should get one.

and the streets here. they are clean. so clean. the Vietnamese seem to be very, very clean people. when they have trash, they line them up nicely by the road. as if even trash is respected. i don’t even see many public dustbins around and it’s just clean.

did i say clean?


since I’m here visiting Ravi and not really exploring – yet – i’ve been quite lazy with walking the streets. plus i got a huge ass yeast infection just hours before arriving. on a Saturday night, when my gynae’s at home watching re-runs of Grey’s Anatomy or reading Gray’s Anatomy. it’s so goddamn FUCKING itchy, i’d be very pleased if i could just have a scratch-and-spiff pussy so a scratch can just make it all better. BUT IT DOESN’T. the heat doesn’t shoo candida away either. so unfortunately, i’ve been a little restricted with my exploring.

while walking the streets in District 1, suddenly i was confronted by this giant alien metallic roof structure at the corner of one of the typical Saigonese french-style shophouses.

it was Louis Vuitton.


it is HUGE (considering where we are, a small developing nation in Asia). and suddenly, i felt like i was in France. that was the moment i was waiting for. the feeling that i was in France. not that there aren’t many French-style buildings and patisseries. which brings me to the cakes. that’s all i’ve been eating. cakes. not even pho, the famous Vietnamese noodles.


i can barely button up one of my blouses 3 days into my trip.

and yet the Vietnamese themselves are so, so, so petite. i feel like Dali-ath beside them. just today, in Al Fresco, a little Western eatery, the waitress asked, “where you from?” when i say Singapore, she nods. i then joked “are you from Vietnam?” but she thought i asked if i look Vietnamese and she says,

“yes, yes, you look like some *gestures FAT by winging arms upwards* Vietnamese.”

i finished the remaining half of my Vietnamese fried rice, every last morsel of it, then ran off to Brodard to get me some cakes. because i wanted to look like some Vietnamese.

we’ll visit Cu Chi this weekend. i wonder if i’ll get stuck in the tunnels and petite Vietnamese firefighters with bulging biceps will bail me out.


hold my balance when i can’t look down July 27, 2008

Filed under: depression — c*devotchka @ 12:05 am

it’s been a long time.

and i’m sorry.

and the only way to start again, is simply, to start.

the following post, my heart’s pinned on my sleeve. beware, sappy post.


it’s been quite the year.

started work and school in the same week. it was a psychotic zero-to-hero moment of madness.

i started with zest.

but exhausted. this word, it doesn’t cut it.

administrative mistakes made by the local school has its price, always, the students. my friends dropped out. i ended up taking 7 modules in 3 months and was denied a break before the next trimester commenced. i turned into an automaton.

exhausted, this word, it holds no meaning for me.

school, work, personal problems (my marriage is fine, in case you’re wondering) i’ve been dragged screaming into, getting kicked out of our house when ravi was overseas for 5 weeks.

but okay, this is life.

it’s life.

you jump through hoops, over hurdles, you get on with it.

finally, we moved into our new place. finally, i think, we’re gonna be okay. it’s gonna be okay. i can start attending classes again. i can attend to (their) personal problems with one less headache.

i was fine. then i woke up one saturday to go to class. and ended up sitting at the edge of my bed, sobbing in my underwear, freshly applied mascara painstakingly applied in perfect strokes now streaking down my face. i buried my face in my hands, trying to swallow my sobs. but no, i don’t want to hide it from ravi.

i needed a hug.

i woke him up.

“i want to go to class. but i can’t. it hurts. it hurts all over. please get me the deep heating rub, i don’t know which box it’s in.”


“please, sayang, i want to go to class. i need to go to class.”

-grunt- “what’s wrong with you! i’m trying to sleep.”

going to class, to me, that meant things were getting back on track.

what flashed across my mind was the exact same visual i got 5 years ago when i was semi-drunk and depressed, and saw myself sitting on the window ledge, then pushing off, and seeing only the stars in the sky, and then nothing. seeing the midnight stars and then nothing. somehow, that was attractive.

but i’m different now. somewhat.

that flash doesn’t compel me to move to the window.

“ravi, please, i need the deep heating rub, i don’t know where it is, it hurts all over, i want to go to class, i cannot walk.”


sobbing uncontrollably with my tube of mascara still tightly clasped in my right hand, i laid down on my side. ravi’s immovable when he sleeps. and i understand, because i am impossible when asleep.

i buried my ashen face into my pillow. worried a bit about staining my pillows with mascara. ridiculous.

i smsed a classmate that i couldn’t go to class, i just couldn’t.

somehow, i fell asleep.

and when i came to, i realised.


this was my nervous breakdown

i felt weak.

to admit.

that i couldn’t do it.

i still do.

a psychology student should be the last person to do this to herself. aren’t we our harshest critics.

now i think, better the body than the mind.

i called the school, “nicole, i need to defer this trimester.”

she made me understand that i’d suffer academic penalties – a Withdrawal and Failure, even if i’d passed previous assignments with flying colours. not to mention the financial losses.

“i understand.”

that was 3 weeks ago

ravi’s overseas again for a month, our wedding anniversary’s this Tuesday.

i’ve been getting migraines, acne (something i’d been blessed not to have all my life), IBS symptoms and now, eczema.

i am not healthy.

not in any sense of the word.

i came home tonight, at 2130.

dropped my bags on the floor, unpacked my backpack of groceries, sat on the sofa and switched on the tv.

and suddenly, i burst into tears.

i’m going crazy.

i’m losing something.

i get up to do various chores.

i keep crying.

i read the papers, i stop crying.

the opening credits of Troy come on.

i burst into tears again.

then i get involved, but i don’t drool over Eric Bana. usually, i do.

and again, sporadically over the span of the entire movie, i’d burst into tears at inappropriate moments.

it’s living at home with my parents all over again, crying most of the time, trying not to let anyone know.

it’s been 8 weeks now.

and it’s 0400am.

and i’ve been crying for four hours.

i want this to stop.

i know i can make it stop.

i just need to make it stop faster.


hit schmits from this week April 5, 2008

Filed under: life,Uncategorized — c*devotchka @ 11:09 pm
Tags: ,

“hey! this is what i like to step on!”

– the husband, on the escargot i was about to devour

sampai masuk dalam-dalam, sial!” (… until all the way inside!)

– the husband, on the lady sitting beside me in the train – who was cleaning out her nasal cavity with the long nail on her pinkie finger, looking very, very, very, satisfied

“NEVER? NEVER? come, next week, i’ll give you a history lesson at Labrador Park”

– the granduncle, amazed that a Singaporean has never been to Labrador Park. this is the same granduncle who insisted on bringing me to Sungei Buloh Nature Reserve so i can shed my jakun skin

“this is not for a part-time degree…”

– the lecturer, insinuating that all the t-test scores we’ve been working on (by hand) are for nought

“i will not fly with faulty instruments”

– the boss, frustrated in a 4-hr long meeting

“somebody kill me please”

– me, singing aloud to the tune of Adam Sandler’s “Somebody Kill Me Please” in the office on Thursday when it became apparent my 2 hands were not enough for everything falling into my lap


– me, to Ravi, when he tried to smack me out of a delicious evening nap so i could finish my essay on time and submit before the deadline. i didn’t.

“can’t you fucking drown somewhere else?”

– me, to the dead ant in my glass of water

and that’s when i knew, i really need a bloody break.


on a Good Friday March 21, 2008

Filed under: life — c*devotchka @ 8:46 pm
Tags: ,

It’s midnight and I’ve just realized that the past 9 hours has been spent reading and understanding (haha!) empirical data and opinions relevant to my topic of choice. I haven’t even started my essay and I know I am screwed. Ravi laughed hysterically when I said I’m gonna sleep soon and get up at 0730 to continue.

Out of those 9 hours, I’d spent 90 minutes on repeated pseudo-cardiovascular walks to the refrigerator and back to the dining table which has been converted into a craze of

  1. used tissue paper,
  2. empty Essence of Chicken bottles,
  3. chocolate wrappers,
  4. waxy earplugs to shut out happy, screaming kids at the playground and stupid Mats and their stupid bikes,
  5. a notebook adapter sprawled across the table annoyingly like a foreign hair across my laksa,
  6. books that make me appear smart (e.g. The Psychology of Gender, Evolution and Social Psychology – both serving as effective paperweights),
  7. my 15 year old Oxford dictionary which I love flipping right under my nostrils for a high that rivals 60% dark chocolate,
  8.  out-of-ink highlighters which I hope would magically refill themselves if I leave them on the table long enough, and
  9.  dead ant carcasses.

I’d be reading something that sounds like “Gender theorists stress how girls’ development gives-” and then an ant crosses my reading path. Squish! “-primacy to communion.” Today, I’ve killed about 15 ants, some manic, zigzagging across my notes, filled with the paranoia of being squished while others strolled leisurely to their deaths.

I’ve stopped cooking, don’t know where these ants come from.

Sheela mentioned she has to write 30,000 words for her thesis and that she’s just finished her 2nd chapter. I should just shrink and shrivel up into a conch. I bet one of her chapters is far longer than my essay on sex differences. While I’m in the conch, I’d love to float away to Bora-Bora. Or any Polynesian island with brown-leathered hunks, seafood, chocolate, vanilla and coconuts. Please.

I enjoy pre-writing hours, especially when I’m reading literature that attempts to explain why some men are pigs and some women whiny shits. I especially love going to the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library at Bugis. The clinical smell of regularly shampoo-ed carpets, the straight backs of librarians behind the counters and shelves and shelves and shelves of books! I’ve a thing for shelves.

They really should ban flip-flops in the reference library. Nothing more distracting than listening to piak! piak! –pause- piak! piak! –pause- piak! piak! piak! piak! piak! in the silence of the library. I also don’t understand how some girls can wear hot pants with woolly sweaters in sub-zero library temperatures. Their genes must have evolved to involve widespread numbing of sensation in their legs (which would be nice when it gets so cold, my nose drips a monsoon). A side effect must also include auditory impairment, since they can’t hear how loud their flip flops can get. That’s what flip flops do, right?

They flip, and they flop. Flop flop.



hutan di bhutan March 17, 2008

Filed under: life — c*devotchka @ 8:09 pm
Tags: , , , ,

since my last blog post below – i’ve been doing nothing less than tearing through days at speeds greater than any i’ve personally known. i don’t think i’ve ever been this diligent. and i’m sure i’m paying for years of sloth now.
but i’m thankful for it.

the day i was to go to the museum with Eds, i was called in for an interview (at an extremely short notice). i changed out of my cargo pants, into a dress i hadn’t worn in 5 years, got interviewed, went about my day cos they wanted to interview more people, then lo and behold, by afternoon, i was gainfully employed.

and then i wondered to myself – not the first logical worry that should come to mind (how can i study and work?) – how do i appear for work on Monday in clothes i hadn’t fit in for years?

and before i knew it, i was sucked into a vortex of work, assignments and classes that i never imagined possible. 10 classes in a row, including weekends was a bit much. even God rested on the 7th day, i wailed repeatedly. a few weeks ago, i worried if this life has turned into a blackhole, – if i’ll forget my friends, my family, my baking, my travels, my pictures, my words – swallowing anything that meant everything to me.

but i know it hasn’t turned into a blackhole.

they’re just chilling out in the backseat. for now. for the next three years.

and i am thankful for the friends in my life. my life would not shine so bright without them.

Ravi and i saw a documentary on Bhutan several days ago and were intrigued. a Gross National Happiness index instead of the GDP? how inventive is that! (either inventive or escapist, whichever way one looks at it.) the King of Bhutan was so concerned about preserving the country’s culture and centuries-old way of life, he restricted tourist numbers to Bhutan. to about 21,000.

first time i saw anything related to Bhutan was Tiger’s Nest monastery, in a magical photograph i stumbled across online several years ago.

and again, a few nights ago, we saw Tiger’s Nest monastery on television. we got excited.

i got so excited, i wrote in to the tourism board of Bhutan, begging to be part of the selected few allowed into Bhutan annually. we knew it was going to be expensive – we just didn’t know how expensive.

it so happens that NatGeo’s got a spread on Bhutan in this month’s issue – i choked on my saliva in bed when i read that tourists to Bhutan have to pay daily taxes of USD240 per person.

USD240 per person per day.

mm, other than sounding like several Swedish names in a row, it sounds like a trip which might actually include my selling a kidney or two.  i jumped out of bed and ran to Ravi (who’s quite the sexy househusband these days, ironing and all), “RAVI! WEHAVETOPAYTAXESOFTWOHUNDREDFORTYDOLLARSPERDAYPERPERSONINBHUTAN!”

to which he sleepily turned around and concernedly asked, “hmmmm?”

oh Bhutan, i know you don’t want backpackers – i promise to bring bags on wheels – but please, USD240 per person per day? sigh. i sure hope the rich leave Bhutan with more than just a trinket in their pockets.


je suis étudiante January 10, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — c*devotchka @ 1:10 am
Tags: ,

i am glad that i can no longer say “oh, i’m a homemaker, ya know? the glorified bum?”

before the entire species of housewives turn on me with ladles and graters, i must clarify that the homemaker without children or even a pet to call her own is quite the glorified bum. homemakers with kids however, now they are the modern day feminists.

what i can now safely call myself is the unemployed student.

i’ve toyed with the idea of going back to school for years, having been derailed some years back by the intoxicating lure of money and independence from overbearing parents. but i was never sure. what does one study? if only we could be apprentices in livelihoods one could love, like during the Renaissance.

i’m sure i’d have dug up cadavers and sliced ’em open with glee. possibly with a mushroom or two dangling precariously from lips moistened with wine.

but these days, many intern at companies, learning the very pillars of money-making such as coffee-brewing, coffee-serving, photocopying, filing and collecting the boss’ silk shirts from the laundromat instead. when their talents might be better off writing the script of the next hit tv series or scrawling catch phrases on a board which may one day, be on everyone’s lips. we aren’t training to be barristas, no? or we’d have joined Starbucks – and many of us have.

we don’t hang around a musky studio, hacking away at an 8′ tall marble slab. for some reason, i think i’d quite like this type of apprenticeship. the kind where one sits in a straw basket supported by a basic pulley system rigged to the ceiling by a rudimentary iron ring, perfecting murals upside down on one’s ceiling over and over again. some kind of super hero floating in mid air in the Middle Ages with a brush, dripping pearls of exhaustion onto the cold floor below.

but the only one who has ever appreciated my art work was Miss Ong Hana from TKGS. and sitting in the dark somewhere is my styrofoam sculpture, waiting to be returned to its rightful owner. or more likely, at the bottom of a landfill, disintegrating at a rate of never.

this was back in the day when environmentalism wasn’t as sexy as Burger King’s Mushroom Swiss burgers.

tonight’s Orientation Night and i’m crossing my fingers.

oh God, please, don’t let me get freaks for classmates.

and Eds arrives tonight, what delight!

tomorrow, we will view the Greek exhibit on loan from the Louvre at the National Museum. and it will be a day of feasting. oh yes, it will be.