Here's looking at you, kid.

When you look at the lifeless body of someone, they never quite look like themselves.


Facing Reality

An old doodle by J, words by Y. Found this while archiving, Amps humour.

Grab drivers are slowly but surely taking over the role of taxi drivers in most areas, including dispensing folk wisdom.


In each season

Image result for a sun film taiwan

A Sun won a bunch of awards at the Golden Horse, edging out Wet Season in the Supporting Actor, Best feature film and Best director categories.


on the hunt

My neighbour's flat has been empty for over a year now.


Saying goodbye

Sleeping J, portrait circa 2006. When archiving images of J recently, I discovered many photographs and drawings I made of him asleep. This is probably quite typical. Your partner, when asleep, will look extra adorable. If not for work, I can spend my mornings just looking at his sleeping face. Of course these sleeping portraits are like death masks. 

Friends you always ask how am I doing. The concern is sometimes embarrassing. I am definitely doing okay. God has been good. The feeling of gratitude is real. I am blessed with friends, family and both purpose and provision in my work. Many people dealing with the death of a spouse are supported by much less and deal with a whole lot more - young children, ailing parents, a loss of income or subsistence. This is also how I try to keep self-pity at bay.


On Reading

A dear friend WW gave a book to me a week or so after J died. I don't remember exactly what she said - but something about how the book had so moved her when she lost someone close.


On Failure

first Amps photo together - taken on Polaroid  2001

It is inevitable that we all experience failure.


On Forgetting

It has been 25 years since I was last at a life drawing session. Held in a cold basement studio in Cambridge then, and in a hip factory studio in Eunos now. After the first 10min of the session, It all started to make sense again. What the eye chooses to see, the weight and energy of a line, and of course, the purpose of making something take form. This is part of the intrinsic integrity of art. It is built into your body. Drawing, music, dance - you never forget, do you? The muscles do not let you forget.


On Choice

I read last week that a prominent leader had bemoaned to her audience: “I have no choice.”


On Things, nice things

Capitalism is many things. One of the things about the capitalist world is its materialism, its “thingness” - literally the making, the desire and the possession of things. Our modern cities are organized around the ability to manufacture and acquire things, and in Singapore we continue to suffer this tyranny of malls. 


On Nakedness

Image by a stranger, drawn for one of J's friends who was thinking of him

J shared with me that during one of his stretches of anxiety, he would suddenly feel the need to speak to someone - anyone. He would try to extend the exchange with a hawker or an unsuspecting neighbour. J had also said to a friend WW that in his depression, he often felt like he needed to be hugged. The confession stunned her. Admittedly, what he said surprised me too. It seemed a desperate act itself: to confess such desperation, such vulnerability. Even for an incredibly empathetic person, these feelings were new to him. He worried that he was turning into “one of those people who hang around at the Toa Payoh central terminal”.


On Feeling

Friends you often ask how I am feeling, whether the pain/numbness has gone away after the surgeries. The simple answer is no. Or optimistically, not yet. In fact, the feeling of numbness on my head (“you numbskull!”) and the left half of my body sometimes feel worse on crazy days.


On Moths and Meaning

Moths have been appearing in the house these past few weeks. They are small, maybe 2-3cm in wing span, and of the grey, furry variety.

On Living

When J asked if I knew how to look after his plants, I quickly said “No”, followed by a paranoid (and rightly so) “what do you mean? Why do you ask me that? What are you thinking?” This exchange took place in that final week when he seemed strangely calm but also worryingly prone to sudden attacks. He laughed it off and said he was only curious, that I was over-reacting. I should have listened to my intuition instead.


On Inheritance

I have more things than I ever need. In fact I now have double everything I ever need. 

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