Apple Sydney stairs

One of my friends is going away next week. He was recently offered, and very sensibly accepted, an Asia Pacific HR role based out of Singapore. I’m happy for him, of course, but feeling a little blue about it.

My life has been characterised by either myself or people I care about leaving. The first wrench came at the age of 14 or so when my family migrated from Malaysia to Australia (tough age to leave best friends behind and begin anew); then again, when I decided to move from Australia to the UK; and then when I had managed to assemble a good circle of friends and colleagues in London, it was time to return to Australia. Even so, we have settled in Sydney, not Perth where my family is based. So, still, I am saying hello/goodbye with some regularity.

Now I’m always half-wishing I was somewhere else which makes no sense at all because I love living in Sydney. But whenever I look at the time, before I can even say “It’s x o’clock,” I’ve already mentally converted it to Greenwich Mean Time. Odd, perhaps? (It’s handy on the work front because I’m always having to work out sensible times to contact people on both coasts of the US, among other places…)

I know that we have it easy these days, with email and mobile phones, FaceTime and the rest, compared to the old days of snail mail, but even so, they’re not quite equal to being there with the person/people you want to have in your life.

Go on, then. Go. But you must know what I mean – ?


Listening: If You Leave Me by Mental As Anything


Sunday ritual

This weekend has been the trifecta of sunny weather, an abundance of catch-ups with friends, and treasured rituals. Yes, indeed, I am feeling rather super-duper today.  I hope you’re feeling all manner of awesome, too, friend!


steamed fish by Mr Wong

I woke this morning still thinking about last night’s dinner at Mr Wong. Sure, my tastebuds were still savouring the flavour of that steamed blue eye cod with black bean, chilli and Shaoxing, the roasted five spice pork belly, the kung pao chicken…

But even better was the company. All good meals are a little bit of that, aren’t they? No matter how sublime the stuff that goes into the belly, what makes it special are the people with whom you share it.

Mr Wong dinner


coming or going?

I’m taking a risk by posting this but what use is one’s own online navel-gazing place if not for precisely these sorts of ruminations?

Late last year, I cut someone out of my life because he wouldn’t quit trying to pressure me into being someone he wanted me to be. So I ignored the emails, of which there were a couple earlier this year, I think, I don’t recall exactly because I simply deleted them without reading them, much less noting details such as dates; I unfriended him wherever we were friends (Facebook, Twitter, etc.). If that makes me seem harsh and cold, then I am those things, but the fact is I was annoyed when I called him out on his behaviour, and he simply denied it. I guess I wanted him to own his behaviour; perhaps I would’ve been prepared to tolerate his feelings about how much we had in common, and how it was somehow uncanny – we were obviously Meant To Be in each other’s lives. I simply didn’t feel the same. And the comments and hints were becoming tedious in their regularity. I couldn’t conjure up any such feelings to reciprocate, and what’s more I didn’t want to do that for a variety of reasons, one of those being I’m married, rather contentedly at this time, I might add.

This week I found myself texting a male friend about a catch-up, but for whatever reason it just didn’t work out. But on Friday and yesterday the texts took a turn towards the ‘wanting something/you’, and I honestly couldn’t figure out where from or how this had come about because we haven’t seen each other for a year or so… thus, I’m being serious when I say how…? However, this time, I decided I would do something different, and so instead of my usual blanking/ignoring/erasing, I decided I would tell him exactly how things weren’t even though I detest doing stuff like that. Because it’s embarrassing – I still haven’t worked out whether it’s more so for the person delivering the message or the recipient of said message – and I am wholly unskilled in this area of human relations. Perhaps that is the most cringeworthy thing about it all, the fact that I’m useless at this, given that I’m no spring chicken – surely I should’ve worked this all out by now?

It really wasn’t so bad. He texted back (sometime during the early hours of the morning), apologising for ‘over-reading’ -his word- and I guess in a way, that’s accurate. He was kind of transposing what he wanted over our communications – although it’s still a puzzle to me as I have been saying all along exactly how things are for me, i.e. good. That said, I don’t dislike him now, even though I was feeling anxious and irritable about the whole matter by around 9pm last night. He owned it, which makes me admire the honesty in him.

This place is ‘deep as a puddle’ and by that I mean that generally, I don’t think I’m much of a conscious learner in this classroom called Life; I don’t like to delve too deeply even though I know I could challenge myself more by doing so; often it simply feels too hard. However, the few sessions I had with the psychologist last year have left some lasting impressions in my scratched-up, dented brain, and I have found myself going back to various topics we discussed, and some suggestions she made. Me facing (via SMS, I know, but it’s a legitimate form of communication these days, isn’t it?) instead of blanking yesterday’s friend is a reflection of this, I think. Small steps, progress of sorts?


Listening: Blood Red Youth by California Wives


eggsEven after all these years, I still find it strange that people feel the need to express their feelings about the fact that I’m at my age, been married for a while and still childless. “You’re still young enough to have a baby!” they exclaim. “Don’t you want to have children?” “Surely you want to pass on your genes-!”

Now, I’ve never displayed any tendencies towards maternalism, I’ve never even tried to fake it – anyone who knows me will attest to this. I don’t care to carry or cuddle anyone’s baby, I generally don’t find babies cute – I mean, they have to be exceptionally cute or I have to be completely biased towards the child or their parents to feel that way towards the sprog. To date, I only find my brother and sister-in-law’s children cute. I even cringe at the word ‘cute’ sometimes, and certainly I would never ever describe a child as ‘adorable’. Why should I adore a child who hasn’t done anything to prove him or herself beyond merely existing? And it wasn’t even their choice to exist, they haven’t done a thing yet to elicit my adoration! Those baby products commercials where the mother either kisses or pats the baby’s bottom? I’m like, “Why?” All I think about is pooey nappies and up-chuck. No thanks! … I’ve never heard the tick-tock of that biological clock. I’ve never felt a tug at my womb (ugh) at the sight of other women pushing their strollers or dragging their rugrats along as they kick and scream that they’re not ready to leave the playground.

Besides not feeling broody, these days, I also no longer feel angry and irritable when people  carry on about me wasting my potential as a mother. A decade ago, I would’ve been annoyed, but now… These days, I listen politely and I might even vaguely nod my head in agreement. If I’m feeling slightly playful, I might also promise to think about it. On the days that I’m feeling downright devilish, I go so far as to promise that I’ll get on to it right away (wink, wink!). And people generally sigh with relief at having been able to persuade me, to make me come to my senses, to nudge me not quite so subtly towards what they see as my rightful and ultimate role/destiny.

I got all this from an old (we met when I was 17) friend recently when I caught up for lunch with her in Perth. Over post-lunch coffee, she held back tears as she explained how her daughter was the best thing in her life, and I had to have a baby NOW, and she just had to tell me this – before it was too late for me! – and she was so glad to have had the opportunity to say all this to me that day.

Tears. They don’t persuade me any more than a soft-focus image of a baby’s bottom does. The End.


The piece is called Complete? (2010) by Debra Dawes. I snapped the shot, angled from the side. It looks like this front-on and correct.

It did feel like quite the complete day yesterday. Time with the Hub in the morning; chalkboard duty at the restaurant; a couple of hours at the Art Gallery of NSW followed by drinks and nibbles in Woolloomooloo with @smcgillen in the sunny afternoon; finished off nicely loudly (and oh so exhilaratingly) by a Children Collide gig at The Standard with a few friends.

I need to have more Saturdays of the same.