Posts Tagged ‘poem’


We don’t seem to speak much with people on the phone these days. Instead we instinctively tap on messaging apps and text each other.

This is another random musing I wrote, inspired by our second nature behaviour of letting our fingers do the talking.



Green light’s on

… Every pulse …

Connecting you

And me



Your teasing smile ; )

Laughing eyes ^^

The ebb and flow

Of words

In your mind

As the text races

To and fro

Across the unknown abyss of

Space and time


With anticipation

Onto your screen

And mine



A still

A video

A moment in time

We laugh : D

Decibel scale: !!!


I can’t hear you

Can you hear me?





Unembellished silence


The last word anyone needs




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Leave me alone

I need space to think

Why my shadow shrinks then grows tall everyday

But never ages a single day


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Life’s a blur

Is it the rain? 

Or is it the haze?

Maybe it’s just my hypoxic brain

That’s still in a daze…  



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I’m back in school for my full-time graduate studies after a long, long time.

Here’s my ode to the essential furniture in any student’s life.


Ode to the Study Table

The tabletop is but a stage
For the rotund pen holder
Who wisely takes the form
Of an erudite owl
Brimming over with ideas
To be put to paper
And awaiting the day
When it finally brings change to the world
A clear, empty glass
– Is it truly empty, I ask
Perhaps it is already full
A liquid that looks solid to the fool
Alas, the eye is too weary to see
Beyond a skin so crystalline
To realise some things reveal their true forms
Only in the deep recesses of the mind
A MacBook clammed shut
From the ennui
Of surveying the digital ocean
At the command of your fingertips
Combing through terabytes
Of gobbledygook
To fetch you the pearl that
You cannot hold
Bent double but no trouble
The light will shine forth
From the humble table lamp
When the night falls
And illuminate the scribbles
On the yellow sticky note pad
That records memories you cannot keep
In your overburdened head
The mouse sits still and ponders why
The MacBook ignores it, no matter how it pries
The owl’s eyes are open but its mouth stays shut
Even the lamp decides to let darkness preside
It is now time
To turn in for the night
Let the gentle curtains turn away
The visiting moonlight

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It’s been a while. So much has happened yet so much left unwritten. But in a way, I feel that I am more alive these days than I had been before.

As I strive to live in each and every moment, I am thankful too, for every person and blessing along the way that has brought me to the beginning of another new journey.

This is a story about a new beginning many years ago.


Some partings are poetic. My favourite sensei gifted me one literally.

Years ago, she ignited my love for the Japanese language when she came to Singapore to teach at the foreign language centre run by our education ministry. I looked forward to every lesson she taught and enjoyed every minute of the time she spent with our class. Sadly, her contract ended two years later, and she had to return to Tokyo with her family.

Before she left, she gave me a book of poems by a Japanese writer Yuri Mitsuhara (光原百合). The title was Michi「道」, which means “The Path”. It was a pocket-sized picture book, or e-hon as the Japanese would call it. Each poem was accompanied by a delicately beautiful hand-drawn illustration of forests, fields, hills or lakes by the award-winning Niigata-born illustrator, Ken Kuroi (黒井健).

Mitsuhara herself was born in Hiroshima and studied English literature and linguistics in Osaka University. She is well known in Japan for her large volume of works, ranging from Japanese mystery novels and translations of English novels to poetry and e-hon. Michi was published in 1989 and was one of her earliest works.

The book featured 14 short poems and my favourite was the opening piece Tabi no Hajime ni 「旅の初めに」, which means “The Beginning of a Journey”. It aptly summed up the anticipation and trepidation that I, and probably my sensei too, had felt at that time – she had found a new job in Tokyo and I was awaiting the start of my junior college years.

As our paths diverged and took us further and further away on our respective journeys, we lost contact with each other.

Three weeks ago, when I retrieved the book from my bookshelf, it suddenly dawned upon me that perhaps there could be clues to where my sensei was right now. I decided to turn to Google.

Thanks to the proliferation of social media, her profile popped up in one of the search results, much to my delight. With the click of a button, and an email that she wasn’t expecting, we were reunited online.

Amazingly, both of us were about to begin our new adventures once again. I am going back to school for my full-time studies, while my sensei is taking up a new teaching position in Paris. It felt as if everything had gone a full circle.

And here’s the poem. I couldn’t find any English translation, so this is my feeble attempt at translating it.

The Beginning of a Journey

The mountain paths are difficult

So set your sights on the tree in the distance

And take your steps towards it

Look up if you think you have lost your way

Keep your eyes on the tree

And you will arrive there someday

You can reach for a milestone far away

Or aim for a goal, oh so high

When you traverse a path that is long and far











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A long time ago when I was still doing radio shows, one of the regular guests on my shows was a cosmetic surgeon.

Every week, he would come onto my programme and speak about the curious world of nips, tucks and lifts. And he would always amaze me with his stories of how people, celebrities and ordinary folks alike, transform themselves into more aesthetically pleasing creatures.

One of the enlightening things I’ve learnt from him was that they have a measurement called the Golden Ratio that could mathematically define the perfect human face.

Sometimes I wonder, if indeed all of us could achieve the perfect look, won’t we end up resembling one another?

Some days ago, I chanced upon some YouTube clips comparing photographs of Korean and Japanese celebrities taken before and after they had nose or eye jobs, face lifts, or even jaw reduction surgeries.

Seriously, some of them look like twins or triplets.

So I wrote a song.

And this is how the lyrics go:


Make Belief

By I-Ling (@myvanillaworld)

Your big, round eyes

And that lovely nose

Long thick lashes

Wish I had those

Those endless legs

Looks that turn heads

You had me believing

That’s the way to be


My dreams are big

But they say I’m too short

There’s no way I can climb onto

The stage or catwalk


This body in the mirror

Needs more than a tuck

It is so hard to be like you

I don’t know where to start


But how am I to think I am beautiful

When you are always showing me I am not

And how am I to learn to love the way I am

If they adore you ‘cos you’ve changed everything


And how am I to believe I am beautiful

When you are always telling me I am not

But how am I to learn to love the way I am

‘Cos they love you when you are not yourself

‘Cos they love you when you are someone else


And I came up with a tune for it.

So now it’s up in the ccMixter universe, waiting for some GarageBand gurus who would be interested enough to perform their “surgeries” on it.

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Hand in hand



Thy hand in mine, my heart in thine,

Together we shall journey till our locks grow white.

~ Odes of Bei, The Book of Songs (circa 1000 BC)

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