"Jacqueline Koh
Plant your own garden and decorate your own soul, instead of waiting around for somebody to give you flowers"
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Thursday, April 9, 2015 || 8:54 AM

I've always been very fearful towards this word, because it has been used on me alot, by someone i loved.

"Because the word “Maybe” is the slowest form of torture that you possibly could have settled on, dragging out a hope that died long ago despite your stark refusal to bury it. Because maybe doesn’t mean, “This may happen.”
It means, “I am too fearful to go but not strong enough to stay.”
It means, “I’ll miss you but not enough to be with you.”
It means, “I love you but not quite enough to stick around and fight.”

I've always wanted concrete, something definite. But now, I'm turning into somebody who can't commit, somebody who only appreciates fleeting moments, somebody who can only love halfway.

Questions that will show you who you are (and what you are meant to do)
Thursday, January 29, 2015 || 9:19 AM

Came across this survey which apparently will lead you to an understanding of who you truly are. Obviously I don't buy whatever the subject sells (but enough to click it), but reckon it wouldn't hurt to answer these questions. I have had fleeting encounters with some of these questions, but never dwelled on them long enough to produce an answer. I trust this abandoned space enough to write my truest thoughts. So... here goes...

What, and who is worth suffering for?

This question largely depends on a pay-off which constitutes these two factors: How-deeply-i-love VS how-much-i-have-to-suffer. There are only two people in the world whom I love selflessly, and will do almost anything for them even if it doesn't make sense. This includes death. My parents who have slogged selflessly to provide and cater to every of my whims and needs. I am also willing to suffer (to a certain extent) for my siblings, but depending on the situation, it is still very probable that I might withdraw from suffering for them.

For romantic pursuits, I am willing to suffer emotionally but only IF it will eventually bear fruit, and if the man is not taking your suffering for granted -- he understands what is going on and actually makes a conscious effort to make things better. If it becomes too one-sided, i will let things go and logical thinking will take over untrusty emotional impulses and fantasies.

For passion, career and/or movements which I hold a deep belief in - again, trade-off. If it makes sense, and will eventually bear fruit, I will trod ahead and suffer. I believe in hard work and persistence, but it must bring back returns such as status, monetary prospects and recognition.

Sensibly speaking - bottom line - if it will bring back returns in the long-run, I am willing to suffer.

What would you stand for if you knew that nobody would judge you?

This question is not valid to me - I will stand for causes I truly believe in even if people will judge me. Other people's perceptions do not matter. Those who matter don't mind, and those who mind don't matter 

What would you do if you knew that nobody would judge you?

Again, read above.

Based on your daily routines, where will you be in five years? Ten? 20?

If my answer is a prophecy which will come true, I will gladly write it down. I'm not a fortune-teller. I don't know. Many things change during the course of time. I might get sick, I might be involved in an accident, I might die. I might not have another year to look forward to. But positively, what I know is that I am working towards my career aspiration of working in Shanghai for P&G (I want to be involved in creating meaningful and inspiring adverts and campaigns). So hopefully, in 5 years time, I will graduate and be in P&G. In ten years time, depending on my career progression, I hope to move back to Singapore and start a family. I don't know about 20 years from now -- that's too long.

Who do you admire most, and why?

There is no one person which I admire most, but i can tell you about the traits which make me tick. I admire people who are highly intelligent, but are yet sociable enough to understand how to have fun. I also admire people who are selfless in love, who have the courage to speak their minds without holding back.

What do you not want anybody else to know about you?

Actually, I very much prefer being alone, rather than being around with people. I seek reprieve in solitude and many times, when I'm out with friends, I just want to go home, or plug my earphones in my ears. I find mindless chatter about people stupid -- there are much better things to talk about.

What are a few things you thought you would never get over while you were going through them? Why did they seem so insurmountable? How did you?

When things ended between me and my ex-lover, I blamed myself for not getting myself out of it sooner, for allowing him to hurt me longer than he should have, for letting my feelings take over my head (i actually forgot i had a brain in my head), for not establishing very basic but essential rules and for not asking him to give me what i needed. It seemed insurmountable because at that point of time, I have already visualized him to be in my future. Even when I was healing, I allowed him to talk to me in ways he shouldn't have, to stunt the healing. I also kept blaming myself for not doing enough which must have led to the eventual separation. Even though it was official that it was over, i held on to glimmer of hopes that perhaps, one day, I will be able to forgive him and that we will still end up together. Eventually, after the separation, I dated someone else for a very brief period of time. However, it was during that period of time which I was showed how I should be treated. I also realized it was important to my own growth and well-being for me to forgive him, and myself, and it was also the realization that forgiving and the first true step to letting go means forsaking the thought that things will be the same. I had to let go of hopes of us reconciling. When it's over, it's over. No more harbouring 'What ifs'. Time diluted the pain, and made me a stronger person. I am now someone who has more self-respect, and has higher standards. But i do not regret whatever that has happened, because it morphed me into the person I am today, and i am very thankful for that.

What are your greatest accomplishments so far?

My greatest accomplishment was that no matter who I worked for, my bosses always trusted me, and showed reluctance when i resigned. It shows that I was contributing to the company, and that my efforts made a difference.

What would be too good to believe, if someone were to sit down and tell you what’s coming next in your life?

That I would be hired by P&G in Shanghai, and that I am able to fly back to Singapore every month to visit my healthy parents, and maintain relationships with people I care about.

Who from your past are you still trying to earn the acceptance of?

Nobody came to mind.

If you didn’t have to work anymore, what would you do with your days?

Travel, and volunteer. Join the Peace Corps.

What are the five most common things in your daily routine (aside from the basics, such as eating and sleeping?)
In HK: Alone-music time, reading of blogs (fave - johnkim, tigersophia, mmerciencore,thoughtcatalog,elitedaily), take pics/ instagramming,  watching movies and obsessing over my bad skin

In SG: Alone-music time, reading books, take pics/instagramming, running and reading of blogs

What do you wish those five most common things were instead?

Alone-music time, reading books, reading newspapers, running and revising

Remember to count our blessings
Friday, June 20, 2014 || 11:43 PM

I stood in the arrival hall, looking into the glass panel in front of me. Damn this barricade, i thought. I wish i could go closer to the panel so I could see clearer. I was excited. I haven't felt this excited to receive someone for a long time.

Who is this someone? It is an old lady who waited all her life to fly. Sometimes, we wait a lifetime for a special moment. After 79 years of waiting, at last... that moment is finally here.

And then, I saw her. Her eyes were teary and it was obvious she was overwhelmed by emotions.

Singapore... So this is the place my daughter has been working for 20 years. This is the place where my fellow village women dream of going to for a better future.

Finally, i'm here. Finally, she's here.

She's a reminder for myself to appreciate what I have.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013 || 9:43 AM

I feel like the sourpuss in me has overstayed it's welcome, and it's time to bid these toxic feelings goodbye.
I'm such an under-achiever, and I ought to strive harder.

I was given an opportunity and I saw how it slipped through my fingers, because I was too lazy to clench it tight. It went away, and I have to wait another year in hope of getting it back.
I don't know if the yardsticks I set for myself are a little too fluffed up. I think I might have over-estimated my abilities. Comparison is the root of all evil, but how can I not feel a twinge of jealousy and awe when I see my fellow counterparts surging in their own aspects and fields. The battalion in me is knocking hard, but they are not knocking hard enough. I am not responding well enough to their retaliation of my degenerating self-esteem. 

It's gonna be a tough tough ride. 

It's gonna be.


I love you, present tense
Sunday, February 24, 2013 || 3:21 AM

Jodi Picoult once wrote - “When you lose someone, it feels like the hole in your gum when a tooth falls out. You can chew, you can eat, you have plenty of other teeth, but your tongue keeps going back to that empty place, where all nerves are still a little raw."

I lost someone very precious to me on the 28th Jan, 2013. My paternal grandmother bowed her head to the destructive pneumonia - she was freed of the rattling of breaths, the water congestion in the lungs, the bed sores, the phlegm which started invading her throat and was the worst sight ever seeing her trying to cough them up to no avail because of the degeneration of her throat muscles. To me, in my heart,even though she descended into the evil arms of old age, she's always a winner. She was a winner since she decided to bring up her four children single-handedly, as my grandfather passed away when her youngest son (my dad) was just a few months old. She was a winner because she never feared working hard, taking on countless labor intensive odd jobs to support the four tiny birds under her wing. She toiled long hours as a clothes washer, exposing her delicate hands to rough chemicals.

She had a tough life, and because of her background, she became very money-conscious. She was also constantly looked down by the people around her. That constant taunting made her a very defensive and aggressive woman. And because of that, I would say that she doesn't exactly know how to express her love in the most perfect way - but she shows it in her own unique way possible.

When I was younger, I remembered her 'blasting' vulgarities at me whenever she is mad. She always had a very loud and powerful voice. She seemed to always be in a sulky mood. On the flipside, beneath the tough exterior - she is also probably the most sensitive lady ever - If we speak in English (a language which is foreign to her), and laugh - she would think we are taunting her. She used to tell me that all her friends doesn't like her, or people look down on her because she is poor, etc. Basically, she had lots of issues with herself, the people around her, and with the world.

But if you understand what kind of environment she grew up in, and the difficulties she faced when she was younger, you would understand that her reactions are actually defensive mechanisms taken into play, conditioned by what she was exposed to in her earlier days.

""Learn to love someone when they least deserve it, because that is when they need your love most."

This quote is extra applicable to my granny. She has always given me lonely vibes, and I try so hard to try to try to minimize this negative feeling she feels.

When she was sick, I made sure I visited her every day possible after work in the hospital. The irony of life is that we find it easier to do things for someone when we know that their time left on Earth is limited. Thing is, life is limited itself. We never know what's gonna happen next - the extra patience, love, respect, and time for someone shouldn't be limited to the boundaries of 'how much time they seemingly have left on Earth.'

We all know how unpredictable life is, but can't seem to bring ourselves to really act upon this fact. Why?

I only got to see the softer, weaker and vulnerable side of the unbreakable, independent woman when she was hospitalized. For her, she was slowly getting detached from the mortal world. She would zone out for long hours, referred to us as people of the past (e.g, her mother, father, etc...). Then suddenly, she would zap back into the 'now', and acknowledge us by our names. It got a little confusing, and eerie at first. I did my own research and got to know that hallucinations are part of the dying experience. This is largely so to prepare themselves to enter another realm in the universe.

Also, she started sleeping alot, and was always drifting in and out of consciousness. By then, she was already not consuming any whole foods. She has lost her throat reflexes, and was unable to swallow. Her entire nutrition intake is through IV drips and feeding tubes. I recall nurses and even doctors being unable to get a proper vein to insert the tube in because her hands were so swollen with fluid (aftermath of IV drips). She was constantly prodded with needles. It was a heartbreaking sight.
Also, I shan't get started about the numerous blood tests.

Her pneumonia got worse when her body decided to shut down against the antibiotics which the doctors are giving her. That led to a built-up of phelgm in her throat which she wasn't able to cough up, and with every breath she took, there was a loud rattling sound (known as the death rattle). Her heart by then, was working too hard, and her BP and oxygen levels were horribly unstable. It got so bad her oxygen level could drop from 100 to 30 in just a few seconds.

Everytime I was in the hospital with my granny, I would have to leave the room several times to compose myself. To calm myself down and to let my worry and grief dissipate with my tears. Crying is horribly contagious at that point of time. When one person cry, another would as well, and then another, and another and another. I would call that the chain effect of grief.

One day, when she was conscious, I asked if she would like to go home. If i was her, I would very much rather pass on in the comfort of familiarity and nostalgia. She nodded her head and said yes. We ended up spending a few hours trying to book a private ambulance to bring her home. There was alot of difficulties in trying to do that because it was a sunday, and because of the medical equipments we needed to rent. The hospital didn't provide rental, and their ambulances weren't for rent on Sundays. It was exasperating, and chaotic. My cousins and I were constantly on our phones, enquiring, calling, negotiating, and literally begging them. It was afterall, a one final wish we could help her fulfill - to pass on at home.

During the weekends, when i wasn't so tired, I would stay up all night to look after my granny. Looking after = making sure she didn't take the oxygen mask out + seeing if she's in pain. I hugged her, and patted her to sleep alot. I would hold her hand and stroke her hair, and tell her about random things. I knew she was listening even though she didn't respond though. The one last thing most patients lose at the brink of death is their hearing.

Two weeks after she was terminally discharged, she passed away. She passed away at 8.16AM. It was a Monday. I thanked my lucky stars I went to have a look at her at 8AM before I left the house for work. When I saw my brother's text, that fateful text - I was very calm. Relief overtook calmness. I was glad she was freed from all the pain, it seemed like she didn't really belong in Earth anymore when she was bedridden for good. Of course I miss her. In fact, I missed her all the more terribly now as compared to when she first passed on. Reality is seeping in slowly - She was the last grandparent, and the closest one to me.

I loved, and I love her, but I also understand that there will always be some fault in our stars, and we're all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labour will be returned to dust. The big bang which exploded into the universe will retrace itself; a big bang in each of ourselves which created who we are. She gave me a forever (to be retained in my memory) and I'm grateful for that.

No regrets. I treated her the best I could. I loved her the best I could.

I know writing doesn't resurrect - it buries. And now, I will bury what I have with her in the bottom of my heart. Always and forever, my fighter granny. My beautiful fighter grans.


Your ah ling