Archive for the ‘slightly deeper thoughts’ Category

Today is our 8th wedding anniversary.

The Other Half will be sending Peanut to ballet class while I hope to go for yoga before heading home to dinner.

There will be no celebrations simply because we are so overtaken by events this year that no plans were made. Ideally we would have headed somewhere for dinner over the weekend but we had the kiddies’ year end concert to attend on Friday night and on Sunday night we attended Peanut’s ballet performance. We are also in the middle of renovations to the new place we are moving into, not to mention all of the stuff we have to do to get Peanut ready for primary school next year.

Oh well.

In this lull moment in the morning before I hop out to Court to do what I do for a living, here’s to 8 years of running this circus together. I wouldn’t dream of doing it with anyone else.

Au Petit Salut 2005

Au Petit Salut 2005

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My associate tendered his resignation. According to him, he cannot see himself doing my type of work for the rest of his life. This is like same story every year.

The Buddha said: We should only invest emotionally in our colleagues after they have been here for 5 years.

I guess that is how he chooses to cope with the annual haemorrhage. Maybe I should adopt that attitude as well.

While I can teach people how to do my job well, I have long realized that I cannot teach people that most jobs are essentially quite boring and to be contented with what they have instead of running after faerie dust. That is something they have to find out and experience for themselves.

[On a completely separate note, I also wished that I could convince more people to walk away from emotionally abusive relationships but then things are never that simple; Walking away is always a decision you have to make for yourself.]

But oh well. There is naught to be done. At least we have one ready person to take over all of the work so I won’t have to kill myself doing all of it on my own.

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I finally got my renewed Practising Certificate on Monday.

Having endured an entire week without being able to sign any of my own letters, defences, submissions etc, and not being able to attend my own hearings (I had to ask The Buddha to front my trials and applications while I tag along to take notes) I was really really relieved to see it lying on my desk on Monday.

On top of everything, I realized that while I spend a lot of time bitching about all the stuff I have to sign every day, I missed signing stuff. I missed picking up the pen that I signed stuff with. I even missed answering my mail! For every day last week, I started the day walking over to my filing clerks to ask them about the status of my missing PC. I then walked back to my desk disappointed and down. By Friday, I was absolutely angsty and was going completely bananas.

And then something bigger hit me.

If I could miss all of those little things so much, it probably means that I can’t ever bring myself to leave this job. I live and breathe it. If I can’t do it, I get hissy and upset.

So that philosophical discussion they always make you have when you first start Law School about whether Law is a calling or a profession? The discussion where you sit in the back and roll your eyes and wonder when the lecture will end so that you can go off and do something more real?

Ten years on, the answer just smacked me in the face.

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In the silence in this space, I have taken my disappointment and baked it into a Chocolate Rum Tart as follows:


The next day, I turned the leftover egg whites into meringues and brought them to work together with my crunchy molasses toffee for treats during my work day:


I decided that nothing I say could make a difference to what others think about me. As such, I decided also that if I have nothing good to say, I will say nothing at all and screw what others think of me in the silence. That decision has been quite liberating thus far.

I supposed disappointment is a bit like a bitter chocolate tart. One must always remember that all you need is a scoop of vanilla ice cream to improve its taste vastly.


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I really wonder why people perpetuate the myth that the youngest child is the most doted on.

The person who started that myth was probably not a Third Child, in any case.

Being a Third Child is awful. It means that you spend a lot of time waiting around while everyone fusses over no1 and no2. By the time your parents had finished solving the problems of no1 and no2, they have little to no energy left to deal with the Third Child.

So the Third Child waits and waits and nothing much happens in all of that waiting.

Then somewhere in all of that waiting, the Third Child decides to do something about it. It starts with trying to find ways to deal with the boredom. Then you start trying to solve your own problems because no one is solving them for you. Then you work your way towards being a completely self-sufficient person without anyone.

One day, someone suddenly realizes that the Third Child had quietly grown up in the shadows of no1 and no2 and is a completely reliable person! The parents pat themselves on the back. The world continues on and no one remembers that the Third Child was left to grow up all on her own in dark places. There are many things hidden in those dark places. There are many resentments and secrets. Not so nice things. The Third Child hides those dark places quite well. No one should ever go there if one could help it.

Once in a while, when the world gets a bit much to handle, she creeps in there and curls up for a while until she remembers that self-pity gets one nowhere. Then she returns to the top of a hill that she climbed up through her own efforts, with those dark places grassed over. She stands in her usual spot in the sun and reminds herself how wonderful it is just to be away from the things in the dark.


Over the weekend, my cousin-in-law told us about how Niece Ying was so ahead in her math homework that her teacher refuses to tell her what is being taught next. She is apparently doing homework ahead of time in anticipation of times when she would be busy with other stuff [like the two instruments she play] and would not be able to do homework.

Niece Ying is a Third Child.

Being super-organised is probably her way of coping with the boredom of waiting around.


I learnt how to knit when I was 11 years old from a book I borrowed in the library to deal with the boredom.

For many years thereafter, my mother and sisters complained about me wasting money on yarn and needles and wasting time on knitting swaths and swatches of misshapen stuff. I quietly sat in my corner and continued knitting and knitting and knitting, like Madame Defarge in A Tale of Two Cities.

Then I made a top for myself one day.

Suddenly everyone wanted me to knit them something.


Someone once said that my default mode was “Bored”.

I get bored sitting at my desk. So I go to Court. When I get there, I am bored standing around. So I read a book. I get bored reading a book. So I chat with people. I get bored chatting with people so I walk off and play a tower defence game on my phone. I get bored staring at my phone. So I complain to the people around me that I am bored. I return to the office and I am bored at my desk again. I think about going home but the thought of the journey home bores me to death. I get on the train and I am bored. The train goes underground and I freak out if I don’t have a book with me because the underground reminds me of dark places. I get off the train and the thought of the walk home from the train station bores me to death. I walk home and I see my children.

And then I am finally not bored anymore.


Last week, I seriously considered having a Third Child.

Then I thought back to my childhood, to the waiting, to the dark places. I decided that I can’t treat another human being that way.


For the last couple of weeks, I have been getting the Third Child feeling full blown in my face. I have been spending inordinate amounts of time in my dark places waiting for the feeling to pass. It’s horrible. I feel like I have failed my children because they are children of a Third Child and are expected to be just as self-sufficient as a Third Child; like they will never be important enough in the eyes of others, like they will always be subjugate to the whims of others.

So I buy things to stave off the boredom, to alleviate the resentment. I walk around aimlessly wondering when it will all end, when normal programming will resume.

Maybe it never will.

So this morning, I reached the conclusion that I should just distract myself by working harder at my job, fixating on other people’s problems rather than my own.

That should work for now.

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There are some feelings that you can’t run away from.

Like how people who make you feel depressed as a child will always continue to make you feel depressed no matter how old you grow, no matter how much distance you put between, no matter how far you have come.

You just find more ways to cope, to hide, to get away, to endure. But it never really goes away.

Then there are the times you can’t cope, hide or get away. That’s when it hits you like a ton of bricks.

Then what?

You write yourself little notes. Shred them. Have a drink. Carry on.


I am not bitter.

I am not usually petty or mean-spirited.

This is not permanent.

Mela can get through this.

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My parents had once told me that on the day when my first uncle (as in my father’s eldest brother) passed away, he suddenly asked for my father to take him on a ride in our dingy car to see Sheares Bridge.

My father rushed over to his place, they got him dressed, and away they went on a ride through Sheares Bridge and its environs. He returned home satisfied and passed away the same evening.

My father is a splitting image of his eldest brother. As a child, I have always been fascinated by the photographs of them together, and that old black and white photograph nailed high up on the wall in my first aunt’s old apartment at Stirling Road which was from his funeral. We visit his niche every year at Mount Vernon Columbarium. My parents had once lived in the same apartment in the years before we came along and my mother told me about how first uncle was always smiling even when he was chiding his children. After first uncle’s stroke, my father took over the upkeep of the family (even though mother and him had by then moved out of the cramped apartment) and his children together with first aunt (who sold porridge in a school canteen) with his limited income as an aircon repairman.

So with the opening of the new MCE, and the closure and possible future demolition of Sheares Bridge, a part of my family’s narrative history will be lost in the change of the Singapore skyline.

I feel that sense of loss close to my heart because having never known any of my grandparents or my first uncle for that matter, my only memories of them are perceived memories contained in old photographs and stories told and re-told by my parents in the past years.

I really should start writing all of this down.

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