Life Is Larger Than This

There was a period of time whenever Xiang Tian and I chat, and when I felt overwhelmed, I would use this phrase “life is larger than this” as a way to put things into perspective; that whatever was going on was temporary, that if anything I should be grateful I had the opportunity to be involved in whatever that was, that things will pass and better things will come along.

When I was dealing with my mum’s passing in December, I was also dealing with other personal decisions I made then. I remember when Chris had a stopover in Singapore, I made a passing remark, “I made a stupid choice”. Over the following weeks, up till 3rd January I was thinking, “Yeah you know what, it was a small tiny stupid mistake”. Until yesterday- 17th Jan, where I realise maybe it was not that tiny, and it was a big deal for me because then I realised how everything was orchestrated. And at the same time, I could not really feel anything because I was reminded that it was not the first time this is happening. It happened 7 years ago, and it happened again now.

I find it hard to tell myself “life is larger than this”.


This blog was started 5 Apr 2014.

Last week I went to a student production where Anwar was a trainer. I was texting Anwar after that and it occurred to me how I could not really remember how we got to know each other. He mentioned it was through Agnes. I went back to an old public blog (1 Jul 2010 to 23 Jan 2012) and read my review of a play he was acting in and I attended and where the three of us had dinner after in late 2010 , and there I realised I actually know of him early 2010. And then it occurred to me I did have an old public blog that was privatised halfway (31 Dec 2009 to 9 Jul 2010). I only read one blog post from each of those blogs- and I was reminded of how young and immature I was (I was 21 in 2010), and that I wrote freely and emotionally (you have no idea how much screening I do for this blog, or how much screening I do in real life).

Writing on a blog has always been a platform for me to record and self-reflect. I compartmentalise things in general. Even for social media- Facebook mostly for advocacy, Twitter to re-share interesting current news and sometimes rant, Flickr for visual documentations, and Blogs for personal memories, mostly of things I want to remember. Although I have to say, this blog is super sanitised. So, I know what I write or how I write things have changed. And this is how I write now.


This January has been difficult for me. From questioning my own character, to being reminded how things were slightly dejavu, to interacting with people and realising some people just don’t change and will always disappoint you in various ways (just when you think “it can’t get worse than this” it actually can! and this is coming from me- a generally calm and patient person who thinks she can handle all sorts of characters and situations), to not being able to sleep because I just can’t, to not being able to get out of bed on some days because I just couldn’t, to cancelling meetup with close friends saying I was busy when it was because I just didn’t want to talk to people, to forcing myself to go out- for cycling, and walks, to CCA yesterday and later this weekend, so that I at least continue doing things that makes me happy, to distracting myself with translation works for BHPP- that is the only time where I know I will be focused for at least 2 hours on some random articles.

After working so hard the past seven years to build myself up, things just happened in 2 months, and I was/am at the lowest point now. At least this is what I think. For now.


This morning during the walk, I remember I stopped twice, because I got mentally distracted. It was one of those shittiest moments this week. Then again, I also remember, the first text I got this morning was from Magda: Good morning! How are you? Hope u had good rest of the day. Wishing you a good and full of energy week” (we had lunch together yesterday when I was at CCA and had a small chat) and then there was this uncle who wished me “Good morning” as I walked up the terrace garden, and during lunch later with Kah Hwee we talked about some spiritual stuff,  and late afternoon when I met Farheen where we talked about life in general- and I realised how blessed I am to be surrounded by people with beautiful thoughts all the time.

I’d like to believe that for every 1 unkind person I meet, I will meet 1000 kind persons. And that’s that.


I’ve always had this thing where I just don’t know what to answer when someone asks “how are you?”. And the past two months have been especially awkward- I don’t really have creative responses to someone who knew I was dealing with the passing of a family member, to those who didn’t, and just in general when I want to tell them how I was really feeling but I couldn’t because some things are better left unsaid.

I remember this article I read last year.

In many Muslim cultures, when you want to ask them how they’re doing, you ask: in Arabic, Kayf haal-ik? or, in Persian, Haal-e shomaa chetoreh? How is your haal?

What is this haal that you inquire about? It is the transient state of one’s heart. In reality, we ask, “How is your heart doing at this very moment, at this breath?” When I ask, “How are you?” that is really what I want to know.

My heart has been hammered a few times the past weeks, and I think I need time to reconcile with myself.

At least I know life is larger than this.

Things can only get better from here.


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