The Nice Non-Kuta Places of Bali

A scrawny guy, megawatt smile on his sun bronzed face, waved his skinny tattooed arms over-enthusiastically as we approached the beach cafe. Ushering us to our seats, armed with menus, he asked the usual, “Where you from?”

“Singapore.”

His eyes lit up and sparkled with a glow that I couldn’t quite comprehend.

“Oh! Singapore. I have a friend in Singapore,” he exclaimed which still failed to explain that peculiar twinkle in his eyes.

Laurencia asked for the bathroom and upon her departure, the scrawny guy sat down beside me and looked at me with those eyes. “Is he your brother?”

An odd question. “No, we are friends.” I answered, regarding him warily. I thought the flirts only existed in lovely Kuta. My reponse seemed to have stoked the strange flames in his eyes. In a manner which felt like an oft-performed script, he launched into his pitch.

“I work here. I earn little money.”

“Singapore is very good. But I have no money to go there.”

“Maybe you can bring me there, buy me tickets to go there visit you.”

“I can make you happy happy. We do anything you want. If you happy, I happy.”

That was when it hit me.

On Balangan Beach, Bali, in a cafe overlooking the massive waves constantly crashing into the shores, I listened to the first sugar baby sales pitch of my life. I cannot have asked for a more dramatic, a more perfect backdrop to be pimped to.

Continue reading “The Nice Non-Kuta Places of Bali”

tbh.

tbh, I don’t know the person that I am anymore.

3 months a working adult, 3 months on board a ship that never found a bed to sink its anchor into, 3 months of seasickness yet never barfing overboard. tbh, I hold all the puke in so they don’t spill onto my pristine office desk, seemingly sterile from the cold a/c air deprived of life, of flaws. Strictly business, strictly professional. I hate cleaning up with explanations that will never make sense to most people.

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3 months later, travel is no longer optional but an absolute necessity, the literal air I breath. In Vietnam, in Langkawi, in Bali, I find air greedily consumed by each alveolus, air sacs fully inflated to volumes they’ve never exceeded in Singapore. tbh, only 40% of the capacity of my lungs are accessible back here at work. I walk around 40% alive. I may have 2 days of annual leave (or less) left.

I wanted to be a social worker, a noble beacon of self-sacrificing light shone upon the slums of misery. Born kind, eternal sunshine I thought myself. tbh, the light has gone out since Depression fell me and I still fumble around the pits of lost dreams on all fours looking for that idea of me. Today, I punctuate every step of my run with contempt for fat people, for the marginalized, for the idiots doomed to be selected against, for the living, the breathing, the very freaks of society I vowed to rescue.

The ship rocks from side to side. The waves are to blame yet I turn the sails to accentuate its tumults. I set the pendulum in motion, on purpose. Last year, 5 men in a month the busiest. Come. This year, 7 months a virgin. Push. tbh, the back of my throat is still rancid with a loneliness that seeps further into my heart with every breath I take. The ship still sails through fog looking for light, for land to dock to refuel or wistfully, for the illusory end to the voyage.

I love to tell stories until the stories started telling me. Depression told me what to think, confiscating words, looting stories, deflating inspiration, snuffing me out. In their place, melodrama, too much introspection, all chaos no art, grey overcast skies where no sunlight can get through to flourish flowers. tbh, the moment my fortress was overran I stopped writing and that was the end of me. A ghost town perpetually snowing, if you peer through my vacant eyes.

This morning, every thing was right in their place, the weather gay. Yet, I woke up feeling like a casualty of a hit-and-run, specifically a “I don’t know what hit me”. tbh, I think I’m sick and I got it from one of my bosses during a meeting.

When the body falls, the mind does too, thoughtfully eliminating potential feelings of being left out. tbh, an enviable friendship.

Home Cooked Food

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The best weekend afternoons are created by a mixture of a scrumptious home cooked food, good conversations and the warmth of friendship. On our yearly Hari Raya affair, we congregated at Amalia’s house for our annual feeding, this time with so much ayam goreng (fried chicken) that the trashcan looked like the Paris Catacombs of ayam bones.

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Thank you for hosting us so graciously! It’s a literal pain in my ass when I take the hour-long MRT ride to the East of the island to your place but it’s always a joy to reconnect with the people from my iLEAD (now NOC SG) batch.

It’s been 2 years since our program and it’s really encouraging to see us little fledglings now spreading our wings, flapping them and taking flight! I have complete faith in all of us, that we have the heart to make a difference in a world, on tightropes beyond the box of the conventional life view, braving the waves and tumults of uncertainties.

To bring up a phrase which have been rolling off my tongue quite a bit ever since graduation from university and the entire formal education system, “the future is SO exciting!

xx

The one you feed

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

This is one of my favourite stories which packs a punch every time.

It’s almost 3 months into my life as a full-time working adult and I found the need for mental wellness paramount to building a good foundation for how you approach your life for the next 30-40 years. And also what your every day life is going be painted by.

There can only be food for the good wolf.

Eating and Surfing in Kuta, Bali

It was the sixth day of overcast skies since the start of our trip. The dreary dark clouds were the perfect analogy of my mind as I walked down the nasty cobblestone streets, feeling the chill of having my security blanket pulled from around me, brows furrowed, ignoring the calls of street vendors who had seemed to morphed into vultures hungry for my tourist money.

Why did I choose to be alone in Kuta, Bali, otherwise dubbed as the the “most vile place on Earth“? *REGRET* My palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy. No vomit on my bikini but my anxiety be cripplin’. It’s been a while since I’ve taken a solo trip anywhere. I had forgotten how to be alone with myself and in a state of panic, I had devolved into a total child afraid of every fucking thing. What better place to be feeling lost and frightened than in Kuta?

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