Grace Ow

Singapore

Since I was young, I was a voracious reader and had a deep love of words and the way they could be used to convey meaning. I hope that my words and my stories would have a positive impact on others.

Message from Writer

Every face that we see in a crowd has a story behind it. I am trying my best to listen, tell and share all the stories that I can.

Published Work

Investigate Yourself

Polarised

We live in a world of drama. A world of headlines. A world of ALL CAPS, where everything is a bad reality TV show waiting to happen. As I open my phone and glance at the different perspectives offered, a wave of fatigue sweeps over me, as I survey the buffet of opinions. The Internet has given every person a voice, and it has become the manifestation of all-you-can-eat noise. Having chosen to not have social media, I find it a challenge to check traditional news, because often I find that I only find pieces, but not topics. It helps me to find what's informative, but not what's relevant. We live in an era where the highlight is not the event, but the conversations revolving it. So I consume the courses of meals set before me in a variety of flavours- sweet, sour, bitter and salty. I talk to family and friends, and seek not to just find their thoughts,...

I Remember

Memory Lane

I remember the sound of my parent's footsteps. I remember the smell of coffee and cologne in the house. I remember the comfort of well-thumbed book pages. I remember the first time I had ever had a nightmare, about a man and children in cage. I remember my uniform, with blue pinafore and a white blouse. I remember the taste of cubed fried chicken and the taste of hot Milo in a styrofoam cup. I remember the days where we played more, worried less, innocent faces filled with carefree joy. I remember the taste of Dreyer's ice cream, as well as the ice cream shop opposite our house. I remember the Kachang Puteh I used to buy from the Indian man standing outside the mall, until he disappeared like a ghost. I remember the faces who those who have loved me and those who I have loved all my life, their frozen staring back at me from photographs. 

But I...

Beyond Reason

​Silent Observations

Why does silence feel so uncomfortable in a room,
Waiting to be broken into shards of glass?

Why are some conversations as comfortable as breathing,
And some conversations so awkward it feels suffocating?

Is there nothing more comforting than sleeping in a storm,
Or watching the silent rain fall from the comfort of your bedroom? 
Is there anything worse than knowing what you once had is lost,
Never to return again?

Why are flowers considered a symbol of beauty, both in love and grief,
The expression of love you give to another,
Or the memories of love that you place on someone’s grave?

The Lunch Table

"生命
随年月流去 随白发老去
随着你离去 快乐渺无音讯
随往事淡去 随梦境睡去
随麻痹的心逐渐远去
我好想你 好想你 却不露痕迹"

- 《我好想你》,苏打绿

"As life flows by with the passing of time,
It ages with the greying of hair on one's head,
While happiness is silent in your absence;
As memories fade away over time,
And the heart descends into paralysis,
Though I do not show it, oh how I miss you"

                                     - I Miss You, Sodagreen


I. Spring
The lunch table is a hiding place for me
I sit down and bend over my food
Facing the lush green trees 
Whose silence seemed to echo through the space
Hoping no one will notice my loneliness
That was how I met you 
You made the table a place of friendship,
Instead of a sign with all my social awkwardness written all over it


II. Summer
Like bees to flowering trees,
Our lunch...

WILD

The Current

Wild, merciless currents thrashed about,
Tossing her lifeless body around in the ocean
She had descended from the dock of a ship
And fallen into their grasp,
Fighting for her life while the waves crashed down on her
Drowning out her panicked cries for help
While the ocean swallowed her whole far down below
Before continuing its journey in these unchartered waters
Hungrily searching for its next victims
 

Self and a Statistic

Screens

She talks to her friend through the screens of their phones, a bright smile on her face as she laughs at a joke told from a thousand miles away on the other side of the globe. Minutes later, she is left staring into space at a dinner table as the people around her stare at the screens of their devices, too deeply absorbed in worlds of their own to pay any attention.

The Peace of Wild Things

Detox

"... I find myself seeing the world through a screen and not my own eyes."
                                                                                                 - Ed Sheeran

I have suffered so many sleepless nights
Tossing and turning,
Like restless waves unable to reach the shore
I turn to almost check my phone, 
But for once I decide to leave it sleeping on my bedside table

The sight of lush green peeking out from my window
Is a sight for sore eyes, 
Tired from staring at glaring phone screens
The birds chirp a song of greeting
Their voices in angelic harmony
I breathe in the fresh air wafting in from outside
Stirring my consciousness into a state of awakening 

 

10 Words

My December

“It is December, and nobody asked if I was ready.” 
                       - "Winter Without You", Sarah Kay

1. Sonder
2. Detox
3. Rushing
4. Énouement
5. Lights
6. Tradition
7. Birthday
8. Friendship
9. Family
10. Farewell

What Came Before

Autobiography

"How do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?" 

- "The Swing", Robert Louis Stevenson

It seemed as if time had held its breath for this moment. Years of love and hope from family and friends that followed me no matter where I went, months of events that were endlessly swirling around in my head, days of hearing my aunt and mother reminisce about their pasts... And maybe even the hour before in the traditional Penang bookshop downstairs where a notebook with a picture of a swing on it had led up to this desire to capture my history, to preserve it by trapping memories as words in the brown pages of my notebook. I picked up my pen, and slowly, began to write the first of the words that would form the story of my life.

Becoming Human

Lighthouse

You can always find me in the darkness.
I may be shining brightly in all my glory,
Or hidden from view by the fog,
But I am always there.

For the lost, the empty, the broken,
I am a sight for sore eyes.
As they stagger onto land,
They are greeted by my warm embrace.

Under my comforting gaze,
They sing songs of despair,
They pour out drunken sorrows,
They cry out to me for hope

 

An Ode to Music


You are the soundtrack to everything I do
And the icing on top of everything I make
How is it, that you are an endless palette
You can paint every single colour of the human experience
 
How is it, when I listen to you
The words pierce my heart
Shredding whatever armour is left into nothing
You have no secret recipe
Whoever paints with you
Paints using their own blood
Full of the stories they share
 
There is a reason why
Performing makes me so light-headed
Letting you out into the world
Is like losing blood
My outstretched fingers still linger on
Until there is no more to hold onto
 
You are a part of me I cannot let go of.

A Girl's Bedroom

It is a magical place for her
She opens the door, steps over the threshold
And suddenly she is in her own world-
Her nuances and quirks scattered all around the room,
Her thoughts flying free across the ceiling.
Here, she opens her heart and spells it out in stars,
Leaves her diary entries unlocked in a spirit of beautiful carelessness.
Here, she lies on her bed,
No longer holding back tears as they roll down her face,
As her sobs echo in the space around her.
 

Mixtape

A Mixtape: My Life

1. Opening Up by Sara Bareilles, Waitress the Musical: First of all, I love musicals, so half of my selections will be theatre songs. However, I chose this song in particular because it speaks of starting a new day with a positive outlook with some reservations. "The day starts like the rest I've seen/And all the carbon copy I've already been" really kind of hooked me into the song and the lyrics for the rest of the track is so relatable, such as "I like the way most of the days look exactly the same." All in all, this is a good song to listen to on the way to school.

2. All Too Wellby Taylor Swift: ​This song is one of my childhood favourites, and as a writer, I can't help at marvel at the narrative aspect of the story where she chronicles her relationship from the blissful beginning to the bitter end. Lyrics such as "You called me up again/Just to...

A City That Never Sleeps

I live in a city that never sleeps
Even at midnight,
We see lonely figures walking the street
Neon lights blinking in the night

During the day,
The avenues are packed with people
They come in heaps and piles
And sometimes in the midst of it all
It's hard to breathe

You learn very quickly that there is no place to breathe in this city
Everyone rushes from one place to the next in an endless relay race
No one stops to chat or smile or take a break
Everyone has something important to do

But even so, you cannot help but love a city that never stops moving,
No matter where you go, the streets are filled with people,
Always moving, thinking, their minds at work
All those tiny specks, in a city that never sleeps.

Chasing Poetry


I am constantly chasing my home.
I don’t know whether it is a person, a place, or a feeling-
 Of being tucked under a blanket with a mug of hot chocolate
Watching the rain fall from the window pane,
Knowing that you are safe from the storm.
 
I carry with me a bag pack for my journey
Full of everywhere I have ever been,
Every song my soul will ever want to sing,
Everyone I have ever met,
Conversations I desperately want to have…
And reams of notepad paper, and a pencil
So that when the stars align,
When the moment arrives when I feel like I belong,
And that for once I want to stay in the moment,
I may write it down and it may become my compass,
For when there are starless nights

 

In Corridors

I walk into the corridor
My feet and my heart lighter than ever before
The grey walls greet me like old friends
I have not seen for 2 months since summer vacation
 
I have dreaded this day for many sleepless nights
Shying away from the prospect of coming back
To a new start, with small nuances of change
The years blend into themselves in different shades,
Such that one cannot pull them apart
But only sense the memories that come with them
 
The fog is a swirl of mist
Almost covering the concrete jungle outside
The rain falls silently,
The rhythm of every teardrop matching my footsteps
And now I just stand there,
With nothing but wide-eyed dreams,
Within this realm of tranquility,
And for the first time,
I have hope.

Invisible Cities

Anima Annorum

Every place has a soul, and its shadows, everything it used to be, and if one were to look carefully, they could see through the old eyes of the past, to something that was created before them.

It is a city of the past, hidden beneath our layer of reality. Those who have been gifted can see beyond the world we know, into a world that used to be. Underneath a bank, they glimpse old ghosts walking into their old haunts, a bar that had been closed for fifty years. The buildings have an ancient feeling to it, made out of marble and brick. They all look as if they come from an old black and white photograph. 

10 Second Essays

10 Truths, In No Particular Order

1. While I am wishing I was more like someone, someone else may be wishing she was more like me.
2. It only takes one line in a story to strike a chord in a person's heart just like a well-aimed arrow.
3. So far in my life, I do not think I have met bad people. 
4. I know that when we apologise we wish to erase all the hurt we have caused.
5. However, I have met many people who are lost lives.
6. When we apologise, it is highly likely that we don't know what we are apologising for, and that is dangerous.
7. The more you give, the more you have; the more you take, the less you have- that's one of the ironies of life.
8. Words are double-edged swords: they can wound, but also heal; they can bring a person down, or lift a person up.
9. When interacting with people, we have to...

Legacy

I want to make the world a better place,
Where people live without fear in their hearts
Where there is no darkness
Only light and laughter and love

In the eyes of human history
I am only but a speck of dust
That passes through its great corridors
I want to leave something behind
More than empty space for another soul to fill
I want to make my mark
Yet I stumble in the dark
Trying to find my place, my spotlight

I know the only things I have are words
And in a hundred years, 
When I am just ash and shadow
They will be my monument
Puzzle pieces, that when assembled
May only provide a picture of me
A single frame in a lifelong film

I believe we are born for a reason
I believe that in all the years we could have been
We are here, in this time and place and age
Throwing pebbles into rivers
Creating...

Countdown

Drowning

Amber opened her eyes, stunned, accidentally swallowing mouthfuls of seawater. She coughed and gagged, all the while assessing her surroundings. The smell of salt and the ocean breeze... Logic told her she was at sea. There was no sign of shore. The waves dangerously overwhelmed her. She gasped for air. Struggled to float. Sinking fast...

Help.

One Sentence Story

The Corner Cafe

In a corner, hidden away from city streetlights and white noise, there is a cafe- brightly lit, overflowing with oak, coffee and dust-filled pages- a haven for lost souls, searching for a place to seek refuge from the frantic rhythms of their daily lives.

Inventory

Filled With Ghosts

The girl carries a leather jacket.
Black and velvety,
Ripped with holes like tooth cavities,
It is the only thing she holds to sleep at night.

The girl carries a book.
Creased and crumpled,
The pages are spotted with patches of coffee,
Soaked through with tears

The girl carries a photograph.
Crushed into the corner of the bag,
There lives a young girl with the bright smile
Those laughing eyes are gone now

She has been on a journey of running away,
Like a prisoner,
She is trying to escape the chains of her past.
But these ghosts fill her bag, her memories,
Pulling her down to earth with an awful gravity.
 

Enumeration

5 Things I Am Grateful For

1. Family: In a person's life, family is the first and most important source of influence. I am thankful to my parents and my extended family for raising me, and took the time to nurture me into who I am today, and loving me despite my flaws. I know I will not be there without their years of patience, guidance and love.

2. Friends: While my family gives me perspective and guidance in my life, friends are what get me through the school day. I thank all my friends for sticking with me despite my annoying habits, and sharing my stress and joy.

3. Music and Words: Since I was young, music has always been therapuetic to me. I love the way songwriters can compose something that calms you and speaks to your soul. Most of all, I love words and the way I have always been to use them to express my feelings, and I am grateful that I have...

Collected Wisdom

Take A Look Around

I was going through a really difficult phase in writing, and I didn't know what to do.

I constantly had writer's block and when I had an idea, I would sit down and write and edit, but everything just seemed wrong. The writing was fine, and the plot and characters would make sense with a little bit of fine-tuning, but there was something about everything I wrote that did not feel right, and I didn't know the reason for that. There was no more "spark", no more drive to carry on with any piece of writing I had started.

I grew frustrated. I lost interest. I would have even stopped writing completely, if not for one conversation I had with my mum. We were sitting and talking, as we usually did, and I told her about my writing troubles. That's when she said, "Since you have trouble finding writing inspiration, why don't you observe your surroundings more?"

When I heard...

To My 12-Year-Old Self

I see that you are worried,
Standing at the graduation hall
With your whole life flashing right before your eyes.
There is no past to go back to
 Everyone will have moved on from here
Yet any thought of the future is nauseating
Like a rowboat bobbing up and down in the ocean

You see yourself in a new school
Alone in a crowd of strangers
You see yourself in a foreign land
Oceans away from everything you know
You fear the years abroad will change you
Into becoming an unrecognisable stranger

You do not fear the future
You fear losing yourself to the current of time
That seems to sweep everything mercilessly away
Leaving no traces of what you were behind in the sand
You hold on to this moment with a white-knuckled grip
But still it always manages to slip through the palm of your hand

Let me reassure you.
This will be always be your home.
No...

Dear Me

To My Future Self


When you read this, you will be graduating from college or getting married or having children. When you read this, you will be meeting and hanging out with a different set of people. When you read this, you will be looking at the world through different lenses.

I know that so many things have changed, and there are so many questions I would love to ask you. How's mum and dad? Are they living happily in some apartment, spending time with each other and on the things they love to do, after so many years of being busy with us and their other responsibilities? How about our friends? Do you still know where they are? Do you guys still talk, or have they simply vanished off the face of the Earth? What about your job and colleagues? Are they friendly, and are they a joy to work with? Is your job something you look forward to every morning when you...

Playwriting Competition 2016

Bribing Death


[Lights on, with two people standing on stage: a middle-aged woman ELIZABETH and an older man BERTRAM on an unnamed pavement near a market. ELIZABETH, surprised, sees him first.]

ELIZABETH Heavens, Bertram, is that you?

BERTRAM Good morning, madam. It's been ages since I last saw you. How have you been doing?

ELIZABETH Not fantastic, but... I guess as best as I could be... How about you? How's the family?

BERTRAM Very good. My daughter's graduating from university.

ELIZABETH [Nostalgically] Yes, I remember when you brought her to our house one weekend...

BERTRAM She had always wanted to see where I worked, and you were very generous in giving your permission. 

ELIZABETH Oh, it was nothing. You were one of our best house staff in years.

BERTRAM It's been- what five years- since I retired from Whitehall. I remember Bea as a little girl, running across the rose garden. She would be thirteen now, wouldn't she?

ELIZABETH Yes. We just celebrated her birthday a...

Pantoum

A Song of Hope

I sing a new song of hope.
Every morning the sun shines through the windows
The fresh dew on the leaves sparkling 
Like the tears rolling down our faces

Every morning the sun shines through the windows, illuminating-
 Scars collected on our bodies
Like the tears rolling down our faces
They tell the stories of a people who bleed wounds of sorrow

Scars collected on our bodies
Worn like a badge of honour
They tell the stories of a people who bleed wounds of sorrow
Of a people who have fought our battles and lost

Worn like a badge of honour
These scars scream out a fatigued cry
Of a people who have fought our battles and lost
Thirsting for a new dawn-

Still, I sing a new song of hope
 

Playwriting Competition 2016

Bribing Death


[Lights on, with two people standing on stage: a middle-aged woman named Elizabeth and an older man named Bertram. The woman, surprised, sees him first.]

Elizabeth: Heavens, Bertram, is that you?

Bertram: Good morning, madam. It's been ages since I last saw you. How have you been doing?

Elizabeth: Not fantastic, but... I guess as best as I could be... How about you? How's the family?

Bertram: Very good. My daughter's graduating from university.

Elizabeth:  [Nostalgically] Yes, I remember when you brought her to our house one weekend...

Bertram: She had always wanted to see where I worked, which you were very generous to accept. 

Elizabeth: Oh, it was nothing. You were one of our best house staff in years.

Bertram: It's been, what five years, since I retired from Whitehall. I remember Bea as a little girl, running across the rose garden. She would be thirteen, now, wouldn't she?

Elizabeth: Yes. We just celebrated her birthday a month ago.  [She pauses]  I supposed...

Playwriting Competition 2016

Bribing Death


[Lights on, with two people standing on stage: a middle-aged woman named Elizabeth and an older man named Bertram. The woman, surprised, sees him first.]

Elizabeth: Heavens, Bertram, is that you?

Bertram: Good morning, madam. It's been ages since I last saw you. How have you been doing?

Elizabeth: Not fantastic, but... I guess as best as I could be... How about you? How's the family?

Bertram: Very good. My daughter's graduating from university.

Elizabeth: Yes, I remember when you brought her to our house one weekend...

Bertram: She had always wanted to see where I worked, which you were very generous to accept. 

Elizabeth: Oh, it was nothing. You were one of our best house staff in years.

Bertram: It's been, what five years, since I retired from Whitehall. I remember Bea as a little girl, running across the rose garden. She would be thirteen, now, wouldn't she?

Elizabeth: Yes. We just celebrated her birthday a month ago.  [She pauses]  I supposed you've...

Mysteries Abound

Questions and Answers

There are too many things I do not know.

I do not understand why the stars cannot be seen in the sky, or why the beginning and the ending of the day is so beautifully tinted by golden rays in the ever-darkening sky. I have never known why walking down a quiet back lane at the dead of night always sends a chill down my spine.

I do not understand why fear is so paralysing or unforgettable from the first encounter. There are still some things that crawl under my skin or unsettle me, like the anchor of a shop being unmoored. I do not know why people deny themselves the right to be themselves, in an attempt to put a facade for people who do not and will never matter.

But, I do not understand why joy is so contagious, and there are some days where we feel invincible, standing on rooftops, backs to the wind. I can never...

Bon Voyage

There are no farewell parties here.
This is a place of transit
With people passing through these halls
Goodbyes should be accepted.

They are not.

Just because goodbyes are frequent does not mean they are accepted.
It does not soften the ache in the hearts of the ones who truly matter.
No one can get used to saying goodbye,
To ignore the days and the months and years of laughter
That is still echoing in my ears
I can still hear you now

When this place becomes a ghost town,
Your voices will be the ghosts
Ringing through the corridors
Your shadows forever haunting us
Do not worry about whether you will be ashes of this place.
You will always be remembered,
Your presence lingering on the corners of the classroom
The years that you have left a mark on cannot be so easily erased

This is a place of transit
Like a harbour
With many ships passing through on...

Joy to the World

知己

知己 (zhi ji)。Its literal meaning is to "know oneself", which is one of essential facets of its meaning. The other meaning behind these character is a soulmate or closest friend, the one who knows you inside out, or maybe even better than you may know yourself.

Monologue

Lila

It all started when my childhood ended. I was there, dry-eyed, staring at our broken shell of a house, gazing down my parent's lifeless bodies, burnt black by the explosion. There are few other things that can traumatise a child so profoundly as this. This gave me endless nightmares of fire and death for years. I can still hear the voices of my parents helplessly crying out to me. Save us, save us, they plead, and I always try to stretch out my fingers as far as I possibly can, but it is never enough; they are cruelly ripped away into the darkness, and I wake up in cold sweat, alone, the bitter taste of my harsh reality stuck in my mouth.

Looking back, things had already changed the year I turned fourteen. It was 1940, and the nation was still as in a state of shock as when it found itself being plunged into a war against Germany and...

Band Name

The Lost and Found


They said they were called the Lost and Found because as a group of friends in high school, they were in search of their identities. There is just so much in our music, they tell me, and I can't help but agree with them. Anyone who listens to their songs can hear the raw emotion in the chords, to the haunting melodies from the voice, to the words that somehow manage to break down the barriers between them and the audience. They mentioned about how they use their songs as their diaries. When they have a problem or a feeling, they just start writing lyrics and melodies until everything fits together as a perfect snapshot of their emotions, and what they were trying to figure out. When they were asked for advice on making music, they just said, "​You shouldn't hold yourself back when it comes to the creative process. If you do, you hold yourself back from all the good...

180

Quiet

I have always been very uncomfortable with silence. It was about the emptiness of the room, the lack of sound which would set me on edge. Sometimes (or most of the time), I would fill the room with incessant chatter, with words that had no other meaning and purpose except to fill emptiness.

However, I suddenly began to realise that silence had its merits. I was in Barcelona for a school trip, and we happened to visit a lovely rural village named Calafell. It was siesta- the time of the day where denizens would rest in the afternoon after lunch- and therefore eerily quiet. As we climbed up to the castle, and explored different parts of the town, I could not help noticing that I was comfortable in the silence, and not just comfortable, I found myself shushing my peers who were causing an infernal racket as we strolled through the village. I liked that I could hear the speech...

Writer's Block

It is a feeling we are all intimately familiar with
To describe it as something is just flattery
It is nothing.
It is the void where we wreck our brains for ideas
Checking our inspirational refrigerators every ten minutes
Only to find it empty

Gone is the spark
The urge to spill your thoughts out like a river
on a piece of paper
Now there are only jagged puzzle pieces in your mind
We stare at the blank page
Willing the words to change themselves into something worth sharing
But the words are only broken pieces of a body

I cannot live in a world without words
Every inch of my soul is made out of typography
Everywhere I see them
On walls, on faces, on streetlight
I long to reach out to them
But like the elusive beings they are
They shy away
Continuing to evade me

Sagrada Família


It was a windy day
As I stood in front of the Sagrada Famila
The way one would stand on the peak of Mount Everest
Proud of the view, of the beauty they have seen
Proud of how far they have come

I have travelled half the world to see this
This, being the huge entrance of the church
Which looked less like an entrance
And more like a story carved in stone
The glass-stained windows,
Each one a beautiful watercolour on its own
The staircase,
Twisted into such a beautiful spiral
Almost a double helix
Resembling a fragment of us
One that we couldnt see ourselves

I have been to this great continent many times
The cities of saints and glass-stained windows
This place is different
It is not just a church
It is the spirit of Gaudi entombed alive
His brainchild built into being

Places are not just themselves
They are backdrops to the human story
And portraits...

Local Tongue

My Language

My home is a melting pot full of cultures, of which language is just another reflection. In my home, we speak Singlish, a tongue of words borrowed from Chinese, Malay and Tamil all mashed into the frame of the English language. Here, our grammar is thrown out of the window, there is no sentence structure. Instead, there are fragments of phrases tossed to the wind.

I need to go mekan (eat) first.

Aiya, we're going to be late already!

But I very hungry leh
.

I wait for you at bus stop first.


To others, this may sound broken pieces of a language, but to us, this is only familiar. This is the sound of home, of coffee shops smelling strongly of chicken curry, the atmosphere of the airport as we exit the plane. This is the place where we shed off formality for closeness. This is the bridge between people from all walks of life to overcome the barriers...

Everyday Magic

Rain

"And you will keep me safe,
And you will keep me close.
And rain will make the flowers grow."
- "
A Little Fall of Rain", Les Miserables

I love rain. I love the way it looks, and the way it sounds, pittering and pattering against the ground. Like tears rolling down my cheeks, slowly at first, then breaking through all barriers, flowing down at full speed, like blood from an open wound. It is like the sky is crying.

I used to think the reason why I love rain was because I was born in a storm. My parents drove through a river on a road to the hospital, and when I was born, when my senses were awakened, the first thing I heard was the fall of rain, its quiet whisper.

I love the way rain makes me think, like on a day at the running track. It is sports day, and there is a perfect dark cloud...

On the Edge

They are standing on the ledge,
Wind at their backs, hands outstretched
As if they are flying,
Away from the safety of railing like cage bars
They are flying, like birds
Away from gravity that becomes too comfortable
The air sweeps through them,
And for once they feel like part of the world,
One of the elements.

Never has air felt more tangible in their lives
They long to stretch out and touch it with their fingertips
Everything below them looked tinier than ants
It was as if they could hold the entire world in their hands

It doesn’t matter how many cages there are
It doesn’t matter how many obstacles are in their way
There, up on the edge, is the only place they feel truly free

1945


Somewhere,
A young woman is tired from the road
The journey has not been kind to her
They have packed people in trains like sardine cans
Even though she knows she is walking into a nightmare
She is filled with hope
Maybe she can find her husband
Who sunk into the shadows of this unknown place Auschwitz.
It is a place where people disappear
They are grabbed by dark figures,
Sent onboard a train
And never come back.
Most people have already died inside during the train ride, but not her.
She is one of those rare people
Who are constantly filled with sunshine and innocence
She truly believes there is a place for her here.
Some people call this foolishness.
They undress her and mock her,
They strip her of her identity
Now she is nothing but a serial number
Somehow, she still manages to smile
They tell her to hit the showers
She enters the cubicle with thousands...

After... After... After

A Moment of Music

It was after years of hard work. After countless tears and rejection, after she had been laughed at and ignored, after hours of locking herself in the room, her hands memorising the strings on the fingerboard, pressing on the strings until her fingers bled red. After so much waiting, her heart beating and her hands trembling with the odd but familiar blend of nervousness and excitement. She was finally here, standing up on the stage, the spotlight illuminating her slight figure that belied the strength of her will. She closed her eyes, lifted her violin and began to play, releasing the soft and sweet lullabies that she had cradled in her sleep every night to the crowd, as if dispersing dandelion seeds to the wind. 
 

Flashlight

Dolores


You are all the things you do not like about yourself
Everything inside of you is hollow
You long to fill it up with something
That will cover up your emptiness
Everyday you walk along the corridors wearing nothing but silver
To everyone else it is jewellery
Only you recognise that it is armour to hide the scars that you have
And everyday of your life is some battle you have to fight
Even when you are surrounded by people
You always feel alone

Your friends are shadows
Not mirrors or windows,
Never reflecting or illuminating the good in you,
Just dark puddles for you to sink into
Being with them is like breathing in toxic air
They are just waiting for you to slip and fall
So you can dive into their emptiness 
You are all statues built from shards of glass

At home, you look at yourself in the mirror
All you see is a pretty shell filled...

Quartet

Dust

She holds her secrets, keeps her silences and averts her eyes; slips away, only leaving a trail of dust behind as clues to her past.

The Things They Carried

​The Things They Carried

8 May 1945. The streets were filled to the brim with celebration, as the people celebrated end of the war. The soldiers were welcomed back as triumphant heroes, each of them still wearing their uniforms, stained with blood and torn apart by bullet shells, their faces marked by streaks of dry tears and years of battle. The women had letters in their pockets that had been yellowed with the dust and dirt of the frontlines. They had tears in their eyes but beaming smiles on their faces in the knowledge that the weight of the burden that they had carried for five years was finally lifted. The children ran around the streets empty-handed but whole-hearted, their laughter like music to the ears. They were not exactly sure what was going on, but they sensed the lightness of the atmosphere, like a dark fog clearing to reveal the splendour of the moon at night.

Despite the festive mood in the air,...

Paint Swatch

Starlight

It is the colour of the illumination of the stars, shining down on everything around us. It breaks through leaves of trees and smooth curtains of hair, scattering out rays in its wake. Most colours are stagnant and are admired from their positions.
This colour will be different. More dynamic.It will leap out from pieces of paper, bounce across walls, leaving sparks in its wake. It will stop people in their tracks, because it is too beautiful to ignore, and they will watch it dance around the skies, like a magical firework show. It will open people's eyes to the beauty of their surroundings, such that people will step out of their mundane lives and appreciate the world around them. It will make everything better and brighter.

It will light up a world in darkness. 
 

Elena


At dawn, Elena walked through the streets of her neighbourhood, with a pile of letters in her hand, searching for answers. It was so quiet that one could hear a pin drop, and not eerily quiet in the way that scared people, but peaceful so that she could be alone with her memories.
*
Growing up, she always saw her mother from a distance, as her mother always woke up earlier and came home later than her. She never understood why she was different from other children never had nice clothes or birthday presents like them, or more importantly, why she had never had a father. When Elena asked her mother what had happened to her father, her mother just turned away and after a long silence, said distantly, “It’s getting late. You should be in bed.”

With an absent father and a distant mother, Elena was used to being alone. She hardly had any free time, because she had...

All Talk

Bribing Death

Heavens, Bertram, is that you?

Good morning, madam. It's been ages since I last saw you. How have you been doing?


Not fantastic, but... I guess as best as I could be... How about you? How's the family?

Very good. My daughter's graduating from university.

Yes, I remember when you brought her to our house one weekend...

She had always wanted to see where I worked, which you were very generous to accept. 

Oh, it was nothing. You were one of our best house staff in years.

It's been, what five years, since I retired from Whitehall. I remember Bea as a little girl, running across the rose garden. She would be thirteen, now, wouldn't she?

Yes. We just celebrated her birthday a month ago.

Pause. I supposed you've seen the news. About Bea. 

Yes, it's rather awful. How much do they want?

A million dollars.

A sum which you can very well afford.

Which will be handed over to them as soon as...

Imagine This

Honeymoon

Imagine this. It is noon when my mother and father step off the plane for their honeymoon, with tired but laughing eyes. They sleep in a bed and breakfast where the heater is not running, such that the water freezes their limbs every time they take a shower. In those days, they now tell me, laughing, we didn't have any money. We just booked a plane ticket and packed our bags. 

Not that it mattered.

London is a buzzing metropolis and a sight to behold for most, but to them it is something more. Every street is their playground, and every park bench is a place where they can eat their cold, hard sandwiches in the winter. In the afternoons, they would spend all their money at West End, sitting in a theatre watching matinées. Sometimes, my father will be about to fall asleep, when my mother wakes him up. They sneak out of the theatre, walking on the streets...

Illumination

Stillness

And there she was yet again, dressed in a white blouse and ripped jeans which were stained with patches of paint, her hands in her pockets, her long blonde hair swaying freely in the breeze, standing barefoot on the beach with grains of sand dotting her clothes. Despite her casual untidiness, there was a calming stillness about her as she stood in the midst of the crashing of choppy waves and gathering storm clouds, separating her from the rest of the world. 

Unwritten


I am an open book
My thoughts written out for everyone to read
One only needs to skim through the pages
To understand my words and speak my language

There are some people in this world who are afraid of translation
They think it is better that no one understands them
Dreads the day someone knows them inside out
The way you know every single word in a favourite book
The worn-out pages that curl in on themselves
The stark black font staring back at them like a reflection
 
I am not one of those people
I love words
Eyes are the windows to your soul but words are the doors
That when opened can send you into a journey through someone else’s world
Through the stories told in these pages
Most people understand my how but not my why
My choice to give everything of myself away
It is more difficult for me than most think
But years...

[Insert Age]

15

Fifteen has always been an interesting age to people, probably because it is somewhere in the middle of our adolescence, past 13, which marks transition from childhood, but not quite reaching 18, when one leaves for adulthood. 15 is a time when one is properly in their teens, stuck in the middle of maturity and innocence, childhood and youth, chaos and order. 

15, to me, was one half confusion and the other half understanding. I had to constantly battle all the challenges of school life and try to find out who I am, all while living in a world where there is no black and white. Such is the state of existence which we call Life.

I can list the things I have learnt, most being outside the classroom. The first is forgiveness, on how to give a person time for forgiveness, and also to forgive someone. The second is the beauty of observation. Being an extremely talkative person, I...