Tribolum.com Making Light of Things

December 2004 Archives

Viva Las Vegas

The free Wifi at McCarren International Airport in Las Vegas is certainly a welcome treat now that our flight has been delayed for two hours.

Just before I left, I told Faith that airports always gave me an exciting feeling; it felt like I was standing at portals to different worlds. Faith told me that airports made her sad. It made her feel like someone without a home.

Sitting here at McCarren, I now know what she means. I’ve made mental mistakes twice now, thinking that I’m flying home to Singapore. The time in the US has been good in reminding me of how much I love this place, and also how much I miss Singapore.

At Tucson I had the chance to speak to Zahid, a friend I had made on my very first day in school. We spent the ensuing months having very late dinners at Carl’s Jr., musing over how we missed being home. We were utterly alike in our outlook to life, twins brothers in different skins and from different countries

Now a number of years later, we met and exchanged the answers to which we sought. Ever since leaving Tucson, I’ve always wondered what it would have been like had I stayed back and brought Faith over with me. Jobs here are easier to seek, and qualifications from here are better recognised.

Zahid lived the life of my wondering. He has a pretty high profile job in the same company Min is working at. This huge land of opportunity is also a land of loneliness for those of us who yearn for the company of childhood friends. His experiences answers my many questions, and my being married and living in my own home answers many of his. Having these answers doesn’t make me stop wondering, I guess. I’ve passed through too many forks in the road, too many what-ifs, too many lives not lived and paths not taken.

Time Is Fleeting

I went back to Tucson Chinese Baptist yesterday night. I felt so old when I saw the children at church. Some of the high schoolers were now college students, and the previously two-feet tall children were now three feet tall. It is a common misconception that hanging out with young people makes you feel young. When you see how much they changed over a year and a half, and how little you’ve changed, the passage of time, accompanied by the realisation of life’s brevity becomes very apparent.

Sitting there in the dark, I marvelled at how God kept each and every one of them. How my Arizonan brethren reminded me of my Singaporean brethren. And how irreconcilable the two: that I had to choose to spend my lifetime with one and not the other. It would be easier not to choose and live life passively, taking things as they come. Can’t Arizona wait for me till I’m done with Singapore? Do I have to miss out on your live’s best moments because I was so many miles away?

I want to be there through it all. All the tears, all the laughter, everything. I don’t want to leave Monday. But I don’t want to be away from Singapore either.

Found One Light

And in this cruel and lonely world, I’ve found one light…you’re still you.

No sunset, however beautiful, is complete without you in my arms. I miss you.

Biblically Sound

Biblegateway becomes XHTML compliant (transitional), fulfilling some lesser known commandment.

Wish I Had A River

It’s coming on Christmas
They’re cutting down trees
They’re putting up reindeer
And singing songs of joy and peace
Oh I wish I had a river I could skate away on
But it don’t snow here
It stays pretty green
I’m going to make a lot of money
Then I’m going to quit this crazy scene
Oh I wish I had a river
I could skate away on

Oh I wish I had a river so long
I would teach my feet to fly
Oh I wish I had a river
I made my baby cry.

I have Joni Mitchell’s River playing on repeat right now. In a few hours I will be flying to Arizona, my home away from home. Due to problems with the schedule, Faith will not be flying with me.

It is my first time away from her since we’ve been married. She broke into tears while packing my things with me yesterday and also tonight. Tomorrow she will cry again while sending me off, and it fire-brands my heart to know I wouldn’t be able to hug her then.

Some of you are probably right to think that I am not a good husband. It certainly feels that way. I have always envisioned Faith by my side whenever I had to be the good son or good brother, but this time it seems like they are mutually exclusive choices. I really hate myself for having to choose, and even more for looking forward to watch an Arizonan sunset without her. Leaving her alone for Christmas. What kind of a husband am I anyway?

“I wish I had a river so long”, sings Robert Downey Jr, “I made my baby cry”. Even though I’ll be physically many, many miles away, there is no place for my heart to hide. Every minute that passes brings about the inevitable crying / unable to hug her scenario tomorrow. My heart is headed for a collison course.

Amid tears, she told me that she’d do fine. I didn’t have the heart to tell her I didn’t know if I’d do ok myself. Now alone in the study I find the time to cry it out.

I wish I had a river.

Design Err

I don’t know how I got here. Somehow I’ve been made the designated “designer” for church stuff. I’m not a designer. As a child I didn’t even like to draw. As a web designer I’m more concerned that all elements, visual or otherwise, convey a strong and concise intended message than for it to look aesthetically pleasing. Problem is, the general public doesn’t read into the nuances of design. They simply like it or don’t.

I remember a few months ago I slaved away at a church camp shirt design. The constraints were quite phenomenal. I had to have bilingual message on a small patch on the front left of a polo shirt. It took me hours to come out with something that looked quite dismal frankly. While in the elevator at the camp, I overheard a “this year’s camp shirt is really ugly”. Wow. It was like one of those times you wished you disappeared because you farted in the elevator and everyone knew it was you. When they discovered that it was me (still in the elevator), I almost wished the elevator cable would snap and we’d reach the ground floor faster.

Again, I don’t know how I got here. Despite all that, I’m still working at camp booklets logos and such. I’m in this position because our resident genius illustrator took a much deserved break. I can’t believe he does this year after year.

I suppose I take design from a my own half-baked perspective. The message, is to me, the single most important thing in design. Every pixel I add has to contribute to communicating the message in some way. This usually turns out rather long-drawn, as I have to explain every detail to people before they think I didn’t intentionally make it look that bad.

It takes me close to forever to come up with something I like. I need to work on my visual designing skills, to somehow merge cognitive and aesthetic. I’d much rather be working on words, but this does open up a whole new world.

Please, don’t sing the Aladdin song. :)

Deferred

I went to the army camp on other end of the island hoping that I could submit the doctor’s letter and still continue my training. It felt good putting on the uniform again, and shining my boots. I was all set to push myself when…

They gave me a bunk on the fourth floor. After climbing up the stairs, my heart rate bounced up to 170 beats per minute and I started to feel a little dizzy. I knew I had to stop and couldn’t continue.

The camp doctor sent me home. I regret not being able to finish what I had to, but at the same time it means I have time to spend with Faith who’s on her vacation as well.

I feel so weak.

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