TWENTY-THREE

 Yesterday I turned 23. It's the one time a year when I reflect on how much my life has changed over the course of 12 months. Every year I think to myself, wow it can't get crazier than that... But guess what? It does. With every increment of my age, I learn new lessons from life. Important lessons that will stay with me for a long time. I'm older, but not wiser - in fact, my foolishness grows with each passing day. Being an adult doesn't necessarily mean that you have your life sorted out. Growing up should be a liberating experience. It means to be able to accept the things you cannot change, and live with positivity and gratitude. It means to learn whose opinion matters and whose doesn't. It means to break free from conformities and compromises. It means to be bold enough to live on your own terms and never apologise for it. Thank you to every single one of you who has taken a moment of your precious time for this underserving fool. Your presence, physical and digital, were the best presents I could ask for. Your hugs, phone calls, comments, Instagram posts, text messages, tweets, video calls, Facebook posts and snapchats have filled my soul with so much joy and I am ever so grateful from the bottom of my heart.  Photo assistance - Melody Tan Wearing: Forever 21 - Tropical print tee, linen shirt // Acne Studios -...

DREAMING

In the midst of procrastinating, towards the end of a month-long period of intensive revision, I stumbled across a screenshot of my calendar that I posted on Facebook in 2012. It was a schedule for Paris Fashion Week. Incidentally, I put together all the show dates and times while procrastinating at a law internship, so that I could get back home and watch the live streams late into the night. Between writing up case briefs, I would fantasize what it would be like to actually be part of the fashion industry - glamorously jetting to shows in amazing outfits, being photographed by streetsyle photographers, meeting Anna Wintour... Finding this little gem of an itinerary made me smile. I had forgotten that I used to be so passionate and enthusiastic about wanting to be a fashion journalist. To my 18 year old self, this was routine every fashion month period. I didn't know how I would ever get there, but I just knew that one day I would. I believed it with all my heart and the universe conspired for it to happen. Lots of blood, sweat and tears were shed along the way, but my dreams came true. So what happens next, now that your dreams have come true? Thankfully, life isn't a Disney movie. There isn't a happily ever after and rolling credits. You just keep dreaming. Today, I have bigger goals and aspirations. Again, I have no idea how I'm going to accomplish them, but I have a feeling inside that life will guide me down the right path. Never stop dreaming and believing, kids. Photography & illustration...

BREAKAWAY

I've only been alive for slightly over two decades, but even I know that life is just not that simple to follow a fixed pattern. How anyone can expect our existence to be so black and white is beyond my understanding. This isn't Stepford, it's the real world. The only thing that could possibly be so monochromatic is maybe this outfit, which I wore last month during London Fashion Week. You're probably wondering what the hell I'm on about, so saddle up, kids. Over the last week, I've been hit with some unfortunate and unexpected reminders that fate is far beyond our control and it's gotten me to reevaluate several aspects of my life. Firstly, as I've said before, it's good to have direction, but you can't plan life in meticulous detail because you never know when she's going to throw a curveball at you. Secondly, I spend a lot of time trying to please others, but I really don't think it's worth the time anymore. Life is fragile. Life is ephemeral. I shouldn't be persecuted for doing things that bring me joy, satisfaction and a sense of purpose. I don't believe that there is only one way to live life, so no one should force their ideals onto others. I may make mistakes along the way, but hey, those are my mistakes to learn from. It really infuriates me to see bigotry, no matter the context. Live and let live. Try it. I'll guarantee you the world will be a much better place. At the risk of sounding like a whiny, overprivileged kid, I begin my rant. Growing up in an Asian society can be suffocating in some ways. From a young...

MINDFULNESS AND OFFLINE EXPERIENCES

A few days ago, after reading this article by Hans Ulrich Obrist, it struck me that I needed some time out to do something new, immerse myself in it and just be. A mini tech-detox, if you may. Technology is an incredible thing. As time goes by, the rate at which we advance keeps increasing. And what is the biggest technological achievement by man, you ask? Well, the internet of course. In modern societies, we've almost become completely dependent on it. I wouldn't be writing this, nor would you be reading this without the intervention of the internet. Privileged children today are no longer being born with a silver spoon, but rather a silver iPad. Or something like that. The internet has changed us forever, for both the better and the worse. I'll be the first to admit that I love the internet and my life today would be shaped very differently without it. However, in recent years, studies are suggesting that it's altering our biological makeup. As a new generation of people who were born into the omnipresence of the internet are starting to enter adulthood, its impact on the human psyche is becoming apparent. For one, it's becoming harder and harder to hold our attentions. If you pick a movie, be it from Hollywood or Bollywood, from about 50 years ago and compare it to a movie from the last 5 years, you'll find that the average length of a single shot has dropped from 9 seconds to 3 seconds. It doesn't sound like a huge difference, but it's clear evidence that we're losing our patience. The internet has allowed us to become efficient in so many ways that...

FROZEN MOMENTS

After a brief stint of overnight snow last weekend, the temperature in London took a dip and danced around the freezing point for the remainder of the week. It was only when I headed down to Victoria Park for a much needed dose of Sri Lankan chai (following several hours of mind-numbing lectures) that I realised how cold it really was. The West Boating Lake had partially frozen over. My mug warmed my trembling hands, but watching life on the lake warmed my soul. Ducks, geese, seagulls and other waterfowl continued with their usual fanfare at a negligibly greater elevation than most days. They were clumsy little creatures, tripping and stumbling all over the place as they attempted to tread over slippery surfaces. I observed them silently as I demolished my brownie. The mallards seemed to struggle the most with every step they took, while the coots appeared condescending in their rooted positions. Only the wise swans knew it was better to stay out of the lake altogether. As the sun grew in intensity, the smooth surfaces began to lose their solidity and move like satin again, creating ample opportunity for the cormorants to dive freely. I wasn't particularly sad at that point in time, but I felt like a weight on my shoulders too melted into the lake. It's important to learn how to go through life mindfully. Recently a friend told me that, "happiness is when you live in the present and let go of all your troubles, of negativity, and just enjoy the moment". In today's hectic world, most people, myself included, spend too much time contemplating and worrying about future events and where life...
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