Hold me in this wild, wild world

Things I did, Thinking about things

It’s the last Friday night of summer; school starts this coming Monday. I’m sitting here at the dining table, listening to Queen (Greatest Hits II) and half-trying to do some readings (Corporate Crime, which is really just a bamboozle of big words like “Fraud”…. “Stock manipulation”… “Falsification of accounts” et al), half-reading inane articles on Facebook.

So yes, I am very happening. I also ate another packet of Oreo minis.

I’m also severely distracted because I have not been coping well with post concert depression after Bastille’s gig that happened 4 days ago. I thought I’d be over it by now, because I am a Mature Adult™ who can attend one concert, enjoy herself during the 90 minute set, buy some merch, then go home and move on with life. Well I didn’t buy any merch because they didn’t have the specific item I wanted, and because it was $50 for a t-shirt, $25 for a tote bag. Yeah…. no.

I also have zero ability in grasping the concept of moving on, because I keep getting drawn back into their songs, videos and other generally unproductive things (i.e. the Bastille tag on Tumblr). I have a newfound appreciation for every single track off Wild World, I find new meanings in each lyric… it’s heartwarming, but at the same time extremely unhelpful for someone starting school in 3 days.

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This was my second time hearing the lads live; 2015 seem like a distant memory, though I do remember odd specifics of their first show in Singapore. Dan wore a t-shirt I didn’t really like and his hair was a little messed up because he had been wearing a cap on and off. He introduced These Streets as his favourite song off Bad Blood; Eunice and I flailed because that was my favourite song too (childish, I know, but we were young and very much in love with their music, forgive us). We weren’t familiar with the band, and I didn’t know all the songs. But I’ve been to other shows before, and I had a sensing Dan felt awkward performing live. He didn’t keep his eye on the same spot for long, he moved around a lot, his dancing was adorably bad (and I say this as a big fan of his), and his little snippets of words between songs were just one notch above mumbling. But when he sang, it was surreal. A genuine sincerity bleeds through his sounds only matched by his vocal abilities. He howled where he had to, he went high for the extra oomph. Together with the pulsing drums and guitars and keys, it was a revelation.

We came out of the Coliseum overwhelmed, partially by the heat but more by the fact that we heard some of our absolute favourite songs, these same songs that accompanied us when we studied, when we were on the commute, being performed by our favourite band right in front of our eyes. It’s like, they sang these songs. They are real.

That was in January 2015; we were in our first year. Fast forward 2 years, and I’m now in my final year of law school. When I now hear the opening lines of Pompeii, it almost feels like a passive aggressive jab at me and some of my badly made life choices. It’s trite law that things, including myself, change over time, so I found solace in some things that didn’t:

  • Dan’s dancing (still adorably bad, but getting less bad, and actually pretty funky),
  • My ability to remember lyrics to songs I hadn’t heard in a while, even if I can’t remember a case name I read some 20 minutes ago, and
  • How good it feels to lose yourself to the reverie of music.

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The stage seemed bigger this time around, or maybe this was because I was closer. Dan seemed steadier, more sure of himself, he even took song requests (played the wrong version though……… still waiting for WOL part 1). The people around me seemed nicer. There was this rabid girl in front of us who made signs for what seems like every single Bastille song, she was hysterical, her hair was flying everywhere. It was pretty sweet.

I still didn’t know all the songs, but the songs I knew, they were perfection. Warmth is my favourite off Wild World – the first verse is just depressing, but the chorus is redeeming. It’s as though you are being enveloped in a nice, long hug for those few lines, and you can sense the calm amongst an urgent storm.

And when I heard it live, the warmth settled in my stomach and for a second there all my problems dissipated.

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I never really gave this much thought until now, but the act of listening to music is actually a pretty intimate affair. Especially when everyone is plugged into their earphones, it is a stranger’s voice being fed into your ears with no barriers in between. With my levels of anxiety, I would feel so self-conscious if I was a musician. But I’m so glad Bastille decided to be, because their songs are some of the best things to reverberate in my ears, drowning out so many other terrible things.

You guys will never see this, but thank you so much for your music. It really soothes.

(Well. This turned out way longer than expected.)

Home is where I belong with you

Thinking about things

It’s been 4 days since I’ve been back from my 3 week (self-proclaimed) sabbatical in Myanmar. 3 weeks seem like a short time on hindsight, and even more so when compared to how long it’s been since the last time I went back — 3 years — but during the 19 days there, time passed so slowly my skin crawled.

Since the last time I went back (2014), a few things have changed. Yangon now has an international airport terminal. Several of my cousins have babies, thus I am now an auntie, and yes, I do not approve of being called that. I’ve grown; from a clueless 19 year old waiting to start uni with an unfortunate-looking haircut to a still-clueless-but-faking-it 22 year old equipped with longer hair, 3 years’ worth of law school BS skills and a penchant for matte lipsticks.

Going back is always a traumatic experience because I am inept at speaking both Burmese and general social mumbo-jumbo, so I could never quite retaliate in time if a relative says something ignorant/rude/passive-aggressive/stupid. I would like to think the BS skills I’ve cultivated in law school has alleviated a bit of this problem, and there is truly no greater satisfaction than when you get to correct your aunt’s misconception towards your future career (context: if you tell people in Myanmar that you study Law you are better off telling them you are Satan’s spawn).

My mantra was essentially: breathe, SH, it’s your life, not theirs. Then I smile at them and continue eating my lunch.

I’ve also brought back, as a souvenir for myself, enough mosquito bites to feed the mosquito equivalent of a small African village. My legs, frankly, look disgusting. The term I have settled on is a skinned pineapple — and despite what a certain someone said about it being fresh and juicy (and if you are reading this, yes, it was smooth), my current leg situation is really not a sight for sore eyes.

So you can only imagine my relief and exhilaration when I landed back on Singapore soil, and saw my mom sitting in Changi Airport McDonald’s waiting for me. I’ve never been more glad to be able to order food in English, to be able to drive on safe roads where the red light is not regarded as a mere suggestion to stop, and to be able to feel comfortable. I was never, and probably will never, be comfortable in Myanmar.

Letting go

Thinking about things

Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.

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It has been just about 2 weeks since the competition, one week since I came back. Honestly, it was only 9 days, but I can feel bits and pieces of me left behind in every nook and corner, both physically (i.e. my red scarf in that random club in Oxford, our bundle of authorities in my room, my scissors in Zurich Airport) and emotionally, the latter of which I really need to deal with instead of going through this vicious cycle of anger > pain > upset > anger at being upset.

I’ve properly talked to whomever I feel I can talk to, who specifically are: my parents, and maybe 2 or 3 friends in school. So that’s a lot of people, by my standards. I didn’t really manage to establish anything properly after those conversations; everyone tells me that this is a decision I have to make myself. But fuck, what stupid advice is that? If I could make that decision that easily on my own I wouldn’t be asking you and being so wishy-washy about this.

(If you are said friend who said this to me and you are reading this, I am sorry. I totally get where you come from and I am pretty sure I would say the same thing if I was in your shoes.)

Nonetheless, after a few attempts at making a pros/cons list in my head, I’ve made the decision, which happens to concurrently end 3 other decisions I made in the earlier few months of this year. And it’s only March.

So you see, a lot can change in a couple of months.