joanne: in my own words

Let me sing a song for you,
Please sit and listen to the tune,
This ain't no song of greatness,
But only a voice of a girl,
Singing about her world.

So let me sing a song for you,
Please please please, do listen to the tune,
All I wish is for you to hear me,
As I sing about my days,
Now sing with me if you may.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Life's Little Pleasures

Every day, we go through life, focusing on the big things: work, house, car, marriage, relationship, children's education, bills, money, health etc. And what's more, we sometimes spend more than half of our time worrying about those things. 

Have we forgotten about the small things in life? Just because they are small or trivial doesn't mean they are insignificant and therefore, don't deserve our attention. Little did we realize that these small things in life are capable of putting a smile on our faces. Yes, the ordinary, simple and not unusual things which we shall call as life's little pleasures.

Yesterday, while waiting for my turn to see the doctor in the hospital, I came across an article on Reader's Digest Asia, discussing about life's little pleasures of readers, businesspeople and famous names around the world. Personally, I found the article to be enlightening for me. For a very long time (and yes, I do mean for a very long time indeed), I have failed to recognize the goodness and positivity that these simple yet fulfilling little things have brought me. Therefore, to ensure that I would always be reminded of these life's little pleasures if ever I would forget them in the future, I am going to pen them down here. However, I do know that the list of my life's little pleasures won't just stop here. I am sure there would definitely be more to come and of course, to write about. In this post, you might identify with some of my life's little pleasures and perhaps, nod at some others, but whatever it is, I hope this read will leave you feeling nostalgic and light-hearted and definitely, a renewed appreciation for life.

25 of my life's little pleasures in no particular order:
  1. The smell of rain - the warm, moist, sandy, musky scent that emits from the wet ground
  2. Fresh beddings - the comforting floral smell from the washing and the clean feeling I get when I sleep on them
  3. The soothing wind that blows on a hot day, evaporating my sweat
  4. The small little sweet words, notes and gifts I get from my most beloved
  5. The kind words my friends give me when I am feeling down
  6. The pretentious innocent look on my dogs' faces when they know they have done something wrong like secretly peeing along the entrance hallway. My anger at them just melts away.
  7. Weekend dinners with close friends to catch up on the latest in life
  8. Days when you have nothing to do but sleep all day
  9. The moment when a favorite song which I have not heard in ages is being played on the radio while I am driving
  10. McDonald's ice cream
  11. A very good not-to-miss deal on or
  12. The moment when I apply mascara onto my lashes without smudging
  13. A hot cup of coffee or chocolate with my most beloved and the chats we have when drinking a cuppa
  14. Waking up in the morning feeling like I have had the greatest sleep ever
  15. The refreshing cold feeling of water running over my feet - waves that roll over my feet as I walk deeper into the sea or the mountain water when I deep my feet into it
  16. The right angle, focus and lighting when I snap a picture
  17. Walking pass a photo of both myself and my beloved only to look at it even more closely and reminisce the moment when we were snapping that photo
  18. Mommy reading my mind and cooking my favorite dishes
  19. Reading an interesting article in a randomly picked-up magazine
  20. Accidentally coming across a beautiful dress or shoes or bags or accessory within my budget
  21. The opportunity to attend events and talking to strangers
  22. Freebies and free samples when I am shopping in a supermarket
  23. Thanking God that it is time to go home when the clock ticks 5.45pm which means the end of a work day for me, especially after a stressful one
  24. The fresh smell of my shampooed hair
  25. The hugs and kisses I get from my beloved every morning
And the list goes on.

I am thankful for these life's little pleasures which most of the time I must admit, go unnoticed by myself. It is true that the combination of these little nice things is what make our lives so wonderful. So don't forget to recognize and acknowledge when one really does happen. We don't have to go far to gain happiness. It is always happening around us, if only we give more attention. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Forever & A Day

That afternoon, the clouds hung low and cast a gloomy blue tint in the atmosphere. The air was damp and the ground was wet from the rain. The fields contrasted the dull skies with its fresh green which appeared to be more saturated in the after-showers. Birds were chirping in unison to a semi-melancholic melody.

From a distance, an old white car was approaching, its tires spinning clumsily along the gravel road across the fields, chasing every animal and insect out of the way. The roar of the old car’s engine was the only artificial sound in that natural scene. It became louder and louder as it approached me nearer and nearer. It showed no signs of stopping until it reached the end of the gravel road somewhere down the hill to where I was standing. Finally, the old car stopped, just right in front of me. The engine was still running and the driver, a young man, whose hands were gripping tightly onto the steering wheel, stared blankly into the distance ahead. He held that position for some minutes before finally giving it up by turning off the engine, almost as abruptly as how he stopped his car earlier. And then, the sounds of nature suddenly returned.

As if the ride he endured before this was a bumpy one or perhaps it was, he leaned back towards his seat in a relaxed position and sighed loudly. He sat there quietly inside the car, listening to the pitter-patters of the drizzle against the glass. I walked closer to the car to watch him. Slowly, he wound down the window and stuck out his left palm. Droplets of rain began to gather in his palm. When it became full, he tilted his palm to drain off the water. And then, cupping his left palm again, he repeated to gather more droplets of rain in his palm. Something about his action seemed all too familiar to me. My heart became heavy all of a sudden.

And then, the rain stopped pouring. There was now a soothing cool breeze blowing. He pulled his palm back inside and wound up the window but leaving a small crevice just about big enough for the cool breeze to enter. He turned to look ahead the car. I followed his gaze but I realized that he was not looking at something in particular ahead. A shadow of sadness suddenly settled upon his face. I had never seen such sadness before – the kind that was sadder than ever. Although I had never known this sadness, I could fathom the reason behind it.

Later, he reached into the glove compartment in front of the passenger seat and drew out a small navy blue velvet box. He held it on his right palm in front of his chest. Staring solemnly at the tiny box, he pushed opened the lid with his left thumb. Gleaming beautifully inside the dark-colored box was a bright 2.5 carat diamond ring. At that sight, my heart skipped a beat, I gasped in surprise and in awe but immediately, my heart sank once again. This time, the shadow of sadness had befallen me. I couldn’t endure the pain that was birthing within so I turned away from him. But at the same time, the urge to watch him a little while longer was so strong that I stayed on.

I got inside the car and sat in the passenger seat next to him. He was still gazing at the ring inside the box, but this time, his fingers were tracing the shape of the ring. I looked down to stare at my own fingers and then looked up again just in time to see him snap the box shut! He gripped the box in his left palm, pulling it close to his heart, and wept. With every tear he cried, he channeled out all the sadness and sorrow he felt inside. He wailed loudly in the car, easing out the pain he had been feeling all this time. He knocked his head repeatedly onto the steering wheel, stomped his feet and cried loudly, almost child-like. I felt sorry for him. I wanted so badly to comfort him, to tell him that things would be all right. I wanted so badly to hug him and give him the reassurance he needed. If only I could…

But I, too, however, cried along with him.

After we had both finished crying, he composed himself and calmly, he sat up in his seat, opened the little velvet box and placed it on the dashboard in front of me. The diamond ring was staring innocently back at us. I stole a glance at him and saw that he was focused on the ring atop the dashboard. He drew a deep breath and uttered these words: “I know that you are now gone. I know that you are now in a beautiful place where only fairies and angels like you belong. But these three words I will forever say to you. I Love You. Forever and a day, my love, forever and a day.”

And so, I left to that beautiful place he described where only fairies and angels belonged, knowing in my heart that I will forever and a day be missed and loved by my one and only true love – him.

I love you too. Forever and a day, my love, forever and a day. If only I had the chance to say these words when I was still alive.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Ten years . . .

Ten years. But I feel like it was only yesterday. If it weren't for the reflection in the mirror which reminds me of how much I have aged, I wouldn't have noticed how quickly Time had ticked away.

At every sunrise, when I open my eyes, it is always you playing in my mind. I think it has become a habit to turn to your side on the bed to check if you are awake. But now, that spot is empty.

It seems like you were gone only recently. I could still see you walking around the house, or busy cooking my favourite beef stew in the kitchen. I could still smell you in the pillows and I could still hear you singing and strumming away on your guitar.

It is almost 4pm now. I put on the satin dress you bought for me as a gift in Cambodia. As I walk pass the mirror, I picture you standing by the door, smiling at me. I make my way to the bathroom and quickly put on some make-up. I comb my hair and wear it down, just like how you would like it. As I reach for my jewellery box, something catches my eyes I have never noticed before. Your toothbrush, your hair gel, your shaver and everything else that belongs to you, are still where they were ten years ago. I have not moved a single thing of yours at all. I have left all things the way they were ten years ago.

So here I am again, standing before you today as I have stood at the exact same spot a year ago, two years ago, three years ago... for the past ten years. Every year, I wait for this day to come because I would want to celebrate it with you. So I bring with me a bouquet of fresh red roses and place them gently on the cold marble stone of your grave. I come here to tell you the same message I told you every year on our anniversary.

I love you and I miss you dearly. Life is horrible without you. I pray to God every day to shorten my life so that I could be reunited with you. It is cruel to wake up in the morning only to realize again that you are no longer here. It is cruel to cook our favourite steak only to eat it all by myself. It is cruel to watch a scary horror movie only to realize you are not there to accompany me. It is cruel to go see the world only to know that the world is too big without you in it. It is cruel, it is cruel, it is cruel!

Are you listening to me? Do you know how angry I am at myself? Why aren't you here when I need you the most? Where are you? Come back, come back! I am done waiting! I am done waiting! What use is my life if you are not in it? Won't you please take me away with you? Please...! I beg you. I beg you. I beg you... Oh, please...!

I tried and tried but the pain is too intense. This burden is too heavy for me to carry. Ten years and your absence is still so fresh. It is unfair. It is really unfair. Why? Oh why?

Ten-years is ten-years but I can't go on a minute longer.

Saturday, September 29, 2012


has returned.

is visiting an old friend.

knows me by name.

accompanies me every where I go.

says he'd like to stay longer this time.

chases my friends away.

tells me he'll be my only friend.

is very loud.

is persistent.

takes away my time.

sleeps with me.

is always in my head.

makes me sad.

frustrates me too sometimes.

says I deserve him.

scares me.

won't go away.

will kill me one day.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Song

when the world outside grew dark and silent
people climbed into their cradles and fell into dreamless sleeps
she woke up and found herself at the piano
her fingers hovering over the ice-cold keys
enveloped by the darkness that seeped into the room from the outside
she sat stoned like a statue, looking distantly into the night before her eyes
in her head, a broken tune began forming
her fingers raced along the keys to capture the melody
one by one, the notes made their way onto the piano
telling a story that is both new and old
shutting the world out, she got lost in her own reverie
to a place and a time that were once all too familiar
as the notes were pieced together
she felt the joy, there was nothing else left to fear
fuzzy and warm, light and dear
that was when she realized that love was near

oh why oh why, must you appear at this time?
why do I feel like love is a crime?
what have I done to deserve this?
maybe it's true you have given me a reason to exist

inspired by love, she smiled to the stars above
how kind they were to her, she had never been luckier
on the piano keys, her fingers continued writing The Song
so one day, both him and her could sing along

Monday, February 6, 2012

Please Come Home...

I looked up. Dark clouds were moving rapidly above, assembling to create a heavy mass that will soon burst into showers of rain.

I waited. And waited. But only silence prevailed.

It took me awhile to realize that you were not with me. I was alone, lost in my own reverie. My eyes touched a scenery that was once all too familiar - a scenery that was set in a place where we had both called Home.

Home was the exact spot where we had both first laid eyes on each other; a thunderbolt of lightning that struck right through our hearts and bound us together forever - or was it?

We fell deeply in love, so engrossed in ourselves that we were lost to the world. Nothing else did matter as long as I was by your side and you were by mine.

Our life was beautiful; so beautiful beyond description. On this very place where we called Home, you pronounced your vows to me and I to you; and we were sealed for a destiny together. In all those years, we weaved many memories together: the forget-me-not kisses, the shampoo sessions in the rain, the intimate talks on the balcony, the sensual love-making in the dark. I was happy and so were you. In our happiness, we forgot about the real world. We forgot about how corrupted the real world was and the poison it brought with it.

Why do I miss you even when you are just standing next to me? Why do I feel like more than a distance between us? I have climbed every mountain and swam every river just to bring us Home. But lately, I am afraid - so afraid that we are running out of time. I am afraid that we can't rewind and return to where we had left off. I, myself, am losing faith. I just can't do it alone.

Tell me what to do. Just don't tell me that it's over... Or is it really?

For if your heart's not in it anymore, please stop faking what you don't feel. If this love is already gone, I don't want you to keep me hanging on. What is worse than knowing that you are pretending to try to save us when the truth is that you don't love me anymore? Just say the words and I will let you go. What is the point of chaining you when your heart already belongs to someone else? The world is not as innocent as I had assumed it to be. It is actually more treacherous and corrupted than I had imagined. I thought that our love was too pure and too strong for anything in this world to destroy. But I was wrong, indeed. It has come to take away one of us. And the other one is now left to walk the remaining journey alone.

But I had returned Home now, after all these years as an old lady. With a walking stick in my hand to assist in my feeble movements, I may be old physically but my memories were still very much alive. And so were my emotions. I had loved you then and I still love you now. Though this weak old lady may not know where you are exactly, but to this very day, I still pine for you. I miss you... very much. I intend to spend the last of my days waiting for you here as that is all I know I have lived for. With what's left of me, I will wait for the day when you safely return Home.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Tik, tok, tik, tok... He looks at his watch anxiously - a quarter to 7pm - another 15 minutes to go before the last bus out of town leaves. Where is she? She is supposed to meet him half hour ago. The skies above begin to darken as heavy clouds pregnant with water gather, threatening to burst any time now. And the strong wind is blowing from the East - warning that a storm would be hitting the town soon. From a distance about 500 meters away, he spots a small figure running towards his direction. His heart starts to race. Could it be her? 200 meters, his heart falls as he realizes that the figure running towards him belongs to a young boy who is carrying what seems to be a letter in his right hand. As the young boy approaches, he hands him the letter. Without a word, he quickly runs down the road and disappears into the twilight. The letter reads:

Dear B,

I am sorry.

I can't go with you. I know I owe you more than just an explanation. And this letter is never going to be enough to make up for my lack of presence. But please hear me out, for it might give you a reason to realize that I am not worth the extra mile. Eventually, you would soon come to learn that the girl you love the most will also be the one you hate the most... one day.

Our story was not a fairytale. No. But it was certainly one-of-a-kind; two different individuals from two different worlds, crossing paths. So ironic that we sometimes wonder how can two people who hated each others' guts from the first moment they met would one day fall in love with one another. How was it possible that you could be so attracted to me like a steel to a magnet? And how was it possible that I could be so enchanted by your charm and wittiness?

Well, they said that "Love is Blind". And now, I believe.

I love you too. No one has ever made me feel the way you did. The time spent with you was the time of my life. And if it were to be within my control, I would replay those moments again and again and again, knowing clearly that we will not last; the ending was just waiting around the corner. I should not have led you on, so you wouldn't be hurt. But I was too greedy and hungry; I was addicted to your love. In the midst of the happiness you brought to me, I was feeling guilty the whole time through with every distant look in my eye, every empty smile I gave you and the senseless touch when we made love. I've played you - and your emotions. It was meant to be just a game and nothing more serious than that. I wanted to challenge myself to prove how far I could go with you and whether or not, I would win. If there is one thing you didn't already know about me: I am dangerous. On the facade, I joked and laughed with you, pretended to be concerned about you and your life, acted as if I cared and as if I really loved you; but it was all for the game. I've gambled with your feelings but I had lost terribly in the game for I realize that I have fallen in love with you.

But what is more deadly is that I have kept a secret hidden from you. The reason why I can't go with you is that I am getting married in December. I don't know how to break this news to you but all along, I have someone in my life; his name is John. We have been together for 3 years now but he is often never with me. But he loves me a great deal, more than I actually love him. There had been talks about buying a house together and settling down for almost a year now but I never really did care about what John had suggested. I often gave him the distant look or changed the conversation topic, ignoring him because deep inside I wasn't sure if he was indeed the one - because of you.

By now, I know the damage is done. All I can do now is to say sorry though I know that no amount of "sorry" is ever going to heal the wound I've caused. I should have stopped earlier before we went deeper. I should have warned you not to fall in love with me. It is not your fault, it is only mine as I knew better than you. I was the mastermind behind all this but I failed horrendously. I would never be able to turn back time. But if I could, I will go back to the moment we both first met and change the course of events so we would never cross paths at all.

I am sorry... truly.

Love always, J.

P/S: Don't look back. Ever. 

As he finishes the last sentence, the reservoir of the skies bursts. In the wetness of the rain and the coldness of the Eastern wind, he falls to his knees. The last bus is just leaving.