Archive for April, 2017

I am bent over a drain at the shower, pulling away hair tangled around a plastic knob. I open my mouth, push my fingers in, and pull out a strand. It is tangled with others. Soon, I am pulling out the slimy clump that nested behind my throat. My threat feels great — clear. An old blockage removed. I pull it out into the drain thinking I’ll clean it later, hoping none of the people behind me can see what I’ve just done. I don’t really care if they do. My hair reaches just above my shoulders here. 

A girl is racing tortoises. There is a small structure in front of her, a tiny multi-storey shed with red barn walls and Chinese tile roof. It is old. The top storey has a set of barn doors that stretches the entire floor. The bottom two storeys have two sets of barn doors each. 

She says it’s an antique. People used to keep small animals or insects within such structures. At competitions, they would open the doors and let their pets fight others. Cruel past. The rooms aren’t considered spacious enough now, the ceilings rather low. She suggests you could keep something that enjoys confined spaces, like beetles. But she keeps small tortoises. 

Started doing daily tarot card readings recently. I have little idea what I should be doing after I draw a card, but I can learn. 

Today I pulled The Fool. What I read explains this card is supposed to mark new beginnings, but I felt like I just did the same old (met up with friends, attended tiny art talk, saw an exhibition, gatecrashed an event). I did have a big talk with Rach though. Maybe that will lead to new things. Or maybe I’m just trying to fit the day into a card. 

Because I itchy backside, I drew another three cards: A Wheel (I forgot the name), Justice, and Hermit. I should have made the effort to read up on these. 

This is quite fun, like having a thought of the day calendar that will last forever in content and always be kind of random, within the set amount of cards. Seems about as relevant too. 

Jac suggested Hermit meant I should spend time pondering the other three cards. 

The best part about regaining my health has been the ability to breathe even though I’m tired or winded.  

At the turn of 2016 I was determined to be more present and listen to myself. I’m disappointed that towards the end of the year I put that on hold and allowed myself to get sicker and sicker, assuming I could power through work until I found time to rest — which did not come in my entire term of employment. My body fell apart. I could hear myself, but I wasn’t listening. I really feel like a frog that got cooked in a slow burning cauldron, and now I have to rediscover everything about myself. 

For 2017 (not a new year’s resolution but I guess it’s hit January/February), I’ve learnt being present also means paying attention to what I observe, and that the more difficult and disciplined decision can sometimes be to step back, and do less, or do something else. 

I just hope I have no other major stresses to deal with for the next few years. Nothing of this scale. The heart is fragile, and the sense of self too. 

Met up with Rachel today. Lunch and evening dinner! I have not been doing well at catching up with my beloved Honeybunnies. Yet I think of them every day. 

It’s interesting to see how our talks now goes beyond work, family and relationships. 

We’re both INTJs. Maybe we need an outside perspective when we talk about our emotional decisions. 

Dinner with Jac. Tasty food. Even better lighting. Spent the time mutually admiring our new found beauty under a flattering light. 

Didn’t take any medication today but blood glucose was still healthy when I came home to measure. I had kuih, fruits, plenty carbs the whole day. I’ll need more discipline to not let this info lead me on a trail of self-destruction and carelessness with nutrition. 

I realised today grief can be written into the body. Sounds so woo woo, but it feels true. Once I had the realisation, I could see how it was written into mine. I should see if any research exists on this. Was wondering how do I communicate with a body, even my own? Is it through dance? Is that as horrifying as it sounds? If there were dance therapy in PJ, shouldn’t I already know of it? Is this a personal failing or does it not exist? Or is all movement a form of therapy?

I would probably loathe dance therapy. I mean, I think given some conditions I would try it, but I would transfer all that loathing onto myself if I figured out through all the effort that I was mistaken. 


I met up with Shu who now works as social media manager for Kakiseni. I had some questions about the updates he posted on the new Cammies. He had confidently mentioned on Twitter to my query that the new “best of” categories in Cammies would remain a points-based merit system, even though they were doing away with the traditional awards categories. I thought it would be better to follow up offline to get a conversation because I would flood the timeline otherwise. 

I have some familiarity with the former Cammies model, having worked on the project in various roles. The initial suggestion to move to the weighted system was also my suggestion — it created new problems as it solved old ones, but it was a system that still worked. 

But it turns out Shu was actually not informed on the mechanics himself as he had been busy with his own theatre show while the meetings were happening to discuss this. Many of the questions I asked were greeted with “I don’t know”. I was a bit diaapppointed. 

He mentioned judges now have two tiers; associate judges who compile a shortlist, and executive judges who award based on the shortlist. There is an elimination for shows which don’t meet a minimum score requirement. But different categories are scored differently. And the previous system was set up to recognise niche achievements and individual strengths  — say, an indie show may not evenly compete with a big budget production across all categories, but could focus on Best Original Script and Best Featured Actor rather than Best Costume or Best Set Design. I also don’t understand where the executive judges come in. If there is a points-based system, wouldn’t the judges only have a say if the points were a draw?   Does it stop being based on merit at some point? That would easily benefit the big productions. The snazzy pretty likeable works. 

The points naturally provide a hierarchy, that is the whole purpose of having judges assign scores to various facets of a show. And the total points for a dance show is very different from the total points for a musical theatre show. Also, which numbers in the score are used by the executive judges? Eg: how does a play that submits under Best Ensemble (eg: 10 pts max) weigh against Best Featured Actor, Best Supporting Actor (eg: 10 pts each, 20 pts max)? There is so much math in an awards show, because it’s a points-based merit system. It’s not flawless, but it’s designed to minimise flaws, bias, and human errors. 

He didn’t have any answers, and worse, I think the questions were new to him. They’re pretty immediate for those familiar with judging, I should think. He’s new, but his colleagues have been there — some for years. Someone should brief him. Maybe I need to corner Lynn or one of the judges and ask what is happening in her portfolio. Is that too super nosy? Hrm. 

I just hope there’s a grand plan that makes sense that I just don’t see right now because the person publicly explaining it hasn’t caught up with the issue yet. But I guess since it’s happening soon, I don’t have to wait long to find out either. If this were still under my comms portfolio I would have a million alarm bells ringing. I feel guilty, but I’m a bit relieved this isn’t my responsibility this year. Looks like a lot to learn and figure out. 


Found myself verbalising some thoughts lately. I’ve been speaking more the past year, even in public events. It’s so strange. But it helps pull the various threads into a more concrete idea that can be examined and kicked around, which is nice. Not so airy fairy. 

I’ve been jotting down notes on the theatre shows I’ve been watching, for my own reference. I think in the last four years working in Kakiseni, I stopped being an arts writer and focused more on pulling the voices out of artists, opinions from writers. I haven’t had time to really sit down and put my thoughts down more coherently and less intuitively. 

Before I publish my opinions on individual shows, I want to take time to consider if my views on theatre have changed — especially considering how the performing arts landscape has evolved in recent years. How am I position myself within reality and possibility? It doesn’t feel right to publish before that self-examination, but I think I also need to give room to the slight chance that this may not result in any significant difference in opinion, or evolution. Or that I may flat out fail to identify them right now. Or that this is unnecessarily wanky. Even if I don’t think so and I can rationalise it. But it’s possible I’m lying to myself. 

Maybe like other issues, talking with someone else instead of trying to map it out alone would be more helpful. Why would this be an exception anyhow? It’s not like I have any beliefs about the purity of opinions. In a lot of situations, the workshopped compromises work better than rationalised ideals. 
Hrm. I should sleep on this. 

I start work soon/next month. Visual arts. It’s gonna be a whole other beast. I’ve always liked reading about it, and consuming it, but I’ve not had much formal experience working on it. Some as artist, and organiser, and curator, and editor, and writer (okay upon listing all these down I realise I do have formal working experience, just less compared to the performing arts world). Just go to sleep, gdi Lainie.