Sunday, 28 December 2008

ALPHAVILLE: "Big In Japan"

Tokyo - Kyoto - Himeiji - Hiroshima (Japan)

GUNS N' ROSES: "Sweet Child O'Mine"

Dear Thoth:

My son is addicted to heroin. I really don’t know how long he has been taking it, but the last few years have been a hell for me. And even more for him, of course. He used to be a very enthusiastic kid when he was young. He was always laughing and he had plenty of friends. When he was still very young, I used to read stories in his bed at night, and after a while he knew the precise words that would follow, even before I read them. He was just a very clever kid. And even when he grew up as a teenager, he and I always kept that very special bond. He used to tell me a lot, even about things that boys normally don't easily talk about.

Now all that seems so far away, so long ago. I don’t know when exactly, but gradually things started to change. He became silent, moody. I felt he was slipping away from me. He got angry with me without reason, at times. He gave up his study, moved out of the house. And things went from bad to worse.

If only I knew what is wrong, if only I knew what made him change. I am just so worried about him, I fear that day when someone will ring my bell and bring me bad news about him. Can you please write him a letter for me? The last time I saw him was about a year ago. I am desperate. I miss him so much. He is 21 years old. His name is C.




Dear C.,

I still remember very clearly the moment I held you in my arms for the very first time. You were exactly how I had imagined you while I had been impatiently waiting for you to come into my life. Your rosy soft-toned skin, your cheeky little black eyes. I pressed your tiny chubby hand and knew this was not a dream. You were real, a little human being, giving me the biggest responsibility of being human. No bond is stronger than the one between a mum and her children. For never will love be more beautiful and pure than when you give unselfishly, without expecting to receive anything in return.

The house where people grew up is a library of memories, forgotten stories and emotions. I am writing this letter while seated at the living room table. I don’t even need to close my eyes to see you sitting here too. You bite your lip and totally forget about your surroundings while drawing a master piece in your colouring book. You are angry when I peek over your shoulder and you only allow me to see the result when you finish completely. I hear the agitated voices of you and your friends playing hide-and-seek upstairs. I remember you sobbing unconsolably, when you come and tell me about the one-eyed snowman in the garden who lost his remaining eye. This house keeps stories about you and me in all of its cabinet drawers, memorable memories are framed in its windows; this house breathes both history and future from basement to attic.

I am sure you remember that every night, I used to read you a bedtime story in your room, tucked away together under the warm bed cover. The colourful cars on the wall cover were kicked away by soccer players first; then later, they in turn had to flee for the noisy rock stars that came to replace them. Without noticing, you silently turned from toddler into child into teenager. No matter how much you hurried to act big, in the evening you treasured those five minutes when you could just be small. You knew the stories from end to beginning. When I missed out on one or two words, you corrected me immediately and laughed at me when you made me start reading the sentence all over again. You knew how the story would end before I had even pronounced the first word, but that didn't’ seem to matter. We found peace in each other’s presence and tapped courage from this daily evening ritual.

All of that seems so far away, yet it’s not even nearly as far as the distance which prevented me from seeing you in the past year. Being your mother, it tears me apart that I don't even know where you are now. I can flee from the past, but I can not flee from reality. I have imagined the worst, but forced myself to believe only the best. I can think of hundreds of questions that have haunted me and keep haunting me every single time of the day, until this very moment. Yet when I would see you again, I would ask you only one of them: “How are you, C.?”

From your mum


Saturday, 27 December 2008

METALLICA: "Nothing Else Matters"

Nothing really matters, as long as it still matters.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

STEVIE WONDER: "I Just Called To Say I Love You"

I read an article in a magazine one day about people who don't have a phone at home. A simple, classical phone. An ordinary fixed line. A phone that rings, firm and determined, in stead of broadcasting one of the latest pop hits like the fancy mobile phones do nowadays. A phone that waits for you, steadily, but without compassion if you are too late to pick it up when you are not near to it. A phone that will still produce sound, even if you are not at home. A phone that witnesses all conversations you have, that hears everything, but keeps all your secrets.

Seated in the cosy comfort of a civilised, first-class city-state, one finds it hard to imagine that people can still do without a phone in these modern times. But imagine for a while...Go back into time, not all too far, and wipe out just only our cell phones, not even the fixed line phones. Cell phones seem to give us that false security that we are not alone, that we are important for others, that we do matter for those who call us or sms us. Just forget about it for a while. Forget about those tiny, wireless bundles of plastic and electronics that we carry along from dusk till dawn. Forget about those superficial messages, which devalue holy words spoken between loved ones, which tear down emotions like statues from their pedestal, which are mere anonymous, desperate cries for water of attention in the vast desert.

When people want to thank somebody, they should tell it in their own blunt words, from person to person. Words will then be more than some cold, square and rapid ticks on a keypad " thx"... Words will be spoken gently, warm and round "I really thank you for what you did". Eyes should tell a similar story as can be read from lips. One should feel the strength of embracing arms, much tighter than a hand can ever hold a phone. The memory of 1 free moment of happiness will last a lifetime, much longer than 1,000 free sms's ever will.

Monday, 22 December 2008

BLISS: "Breathe"

"Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers" (Voltaire)

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

MICHAEL JACKSON: "Man In The Mirror"

If mysteries were solved, they would no longer be mysteries. There must be unknowns in the equation. There must be false ceilings, unspoken words between the lines. There must be hesitation, unfulfilled expectation, thrills and sensation.

Sometimes joy is as easy as sharing a favorite song with a loved one, helping to phrase a few sentences, asking how the day is so far. For when the day is over, when you look into the mirror, all smiles you have made throughout the day, all melt into one...your own.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Sunday, 14 December 2008

50 CENT: "Many Men"

The one in the middle is for the short guys, or it for the long ones, rather?

Saturday, 13 December 2008

LEONA LEWIS: "Better In Time"

揠苗助长 (Yà miáo zhù zhǎng)

You won't help the new plants grow by pulling them up higher.

ENYA: "Angels"

Manila (Philippines)

Thursday, 11 December 2008


- “Can I have a coffee with milk, please?”
- “You mean a flat white?”
- “A what? A flat white? I just want a coffee with milk.”
- “Yaya..that’s a flat white.”
- “Oh. So that’s what you call it around here. I thought you were referring to me. Good to know. I learn something new today. Then how do you call a black coffee, without milk or sugar or anything?”
- “That’s a long black.”

I just assume there’s no racist theory behind these names.

- “So you want a cup or a mug?”
- “Euh…what do you mean?”
- “A big coffee or a small coffee?”
- “Oh. A big one please. I’m sorry, I don't come here very often.”
- “No worries, mate.”

One hour later I’m hanging in the air, flying over the outback in a plane filled with Australians. Fat whites, I guess. Many of them drink two or three mini bottles of whiskey. It’s 10 AM in the morning, for god’s sake. The cabin crew asks me what I want to drink. As if I have never known any other word for it, I order…a flat white.

Monday, 1 December 2008

MC HAMMER: "U Can't Touch This"

The past can be seen, but it can't be touched.

Sunday, 30 November 2008

JAMES BLUNT: “Give Me Some Love”

Attention should not be mistaken for love. Sincere concern of a person for somebody else is not measured by the number of words spoken. It is revealed in simple questions, not in unsolicited answers. Attention is the fertile soil in which love can grow. An essential yet insufficient pre-requisite. It has always been there, and it always will.
Attention isn’t an instant thing. Sometimes people think of others as a product on a supermarket shelf, always available for them to take whenever they feel like it. Shelfish. Humans are no take-away meal that can be ordered whenever you are hungry. The best meals are the ones you cook yourself, and that takes time and dedication to prepare.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

ABBA: "Money Money Money"

Does poverty have an ugly face, which we don't want to look into the eyes so that we feel better? Is it a child’s hand, begging for some money? The amputated leg of the man selling newspapers at the traffic lights maybe? Is it a 7 year old boy’s nose filled with the smell of glue? Or an empty baby stomach? Does poverty have the ears of a deaf woman, listening in vain for the sound of better times coming? Is it a painful back on the cold and hard concrete floor of a windy train station? Or the soft and warm breasts which the teenage girl rents out to whoever, to pay for her next dose?

Friday, 28 November 2008

BLACK EYED PEAS: "Don't Phunk With My Heart"

路遥知马力,日久见人心 (lù yáo zhī mǎ lì,rì jiǔ jiàn rén xīn)

Over a long distance, you learn about the strength of your horse. Over a long time, you learn about the character of your friend.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

SADE: "And I Miss You"

Dear Thoth:

My name is B. I arrived in this city only two weeks ago. I will be spending three months here for an exchange program at university. After that, I will just be moving back home to Miami. I had long looked forward to this. When I applied to participate in the program, I was told that the chances to be in were very slim. So you can imagine that I was very excited when I got the fantastic news that I could come here. That was about a year ago. But then I met my girlfriend, just a few months back. Aaaiii… She really turned my life upside down… I am soooooo desperately in love with her. I never experienced this before. I almost feel like a teenager again. Hahaha. I laugh, but actually I feel a bit down. I know I should be happy and I should feel thrilled for being here. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. But to be honest, I long so much to go back and see her already, and I am wondering what I am doing so far away from the US in the first place. I really hope you can write her a love letter for me. Make her cry from emotion when she reads it. I am really not good at writing myself. I never get any further than “I love you” and “I miss you”. And this is really what I want to tell her, but when I write that it just sounds so simple. Well, I am sure you know what I mean. I just want to tell her that I miss her so much here. Her name is B.




My beloved B.

If Love was a four-letter word, it would have your two arms and legs. It would embrace me, like I embrace you under the sun outside. I hear your breath as you snooze in the morning haze. I see your face, turning your head as you walk away from me. It makes me happy. You wave at me. I dreamt of you last night. I am a chicken without head; flying in all directions, to anywhere and nowhere but always to you. All ways lead to Rome, and Rome was not built in one day. You are my Roman empress. In you I awake, in you I fall asleep. Where are you now, as I type these words? I wish you were here. You would not need to say a single word, you would not need to tell me anything. I sense the care in the soft touch of your fingers as you touch my cheek. I never wanted to see you as much. I long for you, as much as you are short of me. You made me change. You made me hate to go. You make me want to stay. Love me. Dare to look me in the eyes now. Surrender. Soft and tender. You make me crazy. I count the days. I pray. A sun and a beach. A pizza in your sunglasses. This is it. I pronounce your thoughts before you think them. Total understanding. We are two hands of one body, we are two eyes of one face.

Hold me. I want to hold you. I wait one hour to see you five minutes. I kiss you five minutes to miss you one hour. You look more splendid than the late afternoon sun, you smell like pink flowers in the cherry blossom season. Never can a heart be filled more to the rim, and beyond. There are not enough words to say it all, there are plenty of words to say it all. Pure love. A silk glove. Let my fingers play the piano on your back, let me touch you like you have never been touched before. I am an explorer of your undiscovered territories; where I roam, is home. Take me where you want me to. Hypnotise me. Mesmerize me. Jeopardize me. Tantalize me. Put oil on my fire. Extinguish my desire. I will sing for you. You linger in me, like the taste of chocolate in a mouth. You keep me awake at night, invisibly in sight. And always and ever, always bright.

You are the missing colour of the rainbow. Your initials are missing in Mendeljev’s table. You are the chemical element that has yet to be discovered. You are the answer to any unanswered question. You are the mysterious solution to unresolved mysteries, the future of long-forgotten histories. If truth ever had a meaning, it would be revealed in your eyes seeking refuge in mine. I want to hide my soul in you, bury it forever in your remote caves that keep it away from all things harmful. Even closer than my body ever can, do I want my spirit to flow in the blood that’s running through your veins. You smiled like you never did before. Encore. And more. I would carve it in marble if I could, I would paint it on canvas, I should.

You sing next to me. Lovingly lovely. There is time ahead for us to write the missing lyrics that you now seem to have forgotten. Life is a song with an endless number of melodies. You inspire me like I inspire you. You lift me up to greater heights, you are the wind that blows in my sails. You are a painting of glittering sunlight on the water surface in a frame of lush green trees. There is harmonious beauty in every day with you.

I miss you. I love you.



MARCO BORSATO: "Lopen Op Het Water"

The heart is a pond of unknown depths. Sink into me as a wrinkleless cover sliding off the table. Hide beneath the shelter of your imagination and wait for better times to come. The man on the ferry will bring you to the other side. It only takes some guts to pass beyond the doorsill; for waiting is loosing and you can never set foot in the same river twice, they say. Chances flow away with the water and yet another landscape covers the river bank. The view changes by us floating downstream; the landscape itself doesn't change, for the reeds on the shore have always been there, desperately waiting to be noticed.

Friday, 21 November 2008

BLACK EYED PEAS: "Let's Get It Started"

The dawn smells of roses and unfulfilled desires. Distant treetops bath in an orange glow; they are waving witnesses along the streets of joy and sorrow. Long shades gently hug whoever they follow, sitting as guardian angels on their shoulders. The city sheds it nightly skin, shiny skyscrapers stretch themselves awake. Morning rituals go unnoticed. An ugly cup of coffee, a hint of cigarette, a cheerful voice on the radio. It’s never silent, though nothing much is ever said that really matters. Behind each four walls is another truth.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008


Linger for a while, float gracefully on the dark lake that mirrors atrocious darkness in the fragile autumn light. Then raise yourself up. A white swan destined for higher grounds, flying towards the dark clouds that gather on the horizon. You need not reach for the unavoidable, for it will grab you before winds even conquer the skies. Lift your head with pride, and don’t slide nor revolve in your weakness. Move away from immobility, detest inherent inertia, halt the aggravating paralysis when too much analysis turns into fallacies.

Monday, 17 November 2008


Vivo lleno de una sustancia de color común, silenciosa
como una vieja madre, una paciencia fija
como sombra de iglesia o reposo de huesos.
Voy lleno de esas aguas dispuestas profundamente,
preparadas, durmiéndose en una atención triste.

En mi interior de guitarra hay un aire viejo,
seco y sonoro, permanecido, inmóvil,
como una nutrición fiel, como humo:
un elemento en descanso, un aceite vivo:
un pájaro de rigor cuida mi cabeza:
un ángel invariable vive en mi espada.

Extract from "Sabor" (Pablo Neruda)


The place where we belong is neither the place where we are born, nor the place where we die, not anywhere in between even. Belonging is an expression of time, not place.

Friday, 14 November 2008


Better is it truly to conquer oneself, than to conquer others.

Monday, 10 November 2008

NORAH JONES: "Sunrise"

Like there is as much beauty in watching a sunrise as there is in watching a sunset, there shouldn’t be more fear for tomorrow than there was for today.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

DELTA GOODREM: "I Can Sing A Rainbow"

Dear Thoth:

I need your help. I think I have started to fall in love with a guy from school. I know him for about six months now. We have been working on a few projects together and we see each other almost every day at university, but most often in a group of other classmates. We get along extremely well actually and we can laugh non-stop at times, making one silly joke after the other. Many times I have secretly hoped that he would ask me out one day, but never has he taken any initiative in that sense. He is kind of shy, in fact. And it’s not that he is acting cool to me either, but I find it very hard to find out if he sees me as just a friend or if there could perhaps be something more. If only I could know if he has similar feelings towards me also. I wish you could write a letter to him for me. His name is A.




Dear A.

There are many reasons I could imagine why I should not be sending this to you. There is only one reason I could imagine why I should.

I fear that any thought unspoken, remains hidden in the shadow for ever. It may be safe and comforting in the shade, but no flower will ever blossom there. Any chance to speak out loud will be lost forever.

I guess not all can be rationally explained. So here I am, stepping out of the shadow, hesitantly, vulnerable, having to confess that I brought my inner, confused thoughts out of the shadow, by writing a poem for you.


So here you are
Never far
Out of nowhere
From somewhere
High up there
A rainbow peeping
Behind a bed of light-feathered clouds
Like a colorful bird that shouts
Over a downy pillow of warm-mellow thoughts
An angel caught
With a smile that hides what is inside
Ever murmuring silently-loud
Like the tinkling of pearls in this glass of champagne
You reign
And all I see is your face
When I embrace
The dusk and the dawn
The night foregone
So I halt for a while
Searching for directions
On this crossing of two meandering paths
When the light touches the dark
The crystal mirrors a spark

So accept these humble words for whatever they may mean to you: a cloud of words passing by; a ray of sunlight peeping out and brightening the day; or perhaps just a thunderstorm in a fool’s heart. Forget these words, or remember them. Breath them out, fleeing in the air to wherever; breath them in, as oxygen filling you with appreciation. No matter how, no matter what, nothing is lost, nothing is won. Bringing even a little smile on your face is worth it, like a rainbow that colours the sky for a while.

I like you more than just like you, A.

See you in class!

From A.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

惠妹 : 如果你也听说 (A-Mei: "Have You Heard Lately")

天無絕人之路 (tiān wú jué rén zhī lù)

“Heaven never leaves a man with no way out”

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

50 CENT: "Just A Lil Bit"

You must have seen them before. They drive a 100,000 SG$-and-more luxury car, cleaned by their maid every day. They pay a 30,000 SG$ Certificate of Entitlement, giving them only just the right to drive that piece of metal around. They pay hundreds of dollars a week to get those monsters filled with fuel.

And yet, they queue up, blocking the road around the shopping malls, desperately trying to avoid that 50 cents parking fee for those 10 minutes during which their spouse runs a small errand inside. And yet, they park on the emergency lane just ahead of the ERP gantry, in an ultimate effort to escape the 1$ peak hour charge, when there are only few minutes left before peak time is over.

Monday, 3 November 2008


Not all that was ever lost, is worth finding. Not all that is pursued, still suits. Finding out what we are searching for, is harder than finding what you’re searching.

You need to shut down the light for a while, sometimes, to see more clearly. You need to stop talking, to really hear. Pause, before walking. Breathe, before blowing. Release, before holding. Forget, before remembering.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

ELVIS CRESPO: "Tu Sonrisa"

Como une línea de música que sorprende, recibimos más que imaginamos que jamás la vida nos renda. Donde no la esperamos, la sonrisa está atendiéndonos, un silencioso cómplice en un mundo de ruido. La pequeña felicidad pasa por la calle, ya se encuentra detrás cada esquina, gratuito para cualquier quién se lo abre los ojos y lo quiere grabar.