This was the sky that greeted me early in the morning yesterday in Singapore before I was to jet set. And I was thinking to myself, wh...

Mind over matter


This was the sky that greeted me early in the morning yesterday in Singapore before I was to jet set.
And I was thinking to myself, why must you be so beautiful when I'm about to go I hate you.

Dad was talking to me in the car. As usual just daughter and father. And he was talking to me about why as parents, my mom and him were so proud to attend my convocation and that both his children managed to graduate. It was because they often wondered if they themselves could ever make it to university if given the right circumstances and opportunities back then (they were poor like many in their generation and didn't have supportive parents). But knowing that their own kids could make it, let them feel that they there was nothing wrong with them.

It put a lot of things into perspective and I felt happy for them and proud that I could make them happy about themselves as well.

My dad continued to talk to me and there was one time when I couldn't bring myself to say that I'm sad because I won't be here for a lot of things. I was about to open my mouth to say "I won't be here for National Day" but closed it again coz I felt my chest clench.

When we reached the airport, my dad gave me a hug and I almost wanted to cry but I held back. I really didn't want to cry.

I guess I was feeling really emotional at that point of time. But I never forgot how he told me to hang in there and that I'll wade through it.

I walked into the airport, still feeling sad that I'd miss so many things here in my beautiful country.

Then I sat down in front of those metallic gold ball things of german engineering and started looking at it, whilst eating popcorn (haha). Somehow.. I think it had a form of calming effect? And I suddenly had this 180 degree mindset change.

I started to think about happy and funny stuff and... guess what? It made me feel less emotional and more happy. And I was aware of what was happening to me. I thought about my friends in Myanmar and I imagined my friend talking to me in his funny accent and I started to smile and even laugh to myself. Yeah, I think I went a bit mad. But I started to think less about what was pulling me back from leaving Singapore and thought more about what to look forward to in Myanmar.

That momentum continued until I forgot all that depressive sadness earlier on and I became.. Happy.

It then occurred to me that it truly is something that is Mind Over Matter.

You can choose what to think about to make you feel the way you feel. You can choose to let go and stop thinking about something and move on. And it made me think... wow the mind is pretty damn powerful.

So, I told myself to let go of what was holding me back. To stop thinking about sad thoughts and surge on. In other words, to stop thinking about what I'd be missing.

That's when I thought of trying this: to completely let go of my Singaporean identity and immerse myself completely in Myanmar.

I know this sounds completely strange, especially at a time when SG50's just around the corner. But I'm gonna try to completely let it go. Stop feeling like a Singaporean and being like one. I think that's how I'll truly immerse in the Myanmar culture. To let go of my inhibitions and to be free of my own national identity.

And perhaps that is the true test of my patriotic spirit.

What would I be when I return? And what lessons would I learn?

Of course I won't forget my homeland Singapore when I'm here lah, it's just that I want to start getting myself involved in the community I am at currently.

So I did one thing crazy upon landing at Myanmar.

I decided, that instead of cabbing back to my apartment, I was gonna walk. I tell you, it takes an hour to drive there. So walking? I googled and saw that it was 14km and I decided that I was up for the challenge. Besides, I had all the time in the world. I was feeling inspired at that moment and when I feel it, I do it. And to me, doing something extreme like this serves as a test to my own spirit.

With my super heavy backpack, I began my journey.

Over 30 taxis stopped or horned at me to ask if I wanted a ride. But I shook my head and smiled gently. Burmese stared at me and one motorist told me that I was beautiful hahahaha. It was hot but it didn't rain luckily. Couldn't see the end of a road most of the times but I trudged on. I entertained myself with my own thoughts and observed people going about their daily lives. I walked and walked until it got to a point when my shoulders were aching so bad after 2-3 hours of walking. Then I suddenly heard a bus conductor chant "..... Shwedagon..." and an idea came to me. I SHALL TAKE A BUS. WHICH was a gamble also. It is a challenge to me because buses here... you don't know where they're going. You've to listen to the chants of bus folks of the places that they'd be heading to and be daring enough to ask them. I have never seen a foreigner taken a bus. I strongly believe buses remain a form of transport strictly for locals. I mean, have you seen an Angmoh taking an SBS bus?? Don't have right??! Super super super rare. Also, I had never taken a local bus without the help of my friends. And it was only 25 cents to take one.

I took a chance. When I found a place people were waiting for buses, I went up to a few and asked if they were going to Shwedagon Pagoda (the most iconic landmark to make it easier for them to understand me and the best chance of a bus heading to). The first 2 said no. And it's quite embarrassing lah coz people around you are all STARING at you. You've really got to grit your teeth and not be paiseh. Eventually, the third one said yes. And I was delighted. I DID IT!!! One of my bucket list items checked - to take a bus without the help of my Burmese friends.

So after an hour's ride, I alighted and continued my journey back to my flat. It was agonising I swear. My shoulders were sore as hell and I was really tired. There are thousands of taxis in Yangon and each one of them so tempting. But I swear to God, I told myself that if I don't walk back on my own, I am a failure.

I was nearing my flat when I was around a corner at a shopping mall when I spotted a familiar face. It was my friend and I gave the biggest smile of the day ever. It was so good to see a lovely face after a treacherous journey hahaha. He was happy to see me too and I waited for him to get off the phone before making our way back to our apartments together.

On the way, a few youngsters were playing guitars and they were singing. Quite a crowd rouser. It was to raise funds for the floods that have reached disaster levels. One of the worst disasters to happen in Myanmar in recent times. I'm safe if you're wondering. Yangon is totally all right.

This was what I saw from my plane back. Just... flooded this place was.
Kinda sad though. And my colleagues were really affected by it. But it's amazing how the young people of this country are so involved in garnering help and support for the affected communities.

Then it just made me think about how lame it was lah, that I felt sad about leaving home earlier in the day. People were drowning and dying here.. And the death toll is rising. It's pretty damn serious here in Myanmar. BBC news says 27 people are dead. Apparently, in a town nearby, 180 people are already dead. My colleagues told me. So information that is released to international media and what the people know over here is vastly different.

I also read the recent Singapore news about Megan Loy, the burn victim in that Taiwan disaster and how she's been so strong in her recovery. It really really made me feel stupid for feeling sad in the first place hahahaha. Like why am I so lame ya?

People's LIVES were at risk. And ah, the only thing that's at risk for me was well, my own stupid head.

So yes, mind over matter guys. Mind over matter. I'm glad at least I got over this though I won't totally disregard my emotions. What I felt was true but to learn how to get over it and stop whining is what would really help anyone to get over bad times and triumph. And importantly, only you can do it yourself. I realised I was seeking for others and indeed, they came to me and supported me with advice and words of encouragement. They all helped but ultimately, I have to trust myself to wade through tough times.

So yes, this whole post. I dunno if you got till the end HAHAHA. One of these journal things for me to remind myself of tough times I've experienced. I'm not even sure if it's "tough" considering what others are going through. Pretty lame to know that I was emotional hahaha. I am sucha fake tough cookie huh? hahahaha. Always crisp on the surface but I'm really just a cookie crumble hahaahah. WOW THE PUNS. Aiya but I guess I'm only human, and all of us fall sometimes and find ourselves in vulnerable situations.

Now that Filament has ended, which I would really love to show pictures of but my internet very slow so I can't download fast enough yet, but I don't have to keep going back to what is holding me in Singapore. I will of course remember the 9th of August lah, and keep myself abreast about news at home but not be overly sentimental.

Anyway, today I made a rookie mistake of a traveller.

I went to work a little over the 9am timing and thought I was late. But nobody was at the office yet to open the door for me. So I waited. and waited, thinking it's Burmese culture to be late. I waited for a good 15 minutes or so when it dawned on me...

I DIDN'T CHANGE SG TIME TO LOCAL TIME ON MY PHONE!!!! Nabeh so I actually woke up at 7am and reported for work at 7:30am. Freakin early lah?!?! I couldn't tell because the daylight looks the same and the streets were busy with people already.

So then I went to have mohinga for breakfast. and walked around a bit after that.

Haha. Some bits of what goes around my area.
I only wish I could transmit some of the sounds and smells for you guys as well.
And yes, I strongly believe Singapore looked like this in the 50s and 60s. I have been transported back in time ; )

K lah, I'm done talking. I'm really tired already. (yeah coz this dumbass woke up too early today)
Hope I'll get to show you Filament piczx soonnnn ; ) Which went awesome btw hehe.

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