The twenty-eight days in February generated such a rich variety of moments – as ordinary as unparalleled – that paradoxically I am surprised at how quickly we have melted into March. I am nearing the end of my first year of university and although I have attempted to enjoy and record it as much as possible, most of my experiences have been left unprocessed. I suppose I should be happy to leave some in the forgotten past, but what is the use of memories there?


Buddy Holly by Weezer (1994)
I wish I was a more woke blogger who could help you discover new, promising music, but for this month I have picked a 90s classic because it shaped my vision of February. There is something especially satisfying with the whole process of listening to “Buddy Holly” – it starts off abruptly angry, morphs into an optimistic chorus, and continues on with this clear-headed clutter of emotion. The length of the song reflects well its subject and content – precious and heartbreaking in its brevity.
Honourable mention: Message to My Girl by Split Enz (1983)
I think February has delivered me my Kiwi awakening. First, this song by iconic New Zealand band Split Enz (thank you Anna for the introduction!), then discovering Allen Curnow’s poetry, and finally, receiving the February 2018 issue of Poetry Magazine, which is completely dedicated to Aotearoa/New Zealand poets! “Message to My Girl” is, in an opposite but similar way to “Buddy Holly”, a wonderful song for February 14th. Love is not simply a New Year’s Resolution after all – January, you need to step up your game next time.

Classical music piece
Concierto de Aranjuez by Joaquín Rodrigo (1939)
During my week back in Winnipeg, I had the pleasure of hearing Gaëlle Solal perform this piece with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. I have linked her performance of the second movement, which Wikipedia describes, with strange artistic accuracy, as [permeating with a] feeling of quiet regret.” Even as the movement reaches a climax, the theme, now loud and powered by the entire orchestra, seems to still retain that soft quality of its first breaths. Contradictory to the popular narrative claiming Rodrigo wrote this movement as a cry pain for his wife Victoria’s miscarriage in 1939, letters by Rodrigo reveals that he heard the complete theme of the Adagio singing in his head, one day in his study room in rue Saint Jacques, in the Latin Quarter of Paris[1].

Short Talks by Anne Carson (1992)
We all love a minimalist and powerful queen. Anne Carson’s full biography reads, “Anne Carson was born in Canada and teaches ancient Greek for a living.” Short Talks is Anne Carson’s first collection of poems, and it is delightful in its unapologetic, cryptically obvious vision of the ideas we gloss over in our weaker reality. I’ve linked a video of Anne Carson reading from Short Talks. 

Short Talk On Where To Travel

I went travelling to a wreck of a place. There
were three gates standing ajar and a fence
that broke off. It was not the wreck of any-
thing else in particular. A place came there
and crashed. After that it remained the
wreck of a place. Light fell on it.

Continue reading “(re)february2018”


(re)january 2018

Here is a new series! Because I need encouragement to post consistently on this blog, and because it is always superfluously interesting to read about other people’s lives, if and only if you decide it is worth your time.

january 2018IMG_5269


Prémonition by Coeur de Pirate + Night So Long by HAIM
I became entranced by both of these songs after watching their excellent music videos. Prémonition‘s lyrics are sharp and fluid (“Je comptais tes pas / Dans la danse qui sépare l’espace de tes choix), and the bubbly burst of the chorus reflects (and with irony) the new day of same mistakes. Night So Long is a vulnerable ballad that exudes with strength through powerful vocals and the rich undertones of the electric guitar: “In loneliness my only friend / In loneliness my only fear.”

Classical music piece
Come away, come away death, Op. 18, No. 1 (Instrumental) by Gerald Finzi 
It is the little motif that fascinates me. It is like a question asked by the snow that is melting by springtime. And so, perhaps a premature song plopped into my timeline, but I feel gratitude for its gentleness.

Favourite poem
“There’s a certain Slant of light” by Emily Dickinson
Because it is Emily Dickinson, because it is the heart of winter and this poem speaks so closely to the awe of the external which closes in on our inner mind, “where the meanings are”. Continue reading “(re)january 2018”

Another year, and once again quietly stupefied

At how one year can so swiftly and so poignantly settle into the field of memories.

But I dedicate so much of my energy, throughout the year, to reflecting, that I am almost sick of doing it. The wonder of experience doesn’t escape me, but sometimes I’d like to escape the stifling comfort I find in understanding the past.

Coming back home, after four eventful months in Toronto, has brought more than the happy reconnection I had expected. On the first night, I sat in my bed, and started looking at my belongings, carefully scattered across bookshelves and drawer. However, even though I felt the weight of my past in my books, paintings, and beloved nutcrackers, I could not help but perceive them through a cinematic lens that covered every object with an aesthetic glaze. What felt substantial felt substantial in manners I had come to understand from the poetry I read, films I visioned.  Continue reading “Another year, and once again quietly stupefied”

In Toronto, and Life is Spinning

I did attempt to write a post for my fifth blog anniversary, but I was flushing my words down the drain and I could not salvage my own undoing. And so my life since the last post: I counted traffic as my summer job, I biked a lot, I completed a violin exam, I wrote more poetry, and I am now going to university in Toronto. As messy text can be, it can also simulate a pleasing sense of linearity and order to the past.

Most people do desire order, right? At least, it seems as if we are always seeking towards the direction of order. That is, until the process becomes too banal and one just wants to shake the tight friction and watch everything plunder into chaos. It is not so much a sensational vision as it is a visional sensation. It happens during hour two of a dull three-hour biology lab, when writing a paper in a state of lethargy, on a dreadfully boring date,  while waiting for the doctor’s appointment. Chaos is blissfully easy, and will certainly seal your demise. Continue reading “In Toronto, and Life is Spinning”

In China, With History

The fact that you, are you, is undeniably certain. But the chance that you, are you, seems so amazing that it is both unfathomable and unquestioned. Growing up in different regions of North America with only my parents and then my brother as a constant presence of family, I saw the concept of family as a small isolated bubble that I was undoubtedly apart of. I thought of my parents’ union as simply an existence, and never as partially a product of coincidence. Therefore, the rarity of me, being me, was not a notion that my mind disposed the tools to even conceive.

Naturally, as we mature, our sense of identity fleshes out. We realize how we are similar and different in character to other people, and these comparisons help us understand our personality. We evaluate our own behaviour and actions, and this also helps us understand our personality. In that way, my sense of identity developed, but mostly with a forward perception of time. I still didn’t conceive my sense of identity by its past, its source of origin.

This all changed during a three-week trip to China. I’d been to China twice, when I was a baby and when I was eight; both times I stayed with my maternal grandparents in the city of Changchun, in North-East China. This trip was different. In three weeks, my parents, brother, and I explored five different cities: Shanghai, Huai’an (my dad’s hometown), Nanjing, Beijing and Changchun. Within these five cities and during our travels in-between, I had the opportunity to experience the sights, sounds, food, places of the various faces of China. But what was ultimately most memorable to me, were meeting the deep pool of family members and friends my parents were connected to. Continue reading “In China, With History”

On gains and losses

This Tuesday, I had the opportunity to travel to Ottawa with my dad to receive one of the first seven STEAM Horizon Awards for leadership and innovation in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) fields. I met some amazing individuals (Marianne, Jacqueline, Kay, Olivia, Aidan, and Thomas), briefly talked with Leader of the NDP Tom Mulcair, Governor General David Johnston and Speaker Geoff Regan, and had the opportunity to sit in Question Period at the House of Commons. It was a fantastic experience and I am thankful for all the founders of the Award for making it happen! And yet, I also realize how plausible it would have been to gift this award to someone else – like any award celebrating leadership, or community service, or innovation, too many people are deserving.

Often times when I am disappointed by my own shortcomings, I will try to reassure myself by thinking that when I am older I will no longer care about any of it. However, my mentality is hypocritical, as I will treasure and hold dear anything good that happens in my life. If I hadn’t won this award, I would have consoled myself into thinking that this loss will not alter or hinder my life. However, since I have won this award, I have chosen to be extremely grateful and appreciative of this opportunity and financial support, because indeed, it has contributed significantly and positively to my undergraduate studies.

Yet, I’d like to think that a true loss is the lost opportunity for a new relationship, or a new experience, or a new emotion. Because I think it means that ultimately, a loss cannot be contrasted to a gain. Though we can gain immaterial things, we cannot actually lose a new relationship, or a new experience. These unformed concepts will simply be manifested in a different tone with a future event. Our losses, if we go with my definition of a “true loss”, is then simply an inability to bring something immaterial into existence. Fortunately, our ability to bring something immaterial into existence will always remain a potential, so long as we are still linked with time. Continue reading “On gains and losses”



The night of my birthday my friend and I walked around a church. It was a beautiful United Church built of stone (now modestly tarnished) and illuminated by globes of light (yellow and personal). The church itself is a block away from a very bustling area in the city.

On one side of the building I found a little space in the wall that formed a small rectangular nook. I’d like to say we stayed in that corner for half an hour and pondered life’s philosophies, but the corner felt our presence for a minute, just physicality. It was a mild evening, and though it was already dark I could sense the clouds hanging above. Continue reading “18”