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”

small collection #1

The act of reading and writing poetry is a growing plot of land within my life. Each “small collection” post will feature two of my own poems with complimentary senses.

All of this
All of this, perhaps
quite unusual in its
simplicity of motion
despite omissions and sentiments

Deep in my mind shines your light,
deeper still darkness reigns
I’ll tread and explore
without sinking from a heavy heart
breath quiver to steady.

There are words that cannot be written.
Paths born with every exchange
extend an endless story,
sleeping and waking
by loyal momentum.

One learns far away
One learns far away
and brings it near.
They swim in the heart,
gathering longer, longer
breaths, these moments –
spilling from
mouth and fingers.
They stay close out of
Until, submerged
and drowned in new
A rebirth of the smallest scale.

To speak the words not spoken

The truth is, I’ve been staring at my laptop screen for a long time, not knowing what to write. Not because there isn’t any material to write of, but simply there is too much of… everything.

There are words that I need to leave out, as a blog writer. There are urges, sentiments that I do not mention, because they are impertinent to the content of my post. There are concerns that I want to communicate but do not, because I do not want people to reassure me and tell me I am not wrong.

But since it seems like I cannot proceed with anything else without spilling out these sentiments, in an ironical reversal of my declaration in the previous paragraph, I must attempt to unwind the knot in my mind and speak the words that perhaps I do not have the claim to speak.

I know more, much more, than I did two years ago. I’ve explored my city, met fascinating humans, read profound literature, and experienced many unexpected emotions. Yet it sometimes seems like this new knowledge has made a new compartment in my head, instead of fusing with my old mind.

I read news articles about Ghana immigrants losing their fingers crossing the Canadian border, a Syrian girl who got emergency treatment in a (now-bombed) hospital in Aleppo, the crude conditions of sex workers in Sri Lanka. And yet, I often sit miserably in my privileged life, brooding over a bad lunch or a dress I wish I bought.

Now, I must stop myself. Because I know how people would respond to what I just wrote. They will remark that I have grown- that at least now, I demonstrate more compassion, a willingness to fight for these injustices, an opening heart. This is the truth, but this is only one side of the truth. There are parts of me that are still frustratingly, irrationally entitled. Continue reading “To speak the words not spoken”