the backstage epiphany

where reality is so subjective it's entirely optional

Monthly Archives: October 2009

Literary décor

For as long as I remember, I’ve never really been one for unnecessary* frills and fancies. And in my vocabulary, unnecessary means things like pen holders (I kept everything in my pencil case, until I started my current job and a stainless steel mug full of stationery was part of the welcome wagon on my very first day), paperweights (my cell phone works just the same, and I don’t like having plastic dolphins filled with purple water sloshing around on my desk), and bookmarks (I use things like rulers, the occasional postcard I receive from subscriptions like Chanel and Anya Hindmarch, and, at one point, even an old envelope folded in half).

And then, just this past weekend, as I was walking past the stationery section of 1Utama’s MPH, I spotted this:







In a sudden bout of girly-girl excitement, it took me less than a minute to decide that I wanted it, not in the least because it looked so pretty hanging on the rack, and also because Afham finally dared to voice out that, given how much I read and carry my books around, it was high time I moved past using nondescript objects to mark my pages (“It’s very pai kua (unsightly), baby,” he patiently maintained when I said there was nothing wrong with the postcards, taking care not to try justifying the envelopes). So I finally got my first (as far as I can remember) real bookmark.

And just in case you’re curious, this is the book it’s currently serving.

* Contrary to what some might argue, these unnecessary things are not to be confused with other functional objects like makeup brush holders, because such brushes are fragile and worth several paperweights, therefore requiring proper care and maintenance.


Blind leading the blind

blinded by love

I thought I’d learned from you. From watching you tear yourself apart over Greg and drag yourself down so low that at one point I really had no idea how to help you back up. I thought I could learn from that and not allow my feelings for a man to consume me until I can barely do anything else… Why? Why does it have to be now? What the hell is wrong with us? New Year’s Eve, we made a promise to be sensible this year and get rid of all the bullshit and work on fixing ourselves. And now look — almost a year later and we’re still as much of a mess as we’ve ever been! What happened to us?


In all the frustration, the only answer I could think of, as I pulled myself out of the freezing, drowning depths of my own thoughts and memories in yet another futile effort to put the past behind me, was, “Men happened to us.”

Much later, I realized that I had given the wrong answer, that the answer wasn’t the men.

Love happened to us.

Over before it began

Well now that’s shot to shit.

I suppose on some level we all knew it was too good to be true.

Backstage at Dreamland

lea salonga

She’s the Voice the world knows as Princess Jasmine and Mulan, the girl who gave the world Kim in Miss Saigon and Eponine in Les Miserables, and the woman whose duet with Brad Kane every hopeless romantic listened to.

And she’s coming here. Well, to Singapore, at least, but close enough.

Now I get to fulfill my childhood dream of watching Lea Salonga perform live, after years of singing along to her in Aladdin, Mulan, Miss Saigon and Les Miserables. Oh, and that duet with Brad Kane, which went from being my favorite song to the bittersweet anthem of my greatest failure in love to date.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

My secret dream

This is probably my absolute favorite song to listen to when I just need to close my eyes, let out the breath I’m perpetually holding, and lose myself to the memories, the pain, the regrets and the exhilaration that came with them, and the feelings I will never be able to show.

Stars shining bright above you
Night breezes seem to whisper, “I love you.”
Birds singing in the sycamore trees
Dream a little dream of me

Say nighty-night and kiss me
Just hold me tight and tell me you miss me
While I’m alone and blue as can be
Dream a little dream of me

Stars fading but I linger on, dear
Still craving your kiss
I’m longing to linger till dawn, dear
Dream a little dream of me

Sweet dreams till sunbeams find you
Sweet dreams that leave all worries behind you
But in your dreams, whatever they be
Dream a little dream of me

Seeing stars

Last Friday I attended a press conference for the On Hong Encore Concert Live in Malaysia — apparently a follow-up of sorts to a first concert by Andy Hui Tze On and William So Weng Hong some years ago — as a representative of my company, who was one of the sponsors. My most vivid memories of these two Hong Kong stars are from watching their TVB serials, which aired at 6PM on TV2 back in the ’90s. When I was first asked to attend the press conference for the concert, I was apprehensive and reluctant, because I was not of a mood to be out for any events, and I knew whatever press that would be there were from the Chinese media — until it dawned on me that Hui and So could actually be there.

They’re really quite a bit smaller in real life than they appear onscreen. And they’ve aged very well, bless their plastic surgeons, considering they’ve been in show business nearly twenty years now. I was fortunate to be sitting right in front, not twenty feet away from the stage, so I was able to take fairly decent pictures of them (using Eza’s camera, because I, naturally, can never remember to bring my own anywhere).

I must admit I was a little starstruck, because, despite having seen the likes of Alicia Keys, Jason Mraz, Brian McKnight, Linkin Park, Coldplay and OneRepublic perform, and despite having met Snoop Dogg, I had never seen any of the Hong Kong stars live — particularly ones that the closet Chinawoman in me actually happened to like.

After all that, I was quite severely reprimanded by Eza and my boss for not taking a picture with them. And even though a colleague offered to take one for me, I couldn’t work up the courage to tap them on the shoulder and ask for a picture.

on hong 001

on hong 002

on hong 003

on hong 004

on hong 005



/rɪˈgrɛʃən/ [ri-gresh-uhn]


1. the act of going back to a previous place or state; return or reversion.
2. retrogradation; retrogression.
3. Biology. reversion to an earlier or less advanced state or form or to a common or general type.
4. Psychoanalysis. the reversion to a chronologically earlier or less adapted pattern of behavior and feeling

I don’t know when it happened, or how. I didn’t think it would even happen again; I had thought things had taken a turn for the better. But then I suppose I should have known better, for a leopard never changes its spots. And now I am back in that place, that repressive place I had wallowed in for two and a half months before, in which I wake up every morning desperately trying to summon the will to go to work — and indeed, sometimes, the will to live altogether.

Crawling back for more

tu me manques


See, my days are cold without you
But I’m hurting while I’m with you
And though my heart can’t take no more
I keep on running back to you

Ashanti, Foolish –