This year is of course fucked up beyond all recognition. I started the decade by checking myself into hospital, quitting my job without anything lined up, getting a job randomly within a few hours of interview, getting two more jobs lined up, counting my income.
In terms of money this year I made the most in all my years of working.
Not bad for someone with mental illness. It really just shows life works in mysterious ways and even if you’re denied of something you still will receive other opportunities.
(When I say I was denied something, I mean my old workplace denied me of a bonus and I remember I was not at all afraid or worried due to lack of money)
I finally got my DJ deck 😈 There is a whole story surrounding the DJ deck purchasing so I will tell you that now. There were a few channels for me to buy the deck: one being from a music store, another through a site similar to eBay, and the best way of course was to buy it directly from the brand. After sourcing for a while I finally bought it directly from the brand through an eBay-esque app because if I had bought it from the music store they’d have to contact the brand anyway because they didn’t have stock. I was just cutting the middleman out.
I was waiting for the shipment for three weeks and during those three weeks the person liaising with me was telling me he’d hook me up with local DJs who could teach me how to spin via Zoom. Naturally I was excited, I even disregarded the creepy vibes he was sending, and I should have asked if he had wanted photos of me. The guy even delivered the deck personally to me eventually. We all wear face masks now due to Covid, and even with the mask on I could see the disappointed expression on his face when he saw what I looked like. I had a feeling he was excited about me before seeing what I looked like because if he had ‘discovered’ the next big local DJ that would probably up his ‘street cred’.
I think (my opinion only, you really don’t have to agree) men who show disappointment because what they’re looking at is not aesthetically ‘pleasing’ to them, either watch a lot of pornography, no, hentai and don’t know what real women look like, or just don’t have enough friends to understand women (and men!) come in all shapes, sizes and features. Either all that, or that I’m too ugly. (I am not, but in any case I am not too concerned now, but when this was happening I questioned a few friends whether they found me cute which was such a waste of time because who gives an actual fuck!)
So anyway I don’t know the business term for ‘ghosting’ but he didn’t reply after that to my question about the Zoom lessons. Most people I told this story to told me to report to the brand that their employee behaved this way. I’m not really interested because business is a lot like dating and relationships. It has nothing to do with solely looks or personality or whatever else. With this kind of thing it’s always a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’.
When I first went clubbing I was 16. I didn’t go clubbing to hook up with dudes. I had a genuine interest to have a great time with my friends listening to club hits and dancing. And I always thought I’d make a great DJ. I certainly could put on better music than whatever the clubs were playing (oh how naive).
So I play with my deck now most days after work, and initially I put on a lot of music I listened to at the clubs like some trip down memory lane. And I realised I either had grown up or maybe I just simply don’t enjoy the ‘music-making’ process because the music I now enjoy listening to is super different from the music I did when I was 16. It’s not necessarily new music, it’s just different genres altogether. And like S said, I can agree that I too, am all over the place with the music I enjoy, so it’s challenging to stick to one genre. However, playing music for yourself or making your own Spotify playlists is definitely different from playing music for other people with other people in mind. Mainstream music is popular and well-received by the masses. It’s a business with the main goal to sell records and I am sure to a certain extent it helps people express their feelings. What feelings I don’t know. And maybe not much, but I am sure some form of expression exists. I certainly don’t look down on it. I no longer listen to the radio ever since Spotify started existing because I now have a choice to play all my favourite songs. I can also discover new music. But radio shows are fun because when a song you like unexpectedly plays, you feel something. I don’t think mainstream music is that vacuous, but I no longer enjoy it as a consumer. I used to hate anything electronic/a, house, progressive house, techno, dub, dubstep or indie, but I have a lot of fun playing with these songs (for myself). There is a lot of material to work with.
So by playing music in just two weeks I learnt these things:
1) I really don’t need to apologise. I don’t mean this in a ‘even if you did something wrong you shouldn’t apologise because fuck everyone else’ way, but it’s more about putting out the music I enjoy myself and not having to apologise for it being different from what people are used to/want to hear. If I don’t enjoy playing reggaeton then I should have the freedom to play something else.
2) Music is an escape. I never used to get this, especially about people born in the 60s and 70s (I have friends born in these decades) who listened to music in their adolescence as an expression or to break away from societal pressure or to not feel oppressed. In my case the music I listen to now provides a great escape from whatever I deal with in real life (from a parent’s death to work pressure and disappointments arising from failed relationships). When I play music I really am on timeout, and time and everything else going on in my life seem irrelevant.
3) Identity. I think all my life I have been concerned about not being ‘Malay enough’ or a good Muslim because the things I feel and the things I do always seem to contradict what being Malay or Muslim is. Music removes whatever stupid expectations I have of myself regarding identity. I must remind myself I am allowed to enjoy Malay music and songs if I want to and to reject it if I don’t. I am allowed to be me and I shouldn’t think in terms of ‘is this Malay enough’ or does this fit ‘my looks?’
4) Having fun. I am brought back to painting lessons I took years ago. I was unable to throw paint randomly at my canvas despite encouragement from the instructor because I was so concerned with making the work look great or acceptable. It took a while to get to the stage where I just stopped ‘thinking’ and did it. It was difficult but when I finally was able to do it I remember I didn’t give a rat’s ass about what other people thought of my work. I hope to achieve that feeling again through my music.
5) Coolness Factor. This is somehow related to point 4. I should really work on not giving a shit about what people think about me whether in music or other aspects of my life. I’m not playing music to make money for myself or to find an audience to worship me, and my priority should be making music and learning new things, instead of playing what I think people want to hear.
6) Playing and making music use my strengths 😀 I like music in general, I sing when I feel sad/angry/happy. I like doing research and reading. Over the past two weeks I have been listening to and reading about so much music across different genres and I think this helps the creative portion.
7) I need to learn to chill While hanging out with friends almost a month ago one said I could be described as salty. My other friend was quick to defend me (sweet!) and I think music helps me channel some energy away from always being on edge.
I am not sure if these things would evolve over time. We shall see! What are some outlets you use to channel your creativity?
Over these past few days I have been obsessing over a new-found hobby (me and my shenanigans). The lockdown in my country has been lifted and I was glad to see a lot of my friends. But we had either one-on-one or small group dates. 🙂 One of my best friends had a baby 8 months ago and I have seen her baby only twice in those 8 months because we were just busy trying to stay alive during the circuit breaker, and she no longer lives near me. I even carried baby around town on Saturday using a carrier. She fell asleep! I take that as a compliment! She is so precious. At one point while we were out we were trying to secure the milk bottle but not sure what happened but the bottle leaked and we had to deal with one wet baby. I don’t want children, it doesn’t mean I don’t like children, but I can’t really entertain the idea so to borrow baby times from friends is quite nice sometimes.
The following day I met J, my friend from work. We were colleagues for a short while but she was furloughed, and reminds me so much of me and my mom. I think I really enjoy her company, hearing her thoughts, and I find it fun and funny when we’re trying to prevent each other from spending a lot of money. But she brought me to two stationery shops so of course I bought a lot of stationery. I think I’m out 200 dollars.
My new-found hobby is DJ-ing. I would like to buy decks. Went to recce (reconnaissance) DJ decks at a shop in an area I used to hang out a lot, and while I had zero clue where to start aside from whatever resources my brother could find, I wasn’t really that keen to purchase anything just yet. Then I started thinking about costumes to wear and what to do and what to play for my debut! I won’t be able to link the stream here (for the sake of my privacy) but if you find my DJ stream just say Hi. DJ equipment is expensive (all hobbies I like are expensive) so I don’t want to overspend because I am not sure I can sustain the interest, but at the same time I don’t want crappy equipment. I generally enjoy music and I believe with some direction I am able to come up with entertaining sets. I actually don’t care if my streams get any views; my goal is just to put myself out there and entertaining myself.
I am suddenly hungry. So that is my update. Since the time I discovered I could DJ myself I have been collecting songs I felt were good to play during my debut. I’m thinking a 2-hour set. When my brother called two days ago I gave him a short rundown of what’s happening in my life and he can be a wet blanket but this was the first time he was supportive of my 5-minute endeavour.
Every time I blog I get extremely sleepy so I will rest now.
Today was a lazy day for me. Usually on the weekend I would be busy volunteering, but this week they gave us a break, so I spent some time at the bank, and a lot of time just resting. I try to use my weekends to read and write (not blogging, I don’t qualify my blogging as ‘writing’) but nothing too serious and I don’t mathematisize those activities.
In Singapore last week, a lot of Malays were upset when a Peranakan restaurant used the term ‘Nyonya’ in front of the words Nasi Ambeng because nasi ambeng (food, look it up) is not Peranakan at all. It is in fact, Javanese. The backlash pressured the restaurant rename it to ‘Family Trays’ and issue an apology across all its social media accounts.
The episode made me think about my heritage; after all I am half-Javanese. I am not exactly a proud half (I used to be annoyed when my grandma would teach me to speak the language), not even a practising half, but when I spoke to my Javanese cousins (in Malay haha) we too thought it was cultural appropriation, although we’d never join the discussion with a pitchfork on social media (we love our non-Malay, non-Javanese friends enough to not incite hate/divide).
While I’m not a very cultural person (it’s something I am extremely self-conscious about as I get older), I truly enjoy Indonesian food because it is my staple. I grew up eating food prepared that way. I wouldn’t say I ate Indonesian food, I think the more proper way to explain it is: because my mom was second generation Singaporean Javanese, a lot of the food she prepared were contemporaries of Indonesian food, and those were usually a mix of Malay and Javanese food.
Because I am diabetic I try not to eat a lot of rice (it is a big deal because we love rice!). I totally stopped drinking sweetened drinks, and I don’t eat desserts most days. I do want to speak to a nutritionist soon, but I think my appointment for diabetes is all the way in August.
I used Wahyu because it was the only thing available in the shop downstairs and I didn’t feel like taking a taxi to other places.
When we eat soto with compressed rice (lontong) it is just called soto, but when you eat it with bee hoon or yellow noodles they’re called mee/bee hoon soto or mee soto respectively.
I don’t like potatoes usually so I never add bergedil, but that’s what people usually add to complete the dish. Garnish is usually fried shallots, and there is a sweet and spicy sauce to accompany it, too (which I could not be arsed to make).
I sprinkled bottled parsley 😛😛 but I am sure you can chop up coriander as well.
This makes it to my comfort food list, but I generally don’t eat it outside if they serve it with shredded chicken. 😛😛😛
Steps to make it (my way):
1) If you already have lontong (compressed rice) ready you can just prepare the soto (soup)
2) I boil my chicken (mid-joint wings) for about 20 minutes on medium heat
3) Take the chicken and most of the water out, leaving only about half of the water in
4) Dump your sliced shallots/onions in with a bit of garlic, two chilis, and lemon grass and about five lime leaves
5) Season with salt and pepper. Do not over-salt because the paste usually has MSG and a lot of salt
6) After about 10 minutes dump the paste in
7) Add about 2-3 litres of water
8) Taste. If it’s bland add more salt
9) Add the chicken from earlier and close the lid
10) When it comes to a boil about 10 – 15 minutes later stir the pot
11) Add some tamarind juice (I just dumped bits of tamarind)
12) Switch off the stove after about 10 minutes
13) Serve it with the compressed rice and garnish
My ancestors are all rolling in their graves right now because I don’t use oil when I cook and when I do I use too little but I just don’t like oily food!!
I don’t have fancy kitchenware but I need to look into getting a hand-held mixer. I went to the supermarket the other day (they sell everything from local bread to imported cheese to Pyrex. I once went on a hunt for a lock at midnight with my friend, and we were successful) but I couldn’t find a hand-held mixer I liked. I think I would prefer something that looked like this:
But anyway I haven’t figured it out and experience taught me to not overthink it or under-research so when I am free this week I will browse.
We had some leftover beef from Eid and at home it’s just my dad and me, so we don’t eat a lot, and I didn’t want to waste food, so I decided to whip something simple up. I seasoned and marinated the beef with some oyster sauce and abalone sauce (something my neighbour taught me), put bell peppers, some lime and baked it in the oven. Then I blanched some broccoli, made creamy mashed potato (butter, milk, potatoes) and served it with the beef.
My dad enjoyed this dinner; he ate twice. I wish the beef was a bit more tender. The texture was OK. Not difficult to chew, the taste was OK. I don’t have any recipe for this, but maybe next time I will (not a big recipe person, when I cook I taste throughout (habit from kitchen life) so recipes for cooking are merely guides, recipes for baking are of course a different story).
I am also trying to cut down on eating a lot of meat, but I will see how that goes!
A while back I drafted an article about developing concentration skills in young children. This exercise made me fall deep down the rabbit hole, and I read a study on children being experimented on. Each child in the study was given a marshmallow. The adult would leave the room and the instructions were explicit: the child should not eat the marshmallow during the adult’s absence from the room, and if the child complied, he would be rewarded with another marshmallow on top of the one presented to him earlier. Research (and I’m on my phone, so once I get on my computer I will share the link) shows that children who are able to delay gratification become more successful adults.
I laughed at the research because now that explains everything and why I am unable to succeed in adulthood. I am just not able to delay gratification! Of course there are other factors that affect my chances of success, my gender is one, the fact that I am a minority is another. We lot can succeed, but the chances are reduced and to attain something a member of the majority race could easily do, we have to jump through all these arbitrary hoops and then you’d find that in the end, it wouldn’t even matter.
Over the past two days I really wanted to eat lasagna, and I could already taste the meat, the generous amount of mozzarella, and the overall saucy, gooey goodness. So I was a woman on a mission, and that mission was to find pasta sheets. If I could wait for the local supermarket chain to deliver me a box, I might be able to eat by this weekend. Alternatives included buying store-bought lasagna from one of the pizza places, or a frozen one (which was insanely cheap) but I was determined to make something with ingredients I bought and my own two hands. So I didn’t want to wait for pasta sheet delivery, and I went to two supermarkets to get them. Both supermarkets did not have them, and I am not sure if it’s because it’s just not common in my country, or people just buy online.
So. I made my own pasta sheets. It was such a workout, one I would remember for a longggg time, and I laughed thinking this was why I could never be successful, but hey if you think about it, because I didn’t want to delay gratification, I made pasta sheet from scratch, because I am a determined person.
I don’t have a pasta machine and I wasn’t going to buy it just for one project. I don’t actually own any fancy or expensive kitchenware. I am interested in making delicious food, and I feel the true test of skills is when you only have the ingredients, your hands, a good knife, and your mother’s old but reliable equipment. I am pretty sure if I were bathing in cash I would not sing the same tune. I am not broke, but I would not want to spend a lot on fancy stuff I don’t always use.
As a special treat I made bechamel sauce and poured it over my lasagna. I should hold the mozzarella, although it lent some flavour to my lasagna.
This is something you probably didn’t know about me: I used to cook in a French restaurant in Singapore. I was in my early 20s, and I had gotten fired from my office job. I used to always think I’d grow up to be some kind of a designer, but my mom (RIP) wasn’t keen on that idea, because such jobs paid little unless you had a degree, (then it paid okay), and unfortunately we were not rich, so taking risks wasn’t an option, and office jobs paid the most (at least for people like me; I went to business school).
I was the worst cook, of course, it’s me, but I lasted almost a year. I took instructions in Mandarin. I don’t even speak that language. I didn’t work Saturdays because I had part-time school (which made my colleagues hate me) and the only reason I had gotten the job in the first place was because I was cute. True story.
I like cooking. Your first mentor in the kitchen world is one of the most important people in the ecosystem, because the habits, approach and techniques he imparts to you can either set you up for success or failure. For example, my first mentor was extremely neat, almost OCD in the kitchen. He took mise en place, and hygiene, well, basically the whole food hygiene thing, seriously, and even though in the beginning I struggled to make sense to make sure preparation was done (and in the kitchen world everything is never-ending), adhere to common sense and basic food hygiene, and know whom to approach for what, and basically what to do in a day, I was on autopilot mode once I grasped the system. Your first mentor is very important. I had another mentor who basically was not up to scratch but because I had already learnt from a developed system it was easy to avoid bad practice in the kitchen.
Before the kitchen job, I worked somewhere I didn’t have passion for. My supervisor then hated me a lot, and always looked for little ways to sabotage me. Little eventually added up to a lot, and while I was proficient in my job I lacked the necessary skills to prevent sabotage from happening to me, and I’d always allowed my work to speak for itself, so I never ‘promoted’ myself. Most people in higher positions in that job knew me by name and face, but it was a lot for 19-year-old me, and because I kept getting sabotaged for little things, I eventually committed career suicide by asking for a transfer, and in my new role I hated it more than my previous role, which made it impossible for me to succeed. I think my main goal then was to just get away from my old supervisor. Eventually I had gotten fired. They called my mother! This was before privacy laws came into place.
The kitchen world is not without its problems. They pay very little. It is considered menial work. It is male-dominated, so it was common for females (non-gay females especially) to be made fun of, sexually harassed (in some form) or generally treated poorly, but when you’re thrusted in this environment you do whatever it takes to survive and protect yourself. Eventually you learn to be confident and have faith in yourself, tenacious, understand what it means to work hard, work smart, and find joy in your vocation.
I eventually left the kitchen world because it was unsustainable to continue working for very little pay. Passion is passion, but realistically speaking not many of us can monetise that. However, the lessons I learnt in the kitchen world helped me become the person I am at work today.
Ever since the circuit breaker (aka ‘lockdown’) measures were implemented in my country, I have been watching a lot of Netflix and TV series, and I have to say I have fallen into some kind of routine where I just wanna watch and keep watching. I have not been reading much apart from anything related to my business. So if you have book recommendations, please send them my way. I think it has been a while since I read a novel.
I have caught up on Monk (it’s this show that ran in the early aughts) and I am on Season 5. I don’t think when it originally aired I got past Season 4. I didn’t watch Seasons 5 – 8 mainly because I was reaching my 20s, and I was hardly home. It is still one of my favourite things to watch. I think one of the reasons I go back to watching it is because my mom used to buy me the DVDs when I was young and I always feel close to her when I watch it.
Speaking of Andrew McCarthy, I am now watching his son (Sam McCarthy) on the Netflix TV show ‘Dead to Me’. My ex-colleague and friend introduced it to me. After a bit of resistance I decided to give it a try. I was immediately hooked. I am taking a break from it now though, because it gets a bit dark, (no spoilers I promise!) and I don’t want to pop a Xanax before I watch TV.
I like the show a lot, but I have watched Linda Cardellini since I was young (and so was she) so every time I see her nasolabial folds I am reminded that I too am old. Also watch it if you’re OK with the F word flying around (I am OK because that’s basically how I talk in real life, but for the record I am the ‘oh, fuck!’ instead of ‘fuck youuuuu!!!’ kind of person) because it’s quite adult language.
I also have watched three entire seasons of Good Girls. I enjoyed the first two seasons. Season 3 is a bit slow-paced for me. Can’t quite put a finger on why I don’t really like it aside from the pacing. No spoilers I promise.
Of course, nothing beats The Blacklist (except maybe Breaking Bad!) and I just finished watching the season finale. I mostly watch The Blacklist because of Raymond Reddington (James Spader’s character) because I seriously cannot stand the Elizabeth Keen character (I don’t find her resourceful, I think Red spoon feeds her a lot!) because a lot of other characters are way better! Tell me what you think about that season finale (if you’ve watched).
Dang. I watch a lot of TV. I like clever TV writing. When I was a teenager I really wanted to be a TV writer but I’m not sure if local TV is any good.