Face it
Sunday, September 13, 2015
Everything you say not to be is
everything you turned out to be.
How will you be a role model for others
When you can't even be who you say you can be?
Right in my face you lie to me like it's nothing
Can't even face up to your own lies
Like it's nothing to you at all.
How do you face yourself in the mirror?
I wanted someone to look up to
to inspire me to be a better version of myself.
Felt guilty for accusing, questioning myself
For questioning you.

But I knew in my heart someone wasn't right.
Lying in my bed at night waiting for you to lie
down next to me and treat me right.
I wanted the person I believed you could be
No turning back once you discover the truth
It hurts but it's done and I can be brave and
face up to it
No looking you in the face now cause trust is gone
it flew away like migratory birds who die on the way.

Sunday, August 23, 2015
I love the words that flow from human minds. I'm blessed that I can read and write and think in metaphors and similes. Fascinated by comparisons of others like... how? How does your mind see that I could never see in a million years without borrowing someone else's lense? The vivid picture you create with symbols that represent spoken sounds ... that's incredible, can I feel your power?

But all I do is just lay in bed
and hide under the covers
Yeah I know I should be brave 
but I'm just too afraid of all this change.
And it's too hard to focus through all this doubt
I keep making these to-do lists
But nothing gets crossed out...

Bright Eyes

The instagram photographers capture moments and scenes that I can only ever dream and even if I was right there with them I could never see. Your perception astonishes me, thank you for sharing with the world. Seriously #incredible.

I appreciate the talent of others and envy their wisdom but most of all I'm glad they can paint in colour and splash my world full of life! Thank you for pursuing your talent and passion and sharing it with the rest of us commoners. Respect.

Mia VERSUS Magpie
Saturday, August 22, 2015
The petty battle between my dog
and the bird is a sad, helpless battle.
Unfair war, long, already lost.
How can she not know?
Chasing on legs, with faith - determination.
The winner just flies, no intimidation.
So she rests for a bit, stealth,
Change of tactics?
Still the bird's not afraid, not even close.
Flies up high and waits and bades
It's time. Cleverly knowing it's already won.
Still the dog stares through the window,
hoping and watching.
Everytime. Not one chance.
Defeat everytime, all the time.
Still at the window, head hung low.
Now a chance. Pettiest battle, long and slow.
Don't know why she doesn't really mind.
She'll have food at night, somewhere warm
to sleep tonight.
Life's so sweet for her, now I know why.
She thinks it's just for fun, this fight.
Just something to keep her mind occupied.

Train stories
Saturday, October 11, 2014
I remember the taste of freedom I first felt when I travelled by public transport alone.

The exhilaration hasn't changed, although now public commute has become a rarity. An opportunity!

I like sitting on the train and eaves dropping on other people's conversations. Like the two men who spoke rapidly and heatedly about the topic of stem cell research. The word 'extrapolate' filled their corner over and over again throughout our journey. Is this really how some people converse? It reminded me of Sheldon from Big Bang Theory except this was real life and people really are that smart. I liked listening to them talk of this science and that author and it never occurred to me that I was hearing but not comprehending. Extrapolate that!

I like waiting on the platform as the train pulls in, never knowing whether where I stand will be closest to the a door or whether I will have to shuffle those awkward steps to reach an entry. I enjoy watching people's personality take over them as they burst in first, or whether they wait quietly at the side until others have boarded.

I like to make up stories about people... their fears, their prejudices, their life's struggles and achievements. I like seeing myself in strangers.

I don't feel as human when I'm driving a car.

The sun rises and then it sets but you don't know one until you know the other
Wednesday, March 05, 2014
When you were younger, your experience of a day was always longer... A day seemed so long.

So long in fact that you might not remember things that happened the day before because it felt like it had happened a life time ago.Do you remember that feeling? A feeling of continuity and also disconnection: your life continued but each day, each hour, each moment was so disconnected from the one before and so far from the one coming next. 

Like the time you fell over and looked at your leg, scraped and bleeding. You held your leg, scrunched up your face as the tears rolled. You looked at the wound, horrified. It never occurred that it was something so insignificant and that it happened to all children. So it was less significant that you thought at the time, yet it still marked you. The scar still remains, however small and faded, as a reminder of that moment. 

Now you're older and you have mastered something called hindsight.

The importance of moments gone by; now highlighted by your greater knowledge of the world, of cause and effect, of history, is something you can hold now... nostalgically. 

Here are some moments from my life captured through the filter of hindsight:

Belief in life long learning,  love of narratives and pride in my cultural heritage
# I remember my grandma telling me stories of the events and figures of Chinese history. How brave and how repetitive grandma... I had heard them all before. I remember lying in her bed as she patted my hair, telling me to always ask questions, always read so and become educated so that I may one day I may have glory like the women in the Chinese histories. I went to sleep and dreamt of the princesses and queens who ruled China through their weaker husbands. Were they beautiful? How clever. How grand.

Grandma, do you know how much strength this knowledge and belief in my ethnicity, has given me all these years living as a minority?

The power of knowledge, strength to question people even if they are 'superiors'
#2 I remember sitting in a dark unit in Lakemba with a woman who was my English grammar tutor. My mum had found her details in the Chinese newspaper and was worried that I would not be able to pick up the syntax of the English language on my own. We opened up a secondary stage grammar intervention workbook. I was in year 3. We had to write simple, syntactically correct, sentences over and over again. I remember the word 'sun cream' had come up. I was resolute that it was not sun cream, but sunscreen. The tutor told me that it was a cream for sun and that it was definitely sun cream as sunscreen did not make sense. I told her to look it up in the dictionary which proved me correct. I did not feel arrogance and it was not about pride. I simply knew something and I could not pretend I didn't know. 

Grandma, do you know this tutor told my mother the same thing you told me? That if I had questions and if I had an opinion, I should find strength to share it. 

Ignorance of academic achievement
#3 I sat a test when I was 11 years old at an asian tuition college in Campsie. I remember the large whiteboards full of writing and numbers scribbled over it. I remember the children all seated, facing that whiteboard, copying down what was on the board. It was a Saturday. So this is the place my mother told me about... the place where children should attend because if they did, they would almost certainly be guaranteed a spot at a selective school. Well that sounded exclusive, I thought to myself as I was walking past the children to my own small table to sit this test. I am smart, I thought. The test was incredibly difficult and also very abstract, nothing like I had seen before at school. I 'failed' the test. 

"We can't accept your daughter. She won't make it into any of the top selective schools and it is already too close to the exam date. You might want to look into sending her to a private school." I overheard the Principal tell my mother at the top of the stairs as I waited below, on the street level watching everyone else go about their Saturday business. I remember the anger, the heat and the embarrassment. I remember my ears and face being red hot. I'll show you, I remember thinking. 

Mobility is a treasured thing and not everyone can access it 
#4 The class leader tells me to stand. We all stand for the teacher. The class leader tells us to sit. We all sit behind our single desks facing the same direction, to the teacher, the giver of knowledge. This is China 1995. I had returned from Sydney to study for 1 year at the local school near my grandmother's house because my young sister was about to go through with her cochlear implant surgery and my parents could not care for me. Sisi you just have to fit in, I told myself. I never felt more alone and different than in that school, in China, with peers all ethnically the same as me. I was different because I was from elsewhere. I was different because I did not live with my mum and dad and they weren't in the country. After our first exam, my first experience of a test, I placed 2nd last and everyone knew. We sat in the order of our rankings from the last test. On my right, the person who placed last, was a boy with a friendly broad face who had some form of disability. I felt embarrassed to sit next to him, knowing that in that test, I was better than only one person in the room. By the end of that year, I was 2nd from the front. As proud as I was, I would often look back at the friendly boy with a broad face... sitting in the far back corner of the room. Not once had he moved from his place in the room. 

I wonder what he is doing now. I feel for him that the society highlighted his differences so harshly. It is what it is. 

Now that I am a teacher myself... I often find myself thinking about that year. 

Fulfilling responsibilities is the first step to resilience, self efficacy, confidence and self-esteem. 
#5 "But why do I have to do this grandma?" I found myself crying through the tears in the lounge of our small apartment in China. Mental maths books opened, A5 size, with two columns of 50 sums each - 100 sums on each page. We had to complete 4 pages a night, 400 mental sums. My grandma sat behind me and she had nothing to say except that it was homework and so it had to be done. I threw tantrums. I cried. I cursed the teacher who had set the homework, and although she had the same surname as me I would chant her surname and curse it. At 10pm I looked at the time and I was exhausted but the homework had to be done. When I finished the last sum I looked and it was already 1am. I was slow at maths then. 

It taught me that deadlines have to be met, no matter how difficult or how tiring it can be. The person who set the deadline believed that it was sufficient time to complete it, which is not always the case but I have never found one time in my life where I have not met a deadline, at school, university or for work. Could it be that awful teacher who instilled in me a sense of resilience and work ethic that has taken me this far?

Today I only have time to share 5 experiences of mine which shaped my life in ways I could not imagine... but only when I had hindsight. Have you ever thought about how you became the person you are today? What experiences shaped who you were to become? 

Parting with childhood
Thursday, August 08, 2013
Little hands light as morning light
Shining bright with ignorance 
or is it innocence? 

Baby teeth smiles, so straight
The choices of life are yet 
to show. 

Laugh little ones and live.
Live a little more. 
Learning to love, not knowing
love can lull and lure and

I smile, you smile
because I smile at you.
I smile at you because...

One day your heart and hands
will be heavy too
Abused and ignored.
Smiles tarnished, flawed. 
Laughter and living replaced with
life and existing. 
But not today
My lovely little lambs
at least not today. 

A memory; unexplained; and unforgotten
I remember when I was walking down busy Pitt street filled with peak hour yuppies going home from work and when I reached the Liverpool street intersection, I waited at the crossing and watched all the suits facing me, also waiting to cross from the other side.

I heard a familiar sound informing me that it was now safe to cross the road and as I crossed, I looked up, I looked down, I looked at people, I looked at no one. Suddenly, I turned to my right and there was a homeless man (I could tell by his presentation, his smell and his mad eyes) on my right side, with his face level and only a few centimeters from my elbow. PFFFTTT! This stranger had purposely blown a raspberry into my jacket! I didn't dare look down for fear of any sign of moisture.

How did I feel that day? I remember being extremely anxious and paranoid, as if that raspberry would somehow spread the man's misfortunes onto my jacket, and by extension, my body. I feared someone had seen our interaction and mistakenly believed we had some kind of relationship. 

I threw that jacket in the bin, went to General Pants and bought a new jacket that very hour. 

Now I'm 24 years old and I will never know why that man chose me as the bearer of his raspberry. I suppose there may have been no rationale behind it and yet it happened, and I remember it and I never saw that jacket again. He holds the knowledge of the purpose of that raspberry in his mad eyes.   

Saturday, January 12, 2013
I feel old.

The laughter and happiness from my youth,
paints my face with lines.
Lines of wisdom and knowledge that the world
was not the way I had hoped.

My eyes have seen too much 
failure and disappointment. 
They are tired and the rings beneath my eyes
Must remind you of the life that was within me.
Does it hurt you to look upon them?

My eyes don't watch the way they used to.
Or desire. 
Or wonder.
Or fight.
Do they?

I will always remember the fearlessness I felt when
I had nothing to lose. 
So refreshing and real
was ignorance and childishness. 

Now everything plays before my eyes like a scene
from another time. 
A time of curiosity and exploration.
A time when time was endless.
Now I see, but I don't recognise. 
I hear, but am I listening?

These tired eyes watch these tired hands
type these tired words.

These eyes are only watching now.

The beautiful world pass us by.

Aching, empty and alone but
don't know why. 
Just a ghost wandering about
her haunted house. 
Shades of black and grey, suffocating.
Shadows lurk behind every corner
like a fire waiting behind your door.
Run for fear, or wait to burn.
You will burn then.

Who's afraid?
Can you even feel fear...
When hope and faith have deserted your heart?

Numb like a corpse thrown into
the frozen mid-winter blue.
Sweet silence stenches the air and stings. 
Oh how the silence stings and stabs and
Still, the patient statue stands
Strong and proud. 

Calm, quiet and alone and 
You'll be fine after all.