Notes and Thoughts from Term 1

Jotting down my thoughts that I had had during Term 1. These were saved over the course of 6 months in my phone.

“It is like buying the latest piece of equipment and to not derive any joy from it other than through the process of actually buying it. To feel empty once you have attained it, but alas what is this lack of fullness one feels once the joys of attainment has receded back into the vast ocean of nothingness. Can anything really be completed? The gap never closes full circle.”

“Space is the medium through which time occurs. For example, a sound heard through space. How we hear it depends on the quality of the sound and our organs to hear it. Nevertheless, the sound still occurs, through space, whether or not there is anything to hear it, and its qualities remain fixed. But how is a sound produced? What causes it to take place and what shapes it? Partially as it happens in time, the sound is modified in relation to its surrounding and modified through time, and its qualities adhere to some natural law. We hear it through space, as modified through time.”

“Kant was writing on the origin of thought – How do I even begin to think? He says, cognition is brought about through intuition and concepts, and that the origin of cognition is transcendental, or as he says it, pure cognition takes its cue from the presentations but does not abstract from it. It is not empirical, but a kind of pure – pure thinking. He goes on to suggest that logic may have something to do with this; that is, transcendental logic.”

“Love is the construct through which my being is expressed in full and the receptiveness towards another. Its form – unintelligible; Experience – unforgettable.”

“I hear Nietzsche saying, “look all around you, all is blank, you have to create the value in this blankness that surrounds you”. “No, this blankness is not white, nor is it nothing, it is, and it is blank. Now create upon it, power-over it, surpass it or surpass it non-surpassingly, this blankness is for you to realise yourself. To not do so is the making of a comedy; to do so is the making of a tragedy. May you find joy in active becoming”.”

“Music is that which gives our moods the horizon to think the world upon. It colours the sky a fiery red and sets the sea ablaze; only if one could physically dance on water.”

“The thing-in-itself is like the search for the understanding of an alien world in which we find an alien thing but fail to understand it for we lack the alien sensibilities and intuition. And in failing to do so, we succeed in seeing the differences but fail terribly at seeing the similarities.”

And so it goes…

Today marks the last night I will be in Tokyo. So far, it has been wonderful for the most part. Long walks down Yoyogi park, Meiji and Sensoji shrines; it has always been about the feelings of inspiration a place gives that brings out the sense of wonder.

As I ambled aimlessly in the clearing towards Meiji shrine, I am struck by the sense of nostalgia it invoked as a mode of experience. I recalled my teenage years and how I used to take purposefully long walks through Yishun park, gazing upwards at the trees lining the path, and think that I could have not been in any better company. Branches that sprawled outwards, keeping the heat in check served only to isolate me from the urban surrounding I am so used to seeing. Feeling isolated, my encounter with the world turns inwards, and I hear myself exchanging conversations with this new World. I imbibed on the silence, the kind of silence the forces a soul to bare itself in a light no eye can see. And so, I thought, that these trees held no malice or ill-intent. They allowed me to encounter myself in Being, and in return it only offered in conversation the argument of silence, that if heard enough, renders the recipient filled with an inexpressible emotion understood only by the thinker. More often than not, some kind of noise and/ or movement interrupts this encounter between thinker and thought, and he is no longer the only person in the World, but has instead returned to the world; that is fine. No peace is forever. Depending on the time of the day, your horizon could be filled with a rising or setting sun.

As I progressed, the trees continued to offer their guidance and support. It seemed as if they had been through a lot to have gotten to their height. They had weathered many storms, providing protection where it could, and doing so with obligation because of its fixed position; a position inherited and perpetuated. The wisdom is passed down is no less than the wisdom I am aware of. In its presence, I can neither agree nor disagree with myself. I project an elderly version of myself offering advice in advance, but I do not understand why this happens. Maybe this is why trees are often revered as holders of wisdom, maybe I am going nowhere with this.

Now, this is a view of Tokyo I will not forget. It is strange, that when I see an aged man here, I cannot help but wonder if he had been my oppressor a mere 60-odd years ago. It would be hard to tell.


“We think we know people when all we know of is a life of display. The lugubriousness of a gilded cloud that languorously wavers through the expansive sky seemingly without care tells us nothing of its troubles that lay in the void within its very being. To truly know a person is to know of the person’s tragedy, even if there is none; but we are never sure. Therein lies a difficulty of knowing oneself. Yet, the possibility of not knowing our own tragedies is absurd. In the larger context of things, we will never fully know our tragedies situationally because of our limited ability to grasp the entire picture. The gilded cloud does not know the expansive sky, it only knows it is in it, and that it should make the most of it.

The banality of modern love leads us to believe of an all-encompassing answer to life. I think the answer is in believing that there is one. Camus once wrote, “what is called a reason for living is also an excellent reason for dying”. Right.”


il a été quelque temps encore depuis que j’ai ecrit ici. actuellement, je suis tres embrouillé. peut-étre c’est un manque de sommeil. je ne sais pas. maintenant, je lis et essaye comprendre monsieur proust; il a ete un romancier de français en France dans le 20e siècle. j’aime son style d’ecrit.


She peered out the window, flabbergasted. The world, while largely irrational, continued to facilely pace itself, inertia notwithstanding. Lugubrious beings wandered the world with voices and opinions bordering on contempt, the tyranny of a dying planet forcing them to consolidate and function with meretricious pretence – harmony as it was called.

Her doleful countenance coupled with her adoration of a dying world led her to hope that confrontation was the answer to what was otherwise absurd. She lived for nothing, noting that it was a kind of absurd boredom edging her to assess this nothing-ness. After all, is nothing a consequence of something, or is nothing all there is to itself? She remained divided. On the one hand, everything sort of led to nothing. When we die, we do so for an eternity. At the same time, we live as if we understood the magnanimity of eternity. She believed that we did not, we could not. Who could? Even ubermensch could not do much for humanity. The world paced on…



I’ve not spoken in detail about my trip to Europe with many.

My trip was inspiring. Paris, Lille and Amsterdam (I did not really like Amsterdam though). The city of lights left me awestricken; it has ruined every other holiday destination’s chance of being my favourite. I remember my train ride to Amsterdam from Gare du Nord. Optimism at having a good time alone in Amsterdam was eventually reduced to a lot of pigeon watching at Dam Square. In fact, I was able to witness the various mating rituals pigeons engage in. Things only started to pick up when I made friends, Zhafrie and Vanessa.

Anyway, back to France. I had decided to go to France in late 2012 because I felt the need to do something exciting in my 24th year of existence. Exciting, indeed; from my first adult birthday party (p.s., nothing dirty) to my trip to Europe, to meeting people and many more. I’ve made it a life mission to go to Paris every year now, and maybe Lille as well. I loved how small that city was. It was very down-to-earth, and I managed to meet my pen-pals. We pre-arranged to meet along Rue de Paris, but did not manage to because Rue de Paris is a really, really long road. As luck would have it, my decision to amble on to the nearest shopping mall resulted in our chance (okay not really) encounter; serendipitous indeed.  The people in Lille tend to be friendlier; albeit they tend not to speak English as well as they do in Paris. I enjoyed instances in which I had to use French to communicate. French is a really nice language.

Paris. I loved my time there. I understand that there are mixed reactions to the city. Some find it dirty, and some find it stereotypically French. There is a sense of collectiveness here. I loved how their Sundays are. It is so peaceful, serene and calm. I met really friendly people, and my host really liked me as a hostee. I don’t want to talk about Paris because I fear rationalizing my feelings about it will in turn reduce my feelings to a bunch of rationalizations that do not explain how I feel.

“Love is us” – I found that scribbled on a wall at the upper levels of Sacre Coeur. It struck me as a rather profound statement. Love is profoundly us. I do not love you because you are you. I love you because together, we are us.