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Figuring, always figuring.

We’d make a trip out of it. We’d pack food — cheese, crackers, apples, a couple of ham sandwiches with slices of radish. She taught me that. She’d also make sure the cheese was good cheese; none of that orange, processed kind with bright packaging. If I had any, I’d sneak some biltong. Moist, fatty, shaken well with seasoning. The moistness makes the seasoning stick. That is key. She finds it revolting. “It tastes of cow,” she’d complain.

Blankets, sleeping bags, a change of clothes. She’d pack hers neatly into a beautiful weekend duffel. Handcrafted in Italy apparently. She has…

I thought-vomit about birds during lockdown.

Bit of green.

Day whatever-the-heck-it-is of MCO 2.0 (Movement Control Order here in Malaysia, aka lockdown). I’ve come to notice and pay attention to the birds that occasionally visit, and find that they do in fact visit more than occasionally.

There is a trio of yellow long-beaked hummingbirds that squeak at a volume five times their size. They are fidgety and flutter from bud to leaf to flower to branch. My eyes could not keep up with their quick, darting bodies. I grow irritated. Maybe I’m the fidgety one.

There are zebra doves, ambling around the compound, seldom in flight, often on ground…

A short reflection of 2020.

For many of us, we are, now, able to say, “My, what a year!”

We are able to look back. We have the privilege to look back, because we made it. I believe that is cause for gratitude, if not some celebration. It has indeed been a turbulent year.

And yet, we do not arrive whole.

In one way or another, we are incomplete. Some of us are in tatters; we stand at the turn of the year with our heads turned back, longing for the pieces of us that didn’t make it. Grieving, for the ones we lost. …

A quarantine mini-project of self-expression.

Banana bread by my sister. The only image made outside my room.

So we’re all indoors much more now. I sat for more than 10 hours today, and it sucked, and I’m a little too lazy to exercise, so I picked up my camera and whacked on a flash, just to be on my feet a bit. I decided to document where I spent those 10+ hours — my room.

I’ve always been curious about how people live their private lives. On that basis, I assumed that people would be curious about mine. Or maybe not. But I thought this exercise could also be a form of expression. …

You climb to get closer, and in like manner so she sinks. She descends gradually, lowers her fiery eyes into a gentle gaze, and eventually, at the convergence of the ethereal, you no longer look up towards her — she of might, she of light. You realise that at that point, you and her are level, and at that point, you are the closest you will ever get to her in 24 hours. She realises this too, and seems to linger.

Now this is what the day has been for. This coming together. If you had a good day, you…

An ode to a quiet corner of the world

This is Lake Tikitapu, or Blue Lake, near Rotorua, New Zealand. I spent a good number of weeks here, where I lived close to the water and woods. Rotorua is known for its geothermal activity, with natural hot springs, mud pools, geysers and the like drawing droves of visitors. Unfortunately many of these spots have been commercialised and charge for entry — coupled with tourists, they naturally repel me.

Instead, I find myself gravitating towards the quieter corners of this small city (large town?). My weeks there can only be described as tranquil. Curiously, I don’t regard Rotorua as being…

Freelance event producer, plant-based chef/nutriotionist

This is my personal passion project and I’m bloody delighted to finally be…unearthing it! Tiffany is the first of a few conversations I recorded, and I’ll be rolling out the rest in the coming months (hopefully weeks).

The idea, essentially, is really just to connect. To look beneath the surface of the everyday faces of our friends, colleagues, acquaintances.

You can read more about how all this came about here.

Born in Hong Kong, Tiffany Lau is a freelance event producer dealing in logistics and project management, and certified plant-based chef/nutritionist.

She aspires to become a food therapist, and is…

My passion project (finally!) sees the light of day

“Unearthing” is a series of longform interviews exploring the multi-faceted human conditions of living the modern life, through candid conversations with neighbours.

It is my passion project — an attempt to provide a voice, a platform, an opportunity, and a safe listening space, in exchange for expression, honesty, and really just having a meaningful chat.

The Story

This idea stemmed from somewhere in 2015, when I stumbled upon a publication called The Great Discontent (TGD). They do longform interviews with people from the creative industry — musicians, writers, designers, actors, filmmakers etc. …

And the pursuit of them.

Orokawa Bay, New Zealand.

These days, you get caught up. It’s too easy to let it happen… to let it get to you.

We all know it — falling into the rhythm and routine of the day-to-day — commute work commute chores sleep. Commute work commute chores sleep. Commute work commute socials sleep. Commute work commute… sleep.

Suddenly you’re 25, or you’re going on 30. Or you’re 35 and nowhere near where you wanted to be at 35, when at 25.

By now you’ve most probably experienced all the thrills of riskless youth. You’ve seen (and felt) a good amount of things. They weren’t…

Also known as the imagination.

Really, I just want to be able to hike to a high place, or drive, or take the lift… it doesn’t have to be the peak of anything, but it has to have a view, and I want it rather exposed, without leaves or bushes or walls around me much; really I just want to gaze out beyond and below; gaze out, unthinking – yet thinking about everything at the same time.

And really I just want to spend as long as I want there, just there, sitting, standing, looking, thinking.

Honestly, at this current point, and at multiple other…

Nicholas Aw

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