Saturday, March 17, 2012

when you watch someone lying there just waiting and hoping to die

It's been a long time since i had the urge to write about anything personal. i used to do it a lot when i was younger, and it has the same kind of feeling as stripping naked in front of strangers, as most writers who do it will agree. when you are young, it is 50-50 exciting and terrifying but you are young, you are brave. Age makes me more reclusive and cautious. but today, as i watched my sickly 90-year-old grandma lying on the hospital bed, the doctor has decided to take her off all medication and - to put it bluntly -let her die naturally. Surgery is out of the question for her weak body and the doctor says there is no other way.

Grandma has a stroke 5 years ago, which render her paralysed and unable to speak any more. Not every stroke patient is as lucky as that guy in The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, who has someone who would translate his blinkings into a novel. For most stroke patient, your life pretty much ends with a paralysing stroke. We, the grandchildren, are all guilty of not visiting her enough though fortunately, my aunties, whom grandma was living with, visited her daily at the hospice, and a maid accompanies her daily at the hospice so that grandma has personalised care apart from the nurses at the hospice. Days passed, weeks passed, years - passed. It's been 5 years since grandma is trapped in this state where she is still conscious of what is going around her, but completely imprisoned in her post-stroke body. Just a couple of months back, i don't know why some smart-ass decided to remove grandma's glasses and i protested and suggested that seeing is the last faculty left for her, and we should put back her glasses. I was told that she is too sick to see anything any more. i do not think that makes sense, but i don't know where they keep her glasses.

finally the day comes, when i think grandma's pain and imprisonment is going to end. all the relatives stood solemnly around her hospital bed in silence as grandma sleeps like a baby. Her arms are swollen and red with marks from injection and drip. An infection has caused her face to swell, but her past rotund body is nothing but skin and bones. She curls up in her bed with a few tubes stuck in different parts of her body. She doesn't know that we are there. My mum whispered to me, wake her, tell her you are here. I scolded my mum - do u know how much pain she has to feel whenever she is awake, with no medication at all? the only relief right now is sleeping. An eternal sleep is the only way out of her pain.

as we were all leaving the hospital, mum insisted that she wanted to stay to pray for grandma. As everyone tried to persuade mum to leave and mum stubbornly wanted to stay, my dad asked her - are u going to pray for her to live or to die?

it is such a sucky feeling to be there watching someone in so much pain, and actually hoping that death can be her relief. I hope that euthanasia can be legalised by the time i am old and sick. I hope that one day when i am old and sick, someone can help me make the decision to relief me when i am unable to do that myself, someone who can understand when the day comes that, all i want, is to sleep forever.

Friday, July 29, 2011

a collection of The Press Room's latest works

It is hard to believed it's already 2 years and 7 months since my studio The Press Room has been set up. The labour of these months have finally borne some fruits and we are starting to a have a pretty interesting portfolio of assorted works, mostly for a lot of cultural institutions and establishments. I love it when you put them all together and they kind of come together as a nice collection - enjoy!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Hong Kong = Singapore?

am in Hong Kong and picked up the Time Out magazine with the headline on the cover asking - Boom Town: Is Singapore the New Hong Kong?

i think it is very different still. people make a nation. and the people in HK are quite different from Singapore. Ruling the people of a nation makes politics. and politics determined what kind of people we grow up to become. Politics is difficult. But what does a nation that disallows any kind of politics means? Perhaps a lot of suppression and self-censorship. Culturally, artistically, socially - we suppress ourselves in order not to be penalised and to fit in. To ensure that a country has no politics - i'm not even sure if it is good or bad - we have stability but we live with boredom too. Do i have complaints? not really. But am i inspired? Neither. Maybe it just makes us mild. Have we become the people that the government wants us to be to a point we don't even know? and we might just live happily ever after.

meantime, i'll enjoy the little messiness here in HK for a bit before i head back to home sweet home.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

could be a life-changing moment at the kopi tiam

every morning, i swing by this coffee-shop near my place to get my coffee and breakfast before heading to work. one morning last week, the auntie at the stall asked me if i wanted to join some bible study class at her church. and she suggested i could go with her son. i asked her how old her son is, and she said, " about your age - 25."

that was a suggestion of 2 conversions in a split second at the kopi tiam - both are potentially life changing, not exactly the kind of place i expect such meaning of life to happen. 5 frozen seconds of life in the most unexpected place, we both heard Beethoven's 5th Symphony in the air which stopped when i said, "no thanks." the buzz of the kopi tiam came back on, life goes on, though i savoured the 25-years-of age bit for a good few days.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

stand up for Singapore talents

watched 2 re-runs in a day - YOG and National Day Parade - a bit moving becos of mixed feelings - feel proud but really sometimes quite painful to be Singaporean, or live in Singapore ( can sell chewing already or not..? Please pay local talents as much as foreign ones also please...) We stand up for Singapore but also have to fight so hard all the time.. very tiring to keep standing and wait for daylight. Hopefully our next generation will inherit a nation that can be truly supportive and be proud of their own talents, a nation that doesn't short-changed its own talents any more. We already have a full-functioning country, now it is time to develop its arts and culture which have been neglected for so long - Bravo to Ivan Heng, Randy Chan, FARM, Malek and all the creative people who have worked months and months for these 2 landmark events of Singapore and made us so proud that Singaporean talents rock!

running a small design studio, it is scary that in the papers, they kept saying how much the economy has grown and that employers should increase salary for employees, but in truth, small employers (at least speaking for myself) are not earning that much more, as the papers (or the government) are raving about. i remember that when i graduated from architectural degree in the early 90s, an honours degree grad like myself was paid 2.5K, today, it seems like that had remained constant. The pay has not increased because clients are not paying more. And in fact, if you get a government job, they try to squeeze you left right centre, how am i going to pay my staff more?

Today, I have a dynamic studio of young grads who are focused on doing good jobs, they are happy and they are with me, but tomorrow, they will get married, have kids and need more money. But the fees that we are getting as design consultants seemed to have remained stagnant for the past 15 years, as far as i am in this industry. Not only it is stagnant, sometimes even we get less.

A developed nation should start to treasure its own talents, and not focused on cutting our fees? Whcih part of the system went wrong? Why are local designers still treated as inferior to multi-national design conglomerates?