Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Chapter 8.1: Song

This year, I found a song that's... closer to the heart.
From Chapter 1... to now.

The older I get, the more that I see
My parents aren't heroes, they're just like me
And loving is hard, it don't always work
You just try your best not to get hurt
I used to be mad but now I know
Sometimes it's better to let someone go
It just hadn't hit me yet
The older I get

I'm at that point where I understood why it happened.

That realization certainly hit me like a truck revisiting my relationships.

Sunday, July 18, 2021


When he walked past them, their backs were turned against each other on the bench.

It was as if they were talking to imaginary people on either side. 
They weren’t talking, yet their expressions said everything. 

He sat down near them, purely out of necessity. There weren’t any other available benches to sit on. All of them were taken up by people wanting to enjoy the sun out. He needed somewhere to sit down and enjoy his bubble tea on the lake.

They turned to face each other. The boy started to communicate, to talk. More than his words his palms were open, waving ever so slightly. The girl listened, a pained expression on her. 
They were briefly interrupted by the commotion caused by one of the units with the low balcony nearby. Seems like everyone has invited everyone to come enjoy the weekend.

Minutes later, the girl rested her head on the boys shoulder. 
The boy wiped something from the corner of his eye. 

He got up and walked past them again, both of their eyes were red.

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Playlist/播放列表: 5 Stages - Depression

Edit 7/17:
Added someone I found recently, JP Saxe.

Depression (沮丧)

Won't Even Start - David Choi
渐渐 - 赵薇
搞笑 - 罗志祥
Wish You Were Here - Avril Lavigne
失忆的金鱼 - 杨丞琳
Happier - Ed Sheeran
就让这首歌 - 张震岳
冰雨 - 刘德华
眼泪的名字 - 谢安琪
Consequences - Camila Cabello
참 쓰다 - Lee Ming Jung
A Little Bit Yours - JP Saxe

Everyone feels sad in their own way.
In that sense, you tend to gravitate to the songs that speak to you.

Youtube Playlist

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Father / Son

Father's Day wasn't something that was in my lexicon for the longest time when I was young. These days it carries a little more weight, though it's not official celebrated.

There are two songs that remind me of dads in general. 1 in English, 1 in Chinese.

Cat Stevens - Father and Son

This song is in the perspective of a father giving his son some advice. 

I actually heard it first in Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 2, at the end. 

Guardians Vol. 2 deals with family and what it means to be family. Lindsay Ellis has a great video essay here.

I couldn't really focus at the song at the end with my initial viewing, but the scene with the song was always very moving. As with the original soundtrack, I bought it and started listening to it.

Then again, this song never really got to me until more recently, after I talked more with my dad.

I think it's always going to be a complex relationship with fathers, be it the ones that are present, or the ones that aren't there.

How can I try to explain?
'Cause when I do, he turns away again
It's always been the same, same old story 
From the moment I could talk, I was ordered to listen
Now there's a way and I know that I have to go away
I know, I have to go


李宗盛 - 新写的旧歌



“思念其实不是 不是这个歌的主题
我相信不只有我 在回忆时觉得吃力
两个男人 极有可能终其一生只是长得像而已
有幸运的 成为知己 有不幸的 只能是甲乙”
“Reminiscing is actually not the theme of this song
I believe it's not just me that find recollections draining
Between two men, it's extremely likely that the only thing you share is that you look alike
Lucky ones become confidants, unlucky ones are mere passersby” 

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Past + Present: Past Life


I'm trying to be honest with my happiness
Don't know why I'm bad at this, uh
And I don't wanna sit in all my sadness
I know it's a habit of mine


Perfect, perfect timing
I start what I don't know how to end
Don't re-, don't remind me
I ruined it before it began, oh


Last night was the last night of my past life
Got me here like you could never figure me out
Last night was the last time, was the last time
I never let you figure me out
Sitting here, talking to myself
Thinking how I used to use you
Only thing I'm used to
Last night was the last time, was the last time, woah


Gave me what I wanted when I needed it
Honestly, I mean it
And if I could convince myself to feel it
You know I would feel it, I would


Where we've been, what we know
Will never go away
Will never go away
Where we've been, what we know
Will never go away
Will never go away



These months... TBC

Monday, May 31, 2021


He set a direction in this GPS for home.

Wait, is there still light out? He looked at his watch, 8:30, there's still time perhaps.

Updating his destination, he started driving.


It was already very dark when he got there, almost.

He walked up the hill, he didn't expect there to be the overgrown trees, though to be fair the last time he was here was in winter.

At the spot where he took the last picture, this time there's more people, with drinks and music.

He misses the peace and quiet, but definitely not the cold.

Still, he found a spot and sat down. 

He had missed it. Though the city lights are starting to make up for it, a different scene than what he expected to see.


Walking back down the hill, some mini fireworks started from up top. Seems like the people are compensating for the lack of real fireworks. The sound reflects from across the valley, seemingly doubling the amount that's actually there.

Heh. So many things running through his head.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Present: exile


I can see you standing, honey
With his arms around your body
Laughin', but the joke's not funny at all
And it took you five whole minutes
To pack us up and leave me with it
Holdin' all this love out here in the hall


I think I've seen this film before
And I didn't like the ending
You're not my homeland anymore
So what am I defending now
You were my town
Now I'm in exile, seein' you out
I think I've seen this film before


I can see you starin', honey
Like he's just your understudy
Like you'd get your knuckles bloody for me
Second, third, and hundredth chances
Balancin' on breaking branches
Those eyes add insult to injury


I think I've seen this film before
And I didn't like the ending
I'm not your problem anymore
So who am I offending now
You were my crown
Now I'm in exile, seein' you out
I think I've seen this film before
So I'm leavin' out the side door


So step right out, there is no amount
Of crying I can do for you
All this time
We always walked a very thin line

You didn't even hear me out (You didn't even hear me out)
You never gave a warning sign (I gave so many signs)


All this time
I never learned to read your mind (Never learned to read my mind)
I couldn't turn things around (You never turned things around)
'Cause you never gave a warning sign (I gave so many signs)
So many signs, so many signs
You didn't even see the signs


It's like I'm looking in this time, but all too familiar.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Past: cardigan


A friend to all is a friend to none
Chase two girls, lose the one
When you are young, they assume you know nothin'


But I knew you
Playing hide-and-seek and giving me your weekends, I
I knew you
Your heartbeat on the high line, once in 20 lifetimes, I


To kiss in cars and downtown bars was all we needed
You drew stars around my scars
But now I'm bleedin'


'Cause I knew you
Steppin' on the last train, Marked me like a bloodstain, I
I knew you
Tried to change the ending, Peter losing Wendy, I
I knew you
Leavin' like a father, running like water, I
And when you are young, they assume you know nothing


But I knew you'd linger like a tattoo kiss
I knew you'd haunt all of my what-ifs
The smell of smoke would hang around this long
'Cause I knew everything when I was young


I knew I'd curse you for the longest time
Chasin' shadows in the grocery line
I knew you'd miss me once the thrill expired
And you'd be standin' in my front porch light
And I knew you'd come back to me
You'd come back to me
And you'd come back to me
And you'd come back


And when I felt like I was an old cardigan
Under someone's bed
You put me on and said I was your favorite


"Peter losing Wendy" refers to the story of Peter Pan.

I took some liberties at "Leavin' like a father, running like water" and pegged it to be of tears running, I've seen some versions where it refers to the father running away faster with the water.

Sunday, April 4, 2021

This is... Ashe

I have never heard of Ashe until this song came on as part of YouTube's recommendation.

The lyrics are so personal that I was wondering if it was personal experience.
Turns out it was.

I'm not going to repeat what the video at the end is going to tell you, but this talks a lot about her journey and how she came about to write this song about her ex-husband.

Moral of the Story - Ashe

This song is produced by FINNEAS, as in, Billie Eilish's brother.
Side note: I've been identifying music producers/song writers that I vibe with, him and Ryan Tedder seem to be my jam.

Released on Valentine's Day 2019, it got mainstream only when the 2nd film in the "To All the Boys" trilogy featured it... one year later. I only watched the clip at which it was featured, I laughed, I think it's too young for the situation that this track is talking about.

A duet version with One Direction-er Niall Horan was released in June 2020, the 2nd verse is changed from the personal story about painting houses to something more contemporary.

I moved this song into the playlist I made for acceptance.
"Some mistakes get made
that's alright, that's okay
in the end it's better for me, 
that's the moral of the story"


I like to think that with her new duet with FINNEAS  "Till Forever Falls Apart", she's moved on to a more optimistic portion of her life.

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Minari: what it means to be foreign

After I saw Minari, I told someone that I found it "generic".

I would like to take that statement back.

Minari is a 2020 film starring Steven Yuen, Han Ye-ri, Alan Kim, Noel Kate Cho, Youn Yuh-jung.

A Korean family that moved to Arkansas from California to start a new life, along with their daughter and son. 

I see a dad trying his hardest to make something of himself. To have a new start. I see a mother trying desperately to keep their children safe and well. The clashes and fights that happen because of this. Hard to say, if there weren't any kids in the picture, if they would still be together.

I see a child trying to wrestle with his health, his bed wetting and his new grandma that came into his house.

It won "Best Picture - Foreign" at the Golden Globes.

Is it foreign because of the language that they were talking in? 

Is it foreign because it features an Asian cast?

Detailing their trials and tribulations, their fight for the American Dream. Is that foreign? 


I found it generic... because I've seen it, I've heard it, hell, I lived through some of it. 

Being so happy to the point of crying because of chilli powder? Been there with salt water popsicles. True story, I happily drove to a supermarket super out of the way to get that. Paid like 5x the cost. Best time ever.

A lot of the stand ups that feature immigrant comedians already covered these scenarios a lot. In my mind, I thought it was already well known. I realized then, perhaps the same as what I said in my writeup of The Farewell, people who understood the situation laughed because they could relate, people who didn't understand laughed because the situation described was just plain absurd to them.

What I realized... is that we downplay a lot of the experiences that we went through. We downplay them because people:

  • won't understand
  • can't relate
  • treat any experience that's out of the norm as foreign (and in turn weird, if not hostile)

The events of this week, the spa shootings and the subsequent coverage of said shootings, tells me that representation matters.

It's great that Minari is here this year, just as The Farewell was there 2 years ago. Stories, that are told, and shared, most importantly, recognized.


Minari is also a vegetable that's also used in Korean cooking. Known for its resiliency, and its ability to adapt and grow. 

Fitting that it is worked into the film and used as the title.

Resiliency. Adaptability.

Just like minari, we'll do the same.

Thursday, March 11, 2021


He was crossing the road, warm day, picking up some groceries.

He saw her. Though, she looked disheveled, unsure of her surroundings. Not going to lie, he thought she was one of the homeless wanting some change.

Unconscious biases can be tricky to dismantle, as he walked past she reached out to him, trying to flag him down.

In that moment, he stopped playing his music.

"Hi, can you help me take a picture?"

"A picture?"

"Yes, a picture with my cake".

She started moving towards her belongings, among them a cake bought at the local grocery store.

"Sure, of course."

She gestured to give him the phone. He thought about the pandemic and how this person was an unknown... then he saw the words on the cake. It read... "Happy birthday"

"Yes I just want a picture with my cake, it's my birthday."

"It's your birthday? Wow, happy birthday!"

"Yes, can you please take a picture with me and the cake in it? Please make sure to get the words on the cake."


Fidgeting around with the phone, he took multiple pictures of her with the cake, making sure that she had copies in both portrait and landscape. 

"Well, I did what I could." He hands her the phone back.

"Thank you so much."

"Happy birthday again!" He walks away smiling to her, then sighed.


If it wasn't for the current circumstances... would she have been standing alone in the street, asking a random stranger to take a photo of her with her cake?

Her name is Jenna.

Saturday, March 6, 2021

drivers license

Usually songs that have explicit versions and clean (Radio Edit) versions are either censored or edited to a way that's unnatural.

Take P!nk's "Fucking Perfect" vs "Perfect"


"Pretty pretty please, don't you ever ever feel, like you're less than, fucking perfect"


"Pretty pretty please, don't you ever ever feel, like you're less than, less than perfect"

The lyrics removes the burst of emotion in that part. That's the sacrifice you make for the radio edit.

Other explicit songs just does the bare minimum... Ariana Grande's "7 Rings" removes the vulgarities without replacing them.

Granted, I am unsure which method is better. The mind always fills in the gaps where the censored word should be, and when you're doing the sing along... you sing it anyways.


Then comes Olivia Rodrigo's drivers license

"Red lights, stop signs, I still see your face, in the white cars, front yards, can't drive past the places, we used to, go to..."


"cause I still fucking love you"


"cause you know I still love you"

Personally I downloaded the clean version of the song and had been listening to it, without realizing that there was an explicit version. I thought well, that's a sad song.

Then YouTube Music served up the explicit version... I thought, damn, that's a desperately sad song.

The clean version alludes to at least knowing the feelings of the breakup, that they talked about it and decided it was best to go their separate ways.

The explicit version... is so one-sided. unrequited. raw.

Fundamentally different songs.


Olivia recently appeared on Saturday Night Live singing Drivers License. And she did... well this...

For the second verse of the bridge she sang "I still... I still love you", this kept inline with the explicit version while still being TV friendly.

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Playlist/播放列表: 5 Stages - Acceptance

Updated: 04/03/2021
Removed a song and added "Moral of the Story" - Ashe

Acceptance (接受)

Let Her Go - Passenger
还是要幸福 - 田馥甄
我很好, 那么你呢? - 王心凌
那些女孩教我的事 - 品冠
Already Gone - Kelly Clarkson
爱的代价 - 张艾嘉
开始懂了 - 孙燕姿
Always Remember Us This Way - Lady Gaga
我好吗 - 梁静茹
Moral of the Story - Ashe
如果这就是爱情 - 张靓颖

Acceptance in any way shape of form.
It could be bittersweet, could be liberating, could even be taking a deep breath.
It could be smiling, while crying, with snot running down your nose.

Truth is, you don’t really need a playlist for acceptance.

Acceptance is when you can listen to any of the songs in the playlists before, and maintain composure.
Maybe there is a hint of regret, a sight bitterness.

Remember, happiness is a choice.

Youtube Playlist

Tuesday, March 2, 2021


He brought along one of those smaller beer cans, ones that could fit into a soda sleeve.

Despite it being a good sunny day, the wind was still blowing strong, doubly so where we are. The ice, now broken up into large pieces by the warming weather, is moving along with the current. Two birds stood on top of one of the pieces, seemingly enjoying the trip they are on.

"There are 3 women I've ever loved in my life."

"Yeah?" I took a sip from my own can.

"All of them different from each other, and I love them all with my heart"

"What changed?"

He looked away onto the lake. Deep in thought. The sunset was happening on the horizon, half obstructed by the giant structure to our right. I could see partially the beauty of it through the chimney stacks and steel walls, piecing it together with the reflection of it on the lake.

There was suddenly beams of light coming towards us. How the police manage to drive their car onto a walkway near the water will always allude me. I guess... very slowly?

I shifted my can behind my backpack. It's always the small details that give it away, and I was not planning to get a ticket.

"So... then are you still in contact with the other two?"

"No. No... Heck no."


"I wouldn't be able to control myself."


Saturday, February 20, 2021


"But I met someone. And she's helped. And now I want to stay clean. And shit! Maybe that's... Maybe that's me being selfish. And Ali just scared the shit out of me because he told me that it wasn't gonna last. And, fuck, you know what? Maybe you're right. But I really, really, really, hope you're wrong."

- Rue (Euphoria / '03 Bonnie and Clyde)


"Everything that's good to you ain't always good for you."

- Miss Marsha (Euphoria / Trouble Don't Last Always)


"I can survive just fine without you, you know. But...  there’s a chance that life can be a little less mundane with you in it."


"OK, come on. Let's see if we blow up and die."

- Sarah (Palm Springs)


"Closure is really for you you know. There isn't anything on the line for the other person."

- Some jackass I know

Sunday, February 14, 2021


 Looking out the window, people at the skating rink are leaving. It is getting late, isn't it.

A thought suddenly pops into his head... huh that's weird. Why is this thought suddenly coming up, and why is there an urge to speak it.

Throughout the night there's been a lot of conversations going on, a lot of talking, a lot of understanding and heartfelt feelings.

It's beginning to turn into a word vomit, like something you can't stop any longer.

He looked down at the bowl of pomelo, at the can of beer that's been consumed.

Rationally, there's absolutely no reason why this needs to come up now. There is a plan for everything... there's a plan.


What is a plan?


Heart pounding now.

He looked up, looks at her, and said: "I still like you."

Monday, February 8, 2021

后来的我们 / Us & Them

I never thought to watch this movie when it first came out. Though because of Hebe Tien (田馥甄)'s song in the OST that I already knew about this film. I believe it was Netflix's first distribution of a film made in China.

Though this was before I saw who directed this film. Rene Liu (刘若英), and this is her directorial debut. If that name rings any bell, she sang a lot (read a lot) of ballads in the late 90s and early 2000s that are must sings in the KTV. Particularly this song 后来.

I mean, I got 2 hours to burn.

The entire film is split into two parts, the flashback sequences, which were set in the 90s, and the present year set in 2018.

It follows two people. Lin Jianqing (played by Jing Boran 井柏然) and Xiaoxiao Fang (played by Zhou Dongyu 周冬雨) as they make their way to Beijing from their fictional hometown of Yaojiang Town. Though from the looks of the setting, looks to be up north east (东北). 

Curiously, it is the flashback that is in color, while the present is presented in B&W. Like... what's happening in the present is something that shouldn't have happened, a dream, a sidestory, a forgotten part.

The main actors play both their young and old characters, but just from the basis of their actual age, are more natural in the flashbacks than their "old" counterparts. The "old" taps into their acting chops and present a more mature, more practical part of their lives.

Special shoutout goes out to the father of the Jianqing, played by Zhuangzhuang Tian). He does not have many scenes in the movie, though that final scene will tug at your heart strings.


These two lines from the film:



 Netflix Translation:

"If you didn't leave at that time, would it make any difference to our relationship?"

"If at that time, you had the courage to get on the subway train, I would've stayed with you forever."

When I first heard that, I didn't read too much into it. It just sounded like regrets on top of regrets, a load of "What-ifs".

Later while listening to Eason Chen's main title song: 我们 that I saw the following YouTube comment, and everything clicked into place.


Self Translate: 

"This might be the difference between man and woman: While you are happy and contented, I have nothing. I really do not have the courage to get on that train, afraid you will follow me and live a terrible life; Meanwhile, she wants to see the attitude and determination in him, hope that he love without any doubts or fear. Hence, if you make this step and get on the subway train, I will follow you for the rest of our lives."

Thursday, February 4, 2021


 He walked with her, through the mud, to get to the small creek.

"Jump in"

"No you go"

There was a log nearby, they sat down. He took out a snack to eat. 

It was dry and it sucked up all of his saliva. He hurriedly took out the plastic bottle from his bag and chugged the water.

"I know of someone that recently broke up."


"Yeah the person I was telling you about before"


"Maybe I should introduce you two, cause you're both now single"

He didn't know what to make of it.

Sunday, January 3, 2021

伤痕 - 林忆莲 / Scars - Sandy Lam

From her 1992 album Love Sandy.


夜已深 还有什么人
你若不肯说 我就不问

若爱得深 会不能平衡
为情困 磨折了灵魂
该爱就爱 该恨的就恨

爱有多销魂 就有多伤人
你若勇敢爱了 就要勇敢分


Late at night, who is still
Keeping you awake counting scars
Why keep a light on before going to sleep
If you refuse to answer, I won't ask
But now you have to admit
That sometimes love is a deep void
While disappointment may come from the relationship itself
But don't blame it on being a woman

If the love is deep, can't keep a balance
Stuck in love and torture the soul
Should love then love, should hate then hate
Got to keep some for yourself

A lady's unique naiveness
and her natural sweetness
should be left to someone that truly loves you
No matter how tough and treacherous the future is
He will be there accompanying you
Although love is a kind of responsibility
When you give you give unconditionally
Sometimes love is beautiful because it can't be eternal
However much love can be bewitching, it can hurt that much as well
If you're brave enough to love, then you need to be brave enough to split