Performed at ‘Shades of Art, 9th Edition‘ at Bing! Green Heights, Jan 11.
Text of poem below the cut.
1. Canine Distemper
Had my heart broken in a new way first thing in January when I lost a rescue dog (Cider) to distemper despite everything. Blondie had distemper the last time I saw him; presumed dead. Daisy ran away from the distemper ward at the shelter and was seen alive in Kota Sentosa a few weeks later. Current status unknown. There’s been success stories in rescue through the year but these are the ones that will always make my heart ache.
2. An Introvert in Bali
Went on my first solo trip (KL doesn’t count). I spent a week in Ubud, Bali, soaking in the culture, arts, sights and pleasure of my own company. Immediately before that, I attended the wedding of an old friend in Penang.
3. Returned to my creative roots
Completed 3 creative projects comprising of:
- The Sketchbook Project 2012 – My Name is Girlie Tan (temporary link)
- Nanowrimo 2013 – The Mystery of Bahagia Park Theatre
- Three poems for Strong Words, including crowd pleaser – Skinny Girl
Current project – The Black Dogs of December (novel)
4. Phantom of the Opera
Went to see the most defining musical of all musicals. Turned out to be the only musical I saw this year. Still wish I grew up in an era where a career in musical theatre was not stuff of fantasies.
6. ‘Animals and the City’ international symposium
Attended my first conference. Voluntarily. Actually understood the subject matter and realise that I still a lot to learn. Met some pretty prominent figures in the veterinary and animal welfare field in the region.
7. Went to the dentist
This ranks as a pretty big milestone. Went in to because of a dead tooth. Ended up getting a root canal, and fillings after that. Didn’t cry. Can use full set of teeth now.
8. Bought a folding bicycle
Rode the folding bicycle around the city with one of my closest friends. Love it. Signing up for Let’s Share The Road 2014.
9. Grew out my hair
Yeah. The First Lady of Go Bald went long. Acquaintances don’t recognise me. And since my hair decided to grow out curly, sometimes I don’t recognise myself either. It’s cool though, especially when people keep complimenting me on the hair, asking where I got it done.
10. Did a lot of soul searching
Which comes naturally from embracing my introvert self, reminding myself that I am the average of the five people I spend the most time with, being unapologetic about my growing list of quirks, and learning to let go of destructive relationships and circumstances beyond my control.
Performed at the launch of ‘Strong Words’, a typographical exhibition organised by Lov Gallery.
A letter to every skinny girl who likes complaining to me about how fat she is:
Dear Skinny Girl
What the appropriate response from
someone twice your size
Who would kill to be as thin as you
You are the unicorn
This rhino aspires to be
You weigh 45 kilos soaking wet
I haven’t been 45 kilos since I was 10
If you’re fishing for a compliment
you’re doing it at the wrong pond
I am the swelling river that runs
under the bridge that says “No Fishing”
And if you try, you are breaking my law
And there’ll be hell to pay
You, who fit into anything off the rack
And your biggest problem is
an abundance of choice
So many options, not enough wardrobe space
You, who turn people’s heads without trying
Coz you fit into the person-shaped hole
Of their dreams
Dear Skinny Girl
Do no mistaken my personality for empathy
I don’t know what it means to have options
When you tell me that you are fat
There is more going on here than
your pants feeling tight when you sit down
I’ve not had a day when the bottom of my breasts
don’t touch the top of my tummy roll when I sit down
(And sometimes when I’m standing up)
I don’t know how it feels to run, and dance, and jump
Without being reminded that big objects
shouldn’t leave the ground
People tear us down everyday
And it doesn’t matter how smart you are
What a kind and giving person you are
How you help the needy and feed the strays
How well you do your job
Because one day, you will go to work
and the first thing the client says is
“Where’s the pretty one?”
I am a big girl in an Asian size world
They don’t know what to do with so much fabric
So they splash it with loud patterns
Hoping to distract you from the galleon
Hoisting those sails
I sail my ship into the rocks
Every night, because there is no safe harbour
Only more storms
I have played the Hunger Games
And in my version
we’re fighting not to kill ourselves
This is not your battle
Go pick on someone your own size
You, don’t belong here
Tribute from District XXS
Dear Skinny Girl,
Look in the mirror
You are more than just your body
I am more than just this vessel
We, are more
than what anchors us
to this world