Sunday, December 15, 2013

Winter Buzz: My Love-Hate Relationship With This Blog, BookFest@Singapore etc.

I'm back!

And December is one of my favourite months of the year-- and also the month when I get the whimsical urge to write random posts on this blog about the fantastical, the outrageous or just the boring things that happen in my life OR I get weirdly reflective and just write strange things. Plus, I tend to get excited about the books I'm going to buy in my annual end-of-year book spree. So it's my favorite month, no doubt about that.

After being kind of missing in action since August (during which and subsequently, I have only steadfastly posted once a month), I think ought to talk a bit about what I was doing after my exams ended in October and also, to make this less of a palaver, to talk about my love-hate relationship with this blog (right now we are in our honeymoon period, yay!).


End of termly exams. I watched PHOTO (Phantom of the Opera) for the second time, read a lot of books, and stayed up late every night to finish the term papers all due at the end of the month (oh, the abject cruelty and caprice of providence).


Studied for Finals. 


Finals happened. Five-day break when I started planning a holiday camp for our school's Student Council. Received back my marks. End of school.


For those of you who have been reading this blog for a long long time, you might know that I occasionally mention an international academic tournament (this is my second year participating). I went to USA for the competition in November, and the tournament was at Yale University (New Haven, Connecticut)... AND THEN WE SPENT 3 MORE DAYS IN NEW YORK CITY.

In those 3 days in NYC, my life got a thousand times more exciting than usual:
  1. I watched PHOTO for the 3rd time, but the first time at Broadway.
  2. I visited MOMA, the Met, Top of the Rock, Liberty Island, Ellis Island etc.
  3. On 19 November, I watched a Romeo & Juliet Broadway play--
  4. And thereafter, I met Orlando Bloom and procured his autograph at approximately 9.30pm.

And if you don't know Orlando Bloom, please face the wall or go hide under a rock, and just to help you along on your path of reformation (because not knowing Orlando Bloom means you don't know Legolas or Will Turner-- and that, my friend, is a sin!), here's a photo my friend took of him:

He signed on my playbill.

I wrote a really long and emotional note on Facebook about the NYC trip after I landed back in Singapore and the last part neatly covers my feelings about the entire experience:

"One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years."   
Part of me is going to stay in NYC till I go back again. Because De Niro was right. There’s no place like New York. It’s the most exciting city in the world now. That’s the way it is. That’s it.
That's it.


In December, I finally went to the holiday camp for Student Council which I had been faithfully planning with my friends since October.

And then, I went on a cruise named Superstar Virgo. It was huge and there were 10 restaurants, a cinema, a theatre, an arcade, a casino, a bunch of karaoke rooms, jacuzzis, two swimming pools and God knows what. It was a floating luxury resort which stopped at two island-ports and I got tanned, wore a straw hat and took loads of photos.

More than fifty percent of the time on the cruise was spent on eating since the restaurants were free of charge (it was covered in the ticket for the cruise) and were high-class buffets and à la carte dining. I even ate escargot (snails).

And what happened? I gained weight. Expectedly so. 

The cruise holiday ended on 12 December. When I finally got back home and began lounging in my room with an unfamiliar sense of idleness, soon realizing with sudden alacrity that for the first time in don't-know-how-many-months I was free with no deadlines, I knew it was time to blog.

So here I am.

Books vs. Real-Life

I think the reason why I thought of the term "love-hate relationship" was because there was this odd balance between books and my life. 

Amidst school, homework and tests, books were my means of escapist thinking-- of being somewhere else, some place when the protagonist does things that I perhaps never would do, both now and ever. It's not so much of wishful thinking on my part, but more of a tad bit of imagination and the willfulness to think myself into other's shoes.

But, the problem with me was that imagination could only go that far. After reading many travel-related YA contemporary novels like Just One Day, 13 Little Blue Envelopes, Anna and the French Kiss, I got bitten by the wanderlust bug. 

It was an inextricable situation. 

And I think what was different this year was that I realized it couldn't be cured by just reading, but this time, the only thing to do was to hit the road. 

So this December, there's a feeling of coming full circle. Somehow, if I had not travelled, there was an empty void in one unknown part of me that could no longer feel for those books and the characters and places that I had read about. And conversely, simply because I had travelled, getting back into the comfortable rhythm of reading and blogging just feels right.

The thing to do, like I vaguely recall from the film Stuck in Love (which is awesome by the way and has both Lily Collins AND Logan Lerman; and it talks about how when writers fall in love, things are made beautiful and complicated) is to live, to get out there. Because books come from people. And even when imagination allows us to empathize with people whose experiences we had never experienced before, to walk the streets of a foreign town and have a beggar perform poetry at the traffic light junction transforms me as a reader. 

The stories within dog-eared pages became more than just fiction, they became possibilities. And I fell in love with reading all over again. Expectedly so :-)

What's happening next


A books and stationery festival featuring leading publishers and distributors from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, United Kingdom, Australia and the United States. It is a one-stop venue for a comprehensive range of the best and latest publications, together with stationery, electronic peripherals and educational aids. -- From the official press release.

This will be happening from the 13-22 December at Suntec City Convention & Exhibition Centre, Halls 401-405. It's quite Asian-based in nature, so for Singaporean friends, feel free to drop by any time!

The BookFest is in its 7th year and I was actually pretty excited for a book signing by a famous Taiwanese author who wrote and directed You're the Apple of My Eye (which was adorable and heartbreaking).

It isn't often that Singapore has literary festivals, but it is getting more and more frequent in recent years. And as a literary person, I'm doing my part to spread the love (so Singaporean book-lovers, let's support the local talent!)-- click here to take a look at the multi-national lineup of activities/talks from local and international authors.

Christmas Plans

I'm catching up on all my reading, and I went on an Edelweiss downloading spree. The current books on my Reader are all so good, and I'm trying (and failing) to follow according to the chronological order of their release dates-- but one or two keep waving their hands at me and saying "Read me first!". Gosh. I have no discipline.

I have a Showcase Sunday post (for next week) done up to show you the current state of my reading plate (it's a pretty messy sight, but lovely all the same because it's BOOKS) and I have more Christmas news for you regarding what I'm going to roll out on this blog.

So that's all, lovelies! I'm really happy to be back :-)

And before I go, here's a nice quote I found on Pinterest:



  1. Sounds like you had an awesome time Sel! I must say I'm pretty jealous of your cruise holiday <3 and seeing Orlando Bloom in real life is pretty cool! I'm VERY happy to have you back though!

    1. Thanks, Mel <3 Yes, I had an awesome time! Really glad to be back too :)

  2. HEY SEL WELCOME BACK ^^ your holidays sounds really cool(; especially the NYC part aw man I wanna go America too :( omg we should totally go to the bookfest together!!! Anyway holidays are ending enjoy it while you can~ <3

    1. YAY Thanks, Shi Le! Don't worry, you're going USA next year (for the Math trip thing, right?) and I promise you-- IT WILL BE AMAZING <3 I know, we should!!! But, I'm grounded :(

      I'm counting down the last days to our holiday-- so I'm going to read as much as I can before school blows up before me and life gets crazy!

  3. this post is giving me wanderlust!!! (and isn't wanderlust such a whimsical word) I am totally envious that you got to experience broadway and meet freaking orlando bloom and saw yale law school up close!!! :D that's so awesome. aww it's great singapore is paying more attention to the literary scene :) are you gonna go to the bookfest? :D

    1. That was the idea ;) I love the word-- it most legitly and succinctly expresses my urge to just go out there in the world and travel!

      I might be going on the last day (but based on experience-- either all the stuff are gone or there are too many people), I'm still trying to convince my mum :)

      I KNOW RIGHT-- Yale Law :O

  4. OMG YOU MET ORLANDO BLOOM!!!!!!! *flails all over* I've had a crush on him since I first saw LOTR in the theaters way back when. What an awesome experience!! *dies of jealousy*

    It sounds like you've been quite busy! I haven't been around quite as much as I used to but I'm so happy to see you back. :)


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Wishing you lots of good books to come along your way!

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