Saturday, January 29, 2011

Marriage-the Ultimate friendship

Rainy Sunday, January 30th, 2011

Dear brother,

I realized, all these while, I had a really wrong perspective on friendship and love. And so, the question I used to asked "Can love and friendship co-exist?" I have the answer for it...

I heard Mom complaining about her friends, and your friends, and how I am so lucky to always make good friends (yeah I sugar coat it too much). And while I was eating dinner alone on a Saturday night, one that was supposed to be CNY steamboat and my be-early bday party, I realized, the answer, all these while, stay with me.

I saw a note Jon wrote about CJ's wedding (I'll fill you in in all these people later), and the first, initial reaction I had was "WTF? I am supposed to be CJ's best man. He didn't even ask". I remembered preparing a toast about night cycling, twisted ankle and how she fixed him after he fixed her.

But then I realized, that was 6 years ago. I know nothing newer about them to tell. And while I was so busy whining about how he is no longer there for me, I forgot, that I choose not to be there for them... A lot of time I decided to just pick up and leave, for my soul searching craps. I decided to be that sad angry victim that lost his friends to "the relationship" party.

The truth is, I am, myself, a terrible friend that is self-absorbed and self-centered. The only person that I maybe always there for is Kelly, and she never got married, because I consumed too much of her by "being there".

Being in a relationship last year made me realize, no matter how great friends are, they are not with you in the middle of the night when you are scared, having fever, or when you have to pretend to the world that you are so fucking ok (pardon the language, but I'm re-considering your age limit when you read this). And that is, why, people get married.

Even Liu Ting, that girl that used to say she will be single forever asked me "Can you introduce your engineers to me?". Or James, who is struggling with his relationship because of mom and his religion, made a comment about how much pain it is.

And I realized, I'm nothing better than his mom... It is scary, to let people you love go, to let them grow out of the place you thought you were, "for them". I remembered how freaked out our mom was when sis got married, and why I never told her about any relationships I had. It got lonely. I guess the notion of me leaving her for another woman freak her out. Just like the way I did with my friends.

But the fact is, brother, life goes on. The friends that get you at 15 is no longer the same at 25. At 25 Thu has a husband and is opening her own business. And I chose to be there for her by designing her company logo. At 25 Trinh has her first baby, and I offered to be the god-father. At 25 Van Anh decided to dedicate her time to charity, and I help with the money. At 25 Q has decided to fall in love...

Me, at 25, I'm terrified of turning 26...

And so, the answer. Love itself is a friendship. A friendship that lasts. Don't let mom terrify you into choosing to be alone, the way I did. Don't let yourself fool yourself with the notion you don't need love as long as you have a bunch of friends. Don't let yourself be the victim of your own hallucination that others "steal" your friends from you.

Because brother, at one point in your life, you want more companionship, intimacy, and care than friends can provide.

And that, brother, was what I have been told the day we broke up, when I chose my soul-searching, my friends, my so-called career over the relationship I had last year...

Don't make the same mistakes.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011


January 25th 2011

Dear brother,

It's our birthday in 10 days.

Normally by this time I would completely freaked out. Either about career, or relationship, or anything. Birthdays are generally the worst time of the year for me, as I am faced with the fact that I have not moved from where I was.

This year was different. I got what I wanted last year. A career improvement. Someone who stayed (at least for a while). And a direction.

26, in fact, is uneventful. It's not like 15 when there was y2k. It's not sweet 16. It's not 18 when you can start smoking. It's not 20 when 40 people from my hall surprised me at the door. It's not 21 when I was in New York, marking my adulthood. It's not 25, when I have mid life crisis. It's just a year. A number.

Which made me wonder. Am I just getting old? Like most other people. Have I lost that burning drive to move forward, to be?

I am not sure.

I just know it will be an uneventful birthday (as it collide with Tet - Chinese New Year). No candle, no cake, no present, no problem with me. I guess...

I miss having a life with purpose. I miss living, and not existing. I miss loving someone. I miss being free. I miss breathing, almost. That fresh clean air of the mountains...

I need to get out of here. Let that be my birthday wish this year.

With love

Monday, January 24, 2011

Nightmares and Dreamscapes

Tuesday 25th Jan 2011,

Dear brother,

I had a rough night. First of all I was feverish. Then my landlord banged at my door at 3am "Wake up! Wake up!" and then she said "Sorry I thought you were awake!". Of course I ran out of patient and screamed at her. And I had nightmares after nightmares... I woke up and saw a bunch of rejection emails...

The fact is, being 26 with 5 years of experience, a lot more years of struggles, you thought I have achieved something. I can not be more wrong... I just feel a sense of helplessness taking over... Men cannot leave off sweet dreams alone.

So I guess I'm considering giving up on all that. All that I want. To be free.

And maybe just go home and be wounded. For once...

Maybe it's the fever talking. Maybe it's the constant rejections for the past 3 months. I'm just exhausted and demoralized altogether.

Dreams seem so far. Nightmares remain...

I cant wait to see you next week

With love,

Friday, January 21, 2011

Thank you for the Memory

Saturday 22nd Jan 2011

Dear brother,

It is a peaceful quiet Saturday morning here in the sunny island of Singapore. It's one of the first Saturday off I have in a long time while working in Singapore, so I get to relax and reflect a little.

The last week were incredibly difficult for me, as I came back from the wild wide US, back to the controlled space of Singapore. I started a new project, of which now I'm starting from scratch, at the beginning of the food chain. I looked for houses, which are not incredibly expensive. I eat food that not cost at least 50 cents-a dollar more than 6 weeks ago. I tried to reconnect to my friends. And then it hit me, Singapore is rejecting me, like cancer.

I know it is an exaggeration (What's new, considering it's me), but it is true. There is nothing here for me anymore (even my new pay rise hardly cover for the inflation and the new house rent). My friends have all moved on. My family is in Vietnam. The one thing I thought i had here is a promising career where people recognize and reward me. I'm beginning to doubt that.

So I guess I made up my mind. I decided to leave Singapore, for good. And not just talking about it. I'm already checking website to cancel my PR, and my CPF, etc. and all that crap. It is in motion.

Of course I cant just pack up and leave (even if I want to, that is not the responsible person that I am). I will stay until this project go live (end Dec) to finish my obligation with my firm (a good firm, just not suitable for my career goals). I know it is a year, but at least now I have a direction, and I am not at lost anymore.

I will always remember 18th July 2003, the day I first step here, full of ideals and aspirations, and that feeling back then. I will always remember 20th birthday when I was so depressed and my friends had a surprise birthday for me. I will always remember the day I left for NOC. My first job. The day I got into Accenture. All those memories...

And yet, they are the past. I am struggling as much as I can to make new memories, and it is hard. So, instead of staying there and investing in what seems to have been lost, I've decided to keep a low profile, enjoy my tranquility, and let go.

This, brother, will be the year I move. Where? I don't know yet. But far away from here...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The first day

Monday, 17th January 2011

Today was the first day I'm back at work.

Everything was .. different. People are more relaxed. They are less panicky and quieter. The work hour is insanely...good. 930 to 1830, that was it. No long nights. No weekends. Nothing of that sort.

I am supposed I was to be happy.

But there's this increasingly nagging feeling inside of me. This is still not what I want to do with my life. It just feels like i'm going to the same path, starting all over again in a technology, a career dictated by my company's needs rather than my aspirations. I know. I know. One cant ask for too much. But I'm wondering, if I can ever get what I want being here...

I miss you.

I talked to you on the phone and I heard you are having troubles with school. I tried my best to counsel but you sounded distant, sad, and a little shy away from me. I guess I understand. I haven't been there for you in a long time, so I cant just ask to jump back and be the cool, understanding brother I used to be...

I wish so much for you to know I still care the same. I still want to care for you the same.

So well, that was my first day. I am supposed I was to be happy. I found a place with (non)insane landlord to settle down. My new project is human. My waistline is now back to 30. I guess I should be happy.

But I cant shake the feeling I don't belong here. On the phone, my friends turned down an invite... My old project friends are everywhere. I finished my bonds. I miss you guys. I don't have the career I'd thought I'd have here.

Elsewhere, someone else might need me. I just feel so stuck here.


2 more weeks till I'm home. Hang in there brother


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Panic attack

Friday, 14th Jan, 8:15am, Singapore,

Dear brother,

I'm a mess. I'm crying uncontrollably. I can barely breathe. I got to my room. I sat down. I lied down and tried to rest. And then I started crying. Like a tidal wave. So much pain. It wouldn't stop.

The fact is, I have tried to suppress it so hard, but I feel all alone. I am all alone.

Well, maybe it is not easy, to get from 6 weeks surrounded by love, family, and care, (not to mention the extremely nice weather below 10 degree) back to the loneliness of Singapore, a rented place with crazy landlord, the heat, the mad rush of work (emails already flooding in for new project) and the lack of friends/family here

Well, I just need to hang in there and recover and get myself together I guess. It's just hard at times.

3 more weeks to home, that is if I get my half day leave. Right now I just feel like getting any stupid excuse to quit it all and go home to Vietnam and cry.

Sorry, your brother is such a cry baby :)


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Soul searching - Lost and Found

January 12th 2011, 7:45pm Los Angeles time

Dear brother,

A new year just came by and I was too caught up with my travel plans and my own dramas I didn't write to you. I heard from Mom about you (mostly complaints) and I bought you a new awesome watch for your birthday gift. I just hope you get to enjoy your time as a kid before you grow up.

I'll give you the links to all these letters when you enter high school, which is in 6 months...

I ran out of the country screaming (like I did 2006, when I go for NUS Overseas Colleges), and somehow lucky enough I found my calm and reasons, and some great traveling journeys along the way. I found my soul mate. I discovered a possibility of meaning of life. I haven't got it figured out, but at least I have a hint and some directions.

I realized, loving someone can mean that you are walking away from them, in solitude, in a quiet beach and wishing them happiness. I just wish there would be a day, when I walk down the road with the person I love, oblivious about people or things around, not caring about when the next Starhub bills are gonna be run, when my promotions are due, and when my rent will be paid.

I found out that it is ok to be me, for a while. It's ok to be 25 and young and stupid, and carefree. It's ok to be loved and taken care of and screw up once in a while.

And I have resolutions for the new year. Not a long list like last year. Just 3 things:

1. Find a place to start again. Singapore is getting too comfortable, too sheltered, and too restrictive. I remembered the stories of the bonsai. You can bend it any how you want to make it look perfect, but when you outgrow the pot you are in, you either break free or you die. But first, starting with moving house to a non-crazy person.

2. Spend more time with the people that mattered. I'll take non-paid leave to be with you during your Sec (O level) graduation exams. I'll try to meet and spend some time with God-Dad. And spend some time with the person that matters that most. ME. LOL

3. Do the things that I love. Paint, Swim/jog, Photography, (a little bit, not too much) of work.

Hang in there brother. You'd have a great great year.

See you soon!