Who is Stacey? I believe she is a girl, turning 21. Living all those other years that have been lived out, replayed, and replaced every year the birthday candles go off. She is an extra-normal person living in a quiet neighbourhood. She is naturally shy and her heart races easily just by speaking to people. I’m not sure how much text will I be able to fill up in the empty spaces but to make it look more professional, I am still going to give it a go. Now where was I – ah, yes. Stacey is a Greek name – either meaning bountiful grains or resurrection; though she would really like it if it would simply mean completed so that she doesn’t have to keep throwing and chasing her naked and embarrassing dreams around in the fits of trying to make a name for herself. Above all, Stacey was the name christened by her mother, one of the few women
in her life she feels worth dying and changing for. Along this book, you will find some undisclosed and personal texts that Stacey has scribbled on her iTouch, lecture notes, napkins, homework and examination scripts. She is an easy girl to inspire with simple everyday things, people, moments, trees, moon. You will get to see her as the girl that writes a whole lot before she got busy with her life and ceased to answer to every spontaneous moment to write when she could have. This book will also be used to commemorate all those moments that she decided to throw away and not write; watching that inspiration pass by and with her bare hands wave goodbye to. This book will not be edited for grammer or language. This is the Stacey in her rawest form and poor English from her lack of reading of the newspapers or watching the news.
S U N D A Y , M A R C H 1 , 2 0 0 9 AT 7:37 PM
The sky today is the sky that I love / It is beautiful and dark / Just like how the heavy rain had colored it / just a while ago / Like pastel colors washed against the large canvas / At where the earth and the sky meets / there was mere light / I told myself to wake the rain after it falls / This insanely peaceful weather / Perfect for a wake, isn't it? When someone dies in the family, the hearts of its members die also. That's why we always forget where the heart is. I want to be inspired by death, not scared of it. With every head shaded in white, I could always not hold back but turn to look. Funny isn't it? How silly we can be.
T H U R S D A Y , A U G U S T 2 7 , 2 0 0 9 AT 2:01 PM
The raining confuses me. I can never under the language of the rain. That's why I've never liked putting it with that one God but with, the-God-of-another-kind. It must have been a bad time to start reading again, but it was good weather to have done so. I love how the rain falls, how much noise it makes. 僕個人とし ては雨の思っている。/ I like to think of the rain as an individual. / 僕はまだ勉強するには、雨の後、 つまり必要があります。/ I'll still need to study, well, after the rain that is. / しかし、雨はまだ次のと おりのノイズ、"ぱた、ぱた、ぱた、ぱた"。やっぱり、今も雨は下がり続ける。This is something I hate to tell them.
There is something, a thing that was brought upon the Earth. A m達e Natureza canta-lhe a terra. But the flowers started to die. She thought it was her lack in love as she sang. So she continued, attempting to bring back that life again, into the flowers. She sang on and / on and / on / and on. Until she could move no longer, no voice could escape her dried lips further. But she continued to move those lips - mouthing out the words of the lullaby. She continued and / continued and / continued. Until she became the bark of the Earth. But the flowers were never brought life. And when she tear, they became the rain that waters the Earth. She sang on and / on and / on. Until her breath became the air of the Earth. And now things started to breath. She continued on / and on and / on. Until the heat of her heart started to gather light.
And now, the Earth was brought warmth. She sang on / and on / and on. Until it all became silent. Man started to walk the Earth and Mother Nature was soon forgotten. Science eroded the truth of Mother Nature; Mathematics only subtracted her existence; English was not her tongue; History was severely distorted; Geographic was attributed solely to plate tectonics. They had forgotten who was the one that brought truth into the Earth; the one who counted the blades of grass in the patch; the one who spoke a language of the beginning; the one who wrote about living; and the one who moved the lands of the Earth. Man could not appreciate her - But she did not cease. She continues and / continues and / continues to sing. Until the flowers are brought life again.
You asked me to write about love. I paused and thought hard, but with that alone, I fail to form sentences. I picked up my battered soul and lifted my feet. Right. Left. Right. Left. I walked, walked to write, something about love. Humid is getting the better of me. My perspiration fell like rain, streaming down the faint lines along my teenaged skin. I passed by those stationary bus-stops. Vehicles whirled pass me. Not just yet, keep walking. I kept looking back, just in case someone was behind, or nearby. I was a selfish child; I wanted this moment for myself, solely. The brewery. I'm getting closer. I feel like I am a secret agent on a mission. The street-road beside me fell silent. And for the first time today, I truly heard myself breathing. Taking in deep breaths, and I felt consoled. The apple strudel parlour. This time round, Iâ€™m really getting closer.
I see it! I felt a child in me, laughing, and the adult in me, crying. I feel the skin on my feet tearing, fed by the slipper. Nobody crosses roads so that they can use the overhead bridge. Only fools do, and you know what, here's one! I did it, I found love. In a way that maybe people might not understand. Weird isn't it? But when I walked along that bridge, I really meant it - that I was walking on it. With every step I took, I took it with love. I thought to myself, this is utterly beautiful. No one else would have known what it was. When I got on the bus, they were probably looking at me as if I had just taken a run for the bus. I plastered the tear on my feet and gave myself a mental pat on my back. But I know it, I know it alright. The girl whose child in her laughs and the adult in her cry. I know the girl who crosses roads only to use the bridge to bring her back. I know her alright. The girl who fell in love with a bridge.
No wonder they call it the Midnight Sun. It's beautiful, with its edge sketched deep into the dark blanket. It's like the window that peers through from space onto Earth at night. Like the eye of a God of some kind. Watching over the cars and buses driving along the roads at night; taking care of strangers as they walk in dark alleys; feeding the birds supper; guiding cats into refuge for the night. Then if the moon is the eye of that God of some kind, then the stars are it's ears, listening to every conversation to the littlest bit. A helpless scream, a sigh of sorrow, a jest of laughter, a whisper of gossip, a silent smile, a child's bedtime prayer, an ambulance siren, a stray dog's whine and even the mere breathing of the people - the stars listen to us for that God of some kind.
When I was a child, Mommies used to tell me that the Midnight Sun follows us everywhere under the dark blanket. At first, I thought it awfully weird - like a spy hanged into the sky watching every single deed that we do. It was a jester to me and I never really liked walking in the night. Slowly, I started to grow accustomed to it and thought it to be actually a terribly thoughtful act and was thankful. However, I realised that there were nights that there was no moon. Then Mommies told me that the moon needed a few days to rest as well. Then I realised that even that God of some kind would grow tired.
The lady in red rouge, and a parasol in hand. Clad with the elegance of a Missus. With flowers red as rum blooming at the breath of her bosom. With the dark of night caught in her eyes. With her greying do in a loose bun where she fidgets with pride. Aimlessly she dives into her against-all-arguments-larger-thannormal handbag, and vainly picks out a compact mirror. She adjusts her brow into a light frown and pursed her lips, her wrinkles deepened with every glee. Her elegance wrapped up her neck, mandarin collars, they call them that. Down the loosened skin against her calves, feet suffocated in sheer black stockings and saddled up. Then up her limbs she wears with youth, a sultry slit that defines elegance.
With her aged might she holds on tight, against the wheels of the bumpy bus. While her gold trinkets danced with vigour in mid-air. In the midst of children basking with gay, composed, she enjoyed her definition her dress exposing the slit down her thigh. Poised her head and left to a place where apples fall. With the last glance I saw her back, a feeble figure as she took upon the challenge posed by the several steps. As this woman age with grace, wearing her elegance inside out. Vividly I recall, the lady in red rouge.
A Tribute to my Love / You see, I fell in love with a bridge. And we had the most tremendous affair ever. She was simply beautiful although appearing aged; her heart was that of a young fine lady. Well it's not as though that I was young either, but nonetheless I have fallen helplessly in love with her. Upon our first meet, she was burnt right into my heart and I knew at once that even if we can never have each other, we could occasionally enjoy the company of a stranger. She was an absolute beauty in times of the modern; she did not dressed like a lady crippled by technology. Oh no she didn't, and that got me falling straight into love's hell hole with just that one accidental glance. She wraps herself in a decent sheer cloth almost naked to her skin, danced with purple petals, as if they were set to intertwine around her since birth - To me that was simply the most perfect sight of love. The first time I ever had the urge to meet her came right after my assignments, where I departed from my merry friends and gave up a table of pool to unintentionally plan a coincidental occasion for us to meet. My breath was heavy thought my heart
was young and my feet joyous. I was full of eagerness to meet her again, to look at her straight into those beautiful yellow ashen eyes and stroll along the pathway with her by my sides. Profusely, I wrote to her a mental prose that I shall use to profess my love to her in secrecy till death. And then came a second day when I caught another glance of her and remembered our love, I took courage to once again stroll alongside her. The feeling was most natural, despite the long gap in time that we have lost with one another. And once again she has grown even more beautiful, wrapping her with long green drapes like the fresh leaves, a sight to behold and curse at the ill-fated love. Walking along the pathway, slowly she exposes her rehearsed beauty, and I scorned at how many other young man she has shown it too. She realises my sourness and reaches a wisp of her breath against my cheek to erase the jealousy I was feeling, she said that it was worthy. All that was left to do was to enjoy our company as strangers and walked down the last path that ends the season.
When I was walking home, I came over a pavement of grass and trot upon them. With every step, I hear them crumble beneath my feet. They have dried up, lifeless. I felt for the ground beneath the soles of my feet. The earth had cracked, greatly, all dried up. That was why the grass could no longer grow. / The gust of wind trembled the branches of the trees and the leaves rattled with danger - as if they were sniggering at the fate of the lifeless grasspatch. / I felt my heart wrenched. You should come and be me now, and listen to the song that my heart is responding to. / Then I heard the birds chirping, and once again felt the Sun against my skin. I have just heard the forlorn ballad of m達e Natureza. / I stepped along the grasspatch of another pavement.
The grass was aged with a sickly brown. I hear the crumbling of the withered leaves beneath my feet. I took off my slipper and felt the warm but dried earth beneath the soles of my feet - as if it were trying to contain itself before it falls. Then I continued walking, until there was no grasspatch along the pavement left. / Down the stairs I went and felt the concrete ground beneath me once more. / The Sun was shaded by the clouds. I hear birds chirping at distances. / My eyes searched for the green gate and my feet went accordingly. I hunted for my keys in my bag and released the hinge of the gate. / And with the crash of the gate in closing, my expedition ended.
FRIDAY, APRIL 10, 2009 AT 2:39AM
Today, I wished that I was more of a rebel. More of a I-know-what-I-want. More of an independent. More of a traveller. Much more of a rad music person. I wished that I've got piercings all over my flesh and face, with blankets of a whole rad lot tattoos across my skin - each carrying a stench of my wilful determination. I wished I've forced the guitar on myself, and made myself stay up all night just to think of titles that would fit my compositions to the s. I wished that I had a voice, that I have my own legs. That I was a rebel, a hippie. That I could lug my guitar in its battered case across lands in search of a living. That I had the damn guts to do that. Tonight, I pray to just have these all in a dream.
Don't ask me 'bout that rad selfish love. When dawn breaks tomorrow, the morning would be filled with tears, regret, and gratitude. Then maybe in the afternoon, I would be able to pull my damn socks up and start moving into the line that I've always wanted too. Maybe it might/might not come true. Maybe I have to start doing things that people stereotyped me to not do. Maybe it might start to upset people, and maybe even god. But he will still love us so - we can selfishly love him still.
I told you! / The leaves do dance. / How did I know? / Well, I just saw it for myself! That's how I’d know! / Accompanied with the kiss of the wind, the leaves rustled as they were whisked away, like pirates in a marooned ship. / For a moment, the wind sounded like a music box – singing a lullaby to bide time goodnight. / Just like a second is equivalent to a day. / The music box went on - hushing the trees to sleep; caressing the battered earth and listening to its complaints; grooming the flowers like little school girls fighting for attention; kissing every face of grass like a new born; and finally breathing against my skin. / For the first time I felt it, mãe Natureza coaxing her baby to sleep. / Then with a swallow of engines churning, the music box closed.
Today it felt like I was in love again, remembering that first time - that bittersweet first love. / My footsteps felt their heaviest since that last day I've ever worn those shoes to dance. / I can't even remember the day I decided to quit, and how I actually did it. Just at when I wanted to give it my all, I fell backwards – heavy and heartless. / I've just fallen out of love again. / It felt like my dream just died again. / I thought I needed a closure, so I wore them out today to dance again, as if it were my last. But then, I realised that what I wanted was not a closure; that was not why I decide to try dancing again, even if it were to be my last. I realised that I was just an unforgiving, selfishly proud ballerina has been.
鳥とタバコ/ I love the 7:14 pm sky. The crows and minors screeched in peril while man's cries are drowned. / I had no idea how serene that moment was. As people were drowned in the cries of the crows, she stood there with her back towards me, like a bird with tobacco in hand; routinely feeding herself a drug that she thought could calm her. / At that moment I had almost forgotten how ugly she was and stood behind her with forlorn eyes, yearning for her. / I felt an urge to yank her off the cold cement, throw her weak body over my left shoulder and ride her away with her Prince Charming. / This is how we poet's put it. / But I don't want her to be a fairy tale story. / She probably had no idea how inspirational she was at that one moment. / I turned away and whisper a short heartfelt good-bye. / And I heard her void 'goodbye' as well. / I knew she was a bad liar.
I can feel how the blood vessels in my body magnify the screeching for the heart - as if it were to rip my flesh and bones apart; as if I was being mocked at for my nakedness. I would be a laughingstock if anyone were to find out the reason why. That's why I can only act like a child with that one person. That's the only moment when I am allowed to hate the real world. My eyes are squinted. My lips are pursed. My blood vessels magnify the screeching of a spoilt child; as if it were to rip my flesh and bones apart; as if I was being mocked at for my nakedness. Everyone else would think that I am crazy, that I am just a stupid kid that won't grow up. That's why I can only act like a spoilt child with that one person. This is the only moment when I am allowed to hate the real world.
Blood Orange / Don’t feast your eyes on me when we talk economics, I don’t want to let you see what a staunch non-believer I am. / Don’t even treat me like oxygen that breathes life into your battered lungs, I am just a plague that brings you illness. / Just forsake me like how you have done to your motherland, and shed blood marking another’s soil. / Slowly your head will refuse the right; your ears grow dimmer and the wall closes in. / Slowly, the orange text will start to dissolve with the water molecules in the air, and the atom-beings of the paper and quill starts to disintegrate. / Slowly, you will fall into the seduction of a temporary scent of blood orange - and I shall no longer exist. Amen.
Let it flow into a river and have women to draw water from it / Breathe life into the sickly grass although the flowers may never bloom / Strengthen the trees and arch its branches / And flicker light through the entwined leaves / Patterning the floor every afternoon, displayed as a mosaic every evening / Then blow the wind against the face of the buds, coaxing them to bloom / Rustle the dried leaves and make bgm to lead them to their afterlife. / Fetch the water from my river and water the earth then let my orange blood flow, with its pungent aroma staining the air.
In the night as I walked the pavement home, ducking my head as low as a bottomless pit to avoid the swarm of feeding bats hovering mercilessly above in the trees of the night. I held my head low but my eyes to the sky. I needed to catch sight of you - even a glimpse will do. Foolishly, I turn at every headlight and streetlight - thinking that it could be you. I looked into every corner of the night for a light that could belong to you. My heart was racing, my breath uneven. For fear that Nott would have you for her own; for fear that Hati might have ceased his campaign of catch victorious. That's why, I am going to selfishly steal the moon - and keep it in my trouser back pocket, walking home triumphal like a child who has just won a golden ticket.
Then in 10 years’ time, I would wonder into the night, "Where are you?" In the dark blank canvas, there was nothing to light the stars neither with nor to worship. Foolishly, I would then jump out of my chair and find that pair of trouser that I wore 10 years ago. Then into its back pocket, I would peep and find you asleep. With a yawn, you would answer, “What took you so long?” Then reluctantly, I would release you back into the sky again. Everyone would be able to see you - Nott would continue to adore you; whilst Hati would campaign his catch again. But you will meant a something more to me, just like how it was when I stole you into that trouser back pocket, 10 years ago.
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AN INTERVIEW WITH STACEY
When was Blood Orange written? I have an honest fear for my econs teacher in poly. She is the definition of fear itself to me. Sadly, it didn’t inspire me to work harder for my tutorials but instead made me dread her Monday morning lessons. My notes were printed in orange text (to not get mixed up with my own scribblings) and I chanced upon Laura Child’s Blood Orange Brewing mystery book in the library and one Monday, I decided to be literature about it. Who inspires you the most? I don’t think I can put a name to this person because I believe it’s more than one. But if I were to give an answer at gun-point, I would say…… let’s just hope that will never happen! Any thoughts on turning 21? The thoughts are infinite and hard to switch off especially before bedtime – I get really bad postbedtime anxiety and turning 21 just makes it worst. I doubt I will ever be ready for the world, so I just hope the world is ready for me. What is your prized possession? I have plenty in all forms. For shoes, it will have to be my Double Decker rocking horse boots inspired by Vivienne Westwood's original; For books, it will be my Little Prince Deluxe Pop-up Edition; For bags, it will be my new lady dior that I knew my mother got me for my 21st birthday; For memories, it will the only thing I was ever proud about doing in my ballet shoes. What is your shoe size? I have manly feet. They are a size 10. What animal will you want to be? Can't I just stay human?
What is your favourite color? Green, because of Dipsy from the Teletubbies! (Yes, even until now) Unicorn or Magic dust? Magic dust, because it can exist in a pouch that I can carry about. Peanut butter or Strawberry Jam? Strawberry jam hands down. Unless the Peanut butter is chunky. Japanese or Korean? Korean because I am very into shopping there right now. What is your ambition? I wanted to be a ballerina, a teacher, an archaeologist, an astronomer. Just a week ago I wanted to become an illustrator. But I really wanted to be an author, sartorialist, and geographer. Do you think you are good-looking? I used to think I am ugly. But after my hair settled down on its own as I grew up and I started looking at my face in the mirror for real, well I guess look pretty okay for a female human being. Anything about your body that you are unhappy with? I used to be very bothered about the beauty mark on my face. But I started appreciating it a few years back so what's bothering me now is the balding spot on the left side of my head. Why haven't you gotten a boyfriend yet? I knew this question would come up. To put it simply, I don't make friends with romantic intentions so I think things just stayed as they were and it's all good.
AN INTERVIEW WITH STACEY
What is your biggest collection up till now? It will definitely have to be my stash of Japanese comic books that I keep in a cardboard box in the living room at home. It wasn’t appealing to my mom and older sister who have been threatening me with burning them for many years. I’ve separated those books by CLAMP (my all-time favourite Japanese comic artists) and kept them near me under my table in my bedroom. If you could live your life as someone else, who would it be? A musician in a rock band! I want to know how badass I can get. It's fun when you want to be something completely opposite of yourself. I take pleasure in trying out the style or attitude I might have once in a while since I can't exactly live it out. Imagination is my other best friend. Tell us an honest truth about yourself. I have a slight inferiority complex, especially when I don't like the outfit that I am wearing for that day. Let’s see if you can catch me on one of those bad days, it will be obvious. What plans do you have for the year? Thankfully, I’ve found a place in a private university so I will be there starting end February till next year to make something out of a marketing and advertising degree. Come this June, I’ll be off to Korea for a much delayed postgrad trip with a bunch of friends. That's all for now. Identities you get mistaken for? For my height, a model; for an apparent accent, a Chinese brought up in a foreign country; for some academic look, a mass comm student. How did ‘stsubacey’ come about? Haha. ‘stsubacey’ is the name that I use for
almost all of my web accounts, pronounced as su-ba-cey. I derived the name by combining my name and a Japanese word tsubasa (which means wings). It’s unique-proofed so no one will have it registered before. That way I can keep all my web accounts synchronised. What were your thoughts while putting this book together? I want to be a model! Seriously, it was so much fun being dressing up and photographed. My favourite moments during the shoots were when my neighbours started looking at me queerly posing in the mist of the trees or streets. Also, I never want to write like how I used to anymore, they now sound really childish. Those texts that never made the cut will probably vanish from the earth. I think I might want to start writing formally for magazines, sounds like a lot fun! When was your most memorable birthday? Actually, none. My family don't have the habit of doing grand celebrations. We stick to a dinner and a simple cake of my choice at home. There's a reason why I’m trying to go all out for my 21st, it's probably the first ever official party I have ever held. French Fries or Potato Wedges? I have this thing for wedges. Sneakers for Heels? Sneakers are more practical for my height. Beef or Mutton? I have changed just a bit, mutton. 2ne1 or SHINee? Can I not choose? Singing or Dancing? Mm, singing? Haha.
Afterword / Collecting all my undisclosed texts was not easy. They were everywhere, especially in my old phone where I used to make love to inspiration every day and never got tired. My favourite one ever was about the bridge that I fell in love with. That was one of the inanimate things that secretly inspired me. I wrote about it twice. The first time was when I turned down an invitation with some friends and walk to it and eventually on it. The second and last one was written when I was in the bus and the bridge, old as it was finally gave in and collapse. I don't remember ever having an official photograph of it. But it will always be that bridge where the flowers grew like vines on, and somehow it seemed perpetually sunny. It'll always be the bridge that I fell in love with. / In the midst, I was forced to reunite with lost loves, inner demons, alter egos and closures. Many of them though now sounded like a strange language.
Some texts were written in a language that is now lost to myself. Sometimes the feeling is frustrating and pitiful, but most of the time I am glad. I couldn't help but cry at my favourites, laugh at the amphigories, and regret those never finished. So I guess this book is not only to commemorate those that I have never written but also those unfinished. Such a bad note to end this text with but this book is a glorious good-bye to all my childish teenage years (not that I'll be growing up mentally yet) and also to salute all of you brave heroes and heroines that fought my demons with/for me even if you may not have known it. I never bothered what you guys think of me because I always feel like I haven't done enough. Let us not stop here. I love you all. And congratulations, you have finally witnessed the first aging of the beautiful Stacey.
I would like to say a very big, humongous, titanic â€œthank youâ€? to my sister, Samantha for patiently photographing all the shoots in this book (I know I am not the best person to shoot). You have made my 21st very special by going through the whole silly photoshoot idea with saying that it was a good one. Also, my other heartfelt thanks go out to my younger sister, Hazel. She is the one that painstakingly hand sewed every single one of those drawstring pouches that you have brought home today as a door gift. My tummy thanks go out to my Mom who I held long discussion with about what to prepare for the menu and also for doing all the groceries with me. I would love to mention my BFF Joey who went through all the secondary school shit w me and to continue existing as the only one of the same species as I am; To my adventure soulmate, Madeline for really always being there for me; To Mel and Val who never forgets to include me;
to Hillary, Persie, Clare, Tania, Adeline, Joanne for making the family complete; To Mei Ting whom i will never survive Polytechnic without; To Gloria and Dorcas to which I became a much better Christian; To Cheryl for all the fun & unforgettable opportunities; To my neighbours, Delwyn & Matthew (present today) whom i grew up with and even until now; To my uncles and aunties who dote on me like their own; To my cousins for making every weekend at home something to look forward to; To my sister Samantha and Hazel for making me who I am today; To my brother Darryl whom I fight for the couch and tv with; To my cats, fishes and chingus whom never fail to leave me alone; To my Mom and Dad who loves me as I am (although I am very bad at saving money); and Lastly to God for bringing all of you into my Life.
Styled and Photographed by Samantha Cheok Assisted by Hazel Cheok Compilation and Text by Stacey Cheok