Category Archives: Reflections

The Unbearable Lightness of Being Insignificant

Ever since I embarked on the WordPress journey in earnest, I had vowed to maintain a blog that exudes positivity and grace. I catered to what the Internet desired, namely, servings of impeccably crafted words garnished with glossy, curated photography. SoMuchToTellYou was thus underpinned by this very premise, a premise which I am about to turn on its head with what I intend to share. I’m not a deceitful person by nature (can never put on an act to save myself), and yet it would be terribly deceitful of me to say that I am impervious to the darker recesses of a runaway mind.

The truth is, my mind is constantly struggling with the unbearable lightness of insignificance. After all, isn’t every step in life a desire to be felt just a little more?

Remember when our pliable minds of youth were fed with many untruths, chief amongst them being that the world is our oyster, and that we ought to dream big and live bigger? Well, I was forever an easy target for such propaganda.

Armed with such grandiose and quixotic instincts, I blindly charged forth in life feeling I could change the world. There would have been a time, long ago, when I wanted nothing more than to exert my influence, make my mark and repay the society that played its part in raising and nurturing me.

Needless to say that I have achieved very little of my once lofty ambitions. I can’t change the world. I can barely bring about change in myself…

At the end of the day, this is the real reason for blogging. It provides a ready outlet for my garbled streams of consciousness, and has made me feel – if only momentarily – expressive and significant again. Who would have thought that the very soul whom has apparently renounced all conventional forms of social currency should thus crave for attention, for validation, and for meaning?

So here I am, back to my inner sanctuary. Writing. Although who will read, I do not know.

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Dear Reader, I will be MIA for several weeks as I roam distant lands in search of Meaning. I shall miss you all!

Jolene

There’s No Place for Regret in Heaven

The ability of Chinese entrepreneur Jack Ma (founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba) to make headlines around the world is no longer news. Just as the world extols his latest act of kindness – a USD20 million donation to the University of Newcastle as a tribute to his Australian “father” and mentor – it brought to mind a story even closer to home, a story I have been meaning to share.

Almost a month ago today, as Sydney woke up to a toasty mid-summer morning brimming with hopes of a new year, I woke up to the chill of my own consciousness. A man known locally as Sydney’s Shoeshine Brian has died in his sleep. In the grand of scheme of things, the event itself was uneventful (albeit tragic). Sydney Morning Herald dedicated its front page, but its ripple effect was confined to those who remembered him, as the article was soon buried by other worldly news of the day. News of his passing nonetheless sent shockwaves through me, for reasons or sentiments which were not immediately obvious, even to myself that day.

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Mice that Roar – Holding Our Own in an Extrovert’s World

Have you ever read a book that spoke right to your heart, just when you needed to hear it most? Have you ever wanted to scream and shout in excitement that surely it must have been written to you?

For me, Quiet by Susan Cain is one such book.

In a world where the only constant is change, the self-help industry has thrived on our anxieties, fears and insecurities, backed by a plethora of books advocating change. With titles such as How to Win Friends and Influence People; Awaken the Giant Within or The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be, it is no wonder that we are constantly questioning whether we are ever good enough. It is refreshing, then, to chance upon a book that teaches us to appreciate the value of just…being ourselves.

Continue reading Mice that Roar – Holding Our Own in an Extrovert’s World

A Place to Call (Second) Home

The Window, The Door & The Teacup

I have lost all track of time as I am sitting here, immersed in my thoughts, of nothing in particular and yet everything at once. I suppose that’s inevitable when you decide to take stock; you are quickly besieged by the unceremonious merger of thoughts from near and afar, the rapid coagulation of moments with years. A reflexive check of the time reveals it to be 11.25pm, 20 December 2016. And as I am about to press the “Publish” button to what will be my 30th post, I cannot help but feel the faint flutters of relief (of how far it has come) and hope (of how far it can go).

I am not sure about you, but I have often wondered about the Writer labouring behind the façade of their impeccably crafted blogs. Their stories never fail to intrigue me. Their lives a reflection of what I aim to achieve for myself one day. So, as for my year-end review (a loose term, of course), I will offer an insight into the Jolene behind SoMuchToTellYou.

Continue reading A Place to Call (Second) Home

Will You Share in this Beautiful Silence with Me?

Dear You,

I fell in love with you the moment I cradled you in my arms. A feisty, bawling bundle of joy. You cried incessantly, at all hours of the day and night, but the nook of my arms seemed to bring you solace, and in return, that impish smile of yours would shine straight to my heart.

You lit up our otherwise unadorned home, every corner of it bearing witness to your ever-enlarging presence and our moments of mirth and laughter together. “Dada”, you’d call, and I would at once drop on my hands and knees and wholeheartedly welcome the commands of my almighty princess. Oh, how you knew your place in my world…

Continue reading Will You Share in this Beautiful Silence with Me?

Trust – The Underpinnings of Scandinavian Happiness

For those of you whom have followed my journey through Scandinavia earlier this year, you may already have an inkling of my long-held fascination for the people of the north and their enviable way of life. What started out as a childhood adulation for all things Lego (i.e. Denmark’s gift to the world) has grown to so much more since then.

Despite my personal curiosities, very little seems to be known about Scandinavia compared with the rest of Europe, or the world for that matter. (Ask a Scandinavian and they would probably prefer to keep it that way, as a nod to their deep-rooted stoicism and utter inability to flaunt their unique heritage.) Search France or Italy and you will be spoilt for choice with a staggeringly long list of travelogues, cookbooks and biographies fuelling the collective fantasy. Search Scandinavia and you will be scratching your head in dismay at the relatively slim pickings. For a self-indulgent contrarian like me, however, having the opportunity to discover the collective blind spot for myself proved to be too tantalising a calling to ignore.

From Denmark’s cosmopolitan dynamism, to Norway’s scenic wonders and Sweden’s architectural charms, it hits me almost instantaneously why various polls over the years – from the spurious (Oprah Winfrey hype index) to the serious (UN’s World Happiness Report) – have consistently ranked the region as one of the happiest, least corrupt and most egalitarian societies in the world. So, armed with little more than my own experiences and Michael Booth’s hilariously insightful “The Almost Nearly Perfect People”, I will endeavour today to unmask one factor which I believe single-handedly underpins all forms of Scandinavian happiness and prosperity: Trust.

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Romance on the Road – Why It’s Easy & Why It Never Lasts

For the post published on Thought Catalog, click here.

When you think of travelling, do you think of romance? Not the heady heights of a booze-infused orgy, of course, but the kind that sweeps you off your feet with its inexplicable intensity. The kind that sends electric flutters up and down your spine. The kind of whirlwind romance that somehow lingers long after your respective tans have faded and leaves you breathless.

Well, I do.

I’m sure the vast percentage of us have had our brush with romance on the road (perhaps more than we care to admit, even to ourselves). Sometimes it is not important whether the event itself leaves us singing its praises, or goes down in the annals of history as another episode of Hangover. What takes precedence is the belief that it is better to have loved and lost than to have not loved at all. Continue reading Romance on the Road – Why It’s Easy & Why It Never Lasts