Friday, July 08, 2011

"If you care too much about Singapore, first it'll break your spirit, and finally it will break your heart." --- Alfian Sa'at


It is awfully uncharitable of me to be quoting this line now, this year of all years. After all, it has been an awfully exciting year so far, filled with awfully inspirational/cheesy words and phrases. Watershed, landmark elections, groundswell, landmark, hope, change, upheaval, the voice of the people... well, you get the idea.

The year isn't even over. Plenty of things could happen in the next five months.

I suppose I wanted to write this in an attempt to figure out my waning interest in Singapore-related matters. After all, it wasn't so long ago that I was utterly intoxicated by the political happenings on this tiny island. Fun times.

However, even at the peak of my excitement, I knew there was something missing from the picture. I didn't know what was wrong exactly, but I mentally prepared myself for a 'downer' that I somehow knew would come.

Last night, a friend and I went to look at the developments at Punggol jetty. It hasn't been officially opened yet -- which minister will they get to come cut the ribbon? -- and everything was shiny and new. There was a huge sign: 'Punggol Promenade'. I suppose in time to come, no one would use the phrase 'Punggol Point' or even 'Punggol Jetty'. The word 'promenade' will be known as a proper noun to most Singaporeans, just like 'Esplanade'.

There was an old man there throwing pieces of raw meat onto the field next to the main road. It looked rather excessive -- lots of meat, and only one lone dog chowing down. There used to be a lot more wild dogs in the area. Never before did I have to actively look out for them, like I did last night. The man said it was only a matter of time before they would come shoot the rest of the dogs. By the end of the night, my dog count stood at a grand total of two.

I kept thinking about that quote by Alfian, which I first came across on Tym's blog many years ago. I've always liked it, but I don't think I fully felt it before -- my spirit was not yet broken, and my heart was intact. Occasionally angsty, but intact.

As I walked along our latest "waterfront development", it occurred to me that somewhere along the way during the past five or six years, my spirit did indeed become broken, and I think I am now no longer capable of loving this country. I wondered if it was because my heart had become broken to such a degree that while the recent elections did manage to revive it for a short moment (we have a pulse!), it soon flat-lined all over again.

The thing is, I don't have any suggestions for how they could have done a better job at the Punggol Promenade. I would have just not done it at all -- which is really quite unfair, since it isn't my private beach, and who am I to stop others from having lovely waterfront-filled weekends? I will just have to take my retro-aggression elsewhere.

I told my friend I had deliberately not gone to see the railway station when they closed it down. I didn't even want to go on those walks by the tracks which some nice people organised. I didn't want to have anything to do with what I felt was another elaborate, long-drawn funeral for yet another place that would soon be dead.

As such, I don't think I will go to Bukit Brown either.

I can't recall if there were other places that closed down earlier in this year, and I don't know what else will disappear by the end of the year. There are five more months -- plenty of things could happen.

Of course, the right thing to do would be to do something. I know there are folks working to conserve/preserve these places. Bukit Brown still stands a chance, but I'm not going to hold my breath. But hey -- shouldn't you Take action! Do something! Join in the efforts!

The truth is, I don't think I could muster enough interest to be bothered. Maybe it is because I (am too lazy) don't care enough -- and I don't care enough, because I can't care about something I don't love anymore.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

In Conversation: Mr. Renovation Man

Alan asked if I wanted to do part-time work in his gallery on Sundays. It has to stay open, and Sunday is generally a precious day for those who work during the week - would I be interested? I would like to point out that I DO work during the week as well, but my Sundays are not exactly overflowing in weekend ambitions.

So one of the jolly renovation guys doing work at the cafe downstairs came up to make sure they haven't drilled a hole through our floor and to spy on what I was doing. Earlier, one of them sang me a little ditty about how "A smoke a day makes you stronger, and alcohol drives away all your problems." The rhyme is more obvious in Mandarin.

He asked a bit about what I was doing, and I decided to pick his brain about what kind of photographs he would like to see. I've some ideas you see, and the success of these ideas will depend on how accurately I am able to read the mind of an average Singaporean.


Conversation Excerpts (Translated from Mandarin)

"So, if I told you there was a photo exhibition thing near where you live, would you go see it?"

"Yeah sure, I'll pop by for a look."

"What would you want it to be about? If you had a choice?"

"I don't know... something interesting? Like other countries?"

"So if it's photos from around your area, you wouldn't be interested?"

"Why do I want to see where I live? It would be boring! I see it everyday!"

"But photography can let you see the same things but in a different way?"

"Yes I get that. But it would still be boring. Why not show me something I haven't seen before from other countries?"

"So you'd like to see photos from abroad?"

"Yes, if it is nice to look at. It is something new for me to see."

"What if it is photos of your neighbour?"

"I see him everyday!"

"What if the photo were to be really huge? Like a few stories high?"

"Why would you do that? He'll look weird."

"So what would you want to see if it in a photo that's really big?"

"Something moving and interesting. Like landscape and scenery. That would be beautiful."

"So you wouldn't go see your neighbour's face even if its 3-storey large?"

"Yeah I'd go see quickly. But just a quick look, that's all."

"What if its Lee Kwan Yew's face?"

"There's no way in hell I'd want to see that."


Food for thought, folks.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Why, hello there.

Queen

I may have forgotten how to blog.

So yes, from the above photo, you can see that not much has changed. Crazy cat lady status still awaits me in the near future. There are lots of other photos hiding in my harddrive that I've not even looked at, but for that, I'll first need to find a bit of motivation.

Take this set, for example. I was just tickled at coming across random man-made things in the middle of nowhere. I was hoping to formulate some kind of slightly ironic, slightly witty montages, but when I started working on it, my brain blocked itself. I don't think this is the way the photos should be presented, but hell, sometimes, there is just no rescuing a shitty photo even if you slap them together and call it a triptych. I couldn't even think of a title! I keep thinking 'Lost and Found', but at doesn't make any sense at all.


Cambodia_Found B_LR.jpg

Cambodia_Found_LR.jpg


This was a day trip to the Angkor temples. I paid for a three-day ticket, but I only went for a day because shit hit the fan and I couldn't find the time to go. I did not visit Angkor Wat because it was being invaded by busloads of tourists, and I just felt I would rather have no experience of Angkor Wat than a tourist-laden experience of it. On hindsight, I was being really silly.

So I now officially work - as in, have rejoined society as a productive member who expects my bank account numbers to fluctuate (upwards) after a month. I realised a few days ago that I had been unemployed for six months. It is cool that I had enough money to stay unemployed for six months. As for how much I've actually managed to really rejoin society - well, let's talk about that another time, shall we?







Wednesday, January 05, 2011




Friday, December 17, 2010


Hospitals, witnessing the deterioration of the human body, trying to make sense of pointless family feuds and grudges held over from so long ago no one can really remember when it began, wondering if I will turn out to be the kind of child that argues about paying for my parent's medical bills, questioning the morality of putting someone into a nursing home, wondering how a man can hold it together as he watches his body fall apart.

The doctors are full of optimism, and we try to mirror it when we talk to him. You'll be able to walk by yourself soon. You could barely move your arm yesterday, look how much you're improving!

Someone told him yesterday to 'think happy thoughts'. It made me feel like throwing up. If I should suffer a stroke one day and be faced with the prospect of not ever being able to walk unassisted, please do not ever tell me to think happy thoughts.

I asked him today, "What would you like to do when you get home?"

"What's there left for me to do? There's nothing to do anymore."

My grandfather is notoriously grumpy, and although I've grown fond of his curt and brusque way of talking, his reply was heartbreaking.


Last night I dreamt I was on death row. There were mere minutes left to finding a way to get me off the hook, and no one else (including my parents) but me seemed to realise the urgency of the situation. I thought of ways to escape and make a run for it - I can still taste the fear in my mouth.

Monday, December 06, 2010

"What do you think about all this?"

I can't remember if I ever asked this question to anyone, back in the days when I was the one asking the questions. I know what the right answer is, I know the words they want to hear - expressions of indignation, strong remarks on justice, emotional cries for sympathy. I couldn't help but laugh when I heard this question -- how do I even begin to express what I think? Ridiculous is a word with only 10 letters, and 10 letters are not enough to convey the immensity of the absurdity I see.

So tonight I'm turning the music up loud loud loud and singing along to silly songs. Only 12 hours to go.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

No updates - nothing interesting to say, and also because I've been writing for another blog.

There was a third story from China which I wanted to write about, but too much time has passed and I fear the details are a little fuzzy in my head.

The festival starts in TWO DAYS.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Chinese Impressions 2

The woman at the airline counter looked pissed off when I argued with her to be reassigned a window seat. I felt bad about being so fussy, but I really hate sitting along the aisle.

When I boarded the plane, my heart sank. I could see from a distance that there was someone occupying the seat I had fought for. I hadn't been in China long, but I had already experienced firsthand how the Chinese are not afraid of public confrontations. I mentally prepared myself for the inevitable argument.

When I got to my seat, I could see there would be no fight. It was an old woman, with her husband next to her, and she gave me an embarassed but hopeful smile.

"Am I in your seat? Do you mind if I sit here? I want to look out the window."

Lifang and Bawen were both natives of Guangdong province. They asked if I could help fill in their immigration forms. "No one from our generation studied English."

From their dates of birth in the passports, I did the math. She was 69, and he was 75.

"How long have the two of you been married?"

"Two years shy of our 50th anniversary," he replied, with unmistakable pride. They reached for the other's hands. It was unbearably sweet.

They used to do business in the region, but had retired long ago and were now heading for a week-long holiday in Phnom Penh. They tried to explain the type of work they used to do, but my Mandarin lacked the vocabulary to comprehend. I did, however, understand that it was large-scale, profitable work which required them to travel to different countries.

"Is Singapore still as beautiful as it was?"

"That depends on whether you think buildings are beautiful."

"Ah well, all in the name of progress. Guangzhou is also too big now. It's such a waste."

They told me to come back to China. I should find a job here, there are plenty of opportunities for someone who could speak English. I should travel and see the rest of the country. China is the most beautiful country in the world, and I had to see it all.

Just minutes before the plane began its descent into Phnom Penh, I found out Lifang was Teochew - the first I had met during my trip.

"I have a traditionally Teochew face."

She was delighted to have found another Teochew speaker, and didn't seem to care that my dialect was worse than my Mandarin. She grabbed my arm and whispered conspiratorially into my ear. It was wonderful.

The pilot didn't do a very good job during the landing - the plane shook a lot more than what I was used to. Lifang saw the look on my face, and she patted my arm as she leaned back in her chair, utterly relaxed.

"I don't have the same fears as you do. I'm not scared. Once you hear the wheels being released, you have nothing to worry about. Trust me."

She gave me a wink.

"We are old and experienced. We know these things."

Chinese Impressions 1

He was short and squat, and I was uncomfortable. Why had they assigned me the male masseuse, and not my male friend who was in the other room? "I'm happy to be able to serve you," he said to me in Mandarin as he arranged the towels on the chair.

There is always that awkward conversation to be had during a foot massage. It's a lot easier to avoid eye contact during the full body ones, but there is no escape when someone's seated right in front of you. How do you make small talk with someone who's holding your feet? I try my best, in any case.

We went through the usual routine - where are you from, what are you doing here, do you like China? He was very concerned about how cold I was.

"Bad blood circulation. You are too skinny."

I asked him about a tattoo he had on his arm. It looked like one of those insignias that members of a gang would have. "Everyone in my family has one," he said. "It means I have 'heart'."

He told me he had a friend who was in Singapore. I asked if he would try heading there as well, that it might be easy to find a good job in one of the many massage places we had.

"I don't have a passport," he replied. "The furthest place I have ever been is Shenzhen."

We passed some moments in silence before he spoke again.

"If you are in Singapore, can you make phone calls to China?"

For sure, I replied.

"I don't believe you. I don't see how it is possible."

I tried my best to convince him, telling him my parents called me daily from Singapore. I don't think he believed me. When the massage was over, he told me my liver was in bad shape.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Siem Reap


Siem Reap

I find it difficult to accept the fact that I'm actually working and being productive - not when I'm in a town like this, when everyday feels like I won the lottery and got sent on a dream holiday.

Siem Reap is beautiful to me because of its simplicity despite the multitudes of luxuries available. It seems like a contradiction, one which I've struggled with for all of five minutes, but I suppose such things resolve themselves in the end.

Of course, this is only because I've deliberately refrained from seeing things as they really are. The only relevant question I've asked was something about local salaries, but I don't think I really listened to the answer. In the midst of the beautiful restaurants and Pub Street there is reality to be found, but I don't quite want to see it yet.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

I find that I've been getting angry more often -- not the kind of irritation that stems from a momentary frustration which can be brushed off if you just take a deep enough breath, but the kind of anger that makes me want to go on one of those never-ending rants that always ends with an awkward silence and with me feeling embarrassed. Suddenly, I'm back to being a fucking expert with an opinion on everything. I guess I'm still a judgmental bitch, and no amount of wishing is going to make that part of me go away.

To that end, I've kept myself away from most people. I find that I'm much better behaved if I just stay in with the cats.

I always read about people wishing from their death beds that they hadn't worked so hard, that they had stopped to smell the roses and enjoy life and take more walks on the beach etc etc. -- what about the others? What about those who spent their lives walking on beaches? Are there any dying people out there that say, "Fuck, I should've done something useful with myself. I can't believe the amount of time I wasted getting sand out of my clothes."

I have a feeling I'm going to find out.

Things I would like to regret: Spending too much time riding horses, reading far too many books, and wasting too much money on train tickets.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Along The Way

While on Bus 107

  • A mother with her young son on a bicycle at a traffic junction, making use of the waiting time by cleaning the boy's face with a towel.
  • A place called 'Yong's Teochew Kueh'. How is it that can't name a single type of Teochew kueh? Does peng kueh count? Is ngo hiang considered Teochew?
  • An ad for '24 hour Prawning'. What? Prawning is the new fishing, apparently.
  • A new 24 hour Indian Muslim coffeeshop on Upper Serangoon. Yay!
  • Serangoon is in Marine Parade GRC? WTF.
  • Public Campaign posters spotted: Recycling, Fire Hazards, Be Gracious on Buses

A little notice at our lift lobby informs us that Lift A and B will be permanently shut down in a couple of days. The openings will be sealed up. Since Lift C has gone through the ubiquitous Upgrading and now stops at every floor, joining its gleaming counterparts newly installed at either ends of the building, the HDB folks probably figured there was no longer a need for these two outdated lifts.

I felt a little sad at the thought of these two coffin-like contraptions becoming scrap metal. After all, I've been taking these lifts for the last 24 years, to the point that I can instinctively predict down to the last second how long it takes to reach each floor.

And then felt really sad for myself because it seems that I've formed attachments to inanimate public objects.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Three Things


1. Heard

"Ah but where is Singapore River ah?"
- local teenage girl speaking on mobile phone while next to the Singapore River.

2. Seen

A man with a bloodied arm.

3. Occurred

A Bangladeshi worker walking towards made a complete U-turn and headed away as I approached.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Homecoming

I've been meaning to blog, to say something in the public sphere - to issue a statement of sorts regarding my supposedly big leap back home after having been away. However, that would require me to summarise, or to explain, or to offer some sort of narrative, but that all seems rather impossible right now as the words just won't come, and personal understanding seems rather out of reach.

Isn't there supposed to be, at the very least, sort of an emotion upon homecoming? I've been trying to figure out what it is. Relief? Respite? Happiness? Unhappiness? Something? I just haven't been able to figure out what I am feeling, and now I think perhaps the elusiveness of that emotion is due to the fact that I feel nothing.

There has certainly been tangible feelings - such as feeling sated by good food, enjoying being physically seated at a kopitiam, and being able to hold and see the cats - but these are physical responses, not emotional ones, and with regards to the latter department, I must say that the lack of response scares me a little.

Then again, I am a bit of an idiot, and its only been less than two weeks. I've not even unpacked.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Goodbye crazy land, and thanks for everything.

Will probably (and hopefully) be offline for the next month as I try to keep my mother out of trouble in India, and then there's this beach you see, which is waiting for me before I embark on my professionally unprofessional life.

Kainee Shesh.

Monday, July 26, 2010

It was late, and as I hung around outside the Building waiting for a CNG to show, I knew I had been spotted. I had seen them as I came out, and it didn't take long for them to be behind me.

"Apu, taka please. We're so hungry."

It also didn't take long for Ruby and Mithu to understand I wasn't dealing out cash, and so their questions started.

"Where are you going?"
"My house."
"Where is your house?"
"Dhanmondi."
"Can we come with you?"
"Why?"
"To see your house!"
"Ha, I don't think that's possible."
"You want to come to our house?"
"Where is it?"
"Agargaon. It's nearby. Come?"

There were other questions, but I didn't understand them.

"You need rickshaw?"
"No, a CNG. Dhanmondi is too far away."

Solemn nods of agreement. Ruby asked if she could have my shawl. I said no, I only had one with me.

They waited with me, yelling and shouting at every CNG that passed. I felt sick to see them so close to the heavy speeding traffic, even though I knew from the feather dusters they carried that they could probably maneuver the traffic a lot better than I ever could. Still, it made me nervous and I ordered them to stand away.

A younger boy showed up, carrying a hot flask of tea. I asked the girls if they'd like a cup. Yes!! We went to sit by the curb, further away from the road. They continued to ask me questions I didn't understand, so I decided to take over the conversation to tell them about myself. One hand each on my lap, listening to me babble in my limited Bangla.

When I lit up a cigarette, both girls looked horrified.

"No! Very bad! Not good!"
"Why?"

The boy, who had been silent all this while, countered with a "It's good!" The girls shushed him.

"Cancer! Make you sick!"
I looked at the boy. "They're right, you know."

We finished the tea, and the boy didn't have change. I was going to let him earn an extra taka, but the girls would have none of it. They took out their own money, made change, and sent him on his way. We went back to look for a CNG.

Before they left me to my own devices, Ruby suddenly asked, "Would you take a photo of us?" She hugged Mithu close to her face, stroking the other girl's cheek. I wasn't carrying a camera, nor had I mentioned photography at all, so I guess this is something they ask everyone - but it was still rather poignant to me. We set a date for tomorrow.

"See you tomorrow!" yelled Ruby as she left.
"Inshallah."
"Inshallah!"

I thought about it on the way back, how the happiness I feel from these small, inconsequential conversations trumps all the good feelings I've ever felt from having someone praise my photos or having my work published. It's nice to think that sometimes it could really just be as simple as that.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

I walked for half an hour from my house to Neelket - last minute panic-induced attempt to sort out shit in my life - and realised I did a good thing cancelling that trek in Nepal because at some point my mother would've had to drag my exhausted body back down the mountain. I mean, she could do it. That woman runs marathons for fuck's sake.

I've been caught up in a wave of anticipatory nostalgia as the days tick off, trying to soak in the things I think I'll forget. Which, given my goldfish memory, is a pretty fucking long list. So I try to keep things in my head - like how, no matter how hard I try, I always end up stepping on someone's spit. It's everywhere. It's bound to happen.

And like how every road junction has the potential to become a clusterfuck of illogical driving - you stare at the mess of vehicles and the one helpless traffic policeman standing in the midst of it all looking slightly overwhelmed, and you just can't imagine how anything will move ever again. And sometimes, the rickshaw wallahs will start bitching - why can't that car just move oh my god they are idiots. Yesterday, my rickshaw wallah got off and went up to the car in front of us to inform the driver that this jam is all your fault, get the hell out of the way. I would've slapped him a high five but that is probably too much.

The guys at the book market tried selling me Lonely Planet's Bangladesh guide. I looked at them and threw up my hands in the air. Ami keno lagbe? I'm ekhane na? (Why would I need this? Am I not right here?) They laughed. New edition. Bangladesh! Come Bangladesh. Thanks dudes, I'm glad we understand each other.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Measure of Adaptability

The one day I get a CNG driver that actually seems to not have a death wish, I end up feeling extremely impatient in this very safe vehicle and wish that he would just speed the fuck up. I mean, three car lengths between you and the next car? Observing braking distance? How did you get your license?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Bangladesh Trumps Singapore: Reason #453 & #454
  • Very high chance that you will pet a goat before the end of the day (every day, any day).
  • The fastest way to avoid a traffic jam (and to die) is to switch to the opposite lane. Sure there's oncoming traffic, but at least you're moving.

Sunday, July 11, 2010




This image has been blogged and re-blogged to death, and I (obviously) love it even though I've seen it everywhere. Thanks to my current infantile addiction to exploring the archives of Nick Holmes' tumblr (the most attractive man I've ever slept with), I've finally discovered the artist is 27-year-old Sarolta Bán. Guess who else turns 27 this year? I am a talentless idiot.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

193 pages down, don't know how many more to go. My ass is now permanently glued to this chair, and my fingers just can't stop clicking on websites just so that I don't have to insert punctuation (a full stop is NOT OPTIONAL), correct very strange language and feel like I want to yell LEARN SOME ENGLISH FOR FUCKS' SAKE out of the window. That would be just wrong. Very wrong. Mustn't do that.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

aquariums and puppets

So there was a huge French house that I was lucky enough to lived in, even though I was a student and rightly belonged in a dormitory room somewhere. The second floor had a floor-to-ceiling aquarium running around its entire perimeter -- but the water was half-full and it was clear that the great white shark (and smaller tiger sharks?) were not faring too well. There was even a huge sea cucumber stuck on the wall that looked like it was drying out.

So I found the hose, and turned on the pipe and poured the water into the tank which filled up surprisingly quickly. Before I had the chance to see how the fishes were enjoying all the extra water, I noticed a painting/figure/doll of an old woman that was just settling onto the bottom of the tank - no doubt it had been moved around when the waters swirled in.

I stared hard at the wrinkly face and I just knew, that if I stared long enough, it would move. In all my worst nightmares and lengthy-imagination sessions - this always happens. And so her face moved, but I wasn't sure - maybe it was the water that was making her move - and so I tried again and again. And the face got more and more grotesque. I couldn't walk away - what if she followed me? I yelled for Sandrine. I whipped the curtains close around the tank to hide that face from my view.

Sandrine, who had been cooking in the kitchen, came running. What? What? She's alive, I said, trying to sound calm so as to not freak Sandrine out. I let my hands go, and the curtains came down, only now there wasn't an old woman - there was a wooden puppet in the shape of a little girl and she wasn't in the tank anymore. There wasn't any glass between us and her.

Ah. Oh. Sandrine and I stared hard. The little girl came alive, she looked human now, she stepped out and in front of us.

Sandrine tried to speak to her, but it didn't seem like she understood. Try speaking to her in French, I said. It worked (I'm very multilingual in dreams) and the girl said she used to be owned by a duchess, and it was a very long time ago. She didn't seem to realise that time had passed.

I vaguely thought of Harry Potter and how that movie had made talking paintings a lot less scary.

Are you angry I made faces at you just now? I asked. I don't remember her reply. Sandrine was pissed off by now - what the fucked had I dragged her into?



NO MORE AFTERNOON NAPS FOR YOU JESS.

Monday, July 05, 2010

commas

Was out for the count due to a viral fever that went on for too long (at least it wasn't dengoo), now rushing to finish what I couldn't do due to too much lying in bed incapacitated, currently technically unemployed for the first time in I guess a not-so-long time but still busy as fuck, missing roommate Maria who left for some lovely little island in Norway (enjoy the summer, while it lasts), slightly sad the espresso maker broke but will learn to cope, cat-sighting count at an ALL TIME HIGH and I can't help but think its a sign about something but not sure what, feel like I oughta learn the Robot & Robo, successfully stopped Mother from freaking out about monsoon in Nepal & India, still can't stop fantasising about a beach in Sri Lanka.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Thou shall not kill. Thou shall not commit adultery. Don't eat pork.
I'm sorry, what was that last one? Don't eat pork. God has spoken.
Is that the word of God or is that pigs trying to outsmart everybody?

My annual Jon Stewart obsession is back.

I want to look back on my career and be proud of the work, and be proud that I tried everything. Yes, I want to look back and know that I was terrible at a variety of things.

Friday, June 18, 2010



Lamb to the slaughter



_MG_1353.jpg


Sometimes I spend too much time imagining what my life would be like if it had more animals in it. (And I don't mean on my plate, although I do think about that as well.)


E&S_5.jpg




Monday, June 14, 2010

Which is precisely what i did

Its time to stop. To think. To question the self and see if you can find a new way to proceed. Otherwise just put aside that camera and do something else.


Asim Rafiqui says exactly what I am only able to express in vague, unhappy grunts. Too much love for his writing.

The handover process is in full swing - with or without a replacement - and I've had to engage in uncomfortable self-reflection. What does it mean to be in charge? What have I learnt? I've always known that I would be an unpleasant person - I have no patience, no tact, and I'm too prone to arrogance. I warned them all at the beginning. I may yell at you, but I'll always apologise later. But only if I'm wrong. Which I won't be. Or something to that effect.

Today, I received one of the best compliments of my life: "Jess, you are so rude, but you feel our pulse."

How on earth did they ever put up with me? Love them to death.