Our Contradictions

1 10 2013

I am starting to find the world a much bigger contradiction that I originally thought and I honestly believe university is corrupting me.

I should explain.

Higher education is one of the most confusing chapters in my life so far that I have had to face with. As a freshman, I believed that by entering college I would gain the knowledge I needed to accomplish two ultimate goals: a) to live life fully and b) to change the world.

Unfortunately, I am no longer that naive freshman. I have come to realize that life is filled with contradictions and there is really no way to have your cake and eat it too.

You see, I am starting to get the notion that you can’t ‘live life to the fullest’ ( or YOLO* or whatever) and change the world at the same time. They are contradicting. I suppose if you set the parameters for the argument then you can say that in order to live your life to the fullest and change the world at the same time, you must set a goal for yourself. Then we come to the complicated idea of a ‘goal’.

In theory, having a goal is not all that complex a concept. You set a goal, take the necessary actions to achieve it, review it over time and set your goals again. For example, let’s say you wanted to step on the moon, you would study physics ( I’m assuming), get physically fit, apply to a space program so that you can be an astronaut and semi-gravity defying steps on the moon. Fairly simple concept.

However, the problem with people is that they have more than one goal and it gets even complicated when these goals contradict. What if I like to surf and I wanted to save the whales but the only way for me to ensure the whales safety in a specific bay, I would need to stop surfing. It may appear like a trivial matter but humans ( us) take our goals and passions seriously. We form emotional attachments to them and there lies the conflict. Our emotional attachments get in the way of us doing what we want in life. Things get more complicated when everyone in the world wants to take action to achieve their own goals.

Some may say these contradictions make life interesting. Sure, it does but it doesn’t mean life is any less confusing. Can we achieve everything we want without contradicting the different outcomes of the goals or the values we hold?

May be I’m thinking too much.

May be I’m being too ambitious.

I hope you find the conflicts in your life and effectively untangle them. Try. Be innovative. Be conscious and be aware.

* I really hate the term YOLO but I am putting it in for cultural reference


Beach Cleaning: The Good and The Bad

25 09 2013


Dear World

Last week, my course-mates and I went beach cleaning as part of a module requirement. With that being said, I am pretty sure most of us wanted to go beach cleaning anyways so we were all pretty excited. During the activity we collected 28 bags of garbage that weighed 230kg. I think that is pretty decent work for only being at the site for an hour.

Anyways, I made a few observations about the activity and noticed that may be, beach cleaning might not be the most effective activity or as good as people perceive. Don’t get me wrong! Cleaning beaches has many benefits such as maintain habitats for wildlife, preventing leaks of poisonous material into the environment and obviously, for aesthetic reasons as well ( we have to make our coast look pretty enough for ecotourism … or may be just plain tourism). In addition, with the recording system official beach cleaning organisations require, we can track how much trash is actually floating around the oceans and eventually end up on our shorelines. Sounds like a good functioning system!

Unfortunately, beach cleaning in theory has many great benefits to the environment and to society. In practice, many concerns come up, mainly to do with human tendencies or so I have noticed. For example, sometimes the people involved in beach cleaning are not necessarily strong enough to carry full bags of trash and therefore use less space in garbage bags and more bags themselves. This makes beach cleaning data more deceiving. While we tried to compile 2-3 half filled bags into one bag, other groups of people may not do the same skewing the results of the data collected,

Another observation I made was that cleaners are selective of what they pick up. While I understand that sometimes some pieces of Styrofoam or plastic are harder to remove use to obstacles that are not necessarily easy to overcome ( e.g. a fallen tree, thick forestation or potentially coming into contact with poisonous or sharp torn), I have noticed that sometimes the most obvious pieces of trash are easily ignored. This could be due to a few reasons; firstly, our group was filled with young people who are adventurous and ambitious( yes, even when it comes to collecting trash). People were ducking and climbing into the mangroves to collect trash that were the furthest to reach. Others when far from shore and into the muddy middle ground between ocean and land. We ignored the obvious when we should have realized any piece of trash picked up would have been beneficial to the ultimate goal: cleaning the beach.

These observations of my cohort should not be considered as generalizations. They are merely meant for people who would do beach cleaning in the future to consider your actions during the activity.  Beach cleaning still has its benefits and volunteers are always welcomed.

The ultimate lesson from the experience is that, really, beach cleaning should not be our first option for protecting our coast. If we want a better coastline, we need to stop the cause the root of the problem; we need to limit our waste and stop using our ocean as bottomless pit for trash.

I hope everyone takes part in beach cleaning though. It is still a very eye opening experience.

Take Care!


life lessons from working retail

20 05 2013

Dear World,

I’m currently working in a luxury bag shop in town and I got to say for someone who spends a lot of time in a shopping mall, I don’t actually like to shop. Oh well.

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt from this retail gig is that if you like something, go for it, much like life, regardless of the costs. I’ve seen countless of people walk in, asking for a bag they saw a day, a week a month, a year a go and the way trends go, bags don’t stay around the shop too long. I recommend people to buy a bag that they’ve spent 20 minutes looking at it and testing it out.  Don’t regret it.

Another thing I would say is that, don’t try and find shortcuts. Sometimes shortcuts won’t lead to what you want. There was this customer that asked what were all the discounts available but did not even like one bag that was shown to her.  Taking shortcuts or asking for discounts may benefit you but might not give you what you want. So may be think again before trying to look for one? ( Shortcut I mean. As a bargin hunter, discounts are always good)

Working retail isn’t so bad.



Transitions 2- The Intan

28 01 2013

On 26 January 2013, I went to see a performance done by my juniors from Tampines Junior College(TPJC) at The Intan- a local Peranakan Museum. The piece was crafted, written and performed by the students (well, now alumni) of TPJC’s Theatre Studies and Drama elective programme (TSD). They collaborated with the staff at The Intan to devise a piece of 3 interweaved stories about Peranakan culture and heritage.

The Intan first started 10 years ago with the owner of The Intan, Alvin Yapp started becoming interested in Peranakan culture and began collecting antique Peranakan furniture, decorations and other unique pieces that would have be in a traditional Peranakan house. 2 years ago, with the extensive collection, The Intan was invited to join the circle of museums here in Singapore and the staff are extremely grateful.

TPJC’s involvement with The Intan began in 2011 when the JC1 batch at the time devised and performed a piece they called Transitions. After getting good reviews, the same batch was invited back slightly over a year later, allowing the students enough prep work for their A-levels in 2012. Transitions II came alive immediate at the end of their exams and the students took the opportunity to explore the Peranakan culture as well as the chance to demonstrate their skills to a public audience seriously, dedicating their weekends to rehearsals. Some even put off having a job in order to put on the best show they could.

The piece they presented clearly outlined the different aspects of Peranakan culture and they audience interaction simply made it better. The atmosphere was light and welcoming, as if a Peranakan household was inviting guess into their home and share their stories and their relationships, their way of life. The small house made the setting more intimate with the characters offering food, ‘ buying drinks for guest’ and generally just making them feel welcome. These talented students ( this may be biased because I’m quite close to them) truly wowed the audience that night, bringing in different elements of theatre, from physical theatre, to singing to puppetry to changes in space and time. Alvin’s home became their home and the level of comfort they had with the space was exceptional and translated well into their performance.

The piece clearly emphasis the aim of having the event, which was to promote awareness of the Peranakan culture. This performance “for the community, by the community” ( Alvin Yapp’s words) did inspire me to look more into the local cultures and be supportive where I can.

I hope The Intan continues it’s collaboration with my Alma mater in promoting the Peranakan culture.

The teams from The Intan and TPJC

2010 Report/ Letter

31 12 2010

Everything has been firgured out, except how to live. Jean-Paul Sartre

 Dear world,

So this day has come. 31 December 2010. The last day of the year. Many Youtubers have done 2010 year reviews and I intend to do my own. Unfortunately, I don’t know if the entertainment level would be the same as some of the videos online.

Well, everyone knows what happened in 2010. Obama is rocking out the presidency. He even ended the war ( yeah, it was not that well publised). There is a new healthcare plan in America and the UK raised University fees. Singapore held the F1 again and the very very first Youth Olympic Games. Hmm, what else happened. Snow came to Europe and has packed up there. Wikileaks happened too; which is good for people who do end year reviews. Wikileaks was this years best scanddle. Last year I think it was Obama being president and Tiger Woods sex encounters. (Yeah the King of Pop was there too but the press had more fun with Woods). The I pad came out this year. You know, its just a giant sized itouch. The iPhone 4 was released too. The apple people are geniuses, (and not in terms of their technology). In terms of Youtubers. DeStorm as a new shoe modeled after him. Dave days is switching from paradies to his own stuff ( now not only is he cute, he is talented too).

But you would see this in all other year reviews.

Every year, I write a letter to myself and the very next year I read the letter and reflect. It is a good practise. I (finally) found last years letter and remember my deep and strong feelings towards getting into the school and course of my dreams. You may think now that this is some random rant but not entirely. Every year, around this time, I write two very personally letters, one to myself and another to my readers.

This year, thanks to everyone, I hit my 10,000 views. It was something to celebrate. I don’t see the numbers flying or sky rocketting any time soon but I am glad that I have a generally healthy flow of traffic to my blog. People ask me what do I write about and I tell them life. Sometimes it is personal. Sometimes I am trying to convince you of a cause and sometimes I am not too sure myself. That is life. Life is such a broad topic and I think that is why I love it so much. Like the quote above, no one really knows how to live. And I know many say ‘oh, you need a niche for your blog’. Screw you! Life is a niche. Everyone can relate to it. And when I blog, I figure out how people live and why people live them and try and understand you. And then try to tell you what I understand.

Next year, I will cramming (again) for exams. But I will blog when I have the chance and inspiration. But I plead all of you. Go out to the world and forget that its 2011 tomorrow. Enjoy countdown celebrations. Eat, drink ( don’t drink and drive). Tomorrow will come sooner than any of us will hope. And watch out. I might just be writing my 2011 year review WAY faster than any of us thinks.

All the best for the new year.

Love, Cheyenne.

Welcoming 2011 with a new habit.

28 12 2010

Adventure must start with running away from home. William Bolitho.

Dear World,

I know it is a coupld of days before the actual new year, but I thought I would promise my readers that I will commit to a new habit. What brought this on you might ask? Well, recently, I have been reading some articles and blogs about improving my writing. Many mention a form of a niche, something I concerntrate on. But, being me, I can’t really do that. I have too many opinions about way too many things. So, to try and keep my blog fresh, I will commit myself to find appropreate quotes to start each post.

I happen to like quotes. And may be it will help you too.

Let’s look at the one that starts this post. Adventure must start with running away from home.

I hope everyone gets that there is a potential hidden meaning under this quote. Home= security. ANYTHING that makes your feel secure. Adventure is all about taking risks; stepping out of your comfort zone.

There are a few reasons why this quote kind of starts off 2011, although not officially. Firstly, next year is my A level year and in terms of my theatre studies,  I might have to take big risks in order to be able to try and hit my best potential. Secondly, its a dare for you. In 2011, I would like everyone reading this to try and do something really really unusual for you. Be it bungee jumping or trying some new mexican cuisine. You don’t have to do it at the BEGINNING of the year. Take your time with this. If you know you can get impatient try a jig saw puzzle, 750 pieces.

Actually, everyday has potential for new experiences and new posibilities. You just need to run away from ‘home’ and take that risk.

Does Complex equal simple?

24 11 2010

Dear World,

Watch this video first please!

Complex does not equal to complicated.

Interesting concept. I also liked how he explained everything in three minutes and 28 seconds.

I, personally like complex ideas and situations because then I can take the time to solve them and have some fun, (yeah…I know I might be weird!). But you need to understand. Complex situations just means there is a lot of mess behind the actual problem.  Everything is just very simple. People just make a mess of simple things, making them complicated and visually complex.

Note: VISUALLY COMPLEX! Re-watch the video if you must. He had this mind map stuff or atom like stuff and he made them smaller or more condense and precise. You could understand how to solve the problem.

It makes very good sense if you think about it. I just thought I share it with you. 🙂