Personal

Goodbye Emcee Dime

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Hi friends! I've made the decision to close down Emcee Dime. I've really enjoyed creating content for this personal blog / portfolio over the past 2 years, and Minniebar in the 3 years before that, but it's time to move on to something new. Thank you for following me and for your support throughout all this time.

For those who are still interested in following my musings, I'll continue to share pieces of my life in another capacity. I will post about the new platform here and on the website in due course, but there won't be any other updates from now on. You can always reach out to me personally for a catchup; I would love to grab a coffee. 

All my love! 

Personal

Dear Diary: April Showers

I read the other day that time seems to go by faster as we get older because our brain's internal clock runs more slowly as we age, so the pace of life seems to speed up. So here we are, nearly halfway through 2018, even though my older brain tells me I rang in the new year last week. 

It's so crazy to reread the first of my 'Lovelist' posts, which went live in April 2015. In it, I shared the news that I would be moving back to Hong Kong after 11 months in Shanghai with my family, and how I was "ready to move on and start another stage in my life." Today, I find myself having to garner the same courage as I leave behind yet another phase and step into a new one (will share more in my next post, no not pregnant).

And with that, I'm also bidding farewell to my 'Lovelist' content series. It had a good run, but I'm looking forward to sharing life updates in a different format. I'd like the 'Dear Diary' Series to be a bit more personal and hopefully more heartfelt. Let me know what you think.

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I finally made it back to Tokyo after seven years, and it was an unforgettable trip. Got N all to myself on this ski trip since he had no advanced skiers to ski with, and we managed to hit up all the spots in the city I didn't last time. I still daydream about al fresco coffees and cigarillos in Shibuya on the daily. I wonder if I'll ever have the opportunity to live in Japan, even if it's just for a few weeks or months. (More on that trip here)

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Garage finally launched in Wan Chai and it's been a whirlwind. It's my third launch in three years, and while they're all memorable in their own way, this one's definitely more significant a milestone than the rest. With it being my last big project at this company, I've found myself feeling rather sentimental; my last time managing a photoshoot, my last time drafting a press release, my last time taking a team picture, etc. Saying goodbye has been more poignant than expected, but I'm ready to take on new challenges.

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To celebrate Sachi's newfound freedom, we invited all our dog owner and lover friends to Cyberport for an afternoon of picnic-ing and frolicking. Even though the dogs didn't play with each other as much as we'd expected, it was a lovely afternoon catching up with everyone. 

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N and I started planning our wedding this month. Things are happening very slowly, so it's still strange to think we'll actually be getting married in a year. So far, so good. I could be jinxing us, but I think we're going to be able to get through this process peacefully and come out of it still in love. Granted we're only working on invitations and looking for venues, but been all fun so far. 

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Sachi tuned 6 months in April, so he finished getting all his shots, got microchipped, and can finally explore the great outdoors! Naturally, he's just obsessed with going out, running like a mad-dog around the flat whenever I take out the lead. He's gets on well with other dogs and is getting a hang of the walking-on-a-lead thing pretty quickly. I feel so blessed to have a little angel dog like him. He makes me laugh everyday. 

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Ingrid was admitted as a solicitor this month. It was such a special day. She's been a huge source of support over the past few years, and I couldn't be more grateful for her friendship. From our orientation day at SMIC to living in Hong Kong as students to now two engaged women with careers - life is so predictable yet surreal! I admire her so much for everything she's achieved and am so proud to have been able to witness her grow into such a paragon of an adult. Hopefully I'll be able to get there soon, too.  

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Another lovely picnic happened in April on the beaches of Big Wave Bay. Thankful for the friends I've made in the past few months through work, and how they've become more than that. April has been crazy from start to finish, and this chill morning was exactly what we all needed. 

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Mingxi got married in Chengdu. First time as a bridesmaid was an interesting experience. I had to learn a dance (kill me), got no sleep in the 2 days I was there, and somehow became the ring bearer (?!) Still, I was so honoured to have been there, had the best time with the other bridesmaids and groomsmen, and I'm now getting quite excited for our wedding. Can't wait to have all my loves in one place. 

Fiction

M/S-V: Black Honey

Vera’s already seven minutes late by the time she messages JJ to say she's running late. Well aware this was going to happen, he arrives at the coffee shop at 11:40. Even so, Vera doesn’t burst through the doors until a few minutes past noon, ripping off her sunglasses and surveying the room. All eyes were on her as lets out a controlled scream and pushes past the clutter of tables to hug him. A man ducks forward to avoid getting hit in the head by her oversized Celine tote, but it gets him anyway.   

“Sorry sweetie, I could not find my makeup bag this morning. I think I left it at the gym.”

“Good thing it looks like you’re going there straight after this,” said JJ. She’s wearing a marble-print workout set, complete with a caged sports bra and leggings with mesh slits that go all the way up the sides. Her stomach is on display, her belly-button barely hidden by the windbreaker tied around her waist. 

“No, I’m seeing Jeffrey after this. It’s called athelti-leisure. You of all people should know.”

“Because I’m gay?”

“No, because you actually used to work out, remember?” She laughs and throws up a hand. “Can I get a soy Cappuccino please? Extra hot.”

It’s true, JJ hasn’t worked out consistently since he was in college four years ago. His consultant job takes it out of him. Besides, gym-sex is somewhat off-limits now that him and Jesse are getting serious.

Aside from staying fit, he’s also been pretty bad about keeping in touch with friends from school, hence his agreeing to have coffee with Vera. They’ve seen each other at a few weddings over the years, but haven’t properly caught up until this past New Year’s Eve. Somehow both ending up at a party that was a little too fancy for their tastes, they decided to do a few lines of coke in the bathroom to pass the time until countdown.

“You’re a sick fuck,” Vera had said as he did a line from the toilet lid. “People do number two on those things.”

“Well you’re a stupid bitch for giving a fuck when you’re literally snorting shit into your brain.” JJ shot back. They laughed and JJ remembered why they had so much fun in school. It was this nostalgia trip that landed him here, having coffee with Vera.

“How are things with Jeffrey?” he asked.

“I don’t know. He’s obsessed with me though,” said Vera. “Oh, did I tell you? I’m quit my job on Friday.”

“The party planning company?”

“It was an events company. I just couldn’t take Kim’s bitching and I was seriously underpaid. Honestly, I think she didn't like having someone younger than her at the company. She's always had a thing for Ryan and probably saw me as a threat or something. I'm not even into Ryan, but he went out of his way to be nice to me all the time. He looked so sad when I resigned.”

“So what are you going to do?”

“Not sure yet. I’m thinking about starting a jewellery brand.”

“That’s cool.”

“Yeah. Everyone’s always complimenting what I’m wearing, so I figure why not make my own? Jeffrey even offered to help me get started." She stops to take a Boomerang of the two of them, her lips puckered and head swinging. 

“That’s great.” JJ said as he glances at his watch. It’s barely been ten minutes and her coffee isn't even here yet.

“Hold on, okay?” Vera leaves her Celine on the chair and asks where the washroom is.

JJ's daydreaming when the waiter puts down Vera’s Cappuccino. He notices some of foam spilled onto the saucer, but the waiter didn’t bother wiping it. JJ takes a sip of his Americano, but realises there isn't a single drop left. 

“Pretty sure the waiter was flirting with me,” Vera said as she sat down. She had reapplied her lipstick.


Hi everyone! Thank you for reading my Microstory Series - I appreciate it oh-so-much! I originally planned to write five and reassess whether it's worthwhile to continue. I've personally had a lot of fun writing these, but I'd love to hear your feedback too. Do you find these mini fiction pieces interesting? What kind of content would you like to see on the blog? I'd love to know.

Fiction

M/S-IV: Pamela

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The pounding in her ears is so loud it begins to drown out the girl's voice. Pamela knows she needs to calm down fast because this only happens when she’s about to really snap. Doing everything she can to steady her voice, Pamela excuses herself from the discussion and, at a reasonable pace, walks past the people pretending not to have been listening to their conversation.

Once inside the washroom, she checks if any of the stalls are occupied before taking three deep, long breaths like her therapist told her to do. She could feel the stinging of impending tears and opens her eyes to scrutinise her face in the mirror. Some discolouration, but nothing anyone would notice, she thinks as she contorts her face, wrinkling her nose and raising her eyebrows to keep the tears from flowing out.

Pamela hears two people talking on the other side of the door, so she rushes into the last stall and closes the door. One of them is the girl who got her worked up moments ago. They're talking about online shopping or something.

At least I don’t feel like crying anymore, she thinks, as they joke around in the stalls next to her. While they're giggling, Pamela tears off a piece of toilet paper as silently as she can, and presses it on her eyes, absorbing the tears that have been sloshing but never made it down her cheeks. She desperately needs air, but the windows are barred down and she's too afraid to make any noise.

Pamela begins to replay the earlier conversation in her head but stops herself, knowing all too well she’ll be doing this for the rest of the day as it is. I can’t believe this happened again, she thinks, but decides not to wallow until she can speak to her therapist. The girls finish washing their hands and as they’re leaving, the one she wasn’t arguing with says “I wonder if Pamela is okay,” with the door closing before she can hear the other’s response.

What a cunt, Pamela thinks, and immediate feels ashamed for using that kind of language, even if it’s just in her head. She walks to the sink and inspects her face again. No signs of crying. There’s still four hours left before she can leave work, but she’s so drained she could lie down on the dingy tiles. She decides to book a session with her therapist for the next morning before work, even though it’ll be her birthday.

Pamela steps out of the washroom and hesitates, trying to decide which route to take back to her desk.

Fiction

M/S-III: Cutout

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Her mouth is so dry the back of her throat feels like it's ripping apart when she tries to swallow saliva. Jamie looks at the clock - 2:32 pm. The light peeking through the curtains reveal a pillar of dust particles swirling the stale air. She pulls her arm from under the blanket and feels the floor for a water bottle, juice box, half-full can of Coke - anything.

There’s only an open can of beer, so she peels herself off the couch, walks to the kitchen, and chugs water from the faucet. I’m not that desperate, she thinks as water drips down her chin and neck. She wipes herself off with her t-shirt and opens the cabinet below the sink to find the bag of dog food to be almost empty. Fuck! She wasn’t planning on running errands today. Jamie pours what’s left of the kibble into the hair-strewn dog bowl. Benji’s ears perk up, but he doesn’t move from the living room carpet.

Jamie looks out the window, her mind too hazy to search for her phone. It's probably for the best because she knows what day it is - the wedding. Cleaning! That’s what I’ll do today, she decides. Maybe she and Adam could even go out for dinner after he gets back from the gym. They’ve been a bit short on cash lately, but are confident things will get better. Plus, she really needs something to look forward to today.

She walks to the bathroom to get ready, taking off her wet t-shirt and throwing it on the floor. Jamie inspects her breasts, which have always been more bulbous than round. With two fingers, she pinches her right nipple like she’s about to snip it off with a pair of scissors. She can’t help but wonder what they’re doing.

Fiction

M/S-II: Firefly Squid

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When Hiroshi bought the ‘heat-not-burn’ cigarette filter, he thought he’d only use it indoors. But after a month, he found smoking normal cigarettes to be too harsh for his throat. He took a smokeless drag and leaned back in the camping chair. He could feel himself dozing off.

It’s almost three a.m. and he knows he should be heading back to the hotel. He needs to be up in less than three hours to prepare breakfast for the guests. Only four rooms are taken, so it’ll be a quiet morning, he reasons. Twenty more minutes.

Hiroshi takes another drag and checks his phone. He opens an email from his sister. She wants him to bring her box of small crystal vases when he drops their Mother off in Tokyo the following weekend. His Mother wants to see the cherry blossoms.  

His sister’s been living in Tokyo for two, almost three years, but he’s still helping her move things over. He’s made the three-hour trip to Chiyoda more than a dozen times, but he’s never stepped outside the van. There’s always a couple to pick up from the bus stop, a leaky sink that needs to be fixed, chores his Father struggles to do.

Soon, Spring ski will be over and the hotel will be even quieter. Maybe it’s time to retile the roof on the ski rental cabin. But his shoulder has been bothering him. He reels in the bait and begins to pack up his things; he hasn’t felt a tug in more than an hour. Maybe he’ll be luckier next week, Hiroshi thinks. Maybe he’ll even catch a glimpse of the Firefly Squid.

Fiction

M/S-I: The Bridge

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I was five, and it was the time of year when Spring started to get sticky. I boarded the Community-era bus with my Grandmother like we had done countless times. I think we were on our home from buying groceries; it was early afternoon. The bus was approaching a bridge and made a stop. Another grandmother and her grandson got on. She pulled him onto her lap. 

I sat in the window seat next to my Grandmother, looking out the window as the bus passed over the bridge. I felt him before I saw him. The man sitting in the row behind was staring at me through the gap between the window and my seat. My eyes followed his hand as it touched mine, then they darted to his face. He was still staring, smiling, stroking - his fingers covering my entire hand. 

I pulled my hand away, and my face started to feel hot. I glanced at my Grandmother, who was looking away. The other grandmother got off the bus with her grandson; we had reached the other end of the brige. "Why did she only take the bus for one stop?" I asked, trying to hide the shame I felt. "She was probably tired," my grandmother replied. 

Thoughts

Life Update: Movin' Too Fast

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Life has been in quite a rush recently, going from one change to another without giving me a second to breathe. In the past few months, it feels as if all the important milestones I've been looking forward to my entire young adulthood are happening at once. Exciting, yes. But in all the years of anticipation, I never expected this moment to come, or that I would one day have to actually make these decisions. Do you ever get this feeling? 

I've been adult-ing hard in the past few months; I know this to be true because things I used to care so much about seem less significant. What is FOMO? That concern rarely creeps up anymore. But what I do fear is not working hard enough towards my goals and not giving enough to the people I care about. I fear not learning from my mistakes, not growing as a person. 

Some of you will know that I'm an engaged woman now, which - naturally - is the ultimate catalyst into real adulthood (for me personally at this point in my life, not to say marriage equivocates to adulthood). It's been a surreal time, and quite frankly often a positive mind-fuck as I adjust to the idea of lifelong coupling. 

My now fiancé and I had been dating for more than 5 years when we got engaged, so I didn't think engagement or even marriage would change much in our relationship. We were living together and committed. Little did I know it would completely shift the way I saw him and what we meant to each other. The public acknowledgement that we would be lifelong companions ignited a recognition in me, a sense of responsibility that's both intimidating and comforting. 

Intimidating, because I now look at my actions from a long-term perspective, wanting desperately to set the foundations for maintaining a healthy and loving approach for all situations. This has meant taking a hard look at my tendencies towards knee-jerk reactions or acting on impulse. It's meant seeing his happiness as my responsibility because that's what commitment dictates - mutual support to nurture a shared life. 

Comforting, because I can expect the same from him. 

I'm not going to sit here and pretend I know the first thing about what's to come. Whatever people consider marriage to be marred by - distrust, disappointment, complications - are irrelevant to me. Everyone has something to say, but no one's opinion applies specifically to my relationship. I'm looking forward to making this experience my own, and hopefully learning and growing as I go. 

In honour of this announcement, which took me a while to finally garner the resolve to share, I uploaded a new essay for Based on a True Life dedicated to my new fiancé for those who want to check it out. 

Thank you for reading, as always. 

Personal, Reviews

December '17 & January '18 Lovelist

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1. Hobonichi Techno 2018 - Um, so I started looking into 2018 planners months ago. After some experimentation, I now have a pretty good idea of what works and what doesn't. This year, it's the cult Japanese brand, Hobonichi. I love how the paper is high quality but extremely thin, the grid pages, and how light it is. I would recommend this one if you don't write extensively, but still want a little room to be creative. 

2. Bring It On Home To Me, Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee - This song has been been on repeat for a month now; written by Sam Cooke, and covered numerous times since by artists like The Animals and Eddie Floyd. Sonny Terry & Brownie McGee version is by far my favourite. 

3. Mint Dog Leash by Witty&White - We welcomed a new puppy around a month ago, and many a resources have been spent on him. Since he's such a little thing (predicted by the vet to be around 5 - 6 lbs. full grown), I needed to find a lead that's light and appropriate for a dog of his size. Love the colour of this one, and quality is top notch. 

4. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara - This book has been on the bestseller list for a while and was shortlisted for a Man Booker Prize, and is as devastating (in a good way) as everyone says. Due to the length and subject matter, it took a bit of dedication to get through at times. 

5. YSL Volupté Tint-in-Oil - A friend kindly gifted this to me for Christmas. It smells like watermelon, isn't sticky, super moisturising, and absorbs quickly. 

6. Foreo ISSA - I bought this (and the next product) as Christmas gifts for myself. I've been hearing good things about Foreo for a while, and decided to finally make the jump. Imagine: you think you've brushed your teeth thoroughly, but you can still feel a bit of plaque - does this ever happen to you? It drives me fucking up the wall, and I end up re-brushing / over-brushing, which isn't ideal. Did solve that problem, so glad I made the jump. 

7. Foreo LUNA play - After I turned 25, my Mom started telling me that I should try to get regular facials to try to maintain what youthful complexion I have, but they're incredibly expensive in Hong Kong. I used that as justification to get the LUNA (although only enough to buy the travel version) I can feel products being absorbed faster on days I use this. 

8. Kong Toy - So I was one of those people who watched dog training videos on Youtube even before they have a dog.., A lot of these trainers recommend using a Kong for teaching, so when we got Sachi, I bought one right away. The great thing about this toy is its many applications: slowing your dog down if they eat too fast, teaching patience, helping with separation anxiety. 

9. Saline solution - You're probably thinking: why the fuck does she love saline solution? Dude, it heals everything. Last month, I got a second degree burn, and the doctor suggested I buy it to help heal the wound. Since then, I've done research and discovered it has 1000 + 1 uses

10. Aura Cacia Essential Oil Diffuser - I've been obsessed with essential oils for a while, and used my beloved Muji Aroma Porcelain Pot religiously. But I got a bit tired of having to buy tea candles and the indoor air pollution it was creating. I basically have it on 24/7 when I'm at home. It has a 1-hour and 4-hour timer, so I usually put in lavender before going to sleep. Also love the calming effect of the water droplet sounds. 

11. Vitamin E Oil - I see Vitamin E oil as similar to Coconut Oil, as they can both be used in so many ways. I've been using it for skin and hair, which is helping for my goal to slowly reduce the number of products I use and own. 

12. Tea Tree Oil - Tea tree oil is another one that's multi-purpose. It's like an disinfectant for its anti-bacterial properties. You can check out some of the uses here (I use it for cuticles, cleaning, and breakouts). Just make sure you spot test beforehand since it is a pure oil. 

13. Grace and Frankie (Netflix) - I've loved this series since last year, and binged the newest season. I really love its subtle messages about ageing and perseverance. I appreciate the fresh perspectives and the show's openness to tackling life's uncomfortable and difficult issues. As a Friends super fan, I have to mention Marta Kauffman's always hilarious and witty writing. 

14. Lancôme La Vie Est Belle EDP - My Mom who initially bought this for herself, but my Dad hated it with a passion so she had to let it go. Described on the website as "[entwining] the elegance of iris with the strength of Patchouli and the sweetness of a gourmand blend; for an incredible scent with depth and complexity." I don't know about that, but it's decadent and smells like the kind of fragrance you would wear on a night out. 

15. IKEA Knopparp - We've been redoing our living room, and needed the smallest couch we could find. The old leather couch was made the living room a dead space because it was so big. This temp couch is working out great.

16. Dried Roses - I received a beautiful bouquet in December, and set out to preserve the entire thing for the first time. Simply clean the stems, tie them together in bunches of 5 - 6, and leave hanging in a dark and dry place. Two weeks later and voilà! 

17. Personalized Stacking Ring by CaitlynMinimalist - This is the second Etsy purchase on the list because I want to change my consumer habits this year, and try to support more independent brands. Really love the rings I got, the personalisation process was easy, and Caitlyn was very nice.