Monday, May 14, 2018

Geylang Serai Bazaar 2018: Review

 If you happen to be in Singapore from 12 May to 14 June 2018, be sure to check out Singapore's annual biggest night market, the Geylang Serai Bazaar! The bazaar is an annual event held in conjunction with the Muslim fasting month, where hundreds of stalls will be set up near the Paya Lebar MRT vicinity. They sell anything from hipster street food to curtains for your home decoration. 

There will be loads of colourful decorations this year as well!
 I had a chance to visit the bazaar yesterday and my favourite part of the bazaar is definitely the amount of delicious food and drinks available. I went there with my stomach empty for dinner and left with a happily filled stomach. Here are some recommendations from a self-proclaimed food critic. First on the list, beef cubes by Beef Bro!

Must try: Grilled beef cubes by Beef Bro
Look at these juicy beef cubes
Beef Bro was one of the stalls I came across and it was love at first bite. The other time I remember eating such delicious beef cubes is back in Osaka when I tried the grilled Kobe beef cubes. The meat is juicy and flavourful, though there are some tough bits that are hard to chew. There are also some fatty bits as well, which may not be everyone's taste. Go with the cheese option and add some of their belachan chili sauce for that extra zing. Highly recommended!

Another one of my favourite food is the rainbow cheese toast.

Just look at those colours~
 Other than being an insta-worthy food, cheese lovers will love the cheesy filled insides of the toast. They gave very generous servings of the cheese and eating the toast made me reminiscent those pizza ads where the person is just pulling cheese off the slice. There is also a slightly sugary taste that I think is coated onto the bread that compliments the cheese really well, along with the rainbow sparkles. I just hope the unicorn doesn't mind us stealing its favourite bread!

Aside from the cubes and cheese toast, we also tried food like the chili crab churros, beef fries, and grilled squid, though they were not as mind-blowing as the first two food item.

Grilled squid on a stickChili crab churrosBeefy friesWhile not too bad tasting, the remainder of the three items didn't really strike us as being totally amazing. The grilled squid, while nice, was served to us cold (eww) while the chili crab churros, were just, churros with chili crab sauce slapped on top. The combination of spicy and sweet just felt off. While you cannot really go wrong with chili beef fries. It was our carb of the night. 

Of course, if you're looking for the old school type of night market food like kebab and Ramli burgers, there are plenty of stalls that sell that as well. There are also numerous other food stalls around that sell different food, but we're already quite full after all the food that we ate, so we did not get a chance to sample all of them. Seriously, this place is worth a few different visits.

For those who want something less... hipster
 Now that we're done with the food part, onwards to drinks!

First on the list, this superbly awesome Super Mango drink!

Instead of super mango, they should have called it majestic mango instead
The drink is not only filled with pure blended mango goodness rather than artificial syrup, it also comes with mango ice-cream and mango slices on top of the drink. As someone who absolutely loves mango but hates how expensive they are, these drink embodies my feelings toward the fruit. It was priced at $8.90 per cup, but it was so totally worth it as it's made to be shared with someone else.

Our other top two picks of drinks are the Butterscotch Float and the Blue Ocean, a mixture of mint, lemon, Blue Lagoon, and soda. Both are absolutely refreshing in the hot weather that is Singapore.

Super refreshing, just like the ocean
Closest you can get to Harry Potter's butterbeer
 Last but not least, a trip to the Geylang Serai Bazaar is not complete with a henna tattoo. The price ranges from $8 to $15 depending on the design, and there are tons of different designs to choose from!

 All in all, the Geylang Serai Bazaar is quite a festive place to experience Singapore's night market culture. It is the biggest one in Singapore and it only happens once per year during the Ramadhan period. Though I must say, the stalls this year looked fewer as there were still many empty spaces when I visited, but I suppose it could be due to it being only the second day of the bazaar.

A lot of empty spaces in some of the tents
But food on the other hand, is always filled with people
Still, Geylang Serai Bazaar 2018 is totally worth the visit, because the food and drinks there are just awesome. Plus it only happens once per year.

Do share what's your favourite part of the bazaar if you happen to visit it!

Friday, May 11, 2018

Thank you for proving me wrong, Malaysia

May 9, 2018 was a historic date for Malaysia, my home country. The place where I grew up in, a place I used to love. It was a date when hope is restored for many Malaysians. The invincible Barisan Nasional (BN), in power for more than six decades, somehow managed to lose the election so utterly and convincingly that there was nothing they could have done to reverse the mandate, short of inciting a full emergency state similar to May 13. This is despite everything that they have done to sabotage the system prior to the election.

For many Malaysians, this was a joyous occasion. Rightfully so. It was a historic first in the country's history, and it proved that despite how some of us may think otherwise, democracy is still alive in Malaysia. The incumbent was outed, replaced by people who have grown so synonymous with the word 'opposition'.

I am one of the cynic few for this election. I will admit that prior to this election, I thought that nothing will change. That my vote will be too insignificant in the grand scheme of things. That ultimately, BN will still claw its way back into power. I have been disappointed once in Pakatan Rakyat, so what difference will Pakatan Harapan make, despite having the juggernaut Mahathir at its helm?

I stayed in Singapore, while many of my friends were energized and making plans to travel back and vote. I indulged in my skepticism, thinking to myself that all these efforts will be wasted eventually. I did not for once thought that BN would lose. Things will just return to status quo the day after the election. I felt that the optimism this time around was misplaced. We will end up being disappointed again.

So I did nothing. I stayed. I kept quiet. You won't be disappointed if you don't allow yourself to hope in the first place, right? Besides, taking leave is troublesome and expensive. Why bother.

How wrong I was. How completely and utterly wrong. By not doing anything, I have excluded myself from a defining historical moment. I cannot tell my kids next time that this is one of the proudest moment in their dad's life, that I have believed in something and stood for it.

If the younger me were to see what I have become today, I am pretty sure he would be sorely disappointed. I used to be so optimistic, so full of hope. The younger me would have gone back to Malaysia and voted without a question. He would have done so much more rather than to give in to hopeless cynism. He would have stayed awake the whole night waiting for the results, and cried out in joy when the results were announced.

What changed?

I guess along the way, I stopped believing. I wanted to say that I grew up, but then I look at people like Lim Kit Siang, Wan Azizah, Anwar and even Mahathir, who are all supposed to be more 'grown up' than me, but yet at the same time they chose and kept on fighting for what they believed in.

Prior to the victory, it would have been logical to question their actions and motivations. To ask them to "grow up". Nothing's going to change, so why bother fighting, I would imagine people asking them time and time again. Why not just quit and do something simpler? Life would be so much easier.

It is something I told myself too when I decided to quit blogging. When I told myself to stay in Singapore. When I took up my safe and comfortable job. When I decided to walk the 'safer' route in life.

I thought I grew up. But in actual sense, I have just stopped believing that dreams are worth fighting for. I became everything that my younger self swore not to become: a cynic.

I suppose a lot of people who fight do not achieve their goals in the end. Many end up losing their everything, even their lives in the process. If BN won on May 9, it would have affirmed the cynic's argument.

"Why bother, you see, fight so hard still lost."

I guess at the end of the day, what matters more is not giving up. Cliche as it sounds, it's the journey that matters. Being able to achieve your goal is only a sweet added advantage. What matters is that you have tried.

Many revolutions and changes were not achieved overnight, with the effort of a single person. Martin Luther King, Gandhi, the apostle Paul, Karpal Singh and many others died before they could see their ambitions realized. For many of us, me included, we would have seen their efforts as wasted if we lived during their time.

Without their first step, however, nothing would have changed. These people did not care whether their goals can be achieved in their lifetime. They believed in something, and they persevered on it. Even giving their lives for the cause.

Is it worth it? I don't know.

I saw Hannah Yeoh's post on Facebook today. Of how she said she chose to stay and fight. I have many friends who shared her thoughts too. I used to scoff at thoughts like these. If there is greener pasture elsewhere, why not take it. If I can enjoy better life elsewhere, why not go for it?

After May 9, I am not sure what to think anymore.

The younger me would have said "I told you so" and he has a good point. I have become a cynic old man in many aspects of my life, losing so much of the drive and passion I used to have. I have devolved into someone who just goes along with the flow, preferring a predictable and comfortable route, instead of someone who used to believe that we are the masters of our own destiny. I simply stopped believing.

May 9 was a good wake up call for me. To show me how much I have changed, how disillusioned I have become. But if someone like Lim Kit Siang, despite facing failures again and again, can keep fighting on, what is my excuse compared to his?

May 9 showed me the power of believing and not giving up, and it was a good lesson.

Thank you for proving me wrong, Malaysia.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Review of some of Tokyo's famous places

So about a month or two ago, November 2017 to be exact, I had the opportunity to visit Tokyo. It was more of a work trip actually, but I had a little time to spare (around a day) and since it was my first time in this famous place, I decided to go on a little solo sightseeing.

Tokyo is one of the largest cities in the world, so finding the idea places to go can be quite intimidating. I combed through several travel blogs, Trip Advisor and Google Maps to figure out which place to go, and after much deliberation, these are the places that I visited. And I must say I am quite happy with the choices.

They are ranked from the must see to the don't see also okay.

1. Tsukiji Fish Market - 5/5

Review: Absolutely loved the experience here, where you can eat fresh live oysters for only 400 to 500 yen, or sample an assortment of other seafood like grilled squid and even crab, all freshly caught. There are also a whole loads of sushi restaurants and cafes, all at an affordable price, where you can try the food Japan is famous for.

Highly recommend to visit for breakfast or lunch (they're closed from 2pm onward). And there you can also shop for souvenirs here as well. My top spot for must-do in Tokyo.

Pro-tip: You don't have to go into the actual market to see the fishes (unless you want to catch the tuna auction) because the nearby outer market - with a collection of different sushi stalls, souvenir shops and fish stores - are more than enough to give you a taste of the awesomeness that is Tsukiji Fish Market.

2. Meiji Jingu Shrine - 5/5

Review: This is easily another of my top tourist attractions in Tokyo, despite me not being able to visit the main temple building due to renovation works. The entire area housing the shrine is huge, where guests need to walk past tall forest trees and gravel roads before reaching the shrine.

The entire area does not feel like the metropolitan Tokyo at all, with it being surrounded by nature. It felt like I was out in the countryside. Really enjoyed the serene and peaceful vibe given off by this place, as well as the fresh air. A good break from the hectic atmosphere of Tokyo where you can just stroll leisurely and admire the nature and historical building.

Just make sure to bring water, some snacks and dress comfortably as there is quite a bit of walking involved.

3. The East Gardens of the Imperial Palace - 4/5

Review: Visited this garden in autumn, which is located just next to the Imperial Palace. The garden itself is incredibly vast, with different sections and remnants from the Edo period. Took me almost two hours to cover the entire garden. Unlike the Imperial Palace that needs a registered guided tour, this garden is open to the public for free, you just have to let guards check your bag and take a visitor pass.

Quite a relaxing place to just walk and relax away from the busy life of Tokyo, admiring the scenery and just people watching. The entire place is serene and quiet, perfect if you enjoy the nature and want to take a step back into history. Imagine the place to look very different according to the seasons. Overall would recommend the place to soak in the Japanese air and nature. Just bring a lot of water to keep yourself hydrated.

4. Senso-ji Temple and Nakamise Shopping Street - 4/5

Review: These two places go together because they're just right next to each other in the Asakusa area. If this is your first time in Japan and you have never visited any Buddhist temples in Japan before, it is a very atmospheric place to experience what the traditional Japanese culture is like.

But if you're like me who have visited different Japanese temples and shrines before, Senso-ji is just like any other temple, albeit a little smaller and not that impressive. There is only one main temple building and garden that is accessible to the public.

The gates make for a good photo op and the shopping street is a good place to buy souvenirs, but otherwise nothing else really stands out. Would highly recommend the Meiji Shrine near Shinjuku instead if you're looking for religious sites and have limited time.

5. Other places

If you still have time, you can consider visiting well-known areas such as Shibuya, Akihabara and Shinjuku, though these places are like an entire area consisting of many shops for shopping, sightseeing or just to soak in the Tokyo atmosphere, rather than a specific place to visit.

The famous hachiko statue and intersection crossing is at Shibuya, though other than that there is not much to see. Akihabara is more for the otaku shopping places while Shinjuku is more for couple or family visit.

Of course, this post is incredibly short and does not cover all of the places in Tokyo like Disneyland or Odaiba, but should be enough if you only have a day or two to spare.

6. Pro-tips when traveling solo in Tokyo

  • The public transport in Tokyo can bring you to almost anywhere you want, though I recommend sticking strictly to the metro and train if you cannot read Japanese. Navigating the bus routes can be quite challenging
  • Buy yourself a Pasmo or Suica card at any train or metro stations. The two electronic cards (which is similar to Ez-Link cards in Singapore) allows you access to almost all public transport modes in Tokyo, and you can use it to purchase things from vending machines too!
  • Get yourself data connection on your phone. Carry a wifi router or buy a SIM card from the airport. Having Google Maps access while on the go helps tremendously
  • Carry a bag or plastic bag around for your trash. Japanese people are extremely clean and all their trash cans are well sorted. If you're confused of where to throw your trash, just keep them all and throw them when you're back in your hotel. If not, try to minimise buying things that generate trash.
  • Lastly, don't be shy! If you need any help, be sure to ask. Japanese people are more than happy to help, even if all you can do is point around and make gestures. I ordered my food several times just by pointing. 
  • PSA: Just don't be a Paul Logan.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is even worse than the prequels. There, I said it

Okay, long rant on Star Wars: The Last Jedi (TLJ) incoming. Major spoilers incoming, so do give this status a skip if you have not watched the movie.

With that said, let's get into the movie.

I hated the fact that they made Luke kissed his sister! And that Darth Vader was Luke's father!

Okay, I kid, but major, spoilers. You have been warned.

I had really high hopes for the movie and the trailer looked good, so I thought The Last Jedi will build and expand on the story set forth by the Force Awakens (TFA), which I felt was really lousy story writing.

But there were interesting premises set forth in TFA, like Snoke's identity and Rey's parents, and I felt TLJ is the chance to at least make the new trilogies right. I didn't like TFA, but decided that TLJ deserved a chance. Maybe the writers had interesting concepts in TFA that are worth exploring. Maybe TLJ will be like Empire Strikes Back.

Except it didn't. It sucked. MAJORLY.

It's like the people in charge of the TLJ story asked themselves what is the best way they can utterly ruin the vast and rich story of the Star Wars universe and decided to do even worse. The whole TLJ story felt like the storywriters decided to take a huge dump on all the lore that the Star Wars universe has been patiently building over the decades.

The movie is okay if you watch it as a standalone movie. They have a lot of intense moments. The acting is enjoyable to watch and the visuals are breathtaking. But it isn't. The good things in the movie can't even begin to save the cons. I hated A LOT of things in the movie.

Again, major spoilers.

Here are the things I hate:

1. The might of the First Order (FO) and the lame-ass Resistance

A lot of questions are left unanswered about the FO. How did they get so powerful? How after the destruction of the two Death Stars, the decisive battle of Jakku with the Rebel Alliance's victory, can the remnants of the Empire still be so powerful? And you would have imagined that with the destruction of the Starkiller base, the FO would at least be weakened, but no.

In TLJ, the FO still has control over so many starships while the Resistance is reduced to one pitiful Cruiser. And at the end of the movie, only like less than 40 members of the Resistance remained. The current state of the Resistance is even worse than when the Rebels Phoenix series first started. It is not logical at all how a force that has been consistently scoring so many victories be left in such a sad state?

It feels like all the past victories against the Empire and FO counted towards nothing. TLJ essentially spat at everything that the good guys achieved. Or what we thought they achieved. The sheer strength of the FO doesn't make even the slightest sense in the established lore of Star Wars.

I know you would want to make your enemy as scary and intimidating as possible, but the FO is just absurd.

Maybe the writer of TLJ might as well be a stormtrooper in hiding.

2. All the unnecessary deaths, ala GOT style

Snoke, Luke, and almost the entire Resistance got killed off in this movie. Which I really don't understand the need to. I know the writers are really hung up on the "Let the past die" part, like the emo Kylo Ren they are, but they felt poorly handled.

Like Snoke, for example. You spend so much time building him up in TFA, cast him in such mystery, have everyone question his identity for two years, then give a big middle finger to the fans but having him killed off in such a pathetic way. No battles, nothing. Just a stupid cheap lightsaber trick.

Again, the writers of TLJ didn't even have an ounce of concern over what the story has achieved so far.

Luke's death also felt forced. If I would have done it, and if I would want Luke to die, I would have let him left up his X-Wing from the sea, travel to the planet and go out Obi Wan style when Kylo Ren struck him.

It would have been such a strong symbolism, having him lift the X-Wing after meeting Yoda, showing how much he has progressed since his day at Dagobah, and then letting him go out like his master. But nope, instead, he force projected himself and came up with a cheap hologram trick instead.

And don't even get me started on how they off-ed Admiral Ackbar and the whole leadership of the Resistance. Do these people have some sort of grudge against anything that has to do with the past of the films? Their deaths all felt forced, shoe-horned in. The most ironic thing is how they could have killed off Leia as well, but for some deus ex machina reason chose to only retain her out of all the old cast. Oops.

I have a lot more dislikes about the movie.

Like how Captain Phasma is again a token character. Nuff said.

How Finn and Rose travelling to the casino world can completely be omitted from the movie without making a difference. And how they are essentially the reason all the transport ships got destroyed. I mean, shouldn't have them been let in on the plan to use the cruiser as a decoy, so they don't accidentally cause the demise of the rest of the Resistance forces? Plus Poe, Finn and Rose should be tried as mutineers who put the whole plan to jeopardy.

How Rey's parents' identity felt like a giant troll move to the fans. You don't tease so much of her ability in TFA and then choose to say, "Uh-huh, we're just kidding. Rey's parents are no one!" It really felt like the decision to make her parents no one is a last minute move.

In short, they rushed the entire "let the past die" premise. It felt forced and unnecessary, like they just wanted to start anew without caring how logical the new story would turn out. Without caring how TLJ fit into the whole Star Wars universe.

This is my biggest gripe of the whole film: TLJ writers are not really fans of the Star Wars franchise. Maybe that's why there's such huge discrepancy between the critics and the fans' score on Rotten Tomatoes.

If I could say, TLJ felt worse than the prequels. At least the prequel's storyline made sense.

Monday, December 11, 2017

By My Side (JinnyBoyTV, 2017) Movie Review

I bought this movie from iTunes because I wanted to support JinnyBoy's first movie and it's probably my best purchase off iTunes. Granted, it's my only purchase off iTunes, but still, JinnyBoy did amazingly well for this movie. #MalaysianCinemaGotHope

The story mirrors the premise of the widely popular Taiwanese film Apple of My Eye (那些年,我們一起追的女孩), a story our first loves and growing up, this time told from a Malaysian's point of view.

The story hit home on a lot of fronts, about how we eventually grow apart, how we move on in life and how things change in life, and manages to balance out the humour and the emotions. Watching the movie made me think back on the path that I had taken since leaving Malaysia, and how life had changed so much since the last I was in the white and green uniform.

Love how the story got told, simple but yet strong on the message at the same time, and how they concluded the story. The movie didn't feel the need to explain everything in it, they just show the important parts and leave it to the audience to fill in the blanks. No long boring expositions.

Really beautiful and tear-jerking. The 2 hours of the film felt too short, to be honest, but I guess this is what good stories do. They always leave you wanting more. It got me sad too, reminiscing of my own story, my own regrets and what-ifs. But like how we choose to look at life sometimes, I like how the story ended off with a hopeful but yet bittersweet ending. That our first love is but a chapter in our life. It is not the end, you just have to just keep flipping the pages.

I highly recommend it for my fellow Malaysians who left our home to find a better life elsewhere and also to anyone who has been through relationships and goodbyes. And a very well done to JinnyboyTV for putting up such a superb movie. $20 well spent.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Disney / Pixar's Coco (2017) Film Review

"Watch this movie, I tell ya!"

This movie was wholesome and entertaining.

It's a shame that Disney/Pixar didn't put more money into publicizing this movie, as it has a solid story and cinematography from the start, balancing all the light and heavy parts in a way that only Pixar knows how. Of course, wonderful twist as well.

Would easily rate it a 9/10 - my only complaint was that climax was resolved rather quickly and expectedly - but it was minor compared to how the story looked as a whole. Loved the colours and culture, loved the relatable story and loved the message of family and memories.

Definitely a Christmas movie worth watching with your loved ones. Tearjerker moments involved as well.

P/s: I  think this is way better than Thor: Ragnarok and Justice League.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Justice League (2017) Film Review

[Spoiler-free review]

Went in expecting a mess like BvS, given the fairly negative reviews, but walked out somewhat satisfied that they didn't completely burn the whole movie down and am somewhat looking forward to the next one in the series, which should be more or less confirmed given the end credit scene.

(P/s: There are two end credits scenes so be sure to sit all the way to the end!)

Personally, I liked this movie more compared to Thor: Ragnarok, which was too comedic for me. I felt that there was a good balance between the dark and light elements in the film, contrary to the consistently dark theme that is the signature of Synder's films. Thank God they brought in Whedon, I guess.

The story is coherent without the film trying to inject too many tidbits and I enjoyed the team dynamics of the group. Miller's Flash is quite the comic relief while Momoa's Aquaman is just badass. Out of the entire group, I think that Miller and Momoa are cast quite aptly - Gadot's Wonder Woman is also without a question also one of the best cast - but Batman, Superman, and Cyborg are just meh. But 3/6, so I guess it's not too bad.

The final fight scene is a bit of disappointment, will elaborate later, but on a whole, I enjoyed watching the movie, unlike BvS where I was squirming in my seat. Between Avengers and Justice League, I would currently prefer Justice League now, because when it comes to movies, I prefer a little sense of realism in it.

Justice League, for now, is able to straddle this balance. There are deaths in the movie when the bad guy attacks and you can feel that there is a stake involved. Unlike the Marvel movies where the entire New York can get attacked with not even one mention of casualties, I prefer the approach that Justice League took. That you know, there are costs and loses when heroes fight.

Just don't go the Synder extreme of extremely dark and imposing.

Now on to the spoiler review.

[Spoilers ahead]

Thanos is secretly Thor's older brother. Just look at their names. Okay, but jokes aside, this review is gonna have spoilers. You have been warned.

I didn't like how Superman is constantly being portrayed as so OP in the movie. It's like the team could not function or defeat any bad guys without him. The film is about the Justice League, not Superman's League.

When Batman suggested bringing Superman back and when the presence of Superman essentially won the entire final boss fight which the whole team was struggling with, it kinda killed the mood of the movie. I mean like you guys are useless without Superman?

I mean I know how Superman is literally like the DC God, but seriously, his OP-ness is just taking the fun away from the movie. I would really love to see how each team member brings their own weight to the fight and having Superman carry the entire team is boring. If I want to see 1 person carry the entire team I would have watched a Dota Match.

Still, there are many nice moments in this movie. The part where the badass looking Aquaman started blurting out all his true feelings without knowing that he was sitting on the lasso of truth, it makes the movie feels so much more authentic and relatable. That these people are in fact a team. And it was fun to watch. That scene is perhaps the most memorable out of the entire movie to me.

I also liked how the movie featured the plight of a normal family living near the lair of the bad guy and how essentially the superheroes are their only hope of staying alive. Rather than just portray everything from the heroes' perspective, the movie chooses to highlight how all the big fights impact the lives of the smaller people, which I feel is something that is unique to the DC films, and drives home the theme of how a superhero fits in a world of normal people.

[Spoilers end]

Tbh, I do enjoy the direction that the Justice League movie took and I think it's worth watching. I just hope Synder won't turn it all around and make another cringey movie that is Batman vs Superman again.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

[Short Story - Lame] Fastest Reaction

Original Prompt: You have one of the fastest reaction in the world. Your body reacts to something before your mind even realizes it. One day, your hands start doing the motion as if you were catching something. But you couldn't catch it. You do this for many years. After 10 years, you finally succeed.


"You know, if you're feeling cold, you can head into my house and warm up. My parents aren't home," Lucy smiled as she said that. Her finger twirled in her blond hair.

My heart skipped a beat seeing her smile. Out of all the girls in school, Lucy had the most radiant of them all. I looked into her house, then back to her. My hands dug deeper into my jacket. Lucy's invitation was tempting, but my mum's lessons on being a gentleman echoed in my mind.

I shook my head. "Nah, it's okay. Wouldn't be good if I do that."

"Oh," Lucy simply said, before going back into her house. Her smile was no longer there. "Goodbye then."

"Goodbye," I tried to say, but the door closed in front of me. I walked away, feeling proud of myself. It was a good date that evening. I had brought Lucy to the skating rink and the movies, and we both enjoyed our time together.

A few feet away from her house, however, my hands started to swing upwards, as if it was trying to catch something. It happened every fifteen minutes or so, palms outstretched, but never catching anything. And it continued throughout the weekend, then months, which evolved into years.

The condition baffled my parents and I. Doctors were not able to come up with an answer as well. Because of it, I was withdrawn from school, and I never saw Lucy again.

It was not until 10 years later, when I was browsing an AskReddit post, arms flinging beside me, when it hit me.

"She was asking me to go into her house so we could make out!" I shouted, alone in my mum's basement. My arm stopped shooting upwards, finally catching Lucy's intention.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

[Short Story - Action] Kidnapped Heroine

"What?" Captain Justice's face contorted into a shape that I had never seen before. I could hear him breathing heavily, perhaps trying to keep his anger under control. Probably the first time someone ever talked back to him. But as the constantly kidnapped victim, I figured that I had at least earned that right.

"You've heard me," I said as I freed my hands from the ropes that bound me earlier. "Since you're complaining so much, let me be the hero instead. You be the kidnapped heroine."

Captain Justice opened his mouth to say something, closed it, and walked away. He kicked one of El Loso's thugs in the process, sending the poor guy crashing through the nearest cubicle. Groans of pain followed. At least someone was having a worse week than mine.

I followed Captain Justice to the edge of the floor, near the broken window that he broke through. He was staring at the skyline below, the great city of Ipoh, the city under Captain Justice's watchful eyes. I could tell that he was still unhappy at my earlier outburst.

"Look, I'm sorry for what I said earlier," I placed my hands on his shoulder and squeezed it. "I shouldn't have asked you to be the kidnapped heroine instead."

"Besides, even if you're kidnapped, I'm sure you'll be out in a jiffy," I chucked at my own joke, trying to lighten the mood. It has been a long day for the both of us. El Loso, one of the Captain's many enemies, tried to turn the city's residents into Human Tacos for his latest plan.

To delay the Captain, he kidnapped me as a distraction. The fifth person to do so in a week. Unfortunately for El Loso, he severely miscalculated the Capatin's superspeed, and like many before him, was given a good beating even before he could say 'What?'

Captain Justice shook his head, still refusing to look at me. "You're right. For someone without powers, I cannot even begin to imagine how would you feel if you're constantly kidnapped to be used a a leverage against me. You have every right to be angry at me."

"Well, it's not that I-"

"Shhh." The Captain placed his finger on my lips. I felt the warmth of my blood rushing to my cheeks, as my heartbeat increased. He leaned in close to me. I could smell the sweat, and had to resist the temptation to run my hand down his back. Despite the inconveniences of being kidnapped, I did enjoy the thrill of being saved by perhaps the most eligible bachelor in the city.

"You have a right to be angry. And I am sorry for complaining about you being kidnapped every time by my enemies. They do think that you're my girlfriend, after all," the Captain whispered, his voice suddenly as sweet as honey. His finger moved from my lips to my hair. "I know how to finally make things right."

My heart wanted burst out in anticipation. I had hoped that all those kidnappings would be worth it, and finally it was coming true. "Are you asking me to be your girlfriend?" I gasped.

The Captain grinned. "No. I'm solving both our problems."

Before I could react, I felt a strong push from my back.

"Goodbye," I heard the Captain whisper, as I lost my balance and plunged from the 67th floor of the building.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

[Short Story - Wholesome] The Secret in the Ring

I still remember the day we exchanged rings. I asked Michelle if there was any reason why mine was thicker than hers, but yet lighter at the same time. She laughed it off, said that I was thinking too much, and threatened to leave me for her pet Maltese if I continued to pester her with stupid questions.

I responded by pulling her into my arms, locked her lips in mine, and shouted the loudest 'Yes' in my life. And that was it. The ring followed me ever since, for fifty straight years, right until the day Michelle passed away.

Looking at how the ring broke into two, I finally understood. Why my ring felt lighter than hers, even though it was supposed to be made of solid gold. It was hollow inside, with a note hidden in it.

"My love, if you're reading this, then I must be dead," the note read, in a handwriting that was painfully familiar. It was amazing how Michelle managed to fit a piece of paper into a place so tiny, but that was Michelle for me. Always slipping surprises into places that you would least expect. Lunch boxes, freshly ironed clothes pockets, even in my toothpaste tube.

"Just wanted you to know that marrying you was the best decision in my life, I love you," the note ended. Oh Michelle, even in death you're still able to surprise me. I put down the note on the table, my chest suddenly feeling heavy. The house never felt quieter, lonelier.

I never knew how much I would miss the sound of her voice nagging me to eat breakfast, the sight of her sitting in her favourite chair, the smell of her favourite shampoo. All I was left with were the memories with her. A bittersweet reminder of what I no longer have.

I picked up the note, wanting to read the message again. As the note hovered over the window, I noticed writings on the other page of the paper. I flipped the note to see another sentence written on the other side. "But if you happen to find this note a little too early, then oops! Still love you! <3 p="">
The date was signed on 14 September 1965. The date of our wedding. Michelle had written the note on our wedding date, not knowing when I would find it. I chuckled at the message. It was one of the many small little pranks she would play. "Looks like I found this just when you intended," I muttered, looking at the urn beside me.

I folded the small note, and placed it in a box together with the gifts that she has given me over the years.

The note in the ring was not the only note Michelle left me. Over the course of the next few months, I kept finding other notes around the house, hidden in places that Michelle knew I would not approach when she was alive. In the washing machine, the cabinet where she kept her sewing kit, the drawer filled with our bills.

The notes were more elaborate than the one in my ring, detailing experiences that we once shared. "Remember how you swore never to touch the washing machine after the mini flood you created?" read the note she had placed in the detergent box. It was like she had prepared for this her whole life.

I kept all of the notes in her box, labeling the place where I found them carefully. When it is my turn to leave, I will bring Michelle's box with me, together with all the notes, so that when I see her again, we can laugh and talk about all of them, just like how we have always done.


Original prompt: It has been a year since your spouse mysteriously died. You are fidgeting with your wedding ring when a compartment opens and a note falls out. It starts, "My Love. If you are reading this, I must be dead...


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