Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Fighter

In the spirit of the 2012 Olympics and multiple Facebook posts about how people have headed to London, here's my contribution to the sporting world... in the form of music. I'm a sucker for inspirational songs (hence, why I do so well in Body Combat classes... haha), and this song has a great beat. In fact, it's the track that I cool down too.

Also, Ryan Tedder is a musical genius and I want to have musical genius babies with him.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Drown Your Troubles in Coffee

Picture found on: ddiar
"Coffee is real good when you drink it. It gives you time to think. It's a lot more than just a drink; it's something happening. Not as in hip, but like an event, a place to be, but not like a location, but somewhere within yourself. It gives you time, but not actual hours or minutes, but a chance to be yourself and have a second cup."- Gertrude Stein
Lattes. Mochas. Iced Coffees. Frappacinos. I am not exactly certain why I find coffee so appealing. I know I love to drink it. Maybe it's the hidden philosopher in me, just waiting for the caffeine to spark some inspiration into my day. I saw it as a necessity to get through university, and now drinking the beverage is required for me to face those early mornings before heading into work. To be honest, I find it hard to drink a full cup of coffee in the mornings. My stomach isn't awake enough to process any solids or liquids at that stage. It is also the reason why I sometimes skip breakfast (Yes, I know that's a big no-no!). But I can never resist having just a smidgen of coffee, this ensures that you will receive the a happy-chappy Sabrina in the mornings. 

Unfortunately, all the coffees I've had the pleasure of tasting have been good to mediocre. Save for only one occasion when there was a Starbucks just around the corner from the building that I used to work in in Singapore - oh yes, I was a frequent frappacino girl. The cream, coffee beans, caramel syrup, and sugar high was a beverage dream for a sweet-tooth lass like myself. And with the severe humidity that was present, downing that icey-cold goodness was heaven. 

I revel in the warm, fuzzy feeling you receive when you take that first sip. Oh, the fuzziness is glorious! As well as the air of elegance and calm that surrounds a cup of coffee. A chance to think and be by yourself. Although, it also has many great advantages for social situations.

Me: "Let's catch up over coffee."
You: "Okay, sounds great."

It is a general consensus that coffee plays a vital importance in human life. But whatever the reason one may have for their love of coffee, everybody should harness their inner peace and have a cuppa. Who knows what brilliance lurks behind the caffeine? In fact, I just might have one right now.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Embrace the Mess

Source of pic: 
"What are you going to do? Everything, is my guess. It will be a little messy but embrace the mess. It will be complicated, but rejoice in the complications. It will not be anything like what you think it will be like, but surprises are good for you. And don't be frightened: you can always change your mind. I know: I've had four careers and three husbands."- Nora Ephron, 1996 Graduating class of Wellesly College, Massachusetts 
I've been feeling a bit lost lately. Whilst everyone seems to have their lust for life still in tact, I'm a bit flat - like when someone has forgotten to screw the cap on the 1.5l Coke bottle at a house party. In the midst of wrapping up my final exams for university and my degree, my motivation for anything that resembles aspiration or fun has been lacking. Yes, I've finished my degree I expected to be overcome with all sorts of elation. (As I type this, I received a graduation confirmation email from my university.) Sure, I danced my way out of my last exam, but what next? Do I really see myself in a office for the rest of my life? Dealing with difficult demands, paper, filing, photocopying, running down to the local court before 4pm... Urgh, Just thinking about it is creating goosebumps on my body.

Much of my time has been spent trying to get to this point - the point of completion, and now that I'm finally here, I am scared at what is (and what may not be) in my future. But mostly, I'm scared that I won't be able to achieve my potential, and that I will sit back on the sidebenches never being able to play in the main game. I'd wander through life from job to job, never finding the right fit. Never enjoying or loving what I do. Never being the best at anything.

The above quote is from the late Nora Ephron; part of a beautiful and humourous speech made to the graduating class of 1996 at Wellesly College, You can read it in full here. Most of her words are intended to empower the women in the graduating class. I found comfort in her words. Comfort in knowing that things will be messy and complicated - the most important thing is to embrace and survive it. These are meant to be the best years of my life, and maybe I do need to take a chill pill. So with that said, I am determined to make the second half of this year the most enjoyable I've had. People are always saying to me that they wished they didn't start work immediately, and that they would have wanted to take some time out for themselves. I agree. For me, travel is that comfort. And with India and Singapore waiting from me, I'm sure I can leave the self-doubt in the air for a while, until I return to reality. And maybe then, I'll have a clearer picture of where my life is headed.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Why Can't You Be Alone Without Yoko?

Picture found on: collthings
"Interviewer: Why can’t you be alone without Yoko?

John Lennon: But I can be alone without Yoko, but I just have no wish to be. There’s no reason on earth why I should be alone without Yoko. There’s nothing more important than our relationship, nothing. And we dig being together all the time. Both of us could survive apart but what for? I'm not going to sacrifice love, real love for any whore or any friend or any business, because in the end you’re alone at night and neither of us want to be. and you can’t fill a bed with groupies. It doesn’t work. I don't want to be a swinger. I’ve been through it all and nothing works better than to have someone you love hold you."
Everytime I think about John Lennon, I think of Yoko Ono. John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Their names can't be said without saying or thinking about the other. And although the Beatles were well before my time, I've come to appreciate their music and, in particular, love their story. I suppose the thing I love about their relationship is how they faced their adversities with as much love and courage as possible. Many parts of the music world frowned on their relationship and avid fans of The Beatles having blamed Yoko for the 'break-up'of the group. But, in spite of all of it, they still lived their lives by promoting peace and love throughout the world.

I can only hope to live a life and experience love like theirs - turbulent, wonderful, idealistic, right up to the bitter end. And isn't that what everyone wants in some way or another? Why wouldn't you want that? Why wouldn't you give up a current life of loneliness for a lifetime of happiness? There is no reason as to why anyone should be alone, knowing that their other half is there waiting with open arms. There is a comfort in the concept of 'soulmates'- a belief that living in this world doesn't have to be done alone.

For me, their relationship was a refreshing sense of the love they wanted to share with the world; their reconcilement, a testament to how strong their love for each other was. And deep down, I firmly believe everyone wants to find their other half, somewhere, somehow. To be known in their own special way, as a 'John Lennon and Yoko Ono'.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Goodbye Shantaram.. [EXPLORED]
Source of picture: Socceraholic
"It is forgiveness that makes us what we are. Without forgiveness, our species would've annihilated itself in endless retributions. Without forgiveness, there would be no history. Without that hope, there would be no art, for every work of art is in some way an act of forgiveness. Without that dream, there would be no love, for every act of love is in some way a promise to forgive. We live on because we can love, and we love because we can forgive."
If there is one thing I hope for those who live in a perpetual state of discomfort, it is for the opportunity to find something or someone that changes their life for the better. Shantaram was my holy grail and it is by far the most soul inspiring book I've read to date. I urge everyone to find the time to read its many pages of Sufi wisdom, hope and faith. It took me just over a year to complete it but patience shouldn't be a terrible burden on those who want to read of stories great and grand. This book brings the meaning and importance of life, love, war, and friendship to untapped aspects of our hearts and souls.

It was difficult to choose just one quote to put at the beginning of this post. I settled on a passage Gregory David Roberts wrote anecdotally of being in a notorious Indian prison. He faced a wealth of terrible situations that were enough to destroy a human's mind and physical being. It was here that he gave great emphasis to the concept of 'forgiveness'. His many battles had taught him something fundamental about himself - not necessarily discovering it in the immediate aftermath of his consequences but in his conversations and connections with acquaintances, lovers, and other like-minded Indian companions who faced similar circumstances, or worse. And that is: forgiveness is a choice we always have, and when needed, acts as a weapon of freedom in its own right. 

The contours of our virtues are shaped by adversity.

As Roberts admits in one interview, a large majority of this book is fiction. But having said that, the basic ideas behind the pages are based on the culture, spirit and heart of India. In addition, Gregory's immediate connection to the country itself attributed to his adapting so quickly - having escaped from an Australian prison and finding himself in the welcoming arms of the Indian people. In times of sorrow, he found he had been blessed. He is able to give great examples of what the human mind and heart is capable of doing in times of distress; how our relationships are forged (as well as broken) with each decision that we make, and how our choices end up defining who we are as a person, a friend, a lover, and a fighter.

After reading the book, I jumped onto YouTube and sought out all the interviews that he gave to the media. My favourite is a speech he gave at a charity function, and it can be found here (it has been broken up into 6 parts but they can be easily followed). Furthermore, I have heard rumours that his sequel to Shantaram will be released sometime this year. I have my many fingers crossed.

*I'm extremely apologetic for the lack of posts in the last month. My internet connection decided to wander off into oblivion, leaving me utterly devastated that I couldn't watch all my favourite American TV shows online.

Saturday, March 3, 2012


And once again, I apologise profusely for the delayed posts. My internet has been having a tantrum for the past 2 weeks, so I haven't been able to post anything substantial online before the connection goes loco. But in saying that, I have been more productive with my time... listening to more music, doing my homework, and watching my TV shows on the actual TV instead of streaming it at my own leisure.

Matchbox Twenty is one of my favourite bands from the 90's and I'm glad they are still kicking around to release their 5th studio album this year. I heard this song being played in the background of a show and immediately realised how much I loved it when it was first released during Rob Thomas' solo run. It's one of those feel good songs about forgiving, forgetting and starting afresh - something that I always look forward to in those moments of frustration and sadness.

Also, Rob Thomas isn't that bad to look at in this clip...

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Love Is

Picture found on: shahirzag
"It had flaws, but what does that matter when it comes to matters of the heart? We love what we love. Reason does not enter into it. In many ways, unwise love is the truest love. Anyone can love a thing because. That's as easy as putting a penny in your pocket. But to love something despite? To know the flaws and love that too? That is rare and pure and perfect."- Patrick Rothfuss
This post may be a week or so late but surely there's no time limit on the celebration of love, is there? I hope everyone had a lovely day on Valentines Day (yes, I'm well aware that I will die a lonely old spinster but my intentions are good and pure, with not a hint of malice when I say that). Anywho, I should digress. On that particular day of love, I found myself eavesdropping on a conversation that was taking place behind me as I sat on the train. A young man is chatting away on the phone to, what I concluded to be, his gym buddy. His high profile talk went somewhat along the lines of this:

Loud Young Man: "Yeah mate, I bought her a bunch of roses that set me back a couple of paychecks. I also ordered a large novelty sized teddy bear. You know, the ones that are bigger than humans? Yeah, I got her that. She was complaining last year because I didn't get her anything. So I just got her stuff she'd like.... Yeah mate, I know... Yeah what can you do, you know?"

Needless to say, it was one of the few enchanting moments I've had whilst commuting back from work. I'd like to think that this moment isn't a reflection of the 'true meaning'of V Day. (Although that conversation and the copious amounts of Facebook posts denouncing the integrity of the holiday by blaming Hallmark and similar companies, may say otherwise.) But it's funny, isn't it? That love can be expressed in all sorts of ways - including it's expression in material form. But we love what we love. And if our love has to be shown through chocolate covered hearts, cringeworthy messages of love in cards, or a human sized teddy bear? Then so be it. It's cheesy, yes. But I can deal with one day of corniness for the knowledge that love is palpable. Love exists. Love is.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

27 Rules For Conquering The Gym

Source of picture:

Whilst heading to my Sunday morning Body Combat class, I couldn't help but trumble through this particular Tumblr blog for last minute inspiration...

  1. A gym is not designed to make you feel instantly better about yourself. If a gym wanted to make you feel instantly better about yourself, it would be a bar.
  2. Give yourself a goal. Maybe you want to lose 10 pounds. Maybe you want to quarterback the New York Jets into the playoffs. But be warned: Losing 10 pounds is hard.
  3. Develop a gym routine. Try to go at least three times a week. Do a mix of strength training and cardiovascular conditioning. After the third week, stop carrying around that satchel of fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies.
  4. No one in the history of gyms has ever lost a pound while reading “The New Yorker” and slowly pedaling a recumbent bicycle. No one.
  5. Bring your iPod. Don’t borrow the disgusting gym headphones, or use the sad plastic radio attachment on the treadmill, which always sounds like it’s playing Kenny Loggins from a sewer.
  6. Don’t fall for gimmicks. The only tried-and-true method to lose 10 pounds in 48 hours is food poisoning.
  7. Yes, every gym has an overenthusiastic spinning instructor who hasn’t bought a record since “Walking on Sunshine.”
  8. There’s also the Strange Guy Who is Always at the Gym. Just when you think he isn’t here today…there he is, lurking by the barbells.
  9. "Great job!” is trainer-speak for “It’s not polite for me to laugh at you.”
  10. Beware a hip gym with a Wilco step class.
  11. Gyms have two types of members: Members who wipe down the machines after using them, and the worst people in the universe.
  12. Nope, that’s not a “recovery energy bar with antioxidant dark chocolate.” That’s a chocolate bar.
  13. Avoid Unsolicited Advice Guy, who, for the small fee of boring you to death, will explain the proper method for any exercise in 45 minutes or longer.
  14. You can take 10 Minute Abs, 20 Minute Abs, and 30 Minute Abs. There is also Stop Eating Pizza and Eating Sheet Cake Abs—but that’s super tough!
  15. If you’re motivated to buy an expensive home exercise machine, consider a “wooden coat rack.” It costs $40, uses no electricity and does the exact same thing.
  16. There’s the yoga instructor everyone loves, and the yoga instructor everyone hates. Memorize who they are.
  17. If you see an indoor rock climbing wall, you’re either in a really cool gym or a romantic comedy starring Kate Hudson.
  18. Be cautious about any class with the words “sunrise,” “hell,” or “Moby.”
  19. If a gym class is going to be effective, it’s hard. If you’re relaxed and enjoying yourself, you’re at brunch.
  20. If you need to bring your children, just let them loose in the silent meditation class. Nobody minds, and kids love candles.
  21. Don’t buy $150 sneakers, $100 yoga pants, and $4 water. Muscle shirts are for people with muscles, and rhythm guitarists.
  22. Fancy gyms can be seductive, but once you get past the modern couches and fresh flowers and the water with lemon slices, you’re basically paying for a boutique hotel with B.O.
  23. Everyone sees you secretly racing the old people in the pool.
  24. If you’re at the point where you’ve bought biking shoes for the spinning class, you may as well go ahead and buy an actual bike. It’s way more fun and it doesn’t make you listen to C+C Music Factory.
  25. Fact: Thinking about going to the gym burns between 0 and 0 calories.
  26. A successful gym membership is like a marriage: If it’s good, you show up committed and ready for hard work. If it’s not good, you show up in sweatpants and watch a lot of bad TV.
  27. There is no secret. Exercise and lay off the fries. The end.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

This Too Shall Pass

Source of picture: hien1234

"Everything passes, and we do eventually get out from under the things and people that have burdened us. More precisely, we outlive our memories of them." - Andrei Bitov
Everything passes. The dreaded harrowing feelings that accompany our pain, our loss, and our moments of weakness and vulnerability. Memory is a powerful thing. We find ourselves reminiscing of better times, when bouts of euphoria are needed in our everyday mundane lives. Or it could have the opposite effect; reliving terrible pain, lost hope, and the toxic habit of replaying the events over in our minds until we collapse into a messy heap.

But our minds don't have to function in this manner. That's the beauty in memory fading. We can utilise its power and overcome burdens that terrorise our minds. Of course, this does not come without struggle. Everybody struggles and more than once, we can find ourselves stuck in the same pattern of sad moments. But we learn  from those moments, we learn to move on, and eventually we do our very best to grow out of the sorrow and heartbreak - with the external love and support that is offered to us. That is something important to remember. This too, and others, shall pass. Always.

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Happiest Refugee

Source of picture:
"There are only two times in life: there's now and there's too late."
I've once again found myself reading the "learned" comments on Facebook about new immigrants to Australia. Those who are close to me know that I hold this issue very close to my heart and become very quick tempered to those who strongly disagree with me. I don't care for the pointless ill-informed debates that appear on my News Feed. Instead, I choose to read about true accounts of those that have fled hardship first-hand and try to understand what it is like to live an unfortunate life - although I do admit it would have to take more than simply reading to fully immerse oneself to the horrors in this world.

A couple of weeks ago, I read The Happiest Refugee written by a well known Vietnamese-born Australian comedian, Anh Do. And yes, it was a heartbreaking heartwarming story. His story has the power to be inspiring not only to refugees but the human spirit as well. And I'm sure that many of those who pick up this book will feel Anh's accomplishment just the same. What I found particularly interesting about The Happiest Refugee was not so much the focus on the journey to Australia, but rather a family's personal struggle when arriving to Australia. Anh tells his story of growing up with an unfortunate childhood - an abusive father, a mum raising her children by herself as a result, as well as tremendous sacrifices that every family member made for everyone's behalf.

I once read that every one of our stories - no matter who we are or what we have experienced - are the same, just simply told from different perspectives. Regardless of our race, religion or background, we all have similar stories about trepidations and heartbreak; albeit to varying degrees. So the idea that people have difficulty (for whatever reason) in understanding others plights, still baffles me to a great extent.

But I suppose there's always hope in changing people's perspectives. It is difficult but not impossible.  And it is something that charities and organisations work on every single day. We should all muster the effort and responsibility to understand each other - to have and show compassion to those who deserve and need it the most.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Gonna Get Over You

I have been beaten by a truckload of university work this week (all of it brought on by myself) and with it comes my personal apologise for the late post. This little video by Sara Bareilles (one of my favourite singer/songwriters) is cute and quirky. She sings about heartbreak but her emotions are juxtaposed against a catchy upbeat tune that, on initial thought, doesn't seem to fit the mood. Plus the dark eyeliner, quiffed hair, and pink lipstick is hard to get past. I'm trying this look out on my next night out...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Our Screwed-Up Baggage

"As I say the words, I realize how true they are. And maybe that's the trick to getting through it, through life: realizing that everybody, including ourselves, is lugging around some kind of screwed-up baggage. Maybe we are put here to help each other carry the loads." - Lisa Ann Sandell, A Map of the Known World
A couple of years ago, Juan Mann set out on a mission to brighten people's day with the simple act of a hug. He took to the streets armed only with... his arms and a giant sign that read "FREE HUGS". Of course, this became a massive YouTube phenomenon, and as a result of its popularity, there have been many adaptations of the campaign throughout the world. His official website can be found here along with a video that showcases his interactions with the public - some turning away but many jumping to the occasion. 

I adore giving and receiving hugs, especially from someone I haven't been in contact with for a long time. And, if welcomed, the random stranger every now and again doesn't hurt either. The feel of someone throwing their arms around you, enveloping all that you are in the act of a physical embrace, has the power to change your day - complete with the feeling of being loved and wanted. All of us living on this planet can always offer more than just that of our own selfish desires at any given time. We all have the ability to help and support one another with their 'baggage', no matter the weight of our own.

And according to my Twitter feed, it is National Hug Day here in Australia. How fitting! Have you given someone a hug today?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Road Not Taken

Picture found on: wehearit

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same, 

And both that morning equally lay 
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference

- Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Cruel Gift

Source of picture: James Nord
"People who have only good experiences aren't very interesting. They may be content, and happy after a fashion, but they aren't very deep. It may seem a misfortune now, and it makes things difficult, but well- it's easy to feel all the happy, simple stuff. Not that happiness is ncessarily simple. But I don't think you're overwhelmed by the bad patches. You must not let them defeat you. You must see them as a gift - a cruel gift, but a gift nonetheless" - Peter Cameron, Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You
I once had this crazy, superfluous idea that other people's experiences of life were far better than my own. They always seem to come across as more fortunate than I was. In addition to that thought, I was convinced that if they ever should find themselves in a position where they had to struggle for something, they wouldn't have to struggle all that much.

But I know now that that is far from the truth. After many deep reflections of oneself over the past couple of years (and a recent reading of a particularly inspiring novel), I can conclude that all of our experiences - be they good or bad - are equally important as one another. And to envy those who only have good experiences is quite a wasteful way to spend my time. For a fulfilling life, we need a combination of worthwhile experiences as well as those that find us beaten and worn down. They make up who we are, and most importantly, shape our outlook on life. And those who only have good experiences may be content, but they aren't as well-received as those who turn their ill-luck into learning blocks. 

Happiness is rarely simple, although I try to find ways in which to find happiness in everything. But there's also something to be had from bad moments. And maybe one day, I may learn to find the fortune in my misfortunes - to see all my experiences as gifts in all their glorious shapes and forms. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The God Of Small Things

Source of picture: phobus
"Perhaps it's true that things can change in a day. That a few dozen hours can affect the outcome of whole lifetimes. And that when they do, those few dozen hours, like the salvagted remains of a burned house - the charred clock, the singed photograph, the scorched furniture - must be resurrected from the ruins and eamined. Preserved. Accounted for. Little events, ordinary things, smashed and reconstrued. Imbued with new meaning. Suddenly they become the bleached bones of a story."
I am on a crusade to read every single book that has won the Man Booker Literary Award Prize since the event was created, starting with Roy's The God of Small Things. The book itself is quite tragic (a necessary element to win a Man Booker prize so it seems). But a beautiful sort of tragic nonetheless.

There's no surprise that I love books that explore love and the meaning of it. What can I say, I am a romantic at heart, in soul, and in body. One of the major underlying themes of the book is forbidden love and the disheartening consequences that can follow. The type of love that can't be felt, seen, or acknowledged openly, and the burden it has on those affected. Roy explores many of the different forms that it can inhibit - love between castes, interracial love, and in some taboo cases, incestuous love. What the author tries to accomplish is that love is a powerful, overwhelming and uncontrollable emotion, of which cannot be contained in the confines of an everyday rigid social structure. And in saying that, the forbidden nature of it leads to the sheer intensity of the many affairs portrayed.

I have a fondness for Indian literature and wish there was more of an emphasis on it when I took my Asian Studies course at university. There is an ability for these books to speak of poverty, struggle, and love so well. More importantly, I enjoy any literature that discusses love against a backdrop of cultural and social circumstances. For this, I recommend The God of Small Things  to those who feel the same.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Tropical Island Getaway

2012 started off with a bang. There's nothing like the experience of spending New Year's Eve/Day in another country (which I have done for the past 3 years - I'm making it a tradition!). But when all the fun is gone, the real kicker is coming back to 'reality'. There's no hiding it. If I could live everyday like I didn't pay taxes and had all the time in the world, I would spend every second of it on a beach with a plentiful supply of coconuts. Mmm... coconut water. I've yet to finish a whole one. 

Keeping to the point, Phuket was lovely. The beaches, the weather (albeit sometimes unbearable), and the people were all lovely. And because of this atmosphere that encompasses the island, it's all too easy to forget that Thailand predominantly thrives on tourism to sustain their economy, and many of the locals make a living serving wealthy tourists whilst by being paid in shekels. It's a wonder how they manage to keep a smile on their faces when they greet us fondly every day. I suppose the pristine waters do help...

For me, the next few weeks consists of work, work, study, and more work. The only thing that will keep me going is the money being spent towards a trip to Northern India. I'm saving up for my next big adventure which I will partake in after I graduate in July/August, and, fingers crossed, I'm hoping to have some sort of spiritual awakening/enlightenment (ala: Eat Pray Love). With so many temples, ashrams, and holy cities to see, I could possibly write a No. 1 bestselling novel about my experiences. But I suppose for now, my lovable blog will just have to do.