Category: journal

personal drabbles, what would be my journal ?

Past Weeks

Reading Time: 3 minutes

I’ve been thinking of writing a post explaining my plans for the next year. They’re on the brink of certainty and it feels like I must speak them into existence – but I just can’t. Everything I have willed in the past months has crumbled and everything unexpected has descended.

A year has taught me how to be everything and nothing. I feel uncomfortably close to Manila, talking far more of it than the people who seem the be there – and the next moment a newsflash reminds me that I now am an expatriate visitor who has sold out my years to another world. The whiplash of feeling irredeemably close to somebody and having them disappear; of years spent burning myself up and the tangible pain of my back breaking when I lay down to rest for more than a moment; knowing that I have done something and these repetitions will never end. I draw arbitrary lines around decisions that will irreversibly change the course of my life in ways my meager eyes can never follow. Somehow I am failing every single person who has ever loved me and becoming more and more visible to strangers all at once. I manage to stay in conversation and send tens of thousands of messages to people who have never known me, then am physically incapable of just talking to a single person one-on-one. Mortality is a dooming thing when I am reminded that all I work and do is as erasable as the memory of me; the latter, despite being ever-irreplaceable doesn’t save it from its worthlessness. For months I listened to a new album a day, then all of a sudden I decide to write about it and can only keep the same thing on repeat for days.

On the television I watch someone die. I read the newspaper and a hundred thousand more do, their names fallen with pages bared to the slightest crumb of their story. One day I will be reduced to a sentence, then a memory, then nothing at all.


I speak this as I turn twenty-one in a few weeks, an age ceremonious that I have never really thought about. (When I find excuses to celebrate, they’re tied to feelings rather than dates and holidays. Whenever I feel good, it feels like it will be the last time.)

This is all to say that I am everything and nothing – that I feel so, so loved one moment and then agonizingly alone then next. I can’t count the hours of sleep I get and feel myself a perpetual machine. Often, I wonder how I survived the decades past and remember each morning that I didn’t allow myself to stay in bed with such acute recall – and go to sleep the next. I’ve never felt so achingly sick and burdened while ungrateful and a waste. One moment I am my biggest barrier, and next it is the world; the world is both the dominion of everyone around me until it is only itself for the fatal end.

I’ve never felt such confounding, complex burnout. It’s shit. I’m reading so much more, sleep so much more, yet am exhausted and desperate and talking to no one yet everyone at the same moment. I was supposed to feel this way at eighteen, not now. How do you reconcile your own being when the world is ending? Today, I feel like I exist in that last moment of serene absolution. Everything is just preparations for the end.

In time, I’ll learn how to think in the longer-term. For myself, and everyone else. Right now is just some chaotic era.

February’s loved things

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Looking back at the past month and things I’ve enjoyed, and such. Happy March. I think I need someone to be proud of me or I will probably combust. Twenty-one is inevitable and I have never felt so, so alone.


Bangkok Art Book Fair

I am so so in love with the Bangkok Art Book Fair’s Co-op site, set in this most lovely serif + gradient pink that reminds me of my first ever fansite coded thirteen years ago.

Jin-Woo Choi

A historian who has designed a very spatial, networked blog borne out of desire to explore systematic training in archival has ended up crafting one of the most genuine, lovely means of curating a repository of academic discovery.


Design: The Invention of Desire - Sara Pena

Design: The Invention of Desire, by Jessica Helfand

“This is what it means to be alive—to witness visually and respond
viscerally to something…”

And of course, Helfand very next says that the eyes are only the first line of defense. Everything afterwards demands greater scrutiny. The ethical parameters, morals, and wider ramifications that we then put out into the world after the pleasure of seeing. Helfand’s design theories reflect both what the younger designer in me and the one decades from now would love to hear. This book also propelled me to think deeper about design education and its accessibility, both in the world-class education I’m receiving as a Yale student (who still is a little unsatisfied by the undergraduate technology & art programs) and the education I hope to carve out for thousands at home with Developh. She writes: “design will not matter as long as design education is stalled in the nineteenth-century academic deep-freeze model of the atelier.” At the same time, my longtime approach to technology as an act in need of “incubation”, or one that can be realized with funding and the right amount of mentorship without the space and avenue for thought is truly a farce. How can a field so impassioned be so easily reductive? Helfand addresses these many thoughts, validating these fears and navigating everything from design and play to blaming a mass shooting (where she describes the college student as …”deeply troubled”) on the existence of social media before making a point towards variables vs constants in the context of type and grids. (Later on she shits on the rainbow Facebook profiles that people swap to in support of gay marriage, and a bit on video game addiction and self-aggrandizement as lossy markers of passion.) While there are some questionable comparisons, this was a lovely one to read with the Ethical Design Club at Developh.

(Also see my 2021 Reading List)


Film Review: All About Lily Chou-Chou (2001) by Shunji Iwai

All About Lily Chou-Chou (2001) by Shunji Iwai

A Bjork-like, ethereal pop ideal looms in the background of a dark, twisted adolescence, mostly on bullying. I’ve replayed this movie so many times that it started to lose meaning, and last month I rewatched it, as if for the first time my feelings flushed and I could barely process it. I can’t ever look back towards my teen years without the glaring trauma waiting to be decompressed, forgiven, or buried. I wonder if this is the same for all of us.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Rebellion | Madoka magica, Puella magi madoka  magica, Magi

Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie Part III: Rebellion

Three years since Manila. Before the movie’s climax, Homura holds the false Madoka, trapped in her labyrinth tightly. Is it fair for a teenage girl to give her life for the universe and bear the sins of us all? Is it worth destroying the universe for her happiness, no matter how cursory it may be?


D>E>A>T>H>M>E>T>A>L by Panchiko

I’m so late, but there’s something incredibly magical about a band discovered through a rotten tape of their 2000 album singing about a Studio Ghibli movie seen at 7, then never again until your twenties. When I was introduced to Panchiko by their background, how could I not feel it all through that lens of re-discovery? How many times have I had to piece together blurred memories of Ghibli films, now having them at the tip of my tongue but choosing to bury them – afraid of what I will recall…

(also the Panchiko discord is filled with like 14-year-olds and yeah i’m definitely late and i’m not sure if i’m allowed to feel this hit by an album, but fuck it, it really was so ahead of its time)

Maple by Wyatt Smith

The Pull by The Microphones

I saw your earthling body wrapped in wool… also, this in stereo is otherworldly – then the drums come in. See:

Driving up

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Today, my body flew, a limbless machine across the east coast of America. We drove up to New Jersey. I haven’t stepped around Yale or the tri-state area since last May. I will turn twenty-one and legal and become nothing special really again this coming May, a gift that only grants me easier access to alcohol in exchange for all my achievements seeming shittier. It’s been ages since I felt like anything in my life had been anything but a thing of perpetual stillness. Suddenly, America was rushing at me inwards, swallowing an unlived life whole. This must have been retribution for a year of acquiesce –– a year is a year, the greatest sin of my being allowing myself to measure it as such. Nothing in language alone can contain this feeling: being given a new world and life and still refusing to step on it miles later, watching the cranes dock and flutter and live and die on a rooftop and refusing to partake in anything of it, or of letting the muck stain on a plastic, foldable Muji mirror fester and wait for weeks while still using it and wincing every day. I’m mastering a new world around slowness praying that the temporal can pretend to be eternal, ignoring that minute measure of time was pernicious and subtle until every point in the galaxy combusted into something completely unrecognizable –– like how we drove over Capitol Hill and a relative I haven’t seen in three years lifted her phone and said nothing and took blurry iPhone-car window photos of it as if there was something to celebrate and that it was not on fire and revolt a little over a month ago. If I look at a photo of a dead body again and again I will be less angry and I will think nothing of it. Maybe she reacted that way to the Capitol.

My moral judgment these days is utterly shit. The speed at which I interact with people in-person is another thing that is utterly shit. I mean that when someone asks me a question, it feels like I process everything in much slower motion than I do when reading everything else. My mind is an instantaneous machine (this is why I have no head voice), but stoic whenever I face the infinite variables of face-to-face interaction. Perhaps I have forgotten how to read the sky. The room, the light, the tone of voice, the way people look down on me, recounting things in the past without having everything preplanned and familiar –– I freeze. There’s no interface to draw from but the millions of patterns and histories nascent in a moment, reverent to all a minutia’s past. I’m burying the memories of the present as we speak. If I spoke at the speed of our mini-van coasting up to Jersey I would maybe have a chance at salvation. Right now, I am nothing. Maybe I should pretend to speak a foreign language (or just speak the foreign language I know how to speak), or continue to feign that I’m too good for anyone so nobody has to talk to me and realize how heavy, slow, and burdensome it is to share moments with me.

In 0C I recorded my voice memos in a packed New Jersey parking lot in the middle of the night. I speak to cloudless sky, a coast of smog, discarded masks, and barely extant masonry – the families and people cooped up behind faux firepits and living off hotpots and Aroma Housewares. Lone being pressed to the tapping of feet. I’m obsessed right now with the forms of audio and text, translating one to the other, an impossible task that only ever passes but astounds; the same way that my interspeak will always just be passing and that I have shed the only form of language and identity that makes me who I am. Saying sorry for barely being able to speak on the street haunts me in nowhere New Jersey five years after the fact more than it did when I was clueless at home.

My relatives are sleeping in the Airbnb, their feet poking out of the covers and the white noise of the heater a hollow sign of human life.

Best 100+ Cloud Pictures [HQ] | Download Free Images on Unsplash

Recently ordered a Shure MV88 to make more field recordings. Recovered a guide to clouds a few editions away from one gifted to my by one of my best friends a decade or so ago.