It is July and I am in my dad’s apartment in Bangkok as I type this entry. I can barely recall the finer details of sweet May, but I remember a month of catching up with friends I haven’t been able to, enjoying fine food, taking lots of photos, finding reasons to celebrate anything at all, drunk nights, speaking my heart for once, and taking the first steps to freeing myself.
May has been and always will be my favourite month. It is a month of happiness and celebration, a month I always look forward to. I had my first couple shoot with two very photogenic Geminian couples and I love them for the happiness and warmth they radiate around each other. I’ve been hesitant on offering couple photoshoots, and I’ll be honest that it may be my view on love that has shaped my thoughts on this. But maybe all that will change very soon.
In the second week of May, several of my relatives and I organised a surprise Mothers’ day brunch at NYDC, and even though not everyone was present, it was nice to be in the company of family. I spent my younger and formative years growing up without my complete family, and I still do. In retrospect that has made me who I am today – independent and strong. It has also made me appreciate kinship so much more and I yearn to share a close relationship with a family of my own one day.
Every year, I start celebrating my birthday early even though the actual day is only towards the end of the month. One night, while drinking a bottle of wine by myself in my study, I came to the realisation that I had to finally let go of the vermin that has been suffocating me and stagnating my growth as a person. A close friend reminded me to be happy for myself and I wrote a reminder on a post-it note and stuck it on my noticeboard. Things were going to change, I knew my resolve was true this time round.
Two days later, we found ourselves sitting on a bench at twilight, with the stillness of the water around us that calmed the mess in my heart. We talked for hours, and even though there was no proper closure, I felt like a stone had been lifted from my chest. And in that moment, I knew that I was free the minute I decided I was.
In the next few days leading up to my work trip to Malaysia, I busied myself with packing, shooting, picking out outfits at the H&M showroom with Drea, and enjoying the peace I now hold in my heart.
Last year I spent the month traveling around Asia to Seoul, Hong Kong, Shen Zhen, Taipei and Bangkok. Although I did not feed my wanderlust spirit much this May, I took a week off in the middle of the month for a short work trip to Malaysia with Drea and Nerissa. We spent our days traveling and taking photos around Kuala Lumpur, Seremban and Cameron Highlands.
Our kind hosts in KL were Drea’s relatives, the Chong family. They brought us out for good local food and gave us a room to sleep in their lovely home. The next day, we took a train to Seremban and a taxi up the hills for our first shoot location, The Dusun. Groggy from the medicine I took for my flu, I took a nap while the girls prepared for our shoot in the afternoon. At night, they whipped up a yummy meal from the groceries we’d bought the day before while I made myself useful by setting the table. We go through our usual routine of taking photos of our food on our phones before we tucked in to a delicious atmosphere of togetherness and home cooked food.
We stayed in the Sora House for the night, a big open-concept eco villa that was too big for the three of us. We decided to share the bigger bed in the Japanese room, under a glass ceiling that exposed the night’s beauty which sparkled in the form of small, shiny stars. We talked for a short while and fell asleep quickly, tired from a day of shooting and traveling.
The next day was spent finishing up the outfits we had to shoot, before we bid Seremban goodbye and took a train back to KL. After scary encounters with the touts at the bus station and a very long bus ride up the dwindling roads of the mountains, we were finally welcomed by the cool air in Cameron Highlands. We checked into a simple hotel we’d booked two nights before and had a warm dinner over steamboat not far away from the hotel before retiring for the night. After breakfast, we packed our bags and left for The Lakehouse, some kilometers down from the peak where we were.
The Lakehouse is exactly what it promised to be – beautifully colored by flowers and gloriously sitting atop a hill overlooking a big beautiful lake. After shooting under the hot sun and a quick siesta, we finally finish the outfits at sunset. Curious by a little route that led uphill, we ventured up the path only to be astounded by the sight that greeted us. I stood there, taking it all in. The skies were blue, the clouds and reflection of the lake tinted by a hint of sunset, and the moon smiling in the evening sky. If only we had such a view in Singapore… Perhaps this is why I always feel like I have to leave one day.
Days pass quickly and it is already nearing the end of May. The girls from Thread Theory surprised me with Japanese-French goodness at Dozo the weekend I came back from Malaysia. These girls are the kindest I have ever met, and I’m blessed to have a friend in them. The rest of the week were also filled with dates with people I hold dear to my heart. I arranged for a birthday dinner with Wilson and we drank to celebrate us remaining young in our Geminian hearts; Drea and N prepared a spread of homemade dishes on the eve of my birthday, and I made friends with her cat, Blondie.
On the morning of my birthday, I laid in bed feeling blue. It feels weird turning a year older again. I don’t want time to pass so quickly, yet at the same time I’m excited for what the future may bring. I know that at least, I’ll always be young at heart.
The end of May has come, and I spend the last few hours in front of my laptop completing slides for my first ever workshop that will be held the next day – all that soon to come in June’s iphoneography diaries. May has brought me so much joy and contentment and it still remains to be my favourite month of the year, and I thank everyone who has been a part of it. Thank you for growing with me.