Category Archives: MEMORIES


trigger warning – description of sexual molestation.

i was molested in my early teenage years. my recollection of it is vague because it would happen while i slept. but sometimes i’d wake up, and those brief moments are imprinted. like a scar, burned into my memories. a dark corner i never want to visit. today, i want to shine the brightest light i can muster, directly at that corner. i want to know what is so disgustingly painful. dirty. shameful. that i have not been able to find the voice to share it in it’s absolute truth before. what a useless thing to carry around, shame. i have been on a quest to find my essence self. i write this in hope of releasing what has caged me for almost the entirety of my life.

the molestation took place in my home. my room. i was most likely 13-14, and my brother would have been 10-11. i can’t remember how often or how many times it happened. all i know for sure is that i can count 4 incidents. he would sneak into my room and touch me. my breasts. and then he’d lift my nightgown and move my underwear to look at my vagina. i don’t believe he ever touched my there. once i remember him reaching ejaculation because some of it landed on my leg. one night, i heard my door open. i must have intentionally moved around, causing him to hide under the bed and i called for my mum. and even then, even though i knew full well what was going on, i told her i thought there was something under my double decker bed. of course that must have sounded like the silliest thing coming from a 13/14 year old. one would think a 13/14 year old has outgrown the “monster under my bed” fear. but she checked, and found my brother. who said he wanted to scare me. and we left it at that. i don’t remember the order of those incidents. i’d like to think that was the end of it.

i now fully accept that his actions must have been out of curiosity. every teenager is curious. i have no idea why he chose to act on that curiosity with me, but i don’t hold that against him any more than i need to. i confronted him once in 2008, although my emotional and mental state was such a mess back then, i did not know how to address it in a mature, wholesome way. it was during a fight, because we used to fight terribly. i’d upset or annoy him and sometimes that would lead to him grabbing me by my hair and/or spitting at me. i blame the physical violence on my parent’s relationship. another corner for another day. so it was during one of those fights that i went to grab a knife. and i sat down across him and told him that if he didn’t come near me, i wouldn’t attack him. and then i demanded an apology for what he did to me. i’m sure he apologized. i don’t think i ever let him know before, that i knew. and i have not brought it up since. just that once. the way i remember it, my dad was sitting right there. i wish i could remember with certainty what his reaction was, because when i think of how my dad handled the situation, all i draw is a blank. could it be that he just ignored it? or did he not think much of it as i did not reveal details? should i have?

the thing with being molested when you’re young is. someone is touching you sexually. someone is touching you sexually in a way you have never experienced being touched before. it is something you are not in the slightest bit prepared for. perhaps if it were to happen in adulthood, one would have a clearer idea of what’s alright and what’s not. because when you are touched sexually not in a rough, rape type scenario, it’s not in itself an unpleasant feeling. especially when i had never been touched, never had a sexual experience. i gather part of the shame and darkness in the whole experience is because i liked it on some level. being touched. being aroused. i created a fantasy world where it was not my brother touching me. i was just being touched. the stories we tell ourselves stories to make things alright. maybe i even looked forward to it. being aroused. pretended to still be asleep. until it was too much to deal with anymore – the fact that it was my brother – making it all sorts of wrong – and i chose, i think, to put an end to it. i sealed that corner off for good. never to be visited. never wanting to feel that way again. because it was disgusting and wrong.

unfortunately though, all my natural normal sexual feelings got sealed in as well and the result of that was that being aroused always went hand in hand with feeling guilty. or shame. or dirty. so for the longest time, i never let anyone touch my breasts. and whenever anyone insisted to, it felt terrible. sometimes it made me want to cry. but no one ever understood why because for the longest time, even i didn’t understand why. i had done such a great job at pretending it didn’t affect me that i couldn’t see how it was spilling into all my experiences, affecting all my relationships. i always used the excuse that my breasts were for my babies and not for sexual pleasure. but the truth was that it brought me great pleasure, which then made me instantly feel all that disgust, effectively removing enjoyment from intimacy. despite being very active. i chose to focus on the guy and pleasing him, to avoid being pleased myself which caused all my energy to go towards serving instead of self loving.

and that’s how the story went until i began to face it. my psychedelic awakening as i crossed into adulthood forced me to come to terms with the fact that i was in need of healing in more ways than one. for the longest time it was incredibly hard to face the truth of what happened. i was angry at life for taking something away from me. why did it have to happen to me? why was i not entitled to blossom into my full self without being scarred by that trauma. i had to face the reality of how that one incident reached through the rest of my life into all my experiences and forgive life over and over again.  anytime i came across something in movies or the media that touched on the subject, capturing my attention in a way no regular person would have interest in, i used those opportunities to search a little deeper. to share more with my husband. to open up about it. until i was no longer angry. until i was no longer ashamed. until i reached a tipping point and it all finally clicked for me.

i can, allow myself to enjoy being aroused. it is not dirty, it is not wrong. there is no shame in a healthy sexual experience. i am not the abuse that happened to me. it happened, but it’s alright that it happened. all kinds of things happen in life that we have little to no control over. it does not define me. and it certainly does not need to linger into every sexual experience i have for the rest of my life. i can part ways with my confused, tormented child self. i can experience things the way i could have, had it not been made confusing.

would it have made a difference if i had spoken up about it at an earlier point in my life? or any point for that matter. what if i had told my parents when it happened? would it have helped heal me in time to allow me the freedom to experience myself? you see, it was my brother. my much loved baby brother. and even though for the longest time our relationship was strained, i have always loved him. i didn’t ask for those things to happen. i have always wanted our relationship to be undamaged. the way it could have been. and how could i speak of things without putting him in the role of the perpetrator? how could i heal myself without implicating him in what happened. i have forgiven him and i understand that sometimes we do things that we feel like doing without knowing the consequences. everybody does. how do we know what is right and wrong until we learn it? there is a line between unintended mistakes and evil and i don’t believe this was the latter.

but i acknowledge that to some extent it is easier for me to face, “easy” for me to express. as it is much less of a social stigma for me than it would be for him if people found out. the awareness of putting him in a place he might not want to be always kept me quiet. i didn’t want people to know of what he did, because what if he doesn’t want people to know? how would that affect him? and what would become of our relationship? it is still the one thing that keeps me from sharing. had it been anyone else, i could have done this a long time ago. what if it was someone else? i am tired of pretending and playing games with my memories.

there is a light bursting through the seams of my silence. i do not want to hold it in any longer and deny myself the lightness that comes with being transparent about the experiences we have. to put it all out there and say yes, this happened to me, and there is no shame. there is no shame because i am not ashamed of my story. this is me. all of me. and i love all of me. but for now, i share this quietly. despite the desire to be open and proud of it. because he is still my baby brother. because of that, i do not want to forcefully put him in that place. never. but it is also alright if it is meant to be that the truth finds its way to the light. i am not scared of the consequences anymore. it is not for me to concern myself with whether anyone else is able to handle the truth or not.

i shall do what i need to to heal myself. because i am allowed to heal myself and reclaim the me i would have been.


the light at the end of the tunnel is not an illusion. the tunnel is.

making peace

the time has finally come – for you to face that big one. that major relationship that left an impact so devastating you thought it could never be sent to the folder where past experiences you’ve sorted through and moved on from reside.

you went to poke the beast. you always do. always in hope that the in between was enough time for the beast to transform into something else. something able to look you in the eyes and rise above together. because sometimes you are that beast. and all you need is time and bit of understanding to be ready to heal. some people say don’t bother. but that’s not who you are. you always try. it isn’t always the smartest thing, but you choose to anyways. until the chapter is over.

what transpired took you by surprise. because you thought you had an idea of how things might go either way. but once again, you overlooked all of reality to exist in your fantasy world where everyone wants to make peace. boy were you wrong. goddamn were you wrong.

it genuinely shocks you. you don’t know why. it really shouldn’t. but you really did not expect such a reaction. it sucks. you’d like for it not to, but it does. it’s sad that some things private and personal that you were or had divulged in a space you once considered safe could be used in such a way, twisted beyond recognition. violated. soiled. but you know the truth. and no one can take the truth away from you. 

it makes you think of the past and your journey. of all the years spent wandering about hurt, trying to find love. of all the loneliness. that dark cold loneliness you couldn’t run from no matter how much you tried. always right behind you. lurking in the silent corners of your mind.

you remember the family you once had. a lifetime ago (or so it seems), when you were safe and cherished and things were simple. you feel the inner panic of gradually losing that stable ground. the chaos that ensued as you tried to survive and the constant anxiety of having to – that only made you more needy and codependent.

it makes you think of all the people that crossed your path. those who were good for you. those that were bad. the handful you needed and hurt in the effort of finding your lost self. the stupid choices you made because you were so adamant on not giving a fuck that you chose not to even when you should have. even when you knew as sure as the sun is bright that you were walking into disaster.

you mentally hug your past self. you know how much she needs that compassion and strength with all the pain there was and all the pain to come. you feel melancholic, but more intensely at peace. because you know everything that’s happened has gotten you here. and even though you didn’t get here unscratched, you are so happy here. so very incredibly happy.

only you and you alone know how much effort it’s taken to free yourself from past trauma. to look yourself in the soul and come to terms with the choices you made and the things that happened for you.

and you know now – everything that happens, happens for you and not to you. never to you. and this just so happened to be the journey you needed to take towards self discovery, self worth and self love. because only through learning to love yourself could you then begin to love others the way you’ve always wanted to, with compassion and acceptance. to then create a family based on that truth, for the best odds at maintaining a loving space for your children to always count on.

to save them from what you went through.

you have always known the trigger point of everything falling apart. you set out to do different. it has always been that steady beacon of light. even when you lost your mind, you very much still had your sight. and you never gave in. you never let anything blacken your heart so much you couldn’t live with yourself. you just kept getting back up and moving forward, you warrior. you got here. you did it.

it took as much strength to power through the earlier pain as it did to be vulnerable and truthful in the healing process later on. you have by now forgiven yourself. and with this chapter coming to an end, you feel the remainder of sadness and pain of a time before start to fade as well.

so steady, as if it has been waiting to be set free. you hold on to it for just a little bit longer. a reminder of what made you YOU. a reminder that contained in that darkness was your greatest potential for light.

hello goodbye

this morning right before waking up, i had a really beautiful dream of ah ma. usually my ah ma dreams feel a little eerie and i watch her as i wonder on the inside – why something doesn’t feel right. then the feeling begins to become overwhelming and dark and eventually ends with me waking up to this shattering realisation that she is dead.

i dream a lot. i always have. and my dreams are incredibly intense. but until recently i could always just wake up startled, comfort myself knowing that it’s just a nightmare and try not to think about it as i fall back asleep. by the next day it would be nothing but a very foggy memory of something that i really would never be able to recall in detail.

dreaming of ah ma is a completely different experience. it usually starts out incredibly normal. nothing out of the ordinary. then i start to notice little details that don’t quite make sense. a part of the house that looks different. an object that we never owned. a conversation that doesn’t make sense. a person that should not be there with us. and as i wonder… and look around… and experience the dream i am having – not yet realising it’s a dream – ah ma starts to fade or mutate. sometimes i look at her and realise i don’t recognise who i’m looking at anymore. other times i look in her direction and all i can see is energy that i know symbolises her in the scene but she no longer has any form.

then it starts to sink in. always takes a while but i’ve never had a dream of ah ma that did not end with the same realisation. it feels like a cloud descending, a wave travelling through my body. and then i get it. something doesn’t feel right. this can’t be reality. that is not ah ma…because ah ma is dead.

i wake up. startled. sad. confused. numb.

i can’t shrug it off and comfort myself this time. what woke me up was reality hitting home. i wake up and ah ma is indeed no longer here with us. she is dead. and i don’t think i’ve been able to process what it means for her to be dead.

ah ma has been a part of my life since the day i was born. i spent more time living with her than i did with my parents. when i first left home at 18, she used to call me multiple times throughout the day to ask if i’ve had food. if i was alright. if i needed money. to be safe and careful. to make sure i was getting enough sleep and had a place to stay. to let me know that i could just go home at any point if i needed to. that she would always be there. that i was not alone. she was my safety net.

she very much is still alive in my mind and heart. ah ma is right here. i’ve spent so much time talking to her throughout life that her presence will forever be a part of my life.

there are moments where it hits me hard though- that ah ma has passed. and if i let it be, it is overwhelming because i feel so bad for not going back to visit her in the last month when she was put into a home and we knew she didn’t have long more. we were scheduled to move up north by the end of the month and then i’d go get her from the home and move her to a home closer to us. she didn’t make it to the end of the month. i didn’t go say goodbye.

ah ma has always been the absolute best person when it came to understanding that i had my own life to live and couldn’t always visit her. she never made me feel bad when it’d been a while since i visited. not once. i wonder if she understood i was going to go get her so she could finally be close enough for me to see her all the time. i wonder if she was sad that i didn’t go see her. i’m not a person of much regret. but this, i do regret. and i wish over and over and over again i could turn back time and hug her one last time.

so this is the honest reality of ah ma’s passing for me. i didn’t run to go see her when i had the chance to. i waited and it was too late. i didn’t say goodbye. i didn’t tell her one last time that i loved her. i will never be able to change that. ah ma lives on in my memory forever but there is no closure because i will never stop feeling bad for not seeing her one last time. i do not desire to stop feeling bad about it.

last night i spoke to yoong before sleeping, because the night before i had a really dark dream of ah ma. i told him that nothing could change. i do not know how else to process her passing more than i have. i know she is no longer physically here. i know she lives on forever in my heart. i am happy for her that she no longer has to suffer the pain of being ill. i am alright that she is no longer here. it’s the eventuality of all of our lives here. hers came to an end the way it was supposed to. not abrupt. not tragic. just an expected peaceful passing. i knew ah ma wouldn’t be here forever.

the emotions are so strong that it feels incredibly numbing. i accept that i feel numb. i accept that death is such a weird thing to process because it changes reality but technically doesn’t remove a person’s presence. nor does it take away the past. or the love.

processing death is a strange experience. i totally understand the eerie dreams i have of ah ma. i accept that as my forever. which is why this morning when i woke up foggily to a beautiful dream of her, i wanted to jump out of bed and write everything out to see what’s changed since last night.

in this dream, i was in our old home with ah ma, ah kong and epoh (grandma, grandpa and grandaunt). ah kong was filling water into a really cool water gun and i was showing ah ma and epoh how it worked and why it was better than a slingshot (which ah ma used to use all the time to shoot at crows). there was a cool bike in front of our house that ah kong rode in on. we were having good laughs and ah ma brought food out and told me to go eat. then the neighbour came back and asked ah kong why we had a broken bike out front. i looked over and saw an old broken down bike with no wheels under a tarp.

usually this is the point where my dream would start to get eerie.

but this time it felt incredibly natural. all of a sudden, we were all in the house. my brother was at the table with me and i was explaining to the neighbour that we were playing pretend. “you see, my grandma is no longer here with us so when she is, we try to make the best of it and enjoy the time we have with her. that’s why it doesn’t matter if it’s a broken bike outside. it can be anything we want it to be.” i absolutely knew ah ma was dead. i knew it was a dream.

i look at ah ma, trying to take in all of her. her short wavy white hair. the shade of her skin. her aging once chubby frame. those large spectacles. her checkered short sleeve shirt and sarong. her smile. her gummy, toothless, denture-less smile. her voice as she nags at me to eat. the love i feel as she fusses about everything. i stare for as long as i can, because i know she is gone. and my dreams (which i have very little control of) is the only place i will ever see her again. i look at her so long she becomes a still frame. and then just an image. i smile as i think of her. and then i wake up.

present. aware. at peace.

i miss you every day ah ma. i miss you with all my heart and soul. perhaps it will always be a mix of good dreams and bad ones when it comes to you because i love you that damned much. i will always wish you could be right here with me, so these dreams – good or bad – i look forward to them. because i look forward to seeing you.

you used to tell me when you had dreams of your mother and grandmother. i never understood. now i do.


another end. another beginning.

this year can be summed up in three photos and one word –

Yam SengUntitled-1FAMILY2015



today marks 3 years since we moved into that really shitty room in kota.

we’d only technically been seeing each other for about a month when we found ourselves having to do what neither of us had done before. choose to rent a place and live together right off the back. things were messy and we didn’t have support or friends to help us but we didn’t feel we had a choice because walking away was just not an option. love had already happened. it was too late to change our minds.

3 years and i find myself more in love with my (now) husband than ever before. i did tell him at the start that i figure it’d probably take about 3 years for us to work through our differences and get to this point. that’s pretty excellent foresight!

i really wanted to make note of this “anniversary” because of how much love i feel for us and life right now. to have it here as a reminder if i ever looked back in the future. but the reality is that my limited vocabulary and untrained writing skills very simply can’t seem to put into words – the depth of (pregnant) emotions i have been experiencing.

what a bummer.

because i’ve really been full with so much love and happiness i’m surprised i haven’t popped like a balloon yet!