Brevity features short posts on the interesting, incisive, or inexplicably moving ideas I encounter at Harvard. It’s a record of the detail in those intellectual and creative moments, as well as an exploration of the curious questions that keep me up at the midnight hour. Here’s an honest snapshot of my mind. Sometimes, I realize how much more I have … Continue reading Brevity: Renaissance Woman
Today, I talk about one of the loves of my life: skincare. ✨ After more than a year of wanting to write this post, it finally gets written—yay! People have reacted with varying levels of curiosity and astonishment when they first hear about my daily skincare routine. I still remember my American roommates' jaws dropping … Continue reading Beauty Diaries: My College Skincare Routine
Belatedly, wishing all of you: Happy Year of the Pig!!! ❤ ❤ ❤ First things first, things that have served as brilliant reminders when life works weirdly: 1. Turn your FOMO into JOMO (Joy of Missing Out) — I would like to interpret it as loving yourself and realizing that doing nothing or doing less … Continue reading My Sophomore Spring Harvard Classes + Some Little Things
Author's Note: Here's the first short story I wrote in college. It's from 2017. I workshopped it in the first creative writing workshop I took at Harvard — thank you to Claire Messud and everyone else who gave me their precious feedback. The writing might be kitschy at parts and the style is also rather … Continue reading [Valentine’s Day Short Story] April, I Arrive on The Shores of Your Love
Before I get swept up in the semester, let me close the chapter of winter break. I'm writing down my internship thoughts in the polar chill of Cambridge, MA. January has ended. Everything's days and continents away. Did you do anything meaningful over the break other than drink bubble tea?Yes!! (Doing meaningful things and drinking … Continue reading Interning at Northern Light Venture Capital in China
Read other From A Foodie installments: From A Foodie: Tasting Japan & Its Shokunin Spirit 🍙 From A Foodie: California Dreamin’ 🌴 I ushered in 2019 in Taipei with my parents — the three of us were there on family vacation for nine joyful, tummy-filled days. Taipei is a place where the best foods are found in … Continue reading From A Foodie: Tasting Taipei — worn, but lovely
Get off the old train, step onto the platform, merging into the stream of bobbing heads flowing along at the speed of a sweating snail. Squeeze past the human gantry, craning my neck for a look at the sky behind the canopy roof. See the miniature sky in the phone screens held up by the … Continue reading Sky Lanterns & New Year Resolutions
The countdown of days to the end of the year starts with a burnt nose. As I am steaming my face, eyes closed in bliss, my head dips too far down the basin—nose first. The boiling hot water scalds the tip. When I whip my head back up, there's a pimple-shaped red blotch on my … Continue reading 2018: An Autobiography of Seasons
Not winter, but always Christmas. My mom sweeps into the room and starts shaking me by the shoulders. She briskly turns off the air-conditioning. WAKE UP! she thunders. For the first time in twenty years, I know that Christmas starts with no immediate present to unwrap on the morning itself, and so I roll around in … Continue reading Another Christmas Comes and Goes
Author's Note: Hello loves, I'm currently in the midst of my final papers (two down, one more to go!) — here's the creative, futuristic piece that I submitted as my final paper yesterday for my History & Literature seminar on Speculative Fictions. The central conceit might seem speculative to some of you, might be eerily familiar to others. … Continue reading [Story] The Plato Act
Inspired by Sei Shōnagon's diary-lists in The Pillow Book. Things That I Will Remember Shivering as we tread the familiar path to Annenberg in the canopy of night. Everyone holding signs celebrating the declaration of their concentrations. Shimmery silver streaks, Trophy Wife and Sugar Daddy signboards, bare cookies, beaming faces, flashing lights, postcards sent into … Continue reading my pillow book: the pathos of November
BLACK SCREEN. FADE IN. INT. DORM ROOM - NIGHT Selina (20, Singaporean-Chinese) has both hands on the Mac keyboard. She is leaning forward expectantly before a desk piled high with dog-eared books, loose sheets of paper and thin notebooks with mythical, cartoonish covers. Cue music: something whimsical like Hisaishi's Nausicaä Requiem! something dramatically perching on … Continue reading I declared my concentration!
The number of papers I've written this semester: 7. Words that appeared in my first 10-page screenplay*: Wong Kar-wai. Temple. Claypot. Kant. Fortune-teller. White peach tart. Mahjong. Wikipedia. Red Mansion Dream. The Gods are real. *If you are intrigued and would like to read it in exchange for giving me your genuine critique and constructive … Continue reading After the Darkness, A Meadow of Books
Author's Note: This short story was submitted as the final paper for a class last semester. The protagonist of this story is the act of writing itself. I am fascinated by the idea of the separation of the writer and the person into two selves, of the tension existing within the diasporic writer. Set in … Continue reading [Story] The Writer
I realized I'm almost through with September and have not talked about the biggest chunk in my sophomore life thus far—my classes! There's a reason why I've literally had no time to write about this. Life has been an absolute whirlwind. Here's a snapshot of the residential problems plaguing our suite of four: I discovered … Continue reading My Sophomore Fall Harvard Classes! (ft. Life)
At some point in your life, this statement will be true: Tomorrow you will lose everything forever. How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, by Charles Yu At the most random of moments, I consider my own mortality. One such instance was as I was seated in the cozy office of Professor Racha … Continue reading Confronting My Worldly Fears
TAKE ONE Here's how it happens: eyelids fluttering, an image rising, and a sudden plunge into the hot, wet mouth of memory. I'm walking on a boulevard and then this hutong catches my eye and before I know it I'm wandering down networks of neurons, lost. Or I'm talking to someone, laughing, and there's a … Continue reading Two Takes on My Harvard Freshman Year (My Year in Review?)
To the sunny island-state who fed me a diet of chicken rice, pineapple tarts, dim sum, herbal soups, bubble tea, zi char, and Pokka green tea, To the towering institutions, well-worn wooden lecterns, scribbled whiteboards, laughter-filled halls, bleary-eyed mornings before sunrise, and the strict, snarky but wise teachers who educated me, equipped my mind and … Continue reading Happy 53rd Birthday, Singapore!
Read other From A Foodie installments: From A Foodie: Tasting Taipei — worn, but lovely 🍹 From A Foodie: California Dreamin’ 🌴 Although my two months in Japan were ostensibly for Summer School (note the emphasis on my liberal arts education), with the overarching agenda of weight loss (refer to my birthday post: From 20-year-old Me, With … Continue reading From A Foodie: Tasting Japan & Its Shokunin Spirit
She isn't sure what it is, the colors—Supreme red, the blocky black letters of Balenciaga, the wild marbled swirls of Dries Van Noten—sharpening like psychedelic blotches, the strap on her shoulder suddenly prickly and leaden, an indignant discomfiture that rises like a gorge in her throat until she furrows her brows and realizes with a … Continue reading [Story] Hills
When she trudges home that night, it’s forty minutes later, after two transits and twelve stations. She is about to turn left, head down the bridge, cross the crossing under a flickering street lamp and follow that path she has walked for twenty-one days when she notices the 7-Eleven store. Undimmed, the fluorescent white from … Continue reading [Story] 7-Eleven: A Summertime Romance?
Kyoto is one-hour strolls along train tracks, washed-out pink carpets hanging on strings, bottles of sake behind second-storey windows, two scrawny girls trying to catch a pale yellow butterfly with a net, watery rice paddies beside a parking lot full of Toyotas & Hondas. Kyoto is that moment my hair almost rustles as my bones quiver … Continue reading When In Kyoto ≧◡≦
Today I turn 20! I wonder how past birthdays feel like because this one feels very homely despite the fact that I'm in a country I've never been before. Last night, I was sitting cross-legged in a hotel room on the 46th floor of Japan's tallest building, wearing a dripping sheet mask, clad in Mickey … Continue reading From 20-year-old Me, With Love
Part I Typed on May 5, Sunday in the Canaday basement while waiting for my laundry (surrounded by the humming of the washing machines and dryers). Freshman year is ending, it really is. I can feel it in my bones. I'm flying off in four days; I'm done with three out of four of my … Continue reading Before It Ends (Part I & II)
I guess there's an untold side to every story. He handed me a Whole Foods bag. I took a peek and saw a glass bottle of red wine vinaigrette resting against some other random-shaped items. "There're some salt, olive oil, and chili," he said, "and chocolates." "Okay, I don't cook, but thank you, Prof." I was … Continue reading Quirky Snippets of An Untold April
Harvard College China Forum happened! 🌻🌻🌻 感谢你，哈佛中国论坛。这一年过得忽快忽慢，有时磕磕碰碰，但终归时常能让我深夜里兴奋得睡不着。从一开始担心文化分论坛一个演讲嘉宾都请不到，到奇妙地看到一位位重量级嘉宾加入，再到最后在Seaport会展中心看着座无虚席的剧场和台前分享的方文山、李路、童之磊、杨晖、陈楸帆和刘林老师，也许那一刻感受到的是几百人思想上的碰撞和略微不可思议的欣喜。这是一个有魔力的平台，吸引着太平洋两岸、各行各业的人才一起前来贡献他们对于这个世界的想法。谁能想到一年前在香港红馆《地表最强》演唱会挥舞着荧光棒、亲眼看到台上的周杰伦时泪流满面的我，一年后能有幸邀请到方文山老师出席文化分论坛？反正我一年前跟全家一起追着看《人民的名义》时，完全想也想不到一年后我能亲自与李路导演交谈。 作为大一新生参加哈佛中国论坛的团队是我2017年做的最好的决定之一。感谢向我强烈推荐HCCF的Zara Zhang学姐（who happens to run an amazing blog; she was also last year's Co-President）、整个Organizing Team （尤其是我所属的Programming Committee），以及热心帮助和引导我的每一位学姐学长。团队的力量真的令人震撼。一年前的我很青涩，但这一年来我学会了如何待人处事。这些点点滴滴我会放进人生的行囊里。感激每一次成长的机会和与我一同成长的你们。 Now, time for some life updates! It has been a week since Harvard College China Forum concluded at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston. Time has been hurtling forward since Spring … Continue reading To Harvard China Forum • 致哈佛中国论坛
Recently, my dad sent me this photo which expressively demonstrates my aggressive territoriality over a french fry (or my incurable love for food since I was a kid). When my phone ding!-ed and the screen lit up with this incoming message, I was in the midst of a rough week built up from a lack … Continue reading When Reality Beckons: Confessions of a Drama Addict
Pride & Prejudice | Starring Keira Knightley & Matthew Macfadyen | 2005 This review is full of spoilers. Gloriously, hopelessly romantic. Pride and Prejudice is the English novel that cemented my love for romance. It was my initiation into romantic literature, the etchings of a lifelong silhouette of Mr. Darcy behind all contours of romantic aspirations … Continue reading Movie Review: Pride & Prejudice (2005)
Brevity features short posts on the interesting, incisive, or inexplicably moving ideas I encounter at Harvard. It's a record of the detail in those intellectual and creative moments, as well as an exploration of the curious questions that keep me up at the midnight hour. Here's an honest snapshot of my mind. *** In contemplating topics as disparate and … Continue reading Brevity: Why Literature?
She works in a dingy pseudo-Chinese restaurant that dons several hats: a bar, a lounge, and a dance hall harkening back to the eighties. The interior is soaked in shades of reddish-brown timber. An earthy scent weighs on the entire ambiance—the glimmer from the gilded Buddhas and the gaudy frescoes gives it the air of a … Continue reading [Story] Why Believe in Fortune Cookies
A quick update on how the semester is swinging into action before I get back to my readings (I have to read around 70 pages of business case studies for SOCWORLD 49 by tomorrow, and both Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad and Ulysses by James Joyce by this coming Tuesday). I have my class schedule for … Continue reading My Freshman Spring Harvard Classes
Dear You, what is art for? Last week, I was in Washington, D.C. with seven other Harvard students on a 10-day Wintersession at Dumbarton Oaks revolving around this topic: Culture and Power: Art, Philanthropy, and Diplomacy in America. In those 10 days, I've seen art like this: And this: Interestingly, this: But also this: Lastly, my … Continue reading Girl in D.C.
2017 is my most paradoxical year yet in that it is both the most monumental and the most peaceful one in recent memory. For the first time in a long while, I found myself without any clear-cut, measurable goals. Since I was a kid and could grasp the concept of a university, Harvard had been … Continue reading 2017, Thank You for Everything
Minutes before the day ends in my time zone, Merry Christmas everyone!🎄🎄🎄 1. Christmas Today, I am grateful for— Funny presents (the wrapped mango slices still win) This year, my dad told me with a straight face: "I'm no longer going to be Santa because you're nineteen." My parents pretended to be Santa for years … Continue reading As I Stand, I Feel
I haven't seen snow in three years. The last time I did was in December 2014 when it was barely snowing in London and the brownish-grey slush in the fairgrounds weirdly resembled the chocolate slurpee from 7-11. It was not pretty. I was sad. This morning, I was barely awake and on the phone with … Continue reading First Snow • 初雪
BLACK FRIDAY — 10:40AM, Friday She sits there, her heart a solid thudding of the metronome, an old man's pace. The café is a startling white, clean like a repurposed showroom. The rows of baked goods behind the open-air counter are a dash of brown-gold, like yolk nestled in egg-white. Patterns crawl across its interior; … Continue reading [Story] On Black Friday Morning, in a Sun-lit Café
November is the great mystery of daylight saving time. It's the time when night comes early, days turn dark in mid-swallow, and the sense of time grows distorted. It also makes me freak out a bit when it’s 5pm but it feels like 9pm and I’ve not yet started on my paper. November is days … Continue reading November is…
Hi friends, I'm trying out a new feature on this blog (on top of regular posts). Let me know what you think. 🙂 Brevity features short weekly posts on the interesting, incisive, or inexplicably moving ideas inspired by my Harvard professors and classmates. It's a record of the detail in those intellectual and creative moments, as well … Continue reading Brevity: Can Fiction Save Felons?
Life Updates: the odds and ends of this at times extraordinary, at times off-kilter month of October Happy Halloween, dear friends! 🎃✨ I can't believe October is coming to an end -- this month I sat for my first college midterm (Anthropology), submitted my first graded college paper (on Oedipus Rex), had my story workshopped for the first time … Continue reading Book Reviews: Sel Takes on the Classics! Part 1
I applied to Harvard under the Early Action round in 2016. After getting accepted, I decided not to apply to any other US school, so this post is definitely not a tried-and-true method. This is how I did it personally, and bear in mind that you might find it helpful or not. So pick whatever … Continue reading Unlocking Your Dream College: Essay Tips, by a Harvard Student
1. Sundays on hammocks in hot Singaporean-like Cambridge weather. Hurrah! 2. Learning. The room is warm. My pulse is throbbing at an almost manic pace. In a hitched breath's moment of unconscious cerebration, it occurs to me that I am surrounded by knowledge coming to life -- in eager minds, raw stories, bustling thoughts, and this … Continue reading Things I Love
Dear Writing, It's an open secret that I love you but have never felt very sure about you. You're a complicated lover -- sometimes, you come so close I can breathe your scintillating effervescence and feel you intimately against the insides of my skin; other times, I'm reminded by your improbable capriciousness. You don't belong … Continue reading Embracing Rejection At Harvard (also unexpected surprises)
Amazingly, it has been 18 days since I came to the U.S., 15 days since I joined the incredible Freshman International Program (one of the five pre-orientation programs that Harvard offers), 11 days since I moved into my freshman dorm Canaday, four days since I officially became a Harvard alum during Convocation, and three days … Continue reading Harvard, It’s ? at First Sight
Life Update #1 I have miraculously finished packing everything when I only started two days ago. Now I have three HUGE 27-inch luggage bags -- one pink, one blue, one black -- which will accompany me to the faraway land of 'freedom and opportunity', of Donald Trump and Elon Musk, of baseball (??) and Broadway, … Continue reading I’m Leaving on a Jet Plane + Life Updates
I write this so that, years down the road, I can remember my exact state of mind when making this choice that had a bearing on how I choose to lead my life. It's arguably the most monumental decision I've had to make in my brief 19 years of existence. This is a raw, honest, … Continue reading PSC Scholarship: Yes, Maybe, No
Disclaimer: this is a piece of satire (not autobiographical!), but then again definitely all art imitates life. The structure is a parody of Girl by Jamaica Kincaid, which depicts a very different world of expectations -- simmering beneath the mother's long string of admonishments and words of advice to a daughter are the layered themes of … Continue reading The Modern Child
Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo (역도요정 김복주) | 16 episodes | South Korean | 2016-2017 So adorable. The cutest show and couple I've seen in a long long time -- the feeling of spring, sunlight, unpretentious youthfulness, and a pinch of stardust sprinkled in the air that seems to make every move and line uttered … Continue reading Drama Review: Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo—the clumsy fairy & the loyal fox
This...unsettles you, from your ordinary, rooted world. I was in the land of photogenic temples -- places of worship perching atop seaside cliffs, nestled in misty mountains, carved within caves, and residing around every bend in rural villages. There was more to Bali than temples, of course -- soaked green carpets of rice terraces, beer-bottle thronging beaches, and museums … Continue reading Bali: opening to you, the heart of life