Redesigned: A new theme for 2015

For those of you who frequent my blog enough to remember the old theme I’ve used on this blog since the turn of decade, thank you for being such a loyal reader. I’m honoured that you availed yourself of what little my sparse and callow writing has to offer.

I’m a nostalgic person. That much is evident from the collection of thoughts I have penned down over the years. So the old theme (pictured below), darker and more sombre, was a reflection of that wellspring of sadness within me. At every turn of my head, something reminded me of what was gone for good. I saw little children laughing at the playground and was reminded of a carefree childhood that would never return. At a family reunion I was shocked by how different my favourite cousins looked, but then I remembered that I myself mirrored their grown-up look and was left pining for the innocent moments of fun we once shared. I recalled a time when holidays meant we were left to our own devices and truly free, instead of being a life-saving breather to catch up with schoolwork.

Old theme

Old theme from before

But then I finally took the most drastic step of all. I left the cocoon that had nested me for all two decades of my life. I left home.

Now that I’m studying abroad, things around me are unprecedentedly unfamiliar. There is little to remind me of what I have left behind, but ironically that makes me miss home now more than ever. Standing in the middle of Times Square, surrounded by an endless stream of faceless people jostling past you, can be immensely lonely.

But months of living abroad alone also gave me a fresh perspective. There is something empowering about walking down a busy street entirely foreign to you and yet being able to hold your own. Sans the familiarity of home, I started out hesitant, but my footsteps soon settled into a firm, rhythmic clop-clop-clop as I strode down the world-famous Broadway in New York City. And then I realised that I had finally grown up — not just in mannerisms and appearance, but emotionally as well. I was ready to step into the world without relying on family to catch me if I fall.

So today I finally paid less heed to my nostalgia. I steeled myself to abandon the old theme for this brighter and cheerier one you see now, with significantly more modern design elements. But the site title and tagline “Under the starry night sky | Open plains and the cool November breeze”, I left unchanged.

After all some things — like home — are worth holding on to. Hope you like the new look!

Why does it take a minute to say hello and forever to say goodbye?

A tear rolled down my cheek.

“Never to lose the joie de vivre”. You’ve had a meaningful and fulfilling life. Rest now in the knowledge that millions of Singaporeans hold you dear. Not just out of fear of you or even respect for you as a leader, but out of care for you as a person, in the same way you cared for us. It’s not just the pioneer generation — from secondary school kids I used to teach to NS boys and even university students at home and abroad, the silent majority knows your love and reciprocates.

Because you transcended boundaries. School, race, language, religion, politics and even the oceans… you were defined by none of those. Your life is the story of the political titan that was, and still is, one of the most respected figures in modern history. You put our little red dot on the world map: world leaders will pay homage to your vision and wisdom for generations to come. People around the world will remember you for your spirit: The indomitable Singaporean Spirit. But most importantly, generations of Singaporeans will have the privilege of being your legacy, forever striving to embody your values and ideals.

Thanks to the Old Guard, we stood on the shoulders of giants. And you were there, always, primus inter pares. None of us could bear to part with you, and yet you quietly took your leave of us in the wee hours of Monday. A long night creeps up on us today, but eventually a new day will dawn. We have grown up now; trust us to forge ahead without you.

Rest now, dearest Mr Lee Kuan Yew. May each and every outpouring of love fill your heart with warmth and lull you to peaceful sleep.

Credits: YouTube | DisruptChannel