Gone, Still

“What you want, is irrelevant,” Shiloh read her father’s lips, barely parting as he spoke. “We need a change. I need a change.”

It had been a week-long fight, one so intensely routine she wondered why he bothered to go through the motions. He knew very well how she felt about leaving her home of eighteen years. No promise of a better city, or a better life, could have changed that.

Nor could it have been true in fact. Shiloh loved this city. She turned her attention away from Dad, tightening her fist with tired frustration, which was most of how she felt these days. When she felt calm again, she looked up and caught his last words in time, “It’s final, Shy.”

Before Shiloh had a chance to have her say, her portly father had returned to wolfing down his dinner, as though she was to accept what he had decided for her. To hell with that. She never would. Anger surged within her like fire in her throat.

Why does he get to decide?, she thought. I am part of this family too, aren’t I?

She lifted her hands slightly, but decided against speaking out. She was not about to argue against her father again. Volume wasn’t her strength, not since a sudden bout of illness took her hearing two years ago.

Part of her stubborn self wanted to bring up how Mum would have understood, which honestly would have upset herself in equal measure. Instead, she swallowed her tears. She pushed her chair backwards, hard as she could, hoping it might screech like chalk against board.

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Short Film Review: Message Received

Every relationship harbours secrets, some darker than others. When blackmailed for his, James (David Chin) races against time to keep his unsuspecting wife Simone (Danni Ai) in the dark. Not a word is spoken in the ten-minute short Message Received. Rather, dialogue happens solely through an on-screen exchange of text messages.

It works. Director Stephen Herman packs all necessary detail taut in every frame of the immersive mystery, built on a compelling amount of ambiguity. James’ concurrent message threads with his unknown blackmailer and wife aggrandise the tense situation, adding friction to his fragile relationship fractured by lies.

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Coming Undone

Darkness stretched an unending distance ahead, bearing nothing but dread. Only because she insisted, I found every inch of courage I never knew I had, and began walking down the familiar road again. For the first time, I thought.

“No. Once again,” I heard her soft voice in my ear. “It all happened right here.”

There was no one here but us. Yet she spoke in whispers, as though someone might be listening in on our little secret. Somehow, I could feel its presence too. Afraid of what I might find if I tried, I stared at the vast space ahead instead, unblinking eyes dry as bone.

Serenity emptied my mind in the comforting silence that followed. I let out a scream, letting out the tension in my aching body. The void screamed back, enveloping me with palpable stillness. I wanted to do it again, but I remembered that I was not alone.

You will never be alone again, she reminded me.

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Review: Young Adult (2011)

Young Adult (dir. Jason Reitman, 2011) – Returning to her hometown, Mavis Gary is determined to rekindle a romance with her ex-boyfriend, who is now a happily married man with a newborn daughter.

Verdict

Young Adult offers an honest, sardonic take on one woman’s arrested development, in a darkly comic and thought-provoking character study.

4/5

Review 

Some things in the past are hard to let go of. When reality fails to live up to expectations, many look for that one turning point where things had started going wrong. For Mavis Gary (Charlize Theron), she believes her decisive moment to be in her teenage years.

Soon after her divorce, she finds herself fixating on a twenty-year-old first love, determined to pick up where she left off. But there is just one problem. Her old flame Buddy Slade (Patrick Wilson) is now happily married – with a newborn daughter.

Despite an apparent rom-com set-up, Young Adult unfolds to be much more. The incisive drama explores in-depth the deluded fantasies that quietly follow many into adulthood.

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Weekend in Bangkok

Last week, I failed to put up a Postaweek story. I was away from home on a work retreat, jaunting through the busy streets of Bangkok. It was my first visit to the Thai capital, despite it being a crazy-popular tourist destination and a mere two-hour flight away. Singapore already has me complaining about the permanent summer to no end. What more for a city that averages a good 32 degree Celsius?

But the weekend all turned out better than I expected. A cap came in very handy, and it even rained heavily on Day 2. When the sun did shine, there were tons to do. Mostly, we trawled the many stalls for street food like pork skewers and Pad Thai, which were somewhat worth the scorching heat.

Whipping up some Mango salad.

Well, somewhat. A huge part of me was still averse to the sensory overload, typical of many Asian cities. Massive crowds met the unending traffic of pink taxis and green tuk-tuks, particularly during the evening rush.

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Methods of Escape

Lita lived alone. Her whole life was an unbroken routine, just like most people around her. Only that she minded it more than others did. Still, she began this morning the same way she always did – at the local supermarket, where the endless beeps never failed to leave her in a trance, with ringing ears and numb fingers.

Queues dragged on, like the quartz clock’s tick to its next destination. Five minutes before five o’clock, she waved the last customer away without a word, and endured the resultant sour look. It affected her none. Her empty mind commanded her to stare ahead, as she slammed the ‘Counter Closed’ sign down louder than she needed to.

She waited patiently for the customer to stomp off after promising an unfulfilled threat. It was one that she had heard too many times before. Then, she started to lock up the cash drawers, as a faceless someone once taught her to. These habitual motions took no more, and no less, than two full minutes.

Once that was through, she smiled for the first time this day. She delighted in the idea of doing something that she had never done before. She meandered along the familiar aisles of her second home. Certain that no one was watching, she began slipping whatever could fit into her jacket pockets.

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