The Paradox of Pain and Pleasure – Thoughts on Culture

I am enchanted by historic places. The visit to the Versailles left me in a deep space that the culture of a nation is dependent on the actions of the monarchy. Paris followed the fashion trends of Marie Antoinette for she was the Queen of France. But they abhorred her for she did not socialise with the ladies of the aristocracy that lead to her head being guillotined. Similarly, the Empress Cixi of China loved Chinese Opera and had a theater built in the palace for her to watch the opera lounging beside a window, and following this tradition, they held opera performances in all the districts in China to consolidate their control over their empire through the power of culture. Marie Antoinette

If I could go back in history, or rewrite history from this point on – I would make BDSM lifestyle a mainstream pursuit. The state of the world today has to do with the construct and introduction of financial markets and globalisation. People spend too much time in pursuing materialistic acquisitions and paying sky high mortgages than do anything meaningful. In this sense, there is a focus on self-inflicting pain and suffering on oneself to achieve material goals instead of the pursuit of pleasure, freedom, and quality of life by investing in relationships. This may not make any sense, but this is something I see very clearly when I travel.

I see the BDSM lifestyle an answer to having liberal attitudes towards sexuality and in this sense, divert the focus away from material acquisitions to investing in quality relationships. Move from the pursuit of pain, to the pursuit of pleasure. Move from loss of control, to total control. Move from misunderstandings, to compromise. I am proposing a wild answer to the state of our existence today, but it has been examined by philosophers such as Rousseau. “‘Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.’

These are the topics I am examining in writing The Prince.


Grand Aunt

She laid asleep
In a rest she will never wake up from
Yet her boisterous laughter resonates
Her large presence now stilled by the
Silence of the church halls
Maybe maybe she would open her eyes
As youthfulness returns to her pale skin
But she won’t open her eyes no more
They will remain closed, as the coffin encloses her within. Her ashes will burn and she would return to earth without saying goodbye.
Only the living can say, farewell
Farewell farewell. You will be missed.


My grandaunt has been the inspiration behind the White Queen figure. She was plump and had a loud voice. You could hear her voice from below the apartment complex to the top floor. She was the matriarch and was a strong prominent figure in society. She was unabashed about her absurd requests and demands on others. And somehow, everything will go according to her way no matter how impossible it was. She would ask me to call her “grand aunt” in Cantonese and not “auntie”.

Every Chinese new year I would fear meeting her and not getting her name right. She would scream loudly if I got her name wrong. But no matter what, she still gave me a red packet filled with dollar bills. She was proud of her achievements and would announce her entourage of children and grandchildren has arrived in an almost military style fashion in a big group. Yet, she was comical and loved to joke and had a laughter that was unmistakably hers. Around her, she filled the room up with love and concern in her larger than life ways that penetrated walls and defenses. She made everyone feel at ease that with her around, nothing will go wrong and we will be safe and looked after as part of her family.

She will be dearly missed.


Resisting Organizations

In my entire life, I resisted being part of any organisation. I refused to get a job, dropped out of grad school, precisely because I felt suffocated by having to follow rigid rules and code of conducts that suppressed my creativity. The moment I felt I wasn’t expressing myself, I would just drop out of projects although I am on the verge of finishing them. My life has been about running away from getting dominated. Or dominating others.

Even my blog, videos, and books are about resisting organisation and going undercover, into espionage mode. I was a very curious child, I would read tons of books to find ou the answers to life and of course reading more equates to more questions instead of answers. I designed my life in a way to avoid being committed to any organisation and would go rogue if I am forced into one, including relationships with men.

I spent years travelling in different types of accommodation – five-star hotels, sofa, backpackers hostel. I tried them all. I did not want to be confined to just one type of life, I wanted to experience life from different perspectives. I dated guys from rich and poor families, and tried to elope with my bf in Australia but failed. I still speak to my cousins on a regular basis although they are doing very different things in life from what I am doing, I still prod them and ask them what is life next for them?

I had put myself on the fringe of society to examine society from the outside in. But I don’t feel belonged to any one society or any country. My identity is not related to where I studied, done or did. It is fragmented and each piece of me belongs to a different part of the world I had visited, and it continues to expand as I explore new boundaries.

I reside nowhere and belong nowhere. I am not part of just one organisation, but many organisations. I refuse to stay in cliques and prefer deep one on one conversations. I am not the sum of one, but the sum of many. For this, I give the world my perspective but my perspective is one of the many perspectives and it is not the “real” or “truth”. It is for each to discover through the journey of the characters I created in my Scarlet Queen Universe.


Blue OrcaThe underbelly of China’s economic success juxtaposed with the decline of America are the themes I explore in the Blue Orca. I would regard the Hourglass Series as my thesis on the reality of the world we live in today. Pre-order now at



Letter to my Editor about Blue Orca

Tara Keogh is my editor, without her, the Hourglass Series would not be possible. Behind the scenes, Tara is my coach. This is an email I wrote to her after returning from China. As suspected by my reader
This is an email I wrote to her after returning from China. As suspected by my readerThe Bunds, my trip to China on a vacation was to double verify the scenes and themes are accurate as it is today as I last visited China about four or five years ago. Inflation has caught up, and things are not as affordable as they used to be before. A bowl of noodles is about 30 Yuan = US$4.5 in a cafe.

On my trip, I took domestic buses and trains on local routes that tourists would not take. As a result, I fell sick upon my return as the public transport system is not the most hygienic of places to be. I was mostly moody while on the train/buses as it is crowded and people spoke loudly to each other. There is hardly any personal space. There is no much of a consideration for others around them. It is a stark contrast to Japan where taking the train is quite an enjoyable peaceful activity.
Discovering the underbelly of Shanghai was an amazing journey, I completed the novel way one month before I wrote the ending. I just didn’t want the journey to end. It was like a nice train ride in the countryside that I did not want to get off. I finally wrote the ending and handed it to Tara. I used to be unable to complete my projects in the past, and left them hanging and incomplete. But now, I had learnt to let go of the result and just accept that the journey has ended for (me) and the journey for the reader begins.
Hi Tara,

I am back from Shanghai after a ten day trip spanning Suzhou and Hangzhou. I had uploaded lots of photos visiting places that I wrote in the Blue Orca for double verification and fact checking that these places and customs exists. It is all good. I am so excited for the launch.

In China, apparently a novel costs about 35 Yuan ($5.2 USD) in the bookstore. It seems that it is not a lucrative business for publishers or writers as the book printers and book stores make the most margin from what it looks. I doubt their copyright laws and royalties law justify the amount of work put into writing a book. It is truly out of love that people are writing novels in  China. Still, it is my ambition to one day translate the copies of the Hourglass series for publication in China by working with an approved publisher in China. I will look into it once I have three books published.

I found an interesting cosmetic product called “Pearl Powder” while in Suzhou. Apparently the properties of Pearl crushed into powder makes for a good skin care. I am using the Pearl infused products now. Just some trivia to share. But to “high class tai tais” they would prefer western skin care products as it is seem as of a “superior grade” to those manufactured in China.

Blue OrcaThe underbelly of China’s economic success juxtaposed with the decline of America are the themes I explore in the Blue Orca. I would regard the Hourglass Series as my thesis on the reality of the world we live in today. Pre order now at

Reflections on being Exotic in China

I am not born in China. That means I am a foreigner, or an “outsider” looking in. My DNA results show that I am 93.9% Chinese and not 99% Chinese either. Hence, for a person born in China who looks at me, they think I am an exotic.

Here are some of my encounters: 

1. When I was buying a silk qipao in Suzhou, I had to choose XXL size as apparently, my butt sticks out more than the typical Chinese. The service staff remarked, “your butt sticks out and it’s so nice! You see my butt, it is so flat.” To them a big butt that sticks out is an exotic feature. Which left me a little confused but okay.

2. In a group company gathering, whereby I was a “guest”, they remarked my eyes are “big, clear and shiny” and asked where I got my big eyes from. I would attribute it to my genetics which has a certain percentage of being “southeast asian”. It is not typical to have big eyes in China.

3. When I entered my hotel room, the cleaner said, “beautiful lady, can I clean your room now?”, I had been called this term a few times by service staff usually by much older ladies. It’s probably the Australian equivalent of “Yes dear, I can do it for you”.

4. When I went to the spa, the masseur asked if I am a student and if I am 18 years old. It’s a huge compliment ~

I had ample of opportunities to practice speaking in mandarin and connecting back with my motherland. I am quite content that most of the cultural and heritage areas in Hangzhou and Suzhou are well preserved for tourists and the future generations to enjoy.

But still, the best treasures are in Taiwan and the museums in China are rather disappointing. The treasures left in China are poorly kept and preserved with not much historical explaination.

One of the best museums on Asian exhibits I had encountered is on the island of Corfu in Greece. I liked the Asian museum so much I visited it twice. It was a moving story book that moved from one era and culture to the next. The ambassador of Greece collected a few hundred art pieces and donated it to the museum before his death and documented each object with accuracy and explaination on their usage.

The china style of preservation of historical relics is more economically motivated with not much explaination. Still, the gardens and historical architectural make up for the lack of treasures (or duplicates of real treasures). In the Chinese language, historical relics are called “national treasures”. Or “imperial grade treasure” if used by the emperor.

When the kuomingtang democracy party ran to Taiwan after losing the battle with the communist, they took the imperial grade treasures to claim soviegnity over the republic of China, citing they have the real treasures. China was emptied of its treasures by foreign invasion and the burning of the summer palace.

In fact the British museum contains more high grade valuable treasures than what China has. But this is changing as private donations are pouring in from wealthy collectors outside China who had decided to return the treasures back to the motherland. Shanghai museum is an example of this.

Visiting China opened my eyes to a land beyond my imagination, and I hope to visit again in future.


Les Miserables

Before I depart to a land of no return

There are words I would like to say

But these words will turn into echos, into dust

Before they can reach you.

There are many a times I tried to reach

Beyond the looking glass

To the dimension where you are

But you are so lost, so lost in the desert storm

I can’t find you no more.

Sometimes I want to

Give up, give up.

There is no wind to lift my wings no more

In this flight, I can’t soar

I am dying, dying.

Yet, singing singing

A song that you can’t hear

In the desert storm

My words turn to echoes of the wind

As the dust buries me

deep into the desert soil

Les Miserables.



Red Threads of Love

I used to watch television shows where by the Chinese God of Love would tie a red silk on mortals to amuse himself. When he ties a red silk on two unsuspecting morals, they will fall in love. He would tie the red silk on a beautiful lady and a ugly man and watch how that plays out. He would amuse himself by sitting on a tree and laugh at their folly.

Yue LaoIn Ancient China, marriages are arranged. The notion of romantic love wasn’t accepted. It was more commonly accepted that one should be filial to their parents and parents should decide their children’s marriages with the consultation of a matchmaker. The love deity, however, runs havoc on the moral world by his “mismatches”. Couples would pray to the love deity in the temple in hope that they will love the person they are match made with. Furthermore, they will not know who they would marry till the actual wedding day itself.

If this is still true in this day and age, I would have been married at age 19 to my mother’s preferred match –  the eldest son of a steel tycoon. We had no chemistry, and there was no topics I could speak to him about. We went from one place to another, dining and spending extravagant amounts. I pitied him but I just had no feelings for him. I tried to like him, but it was rather unreal, untrue and forced. Anyway, I was glad it ended. I felt so much better after that. Love can’t be created out of nothing, without an emotional connection, it is hard to make it happen.

I like writing about topics on “red paint”, “red ropes” and “red hourglass” etc as it all links to the ancient God of Love. It is almost a permanent mark on a person once it (the love) happens. In the western world, Baby Cupid is the God that induces loves in young couples. But in the Chinese world, it is an old man who amuses himself with his own antics.

In my latest book, BLUE ORCA, there is a chapter on Red Paint. It is a metaphorical description on a tattoo mark that brands someone for life – in this case, red paint was the defining moment that life changes for the main character, Mimi. The next test I am setting myself up to do is to write concretely on Red Ropes and how the act of bondage entwines with love.

Venus In Furs Polanski (Movie Review)

indexHaving read Venus in Furs when I was 18 years old, I was pleasantly surprised that the flight I was on route to Paris had an independent movie called Venus in Furs by Polanski. It is in French with English subtitles. There were only two actors (the male and female lead who happens to be Polanski’s wife) in a run down theater in the production. The novel Venus in Furs is undoubtedly a BDSM classic, with the term “masochism” originating from the author of novel.

I spent most of my formative years in the theater. My mother performed and taught classical piano. We would be at the theater every weekend.I knew every nook and canny. I would play hide and seek with other children behind the red velvet curtains during rehearsals. At the buffet line I could not drink coffee or tea, so I would pour myself a cup of milk. When I watched Venus in Furs, I was instantly transported back into the theater of my childhood and the performances that it held.

In the movie, the actress lounges on the sofa and struts her stuff by proving to the director (the male lead) that she deserves the role. Hence, the movie is like watching what happens behind a theater production, than the production itself. On how the actress seduces the director, and how the director falls into her whims and becomes her masochist in his own fantasy reenactment of the script as the actor. On many levels, it is like watching Inception but theater style.

First, you have Polanski who is the real director of the play, casting his wife into the female lead role.

Secondly, you have the young male lead act as the director in the movie itself who is casting a new actress who walked in to be his new lead.

Thirdly, you have the director in the movie audition the script (Venus in Furs) with the female lead, and in this sense, the director enacts his fantasy to be the male lead of the show with the new actress.

If you can’t wrap your mind around what I just wrote, you have to watch the movie as it is so subliminal on many levels that it was a mind boggling. I had to research on the nature of Polanski and his wife relationship (Polanski has a 33 years age gap with his wife) and how they met to get a real feel of what he is trying to communicate in this movie.

index3eIn my conclusion, this movie is a fantasy of the director, Polanski and his wife Emmanuelle Seigner. It is the fruition of their love for theater and movies, and their collaboration on this is a milestone on their marriage. It is a classic by itself as Polanski hits the mark on this movie on the themes of dominance and submission, and how a woman is able to manipulate and control a man’s thoughts by his lust for her. The actress humiliates the director as a “pervert” as the director falls deeper into the trap she has woven, for she wants the role badly and isn’t gonna let the director stop her from becoming the lead actress. I highly recommend this movie and it is still in my thoughts although I watched it in 2014. I still knew I have to write a review about it to release it from my mind (that’s the impact of this movie, it leaves your brain spinning with intellectual stimulation). Go watch it.