The Stone of Folly
Fits with some of the research I have been doing this summer with Mica White. Thank Mica for finding this…



IC 1396: The Elephant’s Trunk Nebula

An ionized gas region located in the constellation Cepheus about 2,400 light years away from Earth; it is commonly called the Elephant’s Trunk nebula because of its appearance at visible light wavelengths, where there is a dark patch with a bright, sinuous rim. [image via]

Marginalia - Billy Collins

Sometimes the notes are ferocious,
skirmishes against the author
raging along the borders of every page
in tiny black script.
If I could just get my hands on you,
Kierkegaard, or Conor Cruise O’Brien,
they seem to say,
I would bolt the door and beat some logic into your head.

Other comments are more offhand, dismissive -
“Nonsense.” “Please!” “HA!!” -
that kind of thing.
I remember once looking up from my reading,
my thumb as a bookmark,
trying to imagine what the person must look like
why wrote “Don’t be a ninny”
alongside a paragraph in The Life of Emily Dickinson.

Students are more modest
needing to leave only their splayed footprints
along the shore of the page.
One scrawls “Metaphor” next to a stanza of Eliot’s.
Another notes the presence of “Irony”
fifty times outside the paragraphs of A Modest Proposal.

Or they are fans who cheer from the empty bleachers,
Hands cupped around their mouths.
“Absolutely,” they shout
to Duns Scotus and James Baldwin.
“Yes.” “Bull’s-eye.” “My man!”
Check marks, asterisks, and exclamation points
rain down along the sidelines.

And if you have managed to graduate from college
without ever having written “Man vs. Nature”
in a margin, perhaps now
is the time to take one step forward.

We have all seized the white perimeter as our own
and reached for a pen if only to show
we did not just laze in an armchair turning pages;
we pressed a thought into the wayside,
planted an impression along the verge.

Even Irish monks in their cold scriptoria
jotted along the borders of the Gospels
brief asides about the pains of copying,
a bird signing near their window,
or the sunlight that illuminated their page-
anonymous men catching a ride into the future
on a vessel more lasting than themselves.

And you have not read Joshua Reynolds,
they say, until you have read him
enwreathed with Blake’s furious scribbling.

Yet the one I think of most often,
the one that dangles from me like a locket,
was written in the copy of Catcher in the Rye
I borrowed from the local library
one slow, hot summer.
I was just beginning high school then,
reading books on a davenport in my parents’ living room,
and I cannot tell you
how vastly my loneliness was deepened,
how poignant and amplified the world before me seemed,
when I found on one page

A few greasy looking smears
and next to them, written in soft pencil-
by a beautiful girl, I could tell,
whom I would never meet-
“Pardon the egg salad stains, but I’m in love.”

- Billy Collins

Listen to this poem free at (here)



Hey kid. You’re at an age where I’m pretty sure you’re about to have sex soon, or actually, you might even already be having it and you’re just *that* good at keeping it from me. I don’t really fret over that because I trust you. And because I trust myself and the job I’ve done as your…

What is the connection between Social Networks and Being Lonely? Quoting the words of Sherry Turkle from her TED talk “Connected, But Alone.” (

Look Up’ - A spoken word film for an online generation.

'Look Up' is a lesson taught to us through a love story, in a world where we continue to find ways to make it easier for us to connect with one another, but always results in us spending more time alone.

Written, Performed & Directed by Gary Turk.

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Applicants will be notified by 5/30.

how i spend my day

how i spend my day

""Don’t cry because it’s over; Smile because it happened" - Dr. Seuss"

From the movie, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

My final post and farewell to THST2450.

I chose this GIF because it resonated with me, and what better way to end than to get a GIF from a media film? As much as I am slow at adapting and change-averse, I have to admit and acknowledge that Change really is the only constant in life. I tend to live in the past because I am a sentimental person, always holding on to attachments from the past, unwilling to move on. It takes me a lot of courage to let go, because I am very stubborn and I’d always hold on till the very end, even when the situation seemed utterly hopeless I’d desperately keep finding ways to invent hope. Some people call this dogmatism, which in my opinion can be both a good and bad thing depending on how you perceive it and the situation that follows. Nicely put, it’s perseverance. Harshly put, it’s being wishy-washy. 

Like I had mentioned in my farewell letter, this class has been an eye-opener. It is undoubtedly the most interesting out of the 5 courses I have taken this semester. Each Tuesday I actually look forward to going for class, discussing about every and any issue under the sky, gaining so much insights from my classmates.

It’s sad that this class has come to an end, knowing that when I go back to Singapore, I will never, ever have a similar experience again. (It’s been such a long while since I have had a class birthday party of food) But it’s also good because the fact that this class setting and atmosphere was so unique, it makes the memory that much more special and deeply etched in my mind. 

Thank you to everyone who has been an irreplaceable part of THST 2450, it has been a good, crazy, fun, roller coaster ride with you guys :) And congratulations, we have survived and come out unscathed from yet another grueling semester in school! From here on, I wish all of you the best in anything and everything you do, and may you have the brightest future ahead and shine like a star in your own special way :)

Thank you Daphne for this beautiful farewell. #mystudentsareawesome


Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?

This grasshopper, I mean - the one who has flung herself out of the grass, the one who is eating sugar out of my hand, who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down - who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.

Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face. Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.

I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.

I do know how to pay attention,
how to fall down into the grass,
how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed,
how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.

Tell me, what else should I have done?

Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?


The Summer Day, Mary Oliver

(my favourite poem)

by B. Burnham

For my BingoFalafel


My dog has died.
I buried him in the garden
next to a rusted old machine.

Some day I’ll join him right there,
but now he’s gone with his shaggy coat,
his bad manners and his cold nose,
and I, the materialist, who never believed
in any promised heaven in the sky
for any human being,
I believe in a…


Writing in my brain: Beautiful flowing sentences full of powerful phrases and enigmatically witty dialogue. 

Writing on the page: They did the thing and said some stuff. There was snark.