Daylight Saving

As of today, America move its clocks back an hour.  That makes LA 16 hours behind Shanghai.

You see, we don’t do that in China. We don’t even have multiple time zones. Beijing time for all. But I recalled we did try changing time when I was in pre-school. But to no avail.

When I lived in LA, regardless of my inexperience with changing time, I didn’t need to do it physically.  My smartass phone keeps me on time automatically.

Gaining an extra hour can be exciting. I usually would try to go to bed “an hour early” so I can start becoming an early bird finally.

However, shrouded in darkness as early as five p.m. put me right into depression.  So much so that when I was packing to leave LA, I tried to convince myself that not having to deal with “daylight saving depression” was something that I could look forward to when I got back in Shanghai.

By now, I can say this much with confidence: escaping from dusk depression just isn’t good enough.  My heart throbs at the palm trees in movies; my ears perk up at the mention of LA.  Even my parents and my cat aren’t heavy enough to anchor me here.

I need to go back. I want to go back. I have to go back. Five pm pitch black or not. We always have March to get it right.


Yours truly,

PS. I’m happy to report that I’m close to finish the second draft of the short film that I’m working on with a student director. The pay is, of course, chicken-shit.  But I will collect another credit for my artist visa as the student completes the short in the coming spring. Beat it, I know it’s not winter yet. But let me fast-forward just a little… so I can make some sense out of the bone-chilling Shanghai winter… which I’ve long forgotten when I did time in LA.


My dear friend Barbara taught me the term “extreme self-care” recently.

I was going to her Farewell Party. But I got sick three days before the scheduled date. Then we tried to reschedule for a few times until it was too close to her departure of November 4, which is tomorrow…

I could have dropped by her place as I stopped my eight-day IV treatment on Thursday. But she suggested that I listened to my body.

She was right. I was still weak. Plus, I was having a huge reaction to the medication that I was drowsy and depressed.

“In times like this, we need to exercise extreme self-care.”

That means that Oct 17 was the last time I saw her before her final departure…

I wish I didn’t stay up late every night for the last month I was in LA. I wish I rested more when I was on the plane. I wish I didn’t get up at 1:30 the first night I was back…  But I was too distraught to feel or act otherwise.

How many times do we ignore the signals from our body before we get struck down hard? My latest pneumonia episode should be a cautionary tale.

Like the world’s worst coach, we demand our body to go the extra mile for us when it’s at the verge of collapse.

“Where there is a will, there is a way” has been my mantra as long as I can remember before my health gets in the way…

Is it worth it? Is it faster to dash and get sick in the middle, or go steady and rest?

One of my biggest regrets is that I didn’t fully enjoy LA until it was time for me to leave. Am I going to do the same for Shanghai when I leave yet again later?

I told dad this evening when we strolled in the neighborhood park that I wanted to exercise with him every dawn as I recover. I shared with him my fears, my anxieties – just like the way we talked via WeChat when I was in LA.

I vowed that I would be more patient with mum regardless of her hoarding pet peeve or her poor sense of fashion…

Honestly, how many more moments do we get to spend with our parents 24/7 as we become adults?

Enjoy while you can.


Yours truly,


You see, when I was in LA, I talked with my parents at least every two days for some half an hour or so each time.  Now I’m home and living with them under the same roof in two separate bedrooms, I go on for hours without having to engage in a single conversation with them.

I’ve only been back for less than three weeks thus far. And two things have happened. One, we have gotten so used to one another that we are practically strangers. And two, we haven’t been engaged in any serious conversations which doesn’t end with me grabbing my cuppa tea and retrieving into my bedroom.

I’ve got friends in Shanghai who scream how much they miss me when I was in the US. Since now I’ve been back, I haven’t yet got on the phone yet. Well, I’ve been sick for two-thirds of the time since I’ve been back. But I don’t see how it’s going to change now I’ve got my voice back. Shh, don’t let them know that I’m well. I just can’t deal with the sudden welcome invitations that are weeks overdue.

Or think this: I’ve been texting and FaceTiming friends back in LA since I got back and we figured out the overlapped waking time we’ve shared. Well, that’s something, right?

But distance, as I’ve discovered lately, is quite a con artist.

My parents aren’t gonna be thrilled about this but I’m trying to be frank here: I just find them more interesting when they are confined in that little frame of my phone.

Just like I don’t feel the least bit of urge to visit all my cousins after missing them for four Chinese New Year’s eve dinners and other excuses for relatives to be eating at the same table. I don’t even know how tall or pretty my nieces and nephews have grown. Honestly, I don’t give a shit except for this: those little schmucks are robbing my lunch money and call it their red pockets for the next decade or so. It’s legal because it’s part of the Chinese culture that we still feel like keeping.

Or my aging uncles and aunties who are going to ask me the same old question: “why are you still single when all your cousins are either married or about to.” Now do you realize why I won’t feel a thing if I hear that you get some weird diseases? Okay, that’s mean. But you get the idea.

To my parents’ credit, they never nag me about being single, not getting married or other things down in the pipeline like me having a baby or freeze my eggs just in case.  But, I can’t stop them from thinking these troubling big life events of their daughter who is now officially behind the curve. If they do, they never discuss it in front of me. That’s enough to give them Best Parents of the Century Award.

To make it even more difficult for them is that, all I do these days is walking around my polka dot PJ and sit in front of my computer when I’m not coughing my head off.

“I thought you were in Hollywood.”

“Sorry, Ma. I assure you that JK Rowling does the same thing and look where she is now.”

I guess that was why I held my chopsticks to the furthest when I heard an aunt say “the further you hold your chopsticks, the farther you would travel, kiddo.” But then, little did I know that distance is also the ultimate photoshop.

Yeah, Shanghai pals, how you like me now?


Yours truly,

PS. I’ve decided to stop the medication the doctor prescribed me after wasting another day today feeling drowsy and heavy even though I clocked in 15 hours of sleep and naps.


I can’t believe we’re already in November. Two months later, 2018 would be officially behind us.

I wonder what I have achieved exactly in 2018 other than being exhausted by logistics, getting fucked over by administrative bullcrap and now fallen sick thanks to the germs from my hometown. Homecoming kiss has never been so contagious.

I’ve never felt that I’m running against time as I do right now.

Hamilton’s Non-Stop echoes in my ears:

  • Why do you write like you’re running out of time?
  • Write day and night like you’re running out of time?
  • Every day you fight, like you’re running out of time?


As I dragged my bone-tired body out of bed today, I’d slept for some 13 hours yesterday including a three hour nap later in the afternoon. And yet, I still felt dizzy. I skimmed the side effects of the drugs that the doctor prescribed me yesterday.  Drowsiness, check. Lack of energy, check. Double whammy, check.

I vow that I will take good care of my body so I can run faster, write more. And yet, right now, on the second day of November, I can only take it slow. One step at a time.

Lesson learned: Take care of your body so it will take you further.


Yours truly,