I never expected myself to feel that content. That mottling (c)rush of recogniton when marbled meat sears in brown butter and sage - sinewy, umami, nifty, hardy, bloody. The shop had the standard selection of South, East and Southeast Asian groceries but the bowls! The bowls were upended sand domes sublimated across mass-produced time, junkspace condensed into potpourri coated in a generous dollop of porcelain, shining, shimmering splendid.

Two circles a fist apart, conjoined by a metallic bar shaped like a tiny baguette, a baguettelito. Down the silver in the middle, a sliver that stretches to a bend

I moved to Vienna at the end of August 2017, only to return in November for a week because my birth certificate and police record certificate, which I needed urgently for my residence permit application (“MA 35” in Austrian bureaucratic terms), had yet to be legalised at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Austrian Embassy in Singapore. Landing on the evening that Xenoctober was due to take place at s/W/s, I traipsed there unannounced with a bottle of duty-free gin in tow, arriving at the moment Ila was attempting to put her child Inaya to sleep. Knowing my walking in would surely disrupt a familial intimacy, I stood by the door like a Venus flytrap, patiently awaiting unsuspecting friends and acquaintances to spring a surprise on. Funny enough, I just found a photo that Marla took of Ila “fanning baby with birth certificate”.

Conceived by Luca, Marcus and Cain, the night foregrounded performances taking place at various recesses of the studio, from one-on-one auditory massages and ladder-scaling guitar-playing to a history lesson by the stairwell of the previously-hidden emergency exit and a medley in drag on the bar. My experience of Xenoctober was akin to steeping in an oxbow lake if it were beside The Lightning Field, its crescent evanescence cornering and cusping still waters running deep amongst currents, both over and under. The night was pregnant and it threatened asunder during Felix’s inhabitation of the rooftop. It was also the first time that I was participating in something at s/W/s from such a clear distance, privvy via Whatsapp group chats but physically absent and emotionally unavailable for the most part. I missed Vivian’s and Kamiliah’s performances that night, and was pretty jetlagged throughout, but the familiarity of the space soon enveloped me in a hazy daze of g&ts, that warm fuzzy feeling emanating from a tumble dryer as lint gathers in a niche.

I leave Vienna 9 days before the annual Rundgang (Open Studios) of the Academy I am studying at begins and I arrive in Yogyakarta 9 days after Cain and Huiying. It was the best compromise I could manage but I still can’t shake the feeling that I am missing/have missed the fat of both, that the slab I’m left with is a sirloin steak from Jack Place’s set lunch menu and my request to upgrade the soup of the day to a lobster bisque has been denied. Which still doesn’t answer the question: How doth the little crocodile avoid dropzoning?

“Come to brightest bloom among heroic lovers waiting for illumination.”


How to deal with boredom when the city shuts down on public holiday

1. try and catch a fly with a fork
2. print the lyrics to every song on
3. fry an egg on the lowest setting possible on your stove. salt accordingly
4. handwash every wool pullover you own
5. water your plants with an eyedropper