Category Archives: The Thought Column

Tuesdays with Rachel: Playing softball again


I would like to introduce my friend Rachel Ng, who will be guest blogging on Burburchan every Tuesday. Rachel and I became friends when we joined the same softball school team at 13 years old. You can say that softball was what brought us together and we’ve remained friends all these years. She’s an amazing writer and she has a truckload of ideas to share. Do subscribe to follow Rachel’s stories from her life in California!




I’ve known Burbur since we were 13 years old. We ran in different circles, and I knew of her as the fierce class monitor with the stern glare. It wasn’t until we joined the school softball team that we became fast friends. I played first base and she played second. Our team had the honor of being the North Division champion because we were the only team in the division. We didn’t win many matches, but we loved the game. Summer holidays were spent watching daylong softball tournaments in the cricket fields in Padang.


After secondary school, I moved to Los Angeles for college and continued playing recreationally in a handful of coed teams. I stopped seven years ago after I royally screwed up my knee when I slid into third base. Recently, I started thinking about joining a team again. I did a quick search on and found an all-women’s league that’s recruiting for their upcoming season.


Growing up, Burbur and I went to an all-girls’ school and I really missed the camaraderie and sisterhood of a female-only environment. At this weekend’s tryouts, there were athletes and women who have not thrown a ball since the birth of their child—17 years ago. Most of us were in our thirties, trying to recapture the joy of playing ball under the sun.


We caught fly balls, fielded grounders, and ran bases … then collapsed on the grass in exhaustion. We gave each other high-fives for solid hits and showered encouragement for near misses. We felt right at home. I didn’t play well enough to make it to an existing team, but the league decided to create a brand-new team out of the “leftovers.” Our official team name is Fusion, but I secretly call us the “Sandlot Kids.” We probably won’t win many matches, but it doesn’t matter. To quote another classic baseball movie, “Baseball is what gets inside you. It’s what lights you up, you can’t deny that.”

I talk during movies


My husband and I were watching World War Z at home last night. It’s a movie about zombie apocalypse featuring Brad Pitt, who had to figure out how to fight the epidemic. Now I’m no stranger to zombie fiction, having spent many nights at LAN gaming shops battling the hordes on Left 4 Dead, and also loving zombie movies such as Zombieland and 28 Days Later, participated in the Zombie Run as a zombie (I only run if I’m chasing after people to infect them), even as far as dressing up as a zombie for our unofficial wedding shoot.

Despite all that exposure to zombies, I spent half the movie hiding behind my husband whenever the zombies appear. For every squeak I made, he frowned at me in puzzlement.

Then I did the next most irritating thing you could do at a movie; talk about the plot. I wasn’t even discussing the plot with him. I was anticipating the next thing that would happen due to the actions of the characters, and I was announcing it out loud*. It was as if I considered myself a smart ass who could figure the plot twist out 2 seconds before everyone else did, and couldn’t wait to show off.

Yes. I was one of THOSE people.

I didn’t realise it at first. My husband didn’t say anything. After 2-3 outbursts, accompanied by looks that I threw at him for confirmation of my smart ass-ness, I belatedly realised what I was doing.

“Oops. I’m sorry I keep blurting things out.”

My lovely husband didn’t say anything but I’m pretty sure he was trying really hard not to roll his eyes.


One of the scenes showed Brad Pitt’s character cycling back to the plane under the cover of the rain, as he had to quickly refuel the plane and get to his next destination. He was doing it quietly to avoid the attention of the zombies as loud noise attracted them. The scene quickly flashed to his wife staring worriedly at the satellite phone in her hand as she contemplated calling him. At the moment, I shrieked, “oh my god she is going to call him and attract the zombies!” Sure enough, that’s what happened. I almost broke my arm patting myself on my back.

A little insanity from lack of sleep


I’ve been having a lot of trouble sleeping lately once I returned from Europe. It’s not the typical jet lag I expected, where being 7 hours behind Asia would mean I’ll be sleepy in the mornings. Instead I feel like crawling into bed by 10pm and I’m wide awake at 5am, as if my body had gone to Australia instead, where they are 3 hours ahead.

I thought it would last a couple of days but my body is still at it. What’s worse is when I try to stay up till midnight in a bid to shift the waking up time down by 2 hours but it doesn’t work. This morning my eyes opened at 430am and I couldn’t get back to sleep after that. I laid in bed thinking about sleeping and how I would be so tired if I didn’t sleep, and all that worrying inevitably worked me up until I truly was wide awake after that. I finally dose off an hour later only to have my husband’s first alarm go off (he’s a teacher so he wakes up before the sun does). After putting up with a bouncy bed as he flounced out of bed, I tried to fall asleep again. Only to be woken up by my cat meowing outside the door.

After trying to sleep for almost 2 and a half hours, I was so wired up that I jumped out of bed, grabbed a water spray bottle and chased my cat around the house. Being only 2 years old and very nimble, he leapt this way and that out of my path while I ran after him. I almost slipped and fell as the floor was slippery from my efforts. Way to go in trying to make a point.

Cat-1, Human-0

Welcome 2015: a new me perhaps?


Day 1: I spent 45 mins going through some yoga poses and the cats were unimpressed. I thought at least one of them would join me on the mat like those cute cat videos you see online but no. They walked around the mat and never came near. When I finally stopped and rolled up my mat, the cats guided me to their food bowls. It was as if they waited patiently through 20 poses to be fed.

Then I danced 40 mins to Dance Central. I realised Bruno Mars is really easy and upbeat to dance to. Perhaps I shall break my “Thou shalt not Bruno Mars” and attend his concert one day.

Hopefully I can keep up with this exercise regime.

Anyone out there follows a yoga routine on their own? Any tips on which app or YouTube channel I could follow?

Entitled to feel tired


I’d like to say that when I say that I feel tired, I do mean that I feel tired.

I don’t mean to compete with anyone about how tired I am. I’m just stating a fact. No one is in competition with anyone about who is the most tired person sitting at the table.

It is an objective feeling. The amount of tiredness I feel can only be compared to another day when I don’t feel so tired. It has nothing to do with the measure of which anyone else measures their tiredness.

It doesn’t matter whether I’ve slept two hours or ten hours, if I still feel tired despite twenty hours of sleep, obviously all that sleeping was a waste of time. I could have spent twenty hours playing Assassin’s Creed.

Frankly, if I could get away with not having to eat, bathe or sleep, I would, as I consider these things unnecessary interruptions on what I’d rather else do.

It is also not a competition about who deserves to be more tired than the other. No one deserves less, or more, sleep than any other person, nor does anyone deserve to be more tired than the other. In fact I think that’s quite a silly thing to feel entitled to have, the right to feel tired.

So if I ever, EVER, go HA! You feel tired?? in an indignant way, please feel free to slap me in the face. It’d probably help me feel less tired after that.

Footnote: This was written in a light-hearted manner. I don’t feel any angst against anyone who might have inadvertently said something along the same lines to me before. I just find myself hesitating a lot nowadays before I speak, until I don’t say anything at all.