Category: Mag


For a record-breaking entire week, Harper drank coffee.

After each day she would interrogate herself with personal, intrusive questions because she has a penchant of terrorising herself at a constant, educational basis.

She was afraid to tell her boss that she drank coffee for said full week, fearing that he will never, ever let her live it down in her entirety at this boisterous company of coffee-drinkers and spillers. Harper believes she may just keep this to herself until the Christmas party.

FM: It’s been a solid 6 months of declaring your love for tea in the entire office.

H: *with a headache* And I’ve never regretted mouthing such prideful words in my life.

FM: Tell us something extraordinary!

H: Two weeks before, I attended a 70’s themed pre-Christmas party. Most of them were younglings and it was such a fabulous affair of dress-ups and boogies. Imagine two lines of 10 kids dancing to YMCA simultaneously. It was glorious.

FM: Do you feel old?

H: I am so swamped at work that I feel like I’ve put on ten years just this past week. Hence, the caffeinated swamp. But I will always be the “baby” at work as they so affectionately (horrendously) call moi. Most are far too engrossed with this band called Midnight Oil while I’m like Tay-waah? Good thing a fellow-person of nine and twenty believes in me.

FM: What’s the hardest thing about graphics design?

H: The severe underestimation. Folks, if you’ve never done graphics designing in your life, stop asking for a turnaround time of today. You’ll get quality American coffee (disgusting).

FM: Imagine yourself three days from now: It’s two a.m., you’ve got your luggage checked-in, Bon Iver as a lullaby, cameras packed, organic, 100%-sugar juice bought at a ridiculous airport price…what’s the takeaway?

H: Sleep! Much, much sleep! I won’t get it until the night of the next day at a country as foreign as my knowledge on the Lord of the Rings and even then, there will be lots of catching up with my soul sister whom I have not seen in two, very excruciatingly long years.

FM: Even though it’s pretty much gone by?

H: Even though. I talk to her pretty much every day. I talk to him pretty much every day too. There’s never a limit to how much one can mean to you.

FM: Last thoughts before sleeping?

H: Don’t buy a gimbal.




Harper fetches a decaf green tea, dodges a chocolate croissant and sits by her newly-acquired desk. Contemplating, whirring, lazily trying to collate her thoughts on the subject of availability.

When she has lunch everyday at five past twelve, rarely anyone joins her. “I like it,” she admits, sipping her tea. “I’m quite antisocial and it wouldn’t be fair to them if I replied to messages while they talked adult stuff.”

Harper says “adult stuff” like the lady to her right isn’t three years older than her. “Yeah, but she’s building a house.” And that was the end of that conversation. She alludes to the rhetoric of being available in a society so nuanced in its busyness. She hardly finds the time nor (definitely) the energy to even sit her butt and finish her little novella, about three years old now.

FM: What’s it about?

H: A limping girl. With a secret.

FM: Sounds obvious.

H: See my dilemma?

And she blames everyone’s attendance in her life though she is mostly preoccupied by napping.

FM: I remember once you saying how cumquats should not look like oranges.

H: Because one grew large enough to be mistaken as a mandarin. Do you know how unfairly disappointing that was? It was summer.

FM: Perhaps this limping girl grows cumquats.

H: And while she’s trimming the plant, she falls on her bad leg illiciting a small cry of pain. And who but comes?

FM: A gentlem-

H: A cat. Or at least, I’d like to think it’s a cat.

Then she drifts off on a tangent about croissants.

Harper finds herself always on the lookout for the presence of wonder. One time she went to climb the peak of a mountain simply to sit and stare. Her best friend panicked, thinking she was about to fall off (and mighty be such death), but she simply shrugs in amnesty. She says that sitting on hilltops or mountain peaks at a summit high above ground makes her grow nervous in anticipation for the wondrous unknowns. She asks, “Have you ever felt that?”

And I am reminded by the time I decided not to climb that gargantuan Redwood tree because I was afraid to get scratched.

“Live freely,” she says, blinking a few times. “Unapologetically.”


Before the reception, we went to a a burger joint. I ordered a hotdog. I realised my mistake as soon as I took the first bite –  the mustard-twisted-tomato sauce with bits of onion spilled over my scarf and my mother’s expensive (I borrowed) coat. It left a stain, of course, and I still haven’t the chance to dry clean it as per her stringent specifications. I doubt I’ll miss the trouble of wearing it on said day.

To recap, my whirlwind weeks has been disastrous in non-vulgar ways, and peaceful in the cold, blistery sessions. On the eve of a Thursday, I packed some bags for an overnight photoshoot near the Great Ocean. The photoshoot lasted the usual eight hours, the night lasted long, long, long into the early hours of the morning.

The million-dollar home with a view handcrafted by the Architect was astounding to behold in the glory of the morning and the shadows of the evening. We rested at a ten-bedroom villa with a fireplace stoked by one Alexander, and the company was jolly in laughing tears.

“It’s just cold coffee,” I exclaim when I tasted my first ever espresso martini. Everyone laughs in mockery but my eyes illuminate my judgment. Not to take offence, but it’s as pretentious as it sounds. Well, for a tea-drinker anyway.

We took a drive down to Moons’ the next morning after some hustling out of bed. I am most thankful for the fact that I had a bedroom all to myself. I squeezed myself a few hours of tranquility as I readied for the two-hour drive ahead. Will it be painful? It most certainly was.

FM: You successfully captured some footage of the whole day as well, didn’t you?

H: Most definitely! I have a rough cut somewhere and the lighting is to die for.

FM: 20 seconds – what was your favourite meal?

H: Oven-roasted chicken sandwiches for lunch.

FM: Outfit you felt most confident in?

H: Tracks, Uggs, Hoodie, Ring.

FM: What made you laugh hysterically?

H: Backwards knees.

FM: If you could paint a part of your trip, what would it be?

H: SLR 0601 rusted bicycle by the mezzanine. It was blue with an extra wheel.

FM: Favourite person?

H: M-cat.

FM: Warmest hour?

H: For fifteen minutes I blistered in the heated car.

FM: Coldest?

H: Liquorice liqueur or whatever. Not bad.

FM: Resolution?

H: Always pack heavy.



I brought in Harper to talk about the mature at heart.

Context: Harper’s first friend of a line-up of 3 pairs for this year got married an exact month ago.

H: I don’t feel disembodied to the reality of this friend and the 3 others who will enter in to matrimony at such a permanent age; an age of which I tower over all of them. Accomplishment shouldn’t be measured by another halves’ perfect opinion of you. It should be trialled and tested and left to flow. Drive yourself in independence. Exhaust your pipes singing your way through the Appalachian, or shout across thunderous ocean wide. What do I value, what do they value…

FM: That seems rather opinionated. Some really do just want to settle down.
H: I’m not a harbinger of judgment. My soul is more sincere in its drive to see the world through one pair of eyes first before settling with another pair. Perhaps that is why I cannot seem to accept it as well as I hoped I would by now.

FM: So you feel like their settling means they will miss much?
H: There’s a line, of course. They have their own adventures, I have my one. The difference being is that their pairing will be permanent. There will be no “I” any longer, and you’re always on the constant lookout for the other’s thoughts in matters. Spontaneity will be overridden by assessment. And you cannot get that back anymore. Unless 1 of 2 died, of course, but we never wish that!

FM: You’ll find yourself in their position someday too. You dream of it, you’ve told us as much. They’re simply accelerating a few years before you.
H: Of course, of course. There is no doubt to it. But that is still a few years they can never have back anymore. Sure, time is not of the essence when you’re an eternal-thinker. But we are physically limited humans. Death is inevitable. And there are far too many nations, cultures, cuisines, aromas, felts, brushes, blossoms and pigmentations to wonder at. Therefore, their deep desire for permanent companionship over the immeasurable value of this amazement baffles me.

FM: You can travel together.
H: And the spontaneous trip with your girl friends or boy friends are out of the picture.

FM: You heart fill be full and fluttering and blushing.
H: A conversation with a stranger on a moonlight stroll, unprompted and naturale.

FM: A kiss or two?
H: I can wait.

FM: Tell us what you picture.
H: A quiet room with a filled bookshelf. You’re inside your covers, perhaps you’d like to turn on a movie or open to the last page of your book. Tomorrow, you fly to a cousin, an auntie eight/fifteen hours away. You create magic with your gifts, and you return home to replete.
Then again, perhaps I am overthinking it.

FM: Do your own thing and they do theirs. You’ll find both your paths, accelerated or not.

H: Thank you. That is a deep wish.

Harper loves love. She romanticises romance and often daydreams of what it would be like to be the Elizabeth Bennet to someone’s Fitzwilliam Darcy. But like Lizzie, or perhaps, dear Belle, there is a great world out there. A place that one cannot compare.

For some, that may be a person. For others, it may be the places. For Harper, it’s a little bit of both. But the former can wait, she speaks. The latter is vehemently, absolutely, for now.

Issue II: H- ponders signification.

H- and Nicolo (a trombone-playing curator of soul ships and wanderers) will visit The Chapple Press Symposium, a conference for the like-minded and a voice for the obscured, this very Saturday. The travel won’t be their problem. The difficulty lies in whether, in their mind’s eye, a towering breakfast of hashbrowns and bacon, buckwheat pancakes with raspberry syrup, and two pots of brewed gold-leaf tea, will suffice for the entire duration, to and from.

Nicolo simply puffed and H- involuntarily jerked a shrug.

The Chapple Press Symposium will be hosted by a nonentity speaker. He is a local of Amsterdam and has an “excellent” photographic collection of his displacement. H- believes he is rural and a mid-weight influence amongst his peers. Nicolo believes what he will see at the Symposium. No more no less.

When H- was nomadic and found herself camped in front of the Capitol Building 500 days or so before, it had been a starry, cold night. She was sitting on a marble hedge across the illuminated stairs, unaware (or ignoring) the stationed guards at almost every step, loggia, and stony gables. Whilst Nicolo had been travelling in California with a dog,  H- was snuggled between her two companions for warmth and solidarity amidst the crisis that lingered in her mind: will they ever be as significant, as important as she believed she would be?

She wrote it down in her notebook upon returning. The underground train lines of Washington D.C. were built like bunkers, the significant man said. But to H-, they were space stations. Roofed and bedecked with inimitable power of salvation of both the wicked and the good. She scratched the first word out (I). With thousands upon thousands in each space station, awaiting their doom or demise, salvation or safety, it never once occurred to H- that no one will remember anyone’s name. And it won’t be because of lack of trying.

There is something curtained and bleak about the great capital in the West. At night, at freezing temperatures, you value your existence more than you value the statuaries and edifices that holds centuries of history, language, and life. For one, struggling moment, the buildings became discrete, disconnected entities to me. They held no value, no life, no genus loci. But there was no shame. Only a sudden, inexplicable change in perspective.

FM: You favoured Washington D.C. over many cities in your travels. You mentioned its vibrancy, its colour amidst its structural power. What changed?
H: It is a lot quieter, the city. And I never thought the city was colourful in any way separate to its red-bricked, sun-kissed palisades. Its vibrancy, like Georgetown, remains in the forgotten entities that lingered. It seems contradictory to my previous statement but hear me out:
It’s not the buildings that haunt you, or the old houses or street posts. It’s the people who have entered said doors, who repainted and refurbished the windows and the old courtyard by the train lines. It’s the why a museum has been erected to pay tribute and to never forgot those who have fallen. It’s the dynasty, the legacy of each generation in every decade that is haunting. That is real.

FM: And why is that important to you?
H: Because we want to be significant. At all ways there is a need to be known, even if it’s to be forgotten. There is a purposeful stride to be remembered.

FM: And Nicolo?
H: He believes in seeing. He has a great rapport with artists and painters, jazz pianists, and saxophone players. He hears the music, he sees the strain on the forehead, the sweat, the adoration for their craft. And the product is there. It is limitless, but it’s tangible.

FM: You see the world more abstract. You favour fables and mythology over the corporeal.
H: I find they complement each other and are significant to each other. And that is why you can hold a perspective for one or the other. You can believe that the other is more significant to you and the other as less important. And vice versa. It is a study on perspective more than factual.

FM: Tell us about the symposium. Your attendance must be of consequence to your pursuit of this philosophy.
H: I am weaving a narrative fabric about displacement and emplacement of characters, personalities, and personas against the framework of that which surrounds us. Por ejemplo, an evil cat living in the Old Supreme Court of Capitol Hill. What is the significance of this animal against the assassinations that have happened in the buildings themselves? Would no one have befriended it? But someone must be feeding it.

FM: Is it for a film?
H: You never know.


Issue I: H-

In this novel issue, we wanted to record a small little compendium of quips and arbitrary moments of reflections from H- from her trip to Paradise Island for her cousin’s wedding. As you may all know, she has been trying her hardest to log her own esoteric reflections through teasers the lasts posts but since H- has just returned from a recent, pulverising trip, we wanted to be casual but at the same time amazed.

Be prepared, because both H- and us have a reputation for being fickle.

I don’t like chickens in the mornings if they sound suspiciously like automobiles. I tried to convince my 3 brothers to arise but those howling things beat me to it.

FM: You have a bit of a reputation with your old friend back in your home town, birth home (whatever that means for us). Apparently there were teases of dates?
H: Ah yes, it’s a cousins banter. Everyone enjoys the harmless fun.

FM: What outfit did you end up sporting on every hot humid day?
H: Let me just stop you right there. Like Titus Andromedon would say, you don’t choose the outfit. The outfit chooses you. Unfortunately, I was missing a strapless brassiere so there goes the planned. Fortunately, I packed like I’ve been an independent traveller all my life. Resourcefulness is, in some ways, a virtue.

FM: Arcade while waiting for a friend? It was one of the reunions you were most looking forward to.
H: We lost to a guy named Jason who randomly joined our race through the San Franciscan streets. Did we complain? Almost. He was in earshot.

FM: There was that eventful Sunday morning prior to your flight to the Island. You mentioned an emotional and physical roller coaster?
H: My birth town is an extremely humid place. Though I’m grateful for the double-sided fans (!!!), the reunited company, the nails done, and the hair as bright as the sun, I had to tap on my back-up energy. I felt like young Anakin Skywalker on the Boonta race. Sandy.

FM: Tell us something mischievous.
H: I ate an entire coconut by myself.
FM: How-
H: I just finished snorkelling and I was famished and parched and both those things were quenched thanks to the sea-side vendor. He was tanned beyond anything.

FM: Did you read the book you packed?
H: A couple of pages, at least. Flights are crushing. Have you ever felt that? It’s like hammering your skull. I really would rather be in a state of dormientes.
Gravity’s a bit of a scary concept, if not, titular in some respects. For instance, I take it for granted when I was on our dingy boat on our way to the reefs. I mean, how does a life-jacket defy it and I can’t jump more than my knee height? Perhaps I should just be a theorist.

FM: That could be fun! You visited NASA before so you’re a lot closer to that pathway than anything.
H: Ha! I’d rather be a linguist. I am far too in love with Latin and its derivatives more than anything. Which reminds me, my friend lost my ring that one hazy, dark night and he still owes me a new one.

FM: Pub-crawls are dangerous.
H: *snorts* If you’re with the wrong kind of people. Him, he was slightly dangerous (read: ring lost). At least it wasn’t my aquamarine gem stone. And my cousin was with me the whole time. In fact, she directed me and convinced me to come because it was our hoo-ha before the wedding rehearsal the next day. Thank goodness I didn’t sport a headache.

FM: The wedding…

H- takes out her laptop and places it between us. Her eyes were gleaming as she opened up the video and turned the volume up. It was a same-day edit, she said, and she was speechless upon remembering, sitting next to her partnered groomsman (her brother). We couldn’t help but tear-up along with her.

H: I’ve known the couple for the totality of their relationship. I remember the first mentions, the introductions, the shyness and awkwardness. And it blossomed to something so tangibly beautiful that its final beginning at that ceremony truly ripped me apart.

They were made to love each other.