Battle of the Sheylaras

Just thought I should pop in to say that I’m stil alive and kicking and gaming too much for my own good.

(I do have to assert for the record that the right games promote mental acuity, so there is something to be said for gaming too much.)

Well, the thing is, once in a while I get into a kind of mental block that prevents me from writing. It’s not writers’ block; it’s a block which I can explain more adequately by sharing with you the following internal dialogue:


Sheylara 1: What shall we write about today?

Sheylara 2: We could do X, Y, Z or A.

Sheylara 1: We could, but I don’t want to.

Sheylara 2: Why not?

Sheylara 1: They’re all boring.

Sheylara 2: No way. People are waiting to read them.

Sheylara 1: They’re boring to write. And if they’re boring to write, they must be boring to read.

Sheylara 2: Just write one of them, anyway.

Sheylara 1: I don’t want to write for the sake of writing. I want to make some changes to my blog.

Sheylara 2: Like what?

Sheylara 1: I don’t know. I have a million ideas but they’re all not sustainable and I don’t want to start work on half-baked ideas only to regret and then want to change again.

Sheylara 2: Okay, keep on incubating ideas but in the meantime write something or everyone will think we’ve quit and gone to live in Tibet.

Sheylara 1: I can’t! I just can’t work on something I don’t believe in anymore. I want a new direction. I want to change everything. I NEED to change everything!

Sheylara 2: Do it gradually.

Sheylara 1: I can’t! Because if I continue in this vein, I will keep on continuing in this vein! There needs to be a sudden, drastic change for anything to happen for real! And for that to take place, I need to stop doing whatever’s not working! Don’t you understand?!!

Sheylara 2:

Sheylara 1: I need to change NOW! I can’t wait! My blog is getting stupid and boring!!

Sheylara 2: Erm… I think we should get back to our game.

Sheylara 1: Okay.


This happens a lot.

In fact, this happens regularly my entire life.

Occasionally, Sheylara 1 gets a breakthrough and something life-changing happens and then we are happy for a time. But, more often than not, Sheylara 2 wins by appealing to the mature, sensible adult hiding somewhere in our DNA, and then life goes on in a mundane but safe cycle until such a time as Sheylara 1 decides to halfheartedly rebel again.


Geese talking


In other news, I am taking my IELTS tomorrow. That’s the stupid English test we are forced to pass in order to apply to colleges and universities in Western countries.

I hate it because it makes you study stupid charts showing how many Japanese people travelled abroad each year over a 10-year period and how many of them chose to go to Australia in each of those years.

You then have to write your findings in 150 words or more.

Among other things, you also have to read long, wordy essays on the boring history of cartography and then answer a series of trick questions which are impossible to answer because you fell asleep while reading the essay.

The IELTS is a three-hour ordeal that will only prove, if you pass, that you have the mental fortitude required to withstand prolonged torture to your brain.


Well, don’t mind me. I’m just grumpy.

Breed a gamer today

Writing a magazine column (as opposed to writing blogs) is rather tough, mainly because you have a very specific word count to adhere to.

Also, because you can’t distract readers with photos after every two sentences, you actually have to write something of note in order to keep their attention.


And a few other things which I won’t elaborate on cos I’m not holding classes on writing columns.

The point is, I’m having a tough time coughing out one short column a month but, at the same time, it’s also a breath of fresh air being able to write a piece without having to worry about pictures.

Here’s my column for the May issue of Stuff, which is out in stores now!

(Well, at least, I think my column should be in there. I haven’t actually gotten a copy yet.)

Stuff Magazine, May 2010


The following was first published in Stuff Magazine, May 2010.

By Sheylara

I am going to suggest something revolutionary. I am going to suggest that, if you have kids, you allow them to play games. In fact, make them play games. Start them as young as possible.

It’s easy enough to keep the lads interested since they’re born with the ability to grow gaming controllers between their hands, with or without parental help. But girls might need some nurturing, so keep your home stocked with the latest releases to cultivate their love for gaming.

It’s very important for girls, especially, to love gaming. I’ll tell you why (or I risk my editor throwing this column back in my face).

You want your daughters to grow up as gamers because gamers are smart, fast-thinking and creative. Many important life skills are learnt in games, such as leadership, problem solving and cooking.

But the biggest reason to breed girl gamers is to encourage marital harmony.

Think about it. If women understood the absolute need to play just one more mission to unlock that new kickass skill before coming to bed, there would be fewer quarrels and more happiness.

If women understood the utmost importance of playing Final Fantasy XIII on launch day instead of celebrating one of those ridiculous “monthiversary” things, many household accidents (such as porcelain plates mysteriously flying towards walls) could be avoided.

Sure, there’s gaming addiction to contend with. I’m not denying anything. But I have turned out fine and I enjoy harmonious relationships with men, except when we get competitive over whose computer is more powerful.

So, breed a gamer today. Your daughters and sons-in-law will thank you for it. Not to mention the Singapore government.



Asian Poker Showdown

Haha… this is crazy. The eight poker contestants get thrown off the world’s highest bungee jump in Macau! Watch them grit their teeth and do it…

View more episodes at!

Blogging is harder than writing

I’m a little tired of blogging about my activities.

I have many activities left unblogged, like my durian trip, Kuching experiences from half a year ago, a TVC shoot and a restaurant visit.

What to blog about?

Activity blogs are very easy to write because you can post a whole bunch of photos with captions and people seem to be satisfied with that. But doing it that way bores me. I hate writing templates. Like:

Today I went here.


I saw this.


This is me (obligatory camwhore shot) being in this location.


Here are my friends making faces at each other because they are so thrilled to be enjoying this activity.


And here is a paragraph of text describing how I wrestled with an orang utan who had escaped its cage because I had made faces at it, causing it to think that I was a banana. Blah blah blah.


I have this compulsion to make every one of my posts interesting by finding different ways to write them. But, after a while, there are only so many ways you can innovate with a certain kind of posts. Also, it’s very hard to be creative and out-of-the-box every single day.

When I find myself starting to write templates, an aversion to writing will develop and I will get a writer’s block. And that’s when I force myself to do something different.

Which is why I’m kind of just talking rubbish today.

If you’re a long-time reader, you may have noticed that my writing and blogging styles change with time (like how my fashion style changes). It’s a conscious effort to not allow myself to become stale.


Yes, I do differentiate writing from blogging.

Writing is just writing words. It’s the technical skill of linguistics and expression.

Blogging has more to do with layout. It involves more elements. It’s how you clap together a bunch of words and photos to entertain the reader, making sure there’s a right mix of each. And maybe spice things up with videos and other interactivity options.


That’s what my kind of blogging is about, anyway. And that’s why blogging is so much harder than mere writing, for me. Blogging is writing and more.

Writing is so easy. I just have to tap on the keyboard and the words come out.

Blogging requires a lot more work because there must be photos and videos. The average Internet surfer does not want to see walls of text. If I don’t have photos for a particular entry, I have to draw something. And you can tell that I can’t draw for nuts.

Wall of text

The average Internet surfer also does not want to read graduate theses, so there must be economy of words. Every word in an entry must have a reason for existence, the reason being to offer the reader something, whether it’s information or entertainment.

I have a self-imposed rule: If I don’t enjoy writing it, no one will enjoy reading it. DELETE and start over.

All those wasted words in the virtual bin. I could cry.

But, for me, that’s part and parcel of being a blogger who cares for her readers. At the end of it, my only hope is that my readers care enough back to leave a comment.

My physical acting journal

Sometimes, I encounter incidents in my acting career which I can’t mention in public because it might offend people or get me into trouble and kill my career before it even starts. Haha.

So I bought this pretty notebook to write in.

I used to keep a physical diary during my emo days. Then I sort of outgrew that phase and the diary wasn’t needed anymore. Then, blogging came into fashion.

But I still love manual writing. I love collecting notebooks, especially stylish, pretty or bling ones, and I love writing in them.

Sometimes, I write rubbish just to fill up pages for fun.

Because I was so eager to write something in this sweet little notebook, I just sat down and started writing without knowing what I was going to write, and this bit of nonsense popped out.

Click to enlarge

Yeah, it’s quite irrelevant, but irrelevance is one of my 2,764 middle names. Rubbish is another one of them.

Now I have a physical acting journal to complement the digital one in my blog. Yayness.