Sunday morning and I'm waking upCan't even focus on a coffee cupDon't even know who's bed I'm inWhere do I startWhere do I begin
- The Chemical Brothers, 1997, Where Do I Begin
Today is the 17th of November 2023, and the holiday season seems to have officially begun with a cavalcade of events. Events of which I am only privy to thanks to the power of social media. Events that seem to speak over other more urgent events: hospitals breaking down, besieged, torn apart.
Digits. Numbers, moving in symphony with the calendar. Upwards, onwards. Christmas soon.
To give you an idea of my current state of mind it would require me sharing a breakdown of the last 4 weeks. I'll try to keep it brief.
First 2 weeks: Rest and consumption. Rest from SSEK Jewelry's last launch, production and delivery. Consumption of the endless images, videos, resources of the genocide that unfolded.
Third week: I believe I watched the entire of Singapore's Parliament session (7 November 2023) and fell asleep. My only takeaways from the session: our opposition members mentioned something about Speaker's Corner and its importance for citizens' expression. The ruling leaders were insistent on specific terms that should be used. Technicalities.
Words. Diplomatic swords. Words are sensitive. Humans are sensitive. Countries are sensitive.
4th week: I begin conversations with my local MP and my country's president over email. I use templates, and do the bare minimum of changing the numbers. Digits. Lowest effort, maximum hope. Whether they read or write back personally, a bare minimum hope. Like how Santa could possibly exist, perhaps.
Days that follow, I continue the conversations with my political leaders with imaginary replies and deviate from the templates. I take a personal approach. I tell them my feelings. I revise the numbers. The digits keep going up.
Earlier in the week, a large local brand tried to extinguish vitriol they imagined might be small. I watched the video, I empathised with the speaker, while finding myself disagreeing. It was mentioned that as a brand they have no desire to be involved in politics, or make anything political.
When consuming media, opinions muddled with facts on a scale such as this, I've learned to refrain from reacting immediately. Sitting with one's emotions seems to create larger waves with greater focus on what's most important. Or so I think.
Anyway, back to this: brands with no desire to be political. Making a statement to say you have no desire, is a statement nonetheless. Not taking sides is still a choice made. You are the choices you make. (Also, anw, the capitalist system we live and thrive on, is political.)
This season, some traditions will still stick. Gathering with loved ones, giving ourselves a little treat or two, vacations, seasonal markets, seasonal menus. On a different plane: one's sense of humanity, empathy and hope for a brighter future, also will stick. Apart but not unrelated is an increasing dread for our climate. Climate anxiety, is that what it's called?
I feel small, and I feel helpless as a mere human being. It's too late to wish I could be a world leader now. I am a jeweler. I am a creative and this is my chosen expression, and I am thankful for everyone who's supported this expression. I am also a mere human, and expression is in our nature.
As SSEK Jewelry has a quieter than usual holiday and gifting season, I hope this creates space for you somehow. A little bit less noise for you to sit. Sit in all the discomfort, comfort, generosity, selfishness. To make conscious choices: to partake, to rest, to take action, to refrain, to find peace within, and also find the rage for justice.
We'll be having our end of year sale soon, although not quite sure how we'll be communicating this yet! We'll also be at Public Garden over Christmas weekend. If you've read thus far, thank you for allowing me this space. Thank you for all your patience, grace and encouragement all these years.