The Past Tense of Love

Paris. January, 2016. The train slowly pulls into the final station on the line as the PA buzzer goes off, “Port De Bagnolet. C'est la dernière station. S'il vous plaît, descendez ici.” Seated by the window, I was still in a daze and completely unaware that I was the only one left in the derelict carriage. This separation withdrawal, a whirlwind of memories, was to be expected after spending a week with her in Edinburgh but nothing that I did could have prepared myself for its onslaught.

Fast forward. Singapore. September, 2017. I was still trying to relive those moments precariously through the images as though they were stuck in a loop. The only difference was that the old ’she' no longer existed. It felt like everything was happening too quickly and before I realised it, we were both on our own again. But the loop kept playing on and on.

What if love is capable of continuing even after it has ended? We always talk about love existing in our current reality but we hardly talk about the footprint that it leaves behind and how it changes our lives. Maybe that is why there are hardly any words to describe love in the past tense at all. My personal experience these past few months has taught me that in the aftermath of all the brokenness, perhaps love can indeed go on - albeit in a form where words have failed and only these photos could make up for it.


The Past Tense of Love


Where she used to stand and smile at me ..

Where she stood overlooking the city as I began recording our first trip together ..

Where she stood overlooking the city as I began recording our first trip together ..


Where she walked off into an adventure of a lifetime ..


Where we drove out to in the middle of the night to catch the aurora lights ..

Where she kicked me (kiddingly) on my chest as we caught a beautiful sunset at this secret hideout ..

Where she kicked me (kiddingly) on my chest as we caught a beautiful sunset at this secret hideout ..

Where I asked if we were officially together yet and she replied glaringly, "Are we not?"

Where I asked if we were officially together yet and she replied glaringly, "Are we not?"

Where I finally let go ..

Where I finally let go ..

Ps. Sometimes, we need to make a monster out of the past in order to let go but this time round, I chose to take the long and tedious way of coming to terms with the beautiful memories that was once shared together and say, "I'm glad we had these."


Where we bid goodbye ..

Before Departure

Before Departure

Is there mercy when someone is taken away slowly from you? Can the time spent preparing ourselves for the worst be considered as a graceful giving from our finite life? Or is the extended pain actually a punishment for us?

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A Familiar Wilderness

Immigration is the hot word nowadays and this personal project was my way of tracing back my own roots and identity.

My maternal great-grandfather was a riskshaw puller that came to Singapore all the way from China in the 1900s. When the Japanese came and started targeting the Chinese community, he gave away his daughter, who was my grandmother, to be raised by a Malay family for her own safety. 24 years ago, my mother lost her birth certificate when we were moving houses. Together with the document, her real Chinese name was also lost forever. So for as long as I could remember, we only called her by the Malay name that was given to her by the family who adopted her. It felt like a part of our history, a part of my identity, was lost together with the birth certificate. So much was embedded into those letters that made up into her name.

My paternal grandmother, on the other hand, fled to Singapore from Malaysia after divorcing her husband in the 1930s and also to seek refuge from the oncoming Japanese troops during the war. She raised her four children all on her own during and after the difficult Japanese occupation.
It wasn't easy to get any information about our family history out of her though. For her, the past is often associated with the pain that she had to endure as a result of the divorce in a challenging period for the country. Very rarely would she speak about our home or the estranged family ties in Malaysia. And today, my father, the eldest of the four children and the only one with living memory of life across the border, is the sole gatekeeper of all those stories. But just like his mother, he, too, would like to bury away the pain right where it belongs - in the past.

So whenever I return to Malaysia, I always felt a strange connection to the land. Half of it was filled with thoughts that I could have been raised here if it wasn't for a single twist in fate. But even if there is a small part of home that still lingers here, it only existed a long time back, too far away in the past for me to rekindle any sense of belonging to it. So despite still having some familiarity left in me towards this land, it all feels like a complete wilderness at the end of the day.
And the photographs from this series aim to show just that. The longing for what had been lost. The emptiness from what could never be returned again. Hopefully it could also serve as a closure for the long search of my own distant past.

100km For Refugees Winter Aid [Documentation]

On the 18th of January, I documented a fellow Singaporean, Mr Tahar Jumaat or TJ as he prefers to be called, complete a gruelling 100km around the country. This initiative was to raise funds for a winter aid that will be delivered to the refugees who are currently stranded on Greek islands in the midst of the ongoing harsh cold season. When the campaign officially closed yesterday on the 31st of January, a total of SGD25,642.88 had been raised.

This photo essay aims to depict the long hours and limits of human endurance in completing a cause that is much bigger than oneself.

This assignment was on behalf of the local national publication, Berita Minggu.

Isle of Skye // FD

On the first week of January 2016, my girlfriend and I decided to head up north of Scotland to a place far away enough for us to truly be on our own.

It was also our very first date together.

Which makes it all the more special for the both of us.

Isle of Skye was everything that we had imagined and could have possibly hoped for.

The only regret that we had was having to leave behind our memories with the endless rivers that wind through the mountain ranges and into the open sea.

May it last forever there.

You can also check out the video that I made while we were on the trip together.

I hope you have enjoyed this photo series as much as I had enjoyed making them.

Thank you for viewing.