Costumes and Beads

The Loft no longer seems to offer as many wines by the glass as it used to. Boo.


That sounded like I was going for a Halloween “BOO!!”

Well. I didn’t exactly grow up with Halloween. One of those American holidays that never made it over the Pacific. The closest I came was United Nations Day at the International School of Beijing, when all of us (kids and teachers) would dress up in our “national” garb and parade around the school grounds. The PTA would hold a bazaar in the gym, with stalls themed for different countries offering food, handicrafts, etc., like a mini (very mini) World Expo. Yes, that was my Halloween – dressing up in national costumes, which Singapore does not exactly have, so we (the Singaporean girls) would have to wear the closest thing we had to an internationally recognized garb, which was the Singapore Airlines flight attendant uniform. UN Day was my birthday, too. How about that?

I turn 32 soon. Thirty-two. I feel simultaneously older and younger than that. I’ve always liked that number – four times eight. There’s something very memorable about it as a multiple. I always imagine the number as it appears on the abacus: three beads up, followed by two beads up. There’s a lovely tactile and visual symmetry with four and eight, which are four beads up followed by three beads up (and the five-bead down). As if the four and three collapse into three and two.

Music and math go together in my head, via the abacus.

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