Will this enlarge me, or diminish me?

No clever reflections this week — because, busy (!!!) which is a funny state to be in in the midst of the pandemic. I mean I love what I am doing but the concept of needing everyone to work in order to survive, not because we want to? What a perverse concept don’t you think? 

This week I am thinking of this WITI edition that speaks about the pipe organ that miraculously remained intact during the fire at Notra Dame cathedral last year. This year, the work to restore the pipe organ began. The work, which would include dismantling, cleaning, and reassembling in the hands of a team of skilled labour and artisans, would also involve another six extra months to tune the organ. The whole timeline would take about four years, and the organ is expected to play for the first time since the restoration work on April 16, 2024. 

WITI talks further about the trade-off between digital and analogue artisanry in the times of this digital age, but I couldn’t help finding the parallel between the pipe organ and surviving any form of trauma, even if it looked like it, or us, survived the situation intact. The work it takes to heal is not quite linear or as straightforward — even though it, or us, seem fine on the surface (after the dismantling, cleaning, and reassembling) and one does not often talk about the extra work of recalibrating the harmful values we have internalised, or the boundaries we have failed to set (the work of tuning). It might seem I am likening you, or us, who survived the trauma of any kind, to a pipe organ the way religious zealots have likened women to some wrapped lollipops, but I hope it does not transpire as so. But even so, if you, or us, need extra time for tuning, it’s completely OK.

Reading in my tabs:


  • Reading: Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Ocean Vuong’s On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, and translating Pablo Neruda’s Los Versos del Capitan in an attempt to learn Spanish.
  • Listening: This Earshot episode about Kylie Webb, who compiled her ‘sonic bucket list’ — a list of “11 sounds that I want to commit to memory” after being told that she has a condition that at some point she will lose her hearing.
  • Watching: The only Jurassic Park sequel we needed.
  • Food & Drink: My town is under enhanced lockdown right now, which sucks — but it sucks less when a neighbour dropped some bananas in front of our house and we got to make some pisang goreng (banana fritters) today.

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