Monday, February 19, 2024

A memory from 18th Feb 2020

After 11 days of self imposed home quarantine and venturing around the neighbourhood for short walks, I decided to go to the beach at the East Coast this morning. Left in the dark, hoping to catch the dawn but missed part of it while huddling with others at Mac's waiting out a drizzle. Saw a man probably enroute to Bedok Jetty for morning fishing, groups of cyclists, taichi groupies, solo folks and grumpy older men with their equally grumpy wives. 

Looked up from my cup of insipid tea and saw a man staring at me. Looked away determined not to look a second time, in case he was staring at me again, but then found to my dismay, when I casually looked up, that he had vanished. Sigh. Oh well. Told myself to smile at everyone on my walk, be friendly! Wandered off and walked for almost 2 hours along the beach. 

My older three kids were born while we lived in an apartment across from the beach, and I revisited so many happy memories this morning. Various kids (I have so many!) learnt to cycle, rollerblade, skateboard, wakeboard and sail here.  In their early years, they enjoyed being carried about in our bike kiddy seats. We camped overnight on the beach, knowing that if it turned out to be a disaster we could get home easily. No disasters, just the best fun ever. Highlight was cooking instant noodles in Dad's army cookware over a bunsen burner. Best noodles ever! 

Saw the pond where we released our two terrapins (naughty us!) that had outgrown their aquarium. Saw the hawker centre at which many a meal was eaten and a tahpao bought. Saw aeroplanes approaching Changi Airport, and remembered how the kids loved spotting them and guessing carriers, and the joy at recognising SIA's tail, their loud screams of joy piercing the air. Walked on the sand and remembered the hours of happy digging and playing and chasing waves, and how, truly, the simplest of joys are free. 

The wind messed my hair and I remembered how we ran around here like wildebeests, freely enjoying the breeze, the sand, the sky and the sea. How the kids learnt to touch a mimosa leaf and watch it close. How they met strange dogs and embraced them with open arms. How we met ants of various sizes, along with prickly casuarina cones, and other things to avoid while running barefoot for hours. 

From our apartment, we had a view of the sea from every room, and the ships filled the horizon. Once, an American aircraft carrier obliterated the horizon altogether, it seemed so huge. Every New Year's Eve, at the stroke of midnight, every ship lets off a flare, and we would watch this from our apartment with a clear view of the ocean. Our very own "fireworks" show. We'd wait for the inevitable laggards who were slow, or hoarding the limelight for themselves, until it became obvious that there were no more flares left. One day, I heard a huge explosion, and a barge carrying kerosene had exploded. It was scary! Thankfully, no one died. 

I remembered life in our apartment, our first home, and how very happy we had been in those years with the kids running about the condo, our lovely neighbours, hours spent at the playground, and the BeyBlade competition I organised, as well as the "Campaign Against the Change of Condo Colour Scheme". We were successful in swaying the opinion of the other 479 households in the condo against changing the colour scheme of the exterior of our condo blocks from a very mild green and beige to a frightful pink and purple concoction. The kids rallied and distributed fliers to every household, and cheered when we won! Today, the colour scheme is shades of blue, but I no longer live there, so it's okay. 

Those were the best times of my life, when life was simpler, and everyday seemed magical. You don't need much to be truly happy. So grateful for all the good in my life, of which there seems to be plenty. I have been, and continue to be, so blessed. A walk down memory lane where one focuses on the good is so refreshing! I simply love the sea, the breeze, the open vistas and the whole feel of being on the verge of something larger than one's self. Here, today, I felt my past merge with my present, and I felt at peace. May you find your peace, too. 

(18th Feb 2020)

Thanks for reading, 


Tuesday, February 13, 2024

I Love the Ordinary

Captivated by the ordinary, partly because it’s so much a part of our shared human lives, but also because it grounds me to celebrate the everyday in every way. This moment, now, calls out to be lived in. Am I present, or absent, hunting down a better moment in time? Happiness must entail living in the now, to some extent. Here’s an ordinary poem. 

I Love the Ordinary 

The way my toes curl in the morning cold, 

The way the kettle’s boil gets loud and bold,

The way my fingers warm round my tea mug’s hold,

I love the ordinary. 

The way my washed laundry smells so very clean, 

The way my duvet folds over with a satiny sheen,

The way my tablecloth tells of spills it’s seen,

I love the ordinary. 

The way my floor gleams after a gentle scrub, 

The way my tables smell after a lemon pledge rub,

The way my kitchen looks all tidied up,

I love the ordinary. 

The smell of sourdough in the toaster shrinking, 

The aroma from a teabag in my white mug steaming, 

The firm butter on the table gently melting, 

I love the ordinary. 

The sound of water gushing over me, 

The feel of hot water cleansing all of me, 

The heat of water comforting weary me, 

I love the ordinary. 

A head on blast of chilly air, 

The push of people rushing everywhere,

A noisy train taking me somewhere,

I love the ordinary. 

In smiles exchanged that reach the eyes, 

In words spoken that try to be wise,

In hugs goodbye where friendship resides, 

I love the ordinary. 

In each moment of every single day,

Life happens, but where are we?

Absent as minutes pass, hours run away,

Hunting the extra-ordinary. 

Celebrate the laundry, the toast, the tea, the train,

The smiles, the words, the hugs, goodbye’s refrain. 

Ordinary moments when all of me is present all the way, 

Listening, sensing, truly seeing, 

The ordinary, imperfectly perfect day.


12th Feb 2024

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, December 31, 2023

On the eve of 2024

On a clear night, my view of the east of London stretches for miles, with lights twinkling like a sea of jewels, adding a sparkle to the horizon. As 2023 draws to a close I look back over the year, and I realise that my year has been filled with moments that have reminded me time and again that I am a survivor. My life is a sea of ups and downs, and each time, I’ve survived. 

Surviving unending heartbreak (the heart never recovers), divorce ptsd (the soul never forgets), chronic health issues (the body never heals), worrying insanely about my kids, selling my home, buying a home, moving house three times, moving across continents, starting uni, managing uni, living on my own for the first time in decades… it seems like 2023 has flown by in a complete daze. And somehow, I’ve survived it. I’m frankly rather exhausted on many levels, but I really do think surviving is what I do best. 

I’ve often wanted to shift gears and get to “thriving” instead, as if it was a level up from merely “surviving”. I’m going to stop wanting more and simply be grateful for what I have done, and what I am. I think I am content with surviving. I’m bloody good at it, and I’d like a medal but hey, I’ll settle for patting myself on the back. No matter what life throws at me, I always bounce back, I never give up, I keep soldiering on. I am a survivor. 

My life, a sea of shining moments that remind me of where I’ve been, what I’ve endured, and what I do best. I survive. And that is truly enough. 

Well done, my dear family and friends for getting through 2023 and all that it brought you, with your own sea of ups and downs. May you look back and see the moments when you shone best, especially in the darkest of hours. May you know how far you have come, and all that you have accomplished as you kept moving forward. 

Here’s wishing us all the continual strength, tenacity and determination to get through 2024. Happiest of New Year greetings to all, and all good things always for you and yours. 

With much love and affection, 



Friday, December 1, 2023

Truly Human, and Unafraid to Feel

One of the reasons we all love watching movies or plays is because actors and actresses get to portray the fullest possible range of human emotions. All the emotions we are too frightened to give in to, to feel, to display, to experience. All the emotions that if others saw in us, we’d be afraid they wouldn’t love us or they’d leave us, or despise us. 

So we weep alongside these portrayals of sorrow, loss, grief, anger, hopelessness, and rage. We are moved to tears by displays of joy, love, hope and faith, all the good that is battling to take the upper hand in us. Sometimes we are moved by the total numbness of not feeling a single thing, a luxury often not afforded to us because we have to function for others who need a smile, our loving and mindful presence, and our shoulder to lean on whilst we remain propped up on thin air, it might seem. 

Watching others vent what we cannot articulate is cathartic. Sometimes it helps us understand our own pain better, and give a name to what we thought we felt, even if we never truly recognised its magnitude, submerged as it may have been somewhere deeply within our subconscious mind, pushed away by a lurking fear of the unknown, and the potential enormity of what we have experienced. It is an enormity we do not dare to face. 

And so we live vicariously through the generosity of talented individuals who take on our limitations and help us release ourselves from them, setting us free to be truly human, and unafraid to feel whatever it is that we must, while knowing that perhaps we never truly can. Fully human, and unafraid to feel, that would be wonderful. 

Thanks for reading, 


Sunday, November 12, 2023

What Letting Go Might Look Like (July, 2022)

Today is the 5th anniversary of my divorce, and as I woke up this morning I remembered what is was like to tearfully read the Decree Nisi Absolute that would replace my marriage certificate, and to try and comprehend those inexplicable words about my marriage having been “dissolved”. Dissolved? Like a spoonful of salt crystals in water? Isn’t that just salt in another form? What a silly word to use. One doesn’t simply dissolve anything immediately, nor cut ties cleanly, in fact, it takes tonnes of trauma, and loads of healing time to get to a place where you no longer care. 

Today, I realised that I no longer care. I did, once, very deeply love someone, and it was truly beautiful while it lasted, and truly frightening when it ended. But it did end, and while I struggled to accept its end, to let go, and to set myself free, I slowly saw that when love dies in someone indifference takes its place. 

An indifference to the sufferings of the chronically ill, an indifference to the struggles of single motherhood, an indifference to the emotional and psychological anguish of having one’s heart ripped out, and navigating the horrors of heartbreak alone, an indifference to just about anything in my life… and I realised that love cannot always win over indifference. If anything, one should stop loving the indifferent and cut loose from the one sided farce of being told by others that love, grace and mercy will win over hearts. I think love has a better chance against pure hatred than it does against indifference. Some hearts do not want to be won over, and one should close the door so firmly upon them lest they crush us with the weight of their uncaring indifference. I felt it crushing my soul because I cared so much, but I knew I had to shut the door and stop caring altogether. 

And so I did. Slowly but surely, I cut myself loose. Then one day, I let myself feel the anger, grief and hurt that I had suppressed, and I shut the door so hard that I knew there was no going back. I let go, telling myself that I deserve better, I deserve to be loved for who I am with all my imperfections, and that I cannot and must never depend on those who had abandoned me in my hour of need. I’ve always struggled to be firm with shutting doors that way, but now it’s much easier. Perhaps I am older, and just tired of playing nice, or trying to please, or being some kind of half baked paragon of grace, constantly battling with and suppressing my true feelings so God can work through me. I think God doesn’t need me to do His work in indifferent hearts. God wants me to preserve my own. 

I let go, and I feel free. Free in all of my relationships. So very free not to care about those who don’t care for me. So very free not to cross an ocean for those who wouldn’t cross a puddle for me. So very free to truly be myself, unvarnished and yet clearly beautiful. Even saying that is so hard for me, but I do want to say it. I’m a gem of a person, and anybody who doesn’t see that or value me doesn’t deserve my care, affection or love. 

So today I no longer care. I don’t live in a space of hurt and rejection any more, I refuse to do so. I’m not some sad victim, I’m a victor who has triumphed over a fair bit of difficulty in life, while creating opportunities for myself and raising four children. I remind myself every day to live my life fully, to love those who love me, and to pursue my own happiness. All of life’s relationships, no matter how much we love unconditionally, require reciprocity. When reciprocity is absent it’s best to reserve energy for others, to focus elsewhere, to pursue those who choose us. I’m excited to see where my life takes me, learning to love myself for who I am, looking forward to whoever steps in and out of my world, and I’m busy creating adventures for my own life. 

I no longer care, and I’m in a good place.

Thanks for reading, 


(Wrote this elsewhere on July 19th, 2022. A useful reminder to self.)

Sunday, August 27, 2023

On the Eve of my Departure to London

Happily I have practically sorted out a myriad of things over several weeks and am now ready to fly to London tomorrow. So many things to think about as I moved house, set up a new home temporarily, and saw to all kinds of things with various deadlines. Relocating is a big job! I’m planning a year away, but who knows really. It’s my adventure, and even I don’t quite know where it’s headed. 

The plan is to renovate my new apartment in Singapore. Discussed early reno ideas with ID guy, and am trying not to have a forest theme in my new apartment (resist!). I’m feeling the slightly kooky bohemian nature lover side of me kicking in. Lots of interesting ideas, I just need to decide on what I like. That seems to be harder than I thought. I like many different things! 

Had to prep the new apartment for reno by making sure nothing I wanted remained here. Stuffed a bunch of important recyclables into storage, and have nothing left that I want to keep in my apartment pre-reno. Well, almost, but it’s really about learning to let go. Easier said than done, but ever so necessary at times. 

Said goodbye to very few people because I’m not going away forever, I think. Even if I were to, I’d still be in touch. Forever isn’t as long or as far as it sounds. It’s a year in London with options to remain, or return, or basically do whatever I feel like… the world is my oyster! And we’re in touch online so much as it is, that it might just feel the same, only harder to meet up for masala tea with friends!

Made an appointment with a gastro specialist in London to jump start my monthly jabs in September, and am looking forward to meeting the esteemed Prof Peter Irving, who looks like a movie star. Hehe :)  Gastro doctors are always so encouraging, and gutsy, I’m happy to meet more good ones. 

Transferred dear helper Ina to Grandma Dadiji who wanted a new helper, and both are overjoyed at the arrangements. Ina said, “This way I will have a chance to see you and the kids again”. We hugged and cried. She has been an invaluable help to me in many ways, especially with the house move, and the dogs. She cried when the dogs left for London. Her babies! 

The dogs landed safely in London, and were greeted with much joy by eldest son, his housemate, and dear daughter, who washed them and took them for walkies to the park and to the pub. Lucky doggies! I do hope they’ll enjoy their lives in the UK. I rather think they will. 

I’ve been tearful, saying and hugging goodbye. I don’t know why, really, but I think I should explore my feelings a bit more. It’s my great adventure… why am I sad? Even my doctor asked me to cheer up! I think I’m just exhausted from planning and executing a massive move while trying to stay well. It’s taken a toll. Plus, it’s the closing of a chapter, in the book of my life, such as it is. A huge chapter, hung in limbo, waiting for closure, and now that closure is seemingly here, I’m reminded that I’m a slow processor of everything that happens to me, and that really, there is no closure for some things in life. We simply learn to live with the wounds in our lives, and allow suffering to transform us, as we move on with grace and dignity. I’m trying, and some days it’s just hard. 

Here’s to restful days over celebrations for eldest son’s grad, a short holiday with dear daughter in Cornwall, a quick farewell to second and youngest sons off to uni, and a happy settling into classes of my own over the next few weeks. Plenty to celebrate in all our lives. 

I’ve enrolled into my course successfully, signed up for extra Intro to Anthropology refresher courses, started reading ahead and am asking myself how I can bring all my knowledge (such as it is), years of varied experience, and a multiplicity of interests together to create something new and meaningful for me. That’s exciting! 

The nitty gritty of temporary accommodations and then moving into my rental flat and setting up home, and grocery shopping and cooking for one… that sounds vaguely exciting too. I dont know how to cook for one! Haha! No mutton curry for just me! Here’s to a simpler life of less fuss, do what I like when I like, and nobody else to worry about unless they message me and need me. Otherwise, I’m busy living my life, adjusting to doing everything myself in a smaller space, and happily enjoying peace and quiet… until it gets too quiet. Haha! 

Standby museums and musicals, theatre and travels, parks and pubs, classes and classmates, lectures and lecturers, assignments and academics… here I come! I’m excited!!!

Thanks for reading, 


Pix of Ina and me in the kitchen today. I shall miss her sweet soul. ❤️

Saturday, August 19, 2023

When You Are Silent, And I Am Quiet

(A poem from July 2020) 


When you are silent, and I am quiet, 

Does that mean that we agree? 

Or are we simply waiting for one of us to do the deed, 

And for the axe to fall? 

When you are silent, and I am quiet,

Does that mean that we are dishonest? 

Or are we simply unable to find the words to express our truth,

Hiding behind veils of secrecy?

When you are silent, and I am quiet,

Does that mean that we are cowardly? 

Or are we simply saving energy,

Knowing this isn't worth fighting for? 

When you are silent, and I am quiet,

Does that mean that we are hopeful?

Or are we simply waiting for events to unfold, 

That hasten the end of all things? 

When you are silent, and I am quiet,

That means that we are grieving, 

Knowing well that thoughts unspoken and words unsaid

Mark the death knell of anything good between us. 

When you are silent, and I am quiet, 

Then it's truly over before it ever began.

Silently and Quietly,


23rd July 2020

Thanks for reading. 

The Second Chance

(A poem I wrote in April 2019)


When the sun set and darkness fell, I knew.

The day's deeds were done.

No going back, no fixing wrongs or making right, in your book.

What's done is done. 

"They are no more second chances for you", you said.  

For years I tormented myself with grieving despair. 

"Why am I not good enough to deserve a second chance?"

One New Year's morning the sun rises and I catch it as the day blooms. 

The truth dawns on me. 

"I am good enough". 

And yet every new day is a second chance to be a better version of myself.

You said once, "It is too late". 

The sunrise tells me it is never "too late" with God.

God's grace and mercy are unending, every single new day.

HE is my second chance.

Thanks for reading, 


9th April 2019

Pix of sunrise taken by me from my roof garden, New Year's Day, 2019

X-Ray Vision

(Wrote this poem in June, 2021. Came across it again today. Sharing it here. )


What if I saw you when I looked at you, 

Really, truly saw you,

Naked and bare before me

Despite being fully dressed? 

What if I glimpsed a flash of something real,

When our eyes met,

And I wanted more than a peep at the real you? 

What if I sought you out, 

The true you, lurking amongst the shadows, 

Playing hide and seek, 

Running away just when I get too close?

What if I saw right through you, 

And every game you played,

Knowing how much it costs you to step into the light, 

And to be truly seen?

What if I had x-ray vision that sliced through all the murky grey, 

And brought you out into the open, 

Standing, trembling, pale and afraid,

On the brink of meaningful connection with another soul,

Afraid of being found unworthy? 

What if I held you and told you how beautiful you were,

Without the cover of games and shadows, 

But simply seen for who you are, 

Flaws and failings, warts and weaknesses, alongside strengths,

Imperfectly perfect? 

What if I said I loved you,

And you were worthy of love, 

No matter where your past had led you, 

No matter what you'd said and done, 

Would you believe me? 

What if I saw right beneath your skin and into your bones, 

Discerning the essence of you as a person, 

And looking into your eyes, 

More than just a glimpse but a deep gaze, 

Revealed myself, reflected in you?

What if I had x-ray vision, 

And every time I looked at you, 

I saw you, wondrously broken yet complete, 

Exactly as you are?

With my humanity revealed in yours, 

I finally see myself. 

Thanks for reading,


(10th June 2021)

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

In Emptiness, a Bare Boned Beauty

                                                      (Aerial drone shot of Sejarah)

I moved house last weekend, with August 11th being my last night in our lovely home built in 2011, and now destined to be demolished by new owners. What a massive task it was to pack and to clear out the house after almost 12 years of living in it with children, and all that that involves. Packing and clearing for the move took many days, and my helper and I, assisted by my two sons worked hard to get as much done before movers came in. 

Anxious to recycle what I could, I managed to sell some items of furniture, and give away plenty more to workers next door, and to donate several boxes of books. Still, I was overwhelmed by the quantity of items that needed a decision... even a simple glass, a spoon, a piece of paper, an item of clothing... every little thing required a decision. Keep it, put in storage, or take with me? Dispose, give away, or trash it? By the time I'd looked through most of the stuff I was so deeply exhausted from the sheer magnitude of the task that I gave up on old store rooms and decided that things I hadn't seen or used or needed in a few years could safely go.

Physical, mental and emotional exhaustion set in. My left foot, in which I broke 5 bones last year, swelled and got bruised as I walked up and down multiple flights of stairs, for several hours everyday. My guts struggled to stay on an even keel with the stress and anxiety as I woke up at 4-5 am everyday in a panic, knowing that departure day drew closer, and there was just so much to be done. I was concerned that the Crohn's might flare up, and grateful that I was able to eat and keep going. Some days I simply broke down, feeling so utterly alone and facing a hugely daunting task. 

Emotionally and psychologically I knew I was leaving a huge part of my past behind, and all that that entailed. Many happy memories, but also many sad ones. It was here that my marriage ended, and that I found myself alone with my four lovely children, struggling to manage, trying not to cry myself to sleep every night, trying to rebuild myself and my life back up, and holding up the fort for my kids. Their own happiness and healing depended on mine, and so it was imperative that I find my way forward quickly. I stumbled along, determined to keep moving forward despite setbacks with my health, and struggling with my emotions, PTSD, and grief.

The house, affectionately known as Sejarah after the road it's on, became a blessing as it kept the kids and me together, and we were especially grateful to have her through Covid. Sadly though, it was always a reminder to me of my own personal loss no matter how hard I tried to view being there as a blessing. For me, the sorrow and grief of broken promises, crushed dreams, and utter heartbreak hung like a pall over the house as time went on, leaving me feeling trapped there. When would I move on in life, and leave the past, so reflected in the house, behind? When would my role as caretaker of the huge house and the kids allow me to really care for myself without the weight of worry I daily found upon my shoulders? 

With the move, that time had finally come, and yet I was taken aback by the emotions I felt, and the tears I shed as I did the final inspection of the empty house for handover to the new owners. I was glad, though, that I felt these emotions of sorrow, and shed tears of grief, because to me it meant that I had lived authentically, that I did have dreams, promises and hopes at one point in my life, that I had loved deeply once, and lived through difficulty and heartbreak, emerging successfully on the other side. I was grateful to have the time to authentically grieve and say goodbye, and to let go of the past in the beautiful house that had never really felt like my own home because of my grief. As I said goodbye, I realised that she had been my home, despite all the pain and hurt that I had endured.

Sejarah was a house and a home that opened her doors and heart to welcome many, and it is the memory of many happy meals, gatherings, parties, and get togethers with family and friends that I shall always cherish. She was beautiful, open, spacious, airy, brightly lit, surrounded by greenery and a haven for animals like birds, squirrels, snakes, spiders, and an occasional civet cat. We kept fish in the pond, and ended up feeding the predatory birds who picked them off from time to time. Our love for water meant we had a pool that was especially handy when the kids' friends came by, and the inviting water was an integral part of the landscaped surrounds. Everyone who came to the house felt a sense of peace when they entered, and it was indeed a serene spot, an oasis of sorts in a busy city.

My favourite part of the house ended up being the kids' "entertainment" room on the 3rd floor that I converted into my office once the kids no longer used it. Here, I sat for hours, enjoying the roof top garden, feeding and observing animals, and working online and in person with clients whilst enjoying the greenery and the flowers in bloom. It was a calm and safe space, perfect for counselling work, and a place where some of my most meaningful breakthroughs occurred with grieving clients. It was a very special and healing place, and I had many lovely tea sessions there with friends too, nibbling tim sum and sipping masala tea while opening our hearts to each other. 

In my last 30 minutes at the house on the 14th, I tried to capture the house in the best lighting on an overcast evening, and with the most artistic of shots. As I walked about, I was struck by the emptiness all around me. Where once there had been people, things, furniture, noise, clutter, clothing, beds, and all sorts of signs of occupancy and life, there was now nothing. Simply nothing but an empty shell and total silence. I was struck by the beauty of the house, in all her bare boned state. I have thought about that beauty, and it has taught me a thing or two.

We are afraid to have our masks stripped away, fearful of being authentic and genuine, worried we might be unloved and rejected if people saw us as we truly are... bare and empty. That's what we are, at the very core of ourselves, we're bare and empty. We spend years trying to be accepted and loved while we pile on the layers so as to appear to be something more than we are, covering up our nakedness, and unable to recognise the same state in others. One associates "bare" and "empty" with possibly negative connotations, and yet as I stood in the house and looked around me, I was taken in by the simplicity and beauty of what remained. 

This was who she really was, at her heart, at the core of herself. How we might remember her, filled with our things, belongings, noise and selves was what we chose to make of her, how we used her, how we lived in, and through her. Beneath and beyond all that superimposed liveliness and lived-ness was her solid, dignified, bare boned beautiful structure, and in those last moments when I glimpsed her, and admired her, took photos for the kids, and bid her farewell, I realised that I did truly love her, and I was grateful for everything she had been, every blessing she had given, and how much we had all enjoyed her in our own way. I was sad to leave her, my home. 

Farewell, Sejarah, and thank you for the years we spent under your roof, and the shelter you gave us, and for looking over us. I said goodbye to the tembusu tree, planted by my late father in law when we began construction of the house in 2010 and bid him farewell too, while acknowledging that he would always live on in our hearts wherever we went. A house is a house, but for us Sejarah was a home, not only because we made her ours, but I think in some strange way, we were hers also. She, too, will endure in our hearts wherever we go. I am glad I will not have to see her demolished, but perhaps it's for the best that she goes, knowing that she was perfect as she was, and truly only ever ours. 💗

Thanks for reading,