Staying Alive, Is The Best Form of Travel.

I was woken up by the melodious song of the swallows, it was high-pitched and loud as they danced round and round in the sky, in pairs. It must be mating season? My neighbours said they hear it all the time. I must have been too absorbed by the noise in my head to hear true beauty right outside my window. 

When you are too full of yourself, your garden will not bloom, because you forbid the sunshine to come through. Instead of a bouquet of colourful tulips, you only see darkness. Be light and free as the swallows. 

2020 has been sobering, to say the least, the world and what little is left of humanity, seems to be in a steady decline. Bad things happen to good people, good things happen to bad people. It’s nobody’s fault. That’s just life. And learning to accept this, makes me realize what growing older and (hopefully) wiser is all about.

I often find strength in the people whose paths I would fatefully cross. They would change your life bit by bit, till you find your way home. The times you fell, failed, and were humiliatingly defeated, were all necessary, because without the loss of pride, you would never learn the depth of humility. 

My life in Paris continues, drunkenly alive, madly consuming the light, ferociously devouring beauty, and learning the art and joy of giving. Happiness is amazing. It is so amazing that it doesn’t matter if it is yours or not. 

Background music:  Oltremare By Ludovico Einaudi –

成熟不是为了走向复杂而是为了抵达天真”—三毛

Go Find Your Way Home.

2019 you were a ghost. I had no entry, except for my Hello 2019 post.

Listen, it wasn’t that you were unmemorable, but I ran so fast, too much adrenalin, it was quite a mess, everything seemed like a blur. I spent the bulk of my energy settling down in Paris, getting the hang of my new environment, starting a new business, and learning to work with French people. I can’t remember all the details only that I had no control over most of what was happening. Life deals you curveballs. You just have to catch them.

 All I can say is, the learning curve is steep, and I feel like I’ve aged 10 years. Don’t say this, don’t do that, don’t explain, don’t justify, this will make you look vulnerable, I was told. What’s wrong with that? Vulnerability does not mean that I am weak. Kindness is not a flaw.

Last night I went to watch #Madonna at #legrandrex, eXtremely amazed by her grit to perform, in spite of her injured knees. She knew she had to go on because her show, full of love and pledges for marginalised people, was too important to be surrendered without a fight. And what a fight it was, at times it was painful to watch her dance and it was much more enjoyable when she didn’t have to move. Frozen, when she just sat there and let Lourdes, her 23 yr old daughter and a splitting image of her, take over the stage, was hauntingly beautiful, and surreal.
“Hello gay #Paris, we can all be Madame X.” she said. As Madonna and her contingent of warriors marched out of the theatre singing “I will rise” the couples around me hugged, cried and in their tears, I saw hope and representation.

            Every good story has a hero. And you have to root for yours.

            Sometimes the hero, is none other than yourself. You just have to wait till the end to find out.

Well Hello 2019.

Ten thousand steps,
Dreams in her hand,
A winter’s tale.

We moved through time, the intensity of 365 days passed, in which I quit my job on 2 January 2018, moved to Paris in March, found another job in June, rented an apartment of my own in December, and broke free from influence. There is something about endings and saying goodbyes. The ache is real and strangely addictive. But that just makes new encounters all the more breathtaking. It makes you wonder, again and again, is life a giant ferris wheel? You go round and round, you go up and down, it all begins again. We move through time after time, wondering if we will see the ones we love again, when one ceases to exist. In the end, we remember moments of love, intense love. And how we fought to live on. 

Life is such.

It has been a year where I was under no pressure to be the greatest showman, or charming, or relatable. I decided I prefer myself this way, walking, encountering and writing away. Language is truly a powerful tool. I strongly recommend that you make learning a 3rd or 4th language one of your 2019 to-do-priorities.

Here are 5 things I would like to be able to execute in this new year.

  1. When they go low you go high. Says Michelle Obama. I say when people go low you don’t have to shake their hands, smile and say thank you, allowing the abuse to prevail. You are allowed to show your hurt, disengage and delete them from your life. 
  2. Speak up, speak out, speak proud.
  3. Brace up and be a woman. Don’t allow myself to be bullied by service staff. Or anyone, really.
  4. Make every fall I’ve ever taken be worth the pain. “I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy. I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.” This is for anyone who is waiting for a time to shine in your life, the time is #NOW
  5. Lastly, don’t look back, you are not going that way. 

“When the time comes, take all your glory, and stand aside”– so aptly put by Erich Kastner. So here I go, I am going to show you how I gladiate. And then out and up I return when death beckons, which could be anytime, soon. We’ll never know when. I wish for you courage and the capacity to embrace the potential of each ephemeral lifetime. And while chasing your next big goal, don’t forget about the million little moments that make the chase worthwhile. 

Après avoir vu la descente, contemple l’ascension.
You have seen me fall, now watch me fly.

I Feel Pretty Perfect.

From as young as when I was 7, all the way to the days when I was an actress, about 23 years, almost half of my life, I had been told to change many things about myself. And here are the top 7 on the To-Do-Something-About-It-list:

1. My eyes were too small (I discovered the magic of fake eyelashes)

2. My boobs were too flat (Nothing I could do about it, still flat)

3. My hair was wiry (Rebonding yay!)

4. I had no waist (I starved)

5. I was not tall enough (Nothing I could do, still 162cm)

6. I was not thin enough (I starved)

7. I had pig trotters for legs (I starved)

You see, I tried to do something about these problems, to the best of my abilities, without going under the knife or needles, not because I am against enhancements, but because I have an inexplicable paranoia of surgeries, big and small. And starving myself really did not work, on the contrary, it made me feel even lousier than ever.

I just watched the film #IFeelPretty (starring Amy Schumer), which even though exploited clichés of what it means to be beautiful, hits me with the undeniable self/society-imposed demand of the importance of being attractive. Attractive to who, to achieve what, as plain Sharons we were not told, but simply that we were not good enough looking like this. In hindsight, I wasted too much resources on trying to be something else I was not. When what we should have done is to allow each girl to shine just the way you are, supported by grace, elegance and heart, which have nothing to do with how flawless your face and body is.

I urge all of us to find worthier role models to emulate.

Be Nobody-But-Yourself.

I have been reading all your private messages to me and I want to thank you for your sincere and heartfelt sharing of your journeys and insecurities. I did not know that a small part of my life would resonate with so many of you. I was merely doing what I knew best at each crossroad of my life. During the earlier more tumultuous times of my growing up pains, social media did not exist. I felt for the most part alone. Hence, the talking-to-myself-phase you heard in the interview. Now, it should be much easier to reach out for help, since we are supposed to be more connected on several platforms, such as this one. Kudos to Andie, and Jasmin, Joyce and Jermaine, his team of young and talented crusaders, for not settling on creating easy content just to gain likes, but content that people need. It is the tougher path, but oh so worth it.
The interview above was conducted two days before I left Singapore for Paris. It has been almost 3 months now, and I have gained so much—3 Kg and a whole library of memories.
You don’t need the whole world to approve. You just need one or two very important people. But the most critical approval comes from yourself. Good luck and and may we continue to seek solace in one another. This is one reason why I embrace this virtual environment. It brings hearts together. As one.
The world is big, and filled with brilliant minds. Find them.
I wish you well.

An Ordinary Woman In Paris.

It’s been a little more than two weeks since I moved to Paris. When flight SQ334 landed on the morning of 19th March, I marvelled at the snow that greeted me, even when Spring was just round the corner. I thought to myself as the plane touched down the runway, that the world was ending, there was no time to waste.

Savour life, I say, and make things happen for yourself. The watchword being: self-imagination. Or else your story will end up like one of those indie films, where pretty much nothing really happens, and the characters grow old and die. Not sad, but not exciting either. I realized we’ve got to foster our dreams, the way we nurture relationships with the people we care for. And this balance between life’s practicalities and hopes constantly kept me on my toes. I am in Paris, because I do not want to surrender to the limitations of where I came from. I expected more out of a lifetime, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with harbouring a desire for a bigger, better, brighter you. No matter what they say.

And so here I am, dancing and drowning in spontaneity.

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For now, before my next adventure begins. I am in no hurry. Can we stay this way for a lifetime? I believe, that when a woman sheds her armour of self-importance, she becomes stronger. You can no longer hurt her with your cynicism. “Today’s news is tomorrow’s history”. I no longer take what is said about me, about anything or anyone seriously. Being Sharon Au suddenly seems pretty fun and distinctive again without all these self-image baggages. You will not hurt me with your words. Not for too long anyway.

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If an ordinary girl from Singapore who grew up from a broken, poor and unprivileged family background could receive a good education, be awarded Best Trainee of Singapore Airlines Batch 364, win 11 Star Awards trophies as a TV host and actress, study abroad in Japan and France in my 30s, contribute to the media and fashion industry after graduation and arrive in Paris, I believe nothing should ever stop you from stepping out and stepping up. Live with vigour!

This is not the end. I want to see you fly.

(Photos by Yujia)

Leave. Live.

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The first thing I did in the year 2018, was to quit my job. On the second day of the new year. I left a company I had been a part of for 22 long years. It was the second best thing I have done in my life thus far. The first was in 2005 when I left a 10-year showbiz career to pursue a university degree in Waseda University, Tokyo. That was without a doubt, the scariest, bravest thing I have done in my life. And, yes, it changed my life. After all, huge risks, are the only ones worth taking.

To anyone who is pondering on whether to stay, or leave…if you are wondering where does this courage come from…this is how I found mine. Twice.

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Block out the noise, and listen intently to your own voice. Your body (and soul) has a natural defence mechanism to self-heal. We could not hear them because we are drowned by social construct. I say, purge all the layers of externalities, and for once, have a conversation with just yourself.

I can’t tell you what and how the dialogue will go. We all have different stories. Let your body tell you hers. But I say, don’t wait for a tragedy to strike, before it shakes you to want to live better. A mentor of mine recently bravely fought nose cancer. He was so positive throughout his 33 sessions of chemotherapy he brought laughter to the other patients in therapy. A close friend of mine just suffered a stroke. He goes to the gym every day in the week, eats mostly boiled vegetables and fish, doesn’t smoke. We all have constant reminders like this. We see and hear enough. No one needs to tell us any more, that life is short, vulnerable and unpredictable.

Don’t wait too long to be happy. We might not have the time.

And then, go forth. and never look back. 27540229_10155164539017483_4091932118399882556_n.jpg

Let’s Misbehave.

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The march towards liberation started three months ago. And the universe brought me back to the place where I first knew what passion was. Awakening, it is all about timing.

I went back in time, to Paris. Spirit soared. Love the vibes of the city, light and yet soulful. I took many walks, I hungered for her scent and her lumière.

There I found the inspiration to communicate and to connect. In a deeper way that is. Neither through captions on Instagram, nor via emoji-ranting on Facebook. I am motivated to write, for those of you who are reading this right now.

Some friends told me that my last post “The Art of (Not) Giving Up” was painfully moving. I am glad my words did something for you. The thing is, what one takes away from a piece of confession actually depends on your perspective in approaching the piece. The objective of said blog entry was to motivate people, who like me, found themselves involuntarily stuck in a moment. However it received some unfavourable feedback from certain quarters of my life, who felt I should be more discerning of what I air on my blog, even if it was a personal one.

I guess that was why I have not able to pen my thoughts since, for I was unsure of what might or might not be acceptable, anymore.

We all have our own battles to fight.

But today I’ll say, let us end the inner-struggle. For once in your life, let us go where the heart leads us. We face enough external conflicts everyday. Why then do we still want to fight with ourselves. It is simply not natural.

Don’t tell me what to do. I am tired of following rules. This is my blog. Hear me roar.


She sent me a poem she saw engraved on a park bench, an extrait from Gaston Miron’s La Marche À L’amour:
je marche à toi, je titube à toi, je meurs de toi
lentement je m’affale de tout mon long dans l’âme
je marche à toi, je titube à toi, je bois
à la gourde vide du sens de la vie
je n’attends pas à demain je t’attends
je n’attends pas la fin du monde je t’attends

Love, it is a grand experiment. One that lights up your heart in delight. One that aches your soul with longing. This is the art of waiting.

Choose pleasure, not hurt.

Make love, not hate.

Do not wait for tomorrow, wait for me.

Wait, and hope.

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The Art of Being A Woman.

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I am not a feminist. I don’t even know what it truly means to be one. I grew up in an environment where I could be as formidable as the boy next to me, sometimes even more powerful.

In my primary school, the girls outperformed the boys. The top three in standard were always girls. I was one of them.

In secondary school, I immersed myself in an all-girls convent. St Nicholas Girls was one of the nine SAP schools who offered both English and Chinese as first languages. The elite special top 7% of students. And I thought to myself, I had to be in the best company. I had to learn from the best. That was the only way I could break out of my poverty. Yes I was already reaching for the stars at the age of 12.

Then I went to Hwa Chong Junior College and to my horror, my classmates were way smarter than I was. In particular, the boys. It was true what they said: men, they blossom at their own pace. and more often than not, later than women. I was in awe of all those intelligent boys I met who seemed to excel in everything they do, effortlessly, sans drama.

I also fell in love for the first time in my life. The once-in-a lifetime-LALA LAND-kind of love. We shared the same locker. He gave me a bunny on Easter 1992. I fell ill. He went to the doctor with me. I moved. We shopped for a bed together. We held hands. I almost fainted. We never kissed. We did not know how. He left me for another girl. I snipped off my long hair to show my pain. He did not notice. I cried.

But we are equal. Always. We bear the same rights to love. We fight on the same battlefields. We suffer the same fall. We celebrate victories the same drunken way.

And so this is what I learned from the men in my life.

Don’t bitch, just work. Don’t talk, just do.

Don’t think. Live.

Don’t think. Love.

I am a much more competent and confident woman, because of the men who left and the people who stayed in my life.

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Stars They Are Just Like Us.

I wake up. A yellow bird is singing her lungs out. The same one that has been singing every morning at 7am perhaps? In any case, I enjoy her rendition of peace.

Then I realized the music of the waves became more pronounced. I see. Yellow bird has stopped singing. She is probably off stretching in the gym. Her regime is flying.

I make myself a cup of Japanese drip coffee. In the not too distant sea, a cruise ship has docked. My mum has returned from her Penang trip I smiled, thinking to myself how independent mum is and how I rarely need to worry about her being lonely. Even though she has lived alone for the most part of her adult life. The two men in her life did not deserve her company. One is my dad. And the other one is too insignificant for me to hate. Men simply leave, when they recognize that no matter how much they abuse you, you are not going to fall. My mum is used to abandonment and neglect. Her mother did not pay much attention to her as well. It is natural I guess, when you have too many children and too little money. Maybe that was why my mum married my dad when she was only 21. And then she had me a year later. Baby Sharon. And then dad left. And she left me too.

How did my serene morning bring me back to my not-so-happy childhood? The fact is, I was too young to be affected or unhappy. I knew I did not live with my parents. But I did not know the difference anyway. There was no comparison. Yes, I saw my friends with their papa and mama. I found it sweet of course. But er..no thanks, I can tie my own bata shoelace. And no no, I prefer to carry my own school bag thank you very much. I am proud of my heavy school bag, overloaded with textbooks and workbooks, every page scribbled with my curious remarks. I was not unhappy. I had many friends whom I love chatting with. I told them I had super powers. I could move things. Like a leaf. I could also command rain. I could do that if we wanted to skip PE class. My friends said yeah do it do it. And I focused with all my might, closed my eyes, and shouted the magic word “LEAF”. Why “leaf”? The word just came to me. It was not premeditated. I guess I was thinking of “LEAVE”. A word that would have made more sense to any psychiatrist, since my parents “left” me.

It did not rain, as I commanded. My friends were so sweet, God bless them. They told me maybe I did not have enough energy as that was before our lunch break. I said “yea, let’s try again after I have a bite. ”

This went on and on. Day after day. Slowly, my friends drifted away from me. And I asked the sky (I had no doubt God lived up there), why did my superpower leave me too? I am losing my friends. God replied, “Find your other superpower, you have many.”

I found it not long after. I realized I could make my friends laugh quite easily. I started to tell jokes and reenact scenarios of my life, all of which I made up. And I soon became the class clown, and I was popular again.

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