Ze: One refers to a person with ze typically (a) when their gender is unknown, and one wishes to avoid assuming their gender, or (b) when they are neither male nor female in gender, making he and she (and also either/or terms like s/he or (s)he) inappropriate and potentially hurtful.

I had a friend back in Secondary school who found a scrap bit of paper in the classroom bin. It dictated a conversation between two unknown individuals – what with the famed 00s’ coloured gel inks – with a special shoutout to “Tish the class b*tch”, who had the “gall to refer to herself as the future Miss Universe.” 

Yes, this really happened. But I was 14 and ambitious, pre-realisation of my passion of being a writer, and not just a pretty face.

Now I’m not sure if you know this, but I love packing. Packing, organising, rearranging, cleaning, moving bits and bobs around and around; basically anything that falls into the ‘making something neat’ category is the shortcake to my jam. The Calvin to my Hobbes. The Adagio to my Secret Garden.

Call me OCD if you will, but I much rather prefer the term ‘easily bored’.

Sexism is a f**king problem. Think of this situation as having a giant pink elephant standing in the middle of the room. Everyone notices its presence, and how ridiculous it looks just rooted there, furiously trumpeting its long pink trunk and stomping its salmon feet.

Yet the world merely tiptoes around the pink elephant without bother, putting up with this absurdity because they either fear the ridicule in being the sole lunatic who pointed the elephant out, or the crippling dread of being alone (think herd mentality).

It’s one of those situations where your mother doesn’t – and simply can’t – prepare you for in life. I mean, how would you prepare your 10-year old daughter for the overwhelming tsunami of unwelcome sexual references, and uncalled for remarks on her dressing/makeup/gait/hairstyle/speech/lunch preferences etc.?

My family has always been big-boned. And you know what they say about children being at least 1.5 times of a better version of their parents – Trust me, that doesn’t just apply to smarts. In the case of my sister and I, we got the 1.5x heavier-taller-bigger-muscular combo from our parents – who were already considered pretty tall for Asian people.

As a result, it was year after year of bullying, taunting and ‘big’ jokes from not only cruel classmates or tactless friends but also some of our closest relatives – of whom their children came out tiny enough to make Jyoti Amge proud. (Did anyone else love her in American Horror Story?)

Seriously, if I hadn’t found writing, I would’ve probably needed therapy.

Up till about a month ago, I was wolfing down my favourites like it was the end of all good food – Ban Mian, Gem biscuits and my personal sweetheart, Rotiboy – A uniquely Asian bread bun with a thick sweet coffee crust that makes your heart melt as much as your mouth.

That is, until I received this diagnosis, effectively making me one of the unhappiest people during meal-times: Celiac Disease, aka. Gluten intolerance.

Note: bae (beɪ/) – a person’s boyfriend or girlfriend (often as a form of address).

Capitalising on the Chinese New Year long weekend holiday and escaping to Taipei probably wasn’t the smartest idea I’ve made. After all, they are a country that celebrates Chinese New Year. As a result, this translated into jam-packed streets and suffocating train rides. Genius, Tish.

Disclaimer: Long, face-palming Taipei recount up ahead. Proceed at own risk time.