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This is it.

The article on DBS. Or should I say, another post on my DBS. You can read about the others hereherehere, and hereMy DBS…sounds good, right? Almost as if I own a bank. In case you haven’t been keeping up with my articles (shame on you!), DBS does not refer to the Development Bank of Singapore in my posts, but instead stands for ‘Dearest Beloved Sister’.

It seems…insufficient to put into words what DBS and I share. We’ve braved many storms together, and although I can’t say that we’ve come through them unscathed, the fact remains that we did survive…we have survived. Battered and torn, with scars that’ll always be a part of who we are, but still holding on. Together.

Like all long-term relationships, we’ve had our ups and downs, as well as our fair share of dramatic moments. However, like any long-term relationship, you soon settle into a kind of comfortable pattern, where auto-pilot is the tool of the day. When I think of my DBS, it’s with the knowledge that she’ll always have my back, come what may. That comforts me and gives me strength.

I find myself at a loss of how best to convey our partnership to others, simply because we don’t really do anything when we’re together. Mundane things such as watching shows together, and sharing a pot of tea after dinner don’t exactly make for witty writing.

If I really must, then the snippets below put together with the help of LINE offer a tiny glimpse into our lives together.

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Communicate.

That’s what we do. We always talk over dinner and stay chatting for a few hours after the plates have long been emptied. You know, just talking about our day, and giving the other suggestions and support and a listening ear. We behave scarily like an old, happily married couple.

Couples stay happily married not because they always share the same views, but because they accept each other (yes, warts and all), strive to understand where their partners are coming from, empathise with the other by putting themselves in the other’s shoes, and throughout it all, never forget to communicate with and listen to their partners.

I watched a Taiwanese variety show the other day, and the host said that after eight years of marriage, he has come to really understand the meaning of certain things and would like to share them with the audience. Condensed into eight words, they are 包容,理解,體諒,溝通, which are what I’ve put in bold in the preceding paragraph.

After more than a quarter of a century together, I believe DBS and I have achieved that. It’s a bond forged not merely by the passage of time, but by the sharing of hardship and joy in like measures. It’s a bond sealed with trust, mutual respect and love.

Others look at us and often assume that I’m the elder sister. She’s so petite, you see. It’s not that I’m tall or statuesque; it’s just that I can be overbearingly arrogant and tyrannical and somehow that seeps through my pores to enlighten others of my nature, I guess. Note that I said I ‘can be’, and not that I am indeed of that nature all the time. People see what they want to see, always.

What happens then is a matter of simple deduction. DBS is frequently underestimated, while I’m often misunderstood. She’s a lioness at heart, make no mistake about that. A lioness with tons of self-discipline and self-control. Her temper is quite a sight to behold; an unstoppable gale and a nearly unnatural force to be reckoned with.

I’ve got a facial scar to prove her temper, one that has thankfully faded away to almost nothing. The incident happened when we were both primary school students, and I went back to school the next day to have my friends ask me, ‘Why is your face like that?’

I wasn’t angry. Not then and not now. Honestly, I have no idea what the quarrel was about and can only summon up a vague memory of my bewilderment at DBS’ fury. Needless to say, I still feel bewildered now. I also find it tremendously funny, actually. It’s one of the things I can make her feel guilty about too. That’s what sisters and best friends are for, you know. *Evil grin*

She’s not known for her formidable temper though. Her self-control is too good for her to ‘lose it’ in front of outsiders. That control doesn’t stem from hypocrisy or a need to make others like her, but rather, from the knowledge that if she does indeed unleash that lioness, things will turn very ugly indeed. The kind of ugliness that is irreversible.

Aside from having a temper that will make Zeus cower, DBS has many admirable qualities, the most notable of which is her innate goodness and empathetic nature. Despite being capable of adopting a sardonic manner, she is one of the kindest person I’ve ever known. Perhaps because of the many hurts and disappointments she has known in her life, she truly empathises with others. That is a rare trait in our world today, where many often do not think beyond the Self.

If you’ve read my previous articles on DBS, you’d know that I’ve thanked her for a variety of things. Things as soul-lifting as embracing my weirdness to simple things like…leaving the last cookie for me. I’ve also offered her encouragement and support whenever she expressed her anxieties and fears.

I have no idea what else to say, except that she’s a crucial part of my life and that life would be exceedingly dull and tedious, not to mention depressing, without her to share it with. Without her, home will never truly be home. Even if I should get married one day.

Whatever comes next, we’ll confront and triumph over it together as the ******* sisters.