Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 - year that was

So, strangely, I feel like I'm being dragged across the 2008-2009 bridge without conscious thoughts, like most things I've been doing these days. One day fade to another, one face melt into another and that's how time pass me by. Also, this sensation of transient, temporary state of being, this non-permanency is not anchoring me, and I feel like I'm floating aimlessly. Eeps, for someone looking for answers, perhaps its the best way to go, the whole reason for me to uproot myself and come here, isn't it? That pursuit for something, I know not what anymore.

Very solid concepts also lost its meaning to me, like a day, a month, a will tomorrow be different from today? Dates and months will change, the year will change. And I'm still here. Unchanged? Who and what do I talk with anymore? Even the things that mattered to me are not the same anymore. I've been too willing to not care about things I thought mattered, and too stubborn about other things that shouldn't matter at all. Always that sneaking suspicion that I'm not very likable, lovable or understandable at all. Like I'm faulty, a paradox, and should be traded in for undamaged person - but - that's a stupid way of thinking. I actually ran across a profile full of cliched lines like "Be kinder than necessary, because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle" and that made me think that there's a grain of truth in there.

I'm going to steal and chuck the whole thing here:
1. There are things that we don't want to happen but have to accept, things we don't want to know but have to learn, and people we cant live without but have to let go.

someone you know becomes someone you knew
when you can walk right past them
like they were never a big part of your life
how you used to be able to talk for hours
and how now you can barely
even look at them

3. Life is short,
Break the rules,
Forgive quickly,
Kiss slowly,
Love truly,
Laugh uncontrollably,
And never regret anything that once made you smile

4. It's true that we don't know what we've got until it's gone but it's also true that we don't know what we've been missing until it arrives.

We're all allowed to be sentimental fools once in a while, and right now its my moment.

Well, 2008 has been as eventful as the last. Marks a lot more significance in my life than I care to list here, but its a year of milestone upon milestone.

- Year I learned about friends, friendship and loyalty.
- Year I learned most people are, well, not to be trusted with too much.
- Year I loved and lost...or was that lost and loved? Not that it mattered anymore.
- Year I graduated.
- Year I left home and ran away across the world.
- Year I learned how trying it is working with a best friend and a person I despise all at once.
- Year I go to grad school.
- Year I go through life not too worried about how I look like, because now it shouldn't matter anymore.
- Year I learned most men are arseholes (heh, we know that's true)
- Year I met a lot more people from everywhere, and learning how very alike we all are, despite the differences.
- Year I laughed and cried a whole lot more with the people I love and cherish.

There's others...but I guess what really matters is that its been another learning year, and while it wasn't all happy and dandy, its all been an experimental year of experiences. Have I got a resolution for 2009? Well, the same old things - learn more, laugh more, live life and remember to be a better person.

*Wipes the dust of 2008 off*

Hey ho 2009.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Love Actually

I actually wrote this on a piece of scrap because its the middle of the night and I can't log into Phan Shean's 'puter. Am in Newcastle 'celebrating' Christmas with the fella, roasted a small turkey even. Weekend before Christmas I was in town on the way home, it was 2am and the party revelers were outside, all drunk and merry, none of the walking in a straight line, it felt so eerie. It was like walking a dead city, shops closed with only the lights on, and walking zombies stumbling slightly on the uneven cobbled roads.

Anyway, the title does refer to the movie, which I watch alone last night, Shean leaving me 1/3 of the way in because in his words, can't really see a point to the movie and it's pretty much hit-and-miss. Its about various kinds of love and its many betrayals - there's the widowed man and his-very-much-in-love-with-girl-in-his-grade 6-year old stepson, a bored, roving husband, a bloke in love with the woman who married his best mate, a working class girl falling in love with the PM, a blossoming love between two people despite language barriers, an ugly fooker whose life mission is to look for quick and many many shags, and people falling in love despite the most awkward of circumstances.

We all know people in various stages of that. On the way in and out of love. Maybe you're in one of those yourself. Love remains the biggest, most elusive mystery the human race is plagued with. What is this thing really. All the self-help books in bookstores teaching us all to how to present ourselves, how to date, how to maintain relationships, how to get over breakups. People live and die for it. It's many a splendoured thing; it is the purest of pain. The millions of songs, movies and human expression dedicated to love, to recognise, celebrate and mourn it.

It seems ridiculous, really.

But I am a cynic, and in a short time, learnt to be cold about it. Nothing like have loved and lost to make a person wary. And nothing like knowing a person can like me but do nothing to endear himself to me and expects me to still be there, that selfish kind. So I come to a point where I am indifferent. Not like I don't get excited, or that I don't fall for someone but it takes a lot more. And I'll always hold back in case he walks away again. That way I don't get as hurt anymore. That way I can walk off another episode unscathed. So it's not a lack of enthusiasm. Its self-preservation. I need that. Don't get me wrong. There are many decent men. I cannot pretend to deny that. There will always be happy couples, there will always be boy-meet-girl and fall-for-each-other. Maybe not for me, not this time. Not for a while yet. Somewhere along the lines, I stopped thinking the problem is me. Somehow, I know its just fate and not something that is within my control. Got to let go. Who knows, I spent too much time on it already. Enough. There's other things in my life to take care of.

Also, there are life's needs and life's wants. Love is a want. The needs...? If I really really need to, they're pretty bloody easy to fulfill. But I still like bit of a challenge. Pick and choose. But I get used to not having anyone sticking around. Fine, fine. Normally I don't think twice about my choices. Tis a woman's prerogative, as they say. But...

Call it a narcissistic moment. Pivotal. Just something I want to note, almost.

I might regret this one.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008


If people were to ask me if I have a fear....I might say I don't know.
But I do, and it's a silly one.


I'm always afraid I'll get electrocuted (metal knobs = amazing conductors) and that's the legacy of my old uni. We always play a game of chance, tapping the knob with the tip of our fingers before withdrawing quickly and hoping we don't get that painful jolt whenever we have to open doors. And I found I do that here too. I'm aware it's a psychological thing, the whole 'once bitten twice shy' saying. So if anyone noticed me tapping knobs before opening doors (though people won't) there you go, I have a perfect explanation.

Same with other things in life, we all had painful experiences, learn from them, and learn to avoid them.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Brilliant piece of forwarded snark

----- Forwarded Message ----
Sent: Wednesday, November 26, 2008 9:23:15 AM
Subject: FW: Fatwa-fatwa yang akan datang - Please read

Makin hari umat Islam makin ditindas dan dikongkong. Bukan oleh orang Cina, atau orang India atau orang Yahudi atau orang Kristian. Tetapi dianiya dan dikongkong oleh orang Islam/Melayu sendiri. Please read on.

Selepas fatwa pengharaman yoga, fatwa-fatwa yang akan datang adalah seperti berikut :

Disember 2008
Orang Islam dilarang mandi di kolam renang awam. Di kolam renang awam, akan terdapat orang-orang yang bukan Islam yang memakai pakaian renang yang singkat dan mendedahkan aurat (terutamanya amoi-amoi china yang cun dan seksi). Ini boleh menjejaskan akidah orang Islam. Cara yang paling baik ialah kita haramkan orang Islam dari kolam renang awam.

Januari 2009
Orang Islam dilarang pergi ke Pulau Pinang. Ketua Menteri Pulau Pinang adalah seorang yang bukan Islam and majoriti penduduk Pulau Pinang adalah orang yang bukan Islam. Apabila seorang Islam berada di Pulau Pinang , beliau mungkin terhidu bau char keoy tiaw yang dimasak oleh orang bukan Islam dan ini boleh merosakkan akidah kita. Cara yang paling baik ialah kita haramkan orang Islam dari pergi ke Pulau Pinang. Orang Islam yang kini tinggal di Pulau Pinang akan diberi elaun pindah sebanyak RM 3000 untuk membantu mereka berpindah ke negeri-negeri yang lain. Perpindahan ke negeri Kelantan dan Terengganu amat amat digalakkan.

Februari 2009
Orang Islam dilarang meminum root beer. Walaupun root beer tidak mengandungi alkohol, namun perkataan "beer" ini boleh menimbulkan keghairan dan kelakuan tidak senonoh di kalangan orang Islam. Dengan pengharaman root beer, orang Islam bolehlah meminum minuman ringan yang lain tanpa was-was. Ginger beer juga diharamkan.

March 2009
Orang Islam dilarang memakan di kedai Mamak. Walaupun mamak kebanyakkannya Islam, tetapi asal usul mereka adalah India dan ada kemungkinan terdapat unsur-unsur India di dalam perniagaan mereka seperti bercakap Tamil dan memakai seluar dalam buatan India . Untuk mengelakkan sebarang syak wasangka, mulai 1 Mac 2009, orang Islam dilarang dari memakan di kedai mamak (kecuali Tun Mahatir kerana dia sendiri mamak kelas I)

April 2009
Orang Islam dilarang bermain ping pong atau table tennis. Ping pong berasal dari negeri China dan oleh yang demikian, mungkin terdapat unsur-unsur agama Buddha atau Confuciusism di dalam permainan ping pong. Ornag Islam yang terlalu banyak bermain ping pong akan terjejas akidah mereka. Sebagai permainan alternatif, orang Islam digalakkan bermain sepak raga (tetapi bola raga mesti buatan Malaysia , bukan dari Thailand ).

Mei 2009
Orang Islam yang berkerja dengan kerajaan dilarang mengambil gaji masing-masing. Ini kerana sebahagian besar pendapatan kerajaan adalah cukai pendapatan yang dibayar oleh syarikat-syarikat orang bukan Islam. Orang Islam digalakkan meminta sedekah dari orang Islam yang lain. Untuk memudahkan permintaan sedekah, bakal peminta sedekah digalakkan mencangkung di hadapan bangunan UMNO.

Jun 2009
Orang Islam dilarang keluar negara. Terdapat terlalu banyak godaan yang boleh meruntuhkan akhlak dan akidah orang Islam. Perkara ini telahpun dikaji dengan teliti hasil lawatan sambil belajar ke Bangkok oleh Majlis Fatwa Kebangsaan baru-baru ini. Oleh yang demikian, orang orang Islam diminta menyerahkan balik paspot masing-masing ke jabatan immigresen secepat mungkin. Perjalanan keluar negara hanya dibenarkan untuk menteri-menteri dan orang kuat UMNO sahaja, itupun hanya jika diiringi oleh ahli Majlis Fatwa Kebangsaan.

Julai 2009
Orang Islam dilarang berfikir di waktu siang. Kebanyakkan masalah jenayah dan maksiat wujud kerana orang-orang yang tak ada kerja berfikir yang bukan-bukan. Untuk membenteras maslah jeneyah dan maksiat, orang-orang Islam mulai 1 Julai 2009, dilarang dari menggunakan otak mereka diwaktu siang. Pemikiran mereka akan dipantau oleh Majlis Fatwa Kebangsaan dengan menggunakan sekumpulan specially trained monkeys. Orang Islam boleh menggunakan otak mereka di waktu malam tetapi pemikiran dihadkan kepada perkara-perkara berkaitan dengan makan dan minum sahaja.

Please do not laugh. Many of the above will become a reality if we do not do anything. The rational-thinking muslims in this country are simply not doing anything. We let a very small minority of narrow-minded idiots to control our lives. We, especially the Malay muslims, are fast becoming a laughing stock worldwide. We are obsessed with the little little things.

When there are so many important things remain to be done, why must the Fatwa folks spend their time on little things.. tomboys, yoga, etc, etc. Why don't we ever hear anything from the Fatwa folks for social justice, eradicating corruption and poverty, protecting single mothers, helping the poors, educating the ummah, protecting the environment or ensuring fairness in society.

If you are a rationale, forward thinking muslim, please speak up. If you choose to remain silent, it only means that you agree with whatever is happening. And do not blame the non-muslims for all our troubles. We are asking for it.

Bukhari Hood
Shah Alam

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Short thought on human rights

I've been writing an essay on human rights, and just been intrigued by this:

Different societies and states value different kinds of rights. There are essentially two divisions:

a) Civil and political rights
b) Economic and social rights

They are ALL basic rights, and interlinked, inalienable and indivisible. Yet, no one single state had came to provide all for their citizens.

The United States of America value civil and political rights. Very much. Free speech and the right to vote for them first. Neo-liberalism ideas, the very epitome of freedom. Their people also do not have access nor rights to universal healthcare, nor education. The poor are blamed for being poor. The premise is: You have to work to receive. Welfare states are pooh-poohed. The downtrodden depend very much on charities and foundations for their needs. Tax money goes towards 'free' causes. Like, you know, wars? Also, to institutions like IMF and World Bank so that they have the biggest say. And...yet. One in ten...that's one in TEN, y'all! is living in poverty in United States. Poverty isn't just a problem in the developing and undeveloped world.

Zoom onwards to socialist and developing countries, and to a certain degree, United Kingdom. Economic and social rights reign. Universal healthcare and education for all. Limited free speech. Job security, pensions. In other words, all your basic needs are met. But I reiterate, your speech is limited, you have no right to carry guns (is that really a big issue?) but, it doesn't mean a complete blackout in political rights or free speech. You just need to pick the right apples. Filling the stomach is more important. Now, there have been outrage about the seemingly lack of political and civil rights in other countries. And there are studies saying people from say, China and Singapore do not have too much problem with that. Hmm. There should be censorship of sorts - in one source, a Singaporean was quoted as saying:

"I think that total freedom of speech might bother me more. I know that's the wrong kind of thing to say to you isn't it? But you read about total freedom of speech and how people can't stop - people in America for instance can't stop people getting up big rallies with the neo-fascists and holocaust deniers and anti abortionists and anti-gay movements. And you can't stop these people from saying things and sending out hate mail because they have freedom of speech. They are protected. And that I find more scary".

Two things really:

1. Civil and political rights are free to provide. In other words, the United States need not allocate any budget at all towards the provision of those rights for its citizens. Other countries spend gazilion bazillion on providing economic and social rights for their people.

To me, every unfortunate working person is taxed, no matter where they call home. What their tax money is used for...that is the difference. Starting to see something here?

2. Matt Bishop said this in class, and I don't remember the exact thing he said, so I paraphrase:

"What do you get with free speech and no food?"


Food for thought.

I can't believe I'm still thinking about this after submitting my essays. I may have oversimplified this though, so don't shoot me down for it (especially if you're American!).

Also, if you have the time, go here:

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Another day, another time

I'm starting to lose count of the days I've been here, and that's good because I'm still loving it here. Trying to get into the rhythm of things still, its kind of tough when people spoke in different accents about things I never knew about. Imagine a two-hour seminar on WTO and the IMF. And then compare the IMF with the World Bank. And then talk about trade unions, multilateral agreements and export tariffs. There you have a very lost Puiyee. Add on that post-structuralism critics on development, plus realist and cosmopolitan views on state relations. Then ponder on why some rights are inherent and inalienable, and how natural rights came to be and how they evolve, according to John Locke, into human rights belonging to all of us which are not to be traded, sold, exchanged or given up. How political and civil rights are more important than social and economic rights, and what kinds of rights and duty one should have for all of humanity. Those are the things I learn about these days. I don't think my days in UTAR prepared me for this. This is really challenging, really something else. Really a good way to appear stupid, and l feel *stupid* most of the time.

Apart from that, life is good, I think. I've traded cheap movies, mamak sessions, close friends and haircuts, and oh, TV, for nights out in pubs, shiatsu lessons and staying in the library. Meeting people I'd never dream of meeting. Some of the feeling of that lack of adventure and opportunity's faded already just by merit of that. Others...

I'm still here seeking some answers to questions I've never solidly formulated in my mind. Strange as it seems, on a couple of long phone calls with a stranger, I get to ask again, and answer again on things that matter in the end. Religion, pursuit of happiness and the notion of success. It is true we're all here to seek our happiness. And not in the traditional sense...I suppose one could use the word fulfilment too. Their life's mission, their calling, doing what that will fill their soul and purpose on Earth. Perhaps this is all a fallacy, that in the end we're all just seeking for love, simple as that. Or perhaps for some people, money is more important, and yet others, its power. Me? I am just looking for somewhere I belong. Doing something I know I will want to spend the rest of my life doing. I'm still looking, evidently.

As for religion, Mr Anonymous asked, if indeed there is God, then why do people pray to different 'Gods' by mere geographical differences. Personally, I think organised religion is just a way for people to feel like they belong to a group. Performing rituals that seemed ridiculous to us but are unquestionable to them gives them that 'specialness' that the rest of the world do not have. Also its a great way to fundraise and abuse powers in the name of God, but that's another story. But I think people want to believe in a greater power, in mother nature, forces of earth, destiny, providence, fate....because they need to have faith. They need an excuse and a reason, something to put their fingers on when something extremely good or bad befall them. And the faith to move on from it. Something to anchor them down, to buoy them and to lift them up. Hence...God. Not everyone believes in a great being booming down on humanity telling them how to believe. Perhaps its a whisper in the wind, shapeless, formless...we all form deeply personal, private thoughts, images and memories of all things, including God. I absolutely loathe people who asked me about my God. That's my personal relationship with powers greater than me. Sometimes, I want to stop when the Mormons here chase after me and tell them that I've gone through shit without needing their God and when life is good now, all the less reason to believe in their beliefs. Not receiving and donating blood? You know what? I believe in karma. Just by donating what I can, I hope someday when I need it, I'll receive too. Faith, again.

I would never dismiss religion as bullshit, just as I'd never dismiss politics as dirty donkey shit. But it is worth a look on why people believe in what they do, unquestionably, on why people leave their beliefs and form new ones, and on why people do not believe in religion to begin with. Did development, modernisation and urbanisation contribute to urban decay? (Do elephants have trunks?) Are people colder, more superficial and realistic? (Is China part of Asia?)

Does it mean we lose faith, join the rat race, be part of that neverending drumbeat to dull concrete fog of life?

Are there still those among us asking and questioning, seeking some answers?

You tell me.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

3 weeks and counting

Wow. I think today marks the 3rd week I've been here, and it seems like a short time..and a long time all at once.

I learnt a little more about myself and survival on my own - most important lesson of all is that I am okay. For all the worries and paranoia that I am just an empty vessel, I guess some of them's just a little empty noise.

I'm loving this. Being on my own. Having my own schedule, doing what I want, when I want, and on my own time, and terms. Meeting people from all over the world. Laughing, talking, walking, crying yet.

Take today for example: Ran to the train station to get a railway card cos the internet system doesn't like my passport number then library to return/collect books, sat in on a class, went for a research fellow's interview for his study, quick salad at the student union then to the blood donation drive, then to Marcia's to hang out before dinner, home for dinner then hour long phone call with a to-remain-nameless friend, and I'm supposed to be reading but here I am typing this and's a full day, and it feels satisfying and productive.

Opening bank accounts, sorting out housing contracts, sorting out more problematic phone contracts, registering myself with uni, going to classes, being responsible for myself and keeping an eye on budget...this is actually fun. I remember feeling so daunted by the gargantuan task of starting a new life, not knowing anything about everything here, and now I'm slowly etching a place for myself. I enjoy the daily commute, whinging about the bad weather and rain, walking, getting my own groceries, thinking of what to eat when in reality I'm still too lazy to cook in the kitchen, even housekeeping my own room. Did I have problem adjusting? Huge culture shock? Not really. I guess I'm just lucky with that. I do feel a pang of loneliness at times, but easily cured by going to classes and doing some social thing. Meeting people isn't as easy as it *should* be.

But I know long ago that I've been ready to be on my own, that my presence at home had been a pain in everyone's ass. I felt like I was imposing myself. That I was struggling to balance between needing to be independent and living on another person's terms. And I knew, deep down, that I've left home for good. That this is it, the world is here, and I'm going to embrace it and free fall into life.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sheffield: First week(s)


Well today marks my being here for a week, and if I don't start blogging about it, I don't think I ever will. That's actually how lazy I've become about keeping up with my life. I mean, things like starting a budget, filing things, keeping on top of my notes...I was never too adept at it, but now I'm just downright lazy.

The journey here was a long and not-too-exciting one...from KLIA to Singapore Changi International I got stuck next to a Chinese man with smelly, stinky, smelly smelly breath, and a 4-hour layover. I went online, then mucked around a little before bumping into a small group of Malaysian students headed to Manchester on the same flight. The flight wasn't too eventful, and thankfully the centre of our 3-seater row was empty so I had some space to throw myself about. Arrived in Manchester on a gloomy morning where we were gracefully ushered into the Heath Services for what I thought is demmit-health-check-but-my-x-ray-is-in-my-check-in but all the lady did was take down our passport number and details and which university we're headed to. I know. Wtf?

We were greeted by some Sheffield students who were part of the meet-and-greet scheme of the student union, and with a pair of siblings from Cyprus and their mom, we were unceremoniously dumped at Central Quay. The first flatmate I had was Doni, from Suzhou. After settling in, I talked with him, and then he happily took me around to buy my first necessities. We went...everywhere. Castlemarket, TJ Hughes, Sainsbury, 99p store, £1 store, frozen food store, The Moor, Tai Sun, London Road and the Chinese supermarket in The Forge...I think we even dropped by Primark and John Lewis. I was shown where Primark, Argos, banks, phone companies and Boots are, and in truth, his help was immeasurable. In the span of one single afternoon, I was introduced to most of Sheffield city centre.

I even stopped to see the tram stations, St Paul and St John Cathedral, City Hall and the Peace Gardens.

The next day, I was given directions to the University, and I trekked 45 minutes uphill to see Elmfield, which is a beautiful old building where the Politics Department is. I was exhausted by the time I reached the roundabout at the centre of the city campus. My first thought was, no fkin way I am going to walk like this on a daily basis, I wouldn't be able to make it. I trekked back to the city via West Street, and its a lot easier going downhill, and I think I shopped some before coming home to make dinner. It was after dinner that I went and explore parts of where I live in a little, and the back of Central Quay faces River Don, and there were ducks in the river. There's also a small pub/restaurant across the river, and it's quite a quiet place to reflect and walk in. And then I smelled Bak Kut Teh. I remember I grinned. It was 7ish, dinnertime for most of the residents and the smell of cooking was extremely homely and ...I don't know, gives me comfort.

The weather is crazy in this place, sunny two days, then gloomy and windy and cold the next couple, and then sunny again. In Malaysia, no one checks the weather, ever, but I learnt my lesson here. From hereon, before I head out every morning, I'm going to check the weather, even if only to see if it's going to rain a little. Because rain+wind=BAD.

My room faces the city centre, or what I can see of it since it faces uphill, and I can see the cathedrals from here. When the church bells toll, the sound is just absolutely beautiful and soothing. If anything, I'm just slightly unhappy (now coming to terms with it) with the fact that ALL my flatmates are from China. It feels like I flew to the wrong continent, sometimes. There's also some funny things I've noticed here, just small things like the lack of soybean milk (and how much I missed it), how the traffic is just as horrible as Malaysia and that pedestrians are given very little respect (so those chivalrous expat drivers must NOT be English, then!) , jaywalking is perfectly acceptable, how dirty and stinky with pee the city is on Friday and Saturday mornings, how noisy weekend evenings are with the crazy partying, and some jarring drunk racist shoutings from a Brit girl. Queues in this place are horrible, it feels like they're helpful, but ultimately inefficient and slow. I got long queues everywhere, from paying the bus driver to supermarkets to banks to the horrible reception in Central Quay and at the city. Its something I definitely need to get used to. But shopping is great here, I needed a coat so I walked to H&M and saw all these colourful hoodies and I already started to finger them before I halted myself. I was definitely losing the plot and I had to remind myself I don't have that much to spend.

I've had some department introduction meetings, and have met quite a few of my future classmates, and some had been great. A Chilean woman named Marcia and another from Beijing and I went bank shopping (for us), phone shopping (for Marcia) and coat shopping (for me). Yesterday we were at a graduates intro meeting and I met Joe, a Spanish who learnt to speak basic Chinese right here in Europe and Eva, a molecular medicine grad student from Kunming, and we spent the rest of the day chatting in English and Chinese about politics and England and China until dinnertime, where a huge group of graduate students met and went for dinner in 3 different pubs (because not a single place here can fit all of us).

I can see already this isn't going to be an easy year, even before my first class we've got a huge load of reading for the various modules we're interested in, but well...I hope I'm ready to take it all on. Sometimes, I've got my doubts, it feels like maybe I've bitten off more than I could chew.

I'm going to make the most out of the year though. It'll be amazing, for better or worst. I hope.

Friday, September 12, 2008

NO to BN

Reform is now inevitable, irreversible and hopefully imminent. TDM may go back to UMNO and support someone to beat Badawi at the coming UMNO elections, but this will not satisfy the thirst for change in Malaysia by all races. UMNO is beyond redemption, and the only way forward to rescue Malaysia is to replace the gangrened heart of power and replace it with a new entity called Pakatan. -Hiro

Beautifully written.

A comment on Mahathir's delusional comment @

Whether PR works or not...change must come. This cannot go on. This is not democracy. This is not what Malaysia stands for.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Enough lah

Okay, my knowledge of Malaysian politics isn't any more superior than the next person in the room. I am probably quite apathetic and a little outdated at times. I do not know the faces of our politicians, I do not know who's who in the leadership...I wasn't even sure who or how powerful the guy who presented me with my degree was.

But then, I read a piece of news on Malaysiakini, and tears sprung out. I felt despair more than anger at how things have gone this far in Malaysia. My premise is simple. I am a person born in Malaysia to persons born in Malaysia, whose parents were born in Malaysia. Malaysia x3 makes me pretty damn well Malaysian. To me, this is home. Even though I am Chinese by heritage, I do not identify with China. It is just a mystical land on the map where so many people of my skin colour, culture and language left and found homes elsewhere. The Chinese diaspora is well-known. Some of my mother's family sailed to America, some ended up closer to home in Hong Kong. And then my great-grandparents inadvertently arrived here. Diaspora - it is translated from Greek to mean 'the scattering or sowing of seeds'. And I am one of the plants sprung from these seeds - sheltered, nurtured and conditioned by my new environment, thus every minute change in this environment will affect the seedlings.

"Remember! The patience of Malays and Muslims has its limits. Do not push us to the wall, where we will be forced to reject the Chinese for the sake of our survival" - Ahmad Ismail

Statements like that creates fear in me. He wins. I am scared. On most days, knowing my Malay friends and people I meet from day-to-day life, I know without a doubt Malays will lay down their lives to defend us, their fellow Malaysians. I know, I have heard it being expressed sincerely, that while we are not colour-blind, because in truth we are *NOT*, many would ignore that fact, choosing only to see the ultimate truth, that we're all in this together, we're all Malaysians. Selective truth is a truly wonderful - or terrible - human trait. But on days like this, it makes it so hard for me to remember that. I'm already wary of walking the streets of KL filled with immigrants (legal status unknown) trying to ike out better lives here, and now I am weary in the comforts of my own home. We just wanted to feel safe, to know we are safe at home. Home.

We are ALL trying to survive in very trying times. I don't see the point of pushing one community off the ledge to benefit the other. Working in tandem - united we stand, remember? - would do a world of good for Malaysians.

Plus, in the biggest of ironies, to me, that statement is bluntly seditious. According to our draconian ISA laws, he deserve a penthouse in Hotel ISA. So why is he sleeping soundly in his own bed tonight? Whom or where do I seek reassurance and security in being Malaysian tonight? Although I shouldn't question it, but would my faith and loyalty pay off in the end, or is it all in vain?

You know, my ancestors boarded ships to this land for a better life for themselves and their descendants - us - and their backbreaking labour and hardship made us what we are today. I have pride in being part of this heritage, that much is true. The seeds they scattered are all grown up now, coloured and shaped by this environment for generations, so I beg you, please see us as fellow Malaysians and not immigrants or squatters, because this is my only home. It's not like we are here illegally or do not give back to the country. Skeptical as I am, scoff as I do at pathetic attempts of patriotic songs or superficial show of 'colourful Malaysia', this is home.

Is it so awfully wrong that we ask for equality and recognition? To have our colours mocked and pleas thrown back into our faces is a huge let down.

Aku anak Malaysia. I grow up learning to embody that spirit, will continue to, and always will.

I am Malaysian, for better for worst. I just hope soon it'll be easier to love, honour and cherish my country.

Thursday, May 08, 2008


Time: 04:10

Aaaah. Its nearer to morning than night now, and I'm just finished with a few episodes of Grey's Anatomy. And whadyaknow, I feel loads better!

I wrote one miserable missive this afternoon, but I think I'm scratching that and writing something else right now, if I can manage without dozing off.

This afternoon, I said I'm moping. I'm hating myself for this, but I'm moping.

Well, that's going to stop. But I guess I could pinpoint that to two things, really: The panic I felt over my last paper, and the weight of realisation crashing down.

I guess that's because I finished so much earlier than everyone else, and it was about the first time I sat there for half an hour doubting myself while everyone else is scribbling away that sets me off. That half hour wait outside the hall didn't help either. But I am letting go.

All the symbolic acts are there - the handing in of the hard bound copy of my thesis to the office and watching it stamped...effectively transferring ownership to the university; a farewell dinner and hundreds of photos...

But also, it felt like I've said my farewells long ago. That what's left of me and Uni is just the packing and finishing up. I know for a fact I won't miss that place. That I've left before I physically could. But what I did not see was how it provided a crutch for me, knowing I know how to do well in there, and now I don't have that.

There's always a fear that I'm secretly a failure. To this day, I still wonder what, if any, is there I'm actually good at. That I could do for a living, to sustain myself, and that it will provide meaning to me, and to the world. How what I do will actually matter. It feels like I want to do bigger things, but right now, I feel like I'm as mediocre as mediocre goes. What am I cut out to be?

I don't know.

This self-searching begun years ago, hasn't ended, nowhere near to answers, and I'm making peace with that. Perhaps it'll be a lifelong search, but I think I'm going to be okay with it. That I can always question myself and change whenever it's needed. That's survival, right?

Thoughts of days long past, of certainty sometimes find its unwelcome presence in my mind. I was thinking that, once, I knew how to handle being myself, I knew how it's like to be single, I knew what it's like to be fat, I knew how it's like to be a student, I knew how it's like to just be me. All the self-esteem, self-image issues, all the struggles and fights...but they are not here anymore for me to hide behind.

I've changed. Some of the changes are by my own hands, true. But mostly circumstantial. I'd like to think I've learnt a lot from this past one year, the final year of university. That I will be able to handle this new me, hopefully with more grace. Always the klutz that I am, though.

It's funny isn't it? All these changes? I'm going through cognitive dissonance. This new ...situation is something I'm not used to. And I've never really thought about it because, well, I've just pushed them aside and dealt with it minutely...and I'm suddenly looking at the big picture.

You know what, I really don't know myself anymore. And who is this "myself"? Me?

Because right at this point, I can't say I'm fat. That I have self-esteem or -image issues because demmit I don't anymore...can't say I'm single and actually meant it, and perhaps the biggest of them all, that I can't say I'm a student. So yes, I'm having a hard time adjusting here.

Well, hi, identity crisis.

Am I contradicting myself? Am I rambling? Maybe I am. This is one of those I'm-on-my-own moments though.

This bites me right in my own ass, I gave someone that recently, that we don't have to do this alone. I've got people I know, love and trust...and I've tried, and tried their patience. I guess I never really believed that anyone else may be willing to be my crying shoulder. I've learnt to put my guards up. Sometimes, I wonder, why change that? Why allow myself to be vulnerable? I've been on my own all this while, and I'm doing okay...why change, except, is that enough anymore? I want more, but I'm scared. Am I trying to detach? Do I still carry that old I-don't-deserve-love thing in me? Dear God I hope not.

Okay, definitely rambling. Am I posting this? Am I?

Thursday, May 01, 2008


Time: 02:04

So I'm sitting here in the middle of the night playing sad songs from my music list and wondering why the hell am I up and doing this.

Few hours ago I was jittery and sort of in a hyper-mood so yes, this is the unfortunate unwinding. I don't even know why I'm blogging except there's no one around to talk with and I'm feeling a little lonely and vulnerable and typing this will provide relief and perspective, I hope.

Just thinking about family. Truth be told, I've never really gave those much thought...I've got my own little dysfunctional family unit and it works to our advantage (dad not around meaning no one over-protective, overbearing and paranoid to nag, control and curtail me) and I've always got my mom's parents and siblings as extended family, and feel secure in knowing most of them live 5 minutes away and that they will be here in a heartbeat should I holler.

But then now I wonder if that's enough. In truth, I've got all these cousins, aunts and uncles I haven't seen or talked with for over 10 years, I'm not sure I'll recognise my cousins anymore if we ever bump into each other in the streets and I'm sort of okay with that. But am I okay or have I just never gave it a thought?

I felt inclined to blame it on the fact that our elders did not put in an effort to maintain contact. Sometimes it felt like I've been divorced from my dad's family too. Estranged is the correct term, really. Like how my mom never encouraged us to send postcards, and how I know their parents didn't bother, either. It helped only 2 families lived in Kuala Lumpur, the rest of them are in either Johor, or Singapore. Sometimes, whenever I'm in Singapore, I almost willed myself into bumping into some of them just for the sake of them looking at me and knowing I've come pretty far from the awkward teenager they knew me as. But I've never considered calling them. Or wanted to.

And now I'm feeling a little sad over that loss of these people, my flesh and blood, for better or worst. We share the same surname, the same grandparents, but we may as well be strangers. It's a weird feeling. I think I've wrote about this some time ago, and that sadness never changed. Do I want to do something about it? Do we have to wait for funerals for a reunion (knowing that's the total end of the fragile link between all of us)? I don't know. I'm helpless.

I guess I should be moving on with life, finding my own ties, kindred spirits, soulmates and my own family in this world of six billion people. Life ebb and flow.

Bloody hell, I don't like how I'm feeling at the moment. This better be PMS or something.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Time: 02:59

I'm truly at a crossroads right now...and it's choosing between potential love and potential self-development.

My question is, where do I go from here.

I'm not rushing into any rash decisions, but this is one of the rarest few moments I wish I have a mystical revelation, a sign telling me where should I go, what should I do.

Finally there's true possibilities, and I'm not comforted.

If I choose the love, I'm going to a place where I won't even be in my element. Where my choices as a Malaysian/Asian will be truly limited by, ironically, my (in)ability to speak, read and write Chinese. Where jobs may be hard to come by and it will be a struggle. But I may have found someone I could love. And I could do my master's in near future anyway.

If I choose the self-development, I have my misgivings...I'm burnt out by school and not sure if I'm ready for another dissertation in a few months. I'd have to start over the process of sussing out guys. But my entire year will be supported. And I may be able to develop my full potential.

It is somehow comforting to know that if things are meant to be, it will be, but I guess I want it, and I want it now.

I can't drag him into should be my decision. But I need to know.

I fear his answer. I fear he does not want this as much as I do. I fear that it is a case of one-sided thoughts.

I fear he will want to let me go.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

My forgivable aspects

Time: 00:11

Now that we're on the verge of leaving home...will it ever be the same when we return?

Mull over that. I cried the first time I watch it.

Gianne wrote a while back about the concept of forgivable aspects. To paraphrase her, it is a concept where....people still stick to certain sort of people, no matter how fucked up they are.
A little like "he ain't heavy, he's my brother" a person may be a fucktard but he's got friends because he's generous, loyal and a good entertainer...or she may be the biggest bitch in the world but you won't find a more honest person, either...and those are the qualities that still draw people to people. That there are 'forgivable' qualities about you that no matter how exasperating you've been, people still forgive you because of them.

Here's what Gianne left for me:

your forgivable aspects?

1) i love how much you are able to feel, and your capacity to love.

2) i love the way your mind works. sometimes i'm a little afraid of your depth because i might get get lost or drown in it. (can i dissect your brainnnn????)

(in short, you're a person of great substance ;P)

3) you bring yourself so well when articulating your ideas and opinions; it's like i can feel the clouds parting and light shining through wtf

4) you... challenge me to be a better person =).

5) you're funny and quick and interesting and a supremely wonderful friend (pretty much everything, short of a worship altar XD)

6) you're like fried tofu wtf. from outside you're a strong person, and at the same time, you're vulnerable ... it's something that i find endearing.

7) okay, this is so superficial but you're Miss Vavavoom!!! lesbian lovers insist!!

(please take this list out and slap yourself with it in the case of low self-esteem okay wtf)

Thank you, Gianne. I'm not sure if I live up to all you say, but indeed if that's what you think of me...I could live in peace with knowing I've done alright and will strive to do so continuously. So if I ever screw up, please screw me over.

What do the rest of you think?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

A bit o'progress

Time: 02:00

I'm happily reporting that I've done the content analysis, for most part. I sat myself down yesterday evening and since 3pm today, and started what I should've done weeks ago. I think all in all I spent over 10 hours staring at articles and trying to determine their slants and angles and counting paragraphs, and my eyes literally glazed over. Nonetheless...only pie charts and graphs, and honest writing to do now. Will submit the first draft soon, and then spend the next couple weeks writing and amending my final draft. My bum is numb, and my days here are numbered.

I'm counting down, winding up, tightening loose ends.
Yesh, I can smell freedom. It's so near, beckoning to me.

It is at times like this I must remember why I picked content analysis, this particular topic, my purpose of studying, my commitment and my goals. And I must dream a little of the victory that could be mine if I fight hard enough for it. I know I always play down things, because there's this innate fear that I will not live up to the mark, and perhaps I fear disappointing myself beyond anything. Afterall, it seems like I can never get what I want the way I want it. But I gotta start to believe and hope.

Joy comes to my life in quiet, unexpected ways. Sometimes they are such small things, they seem insignificant. But even a smile can make someone's day, so, why not. Being open to realms of possibilities...even to places I've never thought of going or people I've never thought of meeting...that's exciting and fun to think of. Then again, reality hits and I wonder if I'm reading too much into things. Best to keep a distance and not plunge in blindly. Right?

But I'm still a little behind in my work, and some leaps and obstacles more from being finished (Read: A LOT MORE WORK TO DO!). The FYP, my law assignment, and my pain-in-the-ass-what-a-drag-no-one-wants-to-do-it IMC assignment. Not to mention 4 more papers to sit for. But small steps to the big finalé. Just a few things on the to-do before I can hit the road for the Next Step.

Consider this a pep talk for myself. And back to the grind! (Tomorrow, that is)

Monday, March 17, 2008

Procrastinator's Note

Time: 23:54

Again, I'm here purely because I'm procrastinating. I'm due to start on my FYP Chapter 4...more than a week ago, and it's still in its glorious existence only in my head. I need a huge proverbial kick in my ass so that I start doing something very soon.

The journey is about to end. Who'd know? I still remember so clearly that very first day in university. I guess you could say if I could change things, I'd go back to that morning in Chinese class, and whisper to the naive and arrogant girl, to warn her of 3 rocky years ahead full of tears, joy, loss, adventure, lessons, loneliness... and that it will end unexpectedly. That maybe she'd wanna do a 180 and run the hell out of that place. That all the mistakes are not just her own, but that her hands will be dirtied.

I guess there's no shame in confessing I want a do-over. Some other place, some other time. Did university break my spirit? I don't know. I don't. What I know is this. It changed me, polluted the way I see the world. Those changes are big and small. Abstaining from meat, losing weight, finding and losing love, learning how to keep my mouth shut, learning about trust and betrayal, growing up...yeah. Maybe the changes are for the better, that a dose of reality and cynicism was what I needed. I haven't found what I wanted out of it, and I'm still searching. Perhaps life wants me to digress here to learn a lesson. I'm trying to make the best of it. My writing suffered, my passion waned. My next big journey in life will be to reunite with my hopes, ambition and passion once again. That much I promise myself.

And I guess this is where I'll break down and confess to all who've asked me if I'm lonely. I've always told them I'm alone, but rarely lonely, because I'm insulated by the love and support from those who cared. But these past days, the loneliness I've banished is creeping in again, enveloping me with its cold, dark embrace. And I succumbed. I want nothing more than to break down and crumble, but I can't let myself. I need to be strong in my convictions, in my principles and in my own self, because that's all that's left. As much as I'd like to, I feel it's no longer fair to burden others with it. I despair they will be bored and frustrated with me and my constant neediness. I fear I'm getting caught up in myself, my feelings, my emotions and my stubbornness that I neglect others.

I know in the bigger scheme of things whatever it is I'm going through isn't all that big a deal, but again, it is because I'm going through this right now that makes it especially hard to keep my chin up. All the advice and empathy I received comfort me, and I will always be grateful to those who did so for me. But I know I stand alone in this.

I do not know who stalks me (and maybe no one does, and it's all in my head), but as I try not to use another's words as a weapon against them personally, I expect, because of the law of karma, that mine will not be used against me. We all are vulnerable, and I'd like to know I can let myself be once again, without fear. If its true I've been a lousy person and friend, and that I really don't deserve anymore attention, then leave me be. I've made my amends and compromises, and had what I deserved returned to me multi folds and enough is enough. I've reached my breaking point and forgiveness is no longer one-sided now.

I'm sticking to my guns.

I'm also stealing a quote from Amelia (and Chris)'s blog:

"Remember to be gentle with yourself and others. We are all children of chance and none can say why some fields will blossom while others lay brown beneath the August sun. Care for those around you. Look past your differences. Their dreams are no less than yours, their choices no more easily made. And give, give in any way you can, of whatever you possess. To give is to love. To withhold is to wither. Care less for your harvest than for how it is shared and your life will have meaning and your heart will have peace." - Kent Nerburn

As I eat my humble pie, I try to mend my prideful ways and learn to treat others better, and to be less harsh on myself and others. But it will take all my faith and strength, but I'm trying, right?

Monday, March 10, 2008

Winds of changes

Time: 02:39

The 12th elections' over, and the dust is settling. It set a precedence for me in more ways than one: I voted, and I was out of the country when the results were announced. I was scrambling to look for a computer with Internet, cursing and regretting my decision to go to Singapore anyway, despite being alone and having to risk long waits at the customs thanks to a particular Mas Salamat who escaped Singapore prison by going to the bathroom, just like a movie ploy. My mom with good intentions did not allow me to return to KL Sunday evening, but looking at the lack of "excitement", I returned anyway rather than being stranded in Singapore. We, the rakyat, are mature enough to accept changes and that gave me a huge measure of relief.

I was greeted with shock more than anything in finding out four states in Malaysia now belongs to the Opposition, or the Barisan Rakyat. Joining them, of course, is Kelantan, and also FT Kuala Lumpur. I don’t think anyone saw that coming. I certainly didn’t even have faith that we can even deny them the 2/3 majority.

But it happened.

We, the rakyat, went beyond that, and then some.

That proves it all.

It proves how dissatisfied we were with the government, it proves we are now enlightened, we are empowered to not fear changes anymore, and we are equipped with knowledge and the Internet to know better than to trust traditional media bullied into submission by our (Mis)Information Ministry. That we are allowed to exploit cyberspace was a blessing I credit to the BN government. I also have no doubt whatsoever that without the rigging going on with certain leaders of the Barisan Nasional, the BR sweep will be higher. It proved that the youth of the nation, despite being banned from politics as students or indoctrinated with BN ideas and manifesto, are going through an awakening and awareness slowly, but surely. And we’re starting to give a damn about it too.

Analysts feared this elections will be the dirtiest yet, and that fact didn't daunt the BR voters: Generally, people are cynical that change will come at all, but the best part of all, they voted anyway. Even with the riggings and all sorts of stories from the ballot countings, the BR came through.

At moments like this, as I explained Malaysian politics, democracy and voting to some Singaporeans, I felt pride about where I came from. I felt proud to be part of the changes, to play a part in it, and to witness history in the making.

Going to Anwar's Lembah Pantai ceramah allowed me to meet thousands of Malays, and if the NEP really benefited them, and if they are really as comfortable and protected as the government claimed them to be, why are they there? And why, despite the racial cards played by BN, were they so friendly to us? They talked to us, they allowed me to stand in their spots to see better, they yelled for Makkal Sakthi, and they shared their views and smiles. They reminded me we are all Malaysians first, and race a distant second.

Now the BR has their work cut out for them. They made promises, and they'd better deliver, because as much as I have misgivings for some of their front runners, they may be better than their BN counterparts. They have to be. They're our hopes now, considering some goons in the BN are arrogant enough to point fingers instead of looking inside themselves to study what went wrong. Even as voices from all sides of the country tried whispering, then yelling, about their mistakes and abuse. Even at this time, some are still not sorry, and I’m afraid will never be.

At least this time we see bloggers, human rights lawyers, educated fresh blood and younger politicians voted in. The change today is long-coming, long-awaited and long-needed for. This is more than winds of changes, this is typhoon Rakyat.

Quoting about what I learnt in Social Contract, I will not sell my freedom for more promises and lies. We give up certain rights to earn the right to live in an orderly, equal society; and when I deliver my part of the bargain, I expect it to be reciprocated, or else.

So, if the BR deliver, they will then see to it that the wheels are turned and BN turned opposition in the next elections. Otherwise, we're back at square one, and then, and only then, will I know there will be little left for me to want or hope as a Malaysian.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Time: 03:30

I'm actually beyond exhausted. In fact I feel lightheaded. It seemed like a permanent thing now, and I credit that to the lack of sleep. I feel cold too. It seemed so constant that I go everywhere with a jumper now.

But there are thoughts that filled my mind and they make me anxious, depressed and emo. As of lately, I've reconsidered some of my thought processes and perception. It's wrong to say I'm unhappy; rather, there are causes to that unhappiness and I have no one to blame except myself, and unless I'm exposed to these causes, I'm really actually fine.

But I reiterate. I felt lost and that life is mediocre. Perhaps what someone told me is true: that I am seeking a meaning. To my own existence, to my life, to my relationship with people, a meaning to my very being. I've had the chance to think again, to dig up old Ethics note and ramble on about Rawls and his Natural State. To talk about Kant and Categorical Imperative, and I thrived. I've had that awful realisation at the beginning of this semester that I don't read enough. If I compare my knowledge to a Poli-Sci student from say UK or US, I'd crawl into a hole in shame. I crave knowledge, and the more I learn, the more I realise how much I really do not know.

I can't be intense all the time, to debate or think. It's mentally draining. (I'm vain! I like clothes! And Grey's Anatomy! And Josh Duhamel is soooo hot!) But I liked to throw thoughts back and forth. It makes me feel alive, heard. I know I lack that sort of interaction unless I'm with a certain group of friends. And with Dr Carmen's Critical Thinking Circle, I've found a new venue for that.

Lately, it struck me that perhaps I went to university too early. I was naivé and trusting, arrogant and judgmental. I had my yardstick, and I compared everything to my strict, self-perceived logic. And I was uncompromising. Betrayal upon betrayal hurt me. I feel insecure and vulnerable, and that racked me with self-doubt. I was a wreck. My daily interactions were shaped by fear and suspicion. And now after learning this much about myself, I feel that I've matured a little bit more. And I felt that I've moved just a little further. That I've outgrown the pace I'm in now. I'm ready to move onto the next level. Hopefully as a better person than I was. And I accept that I'll always be different, and I'll always be in the minority. I feel alone but not lonely. In this walk, I'm not solitary, there will be lone walkers, just like me.

Yes. I'm growing up. And out.

Just Chaaaaaaange...for Malaysia

Time: 03:09

First off:

The first 20 times I played that, I laughed too. But it's SNARKY. And cheesy. It sticks to your brain like a parasite, replaying "just chaaaaaange...for Malaysiaaaaa" over and over.

Compare that to this:

Personally, I feel like throwing up. It's like an overdose of Petronas ad. That, with the fact that I've watched Fahmi Reza's 10 Tahun Sebelum Merdeka, and the I *heart* Pak Lah fan club photo so prominently displayed on last Sunday's Sunday Star, I've hit a breaking point. A stunned moment of clarity that perhaps I've been lied to more than I've realised. I'm not quite eloquent at 3am in the morning, but do this people really sit and think of 25 million people as their personal experiment? That everything that had happened was part of their design, and we all fall into place neatly like an intricate mosaic or a complex jigsaw puzzle?

But did some pieces go missing? Perhaps they miscalculated, misstepped. I'd like to think of Pak Lah's (un)announcement of the dissolution of the government and his changing of mind mere 24 hours a huge political mistake. It costs him, for sure. People call him a liar. Even I, a mere undiplomatic citizen, would say something along the lines of "Well, you know there are rumours of elections coming, so, anything can be expected. Let's wait and see, shall we?" Seriously, he should just invite his PR guy into Kamunting. I'd have him hanged and quartered, personally. Also, what kind of PM need to clarify that he "worked hard"?

And what kind of PM do not accept there are unhappy people under his governance?

This is a proof that alternative truths prevail:

Call me ungrateful, but I think I'm finally awakening from the 11 years of free education I've received. Time has come for me (after 21 years) to choose who I want as my government. You'll be sure I will think very hard.


Monday, February 11, 2008

To friendship

Time: 02:06

Before I go onto the actual intention of this entry, I have to vent:

On the first day of Chinese New Year, my mom decided not to cook, so we went over to KIP next to Kepong Carrefour for some Korean food. We were led upstairs where the entire seating was on a raised platform (sorta like a Japanese restaurant) and customers sit on the floor with a hole underneath the tables for leg space. Anyway, I guess the wooden platform was a novelty for a huge family seated behind us because this boy of 8-9 years old was running the entire length of the restaurant to and fro, to and fro. It was not only annoying the rest of the customers, it was HIGHLY hazardous because the servers were carrying pots full of lit charcoal for the Korean BBQ table to table. Said boy nearly collided with a waiter carrying a huge stone pot of boiling spicy soup. For a moment, I had a graphic picture of his face if the soup landed right on his head. Edible face meat.

As if that wasn't enough, his father was smoking in the air conditioned room to the discomfort of everyone else trying to enjoy the actual taste of their food, and then the boy led his sister of about 3 years old to the first floor window and opened it. A waiter rushed to slam the window shut before girl plunged down. The best part? No one reprimanded the boy. The family ate as if nothing happened.

If I was mommy, the boy would be walloped on the spot before being tied down and gagged. But that's why I'm not mommy.


I've had a sudden urge to express my cheesiness and my appreciation towards people who've been my friends for years. I cannot thank them enough for being there for me, for loving me unconditionally, and for every laughter and tears we shared, for the camwhoring, for the fitting room pics, for the joy, experience and life lessons. They shaped me into part of who I am, and without them, my life would be that much less meaningful. So, here's to you guys :D





Friday, February 08, 2008

CNY post

Time: 01:10

A very Happy Chinese New Year.

In order to keep my resolution alive (and avoid writing my thesis for a bit), and not to renege on my word on blogging more often, I've even whipped out my dusty thesaurus and started looking for my first word: back out (renege).

It's true when you haven't been writing for a while, all that's left is a vocabulary fit for daily conversation and acceptably passable assignment write-ups. So I've been reading a little bit more (American Girls About Town with my absolute fav contemporary American female writer Jennifer Weiner) and at the process of finishing another autobiography about social work and the political atmosphere in Iran early last century. Written by Sattareh Farman Farmaian with Dona Munker, Daughter of Persia's a rather interesting read, focusing on how a woman born in the woman's quarters (or harem, as they say in the book) wanted more than a life of arranged marriage and children and became the first Iraqi female to study in UCLA, worked for the UN and returned to Iran to contribute to social work there.

That made me think of where I am today, and an immense sense of gratitude comes to me. The news that there's a huge possibility I'm leaving end of this year had spread like a wildfire and relatives I don't talk with are wishing me well and urging me to go, go, go. Just a generation or two ago, (my mom and grandma) females are limited in their choices about their education and life, but I've got all that I want and then some. I may get cold feet about picking up and starting over now and then, but I can't wait either, to be honest.

Onto happier times, here's some photos from Chinese New Year:

Grandma making magic with her wok and wand


Um..some kind of shellfish with asparagus

Piping hot and wanting to be eaten

The pre-requisite chicken with onion and soy sauce in oil dip

"Fatt choy hou see" think that's what it's called... "Fortune and Good Things"

This is my favourite thing...fried dumplings, and I can put away quite a few of those.

Captured the feast a split second before I sat down and completely forget to snap pics. It sucks to know I take such crappy photos (angles, lightings, taste and eye for it) but that's all I have.

Passionfruit from granduncle's garden..that's a fruit for thought indeed. Never knew they can grow in our climate.

The after-dinner gossip session. Grandma's telling everyone to look at my aunt's recent wedding photos (again). I think she's really, really proud.

My mom and the rest of the families have a tradition of exchanging gifts (mostly cookies, nuts, candies and dried mushrooms) and these are the lined up goodies.

Top view

Aunt Elaine, Grandpa, Aunt Joanne and Khai Syuen


Almost adorably irresistably cute. Almost.

Whadyacallthis? It's called "Fire flower" both in Chinese and Malay, but beats me what it's called in English.

And then there's (half of) me! Yeah, in QIPAO! That's a first!

Ten kinds of feelings crept over me as I consider that this may be my last Chinese New Year with the family for the next few years at least...but onwards, right? Afterall, nothing's confirmed anyway.

Much love to all of you, and have a good year.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The silence reigns

Time: 14:09

It's so weird. I know it's been like that for a while now. I've been like that. I've just completely stopped talking about my life, or write much about it. I haven't written anything proper or random since forever. My last pictures were from Bangkok, and that was last May. How can this be?

I'm inclined to blame Facebook. Afterall, why bother with Photobucket when Facebook uploads much faster, and friendlier?

But I guess that's not really an excuse for not writing. My thesis is still hanging. I've slacked. Let myself fall into the gutter of complacency and mediocrity. I fear so much of stumbling and falling at the finishing line, but I've lost the will to pick things up where I drop them.

What on earth has (have?) happened to me?

I guess it's really cos I don't think there's a lot of interesting things to put here. Sure, little incidents are worth etching into my memory as being memorably memorable, but they're all regular things, you know? Things that I'm not sure people who reads my blog will be interested in. I don't remember days and dates, names, places and incidents anymore.

I realise that lately I've started to internalise my feelings, which is something new. Everyone who knows Puiyee, knows she's got a big mouth and an inability to keep things to herself. I guess this is a worthy lesson: to shut up and speak no evil. I see the horror of watching my words and intentions twisted and changed, and there's nothing I can do to rectify it. I'm not innocent; I've spoken. How they're interpreted, is beyond my control. As a writer, I should've realised that. That is my mistake, and mine alone.

Time to grow up some more.

In some ways, I feel genuinely happy about my life; afterall, there is nothing wrong in the surface. At all. My studies are going and I'm finishing soon (to my relief), I've got my best friends and comforts of home, good food, clothes and family. But I'm surprised people kept telling me, I seem to be really dissatisfied. That I want more, but more of what? Its like I haven't really lived, and I can see why: I'm still holed up in my city, inside the embrace of family and childhood friends and my routine, in short, nothing outside my comfort zone. I feel like I'm struggling to get out there, but I haven't found the key yet.

Of course, in other ways, I am dead unhappy. Downright depressed. Like sitting alone in the middle of the night talking to random strangers listening to music and thinking random thoughts kind of unhappy. I've got no direction in life whatsoever. I'm not sure I want to be a journalist, and that felt like a kind of betrayal to my convictions. I'm not sure I have what it takes to be a good journalist. Or anything else for that matter. I wish I can see a direction. I'm going to be 22 and I feel like a lost kid sometimes. I took a lot of interest in politics lately, and that is revelation in itself. Maybe I'll be writing on more of that soon.

On another matter altogether, I damn taubat already about the need for a guy. At this moment, I know I'm not really looking for anyone, or for love. Sure, I wouldn't say no to whatever comes my way, be it random dates or a flirt or chatting online or at a table wherever, but trust is an issue now. And yes, I won't settle for anything less than what felt "right", because I've had experienced that headiness, the excitement, the wonder of liking someone creep over me. That want to look into his eyes and stare at their wonderful depth forever, the desire to know his thoughts and learn about him slowly, relishing on every new fact. And if I have a certain preference for a certain kind of guys, so be it, I think. I'll find him, wherever he is.

Oh, and last night I did a thing that's a wee bit spontaneous. I spoke to an American guy who happened to be in town, invited him for coffee, took Amelia with me, and ended up taking him and his friend on a terror ride on my brother's Myvi to Ming Tien in PJ for some local food and then to a nearby mamak to impress them with some teh tarik skills. I've had an amazingly fun time, and I hope they did, too. It reminded me of why I like to meet random travelers when I backpacked, and yeah, I should do more things like that. It was also amusing to look at the rear view mirror to see two very tall guys folded into my car. And it makes me really, really happy and proud to see them enjoying my city, my food, my culture. It was great. Yeah. How do YOU pronounce Malaysia?

Malay-zhuh or Malay-sya? Personally, I use them interchangeably.

Well, til my next post at I-really-don't-know-when, Malaysia Boleh!

Sunday, January 13, 2008


Time: 21:25

As we grow up, we learn that even the one person that wasn't supposed to ever let you down probably will.

You will have your heart broken probably more than once and it's harder every time.

You'll break hearts too, so remember how it felt when yours was broken.

You'll fight with your best friend.

You'll blame a new love for things an old one did.

You'll cry because time is passing too fast, and you'll eventually lose someone you love.

So take too many pictures, laugh too much, and love like you've never been hurt because every sixty seconds you spend upset is a minute of happiness you'll never get back.

Don't be afraid that your life will end, be afraid that it will never begin!


I guess it's all true.

And that I have to be able to love, like I've never been hurt before, and stop blaming a new love for things the old one did. do I do that is the question.