Friday, November 27, 2009

Too late

At what point do you stop talking about anything?

When you don't have much to say, or when your thoughts become so personal, you rather keep it private lest it be read by other people and the outcome is many hurt parties. I learnt from journalism class that there's many sides and many angles to a story, and because this blog is my own, I've ignored journalistic conventions and go with my own side, and my own angle.

But there's the constant worry that one day someone will read what I wrote and get hurt.

Also, I could blame Facebook, its more than sufficient to post status messages, and photos on there, and blogging becomes an effort because you're doing things twice. A person have to draft a blog on her mind, arrange sentences and so on, whatever it takes to write a piece that's publish-worthy. Anyway.

This time, I'd say my silence is from the fear of hurting people, of announcing to the world my every move and action, and the self-absorption that so plagues us Internet-folks who embraced the "me, myself and I-itis" of the Internet.

The last week since I've been back, I've been very conscious of ranting to Tim, sometimes half-angry, half-sad, more than often slightly teary too, about the friendship I mentioned on my last blog. Seemed like the situation is the same, one can say we've reached a stalemate, as worst things happened and no discussing ensued.

Tis so easy to just say "I care, I care", but its the actions that mattered in the end. Things had changed, through her choices and my actions, and this time it felt like it's too late.

It's too late, too much damage done to patch things up. There's a big thorn in my heart. I've always knew when a fight's just a fight and things will be okay in due time, but this time it felt final. Like as if it's a break-up and this really is it. I cannot imagine things going back to how it was, and that it's already too late.

I don't think I care anymore. My love and respect fizzled out. It's really sad, it's really final and brutal, but it's just too late.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Tis a crazy life

My mom had a stroke last Monday. My security blanket, the conviction that things are okay, and will stay okay, was pulled out under me. To say I fell hard on my bum and dazed...is an understatement.

Staying with her over three days, tending to her and basically be her buddy led me to think a lot of things. Of how it's not time yet. She's barely into her fifties. I'm only a third of my way through my twenties. I still want and need my mommy. I still want to be babied, to be a child, to be my mommy's girl. Thinking of her less than healthy made me run into the corridor to collect myself. I do not want to cry in front of her. Watching her cry broke my heart. I'd do anything to change reality. To make her alright. To make us alright.

Maybe I've not accepted the reality yet. She's not too bad, just weakness on one side, and needs a bit of help up and down the stairs. You have no idea how painful it feels to watch your mother eat, and listen to her say that swallowing is an effort. For a woman who loves her food...and for a woman who loves to gab, talking is an effort, too. I looked at my own left arm and leg, and wondered how it would be like to be tired of lifting them up after a few seconds. I felt a need to protect her so strong, and yet so helpless in face of fact. Suddenly I found myself being the one doctors talk to, nurses refer to, and mom and bro depend on for a daily routine. The responsibility felt so massive, and so sudden.

I hope my mom recovers soon, and back to her fierce, prideful self, in tip top condition and all.

In face of all this, with all these newfound responsibilities, anxieties and stress, I learnt there's only myself to depend on. Never did I think of relying on anyone else, but I let my guard down just this once, because I'm so tired, and I am so disappointed and betrayed. In playing good daughter, I also have to play good best friend. I have to understand so many people, so many angles. Empty promises made. Words tumble easily from mouths, but. But. What's the value of friendship? Nothing. Easily bartered away in knowing we'll always be understanding. That there will be time to make up. That I'm supposed to understand.

I understand. I'm not the one who's going to make my best friend happy forever.
I'm not the main star in a best friend's life.
In the scheme of things, what am I?
I dread to weigh the truth.

All I know is, tis just another empty promise, and I'm betrayed and disappointed. I expected too much, that is my mistake.

I would have understood even better had things been handled differently. Had no promises were made.

But such is life.

Move on, Puiyee. Sudah lah, lumrah hidup.

Friday, October 09, 2009

A prose for you

I don't know if I believe in the extravagant show of love. In the four months we've been going out, there were small exchanges of gifts, eating out, buying things...sharing and pooling money and belongings. I've never done any huge-effort-out-of-my-way thing for him (wrote him a poem, a song, - though maybe a prose counted? - went way beyond myself to make/get him something, etc), though I couldn't say the same about him. I know he's been so generous and so thoughtful to me.

I've yet to receive my first flower, though. *hint*
He couldn't afford to come to Malaysia with me, but he came to London with me, and we spent a few wonderful days together.

So, I believe that its not the 'showing' that matters, but the real thoughtfulness, the 'heart' and the effort the other person puts in without being asked to. And if a person meant it, you'll know. I've had no reasons for doubt and insecurity - I trust him. And he's never let me down. There's always regular contact. I usually know where he is, what he's doing, and how he's doing. And for that, I am gratefully reassured.

I know in that sense, I am blissfully happy. It's only been over a week that we're apart, and I have him on my mind a lot. Sometimes I end up grinning like a mental person in the middle of a public space. I compensated by shopping and buying things for him. I wondered if he'll eat durian. I thought of him when I'm eating some yummy food and wished he could try it too. I wanted to hold his hand and show him off - that's him, that my man. Sometimes those three words are right on my lips. I guess we're both playing the waiting game.

When we first went out, my heart was full of doubts. Someone told me that by the end of this year, if I didn't feel like I have fallen for him, I should walk away. I think I'm here to stay.

And I hope he knows this.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

I am...

...feeling slightly neglected.

Life here felt exactly like I've wrapped it up and put it away, only to come back and unpack it...to find that people have moved on and are too busy for me.

I feel like I wanna fly back now.

:(

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Homeward bound

Its 8pm now, and I've been on the go since 7am this morning. I'm airborne somewhere in the Middle East, dinner is about to be 'served', and another 7 hours before I land.

I fervently hope the boy is now safe and sound back in Sheffield (at least Meadowhall Interchange, as his bus is due to arrive at 8pm). We've spent three nights in London, and it was an amazing time - eating Malaysian food in Chinatown, going to the British Museum and dropping our jaws at mummies, watching the sun set on Tower Bridge, watching Phantom of the Opera on the absolute worst seats in the entire theatre. It was good.

And I can not be grateful enough, or affectionate enough towards the Boy at the moment. I wonder how and why, through all my ill-spirits and unkindness, that I deserve such a good-natured, humourous, thoughtful and lovely person. And I feel awfully bad that he's probably waited at the Victoria Coach Station for hours, bored, tired, sleepy and grumpy, for his bus that's not even due until I've
landed in Bahrain.

He is awesome. And 4 weeks til I see him again.

Now: Bahrain.

I've found the wettest toilets ever. Bahrain Airport female loo was invaded by women of I don't know where (I'd hazard a guess of somewhere in South Asia) with cloth covering their heads loosely, and them washing their faces and feet in the same toilet sink. It wasn't just wet, it was flooded. I forgot how disgusting wet toilets are. And I've forgotten how humid and warm night airs can be.

This is just a teaser of what is about to greet me when I step off the plane in KL. Hmm.

I've also met two Chinese Malaysians at the boarding gate: both works in Ridyadh as nurses. One immediately told me she's earning RM15 000 per month. Telling me maybe all those repression in the Middle East is a good thing, that the UK and the US is too free. The other seemed more wise, telling me it's not the money that mattered, even though many nurses came and went in Saudi Arabia because they could not tolerate the culture or society, they'd learn something and bring it away with them. Even a year out there would be good for anyone. I couldn't agree more though I've spent a year in one of the freer societies in the world and I doubt I can go to somewhere like the Middle East and ...fit in. I already feel slightly ill at ease, needing to put up pretenses and self-censor, something we all learn to do well; whispered, hushed conversations instead of open, frank discussions. If only the first nurse found out my boyfriend is an English lad and I've embraced the 'irresponsible' life...

Oh. I don't know, this homecoming is such a confusion for me. I wonder what the next four weeks will entail. We shall see.

Meanwhile, I've loved and hated London. The crowds. The impatience. The pushiness. The hecticness. The rush. The beauty despite its perpetual sounds and smells.

Thank you, Tim.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

All done...

...with dissertation.

Finally. The final piece of work I'll hand in for academic purposes. I think I'm done being a student...for a while anyway. Unless....I don't have to write dissertations. Come to think of it, maybe I'd like going back to Primary 1 and start all over again. At least I know what I'm doing second time around. I'd do food science. Or cook.

But I'm just blabbering. This will not be a very coherent or even eloquent post; I'm just too frankly tired.

I promised myself to finish dissertation last Friday evening but I ended up going to the library at midnight on Saturday and printed my dissertation at 3.30am. After an hour or two of iplayer after that, I was dead to the world....except at 7am we woke up for a carboot sale. I got a nice denim jacket out of it for two quid. And a grater for 20p. And Tim's got a mini fridge for £2.50. And we had nice steak sandwiches. And we went to bed again til 2pm. And then I got up to...pack. We left for Tim's parents' house at 7.10pm...and made and ate lasagne at 12am.
I got him up at 10am to head into town to get my dissertation bound, had some sandwiches, window-shopped, then I collected my dissertation, ran to the department to submit it, and went home to...pack. Finished packing finally and then I collapsed into bed again and waking up at 9am on Tuesday because the van guy's coming at 11am. Took only half an hour to take all my worldly possessions in UK across town, and I'm now living out of boxes for the week before I head down to London and then home, and after a bit of unpacking, went to the department to chat with international students and then headed to Meadowhall for Yo! Sushi (we have a 40% discount voucher!!!) and I went all out. We walked around just a little bit...but I was tired, and my feet were so sore, and my brain was so numb.

By the time Tim and I made it back to my new place and after watching Mathilda with my new housemates, I was so exhausted I fell asleep mid-kissing.

And Wednesday we walked back into town to the train station so that I can get a new railway card and collect my deposit for the Boomerang and get new keys cut. And when I go to donate blood, the nurse asked if I've been stressed lately....boy. Does she know.

That's it. And now I'm idle and got nothing to do in a strange new house and a new status. I've got a splitting headache. I will call my boyfriend, then head for a shower, then watch iplayer til I fall asleep.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

My Chinese name

To be quite honest, I've never really checked what my given names meant, and only idly wondered a few times when I have been asked.

So...

许 xǔ
English Definition:
1.to allow
2.to promise
3.to praise
4.perhaps

佩 pèi
English Definition:
1.to wear
2.admiration
3.jade pendants

怡 yí
English Definition:
1.happy; cheerful; joyful
2.harmony

Source: http://www.ourchinese.org/

What does it translate to then?

"To promise admirable joy" ??
"A promise of joy" ?
(Since I'm *wearing* it and all that)

*tah hah hah hah hah*

Okay well, not quite.

I like the whole "wearing" and "owning" being joyous. And peaceful.
Its a good name, I now know.
Me mommy and daddy wants me to be happy.
Awwwww.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Of time and timing

I've just recently watched A Series of Unfortunate Events, and not really being aware that the antagonist is played by Jim Carrey, I almost smacked the laptop, broke the DVD and poke a few needles into his imaginary voodoo doll. I don't like Jim Carrey, in case you did not get the gist already.

My arms are so sore. My legs are sore. My brain is numb. I just want to sleep and read some vapid chick lit, sip tea and sleep some more. I just moved this morning. Did the bulk of moving my belongings last evening, and then four hours unpacking, before I realise the contract ends 19th and I'm only staying there for three weeks, if I extend for a week. If that. My laptop broke down. Well, the inverter did. To put it in a nutshell, everything works as per normal, except the screen is dim. I can see faintly that there's things on the screen, just that the light isn't there. It will cost me £70 to fix it. And I don't even know how long it will take. I miss my laptop already. On top of that Tim's laptop was hard hit by an amusing virus (at least I secretly think so). It gave him a blue wallpaper with a few paragraphs on it with misspellings and bad grammar saying things like "Your're computer is infected. For your family, your children, your friends, please get antivirus". What's not amusing is that he'll have to reformat. At least he's got his data backed up with some pendrives last night. Speak of a series of unfortunate events now. Two computer nerds computer-less for a few days. How are we supposed to function?!

I've also just gotten an extension for my dissertation. I can technically hand it in on 28th September now. Which I hesitate to do. Ideally I still want to finish by 14th, or maybe around that time, because I want to relax and do my thing. This shackles called Dissertation is sucking the joy out of my soul.

Last night, after unpacking, Tim and I walked home from Boomerang to Central Quay for one last time. We had one last walk by the river. The three white (edible) ducks that never failed to sleep at the same spot weren't there. Perhaps it was too cold. Too windy. Too wet. But I felt the pain of lost so acutely. I've stayed there for almost an entire year, and what a year it has been. I've enjoyed my own ensuite, and cabinet-hogging in the kitchen, and a lot of privacy. I've even enjoyed staying in 2 flats that wasn't filled to capacity.

Boomerang is almost entirely opposite. There's 6 of us in a small flat. The walls are thin and noises carry. I can hear people peeing and flushing the toilet that's next to my room. I'm staying with 5 people I know. There's not much space in the kitchen for me to hog. And I sleep on a single bed. I guess it's really not bad at all because I'm now 5 minutes away from the library, but its just a lot of change to cope with at the moment.

Moving was also stressful - I came to this country with three bags, and over a year I've accumulated so much things that I'm ashamed of myself. In my defense, a lot of them are castaways that I scavanged. That's the joy of living in student accomodation - in a corner reserved for unwanted items, I've picked up duvet sheets, blankets and throws, boxes, bags of clothes and stuff, crockery, utensils and things of all sorts. I've also been to car boot sales and picked up pasta jars, photo frames, clothes...

I wonder when and if I do go home for good, what am I going to do with them things.

So anyway, the year I had in Central Quay - it was good, but nature states that nothing stays static forever. I cannot stop the sands of time slipping through my fingers, the only thing I could do and will do is to cherish and treasure the memories. And the memories of walking in flip-flops in winter to Castlemarket, catching the 52 bus, the walks along the river, the sounds and atmosphere of the pub downstairs...I'm grateful for the experience.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Moo for Malaysia.

First off, I really kesian this cow.
Disclaimer: Apologies for the squirmish ones, don't scroll down!





Opps, sorry, too late

I hope that cow was slaughtered for food, and not for the sole purpose of being marched up somewhere, displayed and insulted, spat and stomp on. And surely not in the holy month of Ramadan.

Here's the story:
By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal, Malaysian Insider

SHAH ALAM, Aug 28 — A group of Malay-Muslim protesters claiming to be residents of Section 23 have threatened bloodshed unless the state government stopped the construction of a Hindu Temple.

Amid chants of "Allahuakbar," the group also left the severed head of a cow at the entrance of the State Secretariat here as a warning to Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim.

The "residents" said that the construction of a Hindu temple in a 90 per cent Malay- Muslim neighbourhood was insensitive because activities there would disrupt their lives.

They claimed that the "noise" from the temple would disturb their own praying, and that they would not be able to function properly as Muslims.

The group of 50 over protestors marched shortly after Friday prayers from the Shah Alam State mosque to the State Secretariat.

“I challenge YB Khalid, YB Rodziah and Xavier Jeyakumar to go on with the temple construction. I guarantee bloodshed and racial tension will happen if this goes on, and the state will be held responsible,” shouted Ibrahim Haji Sabri amid strong chants of “Allahu Akbar!”

Ibrahim identified himself as the Deputy Chairman of the Resident’s Committee against the building of the temple in S23 here, which is perceived by some as being a Muslim majority area.

He told the press that the state should move the temple to Section 22 as ‘originally planned’, and also labelled Khalid a “traitor to the Malay race and Islam”.

It is understood that the protest is an immediate reaction towards the Selangor MB’s visit to the Hindu temple site yesterday, an act seen by the "residents" as disrespectful to the Muslims of the community.
Mohd. Zurit Bin Ramli, who claims to be the secretary of the "Coalition of Malaysian NGOs" echoed Ibrahim’s stand on the matter, saying that it was irresponsible on the part of the state government to approve the construction as there was apparently a “90 per cent” majority Muslim population in Section 23.

“With a temple on our residential area, we cannot function properly as Muslims. The temple will disrupt our daily activities like prayers in the Surau. We cannot concentrate with the sounds coming from the temple,” stated Zurit.

When asked whether members of the protest were affiliated with any organisations or movements, Ibrahim claimed that the people present today were members of PAS, PKR as well as Umno who are “united in the name of Islam and the Malay spirit.”

The state government was also accused of lying to the people of Selangor.

The Chairman of the Residents Committee, Mahyuddin Manaf excitedly proclaimed that the committee would uncover “the lies” and find proof of the state’s misconduct.

“Khalid Ibrahim wears a mask of a Muslim, but in truth he is a liberal. PAS stands to lose out as a result. I voted for PAS as well as Khalid in the past elections,” Mahyuddin claimed.

The issue first cropped up when the Selangor government proposed that the Sri Mariamman temple be relocated from Section 19 to Section 23.


And my two cents:
Really really makes me don't want to be Malaysian anymore. Nak pergi main jauh-jauh already. Why fight it lah when they tell us everyday we're not "real" Malaysians? Its been one year plus (since last election) of rejection and dejection lor.

Apa 1Malaysia. Look at what people do to tell you forcefully there is no 1Malaysia. How to go on living as citizen, born and raised in a country you have to bow and kowtow to people and prove all the time you are loyal, super-tolerant and have blind faith that one day it will be ok? How many still want to fight the tide, when the rest thinking "suan le, let's just earn money and live nondescriptly". more

Wanna go to Singapore and be like Xiaxue already. At least I already got the ang moh bf part...now I need to mental myself to stop thinking I'm Malaysian. And enough money for blow...sorry, nosejob, and a lot a lot of clothes and make up, Photoshop skill and a semi-celebrity status.

But aior...tak boleh weh. :( Saya suka nasi lemak too much.


:(

Ok. Official: I confess I've been reading Xiaxue's blog the entire evening, and this afternoon. And in some ways, I'm slightly envious.

She's blonde, she Photoshops herself, she had a nosejob and she owns a Princess Room painted in pink. She's probably got 10x what I have in my wardrobe (and spends about as much), she blings her phone, camera and laptop in pink diamantes. My point is, frivolousness aside, I want a bit of her life.

Her blogs are light-hearted and funny, and Joanna writes in the same way: controversial, snarky, bitchy...in other words, I like. I cannot hide it anymore. Beneath all these seriousness, there's a deeply embedded blonde in me. Its screaming a bit lately to be let out.

Along with that, I don't know what kind of instinct is this that's kicking in (not the maternal one, thank God), but I want my own flat/house, cute dog(s), and an awesome kitchen with the works. I want to cook and decorate, and fill up my home with the necessities: TV, furniture, candles, hangings...you get the picture. Homing instincts?

Problem is, I see me doing it here in England. Or in Singapore. I'm used to having an oven. I like having easy access to cheap pasta and pasatta. I've gotten less and less stubborn about being Malaysian, and being out here made it easier to go incognito, and less loyal.

Have I sold out?!

o_O"

Oh dear.

Tulan leh

But one thing lah:
I declare from now onwards I'll write a bit more Malaysian-style (what to do, who ask me to be born a Malaysian? Blame the stork for dropping me off in KL), and I'll try to be more light-hearted. This way, I have more entertaining things to write about, right?

And when my dissertation finishes (ha, I say it like as though it will write itself), I will blog more and give more time here.

And to kick-off my new resolution, I am going to (er...what's that word again...er) gush (GUSH!) over my ABC soup.

Few nights ago, I bought a £5.42 whole chicken (minus head) and chopped it roughly the way mummy taught me, and made a chicken curry out of it.

While I was assaulting and deskinning that poor chicken, the boy surfed onto his Facebook and wrote this:
Tim Jones is watching his girlfriend full on knife assault a chicken then tear it apart with her bare hands. She's a very special lady :)

Cute la that boy. So I was left with the carcass and neck, and a bit more bones from chicken thighs in the freezer. So last night, at roughly 4.50am when dawn was breaking, I envisaged beautiful ABC soup.

But wait. Got potato, got carrot. No onion leh! How?
Its ok. Nick one of Mr Fish's.

FYI Mr Fish lives in Room D, and is a pretty good looking ang moh. After a bit of stalking on FB, found him on Leeds network. Draw your own conclusions lah. But he has the weirdest diet ever. Every morning he dices onion, carrots and celery, saute them in extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper, and boils brown rice/whole wheat pasta/mullet grain, and mix all of that with two cans of Tesco sardine/mackerel in brine. Then he leaves fish and leftovers in the sink for everyone else to pick up, and expects the hobs to clean itself automatically. He also doesn't know the concept of "emptying the trash".

So with my ABC soup floatng in mind, I try to sleep. Try, try, try.
Cannot.
6am already. Very light outside.
Pop one Paracetemol.
5...10...minutes later...*drools and snores*
God-sent.

So with chicken bones, carrots, potato and stolen-onion, and some salt, pepper and 2 tablespoons of Shao Hsing wine, I have my ABC soup. Oh my. I forgot how hearty and good soups like this taste, just like the way my mom made it in the slow cooker (ok, the wine was my idea, and I have no slow cooker).

I am satisfied.

Until I saw that cow up there.

I shall abstain from cow for some time now.

Ok, back to dissertation!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Personal letter for me

It seems too much of a coincidence to let go...in the span of a single day, I've read my bestie's blog and spoken to another of my bestie, and they both mentioned one thing: Privacy.

It's true isn't it?

To quote Amelia -

The purpose of a blog is to allow a space for expression. A space for random ideas, deep thoughts, retrospection and also sudden mind spasms.


And here I am, an adult, still writing in my blog, the same one I've started when I was 15. But circumstances has changed. Back then I poured every feelings I had into my blog. Every angsty thought, every joy, every pain, every celebration and every grief. These days I hardly found anything worthy of writing. My daily life settled into a humdrum routine that hardly required any thinking or retrospection. I wonder how did every event filled me with wonder, and how they were jot-worthy, and these days I let things pass by without second thoughts. Is it part of growing up, of being an adult?

I've never felt more adult before. Perhaps it's overdue, now that I'm 23. What I say and do matter more. I'm responsible and accountable for every word and every action. I can no longer use "being young" as my crutch, because I'm no longer so young anymore, am I?

My thoughts are no longer private and I cannot write as freely as I would like to. Every entry that served as a emotional release for me had to be written in some sort of cryptic way, so I can express myself without revealing too much. It seems to me that blogging, has somehow lost its purpose.


Ah, how I wish I can still write like that. Yes, I'm lifting off my best friend's blog. Her thoughts mirrored what I feel, except she's expressed it beautifully. I've learnt many a lesson about being too free with my writing, and I can remember the first incident where my college-mates printed the blog entry I wrote the previous day, and it ended up with many tears and feelings of betrayal. I learnt the price of being too free with my tongue in university, it was a heavy price to pay. I trusted the wrong people, my spirit was broken for a long while. To this day, it felt like I'm still running away from that period of my life, that miserable six months I existed instead of lived, and it was a bitter life lesson I will bring to my grave. So, I finally learn to self-censor, to keep thoughts about people out of my blog, and to stick to insipid, general things in life that will not offend anyone. Because I cannot pretend to be a nice person who thought kindly of everyone. No, I'm one of those people who are suspicious and negative about things, the kind of person who subscribe to "guilty until proven innocent" mindset, and although I'm much better now, I'm painfully aware that its the way I perceive people, and its something I've not been able to change. So, eventually, I've even stopped writing regularly. So that begs two questions:

1. Is it worth keeping a blog when I cannot even say freely what I feel about anything and everything?
2. Are our lives so dependent on those nearest and dearest to us?

I told my other friend, what's the use of writing now that I've lost my audience with my blog being on hiatus for over 8 months? She, whom I will not name, told me perhaps its for the better cause, because I have the privacy to write and not have persons concerned reading and judging me for it. She started a private blog for that exact same reason: she wanted to write from her heart and not get into trouble for it.

(I've even read through and edited this entry, so that it doesn't appear a certain way, to speak of the devil)

So why do we choose to express ourselves so publicly, and yet lament the lost of privacy? I bet nobody from a mere generation ago (think: your parents) would imagine that just about anyone could be famous through youtube, and through their writings and photos (think: Karen Cheng and Kenny Sia), that you could text or email your local politician, and critisize your prime minister on his blog. We are a generation hungry for attention, and we are a generation who record our lives publicly. No details are too sacred and personal these days. People record their relationships, pregnancy, dying and living for all and sundry.

So do I.

But self-censorship, I certainly practice. When I write, I'm conscious of the risk of having my friends, classmates, professors and my mom bumping into my blog.

And the last thing I want to do is to hurt them, their reputation, and in consequence, mine. Expressing myself may be important, but -and I cannot believe I'm saying this- the people I care about, people I love, are even more so. Certain things should be kept private and personal, and I see why, I see it now. Another part of me is still trying to reawaken the part of me that feels life so urgently. Been dormant for a while, and I want to be able to describe life in all its vividness without resorting to talking about people. I want to record life as I see it.

Like I said, I've never felt more adult in my life. I'm responsible for myself, and I'm far, far away from those I grew up with, and from mom and dad. I worry. I worry about where I'm living next, whether I can get any jobs, what sort of jobs I can try for, and where I'll be this time next year. I worry about money, about failing my parents and myself, and somehow, the feeling of inadequacy is ceaseless. Sometimes it felt like I'm only maintaining a facade, that there's still a child in me wanting to burst out and be careless and irresponsible. But those days were long gone. My peers had gone on to be engaged, get married, made babies. Holding jobs, paying their mortgages and having weekend getaways in nearby cities. I'm lucky to have been given a year's grace, but even that is ticking away.

I'm not angry anymore. I'm not sad anymore.

But I'm still lost.

Who am I? Who am I?

Can I still afford to be lost?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Quick hi

Really I've got nothing to say at the moment, its quarter past midnight (ha-ha I've even started using the English time system - quarter past, quarter to, half past) on a Monday evening and I really SHOULD BE WORKING.

Instead, I got suckered into reading no other than Karen Cheng's blog..yes the woman of "Doing the Karen Cheng" fame. I guess what I really want is to get back into the groove of writing (semi)regularly, especially blogging.

Once in a while, I examine the reason for the lack of writing, and connected it to Facebook and the wonders of photo uploading. So instead of words, I (and thousands of others) went the lazy way and uploaded photos that suffice in making up for the words lost.

But that needs to complement the writing, not replacing it, as I realise how rusty I am with this, I've really lost the knack of writing, of looking for necessary vocabulary to express myself, especially because I'm not reading as often anymore, either. Perhaps being in THE English-speaking country abetted the loss of words ever-so-slightly...but meh. Who am I kidding?

So...here's the story. I'm currently still staying in Central Quay, the student flats I've stayed in since I arrived. Except in a different flat in a different block, and only til the end of this month. Early next month, I move.

To The Boomerang, the building that was an ex-pub.

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Not for long, I hope. I must confess a certain dislike to the area the building's in (Netherthorpe...which is *rough*), and how thin the walls are (noise travel TOO well in that place), and how we all have a single bed (been spoiled rotten with having a double bed), and also the fact that I'm sharing with even MORE people than I ever had. Six of us will be sharing a flat, and the only saving grace is that we're all friends, and there's three toilets and two showers in there. But I'll miss having my own self-contained bathroom where I can spend a lot of time and leave whatever I want in there while I mind my business. And then...I don't know what. I've been house-hunting pretty diligently the last couple of weeks (with a lot of help) and quickly realise that houses are easy to find, within the budget range...housemates are not. I've been offered a room with a double bed for pretty damn cheap rents near Bramall Lane (home to Sheffield United team), but has yet to see the place. Hopefully things will work out; people living there are nice. And I like nice people. And I strive to be nice.

So that's my housing situation.

I really hesitate to air the rest of my plans only because I haven't had any idea what I'll do with myself a few months down the road. Been hitting a worrying crisis lately, of not knowing what to do. I have enough money to live and find work for the next few months, but money will run out, and economy's grim and lately I've felt homesick enough to think maybe it's not bad at all that I return to Malaysia, and then search for work in Singapore. It's just easier. I'd move home. And live with mom. Except...can I still...? After living out for a year, do I want to move back? Being out here for almost a year now (in fact I've lived out for 11 months now!) made me realise I've been ready for such a long time to be on my own. Except I've been a lucky turd and got head start with money. But I know one day the tap will dry up and it'll be up to me to turn my own tap on. And of course, that's my main worry these days.

The other one is, I've got less than a month now to write my dissertation, and I'm nowhere at all, AT ALL, near done. I can say confidently I've got a couple chapters' draft, but that's it. Its a big sprawling mess, and I'm not feeling the panic yet, the rush and the need to get things going. It worries me, and cripples me. Like right now, it's past midnight, and I've stayed in all day, NOT working. I guess this is the time I send a silent prayer to the stars for strength and grace. And epiphany.

One more thing I want to mention is, I'm really trying hard to balance things. I've been seeing Tim a lot (every day of last week!) and while I enjoy every moment, I need to remind myself that it'll not be permanent, and I need to remember I'm my own person, and that I should not neglect my friends. Its easy to do so, using dissertation as my excuse, but I should know better. I've also been avoiding going up to Boomerang, only cos I can't be arsed to make the trek halfway up the hill. I also don't want to fall into the trap of being obsessed with my boyfriend - "Tim this, Tim that...Tim and I blah blah blah", especially with a couple of girls on my Facebook seeming so guilty of it that it makes me fascinated sick reading their blogs and following their walls. But it can be easy to do so, huh? But I will not let my life revolve around my boyfriend, I will grow my balls and worship gumption.

I will not resist this though:

Me in his jacket, hee.

Though, this I will say: I'm not sure what will happen in future. Of course I'm scared. It seems like no-future-no-hope kind of thing, hinges on where I'll be in a few months' time, and in the longer term, where he'll be when he finishes uni. I can feel it, feel myself feeling more for him with time. Its unsettling to say, yeah I've got a boyfriend. I'm 23 and its the first time in my life I can, if I want to, point to a guy and yell "That's my boyfriend!". Feels surreal. And still feels like its just a dream and I'll snap out of it soon. This insecurity I have about guys not sticking around, its really unnatural, is it not? A product of one unsuccessful long-distance short-lived semi-relationship, and a series of sad sordid tales. I know I've got mental strength, so its up to me to snap out of it. To know that decent guys with good hearts exist and I've met one. He's so endearing and cute and funny, and we're good together. I hope karma doesn't (see I'm stuck for the word I want right now.) bite back (that's it!) after the shit I've done though. Let bygones be bygones. Water under the bridge. I've straightened up good now!

We've also been doing a bit (ok, a lot!) of cooking lately, and I'll let the photos do the talking:


Bolognese sauce and pasta


Strawberries and whipped cream - we whipped it by hand ourselves! Utterly sinful.


Lasagne (he made this with *some* help from me!)


Stuffed peppers

You get the picture! Yum. I really do enjoy cooking when I have people to share my food with, though I must say its a costly and time-consuming hobby considering the way I live off 10-minute prep time meals for ages, and not bother with something as elaborate as a cottage pie or lasagne or my mom's boiled pork belly that takes like an hour to cook.


But...I gotta say, it's worth it. Yum.

Next, I wanna try baking muffins or banana loaf. Never meddled with any sort of bakery or pastry stuff before, time to try! Yes, I am semi-Kitchen Goddess! Step aside Nigella!

Anyway, I should really do some dissertation work. Really really should.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Things to do, and to bring back...and forth

1. This is my to-do before I leave:
-Find accommodation for after 19th Sept DONE
-Change my HSBC account to something that doesn't bloody charge me £8 a month DONE
-Get new young persons' railway card (one month in advance)DONE
-Collect train tickets London-Sheffield from Sheffield Station DONE
-Change my address details to the new(as yet to be)found place for Vodafone, University, HSBC
-Sort out London trip before I leave DONE
-Where to kip for the night when I return DONE
-Get back deposit from Unite and Vodafone DONE
-Make appointment with UHS DONE
-Sell textbooks DONE

2. This is a (GROWING) list of things I'm shipping back to good old England in preparation for winter:

-Milo DONE
-Konnyaku jelly DONE
-Ipoh White Coffee (for the Boy)DONE
-Chinese Tea
-Curry Paste DONE
-Chinese mushrooms DONE
-Ikan bilis DONE
-Sago DONE
-Root beer DONE
-Dried mango DONE
-Sakema DONE
-Lantern DONE
-Mooncake
-Durian flavoured things (dodol?)
-Contact lens
-Contact lens solution DONE
-Nivea Lipbalm DONE
-Toothbrush (Oral B) DONE
-Laptop fan cooler
-External hard drive
-Dehumidifier

3. And THIS is a reminder of things to check before I go home:
-Undies from Marks & Spencer for Chenn DONE
-Pet advice for the dogs
-Jewellery cleaner for mom
-Shortbread DONE
-LUSH DONE

...

Friday, July 31, 2009

I'm back! And alive!

Ayup! That's right! Its me and I'm back after missing for almost 10 months. I've been jotting notes on Facebook, being such an addict and on there constantly...

But I do remember that I have a blog, somewhere in the dusty shelf of the back of my mind. And I remember how its accompanied me, first from blog-city, and now blogspot or blogger, through my teen years, as a sounding board, memory board and ranting board.

You'll have noticed a few changes: An addition at the top of my blog. Two, actually! =D

Adsense...whatever to bring in some money.

And a little image to remind me (the non-sappy type) that I have, yes, finally, maybe, found myself a *drum roll* boyfriend! I'm as surprised and shocked as the next person. The perpetual single in me snort derisively and thought, "tis NOT possible!" But it seemed like he's going to stay for a while.

*Clap clap clap*

Can't believe the sort of changes I've let go without noting down. My HTML skills definitely gone rusty, I forgot how to link, and post pictures. But all will be rectified as of...right now!

So here's a pic. Or two...



Prerequisite details: The Boy is Tim (...uh, yes, no confusion, apparently I have an affinity to the name), 25, Yorkshire lad, university-going arty-type and absolutely sweet and funny and sharp and been really really good to and for me.

What did I do to deserve such a great guy?

In all honesty, I had my doubts, and fears...I've expected him to wake up everyday and thought it was all a big mistake and walk away...but I guess the fears were bordering on unreasonable paranoia, and I am learning to trust and believe that the situation is permanent. I've always thought of falling for someone as fireworks and great big fluttering heartbeats and butterflies in stomach...but I guess I'm starting to learn that maybe, just maybe this is the other kind, the kind you nurture and build together, the kind that inspired the Love Comes Softly kind of stories. Right now we're in the process of building memories together, and so far? So good.

*Fingers crossed*



Tee hee.

Meanwhile...I have a lot on my plate, and definitely is not doing it at the moment, mainly being my dissertation. Am also house-searching, and probably job-seeking, going home in October for a month, and planning, wondering, thinking.

Been a bit stressed to the point of having regular nightmares...rare for me.

But yes, all those and more when I've got time to write them down.

Meanwhile, a look of Sheffield in Summer


Okay, I just want to stick this somewhere...

Monday, July 27, 2009

The lack of plans

Funny it seems how I've forgotten to jot down memories these days...or rather, the past year or so, considering I've faithfully done it for the best part of the last 10 years.

Has it really been a decade already since I've reached teenagehood, went through mid-teen life crisis and is now slowly awakening to the fact that I am indeed an adult, not daddy's little girl anymore?

"You need a plan." So Tim said.

But...That's how I've been operating for a long, long while now. Planless. Without plans. Day-to-day. Some days it nags at me; I know its not the best of plans. I don't know why I've placed blockers on my brain, stopped myself from looking to the future, planning for tomorrow. I definitely have a fear of commitment, it was certainly terrible how long it took me to click on that 'Buy now' button for my flight home. I hesitate to go left, right, up, down...I guess if there's an analogy, its that there's many doors (still) opened and I don't know which ones to slam shut.

Should I be worried I don't have a Plan? What IS my Life Plan anyway? I don't remember anymore. Had there been one to start with? Who would've known I'll end up where I am today, not that 'today' is static because tomorrow I'll be somewhere else?

The wanderlust in me tamed and waned slightly, but the thirst for adventure has not been quelled, not in the slightest. Am feeling a bit restless, like I need to go on life's another chapter, but I need to be patient, to wait, to finish this task before I can hop over the other side. All I know is, I'm not ready to go home, not yet, not by long shot.

I came out here to find answers, and so far, made more questions. I've learnt a lot through trial and error, burnt my own fingers more than once, and I hope not only am I a better person for it, but a tougher, wiser one. I definitely know what I don't honestly care about - Michael Jackson dying, most of world politics, writing another academic paper and the drinking life, but I care too little about things that mattered too - my mom, my family, loved ones, friends, politics at home...But the nightmares I had the last couple of days serve as a wake up call.

Yes. I think I need a Plan. But nothing too specific.

Because I like the thrill, stress and wonder of an unplanned adventure.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Telly at 3am is no good

Ha, now that I finally discovered I've got IPTV, I've spent evenings in watching loads of it, catching up on what I've been missing out. And after a couple hours of repetitive news of Michael Jackson's death (feels surreal innit?) and a call to my mom at 7am her time to inform her (she was less than pleased), I just decided to swap channels to BBC1...and watched something that's fluffy but pretty close to my heart.

It was Claire Richards from Steps and her journey into weight loss and wedding day. She went from size 18 to 10 within 8 months, and I cried watching her. There were scenes of her trying on clothes from her fat days, and the elation, disbelief and disgust of her former self. The before and after photos. the symbolic getting rid of her fat clothes. The difficulty of losing that last bit of stubborn pudge.

Yeah, I've been there. But what struck me was, that inadequacy for being big (contradictory, no?), the questioning other girls on self-image and feelings about certain things, and the insecurity...it never really goes does it. It comes back like a phantom, haunting you and crippling you at vital moments. At one point she said, she'll never ever want to go through all that again. I nodded, and cried. It wasn't easy, I'd never want to go through what I did to lose that weight, but now I'm slowly watching myself pile up, drop off, pile up, drop off, and its horrible. I know its more to do with my lifestyle and refusal to join a gym or do any sort of hardcore fitness stuff. I don't remember how I did it, I know what motivated me, and sometimes I just need to remind myself I've came a long, long way.

Growing up being big in a society that requires you to be thin to be accepted left such an impression on me, that even being in a nation where I am short and small does not help me kick off the impression that I'm still too fat and too plain. Some days I know I'm not. Others, I fake the confidence. I wonder how many girls live their lives in constant vengeance about their sizes, and constant struggle to accept and love themselves. Maybe more than we'll ever suspect. It reassures me that I'm not alone, not by long measure. I know I've written about this time and again, but goes to show even with time lapsing behind me, nothing changes too much, does it. I'll forever be haunted by my phantoms, and it'll be up to me to banish them, or at least, keep them under control.

In the end, Claire was glowing and absolutely beautiful in her wedding dress. I know I harbour dreams of trying on and having pictures of me in a dress, without a man, because I just want to look beautiful, and like a bride. Pure vanity; it doesn't mean I want to get married though! I guess its true every woman, secretly, dreamt of a dream wedding. Me, I just dream of the perfect dress. And the perfect body.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Love thing

I don't know how much it takes, or how well you need to know a person to jump into relationships.

I know I've always and constantly and annoyingly bemoaned my singlehood status, but I've lived the lifestyle, and lived it well. And I hesitate to leave it behind, because of all the 'opportunities' I feel like I'm missing out on if I stopped. Just do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, and meet many, many guys. I'm tired of all the random meets though, as nothing comes out of anything up to this point. I crave stability and a constant supply of cuddles.

And then it all turns topsy-turvy.

But the one burning question is: what does it take, that magic that's needed for me to envision a relationship. I know I've chatted about connection and chemistry with someone lately, and personally felt that I really need to connect, and this is beyond physical attraction, for me to be really attracted to someone. Someone I can trade not only anecdotes and mini-amusing-stories of my life, but also share deep, profound, meaningful conversations with. Someone I felt like there'll be enough there to sustain a huge commitment with. Basically someone I can talk about my fears, insecurities, reasons and thoughts about openly, and him me. Stories of my past and what made me, me. Part of it is my fault; I've stopped being open and honest and direct. I wish I know how to open the lines of communication.

Right now I am so torn.

I want to do the right thing. To be fair. I know I've always rushed things in the past, and knowing better now, I want to be more aware and have no hurt parties. I've been told I'd be a fool for not grabbing an opportunity (and a decent bloke). I'm just overthinking it and scared. I've gotten hurt. Faith in men isn't exactly very high. Met complete twats. And all that. So I hesitate to trust and just go with things.

Yeah I'm a crazy, crazy girl (Marcia's words).

Sunday, May 31, 2009

This is worth a note

Yep, this is really note-worthy.

I spent the better part of last evening laughing in amusement and irony.
We went on a night out to Crystal, and when all my friends had left, and it was only me and Xin, a guy from my Democratization class left...

Not only did I not manage to pull anyone (not that I was on the pull)...
...But HE pulled two decent looking male bitches.

It's set in stone.

I am going to be single forever.

In addition...

I am Puiyee, fag hag.
At your service.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Doodle-da-tum

Warning: expletives ahead. It IS 5.15am. I have NOT been to sleep. And I greatly want some sleep.

This is abso-fukin-lutely crap.

I am wide awake with Red Bull-induced caffeine swimming in my veins, my heart pumping and head pounding. I feel like I want to throw up.

Watched the day got dark, and the dark got light. 2/3 through my crappy essay on Korean Democratization and all the various Kims and Parks and Rhees floating in my peripheral thoughts and doing no justice to them.

Got tired, and picked up one of those chick lit I have for a spot of bimbo-reading pleasure before putting it down to get some sleep. Sleep didn't come.

And underneath my overly-warm duvet for end-of-spring, found my mind wandering, unpleasantly, loathingly back to men and my (lack of) love life. Again. WHY!? I just want to pack it nicely, and chuck it at the corner of my bottom drawer, forget about it. Not worry about it. Not even need to think about it. As a very wise friend once advised, men are only men.

...And it all amounts to nothing in the end.

Box it all up, maybe island-living isn't all that bad.

I'm sorry. I'm admittedly pathetic, boring and a little circular in my thoughts. I'm a bag of misery. I need a spot of self-bashing right now. What in the effin name is wrong with me. God. Stop it already.

Stupid sad eejit.

Fkin hell I really need to get on with this essay. Then all this thoroughly mind-screwing, time-consuming, energy-wasting and inconvenient thoughts will all go away. I swear, brain is just having fun distracting me from the real problems.

Eargh. Fkin frustrated I am right now.

"£$^^"£$^%&*(*&^$£"£$%^&*£$"R"%TY^T^&*(&^%$£"£$%^&^%$£"!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Banana shortbread

(A)
250g sugar
130g margarine (I used butter)
1 tsp sodium bicarbonate
1/2 tsp salt

(B)
2 eggs

(C)
300g banana, mashed

(D)
300g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
80ml milk

(E)
100g chopped walnuts

Cream (A) till light and fluffy. Add (B) and cream till smooth. Add (C), mix till well blended. Mix (D) till well combined. Add (E) and mix till well incorporated.

Pour mixture into a greased and lined loaf tin (L20cm X W10cm X H8.5cm). This quantity and mixture makes 2 loaves. To make the bread look extra attractive, sprinkle some chopped walnuts on top. Bake at 180C for 45 minutes.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Thoughts bouncing in my head

I wish I can press a reset button, erase certain things I've seen and done.
I wish I hadn't fucked up.
I wish I can relearn rights and wrongs.
I wish I live in more blacks and whites, and not slink from one shade of gray to another and another.
I wish I made more prudent choices, and not live to regret them.
I wish I am not tormented by all this and knowing that I've done it to myself single-handedly.
I wish I knew where to go from here.
I wish I can have the faith, for just a moment, that things will sort themselves out.
I wish I can finally stop fighting, and start accepting.
I wish I can release these personal demons haunting me.
I wish for wisdom, patience and faith.
I wish I can still believe, hope and dream.
It's not too late...
Nor is it impossible.
I'd like to believe so.

Disclaimer: I'm okay. I really am. Just middle of the night, stressed out. Lesson is, if I expect a lot from myself, I better start performing. And find the bloody motivation to do so instead of a million other whimsical distractions.
*Smacks self*

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Singletini

Don't mind the title....it's just a nice catchphrase for us singles out there.

And don't get me wrong. I do enjoy being single. I go through phases of extreme loneliness and depression about not having anyone, but most of the time, especially when I'm out, I like being the roving single. I like being able to flirt with whoever I wanted, making those eye contact and thinking, 'yes, score!' when he looks over, and going wherever I wanted whenever I pleased, without needing to be accountable to anyone. Just pack up and leave, and stay with whoever I liked.

But I'm also tired of meeting new people all the time, trying to suss them out...trying to see if the jigsaw puzzle fits, and the disappointment upon disappointment...and then there's the meeting all the wrong guys and getting the wrong attention. And when you stand at traffic lights, or anywhere with a crowd, you look at the couples and wistfully wish for some affection, too. But then the crowd moves, and life goes on. And then I'm a little confused by my mom's questioning, it feels like she's putting the pressure a little for me to find someone. I wish I can explain, it's really not that easy. It takes one hell of a guy to be able to take me for me, and vice versa. All this time I've never talked about guys with her, and I'm unwilling to start now. It'll happen when it happens, that's what I've concluded.

Am a little bitter and cynical about guys, but lately that's turned around a little, and maybe, just maybe there are decent guys left yet in this country, but still. I get unsure, don't know if I want this, and it's been such a long time since I've felt all those good feelings, falling for someone, and here I stand, not wanting to go there again, not wanting to get hurt again. I've not allowed myself to trust or like a person for so long, don't know if I'm capable of it again.

I like the status quo. Singlehood.

But I also want to be able to get some affection and someone I can trust and talk to. Share the good, the bad and the ugly. The ups and downs. The funny and the profound. The holding hands, looking across the room and seeing him there...I miss all that. And I've always enjoyed the chase. And being chased. Which is contradictory to what I wanted to come across as - tough, independent, capable. Yeah, yeah, I'm a bag of contradictions.

I don't know what I want.

Just someone to sweep me off my feet.

Meanwhile, I think I just want a good proper snog.

Yeah don't mind me, this is a pointless rant.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

This is why...

You've described a condition called "Alcohol Flush Reaction". This condition is due to an inactive enzyme which is normally responsible for the breakdown of acetaldehyde, a by product of the metabolism of alcohol. Acetaldehyde is a toxin from alcohol. Because the body is unable to break it down, the accumulation of the poison in the blood stream causes flushing (redness in face and chest). This condition (inactive enzyme) is said to be more prevalent amongst the Asian community and is attributed to their lower levels of alcoholism; due to the fact that the reaction prompts them to stop the abuse of alcohol by nonconsumption of alcohol.

Click here

Alcohol flush reaction (Asian Flush, Asian Glow, Red Cheeks, Oriental Flush, Big Blush) is a condition in which the body cannot break down ingested alcohol completely, due to a missense polymorphism that encodes the enzyme, acetaldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH2) [1], normally responsible for breaking down acetaldehyde, a product of the metabolism of alcohol.[2] Flushing, or blushing, is associated with the erythema (reddening caused by dilation of capillaries) of the face, neck, shoulder, and in some cases, the entire body after consumption of alcohol.

Wikipedia article

Okay, this is why I don't usually drink...and the answer is not in 'building up' tolerance, it's not going to happen!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

My loyalties

I've had a few conversations with a Malay person recently...and it despaired me.

We talked about racism in Malaysia, and I said how disappointed I am that to this day we could not look past the colour of our skin.

She mentioned the Social Contract, and why the Malays still cannot accept the Chinese and Indians as one Bangsa.

It is because they are suspicious. They do not know where Chinese and Indian loyalties lie.

I mustered all the dignity I had, and told her, here halfway across the world where I am right now, that Malaysia is my home, my motherland, my heart.

"Hidup orang Malaysia, mati orang Malaysia".

And in a very sad way, I wondered how dare she question where my loyalties lie.

I thought of my family, my friends, the people who were in the Bersih rally, the Pantai Dalam rally, the vigils and the fight for a better Malaysia. We are all of all creeds and colours. All wanting a better Malaysia.

Is there a need, is there really a need, to ask where our loyalties are?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Mind jogging at 3.30am

I've just finished Paulo Coelho's The Pilgrimage, and these huge, powerful, revealing thoughts are swimming in my brain and I guess I best capture them before they flee into everyday, mundane life...

In gist, it is really about a pilgrim's journey on the Road to Santiago, in search for his sword with his guide Petrus. But he will not find it until he discovered the secret of his sword. And the secret was what to do with his sword once he found it.

But in usual Coelho fashion, he weaved in stories of pride, wisdom, self-discovery and humbleness. The Road to Santiago is a road for the common people. Everyone of us, if we just open our eyes to it, and stop denying its existence, is able to achieve our dreams. But we lose the will to fight the good fight, and resign ourselves to a life of not ever achieving our dreams.

He wrote of love, in its purest form - agape. It consumes us and allows us to push on. But it is this form of love that so many people experience and pass on to others in form of giving and sacrifices.

And only by teaching others, would we learn most. Perhaps Coelho is right, the answers' already in our hearts, and it takes very simple things, like listening and watching, to find them. Petrus told the pilgrim that it was only by teaching that he truly understood the meaning of the pilgrimage and all that it encompassed, and his own true path.

Happiness is not a sin. So why are so many people afraid to be happy? And yet perhaps the most humbling thought I had was why do I personally covet happiness, as if its the end of the road for me, that I figure all this self-searching and painful loneliness will lead me to some answers, and yet I fear finding it?

It clicked in my mind, just as the pilgrim finally realised why he was denied his sword.

It was because neither of us know what to do with it once we've found it.

The secret of our happiness is what to do with it when we found it.

And to find it we have to fight the good fight...the pilgrim was forced to climb waterfalls, raise crosses, climb mountains and the final steps to achieving them all would be the hardest, easiest to fail or give up, the point where you're prone to question thyself, and get cold feet...and yet you've got to fight the good fight. The final hurdle humbles you, and serves as a reminder that you've came a long way.

Mind-provoking. Very humbling.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Cry my beloved Malaysian soul

Cry my beloved Malay soul
AB Sulaiman | Feb 6, 09 10:51am
http://www.malaysiakini.com/opinions/97705

When Alan Paton wrote ‘Cry The Beloved Country’ he was lamenting over the inhumanity of man over man, of how the whites can devise, construct and implement race- and colour-based social and economic injustices over the blacks in apartheid-era South Africa.
MCPX

The whole world had condemned this practice; we were among the loudest screaming against it.

South Africa has moved on since then, and today it is one shining example of an emancipated, open and progressive country, enjoying a respectable place in the community of nations. It has thrown apartheid into the bins of its history.

malaysia people rakyatHere in Malaysia, yes we condemn apartheid, and quite rightly so. But in the same breath we were and are still its major proponent our version of apartheid.

We do not call it apartheid; of course not. We call it instead ‘Ketuanan Melayu’ under the guise of ‘championing Malay rights,’ and implementing it under the New Economic Policy. It’s smart, right? In none of them does the word ‘apartheid’ appear!

Yes, we are smart. We do not blatantly call it apartheid, we merely perfected the process of social separation. First of all we ensure the great majority of civil servants, the police, and the military are manned by Malays (the target benefactors). We give them good salaries, good perks and assured employment. We then devise rules and regulations, and even laws, to ensure the NEP’s easy implementation.

We then brainwash our Malay brethren with the notion ‘untuk agama bangsa dan negara’ that there is a higher ideal beyond performing a duty with professionalism and dedication, and that is doing things in the name of religion and race.

We devise rules and regulations, and even laws, to ensure the NEP’s easy implementation.

Then we design and implement social and economic policies like channeling lucrative government contracts, separate education streams, housing rebates, banking and financial support, in favour of, you guessed it, the Malays.

It does not stop there. We devise measures to prevent the people from raising too much objections to all these by introducing or continuing legislation and religiously implementing them.

The Sedition Act for example stops people from talking too much about language and religion. The Official Secrets Act prevents people from gaining access to government files.

Students and lecturers are not allowed to discuss and make public any subject that would appear to be critical to government (yes, government, not political) policies and philosophies.

All publications must, first of all, get operating licences. Newspapers must not only get a licence before publishing but it must be renewed every year.

Sacrifices conveniently forgotten
The king of all of the suppressive and oppressive laws is the Internal Security Act, when a citizen can be put under detention without the benefit of any charge!

All said and done, we sacrifice the rule of law in favour of rule by private individuals. To show that we are really smart, we pooh pooh the loyalty and patriotism of the non-Malay segment of the population.

We call them pendatang or immigrants bearing the stigma that they are social discard from their original country, similar to rogues, rascals, refugees, mercenaries and scoundrels. We just ignore their proven talent and ability in wealth creation and economic productivity, as well as to their demonstrated loyalty and patriotism.

Many of such pendatangs have made the ultimate sacrifices as military personnel defending its security, during the Emergency, the Confrontation period with Indonesia and as policemen while policing the social environment.

They have contributed and are continuing to, in sport and the arts. Their record as loyal and patriotic Malaysians is quite impeccable. But we do not really care.

The perplexing thing is that despite these attributes and positive records of the non-Malays, we are still going about championing and implement apartheid principles. In this new year, perhaps we can do with a little reflection: why are we doing all this?

We do this apparently to recover our lost soul. We perceive that we have been victims of colonisation when the Portuguese, Dutch and British colonisers all but butchered the Malay entity, psychology and culture. In the process we perceive that we have lost our Malay identity.

With independence, we thought we could recapture the lost glory of Malay suzerainty by becoming masters of all facets of a nation, especially its commerce, and economy. We found out that the Chinese community had beaten us to it.

We felt the Chinese had capitalised on our weakness and captured the economic initiatives (and wealth) as well as the social characteristics of the country. We lost ‘face’.

Now we want to regain the mertabat or dignity and pride of the Malay race!

Yes, we feel that we have to recover our soul and it is here that we are reminded of Paton’s book title, but in this case suitably paraphrased to – cry my beloved Malay soul.

Our Malay soul needs to cry for doing the right thing for the wrong reason or the wrong thing for the right reason; even for the wrong thing for the wrong reason, but not for the right thing for the right reason.

To start with colonisation is really not an excuse for our psychological malaise and ineptitude.

Colonisation has been a feature of human history and felt all over the world. There are very few countries that have not been colonised in the world.

It is thus a neutral concept in human social and economic development. It is certainly not an impediment to social or economic progress as we are wont to portray it. We should dump this notion that we hold dear into the bin of history.

Rethinking our way of thinking
Just look at the records. The Koreans were once colonised by the Japanese, but today Korea is an industrial power house. Singapore was once colonised by the British and was indeed a part of us, and today we see this tiny country being a solid financial, trading and industrial entity.

Most pointedly of all, the US was once a British colony and today it is the mightiest nation in the world. Our second grouse - that the Chinese have cornered the economic sector of the country also needs re-looking into, on two counts.

First, the Chinese did not become successful based on any conscious and concerted economic programme to economically marginalise us.

We did this self-inflicted wound ourselves. As proof, we have to note that most of the Chinese came to our shores with only their feet, hands, guts and brains and perhaps a bundle of clothes, nothing more.

They become successful for their hard work, both physically and mentally and for the sacrifices they were prepared to make and had undertaken. They were successful for having the mental fortitude to seek opportunities, grab those that come along and worked extra hard to realise the potentials of these opportunities.

Secondly, we have been given a chance to be equal with them, both under numerous 'special privileges' enshrined in the Constitution, as well as under its NEP implementation programme.

The special privileges have always been in the constitution while the latter began in 1970. In short, we have been given the chance - the opportunity - many times over, to better our Malay polity.

Whereas the Chinese had to struggle just to find and identify the opportunities, in our case they were handed to us on a silver platter!

Thus far we have failed to capitalise adequately on them. It rather shameful we missing out on these chances specially created for us in the first place.

Either way the root cause of our weaknesses and the strength of the Chinese lies in two words - positive thinking. Our thinking is mired with so many dos and don’ts, so many musts and musn’ts, so many cans and cannots, may and may nots, plenty enough to created and internalise doubts and fears in our minds.

So much so that we have doubt over what we can and what we can’t do, what is allowed and what is not. We spend a lifetime looking for these highly complex cans and cannots, musts and must nots, that we have hardly any mental energy left to develop and self-confidence to get on and face the realities of life.

Let’s refer to this case as the ‘can’t don’t and won’t syndrome’. The Chinese by the way are not encumbered by such syndromes.

What appears to have happened is that this syndrome has affected our mental ability to conceptualise. We see things on the straight and narrow. We accept wisdoms handed down to us by our elders as the gospel truth.

Blinded by sentiment
We do not see that things can be seen and interpreted in many alternative ways. We feel we have the monopoly on truth; we therefore think that we are right all the time and other people are wrong all the time. Witness the way we see religion for example.

We think that we as Muslims are right and other people who profess other religions are wrong, all the time.

We need to cry for thinking that we can and have doctored the way the people think and do things. We have been intimidating the people with what they can read or write or think and do.

We seem to be saying "you can think anything, do anything, write anything so long as it does not criticise or condemn the government".

Soul-searching and resuscitating is not or should not be about pointing accusing fingers at some bogeys. That would be a most negative thing to do. It would be better for us to be open-minded and be able to identify our own strengths and weaknesses.

We improve upon our strengths and dump our weaknesses. Mainly we must be able to develop the awareness that we have both the strengths and weaknesses in the first place.

To illustrate, the NEP has proved many time over as a failed strategy for our socio-economic advancement. Let us be aware of this in the first place and move on seeking other ways with better chance of success.

How about secularising the Malay mind? It might make for a good start for we can see many of the don’ts, can’ts, musn’ts dissipating into the wind.

In the meantime, here we are in the early days of a new year. We should begin by realising that whatever 'smart’ moves we had undertaken all this while have not really been that smart after all.

The joke is on us. Everybody says so – the liberated Malays, the non-Malays, our neighbours and the rest of the international community. Only those of us basking in our closed mind and benefiting from the profits of the status quo say it’s alright.

Happy New Year all the same and here’s hoping this year we can get a good perspective as to what propagating a good mertabat really means. It’s long overdue.

In the meantime, cry my beloved Malay soul.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

25 thigns meme

Rules: Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged.


1. I am a huge Harry Potter fan. The books accompanied me through my school days: I read the first one beginning of my secondary school years and the final one in my final year at uni. Its the great amount of imagination, and work/research Rowling's put into it that made it so magical and engaging. I'm almost terribly realistic but Harry Potter made me imagine, so its quite a feat really.

2. I love Grey's Anatomy - drama, medicine, good looking people, witty dialogues, sex. What's not to like except the more and more absurb plot and Danny's disturbing appearances? Actually I love most medical dramas. ER, House, Medical Investigations, CSI (all 3 of it)...hmm.

3. I'm fascinated with ancient Chinese costumes. Hence me watching TVB's period drama series like Lady Yang and War and Beauty, etc. Actually fine, I like quite a few of them TVB series.

4. Big Milo fan. So big that I bought a bag to UK, had another big bag shipped, had a mate get me a bag when he heads back here and bought a 1kg tin from the Asian grocery store...all within my first 3 months here.

5. Am an affectionate person. I love my hugs and kisses. A lot. And cuddling? Its tops. =)

6. I wish I could, but I don't enjoy alcohol all that much. It doesn't taste or feel good to me. I just get from nothing to too hot and my head throbs and I grow sleepy and then I'd want to throw up. Zero to drunk isn't exactly nice.

7. I'm terrible. I can sleep everywhere. I'm that notorious person at the back of every lecture snoozing away. My parents paid for me to sleep through uni, ha. Being able to get away with it and still do well is crazy. I can sleep on your bed. On a library table. On the bus. The plane. But I don't sleep at night til I'm 2 ticks away from dropping and drooling from lack of sleep.

8. So I'm not a morning person. I'm in a daze and in my own world in the mornings. Don't talk to me. I'll talk to you when I want to and feel like it.

9. I used to be fat. (What, you mean you're not now?!) Yep. At 5'1" I was a size UK 14. That's pretty terrible. One day some superstrength epiphany came over me and I thought enough was really enough. So over 8 months I walked and starved myself down 40lbs (20kg). I cannot and will not put myself through that again. Like I said, it was superstrength. Now I'm back to puny laziness.

10. Because of that, I was teased through school. I had a lot of issues with self-esteem, self-image and confidence. But I wasn't mousy. I was bitchy and defensive. I hurt before I was hurt. That was my modus operandi. No boys ever looked at me. I still have the leftover baggage haunting me (in every sense) but I try to move on and away from all that now. But I think some scars are for life.

11. I get really really bad food cravings, I discover. Right now I'm hankering after nasi lemak, yam cake and my mom's cooking.

12. My favourite fruit is mango. Mango on its own. Mango pudding. Mango cake. Mango scented shower gel. Mango anything. Bring it on.

13. I never remember song lyrics or movies plots. Literally in, and out.

14. I don't have the concentration to read anymore like I used to :(

15. Total Internet junkie. I need to seek help.

16. I love going places and seeing how other people live. Traveling remains my life's passion. I think Bangkok with Gianne, and Penang with the girls would probably be really good memories I'll keep for life.

17. I'm a WYSIWYG person. No bullshit from me.

18. So...I rarely wear make up, dressing up is fun but not a daily affair and sneakers remain my footwear of choice (because I can't wear flip-flops in this weather can I?!). It's not that I don't like to look good, I just can't be bothered most of the time.

19. I think my dream is to run a cafe or B&B by the sea somewhere watching tourists go by, and close up during off-peak season and travel.

20. I have bad, bad hand-eye and hand-body-leg coordination. I'm clumsy. I'm klutzy. I'm awkward. I'm not comfortable with my own body. Therefore I suck at games, team sports, posing for pics and salsa-ing. General dancing too. However, swimming is good. Swimming is fine. Swimming is solo.

21. I've got no talent in anything, but I think I can write. I hope I'm not delusional about that.

22. I'm bad with budget (you're forewarned).

23. I think I'm really, really picky with my choice of men. Therefore my perpetual singlehood.

24. Not many people know I'm short-sighted. Not many people's seen me with glasses, heck.

25. I'm actually, really shy. I borrow confidence from people I'm with. So the times I actually do approach people and ask, I amaze myself. I'm always too embarassed and shy to do so. Not directions though; I'm capable of asking for directions, ha.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Pan mee

Yes.

Today, like many true blue Malaysian foodies, I had four (4) [empat] 四 meals. I'll stress, worry and moan about it tomorrow.

Because today, I got ready for bed at 10pm. And the moment I hit the pillow, my mind was filled with the wonderful images of pan mee. The ones I regularly eat from the dirty stall in Maluri. The kick ass ones my mom made. I couldn't kick the images away. It kept coming back. So I started wondering.

Is it possible...?

I have no minced meat to make the wonderful minced meat we pour generously onto the bowl of noodles with. Am I desperate enough to go down to Tesco's, get a boxful of beef mince, use a spoonful and throw the rest of £4 away? Not really.

I have no sweet potato leaves, which is possibly the soul of the soup.

I have no pan mee noodles, of course, and I don't have flour or the finesse needed to make noodles from scratch.

But I have dried shiitake mushrooms! I have wonderful, wonderful ikan bilis. I have noodles with similar chewy, eggy texture of pan mee.

I nicked someone's half chicken breast and minced it. I've a bagful of rocket-watercress-spinach salad and decided I cannot be picky in the wrong continent.

And I am craving pan mee at 10pm.


Do I remember how to make the minced meat and shiitake mushrooms? Huh. After watching my mom do it every other weekend for the better part of my life, you fkin bet.


And this, this is something I hadn't had since September. This stuff is even better than the ones my mom use in her kitchen, because it's the bigger, cheaper kind, the kind we get from hawkers and kopitiams (sorry mom!)


THIS. This is the no-fail, craving-satisfying bowl of steaming pan mee, and pretty true to my mom's version (plus modifications).

Ahhh. I am a very happy person.

And yes, so happy that I felt compelled to blog about it. Now I can sleep happy.

*Sighs in deeeeeep satisfaction*

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Quotes

From Paulo Coelho:

“The Soul of the World is nourished by people's happiness. And also by unhappiness, envy, and jealousy. To realize one's Personal Legend is a person's only real obligation. All things are one. And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

“Waiting is painful. Forgetting is painful. But not knowing which to do is the worse kind of suffering.”

“We can never judge the lives of others, because each person knows only their own pain and renunciation. It's one thing to feel that you are on the right path, but it's another to think that yours is the only path.”

“When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny.”

“Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience.”

“I think that perhaps we always fall in love the very first time we see the man of our dreams, even though, at the time, reason may be telling otherwise, and we may fight against that instinct, hoping against hope that we won't win, until there comes a point when we allow ourselves to be vanquished by our feelings...”

“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dream.”

“I think that when we look for love courageously, it reveals itself, and we wind up attracting even more love. If one person really wants us, everyone does. But if we're alone, we become even more alone. Life is strange.”

“You have to take risks. We will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen.”

“Everything that happens once can never happen again. But everything that happens twice will surely happen a third time.”

“The moment of that kiss contained every happy moment I had ever lived.”

“The wise are wise only because they love. The fool are fools only because they think they can understand love.”

“One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving.”

“Pitiful is the person who is afraid of taking risks. Perhaps this person will never be disappointed or disillusioned; perhaps she won't suffer the way people do when they have a dream to follow. But when the person looks back-she will hear her heart”

“Love can consign us to hell or to paradise, but it always takes us somewhere.”

“You drown not by falling into a river, but by staying submerged in it.”

“You can become blind by seeing each day as a similar one. Each day is a different one, each day brings a miracle of its own. It's just a matter of paying attention to this miracle.”

“But there is suffering in life, and there are defeats. No one can avoid them. But it's better to lose some of the battles in the struggles for your dreams than to be defeated without ever knowing what you're fighting for.”

“Every blessing ignored becomes a curse”

“No one can lie, no one can hide anything, when he looks directly into someone's eyes.”

"Why do we have to listen to our hearts?" "Because, wherever your heart is, that is where you'll find your treasure."

"Freedom is not the absence of commitments, but the ability to choose--and commit myself to--what is best for me."

"We all have the ability…we just don't all have the courage to follow our dreams and to follow the signs."

"We wouldn't worry nearly as much about what others thought of us if we recognize how seldom they do."

"Join with those who sing songs, tell stories, enjoy life … because happiness is contagious. Join those who walk with their heads high even when they have tears in their eyes. Avoid those who … have never shed a tear..."

Damn, I love this man.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Self-smacking

Okay.

I know I've been unhappy to a point where friends start worrying about me. Really worrying. But let's put things into perspective, yah.

Unhappy
-Men (or the lack thereof)
-Being sick all the time

Happy
-When I meet people I know and I can smile and chat with them
-When I hang out in the ultra modern, airy, huge Information Commons using and abusing its facilities
-When I shop, make and eat good food
-Grocery shop!
-Watching people being stupid drunk on West Street any given night of the week
-Being here, halfway across the world
-New experiences, sights and sensations
-Traveling up and down this great cold country
-The friends I've made
-The friends I still have and will have for many years and many more years to come
-The person I'm learning to be
-Being broke = finding alternatives
-Ending the day knowing I've been a little productive
-Snapping photos and seeing how great they turn out to be
-Snapping photos and lamenting over the dud ones
-When my friends made me food and hand-delivered it to me, and text me to ensure I'm still alive
-When I text my flatmate and he came to my rescue
-When I feel better and the world feels round again
-Seeing people hold hands, all the love I'm surrounded by
-Knowing in the end I have a home and people I love to turn to

Yeah....why am I unhappy again? Me being human meant I've let the bad things overshadow the rest of the (many) good ones. All these good aspects of my life, I don't think I have a right to be unhappy at all.
So, going to give myself one hard smack and snap out of it.

Thank you guys for loving me, you know who you are.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Health-(un)wise

I've never had to think so much about my body and health til I came to this blasted, freezing country.

-Bouts of horrid, shiver-inducing, sweat-drenching feverish, hacking, sniffling colds once every 2-3 weeks fucking up my immune system royally
-Gastric pain requiring me to run around asking if people have Antacid at home (maybe I should start carrying some)
-Really really cranky (as in I lose temper and snap at people, literally) and not being able to focus if I uh well, miss a meal or don't eat at proper hours
-Wonky cycles
-Random nosebleeds
-Low energy levels

Okay. Time to get my 22-year old healthy body and immune system back!