Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Doobee doodah

If you tell me that life is not a struggle, I either:
1) seriously doubt your sanity
2) wonder why your life goes so smoothly and wish I had it
3) would love to shadow you for a week and see how you deal with it.

Because it really is. I know I sound as though I've got it all under control, but I feel like I'm teetering from one day to another, the Sleepmonster catching a nap whenever she can, even if it is (unfortunately) in a very complicated Chemistry lesson where I need all my focus and attention to understand the work.


Frustration just builds up inside, so welling and strong that you need someplace to just let go...and scream and yell and run and do everything you know you shouldn't.

I thought I was immune to this. I thought I'd grown. But maybe sometimes, if it makes a point, frustration isn't such a bad thing after all.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Little Altars

Random note: Blogger.com was in Chinese for me for a while till I changed it back to English. That's strange...

Little Altars

My children, beware of the little idols, the small allowances and compromises that you make each day for the sake of normality. Do not let your temple be a marketplace, do not let your heart be sold to the highest bidder. You are so much more worthy. You are so much more precious. You are much more beautiful than anyone can tell you or that you can even see yourself.

Child, why are you unhappy? You have replaced the love I give you freely and endlessly with love from your friends. You are so hungry, begging for their approval. Without them you'd lose the will to live. I cannot force you to return to me. But I will keep entreating you. I will not stop calling your name.

My love, the world is hungry and desperate for those who will love unconditionally. I know that you don't know yourself, but I know you. I know your struggles and the pain you cannot express and the sorrow that surprises you in its intensity and vagueness. I know you cry easily when no one's looking.

You have so much to do, so many roles to play: faithful friend, obedient daughter, hardworking student, responsible leader, inwardly-beautiful person...and sometimes you just can't juggle it all. But when you are overwhelmed with your inadequacy, look to me. Look below you, and see who holds your feet. Look above you, and see who's supporting the sky. Look around you and see how all things are made very, very good.

Though you battle with time, realise that time can be your friend if you use it well. It is hard, my love, but learn to say no to your impulses. Remember that you cannot give of what you do not have. And those who always need to be around others are afraid of what they'd see in themselves if they were left alone.

Lastly, my child, remember that I am always with you, forever. Think of me whenever you see a green leaf, breathe fresh air, open your eyes. I am in you, around you and my arms will hold you tightly. You are never left on your own.

Take that one step towards me, child. And I will scoop you into my arms, place you on my shoulders, and carry you on in this journey.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Math minded

Math portfolio.

If you have the patience and the time to waste in order to decipher this, I applaud you.

acceptable. Imsketchasequenceteenypatternbitseries
together. AmadditionIvectorgoingcalculustoalgebrabe
formulatheellipseslastprobabilityasgeometryalways? Lasttranslationtoreflectiontiestretchmyangleshoes,
hemispheredoor, radiuslastrectangle

Thursday, April 17, 2008


"All they knew was that they fitted together like stacked spoons..."

"Now is the winter of our discontent."

All she knew for sure was that life was like the sea. Eternally in motion, ever changing but always of the same essence.

The blueness would ebb away eventually, she knew, like the tides that lapped on stone and wore them smooth. The rough edges that she cut herself on would be pared down.

All the inadequacies and failures and humiliation and petty disappointment and envy, she poured into a song. Not a beautiful song. A broken song, with a defeated melody. The song of a slave dying under the oppressive sun. But hers all the same.

Slowly, detachedly; she detached herself from her clothing. From the world. Like a baboon picking lice from its fur.

As she plunged freefall tumbling into the ocean; she wondered if it was painful to die. Whether one just melted away like mousse on the tongue, or if there was a brief struggle with the Hooded Reaper before one surrendered with a sigh.

The water did not slap her like a cement floor but parted and received her like a turquoise down blanket. She knew she was dreaming, then.

Life would never be this perfect. Never this simple. Just her, and the sky, the sea.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Thoughts of a 19 year old

Just sitting at my computer, writing, typing, surfing Facebook while reading news on the US election while trying to study Chemistry for a test the next day. Typical night, except maybe my heart is pounding a little harder than usual due to anticipation...

Just then, I hear a rustling of my (duck-themed) curtains and a DUCK card pokes through. My roommates dash in, wishing me Happy Birthday, giving me the card and a gift. I am surprised and delighted, because it's only 11.50pm and people usually do this after 12. Then, I am blindfolded so that everything is blackness and my roommates lead me outside, to don't know where...

After an interminably long of stumbling up and down staircases, along corridors and the open air, my roommates guiding me by hand, I ask where we are going. Of course, I don't get a straight reply. Someone periodically pokes me and knocks me on the head.

We finally seem to be going somewhere, and as we enter a room I can hear the low whine of an air-conditioner. We're in the common room, I know as much from the numerous birthday parties that we've had here before, all at midnight, of varying numbers and rowdiness.

They shush each other, and suddenly the familiar melody of "Happy Birthday..." begins. Sounds like a lot of people. At the end my blindfold is removed, and I see that there WAS a lot of people. The room was pretty full (unlike in some parties where so few people came, I felt embarrassed for the birthday boy/girl) Much more than what I expected who would care.

So self-conscious, standing there with all these people smiling at me...yet I understood then, what it is to be valued, to be loved and cherished and feeling appreciated by the company. I took time to recognise and thank everyone who came to hug me personally, and heard so many kind words that I probably can't remember. I remember the general sentiments.

There was a beautiful chocolate cake (and tasty too!), a huge homemade card with people's messages in it, some individual cards and presents...I think I was just overwhelmed. I knew people had tests, quizzes the next day; and it was not a weekend. They had so many other things to finish, but they came, even if only to give a hug and a smile and a "Happy Birthday". And my friends went to so much trouble to organise it. Perhaps it's not that grand, that extravagant...but I have only known these people since last September, yet they would do this for my sake? Friendship is a wonderful thing which I will never truly understand, but will always marvel at and try to be good at.

And then there were others, who couldn't be there but sent their wishes, their gifts, even their precious time for a conversation which is a gift in itself (Shiny! Tsuey! Wei who wanted to talk but I was out...sorry) ...because I love talking and listening to friends almost as much as eating and sleeping. Speaking of which, we (me and close friends) went for a dinner tonight at a great Thai restaurant not far from my school, and they wouldn't let me pay.

I realise that I do these friends, these schoolmates injustice if I do not take them at their word. If when they say, "You're such a great friend," I downplay their statement to a conventional phrase, while I take criticisms to heart. There must be balance, and slowly I'm reaching that point of equilibrium, going closer every day. Especially now that I'm 19 years old.

And also I realised once again that there is no end to giving. That through my self-conscious, awkward, sometimes inappropriate manner of showing concern and love for others; people have gained comfort. That my confused ramblings about their problems were perceived as guidance. That my instant noodles which I forgot that I lent them, were still on their minds. What I'm trying to say is, don't despair if you aren't perfect in the way you treat others. So long as you try, people will see your good intentions and they will love you for it. And what I thought I was giving away though I didn't mind it at all; was returned into my hands doubled, wrapped up, with interest.

Maybe we should stop comparing ourselves to others, looking at what they have and we don't, but look around at others. I mean, truly. Instead of glancing enviously at the other table where everyone is laughing uproariously, talking to the quiet person next to you.

And if we saw how much God loves us, so much more than friends or family or lovers or even soulmates...we'd live like we have nothing to lose, only everything to gain. And that is the true reality when we live in step with Him.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Mumblings + NS Nostalgia

There are days when you feel like you're swimming in soup, and that's still ok, because you know you're going to be dredged up sooner or later and you'll be thrown into a gumbo bowl with spicy enchiladas, and that's when life will get interesting.

I think one of the best pieces of advice that I've been given is that no matter what happens, I'll be ok. Sounds rather bland and not profound at all, but it definitely gives comfort at times when I think my life has made no difference. That people may like me in a vague, dorky way; but forget me if I'm not there. That I'm not truly living the way I should live. That I do only what is required of me and nothing else.

Sometimes, there are so many ideas one has but so few of them actually come to fruition. Right now I believe the answer to that is focus, focus, focus. Tend to the glowing embers of your passion and stoke them up to a fearsome fire, and then narrow it into single flame jet and then....

unleash it.


And another part, written last Friday (4 April, 2008):

How strange, to have a flashback in the HK airport on a windy, slightly chilly day while waiting for the A22 bus back to Lam Tin MTR station after sending my mum off on a plane back home. One simple song, unheard for months, playing on my MP4 player - "Pencinta Wanita" by Irwansyah and I am transported in my mind's eye to where I was slightly over a year ago...

Hot sun pan-frying us a delicious dark brown. Special of the day:toasted homo sapiens (fine yougn specimens of only 18 years old), stewed in their own sweat and oil. Ewwwww.

Sunging 'Pencinta Wanita' in the bathroom with the cold showers running, laughing in our separate cubicles. Scrubbing clothes on the smooth stone surface next to the giant water tank/tub. The one you weren't allowed to bathe in. The same one that I stepped into and soaked in like a queen on the last day of camp. Reading out loud the notes some of us received from infatuated comrades, declaring everlasting love - and ridiculing them mercilessly, secure in the boy-free zone of our dorm room. Celebrating birthdays with cake and snacks brought from the only convenience shop a.k.a our lifeline operating there. Dressing up in Baju Melayu complete with sampin and performing Dikir Barat.

Food memories alone deserve their own paragraph. Eating mandarin oranges, Chinese New Year's biscuits, fried meehoon and other goodies spread out like a king's banquet on old newspaper in the common area. Baby's moms' irresistable chicken curry, mutton kurma, coconut candy and a host of Deepavali treats. My malay friend's whole family who came on a visiting day and treated me to home-cooked Perak laksa. In the canteen food where there was chilli on EVERYTHING. Even noodles at breakfast. Pimples sprouted on even the clearest faces. Stockpiling and sharing biscuits for a 6 am pre-exercise morning snack.

Beneath the glittering highlights that stand out in my mind, I remember the dull background of daily life. Missing friends, family. Resentful that I was wasting 3 months of my life in a programme I didn't sign up for. Looking forward to weekends when I had my hp back and could call home, my best friends and my sister. Feeling that I didn't belong anywhere. Not with the Cantonese-speaking Chinese, with their casual racism, anti-government sentiments and in-depth knowledge of Oriental celebrities and HK TV dramas (ironic, that the 1 Chinese girl who was unable to appreciate HK drama series' is the one who goes to study there for 2 years). Not with the Perak Malays, although they were really nice people on the whole; or with Kelantanese Malays with their completely different local dialect and for some of them, their kelantanese flirtiness (we speculated that it was because they were usually deprived of interactions with the opposite sex in the conservative PAS-led state). Certainly not with the Tamil-speaking Indian girls, just because they stuck to themselves and I couldn't understand what they were saying.

All these come to mind when I think back on NS. And though I thought I knew about life, NS humbled me. I lived, worked and played with prison's guards' children, doctors' children, teachers' children, farmers' children. People who scored 10As for their SPM result (which was announced the day after we left) and people who scored 3.

And I realised that all my book knowledge, my academic achievements, my English proficiency did not count for all that much. When I couldn't shine my boots even after spending tons of energy and time, it was my dormmates who helped me and realised that my brush was contaminated with too much shoe polish ("Kiwi"). The trick is to have only a little bit or else the boots will look matte. And when I had to dress formally at night, they helped iron the silk baju kurung. And my friends would always adjust my cap for me, because I jsut couldn't get the angle right. Another friend taught me a Kelantanese song. And I will never forget the night when my next-bed mate told me about how the prisoners escaped from the jail and set the building on fire, and her father the prison guard locked their family in the house, huddled together, armed with a parang. They were so along until police reinforcements came. How that was the scariest experience of her life.

I believe this experience, those 3 months, taught me to see people in a different light. To love them despite the differences and sometimes arguments, and to understand where they're coming from. That in the end, barring colour, race, sex, background - we are not so different after all.

I get onto the bus, knowing that without being in Gopeng baking for 3 months, I probably wouldn't be here at all.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


Since when have I been hurtable.

Since when can a sentimental thought turn my stomach and make my eyes swim dangerously in tears.

Must be approaching that time of the month.

But the good news is...

I am not that terrible a people judge after all.

And why do all my friends ALREADY know about my (almost addictive) sleeping habit??! It's not THATTT obvious, is it?

Argh. It probably is.