Friday, 30 May 2008
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Lo and behold, I shall reveal my name to those who don't know it.
I actually prefer anonymity, but a friend gave me the link to this test and I just had to post it.
Here goes...

What Jerrenn Means

You are fair, honest, and logical. You are a natural leader, and people respect you.

You never give up, and you will succeed... even if it takes you a hundred tries.

You are rational enough to see every part of a problem. You are great at giving other people advice.

You are friendly, charming, and warm. You get along with almost everyone.

You work hard not to rock the boat. Your easy going attitude brings people together.

At times, you can be a little flaky and irresponsible. But for the important things, you pull it together.

You are wild, crazy, and a huge rebel. You're always up to something.

You have a ton of energy, and most people can't handle you. You're very intense.

You definitely are a handful, and you're likely to get in trouble. But your kind of trouble is a lot of fun.

You are very intuitive and wise. You understand the world better than most people.

You also have a very active imagination. You often get carried away with your thoughts.

You are prone to a little paranoia and jealousy. You sometimes go overboard in interpreting signals.

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Thursday, 29 May 2008
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In a local book that I recently read, the author said that too much of a good thing is bad.

She said that she had pampered her son with too many firecrackers that they got bored of it.

It goes something like this:

By the time we reached the ninth packet and the ninthtieth sparkler, both of us were absolutely fed-up with sparklers- which led me to realise that too much of a good thing can be bad.

How true that statement is.

It's now the mid term holidays.

And it's one of the busiest I've had.

Almost everyday, I have something to do that would require me leaving the house. And the thing is, I'm actually having a good time!

Normally, I relish staying at home. Now, I tend to get bored. Perhaps it's due to my more active lifestyle lately that's creeping into my mind.

Mum's actually complaining that I don't spend time with her! You see, normally during holidays we would go out to someplace one day, normally with my sister as well.

But this holiday, I've just been doing so many things. Badminton mostly. In the last 7 days, I've played badminton in 5. Not that I'm complaining. This is actually one of best holidays I've ever had!

Mum, don't get me wrong. It's not that I don't want to spend time with you. It's just that when friends ask me out, I just want to go out, since I have not done so for a very long time. I want a break from the hectic, crazy school life, especially those which I dread. I want to fully enjoy this school holiday, and when school reopen, I'll start studying for the coming SPM.

And there's one thing I've realised for some time now. Why would I want to stay at home for one whole day, when I could do that in my fifties, when I'm happily retired? Now I should be thankful that I'm still in my teens, and enjoy life to the fullest!

Staying at home is indeed a good thing. This is what a friend of mine thinks of home:

For me, heading home is going to a place where a familiar warm glowing feeling overcomes you, and you once again choose to leave everything behind and simply rest.

I have always, and still do, love being at home. For me, it's the place where I can rest, and reflect.

However, being at home for too long must be boring! I must have been influenced by my hectic life, as now I need to have something to do each and every second. Perhaps this is also why I've counted that I have 5 books, which I so lovingly bought, thinking I could finish it quickly, that I have not read. Yet as I keep buying, the more gets accumulated. Now for the first time, I have to stop buying books!

The thought of having the entire day with nothing to do now seems rather odd to me. I look forward to doing things. Before this, I hate having lots of things to do because it's things that I don't enjoy, like scouts. But now I'm hanging out with friends, watching movies, playing badminton. All the things that I enjoy. So now I actually am eager every day to do something.

I sound like a hyperactive kid, don't I?

Mum, although this is a drastic change in my lifestyle, I hope you can understand and be supportive of it.
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Monday, 26 May 2008
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A while ago, I had said that I was really, really uninspired to write something.

Now that I think back, actually I was wrong; I had inspiration, it's just that it came at the wrong time.

That's just the problem with everyone (I hope!). When you sit down and want to write something, your brain just refuse to process anything. Instead, it awards you with a blank. Now, you're stuck with not knowing what to write about. So you turn the computer off.

Then you find something else to do. Be it homework, housework, meeting up with friends, shopping, you suddenly thought of something to write about. You make a mental note. Unfortunately, by the time your computer is switched on again you just can't seem to remember what you wanted to jot down.

I face this problem. Sometimes halfway into the exam I would just think of something that I can blog about. Seriously. But when I reach home, all of those ideas had fled from my mind as I studied for the next day's paper. Sometimes when I come online during those days I would find myself unable to think of anything to write.

When I had first started a shared blog with a few friends, which was during the end of year holidays, I could post something every single day. That was because I spend a lot of time online, and when I find something interesting I would post it.

Lately, ideas would pop into my head from time to time. Most of the time I'm at home. Sometimes I'm not. But I'm also blessed because most of the time, my ideas would appear a second time.

And so, I devised a near-foolproof way. I took a book out and started jotting down the topics of what I can write about. When an idea pops in, then I would jot it down. Like the previous post about scouts, for example. Or even the one on Fatimah. If I had not jotted those down, I would not have been able to pen it down.

So hurry up, grab that notebook and start jotting!
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Saturday, 24 May 2008
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The title says it all.

I joined scouts in Form 1. After the Recruit Camp I became inactive.

The reason? I did not like the scouters. They were cruel. I could take harsh activities that they throw at us, but waht I just couldn't take was their insults. Say we have to climb a wall or something. If a person can't do it at the first time, insults'll start to fly out of their mouth. Some of us who are full of confidence had no problem but I wasn't one of them.

After that harsh realisation of the troop, my perception of scouts went down the drain. Literally. I thought of scouters as foul creatures, who vow to be a scout but act like a cruel commander.

So after that, I became inactive for 2 years. At the end of Form 3, a friend asked me whether I'm considering rejoining scouts. I agreed. This time I was considered a more senior scout. At Form 4, we had to plan most things and weren't subjected to punishments like the rest. We were just told how bad our planning skills are, etc. etc. But those I can take. Over time I've even learned how to fake it. I will look as if I'm listening intently, but in truth I'm thinking about what I'm going to do when I get home.

Then sometime last year, I went away for a trip. There was a scout meeting. I was told later that I was appointed secretary. OF THE TROOP.

I was slightly elated. Of all people, of all the scouts, I got picked as secretary, a member of the "Court of Honour". I wasn't even thinking very highly of the seniors! Well, with the exception of a few, like one that helped me when I wasn't feeling well, and another who helped me dig a hole when I admitted that I wasn't good at it. Those seniors are the ones I truly respect.

Anyway, I tried my best to do the job. But I knew I wasn't the typical secretary either. I was pretty sucky at paperwork at the beginning, though I got better later. My handwriting could match that of a doctor's. My predecessor left me with nearly nothing, so I had to start nearly from scratch. And since I've been inactive so long, I didn't know much things. So I'm pretty proud of myself as I've been respected as a secretary. RESPECTED. By some anyway.

But as time passed, I disliked being a scout more and more. At first I disliked the seniors. I made a point not to be like them. Then I disliked the way they run things. When I rejoined I had considered continuing with the troop after school, and maybe one day become a GOOD scouter. But later I just thought "Nah, I will NEVER return once I leave".

Scouting just isn't fun anymore.

When I went for the National Jamboree in 2006, sure it was long and tiring, and I was homesick, but when I came home I knew that it was truly an amazing experience, one that I might do again. But now I just had it.

I can't wait for the time when I can hand over everything to the next secretary. I've made a point to prepare him / her as good as I can, with as much guidance as possible.

Although if given the chance to attend something like the jamboree, I wouldn't mind.
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Friday, 23 May 2008
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It's 10.30 at night over here at Malaysia. Normally, I wouldn't post a thing at such an hour but today's different.


I can't believe how excited I am.

Today's paper actually took only an hour. I finished in half. So I was thinking of catching some sleep. And it was so nice, uninterrupted, when some of the prefects decided to hand in the paper earlier to get ready for the deputy headmistress's retirement. One of them handed the paper and as she left the classroom, slammed into my chair. PURPOSELY. So my beauty sleep was interrupted. I couldn't see properly. My eyes was still adjusting to the brightness of the day. I didn't know what was happening till she beckoned me. Then I knew. I groggily got up, handed my paper, took my things and left the class as well.

It was a nice thing. Exam's finally ended! It's just too bad there were no screams. Normally there would be. I was quite surprised nothing happened.

But I'm still happy.

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Monday, 19 May 2008
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Yesterday, the winner of the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award was announced in The Star.

She is 16 year-old Genevieve Keizha Leon, of Stella Maris High School.

In the award ceremony, she said:

From experience, if you don't achieve what you want at the first try, try again.

I think she wrote a non-fiction entry.

Her essay, based on this year's theme “Tomorrow's World”, touched on the global problems past and present and her vision of a utopian future.

Irish Ambassador to Malaysia Eugene Hutchinson, one of the judges, said:

I'm really impressed by the great maturity of our participants, which testifies to the talent present in schools here.

Having said that, here comes my argument.

Is it possible that the judges had actually preferred non fiction entries?

I might be raving, but from that statement, my impression was that he prefers non fiction. Perhaps I'm wrong. I certainly hope I am!

Anyway, Genevieve said that we have to persevere if we want to win something.

I've participated in a few competitions now, and have returned with... nothing.

I do hope that what she says is true. No doubt, she has talent in writing, considering this is only her second attempt! And if I'm not mistaken, she was shortlisted last year too. Oh well. Maybe I'll win next year, then!

Lately, I've been so stressed up in school that I simply did not have the inspiration to think of something to write. I just return home every day and would just want to stop being in such a tough position. And luckily, I'll stop being in it from the 2nd of July! Yippee!

I still have 3 days of exams left, and am looking forward to the end of it! Then it's one of the senior assistant's retirement.

Life is indeed tough. But what can we do?


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Saturday, 17 May 2008
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Today I read an interesting article in The Star.

Ghost-hunting tours are all the rage in England now. Why, there is even one in learned, rational Oxford.

I was really intrigued. So I read on.

At one point, the psychic, Paul, had goaded the spirits to reveal themselves.

Strange events started to unfold then.

Red and white light orbs started dancing around us momentarily. One of the participants gave a yelp, saying that something cold had brushed against his neck.

And then came three, slow knocks from the roof. Unless someone had been hiding up there for the past few hours in the freezing winter night, risking life and limb just to scare us out of our wits, the sounds were impossible to replicate.

Minutes later, we heard the sounds of stones being thrown a few feet from where I was standing.

All hell broke loose after that, as everyone started running for the door.

After that, the group proceeded to another room, where they asked the spirits questions by holding a piece of glass which will point towards 'Yes' or 'No'. They tried something challenging.

They asked the spirits to move the table in the room.

Lo and behold, the table suddenly sprang to life on its own, slowly tilting to an impossible 45° angle without falling over. Then it continued to sway back and forth. I checked the table afterwards to see if any trickery was afoot, but there was none.

So, do you still think ghosts don't exist?

I'm pretty interested to go for this tour of the place now. It's just too bad that it's so far away in England.

Upon reading the article, I was brought back to a memory of some time ago.

It was in an event in temple. Not the Taoist ones, but a rather modern Theravadian one (means there's air-cond). I was in the main hall where most prayers and ceremonies are held. As usual there were photographers around, clicking away like nobody's business.

When the photos were developed, they saw white balls around the hall. There were a lot of them when prayers were in progress. Apparently, this is a normal occurence; every time an auspicious ceremony is being held, there would be white balls of light around. There was one of it at my neck in one of the photos.

People were saying that those were the devas, sort of like angels. But now looking back at the article, I'm starting to wonder. What if those were malevolent beings instead of benevolent? I mean, we can't be sure, but those at the castle did cause some havoc and proved their presence. The ones in the hall were just there.

Seems like nobody can ever answer this.

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Friday, 9 May 2008
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I used to be afraid of spirits, ghosts and things of the supernatural.

Still am, but it's just a tiny tinge of fear now.

I had always believed in the supernatural. When my grandmother passed away, that belief was strengthened. The fear of it also lessened.

Last year, during the exams, which was scheduled for the end of the school day, me and a few friends humoured ourselves with ghost stories instead.

The result? One of us got so scared he had difficulty sleeping that night.

But that started a series of events that prompted me to believe in the supernatural, yet not fearing it too much. One of them was more ghost stories. I was truly liking the thrill of it then. Until one night I started thinking too much and I told myself that it's time to stop.

But by then, I had heard so many stories that I myself could spook people.

One of those was of Fatimah, a rumoured ghost to be in my school.

One of the teachers told her students that a pregnant student had died in the secluded toilet in the school many, many years ago. She went one floor above to the storage room next to the catering stream, and has been haunting that room ever since. She also said that the previous bodyguard quit his job because one night she came out to see him, and told him not to bother her.

As a rather high-ranked prefect (yes, allow me the satisfaction for once!), one of my duties include patrolling the school. I would normally do this with another prefect. We would always scare each other about Fatimah when we near her room. One shocking fact is that there used to be a floor mop leaning there, and from far it does look like a head with white hair sometimes.

The 2 of us really loved to scare people after that. Or rather, almost every abnormality is connected to her.

One day, I was supervising the scout juniors in an expedition in Taman Pertanian Malaysia. One of the tasks required the team to hike up a mountain. It was a road in the middle of a jungle. As my team went up, we saw one heading down. They told us that one of their members had a sixth sense, what the Chinese call the ability to see spirits. That girl with sixth sense told us she saw things there which is not pleasant at all. So, everyone headed back.

Once we were safely awaiting the bus, out of curiosity we asked the girl about our school. She told us in detail about many spirits lurking in our school compound. One at the backstage, etc. etc.

And her most horrifying words:

I even know the name of the backstage ghost. It's Fatimah.

I turned speechless at that point. I'm not sure whether I believed in her existence, but it was fun seeing my friends' shocked faces when I said something about her. I asked this junior more about it.

Apparently, she got pregnant and lived in the school hall. Her friends would give her food every day. When the school closed for the school holidays she had no food, and she died.

I don't think there's any reason for this girl to lie.

So Fatimah exists. After that, I had stopped mentioning her. Until recently. But that's for another post.

Of course, there's other tales that I've went through in school, but so far I've not encountered any supernatural beings. For that I'm immensely grateful.
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Wednesday, 7 May 2008
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I'm sitting for my school's mid year exam for 3 weeks.

3 weeks of torment.

Last year, I didn't think of exams as THAT bad because I could sleep after I'm done, and I wasn't failing either. Wasn't scoring, but wasn't failing either.

Now there's a new ruling by the new senior assistant. We can't sleep during exams. But yesterday I just did not care and just slept after I've finished the paper. I figured that since there's 40 minutes left, I can't be expected to just sit there can I?

This year, I'll be sitting for my SPM. So exams are very important now. I need to gauge where I stand.

Sadly, I'm STILL not scoring. Worse, the exams have been terrible.

Normally, a person's definition of an easy exam is that the questions asked are simple questions, easily answered without much problem. A tough exam would be one that requires more thinking, but still could be answered.

Now I'll have to flashback a little. I did not study much for this exam. Next to none, even. Whilst other people started a few weeks before, I didn't. I was busy with other stuff, like prefects. So busy that I had to miss classes. LOTS of classes.

So I had to rely solely on tuition. But it can't be enough. People like me need to learn new things a few times before being able to keep in the head for a long time. So it really wasn't helping me at all.

What can I do? Now I study for the exam tomorrow. When tomorrow's Chemistry, I study that. I will cram as much as I can, take the exam, then come home and start studying for the next day's exam. Very last minute, but there's nothing else that I can do.

And like I've said, the exams so far has been terrible.

Most of the tough papers have been crammed into this week, the first week. Next week'll be less pressuring. The last week'll be the best, with only 3 days of exams. One day is a public holiday, another Teacher's Day celebrations.

I now look forward to the day I step down from my post in prefects, so I don't need to cram as much as possible into my head THE DAY BEFORE THE EXAM.

And I've never believed in saying a prayer before any exam. The paper's already set, printed and stapled, so no matter how hard I pray, the questions'll still be the same. Now if I pray a month before, then maybe it'll help. But not while I'm sitting there waiting for the paper to be given out.

Having said all that, this is my very own definition of the level of difficulty of exams:

Easy: I'm in luck for this paper, as a few questions came out about things that I managed to study and remember about the day before or even minutes before the exam. Therefore, I have a high chance of passing it. Phew!

Hard: Luck is not on my side. Nothing much or NONE of what I've studied came out. If it's the latter I'll just have to rely on what I remember from what I've previously studied months or years ago. Or if I can't remember anything, take a wild guess and hope that it's the right answer. I will most likely fail this paper. Sigh!
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Sunday, 4 May 2008
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There's an article in The Star today about the 20 finalists of the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for Young Malaysians 2008.

I wasn't in it, sadly.

But then again, it must be hard, considering there were 660 entries!

Still, I wished I was in.

I guess I'm just not a good writer.

Nonetheless, I'm still comforted by what the Irish Ambassador to Malaysia, Eugene Hutchinson, said:

Every entry is a winner in itself because it has taxed the imagination.

I had not expected to win it, really. But I had hoped to, at the very least, be shortlisted.

A few pages after that was about another writing competition.

But I'm having doubts about joining.

Don't get me wrong, it's not because I'm afraid of failure, it's because it's non fiction.

There's 3 titles one can pick from, all of them non fiction. And I'll have to write between 1500 and 2000 words.

If it's a work of fiction, I would have no problem.

But I've always had problems with non fiction.

It's unchartered waters to me, I don't feel comfortable writing non fiction at all. Even when I attempt it, I can never write as long as 1500 words.

Fiction is my territory. I'm more at home. I feel more relaxed. When I'm writing non fiction, however, there's always the worry about whether I've written it long enough, whether the ideas are logic, are the points in correct sequence, etc. etc.

So I think I'll just have to skip this one. Hopefully there's another fiction writing competition coming up!
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Thursday, 1 May 2008
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Yes, fan fiction.

When I first found out that I liked writing, I had tried writing a fan fiction. The reviews were mostly negative. The idea was a good one, but the writing wasn't. I was disheartened then. I stopped writing.

I continued reading books. I guess after that I got better at writing. A few people I've showed my writing to gave positive comments. And after reading that an author should always be open to criticisms, and that criticism will always be there.

So, I gathered my courage and started venturing into another fan fiction.

The reviews were positive this time. I was overwhelmed. I was excited. I was happy. So I continued writing it. A few more reviews came in, mostly positive ones. But I knew that one day I might still face negative reviews.

But I wasn't prepared for what was to come.

The reviews stopped coming.

So I started getting less and less disciplined.

After writing another one or two chapters, I stopped altogether.

So I guess I'm not a very disciplined author after all.

Then again, that was before I found any writing competitions. At that time I wanted to gauge how good my writing was, and writing a fan fiction was the only way to do it free.

Now I've heard of a few writing competitions. I've joined one or two. I've been to a writing workshop. And blogging satisfies my need to write from time to time. So I really don't need to write fan fiction anymore.

Nevertheless, I still feel attached to my work. I still would like to write another chapter in my fan fiction. I really want to at least complete the story.

I don't want to leave another fan fiction half completed. I don't want to be labelled as an undisciplined author.

So I'll really have to start thinking of ideas to continue my fan fiction. Hopefully I can finish it.
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