Friday, 31 December 2010

I suddenly remembered what I wanted to do with my blog for 2011. I wanted to give my blog a new look, as I've been using the current one for quite some time now. I did find a few potential candidates, but being home has put all thoughts of spending hours online out of my mind, which I love- it's a semblance of the social life that I actually own here.

The last movie that I watched in 2010 would be The Tourist. I found it to be entertaining in most parts, with an exciting twist I did not see coming in the end. But speaking of movies, I find it rather amusing that while most of my year was spent in Adelaide, I've watched more movies in the cinema in the short time I was back than the entire time I wasn't home.

Toy Story 3 remains my favourite movie of the year. It was very emotional, especially for me. But Salt, Inception, The Social Network and Harry Potter would be there too.

Tonight, I will be heading out to countdown to the New Year, so my next update will be next year. Till then, see ya!
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Wednesday, 29 December 2010
New Year, New Start, New Hope?

It's about time that I updated this blog again. It's been awhile, I know, but to be fair I really have been really occupied last week.

Christmas was refreshing. I do remember when I was young, back at my grandparents' home that the whole family celebrated Christmas; but after that most of the time Christmas was just an excuse to have a holiday. Which is why I felt this Christmas was different, because it was a family get-together that was really meaningful, to me at least. I got to see my nephew for the first time, and cousins whom I've not seen in years.

But it's undeniable now, that the new year is upon us. Since it is a tradition for people to talk about the passing year, here's my recap of this year.

 Blue Mountains, Sydney. Taken while in a cable car.

2010 was not a year of joy for me. Sure, there were good times, some very good times, but they did not come close to the best experiences I've had in my life thus far. 2010 for me, was the year of learning and growing. I had endured a lot, went through some unbelievable experiences, some painful, some meaningful, some insightful, some comforting. Through all that, I came out a different person. I didn't like it, but it's a part of life, so I accepted it.

In terms of learning, not only have I learned a lot about the world outside, and the different types of people out there, some of whom may just annoy you to no end. Some people ruffled me so much that I started plotting means of getting revenge.

But through all that, I also learned a lot about myself. J.K. Rowling did say that it is in times of difficulty that you learn about yourself, and I think that that was what happened with me this year.

I had the pleasure of eating this German platter meal, which was featured in the Star few weeks back.

I also find myself indifferent about the new year. I dread it to a certain degree, because of the fact that I will be leaving for Melbourne in February, but it also comes with the realisation that I have to forge ahead; I can't mope and think that everything will be fine if I stayed; circumstances change and I need to be selfish and think about myself.

 The Sydney sunset.

The new year also brings in a little fear into me. Like I said, this year has been a rough ride, so I'm just hoping that next year will be easier, and that I'll have a better time and perhaps get to actually adjust to living abroad.

2011 would also be the year when I would cease to be a teen; I would be 20. In many ways I still see myself as a kid that I simply can't imagine myself being an adult. To be called a man seems very weird to me! Perhaps, then, it's fitting that the last Harry Potter movie would be in cinemas next year. It's time to grow up, although I'm very reluctant to do so.

What about you? What is 2010 to you? What do you hope to achieve in 2011?
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Thursday, 23 December 2010
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Another movie I wanna watch. It's out in cinemas now!

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Tuesday, 21 December 2010
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I was browsing through the bookstore today when I set eyes on the usual end-of-year books- Feng Shui predictions for the coming year.

Most of the time, I read these out of curiosity, but I can never remember what I read, especially if I have to keep it in my mind for an entire year. So this year I'll do something different. I'll write out what I remembered.

I was born in the year of the sheep. And as I'm 20 next year I was categorised as a Metal Sheep. And apparently, next year will be a tumultuous year for us sheeps- there will be misfortune and minor illnesses that has the potential to become something worse, not to mention a possibility of being conned, but on the other hand, it's a good year for romance for sheeps; so I'll just have to wait and see if any of these predictions come true, won't I?

There were more specific predictions, too. Some of those stuck with me. For one thing, next year is supposed to be the year when the Metal Sheep grows up and sees the world (something I've already accomplished this year), but with a twist- love will play a role. I'm wondering what exactly will the coming year bring should the predictions be true.

The book also mentioned that for the Metal Sheep, taking a gap year would be beneficial. Why, I don't remember, or maybe it wasn't explained. I definitely found that funny, since talk of a gap year has surfaced in discussions with friends. I guess it means that we 20 year olds are at that stage in life when we begin to question what we want to do with our lives.

 My star sign- think it describes me accurately?

I've always treated these things- Feng Shui, astrology and things like that with an open mind. I find some predictions far-fetched, yet some appear to be true, so what can I say? I can't call myself a sceptic, neither can I say I'm a believer. Once again, I'm stuck in between, as with so many other things in life.

But that's not necessarily a bad thing. 
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Monday, 20 December 2010
Brilliance or Bullshit

Once, I watched an interview of two of Inception's cast members, and the interviewer had asked both of them whether they genuinely thought that the concept behind the movie was mind-blowing, or that it was so convoluted and confusing that people wouldn't realise that it doesn't make sense.

He used the phrase 'dazzled by brilliance or baffled by bullshit'. And come to think about it, it isn't easy to distinguish between the two, isn't it? Many great thinkers of today are recognised as pioneers and philosophers way ahead of their time, but at the time many merely believed these people to be crazy. Who are we to say that we are smarter than our ancestors? We don't even know how they built the pyramids.


Another example that comes to mind is the game of Survivor. A player may make a move that is unconventional, and if it works, it's brilliance, but if it's not, then it's the stupidest move ever. We really do constantly fail to acknowledge that failure is an essential part of life.

Anyway, I found that phrase intriguing and it made me wonder. Is there really a difference between brilliance and bullshit? If you've seen Inception, perhaps you would understand what I mean. It was so confusing that you can really see it as really good or really bad. Maybe there's just a fine line. Or maybe not.

Brilliance. Bullshit.

This is why I would enjoy studying something like philosophy. I still might take it up as a major next year, but who knows. How fun would a subject be when you're being asked to justify an opinion on an issue that seems logical no matter what you say?

Brilliance. Bullshit.

I've started reading Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol. It's still holding my interest so far, but I constantly wonder whether the facts that are used in the books are real. For example, is there really this painting called The Apotheosis of Washington which depicts George Washington being transformed into a god that is in the U.S. Capitol Building? It is those small details that make me wonder how much of the book is false, and how much is true.

I'm still nowhere near deciphering the connections though, unless I flip to the last few pages which I'm reluctant to do. But it is things like these that are targets- did the author take the time to research all these small details to come up with a logical alternative, or did he simply made it all up? Either way, both can be said to be good and bad moves. But as it's a book that needs you to read it while you're wide awake and requires a lot of complicated information to be digested, I'm not sure I'm following everything as closely as I would like (most of the time, I just start falling asleep).

Speaking of sleep, I'm terribly in need of a nap now (woke up really early today for a morning walk), so goodbye!
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Sunday, 19 December 2010
The Coming Year

Tomorrow, it will be the 20th of December. Just 11 more days left in 2010. It's really funny, because this year seemed really short considering all that happened.

The biggest change this year has definitely been me going abroad. I left in February, missing Chinese New Year for the very first time in my life. While it's not such a huge loss, it was weird for me at the time because CNY would mean one thing for me- balik kampung! Well, my parents' hometowns anyway. This year, I spent it in Australia, which was very different.

That, is my campus. No, I'm not joking.

Next year, I will be able to celebrate CNY (thankfully!) except that this year I will be constantly reminded that I will be leaving soon.

I guess in many ways, this year has been about growing up. Looking back, I definitely was like a child when I left, and I came back (hopefully) older (physically and mentally) and more mature (not to mention mellow).

Conversations with friends definitely made me feel as if most people my age went through something like that as well- the 20s life crisis I mentioned in the previous post. It's as if the realisation that I'm growing into an adult hit me while I'm there. I was leaving the nest and finding my own path to walk.

This year, I recalled a poem that I learned in high school, Si Tenggang's Homecoming. As I remember, it was a poem about Si Tenggang who returns to his homeland after being abroad, only to find people from home highly constricted in their thinking. But when I reread the poem, many verses definitely spoke to me.

the physical journey that i traverse
is the journey of the soul,
transport of the self from a fatherland
to a country collected by sight and mind.

i have not entirely returned, i know,
having been changed by time and place.
coarsed by problems
estranged by absence.

i've learnt
the ways of the rude,
to hold actuality in a new logic,
debate with hard and loud facts.

Get it? Taken in Melbourne.

Many people may think that I'm being ungrateful sometimes because I constantly complain about how tough life is, and how they would do almost anything for a chance to go overseas. Somehow I think that most of these people must never have had lived independently abroad before. It really is true that the grass always seems greener on the other side.

Of course, there were many fun times too- though nothing compared to what I've had experienced back home. But you've got to adapt and live with what you have.
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Saturday, 18 December 2010
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I find it harder to keep myself focused on updating this blog now that I'm home and finally having a life again.

Just yesterday I went out at night with 2 friends, and our conversation turned to talk about our lives. It seems that we are all still finding our places in the world. One of us jokingly pointed out that it's like a 20s life crisis. But it's so true when you think about it.

And today, I watched Eat Pray Love. I found it rather meaningful, although I didn't really see the changes in the character as she struggled to find herself. But I admit I very nearly fell asleep halfway through the movie.

It's really weird how these messages, if you will, come to you right when you're thinking about it, don't they?

Anyway, here's another movie trailer.

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Wednesday, 15 December 2010
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Just a trailer today. Only feeling slightly better today, and I'm watching the TV now- I'm glad that there are now ratings before a TV program starts, it's makes us seem so much more civilised and aware of the effects of the media... I stress on the 'seem'.
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Tuesday, 14 December 2010
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I'm having a cold. It's really annoying that I've fallen ill two days after my return. Most people would attribute it to the weather, that I'm just getting used to the Malaysian weather again. That could be true, considering that summer this year in Adelaide has been cool.

Anyway, did anyone read today's front page article in The Star? I find it really funny that the Malaysian politicians are demanding that Singapore explains itself. It's like what people say, you only get hurt if it is true, right? Furthermore, I remember reading about another country (definitely in Europe) who assured Hilary Clinton that they use worse words to describe American officials. So it's a two-way thing. I bet Malaysian politicians do it too. After all, Singaporeans are always stereotyped as 'kiasu'.

So far, my time back home has been not too bad. I try not to get myself excited or to do things simply because I won't be able to do them in a long time, because that thinking will only make leaving harder in February. In other words, I'm trying not to get too attached to home. Or rather trying to get rid of my huge attachment to home and everything that is at home, like family, friends and food- the three Fs.

I've also managed to play badminton, although my stamina is now so bad I only lasted 5 minutes before I needed to take a break.

Today, I also received my results for this semester- I obtained results that I'm satisfied with. Now all's left to do is to get the transfer to RMIT finalised- hopefully I'll get exemptions for all my subjects this semester. That way I won't have to do any extra subjects.

The first meal I had when I got home was a 100 Plus and thosai bawang. The meal was good, but not heavenly, probably because I wasn't really hungry.

 RMIT University- where I'll be studying at next year

Serving size is another thing. I don't know if it's me, but I don't remember roti canai being so small. It seems like it gets made smaller and smaller. I know, you'd say it's because I've gotten used to the large Australian portion, but rest assured that I do not eat out that often, although I have noticed an increase in appetite since my return.

TV has been great too. Finally I get to watch shows I miss. Malaysians do like crime shows (I thought it was just in Australia).

But the most amusing thing I've realised? I've gained 2 kilograms.
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Sunday, 12 December 2010
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P.S. I finally watched Salt. Was blown away by Angelina Jolie. She's really, really good! And she looked very masculine when she acted as a guy!

P.S.2. I also managed to watch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One. Felt it was a little draggy, but could be because I know what's going to happen already. Nonetheless, it was still awesome!
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Saturday, 11 December 2010
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I think parents have an obligation not to bring their infants on flights. Young kids should never, ever travel. By young I mean 3 years old and below. Even those under 10 I doubt should be brought on planes.

Why do I think this? Yesterday on my flight home I had the misfortune to have at least 2 mothers sitting at the row in front of mine. It was a horrible experience, for their kids were just learning to walk and could barely speak. Needless to say, they got restless very quickly and was very fussy about so many things, which meant for the whole 7 hours I had to endure a whole lot of crying and screaming. More often than not, when one cried he/she would trigger the other one and the whole plane would be drowned in their wails.

While sometimes it is really essential for making a trip, like in the case of the woman in front of me who lives in Adelaide but is travelling home to some European country (I could not remember what country she's from, I was trying to think of the peace I would get when I get out of the plane). But I managed to survive thanks to the pretty fantastic in-flight entertainment.

But in such a case, parents should really make sure that their kids have enough entertainment to last for the duration of the flight. I do remember once in a flight where the infant slept through most of the flight, and when he/she was awake he/she was very well behaved.

All right. For now the movie Salt is playing on my TV, and it's pretty entertaining. Till next time!
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Thursday, 9 December 2010
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As I'm typing this, I'm multitasking- switching the combinations of the things in my luggages. I'm awfully worried that it will be overweight, but right now I'm hoping that the combination I've chosen (books in hand luggage) would be enough to keep my check-ins within my weight limit. Pray for me!

Normally at this time, I would be downloading the newest episode of Survivor, but as it's not out yet, I have nothing else but to pack while I wait. Patience is a virtue as they say, and it is something that I have learned. For example today I could've eaten a Tom Yam noodle soup for lunch, but as I would be home soon, I decided to wait it out and have something else instead.

I guess I can safely say that it has finally hit me that I will be going home tomorrow.

Anyway, this is a rather interesting article about why Malaysians decide to move to some other country. Also, regarding one of my earlier posts about student activism, here's an interesting piece written by a pro-student activism person about the justifications for the University and University Colleges Act.

Till my next entry, ciao!
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Like I mentioned in my previous entry, through all the experiences I went through this year I've become a different person than I was before I came here. At the beginning, I didn't like my new self. But while I do not see myself liking this new me, I've slowly come to terms with my identity.

It's really funny, how when you're living abroad and alone that you do not tell someone about your problems. I, too, had thought that I was the only one who went through what I went through. Fortunately, as time passed by I began to realise that many people went through the same experiences as myself. Life was definitely easier when I had people around me who understood what I was going through.

 This book sure looks interesting!

 Then today, when I was browsing through some blogs, I came across something similar.

When I cried, it didn't feel like I was crying because I was in America, and far from home. I was crying because I realized how much I hated who I am right now, when before I had loved it. I hated how I don't need people - and dislike people. I hated how I'm such a self-important bitch. I hated how I can't do relationships. I hated how personal success is the only measure of happiness to me. I hated how I don't think humans provide any value to me.

Most of that, I went through as well. If only more people talked about this, then perhaps more would know about how living overseas is. While of course there are some people who have no problem moving to another country, for others it is extremely tough. Being on your own, in a foreign country, is not the easiest thing to do- I speak from personal experience. But it is also when you begin to see the world in a different light, and begin to comprehend how large the world is. It's life- you lose some, and you gain some.

In last week's episode of Survivor, the talk about how difficult life can be came up. As this season was old vs. young, the host asked one of the older contestants about what the younger players have yet to learn. Her reply? 'Life is not a piece of cake unless they've got an easy ride from their parents. You don't have a clue what's around the corner.... life is full of rocky roads'. While it may not sound very wise, if you watch the episode you'll understand what I mean.

In line with this post, I'll end with a movie trailer. It's one of the movies I'm waiting to watch when it comes out, for many reasons. Life lessons is just one of them.

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Wednesday, 8 December 2010
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It's really unbelievable that it is already December. Of late these things take a while to hit me. I made no plans for my recent trip to Melbourne (even nearly mistaking the day I'm supposed to come back to Adelaide) and now, I only started packing on my second last day here. Sure, I knew when I was due to go home, but I just didn't feel pressured.

Perhaps it's the whole living life a day at a time thing that I've sort of adopted here. Every day is a new day, but it's just another day. No day is special. Even though now I've started packing my things and emptying my apartment, it doesn't feel like I'm going home yet. Sure, tomorrow's my last day, but I do not feel the excitement I felt the first time I went home.

The Big Bang Theory- very funny sitcom!

The same can be said for the year ending. Last year I reflected on 2009, what I learned about myself, and the experiences I had. But that was a very different me. This time around, I only realised it was the end of the year when I saw Tweets and Facebook updates about how fast the year has come and gone. I find this new side of me rather unusual- I'm not normally this carefree.

But it's completely true that time passes too fast; just this time last year I was anxious about moving abroad; this year I've done it and will be returning home. However, even though time flies, many things can happen. Lee Chong Wei won the All-England at last. Serena Williams cut her foot and cannot compete until next year. A movie was made about Facebook. I lost a relative, but gained another while learning a lot about myself. All this happened in the span of a year.

I have to admit, even though right now I'm typing this entry out, I do not feel as if the year is ending... December just feels like yet another month. But hopefully I'll get into the mood to celebrate Christmas and the new year with awesome people. Then perhaps I'll be able to bring myself to write an entry recapping this year as well.

I'm thinking that this post has been rather enlightening if you had not been in contact with me for awhile. I'll give you time to digest all that, and leave you with this short clip taken from an episode (one of my favourite ones, in fact) of this hilarious sitcom, The Big Bang Theory.

Show me your mucus! There's actually a funnier clip, but because the person who put it together disabled the embedding function, I can't put it here. But do have a look, it explains the above clip... in a way. Enjoy! 
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Once again, I forgot to blog today. I really have to try to remember to blog more often if I want to reach my target.

Anyway, today's post is about cosmic belts. Or sour tapes, whatever you want to call it.

I remember that when I was young I took taekwondo lessons, and when I began to lose interest in it and would dread going, that would be my reward of sorts for going. And as I've always loved sour food, and I rarely got to eat them throughout the years, I always get excited when I see them being sold.

It's one of the few things in life that never fails to cheer me up. The sight of it immediately brings joy to my face. And I'm sure everyone has one of those too.

What's yours?
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Monday, 6 December 2010
Sunday, 5 December 2010
Students of Yesteryear

Today while I was reading The Star Online, I came across the articles on student activists. One particular article, 'student activists place safety on the line', chronicled Malaysian university students' struggle for their causes. Of course, those were in the past before the University and University Colleges Act came into the equation and universities became a much different environment.

That article was really insightful. I had always thought that student protests had only existed in Western countries like America, Britain (like the recent violent protests), Australia, France, and so on. I did not expect to learn that Malaysian students had their fair share of protests, too. And I had always wondered why governments, especially our own country's, want to restrict students. I mean, why would we want to protest? The typical youth of today is highly uninterested in the political developments of the world, and so would be unlikely to want to exercise their democratic rights.

But through reading that article, it hit me: government officials today used to be students themselves! Suddenly, it all made sense- they know just how much power an institution that gathers peers like a university holds, and what they can be capable of. It makes sense that they do not want to be overthrown now that they're the ones in control. They know that in a place where young people meet, mischief is bound to arise. Students used to protest about anything and everything, and perhaps that's what worries governments; as well as the fact that student protests have been successful in achieving some sort of social change before.

Then there's another article in which Professor Khoo Kay Kim brushed off these actions as not significant.

“Having observed student activists over slightly more than half a century, I notice that many of them do not pursue a cause sincerely. Ardent socialists very soon became capitalists after leaving the university,” says Prof Khoo, who has been with UM since the 1960s.

“I remember that when Tunku Abdul Rahman was the Chancellor at Universiti Malaya, many of the students were encouraged to attack him verbally. He took it lightly, saying that students tended to make a lot of noise when they were studying but soon after graduation, they would change. He was right!

The recent protests in the UK

That also got me thinking, because he has a point that makes sense. Along with everything else, university represents the transition into adulthood. It is where students enjoy the last moments of their youth, push boundaries and behave irresponsibly as they search for their own identities. It's probably why Hollywood movies about college are filled with things like pranks, hazing and rebelling- it's all part of the 'college experience', as the Americans call it (remember the '15 things to do while you're still in college' list featured in a Gossip Girl episode?). Or maybe I've just been fooled by the persuasiveness of Hollywood.

But perhaps there is reason to worry. Just look at the recent protests in the UK. While the violence was regretted, I felt a tinge of smugness that the amount of power held by students and the damage we can cause. It felt... empowering. Imagine if Malaysian students were to organise a protest. Students from different universities, united for a cause, with the government none the wiser. Of course, it would be preferable if no one got injured.

Have a read at both articles, they're pretty insightful!
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Saturday, 4 December 2010
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Today has been a typical day in summer. I never thought that I would experience this, because cool weather had still persisted until last week. And I definitely stand by my opinion- feeling warm is so much better than feeling cold.

Anyway, today's entry is going to be a short one, because I am too tired after having only a few hours' sleep. It may be only 10 pm but I am ready to lie down on my bed already.

This article had a very interesting standpoint- nowadays normal people engage in accidental spying, that is, when they stumble upon information of their friends or family that they weren't supposed to know. For example:

You grab your girlfriend’s phone to check the time — and bam, there’s a text from her ex-boyfriend. You crack open your daughter’s laptop to show her a Flickr album — kapow, there’s her friends-only Blogspot in fully accessible glory. You surf to Gmail the day after your friend used your computer, and hello, friend’s inbox.

And the second thing I have to share is a video on social media addiction.

Yes, the video's funny, but I think it has a point.

All right, I am going to sign off now before I start typing out incomprehensible junk. Till tomorrow (I hope)!
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Friday, 3 December 2010
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When I was in primary school, I was a sucker for remembering what homework I had for the day. I had to resign to using the small notebook provided by the school to jot down every day's homework the moment it's given. Then the next day when I stepped into class to hand it up, I would have to walk to the front of the class, look at all the homework then go back to my bag to search for the book. And if I had forgotten to do a certain work... oh s***. Time to begin to rush for it without teachers noticing.

Rule #1: Don't act suspicious. When writing in class, act as if you're taking notes!

Rule #2: Establish good relationships with people sitting near you so that they can cooperate and not rat you out like primary school kids do.

I have always been perplexed as to why people get caught doing their homework. I for one, do not remember being caught. I either owned up to it (if I felt my chances of completing it are slim), or completed it and handed it up without the teacher noticing (huge risk, but pays off well if I succeed).

Then in Year 6, I was forced (really, I was forced) to go for extra Chinese classes that everyone else went to (my mum had objected to me attending any, so I was spared for the most part). One of the main thing we did was memorising idioms. Basically we all had to stand up and could only sit when you've answered the meaning to 3 idioms correctly. The first row in class with everyone seated, wins (back then my teacher implemented a Hogwarts-style points system).

Knowing that I was not good at memorising blindly, or as good in Chinese as other classmates, I resorted to studying smart instead of hard. I highlighted the idioms with the shortest meaning, then put it under my desk and memorised it in class the whole day (I knew that if I did it the day before I wouldn't remember a thing after sleeping... or maybe I was just lazy). That strategy served me very well, and I was never left standing.

Come to think about it, I was pretty strategic. I wouldn't call it sneaky, but... I just had better study techniques than most classmates.

Okay the above was just an entry to vent my frustrations about primary school. I still have loads, but that's not what this entry is about. The point is, sometimes, most of the times even, the phrase 'better late than never' would be a very good principle to follow when you've forgotten to do something. So here's my better late than never entry.

December 1 was World Aids Day. While I do not know much about the disease, from a communication perspective I have found two rather interesting campaigns.

That's a campaign in Hollywood with quite a number of celebrities joining. Basically they stop using social media until the campaign has raised $1 million to donate. I found the concept interesting, but... as I follow some of these celebs on Twitter I found that they still tweeted... that they're dead. I saw Tweets like 'Ryan Seacrest is dead. Buy his digital life back!' which I found to be unjustified because they weren't supposed to be using Twitter at all. And like someone wrote:

I can't help but feel that drawing some kind of bizarre comparison between the actual death of a child and Kim Kardashian staying off freaking Twitter for a couple days is wrong.

I mean, really. Would the world be so bereft without gems like this?

The second one is a Malaysian one.

I found that pretty classic, nothing special about the concept, except for the celebrities used. I found it funny that it seems like most if not all Malaysian celebrities were on it. Either the campaign team did a good job in attracting so many stars, or Malaysia just have a limited number of celebs.

And that's the end. See you soon!
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Thursday, 2 December 2010
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I love everything about Hollywood. From the movies, to the actors, the awards, the backstage drama, they all fascinate me. Perhaps it's because I've been exposed to it from a very young age. I can even say that my wanting to visit America stems from this. It's like, a foreign immigrant returning to his ancestral land.

Yes, yes, I know, China is technically where my roots came from, but I have to say that it doesn't evoke the same kind of emotions as America does. People who know me personally would not be surprised that I do not feel a connection to the home of my ancestors. Perhaps even people I don't know well would not be surprised too. But it's not as if I'm acting like an ungrateful child or anything.

Anyway, today's post is about... movie trailers. As they seem to be a constant part of my blog now, I've even created a tag (which you can find on the left column) of posts containing movie trailers.

So here are trailers of movies that are mostly due next year:

1. Source Code

2. Restless

3. Hall Pass

4. Sucker Punch

5. And Soon The Darkness...

6. Vanishing On 7th Street


P.S. Regarding yesterday's entry, today I came across this article on the pros and cons of travelling alone versus with friends. I found it really intriguing, because I've always struggled with this when I think about my dream of travelling around the world- do I do it alone, or go with a friend / friends? What if we don't have the same goals? But what if something happens to me in some remote area and there is no one who knows about it? It's definitely something worth contemplating further.
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Wednesday, 1 December 2010
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One question that has been puzzling me recently is the distinction between a dream and an ambition. Is it considered an ambition if you actually set in motion an action to pursue a dream? This is because during my time here, I've had a lot of time to reflect on what I want in life, and whether I think I'm on the right path. While I have no definite answers for both, I do have some ideas.

For starters, I want to get a job to begin saving up, so that I can travel after I graduate. The gap year concept is now very appealing to me for some reason. I do see a possibility of me working immediately after I graduate, but I also see myself taking time off to travel, possibly for a year or so. It's something that I've thought about for quite some time, but of course as of now, it's just a dream. Perhaps when I have a job I'll call it a goal.

I definitely see myself backpacking while I'm young!

For me, travelling has always been fun. When I was younger, it was time away from my ordinary life. Now that I've had experience living in another country, I think it would be very interesting to live in other countries and experience the different cultures of the world. And it's definitely something I want to do while I'm young and healthy. When I begin working it would not be easy to just take a year off, unless I take a sabbatical or quit my job altogether.

Which is why I'm starting to really feel the urgency to get a job. If I don't get a job, then I would not be able to save money, and without money, I would not be able to travel.

Road trip!

And if you're wondering if I have a different travel plan in mind, then you will be disappointed. I would like to travel the world, just like everybody else. But my main goal is definitely to visit America and Europe. I've always been enchanted by the idea of a backpacking trip or a roadtrip across America (when I watch TV), so perhaps it'll take longer than a year for me to actually travel the world. When that day comes, maybe I'll open yet another blog to write my travel tales down. Or I might just keep it for myself till I come home, then try to get it published (another dream: get published!).

Perhaps you're not like me, and have not considered travelling. Then you should read this article on why everyone should travel while they're still in their 20s.

Of course, I fully realise that travels like these are unlikely to be glamorous or anything, and more often than not I will be stuck in weird situations. This blogger had travelled round the world, and devoted one blog entry to the uglier sides of backpacking. But like this year, I've learned from getting out of sticky situations, and it has made me a different person. So these experiences will only make me a better person.

The Australian desert

I do have other dreams, but they'll have to remain as a dream for now, locked in my head (some of them seem too far-fetched to even pursue). But perhaps one day this particular dream will become true, eh?
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Tuesday, 30 November 2010
Tech Tales

Yesterday, my laptop failed me once again. I was so annoyed that I could not bear to write about it because I was at a loss for words. Thankfully, it wasn't a huge problem so I managed to fix it myself. I'm awfully tempted to change my laptop now, since this is the third time in a year that it's failed me. Suddenly, Macbooks seem more and more tempting. It's not that I don't like my laptop; it's just that if it's not working out then I have to move on. It's like relationships in life- when you commit to a relationship and you're not being met halfway, then it's time to stop trying.

But because my laptop is still new, I'm rather reluctant to change it. But I'll just have to see how things go.

My current laptop, I think

Another change I've noted in me is that more and more, I seem to be becoming interested in tech news. I don't consider myself a techie, because while I can recognise quite a number of gadgets, unlike tech junkies I do not wait in line to get the latest gadgets, nor am I one of those people who need to use a certain gadget to perform a task (like an ergonomic mouse). But I do rather enjoy reading about them. Mashable is one such site which I enjoy reading, because it features a wide variety of topics and is updated very often.

Take today, for example. Did you know that the WIkileaks website was attacked? Well, someone has claimed responsibility for it. Then there's the news that Google will be launching its 'social initiative' early next year instead of this year. The birth of another social network based on social causes caught my attention, too. Honestly, I think that there are enough social networks already. Facebook alone is already mind numbing at times.

I remember that when I was younger, I had signed up for multiple social network accounts- Friendster, Hi5 and a few others I don't remember. This year, I deleted all of them, at least those that I know of. I'm certain that I still have a presence in several other sites, but I just don't know their names. I definitely don't see myself signing up for any other social networks, unless it becomes as popular as Facebook and everyone jumps on the bandwagon. In which case, I guess it would be time to consider closing my Facebook account.

Don't get me wrong, I do think social networking is a wonderful tool. I mean, for once, I don't have to admit that I actually don't remember someone's birthday, and communication becomes so much easier and cheaper. But at the same time (this was what I learned in class) our online identities become a performance, like how a celebrity manages their image. So in a way, it's not really who we are. And I sometimes do find that online interactions can be a little too public.

Do you feel the same way?

I don't know about you, but I found that video extremely hilarious, especially Serena Williams. That was a very... shall I say dramatic performance? I almost couldn't believe it when I saw it on TV last year!
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Monday, 29 November 2010
Just Because

This will be my second entry in two days, because I'm determined to surpass the number of entries I had last year, and it just dawned on me that to do that I would have to update almost every day until year's end. So, here goes nothing!

Today I will write about... living abroad. It is something that I am a little passionate about, because I'm obviously, not living in my home country anymore. For many people, I guess they don't see themselves staying on in Malaysia, and so they seek greener grasses elsewhere.

I absolutely understand when someone says that they're moving overseas to further their career or to seek better opportunities. It's natural. And sure, the Malaysian government needs to rethink its strategy in attracting Malaysians back and preventing more from leaving. I mean, can you really ask people to leave their high paying jobs for a substantially lower one, with less work-life balance?

The way I see it, it makes sense that if a professional gets a better offer elsewhere, he/she would take it. The challenge for the Malaysian government, therefore, would be to try to give these people a reason to stay. Suppose they implement new workplace laws that ensures quality of life for employees.

But what I cannot tolerate, is when Malaysia is degraded. Granted, we do have our issues that should be talked about, but there has to be a line between obvious issues out in the open like education (Maths and Science in English, for example) and so-called open secrets like 'the government is corrupted'. I mean, call me dumb, but I do recall this game called 'pass the message' that shows that whatever message at the end of the line is very different from the beginning.

And let's not forget the Malay proverb 'meludah ke langit, jatuh ke muka sendiri' (or something that goes along that line). Criticising your own country only brings you down. Sometimes, when the locals are surprised at my English proficiency, I do feel annoyed, but I also feel happy that I'm breaking down stereotypes. If you go and keep saying 'Malaysia is bad' then everyone will just think you're bad too.

These are just the sort of things I think about sometimes when I have nothing better to do. They're really interesting, because there's no definite answer- there are many sides to an argument that are all logical. In due time, maybe I'll write them down. For now, that's all I have!

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Sunday, 28 November 2010

So I'm back, and at a loss as to what to blog about. I had written a reminder to blog about some of the things I've cooked this year, but I can no longer do that since I've lost my pictures. And that's really a shame, because one of the dishes I cooked this year was actually really tasty. It was a dish that I made myself because I had a little bit of everything, but not enough for a dish. So I pooled them all together to make a soup-ish dish. It tasted really good that I purposely made it again. But alas, I don't have a picture of it!

It was a really simple dish, stir fry vegetables and chicken breast with garlic, added with some other ingredients (mushrooms and sausages and some others if I'm not mistaken), and some water to make it soupy (the garlic added flavour, really tasty!) and some chilli sauce to make it spicy. And voila! That was probably the best dish I've cooked. Or maybe it's just because I've only cooked it twice.

Evolution of a foodie

This semester, I'm finding myself becoming more of a foodie. I think it's because I have relegated myself to eating uber simple meals that lasts for a week. Basically, I cook during the weekends, keep the food refrigerated, and microwave them every day until it runs out. Then the cycle begins again. Lack of good food's definitely got to me, and I now find myself scouring through various food blogs from here and from home. Of course, it is a very simple thing of forcing myself to cook every day, but I'm just too lazy for that.

But that's also a good thing, because it makes me appreciate what Malaysia has to offer (don't you think the Tourism Ministry should really just start advertising good food instead of all that cultural stuff that gets embroiled in legal battles with neighbouring countries?). But I've also learned other things here, too. I've had some life lessons handed to me, and I've learned things about myself and other people. I like to say that after being here for almost a year I'm now less naive, less likely to believe convincing empty promises, and less likely to tolerate bad treatment.

The Harry Potter cast at the Deathly Hallows Part 1 premiere- don't they all (minus Ralph Fiennes and Emma Watson) look so much older than their actual age?

One of the more interesting things people tell me is that I don't seem like a PR person, because I don't talk much. That's what I have to go into a tirade about how there's more to PR than just talking; there are things like writing that's part of PR as well. But then I remember that the person is only saying that because they don't know me well. There are many sides to me, and (I have to brag about this) I've always gotten very good results (most recently, a High Distinction) when it comes to assignments involving presentations and speeches. So what does it say when I perform better than the 'people person'?

Finally, as I've run out of things to write, here's an article I read on how technology is improving education. It was pretty logical, although from my previous post I'm sure you know that there are downsides as well. But then again, nothing's perfect, right?

And of course, there's the almost-mandatory movie trailer!

Have a great week ahead!
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Monday, 22 November 2010
Did You Know

Did you know that in a study on how Facebook functions in real life romance:

  • Guys are more likely to keep relationship statuses under wraps: 17% of guys don’t share their status, compared to 12% of girls.
  • Girls think it’s exciting to change their relationship status: 50% of girls get a kick out of the status change — one-third of guys agree; 24% of guys find it unnecessary, compared to 17% of girls.
Also, that the rise of the Internet, computers and other gadgets in our lives have now led to us younger people being easily distracted? I find this pretty true, sometimes I find it hard to focus on reading a book. And even when reading things online I only skim through it, I find it so hard to focus entirely on a written article now when there's YouTube.

That's probably why now my posts aren't very long any more, and they tend to skip from topic to topic (yes, I've noticed).

That's also why experts say one of the most alluring sleep distractions is the 24-accessibility to the Internet.

But like the article pointed out, it's not necessarily a bad thing; for if I grew up in this age I would definitely have had an easier life learning new things- books would be so much more interesting when read on an iPad, and no teacher would punish me because of my handwriting (I really got it bad one year) because it's all neatly typed out anyway. And perhaps I would've found my interest for writing earlier.

Anyway, I'll be away for the week so I won't be updating in the next few days, so here's two videos to keep you amused till then. One's a trailer for the upcoming movie The Tourist, and another is a clip I saw on TV last night.

See you soon!
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Thursday, 18 November 2010

A blog is like a journal, full of one's thoughts, filled with one's personality and style, and documents the changes in a person throughout the years.

This blog, started in 2007 as a WordPress blog, before I moved to Blogger because it was so much easier to use. When I first started my entries were short as I struggled to find words to express myself. Throughout the years I've had many experiences, most of which I've even forgotten. Through reading my previous entries I could even see the changes in me as a person.

Today, while rereading some of my previous entries I definitely felt a feeling of nostalgia. Some of these experiences I had written down, I had not remembered until I read it. This semester, in one of my subjects where we explored Web 2.0 (interactive technologies like Blogger, Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia that places an emphasis on user-generated content), it was said that there has been 3 changes in youths today- First, they think of themselves as having an audience, second, they have archived their adolescence and third, their skin is thicker than most adults. Isn't this completely true? I write this blog, knowing that only a few of my friends read it- the rest of my readers are people who I don't know- or people I know, but whom I'm unaware are reading my blog. And this... journal, blog, whatever you want to call it, is my diary, in a way- it contains my high school life (the end of it anyway) till now. They're like an archive of memories, just like a photo album and a diary.

 2 years ago, I expressed my insecurity when it comes to the supernatural. It was an event that I had forgotten, until now. Thinking back, it was a scary experience.

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.

I do remember the time when me and my friends used Fatimah for everything. Every empty seat would have Fatimah sitting on it, every noise would be attributed to her. But that wasn't the scariest- it happened outside of school.

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".

Reading that today, I am shocked that she exists. Not that I don't believe in her existence; it's just that every school has its own spooky tale. Recently I had been spooked once again by another tale, but I shan't share it here.

Then there's this entry about growing up. To date I still regard it as one of the best pieces I've written.

There's also a post about the day I received my SPM results. No kidding, it will be a day I can hardly forget; I am very happy with my results.

One entry that brought laughs to my face is one on me being a movie buff. From watching movies right after it's released, to now, when I watch a movie once every few months. It's pathetic, really. I did watch a movie recently, though- it was The Social Network. I found it pretty good, although when I came home the first thing I did was to find out just how accurate events in the movie were.

 But the entry that struck a cord was one where I retold what a teacher told me and a couple of people.

When you put coffee beans, an egg and a carrot in 3 different cups with hot water, what happens?

First, the carrot. After being immersed it goes flaccid.

The egg is quite the opposite. It hardens instead.

And how about the coffee beans? They produce aroma with hot water.

Sort of like when the going gets tough, the tough gets going, but phrased better. As I recalled this incident it really made me think. Right now it's like being in hot water. Hopefully I'm the one that produces aroma, although I doubt it.

What about you, dear reader? What memories lie in your blog, unwilling to be forgotten?

P.S. Sorry about not posting my own pictures- lost them all to get my laptop fixed. Unfortunate, but can't be helped.
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Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Before I came to Australia, I was pretty much unaware or simply didn't care about security issues, be it physically or online. But since doing media studies, I've come to realise a lot of things that I had not considered before.

Facebook is one such example. I really had not considered the privacy issues on Facebook before, but this year, I became more and more private (so technically, my studies is not the only reason) so I began tightening my privacy settings on Facebook. And for those of you who don't think it's an issue, consider this: what if somebody saves your photos, then creates another Facebook account using your photos and use it for criminal purposes? Unlikely, but still, why leave the opening there?

Melbourne, where I'm moving to next year

I also used to play a couple of Facebook games and quizzes. Games I got tired of, but one day I just deleted all the applications so that they wouldn't be able to get access to my information. Now, if I take a quiz, I always revoke permission once I'm done. It's a serious issue; it was found that many popular Facebook apps give away user IDs to other companies. Which means that these companies can know who you are, who your friends are, and so on.

When I first came here, I locked my room door at night, effectively locking myself in when other people leave their sliding doors open to let the outside air in. I just didn't feel safe at first; at night the area's horribly dark, unlike back home. But now I've let loose a little, so I no longer lock my room door. But when I come home, when I'm going up the stairs I look behind me first to see if anyone's hiding at the top, then look to the right and left to see if anyone's in the corridor before going to my unit.

I know, I know, sounds as if I'm paranoid. But it can be scary sometimes. There was this one night when I was ill that I couldn't sleep, and I heard the sound of helicopters. That was around midnight. The funny thing was, it wasn't just passing by, the sound was continuous, as if it was circling the area. I started scaring myself with storylines you watch in movies. But turns out it wasn't too far from what I imagined- a robbery had occurred that night to a student on the way home from uni, and so police were looking for the culprits.

These things scare me sometimes. It worries me that anyone could be using information gathered about me online to steal my identity. Remember some old Sandra Bullock movie where she was framed as a killer when someone stole her identity and switched it with the impostor's? How can you prove you are who you say you are, then?

I will end this post with one video that is a little disturbing, although it is purely for entertainment.

Pretty creepy, eh?
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Saturday, 13 November 2010
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First of all, I apologise for not updating. The laptop decided to betray me by crashing on the eve of one of my deadlines. So for the past week I have been relentlessly doing my assignments, and I only got my laptop fixed yesterday.

I've now completed all of them, and can now enjoy my holidays. Today has been great; I have done nothing but enjoy the day. But while my laptop was not fixed yet I had borrowed some DVDs from uni and watched them there to while the time away, and yesterday I watched this movie Amreeka.

It is the story of a Palestinian mother and son who decided to migrate to America, and how they coped with the struggle to fit in. Here's the trailer:

I've watched the movie, and it's really good! In some small way, I do find that I can relate to them, because I am living in a foreign country as well. One of favourite scenes was when the main character Muna (who just arrived in America) was having a conversation with her sister who has been in America for 15 years, and her sister basically said 'I don't know why you'd decide to come here. If I were given a choice I would go home in a heartbeat'.
Her reply was that it is not the same anymore, and life is just difficult back home- for example the army built a wall to separate two territories and so now, she has to take 2 hours to get to work when it was only 15 minutes before. Basically she felt like a prisoner in her own home, and that it was aimless; they were just living, that's all.

Her sister's reply, was that 'it's still home'. And that really resonated with me, because sometimes that's how I feel too. Sure, there are plenty of opportunities here,  but it's nowhere like home. This is why I think I enjoyed the movie- I could understand how they felt being in a foreign country and what they have to go through every day, struggling to fit in.

So go watch it if you can find it; it's quite a good movie.

This is all for now. I need time to configure my laptop to how I want it to be.
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Tuesday, 2 November 2010
Have You Ever

Do you remember how Enid Blyton used to describe things in her books? The forest full of trees and grass and other plants, kids playing in the woods and all that. I still remember reading her Faraway Tree series, and was enchanted. I vaguely remember how she described the nature-ish things, but I remember that it was really good.

This year, while I had made a short trip to Mount Barker, which is in the Adelaide Hills about an hour by bus from the city, certain parts of the place made me feel as if I had went into Enid Blyton's world.

Me and my friend first made a stop at the train station, and that was where I got the first dose of it. There were people there about to hop on a train, all dressed up looking like they came from the '20s. Of course, you wouldn't understand how I felt at that time because you weren't there, but imagine this: you walk out of the bus, seeing normal signs of civilisation- roads, cars, shops, and then you walk to the railway station, past the archway, and in front of you is a train that looked like it came from the '20s (or maybe later, I'm not too sure- would anyone care to enlighten me?) and people who dressed like that as well. It's like... stepping onto Platform Nine and Three Quarters from Kings Cross.

I looked at the people. They were really dressed for the occasion. The only hints that told me that I'm still in 2010 was the fact that some of them took out their cell phones, and some were drinking a can of Coke.

 Look at how they're dressing! Pretty awesome, right?

 Old-ish looking train

The front of the train

They reminded me a little of Titanic; they were dressed as members of the elite of that time, I suppose. I didn't have many pictures of them (and no close-ups) because I didn't know any of them and didn't want to ask for a photo (I'm shy that way). But it was an amazing experience, even though it lasted for only about 10 minutes.

Then we went exploring, and that's when Enid Blyton came in. There were quiet roads undisturbed by  modern developments;

there were quaint houses filled with greenery;

there were lush, wide fields where animals could freely roam (in this case, just two);

and so many more which I either don't have pictures of or because I don't want to show them (but I'll show you one last one).

 Railway! I managed to take a picture in the middle of it

It was, to say the least, breathtaking. But of course, it came to an end when it was time to leave. That's probably one of the things I like about Adelaide- you have a city centre that's considered to be urban (although not as lively as other bigger cities), but just a short drive away is the country where you can go there just to relax or to enjoy nature (not that I can't enjoy nature back home- remember my Gopeng trip?).

So for any of you who has grown tired of the hustle and bustle of the city and want a fresh change in Australia, Adelaide just might be your place (I don't know why I'm promoting Adelaide even though I don't plan to stay).

And that, folks, is all for today.
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Wednesday, 27 October 2010
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Today was the last class for one of my subjects. And surprisingly, I felt a little sad that it's over. Sure, I complain about the assignments, but the tutor's pretty funny!

Next week, for another subject I will be required to deliver a speech in class. Due to a stroke of inspiration today (fuelled by the constant talk about my future, my career, what I want to do with my degree, the possibility of doing Honours, etc) I suddenly felt pumped and typed out a draft. I'll make some changes as I go, but I hope to finish it by this week so that I can begin memorising it (haven't done that in a long time!).

Sometimes I wonder what people from home will say when I mention that I plan to transfer to Melbourne next year. It suddenly struck me that back home, we have always been 'taught' to discover our passion early in our lives, so that we can study that once we enter college. And when you do, switching is normally frowned upon. Now I'm only transferring to another institution, but I did wonder what would people think if I switched courses. Perhaps most people from home don't realise that it is in university that you begin to discover what you like, and that's what I like about the American university system- you take a broad range of subjects at the beginning, and you only declare a major later on in your degree. Or at least that's how I understand the system to be.

That, is among some of the things that I've come to realise about home. It's like that poem from high school, Si Tenggang's Homecoming. It is absolutely true that being abroad makes you see things in a different perspective, and when you come home you sometimes see the ways and thinking of your people as conservative and narrow-minded.

And... I've run out of things to write. But I do have another trailer!

The movie's Priest, and until my next update, see ya (figuratively)!
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Friday, 22 October 2010
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It's really starting to hit me, that in just a few more weeks I would have completed my first year at university. Another 2 more, and I would be a degree holder. It really feels surreal, that soon I would be have completed one third of my degree.

Being in high school, and even college, seemed like such a long time ago. It seems like forever since I graduated from high school, since I got my SPM results, when it all happened just about two years ago.

Time is a precious thing indeed. Sometimes it just passes by too quickly. Like now, it's almost 9pm, and I am supposed to do my assignment! I've decided that for the next two weeks or so I will keep myself busy and keep myself even more tightly secluded from everyone else, and focus on my assignments. Then after that, I'll have lots of time to enjoy. I'm definitely going to watch some movies that I have on my computer, there are a few that I haven't gotten to watching yet and a few that I would like to watch again.

As such, I will be taking a break, so don't expect much updates here. I might leave a short update or two, but I simply cannot distract myself further by taking time off to update this blog too often.

So until the next time I update, here's a short clip from Failblog (again, I know) and a preview of a new TV series that I've begun watching (and am liking it thus far), called Nikita. I know, it's another distraction!

Have a wonderful weekend!
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