Friday, 29 January 2010
February Blues

Noooo it's gonna be February soon!!

I actually wanted to type something about how soon I'm leaving for Adelaide, but instead every sentence that came out sounded as if I was going to die soon, so I scrapped them off.

I have been quite busy with preparations actually, there are always things I need to do. But hopefully now I'm done and I can start packing. Anyhow even if I have not bought everything I need I'll still need to start packing.


Taken during my trip to Gopeng last year. I didn't want to go out of the hut (yes, hut) looking horrible (the water was too cold to bathe in), and there were no mirrors, so I had to resort to the only technology available that can show me how I look.
 
It feels weird, going to a different place all alone for such a long time, where I'll be forced to adapt and be on my own. No parental help. Everyone keep asking me whether I'm excited.

Honestly, if it were a holiday then obviously I would be excited, but this is different. How can I possibly be excited when I'm leaving my homeland for such a long time? I get it, some people are excited at leaving home and seeing new things and making new friends, but I've always been a home person. I know I can adapt, but that doesn't mean it'll make me feel better.


Graduation! This picture was taken with my Moral teacher of 2 years. She was fussy, but her classes were always very insightful and enlightening. But she meant well. She just wanted her students to score. And I did!

It really means that I'm leaving everything I have here. How can I be excited over that? But then again, I'm not dreading it either. I know the day will come, I know I have to go, and a part of me want to go. I know it's the only way I can see the world, experience a different culture, and grow up.

So I find it really hard to answer that question. Normally I just smile, and sometimes I say I'm not excited, but I'm not dreading it. Sometimes I just let the conversation move to another topic.

Another thing that I get a lot is when I tell people when I'm leaving the reply would be "you're leaving before Chinese New Year? Why don't you leave AFTER?"


I'm a conehead!
 
I am sorely tempted to say "Yeah, yeah, I planned to go Adelaide before CNY for no reason". But I've been able to hold my tongue so far and explain politely that my orientation would be held during CNY.

I think I get annoyed when different people say the same thing. Once I pointed out to my sister, who had also observed that this 'trend' keeps happening to her, that every time she tells someone she's studying in Russia the reply would be "oh medicine- ah? I know so-and-so who's also studying there". Yeah, I love networking so much that I need to know every single Malaysian who is in Russia. Jeez, I can't imagine how it must be for her, even I am annoyed by it.

So the next time you see me, you know what to do: Don't say something everyone else already did.
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Saturday, 23 January 2010
Start The Countdown

Yesterday I went for a pre departure briefing, then headed to Bukit Jalil to watch the Malaysian Open.





In the briefing, we were told on what should we prepare before leaving, as well as what to do and expect there. While there were some very good advice, some were just common sense, although obviously some students don't have it because they had to warn us about it!

We were asked to mingle around after the briefing with people going to the same place as us. There were 2 other students going to UniSA, one of which is my former schoolmate. But there was nothing to do, there was no point in getting the contact numbers because all three of us are in different courses in 3 different campuses.

On my way home I passed by another person going to UniSA (we wore tags) but I was rushing home so that I could get ready in time.

At the Malaysian Open, we managed to get good seats, 5th row without counting the VIP seats (other players, officials, media, etc). I got to see players warming up, as well as some really awesome matches!


As it was the quarter finals, the players played on 4 courts, and so my attention was split between 4 different matches at a time.

I didn't take many pictures because I believe flash photography is not allowed, and without the flash the pictures came out not very nice. But I did see some flashes throughout the matches. 


I find that I was very interested in the production aspects, like the cameras, the commentators booth (although I'm still not sure about this yet- care to enlighten me, EL), the journalists' workplace, etc; and also looking at how the players interacted with each other off court. Basically, the things you don't see on TV.

That's all I guess.
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Wednesday, 20 January 2010
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Today I managed to watch The Spy Next Door, starring Jackie Chan.

The movie’s about a spy for the CIA (Jackie) who is left to babysit his neighbour’s children. The reason? He’s in love with her, and would do anything for her. But a previous mission was compromised, and as a result he needs to prevent everyone from getting in trouble. Oh and the kids hate him, too.

I think the movie was meant to be a rather lame comedy. Think Frankie Muniz’s Agent Cody Banks and Stormbreaker (based on the Alex Rider novels, which are not lame or funny at all). And it was highly similar to Vin Diesel’s Pacifier.

The villains were just so… not evil. I can’t see how they can be world class criminals. They just don’t give off the “listen to me and give me what I want or you’re dead” vibe. Honestly they looked like a joke.

Jackie Chan wasn’t all that funny; it was the middle child who stole the show (by being a child genius). He just had fantastic one liners that made you laugh and wonder what he’s gonna say next. He was the one who kept the audience entertained. I think without him the movie would’ve been rather lame, although ticket sales would still be there thanks to Jackie Chan’s name.

George Lopez was in it too, though his role in the movie was, in my opinion, negligible. Even if he weren’t in the movie, the finale would still be the same. I wonder what his salary was.

But I was surprised that they had involved an American family in this. It just seemed so unusual for Hollywood. I mean, Jackie Chan, an Asian man, with a Caucasian woman? Unheard of in Hollywood, and I’m all for it. But Jackie’s accent is just too weird for me to imagine them being together.

Overall, the movie was not a waste of time, but it gets no better than that.
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Sunday, 17 January 2010
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Since I have nothing else to do, I had compiled a list of my favourite movies of the decade, from 2000 to 2009. I originally wanted to trim it down to 10 but found I could not, so here are the17 movies I felt was the best of the decade (arranged alphabetically):

1. Avatar (2009)

No explanations needed I think? The movie was spectacular, although some critics would disagree. But I loved it.

2. Cheaper By The Dozen 2 (2005)

Is it any wonder that I wouldn't like a movie which has a large family, considering my previous post?

3. Doubt (2008)

I actually bought this movie because I saw that Amy Adams was nominated for an award and wanted to see how good she was, since I've only seen her in Enchanted. Suffice to say that I'm impressed.

4. Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007)

Almost anything concerning Tudor history fascinates me, so it's not a surprise that I enjoyed this movie. Here's the extended trailer.

5. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)

How can I not add this movie to the list? It actually made me start reading books!

6. Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)

I've never played the game, so I'm not comparing it with the game. But I added it because of some elements that fascinated me, like secret societies and ancient ruins. Lame, but what can I do? \

7. Meet The Fockers (2004)

A fantastic movie! It was so hilarious. This is definitely one of the best comedies I've watched.

8. Monsters, Inc. (2001)

A very old movie, yet I remember a lot of it! Really creative I think, something like Planet 51, but better. I remember watching it repeatedly when it came out. The very real phenomena of children being afraid of monsters in the dark, and I was afraid of monsters in the dark. Maybe it helped me.

9. National Treasure (2004)

What I liked most about this movie was the history. I can't even explain it, but I was just so attracted to the conspiracies and secrets of the U.S. It's something like a movie version of Relic Hunter (a TV show).

10. Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)

Johnny Depp was mightily funny as Captain Jack Sparrow. The script is definitely good, although the 2 sequels weren't as funny.

11. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (2005)

Again, a big family (4 siblings). Plus of my 2 favourite characters, one learned a noble lesson whilst the other was made of icy invincibility. Yup, I had liked the 2 villains of the movie: Edmund Pevensie and the White Witch.

12. The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

I remember watching this after my PMR, and was surprised at how good it was. It was entertaining, with lots of lessons in it as well.

13. The Incredibles (2004)

Superheroes in hiding, a very different look at the lives of superheroes as normal people. Some just can't resist showing off, whereas some are perfectly content with the fact that they don't have to put their lives on hold every time a disaster occurs.

14. The Other Boleyn Girl (2008)

Tells the story of how Anne Boleyn captured the heart of Henry VIII to become Queen of England. Like I sad, Tudor history fascinates me.

15. The Proposal (2009)

Although Sandra Bullock looked old enough to be her man's mum, it was EXTREMELY funny, especially her rapping scene! One of the movies where I had laughed throughout the whole movie.

16. Transformers (2007)

What else is there to say about this movie?

17. White Chicks (2004)

Another movie which made me laugh the entire time! It was just so funny!

So there you go. My 17 favourite movies. How about you? Which movies are your personal favourites of the decade?
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Saturday, 16 January 2010
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Guess what? For the past week or more, I have been staying at home, doing nothing but watching TV and surfing the Net. Occasionally there is a chore for me to do which requires me to get out of the house, or something related to my uni application.

But I wouldn't call it unproductive. It's just like taking a sabbatical. I'm taking a break before uni starts. And the love of staying at home is a trait that seems to come to at least one family member in every generation of the family. Anyway, I'm enjoying all the time that I can spend at home before I leave.

It is during these times that I think about life. How would I be when I've graduated, when I'm 30, when I'm 40, 50, and so on.

I've also continued watching Brothers & Sisters where I left off, and am again addicted to the show. It is getting better and better! And the problems the characters face are very real.

Somehow the idea of such a big family where no secrets can stay hidden is very appealing. And the idea of having so many siblings, too! It's so nice to see a big family who can make so much noise, because families nowadays are getting smaller and smaller that the atmosphere just isn't there anymore.

I just love large families, like my mother's. Her family is huge, sometimes the relatives don't even know they're related. Of course, it's smaller now.

Another thing I like is family history. I remember when I was young I begged my dad every night to tell me stories of his childhood that I could memorize them and tell others (not that I ever did).

We can be so funny sometimes, huh?
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Monday, 11 January 2010
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A few days ago my sister bought a book, and finished it in a day or two. Yesterday I took it and began reading it.

The book? The Last Eunuch of China.

This is a biography written by a Chinese author, and the book was later translated. Basically this man, whose name I can't remember, decided to become a eunuch to escape poverty. The book chronicles his life, from birth to death (I think).

It was quite interesting at the beginning, telling about how his family was so poor. When a rich eunuch arrives in town, naturally he was interested. Later other events caused him to be determined to be a eunuch, even though his mother who loved him dearly was clearly against it. 

What followed was his father's agreement to castrate him. What's worse was descriptions of how this was done. There are several methods, which I shall not write down here, for yesterday night when I read it I found that I could no longer hold the book. It was nauseating, how young boys were prevented from developing into puberty. 

I might pick the book up again tonight, but I'm definitely skipping that chapter. I was surrounded by thoughts of barfing before I fell asleep. It was that disgusting. 

On a happier note, have anyone watched the movie Wild Child? It's a comedy starring Emma Roberts, and was really funny although the ending wasn't unexpected at all. 

It tells the story of an American teen who gets sent off to an English boarding school by her father. 


Of course, there's the insecure "popular" girl (head girl in this movie's case), the perfect guy, and loyal friends. It's like Sydney White (not sure if anyone's heard of this movie!). But it was still entertaining, so it's worth the time in my opinion. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a rating of 39%.
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Saturday, 9 January 2010
Small Talk

I originally wanted to post this yesterday, but we all know what happened yesterday. In the end I just didn't have the mood to blog.

Before leaving Langkawi! 
 
Anyway, there was an article in StarTwo yesterday on why we humans act differently in the company of different people.

AT ALMOST every year-end, my uncle from Kuala Lumpur would come to Penang with his children and grandchildren for a short holiday.

The last year-end was no exception. Playing host to them was easy. All I had to do was join them for dinner on as many evenings as possible.

But one evening, I had a function to attend later, so I suggested to my female friend, whom I was to pick up for that event, to join me and my relatives for a quick dinner before proceeding to our destination. She agreed, and that saved me time and petrol.

However, during dinner, I noticed a different side of my friend which I had never seen nor imagined before. She was exceptionally quiet, hardly the person I had known for years.

Sound familiar? The plot thickens:

I’ve known her to be good at socialising within our circle of friends. I would consider her nei­­ther an extrovert nor an introvert; just something in between.

When I read the article I realized that I could relate to this woman. I can talk a lot with my circle of friends, but in the company of strangers I would immediately quiet down.

Having fun in Langkawi

The explanation was that this friend of the author is using a "mask".

Some people call it “the mask”, – the various personalities that we project when in different situations.

“Masks are a product of our cul­­ture, its prescribed etiquette, and our own psychological defence net­work,” says Marcia Grad in her book, Charisma: How To Get “That Special Magic”.

“We have masks which are helpful in defining and maintaining our various roles, such as parent and employee masks. And we have masks for various occasions, like parties and funerals.

“We need our public masks in order to be socially accepted and to control our involvement with the large numbers of people we meet every day.”

So, perhaps this was the mask my friend had put on for my relatives – a cool, no-nonsense girl as opposed to the usual carefree, warm personality that she is known for.

I find it to be totally true. I remember when I entered college I was more reserved and quiet. I interacted with the others politely, but did not show more of myself. But later on when I got to know them better I began to let loose- and needless to say my classmates were surprised at my personality. Comments ranged from "mean" to "heartless".

Ice creams not allowed!

And it is also true-

“Once two new people have spo­­­ken to one another, however briefly or superficially, further conversation becomes easier,” Grad says.

“Even asking someone at a gathering, ‘Where is the bathroom?’ will make it more comfort­able for that person to say something to you later. Once the verbal barrier is bro­­ken, the feeling that the other per­­son is a stranger diminishes,” she says.

Here's the full article.
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Thursday, 7 January 2010
Recap

It is so weird when the school year started this year. For the first time since I was 7, I did not attend any classes as I'm still on holiday and am waiting for my application to UniSA to be finalized.

Since standard 1, the beginning of the school year was dreaded. It meant that I can no longer rot at home and would have to do homework, and go to school. Last year, I had to drag myself to college, not knowing what I'll find there.

In my first day of Form 5, I wrote about suppressing one side of me, the wild side of me since I was very young. I had always exuded the aura of someone who's always controlled, a good student, kind and all that. I wrote that I should let go a little sometimes. And I did! My last year in school was life changing. I had definitely showed a wilder and meaner side, which carried on to college.

Our roles in a play for some activity. We had to look rebellious. It was so good we were asked to do it again for the afternoon session.
 
I also talked about how I was dissatisfied with my teachers. Just yesterday I was sitting down with a couple of friends talking about school, and I realized how I didn't pay attention to many teachers in my final year. Add Maths, Biology, Physics, Maths, and BM, to name a few. But there were really nice and good teachers as well, who made me enjoy their subjects more.

My signature pose! Seriously, that pose is copyrighted to me. I remember doing it a lot when I was young, the result of the teachings of a certain kindergarten teacher. One day I'll show you a picture of it... maybe.
 
Last year was when I stepped into college. It took me time to get used to it, perhaps more time than the average person needs. My first day was tiring. I had woke up at 6+, nearly 7, and was home only in the evening during orientation, which was exhausting. When I talked about my first week, it was Thursday, where classes ended at 2 with no classes on Friday, which was a relief.

Class picture, taken sometime early last year.
 
I also took time to adjust to the longer hours spent in classes. I remember that the first semester was tiring. We had classes from around 8-5, and there were probably only 2 subjects in a day. So minus the lunch hour, that's about 4 hours per subject. Anyone can handle an 8-5 day, but not if there's a lot of repetition.

 This picture is old! 

And this year, I have been unaffected by the new school year. No bags to pack, no classes to attend. It feels different, but I'm not complaining. Have I mentioned how much I love holidays when I can rot at home?

But it shows that the last 2 years have been life altering. I had complained about Form 5 at the beginning, but learned a lot and enjoyed it. Last year, I had to adjust to a new environment in college, and it was definitely fun while it lasted.
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Tuesday, 5 January 2010
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So I watched Avatar on New Year’s. I had followed the press reports on this movie, mainly because it has been said that this movie is the next step forward in moviemaking, and I’m a fan of movies and am studying media. Just today I read that it has surpassed New Moon, The Dark Knight and Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, and is a candidate to dethrone Titanic.

Avatar is about man’s efforts to takeover another planet in the name of development, and they used a technology called the Avatar Program to get to know the natives. Basically, they create the species of alien that inhabits the planet, except that these aliens are connected to humans, and can only be controlled by humans. They’re like robots, except that they look like the natives of that planet- the Na’Vi. Makes sense, too- it is easier to befriend someone if you look the same.

I found the movie really good; it serves as a warning to us humans that the environment is suffering and we should not destroy something just to develop a place to earn money. It was a very long movie, nearly 3 hours, but I didn’t feel bored for one second.

The visual effects were really good; everything looked amazing and realistic. I didn’t watch it in 3D, however, and I think it was the right choice. Some action scenes would’ve been too harsh for the eyes and brain.
Towards the end, there were several very touching moments as well, which added to the overall good performance of the movie. In the end, I felt that not only was it an alien movie, but also one which serves a warning to humans to save the environment.

Avatar was definitely better than what I expected. I suggest you go watch it if you haven’t. You won’t be disappointed.

And there's this site where you can make your own avatar! You will need a photo of your face like in a passport sized photo. Also your hair should not be blocking your face and you should not be smiling. I made mine, to hilarious effect, but I think I should not put it here, you will die of laughter if I do.
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Monday, 4 January 2010
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This is another really funny tag. Thanks for tagging May Zhen!

The Rules for the Tag are:

1. Put your Music Player on shuffle.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
3. YOU MUST WRITE THAT SONG NAME DOWN NO MATTER HOW SILLY IT SOUNDS.
4. Tag your friends

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF?
Move Along



WHAT DO YOU LIKE IN A GIRL/BOY?
Crazy
[Hmmmmm...]



HOW DO YOU FEEL TODAY?
Lie To Me
[Let me test my lie detecting skills!]



WHAT IS YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE?
You Belong With Me
[Surrender your will to me! Or else!]



WHAT’S YOUR MOTTO?
Leave Out All The Rest
[And focus on the task at hand!]



WHAT DO YOUR FRIENDS THINK OF YOU?
Bop Bop Baby
[Huh?]



WHAT DO YOUR PARENTS THINK OF YOU?
Beautiful Place
[Haha!]



WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT VERY OFTEN?
Take A Bow
[*Practices bow to Queen*]



WHAT IS 2 + 2?
Chasing Cars
[Sarcasm. I like it]



WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR BEST FRIEND?
I Do Not Hook Up
[I'm not narcissistic.... Okay maybe I am, a little]



WHAT IS YOUR LIFE STORY?
Come Home
[Agreed!]



WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP?
Circus
[Either work in a circus, or be a wild individual. Which do you prefer?]



WHAT DO YOU THINK WHEN YOU SEE THE PERSON YOU LIKE?
Fool Again
[No comment]



WHAT WILL/DID YOU DANCE TO AT YOUR WEDDING?
Let It Rock
[Yeah!]



WHAT WILL THEY PLAY AT YOUR FUNERAL?
Apologize
[How touching]



WHAT IS YOUR HOBBY/INTEREST?
Tennessee
[Er... Is that a state in U.S.?]



WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST FEAR?
What Hurts The Most
[Ahhh... If only I can tell you what hurts the most]



WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST SECRET?
What’s Left of Me
[Yes. There's so little left of me. Now you know]



WHAT DO YOU WANT RIGHT NOW?
Lips of an Angel
[Totally!]



WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR FRIENDS?
Thunder
[Yup. They're outrageously loud]



WHAT WILL YOU POST THIS AS?
Not Meant To Be
[Hilarious!]



I Tag: Anyone who wants to do it
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Sunday, 3 January 2010
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Just like that, 2010 has arrived. Just like that, a year has passed.
And how did I usher in the new year? Unlike previous years, this time I was in my mum’s hometown. Boy, how different it was! Life there is slow, for a city person like me. There is absolutely nothing to do, except amuse yourself with a book perhaps, or maybe some computer games, the Internet (which was limited here) or even food. I have cons consistently been sleeping early while I am here; there is nothing for me to do at night. You can say that it is like being given a taste of how life in Adelaide would be like.
There were no New Year’s celebration near here that I know of; the only thing we did was head out to a kopitiam till around 10 before heading home. It was the only night thus far that I’ve slept after midnight, as I wanted to countdown to usher in the new year. You can say that there isn’t any New Year’s atmosphere at all.
I guess life like this isn’t that bad. Everything is so slow and laid back that you can really relax. I can’t really see myself living like this for long, but I suppose I’ll learn to.
And how did I spend my first day of 2010? Dim Sum breakfast, followed by my first movie of the year: Avatar.
When I return, I will have only one more month before leaving. I intend to fully enjoy my time, but sadly there are still many things to do before that. Hopefully, I will be able to sort everything out soon. I dearly want to enjoy my time here.
It is funny how I’m turning to my blog when I don’t have internet. This post is actually written in Word, without going online. I find that keeping a journal is such a good way of wasting time. I am truly thankful that I brought my laptop along; I would’ve died of boredom if I didn’t.
I also find myself totally cut off from the outside world- I had rarely used the Internet since Ipoh, and that was about 2 weeks ago. It sucks to feel this way, not knowing what’s going on.
But it’s not all bad. At the very least, I get to practice good sleeping habits!
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