Tuesday, 30 March 2010
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Once again, there's a sudden rush of assignments, and I find myself dealing with deadlines again.

Not that it's very last minute, I still have till next Friday, but assignments in university are expected to have lots of prior research done. Having internet now means that I don't have the luxury to watch TV shows or surf the net aimlessly, rather I have to do research on topics for my assignments.

I'm finding academia more and more interesting, maybe one day you'll see me working as a lecturer! LOL! Although, research isn't much fun, especially the part where you have to reference your work.

Being here, made me feel really proud of being Malaysian. I mean, I'm so thankful that we have mamaks and crazy drivers (which, actually, means we have superior driving skills- speed limit in Adelaide's 50, can you believe it?) and... everything. It's just so familiar to me, and so nice.

Survivor Heroes Vs Villains! It's pretty entertaining.

Today I read a book about international public relations, and there was a chapter about PR in South East Asia, and the author only mentioned Malaysia and Singapore. I was interested nonetheless. I read on PR in Malaysia, and even took notes! Hopefully they'll come in handy one day. But anyway, apparently PR in Malaysia started right after World War II, as the British needed to unite the people and convince them that the communists didn't win the war with Japan, they did.

And since being away means I have no contact with home, I've been reading blogs. Marina Mahathir had wrote about hyperpartisanship recently.

Isn't that exactly what's happening in Malaysia? I find that so true, the politicking is ridiculous. In fact, I think even here in South Australia it's about the same, just slightly better than back home. You may or may not have heard, but the SA state election had just passed. But I find that the politicians had been attacking each other in almost the same way as back home.

Tomorrow, it is classes as usual, but I'm actually thankful for that. Having classes keeps me busy and keeps my thoughts away from home, and I can actually get out of the house. Forcing myself to wake up is a good thing now, because it means that I have something to do.
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Sunday, 28 March 2010

I admit, I'm feeling pretty homesick right now.

It comes mostly at night, when I'm alone, supposedly to do my assignments.The reason? Most likely because the days are getting shorter, the nights are getting gloomier and with the Internet comes my surfing habits, my first reminder of home.

The saying is very true, you don't know what you've missed till it's gone. I can't say what I miss right now, it seems like I miss everything!

I miss waking up in the mornings and having newspaper bought, and being able to bring them to the dining table and read them while having my conveniently-prepared breakfast.

I miss turning my phone on (I no longer turn it off in the night in case of emergencies). I miss going online without having to constantly think about how much I've used already.

I miss driving out to meet up with friends, or go to classes, or going to the mamak for breakfast.

I miss the carefree days. I miss being a child. Being here makes me feel as if I'm growing up, when I don't. Come to think of it, being here makes me realise what an easy life I've led back home. I'd like nothing better than to cower back in the safety of home.

The internet's reminded me of what I had, what I left behind, and what I'm losing- my childhood.

And more than that, it reminds me of home, where my family and friends are.
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Friday, 26 March 2010
That's It!

So yes, I've gotten Internet.

Except that now, I can no longer afford the time to surf the net. I don't have that much of leisure time anymore. Which sucks, since when I needed entertainment I didn't have Internet, and now I have to work on my assignments, which are piling up. It was just so troublesome to not have Internet; I barely got any work done.

That's me against the backdrop of somewhere in Adelaide city.

And that's my room!

Being here, in a foreign country, all alone, I think it changed me. I might not have been here long, but I do see some things differently now. I guess it is true what people say, that you grow up overseas. I treasure so many things from home, even though people say how bad Malaysia is. Or maybe it's just homesickness starting to kick in.

Mind you, I think I wouldn't feel this way if I were going to be here only a year. I'll be here for three years, so when I think about something I miss, like hanging out at night with my dear friends at the mamak, and suddenly it hits me that it's only been a month, I have 2 years and 11 months to go.

I find myself constantly reading news about what's going on back home, be it on The Star Online or Malaysiakini, any news will do, I just want to know what's going on back home, because there's hardly any mention of our country here. The only one I can remember is one yesterday about workers being tricked into going to Malaysia for high paying jobs but are actually scams and are forced to work as labourers.

That's another saying that's true... home is where the heart is.

P.S. Don't worry, I've not forgotten about the post on my apartment! The mere thought of it cheers me up, so forgive me if I don't put it up soon! I want to perfect it first!
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Saturday, 20 March 2010
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Hello all! Seems like a long time since I last updated, I apologize.

I’ve been adapting to life at university- there’s always so much to read! And for our assignments we’re expected to read a lot and research more. I guess this is the life of a university student.

I’m enjoying most of my classes; I’m actually learning a lot of things. Except for one subject, which I don’t see the point of learning it at all. It just seems like the course was put together with no objective in mind, and the lecturer tends to go out of topic pretty often as well. Occasionally, to prove that if you don’t understand a language it will just be sounds to you, she would speak in German.

This week, I had stayed back at uni after classes every day to do some reading and research, since I still don’t have my internet connection. My appointment’s on Wednesday, though, so if all goes well I will have my own internet by Wednesday.

Speaking of which, once again I’ve faced a minor bump on the way, which could’ve turned into a bigger problem. The problem? The property manager. Some of you might have heard about me not liking the place I’m in; actually I’m rather getting used to living here, it’s the company renting the place out that’s giving me problems. There seem to be countless mistakes and errors on their part, and the way they run things is just plain inefficient at times. In the end after begging and pleading with them, it was solved. But I will elaborate on this more when I do have my own internet.

I’m really tired of how they’re treating me. I’m just thinking, the saying goes “do unto others what you want done upon you”. So if you look at it from the other person’s perspective, does it not mean that you should treat others how they treat you?

I’m just saying.
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Sunday, 14 March 2010
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You know, being born and bred in a certain place makes you do some things subconsciously.

For example, when I first came here, when I walked around and see signs above doors with green background and white letters, I expected to see “Keluar” (I’m short sighted) before realizing, upon closer view, that it’s in fact, “Exit”. It means the same thing, but it is amusing.

A funnier example would be when I was at the market, and I saw several packets of Maggi curry instant noodles. As many products, like Milo, have Australian made versions as well as from other countries, I immediately grabbed the packet of Maggi to inspect whether it was made in Malaysia. A friend asked me what I was doing. When I told him, he said “Duh! Can’t you see it’s PERENCAH KARI?” It then hit me that I had just automatically interpreted the sign, not realizing it was in BM.

I guess this means that sometimes we don’t really think about something we read, because we understand it. I see perencah kari and I immediately interpret it to mean curry flavor, and thought it was in English because, well, Australia’s national language is English.

And this wasn’t an isolated incident. It has happened to me several times after that, but I realized what happened soon after since it’s already happened before.

Speaking of being Malaysian, I find that I don’t really tell people where I’m from. Most Australians I meet don’t ask me where I’m from; one even asked me which school I was from! I’m thinking it must be because they don’t want to draw attention to the fact that I’m different, as that would be discriminatory (which I read in a book), or that… I’m picking up the accent? I don’t think that’s the case, because I still have a lot of lahs and mahs in my sentences, even though it doesn’t crop up when I speak to the locals.

But I did notice that one habit I’m picking up from them is I keep saying “Yea”. Like when you say something, and the other person replies, they go “yea yea…” to show that they understand what you’re saying. I’ve noticed that I’m starting to say it too, and sometimes in their accent!

The reason is pretty clear. Adelaide is not as popular with migrants as Melbourne or Sydney or Perth, so the majority of the population is still locals. Granted, in the city you’ll find a significant number of Asians, especially in the universities, but in my campus Asians are a rare breed.

I don’t know whether I’ve mentioned this, but I’ll say it again anyway. In my campus, I’m the smallest minority- Asian males. Good? Bad? You tell me.

P.S. Here's my blog for my assignment. Please remember that it's graded if you want to leave a comment!
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Thursday, 11 March 2010
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I have been here a month, believe it or not.

And how have I been? Without an internet connection of my own, I have been surviving on the university’s internet connection. Pretty hard to believe when I’ve used the internet all the time while I’m home.

And believe it or not, at the time of writing, I still do not have my internet connection. The payment has gone through from what I saw, so now it’s just the waiting game to see when it will arrive. I was told it takes 10-20 working days, which is horrible, but hopefully they will exceed my expectations this time.

Classes have been all right. I have no problem understanding what the lecturers and tutors are saying, it’s adjusting to the system that’s hard. The locals here have the advantage thanks to their upbringing. They are quick to analyze something they’re told, and quick to ask questions about it too. And I have to say that I don’t fare so well in that department. I have always been a passive learner. I sit and let information enter my head. I do not question, I do not analyze. I just absorb.

As to getting used to the place, I’m finding it pretty confusing. It seems that I take more time than the normal person does to familiarize with a place. Perhaps it’s due to the fact that I rarely explore. My life revolves around being at home studying and preparing for classes, watching TV shows on my laptop or the TV, or being at uni either at classes or at the computer labs. On days with no classes I either stay at home, or go to the market (I’m trying to make it once a week), or go out with friends when there’s an outing. I don’t make it a habit to explore the place, and hence I don’t know it so well.

The weather’s getting colder these days, and the sun sets earlier. I would say that it is pretty much like back home right now, by 7am the sun is rising, and by 730 the sun is setting; just that the weather is cold, like in Cameron Highlands or Genting right now. I can’t imagine how winter will be like. I’ve never experienced winter anywhere before, so it will be interesting I think, although I must say I don’t think I’ll like winter, it’ll be cold, wet and gloomy. I think I’m more of a summer person, where the sun rises early and sets late. I’m more of a morning person anyway.

My accommodation… I shall refrain from saying anything now. I actually have a blog post ready to be posted right now (I had nothing to do, so I might as well pen my thoughts!) about my apartment, but I’ll wait till I get my own internet first, since I still need to get a set of keys from them to open some box thing so the technician can set my internet up. Once that’s done then I can at least talk about it a little; when my contract’s done it’s no holds barred.

To quote my English teacher back in school, who in turn used to quote some scorned political wife saying “don’t get mad, get even”.
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Monday, 8 March 2010
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I’m officially a university student now. How is it like?

For starters, I’m expected to be more mature now. I’m expected to prepare for classes and revise what I’ve just learned, and also ask questions during tutorials and complete assignments on time.

Before every class, the lecturer will post some readings plus the chapters from the text book that I’m supposed to read on the course website, and us students are expected to go on it and find out. Then after the lecture, we’re expected to go to the website again to download the lecture notes.

Back home in school and college, there are always teachers and lecturers who will still pressure you to some point, reminding you of the need to study. A Malaysian thing perhaps? Here they don’t do that. They tell you that if you work hard, you can rise to the top. But they do not force you, though. It’s entirely your choice.
And of course, like any other uni, in every class, I will be with different people. Every course will have people from different years and different programs.

My first week has been really just introductions to the courses, lecturers just spend the time telling us what the course is about, what to expect, and assignments. At least all of them mention that it’s okay to feel lost and unsure, and it’s okay to approach them to ask questions.

One interesting thing a friend of mine has been told by his lecturers is about homesickness. According to him, we don’t normally feel homesick so quickly because right now it still feels like we’re on vacation; it is when time drags on that you slowly realize that you’re gonna be away from home for a very long time.

I find this to be completely true; I have not felt extremely homesick since I came here, mainly because the lifestyle I’m living right now is completely different; there is nothing to remind me of home… yet.
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Saturday, 6 March 2010
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Here in Australia, Adelaide to be exact, I would check the weather forecast at least once a day.

It would sound weird to people from tropical countries, like Malaysia, because back home you only need to prepare for 2 types of weather- hot and sunny, or windy and rainy. Most of the time, whatever you’re wearing will do, if it rains just grab an umbrella, or stay indoors till the rain has stopped.

But in a country with 4 seasons, you’ll find that the weather can be bizarre at times, especially during the intervals between 2 seasons. During summer it was hot, but now with autumn approaching, the weather can be freaky. During the day, when you see the sun, don’t expect it to be hot like in Malaysia; it can very well be cold, like today- It was sunny, but the wind was so strong I actually wore a jacket, jeans and shoes.

At night, it is getting colder, the wind is also stronger. This week’s forecast is for windy days. It is so important to look at the forecast because of this. You can’t judge how the weather is like without going outdoors, and you’ll need to dress appropriately. I mean, it may look sunny outside, but if it’s cold then it makes no sense to wear short pants and slippers; you would do better wearing shoes with a pair of long pants.

Temperature can be very important, too. This morning when I looked out, it looked like a clear, sunny day, but when I checked the temperature, it was 15 degrees! Or at least it was when the database was last updated, which is an hour at the most.

Currently as I’m typing this, the wind is howling through my front door. What I hate more than anything, is the dust. Adelaide is an extremely dusty place. When the wind blows dust just flies in through my door, and will leave the floor in need of cleaning. Which means mopping the floor will be a common activity.

I’m typing this on Sunday, February 28, 2010, the eve of the day my classes begin, and it’s probably time for me to get ready for my first lecture tomorrow. I’m pretty excited; I’m running out of things to do during the day. And I’m eager to experience life as a university student here, just to see how different it is from a university student back home.
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