Thursday, 8 December 2011
It's Here

Tomorrow, I will be heading on a highly exciting trip- I'll be interning at a company in Shanghai!

I'm honestly excited about this trip. While it is something useful that I can put in my resume, part of the reason is of course to get a taste of what travelling alone is like- I think it would be so much fun! I definitely would enjoy myself, even though I've not exactly listed down the places I would want to visit yet- but I suppose that can wait.


So what are my concerns? Language, and weather. Language because my Chinese proficiency isn't where it could've been (and the previous post just made more sense now, didn't it?), and also my worry that it will be too cold for me to handle.

But on the other hand, I get to travel a huge, huge city, and live there for a whole 6 weeks. SIX weeks! That's a really long time, considering how I would not have access to Facebook or Twitter, and, maybe even Blogger, so this could very well be my last post till I return, after the New Year. But fear not, I will be recording my thoughts in some way, and will share them when I can. Of course, that may only happen when I return.

In the meantime, this week I've had a simply wonderful time catching up with friends and spending time with family. I've been keeping myself so busy that I am normally out early in the morning and would still be out at night. I don't think I've actually had so many social functions to attend in Melbourne, which is amazing, I really miss this lifestyle! 

I suppose in that sense, it is also great to take a breather from Melbourne. Now don't get me wrong, I do enjoy Melbourne, but sometimes it feels like I'm living two completely different lives- my life in Melbourne and my life back home. The two never coexist, and they never intersect. I always live in either one of the two, and my personality and lifestyle changes accordingly.


But I'm a person who enjoys doing different things. I don't like monotony (though sometimes I like sticking to a routine); I get tired of the same thing very quickly, which is why until today there's only been one video game that has sustained my attention for long.

So this is why I do feel great to be away from Melbourne- it's a refreshing change in my environment and social circles. I need time away from all that, to charge my batteries. It's kinda like how even workaholics need to take a vacation sometime to just regain their focus after breaking their routine.

And so that's why I have not updated this blog- I simply kept myself so busy, enjoying being out, and enjoying being indoors (hey, I haven't watched Astro in ages!) and just enjoy myself watching CNN, Nat Geo, History, E!, and all the other programs that I've missed watching while I'm gone. It's funny how I'm now fine with living in two different places, when once I could never imagine how a person could commute between two different cities for work or some other reason.


But that's all behind me now. I really need to start packing, after all it's a six-week stint! Hopefully I'll get to update soon!
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Saturday, 3 December 2011
Ethnicity and Nationality

Through my time here in Australia, as well as when thinking about embarking on my very own solo adventure soon, I am reminded about an issue that is sometimes controversial- ethnicity.

 Me, somewhere in Sarawak in 2009

Here's what Niki Cheong wrote in his blog:

EVER since my first visit as a 16-year-old teenager, London has remained at the top of my list of favourite cities I’ve visited (Kuala Lumpur, being home, is of course excluded from the list).

By most significantly, I like London for the fact that I speak a common language as everyone else. Living in such a transient city as this also means that the people who come through here come from various cultures but speak English as a unifying language.

Language is a big factor for me because I feel uncomfortable when I can’t read signs or approach people without sounding silly. I grew up feeling out of place even in a city as Singapore because the locals would come up to me speaking in Mandarin. When I explain – or at least attempt to – that I am unable to communicate in that language, it is usually followed with awkward silence, probing questions or worse, accusations of how I have forgotten my roots.

This has never happened to me in London. In fact, instead of judging me or awkwardly changing the subject, my five classmates from China find this to be fascinating. Looking at me, I am obviously ethnically Chinese. Yet I have so little in common with them – I don’t identify with much of their culture, I don’t speak the same language and I have no connection to the “motherland”.

Motherland to me is Malaysia and being an eighth generation Malaysian, I define myself (if the need arises) by my nationality as opposed to my ethnicity. Recently, during a Facebook conversation with one of my former students in KL, I was asked if I felt ashamed that I couldn’t speak Chinese. I was not offended by the question, but I found it hard to understand why anyone would suggest that in the first place. 


That got me thinking about my own language proficiency, specifically my Chinese language proficiency, and the Chinese culture. While I did go to a Chinese primary school, I never completely identified with most of my classmates who were brought up very traditionally, as in they were the very stereotypical Chinese kids who barely spoke English, were good at Maths, wrote their religion as Buddhism when it's Taoism, read Chinese novels and comics, and watch Cantonese dramas.

While I could talk to them about certain Canto dramas that I watched as well, most of my entertainment came from Hollywood.

I was comfortable speaking in English, and if I dare say so myself, I was the juggernaut when it came to English- in the competitive world of Chinese schools and young kids, I was considered a favourite to ace the English exams- every single time. In fact, it was Chinese that I struggled with.


Now, fast forward to 8 years since I've left my Chinese primary school, I barely have anything in common with my former peers. I speak English with my friends, and I speak Chinese as little as possible (in Melbourne that's close to none).


What Niki wrote about how some people accused him of forgetting his roots sounded interesting to me, as it's something that I realised while being here.

Why is it that we are considered to have forgotten our roots because we do not speak a language our ethnic group speaks? I find it really frustrating at times when I read about politics back home and there is this constant talk about the different races- why the Malays will not vote for a certain party, who will Chinese vote for, why the Indian voters voted against the government the last time.


I enjoy how in countries like Australia, the people come from many different ethnic backgrounds but yet consider themselves Australian- they speak the same language, and is entrenched in the same culture. It's just that some kids with immigrant parents would be familiar with one or two other different cultures. I sometimes think wouldn't it be so much easier if we all just started calling ourselves Malaysians and not talk about our ethnicity?

There would be no need for different political parties catered to different ethnic groups. There would be no need for different types of mediums of instruction in schools. We would all just simply be Malaysians.

I myself feel no shame at being not proficient in Chinese. Sure, it's a hindrance sometimes, but I know that I would much rather be a 'banana'- yellow on the outside, white inside. It's just makes me a more interesting person to meet.


In a few days, I will be heading off to China, where I will have to rely on my basic Chinese oratory skills to survive. The fact that I can barely speak Chinese only makes it a much more interesting experience. Think about it- would you remember a story about a friend who got lost in a place where nobody spoke a language they know and they had to search high and low for an interpreter or to use sign language, or a story about a friend who had no troubles whatsoever because they could speak the local language?



I think that ethnicity is not everything- after all, we're all supposedly descended from Africans. Sometimes, we let it get to our head that a person from a certain ethnic group must act in a certain way. hopefully, that'll change soon.
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Tuesday, 29 November 2011
Summer

So I guess I can say now that the summer holiday's finally here. Today I will be moving my things out of my apartment, leaving only those that I will either throw away or bring home, which isn't a lot. Already my room looks empty and messy, with things everywhere.


In a few days, I will be leaving Melbourne to go back home. Around this time last year, I was doing the same thing- packing up to leave for home, though last time I was in a very different state of mind.

I definitely enjoy Melbourne more. Everything about Melbourne seems more to my liking than Adelaide- the people, the lifestyle, the culture, the infrastructure (oh yes, even if I don't go in skyscrapers seeing them is good enough).

I'll save those reflection-styled entries for the end of the year, since that's what I normally do (but if you don't see them, fret not, for I'll be in a place where Blogger might be blocked!), but just comparing my two years, living in two different cities, I can see how far I've come, and how much more I enjoyed myself this year.


In case you're wondering, I will actually be heading to China for 6 weeks, so it is another winter season for me. I do wish that I would be able to enjoy summer more, but the fact is that I have to sacrifice certain preferences to do what I want.

Melbourne's weather is quickly becoming what I like- sunny and warm. I believe I do not need to tell you how much I hate cold weather and winter, so being in China during its winter season will definitely be an interesting experience, one that I'm very thankful for. But more on that later.


I've received my uni results, and it was pretty much the same as last year, still pretty good, but when you factor in all my other commitments this semester, I'd say they were excellent. Not that I was really hoping for anything, I think with everything I've been doing, I didn't have such a big focus on uni, but rather wanted to have a more well-rounded experience here, and so I stopped directing my attention solely on getting that HD. So long as it gives me the window to pursue an honours degree (I've not made up my mind on that yet, hence I want to keep my options open), I'm happy.


Anyway, now it's time to get back to the packing. Adios!
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Wednesday, 23 November 2011
Why I Admire Writers

I'm ashamed to admit that even though I have been on holidays I have not gotten around to writing any of the things that I had wanted to write. They're rather intriguing stories, too, would've been nice to see them being put down in proper form rather than just scribbles. But discipline has always been my biggest enemy when it comes to writing.

So perhaps I cannot accurately myself a writer, because I do not write as diligently like some authors out there. They sit down, and write every day. But then again, these are well-known authors who were fortunate enough to be able to make a living by writing. Writing to me will probably always be a part-time (if you can even it that) thing.


I like reading about writers. I find them very interesting. But I would never accept any writing tips, because from what I read, every famous writer has a different set of routine and preferences- some like to write in public places, some do it in the comforts of their home, some like writing as they go along, with just a main idea in mind, some like having every single detail planned out before writing anything. They all have their own way of doing things, and that's the approach I've taken as well- I do what I think suits me. Speaking in the context of the given examples, I'm a write-at-home person, and like having the entire plot committed to a piece of paper somewhere before I start writing anything.

I remember once, when I wrote a fan fiction of a movie, I had written down the entire plot, but of course, lost discipline halfway through. I think it was about two years later that I resumed the story, and it was really great that I still had the plot with me.


Recently, I have been reading some books by Kelley Armstrong- she writes fantasy novels, and what I really like about her series is that the novels can be read in any order, and you won't feel like you're missing out on anything if you skip any of them. I've read some of the later books first before going backwards, and still there were only minor stuff that I already knew. Most, remained unknown to me. Which is really cool, I hope to be able to write like that someday.

Perhaps one day I will find myself in an exotic island with nothing to do but write. Perhaps then I'll produce some actual writing and (I really wish this would happen) get published.

Or maybe I will stumble on a treasure chest (or maybe win a reality show) and use that money to travel and write about it (and get published, of course).


Or, better yet, maybe I will find the discipline that I have with showering at least once a day, with waking up at 730 so that I can go about my morning to prepare for a 930 class (though obviously that's stopped now), with planning my day as detailed as I can... and I will somehow produce lots and lots of stories! (Though it doesn't mean that I'll show you any of them)
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Saturday, 19 November 2011
Unwritten

Here are a few trailers I amassed in the last few weeks. They're rather interesting movies, I assure you.









In the past week, I've visited this far out place in Victoria (about 5 hours by train then another 15 minutes by bus), where I did nothing but relax and watch movies. It's a nice place, small town by the lake, reminds me of the setting of many movies and TV shows (somehow, small towns have this appeal for keeping secrets, which is perhaps what most movies and TV shows are about).


The trip actually made me a little nostalgic, as it reminded me a lot about the friends back home. But perhaps in a complete about-turn, the nostalgia was more of a fond memory rather than a bittersweet one, as in the past I thought about these things with a tinge of sadness that I've had to leave those people behind. But now, while I miss their companionship, it appears that I have started seeing me being here very differently.

I wonder why- either I've grown up enough emotionally that I can feel more detached from things I hold dear, or I've just discovered my hidden psychopathy.
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Monday, 14 November 2011
Which Way?

I'm in a dilemma.

I've been blogging for a while now, and I've seen my writing style change and improve throughout the years. It's been a very sweet journey, but as I've mentioned, I have a decision to make.

I do remember when I first decided to start this blog- I had started reading some books written by local authors on the idiosyncrasies and quirks that exists in our country, and I had thought that I have quite a few opinions of my own, so that was my original reason for opening a blog- that I had a lot of things to talk about.


But it's not easy to keep it up for such a long time, and so somewhere down the line I had begun to make it more of a journal as well. Then I slowly added more things, like trailers and reviews. 

Then there's the audience. I do recall at a certain point in time when I did have a more diverse readership made of people other than my friends and family, but now, all I entertain are the very few friends who still blog.

And of course, there's the change in myself that's been happening over the years- my attitude towards this blog and what I want to write about.



And therein lies my dilemma- it appears that this blog is at crossroads.

For the past year or so I've tried not to write about my personal life, and that's why in recent times there's not been a lot of updates on what I've been up to lately, and certainly less about the people I interact with in my life.

I've tried to focus on writing about other things, focusing on the issues that are often highlighted in the media and give my own take on it, which is essentially going back to what my original purpose for starting this blog was.

I do not wish to continue writing this as a journal, but on the other hand people who visit this blog read it to know what's going on with my life, so yes, I am in a dilemma, a dilemma of what direction this blog should take in terms of its content.

Fear not, I'll still be updating as usual, so whatever change that happens will happen slowly that you probably wouldn't notice.

What do you think?
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Tuesday, 8 November 2011
Movie Review: Anonymous

Taking advantage of the holidays and cheap tickets (on Mondays), I went to catch movie, Anonymous.


It's about the theory that Shakespeare did not, in fact, write anything that he is famous for- that it was actually written by Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford.

Being that the movie was set in Shakespearean times, it was also the Elizabethan era, so it was rather interesting to have a portrayal of the society then outside of the royal circle, even though most of the movie did keep it within the aristocrats.

At the beginning, I definitely felt a little out of the loop even though I had read rather extensively about the Tudor era England, as the countless nobility fed to me was a little of an overload. Plus, the movie used flashbacks to put some of the dialogues and actions into context, which meant that for some characters, there would be 2, and perhaps even 3, actors playing them at different ages. And given that the peerage system is confusing for many people, I was left stumped as the many Earls referred to each other by their titles. It was really a case of 'who's playing which character'?

 Young-ish Queen Elizabeth and her court.

But soon after I familiarised myself and suddenly everything made much more sense. I understood the characters better, I understood their motives and why they do what they did. And the movie became much, much more enjoyable after.

Another aspect that made the movie harder to understand was that it did not have a specific time for the events. It started at a certain period, then there was a flashback to 20 years ago, before coming back to the present, then another flashback to 40 years ago. The problem here is that no year was ever stated, and for me that made the story a little less convincing. Timeline is something I myself value very much in a good story.

When writing a story of my own, I would always plot out the timeline of important events so that everything would fit in place and I wouldn't contradict myself, e.g. saying something happened in January and then saying it happened in February later. Attention to detail is something that I enjoy in a good story, and I think that for historical fiction this aspect is even more important, so the fact that the movie did not state any year made it less believable; the few anchors I have is that I know who Queen Elizabeth and William Shakespeare are, and that they lived (if I'm not mistaken) in the 15th century, during the Renaissance period.

Not that it made it a lot easier- the actress who played the younger Queen had to play it in two different periods, which I would assume is sometime in her early 20s, and again sometime in her early to mid 30s. Another anchor was William Cecil, her advisor, who was played by the same man at all ages. So by judging how old he is, I knew whether or not it was a flashback. And good thing I recognised him too, he plays Professor Lupin in the Harry Potter movies.

Again, Queen Elizabeth- at different stages of her life. I've no idea how old they were, though.

One thing I did like about the movie is that it had much more scenes where it concerned just the 'normal' people- those who have to work and earn their wages, who are not fortunate enough to have titles to their names upon their birth. I'm not too sure about how accurate a portrayal of society at the time was, but it was nonetheless enlightening. For example, bets on animal fighting was widespread (grizzly bear versus several fierce dogs), and drinking was as common as it is now, though only those of the lower classes appear to get drunk. And not to mention, hygiene at the time was appalling- the ground was constantly muddy from the rain and footsteps of people, and the people appeared to have no regard for cleaning up after themselves- they always appeared rugged and just gives you this sense that they have never taken a bath (okay it was a luxury then).

Timeline aside, the story itself was convincing enough; when I came home after watching the movie I had immediately Googled the characters and events, and most of it was fiction. For example, Edward de Vere was not adopted (there was a twist, though expected one, at the end about his adoption) as a baby. And the Queen did not have any illegitimate children (related to the adoption, if you can put two and two together), at least I couldn't find any rumour or conspiracy theory about it.

So I guess in that sense, the writer of the script did a rather good job of adding aspects of fiction into a historical period in time, and of course, the main topic of did Shakespeare write his plays, sonnets and poems? This movie explores how it is possible that Shakespeare did not- apparently, none of it was written in his handwriting. From my online research, I can confirm that Edward de Vere is indeed, a possible author of Shakespear's works, if he did not indeed write them himself.

 Edward de Vere in the movie

There were of course elements of surprise in the movie, most of it revealed in the last few minutes by Robert Cecil, son of William Cecil, and who inherited his father's position and aptitude (cunning and ambitious, but yet loyal to their queen- very interesting characters).

All in all, Anonymous is a movie that was at least worth the money I paid for, and is perhaps worth spending more time to watch a second time (without taking into account the money cost involved), although it definitely is not movie of the year material.

Here's a trailer if you're interested:

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Saturday, 5 November 2011
A Quick One

So the holidays have been treating me well. I've been getting a lot of rest, a lot of time at home. Not saying that I have entirely nothing to do, as I do try to keep myself occupied, though I try to be as un-occupied as possible. I think sometimes it even makes me anti-social.

But I suppose that's how most writers are, isn't it (wow, I'm actually considering myself a writer)? They are cooped up at home, or in some coffeeshop, while they write, and write, and write. Now I've not actually been paid for any writing that I've done, but I still like to think myself as a writer. Hey, I do have a byline to my name and a story or two! I did come up with a story idea, but have yet to begin writing it. Perhaps now would be the best time to begin.

I've also been reading. Not a lot, since I rarely have time to read these days, but I've picked up a book from the Melbourne City Library, titled 'Do Travel Writers Go To Hell?', about this guy who quit his Wall Street job and took on a casual job as a Lonely Planet guidebook author.


His book is a memoir of his experiences there, when he had shared an apartment with a prostitute, when he justified attending parties as research on nightlife even though he was completely worn out, and most shockingly, how he sold drugs in order to sustain himself when he ran out of money.

These experiences made me think of my own travelling dream. I thought about whether or not I would be able to live as precariously as he did, or whether I would be able to tolerate living in a hostel whose walls are paper thin (literally) and apartments whose landlords secretly inspect your belongings. I wonder if I would be able to put up with these hardships, if I were to ever be able to travel the world.

I guess that's the perfect reason why I should go travelling while I'm young, because that's when you can put up with a whole lot of crap and still have a good time.

Grand Canyon, USA. Taken from Nomadic Matt.

Places like these, are the reason why I would want to travel. That, and because I want to 'see the world'.

Let's hope that one day, it will become a reality, eh?
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Tuesday, 1 November 2011
Close Encounters of the... Other Kind

Just last week after I completed my university assignment, I had attempted to relax by heading to the library's DVD collections area, and lo and behold, I found one of my favourite series, Survivor. And it was the first season no less, which aired in 2000 or 2001, so it was a good ten years ago, a lot earlier before I enjoyed the show.

So I quickly began devouring each episode one after another. Fun fact: the first ever Survivor was held at Pulau Tiga, somewhere in Sabah. One of the challenges was particularly interesting- the host had started by telling the contestants facts about the local culture, and then proceeded to hand them video cameras which they have to film themselves heading into the jungle and search for masks. Behind these masks are questions, and they have to film their answer. Once they've collected all the masks and return, the host will check if their answers are right.

Now I wasn't so much interested in who won the challenge, but I was more interested in what the host had told them. It was, eerily creepy. So as you know, we Malaysians have a lot of superstitions regarding supernatural beings in the jungle. But before I tell you what the host told them, I should provide a little context. So in Survivor, you start off with two teams, or tribes. After a certain point in the game the tribes merge and it becomes an individual game. Hence, only one person wins the entire game. Every time they will go to Tribal Council where they vote off a person. The person voted off will have their torch extinguished by the host, to symbolise the end of their life in the game.

 According to this, I'm a nerd who prefers to be a hipster, but can't due to some technicalities.

So what happened was, after the merge, during Tribal Council everytime before the votes were announced, the person who was going home had their torch's flame go out without notice, while the others remained fine. Producers then had to relight it without the contestants (and the cameras) noticing so that the torch could be extinguished ceremoniously.

Another thing is that snakes supposedly bring good luck, and disrespecting it will bring bad luck. Apparently, once a contestant had chased a pit viper out of their camp, and he was voted off at the next Tribal Council.

Finally, the host said that head hunters used to blow this shell that will induce the gods to bring about rain. He said that he has blown it every single time before Tribal Council, and lo and behold, it's rained at every Tribal Council.

Here's the video of the challenge where he said that:



In that Tribal Council, the person voted off had his torch already extinguished, perhaps to prove the point. Now of course there will be sceptics who think that it's all just for TV, but it's creepy nonetheless!

I'm sure we've all heard similar stories; I would say all Malaysians would have gone through their life with at least hearing ONE supernatural tale. I myself had heard countless ones, some even creep me out to this day and gave me sleepless nights when I first heard them. Heck, I've even had a (sort of) supernatural experience once.

So for this Halloween, I pose this question- do you believe in the supernatural? Do you believe in ghosts, spirits, and other supernatural beings? Have you had an experience of the supernatural sort?

Growing up, I had always been afraid of the supernatural. I remember how some family members would watch shows like The X-Files and it got to me so badly that I wouldn't be able to sleep. I mean, how else are you supposed to react? I don't understand how people can be so unaffected, especially when these beings supposedly can mess up your life.


Of course, later on I got less and less scared about it. I think that till now, I still get spooked about these things but I handle it much better now, and I think having to live alone for a year definitely helped out a lot.

I'm going to tell you an embarrassing confession now- when I first moved to Adelaide, into my apartment, living all alone, with the surrounding area so alien and pitch black, I was so scared that for the first week or so I had to sleep with the lights on. By the end of the year, I couldn't be bothered by most noises (and there were a lot of weird noises in the apartment, I assure you). This year, moving in with someone I know well, made it even easier. Or perhaps I'm just less affected by this now? I hope so.

Anyway, I'll end this with a couple of spooky things that I read yesterday in a book that I found in the public library:


1. Legend of the Bell Witch 

This is about a ghost who haunted this house and family in the 1800s:

Some members of the family began seeing strange looking animals around the property. Then late at night they started hearing knocking sounds on the doors and outer walls of the house. Later sounds were being heard in the house. Sounds of a rat gnawing on the bed post, chains being drug through the house, stones being dropped on the wooden floors, then gulping and choking sounds.

It was not long before people were coming from miles around to hear and witness this unseen force that was terrorizing the Bell home. Before long this unseen force had gained enough strength that it now had a voice. When asked who and what it was, it gave different identities. It once stated that it was the witch of a neighbor woman named Kate Batts. This is what many people believed, and from then on, this unseen force was called "Kate" the "Bell's Witch".



It seemed that Kate had two main reasons for visiting the Bell home. The main one was to kill John Bell. For what reason no one knows because Kate never gave a reason why. The second reason was to stop John's youngest daughter Betsy from marrying a certain neighbor boy named Joshua Gardner.

Over the next three years "Kate" tormented members of the Bell family almost daily. John and his daughter Betsy was the ones who received the worst of the physical abuse. Betsy had her hair pulled, she was pinched, scratched stuck with pins and even beaten. While John Bell began suffering from spells of swelling of the throat and often had the feeling of a stick being stuck sideways in his throat. Then came the twitching and jerking of the facial muscles. Kate would blast him with curses and hideous threats during these spells. As time went on John Bell became weaker and weaker.
(the story ends with him dying) 

2. Borley Rectory


 One of the alleged sightings

Borley Rectory was reputed to be the most haunted house in the UK. The rectory was built by the Rev. Henry D. E. Bull in 1863 near the river Stour, Essex, to house himself, his wife and their 14 children. However the rectory burnt down in a fire started in mysterious circumstances in 1939.

It's thought that the rectory was destined to be a haunted house from the start due to the events that had occurred on the site many centuries before.The foundation was an age old Priory on land that contained a 12th century Church, Caretaker's House and other buildings. A.C. Henning, the rector in 1936, discovered that the Doomsday Book told of a Borley Manor prior to 1066, so he concluded a wooden church was probably also built around that time. The foundations contained underground tunnels and a complex of vault rooms. The Rectory had 20 rooms, was about 3 stories high.

The most popular story to the background of Borley was that in 1362 Benedictine Monks built a monastery on the site which would later hold the rectory. Legend told of a nun from the Bures convent, 7 miles southeast of Borley falling in love with a monk from the monastery. They had decided to elope to be together, but the elders discovered their plans. A friend of the monk was to drive a carriage to help them escape. On the fateful night they were captured by the elders. The coachman was beheaded, the monk hanged and the nun was bricked up alive in the walls of the vaults beneath the rectory. Their ghosts have haunted the site ever since.


3. Epworth Rectory haunting


(From Wikipedia) 

The Epworth Rectory haunting is one of the best-known English poltergeist events, and has been described as "the second-best-authenticated ghost story in history". Epworth Rectory, in Epworth, Lincolnshire, was home to the Reverend Samuel Wesley and his wife and their 19 children, one of whom, John Wesley, grew up to become a founder of the Methodist Church.

From December 1761 until January 1762 it was plagued by a series of regularly occurring mysterious loud noises and knockings, apparently caused by a ghost the eldest Wesley daughter nicknamed Old Jeffrey, who made his presence known to all on Christmas Day 1761. In Mrs Wesley's words, "there was such a noise in the room over our heads, as if several people were walking, then running up and down stairs that we thought the children would be frightened".

As she and her husband searched the house in vain for the culprit, Old Jeffrey continued "rattling and thundering in every room, and even blowing an invisible horn at deafening decibels". Old Jeffrey disappeared in January 1762 just as suddenly as he had appeared.

4. Robert the Doll

 
Robert, otherwise known as Robert the Doll, Robert the Haunted Doll, or Robert the Devil Doll; is a doll that was once owned by Key West painter and author Robert Eugene Otto. The doll is alleged to be possesed by evil spirits and has a terrifying reputation. The doll, which is allegedly cursed, has become a fixture of ghost tours in the Key West area since it was inducted into the Fort East Martello Museum.

Aesthetically, Robert resembles an early 20th century American Naval officer. Contrary to popular belief, however, the doll's hair is not made of human hair, but rather, it consists of a synthetic material resembling wool yarn. Eugene was given the doll in 1904 by an African servant who, according to legend, was skilled in black magic and voodoo and was displeased with the family. Soon afterward it became clear that there was something eerie about the doll.

Eugene's parents said they often heard him talking to the doll and that the doll appeared to be talking back. Although at first they assumed that Eugene was simply answering himself in a changed voice, they later believed that the doll was actually speaking. Neighbors claimed to see the doll moving from window to window when the family was out. The Otto family swore that sometimes the doll would emit a terrifying giggle and that they caught glimpses of it running from room to room. In the night Eugene would scream, and when his parents ran to the room they would find furniture knocked over and Eugene in bed, looking incredibly scared, telling them that "Robert did it!".

In addition, guests swore the saw Robert's expression change before their eyes. When Eugene died in 1974, the doll was left in the attic until the house was bought again. The new family included a ten year old girl, who became Robert's new owner. It was not long before the girl began screaming out in the night, claiming that Robert moved about the room and even attempted to attack her on multiple occasions. More than thirty years later, she still tells interviewers that the doll was alive and wanted to kill her. 
And just for laughs, here's a video of someone's visit to a haunted house attraction (which means it's not really haunted, by the way) that will make you laugh. I could not control myself laughing when I saw it on TV.



That's all for now, have a great week ahead!
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Thursday, 27 October 2011
Blast from the Past 2

So as I once again have no idea what to post, I've decided to talk about one of my past entries.

I've chosen a rather meaningful one, which I posted in January of last year. Those of you who know me then, would know that it was a turning point in my life- I was getting ready to leave home and come over to Australia.

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.

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.

 
I do remember the mindset I was in then. I definitely dreaded it as the day came closer, and it felt horrible. I remember exactly what I felt as I walked towards the escalator that would bring me to passport control, where I had to say goodbye to family & friends. It wasn't a nice feeling.

Adapting wasn't easy, either. I have to say, now approximately 20 months after leaving home, I definitely adapting better; I actually feel that I can live here now, that I can actually enjoy myself, I feel that I actually have things to do that doesn't make me feel as if I'm missing out on a lot of things back home.

So to make things easy, definitely, I'm adjusting well. So well, in fact, that I think that if I were to return home I'd probably face reverse culture shock, or at least just a tiny part. As you may or may not know, I shut my feelings and thoughts of home out when I'm here very easily because I live such a drastically different life, and therefore it's easy to just not think of home, especially when I'm kept busy.

 For those who've experienced this before, you'll know that this is a very real dilemma!

I've come a long way since, in many different ways. My task here being uni, I've already completed my second year, with just one more to go! But I'm pretty sure my parents also wanted me to go abroad to gain some life experience, and this is the area in which I think I've changed and grown the most. Having to live independently is something that's just so much different and tougher than I'd thought it would be, and I've learned so many lessons and in a way, grew up a lot- and that's also perhaps why I would not adjust immediately back home.

When I went back home during the holidays last year, I definitely felt a slight disconnection with my peers- many things appear menial and mundane, and I felt myself having gone through so much more that it feels weird settling into that mindset where all I needed to worry about was where am I going to meet friends, and what am I going to eat while I'm with them.

But of course, I do still feel like a child sometimes, as everytime I learn something new it only goes to show that I didn't know it before, which makes me feel... ignorant, but at the end of the day I learn a new lesson anyway.

It's definitely fun to look back at where I was mentally back before I came here. It feels good to see how much further I've walked.

That's all. Have a great weekend ahead! 
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Friday, 21 October 2011
What Happens Next



Speaking of which, I'm really excited for Pottermore's launch since I failed to get the early registration back in July!
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Monday, 17 October 2011
'When I Was That Age...'

Just a few days ago, I was scrolling through Tweets when I stumbled upon this friend / acquaintance who Tweeted that it is unbelievable that their cousin, who is only about 10 or 11 years of age, already have a cell phone.

Have you ever observed (or perhaps you do this yourself) that, now that we are entering the adult world (in other words, we've had more life experience), and there are more and more people who are younger than us (gosh, I do miss the times when I could lay claim to being the youngest), and one of the things often talked about is how lucky those kids are to have the toys they have?

Now think again. How many times have you got annoyed when one of your parents, or both of them, said how lucky you were for having all the toys that you have, when they only played with pebbles, wood and whatever they could find in nature?


For a generation that complains constantly about how our parents never move with the times and are stuck in the past, we seem to be following in their footsteps.

So yes, kids nowadays are so much more fortunate because they are provided with gadget overload- they probably have an iPad in which to read and draw, a PS3, XBox or Wii to play games, a cell phone (if they're over 8 years old) to contact their parents, access to the computer and Facebook, yadah yadah yadah.

They're also subjected to overbearing parents who seem to think that milk powder, and not parental guidance, makes children smarter, and who can't imagine their kids doing any manual labour or playing outdoors.


 Anyway, the point is that we need to move on- times have changed, back when my parents were kids, fun meant running around in the wilderness, using anything and everything they can find as entertainment. Back when I was a kid, the standard was toy cars, model trains, puzzles and colour pencils.

We have to face it, today kids use iPads and other electronic gadgets instead. It's not that they are fortunate, or that they are spoilt, it's just that that is the norm today! We cannot judge the children of today based on our standards, just like how we can't judge the people of the times when lynching and racism was tolerated and encouraged.

Sometimes, I do think that it's just a lot of jealousy coming in. I mean, after all, our technology-loving generation hasn't grown up bombarded with gadgets the way kids today have, and I sometimes think if it is just envy that these children will get to enjoy these technologies for a longer time, just like I'm sure there will be some 30-something person resenting us for being able to use the smartphone in our teens and early adulthood.


I mean, come on, when I think about what I could've done had I had an iPad when I was young (okay not that much), I immediately think of what sort of person I could've been- reading would've been more attractive earlier because I could also vandalise the pages easily and erase them, and watch as the pictures move. Writing and drawing probably would've become more of a priority, too.

And I'm sure many others live vicariously through these children. We think of the what-ifs, and that results in us complaining about how lucky these kids are. But we have gotten so egocentric that we do not realise how lucky we have been growing up as well.
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Wednesday, 12 October 2011
It's October?!?!

I'm not sure if this actually received coverage back home, but about a week ago I read an article in an Australian newspaper about Chin Peng's final application to return home.

A FORMER communist guerrilla fighter in Malaysia who has been living in exile in Thailand is critically ill and should be allowed to return home, his lawyer says.

Born Ong Boon Hua in Malaysia's north, Chin Peng was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire and won two medals for helping the British fight the Japanese in Malaya during World War II.

He later led the communist party, backed by China, in a campaign against the British colonial and Malaysian governments before and after Malaysian independence in 1957.

Mr Khaira has insisted Chin Peng has the right to return under a 1989 peace agreement between the CPM and Malaysian government, which allowed several high-ranking communist leaders to do so. But the government has rejected all appeals, fearing Chin Peng's return may open old wounds and anger those whose family members were killed during the Emergency.

Last month, a Malaysian court charged an opposition politician for criminal defamation over an alleged pro-communist remark, suggesting tensions still run high. Opposition leaders and activists slammed the charge as undermining a pledge by Mr Najib to grant greater freedom of expression.

I suppose it IS a rather sensitive topic for us Malaysians.


I know that on one hand, you have those who have lived through that period in time, or at least close enough, that they feel uncomfortable having Chin Peng back home. I doubt that it's about the worry that he will cause trouble, as even if he isn't terminal he's in no position to plot anything sinister.

Then there are those who think that he is not harming anyone, and since he is a Malaysian citizen, should be allowed to return home.


Personally, I do not see why he shouldn't be allowed to return. While it's true that he did cause many deaths, it's not like he actively carried out genocide like Hitler or Pol Pot (and even Hitler is admired for his public speaking and leadership skills). He had a clear difference in political belief with other Malaysians, and sought to get his ideology accepted. That's just like many multi-party democracies today, except of course they don't go into physical warfare.


Having said that, I do understand where others come from. They are the ones who have suffered, who bear the wounds, who live with or have seen the consequences of the power struggle with the communists, and therefore they find it hard to forgive him.

I guess these are the sort of issues that we grapple with from time to time. It's a test of your morals, ethics, values and beliefs. And more often than not, these issues make you question yourself, and what you believe in. I love these issues, because they really make you take a hard look at yourself, and think deeply, and ask- 'what is it that I believe in? What do I stand for?'

Sometimes, you come out of these situations even more confused about your identity than before. You suddenly find that you're a completely different person from who you thought you were, and it's absolutely possible. I can't remember an exact example where I've experienced this, but I'm pretty sure that I have.

So, dear readers, what are your thoughts- would you want Chin Peng back in our country?

P.S. Google has rolled out the new Blogger layouts. Should I change it?
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Sunday, 9 October 2011
The Middle

Today since I can't think of anything to write about, I'll be doing a repeat of a post I've done before.

Remember one of those posts where you do something and tag someone? I did one of those on my blog sometime ago, and for the fun of it I'll do it again. In honour of Steve Jobs, it's iPod-related. For me, at least.

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?

There’s A Place For Us- Carrie Underwood



WHAT DO YOU LIKE IN A GIRL/BOY?
Prime- Steve Jablonsky




HOW DO YOU FEEL TODAY?
I Want To Hold Your Hold- Chris Colfer




WHAT IS YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE?
Waking Up- Olin & The Moon




WHAT’S YOUR MOTTO?
Reptilia- The Strokes




WHAT DO YOUR FRIENDS THINK OF YOU?
Kiss From A Rose- Seal




WHAT DO YOUR PARENTS THINK OF YOU?
Fugitive- Mark Salling




WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT VERY OFTEN?
Turn Our Eyes Away- Trent Dabbs / Ruby Amanfu




WHAT IS 2 + 2?
Waiting For The End- Linkin Park




WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR BEST FRIEND?
Colour My World- Westlife




WHAT IS YOUR LIFE STORY?
The Call- Regina Spektor




WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP? 
Reverse of Shade- The Windupdeads




WHAT DO YOU THINK WHEN YOU SEE THE PERSON YOU LIKE?
Secrets- One Republic



WHAT WILL/DID YOU DANCE TO AT YOUR WEDDING?
Hold It Against Me - Sam Tsui




WHAT WILL THEY PLAY AT YOUR FUNERAL?
Time Well Spent- Tom Felton




WHAT IS YOUR HOBBY/INTEREST?
Iridescent- Linkin Park




WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST FEAR?
Get It Right- Lea Michele



WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST SECRET?
Strangers- The Dirty Secret




WHAT DO YOU WANT RIGHT NOW?
Heartbreak Warfare- John Mayer




WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR FRIENDS?
Personal- Stars




WHAT WILL YOU POST THIS AS? 
The Middle- Jimmy Eat World

 

Oh and I found out about Steve Jobs's passing via a group mate who blurted it out so randomly early in the morning that I had to clarify to make sure I heard correctly, then go online to check if it's true. What's your Steve Jobs story?
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Friday, 30 September 2011
Optimism


"You can't change your situation. The only thing that you can change is how you choose to deal with that"



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Tuesday, 27 September 2011
How True!

A few days back I was doing my usual browsing through travel blogs, and came across this very true epiphany that I wouldn't have come to on my own.

Among long-term travelers, there seems to be a certain degree of competition, a one-upsmanship if you will, over who can visit a place while spending the least amount of money. It’s a badge of honor to say, “Well, I did France for X dollars cheaper than you,” as though the cheaper you go, the more authentic your experience might be.

I have seen this attitude expressed on my own site when I share my cost of traveling posts. There are always a few people who say things like, “Well, I think you overspent, because I did it for half the price.”

I’ve never understood this cheapness competition. To me, being a backpacker or budget traveler has nothing to do with how much money you spend. Rather, it has everything to do with how you spend it.

One of my biggest pet peeves is this obsession with cheapness that I see among a lot of travelers. I’ve never understood why a person would live like a pauper while saving money for a trip, only to then go on that trip and still live like a pauper. If you only have a small amount of money to spend, better to take a shorter trip doing all the activities you want than constantly saying, “I would love to do that but I can’t afford it” on your longer trip.


 When I read it, all that went through my mind was 'how true! Even I think like that sometimes!'

Which reminds me of one of MY pet peeves- the assumptions people make about your social economic background.

Ever since moving to Australia, I have been very aware of the many assumptions that people make of me. It seems that wherever I go, how I act is seen as signs of which economic class I supposedly belong to.

Do you get that? That a habit of yours is taken to be a sign that you're well off?

Just because I had never had a part-time job, does not mean that I'm so rich that I don't need to work. You wouldn't know how much money I use. Maybe I didn't get a part-time job because I don't spend as much as the normal person and hence could live with the average allowance given to me.


Just because my parents are paying for my overseas education does not mean that they're rich. You wouldn't know how much they save, looking from the outside.

Just because I have a Macbook, does not make me rich. Just because I pay a huge amount of rent, does not make me rich.

Many times, I've had people tell me that I'm rich. I mean seriously, they TELL me that I'm rich. When I deny it, they insist that I am, as if they know me better than I know myself. Maybe in some abstract manner, yes, but definitely not in something like wealth. My reaction would normally be to shrug it off and move on to another topic, because it is simply not worth wasting any more effort trying to convince them otherwise. But of course, I'm sure these people see nothing but the naive and innocent little boy (okay not little anymore) who is just reluctant to show off his wealth.

In all honesty, it annoys me to no end and so I'd rather forget about it by changing topics in order to not rile myself up. I tell myself to not waste any more time trying to bring these people to their senses. 


I think that everyone saves money in different ways. Some people would splurge on keeping up an appearance of wealth but in actuality are barely scraping through. Some people aren't particular about their dishwasher brand and type, or would choose to buy home brand products before others, but would drive to the nearby grocery store because of the hot weather. So I do not think too much of what a person's choice of clothing, or choice of food, or choice of anything, says of them. And it absolutely annoys me when someone else assumes something about me.

Personality is another thing. Like I said before, it seems that my apparently naive-looking exterior hints at a young soul who hasn't faced the harsh realities of life.


I get told sometimes, about how I'm so young and inexperienced and don't know a lot of things. But I'm also told that I'm shy and generally don't like boasting or talking about my experiences. But it's funny how those two never collide and make people think that I'm young and shy but do know a lot of things but just don't talk about them.

So next time you meet someone, don't think you have them figured out. They may surprise you.
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Friday, 23 September 2011
Spring?

It appears that spring hasn't really fully set in yet as we do still experience chilly days once every few days, which is a little annoying since I'm looking forward to experiencing warm weather, like the 29 degree day a few days back where I could survive by just wearing a T-shirt. But that's also because I've never been a fan of cold weather, and the prospect of having to spend a winter in Shanghai when I could spend a summer back home or here (What?? I'm going Shanghai?!?!).

But on the bright side, I get to acclimatise to winter and hopefully get used to it (if I'm successful in getting a job here after graduation it will come in handy!).

So anyway, today I'll be writing about something I read in my university's magazine. It was what someone wrote about how Enid Blyton's books had gave her a childhood, and how it is so stupid of adults to think that some names and terms would teach children the wrong things, because as kids we don't care about those things, it's the story that matters!


One of her examples was The Magic Faraway Tree series, and she made a list of what were deemed inappropriate by today's standards, but then said:

Publishers and adults advocating for changes in Blyton's novels are forgetting what it was like to me as a child. She captured the imagination of young minds. Enid Blyton gave me a pretty great world to escape into and I think all kids at one time or another, no matter what decade they grow up in, needs that. 

Having read The Magic Faraway Tree series myself, I have to say I completely agree with her. It didn't matter how inappropriate the details were, I simply loved the stories because they were a window to another world- I could escape into a world where families lived next to the woods, and could play in the forest and climb trees and enjoy the outdoors.

Another blogger wrote about how her daughter loved the series when she read her old books, but hated it when her mother bought the new edited ones.


But of course, if I were to ask for anyone's opinion it would probably be the same as mine as people who read this blog are mostly my peers anyway, but it would definitely be interesting to listen to one of those proponents of editing Enid Blyton's book speak.

And I'm done with my ranting. Here's a trailer of a TV show that I'm about to start watching. Hope it's good!



Have a great weekend!
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Monday, 19 September 2011
Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

So as promised, here is a review of the book I was talking about, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.


So in the first chapter (and this was taken as an excerpt and published by the Wall Street Journal), the author, Amy Chua, wrote about why Asian parents are superior:

A lot of people wonder how Chinese parents raise such stereotypically successful kids. They wonder what these parents do to produce so many math whizzes and music prodigies, what it's like inside the family, and whether they could do it too. Well, I can tell them, because I've done it. Here are some things my daughters, Sophia and Louisa, were never allowed to do:

• attend a sleepover
• have a playdate
• be in a school play
• complain about not being in a school play
• watch TV or play computer games
• choose their own extracurricular activities
• get any grade less than an A
• not be the No. 1 student in every subject except gym and drama
• play any instrument other than the piano or violin
• not play the piano or violin.

What Chinese parents understand is that nothing is fun until you're good at it. To get good at anything you have to work, and children on their own never want to work, which is why it is crucial to override their preferences. This often requires fortitude on the part of the parents because the child will resist; things are always hardest at the beginning, which is where Western parents tend to give up. But if done properly, the Chinese strategy produces a virtuous circle. Tenacious practice, practice, practice is crucial for excellence; rote repetition is underrated in America. Once a child starts to excel at something—whether it's math, piano, pitching or ballet—he or she gets praise, admiration and satisfaction. This builds confidence and makes the once not-fun activity fun. This in turn makes it easier for the parent to get the child to work even more.

That book became very controversial, and I'm sure you can see why.

That short excerpt was meant to portray her as a strict, no-nonsense parent who wants to raise her children into who she thinks they can be. In part, this is true- she is strict and is a no-nonsense mother, and forces her children to excel in things that she thinks they'll be good at and would be helpful for them in the future.


But the book was more than that. It was funny reading how she conducted research for finding a dog, and how best to train a dog to be 'successful'. It was simply hilarious, reading about how she felt her dog has potential and is more intelligent that other dog species, according to her research.

It was insightful reading about how she thinks of raising her younger daughter like a game of chess; it's always about what moves to make, what baits to give, what traps to lay, what weapons to use. No kidding! In recalling an incident with her stubborn daughter in which she punished her by asking her to stand outside in the cold snowy day, but then realised her mistake when the daughter refused to step back in (she only meant to let her daughter stand outside for a few minutes). Here's what she wrote:

I had to change tactics immediately; I couldn't win this one. My mind racing, I reversed course, now begging, coddling, and bribing Lulu (her daughter) to come back into the house. When Jed (husband) and Sophia (older daughter) arrived home, they found Lulu contentedly soaking in a hot bath, dipping a brownie in a steaming cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows.

But Lulu had underestimated me too. I was just rearming. The battle lines were drawn, and she didn't even know it. 

But most of all, what struck me as most interesting was her devotion to her daughters. While the WSJ article seemed to portray her (and the stereotype probably exists) as an Asian parent who just keeps pushing their child into everything, she struck me as a parent who would also be willing to sacrifice everything for her daughters, which is probably unlike the stereotypical Western parent.


Think about it. She's a Yale law professor, so while preparing course materials, going to lectures, marking assignments and consultations, she also sends her TWO daughters to piano and violin lessons, reads up on techniques and pieces of BOTH instruments, and sits in both daughters' classes and drills them at home. She's not just the parent who yells 'GO PRACTISE!', she sits there and tell them what they're not doing right, based on her research and her observations (she takes notes during lessons). Not to mention, she takes her daughters to all sorts of competitions, musical and academic.

It's a very interesting book simply because it is ironic and paradoxical, yet stereotypical. I have no other way to describe it, because it really is something that's... an interesting read.
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Sunday, 11 September 2011
The Day That Was

Have you ever had one of those days, when you just felt so tired of doing the same thing that you just wanted something different?

I've experienced that a few times in my life, and most of the time I decided to do something hair-related; that is, change my hairstyle. Once I even contemplated going bald.

So for the day I turned 20 I decided to do something I've never done before- dye my hair. I've had highlights done a few times before, but never my entire head, so this time around I thought I'd do that, just to see how it'll turn out.

I selected a dark red colour, and while having it done swore to myself that I would never do it again. But now I'm not so sure. Why? 

Graduation! The end of possibly the best time of my life- high school!

The end result was... not exactly what I'd expected. I wanted something that was striking and obvious, but it also can't be too light a colour because I don't think it suits me. It's a fine line, but this time it didn't turn out as well as I'd hoped, so perhaps I'll give it a try again in the future.

But I think I've had enough with changing my hair colour for the moment. Can't say when I'll feel the urge to do so again, since the last time I did it was about 2 years ago now (in case you're wondering, I've dyed my hair several times since high school), although after the colour wore off I definitely did not feel like dyeing my hair for quite sometime.

Or perhaps sometimes it's just a yearning to do something unconventional by society's standards. Yes, dyeing one's hair is very common now but I think it's not really expected from someone like me with a 'goody goody' image (I quote a friend who did actually say that). But at the same time I've never really felt like I fit into any lens seen by society- I wasn't notorious or malicious, nor was I athletic. I wasn't particularly bright (it didn't show in my grades), nor was I hopeless in studies.

In this video for an assignment back in college I was playing a homeless but musically-talented person.

I'd felt that I was... different, that no one could really understand me, hence I'm the 'goody-goody' boy who dyed his hair. Funny eh?

Just take a look at my different movie tastes shown here in 3 trailers. One's an action/mystery film that's also a thriller and drama, another's a serious drama that's award-worthy and sees a cliched storyline from another perspective, and the last one's attraction's nothing but an all-star cast.







Anyhow, today's the anniversary of 9/11, and I thought it'd be great to look back. We humans seem to have a love for very even numbers, like 10, 25, 50, 100. So 10 years ago today, I was but a mere 10 year-old, still in primary school, enjoying being a child, and probably celebrating finally being old enough to have two digits.

Now, of course, I just turned 20 a few days back. Compare my 10 year-old self and now, and even I'm surprised at how far I've come and how I've turned out. I think that's the case for most people, we somehow never become the person we thought we would be. And sometimes we look back and marvel and how different we once were.

And lastly, because I'm in a mood to share, here's me, 9 years ago (at 11 years old), shortest in the family at the time (I'm now the tallest), and rather tanned.


*Image cropped to prevent embarrassment to others in the picture.
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Friday, 9 September 2011
That Time of Year


That was on the 8th of September last year. Amazing how fast things can change (when thinking about last year, not the weather). But you know what's faster? Time.


Me, circa 1993 / 94.

Now... well, you know how I look now, don't you, dear reader?
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Friday, 2 September 2011
Little Bit of History

In one of my classes this semester, we tackled the idea of 'history'. Funnily enough, even history is subjected to academic analysis. So this author wrote about how history is seen as a narration, a story of progress and development through time; but if you think about it, what about the Dark Ages? Was it progress? And what about the current state of books? Is the emergence of e-books considered a progression and improvement even though it is still, a book? Then there's the thought of history as universal; but come on, the Dark Ages in Europe wasn't the Dark Ages in other parts of the world.

So much fail!

It's a pretty interesting read, and that's I guess what makes courses like these interesting- they take the most mundane and simplistic everyday terms and put it under the microscope. And that's what I like about media studies- it is so different from the sciences that I'm used to back in high school; I feel that it's engaging in deeper thought because we don't discuss facts and memorise formulas, it's very subjective and provocative at times.

But that's not why I started this entry- the reason behind it is much, much simpler.

So Facebook has been showing these past status updates, and I have had the privilege of seeing a few (thought just two of my own). It's a pretty interesting thing I guess, to be reminded of something that happened in the past, good or bad. Here are two status updates of mine last year.



Ahhh... FML. A wonderful site to relish in someone else's pain. Probably the start of my 'sadistic' tendencies (really don't know why people think that). I posted this on the 26th August 2010, and I'm pretty sure I just had a bad day, and was looking forward to coming home and entertaining myself with reading what bad luck other people are having (some are really, really funny!).

To tell you the truth, these websites (Failblog, FML, Failbook) are probably a minor reason in me coping with the depressing time I had last year- it was like a candle in a dark room, for I would return home to seek refuge in my room and try not to be bothered by the horrible time I was having. It was one of the few things that never failed to cheer me up. Just the thought of being able to laugh at something instead of being frustrated and stressed out was... liberating.


This second update was definitely funny. It happened on the 2nd of September 2010. It was when I was watching The X Factor (another comical relief) and I was just watching the people who sang so horribly yet thought they were pretty good because their friends had not dared to tell them that they were horrible. I originally hesitated to post that on Facebook because it was a little provocative, but in the end I thought that I thought I might've well say what I want to say because most people are already surprised when they see the more outspoken side of me.

That also made me consider updating my Facebook status more often. I can't even remember the last time I did so, I just don't feel as comfortable sharing what I think with the world. But perhaps I might start again, because after all, it is for me to look back and laugh at.

That's all I have for now. Perhaps when I've amassed a few more past updates then I'll show them again.
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