Wednesday, 29 June 2011
Road Trips?

I'm one of those people who like going on road trips. I like travelling. I like going to the countryside, where it is quieter and far away from the city (notice how I like travelling to quiet places, but don't like staying in one?). This year, during Easter I managed to do just that, and it was refreshing.

And another thing people might not know about me is that I have a lifelong dream to travel to America and go on a road trip, like the ones you see in the movies where they take roads not normally used and head to some remote area where they will get to be hunted down by a psycho killer enjoy some peace, or even to simply take in the sights of nature. Places like Mount Barker that I went to last year.

Got this photo from lipjin

I saw this picture on Flickr, and it reminded me a lot of trips like that- enjoying something completely different from the life you normally lead at home.

Here's what the description of the photo says (which was taken from Wikipedia):

Tanjong Pagar railway station, also called Keppel Road railway station or Singapore railway station, is a railway terminus owned by Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM), the main railway operator in Malaysia. The land on which the station and the KTM railway tracks in Singapore are situated is held by KTM on a 999-year lease.

Following an agreement between Malaysia and Singapore which was reached on 24 May 2010, railway operations into the station will cease by 1 July 2011, after which the building will be conserved and may be integrated with future developments on the site. KTM's southern terminus would be relocated to the Woodlands Train Checkpoint.

I've been on one road trip with the family back home to the East Coast in 2009. Comparatively, the satisfaction level is about the same, although the rating of the entire experience would probably be slightly lower for locations back home (because of dirtier public toilets and accommodation, and lack of maintenance of attractions). But of course, back home you get satisfaction from knowing something you didn't previously know about your country.

Recently, there's been talk among my friends as well about potentially going on a trip together again. I definitely want to, because it's been quite awhile since we did anything together and I miss the good old times. But having said that, I am not nearly as nostalgic as I normally am last year, which is a good thing.

Also, if I don't get to stay on here after I graduate, a road trip around Australia is definitely on the to-do list as well.

What about you? What places do you want to go on a road trip?
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Saturday, 25 June 2011
June's Ending!

I was supposed to update yesterday, but then in the midst of reading news and blogs and watching shows I completely lost track of the time.

Even now, I would like to either watch a late night movie, or watch Wimbledon. Or I might just lie back in bed and read a particularly attention grabbing book.

I sure wouldn't want to eat there! 

At times like these I sometimes do think that there aren't enough hours in a day. But of course, other times I'm so bored that I entertain myself with random programs on TV, or read past newspapers, or even play Bejeweled on my phone. This week I even tried meditating. Unfortunately I only lasted 20 minutes or so (I was hoping that it would take much, much longer).

Anyway, my attention right now isn't on blogging at all, hence the lack of anything noteworthy. Here's yet another trailer (trust me, it's funny!) to humour yourselves with while I'm gone.

Have a good weekend!
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Tuesday, 21 June 2011
Friday, 17 June 2011
Today I'm Halfway There

Today was a day for revelations.

I sat for my first exam ever in Australia, and in university, today. It was actually an exciting experience, as I wanted to see how differently an exam would be like over here versus back home. I happily report that there is nothing different, really- we needed to have our student IDs, no handphones, only transparent pencil cases allowed.

But while preparing for the exam, I stumbled upon- my pencil case! Technically, it has been next to my laptop all this while but I just never really opened it to look at its contents. So imagine my surprise today when I found- stationeries from high school! There were my trusted Pilot G-1 gel pens, which in itself brought back some good memories because they have been with me for approximately about... 4-5 years now.

I wanted to look for an image of G-1 pens, but felt it wouldn't do my pens justice. Weird, I know. 

I know, it's funny that I seem so sentimental, even when it's about pens. Then there's the ballpoint pens that I bought specially for SPM, because that's what we were advised to do (ballpoint ink doesn't fade when it gets wet). I remember one particular faulty pen that leaked ink. Yes, it was still in there too.

Then there are the assortment of other stationeries I brought with me in case I needed them- glue, highlighters,  spare ruler, lead for my pencil (which has also been with me a long time).

It's so funny, how one post of my exam turned into one of walking down memory lane via pens. Pens, of all things. But then again, they are an essential part of a high schooler's life, no? We take notes with them, complete homework with them, fiddle with them in classes when we're bored.

The next revelation: the end of my exam, which brings to an official close this semester, means something- I'm halfway through my university life.

Great advice, though not easy to follow through.

I've completed 3 semesters now, with another 3 to go. Oddly enough, I don't feel as if I've adjusted to life abroad to be able to say that I'm halfway through. It still feels, largely, like I have a long way to go, a lot more to grow.

A semester here lasts 12 weeks. So minus all the holidays, in 12 weeks I would be two-thirds done. Two thirds!

Looks like I've just found a winter adaptation method. 'Halfway done, halfway done' (in case you're wondering, I spur myself on like that a lot).

(this is a second, more awesome trailer if you're tired of me repeating about how much I want to watch the last movie)

Have a great weekend, and be kind to one another (took that from Ellen DeGeneres)!
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Monday, 13 June 2011
no image

Untitled is such an interesting title. I don't have to think of an interesting one, the paradox speaks for itself.

I have an exam at the end of this week, and after that will be kept busy as well, which suits me as I won't have to dread having nothing to do during the holidays.

In the past few days, I've been catching up on news and current affairs from home. I seem to have this fixation with news, maybe I should have gone into journalism instead (I have considering it recently- finding a job in journalism, that is). It does seem rather nice (now, anyway) to be a newscaster, but of course the competition is stiff so I'm not hoping for anything.

My life here has once again become very routinised and uninteresting. Weekend nights are not spent going out but just staying in (I actually look forward to Saturday night movies now if it's an interesting movie).

Look closely... Bev Doolittle's The Forest Has Eyes

I don't mean to be a put-downer, because I am enjoying myself much more than last year.

My hair has also grown steadily since I've came here. By the end of winter it will be the longest I've gone without a haircut, and I don't intend to get one till then because hair = natural shield against the cold, cold wind. Just a few days ago the highest temperature was only 11, and with the wind lashing against your face (and I mean pretty strong winds) it gets really, really cold.

But I've also been thinking about that haircut I will be getting in a few months. I definitely think that I look better with shorter hair, so I can't wait to get my hair chopped off! And I'm sorely tempted to just tell the hairdresser to 'surprise me'.

My postings seem to have a pattern, don't they? When winter approaches they all become dreaded complains about chilly weather. I'll definitely try to cut down on that!
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Thursday, 9 June 2011
A Westerner?

I may or may not have mentioned this before, but this semester I'm taking an elective in Psychology, titled 'Psychology of Everyday Thinking'.

And I've come to a real amusing realisation- that more often than not, I identify as a Westerner.

It's not that I voluntarily do it, it's just that most of the theories used to differentiate cultures use Western culture as a benchmark, and I find that most of the time, I would be classified as someone belonging to a Western culture.

Take for example this short test that he gave us.

Nominate / strike out the one that least fits with the other two.

1. Man                Woman                 Baby
2. Grass              Chicken                 Cow
3. Car                 Steering wheel       Bend
4. Wood             Paper                    Axe
5. Panda             Banana                  Monkey

Anyway, there were two general ways that people would go for.

People from Western cultures would most probably strike out:

1. Baby
2. Grass
3. Bend
4. Axe
5. Banana

That's because Western cultures are object-oriented, see people as individuals and thus are labelled individualist.

On the other hand, someone from Eastern cultures are more group-oriented, consider others and their impact on others, and are considered collectivist. So they see how things influence each other, and they would strike out (here's the difference between individualism and collectivism):

1. Man
2. Chicken
3. Car
4. Paper
5. Panda

There were other comparisons as well where he asked us in class, and most (if not all) I would be seen as someone from a Western culture.

While it doesn't surprise me that I gravitate towards Western ideology and thought, it was amusing to see that physically, I look different to the locals, but yet, I don't exactly feel very different to them because I've been exposed to Western culture so much. But then of course, there's a big, deep pool of difference because I have, after all, been much more exposed to an Eastern culture as well.

It's like that whole dilemma again- it seems like I never completely fit in to one group and am always stuck in between.
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Sunday, 5 June 2011
The Problem With the Internet

There's this rather long but interesting article on why web personalisation may be damaging our world view.

Basically, this guy wrote this book saying that because of the Internet, we are not as connected or informed as experts have said we are.

It's approaching! 

We like to be surrounded by the familiar, and by information that confirms what we already believe. It drives up pageviews and gets visitors coming back. But it’s a problem because it means you’re less likely than ever to be confronted with information that challenges your views, or gets you out of your comfort zone. Your own point of view follows you wherever you go.

Clay Shirky points out that while most newspaper readers read the internal sections (Sports, Home and Garden, whatever), at least they had to flip by the front page which let them know if something important was going on that they should know about. Now it’s possible to live in a bubble where that stuff doesn’t ever show up — you’d never know it’s happening.

Yes, we should all seek out diverse information flows. But great media makes that easy, even fun — combining information vegetables and information dessert and making sure you get enough of both. A lot of the personalization that exists today just serves up information junk food. It may be delicious, but it doesn’t feed the soul.

It's one of the things we learn in media studies- is the online audience so fragmented that we only seek out information and interests that align with our personality, that we remain very ignorant about the other issues around the world?


It's a rather uncomfortable thought for most scholars, because it is almost unimaginable that someone may know all about the Iraq War but nothing about the lack of drinking water in Africa. Or perhaps someone who derives a false sense of confidence and self assurance by seeking out an opinion on an issue that suits your own. I believe even right now, you can think of instances where you did this. I certainly have.

It's something worth thinking about- perhaps next time, when you find yourself doing that, you can also remind yourself to look at the other point of view as well, to get a clearer understanding of the opposition.

Right about now, I think I'm writing this post as if I'm writing an essay. Must be all the essay writing I've been doing, it's been ingrained in my writing style now!

So I shall move on to other things. I was very surprised to find that two local bookstore chains are closing down after their parent company went bankrupt. I thought that the Aussies read a lot, but either they don't or they simply get their books from other sources (I'm thinking ebooks are more popular here- I hope, anyway).

It's really sad, because there is a bookstore just behind my apartment, and the way they work here is that there will be a coffee shop within the store, so you can grab anything from the store, buy a coffee and sit down the whole day reading. It's really a leisurely thing to do, and now I've lost a pasttime (not that I've done it many times).

Bookstores are my sanctuary. I enjoy browsing through titles, reading summaries of the plot, skimming through magazines, and paying absolutely zero attention to my surroundings. I definitely stand out in a bookstore- I'm normally the only minority (read: Asian) but having been to bookstores all the time back home, it doesn't feel any different; and when I'm tuned out I don't really see how people look at me.

It's one of those things you do where you become totally absorbed that you really do not know what is happening around you.

Anyway, I've run out of things to write, so here are 3 trailers to end this post with:

1. Anonymous

2. Crazy Stupid Love

3. Super 8

Have a good week ahead!
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Friday, 3 June 2011
'I Speak From Experience...'

Have you ever heard someone older telling you a story or life lesson and saying it's because they speak from experience?

It is something that I've noticed to be happening to me- I seem to be at that period where I begin to smile at the innocence of youth, the feeling of not having anything to worry about, of not needing to think about the future and what lies ahead. 

I laughed at that. I'm mean, I know. 

I know, I know. It can only mean one thing- I'm getting older. Honestly it scares me. I wonder how I'll look like as a 40 year old. As a 60 year old. As an 80 year old if I live that long (yes, I'm vain). 

Just yesterday when talking to a friend about back in the days when we were prefects in the afternoon session, I brushed off what happened as youthful innocence and immaturity. Then it hit me. I no longer associate myself as a teen. I see myself as older, more experienced, more mature (or I like to think so, anyway), and (hopefully!) more knowledgeable. 

Sunny Melbourne... Won't be seeing that for a few months!

It is laughable, really. It reminds me of the stories I used to read of magical worlds with immortals (seeing how vain I am, the idea of immortality is very appealing). They mingle with mortals, and marvel at the ignorance of these people. If they're diabolical, they might even take advantage of it because they're also more powerful. But that's the case, isn't it? To me, some teens seem immature and downright ignorant. Sometimes it annoys me. Other times it makes me nostalgic. 

Can you imagine the amount of experience our parents have? And our grandparents? 

It is one of those things that we absorb throughout our daily life, without knowing it. But sometimes it's a nice feeling, knowing that you have this wealth of experience to draw on to help you. 

I've always wondered what it would be like to go back to my high school as a student ever since I left high school and watched the movie where Drew Barrymore went undercover as a high school student to write a story (she's a journalist). How would that second time turn out? Would I be able to use experience to anticipate which topics will be asked in exams? If I attempted to apply for prefects again, would knowing what it's like sitting on the other side help me? 

Youthful innocence?

To any social scientists who might be reading this, here's an idea! I wouldn't mind going back to my high school as an experiment (hopefully with one or two friends). 

Wouldn't it be fascinating? 

Anyway, it seems that I'm now old enough to be able to give advice based on 'experience'. Isn't that weird! I've never seen myself as an older figure; I was always the young kid, the protected and sheltered one who received advice. Guess it's like the passing of the torch (except I've no one to pass the torch to), from one generation to another. 

Now to digress yet again. A lot of you know about the whole 'we belong to Gen Y' thing. I recently discovered these authors, who (according to Wikipedia) proposed:

Modern history repeats itself every four generations; approximately 80–100 years.

The first one, the High cycle, occurs when a new order or human expansion is developed, replacing the older one. The next cycle is called the Awakening. More spiritual than the previous, this is a time of rebellion against the already established order. The third cycle is known as the Unraveling, when elements of individualism and fragmentation take over society, developing a troubled era which leads directly to the Fourth Turning, an era of crisis dominating society during which a redefinition of its very structure, goals, and purposes is established.

Each cycle has its archetypes, the four having the following one defined as: Prophet, Nomad, Hero, and Artist. Millennials (that's another term for Gen Y) belong to the Hero category, featuring a deep trust in authority and institutions; being somewhat conventional, but still powerful. They grew up during an Unraveling cycle with more protections than the previous generation (Gen X). They are heavily dependent on team work, and thus, when they come of age, turn into the heroic team-working young people of a Crisis. In their middle years, they become the energetic, decisive, and strong leaders of a High cycle; and in old age, they become the criticized powerful elders of an Awakening cycle. Another previous generation that belongs to this category is The Greatest Generation (1916–1924).

So that's another 'passing of the torch' instance. Just like how now, I am growing out of my teenage years (I've but a few months left before I'm officially an adult), as I watch people younger than me grow up and go through things that I went through.

My young cousins and my teen self... they're still young, whereas I'm no longer a teen.. in a few months that is

It does make me nostalgic to think about the times when I was in their position, and that I can never reclaim it again unless someone creates a time-travelling machine right now. And I will begin to grow up, enter adulthood, and begin telling people 'I speak from experience when I say...'

I just hope that I'm the adult that people look up to and want to take advice from.
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