Sunday, 22 December 2013
Keeping With The Times...

with a new and improved look!

I know, there are a lot of elements that still require tweaking- editing HTML without any coding experience isn't the easiest of tasks and it requires a lot of patience. Without needing Google this was what I managed, which is what I'm actually really proud of considering the original design was VERY generic.

I ate bak kut teh recently just because I felt like it. Think I should cook it myself sometime.
I have made a mental list of the things that I would need to fix- like the drop down menu at the top, the slider images (somehow my images aren't compressed into that size!), my huge Google+ profile picture (which makes me a little uncomfortable to be honest), the thumbnail images and having dates on posts rather than time.

Not saying that I will be sticking to this theme, but I did think it looked modern and makes this blog look... refreshed and not something from 2009. Plus, I was getting really sick of the previous theme.

As for blog posts moving forward...  I have no idea what am I going to do. I have a few half-written drafts just lying on the Posts page. It seems like I just don't have anything to say anymore. Maybe I need to take a break.

In the meantime, why don't you catch this trailer of the Witches of East End series- it was just so riveting that I watched the entire season in a week (good thing it was only 10 episodes)!

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Thursday, 21 November 2013
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Seriously, where did the past month go? I feel like I'm living in this loop where I get up and do the same thing over and over again, and then suddenly realise that all this time has passed.

Maybe that's what happens to people who work for years before realising that they've completely lost their youth- they immerse themselves in their lives so deeply that they don't even realise the world and time passing by.

It's quite unbelievable, really. Just this time last year I was done with uni and had busied myself with writing a novel for NaNoWriMo. Sadly that project never saw completion, and to this day remains stored in my laptop, not having progressed one bit even though the story is still fresh in my mind.

Even though I had abandoned my project, I do think that these 30-day challenges do have redeeming qualities. For instance, through my failure I did gain a new perspective on the challenges that a writer faces.

I have thought of setting myself other 30 day challenges, and to document them somehow- in my phone, laptop, or this blog since it seems like such a repository of my thoughts (seriously, my future descendants, please don't judge me).

But since this post is about the passing of time, I will save this challenge idea for another time. Instead I thought it would be nice to highlight a few things that have caught my attention recently.

The NSA spying controversy in the US was scarier than I thought it would be.

I read an article about how some extremely healthy people maintain their fitness.

'5 Things Successful People Do Before 8am'. Interesting, and I suppose I already tick some boxes! But have you noticed more and more of these 'do these if you want to be successful' kind of posts?

Earning money while travelling abroad- now that's something I would like to do!

And... that's all for now folks. My bed is calling me. Till next time!
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Saturday, 26 October 2013
Where Is Home?

'Where is home?'

This question has come up several times now, and I'm finding it harder and harder to come up with an answer.

The concept of home is sometimes a very complicated question. We move out of our parents' house, we move interstate, or we migrate to another place- everyone faces this dilemma. It's just that some of us feel it more.

Home- then
For myself, it can be a very awkward question sometimes because my own definition of home varies. For instance, my home can be defined as the place I grew up. But it can also mean where I'm living now (but have not chose to 'settle down' in).

I do still consider the motherland as my home and where I'm from, but at the same time, I do feel as if I have a foot in each world, and for a person like me who likes certainty it can be frustrating. Sure, some people like living a nomadic life and being able to go around places and never having to call a place 'home'.

I'm different. I like certainty. I like knowing how things are defined, where I stand with other people, how I'll get to work the next day, when I'm going to the gym next, what am I having for dinner, and of course, where home is.

I think the main thing preventing me from solving this dilemma is the uncertainty. There are just too many factors that may dictate where my life will be headed in the next few years. To be perfectly honest  I do not know what will I be doing in a few years' time, and where. Perhaps then I will be able to definitively answer the question of where my home is.

Home- now?
Some people do think that I should just refer to where I am currently as 'home'- but I am very hesitant about this considering that I have not been away for even a decade yet. I'm in a sense more of a visitor than a person who has chosen to live here.

This is something that I am sure I will figure out in time, it's just a tad bit annoying when I get asked this question. Unfortunately, there is nothing I can do at the moment besides bearing it.

What is your definition of / where is your home?
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Sunday, 20 October 2013
What Is Your Brand?

I read a very interesting article on Mashable this week on something that I had already touched on previously in this blog, but just am too lazy to locate.

For most teens, the purpose of social media is just that: an outlet to express various character traits, especially those that are less-than-obvious or even nonexistent. 

 I confess I don’t spout witty one-liners on a regular basis. But the nature of Twitter allows me to garner a number of retweets and favorites for short, clever commentary on my everyday life. The same applies to my favorite photo-sharing app, Instagram. I can get dozens of likes on a picture of the sunset I snapped with my iPhone, even though my real-life photography skills are decidedly amateur. 

Each social media provides a distinct niche for me to showcase different aspects of my personality, enhancing others' preconceived notions about me. Teenagers have been unjustly stuffed into boxes even before The Breakfast Club. But the enormous span of social media networks gives us a chance to shed the inaccurate labels. As a result, teens have become experts in online branding; instead of pushing a product, we’re selling ourselves. Everything we do online is subconsciously executed to affect others’ perceptions.

My neighbourhood at night
Indeed, I do think along the same lines as the person- I do believe that my social media presence are all extensions of my personality, and it all showcases a 'brand' of myself that I am putting out there. Some of them may be more similar to my real life persona, some rather different.

And I do think that these marketing strategies if you will do work- how often have you looked at something a person you know has posted and wondered in awe or surprise or something else? You immediately form of perception of that person and think that that is how they will be in reality. For people who see each other often this probably would not be the case, but it definitely would be for those who do not meet on a regular basis.

I myself am guilty of this, though self awareness allows me to think about it more carefully and I tell myself not to judge or have a perception of someone change.

Do you agree?
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Thursday, 3 October 2013
Social Media Is Not Free

I read a Tweet recently about the health ministry spending RM 320,000 on developing Facebook and Twitter accounts.
I can see why so many people are against this, seeing that Facebook and Twitter, along with other social networks, are free. But I think what all of these people are forgetting is that Facebook for personal uses and Facebook for business are two completely different things.

Coming from a PR background and now working in marketing, I think I can safely say that to establish a good business account, money is needed. While it is debatable whether it is worth that figure in the article, thinking that just because Facebook is free you do not need a budget for engaging with fans is foolish. Here's why.

Go on Facebook and look at brand pages. Take Coca-Cola for example. It has 73 million Likes. Honestly, I do think that there is this misconception that a lot of people believe that the belief that brands 'do social media right' equates to just posting status updates and interacting with fans. But no one puts any thought into who designs the cover photo. Or the profile picture. Or the picture updates and videos. Who pays them? Who buys the rights to the images they don't own? Who takes pictures for social media marketing? These people don't work for free, you know.

Because such a beautiful cover photo is free huh?
Then look at the advertising. Many brands do advertise on Facebook- and obviously these aren't free. How many of you have actually advertised on Facebook? Do you know the different types of ads available? No? Still think you can handle a business Facebook account?

And then finally there's this thing those of us in the PR circle say 'leave it to the pros'- because using Facebook to talk about your birthday party and about a new product needs to be executed differently and you'll actually be surprised at how many nutjobs out there who have made PR blunders on social media.

I do think that in order to really get results, money needs to be spent. It's just mindless people using this as a leverage to attack an unpopular government. I may be a minority on this issue but I do think that I have a valid argument here.

Lesson of the day: Don't jump on the bandwagon. Ever.
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Sunday, 22 September 2013
11 Reasons I'm Grateful About Being 22

Yes, my 22nd came and went very quickly earlier this month. While I sometimes still am in denial and tell people that I'm actually, I do realise that I am now an adult. And while I find it totally weird that I am now getting so old, here are 11 reasons why I'm glad that I am still 22. I'm sure this doesn't apply to everyone, but you may relate!

1. I can still say that I'm a 'young adult' rather than an 'adult'
I can't stress on how important this is- knowing that I've not fully transcended into adulthood. I'm still able to go about my life as someone who is barely out of teenage-hood (okay maybe a little more than barely).

2. I can live independently without my family and still be fine
I'm not at that stage in my life where I'm obsessed with finding my purpose in life and family becomes very important. Yes, they are still extremely important but it is also okay when I'm not with them. What a perfect balance- I enjoy their company when I see them, but am fine when I'm not with them.

Funnily enough, this is the only picture I took for my birthday
3. I don't get judged for things I do 
A lot of adults like to judge. How many times have you heard your parents talking about how someone's actions didn't reflect what society expected of them? Things like getting your ear pierced. Or having a good time at a party.

4. I can still get compliments like 'oh you're still young!' 
22 is when you start hanging out with older people. That's when you start your professional career (well that's the case for me anyway), so you are dealing with older people with more life experience. And here's the best part: Before you join the club you can still enjoy the 'you're still very young' compliments.

5. I don't need to have my whole life 'figured out'
I can still say I don't know what I want to do in the long-term, or where I see myself in 5 years. I have a vague plan of still remaining in the corporate world and moving up the ladder, but beyond that I don't really have much figured out. My current plan would probably last for a little over a year, and that's when I go back to the drawing board. But that's fine for me- we have to deal with changes in our lives all the time anyway.

6. I can still use inexperience as an excuse
Not knowing a lot of things can sometimes make you look bad in front of people. Think about the time you went fine dining and didn't know which knife or fork to use. Some mistakes can only be forgiven for so long, and I'm grateful that because I'm 22, I still have the luxury of being able to commit mistakes and having it attributed to inexperience.

7. I'm not as hormonal as 4 or 5 years ago (though some would disagree)
While I'm nowhere near being an adult with stable lives and whatnot, being 22 means that I am very close to that stage now. My career is starting to take off and I am starting to see what life is like for many, many years to come. But it also means that I am not as hormonal as I was during my teenage years 4 or 5 (maybe even 6-7) years ago. Or perhaps a more accurate statement would be my hormone levels have stabilised? I don't know, I'm not a doctor.

Birthday at work! 

8. I get to do adult things
By this, I mean things like making an appointment to see the doctor for something trivial. Or going out without having a curfew. I get to make my own decisions on what I want to do, which can be scary sometimes since I sometimes feel as if I would be lost without counsel. But I guess learning to listen to your instincts and act on them is also part of being an adult.

9. I don't have to feel bad about walking into a Cotton On store
You know those stores- the type that teenagers go in because the clothes are cheap. Adults shun them because of the quality, or maybe it's the low prices, or something else. But I do like stores like that because the products are still things that I would wear outside of work, and I'm glad that I'm not too old for them yet- I still fit in their demographic.

10. I can still bear discomfort 
One of the biggest things I don't like about ageing is that your tolerance of discomfort diminishes. When you were little not washing your hair for days would've been fine- see how long you last now. This is especially so when travelling- I've always had the belief that adults have less tolerance, i.e they need a proper bed, they need food at certain times of day, etc. I know that that day will probably come to me, but I'm hoping that it will only happen in my 30s or later, and I can enjoy my travels in my 20s.

Tried my hand at modelling... kind of
11. I can have financial independence without the burden
I cannot imagine how exciting this is. As I'm only at the beginning of a whole new phase of my life, I don't have much. It's like when you first move houses- you have the bare essentials and that's it. The same goes for financials. Right now, I have a job that pays me enough to cover rent, utilities and my expenses. It's quite a comfortable life for now, because everything is kind of clear cut- I have things that I need to pay for every month, and so on and so forth, but I don't have to worry about major things like a mortgage or a car loan. Heck, I don't know how those things work. But for now, it means that I won't have to obsess over having to pay all these debts.

I'm sure there are more benefits, but these are all I can think of now. Granted, different 22 year-olds would have different experiences, but I thought it would be nice to contribute still.
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Saturday, 7 September 2013
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I know I'm guilty of this- constantly using 'being busy' as an excuse for many things. But I recently read an article that really changed my perspective.

Here's an excerpt:

We're all just so "busy" these days. "Slammed" in fact. "Buried." Desperately "trying to keep our heads above water." So much of this is about out-doing each other. To say that "I'm busier than you are" means I'm more important, or that my time is more valuable, or that I am "winning" at some never-finished rat race to Inbox Zero. 

What you're trying to say with these responses is: I'm busier, more in-demand, more successful. Here's the thing: it's harming how we communicate, connect, and interact. Everyone is busy, in different sorts of ways. To assume that being "busy" (at this point it has totally lost its meaning) is cool, or brag-worthy, or tweetable, is ridiculous. 

By lobbing these brags, endlessly puffing our shoulders about how "up to my neck" we are, we're missing out on important connections with family and friends, as well as personal time.

That made me pause and reflect. Yes, I constantly say that I am busy whenever someone asks me how I've been doing. And it is true- I have been keeping myself occupied with various commitments and goals. But I guess the one big difference here is that by busy, I do include my social engagements.

The article ended on a cheerful note, calling for all of us to keep an eye on our negativity and steer conversations away from that, instead focusing on what is making us happy. It is rather stupid to think that being busy makes you better off. We constantly wave our busy-ness around as if it is something to be proud of, and use it as an excuse to get away with things. I have done it, and have it done to me- how many times have you tried to schedule a catch-up with a friend only to be rejected or have them cancel on you because 'something came up' or that they're 'really busy'? My guess is, quite a bit.

Upon reading that article, 3 things popped into my mind.

1) It's about life's purpose 
We all have different priorities in our lives as we age. As a child, you don't think twice about having food on the table. As a university student you think about the parties you want to enjoy. As a working adult, you fret over whether you would have enough money left over to save. But really, at the end of the day, 'being busy' gives us the satisfaction that we are doing something meaningful with our lives, real or perceived.

The current society we live in look down on those whose life has 'no purpose'- people who make enough to scrap by for the day and with no worries about tomorrow, taking each day as it comes. We degrade people who seem to laze around all day doing nothing. To a certain extent, I do think that these opinions are justified, but it comes because we are inherently obsessed with finding our 'purpose in life'. Some turn to spirituality, others turn to work or volunteering. By talking about how busy we are, it's actually saying how fulfilling our life is.

2) We really are busy, and you're not important enough
One of the most important things I've realised in the last few years is that if someone cares about you enough, they would be willing to carve time out to be with you no matter what. But sometimes, when a friend tells you they have to cancel on dinner because they're busy (or some other work-related excuse), it strikes me as being the same as saying 'you're not important enough'.

Think about it- if you were dating someone you really like, and you both are crazy over each other, it doesn't matter if both of you are lawyers or doctors working crazy schedules. You will find time for each other. But it is when someone doesn't matter as much, and you can't be bothered making the effort, that you find it appropriate to use busy-ness as an excuse. So really, you are not missing out on anything- you chose to miss out because you don't think that these people are worth spending time with. Harsh truth, but if you think about it, I'm sure you have done it to someone.

3) We need balance
Having said all that, we are living in a world where we are constantly connected and on-call. Work never ceases. How many articles have you read about the statistics of work outside of work, i.e. doing work at home or checking your emails during vacations? I have read it a lot.

Technology has made us all control freaks- we think that our companies cannot survive without us and they are constantly depending on us. It is partly true, but that definitely cannot be healthy. Technology has perhaps spoiled us; we all have our work emails on our phones now. But it is also important to have a balance- something not a lot of companies and people are aware of. I'm not sure about how it works in Malaysian companies (though I hear it is pretty scary), but I am very thankful that I don't work in an environment where I'm expected to work overtime constantly. This allows me to find time to go to the gym to get my fitness levels up, meet up with friends and enjoy some precious alone time.

Poster picture for 'balance'- an interesting development don't you think?
What do you think? Are you too busy in your life?
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Sunday, 1 September 2013
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Happy September! I'm hoping that by immersing myself in my blog a little more I'll be able to write a little more often.

I really do have a confession- I've been having a lot of writer's block. The thing is, nothing comes to my mind anymore when I try to think of something witty. Heck, even right now, when I'm typing this up, I do not have an idea for the title. So whatever it ends up as, you know that I haven't even thought about it when I came here.

But I have been thinking of getting a little more into blogging again, simply because of the nature of my work. You see, I started working in a digital marketing company, and so a lot of the things I do revolves around the cyber world and of course, blogging is a big part of it.

Which is why I've been thinking of taking this blog in another direction. But where to? What can I possibly write about constantly? That's a question that's been leaving me stumped for quite a while (and also partially explains why I haven't been updating much). I would like to write something other than just my own life; I'm not doing my writing skills any good that way. I bet that if I tried to write a review for a movie I saw recently it would pale in comparison to what I used to be able to come up with.

So be patient while I do a little soul-searching. In the meantime, here's a video about multiple dimensions and universes.

Have a great week ahead!
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Sunday, 25 August 2013

So I'm pretty sure you would have heard by now that I'm employed.

(Seriously, didn't know I could garner that much Likes with a single Facebook post)

I kept it extremely low profile, not many people knew, until the big announcement anyway. But it is something that I do enjoy and it also means that I get to escape my previous job at the restaurant.

Today I just wanted to share a video really. If you remember the movie 'The Proposal' from a couple years ago, you'll remember that the scene where Sandra Bullock dances to 'Get Low' got me cracked up. Here's a recap in case you need it.

Needless to say, that scene cracked me up so much. It was one of my favourite scenes from a comedic movie, ever. Until now.

Just watch the clip below, and watch We're The Millers if you haven't yet.

Have a great week!

P.S. I know this blog has been kinda deserted, hopefully I'll get some writing inspiration soon!
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Tuesday, 16 July 2013
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[No this post isn't about diamonds, it just so happen to be the song I'm currently listening to while typing this post out]

It's 11:30 at night and I am actually supposed to be getting ready for bed- have been sleeping rather late the past few days and so I thought I should have an early night in before a long day at work tomorrow. But since I have my laptop out, which happens less often now that I do not have to complete assignments or work, I decided that this blog has been neglected for far too long for me to ignore.

After all, writing is one of the things that I enjoy a lot. I used to say that I would like writing to remain a hobby, for me to pursue in my own leisure time, but I am increasingly being doubtful about whether or not this is actually feasible. Firstly, looking at my work schedule now, I really do not have much time for myself anymore. And secondly, this article I read over the weekend was a real eye-opener for me.

In the years BC (before children) I used to have a range of mind-broadening pursuits with which to regale people at weddings. There was book club, which I've had to leave because I got rumbled pretending I'd read Wolf Hall when I'd only skimmed the synopsis on Amazon. And skiing, which I love, but have curtailed because it's cheaper to do a kitchen renovation. Surfing I've abandoned because I'm too unfit to get up on the board. Thankfully, I still play hockey every Saturday but that's because I like hitting things so it's more anger management than a bona fide pursuit. 
"A hobby - what's that?" laughs a friend, a 29-year-old make-up artist who works from 5am til 6pm seven days a week running her own business. "I have a pot plant - does that count as gardening?" enquires another. "Ooo, I have a hobby," claims one mum. "It's such fun - I drive my son to rowing at 5am and sit in the car with the engine running and the heater on until 7am. If I close my eyes I can almost pretend it's meditation."

Hobbies pursued for enjoyment, relaxation or curiosity have been usurped by child ferrying and activities designed for self-improvement: fitness, cooking, home decoration, personal grooming. Men like my dad who whiled away hours sailing, and building model trains, now cycle. And talk about cycling. And have coffee after cycling. And shop for cycling pants. "No, it's not a hobby," laughs a mate, "call it a beer tax because it offsets the drinking."

I find that to be quite true, even though I do not have any children of my own. I already work 6-7 days a week, and add to that my fitness goals, which means time spent at the gym, and then factor in my time for social engagements and running errands and doing chores, and I'm stuck with no extra time at all.

If the author is talking about hobbies being lost because of more responsibilities such as parenting or to maintain a good appearance, then I could most certainly compare my life pre and post studying. As a teen, I definitely lived the good life- nothing to worry about. In uni, results were obviously a concern but beyond that, there was nothing much else as I was shielded in the bubble of being a student.

Now that I'm no longer in that world, I do find that I'm forced to adapt to a vastly different situation- I'm now a uni graduate at the beginning of my career. It is, arguably, the start of my adult life. It's not an easy ride, but I do find that there are days when I have to tell myself that I need to get used to this sometimes tough situation and suck it up. Which means that to ultimately, when I finally do get into bed, I normally feel so exhausted that I have no interest whatsoever in reading or writing.

This makes for an interesting conversation because when asked about what my hobbies are or what I do in my spare time I always say reading and writing. Yet, it is ironic that I barely find time to do any of them at all. I must say, even though I am exhausted and am struggling to write a nicely crafted post, I do still think that this whole experience is a lot better than remaining at uni.

I would write for a little longer but my eyelids are being absolutely heavy so you'll just have to wait till the next post (hopefully in a couple of days). Good night!
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Sunday, 9 June 2013
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I can't believe how busy I've been the past few weeks. It just seems like time has flew past so quickly without me even realising it.

Basically, I took on several assignments that kept me on my toes. It was a tad bit hectic at times, but I was definitely appreciative that I could actually give my brain the mental stimulation it needs. Sometimes, it feels like now that I've graduated and am not really in a job that I want, my brain doesn't get much 'exercising' either. There is hardly anything I do in my life that requires much brain activity, so when the opportunity came up for me to have to read, research and write, I jumped on it. And now I do feel good about it, knowing that at the end of the whole experience, I was thankful for it. It does not make me miss uni life, for I wouldn't want that constantly, but I could use some of these every once in awhile.

On another note, winter has arrived and I've immediately fallen prey to a terrible cold. I would have liked to say that I am fitter and healthier after all the physical exercising I'm getting at the gym as well, but I guess my fitness still isn't at a level that I can be proud of just yet. Maybe next year! But I do know that health-wise, I am heading in the right direction. Perhaps I can really cross off one item off my resolutions this year.
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Friday, 17 May 2013
The Most Memorable Teachers

While I was scanning my Facebook feed before I went to work this morning I was surprised to read so many posts on Teacher's Day. I had completely forgotten that the 16th of May used to be one where we celebrate the contributions of our teachers. But rather than just writing a simple thank you note I thought I'd share with you my list of my most memorable teachers! Here goes.

1. The Tough Lover
I'm sure a lot of you would have come across a teacher like this in your life at some point. You know, the one who laid down harsh laws and handed out tough love. I had someone like this , too- this teacher spewed so many often almost unreasonable rules that we had to follow that it made it hard to like her sometimes. It didn't help that a part of her tough love principle includes assessing our exam papers so strictly and picking on the tiniest of  mistakes that most students ended up failing most of the time under her. But I did come around to seeing her wisdom later on, and needless to say am thankful for it.

2. The Philosopher
I started off disliking the philosopher. A lot. Simply because of a clash of ideology. But as time went by I did adapt to it and found some of it entertaining. Take for example the argument that being a corrupt person might just save you a lot of trouble; you wouldn't have to work hard to enjoy the finest things in life.

3. The Professional
This teacher didn't have a huge impact on my growth as a person, simply because my most formative years were already behind me when we met, but she definitely was a huge influence on me when I was deciding on my career path. To put it simply, her experience and knowledge was so insightful that it allowed me to finally decide to take up a public relations degree.

4. The Sexist
I was originally very hesitant about including this teacher. After all, she was the one who had basically humiliated me in front of a crowd many times over menial thing and I had already decided that she's someone not worth my attention but I thought she was an interesting character to add in. You know how there's the 'girls are neat and trustworthy, boys are rascals' stereotype? Well, the sexist was always a champion of this principle. And nothing was more satisfying than scoring the highest mark in her subject. Consistently. Without the need to attend extra classes.

I seem to be taking a lot of selfies lately...

5. The Entrepreneurial Scientist
I will always admire this teacher for her book and street smarts- it's a combination not many people have. But she always seemed to juggle being an educator and businesswoman well. I used to try to estimate her income and was definitely impressed. Of course, it's hard work but it definitely pays off.

6. The Storyteller
Most people who know me well would know that I love stories. No matter what situation I'm in, stories always fascinate me. I will always remember this particular teacher for her unconventional methods of imparting knowledge- classes would always be alternated between sitting on our chairs by our desk and sitting on the floor while she sat on a chair and told us stories... or have discussions about things that kids talk about. Needless to say, I did very well academically that year. Through all these years I have always been thankful and proud of my achievements, and have always attributed it to The Storyteller. The biggest reward for me was that after many years, she still remembered which classroom she was in when she taught me!

7. The Historian
Similar to The Storyteller, this teacher had a particular penchant for telling stories, except that her stories were not always related to what she was supposed to be teaching. To some people, it was a waste of time, but I had always found it enlightening as I would gain more general knowledge and information about the world from her, and when they're stories it was particularly attention grabbing. 

8. The Comedian
The Comedian is probably one of the teachers that will remain in my memory for a long time. Not because she liked telling jokes, but rather she served as comedy for students. From her often lazy attitude, to her comedic behaviour, students always found her entertaining. I can think of more than one occasion where she was the subject of many jokes, and all of them are ridiculously hilarious. Great teacher she was not, but she did leave a lasting impression of sorts. 

9. The Mother
Alas, what list would be complete without this one? Not many people have the opportunity to be taught by their mothers. There was one particular year where my mother was actually, (gasp!) my teacher as well! I swear, there are very few situations as awkward for a kid as having to address your own mother as a teacher. I do remember avoiding such situations at all costs, though once when I was forced to, she did have some fun at my expense by forcing my hand. Well played, Mum! But after everything I was most thankful and impressed that through it all, she was still fair and did not treat me any differently. 

Mum and I :) 

Of course, these aren't the only teachers that I do still remember, but these are definitely the ones that would jump to mind very quickly. 

Do you have your own list of most memorable teachers? Who were they?
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Tuesday, 30 April 2013
Why I Do Not Regret Signing Up for a Gym Membership

Gym memberships can be quite controversial if you think about it. Those who do have memberships are often seen as excessively vain who have a lot of extra money to spend. 'Going to the gym' is something that people in the corporate world say, or perhaps housewives whose husbands have deep pockets. It wasn't something that I believed in, just something that I thought was glamorous.

So it's been six to eight weeks since I started being a regular at a gym, and I must say that while I was sceptical at the beginning, I'm really warming up to the idea of it. In fact, I now do see my gym membership as a key element in my life, and it would take quite a bit for me to be able to give it up. Here's why.

1) Finally cross it off new year's resolutions list
For the past couple of years, 'getting fit' has been a part of my new year's resolutions. I'm sure many people had this on your list, too- but not many of us actually act on it. This year, I made a mental note to myself to embrace a more spontaneous and carefree approach to life, and so just jumped into the deep end and signed up for the membership. I've been keeping tabs on how often I go, too, and I can definitely say that if I continue at this rate for the rest of the year (which I think I will, since I'm liking the gym quite a lot!) 'getting fit' can definitely be crossed off the list.

2) Whole body workout
I used to scoff at the idea of a gym membership. I could run at the park, I could play sports, I could workout at home- why would I need a gym membership for? But as I've come to realise, a gym membership is really more than a run at the park. You see, when you run, you work out just a few parts of your body and neglect the rest. I definitely am glad that my entire body gets a workout. Arms, shoulders, back, legs, no part is spared. Plus, there's a personal trainer to teach me routines that would bring me closer to my fitness goals (although I did pay for that one too).

3) Feel healthier
I'm not gonna lie- being more in tune with the fitness industry sucks you in a little. The whole eating salads, small meals several times a day, balanced nutrition, that kinda stuff that many people might not pay attention to. So this year, I've also cut down a lot on instant noodles, canned and instant soups (and other foods), my favourite potato chips, and fast food. Although I do give in to temptation at times, I have to say that I actually rarely eat those things now. And because I'm exercising more and being more active, I do feel healthier, given that the number of times that I actually exercised over the last couple of years was so little, and now that I've stepped it up a notch I do feel that I can slowly get back to my pre-migration fitness, and probably exceed that too.

Taken after going to the gym
4) Boosts confidence
And finally, my favourite reason- the results of this constant fitness regime has boosted my confidence quite a bit. As you all know, I'm a scrawny kid and have had to endure so many people telling me I need to eat more (difference is, eating more does not equal weight gain... or muscle). You would also know that I can be quite a narcissist. But despite my status as a bony mass of a human, you have to admit that being checked out feels amazing. And this has definitely happened to me at the gym. Not just in the actual gym floor, but in the locker room as well, which makes me feel even better knowing that guys are checking me out. I must look pretty good!

I am absolutely grateful that I made this decision to take my fitness into my own hands and not just lament my lack of stamina or endurance. So the next time I see you, don't be surprised if the first thing that comes into your mind is 'damn he looks good'! (I would post a half naked picture of myself but I wouldn't wanna peer pressure you into doing the same)
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Saturday, 20 April 2013
The Valley and the Peak

Over the last month while I was away from this blog, I was keeping myself busy with working and going to the gym and other things that meant that updating this space wasn't on the top of my list of things to do. During that time, I have had time to also reflect on my current life and where it's headed.

To be perfectly honest, I have wondered, what am I to do if I don't land a career? Will I be stuck forever doing menial jobs? As a student, I've honestly never thought about this- the prospect of unemployment. To me, it was something unthinkable, as if I would land a job the moment I graduate, as if getting a foot in the door isn't that tough. Back then unemployment was a vague concept that I didn't fully grasp even though I knew full well what it meant.

And I think this is something that many students do not see just yet. We seem to enter university, with hopes of gaining knowledge and changing the world, or maybe just to get a job. But what happens after graduation? What happens after the gown is returned or stashed in the back of a closet, what happens after the ceremonial hat toss is completed? What happens then? And what happens when our dreams of stepping out into the corporate world immediately after graduation doesn't shape up?

I have mentioned previously that I would try to stick it out. And I do mean it. I do understand that job prospects might shrink and my chances may decrease over time, but I have to believe in myself and the choice that I'm making. Plus, taking time off to fully assess where my life is headed and what I want to do with it, as well as doing things that I enjoy, such as travelling, would allow me to make up for lost time with experiences that others may not have. Technically speaking, anyway.

I do know that opportunities come and go, and that sometimes things don't always go as planned, but we should just seize the moment and go with the flow. So while I recognise that I may not be in an ideal position career-wise, this is also my opportunity to do other things, such as chasing my dreams and acquiring new skills. Through my interactions recently I realised that I do need more skills- I have basically next to nothing when it comes to life skills. I don't sing, dance or play any musical instruments. I hate cooking. I love technology but am not a technician, nor am I interested in being one.

These skills are not just hobbies, I do think that they are value-adds when it comes to tough times like unemployment because then you know that you have something else to offer. While chatting up a recent connection of mine, I saw that this could be a unique time for me to try to fulfil one of my dreams (kind of, anyway) of owning a business. Unfortunately, all I have to offer is writing, so at the moment it does seem like I do not have much going for me. I am considering learning new things, but at the moment, I do feel that it is better to play to my strengths.

But fret not! This seed has only just been planted in my head and I have time to think about how should I move forward with this. Writing is a tough industry so I'm not too sure how I would start a business on this, but I would absolutely love to own a business of my own that I can count on for income... and if it turns out to be successful then maybe that will be my career, who knows what's gonna happen? But if you have any ideas, I'd like to hear them!
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Friday, 29 March 2013
Selfish Beings

I'm not sure if the news made it to Malaysian waters, but the Australian political scene isn't looking very bright at the moment. With an election in September, I actually feel like Australian politics and Malaysian politics is becoming quite similar. Or at least, that's how I see it- both ruling governments are unpopular, and might lose the next election, but people have doubts about the opposition.

This morning, I read a very interesting article called 'how to sell a sinking ship', where a political campaigner talked about how can an unpopular government convince people to still vote for them.

''There's an old advertising belief that governments have to sell on fear and oppositions have to sell on hope,'' she says. ''I'd be doing big ads which had pictures of Cyprus and rioters in Greece, saying, 'Australia - 21 years of growth brought to you by the ALP'. I'd certainly be touting those kinds of achievements. ''The basic premise for any government, she adds is: better the devil you know. ''Most people vote for selfish reasons, nobody votes for the good of Australia,'' Gregory says. ''We vote for what's going to put the most money in our pocket at the end of the year … no one actually gives a monkey's about the 'economy'.''
I found those few sentences enlightening, for I do think that it is exactly what the Najib government needs to do at the moment- sell on fear and their track record. And the opposition has to sell on the hope that things will get better. And I also agree completely that we are all selfish people who will vote for whatever brings us the most benefit.

Easter, exactly a year ago. Good times!

We don't like to admit it, but we are all definitely selfish. Sure, there are exceptions to this rule, but most  of us unconsciously subscribe to the capitalistic and materialistic ideal that the world currently runs on. I definitely am one of them. Yes, I do want better things for my country but I do admit that I will also vote for my own benefit as well.

Take my own career aspirations as another example. That article reminded me of something- that behind every hated regime is probably a public relations team that worked tirelessly to ensure that their clients were perceived in the most positive light possible. Some of you might wonder- why do they do it? Why do they even want to help such a terrible cause?

The simplest answer to that is probably self-preservation and promotion. If they run a successful campaign, it's safe to say that they would not only continue to have a job, but they would also have gained a reputation in the industry for being able to run campaigns against the odds. I mean, Apple doesn't have to do much right now- every product they churn out is going to have the attention of people. It's companies like Nokia and Blackberry whose PR and marketing teams have the most challenging job, and if they were able to bring that kind of favourable attention to their company and products, what does that say about their abilities?

We all want that career boost and being well known in what we do. We don't admit it, but we selfishly think of how to improve our chances every day and how to benefit ourselves at the end of the day. Of course, everyone does this to a different extent, so some of us aren't willing to go as far as others. But we still do it.
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Wednesday, 20 March 2013
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Sometime several months ago, I made a new year's resolution. I haven't actually checked it out yet but I do know a few of them by heart as they're the ones I've never been able to keep. It's the usual suspects- getting healthier, fitter, eating better, being more adventurous and stepping out of my comfort zone. When making it, I definitely had my doubts over whether I would be able to keep them this year, or will they simply be pushed forward to next year's resolutions. But then it hit me. I'm not getting any younger. Sure, when you're 19, eating healthily can wait, but now that I'm fully in my 20s, I came to the sudden realisation that I need to take charge of my life more.

You'll be surprised at how thoughts like these can motivate you sometimes. I for one never entertained the notion of being in my 20s. But this time around, I did, and as usual, it scared me. So this year, I have tried my best to eat healthy meals (cutting down on instant noodles and junk food... I tried anyway) and doing some exercises at home. This week I also started something I knew I should have done a long time ago- I signed up for a gym membership.

Yes, it's one of those things that may seem like a premium that you don't need, and it is true that sometimes you really don't need a gym membership. I found a gym that has excellent facilities- tons of different classes, a pool, and a rock climbing wall. Stepping inside, I felt comfortable immediately, and I knew that I would feel a lot more motivated to work out here. And so, instead of telling myself how expensive the membership is, or that I can workout at home, I signed up. Why? Because I felt the need to really take full control of my body.

And mind you, it's been great. I have been going to the gym quite regularly, and today was perhaps one of the most rewarding days. I tried yoga for the first time in my life. I can see why yoga is so popular; it made me stretch muscles I didn't know I have and definitely don't know how to stretch even if I did. It made me realise how much further I can go if I work hard and am persistent. There was definitely a relaxing factor in yoga that would make me want to go back for more. You are simply in the studio and can forget about the external world, and it feels amazing.

Then there's the rock climbing. Those of you who know me well would know that I'm afraid of heights. But I figured, why not? I'm trying to be more adventurous anyway. So I went through the safety briefing and then started climbing (with supervision of course). After explaining how things work, the instructor told me to climb halfway up. When I did, I asked what next. He said let go.

'W-what? Let go?' was my reaction at first. Yes, there is a harness. But I was still terribly nervous. I mean, there is something to be said about you hanging on by your fingers on a rock, and being told to let go and plunge to the ground (okay you don't plunge, but you get what was going through my body). But I steadied my nerves, told myself to just go for it, and... I let go. It felt good. Then he told me to climb all the way up. He followed me up, and when we reached the top, he asked if I was ready to let go. This time, I was, and let go of my grip on the rocks with less hesitation. There was, oddly, something really liberating and empowering about that moment.  It was a moment where I forgot about everything else that was going on in my life, and just get absorbed in the moment and allowing myself to experience life as it is. To feel the adrenaline rush through my body as my feet left the tiny foothold and the spring tightening around the harness, bringing me back to the ground, was amazing.

I felt nothing else. I thought of nothing else. I just let go, and I think that's something that I might need to learn in life. Sometimes it really is about taking the plunge and just doing things. I did it today. Of course, it didn't hurt being told that I did really well for my first try.
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Tuesday, 5 March 2013
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Today while at the supermarket getting some last minute ingredients for dinner, I glanced upon the candy shelf and saw- you guessed it, candy. More specifically, sour tapes. I've previously written about it being one of the things that would brighten my day, and it definitely did today- I was excited to see it.  But, just a few seconds later I was hit with a realisation.

I'm not sure if you know this, but tennis player Maria Sharapova launched a candy line sometime this year (in Australia at least- think it was last year in the U.S). Here's her description of the products on the website:

I’ve always had a sweet tooth. And I am not exaggerating one bit. My earliest memory of candy is being a little girl back in Russia and asking my parents for a lollipop after a good practice on the tennis court. It was that little treat I looked forward to. And here I am many years later hoping to get a sweet treat after a good practice.

And this was what I had wrote in my previous entry:

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

And no, I was no excited one bit at the similarities. Rather, I was more disappointed. While I am still happy with my life, it currently is not going anywhere. Sharapova, on the other hand, has so many opportunities lining up. It made me wonder- do I give up too easily? I definitely missed a chance on building a candy empire (okay maybe not, but you get the point). It made me see things a little differently. For instance, I gained some insights into why I think she was able to see this as a business opportunity and I didn't (besides the fact that she's a celebrity, of course!).

Mindset- While I saw candy as a way to make taekwondo bearable, Sharapova used it as positive reinforcement. I had to be goaded into going. Granted, I hated the physical violence that is taekwondo, but still, I did not make the best of the situation.

Perseverance- This realisation made me wonder, perhaps I should have persevered in more things that I was so fortunate to have been able to dabble in- self defence (taekwondo, wushu and Brazilian jiu-jitsu), music (piano, the guitar and an assortment of other instruments), sport (swimming, tennis and badminton). I did not dedicate my attention to anything. Who knows? Had I concentrated on something I might've been at London last Olympics.

Value of tough times- I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that Sharapova went through a rough childhood as she couldn't be with her parents when she was sent to America. I was blessed with a very lucky and fortunate childhood. But as they say, 'tough times don't last, tough people do'. It is during these times that you learn more about yourself and you come out a stronger person.

Importance of passion- Having said all that, at the end of the day Maria has always said that she enjoys tennis. Drive is important, and it's the same as the age-old saying 'do what you like to do'. I guess the lesson here is that passion can be a fuel to a successful life. After all, all the most successful people I know are deeply passionate about what they do for a living.

So, boys and girls, take this as a lesson to remind you that no matter what, you should always try your hardest and not let life's challenges make you turn away from chasing after what you want.
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Sunday, 24 February 2013
Thursday, 14 February 2013
The Purpose of Life

As we grow older in life, we tend to seek meaning for everything that's going on. As children, our lives revolve around toys and our imaginary worlds and friends. Then we grow up and our world becomes our real-world friends and our studies. When we mature and become adults, our lives tend to become less focused. We chase after these dreams and goals. We enter the world where we have to fend for ourselves- get a job, pay bills. Somehow, we have to make it work. Then we begin to wonder- is this really all there is to life?

This is a question that has been in my mind for sometime over the past few weeks when the reality of my graduation and unemployment started sinking in. What am I doing with my life?

My typical non-work day revolves around looking for jobs on weekdays, and in between searching for jobs I also watch some TV and read the news. On weekends I simply laze around the house and enjoy the day. Watch a movie on my laptop perhaps. On work days I simply work. That's all there is to my life- whether I work, or whether I look for work. Life is very much less meaningful to say the least.

The thought of my life not having much purpose hit me hard. It was really quite an eye-opener to realise that a year ago, I at least still had other things in my life. Now, I really have nothing. I briefly considered doing other things- travelling, finding other opportunities overseas. I look at people who have achieved something in their youth. Perhaps by volunteering, or travelling overseas, they gained a new perspective of life. That's something I heavily considered for a while.

And I definitely still want to do it. I want to travel and see the world. I want to make a difference, and come back knowing that through all my travels, through all my experiences, I learned about people, life and can contribute even more.

Travel- experiences that changes your life and provides clarity

So with that in mind, I have set a goal. At the top of the list, nothing has changed- I need to get a job. Something that I can save some money with, and hopefully, just hopefully, I would have some money to travel by year's end or the beginning of next year. It doesn't have to be a long trip like I envisioned it to be, but I think that the notion of working towards something has always been what being human is all about. We grow and we learn as we move towards our life goals.

I know that realistically, that might not happen at all. I might still be very much stuck in unemployment. But at the very least, I would have something to think about in my life beyond looking for a job. Now, it's looking for a job to actually do something, and it has a deadline. To be honest, that is quite a daunting goal. But whether I succeed or not, at least there is something in my life beyond what it is now.
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Tuesday, 12 February 2013
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I guess it's safe to say that I've really left my old life as a student behind. Summer break is ending, and at the tender age of 21, I'm finding myself at the start of my adult life. Suddenly, life becomes a lot scarier. Not just because I'm now out in the 'real world', but also because I'm being reminded that I'm not getting any younger. Next year, I'll be 23. That's nearing my mid twenties, and it's crazy to think that this is the third decade of my existence. THIRD decade.

And yet, I find it awkward when asked by people if I've got a job since my decision to stay put in Melbourne. The answer really is, yes and no. To put it simply, yes I have found a job, as a kitchenhand at a Malaysian restaurant here. Nothing special, nothing glamorous about it. But no, it's not a job that most people, myself included, envisioned that I would have- a stable job that pays the rent and covers my expenses with some left over for my luxuries and travels. One that is related to my field of study and is mentally stimulating at the very least.

So when people (especially those from home) ask me if I've got a job, the easier answer is just to say 'no'. I guess the difference here is that I'm looking for a career, waiting for an opening so that I can squeeze my way through and begin my career. I'm like Penny from The Big Bang Theory. Working 'temporarily' in a restaurant till I find something better. Except that this something could take a long time to materialise.

But of course, you don't ask people if they have a career- you ask if they have a job. But for fresh grads, you really mean a career, so therein lies my problem. One that I'm sure many other grads face. We seem to be in a lot of pressure to get a job, some of us more than others, for many reasons. But it's tough- I'm entering the workforce at a time when the economy isn't in the best shape while the competition is getting ever stronger. It's not a good time to be graduating at all.

But one of the biggest lessons I've learned in life is that you don't know when opportunities come knocking. I was fortunate enough to have been blessed with many, many great opportunities throughout my lifetime, and most of them came at unexpected times. You just never know what's coming your way. And often, it might be something unexpected too. And you really should just grab the bull by its horns and have a go. Life should be interesting, after all. So I know that despite my difficulties in landing a career, or even a job that can pay my rent and expenses with, I shall simply count my blessings and work hard.

It's tough, but I'm reminded that nothing is ever easy and you need to work hard to get what you want in life. For sure, the year ahead will be filled with challenges as I try to make it in this world. But I guess here's where I begin to be more confident of myself and simply throw myself in the deep end, and float.
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Sunday, 27 January 2013
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At times, I find myself highly separated from the goings-on at home. Sometimes I find myself reading up on Australian and other news that when I want to browse through the Malaysian news, it becomes stale (too many political stories) or I just don't have the time.

And considering how distant I am from the Malaysian community here (I rarely participate in 'Malaysian' events) I do not really interact with many Malaysians except my friends. And even then, more often than not we are in the company of non-Malaysians, and topics of conversation would not always be about home, so I do not really have many channels in which I keep myself updated about what's the latest craze back home.

But that's what I love about my work with Global Voices- since I'm writing about issues on Malaysia I get to research and read up on certain issues beforehand so that I have some context and can form my own opinion of the issue first. Of course, Twitter and Facebook helps, but I am sometimes too lazy to Google lame references to a hot topic back home.

One example I can remember is the whole 'listen' thing. Suddenly everyone on Facebook seem to be making fun of the word and I had no idea why. Honestly, I still don't- I only know that some lady said it quite a lot and the conversation was recorded. But I suppose if I force myself to write about it, then I'll have to read up on it and perhaps hear the conversation myself.

I guess it's just how anyone who goes overseas can label ourselves as. We have the type who sticks with their fellow countrymen and who does not integrate or adapt into the local culture and still basically lives in a bubble, and those who completely cut themselves off and mix well with the locals. Pretty soon you can't even tell that they are a foreigner. Then you have the in-betweens, which is the group I guess I identify with. With these things I guess I just need a reason to participate- with Malaysian food festivals if there are friends going I would go for the food, but I also wouldn't go alone because that would just be depressing. And political rallies do not interest me because I don't see how it would affect anything back home.

There are so many other things that I can list down right now, but I am simply not in the mood to- I guess I can just say that we live in an extremely complex society don't we?
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Sunday, 20 January 2013
Mount Wellington, Tasmania

I knew that Tasmania was going to be colder than the weather in Melbourne, which was full on its summer swing. Several people had cautioned me about this, but in the end all I brought with me was a jumper and a cardigan.

Throughout my time there, it felt fine- I was never too cold that I needed both layers at once. Until Mount Wellington. I'm not sure if this is accurate but I believe Mount Wellington is the highest peak in Hobart, the capital city of Tasmania.

Temperature-wise, it was alright, and I could definitely have survived with my jumper, but the biggest thing that was bothering me (as well as everyone there) was the wind. Here's me struggling to keep myself warm while posing for a picture.

But it was there that I was reminded again of what I love about travel. It's about seeing things that you don't normally get to see. It's about seeing a different place. Meeting people of different walks of life. I started my Tasmania trip not really being in my 'travel mode' yet, as I still felt very much in Australia. But slowly as I lost my routines I got into it.

The good thing about Mount Wellington was, you didn't have to hike or walk to get to the peak- you just had to drive. Now, hiking might be good too but for everyday people this might not have worked out as it really was freezing outside. So thankfully, we could just drive up there and walked out to enjoy the view, which was breathtaking.

Just look at that! You rarely get to see such stunning sights. But in the end, the cold got to me and I dashed back to the warmth of the car.

Hope you enjoyed this short post, see you all soon!

(Mount Wellington is a 30-45 minutes drive from Hobart)
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Wednesday, 16 January 2013
Protests and Whatnot

So most of you probably would have heard of the KL112 rally that happened over the weekend. I doubt that you'll need a refresher of what happened, but I thought I should give my two cents' worth anyway since I've not written anything more opinion based rather than just an update of my life.

I personally thought the rally was overrated and had no purpose other than to bring together people who had no idea what they're doing, but that it's something that goes against the government and therefore worth their time. I find it highly frustrating whenever people bring up the topic of how bad the government is. Hey, I'm not pro-government or pro-BN in any way, but I just find it dumbfounding that people can go around saying 'the government is corrupt' or 'official documents gone missing... only in Malaysia'. FYI, it's not. It happens everywhere else.

I find many Malaysians like that- ashamed of their identity, always critical of the establishment and spewing out tales that they swear are facts when they haven't done any background research on. And yet, this rally became so popular- why? I think it was a smart move on the Opposition's side. Clearly, they need to play into all this resentment of the government and that's how you have a rally that serves no real purpose except for propaganda and campaigning (note: if it was the government doing such a thing, Malaysians would be talking instead about how the government is brainwashing citizens... interesting thought).

On the Government's side, I think it was great that they allowed this rally to happen without much violence. I think it was a very smart move- now they can talk about how they are open to new ideas and that they are willing to change too, and that with restrictions we can have discussions and come to agreements without having to resort to violence (I can never forget how my History teacher used to harp on proudly that we achieved independence without bloodshed). It's a great political manoeuvre. But perhaps it's too little, too late. I don't know.

And don't get me wrong, I'm all for political campaigning and fighting for democracy, freedom of speech and other causes that one believes in, and that if a government doesn't deliver, then citizens have the right to demand for more. But I just don't think that blindly participating in rallies is the answer. If the Opposition continues to conduct rallies like that, pretty soon they will lose participants and one day it won't get publicity. Look at Egypt. The protests became huge news because it appeared out of nowhere, and it's not normal. Look at Thailand- coups every other year, and so nobody cares anymore unless their travel plans are disrupted.

Picture making the rounds in Facebook
For some reason I've yet to decipher, people seem to think of me as apolitical. I was approached last year to register as an overseas voter. I didn't do it for one very simple reason: Form tampering. I did not know who that form is going to go to (since it was given by a friend) and I really did not want my details to be given to the wrong hands. But of course, I looked like someone who just wasn't interested. Which definitely isn't the case at all because I am interested. I want to see my country achieve more, be recognised worldwide. I want a better future, I'm just not talking about changing governments for a better future. I'm talking about change for a better future. Things like our education system. Our mentality. Our culture.

Maybe it's my fickle-mindedness or neutrality. I often see things from two perspectives. I see the government as a victim of politics that currently goes against it. I see the Opposition as people who are greedy but yet smart enough to piggyback on these negative sentiments. Basically, they're opportunistic. I just don't see them as glorified or idealised like how others make them out to be. Come on, they're not freedom fighters. Anwar himself admitted that this is his last chance at 'wresting control'. Pay attention to his words used- he's chasing the glory and power, too, just like everyone else.

Many Malaysians want a change of government. But I really do think that we're fooling ourselves. Fundamentally, we have too many things to overcome. A simple government change isn't going to make much of a difference. But I try to remain optimistic- and that's why I wrote this!
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Tuesday, 8 January 2013
Why I'm Not Continuing With My Studies

I'm not sure if it's still the case, but many Malaysians (okay, this happens in many other places) are constantly harping about the saturation of undergraduate degrees and that you should need a minimum of a Master's to get a decent job these days.

So when I graduated, one of the considerations was to continue studying. But I've always known, since  sometime last year, that when I graduate I would not be heading back to uni for awhile. Of course, postgrad studies isn't limited to Masters alone, there are Honours programs available here (it's an additional year and you only get accepted if you have good grades). There are quite a lot of options, and of course with a postgraduate degree many more doors are open for you.

Life-sized chess set in Hobart, Tasmania
So with all that stacked up, I would say it is a good argument to go back to uni and continue life as a student. So why did I decide against it (and why I think you should too)?

1. Student life has gone stale
I've been a student for the past 15 years. Having more life experience now in other areas, I am really ready for a change in my life. Despite liking my comfort zone, I also know that I am very often a person who needs constant change in my life to keep things interesting. So I really am just looking forward to leading a different lifestyle and doing something different in my life.

So glad I've graduated! 
It would most probably be working since most of the things that I want in life requires money. But, if something else comes along, I'd definitely be open to that- maybe travelling? Maybe getting paid to travel?

2. Being financially independent
It must be because the friends I hang out with are all financially independent, but I'm actually looking forward to being able to pay for my own living expenses and for things that I want. I would also be able to save up money for travelling, which is a definite plus considering I've always wanted to travel. And the thought of paying for something with your own money also evokes a feeling of satisfaction for me.

Love travelling!

3. Experience is more valuable
This is a sentiment that I believe most companies here in Australia adopts- whatever job you apply for, they normally just want a basic qualification, i.e a degree for most professional jobs. But they would also need experience. They want people who have worked in the field before, who knows what to expect. And so, I think getting practical experience is always better.

And it's not just in the field that you are interested in, too- from the books I've read and people I've met, I've come to realise that getting different types of skills always helps- you never know when they may come in handy!

Wouldn't mind being able to afford good food!

4. It's personal! 

For me, a Masters degree has always been for someone who has worked a few years in the industry and wants to get some relevant qualification to get a pay rise. So I've always imagined that I would only go back into university after a couple of years working (or travelling, who knows). Maybe I won't ever go back to uni, I don't know- I don't know what's going to happen in the future, but I know that for now, this isn't for me.

The financial independence factor comes in, too- what's the point of having a Masters degree if you couldn't even pay for it yourself?
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Thursday, 3 January 2013
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So I've not mentioned this before since it was quite recent, but a friend and I are now co-authors of a blog for writers! Basically, our vision is that one day, we'll gather our friends who also enjoy writing and we can all take turns updating it with whatever it is that we want to write- stories, opinion pieces, etc.

But since we aren't so sure how that'll work out yet, we decided to just try it between the both of us.

For my first post I decided to write an uber-short story. I don't make public a lot of my writing, so this was definitely a huge step for me. But anyway, check Five Years On out and stay tuned!
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