Wednesday, February 15, 2012

And then, life happened

So it seems writing is the only way I can clear my thoughts. I always wondered why I thought in 3rd person, as if trying to describe what's happening as if I were imagining what to write for a story. As if my life was merely words on paper. Come to think of it, that'd make my life miserable.

Life doesn't seem to like me at the moment. I wander around confused and alone. Always alone. It seems like some things don't change, I'm still a loner no matter what I try to do. I just can't seem to make close friends in my cohort. My housemates though.... they've quickly become my most important friends here in college. They mean the most to me and they're my best friends here. It's just bizarre.... And the thing is, the one who has the most in common with me isn't the noisy, opinionated girl or the kind, sensible girl. It's not the jolly if kinda closed one or the happy-go-luck, blur one. It's the quiet, shy one who also knows what its like to be so lonely that you cling fiercely to the those precious people who you call friend. They're all kinda like me but she is the one who has the most in common with me.

I feel displaced here. Starting from scratch is not uncommon but this is so hard and I don't know why. I'm cut off from the things I love: I don't draw, I don't write, I don't read. I'm bereft off the things that make me sane and I have to deal with new creatures - boys. I never was very good at handling their teasing and I generally give out such a serious vibe that people don't laugh with me.

So many things I wish to pour out, yet when I start typing I can't seem to gather them all. A hundred things, a thousands things that I can't express and don't know who to tell to. Fate, y u hate me so much?

Friday, February 3, 2012

A little pocket of Heaven

When I think of Heaven, I see a field that goes on for miles and miles. There is no border in sight and the line between the earth and the sky is blurred as the grass reaches up as if to touch the heavens. Somewhere in the distance, in a way that is impossible, there are trees. In the midst of the field I will walk, and the warm sun that burns bitingly on my skin is relieved by a breeze.

No longer do I dread the feel of soil between my toes or underneath my feet. Nor do I fear the thought of bugs crawling over me, for here there can be no hate or fear. All the petty little things of Earth do not matter anymore and I fear not opinions or people or concepts.

I can walk or run or skip or jump. I can dance if I please or sing on the top of my lungs. And for miles and miles on end, there is not a single person in sight. Just me, the sun, the breeze and the grass.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Unfolding doubts

I find I must say something about this thing somewhere and I don't know where to go anymore. College is looming and I am at a loss. We shall not discuss my inability to study or retain information. Rather I'd like to make sense of my jumbled thoughts.

My mother is of the impression that I should take up English or something of that sort. I don't like that idea. I know she doesn't understand why I take science subjects only to do so badly. My tongue does not adjust to languages so easily nor can I fully understand scientific concepts. I am...strange perhaps. Constantly intrigue by things out of my reach. I do not want to take up teaching like she suggests. I know all the poisonous indictments and curses I have mentally hurled at my teachers will come back to bite me. Hard. I have never been a good student, never finished assignments, never prepared properly for a class. I do no revision but last minute revision and still sit somewhere in the middle of the form. They have not found out because I simply do not stand out.

I am not the shining phoenix they wish me to be, no heron among the chickens. I am plain an average, without the academic accomplishments to make up for it. I do not like the idea of becoming a part of the rat race, sheltered child that I am. I don't think I have the skills or personality a corporation would want anyway. I do not wish for the struggles and glory of leadership. I have not much liking for power play and the constant strive for popularity. I am not like those who aggresively impose their will on others. I am mildly competitive and I suppose I do have some leadership abilities but praise and glory do not tempt me much. Just some appreciation will do though I certainly wouldn't mind more.

Papa, mama. Did you know I wouldn't mind working with children or old folk? My heart stirs with sympathy for those who aren't wanted. Do you remember that girl who smiled so happily when I hugged her? I don't want anyone to feel left out. I want to do what I can and hope they'll realize that it's alright, there's someone who'll hug you. I'm scared, because if that's the life God has called me to it's going to be one of hardship. Nothing like the cushy desk job or the exalted life of some rich wife you've wished for me. It'll be a life far removed from the pampered existence you've given me. Somewhere where I'll have to push away little girl fears for people who need me and learn to stand so I can lift those who cannot. I am staring at a million uncertainties and I hate it.

But I want to be a person who will bend down and humble myself to help those who cannot help themselves. I want to be strong so I can be leaned on by those who want to stand up again. I want to be a million things but this one stands out among them all. I want to be someone who can show the Father's heart and let His compassion overflow from me into the lives of all I touch.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Some thoughts on the Malaysia brain drain

I've wanted to write something for quite a long time but each time I sit in front of the computer I end up getting distracted. My mom also doesn't like me writing. Like quite a few mums I know, she thinks writing is unproductive and useless. Some people might find this shocking, but might I gently remind you about cultural dissonance.
            Reading an email recently, the author mentioned how in his class in America, people were horrified when he gave his opinion that some countries deserved to lose their talented people. Personally, I think in these cases, its very hard to judge the speaker or his listeners. Perhaps they feel that it is an injustice that developing countries be denied the chance to grow. Yet they don't know what it is like to grow up thinking about leaving, not just a small town but the country in general.
          Here in Malaysia, things don't look very rosy. It is disconcerting to see the politicians playing up racial issues. It is polarizing the people when what Malaysia needs is unity in order to progress. Young and naive as most of us young people are, the fact that the politicians are only interested in safeguarding their own interests and bank account is pretty evident. Most of us are uninterested in politics because we feel it is boring, dirty and has nothing to do with us. Still, things do trickle down to us. Especially when our parents encourage to leave and never come back.
         I come from an "immigrant family", being the third generation to live on this blessed shore. I hear lots of rumors amongst the community about various injustices inflicted. Scholarship applications rejected, places in university programs denied, marking standards brought up and down in public exams, all based on the colour of ones skin. In front of my eyes, I see people leaving for the greener grass on the other side.
        People never change. The only things that change is the setting and the knowledge gained. Basic human behaviour is still the same. What people want, is a chance to make a living, a roof over their heads and protection from being exploited. If they can't get what they want here, they simply move. Of course, the more patriotic people may choose to take up arms but Malaysians are a notoriously apathetic lot. We dislike violence and prefer to avoid confrontation. So we pack our bags and get out as soon as our finances allow it.
          I love Malaysia but I can't help but get the feeling that it doesn't love me. One-sided relationships are very trying on a person, you know. So I'm another young person who will get on a plane once I have the money and probably never come back. It does pain me to leave a place I love, to leave behind familiarity for a stranger's land. But I have to think of myself. I have to do what's best for me. I will have to leave someday.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Tips ahoy!

Went for the Star NiE Mag Inc workshop today. I was so shocked when the teacher asked me to fill up the permission slip to leave the school. I thought I did something wrong unknowingly and she was calling me out to kill me! It turns out my English teacher nominated me. I was so touched because even though she's taught me for 3 years she can't really remember my name (my name is hell to pronounce for a five-lettered thing) but she thought so highly of me. 

The group of girls sent to attend the workshop were rather diverse, one from each form baby! And we fulfilled the 1Malaysia requirement. Its rather amusing to see me in the midst of these accomplished girls. They're in the top classes, very involved in school activities. Two of them are prefects and high up in the popularity scale (the number of positions they hold in co-curricular activities is proof), the other girl is a school debater. In the mix of this you have ye average person aka me. No accomplishments unless you count choral speaking team. No positions (my club members in our tiny CF don't even recognize me), unpopular and content to float around and let the day pass. The average commoner. I got my laughs.

Mag Inc is a big thing to students nationwide. Mostly because of the pizza voucher for participation. Pizza in Malaysia isn't a cheap dish at all and we certainly aren't in the habit of eating it all the time. With so many people participating, they're bound to start researching and I thought, why don't I share what notes I've taken down. Perhaps some people would find the website vague (I did last year) or maybe they don't know how to get started. There are many who wouldn't ask the workshop participants out of shyness, fear etc. They prefer to sit down in their comfy chairs and websurf, so this is for you. 

1.    Team consists of 4 or 5 people only.
2.    Brainstorm on topics; choose one you would like to Speak Out
Ë  What are you talking about
A                    Plus and minus interesting aspects
A                    Relate to anecdotes/happenings in real life. Give it the human touch
A                    Provide statistics/ Do a poll
Ë  What are the solutions
A                    What can people get/learn from your magazine (educational value)
A                    Give suggestions and tips
3.    Don’t plagiarize articles/cartoons from other publications
4.    Always state the sources, e.g. write what song you’re using in your video and who sang it in the credits
5.    Delegate the work
6.    Photos are important. Hilarious captions too
7.    Include a masthead and editorial note
8.    Encouraged to do in scrapbook form (you don’t have to dig out too much money from your pocket this way)
Ë   It would be prefer if you paste things that can be felt, e.g. If you’re doing on fashion, paste scraps of cloth so the judges can feel the texture
Ë  Make sure whatever you paste does not break easily and will not hurt anyone. So, no glass, no mirrors, ceramics etc  
9.    Judges will look at layout/creativity/content/use of language.
10.                       Most importantly be original and creative. The sky’s the limit.

Pizza vouchers
            I.      1 mini pan pizza, 1 personal pan pizza
         II.      2 mini magazines/1 mini magazine and 1 three minute video clip, 1 regular pan pizza

Basic requirements:
·       1 feature article
·       3 other elements
v   Poems
v   Polls
v   Editorials
v   Cartoon
v   Comic strip
v   Interviews
v   Jokes
v   Photograph
v   Illustration (if you use some form of design in the page it counts too)
v   Adverts

a)    Only the original template from The Star is allowed
b)   You can type, cut, paste and draw on this template. Yes, you can type your feature article on A4 paper and stick it on the template.

a)    Same topic as your magazine
b)   Format on .mpeg file supported by Windows Media Player
c)    Label the CD/DVD clearly with the name of team and school name
d)   Make sure the ink will not smudge
e)    One form (original form B) per CD/DVD

Design Tips
*   Play with colours
*   Use clip arts (you don’t need to pay royalty for these)
*   Auto shapes
*   Lines
*   Cut and paste from recycled items
*   Adopt mix media, e.g. collages

What is……

A magazine
§    A form of publication; for a larger audience; something people can relate to
§    Issued periodically (at a certain time) e.g. Once a month, once every 2 months, two times a year etc (Your mini magazine? Once in a lifetime)
§    Bound in a cover
§    Contain essays, stories, poems etc. Also contains photographs and drawings
§    Frequently specializing in a particular subject or area, e.g. hobbies, sports, fashion

§    Where you list out the members of your team and their roles, e.g.:-
Team leader


§    You can include photographs/pictures of your individual team members
§    You may also include email addresses for feedback

Editorial Note
§    A way to get your personal opinion on a topic out
§    Usually written by team leader but can also be written from the whole team’s point of view
§    Encouraged to write it from the whole groups point of view
§    Keep the topic relevant to the magazine
§    Do not let it get too long (it’s only a small corner). Keep it short and simple
§    It provides an understanding of a subject