After much preparation, the young self-proclaimed Emperor of The Han Dynastory is now serving a full-time mission to the UK with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

He will return in 2014.

Hello!

Welcome to the Han Dynastory!

As I am now serving a full-time mission with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I have left this blog under the stewardship of a family member, who may post updates on how I'm doing as he/she sees fit.

Enjoy your stay!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Seperation Anxiety

It's quite silly how much I felt like Blogging yesterday, and when I finally have the time tonight, nothing seems pop up in my head.

Well, for starters, my knee has not fully recovered. I don't notice the pain much when I walk on flat ground, but I think it's because limping has become second nature. Climbing stairs however, is time consuming. Last week I told Mom I'm learning how to become an old man. Patience has been forced upon me as I climb the stairs half a step at a time. I realized, that unless you have a nice book to read while walking (and the ability to watch where you're going from the corner of your eye) or the privilege of having some nice scenery to admire while you're walking. Otherwise, walking around is just plain torture.

After a long break from Mozart, his music is finally being played on my Media Player. Once again I am taken on a musical journey that reminds me why I just can't stop listening to his music. Seizing this oppurtunity to be preachy, I hereby proclaim once more that his Piano Concertos are a must for all Classical Music lovers.

And soon, I will have to be listening to Haydn's Symphony no. 104 over and over again as part of my coursework. Drat.

I've been thinking about things today. All that time spent travelling on the bus to and from Piano Lessons gave me much time. And if it's not been often enough already, I've been thinking about one person in particular, and I haven't seen that one person since last year. I personally think that dreams can reflect our hidden concerns, or stuff our conscious selves hide away. And the fact that she still keeps popping up, in ways that leave me waking up only to wish I could go back to sleep and finish to dream. Perhaps the most annoying thing is in almost every dream there's always something I want to say to her, something I cannot remember when I wake up. And every dream ends unresolved.

How long does an infatuation count as one until it becomes an obsession? Mom's opinion is that I just fell for a pretty face because I can't seem to think of a reason why my heart strings are so tangled up. I should get a shirt that says "WARNING: Charmed Easily"

Worst is, there's nothing I can do about it now because we're more than 300 kilometers apart.

*clawing at own face*

I've been wondering what I myself want. For most of my friends, their first question is why haven't I tried a relationship with her. Either that or it's the "you mean she wasn't even your girlfriend?!?!" I laugh in their face, and secretly wonder why. Obviously, Mom would never approve hehe. Of course, *cough* who's to say I can't *cough* try anyway. (in case you're reading this, Mom, rest be assured that I'm not that stupid).

But there's more to that. I've coped with past crushes before. In one case, I just decided there was no point getting into a relationship with one, and although we continued to hint at each other relatively subtly (I was such a fool, and still am), and the internet crush, the biggest laugh ever. It ended nice and clean, the way I hope any break ups I may face in the future will go. Her wanting to end it for the right reasons, and me accepting it and moving on without a second thought. Of course, internet relationships are easier to break in my opinion. And in the last case prior to that specific her, I was taking it normally and then she stepped right in, grabbed almost every heart string I had that was not kept to myself, and attached it to herself.

And that was how the last few months of 2005, and the whole of 2006 slipped past. I uneasily suspect she played a part in my dangerous dip in grades in 2006, but I will never complain about the way she.... motivated me to churn out some awesome School Blues related stuff.

Up till now, I still wonder how many people thought we were in a relationship, the way I was with her after school almost every single day. Tailing behind her like Simba waiting to do tricks in return for treats. Blowing flying kisses at each other during each goodbye, plainly in sight of everyone. Even then I wasn't blind enough to not think about what I actually wanted out of it. Did/Do I want someone to care for, or to care for me, or both? Do I actually need it? I still often avoid the question by laughing at myself and saying there's Mom for that.

One thing I do remember, is that in 2006, I was aware of her awesome older brother overshadowing her, and it affected her. Maths, for example. Their talents in that subject are complete opposites. Since I was more inclined towards her brother's ability, I offered to help her after school when her brother lacked the patience (ironically, and adding to my guilt, her brother helped Shuan with Maths every now and then). I doubt it really worked. I don't think she was paying much attention to the Maths hehe. If there's one thing I am proud of myself, it is my ability to lose myself in Maths. Unfortunately, it does not apply to Music or Cartooning hehe.

Anyway, I suppose at that point in time, I wanted to be someone who could care for her. It's always nice to have someone to care for you, a shoulder for you to cry on, or better yet, lean your head on and just talk about how great things are. It's even better if you're in a position to offer that. Working the other way round, I remember a day that ended off on a both literally and figuratively bad note during band practice, and I couldn't help but change my mood after the concern she sprinkled ever so mesmerizingly. It is with a guilty twinge that I remember waking up on some mornings with her being the few reasons to go to school that day.

Perhaps getting to know her better is part of my self discovery, to discovery what I actually want out of a future spouse? And how I should be? I've learnt a great deal from my parents, yes. But that's mostly about how I think I will be a better husband/father. I still haven't quite figured out what I would like my future wife to be like. Of course, this line of thought is based on the assumption that I'm taking boy-girl relationships as a way to discover what I want in marriage. And I think that requires a great deal of maturity on both parts. Obviously, it would not be prudent to approach a girl and say "hey, I'm figuring out what I want in a marriage relationship and I was wondering if you could help me by erm..." I doubt she'd be willing to do that. In fact, I wonder if I'll ever find a girl willing to do that.

This brings in another question. What about dating? Church standards discourage dating before the age of 16. I've erm, kept to that even until now. Even past the age of 16, we are wisely encouraged to date in groups, ie double dates etcetera. If I am not wrong, dating is supposedly a good chance to get to know girls better. The little problem is, at least maybe I've grown up with that mentality, is that dating a girl in this part of the world often suggests that you're serious about that girl. Of course, you can easily slip past that problem by calling it "hanging out" instead of "dating." But that is another thing. Are you still going to get to know her the way a "proper" date with etiquette would allow you to? So where is the line, then? Everybody is going to have their own ideas, and when two lines try to meet, it could bring disastrous results out of unfortunate misunderstandings.

Yikes, I'm pulling away from the original topic of discussion again. Anyway, I have begun to wonder, should I date her when she appears to reach a suitable maturity? Our language barriers are distinctly obstructive, and I wonder if it will be worth all the trouble. But the other issue is, how does she feel about me? Has she already let go since I moved to Singapore? If I knew she did, at least I would know that there's nothing more to do and I can throw everything behind me in one clean swipe. But I don't, and I'm not thick enough to ask her. Oh yes, and I'm in Singapore. You can't really date a girl more than 300km away. I haven't even met her face to face this whole year. I suppose the closest we came to some sort of date was bowling last year with her brother, Mom, Aunt and some of my good old friends. The two of us had loads of fun laughing at our noobness compared to the others. That experience helped me realize that at least we are able to have fun together.

But she's changed. I sensed more maturity in her than the way I remember her when I called her during Youth Conference. Perhaps that has changed the way she feels about me. Half of me wishes that she's had enough of me and we can both move on, while the other half is hoping for room for one more misadventure.

Marion pointed out something interesting when I told her about this unresolved issue.
"But then, it's only an infatuation, isn't it?"
Good question. If it is just an infatuation, I shouldn't have to worry so much. But this is one infatuation with a really nasty grip. Could it be something more? Do I dare to explore further? I know a serious relationship should wait for at least 4 years more before I'm ready for it, so that is not what I am asking for. The thing is, which girl wants a casual relationship? Once again, lines are unclear and prudence is required to prevent misunderstandings and hurt.

I can type in circles all night at this rate. Clearly, my thoughts of her are still largely jumbled up, which explains my confusion. I really think I need to go back to KL, sit down, and have a good talk with her face to face. If a heart is to be broken, it better be mine alone. I have superglue =)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Random Updates

The first few days of going back to school has been great. Irfan, Marcus and Ashley are still suspicious of my sudden knee injury and hence one-week lift pass just when we receive a new schedule that has us climbing several floors between classes.

I had a good time in the library today, doing work with Jon, Joel Khoo, Keith, and Firdaus. It's been a while since I got to actually sit down and do work with classmates in the school library. I used to do that all the time last year (and that's a tip to anybody wanting to know how I get my grades)

I had dinner with Ben today! I got two coupons for a discount for some nice chicken rice at Newton Circus, so we had that with our die-die-must-have Oyster Omelette. He treated me to Hershey's Cookies & Cream chocolate after that, and we headed over to the Stake Centre for Institute. I got cookies for attendance above 95%! Woohoo! Insitute is a class that just shouldn't be missed. Every class is filled with a plethora of inspirational thoughts or messages to be jotted down as notes on my scriptures, something I have not done before, even in Seminary.

Progress on the arrangement to a Primary song I've been working on is still slow, although I daresay it's the first time I've attempted to arrange for a musical piece of this scale. One thing I've noticed is that I'm more sensitive to polyphony (and especially countermelodies) when I listen to music now. It makes enjoying music even easier =) Back to work!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Swollen Knee

I'm not the only victim, as I found out recently. Slipped and fell and bashed my knee. Hopefully it'll recover soon. Can't dance with a knee like that =( On the bright side, I get a lift pass at school hahahaha.

Arranging music is my latest cure to emo-ness, as discovered on Sunday night. Random mood swings are so annoyingly random -.-

Sunday, June 22, 2008

How Would She React If She Knew

That it was a lot of effort for me to keep my eyes on the piano score in front of me instead of on her, and even so I stopped knowing what I was playing, being so caught up in trying to stop myself from even noticing her from the corner of my eye.

And we actually talked about the weather when we had the only conversation we had in a week.

Hopefully school starting tomorrow will be a stronger distraction than this. At least I think that's what I'm hoping =/

Friday, June 20, 2008

Shortie

I MISS BLOGGING.

It's only been a few days since I last blogged, but so much has happened during this week that it feels like I've been missing out on blogging, or I've been neglecting this blog.

Anyway, what matters is that I'm here again, and erm, a bit lazy to talk about this week's events. But as a treat, I'm putting up some random School Blues specials. They're not something Ben, Marion and Malia haven't seen yet though. They along with Rachel got to see them when we went for the movie on Tuesday.

I drew this because I bought new drawing paper (the one I've been using since KL has finally run out). Went down to Art Friend to buy equipment a while ago, and I think it was the thickest I could find (I like drawing on thick paper). Unfortunately, when I came home and tested it against my previous type of paper, it felt thinner. Sadly, I can't afford to go and buy paper again just because of that. On the bright side, the paper is less yellowy compared to the previous. I decided to make a joke out of the new paper, hence this silly comic.

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I've been working on a story about death in the latest School Blues strips. I mentioned the other night that the last strip I did was really great. As if to balance it off, when I drew the boxes for the next strip, I made a mistake. Normally that would mean that the section of the paper would be used for scrap (either to do sketches or to help apply glue when working with cards or other cool stuff). But I felt like it would be fun to let my readers know a bit about how I make mistakes when I draw =)

Things like these are both fun to draw and fun to think about. They're quite random and silly, I think. But the ability to make fun of myself in School Blues has always been something I treasure =) Perhaps in the future I should draw more of these?

Monday, June 16, 2008

I Know It's Random Saying This But...

Two girls pulling your heart strings at once is no fun at all XD

Trusting Instincts

Happy Birthday Ernie!

I've mentioned to some people before that I have learnt to heed women's intuition. At the same time, I'm learning how to trust my own.

Mr Alex Lee, ACS(BR)'s amazing Chemistry teacher, organized some intensive revision classes for the better science students during the holidays. Attendance is based on whether you sign up or not. When I was deciding whether to sign up or not, I chose the 2 days after Youth Conference (last Thursday and Friday). But when it came to week four, which is this week, I felt like I should not sign up for anything. So I didn't.

And a good thing too!

Once you sign up, you need a valid reason to not show up. And this week.....

Monday was spent with Ying Er and my bros watching Prince Caspian, then going with Ben to pick up my fixed computer.

Tuesday will be spent with Ben, Marion, Malia, Rachel, Galvin, and maybe Wen Jie watching Kung Fu Panda! Then Waltz in the evening.

Wednesday will be piano lessons in the morning, followed by a day of studying at home with Michael and Jon Poh.

Thursday will be studying with Michael, cooking Seafood Fried Rice, and BBQ at Derek's place.

Friday will be studying with Jon Poh, and attending the Church Fireside.

If I had signed up for those intensive revision classes, most of the above would have to be axed. Thank goodness I trusted my instinct back then!

I'm feeling the "creative jitters," as Mom calls it. It happens when you get all excited about something you're working on. In her case, it was when designing the interior of a house, in my case, it's obviously School Blues. I was very pleased with what I drew last night, save for the mispelling which I had to correct and dirtying an otherwise perfect strip.

Tomorrow is TUESDAY!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Not About KL

I thought I'd blog about KL today but I took a long nap in the afternoon (I guess the holidays finally caught up with me). And now I have the mood for drawing, so I guess I'll have to put off blogging for a while.

Just a thought. Why is one other person's exam causing me so much trouble. I could always just bail out and choose not to care, but I know that's just wrong. And here I am feeling like I'm tied down by the ropes of responsibility -.- On one hand, I want to help, but on the other, I have to obey Mom's red light. And my teacher's, for that matter. And lying is just not right. Especially since I've been hurt by lies before. I think I'm already beyond frustration. No matter. It seems like it's solved for now. You're the last hope, Ben.

School Blues' day will just have to wait.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

After Post Youth Conference Dance

Yeah. It ended 24.5 hours ago.

Toa Payoh Ward DJ-ing pwns! Haha. The Dance was really great, except it lacked the slow songs that we've come to crave. Otherwise, it was loaded with energy! Even going for Waltz lessons before that couldn't stop me from going nuts again.

Happy Birthday 姐姐!

Today was a really long day. I woke up in the afternoon (I guess all that excitement during the week finally caught up with me), and helped Mom sort out the accounts for the past few months. After brunch I brought my computer to Sim Lim Square for a fix. Again. I only had to leave my computer in the hands of Ern while I was away for three days at Youth Conference, and it just has to happen. So there I was stuck at Sim Lim Square for quite a while. And I still don't have my computer yet. Apparently there's a need to reformat again. I'll probably only get it back on Monday.

On the bright side, I finally managed to sit down and draw! Unbelievably, I did not draw anything this holiday. I think. The last thing I was working on was a full-page comic poking fun at my disappointment with the new paper I bought. I bought more drawing paper when I went to buy materials at Art Friend for the Cartooning Workshop I gave at Church a while ago. Having used up the drawing paper I've been using since KL, I tried the new one and it turns out that it's thinner! I suppose it doesn't really matter when I draw, but psychologically, it affects the way I feel when I draw. The main problem I think, is that I can't use the paper to make those cards I've been selling =( Neither is it thick enough for the kind of present I made for Poh Mi in 2006. I don't suppose I'll be doing something like that again in a while though. Not when there isn't anyone driving me crazy enough in Singapore XD

So anyway. I did a comic that poked fun at using thinner paper. If the scanner works I might put it up tomorrow. I drew it using the drafting table, after a long break from it. It was "broken" for a while, until Mom fixed it. But using the drafting table is quite a hassle, so I haven't been using it till today. I thought it would be important to be able to use it for the interview with Marion about School Blues, but since that's been axed, I don't have to worry about the drafting table. But yeah, I used it, and I think it helps me keep a better posture when drawing. I tend to put my nose inches away from the paper when I draw, and with a tilted surface, I don't have to bend my back so much. I don't know why I'm suddenly rambling about this. I suppose it's because I haven't been drawing in a while. I have a couple of ideas for the dozen strips or so, although I'm still stuck with one story. Maybe I should consider drawing multiple stories at the same time. Ah. Something to consider in bed tonight. I better be early for Choir tomorrow =/

Friday, June 13, 2008

Stirring

The Post Youth Conference Dance is in 2 and a half hours' time, and I am very very excited.

Time to go wild and burn calories! Haha.

I'm still debating whether to put up any of the few photos I took during Youth Conference, since that would use a bit of my photo storage limit on Blogger. I'm also considering sharing the many misadventures in KL. Maybe tomorrow or Sunday will be a good day to work on that post if I decide to.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

What I Loved About Youth Conference 2008

I was busy attempting to type out the whole sequence of events during Youth Conference (Monday to Wednesday) last night, but had to stop everything when I started discussing about the School Blues interview with Marion. Sorry about last night Marion. Like I said, my idealistic quirks were acting up again. It was pretty funny when you pointed out that you and Ben were emo-ing too though.

I went to school this morning for Mr Alex Lee's intensive Chemistry and Physics past year papers exercises to work towards two A1s for O Levels. Dennis was there and I think we spent more time talking about Youth Conference and whether we should get more than one doughnut instead of concentrating on the work. By the end of it I was feeling much better. It was probably either because of Dennis or the six doughnuts we shared between the two of us XD

Anyway, now that my mind has cleared up considerably (with the help of a four hour nap), I've decided not to bother chronicling the entire Youth Conference. I'll just mention what I loved about it this year.

1. The time we were in Mawai Eco Camp. It's been a while since I've been forced to get so dirty and covered in mud. It was loads of fun, especially the water obstacle course. Apparently being a gymnast in the past really gives you an advantage =) I managed to overcome one of the hardest obstacles, which was balancing on the raised poles. Most people sat on it and shifted with their hands slowly, eventually reaching the end. Or clung to it to their chest and crawled. I did the former at first, then one of the instructors told me to try walking instead. I didn't think it was possible at first, so I was told to just look forward, focus, and walk. I took up the balancing stance I used in gymnastics when I was still young and had to train on the balancing beam. It worked and I managed to walk the rest of the obstacle. About three times I nearly fell, but just by pushing forward, keeping the end in mind, I could make it. That was a good life lesson learnt.

2. Having totally fun roommates. I bunked with Michael, Shem, Shemnon and Andy for Youth Conference. Shem taught us how to play Uno with the colour rule variant and the intercept rule. The colour rule added a Snap element into the game, and Shemnon had a really hard time with it =) It made for great laughs all the way till 1am on the first night. Killing the big spider on the third day was crazy too. Shem whacked it with a pillow while I sprayed deoderant at it when it tried to run away. When it was down, he put a table onto it and stood on it, then spreading the spider over the floor and throwing a towel over it. When Brother Oh came to inspect our room, we told him murder had been performed, and when shown the scene of the crime, he unsuccessfully guessed what had been killed...

3. Spending lots of time with Benjamin and Marion was by far one of the best things during Youth Conference. It was a pity that Benjamin wasn't in our bus though. It's truly wonderful how the three of us are best friends. It was funny that there have been endless misconceptions about me and Marion though. Since Ben wasn't in our bus Marion and I sat together and talked a lot, and spending too much time with one girl will of course spark rumours and speculation. Her falling asleep on my arm in the bus didn't help either. And when Ben didn't join us when we were lying on the floor and looking at the stars on the first night, I guess people jumped to conclusions easily. I couldn't help but laugh when Dennis asked on the last day when we were heading back to Singapore. He said all the Young Men in his Ward were speculating, and he was the only who had the guts to ask me since we know each other well. It's up to him now to make it clear to the others XD My favourite memory is that of the second night, after the dance. The three of us got a drink and sat by the pool to have a good chat. Nothing beats spending time to talk your heart out with two best friends =) Closing off YC with Marion's Dad driving me and Ben to my house so that Ben could join me for dinner and the three of us emo-ing later that night was an interesting way to end off Youth Conference this year =P Thanks so much, Ben and Marion.

4. The testimony meeting was a chance for me to reaffirm my love for the Singapore Stake Youth. It was great hearing the testimonies of all the youth who went up. It was especially heartwarming to see Dennis go up to bear his testimony for the first time =)

5. Fighting with Ben during the Dance was fun too. Ironically, although we were complaining about the Dance the whole time along with Trent and Casey, Ben was given the Dance Dance Dance Award the next day =P We were mostly griping about the selection of songs. Either they weren't great to dance to, or there just weren't enough slow songs to rest and talk to people one-on-one. When a song came on that seemed to have "fight" chanting in the background. Ben and I started pushing each other and when we grabbed each other, I suggested rolling on the floor, which we did. Marion nearly screamed at us until she saw Ben's face flash past with laughter sketched all over his face when we were rolling on the floor. That spiced things up a bit.

6. Talking to Ben, Casey and Trent in their bunk on the second night was also great. The three of them are close friends and I got to join them and know Trent in particular, better. That joker wasn't around the first Youth Conference I attended in Singapore, and it was nice to get to know him better this time. We were all in the same Seminary Class last year, and that adds a special closeness. When we were at the Kota Tinggi Waterfall, Trent suggested he and I explore the base of the waterfall where we were. It was fun, especially since my cold tolerance is considerably lower than others (I think my heat tolerance is better though. I wasn't complaining about the heat during the Dance even though I was dressed in a not very cooling pink shirt with a tie and Church pants) When Trent and I managed to make it to the "cave" behind the water fall, which was really just a large piece of rocks jutting out and redirecting the flow of water, we didn't last more than 10 seconds to the cold haha. It was loads of fun exploring with him, cracking jokes all the way =)

7. Eating like crazy and burning all the calories away during the Dance was great too. I can hardly believe I actually ate the way I did during Youth Conference. Somehow, I finished everything on my plate eventhough it was more than people my size would eat. Arvie asked me how I could eat that much and keep the figure I have. I guessed it was a high metabolism, he added very. Whatever I enjoyed eating, I didn't have to suffer gaining weight unnecesarily because it all burnt away during the Dance. Yay!

8. Somersaulting into the pool was nice. Ever since stopping gymnastics, I haven't had the chance to feel that special feeling of being in the air and twisting and spinning. It's a pity my half-twist is quite ugly nowadays.

9. The fresh air was a great break after so much fumes and cigarette smoke everywhere in both KL and Singapore. Listening to Nature's polyphony at the Dawai Eco Camp reminded me of my old home in KL too. The Talent Show brought endless laughs too, and was good laughter therapy after a very... eventful trip to KL. All the skits were totally random for random's sake, and I loved it that way!

10. I got to call Poh Mi on the first night. Admittedly, I disobeyed the rule of no handphones during Youth Conference, but it was the only chance I had to have a good talk with her in a very long time. I realized how much I've missed her all the while. I thought I had put her behind me, but when she called when I was in KL (although we had little time to talk because she was at a camp) I stood corrected. We talked for quite a while. I chose a spot to sit down and admire the stars that reminded me of the twinkle in her eyes when she laughs. It's hard to believe that a Secondary School crush can last so long. It was nice to find out that she hung up the drawing of the rose I did for her just before I left KL for good last year. It is always nice to know that a piece of work from your heart is appreciated. It was also comforting to discover how much she has matured since I left, and how much happier she is in terms of her studies. It seems that she really meant it when she asked me if I would change my decision to move to Singapore when I told her about it in 2006 though. I think one of the reasons why she has such a strong hold on me is because it was her who opened me up to being more comfortable with girls back in 2005. It's interesting how much she and her brother have shaped me during my years in Tsun Jin. I have to see her the next time I go back to KL.

Post Youth Conference Dance tomorrow!

Idealists Die Sad Deaths

Because they die thinking that everything shouldn't have been the way it happened

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Day Sixteen

For an extremely long winded reason, I'm still in KL, on the eve on Youth Conference. Tonight I am going to take a bus to Singapore, then tomorrow a bus to Johor for Youth Conference -.-

Looking forward to a great time!

KL was great except for yesterday evening. After YC I'll decide between posting about KL or YC first, or neither, if I get overwhelmed with fun.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Tagged by Benji

A) People who have been tagged must write their answers on their blogs & replace any question that they dislike with a new question formulated by themselves.
B) Tag 8 people to do this quiz & those who are tagged cannot refuse. These people must state who they were tagged by & cannot tag the person whom they were tagged by. Continue this game by sending it to other people. (waaa.... so strict ah)

#1 If your lover betrayed you, what will your reaction be?
That has not happened as far as I can remember. Whatever crushes I have I always brace myself for the worst. Thankfully I've survived a few bad days, but the worst hasn't happened so I can't predict my reaction -.-

#2 If you can have a dream to come true, what would it be?
The dream where I really didn't have to worry about anything at all

#3 What will your dream wedding be like?
The first time I decided I wanted something, it was having Bryan at the piano. Haha. I suppose I would invite some close musician friends to play something nice too. There will probably be a time for dance too haha.

#4 Are you confused as to what lies ahead of you?
All I need to know is what I want and what needs to be done. With a purpose in mind, I think I can adapt to whatever is thrown at me.

#5 What's your ideal lover like?
Someone I can easily communicate with, someone I will never have to doubt that she loves me, and that our happily ever after is every single day that we are together.

#6 Which is more blessed, loving someone or being loved by someone?
To be able to love someone with every bit of your soul is a truly wonderful thing that we are capable of, and I consider that a great blessing.

#7 If the person you love does not accept you, would you continue to wait for him/her to change his/her feeling?
It depends on why she did not accept me. If, maybe she just doesn't know me well enough, then I can still wait. But if it turns out she just can't accept the way I am, then waiting for her is as good as waiting for a bus to from the LRT station to my old house in KL hahaha.

#8 If the person you secretly like is already attached, what would you do?
That person better know that he is the luckiest guy I've ever known and if he doesn't appreciate it I'll knock some sense into him.

#9 Is there anything that has made you unhappy these days?
Haha. Has there ever been a Blog post that long?

#10 What do you want most in life?
"pure happiness which is guilt and burden free :D" Amen, Ben.

#11 Is being tagged fun?
It's fun doing these things. It helps me reflect on myself from time to time. It even helps me realize my own wants haha.

#12 How do you see yourself in ten years' time?
Working a job I truly enjoy but at the same time is not enough to pull me away from my lovely wife and family =) I wonder if School Blues will be published by then?

#13 Who is currently the most important person to you?
If we're talking in terms of non-religion, it would be Mom.

#14 What kind of person do you think the person who tagged you is?
Haha. I wonderful friend to have =) Oh and an Oyster Omelet Lover

#15 Would you rather be single and rich or married but poor?
Would I rather be all alone in this world with every possession I wanted or with no possessions at all but with a person I love with all my heart who feels the same way towards me?

#16 What's the first thing you do every morning?
Get rid of post-dreaming lovesickness by washing my face with cold water.

#17 Would you give all in a relationship?
My heart is yours, take it or break it.

#18 If you fall in love with two people simultaneously, who would you pick?
The one who loves me? Haha. I know I'm avoiding the type of answer this question is asking for.

#19 What type of friends do you like?
I have different types of friends who all brighten my day by being themselves. The friends I like are friends whom I never have to doubt about our friendship. That is all I ask.

#20 If you played a prank on someone, and he/she fell for the trick, what would you do?
Double check to make sure I'm not the one actually having my leg pulled, because I'm usually the more gullible one haha

BENJI TAGGED ME.

I'M TAGGING:
nobody, because I'm lazy and I'm feeling rebellious and I feel like breaking rules and by not tagging anybody I'm breaking the rules of this 'game' and it feels soooo good.....

I know. Just being lame.

Giving Back

For all that talk in the previous post, I did something about it. Something small, but important to me.

Yesterday, being stuck in Dad's apartment since my busy friends are all over the place, I had nothing to do. Dad came back appearing somewhat flustered. He is part of the council that takes care of his apartment building. One of the newly hired managers for their office had asked him to help be a translator because he, being an Indian, needed to speak to a Chinese-speaking lady. Dad later scolded him for taking up his time because he could have just asked one of the Chinese guards to translate for him. The manager, Mr Vijay, as he is called, also had some problems with a digital camera belonging to the council. Dad gave me the camera and asked me to figure it out and help Mr Vijay.

Immediately all the thoughts about how standards in Malaysia should be improved flooded in. Mr Vijay is rather old-school according to Dad. He's rooted in "I did this and that 20 years ago," and obviously digital cameras aren't his thing. Growing up with this sort of technology around me, it was easy for me to figure out how the digital camera worked and what his problem was. And so, it was time for me to use my skills to give back. Nothing big. Just helping an older person learn how to use a digital camera. But to me, it means improving the standard of living of a person's life, opening him to the many wonderful possibilities of the digital camera.

It was no big deal, just teaching him how to use it, but to me it meant utilizing what skills I have been blessed with to change lives for the better. A first step to perhaps a future in doing something about what needs to be changed.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Day Ten

That was about an hour and a half ago, but yeah. I'm back in KL!

If there was one word to sum up Day Ten of the Mid Year Holidays this year, it would be DISORGANIZED THOUGHTS.

Sorry Marion, I think I scared you a bit with my outburst of thoughts. I haven't organized the jumble of thoughts that were rumbling around in my head during those long hours on the bus during the day.

I crossed the border at about 1pm today with Mom and the younger brothers. Once again, it was a teeth-gritting experience to feel the oh-so-familiar culture shock of coming back to Malaysia. Larkin was horrible.

It's not that it has changed for the worse or anything. Most things seemed the same. As run down as ever, with touters everywhere making the more conservative customers cringe.

As Mom and I were walking around trying to find four tickets, we found out from some particularly rude touters that the Konsortium service has been gone for a month. It was a shocking discovery. Of all the bus services, Konsortium has been the most reliable. They never failed to provide comfortable buses at all the times I needed a bus. I nearly wanted to punch in the face of the man who spoke to Mom. I wouldn't even sit in your bus if you paid me to. Heck, you can pay animals to sit in your bus for all I care.

We finally got tickets for the 4pm bus. The touters were actually standing right next to the stall, offering more expensive tickets, but for earlier buses. They just didn't get the hint that Mom is not willing to pay that extra money, no matter what time the bus leaves. Don't you get it? We don't want your ticket! Just leave!

We decided to wait at Mc Donalds. I left for a couple of minutes to take a few photos of the place. Photos that hopefully show how run down the place is. It is the part of Malaysia that needs to be seen. With all that talk of change here and there, I've noticed the news, in Singapore at least, doesn't seem to show what needs to be changed. They probably don't care there. But those photos I took are definitely of things that need to be adressed.

I came back and pushed aside all the angry thoughts and glued myself with the book I borrowed from Kian Yang. I was drawn yet again into a wonderfully intricate adventure with truly heart-stopping moments. Then I decided to buy lunch with Shuan, and the troubles came back.

Mom asked us to buy two pieces of Spicy Chicken for Kakak Tun as a surprise treat. But when we ordered our meal plus the extra, we ended up with Spicy Mc Chicken or whatever you call. It was a burger. Two consecutive blunders led me to the brink of explosion. I kept it all in. Half of me wanted to scream at the girl at the counter who barely showed any signs of politeness. The other half was a sad pity at the thought that she was screwing up just as I would under pressure. But when I apologetically asked if I could change my order because there had been a misunderstanding (partially due to my misuse of Mc Donalds terms) she waved me off saying they don't take back orders. Fine. Did you know you're working for an international franchise that usually provides way better service than that? But you don't, maybe because you never really paid attention in school to how things work? But it's not really your fault the education system is so screwed up is it?

I nearly reached a boiling point then. It hurt to know that I shouldn't have been thinking that way, so I kept it to myself I walked back to our seats. When I told Mom what happened, she dragged me straight to the manager. "Where got such thing, cannot take back orders, people drop all the food onto the floor by accident they also replace!" Mom's actions made me uncomfortable. I had the same thoughts, but I chose not to do anything about it.

We went back to the counter and she called for the manager immediately. Our order was replaced, and Mom was satisfied. "It seems like there's always a need for a loud adult before they do anything," I commented to Mom. She agreed, and told me sometimes that's what I need to be. Speak up, because otherwise you may be taken advantage of. "But yeah, you are still a bit young, and they can see that..." So. It is always the older looking people that are feared.

As we left, I glanced at the girl at the counter. She was clearly having a worse day than I was, and guilt quietly gnawed at me.

When Mom went back to Singapore and we were left to wait for our bus, I quietly thought about what is needed. I just learnt Development in Geography, and why unequal development exists. But nothing about how it can be solved came to my mind, even though it was the most recent thing that was taught at the mass lecture last week. I suppose frustration and disappointment got the better of me today.

I grew up thinking that Malaysia is a wonderful country. With its colourful blend of different races and rich cultural heritages. But when I entered a Chinese Secondary School, I finally realized something was wrong. Why are my friends so upset about Malays? What is this Bumiputera rights they are talking about? How can one race be so greatly favoured over others? Why did I never see this frustration?

Slowly personal experiences began to shatter the illusion I believed since young. Indian gangsters randomly starting fights with friends around me while we were innocently making our way home after school. Chinese friends forever making nasty comments about Malays.

It's undeniable that the Chinese in Malaysia seem to be able to rise to greater heights than others. The problem is, they keep leaving. One of Dad's business associates who came to our home in Singapore just forsook his Malaysian citizenship for a Singaporean one. He seemed a brilliant person to me, but sadly, Malaysia will no longer have his talent. Maybe it doesn't deserve it, after what it has done.

For those who do not know, the Bumiputera policy is meant to safeguard the interests of the Malay people of Malaysia, especially those in poverty. This is done by granting special priveleges such as requiring all companies to have a fixed percentage of Malay employees (thereby ensuring enough jobs), and other ways which are meant to help those in need, although it has been upsetting for a lot of non-Malays (I studied in a Chinese school long enough to hear more than grumbles). Traveeling around Malaysia, I've seen enough to know that there really are Malays who do need help, but the Bumiputera policy may not be the best option.

What kind of government gives advantageous policies to the majority race?!?

I heard from my Malay friends in Singapore that there are some special policies to help them as well, but are just not as outstanding. But they are a minority in Singapore. With all the kiasu, majority Chinese and their big businesses about, it is important to watch out for minority races.

But it's different in Malaysia. The Bumiputera policy is going to the majority race, and it is not neccessarily reaching those who truly need it either. Sitting around and criticizing the government is not going to help anyone though. What needs to be changed?

Walking around with my camera earlier today, the device in my hands felt distant. I looked at what the people were doing. Sitting around their stalls waiting for someone to buy something. Or perhaps raising their voices and pronouncing KL in the most self-degrading manner. Or maybe sitting outside the public toilet and collecting 20 cents per entry to an eternally filthy toilet. Or maybe upsetting people like me. The question I had was why? Why can't they be doing anything else? Surely they can't be content with this. Alright, maybe I'm just a spoilt city kid who's studied in Singapore too much. But even if this is what they are doing, can't it have a bit more.... dignity?

Why can't toilet cleaners be people who give cheerful smiles and take pride in knowing that when they do a good job, it is an accomplishment regardless of how small it may seem to others. Why can't touters, if they have to resort to touting, approach people politely, have customers on the mind, not money, and not smoke in public? Why can't shopkeepers keep their stalls clean? Why must smokers throw their used cigarettes all over the floor? Why can't people who use the toilets do their best to keep it clean? Why can travellers buying tickets ask nicely, greeting people at the counter warmly?

So many million dollar questions. I do not claim to have the ultimate solution, other than bashing my head with something really hard at just the right spot to not have to worry anymore, but seriously, I most honestly think that education plays an extremely important role.

In my sincere opinion, when a person is well educated and has a knowledge of the bigger picture and how he or she fits in as gear in a huge machine, the person is more likely to take his or her tasks seriously. For example, as a person taught to a knowledge of the dangers of pollution, I know better than to simply toss that annoying piece of garbage in my hand into the nearby river instead of waiting until I come across a garbage bin. Or, sometimes when I am asked to clean up a certain public area, perhaps a classroom in school, I do so willingly and with the right effort because I know that a tidier classroom is more conducive to learning. When I used to have to sweep the leaves in the garden, I took pride in sweating over the work I did just to make the driveway look better.

Likewise, when a person learns how a country runs, with everybody no less significant than the other, regardless of career paths, he or she is more likely to take pride in his or her own work. Toilet cleaners and road sweepers are not to be looked down on. Mr Rich Businessman, what if all your toilet cleaners and road sweepers all became rich businessmen and nobody else wanted to clean your toilets and your streets, maybe then you'd start to appreciate the work they did.

There was one recess in school when me and my friends joked about getting PhDs, and then becoming toilet cleaners. Imagine entering a public toilet and hearing over a PA system "Good morning gentlemen. This is Dr. Chong speaking, I will be cleaning your toilets for you today."

Or, after revising Industries in Geography, "Hey, don't call them toilet cleaners, call them professionals in the Tertiary Sector."

Smile at these people who keep your surroundings clean. Greet them. Let them know their work is appreciated. Happy workers are effective workers, and they will definitely be motivated to do their work properly. When both the consumer/customer/blabla and the person giving service have that respect for each other, then everything can be done in a more dignified manner.

I'm beginning to realize that I haven't touched much on education, and this post is largely spiralling out of control. Clearly, I have not really organized the jumble of thoughts that have sprung up today. There's also those dizzying thoughts about she-who-walked-into-my-life-and-is-throwing-me-off-balance-even-right-now.

Anyway, back to the point while I can still remember it, when it comes to education, the teachers in Malaysia need to be properly trained, and monitored. Charles once told me (if you think you offended me then, worry not) it was very easy for me to criticize students who rely heavily on tuition teachers when "all you need to do is pay attention in class" (quoting myself). He said it is easy for me to say so because the whole time I studied in Malaysia, I was in a chinese school with motivated teachers who do their job with dignity, and do it well. He, on the other hand, studied in government schools were all kinds of horror stories spawn. A teacher actually telling her students to ask their tuition teachers and not bother her. A principal defending the same teacher and saying that the students are just lazy and quick to blame the teacher. Teachers who come to class only to mark homework, if not present at all.

How can there even be schools like this? No wonder that girl in the counter did not seem to understand me when I spoke in English. Only when I consciously switched to Malay did the signs of communication begin to show. Isn't English taught at schools? Oh. Apparently not everybody takes school seriously, and sometimes it's not their fault either.

I should join NATO: No Action, Talk Only. I'm saying so much on this poor Blog, so much that will probably be ignored or pushed aside as immature rants. Well, I suppose most teenagers' Blogs are filled with the same.

My Idealistic quirks are acting up again. I haven't felt so strongly about something like this in a while. Mom told me if Malaysia needs changing, it's up to me to change it, not "the government," because in the future, I could be "the government." Somehow, I don't feel up to it. Maybe I'll end up working in the education sector after all. Changing lives one at a time at a personal level. I have to admit ACS (Barker Road) has played an important role in helping me realize how I should be using my talents to improve the lives of others. Same goes to my upbringing in the Church. But I doubt sitting in front of the computer and typing away is going to change anything at this level. Better sleep and get my thoughts organize before I make another mess of a topic with such great potential such as right now. Ah well. Have to renew my passport when I wake up tomorrow. Tomorrow? It's bloody 3am! I just realized I spent hours on this. I think I really should work on organizing my thoughts before pouring them onto this Blog.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Imaginary

I'm doing this at Marion's request. I skip the song/piece if the name is some thing to do with "Track #"

RULES:
1. Put Your iTunes, Windows Media Player, ETC on Shuffle.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
3. YOU MUST WRITE THAT SONG NAME DOWN NO MATTER HOW SILLY IT SOUNDS.
4. Put any comments in brackets after the song name.
5.Put this on your journal.

** [performed/composed by whom | comments]


1. If someone says, "Is this okay?" You say?
In The Rain [by Joe Hisaishi - Howl's Moving Castle | Haha my favourite]

2. How would you describe yourself?
Stay [err... I shall stay my hand, for my heart is not ready yet?]

3. What do you like in a guy/girl?
Good Luck Charm [Elvis Presley | OMIGOSH Marion remember the bowling activity last year? haha]

4. How do you feel today?
Everybody's Fool [by Evanescence | yeah. should see the scandalous photos Marion took -.-]

5. What is your life's purpose?
Now The Day Is Over [Live for the day! haha]

6. What is your motto?
Great Wall Capriccio Movement I: Journey to the Great Wall [chinese orchestral | nice piece by the way XD ]

7. What do your friends think of you?
Don't Be Cruel [by Elvis Presley | O.o]

8. What do you think of your parents?
Are You Having Fun [That came from my Dad's CD haha]

9. What do you think about very often?
Aoi Hatou [I have no idea what it means but it's a nice piece from Bryan]

10. What is 2 + 2?
Street Kiddie! [Lovely big band piece it's in 4/4 time haha]

11. What do you think of your best friend(s)?
Concerto in E-flat Major for Horn and Orchestra (No. 4), K 495 - III- Rondo- Allegro vivace [by Mozart | The last two words perfectly describes them =)]

12. What do you think of the person you like?
Cuban Hideaway [by Dave Koz | perfect to dance with hehehe]

13. What is your life story?
Medal of Honour Main Theme [WARRRR!!!]

14. What do you want to be when you grow up?
Serenade No. 10 from Thirteen Winds in B-Flat, K. 361 'Gran Partita' - V- Romanze [Mozart | Romanzing I suppose =P]

15. What do you think of when you see the person you like?
Sophie's Castle [by Joe Hisaishi from Howl's Moving Castle | Haha. That means she's fallen in love with a heartless man]

16. What will you dance to at your wedding?
I'll Be There [by Dave Koz | Awww...]

17. What will they play at your funeral?
Tourniquet [by Evanescence | Yikes I don't wanna die that way!]

18. What is your hobby/interest?
Highway Blues [Well, I sort of like being on the highway, admiring the landscape]

19. What is your biggest fear?
Fugay Misterio [by Astor Piazolla from Scent of Woman | ahahahaha]

20. What is your biggest secret?
Acid Truth [by Buddy Rich | Hmmm]

21. What do you think of your friends?
Alma Richards [from Light of The World | They're all wonderful men? Haha]

22. What will you post this as?
Imaginary [by Evanescence | nice song]