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!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tomorrow Comes!

Just finished ironing my shirt for tomorrow. It wasn't really that wrinkled in the first place, and it's probably only going to get a crumpled a bit by tomorrow. I guess ironing it was more of a psychological thing than a logical thing to do =P

I realized that I'll be going on my First Date tomorrow, so I'm expecting no less than a million things to go wrong.

Fun and nervousness is going to be redefined in my books tomorrow.

But for now, time to hit the books again.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Preposterous Physics Paper

Today is one of those days when you feel you should get on your knees with a burnt offering in front of you to worship the Bell Curve, and plead for the miracles it may bring.

Because nothing prepared us for the demons we battled in the auditorium today.

There were vicious snarls, unseen stabs, heavy human casualties everywhere, and a couple of four letter words coming from my 7 o' clock.

My demon first drew blood with a thermocouple thermometer. Heavily wounded, I lost the battle, but not the war. Further skirmishes ensued, blood demanded for every inch of ground gained, precious ground earned in blood. Alas, it was an ambush. A Bloodthirster wearing the mask of a potentiometer circuit rent the sky in twain.

Plagued with exhaustion, I fought feebly. Broad slashes now became desperate stabs. Words not allowed from my mouth were uttered nearby. Pressing on, swords were flung aside as spikes, claws, jaws, and recently trimmed nails were utilized in a final wrestle in blood soaked mud.

Confidence was a pile of broken bones and sullen groans. Hope lay still and silent, no breath left to admit defeat. Only Faith fought on unscathed.

Despair struck a mortal blow when Time joined the enemy ranks. I was overpowered.

Horrid teeth grinned tauntingly at me even as my Demon was carried away by an Invigilator.

Burning injuries branded in me a reminder that I was still alive, even if only to smell the charred remains of Distinction. Slowly, fellow survivors began to survey the aftermath. Forbidden words were still sounding from somewhere behind. Shattered wills were grimly pieced together, as spoken prayers pleaded to the Bell Curve for its Blessings.

My wounds stung, each cut a stream of searing pain shaking me to the core.

But no pain could compare to that of the exit wounds wrought by Time's betrayal.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

History is OVER!

Physics and Math remaining for this week.

Which means it's time to start studying Social Studies, Music, and Human Geography.

Three more days

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Jelly Brained and Jelly Legged

She's so good at taking my breath away, she even takes the unspoken words out of my mouth and unknowingly throws them right back at me.

I nearly staggered.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Before an Early Bedtime

I wish to reiterate just how much Joe Hisaishi is my favourite modern composer.

Listening to Asian X.T.C. It has an interesting blend of Japanese pop and Asian feel. And you can still tell it's his style. The way he utilizes the orchestra is unmistakable. Thanks Irfan!

I'm really sorry about Eric Clapton, Marion =/

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

It Has Begun!

Been stressing over O Levels so much that Mom had to tell me to cool off. Ironic how most parents strive to make their children realize the supposed importance of O Levels.

Papers taken so far:
Chemistry Paper 2
English
Additional Maths Paper 1

Details:
Chemistry Paper 2 was so easy, it's scary to think how the Bell Curve will be like.

English.... comprehension was a breeze. I don't know what to say about the Summary, which cost me my A1 in Prelims, but I admit I was really pissed at the Composition paper. My functional writing composition was longer than my narrative essay?!? The required tasks were so insanely long that I ran out of time to write a satisfying narrative essay. Of course, there will be people who will want to smack me when they find out that my worst narrative essays are often at 25/30. I know my Blog doesn't really reflect that, since most of the time I find myself rambling about things you might not even bother about =) Ah well, for English I'm really hoping the Bell Curve will give me an A1.

At the end of our A Maths paper today, one of the invigilators, a Maths teacher from our school, went to the mike and said something like "Gentlemen, we have just seen the standard of O Level A Maths."

The whole auditorium broke into laughter.

I shall have to be very careful not to let my guard down for the remaining papers. The current situation is giving everyone dangerous ideas and expections of upcoming papers. Of course, I really do hope the remaining papers will be this easy. Especially Social Studies - It's right after Orchid Ball.

Physical Geography tomorrow! A1 or a dead Han!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Eighteen

At last, most of the celebration is over. Time to Blog a bit.

Saturday was birthday eve, so I decided to celebrate with best friends Benji and Marion. Went to United Square in the morning for Brunch, followed by Ben&Jerry's! Camwhored like there's no tomorrow. We took what, 111 photos according to Marion? Nuts.

Some of the photos taken by my camera. The 111 are on Marion's camera. Waaaaiiitinggg to get them.

Brunch at the food court. Marion treated me to Pepper Lunch =)


At Ben&Jerry's after Brunch, Benji treated the Banana Split =)

Turning 18 made me realize I'm the oldest among us, and that's supposed to make me some sort of big brother who should be making sure they behave in public, which they *ahem*

Went to NJC Open House after that, bumped into Wen Jie, who was so kind to bring me to meet some teachers and get advice. I had some questions about the subject combination in mind (I haven't decided which JC to go to yet though).

Knowledge Inquiry, Music, Geography, Maths/Physics

*Teachers' jaws dropped (some laughed)

"Okay, what do you want to do for your career"

"Well... I was kind of thinking of something to do with UNESCO?"

*More surprised looks, some slightly impressed (or amused)

"What do you want to do in UNESCO?"

"Uhm.... maybe something to do with preservation of culture. Perhaps preservation of World Music?" (I made that up on the spot. I actually forgot that I wanted to work with the education sector of UNESCO)

"Okay... let's look at the subjects you've picked. Geography will be good, definitely. Knowledge Inquiry will be good too. Music... (thinks for a moment) you will probably be able to make some useful contributions."

*Teacher realizes my intended subject combinations makes some sort of sense

"Unfortunately, if you pick this combination, you may not be able to attend the classes. Knowledge Inquiry and Music don't really go together. As in, the schedules might clash."

"Yes, I will go home and rethink my priorities."

I think I may have to drop Music. Then I'll probably be doing KI, Geography, Maths, Physics. Sigh.

Zoomed over to Irfan's house after NJC, where I was supposed to be studying Music or Chemistry. We ended up Youtubing, playing with his Theramin (a Musical instrument you play by waving your hands in front of the webcam. Interesting, no?) and listening to not-in-O-Level-Music-Syllabus Music. Namely Joe Hisaishi's Asian X.T.C, and a group of musicians whose name I have unfortunately forgotten playing loads of World Music. It was a Musically enriching experience, yes, but in terms of studying... heh heh.

--------------
As for today, the big day, I went to Church, and received the first birthday present of the day, a Complete Eric Clapton CD from Bestfriend Marion, who made it clear that I absolutely must listen to music other than Classical. Which I do! There's the Romantic and the Impressionist haha. Chopin and Debussy any day for me. Can't listen to it today though. Nothing other than the Mormon Tabernacle Choir will seep into my skin on Sunday.

Mom surprised me with a mini celebration after Church. She baked a Texas Sheet Cake in the morning after I left the house for the Ward Choir Practice. Then I got to attend my first Young Single Adults Family Home Evening.

We even had a Stake Youth Fireside this evening. Talk about a busy birthday. Oh, and hometeachers came over too. And Dad from KL. Yes, it was a blast.

And.... the birthday presents I got from Mom and Dad are:

Mom: Belt (at last, say goodbye to an untucked Sunday Best shirt), and SHAVER haha. I just started shaving my facial hair about a month ago after realizing how obvious my goatee was. And moustache. 姐姐 insists that I have to shave if I intend to attend the Orchid Ball XD

Dad: CAMERA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Say goodbye to the 2 megapixels antique! I've got 8 megapixels now.

Big day tomorrow. Many many thanks to everyone who made my day =) A special thanks to the crazy birthday hug from Ben XD

Still Celebrating

Too many things happening on my birthday =P

Totally loving being eighteen haha.

Since I'm still busy celebrating, might as well link this to the awesome post Dad did for me on our family Blog.

First O Levels Paper tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day 2008!

Happy Blog Action Day!

Enjoy the specially drawn comic =)

Time taken: The whole of last night plus this morning to write the script and do a complete the sketch, and this afternoon till now to draw the whole thing

The theme is poverty, and I only got struck by inspiration last night, hence the rush.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

War Machine

The cogs are turning.

Six more days.

Went to cousin Ying Er's place to study yesterday, since I can't study for nuts at home. I must say I've never had a day of studying as productive as yesterday. I reached her house in the afternoon and we did A Maths. After finishing one paper, we switched to Physical Geography and covered Natural Vegetation, testing each other's knowledge along the way, squeezing in a bit of Social Studies along the way (I showed her some of the notes I jotted down on my handy-dandy questbook). We then took a break by playing a duet on the piano - Claude Debussy's Petite Suite Movement II: Cortege. Made me wonder if I should have picked that movement for my exam instead of the third haha.

We had dinner after that, followed by brief slacking as she watched TV. Auntie Chai Yan suggested we go down for a walk before continuing work, which we did, all the while reminiscing about old times. The times when the only purpose of me going over to her house was for a holiday. Those days are loooooong gone. Spent an hour on A Maths after that, then I went home with a supreme sense of accomplishment.

Need to head back to school for Music lessons now. On Thursday, I'll be having a marathon at Ying Er's place - Overnight studying, with Marie joining as well. Hopefully I can cover Social Studies then... I don't want to have to worry about my Social Studies paper during Orchid Ball......

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Mediacorp At Home

We were tailed by Mediacorp Channel 8 (chinese) today. They were doing something on Breast Cancer for the program "Frontline". Having been diagnosed with breast cancer twice, Mom was somehow contacted and asked if she would be willing to receive a little limelight.

So they followed us to Church today, which happened to be Video Conference. There, they interviewed some of Mom's friends from Church. After Conferece, they came to our home, where two of my uncles and an aunt came over to be interviewed as well. (the program wanted to interview those who were a source of support for Mom). So, for the first time in my life, I had a family dinner with a camera in my face.

Since everyone had to be interviewed, I had to be interviewed as well. Talk about Chinese O Level Oral Examinations all over again haha. I kept my contacts on, so that when I'm seen on the street with my glasses on, nobody will recognize me hahahaha. I suppose I did my school proud though. An ACS Barker Boy actually speaking decent mandarin for a TV program.

They even filmed us playing music together. Mom sang "Love One Another" from the Primary Songbook while I played the Piano accompaniment with Shuan on the flute playing the descant.

It was pretty cool seeing the cameraman work the lights and stuff. I've always been fascinated by Movie/TV crews...

This week is a study break. Means no need to go back to school except for Music lessons because we still have to cover some stuff. Ying Er called to invite me to go study at her place. Sounds like a good idea, because if I stay at home, chances are I'll be online and wasting valuable seconds away. The ability to truthfully claim to be 18 is coming....... and so are O Levels. Only a gun will stop me from getting my A's now.

Friday, October 10, 2008

10 More Days

I actually managed to study at home last night. Social Studies, of all things. I took a break halfway to study the Book of Mormon, after which I suddenly felt like playing a few Church hymns. By the time I was done however, I lost the mood to study. So I called Ying Er to check what calculator model she's using (I need to get a new one since mine is not on the approved list, and I found hers to be quite good). Ended up chatting away for quite a bit, though I justified the long phone call at the end by helping her out with Chemistry XD

Today was the last proper day of school for us. Next week will be a study break for O Levels. Most teachers gave us pep talks, and we took an informal class photo during Geography. As for the rest of the day, we had massive paper ball fights, as well as an action packed Soccer match down at the Tennis court during recess where I volunteered to be the photographer before joining in eventually like I've been doing the past few weeks. I just realized my Secondary School life is finally coming to a close. Not sure how I should be feeling.

Having trouble studying Japanese Noh and Kabuki and Western African music right now... the internet does not seem to be very useful at the moment. I guess I'll just go back to studying Physical Geography.

Just finished listening to Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet Overture. It was actually performed in the Esplanade recently. Was planning to go watch it as a personal treat, but had to abandon the idea due to Stake Conference (I was to be chorister that Saturday evening). In a sudden turn of events though, I switched places with Germaine who was to do the Sunday session initially, leaving me free to go attend.... the family reunion instead - my cousin from America was on a visit. I guess a higher power felt I needed to save money =)

I seriously need to treat myself after O Levels. I think a day lazing around the house listening to all the music I have, perhaps drawing a bit here and there, would be great. Hopefully the Lee's will decide to pick up dancing again or something so that we can have a class again. I realized yesterday just how much I miss the Waltz. I wonder if there will be a chance to Waltz at Orchid Ball. That would be nice.

The stress is tossing my thoughts all over the place. Only sheer determination will pull me through now. That and a serious bit of prayer.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

12 More Days

Came back from the last Institute Lesson of the year today. We had pizza after that. And just yesterday I had pizza and KFC during Music class thanks to our Music teacher. It's like, "Dude, what's with all the celebrations?" Topping it off with having my birthday before my first paper is, I must admit, a perfect way to take O Levels with a bang.

I attended the ACJC Open House today. I haven't quite decided yet which Junior College I want to attend after O Levels. I had hopes the Open House would enlighten me about the hyped-up education in ACJC. I guess it was alright. I got to talk to several teachers with my classmates to find out more about what subjects are offered and how the subjects are like generally. It's a pity the Music Elective Program didn't have a Q&A Booth. I guess I'll have to find out more another time.

I seem to have a "gut interest" in Knowledge & Inquiry. All that philosophical whatnot. Not sure if I should take up that subject though. It's not a subject you take lightly. Ah well, I suppose the diagnostics test we'll take at the start of the year will help me make the decision.

I'm starting to question the very meaning of education again (probably baby steps on the road to Knowledge & Inquiry hehe). Can you consider the O Level Certificate as proof that one has been educated? What defines an education? What would you expect out of one who claims to have been educated? If you gain nothing but maturity out of school, can that be considered an education?

It would be lethal for me to attempt to answer that question. Perhaps when I've had time to organize my thoughts after O Levels, I can come up with a sensible answer.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

13 More Days

There are 4 events I'm counting down to. I normally don't bother counting down, but it seems like the pressure is getting heavier. From every side.

Thank goodness for Gustav Holst's The Planets Suite Movement II: Venus, the Bringer of Peace. Soothes the soul like splashing water on a hot car engine.

Studying Music works wonders on a distracted mind. Grab a chair, some school notes, some CDs, a Music Dictionary, and all other thoughts flush away.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Intensive Preparations

For the first time in weeks, I left the novel I've been reading at home when I left for school.

I can't afford to be reading anything but textbooks on the bus now.

I must not mess up my O Level Social Studies paper like I did during my Prelims (I was in Kuantan having a holiday right before the paper), Orchid Ball or no Orchid Ball.

And I'll get back that A1 for Geography which I missed during Prelims, even if I have to link every darn thing I see in front of me with something to do with Human Geography.

The harder I study now, the more of a relief Orchid Ball will be in the middle of the exams. Sounds like motivation to me.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Happy 50th Birthday Dad!

And Happy 23rd Su姐!

I just finished a brush pen caricature of Dad after countless sketches while chatting with bestfriends Ben and Marion. That was one whole page of my mega-sketchbook gone haha.

I invited Germaine to the Orchid Ball today. I'm surprised I even did. Orchid Ball is on the Friday before my Social Studies paper -- my worst paper. Even Mom hesitated when I asked her for permission to go. But she gave the green light so...

She asked me to ask Germaine's Mom first, which I did. Always important to have parental approval first I suppose. Hehe... woe betides he who attempts to ask my future daughter out.

So I asked Germaine after that, and she agreed. Then I realized I just asked someone out to a ball for the very first time in my whole entire life. I don't even know what people do at balls besides eating and dancing. Talking I guess.

Now, my challenge is to put this whole thing away for a while and study study study study. I suppose that will make the Ball even more of something to look forward to =)

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Marriage Is Like Baking A Cake

Bishop Foo chose a fine time to give an informal fireside on dating XD

I liked his analogy on marriage though. It's like baking a cake. There's the measuring of ingredients (you size up people and see what you like in each person), the sifting and mixing (you start to date people and then slowly decide what you want), and finally the baking (when you make your decision and get married).

Performed with the Toa Payoh Ward Choir in the Joseph Smith and the Restoration Cantata today. It was great =)

I had a healthy dosage of socialising today. I only just realized how much I needed that after facing all that pressure from school during the week.

Friday, October 03, 2008

So Said The Teacher

"Forget about interests or no interests, O Levels is about survival now."

Our class had an O Level pep talk at the end of school today. I was feeling a bit off-ish though. I guess I slept a little bit late last night... was working on a potential School Blues story while chatting with Ben on the phone.

Which is the problem.

O Levels are, what, about 2 weeks away? Two more weeks of school. And here I am, still distracted. The dangerous thing about becoming the Top Student is that you are assumed to be super smart. Everyone will say "Aiyah, so smart already, still need to study meh?" But the reality is that I did well simply because I did all the hard work (without mugging past midnight though). And the problem about everybody assuming you're super smart, is that you start to assume that about yourself. Which is lethal.

Sometimes, when I try to study (especially for Humanities subjects) I would stop and go "hey, I know this already" and just skim through. The problem is that knowing something and having something memorized are two different things. For example, knowing what measures have been used to help aid less developed countries is different from having memorized facts and figures about what has been done. But where do you draw the line? How much do you need to know? Are four lines of words worth the effort just to elaborate on an example to contribute to an essay that could very well take too long to write?

That's the scary thing. When I open my books and think of what I don't know, there's usually not much. But when it comes to what I've memorized, I become uncertain, and then panic.

I'm running out of time, that is clear. And yet, I've allowed too many distractions to grab hold of me. Drawing... Novels... The Infatuation...

Oh yes, and the crowning glory of having my birthday on the eve of the first paper.

I've laughed at the kiasu-ness of the Singaporean way of life countless times before, but I think it's already seeping through my skin.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Hari Raya Aidilfitri 2008

Selamat Hari Raya!

Woke up early today for the Clementi Ward activity. We went to Hort Park for a nice nature walk. It was great. It brought back loads of memories of all that jungle trekking back in KL. The smell of the jungle, filling every corner of your lungs, coupled with the massive insect orchestra ringing to an endless, unspoken encore that puts a smile on your face, knowing that you're not hearing noisy, dirty, cars zooming across some ugly road.

Like a slap to the face, as I crossed the Henderson Waves (a bridge designed by use of a Mathematical formula), instead of seeing a picturesque view of the ocean past rolling hills, I saw loads and loads of ships. Well, I have to admit thats was the authentic Singapore experience.

Still, it was a good walk, and it's commendable that we even have oppurtunities to do stuff like that. I had a good sweat, and took a few decent photos. And even got to sit down and sketch a tree. So it was fun.

I joined the Toa Payoh Ward choir today. They're preparing for the Audio-visual Cantata this Saturday, and they decided to outsource to other Wards =P As usual, the scene of Joseph Smith's prayer from The Restoration shook me to the core.

I visited two Malay homes today. The first was Uncle, a Malay neighbour who lived in the same house since my Mom was a child (yes, I am staying in the very same house my Mom grew up in). Later, after dinner, I visited another home. Kak was given some food from the nice elderly lady who lives there with her husband. Since my brothers wanted KFC for dinner, and I was unwilling to chip in money to contribute to the "buy-KFC-and-save-craving-brothers" fund, Kak shared with me some of that food. It was good. When Kak said she was going to visit the lady's home, I decided to join her. She extended an invitation to me when she gave the food to Kak anyway.

So I double-checked with Kak how to do the Muslim handshake, and prepared myself to hear disgruntled Malay sentences coming out from my own rusty mouth.

It went quite well eh.

Quite well apart from my funny Bahasa Baku accent Irfan always points out that I have being a Chinese who had to learn Malay in school. Bahasa Baku is where every vowel has an absolute sound. It was that way of pronunciation that I learnt Malay back in KL. And it makes me sound like a robot. He taught me a few "rules" on how you can break the Bahasa Baku rules while remaining comprehensible. Because no Malay actually speaks in Bahasa Baku.

Meaning to say, I was a little surprised myself when I heard myself speaking. Now where in the world did that accent come from? Oh well. I could hardly believe that I remembered that many words anyway.

The nice thing I have to admit about Singapore, though, is that should I falter in remembering Malay, their English is just as good. It was interesting how I spoke to Pak Cik (uncle) in Malay and to his son, in English. But then, they themselves mix English fluidly with Malay. Campurisation, as Irfan always says =P

It's strange, however, that I find it more natural to hear English mixed into Malay, but not English mixed with Chinese. Perhaps because Malay has so many borrowed terms from English. (which gave me a funny sort of advantage when I was studying in a Chinese school in KL)

I suppose mixing English with your Mother Tongue is a very Singaporean thing. And I think that's something rather interesting. I guess today has been a very Singaporean day for me XD