Category Archives: Writing

Trickling

Holding on to ideas have been like trying to keep water in the cusp of my hand. They either trickle away before I could work on it or if I manage to hold on to them it turned stale within the next few days. Perhaps I should get a physical journal or notebook to scribble on while I’m commuting or at work (I can yet afford an Ipad/tablet with my own money) and scan my works and upload when I get home. The following list are some of the things I have intended to write but have yet to start or finish writing :

1. A short story for a project with the Institute of Creative Minds.

Initially it was supposed to be a collection of fables/legends/short stories for from around the world, and then it was sort of forgotten and then there was Animotion which features real time animation with theater. Recently I checked on the website Animotion was replaced with Audiovisual Orchestra real time animation with live music. I might have possibly missed the boat to collaborate with one of the most impressive visual/performing/live arts ever.

2. Mambang@TEDxKL

The first part out of 3 which I intended to finish writing was actually noticed by one of the organising team members and she contacted me to ask if they could curate my writings for their records or something like that. It’s been more than a month and I’m still not done yet. I still have the notes taken during the event though. Possible to pick up and continue writing this.

3. The Unexpected Interview

The meeting was unprecedented. My mum’s friend only told us he invited a friend of his at the very last minute to our little breaking fast gathering during Ramadhan. Turns out he was one of Malaysia’s greatest choreographers. Through our conversation  he gave us his thoughts on Malaysia’s performing arts scene, having a career in performing arts in Malaysia, and funny encounters during auditions. This piece is still in the draft folder.

4. I think I got hinted at a proposal

The past couple of months I grew really close to one of the interns in my department. When he’s not busy he’ll take the time to ask about and listen to all my stories of studying abroad and happening things I get involved in during the summer break. He’s quite a shy one but when I’m around he makes lame jokes that cracks me up every time. The Friday before we break for the Aidilfitri holidays was his last day of internship but I wouldn’t be around and I told him so earlier that week.

When I stayed back on the Tuesday (as I was going out with mummy in KL that evening) as usual I was goofing around with the other interns and staffs and telling them about the new 3D edition of The Ring (Japanese version) was coming out soon and if anyone wants to watch or enjoys watching horror movies. After that I checked the time and asked how come he was not making his way home yet and this was his reply “Bukan I keluar sekali dengan your mum ke? I’ve got a ring in my pocket.” (Am I not going out with your mum as well? I’ve got a ring in my pocket).

5. #55Merdeka : Freedom of thoughts

If I wasn’t working 8 to 5 on weekdays I would have agreed to give 110% support to a friend who wanted to do a short film on Merdeka. I could either come up with a storyline or a script or do the co-producer job of getting  a writer or coming up with the idea. I had an idea that requires some research for it to be executed nicely, so we decided to cancel doing it now and develop this for  next year’s Hari Raya/Deepavali/Chinese New Year/Merdeka short films. Leo Burnett, watch out. Heh heh heh.

6. The Tudung Issue

So, during Raya I snapped a photo with my grandfather while wearing a headscarf as just minutes before we had a short prayer session. Thought it was a nice photo, uploaded onto the social networking profile page and made it display picture. Got a number of likes and then several people speculated that I’ve committed to wear the headscarf full time. Reverted back to my non-headscarf, regular-look display picture and released a little “press statement” clarifying that the picture was taken minutes after  a short prayer session which was why I had the headscarf on and I have no intention to put on the headscarf full time yet.

 

I probably should also do a write up on #KTMdiaries. An entry on the quirks of the passengers and the train services I go through Mondays to Fridays might be fun. I will miss KL, Seremban, and the KTM and LRT rides, the funky lifts in the Petronas Twin Towers, and all the good food when I leave for UK in a little less than 3 weeks.

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Lazy Saturday

It’s been weeks since I last posted an update; I’m such a lazy writer. Hours of travelling to and from KL added up with hours of staring at the computer screen at work (I’m currently doing an internship) can be mentally exhausting; once I’m home I don’t intend to exert anymore brain power. Words and ideas still flow freely as there are lots of things I would love to write about, but by the time I am able to sit down in peace to write my brain is simply fizzled out.

Saturdays often see me vegetating on the couch or stagnate on the bed. Spending a day of the week doing nothing is very tempting after Mondays to Fridays of leaving the house at the crack of dawn, commute to work-work-work, commute back home, shower-eat-sleep, repeat. Today I was a bit more productive than the previous Saturday.

Slept after the morning prayers, woke up 10 mins to 8am, got dressed, and mummy drove us to KL for a check-up with the ear-nose-throat specialist who saw to me when I was a kid, and then back home once done. Practically failed my hearing test; if walls have ears I might be more deaf than the wall. Sat down to watch reruns of Downton Abbey and then siesta. Mummy woke me up, showered, dressed, and headed for a buka puasa gathering at a community surau.

Felt like a hijabster for being the only one wearing a tudung lilit in a crowd of tudung bawal and one-piece types (note : I put on the headscarf whenever visiting a place of prayer or attending religious events for/by Muslims, in daily life I let my hair go crazy).

Speculated that many female lecturers in various local universities have that I-am-always-right tone of voice.

Ninja-ed a huge mosquito.

A Dissection of My Writer’s Block

You know how the common advice is to “cheer up” when somebody sees somebody in a rather sad/foul/depressed disposition? I digress. To cheer up can only happen when any reason causing the unhappiness to the affected is overcome, otherwise you’re practicing ignorance. Ignorance is bliss, but to ignore a brewing problem is going to walk you into a dung pit.

I wrote so frequently in my first year, writing about almost anything from the routine of missing buses/trains to the icky job of cleaning the bathroom. Second year was so much more exciting but I found I couldn’t write or hesitant to write about my undertakings and the 92843753675923546 problems I was facing for the fear of hurting the people around me.

“Remember I’m a poet too Evie, I understand the power of words,” Ben to Evie in Driving Lessons (2006).

Similarly, I’m a writer. I understand the power of words.

My anonymity on this blog is somewhat compromised so even if I wrote about someone or something without referring to its name, who is part cause of my entire stress and frustration, given my apt descriptive writing readers who are in my immediate environment may make the connection almost instantly.

My current housemates and the ones in first year are not on my Facebook friends’ list and I told them nothing about my blog. I doubt knowing any bus drivers working in Bath.

I had in mind to create separate accounts for my social networking profiles and the blog but thought it would be a hassle.  I could barely remember all my username and passwords for different dozens of accounts and I’m reluctant to have them down in writing.

Writing has always been an exercise for me to relieve stress, so when I suppressed the urge to write a lot of the stress had nowhere to go – the hectic schedule gave less time to bake or visit the few people whom I put confidence in to tell about the situation I was in.

Mid-way of my second year I was pretty much mentally and emotionally drained. I practically lost the motivation to study the couple of weeks before exams began. People would have had the impression I was okay as I appear pretty relaxed most of the time and not very agitated, until I open my mouth and pour out my crisis.

The combination of stress, lack of practice, and not reading enough literature (engineering course material does not count) initiated the writer’s block. I took for granted that I was able to write almost anything and almost any given time, when my words wouldn’t flow I probably felt like a bird unable to fly. Or perhaps like an aeroplane grounded due to technical glitches.

Cookies and Dreams

Its lengthy description would be chocolate cookie dough in vanilla cupcake topped with cookies and cream containing an Oreo surprise. The topping was made using double cream whipped to soft peaks, sweetened with a touch of icing sugar, kissed by a little essence of vanilla with crushed Oreos folded into it.

Two dozen of these tasty treats made its way to Oxford, went round a smoothie bar, the covered market, several book stores and museums before ending up in some happy people’s digestive systems.

The cupcakes were originally intended for Michii as a form of good luck wish for her finals. After giving me a wonderful tour of the town, I set out to explore solo (as she had to return to her revision) ending up with a pre-owned Dickens from a quaint second hand bookstore and killing time in the Ashmolean before heading to Keble for dinner and where I stayed for the night.

Once again the cupcake embarked on a merry-go-round of Oxonians (there were two dozens of them initially anyway) resulting in much needed merriment among the exam-stressed recipients.

I met up with a good friend of mine for supper where I related to him on my academic progress and my pleasure of finding a stock of classic reads for £2 each at a particular book shop. Unexpectedly I attended to a mini-lecture of why-I-should-stop-reading-fiction-and-must-read-facts-from-now-on. He suggested that I start reading biographies of successful figures (in business or politics I guess) alongside economic matters such Times magazine…blah blah blah.

My counter argument was that many of the biographies or autobiographies (of businessmen, world leaders or politicians) I have read tend to skew towards patronising or condemnation of the person being written about. Besides, why do I have to fork out tens of pounds for a hard-covered picture book when I can easily access a concise version of it by an interview in Times or speeches in TEDtalks?

The best autobiography I have read would be “Boy” by Roald Dahl. Wonderfully written with vivid descriptions. The reason why I love reading non-factual stuff is because sometimes, facts can be depressing. Fiction is an escape from the stresses of life. When I say I read fiction, I’m not reading itsy-bitsy fairy tales. Although I’ve just finished reading Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll, I have actually gone through the “introduction” parts and the additional notes which include a brief on the life of the author and references to the metaphors, sarcasm and jokes peppered throughout the book.

Currently going through a collection of short-stories by Kipling and then next will be Dickens. Will attempt to trudge the factual stuff once I’m done with my leisure reading. Until then expect flowery words and onomatopoeias from me.

Liberation

I have never woken up feeling so fresh and productive for quite a while. I actually managed to have a full, satisfying breakfast (apple, coffee, fried rice), prayed, showered, read through four or five lecture slides and I even did my hair this morning. Check it out.

The secret to it:

I Deactivated My Facebook Account. MUAHAHAHA.

The ‘normal’ morning routine would have been waking up late (due to late night random Facebook activities), check Facebook, gets hooked online for a couple of hours or so, skipped the shower, eating assorted random edible materials for breakfast and stare at my lecture notes, hoping the lines of alphabets would somehow make its way into my dull, lethargic brain.

After a couple of hours into my revision, I pepped up for a solo outing to town. It was raining outside, but I was feeling so good today I couldn’t give a thought about it. I rocked my Wellingtons like its Prada and I actually got people looking at me. A local even stopped to ask me where the toilet is when I was browsing through Debenham. I almost got run over by a rogue taxi driver (I was pretty sure he stepped on the accelerator when he saw me crossing. Pffft..) but all was well today. I even managed to secure an appointment for a routine eye-checkup.

I made myself happy with a little purchase of stationary. I wrote a card to my grandfather and also one to my mother, and drew up a birthday card for a friend (not due anytime soon). I broke my Facebook ‘fast’ momentarily to look up my gramp’s home address but deactivated it soon after.

I still have the urge to peep into Facebook, but I’m going to keep this up for the next week or so. The blog will be updated every now and then.

Wish me luck!

When the Ox Farts

This is the amended version of a little something I sent to a friend when she got the news of rejection from Oxford. I just thought I would put it up to come clean, as well as a source of inspiration to some of you. Life is full of unexpected turns, you’d never know where you might end up. So, enjoy the roller-coaster ride while it last!

hey ya! just to let you know you’ll still be my über kawaii-chan no matter what. even my heart broke when I was told by the head of sixth form that the principle was rather reluctant to write my reference if I wanted to apply for Cambridge.
and this was like what, in the middle of exams? i tell you i felt like a huuuuge pile of crap. I just sat there under the shower for like one hour, staring at the wall. damn demotivating if you asked me, and I actually cried in the office when I was told I was ‘not recommended’ to apply for Oxbridge. it is hard to get over something you’ve dreamt off since what, like when I was four or sumtgh.
Anyway, i almost fell into a bout of depression when I missed my grades for UCL. wah-lao, that one lagi siao. dah lah visa kena apply cepat cepat kalau tak the flight which was booked since last year burn. I was lucky to get my CAS from Bath quite soon, but that period between results out to Visa application was gila nak mampus. I tell you, I didn’t sleep much, more like I didn’t sleep at all. and thanks to the
lousy ppl at VFS, i MISSED my flight, after so much drama, I finally landed my ass in Bath.
🙂
you’ll never know what lies in the future, so heads up!

Private message, Facebook, 21st December 2010

Buried Wishes

As I was happily spamming people’s walls with “EPIC” related posts, I received a reply from a friend, who then asked me if I had received her post. Card. Sent. A month ago. I trolled down the stairs and into the hallway and dived into the pile of unopened mails by the door. VOILA! There it was!

How sad and lonely it must have been, sitting there, waiting for it’s recipient to come and get it. I’m so sorry, I really am. There must have been an avalanche of mail during its arrival, and no thank you to my disorganised housemates, it was buried under a mess of envelopes, brochures, and advertising pamphlets.

As you can see, the postcard was dated 15th November, and she sent it to wish me Eid Adha, which is now too late. Nevertheless, I was overjoyed on finding her card! My full name and address have been smudged (using photo editing software, not on the original card) to protect my privacy. FINALLY, somebody actually returns a postcard to me. Thank you, my dear friend.

I miss you.

HIV Cure Article – Why I Don’t Give Two Hoots.

http://www.thebody.com/content/art53624.html?getPage=1

A friend posted this link in Facebook today, and just after reading the URL and the first line of the title, I started to scoff at the legibility of the article. First, nobody and I mean NOBODY who’s a genuine professional in the medical, law, engineering or finance sector would ever start their research paper with the word “Amazing”. They leave that to the reaction of the person who reads their research and decide for themselves if what they have read is amazing.

I picked on the first reference listed at the end of the article, and guess what. The researches NEVER concluded the patient was fully cured. It was mentioned such conclusion was premature and the remains of the virus could be hiding in the lymph nodes, brain, gut, liver and heart. They also said that the procedure for the treatment – transplanting bone marrows from a person with the resistance to HIV into a HIV patient – was very, very risky and many people had died from the procedure due to complications. There was also a risk that the patient would be at more risk of a different viral infection after receiving this treatment.
(Jay A. Levy, M.D. N Engl J Med 2009; 2009; 360: 724-725)

The way I sum it up may be morbid, but if you get the chance to read the genuine journal, experienced readers will notice the neutrality of the tone it was written in. The author balanced the risk with the fact that this finding could help speed up other areas of research in finding a cure for HIV.

The linked article however, was all in a “HIV CAN BE CURED, END OF MISERY FOR ALL” kind of hoopla. There were also links to amFar (The Foundation for AIDS Research) and I’m seeing “donate, donate, donate” everywhere. Ok. You’re being sponsored by Hewlett Packard, Bloomingdales, Wells Fargo, even Louis Vuitton, and half a dozen other major companies. So why do you actually need to push the public donation so far? Yes, I understand that research need a lot of funding to keep it going, but what’s up with all the paper tiger international conventions that cost even more?

What we need right now is a dedicated team of pharmacist, chemists, engineers and an unlisted number of people to sit down, do some serious thinking, experiments, calculations and what not with a constant supply of coffee and food for the brain.

I can bet you there are quite a number of scientist out there, with their research combined, are very close to find the solution. The research is probably not publicised to avoid the public running for the drug store and stock up on the drug, prices escalate due to demand exceeding supply, causing some companies to produce the cheaper generic versions, then something gets cursed along the way, the HIV mutates and humankind is wiped out in a widespread infection.

Epic.

Now, lab report.

It’s 2.00 am.

Still not done yet.

FML.

Penmanship

I love to write and I take pride in my handwritings. Recently I have been sending postcards to several of my friends and this is what one of them commented, “…because the hand writings..wow ..I would say that it can be one of the top encrypted languages which can easily rival any SSL protocol.” I really don’t know what you meant by that but thanks, I take it as a compliment anyway *grins*. A sample of my handwriting can be seen below.

Back in school, my teachers would always praise my work and say, “You have such a neat handwriting, you must be a very neat girl.” This would cause many of my girlfriends to break into fits of laughter because I am light years away from being neat. Just look at my hair, and you’ll get what I mean.

FYI: I never comb it, because I can’t, not without losing a significant amount of hair (not even the hairdressers can do it, except my mum I guess. She’s simply exceptional).

The story of my neat penmanship goes back to when I was a little kid. My mother would drill me on the writing exercises.  I remember having  a book with all the alphabets printed in dotted lines for you to trace and for quite some time, that was what I did everyday.  I was naturally left handed, but mummy insisted that I write with my right hand.

Asians are quite particular with which hands you use for eating and which hands you use for washing your *ahem-ahem*. Malays and Indians I know would normally use their right hands to eat and this is to show respect for the food you’re about to consume.

I guess it goes to show respect for knowledge to not use the hand you use to clean your behind to write down your lessons, which makes sense for me as true Muslims revere the value of knowledge and it (revering the value of knowledge)is written down in the Quran as well.

By saying this, I am not condemning the other half of the world who are left-handed.  I am simply pointing out the root of the culture of preferring the use of the right over the left hand. On both hands, there are people who are ambidextrous – people who are just as skilled with their right hands as with their left hands. Cheers!

Till the next post, au revoir!