Sunday, March 11, 2018

Let me sink deeper

The semester did not have a good start to it. I’ll be honest on that.

I found myself leaning closer towards the edge and slowly descending into a state of nothingness. I was turning into someone I am not. This was not the result of a busy schedule, but rather, the unresolved angst towards the circumstances that landed me in this sticky mess in the first place. I read somewhere that this discomfort is preparing for me to scale greater heights - but the problem is I am tired of living with the pain, especially if it is not something that can be easily treated.

Only God, if he is watching, knows my truest emotions with regards to this.

If I didn’t sacrifice everything (or at least half my heart and half of a stable life) to pursue my degree here, I’m confident that things will be different. I wouldn’t have had to choose between the LLB and the BA. I also wouldn’t have to force myself to decide between Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and Malaysia. In fact, I’d most probably be enrolled in the same campus as my college friends and the transition wouldn’t be as painful and lonely as it was. It would have been easier because it was a familiar territory. In hindsight, it was a battle to maintain a smiling face when all I felt was unhappiness. It was an even greater battle not to lose my sanity while I tried to find my place in a chaotic shark tank. I used to think that I was a confident child in Taylor’s, but the environment frightened me into seeking solace in the background. I have always felt sorry for the international students in college. Although they did not say anything about this, I knew that they needed to work harder than us as they had to accustomize themselves with a foreign land. On top of that, they were susceptible to more problems than us. Yet, I can’t feel the same among the peers - or am I emotionally hardened by the power imbalance to the point where I have missed all of the signs?

Or am I ready to throw in the towel and walk away?

Looking back, I find myself questioning whether it was a good option to study abroad. The crazily high exchange rate between the Malaysian Ringgit and the Australian Dollar is just one aspect of it. If I remained in Taylor’s Lakeside, I’d have saved a lot of tuition fees and time. Trust me, the amount of money spent for a three-year degree from a local university differs in comparison to one from a foreign university - and this all boils down to the exchange rate. I know that I wouldn’t have met the friends whom I have today if I didn’t study abroad, but the truth cannot be denied. I feel that everything is stacked against me and weighing me down like an anchor. I gave up almost everything, only to start afresh again. It is something that I don’t think you, my readers, would understand the emotional impact unless you have lived in my shoes or seen life through my eyes. The beauty is that I already knew that this was coming beforehand. *shakes head*

I understand that if I hadn’t made the decisions that I did, I wouldn’t have the two furry friends who are good body language readers. If you read my blog long enough, you’d immediately know the identities of the folks I’m referring to. There were many occasions when I was upset with something and either one of them would try their best to turn my frown into a smile - or at least attempt to make me forget that I was upset, even if momentarily.

Sure, my impending departure may test the friendships that I have with them. In fact, it might even strain it to its breaking point and we won’t be as close as we are now. That’s a given, seeing that distance combined with time has that deadly effect. Mitigation would require us to carry our weight and put as much effort as each other into maintaining the bond that we have.

Saturday, March 10, 2018


I dreamt that we were hanging out in the lecturer’s office after a long day on campus. Her client arrived terribly early for her appointment with the lecturer, which left two of us - the students - looking at each other in confusion. We understood that the lecturer juggled a second career as a practitioner, but we didn’t expect her to have an appointment after business hours. The client entered the space and handed us the keys to her place. She asked us to make ourselves comfortable with the access to food and drink there, but the lecturer wanted us to stay back and observe the dispute as a case study. The client refused to give her consent because the mediation will broach on sensitive issues that she didn’t want us to know about.

We took our cue to leave when the other party arrived at the office with a charcoal face and told the lecturer that we would be back end of COB. While we killed the time, we found ourselves participating - or rather, observing - a street protest before we made our way to the eatery housed in a temple.

I highly doubt that the dream meant anything - except to hint that I need timeout before I cave under the pressures of what it is that I’m experiencing now.

Friday, March 2, 2018


You’d be surprised to read about this.

Throughout the weeks since my return to the start of semester 1, I loaded up on the hours from the volunteering activities and stayed back late on campus a couple of times. It allowed me an escape from the remainder of a boring holiday while doing something good. I prefer 6 weeks of break. Anything longer than that, I’ll be itching to keep myself busy to prevent myself from being in a rut. Although I was tired from the O’Week-related volunteering activities, I forced myself to attend the first week of lectures (which turned out to be only one for the core course as the rest were electives) because … why not? If I don’t get into the study zone soonest possible, I’d be slacking until the commencement of the tutorials.

Leftover πουργούρι (romanized as pourgourri) with further additions

I continued to volunteer for both Student Life and the Union amidst the added pressure of academic success and the graduate/clerkship programs. You could say that I am biting off more than I can chew, but I craved for something that will leave me on the go for ¾ of the time and improve on time management skills. I’d rather be on the move than to spend my free time on social media. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t hate social media. In fact, I appreciate the convenience of maintaining contact with friends through that method. It’s just that those time spent online could be diverted to better use, such as more revisions, volunteering, or even job hunting. For certain events, it forced me to dig deep for the experiences garnered in CPU to help me along. It also sharpened my interpersonal skills and … continued to prepare me for the hustle and bustle of the real world, so to speak.

As for the tutorials, DRE was okay. I mean, what could I have expected from the second week of classes? We had arranged to be in a team for the group work later in the semester, so fingers crossed that it will spare us from unnecessary and avoidable issues when the assignment arrives. I was initially surprised when the ADR lecturer mentioned that the skills we picked up from that course will be beneficial for DRE, but I guess she was right. Now that I have given a quick look at the course structure, it will definitely come in handy for certain elements of the course.

Understanding Climate Change as a whole was a tad bit difficult than I expected because it encompasses a lot more. I guess I knew what I signed up for after I spoke to the folks who did it last year and wanted to challenge myself. I mean, Climate Change will be an issue that affects us all - look at the weather around us. For the half of January 2018, Klang Valley was shrouded with a spring’s touch of cool air. Mind you, this has never occurred before. The assignments didn’t bother me as much as it did for other students as it had the same structure as one of my other electives last year. I cringed for a minute when I had a look at the list of enrolled students. While I already knew that two of my friends were in the course, I wasn’t counting on seeing some familiar names from Corporate, DRE, and Legal Theory. Now, although I warned the good friend when we met up during the Fringe Parade that there would be a surprise headed his way, he never expected that it would be me joining him in this course. He jumped for joy when he discovered the surprise.

I also had another friend - but from Criminal Law and Canadian Law days - who were with us in Climate Change. He was more excited than me for this course because he felt that it was wider in scope. When we ran into each other on the first day of lectures, we grinned at each other expectantly because we already knew what was coming.

So, I guess I’m relieved that I swapped from my previous elective to Climate Change for now. I won’t know if I’ll regret my decision in time to come, but we’ll see.

The not-so-Japanese potato salad

Ah, Legal Theory. The course that I couldn’t enroll in sophomore year because I swapped Criminal Law with my non-law electives. I wasn’t exactly ready to be challenged by the course although I was aware and studied elements of the Nuremberg Trials in Canadian and International Law. Heck, we did a presentation on how Kristallnacht (known as Crystal Night in English) was the precursor to the Holocaust and how it eventually led to the ICC’s prosecution of the Nazi officials in the trials. The link that I attached would help you understand what Kristallnacht is about.

At least I wasn’t going in with zero knowledge of the Eichmann trial. I wasn’t expecting to see many students because this course is not as popular and hinges towards a mixture of philosophy and history. As what we Mandarin-speakers would say, 这本科比较冷门. It was good because it allowed us to spread out in the class instead of being squashed to each other, though. I felt myself questioning on whether I wanted to fulfill the required attendance (that will be the break between a pass or a credit grade) due to a couple of reasons. Class discussions never bothered me since Taylor’s, but I didn’t want to embarrass myself by saying the wrong thing and be snatched of the opportunity to do so by my peers in the smaller discussion. Trust me, there are times when that has occurred in the other elective to the point where my lecturer was like, you should have interrupted the person because what you said is of substance and worthy of a class contribution. The introvert in me doesn’t fancy it because it forces me to approach other students who are strangers to me. I can’t gauge if they would welcome my input or totally ignore it. But since there is no exam component, I think I can swallow my discomfort with a pinch of salt.

Seeing that some of us had arrived earlier, we sneaked into the classroom and took our separate seats while waiting for the lecturer to arrive. Although I heard the doors being opened and closed by the rest of the students, I couldn’t be bothered to shoot a glance as I was exhausted from the workshop that I attended the previous evening. I had looked up once to double-check if it was the lecturer because the timing seemed right, only to find myself looking at someone I never expected to see in Legal Theory.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Same festivity, different year, different place

Seeing that it has been a long while since I properly celebrated Chinese New Year (the reunion dinners and the red packets included), I was more than prepared to spend the first day on campus to do my own thing. It was also advantageous that the Adelaide Fringe started on the same day, which meant that I could ditch my backpack in the locker and tour the Adelaide Night Market and Parade of Lights if I wanted to.

That certainly didn’t happen.

About a week before the actual event, my sister decided to step in because she didn’t want me to feel all alone and homesick during the festivity. (In all honesty, I’d have been okay either way. Unfortunately, Christmas might just be the time that I’ll feel all alone.) She arranged for the good friend to celebrate Chinese Year with me. Contrary to what you think, we didn’t have a big meal. We only had a simple dinner that consisted of πουργούρι and Japanese potato salad. Now, πουργούρι (romanized as pourgourri but pronounced as borgori) is a traditional Cypriot wheat made from durum wheat. Based on what I gathered from his explanation of the dish, it hinged towards fried rice - except that we use loads of soy sauce and they use Greek yoghurt. The potato salad was a recipe taught by an acquaintance in Petaling Jaya almost a decade ago.

First day of the Adelaide Fringe's Parade of Lights. The building in the background is the Art Gallery of South Australia

The Northern Lights at the South Australian Museum

Northern Lights - up close

M1 on North Terrace being illuminated

Elder Hall

Elder Hall

Oddly enough, the hours slipped through the crack of my fingers as we chatted about everything - ranging from uni-related matters all the way to our hopes for the future and relationships. You can probably imagine that it was an open-ended conversation in a half-private matter. The campus usually buzzes with life on a Friday evening, but because university hadn’t officially started, there were less students than normal. Kind of a slow pace, you could say, but it gave us just the right amount of privacy to speak. I guess the nature of our conversation allowed us to understand each other from a different perspective - something that may not occur in the ordinary circumstances, i.e. catching up after class or even a group hangout.

Soon after sunset, we figured that it would be better to breathe the fresh air and check out the architectural projections instead of gluing ourselves to the seats. There were so many people who turned up that it was easy to lose your companion - unless you have a way to contact them. Not to mention, it was tough to get a good angle for photography without a monopod/tripod and without accidentally capturing other people’s faces too. I figured that since I might have to stay back on campus until dusk after the semester started, it’d be easier to take the pictures there and then.

At the old location of the Royal Adelaide Hospital

As it approached towards 10pm when we arrived, the crowd dwindled. They either made their way to the Adelaide Night Market or onward to the Garden of Unearthly Delights

Live acoustics

It was also a surprise to have met his sister, their cousin, and their mutual friend too! I became an observer instead as small talk is not my forte and I couldn’t contribute to their conversation, which, I think, he felt it too. Yet we made our way closer towards East Terrace - and closer towards the location of the old Royal Adelaide Hospital. I kind of liked the atmosphere that greeted me: it was away from street party yet it had its own celebration. There were five sheds dedicated to food trucks, but since we went late, only two were open. There was access to food and drinks with good, relaxing music. Other diners were more than welcome to engage in their own conversation or listen to the acoustics. I don’t remember what time it was when we called it a night and went our separate ways, but we were yawning - one after another. A surefire sign that we were exhausted.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Slipping through my fingers, I must face the consequences

After all these years, I’m still amazed at how I’m capable to separate my emotions when I’m alone and around friends. Whenever I’m with people - regardless of whether they are friends or acquaintances, I’ve learnt to maintain a smiling face. It is when I’m alone that the true feelings emerge. I bang doors. I smash things. I curse at the walls like an unrefined lady. I prefer to feel anger even though it kills my cells. I don’t like to feel sadness because it makes me feel … off - like there’s no longer any hope for me. It sends me down the wrong path and forces me to relive the moments of shock and heartbreak.

I’m rather surprised that I’m not sad about my departure - when most of my friends are. Sure, there are resignations and regrets about my stay here, but that is part and parcel of studying abroad. There is always that slight edge that we international students lack. Although I’m looking forward to graduating in absentia, I am finding it hard to do so. The reason lies with those two chubby sweethearts. I have referred to them on the blog multiple times before but with a different term. I love them enough to actually consider staying back at a shot for a legal career (in fact, one of them has pleaded with me not to leave).

I can foresee the things that will happen if I choose to start afresh in a new environment with the chubby sweethearts. There will be the frequent hangouts or the dinners in a restaurant/cafe. There might be a small group travel to the mutual countries that we want to visit. (On that note, we are all holding passports of different countries. The visa exemptions that apply to one may not be extended for the other and vice versa.) There may even be a shared accommodation. I might be the one who ends up with the toughest task: researching the available properties for shortlisting. One - the planner - will be in charge of furniture shopping. One - the one with a creative eye - will be in charge of purchasing the decorative items. One - most likely be me - will be in charge of the kitchenware. When we finalize on a property (be it a house or a condo/apartment unit that we love), we may taken turns to cook and whip up our best dishes for the fellow housemates to sample.

With the way circumstances have shifted my emotions, I have no idea if I want to remain here. The last flight home made me question myself whether I’m able to be in a foreign country without family to fall back on. There is nothing like home. As they say, a home is where the heart is. A house is just a house if your heart isn’t in there. If your heart is in sync with the aura of the house, then it magically turns into a home. And there’s love. In a hypothetical situation, if I do find myself married to a local, the matters that I have to deal with will be more, ranging from the visa application to assimilating with the life and culture here. For me to remain here, my heart has to be here. As of now, I feel that it has taken its own leave of absence and went somewhere for a holiday.

There are a bunch of reasons why I desire to graduate in absence. It does not necessarily mean that I will skip the convocation. The right reasons have to justify me spending the extra money to be back for a short time. I just don’t see any reason how my folks would agree to it. I understand that most parents would give anything in the world to attend their children’s graduation because it is worth their financial sacrifices. For my case, I’m not comfortable with the idea of having my folks flying all the way here to watch me have my five minutes of fame onstage. Mama Carrie has already hinted at it. If the entire Carrie family were to attend the convocation in person, she will take pictures of me in the graduation gown on campus…

Sigh, we’ll see how it plans out in this final year. If God wants me to stay back for reasons that only He knows, then I guess I have no choice but to do so.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

(My) Tips on Surviving a Long-Haul Flight

Now that I’m fresh from the time spent abroad, I reckon that it’ll be best for me to kickstart 2018 with a proper post. And what better topic to write than tips on surviving a long haul flight. Trust me, travelling on a plane for almost eight hours is never fun, not when you’re in the economy class where your comfort is restricted. So restricted to the point that you have to make do with your sleeping position.

And off we go!

Tip #1: I know that the in-flight entertainment (IFE) is not something that passengers would like because of the close proximity to the face and the blinding brightness in the dimly lit cabin. But do take it for me. It is your saviour. My first trip abroad involved me sitting in economy class for 10 straight hours, which leaves me wondering how I’d survive if it hadn’t been for the IFE. This is one of the many reasons why I avoid flying on a budget airline, unless the flight’s short: say two or three hours the maximum.

Tip #2: You might also want to consider bringing an e-book or physical book, but remember that the latter will be handy during the take-off and landing. As for me, I don’t bring a physical copy of the book that I want to read. I find that it’s troublesome, especially if I’m already having the tablet and laptop with me. I prefer to save the weight for something too fragile for my checked luggage, i.e. glass.

Reading the electronic version of 'After You' by Jojo Moyes on the plane. It killed at least an hour off the plane ride. 
Kobo eReader is the one that I'm using, partly because it has the electronic versions of the books that I want to read.  As you can see from the picture, this is my dashboard on Kobo. It's a relatively new account, but I don't think I'll be purchasing any more e-books until my next flight adventure. (The beauty about Kobo is that you earn points, which can be then used for rewards redemption.)

Since I’ve just mentioned that I sometimes carry my laptop on-board with me, I’ll continue elaborating on this. There are two reasons why I do this: firstly, I don’t want to gamble with my chances by leaving it in the checked luggage. A wide array of consequences could occur. It might be stolen or damaged to the point where I’ve to change a new laptop instead. Secondly, I’m able to draft my emails and send off later when I land. On top of that, I can watch the videos and movies that my iPad cannot store.

Tip #3: I understand that it is a hassle when you pass through Customs because you have to declare it separately from your carry on. And if you’re flying internationally, you might have to do it twice. But having the laptop with you is convenient, especially when you want to kill time on something useful rather than watching the movies on the IFE. Just don’t forget to bring the AC power adapter with you onboard. There is a plug with enough current to maintain your laptop’s power life. If you’re taking the seats on either side of the plane and peek below you, you’ll notice that the plug is installed in between the aisle and window seats.

It is only when I’m going somewhere remote or on a long, long flight that I don’t bring the laptop with me. Unlike my Mom’s MacBook Air, my Sony Vaio doesn’t allow me to do much although I have the removable battery pack with me.

Tip #4: When I’m not travelling with a laptop, I’ve usually have one A5 notebook and my iPad. My iPad has the e-books and videos for at least ⅔ of the flight and is lighter. The A5 is just for me to scribble my notes or draw doodles out of boredom. I’ve drafted blog posts this way a couple of times before. Don’t forget to bring an extra pen or two. Not only are you able to use for your notebook, you’re able to fill in the incoming passenger card without needing to borrow one from the cabin crew.

Tip #5: While I’m on the subject of technology, bringing your USB cable that fits into your phone’s charging port is also good. It enables you to also kill time on your phone and charge it hours before your arrival so that you don’t arrive with a flat battery.

Tip #6: And sleep. God knows how important this is, especially when you’re on an overnight flight. As I’ve inferred earlier in the post, this is difficult when you want to recline your chair to the maximum but don’t want to make the person behind you exasperated at the lack of space. Trust me, most of my flights depart at night and I’m not one who easily sleeps during the flight- unless the seat is spacious enough.

If you read my previous post, you'll know that although the turbulence worsened the flight experience, it was the symptoms of jet lag that left me on a zombie mode.

Additional Tip: This one was recommended by Monica of The Yum List. If you are bringing electronic devices to keep yourself entertained, please don't forget a pair of headphones. I don't think your fellow passengers would want to disturbed by the music/sound from your device.

The same applies to children as well.

Hustle and hustle

Surprise, surprise.

Now that I have convinced my heart to follow my brain back here, I guess I can slowly pull myself back to focus on blogging. I’ve one scheduled post about long-haul flights, so keep an open eye for it. I’m not sure if I’m able to continue balancing the blog with my studies and the volunteering activities. The academic workload for my final year is pretty hectic. There’s a mock trial that is marked as an interim assessment. I won’t know how that is structured until the first lecture. There’s also another advocacy that I have to go through - and, unlike IHL, this one is part of the course.

Oh, my luck.

After spending almost two months away from Adelaide, I noticed that I’m forgetting certain places in my mind. Take my campus as an example. It’s relatively medium-sized, yet I found myself going in circles to find a particular building. It’s okay if I’m a freshman, but I’m now a final year student, for Pete’s sake. Final year students are expected to know their way around the area, especially me as some of the volunteering events deal with commencing students.

Oh well.

I just hope I don’t forget where I keep my things. That’d be a havoc for me and my parents because we’re at least 6k miles away from each other and I don’t want them to pace the floor in worry.

But yeah, I never knew that I have been experiencing the symptoms of jet lag for most of my flights back to Adelaide. I always thought that the heavy head and dizziness from the flights were a result of not having enough sleep on the eve of the departures. I guess it’s not just that. Caffeine or no caffeine, this always occurs. Alcohol or no alcohol, the first thing to greet me when I’m back is not my friends or the residence, but the symptoms instead.

The symptoms this time were pretty bad, to be honest. Although I had the heavy head with dizziness, my head furiously pounded to the point where I almost fell asleep in the shower. When I woke up, I didn’t have the appetite to take my lunch and went back to sleep. I drifted in and out of consciousness. I know that sentence sounds weird, but that’s the only way I can use as a description. I thought that if I woke up in time for dinner, I could pop around the grocery store to catch a quick meal. Nope, it didn’t work out as planned.

I would’ve also skipped dinner as well, but I knew that it wouldn’t be healthy to leave my stomach hungry for the rest of the night. Even though I wasn’t having much of an appetite, I needed something light and nutritious to fill the space. That way, I won’t collapse from hunger or land in the path of gastric. UberEATS to the rescue. I ordered a takeaway in the form of a salad bowl from Poke Bar and waited for the delivery. I noticed that the lethargy and the heavy, dizzy feeling dissipated afer I ate the meal, but the fatigue still remained.

I find this extremely odd. I drank alcohol and caffeine during the last trip and didn’t suffer much from the jet lag. Heavy and dizzy head, yes, but it improved after I had a nap. Not like this time. I stayed away from the alcohol and caffeine yet it worsened. I’m starting to wonder if it’s because my emotions got the best of me in the plane? If so, then I was more dehydrated than I thought because I didn’t drink much water on the aircraft.

The irony of all this is that I only recovered two days after my arrival. It was only then that I could run all of the errands.

The flight experience was a tad bit different this time for a couple of reasons, too.

I arrived at the airport much earlier to avoid the queue at the bag drop counter. I’m not going to reveal much about the process since you and I are rather familiar with it and I don’t want anyone to know where I went for the last seven weeks. Since I didn’t eat before leaving and had hours to kill, I decided to eat a late lunch at the airport.

As I had enough Enrich points for redemption, I decided to treat myself to a Golden Lounge voucher. I just wasn’t counting on the actual Golden Lounge to remain closed on the day of my flight departure, which led me to choose the one closest to my boarding gate (CIP Lounge). I wasn’t about to waste more time finding the one recommended by the staff in charge, albeit it was larger and had more facilities (including toilets and shower facilties).

Although the CIP Lounge didn’t have a lavatory, the place was alright. At least it had plugs for the passengers to charge their laptops and cellphones, if necessary. Towards the back of the lounge were catered food and desserts. Next to that was a refrigerator with all of the chilled drinks, save for alcohol. There were options for coffee, tea, orange/apple juices, or water.

I also flew alone this time around. It wasn’t by choice, let me tell you that. I’m not a fan of flying alone because I don’t like to sit next to strangers for night flights. You wouldn’t know what could happen to your carry on when you are in the toilet and most of the passengers have fallen asleep. I guess I was lucky in the sense that the seat next to me was vacant, which allayed my fears and proved advantageous. While other passengers had to sleep in their seat, I was able to curl up and rest.

In actual fact, I stretched my legs wide enough to prevent the blood clots but made sure that I spared the lady behind me from my smelly socks. It was in their position that I managed to catch forty winks - and found myself waking up as the cabin crew prepared to serve the light breakfast some fifteen minutes later. Don’t worry, it wasn’t the lights that woke me up.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

It's time to let go

Now that I’m hiding somewhere for my escape, I feel that I know what I want with a clearer mind. It is as if I know how to execute my plans without the slightest hesitation. Everything seems to fall into place now. My heart doesn’t yearn for much with the knowledge that my departure will be a matter of time.

Since nobody understands the rationale behind my decisions, I figured that it’s better to prepare for that day in advance. I’m drawing back, so as to let everyone around me get used to my absence. It forces me to be independent since the decision to study in Adelaide changed me in ways that I didn’t expect. I no longer look at people’s positive side. Rather, I assume that they are bad. I’ll let their actions disprove my presumption with supporting evidence. If my suspicions are proven accurate, at least the pain won’t be tough to swallow. You could say that it’s similar to the reverse onus of proof theory.

The whole idea about high distinctions and competitiveness has left me undone. I’m not the type who pays much attention to HDs because I know that it’s not achievable for me. I can’t subject myself to that kind of pressure as the greater the hope, the deeper the disappointment. But it leaves me in a sensitive manner. Whenever there is a talk about GPA, I will fade out and ignore the conversation. I was never competitive and I highly doubt that I’ll change.

We’ll see what happens in the next ten months or so, sigh.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

The Temperamental Highlights of 2017


After months of back and forth communication that spanned from our Administrative Law and Criminal Law days, we caught up briefly for a quick chat about the Family Law enrolment. Now that I think back, we were a tad bit anxious about this because our academic timetables couldn’t be finalised until this was dealt with. I was more than prepared to commit mental murder at the first degree with History as an alternative choice, but, lo and behold, I remained with Family Law. It was quite alright - I waddled through it at my own pace.


As we all know, mid February marks the start of the annual Adelaide Fringe. It also brought with it the hottest temperature I’ve experienced. For someone who’s accustomed to geat with humidity, it was torturous. Chinese New Year was not spent with a feast, but a tennis match between Federer and Nadal at the Australian Open. We also had the Orientation Week campus tour, which was different from what we atte


The first week marked the start of my penultimate year - and the anxiety that castes a shadow in my Criminal Law days returned to taint the rosy semester. I’ll be candour; I knew what I landed myself into when the academic timetable was released for both semesters. The idiot perfectionist wanted a challenge again… and I don’t thrive under stress, lol.

Seeing that it was a long while since the good friends caught up as a group, we agreed on a mutual timing for waffles. The unexpected variable was the weather. It showered on us and soured my mood. Rain/showers have a calming yet sad effect on me. The lack of radiance in my eyes would’ve been indicative of the change in emotions hence everyone’s hesitance on leaving. On the overall, it was a blessing to see those two angelic and cute faces.


I’ve noticed a trend, in which April is one of the haziest month each year. I can’t remember much that transpired yet there’s definitely more that occurred. Our mid semester break fell in the midst of the Easter Triduum, which was a blessing. At least there’s no requirement to attend replacement classes. There wasn’t any time to rest because of the interim assessments as well. As I would later find out, one of it landed me squarely in the path of winter germs.


The practice moot was bearable and my body language reflected it. The moment the list of mooters was released, I was relieved that I wasn’t going against anyone I knew. There were five of us and anything could’ve happened. My heart, however, raced a tad bit when I recognised the name. An experienced mooter. Seeing that it was an ungraded one, I refused to give much thought about it. I took the opportunity to have a crack at things and see how it flowed from there.

The first graded one left me hugging my knees close to my chest in exhaustion and biting back tears. I knew I messed up but focused on maintaining my composure. My breath caught in my throat when the opposition team consisted of someone whom I’m familiar by face. There was a faint glimmer of recognition when he saw me standing at the hallway in a formal attire and having a conversation with another student. It wasn’t until I asked him the million dollar question that he was sure that it was me. I don’t blame him; we worked on a tutorial question for another course before the advocacy, lol.

The second graded one was … weird in more ways than one. The nerves and fear of failure clouded my clarity until I didn’t realise I spoke the wrong thing in the morning tutorial. It felt like someone shone a torchlight at me when his head shot up from his laptop in my direction. I still cringe whenever I think of it although I’ll chalk it up to me being under the weather. For the oddest reason, the opposition team was the same one we had for the practice, which left the four of us groaning with a smile. I panicked on the behalf of the person against me because his voice betrayed his thoughts.

As if luck would have it, in the morning tutorial the following week, the tutor decided to throw shade at us as we approached the whiteboard to be the speaker and scribe respectively. It was then that I suspected she might’ve seen me approaching him after the previous week’s class. We exchanged an awkward smile before we got to work.


Family Law marked the end of the semester for me, which threw me into exam preparation and assignment mode. I guess the tutor realised that we'd be feeling the weight of the world on our shoulders for the exam and decided to organise a tour for us - hence the attached Instagram picture and its accompanying caption. It was an eye-opener to have watched the family law proceedings as a member of the public, but whether I'll be able to transfer what I witnessed into the essay component of the exam remained unknown.

The beauty about an assignment-based course is the amount of time to complete the final research essays. It also means that I’ve to be in research mode and milk the brain dry for suitable words. Anything but the pressure cooker of an exam, thank you.

The first thought that entered my brain when we arranged for the burger date was ‘oh, boy’. The good friends needed to sit for their papers earlier than mine - and I was absolutely not in the business of throwing their revisions off. In essence, we left the restaurant with an upbeat mood and something to take our minds off the exams. For them, it’s the ‘love letters’ - to quote my sister. Don’t get us wrong; I love these two intelligent and comical brats for the smile and laughter they bring, but only as a comrade and a sibling. In essence, I’m relieved that the handwritten letters lifted their frowns into grins.


I was definitely skewered for this round of exams. For the weirdest reason, my one and only exam was scheduled on the last day of the exam period. And as you may have guessed it, waiting for two weeks came with its positive and negative benefits. It was a blessing because there is more time to revise. It was a curse because I couldn’t properly plan my winter break. I watched with agony as the rest of my friends celebrated the end of their exams. It didn’t help my cause that my neighbors were night owls on the eve of my morning exam.

I fled for a winter getaway hours before the results were released. I didn't do great, but I did alright. I passed all of the papers, which is much more important than the GPA itself - although it’d have been nice to see a higher percentage, sigh. The beauty was that I returned in the second week of the semester - with little time to sleep off the exhaustion. I craved the extra time away to flush my mind of the stress acquired in the previous semester with four equally difficult courses. Why my heart desired a challenging period, only it knew - as there were profanities and cries behind closed doors.

Yes, you read that right. I cursed. And screamed until my throat ached.

It was a risk that I gambled with because I sacrificed a week’s worth of learning for the subjects. Luck was on my side because attendance was not taken and with a tad bit more effort, I caught up with the course contents.


I struggled throughout the entire month to cope with the massive stress from cramming two heavy courses and grocery shopping into one day. Although it was a relief to place the faces to the names that I saw on the attendance list for all of the courses, I was left groaning when history repeated itself.

Let’s just say that, in hindsight, I regretted taking Corporate Law on the same day as ADR. I mean, the stress may have been a killer, but it was the continous exposure in the crammed room that left me perspiring in anxiousness. I felt like I was being boxed in and couldn’t breathe. My hand shook once and I couldn’t focus on the whiteboard in front of me! You see, in most of my tutorials, I’ve always gone for the seats - usually the corner ones - that allow me to breathe. I’m not claustrophobic, but I am easily anxious when I am boxed into a small space. I got so angry with myself once over this that I almost lashed out at another friend when he tried to engage in a small talk with me. Neither was I excited when we had to do a group assignment for Corporate Law. It’s a consolation if it’s in lieu of a final exam, but it is what it is. I was thankfully in a team with familiar faces, which made our lives easier because we were familiar with each other’s work ethics. I was rather annoyed when unexpected things cropped up - and allow me to say that it involved blood, sweat, and tears. I honestly hadn’t expected things to roll this way and, as I’ve referenced in one of my posts, it might’ve been the work of a divine arrangement.

It took me until the end of August and one missed tutorial before I was able to properly manage my time and learn to breathe. I kept giving myself a pep talk that it was just the beginning. My workling life would be worse than this and it was better for an early exposure, rather than being thrown into it without any warning.


Seeing that I had purchased the birthday presents a couple of months in advance, I figured that it was better to pass it to the good friend earlier than on the actual day. At least I’m assured that I don’t have to wait until after the actual day - because that will ruin the surprise. As we both rushed on our respective assignments, we caught up for a while and promised that we’ll hang out at a later time.

Our team and I run amok when the tutor gently chided us that we barked up the wrong tree for our assignment. I honestly don’t know how we managed to do it, but we were able to come up with a backup plan in that two-hour period and nailed everything in the span of over the weekend. The arrangement left one of the mates with a heavier workload as it correlated with his original topic. Although he didn’t say anything about it, we saw the horror and resignation in his eyes. Me being me, I offered to help out on half of the assignment. I’ve no idea how my teammates coped, but I spent so many late nights refining my section that I had to peel myself away from it and take a breath.To cut a long story, I’m relieved that we survived the sudden dose of stress and lots of fine-tuning.

The remaining weeks of spring break weren’t smooth-sailing either. Since Corporate Law’s assignment was done and dusted, it was time for me to focus on the ones in ADR. A presentation and a final research essay. I’d like to think I was alright, but, in actual fact, it almost sent my anxiety level through the roof. I was so worried that I couldn’t do up to my standards and on time.


I almost lost my jaw when I read the course outlines and noticed that the rest of the assignments were due at around the same time. It was manageable with careful time management, but I wasn’t pleased either. I don’t like to hand up everything at the last minute. I like something that is transitional… like a build up to the final assignment. I don’t know what would’ve happened if the lecturer didn’t extend the deadline for one of the assignments, though.

The presentation that we had for ADR was alright. I can’t say that it was a success because we suffered a couple of minor hiccups along the way. We had our separate assignments to tackle concurrently, which actually divided my head into three different places. I felt that I let my team down in the way that I coordinated everything. I’m sure a better leader would’ve foreseen what was to come and prevented it before it occurred, but I guess it was what it was. For reasons that I won’t publicly reveal, I offered to swap with another teammate to play the role of a pregnant employee. Yes, you read that right. A pregnant employee. I didn’t sacrifice my reputation per se because I don’t know that many law students, which is a good thing in itself, plus it’s not very often that I’m able to delve into a little bit of acting. I know that something was wrong when I couldn’t address the audience until after the presentation was over. Seeing that the lecturer and audience didn’t dislike it, I guess it was alright in the end. I’m sure that with more practice and time, we’d have been able to refine our roles further and smoothen it to perfection. Maybe I’d have asked someone to record it without inciting the lecturer’s suspicion.

Time has flown faster than I expected, much to my benefit and fear. It meant that in three months or so, it’d be my final year and the prospect of entering the workplace wasn’t pleasing. But that is not to say that I want to be a student for life. It’s just impossible. There will be a day in time when I’ve to be financially independent and responsible. Things took a sharp turn towards the end of the semester, which caught me wondering whether I drove past the warning signs and crash-landed. I mean, I knew that the aura was different, but I chose to ignore it temporarily because I knew that I would not like the answer, should it be revealed.

Have I mentioned above that I had weird dreams about visiting someone in a clinic and furniture shopping? As I later learned, both carry its own meaning, but I didn’t spend the time recording the contents of the dream to interpret the subconscious messages that my brain wanted to send over.


I would still like to think that having a paper early in the examination period would allow me more time off, but as this semester has illustrated, it might not work in my favor all the time. The panic about the paper coupled with the inability to sleep the night before sent the stress straight into the deepest pit of my brain. I remembered that I groaned when I first looked at the exam schedule: the research essay was due first, followed by the submission of the take-home assignment, and the Corporate exam almost immediately.

No wonder my sister described the journey as the highway to hell.

To be honest, multitasking the exam revision with the take-home assignment should have been manageable, seeing that I had the experience in college. Yet, it wasn’t to be. I’d like to think that someone momentarily possessed my brain during the exam because I lost concentration, but it’s most likely due to negligence and exhaustion.

A sign that I’m slowly throwing in the towel? Maybe. Maybe not. I’m not even sure myself.

Since the coast was unofficially clear for me, I decided to hide myself in the residence and only emerge from my hiding hole for necessary matters, such as grocery shopping and the like. It was a much-needed respite for me because I needed to give the heart and brain a break. Catching up with the usual bunch would have been alright, but seeing that we each have our own things to deal with, I figured that it was better this way. It was better to leave everyone be and meet up when we were feeling more refreshed and relaxed.


Although the academic results were released a day or two earlier than the projected date, it took me a while to have a look at it. You could say that I wasn’t confident enough, but the truth is that I knew everything would be revealed once I participated in the exam viewing. I chickened out at the eleventh hour and relied on the grades released on the portal instead. There wasn’t any way for me to find out who the market was. But whoever the person was, s/he must’ve been kind enough to give that surprising grade. This was the subject that I feared the most, especially after the tiny mishaps.

On the other hand, I managed to publish the ebook after taking my own sweet time and multiple plot changes. The original plot focused on the campus grounds of Taylor’s Lakeside with four students - three domestic students, one international student on exchange. Each of them were confused little brats in their own right and struggled to overcome their individual hardships in the chaotic world of university. The refined version involved me skimming a lot from the original draft and focusing on a different plot, so there you go.

Saturday, December 30, 2017


I dreamt of a place that looked like a nearby pet cafe or a groomer’s, but there were lots of people and their dogs hanging out with their peers. I followed the sound of dogs happily barking and arrived at my final destination. There was a large area cordoned off to other humans to ensure that the dogs were allowed to play with each other in peace. Someone - a brunette who wore her hair in a ponytail - sat towards the corner and kept a watchful eye on them, ready to break up any fight that might ensue between the furkids. I observed as she returned her attention to my dog and gave him her love. My dog saw me standing there and refused to acknowledge me. I figured that it’ll be better if I leave him there since he loved the place too much.

In another scene, the three friends were together. It was getting late, so I went to grab something from the upstairs of my friend’s florist shop. I stumbled upon the crime scene of a gruesome murder. There were two bodies: one female and one male. The walls were stained with what looked like gushes of blood from stab wounds. I rushed down the stairs in a panicked mode and couldn’t quite explain what I saw to my friend.

That’s the problem of falling into a troubled sleep, I guess. I was only able to remember snippets of the dream, but it was enough for me to work with. My subconscious used the pet cafe to associate my desire to socialize with dogs and, hopefully, be comforted by their infectious friendliness. It knows that this is a foolproof method to make me happier than I currently am. Based on the online interpretation, the brunette in my dream is someone whom I highly respect and has the intuition and loyalty that I wish I have.

As for the crime scene, I’d say that something has murdered my emotions until I’m struggling to experience any positive feelings, i.e. happiness or joy. I hate the thing that has taken away my ability to experience life, hence the blood splatter.
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