Friday, June 27, 2014


Man, I wish someone would've warned me in advance of the immense exhaustion that would have spilled over after the graduation. In all retrospect, I'm more debilitated now than I was as a returning junior last semester and to think that I survived the senior semester without any health scare is a miracle, pure miracle. Sure, there are times when my mind wanted to rebel against my body to spend an entire night awake to complete my assignments without any rest.

Now that I think back, let's just say that my dear and good friend pleaded with me not to tread down that path, especially since the latter did exactly what he told me not to do, and it left him on sick leave for the entire week.

I can lean towards insanity when I want to achieve those grades, if you didn't know that already. I never actually had the taste of an all-nighter partly because Mama Carrie ensured that I remained sane since I already had the sour taste of sleep deprivation. And that one time when I decided to give the Guinness Stout a taste, I thought I could cover my tracks with ease by drinking the entire 1.5L bottle of 100 Plus until it was reflected on my face during class.

Crap, not that fake shade of blush on my cheeks?

So yeah, don't even consider the notion of sleeping at 4 am on a day when you've an assignment to hand in (mine was a debate that I couldn't afford to fail), my dear friends. Surprisingly, the score for that one wasn't that bad, but it certainly could've improved if I paid more time into my research, arguments and adequate rest.

I didn't know what I babbled towards the end and earned myself a slight fever, lol.

Now that I have more time on my hands, the only thing that I want to do is sleep and the longer the better, which is petrifying Mama Carrie because she'd rather see me having a normal sleeping pattern than the midnight-to-10-am habit. Or better yet, to prepare for the nerve-wrecking university applications. There's nothing much I can do about the latter; for that lovely refuge, I've already submitted all of the related documents to the universities and am waiting for Sydney's UNSW to revert with a decision. For the snowy shelter, the next round of applications will only be opened in August for the next intake as there'd be no way I'd be able to make it for the current intake. It's not to say that the admission officers considering the applications (mind you, they can't be blamed; they receive around thousands of applications from domestic or international students) will take their time; it's the student visa that eats the bulk of the time.

But yeah, like what they say, it's best to enjoy all of the free time that I now have before another stressful academic that will melt at least 3 years of my life.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Tuesday's Story #8

Author's Note: Please forgive me for the long hiatus from writing short stories. Life as a CPU Monster took me on new, unexplored paths. =D

One final chance, that's all it took for Bianca to decide. Irritate me, she thought, or ignore me again, and I'll make sure you'd understand that I am made of fire.
    That was what she imagined declaring to everyone and especially to those who treated her as an invisible ghost but as much as she wanted to, she was never able to summon the courage to do just that. In her deck of cards, she knew that it was a matter of time and emotions before she actually threw her final card into the fire. But opposite her was her friend, Casey, babbling about being given the silent treatment through no fault of his and it made him boiling mad that he wanted to screw his longtime friend.
    Noticing her blank expression, Casey folded his arms.
    "Did you catch what I was saying?" he asked.
    "Yes. It kind of stinks, don't you think?"
    "Hell yeah, especially when the person says that he or she doesn't have the slightest memory of you!"
    "Exactly, and there's nothing we can do about it. Don't talk about you; I'm in the same boat."
    "What's up?"
    "Being ignored by friends." She sighed. "I remember that as a young child, I used to be so sociable. I'd always approach strangers and introduce myself before gently nudging them to do the same and not long after, we'd be chasing each other in a game around, being happy and carefree."
    "I'm sorry to hear that, Bianca."
    She rested her chin on the table, obviously exhausted. "Don't be Casey. I've grown out of that period, although it took me a decade in Melbourne to bury the hatchet and move on from there. I personally don't give a crap anymore. Whether they choose to be a part of my circle or not, that's their problem, not mine."
    She hadn't planned on being straight with Casey but speaking to him about friends somehow allowed the space to.
    "If they want to maintain communication with me, fine, I'm glad but if they chose to do the opposite, be my guest. It's not like losing them will mean the end of the world. I can't allow their presence to bleed my emotions any longer." She straightened her spine. "I had this friend. Back in elementary school, we were pretty good friends. When he was involved with another male classmate over a fist fight that resulted in a chipped tooth, both swore me to secrecy, said that it was an accident that the form teacher should never hear of."
    "What happened?"
    "I kept to my word. Fast forward fifteen years, there was not a slightest memory of me in his eyes!"
    He shook his head. "Gee, that's mean of him."
    "What's left is mere disappointment." She heaved a breath. "And it'll be too late for apologies and forgiveness."

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Graduated Reflections

Now that I've graduated from CPU with an average grade (to me, it's something decent that could've shoved further but some of my friends would argue that it's already high enough), there is more time to pursue the things that I've left behind during the last stressful and intense year now. Creative writing is one of them but if the obligatory creative juices have not started flowing again, I'm practically in hibernation mode or lolling around the house like an Energizer bunny. The last part's a hyperbole; I don't have that much energy to burn daily.

But yeah, when it was my turn to receive the item from the principal onstage, I swear I felt butterflies churning in my stomach. I've no idea why; my hands trembled and my legs felt heavier than usual. It took all of my willpower to prevent the nerves from being demonstrated through my actions. The moment the invigilator, who happened to be the same person whom I'd always look for in the program office whenever I had inquiries, announced my name and my desired major at the shortlisted university, all of the nerves melted as I made my way to the other side of the stage, oblivious and ignorant of the crowd and claps above and below me.

It was pretty much the same coping mechanism I used for the English & Drama Festival last month.

Something stirred in me the moment "Friends Forever" was played at the candlelight tradition. The hall was illumined with the incandescent apricot-colored glow that radiated off the silhouettes. Being surrounded by it evoked a mixture of emotions: on one hand, I felt enveloped by the beauty but on the other, there was hesitance because I was departing a comfortable environment and the juniors whom I've come to love as friends.

When the gang of us caught up after the closure of the ceremony, we were discussing about it. Guang Wei and I had the same thought. It's like, [crap], why, of all the songs in town, this?! Ryan, on the other hand, shared that it was so touching that he wanted to break down. Since I am contemplating on attending the 65th Graduation Ceremony to see a couple of friends off, I am holding to the thought that another song would be played as I don't want anyone especially these two fellows to see me in tears.

Instead of lolling around the hall to take pictures with my lecturers, friends and peers alike, I returned the candles and robe before shooting upstairs to the gallery to collect the transcript and diploma. I was astonished that I wasn't nervous or worried about it when I initialed my name on the list and collected the sealed envelope from Mr. Banks. Sure, I was under pressure to obtain a high grade for each of the three subjects, but I was concluding that if I was holding the red card (which signified that the holder was an Ontario Merit Scholar with a final average of above 80%), it should be alright. Seeing that Ryan, Guang Wei and Husky were engaged in a private conversation, I leaned against the railing and cautiously opened the envelope, flipping through the pile of papers until I found what I was looking for.

The transcript.

Let's just say that we were all shocked beyond comprehension when we looked at the scores I've attained for English, Law and Media Arts. It's something good, don't worry, but none of us could've foreseen it. It's unfortunately with regrettable sadness that I fooled around with History hence the lower mark. It was such a pity that our nearby favorite hangout was closed or we could've celebrated the achievement to the maximum.

Mind you, a couple of us are below the legal drinking age.

Looking back at the experiences and skills I've garnered as a CPU Monster, it has sharpened the communication skills between people and instilled in me the importance of citation, especially in the APA and MLA format that I'll be exposed to again in university. But yeah, a metamorphosis occurred shortly before the beginning of second semester as a senior while I was happily exploring the CBD of WA. All that swam in my head on the flight home was the desire to boost the terribly weak average of a junior. If it meant sacrificing friendships and relationships to attain it, then so be it, but I must thank some friends for holding me back. One even patted my shoulder once, spoke that while she fathomed my need to succeed, she advised that I shouldn't allow my health to decline like our mutual acquaintance (or more like classmates).

Only God knows what would've happened if I don't have them as my loving and cherished friends.

While I ensured that history did not repeat itself, the same can't be said of my behavior and social interactions. Although I spoke more this semester, I'd still run off to one of my serene favorite haunts and gather my thoughts or to reflect on, well, random craps whenever the urgency arose. I'll willingly admit that I carried half the characteristics of an anti-social and aloof student. Not only that; I was sometimes found walking down the hallway in between classes with a stern expression. It's not the same as Ammar carries, but mine was more of a blend of exasperation, uneasiness and sadness rolled into one homogenous impression.

I never knew it, but I later learned that the reason why Kyle and Kevin would always be slightly overboard with their actions is because they couldn't bear to see me frowning in tension every time they saw me.

Eight weeks is the timeframe I have given myself to allow the weakened soul to recuperate from such a draining semester and to catch up on anything that I want to. Succeeding it is the applications to the shortlisted universities with the amassed related, required documents to be sent off together while securing a little, decent job for the lass to blow the time away.

I'm still waiting for the collage of photos to be posted online by CPU hence the lack of photos. The ones I have are all with my lecturers and friends, unfortunately. O.o

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

CPU Prom Night '14, Empire Hotel, Subang Jaya

Not only was I repeatedly rubbing my eyes and sneezing on Thursday morning, I felt the side effects of the sleep deprivation peaking once more. Even Mama Carrie was surprised and thought that either I slept late or pulled an all-nighter; none of it was true since I had 9 straight hours of perfect rest.

It frightened me when my allergy attack refused to subside by that afternoon. Remembering my previous bouts, I locked myself in the stuffy room without any air conditioner or fan switched on while I sipped a warm mixture of saffron and chrysanthemum tea to force the fever and nasal congestion to break. Seeing that the event coincided with my intention to have my hair shortened, Mama Carrie dragged me to the hairdresser in this dire state to have the hair length trimmed. I rebelled; I asked for it to be shortened instead. Even before she laid the final cut, my subconscious was aware that I could easily slip into the hotel ballroom without the slightest recognition if I wanted to.

But yeah, thank God my situation recovered overnight although I panicked slightly when I began to sneeze again after breakfast. It was nothing bad; just me adjusting to the unusual amount of dust being collecting in a burning weather.

Come to think of it, I shouldn't have told Mama Carrie to drop me off at Empire Hotel an hour earlier had I known that I'd be like a wanderer, especially since it's really close to my residence. Not within walking distance, but certainly within the suburb. Although it was casually mentioned that the doors would be opened at 6.30pm, it wasn't until 7pm that more people arrived, socializing and exchanging pictures with their peers and, for those who were lucky, their lecturers.

To safeguard and protect the identity of myself and that of my friends, I will not post our pictures up. However, if you're friends with me on Facebook or following me on Instagram, I can bet a dollar that you've already seen those photographs of us all dolled up in our dresses and tuxedos.

As expected, half of my friends who turned up for prom night were surprised to see me because they have never seen me in smart formal (last semester's cross dressing attire as a MAS flight stewardess and my attire as the Crown attorney for "Injustice Served" are not counted) around campus, especially in a figure-hugging gold dress and a pair of pearl earrings. I didn't care much about adorning myself with elegance and opted for an au naturel look instead.

It wasn't until 7.30pm that those present were allowed into the ballroom to choose their seats and continue the mingling. A fellow acquaintance, a fellow journalist in Student Voice whom I ran into near the elevators, was wondering about the lengthy delay but me being me, I understood that there had to be unforeseen circumstances for the entire event to begin at a later timing. Shortly before he arrived, I spoke to someone (a former History classmate of mine) behind the planning team in regards to this. He said that it's not just the well-known MYT that's a hindrance.

Poor Chester and William. They looked ravished by the time we entered the ballroom.

When we were given the cue to head to the dining area, the hunger that William and Husky were suffering from pushed them to rush forward. The table that we chose allowed all of us to reach the queue the earliest but before I was even aware of it, Ammar was behind me and he wasn't seated at the same table as us. Knowing Husky and his voracious appetite, he must have rushed from campus after his final paper and did not have time to catch a quick bite before prom.

Something almost happened when I headed out the second time to catch a plate of mixed sliced fruits. I overheard Kyle repeatedly muttering under his breath that he should've worn a tie as he felt "naked without it". I honestly complimented him that he looked fine with or without the minor addition, but he misinterpreted it and pulled my leg with a "Just fine?" answer. When I heard that, I spun around and walked towards him with a squint, almost confronting him without realizing that our Writer's Craft lecturer was watching our interaction with a smirk. (I'm sorry, Ms. Minor, that's how Kyle and I socialize with each other, unfortunately.)

In class, we barely communicate with each other but out of class and during the rare times that we ran into each other, we really behave like disgruntled siblings, haha.

The dinner was alright; I somehow knew what dishes to choose from because while we were eating, another friend whined that the lemon fish was overcooked and tasted rubbery and the pasta I chose was undercooked. I saw it coming, to say the least because Mama Carrie already warned me that the kitchen staffs will be doing the cooking in bulk and in a rush, leading to certain dishes not properly braised.

Another round of singing presentations by LIVE Club succeeded the dinner. Once the emcees ensured that all the attendees were seated, they introduced the performance by Fausty, Su Ann and another lass singing their rendition of "Moves like Jagger" with Joseph on the guitar.

If there was something I've noticed here, it was the sudden plummeting of confidence. Fausty and Su Ann were singing perfectly until "the lass" roared the notes.

The three of us saw the fear in their faces even in the darkness when this happened.

The rendition of an old classic by Charlene and Lakshmi was beyond amazing. I can only presume that it's a classic because I've not heard of it (of the melody) before. The opposite table gave a standing ovation when they were finished.

Wenmay's dance performance was a stunner. No one around me was aware of this, but I felt something stirred in me at her rumba. I can't explain why; maybe I was able to relate to the song, the storyline, a past experience or what, I have no idea. It reminded me of something, that I am truly certain. I wanted to turn away, to avoid the emotions that I faced, but I willed myself to enjoy the dance and the aura it radiated.... like a young star-struck couple in love battling one obstacle after another through their undying love and eventually returning to each other's embrace.

I know I am missing out a couple of details, but that's as far as I can remember.

Although prom night ended at around 11pm, I left earlier because I had an early morning ahead of me and it was rather unsafe for me to be heading home alone either. In addition to the transport issue, there was an underlying reason for my quick departure.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Exhaustion coats the weakened soul

I am lying on the mattress, feeling exhausted and relieved that I'm done with the papers. I can feel a heavy burden being lifted off my shoulders. I know that I gave it my all and want to think that it's enough, but there's a part of me that rationalizes that I could've done more, especially with the essay sections for the English and Law papers. Don't be surprised; essays and case analysis in Law aren't uncommon either.

Okay, so let me relate more about English first.

Adrian and I made a pact that we'd tackle this within the hour because although there were only 3 parts in the exam, it was by no means a piece of cake. I don't know about him, but it took me an extra half an hour to complete this section. Ugh, reviewing it at the eleventh hour for communication errors revealed that there were loads of gaping holes that threatened to lower my scores. I used repetitious words and shaky arguments in the essay in an attempt to beat the clock.

Some of you may not agree with me, but I've always believed, after being done with the History paper last semester, that it's always for the best to attempt to finish all of the stated questions.

What about Law?

Well, I can summarize it in a couple of sentences: although I revised on the important concepts and drilled into my head the nights before, penning the essay for the second time led me on a divergent course to the point where I was scribbling my answers, ignoring the pain that the wrist produced, on the exam booklet provided. In the end, I exited the examination hall, feeling worst than when I entered and blurred to the core.

The events that are usually the result of me being blurry have shocked Guang Wei when I shared with him the consequences of sleep deprivation (in an attempt to nudge him to an earlier rest). Let's see; I've left my cell phone once in the English class and sought permission from Mr. Andrew (whose Chemistry class succeeded ours) to retrieve it. I almost repeated the same mistake in Media Arts when I departed for home. In addition, I left the English folder in Student Lounge and completely forgot about it until 3 hours later, making me pace the floor in terrible panic as I harassed some folks. And today, I had the nerve to leave without my polka dot cardigan. Thinking back, I feel bad for having disturbed three people to keep an eye on it.

On the bright side, Friday will be a special day.
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