Tuesday, December 27, 2016


Her lips curled into a grin when she stopped him leaning against the wall and patiently waiting for him. She shot a smile and a wave at him before making her way over. Without giving much thought, she squeezed him into an embrace.

His eyes widened with a bittersweet surprise. Although he was stunned, he was exuberant that she treated him as a friend enough to want to hug him when they caught up.

“I’m sorry,” she sheepishly apologised. “It's a habit acquired after my sojourn abroad. I hope I didn't take you aback.”

While they waited for their orders in a quiet cafe off-campus, she slid a package towards him. It contained his birthday present and souvenir in addition to a birthday letter. A glow shone on his face when he stole a glance at the contents of the paper bag. There were two individually wrapped items, which meant that she wanted to retain his suspense of receiving a secret gift. When she wrote that she desired to pass the birthday gifts, he never thought she’d keep to her words.

He was, however, more interested with the sealed envelope.

She nodded, reading his mind. “Feel free to open it, if you want.”

Her face flushed as red as a cherry tomato the moment he tore open the envelope and read the contents of the birthday card. Her internal temperature significantly rose, making her warmer and colouring her ears with a rosy hue. If she hadn’t known better, she’d have thought that she was running a temperature.

But she wasn’t.

There was nothing incriminating in the message or choice of gifts, so why was she fidgety and blushing brighter than the stars?

“Thanks for it, my friend!” His words penetrated her thoughts. “I really love it!”

“That's awesome!” She heaved a breath. “I was petrified that you wouldn't like it.”

“Not to worry! I trust your choice.”

Hours later, when they rose to their full height, he acknowledged his appreciation and thanks with a bear hug. He grabbed her with such intensity that her blood flow was constructed and strangling her.

“I’m … choking.” She croaked like a frog.

“Sorry!” Awkwardness twirled in his eyes as he released her. “I didn't mean to do so.”

“It's alright. I’d have preferred an advance warning.” She straightened her shirt. “I’ve to head off, so I’ll catch up with you later on Facebook?”

“Sure thing!”

He watched as she scurried off, mentally cursing himself for such a move.

Monday, December 26, 2016

The Sneaky, Slithery Trip

Hello, dear readers!

It's been a while since my flight back. Although I've revealed the intention of a vacation in advance, I didn't let the cat out of the bag about the destination until the eleventh hour. So yeah, I flew out to Kuala Lumpur - unwillingly, if I may add - for a couple of weeks to run banking errands and clear the mental exhaustion.

Only a handful of friends in both areas knew about my impending trip. The rest weren't aware of it until I returned to Adelaide. I know I sound sneaky, but I didn't have the extra time to catch up with them over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine.

Even the ones who knew couldn't meet me in person either.

I wouldn't dare to admit that the flight experience from Adelaide to Kuala Lumpur was an awesome one. Those who are frequent flyers of the international routes would've experienced this: a morning flight would require you to arrive at the airport hours in advance to avoid the peak hour traffic - on the road and at the check-in counters itself. I almost missed my flight last November because both the boarding and Customs took ages, sigh. I'd rather resemble a panda from night flights than to struggle for morning flights and run the risk of being late for the flight.

That, as I recently learnt, has its own issues too. I'll elaborate on that later.

As my cabin luggage was over the limit, extra time was spent repacking - and history almost repeated itself, sigh. At the back of my mind, I knew that the gate for bag drop will close an hour before the flight's departure to allow the airport employees to bring/drive the checked-in luggages over and load it into the plane. It wasn't until the on-ground airport employee - a fellow Malaysian - assured me that  the plane will only depart after all checked-in passengers are accounted for that I allowed myself to relax. The reason why there was a large, unexpected crowd stemmed from a large chunk of passengers who bought their tickets at the eleventh hour.

Not to mention, some of them are transiting at KLIA before boarding another flight to their final destination.

I wasn't looking forward to being home unlike last November. It was if my psyche was stuck on Adelaidean soil when the plane left the tarmac. I immediately knew, with a sigh, that it was my brain protesting against the heart's desire to absorb the bright sun and nourishing humidity in KL. With the brain and heart in different places, it was obvious that I blew almost RM 2,400 (about AUD$800 +/-) on the flight ticket for nothing.

But hey, at least we satiated the cravings for Malaysian dishes and caught up with a couple of old friends. If only someone informed me that there would be more rain than sunshine, I wouldn't have packed so much clothing home. You see, I was under the mistaken belief that I’d be soiled with sweat. I’m not looking forward to the last two years of studies because it’ll be chaotic and hectic. Most of the courses are intensive or heavy-weighted. I better issue an advance warning to my parents to zone me out when I’m venting through WhatsApp and Skype.

If I thought that the flight to KL wasn't pleasing, my return flight to Adelaide was twice as bad. The check-in process at KLIA was alright - although no one told me beforehand that all passengers are to drop off their luggage in the same area. It should’ve been dedicated counters for the various flights like in the past. Thank God one of the passengers mentioned that everyone is in the same queue for the bag drop.

Not all of them are Adelaide-bound... some are heading to Melbourne, Saigon, Incheon and Bangkok among other places

Methinks the change must’ve been the result of cost-saving tactics. MAS, oh, MAS, you could’ve posted about it on your website or have a notice at the kiosk/queue itself…

Now here's the matter that I insinuated a little earlier in the post. Although the plane landed a little earlier than scheduled, 1/3 of the passengers were forced to wait for nearly an hour at the baggage carousel. When we reconvened there after clearing Customs, only a handful of luggages were there to greet us and it moved at a tortoise's pace - to the point where it was suspicious. I'm not expecting it to be out of the plane at a rabbit's speed because it's done manually, but an explanation at this time would've been helpful.

It wasn't this long last December. 30 minutes was all it took for me to grab my luggage and enter the arrival hall - despite the fact that the bag drop at KLIA was at least 2 1/2 hours earlier. *inserts sighing emoji*

Was it the replacement public holiday in Malaysia that brought the crowd to Adelaide?

Enough of me speaking. I’ll let the pictures take over now.

Dosa - a type of pancake-crepe that can also be eaten for dinner. From what I can remember, the batter is made from fermented rice.

The must try drink if/when you visit Malaysia: teh tarik (pulled tea). From what I can remember, it's actually milk tea that is pulled from one cup to another for two reasons: one, to froth the drink (hence the bubbles at the top) and two, to cool the tea to an acceptable drinking temperature.

Steamed crab in Pandamaran, Port Klang

Bak Kut Teh (Pork Rib Soup in English). I've heard that its origins are from Klang, but this dish is available nationwide now.

Need I say more? =P Another national dish (satay) that you need to sample if/when you're in the country.

Bak chang (rice dumplings)

I've more photographs of the food we've sampled in Malaysia, but I didn't want to upload all of them at one go because I'm not in the mood to tempt ya'll with the delectable dishes.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016


The rug was snatched beneath her just as and when she thought that she had control over things - emotionally, physically, and academically. It was on the second day before her final and toughest exam that this ensued. Papers were scattered around her on the floor in the living room. Folders containing the combination of her notes and that of her senior’s left open. It didn't help that the pounding in her head worsened with each flip of the textbook page.

She chose to ignore her ringing iPhone with abandon, but when it screamed with ear-splitting volume, she muddled through the revision mess and answered it.


“Hey!” The voice replied. “Did I disturb you?”

“No, not exactly. What’s up?”

“I was wondering whether you’d be game for a hike tomorrow.”

It was a split second decision for her. “Of course!”


As she watched him working his way up the rocky path, she recollected that his personality contradicted her first impression of him and what other students commented about him. She was led to assume that he was a nerd who prioritised studies and work above anything else, not someone who adores nature as much as she does and loves trekking hills. Her past thoughts about him diminished like a disappearing car underwater and replaced by a positive one: helpful, outgoing, comical, kind, and knows when to have fun. Now that she thought of it, her coursemate warned her that there was a possibility of him being smitten with her like a lovesick puppy. She shrugged it off back then, not believing that it was possible as they were associates, not friends who’ve known each other for months.

“It could happen. I don't want to frighten you, but I also want you to be cautiously aware,” was her friend’s justification.

It was crystal clear that things had changed between them. No longer were they acquaintances, but it blossomed into a stable friendship and they were comfortable hanging out with each other to the point where they had each other’s cell numbers and email addresses. There was an awkward silent in which he gazed at her, waiting for something from her a couple of steps away.

“I’m sorry, but did you say something?”

“I said, are you feeling alright? You’ve fallen reticent.” And you look upset too, he wanted to include.

“I’m all good. Just the irrational exam anxiety,” she lied,

“That was the whole purpose of this trip, my friend. It was to take your mind off the papers. I don't want you to think about your revision. Plus, you’ll be alright. I’ve faith in you.”

“Thanks… I guess.”

“In that case, do you think you’ll be up for more scaling on this mountainous path?”

“Definitely! You thought that I’m exhausted by that?!” She thumbed towards the terrain behind her, shaking her head. “No way!”


He ensured that she was in the same foot rhythm as him before he led the way up the hill.

Refreshing themselves with a glass of club soda each, they were leaning against the balcony railing and admiring the breathtaking scenery of them. The silhouette of the hills kissed each other and formed a natural curve that was contrasted by the different shades of green. The sun poured its radiance on the wooden porch and threatened to bake them with the hue of chocolate chip cookies.

“Tell me something.” He shattered the comfortable silence. “Have you decided on next year’s courses?”

“Not exactly.” She sighed. “I’m still in the process of choosing mine. I’m assuming that you’ve yours all confirmed?”


“That’s good.”

“Want to share?”

He sipped his drink. “Core courses for the first semester and a mixture of electives for the second.”

“You’re bringing forward the core subject from your final year?! Wouldn't that be torturous?”

“I want to complete the core ones as soon as I can and combine the electives with the training. I’m done with everything six months earlier, which leaves me with some time to relax and smell the roses. It’ll be torturous, but I’ll make it.”

“I would’ve done so myself too, but I’ve not completed one of the prerequisite subjects.”

“You could ask for a waiver?”

“Nah, it’s alright.” She drained the remainder of her soda. “I highly doubt the course coordinator would approve the request. You're lucky because you're a postgrad, so they are more likely to let you do the prerequisite subjects in the next semester.”


Her eyes shot open when the loud, obstreperous music permeated the air in her apartment. She barged out of bed when the digital clock read two-thirty on a Monday morning. The nocturnal bat of her neighbor was in his neurotic mode and breaching the house rules and the standard test of reasonableness. Had it been the holidays or the usual Friday's, she could care less. She understood that he loved music - maybe obsessively, judging from his tastes, in her opinion - and longed for some relaxation after a stressful day in the office, but with an exam in at least eleven hours time, she had to resolve it or she wouldn't have adequate rest for the afternoon. With that on her psyche, she threw on a cardigan and rushed down to lecture the person a thing or two about mutual respect and consideration.

“Are you out of your mind?! I’ve an exam tomorrow and would appreciate being left alone to rest in peace!” It wasn't her best choice of words, but she wasn't thinking straight in her annoyance and she had to shout over the music. “If I fail because of sleep deprivation, would you pay for me to retake the entire course?”

Her anger enveloped him with its rage that it shocked him into silence.

“Because if you’re not,” she continued, “please switch off the music or at least tone down to a more appropriate level. I’m not interested in screwing up tomorrow and I can't afford it either.” She inhaled with a deep breath before she broke into a small smile. “Thank you for your understanding and have a good night.”

Without waiting for his reply, she sprinted back to her unit to, hopefully, squeeze enough sleep to hammer the paper blue. It didn’t bother her if her tirade led her neighbor to assume that she was mentally deranged because she would be if he continued with his entertainment.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016


Start afresh?

The sound of Winnie’s heart cracking intensified when the reminiscence of her heartbreak permeated the air. A part of her hated him with a vengeance for the way he made her feel. The other part of her realised that his presence and exit were a blessing in disguise. It taught her valuable lessons in life. Life was more complex than what she comprehended and finding genuine people was harder than a needle in the haystack. The sight of personalised nicknames for each other would send her emotions on a train of tears. It is for this reason that she avoided their favourite haunts. She wasn’t prepared to fight the emotional demons.

As the pilot’s voice reverberated through the cockpit, welcoming all of the passengers to Perth, her lips curled into a small smile. Her heart expanded with exuberance to be in the loving arms of this place, a place where she could begin the journey of healing. While it was crystal clear that evading the demons was not the perfect solution, watching the blossoming sparks of fire between the two good friends was reminiscent of what she lost. It threatened to break her resolve and plunge her into the dark, depressive days. Had she told them the real reason behind her departure, they would suppress their feelings for each other to respect her thoughts. It would be unreasonable for her to prevent them from seeking happiness in each other. It was not her wish to see them in a state of misery therefore it was in their best interests that she transferred her degree interstate - even if it meant bidding them adieu.

Katrina was in the kitchen, whipping herself some pancakes when her Messenger rang with a notification. It was Brendan, whose panicked voice reverberated through the message when he asked if Winnie had been in touch with her. His messages went unanswered and it wasn’t like her to ignore messages for days. Although Katrina wasn’t suspicious because Winnie had the tendency to isolate herself when she needed space, she was egged on to check up on her by Brendan’s worry. It didn’t take her long to realise that there was more to Winnie’s absence than meets the eye. It was more than a fortnight since their last contact with Winnie, which drove her to file a missing person’s report… until she found something on her Facebook.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Thoughts running through my head

The title post is from the song "Angels" by Robbie Williams.

Hello there, my readers!

I'm upset and annoyed for not fulfilling the personal goal of attaining a distinction for one of my electives. I know I’ve done my best and relieved that it’s a credit. It’s an assignment-based elective, so had I failed it, I might have to retake the course, which will definitely be the death of me in Sem 2, 2017. For some, a bare credit would have been a relief. Not me; I’m disappointed in myself that I scrapped a bare credit. Has my knowledge dipped in that course to the point where that's my best? Or did I suffer from the serious case of mismanagement of time and a stress overload in silence?

Before I lose the fervour for the degree, it's about time that I set a realistic ambition for my grades. Don't get me wrong. I was never this obsessed. Sure, I was ambitious but not to this stage until college time. People have always said that you need to enjoy your college experience because you only live through it once. That’s true, and that made CPU more memorable in my heart. The truth is I don't think my university experience can be compared to my college one - not by a million miles.

Due to unknown reasons, I can't seem to achieve most of the goals. The catalyst could be anything from the environment, mental exhaustion to the continuous pressure on myself. Not to mention, I can be hard on myself. A little too hard, you could say. I’ve shed tears over a History presentation and lied upfront to a mate that I was alright. I’ve experienced incidents where my eyes would burn after I’ve received a lower result. It’s like you’ve given your all but nothing's going in the right direction. The disappointment can be a hard thing to swallow like a bitter cough syrup. Being hard on myself definitely brings out the worse in me. It causes emotional outbursts that could lead to either damaged doors or a basket load of tissue papers. I’ve never allowed anyone - not even close friends - to see me in tears because what's the point?

Oh gosh, am I back to those days when I used to have late-night snacks?

I need the occasional timeout where I’m left alone to my devices, away from humans and emotions, to recover and realign my thinking. I need the healthy balance between me, studies, blogging, and volunteering duties. One wrong move, and it’s a nervous breakdown I’ll have to deal with instead. It’ll derail everything that I longed and dreamt for. Maybe I hadn't thrown myself into studies in the same manner as CPU, which may explain why I’m frazzled. You see, academic stress has messed with my psyche until I’m contented on spending time indoors alone rather than breathing the fresh air outdoors. The rational side, however, is fully conscious that humans need the occasional interaction with homo sapiens. That's the main reason why I actually force myself to socialise and hang out with friends periodically. The friendships will slip through the cracks if we don't make an effort to maintain it.

Friends. Isn't everyone swearing on their lives that they’ll be there as a friend for better or for worse? Then, why can’t I shake the fear that I’ll be taken advantage of and manipulated like a ragdoll by people close to me? It's happened before, so how can I be sure that it won’t occur unless I adopt a mafia stance? I mean, we are all competitors for the coveted spot. It's easy for anyone including myself to say that they are a friend unless their actions can prove themselves. While I’m willing to be of help, it’s not at the expense of me being the ladder. Put it this way, I’m there when I’m needed, but when it is my turn, most, if not all, flee the scene like wanted criminals.

What's worse, folks have said that I’m overthinking or imagining things. It's not the best thing to say to a person who merely needs a pair of non-judgmental ears to ensure that she's not sliding down the wrong track.

My brain must've suffered a bout of mental harm after all those intense studying with no break in between.

What's frightening me is the possibility that I might be unable to empathise with people. I can make the appropriate noises and facial expressions for sad or joyous news but chances are I’m not feeling the vibe. You can blabber away about something awful or exuberant and I’ll be looking at you like, and your point being? Don't feel bad when I do that. It's not your fault, it's mine. I can handle it if the cause is from stress, not depression or anxiety. A lot has been going on and I’m a worrisome person by nature. I know what you're thinking. I should see a psychiatrist and change my cognitive approach. Easier said than done. While I’ve no fear of them, I already know what their advice would be: you're stressed.

Time to prioritise - and, pelicans, you're right: I need to start taking better care of myself. On that grounds, I'll be taking temporary leave from the blogosphere. I'm heading somewhere (abroad, that is) to clear the congested mind and, hopefully, regain the mojo that I've lost.

Flight's tomorrow morning and I really should be packing now...

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


Her reflection in the mirror glued her to the ground that she stood in horror.

Her eyes lacked exuberance. It resembled someone who didn't have anything in life to live for. Her skin was wrinkled and not supple. Her hair was coarse, stringy and devoid of any life. Fighting a battle she would never win drained her positivity and emotions and left her feeling helpless. Her tortured soul dragged her underwater and she didn’t know how long she could fight the currents. She needed help - and fast - but didn’t know where or who to turn to.

“There’s one,” a little voice reminded her. “Think harder.”


The only trustworthy friend who would bury her secrets with him.

She shoved at her hair, unsure if she desired to expose her weaker side to him. It would require him to make sacrifices that she didn’t want him to. The poor chap had issues of his own to resolve, which came at the price of studying abroad, and she, being of the reasonable mind, refused to increase the burden on his shoulders. He had a bright future ahead of him: excellent grades, a scholarship, a promising career in the field of science or medicine, and an internship in the works. It was not worth the risk for him.

“No. I’m not letting my dilemma or difficulties stand in his way of attaining success. He’s come too far to risk anything.”

Thrown deep into the ocean and not in control of her mind, she spied the prescription container of sleeping pills and emptied its contents onto her palm. Although her line of studies warned her of the dangerous consequences of disobeying her doctor’s instructions, she could no longer summon the energy to fight the demons as her body grew weary. She reached out to the nearest bottle - a Cabernet Sauvignon - and drained it.

Screams reverberated in the air when her trustworthy friend discovered her slumped on the floor with a head injury. A barren bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon stood on the wooden coffee table and there was a blood stain at the end of her dining table, which led him to assume that she whacked her head on it as she lost consciousness and collapsed. He paled as he dialled for emergency on his iPhone and prayed for her survival while waiting for assistance.

“No,” he howled with panic and cradled her in his arms. “Don’t you dare leave me without a proper adieu!”

She heard his pleas from a distance and couldn’t respond to him. She felt that she was as light as a feather and floating, ridden of the earthy worries, as a greater, peaceful force lugged her soul towards the white light.

He gingerly entered the ward for the fear of disturbing her rest and slid her hands into his while he absorbed the silence that grew between them, but save for the soft beeping of the breathing machine next to her. He stared at her limp body with tears that watered a thousand sunflowers. If only he was aware about her emotional pain, he would’ve ensured in his capacity that she wouldn’t be suffering alone.

“She suffered from an overdose,” the attending physician had mentioned to him. “We’ve pumped the contents from her stomach, so she’ll survive and make a full recovery soon.”

He remembered that her face was drawn with a genuine, bright smile in his presence and although he detected the faint trace of exhaustion in her eyes, it never dawned on him to inquire or grill her about it. He respected her enough to understand that she would spill the beans if it was important. Knowing her, he chalked it to her academic stress and ambitious goals, but now blamed himself for not pressing further. He should’ve pressed her further until she caved under the pressure.

At least she wouldn't be in the fragile state that she is in now.

At least she wouldn't have taken such a drastic action.

“Why did you choose to endure on your own? I promised that I’ll be there for you no matter what and will keep true to my words. You could’ve shared your pain and sorrows with me, it's fine. I wouldn't have let you suffered in silence.”

Sunday, November 27, 2016


I dreamt that I wanted to buy a birthday cake for my boyfriend. I eventually decided that it was best to patronise the one owned by his sister - because a sibling will know more than a boyfriend or girlfriend. Officers who resembled like the ones from city council entered. I’m not sure what ensued, but I had to call the boyfriend himself and ask the officer to speak to him when they refused to elaborate on their visit.

The boyfriend’s sister was petrified and wanted to go home, leaving her supervisor to run the show for the rest of the day. Worried for her safety, I said I’ll send her home. At least nothing untoward will happen en-route.

She paled, whinging that she was having blurred vision. I knew that it was a sign of low blood sugar and made our way to the convenience store. On duty was my college friend - let's call him E - who looked as surprised to see me as I was to him. While she replenished her bodily fuel with a bowl of noodles and yoghurt, E and I engaged in small talk while he rang my purchases up. E continued to elaborate that he’s still in a stable relationship with his girlfriend, which was a good thing to hear.

When the entrance bell chimed, we both looked to see the same city officer walking in. I rolled my eyes at the unwanted coincidence.

In the next scene, I was attending an international law tutorial. The tutor was grilling us to help with our understanding of the concepts. Opinio juris and jus bello echoed around the room. The next thing I know, I was checking Snapchat and saw someone's name. The very person who, I reckon, would rather have nothing to do with me in reality now.

My interpretation goes along the lines of my desire to sink my face in a slice of Chicago Cheesecake and a venti-sized Cocoa Cappuccino or Green Tea Latte (which will send me straight to the toilet with the diarrhoea due to the amount of milk). Now, I can’t quite fathom why my college friend, E - my classmate in Writer’s Craft - would appear in my dream. I mean, it's not like we’ve in touch all these while. He knows the person in the Snapchat scene; we’re all classmates for the same subject.

As for the tutorial, it's lucid that I miss the three lecturers as they made it entertaining and interesting for the students. It's safe to assume that I want to turn back time and excel in that course. A credit was comforting, but it’d have been nicer if I didn't bust the final paper and lose that 7%.

Oh, well, talk about trial and error.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Exhausted Thoughts

I don’t want to believe it yet I know I have to.

I was never able to listen to a particular song - not naming it publicly because of its sensitivity - because it would tear me to shreds. Yet, the emotional lyrics now resonate with me. Maybe I’m weary of wearing the mask of strength and independence. I’ll admit that I crave the stability and familiarity that the past once afforded. The practical side is lucid that there’s no way of living in the present if there’s continuous temptation to return to the past.

You may wonder why today’s post carries such an emotional tone. The truth is, I’m bushed - exhausted of tripping over obstacles thrown my way as I scale the mountainous path, be it personal goals or academic success. Yet, I force myself to continue with the journey because there’s no turning back.

Decisions made.

Time spent.

If I pull the plug now, all my previous efforts would be wasted.

The truth is it’s getting tougher to hang on to the rocky cliffs of my journey. I’ve made the conscious decision, even in the shroud of stress, to hide the emotional feelings from among my friends. For me, the detriments outweigh the benefits. I’m not suggesting that one should suppress their feelings. It’s precarious to do so. What I’m expressing is that it depends on the circumstances and who you confide it. For my case, it could expose me to risks that I’m unwilling to undertake although my good friends would fight tooth and nail to get me to spill like an open pack of M&M’s. I know them; they’d rather cry and curse with me than to let me face it alone. The action of confiding is done in good faith and I don’t know whether I’m still capable of trusting anyone.

So there you go.

Trust issues combined with an accumulation of stress.

Ask me anything, I’ll speak.

Ask me about personal and academic matters, I’ll recoil on the defensive.

It's better for me to blend in with the crowd rather than shine. It's easier said than done in the environment that I'm in. As a Sagittarius, when I want something, it will take a lot to persuade me otherwise. That lands me in a cauldron of unwanted matters, which I've slightly insinuated in one of the previous posts. I'm sure that the main reason why it occurred was because of my inability to remain under the radar.

Let me explain myself.

While I'd rather keep my opinions to myself, I find it arduous to sit back with a packet of popcorns and watch other homo sapiens have a piece of the pie. It's been ingrained in me since college that I'll never let anyone label me as an underdog without fighting against the currents. We're all equally created and our only difference is the way we plan our life's journey - with only a pair of hands and a brain as our tools. Sure, if there's no sacrifice thrown into the fireplace, you won't appreciate the rewards. It makes sense; you need to experience hardship before you appreciate success. That, I understand - but not to the extent where you're both unable to reap what you sow and under the weather.

Maybe a vacation to the lovely refuge would do some soul good - only if the exchange rate can be improved, ugh.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Perplexed Animosity

I dreamt that we were involved in fighting scenes. One was precariously close to the edge of a swimming pool, which frightened me because I can’t swim. Relieved and spent, we huddled around a table for a discussion when my Criminal Law coursemate barged in with a charcoal. Annoyance spewed from his ears. He couldn’t believe that history repeated itself and we were stuck in the same seminars again. As if that wasn’t bad enough to soil my day, I smashed my spectacles into pieces.

In the next scene, we were all dolled up in formal wear and en-route to an official function when our cars were overpowered by bad people. We, however, managed to throw them out of the car. There was another scene at the airport, where a group of us - including me - was held hostage inside while on our way to catch our respective flights out of the country. We were released when someone resembling Superwoman came to our rescue.

When I returned home, I was a tad bit upset but resigned to the fact that I didn't get a credit for my creative writing research essay. The final mark was only a high pass of 63.

I don’t have to interpret the fighting scenes because I was watching Totally Spies on YouTube before bed. It’s safe to assume that my subconscious was heavily influenced by the intensity that it was projected in the dream. The part that I’m flummoxed about is the presence of the Criminal Law chap. Dreams don’t usually throw me awake unless it’s realistic or emotional. This one felt… like it’s a precursor to something that will happen. Plus, it’s not like we’re in constant contact - the last time I saw him was at the Showgrounds before the exam. Even in the dream, my sixth sense kept hinting that it'd be in DRE, not Corporate that we'll cross paths - but we'll see what happens when the time comes.

I can’t break the dream apart because I don’t know where to start.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Masked Emotions

I dreamt that part of my job designation included the planning of an upcoming convention for the board of directors who were flying in to attend. This had to be conducted via email with the folks on the other side because of the geographical location involved. The renovation guys next door rang me and insisted that I sprint to the site because something interesting was occurring inside the property.

Yeah, my house.

I arrived at the lakefront property to find an extra pair of guy shoes at the doorstep. Those guys denied that it was theirs, which let me frozen for a while before I digested the news and flipped. The only other person having access to the property is my sister. I didn’t enter because I knew what occurred: my sister must have brought a guy over without my prior knowledge and consent. I stood facing the lake and gathered my breath. I didn’t want to create a scene and embarrass everyone present. My brother arrived and asked for more details, but I thumbed towards the house. It was better for him to check things out for himself. Chaos immediately ensued not longer after he entered the house. I presume that he confronted the owner of the shoes and reprimanded him.

Desiring to take my mind off things, I watched a play and the finale was a female lead curled on the floor, unconscious. The male lead knelt next to her and embraced her in his arms.

I'm not sure how to interpret the dream. If needs be, the house in the dream is a metaphor for my heart. The lake, a visual representation of serenity. The chaos, an indication of the state of disarray I am in. Perhaps the dream is attempting to warn me that I’m emotionally spent and need a break from everything. For a more concrete interpretation, I’ll have to extract the important elements from the dream for a separate analysis before patching them back together for an explanation.

So, my readers, what do you think?

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Say hello!

Now that I’m done with my exams, I can record the dream that I had a couple of days before the Administrative Law exam. The dream obviously contained more information, but because I was drifting in and out of consciousness, I could only remember certain bits of it.

I dreamt that my friend - the only identity that I have is that it is a guy, not someone that I know in Adelaide or Subang - and I were at a riverbank, doing our own thing, as part of large entourage of friends. It could’ve been a picnic or s weekend barbecue. We were in the midst of a banter and I was squinting to avoid the sun’s nasty glare when my peripheral vision spotted 6 Australian pelicans (like the one in the attached photograph) with full bills in sight swimming towards us.

A check with the dream bible indicated a twinge of selfless and charity blended with a hint of disappointment. Since I had this dream before admin law, could this possibly mean that I’m in for some heartbreaks? Or, is it not related to academics? I guess it is also safe to assume that the arrival of pelicans was a self-directed question as to how I’m taking care of myself - and whether I’m spending enough time on me. If you ask me, it makes sense because I’m frazzled. To have dealt with so many unexpected matters only increased the amount of pressure I was under - to the point where I barely slept. Maybe it’s the subconscious pleading for me to improve on my well-being.

I look great, but I feel trashy.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Halfway Mark

It’s that time again, sigh. No, no, don’t get me wrong. I’m not whinging about the exams. With the completion of the final test for Indo-Pacific Foreign Policy, this signals the end of my sophomore year. It means that I’ve endured half the battle, which hints that I need to hibernate to regain the mental and emotional energy that was lost in the process.

Don’t judge; I’m crawling my way through the Administrative Law revision and the fact that I barely understood the first 3 weeks ain’t helping me either.

Freshman year was alright; it was fun and games while I struggled to find my footing in law school. When I voiced my desire to pursue a degree in liberal or creative arts, my relatives continuously expressed their disapproval with the number one question being whether I’m able to secure a job uin the field of my choice. Don’t get me wrong, I’m alright with reading law. The part that bugs me is the feeling that I didn’t receive my fair share of the pie. No one in my family is a law graduate, so I never knew the pros and cons of law school until I landed head first in a pool of… sharks.

Oh, boy, did I just write that?!

Did I just compare all of the law students to sharks? *facepalm*

The idea of doing law may resonate with some students, but let me tell you that you’ll have to think thrice about boarding this ship. I’m speaking from my personal experience here and as everyone’s experience in law school is different, feel free to disagree with me. It’s a dog-eat-dog place where you’ve to be cautious of everyone around you. Things will be murkier when you’re an international students who is unaware of the presence of the elites. To be honest, I never expected that I’ll run into kids from private schools. I was already under so much personal and academic pressure that it was tough to deal with them. It took me an entire semester and the winter flight home before I could handle it. But hey, at least I found myself a couple of good friends along the way to smoothen the creases that crept up in my academic journey. One of them is graduating next semester and I’m not sure how I’d react when we see each other in person for the last time at the ceremony. One thing’s for sure; I’ll have to convince myself to maintain a happy smile and to instead send him off with a hug and my best wishes.

Thank you (you know who you are, lol) for allowing me to stumble upon this song. It is a good motivational song for me because it reminds me to bite the tree bark in persistence. Life may throw crazy lemons and expose you to stinky people, but, at the end, success will be waiting to greet you with a truthful embrace.

Monday, October 24, 2016


I’m not sure what to take from the dream because this has never occurred in real life. I'm not sure if it's me or not, but, after stewing on it for a while, I noticed that the dream has a slight flavor of love. Oops!

Maybe you, my readers, can help to give me some inputs as to what this dream is attempting to tell me.

I dreamt that my History mate and I arranged to meet up somewhere before we joined the bigger group waiting at the restaurant. It was his first time in the town, so I volunteered to bring him over to the final destination. He broke into a wide grin when he saw me walking towards me and we exchanged a long hug. It was in the middle of a public place, but it was neither in Adelaide nor in Darwin, where he is located at now. It was somewhere that I don’t recognize in real life. He dragged me by the wrist when we saw salespeople in the distance and insisted that we head to our final destination through another route. The bunch of other colleges mates were elated to greet him too. When we made ourselves comfortable at the table and I retrieved my diary to record our next hangout, one of the mates complimented on it and asked where I purchased it from. So, I told them that it was gifted by one of my former lecturers for my birthday.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Memorable Songs - Part 1

After almost three years, I still can remember the events attached to this song. Someone dragged me to the back of the Mac Lab during our mutual break and made me listen to this song. It was his favourite song and he used to continuously listen to this. He totally forgot that he left his MacBook Pro in the room and messaged me with panic in the evening when he couldn't find it in his backpack. Since my History class was in the first period, I threw my bag in the room and rushed to Mac Lab. The laptop was still safe. He treated me to lunch at the nearby cafe to thank me for my efforts (?).

Ah, the first time I was exposed to this song was during HUO 11, where the lyrics connected with me emotionally. Tears welled up in my eyes to the point where I was silently sobbing, embarrassing myself in front of my group of friends. My History mate caught wind of it (I think he heard me sniffling and saw me swiping at my eyes) and silently offered the entire packet of tissue papers to me. As if I wasn't insane enough, this song accompanied me on the Air Asia flight from Kuala Lumpur to Perth.

I usually avoid listening to this song because I'll be still caught up emotionally.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Life goes on

Before I start today’s post, I’ll have to extend my thanks to all of the law students who emerged from their hiding places to cast their ballots for the recent LSS elections. Regardless of the candidates you’ve chosen, you knew that to get your voice across the table to the representatives, you had to vote. This is an important principle of democracy.

To my campaigners and fellow candidates, it’s been an awesome time working with all of you! Although we weren’t accorded the opportunity to bring our plans to fruition and celebrate our success with a bang, I’m sure we’ll be able to cross paths or even catch up with each other somehow.

To the winning team, congratulations on your success! It’s been a hard-won fight. I wish you all the best in making law school better - not only for studies, but also a place where students can bask in each other’s company in between tutes.

Now that the elections are done and dusted, it’s time to focus on the exam revision for Administrative Law and complete the essays that I’ve left on the backburner. Let me tell you, concurrently juggling between 3 different citation methods ain’t fun. Maybe I’ll give you the context so that you’ll be able to get the drift: I almost cited a sentence from my World History textbook for my Canadian Law essay in the APA format when it should be in footnotes.

“To accomplish much you must first lose everything - Che Guevara”

It was during our hourly break that my eyes landed on this quote hanging from a portrait outside our tutorial room. I was instantly attracted to it because it spoke volumes. Not to mention, success always come with a sacrifice - whether at an emotional or psychological level. An example of this could be the pursuance of studies abroad. I’m not going to name names. I know a former friend who desired to stay back in the home country to study, but the family insisted that he fly half a world away to pursue his degree. Another example would be arriving at the decision to do something (read: opting to swap arts electives for Criminal Law) at the expense of something else (read: the expedience of more stress).

Can I say that Che Guevara’s words can be applied to our campaign team’s defeat? Yes and no. It’s not that we didn’t play hard - heck, one of us even went to extreme lengths to introduce the dinosaur mascot under the baking sun. If it hadn’t been for the wind and extreme heat, trust me, I’d have lost the hoodie and turn up in a shorter dress… with full make-up. It’s a fact that we need to learn from the mistakes we made and approach the campaign, should all of us are interested in participating next year, from a different viewpoint. I admit, we definitely failed to engage the students and understanding their thinking and what they desire during their time in law, even if it means compromising on some policies. Most law students are enthusiastic about the after exam parties or the exquisite Law Ball, but we could’ve factored in those students (like myself) who wouldn’t willingly attend those events. Kinda ironic, huh? I campaigned for the Activities Representatives and love planning activities (such as Law Ball) yet would never be present in all of the events, lol.

Most of my friends - and some in law school - were disappointed that we didn’t win because they know what I’ll be able to bring to the table. Here’s the catch; my position on the hierarchy wouldn’t allow me to succeed based on popularity alone. To add salt to my little wound, it’s more of the connection and less on the policies that will secure the votes. I guess that answered my nonchalence towards the defeat. I arrived for the 2nd day of campaigning with the weird feeling that we better be prepared for our loss, but what I didn’t expect was the large difference in tallies.

Hey, there’s always next year - if I’m in the physical and emotional state to have a second shot at campaign again.

Saturday, October 8, 2016


“This is it.”

Those were the three words that she sighed into the air when she arrived at the heartbreaking decision to do it. It didn’t shatter her heart as much as she thought it would, but, even in the back of her mind, she knew that it’ll threaten to derail everything that she arduously worked for. With a stone heart, she signed the papers and began laying the foundations for a new life. The decision couldn’t have arrived at a better timing - two years ago, it would’ve pained her to accept such a proposition. Two years later, she’s now a grown child with her own mind and capable of making her own decisions. It didn’t help that she was at the stage where she wanted to throw in the towel.

She slipped into the queue of fellow passengers at the boarding gate after the preliminary process of checking in and clearing customs were completed without a hitch. She fiddled through the contents of her backpack and found the item she was after: a laminated A5 photograph of the three good friends standing in front of the decorated Christmas tree at Forrest Chase in Perth with cheeky faces.

I know you guys will kill me when you learn of my plans, she thought as she recollected the memories made from their group vacation interstate, but it’s for the better. You’ll learn to appreciate each other in my absence. The truth is, I’m tired of hiding behind this smiley facade.

She knew that she should’ve discussed with them about her plans to transfer the remaining years of her degree to Perth if she honestly regarded them as family, but she reminded herself why she engaged in such a risky move. It wasn’t because of any ex-boyfriends or stalkers that led to the desire to start afresh in another place, a place that was familiar yet foreign. It was these two, the friends whom she came to appreciate and adore during her time on campus. The spark, which threatened to burn brighter than a campfire, will embroil them in an awkward and messy situation that could possibly lead to cracks in their friendship. Her departure signaled the best option for not only herself, but for them both.

Tears stung her eyes when she read the handwritten message at the back of the A5 photograph.

Two sugar canes, one potato.

“I’m the potato because I look like one. You two are sugar canes because you are lean and lanky,” was the explanation given. It made sense to her; while the girl had a well-proportionate figure, she and their good friend could do well with a couple more pounds added to their frame.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Replacing FOMO with GOMO

I was approached by Eventbrite not too long ago to help contribute a post on the dangers of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) and how GOMO (Getting Out More Often) should instead be encouraged. FOMO is defined as the action of compulsively checking for updates and messages for the fear of missing out on the juicy details from your friends. As a young millennial who struggles to maintain the perfect balance between academia and personal life, like everyone else, I’m familiar with the first-hand experience of FOMO. I’m one of those people who will fight tooth and nail to remain indoors in the residence, but will, more often than not, be compulsively hooked to social media for updates. It’s a slight overstatement for me because I don’t leave my social media accounts open 24/7 a day, waiting to be the first one in the know, but I’m sure you get the drift?

Now that I’m no longer that young (don’t let my facial features fool you, I’m actually older than I look), I realized that the degree of GOMO will change with age. Why not jump at the opportunity to GOMO and experience life while I still have the opportunity to do so and balance the stress spanning from the degree I’m pursuing (yes, it’s capable of inciting mental harm if I’m not careful).

The message of this post is to replace the FOMO with the habit of GOMO (within financial limits, obviously!). There are wonderful benefits in GOMO while treating yourself with your hard-earned cash on memorable experiences. Believe me when I say that there’s more to life than being attached to your phone screen or the social media accounts.

First and foremost, you only live once

Instead of spending most of your free time to Netflix and chill, why don’t you embark on an adventure around your suburb? Maybe check out that newly-opened cafe that you’ve been longing to patronize but never had the time to do so? Or, maybe, donate to the fundraising events organized by charitable organizations and concurrently volunteer with them. No amount of words can describe the satisfaction of volunteering as it allows you to understand life from a different perspective.

Attend music festivals/concerts

Do nothing but eat, live, and breathe the ambience. There’s nothing more satisfying than to exit the auditorium on an all-time musical high. It cleanses your emotional wellbeing and accords a better mood.

Take a well-deserved vacation

After giving it your all in your studies or career, it is undeniable that your mind, body, and soul will need a break from all the earthly stress. There are many ways that you can plan a vacation within your financial budget. You can save up for a luxurious holiday (that should include a spa therapy) interstate or abroad or a quick getaway in your city, discovering the hidden gems that you never knew existed.

If you’re heading for a holiday abroad, it may make the trip much more memorable because you are exposed to the local culture and way of life.

Hope the above tips will help you to eradicate FOMO or at least lower its intervals in your life! It’s not an exhaustive list; it’s just enough to get your juices flowing - and you’re more than welcome to come up with your own list. If you need help finding cool events in your area, you can use sites like Eventbrite to find and create your own events to help make your own list!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Let's pick up the pieces and continue with the journey

You’d be forgiven for thinking that I left all of the work on the backburner to enjoy myself during the break. While I originally intended to balance the backdated readings with movie nights, it didn’t come to fruition because I fell under the weather right after I returned from a little getaway up north. It threw every other plan I had out of the window as I was in bed, nursing a fever, sore throat and back aches - yet I felt well enough for grocery shopping and the weekly obligations. I’ll chalk it up to the lower temperatures combined with the exacerbation of sleep deprivation due to various factors, one of which is assignments.

Taken in Fancy Burger, Synagogue Place, Adelaide

I can’t complain much because I have a bucket load of matters to deal with now. With the exam schedule comes the gaping truth that all of my final assignments are due in the same week as my Administrative Law exam (yes, you read that right!)

Talk about the timing!

On the bright side, my holiday starts at least two weeks earlier than my legal peers. I don’t mean to gloat or shove it down anyone’s throat, but I want to keep an open mind about it to calm the anxious nerves. Administrative Law has loads of legislation to understand and stew over it… and truth be told, I’ll have to start the revision and practice as soon as I complete the draft for my Indo-Pacific Foreign Policy final essay - or I’ll be screwed big time.

So yeah, summer break will be the time when I’ll truly allow my body to slide into hibernation mode to recover abroad - where it’ll be easier and tougher to contact me. I mean, chances of me leaving most of the social media accounts on hiatus are highly likely due to some undisclosed reasons.

No one likes being in bed the entire day; it doesn’t matter if you’re under the weather or not. I remember purchasing “The Best of Me” from the bookstore a couple of years ago and my heart ached after reading it. It was as if Fate had other plans and boy, it did. Amanda was dealt a second blow without any advance warning after not being afforded the chance to carve her own path at life.

You’ll have to watch the movie to understand my inference, but I must emphasize on the difference between the film adaptation and the book at the end. In the film, Amanda was on the phone with her son while at work, whereas in the book, the mother and son were back home, debating whether to file the medical application to investigate the shocking news.

What struck a chord with me was Amanda’s confession that “I had so many plans and I don’t know what happened” (44:15). The reader response lens drew the relevance to Amanda because I’ve asked myself this - from time to time. The original path that I envisioned myself on when I was in Grade 1 included a double degree (Law and Creative Writing). It slightly changed when I started high school with the inclusion of a postgraduate in either field. Shortly after I enrolled in college and embarked on the university preparations, I dropped the idea of doing a double degree because I knew that the stress will shorten my life before graduation and left the option of postgraduate at Fate’s hands.

Oh, the rest of October will definitely test my patience and endurance. How am I to complete all three assignments in one piece and still survive the 2.5 hours exam on the last day of that week?

Thursday, September 22, 2016


Surprising me for the third time, I woke up with swollen eyes - an indication that either I didn’t have quality sleep or I must’ve cried at one point in my sleep. It took a while for my mind to think before I realized that it’s the latter.

I dreamt that there was a murder, but the evidence kept pointing to the possibility that it was done in retaliation for something that occurred in the past as an accident. I raced through the hospital corridor in a state of panic after receiving the news. When I saw the good friend in sunglasses at the distance with a sad smile outside the mortuary, I burst into tears as I knew that there was no denying the truth.

The person didn’t survive the impact of the car crash and succumbed to the injuries en-route to the hospital.

A visit to the past was needed to understand the motive and intention behind the person’s death. The next scene went all the way back to the 1900s Malaysia, where it looked like a slum with dilapidated buildings and the electrical wires exposed to air. It was a tragedy waiting to occur. The timeline skipped to years later. I was in a back room, dealing with our dog’s urine when I heard an acquaintance talking to my housemate. My heart sank when the acquaintance broke the news of a death.

Yes, I know the dream does not make full sense. Even I’m struggling to break it apart for interpretation. Like, why would my good friend show up in the dream?!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

A Case of Curious Coincidences (Part 3)

Author’s Note: This is a scheduled post. At the time of this posting, I’m away from everyone and the computer screen, clearing my cluttered mind in an undisclosed location. I'll be back to the computer screen sometime next week.

Hiding in the basement library at this hour of eight-thirty in the morning, Crystal couldn’t help but wonder why she dragged herself to campus when her lecture was at noon. The serenity that the empty area provided allowed her to reflect and think. Although she wasn’t exceptionally exuberant with her second semester’s timetable, she had to be contented because it accorded her with a rest day (unlike the previous semester, where it was necessary to embark on the daily commute to campus). She disliked the idea of running into Ryan on campus because she didn’t know what to expect from him. He was gregarious on one minute, but as moody as the grey skies on the next minute.
    No matter how she rationalized the coincidences last semester, there were a couple of things that didn’t end up. How could they have enrolled together for those classes without even knowing what the other party’s choice was? Why was it so coincidental that they, for their own reasons, decided to study this particular course at the same time?
    She initially hoped that she could rid herself of familiar faces when she broke away from her friends and embarked on a separate path for this year. She needed it; she needed it because she thought that she wouldn’t have to face Ryan for a long while and she had to excel in this favorite course of hers, making her college lecturer proud. Little did she expect that it will complicate matters for her instead.
    The winter break allowed her to scrape the last semester’s stressful contents out of her brain with a spatula and start afresh. She was thankful that her two friends collaborated to drag her out to the movies and a late lunch together, where it took her mind off the worry of her final grades.
    And sleep too.
    Gosh, she couldn’t remember the last time she had such fitful sleep. Her rest was usually tattered with the amount of workload and fear about her academic performance where either she was insomniac or adopted the vampire’s shadowy figure, ready to pounce on people who stepped on her tail.
    Yet, she still couldn’t wrap her head around the stark coincidence.
    She buried her face in her hands when she realized that the very decision of swapping things around will lead to further interaction with him until their graduation.

The pressure flowed in her bloodstream and bled the joy out of Crystal when she departed with Tracy from campus for the last of their three exam papers. She wanted to be done with this and crash for the next twelve hours - or until her body was fully recovered by the continuous bashing.
    Maybe it was for the best that all her papers were scheduled within a week of each other.
    When they arrived at the examination hall, they squeezed their way through the crowd and hid at the far end of the building, where it was quieter and safer. The buzz that sashayed around them was too great a risk for them; they didn’t want to absorb the additional stress from the crazy energy that bounced off each student.
    “Psst, look who’s here.” Tracy whispered, pointing to a reticent soul standing across them.
    Crystal turned her head in the direction of Tracy’s finger and sighed. “Oh, great.”
    “I mean, look! He’s making us look like fool. He’s only carrying a handful of papers and I don’t see him carrying a bag.” Tracy shook her head. “Look at us. We’ve brought practically everything from the tutorials and lectures.”
    “My dear, it’s alright. We feel more secure this way. Plus, God knows what he’s done in the days leading up to this.”
    It came as no surprise. It was evident to her towards the end of the semester that Ryan would ace this particular course. Observing his body language in both classes led her to believe that he was not only sure about the value of his contribution for the discussions, but also his effort in attaining the desired grade. She smirked to herself, knowing that there was a whiff of anxiety in his thoughts. As he leaned against the hall and glued to his iPhone, she saw that his ankles were crossed - not a sign of being carefree and relaxed. If he was honestly and genuinely confident, his facial expression would’ve softened with faint traces of assurance. She could feel the nervousness off him in the same manner that she saw the fear in his eyes when they crossed paths in this very same place a semester ago.
    “I know the guy,” Crystal continued after the silence. “That’s how he rolls. You can’t tell whether he’s relaxed or petrified over the final papers until there’s been an exchange of eye contact. Or, at least that was what I was led to assume.”
    Tracy looked up. “Hmm? Do elaborate, Crystal.”
    “This is not the first time that I’ve seen him here for the exams. The first time was actually last semester when we were sitting for our separate papers. I didn’t say hello to him when I passed by him because I was speaking to a female friend and he was busy with his revision. It wasn’t until the friend and I were returning to the main entrance that he shot a hello. Not to us, but only to me. When our eyes met, I saw the stress and panic floating in his eyes. He didn’t look as stoic as he does in class. It felt as if he was silently reaching out for help. I’m not going to mention what happened after the exams, but let’s just say that my friend whinged for an hour that Ryan was nicer to me than to her. Mind you, he knows her too.”
    “That sounds funny and weird at the same time. Does she like him?”
    “Nope. I know she's taken by someone else, but I'm not sure if he's single and ready to mingle.”
    “Sounds like he does favor you more than her.”
    “Oh my God.” Crystal laughed. “Tracy, I wouldn’t have a clue. I’m not a mind reader! But yeah, he’s an intelligent person who carries his weight.”
    “He has always looked studious to me, but then again,” Tracy pointed out softly, “even the smartest student, if not cautious, could mess up from the pressure of time.”
    “There’s one thing I don’t understand. Why does it feel like he’s forgotten that I exist or only speaks after I’ve acknowledged his presence?” Crystal sighed. “You know what? Let’s just make our way out of here before he catches sight of us.”

Monday, September 12, 2016

Torn between two . . . goals and one fact

There’s no way I’ll have such dreams unless my subconscious is extremely exhausted or it’s screaming for help.

I dreamt that we were late for our lecture in Hughes and when we arrived there, the lecture theatre was packed to the brim. We tried to squash our way into the few vacant seats remaining at the back. The lecturer verbally dragged us down to the front, where we found out that there were vacant rows of seats. It was like the invisible cloud surrounding that area cleared up. A coursemate was quietly sitting on one of the seats and stealing a moment’s rest when we made ourselves comfortable next to her. We were later at a dimly-lit parking garage, rushing to find our way out as there was a feeling of being chased or followed by someone.

In the next scene, I dreamt that there was a fire warning issued for the landed property that we lived in. We rushed to move all of the furniture and personal belongings out of the residence as fast as we could to a nearby safe place. The landscape was left alone, but I ended up walking through the fire, unscathed and alone. Oddly, I didn’t feel panic or fear - just serenity and security.

I also dreamt that a friend (his identity wasn’t revealed) and I took time out and went on an adventure to a resort. This was because he could see that I was heading towards the path of a nervous breakdown (although I was unaware of it). We obviously took separate rooms within walking distance to each other’s. I remember walking along the wooden route, heading to somewhere and being carefree and happy.

For the second dream, my personal interpretation of the dream is that I do crave an isolation period, away from the peers and in a place where no one can contact me. It is arguable that the moving of items indicates that the triggers need to be eliminated in a swift manner. Could the fire warning be a signal of me potentially losing my temper?. I don’t know, but it’s possible. It’s true, though. I’m reaching that stage where the stress is beginning to weigh me down.

For the third dream, is this a sign that someone is the panacea to the unspoken pressures I’m facing? Or, is someone worried for my emotional well-being? If so, I know who this dream is pointing to. Maybe I’m just in dire need for a beach/resort getaway?

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Peace will come when one of us puts down the gun

The title is from the song lyrics of "Battlefield" by Lea Michele - and attached is the video for it.

After allowing my mind to stew for a couple of days, I’m not sure what to expect anymore. I don’t know, I’ve arrived at the stage where I’m contradicting myself. On one hand, I’m more than comfortable locking myself in the unit whenever I don’t have lectures or tutorials. At least I can be a disheveled suburbian girl who doesn’t need to care how she looks for the day. That doesn’t mean that I don’t place any effort in my attires, man. What I mean is that I can leave my hair in a mess state and change from one pair of pajamas to another. On the other hand, I need to breathe the fresh air and socialize with the slippery souls. At the rate that we are going, it feels like we’re catching each other’s shadows instead of the actual persons.

Now that we’ve officially reached the halfway mark of the semester, I’ll have to admit that while learning about the decisions countries make for their foreign policies is interesting, it’s nudging me to enroll in the quasi-law, quasi-politics elective that the Property Law lecturer is offering for next semester (especially since the course is about the influence of politics on the law or vice versa, I can’t specifically remember).

Six more weeks before crunch time - and I’m sure time will fly past me in the blink of an eye. Before I’m even aware of it, it’s revision time, hinting at the deadline of the final assignments due for my electives. Not too far away is the strangling Administrative Law exam. *sighs*

But who knows?

No, I'm not using alcohol to cope with the stress. To do so would be the dumbest decision of mine. 

SWOTVAC and summer break, in itself, could bring different thoughts altogether. I might freeze all forms of communications during SWOTVAC to focus on the assignments and exam revision (yes, thank God, there’s only one exam to deal with this time around). Maybe I’ll use the summer break to connect with myself on a deeper level. It feels like I’ve abandoned a part of myself somewhere in the process of running after the elusive grades. If the plans are successful, I’ll be challenged mentally and physically by the prospective doubling of stress. The only positive side of it is that it will take my mind off things and keep me on the go most of the time.

Okay, we’ve arrived at the substance of the topic.

I know, I left the readers on a weird cliffhanger in the previous post (to the point where I made it sound like I’m a sacrificial lamb). No mortal is a saint, and there’s always that speck of imperfection or sin in all of us. With that in mind, I’ll pick up on where I left off and elaborate myself.

It’s more for the innocent player that my worries lie on. As he’s someone whom I’ve grown to appreciate and accept as an awesome friend, I’ll definitely step in and try to contain the burning fire. The matter is between me and the person; it shouldn’t require the involvement of other parties in the process. I could care less about this person’s conduct towards me because I’ve arrived at the stage where I honestly don’t care. In fact, if the situation isn't changing for the better, I won't take offence and will play the same cards as him instead.

Humans are just that complicated to understand, pfft.

It's just that I'm praying that he wouldn’t leave the innocent player feeling like the latter’s been snubbed.

[The term ‘innocent player’ refers to someone whose interest will be affected by the consequences of the game and, yet, is not considered a party to it.]

I wonder if I should take up photography as a favorite hobby again.

What’s making me suspicious is the fact that I dreamt that I obtained this person’s timetable (through legal means, don’t worry) for the entire academic year through someone else a while back. I'm honestly not sure what its relevance is to the current matter is. I've to throw caution to the wind about this interpretation because I don't know what to take from it - and it's scary enough that I dreamt of Kyle glaring at me before our papers in college. One of the dreams that I had last year recently came true, so yeah. There's a chance that this timetable exam could be a living reality and, if that happens, I'll verbally strangle someone. *shakes head*

Also, if it’s an advance warning to her suspicions, then I’m speechless. A part of me is hoping that her suspicions are founded on probable grounds, and not on reasonable grounds. If it is proven, you can already imagine me with saucer eyes and gaping at the stark coincidence of it all. If sneaky Fate additionally intervenes to complicate an awkward situation, it’s more than pure coincidence that history is repeating itself. Don’t ask me what I’ll do, though. It is something that I’ll only deal with if and when it happens.

It’s too soon to worry about it, especially since I’ve enough on my plate to crack the brain wide open.

Plus, I highly doubt that we’d be that lucky to land in the same tutorial without advance planning. It’s just impossible . . . (or maybe it is, this is, like, the second time I’m in the same class as an acquaintance - and we didn’t discuss about it beforehand.)

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Mini Break

The more things are being rolled out, the more it is likely that her suspicions will come true - and I’ll be the next person out of the door. If it’s just the two of us, we couldn’t be bothered, to say the least, because we know what to expect. It is when there’s an innocent third party who is involved that things will be murkier. Put it this way, the third party has done nothing to deserve such a treatment. For that reason, I’ll have to sacrifice myself in the line of fire and do something that I never thought I’ll have to do again.

Then again, it’s only something that I’ll deal with when it really happens. What’s the point of being fearful over it when it still cannot be proved on a balance of probabilities? As it is, I’m mentally and emotionally exhausted from the continuous perfection I crave for the degree.

Now that the two assignments have been concurrently completed and submitted, it’s about time that I reduce the travelling speed and learn to take well-deserved pit-stops, if/when required to. At the time of this posting, I’m riding out the effects of straining the glutes and quadriceps over the weekend. So, you can already see why I should learn to be gentler on myself - physically, emotionally and mentally.

Since I know what I’m capable of if the stress reaches the limit, I decided to squash some time out and relax to one of my all-time favorite games.

Meet Maple Story: Beast Tamer

My apologies for a short post today. I’ve to prepare for tomorrow’s tutorial work and catch up on the backdated readings as well. I promise I’ll pen a longer, detailed post when I’ve more free time on my hands, though.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

A Case of Curious Coincidences (Part 2)

Author's Note: My sincere apologies if today's story doesn't flow smoothly. I'm juggling two assignments that are due on Monday.

Crystal smelt the fresh morning air and curled her lips upwards as she disembarked from her bus stop and made the short walk to campus. Her shoulders were less burdened, knowing that the last twelve weeks of learning would come to an end after her last class. She was additionally relieved that she wouldn't need to face Ryan twice a day after this. Having to deal with his capricious demeanor towards her on top of her stress-inducing courses was draining her energy. Her head was hammered with such force by the knowledge thrown at her that she swore a headache was waiting to pounce on her around the corner.
    It was a different thought a couple of days ago, especially during one of her morning lectures. There she was, seated by herself in the half-empty lecture theatre, attempting hard to stay awake to the lecturer's tips and advice no thanks to her housemate. He, who she suspected was under the influence of alcohol to the point of criminal irresponsibility, was obstreperous, repeatedly shouting another occupant's name and laughing out loud at their late-night rendezvous until the wee hours of the morning. It wrecked her rest with such impact that she was a walking and snappy zombie, who desired to wring her hands on anyone who - inadvertently or intentionally - stepped on her tail. Inasmuch as she desired to skip that day's worth of lectures due to unexpected exhaustion, it was not worth the risk as it was now the dangerous race to the finish line. If she faltered in this last week of lectures, her chances of sitting the supplementary exams or retaking the entire course was significant. Fully aware of the blow of her temper whenever it exploded, she decided to hide in the basement area of the library after the lecture to regain her composure and stew in the annoyance. Her intuition guided her to the other end of the area, but not wanting to walk any further, she decided to go for the nearest available spot.
    She couldn't believe her luck when she heard Ryan arriving five minutes later. She had to stop herself from rolling her eyes and instead took a deep breath to mask her dismay. No matter how she longed to feed him a taste of his own medicine, she wasn't going to leave the moment he arrived. It was a risky move not worth playing when she was unsure whether he hated her with a vengeance or merely frightened of his impression of her and it was rather rude to do so.
    Although she sensed that he hoped for an acknowledgment from her, she didn't have the extra energy to deal with him when her focus was on maintaining her composure. The relaxed atmosphere tensed to the point where his face was coated with discomfiture and his body language fidgety, obviously uneasy by Crystal's behavior.
    After a fruitful rest, she was much more emotionally stable and less likely to bite. She nodded a smile to her postgraduate course mate, Tracy, who was waiting in the silent room and caught up with her.
    "Ready for the presentation?" Crystal asked, sitting next to her.
    "I'm anxious." Tracy sighed. "But I'm confident that I can nail this. Just don't ask me any questions because I'd be too nervous to answer."
    "I don't intend on asking any either."
    "That's good."
    "Because the article's too close to home, most of my questions would've been answered by interpreting the document itself." She looked around the room. "Eh, I'm surprised that Ryan hasn't arrived yet."
And at the mention of his name, she caught him walking up the stairs from the library, clutching a paper in his hand. He barely noticed Crystal and Tracy's presence until a moment later when he walked in to them rearranging the furniture for the umpteenth time.
    "Good morning." He wished them, slightly wary of Crystal.
    "Morning," Crystal and Tracy replied in unison before returning to their duty.
    Crystal almost raised an eyebrow at Ryan when he assisted them with perfecting the arrangement of the chairs. She thought that she saw the slight trace of perfectionism from him, not realizing that it was already evident when they collaborated in the previous group project. She smirked as she thought to herself: it's good that you're prudent of me, man. I'm just as capable of being temperamental as you are, Ryan. Don't let this pair of angelic face fool you into thinking that I don't come with a temper.

An incident that occurred shortly before the commencement of the previous week's class irked her when she pondered on it during the short break. What made it tough for her to comprehend was Ryan's reaction when he saw her engaged in a hearty discussion with a mutual course mate, who happened to be from the same hometown as Crystal. She noticed that Ryan's eyes bulged with horror and a vocal tone that left chills at her spine and immediately suspected that there was more to his body language than meets the eye. It could have been a mere coincidence if he hadn't given her the eyebrow flash when he noticed her change of attire a fortnight ago.
    Screw you, man. She mentally cursed. If you're jealous that I'm laughing with another guy, you've to be out of your mind. There's no standing for you to be jealous and we're not even that close.
    It was obvious that there was discriminatory treatment on Crystal's part, but to her defense, she was growing exhausted with Ryan. On some days, she could feel the cold air radiating from him. On other days, she could feel a faint trace of warmth whenever they crossed paths. Their eyes accidentally landed on each other when they looked at the tutor, who addressed the class with the discussion topics after the break. Crystal looked away, opted to focus on the carpeted floor ahead of her as it was straining her neck to look at the tutor. Not wanting the tutor to assume that she was zoning out and feeling that the coast was clear, Crystal turned to face her tutor again, it was Ryan who glanced in the opposite direction instead.

Ryan sat on the benches outside the building with furrowed brows after the class was dismissed. He couldn't quite place the cause of his emotions the last couple of days and nothing has been able to make him lose his concentration either. All he remembered was a long awkward silence before he realized that the tutor asked the class a question, to which he awkwardly cleared his throat to answer it. Now that he reflected on it, he was surprised that none of his peers took the opportunity to gain brownie points for their contributions.
    Much earlier in the semester, when the assignments for all three courses were released for the autumn break, he remembered Crystal's hesitance when she approached him about it after their afternoon class.
    "Oh yeah, Ryan?"
    "Yo," was what he replied, and knew that he must've said the wrong thing because her eyes betrayed her surprise.
    "Have you completed that piece of assignment for our morning class?"
    "Nah, I'll do this weekend."
    He vehemently shook his head, bringing his mind back to the present. It couldn't have been her messing with his emotions, but it made absolute sense on another hand. If he regarded Crystal as nothing more than a fellow legal colleague, he definitely would've ignored her when he saw her laughing with her compatriot.
    He definitely wouldn't have wished her by her name on the first day of lectures when they returned from summer break three months later for another round of studies.
    He definitely wouldn't have forced her to move to another seat in the morning class or seated in close distance from her for the afternoon class.
    And lastly, his focus wouldn't have lingered on Crystal more than necessary during his class presentation when he spoke to the class.
    He covered his face with his hands, realizing that there was a possibility that he was intrigued by Crystal's personality. On the bright side, he'd be done with exams and could finally smell the roses during his break in less than a month's time. As he was confident that Fate wouldn't allow them to be in each other's view at the exam hall, he gathered his items and decided to head off-campus to clear his mind.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Preserve, and you'll reap the rewards in time

Trust me, only the dedicated folks wouldn’t let the chilly weather be in the way of a good exercise on the hills.

Although my friend was rather hesitant to invite me for the expedition because he knew that I’m knee-deep with the workload, I was game for it. I needed the time out from a packed schedule and smell the fresh fragrance. The workload has greatly impacted my emotions and, as such, it’s making me reconsider the plans for the future (read: after graduation).

The more I ponder on it, the more it feels like the right move for me.

But that’s a story best left for another day.

Back to today’s post.

It definitely was a hectic weekend trying to balance the readings, tutorial work and the outing. I almost tripped on the steps in the library after a late night with a friend (I wish it was for our assignments instead, though) and crashed in the Administrative Law lecture due to the inadequate sleep over the weekend. I should’ve realized that disaster was around the corner when I slept at 1 am on both days and woke up 6 hours later for classes.

Mea culpa.

With that, I introduce to you, Black Hill Conservation Park in Athelstone.

Its terrain is similar to that of Bukit Gasing but the atmosphere is much fresher and ‘tastier’ due to the unpolluted environment. It didn’t radiate the claustrophobic aura that Bukit Gasing sometimes had, especially in those shaded areas. I mean, sure, it’s good as a protection from the sun, but it also makes the place feel . . . cold and dingy.

The landscape, additionally, was breathtaking to the point where I continuously interrupted my friend to stop for pictures while we trekked the chosen path. As we gingerly made our way up, we were surrounded by beautiful trees and the colorful flowers that greeted us with a smile.

(I've obviously captured more pictures than this, but I'm not going to bombard the entire post with it, lol.)

He even added that the panoramic view changes into a stunning beauty if you are there later towards the evening, where you can hug your loved one close to you and watch the sunset in the distance. I know what some of you are thinking, but I’ll have to unfortunately disappoint you, folks. Neither did my friend and I wrap each other in an embrace (that’d be super awkward, and I would’ve elbowed him instead) nor did we watch the sun return to rest either.

The only issue that we encountered while trekking was the unexpected winds. While the projected forecast was a cloudy day, there was no indication of dancing trees up at the hills. Look, we may have been insane enough to trail the park in winter, but at least we were intelligent to bring a furry, warm coat with us.

We adjourned to an Italian cafe in the adjacent suburb of Campbelltown for a late tea/early dinner over rounds of coffee and pizza. I was tempted to order a medium-sized pizza, but figured that it was safer to stick to a smaller plate since it’s just the two of us.

Guess what? I gaped at the pizza when it arrived. It looks more like a medium than a small!

Top: Mocha
Bottom: Flat White

Magharita Pizza

As my friend was aware of my hesitance to loiter outdoors after dusk, the conversation and laughter continued at my place. Due to the sensitive nature of topics and jokes, it’s best to leave it out of the public domain, but I can briefly mention on something: I finally know what in the world ‘tickle my pickle’ means!! Bya, you should’ve just explained its definition to me back then.

It wasn’t until my eyes threatened to shut on me that my friend (not Bya) and I knocked off for the night and went our separate ways at a little past 1 am on a Sunday morning. How I managed to wake up in time for Mass is beyond me, but that left me like a walking zombie on Monday.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Short Story: A Blend of Independence with Weakness (Part 5)

The sky poured its grief on the mourners six weeks later, participating in their grief for the loss of a prosperous life that was tragically shortened. Shelby had everything going on for her: a close-knit family, the wonderful friends who loved her to bits and a stable career that afforded her yearly vacations. With a deep breath and squeezing his fists in the pocket of his coat, he needed to keep his emotions in check before he entered the crematorium hall. If he allowed himself to bawl his heart out now, he didn't know when he'd be able to stop.
    In the middle of the crematorium hall was the veneered word casket with the enlarged framed A3 picture of a grinning Shelby attached at the front of it. Wreaths of flowers possibly from her peers in her field of work were scattered behind the casket, but clear enough for the mourners to read the messages if they wanted to from this end of the area. Rows of plastic chairs were placed for them to have their quiet moment in grief or prayers. Greeting him as he entered was the book of condolences. He refused to pen his message on it because no amount of words illustrated the sadness he harbored at Shelby's death. He additionally believed that his physically being there for Shelby's family was a better comfort than the messages in a book.
    His peripheral vision caught the sight of Mrs. Winters seated alone at the front row of the chairs and he offered his condolences to her.
    “I’m sorry for your loss, Mrs. Winters. I really am.”
    “Thank you, Jerry. I really appreciate it.” Her eyes were rimmed raw and swollen. “Can I ask for a favor?”
    “Since you’re Shelby’s good friend, would you mind to offer the eulogy at the funeral mass and lead the seven day prayers tonight at eight?”
    “I don’t mind it at all. I can do both.”
    Mrs. Winters gripped Jerry’s hand as her way of saying thanks.

The decision to return to the park a month after Shelby's funeral left a sour note in his throat, but it was something that he had to do if he wanted to overcome his grief. While he felt emotionally lighter and less burdened now, it was still a working process through the five stages of grief with acceptance a far distance away. He leaned over the wooden railing and sighed. Although he knew that Shelby would be upset to see him in the depressive state, the journey of closure was harder with each passing minute. His face lost all traces of cheeriness. It was fixed in a permanent frown. Most of his nights were accompanied with silent tears, which affected his sleep. He was barely eating, which was evident on his five-foot-eleven frame. He lost additional weight and was dangerously close to emaciation. Functioning in his daily life was draining the remaining energy that he had, but he was also relieved that it wasn’t affected his work. Work was his only escape from reality.
    Their friendship spanned for such a long time - seven years now - that her absence was sorely missed. Her departure blew the brightest candle in his life, killing all of his happiness. It would take the right person to replace the darkness and mend the hole in his heart. He was unsure whether he’d be given another opportunity for that to happen or if he was capable of loving again.

His mind returned to the time when Mrs. Winters informed him that Shelby was admitted to the hospital after collapsing in her bedroom.
    Armed with the information provided by Mrs. Winter earlier over the phone, Jerry dashed out of his parked car and into the hospital. As he walked closer to the ward, he could hear Mrs. Winters’ soft cries and pleas to her daughter to make a full recovery. With a deep breath, he knocked on the door as a sign of his arrival.
    “Hello, Mrs. Winters.” Jerry forced a smile. “How’s Shelby?”
    “She isn’t in a good condition, I’m afraid, Jerry.” Mrs. Winters rose to her full height and repeated the doctor’s words before turning to her daughter. “It’s the beginning of the end now. Since it was Shelby’s choice to forgo medical treatment, we can only wait for the time when her body’s decided to throw in the towel.”
    “Can I have a word with you outside? There’s something I have to ask.”
    Mrs. Winters took hold of her purse and followed Jerry out.
    “The thing is,” he continued after they were out of earshot. “I’ve asked Shelby why she refused further treatment, but she avoided the subject. I was wondering if she’s told you the reason?”
    “She has. She told me that whether she continues with another round of treatment, it’ll ultimately rob her of her limited time to enjoy life. She doesn’t want to be plugged into the machines monitoring her every move and holed up within the four walls. Plus…” she trailed off, finding the appropriate words to express herself. “Another reason is you.”
    His eyes furrowed. “Wait, what? I didn’t ask her to stop treatment, Mrs. Winters.”
    “No, let me elaborate.” Mrs. Winters raised both hands. “When I pressed Shelby on this, she replied that she didn’t want you to spend your time on her when there are better girls than her out there. To be more specific, she was falling in love with you.”
    Jerry paled.
    “She couldn’t see a bright future with you, Jerry, if you two got together. Her illness will always be an issue that you two will have to tackle with and now that it arrived at this stage, it’d be a matter of time before goodbyes have to be said. Although she knows that it’s a tough thing to ask for, she wants you to love again and think of her as a distant memory of your past. If you ask me, Jerry, I actually believe that she sacrificed her short-lived happiness in exchange for your eternal one with someone.”
    What Mrs. Winters revealed left him speechless that he lost his voice.

Looking up at the bright blue sky above him, he now wanted to rewind the time to their first encounter and seize his chance while he could. He swore that instead of beating around the bush, he would come clean with his honest feelings with her. He made one of the gravest mistakes in his life and now that Shelby was gone, there was no way of correcting it.
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