Tuesday, August 20, 2019

08/20/19

And so, it shows that I haven’t been active on the blogosphere for some time now. I can’t even remember when my last update was.

I’ve not disappointed without a reason, though. Life took precedence once again with me focusing on my current position. I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it, but I’ve managed to secure a job related to the field that I studied in. The amount of paperwork in my current position is enough to keep me busy to such a stage where I’m working through lunch. I know that it’s not the healthiest option as lunch hour is there for a reason. It’s to provide employees with an hour’s break to refuel or to catch a breath.

Yet I love it; I’d rather swim in continuous stress in the workplace and fry my brains than to harbor feelings of boredom. There’s another reason; being nose deep in the paperwork allows me to lose myself in the tasks on hand. It’s dangerous because my brain can never rest. It’s forever checking off the work-related mental checklist. The effects of this is perilous. As if to make it worse, I’m suppressing my thoughts and emotions whenever I’m in public. It’s only when I’m alone, away from prying eyes and judgmental ears that it shows in my eyes. I know that it’ll worsen if I don’t do anything to resolve it.

It’s not that I don’t want to take precautionary or mitigatory steps. It’s more along the lines of not wanting anyone to know what I’m facing with. Ever since I’ve been kicked to the kerb after that critical period, it’s given rise to the feeling of abandonment. No one deserves to know what’s happening in my life or to me while life moves forward without me.

If I’m left alone to lick my wounds, then I shall be left alone, away from those judgmental ears.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

I'm a shadow

Folks, if you’ve wondered where I’ve been and why I’ve not regularly posted here, it’s because I had a basket load of matters to resolve offline. Throw in the casual position and most of my time would be dedicated to life away from the blog. I mean, who would’ve thought that in the blink of an eye, it’s close to a year since my return? I’ve been swimming against the emotional currents for such a long period that I’ve lost track of time.

Now that the casual position has ended, I'm introverting and spending more hours indoors. While this may be beneficial for my side hustle, I don't think it does the soul good to avoid the outdoors. As if that wasn’t bad enough, I twisted my ankle while trekking the hill. I’m not sure what caused it to occur although I’m sure I kicked into something - be it a pine cone, a stone or a cracked tarred road. It’s still slightly swollen as I write this post, though. And that was close to three weeks ago.

Yet I had a quick catch-up with a friend. Although he was worried that I might expose the ankle to further pressure (I arrived at our agreed meeting point by foot), I was adamant that my ankle recovered well enough for us to meet. I didn’t want him to travel all the way, only to discover that we can’t hang out because of my foot.

Somehow chatting with him allowed me to be myself, forgetting all of the worries on my mind. Even if it was for an hour. An hour may not sound fast to you, but for us, it did - without any recollection or warning about it. If there was a chance for us to stay back longer, we’d have taken the opportunity in a heartbeat.

Just a cup of cham (read: a mixture of tea and coffee) and a glass of iced coffee were what we needed as an accompaniment in our conversation. We even picked up from where we left off - disregarding the curious eyes and inquisitive ears surrounding us but exercising enough care to avoid getting in-depth about sensitive topics.

It still wasn’t enough to stop me from beating myself up over the backdated work. I’ll eventually have to complete them and tick it off the list when the deadline rolls up, but I can’t seem to find the passion/motivation in me to get started on it. I don’t know what’s happened along the lines . . . especially when I was never like that. *sighs*

Maybe I need to learn to take a breath and tackle it - one by one.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Memories of What Was Once


Memories are thick in the air,
Suffocating us.
Tears swam down our cheeks.
A promise that we made to each other.

A promise to live well and stay well.
We laid down our masks.
We bared our souls to each other,
Not hiding our pain.

In our pairs of lifeless eyes,
We saw a reflection of ourselves there.
You stared at the bottom of the cliff,
Thinking that your body will be lighter soon.

I gave it my all to pull you back
And save you from the edge.
I was on my knees,
Not wanting to lose you to the dark.

We helped each other to recover,
One second at a time,
One step at a time,
One day at a time.

With a little crack of a smile,
Remnants of a happier you rose to the surface.
A glimpse into the kind of person you were
Before your days turned darker than the clouds.

The warning signs glimmered like a night sky,
Yet I missed my chance of saving you.
The winds sigh around me in mourning.
Exhaustion crept deep into your bones.

You threw in the towel and gave into the darkness.
I’m now in the position I tried to save you from.
I’ve lost the light of life in my heart.
The similarities were the one that drew us close,

Yet it now forced us apart from each other.
As I edge closer towards the end,
My lips lifted with a smile,
Knowing that I would not abandon you in death.

Friday, June 28, 2019

What now?

Amidst the hectic state, I was finally dragged to trek the hills with the family - a habit that we engaged in on a weekly basis before circumstances changed me. Yet the hour-long exercise wasn’t enough to strangle the negative emotions in my heart to death. I don’t expect it to happen soon either. It snuck in and took up residence at the start of my degree, so it’d require time - but how long, only God knows - for it to leave.

It’s true that time will slip through the cracks of your fingers. It was just yesterday when I showed up for work with fear and anxiety about my work environment. In the blink of an eye, three months have passed, which signalled the end of my position. There was nothing much that I felt, but I wasn’t surprised either. It’s after all a casual/temporary position and I warned myself not to become accustomed to the workplace and colleagues for the fear of being attached. Although it’s not in the field of law, the scope was just as challenging since I’m not familiar with this particular industry. The only one I’m familiar is writing (housed under media), but at least it gave me some much-needed time away from law. The intense pressure that grew stronger in the duration of my undergraduate days kept me away for the time being.

There was no way of running away from the emotional exhaustion. I found myself hiding the pain and tears from friends and colleagues. Even when we’re texting on Messenger or chatting in person, I’d pretend that I’m as happy as I sound. I know that it’s bad for me to bury my thoughts and feelings without speaking of it, but that’s how I’ve coped all these while - so much so that I’ve forgotten how to speak up. To put it into writing, I’m drowning in the current - wanting to hold on to something but unable to reach out. I don’t know if it resembles a burnout or it’s merely an exhaustion, but aren’t those two similar in its own way? I’m hiding so much that even my closest friend has no inkling about it - because I don’t want any more questions about it. Since I chose not to spill the beans, I’d have to suffer from the effects because no one would be able to help me.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

06/06/2019

"All I see before me is that final 24 hours in Adelaide. The sadness swam in their eyes and their hearts shattered into pieces."


The moment I close my eyes to that particular song, all I see in my mind is that vision dancing in my mind. The vision where they forced themselves to hold back their tears for the fear of flooding the tears with the sticky solution. Come to think of it, it may be a subconscious cry for me to slow down and smell the roses, so to speak. It may also be an indication that I’m using the alternate universe or a happier past to cope with all the earthly stressors.

The document that did a 180 on me arrived on my doorstep faster than I expected. Any form of elation was replaced with a wave of anger in my bloodstream. Anger that I played my cards in the wrong fashion, which backfired in my face and landed me with irreversible changes. Anger that everything in my plans derailed like a train driver who has lost control. My circle of friends will never have an understanding of how I’m feeling unless I speak of it - and you may ask why I’d rather torture myself emotionally than to let them know.

I’ve said it from time to time: it’s my battle to fight and I’ll deal with it alone. Yes, you’ll definitely remind me that what I’m suppressing and what I’m projecting to those around me will crash into each other and make a clear path murky. And yes, it’s exhausting down to the bones to feign that everything is okay when it is not, but it is what it is.

I found myself reliving a flashback of me travelling with the Carries, Papa Carrie’s business acquaintance, and the guy’s family to a resort interstate. While I don’t remember the exact details of that trip, we were there at night. I wore the pair of Japanese flip-flops as the adults gathered at the cafe near the swimming pool. The children - two boys of differing ages - and I were close by, doing our own thing. Maybe the large age gap created an element of awkwardness between us - or I’m distant whenever I’m introduced to someone new. I need time to warm up to the person. I’m not shy; just … cautious, for lack of a better word.

Could this be a sign that I’m living in the reminiscence of the ancient days? For all I know, I’ve descended to a stage where I could care less about the wonderful Pandora’s box of the future. All of the unexplainable pain and aches that left me for such a long time have returned to harass me on a frequent basis. The recent one came when I returned to my cubicle after completing a task. As the pain knocked on my ribcage, I had to hold it while I hid behind the table to let the pain go away on its own. Maybe what I read is true after all: pains and aches will manifest weirdly out of stress and anxiety. Don’t let the looks fool you; I’m in a world of stress and anxiety as its toppings.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

05/12/19

If I’m zoning out, that’s a sign that I’m introverting and plotting the resolution of personal matters in my brain. What’s worse is if it occurs at the workplace and in the presence of colleagues. I don’t want to be mistaken as someone distant, but I don’t want to be pushed to the edge where the annoyance will glimmer in my eyes as a warning. All I need at that time is some moments to myself to process the information overload. If I don’t do that, my brain will be weighed down like an anchor with unnecessary matters . . . and it’ll be splashed on my face. No wonder the Carries have zoomed in on the fact that one has to be adaptable and flexible. Things are fishy when I’m boiling like a radiator in a room that has a comfortable temperature, which meant that my mood is about to slide off. I slipped out for lunch alone at a nearby eatery without my colleagues knowing because I needed the time out to clear my brain and calm myself.

Yet they are cool enough to understand that I’m not as fluent as them in the common language spoken at the workplace. Even though I grew up in a multicultural and multilingual society and have been exposed to at least 4 languages, it doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m fluent in all of it. My brain still doesn’t work fast enough to swim between languages, trust me.

But what I’ve recently observed is that I’m more selfish when it comes to weekends and holidays. I’d rather stay at home and recharge the introvert battery than to head outdoors in the midst of a crowded place. Hang on, I know what you’d say about this. Beggars can’t be choosers; working folks only have the weekends to run their errands and complete their shopping. If my battery isn’t fully recharged over the weekend, I’ve a tendency of working with a charcoal face. That’s why things are much better if and when I’m fully rested and ready to attack the working week head-on. Don’t blame me; I would love to be on my own for the remaining 25% as I don’t thrive in a crowded area. I thrive better in solitude. Throw me in a room with all of my work and the expected timeframe for completion and leave me alone until I poke my head out for assistance. Oh, and copious amount of coffee would be lovely as it’d keep me awake until I crash after hours. It’s a weird habit I have since before college.

“You have a caffeined bloodstream.”

My childhood friend would always quip that phrase each time we head off to our favorite coffeehouse to catch up. And I’ve learnt to take it in my stride as it’s true. Still, I can’t complain much. Life in law is more hectic than this and the first one to take a beating is my social life, as I’ve insinuated before.



Come to think of it, this reminds me of a touchy conversation between me and someone. It is a topic that only a handful of my nearest and dearest know. It’s the precursor to who I am today. In the quiet moments to myself, I questioned most of the decisions that I made in the last five years. The anger and sadness rose from nowhere into the air, suffocating me with all of the regrets. Yet the irony is there; the more I should arrange for an appointment with a counsellor/psychiatrist, the more I’m unwilling to do so. It’s rather safer for me to keep everyone at an arm’s distance instead. Although the specific someone desired for me to spill more beans as I’d feel much better after ranting, it’s arduous to do so . . . for personal reasons.

Maybe it’s true; the suppressed issues are deeply entwined with my identity that eliminating it would remove a significant part of me.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

05/02/19

There was a slight reprieve in the form of the Labor Day holiday, in which I was able to catch up with life and to do some shopping for new work clothes. You’d be surprised; the ones that I have in the closet aren’t exactly appropriate for my future permanent position. What made it inconvenient is the fact that I’ve never incorporated those colors into my everyday attire. For those styles, I wear it from time to time, depending on the occasion.

Yet the break wasn’t enough to refill the energy tank. One day’s rest is never enough, believe me. If you thought the life of a university student was tough, having a full-time career is another story in itself. The tank’s depleted to the point where I need a long break, but I’m only saving my annual leave for important matters instead. It didn’t help my situation when my body protested out of stress. The last time I was under the weather with symptoms like this, it was in the midst of my final year. Remnants of it first showed up during work, but the ignorant child in me thought it was related more to overthinking rather than a fever. It wasn’t until 48 hours later that the symptoms showed up at full blast: body chills, a rising temperature, a growing desire to sleep . . . you name it. I’m not surprised, to say the least. While my body tried its hardest to fight off the infection, I ran errands instead of locking myself indoors to rest.

Talk about testing my luck.

Although the fever was drastically reduced after spending a night in perspiration, it wasn’t enough. I returned to work with faint traces of it and even swung by the convenience store to buy paracetamol tablets - something which I’ve never done before. If I’ve attended classes while recovering from a fever before, repeating it for work shouldn’t be a problem. My friends would disagree with me on this, I’m sure. As what I’ve elaborated to a peer before our final exams, I’ll be that employee who will rock up to office even when ill unless I’m bedridden. I’m aware that it’s unhealthy as it’d affect the work-life balance and send me on a downward spiral, but that’s just me.

That brings me to the possibility of emotional exhaustion.

I should’ve realized that the tendency to come down with fever or cold might be a spillover from my intense academic days. But there’s more. I’ll tell you why; I’m now easily annoyed at my inability to concentrate on the tasks at hand. I’m making what my folks would term as silly mistakes. The pre-Adelaide me was never like this: she had the eye to spot mistakes and was more observant. While a reasonable person is able to move on from their errors within minutes, I can spend the entire day reflecting about it and where I could’ve done it right.

Maybe it’s a sign that I’m shrouded in brain fog. Or maybe not. Only time will tell which is which.

Monday, April 22, 2019

04/22/19

A lot has happened over these couple of months. Combined with what I endured since my final year up until now, I’m not surprised I always push myself close to breaking point. A part of me is aware that I’m using work to escape my emotions. A bad choice, yeah, I know. It’s the least I can do without bursting into flames at an unsuspecting and innocent soul. Another part of me has the sneaking suspicion that it’s the result of suppressing my emotions, leading to a personality change.

Those who are close to me (which are far and few between) cringe whenever they see me in this stage. Sure, they’ve encouraged me to come clean with whatever that’s bothering me. Yet there are certain things that’ll forever remain a secret from them. I’m weary of explaining myself to someone who hasn’t lived through the circumstances I was thrown into. I mean, it’s seriously unfair and it’d be a waste of my breath. At least with someone who understands, there’s not much need for words. Just a look in each other’s eyes is enough; the rest speaks for itself.



Also, I’m bushed to the point where I can sleep all weekend. It’s a common occurrence that most of my Saturdays are spent on catching up on lost sleep, lol. The beauty is that I’m unsure of its root cause - whether it’s from work, sleep deprivation, a tired soul . . . or a combination of it all.

One thing’s for sure; the sensitive antenna has absorbed all of the emotions around me once again. The good, the bad, and the ugly. All of it. What made it a bit tough was the sour mood that enveloped me as I made my way to the workplace. I wouldn’t say I bailed out on my colleagues, but I declined their invitation to join them for lunch. I needed to be alone for a while to recover from the emotional overload, but ended up spending the lunch hour with another colleague and our takeaways. Trust me, it’s not because I’ve lost my marbles. Even as a university student, I comprehended the unhealthy idea of eating at your cubicle, especially when papers are strewn all over your table and you’re working without a break.

Say what you like, but time slips faster through the cracks of your fingers when you’ve a million things to attend to and concurrently multitask. Succeeding tasks that roll one after another is perfect because it takes the edge off my mind. Being on the go all the time soothes the overthinking mind - yet it drains a large amount of energy from the body.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

A Divergent Path

Questions swirl in the air as I battle between anger and sadness at the deck of cards I have. A part of me feels it’s unfair that I’m in this situation with no light at the end of the tunnel. Yet the new moon brought me on a new adventure in life. I won’t go into the full details of the job scope due to the NDA. The daily routine is somewhat a form of practice, seeing that my intended field has more challenges and stress than I’ll like to admit. All career fields have its own challenges and it’s arduous to describe the level of stress. What I find stressful may be as easy as pie for you. What you find stressful may be something lovely for me instead. It all depends on the individual themselves.

Let’s just say that it’s a different field from what I majored in uni, but believe me on one thing. Educational boundaries are limitless - as long as there is a burning passion to learn about something. I can’t complain much as things seem to be okay right now. That’s something I’m petrified about. No matter how smooth the plans are, there’s always a tad bit of fear that something would go wrong somewhere and somehow.


Jasmine Green Milk Tea


Pork Dried Pan Mee

Speaking of which, I never fail to stumble upon new eateries with my colleagues’ daily recommendations. Lunch with them is sometimes a food exploration for a couple of reasons:


  • With them being around, I have to actually eat. I don't think I had regular lunch as a university student
  • By remembering where the eateries are, I'm able to decide on the spot when I'm in the area or within the vicinity
  • I'm sampling items that I won't purchase in a normal circumstance


That aside, the working week doesn't leave me with much time to pursue my hobbies either. I'm drained of any energy by the time the weekend rolls around. Even my plans for a project are delayed at the same time. But that has no time limit attached to it - yet. To settle it requires advance and tedious planning on my part - or late nights on some days. Is it something that I'm able to do?

Stay tuned to find out more.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

04/26/19

Although it’s been a couple of months now, I still remember what happened in the depth of those nights. I swallowed the emotions that spread in my heart like wildfire. My insistence of swallowing it resulted in the physical manifestation instead, causing me to suffer from immense back pain. It was at this stage that I promised myself that I’ll never return to this state of mind.

Yet, nothing has changed.

It’s safe to assume that I’ve momentarily lost my marbles as a result of the overthinking and late nights. I’m close to the precipice of emotions where I’m questioning each and every decision of mine . . . but I’d rather struggle with everything on my own. It’s not because speaking of it may amplify my problems, but more along the lines of my desire to avoid it. Truth be told, I’m extremely exhausted - even way more than I’m letting on. Even close friends have no idea what I’m dealing with. Although they’ve encouraged me on multiple occasions not to bottle up my feelings, I’d still throw myself into work to take my mind off it. I don’t want to rant on anyone when all of our shoulders are burdened with our individual responsibilities.

It’s as clear as day that there are undeniable changes in me. Maybe I’m facing with what they call reverse culture shock. Or maybe I’m being torn in two different directions . . . again. Familiar places have become unfamiliar. I’m more irritable than ever. I’ve written about this in the on-campus magazine before and I never expected that I’ll have to deal with this as well. I mean, I had my suspicions when I went east. I just never expected it to be this bad. Throw in other matters that I’m experiencing, it’s no wonder that things have derailed in this manner.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Torn in different directions

What I endured as a youngster has returned to haunt me. I know this for a fact because all of those side effects. It blew out of proportion in my final year when the stress was amplified. My lower spine radiated with such pain that I thought of two possibilities: one was a kidney issue and the other was a bone problem. Neither of which turned out to be true. It was just the physical effects of what I faced. Once I forced myself to take a chill pill and breathe (and boy was it hard!), the pain disappeared the next minute.

"You'll be okay."


There are moments in time when I had to swallow my emotions and say that I’m fine when I want to be left alone with my thoughts. Throw in the fact that I’m still overcoming my past experiences, it’s not easy to be around people at times. Someone once told me before that being alone is a risky game because it may lead to loneliness. If it is for an extended period of time, it’s a downward spiral into the dark abyss - where anything can happen. Even depression. I’d rather keep to myself than to seek help from those closest around me. There’s so much that I had to handle and resolve with no one to air my grievances to; only the salty solution to accompany me to sleep most of the nights. The tears would come at the most unexpected times with a wave of anger suddenly engulfing me instead. It’s either that or I’ll slip into the realm of dark thoughts.

Trust me, if you haven’t lived a day in my shoes or gone through a similar experience, don’t critique or judge my decisions. Since I secretly believe that there’s an element of dislike, I’m only doing what’s best for me and my emotions - even if it means pushing people to an acceptable distance.



There are moments in time when I hope that there’ll be someone who can hear me out and share my burden. Isn’t that everyone’s number 1 wish? To find everlasting happiness with someone they can love and trust with their lives? But I’m a realistic person. It’s not often that you’ll find someone who’ll not use your vulnerabilities against you. Finding that perfect person will be close to impossible, if not harder than expected. This reminds me of a late-night conversation that I had with an acquaintance about love and relationship. While the person only knows what I’ve told him, he comprehended my reluctance about the whole idea of a relationship. Yes, love may be sweeter than sugar and there would be beautiful memories for the lovebirds. On the other end of the spectrum, however, love has the most potential of breaking hearts and causing emotional havoc to the parties instead.

A part of me envisages the importance of having a stable career and settling down with Mr. Right, but I’m sure all of us are aware that only the lucky ones are able to have both. No wonder I’ve heard that marriage is similar to a life sentence.



There are moments in time when I’m seated at the edge of the cliff, pondering on the choices and options that I have. I’m also wondering whether there’s a lesson that needs to be learnt from all this. I keep landing in the same pile of mess; it’s as if the plot is repeated with the same conclusion at the end. But what it symbolizes, I don’t know. All I’m aware is that I feel like I’m torn in two divergent directions right now. Everything that I once believed in is being challenged by what I’m experiencing. What I’ve once regarded as true has turned out to be the opposite. What I’ve avoided all these while, I’m forced to face it dead in the eye now.

"I'll be there for you."


Even as a little girl holding the Chinese lantern and walking around the neighborhood with her friends, I understood that avoiding issues was never a permanent solution. I’ll eventually be weary from all of the running. I can’t be avoiding it forever. While I have presented the best version of myself to everyone, it has bled a lot of energy to maintain that facade.

After what I’ve lived through, seen, and experienced, I’m not who I once was. I can feel the change taking place in my bones. It’s not that difficult to notice; the fury will burn alight in my eyes to mask the brewing sadness. The ghost of my past is a faded memory that I’m clinging onto for dear life. It may mean that the issues I’ve avoided are bubbling to the surface and demanding that I take care of it. Or it may mean nothing.

And that has caused a lot of negative changes in me.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

03/13/19

I dreamt that we drove along the quiet, dim roads in search for the right building. I’ve no idea what time it was, but there was no parking whatsoever. It was cordoned off and blocked by the residents. We were frightened to illegally park the car and infuriate anyone.

There was a spiral walled staircase that led to an elevator that was guarded by someone. When we told him why we were there, he guided us to the 11th floor, house number 4. At the corner of my eye, I spotted a lady walking in our direction and instead ignored her.

The next scene panned to a house with white tiled floor for its porch and white gates. It was a share house with the main tenant. Both of us came to the collective decision to move out due to our respective decisions. Standing in the middle of the living room, the house was vacant and devoid of any decorative pieces. We had instructed the storage company to take all of our items a couple of hours earlier and remained to clean the unit. The main tenant walked out of the door, following her friend who helped to carry her luggage. I stayed on for a little while due to whatever reason I had. I noticed that there were pairs of jeans in different shades of blue placed by the open window of the master bedroom, which left me wondering whether the house came with an odd aura and influenced us to return vacant possession to the owner.

The scene where we drove along the dimly lit road could be an indication that I'm feeling lost. Or maybe the fact that I've not found what I've been searching for. The dimly lit road can also be looked as a dark road. In which case, the online interpretation suggested that 'if a road is dark this man represent confusion, problems, or a lack of understanding as you pursue goals.' I'd say that this is an insight into my current feelings since I'm as confused as ever. There is a bucket's worth of problems that I need to resolve. With no one to air my grievances to, all those emotions have turned inward and caused such havoc that I dislike everyone and everything around me.

Another interpretation is as follows: 'To dream of a paved road represents your path in life being easy or laid out for you. Your sense of direction is clear or catered to. Smooth sailing or nothing getting in your way. Negatively, a paved road may reflect a difficult time of your life that feels like you can’t escape the mundane. It may also reflect a life path that is too easy.’

As for the spiralled wall staircase, there may be two elaborations for this. One stems from me continuously binging on a Taiwanese drama called ‘Fated to Love You’. The other may be best explained by the online interpretation, where ‘if you see stairs at a public area or unknown place, it defines the issues that are related to your behavior and interactions with the outer world.’ Now, I won’t mention much about my behavior on a public sphere, but my social interactions have been affected by what I’m experiencing now.

I don’t know what to make of the scene where I dreamt of 11th floor, house number 4, though.

I'm not sure what a porch would mean, but 'a porch can represent the people who are close to you but not those who are part of your immediate family. Those you keep at a safe distance. Is it time that you let one of these people in? Is there someone whom you want to have a closer relationship with? Or do you need to put someone back in that group, if you have allowed them to get close to you and regretted it?’ If this is my subconscious desire to be closer to someone, I'd prefer to throw my feelings into the sea and turn into a stoic child. It might also hint at a couple of folks whom I know. My personal interpretation would be guarding my innermost feelings in the depths of my heart from the outside world.

As for the empty house, the layout of this property has a familiar aura to it - and it's because I know this house in reality. The online interpretation suggested that the 'porch can be called a positive sign, because in most cases it promises good and new opportunities. However, it may presage negative events; it all depends on other elements of a dream. Dreaming of a porch is a harbinger of a carefree life; this symbol indicates that a dreamer has nothing to worry about.’ Although it may indicative that I've nothing to worry about, I highly doubt that this is accurate.

There has to be something going on with the multiple pairs of jeans being hanged and blowing on its own. I don't own that many pairs in reality although I love denim. Although it is defined online as ‘To dream of seeing denim jeans represents a casual degree of discipline. A comfortable or casual attitude towards goals. Focus, discipline, or willpower that is comfortable not overly concerned. Your ability to persevere without worrying about anything.' I wish this is accurate because I don't feel this way at the current moment. Furthermore, 'Negatively, a pair of jeans may be a sign that you are not serious or focused enough. You are talking a very casually disciplined stance towards a situation. Casually accepting a situation the way it is without believing that being more serious is important to cause any desired changes.' This alternative interpretation makes more sense because I feel like I'm not as focused as I'd like to be in all of my endeavours. My brain has gone off on its own adventure and left me in a zombified mode.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Pure Bliss



Happiness dance in her eyes,
As she shares a glance with him.
The man of her dreams;
She is twirling with him
With their fingers entwined.

She found her refuge in his arms.
Safety envelops her like a parent’s love.
She found her home in his arms.
Her eyes crinkle up with love,
As she rests her head on his shoulder.

All the fears and worries,
She burns them with the fire of their love.
All the hopes and dreams,
She breathes life into it
As she moves on from her dark past.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Oiso Korean Traditional Restaurant, Tropicana City Mall (3 Damansara)

Note: this is the second time that I’m reviewing Oiso Traditional Korean Cuisine and Cafe. The first review can be found here.

I recently contacted the owner of the restaurant to find out about the current branches. It was at this time that I discovered that Oiso moved out from their previous location in IPC to Tropicana City Mall (now known as 3 Damansara).



The restaurant is located on the ground floor of the mall and diagonally opposite Oliver Gourmet, which makes it easier for anyone to locate it. Placed outside Oiso is the menu stand with a menu for any potential diner to peruse before making a final decision. Next to it is a garden decoration, as if to welcome all of the diners with a bouquet of yellow flowers. This signifies a welcoming aura that may draw you into Oiso. Instead of having cubicles or dividers to block out the tables and chairs from the rest of the space, Oiso practices an open concept principle for their seating arrangements.





We arrived at the height of the lunch hour crowd, so we waited for a while before the waiter guided us to the first available table. We observed that the decorative pieces in the Tropicana branch differed from the ones in IPC. Firstly, instead of framed pictures adorning the walls of the restaurant, it is replaced by a waterfall and Oiso’s signage. Secondly, there are built-in shelves that displayed more decorative pieces and the Korean coffee sachets. In front of the shelves are more tables and chairs to accommodate more diners.



Due to time constraints, we settled on Oiso’s speciality, which is bibimbap. Priced at RM 21.90, it is basically Korean mixed rice. It comes with raw cabbage, chicken strips, seaweed, carrots, sliced shiitake mushrooms, and a sunny side egg in a sizzling claypot. Its accompaniment is a handful of bowls with various side dishes, consisting of spinach, kimchi (fermented and salted vegetables), gochujang sauce (Korean red chili paste), anchovies and seaweed soup.

Once I mix all of the ingredients in the claypot, it balances the sweet and salty aftertaste on my palate. The taste of each individual ingredients also contributes their fair share to the dish. While the chicken strips are salty, the raw carrots and cabbage compliment the chicken with its neutral taste. Yet the dish was a tad bit overly salted for my palate. As it left my tongue with a burning sensation, I was tempted to order a mug of cold coffee to quench my thirst.





Name: Oiso Traditional Korean Cuisine and Cafe
Address: G-13, Ground Floor,
3 Damansara,
3, Jalan SS 20/27,
Damansara Intan,
47400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Tel: +60163684211

Thursday, March 7, 2019

03/07/18

I’m either losing my mind or I’m feeling shaky as of late.

Now that I’m forcing myself to return to writing, my head keeps thinking of that specific person. I don’t know what it signifies or why my subconscious is doing that, but one thing’s for sure. We’ve not been in continuous contact with each other. In fact, we’ve not been on speaking terms for years now. It’s not that we had a falling out; we were carried away by life’s responsibilities.

It also doesn’t help that I’m forever reminded of the polar bear statue on the rooftop of the foreign company. It was my landmark every time we drove past the Shah Alam toll in my childhood. It signified so much yet so little to the younger me yet I find myself being comforted by that memory.

Maybe there was a reason why I destroyed all of the documents evidencing that period of my life. I didn’t want anyone to stumble upon it and steal a glance into my past. It’s not that I’ve a shadowy past; it’s just that it’s something that I prefer to keep it private. It should remain with me and only me, where I can bring it up in my mind whenever I’m down. Plus, I can’t forget my past because it’s the foundation of my identity. I’ll just have to accept it and let the feelings wash over me whenever it arises. Sure, we all have our happier moments in life devoid of all complications, but it’s not called life without those mishaps.

I’d like to chalk my sleepless nights to insomnia and the copious amount of caffeine I’ve taken. Believe me when I confess that I’ve taken coffee for dinner. But I know that’s not the only reason. It’s evident that the hidden side of me - the one where only I myself know - wants to rebel against the stereotype. It shows up in the form of those energy-zapping thoughts. And boy, can those thoughts keep my mind active when I’m supposed to be catching up on sleep. Troubled thoughts have kept my mind racing, but no one can understand it until they are in the same boat.

My body has felt weird for the entire week, as if I’m in a dissociative state. Truth be told, I don’t blame him for what he did. Although it left me in a state of daze in the days leading up to my exams, and the witnesses in a state of shock, I empathize with him. He must’ve felt that he was pushed to the edge without an escape route to break his fall or an encouragement that there was more to life outside of the abyss. He must’ve wanted to drastically end the pain that he lived with in exchange for some much-needed peace.

Up until today, none of us know his identity. Only bits and pieces of it.

Up until today, I still remember the fright swimming in her eyes when we caught each other’s glance.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

02/28/19

Anger boils in her heart,
As she scans the crowd around her.
She finds herself reliving her old memories,
Clutching her weak heart.

She is thrown to the kerb,
Helpless and homeless.
Jeers and taunt are what she hears,
Not words of encouragement.

Down on her knees,
Curses and laughter are thrown at her.
Down on her knees,
She swallows the tears that swim in her eyes.

The walls are up,
Shadowing her heart with darkness.
Her heart is stone cold,
Protecting her from the societal disappointment.

Her eyes speak of indescribable sufferings.
She yearns for a home
Where she can rest,
Away from all of the mess.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Blending in with the crowd yet standing out



Standing in the midst of the crowd,
People walk past and around her.
Her face is fixed in stoicism.
Her eyes are soulless.
She stares straight into the distance
At something without form.

She is boxed into a corner,
Molded to compliment a stereotype.
She is forced to live a life,
One that was planned for her.
One that she disliked with a vengeance.
But never the one that she dreamt of.

Her hands are tied,
Like the prisoner that she is.
Her eyes are blindfolded,
Forced to follow the flow of water.
People’s perception of her,
Forced down her throat.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Torn between two worlds

How do I even phrase this?

It can be said that I’m at an emotional crossroads where I don’t know how or what I should feel anymore. All I see are the bad and the ugly, not the good. I just want to disappear into the abyss somewhere inside me and run on autopilot. It’s arduous to see the positivity in all of the negativity around me, especially when this was not the life that I envisioned as a little child. I understand that circumstances change as we all grow older - by the minute, by the day, and by the year. But whatever happened to innocence and jolliness?

Yet it’s impossible to live the life that we all want; we just have to adapt to the cruel twist of life.

The life that I wanted for myself wasn’t supposed to be in this manner. I understand that I won’t have the best of both worlds because that’s how life is. I’ve to choose between one or the other - and knowing the person that I am, I already know which route I’ll end up choosing. It’s the route that will disappoint those closest to me. Don’t blame me; I’ve been deeply disappointed by the cards that I am dealt with. It’s not that I don’t know how to play the deck of cards. It’s because I overplayed ‘em. I’m also dispirited with the way things have turned out.

“It’s out of your control. Nothing you do would change the fact.”

Yes, you can console me with those words above. Deep down, I know with clarity that I have half the blame to carry. I won't and can't deny it. There's nothing more that I am able to do. I can only bite the tree bark and cry in the silence before I pick up from where I left off.



A conversation with a friend some weeks ago reminded me of something that happened an x number of years ago… at a time when I was a different person altogether. I'll be candor; I cared for a certain someone in such a manner that there were sleepless nights. Yet, I dreamt of the said person with a confrontation about our tiny misunderstanding. The person reacted differently; instead of meeting my gaze with a glare, it was full of warmth. In reality, we were driven apart by circumstantial silence.

Nobody - not even the person themselves - knows about this. I made pact with myself not to come clean with the person about this. Whatever I want to say, I'll bury in the depths of my heart. After everything that has occurred, I've realized that it was easier to let go than to hope for the impossible. The ship has sailed and won't return to dock anymore. It'll be something that I'll have to live with for the rest of my life, just like the rest of the mistakes made.

Imagine how one experience can shape a person’s viewpoint about life and define their personality.

Now that I’ve learnt the importance of caring for those whom I regard as my nearest and dearest, nothing much has changed. I’ll never allow anyone to know how much pain and suffering that I am under. It’s my battle to fight and only mine to fight. Why would I want to dump a container load of emotional crap and burden others when they have their own issues to deal with? It’s just not fair for them.

Just because I chose to let my disappointments slide doesn’t mean that I’m unaffected by it. I made a decision not to throw tantrums about it because it would only worsen things. Giving voice to it wouldn’t improve the current situation, so why waste my breath to bother about it?

But what’s important now is to ensure that I don’t sacrifice my physical and mental health in pursuit of my dreams again. I’ve placed my physical health on the line in college until I earned an earful from the TCM practitioner and had to take a day off my classes to recuperate. My mental health took such a beating that it’s affected my emotions in more ways than one. I can’t afford to endure part two of this.

Friday, February 15, 2019

02/15/19



Exhaustion creeps heavily in the air,
Wearing me down.
No one understands me for who I am,
Only knowing me for what I am.
All are fooled by the crinkling eyes
And the curved lips.

The harder I thumb on the wound in my heart,
The more the wound bleeds.
As I compress it close with pressure,
The heart drips blood in its wake.
All of the sadness devouring me alive.
The cries of help silenced by my stubbornness.

Eyes are pressed shut,
Not wanting the tears to flow down the cheeks.
Memories swim in the brain,
Choking me with nostalgia.
It rises from the ashes in my mind
And leaving nothing but pain behind.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Just let me be who I am

Now that I'm a year older, life is not what it has been made out to be.

The truth has either been sugar-coated or toned down to protect all of us from the full exposure of society. All we focused on (when we were younger) was to work hard in the name of high grades. It didn't matter if we were close to sacrificing our mental health because our future was in the line. If we didn't have a well-paying career, we wouldn't have successful lives. Yet we missed the memo about exercising caution in the big world ahead of us. Not everyone is there to see us succeed. This includes those whom we call close friends and acquaintances. Some of them are there to remove the carpet from beneath our feet and watch us fall flat on our faces. Some of them are there to plot our downfall from behind the scenes.

In which time, their masks will slide off and reveal their true personalities. I feel that this has been a common occurrence in my situation where I see who are there for me only in those moments of great assistance. 


Now that I'm a year older, this place no longer carries that air of familiarity.

Four years of biannual flights weren't enough to retain my memory of the places around me. What I remember is not what is now greeting me. Driving past those areas have left me with such ache that it is hard to describe those feelings. I still remember hopping to that cafe during my break time to catch a breath or to sink my face in their lovely honey lemon tea. If I was lucky, the person who always served me would be on duty. He would always take the initiative to remember my special order and serve the drink to me in the way that I like it: hot, honey on the side. I still remember running up to that quiet, but not so secret hide-out of mine whenever I needed a timeout or to clear my mind. It didn't bother me that friends were able to find me there - I just wanted a place away from noise and humans.

The faces that surround me are all faded remnants of the past. While they are still the same people whom I know, the bond that once held us together has been loosened and stretched by my absence. And the distance of time. I'm in a position where I belong neither here nor there. I don't feel welcome in both places - being here makes me reach out for the comforting arms of reminiscence and being there makes me crave for the stability that I grew up with. 

Now that I'm back, how did I land myself in this situation?

Gone were the days when I'm the one having the loudest laugh and being the pistachio of the group. I am more contented with letting someone else steal the show while I nurse my boredom with a mug of coffee or a pint in the background. It's easier that way; I don't have the excess energy to pretend that everything is okay when it's not. Maybe it's because of what I was exposed to as a young child. Maybe it's because I never got everything that I wished for. Maybe it's because I decided to shed a part of myself to cope with everything that has since happened. What I envisioned for myself never turned out in the way that I wanted it to. 

As they say, if you have never been in the person's shoes, never judge them for the actions that they have taken or will eventually take. This is applicable to that incident some Novembers ago. I wouldn't wish this on anyone because it takes a lot of strength to deal with the side effects. Although it's been such a long time now, I still don't want to talk about this on a public sphere due to its complexity. It affected so many people that we are forced to deal with it in our own way.  

Yet it provided me with the insight of the other side, the part which not many people are aware of. The part that is forever subjected to people's judgmental viewpoints.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

The Flashbacks of 2018

January

As you might’ve noticed from the lack of posts, I was barely active during this month. I was out of the country on an extended holiday. Although I had continuous access to the Internet, it was difficult to maintain the frequency of my blogging because I was out of the zone. The intention was to spend three weeks away from Adelaide and return in time for the New Year’s Eve celebrations, but one thing led to another. This led me to push my return flight an additional four weeks later. I guess it was a blessing in disguise because I avoided the heatwave - twice.

I cleared all of my plans and ensured that I was able to watch the Australian Open finals between Federer and Cilic even though it was on the eve of my departure. To be honest, I was rather worried that I might not be able to watch it. So, I was relieved when the match ended early - although it was four sets - because it meant that I would be able to catch up on some needed sleep before the day of the flight. And found myself wide awake at 5.15 am local time.

I haven’t woken up at this hour since elementary.

I found myself heading to the airport earlier than usual on the day of the departure. As I had checked in for my flight via the web portal, the check-in counter staff allowed me to drop my bag earlier than other passengers. The process was done in fifteen minutes - ten minutes in the queue and five minutes at the counter. Since I was ravished, I subconsciously headed in the direction of Coffee Club and ordered myself a meal with coffee. I don’t usually drink coffee in the evening, but I needed the stimulant to keep me awake during the flight. It’s kind of odd; for most of my recent flights, I have always spent my time at Coffee Club - either quenching my thirst with Jasmine Green Tea or satiating my hunger with a meal.

Omelet  with Flat White for my late lunch/early dinner at Coffee Club Malaysia, KLIA Departure

The neighboring table even looked at me with a weird glance, lol.

Not wanting to kill the entire 4 hours at Coffee Club, I headed in the direction of Immigration. In all my years of traveling, I have been aware that the queue at Immigration/Customs will take up most of the waiting time. Since there was no one in that particular line, it only took me a minute or two to be done with Immigration.

Although I wasn’t lost, I’m sure I looked like I was rushing for a flight, lol. You will probably be able to guess the airline I took and the airport I was in with the following sentences. I suddenly remembered about the Enrich voucher that I redeemed for the use of one of their lounges (that are reserved for first and business class passengers). Since the Regional Lounge was closed for renovation, I was directed towards CIP Lounge, which was tough to locate. I ran around Gate C in search of it and passed the place twice. I didn’t even realize it until the kind soul in Plaza Premium Lounge pointed me in the right direction with the appropriate landmark.

View of the airport employees preparing to load the check-in luggage and the catered food into the airplanes from the CIP Lounge

Although the people at the registration counter suggested me to go to the Regional Lounge in Gate A, I remained in the CIP Lounge because of its close proximity to my boarding gate. At least I don’t have to rush like a maniac. As I elaborated in this post, the flight heightened my anxiety levels. The cabin lights flashed twice before take-off and as the plane climbed up to an altitude of 30,000, the TV screens blanked out and restarted itself. Whether I liked it or not, I knew that there will be turbulence in the Indonesian and Western Australian shores and didn’t give it much thought.

As we approached the Spencer Gulf, the plane started shaking badly - a sign of turbulence. I presume the pilots decided to climb to a slightly higher altitude to combat it, which almost knocked me out cold with fear and dizziness, but the fellow passengers were as cool as cucumbers. What I didn’t expect was the shaky landing in Adelaide. The pilots slightly altered the flight path to descend, but I still felt the plane bouncing no thanks to the wind - something like a person jumping on a trampoline. My heart raced with anxiousness. They say you should enjoy the flight experience and leave it in the pilots’ hands, but it is easier said than done. It was obvious that the child in front of me was frightened because she kept snuggling towards her mother - who sat next to her on the window seat - for comfort and protection. As for me, I only let out a breath I didn’t know I was holding when the plane landed on the runway. It was only when the aircraft came to a full stop that my heartbeat slowly returned to its normal rate. My legs jellified when we disembarked and headed in the direction of the Immigration/Customs.

I didn’t know how bad the weather was until I exited the airport with the luggage. A gust of wind blew at my face and messed my hair, which left me annoyed. You can read the rest here.

February

No thanks to the curveball that life threw at me, I grew irritated at the way it dented my plans and forced me to come up with an alternative. Plan B wasn’t something that I’ll refer to in the first instance, but I can’t complain. To maintain the mojo and keep myself from overthinking, I stayed busy with volunteering activities. Don’t worry; I knew what I was signing up for when I volunteered for another position with the university. It somehow allowed me to focus on the tasks in front of me.

So, it was a surprise when I managed to carve some time out to catch up with the good friend, the sister, and another acquaintance over dinner. One of them was surprised that I wasn’t back in town for long. em, Most of my friends in Subang Jaya know that it is tougher than pulling a tooth to arrange a spontaneous hangout with me as the introvert in me values her solitude.

This year was the first year that I celebrated Chinese New Year alone. It didn’t bother me as much as the sister initially feared. The reason is simple; I haven’t properly celebrated it since I turned 18 for personal reasons. What my family usually do was to whip up something simple in lieu of the reunion dinner and be couch potatoes for the rest of the night. Plus, it didn’t feel right to celebrate it here when I’m away from my family and with a different atmosphere. So, it was bearable if I gave it a miss.

I cringed with hesitation when the sister told me what she had done behind the scenes. She didn’t want me to be alone but didn’t want me to feel awkward in the presence of her family members for their reunion dinner either, so she begged for the good friend to accompany me on the first day of CNY. My hesitation arose from the fact that he’s the first male friend who has visited me in my residence alone. I never brought my friends home even during my time in Taylor’s because home is a private space that I hold with great value. For me to invite friends over, I’ll need to be close to them or be good friends with them for it to happen.

A quieter stage - yet still a part of the Fringe opening night with music, food, and drinks

Anyway, the good friend and I caught up on where we left off in the previous meetup and talked about our apprehension at returning to uni - while having the simple dinner that I cooked for us. I’m not big on preparing banquet-style meals unless I’m having an open house or hosting a large group of people. Plus, it was just the two of us. A simple meal would have sufficed - I didn’t want to eat the leftovers for dinner when I did just that the previous week.

With the celebrations out of the way, it was time to focus on the O’Week volunteering activities that I signed up for. It was also because of this that I found myself in a busy mode for that entire week. The campus tour was alright; while I showed the commencing students most, if not, all of the pertinent lecture theatres, it also served me as a reminder for me so that I won’t find myself lost for the Evidence lecture. The Faculty Day was manageable as well. Although we turned up for it, we didn’t do much except to accompany the commencing students under our care and offer our help, if needed. It was after all their day.

My final year officially started a couple of days after that. It started off okay, but what can I expect? It was the first week of semester one so the tutorials wouldn’t start until the second week. The same couldn’t be said of the electives that I chose, though. Unlike the core courses, the electives started the moment the semester started. My Foundations lecturer was a tad bit surprised to see me enrolled in his elective (Climate Change Law) but pleased nonetheless. And so was the good friend. His eyes shone with excitement when he saw me. I had told him when we last met up that I was enrolled in Environmental Law but unbeknownst to him, I dropped it at the eleventh hour because of personal reasons. (Which turned out to be a good thing.)

March

This month was a rather busy one for me. I crammed the Climate Change Law and Legal Theory presentations into a single week when I was as blind as a bat. It left me floating on air because I was pressured for time and the perfectionist side of me hated doing things at the eleventh hour. I’m still clueless about certain course topics, but then again, I’ve always had this problem since freshman year. *sighs*

As the two of us were in need for some quiet moments after a crazy semester last year (that involved us rolling our eyes at the proximity of the academic deadlines with exams), we found ourselves having a rather expensive Italian lunch near the campus after the tutorial. Well, expensive for me (at least) because I will subconsciously convert all of my purchases and meals from the Australian Dollar to Malaysian Ringgit. Yes, it makes me break out in cold sweat every time I see the converted amount - but it’s alright to bend the budget for an occasional treat.

I also find it odd that we are able to discuss everything under the sun - except assignments. Even if we discuss our individual take on the group assignments, we would do it in such a way that you wouldn’t even notice that we’re talking about it.

As if that didn’t surprise me enough, there was an impromptu Japanese lunch with them sweethearts. Before you think that we rocked up to an actual restaurant, we just went to the nearby cafe selling the cuisine. Me being me, I knew the dish that I wanted the moment I perused the menu. As we waited for our dishes to arrive, I was almost frightened when I heard something snapped before I saw that the fellow spilled his drink.

Let’s just say that one was thrown under the bus and the other was mercilessly teased, lol. There’s no guessing who those two are - but we were cautious to avoid any topics that were out of bounds.

Exercise caution when you are opening a bottle or can of gassy drinks.

The reason why I said impromptu was because we never planned on catching up during the semester as we’re forever in contact with each other - either via the face-to-face time or social media. It’s always during the mid-semester break or the actual holidays that we’d be able to find a common time to meet somewhere off-campus.

On top of that, I had a busy time trying to accommodate the volunteer activities and co-curricular events into an academic schedule. You might find that my timetable looks spacious, but, in actual fact, it isn’t. Most of the free time is spent holed indoors with legal books keeping me company.

April 

When the mid-semester break rolled around, I was almost dead from exhaustion. I’m sure that most of the final year students would concur, especially if their accompanying courses are heavy ones. Once the three of us had completed our separate assignments, we arranged for a bak kut teh session at my place to catch up - in the capacity of friends, rather than peers and future colleagues at law. As it was my first time preparing it, it didn’t turn out as successful as I thought it would be. It was more watery than what Mama Carrie usually has when she does it.

I was extremely annoyed when the weather had a mood of its own - it was hotter than Sahara desert one minute and monsoon weather the next minute. Let’s just say that I’m accustomed to constant humidity with little to no cool weather and two straight months of constant rain. Not the erratic climatic changes. It made me so emotionally unstable that I ignored all of the messages (even though it flooded my Messenger and WhatsApp inboxes).

I must’ve been stressed out because I had a lot of consecutively weird dreams - from dreaming to that familiar stranger, the sister, Papa Carrie, throwing tantrums and shared accommodation with the good friend all the way to feeling lost. I’d love to say that I had a field day interpreting each and every one of it, but the thematic feel was being lost like a deer in the woods.

Although I had the prior experience in advocacy from the IHL days, I wasn’t looking forward to the interlocutory applications because I knew how nervous I could be in front of the judge. But it had to be done anyway. It was either be thrown into the deep end now or be thrown head first into the rebuttal side of things next semester. Based on the conversation I had with a fellow coursemate in IHL, we both agreed that the advocacy in DRE seemed easier because it didn’t involve any legal research or references to the international criminal tribunals (International Criminal Court, International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, etc). The most we would have to do is read the cases and apply the legal principles to our factual scenario.

May

As if my schedule wasn’t busy enough, I decided to volunteer for another cause, which I know I’d be able to relate to when I’m older and possibly having my own family. The speech given by the ambassador left me choked up with emotion because I understood the grief that she endured in the weeks that she lost her child. Losing a child at 10 weeks after carrying it for a full 9 months is not something that anyone can easily understand.

Me being me, I wanted to take my mind off the advocacy for a while and arranged to go out for a drink with a friend after the second interlocutory application. The friend’s alcohol tolerance is far higher than mine and I knew my limits anyway, so there was no chance of nothing untoward from happening to either one of us.

Yet the thing that I never expected occurred.

A part of me wanted to taste how and what G&T was after it was mentioned in the books that I read, which led me to take a gamble. One and a half glasses of wine and two sips of G&T later, I suffered from the worst spell of dizziness with a strong desire to sleep. I could barely focus on the conversation without losing coherence either yet none of my friends saw the signs. Or maybe they decided to leave me alone until I said it aloud that I’m arriving at the pinnacle. After glasses and glasses of water and ice, I managed to regain enough sobriety to last me until I headed home - but that wasn’t even enough to keep me alive.

My poor friend was rather worried because nobody expected me to have that adverse reaction to gin. I’m usually okay with beer and wine (in fact, I’ve drank a combination of both on one of my night flights - much to the chagrin of the senior flight attendant as he thought that I was underage back then). To make matters worse, I rocked up to Legal Theory the next day with traces of the hangover. I felt my head being split into two - that was how bad it was. I’m usually okay the next day, so it must have been the sudden shock of alcohol percentage in the bloodstream that caused the hangover to overstay its welcome.

(I’m just hoping that child doesn’t eavesdrop on the conversation that I had with the lecturer about this. I’m not exactly worried that he knows I enjoy my occasional glass of red wine, but not this.)

When I woke up with a banging headache the next morning for a volunteering event, I knew that I was in shit trouble - as it was either the fact that I had a heaty body or the hangover still persisted. The latter didn’t make sense, but I read somewhere that hangovers, depending on its severity, can last up to 72 hours. Even the supervisor in charge thought that I injured my leg as it looked like I was limping. In actual fact, there was so much pounding in my head that I subconsciously dragged my feet.

In short, as a law student, I should have enough common sense to have ordered a heavy meal (say, a steak or burrito) to accompany the wine. Desserts are never going to cut it.

Maybe it’s because of the season, but my emotions were not exactly stable. My thoughts kept circling on a particular person whom I know doesn’t want to have anything to do with me now. The recent dream that I had of him felt … so real that my heart was racing when I saw him standing there. He looked much older than me - as if the years apart hadn’t treated him as well as I thought. He was only a couple of years younger than me yet he had twinge of silver in his hair and crow’s feet. I wouldn’t have recognized him if not for that glimmer in his eyes. That one which spoke of him being proud with a sense of vulnerability. Yet he didn’t look like he recognized me. If he did, he hid it well.

June

It was one of those hectic months that I don’t wish to endure again, I’ll be candor. Not only was it miserable, it bled any life energy out of you. My final research essays were due on the same day and a week before my DRE exam. As if that wasn’t enough to push me to the edge, I received some unexpected news a couple of days before the exam that punched the lights out of me. I found it hard to believe that it happened because it made no sense whatsoever. None of us could connect A to B no matter how much we tried.

I highly doubt it’ll make sense any time soon.

Don’t ask me how I manage to survive in one piece. I only remember spending late nights on campus to revise and refine those research essays. I grew more anxious when it started to rain in the middle of my exam because it has never happened before - and I’m not a fan of rain for emotional reasons. To celebrate the end of a chaotic academic journey, a coursemate and i had a quick coffee in one of the city malls before we went on our ways.

On the bright side, we finished earlier than the kids, which gave me some breather to pack my clothes and prepare for the flight out. I also had a breakfast meeting with my mentor, which came as a surprise because I wasn’t expecting it.

The Harrods bear - within seconds of the aerotrain

July

Lo and behold, my break came to an unwilling end. If you gave me a choice, I wouldn’t have returned to complete my final semester. I’d have stayed back there and run away from the misery I landed myself into. I bent the dates as much as I could without missing my tutorials.

But alas, it is a duty that needs to be fulfilled - or my efforts would’ve gone to waste.

On the evening of my departure, I managed to gain access to the main Malaysia Airlines Golden Lounge, the one in Gate A of KLIA, and rested there for a couple of hours. With a voucher that I redeemed with my Enrich points, that is. I was rather surprised to see that they provide a buffet meal with access to coffee and iced tea on top of bathroom facilities.

Procrastination was at its all-time high. Having dreams about sharing a luxurious condominium unit with my partner only served to confuse me even further. On top of it, what I saw and experienced changed me into a different person yet again. Dealing and collaborating with peers threatened to drain the remaining bits of my emotional energy. I was snappier and nastier than I ever was - dropping profanities without some sort of filter.

It was during the flight out that I realized that the only way for me to endure was to suppress any emotional pain I felt - or at least wait until I was within the four walls before letting myself go. It also made me realize that regardless of what anyone says, no one will truly be there for me until the end.

August

The introduction to the final semester was such a torture (no thanks to the severe sleep deprivation) that I skipped a week full of classes to catch up on sleep. Let me tell you that operating on minimal sleep is dangerous because it’ll incur a wave of a headache. As predicted, I increased the number of volunteering hours - not because I was after anything but because the job hunt started to rub me off in the wrong way.

I volunteered for the Hub Day Out - something that I had agreed to do prior to my return - and chipped in more for my position, which caused two things to happen. Firstly, I had to find a way to balance the time spent between the other volunteer role and this one. Secondly, the little free time that I had to immerse in the me-zone became almost non-existent (especially when you throw the amount of preparation and time needed for the assignment).

It didn’t help that some part of me enrolled in an 8am tutorial… or maybe I was conscious when I did it. It surprisingly didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would. It might have been the result of a long coffee break or the experience from the period one class - daily. History repeated itself in the form of four assignments due in the same week. It’s not fun at all because I had to multitask and ensured that I wasn’t writing the wrong thing for the wrong assignment. I was relieved in some ways that I was able to complete a draft copy for one of the assignments earlier than expected, which gave me some breathing time to focus on the rest. Another one included two orals - one was a presentation and the other was a mock trial. It left me in a state of anxiety because I never had the experience of being the counsel - and didn’t know what to expect. No amount of preparation can prepare you for the twist and turns that a trial will take; that’s what I noticed in IHL some years back.

I barely made it alive, though. By the time that week ended, I wanted to rush to the nearest ice-cream store and devour containers of my favorite flavors. And sleep the weekend off as well.

I’m assuming that it was better that way as it meant that I’ll die from the academic stress once - instead of continuously. But on a second note, being exposed to so much stress at one go is not good for me because I’m someone who’s already on the edge most of the time. The additional stress might have done its part in sending me off the cliff, which, thankfully, didn’t happen.

September

One of the main reasons why I love and hate being busy is time. You need to feel that time has just slipped away from the cracks without even noticing it. The fortnight before the mid-term break was jam-packed; assignments were due one after another and I wanted to throw everything in the campfire and disappear from society for a couple of days, which illustrated how bad things were.

And a lot of help that it did to me. As if that wasn't enough to send me into a state of exhaustion, I swapped the intention to watch a presentation with another volunteering event. Yet I was on auto-pilot for most of the event. Don't ask me why; maybe my brain was under pressure. I'm clueless as to how I managed to balance the completion of the assignments with my volunteer commitments that included the spring graduations as well...

I’d have crashed and burned if it weren’t for me biting the tree bark in persistence. I was relieved when the mid-term break finally arrived - because it gave me some time to take a chill pill and retune my focus. I also managed to meet up with the good friend and the criminal law friend separately, and on two separate occasions.

When I caught up with the good friend, the notion that this may be the last time that we’ll hang out before my departure was at the back of my mind. I think he sensed it from my body language as he asked me about my flight. Not only that; something else happened that widen my eyes with a mixture of shock and helplessness. I’ve never seen him in this state … he’s always been cautious not to show it in the years of our friendship. But I guess he couldn’t avoid it this time because it was unexpected.

Who knew a letter could carry such weight on the reader?

It was a different situation with the criminal law friend. We decided to have the overdue lunch meeting because we wanted to commemorate his graduation and have an exchange of gifts, seeing that I would be busy when the mid-term break ended until technically when I leave Adelaide. So, we had lunch together … and yes, I know what you readers are thinking, but no, sorry to disappoint you, lol. I was rather surprised that we didn’t hold back with the nature of our conversation. What made me raise my eyebrow instead was the birthday/farewell presents. Let’s just say that it’s not something I’ll have expected anyone to purchase for me.

Another problem cropped up; there was full-fledged insomnia knocking at my door. I don’t know how people operated with 2 hours of deep sleep on a daily basis - because it’s plain exhausting.

October

To be honest, this was one of the busiest months of my final semester because I was forced to deal with a million things. Yet I was able to mask my inner feelings and pretend that everything was smooth sailing - in front of everyone. The spring break couldn’t have ended at a better time. At least it permitted me to take a breather and get my wirings in the correct order.

It was a week after that we had to tackle a group presentation. Not everyone in the cohort was pleased when we found out that the individual classes had to present our findings (pros and cons) to the rest of the peers, but it had to be done. I only volunteered myself to be one of the speakers because I didn’t have the time to conduct the necessary research. I guess my only solace was that it wasn’t a full lecture theatre - otherwise, you’ll see me melting into a nervous goo. One incident still stood out in my mind. There were two peers from Gatekeepers who were concurrently enrolled in a different time for their Evidence tutorial. While I’m acquainted with one, I’m on a professional basis with the other. The acquaintance had total confidence in me and sort of expected that I’d be on the front line. The other one didn’t see it coming - and I hadn’t known that he was there until he poked his head out - as if he found it hard to believe that I was speaking. I don’t blame him; I refused to speak more than necessary for our Gatekeepers presentation yet here I was in front of everyone.

My Migration Law essay and the Gatekeepers take-home were due on the same day albeit different times, which only meant one thing: a lot of multitasking and late nights. When I first learned of the clash, I was tempted to ask the Migration Law lecturer for an extension - or at least an extra two days for me to focus on the research essay. But I wanted to challenge myself, knowing that the workforce would have more clashes than this. I surprisingly managed to complete both in the nick of time - but it resulted in me taking the rest of the week off and not focusing on the exam revision.

November

I was a tad bit peeved with the exam arrangements as Evidence was on the last day. As this clashed with a job interview back home, I had to instantaneously decline the offer and see if it could be rescheduled. It was not what I desired, but it’s not like I had a choice. Speaking of exams, I have no idea how I managed to strip the residence of my belongings while dealing with the shipment and revising for the finals. To whoever is scheduled to take over the apartment after me, be thankful that I wasn’t able to ship some of the items back home. If I had extra funds available, I’d have taken everything with me - because those are good-quality plastic containers.


Compared to last semester, this semester was particularly emotional for me. I was more irritable and frustrated than ever before. I found myself on the verge of snapping at everyone and everything around me. Don’t get me started on my memory; it was like a sponge where it soaked up all of the information but was squeezed by the immense pressure. I knew that I was emotionally stressed because my lower back has never played up like that (even though I slipped on the wet footpath in front of the main campus).

But nevertheless, the three of us managed to catch up and treated it as a farewell hangout instead. Let's just say that it was full of emotions because it would be the last time that I'll be in the same area as them. Our friendship would now be tested by the distance and absence from each other's company. I'm not sure whether we'd be as close as before, but c'est la vie.

My coping mechanism was tested to the maximum at a news piece. Now I understand why people believed in ‘being there at the wrong place at the wrong time’. It initially numbed me, but there were subtle signs. My hands shook the minute I tried to do something. My heart raced the moment I thought about it. The fact that the exam was around the corner didn’t help me much either - in fact, I rocked up to the exam hall with a flat feeling (although my peer confessed that my eyes shouted stress).

Due to the flight arrangements and the end of my lease, I was unable to stay in my residence until the eleventh hour and had to reserve a room at the nearby hotel. This would have been alright, if not for the fact that the flight was delayed by close to 4 hours. It wasn’t exactly the welcome I looked for - and the beauty is that no one (including the on-ground staff) knew what caused the significant delay. The flight passengers were far from pleased and I don’t blame them because not everyone received the notification from the airline. I was rudely woken up by the text message and email about the delay - four hours before I was scheduled to make the trip to the airport.

December

It wasn’t originally my decision. Yet it brought everything forward due to the circumstances at that time. Doing so created one problem for me: the final grades would be released weeks after I flew out of the country. Seeing that I had a million things to deal with and screwed up with my exam revision in the end, I was ready to be contented with a bare pass (even though a low score in the six-unit course would drag my GPA even lower). It was something I came to terms in the penultimate year. If I’m forced to choose between a credit/distinction GPA and mental stability, I’ll take the latter. The perfect score wouldn’t be perfect if it came at the expense of my health, regardless of mental, emotional or physical.

Now that all of the scores have been confirmed, it’s a relief that I passed everything. I’m not happy with what I got, but considering that I barely focused on the exam revisions, it’s better than nothing. Otherwise, there would be more havoc involved - ranging from additional payment to flight arrangements. And I highly doubt the old folks would be willing to fork out another sum of dough for me to sit the supplementary exams.

A little dessert that was served complimentary with my pre-selected meal 

Put it this way, I already knew that things have changed the moment the flight touched down in KLIA. A wave of anger swam in my bloodstream and propelled me in the direction of the Customs and luggage carousel with hesitation. Returning was always the Plan B in the event that Plan A failed to work out. It no longer made a difference whether friends knew about my return or not; all I wanted was to live my life under the radar with a good job that allowed me to put my theoretical knowledge into practice.

Friends or no friends, it didn’t matter much.

The exposure abroad opened my eyes to the fact that there is more to society than meets the eye. Just because people are friends with each other, it wouldn’t mean that they are there for each other in times of need. Just because you have given someone a favor, it doesn’t mean that the favor would be returned. Promises made would not equate to promises being realized. When you are forced to live in a world that consists of dark thoughts while maintaining appearances, you have a different viewpoint on life. When you have to survive without so much of assistance from those whom you thought were your friends, you tend to have a skewed and a slightly biased view, if I may add. You may even arrive at the assumption that society is selfish and self-absorbent.

Maybe I’ll change my opinion when I have come to terms with my emotional battles. Maybe I’ll still maintain my viewpoints in the future. Only time will tell in which direction I lean towards.

I bought myself some time through a freelance job to ease my transition from academics into the working world. To be honest, I didn’t enjoy the academic journey because I wasn’t … at home. Most international students would also tell you that there are hidden struggles of studying abroad that isn’t talked much about. I’ll leave it at that; maybe this would be expanded as a standalone post in the future. Or maybe not. We’ll see.

Here’s to hoping that 2019 would treat me better than 2018. I don’t have the reserve energy to deal with another crappy year.
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