Dull celebration

This year’s celebration was really boring. Dull, without life and mundane. I think that is probably because my family is not celebrating Chinese New Year anyway.

I have been spending quite a tidy sum of money to develop my newest project, of which is the latest to come online. Seems like I have had quite a lot of abandoned or ruined projects so far but I doubt this one will go down the drain like the rest did. Speaking of which, I think I seriously need money. I realise I can really spend like there is no tomorrow, which is of course, a terrible thing to dawn upon.

The past few days have been spent idling at home, practically sitting in front of the computer and clinging on the web like a spider, as Yu Xin puts it. We did not really go out much, save for the time when I went to my dear old friend and best mate’s house – JJ. He really grew taller. I am anticipating tomorrow’s outing. It should be fun, what with the meeting up with old friends and house visiting plans. It had better be good, or else my holiday this time would end up just like how it ended for my last holiday – dull, bored, tired and mundane.

Speaking of which, I realised more than ever that I really want a camera. Looking around my blog I came to conclude that it needs more life and is really dull. A little bit more pictures and photos should do it good.

I realised I have been repeating the word ‘dull’ for many times. What a dull person I am.

Happy Lunar New Year!

I know, it is a tad too late to say it. It is the Year of the Ox. What does it bring? I am no Chinese master nor a have any professional interest in Chinese horoscope predictions, therefore I do not know what will happen in the coming year. Apparently, some say it will be a good year, since the element is Earth and it means stability and relates to recovering and healing periods. From the perspective of economy, the prospect will still be not so attractive and many expect the stock market to be weak and will not regain momentum until the year is over.

My New Year Eve was spent at Grandpa’s house, where we usually have dinner then. It has been a tradition as long as I can remember. Then came the part where the adults would play cards and gamble, whereas the aunts would gather and chat. That was the time I would sit nearby and listen. Sometimes they have such interesting things to talk about. We went home before midnight to catch the unofficial annual fireworks show. Every year people would buy stockpiles of fireworks and burn them at midnight on New Year Eve to celebrate the coming of the first day of Lunar New Year. Sometimes, the sight is spectacular and it really amazes me how the fact that living in Kuching is a lucky thing. There is no restriction on fireworks and even if there is, people would simply find ways to get past them. So, we never fail to enjoy mesmerising lights and colours lighting up the dark inky sky every year. At times it would even feel like pandemonium because there are simply to many explosions simultaneously. That would be when we could not even hear each other and it would feel like a war zone, what with the explosions and lights and all. Nevertheless, it was awesome, as always.

Even so, somehow I feel that the celebration this year is not as grand and exciting as it had been in the previous years. Maybe the bleak outlook of the economy has something to do with it. People would then just find excuses and say “Market not good larr..” in order to cut down on expenses. There is less noise, less festive atmosphere and less excitement in the air.

To think that the celebration this year would probably be my last one in Malaysia before I go to Czech Republic is a sad statement itself. I am sure we can at least come back for a week but I doubt that the period will be free. It is not possible that there would not be any lectures going on then. Not too sure about it, that is why my former teacher is arranging for me to meet up with one of his former students who is currently studying medicine there too. I am going to ask him about it then.

I recently had this sudden passion about wanting to earn a dime online. Went to search high and low for opportunities but I find that all either need time, money or both. Seems like I will not get serious about it, not until I finish my A-levels first.

Oh well. Here ends my ranting.

Post exam cry of freedom

Yes, mid-semester examination is finally over. KTT-ians go back to their homes in droves, leaving the college deserted save a few lonely souls. I am going back to Kuching tomorrow.

The exam was over in the blink of an eye. Somehow it feels easier to cruise through compared to mid-semester exam for AS level. I guess that it has to do with the core syllabus being shorter than AS materials, albeit the fact that it is ‘ 3 times as difficult as AS ‘ as Mr. Zaini puts it.

Speaking of which, the Advances Subsidiary results came out. It was a moment of great anxiety and fear as we walked towards to glass panel on which the results are posted. As I checked the list for my IC number, my mind was blank. Imagine the sheer relief to see my results are, well, good. Thank God. Overdramatic description? Well, picture this: the placement procedure will be based upon how well we do in our AS. For us Czech Republic bound, the scenario is quite a daunting one: we have to go through an interview and an entrance exam, on top of acing A2 in order to qualify going overseas like everybody else. Never mind the fact that we have entrance exam; the interview prospect already drains half the courage from even the most eloquent of speakers in our group. Failing the entrance exam means we would be dropped off the list from Czech-bound group and rerouted instead to other countries, say, Indonesia. Passing the entrance exam but failing the interview would land us in the same pathetic situation.

Long story cut short: we shall have a hell of a semester waiting for us once Chinese New Year break is over.

We could not afford to fool around last year, and for 3 months everybody toiled and grinded their noses off in order to scrape up good results. Now that the results are out, we have to wait for placement into our respective universities. Failing the entrance exam and interview means we cannot try the entrance exam for another university – failing ONCE is the end of it. Imagine the horror. No second chances. Plus the fact that once we know which university we are heading to, we would realise the revelation that the remaining few months might just well be the last few months we are going to be together, at least for those who are placed in different universities.

Trials and tribulations – they are part of life. We can only do so much, the rest is up to powers beyond our control.

I am not going to think about the hardships ahead for the time being, anyway. Hoping that I could enjoy this last stretch of holidays before the arduous task ahead.

Quick updates, meaningful acts

Time for more ramblings on my life.

Exam season is around the corner, and in 2 days the 1-year programme students will sit for their first examination in the year 2009. Another pressing matter at hand, however, is the soon-to-be-released Advanced Subsidiary results on 22nd January. We are all crossing our fingers and praying fervently. The mere thought of it sends shivers down my spine.

Recently, my roommate had a fantastic and humble idea of collecting funds for the Palestine Relief Fund under Mercy Malaysia. I have to admit that he is really a man of actions and he does what he wants. He has this amazing urge to help after reading the daily atrocities inflicted upon thousands of innocent civilians in Gaza Strip. So, he enlisted the help of most of the male classmates and we went on a donation drive around the college. At first, due to his over-eagerness, we started the drive late at night on 17th. In that short period, however, we managed to collect over RM400 from the students. We went up each stairs and knocked on students’ residences to appeal for aid. Some kind souls gave RM50 without hesitation. Thus it is really true when they say Malaysians are a generous lot.

He sought help from his female classmates and together they raked in more than RM700 in donations. Today we went on a last donation drive to appeal from the lecturers. The last count of the total amount turns out to be close to RM2000, our target. Thank God that the Datin director approved of our intentions. We feared that the whole effort would be jeapordised if some less-than-philanthropic people object to our activities.

On a more serious note, the mindless shelling and offensive push of Israel military has stopped, at least for the while being. As innocents start to pick up their shattered lives and tread their destroyed homes in fear, what could we, as fellow human beings, do to alleviate their suffering? Some might see it as a conflict between religions and ideologies, but ultimately, it is an act of arrogant disregard for international pressure and a cruel move of a secular Zionist regime. Some people misunderstand that Zionist equals Jews, and thus, the religion which is intricately linked with Christianity is seen by some as a monstrosity. It is misunderstanding and confusion which led to various conflicts we see today. Truth is, Zionism is a policy created by hardliners of Israelite cause, propagated under a mask of self-righteous claim and helped by the fact that the military hardwares they possess dwarf that of Palestine. The fact that there exist some anti-Zionist groups in Israel itself goes on to show that what people see and perceive today might not be the truth, especially when the media starts portraying certain groups as being terrorist cells or others giving the other parties a bad image.

The question here is not about who is right or wrong, as told by my friend. He put forth the question of who would look after the innocents that die, lives that are lost without cause nor justification. Thus, the donation drive we organised was not a rallying event to throw support behind any particular nation. It is the desperate yet cohesive action of some like-minded JPA scholars who just want to help, to alleviate suffering and do what we can to deliver aid to the civilians. The invasion not only an act of aggression, but an unfair punishment for the people. If we, as future doctors, are without sympathy and look on the victims as just casualties of a faraway war that does not concern us, then I personally think that those who have that point of view lack the proper drive to be a humane doctor, without any semblance of humanity to even carry out the basic duty of a doctor to care for the sick, wounded and ill.

I asked my friend whether he wants to join Mercy Malaysia voluntarily in the future. His answer was a resounding ‘Yes.’ At last, someone who shares the same aspiration as I do.

I procrastinate, a lot

Yes, I admit I am no robot. I decide to do one thing. Whether that thing gets done or not is another matter.

Since the start of the holiday, I actually wanted to revise on Chemistry and Biology. I set big plans and deadlines for myself. I planned to go through everything, at least once. I know that I am far behind my classmates.

Procrastination prevails. I simply do not have the will to force myself to study. There had been too many distractions. I am currently staying at my sister’s apartment at Petaling Jaya, by the way. So came the inevitable shopping sprees, morning breakfast, dinner at some fancy bistro – the list goes on. I never had the time to properly sit down and focus. Not that I had time nor the proper place to park my bum anyway.

To think that close to 10 days of supposedly fruitful break was wasted, just like that. Thrown down the drain like some gooey mixture with the stench of dead mice. Sometimes, I blast myself in my mind, the disciplined, prim and proper side of me giving the lazy, laid-back other a good, harsh telling.

“There you go again, wasting all your time, doing unproductive things!”

“Relax, dude, we still got time.”

“TIME?? Mid semester exam is coming. In two weeks you will regret this! Your friends have been grinding their bloody noses off books, while you have been loafing around, rotting and decaying!”

“Pfft.”

Yes, sometimes, all I could manage was a pathetic ‘pfft’ at the whole mind-boggling reality. The painful, cold and merciless reality that I am hopelessly behind schedule and yet could do nothing about it. I understood Yu Xin’s unbearable stress during the Advanced Subsidiary examination not too long ago. I felt the way she felt, though on a more manageable level. I simply restrained, with a considerable amount of strength, myself from collapsing emotionally and bursting out like a wretched filthy water balloon.

Yuck.

Yet, all I could manage was a ‘pfft’. Or a ‘meh’. For I, being ever the lowly, undeserving and overrated student that I am, simply could not believe the impossible odds.

Looking back, somehow I could manage all that. Managed to pass last year’s mid semester and Pre-AS without being bruised much. Higher power at work here, I would sometimes think. Truth is, there had been times when something seemed so doomed to failure and cannot be salvaged, and yet it turned out better than what I ever dared to imagine.

Conclusion is, even when I feel so helpless, like being on a tiny rickety boat on a raging sea in the midst of a ferocious storm, I somehow can be the lone sailor who whistles happily, tending to the riggings and checking the sails while holding on to dear life. Yes, Ian the worry-free sailor. Sometimes it would become an oxymoron. I could have won The Best Oxymoron Award for it.

Just kidding, there is no such award. If there is, do inform me.

2009, Here I Come

As the year 2008 goes by, we usher in 2009 with renewed hopes that things will change for the better.

Let us see why 2008 has been such a crappy year (for many, but not for me):

1. Financial turmoil saw major financial institutes like Merrill Lynch and Lehmann Brothers go bankrupt.

2. Election results showed Malaysians are ready for a breath of fresh air in democracy.

3. Bukit Antarabangsa landslide – when shall we learn?

4. Stupid seatbelt ruling.

5. Fuel price went up to RM2.70 per litre.

One might say, almost none of the above issues affect students like me. Truth is, they did not affect me at all. I might add that with a gleeful tone and a cheeky smile on my face.

Let us see why 2008 has been such a good year for me:

1. Went for National Service – invaluable experience.

2. Straight A1 in SPM – thanks to family, friends and teachers.

3. Awarded JPA scholarship – dream came true.

Looking back at the year 2008, I realised how time flies. Time waits for no man. We might try to grab it, but it flows through our fingers like beads of sand. Yet, as time goes by, we grow, eventually becoming a person who might someday become somebody. I dream of that day too.

I learned a lot. I learned the true meaning of friendship. I learned that you only get what you want through perseverance. I learned that no matter where one might be, ultimately no one can survive on his or her own. Those who claim they do are only hiding behind a mask of defiance.

As I tried to comprehend the meaning of life, as I searched for truth, my spiritual journey began. It came to pass that I finally understood and for that, I now walk towards my future with dignity and confidence. I shall set out towards my goal. It was not easy to come to terms with a seemingly difficult future, even more so when that future involves a lot of trials and difficulties.

A levels is not easy. We finished Advanced Subsidiary level and before we could even breathe a sigh of relief, comes the A2 part of the syllabus. It would be, quoting Mr. Zaini – “three times as difficult as AS. You should not fool around.” Nobody would be foolish enough to fool around in the first place.

By the end of this year, hopefully I would be writing a new entry at where I want to be – Prague, Czech Republic. I dream of the day when I would be typing away and uploading new pictures in a warm cozy room with snow falling outside and piles of books on my bed, winter clothings strewn all over the wardrobe and the room filled with laughters as my friends sat on my bed, chatting happily.

How I wish that day would come true. Yet in my heart, no matter what, I would pursue it. It is my new year resolution.

Wishing all a happy new year!