Wednesday, January 25, 2012


So I received a year's worth of wishes for my birthday yesterday. Most weren't very fancy, just two words, 'Happy Birthday!' and there were others who wrote more. Just receiving the acknowledgement was nice, and I wanted to thank each personally and did so.

There wasn't really anything insane this birthday. Nice and pleasant... and it reached half-day when I started feeling bored. Apparently, my friend was too, because we decided to go out. With no purpose or intention or even knowledge of where we were heading to, we said that we would just go out 'a wandering'. Well, we ended up having dinner at this fancy place with affordable prices and good food.
Later at night, I spent it laughing with another friend watching this movie, 'Definitely, maybe.' I realised that my film tutor had been talking about the kid in this film, and how 'creepy' she was. She talked in an 'all-wise' way, telling her father what to do. 

Dad: Why -why are you so concerned with this anyway?
Maya: Because I want you to be happy.
Dad: You know I'm happy.
Maya: Trust me, dad. You're not happy.

There is something disturbing in that, a what, 7 year-old girl talking like Yoda? Anyway, it made me think of that film tutor of mine, whom I will really miss. He was a good actor too, and always made his lines sound exactly like the characters. Those classes were great.

Anyway, I'll get to the point of this post. Well, so my cousin tagged me in a note on Facebook; which he said was given in lieu of a birthday present. 
It's priceless; one of the best presents I've ever received. 
And I thought that I'd share it here:

I copied it all in my journal. Am trying to think up a way to put it up somewhere where I'd see it everyday.

Things worth knowing :

Make decisions based on what YOU want to do, not on what other people want. Following the crowd is easier, no doubt, but you won't be happy.

Don't ever close any doors through laziness. Sure, school is a pain, but you don't want to limit your options by screwing around. Be excellent, try your best, and if you choose to go to college or not, know that it's YOUR choice, not one foisted on you by poor decisions.

Try everything. You're at a point in your life where the world is open to you. Just because you haven't done something doesn't mean you won't like it and can't provide you with a lifetime of satisfaction.

Be kind to everyone. It's easy to get approval by picking on those weaker than you. Avoid that temptation. Everyone deserves your regard.

Forgive your friends when they wrong you. They will. It's part of life.

Be kind to your parents. Odds are they love you and want what's best for you. Alienating them will hurt them and those scars will last for decades.

• If someone asks you out on a date, go. You never know.

Read. Everything. Get a list of the top 100 books and slog through it. Yeah, everything won't make sense but you'll understand the world so much better. Everywhere in our culture people allude to things that you just won't understand if you haven't forced yourself to become well-read.

Take every opportunity to travel. Seriously. The world is huge and you want to lose your provincial view as early as possible.

Get involved in politics. You may as well get disillusioned early.

Stay in shape. It's so easy now and it will last your life.

Don't smoke.

Learn a foreign language.

• Don't be contemptuous of those who know less than you.

• Take every opportunity to tell your family you love them.

Learn to cook.

Save your money for things that are important, not things that give you momentary satisfaction.

And here are the flowers my wonderful pen-pal sent me. They're so beautiful!


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

double birthday.

the wish I made.

"The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof."
–Barbara Kingsolver

Friday, January 20, 2012

of all the wonders.

no, I will not keep you small.

go out there, go out there and create the most wonderful things you have only ever dreamt of before. Make them real, those sparks. Burn them, into suns and stars. Remember your passion, every second of your life. And if you ever forget, trust that it will find its way back to you, because that is what it always does.

you are a wonder, my love. I trust with all my faith that it wouldn't stop us; that it'll only make us greater than before.

here's my wish for you. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012


  And these remind me of the beach. The blazing sun baking mercilessly on your back, the grains between your toes, the larger than life canvas spread out before you and all you needed was a good old stick which you could pick up from somewhere about that place -it could be anywhere, that place was so vast you would surely find something, and even if you couldn't, your fingers would probably do just fine. Then lingering about the water's edge, getting your feet wet and sticky before the next wave comes in and washes it clean again. And if that weren't enough, we would decide to soak our whole selves in the saltwater.

  This vast sea stretched out so far, but I swore that I could see its edge. Trips to the beach were joyful events; it either meant that my cousins were staying over at our house, or it was a trip out with family friends. Other than that, although I had lived on that island almost all my life, we hardly ever 'just went' to the beach; like eating those famous cookies -my mum always tells us that 'We live here. We can eat it anytime.' But we visited the shop only when relatives and friends from outstation came.

  My dad would usually forbid us as little children to go and meet the water, but I remember quite vividly these two times, when he didn't seem to mind. We ended up with sand in between us inside our clothes where we could feel it but could not shake it. But I guess that it was worth it. Lying upon the saltwater, allowing it to hold you, lifting you up in intervals... It cooled the sun even though the rays still shone through.

  When we came out, there would be food with the rest of the adults who sat gathered under the shade, be it a tree or a shelter set up on the beach. We would wash our hands with fresh water brought from home in large mineral bottles, before we were given sandwiches -I think they were usually sandwiches.

  Sometimes we scrambled over boulders three times our height and explored a new world. A pair of sunglasses I'd had with me since I was one slipped off and fell with hardly a splash into the water below, lost to me forever.

• • •

I guess I'm just writing this just because I felt like writing it. Well, I've had been writing all that I wanted to write, but not what I had been assigned to write -these nights where sleep comes slow, there was one where I just got up after an hour of trying to quiet my mind, and filled up six pages of my journal. Guess I'll go back to my project now.

ps. I joined the StopSOPA thing, which means that my blog will be blackout on the 23rd of January. Can't believe that that bill thing is proposed to be passed on my birthday. But still, if you do follow my blog, it'll show you the significance, since I've been hoping to write something on 'nineteen'. Well, let's just focus on what we want, anyway. Because positive emotions triumph negative emotions every time. And as that's from 'Inception', it reminds me yet again -back to work. ;)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

wandering back to the past.

*click on the pictures to view them in full on black. Come back to the post for the words though, if you're interested.

I miss that town
I miss their faces
You can't erase
You can't replace it

I miss it now
I can't believe it

So hard to stay
Too hard to leave it

 'Photograph' by Nickelback

  And so it seems, every once in a while, when I current situation seems to be taking me nowhere, I figured that I had this tendency to go back to old things. It's a little like packing my room. I don't do that often, because when I do, I take a long time. It isn't because I'm slow at nature, quite the opposite. But when I do pack, I pick up every tiny object and examine it with a gaze of sentimentality. I guess it happened to memories too.

  Today was one of those days where I was finding it hard to concentrate. I try to settle with something, but then my mind says, 'Ta-da! You've got this to do as well.' So I wonder if I should actually go and do that, and what was being done is abandoned. Two minutes later, that same voice speaks up again, 'Remember, you've got this as well.' And it frustrates me terribly because I end up with a writer's block and nothing gets done. I recognise the slight irony of how I'm actually also writing now, but that is a different kind of writing. I need to get the plot and sequence stuff right, and I'm striving so hard to make everything just flow and I think I'm pushing myself really hard to come up with something of a professional standard. I've been rather harsh on myself recently; half of which I deserve, for if not I would be slagging off again and it terrifies me to think that I might end up nowhere. But then the other half just makes me doubt my own skills, and this does not help at all because my camera is then left in my bag. And so I start missing the days where I shot everything with a heart and, well, quite literally everything. I guess I'm still learning.

  So I went to dig up my old journals for I can usually find inspiration from them as the words run thick with the blood of her soul. I come across old longings, and it's funny because I have been feeling them again recently. Which has quite something to do with why I'm a little terrified again. I'm holding my breath at times, heart pumping so hard while my mind rumbles with all the thoughts of hope. It's good to have it back, even though it runs to frustration sometimes, which is usually a result of feeling like I'm waiting. I guess I understand that 'time is the only thing that stops everything from happening all at once' and how each and everything has it's time and will happen...and even though I secretly know I'm glad that not everything has happen yet so as I would still have things to live for, there are times where I just want it now. So stubborn. And it would be more okay for most others who might not understand, but for me, I know I understand and it seriously is the hardest to fight against your own knowing self. It's like your friend letting you know that there's art class tomorrow and you straightaway tell her, 'I don't know what you just said.' But you know you do.

   Anyway, being reminded of dreams, I realised that even with every heartbreak, it's okay. And that it's okay to cry your heart out sometimes, because it's the only way to penetrate right through the pain and like Robert Frost says, 'The best way out is always through.' It somehow doesn't work as well when you try to hold the pain out at arms length, and continue walking. You still feel it after a mile. The sobs release the tension from the clench in your heart, and when you're done, you're so much lighter you will even be able to skip. But then again, you'll probably understand when you go through it yourself. Words are signposts to the real places. They aren't everything, but they do offer an enormous bit of help.
"And then I felt sad because I realised that once people are broken in certain ways, they can't ever be fixed, and this is something nobody ever tells you when you are young and it never fails to surprise you as you grow older as you see the people in your life break one by one. You wonder when your turn is going to be, or if it's already happened." 
-Douglas Coupland
I have always wondered about this quote, ever since I found it more than a year ago. And I think I've just found my answer, and that is, it is wrong! I hadn't quite dare confirm that it was wrong before, because I guess I figured that I've had a relatively good life and didn't think I was broken in any way. I pondered about the last bit though, but I did hope that I would be one who would always be able to bounce back up in the end.
But here and now, I would assure you that it is wrong. Because during the times when I was down, I was also in search of more understanding to help me get back up. And because of that, I always came out through those times when I thought that I was lost with so much more than I had ever knew before. So I benefited in two ways, that which I was feeling much better and also, understanding gained.
Looking back, I know that without those dimmer times, I probably wouldn't have gone looking for wisdom -which I enjoy doing, except that during happy times, you sometimes feel like it isn't quite so necessary? Therefore, I'm still thankful.

  Well, I guess that I'll now leave you with my pictures, along with a few words I have to say about them. Also note that all the pictures -except for two, perhaps- were taken with a compact camera with barely five megapixels, and a lot of heart. Enjoy, and do leave me a comment if you have any thoughts. :)

Streets of Penang during night time, where roadside hawker stalls are open and the city buzzes with food fetish energy. You cannot go to Penang and not eat. 

Not much, just a small pot of bougainvillaea of my dad's hanging in our garden.
And pictures may be pretty, but they are also limited. You put some borders around something as infinite as this universe, and you can change the way people see things. I've learnt that it is okay to do so, because we need limits to create pictures, stories even. You compose them and if you do it in the right way, you've created something interesting. But do keep in mind that the larger picture still exists.
I've said all those because if you thought that this is the only pot we have in our garden, you couldn't be more wrong.  

Looking up through the patterns of tree leaves at the sky in the Botanical Gardens.

A girl drawing by the sidewalk in the Botanical Gardens. I've never really seen that often, but that time that I went, I saw at least three painters. It was interesting.

Just some other visitors to the Botanical Gardens.

Botanical Gardens.

Well, I actually miss the garden in my house way more. 
I was thinking about a few months before I came, how I had sat at the swing beneath the tree on my own, with only my iPod for company. The night was young and my family were indoors already, which now, I don't even need to close my eyes to be able to imagine their yells after each had finished their shower, to let the next person know that the bathroom was available.
I swung there, landing my feet on the ground only to kick me off again, and dreamt of the time which I now live. It's weird, I guess? She dreamt of me, and I remember her...
Which now I know I'm dreaming again. 

It had always been me first, who would've gone down to the rivers and streams to touch the water; but that time, I stayed on top and took a picture of my dad and two siblings down by the water's edge.

Some special natural leaf arrangement on the tree as we walked back.

My dad's watering cans.

Reminders of mine.

A rainy night at home, one of those loud tropical rains.

This was an interesting one. My brother had this weird sugar-crystal-like stuff in a small flat plastic cap. I was bored then and was looking around for something different to photograph, because I had felt like I had photographed everything in my home already (I read somewhere just recently that that's rather amateurish. But well, I guess we all start practice somewhere.)
Anyway, that stuff of his was all white, and I had some blue food colouring. I had an idea, but I also had to weigh up whether the photographs would be worth taking the risk. A spur of the moment's recklessness made me go ahead, and I dumped in a few drops of blue food colouring in. It spreaded out like fire eating away flesh.
I took my photos, but I couldn't help sniggering, which is I guess what gave me away. My brother came to investigate, took one look at what I had done and began hitting me. I ran away laughing.  

Kerosene lamp in the garden during Earth Hour.

I painted the walls ;)

My most favourite tiny person in the world. He's my cousin and the only one then who would willingly 'model' for me. 
I. cannot. believe. that. I. haven't. seen. him. for. so. long.
I had always hoped so hard that he would grow up to be as wonderful as he is. He's the sweetest kid ever.

Trying out typography on my aunt's whiteboard.

Pretty sun and clouds, seen from my garden.

Sunset from a hotel in Batu Feringghi.

I don't know how to believe that I am missing Chinese New Year for the second time now. It horrifies me to find that it's just like any other day here, just because it lacks the atmosphere.

Maybe repetition will cause boredom? Or maybe I just don't know what to think anymore.

I remember the photo above being taken. I also know that that probably wouldn't happen again (not the lion dance. They'll still perform.).

Fireworks at home.

Playing around with the settings on the camera -piano decorated for Chinese New Year.

The sky displaying heaven above.

Another something I drew on my room wall.

Before writing this post, I was bouncing a ball in my room. One of those rubbery-glittery type. I felt like such a kid again. Which is good, to retain your child-like interest while you learn about stuff that are supposed to be more serious.

Keep your memories, but don't live in them. 


Saturday, January 14, 2012

journeying to Bath.


We joked and said that the sign read: "Don't feed the grules"

crossing back to England from Wales.


street performers

"Quiet Street"

squirrel in the tree