…. things I’ve learned from my Homecoming

They say “7” is a magic number.

Let me shed the light, there are seven colours of the rainbow, Seven Wonders of the World, seven sea and continents, seven days of the week, seven deadly sins, even Snow White has seven dwarfs, and don’t ask me why. Though chances that “7” is world’s favourite and lucky number can be highly contested in the sea of more than 1.3 billion Chinese population and more. Well, in the defence of ‘8” of course.

Oh by the way, why 13 is the unlucky number again?

Long story short, this post is a dedication to the 7 things I’ve learned from my 7th month of homecoming back in Bolehland.

1. Thinking

Hang on, let me justify. This doesn’t mean I wasn’t thinking before I came back. In fact, it is something that EVERYONE has to do subconsciously every nano second of every mili day. But the truth is, I never thought that HARD and LONG before.

Working in a think tank both in offensive and defensive modes is like entering a battlefield with war tank. You need to constantly reload your ammunition before firing out. At times, you get shot, at times your enemies go down. Sometimes, firearm is malfunctioned or you misfire. Precision is the key.

“Pen is mightier than sword” is not a new paradigm shift.

However, in order to think critically and put things into perspectives, an enabling environment is crucial. This translates into freedom of speech and most importantly freedom to think.

If opening one’s thinking cap is a REAL effort here, we have a significant imperfect competitive market “cough sedition-cough-law”. In order words, we are entering in the era of thinklobalization without ammunition in our think tank.

2. Driving

Yes. I’m 26 years old and I just passed my driving test last summer. In April this year, I started to drive in the heart of KL for the first time, and to work. I was literally driving like a chicken without head. But hell, I’m glad I’m still kicking today. Hallelujah. Don’t ask me how. To be fair, I kissed a static car costing me a whooping RM 350.

3. Drawing

I see art as one of the most important form or tool of expression In Malaysia. Science to action is so yesterday. Art to action it reaches beyond the artefacts of religion, race and stereotypes. Art creates a vacuum for both vibrant and passive particles. Art generates an abstract and virtual ecosystem where one can seek asylum in the midst of 7 deadliest madness.

4. Balancing

Right and left ideologies, will one reach an equilibrium state? Relative to what state? This is the mantra of slack lining. One has to keep moving and look forward in order to reach its destination.

5. Cycling

Cycling is impossible they say? Tell them that even impossible spells I M possible. No climate and humidity nonsense. Just pick a bike and helmet. Your friends say you’re crazy. Ride and be at awe. Can’t afford RM 2.30 per litre of RON 95? A solution for you. Beef it up.

6. Listening

This is my blind spot. I’ve accepted an ALS Ice booklet challenge. The only rule of this I C Expert (Ice) Advanced Listening Skill (ALS) challenge is to bring a booklet and yes you name it, LISTEN. Experts from all walks of ice, I mean life dump information in my head. Literally giving me chills down my spine. I shudder when it ends. Dampened. The more I know the less I know.

7. Speaking

Malaysians can’t speak at least 2 languages? Shame on you. Malay and English. Owned by everyone. To be honest, I’ve missed my Malay. I love the sound and simplicity of it unlike the sehr strukturierte Sprache wie Deutsch. Malaysia tanah airku. Selamat kembali. Inilah tanah tumpah darahku.!

Lord of the Wings

What’s NEXT?

The million dollar question overflowing by million possibilities; if I’m able to tell with a snap of a finger, you might see a halo circling above my head.
Indecision, fear and underestimation have all overthrown our own potentials and capabilities.

You see, the inability to see the imminent is what we human have been struggling to accept. On the contrary to many people who resist CHANGES in their lives – meaning being out of their comfort zone is an unforeseeable option, I suffer the otherwise.

In my case being home in Malaysia with my family, that being said: being fed, chauffeured, laundry and clothes being done, no tedious house chores and dishes waiting for me to fill up my day and no hassle of me taking sweet time to do groceries by my own is a HUGE change in my life. All these being in “comfort zone”, having stability, security, privileges and sudden “change” of my lifestyle hasn’t been easy for me to digest and adapt to for the past few weeks.

I’m challenged to accept this change of being pampered while enjoying my sweet time watching the clock ticking away while idling around.

After reading the ‘Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother’ by Amy Chua, I somehow feel perplexed and have led me to reflect on my very own childhood with my siblings. I question my parents’ parenting skills and relate myself very closely to the character in the book, “Lulu”. She displayed a lot similar personalities as I myself will define it as attitude.

Let me shed the light by explaining the dynamics in our family, and how in merely 4 years, we’ve grown and things around changes. Mind you that, although my parents are nowhere close to being ‘Tiger’ parents however this term is highly applicable when it comes to being ‘immigrant’ parents in Malaysia where we have to fight for our presence among the ‘native’ people.

My dad is the government. His autocratic style of leadership makes him a dictator. Unlike behind every dictator, there is usually a wife wielding considerable power, but my mom’s gentle face and character leaves our only hope of a would-be reformist regime down to zero. I was brought up to be a rebellious kid questioning every sense of our actions and despising discipline. Nevertheless, my relationship with my dictator has trained me to fight for everything I want in my life. The higher the resistant, the more exciting are the challenges and the more perseverance I tend to be. Stubborn is how they define me.

The next person I’ve came upon to respect after my parents has got to be my elder sister. She displays a picture perfect of our Y generation these days. She’s fashionable, stylish, contented and beautiful. In other words, she places high importance in aesthetic values. Until today, I’m still figuring out if the definition of beauty to her is equivalent to skinny. Needless to say, she and her boyfriend are ambitious and have the future well in hands.

Then my younger sister, I’d like to think that we possess similar personalities by accident. One of the reasons can be contributed by our love for the environment. Hence, we care for similar cause and are able to share and discuss when problems aroused. She’s jovial, soft, sweet and smart.

I’d have to give in that my respect and admiration for my brother mounted over the period. He has grown into a man of words. Quiet but considerate, he acts without words. Steady and diligent which I hope I could pick up from him.

While everyone around me is busy living their lives: work, universities, boyfriends, girlfriend, paycheck, future, career, babies, aging, I’m overwhelmed with a huge sense of gratitude and reflecting on the life I’ve chosen.

I’m right here today, while checking my bucket lists I’m standing on a crossroad questioning and following my heart and the opportunities appeared to me.

Over the years the experiences through traveling, relationships, friendships, hardships, love, loss, illness, loneliness, grief which have thought me to be who I am today, I’m still waiting for the calling of my life.

Western, Chinese and Asian influences, you many name it? What have universities, professors, Germans, Russians, Europeans, Indians, Chinese, Scandinavians, Canadians and Kiwis to student hostels, backpackers, farms, NGOs, ashrams, tropical forests, national parks, and deserts have taught me?

For whatever reasons they are, I know the next is waiting for me to unveil its mystery.

And for now, I just want to continue what I enjoy best, LIVE and LOVE courageously

When giving is NOT buying

I love Christmas. It’s a season of hope, renewal, love, inspiration, joy and contemplation. It’s about giving and sharing.

Being in Beijing, well in a country which originally doesn’t really have anything to do with this celebration or meaning, it has definitely a lot to offer. The lights, Christmas trees, Santa Claus, billboards, jingly decorations and snow man portray nothing of any sort of the birth of Jesus. This is definitely not surprising coming from a City where there’s not a single sight of a standing church.

Unlike in many western countries, where the smell of mulled wines, cookies, waffles and bakeries lurking in the winter air, the Chinese smell OPPORTUNITY in the air, well which is literally translated into MONEY. Whether it’s the money-burning shopping spree from the consumers or the cashing-in sound of the register, it spells ECONOMY.

This is unquestionably a trend of globalization, no? One World?

This is purely an excessive crapload of commercialized and propagated consumerism. People just want to find reason to buy. Oh, Christmas Sale? People can save thousands on this season? Listen, people save when they DON’T buy what they DON’T need.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of giving, especially to our loved ones, but not the twisted and manipulated picture painted by greedy corporations. We shop for months, getting into debts, rip apart the packaging one morning, forget it the next day and chuck them in the closet and shelves collecting dust. Do we need more cluster? C’mon it is about giving, or buying?

The focus here is certainly on buying not on sharing.

Christmas is NOT about wish-lists, shopping, overconsumption, frenzied malls, consumer debt, environmental waste, excessive fancy wrappings, and bunch of endless needless stuffs that goes with it but it is the time for family, friends, eating cookies, laughing at each other, gossiping, tightening bonds, reunion and reconciliation.

Giving can be in many forms, with a little thought and creativity; we can give our loved ones gifts which can leave little footprint to our environment but large footprint to our hearts.

Merry Christmas and a Happy 2012 my dearest ones!

Thank you 2011.

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Love Affair

There are some days when we’re awake, there’s a great gush of contentment that kicks in, bringing in a big broad smile to our face to welcome our day.

Today is one of those days where it feels so natural to think simply and presently. There’s no smog, no rain, solely the goodness of sun throwing incredible beauty to its vicinity on a cold autumn Monday morning. I felt nothing but gratitude for being alive, for seeing the sun shine again. It’s clearly a reminder that the sun will always shine again no matter how big the storm or particularly SMOG it might be.

On a day like this, it’s easy to see how we forget to stay present, be happy, and reacquaint ourselves with trust and faith – things that were once a natural part of us.

It is the joy of smiling for no apparent reason, and yet for thousands of reasons.

I breathe. I give. I receive. I love. I am loved. I am healthy. I have fresh food. I’m present. I’m excited. I’m trusting. I’m grateful.

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I’m falling more and more for this city bit by bit.
I fell in love in Beijing.

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I LUB YOU, MIIIIIISSSSIAAAAOOOOOOOOOO says my lover.
She’s a two and a half year old girl, Ping. I’ve been home staying with a Chinese family for almost two months now. This family has been so kind to me.

For years, I’ve learnt that giving is purely a personal selfish act to grant me keys to my contentment and happiness. The more I could give and offer the happier I’m – which is only partially true. In other words, I’ve came to realization that, being in that place of receiving where we can validate the giver’s blessing is one of the greatest gift one could ever have.

Whenever I feel that I’m unable to receive, I’m reminded that I’m actually denying someone else the pleasure of giving.

This totally makes sense!

I’m counting my blessings, on every single day!

Homecoming

This thing has been bothering me for quite some time.

One of my many missions to accomplish in this trip back is to learn how to open up with my family. This might sound crazy but I’ve never actually shared with my family before, what I want to do and want in life. From my past experiences, my family hasn’t been really happy with my impulsive behavior and “little surprises” I’ve thrown to them. Each time I announced my ‘little project’ to them, it’s like a whole bloody deadly bomb that I’ve just placed in front of them.

The delivery of my every “masterpiece” failed every darn time in the past. To keep me sane, this has got to stop. I totally understand that Asian family has certain values that need to be respected and condoned. I can’t be doing whatever I want to do without having a tiny bit of support and understanding from my very own family. To be politically correct, I need a bloody approval from my family desperately.

So, my task is to present them my master plan. 😛

I know I’m not the most diplomatic person to begin with. I’m emotional and start losing my head when I can’t fork over my thoughts and when people start doubting me. I’m a bloody stubborn species. Once decision is made, I’ll stick to it. Try to change me, you can almost forget about it.

Sounds like an ungrateful monster? Sorry mom, dad, sisters and brother, I’m just the black sheep of the family.

Again, I understand that it’s hard for them to digest my decisions and actions which might seem bizarre to them.

But why to them in fact to everyone, one cannot make ANY difference in SMALL scale.

Why must it be the ‘I believe in making changes in BIG scale. Only THAT can change the WORLD. Only when you are someone prominent, rich and famous, you will have all the attention of the world that worships you as an idol.

I’m not even talking about changing the world now, people.

I’m just trying to play my tiny weenie role, on the things that I’m compassionate about. I just want to share with you the pieces of information I have which led me to these decisions.

I’m not even trying to change the way you think or want to be a smarty pants to preach to you about the whole energy, ecology, equality and economy system. I just want to share with you the consciousness that I have in order for you to see for once the perspective through my eyes.

Why is it always that if you can’t change the system why don’t you just be an obedient little girl and follow the crowd thing?

Why do you need to doubt me by asking, so what have you done so far?

Why do you choose to ignore because you feel that making small differences doesn’t matter at the end?

Why is it always a NO WAY OUT situation? So are you telling me that I’m doing is in vain baby, the world is going to end soon anyway, people are killing each other, oil is running out, trees are dying, global is warming and yada yada…?

SO, does it mean that now that if I’ve failed to convince my family, I can forget about making ANY differences at all OUT there?

Man in the mirror people!

Start from yourself.

To the children of the world, and those not as yet born.

I will try my best to speak up for you!

Cheers!

Break & Borneo & Coelho

These two weeks of Malaysia and Borneo have been lovely. I could never get enough of Greeneries and Food.

Lou Lou Lou… Lou Kou Kou! Ohhh… how i’ve missed Lou Sang!

Free Hugs Campaign attempt failed in Melaka. Well, let’s just say, we were disappointed.

On our way to Tanak Nabalu Homestay! We were like excited little kids back in old school days!

Green Green Green. We crossed 12 rivers and hiked our arse off to our little jungle home. All worth it!

PS: I’ve couldn’t have made it without my 6 Ringgit Kg. Adidas. Thank You, you served me well though you ate up 2 chunks of my meat!

Spot the Orang MINYAK!

Spot the POSE, oh i mean the tongue PIERCING.

Mini Kinabalu with Audri, our group leader and wonderful host.

Sunset with Queen at Laban Rata Resthouse. We hiked 6 kilometers and about 3500 meters above sea level! Literally above clouds. Bliss bliss!

Tell me despite of our sore legs and blisters, it’s worth it!

Happiest girls on EARTH!!!

To be continued…

Smile Darling

Dearest Mummy and Daddy,

Smile – sunshine is good for your teeth.

It takes seventeen muscles to smile and forty-three to frown.

All the statistics in the world can’t measure the warmth of a smile.

Today, give a stranger one of your smiles.  It might be the only sunshine he sees all day.

Sealed with love,
Daughter

Beanie

Schucks.

I have an urge. I have a desire. At this very moment, to be on heaven.

I need to let it out.

I want to have a plate of Char Koay Teow, Duck Rice, Mee Java, Rojak and a bowl of Ice Kacang and Cendol. Right now.

I want to walk along on Petaling Street and sweat my way through while enjoying the all-so-famous Beef Noodle and Tau Foo Fah!

I want to stroll along Gurney Drive and stop by for a piece of Nyonya Kuih and Satay!

I want to crawl along Jonker Street to have Chicken Rice Ball and my favourite Soya Bean!

I want to soak up the sun!

Ohhh heaven.

Mom can you ship them all over, please. Pretty please…


Schweini

I told my parents that I’m in a 4-week course of getting 10 different types of vaccinations.

And I started to list her all those taboo-names which I can’t even pronounce and what more expecting her to understand me.

“Diphtheria, Tetanus, Hepatitis A and B, Polio, Typhoid, Whooping Cough, Japanese Encephalitis, Meningitis and Rabies”, I went.

“Ohhhhhh… Did you miss H1N1 out?” she added.

My Hero

While I was playing guitar hero with benjamin today, he was very reckless and paused for a moment.

“Fong-Fong che-che.” he puzzled.

“Someone needs a haircut!”, he uttered.

I was so into the game and practically ignored his remark. I had no idea what he was talking about.

“Let me show you!

Look, this guy needs a hair cut!” he pointed at the TV.

“His hair is covering his face and nose, leaving only his mouth behind! How can he see? He definitely needs a hair cut!” he shouted.

He was referring to the guitarist on the game.

He made my day for sure!

And he rocks!

Honey

Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight!

Merry happy jolly Christmas!!

Feeling blessed and loved are the greatest gifts…

YOU are indeed the bestest present of all!

Thank you, love!

Twister

Dear Baby,

I’m missing you very much as always!

It’s the time of the year again. We’ll be celebrating Christmas in 2 days time. Although you’re physically not here with me in Ireland this year, you are deeply missed. Your sense of humour and the way you blend with the kids, they just loved you to bits. Benjamin misses you; he still remembers your sonic art.

For this year’s gift, I have two grannies to join us for Christmas instead of my two fine sisters. I’m lucky or what? Thank you, love.

Benjamin turned seven 5 days ago and Amalie’s four. Time flies je baby. We were playing twister earlier. Remember the gift we bought Benjamin last year? It was so much fun. We laughed till our tummy hurt so bad. If only you were here. Uncle Willy’s preparing turkey again this year, lots of them. I miss eating them with you.

The presents are all piling up at the corner, and of course the kids are counting the days. Looking at them somehow comforts me, in many ways. Their smile and innocence weaken my heart. All I need is a big warm hug and a fat smooch from them. That’s all I need baby.

I just put Benjamin to bed while reading Peter Pan to him, I held him so tightly and thought of you. I miss your hugs and kisses. I’m sure you too.

2009 has been a great year. The whole package and strings of bittersweet sensation will never be forgotten.

It has been an uphill battle with stir of emotions. Losing you is my greatest despair and seeing you suffering falters me.

I know when I look back one day, all these would lead me to somewhere you could be proud of me.

I miss you and love you very much baby!

Love,
Your Sayang

I’m so excited!!

I’m so excited and I just can’t hide it
I’m about to lose control and I think I like it
I’m so excited and I just can’t hide it
And I know I know I know I know I know I want YOU!!!!!

I’m so excited and I just can’t hide it
I’m about to lose control and I think I like it
I’m so excited and I just can’t hide it
And I know I know I know I know I know I’ma goin HOME!!!!!

lalalalalalalalalalalala………………..

My Daddy

I LOVE THE BEATLES!!!

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My dear little baby, now that Jon is back home, you settle down back to your own routine. Focus on your studies. Take things cool and calmly. Don’t rush anything. Plan and move early. You’ve nothing to care, only yourself. Let us not worry. Watch your knee. I know, you’ve mature in this short time in Germany. Life is just unpredictable. Let it be…… as the Beatles’s goes. You take care. Love you.

PS : I LOVE YOU Daddy! I LOVE your text! It just made my day. I read it to Jonathan. You made his day too!

my love

As Christmas approaches, the excitement and thrill intensify.

It´s going to be my first white Christmas, ever.

And to top it off, my eager anticipation for my sisters’ arrival is giving me butterflies.

To be exact, my feelings now could be defined like, as though when you hit the peak of zero velocity where everything around you starts to freeze in nano seconds as you are merrily trampolining and fall and rise and rise and fall. And multiply that by 100 times. The blissful contentment and joy is simply indescribable.

I had such a wonderful catch up session with oh-so-magnetic Mr Khoo Hau Wei and oh-so-full-with-TLC Miss Sree Umaa Gayathree yesterday.

I miss them so so so so freaking much.

Talking to Hau Wei always gives me a slight tingly sensation like those days back in high school, the comforting and yet briskly tone.

Oh how I miss them.

Nevertheless, Sree Umaa Gayathree has the most pure and angelic voice, ever. She seriously channeled assurance, relief and motivation into me, just like that. I think I could never ever find a friend like her, never.

Life here is totally the other side of the story; your circle of friends comes and goes, they enter your heart and leave traces of their existence and disappear without saying goodbye. You´ll never know if you really matter to them.

The fact that I´m here alone by myself makes me treasure friendship more.

I despise the art of superficiality.

I mean,

Where is the genuineness and openness?

Where is the transparency and thoughtfulness?

I hate to say this, but why a true boy-and-girl friendship doesn´t exist in a real world?

C´mon you can´t deny that opposites attract, right?

Or the mutual feelings just develop naturally?

Share the love people, why hold back and suppress your true and loving emotion. Our uniqueness is what makes humankind stood up from the animal kingdom, right?

We simply have emotions.

There´s no explanation, it´s simply an expression.

An expression of your body language and gestures.

It´s complex but yet heartening.

It´s bitter but yet sweet.

It´s vague but yet convincing.

It´s a whole blend and fusion of uncertainties hope and desire.

IT´S LOVE!

Goodbye


P/S : My granny doesn’t know how to read and write in English, strictly Chinese educated. I’m really touched upon receiving this card.

Thank you granny.

Thank you everyone.

Your never ending support will definitely keep me going.

Auf Wiedersehen Bolehland!!

Over the rainbow

Somewhere over the rainbow way up high
There’s a land that I’ve heard of once in a lullaby
Somewhere over the rainbow skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true

Some day I’ll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far behind me
Where troubles melt like lemon drops
Away above the chimney tops
That’s where you’ll find me

Somewhere over the rainbow blue birds fly
Birds fly over the rainbow
Why then, oh why can’t I?
If happy little bluebirds fly beyond the rainbow
Why oh why can’t I?


New Year, new place, new weather, new faces, new languages, new friends, new food. It’s like turning over a new leaf, and starting everything afresh.

I’m counting my minutes now. Seven days from today, I’ll be finding my feet on a German soil, an unfamiliar and unknown surrounding.

To be honest, I deserve to celebrate and feel excited about it. It’s a lifetime opportunity.

I’ll never know what’s in store for me.

How I wish I could bring my family along.

Asoka

My Granny posted an interesting question this morning which left me wonder.

She asked us in the car as we passed by the road along the cemetery.

Granny : We have Malay, Chinese and Christian cemetery. Have you seen any Indian cemetery?

We : Errrrrr….. Generally Indian undergoes cremation. They normally scatter their ashes at sea. This is what they usually show on television if we’re not wrong.

This is merely our assumption. Personally I’ve never been to an Indian (Hindu) cemetery. I’ve never seen the structure of their tombstones. It’s shameful I know.

I’m not satisfied with the answer. Came back and googled it. I thought that this could be something interesting to share.

Hindus cemetery do exist.

Have a good day people.