Wednesday, July 30, 2008


It was 8pm. There were about 500 of them, in 8 different venues, spread over 3 floors - taking my paper. As the "examiner", I was to walk from venue to venue to check on them, under the watch of tutors, some I'd never met. Just prior to entering the first venue, it dawned upon me that I was thoughtlessly clad in t-shirt and jeans. For the invigilators who knew me, that was fine - but for those who'd never seen me before - it happened. I ought to had expected it to (because it always did).

#1, slightly after 8pm - I walked in, gave her a courtesy smile and nod, and she smiled back. Quite well, I thought. Then she asked me "What is your venue?" There we go again. I explained that I was the lecturer - she was so embarassed, she apologised 4-5 times. It's fine, I told her, but she wasn't fine. A walk around later, she apologised again, "I'm so sorry about just now! You're so young!!" Gah! No, I said, I'm sooo not young.

#2, about 8.15pm - I peeked through the window, and saw him sitting there at the instructor's desk. Then, I carefully opened the door as noiselessly as I could, and stepped in. He shot a severe look at me, and said, rather loudly, "You're late!" Very calmly, I responded that I wasn't - I was the lecturer. The students seated there burst out in muffled laughter. I can't be sure if he apologised - I think he did. I didn't wait observe his look of embarrassment, though I am quite sure he was embarrassed, because I myself could hardly contain my laughter as I strolled past the rows of examinees. The calmness was all gone - I could hardly keep a straight face long enough to tell him to call me if there was any problems in the exam, before hurrying out of the room to laugh in the corridor! I was having abdominal spasms before I was done.

#3, about 8.30pm - I saw that he saw me (from inside the venue) talking to another lecturer outside, and I'd expected that he'd deduced I wasn't what he'd think I was. But when I walked in, he promptly took a copy of the exam paper, and was about to hand it to me when I told him I was the lecturer. And (what else) he said, "Oh I'm sorry! I thought you were a student!" Yes, I know what you're thinking. Gah!

#4, about 8.45pm - I'd be a fool of a student if I should turn up at an exam 45 minutes late, so by logic and deduction, the chances of me being a student were pretty slim. This must had been the thoughts of the young man invigilating here. I walked in - he beheld me, wide-eyed, then said "You are ........... ?" Good move! Yes, I am who you think I ought to be though I don't look it.

#5, about 8.50pm - This one was a little slow to react and I managed to introduce myself before he said or did anything. Phewww!

After the exam was over, when delivering the scripts to me, some of them apologised again for thinking that I was who I wasn't. Hey, stop saying you're sorry! I am, in fact, flattered that I could so easily pass for an 18-yr-old (ok, maybe 20-yr-old)!

The lesson learned: dress FORMAL next time! GAH!!!

Monday, July 28, 2008

f(t)=my mood

Is this the normal response of all with XX chromosomes or am I in need of some serious help?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

This Day

I have an addiction. I'm addicted to writing - especially when I am feeling melancholy, pensive, depressed, down... you get the idea. (Don't start wondering why there are so many posts for July. Ask me no questions and I'll tell you no lies.) As a young girl in my early teens, I aspired to be a writer and a poet. I wrote about anything and everything - in forms of essays, short stories, looong stories - most of which I am too embarrassed to even look at now. I also have an ardent love for poetry and composed many poems, some of which I am still proud of, others I blush to recall. I wrote mostly on this bunch of papers I'd kept close with me always and they're full of scribbles, scratched-out words and phrases, random writings, doodles... you name it.

This bunch of papers had long been kept away and I think the last I'd cast eyes on them was quite number of years back. A wave of emotions that swept over me today stirred my passion for writing so strongly that I dug it out, with the intention of penning a poem (or rather, to attempt to, as I hadn't composed for so long, I believe I'd lost the talent and flair for it). I said, with the intention, because I ended up not writing a single word. I will relate why.

First, some background story - when I lost my first love 10+ years ago, I went through one of the most bitter periods of my life (as yet) - I call it my mourning for lost love phase. It lasted nearly TWO years. And as I had mentioned earlier in the post, I express my sorrows and yearnings and whatever-else best through writing. It was in this period that I composed the bulk of my most heart-rending, most crazy sad poems - I still consider them my best creative efforts. But those aren't going to be the emphasis of this post. (Yes, 3 paragraphs and 300+ words into the post, and I haven't touched on the main subject - I do digress a little too much at times)

So then, I was browsing through my bunch of papers - old, yellowed and well-worn. I came across the following, probably scribbled in a moment of intense dejectedness and mindless pining:

CK is my boyfriend who forsook me, who deserted me, whom I still love.
Conclusion: I am as stupid as a pig, as silly as a goat, as in vain as a silkworm, as idealistic as a red rose, as useless as a nutshell.

And my first reaction was to burst out in laughter. Did I really write that?! And then were was this doodle of a frowning face, labeled me with several droplets labeled tears and a caption I am so sad. There were more:

Such, my dear CK... my heart's dearest, such is my love for you.

Je t'aime, monseiur CK.

It was on the 4th April 97 we first dated, and it was the day before my finals. I had an English paper the next day.

I was amused to the point that my need to compose a poem to express my anguish was gone - part of the reason there was no attempt to write. During my mourning for lost love days, I repeatedly tell myself that one day, it would all pass; one day, I can look back at it all and laugh. That day has come! I am laughing! It is true, the saying that it is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all. When the hurt is past, there will be a day you can look back and laugh...

Coincidentally, today is his birthday. Have a good one, buddy!

Monday, July 14, 2008

At Long Last

Yes, I think I am ready to write about this, at long last.

For the past several weeks, whenever someone asked me "How is it?", I'd say "Terrible", or "Like hell", or something equally as, if not more, negative. I am not sure if I will sound just as bad here in this post - you can conclude at the end of it.

Sure, this place is different, and sure I don't feel at home and I still have not found that sense of belonging, now nearly a month and a half into settling in. The classes have been going on tolerably well, and the kids here are generally acceptably well-behaved. More about the kids next time.

First - my office, as of the day I occupied it:

Yes, empty. It was (and still is, rather) so empty that during the first few forlorn days, the echoes of my own sneeze startled me. And then:

It doesn't look so empty anymore as little by little, I started messing up my massive desk. I was told I would be assigned an office-mate once there is one, but as of now, I am still hogging the entire space. *Can I continue to hog the whole room indefinitely?*

The view from my window is not much of a view, but at least I have a window (which I never look out of anyway...)

I must say I shouldn't complain - I have a nice and spacious office and being the small fry that I am, probably don't deserve it. Even though it has a leak in the ceiling:

Every time it rains, water will be dripping within half to three-quarters of an hour, depending on how heavy the pour is. It is pretty harmless, except if one day, the ceiling decides to collapse on me. Well then, that's all about my office. How about showing you something else that is amusing about my faculty? It has its very own stalactites! Look:

I'll admit this isn't much of an update, but it'll suffice for now. I'll write more when I'm in better shape for story-telling.

Friday, July 11, 2008


The Story of Echo and Narcissus

Echo was a lovely nymph who loved to talk. Once, she incurred the wrath of Hera and was punished to never be able to speak again, except to repeat the last words of others. One day, she saw the beautiful youth Narcissus and fell deeply in love with him. Alas, she couldn't speak to him, nor could she tell him of her love! Thus, quietly, she followed him. When he discovered her, and spoke to her, Echo could, but repeat his last words in response. Thinking that she had mocked him, Narcissus dismissed her coldly and asked to be left alone. Heartbroken, Echo pined away to the mountains where she continued to repeat the last words of others. Narcissus, when taking a drink by a stream, chanced upon his reflection in the clear water, and thinking it was a beautiful water-nymph, fell in love with himself. In vain he begged the nymph to come to him! He wouldn't eat, for he cannot bear to go away from the beautiful nymph; he couldn't drink, for if he reached out to the water, the nymph would disappear; eventually, he died pining for his own reflection. At the spot where he lay, sprung flowers, named narcissus, which loved nothing better than to gaze at the reflections of own pretty selves in the water.

Thus, is the myth from which narcissism originated, and the term describes a person who loves and admires himself excessively.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Thought

We all want to be loved and admired - and be remembered and missed, when we're no longer around. I do, at least, even if you do not. To gain that sort of recognition and admiration, you need to be great at what you do, to surpass your peers and to stand out. You need to push yourself to a level above the rest and be absolutely excellent.

But then, if you are so good, and out of reach of the intellectual ability of the general population, who would be left to acknowledge your talents? Who would be able to appreciate you for what you could do, if they are unable to comprehend the true worth of the work? Such then, who would be left to love and admire you, and to remember and miss you when you're no longer around?

I take a lot of pride in my uniqueness and talent(s) but would I be loved and admired for who I am, for the qualities I possess, and not for what they could get out of me? I hardly think so. This is fairytale wishful thinking. All those childhood readings must've gotten hardwired into me. I need to stop being idealistic and wake up! This is a cold, hard, cruel world. Deal with it!

I need to love myself. I need to be narcissistic.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A Birthday

My heart is like a singing bird
Whose nest is in a water'd shoot;
My heart is like an apple-tree
Whose boughs are bent with thickset fruit;
My heart is like a rainbow shell
That paddles in a halcyon sea;
My heart is gladder than all these
Because my love is come to me.

Raise me a dais of silk and down;
Hang it with vair and purple dyes;
Carve it in doves and pomegranates,
And peacocks with a hundred eyes;
Work it in gold and silver grapes,
In leaves and silver fleurs-de-lys;
Because the birthday of my life
Is come, my love is come to me.

by Christina Rossetti, 1857

Many happy returns to all the July babies! Yes, there are quite a number of you (though not as large a number as the October babies...) and yes, I remember each one, though 2 thick-skinned ones thought I wouldn't and had to remind me on the eves (I remember la, don't need to remind...).

Here's wishing all of you great times, plentiful blessings and many dreams come true. Happy birthday!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Seeking the Joy

I first knew him when I took his English class, 11 years ago. He was known as the killer for that course, and everyone was afraid of being in his class. In the very first class, there were about 40 of us, and by the second class, there were only about 20+ left. Only about 15 of us survived to take the final exam (don't know how many actually passed though...). I cannot speak for the rest of the students at the time, but I myself truly respect and admire him. He's focused and achievement-oriented, kind and generous, understanding and the best mentor I'd known since my college days. He is sarcastic, yes - but those who were the target of his sarcasm sooo deserved it.

As a lecturer, he was exceptionally caring, despite being strict in class, and always demanded for the best we could manage. He never hesitated in giving advice, words of comfort, and assistance in any ways he could, even when I was no longer his student. He'd take my calls, entertain my questions and consent to see me whenever I needed - and I know he's extremely busy.

Right after graduating, I paid him a visit and he arranged for my very first interview (there and then!) which resulted in my first job, which I held on to for 6 years. Throughout my time there, he proved to be just as great a superior and friend, as well as mentor.

I am gone now, to a place I still feel I do not belong. I'd gone through a period of serious depression and am still rather stressed out all the time. He told me to take things a step at a time, to not think of all at once, to first learn to enjoy what I'd enjoyed doing in those first 6 years of my working life. And I really do appreciate this piece of advice, and I do feel that my poor, battered emotions are improving, so long as I could find some joy in my daily tasks. I am seeking - truly am, though truthfully, I am nowhere close to the state I was in, once upon a time.

I'd been reading some old posts which I wrote three years ago - this one for example, never fails to make me laugh (erm, yes I can be quite full of myself sometimes...). Look at this one too. And there were a handful about the naughty ones who wreaked havoc in class - and who could ever forget the "controversial" Re-Test-ers post!

I wish I could find the passion in doing this again. I am trying, and will keep trying. Thank you, Dr Lim, for the sound advice. I am so blessed to have known you!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Thoughts of a Coward

It goes like this -

"Oh, I don't want this anymore, but how could I say it? Your friends and all our mutual acquaintances would point their fingers at me for being heartless, which would be absolutely unbearable to my pride and ego. I have run out of excuses, I do not know how else I could elude when next you confront me. Could you please not confront me anymore? If I avoided you long enough, would you say it to me instead? I need to escape from you, physically and virtually! I shall block you on all my online communication channels, I shall block you from all my social networking profiles... oh wait - I shall block all your friends too! I know you have some pretty fierce ones, and I don't want their claws around my neck! There - I've gone into hiding."

I have seen cowards before, but none as seriously chicken droppings as this @#$%& who'd just proved ITself that IT is most definitely NOT a man! Enough - no more, ever, shall we refer to this sampah masyarakat!