21 Perceptions: #7 – Grow. The right one.

It was a simple question. A question of why. Why the occurrence of something a few years back that now seems like so long ago.

It used to be an easy question, with a schematic answer that I have convinced myself after having to answer it so many times. But no. This time, coming from a close friend, it felt like it needed a proper answer. The question, at the very least, deserves a proper answer.

I need a proper answer.

A recollection of what happened wasn’t really hard. Not a precise and accurate one, probably filled with my own memories in between missing gaps, but it’s more or less what happened. How long, exactly, has it been since? I’m never good at keeping track. Long enough. It’s this recollection that gave me a slap in the face.

How you’d always tell a story and it sided you, projecting a faulty image of another person. That person is always at fault. You’re the victim. But then, I realised-guess I have always knew-a huge chunk of how things turn out was my fault. I’ve let my ego gotten the best out of me. I’ve let my ego worked magic with my defensive mechanism.

The first time in forever, I actually wondered; If I were who I am now, would things be different? Would things turn out differently? Or would it have took the same turn in later days, ended in a way that is far worse than how it ended.

It reflected how immature and how incapable I was in handling my own emotions, handling a situation or even simply being more understanding. All this sums up into a reprimanding thought directed at myself;

You, of all people, should have known better.

Nandini said; It’s not about whether one person is meant for the other. It’s simply about meeting each other at the right time. You can’t have it all and timing is the key.

Timing is the key. And timing is always a bitch.

No regrets. I would have want things to turn out the same way if I were given a choice. Everything happens for a reason, no?

And I thank you for keeping the question until just now to ask. Any sooner, or later, I wouldn’t have revisited all those emotions and feelings that is flowing through me now.

If anything, it felt like a proper closure.

If there’s any possibility in the future, it would be one of the greatest things in my life to be able to sit and just talk about everything that could or could not have happened. To clear every single thing up and laugh at each other’s stupidity and feel awed at how life brings us to where we are.

Looking back and felt a surge of warmth running through my body. I deserve nothing less than being happier.

So, I was debating between another song and 3 Doors Down’s Here Without You. I think we liked this song better. I hope yes.

Till then,

Kah Leng.

(Duckie)

 

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21 Perceptions: #6 Best friends – When it’s more than just best friends.

To start off with the easiest start-phrase: “It felt like it was just yesterday” for once, doesn’t feel as right. Nor does it feel as intuitive as it used to be. Because right now, right at this very moment as I am typing this out, it felt as if it was lives away. Maybe a little exaggerating, but it felt long enough.

Long enough that I couldn’t remember if it was a morning or afternoon that we first met. Long enough that there are details that I couldn’t recall. Long enough that I don’t remember exactly how we started being real close. Long enough that more often than not, this feeling is being taken for granted.

Perhaps, even long enough that it begins to cause disinterest among our friends to read about us. Long enough for you to feel bored reading stuff like this. Long enough to bored even myself to be so repetitive about this. Given the fact that I am not unfamiliar with being expressive enough to come up with this. Shameless, long-winded grandmother stories. Stories about both you and I. Sometimes, maybe just sometimes, or might as well be all the times? That it’s too much? Bear with me, I do what I do best to have things taken down, by writing. Or literally; typing.

So tell me, was it a morning or afternoon that we met? As I was there with my group of friends and you came into sight, not forgetting that backpack a little over too big for your size.

“Why is she carrying a turtleback?.” I quietly wondered, and yes, that’s just how mean I was, surprisingly still am.

And the new girl in school joined the class by sitting at the corner of the class closest to the back door, across from where I sat. A little reluctant to be where she was. Paying no attention, the usual chatter continued.

Tell me again, how long it took for us to finally talk to each other? Days? Or just a couple of hours? I don’t remember but I am quite sure I must have been stuck up enough to not bothered introducing myself when you first entered the class. But amazingly, I remember it was Harry Potter, The Order of the Phoenix that started it all. Oh, she reads.

Was it; “Oh, you read?” That I first asked you? That, I don’t remember. Because I don’t remember myself being diplomatic enough to actually introduce myself. And the usual comments on books or whatnot. Then that magic phrase appeared.

“I studied in Sri Garden.”

“Oh, you were in Sri Garden?! Me too!”

Maybe you could enlighten me who brought up Sri Garden first though.

I really couldn’t recall much the days in Form 3. Except from bits and pieces of how the next day you told me your mom might have seen me back in Sri Garden. And how our love-hate relationship with Cecelia. Those ghost stories behind the class. How you got burnt by Chia Loong’s remark when you told that teacher, Mr Chong, that you knew a bit of Chinese.

Did we took our PMR results together? No, even that I don’t remember. But I guess not. Guess we didn’t.

Form 4 came, and we were in two different class. And Form 4 was when my surgery happened. Coming back to school after the surgery, I had to avoid crowds, thus exempted from assemblies. And you were the one sitting with me in class every single morning while everyone else was away lining up waiting to enter the class like they were primary students. I don’t even remember what we did to kill off those times early morning in class. Especially Mondays, when there would be absurdly long speeches, or whatnot. And then the Bluffs and Chor Dai Dees after finals. It was crazy, but we all had our share of fun.

But I know we never had any fights ever since the day we started talking, not until Form 5, though. The first fight we had, I wonder if you still remember, that it was because of a teacher. A teacher that I don’t even remember what her name was.

And those times you spent practicing debate with Azim.

2009, Form 5.

2009, Going out.

Form 5 was rather dramatic. With Earth Week, our newsletter and, well dramas that only we know and would probably remember till our very last breath. And of course, how the three of us would always, never once failed, to annoy our Moral teacher. Don’t you just miss her irritated face whenever we burst out laughing at the back of the class. And how not just us but in fact, the whole class pays no attention to her? Those jokes Sam would tell and the things he would say that you swore we would recall if we were really having sex with our boyfriends one day. And that very secret of yours that I let slipped in front of John.

And the fact that John really thought we were lessbians. Oh yea, that faithful afternoon after school that I’ve squeezed water from your bottle while you were drinking from it. That nose cleansing treatment I gave you. Refreshing, yes?

Drumstik, Banjir, Pumpkin, Duck. And I had a crush on Banjir, with his Vampiric smile. Oh, and Abang! Of course, you and your basketball stories. Well, if you know what I mean.

There must have been more to it in Form 5 than this, but for now, it’s all that I could recall.

2010, From left to right; The day before we took our result. 2010 Popular Book fest. Christmas at Sam’s house.

The day we got our SPM results. Those stay overs that made our family wonder if we were a thing? Even then we knew getting our SPM results only meant one thing. That the both of us that has been sticking to each other relentlessly walking on the same path is about to go on our own ways.

You are going to do A-Level in Taylors, Subang Campus. Far enough.

Initially not knowing where I’d be going, though was pretty sure I’d become a beautician and finally ended up in Kajang High School, doing Form 6.

I thought, I was even quite sure that our friendship would possibly fade off. What with the distance and academic demands. What with new friends made and entirely different educational environment that leads to probably development of different mentality. I was quite sure, you know. It’s not like it has never happened before.

Those were the days where we would go completely missing in action in each others lives for days, weeks and months. And then somehow manage to slap back together and still feel like we’ve been there all the time.

I think you must have started driving by then. Vividly remember you almost knock off your side mirror when you tried parking your car with JJ and I laughing madly.

2011, 2010 New year’s eve. Outing, having sushi.

And you confronted Andy. (No, history does not have to repeat itself.) Which freaked me out but saved a lot of miserable uncertainties. Did it ever occur to you that I might hate you for doing it? But the sake of my benefit overweight that possibility that I might hate you?

Though you started driving, we still did not hang out often no? Upper six became busier with a new found love interest on my part. And new group of friends that we both had.

2012

2012, The Apartment. BSC.

Yes, of course, Mikhachu. That one conversation in MSN that had me literally laughing out so loud my mom came in and asked what happened. Mikha is a guy, Nan. Do remember that. That was in 2011.

2013, General Food Store, Bangsar. Oh. Hi, Mikha.

Yet, another divergent.

You, going to McGills in Montreal, Canada.

I, accepted to University Putra Malaysia in Serdang, Malaysia.

Literally oceans apart. With 12 hours in between. We had come long enough to know that it would be okay. Then again, it must have been our major fight in the history of our friendship. Precisely about what, I no longer remember. Vaguely recalled that you wanted me to send you off, but it was orientation week. And.. I didn’t want to say goodbye. But it felt like we were pulling a rubber band at the time, and it just snapped.

I actually thought that was it. With all the miles apart and with this huge awkward unsettling feel we  put in just when you were about to leave.

And yet again, issue resolved. Regardless of time difference and the distance. Life went on.

With both of us starting afresh in this brand new chapter of our lives, we fall quickly back to the habit that we don’t even bother keep a constant in touch. That contributes to hours of skypes every once in a while.

But you know what I love the most? It was when you first came back and we both had to agree that it didn’t feel like it. Like you were back. Because it didn’t feel like you were away in the first place. We have been trained before hand with you in Subang and me in Kajang.

2013, Someone just got back. With her dog-chain necklace.

2013, Son of a policeman. Mikha’s gig in The Curve.

2013, Hello, Sam and Ayumi.

I have always love to say that our friendship is matured. Like it’s an independent thing living on its own. It takes good care of itself. Doesn’t require much attention. But you know somehow, it has never ceased to grow.

And I want to tell you that it feels different now. Our friendship is our very own companion that we come to have. Within ourselves. Throughout the time we spent without the presence of the other, half a world apart, we don’t have to update each other immediately what happened. Or what’s happening.

But for me, some things simply do not feel final or a problem do not feel okay, not until I’ve told you.

I am the askhole. You know that very well. You’ve watched me fall. It’s not that you never warn me. It’s not that you never tried stopping me. But I never listen enough for my own benefit to walk away from things or people that I should. With all the flaws that made me for who I am, you never leave me behind.

Not as if it’s impossible. Not as if it’s hard. Even until this point, I still couldn’t fathom why or where went wrong that she would choose to completely cut off our friendship. In the way that she did. Sudden. Merciless, even. When I miss her, I’d still wonder; Why me? Was I really that busy to that certain extend that I neglected keeping in touch with her? But everyone was busy. She only chose to block me off.

She left.

Which made it known to me that a break up does not only happen between a couple. Your friends could break up with you too. And it hurts in a way so much worse than a relationship that involves romance. It’s possible.

Perhaps this year has been oddly hard. Your absence became prominent. I don’t know if I could say the same for you, but there were times I fervently wish that I could be there beside you physically not just virtually. Emotionally, it’s a prolonged roller coaster ride. A ride I have no idea how to get off. Mentally, it was a journey of self-doubt and discovery. When you put the two together, it’s an energy drainer.

 

2014

2014, Hours of virtual hangout.

2014_june

2014, And you’re back again.

And thus, this is another elaborated note of gratitude towards how glad to have you back. It feels different to have someone who always got your back to be back physically with you.

The kind of laughter we share. And the lameness we have in common. Funny how the photos of us only begin in 2009.  What happened to 2007 and 2008? That was when social media wasn’t the hype and taking photo isn’t necessary.

165594_1700486267501_1051087_n

2010, Christmas, Sam’s house.

I was wondering if we were a couple, 7 years of being together, does that mean we would get married soon? But then again, I came to a conclusion that we would certainly break up! Haha!

I am absurdly glad that some details of the memories we both share are slowly fading. Memories only fade when you continue building new ones together. You don’t hold on to memories when a relationship has yet to be history.

You’re not my best friend. Not when the concept of best friends could be so fragile or .. tainted. You’re more than just best friend.

Like what your mom said; we’ve been through thick and thin.

When your mom knows me well. When my sister knows your boyfriend too. When the smell of your house makes me feel equally at home. When I would easily send you up to my room to fetch some stuff.

You’re a family.

Scribbled,

Kah Leng.

P/S: While we’re still in our early twenties, let’s get crazier.

21 Perceptions: #5 Dreamcatcher

Dreamcatcher

Taken with iPhone 5

I have always loved dreamcatchers. Simply because of that simple myth that is has brought together with it throughout all these years. Deeply fascinated, I’d say, with this simple legend of the Native Americans.

I also like how when people heard of dreamcatcher, they’d think that it helps you catches your dreams, as in life goals and what not.

It’s the season of decisions. And a question of what’s next? Probably probes you to think and review your goals. Or maybe how do you envision your future to be. Come to think of it, I am almost repellent to such questions. Perhaps due to a very erratic nature that is within me, or maybe like Iylia always points out; You live your life full of uncertainties and you’re okay with that. Funny thing is, I actually hate uncertainties. It makes me restlessly anxious. Like the registration of my subjects. I simply need to ensure I’ve got all the right subjects and right credit hours registered. Or maybe that’s the ‘kiasu’ side of me. Because now that I think of it, I pretty much prefer going with the flow most of the time. Or it depends on the situation. Hah! Saw what I mean? Erratic.

Also, I worry too much.

When I was in Form 3, not knowing how it happened, I just suddenly became obsessed with the idea of becoming a beauty therapist. When I said obsessed, I was really obsess with that idea. I will literally scan through newspaper every single day once I got back from school for advertisement on courses related to beauty therapy like vocational institutes, etc. To one extent that I told my mom I’d be done with school once after PMR, simply because these vocational schools, they accept PMR results. And I just felt, whatever I was studying in school was just irrelevant. But by the end of my Form 3, she somehow managed to talk me out of this crazy idea and convinced me to finish my SPM because it is the minimum qualification one should at the very very least have.

And so, throughout my entire Form 5 life in high school, I basically did not give a damn about furthering my studies. No intention of applying for matriculation, no intention for scholarships or whatsoever. Well, before I continue, let me clarify. In my entire life as a human being, I never was an outstanding student. Never even once. I had like probably the worst result in Sri Garden during primary school, over-average result for UPSR and throughout my high school life, I was just .. me. Not active in extra-curricular activities. Not really the kiasu type students who flip at Bs. I just couldn’t give a damn. So, that also pretty much explains why I have zero interest in applying for these and thats.

Partly also because my parents are pretty liberal when it comes to academic performances. Both biological and non-biological side, nevertheless. Or in other words, they probably given up hope on me or they just don’t expect their daughter to have an astoundingly successful life, it’s as long as she’s healthy, happy and fine. Not very much of the typical Asian parents I’d say. (I guess it must have been given up hope on me because my mom was very strict on my sister, she was a straight A student by the way. Both Maggie and Fene.) But the expectation, I’d have another side that I’ll talk about later.

So yeah, I was just a less than average student at school. And during my Form 5, I’ve finally figured, or so I thought, I’d join this trainee programme at Herbalife to become a beauty therapist. It’s something like an apprentice thingy. So right after I finished SPM, I literally made my mom and my sister to go get more information at one of their branches. Also, it was the time when relatives would usually ask, so after Form 5, what’s next for you? Mostly would not comment much, but there were a handful that went straight on lecture mode on why am I not thinking about tertiary education.

Along the way, throughout that period of three months before result announcement, a bit of this and that, something just changed my mind. I was actually all set to start on the apprentice programme but yeah, I bailed on them in the end. I think the exact turning point must have been my mom’s nagging, it just hit a chord and changed the whole tune.

“You have to think thoroughly la. It’s not like you’re not smart. Your English so good what. If you become a beauty therapist ah, no matter how high the position you get people will always perceive you as one of those lala girls who flunked their high school,” my god, did that not hit me with horror.  (It’s stereotypical, but to me, it’s just a question of reflection on whether do I really envision the rest of my life in a beauty parlour working as a beauty therapist.)

Not to mention, my father was always, al-the fruity-ways, nagging me to go for Form 6. Funny now that I think of it, Form 6 was never ever something I wanted. I was strongly against it. But yea, whenever the question of what’s next after SPM pops out, he’d always say Form 6! I think back then, what my father expected was getting one level of qualification higher than SPM guarantees better salary for his daughter.

And again, I was convinced to do Form 6. Just another one and a half year. See what happens after that. So Form 6 it was, and truth be told, when I first started Form 6, I actually did not know what it meant. I just wanted to make sure I get my ass out of that tedious Science stream and join the very interesting class with History, Bahasa Malaysia and Malay literature being offered. Yes, boring subjects but hey, I had fun in the class, well, except for History. But in the course of the half-year lower six, I realised going to Form 6 means a place in the local university. And slowly, somewhere between having fun in Form 6 and being contented to be able to runaway with the what’s next question, I made up my mind that I’d want to get into university. And study something that in the end, would lead me to the writing field.

Surprisingly, I got quite good result and the rest became history.

Yes, not very ambitious of a person I was or even am.

But ever since then, I’ve always thought that I know what I want to do in life. Or so I thought. I naively assumed that as long as I know what I want to do, time would do the justice for the rest. And because I felt like I wasted my high school life, I vowed to have a different university life. To commit to something. Which, I guess pretty much change a lot the way I see things.

Like, just knowing what you want to do in life is not enough, you’ve got to know how and what you need to do to get there.

And then, I began wanting something different.

Which leads me to probing myself, what do I really want to do in life?

Maybe it’s the hype youth has. Maybe because I’m the youngest and I don’t really have much burden on my shoulders. Maybe it’s just trying to live up to the YOLO spirit. Or maybe simply because I want to explore as much as I could, before finally curling back into reality and responsibilites.

I might not know for sure what will be of me 5 years from now, it could be me chasing after my passion. It could be me with a stable life. Or it could even be me, well, dead.

Remember when I said my parents, they do not expect me to lead a successful life? As long as I am happy, healthy and just fine?

I guess I was wrong. They do have their expectations towards me. A stable and sustainable life, build a family of your own. Consciously or unconsciously, they have these expectations. And I was brought up with this belief and to want exactly that.

But just like some parents expecting their kids to get a college degree and eventually their kids would go “But sorry pops you just got to wait.”

Photo taken: Jeweanne Chew

A day before EGM, my mom told me: “You better not run what President positions or whatnots. Please put things to a rest after you end your term.”

As much as the decision was made myself to not run for LCP, somehow, silently, tears started trickling down after hearing what my mom said to me.

Not because it’s sort of final that I will not be running for LCP, but because it became more of a solid fact that I, as a daughter, I did not communicate well with my mom, my family on what I’ve been doing. And why I’ve been doing so, what I’m looking for. What I want. As much as I appear to be able to fluently communicate with people, I am very much of a person who fails to actually precisely convey my thoughts and feelings to non other than my family or even anyone else. Because I don’t talk. I don’t know how to.

Hearing Chin Lin telling me one night on the way back to hostel about how her mom had told her to just go for it if it’s really what she wants and hearing it again during EGM, and also seeing another friend of mine where his family was there to witness his success in gaining the confidence from his local committee, it spun me around to see it for myself what is it that have always felt missing.

My family’s support that comes with approval.

I have been let to do anything I’d like so far. But support could only go so far when I’ve always fail to let them understand the why of what I’m doing.

Because as far as I could recall, I don’t know if there was any moment that I’ve ever made any of my family proud of me. Or even see me as who I am. Or see me as how other people sees me.

No matter how much I achieve or I could have, it remains a failure when it could not be shared with the ones closest to me.

Now, the million dollar question; Why you did not run for LCP?

I think I owe anyone that have expected me to run for the position a thank you. Thank you for the confidence you have in me. Thank you for seeing that I have such potential. Thank you for believing  in me even when I highly doubted myself.

Thank you to those people who were kind enough to restlessly talk to me be it physically or virtually when I was still in the indecisive phase. Probing me with questions, trying to help me figure things out. Especially Cui Ying who I always run crying to.

But just so we are clear, no, not because my mom did not let me. Yes, support from family of course have contributed to it, but that is not the main reason. You could say that I’m a coward. Oh yes, I’ve been told that. Or you could just say that I know better of myself.

I wouldn’t say I’m sorry that I’ve disappointed people who believed in me, as much as this might sound extremely selfish and maybe a little arrogant, I am not, never was and never will be obligated  to live up to expectations. Because at the end of the day, it’s my decision. I would be sorry should I have succumbed to mere encouragements and pressures to run for the position. But I had not.

It was like back when in Form 4, prior to school start, I swore that I would not want to be in Science stream. But seeing my friends were all in Science stream and seeing how the whole system was, I simply couldn’t bring myself to switch class. But when in Form 6, I simply knew it wasn’t about friends or ego anymore, and I had to get my ass out of Science stream.

My guts told me so, my heart told me so.

As much as I think running for the position could shape me in a way that I could not imagine, but my instincts told me, no, it really isn’t something you want.

And I just have to trust myself.

I don’t know what would be next. But before I begin leaping off my comfort zone, I guess I have to make sure my family is comfortable with me out of my comfort zone. And I need to learn how to communicate with them.

I just hope I do not appear unrealistic to them. I guess, it’s a learning process that everyone goes through.

A process of creating yourself.

Scribbled,

Mich.

21 Perceptions: #4 A bucket list

It’s already somewhere in the middle of February and the heat is no joke. It feels as if it’s increasingly hot every day since the first day of the Lunar New Year. With these glaring hot weather, it adds up to my reluctance to return for a start of the semester. I was actually relentlessly hoping to go back sooner rather than later hoping a change of environment could put me into action, instead of procrastinating and slacking.

These lazy bones are getting heavier.

Indulging oneself too long with high school friends, meeting up, gatherings or just simply staying at home with minimal amount of work covered. Not to mention, not even a single proper blog post since the last one. Not very healthy, yes. I know. Well, that’s not the point. Because as we grow older, as more time passes, it get rarer to meet up with your high school gang and to relive those carefree moment you had when you were in high school. No big question mark of what’s next hovering or the constant challenge of wanting to be a better person.

Damn. People weren’t lying when they said enjoy your high school life while you can. And enjoy your university life while you can. Well, basically enjoy being a student while you can.

I don’t know why, it just so happens that my hangouts with high school friends are quite limited to a few people at a time only. But that’s enough. Maybe it’s just me, I really prefer to have two or three of the close ones rather than a whole gang where they’d segregate into different gangs and talk among themselves. So, our style is different gang, different rounds! Haha, no one gets left out. But if there’s a group of people that I’d always really love the most to hang out with would be the Kajang High School lunch hour gang; Yin Han, Koh, Yan Yang, Fu Wai and Ashok. I don’t know, these combination of people are just hilarious and despite their tendency to fish out histories and relentlessly teasing it, they’re still crazily awesome.

Kinda sad that it’s been a long time this full team had hung out, though.

And the Engku Husain bunch that only rarely, once a year meet because we are all going to different universities at different states. I’ve missed this year’s house hopping because of the dengue attack that my father got. Even so, we’ve managed to hang out and had this secret bursting round of card games, which was childish yet, who would say no to revealing old school mysteries. 🙂 Woots, I look taller in this photo when in fact, I’m like the shortest among them. 😀

Anyway, I was going through photos in my phone and it just crossed my mind; Hey, that girl with the long hair. That girl smiling with that two profusely meaty cheeks. Is that really me? I’ve become chubby, even being called fat. I’ve got long hair, way passed my shoulders.

That was something that I’ve always wanted when I was a kid. The long hair I mean. And for the longest time in my life, I’ve felt like my hair simply wouldn’t grow pass my shoulders. And I used to be so skinny I actually don’t like how I look in photos. I’ve only been gradually gaining weight since some where around Form 5.

It hit me. In the midst of chasing after a possible better future. In the midst of dwelling upon things that I’ve not managed to achieve or people who left, I have always, always, always forgot about those things that I’ve always used to want. Because you’ve got it. Because you crossed it in your bucket list and the moment of elation passed by, you look onto something else. The things that you’ve once feverishly wanted became small. Because it’s now something you have, not want anymore. That’s quite sad, don’t you think?

And I suddenly recall that I’ve got a bucket list lying around somewhere in my old blog. I revisited my blog and went through the list and again, realised, I’ve actually achieved quite some stuff on that list that I’ve made couple or more years back. Including driving, having a 21st birthday celebration, ending my STPM gloriously or even getting a boyfriend, though we broke up. It was a list of things that I’ve set in order to achieve and 90% of it has been achieved, with or without me appreciating! And the glorious moment? I simply let it passed me by because I ‘couldn’t find time’ to do something to save a piece of that happy moment.

There are a lot of things that we want to do and yet always tell ourselves, one day, I’d do this or do that, and kept on pushing it aside ‘waiting’ for the right time. Even simple things like reading a book, dating someone or write a blog post, maybe even keeping a journal.

This is what we call not living in the moment. Because very often, we forget that it’s now or never.

And a promise to myself, each time I cross out something on the list, a blog post about it will be up.

Just like #100happydays challenge that I’ve decided to do.

Another effort in trying to seize the moment, and live in it.

Scribbled,

Michelle.

21 Perceptions: #3 In a relationship

how-to-build-a-lasting-relationship

Used to think that getting into a relationship could be the best thing in life. If there is something to hold the blame, the media would be the culprit. How it portrays what a good relationship would look like, projecting fantasies in a young girl’s mind through all the dramas and soap operas.

Before I continue on my ranting, to be frank, obviously, I’m not some relationship guru or philosopher, just so you know. Merely expressing and typing when I should be studying for my finals.

Two or three years back, I guess, I was one of those silly girls that would easily expect a few text or a few long chats on the virtual platform with the opposite sex to blossom into something theatrically sweet and maybe even romantic. You can laugh, you can even call it desperate, but how can you honestly blame a girl, at the mere age of 16, who watches too much dramas and reads too much romance (including Twilight Saga, so FHL), if she lives in her own fantasies? Yes. I imagined that I could one day miraculously find a guy that would be my boyfriend and we would do exactly what couples do in those Taiwanese youth dramas like Devil Beside You or even like It Started with A Kiss. Honestly, who wouldn’t have imagined or fantasised about all those things.

Pardon me, I’m the irredeemable hopeless romantic, yes.

I expected that there would be a guy who teases me endlessly and when the world went against me, he’d be the first to stand up for me. I imagined that when everyone teases me about him, he’d come walking into the restless classroom telling me he likes me. I fantasised that he’d come straight to sit with me during lunch time causing friends to shoot envious stares in our way. I expected that we’d be taking walks around the school compound before class starts, wandering pass empty classes. And that he’d be watching me as I delve into my favourite book under a tree. We could be simply killing off time in the library while waiting my mom to fetch me home. We could be staying back in the empty classroom when school is over and just talk about almost anything, teasing the geeky guy or that mean teacher that we both hate. I would be watching while he fights his way in a basketball tournament, or simply sitting there while he practices with his team under a yellow umbrella. Then the holiday finally comes and we’d talk on the phone every night until the separation take its toll on us and we’d date each other. Taking the KTM to wherever we want to and spend our whole day there and end it with a call as usual. We will get into fights, but we will be just fine.

It doesn’t take much for me to realise that all these fan girl fantasies over dramas will never happen. It took just some hard falls and a relationship that did not really work out for me to realise that all these were just my… teenage dream?

It made me sound like a bimbo who worries about nothing but boys and relationship? Honestly, I was never the type of person that goes head over heals when it comes to achievements. It would be because my parents were liberal when it comes to academic achievements? But that’d be another story I guess.

The awakening did not really kill off the hopeless romantic in me, no, I doubt that. Being me, being the sensitive, over thinking and melancholic me, I doubt that anything that ever happened or will happen could ever murder the hopeless romantic that is just me. But it’s just that, you learn to separate fantasies and reality. You stop dwelling upon the fact that, that helplessly romantic scene in Time Traveler’s Wife or that passionate kiss in The Vow would never happen.

You still do fantasise, but you don’t dwell on it anymore. But most of all, you stop expecting.

Whatever it is, you stop expecting. And you stop guessing. You stop reading too much into things. You no longer dying to know what someone you like thinks. Not that it doesn’t matter. It matters. It matters a lot, but it no longer bothers you the way an itch you’re dying to scratch does. Because, what you yourself feel has to be the one thing that bothers you the most first. You have at least minimum control over your own thoughts and the way you feel. And you no longer want to try to alter how the other person feel and think about you, instead, you try to comprehend.

Though, at the end of the day, just like every other female in the world, one would hope to come across someone that is crazy over you. And a relationship where you’re crazy over each other but at the same time feel at ease being yourself in the presence of each other. And sometimes, he misses you so badly, he’d travel all the way just to ring the bell of your house and laugh at your dumbfounded expression having to find him at your doorstep. And that he’d hug you tightly at the waist drawing you close to him because you’re so tiny yet meant the world to him.

The only difference is, you wish these things could happen. But you no longer expect it to be something that will definitely happen in the relationship that doesn’t even exist yet.

Small difference, but enough so that you don’t walk on thin ice anymore.

Scribbled,

Mich

21 Perceptions: #2 Changes – Three sixty

20 minutes of sleep in 24 hours. Or maybe less than that. 18 people, 9 hours, 3 facilitators with 1 purpose. That was 360.

Apparently, an evaluation on the strengths and weaknesses of each and every member of a team with utmost transparency. It wasn’t the original plan of the senior track but to cater what the team needs, changes had been made by the 3 over-dedicated facilitators who not only sacrificed their sleeping hour but also their time in putting so much effort to make it happen.

This post was meant to be published on that day itself. But then, it came to my mind that this was something personal shared among my team and I was truly drained to the core, so I just brushed it off. But, one of the awesome facis mentioned above actually spent time taking bits and pieces of the whole process down. It further touched me.

It was indeed the most beautiful sleepless 9 hours of my life. And I really would like to in any ways that I could, have it recorded down so that those 9 hours are relived every time in anyone’s mind while reading back.

Because I wouldn’t have done it in anyway better (or because I’m just lazy), here is what my team and I went through during Senior Track of LLDS UPM 2013:

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“A journey of HOPE and MIRACLE” by Foo Jiong Kit

Photo credit: Jeweanne Chew

Photo credit: Jeweanne Chew

If I could sum up my first senior track chairing experience in UPM, it would be “Changes”.

On paper, things looked straight forward: Identify needs, craft agenda, deliver sessions, happily ever after. Guess what, reality hit! One day before the conference, we realised there were underlying problems in the team that need to be tackled before other sessions can even happen. Changes, we made to the agenda to include 360 feedback session.

Day 1: First 2 sessions went well, then came personal & team values. Things started to get sticky as the team struggled to agree on top 3 values that everyone has ownership in. Changes, we did to the agenda again, paused the session and brought forward the 360 feedback.

As an observer, you could see how far apart the team was. It wasn’t a team, it was just a group of people trying to work together. In the 360, we went beyond the surface of problem and talked about personal experiences. Changes, started to take place in the team’s communication where they started talking things beyond work.

It wasn’t sufficient as the team refused to open up and go in depth.

Day 2: First part of the session went well with the team finalising top 3 term ambitions. Consolidation, again was the problem. There still wasn’t a solid common ground for everyone to hold on to and for the team to come to agreement. No one wanted to give in. Changes, were again required.

With time running out, the team was left with 2 options: Superficially wrap things up & complete the agenda or Go deep into the root problem & risk dragging the agenda. This was the first I saw them agreeing as a team and giving full commitment in solving the root of problem. Changes, were on the way.

While the MTs facilitated LC simulation, my awesome facis and I went hunting for energy boost to last the night. Milo, nescafe, cup noodles, chips, snacks, chocolate cake, sweets, you name it, we bought it! Changes, and preparation we made to setup for the second round of 360 feedback.

Day 2 10.50pm: After all the combined sessions were done, it was time! Everyone shared their personal values, past incidents and most painful experience. Tears were shed, minds & hearts were opened up. We went one step further into each one’s strengths & weaknesses. It took us to 4am and we have only completed 4 persons. You could see the tiredness in each of the MTs, but they were determined to make this count.

Day 3 4.00am: We stopped for a cup noodle break while some took quick naps. The team went through one of the most torturing phases, where they were so sleepy yet there were quite a lot more to go. It would have been very easy for them to just give up and completed the session half-heartedly. It would have been very easy for them to just postpone the session to some other time. They did neither, they went on with the same commitment they started.

Day 3 6.00am: Up until this point, everyone was still giving their honest inputs and feedback whenever they have. Some were so tired that they dozed off awhile, but they forced themselves back. They gave each other presence and support. This went on until the last person finished his 360 feedback, it was 7.40am.

Changes, were apparent. In the way they smiled, they react, they interact, we saw the connection. What started just 2 days ago as a group of workers are now looking more like a team. Of course, there were still a lot to be done moving forward. But if 18 people can sit down for 9 hours without sleep just to understand each other better, nothing can stop them.

If anything, this session makes them believe in the team again. They have witnessed how much each other cared for the team and how much more value they can bring to the team. They have realised it is not so difficult to talk to each other outside of AIESEC and they are not so far apart afterall.

As for us facis, it just felt surreal that we actually went through the whole night without sleep with them. It was a beautiful mistake that opened our eyes, just how much a team can improve OVERNIGHT. I certainly learned so much from the team and my facis. It also made me realised how magical AIESEC is and understood what was the missing piece since I started working.

To LC UPM, thank you for this opportunity to know you guys better and for me to rediscover my MOJO. The youthfulness, enthusiasm and love, these are rarities in the corporate world. That said, I think their two LC projects have very befitting names, HOPE and MIRACLE. This is exactly what the LC needs and something that I strongly believe this team can achieve by the end of this term.

In spite of all the changes, have a wonderful journey of HOPE and MIRACLE ahead. 🙂

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The original post is here. But you might not be able to view it due to the original author’s setting on Facebook.

I was a wreck. Totally a wreck. For some reason, we actually had two rounds of 360. The first round wasn’t on weaknesses and strengths. But because that first round simply wasn’t enough, we had all agreed to have the ‘real’ one.

After the whole team agreed on digging into it, somehow, somewhere in me started radiating fear. Fear that I might not be able to open up myself as much as I wanted to. Pure fear for what will happen to a team of  people who I really love spending time with. What if everything falls apart and we’re just somewhere in the middle down the road. I was afraid that like what our coach said; going deep into the roots could only mean two things; It breaks the team apart. OR, it brings the team together and you move on together, as a team.

I’m one of those people who you could barely see any changes after joining AIESEC. Because “Joining AIESEC, I’ve gained confidence in speaking in front of a crowd.” or “Joining AIESEC, my English has become proficient” simply does not apply to me. I wouldn’t deny that when I see those obvious changes of some other AIESECers being recognised and praised upon, it was somehow demotivating because it triggers a question in mind.

“See, people gain all these after joining AIESEC. They somehow changed and it was rather impressive, what about you?”

It was a question that haunted me for quite some time. And at times, it really bothers me. To me, it felt as if I’ve gained nothing thus far and will not be gaining anything if I continue going down the road. I guess I’m one of those people that demand quick results. Like changing a new eye cream for just two days and I want to see obvious result, else I will feel cheated. And down the road, there is always something that makes me stay a little longer. Be it MyLDS, or a small chat with someone who encourage and motivates me, or even spending time with the team, it keeps me there. Staying a little longer.

And yes; with staying a little longer, really, just a little longer, you’ll see the changes. Because everyone is different, the result you get will definitely be different.

Quoting myself during one of my sharing to my JEs: There will always be time when you feel demotivated, but just try to stay a little longer. Stay a little longer and you will start seeing the changes.

I’m glad I chose to stay a little longer despite my slow reception towards my changes. It is not obvious and I doubt it will ever be, but nevertheless; it is happening.

Scribbled,

Mich