Ducking out: The #IceBucketChallenge

To begin this post, I’d like to express my utmost gratitude to Mr. Pravin Nair, the tall and slender President of AIESEC in University Technology Petronas for granting me the honour by nominating me for the ALS awareness ice bucket challenge. Although I know I sendiri cari pasal. Lol, sorry Nicole.

That macho look!

 

Well, to continue this post, I have to express my deepest apologies to Pravin AND Nicole because the duck has to decline this ice bucket challenge. Yikes, sorry for ducking out!

Truth be told, I’m sort of keen to accept the ice bucket challenge because an ALS patient confessed that every single challenge accepted and performed moved him and it meant a lot to them. Also because having a bucket of water poured over your head already feels good, what else with an ice bucket head-pour? I asked my sister if she would help me record it, but then she reminded me of my condition.

With my heart condition alone I wouldn’t mind with a few steps of precaution. But freshly recovered from a mild injury and currently on antibiotics due to dental infection, I am more than just wary to take the risk this time. Oops. Sorry, guys! Pay back next time alright?

So, due to such a bummer I became of this meaningful challenge, I do what I do best; I blog it out loud.

ALS; acronym of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is one of the many kinds of neurodegenerative disease. As the name ‘neurodegenerative’ suggests; your brain, the main mechanism that controls you, slowly stops functioning. And slowly, step by step, it takes you away from your life.

You stop being able to dance, run, walk, sing, talk and finally, breathe.

The first time I got to know about this disease, or at least similar, was through One Litre of Tears. The girl was diagnosed with a neurodegenerative disease too, but I’m not quite sure if it is ALS too. And I got to know it better through my favourite book, Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom. It is said that Mitch Albom, in his own way, has educated the world about ALS.

Here is an excerpt from his book.

Source: Mitch Albom Official Facebook page.

This ALS Ice bucket challenge awareness campaign, I must say is the most successful awareness raising campaign I have ever seen. Starting from United States, it went viral around the world. Of course, credits to the power of social media and influence of celebrities. It set off a trend for a good cause.

However, it also saddens me that there are countless of people doing the challenge for the sake of fun and for the sake of; “Because I was nominated and I want to nominate someone else.”

You know what I mean.

It got me feeling so helpless too when you hear ridiculous people saying; “Accept this challenge OR donate 100USD.”

It is not a matter of OR, but a matter of truly understanding what ALS is, why your action matters, how to do your part. But for most people, this is not it.

Regardless, this campaign along with this challenge has gain success! This disease has yet to find any cure, but knowing that we do care, I hope it paints the days of ALS patients a little brighter ! 🙂

If by now you’re wondering; “Eh, woman, you talk so much, don’t want to accept then donate la.”

Well, meanwhile I am declining this ice bucket challenge, I’m taking this nomination as a calling to act. Taking one of my friend as example, I choose to not donate to alsa.org because like she said, it has gain much attention and donations are flooding in. Thus, I would donate to two causes that I’m passionate about and hope that it bring some light to this two cause and awareness within you about this two cause.

The first one is Teach for Malaysia. One that I am passionate about and want to work towards joining it.

Another one is a cause for congenital heart diseases in Malaysia as I am one who is going through such defect. However, I still couldn’t find the channel of such support community in Malaysia and never heard of one, I shall ask my doctor on my next appointment. If you know one, do let me know! Another chunk of information, as common as heart diseases are,  most people are not aware of Congenital Heart Disease are the most common defect among newborn babies.

Screen Shot 2014-08-27 at 11.44.44 PM

Source: Jump Start Your Heart

There is effort of raising awareness of CHDs in the states but not yet in Malaysia. At least, my family didn’t have any support group or community to turn to 22 years back when they needed one.

Yep.

Last but not least, instead of nominating(which I obviously won’t since I declined the challenge) three people, I’d like to express a token of personal appreciation to some people who I find amazing.

If you still remember Sarah that I blogged about her going bald for a cancer cause. Yes! She is the friend I was referring to above. She accepted the challenge and also donated. But she made a wise decision to donate to a cause that she feels more passionate about and a cause that also needs attention. Good job, Sarah!

Next is my sister, Mrs Er. An unsung heroin where she quietly donated to ALS even before it began going viral in Malaysia on her own accord and passion. Not only just ALS but also World Vision. So proud of you.

As youth, it is not only our responsibility to be aware of certain condition and issues, it is also our responsibility to take action and make things better.

Scribbled,

Mich

5 AMAZING things CDM 25 taught us that being a road bully can achieve..

..preferably with a car plate that screams CDM 25(note: a White Peugeot 208, optional), with a steering lock. AND possibly with a rather bad temper.

Just in case you need some demonstration:

Yes. I am so sorry you have to come across this piece of news literally everywhere you go on the social media and now my blog too.

I, for one, have absolutely no idea that this is going to happen. But seeing all these negative things crawling all over my laptop, I can’t help but, you know, put in some positive things in the midst of all these negativity.

They said, there’s always a silver lining to every cloud, right? Whatever.

So, I came across with a blogpost earlier this morning on 6 Scary things that CDM25 has taught us. Still a piece leaning towards the negative side. Thus here is something more enlightening to the whole situation, whatsoever.

Here is a list of 5 amazing things the owner of CDM 25 had achieved, that you probably want to learn something from it.

1. You gain INSTANT fame with MINIMUM effort.

You know how hard some people try just to be famous? Not to the extent of entering the hall of fame but famous enough to be the topic of even just a day? Some people made videos, some people made sex tapes. Some people trained all their life, or even, you know, run around the city naked? Yea. That sort of things.

And if you google How to be famous or How to gain instant fame, there is bound to  be millions of lists or How-tos teaching you. But thousand thanks to technologies nowadays, you can gain instant fame, yes, INSTANT fame just by being outrageous enough. Fastest way is non other than bullying the shit out of an elderly that is so helplesss. (refer video for demonstration)

2. Gain public interest.

Fame alone is not your style? Fret not. Fret not. I understand that fame alone doesn’t last. Rising to the level of possessing public interest is the key to the throne of glamorous life. Do you think it’s easy to have reporters running after you or radio stations fighting over you? You need to possess a satisfying amount of public interest in order for that to happen.

No, you don’t need to be a famous stunt actor. You don’t have to work your ass off as an athlete either, nor a footballer, those are too mainstream. Just get your ass out there and bully some uncle who unintentionally scratched your car. Oh, remember to have the whole process recorded down.

With that, you’ll become a person of public interest. Every single thing you said or say or post or tweet or shit, the whole world will pawn it before you can finish saying banana. That’s a breathless life of a world class celebrity! Phew, not that hard to gain, though.

3. A boost of self-esteem.

You know that saying; haters gonna hate? People hates you, the internet hates you, the whole friggin world hates you because of one simple reason; they’re jealous of how awesome you are.

Man, who wouldn’t be flattered if you’ve got so much haters? It reflects how awesome you are, yes? Increase of traffics to your page. Increase of numbers of reach out effortlessly!

4. Interview with top local radio stations.

Erh. Ma. Gawd. Say WHAAAAT? Yes. A radio station interview. No, scratch that. A handful of radio station interviews. Who knows, possibly television interviews, too? Wait, I think that too.

But, hell yes! And you guess it right, just have to be a road bully and you’ll land yourself an interview in famous radio stations that some people had to make countless calls, connections and whatnots to maybe only gain a 10-20 minutes of exposure. No joke. #OnlyinMalaysia though, I think.

5. Free 24/7 car security system(huge bonus!*gasp*)

Never mind those expensive satellite car safety system or cheapskate steering lock to keep your car safe from car thieves and car snatchers.

Again, bully someone on the road, get it caught on camera, pray for it to go viral and kaboom! Everyone recognises your car and car plate. Who dare to steal your car or snatch your car some more, you tell me.

Even if you really lost your car, no problem tracking it down now that all across the nation, not one single soul doesn’t know your car.

Amazing things, aren’t these? A list of things that countless of people probably not able to achieve in their entire life time and just in one night; Bucket list, all checked!

Yes, I am exploiting this whole incident to gain traffic, omaigod, jumping up the bandwagon, omaigod, just like any other famous blogger wannabe, omaigod. Sue me.

Scribbled,

Mich

*Footnote: If you take this whole post seriously, I don’t know. Perhaps a moment of silence for the loss of a sense of lame humour. 
Here is my personal thought on the whole Kiki CDM 25 drama:
Like what Timothy Tiah said in his blogpost, this incident really taught us a lot. And just like him, initially, I really did not give a damn about all those videos spamming my Facebook newsfeed. But then, with enough of friends sharing and news site gradually mentioning #CDM25, too, I gave in and watched the video. 
My reaction was; Holy shit! 
I did not gave much comment, rather enjoying reading comments instead. But being a normal human being, I felt sad and scared for the uncle. At some point in the merely 2 minutes plus short clip, I held my breath, horror-struck, and thought; Oh god, is she going to hit the uncle? And her last words as the video ended abruptly was the greatest disappointment I felt towards her throughout the whole incident.
All assumptions aside, I asked myself; What does it take to provoke me into such state? What makes me screaming irrationally  and hysterically at an elderly in a public place? I have been driven into a state where I started screaming hysterically at my family members during quarrels or whatnots, when I was really, really, really young. 
Undeniably, when you are enraged, you have the urge to scream at people and also the desire to inflict pain towards the other person who hurt you, your love ones or well, in this case, things you love. And that is where anger management comes in. 
I looked at the whole thing without too much of a note of judgement apart from feeling really sorry for the uncle and a little bit speechless for the woman’s behaviour. But, like everyone else, I was moved by the uncle’s kindness of not pressing any charges against her and condone all the things she did to him. (Honestly speaking, if that were to happened to any of my family member, I highly doubt I will remain so calm and forgiving. Watching the video alone was humiliating enough.)
And then she apologised, towards the uncle that she humiliated, sincere or not, that is not for me to question. But personally, I think she owes the public a proper apology. Whatever she did that went viral had in fact, set a very bad example to the public. Not to mention damaging the image of Malaysians. It is Facebook and YouTube we are talking about. Available to the whole wide world. Also, personally, again, I think it is only appropriate to leave the video on the social media sites. It very well serves as a reminder to the her to mind her actions and also to the world to watch your steps. Because, literally, the whole world is watching you.
Just when I thought the drama ends here, the largest disappointment dropped as a bomb to me this morning when Hitz.fm announced that they are going to interview the woman involved in this incident. I honestly thought that there would have been a limit as to how disappointing our local medias could be. How wrong I was. Highly filtered news, manipulated news and dishonest news is merely not enough. Seems like our media has decided to take it to another level.
I could not fathom what are the messages that you intent to bring to the people by interviewing a road bully(I am sorry to label her as such, but fact is, it’s a fact.) I mean come on, even you titles highlighted that it is an interview with a road bully to hear her side of the story. Whatever she did was considered civil crime, no? She threatened another citizen with a harmful weapon. She damaged another citizen’s property. She has committed a crime and then at the end of the day, she landed an interview so that she could justify her behaviour and wrong-doings? 
And what could be the intentions behind these radio stations that interviewed her? A free publicity? Boost of ratings? Really? What happened to “Together with Hitz, say no to road bullies?”
Yes. She deserves a second chance, no one denies it. But is inviting her to your radio station for a nationwide broadcast a part of giving her a second chance? A second chance can come in many ways but definitely not helping her to rise to further fame. I mean; WHAT. IS. THE. POINT?! Is there a need to increase her rate of exposure when thousands of other people’s voice who needs help needed to be heard? 
At the end of this long footnote, you might label me as a hypocrite saying I am doing the same thing; taking the advantage of this incident to gain readership. 
Your freedom of speech or accusation will not be denied. 
So, don’t you deny me my freedom of expressing my thoughts, in my own ways.
 
 

Undelivered speeches.

I know I should be studying right now for tomorrow’s test. But I know better that if I don’t post this now, it will slip away like every other thoughts that I’ve ever had. So, yeah ..

It so happens that this semester, I’ve finally managed to register a compulsory subject on English proficiency and it’s Public speaking. It’s different from the Public speaking I had in my first semester which was more intense and this time around it’s more, well, student friendly? First assignment – special occasion and I immediately knew what speech I wanted to do when our lecturer told us to pick two speeches to deliver.

A wedding toast and an eulogy. Both titled; She will be loved.

She will be loved: Happily ever after.

Photo credit: Luminous Aether Photography

Remember when I was still in primary school and was asked to write a short essay on who your superhero is, everyone was so excited to write about their superheroes like superman, batman, cicakman, whatever man, you name it. But because we were living separately and I really missed her a lot, my sister became my very own superhero.

I remember how we used to write each other letters. And in those letters, there will always be bookmarks, stickers and even poems. It’d be the very thing I look forward to receiving every week.

And during my visits, we would talk till late into midnight telling each other every thing and anything.

As time passes by, we begin growing out of the arms of each other. We became busy with our lives, but never leaving the other. I guess, we never stop loving each other. I don’t think that would ever happen.

We were always there for each heartbreaks, each breakdowns and each falls as we try so hard in working things out with life.

I guess it’s normal that we no longer write each other letters, because you stalk me on twitter. I guess it’s okay we no longer talk late into midnight because things are sometimes best said when we say nothing at all.

I have seen my superhero breaks down and lost her directions. I have watched as she crumbles down falling into pieces. But she always comes back, stronger each time.

She’s always doubtful about herself and she’s always afraid. As her sister, though younger, I’ve always feel obligated to watch after her. To look out for her.

But today, my superhero, the fragile yet amazing superhero is getting married. I feel happy, no, elated. Because all the sad things she had been through has bore fruit. All the doubts she had have become pointless.

I won’t guarantee you that from this day on, you’d face no sorrow, no tears but just pure joy. But if I could guarantee you one thing, it would be your happily ever after.

A happily ever after that both of you work towards. Regardless of fights that you will have, tears that you would shed and hearts that would break. Because at the end of the day, you will embrace each other and know everything will be fine. That is happily ever after. It’s not an end; it’s a journey together.

And I know my superhero and her sidekick, my brother in law, will enjoy their journey of happily ever after together.

So here’s to Fene and Andrew’s happily ever after!

It has always been something that I regret not doing. To not deliver a toast on my sister’s wedding, to tell everyone who she is and to share how happy I felt on her wedding day. I think along the way, she did asked me if I wanted to deliver a speech and I said no. Because back then, I felt it was redundant as most of the relatives on our side do not speak English. But I felt as if it was this one chance I had to stand up for my sister and I did not.

I blurp out the video like an hour before presenting my speech in hope that I could recreate that night.

It’s those things that I wanted to tell her and I didn’t but I still can. 🙂

She will be loved: Love prevails.

Before I begin, I’d like to take this chance to express our heartfelt gratitude on behalf of my family to every one of you that is here with us today. It means a lot to us, especially during such difficult times.

As I was preparing this eulogy, the same haunting scene kept replaying again and again in my head. That moment as I turned the last corner to this very street we all stand to find a white canopy set in front of this very house and to have that wave of grief drowning me as I broke down in my sister’s arms.

We knew this day would come, that she would exhale her last struggled breath leaving this world. And we knew it’d mean she is in better hands. But knowing any of that doesn’t make saying goodbye any easier.

As I sat in my room contemplating how would I want my last goodbye to grandma be like, memories of her come bustling in and out my train of thoughts. Memories of her happy face when we all crammed up in that house above the shop lots during festive seasons. Memories of her smiling face as I cut her finger nails and those haunting memories as we watched her struggling with what was left of her after her stroke attack.

But there was this one thing stuck in my head through all those contemplation; the stubborn determination of my grandma, our very own iron lady. As we are all well aware of, she was paralysed and couldn’t speak for the last two years making her dependent on us to care for her. Yet, she never gave up. She never gave up being the wife who loves her husband. She never gave up being the mother who longs for her children. She never gave up being who she was. The loving wife, the caring mother and the knowing grandma.

She reacted at the slightest hint of news from her children and tiniest sound of grandpa’s voice would make her day. She lived her life with love. Devoted her life loving her husband, caring for her children.

And I would like that on this day, we too, bid our goodbyes to your loving wife, your caring mom and our knowing grandma with love. To remember all those small but significant moments we had with her and celebrate the life she lived.

Death is inevitable, it is irreversible. But love prevails as grandma sets off to enjoy her new found freedom. She would always love us regardless of where she is. And so will we.

Goodbye, grandma.

Yes. We all knew that day would come, yet knowing didn’t made it easier when it really came. And that faithful afternoon never really leave me. But the sorrow diminishes little by little every time you pour it out.

I still think about her every now and then. Regardless of anything. It’s the way that I would want to remember my grandma whom we accompanied her throughout her final journey. My grandma who devoted her life grieving for her son who left too soon. Grandma who let her love drained every energy that is left of her.

It’s not the things that I wanted to tell her but didn’t and could never tell her. But rather the things that I want her to be remembered about.

I’m glad I chose to take Public speaking for the last 3 credit hours of English proficiency class. Or this two undelivered speeches would never given the chance to even exist in the first place. It would always remain as something I wanted to do but never got to do.

At least, now, I’ve weaved out the things I wanted to say on script.

Better than formless thoughts, no?

Leaving to Philippines this Friday and I feel excited at the same time disconcerting having to leave behind quite a number of things for what seems like two weeks.

And I’ll say hey,
You’ll say baby, Hows your day
I’ll say crazy,
But its all gonna be alright,
You’ll kiss my smile,
I’ll pull you closer,
Spend awhile just gettin’ to know ya,
But its all gonna be alright,
Loving you tonight.

              -Loving you tonight, Andrew Allen.

Scribbled,

Mich

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.

When the bold goes bald.

A few years back, or maybe even more than that, I remember reading a book that marks the end of my phase with chick flicks; My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult. It was about a girl, Anna Fitzgerald, who was genetically engineered and brought to this world to save her sister, Kate who was diagnosed with cancer, or more precisely, leukaemia. The story revolved around how the girl filed a petition against her parents for the rights of her own body and reveals the daily struggles of a family with a cancer patient.

I remember in the book, Kate eventually had to shave off all her hair because of the side effects of her treatment that causes hair loss. She became depress and refused to get out of bed insisting she’s sick and weak and doesn’t want to get out because she is ugly. Her mom stormed out of the room and started shaving her hair in the bathroom just so that her daughter would not feel alone and finally got out of bed and left the house to be out there and face the world.

At that time, I thought, well, that’s what family does right? They give you the strongest support and go all out to show that they care.

Because it’s your daughter, you’d do anything to help her feel brave. Because it’s your mom, you’d do anything so she don’t feel alone in this war with cancer. Because it’s someone you love and someone you care deeply for. Even that alone, how much do you really have to care enough for you to do something instead of just talking? How much courage does it take?

Which is why, it was truly inspiring and I was simply amazed at how supportive one could be for a cause to raise awareness for cancer through actions.

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Photo source: Sarah’s instagram.

She was one of the brave souls who took the challenge to raise fund for a cause in her university. She is Sarah Wong.

When she first posted her status announcing that if she could raise a certain amount of fund in a given time, she would go bald. I was certainly impressed, at the same time excited for her updates. I knew her through AIESEC, and my first impression of her was a bubbly character, very cheerful. I remember she sat at the row next to me on our way to UTM last year and there was not once that she stopped talking. Really.

Though, I really do not know her very well, but I simply felt so proud of her when she first posted up photos of herself after getting shaved where later on, my news feed was flooded with supportive words and expressing pride of knowing such amazing person. And then she posted a note and I was touched. By her courage, her pure will to simply being a part of this cause and in expressing her support and respect towards those who are in a constant battle with cancer.

Photo from Sarah's note.

Photo from Sarah’s note.

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Photo from Sarah’s note.

Attended the first class of Psychology in Communication and the lecturer discussed about how different personality and attitude forms different souls, and from within the soul, comes different emotions and feelings. And I would dare say, it’s a beautiful soul that Sarah has.

I, myself wouldn’t have been able to summon this much of courage despite how helpless I feel and constantly struggling to stay supportive not just for causes relating to cancer but also other things including Congenital Heart Defect awareness. I’ve known a girl who has exactly the same heart defect as I do, she strived hard in raising awareness in her country about CHD. Because in 10 newborn babies, 1 die of CHD and yet, little people are aware of the severeness and commonness of CHD. And here I am, being someone who faces such defect and yet remain oblivion to the level of awareness of my country when it comes to CHD.

At the end of the day, I guess everyone has their own ways of showing support to people who needs them. It’s just a matter of how much do you care enough to show your support in terms of actions or maybe just simple encouraging, expressive words. But make sure they know you’re there for them. Every little action counts and matters, regardless of how stupid you might perceive it to be. Because those people we love and we care, they’re not the worm squiggling in your womb, they don’t know how you really think or even feel. They need reassurance. All the time.

Great job, Sarah and those who went all out for this amazing cause. 🙂

Scribbled,

Mich.

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P/S: Was debating how should I bring in some randomness to this post, whether a new post or just somehow link it in a very forceful way, but meyh, a long P/S should do, right?

Anyway, just a quick update!

So today, there wasn’t any class and I decided it’s time I should give UPM’s swimming complex a good visit. Jivitha and I went there and our swimsuit in disguise just passed the standard and rented two swimming cap, then we were good to go! No photos because, well, Jivitha thinks we looked hideous in our swimming cap so she didn’t let me take any photos.

But people just don’t get it. I really, honestly, earnestly, precisely, exactly do want to learn how to swim. It’s always been something I wanted to be able doing. Eventually, Thai told me, all you need to do is to go to the pool frequent enough and you will know how to swim, eventually. Like .. what? 😮

Anyhow, KPI not achieved! 😥 Need to work harder on it. After that, we met up with Thai and went for lunch at Antipodean in Bangsar for a lunch breakfast. I accidentally added sugar to my scrambled eggs. FML.

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This was before the sugar was added. Haha! But I love the mushroom and, of course, the scrambled eggs. 😀 I honestly don’t mind eating these for breakfast everyday. I shall make this my mission if one day, my dream of living in a studio house should come true. 🙂

It’s always fun to hangout with Thai, he’s so funny. No, let me correct that, hilarious!

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Vintage notebooks from Taiwan and some snacks! 😀 I love receiving notebooks because I simply love notebooks. Especially when they’re souvenirs from different places. So next time, wherever you’re travelling to, apart from other awesome souvenirs, remember to get me a notebook 😛

Bringing my babies on a team trip to Malacca tomorrow. Fingers crossed that everything goes well!

The semester just started and I’m taking 21 credit hours this semester. Bless me!

Counting down to one more month.

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