rss
email
twitter
facebook

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Wine & Coffee

So here I am again.
After a hiatus of say, a couple months if Drafts are to be considered--a year if only actual posts that made it out of the Drafts Vortex count. Let's see what changed...
Well, for one, I returned from my Beijing experience.
To recap the summer of my 2014, from a draft I summon these pre-written words:
With the longing scent of a coming rainfall, along with distant thunderclaps and the occasional strokes of lightning I write.


"Oh, Summer '14.
I'm enjoying this year's summer holidays so much more in comparison to last year's.
Reasons being...well, that's for me to know.
When I think about it now, the first thing comes to mind is this simple adverb: Why?
I know exactly why--I was such a bloody fool.
That's a good amount of time I'm not getting back.
Oh well,
the strongest things/people don't get to be known as the "strongest" without being able to weather issues of all sorts, no? Thank you, for providing me with such a period to mature at such a fast rate. I don't think I've ever had so many emotional ups and downs in such a period of time in my entire life."



Haha. Well, the summer of last year was truly one hell of a period. Probably one of the worst that I've ever experienced in a short time, because of not one, but two girls, (Hah, I know.) from Beijing. Made me realize how I don't really learn lessons quickly enough among other lessons. But it's also thanks to them that I'm where I am today. I just returned from a one month vacation/visitation to the individuals that I befriended during my exchange to Beijing for one semester. It was awesome, to say the least. Meeting them in their natural habitat, or rather, in their element. I got reminded of the Butterfly Effect, with how I wouldn't have this blessed opportunity if I hadn't decided to do a lot of things which I did back in Beijing.



So my one month Germany experience with Claire, my girlfriend.
Right off the bat, I didn't have any expectations of how things would be like before we went there, aside from the fact that as I planned our trip, there were a whole lot of history-laced sightseeing to be had. Other than that, a lot of drinking with my Beijing family, as I called them before. So how did things go down? Well we stayed a lot at my buds' places, from peaceful Jülich to busy Münich, to the beautiful Wuppertal. Our trip consisted of destinations to many cities and spots that covered the major cities of Germany, Czech Republic and the Netherlands.



Long story short, the trip was as you'd expect from a European holiday.



The difference?
The company, the thoughts that manifested from different interactions, company & communication with the many interesting people that I met with throughout the month. It was amazing to meet with the guys again, namely, in order of appearance: Steffen, Ahn, David, Claus, Raphi, Bene, Petr, Julian. Basically my closest mates during my stay in Beijing. It was nice to see the changes that the majority of them went through was mainly because of our experience together, from initial frowns to smiles, it was truly amazing to see them again, in another space, in another time. And to think, about more than a half a year ago, I felt so extremely sad to see them leave one by one. I wasn't wrong to be upset, though. Because that time together with everyone, I cannot physically return to, only in dreams and through pictures taken. Memories that I believe will be relived over and over again. I thought of this when I was reunited with everyone of them--that nothing will ever stay there forever. That things change, that we have to live the right now's not with electronic devices in hand, not when meaningful conversations are able to be had with people who wouldn't be able to be there with us until the end of time. Sure, the advancement of technologies are able to pull that distance closer, but think about it on a deeper level, perhaps someday communication via technologies would be able to fully take place of physical communication, but for now, isn't it more important to be both physically and mentally there with the other individuals we deem worthy of our time?



Beijing family.






















Being both physically and emotionally living in Germany made me realize how both terrible and great things were back home in Asia. For one, the difference in quality of life. One may argue that quality of life is derived from the multitudes of characteristics that form different types of personalities and traits of people, but aside from that, general quality of life itself is proven to myself from my eyes that my fellow friends knew how to live better than my peers back home did, at least the majority of them. I already knew this from the huge amounts of conversing and development that I gained from my experience with them last year. Hell, they made me decide to further my studies. They affected me in such ways that was never really possible with the majority of my Asian peers. Because of them I decided to take a leap at what I liked and to be confident with my choice of dwelling into the world of Finance at a professional level which I thought was impossible back then, because of so many implicit factors, I would guess. My friends knew how to be living in moments, from being at the bar to being at the beach on a sunny day. It was beautiful to look at, because I was lacking in such attitudes towards living life. I was disconnected, just like how I was back in Beijing. I felt liberated once again. Quite amazing how environmental factors are able to affect you in the subtlest of ways until you do some reflecting to identify and face them, eh? I guess which is why I've never really felt that I was at my happiest during my time in Taipei. Well to be fair, there are joyous times, but I feel that they're mutually exclusive to one another. Given, I've had a pretty horrible start to my university life, so that's why I've been rather unhappy about it all. But aside from those issues, I'd say that my way of life is just really different from the majority of Taiwanese, Chinese and Malaysian people. I've never felt that I truly fit in with a people, except for my German friends. Which explains why I felt extreme sadness when they left me. Perhaps I haven't met the right Asians yet, but who knows when/where will that be? Because I surely hadn't expected to befriend my Beijing family before I went to Beijing; hell, I initially loathed the idea that I'd be exchanging to Beijing. I made the conscious decision to exchange there, no question, but the truth to my decision making was much more complicated than what I choose to reveal.



I loved being in the company of my Beijing German family--I would always feel accepted for who I am, and they're all individuals with mutual opinions but are still their own beings. So that feeling of being accepted as my own...now that I think about it, is quite a rare thing to happen in Asian countries, as we are trained from young to conform to the social standards--even the standards of beauty is uniform here in our region, that men and women should fit into those standards instead of being themselves to seem attractive. Which explains why most Asians are empty shells of human beings--always chasing after things that the society deems to be "nice things", buying things to impress people they don't truly like. Sure, I may be summoning a tidal wave to consume an entire city, but it rings true to me for the majority. Chances are, an Asian would probably ask me if he/she read this: "What are you doing, talking about your people like that? Who are you to judge?" Well, that/ll just prove what I wrote to be right, as I'm different to be writing about things like these, criticizing my own people for what they're doing. I dislike being among most Asians, as it seems to me like they're not without personal opinions, but rather, are afraid to voice out in fear of repercussions that needn't be. And the majority of us aren't open-minded enough to understand/accept that another person has thoughts/views that differ from ourselves. But of course, I do understand it's the way of life here--most of us obey to conformity, not individuality. Which made me think that I wouldn't want to start a family here, or at least not at the places that I've been to.



Heidelberg



There was one night in Wuppertal, after the very lovely barbecue at Bene's place that we, Claire and I had a lengthy conversation with him and Julian. It was about how the intellectuals of the past turning into "monsters". But think about it, what exactly is a monster? Is it a creature that has abnormally large eyes, separate skin colors and fangs for teeth? Is that not essentially just a creature that simply looks and acts differently? Without a doubt, the scientists of the Third Reich tortured and committed one too many inhumane experiments on people--and that is wrong from a humanitarian point of view with how the scientists were doing myriads experiments against the subjects' human rights, but standing on the side of logic and reason, what was it for? What do scientists lust for? I can only think of "the advancement of knowledge" to be the answer. Think about it: Scientists thirst for knowledge so much that people have historically labeled the ones that go out of their way to scour for sources to be "mad scientists", but are they truly mad? I believe not. As there are people who would go the distance no matter what the cost to obtain what they want. That trait isn't called "insanity", it is called "being driven". Under different circumstances and opportunities, we find ourselves making decisions that we wouldn't normally be considering about. But in situations that, under normal conditions wouldn't be accessible, we commonly find ourselves going against what we believed to be right. There are many ways to see this, but I for one prefer these two views: That the "wrong-doer" was weak-willed, or he/she just did not have the opportunity revealed to them. It's quite interesting to be think about things this way, as people as close as our neighbor--not close enough unlike immediate family members would turn out to be serial killers. But even in this case, even immediate family members can turn out/have turned out to be serial killers. Unsettling eh, these thoughts?


About circumstances which these people were in when they acted the way they did. Everyone acts/thinks differently because they were born and bred under different circumstances. Of course there are social norms and guidelines that we abide to for us to remain under the light of social acceptance, but that in itself is very debatable, from the zenith of things like family background to the lowest of societal expectations, we are all bred quite differently (aside from some regions of the world that would have the same goals for every family, *cough* Asia *cough*). Which is why Benedikt was quite in shock when I told him what I'd do to further my personal goals--even if it meant I'd do things that are without criticism of the public.



Neuschwanstein Castle



But back to the topic of the scientists under Hitler's regime, it is hard to argue about issues like these, especially when the victims or are of our own kind--human beings and there are so many different thought schools that people identify with. From this question itself, one is able to branch out into other topics, namely, the discussion of anything at all. It is always easier to talk about things that are of lighter shade, especially when we are so distant from the topic chosen. Distance & relevance to oneself.



Of course, I knew all this before our trip to Germany, but it all took a clearer physique after our experience through visiting the memorials and talking to various types of people along the way. I'll get to writing more about what I think and gained sometime in the future, but that's enough provocative thought and sensitive issues for one post for now, I think. So to sign off, here's to the amazing people that have been with me all this time, my family and my amazing girlfriend, Claire. Cheers.


Maastricht, Claire 

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Closed Doors and Desktop Lamps

"Stop and stare, you stop to wonder why you're here not there..."
Spotify has this song shuffling into play. It's been quite some time since I first listened to this song--a couple years maybe? Things were so different back then. I recall liking this song and also Apologize, with Timbaland doing his world renowned "Eh eh eh"s throughout the whole song. I thought that he didn't know how to sing at all, and he was just lucky that One Republic wanted to collaborate with him on their song. Memories of the past surface from time to time, reminding me of how different I was back then...I didn't know what I wanted to do, nor did I know what wanted to achieve in the future. I was a lost cause, quite the typical teenager, I must say. I never had issues with the future, and had a mindset to let things flow accordingly into my life.


It's Chinese New Year, 2014. Chor 6 I think? Speaking of which, if there's a chor 6, there's a chor 29 right? I know, I'm being silly.
Parents are away to Eastern Europe for CNY until the 12th of this month, and I've been spending time with my friends and my relatives. Typical, yet comforting. Being away from home for extended periods of time does that to a person I think, well, me at least. I really enjoy just being at home, even if I'm not doing anything particularly interesting. I've learned to appreciate the simple dishes my maid cooks at home, I've learned to enjoy spending time just talking to my parents. I understood the trouble I caused my parents in the past for always needing them to drive me all over the place, for social purposes and whatnot. I am now so much more grateful of everything in my life--the little things that I didn't treasure, if not annoyed me in the past. But most importantly, being away from home made me truly realize our mortality as human beings.


Being with my family for so many years and seeing them so often, I hadn't actually noticed that all the people around me, the elders were ageing year after year as I matured. Since the first time I came back for the holidays, I started to notice something. Minute things that I couldn't really identify and describe with words. Something was different with the members of my family. Was it their facial expressions? Was it the way they walked? I didn't understand, and thought that I was only being sensitive at first. Eventually, I realized that the difference was in the details. There were strands of silver popping out of my aunt's hair, wrinkles that didn't seem to exist before forming on their foreheads and also, a certain tiredness that they had.


It was like a tight slap to my face.


It suddenly came to me that we're only human, and as humans, we grow old. We wither, we cease to exist. It's a process that is set in stone ever since the beginning of time. Nothing is forever--everything is temporal. I became so much more appreciative of everything after the fact really settled in.



~


That was Chor 6...already?! Yeah. Apparently so. It's a week to Mid terms now, and here I am with thoughts of blogging in mind. I've been back to Malaysia again for two weeks because of the passing of my grandmother couple weeks back. Looking upward, wow.


Over the course of me being home, it came to me once again after the funeral and after I read John Green's The Fault in Our Stars that everything isn't forever..and that a life that isn't examined isn't exactly worth living, because we aren't appreciating history's most underrated gift of all--the one life that is given to us. I've been asking myself ever since I got back, questions like have I been really living? Or have I simply been surviving, getting by with only the most basic of things like food, sleep and entertainment? The answer I obtained through numerous occasions of self-questioning was simple: I wasn't doing enough living. Not by a far margin. I wasn't chasing after my dreams hard enough, nor was I living my life to its fullest right now. I wasn't really doing much. Which led to me deciding that, from that day onward, I would be living my best life every single day. I've been waking up everyday telling myself, "Today is a great day!", literally. I close my eyes and I appreciate the fact that I'm alive and well. It feels really, really good.


I want to live a live free of regrets. Yet at times, how do we know if the decision we've made will be the right one? How do we know route A would be optimal? The truth is, we can't. In no way can we examine the route untravelled. Thus, live the decided path as though it's the right one, and that there can't be a better or worse road, because it's the one we picked--the best one.




~


Whoa. All that up there? Drafts.
It's another Saturday afternoon. A quieter one, without lacking in the breeze department.
I'm listening to a piano cover of Mirrors through my earphones. Sitting at my desk, among the mess that is my tabletop, I spy a packet of sugary heaven, Jelly Beans. I look back to my screen and I ask myself, it's another Saturday, what am I doing?
I want to take the day off, free from everything.
Peace and quiet.
Yet here comes a thought: Isn't it funny how when everything is peaceful, we wish for it to be more lively, more chaotic? Why are we, as humans, never ever fully and truly content with what we have at the moment? Why is it so hard to find appreciation towards everything in life? How would we ever be truly happy this way? The calmness of everything around me right now provokes waves upon waves of philosophical questions. I need to shut the lid and type. 


Questions aside, here's whats been going on these days:
I got accepted to for the student exchange program to Beijing Institution of Technology. I'll be going there for a semester starting this September. Am I stoked as hell after getting to know the news? To be honest: Not exactly. Part of me just wants to prove that I'm more than qualified to be an exchange student because I didn't get it on my first try for the American schools. Another part of me tells me I should go to the Asian countries, because I would learn and see much more different things along with other perks that would help me out a ton in the future--even if I truly prefer being in an English environment to a Chinese environment. I realize my potential isn't fulfilled yet due to one of the major reasons being I'm still not that great at Chinese. I always feel that if I stayed in Malaysia and attended the local private universities, chances are, I would be much more of everything I could be right now, due to the simple fact that the majority of lectures and social interactions I would have would be in English instead of Chinese. I'm confident with my abilities in Chinese, make no mistake, I'm rambling simply because my Chinese isn't as good as my English. But yeah, Beijing! The capitol of China. Here's to a great time being there.




Another question.
When it comes to matters of the heart, what does the heart truly want? Is acceptance, acceptable?
So I rewatched an episode of HIMYM the other day, it's this episode of Season 1, where Stuart, Ted's friend wanted to get married but ending up quarreling because Ted didn't check +1 on the RSVP. Stu's wife-to-be flipped out, and they decided against the marriage afterwards. Marshal and Ted went over to save Stu's marriage, which led to Marshall telling Stu not to get married, because, in Marshall's words, "Being in a couple is hard. And committing, making sacrifices, it's hard. But if it's the right person, then it's easy. Looking at that girl and knowing she's all you really want out of life, that should be the easiest things in the world. And if it's not like that, then she's not the one. I'm sorry." Now, I'm not saying that we should take advises from any shows at all from the tele, but this point from Marshall truly is a gem, kudos to the scripters of HIMYM, by the way. This sentence from Marshall made me think a lot, mostly it's because how everybody says that love is wonderful and being together with someone you love is amazing. Really think about it: Is being with someone you love amazing? Don't fights happen? Don't the both of you have your differences that need to be resolved when the occasion arrives? Being in love is amazing, with how the heart races when you're with each other and how the mind is in constant overdrive with thoughts of the other party. But what about after that? What about after the whole lovey-dovey period? To some, their bond gradually increases, to the extent of being unable to function properly without the other. But to the others, their bond ages like milk: It becomes sour due to bacteria using lactose as energy, then milk itself eventually turns into a mixture of lactic acid, eventually turning the milk bad in the end.


In clearer, metaphor-free sentences: each individual will definitely have flaws that surface after a period of time into the relationship. There are certain flaws that cannot go unnoticed by the other party nor can they be be solved by the individual of origin. This poisons the relationship as both parties cannot be in acceptance of said flaw and problems that arise upon exhumation. This would eventually remove the highly acclaimed "Happily ever after" destination of the relationship in time, when both parties realize that they cannot deal with said problems anymore. 


The people of olden times would say that people back then used to fix the problems of the other party and continue forward, which I truly agree upon. But truth be told, we aren't living in the same generation where the problems that appear back then were simpler ones, essentially. A lot of problems back then could be more easily fixed than the problems of today. Fixing things today isn't as easy as fixing broken toys, contrary to popular elder belief. Especially when these issues are about matters involving feelings. 


So back to the question I asked, how do we know if we truly love someone? How do we know if said relationship is maintained through acts of routine and not acts of love? For instance, how do we know if we care that the other party is in time for his/her interview and not because that it's the socially-deemed customary thing to do that we wake them up from their slumber? Through routine acts, so many things lose their original meaning--from the simplest things of holding hands to more complex acts of caring for one another, in time, is it out of love, or is it due to routine that people are doing these things with/to each other? One has to wonder, is the so-called love by some people, genuinely existent or not?


Life, eh?

Saturday, September 21, 2013

I have my fears;
I have my flaws.

Because, 
after all,
I'm only human. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Dewdrops

This will be my third summer break, marking the third year that I've started studying here in Taiwan, aside from being the end of my Freshman year.


Now hold up just a sec.
That was it? The end of my freshman year, already? Well, shit. They told me before that college years would be the fastest and best years of our lives, but I didn't expect things to be moving this quickly. But now that I think of it, things have been speeding at a rather brisk pace ever since I left secondary school, wonder why is that.


Freshman year was amazing, no doubt about that. Had tonnes of fun, learnt a huge amount of things, this and that. I expected college life to be somewhat...livelier, though. Courtesy of the movies and numerous TV series that I've watched throughout the years I guess. Wasn't expecting something like American Pie's Beta House, but I thought of it to be more like How I Met Your Mother (Ted & Marshall's college memories) basically fueled by parties, booze and the such. But I came to a realization that I'm in Taiwan. This isn't a place where people party just for the sake for partying and not to hook up with random strangers; this is a place where people have an almost completely different cultural perspective of everything compared to the western world of which the films I love originated from.




I met this amazing lecturer that altered my thoughts completely about so many different things. Being in Taiwan, ever since I was attending pre-U, the ones that were involved with the educational line over here taught us to obtain good grades as if having good grades mean we'd have the world in our hands. Everything is solely about problem solving, achieving, achieving, and achieving. I understood the reason behind that method of teaching, because we needed to obtain high grades to compete against one another to enter the universities of our choice. It's natural selection--which is all right. But then eventually I found out that I've incorporated this sort of teaching method--to achieve as my own personal goal, to achieve high grades and nothing less. It's a goal, but not a good one at all. Because what would grades mean once we've graduated from college? Nobody would care if you're a top scoring business graduate, because in the corporate world, true results are proven through means of actually netting in cash by the millions, and not by sitting in front of the desk all day long, mindlessly cramming answers to questions that only appear in exam sheets. Nobody's going to give a damn about your previous efforts, only the things that you learned as a person, ability-wise while on the pathway of achieving intended goals. And even that, you need to prove by not enduring, but striving in pocketing as work-based achievements as possible. 


Which is why, she said, that grades aren't as important as one may think it is. However, that does depend on different professions. She further pointed out that it's alright to be confused, lost and afraid about the future. The remedy? Ask questions. Ask as many questions as possible about anything that you are even just slightly curious about--only then will you filter and find out what is it that you truly want to do, or where you want to go to in the future. And so I did, still am doing. I found out there's truth behind her words, because as of now, one of my major findings is that I am positively sure I don't like engineering, be it software or hardware of any sorts. In fact, I think I'm tailored for the business sector after what I've experienced during and before freshman year. To think, a couple years studying the sciences (though not much actual studying was involved in my part) and most of us ended up picking something entirely different to pursue. Some people ended up loving physics, chemistry or biology, but some others, law or something entirely different altogether. 


I've also been pondering about issues regarding friendship. What exactly does it mean to have a friend? I have friends who only cared about having fun, friends who love living in the moment--pulling off so many YOLO stuff that we'd regret it all right after the act but not before making these story-worthy stunts to laugh about if we survived. I also have friends who try their best to get as much benefits as possible as if it were compulsory throughout the course of their so-called friendship with others. So many different types of people that appear in our lives, and only a very few manage to be remarkable enough for us to keep being friends with through the years. People that we laugh with, share our thoughts with, and reminiscent with. Some people also stress on the importance of their friends to them, some people however, think that most of their friends are very much expendable things. Which one are you, you ask? Well, friends, to me, are neither important nor are they extraneous. Only a handful of them I appreciate. Everything has it's reasons, mine is because I was wronged far too many times, and thus have acquired a more trivial standing towards the well being of these people that I accept into my life.




Question: What happened in the past, is it really that important?
The answer: It's both important, and not at all. Important, because it forges us into who we are at this very moment. I'll admit, I have troubles completely trusting someone, my friends especially. This is because of this rather naive incident that happened a couple years back. Big or small, almost everything that happened before turns us into who we are today--it is of highly distinguished magnitude. However, the past is of no true relevance, because no matter what it may be, for the better or worse, it already happened, and everything is already in the past, gone. Since we can't change the past, why not make the best out of it all, no? The problem lies with this one being unable to fully let go and accept the past. I tend to think of the could've, should've and would've's. Admittedly, it's a direful act, but it's just who I am, at times I tell myself. I've tried time and time again to fight off over thinking about the unnecessarily hurtful, but I just can't seem to help myself. My mind just wanders off into the darkness despite my utmost endeavors to stay in the light--the present. My brain somehow just loves tormenting myself with these aged pointy tools that are dull, yet enough to inflict a wound, but aren't quite sufficiently sharp enough to deal a mortal wound. It's excruciatingly tough to be dealing with things like these.

But I forgive. Because I love. That is why I've finally begun to see through the mists. My mind doesn't go on these pointless yet agonizing expeditions as often when compared to my condition a few months back. I'm recovering from the trauma.


I've made up my mind, don't need to think it over...

Chasing Pavements was shuffled into play the other day. I know of the story behind this song of Adele's, but my interpretation is this: Would you go after a goal that is impossible, that after reaching the endpoint, you would find out that what you believed to be the very essence of your purpose to be nothing but a beautiful dream. Would you pursue that dream, even after knowing that at the very moment you woke up, you'd be left with nothing but the memories of pursuit, along with the remnants of broken dreams?

Should I give up or should I just keep chasing pavements
Even if it leads nowhere?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013

Memorable moments (in pictures) of my 2012, in no particular order whatsoever..

Taipei 101
Countdown concert
Kaohsiung, Xi Zi Wan

Eda World shopping spree! (most aren't mine lol)
Halloween Party ;)
Gathering of my coursemates from last year. :D
TKU, Overseas Chinese Students Association Orientation Camp
Ted from Macau!
Foon Yew Students' Association

Henry's birthday bash!
One day Jioufen trip!
The guys heh.
Foon Yew SA orientation camp! (my team)
Gathering with my ex roommie and friends :)

College students' activity right after the countdown to the new years!
Malaysian SA orientation camp!
OCSA's activity, Christmas&Karaoke
During Yin Jen's birthday party heh.
Before our first exam here in TKU..
Grace's pre-birthday celebration @ Ximen
Mom and dad @ Clark Quey
Little Isaac, Reagan, Areeya & I.
Mom & Dad during cousin's wedding.
Ngawww :p
Mom and my baby brother :p

Christmas party with Malaysian SA!
Graduation!
With the guys, CNY @ OverTime
Posing for the Anti-Lynas campaign ;_;
1-11

Class performance!


&..


Happy new year, people!


This year was, yet again, an amazing experience. 
It sure as hell wasn't easy though, (psh) as if life ever was..
So make your new year resolutions if you haven't done so already, even if we could just apply the change that we want into our lives whenever instead of waiting 'till it's new years for promises of change.


Thank you, one and all, for being a part of my 2012.

And here's to 2013 being another awesome year!