Friday, December 30, 2011

As It Comes to an End

I cannot wait for this year to end. It's been a long and tiring one. If it were a graph chart, you would see unusual spikes in the tapestry of emotions. If it were a heart rate monitor, you'd see that I am very much alive. Right now, I just want to receive some good news and as few bad ones as possible.

I can't say much now. But the more people asked me if I am okay, the more I knew I would be.

Bring it on, 2012.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Dinner and Secret Santa

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas. However, this year took quite a different turn. Instead of snowing in November like last year, snow blankets have not properly draped themselves over the streets and settled on the surfaces. Here in our abode, the lights are up, the Christmas dinner was piled onto our plates and the Secret Santa gifts were exchanged.

Christmas Lights
On the day of our Secret Santa gift exchange we placed the gifts under the tree, got our own gifts and looked at what we got each other. The brown envelope at the side is another Secret Santa gift, only that it is from 'The Great Secret Santa' event that my college mates and I took part in. More about that another time.

The tree
I am always amazed by how similar people can be all over the world, particularly where food is concerned. People love their food.

Christmas Dinner
Like the year before, there was turkey, roast, pigs in blankets, potatoes, stuffing and vegetables, somewhere beneath the mountain pile.

It's a mountain!
Ezra was my Secret Santa and he gave me a lovely box of Marks and Spenser's chocolates and two Lush bath products. Thank you, Ezra!

Ohhh gorgeous!
Anyway, Christmas is on its way. Things are in store, so keep your eyes peeled!

Thursday, December 15, 2011


It's been a while, hasn't it? I had three final essays to complete for the term. I just handed the last one in this afternoon. I ought to feel the Christmas cheer by now. Somehow unfortunate things are happening quite frequently this year. Strange and despondent causal effects.

I like distraction. I am a master of distraction. Distraction displaces the distracted side of a person.  Distraction finishes an essay in an hour. Distraction cleans rooms and walks around the campus without stopping. Distraction listens to an Ipod in a bus and eats chocolate and cooks pasta. Distraction writes. Distraction laughs and talks and sleeps in a tangled throw in the living room. Distraction notices the tiniest things that used to be unnoticeable.

Then distraction stops.

So here it goes. My grandmother passed away. This time on my dad's side of the family. That's two in a year. And I won't be able to go back again.  We knew it was a matter of time. I knew when I left after the summer break that it would probably be the last time. It was a knowledge we distracted ourselves from for quite a while.

Never mind me, I probably should realize that I've done this before; I hope my dad is okay. I hope my family are. I hope they are. I hope we are.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

First Time Doing the Shoebox Appeal

Shoebox Appeal by rachlyf
Shoebox Appeal, a photo by rachlyf on Flickr.
Ever since I saw the booth on campus last year, decked with beautifully wrapped shoeboxes, I decided that I would participate (at least once) in the appeal. And that was just what I did.

The annual shoebox appeal is where people place items in decorated shoeboxes, be they food, books, toys, clothes or snacks. They will then be sent off alongside many other goodie-filled shoeboxes to less fortunate children in various different countries. This year they will go to Romania.

For some children, this would be the only time they receive gifts for Christmas. KAOs, short for Kids Action Overseas, is the society on campus that acts as the middleman to collect the boxes.

Most of my friends who are from the UK said that being a 'Shoebox Santa' was part of their school activities. It reminds me of the Hamper Project that my secondary school holds every year.


Ta-da! My first ever shoebox made; I'm really satisfied. Squint and you should be able to see most of the stuff I'd put inside. Otherwise give it a guess. I wrote a bilingual message in the card; I can only hope that Google Translate didn't make any mistakes with the Romanian language. Well, I've given mine to that booth now. If the translation isn't accurate, at least it would be laughable.

Oh, what do you know! It's already December and it has not started snowing yet! *touches wood* I can tell now that it's going to be a much better winter experience than the five months of prolonged bitter cold last year. *touches wood* Besides, the previous year was the worst one in history so how bad can this year get? *knocks on wood ferociously*

I better lay this down to rest or I'll be ritually tapping on my wooden table after each sentence I type. One must be careful not to jinx oneself with famous last words.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Upon stepping out of the Arts building after the Literature and Desire seminar we heard passionate but mournful singing echoing in the Square, for without considering the 11,000 signatures etched in the petition or consulting the Music School, UEA had announced that the department will be closed. That is the final decision.

It is painful to think that money is given precedence over the arts. It is more painful knowing that there were non-art students who added oil into the fire by commenting that music is not a "real" subject. How ironic that they do not realize music (and art in general) technically had prehistoric beginnings and that those who played music were highly regarded in Ancient Greece up until the discovery of science. And guess how long that was!

Perhaps it had not occurred to them that the university's ranking for the arts has been in the top ten for years. Mind you, the creative writing course just won a prestigious award presented by the Queen herself!

For sympathetic reasons (so you would not need to read too much reiteration), I will stop ranting about this melodic misfortune and move on to a different annoyance. I cannot get my head around the Hub, which is this bureaucratic system recently introduced to "maintain uniformity". While I admit it has its benefits, it isn't very friendly to the arts or liberal arts students. Just so you know, our essays aren't contained within themselves as would maths or science projects; they are subjective. We learn from the first essay before we can write the next essay.

Why it is taking so long to return our first essays to us is a question everyone has asked and frankly everyone already knows the answer to. Hopefully they are testing the waters and next term will be much better.

Lots of frustration this term, eh?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sushi and Cheesecake

Sushi followed by cheesecake - food is such bliss. Miki and I went to Yuuka's place to have dinner. Yuuka cooked the one below. It was delicious and I got a few little tips on Japanese cooking too. 

I joined the Baking Society in the university and our first baking activity was cheesecake. Seeing as I already have my mum's unbaked cheesecake recipe, I decided to try the baked cheesecake recipe. My first try was not too bad; it tasted great although the top had some burnt bits. 

The second try, as you can see from below, turned out to be much better. 

Fresh out of the Oven
The three of us ate till our tummies went into rest mode. Considering how well the day went, we were pleasantly surprised that time went by slowly and lazily too. Hopefully we can have another dinner like this soon; it was a really comfortable evening and I don't mind feeling as relaxed as that every other week. . 


The next day, I went to Nottingham, so you can probably tell how far back this was. Since then I have made scones in the Baking Society, booked a flight to Florence, had a not-too-good meal at the Library restaurant  that was made up with a lovely Millie's cookie cake, counted the number of should-have-been deaths in 'Home Alone 2' with my house mates (we counted that there should be 21), been in a Battlestar Galactica marathon with them too, cooked bak kut teh and had a great talk with Deidre.

Long, eventful week, don't you think?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Save UEA Music!

Perhaps you have heard. Perhaps you haven't. UEA's Music School is under the threat of closing down.

Understandably, financial dilemmas are difficult to solve and having it closed down would be an easy way out. What bothers most people is the fact that the Music Department of UEA has been quite successful in the past, and that the arts (including music) is a prominent cultural feature of the university. Imagine having the likes of Coldplay, Westlife and other independent bands performing on campus, having classical concerts at St. Andrews Hall in the city centre, gigs at the Waterfront, then scrapping the department entirely. Contradiction is in play here.

Needless to say, this is the hottest debate on campus today. There was a protest on the 9th of November, although it pretty much is still going on through the mini musical gigs held around campus. There are petitions with over 7000 signatures collected so far (as I am told) which were also backed by musicians such as Coldplay. You can get more information on how to make your stand here. The final decision will be made on the 23rd of November.

There should be other ways to go about the funding issue. Sure, they may be hard during these rough economic times, but at least it would not resort to the closure of an entire school. Not only would the university suffer from a major loss in terms of its artistic value (it's like losing a limb), it would only make it a lot more difficult to have it start up again one day and regain its reputation.

If life were a show, it'd be an episode of Glee.

On that note, I shall drop this subject in favour of sleep.

Late Street Music Pictures, Images and Photos
Leonid Afremov's Late Street Music

A painter paints pictures on canvas.  
But musicians paint their pictures on silence.  
~Leopold Stokowski

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Little Bit of Notts

Attending the Nottingham Malaysian Games for the second time felt different. I noticed new but familiar faces wandering about; I had to register UEA's contingent for the games; I realised that Scrabble is a game that depends on luck, skill and a great poker face. I got further than I did last year for Scrabble, although five games took a toll on me and frankly I have only ever played for fun, so certain rules were not too clear with me.

That aside, I thought the event was organized a lot better than the year before and hopefully our baby Malaysian Society will be able to send a bus next time.

Rachel and Adrienne brought me around Lace Market in the city centre, particularly the areas with vintage or independent stores. While they did remind me of Norwich, there was something unique about them, as would most vintage shops. 

Adrienne and I
We also went to Lee Rosy's for tea under the recommendation of my house mate. The cakes there were moist and delicious. Like some of Norwich's little tea houses and pubs, there are people reading and writing by the glass window as if being displayed for all to see. Definitely somewhere to go to if you lead a literary lifestyle.

Adrienne and Rachel Chiah

I enjoyed my trip up to Nottingham this time, thanks to these two wonderful ladies. Not only did I get a stress free weekend, my presentation for Literature and Desire the following day went well too.

That aside, creative juices are sporadically injecting themselves into my brain lately. I ought to milk them while they last.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Review: All the Fun of the Fair

All-The-Fun-Of-The-Fair-620x300 '
Disclaimer: I do not own this photo. Its original source can be found here.

Funfairs are not all about bright lights and exotic thrills, as presented by Jon Conway’s All the Fun of the Fair. The musical production strips away its glamorous front and tells a heartwarming tale of a fairground owner, Levi (played by 1970’s pop star David Essex), who tries to balance between finding closure following his wife’s death and maintaining his relationship with his son, Jack (Rob Compton). 

In the meantime, they have a travelling funfair to run and love affairs to handle. Jack becomes romantically involved with the daughter of a gang leader, which causes much trouble to their funfair family. The touching storyline explores what it means to be stigmatized as an ‘outsider’ and the realization that such ‘outsiders’ share the same everyday problems that people have beyond the colourful tents. 

Essex may not be the smooth crooner he used to be, but there is now a rasp in his voice that fits rather perfectly with Levi’s weary character. Despite his shaky start during All the Fun of the Fair (the song in which the musical is named after), Essex’s overall delivery is emotional and nostalgic. 

Adding to the nostalgia are some of Essex’s old hits, such as A Winter’s Tale, Gonna Make You a Star, Me and My Girl (Nightclubbing) and Rock On. There are also other soundtracks that are written for the play, some of which are commendable especially Dangerous and Here We Are All Together

Louise English, who plays the gifted gypsy Rosa, steals the limelight with her captivating rendition of A Winter’s Tale. Tim Newman and Susan Hallam-Wright, on the other hand, deserve recognition for their refreshing takes on the doe-eyed Jonny and the heartbroken Mary respectively.  

One of the most alluring features of the musical is undoubtedly the set design. A desolate street bursts into the beautiful funfair in a matter of seconds, carousel horses descend from the ceiling during the song He Noticed Me, cable cars race onto the stage and a motorcycle levitates in Silver Dream Machine. The detailed props and creative stage settings capture the vibrant nature of the fair, the spectacle of which leaves the audience constantly in awe. 

Throughout the musical, Essex alludes to his younger days as well as both past and contemporary cultural references. While some of these jokes may be lost to the younger crowd, they are definitely treats for die-hard Essex fans. 

 In other words, All the Fun of the Fair can be described using one word: entertaining. Sad moments exist but they do not last long. More often than not, it is a feel-good ride that brings you to that surreal fairground of your imagination. 

Rachael Lum

Published in Concrete, UEA's Independent Student Newspaper (Issue 260, Tuesday 8th of November 2011)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I'm Going to be Published in an Anthology!

Guess what? I'm going to have six pages of my work published in the Creative Writing Society anthology! There is nothing as exciting as this for aspiring writers. Okay, unless it is a novel or poetry collection we're talking about. Or a movie. You know what I mean.

I have submitted one short story and two poems for my section. There will be a queer but quaint tale called 'The Girl Who Cries Glass Tears', which follows the psychological journey of a perceptive girl with a strange talent. I have a knack for writing about fantastical characters, which seems to be fuelled further by the modules I picked this year. There will also be two poems entitled 'Elegy for Life' and 'Dandelion Storm'.

It costs 7 pounds for a copy, and along with my submission there will be prose and poetry by other amazing writers as well (aka my friends).

If you'd like to buy one, let me know latest by this Friday (11/11/11) and I'll place the order (initially I mentioned Wednesday but circumstances changed). I won't be able to get any more copies after this Friday, so this would be the only chance! I accept international exchange rates. *coughs* *winks*

Thursday, November 3, 2011

'Halloween' Weekend on the Sunny Side of London

Now, let's see. Where shall I start? If you did notice my panicked posts on Facebook, then you would know that I had quite an eventful weekend at London, and not necessarily in good ways. It's difficult to say- they cancelled each other out and balanced the scale- I'll leave that for you to decide.

On the day I left for London, I booked a cab in advance to take me to the train station. It didn't come, so Jess brought me there. I almost missed the train by a minute; thank goodness I didn't.

I got off at London Liverpool Station and proceeded to the Underground, where I realized to my uttermost horror that my phone was not on me. Chances was that I dropped it somewhere in the station, although I couldn't rule out the possibility that someone has taken it.

Never mind about that at the time, I didn't have Pei Pei's number written down in black and white, or anyone else's for that matter! I had Charlene's name card at the time. She was at a different location in London, but I did call her using a guard's phone just in case I wouldn't be meeting someone as nice again. I found a McDonald and my first thought was- Wifi! And hence the odd capitalized messages or posts that you might have encountered on Friday. I appreciate the concerned replies, even from those who were not in the UK.

Chiah got my distress signal and Pei Pei got to me in the end.

I also lost a few other things along the way, leaving a trail of items tailing behind me all around London. As you can probably tell, I was in a pensive mood at the time.

And then something happened. Or more accurately, many things happened. A very lovely person called Adrian found my phone and decided to call a few of my contacts to get hold of me. I got the phone back the next day.

The nice guard I mentioned earlier found a book (on Freud too; is there a connection? Maybe not) I had accidentally left behind in panic when I had to leave.

On two separate occasions, two girls were so kind as to let me borrow their phones.

And something left behind in a restaurant had been kept very securely in a safe until it was claimed.

What are the odds that I can lose so many things and find them all again? In London? In reality? I don't know about you, but now I've been convinced that there are a lot of good people in the world and my faith in mankind has been restored.

My trip was okay overall. I had a relatively good time at the UKEC meeting too (the main reason I went to London). And although that weekend seemed to be some Halloween sequence for me at first, things worked out in the end.

As they should. Ordinary miracles of today.

I hope you had a good weekend.

PS. Handed in two essays today. Currently tired but satisfied.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Poem: The Rented House

From the corner of her eye the apparition
Dissolves into flakes as the shadow, glazed by light,
Rocks its faceless hand against the door.
The carnivorous blinds chatter with elation
To see such a sight: a dishevelled girl plagued by fright
While Peter Parkers skate across the floor.

 Arthritic stairs betray another arrival
Whose failed tiptoe amplifies into a carefree stomp.
The walls are ventriloquists contented with winning,
Establishing their presence to prolong their survival.
Home it may be, full of splendour and pomp,
Until the moon shines in. And that is just the beginning.

 Rachael Lum

Published in Concrete, UEA's Independent Student Newspaper (Issue 258)

 Four Leaf Clover Animated Divider from

 The rented house is great; don't get me wrong. It is just those few moments when the creaky house and the Peter Parkers by the heater begin to toy with the imagination. I quite like the poem, the fact being that I enjoy writing poems with just that little tinge of darkness to them.

That aside, I've not been posting over the past week because of how incredibly busy it has been. From plays to watch and food to cook, workshops and meetings to attend along with a lovely essay to hand up by the end of the week. Thankfully, after all is done, the days were much easier for me and I've been feeling relaxed so far.

Now to plan out my three essays. That's something to look forward to, ain't it?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Waffle House

I finally went to the Waffle House in town. I've always been told that the waffles there are delicious but it didn't bug me enough over the past year to go try it out. Only this time it did. Diba was my buddy for the day. I had the Banoffee waffle. 'Banoffee' is a portmanteau of banana and toffee, a combination that I see quite frequently in recipes.

For a good reason too- food is the ultimate paradise when it tastes good. It's quite a coincidence that I should mention this. During my Literature and Desire (psychoanalysis) seminar, we were introduced to Freud's concept of food and feeding as being the first form of pleasure, the first form of desire, particularly since it starts at the infantile stage. Freud also thinks that kissing is likened to 'tasting' and somehow or other sparks the desire to 'eat' them. Weird as it may be, I find that concept pretty interesting for the exploration of human psychology.

Banoffee Waffle
Anyway, let's get back to the day. Right after we finished our delightful dessert, we started talking about what all Malaysians talk about: food. It must be a habit or culture; to talk about eating after we eat. I can't fathom why and yet I can't get out of it.

Kek Lapis Sarawak Pictures, Images and Photos
Disclaimer: This photo is not mine but from Photobucket.
Last year I craved Char Kuey Teow (some kind of fried noodles). This time round, I am curiously desiring Kuih Lapis Sarawak (the layered cake you see above). It is as good as it is pretty.

Gosh, I have to stop talking about food.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

No Coldplay Tickets For Me

How I decorated my wall: There is something charmingly peaceful about it, I think.
Well, I didn't manage to get the Coldplay ticket in the end. It's not everyday that someone can beat devoted fans who came prepared with sofas and inflatable mattresses to it. They were all slouched in their respective comfortable spots in the line, either sipping hot chocolate, sleeping in, watching movies online or strumming guitars. That's a dedication I ought to have. I had a class from 1 to 5pm, and I heard that by 2pm, the line had reached its maximum capacity.

After missing Eliza Doolittle (the tickets ran out so quickly) and Westlife (they performed at the university about a week or two after I left for home) and now this, it's only natural to feel disappointed. It's alright, though. I doubt they'll come back again soon but there will be more artistes coming in.

On the bright side, above you can see the first page I ever laid out for the student newspaper. The programmes used are InDesign CS4 and Photoshop CS4, which seemed rather confusing at first although it does get easier after some practice. I'm not sure I remember the functions of some of the keys but I'm striving to master it by the end of one or two months.

Chocolate salami

Also, Caroline and I made chocolate salami using a recipe from her Italian cookbook. First thing's first- it's not chocolate-covered salami. The dessert is more sophisticated than that. It's a moist dark chocolate cake that is made to look like salami with roasted almonds and biscuit crumbs. With no flour at all, it is dense and rich and absolutely gorgeous. Food paves such a blissful road to paradise.

I suppose I could always use that 20 pounds meant for Coldplay to spend on good food. Things look so much happier this way.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Coldplay is coming to UEA!

Group Photo

I'm going to like second year very much, I think. Yes, I know how much work I would have to put into studies, as well as the gravity of every research paper I write, but other than that, it comforts me to know that I am already quite adjusted to university life.

As I mentioned in my previous post, we had a Malaysian Meet and Greet last week, and we've just discussed about our event next week. Lately there have been a lot of helpful talks and training sessions about how to run the club finances and how to go about running it. Hopefully they'll be put to good use soon.

Here's a big news on campus: Coldplay is coming to perform at UEA! There are supposedly only 1000 tickets up for grabs, and they are 20 pounds per ticket! That's frankly very reasonable with or without the conversion rate. The tickets are only sold in person at the Union Box Office and we can only buy up to 2 tickets each; no online bookings too. Hence, the downside to this publicity is that there will be a long queue and most people would be expected to camp out on Friday to get them on Saturday morning.

Which I will be doing. Wish me luck!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Updates in Big Bites

I've been filling my days with busy things, although on the bright side most of them ended up being pretty fun and I probably wouldn't have wanted it any other way.

There was a poetry and prose reading event at Birdcage on Wednesday. I didn't perform but it was great to meet people I haven't met for two months while listening to absolutely creative pieces. I couldn't stay for the whole thing, though. Nowadays one must consider the unfortunate bus schedule.

The Malaysian Meet and Greet was on Thursday. The whole afternoon to evening resembled a pressure cooker. Charlene and I went to my place to bake cinnamon rolls (we made two batches which made about 53 small pieces), then to Charlene's place to cook two pots of curries. All went well; they always do in the end. Plus, receiving compliments for the food really gets you going the whole night.

On Saturday afternoon, I went into the Concrete office to design the section layout. While it may be only one page and three articles, it did take a while. Particularly since it was my first time properly trying it out; Nisha showed me the ropes months ago but some things slipped my mind. Thank goodness for the chief editor's patience. I think it looks good! I'll post it up next week.

In the evening, Miki, Yuuka and I went to Nisha's place to have Malaysian dinner. She did a brilliant job; they were delicious! I especially loved the rendang (spiced meat broiled with spices and coconut milk). My hunger for nasi lemak (rice cooked with coconut milk, spicy sambal, egg, cucumber, fried anchovies and nuts) has been satiated.

That night, we attended the Navaratri Festival. That's a nine-day Indian celebration where people dance in circles clad in beautiful traditional costumes. It was so colourful, exciting and carefree. If only there were such events in Malaysia!

I've written quite a lot for now. I'll update again soon!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Last Sunday, we had a mini BBQ in our garden. The weather's been too warm for what's meant to be Autumn (this time last year it was freezing) and everyone's trying to enjoy while it lasts. I heard that these will change drastically soon.

Anyway, everyone's settled in well. It's so comfortable to be at home after long busy days. It seems that we've sporadically felt the need to bake (or prepare desserts). Mike's got us a chocolate fudge cake; Ezra baked us apple crumble. And I made cinnamon rolls the day we had our mini BBQ!

It could be because we now have a proper oven that, presumably, will not burn my pie from the inside out. We're trying to make full use of it while we can. 

In the Oven
They taste delicious so I am extremely satisfied. I will be making a large batch soon for the Malaysian Meet and Greet; wish me luck!


Saturday, October 1, 2011

New 'Housemate'

Alice Rose, a photo by rachlyf on Flickr.
Alice Rose by rachlyfI walked into our home the other day and introduced the new housemate. She will be living with us for at least two years, although most of the time she will be staying in my room.

Without further ado, meet Alice.

Yes, she is a rose plant. I adopted her at a sale on campus. I had been interested in getting myself a plant last year, but hesitated as I wasn't sure if I could take care of it. A friend of mine then told me that I should if I really want to- might as well while I have the time.

Why Alice? Honestly, I don't really know. I saw two plants that I really liked and decided that they were both called Alice. Later that day, one had been bought so I figured I should get the other Alice soon. It could be that it has been so surreal lately that it made me think of Alice in Wonderland.

Which, I must add, is an odd but beautiful story.

So far I am aware that she needs at least 4 hours of sunlight, which might not be sufficient considering the layout and position of our house, so I probably would give it supplementary light. Also, I need to water it only once a week. I'm not too familiar with taking care of roses (I used to be a cactus person) so do give me tips if you can.

Anyway, to end my little post, I am happy to have a lovely addition to my bedside window, had a not-too-brilliant seminar, a great night at the SEA Society Meet and Greet, walked back from university (with a housemate, of course) because I missed the last bus and I have three more episodes of Dr Who to catch up before tonight's season finale.


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Being Back and Busy

Now that I am back at the U E of A, settled down though not without a jet lag, here is a glimpse of what has been going on. Well, more appropriately, what hasn't been going on? The freshers have arrived and then I realized that I am a second-year. You know, the ones that walk around the campus as if they've been there for years, looking experienced and smug. On the bright side, I might as well bask in all that 'senior' glory while I can. I have this odd feeling that by the time students reach their third year, attention is minimal and sometimes nonexistent. Don't you think so? People normally ask if you are a first or second-year and not whether you are a final year.

Home Made T-Shirt!
First weeks are usually busy to rope in the first-years. There was a Socmart recently, whereby each society would set up their respective booths and students would sign up for the ones they are interested in. Throughout the day, I had shifts with the Malaysian Society, which you can see from the photo below, as well as the Concrete Newspaper. It took me a while the night before to decorate my shirt (which possibly didn't help that I had many characters to do) but I love the result. 

Charlene and I
I signed up for several, mostly the ones that I can see myself going to this year. As for how we did- it's a no-brainer for Concrete seeing as it has a huge base on campus (I bet we have over a hundred)- for a newly formed society, our Malaysian Society did quite well.

That aside, I've had two classes so far. Despite the difficulty I expect them to put me through, I think I am going to like them. Lots of events are happening soon thanks to the Socmart, especially since they need to make use of the fresher's enthusiasm at the start of the year. I've had to make myself daily schedules just to keep up! 

Speaking of which, I better go now. It's going to be a busy day ahead. From a class to a newspaper recruitment drive to a meeting and two socials that I might or might not go to. That pretty much depends on how sleepy I still get by evening. When will this jetlag stop!!?
Till the next time.

PS. My little cousin asked me when I am coming back to Malaysia and commented that it'll be good if I could be back tomorrow. I miss her already!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Thoughts on the 23rd

Is it really the 23rd? That's fast. It seemed like only a week ago that I came back.

I'm excited, really. There are so many things I have yet to do, so many sights I have yet to see- I am going to travel next year and absorb all that life has to offer. That's what I am going to do. Well, I'm going to see how far I can stretch my pounds and euros on the way.

There are goals to achieve; dreams to pursue, which somehow would seem different if they are done in Malaysia. One year ago, I believed that I was picking an odd art subject considering how others were going towards science and mathematics. Imagine my shock when I went abroad and saw that the arts always had a strong base at universities. I was the missing jigsaw that fitted in a huge arts faculty. I don't know exactly what else UK has to offer me, but I can tell that they would be good.

But don't be mistaken. If there's anywhere that's my home, it's right here in Malaysia. For now. I've met my family and friends, gobbled down gastronomic delicacies, engaged in traditions, learnt how my family's past could be turned into inspiration and even learnt how to inject a stomach along the way. That was random, but bear with me. It basically felt like home.

So tomorrow, my fellow readers, I leave with a heart that is both pumped with adrenaline and heavy with longing. Don't worry about me. I'll be coming home another day.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Dear Heart...

Dear Heart,

It's been a while. I thought I'd take this opportunity to apologize for the things that I have put you through and those that I might make you go through again someday.

We have known each other all our lives, you and I. As far as I remember, your judgments have been good. Look at us; you've convinced me to take the course you love at university. The way you have sudden splurges of courage to step up to challenges never cease to amaze me. At times when I thought you'd absolutely embarrass yourself, you proved me wrong.

I am sorry that I have had to question you. I am sorry for all the arguments that I have won even though I know that you are the one who makes the better decisions. Truth is, I don't want to see you get hurt. I know that you can heal and get better, but are they worth the pain?

Truth is, I am the one that needs time to think. I'll let you have all the reins slowly but surely. Until then, I am going to ask that you be patient with me,

Your terrified friend,

Also, thank you, Mei Shan, for a most amazing phone call. It's one of those ordinary miracles where fate and time have a way of telling us that there will always be friends who will share those random thoughts that you never knew were in the mind of someone else as well. And thank you for showing me the meaning of Sarah McLachlan's song.

"When you cannot hear your heart or your head, ask another heart." - Mei Shan  

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Peace on the Pinnacles

The Pinnacles at Perth

Ancient hands- they cup a pool of sand,
Fingers slow emerging from the land,
Withered as the rolling world they stand-
Chiefs of chiefs see spirits set in stone,
So they leave the deserts all alone.

Palace grounds that to horizons reach,
Chambers buried ‘neath the thirsty beach.
Seven sisters, graced by starlight, teach:
Mothers’ tales of spirits set in stone,
Ask to leave the desert on its own.

Grains of sand sail ‘cross each golden wave,
Footprints of the roos and emus pave
Roads to kingdoms solemn as the grave-
Children sing of spirits set in stone,
Then they leave the deserts all alone.

Curious hands- they taste the limestone wall,
Pricked by sunny billows, rise and fall,
Relics kept in pockets beg and call-
We are living spirits set in stone
That can heal the wounds with trust alone.

Hidden beauties doused in dusty dreams,
Skylines gleam with opal stains and streams,
Nothing in the world is what it seems-
Peace is living spirit set in stone
Healing life and love with trust alone.

Rachael Lum

Every poem ever written has a whole other story behind it. Sometimes by seeing what inspires a person to write what he/she writes, it opens your eyes to another way of taking in your surroundings. That's what I believe. And this is a rough idea of what inspired this poem: The Pinnacles of Western Australia.

The Pinnacles are limestone structures in a vast desert in Nambung National Park, where the protruding roots of trees are coated by calcite layers over centuries. The Aborigines refuse to enter the park because they believe that the formations are manifestations of ghosts.

Footprint of an emu
Most of the animals in the park are nocturnal, but during the day, you might be able to see emus and kangaroos. I didn't see any wild ones, only the footprint of an emu.

More pinnacles are forming each day, albeit very slowly. Some tourists have a tendency to pocket broken mini-pinnacles, for with the presence of  beguiling beauties of nature comes superstitions, such as the ability to heal arthritis or bone-related problems. Calcium carbonate after all, aren't they? The background of the photo above is a spot known as 'The Graveyards', as they supposedly look like tombstones.

A wave of darkness, a wave of light

Every now and then, the sun would be blocked by rushing clouds, which gave an illusion of sunny waves. It might be just me- but walking on the dusty dunes only greeted by silence was really peaceful. Time stops in the face of such majestic sights.

I leave the rest to your imagination.