Monday, January 31, 2011

End of January 2011

Noodles with wanton

So here's what has been happening lately.

House-hunting season has slowed down now. When it first started, the number of available houses on the accommodation website plummeted so drastically we were worried there would be none left. Eight messages, about twelve hours and one call later, we found the house. There are five bedrooms, two bathrooms, a large kitchen and a living room with a flat screen television. The rent is pretty good and the landlord is lovely. We'll be moving in come July.

I'm glad that is done.

Chinese New Year is this coming week, and I'm glad I have plans! On the day before Chinese New Year, while my family are to have 团圆饭 ("Tuan Yuan Fan") also known as reunion dinner, I'll be going for a CNY society event on campus. It won't be the same, but that would be the closest I can get to that.

Over the weekend, I will be going to London to meet up with my cousins. That's what Chinese New Year is about, isn't it?

Anyway, I've got to go now. Till the next post!

Tagged: Why does it always come in threes?

Tagged by Mei Shan

Three names I go by:
1. Rachael
2. Lum (especially during college), Yin (according to some of my UK documents)
3. 迎芬, Rach, Rachie

Three Jobs I have had in my life:
1. The obvious: Student
2. The given: Daughter & Sister
3. The taken: Editorial posts.

Three Places I have lived:
1. PJ
2. KL
3. Norwich

Three Favourite drinks:
1. Fruit Juice
2. Soya Bean Milk
3. Ice-cream Float (I feel like having one now)

Three TV Shows that I watch:
(Did I mention that I chase tv series? But if I have to pin down only three, I'll pick..)
2. How I Met Your Mother
3. Glee

Three places I have been: *most recent*
1. University Grounds
2. The amazing city centre!
3. Mulberry Teahouse (With delightful cakes)

Three places I am looking forward to go:
1. Cultural Cities eg. Italy, China, Spain
2. Really lovely beach to unwind eg. Mauritius
3. Platform 9 and 3/4

People that I sms/sms me regularly:
1. Chiah
2. Keb
3. Pei Pei

Three of my favorite foods:
1. Oodles of noodles!
2. Just put the desserts on my plate
3. Sushi

Three friends I think will respond:
1. Chiah
2. Carmen
3. Joyce (I'll ask her to)

Three things I am looking forward to:
1. Chinese New Year (oh yes now I have plans!)
2. Moving into a new house
3. Home (and Ice Kacang)

Three things that are always by your side:
1. Handphone
2. Pen/ Pencil Case
3. Camera

Three things I always look forward to during weekends:
1. Zzzz
2. Catching up on work
3. Sunday Takeaway and Movie Night!

Three things I always do every morning:
1. Stumble into the bathroom
2. Blowdry my hair while I check my mail, blog and Facebook (in that order)
3. Have breakfast in my room!

Imogen's Birthday Party at Mulberry

Many things seem to come in threes, doesn't it?
So have a good day, good luck and good night. :)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Piece of Pie

After putting off getting groceries for a week, I finally forced myself against the absolutely chilly wind and got to Tesco. It was pretty exciting because I managed to get the ingredients I needed to make Shepherd's Pie! It tasted pretty good. The layer of potato didn't become crusty as it should, and I still have no idea why. What do you think?

I've been busy this week. Day after day, there were essays and articles to write, bills to pay and other things to settle. Everything has been going according  to schedule so far. Thank goodness for to-do lists, the only thing reminding me of what I have to complete each day.

One thing about the art subjects, such as literature, is that it is easy to pass but hard to score a distinction. There were two essays waiting for me in the pigeon holes today.  I had high expectations as I put a lot of effort into it, but overall I am happy with the grades.

I don't have that many contact hours again this term, but there's much to read and do beyond the lecture halls and seminar room. Till then, it's all about the to-do lists, essays, articles, and pieces of pie.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

La Belle Au Bois Dormant

I first knew Sleeping Beauty as Princess Aurora in the Disney film, and I wasn't impressed by this princess. All she did was prick her finger as was predicted, fell into a sleep and had no control as to whom she kissed.

Of course, Disney allowed the couple to meet and fall in love before the kiss, which gave it the sentimental Earlier versions, such as the original fairytale by Charles Perrault, are not as such. Poor Sleeping Beauty back then bumped into a prince I would have smacked and charged at court.

Nevertheless, the more popular version lies in the tale by the Brother's Grimm, where the princess falls asleep for 100 years before meeting her prince. Regardless of how I view the protagonist, the storyline of Sleeping Beauty is honestly such a timeless classic it's hard not to get caught in the romantic world.

Last Friday, Keb and I went to the Theatre Royal in the city centre to watch the story unfold itself in the form of ballet. Accompanying it was Tchaikovsky's beautiful fairytale-like orchestral arrangement. Some of the music from Tchaikovsky's ballet were adapted for the movie, the most prominent one (we gave each other glances of acknowledgement during the Waltz) being 'Once Upon a Dream'.

It's one of the several ballets performed by the St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre. They come to UK annually with a line of wonderful Russian ballet dancers who have been trained so much they can make any minute wobble (though hardly any) look intentional.

All in all, it was both an exciting and extremely nostalgic first time for me. In fact, I quite like going to the theatre now! I should go for another one sometime, getting myself immersed in yet another story that comes to life on stage.

I know you, I walked with you once upon a dream
I know you, the gleam in your eyes is so familiar a-gleam
Yet I know it's true that visions are seldom all they seem
But if I know you, I know what you do,
You'll love me at once, the way you did once upon a dream
~Disney's 'Once Upon a Dream'~

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Today the cycle begins. Everything revolves around term time and all the activities crammed in between now.

I've had my first two lectures today. The Literature in History 2 module seemed interesting and, at the same time, somewhat familiar. There would be an emphasis on realism, according to the lecturer, which was also covered in Cultural Studies last year. I'm looking forward to see how the art, theatre and film sections would be taught. I'm still not too sure what Writing Texts would be about but we'll see how that goes.

The list of university activities have also been released, and there are circles around the ones I'm thinking of going! The one I'm looking forward to this week, however, is not on the list because I'll be going into the city centre. The ballet 'Sleeping Beauty' will be on, and for reasons more than one I am excited about it.

Tomorrow the house list will be out, which means the mad rush will soon begin. Hopefully we'll be able to get to the right house earlier. I think I better be off to bed now so that I can pull myself out of bed for the property viewing. I'll keep you updated.

Good night.

Friday, January 14, 2011

More Than It Seems

This I remember from the Orientation when I first arrived, when the speaker was talking about the fun things to do in UEA. I can't be sure how exact it is but this was what he said,

"UEA has a lot of nightlife. On campus there is the LCR which holds many events including costume parties. However, I do not suggest going as the Easter Bunny because the university must mantain a population control over the rabbits on campus."
During winter there were a few around but very scarce. Now that the temperature is beginning to readjust itself, I see the adorable creatures hopping about on the grass every now and then. Or hopping across the road. Hopping everywhere. Now and then.

It's more than it seems.

The rabbits are reminding me that Chinese New Year is around the corner, and it would be the first time I'm not going back to my hometown for it.

On another note, I'm being very nostalgic lately. I've been going back to old memories, thoughts and dreams that are now of the past. Things that got me happy, sad and everything in between. I'm not sure why it is happening (I think I'll blame the playlist I keep listening to now), but I can't seem to stop.

It must be more than it seems.

I guess I should put it to use and start scribbling them down on paper.

More than it seems these dreams inside
Blur reality's line
If I could believe the dreams aside
I am capable more than it seems...

~More Than It Seems, by Kutless~

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


The medical students are back, mainly because their classes started this week. The others should be back by the end of the week. So far my holiday has been pretty good. Pushing aside all the travelling I've done and have already posted up so far, living in the dorms throughout the weeks have been pretty relaxing...time for thinking about everything.

I'm now starting everything early. I've ordered some books for the semester and while waiting for them to arrive I'm reading the other books on my list which I found in the library. Hopefully I can read more than just those books in the process.

Hunting season begins soon. No living creature would be hurt in the process, I assure you, unless you include the mad rush of getting to the right houses first! Hopefully all goes well and the house literally falls onto our hands.

I'm also in need of a piano. The music department has monthly or daily passes; I think I might go once in a while. This Friday then!

That's all I can do to update for now. Have a good day!

Porridge when my throat was hurting.

Fish sticks, potatoes and vegetable.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Fate's Coin

Vertically it stands upon the table
Where the young man had flicked it into limbo
With nimble fingers, as hard as he is able.
And so it dances, drifting far away.
It is a ballerina oblivious of her audience,
A dizzy child drunken with play,
A windmill laughing in a whispering breeze,
A small shot racing round a Russian roulette.

Blurring into a brindled bronze ball,
It shifts slowly on the marble surface
While, in fear, the owner takes in all,
Aware of that decision he must make,
Which draws a fine line between guilt and regret,
A sort of deal you either leave or take.
In his confusion, courage or cowardice,
His trust in fate, a leap of faith.

Starting to stumble, it loses its balance.
He dreads that Luck may do him wrong,
For the crossroad he reaches only asks him once.
Quickly he snatches before it makes a noise
He tells himself he will take that chance
And listen to his heart, his voice.
Fate the merchant lets you know the price,
But it is you who makes that choice.

Rachael Lum

A poem I recited for the Creative Writing Open Mic.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Life of the Artists

Glassy eyes leave glassy stares at every stroke
The cautious brush, the careful pen had undertook.
To read, upon the canvas, painted words,
To see, beyond those words, each coloured shape.
Until by squinting everything unearths,
And cracks the glaze for all emotions to escape.
In art the truth is bare, one thing is rife.
Beneath the surface dwells the artist’s life.

Fingers twitching, legs prepared to flee,
Afraid of what your eyes might chance to see.
Does it tell too little? Or worse – is it too much?
Their life to all the world now magnified.
A far-fetched dream, a broken past, the painful touch
Of one lost love, a diary entry amplified,
A slip, a luckless blunder meant to laugh and taunt,
The prickly bruises inflate the fiery haunt.

Vulnerable it is for those in such a trade!
For fruits so lush a special price demands be made.
One fine idea unlocks the past confined.
Should their emblazoned work be destined to go far,
Their fate and fiction have to intertwine,
Ripping ruthlessly each long forsaken scar.
Yet artists have no choice: they must pry out the heart,
Then their blood turns to ink and their soul becomes art.

Rachael Lum

This poem has been published in Concrete, the university's independent newspaper.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

2011 in London

If the streets had been alive, they must have been throbbing under the enormous pressure on their backs. London was swarming with people, especially down River Thames. To get from one end of the street to another it would take a lot of maneuvering through the crowd, threading through the minute openings for a better spot.

We ended up in South Bank in time for the countdown. All the cheering at the stroke of midnight, the screaming, the singing of Auld Lang Syne (I mean it) was all so festive.

London eye!
Right after the fireworks, there were people in a generally cheerful mood wishing each other a Happy New Year (Which I could only answer back in a whisper). I don't doubt that some went off partying somewhere, but it was time to go to catch a less packed tube. Overall, welcoming 2011 was wonderful.

Tower Bridge
Later in the evening, it was down to Leicester Square to have some food we would miss for a while. Sichuan food - Chinese, taste bud tinging (spiciness galore!) and does not need preparing for ourselves.

I realise that my post merely shows snapshots of some things that happened in London, with no chronological sense. Pushing that out of mind, the following day as we were in St. Pancreas International, we took a look at a unique statue.

How very sweet...
With 3D carvings on the side. Interesting, no?

For me, at least, I consider my holidays done and over with, although classes have not officially started. I'm back in Norwich relaxing and getting myself ready for term time.

And oh, another thing. As I was watching a movie on my laptop last night, there was a comedic scene which I couldn't help but laugh at. But instead of the gust of wind I expected, I heard myself laughing! It's getting better!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Going, going, gone.

As the crowd headed to another firework viewing area on New Years Eve, a coughing fit hit me. Several minutes before the countdown, my voice was going, going, then it was gone. It just took off and left. The only way I could utter a word was in a whisper. The fireworks were beautiful and the crowd went ballistic. Too bad I couldn't join in all the screaming.

It's not a serious matter. Just that all the coughing led to an inflammation of my voice box, and should heal in several days. Apart from the few times when I have to order or ask something, I'm generally trying not to say too much so that I can give my voice a rest.

Never thought I'd see this day.

I'm also back in Norwich, and very much hooked onto Disney classics. I normally am but these few days they are starting to pop up in my head a little too often. I've been on Youtube watching videos and listening to all the songs I've learnt by heart as a child. Especially 'The Little Mermaid' (One of my favourite of the lot).

I'll write a post on New Year soon. For now I will be surfing online as a "Disney-addict". I probably should dedicate a whole post on this nostalgic subject some day. Till then, I'll be typing more than I talk.

Have a good day!

PS. Thank you for the 19 virtual gifts! Some got me giggling and others were heartwarming!!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Looking Back at 2010

2010 - gone just like that. The cycle starts again, in a similar hectic motion but each time with some changes that can very well flourish in time.
Looking back at all these snapshots only tells me how fast the year has been.

It is that time when they remind you it's your last teen year.

The time where you look back at childhood and realise just how far you've come.

What seemed to have just started soon comes to an end

And it just hurts no matter how you go about it.

It is that time when you try to hold onto everything.

Those dreams.

Those memories.

That elusive time itself.

Soon there must be new avenues to explore.

It is that time when you are expected to fly free

To learn that the world is bigger than you think it is.

But that it's not always strange and scary.

And not always that different.

It is the time when you realise that everything is a cause for celebration.

Because it does not take a lot to feel happy.

They come unexpectedly, in the smallest of bundles.

It is the time when you start blooming into who you are

The time you take risks in Life

Knowing you're that much closer to achieving what you want.