It has been raining a lot lately. Not that I’m complaining. I’m writing this from the comforts of an air-conditioned cafe overlooking the pitter patter on the sidewalks, safely separated by a thick glass panel that is letting in as much natural light that it possibly can on this gloomy day. It could be humid or really cooling out there right now, but I guess I’ll never find out. READ MORE
Our phones were right next to us the whole time. In between mouthfuls of rice, our fingers reached towards the screens, tapping a couple of times to refresh the outdated page (note: by 20 seconds). The numbers rose where we hoped it would, and our hearts made a little leap. 20 seconds more, and the other end was catching up. Our skepticism resurfaced, but we were hopeful all the same. Brushing aside conflicting emotions, we checked other sites, other sources – some tally, some, especially the mainstream, did not. Our focus was no longer on dinner or the people around us, and for once, no one seemed to mind. Eating became functional – there was something else far more important at hand – something way bigger than us and our dinner. READ MORE
I was doing some work at the dining table back in my Penang home on the day of the general elections, and I was observing my parents entertaining Zachary with my old Lego bricks, where my dad was earnestly trying to figure out how to build a lion for his grandson. Lucky for Zachary, his grandpa has very good spatial and shape recognition skills and can sculpt almost anything on paper (he used to sketch most of my art homework for me back in high school), and even Lego bricks. While my dad isn’t a master Lego builder, the constructed figurine did its job and Zachary was happy. READ MORE
I have given this one a lot of thought. I have so much to say that sometimes my own thoughts contradict one another. But before I continue, I want to emphasize that I am not telling readers who to vote for. I am simply saying, if you want change – your vote counts. I have spoken to many about this, people from various backgrounds, ideologies, and intellectual capacities. From the simple to the complicated, the righteous to the pragmatic, the concerned to the apathetic – everyone has something to say. One of them sounds like this: “I reserve the right to not vote.” I fully agree. There is no contest that each of us reserve the right to do whatever we please as long as it is according to the law. I come from Penang, the little island up north of Malaysia that has always been keen to set itself apart and welcome any sort of positive change. I also know for a fact that if I fail to make a trip back home to cast my vote on the 14th General Elections, Penang will still be okay...
I’m usually a lot more prepared for these things. Ever since I’ve begun living away from home, I would buy flight tickets well in advance for Chinese New Year so I don’t get suckered into paying three times more than I should. But this year, it has slipped my mind completely, and by the time I planned my trip back everything was either sold out or way overpriced.
Consoling myself that I now own a hybrid car to (hypothetically) reduce carbon emissions, it made a lot of sense to decide on the next sensible thing to do: drive 348km back to Penang. READ MORE
May 2017, London
It was 2AM in the morning, and I was woken by the loud “Ding!” on my phone – I had forgotten to keep it silent before I went to bed. I squinted as my eyes adjusted to the piercing brightness of the screen, and somewhere in between being in the state of unconscious and conscious (mostly the first), my heart took a little leap when I saw who the Facebook message was from. I think I must have smiled a little too. READ MORE
Some things don’t change.
Six years ago, yours truly, a wide-eyed fresh graduate reported for duty at a research facility in a rather secluded town, not knowing what to expect from this new journey into the rat race. I drove a modest local-made car, the kind almost every young working person my age would – somewhat semi-hoping to blend into the mundaneness of adulthood. My car looked tiny compared to the guardhouse that stood in front of me, a large authoritative figure with double speed bumps making sure that I was not a trespasser. But I was then, because I had no official work ID yet. So I parked my car at the side of the road, and meekly reported to the guardhouse. READ MORE
I start my walk from the Seaford Railway Station, and Google tells me to take what seems to be a more straightforward route than the trail that I have loaded on my watch the night before. My feet takes me to a busy highway, and I trod along the unkempt, very much less-taken side path filled with stinging nettles that decide to make their presence felt from the beginning of my walk. Ouch. The drivers that pass me by are probably wondering what the heck I’m doing here, but there is no turning back until the next couple of kilometres where I converge with the original route that I have set. To my left is an open field with roaming cattle and sheep, to my right is a green landscape that resembles a high-definition wallpaper, and ahead of me is a straight road that leads to the Seven Sisters Country Park, welcoming me in the distance. READ MORE
It was one of those mornings where I woke up ‘leaping’ from bed because it was going to be an exciting day. After seven gruelling exam papers, I was ready to take on life again. I might have done really badly in one of my papers, or failed it even, but I wasn’t going to worry about it now. The day started with a video call with my mom, then I managed to squeeze in a morning climb at the wall and made my way to the city centre for the Sundance Film Festival. We were going to catch not one, but TWO Sundance films in a day! The weather was beautiful, the sky in glorious blue, and I was in the presence of an awesome company. READ MORE
“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam. READ MORE