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Merdeka Baru

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  In between mouthfuls of rice, our fingers reached towards the screens, tapping a couple of times to refresh the outdated page (note: by 20 seconds).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

Be Still

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

‘X’ Marks the Spot

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...

Homecoming

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

Send My Love

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

Stars

“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

Veiny Hands

“You’ve got veiny hands,” my flatmate commented as her finger prodded onto the slightly bulging green pipelines that run across the back of my palms.
“Mm? I do? Oh yeah, I guess I do now. I’ve never had them before,” I shrugged.
“Do you do a lot of hard work with your hands?” My flatmate’s a doctor-to-be, so analysing people’s anatomy is one of her favourite past times.
I thought about it for a while, because I hadn’t really noticed them. In fact, my veins were so hidden before this that doctors and nurses often found it hard to draw blood during a medical check-up. What has changed, then? Is it age? Dehydration? READ MORE

“I’ll See You When I Come Home.”

That was what I said to him before I left for London.
Where do I begin?
How do you write about a man who has written all his life?
To many, he is known as Soo Ewe Jin, editor of The Star and inspiring columnist of “Sunday Starters” who has lifted the spirits of many with his heart-warming articles (and probably the sole reason I still read the local papers).
To me and my cousins, who were brought up in a large extended family of eight aunties and one uncle – he was our one and only Ah Koo. READ MORE

Scholarships and More

Hello, from sunny UK! Yes, we’re approaching autumn but it has been rather sunny and warm since I got here. I will write about my time here in the later posts, but I’ve been getting requests from friends and strangers to do a write-up about my talk on scholarship applications, which was organized by Mensa Penang in August. It is the scholarship application season now, so I hope what I’m about to share helps you in your preparation. READ MORE

Start at Home

Mom and I chilling on the couch, busy with our phones. Dad came home from his daily hike, passed us and walked into the kitchen. As she was busily swiping colored candies, she asked nonchalantly.
Mom: What do you think dad is doing in the kitchen?
Me: Mm… Sounds like he’s cutting up something.
Mom: What is it ah?
Me: Doesn’t sound like durian…
Mom: Doesn’t smell like durian… It’s not even in season!
Me: Cannot be coconut… we just had it…
Mom: Doesn’t sound like he’s chopping something big..
Me: Can’t be papaya…
Mom: We still have leftover papaya from yesterday lah..
Me: Oooo maybe mango?
Mom: Ya meh? But we haven’t gone for dinner yet, he’s cutting fruits already?
Me: Aiyah dunno lah! READ MORE

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