Monday, December 30, 2013

Note to Self (& the Imagined Sir of my Imagined College Community)

Today is the BIG presentation that I've been working so hard for.
  • All the sub-editing, clarifying & vetting of info and polishing of contents? 
  • Checked. 
  • Chased after my group mates into wee hours for their slide contents? 
  • Checked.
  • Being answerable to the very conscientious group leader? 
  • Eh, checked..? *self-doubts
  • Being accused of 'why did you change my contents' by a particular mister, who sent me his part at 2-3am, when our presentation is due 10ish in the morning; and he was supposed to come in early to run his slides with us?
  • Double-checked.
  • Trial-running the presentation in the classroom last week for the fear of 'technical problems' as Sir has so kindly mentioned in the aftermath?
  • Triple-checked. 
  • Presented the final presentation?


Sir, I'm sorry that this is my 1st time encountering difficulties w/Keynote, failing to connect to the classroom system. As I've already presented 4 times this semester w/o a hitch, I'm truly baffled as to why it only fails me now. Also, not to mention that some of my dear group-mates did make an effort to come an hour and half early to practise. I shall sheepishly admit- I, only arrived a mere 45-minute earlier, hoping to preempt any problems. But alas, Mr Soon's (my high school DM) word is gold - 'On time is late, being early is on time.' Hence, my tardy 'early' is not early enough, as the classroom was used for the earliest class of the day. Unfortunately after the bell rang, it was still being occupied by the Prof. prior and his students. 

Although we couldn't account for why the 1st group's 1st speaker was MIA during the 1st period, our group went ahead to keep up with the schedule. I must apologise that we seem to be caught unprepared, as the fault is solely mine - my Apple products chose to leave me to my own device at such a crucial moment. Yet, I would like to thank you Sir for your generous advice, to access the file with USB drive instead, though it was to no avail too. After class, I'm reminded belatedly by a school friend, that the school has IT staff in every block to aid with any 'technical problems'. But, our allocated 30-minute ticked away mercilessly, w/o any regard for our plight, just as no time extension was offered, hence Ipost-mortemly decide that the aid is too many a step away.

(and I suspect Sir's patience is as limited as my suitors, ie. none)

Despite my carelessness, I try to take responsibility, however small. Sir, I've letted all my group-mates present before I do (didn't get to..), although I'm the designated 2nd speaker. Till now, I'm still editing the final presentation, making very minute changes before triple-checking again. All is done so as to share the oversized file over cloud with the whole class, and for your perusal.

Once again, I apologise for wrecking the otherwise fine presentation and thank you for your guidance.


Despite my childish rant above-mentioned, there are important lessons  that I take away and some things to be grateful for. *mumbles on...

In conclusion:
For you, Sir, it's not the process, it's the outcome that matters.
But for me, it's not my grades, it's the trust of my classmates that I value.

P.S. I did the work to the best of my ability, hopefully, he didn't regret trusting me with the presentation slides.  Although it would be totally understandable if he chose to avoid having me in his group at all costs. I just wanted to gain respect... I guess, not quite possible. *sigh

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The morning afterglow is..

that silly smile you can't wipe off my face and those warm 'feel-soooooooooo-loved' tingles enveloping me. Sacrificing her beauty sleep, we do it all night long until the stars fell asleep and the birds start to chirp --- Skyping my one and only CB woman.


Sunday, November 3, 2013






Tuesday, October 29, 2013

because I can


1)  LAUNDRY!!!  X
2)  Unpack winter garments X
3)  Revise for Italian mid-sem exam X
4)  Shop for fresh ingredients (grocery list) X
5)  Deactivate Facebook account

The first step is always the most difficult one to take?
Not really. But I must admit, now, there is less distraction.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Weather you like it or not

In Taiwan, earthquakes and typhoons are part and parcel of life. And after three years, I'm in between the stages of adapting well and dreading/fretting too much.

Many fine crack lines crawl on the walls in my dorm room due to the frequent quakes. One of these days, those lines would connect into a web of complicated overlaying routes, looking like the map of Moscow Metro or Tokyo Metro. It would be as intriguing a sight as it's worrying. God bless my dorm when that day arrives...

Thankfully, the windows are sturdy enough to take the relentless pounding of the wind. During the typhoon season, it’s best to stay snug in bed and watch a horror movie. With the wind howling sinisterly, it creates the most epic surround sound ever. It would even put Dolby sound tech to shame!  

I wish I could say it doesn’t rain drearily in Taipei. Well, it doesn't rain, it drizzles. For 16 hours straight, the soft pitter patter doesn’t stop. It gnaws on your nerves because, you couldn't decide if you should be bothered to carry the umbrella or not. Urgh, heck it, you dismiss the feather light drizzle with a shrug. But once the wind hit you mercilessly, you regret it.

Saturday, October 19, 2013


    體育館外的樓階有個角落。除非銅板掉到那,不然一般路過不會注意到這一角。有隻蝴蝶躺在那。是蝶選擇不飛,還是.. 再也飛不起來... 哦!它觸角微微顫了一下。還沒死呢!

    起風了。蝶,被擋不住的秋風慫恿,不得不飛。它揮動著翅膀,一次又一次,卻離不開地板表面。輕盈的姿態,這時看來,費勁、傷神又痛苦。在旁窺探蝶final moments許久的我,忍不住攤開了手心,想引它爬上來。我的手越是逼近,蝶的翅膀越是鼓動得厲害。它努力地想掙脫。但,最後還是踏上我厚實卻不暖和的掌心。







Friday, August 9, 2013



我要回來  聞一多





你會回來  林~






Oh, I speak English too.

The current weather in Taipei reminds me of home.

Being a foreign student in Taipei, (thankfully) I'm still treated as an equal. No doubt I pay double the school fees the locals did, but I also get to enjoy the National Health Insurance system, as all full-time students are required to sign up for the insurance. Not only the medical fees are heavily subsidized so are the dental services. (Whether NHI brings about more pros OR cons to the country, be it economically or socially, is altogether another debate.) The school fees are still very affordable despite the recent hike for international students. Rumor has it, that is to curb the influx of PRC students enrolling into local national universities. 

Fact is, I want to pursue my further studies based on my passion for Liberal Arts (mainly Literature). Another fact is, I don't think I can afford studying in Singapore without taking a bank loan. Else, the pragmatic choice that I should have made is to continue my bachelor's degree in Business (related courses) after graduating from Temasek Polytechnic's business school. But no, I refuse to be in debt even before I start to contribute to my CPF monthly. Looking back on my decision after 3 years, I'm still glad I chose this path. Even when there are always raised eyebrows or worse, disparaging voices, I would still proudly say, I read Literature, Chinese Literature. 

Being away from homeland, one still faces many cultural differences and also had to put up with the stereotyping, despite having the same ethnically Chinese face. There were many instances the Taiwanese people have certain notions as to how Singaporeans should speak, (no) thanks to Jack Neo's movies. My peers are envious that I'm (rather, or at least more so, as compared to them) effectively bilingual. (Yes, unlike the characters in the movies, thank you very much.) But I don't feel superior when they asked me for help with their second language, and likewise they don't jeer at me when I don't know some words in their first language despite me being a major in Chinese Literature. We merely learn from each other. 

Yet sadly, this is not the case back home.

Speaking fluent Mandarin, sometimes get me ridiculed?! Trust me, they cringed at me as if I was an unwelcome intruder. Until I explained I'm a born and bred local. (I can only imagine the treatment the PRCs face daily due to the stereotyping.) Each and every one of us is an individual before we're a member of certain nationality, hence shouldn't we have basic respect for the individual before we judge them collectively? Perhaps the tension back home between locals and foreigners is escalating during my absence.

Other than English, I also use Singlish whenever it helps to get my point across better, or it depends on the comfort level of my audience. THEN, tadah, there you have it - the accusation (according to my critics) that Chinese Majors can't speak proper English to save their lives. Seriously, it's already laughable that as a nation, we claimed to be bilingual (sorry, this is not a blanket statement to judge fellow countrymen of Malay or Indian ethnics) when our reputation abroad isn't so. But guess who is our worst critic? Our fellow 'elitist' Singaporeans armed with their powerful ammunition of impressive English vocabulary. Sometimes, it's just tiring that I feel like a misfit back home and just so coincidentally I saw an article on our ESM's take on elitism. 

To quote our dear Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, 'There is a need to guard against elitism because it threatens to divide the inclusive society Singapore is seeking to build.'  HE said: "When society's brightest and most able think that they made good because they are inherently superior and entitled to their success; when they do not credit their good fortune also to birth and circumstance; when economic inequality gives rise to social immobility and a growing social distance between the winners of meritocracy and the masses; and when the winners seek to cement their membership of a social class that is distinct from, exclusive, and not representative of Singapore society - that is elitism."

Hence, this is not a war on the superiority of any languages. This is about the superiority of the elites and their distance from the masses. Being an insignificant member of the masses, I don't even want to think of social immobility right now, when I've to worry about the yet another potential hike in ERP by the time I graduate and go home, not forgetting the fees of public transportation that could easily cost me a decent meal. Immobility, is already an issue. 

(I know this may sound like an exaggeration to many of you, but as a student who supports herself in Taipei, when I don't have a single cent in my pocket at least I don't have to worry about transportation. I commute to school and work by my bicycle, yes, it's safer to cycle here than back home. When there's a need, the bus/metro ride wouldn't cost me a meal.)

I'm not campaigning that living in Taiwan is better than staying in Singapore. Some of the locals here think that Singapore government has done a great job, and as a Singaporean, I'm proud of what my country has achieved too. They have also mentioned that Taiwan should take a leaf out of Singapore's book to bring down the high crime rate. (Well, there is also the other school of thought - a country should be governed according to the Confucian ideals, instead of instilling fear to command obedience.) While the beauty of living in Taiwan appeals greatly to me, I'm not blind to her lacking aspects.

All I'm saying now is, although I miss home, can I go back? My government (yes, we collectively have voted for them, so let's take ownership and pride) have outdone themselves. Sometime I wonder about our next generation of leaders, would they be able to keep up? Outstanding individuals like Darren Woo Hon Fai, the Nanyang Technological University (NTU-HSS) valedictorian for example, I'm not even surprised that he made such a politically incorrect statement, nor am I offended by him, because he's merely one (at least he's frank?) out of the many byproducts of our current education system, which claimed to have the Bilingual advantage, as stated in MOE's brochure. 

Bilingualism is a key feature of Singapore’s education system. The main medium of instruction in school is English, but all students learn an official Mother Tongue Language. Our bilingual policy aims to equip our students with the language competencies to access Asian cultures and develop a global outlook. This will give our students a competitive edge, enable them to appreciate their culture and heritage and connect with people from different backgrounds, so that they can thrive in a globalised world.

Perhaps, such an outstanding student and the likes of him and I have our nationality (or maybe the coincidence of shared love for laska) as our only common denominator. As our outlook on society and life most probably would differ greatly. 

Just like for now, how the 29°C temperature is the only common attribute Singapore and Taiwan share. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

one of those.. little funny things

was listening to Lisa Hannigan

you bought a bicycle,
i heard you were coming over for food...
thus fed my appetite
with a mouthful of you...

Saturday, March 23, 2013

missing you at 4am

read it somewhere online last month, that one loses her/his friends most easily when s/he is in her/his 20s. can't exactly remember the list of reasons given, but i did recall myself nodding with one or two reasons stated. something to do with distance. physical distance.

now that we're all apart, i understand that, it does not matter if you're in your early 20s or late 30s or even into your 60s, we would and could still lose friends easily. as easily as those excuses we gave, so conveniently made, only to realize much later on, it didn't take a lot to maintain that connection.

it's not about how willing we are to go the distance. sometime, it's even not about the distance.
as cliché as it sounds, it's about the heart.

the poet Edward Estlin Cummings said, i carry your heart with me, i carry it in my heart. it doesn't apply to just lovers. and it's definitely not about grand gestures. the friend you found in me, may have been lazy and lacking now. sometimes, i tried and i did. sometimes, i'm tired of taking the first step. 

maybe i could have tried harder.

i would say hi more often, ask about your day and pester you to tell me more about your current love interest, i promise to check whatsapp daily and reply asap, i would take initiative to update you about the life that i now lead away from you, because you're a part of it.

i would do those little things to make you smile,
because you had.

used to always do so.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

О мой русский класс...

я ушел с русского класса в этом семестре :(
я все еще здесь у меня разговорный класс! :)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

...because making a list is easier

THE THINGS-TO-DO LIST (for this winter vacation)

1) Make new sofa covers before Lunar New Year
3) Bedroom makeover?
5)... to be continued

Monday, January 7, 2013


upon close examination, i realised she has more scars and dents on her small frame than i do on my entire body. and that IS serious, considering that i've CSP though not as severe now. still, what a traumatic experience that petite young thing had suffered while serving me so painstakingly...

at least, when she was near her end, i.e. refusal to comply with instructions, i left her high and dry. before anyone accuses me of cruelty, that was for the best, and i bet she knows it too. unless she wanted to suffer the same tragical fate as my beloved nano, which was actually electrocuted, by taking an accidental spin... in the washing machine. that, instead of spinning music as what nano was supposed to do.