June 28, 2008

on loving pre-loved

Posted in Kids, Shopping! at 10:38 pm by meldee

No picture today, because I’d love to post a nice artsy fartsy shot of my new purchases but most of them are in the wash.

I’ve recently gone on a Vintage Binge, and by recently I meant I really started feeling the love on Thursday. And as is typical with me, when I am passionate about something, I go crazy all out but if it doesn’t sustain my interest…well, that’s the end of it.

Anyway, I’ve already got some old stuff from my aunts lying around that I’ve been loving heaps but have always felt too self-conscious? Awkward? Too much like a social/fashion misfit to wear? Anyhoo, trawling vintage-inspired fashion sites (as kindly listed for you under ‘Fabulous Fashion’) I’ve been…well, inspired, to go on a mad pre-loved spree.

I’ve decided that fashion is about experimentation. About not always being matchy-matchy perfection, but pushing the envelope about what works and what doesn’t.

Duh.

But yeah, big thing for me ok.

I went to Amcorp Mall today for some Me Time (I’ve been feeling incredibly unbalanced lately, as Miss P. would say, my chakras are all out of whack—nothing seems to work for me lately, be it meditation, thinking positive, or talking to angels) and wandered around the weekend flea market stalls.

I know a lot of the stuff is pretty blah, but what I was looking for was cheap, pre-loved clothes and bags. I was in this shop on the Lower Ground floor and struck up a conversation with one of the workers there, an old Chinese man in a funky hat.

After asking me if I were still studying, he asked me a question I’ve been asked a lot lately. “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

In a split second, my thoughts shot from suspicion to paranoia to just a sweet serene blankness.

“A good person,” I laughed.

And I meant it.

***

I also spent RM50, and got bang for my buck (I know how this may be construed by the less pure-of-mind, so let me clarify that a.) I did not hire a hooker; b.) I did not pay to shoot anyone; c.) I did not hump a male deer).

Averaging at RM10 each, I snagged two tops (a lovely sailor-esque navy and red drawstring cotton top, and a halter/pussy-bow top in turquoise chiffon paisley), a lovely cropped white cardi with puff-sleeves and gorgeous embroidery on them, a silk painting-type high-waisted skirt and a red mock croc skin sling bag.

I’m pleased. I still have yet to wear the same thing to uni twice, and have decided that from now on I will buy mostly pre-loved stuff.

Because wearing things that have been loved, makes one feel loved.

Call it psychological (or call me psycho).

***

I saw the kids again today, and all seems to be well after the minor mishap of two weeks ago. I felt a lot more centered, having heaps of feminine energy coming off the other four, and though I lagged behind in a lot of things today I found peace when two little boys sat on my lap and read to me.

I discovered that K., a 6 year-old Sagittarian, who normally drives us a bit crazy with his hyperactivity, has a vice (yes, as we all do). Reading. He reads remarkably well for a Standard One kid, and while his English is a bit more touch and go, his Malay is pretty good. I think that short reading spell did us both good, because I’d never really been able to bond with him before (it’s a bit hard to cuddle a whizzing ball of energy!) and after that I actually managed to convince him and another boy to sort out their bookshelf!

And something else that I found beautiful. So just bear with me.

One of the volunteers, S., ordered cupcakes for the kids. In the end everybody ended up having about two—these gorgeous chocolate cupcakes with icing on it, some with flowers and some with frolicking white bunnies (I know!).

The little girl I love so, M., was very quiet today, clearly something is on her mind. Anyway she took one with flowers and ate it, and took another one with bunnies…to give to the live-in child minder.

I don’t think any of the other children did that, which I found understandable (I mean, they’re kids, and it’s sweet sugary goodness).

It just goes to show that you can be used and abused, ignored and treated as a crowd rather than an individual, but still love finds ways of shining through.

I really do love that kid. Actually, I really do love all of them.

*happy sighs

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June 25, 2008

on vices

Posted in Ranty Pants at 9:39 am by meldee

Full to overflowing.

Taken with my Canon EOS KISS,  50mm. Cousin’s wedding, Malacca.

***

I had to go for a (full) medical checkup yesterday because the Ministry of Higher Education suddenly decided that all sessional staff, be you a tutor or lab technician, needs teaching permits.

We get orders on Monday to produce a detailed medical report, chest x-ray, two referral letters from people who’ve known us for more than five years (yeah, like, five years ago I was still in high school), fill out four pages of forms and provide our birth certificate number (so it isn’t enough proof for me to give you my IC number or actually exist, now I have to prove I was actually born?) by, er, today. Wednesday.

Oh the sweet, sweet efficiency and competence of…nevermind, you know what I’m thinking.

Anyhoo. So I was filling out forms at the Staff Health Clinic at the nearby hospital and as usual, ticked ‘No’ to the ‘do you consume drugs/cigarettes/alcohol’ question. Given how regularly I drink/smoke/do drugs, which is occassionally/when the spirit moves me/not at all.

I think the doctor I saw that checked my blood pressure, etc was in a foul mood or something with all the M.University sessional staff coming in in a steady flow (full to overflowing) because she kept pressing that issue. “Are you sure you don’t drink/smoke?”

Me: “No” (as blase as I can be).

Her: “Not even one puff?” (eyebrow cocked)

Me: (stuttering) “Yeah, well, I mean, one puff, who hasn’t tried one puff”.

Her: (smug grins) “Every little bad thing you put into your body has adverse effects, my dear.” (as she’s happily striking out my feeble ‘No’ on the form and scrawling by the side, ‘SOCIAL’.

Now, what the hell.

(I should now acknowledge that I am at fault here for lying on my medical forms; but maybe it wasn’t really lying because oh come on I thought that you’d have to be, say, a pretty regular smoker/drinker to tick that box, but then again what the hell do I know, I’m a freaking Communication student)

<rant>

My point is that rawwwr stop being so bloody condescending and superior what the hell you think just because you are in the medical line you can be all uppity as if you don’t drink/smoke/do drugs/have unsafe sex (wtf)/eat without washing your hands for 30 seconds with soap and water! I don’t know why some people think they can get on their high horse just because they’re in a ‘noble’ profession. Sif you’ve never done anything bad/illegal/fattening in your life before or done anything that could “have adverse effects on your body, my dear”. Like I could be a trash collector and isn’t that noble? I mean I’m clearing up your shit, and I could be the bestest person in the whole wide world because I’m kind loving generous a good mother/father/sibling and YOU in your spotless white lab coat and stethoscope acting all better than me could be a wife/husband/child/animal beater who steals You-Say-Aah sticks (um, I think the correct term is tongue depressor) from the hospital to make houses with UHU Glue RAWWWWWRRR!

</rant>

Ok that was actually kind of therapeutic, but I suspect I might get shot down for being, erm, stupid.

Point is, we all have vices. Vices are ok. Vices are even good. In moderation.

The freaking Middle Path dangnammit! Though, er, I think the Buddha did say something about not doing things to hurt yourself, or others. Which, er, includes intoxicants like alcohol.

Gaaaah I hate being wrong.

*stalks off in fury

June 23, 2008

on sweetness

Posted in Family, Happenings at 2:26 pm by meldee

sweetness

Sweet offerings.

*kueh ee, to symbolise sweetness, completeness and purity.

Taken with my Canon EOS KISS, Cousin’s wedding, Malacca.

***

I found the Dhammapada online, trying to recall a quote I read somewhere about sweetness and virtue (but it turns out I was mistaken, at least I knew it was in the chapter about Flowers!). Lovely.

I was in Malacca over the weekend for my (second) cousin K’s wedding to P, a Nyonya girl. They got all kitted out in the traditional garb, albeit not in full costume—methinks the full set would probably be incredibly heavy as the old school ones are made of pure gold! I went snap-happy (again, pictures are on Facebook) and took heaps of photos, mostly of my own family, and these amusing pair of light-up devil horns that got passed pretty much around the room, even landing on the head of the groom and the father of the groom!

It was an incredibly fun time, being with family, talking rubbish and being loud and totally at ease. It just made me thinkabout how sweet life is when we choose to relate to it this way.

I watched my aunts and uncles taking to the dancefloor for old-fogey dances (the Twist! Haha!), my cousins doing their own thang in the corner of the room, the amused faces of the old aunties and the rapidly reddening faces of the old uncles…and when the last slow dance of the night started, I watched the groom lead his bride onto the dancefloor and they began a soft, slow swaying, followed by other couples, my own parents included.

It made me smile (from the inside!) at how beautiful this all was, as cheesy as it sounds. K & P, just at the very beginning of their life’s journey together, dancing side by side with my own parents, who have loved, lived, laughed (and sometimes come damn close to clobbering each other in frustration!) for almost 25 years now. Others, like my aunt and uncle, have been married for over 30 and they’re so much a part of each other it’s funny.

Life is really as sweet as we make it. *happy sighs

Ok, this post pretty much has no point other than to further implicate myself as a total mushbucket. And that I have a sweet tooth—further encouraged by T’s posting of various lollies and stuff to me 😀

June 19, 2008

on realisations

Posted in Friends, Malaysia, My Home, Strange Feelings, The Thesis at 9:54 am by meldee

Lever/age.

Taken with my Canon EOS Kiss, 50mm. My room.

***

I know, I know, I’m supposed to be at work.

After the mini-drama this morning when my usual computer wouldn’t log me in (there are five computers in my office, only three of which work–mine, D’s and the one behind my cubicle) because apparently the time on the computer and the main server wasn’t the same. I was growling quite ferociously because just a few hours ago I’d sworn that I’d transcribe at least one interview today.

Then I remembered to thank the computer for shitting on me (not literally lah ok) because it reminded me to be patient (yes, I’m still in my Reclaiming Zennity (wtf) phase).

So I hopped on to the computer behind me, checked emails, etc, and after a while, frustrated with the non-scrolly mouse and squinty old CRT monitor, I tried my computer again. And yayness, it works now.

So, um, my point is, um, I need to, um, recover from this morning’s, um, drama.

That’s why I’m blogging in lieu of working.

*defensively* But I will do it eventually! I, um, swear.

By the way, why on earth am I justifying myself to myself? In cyberspace at that. Jeebus.

***

So I had lunch with two friends of mine from primary school yesterday. I don’t know if they still read me regularly (heh), but if they do, holla, M and L! 😀

It’s been 10 years since we kissed our dark-blue-(sexy?)-white blouse uniformed days behind now, and of course it’s inevitable that people change. We were just updating each other over green tea and sushi, or rather, those two that see each other regularly were updating me on things that have happened lately.

Apparently M was not surprised at all that I’ve taken the path that I did. I am, and I look at myself each day with wonder. I certainly never would have guessed that the emotionally unstable, awkward, unpopular misfit kid that I was back then would turn into who I am today, though that’s not to say I’m not still a misfit kid…I reckon I disguise that fact a little better now.

We were talking about relationships, about the idea of marriage and settling down, about the phenomenon of “everyone who goes to Melbourne doesn’t want to come back, everyone who goes to the UK almost always does”, old friends, double lives, and such. The unavoidable question that came up was why I want to go back to Australia when “the country needs people like (me)”.

I guess no matter how many times I’m asked it, it always throws me a little each time. This country, every country, needs people like me. Like you. Like them. It’s unfair to assume that because some people are activists, warriors for social justice, policy makers, etc, that it’s their job to run the country and see that it doesn’t go to the dogs. It’s everyone’s responsibility, that’s why we’re citizens. That’s why we have the right to vote and question and not merely accept the status quo.

It stings that the thought even crosses the minds of people that I don’t love my country, though I know I hardly have control over what I think, what more what others do. Ah well.

On the topic of relationships, I was also asked if the cross-cultural thing was an issue. That stumped me a little. Besides the fact that T likes Vegemite and I hate the stuff (we’ve reached an amicable decision on Promite being our spread of choice), he uses funny language sometimes (as do I), and that he’s white and I’m…er, not, I never really thought of the ‘cultural differences’.

He wears jeans, I do too. He speaks English (or Australian), so do I. We know (almost) the same music and movies, we both believe in good manners, we can both hold our own in an argument but still respect each other.

And I know this may sound really obvious, but I’ve never seen him, or anyone else, as ‘that white guy’ that is so different from me. He’s just T. A person. I mean, of course we all do it, refer to someone as ‘the white boyfriend’ or ‘the Malaysian girlfriend’, but itsn’t it kind of arbitrary? It’s all just labels, words that don’t really mean anything.

Or at least they don’t really to me. But then again maybe it’s because I am such a product of M.University’s cultural critiques, etc? Have I thus lost my ‘Asian values’ and crossed over to the dark side? Am I sucking up to neo-Imperialism and turning into one of its many poster-persons?

I dunno. I really don’t. I’m not saying that I think M or L are wrong in saying what they did, or that I’m right, I’m just stating what happened and the corresponding thoughts that crossed my mind. And it struck me how just a few years ago I’d have chipped in, talking about how Western values have corrupted us all, and we’re fundamentally different because we are Asian.

But what is Westernness, or Asianness? I’m not disrespecting history or culture as in, you know, traditions, ceremonies, bla bla bla…I mean it as a whole. Isn’t it just different ways of doing similar things? Isn’t it like religion, where all paths ultimately lead to God/s? And who created these labels for things anyway, did Humankind (observe my attempts at being Politically Correct) not decide to make these distinctions? I hardly think they mulled over these things and its future implications/connotations for days/weeks/months before reaching a conclusion. Isn’t culture thus, to some extent, arbitrary?

Gasp. I think I might get burned at stake/flogged/stoned to death for heresay.

But I digress.

Anyway, like the title of today’s post says, I realised how much I’ve changed. How different things are, yet how achingly familiar. I still love my friends, and my family, and home, but I’m different now. I don’t think the way I used to, I don’t even feel the same.

Weird eh. One of those strange moments when home suddenly feels like a foreign land, and all things once-familiar feel just that much more strange.

Maybe this is a feeling that comes with age. Lever/age. Whatever.

June 16, 2008

on prayer

Posted in Angels, Uni at 3:02 pm by meldee

Sunshine, stillness, solitude.

Taken with my Canon EOS Kiss, 28-90mm lens. Saiyok Noi Waterfalls, Kanchanaburi.

***

I think it’s time for me to start meditation again.

Over random rainy lunchtime talks, I sit with soaking wet stripey socks and shorts recalling the happiness sitting silently in contemplation gave me.

Starting the mornings radiating loving kindness in the shuddery, juddery school bus at 6am used to make me feel quite zen indeed. But I think it was more than that.

It was transferring thoughts to people I’d not think about normally; the bus driver, the teachers at school, the girl from the first class who I didn’t like, the lady who sweeps fallen leaves and debris off the roads.

A reminder that life is more than just me.

***

I’ve been quite regular with the blogging as of late, yes?

Reflects in my work…or current lack thereof.

June 15, 2008

on doing it for the kids

Posted in Kids, Malaysia, My Home, Social Responsibility According to Me at 9:28 pm by meldee

Hello?

Taken with an Olympus FE-190 digital camera in Sibaju, Kalimantan, 2007.

***

I’ve been working with children at a shelter for abused children for almost a year now. It’s something I look forward to and do with a few close friends, all who are wonderful and patient people. We do activities with the kids, and try to mix it up so that they (and ourselves) don’t get bored—we’ve done dances, yoga, art, kungfu/kickboxing/taekwondo…it’s usually a whole heap of fun 🙂

Yesterday was particularly trying, though. Most of the others in the group couldn’t make it, so it was just myself and another volunteer. To keep it simple, we decided to play games with the kids—the Memory Game (where you study 20 items for 1 minute, then cover them and try to remember as many as possible) in pairs (so the younger kids wouldn’t feel so lost) and Blind Man’s Bluff.

It seemed like a good idea at the time, but I promised a ‘prize’ to the pair that remembered the most number of things in the prescribed time period. There were two pairs that came in at a tie, so I gave out four sweets. As is the case with children, most of them also came up to me later asking if they could have one too, to which I said ‘No’ as some of them didn’t give in their papers, or score as highly as the others.

What I didn’t anticipate, however, was that a ruckus would break out among the children over the simple reward of sweets. Among the younger ones, fine, I know it’s inevitable for some sort of tantrum to happen, but it was when the older girls (they are about 12) started throwing tantrums I was utterly shocked.

Fights even erupted among some of the boys because one of them started taunting the others with his ‘sweet victory’; needless to say they were none too pleased with that. What made it even more difficult was that there were four new children, and as the other volunteer said, the kids are probably still trying to establish a new ‘pecking order’ among them, hence the fisticuffs and tears.

I tried explaining it to them as slowly and gently as I could that things don’t always happen your way. You need to put in effort and try your best to succeed at most things, and if your friend receives an award and you don’t, you should try to be happy for them, not be jealous, and tell yourself that it could be your turn the next time around.

The younger kids had trouble understanding this, and one of the new boys was mumbling fiercely about how I should just go away and that he didn’t care about what I was saying. One of the ones who we’ve known from the beginning, K, started crying continuously, which kind of set off a new episode of tears from the rest.

One of the older girls tearfully said that she thinks she understands what I’m saying, because when she gets an ‘A’ in class for her tests, her classmates get jealous and refuse to talk to her. And it made my heart bleed, because yeah, while we say that kids will be kids and they’re too young to understand ‘grown-up’ things like this, I don’t believe in that. I reckon that it’s never too early to inundate children with the idea that a merit system exists, and not to expect things because they are their divine right. Rewards should be earned, even if it’s just the sense of satisfaction they have in their achievements.

One of the girls, S, rather sullenly asked me why I was being ‘like this’, and that she didn’t like me anymore because earlier when I came in, she’d said ‘hi’ to me and I didn’t respond. This distressed me a whole lot, and I took her aside to explain that this week we were seriously understaffed and that I had so many children clamouring for my attention at the same time, and that I didn’t mean to ignore her and it certainly didn’t mean that I didn’t care for or love her. This made her eyes glisten with tears, because I gently told her that I couldn’t give all my time to only her, and that she had to learn to share.

She gave me a hug and said that yeah, she understood, but actually she was upset because I didn’t give her a sweet. (Sigh)

Another thing I noticed while I was checking their Memory Game list was that even among the older children (aged 10-12), they had such incredible difficulty with spelling. Even the oldest of the group struggled with spelling ‘cermin mata’ (spectacles/glasses/sunnies) and ‘rantai’ (necklace)! Which made me wonder how the girl that got ‘A’s in her tests did so, unless it was for maths.

This is another clear indication that the education system has failed. These children are urban children, who live and study in government schools in the Klang Valley. They know songs like ‘Smack That’ (to our horror, heh) and keep up with the latest movies, and yet, they can’t spell or read even Dr. Seuss’ ‘Cat In The Hat’.

Of course, there are so many arguments about why this could be. It could be because, simply, the children are ‘bad’ students; it could also mean that they’re (and I hate to say this, because I really don’t believe it) ‘stupid’. It could be an indication that their teachers are lackadaisical, or that their parents didn’t do a good job. And I wouldn’t dispute the last point, because these children are from abusive homes…but at the same time, don’t their teachers notice, or care that a 12 year-old girl struggles with reading words like ‘goldfish’?

Maybe one could even argue that teachers are not paid enough to care. And that some teachers are idiots to begin with (which I agree on this under certain circumstances), which then leads one to question why such people are teaching in the first place. Which just makes us go round in circles again.

And if this is already the case for children living in the suburbs and urban areas, what are things like for children out in the villages or outskirts?

Sigh.

It’s so easy to say that yeah, things are as such; but honestly, to witness it firsthand, for it to be true for children that I love and care about, it makes me want to cry. And yes, it does make me want to try and save the world but I know there’s only so much I can do.

Just a thought, for all the aspiring teachers and educators out there (and let this serve as a reminder to me, too). Teaching is an extraordinary profession, because it requires a great deal of patience, compassion, and passion for learning and the desire to impart this knowledge upon those who don’t know. The minute you feel any of these elements waning, leave the vocation for a while and recover the part of yourself you’ve lost. Because I won’t deny that it’s an extremely exhausting and draining area. But you owe it to your students, who look up to you and admire you more than any other adult (yes, maybe even their own parents!) to give them the best that you can.

I know, though, that this is impossible. There will always be those who teach for the mere sake of it, and not for the love of children or knowledge, but for money and power. There will always be teachers who are arrogant, who have lost their sense of wonder and who see the children as pests and not as people. And this makes my heart bleed, because it’s such a vicious cycle.

I promise (to myself, and the Divine) that I will try to give as much as I can, be it love, time, knowledge or just a smile, to all the lives I am blessed enough to touch and perhaps impact. I want to be a better person, not just for myself, but for the kids.

One of the girls at the shelter, M, asked me what I worked as. I love M, especially, because she’s got these adorable chubby cheeks and the sweetest smile. She’s such a perfectionist too, and so energetic. Perfection is her ultimate goal.

I told her I was working at M.University, and her eyes widened. “Akak, will you be my teacher when I go to university?” she asked. “Of course,” I said, “But you have to finish primary school, then secondary school, and do really well; then only you can come to university.”

She looked up at me with her trusting brown eyes and smiled that smile that always melts my heart. “Ok, can. Ya, I will come to university, but only if Akak is my teacher.”

In my heart, I whispered to her that I think I already was.

June 13, 2008

on fixing a broken heart

Posted in Love and Relationships at 11:44 am by meldee

My chipped-away sweet heart.

Taken with my Canon EOS Kiss, 50mm lens. In the plane, BKK-KUL.

***
My brother’s on a current guitar fad, so he’s been downloading all things guitarry and trying to play along.

Last night I heard a song I hadn’t heard in years, and it brought back such a gush of memories that made me smile and want to cry at the same time. Indecent Obsession’s Fixing A Broken Heart used to be one of the songs my first ‘boyfriend’ (I was 13, yes, I got an early start) used to love, and by extension I loved it too because he did 🙂

I remember the pain, trauma and days of pseudo-stalking that followed after the relationship ended when I was 15. I recall moping and staring out from my Form 3 class on Pulau Ketam (not literally, it was just the nickname for the block of classrooms marooned out on the field because the school was overpopulated) at his class on the third level of the building opposite hoping for a glimpse. I reckon I was pretty much a wreck, thinking that I could never, ever love anyone (ever ever) again, and that I should just curl up and die.

We’ve good friends now, more than anything. As I am with (most) of the trail of boyfriends that came after him. Ah, love back then was so simple and innocent; I remember those days when holding hands was a Big Thing and first kisses were dreamt about for months 🙂

Yep, one’s life views can be awfully myopic when one is 15. Thankfully I got over the moping each time and moved on (one of the rare occassions where I’m grateful for my goldfish attention span)…on to the next drama and romance and heartbreak.

And each time I’ve felt that my heart has been broken so badly it’d never be fixed ever again and that I’d be completely incapable of love for another human being, and am doomed to a life of spinsterhood with me and my hair in pink curlers in a dusty apartment filled with books eating cereal dry from the box…etc etc, you know my usual horror scenario by now, I’ve mentioned it so many times.

I’m a bit of a serial monogamist, and a romantic and idealist, so it’s safe to say that when I fall in love I do so head over heels (over head over heels over head..) and for a fairly long time…at least by the standards set when you’re in your teenage years.

But I’m glad I went through all that drama when I was younger, you know? Which is why I reckon I’d never be one of those parents who tell their kids not to date till they begin work.

Because heartbreak requires practice (having your heart broken, or at least cracked—not breaking the heart of others intentionally. I’ve been there before and it is so not cool, I don’t think I’m even over something that happened over two years ago) and the sooner you are introduced to it, you learn to recognise it and learn to cope.

I don’t think you can actually pretend that it doesn’t exist, and swear never to get into a relationship or take any risks because you fear your heart may be broken.

Because really, heartbreak is inevitable. Not just because of love, but because of how life is. Though I suppose you could argue it’s ultimately because of love, as when you really live, you love 🙂 As others love you.

I don’t think it ever gets easier, though, you just learn how to cope with it better as you go along. You learn to surround yourself with other people who love you, and to do things that make you happy. You learn that fixing a broken heart cannot be rushed, and everyone has different healing periods.

But most importantly, I suppose, you learn that the world doesn’t stop turning because of one person’s grief. And that the worst thing you can do is to remain bitter and close your heart to love forever, because if you do, love has no chance of coming back in.

In my old(ish, ahem) age, I have come to learn that loving someone, anyone, is like lighting a candle. The strength of one flame does not diminish just because it is passed on; if the flame goes out, you can always get it back from somewhere else 🙂 A bit simplistic perhaps, but it works for me. And to all those other folk who have used this metaphor.

One can argue that the first cut is always the deepest, but I reckon you can also spin it on its head to make it the sweetest. Because that first Real Love, the one where you imagine you cannot live without a person is often the hardest to let go of, too. But getting over it also makes you realise that you do have it in you to love again, and to love better than before.

Love gets wiser as it grows older, as one does. You eventually learn (and hopefully, I am at that stage) that to really love someone means loving them for who they are, even if it means they don’t love you back the same way. Even if it means they’re slightly deranged, fickle, overly efficient or smell bad. Even if it means you don’t get anything out of it.

And when you love someone you come to realise that just like events in life, there is a time and place for everything, for a certain kind of love, and there’s always a lesson to be learnt.

And when the flame dies out, it’s ok—you can mourn, you are entitled to weep, but don’t forget to move on and start falling in love all over again—even if it’s just with yourself 🙂

And if you ask me, that’s the best way to fix a broken heart.

June 12, 2008

on leaving

Posted in Malaysia, My Home, Strange Feelings at 10:58 am by meldee

Walking away (into the light).

Taken with my Canon EOS Kiss, 50mm lens. Monash Cultural Night, Sunway University College 2008.

***

It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, leaving home.

Not just moving out of home per se, but starting out afresh in another country. Away from family that loves me and feeds me awesome food, distanced from the things I love doing, separated from job stability.

It’s not just because of the boyfriend—of course, he is a big reason in my wanting to go (why else would we suffer through two years of long-distance relationshipping?!), but if you believe me, he’s not the only reason.

I need the taste of the unknown, to venture where people don’t know me. To wander (emotional) baggage-less…yes, even with the precious little money I have. Money that I’ve been working myself ragged to collect, money that’s truly my own.

I think I understand now why my Dad touts the proudest moment of his life being going to the UK with my mum with only 700 Pounds to last them 3 years. It takes a giant leap of faith and optimism indeed to venture out of one’s comfort zone into the (relative) unknown.

I feel conflicted, and I can’t help it. Since I got back from Australia, meeting activists and such wonderful kalyana mitra , being immersed in work that I have found such passion for– writing and working with children, I now feel reluctant to leave.

This, no matter what, is home to me.

No matter how I bitch and whinge and lament the political system, corruption, horrid traffic and crappy pay.

At the risk of sounding cocky (and I’m not, I’m more in awe than anything else), I know I could do well here. I keep getting calls from a headhunter trying to hook me up with PR jobs and other offers of full time work.

But at the same time I know myself well enough to need to quench the thirst within me to try things on my own and venture out to start over again. Just because. I know if I didn’t do this, I’d be deeply dissatisfied and restless. And I’d be miserable. Never ungrateful, let me assure you, just terribly unhappy.

I expect that people who don’t know me (and indeed, those who think they do) might be puzzled at my wanting to leave behind this stability and assurance of a cushy job, free accomodation and Nyonya food every night; it’s something I don’t expect anyone to understand. I feel I hardly understand it myself; all I know is that I must do it.

Yet I cannot go without reluctance.

It’s not just the surface things I’ll miss, like the awesome food, 24-hour Mamak and cheap and abundant shopping. It’s knowing that I’m Malaysian, I’m home.

I know this is so cheesy but when I landed back in KL from Australia and that disembodied voice on the MAS flight said, ‘and to all Malaysians, selamat pulang. Welcome home’ I had tears in my eyes.

Leaving home, being one of the thousands of graduates to abandon mothership Malaysia (so to speak) disturbs me somehow: I’m not going off in search of greener monetary pastures (though that’d be a bonus); I’m not going off because I hate the Government (they’re people too); I’m not going off because I see migration as a quick fix to my problems. I am not going off also just because of the boyfriend—moving there also means uncertainty, because I don’t have a job there, no immediate family, no activist/spiritual/shopping buddies. It’d just be me and him (and his kooky housemate who stole a signboard for my future study, apparently).

I don’t even know yet how exactly I’m going to stay in the country—study visa? No money to study; besides, my brain is going to give out on me soon. Work visa? No job offer (‘yet!‘ pipe up my Sagittarian planets cheerfully), no money to pay for one. Spouse visa? And get married in 9 months? Eeps. I don’t want to get married because I have to, I want to do it because I want to. In my own bloody time, thank you.

But I’m trying to remain optimistic and upbeat—my Sagittarius moon and mars are most rambunctiously cheering me on and urging ‘you can do it, Mel, you can do it! All you need to do is believe!‘—though my more pragmatic parts want to grab that freakin’ bow and arrow set and shoot old Saggi down.

(I realise how schizo I sound )

So why do I so badly want to go? Good question, I guess I’d have to say I don’t really know the answer to that.

And I suppose the only way to find out if I’d make it is to walk forward, walk away from home (into the light).

June 10, 2008

it’s only words

Posted in Random Ramblings, Snapshots, Strange Feelings, Uni at 10:36 am by meldee

Taken with my Baby Bazooka (a.k.a. Canon EOS KISS and my ‘nifty fifty’ lens) at the Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum, Kanchanaburi, Thailand.

Sometimes words are so arbitrary.

***

So I’m back from my brief holiday, sunburnt as hell and supposedly reenergised.

It was pretty good fun! Pictures are up on Facebook if you’re my Friend, if you’re not then you’ll have to make do with this one 🙂

At the risk of whingeing (again), I’m not feeling reenergised, not really. I came back to news of the passing of one of the country’s best known feminist activists due to cancer, crazyhigh jacked up petrol and diesel prices, the fact that Rodham-Clinton’s out of the Presidential Race, and a 4,500 word 60% assignment which I am dying at 3,800 words because I’ve run out of things to say.

See? The arbitrariness of words. I really don’t see why we have to say things at times that are already known. Skipping nimbly to another topic, the problems with blogs is that so many people are talking, but nobody’s really listening. Are they?

Am just rambling. Talking, and listening to myself.

***

I got given a pair of home-grown avocadoes today. They remind me of giant scrotum. Maybe I’ll keep them on my desk at uni as a talisman.