Sunday, September 25, 2011

"What if the Secret to Success Is Failure?"

I've come across this article online and this exert particularly interested me:
"... there was this idea in America that if you worked hard and you showed real grit, that you could be successful,” he said. “Strangely, we’ve now forgotten that. People who have an easy time of things, who get 800s on their SAT’s, I worry that those people get feedback that everything they’re doing is great. And I think as a result, we are actually setting them up for long-term failure. When that person suddenly has to face up to a difficult moment, then I think they’re screwed, to be honest. I don’t think they’ve grown the capacities to be able to handle that.

THAT, is exactly what I have been thinking about, when it comes to my views on the education system.
I know, I've not been the biggest fan of our Malaysian education, but then again, I'm not in a position to complain about it because I'm one of the dupes churned out by the system myself. Additionally, I don't see myself taking any action in helping out with constructive interventions anytime soon...
Well, not until I have my own kids at least, when I'm aspired to cultivate a suitable home environment for better learning process in addition to the formal education in school.
Sigh.

Anyway, I see the issue being, all the students are moulded to believe that grades are everything. So those who can attain highest marks in exams, are the ones who get rewarded in the end. However, what's disregarded instead is the process of getting those marks, which essentially is the most important of all, in my opinion.

Coming from my own experience, I know it's extremely common for people to plead, bribe, cheat, lie, abuse "connections", and all sorts of dirty tactics to achieve the best marks they can get. These behaviours have been repeated over and over again until it's become the norm to "success".

Back in primary school, even kids as young as 8 learn that if you get on the teacher's good books (i.e. help with carrying books to her car after school hours or appoint themselves as the spy kids who report "illegal" operation to the teacher), you'll be the ones get praised. As a reward, they get inside information about what topic of essay is coming out in the final exams or they will get extra 5% added to their total marks due to their "good" behaviour. Not only that, they are taught that all these should be maintained as a secret or "underground" to avoid competition so that other people do not get such "privilege".
HOW RIDICULOUS.

When we get to high school, our ways of getting brownie points advance to more elaborate level. We start to do things in cliques. We pakat in exams, we coordinate cheating strategies that involve a group of more than five so that we can get the best scores in exams.

These are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to deceitful behaviours that span across my 9 years of education. We learn that, our goal is to get good marks, doesn't matter how you get them. And if you have failed to get good marks, you're doomed for life. Again, even if you'd failed, HIDE IT or DO SOMETHING about it. One would usually go up to the cikgu office and beg, cry if we have to, so that we can get the extra 3% out of pity and finally the score can be re-written using black pen instead of red in the report card.

What kind of values are we promoting here?
Sigh.
That's my rant for the day.



PS:
Holidays coming to an end.

PPS:
Brighter note, went Vue de Monde for lunch today!
One of the two 3-chefs-hatted restaurants in Melbourne, I've gotta say... I'm utterly impressed.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

It's foolproof.

Failures and rejections are the best motivations. Definitely.

Went for a run today and I've got my stamina back. I'm thinking of training for marathon. Hah.
Just a thought.


PS:
I think I forgot to mention that my Apple baby arrived on Monday!
So this is what I've been missing out on all these years. Sheeesh.


PPS:
Spring is here. Much love.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Ouch.

It hurts to love someone when we can’t tell them what we really feel because sometimes we get hurt without them knowing. We get jealous even if we have no right to feel that way. We want their time even if we are not in the position to demand for it. Although our hearts are breaking in silence, we still continue to love them because somehow in this hurtful love there is still hope of having simple moments with them even if it means being just a friend.



Maybe that is one of the reasons why sometimes, I would rather not have anyone in my life, at least not until it's proven through time to be mutual and reciprocal.
Oh well, I have the tendency to get myself jaded and bruised when it comes to love.
And they say love is masochistic. I guess that makes me a masochist.
So true.

Current status:
I'm in desperate need of a romantic love stories marathon so I can bath myself in loss and sorrows.
Jeez.

Anyway, we are having our mid-sem break for the coming two weeks.
My plan is to catch up on lectures, essays and tutorial readings. But then again, we shall see how well do I end up sticking to that.
My experience is telling me that the chances are slim.
Oh, and I also want to finish the wrinkly TIME magazines I fished out from my laundry basket. wtf. They are the perfect toilet readings aren't they?

Dorryy flew back to Malaysia yesterday :(
Of course I felt sad, which explains the tone of this post, I guess, but there's no point acknowledging the emptiness I'm feeling inside because it will just kill me even more, doing more harm than good.

Our BOLDs from three different generations.
Gotta give it to BBM though, for being the sole technological platform that's keeping us in touch with each other.



PS:
Went Las Chicas yesterday and the giant Breaky Burito absolutely satisfied my brunch and mexican food cravings.
Talking bout hitting two birds with one stone.



PPS:
We were shown this film, "Before Sunset" in lecture and I absolutely loved it because I think it's simple yet incredibly realistic, nothing like those full-blown "romantic" movies of extravagant dates and out-of-the-world courtship, that sets out to feed one's fantasies about love.
Throughout this movie, it's just two people walking and talking around Paris. Their encounter plays out in real time, which means the length of the movie is the duration of their time spent together in Paris. Good stuff.
Apparently it's a sequel to "Before Sunrise" that's even more romantic so I'm still trying to get my hands on a copy of that.
Highly recommended.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Congratulations, Dory.


With love


PS:
Will post more pictures during break. Pinky promise.
Nah, Shan, here's a bigger version of the picture so you don't have to strain your eyes staring at the small ones in Facebook. heh.

PPS:
Did I mention that Dorry is getting braces too? :)
It's contagious.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Embrace Colors

Atlantic-Pacific: Dottie


Haute Kayture!



Royalty Free


Green is the new black


I'm a person of monochrome when it comes to dressing style.
The truth is, Black seems to be the only color I will always go for. ALWAYS. Because it's safe, timeless, classic and flattering.
Can't blame me.

But I'm starting to incorporate colors into my wardrobe. Given that "Green is the new Black", my new favourite color turns out to be Green. That being said, I only allow myself one piece of colored garment at a time, might it be a green skirt, electric blue blazer, pink top or a yellow clutch, or even a pair of red heels.
Never "all-of-the-above" for me, because I'm all about taking baby steps.

Btw, it's Melbourne Spring Fashion Week!
Can't wait for the weather to turn warm so I can be out and about donning thin cardigans and playful dresses.



PS:
We will be having our mid-semester break next week.
I'm so looking forward to spending day and night under my duvet, catching up on my TV series.
Maybe I will read a book or two. But they've gotta be inspirational.


PPS:
Why isn't there any good movies screening at the cinema nowadays???
Don't you dare tell me the Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn. sheeesh.


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Tune for a Cozy Saturday Night


Soothingly mellow songs make my day.
I find it funny how I used to be a huge metal/rock/emo rock music fan. The noisier the better. All the screaming that used to excite me, gives me massive headache now instead.
Talking bout a 180 degree change in music taste.
I guess people do change ... some for the better but some for the worse.

And yes, by this time tomorrow, Dory will be back in Melbourne.
It would be just like old times.
Short but sweet, there's no doubt about it.



PS:
"Being in a relationship isn't about the kissing, the dates, or the showing off. It's about being with that person that makes you happy in a way no one else can."

PPS:
Will be attending MoMU Ball next Friday :)

Friday, September 09, 2011

Listen to Your Parents

My dad always tell me, "there's nothing money can't solve"

Me being a sceptic, I didn't really buy into it, thinking that he's just exaggerating the power of money. Pffttt. Besides, we've always been told that money can't buy you happiness, money can't buy you love and money can't buy you health...
A-ha, there are a lot more things that money can't buy!

But, over the years, I have come to realize that... my dad was right:
There's nothing money can't solve.
Trust me, I think I've exhausted my resources in trying to prove my dad wrong.
Well, I usually don't like being told of the ultimate answer or truth but prefer going through the process of finding it out myself, thinking that it would be more valuable and insightful, in my opinion.
In the end, I've come to the conclusion that money can solve everything *sorta* (I'm leaving some room for negotiation still). Because, whenever you're in a difficult situation, there's always a solution or a way out, as long as you're willing to pay for it.
Of course, the difference lies within our willingness-to-pay so we make do with what we have.

You missed your flight. No Biggie. Just issue and pay for a new ticket so that you won't be stranded in a foreign country.
You lost your phone. Easy. Get a new one.
You're feeling sad and heartbroken, people always encourage you to engage in retail therapy/go out with friends for a movie. There you go, money can buy you happiness, although not in the way of getting back the one you loss, but by sidetracking you temporarily so that you can put your life back together and move on.
You're sick. Without money, how are you going to pay for the hefty medical bills? In this case, money can buy you health, by keeping you alive longer but not by restoring you to your prime health.
You can't get an Aussie PR, invest bazillion dollars and the Australian Government will welcome you to the country with warm embrace.
Seriously.
The cliche rings true, "Money makes the world goes round".

Okay, the trigger that brought me to this topic is, my laptop died. Just this morning.
Like drop.dead.DEAD. because the system is preventing me from accessing Windows so it just keeps restarting whenever I try to turn it on.
I can't say that I'm not slightly affected by this because the laptop has been with me for almost 4 years. So it's probably 80 year old in computer years. To be honest, laptops are never built to last that long, all thanks to the business people of Silicon Valley.
Sigh.

Anyway, I promised myself that my next computer is going to a be Mac.
Intended to ease my grief, I'm determined to replace my dead computer with a shiny and brandnew MacBookPro. Gawd, these things ain't cheap.

Without the budget that comes with my dad's stamp of approval, there would be extra stress especially at this time of the year when all the due dates are drawing in.
How am I going to finish my assignments? What time do libraries and the computer labs close? Will I be able to guarantee myself a spot in front of the computer? How am I going to print my documents? How long do I have to endure without a computer? What am I going to do with this, with that... Is this going to work? Is THAT going to work?... and the list of concerns go on...
RAGGGGGGGE!
Gotta be thankful of what parents have given us. Our parents had their share of hardships and still fighting til their very last breath to ensure that we have a easier life than they do.

That's all for now.
I'm gonna continue with ogling at images of the MBP before the real one gets delivered to my door step. Hah.
Apple sure knows how to appeal to the consumers aesthetically.
Finally, I'm crossing over to the dark side.




PS:
Starting to enjoy my quiet Friday nights at home.
Tranquillity and peace. ahhh.


PPS:
"Sometimes, it’s a lie to say that you have let go of the past, nobody let go of memories. Because really, there’s no such thing as forgetting only acceptance."

Sunday, September 04, 2011

It's A Love Story

Meh, I have an essay due on Friday and I'm still a little uncertain with the direction I'm going to take. It's actually a close analysis on a short sequence from the movie by Woody Allen, "Annie Hall" (1977).


I fell in love with the movie when I first saw it last semester. It's unconventional, and definitely not the kind of romantic comedies we're so used to, in the 21st century. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of modern days chick-flicks but ever since I was exposed to films dated back to the 50s -80s, I've come to appreciate them more. Ironically, I find the oldie films to be more "fresh" and experimental, given that the blockbusters churned out by Hollywood nowadays are starting to bore me. They are becoming more generic and predictable, some are absolutely CGI overkill.
Is Hollywood losing its touch? *gasp*

Anyway, coming from Woody Allen, who's a gag writer and stand-up comic, "Annie Hall" contains more intellectual wit and cultural references than any other movie ever to win the Oscar for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, and Best Screenplay. Sometimes, you just have to watch it for a few times to catch the jokes and sarcastic remarks. LOVE IT. And the fact that it's rated 98% on rottentomatoes.com, that's gotta count for something.




Again, unlike our usual love stories, there's no happy ending in "Annie Hall". All there's left was just memories that the main male narrator could reminiscent on.
They fell in love and they broke up, which is a phenomenon that's increasingly common among my peers.

Sometimes, it makes me wonder ...
Love, isn't it the most fragile thing if it fell into the wrong pair of hands. Wrong clumsy pair of hands who cannot seem to handle it with enough care and attention.
Too distracted maybe? Or love is too easily attainable that, it has lost its value over the years.
Oops, they broke a heart, fret not, they can get a new one in no time. Easy come, easy go. That's the trend with relationships.
But when you were able to find love at the right time, right moment, with the right person, it could be the most beautiful thing that one could ever experience.

That being said, a person who is willing to grow old with you, through thick and thin is extremely hard to come. If you happened to be blessed with one, who's willing to pull the weight together with you through life into the future, you should treasure it and make sure you put in your share of effort as well. Sometimes, things can get deceptive too as the phrase "I Love You" has become overrated, in my opinion. So, do keep in mind that, actions speak louder than words - one must judge with your head and your heart, it's not enough to follow what your heart desires anymore.



Sigh.
I dislike the theme of my subject this semester, which is the "Love story genre".
Why can't we have "Horror genre" so I can feast my eyes with bloody images of sliced up body parts and fetish the glorified gore.
Instead, now I have to get in the mood of the love story genre and feel the pain or loss apparent in all the love narratives screened every week.
To be honest, I think it's wearing out my hopes and faith in the whole notion of "Love".
Let's pray that I don't get depressed by the end of the semester.
Namaste.



PS:
I went Chin Chin for the 3rd time this semester.
I'm going to reject the next invitation to visit the place, albeit it being listed as No.1 "Talk of the town" in urbanspoon.com.
Jeez.


PPS:
I came to realize that, when you meet a fellow Malaysians anywhere or anytime, often it only takes 2 to 3 encounters to get both of you on the same page!
Next thing you know, you guys would be discussing about your favourite mamak stall in KL and complaining about the traffic jam back home.
It's pretty awesome.





Thursday, September 01, 2011

The Big Picture.

I love TIME magazines.
They keep me in touch with the world. To be honest, I don't read the news as often as I would like to, which is something I really need to improve on. Usually, my sources of news are from friends, parents and newsfeeds on Facebook.
So, I guess my ways of news gathering are not very credible aren't they?

However, the thing with the articles in TIME magazines is that, I like how they are not in a strictly objective and formal news reporting style but they are written by journalists who also put in a bit of themselves, their own experience and observations. What I mean by that is, these articles reflect their opinions to a certain extent, which essentially makes the articles more subjective... and in my opinion.. more realistic.

Additionally, they often include really powerful photographs to give you a better picture of the issues they are talking about, and in some cases, to evoke desirable emotions towards the topic. With the latest issue of the TIME that focused on "The World after Gaddafi" in Libya, there's an article that caught my attention, mainly due to the photographs featured in it.


"The Catastrophic Famine in Somalia"

"Internally displaced people find shelter in a bullet-ridden house near the Hodan refugee camp in Mogadishu, August 9, 2011. Hundreds of thousands of internally displaced people have flooded to the capital in search of food and shelter"


"A malnourished child with tuberculosis is bathed by his mother in Banadir Hospital in Mogadishu, Somalia, August 9, 2011. A day later the child died"


"A malnourished 5-month-old girl, named Farhiya, is held by her mother in a refugee camp in Mogadishu."


"Relatives of Umar Usman, 7, clean his body after he died from malnutrition at Banadir Hospital. His family was forced to delay his burial because they couldn’t find a grave site"


"In Mogadishu, most refugees crowd into makeshift shelters like these in Madina Camp, August 9, 2011."

Famine. Homelessness. Poverty. Death of children.
It breaks my heart.
Which brings me back to my title, where do I stand in the big picture?
The least I can do is to be grateful with what I have and I'd been given.

It annoys the hell out of me when people are easily bothered by the most mundane things ever, those that they call "problems" or even "crisis" in everyday life.

Okay. I know you probably have a lot going on on your plate, namely a few assignments due the following week. Pffftt. Just finish them and stop complaining, given that it's actually part of your role as a student to begin with. Also, do keep in mind that you're not the only one who has deadlines to meet because everyone else does too. It doesn't warrant you extra sympathy just because you are vocal about the things you have do, while other people don't announce theirs to the world.

One should stop whining about life being shit, because when you put things in perspective, many of us are extremely privileged and are in a much much fortunate situation, in comparison to so many others in the world.

Ironically, this is not new to us as it is exactly what we've been told all the time since we were kids.
"Finish your rice because the kids in Africa have to starve!"
"Be grateful that you have a roof over your head!"
"You should feel blessed that you have a bed and clean sheets to sleep on every night"
I guess the impact of these messages become desensitized over the years as they've been told over and over again.
It's quite unfortunate actually.

So my point is, stop complaining that you're the unluckiest person in the world and the world is being unfair to you.
The truth is, the world does not revolve around you, and you only.

This also applies to the other end of the spectrum...
Quit fantasizing that you're the smartest or prettiest or richest in the world because, there are bazillions of smarter people, prettier people, and definitely richer people out there.
Come down to earth, pretty please?
Only the humblest people deserve my respect.
In many instances, they are about acknowledging the importance of moderation, striving a balance in all aspects of life.


It gets on my nerves at times but I've learnt to stop and ask myself,
"Why bother?".
Anyway, I hope you don't mind my monk-ish rant, especially on a Thursday.
Ah, I just realized I can't use the word "monky" so I'm stuck with "monk-ish". Sheesh.



PS:
Happy belated Merdeka! and Selamat Hari Raya!
I still love my home country no matter what.

PPS:
I probably shouldn't be considering if I should fly back to Malaysia when it comes September break.
Hmm. Maybe I should. We'll see.