Monday, November 1, 2010

Dah tak bleh pi

Hear me ranting.

I'm bad at memorizing. Horrible. A glance at my SPM result can prove that. Prinsip Perakaunan? 1A. Pendidikan Muzik? 1A. Additional Mathematics? 2A. Sejarah? ..................4B. That one subject ruined my chances for a lot of things.

I'm memorizing for PSA420 (Public Sector Accounting) now and it's very, very excruciating. The only bearable part about the course is the Vote Book, which is the only place where we actually put our mathematical ability to use. I don't like this even more than Commercial Law. Lets hope my result this time won't be as bad as that. I'm currently using all my willpower to stop myself from screaming YARGHHHHHH!!!!! and all my strength to keep the book in my hands.

I'm not sure if this is some kind of mental block or something, but I think my brain is not wired for memorizing. However hard I try, I can't seem to be able to do well in that department. Maybe it's the painstakingly repetitive nature of it gets me agitated. My average brain which is not gifted with that ability to remember facts at first read and my heart which sets PSA to 'I don't like this' are agonizing here.

Why do I write this? Shouldn't I be reading about the roles and responsibilities of Treasury or something? Well, I need to get this out. My housemates already had their fair share of my "susahnya nak hafal ni~" so I'm sharing this with you, O wandering visitor.

Edit
Now I'm sure of it. That paper is going to bring me down. How can I tell? Well, right now I'm hoping for a mere 'pass'. Yes, I did that bad. And no, I'm not exaggerating.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Only Ignorance

There are times when I wish I don't have easy internet access. You learn to live without it when you don't have it. But when every time the laptop is on and you'll see the network symbol in the toolbar showing the enticing blue balloon, and the ever-so-tempting e is sitting pretty on the Quick Launch ... "I'll just check my emails" rarely means what it means.

Black Beauty. I bought this exact version for RM2.90!!! It was in a very good condition, I assure you.


Between quizzes, group assignments, Twitpic and YouTube, I managed to finish Black Beauty! That... is not much of a feat since the book is so thin and... easy. It's from a horse's perspective, for god sake. How complicated can it be?

My first time reading the book was ages ago (I even watched the movie!), and this time around, one particular chapter named Only Ignorance stuck with me for a long time.

In the book, a certain John Manly was upset with one Joe Green (I know, they have such simple names) because this one night when John (who takes care of the horses) was away on an emergency, Joe, being a novice made a mistake when attending to the tired Black Beauty, causing the creature to fall sick soon after. Joe's father told John to be easy on the boy since it was only ignorance that caused him to make Beauty sick.

John said 'Only ignorance! Only ignorance! How can you talk about only ignorance? Don't you know that ignorance is the worst thing in the world, next to wickedness? - and which does the most mischief Heaven only knows. If people can say, 'Oh! I did not know, I did not mean any harm,' they think it is all right.'

Ignorance is indeed bad. 'A woman should never undertake to nurse a tender little child without knowing what is good or what is bad for him,' said Mr. Green when John mentioned an incident where a woman was tried for manslaughter for accidently killing a baby by giving him the wrong medication.

It is bad when you simply assume things. It's bad when your don't-bother-to-find-out attitude affect the well-being of another person (or horse). It's bad when you don't change your unfavourable behavior because you don't know it's unfavourable in the first place.

Hmm... about the latter, what can we say about people who genuinely don't know? I mean, if the situation around them does not show anything that might suggests their conduct is not acceptable, how will they know that they need to change? Is it our responsibility to scrutinize every other person's reaction in detail to figure out if there's something wrong with us?

Take a friend of mine for example. She previously didn't know that sometimes (she's kidding herself, it's actually a lot of times) people around her do not mean what they say to her. They do not dare to speak freely in front of her. To her, they are all good friends and good people who think of her that way too. Even her close friends, whom she entrusted with the simple job of letting her know when she is being aggravating, do not tell her what they really think. And so she was in this state of blissful ignorance thinking she is liked well enough by her peers. Sadly, this is only true in her imagination.

The truth came a-knockin' one day when one of her friends made a passing remark that put her in a semi-depressed mood. 'If my close friend thinks that way, what about other people?' she thought sorrowfully. Reality hurts. No, it's not like they hate her or anything; they are actually afraid of her. They do not dare to tell her things that might upset her, and they ask for favours through other people (who are not afraid of her). That is something she need to change. But she never knew this, of course. Why? Because they are too afraid to say they are afraid of me! ......I mean, her. They are afraid of.. her. Hmm. Yeah.. Moving along...

So what do we say about that? Is there a line between being unconcerned/not bothered with genuine ignorance? What is genuine ignorance, anyway? It's one thing if you do things based on your limited knowledge or assumptions, but to be blinded from knowing the actual situation is another thing altogether. You might argue that there are surely signs that we can look out for, like telling expressions or empty words, but what if you don't think there is a need to look for those little signs? When you are ignorant of your ignorance?

Ignorance can be just as bad as wickedness, but not always. I say there are different levels of ignorance;

refusing to bother with what you seriously need to know (Joe Green),
being unaware of the things you are lacking (my, erm... friend),
not knowing things that are better to not know (ignorant is bliss situation),

and possibly several others.

I'm being defensive here, but I know that sometimes a little ignorance is what you need to move on in life, to be brave, to feel happier. You are better off not knowing certain things. After all, 'All you need is ignorance and confidence and the success is sure - Mark Twain'.


Hmm... Writing skill seems to be a bit rusty... I kept using 'things', didn't I? Then there's the unstable flow of sentences throughout. And you call that an ending?? *shake head at oneself* Too much non value-adding inputs from the internet is making my mind a bit mushy. Now that the final examination is so near, there'll be even less time for books (besides textbooks), never mind YouTube. I have, however, started on Nocturnes by Kazuo Ishiguro. I'll just see how that will progress.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Monday blues



Good companies, awesome food, refreshing conversations, fun activities, cheesy songs and bad movies. Ah yes. Selamat hari raya semua. I hope you enjoyed your holiday. After all those "I'll do that tomorrow" and "I really should stop eating" moments, are you geared and ready for school/work?

*sigh* I know. I hate it too. The post-holiday syndrome.

Yesterday my sister exclaimed "I hate the ending of cuti!" I wanted to say something clever like "don't look at it as an ending of cuti, look at it as a beginning of a new term of school" ......yeah... Like that's going to help. Besides, I'd feel like a hypocrite since I hate the ending of cuti too!

The post-holiday syndrome is basically the augmented version of the Monday blues. The symptoms? Dreading the coming days is one. Just thinking about the work waiting for you gives you the gloom. Regardless of whether you're studying or working, you know you have a pile of work to catch up on (it's funny how we say 'catch up' when everyone else is lagging too). It doesn't help if you, like me, hadn't been doing any school-related (I do mean university when I say school) work during the break *cough*Super Show 3*cough*. The momentum is gone. It's even worse if you watched IQ-lowering TV shows like Zombie Kampung Pisang.

Do you sometimes wish for just one more day of cuti? Do you find yourself not wanting to go back to school? Do you sigh when you pack your textbooks? Those are symptoms of the syndrome too. And for those who are studying far from home, you'll have homesickness to top it off. You know, that longing feeling after you've said your farewell [cue for Jaejoong's Insa].

After spending so much time with their family, some people feel lonely even when they are around people [cue for Michael Bublé's Home]. Some people miss the comforts of home, some miss the comfort of being with the family. Some miss the stories, the fun times, the bad jokes.

Don't worry, I'm not crying. Although I'm dubbed the crybaby by my housemates, I never cry because of homesickness. I just move around slower than usual. I sigh a lot.

*sigh* Yeah... I should stop. Don't bash me if you never experience the post-holiday syndrome. I know there are people who like a new beginning after some time off because they feel refreshed. Obviously, I'm not in that category, along with a lot of people I know (at least judging from their Facebook entries).

The transition from SS3 to FAR400 is a bit hard, but I'll manage. So should you.


On another note, do check out the following videos. My two brothers and I played these two instrumental songs. Feel free to comment! They are uploaded on Facebook as well.

Only You instrumental
Pachelbel's Canon instrumental


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Books galore!

Hello there! Who are you and how are you feeling? Great, I hope. Who, me? I'm doing fine. A little weary from lack of sleep, but otherwise excellent. I'm a bit cheery today (can you tell?) so I want to share with you the reason for that (sorry Abang, it's another narcissistic entry). No it's not because I found out that I have more readers than I thought (and hopefully more in the future, thanks to Izni). I'm happy because I just bought some books at a bargain price!

Don't we just love book sales? I do. Even if I don't end up buying anything, I still love going to book sales, or any book-related events. Good thing for me, UiTM Shah Alam had been very encouraging for readers. We already have three book-related events in July and August so far. I really hope we'll have more in the future.

Now let us look at what I managed to get hold of from those events and today.



Bought at our library's stock clearance sale. In perfectly good condition, albeit the pages are yellow from age. That didn't bother me because some of my books turned that way after a few months (my Bartimaeus Trilogy are only five years old, but they could pass as books from the Beatles' era). Do you know how much an Edward de Bono book costs? I don't. But I'm sure it's so much more than RM4.90. That's right! I got this for RM4.90! After reading the price tag, I went "betul ke ni?" a few times. I didn't let go of the book like my CGPA depended on it. Even at the payment counter I was half expecting the girl to say "Oops kami tersalah letak price tag. Sebenarnya 20 ringgit ni", but it didn't come. Wow, I thought. I just bought an Edward de Bono for five ringgit.


This one is bought at UPENA Book Fair where local public universities and education institutions display and sell educational books that their students use. I discovered this and a lot of other gems at the Malaysian National Institute of Translation booth. The institution publishes translated works of local and foreign writers; Malay to English, English to Malay, Spanish to English and Malay, the list continues. They are mostly literature works which I never encountered anywhere else before. The objective of having these translated works is to promote literature, or more accurately, the writers to non native speakers of the original language. Seroja Masih di Kolam is an interesting read: it illustrates the lives of a few Malaysians sometime after we achieved independence. The book describes the friction between the malay-educated and the english-educated, besides detailing the journey of one malay girl in discovering her roots. Adibah Amin did a great job in portraying her characters; their emotions are so... real.


Another book from the Institute of Transalation: a dual-language collection of poems from Zurinah Hassan (at first I thought it was a horror story LOL). I was never into puisi melayu (the 'komponen sastera' part in BM was never interesting), but I was drawn to this book because the poems are simpler than those in our BM compulsory readings. Simple in language but deep in meanings (not that I understand all of them). And it's amazing how the phrases are rearranged in English but still maintain fairly the same meaning. Oh I forgot to mention that I received 20% off for this book and Seroja.


Now this. It was upon chance that I stumbled upon this baby yesterday. A brick-size book. Still in plastic cover. Two titles. Jeffrey Archer. RM9.90! O_O This was actually among the left-overs from the stock clearance sale I mentioned above (de Bono) and they are all piled up in our student book store. I had to practically dig up the lot to find this. I didn't let go.


Bought today from the same place as the one bought yesterday. Two titles again. RM12.90. I'm not too thrilled with the cover, but with that price, who am I to complain? I mean, two titles! (two titles is equivalent to two books)


Note: still is plastic cover. I know nothing about the book or the author, but I did browse through another copy of it and it seemed interesting enough. A combination of psychology and music therapy. They call it psychomusicology. I thought of my father's words when I decided to buy this: "you can make mistake at that price." So I went ahead and bought this too. RM9.90.


How can a book junkie not be happy when she has FOUR Jeffrey Archer titles for the price of RM22.80? Or an Edward de Bono for less than five ringgit? Who can believe that? I now have too little spare time that I might not be able to progress very rapidly, but it doesn't matter. Perhaps I'll share my thoughs on the books that I have not read yet one day.

Yeah I love good book bargains.
Thank you for reading. Feel free to leave comments.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Dawn of a new era

Hooray. Back to lectures and tutorials, so-cramped-you-can't-breathe bus rides, back-cracking stairs climbing, seemingly endless waiting for the lifts, sleep deprivation and apam gula hangus. Can you feel it? My bursting enthusiasm. Yippee.

I finally have the time to write. No I wasn't really busy, I was just preoccupied with some other matters of grave concern - those that are crucial for surviving the soul-wrenching days in UiTM Shah Alam - namely downloading videos, songs and music scores. Oh and trying to complete assignments on time. Two of my regular readers (actually, my only regular readers) asked me why I didn't update the blog anymore. So, in honour of those two, I've decided to put this here. Sorry ye for not updating this last week like I said. I thought I would post it on Sunday, but as I was about to post it, some pictures came up that I think should be here. Editing the pictures took longer than expected, so technically I posted this on Monday.

Please be warned that the following entry is extremely long. Made for my own recollection. Feel free to grab some snacks while reading (not during fasting time!). And if your CRG or MAF or PSA or whatever assignment is not completed yet, please do that first ;-)


Now then. To the topic. I got a scholarship. A really good one from PIDM. If you're Ayah, you can skip this entry since there will be nothing that you don't already know.

So... yeah. My dad discovered the advertisement for the scholarship in The Star and he insisted that I apply. We desperately need some kind of funding for me to go into degree (what with the apartment rental and transportation costs) but I didn't think of anything beyond JPA (I thought JPA is fairly easy to get). After reading the advertisement and going through their website, I too was salivating for this particular scholarship.

You see, the scholarship would only be awarded to five people only. FIVE. Each recipient (or scholar, as we like to say it) will not only receive the funds (fees paid up to RM10,000 per year, RM4,000 per year for stationeries, allowance of RM500 per month), but also a paid 6-month internship programme in PIDM (optional) and an assigned mentor. On top of that, there shall be no bond between the two parties whatsoever. Oh and did I mention that it would be given to only five people?

Anyhow, my dad and I worked hard just to complete the application. I fulfilled the 1000-word essay requirement (which was fun to do, and I personally think is quite good) and my dad drove us around Shah Alam to help me with all the other requirements. We almost failed to get the 'offer letter from university', no thanks to some really unhelpful staffs (we are, however really thankful to one particular lady named Wan) .

We went to PIDM's office at 1 Central to send the application (we can send it by post, but my dad said why not give it by hand) and I felt that we must have looked so out of place among the white collar workers with their corporate garb; Ayah with his Terengganu Batik shirt, me and my fluorescent pink T-shirt. The trip only managed to diminish our already small hope of getting it, though I'm not really sure why. I just remember feeling so small.

And so we waited. The waiting part was horrible. Because only the shortlisted applicants are notified, I was constantly wondering whether they haven't yet decided or I am rejected. Thank goodness they were willing to schedule my interview so that it will not fall on my exam days. I was more than happy when I found out that they picked only 10 students for the interview. 1:2, that's a high probability.

[skipping the part where I made myself late for the interview]

Before the interview, we had to do this online assessment that can supposedly identify our personal traits and qualities. I don't know how it works, but the interviewer said she love the system. One of the main reason we had to do the test is to check whether we are taking the right course based on our traits. I'm definitely on the right track because my score for analytical-something-or-other was high. I was also consistent 98% of the time, and my self-improvement score was high as well. But then the test revealed that my self-esteem is low. Hmm... I guess I have to work on that (how? I have not the least idea).

There's not much to talk about the interview itself, mainly because I talked very little. The interviewer, Head of Human Capital Division Siti Zubaidah did most of the talking, explaining about the objectives of the programme, what they are looking for in the applicants, what would the scholars receive and also about my test result. She was impressed with my academic result (at least I think so), considering my less-than-privileged background. She gave me some encouragement, saying that even if I am not accepted into the programme, I should strive for this and that, and continue this and that, and don't forget this and that, and such motivational words (I don't know how to write that without sounding cheesy). After the interview, my dad and I wanted that particular scholarship even more.

Again we waited. My dad was particularly anxious because the call came later than said (Siti Zubaidah said they would call even if I am not accepted). Everyday he would ask me, "Where's your phone? Depa ada call?" It was exasperating, but who can blame him? I too was growing restless.

It came at last. On the surface I was quite calm, saying "I'm accepted? Oh ok" in a "I got Dean's List? Ok" tone. The high-pitch squeal, jumping up and down and triumphant "YES!" came later, of course.

kyu


And so I have to attend the induction program, held in [drum roll]....... Hilton KL! Yeah! A five-star hotel! Only five of us! Only then that I realized that I am now a top five! Oh I'm so proud of myself (do forgive me, it's not everyday that one gets to be in the top 5 of anything that good).

The first day can only be described as refreshing (though I've used the word magical a few times in my narrative to other people). I met the other scholars for the first time. There were Vicky and Max from UTAR doing Actuarial Science, JJ from MMU taking Law, and Firdaus from UniTAR taking IT. I am the only female! Yay! (I felt so cheery then because I was wearing pink and everyone else was wearing monochrome). We got along really well, and I got a feeling that we could all be friends, given time (or maybe that will just remain a wishful thinking).

JJ, Firdaus, yours truly, Max, Vicky
Though the pic is not that good, it's the best that my photo editing skill can achieve.


The induction was held on level 7 of the hotel, and the whole floor was so wonderful! My dad remarked that we (the scholars) are already being exposed to luxury. Oh if only I took some pictures... (I was too flustered to do that). My Google search didn't come up with a picture either. I can't describe it very well :-( The following picture is from JJ's handphone. It's the lounge where we had our tea and breakfast while watching Animal Planet. A pity JJ didn't take many pictures.


The best part about Level 7 is the washroom (no picture of that unfortunately). The door (to the washroom, not the toilet) is automated, and so are the taps. And guess what? So are the toilets! That was my first encounter with a bidet, and I'm not sure if I like it very much. But I do like the heated toilet seats though.

Okay. Enough about toilets. Lets talk about food (from toilets to food? I'm such a bad writer). We got four meals throughout the day, and they are all (flashy word coming) exquisite. It is, after all, a five-star hotel. I love lunch time the most, because that was when we get to eat at the main dining hall rather than at the floor's cafe. There are so many sections of food (at least to me) that one simply can't try everything. I had vegetarian fried rice with roasted duck and 4 servings of desserts ^_^ Highlight of the meal (besides ice-cream) was Vicky's reaction when he found out that the pink, yummy-looking pickled ginger from the sushi bar actually tastes like ginger! LOL.

The green, leaf-shaped thing is wasabi, the orangey pink stuff is the pickled ginger.


Other than mingling around, eating and going to the washroom, what else did we do? Aha. Here comes the main event. We were given talks from various departments' representatives on how PIDM actually works. Very informative, but I think there were too much input to be absorbed in one day. Nonetheless, at the end of the day we knew more or less what is PIDM (a semi-government body) and what does it do (protecting depositors money in the unlikely event of a bank failure).

We also had to sign the contract. It basically states that we are to maintain a certain level of CGPA and not violate any university rules. And that we could not get married or pregnant during the course of our studies. When my dad read the contract, he said, "You cannot get married you know. Are you ok with that?" LOL. Why would I want to get married in the next 2.5 years?

kyu



My mentor, who is the CFO of PIDM then brought me for a tour to meet the rest of the finance team. Not a big team really, and each person reminds me of an accountant (or aspiring accountant) that I know. I guess all accountants are made from the same mould.

[skipping the part where the Ladies Coach of the KTM was waaaay too full]

Whew. End of day one.

Hmm... Day two. Day for parents.

Nothing visibly exciting happened. Some BOD came, along with the CEO, J.P. Sobourin. Congratulations were in order (in fact, we received congratulations throughout the day) and we chatted with PIDM's top management team =D No it was not a specified 'chatting session', we just talked leisurely while taking pictures, eating, etc.

Listening to the chairman congratulating us for being chosen. [Note to self: must find a way to change your neutral expression. You're starting to look like Ayah. And you don't even have hypertension as an excuse.]


I like the chatting part. It was very informal, almost casual. The staffs are very laidback from my observation. I don't mean because we're students, but they really are like that among themselves. Their corporate culture is like that. Even the CEO wants people to call him JP instead of Mr. Sabourin or sir.

And that's the end of day two. Though I didn't have four servings of desserts and I didn't visit the automated toilet again, I enjoyed the whole experience as I get to meet and talk with the people there. I felt invigorated (macam iklan sabun mandi pulak). This is the cool crowd. I'm not sure how to express this, but it felt just like when I was in the National Service. You know, when by chance you got to be in the same group with some amazing people you didn't know exist. Then you long to be with that group again, because even if other people don't see them as cool, you think these people are great. And that reminds me, it has been quite a while since I talk (I mean really talk) to non-Malays. It was refreshing.

CONGRATULATIONS for making it this far! I really can write more, but then even I tak larat nak baca. Ayah, I told you not to read. Am I not right in saying that there is nothing that you don't already know?

Well, whoever you are, thank you thank you thank you for reading! You know I love ya!

kyu

By the way, sorry for the heavy use of Kyuhyun .gif images. Really can't help it =P Hope they don't cause your computer too much trouble though.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Still here

I'm still alive! But barely. Today I miraculously have some free time, which I don't plan to spend by whining. Or criticizing.
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So now there's nothing left to write about.

Then I won't write. I'm just posting some videos. Beware: it's another wave of the fever~ (not the World Cup fever)

Video 1: Redsoul does AMAZING acapella. This particular video (my fav) is an acapella mash-up of two popular songs by 2PM. You don't have to know the two songs to be amazed though. Oh and this is best listened to with headphones (or a good speaker) so that you could hear the bass clearly. The leftmost person does the bass part. He's brilliant!

This group sings in English as well. I must say that their english (pronunciation-wise) is really good (at least compared to most Korean artists).

Oh I'm such a fan. They released an album earlier this year, and though it's not an acapella album, they still sound amazing. They are not very famous now, and I hope their popularity will rise soon. They are so underrated.

Video 2: Super Junior! This is a delayed response, but they're back! If you haven't yet watched Bonamana, where have you been??

Their new album is great! Love the ballads.

This is one of my favourite live performance. Kyuhyun looks good! (in case you don't know them, he's the first person to sing) Everyone else looks good too.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I need a break!

Don't we all?

Housemate: Banyak lagi keje?
Me: Sikiiiiit je lagi.
[an hour later]
Me: Yes! Dah habis keje! Boleh tido!
Housemate: Wah... Awal ye hari ni.

It was already 12:30 AM.


You know you're busy when 12:30 AM is considered as early. You know everyone else is busy when classmates ask you to email them your assignment at 3:00 AM (and all of you are still awake by then!). And you know you're all in a bad spot when people stop commenting on each other's dark circles or zombie-like state.

Is this normal? Surely this situation can be avoided in the first place. No? Since all of the particular assignments that caused the aforementioned sleep deprivation are group assignments, I can't help thinking that other people are to a certain degree responsible for this issue. And why is that so? Because I personally never experienced this situation before.

Now, can I actually do that? Putting the blame on other people?

Nah, even with all my negative impressions on group work, I know that this is nobody's fault. I'm sure everyone else would want to have more rest too if they can help it. But we can't help it. All (well, almost all) submissions of paperwork and presentations fall around the same time, due to some mysterious alignment of the stars. Or maybe because it's the last two weeks of the semester *shrugs*. Either way, those two weeks were absolutely intense. Really.

Considering the nature of students that dictates us to do practically everything last minute, we (my teams at least) started working on our tasks quite early, but still we had to face the exact situation that we were trying to avoid. I remember the nights when we had to put so much effort just to stay awake. And the expressions when we finally wrap things up... I don't remember feeling more grateful for 3 to 4 hours of sleep.

It's unbelievable, the things we went through. And I haven't even started on the drama yet! We have enough drama to fill an entire series! Oh we females are so dynamic. I shall not disclose those things here, just in case I decide to publish a book called Handling Bedlam.

Now that this phase had (finally) gone by, we certainly can take it easy for a while, can't we?

Unfortunately no. We are now in the initial period of our examination week, and we have 2 (two I tell you!) papers on Thursday (at the time of posting, that's tomorrow!). And they are both 100% reading subjects. So you see, we have to study - or more appropriately, memorize - for the papers when we haven't yet recovered from the fatigue of the last two weeks. How tormenting!

Personally, I find it hard to fall back on my previous ten-to-five sleeping pattern. It's now ten-to-six thirty. My body is craving for more rest. I'm sure everyone else is facing with the same situation, only they have more willpower than I do.


*sigh* I'm a whiner, I know. I'm sorry that this post sounds incoherent at times. That's what happen when one doesn't get enough sleep.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

g-r-o-u-p-w-o-r-k

It spells disaster.



Flaring anger, growing contempt and straining friendships. These are what you have to deal with working in groups.

We have so many group assignments this semester that we often get our own teams mixed up (despite most of us usually stick with the same cycle of classmates). After a series of back-to-back group assignments, I've come to the conclusion that this way of learning is the hardest and the most testing.

First of all, let me give you an advice: unless you don't really care about each other, avoid forming groups with friends. From my observation (and experience), working with friends can be so much harder than working with complete strangers. Don't be fooled into thinking that you can work better with people you like. Honestly, you might not like them very much after a stint together.

The reason for this is simple: friends get offended more easily. This situation is worse for girls, especially the ones that tend to take everything personally. Girls are sensitive creatures, aren't they? And quite a diverse species too. A single comment can elicit very different reactions from them. Consider this exchange:

#1: [to #2 and #3] This is not done correctly. You should include the [bla bla bla] and not just the answers.

#2: Oh I'm sorry. I really didn't know. Can I correct that now? [tries to rectify the mistake]

#3: What do you mean it's wrong?? You are the one who gave the answers! I copied that exactly from your book. Besides, there are too many to be adjusted, it's too late. Biar lah. [storms off]

Sounds familiar? This kind of situation is very common in any group. Some people just don't care. The painful thing about them is that they will bring the entire team down with their 'I'm not doing that' attitude. And so the burden lies with the people who do care. There will always be at least one person in a group that has to finish up the slackers' incomplete work, and you can't expect those unfortunate souls to be graceful about it. And to think that their effort will benefit the very people ruining the group...

Conflicting opinions on how things should be done is inevitable, and it can lead to some very disastrous disputes. Everyone reckons theirs is the best, but not all can have their way. The more frank ones have no trouble airing their disagreement and are generally open to explanatory arguments, while the rest either quietly accept the situation, or don't, but never say a word and become resentful for the rest of the days. This pent-up contempt is dangerous, filling a person with poisonous thoughts, threatening to explode any minute by a simple trigger.

Oh yes, group work is hard work. Especially with friends (or worse, housemates!). Compatibility - or if there is none, tolerance - is crucial in ensuring the success of a group (or at least in making sure the members don't kill each other). It's astonishing what a few team members can do to the group (not to mention your sanity), so choose them wisely. If you don't have that privilege, or you get chosen instead, be strong.

Someone once said "don't be a lone ranger, especially in studying". I agree with that, and I admit I learnt a lot through these group assignments: how to repeat the same explanation for the 20th time with minimum hint of annoyance, how to ask someone to get back to work without saying "shut the darn game off!", how not to glare at people when asked "are you upset?", how to deal with flying accusations when something goes wrong, how to forgive and forget (forgiving is easy, forgetting is not), and a bunch of other life skills.

Love it or hate it, group work is an integral part in the existence of students. Looks like we just have to live with it.

Well, enough ramblings. I have to bark at people now.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

AM? PM?

Do you stay up late into the night to finish your work (or to study)? Can you work effectively until 1 a.m.? Do you find yourself dreading morning classes or have to drag yourself out of bed in the morning? Then you are what I call a night person.

Most students are night people. If you observe any of the 24-hour fast food restaurants near any university campus during the exam period, I'm sure you'll find it packed with students and their textbooks from 9 p.m. to as late as 2 a.m.. In my case, personal observation of housemates' schedule is enough to tell me that most (if not all) of them rather sleep at 1 a.m. than wake up at five.



I'm the kind of person who gets drowsy by 11 p.m. and can't really function beyond 12. But I have no trouble waking up at 5 or earlier and I'm at my best in the morning.

What kind [of Pokemon] are you?

I'm currently preparing for 3 very important tests which will be during the weekend. I noticed that all my friends love burning the midnight oil so I came up with a list of pros and cons of being a morning person to justify my preference (I said preference because this, like your sleeping pattern, can be changed). Now this applies not only in studying and completing assignments, but for some casual past times too (reading especially). However, my view is only based on life as a student sharing a house with other students.

PROS

You are alone. The main appeal of doing work/studying in the morning (and I mean very early in the morning) is the lack of people doing it. I found many advantages of working alone.

  • You won't be bothered by other people. If you are easily distracted or easily irritated like me, you might want to avoid the peak hours. Then you will not feel the stress of the next person pressing on you (we have enough pressure without the added weight, thank you very much). Besides that, you will not be disturbed by inconsiderate actions (singing loudly, listening to music/watching movies/playing computer games without headphones on, chattering, etc.) of others.

  • Other people will not be bothered by you. Of course, you and I might have irritating habits that annoy others as well. But in the early hours of the morning when you are alone, you have less to worry about. No more "will they be bothered if I..." questions. As long as you don't wake people up, you'll be fine. Go and pace around the house as you like.

  • Silence. As what I've mentioned before, nobody is there to sing "so longgg, and good niiiight".

  • Privacy. Everyone respects each others privacy, but sometimes owners of wandering eyes tend to drop in wanting to know what are you watching/listening. They tend to linger around too.

You work after a night's sleep. I can still solve equations after midnight, but it might take me twice as much time than when I do it in the morning. The same goes for reading/memorizing texts. Working/studying in the morning is definitely more efficient in my opinion, since your body (more importantly your brain) is rested after a hard day's work.


Eat away! I think it's quite normal to feel hungry when you're studying. But it is not advisable to eat so much at night since you'll go straight to bed afterwards. In the morning however, you can eat as much as you want and consider it breakfast! Breakfast can be large. (Lame excuse, I know. But true nonetheless)

CONS

You are alone. That's a disadvantage too. You have no one to refer to should you are unclear about anything. You can't even call anyone.

You might have trouble sleeping early. Since you will sleep at a time no one else want to sleep yet (10 or 10.30 in my case), there is a high possibility that your house is still buzzing with activities when you go to bed. Your housemates' exuberance can produce quite a noise (imagine people arguing in high voices, someone playing GTA, someone singing "so longgg, and good niiiight", and someone reciting "CCC is ICP plus RCP minus PDP", all at the same time). You don't want to dampen your their enthusiasm with "oi senyap lah!". What do you do? Put on your headphones and bersabar je la..

You might wake up late. There goes your study time.. If something goes wrong with your alarm and you don't wake up, that moment will just fly by. No worries about dysfunctional alarm clock if you want to study at night.

Wrong estimation can be costly. Imagine this. You have an incomplete assignment due tomorrow. You expect it can be completed within an hour, so you wake up an hour earlier than usual the next day to finish it in the morning. Turns out it takes more than one hour. Now your morning routine will be disturbed in order to finish that assignment. Kan dah susah..



So there you go. Are you a morning person or a night person? I'm the former and loving the fact. But there was this one time when I didn't sleep at all the whole night because of these particularly dreadful take-home tests (which made me got a B+), but that's another story altogether. I might turn into a night person in the future, but currently am content with waking up at five.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Hwaiting!

Gaah! I'm really bad in sorting out my priorities. Piles of work with looming deadlines should see me working my butt off and trembling with anxiety. But still, here I am, engrossed in the wonderful world of Youtube and Google (which I think are two of the greatest inventions of the internet).

It's been a while. I don't actually have any 'random thoughts' to write about. But after some heavy doses of my dad's "Why don't you write anymore?", I guess I could put this entry here. Besides, I got bored of writing about fiduciary duty in a partnership.

I previously wrote something about not liking the latest hits and all that, and I still stand by that. But now I have a new fascination (some might call it obsession) towards this super amazing Korean group. That's right, I just caught the K-Pop fever. Before proceeding, feel free to listen to this very soothing song.



The K-Pop fever has been raging throughout Asia and I believe everywhere else too. The market is largely filled with boybands and girlbands, usually with quite a lot of members. This kind of groups are more successful than most solo artists in breaking through geographically different markets, even the States and Europe.

Physical appeal and good marketing generally determine the continuous success of the groups, while talent takes the third place. From my observation, a lot of groups digitally enhance their voices in their recordings, and most sound terrible live (which is why most live performances are actually lip-sync). Yup, some of them can't really sing that well. The girls especially thrive on catchy/cute tunes with cute dance routine.

However, there are a few bunch of genuinely talented groups out there. One exceptionally amazing boyband is DBSK. But that's not the one I fell for. My favourite Korean group is... [drum roll]

SUPER JUNIOR!


WARNING – fangirl mode: ON

Equipped with large collections of K-Pop videos and songs, my housemates introduced me to this awesome group (and other Korean acts) not so long ago. I liked their very popular song, Sorry Sorry immediately, though I don't usually enjoy songs with repetitive tune/lyrics. My housemates fed me with enough of SJ's videos and songs to make me curious about the group. A few Youtube and Google searches later, I became a huge fan.

Super Junior (aka SuJu) is literally the largest boyband in the planet with 13 members (is it a bad sign that I know all of their names?). The songs are mostly typical pop songs; either with addictive tune that makes you want to dance the choreography too, or great to sing-along to. Of course, with that many members, everyone get to sing, like, 2 lines only. But I was surprised that I can put the names to different voices in the songs, showing the distinctive styles of the members.

There are 4 non-exclusive subgroups within the main group targeted to please different audience. My personal favourite is Super Junior M (SJM) which focuses on the Chinese audience. Their songs are very much similar to the main SJ, but in Mandarin. Two Chinese members are added to the particular unit (with 5 members from SJ), which sparked a big controversy and great debate. The controversy is not because of their nationality (they have a Chinese member in the original group) but because the fans don't want any new members to enter. Some fans (or so they claimed themselves to be) keep putting up banners and chanting "13 only" when they perform. Yeah I think that's ridiculous as well (not to mention very rude). It's not like the old members will be kicked out or anything. I mean, the more the merrier isn't it? And they are both super talented.



ZhouMi (left) wrote some of their songs and is one of what they call the 'power vocals' in the group. Besides singing and dancing, Henry (right) plays the violin and piano. He already received several awards and prizes for his dancing (he learns ballet and hip-hop), piano and violin playing. And he's totally adorable (that's my fangirl side talking). How could anyone hate him? With him in SJM, a lot of their songs feature his violin solos. This next video is one of their popular ones, U. Note Henry's violin part at 2:33.




One surprising fact (at least to me) is that Super Junior produces great ballads as well. But most are from the subgroup Super Junior K.R.Y. (another personal fav) which stands for Kyuhyun, Ryeowook and Yesung. The song in the first video is sung by my favourite SJ member, Kyuhyun (he's the one in the middle). K.R.Y. consists of the best singers in the group, aimed to attract more mature audience. They don't normally sing jazz though.

Super Junior is currently having a bit of a situation due to a lawsuit made by one of the members against their record label regarding unfairness in his contract. If that person wins, he could immediately withdraw from the contract, i.e. out from SJ. All the fans (me included) are fervently hoping the two parties will be able to compromise and SJ would not lose a member. They will not disband regardless of the outcome, but still, it will never be the same.

So I guess that's all I can say about the super amazing Super Junior (quite a lengthy one isn't it?). I can write more, but I need to find out what the heck is joint tenancy. Though I might sound a little too interested with this group, it is nothing compared to what most people go through in the name of SuJu love. I myself has turned into an ELF (Ever-lasting Friend, title for SJ's fans), and am glad for it. I intend to share the wonderful experience all around.

Super Junior hwaiting!

By the way, hwaiting is the usual term used to cheer someone. I didn't misspell.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Jeffrey Archer


Imagine this. You went back to college. Took the flight, therefore your luggage must be minimum. Brought one half-read book to read since the bag is already crammed with textbooks and underpants. To your surprise, the book is finished in four days. Your other books will only arrive on the weekend. Sounds like a crisis?

It was one to me. Fortunately my housemate had a book to lend - The Prodigal Daughter by Jeffrey Archer. Jeffrey Archer is one of those names alongside John Grisham and Sophie Kinsella (just to name a few) that keep popping out from the book store's shelves, but I never even consider buying. I steer clear of chick-lit (which explains Kinsella) and politics turn me off. The Prodigal Daughter is laden with issues of American politics and the system, which I'm embarrassed to admit still eludes my understanding (Democrats? Republicans? What's the difference? And what's a Senate?). Still, I must say it is one of the best books I've ever read. Truly. And because I like it so much, the same housemate then brought A Prisoner of Birth, also by Jeffrey Archer. Another one goes into my Best Books Ever Read list, even when I'm still reading. And I am now a huge Jeffrey Archer fan.

I don't consider myself a book critic. A self-profess book junkie is more accurate (though my archive is not very big). My english is hardly good enough for me to comment on the language, but I like the fact that reading those two particular books didn't require the assistance of the dictionary every five pages or so (like Jane Eyre).The plot moves at a fast enough pace, not too slow like Lord of the Rings (especially the Return of the King). The protagonist - be it the intelligent daughter who wants to be the President or the young father trying to clear his name from a crime he did not commit - has a certain draw that makes you cheer him/her on to win. However, the ultimate page-turning factor has got to be the twists and turns in the plot (and there are numerous). I find it hard to put the books down and I have to restrain myself from exclaiming "What??" or "Yes!" when I'm reading in class. I even almost did a celebratory dance when one of the court battles resulted in a victory for the good guys. My housemate warned me that the final courtroom battle will cause some involuntary shrieks and exclamations. I better not read that in class.

If you haven't yet read one of his books, go and buy one. Don't borrow, because you will want to read it again.

I'm now off to find out what Danny plans for Gerald Payne.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Hmm?? Oh...

That's pretty much the only thing that came from me while listening to my two classmates discussing about their applications to further their studies overseas. Those two remarks are just the simplified version of what I was really thinking at the time:

What??
IELTS? You already did that?
British Council? Where's that?
Credit transfer? What's that?
How did you people know these things??
I'm hopeless!!

I have the same desire to study in the UK. But I'm ignorant enough not to think that I might actually have to put so much effort (besides getting good results) just to qualify. What was I thinking? Did I really think that by just getting As (and a few B+) I will magically be flown off to some high-profile varsity in Britain? Did it never crossed my mind that I have to start preparing now? Now I'm really frustrated with myself.

And that's not all. Those researches and tests that they did (or are about to do) are just to apply for a place. Which means, funding is another process altogether. And my friend Miss A said you have to do some serious work to get a scholarship. Essays, tests, not to mention all sorts of other pre-requisites.

WHAT DO I DO??

I don't have any siblings studying abroad like my two friends there. And unlike them, I don't have enough financial resources to go anywhere should I not get a scholarship. I don't even know what kind of scholarships there are available for me, and how to apply.

Worst of all, I have no idea what I should do first. Should I do a research on the available varsities first? Or focus on getting the funding? If I do manage to find a sponsor, will it determine where I would go? Or do I have to be accepted from a university first, then only will they consider my application? Or is it the other way round? Do I have to get a sponsor before I can be accepted anywhere?

According to Miss A, some universities require the students to send in documents to prove that they can afford to pay the fees (which can be up to £11,000 per year) and I don't see how I could do that. But can I get a scholarship if I have not yet apply for any universities? The same questions remain.

I will now find some clue on what actually can I do to be one step (or even half step) closer to what I failed to get last time. This is the time to get even with some of my high school friends who got to go everywhere around the globe when I had to stay put (curse you, Sejarah). Of course I see the silver lining that is my friends here in the Malay community, but I would like to see other people and other places. But then again, don't we all?

All in all, I don't keep my hopes up too high. I'm afraid that I might no be able to face failure again.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Turning the leaf

I never made any new year's resolutions because I don't think they are effective. I mean, if you want to change something about yourself, or set a new goal or something, couldn't you start immediately and not wait for the new year?

Having said that, I do have some new missions (more like wishes) I recently made. Not because of the new year, mind you, but because of this new phase I've gone through. Besides, I'm entering my last semester.

In no particular order:
  • Get a scholarship for my degree program.
  • Get a better haircut.
  • Be better on the violin. Hopefully I'll be able to do the vibrato thingy finally (I thought it would be developed naturally over the years, but no such luck).
  • Get an electric violin (I don't care if it's in the near or distant future)
  • Study photography more intently.
  • Get a new digital camera. Or at least get the old one fixed.
  • Buy the Keane EP that's coming out in May =D
  • Be more helpful around the house.
  • Be less annoying (and that's harder than I thought).
  • Be more organized.