Us

I love my family so, so much.

Knowing that they’re hurting makes me so sad.

Right now, it feels like each of us are fighting our own battles, some much bigger than others, all of them emotionally draining.

But we’re here. We’re surviving.

I love them so much, and I want us to find happiness.

Till what’s next, Four

Today, I graduated from college.

I went to the stage as a college student, with my mortarboard tassel hanging down the right side, and I walked off stage as a college graduate, tassel on the left, a Bachelor’s of Arts diploma in hand.

I graduated with honors! With a Sociology major and a Global Development Studies concentration.

My brother and sister came all the way from Malaysia to watch me graduate. My parents stayed up really late to stream the commencement ceremony live and watch me walk the stage to get my diploma.

I couldn’t have gotten this far without some very, very important people.

My parents. My mom and dad, who were willing to pay for my four years at an expensive liberal arts college. A liberal arts college! Do you know how incredibly supportive typical Asian parents like mine have to be, to be willing to pay that much for a degree from a liberal arts school? A degree in sociology, no less?

One time, in college, I screwed up in a really, really big (non-academic way), and my parents never reprimanded me. All they wanted to know, all that seemed to matter to them, was that I was all right, and that I wasn’t too stressed about it. I can’t describe the gratefulness I felt to them then.

My friends. My friends were the biggest source of motivation for me when Grinnell became too tough, too stressful, too overwhelming–which was so, so often. They, who ta-pau-ed food from the restaurant in town when I was still stuck in my room, too stressed about finishing my final paper to go get dinner. They, who stayed up till 4 a.m., listening to me talk about my worries, my insecurities. They, who wrote me “Be happy!” cards when I was feeling down.

And also, they, who made sure we each get home safe after a night out drinking. They, who listened to my drunken, emotional outbursts, then teased me about it the next morning. They, who danced with me, laughed with me, cried with me.

I couldn’t have gotten this far without the support and love from these people. Going through college (and graduating) is definitely not a solo effort.

Grinnell College class of 2012!

[2012], I will miss ya like crayzay.

Till what’s next, One

It’s just past dinnertime, I just got back from the dining hall, am stuffed.

Here I am, sitting on my bed, mindlessly surfing the net, listening to two of my friends talking about skirts in the next room. And suddenly it hit me, this will never happen again.

Three more days of school, and this routine of going back to my apartment after classes, chilling on my bed with my computer, loudly complaining about schoolwork to my friends in different rooms within the apartment, all these will end, forever.

I don’t know how my life will be when we all leave Grinnell. They are the only people in the world who understand me this well now.

 

010108

Very late liao, but nevermind – Happy new year!

Err I almost chose to forgo new year celebrations. Which is the most stupid thing to do, multiplied by 10.

It was so wonderful, that night.

We were at a somewhat non-strategic place when the clock struck 12, so that we didn’t even realize it was 12 until the fireworks went off and people started screaming.

(Dunno who, went, “No la! Not yet 12! See my watch!” and poked at her watch. Who again ah? In denial sial.)

I was a taaad disappointed we didn’t get to countdown (for we had noisemakers and glowsticks and poppers and all that jazz, given to us free by the restaurant we ate in).

So that very moment 2007 became 2008, the bunch of us were sitting on the pavement, marah-ing The Ling for wasting one of the poppers. (Those were weird poppers that don’t work anyway. They failed on me also, those take-guna things.)

So I had on this “Aiyoh” sort of look on me, then The Ling went, “Nevermind what. At least we had each other when it happened.”

Which is so, so true!

So. Much later in the night, right, Fui sent me this text message, cheering our 6 years of friendship.

Imagine! Since form 1 eh. Somehow I’m no longer worried about us going to US/Singapore/Aussie next year because I know know know what I can count on is that these people will never leave me behind. We’d still be as tight as ever!

I went to this Chinese wedding dinner last night, and there were these two Ah-Poh, trying to relive their younger years I think, they started singing with the mic on stage. And they danced.

They sang very horribly, they danced like drunken monkeys, and no one at my table was paying them much notice, except for myself.

‘Cause they remind me so much of us! Especially during our er, karaoke sessions.

I remember there was one time, we turned off the lights so it was almost completely dark save for the glow from the TV screen, and started singing to ‘Nsync’s Bye Bye Bye, and trying to dance like ‘Nsync what the heck!

Then everybody got really high and crowded in front of the TV. There were a bunch of us, but only 2 microphone, and I was sharing one of the mics with somebody.

But like I said, too high, right? So people started getting really possessive of the microphones, ’cause everyone wanted to scream into them, until one girl had her mic snatched away from her, and in a fit of rage (or she just too blur la, I dunno which) she went ahead and pulled the microphone’s jack out from the TV.

Damn funny, man.

After the song was over and the lights were turned on, the girl who did the snatching of mic went, “Eh? Mic come out already? No wonder no sound la!”

She said she realized she couldn’t hear herself sing.

Who is who, your guess!

I don’t really know what I’m talking about I’m just typing as I go pardon me.

* * * * *

In all geng-chao-ness, I stayed up all night, just to finish off my applications.

Emphasis on all night.

As in come back from wedding dinner, bathe, go straight to work till 12 noon the next day.
(12 noon because the absolute deadline is 12.59 pm our time, i.e. 11.59 pm US eastern time. I am such a last-minute person!)

Can you believe ah?

This basically comes from unchecked procrastination, and from wanting to go ahead and enjoy myself even though I know perfectly well my app essays are not done yet.

And also from applying to 11 colleges. (Not kiasu. Quite on the contrary. Too insecure to apply to less.)

Made it in time for Jan 1 deadline, now there are colleges with more essays with Jan 15 deadline die die die I haaaate.

I don’t care la. I’m applying to Singapore Unis. Applying to US is too cumbersome, might not get accepted somemore, what’s the point.

Did you know for National University Singapore, you just fill in an online form (simple form, no CommonApp shit) and send in copies of school transcripts (no counselor rec, teachers rec, school reports what shit what shit)?

Hoo.

After-effects of serious lack of sleep. Pardon me.

My biological clock is as screwed as a cork in a wine bottle. For the past month I’ve been sleeping at 5, 6, 7 am.

I cannot help it – it’s the only time I get a little peace and quiet at home.

Most other times you just get a Mother nagging, a Father watching Astro with the volume turned up too high, plus a Sister watching NTV7/8TV while talking to the (characters in the) television.

Damn noisy la my house.

I absolutely love how quiet it is when everyone’s asleep.

Screwed up sleeping pattern doesn’t bother me though, I don’t have school to attend.

I repeat, NO SCHOOOOOL!

So while everyone is preparing for college/exams right now, all I do is go “no school no school” and give an annoying smirk. Oh and write @#$% essays, of course.

Looking back.

I just bought Underclass Hero!

So that’s another RM46.50 gone. And just when I’ve managed to save a bit of money.

I was told that you could get the Malaysian edition of it for RM29.90.

But the way I see it, what’s the point?

I mean, the best thing about buying/getting a new album is being able to flip through the booklet while you play the CD for the first time.

It’s all very exciting.

(It’s somewhat like having the very first bite off a solid chunk of chocolate. Nothing tastes better!)

Anyway, that’s not the point.

While I was paying for the CD, my mom very loudly went, “I thought you don’t like them anymore? You said you duwanna buy their CD…..”

I then had to explain it was Linkin Park’s CD I didn’t like.

(Every time I get a new CD, she’d ask what band it was, and I’d say the name, and she’d go, “Never hear before wan?”. But that’s only ’cause all she knows is Linkin Park and SUM 41.)

I told her the only reason I hadn’t gotten any SUM 41 albums lately was because they hadn’t released any albums, up until now.

Which brings me to the point of this post.

How time flies.

I mean, the last time SUM 41 had their album out, I was in Form 3.

Form 3!

I would be going through the PMR Geography paper (which I thought was waaaaay hard), and I’d be staring at questions I didn’t know the answer to, but my mind was doing its own countdown till the day the album would be out.

It was something like October 12th or 15th.

It could be that PMR was over on the 12th, and the album release was on the 15th.
Something like that.

See? I remember.

(I don’t remember where you can find petroleum in Malaysia, or where lada hitam is planted, but I remember Chuck‘s release date.)

Oh, I digressed.

Lu had a recent post on her blog, and she was talking about the night all of us were in Morib.

It’s very contradictory, actually.

If you think about the things we’ve done,
like lying under the stars, singing songs, talking about everything and nothing in particular,
or like waltzing the night away to a rock song on a special friend’s birthday,
like going completely crazy in our hotel rooms during trips year after year,
or going ang pao hunting and being followed by an Indian man (either that, or we were just being paranoid)….
feels like they happened just last year.

But if you think about the amazing time we’ve had,
the friendship that grew and was nurtured into something extra-ly special,
the utter confidence (without the least bit of doubt) that these people will be there if ever you should falter ,
the comfort we have in each other’s company,
the silence we have learnt to revel in (and sometimes, the silence proves more meaningful than words could be)…
and you think, ‘What? It’s only been 4.5 years?!

It seemed so much longer.

Like I said, contradictory.

It takes you a moment to realize that we’ve all grown up now.

Back then, college seemed like a very very distant future. It’d take forever until we graduate from high school.

But “forever” has come and gone, all in the span of four years.

We’re no longer the bunch of kids who talked so much, Pn. Ng Hui Gek had to put each of us in different corners of the classroom.

No longer are we the bunch of kids who would lock ourselves in the store room during free periods, so we could dance and play air guitars and do bad boyband imitations.

We’re no longer the bunch that buys coloured paper, asks for cardboard from the canteen uncle, then goes and create a group diary detailing the little “encounters” we had with our crushes (we were so young then!)

The little feuds we had seemed so naive and insignificant now.

Till now, Fui and I still occasionally talk about that time when she had a birthday party, but didn’t invite me, and I thought she was mad at me.

In fact, she didn’t invite me only because she thought I was mad at her.

Form 1 kids, sigh. -Shakes head-

It makes me very proud to think of where we are now.

The celebration three years ago, after getting our PMR results, going to the CHS / Kasturi award ceremony.

The celebration few months ago, after getting our SPM results, going to the CHS / Kasturi award ceremony. Though in my case, only a half-celebration =(

SPM was like THE GOAL we were working towards, the only thing we were gearing up for the whole time we were at high school.

So getting good results, was like finally getting there.

(Though if you think about it, if it was all like the working world, and SPM results were our careers, then if we all got together later, I’d be like the housewife burdened with kids and bills, while the others are CEOs and Chief-of-Surgery’s and rich investment bankers.)

Okay, bad and confusing analogy. Forget that.

Now one is a JPA scholar, on the way to become a dentist (and back then I thought JPA scholars we not human, like they’re a whole step above us normal people),
one is a future psychologist in the making,
another is in Taiwan, also a future dentist……

Back then, three things scared me the most (and I mean the ‘scared’ that makes you have nightmares).

One, growing up.

Two, family members ‘leaving’.

Three, the bunch of us being strangers one day.

Number three worried me a lot.

But we’re all grown up now.

We no longer have 3-hour phone conversations going on into midnight.

We don’t sit around and giggle about things like crushes, like we did when we were 13.

And once we move on to universities in some country or other next year, I wouldn’t be recieving SMS-es going, “Eh, wanna go watch movie?”.

Or if I were feeling weird slash sad, I wouldn’t be able to call someone and have her say, “I’ll be over in 10 minutes”, and the next thing you know, she’d standing outside of your porch, ready to hear whatever gripe you have.

Which scares me a lot.

‘Cause I wonder if I’d ever find a bunch like them again.

There was once when I was deeeep in the pits for a brief period, I was very unmotivated and had a lot of “What’s the point?” kind of questions, and I looked in my mail box one day and found a handmade card inside.

A smiley-faced handmade card.

And there was a poem.

If you ever feel that you can’t go on
When your life just becomes too hard
And the dreams you thought were within your reach
Suddenly seem so far
When the world is on your case
And you don’t have a place to run
No matter what’s bothering you
WE will be by your side
WE will be the rock that you can lean on
WE will be your guide
Like a fairy tale
come true
Just reach for us
WE WILL rescue you

And when I got to the end, I was completely floored.

I felt like the luckiest person in the world then, and I wanted to slap myself for having thought otherwise.

If someone asked me how my adolescent years were, I’d answer with full conviction that it couldn’t have been better.

So much more than wonderful.

Thanks for everything, you guys.