Sunday, December 28, 2008

Ghosts, here?

Maybe I have always been watching Asian horror films, say Samara who is Japanese, the Phone/Call/Wig/*any object* from Korea, so it never occured to me that there could be ghosts in Australia.

Pretty stupid I KNOW.

But I realized this stupidity in me only a few days back while having pancake at Pancake Manor in Brisbane city. Which brings me to another realization - there seems to be a pancake 'spot' in every state! Pancake Parlour here, Pancake on the Rocks in Sydney. I shall explore Cairns etc soon in search of this interesting trait of Aussie.

Anyway, back to the main topic. My brother then told us that the toilet in that pancake place was supposed to be haunted. Haunted. HAUNTED.

My first reaction? Surprised.
The first image in my mind? A long-haired-and-nailed lady in a long-red-dress in a green-ish lighted toilet background, not forgetting freaky-creaking-screeching-noises here and there.

Obviously, this did not fit in the picture.

So the second image came - A doe-eyed Chinese doll in a red cheongsam-like outfit, staring forlornly at me, no YOU, with blood gushing out its eyes in a blood-red toilet background.

Obviously, this did not fit in as well.

After numerous attempts, effortless attempts I must say, the best I could come up with was -

A white haired-old man spirit standing under the bask of white light, with his back facing me.

. . . which is so not hardcore as compared to the previous ones! But of course, will still scare me silly and make my legs go jell-o, should I survive it.

That's it. That is why it never occured to me that Australia or any other western countries in general, can actually have ghosts!

While all countries have dark alleys that scare me, but the source of the fear is different. Say Malaysia will be of ghosts, pontianaks and rats, Australia will be of robbers, drunkards and rats. Why do all countries have rats anyway, curses.

And another conclusion from this will be - Western horror movie sucks!

Although all horror movies scare me but Western ones are less scary (I cover only 50% of my vision) or maybe, less believable. Why so? Cause of the lack of inspiration from real-life experiences! Hence, Western countries are ghostless. Imagine this, would you rather have the crawling-boneless creature from Ju-On or the bloody-scarred-all-over ghosts from 13 Ghosts chase you?

The answer is quite obvious for me - none of them. In fact, I think I would have died either of fear, failure to run or just having given up even before the chase.

But oh well, there isn't any ghosts here in Aussie (let me believe so) or at least there isn't any situations so far which suggests so. No midnight ghost stories sharing among friends, no weird Western horror movies. So I am happy.

********

I can't believe that is the first thing I blogged about after graduating as a Master student.
Very deep, no?

Nyahaha, anyway, I just blinked Graduation Day and Christmas and Boxing Day away:-( Whee,but I shall blog about them soon. The ghost topic was just too intense to be pushed further *phew*

Approaching is - my 22nd birthday.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Home from Xmas

Calling all Reindeers - Santarina is finally home from all the globe-trotting (All around Melbourne and Brisbane only muaha).
Home Sweat Home.
Home Sigh Home.
Home Shucks Home.
More relevations soon, Reindeers.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Reminder reminder!

18th December 2008, 4 pm.
Loretta's Graduation
at
Robert Blackwood Hall, Monash Clayton
Flowers, presents, PSP, PS3, cards, the dress at Forever New
*******
Those are the things I wanted to remind everyone of you of, in a short note kinda style. You can try making it into an acronym if it helps you to remember it better :-)
Anyway, been real busy since the FAMILY arrived (a day earlier than I thought!) and real tired after all thee walking around the city, checking if Mum is at the end of the line, teaching them about using Metcards and fulfilling their humongous appetite. Not forgetting crying a river when I was given my first "you-are-over-your-credit-limit". My money. . . (not technically my money la, but the money in my account. . . ).
But things are happy and I'll spread the happiness soon, IF it sustains (that means, no fight, no quarrels, no squabbles, no injuries [Lowena PK-ed within the first 5 minutes in the city wahahaha]).

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Of girlfriends and MY birthday

Through - thick and thin, fall-outs and making-up, bitchiness and harmony, sulking and celebrating, primary school to workmate, stuck-to-the-hips and miles apart - I must say that girlfriends are always there when you need them.

Although, the thought of a group of girls together always conjure an image of - excessiveness in: shopping (wasting money), gossiping (wasting time), sulking/pondering of each others' problems (wasting energy), pampering ownselves (wasting resources), etc (wasting something for sure) - to the general population (mere males), well - I am not gonna disagree with this stereotypical view but point is - so what? >:-)

It is just the way we bond in Venus, mere Martians.

I am not saying that guys do not know how to bond among themselves with all their football, beer, muscle building, dirty jokes, computer or video games, anime, . . . oops, why is it suddenly somewhat related to me?! My point is: We just have different ways of connecting and celebrating our lives and as long as one doesn't interfere with the other - peace!

Guys should always allow some space for their girlfriends to be with their 'girlfriends'.
Girls should always remember to appreciate their 'girlfriends' even when passion is riding high in their relationships.

As you grow older (when you ponder over whether it is age-appropriate for you to wear minis with cherry-patterns T.T), as you come across more heartbreaks/failures/confusions in life, you do come to realize how important girlfriends are as a support system. And you will learn to appreciate them as those who are here to stay in your life.

But like everything in this world, your girlfriends change as time goes by. Some you lose contact for months. Some suddenly announcing their marriage plans. Some in a profession you never even knew existed.

The common thing: The ability to click right on - despite the time apart.

I must say that girlfriends are strange things. Some you get close to only after not seeing each other for ages, while the days spent together were spent not talking to each other. Some you get attach yourself to right from the start. Some disappear and resurface from time to time with their "hello....?".

I met up with Glyniss yesterday for shopping at Chaddy and seriously, I have not had that much fun shopping in a looooonngg time :-) Actually me and her go way back. . . . to Primary 4. When she was known as 'Mm-Sek-Yu' (a.k.a Doesn't Eat Fist) and I was still the brassy pre-hermit-high-school period Me :-) But we kinda drifted apart during high school cause (damn it!) she was with the popular gang and I was in the hermit ga. . . wait, being a lone hermit isn't really considered being in a gang rite!? *ish*

But after coming over to Aussie and 'aging' (hoho), we both agreed that we do realize the importance of keeping friends and staying in touch.

In fact during primary school, I had a legion (haha, legion) of 5 bestest girlfriends (Glyniss not included! >:-D). Surely there were ups and downs and ultimately, I am just barely in touch with 4 of them and kinda lost touch with one of them.

There is Iris who I am still in touch with:-). There is Sharon whom I met again after high school at the driving school and we talked about being grilled both by the weather and the driving instructors and hence her addition to my MSN list! She is in Tassie rite now and believe me, a meeting is in plans (at least on my side kekeke!). Not forgetting us relenting on the horror of being 'stalked' :-D

There is Ling whom I always thought was damn cool for having a celeb name and Jing Lu the Sailorvenus. Both faraway - one in UK and one in KK. I am like in the middle? Forgive my Form 3 level geography. Both barely in touch :-( There is the one I used to call PJY, whom I would really very much like to meet again. Despite several chance meetings, I must say I did not utilize those 'chances' right. Being stuck here now makes me kinda regretful.

Then come high school - Chia, Tau, Ting, ShukYe, Miau. (Still no Glyniss >:-D) All in Facebook, barely in touch with 2, keeping in touch with 3. Not bad eh?

HighSchool-GFs: Kinda like the reunion that brought us back together with a blast!
High-School GFs: Steve and Po as well haha. See the vintage peace-signs? We were young!!!

Then come university - Amanda, PKN, Cheryl, Melcwf, ChewBee, Elaine, WanRu, Jean, Amy, WenJi, Oli, Shirley, SiewChin, Glyniss (surprise!), Jing (surprise!). Most of which I am still actively in touch with except the few (you know who you are!!) who have just entered a new relationship and have been missing since *ROAR*. The surpirse (!) entries? They are my high school friends but somehow, lately we have been talking a lot and about deep stuffs. So girlfriend-ish :-D

Uni-GFs: Not the most flattering picture but haha, so funnily greasy...those post-BBQ faces.


I must gear up to stay in touch with everyone.

Uni-GFs: Amy, Oli, WenJi, Me - aaaaaaaa, youth, don't go :-(

Actually, this mundane period of my life actually made me realize how important these people are in my life. I have been experiencing ups and downs, worrying about my TR application, employment and career path. And funnily most of the time, I end up complaining/fuming/venting out in front of them while they comfort/slap-me-back-to-my-senses/tease me in return.

It made me realize that every single one of us are facing different things in life right now - both happy and unhappy - and how much we need a ready support system.

Sure, relationships come and go, career paths can be confusing, family problems happen all the time, even economic crisis troubles us wth (!!) - but isn't it nice to know that there is a group of people whom you can return to no matter what?

Uni-GFs: Elaine, Jen, Me, WanRu. Dessert buffet, bonding time.

You might have made a mistake of neglecting them for you now good-for-nothing boyfriend, been too busy catching cash and not catching-up, isolating yourself due to stress or what-not or even lashed out at them during an argument regarding whether or not there will be a recession!!

But, don't you always return to them - with a sheepish smile, slightly awkward expression and small 'yo/hey/whassup/weiii' - just to be blasted by a few sarcastic jokes and to find that everything is back to normal again after a while?

Girlfriends :-)

We shall stay close to each other. I'll be your bridesmaid and you can be mine. I'll be you child's godmother and you can be mine.

. . . I'll always remember your birthday and you CAN remember mine (I bet my birthday is sooner at this rate wahahaha!)

I wonder how many cards/ greetings/ presents I will receive this year? Just got my first gift from Glyniss yesterday :-) have to bring hordes of gift back to the others whose birthdays I failed to be there :-) Awww, now don't you Martians wish you had girlfriends . .as in 'girlfriends'??

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

"Where to go!!?"

You never appreciate what you have or where you are. Hence the:

"Melbourne, no place to go!" when living in Melbourne.
"KL, no place to go!" when living in KL.
"Sandakan, no place to go!" when living in Sandakan.

and the:

"I want Max Brenner/ (even) Chadstone in Melbourne!" when living in KL.
"I want One Utama/Hilton buffet in KL!" when living in Sandakan.
"I want Kon Lou Min/ Pisang Goreng in Sandakan!" when living in Melbourne.

Back to the first three statements:

How can there be no places to go around Melbourne when you have a nearly 2 GB collection of photos taken all over Melbourne with 70% of them in VGA size somemore!

How can there be no places to go around KL when almost every weekend was spent outdoors and you can detail almost every eating place e.g. accurately pinpointing the best Hokkien Mee in KL.

How can there be no places to go around Sandakan! Well, mate, seriously, this can be.

So why do we always feel like nothing is interesting in places we are staying at?

1) "I have been there before."
2) "My friends have been there before and they said it was only alright."
3) "I can always go someday later."
4) "Lazy laaaaaa."

Hence the answer to the tough question pondered by 4 of my fellow Master graduates (yes, I did purposely insert this :-> to remind everyone about 18th of December 2008):

"Where to bring our parents during their stay in Melbourne"

It isn't really that hard, is it? It cannot be that hard! *ROAR* So I kinda wrote up a rough guide here aptly titled, "Loretta's rough guide to sustaining fun and enjoyment during a 7 day trip in Melbourne which includes immense eating but no expanding of waistline". *nods*

Day 1 - Arrival from Malaysia

Subjects expected to be tired and slightly jetlagged, except for Subject L (Lowena).

Dinner at nearby place - meaning VERY NEAR place.

Day 2 - City Trip

Subjects expected to be pumped and eager to travel. Probability of morning gym session with Subject L: 50% despite her 'promise'.

Lunch/Late breakfast - Greek Lane. 2-in-1 meal so that food intake will be reduced. An illusion thing to make the constantly hungry subjects less conscious of their hunger/gluttony. *clever*

Walking around the city, getting a feel of the city, looking at nice buildings, Victoria Market (crap, I just don't know what to do around the city other than shopping, karaoke and eating wuwuwu)

Tea/Dessert - Max Brenner at Melbourne Central.

Dinner - Lygon Street at Subject D (Dad)'s favourite Ferrari themed Italian restaurant.

Day 3 - City Trip #2

Subjects expected to be less excited at the prospect of city again but AHA(!!) that is where they are wrong as I saved up the more exciting stuffs for this day! Probability of a morning gym session with Subject L: 35%

Lunch - Maybe at Crown or somewhere else la *ooops*

Stroll around St. Kilda, Fitzroy or near the Gardens.

Dinner - Docklands, er some restaurant there *nods*

Day 4 - GRADUATION DAY

Subjects expected to be very much excited and happy and proud of and impressed with the graduate of the day nyahahaha. Probability of a morning gym session with Subject L: 50%

So just stay at home la haha.

Dinner - Sofia? Easy one haha!

Day 5 - Chadstone

Subjects expected to have replenished their energy but still highly in love with the graduate. A strategic time to surround them with purchase ooportunities. Probability of graduate getting gifts: 70%. Probability of a morning gym session with Subject L: 35%

Day 6 - Dandenong Ranges

Day 7 - Great Ocean Road

Day 8 - Brighton Beach

Day 9 - To Gold Coast.

. . . . .

Obviously I am too lazy to elaborate on the later plans.

Or I am keeping it confidential just in case some of the others crash onto my blog and steal my plan! Then I might end up running into them every single day!

Yawn. Headache.

"Where to go in Melbourne!" seems like I am going back to the first question, great *sigh*

Some help please?

Friday, December 5, 2008

About my course

Master of Business (Commercialising Science and Technology) [MBus (CS&T)]. Enrolling into this course has been one of the major turning points in my life.
Whenever I tell someone what I am doing, 90% of the time I get another question asking what this course is about while the other 9% misinterpreting it as something else and the remaining 1% who understands being my coursemates. In fact, some of the lecturers I had do not even fully understand this course.

Essentially, MBus (CS&T) explores the less-known grey area between science/technology/discovery and business/social utility. Hence, the commercialisation of science and technology: The process of delivering scientific research and innovative technology into the commercial market for economic growth and societal benefit.

Before this course, as a Biotechnology student, I have never seen science from this perspective before. Science was science - purely knowledge. Science was important and precious to me - in a different way. Science as an occupation - research and laboratory based or sales of scientific products. To sum it up, I loved learning and discovering through science but not researching and working in science.

Towards my last year as a Science undergraduate student, I must admit I was kind of lost. The realization of what laboratory or research work will be like, dampened my spirits or anticipation to work as a scientist. I could not imagine being cooped up in a laboratory, drilling deeper and deeper into the same and often narrow area of science. It was just not the career I was looking forward to. Hence, I doubted over the suggestion from my Dad which is to do an Honours. Looking at the list of research titles - I was interested in knowing the gist of the science, but not excited at the prospect of having to sit on it for what might seem like forever.

I wonder if any of my coursemates felt the same way back then. Don't get me wrong, I really admire those with the determination, passion and heart for research - it is not an easy task.

Then suddenly came a day when Suee heard of this talk from a Prof. Mike Vitale on campus about a new Master course (my MBus (CS&T)) offered in Australia. I got the brochure and immediately was interested. I must admit that I did not understand everything written in that brochure but it sounded so new, so different and so cool! So boo, I enrolled and WanRu did as well - starting Feb 2008, we came to see a whole new side of science.

The whole year was like a marathon, no rollercoaster ride (!!) - assignments, units, presentations, project. It was like playing catch-up and to survive was not easy. New ideas were thrown to us everyday - some totally outta the world, some contradicting with our scientists' minds. But I loved every minute of it despite complaining every other minute as well haha.

So how is commercialisation of science important? From my own words -

A lot of research encapsulates high value which fail to be maximized. Reasons for this failure?

1) A highly interesting research does not always mean a highly commercialisable technology. For example, discovery of how to turn water black.
2) Research taking too much time or money. Since time is money and money must come from some source, this can mean - death of a research due to no investment or funding, the final product being high in price leading to a smaller market, the research killed by the emergence of another technology better/equivalent to it.
3) Improper matching of goals of research and market. Scientists and businessmen often have different views. While scientists want to perfect their science (longer time and more experiments), businessmen want to perfect their market value (shorter time and less experiment to minimize cost). In another sense - the cost-benefit conflict. Failure in this often results in the wastage of millions of dollars for R&D and commercialisation of a technology which is not desired or needed by consumers.

Of course the list runs longer than that, but those are my top 3 reasons! Hence, the need of proper commercialisation strategies, in my own words again:-

1) To efficiently translate knowledge into economic wealth and societal utility which means at a minimal cost and timeframe

2) To effectively balance the scientific goals and business goals which means attaining both the desirable economic wealth and expected technological features (safety level, efficiency level, etc)

3) To maximize the potential of scientific discoveries: how can the technology serve its purpose? what other purposes/ markets can this technology serve? how can it be delivered to the target market? how can science help?

4) To keep the knowledge discovery cycle going: The commercial value of research draws investment interest from potential investors in the form of funding for said research or future research for the discovery of more knowledge hence, the birth of more innovation and wealth.

You see, science is not limited to research only. It doesn't end with research, in fact, it has just begun.

With MBus (CS&T) you learn about all these possibilities.

So what did I do this year?

Education-wise:

Management
Marketing
Intellectual Property Law
Patent Law
Business Law
New Venture Accounting and Finance
Economics
Marketing Innovation
Commercialisation Project
Pathway from Science to Wealth

Experience-wise:

Hands-on experience with collaborating with scientists, which to a science-y geek like me was like meeting The Prince Charming from a fairy tale (scientist out of a journal article haha)

Meeting and learning from influential individuals e.g. CEOs of biotechnology companies and people playing an important part in some of the most important technologies of today
Presenting about your own hard work in front of an audience of scientists, industrial people and lecturers who watched you grow during the year itself

Working with so many different people from students from other courses to almost everyone of your coursemates in different projects

Meeting two of the wisest and most respected mentor-figures who are most helpful and kind :-)

*********************************************************

It makes me happy whenever people ask me about my course: I cannot wait to tell them about it.

It makes me glad whenever people shows interest in enrolling into my course: I cannot wait to hear about their experience.

It makes me sad whenever I think about the end of my course: It has just been so amazing.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Calling all my friends

"As you grow older, it gets harder to make friends and your circle of friends become smaller" - Mum.

Despite not being all that old yet, I am already finding this quote very true.
Despite the advancement of technology to help us stay in touch e.g. Facebook.

Thus, the importance of rebuilding lost connections and keeping in touch with existing friends, must always be remembered. However, given the busy world of cash and survival, it is not all that easy, isn't it?

Such is the shame of looking at a familiar face from a random picture on Facebook and not being able to recall his/her name.

Primary school

The joy of being able to talk to everyone without casting prejudice, suspicion or first impression biases. You knew people from your class, the class next door, the class downstairs. Every recess was an eating fest and you knew 60% of the little community around the canteen area.

But how many of these primary school friends are you able to keep till today? Some of them just disappeared without a trace from your life, some resurfaced after a while, some maintained on mere hi-bye terms, some still going strong with you.

So here is a big hellooooooooo to anyone of you who are reading this! As a regular reader, secret reader (I know letting others know you are reading this might make you seem lame, sorry), fateful reader. No matter how you got to this little page, here is a list of shout-out to y'all!
Jing Lu: The last time we wanted to meet, things did not turn out well :-( So how is life with piano and I wonder what hairstyle you have now!

Chee Sing: You are a pilot now, so how is the feeling like looking from up up above!

Richard Lu: Let us recap on the water-fight you had with Glyniss haha. Kids kids kids.
Wen Xian: Dear Class Monitor, how are things going? And send my regards to Cikgu Chooi.

Sharon Fong: It's been a while since I last talked to you online and remember the HOT topic we were onto last time!

Lee Ming Sun: I always thought you have the fairest skin ever, I am still tanned hahaha.

Siau Man: It was cool getting back together and killing the L'Oreal Night together after such a long time. Hope you are doing fine right now!

***And I wish I could recall more :-(


Secondary School

Like I mentioned proudly in my last post, I was a hermit/ almost-hermit during high school hence, ...you understand la. I wish I had gotten close to more of my high school mates. Luckily for me, I managed to get closer to some of them after graduation. Unluckily for me, some of the closer ones back then have been drifting apart at the same time :-(

Irene Lee: I will never forget your performance for 'Bad Girl' (I think that is the song title) during primary school, I swear it was the coolest thing ever and I so wanted to be like you!

Pei Sun (Jessica): Still rocking the academic world rite! Please donate some brainy-genes to me :-)

Chiam: I wonder what you are doing now? And whether you and Pei Sun are still like peas in a pod.

Wei Suan: You seem so active from your Friendster - wish we could sit down and really talk together about it. Which yumcha place do you prefer?

Chiew Lin: I have always wondered how you would look with your loooong hair down :-)

Eva: I should have asked more about your boyfriend when I met you last last Chinese New Year, regretting it now. And Facebook more often la!

Jin Yin: How are you lately? The first time I met you, in kindergarten, you had my dream hair :-)

Shuk Ting & Loong: We should have talked more often, about the sky, about the earth, about whatever. So let us meet again for damn sure this time when I get back alrite-y!

Miau Bing: Can I poke your dimples?

Po Wah: I need my gossips and your unique perspective on things! I need your interesting views in life, bro!

***And the others whom I have forgotten to include, let's holler to each other soon :-) or chances are you are one of the people I am constantly rambling to online/on phone/ in person wheee!


University

This is the most volatile period of my life. Totally new environment, totally new people and totally new system. No more moving as a 'class', meaning meeting more people at the expense of spending less time to get to know each. More people also meant more diverse in background and character e.g. from Chinese to Bangladesh, AhBengs to 'Bananas', FlipFlops to SkyHighHeels.

In the end, despite there being more than 90% of girls in my Biotech course, all potential girlfriends, I only got close to a small group of approximately 10 and managed to keep in close touch with about 4? :-(

But there were some positive surprises as well :-) Some whom I have never spoken to suddenly came into my life, albeit a bit stalker-ish (wahaha) and now we can crap on and on and on and on. Which is a good thing, okay?

Chew Bee: Are you still singing as much and when is the next competition gonna be?

Elaine: I saw a tube top, a black one with small white polka dots, and it reminded me of you!
Jennifer: Working hard on your photography skills, I suppose! Smile!
Emma: I miss Human Tofu :-P

Kae Xin: Where should we shop in Singapore? And are you talking faster now?

***Why can't I think of anyone else!!? OH NO. And obviously I don't have to state KangNing, Amanda, and some others here. Obviously you guys know the reason for it.


Childhood friends

Iris: I will definitely korek you out once I return to Malaysia and then we can eat and I can make you fat muahahaha.

Cousin Hui: Remember the many many fights we had and the stupid patching up methods? I wonder how we drifted apart that badly :-( Let us meeeeeettt!

***Again at a loss!


The moral of this story:

You don't really have that many friends than you think you did. And as shown here, the lack of contact and effort in keeping in touch are making the circle smaller.

I do not want to be friendless :-(

Can we all be friends again?
Not hi-bye only.
Not online only.

But friends who catch up for supper, have common activities like gymming, gossip about celebrities, visit each other often, share inside jokes and think about each other.


Contact me.
Nudge me on MSN.
Sms me.
Email me.
Facebook message me.
Give me a simple 'hello' at the chatbox conveniently placed on your left.

It will make me smile :-)

*************************************************
Onto some daily snippets of my life:

I rescued a snail from being squashed beneath my sneakers yesterday and to avoid it being endangered by any other pedestrians, I adopted it :-) It's my pet now - still thinking of a name for it~

I made this! Caramel sponge cake in a cup, cute mou? Actually it is just a fascinating Japan instant cake in a cup thing I stumbled upon in an Asian Grocer. And believe me or not, you really just need to pop in an egg, mix till even, pop it into the microwave oven for 1.5 minutes. Then out it comes, warm and fluffy :-)

Initially thought of writing 'see how soft and fluffy it is' but after taking a closer glance it somehow resembles the state of my tummy, apalah. No mood already.

Fudge bought by WenJi from New Zealand. I only took two small small bites okay?

My new $20 dress, the chiffon floral material I always wanted for spring (it was only on sale come summer but who cares!). Wanted to wear for my birthday but oh well, sometimes it is worth it wearing it for another occassion. This is not a model pose, or a KarenCheng pose or whatever. It is just the consequential pose of sucking in my tummy. Very sen fu.

Exhale *ooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh*
Smile!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

My high school story

I woke up to a surprising Facebook incident today (I am officially a Facebook regular now, sad), my previous high school headmaster actually added me on Facebook! I am within his network, as a friend! Isn't that an honour? He actually remembers me!! *beams*

Ahhhhh, high school. Such a protected and yet complicated community.

My high-school era was really calm. Uneventful. Smoothsailing.
Basically not movie-worthy.

But being immersed or should I say unable to escape the influence of media, I always hoped it was more eventful than that. After all, I was a high-schooler and high school was supposed to be exciting. Youth, man, youth. Well, shoujo-mangas (female-teen Japanese comics) and soap dramas (HK and US, mostly) told me that.

I used to think it would be so great if I had more love interests (both interested in me and me interested in them), or to be more exact - love stories. Like, to have guys going after me, secret love letters, best friends falling for me, me rejecting someone, secret admirers sitting beside me, . . . . . okay, better wrap it up. But obviously, none of that happened (Boooooo). Just 'secret admirers' whose identities remain secret even to me but of which their existence I strongly believe in! Wahaha.

I even remember a certain classmate asking me, "Eh, actually, do you even have guys going after you?" Pffft. Truth was, not really. But clever/poor me just replied, "Why should I tell you?"

This went on for most of my high school days, sigh. While the shoujo-mangas and soap dramas continued grilling on this subject, I resorted to daydreaming about the guys going after me with a bunch of humongous red roses, secret love letters 15 pages long, best friends falling for me and unable to hold back their feelings, me rejecting someone who is a random person on the street, secret admirers beside, behind, infront, left, right, everywhere kyaaaa! Haha, see the escalation of imagination - like a spinster approaching menopause *embarassed*

Obviously, none of that happened and my only wish is for the secret admirers part to be at least 0.001% true (please la).

And when I did get into a relationship before high school officially ended, it did not start off like what I imagined - 1000 stalks of roses hidden behind him, confession of love under the sunset, surprise love letter hiding inside my Pendidikan Moral textbook, fireworks over the starry night~ siggghhhhhh. But of course, the essence of first love such as the butterflies in stomach, anxious hearts and sweetness in tiny acts were present :-) Just none of my over the top high school fantasies *whistles*

Due to the lack of 'events' *ahem*, I always thought how nice it would be if only I was prettier, had a nicer figure, more charming or was within the popular group.

Well, in terms of the look department, I am now an improved version of myself. If now can be called an improved version then try imagining the previous version. Although this might be fun for those of you who have never seen the real previous Me but be nice and don't take your imagination too far okay. For those who have, enjoy *roar*!

I was really nerdy. Spectacles always sitting near the tip of my nose. Slightly hunched back. Skinny and frail. Dark and oily complexion. Messy, curly hair. Uniform slightly bigger than my fit. Bushy eyebrows. Sleepy eyes. Do not wear sleeveless tops or skirts - too revealing la!

I hope a lit lightbulb did not appear near you right now or the thought, "Now I know why there were no 'events'!" *ROAR*

Like I said in my previous post, there are no ugly girls, just lazy girls. And I was a lazy girl or in more accurate terms, a clueless girl not knowing how to be hardworking :-(

But then again, I think it was more of my personality, sigh. I was really shy, very reserved, extremely timid, could not adapt to the culture shock and to a certain extent, confused. End result? A Loretta who did not talk, attempt eye contact, make friends.

I would wish I were as outgoing, charming, popular and influential as the others. The pretty ones. The smart ones. The funny ones. The popular ones.

But did nothing about it except lament in my own sorrows and curse fate.

Luckily, there reached a turning point in my life where I gradually became more confident and acceptive of myself. It was not really a point actually, more like a gradual process. I became more cheerful, positive, carefree, friendly and assertive. In a nutshell - I loved myself more.

And with this, I enjoyed life and everything it brought me from then onwards.

But still no 'events'! Already friendly, funny, cheerful, nice and improved a bit in looks, still no 'events' wor! Why!?

Well, thing is - although I was always waiting for 'events', I was never really into 'boys'. And please do not decipher this statement the wrong way!! I am very much interested only in boys (now, men :->) but back then, I was not attracted to boys at all. It is like wanting a wedding and not marriage or a relationship and not commitment, I hope you get it, oh please do. Throughout the majority of my high school life, I never had crushes, did not secretly admire anyone, had not been lovesick, had not confessed to anyone, had not have fantasies of 'events' with anyone I know (but oh yes with pop stars, anime characters).

And when I did get more outgoing, I was always hanging out with guys as one of the 'guys' (ah ceh). Until now, this bunch of people still treat me as a little boy, please congratulate me :-(

And so after that I wished I was more feminine, girly, sexy? Wahaha, I actually laughed out loud myself after typing that out. Actually kinda. But obviously it did not go that way as I succumbed into the world of video games, J-rock music, more anime, more manga, more hanging out with the boys and more being Loretta.

Hence, the story of my uneventful but very imaginative (not delusional) high school era. Sigh.

I still haven't been properly confessed to (ish).
I still haven't been romanced off my feet >:-(
I still haven't been in a scene that could be something ripped straight out of a sappy love drama (yer!).
I still haven't received any love letters, written love letters (youth.... youth....)
I still haven't been flattered by words so sweet (and can be false) that I can blush to death (sigh).

But I am totally happy and in love.

Are you thinking that I am gonna complete this post with "and that is all that matters"?

NO!

Miss Lo here is approaching 22 in a matter of 28 days alrite and there is not much time to realize all these high school dreams/ambitions/fantasies/aspirations! Or else what?! Force someone to write me a love letter 2 seconds before I turn 35?

Argh!! All I want for Christmas is. . . (hehe, not willing to sacrifice my birthday wishes or presents for this >:-D)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Sabah-fied

Everything has been reminding me of my hometown today, thus a Sabah-fying day.



Waking up to the gloomy and rainy weather of Melbourne, the tinge of chill and smell of rain under the grey surroundings reminded me of the countless holiday trips we used to make as a family to Mount Kinabalu. Always wrapped in tracksuits, colourful jackets and thick socks, my family would shift steamboat pots and cooking ingredients all the way to the resort area of Mount Kinabalu and make the vacant resort house a temporary home of ours :-)

How?

Home cooked claypot rice with Chinese sausage and soysauce brought from home.

Karaoke sessions without mics.

Children running and being scolded for running haha.

Steamboat with everyone at night.

Poker cards and snacking similar to Chinese New Year.

Best of all - huddling together to keep warm.



Although my very last experience in Mount Kinabalu resorts wasn't a very good one. We took a house which was only for the thrill-seeking ones, or fans of the TV show Supernatural/Ghostbuster, or just the butt-itchy-cari-pasal ones. I think you get the drift *wink*

Still thinking whether I should divulge the details here, oh well, I will soon if someone is interested or I get too bored (which is unlikely, cause I have just restarted my FinalFantasy12 quest!)



Anyway, it has been a while since I have had a road trip with my family. Sigh. Sigh. Not just any road trip, one with Sabah as the setting because it really feels very different! Endless plains of palm oil estate, rubber trees and sometimes rainforest. Relatively bumpy roads and muddy tracks - trademark I guess. Long, windy, narrow roads - another trademark I think. Sleeping on mattresses at the boot of a Land Cruiser, loadful of snacks, motion sickness, being laughed at for motion sickness, fighting with Sis cause being laughed at for motion sickness - ending: Mum releasing her ball of fire/anger in the form of a strong "Shut up!".

Awww. So much fun :-D



Speaking of rainforests, some friends and I went to this place near Colac called Otway TreeTopWalk last weekend. Loadsa funny pictures, shall upload soon for the good of mankind :-) Anyway, being in a rainforest brings back memories. At this point, some of you non-Sabahans might be envisioning my childhood to be one surrounded by tall trees, houses made of hay, with a beer-bellied Ketua Kampung and a 5 year old me running ard naked while climbing trees to pluck mangoes. Weeelll, sorry to disappoint, it was not so at all. I even learnt ballet (and failed) when I was 4 alright?

Sabah is a hard to describe place - hence, go there and see for yourself!



Back to the topic, at TreeTopWalk, we got to walk across hanging bridges and experience the rainforest. Okay, before I reveal how it is, try to imagine how it must look like in your mind.



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Did you think wooden bridges held together by ropes, swaying left and right with every step, located so high up you can't even see the floor of the jungle/forest? Or maybe ferns so gigantic that it is even taller than a 157 cm being (haha, as if 157 cm is that tall . . .well, it is over 1 metre, yay)? Or huge trees with their trunks so humongous that it takes more than a few people to circle it?

Then you must be a Sabahan kyaaaaaa.



Well, at TreeTopWalk, the path leading to the hanging bridge was clean and easy to walk (unlike Sabah - pure rainforest). The bridges were made of steel and looks safer than saying I will never get my bikini body anytime soon, and it doesn't sway but merely vibrates with every step! The floor of the forest was clear and you can even see the aerial view of ferns. The bridges were clean and easy to walk on. There were a few big trees but none as gigantic as those in Sabah.

The feeling was different - but it sure did make me miss my home :-(



The latest Sabah-fying moment? Well, Me lazing around at home in a Mount Kinabalu-like weather playing on a PS2 while snacking away on biscuits, bread, cherries, etc while shrieking away whenever I was on the verge of game-overing. Same thing I used to do every summer break from university back in my Taman Indah home.

Not to mention the increasing Facebook statuses like "I am back at home!" "I am in Sdk" "Home sweet home". Sulk sulk.

And a smart Sister suddenly nudging me to talk about her weight in a serious manner - an everyday activity in Sandakan. Sob sob.

And a grandma who called just to ask me not to go to Thailand in January. Sniff sniff.



*Hordes of tears and snot shooting out now*

I really miss Sandakan right now.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

30 November 2008.

In exactly one month I will be a 22 year old.

Having your birthday on the very last day of the year is somewhat of a bittersweet thing.

Pros:

- Fireworks everywhere just for New Years Eve and Me :-)
- Always a holiday :-) :-)
- Hard to be forgotten by others :-) :-) :-)
- Special dinners/ buffets/ shows everywhere :-) :-) :-) :-)

Cons:
- Celebration with friends take place late after them spending time with family first
- Usually friends are on vacation somewhere else
- Have to watch everyone's birthdays go by before yours
- Having their birthdays already, everyone starts pondering about aging one more year even before I reached that age and includes me in. E.g. "We are turning 23 next year, oh gosh" "I am not even 21 yet!!" (August, 2008).

I have been asked this question before: "Do you think birthdays are very special?"

Answer: "YES" with rigorous nodding of head, maximizing of eyes in disbelief, slight frowning, blood rushing through my body, heart pumping like mad, hands in tight fists, adrenaline rising sky-high and gigantic voice exploding outta my body- kind of "YES"!!!

Is there any reason for it to not be? Birthday - the day you were born into this world - given life - as a hope to others. Your birthday signifies the creation of countless fateful coincidences and natural forces - that is you. It acts as milestones, or rather chapters, marking your journey through life and the story you forged. The fact you met with every milestone or completed another chapter in life, is more than celebration-worthy, isn't it?

I love celebrations - people getting together to appreciate a common thing or even you alone appreciating something you alone know of. Not forgetting the accompanying laughter, fun, surprises, food, desserts, dressing up. . . *dreams away*

My family and I love celebrating - all birthdays, Mother's Father's Days, New Year, parent's wedding anniversary. It keeps the connection between us strong and fills our days with anticipation. It is very important to know how to appreciate the others and to share something in common.

Of course there are other families that do not really celebrate much but still are stronger as ever as a family, but to me, celebrations of little things are just important and to a certain extent, essential - to make me feel appreciated and reinforce what I am sharing with the other party.

So, despite aging on every 31st December, I look forward to it - anticipating what is in store, who will be there, when the greetings will come, where it will take place, how happy I will be :-)

So coming December:

5th - Reunion with coursemates.
6th - Glyniss arriving.
7th~14th - Various shopping, dinner with Eric (now he knows about this), maybe beach?
15th - Parents, Sister and cousin arriving (Hopefully Bro and Sis Leena as well)
18th -
Graduation Day! ! ! ! !
22nd - Dad's Birthday celebration
23rd - Off to Gold Coast
24th - DreamWorld with everyone!
25th - Christmas celebration.
26th - Boxing Day sales?
28th - BAck to Melby with Mum and Sis.

31ST - EVERYONE'S FAVOURITE DAY! :-)

As of now, I am still preparing my wishlist, so please be patient alrite?

Picture of me during my 18th Birthday in Sandakan after being sprayed with something sticky and colourful by some friends who turned up at home to surprise me.

My 20th Birthday celebrated with family in Sandakan, grandmas and grandpa the whole clan! . .

. . .then with friends at the one and only karaoke in Sandakan!

The very first surprise for my 21st birthday last year with Elaine and KAngNing in RedBox Sunway Pyramid!


The Haagen Dazs cake for my 21st Birthday :-)

And as always, a healthy dose of fireworks.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Surprise!

Small surprises have been coming day after day to excite-up my mundane days. (All the happy-fying words are rainbow-coloured in this entry but do not let it fool you into believeing that I am very free, I mean FREE.)

*****

On Wednesday, I approached an unexpected ring on my doorbell with suspicion only to receive this bundle of joy!

Have wild guess here, folks :-)

My Testamur for my Bachelor of Science (Biotechnology) *tears of joy, no snot, a picture of perfection* After waiting for a month and bombarding the Graduation department with emails of why, where, when, what, how - my first ever Testamur is finally here safely . . . still inside the Tube :-)

*****

On Thursday (yesterday), I got a MAJOR SURPRISE. No joke my friend, this is one so bizarre that it would take the cooperation of all forces of nature to make it happen. I hope somewhere in your memory (although I totally understand if you would rather retain that little memory space for something more useful like Pokemon names), you remember my fired up Golden Phoenix Quest to challenge my physical strength. So I was all motivated and ready to go work it out in the gym.

After publishing said post, it started raining. Never mind, a little rain won't stop me!

Then it became a hailstorm. I am sure it will stop very soon!

Then Ray offered to drive us to the gym. The rain cannot go against my will!

Chilly weather making me hungry. Eat a banana!

Lightning and thunder. Umbrella set!

Arrived in the gym and worked out for 2 minutes. . . .then the fire alarm went off. Evacuation warnings ensued. Everyone vacated the gym. Repeated the process of running to the car in the rain and back at home in 20 mins. *stoned expression* This was a complete surprise.

Oh and not forgetting, the results were out yesterday and 18th December will officially be my graduation day :-) I hope lotsa people will come!

*****

Today, after an intense gym session (which I will relate later), I came home to a blue envelope addressed to me. I have never received a personal letter, mail or whatnot in the mailbox before, save the time Mum sent me a bookmark. Despite knowing who it was from, I impatiently opened the envelope - ripped the envelope a bit due to my extreme muscles developed earlier in the gym *smug look*

A card from my Brother. How sweet of him - I was just complaining to him through email (kedekut until didn't want to spend sms credit on him!) about being slightly stressed muahaha and now I got this. Maybe I should complain more :-)

I have always refered to him as my Brother, and most people do think I have a brother but in truth, he is my cousin. But cousin or brother, they are just 'titles'. I have never seen him as less than a brother, so why let a mere title or biological-whatnot affect it?

It is great to have really close knit family. A necessity in life. A treasure never to be taken for granted. Speaking of which, I had a horrible dream about my Sis the other night. We were at some kind of formal function and instead of a manicure or pedicure, she had a denticure! A self-created word - denticure: imagine pedicure but on your teeth. The image of her showing me her teeth, ape-style, with black linings and beads and glitter and crystals on them, still vivid and still creepy. Surprisingly the Me in my dream, treated it as a normal thing! The conversation was something like this:

Sis: I think black is not a good colour rite?

Me: Yeah, made you teeth look like very, dirty only.

Sis: Yeah and I should not have asked for the beads and crystrals, it looks a bit too much and shiny rite?

Me: Yeah lo. Like too much going on in your mouth.

*****

More on Today - What a surprise! It is Cik Melissa Chong punya birthday!

*****

More more on Today!

A review of my 10km quest in the gym:

3.13 km on the Xtrainer.

4.25 km on the Treadmill.

6 km on the stationary bike discounted to 3 km seeing how cycling is almost twice as fast as walking.

A grand total of: 10.38 km!

*Victory chant*

*****

Seeing the comment from Cloud in my chatbox reminded me of this small incident in Sydney which I was kinda reluctant to relay at first *ahem* cos I am not an otaku, you see *ahem*.

Manly Ray was in the toilet when I saw this in a candy show near Darling Harbour and dashed into the store to check it out, only to heave a sigh of relief and cursing my developing otaku-ness.

I saw this and thought it was a can of Banora apples. *bites lips*

For your information, Banora White Apple Juice cans, as seen above, is quite a 'big' part of the game Final Fantasy VII Crisis Core. So, er, well. . . it does look alike, doesn't it!?
Not my fault~!
*****
Anyway, after a happy session of blogging now I am wondering what surprises are there in store for me tomorrow.
True enough, everyday is a gift and surprises are everywhere if we are kind enough to know how to appreciate small, simple things in life.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Girls girls girls

A wise friend of mine once said that: "Girls can be of three categories: Beautiful, Cute or Special. Beautiful is self explanatory, Cute is for the moderate ones while Special is for 'special occassions' or 'hard-to-put-in-words' cases".

Another friend of mine dislikes being labelled 'cute' due to the literal meaning of this word being 'ugly but adorable'.

Personally, I believe there are no 'special' or 'ugly' girls.
Only Lazy girls and Hardworking girls.

Let us evaluate this step by step, by matching the most common so-called ugly factors with the solutions out there.

1) FAT

Although not all of us are blessed with the perfect bone structure, a high metabolism, a natural love for healthy food or the genes for the ideal proportions, surely one can't blame every little bit of fat on their body the cruel result of fate. Take this scenario: One drools away/ goes green with envy/ curses the bikini clad *insert bad name* cruising along the beach:

Lazy Girl: So unfair (bites ice cream). I wish I had her genes (drinks hot chocolate) and metabolism (tears off a drumstick from a whole chicken).

Hardworking Girl: That is a lot of hard work in the gym and taking care of herself!

Lazy Girl: No matter how much I exercise, I won't get that body (chokes a bit on Coke). Why should I do it? Waste my time and effort, and waiting to get disappointed only (accidentally bit own hand).

Hardworking Girl: 30 minutes of cardio and 20 minutes of strength training tomorrow! Might not get a body as hot as hers but oh well, I can carve hotness out of what I have got!

Lazy Girl: Rainy day how to go jogging? Gym so far so inconvenient.

Hardworking Girl: Rainy day will just have to stretch about at home. Gym so far better grab some friends to go together or take my mp3 player with me.

From the Miss Bikini's point of view, if she is indeed a Lazy Girl blessed with such un-fatness - watch her become Miss Balloon damn soon.

2) Cosmetics

Dark circles, pimple scars, wrinkles, acne. What else is new? So again, to be blamed on the series of unfortunate teenage hormonal events or eroding effect of time? And don't get started on genes again. Okay, some of us are born with it and if you can accept these so-called imperfections and be at peace or proud of it, good on ya!! But point is, if you are so disatisfied with it, is there really nothing that you could do about it?

Lazy Girl: Yer, I hate my pimple scars, and my crows feet near the edge of my left eye, and the bushy eyebrows, and my dark circles! Why why why??? (Continues watching Heroes while scratching her belly)

Hardworking Girl: Dark circles - cucumber mask time and investment on some eye cream. Wrinkles! - Should eat more antioxidant loaded food and maybe massage my face properly. Pimples - pimple cream and drink more water (never mind the more frequent toilet trips).

Lazy Girl: Cosmetics - don't even know whether they work or not, waste time and money only. Be so vain for what!

Hardworking Girl: Sure, none of my eye creams seem to give significant effects but hey, I might be more panda-fied had I not used it! If I want to look good, I must make some efforts!

I really believe that little things you do such as moisturizing your skin, exfoliating more often and massaging your skin gently can do wonders in the long run. Pimple scars cannot be totally removed but pimple scars on moisturized skin surely look better and such taking care of skin can prevent more pimpple scars in the future!

3) Make up

Girls sometimes face conflicts when it comes to make up. The Schools of Thought being: Artificial vs Natural. My take is: Why So Serious? From a more simplified point of view, applying make up is just - fun. And it makes you look better so what is the harm?

Lazy Girl: So kasihan apply make up everyday for what. Who am I trying to impress or more like why should I impress them? (Breathes fire)

Hardworking Girl: Why the PMS take on make up? What is the harm of beautifying yourself, changing your look or enhancing your natural assets? And hello (!!) what century is this - make up is not just to impress others, do it for the love of yourself, girls!

Lazy Girl: But to spend hours in front of the mirror and with all those 'tools'! Such a waste of time and money and effort.

Hardworking Girl: The time, money and effort needed depend on the quality and *ahem* thickness of the make up you want. A common, au naturel everyday make up will take an average of less than 10 minutes which is the time you take to complain about putting on make up.

*******

So the final verdict is:

Don't complain about your disatisfactions or blame them on other innocent factors if you are not gonna do anything about them!

Stop conflicting with your interests e.g. wanting to look prettier but at the same time opposing the mainstream or fearing others will label you as desperate. Come on, who doesn't wanna look good? Be honest with yourself!

I am proud to say that I am a moderately Hardworking Girl! I worry about getting fat, cringes at the sight of my pimple scars sometimes and enjoy seeing my eyes stand out after a quick dash of mascara :-) I do not push myself to the gym unless I feel extremely bloated and sluggish. I go to the gym cause I enjoy sweating out to de-stress and seeing the positive effects on my health. I apply cosmetics cause I believe in taking good care of my skin.

I love to get doll-ed up.
I enjoy seeing myself looking fresh and good.
I like the feeling of clean and pampered skin.

I am just a girly girl despite the Naruto, Final Fantasy, Playstation, etc.

***********

I am currently quite free and am thinking of challenging my body. As all readers would have known, I am still on my quest to getting a bikini body since year. . .2003, just 5 years ago. And worse still, Miss Glyniss is yapping about going to a beach together once she touches down in Melbourne on the 6th of December, just 10 days away.

So I have been challenging myself physically e.g., crazy stuffs like running (RUNNING) 10 km and so on. (It is crazy for me okay!)

Seeing how freeeeeeeee I am right now, I am open to suggestions from my kind friends as part of my Quest.

Let us call it 'The Quest of the Golden Phoenix'.