I was thinking about the title I should put for this blog entry and as it came to me, it really made a lot of sense.
It just dawned on me that a little like the Matrix, that the restart of the 'world' that you see in the last movie of the trilogy really is like every new semester that I begin in UTP. Its as if everything that you do is the same. If I follow the story correctly, the many 'Neos' did the same thing, maybe a bit differently each time. Its just like the way we do things are different every semester, but we still end up doing the same things. Not only that, the ending of it always feels the same, regardless of how good your results are that you only find out before the eventual restart.
I don't know why, but that little 'revelation' just made me realise why some people on campus are somewhat jaded, indifferent about beginning the new semester. Admittedly, as much as I do appreciate being in UTP, it isn't the most dynamic place to be in. Somehow, the student social culture is such that assignments are more like burdens than they are learning curves and tests are viewed more as chores than practical evaluations of students knowledge although I guess the latter may be true for many other students from different schools.
Still, even if the process laid out for us is the same, there's a lot that can be experienced in such a big world. That applies wherever you are, whether at school, at work, anywhere. There are different things to learn each time you go through something. Random things can happen that are never expected and can turn out to be some pleasant surprises.
One thing I know is that as far as I'm concerned, this is my final restart in this place. It reminds me of something a pastor mentioned during one of his sermons in church. He put emphasis on the importance of starting well, and to finish strong. That's what I hope to do come the end of the semester. I think I've started well in this place and plenty of unexpected things have happened in between but more importantly, I want to finish strong. Let's end this Matrix already, haha.
Friday, July 30, 2010
I was thinking about the title I should put for this blog entry and as it came to me, it really made a lot of sense.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
I'm sitting in my hostel room in UTP typing this. Finally, I'm back in university to complete my degree. I left KL behind two days ago for my final stint here. The word 'leave' has been floating around my circles a lot lately, and its hardly ever used in a positive connotation.
I realised that the past six months has seen me lose several of my friends to the enemies called time and distance. Of course, the internet allows you and me to still hold on to a string that enables us to connect with them, but the connection is never the same as when you were with them. Up until now, I'm still a person that prefers a chat over drinks or a meal someplace rather than internet messaging programs. Sometimes, I can't keep in touch well enough and just like that the connection is severed. That's what makes the people who used to be your closest friend turn into a distant acquaintance.
Timing hasn't really favoured me in some instances, for example there're people who are interning right now during my final semester that I wished I could say goodbye too at the end of my final semester instead of my last. Another one was me having to leave for UTP just a few days after Andrew came back, a close friend of mine during my high school days from church.
Then again, I guess I'm grateful that I got to meet some people before I left. At least I got to meet up with Andrew on Friday, just one day before I left for UTP. It was fun, catching up with each other with interests that we've never lost since we were high school kids. Its nice to see your old time friends after a long time who are now different but still the same. Then there was Beatrice as well, just before she leaves for the UK indefinitely, one of the few girls I know who enjoys being lame. Simply precious, lol. Samphors, also a very good friend of mine from Cambodia, a course mate of mine from UTP that's doing his internship now before he probably returns to his home country. He's very intelligent, yet rather kind at the same time, hard to find such people really. Of course, there's Felix as well, who I've been hanging out with every now and then, a good friend certainly. If you're interested in good food and a friendly chat, he's the one to call. He definitely knows where's a nice place to eat, haha!
Still, there're people I missed out on, Chee Hong who I wanted to meet last week but I just couldn't make it. I was pretty caught up in everything I was doing that week, particularly my final year project. Then, on Friday night, Philip told us he'll be leaving to Canada for work next month. That'll mean that once I return from UTP, even during the mid-semester holidays, he won't be around already. We weren't close, but still it is sad to see certain people leave and he's one of them.
Well, talking about everyone leaving me, I'll also be leaving UTP soon enough. Come the end of this year, I won't be seeing that place again until my graduation ceremony, which is just a day anyways. There are friends that I feel I've begun to have better relationships with over the past year and I guess its a shame that it won't really progress further once I've finished studying.
Tomorrow'll be my first day of lectures, and that'll mark the beginning of an end that'll mark a new beginning too. The world of corporate industry is just round my corner.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Well, what can I say. I'm back to social networking again. I guess I decided to make sure that I won't be too left out of my friends lives, particularly the ones that are far away somewhere, hahah. Let's see if I get as hooked as everyone else, probably.
Monday, July 19, 2010
Language can be so complicating at times. Whenever you start to learn a language, it doesn't seem hard to understand the basic words that serve basic functions. You know that 'eat' means eat and that 'breathe' means breathe. They're all functional words. These words serve a specific purpose that we as individuals can easily understand.
However, there are words or phrases in every language that don't quite make logical sense and you have to think a bit before figuring them out. Sometimes, you can't really describe them accurately at all. A simple example would be the word love. How do you define it? I don't think there's one answer that the whole world has agreed upon as a definition for that word. Somehow, people just 'feel' it and use it.
Sometimes, we use analogies or examples when we try to explain a word that is new to someone else and we have no idea what the actual dictionary definition is. For example, you could explain the word 'diplomacy' by simply saying, "Its what people do so that we don't fight each other." That's not really the definition of the word, but it gives the listener a feel to the meaning to understand the context of its usage.
Now, this brings me to something I watched on television a couple of days ago. I turned on the set and took to what was screening on the Hallmark Channel. It was the show, 'American Dreams', which is about the life of a white American family going through the daily adversities of life during the period around the Vietnam war. In that particular episode, the timeline of the story was such that Kennedy had already been shot dead during his parade. On the show, there was a young boy who was probably no older than 10 years asked his father, "Dad, what's politics?"
What a question to ask. In some ways you could say its just as difficult or even more difficult than answering a child's question of "How did I get here, how was I born?"
During the show, the father was in a rush to get breakfast prepared. He heard the question, but he couldn't spend all day explaining to his son how governments and elections worked. The simplest answer was needed. This is what the father said, "Politics... mm politics. Welll uh... it's when one person wants something and then another person wants something else. That's politics."
The show continued with other scenes unrelated to what I just mentioned until the very last one of the show. The whole family was sitting down at the dinner table with all the family disputes being discussed. Everybody stops when the young boy suddenly asks, "Do they know why they shot him?"
His sister replies, "No, I don't know"
The little boy says assuredly, "Politics."
"What, what do you mean?"
"Politics, its when someone wants something and somebody wants something else. That's why they shot him."
You know, before watching that episode of American Dreams, I honestly would not have known what to say if a young ten year old child asked me, "Christon, what's politics?" That young boy's understanding of politics really does sum it all up. Essentially, that is what it is, conflicts that occur among people in power or of authority.
Its just so true when you think about it. That simple description really forms what is at the heart of politics.There wouldn't be any if there wasn't a conflict of interests. I'm not just talking about government politics, it could be school politics, workplace politics and the like. I guess that's why all of us aren't such big fans of politics. After all, who genuinely likes a conflict?
Sunday, July 18, 2010
I know I haven't blogged for a while now, which is a little surprising, knowing that I am on holiday. Its funny, there are so many things I could blog about right now, but I'm either not in the right frame of mind to write or I'm just too tired from all that's been happening. Nonetheless though, right now, I do feel like a happy person, thank God, haha! The last few days especially have been just nice I suppose. Maybe I'll blog about something more specific in the next few days.
Wednesday, July 07, 2010
The South African edition of the FIFA World Cup has gotten well under way and as I’m typing this, the tournament has already reached the semi-final stages. As it is, the stage is set for another European winner of the competition.
Well before the tournament began, I’d set my mind on supporting two teams, South Korea and Brazil. Of course, one of the reasons I supported South Korea was because they’re an Asian country, not to mention Park Ji Sung’s my favourite football player. That’s why the number 13 is on the back of my Manchester United jersey instead of the number 7 or 10. More than that, I like the Korean national team’s style of football, its fast, and I always somehow get the feel they’re a very hardworking team. I was very proud of their success in 2002.
Brazil on the other hand, is a country that I remember supporting since 1994. In that edition of the FIFA World Cup, they defeated the Italians on penalties with back then Italian hero, Roberto Baggio missing an important penalty. Ever since then, I’ve been supporting the Brazilian team that dons the bright yellow jerseys and blue shorts.
One thing about the Brazilian football team is that as much they’re a very good team, they don’t always succeed, as highly rated as they are. Some may even argue they are overrated, but no one has ever looked down on them. Somehow, they always carry the tag of favourites, and the people of Brazil always have high expectations of their national team to win the World Cup.
As I was a young boy, back in 1994, I had the same high expectations whenever I watched Brazil play a match. I always wanted, and always expected Brazil to win every game that they played.
That’s the same kind of mentality I had as a child, perhaps during my teenage years as well. I never wanted to lose, I always wanted to win and I always wanted things to go my way. I suppose everyone is that way, but something slightly different about me was that I expected it to turn out that way all the time. I never gave thought to the possibility of losing even though I knew it existed. I always thought that things should go my way, why should it be any different than that? I was being selfish and ignorant.
I remember watching the 1998 World Cup that France won, beating Brazil in the final. That was the first and probably the only time I’ve cried during a sporting event. I remember shouting, “Why so unfair!?”, expressing my sadness and anger of the moment. I said it as if France never deserved to win. Ten years down the road, and it wasn't so different as I watched the finals of my university’s band competition, that my band failed to reach. I watched a few of the bands performances and thought, “How did we not play better than them?”. I felt their music was poor and dull. As I told myself that, I never gave a single thought as to why my band couldn’t get into the finals.
One thing that losing or not having your way does, is that it lets you experience the reality of your circumstances. If you choose, it lets you open your eyes to your strengths and weaknesses, as well as that of others. Failing is probably one of the most educational experiences a person will have. You either choose to understand and learn from your failure or continue to argue that things should have gone in your favour.
As most of you who follow football will know, Brazil were knocked out in the quarter finals of this year’s FIFA World Cup by the Netherlands, who will be playing in the final match of the tournament. I remember watching the game with friends from church. It was a Friday night, we had cell together. Brazil dominated much of the game, but they let through a couple of goals and that was enough to put them out.
Kaka reacts during the game against the Netherlands
During the dying minutes of the game, I was still hoping for Brazil to bring the match into extra time, but it wasn’t to be. I realised though, for the first time, I didn’t feel as bad about it as I thought I might. Brazil’s World Cup losses for me during 1998 and 2006 were heavy on me as a sports fan, and dissatisfaction was my biggest emotion on both occasions.
However, this time was different. I still felt disappointed, but I took it a lot better than I did previously. I didn’t blame Brazil, or the Netherlands, or the referee. I just accepted that a loss was a loss and nothing would change that. Admittedly, the Dutch had taken the chances that counted and they were deserved winners. I still felt Brazil had a good campaign, but fell short on certain ends and I’m hoping they’ll do better come the next World Cup, where they’ll be playing on home soil.
A winner that keeps on winning fulfil expectations but hardly makes the world excited. A loser that wins is what gains the attention of the entire globe because it makes for a memorable story. Hopefully, that’ll encourage you to persevere and take things in their stride. Accept the reality that surrounds you, but be courageous to stand up and be counted. That’s what makes a champion.
This is the place that I'm talking about:
The Wah Cheong coffee shop is arguably among the most popular places within the area. The chicken rice stall here sells some nice roasted chicken, not to mention some roasted pork with crispy golden brown skin as well. I remember enjoying it so much, and I still do.
Now, I really love the roasted pork from that stall, and for me its one of the best I've had in a place that's not too far away or at least somewhere I'm familiar with. Its usually my first choice when deciding what to buy from that coffee shop.
However, I wanted to try something a little different that day. I remember my mother having something before that I quite liked but didn't order so much since I was too in love with golden brown pork skin, so with just that one random thought, I walked up to another stall and ordered a bowl of minced pork noodles.
I was wondering how much my order might cost, then I saw something that's not always seen on hawker stalls. It was what I think all hawkers should display on their stalls.
Which customer doesn't like to see a price list? Its better than having to ask how much do you need to pay when your food arrives. Well anyway, like most hawker places, you can come away with a meal for no more than RM 5.00. That's unless if you order more food of course. Anyway, here's a photo of the bowl of noodles I had:
Doesn’t that look good to you? You can order three types of noodles, kuay teow, mee hoon or lo shi fan. I haven’t tried the other two, but the black sauce, minced meat and the Chinese sausages go along great. Something special about the Chinese sausage is that it’s a little larger than the common one you might know. Not only that, it’s softer than common Chinese sausages and a little more savoury instead of overly sweet, which really suits me.
I had Samphors try some since he ordered another dish, and he gave his approval too. That at least proves I’m not the only one who likes it, along side plenty of others. I guess I've given myself one extra reason to come back to Wah Cheong more often. Its nice to find something different in a place you're accustomed to. If you every happen to be around the area during breakfast or lunch, give these noodles I go, I’d doubt you’d be disappointed. You’ll probably think about seconds even.
Monday, July 05, 2010
During the previous Monday, my mother and I met up with a family friend of ours from Miri at One Utama. We hadn't seen each other in a while, and on of the sons of this family friend was a childhood acquantaince of mine. We met him and his wife and friend too. Its a little funny to think that someone I knew during my childhood days has already got married. Matthew's about 26 years old I think.
Saturday, July 03, 2010
I realised that I haven't blogged much about what I've been actually doing on holiday, so I thought I'd just do something about that. Like many students around the world, I look forward to going back home for a long break after a semester's worth of studies, projects and tests. The pressure valve's been released and a good time of rest begins.