Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 in Review

I drafted this blog post a few months ago. Somehow I was excited to put 2014 into a summary, to put it into an end, to finish it off. Now, let the annual review began:

The Ups

1. The Second Dream
It still felt surreal that my foreign dream came true, even after 1.5 years. When I came to Australia in July 2013, I brought along a second dream. It hit me during the Easter break. For that one month, I shut myself and discovered how much I wanted this second dream. I am thankful, that I can even meet someone to share this crazy idea, that I can finally confess to a couple of friends, that the dream is alive when the news came knocking in August. This second dream has met another possibility of a halt. I should know the fate in a month time. Whatever the outcome may be, I am proud that I even carry on the dream for the second year. 

2. Newcastle - Sydney -Adelaide
My longest trip to date, visited the 3 cities with 4 companions for 16 days. Newcastle was surprisingly breathtaking with its sceneries and it was a trip without planning from my end. Sydney was a sinful indulgence trip with a partner in crime. I planned well for Adelaide, explored most of the City of Churches by myself but with the occasion company of an old friend and my cousin's family. The trip was nothing less of an exploration, an inspiration and a reflection.

3. Malaysian Night 2014
I've received feedbacks and remarks, both supporting and harsh during the production. 2 particular remarks echoed in my head, 'You don't have to do everything' and 'You're just a student, you can't fix things that even a big restaurant is facing'. I reached home at 2am and collapsed on the couch, unable to feel both of my feet. A friend came knocking the door at 3am and we chatted about the night. Tiredness crept into me and tears of relief followed suit. It was a project that took 6 months and close to 60 crew to make it work. It was not great, but I guess it was good enough. I was definitely amazed by some of its unexpected impacts. 

4. Relationship
This was not supposed to be categorised as an up event but I guess I wanted it to be an 'up'. It wasn't love but there was someone special towards the second half of the year. I let down my guards and walls, for once, stop pretending. But it came to a point where the uncertainty was enough and it is time to be in control of myself. It was pathetic that after all this while, it is nothing right from the start. This was not the first time, but I am still a hopeless romantic and I still believe in fairy tale. At least there is something to remember, and at most least, I knew it was real at a point or two.


The Downs
1. Emotional Turbulence
There were two weeks in May and two weeks in October, where it was the hardest periods of the year. I risked everything in those 4 weeks and not catching much sleep. With the 16-day trip, I guess I recovered slightly from the pain in May. The October's turbulence took way too long to recover. Come to think of it, I didn't have a proper break since September 2012. Everything came bang after bang, and Malaysian Night had probably exhausted every single energy left in me. 

2. MASCA ACT
It was a regret and a shame that I didn't get to work on this. I was not at the position nor I have the energy.  Letting this go was difficult, considered I have another to take care of. Knowing it's in good hands and there are working opportunities, it's all good. After all, it is a better choice to sign up for the other.

3. Third semester
It had been 1.5 years and I am still in the state of disbelief that this foreign dream that was once in a 12-year-old girl head, had come true. I nearly screwed up the second semester and my third semester was at high stake. It turned out to be the biggest academic downfall I ever had. The risk I took had costed me a heavy lesson. Funny enough, I embraced this downfall and lesson with open wide arms. I expected it and greeted it like an old friend, not because I am used to it but because I knew this is what I truly deserved and I had cried all the tears I had before this.

4. Lost, Uncertainty, Indecisive, Weak. Doubts.
Despite all the inspirations from meeting great and interesting people, the title said it all, I knew it all along that life is difficult. I had been fighting since I was 12, and sometimes I do need a break. 2014 is a test of temptations, game of gamble, fight of faith and story of struggle. I fell hard to the ground, unable to get up. I reached up for a hand, only to realise the greatest help I can get from is myself. I was embarrassed by my own acts. December was still difficult, there was still work but at least I took some time off. 

Weighing both Ups and Downs, 2014 has not been a good year. Despite the glory and fame I had, it was a struggle, both mentally and intellectually. I don't exactly know how to face 2015, considering I knew what is ahead. But I do have a rough idea and a better mentality. January should be a good period of time to build it up. The leap of 31 December to 1 January always bring the brightest hope. God, thank You for 2014, for letting me learn, try, fail and fall. God, I wish 2015 could be a year of redemption and recovery, just like 2013. Thank You.

Nevertheless, thank you my family, friends, inspiring figures, acquaintances and strangers for being part of my 2014. Like all years, it was a roller coaster ride. I vowed and made a promise, that I will come back stronger in 2015.



Love,
Wen Xin   

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Elephant Man

In April this year, I was aspired to make a short film revolving on the theme 'Lost'. I had two friends to join in and we had three chapters in total. Sadly, I could not bring myself to edit my own chapter, to see my own face on the software. Conclusion is, acting and editing aren't easy at all.

In my chapter, I was dealing with 'lost' in life, wandering with no absolute direction. I needed to cry and went on to Youtube to search for the saddest movie scene ever. That was where I stumbled across this movie, The Elephant Man.

That train scene was inked in my mind. Soon after I read the true story on Wikipedia, I had been wanting to watch it ever since. As expected, it was inspiring and worth watching.  


Right from the start, the movie shows so many flaws of the society. The social problems that make society ugly. One of the quote I remembered very clearly from my Sociology tutor is 'society is in you, society is in us'. We judge the book by its cover, we judge people by their appearance, we measure people by how decorative their resumes are.

A couple of quotes that sent me to the reflective zone: 

'Am I a good man or a bad man?'

'Good luck my friend, who need it more than we?'

'I am not an animal. I am not an animal. I am a human being. I am a man.'

'Don't worry about me. I am happy every hour of the day. My life is full because I know I am loved.'

John Merrick, the Elephant Man is a man with innocence and kindness, intelligence and sensitivity. While the ending did not show his death, it was the scene where he attempted to sleep like a normal human being, and on the true story, he died. 


Interestingly, while I was searching the hashtag of The Elephant Man on twitter, a Broadway production featuring Bradley Cooper is currently showing. 

The Elephant Man is one of those movies that criticises the society imperfection. While society is constructed by us, we are the ones that contribute to the flaws. I am nowhere near a good or great human being, this movie got me into reflecting, an usual thing when the year is ending.

While I can go on to criticise the society and myself, I simply got lost of words. Perhaps I am disgusted by how those characters are in the movie, or I am disgusted by myself. So much more to learn and to fix, but I am all hopeful for a good change and rebound. 

Hope everyone is doing alright.



Love,
Wen Xin

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Roses and Violets


Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
Thanks for the memories,
Ending with no clue.

Thinking of the cuddle,
When I am idle,
Definitely not a good idea,
Making you my dear.

Making it a past,
For this will not last,
Summary of our story,
At least with some glory.

Occupied the mind,
Again the find,
Why you're never mine,
Don't worry I am fine.

Never given the chance,
To make an advance,
Look into your eye,
To bid a final goodbye.


Love,
Wen Xin


Monday, December 1, 2014

The 11-day Diary

I went home for a short 11-day trip, hoping for a quick rejuvenation, recovery, and an escape. It's funny that I went to Australia in July 2013 for an escape, now I needed to head home for an escape for the year. Here the summary of the 11-day trip:

Day 1 - 21st November (Friday)
Mom greeted with a kiss on the cheek and a new car. Impatiently, I begged to drive and almost brought us to Negeri Sembilan. The guilt built up within me when I sped along the highway due to adrenaline rush for driving after 9 months, I scored a flash and possibly a MYR150 fine. Well done Wen Xin. After driving ruthlessly and aimlessly, I finally saw the twin towers and the familiar Jalan Tun Razak. Reunited with my second father, he brought me out to fulfil my Mamak cravings. The first sip of Milo was magical, I almost forgot this taste even though I just finished 1.7kg of Milo a month ago. Tandoori Chicken and Roti Canai were amazingly good. Home looked the same, messy and disorganised. My brothers still indulged in the gaming zones and my beloved grandmother became tinier somehow. I lazied for a moment, and adapted to this place I called home since 2007.

Day 2 - 22nd November (Saturday)
Chee Cheong Fun was the breakfast and the weekly Body Attack didn't follow suit due to a change of timetable. I went on the freestyle area and sweated within 5 minutes. I was not sure if I prefer the scorching hot weather in Australia or the humidly hot weather in Malaysia. Hot flow yoga tested my endurance and persistence but it felt great. A disorganised event wasted the afternoon, but it was all usual and familiar, just like old times. A trip to a transformed Cheras Leisure Mall established my status as a shoe lover. The Big Mac Index drove me to have McChicken and ain't sure why I miss the taste of McChicken. Not even the heavy rain can stop me and a bestie to catch up over Starbucks cafe, we caught up with each other lives and realised we both have had an eventful but painful year.  

Day 3 - 23rd November (Sunday)
Had three-layer tea and prawn mee in a morning cafe I visited for almost 10 years. Tidied the house and my sinus infection came back right away. Sprayed myself with perfume after a sweaty cleaning up, I headed out for lunch with my paternal relatives. It was short but necessary. As a young family member, there is a limit on what you can say and what you can know, it's probably the best to stay innocent in this matter. I became a florist and started decorating a bouquet of roses. Damn those thorns, my fingers were all scratched and poked. But the end result was pleasing. The Golden Triangle was busy and packed as usual. I wandered and found myself in the companion of two dear girlfriends. One shared an equally painful year, one shared an amazing news. The surprise for the birthday girlfriend was hilarious, it was a great gathering, ended with a cocktail and a great band.

Day 4 - 24th November (Monday)  
Just another maniac Monday, well not quite, more like a lazy Monday. Wantan Mee was my breakfast and I sink onto the couch for a lazy nap until my overseas uncle asked me for a grocery trip. I drove the old manual car to the local mall, and immediately mastered the manual driving. I was glad I got back the confidence and skill. Cheesy Wedges from KFC and Pretzel from Auntie Anne were a little treat alongside with a small portion of Chicken Rice. I went out for an errand but it was fruitless. As soon as I got back, I fell to a 3-hour nap and still feeling tired. Coming back was an escape, what is worse than feeling not belonged in either Australia or home. What is more hurtful than hearing words saying it's better not to come home, and why not be a little productive. I needed a break since July 2012, this was not it, but this will at least be a prelude. Sometimes, no harm in slacking for a day.  

Day 5 - 25th November (Tuesday)
Woke up naturally in the morning, followed by a duty to sweep the floor, and a normal breakfast flagged off the day. The journey to my ex-university was not smooth sailing, but I proved that my sense of direction and familiarity of Klang Valley road were still strong. That detour, dealt with the annoyed traffic, really made me wonder if I could ever stand staying in Kuala Lumpur, but I was not left with choice, to be honest. I met up with my beloved friend, some acquaintances and some awkward known faces. A short lunch catchup was surprisingly lovely, followed by a great meetup with an ANU alumni whom we shared our love for Canberra, then a real catchup time with my beloved friend over the newly-opened Starbucks. Back then I was a student in HELP, I don't think I could afford a cup of Starbucks. But the scene in the cafe was different, students were gathering with chats and notes, young couple were snuggling whereas me and my friend were exchanging our stories. I bid my friend farewell, and hopped on the bus. I forgot that much arm strength was needed to survive the 15-minute ride along Lorong Maarof. The 20-minute train ride reminded me of how tiring it was last time to head home after class. The stop at Masjid Jamek was nostalgic, seeing both of my workplaces of 8.5 months. It wasn't productive at home but at least there was some thinking done on work.

Day 6 - 26th November (Wednesday)
Woke up 5 minutes again before the alarm rings, rescheduled a lunch appointment and I ended up lazying around before heading the haircut appointment. Heard about the buzz about Johnny Rockets, hence I went to try on this American burger franchise for its well-known milkshake as well. It wasn't up to expectation but the much-awaited dance performance. It was short, sweet and definitely an enhancement to the diner's experience. The haircut appointment was delayed but that meant shopping first. It wasn't fruitless but it definitely wasn't fruitful. It had been 1.5 years since I last cut my hair. The last trip was too hectic that I could not find time to see my hairstylist. For 5 years, she was the only person whom I allowed to touch my hair. Well, only she can handle my badly-treated hair and uncontrollable curls. A 15-minute shampooing, head massage and hair-washing were great. The hairstylist proceeded with her magic, she promised a 2-inches trim. I left the saloon with a straightened hair and a lighter head. For these 6 days, I realised food takeaway wasted an awful amount of plastics, but sadly that is Malaysian culture. I continued wasting more bags by getting Yong Tau Fu and Nyonya Kuih. I felt like a hypocrite calling myself environmentalist but ending the day feeling satisfied with my tummy.

Day 7 - 27th November (Thursday)
I was wide awake at 3am, the sinus infection had my nose went watery. After a few turns, I went out to work on an assignment given by a friend. It took me 2.5 hours but for some reason, it didn't feel as if 2.5 hours had passed. I continued to sleep and the next thing I heard was the beeping of my alarm. I woke up reluctantly and had a sinful breakfast consisting of J.co Donuts. I put on a little black dress for a catchup day with an old friend after running an errand. The errand was of a small matter but stressful. I blamed myself for being disorganised and inefficient, and that costed time, people's time and an additional unnecessary MYR8. Jalan Tun Razak was packed with cars as usual, I made my way to meet an old friend and we had a great time catching up. He had achieved so much in his life, even if we are of the same age, I felt as if I am far behind him. We don't catch up much during the year other than an annual catch up but the friendship we had is sincere, simple and honest. I walked him to his office under the scorching weather and headed to a brief shopping. Home for less than 2 hours and off I went to Pavilion for another brief shopping until meeting up with the girlfriends. I have always heard about the buzz about Publika but have never been there until today. It was posh and fancy but not very special. Two rounds of eating and a lovely catch up with my girls, oh how much we have grown since secondary school.

Day 8 - 28th November (Friday)
These days, I had been waking up before my alarm rings. Dim Sum greeted me good morning, followed by a dentist appointment at noon. A scaling session left my gum and mouth covered with blood and a possibility  of a gum surgery in the future. I have always been terrified of seeing the dentist since young. The experience of removing the wisdom tooth was horrifying. I remembered shutting my eyes tightly with tears coming out from the edge of the eyes. My hands were held tightly together while I shut my eyes and tasted the blood. When it was over, I stained my teeth with Char Kuay Teow. Proceeded to Pavilion (again) for real shopping this time. It was fruitless for the first 3 hours, until we went to the last store. The Black Friday hit Malaysia as well with the store having crazy discounts. I don't think I have ever shopped this much in my life, but each piece is well worth the price and I have gotten everything I need for Canberra. Headed straight back for steamboat, what a great day of food and shopping, I am a happy child.

Day 9 - 29th November (Saturday)
My cravings for Tong Kee egg tarts were solved, thanks to dad. I put on the workout gear and headed for my weekend workout. The Body Attack class was jam packed, I squeezed to the corner, as opposed to my usual first row position. The instructor greeted me and I had a great workout. Malaysian Attackers were different from Australian Attackers. Malaysian Attackers were way more enthusiastic though less competitive, team-spirited though smaller space. I went to Hot Flow Yoga and left the room with backache. I finally had Pan Mee before heading to Uniqlo for a final shopping round. Drove the automatic car and there were occasions I wanted to shift the gear, at least I had driven 3 different cars in these nine days. I had a full two-hour nap and mom told me that I laughed during my night sleep yesterday. That was hilarious that I was holding my laugh during the yoga session. The much-awaited Chen family dinner was next but it was filled with minor dramas. At least the companion counted and I finally sat down and watched football matches! No offence to Singaporean friends, but the joy of beating Singapore at the AFF football match was sweet. The Chen family gathering somehow turned into issues-solving meeting while I tuned in to football and typing this.

Day 10 - 30th November (Sunday)
Sinus had me sneezing for 3 hours, non-stop. It was torturous but for the first time in so many years, my whole family stayed in the same room because I had visitors. Wide awake before 8am, I went for a craved Mamak breakfast with my dad. Thosai and Roti Telur with a hot Milo, yum. I put on my black attire and headed off to a familiar Sunday routine of volunteering. The academy looked crowded, with both people and stuff. The association had grown and unlocked so much achievements since I left in July 2013. The new ambulance, 203 3.2 was a beauty. We headed out to Putrajaya for an accident training. Stadium Bukit Jalil looked quiet and lonely from MEX highway. Putrajaya was a reminder of Canberra, and it reminded me of the weekly kayaking practices in college last time. Unexpectedly, I was given a helmet and expected to participate in the training. The equipment terms were not all well-remembered but my memory of them was vivid. We had a practice scenario and it was a pleasure seeing my fellow comrades in action. Had a mini photoshoot session and we, a group of 15, of mixed races, of committed volunteers, proceeded for our regular lunchtime session. Heart-warming as always, we warmed our stomach with Mamak food. We went back to academy and they were working on a project which looked spectacular. I stayed on for a lil bit, drenched with sweat and some rainwater. Went home for a shower and nap. Three girls generations of the Chen family went on for a dinner at Great Eastern Mall, and I went on for dessert with the best girlfriend. We talked our hearts out on relationship and life. Home by 1am for my final night sleep.

Day 11 - 1st December (Monday)
Woke up with a foul mood and accompanied my mom to morning market, followed by a Nasi Lemak breakfast. Some packing, and I had a nap at noon. Some packing, and I headed out for a last minute shopping. Some packing, and I played Mario the game I played when I was a teen. Some packing, and it was 6pm. I had Indian Rojak as my final meal and it was time for farewell. I hugged my beloved grandma and her words struck me. In my heart, I made her a promise. I went to my brothers and kissed them on the forehead. A final wave and there was I on the car on MEX highway. There were a lot of reflections and thoughts. I looked at the high-rise condominiums and asked myself if I could actually ever get used to staying back in Malaysia or liking a life in Malaysia. I thought about going back to reality in Canberra and wondered if I could recover in time for 2015. The ride was silent and I thought about my brothers, I started to get emotional but held back the tears. I thought about the crush and started to feel how stupid I was. Managed to pick myself up and told myself I will return better and stronger the next round. A promise I made to myself, my parents before we part and my grandma. Hereby concluded the 11-day trip, it was short but necessary. I guess I had made the most out of it, seeing the faces I loved, indulging the food I missed, and getting back into the hustle and bustle of Kuala Lumpur. Thank you for those who had made my trip.

*

Heading back to reality after an escape,
A runaway from myriad of mistakes,
Returning only after a better remake,
Comeback with surprise and upgrade.


Love,
Wen Xin

Monday, November 24, 2014

Up in the Air

It has been an interesting twist of events, and probably the one of the toughest period of time I ever had. I don’t think I have ever dealt with such great amount of uncertainties, such turbulences in emotions, and being lost in such state.

The valley does not seem to improve from my previous blog post. Change of fate disallowed me to head home as planned, but it granted me a plan I didn’t manage to do after signing up for a commitment for next year. I am on the plane, half way through my journey. I am seated at the middle aisle. I was excited heading home, but after an incident yesterday, it turned the much-needed trip from excitement to guilt.  

The news came knocking as soon as I finished my training. It hit me by total surprise that I was not even aware of committing the offence. I held myself up throughout the ordeal. The rest is probably not worth mentioning at all. I fell, I tried to get up, I tried solving until 4 hours before the departure of the bus to Sydney.

The last time I was this humiliated was in January 2013, when I asked for a forecast from my Economics lecturer. This time was a huge downfall of disappointment. I violated both of my principles of not doing something illegal and immoral. I left the room and half-slept the night with tremendous heartache and guilt. It is a lesson, painful yet necessary. A night stroll 3 hours before the departure does not help much as I felt worse thinking about what I have put myself through. It was stupid but uncontrollable, painful yet sweet, at least I would remember it that way.

I am thankful of God of a favourable outcome. I heaved a sigh of relief but it does not mean that I am out of trouble. At least I will get to enjoy the next 10 days, before a few judgment days in early December. What I am even more grateful is the friends who have been supporting all along the way and some encounters to brighten my day.

Friends who listen, who do not judge, who hold me up, who care, who keep me company, who give me words when I most needed; THANK YOU. Despite all the flaws and weaknesses, the true friends still flatter me with beautiful compliments. For people and at least for myself, I will make this 10 days count before December falls on me. No matter what happened in December, I knew there is always solution and I’ll make things work.

I wanted to be alone on the plane, but God gives me an acquaintance/colleague. We engage in deep conversation on religion and views. How enlightening and delighting, he shared with me that a mistake or sin is normal, we are after all human. As long as you repent and remorse, pray to God and ask for forgiveness. It is that simple as long as you are sincere. I feel better after the conversation, thank you, thank you for sharing and thank you for preaching what you preach, you have indeed fulfilled the second purpose of life.

The remaining year will be more difficult but either way, I will make myself prepared. I will have to recover and in search for one self. It scares me but I will have to make it happen. God, kindly grant me the light and strength.

Thank You.


Love,

Wen Xin
21st November 2014

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Black Swan


I started celebrated Halloween a few years back, where each year I took on a character and channelled it. For the past 2 years, I've been taking characters with comparing doubles of good and evil. Sinister look with a comparison of Jekyll and Hyde in 2012, Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland instead of the loving White Queen in 2013, and this year, Black Swan instead of White Swan.

Funny thing, I always got inspired a year earlier. I've decided to be Black Swan in November 2013. During my flight back to Kuala Lumpur, I watched the movie directed by one of my favourite director, Darren Aronofsky and acted by the talented Natalie Portman. It wasn't easy watching the whole movie. I needed a couple of pauses for it is too dark and painful to take in. With all of Aronofsky's work, he always tell a story behind all the dark elements.

In the movie, Nina struggles to cope with the immense pressure of having the lead roles in Swan Lake. She deals with the idea of perfection in mastering both opposite roles. Pointed out by Thomas Leroy, she controls herself perfectly that she doesn't know part of perfection is achieved by letting go. As a consequence, she loses grip on reality and loses herself in a living nightmare. She started turning her back at people around her, her mother, Lily and ultimately herself.

It is a movie of power, perfection, pleasing and pressure. She wanted the roles so badly that she puts everything on herself. A quote I wrote down on 23rd November on my phone, "the only person standing in your way is you, time to let it go. Loose yourself, surprise yourself so you can surprise the audience."

Looking back on how I carry myself through the second semester of the year, I can't help it but to relate to Nina. Funny that a Halloween character I chose for myself a year ago was a perfect fit. It is not as scary as it seems but somehow I am lost in my own world of power, pleasing, pressure and principles. If it takes months to disrupt years of control, I have days to not ruin my life. As pointed out by Mr Feng Shui, the life cycle has just reached the valley.

"However bad life may seem, when there is life, there is hope." I am fighting and still optimistic. I am searching and still alert. I am standing tall and still fine. 

On a non-related note, I gave up 2-3 plans for 2015 when I signed up for a one-year commitment work. When I was making the decision, a lot of second thoughts popped up but I decided to go with the instinct, with what my heart tells me. The greedy me as usual, will still want it all. This summer I will pursue 1 of the plan, which is to chase my hobbies, one of them is reading.

So, dear blog, be my witness, I am going to read Spider Bones by Kathy Reichs, followed by a precious book given by 2 friends on my 21st birthday, The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. With an additional note, I need to find back my passion for the degree and majors I signed up. These 2.5 months, shall be the period I search for myself.


Love,
Wen Xin

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Pre-Exam Symptoms

Three semesters later and this is where I am every semester: exams in a week time, not prepared and not even stressing about it. Bravo for the confidence, I am so screwed with my destiny lies with the double figures published on early December. 

A couple of interesting things happen during this period of time:

1. I will be listing to-dos for the winter/summer. Plans which are so more exciting, interesting and extensive than my lecture notes. I always have so many to-dos that I couldn't finish them all.

2. My odd sleeping habits and hours. During the first semester, I fell asleep with the lights on at 9pm right after dinner.  Second semester, I survived on a 15 minutes power nap every day and I proudly announced that my power nap was becoming very powerful. That was when I trained my 7-8am body clock regardless of what time I hit the bed. Third semester, I have a nap at 2-3pm every day, with my tummy filled with lunch. Healthy much? It's 2.45pm and I am feeling very sleepy.

3. I go on Facebook fast and develop an urge to create an account on other social media. Second semester was Twitter, now with Instagram which I decided my lifeless life should not continue. Hence, I am good with Blogger. This blog has been a place I write on my feelings. Hence, when my feelings overpower my study urge, as always, I blog.

4. I finally know what my courses are all about and why don't I discover this earlier? Well, this semester is the worst of all. I have 6 days to go with 4 exams in the next 6 days. Cramming is never my thing but I guess I have to cram 3 courses in my heart and soul.

5. I do have some awesome batch cooking skills. The cooking skills deteriorate this semester, I don't think I have ever eaten such badly-cooked food in my life. It's funny that I just had a Food Project during winter. But now I am loving myself more, Pasta Carbonara, Yang-Zhou fried rice and Mee Goreng next.

6. Opportunities always knock at this time, with internships. It is difficult to hold the temptation, knowing that I really shouldn't sign up for this 9-5 job. It is interesting how when one door closes, another door really does open. Another discovery today has given me a confidence boost and a much-needed push. My thoughts became clearer today too, where I can work around things by being flexible and looking it at an optimistic side. Thank God for making this happen.

7. I pray more often. God, just one last miracle for the year.

Thank You.


Love, 
Wen Xin

Monday, October 20, 2014

Behind Malaysian Night 2014


A 6-month project concluded last week. When people asked, how am I feeling? I paused and struggled for an answer, because I felt blank. For 6 months, from nothing to something, something to everything, Malaysian Night was all I can think of. I messed up my priorities, diet, and lifestyle for a trade of old experiences and test of new ideas. Since it was started, I measured the worthiness with both process and outcome. Both generally received pleasing reviews, and to see it grow and to see it end, it wasn't the best and I think I had tried my best. 

Probably the biggest but best mistake I made was putting too much personal emotions into the project. Each performance was inspired by past experiences. On n a personal note, I wanted to reminisce my memories. Each performance was created to test new ideas on old memories. On a selfish note, I took the risk with trying out new things.


Picture stolen from Aleeza Zaki (Facebook)

The opening act was a 5-songs performance. I pursued piano since I was 5. But I didn't enjoy or appreciate the expensive weekly lessons. I remembered crying, rushing my theory homework 30 minutes before my piano teacher comes and having my fingers hit for playing the wrong notes. I don't have a distinctive taste in music but after awhile, playing the piano is an escape from reality. I picked up violin for a year in college, tried out guitar and ukulele as leisure. The band for Malaysian Night progressed from a 6-minute act to a 20-minutes act, I was glad to be a small part of the 2 cover songs they performed, for I will never have the courage to produce my own singing covers or playing the violin again.


Credits to Jun Hong and ANU Malaysian Students' Organisation

Back in 2006, I participated in Dikir Barat performance in my secondary school. We were crowned as the champion and the whole process united our classmates as a whole. We were the noisiest and most annoying, but the best. I joined as a Awak-Awak (clappers) once during the Dikir Barat rehearsals for Malaysian Night. It was reminiscing and the songs are still echoing in my head. 


Credits to Jun Hong and ANU Malaysian Students' Organisation

Not many know that I pursue ballet for a short while when I was 6. I quitted, and regretted. Dance is probably an area I didn't get to pursue or master. There are so much meaning behind the storyline and the moves. There are so much work needed to perfect a 8-count move. The dance team was one of the most diverse and fused crew of all performances. I was glad to see the internationals coming together to perform a dance related to Malaysian culture, but I guess I will need to learn how to convey meaning in dance.


I regretted my poor performance this year in MASCA ACT, for I have done literally nothing for my portfolio. There were plans but it died down after a couple of rejections. Perhaps the Malaysian Heroes video is one of the very little things I can do to educate both crew and the guests on our heroes. I was pleased to hear when the crew mentioned 'I have never heard of XXX' until he/she was featured in the video. At least now they know and now I learn, and there are surprisingly a lot of unsung Malaysian Heroes.


Credits to Jun Hong and ANU Malaysian Students' Organisation

The most controversial and scrutinised of all, the Runway Show. I was both amazed and dumbfounded of how the response on this fashion show, right from the start till the very end. This is my 4th fashion show and my first designed show. I was a Black Rose in 2007, a Polka Dot girl in 2008 and a American/Indian-fused model in 2009, and now 2014, it was all about fusing a Malaysian element and an external element. Victoria Secret-inspired, never been done, I tried my luck on art and creativity, to feature as many Malaysian elements as I can, as a brand new image to Malaysians and non-Malaysians. Behind each costume, hides my interpretation of Malaysia which will be told in a Facebook album. The Runway team was the best team I had ever worked with, I was truly moved by their dedication and commitment. Credits to the amazing team, this Runway dream would not be possible without each and everyone of you.

Trying on managing the team wasn't something I wanted to sign up. I've always enjoy observing organization and people, slightly more critical after studying Sociology and the Sociology of Organization. I missed my volunteer team terribly. The level of physical and mental commitment were so heavy but we never fail to see each other every weekend and be on standby each night. The team stayed as a family with a passion to serve the nation. I was surprised to experience that once again, seeing different 'families' were formed and be part of the 'families'. I was glad I got a chance to be involved in management, and grew closer with the fellow crew. 

This Malaysian Night was a project with blood, sweat and tears. Friendships were jeopardised, priorities were abandoned, two separate weeks of emotional turbulences and my life is still a mess. But it was exchanged with bonding of teams, creating new friendships within and out of the crew, testing new ideas, pushing to the current limit, accomplishing a few hobbies and learning new things. It was worth it after all, as long as I don't screw up my semester result.

A week had passed, and I haven't recovered physically and mentally. A friend stated that I didn't want to recover. Perhaps it's true, how to let it go when it has been like nurturing a baby. I longed for hugs and shoulders, but probably all I want is to sleep through the day and night. After this Friday, I will officially put Malaysian Night behind and a new chapter is ahead. And I will be better prepared this time.

From the bottom of my heart, I thank all the crew for making this Malaysian Night dream come true. I thank the friends who have been so supportive. I thank the friends who have been opposing the ideas. I thank the team who work on this project on a daily or weekly basis. I thank you for your persistence, creativity and support. 

Thank you.

YouTube playlist of all the performances: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLvW1YyQunth2O66xhKV93xFHA-gJ0QnjR



Love,
Wen Xin

Monday, September 22, 2014

Arthur Boyd

During my November trip to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, I regretted for not visiting Yoko Ono's exhibition because I was too stingy. Thou shalt not repeat a mistake twice, hence with no second thoughts and no hesitation, I went for Arthur Boyd: Agony & Ecstasy at the National Gallery of Australia. I shall skip telling the story on how I get there, because it is Boyd's work that I should be writing on.

Image source: http://nga.gov.au/exhibition/Boyd/Default.cfm?IRN=36459&MnuID=3&ViewID=2

One of the art that captures my attention, The Mining Town. He pays attention to all details with careful consideration in his art. There are happenings at different places at one time which reminds me of what I am doing right now.

His art is dark, most of his arts are with dull colours. Even the ones in white canvas, it is drawn with dark colour as a vast contrast. For some of his art, there is a sole imperfect stroke which I think is intentional. For some of his arts, there is always a second, third or fourth mysterious unknown figure, acting as an invisible support which I think is what he craves for during his life.

Image source: http://www.nga.gov.au/Exhibition/Boyd/Default.cfm?IRN=74256&BioArtistIRN=12338&MnuID=3&GalID=5&ViewID=2 

He tackles love and despair, desire and guilt, cruelty and compassion, life and death with profundity and a sense of adventure. The message in his art is simple, but presented dramatically. Interestingly, Boyd also makes sexual organs something very distinctive for gender and sexuality.

Mr Security told me I could download and read the story online, but I couldn't find it. Thank God I made some notes. The Nebuchadnezzar series depict his interpretation towards the ruler. For this art, 'The fallen king is the very image of vulnerability and animality."

Image source: http://nga.gov.au/exhibition/Boyd/Default.cfm?IRN=74705&MnuID=3&ViewID=2

Boyd uses cage and window rails as a metaphor in the series 'The Cage Painter'. Probably the darkest series of all, he tells his personal agony of the artist's creative struggle. Some of his drawings are never complete, as in a show or an eye is missing, half of the body is never shown, etc. He leaves spaces for the viewers' wild imagination and interpretation.

So much wisdom from a man who is in pain but blessed with a loving family. He is observant to details and alert to current affairs. Mr Security's words "You'll never know" is still echoing in my head. The spontaneous day out is fruitful and inspiring.



Thank you,
Wen Xin

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Words in the Black Ink



I wrote this short poem on the 23rd August. I remembered it was another aimless Friday evening where I just came back from a fruitless task with a friend. We were walking around campus and asking around to try our luck. Now at three weeks later, I still have not followed up with the task. Once again, if Procrastination is a nation, I am the Queen.

Back to this poem, well it wasn't a poem; it was telling 10 stories I had, or rather 10 feelings I had at that very moment. It was not difficult to come out with when you were inspired or in the mood. I guess I shall take explain about it, even though I know what every single character means.

生老病死,乃天意弄人;
My grandmother has her mood swings occasionally, and she will ask 'If people were to die, why being born at the first place?' I answer, 'it's Destiny'. This phrase captures what she or myself thinks.

一路坎坷,已心如止水; I am tired of fighting, knowing that I'd still need to fight to get to where I want to be. I am not giving up, but it is exhausting to keep up with the dreams and wants.

人性险恶,乃走火入魔; Looking at the current affairs, home or foreign; people are blinded by power and evilness. Being a bad person is so much easier to be a good person.

尔虞我诈;乃本性难移;
Looking at people around me, colleagues or acquaintance; it is despicable on how one will manipulate for their personal agenda.

为奴为婢,亦何足挂齿;
Looking at what I've signed up, I don't mind doing extra. But I would appreciate it if you make it easier for me by being decisive, at least a Yes or a No.

友情已淡,又如何是甜;
Friendships are very much like a relationship. You need time and effort from both ends to make it work. It was disappointing when a friendship fades unexpectedly. What's left is nothing but memories.

爱情无果,又如何开始;
A one-sided forbidden crush, where I couldn't afford the risk and drama, not at this critical moment. It's heartbreaking to let go, but if it's meant to be, it will be.

亲情远在,亦不知近况;
I hope the loved ones are doing well at home.

人情欠着,又如何奉还;
A life changing deed will take years to repay. Until then, I am obliged to play their rules to stay in the game.

如何行走,凭玟心无愧。
On how am I tackling the 9 stories above? With the principles of staying true to one self.



Love,
Wen Xin

Friday, September 12, 2014

To the Moon and Back


Under the shining moonlight, we were walking towards the city for an impromptu dinner. Fate brought us together for the second time in five years. You embodied both charming and cool in one. We talked about friendship, relationship, academics and life. The dessert platter we shared and the hot chocolate we drank accompanied the two hours we had.

It was comfortable and relaxing, where I made a couple of unexpected confessions; both are guilty, secretive and highly personal. It was the night of mid-autumn festival, same lanterns, same moon, same place; but things were so different as the year before.

Different companion, where people come and go. Different friendships, when you learn further about them. Different mindset, with what you learn from your work and life. Different world, where wars and disasters flood the daily news.

Listening to Savage Garden's To the Moon and Back while writing this, so would you be my baby?


Love,
Wen Xin

Sunday, September 7, 2014

20 Facts about Myself


1. I am picky but not fussy when it comes to food. It is better to ask me the number of food I eat. But I don't mind eating food I didn't like, I just need to shut one eye, or two.

2. I turned semi vegetarian in April 2012 after a dining experience. It was a good gathering but it changed my life. I never look at meat and animal the same way as before.

3. I had a huge crush on Cristiano Ronaldo for a good 3-4 years when I was 12. He was a huge source of inspiration and I cried once when my family members insulted him.

4. I currently own 21 shoes in Canberra and probably more than 10 shoes in Malaysia.

5. I have been baking since I was 12. It all started with my mom's weekly baking until I took over. I don't bake often recently, but if I do bake, it must be for some special occasions.

6. I can never play team sports, because I am never good enough and am very conscious under the watchful eyes of team members and spectators.

7. The food that will make me cheat on the vegetarian diet would be chicken.

8. I have been working out consistently for the fifth year and I am loving every single minute of it. It's the only time where I don't think.

9. I own 4 musical instruments. Mastered 1 of them, self learned and abandoned 3 of them.

10. My first best friend is Vicky from kindergarten. She has straight hair with a pony tail, thin and slim figure. I was jealous of her.

11. I have a pair of very tiny hands. I was called 'Baby Hand' by a friend in high school. Reaching an octave on a piano and holding chords in guitar are huge pains.

12. I believe in numerology and Feng Shui for I believe everything happens for a reason and can be explained.

13. I talk to myself occasionally/frequently and I know I am not the only one.

14. My body clock sets at 7-8am, no matter what time I sleep.

15. I used to hate my natural curls. Now I learn to embrace it but I still straighten it whenever I go out for events/parties.

16. I wish to know a bit of every single thing instead of specialising. But I am still a confused child in this.

17. I first learn how to ride a motorcycle with a cruiser, I felt like the coolest rider ever. But I have phobia in cycling or riding a bike, for I fell once as a patron when I was 12.

18. I like to plan and organise things but I am a bad follower, for my planning is unrealistic and ambitious.

19. I had been to 10 concerts and I feel too old for concerts these days. I simply don't have the energy.

20. I am a Malaysian and I miss home dearly.


I did not get a tag but for some reason I want to do this tag. I tag friends who are reading this, I know there are a handful of you. Share with me 20 facts about yourself, in any form will do. Blog, Instagram, Facebook, etc. Leave me a link with your post, for I would love to know more about you, old or even friends who aren't close.


Love,
Wen Xin

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Mid Semester


Amidst the procrastination and in the state of demotivated, the semester is coming to a 2 weeks break. Not too much has happened or developed for the past 7 weeks, but it is definitely somewhat life defining. The first step is difficult, I can't seem to bring myself to walk forward and never look back.

I am still torn with choices and desires. Though I might have an overwhelming desire and deep passion to change or create things, I am being limited by financial constraints and constant worries about the future. I lose freedom where most of my compatriots have. I looked at them with a twinge of jealousy, yet I have to constantly remind myself that I have to be grateful.

One does get tired of fighting, I have been fighting since I was 12. It has been a decade, there are darts of pain, jolts of panic, cold times with failure, drenching guilt and waves of emotional breakdowns with tears of frustration. On a positive note, an extraordinary chain of events did make the decade filled with jumble of memories, surge of excitement and a sense of pride.

What is ahead is a ferocious challenge, it is something that I need to figure out and once and for all, convince myself for good. I am hit by a sudden shaft of determination, but I will have to make up my mind, and stop the other thoughts or actions.

Looking at my annual dedication on National Day, it hit me deeply that I miss home. At current point, home is unreachable and home is the future. Home is where I continue my fight, but whatever I am building here, is my weapons for the future. My next task, is to choose a weapon and polish it.


This is War,
Wen Xin


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Virality

Gone is the cycles, virality is the new trend these days. In recent years, we do see a viral trend comes in once awhile and takes the social medias by storm.

The most recent viral trend, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is for a great way to spread awareness as I wasn't aware of this hugely horrifying disease before. It all started with the CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg whom I first watched. He then tagged Bill Gates who can afford a creative challenge reply. The trend went on and spread wildly to celebrities, athletics, and general public.

I watched a touching video of a confession of victim where ALS runs in his blood. Shortly after that video, I made a donation. The Ice Bucket Challenge made an instantaneous impact, short yet powerful, simple yet successful. My sincere prayers to the ALS research team to solve this disease, for the victims deserve no further pain.

However, I wish the impact wasn't temporary or people doing it for the sake of joining the bandwagon. The world needs to understand that ALS is not the only cause that needs attention and awareness. Pouring icy cold water probably is not even 1/100 of what the patients are feeling. To understand how one feels, it is probably more practical to volunteer for a cause to understand and help the cause.

Thinking back about other viralities, The Harlem Shake came into mind. It was probably a year ago where groups of people make a short dance video of The Harlem Shake. The 30 seconds video spread from group of friends, to offices and to universities. The Harlem Shake was fun, but other than fun, there is probably no meaning behind it. After a year, it was forgotten.

I have a habit of commemorate something in the form of anything. Recent years, I take photos of bits of pieces of my life and uploaded it on Facebook. To me, it reminds me of what I have done, with whom and where I was at that point of time. In 2012, I jot down 366 moods into a line graph, just to see how I fared for the year. Well, like all years, a roller coaster ride.


The next viral video is not difficult: Giyomi which was downright annoying. I have nothing to elaborate on this.

As a firm believer of Symbolic Interactionism, I attach meaning to almost every single thing. It does drive me crazy sometime, but what I do hope for from the viral trend of ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, do seek to understand the meaning behind the challenge and be sincere about it. And also, to remember it and probably to remind yourself that you are one of the lucky bunch who should help the unfortunate not just through this viral trend, but on other platforms and with larger scale of commitment.



Love,
Wen Xin

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Week at a Glance


It's Andrew Leigh again. Of almost similar speech as the previous session, but added with more thoughts by this respectable politician. This time, he reminded me about the role of luck, comparative advantage and the unexpected consequences in life. Disasters can happen at the wrong time as they compete for media coverage. Some issues can be left overshadowed by the Olympics hype or some celebrity's brawl.

Economics can't explain everything but it can explain most things. Same goes to physical sciences, knowledge is growing and there will be times that things are wrong. It is not difficult to acknowledge and move on.

One asked Leigh about his university life, he encouraged critical thinking and practical learning, but not just theoretical studying. University should be a place to test and try ideas. Fortunately, economics encourage that. We could try playing economics in every conversation.

Some quotes are, a dollar makes different impact to different people and don't give power to the bad guy. Well, the bad guy gets the power because the good guy doesn't want power.


The ANU College of Business and Economics organised the Trevor Swan Distinguished Lecture, presented by Nobel Laureate Professor Edward C Prescott on Neoclassical Growth Theory: From Swan to now. It was a great honour to be present in a room with a Nobel Prize winner, Trevor Swan's descendants and some prominent figures in the college.

While Prescott lecture is not something I can catch up with due to the unfamiliarity of the Macroeconomics history, but it does spark an interest in me to understand the concepts. More interestingly, Prescott is convincing with supporting facts and research, addressing stages by stages on the state of economy. "We are learning so much and there are so much more to be learned. There are so many problems out there. Simplify down and try to show views on the question."


The next day, I went to a lecture to see Prescott once again. To my surprise, this session is far more inspiring than the lecture yesterday. The lecturer, Timo Henckel shed some light on Bob Gregory, who is an economist who is interested in everything and been to everywhere, he doesn't specialises in a single thing. Now that's inspiring in my case.

Gregory went on to give an introduction for Prescott, like always, a powerful and inspiring introduction remark. He mentioned that Prescott is a brilliant man who works all their life and has lots of ideas. The difference of him and normal people is he made impact on economics as a whole. We need to change people's views and innovation of ideas can tested by seeing which generation appeals to it. The iPhone is an innovative idea that started its appeals with the young generation and spread to the older generation.

Though ideas or thoughts are absolutely vital, but integrating thoughts are important. What Prescott achieved is, he integrated both micro and macroeconomics concepts.

Some words from Prescott:
"Students are important, the future of Australia depends on you"
"I don't believe in dictatorship, but I believe in people"
"Academicians are less stressed as they get to say what they think."
"Lecturers are motivated by what students asked."
"The East is picking up, it's glad to see them rising and they could have done better."
"When I teach a graduate student, I want to learn more than them."
Get interested in economics because "it became fun, with smart people around, so much fun than mathematical theory"

"People has to know your work, you have to market your contribution, having a good student helps" Gregory who is an excellent moderator contributes by saying "Having an idea itself is not enough, you need people to know it."

"Investing in English is worth it and valuable"
"Tune into the audience and see what's in their brain, and also seeing their background and major"
"Being able to solve problem but not memorising formulas"
"Get good at selling and presenting ideas. No one is going to judge you on something, don't get too frightened."

Did the Nobel prize cost you anything?
"I do things I like and ask why on it. Humans are social animals, don't have to be a nerd, I do like sports and parties." Gregory continued by saying "don't have to give up everything, don't have to work to death, have a bit of leisure."

Researchers work by getting a new question and don't have a clue how to do it at all. They take the question and push them to ways that other people can't, and create insights out of them. Pick up the idea and make progress, making progress is what differentiate. Logical thinking is crucial.

Henckel concluded the session by saying it's not important what the subject matters, it is to learn to think critically and analytically and logically. Learn to take things to perfection, read a lot, question on the good and bad, and emulate to be better.

Sorry that I didn't organise the quotes well. On a personal note, these words are particularly meaningful on that day itself. It was a day I have been waiting for 3 months. It was life-defining. I thank God for helping me through the challenge and granting me another chance.

Had a rather uninspiring session the day after. But it gives me some ideas on things I want to get involve in. And I have strike out a couple off my list. What's ahead will be interesting, but I do know where my decisions lie.



Love,
Wen Xin


Friday, August 8, 2014

Lucy


It was a spontaneous urge to call up two friends to catch this movie on a weekday. I like how big movies start to feature female protagonist.

One question popped into my mind immediately when the credit rolls, how big is the capacity of the pendrive? The biggest byte I know is Terabyte, but of course, with only much less than 10% of my brain capacity being explored, Terabyte ain't the biggest. The pendrive which contains every knowledge that a brain can fully explored, will probably be millions or billions of yotabyte. 


The truth is, Lucy left me hanging there. It has a different cinematic experience, somehow like a scientific documentary, added with action and drama. There is something lacking in Lucy, where it didn't manage to intelligently fool the cinema-goers. I felt like the movie has just started when it ended. 

What if you know more things as usual? Lucy takes it well, frighteningly calm. I remembered in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of Crystal Skull, when granted her wish to know everything in the world, Irina Spalko simply couldn't take the overloaded mind. Similarity between Lucy and Spalko, they both disintegrate into space, time and/or dimension.

I am not sure I am using my brain at how many percent, but I know I am not using it at the fullest of the 10% a normal person uses. I want to know more things, I question how and why knowledge is created. But the more I know, the scarier things become. Because there is when you find out your thoughts are innocently stupid. And there is when I confuse myself what is right what is wrong. Perhaps there isn't right or wrong, but rather what you believe in.

So, Lucy or Professor Norman, mind sharing me the content of the pendrive? I guess Skydrive wouldn't work, so I will meet you in Paris in 12 hours.


To Paris with Love,
Wen Xin

Saturday, August 2, 2014

My First Love

I am not sure what went into me but I feel like writing recently, which I wish it could be studying instead. Someone told me during an event, 'if you don't feel like studying, don't, do something else which relaxes you'.

So I went on to Youtube, got on to DavidSoComedy channel and started watching 'My First Love', well his First Love. And that inspires this blog post. I am going to write about my first love. Even though I remembered every single moment of it clearly, I guess nothing is better than putting it into words.

I was probably 1.2 metres tall, carrying 5 textbooks each day, wearing red tie on a blue collar shirt. I was probably 9 years old or 10. We were at the same grade, same class and the same school bus. I didn't know how it started, but we got close with the rides back home. Teasing, bullying, messing around. We both knew we had a thing for each other, but what would 9 or 10 year old kids do at that point?

Soon, he stopped taking the bus home, that was when he started writing me notes with his messy writing on the blue piece of paper. He passed me the note in class, asked me to sit at the last row of the bus, then he would come and bid me farewell. It progressed where he would leave the note on the last row of the bus. I made my way through the end of the bus to retrieve it. The bus would make a loop, passing by the school gate. He would wait there patiently until my bus arrived, and ran 100m while the bus made its way. I remembered signalling him not to run, because I was afraid that he would fall.

While you may argue that this isn't love, well it's puppy love, we never develop the relationship. I moved on crushing on another guy but I believed it remained with him, until we were 12. I was smiling all the way while writing this, we still keep in touch until today. One thing I hated, I threw the notes away after collecting it for awhile.



Love,
Wen Xin



Thursday, July 31, 2014

Morgan Freeman


Some quotes I wrote down from this wise man in a 10-minute interview.

- If you're gonna have a box office hit, you're gonna depend on word of mouth. Word of mouth is what sells anything.

- People want me to do everything for them, but what they don't realise is, they have the power. You want a miracle son, be the miracle.

- He can win an election, but can be run a country.

That's deep.


Wen Xin

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Just About Everything

I was in my gym gear, and decided to skip the initial intention for a book launch event to have a workout. But a familiar voice lured me to the event room where it is filled with people, both sitting and standing. I was cracking my head to figure where did I meet this man before. It took me a minute or so, he is Bob Gregory, who gave a special lecture last semester.

At the corner of the room, a studious middle school girl, Maddie with her name written on her jersey is finishing up her homework, while her dad and brother listened attentively to the Bob who made a great introduction, citing great names from the ANU. The audience is dressed in suits, in a stark contrast to myself. People are clutching onto the same book, the title said 'The Economics of Just About Everything' by Andrew Leigh. I've heard about this politician, and now I can say I heard him speak.

He addressed the crowd with snippets of his book, from the idea of incentive, to the cost benefit analysis involving dating, to the correlation between labour market and height of a person, to the false statement of 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder'. I placed a request for this book in my local library yesterday, and found out I was placed 11th person. Oh come on!

I remembered I was fascinated about Economics when I first read Freakonomics. And it went on to Superfreakonomics to the Undercover Economist, to the one who started the buzz of social economics, The Armchair Economist. I remembered when I was first introduced to Economics as a subject, I failed my first quiz. It was interesting how the interest developed, after my future cousin brother in law introduced Freakonomics, things were never the same.

I was good, but never excellent in Economics. But like the 15 economists who raised their hands when Leigh asked them to, there is always a huge amount of curiosity in me. But unlike the 15 economists, I was never the one with good intuition. Sometimes it really does take the right opportunity to inspire or tell you what you want, and this book launch event is one of them.

Thank you Andrew Leigh for reminding me of what got me started things at the first place. Thank you Bob Gregory and Rabee Tourky for the second special lecture.


Wen Xin

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

22

It was the first birthday in a foreign country, without the family and the gathering of my girlfriends.Celebrations on the previous years had been elaborated, but 21 should be the last elaborated birthday I had. Two things remained were the annual iconoclasm of not using Facebook and doing the things I liked on this special day of mine. 

Though a small part of me suspected and expected some sort of surprise, I had two wishes for this year's birthday. I wanted to spend it in Canberra and I wanted it be small. I woke up when the morning sunlight pervaded my room and was surprised by a text. After whispering Happy Birthday to myself, a 40 minutes yoga flagged off the day. Interestingly, a skype call followed suit. A 90 minutes chat reminded me how much I missed this dearest friend who was thousand miles away.

Hit the mall with no companion, and allowed myself to go wherever I want and spent as much time as I wanted. Was mainly shopping for an upcoming project and some good deals on sale for myself. Thinking back of how the first half of the year has evolved, I smiled primly at why I put myself through pain and tears. But when I looked back, the pain and tears weren't so much of the focus, but on how fulfilling it was. While Nike had well advertised, I risked everything, everything I had. I did wonder if the stronghold of righteousness was worth it after all. But the sense of appeasement had proven that the intuition was worth following after all even though a couple of priorities are at stakes. 

I wandered around the mall and got the items I needed. I journeyed home and immersed in a 30 minutes of gym workout, one of the few moments I can get my mind shut from thoughts. I came back to two dear friends who pampered me like a queen with scrumptious dinner and heavenly desserts. Watched a light-hearted movie and called it a day.

The annual notes of appreciation go to:
  • The dearest family members, I miss all of you dearly.
  • Mun Nyee and Shao Qi who spent so much time and effort in making the day extra special.
  • Joanne for the skype call and being the good friend one could ever ask for.
  • The 10 friends who wished me via text and Whatsapp, for these wishes had added some personal touches to the day since Facebook was off-bound.
  • The 69 friends who took time to post the wishes and pictures on Facebook.
I am grateful for the people around me and for how things had worked out from July 2013 to now. Thanks to all of you. Here's to a great second half of the year where dreams and projects take place.


Love,
Wen Xin 


Friday, May 30, 2014

The Final Push

The last week of my second semester in the ANU turned out to be quite interesting and inspiring. Blaming it on hormones and a necessary recovery from the gruelling assignment week, it was also lazy and unproductive. A couple of insights from this week I wished to jot down.


From left, Sum Dek Joe (committee of Malaysian Interest Group (MIG) of ANU), Aslam Abdul Jalil (founder of MIG of ANU, YB Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad (State assemblyman for Seri Setia) and YB Hannah Yeoh (State assemblyman for Subang Jaya).

Just a few days I had a conversation with a friend, I said that Generation Y in Malaysia does not really have the racism issue in them because we are born Malaysian, whereas the Generation X is made Malaysian after the independence. They are still divided by the mindset of ethnicity, religion or status. I personally do not care if the national Badminton team is formed with all Chinese, the Prime Minister is Malay, the smartest person is Indian, etc. For God's sake, we are all Malaysians.

I could not take the negativity or perhaps the immaturity in politics. As aptly put by YB Nik Nazmi, they are playing a dangerous game. If I may add, dangerously stupid and ridiculously outrageous. If only people can put aside being selfish and ridicule, and see the nation's well being at the utmost scale, there is hope. And I always believe, Malaysia has hope.

I can particularly relate to YB Hannah Yeoh when she struggled the first two years of her political career. Of course, my comparison is not at the same scale as hers. I did take years wondering joining a volunteer organisation the right choice, and months wondering to continue the second dream of mine. I stayed on for both, I just wish I find the drive to stop the second thoughts.

It was pleasing to see both YBs in Canberra where opportunity is lacked in Malaysia. A heartfelt congratulations to the MIG of ANU for their dedication and progress. For the time being, I could only support the frontline of the war and to be politically aware.



The last lecture of Macroeconomics 1 features a special lecture from three speakers. From left, Professor Bob Gregory and Professor Rabee Tourky.

Professor Tourky shared that university is not simply getting a degree, or getting a job, but being in an intellectual community. It is a place to be liberated, for thinkers, for rejecting authoritarian. He urged students to take advantage of the community and be an independent thinker to non-sensible ideas. And this, in my point of view is main difference of being in a foreign university and attending a local university. But sadly, myself included, I did not appreciate the fact that I have the privilege and access to this intellectual community.

Tourky further advised students not to waste time on activities other than intellectual activities. Professor Gregory probably had a different thought. He said figure out what's the best to you and you decide how to put university into you. "It's up to you to choose what's best for you. Learn about how society works. I want to know how things work. Politicians fix things but economists find out how and why. Do you eventually know how things work? No, still learning and never lose interest. Something's that keeps you going."

Tourky further shared that economics is an intellectual science, on the studies of interaction of humans on limitations of resources. Economist makes models. A friend once told me 'why economists bother to make predictions when all the predictions are always inaccurate'. Gregory had a good answer here, "Model don't tell you if it's a mistake, but it tells you what's possibly going to happen".

That is the reason why I was drawn to social science, rather than physical science. The positivist in physical science insists on causation and empirical evidence, and ignore the underlying assumptions and hidden stories. A moral from Gregory is "the thinking is important even when you have a model. Economy is lively and growing, the world is changing all the time. We need to adapt, but not adopt. Learning how to think. Thinking can complicate things but is to simplify stuff. The ultimate challenge of all is achieving ceteris paribus: keeping everything constant but be able to change the one you want to change."

An impromptu approach to the Macroeconomics tutor, Timo Henckel, turned out to be an interesting 30-minutes conversation. I was torn between two education experiences, one from my past University of London studies and the current ANU studies. Both are of the same degree, but both has given me distinct feelings. I wondered if I have managed to 'put university life into excitement' and why that something 'hasn't been keeping me going'. Was I being too ambitious or greedy? Timo's words make me conclude that there are diminishing marginal returns as you move on. And of course, the unlimited wants of mine come at a cost of given time being constant.

It has been quite a week, with these 3 sessions and an unfavourable outcome after a two weeks wait. Perhaps God has been better plans for me. Looking forward to the fully-packed winter break and some time to gather myself up again.


Wen Xin