Sunday, 29 November 2015

Midnight Reflection on People Who Changed Our Lives

A Facebook conversation popped out the other day. A friend of mine sent a message to thank me for empowering her life.

I was puzzled as we have not met or talked for a while. She explained that my posts on Facebook have taught her to finally have the strength to decide her life for herself.

Since then, occasionally some acquintances come to tell me that I am an inspiration to them, that they can be brave, that they also want to find out what life holds for them. They say they can relate to me personally, that after they read about the things I do, they realise that they could too. They learn that the only thing that is stopping us is ourselves.

This is becoming more and more frequent.

These are mostly people I have little interaction with during my daily life. Yet they take the trouble to text me, meesage me, or talk to me just to tell me how I have changed their mindset and their lives.

It got me thinking. How did these happen?

As a child and teenage, I had a tough time looking for an identity and my place. I come from a small fishing village. I didn't know who I was and should be. Oppressive and competitive education, peer pressure and canings from school didn't help.I wasn't academically bright either. I had social anxiety which nobody, not even myself was aware of. Ultimately, I was nobody. I probably wasn't the only one who felt this way, pretty sure many of the teens are facing this identity crisis now.

But as time goes, I have been incredibly lucky to have many who have inspired me.

When I joined Musical out of boredom, people told me I could sing. So I became a singer.

I couldn't dance but Kingsley, my mentor encouraged me. So I ended up dancing on stage. Since then, my life transformed.

I sucked in studies but my mum said everything will be fine. So I have since received 3 academic scholarships and I am certain that there are more to come.

After a breakup, I had an identity crisis and lost all confidence but my friends told me that there's no way they can watch me wilt. So they built me up instead.

When I started looking for an identity, my parents gave me a green light and sent me to China. I was thrown into an unfamiliar place for 2 months but people valued me. They said that I spoke well, they that my travelling experiences are of utmost importance. They say critical thinking should always be encouraged not oppressed. They let me express my opinions. So I led thousands of people, an entire community.

When I didn't know what options I had beside medicine, a Spanish university offered me a business scholarship. I went to my favourite country in the world and I realise that I could change the world and help the poor and sick from a bigger picture.

When I felt lonely, I made friends from all around the world. They say the world is big. We can be anything we want.

There is a similarity which these statements share. Do you know what it is?

It is FAITH. These people, they listened to our stories. They didn't give up on us. Instead, they believe in us. Faithfully. Goodness oozed from them. I began mirroring them, learning from them. In the process, I found myself. I become fearless. I become humble. Most importantly, I become happy.

Honestly, I didn't think that my life is extraordinary. The more I travel, the more experienced I become with my emotions, the humbler I become. I begin talking to people more, and seeing only their strengths. I become very willing to work hard to understand a person's life. I work even harder to want to be part of other's lives. I start listening. I start sharing and indirectly, educating and inspiring. I didn't know that what I was doing was inspiring. But soon people began noticing how after talking to me, they learned. They felt empowered. They felt thankful. They think that I changed their lives.

But I think they have it inside them all along. I strongly believe that everyone has gems in them, waiting to be discovered. Today, I am still learning from them.

I strongly believe in this because in the beginning, I was the one who started watching them, learning the way they talk, learning the way they see life, learning the way they love. I tried very hard to imprint these images and values in my mind, so much that in time, their beautiful values become mine. It is their quality from the start. I want them to know that if they think that my life is amazing, their lives could be like mine and more because they are more amazing than I am. I want to tell them that they are me and more, for everyone is special and irreplaceable.

2 days ago, I have a friend whose name is Bobby, whom I have known for 3 years, told me that I have changed, matured and am inspiring. I didn't have the time and capacity then. But if I could turn back time, I would have told him that I learned how to be sincere and caring from him since we became friends. He didn't know, but he was one of the greatest people whom I have met in my life. He is my inspiration.

I think we all have a very incredible superman in us. Let's unleash it. Life is limitless. Remember that you're amazing. Never let yourself limit your soul.

Monday, 21 September 2015

International Summer School 2015

 I am officially a Business Communication minor!

Have you ever dreamed about studying abroad in a relatively unconventional country?

The usual trends are Malaysians and Singaporeans studying in the United Kingdom, Chinese in the United States and Indians being tech support everywhere in the world and so on. But what if one day, we have an opportunity to break out of our comfort zones and go somewhere else? 

I spent a summer studying in Spain. But it wasn't an immediately easy decision to come to. 

I am currently in the medical profession. However, I have long felt the need to explore about my identity and my existence. I found that I have an interested in business and speaking. 

Most importantly, after travelling to Switzerland, Italy, China and Mongolia in 2015, I was looking for a cheaper alternative to travel in summer 2015. I wanted to be sponsored to travel. I considered making a travel blog as the source of my income beside my current scholarship allowance but I have my medical commitments. I would love to be a vacation tester but I have no experience or whatsoever. 

So one day it just struck me that, I may not be qualified enough as a travel advisor. But I would definitely stand a better chance on getting some academic scholarships.

I received this summer scholarship but I initially put going to Spain as a backup plan. I put a lot of hope and moved on to apply to some schools in Switzerland and UK where I was offered vacancies but without scholarship. 

As you read my blog, you would more and less know that I am working for financial independence. So since I received the scholarship and it is a country that I have never been to, WHY NOT? Let's get out of our comfort zones!

So there I was, in the University of A Coruna, Spain!



I have no idea about typing the n with a ~ on top.

Frankly, I dreaded a little before departing because:

1. I was so geared going to either UK or Switzerland. I was confident.

2. I was googling about the university. I couldn't find much.

3. I can't speak Spanish for nuts.

Turned out the 3-week academics I dreaded going for became the best decision I have made up in 2015.

I went to La Coruna, the capital of Galicia, Spain knowing nothing about it. So I was quite astonished when I arrived in the city simply because I didn't expect it to be so beautiful!

In the city, you can never be more than 200 meters away from the beaches Orzan and Riazor! Because they are both facing the Atlantic Ocean, the waves are big. I went surfing and looking into the waves is like watching tsunami pouring over me die die die. 

The beaches are usually just doorsteps away. Most Spanish spend their siesta from 2-6pm just sunbathing and playing beach tennis with their children here. I jealoouuussss.

La Coruna is a peculiar city because the Galicians seem to consider themselves as just Galicians. Some rather identity themselves as Portugese than Spanish. Either way, the city is cheap, peaceful and above all, has beautiful beaches and street arts!

I was the only Malaysian in the International Summer School in the University of Coruna, most probably the only one in the history too. I wouldn't be surprised if some of my classmates have never heard of Malaysia, this small country in Southeast Asia until the crash of our flight made it to international headlines in 2014.

I studied Organisational Leadership and Business Communication with Social Media while taking Spanish lessons in la Universidade da Coruna. My daily schedule looks somewhat like this:

9am-11am: Spanish course
11am-2pm: Leadership/ Business
2.30pm-3pm: Lunch
5pm-9pm: Going out with friends
9pm-10pm: Dinner
10pm-1am: Parteeeyyyyhh! *plays Pitbull*


My business classes focused mainly on how companies rise and fall with the use of social media. We investigated a remarkable case study on the Qantas Airline PR mistake.

Because Qantas Airlines and its unions couldn't come to an agreement, many passangers were stranded in many places without being able to fly home in 2011. Very soon, a ill-timed move with the hashtag #qantasluxury was campaigned on twitter, asking people to describe their "dream luxury in-flight experience" with Qantas to win premium pajamas and toiletry kits.

As soon as #qantasluxury was up, all the angry passangers went on frenzy.



Can't say I didn't get a good laugh haha.

I LOVE my leadership classes because Dr. Ana Aleksic, my lecturer from Croatia is gorgeous, sweet and humbly caring. The materials she gave were mostly self-help, which incredibly allowed our personal development.

One of her lessons that struck me the most is that however despite the damages he has done to the world, Adolf Hitler remains a great charismatic leader in history. This is important because while we instinctively know killing is immoral, Hitler was able to move an entire army, who obeyed thoroughly, to carry out a genocide against the Jewish. It keeps me wondering about how powerful one's speech can be, so moving that we leave our values and morals aside to die for such leader.

I have learned and gained many valuable experience and knowledge. But the most irreplaceable part of the summer school is the people.



We are from all around the globe! 

Ukraine, Brazil, Switzerland, Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Spain, Lithuania, Holland, Morocco, Portugal etc.

We usually have classes together in the mornings. Then city tours together in the evenings and lots of drinkings at night. These are some things that we have done together:

We partied almost every night. Or at least hang out at somebody's room for crap emo talks and dirty games.

Due to our excessive drinking and noises, one night at 1am, a hostel guard appeared and started scolding us in Spanish crazily !@#$%^&* Even though we understood nothing, we had no choice but to be forcefully driven into the jungle to continue our games and drinking. It was freezing at 10 degrees that night. We heard barkings and crickets and all sorts of creepy animal sounds in the jungle. But for some reasons we all fell in love with the jungle and we even had a bonfire farewell at the same spot later that week.

It is amazing, how the things that we deemed casual at the moment, turned out to be our favourite memories in life. :)
I initially joined the business summer school to travel and also explore my future option of venturing out of the medical field. What I didn't foresee is to form such close bonds with my favourite people from all around the world. Getting to know them and understanding each other's culture was deeply intriguing and their laughters are something I would never get tired listening to.

We shared great memories.

The Brazilians introduced me to Paellurhus, a Brazilian cigarette which you can lit and unlit and keep for another day. The Dutch walked 1 mile and picked beautiful wild flowers for me in the middle of the forest. The Ukrainians are gorgeous and incredily humourous and happy to be around with. The Lithuanian understands all my girly concerns. The Kazakh is my Asian sister. The Georgians studied in 7 universities and worked in 4 cities. Both should hold some sort of crazy records haha.

Above all, we laughed at different things. Because we all laughed at different things, eventually we laughed together all the time. Sometimes it was just a usual bus ride or a casual meal in a bar. All the things they say, they never failed to make me laugh. :)

Let the photos speak my words.
Buying alcohols for the night parties.
Yuri the Brazilian has Italian ancestry and his nose is too big for the shades lololololol!
Asian sister in action.

   

There are 3 things I learned and gained in this summer school:

1. Spanish language. 
2. Business European Credits
3. How to club with latin musics.

This is something I wrote before leaving the summer school. 

To the best people I have met in the summer school,
From now onwards, we are leaving each other one by one. Most back to their home countries. That's the end of our academic period. But our journeys have only just begun. All the best in life. May you find love in everything you do.

While wishing them luck, ultimately, I rediscovered my ability to be genuinely happy for others, and for myself. 
Now you know you can study and travel for FREE! What are you waiting for?

P/s: Read the 25 Backpacking Travel Guidelines For Asians to see how I travel.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Things Arvin and Jane say #9: Good Looks corrupt people

Yesterday was one of the usual days when we went for movie premiers together. We got 4 free tickets for Poltergeist but it was just 2 of us. We tried to give people the free tickets but everyone seemed to only want to watch Jurassic World. Sigh. There burned our premier tickets.

Anyway while on the way to movie, we had a conversation like this in the car.

Me: Do you know Google interns get paid like $6000 with housing allowance omg

Arvin: Yea exactly, just need to be really hardworking and talented and lucky.

Me: Yea sigh. Too bad we don't have any talent lo haiyoooo

After 5 seconds of silence.

Me: You know, if I get to choose between being talented and good-looking, I seriously would wanna be talented and smart. Cos' I feel like talents will never destroy a person but good looks could corrupt a person's mind.

Arvin: Yea man, so I bet you're really corrupted heh heh.

Me: AHHH what a pick-up line hahahahha <3

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Italy 2014 Part 1

This entry should have been done 1 year ago. Today I thought I have to complete blogging about my stay in Italy before flying to Spain in June.

Prego Italy!


Italy is a peculiarly passionate country. Italians are so friendlyyyy and warm just like their climate! If you're cute you may get butt pinches while walking. They get even more excited if they find out that you can speak English and you're from US because many Italians migrated to New York wtf. Our mate told us this is how a typical Italian male expresses his admiration to a girl.

Ooouuuii you so kiut! Come home to see my Maa-ma
My maa-ma will lurv yuuu! <3

Somehow Italian males are very attached to their mothers. Apparently when a couple divorces, the mother almost takes the child's custody ALL THE TIME. Besides, child support for the man doesn't end when the child turns 18. Child support only ends when the child LEAVES the mother LOLOL wtf lucky dudes.

LOL what if the child stays with the mother until 40yo. Dads be paying them forever.

We left Switzerland and arrived in Pisa in the afternoon.

Pisa MUST-SEE: The Field Of Miracle


All the main tourist attraction of Pisa are gathered here, in the Piazzo dei Miracoli, the Field of Miracle.

The field of Miracle has 3 things. From left to right, the Pisa Baptistry, the Pisa Cathedral or Duomo in Italian, and the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

The cathedral took 300 years to build because the design was difficult and halfway through the construction, a war started.

After building the cathedral, some Italians decided to build a baptistry to make babies christians. Then they realise the need of having a bell tower to wake everyone up for festivals or funerals. And the leaning tower is a bell tower.

After construction of 2 floor, somebody noticed that the bell tower was slanted to one side.


If you look carefully at the leaning tower, you would realise that the topmost part of the building is actually slightly straighter than the rest of the tower parts. Apparently a genius thought that by constructing the bell top part closer to the vertical straight line, it would put the rest of the tower straight too lol wtf.

Anyway there's a myth. If you're still a student in a university and yet to graduate, don't walk around the baptistry or you will fail your studies wtf. Not sure how true this is but for this reason, I didn't walk any closer to the baptistry fml.

So in short, if Pisa tower isn't leaning,

Nobody would go to Pisa wtf LOL

Oh, Galileo is from Pisa!





After leaving Pisa, we arrived at Florence.

Italy is a country where wives are responsible for every household chore and conveniently, take up ALL decision-makings lol. In a way, the role of a man at home is really small. Italian families are deeply bonded together. Most of the times when you gather all family members, the conversation tends to get so heated and they look like they are shouting at each other but actually they are just talking about the weather wtf -_-

Because mothers usually take up responsibility, most of the times the relationship between the mother and the daughter-in-law gets heated. When the mothers scold their sons they tend to go, 

"WHY YOU MARRY THIS BITCH" 

LOLOLOL wtf. The only thing mothers and daughters-in-law agree about is FOOTBALL which is like the biggest entertainment in Italy.

Italy has this law in which all tourist groups must be assigned to a qualified guide who usually is at least a master or PhD holder in history LOL they will tell you about every single story they know about they city.

Florence MUST-SEE: 
1. Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, the Florence Cathedral

This cathedral, which took 100 years to build, is the prettiest and most colourful, but also the most unphotogenic cathedral I have ever seen in my life. It is hard to get an angle to include the entire building because the details of the carvings are so FINE and it is SO HUGE!!!

Anyway I was really shocked to find out that there's a city buried beneath Florence!


 

2. Piazza della Repubblica, the City Square of Florence
You can never go missing in Florence because it is built in such a way that it is rectangular with all 4 major roads leading up and intersecting at this square.

3. Palazzo Vecchio, the Town Hall of Florence, in Piazza della Signoria, the Square 


There are 2 statues in front of the town hall: Michelangelo's David on the left and Hercelus & Cacus on the right. 

Michelangelo's David is 6 tons heavy while Hercules killed Cacus the fire-belching monster.

3. Loggia dei Lanzi


Which is right beside the town hall. LOL the name sound like lansi wtf. There are about 8 statues in the gallery, one of which particularly caught my attention. 


It stood out as it was, unlike other marble statues, carved on bronze. It was Perseus holding up the head of Medusa by Benvenuto Cellini. 

4. Uffizi Gallery, a Florence Art Museum

5. Ponte Vecchio
There are shops on the bridge itself!!



Italians are different. Unlike French who drink coffee all day long, Italians take coffee shots and drink for a minute and ciao! Which is why their coffee is called expresso wtf lol.

Anyway, in Italy, enquire more info prior to booking an accomodation in especially small towns. This is because some suburbs are unofficially run by MAFIAS, yes they still exist, especially in southern Italy. Towns like this have exit and entrance time limit. If you don't follow unwritten rules like this you'd probably be stuck in the town forever wtf lol. 

Here comes a photo of me with the entire Florence having my back ;)

Perdono for my small Asian eyes.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Things Arvin and Jane say #8: Your Arms Are Not Fat At All!!!

Attended the annual dinner: The Casino Royale Ball.


I have always had a thing for cheongsam. Probably cos' I'm a Chinese duh. Found this gem in one of the weird shop in Times Square. So I dressed up as Dato' Michelle Yeoh with a chopstick from the kitchen in my hair for the night (cos' it's the easiest)

I showed up in this dress (late).

Arvin: You look real good!! Now everybody stares at your fat flabby arms.

Me: WHATTTT

Arvin: Ohh nono bae I mean your arms looks soft and white and cute. Not fat, not fat at all!! You're my pearl of the orient how can you be ever fat? 

Good cover-up. Starved for a week for this night. This is how I feel. 

Here's a photo of me, my flat eyes, my flabby arms, my chopstick and Arvin.