Thursday, December 5, 2013

The great spillover of job titles

I received an invite to a former classmate/relative's wedding two days ago. Via Facebook. Yep, that's how we roll these days, old-timers. Anyway, the content of the FB page was something like this:

The wedding of Dr. XYZ and Dr. ABC
Time: XXX
Place: XXX

I took a look at it and my almost immediate reaction to it was: "Really? Dr.?"

I couldn't but felt that it is wholly unnecessary. It is a wedding invite, not a freaking conference schedule. Your job title doesn't have to be there. I know who you are. You are a bau-bau bacang relative of mine whom I have no idea how we are related despite the countless explanations from Mom. You were a classmate of mine for many years. You don't need to convince me or anyone else of your professional capabilities. For ceremonies of the holy matrimony kind, all we need to know is your name and your future spouse's name. 

Maybe I am being a bit too harsh here. I know doctors spent like five years studying, so maybe that should allow them the privilege of tacking on the title on whatever they want. 

I wish Hidayah a wonderful married life, regardless. 

PS: And I still cannot believe that she is going to marry soon. People my age are so adult right now. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Acting Adult-like

It is amazing how time changes so many things and yet, deep inside I feel fundamentally unchanged. I am still that same person I was 7 years ago - naive, angsty, confused, dependent and directionless. 

And I used to think that adults automatically know things. Now that I am legally an adult, I still don't know a lot of things. Perhaps adults are just tiny little children hiding themselves in grown-up skin. We walk with swagger and speak in a loud voice. But we are actually pretenders, who tiptoe across this face of earth, hoping that no one discovers our mask. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Books/Manga/Films/Anime that I really love

  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  • The Boy in the World by Niall Williams
  • The Boy with the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
  • Nodame Cantabile by Ninomiya Tomoko
  • Seirei no Moribito by Uehashi Nahoko (both the anime and the book)
  • Whisper of the Heart (Studio Ghibli production)
  • Howl's Moving Castle (Another Studio Ghibli production) (love the film more than the book...)
  • The Third Eye by Lois Duncan
  • Seraphina by Rachel Hartman 
  • When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
  • First Light by Rebecca Stead
  • Shuukatsu! Kimi ni Naitei by Yoshino Aki
  • Hakuji by Morie Satoshi
  • The Help by Kathryn Stockett
  • Lord Calthorpe's Promise by Sylvia Andrew (Harlequin manga version)
  • The Maid of Fairbourne Hall by Julie Klassen
  • Immortal Rain by Kaori Ozaki
  • Fullmetal Alchemist by Arakawa Hiromu
  • The Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
  • When I Was a Kid by Boey
  • 20th Century Boys by Urasawa Naoki
  • Monster by Urasawa Naoki
  • Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Tuesday, October 22, 2013




I don't know. Don't know.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

One world wiser

After I filled the script, I turned around to see my senior counselling a small boy. He was probably about 10 or 11 years old, only a head taller than the dispensing counter. The boy was listening intently, occasionally interrupting my senior to clarify things. Then, he turned his body slightly to face his mother and started gesturing.

It finally dawned on me. His mother was deaf/mute. I looked on, as he translated everything that was said. His movements were fluid but firm. It was at that moment that I realised that he had a stern gaze in his eyes. He was probably a very mature kid, I thought to myself. I also couldn't help pitying him. Because he had to straddle two different worlds, he had to grow up more quickly than other children. At the same time, I also envied him for the ability to 'speak' another language.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013



It is enough that I spend more than half of my waking hours at work. Why must work occupy my mind when I am asleep as well?!

I wish I could dream of ghosts, monsters, my Dreamy Pilot Guy or just about anything under the sun/moon, as long as none of them involve people or places or situations from work!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Being strong?

She said: "I cried once in front of my FRP, and after that, no more. One day you will realise that you have changed. You have grown stronger."

He said: "You have to change yourself, to progress in life."

I don't need to change me. I need to improve myself, not change. If being strong means losing parts of myself, or losing this sensitivity, or getting rid of feelings, then I don't want to be strong.

If you don't think sitting here in front of you and talking to you through all these tears equals to strength, then you just don't get me. Just because we had been through similar things doesn't mean we are the same.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Almost three months in and I still haven't completed a single logbook. 

I haven't followed up on my assigned projects. I haven't updated my CPD. 

YS, throw this laziness away! Stop procrastinating!

*Let me rest tonight, and I shall start anew tomorrow.*

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Where are you?

We said our goodbyes so quickly, fooling ourselves that we will meet again someday. Perhaps, and perhaps not. We live in the same country still. But how many of us will actually leave work and meet each other again? Some of us, or maybe none.

So where are you? Your Facebook statuses that I look forward to. Your blog posts that I anticipate even though I could hardly read Mandarin. They are gone, and so are you.

I got lost in the daily conundrum of work and life. Maybe you are too. I keep remembering our frequent chats and meets. Your face, your words were what I see each day. Like a lifetime ago. I keep asking myself this:

Where are you?

Sunday, June 30, 2013

I once chastised my sisters for being dependent on my parents' charity. My dad chauffeurs them to the LRT station, while my mom cooks and cleans for them. Partly because I was jealous. I was on my own in Perth for 4 years, renting a house on my own (with two other friends, of course), travelling to placements by bus and cooking meals for myself. It took me nearly an hour to reach my placement sites and my parents didn't really bat an eyelid.

And right now, when I tell people that I live at home and am chauffeured by my mom, I am teased by them. Really?

Well, sorry for living at home. Sorry for having a mom to cook and clean after me. Sorry for letting my mom driving me to and from work. Sorry for being loved. 

You know what? I will not allow your sarcastic comments to affect me. Because I have been in your shoes and I recognise your feelings. Yeah, you are just jealous. You are jealous that I am staying in my own house, in my own room, sleeping in my own bed. Yeah, you are jealous that I am living with my mother while your daughter is so far away in India. 

Think of me as a spoiled child as much as you want. Because I deserve being loved by my parents. And what can your words do to me? 


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Xiao Bao Bei

Little Darling.

That is what my great-aunt called me, up to this very day. She makes me feel special, and for that, she is my one of my most favourite persons in the world.

Sunday, June 2, 2013


A senior pharmacist said: "First year of working in outpatient, you feel excited. Everything is new. Second year at outpatient, you feel okay. Third year in outpatient, you will start to wonder: Where is my goal?"

All of the interns just laughed. But what he said is true. There is a pharmacist who has been working there for four years now and things don't seem to change at all. Screening prescriptions, filling them and then dispensing them like a robot.

I don't want to be working like that every day for the next six years. Where is the fun, the excitement? Just looking forward to the next holiday, to the next Saturday, to the next payday.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Musings on starting work

I looked at my seniors from work. They are really young, only a few years older than I. I thought, "This is like school all over again. Except that we are paid to work." But when I paid closer attention, some do have wrinkles around their age, some with wedding bands.

I feel as if I should belong in a classroom or a lecture hall somewhere. Not here in this pharmacy, filling scripts. I feel like a fluke by calling myself a provisionally-registered pharmacist. I don't feel like someone who should be earning a paycheck. Perhaps that is me, trying to grasp with reality.

But each time I return home, I gain a sense of normalcy all over again. This is where I should belong, I thought. This is where I ought to be.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Wake me up when 2019 ends

If I solely wanted to practise pharmacy in Malaysia, then I had came back with regrets in my heart.

I just want to honour the contract made with JPA. To go back on this promise will mean that I have given up on my own character. I don't want that.

Besides, I want to see my family again and be closer to them. I had never thought I like to have them around with me always, but I do enjoy it now.

6 years, I am waiting for you to end. Just like how I wanted to get out of school, out of Intec, out of Curtin. After that, I have no idea what I want to do. I just don't want to commit to anything in the future.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

I once wanted to change the world. But now, I just cannot be bothered. This must be what they mean by being an adult.

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Turning Point

The day after my 24th birthday, I shall report to work. Eeeep!

I will know which hospital I will be posted to then. I will start work, probably the very next day.

The chapter of childhood shall be closed forever for me. Welcome to the world of adults - of paying bills and giving allowances to parents. The joke is now on me!

Monday, April 8, 2013


In exactly a week, I will be 24. It is supposed to be a huge milestone. I should be in the workforce now, joining the crowd of people who mourn their Mondays and rejoice in their Saturdays. I should be giving monthly allowances to my parents. I should be doing something with my life at this point.

No. I am still waiting for a letter that has yet to come. A letter that I anticipate with dread and also equal measure of excitement. All my friends are leaving me, one by one, either for the working society or the universities. And I still stay at home, commuting weekly between KL and TI, neither here nor there. I am always travelling and yet I stay in exactly the same place.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A silly memory, a small laugh

Our lives are filled with many moments. Some are sweet, some are bitter and some are so humiliating that we could die. And when I remember those embarrassing events that pockmarked my live, I would laugh a silly little laugh to myself. No one would know exactly why I do that. They might think I am crazy.

But now that you know this, be rest assured that I am perfectly sane.

Monday, March 11, 2013

A Letter to Madam Salmah

Madam Salmah, you probably will never read this. But if you do, please forgive my awful grammar and syntax, for I have gone many years without writing proper English.

I would like to thank you for making English classes fun. I was very apprehensive in Intec. Can I fit in? Can I find the courage to speak up in front of my classmates? You did not know then, but you brought me out. You challenged us, challenged me. The very first thing you did in our ESL class was to hold a class debate. We hardly knew each other back then. It was semester one and everyone was a new face to everyone. But you made us team up, pick a side and debate. Debate was one - and probably, the only - thing that could make me aggressive. We argued with each other. We intimidated one another. And suddenly, we were friends! There is nothing like a good argument to bring people together.

I love the way you teach. You made me realise that the newspaper is not just a newspaper. You took news items and turned them into topics worth discussing. You challenged us to speak our minds. Everyone was given opportunity to have their say. After an hour of deliberation and debate, we would sit down to think and write an essay. But could you have known that the wheels in my mind were already turning the moment you came in. They were whirring at breakneck speed, trying to think of things to say (and to write later) to impress you.  I wasn't alone in that; everyone was trying to use bombastic words to earn a praise from you.

I really want to apologise to you, if I could. I resented you, come semester two because you forced me to join the interclass debate. I found it to be a time-consuming exercise. I was overwhelmed with the workload in college. I had thought that this competition was just another one of your schemes to advance your agenda - whatever that may be. I had thought you to be highly arrogant. I will admit that you may not be without fault, but so am I. I failed to realise that maybe, you recognised my ability. I went into the competition with resentment. Indeed, it was terrible because I did not enjoy myself at all.

Credit must be given when it is due. Now I look back at my own essays with fond feelings. I regret the fact I only kept two of them. Had I not planned to do pharmacy, I would have switched to language studies because you made English so enjoyable.

All in all (one of your favourite phrases), I would like to thank you for your guidance and the memories in the Warrungu classroom.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Finding Space

The worst thing about coming home (for good) is finding space for the things you brought back. I am saying this obviously from experience.

I had thrown out most of my lecture notes and gave away my heftiest possessions. And yet when my five boxes of stuff arrived from Perth, they looked out of place. I wondered: Where should I put them? The space in my home has been occupied by my old things - books, magazines, little knick-knacks accumulated since forever. And it seems almost impossible to fit newer things into the existing landscape of my house.

In a similar fashion, I need the space for my emotions and experiences I brought back. I cannot explain it well, but something has fundamentally changed since I went off to study four years ago. I want to exert my independence, but I am afraid. I want to voice my opinions, but I fear judgment. I am still my parents' daughter, yet I want to be my own person.

My parents have expectations on what each person should aspire to achieve in life - family and ambition. I try to challenge that.

"I will only leave this world in peace once I have seen each of my children settled down with their own family."

"But what if I don't want to get married and have kids?"

"Everyone should strive to climb to the very top in the organisation they work in."

"Not everyone has the same goals as you."

It is not that I want to be confrontational. I just want them to pay attention to me, for once. People change. We all go away and come back with new baggage - both physical and emotional. I need space for the things I brought back with me. I need space for myself.

But where do I fit in this jigsaw puzzle of a place I still called home?

Sunday, January 6, 2013

2013 new year resolutions

I thought making up NYR is futile. But I really want to change something this year, even just a little bit. To aspire to be something, is human. This is my rough list:

  • Do not be judgmental - towards myself or anyone else. Words can hurt. I myself had been hurt in this way in 2012, and had hurt others as well. I do not want to use words as an armour, as a dagger. 
  • Strive to be a good pharmacist. Although I have started this on the wrong foot (so wrong that I do not wish to elaborate), I will do my best. 
  • Read as much as I can, at least one novel per month. I have finally picked up reading again in 2012. I hope to maintain this habit. 
There you go. I think as the year plods along, more things will be added to my NYR. 

What about your list?