A Meal With My Favourite Lecturer.

“Dinner? 7pm,” He messaged.

“Ok, but Jasmine went back already,” I replied while sweating profusely assimilating the thought that I will be feasting with the arguably most intimidating yet friendly mathematics lecturer.

“Me and u lar (sei Loh),” he replied. At this point, I screamed inaudibly. Face slumped onto the table. Here we go again, another “much” anticipated counseling session.

I have always had an issue facing my own problems or fear. If given a choice, I would opt to disregard them as I dread failure. I am a perfectionist, in certain aspects anyway. The essence of failure and defeat is never a thing that I have truly grasped and relished. Hence why I have never branched out into wild exploration or anything that is not remotely within my comfort zone, cause I know I will not receive any commendation in exchange. They are the primary incentives that get me to strive.

I have experienced being publicly humiliated for failing and not being able to do anything else, losing the trust of others, just to name a few. Consequently, my philosophy in life was altered to – “if that’s what it takes to try new things, I better not”.

Just after a short nap, it was already 7. I packed my books for the night and proceeded to Rock Cafe. Shortly after, He arrived with this heartwarming smile, we then ordered our food.

“So why are you so scared of me huh?” he asked.

“I don’t know, maybe cause I missed your class twice that I felt extremely guilty to face you,” I confessed. I think no words could describe the fear that swallowed me when I woke up that day just to find out that I had missed his morning class, TWICE, especially after learning how he treats the late-comers. I remember that I had an immediate breakdown upon waking up to his phone call in the morning while trying to remain calm to make up a story of having morning diarrhea. When I met him afterward, I swear I had no idea how I managed to contain those tears that struggled desperately to spill out from my eyes. I believed that he saw those teary eyes so he gave me a chance of redemption. To my surprise, I received no reprimands from him, which I was BEYOND grateful for.

He stared at me for a while, then nonchalantly replied: “oh, then just do your best in the upcoming exam.”

I was flabbergasted by his response. I expected a volcanic eruption akin to that of Mt Vesuvius, or at least a verbal reproach. I got none.

“See, I didn’t ask you to get top in the world or anything, just merely do your best, because we as lecturer hope that you understand what we taught, the knowledge that we conveyed. So what if you get top in the world, yes people will look up to you in two or three years time, afterward, nobody’s gonna remember your achievement except you yourself. Top in the world is not what we want, your understanding is what we long for.” He continued.

Well, it was not astonishing news that teachers seek students’ understandings as a form of validation and feedback for their work. From my years of fortunate encounters with these beyond dedicated teachers, it’s always the upper echelons in the education industry that exert pressure on teachers by representing students’ grades as a form of their KPI. Thus, to be “successful”, they are coerced to push their students as far as possible which alas steered some teachers to “cheat” the system. As fortunate as I am, I was once a victim of this, learned absolutely nothing but earned 10/10.

However, what stood out to me was his way of conveying a message. He does not equivocate nor does he appear to be pretentious in his speech what so ever. He speaks the truth and is always backed with his experience. One thing that he taught me that is permanently carved onto my chamber of thoughts is that never talk about something which you do not know the context of, as it will only make you appear less intelligent. Till this day, I still have a hard time implementing this as I will often subconsciously chime in with a shocking headline which I do not know the context of, just to grab the attention of whoever I am speaking to. Yes, my thirst for attention is absolutely disgusting.

Moving along, we talked about other topics before landing on this particular problem that I abhorred but had to address anyway—my excruciatingly scarce self-esteem. This has been a perennial problem with no panacea for me. It has slowly evolved into inferior complexity and mild depression. Every time I failed to speak fluently, I feel so diminished and ignominious that I dare not lift my head to look at the person I’m talking to, and then proceed to contemplate why I cannot think fast enough just like those who can. I decided to open up to him as I felt this close rapport between us and that he might be able to advise me on this with his past experience with his students. Never have I once thought that I would open up this vulnerable side to my lecturer, ever.

He ended up giving me a free 30-minutes TED talk where he shared his journey and how he garnered the confidence that he once lacked too. Albeit pretty generic advice, but maybe generic is the way to go. Maybe it is the default way to do it. Maybe I just need to for once step out of my comfort zone for a prolonged period rather than being afraid of commitment. My problem is that I have always been building my self-esteem from the exultation of seeing my peers fail. It might sound harsh but that’s the way it is. That’s just the absolute truth, as much as my altruistic side hates it, there’s no denying it. Now, I come to realize how shallow minded I have been, equating validation to success. But at the same time, is this just another excuse that I subconsciously created to justify my lack of success? I just don’t know what to think anymore.

College Life Vol. I

Exuberance and excitement channeled through me as the thought of getting back to the academic track has finally become a reality. I strode along the hallway of the college, displaying confidence externally; internally however, I felt extremely lost. It was as if I were relocated to a peregrine land, with just a few resources lying around, no friend or family. Nevertheless, to build my empire, I had to start somewhere which is non other than what introverts with severely damaged self-esteem despise the most, making new friends.

Personally, getting to know a stranger is perhaps the most tedious and excruciating process ever. Hence why I always have the proclivity to avoid stranger at all cost as there are only two possible immediate outcomes: If you are lucky, you get to keep the conversation going without the awkward silence that makes you constantly question yourself “WHAT THE HELL SHOULD I ASK?!” Otherwise, you might sit silently or even attempt to strike an unenthusiastic conversation knowing that both of you share no common interest what so ever. Maybe that is just my pessimistic view on socialising in general.

So, moving along with time, I gradually garnered enough strength to mingle with my classmates which consist of mostly alpha men, whose personalities utterly contrasted with my high school friends. Talking to them was a rather difficult task, especially for someone who is not sporty and does not like anything that a guy is “supposed” to like, including the opposite gender. Therefore, sometimes when they are having a manly discussion, I’ll just sit at a corner nodding at every word they say, portraying this masculine persona as if I understand what are they chatting about. Despite doing so, I guess my horrendous acting skill (which disqualified me as an actor in a high school drama competition) was so obvious that one of my friend ended up questioning my abrupt change of behaviour when I was surrounded by them.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, the girls in my class however, are very friendly and easy to get along with. (or maybe I tend to mingle with girls more often as I find them more relatable) I befriended with these few girls who are very cool, gossipy and frankly quite opinionated. Nevertheless, everything changed when the alpha males nation attacked. They started spreading rumour about how I admire one of the girls, to the extent that we now find it extremely awkward to even converse or have any sort of physical interaction. I can’t really blame them for spreading said rumour as I was the one guilty for spearheading it. (I accidentally called her out when the teacher asked to choose a person “who I admire the most” and that the last 5 words didn’t really register into my mind when I was considering for the eligible nominees) It was humiliating to say the least.

And that basically summed up the first chapter of my college life. It’s exciting for sure, but I have no idea what underlying obstacles awaiting me as I continue to propel further onto this path.

 

The Forbidden Infatuation

Talking to you is akin to the therapy that I have always needed to mend my chimerical chamber of imagination. It is therapeutic in a way that no word can truly explain how it feels. Contrary to the stereotype depicted in romance movies, my heart never skips a beat every time we talk, but I could never look you in your eyes.

I am shy, in front of you, yet I have always longed for your attention. Your smile never ceases to mitigate the sorrow in my heart. Every morning, I check my notification, just to see if you are there, replying my messages. Every night, I drag our conversation, just so that we can stay in touch for a little longer.

When you told me, “I want to talk to you every day,” you had no idea how much that meant to me. Even at times where you didn’t feel like talking, my desperate self will find a way to start a conversation with you. My heart aches every damn time when there exists even a slight depressing undertone in your voice because I know what you have been through. The urge to jump out of the chat to hug you gets more and more irrepressible as the day goes by. I feel so obligated to make you happy that it hurts, so why aren’t you happy?

On that day, I really wanted our graduation photograph, just the both of us, to be posted as my display picture but I was afraid to be stripped naked of my identity. During our group outings, I even rejected my friend’s offer just so that I could sit beside you in the theater, staring at your smile and your irresistibly adorable face when you were terrified. I faked that I needed to hold someone’s hand during moments of jump scare, just so that I have an excuse to hold your hand.

I know this is a one-sided admiration that will never bloom any time in the future since you are in love and just treating me merely as your best friend. I hope that you discover happiness in your current relationship, while I can only sit at the corner, dreaming to ever meet a guy who mirrors you. You allowed me to feel a whole new sensation that I was never familiar with.

It is not love, nor is it a feeling of falling for you. Is it?

Lost In Bleak Darkness

Often enough, I always find myself drifting amid the stream of knowledge and wisdom where there is seemingly endless horizon, yet my movement is perpetually confined and my thoughts are always feathering into tributaries but will never coalesce. Emergence of a brilliant idea, most often than not, will be eclipsed by a series of mental discourse and deliberation. Hence, I am afraid to write. Afraid that my idiosyncratic creation will be perceived merely as a kitsch. Afraid that my perception and presentation do not appeal to the mass. But mostly, I am afraid of being judged.

It has been months ever since I held my pencil akin to a mighty sword, devoting my soul into the sanctified paradise of writing. I cherish those memories. The exhilaration and contentment of extracting a masterpiece from your chamber of cerebration and imagination never seize to fulfill my draining satisfaction. However, as my mind begins to fill with void, there is a colossal edifice that halts my propagation. It prevents access to my chimerical imagination and artistry. Eventually, holding a pencil no longer emanates surging vitality and electrifying experience but more so becomes a heavy burden strapped onto my shoulders.

I am stranded in this bleak darkness. However, with the motivations and inspirations bestowed upon me, I believe I will gradually garner the strength to escape from this predicament. This is the first approach that I have taken towards the realm of light. I know for a fact that I must now disregard the time albatross and write as I please, write till I discover my purpose and finally, write till I’m able to reach the horizon of the endless stream.

Look where I’m at now (2015)

My heart was pounding hard on the thought of reuniting with my beloved buddies as I stepped both of my foots on the ground on the entrance of my school. The feeling is a mixture between exhilaration and excitement. “It’s going to be a great year,” I thought. Little did I know that my current state is utterly opposing that particularly naïve claim.

“Open your additional mathematics textbook and turn to page 54, circle a, b, c, d, e ,f. Then, turn to page 56 and circle b, d, e, f. That’s it for your homework!” My face immediately slammed on the rock hard table. “Wait, before I leave, you all have to hand in your books tomorrow! Otherwise….” she glared at us through her classic oval-framed glasses upon finishing her speech and the bell chimed afterwards. I gazed in awe, at the pile of homework stacking perfectly in front of me, awaiting me to shove it down my bag. Did I forget to state that it was just the 3rd week of school reopening.

Life gets harder, we have always heard of this phrase, but do we actually know what it means by harder? No, because it’s entirely subjective. Personally, I can totally relate to the phrase. From the mountain-like pile of homework and the increasing difficulty of theories and formulas, I started to find it hard to assimilate what teacher is trying to convey via the whiteboard. It gets worse when it comes to exam. Before this I had only six subjects in exam, but now I have 10!

 

2014

2014,
the year where incidents occurred frequently,
we played hide and seek with plights repeatedly,
afraid of being caught into the cesspool of death,
we fought till the end of our breath,
to protect the loved ones and the rest.

2014,
the year where calamities restricted happiness,
caused humans to live under the roof of emptiness,
only tears of loss filled up the ocean,
when there are no vials of potion,
to rescue the unfortunate humans.

2014,
was just another year,
where we start to contemplate the roots of our tears,
when it all revolves around us,
the wrongdoings of human,
to the nature surrounding us. -The Gaga Tan

 

*Sorry for the lack of updates 😦 Hope you like it 😀 I would love to receive feedback from you guys :D*

The Ravenous Inferno

The fire alarm constantly chimed in an ear-piercing tone that vibrated my eardrums vigorously, causing my brain to suffer from sudden dismay. Agonizing and sorrowful cries were heard throughout the neighborhood. The ebony smoke and its aroma, which I despise with a passion, spread and polluted the fresh air. At that particularly nerve-wracking moment, I was shivering and trembling in the darkness as my ears detected the noise of fright. When I stared through the window, image of tongues of fire licking the ceiling as though it was licking its lips, hungry for human lives, formed in my retina. My parents darted into my room and ushered me out immediately in fear that I will become the victim of the fire.

When we were out of the apartment, chaos appeared out of nowhere. Tears from the eyes of the victims’ parents could possibly flood the scene. Fire brigades were busy extinguishing the fire, people were scurrying out of the apartment covered with a fire-proof blanket, paramedics were alleviating victims’ injuries. “Hydro pump” shot in high pressure towards the monstrous inferno in hope to obliterate it. The blazing fire mercilessly replied by billowing thick smoke across the light blue sky.

The traffic was extremely sluggish as people were all flummoxed of the situation and tried to observe and assimilate what was happening. The street became busier upon the arrival of the journalists. A group of cameramen brought their enormously high-tech cameras as they clustered to the fence that was set up by the fire brigades followed by bystanders who were “keen” photographers. Flashes and flashes of their cameras made me lost faith in humanity, instead of lending a helping hand, they were technically gloating at the incident by taking photographs in hope to get it viral on the internet. As the fire slowly released its grip on the building, there was an obviously large dark spot, which strongly contrasted the colour of the apartment, light beige. The traffic returned to its original state as the people went about their chores, left only several people broke down on the side way as grievance to their loss. As we made our ways to our once lovely home, I was left open-mouthed… *Sorry for the late update. As you’ve seen, I’ve lost contact with my routine that I planned to keep up with. Procrastination demon got into me 😦 ……. Will update more often in the future! *Finger-crossed* Until then, BYEEEE!!