Tag Archives: school

Adjusting to Change

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I’ve been back at school for three days now. It’s a different ball game altogether this year – new subjects to learn and officially being one of the older students in the school. I’m in a completely different class from last year and most of the familiar faces of last year’s classmates aren’t in my class – luckily I still have two of my closest friends in class with me. Not to mention that a lot of my dear friends have moved school this year – one is even migrating to another country! And I’m definitely not used to the freshmen looking up at my friends and I with a kind of awe – did I do that when I was new here? Even my chess teacher is different this year.

I’m not a stranger to change – over the past few years things have altered so fast and so much that when I look back on my past self in maybe 2007, I find that I don’t even recognize that girl anymore! I seem to have become a different person every single year since then, different people who don’t even ring a bell to my mind any longer. They seem like strangers – ghosts of a past life or something like that. Sometimes it sort of unsettles me, to look at myself in the mirror and not recognize the person staring right back at me.

I’m not gonna lie, I hate change. Not because change itself isn’t good, but because it loves to say “I told you so!” When something changes, it’s almost never positive, but then a little later, maybe a week, a couple years or even a decade later, you realize that it was for the best. And change shoves it in your face, like, “See?”

Anyhow, back to the original subject – getting used to this new, alien year at school. It’ll take some time to adjust to this new routine and everything in it. I don’t usually find it so difficult to adjust, but this – this is something else altogether.

I remember watching an episode of my favourite crime show, Bones. In it, the main character, Temperance Brennan finds herself dealing with a case she finds personal. A body of a rich woman is found in a bad part of town and she goes to investigate, and she finds several similarities between her and the victim – height, weight, favourite animal, etc. When she sees the victim’s ID photo, she finds that it looks exactly like her. When she asks her partner FBI Special Agent Seely Booth if he recognizes the victim, he says no. When she hears a recording of the victim’s voice, Brennan hears her own voice. Her colleagues begin to worry about her when she has difficulty being objective on the case as she relates very much to the victim, even in terms of love life.

She can’t sleep, so she returns to her lab late at night to continue working on the case, and Micah, a security guard, finds her there. He tells her about a lecture he attended – an experiment was set up where a group of people were made to wear glasses that made them see the world upside down.¬† For three days, the world was upside down for them (literally, mind you). But after three days, they were made take off the glasses and instead of seeing things right side up, everything was upside down. The conclusion of the experiment was that it takes the brain three days to adjust.

It took three days for Brennan and Booth to solve the case, and after those three days, Brennan looked at the ID picture of the victim and no longer saw her face staring back at her, but the real face of the victim.

I guess what I’m trying to say is – I’ve been at school three days. Maybe when I go back on Monday, everything will seem normal. Maybe my brain would have adjusted…or maybe it would still be stubbornly unadjusted. My brain’s a little weird.

Whatever the case, change is inevitable in life and we just have to adapt to it. Unfortunately. ūüôā

The key to change…is to let go of fear ~ Rosanne Cash

What An Art Project Can Do To You

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I’ve been working (read “toiling and struggling and dying”) on an Art Project (read “highly unimportant and unnecessary hassle”) that is due this Tuesday and so far the only thing I’ve learned from all the research is that I can’t draw to save my life. Aside from that, I’ve also discovered that I don’t like our traditional cloth patterns so much… That’s our preassigned (read “forced on us”) topic. Batik.

Batik

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Batik is our traditional cloth, done using a manual wax-resist dyeing technique. Over here in Malaysia, we’re more towards floral motifs with super vibrant colours. Thankfully, this is more to my taste (read “tolerable”) than the dull, murky brown colour (if it can even be called a colour) I’ve been seeing each time I hit the search button.

Still, there’s something I don’t like so much about batik. I guess it’s just not my style. For a while I mused over what type of art I could possible like. I’m a downright nerd and I need to think all the time. Chess. Minesweeper. Poker. Maths. The list goes on and on. So yeah. I’m pretty much a ‘left-side-of-brain’-er.

Then I recalled my last trip to a museum, where my family and I got into the Art Museum instead of the main one. I remember that I did enjoy looking at the art. I mean, sure, there were a couple of things that sort of caught my eye, but my favourite, favourite, favourite genre of art is definitely (no, not cubism; as much as i love Maths) abstract art.

Alright. Time for a technical left-side-of-brain explanation (taken, of course, from Wikipedia).

Kandinsky's "On White 2"

Abstract art uses a visual language of form, color and line to create a composition which may exist with a degree of independence from visual references in the world.Western art had been, from the Renaissance up to the middle of the 19th century, underpinned by the logic of perspective and an attempt to reproduce an illusion of visible reality. The arts of cultures other than the European had become accessible and showed alternative ways of describing visual experience to the artist. By the end of the 19th century many artists felt a need to create a new kind of art which would encompass the fundamental changes taking place in technology, science and philosophy. The sources from which individual artists drew their theoretical arguments were diverse, and reflected the social and intellectual preoccupations in all areas of Western culture at that time.

Phew. Okay. Enough with the History Lesson.

"Three Musicians" by Pablo Picasso, one of my personal favourites

What I like about Abstract Art is that it makes me think. Like, really think about what the artist had going through his or her mind at the time. I think about what it could mean to one person and what it could mean to another.In short, I like any kind of art that makes me think. Or evokes some sort of emotion in me; that works too. But never mind that.

I do have a sketch book, you know. I’m not utterly hopeless at drawing (or am I?). I used to draw different things everyday, from emo anime girls to tattoo designs. But I’m mostly a copy artist, so now that sketch book is gathering dust at the far back corner of my stacks upon stacks of journals and diaries.

As far as the Art Project goes, I am now going complete out the box. Part of our assignment is to make a collection of pictures of different batik patterns or motifs that could be used for batik.¬† Instead of going for muddy-coloured gloominess or rainbow-shaded eye-hurting brightness, I opted for modern abstract patterns (which, truth be told, is one of the very few art styles I’m good at).

Ok, now time to stop blogging and actually get the freaking project done. Bye…

At The 11th Hour (and 59 mintues)

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So, honestly, really, what is it with everyone and being late? It’s¬†either they’re racing through the hallway looking like a wild ocelot because they’re late for a super important awesome-ly awesome seminar, or burning the midnight oil, straining to finish a report due the very next day that they knew about ages ago (wow, that was a long sentence). If neither, they’re calmly walking, slow as possible, dragging their feet, up to someone and saying, “Hey, by the way, I forgot to tell you the last billion times I saw you, for the last fortnight or so, but you have a meeting in 5 minutes.” I mean, come on, people.

Yesterday I nearly had a panic attack when I was told that selections for nationals was that day! In half an hour! Oh, and yeah, get your own transport, please. Oh, and it’s compulsory, by the way.

In the end, my teacher tells us that the thing is today and not yesterday, and it isn’t the playoffs, it’s the training. And they had me running around frantically fumbling in my bag for coins to call my mom using the pay phone that constantly says “Updating”.

Ok, ok, so I’ll admit to doing many things last-minute. Like, umm… studying for my Geography test or finishing up my Art project (due next Tuesday, just so you know) or something not-so-panic-insuing like that. Not some sort of thing that will get other people killed (or at least have them dying of heart attack).

I used to be the most professional procrastinator you’d ever meet, but I learned a few things and now I’m a bit more chill. First off, I stopped being a yes-man (or, more accurately, yes-girl). Used to be, I’d juggle marching, performances and library responsibilities all in one go. More often than not, something would fall to the floor and shatter, then I’d lose focus and everything else would come tumbling down to. Now, it’s one at a time, please.

Next, I started writing everything I had to do down. I used to cram everything into my head. Then it’d all overflow and I’d lose half my important memories (needless to say, the useless ones never spill out). This year, I watched my best friend list everything neatly down in a notebook she got for her birthday and decorate the pages with hearts and doodles, then it hit me. I brought out an old notepad that had been gathering dust in a filing cabinet and started jotting down homework, assignments and projects.

And one more thing. I set reminders in my phone for everything, from bringing my glasses when my contacts have expired to exams and meetings. It doesn’t always work, because usually I’m too groggy to read my reminders when they alarm at 5 in the morning and I just hit random buttons to silence it. More often than not, I miss the “postpone” button on the left and hit the “stop” button on the right instead. =.=

Anyways, that’s all I’ve come up with. And I still do things late! Sigh…

Today, I headed off to the training, sat down across a future opponent and asked, “This is the training, right?” And what did she say?

“No. This is the playoff.”

You… have… got… to… be… kidding… me…

Game. Set. Match.

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This Year's MSSMWP Chess Tourney

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I’ve been raving about my hobbies lately… So… Here’s another one for you!

I love playing chess (read: g-e-e-k). I never actually got the game when I was little – my father spoonfed me moves and let me win all the time, causing me to think I was real good… Until I joined a mini-chess tournament at school and lost in the first round.

I’ve been competing in chess since standard 5. It was funny, how I started out. Playing chess properly for one week, trying out for the team, going for it and… WHAM! First game, I checkmated my opponent in 4 moves, and not intentionally. I took a pawn with my queen and said “Check”… and the arbiter declared “Checkmate”. I walked away from the table thinking, Now, how did that happen? Our team proceeded to win first place in the Under-12 team event. And then I won the individual event by beating the defending champion. Not by checkmate, though… she ran out of time. =.=

I thought state level that year when I was 11 would be easy…

I got thrashed that year

Why? Simple. Beginner’s luck wore off.

Anyway, from then on it was practice, practice, practice. I worked hard and we got two golds again the next year.

Check... check... checkmate!

Now, I’ll have you know that in primary school, chess competitions were very straight forward. We hop into our teacher’s car or van, we’d go, play the games, go home.

Then I entered high school.

I was the youngest member on the team when I got in, and I found out that they didn’t use teachers’ cars. Our teacher hired a rackety, rickety, rockety bus, with a driver who is constantly late, anywhere from half an hour to 120 minutes. No kidding. Back in my freshman year, we waited for two full hours in front of a military school, craning our necks the whole time, on the lookout, just hoping for a glimpse of a broken-down yellow-coloured bus that looks more like a junkyard. Yeah. Sucks. In fact, last year, the boys would always joke as they got down or up the bus, “Thank you for being so early!”

A chess tournament is pretty straight forward once you arrive… You are told to arrive by 8:00 because the games will start at 8:30, but they start at least a half hour late. The worst was a full 2 hours off schedule.

This year, the bus was so late we nearly got disqualified before our first round! That sucked. What’s worse, we had been registered for the wrong category. That took some time to sort out before we could get some breakfast at the grubby canteen. Now, for the past few years, the chess tournament has been housed by a school full of weird guys. The girls and I keep looking over our shoulders and muttering to each other, “Faster, walk faster…” We rejoiced to the high heavens when the principal of the school gave a looooooong speech (that made those who won feel bad and those who lost feel worse) and announced that the tourney would not be housed there next year. The cheer for that was crazy loud.

I won good and got to State level. This year was my last year in the category, so I wanted to make it to Nationals. It was only three of us girls making it to the individual event this time around. No guys from our school made it this far. I was continually put up against the hard opponents. It gave me headaches and had mini-fevers, but on the plus side, when I won my sokoff (rating) went ZOOM.

The bus lady abandoned us this year, by the way, so we rode with an old bus driver with the meanest temper you have ever seen. His wrinkled hand was almost never off the horn! Chinese expletives were yelled over and over again at innocent passing cars. Not to mention that the van is¬†stifling hot! I’ll have you know that it has perfectly functioning air conditioning that is never used. Then one day he abandoned us too (apparently the van needed repairing) and the three of us (plus one teacher) had to get a cab home.

On the plus side, I’m number 5 in State this year. Last year, they took the top 6 to Nationals.¬† And guess what? Now they decide that we have to go for selection because they have decided to only take two people. Bother! I really want to go!

My interest in chess has somewhat wavered over the years, and only came back stronger last year, which is also the year I got the most practise. Call me a nerd if you like… And a dork too. But I enjoy chess, even though it gives me splitting headaches.

So… Shall I give you a dose of corniness?

Why did the chemist combine aspirin and glue? He thought it could be a cure for splitting headaches!!! ūüėÄ

Cheers!

Give It A Shot

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Today, I found out at the eleventh hour about an English public speaking competition my school was holding. On some strange whim, I decided to go for it, speaking completely impromptu while everyone else had days to prepare. On the whole, it was fun (aside from a couple of unnecessary pauses) and I’m glad I joined in the end.

I’ll have you know that, trudging my way up to the venue of the competition, gazillions upon gazillions of doubts continually sprung into my mind. You have no script. You have no topic. You have no fragments of speeches committed to memory. Heck, you don’t even speak very often. I succumbed to these doubts after a while and turned around to go to the library, only to find myself blocked by Science Club members trooping down the stairs to the lab. There was no way I could get through the crowd with my guitar case slung over my shoulder and my schoolbag hanging limply at my side.

And that’s when I thought, oh what the heck. Let’s just have fun with this.

A half hour later, I found myself standing in front of a half-filled classroom, droning on about inner beauty, coming up with random points and statements in my head. I’m pretty sure I left out a few things. But oh well.

Many times in life, and in much more serious situations (at least, more serious than light-hearted school competitions), one will have to make a quick decision. If one fears, worries, or overthinks (all my tendencies, unfortunately), one could miss out on an amazing opportunity. And we don’t want that, now, do we?

Similarly, dare to be different and do new things, or to fight for something you believe in. And who cares what others think? Many great ideas have been lost because the people who had them could not stand being laughed at, as was once quoted by someone unknown.

Everyday, we are faced with adversity. Don’t let these people get you down.

Whatever it is, give it a shot.

To dare is to lose one‚Äôs footing momentarily. To not dare is to lose oneself. -S√łren Kierkegaard

Grammar Woes

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Seriously, I’ve been born and raised in this country and everyone has used the phrase at least once.

Let me illustrate a situation…

An English teacher has just given the class a lecture about bad English. She then gives the class assignments, saying to them, “Please pass them up by tomorrow!”

Eeek!!!

Let me provide a translation.

Pass Up

vb (tr, adverb)

  1. Informal to let go by; ignore; decline: I won’t pass up this opportunity
  2. to take no notice of (someone)

Now how is it possible that you can ignore your homework by tomorrow?

Another not-as-common (but still as tragic) mistake is saying “pass on”:

Pass On
vb (tr, adverb)
  1. Place into the hands or custody of
    – pass, hand, reach, turn over, give
  2. Transmit (knowledge or skills)
    “pass on a new skill to the students”;
    – impart, leave, give
  3. Move forward, also in the metaphorical sense
    “Time passes on”;
    – advance, progress, move on, march on, go on
  4. Give to or transfer possession of
  5. Refer to another person for decision or judgment
    “She likes to pass on difficult questions to her colleagues”;
    – relegate, submit
  6. Cause to be distributed
    – circulate, pass around, distribute
  7. Transmit information
    “Please pass on this message to all employees”;
    – communicate, pass, pass along, put across

It can also refer to someone dying… so, can homework die by tomorrow?

The correct term is submit or simply pass.

3… 2… 1… Happy New Year!

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Wow, is it just me or has the year just flown by like a concord? It seems like (cliché alert!) just yesterday when we were celebrating the beginning of the end of the decade.

Come to think of it, a lot of unexpected things happened this year, and a lot of things I expected didn’t actually occur the way I thought they would. Everything happens for a reason, right? For some of these things, there didn’t seem to be a reason. But I suppose that’ll all be (magic tinkling, please) revealed sooner or later.

Next year will bring a whole bunch of changes – some friends will be gone, I’ll have to study a lot harder, etc etc. Also, I’ve come up with a bunch of new year’s resolutions…

  1. To get straight A’s in PMR (if that’s not any other Form 3’s resolution, I dunno…)
  2. To be a better person, temper-wise
  3. To take part in some English-related competitions and to get a placing in the chess tournament (I haven’t gotten a good spot in that since I was 12…)
  4. To finish writing my book
  5. To write more songs

And the list goes on. But it’s not as if I’m actually making a list of that stuff. Those are just things I want to do next year. My real resolution is not to worry too much; to ease up and take things as they come. Life is a lot more beautiful than they paint it to be. It took me years and years to realize that.

So, for now, I look forward to 2011. The year really ended with a bang for me. Too bad my house doesn’t have a nice view of the fireworks. LOL.

Anyways, to all my awesomely retarded friends and family, I hope 2011 is a great year for you guys. ūüėČ If you wanna know all my thoughts, just read through the lyric of “My Wish” by Rascal Flatts (love that band!).

Let’s raise our glasses to the new year. Cheers!

Back to School Soon

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And just like that, I’ve wrapped my books, packed my bag and prepared my uniform. Yup, school’s back – already! On the 3rd of January I’ll be waking up at 5 o’clock, slinging my bag over my shoulders and heading off to school to find out if I’ve gotten to the top class or not. That means no more staying up late without reason, no more waking up 7, 8, 9 or whatever time I choose, and definitely no more free time!

Having said that, honestly, I’m quite looking forward to it! I can’t wait to see my friends again and get started on a new school year. Sure, I’ve got an “important examination” next year, but I think I’m quite up to the challenge (famous last words) and I’ve already made up my mind to study (unlike this year, when I only started opening my textbooks a week before each test… if at all). And no more (if you pardon the ungrateful brat attitude) boring hours spent as a couch potato, on the computer or being a royal bum (but to be honest, I’ll¬† miss the latter)! Oh, and the biggest plus of them all… My mom won’t have to be bugged by me anymore! Yay!

Alright, then, time to face my 3rd year in high school! Bring it on! ūüėČ

The End of Another Eventful School Year

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Wow! Look at that, it’s the end of my Form 2 school year already! The last day of school was pretty darn eventful and memorable… Not to mention incredibly busy and crazy… I think… Well, to quote Daughtry’s song “September”:

The years go by and time just seems to fly, but the memories remain.

Bored out of my skull this morning, I took some time to reflect on the year. Did I do everything I planned to do? Well, let’s see. I didn’t join the public speaking contest, I didn’t get a place in the chess tournament, I didn’t get top three in class and I didn’t get distinction in my piano exam. So I guess it was a bad year.

On the other hand, I did meet some awesome new people, get halfway through my book, learn some valuable lessons, lighten up and move on. So on the whole it was a pretty good year.

Just listen to me, I sound like a bundle of contradictions!

It all depends on how you look at things… I could tell you the things I regret doing, things I regret not doing, or things¬†that just didn’t go as planned. Or I could choose to tell you the things that worked out, the¬†accomplishments I made, whether big or small, and¬†short, amusing, heartwarming¬†stories.

In the end, it’s all about how optimistic you are. Hey, remember,¬†I said optimistic, not perky. Be a positive realist or something. Which sounds right to you – “glass half-full”, or “glass half-empty”?¬†

School this year was fun and full of surprises, and I’m sure we can all agree with that. I’m definitely gonna miss all my friends and seeing as I’m not going anywhere, it could get a little boring. But I don’t have any more work to do, and I’d much rather become a royal bum than toil around doing homework, projects and revision.

Once more, it’s all about how you look at things. ūüėČ

Jobless

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So I’m sitting here in the school library. I’m a librarian, see, and since finals are over I have basically nothing to do aside from hang around like a royal bum. So on I go to social networking sites (namely FACEBOOK).

I remember that when last year I didn’t have any account aside from email and my friends bugged me to apply for FB. Against my better judgement I accepted this and decided to apply. And since then, I am not only a couch potato, I’m also on the computer a lot more than necessary.

Thinking about it, if I spent all this time¬†that I use up staring at an inanimate computer screen¬†on the piano, I would be the female version of Mozart. And if I spent all the time used up on the sofa¬†watching the same NCIS rerun for the millionth time on that book I’m writing, I’d probably¬†have finished it by now, and maybe another.

Still, even though I seem to be having an enlightening moment of realization… I don’t think I’ll be the next Mozart or¬†an author working on her¬†umpteenth¬†book. After all, I’m still on the computer, ain’t I?