Thursday, August 27, 2009

Singapore!! [And Pulau Pangkor]

I just got back yesterday from holidaying in Singapore with my family for 4 days, and after that an overnight stay at Pulau Pangkor. I don't know whose absurd idea that was, to travel like that; I am so exhausted now, but yet I am swamped by assignments and lab reports and a whole drama "Trem Bernama Desire" to read and write about... but it was a much-needed break from my college life.

Singapore was so very organised, systematic and structured, and the people there are so well-mannered and respectful! On the other side of the [Singapore] coin, Pulau Pangkor was... well, Malaysian. I still can't get over how everything in Singapore was so orderly, from the trains and buses to the queuing up in front of the toilets! Public transport is, of course as rumoured, tried and tested by myself, so very efficient!

But beneath the pristine exterior, there is a culture of competition, stress, and as one may say, a "sterile life". I couldn't possibly live there, as one who loves to relax and take my time, could I? Furthermore, we must be thankful that medical health care in Malaysia is almost free, while in Singapore everything runs as a proft-gaining business. Nevertheless I think we should all learn from our neighbours and adopt the good qualities that they possess.

Oh and Vivo city was beautiful; and I went to Cornerstone on Sunday!! Of course, not forgetting the awesomeness of the Chilli Crab! [which I am allergic to, so I got itchy lips after that, but the taste was well worth the slight discomfort later...] The Singapore Zoo was fun because of the sea lion show at the Splash Ampitheathre... and the penguins were so cute!!

Finally, Pulau Pangkor was... normal. I like Kuching beaches [note the spelling, not the pronunciation] better. XD

"Hey Sam, where're you going?"
"I'm going to SIN!"

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Lose My Senses

If you had to lose any one of your five senses, which would you give up?
My answer to this question in Theory of Knowledge (a mind-twisting, confusing and utterly but oddly enlightening subject I have to take) did not take the twinkling of an eye, but after thinking it through, I realized that the decision was not as easy as it seemed.
Let me first order my senses on its importance to obtaining information about the world around me, enjoying life and serving others: Sight, Hearing, Touch, Taste, and finally Smell. That’s right, I would give up my sense of smell if I had no other choice. Why is that so? Because I don’t find any particular joy in smelling something aromatic; in fact, smells overpower me to an extent where I wish I couldn’t smell, for example some noveaux-riches who put on powerful perfumes that could potentially kill someone, or a certain person who smells horrible but doesn’t know it. I could live without smell, definitely. But then I remembered that the sense of taste relies on smell quite heavily. If I couldn’t smell, then I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the wonders of food. But really, I eat to live, not live to eat, so smell and taste are some things I could live without.
Sight? No way, don’t ever take my sight from me (please God, please). I cannot imagine how blind people can survive without some sort of picture of their surroundings. I would be so afraid, so scared. My hearing? My world crashed upon me when I lose my right ear hearing for a few months; I cannot live without it. Touch? I need touch to get around, but what if I was paralyzed?
I must thank God that I am healthy and abled, but I will never take for granted all that I have. And also to think of others who may be less fortunate. How about you? Which of your senses would you give up?

KMB Choir Performance

On the 17th August 09 the choir of MARA College Banting performed for the graduation of the 07-09 batch of MCB students. We had put in many, many hours in practice (for CAS hours, mostly, like co-curriculum marks) and I had arranged the choir parts for 3 of the 4 songs we sang. It was a great experience of learning to work together with other people who may have different capabilities, experience and expectations than I might have, to tolerate and adapt to change at the tenth hour (which happened quite frequently in major proportions), to be punctual, and to manage my time well around the practice hours.

The graduation itself was inspiring. I was quite moved when we were singing “You Raise Me Up” as the graduating students presented their parents with flowers and there were hugs and tears all around. Maybe it was because the solo singer, Asyraf’s voice could melt the coldest hard, but I think the moment and emotions of it all just came rushing in like a blast of warm air that surrounded the grand hall of Dewan Sri Endon, Putrajaya. I was inspired to do my very best to achieve greatness, which I believe is well within the reach of every one of us – not only to go further in our studies but to make my parents proud.

Quite unpleasantly, though, was that I learnt the true meaning of opportunity cost when I had to forgo excellence in tennis for choir. I was dropped from the national competition selection squad because I could not play sports for almost a month due to choir practices which clashed with tennis; worse still when I returned after the graduation; I had completely lost my touch and shot-making abilities (which weren’t all that great before that, anyway) and I was no longer in good stead with the advisor and club president. This, along with the expended time and energy, was the cost of pursuing what I love – music, which will always be a part of me; even when I get too busy to sing, my heart will still have its song.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

The Flu Has Finally Reached Me

[written on Friday, 31 July]

These are uncertain times that I am in now. MARA College Banting has officially closed its doors for at least one week due to the recent H1N1 scare that I thought would never affect me, but here we are in such uncertain times. It was only the day before when I heard that there was one suspected case of H1N1. Then yesterday there were four suspected cases. It was such a commotion, as everything was heard from someone else, and no one was sure what was really happening; I heard rumours from the mak ciks at the co-op, hearsays from friends and finally a little more concrete information from teachers; but we were all still quite in the dark, until this afternoon.

At 3 in the afternoon, there was a briefing in the college about the H1N1 outbreak, which cleared the cloud of doubt surrounding the whole issue. An ENT specialist and his professor wife came to give a concise but complete talk about the flu, its causes, symptoms and ways to prevent it. Basically, you would have reason for alarm if you had a fever, runny nose, or sore throat, or a combination of these, or other related illnesses. The good news is, over 90% of those who contracted this disease can recover without antiviral treatment. You just need a lot of rest and fluids for the virus to go away within 7 days. The most important things to do to avoid the disease is social distancing, cough etiquette, not sharing anything, and washing hands regularly. And pray.

Anyway, there were some discrete statistics given to us; there are 1302 cases and 4 deaths in Malaysia so far. 30 students in the college apparently showed symptoms and so are under suspicion of disease; there has been one confirmed case in the college. During the talk, the director said that there was 80% chance that the college will shut down, but I have recently received information that the college is officially under quarantine until 9th August. That is terrific news, until we found out that the school days will be replaced during the December holidays, which means a shorter end-of-year semester break, which sucks. But this is definitely a welcome relief for a hectic past few weeks of lab reports, standardized tests and homework.

I welcome the extra sleep I can get. But I just have to be careful not to get sick. I must not get sick while I stay at my Banting home for the next 9 days with my dad and Evan Sun.