Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Lessons 101

Today marks the final day of exam for the second semester of my third year as a Psychology. This semester has been the toughest semester thus far. I guess, that's the way things should be.

"When the going gets tough, the tough gets going."

Challenges of the semester are always meant to test our ability to cope with stress or pressure and bring out the true potential in us. If I were to describe myself in just one word, I would choose 'a rubber band'. Yup. I've been 'a rubber band' this semester.

The theory of elasticity: the property of solid material to deform under the application of an external force and to regain their original shape after the external force have been removed. Likewise, I,'a rubber band' had to be flexible to the 'external forces'-the different challenges and the hardcore stuffs the lecturers or group mates presented to me this semester. But, we all know, that a rubber band tears if it is given too much external forces that it looses its elasticity. And thank God, I have not came to the point that I loose the ability to cope. I would always like to take the challenges as the opportunity to grow in maturity.

I know I would not have gone through this semester without the prayers of God's people. Thankfully, I have great friends who lend their listening ears, gave supportive encouragements and showed that they cared. :) It's always good to know that there will be people who stand close beside me and cheer me on. It all makes a difference. Truly. Forever.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

What Makes you Happy?

In life, you have a choice. One, is to go around and have a long face, thinking of every single bad thing that has happened to you recently. Two, is to count every blessings that you have and be contented. I choose 'two',

So what makes you happy?
For me,

-good company
-good chat
-very rich chocolate
-a good story book
-watching cooking shows
-going for a day trip
-surprise Birthday parties
-Christmas carols and Christmas celebration
-a car ride
-looking at scenic views
-viewing pictures of good memories
-getting encouragement, sweet messages
-jokes (except the lame ones)
-supper with friends although it is past midnight
-gifts (unexpected ones..including small ones)
-playing FB games ?
-just spending time alone and in serenity. ;)

Well, I guess if we count our blessings, we would spend less time complaining and dwelling in self-pity. Go, list the things that make you happy and soon, you will have a different, fresher perspective of life. :) You'll never know how the simplest thing in life can put a smile on your face.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


What do friends mean to you?

When I was little girl, a friend means someone who would share their crayons, barbie dolls and toys with me. Friends are people who enjoy spending their play time with me and invite me for their Birthday Parties.

As I grow, the definition of friends became more complex. Friends are common but good friends are rare. We can have more than 500 friends on Facebook but we can only maintain 5 close friendships, in actual. And although you have five close friends, it doesn't mean that you are comfortable to share your private thoughts with them. I just don't know why. Maybe, if I disclose my own side of story, I'm afraid the wrong words would come out. Or, is it that I'm afraid that people would judge me, inwardly. Probably, there wasn't enough trust to hold on to in the first place.

My senior reminded me, one of the reasons why people are looking for counselors to talk about their problems is because they do not see anyone in their lives to give them the unconditional positive regard from their social support. They might have experienced so many criticisms from their closest friends that they withdrew from their social support and opt to seek professional help in the end.

Well, it gave me some food for thought. It is not about giving advice to someone who needs comfort. Rather, it is our willingness to be there for them when they need a listening ear. More often than not, if I'm not careful, my mind formulates advices and 'what to say next' even before the person finishes his/her sentences. Active listening actually takes a large amount of patience. And this is one of the skills that I need to improve.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Goodbye .....

When I was told about my cousin's death, I was not sure how to respond to it at first. I was quite confused because everything has happened so quickly for the past few days. And there's not much space to get a breather. After I heard the news, I tried to recall the last moments and the conversations I had with my cousin. Because he is 20 plus older than I am, I know him my whole life. When I was younger, he gave me an odd nickname, pulled my ears occasionally and told ghost stories to scare the wits out of me. He gradually treated me a little nicer later on. But, behind his 'playful' character, he was a man of responsibility and a person who cares very much for his own family. He was a generous person, who treated us good Ipoh food and scrumptious Chinese course dinners every Chinese New year. :)

It is a devastating news to know that he passed away in his early 40's. It seems so early, too soon.
The doctor said it was liver failure because he showed signs of jaundice and weight lost. etc.
Whatever the reason might be, I am once reminded of how fragile our lives can be. We might be healthy in the morning and by the evening, death may be knocking at our doors. Which makes me wonder if I need to re-examine my own priorities and values in life. Chasing our dreams like getting a job or owning our dream home is probably something that we would like to have one day. But, I am more worried that in the midst of busyness, self-centered ambitions and uncontrolled greed, the heart might grow cold. For when I leave this earth, no one would really bother to know or ask what I have achieved, what my academic qualifications are, what kind of job I have etc. but they will remember what I have done for them, whether I have showed care and love genuinely. From today onwards, my daily question would be "What am I doing that I can make a difference in the lives of others?" So, when the right time comes for me to leave this earth, I am sure that I have touched one or two lives and lived life to the fullest. ;) In the end, it is people that matters. As for now, I live with a grieving heart.

Writing bout Grief. (taken from another unknown writer)

Smile and the world smiles with you. Cry and you cry alone.

I think grief is a very private emotion. Unlike most other basic human emotions which find comfort in expression. Like joy. Or happiness. Or good cheer. Which you can share. Spread around like some magical shimmering fairy light. Or say anger. And hatred. You let it out. Express your self and feel relieved. And then there is love. Which always needs to be expressed and shared for it to grow and bear fruit.

But grief is in a different league altogether. Because it cannot be shared. Or expressed. Or understood by anyone else. And you live it everyday. Through broken dreams and faltering faith. Through unshed tears and dying hope. And yet, I don't want your pity. Or words of comfort saying it will be alright. Which is why I want to be left alone in my grief.

Tread softly because you tread upon my dreams.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Life's Brief Candle

Life is brief and fragile.
Who on earth can live more than 100 years? How fleeting life is.
I can never know when my last day on earth would be.
Or tell when a person will pass away.
Life, death, eternity.
The only thing that separates life and death is a comma.
The only thing that separates death and eternity is a comma.
A punctuation mark that indicates to the reader to pause briefly..just a short while and then, move on.
It isn't a full stop that separates these three.
And because it is only a breather between life and death,
Life is undeniably seen to be short and close to death.
And our bodies are just the shells of us which we would have to leave behind one day.
One day, we are healthy,
and by the next day, we might turn into white ashes and our family grieves.

If life is this short, then, we ought to be grateful for every new day and live life to the fullest.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Harvesting the Journal

It has been a very busy, roller-coaster week for me. So, I decided to take a break today just to get my perspective right again, relax and enjoy doing the things that I love most. Today, I had spent about 10 minutes looking through one of my journals. As I read it page by page, I couldn't help but to thank God for His kindness and faithfulness. Four years ago, I was anxious and worried about how the future would turn up to be. I'm reminded that today is the future of the past. And I'm still under His great care. Praise God. Reading my journal reminded me that God answers my prayers and my questions of life, spirituality, marriage, relationships, friendships, studies. He works in ways that I cannot see with my own physical eyes. I had many doubts and yet, God patiently addressed them, one by one, so that I could grow in maturity! When I read my journal chronologically, I see that God is unfolding His plans which are bigger and way better than what I've expected and hoped for. You know, it's so easy to forget that He is with us when we are going through a hard time. And I find it so refreshing to give a "pause" to the busyness of life and read my journals that remind me of God's fingerprints in my life. All this while, God has been holding my hand and leading me. Today, I note that God is a creative God. He answers prayers in many ways. And I can count on Him.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Are we driven by fear?

I was sitting at my study desk a minute ago and contemplated on what has happened for the past few weeks. First, I had to get used to 'being physically away from him'. Honestly, it wasn't easy saying goodbye. Second, I had to write my proposal thesis, which is another challenge.

As I was writing my thoughts down in my journal, I noticed a certain pattern emerging. At every crossroads of my life, fear seems to be the top no. 1. E.g. I study hard because I fear that I can't get a scholarship or the minimum results to get myself into a Master's program. I spend hours and hours on my assignment because I fear I won't meet my own 'expectations'. The bottom line is I'm driven by fear.

How many times have you told yourself this?

"I avoid getting into a close relationship because I fear that I end up betrayed by another person like what happened to me in the past."

"I want to be a top student because I fear that my reputation of being 'the' smart student will suffer."

"I don't want to speak in public because I fear that I would be a laughing stock to others."

Our lives are driven by fear, although most of you reading this might deny the fact. At least, I realize mine is and I'm going to do something about it.

It is fear that paralyzes me. It is fear that makes me grip around the steering wheel and let God sit at the passenger's seat instead of making him the driver. It is fear that reflects my lack of faith in God. Fear is a telltale sign that I haven't been exercising my dependence on Him. It acts like chains that clam me down and makes aspirations dissipate like how rain drop falls on the hot surface and vaporize in seconds.

I've been brought up with this popular verse, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take". Sang the song a million times but never took time to 'savor' it. It is today that God 'takes a cup of cold water and splash it on my face'. Time to wake up..and let have a lil more break free from my own fears. I was thinking, "Does God even care about my assignment?" And a verse popped into mind, reminding me that God even knows how many hair we have on our heads. He knows us inside out and He cares about every lil thing that happens in our lives.

In short, I feel I have still so much to learn in my walk with God. I've made so many errors and am so imperfect. It is about time to let go and let God lead the way. In the end, I've no entire control in the events of my life. Yes, I do my part but I have to leave the rest to God cos' I can be assured that I'm in the good hands of the Lord with His promises. =)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

GoodBye is the hardest thing to say.

It's hard to say goodbye, to know that this is the end of his summer and his time with me. We waited patiently for 1.5 years to enjoy this 3-months summer and now, it's coming to an end. For 1.5 years, I secretly envied couples, holding hands in shopping malls and in my own universities. Whenever my girlfriends say she didn't have time for her boyfriend, I told her, "Then, make time for him. He's just a drive away..appreciate it." When it was time for us to be together, we just wanted to make up for the years we've been apart. Go for movies. Take a long walk. Talk. Play games. Cook dinner. Socialize with our friends. =) And we did! All of it.

Being in a LDR has never been easy. When I look back at the years we've been together, I can only testify that it has been God's grace that kept us together and sustained us. I couldn't figure out that this was all possible three years ago. LDR is never part of my plan. This relationship has taught me to put my trust in God, no matter how uncertain the future is. The toughest and hardest news to swallow was when he told me he couldn't make his way home last year due to financial constrain. And he had to call me less often to make ends meet on his side. When he uttered those words, I held back my tears. I wanted him home so badly last year but I had to understand his situation. Anyway, it isn't all about ME in this relationship and I had to put him first. I'm just so glad it was over and this summer was made possible for us, again.

Yesterday night, we talked of all the happy memories we shared this summer. I guess, when we're in a long distance relationship, we tend to appreciate every minute together. I treated yesterday as though it was my last day seeing him. We talked. We laughed. We giggled. We almost cried too.

By now, he should be in Johor, recuperating after a 4-hours bus ride from K.L. And I'm here, typing out whatever that comes into mind. If you were to ask me what was one of the most eventful thing that happened during this summer, I would say, the trip to a virgin island called Pulau Tengah, Johor. There, I met an old couple in their 70's. They were both missionaries. We called them Papa Gill and Mama Gill during our stay. They were the most loveliest, oldest couple. He held her hand almost every time he walked with her and spoke to her in the most gentle way a man could do.

On the last day, we managed to talk to them. We were first talking about their mission work and how they have utilized the Internet to spread the Gospel. I was really impressed when I heard a string of jargon words (for technology like PDF etc.) left Mama Gill's mouth.

I quickly made a mental note. No.1: You can learn new things even if you're old. Never let your age be an excuse to stop learning!

Somehow, towards the end, they learned that Elisha and I are in a LDR. And they said, "Well, with SKYPE now, you guys can talk to each other instantly. Last time, we can only pen letters..and letters take ONE WEEK to reach!" They encouraged and prayed for us that God's blessing will be upon us.

In a nutshell, I'm really thankful that God has sent us people to encourage us..give us a pat on the back and remind us that God is indeed in control and He knows what is best for us. I stood at the beach the previous day, with the wind brushing against my face and was reminded that God's love is as wide as the ocean and I can trust Him cos' He cares for me. Whatever the future holds, it's all safe in His hands.

For some reason...

..I thought today was Friday.

I was waiting for the LRT train at Bangsar Station this afternoon. Seeing the crowded train, my mind assumed that it was Friday and Muslims were traveling to the mosques.

So, on this "Friday",

I sent Elisha off to W.M LRT station. He's off to JB for a week before he flies of to U.S from Singapore Changi Airport. No mistake on this.

I messaged Ruth, apologizing that I can't see her today, on "Friday".

A friend sent me a message wanting to meet me at Uni this Friday. And I panicked cos' in my mind, it's "Friday". And I was so afraid she'd be mad cos' my clock showed passed 1.30 p.m., 30 minutes late for the meeting and I was at home. Then, I thought she could mean next Friday. Maybe, she should have called me to see if I'm on the way to Uni and confirm if I'm attending the meeting again. What if we ended up having a misunderstanding?

I almost wanted to message Jeremy to see if CG was still on. Until I saw today's newspaper!

And I had to send a second message to Ruth apologizing again for thinking today is Friday when in actual, it's a Wednesday.

When Elisha reached J.B at midnight, he called saying he has to do his passport tomorrow...and I said, "Oh, you're doing it on a Saturday? I'm sure there's a lot of people."

Elisha, "No, tomorrow's Thursday".


Monday, August 2, 2010

The Singapore Zoo.

Yesterday, Elisha and I visited the Singapore Zoo. The entrance Fee was 23, which includes an unlimited tram ride around the zoo. We stepped into the zoo, walked on a wooden bridge and saw a man who was pointing at the river, 7 feet below. I couldn't be bothered until I saw a metal plate that stood at the side of the bridge. Taking a few steps ahead, I was wondering what it could be. It was just the entrance of the zoo and I doubted the animals were near us. When I looked down, I was surprised to see a huge crocodile with a thick tail that was ready to sweep anyone who was seen as a threat. =) To me, it looked like National Geography came alive. The only difference is I was not staring at the square box but an enormous crocodile that must have existed during the dinosaur era. The zoo was well planned. Nature was blended well with the zoo. The washroom basin was not in an enclosed area and water was dripping down at the edge of the roof to mimic rain. The staircase was made out of real stones rather than concrete. The animals were living in landscapes that followed their natural habitat, which made me wonder if we, humans, aren't the spectators but them. Cages were only meant for reptiles. Penguins and polar bears have their own rooms with air-cond, of course.

Along the way, we learned that a kind of lizard spurts out blood from its eye to warn their predators that, "I am dangerous!" and that Kangaroo is an Australian slang for, "I don't know what you're talking about" and they don't stop growing as long as they live. Baby kangaroos are called Joey and they are smaller than a 8-weeks old human embryo. The largest polar bear is twice the size of a human being and they are dangerous despite their cuddly look. Teddy bears were born from the idea of Theodore Roosevelt, 28th President of United States. We saw fishes that had a head of a crocodile. We squirmed looking at snakes. We looked at a giraffe that pee for a minute straight, making a big puddle of mess below it. The sea lion performed many tricks, rotating his body 360 degrees in the water, swimming like a dolphin, walking like a seal and kissing its trainer and a few kids, all is made possible because of a special, trusting relationship he shared with his trainer. The leopard cat is also known as "Chinese Gold Coin". 3 out of 8 species of tigers/lions have already extinct. The educational message behind was that human can be their threat, but they can be their only hope too. =)

In total, we estimated we walked for about 6 hours. Our legs were hurting and our stomachs were growling in hunger, that even the simplest Hainanese Chicken Rice at Ah Meng's Restaurant tasted delicious. Although the sun was shining brightly, there were enough shades to keep us cool. In the evening, we savored on egg tarts from KFC! We exited the zoo at 6.30 p.m. caught the bus and travelled to Clementi to meet up with my sister for a Japanese Dinner at First Catch Restaurant, where you can pick your raw fish from the fridge and the cook will slice it up, presenting it as a Sashimi Dish at your table. We had Unagi and California sushi. I especially loved the Japanses Egg Soup, which turned out to be simple yet tasty. Elisha loved the raw sword fish. I didn't dare try it. Then, I bought a Japanese Miniature and sank my teeth into Japanese Vanilla Ice-cream that satisfied the craving for sugar.

By the time we reached home, I was already 11 p.m. I'm really thankful for being granted a long moment to be shared with him. Love language spoken: Quality Time. =) Cherished and never be forgotten.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Weird dreams

Yesterday, I was feeling sick. I had headache, nausea, a spinning head, one or two bumps on my skin, which I suspected it has something to do with food allergy. Yup. I wanted to go to the clinic to get anti-histamine pills because I heard people did die of allergic reaction especially when the throat swells and you..just...stop breathing. Anyway, nothing serious happened. I'm still alive and kicking.

Last night, I have a very detailed dream. My Chinese friend was about to marry an Indian. Surprisingly, it was a match made. So, I was there on her wedding day or what it seem like an engagement day. It's pretty fuzzy in my memory now. Anyway, she was not totally happy or excited over it. Worse still, she has no idea about the guy whom she's gonna get married to. She was getting ready in her sari. And I didn't know what to say to her as a friend, whether to congratulate or comfort her. I was hoping that you know, they will learn to love each other later.

(continue later)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Scary Dream

Let's face it. Life is not a bed of roses. So are dreams.

When I was a little girl, I slept on the floor in my parent's room.

I had this re-occurring dreams that are somewhat similar to one another.

I dreamed I was in a little adventure with my friends. I went into a spooky house, upstairs to solve a mystery (uh-huh). The room was dark. And suddenly, jeng jeng jeng, a wicked witch appeared and threatened to cast a nasty spell on us. We were all terrified..but have no fear because we have super powers too! We can disappear *poof in the air* if we spin ourselves. So, I did a couple of spins to get away from the evil witch. And it happened! I disappeared. It always worked in every other dreams!

The next morning, I found myself lying on the floor, a few inches away from the mattress. Dad, who woke up early for work, had to push me back to my mattress again. If I'm awake, dad asked, "Aiyoh. Why sleep on the floor again?"

In my head, I sleepish-ly answered, "Er..spinning to get away from the witch?"

If I choose not to spin, I can choose to float in the air in my dreams. I would float down the stairs! It's an incredible feeling cos' it felt so real. Too bad it doesn't happen to me anymore.

Apart from the adventurous dreams, I had very frightening ones too. I dreamed I was walking to a back alley at night. The whole place was pitch dark. Then, suddenly, a man, dressed in black, appeared from behind. Before I can turn around, I was pushed against the wall. He held a knife closed to my neck, threatening to kill me. I was so scared that I cried.. yup..cried in my sleep till my mother woke me up.

Dreams usually come just before I wake up. In Psychology, we call it the REM stage 1. I had this same old dream for many years already. I dreamed I was walking along the road with someone (usually it's someone close to me). Then, the someone decided to cross the road. When he/she reached to the middle of the road, I saw a car coming. And I quickly ran towards him/her and pushed her away so he/she will not be hit by the car. In the end, I was hit really badly. Flew above the car and hit the ground badly.


I dreamed of a bank robbery.After the robbers got into the bank, they ordered everyone in the bank to squat down and keep quiet. But, the someone, stood up and the robber pointed the gun towards him/her and was ready to fire. And everything happened in a very slow motion. I ran in front of the someone...and the robber pulled the trigger...and *bang*..I got shot! I fell to the ground, bleeding in the abdomen. And the someone has to send me to the hospital again. Drama drama.. hehehehe.

But, I don't mind. I get to play' heroine'.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Weird Dream

Have you ever had a really weird dream?

A couple of days ago, I had this dream that I was still at high school. So, I was sitting at my desk, feeling extremely nervous because I learned that in a couple of minutes, I will sit for an exam which I've not prepared for. And the nightmare began when I found out that it was a MORAL exam. I felt so numb that I didn't know what to do. I sat there, just waiting for time to pass by. I looked at my friends. They were busy revising over their materials again and again. I asked, "Mei Yee, borrow your notes ya." And I flipped through a very thin note book and tried to recall the nilai-nilai murni like kasih sayang. It all looked familiar for me.. but it was all fuzzy in my head.

Then, there was a disaster. The whole school was flooded with water until the second storey, if I've not mistaken. But, the teachers did not cancel the exam. To them, it was so okay to have this kind of flood. I took the bus to this secluded classroom on the ground floor where the bright students were and saw my best friend, Becky. I told her that I'm not prepared. The classroom looked rather weird. The doors to the entrance can be sealed and the classroom will look like a huge transparent, water-proof box. It was designed to keep the water from the flood away. I was like, "Wow, new invention." And so, I went up to my class again and asked for rough paper. The teacher handed me a rough paper with a standard template which I forgot how it looks like for now.

I asked my friends, "So, what's the next paper?" I found out it was HISTORY and ADD MATHS. OH my.. my weakest subject of all. I stared at the SPM Sejarah textbook, almost imagining that my future is coming to an end. And there's no way I can remember the formulas for add maths. Drama..Drama..

I asked myself, "After my SPM, I've to apply for STPM... woah..STPM is very tough."

The whole dream felt pretty real to me. Half-awake, I was recalling...

"Oh.. wait.. I finish SPM already. And I didn't go for STPM. I went to A-levels. Yeah yeah. Siaw Lin, you passed the stage already.. oh wait, I'm in university!"

I woke up relieved. Very Relieved. Getting out from REM sleep to wakefulness felt like I've traveled through a timeline from SPM to University in a few seconds. It's really weird that I still have dreams of sitting for SPM papers until now. When I was in REM stage of sleep, it is as though I had some kind of amnesia..that I cannot remember I'm living in the present or what I've done after SPM. As I gain full consciousness, I can only recall what I did in the past and 'arrive' to the present.

Another SPM nightmare: Dreamed that I was late for a paper and the invigilator put me in a toilet because he said there's no space for me already. And I did my paper in the toilet! My house toilet. Lol

Dreams are also a tiny window of how we see the future. The most horrible nightmare was having to know that I was separated from my lover and destined to marry a man through match-making. That's so heartbreaking. :P

So, you have this kind of dreams?

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Here comes the short semester. Hold on tight. It'll be bumpy!

Good news. I'm officially a third year student. It's quite hard to believe that I'm finally at my final year, with an undergraduate thesis to complete soon. Things have been getting harder. Lecturers are expecting more from us. As for this semester, I have a 100 plus plus pages of Industrial Organizational Psychology assignment to do. Heh. Not kidding. I've been randomly assigned to a team of students. 12 people including myself.

I used to work on an assignment with a usual group of people. Since we've been working together for quite some time, we've actually developed our own way of doing things. Now that I'm placed with 11 strangers, it will never be the same again. A new group=a new culture. That rounds it all. Somehow, I felt that this randomized method was good in a way..because in the end of the day, we cannot actually choose who we would want to work with in future, whether it is in a company or doing a research. And, working with new people helps me expand my social network, which is great!

There are three parts to this assignment: selection, training and evaluation. I volunteered to write on selection phase. It's been quite rewarding to see pieces of our own work are joined together. So far, we've wrote about 48 pages in just two weeks! Our lecturer said, "We're training you for the real-world. It's even worse out there, looking at the enormous pile of workload and how little time you have." I cannot agree more to that. =) Anyway, third year is the time where we will be stretched and tested. It's a stepping platform to graduate and finally, work. *sigh*.

On top of this, I've another assignment to complete with another separate team altogether. We're writing on date-rape drug, rohypnol. It sounds familiar if you've been receiving forwarded e-mails on rohypnol. Mid-term starts next week. And there's probably a reason why I can't make it for the church camp. Aww.
Okay. Time for me to sleep and rest. On duty for tomorrow's Sunday worship. Playing the piano with a full band..with a Lizzie on the cello and her husband, playing the violin. I count it a privilege to work with them.

Good night, everyone.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Surprise And Its Challenges (Edited)

The interest to visit Singapore was born from a small conversation. From this, I learned that Jeremy did not visit Singapore for over 15 years (!) and Evon has never been to S'pore. So, the four of us, Jeremy, Matt, Evon and I planned to visit Singapore on the 12-15th May 2010 during our term break. Deal! Two months before the pre-planning of this Singapore trip, Elisha told me he will be landing on the 14th May 2010 at Changi Airport, Singapore. I thought, hey, why not kill two birds with one stone? We will go to Singapore on the 12-14th May and, on the 15th May, we'd hop on to the causeway link bus to Johor (where he and his family live) and give him a surprise.

Challenge No.1: Parents and Accommodation>>>

Having a rough idea was a good start. The first challenge was to get parental approval to go on holiday with this wild bunch of friends (just kidding). I guess my parents were more concern about safety and accommodation for the entire trip. To cut the long story short, I gave my sweetest eyes (like the pussy cat in Shrek 1) to my dad and he gave me the green light. Yey! It took me two days or so to get a good accommodation in Singapore for a reasonable price. In the end, we booked a two-bunk beds room at Footprints Backpackers Hostel for $27 per bed per night with facilities: Wi-Fi, free internet access, hot showers, air-conditioned rooms and free breakfast. Haha.. And, of course, the counter guy *inside joke*.

Challenge No. 2: The Surprise Plan>>>
The planning took place one month before today. Step. 1: SMS the sister and get the dad's email. Step 2: E-mail his dad, the pastor of Wesley Methodist Church. His dad was very kind to offer transportation from CIQ (Johor check-point) to his house despite his busyness at church during the weekends. Pastors are usually very busy on Saturdays. I also contacted both of his sisters, Susanna and Sophia. Sophia became my spy and she told me what Elisha was doing while I was on my way to his house. ;) The whole family knew about it. And I'm thankful for them.

Challenge No. 3: To Keep the Surprise A Secret>>>
Keeping the surprise a secret was not at all straight forward. For some reason, I learned that quite a number of aunties and uncles from church knew about our Singapore trip. Once the parents knew, the news spread like fire. Few of my friends accidentally posted comments on Facebook, indicating that I am going to Singapore! Twice, I had to send a message and ask politely if they can delete the comment immediately. Why? Cos' I didn't tell Elisha about this trip. On my side, I admit I almost let the cat out of the hat twice. But, I managed to cover it up and Elisha did not questioned me further. So, fhew, I was saved. Then, Matthew posted a group picture of us in S'pore..and I was like, " have to delete it." Hon Yau even sent a message to sort of 'warn' us. Thankfully, on that day, Elisha was flying on air so he won't be able to log on Facebook to check my profile. On the 14th May, he landed at Changi Airport at 2 a.m. Haih.. so near yet so far. You see, I was staying at Little India and I can actually travel to the Airport via the very efficient SMRT. The bad news is my phone does not have roaming services, so, he wasn't able to get me the whole day of Friday. I felt guilty because I knew he will be calling me a million times until he reach me.

Challenge No. 4: Surviving the MAZE in CIQ and Planning the Surprise>>>
CIQ, Johor Check-Point was really huge. Uncle told me not to cross the overhead bridge. Little did I know that there were actually three overhead bridges and what he meant was the last bridge, which takes us to City Hall. It took us quite some time to locate his car. Finally, we met. I crossed my fingers and wished that Elisha will remain in his room when I come over. Still, he was unaware of this plan. So, we went to the house, silently stepped on the wooden staircase, knocked on his door for three times. He opened the door and we shouted, "SURPRISE!". Hehe. He said, "What's going on here?"

It was extremely good to see him after 1.5 years of being physically apart. It's really hard to pen down how I felt at that moment when I saw him. To me, it was like a dream came true. "Wow, I can actually see him face-to-face, not on SKYPE anymore!" I can only testify that it is by God's grace that we can stay together despite the distance and different time zone. It was never easy. Like all relationships, this was tested. I believe that there are two things that kept us going: prayers and the effort to sustain this relationship. No 1: We prayed that God will strengthen our relationship.No. 2: We take the effort to spend time with one another on the phone or SKYPE. We speak our thoughts out and make the effort to appreciate each other's differences.


Well, this surprise would never happen without the help of the key people.
Thanks dad and mum for sponsoring my Singapore trip.
Thanks Pastor Joshua Hong, Sophia and Susanna for keeping in touch with me.
Thanks to my bunch of friends, Matt, Evon and Jeremy who spare their time at J.B with me. I hope you enjoyed yourself and loved the Chocolate Ice-Kacang.
Thanks to those who prayed for our relationship.

Thanks Elisha for travelling 23 hours on plane to come home and see me! I love you very much.
You're so sweet. ;)

Now, I look forward to spend time with you.

Please pray for us!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

LDS......the joy and pain.

Being in a long-distance relationship has never been easy.
party.. because I get very negative comments from people. I know that they do not mean to be harsh. They're just trying their best to bring 'reality' to me. They say:

"Long-distance relationship won't work."

"Don't say yes first. Got so many boys out there. Afterwards, you find a better one, how?"

..S.L thinking inside, there will be always boys who are better with the ones that we are with. That's why adultery happens. That's why when we think we found a 'better' one, without strong commitment, a relationship or a marriage tears apart. Anyway, there will be always boys who are worse than him. I say, there's only one unique person I won't want to let go.

"Out of sight, out of mind".

"Boyfriends are suppose to be there with their girlfriends..they're suppose to take care of them."

"So, what's next lah? Are you two gonna be like apart forever?" *sarcastic*

Sometimes, I keep quiet. I find that there's no point for me to argue with them because they're
so hard up on their opinions. Oh well, it's not like I ask for their opinion in the first place.

Well..I could have given up in this relationship.

But, I won't and I can't...

because I believe there is HOPE

.... LOVE

..................and FAITH in God who keeps us both together.

And it has been three years of joy and lil' misunderstanding along the way. :)

In the end of the day, what matters is God's purpose for us.

I'm not too keen to know what a few people say. They don't want to understand the situation.

They're just busy bodies.

However, I'm ever grateful for good friends, church friends and CG people who prayed for this relationship, and that we will grow together. It's truly a divine intervention that we're still together. I can't even imagine being this far apart for so long while I was in college. :)

Thanks for all your prayers and wonderful support. I cherish it alot.

Monday, April 19, 2010


Yes! I've been elected as the secretary for Clinical Psychology Interest Club. It gives me a twitch in the stomach when I think of my new responsibility.

"Siaw Lin, you're in Clinical Psychology Club!", I say to myself a couple of times.

Sometimes, I wonder what, in the world, am I doing in this club? Are you into clinical psychology? The stereotype here is that all students in Clinical Club are on their way of becoming clinical psychologists in future. That won't happen to me...because I can't picture myself dealing with people with abnormal behaviors everyday (although my dissociation skills are pretty strong).

Don't mistaken me. I'm not at all against Clinical Psychology. I love Biological Psychology and enjoy reading cognitive neuropsychology (yup, bombastic word). Cognitive neuropsychology studies the relationship between the neural system and human behavior. Psychologists in this field have a deep interest to know the effects of brain damage and diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's on our behavior. It is a beautiful combination of medicine and psychology. Knowing how our brains work and things like plasticity direct my thoughts to our great Creator, who intelligently wired our brains to function well.

One of the credible universities that offer specialization for cognitive neuropsychology is University of California. The course may costs a bomb but I hope U.S is generous enough to give out scholarships to students like me. Apart from this, I was thinking if it is practical to take up a Master's degree right after graduate or work a couple of months? Gah. Anyway, I won't know if I qualify for a master's degree in clinical until I sit for GRE and get, at least, second-upper class degree.

Oh well..... thinking thinking thinking.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Life As A Student Tutor.

Yesterday marks the last day of my own tutorship at Peer Assisted Learning. It has been approximately 5 months, tutoring students who are at the same level as I am. I joined PAL as a tutor because I thought it would be a great opportunity to have a hands-on teaching experience and it will be a plus point in my C.V. in the future. :) Being a tutor for two semesters have given me a new perspective on teaching and facilitating small study groups. One of the lessons I learn is that teaching does not always have to be in a one-way, passive, spoon-feeding manner like what we usually have in high school. As Piaget says, we're all constructive learners, curious to experiment new things and solve problems on our own. This is the reason why I get students to pair-up, search for information on their own and present what they've learned to others. This is also known as the jigsaw approach.

Learning can be made fun
The old school way is reading from the textbook alone, which explains why students fall asleep in class. I tried something new in tutorial this semester. I gave quizzes, crossword puzzles and games to get them on their toes. Showed relevant videos clips from YouTube to get the students to broaden their knowledge on current debates from the States and beautiful animation that explains certain biological processes.

Because I am learning Educational Psychology this semester, I became more aware of which educational theories and principles I can apply to my method of teaching. You can say that my students were my 'guinea pigs'. *grins*. Over this semester, I find that jigsaw approach fits well for big groups of students- keeps them attentive and interested in the lesson.

About the job:
I can't deny this. The job is challenging because it requires constant revision and preparation from my part to teach others. I spent approximately two hours or more every week, preparing teaching materials and coming out with examples/analogies to elaborate on certain main points for a topic etc. Another two hours for each tutorial itself. In total, I have to sacrifice four-five hours each week, which means tighter studying schedule and less time for assignments and even sleep. And it can be quite discouraging because not all students are motivated to come for tutorials. There was poor attendance for the first half of tutorials. I was suppose to have 13 students, only four students would turn up each week. But, things got better. For the second half of tutorials, the attendance dramatically improved. We had seven regular attendees, which was great!

The fruit of the work:
The intrinsic motivation comes from knowing that students have improved throughout the semester. :) On the last day, all the students thanked me. A few came up and shook hands with me, showing their gratitude. What makes me happy is seeing them satisfied with what they have gained from these tutorials. Recently, I saw drastic improvement on their class test 2 on Biopsychology. From a single digit on class test 1, they've attain double digits on class test 2. (etc. Class test 1: 7.5/15, Class test 2: 15/20). I was surprised myself, so were they. :) And I wish them all the very best for the finals. To me, all of them have the potential to achieve whatever they want as long as they put in effort into it.

As for now, I plan to resign from this job. I won't have the capacity to tutor and finish my thesis simultaneously. I'm glad I've given tutoring a chance because this experience have taught me about real responsibility and persistence. So far, I've already achieved 4 goals in university, 1. maintaining my grades, 2. won best speaker award for research colloquium 3. be a PAL tutor. 4. and PSG mentor. And I'm about to reach my 5th goal next semester that is holding a secretary post in Clinical Psychology Interest Club :). Looking forward for the next challenge and new experience altogether. :)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Note of Gratitude

Hi all,

So sorry for my absence. Been really busy with the assignments. I've just handed-in four assignments yesterday. It was very tiring for my group mates and myself. For the past few weeks, we've been spending long hours on the computer to find online journals and write research papers. It is a very challenging task. I find myself editing all the group assignments, making sure its parts are coherent with one another and there's minimal grammatical errors etc. As time goes by, the work load increases and lecturers are having higher expectations since we're at Year 2. They all expect quality work from us.

Okay. Let's push the academic to one side. Writing about it makes me feel saturated. Let's talk about something else k?

Like my 22nd B'day

I'm really thankful for those who made my 22nd B'day memorable and special. Thanks mum and dad for bringing me out to my favourite Japanese Buffet at Daidamon, Great Eastern Mall. Thank you, my bestie, Becky who sent more miniature stuffs all the way from Melbourne. Hey, it's been 15 years of good friendship! Thank you, Elisha for calling me and wishing me twice. We will celebrate our Birthdays together when you arrive home this coming May ya! Thanks to four cheeky friends: Matt, Evon, Ruth and Jeremy for the surprise mini party. I will remember it for a very long time. Thanks for the Ramli burger which became my only 22nd Birthday cake. Not kidding. :) Thanks to all who contributed to my Selangor Pewter Limited Edition Pumpkin Kettle and Nicholas Spark's Novel. Love them very much. A big thanks to my course mates, Jenny, Chin Looi, Nicole and Jennifer for the Italian Dinner at Midvalley and paying the bills. Thanks to all who posted Birthday wishes on my Facebook Wall and wrote a card to me.

I thank God for such great and supporting friends like you. Birthday will never be that special without each of you. I look forward for spending more time with you and allowing our friendships to grow and blossom.

God bless.

And I am counting down to my holidays.

Elisha's coming home really soon. Haven't seen him in two years! :P Feeling quite nervous to see him too. It will be so different once again.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Speaking the Language of Love (The Five Love Language by Gary Chapman)

"March is a significant month, isn't it?"

It is now a trend to list your Birthday wishes so that people will know what to get you for your Birthday and make your day. It's not a bad idea by the way because your giver knows exactly what you want and you'd be happy to get what you receive. It saves quite a lot of time thinking of what to buy.

Years ago, I read a book of the Five Love Language for both Marriage and Bringing Up Kids. After completing a questionnaire, I was quite sure that my three primary love languages are quality time, words of affirmation and receiving gifts.


...if you're thinking of making Siaw Lin happy on her Birthday this coming 15th March, here's a simple 1-2-3 manual! The biggest hint I can give is to speak my love language. Don't worry. Nothing gibberish. :)

Number #1: Quality Time

"A central aspect of quality time is togetherness. I do not mean proximity.. togetherness has to do with focused attention."

My first primary love language is quality time. When someone enjoys spending time with me, I feel loved and cherished. Quality time does not mean having to sit at the table and stare at each other awkwardly. It means spending time together and doing activities we both enjoy. It can be simple as taking me to:

-a party with closed friends
-a good dinner
-shopping at Ikea...
-CupBon at Wangsa Walk
-taking long walks around Melawati
-playing boardgames
-pillow talks (applied strictly for girls. haha.)
-watch a movie at GSC

While you're at it, pay attention to what I say and give me undivided attention. Share about your thoughts, feelings or experiences in a friendly or serious manner, whatever suits your style. Just as you lend me your listening ear, I will do the same for you. I love exchanging opinions, thoughts, ideas, (lame jokes), and intellectual questions with family and friends. Tell me how your day went, bad or good. Ask me questions to show your genuine desire that you truly want to care and understand me. The time I spent with my family and friends are deeply embedded in my memory.

Number #2: Words of Affirmation

My second primary love language is words of affirmation. On my study desk, there is a glass filled with Birthday notes from my friends from Msia, Australia and United States. They were all compiled by a bunch of friends who threw a surprise party on my 21st B'day. Most notes are touching. Some were lame (ahem). But, whatever, it is, this glass is like my little sunshine. When I feel sad or discouraged, I'd randomly pick one to read. And you'll never know how much a positive encouragement can cheer me up or make me feel a little better. Your birthday notes remind me of the beautiful friendships we both share and value. It is the same for the letters and cards I received over the years. I've learned to cherish snail mails even more because of their plunging popularity rate ever since Facebook and e-cards have taken over our world.

Overall, it is words of encouragement that keeps me positive and motivated. Verbal compliments affirm that I am capable to reach a goal and they build my self-esteem. It offers me the security to try new things and the courage to persevere when the going gets tough.

So...What can you do on my Birthday?

-Send me a snail mail
-Send me a Birthday card (preferably hand-made) or a letter
-Send an e-card, post something on my Facebook wall or whack me with a virtual pillow
-Send me a SMS with lots of smiley
-A phone call (distant or near)-handphone, Skype (which you can access through my blog too), house line
-Give verbal compliments and be honest about it!
-Tell me how much our friendship means to you
-Reveal to me how much I've impacted your life, whether in the smallest ways
-Tell me how much you cherish the time you spent with me

Number #3: Receiving Gifts

Gifts itself is a symbol of the giver's thought. It doesn't matter if you've made the gift your ownself because gifts need not be always expensive.It is the thought that counts. Gifts are something that I can hold and say to myself, "This giver thought of me while he or she bought this." I cherish the gifts I received from my friends, although some may seem insignificant to others like M&M and Kit Kat wrappers. To me, it is the intention that matters. Gifts hold a significant meaning if it was given with a sincere and genuine heart.

p/s: Posting my Birthday list is most unlikely. :) If you do not know what I want for my Birthday yet, please refer to number #1 and #2 and do as accordingly. Simplest way to know what I like/need is to talk to me personally! Find out what I like or dislike! If you've known me well, you will know (that I am very picky when it comes to cakes so you might want to leave that out ya!)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

DayDreamer, I am

"What I love about day dreaming is that it gives me some ideas to ponder on and takes me to a world of imagination after work." -siawlin

Since I was a kid, I had an idea of my very own dream house. I drew a bungalow house with two big supporting pillars, a huge entrance, a balcony and few big windows on a piece of an A4 paper and said to my best friend, "We shall stay next to each other, ya". I pinned it on the fridge and looked at it everyday. "One day, I shall own a house like this", I said to myself.

When I was a teenager, I sketched an idea of how I would like my room to be. Being an avid fan of Ikea, I loved getting my hands on their catalog. I still remember one of the first phone calls I had with Elisha was about Ikea. Aww. I was interested to get a bunk bed (as below) because my room is small. It'll be great to have a red sofa with heart-shaped pillows. Invite a few friends and watch a movie with popcorns till late night. :)

But, I scrapped the idea because I can't afford any new furnitures. Even after calculating the total amount of $$ from the ang pows.

AND re-furnishing my room would be a headache. What do I do with the old furnitures?! Throw? Donate? Keep?

So, I started to dream about..the future.

I would really loved to have a living room that looks like this:

I like plastered ceilings. Abstract art paintings. Cushioned sofa instead of leathers cos' leathers get so warm after a while in Msia's hot climate. A glass coffee table with roses in the vase. A fuzzy, warm carpet below. Two side tables with lamps. Plants at the corner. Large window by the side. Curtains (without french pleats, please.) Love almost everything here except the color of the curtain, cushions and the funny white TV cabinet.

If I were to have a family.. I would love to have..something like this.

I still want my glass coffee table. :) Like the big tiles. Love the idea of daylight curtain. Sofa should have arm rests and big bright pillows like maroon or red. .

The ideal bedroom. I really want to get a light to read a book in bed. Love this simple concept. Except for the green comforter. :)

Ahh.. dream house.

Signing off: Back to reality, study hard, get a job and marry a rich husband.

:) Then my dream will become a reality. Home sweet home.