Monday, November 12, 2007

Another chapter

It was pretty early in the morning. Mum dressed me in a dark red, burgundy-ish dress with yellow hibiscus prints and yellow round collars. I was to ride in the car with my neighbour to 'school'. That day 20 years ago marked the beginning of my academic life. Unfortunately, I do not have any pictorial proof of those early years with me here in Sydney. My first school was Tadika Bunga Raya in Klang. Later, when the family moved to SK, mum and dad thought it would be convenient to place us somewhere in Desa. Hence, I attended Tadika Desa in the mornings and then walked over to ELC until mum picked us up later in the arvo. I spent a year doing that.

Primary school begun in SK Sri Serdang for me. I was the only Chinese girl in the class. There were three Indians and the rest were Malay. It was pretty daunting. I felt so lost, unsafe and insecure. But that feeling made me strive harder to better myself. The good foundation laid helped me very much with my transition to Desa. I spent the next five years of my primary school life in SK Taman Desa, three of which I was a prefect. UPSR marked the end of 'childhood' and it was time to move up to Form One, and literally move down (the hill) to SMKTD2.

We were Desa 2 for two years. Forgive me but I do not recall which headmaster (or headmistress) it was who changed us to Desa Perdana. High school brought many changes to my life. Friends lost and found, relationships formed and broke. After five years and SPM, it was time to bid adieu to another alma mater.

While some went on to do Sixth Form, many of us opted to continue our studies in private institutions. I chose to do the Canadian Pre-U at Taylor's College Subang Jaya. College was so different. The types of people met, the courage to bend and break rules and the heartache I've caused are still etched in my mind. When I graduated from college, I vowed not to repeat many things.

After taking a 1.5-year hiatus from books, I was off again to academia. This time, it was an eight-hour flight from home in an environment totally alien to me. Well, the place used English so that helped heaps. Macquarie University in suburban Sydney was to be my 'home' for four years.

19th September, 2007. That day was a sacred day for many reasons. It was a day of relief, joy and pride. It was a day of letting go and lifting of burdens. It was a day of celebration.

My smile has never been as broad as it has been on that day.

Nothing I put down in words can convey the gratitude and love I feel for the following people:

Father: Your words of encouragement, your guidance, your friendship. Your subtle 'cynical' reminders to watch my temper and level-headedness. Most importantly, your belief in me.

Mummy: I know you love me. You know I love you, too. We're just too paiseh to admit it. Love all the phone calls and gossips. You never fail to comfort me when I'm down. You are the biggest reason I'm such a hardcore teacher today.

Li'l bro: I know you are proud of me. And I hope you know that I am extremely proud of you, as well. What will I do if you didn't know how to fix everything in the house? And it's funny how some of your 'philosophical' reasoning actually do make sense.

Shaun: Your food, your food and your food. You may not understand my passion for children 100% but you're getting there and I love you for being there for me.

Petra: We so need to meet up for coffee!!! I don't care if we meet up here in Sydney, or if I fly down to Christchurch, or we meet up in KL. I DON'T CARE! I miss you too much to care! Oh, did I mention that I love you heaps for being my #1 fan?

Jeunn Fuh: Love-hate relationship. Sigh... I think that sums it. *Hugs*

Daniel Teoh, Ta Seng, Xin Wen, Jona and Justin Lim: You guys make Sydney bearable and a happier place to live in. Without you guys, I think I'd just rot of boredom. Thank you for the dinners, the suppers, the weekends, the shopping, the window-shopping, the book-browsing, the song-copying, the cooking sessions, the gossiping and the lamenting of life in general.

VK and Josh: Both of you gave me strength and the opportunity to love and to be loved. Thank you.

Dr. Emma Pearson: Couldn't have chosen a better person to be my supervisor. Also a friend, thank you for your constant reminders to stay focussed. You believed in me when I lost all faith in myself. If I ever end up an academic, I want to be like you.

Yona, Stellina, Karina and Hannah: Uni life was so much more fun with you guys! So glad to have travelled together with the brave and different. We are early childhood professionals and WE ROCK!

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