Tuesday, February 28, 2006

"Beyond the Fall"

What is "Beyond the Fall"?
I've been reading this book for the past 3 days. I should be finishing tomorrow. It's written by a young man called Thomas, who resides in Singapore. He is a tetraplegic (person who is paralyzed in four limbs) and this book is about his life after the fateful Christmas Party in 1999, where he got drunk and somehow ended up on the ground floor when he was supposed to be in bed on the third floor of a friend's house in Bukit Timah.

How did I get this book? Why?
I was in Popular with mum and our two maids, Seuth Pov and Pher. Seuth Pov wanted to buy some books before going back to Cambodia. I just took the chance to spend more time with mum and dad. I was browsing through the shelves (not the the branch in South City Plaza has a good selection of books) and one section caught my attention. The first book was Lydia Teh's "Life's Like That", which is about Malaysian life. That was a good read. Will talk about it next time. Then next to her book was this book, which has a lovely painting of a sunflower on its cover. It actually looked a little like the art work produced by the kids dad teach. I flipped through, read the front and back covers, and the first few pages. At the bottom of one page read: "20% from the sale of this book will go to .......... Foundation...... Charity........" Oh yes, definitely buying this book. I'm a big fan of charity..... =P

So far...
I've enjoyed reading it. I envy Thomas' journey of life. I mean, I don't think it's any fun being paralyzed but I think he is getting much more out of life because he is more appreciative of life than most of us 'normal' people are. He wanted to share his experiences with the rest of Singapore (and perhaps the world) to show that people like him are also part the society and that they should also be taken care of. He was referring to how an enormous task it is for him and his maid to go 'jalan-jalan' in his neighbourhood - high kerbs, flimsy railing, uneven pathways, uncovered manholes, etc. Just imagine a really bad version of KL. There were a few typos but I guess that's alright as the publishing and editing was done by his close friends. I like the layout of the book, though. The idea of starting each section with a picture and poem is refreshing (for me, at least). Definitely refreshing when you have been reading Times New Roman font 10, single-spaced, in paperback published by Puffin or Penguin all your life.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Not good enough

Hm, I didn't get the scholarship.

When Jennifer (Head of Dept., IEC) called me on my mobile, I was waiting outside Darryl Lea for Uncle, Aunty and Erin.

J: I'm so sorry to tell you that you didn't get the big prize. But I must say that your interview was a very strong one and it was a tough pick.
Sj: Oh, that's alright, that's fine. No worries. Thank you so much for providing me the chance.

Hm, I sounded just fine. I felt fine. Probably I was too hungry to feel anything else. All I had in my mind was Pent-Thai's Pad Thai. Yummy......... I need to eeaatt.......

But, I did have the reflex to call dad right away. Wasn't sure where he was but I called him anyways. He answered very quickly.

Sj: Hello?
D: Yeah..
Sj: You in Papua New Guinea already ar?
D: Haha, nolar! I'm still in KL la! I'm only leaving tonight.
Sj: Oh. Er, I didn't get it.
D: Did they tell you why?
Sj: No, and I didn't bother asking. But I sort of thought that I wouldn't get it anyway coz my GPA is not as impressive as my friend's. And I would think that they would choose someone with a higher GPA than one which is sitting just slightly above the requirement mark.
D: Yes, yes.
Sj: And they would want to make it look good on paper, too. You know, to encourage other students to get higher GPAs and also to look good in their report to the Scholarship Committee la.
D: Of course, of course. Never mind. We already said that it's not important.
Sj: I'm going to call mum to tell her.
D: No need. I'll tell her for you. No need for you to make another call. I'm going to her place now. I'm meeting with her for lunch.

It takes time for stuff like that to sink in. I'm not supposed to be sad. But somehow, I am. Like 6 hours after the receipt of the news.

Oh well, consider myself lucky. At least I had the chance to even be allowed to apply.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

A CNY to remember

Quick, faster, why so slow one? Hurry, if not we will be stuck in the traffic jam! We couldn't wait to go home, to be with the family. It took us around 2 hours to arrive. As we drove into the driveway, we could see a white tent. We disembarked. Grandma was glad that we were home. Youngest Aunt (Aunt Yeen) was already there with Eunice, Youngest Cousin. So that meant that 4 of the 5 siblings are home - Dad (Oldest Son), Aunt Ying (Oldest Daughter), Uncle Fatt (Youngest Son) and Aunt Yeen (Youngest Daughter). The missing link was Middle Daughter (Aunt Hong), who lives in Melbourne. Uncle Aaron was said to be arriving the next day enroute to Melbourne from Beijing, and he would be representing Aunt Hong.

It was quiet. We could see that Grandma and Dini (their long-serving Indonesian maid) were tired and sleepy. Even Granduncle and Grandaunt were there. Heck, there were even family members I've never seen or don't recognise. Scary feeling indeed. It was a time to gather, to reintroduce, to tell our stories that would have evolved from the last time we met. It was a time to bond. And trust me, having spent one CNY away from family is enought to make you really appreciate all the small talk and 'Wah, your daughter ar? So big awleddy? Good girl or not? Oh, study in Ostehlia ar? Wa, must be very clever one's.

We (the younger generation) were left to our own devices. With such a huge house and the lot of us, there were many things to fiddle with. Eunice fed the fishes while Samuel watched and instructed.

We had lively discussions at the dining table, which had us resorting to using the cordless phone as a 'mic' - the person who wishes to speak shall speak into the phone and everyone else must keep quiet to listen. That was really entertaining! Uncle Fatt was the only one who didn't need to 'mic' as he had to take care of his sparrow hawk. Unfairness.....

And yes, let me introduce you to the other female Voon of my generation: my cousin who is 10 years younger than I am - Miss Voon She Ying (see the resemblance in the names?). She's a little ripe for her age, I reckon but nobody says that it's a bad thing. =) She's pretty and chirpy. She seems to be very creative (like me!) - she makes things out of paper, plastic, ribbons, just everything she gets her hands on. And she's very into Channel [V] and MTV and everything rock. She's into black and red stripy stuff, rap and over the eye hair fringes (which drove grandma nuts when I had the same hairstyle!). And yes, she's hot with the fellas.

Back in Sydney

It's been a week since I arrived in sweltering hot Sydney. Well, it's not hot at the moment because it's actually pouring (for once!) and windy. I left a gap in my window so it was all wet - my laptop, too! I sort of panicked but all is well. It is quite intersting to sit her at the table and stare out of the window to watch raindrops fall in the glow of the street lamp. And the smell, the sound of rain - feels like home. Just that where home is, it's literally raining cats and dogs.

With the Chews here, life has been pretty unpredicatable (and predictable in a way). Don't think that sentence made sense but that's not important. I can safely say that the way Shaun was brought up and the way I was brought up are really on the two ends of the spectrum. But I won't say that what they do is wrong. For all I know, they would think that I'm a stuck-up, selfish, bitchy, spoilt princess from a rich and 'we-know-all' family. Ah, sama-sama lah.....

Due to Erin's arrival, Nic is now roughing it out in the living room while looking for a new place. He started with 2-bedroom units. Then now he's looking for one-bedroom places. He was so into looking at chun places, places which look new and funky. Heck, he had me looking at the pics, too, and I must say, some of them really are attractive! The one that stood out most was the 3-level place. Ooo, saliva drooling.....

Let's just hope when the parents leave on Wednesday, we would see some differences. And that the girl would prove all my preassumptions wrong.

Yes, I am preassuming. So hate me.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Fight: Forgiven

I was upset
I wanted to let you know
my feelings
as did you

the person I once knew was
still in you

released the
pent up
anger you had that was waiting to

Eyes swollen with tears
Body trembling with fear, distress and disbelief
Fear because we've never had a FIGHT
Distress because we let the FIGHT take over
Disbelief because we let the FIGHT begin

What has become of us?
Was it entirely due to
All of us?

I don't know
I don't want to know
It hurts to know
it hurts to care and love

Fight has awoken me from
my life
A life of loyalty and compassion
A life that has been misinterpreted
A life that was help formed
by people such as

Thank you for the
release and the
lifting of burden.

I will always remember the times we've had
in the past
when nothing mattered
when we were friends because we
enjoyed each other's company and
talked about everything

You were someone I treasured and would
still want to treasure
but it is too painful and
heavy a task
to know that you have never understood
my thoughts and intentions

I fought with you
I forgive you

Will I forgive myself?