Monday, February 28, 2005

It's the first day of uni today for me. Back to getting stuck in traffic jams in the morning and evening and sleeping through the lectures. My timetable is really messed up too, coz' every day I'd have like one class in the a morning, a few hours break, another class, another few hours break and another class. The worst is Thursday... I have a 7 hour 'break' in between classes! Yeah, I know it's messed up coz' I'm doing both 2nd and 3rd year subjects and they arranged the subjects according to what's most convenient for students of each year...but I can't believe my luck is just THAT sucky....*sigh* Plus I have 3 labs on friday. 3! And one clashes with another, so I have to figure out with my lecturers how to do my labs when two are going on at the same time. *sigh*. Oh well, c'est la vie, especially at Monash....
Anywayz, in the latest series of Carol analyzing Carol, another problem with myself that I've had for the longest time is a lack of passion and focus in any of my interests or hobbies. Like I will learn something with zeal for a while, but after some time, I'll get so caught up doing other things, I won't bother to improve myself in that area anymore. Case in point, my recent interest in magic tricks. I still have that interest in it, but getting myself to put the much needed practice into it isn't very enticing when I'd much rather be...I dunno...wasting time on the computer. Like right now. :D Same goes for my guitar...I can get better, but can't be bothered to practice. Right now, the thing that has my interest is Bolt.com, which is one of those community websites where you write your opinions on boards, post photos, make tagbooks (things where u write questions and people answer them), join clubs, play games, and do so much more stuff, you don't know where to begin. Actually, I joined Bolt, like 5 years ago when it was still in it's infant stage....but after a while, I stopped checking back on it, and only recently I became active in it again. That's the kind of thing I do all the time...I start something, and then quickly lose interest and move on to something else... I mean, it's good to try new things and not stick to the same ol' same ol' all the time...but when it comes to improving my skills in something, it doesn't help. I end up having no passion for anything I do...just moving on from one thing to another. And the thing that really worries me is whether or not I'd do the same thing once I get into a serious relationship. How long will it take before I lose interest in my guy and 'move on' to someone more interesting who happens to come along? That wouldn't be too good. But then again, relationships are another story...
Ah well.... that's all for today's session of analyzing Carol.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

My biggest fear

There was a Youth Celebration recently at my church, where we got to listen to supposedly one of the hottest guys in Malaysia share his experiences with us. Joel (insert last name here, which I didn't bother to remember) is a young man in his 20's who already has a thriving dance studio business all over KL, was the Malaysian Dance Champion, the Malaysian Fitness champion and dunno what other champion in a lot of different dance and fitness competitions. Very impressive. What's even more impressive is how he shared with us that he got to be that successful not by lying or cheating or backstabbing others to get to the top... but by being the nicest guy around and showing genuine Christian love to the people around him. In a business world where countless people have told him that he will never get far because he is too caring and too trusting of others, he has proved them all wrong by having a business far better than most of them can dream of.
Joel shared a lot of good advice to us, but the one that struck closest to home for me was his advice to hold on to our Christian values as he did. It's easy to follow what everyone else does...to tell lies to gain an advantage...to swindle people of their money...to do whatever it takes to get more. And even though we might promise ourselves not to resort to such things when we start working, or even right now when we're studying...he says it will not be that easy to hold on to godly values when we start working coz' it's a whole different ball game. And I believe him totally, coz' I've heard enough stories of how tough working life can be (and I only have 2 years max before I have to start myself! Aaarrggh!!!).
The reason why this struck close to home is because I know exactly what he means when he says it's difficult to hold on to our convictions and practice what we preach once we're out there with people who'll pressure us to do the opposite of all that. And I know it requires great willpower to resist the temptations to just do what everyone else does, instead of doing what I know I should be doing even if it sucks.
And I know I severely lack such willpower.
So it's my biggest fear that anytime something comes along to challenge me to hold on to my values, I'll lose that challenge...coz' I've did it too many times already. There're certain things I definitely will not do coz' I'm not interested and no amount of peer pressure will make me do them...but there're certain things out of bounds which I like doing, and just a little nudge from someone is enough to make me throw my convictions to the wind. And I can't help feeling pathetic for it coz' I have such a weak character. Because of it, I have no idea what kind of stupid things I'll end up doing once I'm in the working world and maybe living away from my family in my own place. I cannot say that I will definitely NOT do the things I know are wrong, because I've said such things before and failed to live up to those words. I don't know how to stop myself from doing such things in the future. Heck, the biggest challenge isn't dealing what other people try to tell me to do...it's dealing with MYSELF.
Well, I've done plenty of self-bashing (don't worry, not anything physical), which I know won't help. I know there's no point in worrying about repeating my past... I need to learn from my past and remember those lessons so I don't make the same mistakes in the future. But damn, I know it won't be any easier. And I know plenty of other people go through similar struggles with character, many of which just decide to give up and do whatever they feel like. But I don't want to compare myself to other people and think that I've been doing better than them on most areas....God has set high standards for every believer and to flunk in one area is to flunk, period. And until I've proven to myself that I can resist the urge to 'flunk', there's going to be little niggles in my head saying "Carol, you flunked again! Aren't you better than that? C'mon! Nyeh nyeh nyeh nyeeeeeh nyeh...."
Maybe some people will think I'm being stupid for setting my character standards so high for myself when I know it's exTAremely difficult to achieve those standards...after all nobody's perfect. But then again, if we Christians do not set the bars high for ourselves, what makes our characters any different from other people? How can we show genuine love to anybody and everybody? How can we show the world we are different in a good way because I'm doing it for Jesus, and He's worth doing it for?
Oh well, when it comes down to it, the same old inspirational speech applies...I just gotta keep on trying....:P

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Girls, don't give your phone numbers to guys you just met!

Rather "DUH" advice for most girls with brains I presume, but just wanna relate two recent incidents where I carelessly didn't heed my common sense, did exactly the opposite of this sound advice and regretted it. Don't worry, nothing terrible happened. I was just very very annoyed at my stupidity, and at the two guys involved.

Case #1 - Andy, the early morning caller
Andy is one of those lanky, Indian guys who hang around arcades and seem to have nothing else better to do with their time. At least, that's the impression he gave me when I first saw him at the video arcade at Summit about a month or two ago. I go there every now and then to play my favourite game...the Mickey Mouse DDR game (which I'm not too shabby at playing, if I do say so myself...:)). Andy was sitting next to the token counter, perhaps a friend who was hanging out with the token girl, or just bugging the girl for fun. So I played the DDR game, which was in full view of the token counter, for a few rounds. At one point, Andy came over, stood behind me and watched me play. Later on when I went to change more tokens, he struck up a conversation with me and said I was a pretty good at the game (See? I'm not the only one who thinks so! :P). He didn't seem to me to be one of those gangster type guys who would make trouble for me if I got too friendly, so I was quite friendly and invited him to play with me. One thing led to another, and soon he was saying that I was such a friendly girl and he asked for my number. And not quite knowing how to say no after being that friendly, I DID give him my number.
Silly me.
He called me quite a few times after that, sometimes late at night past 1am. It annoyed me, but would've annoyed me a lot more if I was actually asleep at those times. Fortunately for him, I was always awake. But I didn't know quite what to say to him during the times he called me, so whatever he said, I was like "yeah...uh huh...ok...". Or I would tell him that I was actually busy at the time and couldn't talk much. Which was actually the truth anyway. I kinda hoped he would get the hint and stop calling me, but he didn't. And a lot of times when he called, he would say things like I'm such a friendly girl...and I wasn't quite sure what his intentions were behind saying that. Needless to say, I wasn't very comfy with such conversations.
One night, he made a call to me that was the weirdest. He told me his brother had kicked him out of the house and he was walking around on the streets with no place to go. He didn't directly ask me for help, but he kept saying "I don't know what to do", as if hinting me to do something for him. This was again past 1am, so I definitely couldn't go out or else my parents would have a fit. And I certainly couldn't offer him a place to stay at my house. So I told him straight out that I couldn't help him. Plus I was very suspicious about why I was the first one he called when he was in such a dire situation. I asked him why he didn't call sme other closer friends to stay with. And he avoided the question, which made me all the more suspicious. So I finally told him straight out, in a polite manner, that his call was making me uncomfortable, I didn't know what he wanted from me, and I would like him to not call me again. Without a word, he just hung up.
That wasn't that though, coz' the next day, he sent me an sms saying he slept on the street that night, and he apologized for whatever he did, and said I was a good friend and was SO close to his heart (or something along those lines). He sounded desperate for me to stay as his 'friend'. And I couldn't rule out that maybe he WAS telling the truth, and he didn't have any ill intent towards me...but with all the crazy psychos running around this country, I wasn't about to take the risk of trusting this guy. So I replied bluntly that we weren't friends... that I didn't even know him and I only gave him my number to be polite. I also told him to go make some new friends and get a job...which wasn't the most tactful thing to say, but I think the most practical. He never called or smsed me again.
That experience made me feel kinda bad coz' I wonder whether or not the guy was telling the truth about him being on the streets and just needed some help. Maybe he actually had no one else to turn to coz' everyone else had rejected him. And if that were true, I'd made things worse by rejecting him too when initially I was quite nice to him. It's possible. But it was also possible that he wanted to trick me into trusting him so that he could do something bad to me. I didn't want to find out which was the real case, so I had to let him down in as nice but blunt a manner as possible. Ah well.
And the moral of the story is...(refer to topic title)?

Case #2 - Justin, the Casanova security guard
I met Justin a little later than Andy. He's a security guard at my apartment and I met him one night at the apartment gym. He's from Sabah so he spoke mainly Malay...plus he was a Christian too, so I started talking to him about church and stuff like that. He seemed really nice and when he asked for my number,...and still having not learned my lesson from Andy, I got friendly with him as well and also let him have my number.
I never saw him face to face since our first meeting, but he did sms me a few times. The first time was the night right after our first meeting, when he asked me to join him for dinner. I was busy, so I declined. Didn't hear from him again until Chinese New Year, when he smsed me with a CNY greeting.
The third time he smsed me, I got a shock at what he wrote. It went like this:
"Cinta akan kuberikan dari hati(ku) yang damai, sebagaimana rindu berpaut ditangkai hatiku yang sentiasa merinduimu. SMS ini lambang satunya jiwa kita selamanya."
For those who don't understand Malay, that SMS translates into one of the most romantic and sappy messages you could ever get. Which would be good and all if we actually had a relatinship going on. But, blady hell, this came from a guy I'd only ever met once and gotten a few smses from. What the heck was he thinking sending me an SMS like that???
I certainly didn't know how to reply to that, so I didn't reply at all. And I haven't heard from Justin ever since either.
And the moral of the story is...(refer to topic title)???

*Sigh*, I don't understand what's wrong with so many guys I meet around here. It's weird enough that they ask for my number when they hardly know me. Then they call me or sms me all these weird things. Are these guys really so desperate for friendship or a relationship or something? Ugh, we need more therapists in Malaysia, me thinks. Anyhow, I've learned my lesson, and next time I get too chirpy around a new guy who asks for my number, I'm not going to be so obliging. :P

Fading dreams

I don't know what I'm doing. I know that if I just strive for it, I can do greater things than just wasting life away going with the flow and not making a difference. I used to have big dreams to want to help change the world... to help make the world a better place...Why did those dreams slowly die? Is it because the world's problems seem too overwhelming? I read in the papers about the murders and injustice and other crappy stuff happening in the world, and instead of thinking that I need to stand up and try and make things better like so many other admirable people have done...I've allowed myself to resign to thinking that this is life, so just accept it...When I see a problem in my home, I just feel like moving out to be alone. When I see a problem among my friends, I feel like I want to meet new people to hang with. When I see another problem in my spiritual life, I'm just too tired to really try and fix it. When I see a problem in my country, I want to run away to another one. Is this the best I can do? Run away from the problems without even trying to help fix them?? Isn't this what most people do anyway??? Why do I have to do what everyone else does, when I know the only way to improve things is to stick around and try to fix the problems? I know I can be better than this...I know everyone can be better than this. It's just too easy to do what I feel like doing instead of what I know I need to do....and it annoys me that I'm not willing to work my butt a bit more coz' I don't wanna get out of my comfort zone. The thought of living my whole life just for myself and not to make a good difference in other people's lives just freaks me out as well....I think at my funeral I would rather be remembered for being just a good friend and blessing to people, instead of for my academic accomplishments or financial accomplishments or other stupid material things people don't care about unless they get to enjoy it themselves. But I'm not making that effort to be with people...to know people...because I'm just too much of a lazy, selfish bum who'd rather do my own thing. And maybe because I don't like inconveniencing people to hang out with me, which when you're super busy with 10 billion uni assignments, would be a considered a waste of valuable time. Perhaps this is one of the biggests problems in the modern world...people are so caught up doing their work and making money, while kids are so busy studying, that no one bothers to make time for each other. As a result, we're all getting healthier and more knowledgable, and living longer, and getting more technologically advanced...but every one of the 6 billion people on the planet can still feel lonely. What's the point?
I don't want to be one of them. Running around like ants all their lives, trying to get the things they want and need, and forgetting what really matters in life...the people. But I still see myself slowly becoming like that. Perhaps it's the Chinese mentality that money matter more than anything else, and we always gotta be busy, busy, busy...but that's really a pathetic excuse. If I really wanted to, I change myself. Anybody can change themselves. And I can't blame my 'go-with-the-flow' mentality on anything else except on my own lazy-bumness and lack of will. It annoys me.
Maybe it's because I think too far ahead, and expect so much of myself that I just don't know where to start. Maybe I need to remember that I can't change the whole world for the better in a day, but I can start at home and among the people I know. Maybe I constantly need to remind myself that it's the little things I do that really make a difference, not necessarily the big things that everyone notices. Little things like being a considerate drivers when most other drivers act like they own the roads. Things like talking to the new person in a place where everyone else is too busy with their own cliches. Things like holding my tongue when all I want to do is lash out in anger.
It's tough to try and make a difference...something I've learned over the years. It's depressing when I feel I just can't do anything much. It's annoying when I know I'm becoming the person I never wanted to become. And most times I just want to give up trying and be like everyone else and join the silly rat race. Most times. But sometimes, I take a good look at myself, ramble a lot of nonsense like this and say to myself, "Hell, no matter what, I'll still keep on trying to work to my dream of being that better person." This is one of those times. God help me!

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Life is just dandy

I have one and a half weeks before my new semester starts. Then it's back to another stressful eight months, with a one month break in between...and then I graduate! Wee ha!!! And then I'll probably be doing my honours, which will take up another one year. And then I'll graduate with honours! Wee ha!!!! And then I'll get a job and work my butt off for the rest of my life paying off my house and car(s) and my kid's university education, before I retire at 50-something and bum around until I die. Wee ha!!!
*Sigh*...life is just dandy, isn't it? :p

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

CNY lunch and thoughts on the Catholic church

Had a good Chinese New Year day today, where my parents had a little lunch for my and my brother's friends. Most of my friends seemed to have 'balik kampung', so I only had a couple of my taekwondo friends, Chun Hau and Rau come over. My instructor promised he would definitely be here today, but without even calling me, he decided not to show up and told the other two to inform me. Sigh...well, he's a pretty good guy so I'll forgive him for now... and him a good walloping the next time I see him, hehe! Also had some of my relatives come over, which included my dad's cousin's son named Adrian, who also happens to be working as a pastoral worker in a Catholic church somewhere in Sunway. We got round to talking and somehow or another he ended trying to convince me that the Catholic church is the one true church, and that some of the things Protestants believe about the Catholic church aren't true, and yadda yadda yadda. Bleh. Even had the whole pamphlet thing to show me to help his case. He did sort of answer some of the pressing questions like why Catholics think it's important to pray to Mary even though the Bible says we can just pray directly to Jesus ourselves. Or why the Pope is given such high reverance and whatever he says he is taken as gospel truth, even though he just another ordinary sinful guy. Or why the Catholics go through so many seemingly mindless rituals and traditions that don't seem to be biblical. Adrian didn't have enough time to really answer all those such questions thoroughly...but enough to make me think that the Catholic church isn't all as whacked out as I thought is was. And if I really feel like it, later on I might work up the energy to check up more on this topic myself so I can make a more-informed conclusion.
But even if I were convinced that the Catholic church isn't just full of hogwash rituals that people do just to be 'religious', and there is a good biblical reason for why they do what they do....it's still unlikely that I'll jump back to the Catholic church for that reason. Yeah sure, maybe it's true that the Catholic traditions ARE important traditions carried down from the Jesus' time, at least according to 2 Thessalonians 2:15 (taken from that cute little pamphlet)...but the problem is even though it may be important to continue those traditions, the danger is that people will just DO the traditions blindly for the sake of being 'religious' without even fully understanding the reasons or purposes behind those traditions. For people who honestly fully understand the reasons for these traditions and do them wholeheartedly for God without ulterior motives, good for them and I hope they keep it up. But for someone like me who has a problem doing anything wholeheartedly for God...I don't see the point in joining a Catholic church and regularly partaking in their traditions when I know that if I do, it more likely be just because I wanna 'go with the flow', or 'do my religious duty', or whatever other stupid reason, when I really should be doing it to honour God. And I think the truly best way to honour Him is through the way I live...not through regularly performing religious rituals in the hope that it will be pleasing to Him. Once I get the former down pat, maybe I'll consider going back to the Catholic church. Which means, more I'll probably never set foot in another Catholic church again. Haha! :P

A magical Chinese New Year!

Yeah, may this new year bring you prosperity, good fortune and all such good stuff. Started off this Chinese New Year by trying to learn an unconventional new skill...magic! Haha, one my friends Alvin has been learning magic tricks for a while and showed quite a few to me. And I, being the gullible person that I am, was very entertained, not to mention duped, by most of his tricks....It was also turns out that there's a new magic shop at the Summit, which is like 5 minutes drive from my place, selling all this magic stuff. So me, Alvin and a couple of other friends went there the other day to check it out and got wowed by a guy working at the shop who did a few tricks. Next thing I knew, I was seriously thinking of trying out magic myself. I figured it was time I learned a new skill to add to my list of sort-of talents. Sort-of, because I can do lotsa stuff like play the guitar, sing, do taekwondo, etc...but I'm not exceptionally good at any of them. Jack of all trades and master of none, they say... anyhow, I figured doing magic tricks is a cool thing to learn to entertain people. It's especially cool for me considering most of the good magicians I've seen are all guys...and it would be nice to be one of the rare female magicians around. At least it'll get rid of the notion that girls aren't just for strutting around the magician looking pretty! I've learned a few tricks in the past few days and did a few 'performances' to my friends, relatives and family over Chinese New Year. It's great when they can't figure out what the heck I did and I run off giggling like a schoolgirl. But I also screwed up a few ones, which was of course, rather embarassing and discouraging. But then Alvin did warn me that I should try not to get discouraged if I messed up some tricks...all part and parcel of the trade. Some of the tricks also require quite a bit of practice and slight of hand...which are usually quite cool if I can pull them off, but the amount of practice I have to put into them really PUTS me off. And the only things that would keep me going is looking forward to the dumbfounded looks on people's faces when I do it for them...plus the fact that I already paid for this stuff so I'd better do it good.....hehe. It's extra nice that I have Alvin as a budding magician friend, so we can help each other out and encourage one another to keep on practicing. I still got a heckuva long way to go and plenty of cool tricks to learn, but hopefully I'll have the diligence to actually stick to practicing this so I can perfect at least a few really good tricks...and become Carol da Magician! Bwahahaha! Ha! Hee...heh... :Þ

Wednesday, February 02, 2005