Sunday, May 29, 2005

A busy day

Had a pretty packed up day yesterday.
9.00 - 10.30am: Had a test for one of my scariest subjects ever, Genomic and Human Molecular Genetics. Wasn't actually all that bad, the test.
11.00am-12.30pm: Had a taekwondo class to teach
12.30-1.00pm: Busy collecting fees and fielding off a gazillion questions from taekwondo kids' parents
1.00-2.00pm: Rushed back home to shower before rushing back out again
2.00-4.30pm: Went to Ipoh White Coffee at SS15 to celebrate my dear Uncle King's birthday (an A levels lecturer from Sunway I've known for a several years now). Had a hearty meal of chicken rice and the most humungous slice of cake I've ever seen in my life
4.30-7.00pm: Flew off to Petaling Jaya to the WAO Child Care Centre (CCC) where some other CBC-ers were already there to take the kids out to the park.

Come to think of it, I've never mentioned the CCC in my blog, have I? Good golly gosh. Oh well, better late than never. For the part few months, me and a bunch of other folks from my church have been taking time out every couple of weeks to go visit a home for children who's mothers have been abused by their fathers. So they're technically not orphans, but are abused women's children. There's a total of 16 kids, the youngest being 3 and the oldest being 14, with most of them being younger than 10. All Indians or Malays...and they're are an adorable bunch of kids. Really, really, really cute! It's such a joy being with them, coz' the boys are so hyper, they do the silliest and funniest things, while the girls are so cute, they just hang onto you and just wanna tell you everything they've been doing. There're two sisters who always love it when I swing them around. Fortunately, they're still young and light, so I haven't broke my back swinging them around yet.
Yesterday, I was actually kinda planning not to go for the visit coz' I thought I should use the time to do my uni work and maybe catch up on my studying. But I'd already missed the last visit, and yesterday a question came into my head as I wondered whether I should go or not: In the big picture, would I rather remember myself as having spent all my time trying to ace my exam and producing great assignments/lab reports/etc, or would I rather remember myself as having spent time with those kids and imparting some good, fun memories to them? Naturally, I decided to go after that.
Anyway, would love to put up some pics of those super adorable kids, but considering their dads are still around and about and would probably love to know where they're kids are so they can try and nab them back (the CCC is at a secret location, to protect them from their dads), I and the others aren't supposed to publicly show photos of the kids or reveal their location. But yeah, yesterday was fun. :)

Thursday, May 26, 2005

In general....

If there's one thing that kinda bugs me is people making generalizations about other people based on race, religion, looks, certain characteristics, or based on pretty much anything. Even if it's a good generalization, I don't think it's fair to lump people with certain traits/abilities in a certain group and then believe they all do certain things the same way. Like for some reason, whenever I tell anybody that I'm on scholarship from Monash, most people seem to think that either a) I'm such a genius that I don't need to study at all and I can still get superb grades, or b) I do nothing else but study so I can get good grades. Of course, those are not bad assumptions, but they are still a tad (but not immensely) annoying for the simple reason that they are not true.
Firstly, I have to study hard like everyone to get good grades, although granted my good grades may also be due to some genetic disposition to excel under the slave-driving education system of university. But genetics or not, I still have to study. If I don't study, the answers aren't gonna miraculously come into my brain through some divine intervention during the exams. I'll just flunk! And yet, I go around talking to my buddies, and whenever in comes to the topic of exams, some of them automatically assume I'll ace without breaking a sweat. Case in point this conversation I had with individual A some time back:
A: So have you started studying yet?
Me: Nope
A: Oh, you'll do fine coz' you're a genius
Me: -_-'

That's not so bad. But just as equally annoying is the assumption that I do nothing else with my life except study. Excuuuse me, but I spent half my days on the weekends going out and doing stuff at Taekwondo class and church. And on the weekdays, well, I spend a considerable amount of time bumming in front of the tv. Heh. Maybe I don't go out shopping or partying a lot, but that's only because I have better things to do with my time and money. Yet I get be part of wonderful conversations such as these:
B: Wei, you started studying already ah?
Me: Nope
B: Yeah right!
Me: -_-' If you're not gonna believe me, why ask me in the first place?
B: Hehehe! *malu*

Of course, I'm not griping about this to make myself sound like some poor victim, coz' after all, how can a Monash full scholar possibly be a victim eh? *bright shiny grin here* Ahem...I'm just highlighting the annoyingness of making generalizations about people. Buuuut I guess everyone does it to some extent, including me (although I try very hard not to!). I just hope that people would make a conscious effort not to make generalizations, coz' once generalizations turn to prejudice, that can turn to dislike, which can turn to hate, which can manifests into a heckuva lot of other uglier things. But that's another story. :D

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

A nice reward!

Yesterday, in one of my classes (a quirky little subject called How Science Works), the lecturer was talking about genetically-modified (GM) crops, and somehow or another he came about to discussing the beliefs of different religions about GM crops. There were some statistics saying how most Christians and Muslims were opposed to GM crops, saying it was unnatural and immoral to genetically modify crops, which is like playing God and all that. Now I'm not here to discuss my views on this topic, coz' quite frankly I'm still not sure what my views are in the first place. But at point, my lecturer asked the class who were Christians. There's like 20 to 30 people in my class, with no Malays, but I got a surprise when I was the only one putting up my hand. I supposed I was kind of expecting that out of so many people, at least a few would be Christians, but not so. Either that, or the people who were Christians were simply too shy to put up their hands, seeing that no one else did except me. Very typical Malaysian mentality, unfortunately. Which would be kinda sad if it were true, coz' I don't see why Christians should be shy of admitting their beliefs. In fact, the Bible tells us that if we are ashamed of God before men, God will be ashamed of us. Haha, fortunately I'm not one to follow the crowd if it doesn't suit me, so I put up my hand, and the lecturer was asking me a few things about my beliefs and all. Nothing controversial. Except that later on, he said something like how Protestants were more liberal with their beliefs compared to Catholics, and even said that Protestants believe divorce is ok and stuff like that, and I was like "Whaaaatt????" coz' the latter is so not true. Ack, maybe I should've set the record straight with him. :P
But anyway, today I got a nice surprise during the tutorial for the same class. Some time ago, we all had been divided into groups of four to make this poster based on different topics, and my lecturer had told us that the group with the best poster would get a prize. My group's topic was Type 2 diabetes in children and adolescents, and on the poster presentation day, even though out poster was good in that in could be read easily from afar and it was colourful and eye-catching, I realised it was really inadequate in terms of the information. And when the lecturers were coming around asking us about our posters, there wasn't enough information on the posters, as well as in our heads, to answer all their questions. I thought we'd definitely not win the prize, but lo and behold! Today my lecturer announced my group as the winner, and we had this whole prize presentation ceremony with the director of the Science faculty, and photos taken. Pretty surprising to me, coz' I thought some of the other posters were better. Oh well, maybe it's God's way of rewarding me for acknowledging my faith. :D :D :D. I can sense all the non-Christians out there wanting to throw tomatoes at me or something, hehe. Oh well, whatever it was, I thank God for the prize, which was a nice RM100 MPH voucher for the four of us in my group. Considering I hardly ever read, will probably use my share to buy a nice Christian rock cd at Midvalley's MPH. LOL.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Another kind of shark...

I just found out like ten minutes ago that one of my male cousins has been getting himself in trouble lending money from loan sharks. Now he's on the run, none of us in the family can contact him, and the loan sharks have been going after his sister and his mum, who's my dad's sister-in-law. Apparently he's even afraid for his life, and the loan sharks have been threatening his sister's business and dunno what else. She's already had to pay like 22,000 bucks or something, but knowing how crazy loan sharks can be, she'll never hear the end of it. She's married with a young son too. Geez, it's enough that he put himself in danger, he has to put his family and nephew in danger too? Man, I heard he had a bad gambling habit before but I didn't think it could get this bad. And to think this is the same guy I'd use to sit around with every Chinese New Year or Christmas during family reunions and chit chat with. Now I don't know when I'll see him again, or if I will see him again. Man, scary shit. It's that kinda thing you never think could happen to you, or it just happens in the movies. Now my family's sitting around and talking about it and saying we can't do anything to help him coz' once we start trying to help out, the loan sharks will start coming after us for money, and we'd never heard the end of it! So the best thing for us is to completely dissociate ourselves from him, which is what his own mother and sister are planning to do as well. It sounds brutal for family to do that, and I don't much like it, but they have a point. My cousin was a grown man who knew what he was doing, and if got himself into trouble, the rest of the family can't be dragged in and suffer the consequences of his stupidity. And I definitely can't do anything about it, except pray for the best. Hope you all can pray for him too.

Friday, May 13, 2005


The annoying, uncontrollable yellowish dribble running down my nose. The mountain-high pile of tissues that have amassed in the trash bin beside me. The braindead lethargic feeling that forces me to do nothing but sleep all day. It it the one, the only...dreaded...runny nose!!! :-'( Aaarrrgghhh!!!
It's annoying how these things happen out of the blue too. I was just fine yesterday until my genomics class at 1pm. Suddenly, during the class I felt so tired, no matter how I tried to keep awake, I just succumbed to sleep halfway during the lecture. At first I thought it was because my lecturer was being extra boring (which wouldn't have been surprising. :P). But then when I went home, I was still tired, so I crashed the whole day. It was when I woke up after my nap when my nose started going haywire and I began my sneezing marathon. Not pretty.... And even after crashing the whole day today as well, it still hasn't gotten much better. Maybe just a bit. I haven't been able to get much done these past few days, so I hope I get better soon. Bleh.... :P

Friday, May 06, 2005

From long lab reports to an encounter with the friendly-neighbourhood shark

Have you ever had those moments where you have so much work to do that you just don't know where to start, and you don't want to start, and instead of doing work, you play games or do other useless things and waste more time? I'm at the stage right about now. I just spent the whole of yesterday afternoon until 2am last night doing ONE lab report, which was due today. I didn't know what the heck I was writing, and I didn't really care coz' my lab results were all messy anyway and I just wanted to finish it off. And next week I have this essay due for Genomics and Molecular Genetics, which is probably going to take me forever to finish as well, especially since I have to try and understand all the Greek-like jargon they use in the journals I'm getting info from. I'm seriously thinking that these scientists are from another planet or something coz' I have no idea what they're talking about. And to think I might become one of them some day. Horror of horrors. Me, stuck in a lab everyday doing tedious research on some little molecular thingy which only 1% of the world's population would understand or even care about. And then having to type out articles to be published in those Greek-like Scientific journals in order to get recognized and get promoted in my job. And the worst part is, I might be working on something for years and end up not getting any results. Aaarrrgghh!!! No way, man...I seriously don't give a crap...after I graduate, I'm gonna get a job at WWF or one of those environmental organisations...I'd love to have one of those jobs where I can just go out to the field in nature, and do research on animals, insects, wildlife, whatever. Something I can see and look at and go "OoOOooohhh!!!" instead of being stuck in a lab. THAT'S the kind of research I'd like! I might not get the high status and recognition and money in that kinda job, but at least I'd enjoy it. Studying marine life would be super cool too, since there's so much in the oceans that's yet to be discovered. Did I tell ya that I went to Pulau Redang for a field trip last weekend? Well, it's definitely the greatest field trip I've been on coz' we didn't have to take notes or do studies or whatever...just observe the marine wildlife. And of course, the only way to observe was to go snorkelling with the fishes! Very much da fun, that is, seeing all the different shapes, and sizes and colours the fish come in. I saw bright yellow fish and bright orange fish and blueish-purple and pink fish. I saw swordfish and garoupas and tilapias and clownfish (they were so cute!). I even saw a moray eel sticking its head out of a coral reef, and a family of squid and some black-tipped fin baby sharks. AND I caught a short glimpse of a BIG shark, probably more than 3 m long. That was on the last day of my field trip, when I went out snorkelling on my own (which I shouldn't have done, but no one else wanted to go, and I'm a pretty good swimmer so I was confident nothing would happen. Don't follow my example. :P). I went several hundred metres away from the beach, which was pretty far from all the other snorkellers AND without a life jacket. So if anything had happened to me, I would've been in deep trouble, but I really wanted to see what was out there. At one point when I was really far out, the coral reefs were all at least three storeys below me and the bottom sloped out into the ocean so I couldn't see anything about 50 meters away. It was pretty freaky, but I still kept going...until suddenly I saw something gliding about 50 meters in front of me...just far enough that I could see it for 2 seconds and then it swam away and disappeared. Wasn't long enough for me to get a good look at it, but it was definitely a shark. Of course, most normal people who were swimming out in the ocean alone without a life jacket would've freaked out and that point and swam back to the beach as fast as their flippers could take them. But I'm not most normal people, see, and the first thing I did after recovering from the shock of seeing a big shark so close to shore was (you guessed it!) swim after it to get a better look!! But unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your view. :)), it swam away too far for me to catch up and I didn't see it again. And after a short while, I finally decided it was too dangerous to head out any further and I swam back, looking behind me every now and then to see if that shark was behind me. MAN, that was really cool, Yup, I could happily spend the rest of my life doing crazy crap like that. All I need to do is convince my mum to let me do that, coz' she's the kind of person who tells me not to go to the beach coz' I might get stung by jellyfish and drown or get eaten by a shark, or to not go hiking coz' I might fall down a cliff or get eaten by a tiger or something....and even though I keep telling her that the chances of any of those things happening are much smaller than me getting killed in a car accident, she doesn't give. Guess I shouldn't tell her about my little adventure with the shark then. I could explain to her that sharks in this region won't attack people coz' they have plenty of other fish to eat, and humans are too big. Plus, sharks usually only attack people in places where they eat seals, so they mistake humans for seals. But in Malaysia there aren't any seals, so the sharks would leave us alone. But I know from experience that logic doesn't seem to satiate a paranoid parent...hehe. :P
Anyway, I think I should stop procrastinating and go do my work now. Redang photos will be coming soon, I hope. :)