Darkness

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Recently, I’ve been enjoying being in the dark (not enjoy being kept in the dark la, because that’s just sick ok here I mean like, literally).

It started off in Leeds, when I realised how annoying tungsten lights can be, and how they just make everything look yellow and make your eyes tired. Then, I started to just work in the dark more often. Lights off, headphones on. It’s very calming, how every type of distraction in the room can just disappear with the flick of a switch, and that the only thing left in focus is your computer screen.

What’s even nicer is how I slowly started to notice 11 p.m. skies can be quite a gorgeous thing to stare at. Deep blue, with a tinge of moonlight.

I was just staring at something similar in Malaysia, out of the window of my room.

8.15 p.m. Lights off, windows open, crickets chirping, and leaves rustling as a result of whatever’s left of the evening’s breeze. I looked up, and it was as though the white moon drew neon lines on the roof tiles of my neighbour’s house. I savour every detail, and looked towards my left and noticed that the moon isn’t the only bright thing in my surroundings, for I saw a large cactus-shaped card.

She made this card for me on my birthday. I thought I had thrown away everything, but I’ve never noticed the card until now. Nostalgia rushed over me in waves of familiarity, but reality stands strong.

It’s in the bin now,

because I’m glad I have (had) you. 

Taylor’s College: unrealistic expectations and reputation

If Taylor’s College was instead described more like a business, it would have seen so much growth in the past 2 years after I graduated in 2013.

We visited Taylor’s College for a while, and I started to notice so many changes. All of them, positive.

The signs were neatly designed with very apt colours and suitable fonts; the study areas expanded through the rearrangement of the furniture (which made even more sense than before); and, the noticeboards got a little more of the respect they had always deserved with the addition of a plastic cover on them to protect the posters.

However, it was when we were walking through the careers centre that I spotted something which made me think: the student profiles of the most successful university applicants were the only ones featured.

(okay maybe there were others of the less prestigious universities who got some attention in these posters, but I didn’t spot them. If there are, okay lor.)

University of Oxford.

Cambridge.

Dan lain-lain.

I would think that parents would easily fall prey to the illusion that if they sent their children to this institution, that they might end up in prestigious universities. Parents should remind themselves that these successful alumni who managed to secure positions in the best universities in the world didn’t do so just because they attended Taylor’s College, as though the students didn’t work hard to build their applications for the years before attending college.

But, it helps to think that there’s a reason a college like Taylor’s managed to pull in very capable students in the first place, and that’s because of

reputation.

When Taylor’s was established in 1969, I imagined it had to work really hard to provide quality education; and, all of what it achieved today is probably due to how good of an education provider they were back then. So, it would be unfair to not applaud Taylor’s for being able to build a reputation back then so well enough that they can pull in very capable students now, who eventually secure top universities, and finally allow Taylor’s to prove its worth in black and white and publicise this well to Form 5/Year 11 students in order to sustain itself as a business.

Whether the quality now is as good or worse/better, I don’t know. 

In a nutshell,

Parents, please don’t have unrealistic expectations of your son/daughter becoming a genius in 1-2 years in Taylor’s ah. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and Taylor’s won’t be the only factor if your son or daughter became a genius; but, the college probably would make them better people; and, by how much really depends on the students themselves.

I say this because I saw a lot of huge posters that showed how excellent the college was, and that this could lead to many biases to build up in the minds of people who have to make important decisions for their children, when they should be kept to a minimum.

I keep wondering.

view this if you have time okay

All this while I was looking at where Kuala Lumpur started

b&w photos make everything look a bit old
b&w photos make everything look a bit old

Quite often, I’d eat lunch alone because the peace and quiet (and food) helps with thinking. The company canteen a.k.a level 8 provides lots of cheap and tasty food, and I’d eat there a lot. Because most of the tables are usually full, I’d go to the counter to have my meal.

My work as an intern here this times involves writing some articles, and one of them happened to be about Kuala Lumpur. One idea led to the next, and I ended up at the Wiki page of History of Kuala Lumpur. Reading our beloved KL’s history, I stumbled upon a certain picture that looked oddly familiar.

‘The confluence where the Klang and Gombak rivers meet, is where Kuala Lumpur got its name’ was its caption. Muddy confluence. Kuala Lumpur.

My first thought was, “So it’s literally where the two rivers met la lolzerz.”

My second thought was, “Holy shit, is that Menara OCBC in the background?”

All this while, I never knew that during lunch I had been looking at the space where the 87 tin prospectors started their journey by foot to Ampang after the Malay chief at that time hired them in hopes of establishing a tin mine.

In 1857, the boats could only reach as far as where the two rivers meet for some reason and the miners had to leave and collect some supplies before starting their trek to the jungle we now call Ampang. The earliest settlement was established on the left side of the picture, and merchants came in to sell basic necessities to the miners in return for some tin.

After that, gangster Ah Loy dai lou set the precedent for law and order with 6 policemen only and the other gangsters respected him. Then came the Selangor Civil War, and a massive flood, which was followed by a fire that razed all the wooden buildings to the ground. At that point, Ah Loy’s British m8 Frank Swettenham was like

“Eh use bricks weh”

Dai lou was like

“K lor”

And then Brickfields came along.

I wonder if my colleagues know that during lunch at level 8, they had been staring at the most (if not, one of the most) historically significant place in Kuala Lumpur the whole time.

I won’t be surprised if they don’t because today, a lorry was parked right beside the river while its driver threw something in it,  and a few people were (I think) sunbathing near the confluence. Well, they didn’t move and they were lying so I assumed they were. On the right of the sunbathers exists Dataran Merdeka; on their left, HSBC.

And to think that in between these two landmarks is where it all started for Kuala Lumpur, is something I had never expected.

For an hour, I just stared at this window.

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never knew broken KTM windows could end up in a blog post

Today, I took the KTM back to Shah Alam from my workplace; and, I stared at this for the entire journey.

I was carefully observing how the evening light was playing with the infinite cracks on the window. Under a tunnel, where there is not much light, you would be able to see the graffiti walls. When the sunlight’s less harsh, the cracks would only show one side of themselves. When the sun’s right in front of the window, whatever’s outside would disappear in an instant and only a light painting of billions of yellow lines could be seen; and, it was just so beautiful.

Cracks tell a story too. If you looked at the left side of picture, you would need to trace a crack all the way to the right, just to reach where the impact started. It reminded me of how reading the news could be so difficult sometimes: in order to wrap your head around a story, you often find yourself clicking ‘Open in New Tab’ after ‘Open in New Tab’ after ‘Open in New Tab’ over and over again, just so you could get to where it all started.  Or, how every problem has its own problems, which has their own problems, and so on.

It’s just a freaking huge mess, this life, if you keep tracing things back to where they started; because eventually when you reach its origin, you would look back to now and think “How the hell did it end up here?”

Did I tell you that I also love eavesdropping?

In front of me, there were two ladies in their 30s talking about their wide array of bachelors from different states such as Yap from Penang or Kao from Ipoh; on my left, two college boys were talking about ‘Top 10 disturbing children toys’, ‘Top 10 this’, and ‘Top 10 that’, and how it was all oh-so-funny (but I could tell the other guy was sick of hearing all these things from the way he paused so long to answer his friend).

On my far right, I caught the glance of a girl.

I was in my half-asleep/half-standing dance while trying to shield my nose using my elbow from the commuters (because runny nose), when I saw her looking at my direction. At first, she looked only for a while, leaned further in front, and was about to smile. While I noticed all that was happening, I turned away so effortlessly because I was already thinking about someone else.

Felt bad for her though. She made an effort. It was really brave of her.

Dreams

Last night, I had dreams again. The kind that you’re conscious of when you know you’re about to enter a dream. Normally, I’d and try to wake up to escape from it; but this time, I let go.

There was another thing I found fascinating too: I was able to control my dream, just by thinking about it. It’s weird if you have never felt that half-awake/half-dreaming phase before, but not for me. I’d realise quite often that I’m in a dream.

Sleeping, but awake. Dreaming, but aware.

I thought of good things last night. Sweet, corny, romantic, wishful, cheesy fries, bacon, and sausages. Yes, the last three things describes a post-Chandler Bong Bing meal. It was as though I watched a 2-hour movie unfold inside my head while lying down. When it ended, I woke up and thought, “Wow, that was a good movie”.

Brb hungry.