God Bless My Lorde and Saviour

I was actually in Croatia when tickets for Lorde’s European tour went up, and so my ticket purchasing moment saw me riding in the shotgun of our rented car, driving along the breathtakingly picturesque Croatian highway en route to Dubrovnik from Split, partially Google-maps-navigating, and partially buying tickets on Ticketmaster as quickly as possible before they were sold out.

Thus, with a click of the “Buy” button, Chong En and I were going to watch Lorde live in O2 Apollo on the 26th of September.

Pure Heroine was one of the albums consistently present in my 2014 college playlists, a particularly musically magnificent period of time for me, during which I weaved many tales through music together with my friends on road trips or chilling sessions, whilst Melodrama is such an aesthetically fulfilling album filled with both dance-worthy tunes and soul-crushing ballads. There wasn’t a single moment during her show where Ella did not give her hundred percent, and seeing her quirky but passionate dance moves contagiously hyped the hall’s atmosphere up throughout the entire night. Vocals, concepts, costumes, performance – and even merch; all of them were tens out of tens. It was an incredible night.

Despite being on the cusp of her twenties, Ella’s talents shine so brightly in the way she manages to encapsulate feelings and emotions that deeply resonate with those little dusty corners of our hearts that house loneliness and melancholic affection through her lyrics and music, making her songs anthems of the young and misunderstood.

Despite it being a rather solemn period of time for both artists and concertgoers following the recent attack, the spirit of appreciating live music with other similarly musically-inclined people lived on, something that I hold very dearly in my heart.

Khalid was the opening act

Michelle’s People I’ve Watched Live List, updated:

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Vertigo

The only way I know how to describe the start of my third year is: uncertain. Even now, so much uncertainty, instability, which is rather vertigo-inducing considering how I’ve already spent the last two years in Manchester, so it doesn’t make sense that I have so much doubt over my final year here. I was writing in my journal on my Istanbul-Manchester flight, and my closing paragraph was, “In a nutshell, I’m greatly uncertain about my third year. I’m not as pessimistic or indifferent as my first year, nor as optimistic or excited as my second, but I only wish this year to be one of no regrets.”

And I guess this uncertainty can be mildly attributed to the fact that after last year, I felt as if I’ve exhausted myself of all options and opportunities to do the things I want that will lead me to be the person that I want to be. If that makes sense? Objectively, I know that I’m not revolutionarily out of my comfort zone to do the things that scare me in order to better myself, but at the same time I’m just at a point in my life where I’m so exhausted. To the extent that sometimes I feel like I’m merely deceiving myself as to thinking I’m even getting anywhere, and this thought process is so pessimistically familiar that I fear the tendrils of despair that are telling me to give up because no matter how hard I try, I take one look at other people, scroll through social media, and already I feel like I’ve failed yet again.

Always so many self-induced expectations and obligations, that at one point, I realised that my personality is just: “What kind of person are you?” “Anything you want me to be.”

Because, it dawned on me horrifically when I woke up one night at 4am to pee (ungodly hours of the day that just sort of triggers epiphanies within yourself), I prioritise pleasing other people over pleasing myself by being…myself. Because when you’re like me, chronically running low on self-esteem after years of fearing isolation and loneliness, the only validation and approval of my own existence that matters is when it’s external, ie from the people around me. I once wrote something a few years back along the lines of, “one’s existence is really wholly dependent on the perceptions of others”, and listen, I was actually talking about the Neon Genesis Evangelion anime but apparently, somewhere along the way, I’d invested my entire cognisance in that notion.

And, like, I know this is pretty much “TLDR, I need constant approval and affection from other people so feed me with them please” which I’m not even going to lie to myself by denying it, but it’s gotten to the point that my entire fundamental reasoning mechanism of deciding what is intrinsically right or wrong hinges on what other people think is right or wrong, a subconscious lens to view the world that leaves me an empty shell of no essence. No beliefs or opinions of my own, because I’m so desperate for human connections that I would rather trade them for external validation. I don’t know what I’m doing, I really don’t. I don’t think this is the right way to live, because I know I wouldn’t want my friends to live like this, either, but like I said, I’m so unstable on my feet that I can no longer tell what is really right or wrong. And this frightens me so, so much because I’m fucking 22 years old and I’m graduating in a year, yet I’ve never felt so hopeless in all the 22 years I’ve lived. I didn’t use to be like this; I don’t know what happened along the way.

Already I know I’m still going to end this post with, “I’m still going to keep on trying nonetheless” and that’s not a lie, but giving up can be a very tempting idea when you’ve had so many false hopes and expectations that you kinda wanna scream “SOMETHING GOOD SHOULD HAVE HAPPENED BY NOW!!!!!”

But. Well. I’m still going to keep on trying nonetheless.

second summer: idleness, my greatest weakness

we’ve all been through that phase. that phase where you have a long stretch of free time coming up so you start planning for and anticipating a huge list of projects to start on, tv shows to watch, books to read. but the irony of actually preferring to do nothing when the time comes prevails over any residual motivation cultivated right from the start, leading to long lulls of idle periods that do more harm than good.

it’s already september, five days before i’m flying back to the uk and all i’ve done since coming back from hokkaido is watch death note movies, read chihayafuru manga, and worry. about what? anything, really, that one can think about. i was already generally a very fearful person, but now that i have ostensibly zero obligations and commitments, my paranoia and anxiety latches onto anything it can get its slimy tentacles on, gripping hard and never letting go. which means that i literally had nothing better to do than to let my fears run wild even as i sat on my sofa, unmoving, binge watching anime episodes into oblivion. it’s terrible, and frankly, it makes no sense, because how can one even weave something out of nothing and ruminate on it into existence (even if it’s a questionable existence)? which then ultimately leads to a familiar apprehension that being at home has been stressing me out more than when i was in uni, another T-shaped block in this tetris-like complex formation of my festering idle thoughts.

the funniest part about this is, i’ve been through this before, twice. i know this state of idleness all too well. literally hello darkness, my old friend. and just like that period of seven months after i finished spm and nine months after i finished a-levels, once again, i found myself staring into the void of an infinite abyss, watching my thoughts spiral deeper into the depths of impossible outcomes with each second.

bring on year three, i guess.

Destinations – December ’16 – June ’17

I’m going to Hokkaido in two days, and that’s my only motivation to finally post these long overdue photos of the trips I’ve been on during my second year of uni.

I. FRANCE: PARIS

   

    

II. SWITZERLAND: ZURICH & LUZERN

    

III. GERMANY: MUNICH, FUSSEN & STUTTGART

    

    

IV. HUNGARY: BUDAPEST, SLOVAKIA: BRATISLAVA

    

V. CROATIA: ZADAR, SPLIT & DUBROVNIK

    

    

MSTC 2017: Advancing 4th-ward

At the end of the second day of the event, Shun, in front of everyone else, asked, “Are you gonna write about MSTC on your blog?”

There was no doubt about that. And so here I am.

One very glaring observation one usually makes when they find out that I’m a law student on the organising committee of a technology conference is, “But why? This is completely unrelated to your course.” Sure, my initial motivation to sign up to be a part of MSTC despite being a non-STEM student was largely attributed to my fear of boredom and stagnancy, having been freshly relieved of my scriptwriter position from MNight, but since way back in high school, I disliked the notion of simply sticking rigidly to what you’re supposed to know and do and be satisfied with that, just like how I hated making SPM the centre of my universe for a year in spite of what my teachers indoctrinated within me.

I’m going to be honest and just say it outright: I didn’t expect to enjoy MSTC as much as I did. After all, this was my first marketing stint, and as a mere ambassador, the involvement that I felt was required of me wasn’t very substantial. But a lot of unexpected things happened, and I emerged from both event days feeling like I’d put in as much as effort as I could to contribute towards the marketing department without any regrets, something valuable that I’d learned from MNight. I felt that highly treasured feeling of gratification again, the moment we wrapped up and could finally conclude that, yes, MSTC 2017 was a success. It’s such an addictive feeling, gratification, and I don’t think I will ever tire of it in my constant pursuit of contentment in putting my effort into making something work, a rhetoric to counter my perpetual self-doubt of ever being or doing anything worthwhile.

And of course, making new friends is always a good outcome to achieve out of anything. Even more so when you’re lucky enough to work with someone so compatible from day one (looking at you, HW).

TL;DR, MSTC was a good learning curve for me and was the only thing sustaining and fuelling me throughout this stressful week. A huge thank you and congratulations to everyone who had worked hard and believed in MSTC enough to make it the success that it was.

Suasana Sentral Serendipity

I’m currently sitting in the incredibly high-ceilinged living room of this super posh and fancy apartment, the night view of KL city from the 36th floor clear and sparkling in my peripheral vision. This is certainly a peculiar situation I’m in, a peculiar emotion I’m feeling, because no one is here and for the past four days, I have associated this place with my friends, trippy music playing through a boombox over the sound of laughter, and conversations late into the night.

But now there’s only me, a heavy heart, and a trove of wonderful memories spanned over the past few days.

    

    

    

Thank you everyone for the past week, it always makes me so surreally happy to see everyone again. No matter how much time has passed, there is no denying that you guys are the best things to have happened in my life and for that, I will always be eternally grateful.

SHRMZB

It’s been five years since I graduated from high school; five years is the amount of time I spent in high school itself. It feels like a lifetime away, and the person that I used to be seem like a wholly different person altogether now.

But there is no denying how grateful I feel whenever I reunite with these girls: schoolmates whom I spent recess exchanging lunchboxes with at the small stone tables next to the teachers’ staff room, classmates whom I hid under the tables with during accounting classes to discuss about recent pop culture updates, friends whom I drove out to Domino’s with on the day of our graduation because I just had my licence and the world was our oyster.

Selamat hari raya girls, I’ll see you again next raya 🌸