1242 hours

do you ever just one-up your own sadness? think to yourself, i have never felt this sad before, and then a week later you think the same thing, and then the week after, and then after.

i was upset when i got here, so i made myself go out everyday, texted friends to hang out with almost every hour. i told myself that it’s fine now, i still have many friends here. then i felt too restless, so i took japanese classes and got a job, and i told myself it’s fine now, i will be too busy to feel sad. and then now i realise that in the midst of busyness i still feel empty. without the distractions of multiple real life responsibilities and people and games that are to be honest sustaining me when i’m home alone, i don’t know how to feel happy. i thought i was doing well but perhaps i’m not. and i feel scared. i feel desperate. i feel lonely.

i don’t like thinking there is an external solution to this that i need to find, because ultimately self-care comes from within, but i don’t know what to do to make myself feel happy anymore.

what’s so happy about a heartbreak party

lost spaces

in my pursuit of KL’s artsy fartsy art scene, i said “yes” in a heartbeat when taliza invited me to join her friends to catch lost spaces and talitha’s gigs at urbanscapes house. 

i’ve mentioned this before to multiple friends that since coming back to KL and being given a taster session on what is presumed to be KL’s creative art scene (zhongshan building, cooler lumpur, merdekarya and now urbanscapes), malaysians can be quite the artists, even in comparison to my experiences of artsy manchester (and we’re talking about manchester here, home of afflecks and oasis and the 1975, the actual hub of england’s artistic sub-culture). i love what they’ve done to the art scene here, by incorporating local elements and experiences to make it feel all the more familiar, all the more malaysian. it feels fascinating to me particularly because most of my life growing up in alor setar, i have rarely come to associate my surroundings with art. music, paintings, exhibitions etc that i learned about growing up were all sourced from the internet, and in my mind’s eyes were pretty much a foreign affair. it wasn’t until i went to sunway and met a group of creatively like-minded friends (studying a-levels, of all things), that i started to realise that there is an actually abundance of malaysian art, albeit more obscure than their western counterparts. (see “In convo w/ visual artist LITH NG on her show @ Urbanscapes 2018” written by my friend Ellen on her friend’s urbanscapes exhibition)

lost spaces is one such band that i discovered when i was looking up local artists on spotify. shun was the one who introduced them to me, the lead singer being a friend of a friend. and i was pleasantly surprised by how quickly i took a liking to their music, considering the fact that i have zero knowledge of the local music scene. they describe their music as “groovy indie pop with hints of ambient R&B” [1]. with heavy usage of dreamy synth sounds and malaysian-accented monologue inserts (as heard in instant.romance, where two boys discuss about the millennial woes of finding love), lost spaces makes music that is bound to make you dance or at the very least tap your foot along to, until you realise the inherent melancholy interlaced within the lyrics and you’re a bit confused because the song is upbeat but the words are so, so sad. (seems like we’re miles away from happy days / we seem to be stuck here looped in a fuzzy daze)

also they have really aesthetically pleasing single covers and i am weak for pastel colours of the pink to purple range.

Talitha’s gig was next and the Heartbreak Party was actually hers, in conjunction with her EP release of BOYS. her new EP is called BOYS, but the actual best track of it is called GIRLS. (if this isn’t a metaphor for real life, i don’t know what is). and it really is a heartbreak party, isn’t it? her songs sing of feelings of sadness, betrayal and disappointment in relationships that maybe hit a bit too close to home once or twice. it felt like maybe we were all supposed to cry together instead of sing along during the gig. (he doesn’t / he doesn’t want me enough to love / love me enough to try / he wouldn’t / no, no, he wouldn’t look me in the eye / even when i told him i’d try)

after the party, taliza and i headed for the balcony of the third floor of 2 Hang Kasturi for an impromptu shoot, something that i hadn’t done in nearly four years. and it felt really nice. there were other people around too, so there was no helping the initial awkwardness of people staring and a four-year hiatus (and an oily complexion after having just emerged from a crowded room), but it felt familiar, and it was taliza, and it was one of the few moments so far during which i felt the complete compatibility of my surroundings, and being in the city of KL. 

check out taliza’s instagram for the shoot:



[1] "Lost Spaces: An Indie-Pop Band Which Will Fill Up the Twilight On Your Daily Commute", Friends of Sevenpie, December 4, 2017 

lonely in KL: contrast


i’m in KL! have been for a month. after being relatively stagnant at home and anticipating my next phase of life, i am finally here. unlike manchester, i wanted a better beginning, which meant that i only allowed myself optimism paired with concurrent mediocre expectations so that i wouldn’t be pre-emptively closing myself off from all opportunities, but also i would come prepared with an airbag to cushion any fall in expectations, a mechanism developed over the years in the wake of crushing regrets and disappointments.

i don’t really know what i expected upon coming here, though. unlike university, living alone in KL (despite studying in the meantime) isn’t exactly an experience that comes with a predictable blueprint. even today, almost a month into my stay here, i have yet to find a steady footing on my routine here, which is at best, a little exhilarating, and at worst, incredibly terrifying.

i have always loved big cities. i have always romanticised big cities. to me, there’s always an inherent thrill of being thrown into the deep unknown that is so rich with a certain fixed culture interlaced with elements of unpredictability and surprise. like london. rome. paris. tokyo. bangkok. all very messy, but also exciting. it was precisely the inevitability of chaos and disorder ever-prevalent in a city that fascinated me; me, a creature of habit, a hermit confined within her comfort zone for almost as long as she had lived. studying abroad had instilled an addiction to adrenaline within myself that came with combating the norm of what i have known all my life, and taking on challenges that i would have absolutely recoiled from a mere three years ago. i wanted to be the exact opposite of myself, which is why i never hesitated at all to choose KL as my next destination within malaysia.

and KL never disappointed. ever so chaotic and tireless, it made london appear like a sleepy town. there was never a lack of anything to complain about once i leave the house. i don’t have a car, so getting anywhere by grab is blood-sucking. toss in some rain and rush hours and you get the quintessential KL experience of feeling helpless either squished among a sea of bodies that completely eradicates any concept of personal space, or stranded in a mall that has yet to even open its shutters just so you can wait for the grab surge to go down. chaotic, so chaotic. do i love it? sometimes. sometimes i still stare in amazement at the bright skyscraper lights of menara suezcap and TM tower from the smudged window of a grab on the way home approaching bangsar south, and sometimes i also still feel some inane sense of fondness at the sight of the endless red rear lights of a traffic jam at 6pm from the elevated view of LRT windows. there’s just so much going on here. so much potential. so many opportunities. it all feels so breathless and minute.

but sometimes, especially when it’s at night, it’s not so easy to focus on the romanticisation in the face of inherent loneliness. because i am alone, here. and suddenly, so many responsibilities surface when you are living alone. but right at the next immediate second, there comes the contrast of having absolutely nothing to fill your time with, no one to talk to. it’s so strange to me, even until today, because i’ve never been in this exact situation before. i’ve always had the privilege and comfort of familiar company in the form of family and friends at the start of my new phases of life, and i know i’m already 23 (god forbid i ever forget that when the whole universe seems to consistently be reminding me of it) but it’s always going to be an awkward arrangement for me to be completely by myself. it’s not even really a matter of self-sufficiency or lack of human contact, but rather the absence of reassurance in the form of The Idea That Someone Is Always There. it’s weird. there’s the freedom that i’ve salivated over for so long right in front of me, and yet i can only feel nothing but weird.

and nothing stands out more during this period of assimilation into KL city than the concept of contrast, the most obvious being the contrast between my life here and the life i had in manchester. it’s always a subconscious comparison that starts budding within my mind when i’m not paying attention, and especially during that brief moment before i fall asleep. everyone and everything felt so nearby and within reach in manchester, but KL just feels like a huge expanse of barrenness in which everyone is constantly busy and occupied, and everything is so distant and unreachable. a contrast akin to the bizarre and acute contrast between capitalism’s glaring divide of income groups reflected in a mere two-way road separating kampung houses with atap roofs and the integrated corporate hub of bangsar south filled with skyscrapers with glass windows and a mini-waterfall, a view that still strikes fascination within me whenever i pass by it everyday to go home.

does this contrast fill me with regret? it does, it still does. it fills me with so much regret that i didn’t fight hard enough to stay in manchester for another year, especially with the knowledge that had i chosen to remain in manchester, my current situation would be so much better off than where i am now. but at the same time, there is only so much blame that i can put on myself. and i realise that somewhere within me, there’s still a part of me that hasn’t totally given up on KL yet. sure, a lot of things suck. sure, i miss my friends so much when i’m home alone for the third day in a row, writhing in pain from gastritis without any luxury of human interaction. sure, i wish i could just reach where i want to go by foot when i’m stuck in a crowded LRT for 30 minutes, knowing that it’s the only possible route to get to class. but sometimes, rather than regret and all the what-ifs, i just think, “that’s how things be”. because really, i would rather blame my circumstances than my own actions anymore. it’s perhaps even more helpless to feel like there’s no way to fight against unfortunate circumstances, but accepting the fact that adult life is just generally tough for everyone and that the bliss of university life cannot stretch on forever, is easier in the long run. it’s just really…how it be.

which honestly, is also the same answer for me regarding my relationship with KL; do i hate KL? do i love KL? i’m still not done romanticising this metropolitan hell yet, but obviously it’s also not where i would want to be as of this moment. which is why, eh, KL is just KL. that’s how she be.

In Transit

It appears that this will be the last blogpost that will be filed under this category, Larger than Lifesize – a category wholly dedicated to my whole three years of university in the UK.

And now on to even larger things. Like moving to KL to commence a new phase of my life.

I’ve been back in Malaysia for almost a month now, but my time spent at home in Alor Setar feels like a temporary transit more than anything. Immediately after I unpacked all my stuff brought back from Manchester, I find myself packing again, this time to spend a year in KL studying the CLP, bringing me yet another step closer to a a legal career path that I am still quite struggling to be passionate about. (But lately I am thinking that passion might not be such an important prerequisite in any career I pursue, after all. Unfortunately, the growth of capitalism is almost guaranteed to make us hate our job, regardless of whether it’s in a field we love or abhor.)

I still do miss Manchester terribly, if I allow myself the time and energy to think about it. But at the same time, I am trying to redirect that same time and energy expense towards anticipating a brand new life instead, to alleviate the fear and anxiety that arise with it. So KL friends, hit me up for plans starting next weekend plz 👀

(I missed this blog’s 10th birthday [anniversary?] last month! Happy birthday, Careful Confessions, you’re almost hitting puberty. Kids these days, they just grow up so fast don’t they)

from AGLC, for the last time

i’m flying back home in two days, and this is probably the last time i will get to write from the learning commons.

AGLC in the summer is a rare sight and an empty contrast to the usual crowd during term time. there are no more familiar faces around, and my purpose of being here lacks any sort of motivation and conviction regarding assignments and/or exams. although i get pleasantly surprised everytime i’m still allowed entry since this year’s term ended.

it would be a stretch to say that i enjoyed the excruciatingly long hours i have spent in this building for the past three years, but it always gets so nostalgic to pass by my usual seat at the couches at floor -1. some of my friendships this year were also unpredictably cultivated here, so that must also contribute to the nostalgia, i guess.

after last night, i realise that i am still somewhat in heavy denial of leaving, even going to the extent of looking up Masters programmes in uni of manchester and asking my dad for the billionth time whether i had actually made the right decision by choosing to go home. realistically, there is no longer anything else that i can do to change the direction i am veered towards. i have paid good sums of money. packed everything up. said all my goodbyes. and that is why this struggle to deny the inevitable scares me more than anything else. i hate to continue fighting against the progression of reality like this, but my mind is still endlessly plagued with what-ifs and any possible last minute turnabouts, wondering why i hadn’t tried harder to cling onto this before.

deep down i know it’s all for naught, and that this is just a tough period of separation that i have to grit my teeth and endure until the pain and sorrow ebb away eventually. so…i don’t know. half of my mind is just trying to distract myself from *waves arms around frantically* all this and the other half is trying to obsessively document everything here as immaculately as i can to prevent any regrets that surface in the future.

this exhaustion and sadness is exactly as i’d expected, and i’m gradually digging my emotional well dry while attempting to be a functional human being in front of everyone else at the same time.

onboard flight fr3206 to rome

[dated 18 july 2018, 8:23pm]

i think one of the most beautiful things in the world is the coming together of human beings, souls and personalities.

which is why one of the saddest things in the world is the separation of these beings, especially if it’s for a long amount of time.

but at the same time, what remains a beautiful thing too is after said separation, these beings come together again, respectively different in terms of growth and experiences, but still maintaining the same level of care and affection for each other.

and i hope when all of us reunite again, as grown and improved versions of ourselves in the future, we will fondly remember the countless memories of yesterday’s nostalgia, and then move forward to create brand new ones together.

Girl, Graduated

Ever since the arrival of my parents in UK, I have been submerged in a perpetual trance of bizarreness, so much so that it sometimes makes me a bit anxious. It probably has to do with the strange collision of worlds pre- and post-university. Probably also has something to do with my approaching expiry date. Regardless, the past month took me out of my comfortable Manchester life and took me along for a whirlwind of a ride.

But coming back to Manchester, meeting all my friends again, and finally, graduating, brought some semblance of familiarity back, and I was really thankful for that. There is still an inherent melancholy interlaced within everything I do and everyone I see, since all of them point towards the direction of Leaving, but everything felt like a proper emotional closure, at least. The very concept of graduation means closure, after all.

Today was a day of rushing (in heels, at that) to do things, to meet people, to take photos. So it was only when I entered Whitworth Hall and took my seat before my graduation ceremony officially began that I started to feel the crushing weight of the weariness, and even more importantly, the magnitude of what was happening to me and to my life thus far.

I guess objectively, all milestones are what you make them to be, and graduation is one of them. And University of Manchester definitely made this milestone out to be one of much grandeur. There was an organ that made everything appear more dramatic, chancellors and heads of school clad in purple robes delivering motivational speeches, and finally, the donning of our graduation hats to symbolise the actual end of the three-year ride. Hitting the nail on the coffin, if you will.

It’s a bit unbelievable. No, I’m lying. It’s so incredibly unbelievable. I am way too exhausted to be eloquent right now, but it just feels way too surreal that I have finished all three years of law school in Manchester and am leaving it now. Am I happy to graduate? Yes. It’s an achievement to be proud of. Yet at the same time, it’s the underlying melancholy that confuses things. Curse my perpetual sentimentality forever. Things that do not need emotions should not be granted them, and yet here I am freely splashing my feelings over every single thing I can lay my hands on.

But an achievement it is, nonetheless, and how could any of this have been possible without the people around me, my family and friends? Because at the end of the day, these people are where all my emotions flow towards. My parents, who have literally been my unbending pillars of support since day one, who, despite all my tantrums and mood swings, still showed unconditional love and care which made me the person I am today. My friends from all phases of my life, but especially the ones that I have made during my university years, who, despite having no blood relations to me at all, still showed sincerity and genuineness in wanting to be my friend, helping me grow so much over the years and always being reliably there whenever I needed someone.

It’s moments like these that I wish emotions such as gratitude wasn’t such an abstract thing. I wish I could express them beyond mere words, at a time when these literary tools I possess that I wield so loyally and frequently on a daily basis, become obstacles instead.

And so I wish that you, every single person reading this, know how much I thank you, for being an impact in my 23 years of life up until now, no matter how major or minor. It’s moments like these when being alive feels that more wonderful with each breath I take.


the suitcases are out. my things are in boxes again. everytime i look at a part of my room that used to be filled with books and clothes and see them empty instead now, my stomach starts to hurt just a little because now i can only imagine the ghost of where these things used to be. and if it’s already this bad when it comes to objects in the form of my belongings, what more people?

buildings that i used to pass by and streets that i used to walk on feel more and more precarious, and i know there is only so much that i can do to drink in my surroundings with my senses, but i want all of them imprinted so hard in my mind’s eye because i know there is no way to prevent the erosion of memory with time. i want the urgent immersion now, and i’m afraid of anything less.

there is nothing i can do to stop time, nor change the inevitability of what is coming, and thus i can only make a checklist of doing and saying everything that i want to do and say before leaving with no regrets. and then, and only then, can i allow my heart to mourn in peace before i pick myself up from leaving a significant part of my life behind, to start a brand new one.

blank walls

this is dramatic but at this point, everything is dramatic.

i woke up this morning with a foreign zest to start packing, and i thought that the easiest and most obvious place to start was by taking off all the posters and photos and postcards off my wall. everything really was fine until i was 50 percent done, blue tac remnants dotting my walls; i properly looked up and realised there were echoes by these surrounding blank walls, and felt my mental energy drain instantaneously at the reluctance of it all.

i was dismantling three years’ worth of familiarity, and tearing these away felt like i was ripping off my turtle’s shell that i call home.

i don’t think i quite know how to deal with this yet, so obviously i gave up on packing and played splatoon for the next ten hours.

i’m really sad and scared. i don’t want to feel as empty as these walls, but i feel like that day will come soon.


This year really passed by too quickly. It scares me so much how quickly time flies by.

When in the midst of things and with a crowd of people around, it’s usually easier to just suppress emotions without any problem. Almost doesn’t feel like I’m leaving sometimes because the act of departing is not being carried out instantaneously.

But it’s getting harder and harder to feel comforted by the thought of going home and returning to my room where I would have to be alone and deal with the suppressed thoughts and feelings clamouring to be heard the moment I close the door and severe any communication with the external world. I’ve said too many permanent goodbyes within this week alone but it doesn’t get any better each time.

But this isn’t supposed to be a post about leaving. It’s a post about my gratitude for the people I have met and gotten to know here for the past three years, how they all turned up to celebrate my turning older by a year yesterday with an outdoor barbecue. It’s also a post about my gratitude for all my friends and family, in Manchester or not, who had remembered and sent me well wishes on my special day. It’s a post about my gratitude for being alive in this enigmatic but ultimately wondrous world for 23 whole years, and for being loved by so many.

Thank you everyone, I love all of you.

my reflection in the window in front of me is a black mirror

when it’s late at night, and there’s almost a sense of deafening silence piercing the stagnant air like needle-like icebergs, or maybe iceberg-like needles. there’s a lull in the air that makes me feel detached from my surroundings in a disturbing way, like i could be the only soul existing in this humming astral plane.

idle days aren’t really idle, are they? when the sky turns dark and my slouch increases inwardly a few degrees more, wanting to be released from the captivity of tedious obligations but also fearing the mirage of freedom even more. there’s nowhere to run, really. there’s nothing i can do, except to meekly bow my head in submission to the cruel passage of time and the bristles that come with it, and hope that these wounds don’t leave scars at places where healing will be impossible.

sometime during this week or month or maybe even year, i was branded with an expiry date. it’s the most arduous form of torment upon one’s psych, but it is precisely this urgency that made me pledge to document this process as best as i can. i want to write more. at least this way, i won’t find myself losing these emotions that are important to me.

Our Sunset Over the Castle on the Hill

We only decided to go to Ed Sheeran’s Manchester show a week before the show itself. Over dinner. We got our tickets from Twickets and on the 24th of May, after our IP law paper, Ee Min, Yee Lin, Ash, Jia Yang, CC and I headed for Etihad Stadium.

Getting to the stadium proved to be an issue in itself at first. Manchester Metrolink had special security measures for an event day as big as Ed Sheeran’s concert apparently, and it took us about an hour of waiting time just to get on a tram, and we eventually only did so by forcefully squeezing our way into the absolutely jam-packed carriages. It was a highly uncomfortable 20-minute ride and you could see everyone audibly gasp for air the moment the tram doors opened upon arrival at Etihad.

Ed’s entrance onto the stage was…to be honest, quite befitting of his super humble character. No fanfare or anything fancy like that. He appeared, got on stage, and immediately started singing. A man who gets straight to the point.

Just gonna outright admit that the songs of his that I was most familiar with were entirely from his + album from eons ago, a distant phase of my life. It reminded me of driving in my car after freshly acquiring my license for the first time at 17, and gushing about his music with Irfan back in college. It felt quite surreal, like a clashing of worlds.

But I’m glad I got to make new memories to associate with his newer songs, in his actual literal presence at that.

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

Subject: a list of precedents, for your perusal

for someone who strongly abhors the very concept of change, by the cruel mechanics of fate or some poetic universal shit like that, you somehow find yourself hit by wave after wave of impending and inevitable change.

and at this crucial junction of your life, here is a reminder to yourself why, based on these very precedents of your own history, you will eventually be okay.

it seems way too far away now, but you entered secondary school alone. none of your friends from primary school ended up in the same school as you did. and despite the initial struggles you had, you still graduated fine. you were okay.

no one from your secondary school went to the same college as you did, either. you were luckier this time, and had a few old friends that you managed to reconnect with, 400km away from home. you made new friends too. it was one of the best periods of your life. you were okay.

university in manchester started out similarly rocky. you found yourself in intimidatingly foreign waters at first, but three years later, you’ve built a home away from home, together with all the friends you’ve made here. you were okay. you are okay.

in two months, another huge change will befall upon you again, a change that requires you to pack up three years’ worth of possessions and memories, and start a new life yet again in yet another huge city, away from the friends that you’ve made here yet again. but at this point, this change is no longer unique to you anymore. you are a hypothesis that has been proven through timely experiments conducted throughout your whole life, and that is why, your honour, based on the precedents listed above, it is only natural that the conclusion that the jury has come to is: you will be okay.

suddenly got picnic

it happened mere minutes after i finished typing up my previous blogpost. i was in the learning commons, attempting to concentrate on studying about UK constitutional reforms but continuously failing to focus amidst the heat and its consequent drowsiness. and so, hopping on the summer bandwagon, i impulsively texted the group chat, “lets go for a picnic”. you don’t usually get such nice weather in manchester and i was already counting down my days. due to its suddenness that came out of nowhere sans pre-plans, i was not expecting a lot of affirmative answers but one turned into two, two turned into three, and in the end there were seven of my friends in total who was on board my impulsive idea and minutes after sending off my first text, i found myself creating a whatsapp group and planning an impromptu picnic outside the learning commons that very evening.

i packed up my things and was literally running out of the learning commons in excitement. went home to grab my faithful JBL GO and a deck of cards in case anyone wanted to play bridge. met up with yee lin and ash and then rumin and lionel at turing tap to get pizzas and chicken wings. there weren’t as many people on the field anymore when we were there, so we chose a relatively shady spot and started to buka puasa, together with bubble milk teas brought by wilson. ee min and cc joined us too a bit later on.

the whole time, my heart was bursting with so much gratitude and love.

in itself, i was already an incredibly massive fan of spontaneity. add on to that my friends’ unconditional agreements to indulge me in my whimsical needs (a picnic? at 7pm? on a thursday? my friends made me realise it’s more likely than you think). it only lasted for two hours, and ended up with us hopping from foot to foot in cold because once the sun had set the temperature began to drop drastically, but i was so, so happy, and so, so grateful. grateful for the relationships that i have established with the friends i’ve made here for the past three years, grateful for the freedom and mobility that comes so easily within reach here in manchester, grateful for being able to make great memories like this that i will cherish forever and ever and ever.