Ipoh Again

But this time, with different company.

Early in the morning of 27th November, which was a Thursday, Bellyn, Zitian and I took a taxi to KL Sentral, where we met up with Taliza, Karu and Harris before we took the 9AM ETS train to Ipoh.

As usual, what I did throughout the 2.5-hour train ride rotated between 1) sleeping 2) stoning 3) scrolling through Twitter pathetically (because there was very limited data coverage) and 4) working up the courage to play Five Nights at Freddy’s on Karu’s phone.

IMG_2476 IMG_2477 IMG_2478 IMG_2480We reached Ipoh finally at around noon, and Zitian’s mum fetched us to Shamrock Guest Hotel where we (excluding Zitian) would be staying for the night.

Contrary to my younger self, I hated hotels, mostly because the ones I’ve stayed at were uncomfortable, cramped, and the sheets smelled really funny. But this one. This is one hotel room none of us really wanted to leave at all. We had two king-sized (or it could actually be queen-sized but anyway they were double beds) beds and a relatively alright-sized bathroom and ceiling-to-floor windows and a flatscreen TV (which we could connect my harddisk to so we quite literally had an endless playlist of music, movies and TV shows hallelujah), a small fridge, cabinet and countertop with kettle, free WiFi (of course) and even with all this we still had a pretty large floor space and (I might be wrong, but it certainly seemed that way) we had the whole hotel to ourselves. Honestly if there was somewhere I had to be stuck in, it would be right here with the exact same company. But more on that later.

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Our room was called Dublin so nice
Our room was called Dublin so nice


They really play up the whole Irish image well
They really play up the whole Irish image well

And then it was lunch time when Zitian’s mum came to take us to Oldtown Ipoh. After lunch, we explored a colonial building with murals of white people on it and we made it our own rave club instead.

We went exploring around town after that.

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Revisiting Sekeping Kong Heng
Revisiting Sekeping Kong Heng

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(If there is one video you ever watch on this blog of mine let this be it)

We walked back to the hotel where we lazed around and showered and waited for my parents to reach Ipoh (they were on their way to KL for my mum’s Cosway meeting) before heading out for dinner – Vietnamese food at a restaurant just a minute’s walk away (but because it was raining, all five of us squeezed into the backseat of my parents’ Toyota Wish. It was pretty funny).

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My parents had to leave immediately after that because they didn’t want to reach KL too late so we walked to Ipoh Parade, huddled together like penguins whenever we have to pass through dark suspicious alleys. It was also drizzling.

At Ipoh Parade, we got ourselves facial masks (impulsive purchases), presents for Zitian and her parents and came up with the idea to lie to the masses that we had actually and legitimately gone to Ireland for a vacation.

these teenagers ah
these teenagers ah
From left: Karu, Harris, Taliza, Bellyn (although after that she switched to Royal Jelly), me (and then we also got another Royal Jelly for Zitian) (I can’t believe I still remember this) (actually is that really surprising)

And then we went back to the hotel after visiting a nearby 24-hour store where we stocked up on supper and cave supplies.

The next few hours into the night were spent watching The Frog Princess on TV, playing Five Nights at Freddy’s 2 on Karu’s phone and just chilling. It was so nice. At that moment I’d tweeted that I never wanted that moment to end, knowing that I’d look back at that tweet and feel intensely. But it was true, and it still is true, and it’s kinda like in the first Hunger Games the day before Peeta and Katniss were going to go into the arena and they were at the rooftop of the Tribute Center and Peeta (or Katniss I don’t quite remember either one of them) said that if possible, he wanted to stay in that moment forever and when I read that I couldn’t relate to it at all because all along I’ve always just wanted to be somewhere else other than where I was at that time but that night, I truly dreaded that night ending.


Taliza and Karu had drawing lessons
Taliza and Karu had drawing lessons
Taliza the FNaF 2 champion
Taliza the FNaF 2 champion

But it did end, and I woke up really early the next morning after I received an email from UCAS. Then I changed into cave gear and became designated DJ while everyone prepared for the caves.

We took the second least challenging tour at Gua Tempurung: Top of the World. I say second least challenging, but I still burst into tears when my fear of heights got the better of me and I had to pretend really hard that I wasn’t exactly trapped in an enclosed area the entire time. Still, it wasn’t totally terrible. Harris and Bellyn reenacted scenes from Lord of the Rings (including shouting “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!” resulting in echoes bouncing off the cave walls) and pretended flat stalactite surfaces were battlefields full of fallen men. That was pretty fun to watch.

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After caves we had really good dim sum lunch at a shop opposite Foh San (which, according to Zitian, is far more superior than Foh San) and at Foh San. Then it was back to the hotel because we, I mean, I was a sweaty mess and couldn’t wait to wash my hair and, well, everything else.

We sort of understood, then, that that was our last moment together in Ipoh because our next stop was KL Sentral (our train was scheduled to leave at 4PM). And then out of nowhere jumping while laughing hysterically on the bed led to a pillow fight which led to multiple pillow ambushes while Call It What You Want by Foster the People (informally dubbed our “yolo song”) played in the background. No one cared much about anything else. We were having fun and we were doing so in the presence of favourite company. Nothing else could be better than that. The feeling from last night returned with full intensity. Which was why when it was time to leave, there was a tinge of reluctance in the air as we gathered our bags and tossed one last melancholic glance in the direction of the incredibly nice hotel room we were leaving behind, where we’d manufactured memories and marked our presence in the form of bad karaoke, damp towels and rib-aching laughter.


This looked a lot worse during and after the pillow fights

We said goodbye to Zitian at KL Sentral and then during the last 15 minutes on the train sentimentalities started washing in and we finally addressed The End, capital T and capital E.

I still miss this so much. I still miss everyone so much.

Joyride (Subtitled: Gratitude, Part II)

On the second day after I’ve reached Alor Setar, I’ve been desperately trying to search and compile evidence of my time in Sunway, and of my friends. It’s almost so easy to believe that none of the things we did for the past 1.5 years was real, that none of my friends are real. The metaphor we used was that of waking up from a really long and nice dream, and after waking up, you’re back at square one. Dream’s over. Everything’s back to how it was. Continue with the life you’ve always known prior to the dream.

I’m desperately clinging onto memories of my friends. I’m so scared. Absence leads to apathy and I’m scared.

It’s crazy to think how this is all a product of chance. If I’d chosen to go to Taylor’s instead of Sunway (which I was very, very close to doing). If Bellyn had chosen to do IB instead of A Levels. If Taliza had decided to join a different A Levels intake. If we hadn’t met Zitian and Qiujing on the first day of SMR orientation. If Harris had chosen a different college that was nearer to his house. In a parallel universe, one in which we had chosen our alternatives, all of this wouldn’t have happened. And I like to think this version, this current IRL version, is the best version there is.

I’ve been digging up old Whatsapp conversations, tweets, blogposts, Facebook photos, Instagram posts, letters, cards, polaroid pictures, receipts, name cards; anything at all to remind and prove the existence of these memories and my friends. That they’re not just part of the most wonderful and longest dream I had. That they’re real. Even though I can’t see them and talk to them and go to classes with them and go on spontaneous road trips with them anymore. Because 1.5 years is long enough that you can fit in so many things that happened rather compactly, but short enough that it’s not unbelievable to think that it hadn’t actually happened. When you think about it, 1.5 years is nothing much to take out of the equation of our lives, unlike primary school or high school, which was approximately five years each, and spread over a wider span of physical and mental growth. I need constant reassurance that they’re still there, they’re still real; I can’t bear the thought of permanent severance from them. They’ve been my home for the past 18 months, there is nowhere else in the world (except perhaps my own home with my parents and even that feels really foreign right now even after 36 hours) I feel safer and more comfortable than with them. There were countless times when I managed to overcome my anxiety merely in their presence; it made me feel like I could do anything, that I was strong and brave enough to be a better version of myself.

The digging process made me realise how different of a person I was in sem 1 compared to sem 2 and 3, and while sem 1 was the idealistic version of myself that I wish to be now, it wasn’t me (I realise that now), and I managed to feel comfortable enough during the consecutive semesters to reveal bits and parts of who I was of which I was previously ashamed of to these people I consider my close friends. I never would’ve been able to learn to accept my own failures and flaws if it weren’t for my friends who were willing to accept me for who I was, flaws and all, even before I could even do it to myself.

Farewells at Sunway before going home whenever there was a break got progressively more difficult as time passed. Even at home, a lot of the things I did was accompanied with the thought of “If only [friends] were here doing [the things] with me; [friend] would be [doing thing] and [friend] would be [doing thing]”. I didn’t really understand it at first. It was reverse homesickness. I was always sick for something that I didn’t have, until I have it and then I take it for granted.

I found myself getting more and more comfortable with where I was as sem 3 progressed. I hadn’t gone home for two months (even though I was supposed to twice and twice I chickened out and still I felt quite okay with it) but it didn’t feel strange or uncomfortable, as I previously would’ve felt in sem 1 or 2. In fact, I felt like I was starting to get a stronger foothold of myself and this place. I was easing myself into this environment that sometimes still felt rather foreign. And then A2 happened and there was little room for, I don’t know, appreciation and sentimentality but as soon as A2 ended, everything was just snatched away abruptly. But I’d just started getting used to this life and actually liking it!, I whined. I whined and moaned and moped because that’s what I do best when things don’t go my way but I had to face and accept the rude awakening of A Levels ending and leaving this place.

I cried all the way back from Sunway to Alor Setar in the car yesterday, which, is it really surprising at all? It’s true, I’d probably cooked Broccoli with all my tears because there was absolutely nothing else I could do in the car except cry and sleep. There was hardly even space for moving my limbs. Sleep didn’t come easily either because I’d be five minutes into dozing off when a memory of the life I’ve left behind would pop up and I’d be jolted awake with the sudden pang in my heart. I wish I could say I was being hyperbolic. It was not fun at all. And when I finally gave in and resorted to listening to music, the first song that came on shuffle was Rawnald Gregory Erickson the Second by STRFKR. Like. Thanks a lot, universe. I’d never felt so violated in such a cramped space in a moving vehicle before.

The next consecutive hours spent at home were not unlike the Pavilion trip I had on Saturday. I felt like a detached, mindless human being taking up space, not willing to do anything else other than sleep or look at old photos/conversations or cry in the middle of meals. I am aware of how pointless and self-inflicting all of this is, but I feel like if I don’t mourn this breakup properly, I will not get the chance to do so in the future when everything and everyone feels…further away, and I wouldn’t have been able to give it the justified attention it deserves. Don’t worry, mum and dad, after the time allocation for this mourning period is up, I’ll return to normal again, whatever “normal” means anymore. I will be okay, but for now let me use up my not-okay quota until it runs out and feels right again.

I kept on saying “it feels weird” back in Sunway when my term was almost up. It feels weird, because things are changing and change is always weird, like an itch on your back that you can’t scratch and never seems to go away. Even the unpleasant memories become nostalgic, purely because you know you won’t ever experience them again. The pain and sadness felt during the past year were definitely gruelling, but they were familiar and recognisable, and mostly they were comfortable. I didn’t know that then, because I was too caught up in my emotions to realise it, but now that I’m miles away from them, it feels like my ability to feel shit about something that was important to me has also been taken away from me too. How can I feel shit about something if it’s no longer there anymore? And this makes me dangerously wonder if I’d rather go through the shitty feelings over and over again if it meant staying in one place in Sunway. It doesn’t seem logical or even safe, but the absence of familiarity feels like I’m losing my balance and at this point I’m desperately struggling to grasp onto anything at all to prevent myself from falling, even if it’s having to grasp onto a thick branch filled with thorns.

I know exactly what I’m doing – I’m making myself stay stuck in the past and feeling sad over it, and it’s not a wise thing to do because there’s nothing I can do about it. There is no solution to this melancholy that I’m coercing myself into feeling. I’m doing it for the pure masochism, and the inane belief that it is what is required of me. Along with this comes the fear of forgetting. Right now, everything seems intense. Right now, it’s all we can think of, and all our sentiments echo the same way. But the worst thing is the inevitability of forgetting. We will gradually become occupied with different matters, as we take on different commitments in our respectively separate lives. Previously, we were brought together in a classroom setting; seeing each other and hanging out with each other was almost an obligation and we were more than happy to comply.

That’s why attending classes in college never truly seemed like a chore. I still remember during sem 1 when I would dread the weekends because it would mean that I didn’t get to see my friends and there was nothing to do at all. I looked forward to weekdays more than anything else. Classes started to get progressively stressful as sem 2 and 3 rolled around, but even then, I’d never really felt the same kind of stress and dread I used to have everyday when attending high school classes. A Levels was tougher than SPM, definitely, but it still wasn’t as stressful as SPM period. It also didn’t help that the friends I’ve made in Sunway were the first group of people that I could truly connect with, people that I trusted more than myself. Essentially, all this added up to a really great life in Sunway. I say this almost like as if there weren’t moments when I felt like escaping from Sunway in its entirety, but right now, with the knowledge that the end is permanent, it’s difficult to see the shortcomings of it. Much like when I came home for short breaks knowing how brief a time I have to spend at home that I don’t dwell much on the downsides of it.

I’m afraid of the person I will become. I’m afraid of becoming apathetic. But at the same time, there is nothing I can do, except immerse myself completely in the torrential downpour of emotions that I’m smothering myself with. Which is why I spent a good half a day free writing everything that I could possibly interpret from my emotions. All into this giant masterpost of post-leaving thoughts and feelings.

I miss my friends and I miss my routines. And while staying in a bubble forever would have been ideal, it would not have been possible. Moving on is necessary, and I know this. This transition process I’m facing is difficult but I’ll get through it. We all will. And while I love to dramatically throw around the phrase “the end”, I also know that’s not true. It may be the end of our little 18-month bubble of hedonism, but much brighter things await each of us individually outside the bubble. It’s just the beginning of life as we know it, and the pricking of the bubble does not equate to the severing of ties that we’ve formed between ourselves. More adventures lie ahead for all of us, collectively or not. At this point, this is my logic!self writing this to reassure my gut!self that everything is not as bad as it seems. Just because it’s the truth doesn’t mean it’s easy to believe in it. But I’m getting there.

The movie is ending, and as Bellyn would like it, the violins in Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve are echoing in the background as the screen fades to black before the credits start rolling. I had the best time of my measly 19 years of life for the past 18 months, and I can never thank everyone enough for giving me that. I don’t know what I’ve ever done to deserve this, but I’m so glad I did. Thank you for being great characters in my story; I’ll write us the best story anyone could imagine.

(a new chapter)

never goes out

i started crying on the train back from ipoh yesterday, and couldn’t control the tears all throughout dinner (which probably messed up dinner in itself, sorry about that) and i went to bed with a queasy stomach and numb palms and woke up the next morning way before my alarm rang. i cried even more after saying goodbye to bellyn and then returned to my room and continued crying curled up in foetal position, and then rumin invited me to go to kl for lunch and i saw it as an opportunity to avoid a guaranteed breakdown within the confines of my smr room so i agreed. even then, the first half of the trip i was either crying or sleeping and i felt so detached from the world because i was just swimming (read: drowning) in my own sad thoughts and i couldn’t shake off the wet soggy clothes weighing me down. it kept me down for a good long period of time until i figured i’d exhausted my emotional capacity which led to my current state of feeling nothing at all. i think i still feel sad, but also not really? i don’t think i’m feeling anything. the only slight emotion i’m feeling is perhaps suspicion and wariness that i’m feeling this way, or rather, not feeling any way at all. pinpointing skills had expired for the day. i guess that’s what crying for 12 hours can do to you. it feels terrible not to feel anything but it also feels terrible to feel sad. there really is no way around this.

i’m sitting alone in my almost bare smr room, looking at the half-packed stuff on the floor and the table, the little blu-tack spots dotting the white walls that i’d probably get fined for, and thinking how it’s just rumin and i in the entire unit. and tonight is the last night i’ll be spending in smr, in sunway, in the state of selangor away from home, and how i will never return to this place again. i felt so much pain when all i saw were ghosts of ourselves walking on the streets next to pavilion to head to tous les jours that night after jogoya, or the canopy walk from college to pyramid, or on the lrt clinging onto the poles playing the balance game. we were everywhere. there was no escaping it. we have literally left trails of ourselves all over pj and kl yet now we are nowhere to be found. it left a horribly sour feeling in my stomach, like it was trying to fold itself in with the help of acid secretion juices.

everyone who knows me wel knows how incredibly bad i am at farewells. and this is one farewell all the farewells i’ve ever previously had had never prepared me for.

there is a song in my head that won’t stop

Pinpointing emotions has always been my (shamelessly self-proclaimed) forte. It’s what keeps me sane as I am able to make reasonable and mostly accurate deductions about what I am feeling about a particular situation at a specific moment. It allows me to recognise what I am actually experiencing and subsequently provides reasoning pathways for me to figure out how I should respond to the current situation and how it has affected me.

Unfortunately, my pinpointing skills have failed me in recent weeks. My emotions were reduced to murky waters that couldn’t be filtered into its basic constituents. As a result, I resorted to the good old-fashioned way of trial and error; am I feeling Emotion A? Or Emotion B? What about Emotion C? Anger rarely reared its ugly head in any of my possible choices, so when I started feeling angry at a certain situation lately, I got angrier at myself for being angry. I was terrified of being angry; feeling sad felt better than being angry. But at the same time, anger didn’t feel like the right emotion, either. I was/am not dealing with [situation] the way it should be dealt with. And sometimes, none of [situations] were situations that could be dealt with, which made things even more frustrating. I was feeling, but for all the wrong reasons. I don’t know how to explain this. But a lot of things just felt wrong most of the time.

The only thing distracting me from this myriad of conflicting emotions was planning. It gives me something to look forward to, and it feels great staying up to execute [plans]. It also gives me a sense of control over what I can or cannot do, unlike the feeble control I have over my own emotions, so weak that I can’t even understand what I’m feeling and/or how I’m responding to it.

I guess most of the anger and frustration is directed towards myself for not being able to feel entirely happy and worry/fear-less whenever I spend time with people. It doesn’t make sense that I would feel this way with people that I am comfortable with, which makes the frustration even more intense. How can something that is so easy and effortless for other people (and even past-me) be such a huge fear boulder weighing me down? What have I been doing wrong all this time?

My last A2 paper ended today and like the last day of all exams I’ve ever sat for, it was kinda anti-climactic in contrast to all the hoo-haa of anticipating the end of exams.

I’m just trying not to think about like, people leaving and leaving people and leaving this place and leaving this goddamn town that I’ve grown so accustomed to and just leaving. All the farewells in my life have never prepared me enough for this one.

One Week

I was reminded that I leave Subang in a little over a week. Wow. I was having dinner at Lunchbox the other night before Physics P5 and they were already playing Christmas songs and it just hit me that Christmas means the end of a year and it means the end of this year and that means A Levels is coming to an end. A2 is almost ending; I only have a last paper left next week before I leave Sunway for good. It’s weird. It didn’t seem so long ago that I posted that blogpost about A2 starting, and now it’s already ending. So weird.

I was clearing up all my papers to give them away/sell them/recycle them when I stumbled upon Sunway brochures and black and white documents that were used when I applied for A Levels here. It’s funny because looking back at all of them, I can still remember all the hopes and dreams I had when I first entered college. That was melodramatic. But I was very ambitious, even circling all the clubs I wanted to join (there were four) and indulging in the Complete College Experience™. I suppose, in a way, I got what I wanted, but it was nothing like the stereotypical and clichéd expectations I’d had before coming here. It was neither better or worse, but it was real and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

With a deadline looming over my head, right now, I just want to make the best of the time I have left here and spend as much time as I can with my friends. I’ve built a home here, both in the literal and metaphorical senses, because home is where you feel safe and comfortable so that also means part of my home was built in the presence of the great friends I’ve made here. The last chapter of this 1.5 years story is ending soon, and I want to write the best epilogue there is to it.

Last Day of College

Sunway A Levels July 2013 intake Group 3; so much love for this group of people
Sunway A Levels July 2013 intake Group 3; so much love for this group of people

I tried to put off writing this as long as I could by not getting out of bed, procrastinating by looking at old photos again…and right now I have a permanent nausea that’s probably caused by the flooding of gastric juices in my gut due to a lot of thinking when I barely slept last night.

Last day of college.

There was an agreement prior to Friday to dress up as formally as we could, kind of like the first formal Friday we did in sem 1 a year ago. I decided this was the best time (and the last time) to wear lipstick and eyeliner to college after 1+ semester of not doing so.

First class was Econs, and Miss Cherilyn brought a whole box of sandwiches to class so all of us had sandwiches as breakfast in class. No lessons were conducted because after that, we had a photo session with Miss Cherilyn. We also had a group photo at the stairs at the foyer like we did in sem 1, same positions and all. Maths class that followed started with Mr Lee covering the vectors topic a little bit and making a brief farewell speech before another round of photo session commenced. This time, it continued all the way throughout Physics class. Mr Ng was immediately roped into the session as soon as he stepped into class at NWG-3. It was basically like three consecutive meet and greet sessions with our lecturers as everyone lined up to take individual or group photos with Miss Cherilyn, Mr Lee and Mr Ng. After Mr Ng left, there was still time left before Chemistry class, so we dared Chok to do the gwiyomi in front of everyone. He did it, and he emerged from NWG-3 that day a victor of life.

Our last class, Chemistry, was at SW3-9. It wasn’t SW3-8, which was the very first classroom we had our very first class on the very first day of A Levels in Sunway College, but the arrangement of tables and chairs in the classroom was similar, so all of us collectively agreed to seat ourselves according to our seating arrangements on the first day of college, meaning I sat next to Zitian, behind Karu and Ken Fui. Miss MC entered and we continued discussing our Chem test paper 4 until the last 20 minutes, and then we took photos with Miss MC too. The day’s classes ended with a class group photo with Miss MC at the second floor balcony, after which many exclamations of “thank you!”s were exchanged.

After that, majority of the class (approx. 20 of us) set out for lunch at Seoul Garden at Paradigm Mall in several cars. Taliza and I followed in Bellyn’s car, and most of everyone were already there when we arrived except for those who went in Harris’ car because they were caught in the SS15 jam.

Halfway through barbecue lunch, I started to get a really intense headache and it had been going on for the entire week now so naturally, being the extremely paranoid person I am, my thoughts gradually started to drift towards really terrible outcomes and I got so scared that I had to leave the restaurant and call my mum and I started crying so I hid behind the lifts and after the sudden cry that strained all the blood vessels in my eyeballs that I had to wait in the toilet for the redness to subside, my headache felt a whole lot better, which led me to eventually believe that this headache might be purely psychological after all. Not being able to cry and repressing my emotions was manifesting itself physically and that was a really frightening thought. But still, I felt worlds better after that as I rejoined my friends at the restaurant.

After lunch, we had a generally very chill hangout session outside the restaurant where they had an outdoor stage and everything. My camera roll got progressively fuller after that. It was a very nice place with very nice people and the weather was also very nice (it was the drizzling before the rain) and I was very, very happy and contented, but just like the gloomy weather, there was an underlying tinge of sadness to all of it that I refused to acknowledge then and there, lest it cancelled out the laughs and the smiles on everyone’s face. It was kinda the end, but not really, either. It was like a transitioning period, more like. We were just sort of stuck in this in-between, and wasn’t that A Levels was all about? We, as A Levels students, not high school students, but not university students, either. Like a stairwell. And it wasn’t too bad, actually, being in this in-between. It’s the part where you have to move on to the next level of stairs that sucks, as all familiarity and comfort of the routines you’ve had at the stairwell are stripped off, just as you were getting accustomed to the clockworks of the system. And that, not being able to attend classes with all my classmates anymore, made me feel like I’d lost something valuable and precious that I had taken for granted all along and never really appreciated.

We left shortly after that, the three of us again in Bellyn’s car.

That night, Bellyn, Zitian and I had a mini foodventure as we set out in Belle’s silver Viva again, first to Standing Theory in SS2 where the hype over their waffles was justified -it was so good that between the three of us, it was finished in approximately only over a minute. Plus, the owner (we assume) of the cafe was like a carbon copy of a younger version of Taliza’s dad, appearance, dressing, voice and all. We had waffles for dessert first, so after that we headed to SS15 for a proper dinner at Little Fat Duck, which was basically just a black truck by the road that looked really cool and sold RM5 pasta. Bellyn and Zitian ordered pesto and I ordered aglio olio with iced lemon tea and we sat at the mini tables they provided next to the truck by the roadside. We also got bread at RT Pastry (again) (for the fourth time in two weeks).

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It was a really, really nice night out with good friends and nice music playing in the car during the entire journey. I don’t want these nights to end, either.

Back at SMR, Zitian and I crashed at Rumin’s room until 2AM when we used the off-peak hour 4GB data quota on my broadband to watch Miss Cherilyn’s videos again. And then Harris’ birthday video. And then Shit A Level Students Say video. And then The 1975 music videos while I scrolled through old photos once again on my phone. It seemed like I wasn’t the only one from my class that was feeling the same way and doing the same thing. It was 4AM when I went back to my room and wrote the previous blogpost and 4.30AM when I finally slept. Or tried to sleep anyway. When I woke up this morning, it felt like I’d barely slept at all and my entire body ached from, I don’t know, emotions? Sadness? Because that’s all I remember feeling as I tossed and turned in the night.

I hate this. I hate this coming to an end. I hate it so very much. But one good thing I have to admit about things ending is that you tend to forget about the bad things and only remember the good things, which makes things more painful in general, of course, but they were good experiences and memories that happened to you, and they are a part of who you are today, contributing to the good life you’ve led.

I hate things ending, but “ending” is just a word, and as long as we are all still alive, there is no real end to what we have.

And now, to A2 we go.

0404 thoughts

4am thoughts on the 4th of october are mostly about last day of school, which was today. and feeling tired but not tired enough to sleep. feeling like i’m not doing these emotions justice. feeling like i hate emotions and why am i burdened with feeling so much in the first place. and feeling sad but happy, scared but brave, all the paradoxes and contradictions you can possibly come up in the world.

right now, besides lamenting about the end of the routine of college and classes (i fret about the stupidest things), most of what i’m feeling are emotions for people. good emotions, though. mostly gratitude. it’s neverending, and i will never stop thanking the stars for the friends i’ve made. there’s also a sense of urgent need to do something (besides the obvious studying for a2). like doing things with friends. talking to them. just generally being around these people whom i haven’t been around with for a long enough time. and now our g3 story is ending soon and i’m not even finished writing up own epilogue yet. the feeling i’m feeling right now is kinda like when you listen to the last song on an album and you KNOW it’s the last song and you just feel and sense its ending and there’s just a melancholic tint to it. current mood: the last track on an album.

Exclusive Dinner Event with the Lecturers

Second last day of school.

No one really said it, but these past few days, there’s been a lot of hints subtly dropped mid-conversation about leaving, even among our lecturers. But there wasn’t much emotion behind them, rather just a statement of fact. Less and less people turned up for classes, and by the end of classes today, most of us who did turn up for class gathered around to discuss our “last lunch” together on the next day. And then slowly, one by one, people left until it was only just Harris, Bellyn, Taliza and I at the pipes outside of NWG. We were quiet, and I was looking around the school thinking about how I’d probably never step foot into this place again after A Levels.

I’d had several abrupt awakenings in the middle of the night (circa 5 AM) when I’d lay on my bed in SMR just staring at my Wall of Stuff and the photos/posters etc I’d stuck on it in the dark and feeling so sentimental and melancholic and helpless about everything, especially since sleep effectively eradicates all walls I put up in my mind and I was particularly vulnerable at that hour of the night.

I don’t really know how to explain it, but I feel very detached from this form of sadness. I am aware of it, and I feel myself consciously doing everything I can to pay extra attention to every detail of my surroundings and what I’m doing to hold it longer in memory, but I have not been hit with the overwhelming reality of it yet. And I say “hit” because I can foresee that is literally what it will feel like, like a sledgehammer to the face and no room for you to breathe. I suspect that might probably happen tomorrow. Or even if it doesn’t, on the last day of exams. Or then again, maybe not ever. At this point, I’m not even sure what I am or am not capable of anymore.

Second last day of school also carries another meaning, however: an exclusive dinner event with our lecturers at Upstairs Café. Karu made reservations for a 5.30PM late lunch/early dinner, and by 4.30PM, Bellyn, Taliza, Karu and I were on our way there in Bellyn’s silver Viva. Mr Lee and Miss Cherilyn turned up after that, together with Zitian and Chok. And then Miss MC and Mr Ng too. Seeing our lecturers outside of the classrooms, it was like breaking down the walls of the college/workplace habitat and seeing them out of it (at a cafe, at that) was strange, but a good kind of strange.

Mr Lee was especially talkative, and incredibly funny too. Miss Cherilyn and Miss MC’s friendship dynamic was fascinating to witness, not that we didn’t know they were pretty good friends prior to this, but because we’ve usually seen them as separate identities: our Economics teacher and our Chemistry teacher. And Mr Ng’s banter was classic Mr Ng Banter as was in Physics lessons.

The food was as good as we remembered them, and the desserts too. There was a lot of laughing that made my jaws hurt and even my head pound a bit, which was why I initiated a challenge for myself to keep as straight a face as I can even when something was hilarious and I wanted to laugh. So if any of you thought I was acting weird halfway through, it was because of this.

I realised I will miss this, too. Classes with my lecturers, five days a week. Even though there were times when A Levels felt more than unbearable. Even though waking up for 8AM classes and finishing a school day at 3PM felt brainlessly exhausting. I will miss these four lecturers whom I’ve come to appreciate and grown rather fond of over the course of these 1.5 years. Regardless of what anyone might say, teaching is no easy profession and putting up with a bunch of rowdy teenagers like us doesn’t make the job easier, either. And that’s why I am very grateful that, more often than not, we are treated like individuals in class, rather than a whole general student body, as was often the case with some teachers in high school previously. Thank you, Mr Lee, Miss Cherilyn, Miss MC and Mr Ng, for everything you’ve done for us.

After the dinner, we said our “goodbye”s and “see you tomorrow”s and “I’ll be going for Maths class” before waving our lecturers goodbye. We then decided to go on a spontaneous trip to see the World’s Tallest Pencil apparently in the USJ area but couldn’t find it so we cancelled the trip and went home instead.

Overall, it was a really nice day, and it was a really nice Exclusive Dinner Event with the Lecturers and I really, really don’t want this to end.

(Date and time on the cards I made on the left were corrected ok) Formal invitation cards by Bellyn and I
(Date and time on the cards I made on the left were corrected ok) Formal invitation cards made by Bellyn and I
Miss MC, Mr Lee, Mr Ng and Miss Cherilyn
Miss MC, Mr Lee, Mr Ng and Miss Cherilyn


The End Is Nigh

Miss MC said in class today, “The biggest lie told by mankind is ‘I won’t record this down because I will be able to remember it in the future’.” And she’s right. Not writing anywhere about everything that’s happened for the past few months will come around and bite me in the ass someday, I’m sure of it. Most likely when A Levels end and I’m lying on my bed feeling sad and pitiful for myself while listening to a repeating playlist of songs I’ve listened to during these three semesters. And then a tiny thought would probably snake into my brain cells and feed me with You feel that? That’s the feeling of slowly forgetting everything you did during sem 3 that you didn’t write about because you were too lazy/sad/afraid etc and I hope you’re happy now! I hope you’re happy with desperately clinging onto measly half-forgotten memories and pathetically consuming them day by day like a drug addict with a dwindling cocaine supply! 

And that’s why I’m here, attempting to salvage as best I can what I have left here in Sunway with some of the best people I have ever met in my life. And doing so would require delving deeply into that cut-off corner of my brain which has accumulated all these nostalgias and memories and secretions of gastric juices in my gut that I have adamantly coerced myself into, well, cutting off for the time being because as I’d told Harris: 1) There’s nothing I can do about it and 2) It seemed wiser and more appropriate to busy myself with the 487392847923432 things I have to do at the current moment such as preparing for A2 and uni applications etc. But because I can already vividly foresee that ‘me crying pathetically on my bed back at home in Alor Setar while listening to nostalgic music’ image in my mind (and perhaps even feel the slivers of melancholy seeping into my pores), I don’t want to regret not doing anything while I still can before I leave this place for good.

I made similar blogposts before leaving high school, but that feeling of leaving can’t even begin to compare to what I’m feeling or will feel on the last day of college (which is next week) (and then A2 exams end on 25 Nov). I mentioned in a vlog once the contrast between high school life and college life, one of the more significant differences being how I’ve found a second family in my closest friends (and also lecturers) and how much I felt like I’ve belonged, finally, to a group of people whom I feel so comfortable around, how easily I fit into the mould of the puzzle made up of my motley crew of friends. The first few months of college saw me crying everytime I had to leave home to come back here; the second half of the 1.5 years saw me crying everytime I had to leave home to come back here, and also when I had to leave here to go back home. It was a lose-lose situation (or win-win, if you’re optimistic), and it sucked. Transitioning sucks. Moving on sucks. I know leaving is essential to welcome the next best thing in our lives, but god, please, allow me to just wallow in my own misery over leaving this place and the people I love dearly just this once.

I know this is a blogpost better written with a maximum impact perhaps on the last day of school or exams and I just tweeted that but I feel like my current emotions and words would seem rather invalid if I waited to publish them in the future. And that’s exactly how fleeting all of this is: what I feel now might not be the same as what I might feel in the future. I remember after coming back from MCYDS in 2011, I was so deep in emotions and nostalgia for the next week or so that I couldn’t stop writing notes and blogposts about it. And now, three years later, I read back on my emotional blogposts and I cannot seem to find a relatable link to the emotions I was feeling so intensely back then. And it scares me so much. The prospect of forgetting or losing touch with what I had here in the future makes me so frightened, because how could I? After everything we’ve been through together? We can reassure ourselves in the current moment how we’d always remember to keep in touch and never forget each other, but the future is unpredictable, and the people we might turn out to become even more so. But while this is a proliferating fear of mine, I like to think what I’ve established with my friends here is fortified enough to withstand the passing of time and the influx of new experiences and memories (so cheesy, minta maaf). There’s nothing wrong in turning to optimism sometimes. But then again, drifting apart is only normal in human nature, and even if that does happen, it still doesn’t invalidate our past experiences and moments together, and that’s one of the most wonderful things in the world, because memories live forever in our minds and in physical objects such as writings and photographs regardless of how things can change in the present, that is, until we die and objects depreciate, but I have little care for being immortalized forever for generations to come, I only care to be immortalized among the people I know and love, and that really is enough for me.

I can’t really remember what I’ve done for the past few weeks (how fickle the mind is!) except the general ominous feeling of being burdened by LNAT and mock exam results and writing my personal statement and submitting uni applications. But I’m glad and grateful that these bouts of stress and anxiety were punctuated by occasional road trips to good food places and even the National Science Museum in Bellyn’s silver Viva, and also just generally hanging out with the gang and classmates in college, and also my housemates in SMR. For all my constant whining and self-pitying, where I am right now isn’t a bad place to be in. In fact, if I were to just put aside my habitual pessimism and negative feelings for a day, I’d really see how fortunate I actually am. Staying stagnant in this current phase where we are right now probably seems like the most enticing idea at the moment.

Today, during Econs class, Miss Cherilyn gave each of us a For Fun Certificate congratulating us on “graduating” from A Levels, and also a video which I posted above, a slideshow of pictures of all of us throughout the entire 1.5 years to the song of Rascal Flatt’s My Wish. We watched it on the projector in the NWG classroom. I didn’t cry, mostly because of the cut-off, but I could feel the hollow feeling in both my chest and my gut growing in size, expanding gradually and counting down the days to my departure. And the worst part of all of this is how there is literally nothing I can do about it. Anxiety has taught me how to deal with my problems head-on effectively immediately, but there is no solution to this. This is a passage everyone must go through. And I can fight and struggle internally as much as I want to like what I do everytime before I board a plane, but just like everytime I do board the plane, I will go through with it, and it will feel like the worst withdrawal ever. But life goes on.

There is much more to be written, but I feel it only fair that they are written in much more detail when this phase of our lives closes to an end. Till then, I leave you this phony quote by Holden Caulfield: “I’ve left schools and places I didn’t even know I was leaving them.”