Open Topic #3

Third request:

how do u become so brilliant n always be one of the top students in school?

I am brilliant because I got a Hogwarts acceptance letter on my birthday when I was eleven and has been secretly attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry without anyone’s knowledge and now I’m a fifth-year witch, and that automatically makes me brilliant and far more superior than all you Muggles. I also found Narnia in my old closet in the guest room and guess what I saw Aslan and satyrs and centaurs and met the High King Peter in Cair Paravel. I won the two hundred and fifty-ninth Hunger Games, and I rented a rocketship to Pigfarts which is on Mars and I met the headmaster Rumbleroar which is a lion, that can talk.

Yeah, I am brilliant.

Fantasies aside, this kind of question is exactly what I am afraid of.

I am not brilliant. I am a mess. I have terrible habits I try really hard (maybe too hard, sometimes) to hide from the prying and constantly judging eyes of the people around me. Brilliant, is what you call someone who has a neat schedule and gets everything done quickly without fuss, or someone who stands out among others because they show true potential, be it socially or academically. I am neither. I get by barely scraping the top by luck, hard luck. Again, modesty aside, I admit I have a good and adhesive memory, and quick understanding skills. I have my moments when I feel motivated to work, and I proceed to do it, but most of the time I just end up giving up halfway, as it is with almost everything I do. I am telling the truth here. Consistency is something a “brilliant” individual must have, and it is probably the key trait of that individual’s characteristics. And consistency is something I really lack, something I try very hard to obtain, but mostly fail.

So yes, the ugly truth is, I get by with this memory of mine and those supposedly “great understanding skills”. And a snarky attitude to remind myself I have to act like I’m always on the top, top, top, so that my self-esteem doesn’t crash onto the ground all of a sudden, especially not in school. I am being truthful when I say I’d rather be like anyone of you, an average student than someone who almost everyone has their eyes on, to watch carefully in case she makes a wrong step, which, apparently, is some kind of a big deal if you are constantly top in the class. People watch your every move like a freaking Dementor. And when you fail, the incredulity and disappointment pop up like two giant black bubbles to smother and ridicule me. Yes, being known gives you moments of glory, but it is not worth having people semi-controlling your life.

Anyway. Um. To summarize my answer to your question directly, how I am always top in the school, I am just like this giant sponge, you know? I absorb things left, right and center, and then I have my common sense process it so I can actually accept it, like my brain giving me the green light. I guess yeah, I am smart in a way. I think a lot, sometimes too much. But yeah, that’s my answer. I’m sorry if you were looking for a response something along the lines of “hard work, revising every day for 35787584643965486439 hours, taking notes on every single sheet of paper I can lay my hands on, buy tonnes of workbooks to work with etc” but I don’t do that because I have a lazy arse. I have proof if you want to look through my whole stack of untouched workbooks since Form One.

So yeah, I should be the last person you come to for advice. I am hopeless, myself.

…but at least I’m not just a baboon brandishing a stick.

Open Topic #2

Second request:

hey michelle, just to give u ideas here. you know your blog posts in the past, you say were a better person, before u became rebellious. how were u better than, not that i’m saying ur bad now. I just want to know what was it then that made u felt like a better person than you are currently.


This would be the perfect moment for a trip down the memory lane. I think I’ll just show you what I mean by linking blog posts, since this blog pretty much sustains my life.

I created this blog in around mid-July 2008, when I was thirteen. You really must understand I was a tween with absolutely no worries then, except maybe my fears of being alone in a new school. But still, I got over that quick enough. I was thirteen, and happy. I wrote about anything and everything, even though it was a new blog and barely got any views. Still, I wrote. I wrote about issues that I don’t think I even know and fully understand back then, probably just to sound more matured and experienced than I really am. I wrote about daily activities in a carefree and casually manner, at least, that’s what I think. I learned to appreciate everything around me, and looked at everything positively. Even one of my most terrible experiences ended with a happy note (and was actually written in a positive manner too).

I don’t think I’ll ever be able to write like that again. In fact, my weird obsessions (with Disney, truthfully) made me want to stay away from the 2008 archive, forever.

In 2009, I was still a very contented and happy person, although I started having horrible moments. Even then, just like one of the ’08 posts, the ending was optimistic. I still looked at things through a positive point of view. I realised life was still awesome and everything was going well for me, and I didn’t have many reasons to be unhappy. I enjoyed everything I did, every trip I went, and even horrid days couldn’t really bring me down. I was still running well on my self-fueled optimism. I thought less of what people think of me and did whatever I wanted to, even though it might seem silly sometimes. I guess I felt a little pressured during the end of the year (forget who that post was directed to, I was just pretty much indicating the style of writing), but still, December 2009 ended on a rather happy note too.

Something must have happened between Dec ’09 and the start of 2010, because January 2010 was full of pressured posts. Not too surprisingly, I guess, since it’s the year of PMR. But  I still had optimism. I wanted to show the world I was still the same person I was before, only a tad bit wiser. These two posts show how much I’ve changed in my writing style since last year. I enjoyed myself thoroughly by writing long posts like this, and somehow also by writing pointless posts like this.

My first truly “down” post was in April, and carried on until May. Something must have happened to me, because sometime around the middle of the year, I started to have break downs, be moody wherever I go, and worry too much. Maybe it’s because of the pressure of the looming date of PMR, or maybe something snapped in me and I lost my optimism completely. People change, I changed, the people around me changed, and I think puberty also had something to do with this. June, July and August were some of the worst months, for some inexplicable reason. I just remembered feeling snarky and moody all the time, feeling so alone and really, really self-conscious. I started to become a pessimist. I saw everything differently, in a darker way. I got sad and disappointed easily, and I was scared of facing people. I hardly even posted on here, scared of what people might think of me, until I thought, bother, writing was probably one of the few things keeping me sane, and I started to pour everything out.

September, I got better. I realised I had friends and family who were always there for me. I got back some of my optimism. This October post proved it. As PMR ended, I felt a huge burden lifted from my shoulders, and I couldn’t possibly feel sad anymore, could I? I knew I couldn’t possibly be the happy, optimistic little pixie I was back then either, but maybe that’s how growing up is supposed to be. Shedding our old skin, our old habits, and even our old memories, and accepting what the future throws at you. Modesty aside, I feel as if I’ve become more matured. To be honest, I believe the old me, the one who could even write a post like this, would never have believed me even if I myself told her how I was going to turn out. How I would actually feel so down most of the time. And it’s also safe to say the current me, the person who is currently sitting behind this laptop typing this post, will never remember how the old me thinks, what was going on in her mind, how innocent and happy-go-lucky I used to be.  I guess that is part of growing up. And it’s a shame. It’s like leaving a really, really good friend behind, because you have to, because it’s the only way you yourself can move on and grow up and learn.

I don’t know if this post answers your question, Aifa. You wanted to know why I think the old me was a better person than I am right now. Innocence and naivety always makes someone a better person, albeit inexperienced and childish, in my opinion. I was a better person back then because I knew how to be happy and enjoy myself as who I am. But I’m learning how the world is really like, and that’s what makes growing up much more intriguing, instead of being stuck in my own little happy universe.

I think I’m starting to contradict myself. Staying up does that to you. Anyway, I don’t expect anyone to go through all those links, but if you do, thank you. You probably know more about me right now than you’ve ever had, and that’s quite a comforting thought.

PS. Perhaps you’ve already noticed the snow and glitter text! Festivity is in the air!

Open Topic #1

I do apologise for not updating this blog page for so long. I haven’t had the mood to write lately, but I’ve finally decided to drag my lazy arse here to write something to entertain you people. So here goes.

First request:

What would you do if you were stranded on an island with nothing but your Harry Potter books and zombies with book destroying weapons are coming to destroy them ?

Dear lord, you took my example seriously, didn’t you?

Okay since I’m not too sure how to write this out, I’ll just write it as some kind of crazy fiction story.

(If you have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about, click here.)

Michelle Teoh and the Island of Books-Eating Zombies

Copyright (c) 2009/2010 by Michelle Teoh Zi Yan
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced,
stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means without
the prior written permission of the author, nor be otherwise circulated in any form of binding
or cover and without a similar condition being imposed on the subsequent
All characters in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons,
living or dead, is purely coincidental.

I was on an island. How I got there doesn’t matter because it’s the kind of detail you just don’t ask, just like how you don’t ask why Voldemort doesn’t have a nose and exactly when and where in the process of him becoming a bald reptilian human did he lose his nose.

Or maybe, you know, you could just pretend I got here together with the rest of the Lost crew but somehow they miraculously vanished. It just happened, don’t ask.

So I was alone. On an island. And in my hands were seven books I love with my whole fifteen years and five months of life, the Harry Potter series by none other than the queen Joanne Kathleen Rowling. They were there for some reason unbeknownst to us because it was a detail requested in a formstack form, and they were the only items the protagonist (that’s me lol) were allowed to have, apparently.

Suddenly there was movement in the woods and having seen no single trace of a human presence for so long naturally I thought of the wind. Because basically everyone blames the wind whenever these kind of things happen, even though their minds are practically chanting ghost ghost ghost the whole time. But then that wasn’t possible because there was no wind. And then comes the moment for dramatic music, and the apprehensive head turn, and the camera shows a more intimidating shot of the forest, and maybe the audio team could add in thriller tunes, and then suddenly, all is quiet. And I would gulp hard and pant to show my nervousness. And then bam! A dozen or more zombies carrying weapons like scissors, penknives, punch-holes (book destroying weapons, right?) started bounding for me, and it took me a whole minute to realise they were after my books.

With a gut-wrenching shriek I hugged my books to my body and ran, and since there was nothing but the sea and the beach, the only place that could possible offer me shelter and cover is the woods. So basically, I was making a U-turn into the forest again. I mean, zombies aren’t smart at all, aren’t they?

And if you’re wondering what the zombies look like, they look like this:

Wait what?

I mean… Well, they aren’t too far off from the mental image I had in mind.

Anyway, I ran, like I’ve never ran before, and you don’t even know how hard it is to run like a leopard on steroids and holding onto seven fairly thick books at the same time, because you see I cannot simply leave behind my books to become prey to those…ghastly monsters. You cannot imagine my fear of them ripping out pages and burning them and writing “Twilight ftw!” etc on them. No you can’t.

So the first thing that came to mind when I dove into the forest was, I needed to climb on a tree. I did, and waited. And sure enough the zombies swarmed in like bees, and that was when an idea came to mind and I started to break off nearby branches and dropped them on any target I could find. And being zombies, naturally, they dropped unconscious as soon as the branch hit them in the head. This continued three, four times until the nutcases finally realised I was there. By then, a dozen was reduced to about eight of them, which was pretty comforting, if you didn’t count the fact that seven of them would go for the books and the remaining one would go after me, which sounds like a fantastic plan if I were a zombie but naturally they were zombies so you couldn’t exactly expect it from them.

As the started edging towards my tree, I began to climb down hurriedly and took off again. And golly, would you just look at my luck? I just found a lighter on the ground! (Who says this isn’t possible it’s a fiction story I am the mastermind and this devastating tale deserves a happy ending.) I kept it in my pocket for later use, because the books in my arms were starting to feel really heavy. Aware that eight hungry and insane zombies were still hot on my trail, I did the old trick again, which was doing another U-turn, ending up in the woods again. Instead of delving further in, I went sideaways, moving at the edge of the forest, and finally I found a large boulder on the beach which I dove behind immediately to hide. I stopped and strained my ears for any sound of the zombies but none of them approached. Welp. My plan worked after all.

I then decided I needed to find another way to hold my books, and began to search for large leaves, and found one which was also pretty strong. I placed the books in the middle of the leaf and started to bundle them up, tying a knot on top. At least carrying a bundle like this was better than carrying them separately.

All of a sudden, a terrible gargling noise told me the zombies had returned. I stood up and backed up against the boulder. I picked up a broken branch on the ground near my feet and lit it with the lighter, the only weapon I could come up with. Sure enough, they bounded towards my hiding spot, and as soon as the first one passed me by, I threw the flaming stick towards them, and one of them caught fire immediately. Let me tell you something though, throwing a small flaming stick towards a group of eight zombies proved to be more effective than you think, because once one of them starts to panic and go beserk, naturally the ones near to him catch fire too. Not to mention the ones who ran into the flaming person, because they didn’t stop in time. In the end, five of them caught fire and I considered them off my list. The other three were the last ones in the race, pausing in their tracks at the wild scene before them. I took my chance and dashed away again, this time a plan forming in my mind. I headed for the sea, careful not to get my books wet. As predicted, the remaining zombies came after me, and at a rash and foolishly brave attempt, I soaked my hand in seawater and splashed a good amount of it in the first zombie’s eyes. If you have never gotten salt in your eyes you wouldn’t know the pain. I left the first one writhing (since he was losing his bearings and starting to wade deeper into the sea) and upon impulse, I fished for the lighter in my pocket again, opened it and threw it at the second zombie. He caught fire, and wasn’t smart enough to put it out with water surrounding him, apparently. And how did I get rid of the last zombie? Well, Jack Sparrow seems to be doing me a favour, because right at that moment, a sea turtle swam past me, and I quickly grabbed it and hurled it at the zombie, which hit him right on his head where he fell into the sea, knocked out.


I could say I got off the island the same way Jack Sparrow did too, by sea turtles, but then that would sound like I was copying the idea off Gore Verbinski. So I can assume I got it off safely anyway, by ship, helicopter, broom, Hagrid’s motorbike we’ll never know, because it’s not supposed to be part of the story, just like how you never question how I ended up in that place in the first place.

So this is the adventures of the brave and mildly insane Michelle Teoh, brought to you by none other than Michelle Teoh herself. As you can see, this story is merely a fabrication of fantasy and a wild desperation to please whoever dropped that request in the formstack form. Attn person who suggested this topic, are you happy now?