28.11.16

just floating

i was walking down holborn a few days ago, invoking my inner virginia woolf and observing the hustle and bustle around me (funnily enough, i was heading towards the virginia woolf building for my seminar).

for the first time in two months, i realised why i've been feeling a sort of unease in my surroundings – i don't feel like i belong anywhere.

i've spent more than half of my life in china, but i've only ever had two chinese friends (actually, 'friends' is probably too intimate a term – i think of them more as acquaintances) because i've never really had any opportunities to befriend the locals. here, in london, i pass by so many students from china as i approach LSE on my way to class, with their arms intertwined, in their big winter coats reaching down to their calves, and i catch snippets of their conversations and it sounds like home. i recall the loud laughs down the streets of my childhood, as well as my inner monologue of adolescent frustration as i try to push past them. but now, having been separated, for almost half a year, from the cacophany i associate with that country, i don't push past. i walk by and i try to enjoy the familiar intonations and inflexions as long as i possibly can. yet although i miss china, and although i've come to discover how much i think of the place as home, to say that i feel (or felt) completely comfortable in their culture is a lie, because i don't understand chinese culture enough. i know nothing about their politics, their media, their slang, their economy. the only china i truly understand is my china. the country i have experienced with my taiwanese friends and malaysian parents.


i always thought, back in those days before graduation, that when i left for london i would feel right at home. if i didn't fit in fully in china, if some of their more traditional ideas irked me, surely london would fit me like a glove. but i think one of the biggest reasons why i was so unhappy in my first few weeks here was because i felt so odd where i was; i didn't feel like i belonged. it was hard, and it still is hard, because i struggle to talk to the people on my course (the vast majority of which are british). there's a sort of gap that i feel between me and them. it's the trivial things – the volume at which they speak, their stance, the words they use. i've found that here, it's normal to just join in on a conversation, and oftentimes strangers converse like they've known each other for months. back home, that would never pass. there would be an initial tinge of awkward formality in conversations and interactions. back home, even when i've known someone for years, i sometimes still speak to them with reserve.

or maybe i'm completely off-track and it's just my problem.

the other day someone in my seminar said that she doesn't understand why some people feel so much pride in their national identity, and why there are people with such strong patriotism. and i thought, "you don't understand, because you're white and you're from england. you've never been colonised by anyone else, and you've never felt oppression due to your race. you don't understand, because you've never felt that your culture was inferior to someone else's. you don't understand, because you've never had to feel a sense of shame when you speak your own language and people look at you like you've done something wrong. for someone who's been through all this, to be able to embrace their national identity and revel in that golden goodness is monumental, and they should strive as hard they can to not lose that". there were arguments against this claim, however, and i know this view isn't representative of all white britons, but i still feel like it exists subconsciously in people's brains, just in varying degrees of intensity. and although i know that the chances such topics will come up in social situations is very slight, these kinds of ideas and perspectives on the world still seep into other parts of life. and this is the gap i feel with england.


i introduce myself to people i meet as a malaysian. but to say i'm malaysian, i've realised, is to just mean that i have a malaysian passport. i feel pride in my country, yes. but akin to china, i only know malaysia as my malaysia. i don't understand the politics. the racial tensions don't feel as real to me as they should, and i can't even speak my national language. i don't know most of the places my malaysian friends here talk about, and even if i do know them, it's a superficial kind of knowledge, where i only know vaguely where it is and what's vaguely in that area.

i feel that, as an international kid, i should be able to integrate myself seamlessly into whatever culture i'm thrown into. rather, all i've experienced so far is a sense of detachment from the cultures i've been exposed to, and an acute awareness of the fact that i'm just floating.


over and out,

15.11.16

11.11.16

dim sum with co.

i never really appreciated how much i would miss chinese food after moving to london. but i miss it. very very much.

i cannot even begin to express just how sick i am of white people food. i am tired of eating baked beans, sandwiches, salads, pasta. i need rice. i need congee. i need my mum's soup. every morning at breakfast it is baked beans on toast with hash browns on my plate, when really i would give anything to have mee goreng instead.

a couple friends and i decided that we were becoming too reliant on prêt a manger and needed to get a fresh dose of MSG, so we headed to chinatown in search of dim sum.


the food was alright – it was really fucking expensive, but considering how desperate i was for a taste of home, i wasn't too upset.

we headed to oxford street after food. we're students and we shouldn't be spending this much money, but the weather is becoming tit-freezing cold, and we needed winter jackets, so we had no choice.


it was a good sunday. i froze my face off, but i just see that as the ultimate experience of british lifestyle.

over and out,

27.7.16

hin bus depot garage sale

last saturday i went to a garage sale at hin bus depot in georgetown. the place used to be a bus depot (as the name very clearly suggests), but it has recently been renovated into a creative space, with art exhibitions and murals everywhere.

i brought my pentax to the garage sale because even after 6 failed attempts at film, i was still obstinately refusing to admit that maybe i'm just not good at it. this roll turned out to be my first successfully developed roll, after three completely blank ones (as they had gotten stuck in my camera) and three that looked like they'd been bathed in piss – they were horrendously yellow – by the studio that developed / ruined them. however, i'm still not wholly pleased with the results. there was a sort of greenish, yellowish tint in all of the pictures, and i ended up having to tweak the temperature on lightroom, which is bollocks, since part of the reason why i wanted to shoot in film was because there's no need for any editing. i tried, but some of the colours are still a bit weird.

nevertheless, i hope they're decent enough.

an installation from the kayu exhibition.

the mural on the right is by a lithuanian artist called ernest zacharevic, who is behind many of the beautiful murals that dot the alleyways of georgetown, including the 'boy on motorcycle' and 'children on bicycle'. the painting of the boy was by far my favourite mural at hin bus depot.

the run amok gallery was housing the minorities: report "Cambodia" exhibition by pein cheong lee.
despite the fact that i don't drink coffee, i love visiting cafés. there's something about the murmuring chatter of background voices and the smell of sugar and coffee and cosy interior designs that just make me a very happy gal. the bricklin café bar is right next to hin bus depot, so if you want to relax (or hide from the rain, like i did), just pop in there.

i've never been to a garage sale or a thrift shop before, but i've always wanted to buy secondhand gear because i find that worn clothes have a sort of timeless beauty to it, hidden in scuffed sleeve edges and patches of fuzz ball. i bought a wicked green men's jacket from this guy with the absolute best fashion taste and the absolute best clothing choices of all the stalls at the garage sale. my mum didn't really approve of my purchase (it's an asian thing – read point #5 of this link), but i adore it anyways.
over and out,

16.7.16

watching the legend of tarzan

i went to the cinema to watch the legend of tarzan yesterday. it's the third film i've watched alone at the movies and i'm really loving it. i hate when people talk to me when i'm watching a movie, and sometimes, if i'm watching a film i'm really excited about but the other person isn't, then i start to panic that they'll be bored, and then i can't enjoy the film anymore. which sucks.

i can't really say i love the film (all my favourites so far have left me with a hollowness as the credits start to roll - i think it's the feeling of having been too engaged in that alternate universe and the difficulty of extricating myself from it at the end. and with the legend of tarzan, that wasn't the case). but i enjoyed it nevertheless. it's one of those films where you have to force yourself to ignore the fact that the plot is as shallow as a kiddie pool, and just sit back and marvel at the special effects. it also helps that alexander skarsgård and margot robbie are such good-looking people (seriously though margot robbie is probably the coolest human alive).

one thing i was very angry about, however, was the fact that the sex scene and the final, epic kiss scene between jane and tarzan at the end were censored – because apparently malaysia is still stuck in the 1920s. this never used to be the case. why is an act of love being censored?? i really can't even fathom why anyone would deem a kiss "inappropriate". i'm positive there's a religious reason behind the decision, but it still doesn't make sense to me, and i'm still angry about it.

over and out,

14.7.16

starting afresh

this post is going to be one of wild ramblings.

i've been thinking lately about why i am so inconsistent with posting on this blog. whilst i haven't been loving this space here in the past, i also haven't been hating it. sometimes i think, "if i delete the blog, maybe i'll feel less resentment at myself for my lack of commitment at everything i do", yet i can't bring myself to actually do it.


i think one of the reasons why i don't post as much as i want to is because i have this perpetual thirst to be everywhere on social media, but at the same time, i also find social media to be quite irksome and unenjoyable. perhaps it is the pressure of our generation to be ever-present on the internet. or perhaps it is my own desire to create a persona that is unlike who i really am, living a life that is unlike my own, because sometimes i wallow in disappointment at the monotonous humming of my life. i created a youtube account and posted two videos on it, sparked with excitement at the prospect of documenting my days using a new medium. then the reality of how "the subscriber count shouldn't matter to you" is easier said than done set in, and the realisation of how i am unable to reach the audience i desire has extinguished that initial spark. and so my channel sits there, temporarily abandoned.


i fantasise about creating perfection. even though i know that that is forever unattainable, as i will forever be imperfect. and i don't think someone who is imperfect can produce something perfect. in my struggle to create this illusion of perfection, i have been trying so hard to sound more intelligent, more refined, more subdued on this blog than i actually am. i think that the reason why i don't post as often as i would like to is because i try to write like somebody other than me when i enter this blog.

mostly, i'm afraid of posting uninteresting things about my mundane life because it pales in comparison to the weekly escapades, and runway-worthy fashion, and mouth-wateringly beautiful cuisine that so many other bloggers on the internet partake in.

well, fuck it. i'm starting afresh. this is my space. i will not filter myself. i will post whatever i want, even if it's just a rambling post about a topic nobody else is interested in but me.

over and out,

25.1.16

2016 bucket list




this post pretty much sums up my thoughts about 2016 so far. just a trial month. 2016 actually really begins next week.

seeing as how i'm now 18 and an ADULT and can do things like vote and drink legally and get a credit card and have a job, i've made a vow to myself to make 2016 a year as full as it can possibly be. i will do everything (or most of the things) i've wanted to do since i was a young teenager.

and so, a bucket list for the new year, to be completed before this year ends:

i. get a septum piercing

i became somewhat obsessed with septum piercings this past summer. i love because it just looks really fucking cool. it's awesome how you can wear these rings with such intricate designs for special occasions whilst other people are just wearing fancy necklaces or dangly earrings. you instantly stand out. it's great.


ii. get a tattoo

i think tattoos are beautiful. it's the most personal form of self-expression (it's on your body – that's as personal as you can get), and it's also an amazing way to decorate yourself. the permanence of it is what i love most – the fact that despite whatever you go through in life, it will always stay on a your arm, or leg, or back, or chest. i have a penchant for saving photos of tattoos i like, just for future reference, and i've realised that most of the tattoos i've saved are really simple ones. i've been following stanislava's tumblr for quite some time now, and her 'home-made tattoos' are pure beauty.


iii. read at least 10 books

i have so many books sitting on my bookshelf that have not been opened even once. i want to read them, but IB + my laziness has meant that i haven't done much reading the past year. so this year, i'm trying to change that. i'm going to read those novels on my shelf.

iv. travel the world during the summer

i want to travel after i graduate from high school. i want to revisit seoul and tokyo and sydney and paris, and fly to toronto, then boston, then argentina, then hawaii. also india! india seems a wonderful place.


over and out,