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Reflections on India

Hello! I think this is my current trend now, blogging once a month. I always feel the urge to blog more when that specific time rolls around so here’s a good long post about what I’ve been up to! (+tons of pictures)

So last month, I had the amazing opportunity to attend a really awesome conference in India! It was a conference under Teach For All, so we got to meet all the other teachers under the Teach For programs from close to 26 different countries!!!

India was an eye-opening, heartwarming, breathtaking experience for me. Before I went, my boyfriend warned me that I will see and learn so much from India, and I’ll experience the best and the worst of humanity there, so I was definitely quite prepared for it. I was very cautious with my food and drinks, and survived on trying to refrain from street food as much as possible (which was super hard for me).

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we were very very fortunate to be able to stay in a REALLY awesome hotel. This hotel (Kempinski) just opened, and gave us a really good rate so it was truly a blessing :)

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This is an autorickshaw, and was my absolute favourite thing ever! They don’t really have taxis there, and the streets are packed with these. You can fit up to 4 people in here (sometimes even more, people will sit on laps etc) and it moves really dangerously on the streets, but definitely an incredible experience.

I was in the auto late one night, zipping around the streets of India with the wind blowing in my hair and the cacophony of chaos around me, and I looked up and saw the full moon shining brightly on to the messy landscape down below. That was when I realized that I’ve truly fallen in love with this country.

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and all its amazing children!

I met some of the most wonderful children on this trip; all of them so bright-eyed and eager, so enthusiastic and full of live despite all the challenges they face.

This kid was explaining to me a project they did in the classroom, and he was so SO full of energy! I was just walking around when he came to shake my hand and to introduce himself *impressed

Teach For India has done such amazing things with their classes and is definitely an inspiration for all of us here too :)

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and this is the ugly part of the country, which I was not quite prepared to see. Children begging everywhere on the streets, slums and slums painting the sidewalks, poverty staring blatantly at everyone.

It was hard to train myself to ignore the beggars but it was so hard when they are very young children with huge sorrowful eyes.

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This is one of the classrooms we visited and it was amazing to see how possible it is to really change lives with a really good strong teacher.

And on our final day, we visited…..

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The Taj Mahal!

What an incredible sight!

I mean, I’ve seen so many pictures of it before, but to see it with my eyes is a whole different experience. It was majestic and soooo beautiful too!

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And the whole Malaysian delegate wore sarees that night! :D (i’m the one in light blue in case you’ve forgotten how I look like T__T)

I was really inspired by my India trip, and I came back feeling like I’ve definitely NOT worked hard enough to ensure success for my kids. There are just so much we can do and I really want to go all out before my year ends!

(this bit might bore readers who are not teachers)

I realized one of the most important things we have to instill in our daily lesson plans is the concept of values. Not just using the term “values” as a catchphrase, but truly internalizing it and getting the students to embody it with their actions.

I’ve been trying to do that more now because I believe that teachers, especially those of us who teach kids from underprivileged and more chaotic and challenging backgrounds, have the biggest responsibility to ensure that our kids turn out to be good people.

Sure, grades are important but I need to make sure that when I leave after 2 years, my kids are on the path to be successful people with strong values, not just A-churning robots.

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Trying to internalize the concept of values in my classes is really not an easy task, but completely do-able. For example, we were learning about road safety and I got the students to stand on both sides of the “road”.

They closed their eyes while I played them a video of a horrific car crash (with super dramatic sound effect – idea taken from my other awesome Teach For Malaysia fellows). Then I read them an excerpt of a news report on an accident, and we stood in silence for a while mourning the death of the people in the accident.

We spoke about the fragility of life, about the real importance of taking good care of ourselves and people around us. I don’t want my kids to just learn about road safety because it’s a topic in the textbook, but because they truly think it’s an important issue to discuss.

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(this was another class but we were learning the same objective)

After all that seriousness, we took a 5-minute break at the end of class to play “On the line”, a game inspired by the movie “Dangerous Minds”

So basically students will be on both sides and there’ll be a line in the middle (the road drawn in the beginning of class). I will read out statements and if anyone agrees, they’ll come forward and stand on the line for a few seconds, then move back for the next statement.

The statements got deeper each time and I encouraged the students to be honest but it’s really up to them if they want to walk forward.

“I have many friends in school”

All of them came forward.

“I like coming to school”

All of them came forward too. This is a pretty good class so it’s not surprising.

I love learning English”

Threw this in just for fun and immediately they all RAN to the line (*heart leaps in joy!)

“I have a boyfriend/girlfriend”

Hehe I’m so sneaky. A very small handful came forward.

“I’ve lost one parent”

About ten kids came forward.

“I’ve seen my mother/father cry”

Half the class came forward.

“Sometimes I cry myself to sleep”

This was a tough one but I was surprised to see about fifteen kids come forward. The other kids (boys especially) started laughing at the fifteen kids. Good, because this is exactly what our lesson is about.

I told the fifteen kids that I cannot believe how brave they are to admit something supposedly so shameful as this, and only the strongest people admit their weaknesses. The other kids stopped laughing.

Now this is where it gets tougher.

“I get abused at home”

Half the class came forward.

“Sometimes I feel like I’m a useless person”

Almost ALL the kids came forward.

“Sometimes I feel like I have no hope for a better future”

A handful came forward, some on the verge of tears.

“Sometimes I feel like killing myself”

This was the most surprising one for me. More than half came forward and my heart stopped. These are 13 year olds! It breaks my heart knowing this but I took mental note of this, definitely something that needs to be addressed.

When the game ended, the kids told me how much they loved it because they got to know more about their friends and about themselves too. Though it wasn’t super explicit, the objective of it was to get the kids to realize that despite all their physical differences, beneath everything, they’re all made up of the same thing: flesh and blood. They all experience happiness, heartaches, sadness and pain, and should learn to be there for each other.
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The value that I love the MOST is definitely perseverance. Last week, I went on a Bollywood binge a little and sang “We Shall Overcome” (the song in My Name Is Khan) with the kids.

This week, I gave them the reading diagnostics and it has five levels and it gets harder with each level. I was expecting this class to only reach level 3 or 4 before they give up, so I didn’t print level 5 for them. But they surpassed my expectations and almost all of them asked for level 5!

Although maybe 1 or 2 of them managed to actually do it, the rest worked relentlessly to finish the questions. One boy had his head bowed, brows furrowed, and started singing “we shall overcome..we shall overcome..” while doing the paper.

Amazing. My kids give me so much hope to push on everyday!

Wow ok this has been a crazy long post, but I hope you enjoy a short glimpse of my classes!

Will blog again in a month hahaha (ok joking ha ha ha)

 

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Visiting Chengdu

Hello!

It’s the third week of school and things have settled down a little so I have time to do a lot of things these days. For example, yesterday I spent all night on youtube watching random videos for fun. Yes, for fun…Everytime I do something for fun, I feel extremely guilty because MY STUDENTS ARE STILL WEAK, THEY STILL CAN’T READ, THEY STILL FAIL AND I’M WATCHING VIDEOS FOR FUN?!?!?!

*breathes in and out furiously

But I figured, I MUST not burn out so soon like last year. Last year, when March rolled around, I was ready to pack my stuff and leave this place because I was sooooo burnt out! I was sleeping 4 hours every night, printing worksheets till the wee hours of the morning, planning and thinking about my kids all night. But nope, this year, I figured I gotta work hard but I have to relax a little more too. I’m running a marathon here, so can’t compromise my sanity so soon!

Ok so blogging is part of my strategy to maintain sanity, especially blogging about something other than teaching. Yay!

Last month, I visited my best friend in China! We haven’t seen each other since we graduated 1.5 years ago so it was really good to know that we still haven’t really changed much (though admittedly we’re more serious and boring now cos we’re both teachers and we spent half the time talking about teaching strategies -_- )

Chengdu was really cold since it’s winter now and I spent 6 days there wrapped in at least 5 layers of clothing T___T

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Ok I’m a lousy tourist cause I don’t remember names of places so this is umm..a fashion street in the city. Lots of people just like in Hong Kong!

You know what I can’t get used to here?

Not the rude people, they’re not that bad here. But the toilets. I CAN’T stand squatting toilets, despite coming from a country where we have them too. But in China, there are NO sitting toilets except in very fancy hotels. It’s really gross cause when they have sitting toilets, people squat on them and leave shoe stains!
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This is Li and me. She’s Shanshan’s cousin’s girlfriend who is super chatty and cute. We’re eating icecream in this freezing weather cause we’re cool like that. I think some of my brain cells froze to death that day.

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We ate at this tea house that has Sichuan opera! Crazy amount of food (people eat like crazy here but I’ve not seen a single fat person)

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The famous face-changing performance! Basically they will change their masks just by turning their faces slightly, or using a fan to cover their face for literally 0.1 second. It’s a secret technique that noone outside their clans would know, super amazing to see it in person!

AND!

THE MOST AMAZING THING I SAW ON THIS TRIP!

BEHOLD LADIES AND GENTLEMEN!

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PANDASSSSSSSSSSSSS
(Well, a panda here)

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw it! It’s such a surreal feeling to see something you’ve never seen in real life before, like seeing a unicorn or a flying pig!

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More pandas! Everyone there was just aww-ing and ahh-ing at everything the pandas do. Pandas eating bamboo, AWWWWW! Pandas got up to get another bamboo, OMG CUTEEEE! Pandas playing with their bamboo, AWW *heart melts

Seriously, life is good as a panda.

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Shanshan and I! and a random angry lady behind us wtf

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MOAR PANDAS FOR YOU!

All they do is eat and eat. They don’t move or do anything cute also!! Feels a bit cheated wtf

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Intermission: here’s your favourite beautiful Shanshan! As beautiful as ever. And she’s single now! She lives in the States though so if you’re ready for a long distance relationship, apply within wtf

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Baby pandas sunbathing AWW
We thought they were dead though cause they didn’t move AT ALL hahaha

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Oops I ate too much teehee I’m so cute no matter what I do cause I have black patches around my eyes teehee

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Baby panda sho cuteee

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The end of panda pictures, here’s me eating some street food. All I do is eat and eat, cause it’s so cold must keep warm ma!

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Chengdu’s favourite past time: have your ears dug by professionals on the street! HAHAHA not even kidding. Shanshan said it apparently feels REALLY good cause they got skillzz

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Some old street #lousytourist

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Some sign I can’t read. By the way, my Mandarin improved by like 2384910826 times in that trip cause NOBODY SPEAKS ENGLISH in that entire city.

When we spoke English on the train, some guy actually approached us to say how admirable it is to see two chinese girls speak English. At first it was flattering but he kept standing really close to listen in on our conversation -____-
Seriously, out of all the places I’ve been to, China has the least amount of people who can understand and speak English. Maybe it’s because I didn’t go to major cities like Beijing or Shanghai though.

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Starbucks in the middle of ancient town, a sign of modern capitalism. It costs a bomb though, everything there costs wayyy more than in Malaysia to my surprise.

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Reminds me of the very beautiful Lijiang :)

I think there are more pictures (mostly camwhore pictures) but I think that’s it for today! Must maintain the suspense so if you don’t see my pictures too often and when you do see it, you’ll feel like how I felt when I saw the pandas wtf *perasan

When I told my kids I went to China and Thailand during the holidays, they were like “yer teacher you’re so rich!!”. I think I’ve been very lucky to be able to travel so often. Tickets to Thailand was ridiculously affordable even on my meagre teacher salary, and Shanshan sponsored half my ticket to China! (and I didn’t spend a single cent there :P )

Another good news is I got selected to represent Teach For Malaysia to a conference in New Delhi, India! It’s fully sponsored too, so I’m counting my lucky stars again :D I’ve always wanted to visit India, despite the new outrage, so I’m quite excited about the trip!

That’s all for today. Long day tomorrow since we are having our annual Merentas Desa run (cross-country run) and I’m stationed at the paddy field checkpoint (my favourite place here).

I can’t help smiling when I see the kids running past me with their eyes furrowed intensely, shirt drenched in sweat, pleading for water. Most, if not all of them, even greet me midst run. “Good afternoon teacher!” So cute lah cannot tahan. I don’t think I’ll have the energy to even look at people during a run, much less greet them!

The cutest of the lot are the small tiny ones running with so much enthusiasm. The young ones are always the most enthusiastic about everything and always have so much zest and happiness. I love kids so much. I love interacting with them, I love watching them get excited about things, I love getting all this positive energy from them! Though some of them are real devils, but I couldn’t have asked for better clients to work for everyday :)

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Before the year ends..

Hello! I’m back! From nowhere wtf. I’ve been here all along, but haven’t blogged because looking at my blog is an extremely depressing task for me. Everytime I click on it I’m reminded of my lousy blogger self, and looking at all the missing pictures make me want to cry.

I was using Zooomr for a while but now that they decided to go private, they took all my pictures with them too T_____T And I’m too busy/lazy to reupload them elsewhere and put them back up again.

Fear not though because today I woke up with this sudden spurt of energy and suddenly felt like blogging! Though I have no idea what to blog about…but one thing I do know is it’s NOT going to be about teaching woot!

To be honest, this holiday has given me some time to reflect on things and I realize that I’ve spent 80% of it thinking and doing things that are teaching/student-related. Talk about being married to the job! Even when I’m sitting in the car on a long drive, or when I’m reading an unrelated book, or when I’m talking to friends, my mind is perpetually on my kids. How to be a better teacher next year? How do I ensure success for my kids? How do I make sure we reach our goal blablabla

I am actually so sick of it. So utterly sick of being so passionate about something that I eat, breathe, sleep with the cause in my mind every single waking moment of the day. As of now, I have the next EIGHT days before my first school meeting, and I’m making it a point to only think about school for a maximum of TWO hours a day (only because I have so much stuff to do before next year). That’s my pact to myself so I remain sane. And I’ll spend the other twenty two hours not being a teacher for once.

See, don’t want to talk about teaching and yet..

Anywayyyy, I went to Phuket last week! We saw that Expedia had an amazing offer of RM500 for flights AND accommodation for 4D3N so we jumped on it. 9 of us went and had a very interesting time at probably one of the dodgiest places I’ve ever been to.

It was a well-deserved holiday and despite the fact that all 9 of us are teachers, we surprisingly did not talk about teaching too much! We spent most of our time walking around the town, getting cheap massages, reading at the beach and eating.

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In the tuktuk with Aishah and Karthik

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The crazy cables all over the island

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Our awesome ride back to the hotel. The driver blasted out party songs and turned on disco lights for us to dance!

Oh!!! I almost forgot. I got into an accident the second day in Phuket. You know how I’m super proud that I can now ride a motorbike thanks to my students right? Yeah, so we rented a bike and wanted to ride around the island with it. The bike was only RM20 a day and I was super confident I could ride it, no problemo.

So I went to test the bike on my own and barely FIVE minutes after renting it, I got into an accident -_______- I tried going up a really steep hill to practice (stupidity point 1), and when I fell, I picked the bike up without turning it off first (stupidity point 2). So I accidentally rammed the handle and the bike dragged me into a drain where I almost broke my neck (thank god I was wearing my helmet).

Luckily, I only suffered minor injuries but on many parts of my body :(

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In the end, I had to pay RM300 for the bike damage, had to spend an hour cleaning up my wounds and couldn’t go for full body massages and swim at the sea. Blessing in disguise somewhat, cause who knows I might have gotten into a bigger accident if I had gone around the island with it AND my friends had someone to take care of their things while they swam (aka bag-caretaker).

I’m going to China in two days! Shanshan, my best friend in college, invited me over and offered to pay half of my flight ticket so I thought I’ll grab the chance! Not everyday that you have someone who want to see you so bad they’ll pay for you wtf

I’ll try to be more my old self and try taking more pictures and blog more! The thing about not blogging often is after a long period of time, you just forget what you want to talk about entirely. And after a while, even if you remember what you want to talk about, those things seem so unimportant and boring in retrospect that you don’t feel like talking about them. Le sigh, for the umpteenth time, I MUST blog more often!

 

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Kuching, I’m in love

I’m finally going to blog about my Kuching trip a few weeks ago! These are only 1/3 of the pictures I took though. I’ve also been waiting to blog after Ramadhan cos 90% of my pictures are of food wtf

Anyway I really really enjoyed Kuching. Not as much as I loved Sabah, but a very close contender. The more I go to Borneo, the more I feel like I belong there more than in KL. I always feel like if any place is the true epitome of what I imagine Malaysia is all about, it’ll be East Malaysia. The perfect harmony between very different kinds of people, the breathtaking sights, the serenity with a slight but good blend of chaos, and the hunger for food and nature.

I was expecting lots of REAL cats, but I only saw one small kitteh the entire time I was there. All the other cats I saw were either statues or souvenirs -__-

The first thing I did when I was there was get my hands on some Kolo Mee. How can I not!!! I need to eat THE real kolo mee which I’ve been dreaming of ever since I planned to go Kuching! Will post pictures of food at the end of the post cause there are so many that I need to focus on them properly, also need to build up momentum for the climax!

The waterfront, which is one of my favorite places there. I really hope the river of life in KL will end up becoming like this cos it’s so beautiful! I heard it used to be quite dangerous here though, since the river separates the kampung from the city, and apparently people used to come over to rob tourists all the time..

The spectacular DUN building on the other side of the river, which probably costs more than it should and is placed ironically next to the atap houses of the kampung

If you do go to Kuching, make sure you take the sunset cruise down the river! It’s about RM19 for an hour and is super worth it. The sunset here wasn’t amazing for the first few days but we were lucky to catch the cruise at a good time to see this breathtaking view. The hour-long ride was also a great time to unwind since it’s so calming to hear nothing but the sound of the boat wading through the water and to feel the light breeze of the Borneo wind. That’s if a crocodile doesn’t try to jump on your boat and eat you up.

You can also get a sampan to cross the river for 40 cents, which we did a few times just for the joy of being on the sampan. I have decided that if I do move to Kuching and if I was rich, I’d buy a sampan and row up and down the river all day long *writes it on my Bucket List

Right across the river, there’s a kilang kek lapis that’s called….kilang kek lapis I think hahaha. Bought a few loaves here and loved them!

If you want to know which camera I used to take these pictures.. (an excuse. just so i can post camwhore pictures without looking like i’m posting them without a purpose wtf)

It’s an old Canon G10. There’s the G12 now which is super duper awesome cos it has the rotating screen which you can use to take a million pictures of yourself!!!! *hyperventilates

Carpenter Street, which is right behind Main Bazaar (across the waterfront). Right near this arch, there’s this awesome place that serves amazing pork satay!

I met up with Melissa and Daphne, who were extremely kind to bring me around for the entire day! We were at Bing Coffee, which is a very nice new-age coffee place from Kuching :) Bing, come to KL please, I’ve been looking for a nice hangout cafe here that’s not Starbucks or Coffee Bean but has better coffee than Oldtown. We need our own Malaysian breed of chill out coffee places, and more brownie points for you if you have board games and old mystery novels!

Tiramisu drink from Bing! Which is nice but a little too sweet for me

We went to Damai beach and stayed there for a night just to get away from the city. The beach is nice, but a little too deserted for our liking. We were supposed to stay at Damai Puri for two nights, which was scarily quiet and eerie, so we checked out the next day :( There were only like two other groups besides us, and there was absolutely nothing to do or eat.

It’s good that the Cultural Village is really close by the hotel, so we spent the next morning there!

This is uhh..rumah melanau *smart ass captain obvious

This is in Rumah Bajau I think. I saw the fire burning (fire burning fire burning on the dancefloor #lame) and asked the woman there what they’re cooking since theres nothing on top of the fire. She pointed to the top of the house, and said in a hush hush voice “see those skulls? we need to keep the fire to chase the evil spirits away from them”

Then I looked up and saw 3 skulls looking grimly at me.

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*pees in pants

We went for the cultural show next and this bottomless dude asked me up on stage to demonstrate the use of the blowpipe  -___- I was umm..a very good blower.

looking very pleased with self haha

Random: I’ve decided that I like this minimalist makeup the most. Just eyeliner on top and mascara :D I’m a grown woman now!

OKAY

TIME TO POST FOOD PICTURES!!!!

Are you excited?? Cause I am! These are the best Kuching food I’ve eaten, food that my kind guides brought me to eat, and food that I’ve found after tons of research. Most of them are also non-halal, sorry!

People in Kuching LOVE their food, that’s all they ever talk about and the pride is a little overwhelming at first. Whenever I tell Kuchingites I’m going to Kuching, they’d be all “you HAVE to eat this from this place, make sure you try this from that place, oh also this this that this YUMS”. My expectations of the food obviously were raised way beyond the bar, and I got very disappointed at first because I mean…I’ve found similar, if not better food in West Malaysia anyway.

But! Thank god I had amazing friends to bring me around and I found better food after that :) Otherwise I’d always moan about being deceived by Kuchingites for years to come. Thanks for bringing me around Eve, Kenny, Melissa and Daphne!

1. Kolo Mee

This is the first bowl of Kolo Mee I had and also the best. Kenny brought me to this place called KY Cafe at Sekama. If you’re staying near the city center, you can’t walk here so get a cab or something!

I had kolo mee at ten different places after that but this is definitely still the best. There are a few places at Jalan Pandungan that are okay too, but just not as good.

This is the other famous one at the Carpenter Street and Bishop Gate junction, it’s at a restaurant called Min Joo or something. Apparently it’s supposed to take up to an hour for them to serve you, but I was lucky cause I went around 2+pm and it was fairly empty. I was also alone, so maybe the uncle took pity of me and served me in ten minutes :D

2. Sarawak Laksa

Forgot to take picture, but surprisingly this is not one of my favorite dishes although it was undeniably pretty awesome. The best one I had was at Madam Tang’s (Carpenter street). The one at Chong Choon Cafe (Abell Road, have to go before 11am) which Kenny raves about is pretty good but the former is better for me, albeit more expensive.

3. Gong Pia

I love this the most, it’s a snack from Sibu which is basically just toasted sesame bun with marinated meat inside but it tastes soooo heavenly! Definitely a comfort food. This can be found at the Song Kheng Hai food court (stall no. 7 i think, at the back one) located behind Pandungan Road. It’s somewhere behind Bing Coffee.

I ate wayyy too much of this but I couldn’t stop myself T__T Now I can’t get them anywhere at all :(

4. Tomato Mee

This is really awesome as well. Basically it’s fried mee drenched in tomato sauce but why is it so goddamn good?!??! The best one was at Song Kheng Hai as well, it’s three stalls away from the Gong Pia stall.

5. Belacan Mee

This doesn’t look amazing but it’s quite unique. Soft noodles with belacan sauce and sotong, yums! Found this at Song Kheng Hai as well, can’t remember which stall but since I ate the Gong Pia so often, I’m now BFFs with the cute gong pia guy and he recommended this stall and the tomato mee stall to me. Can go ask him wtf

When you’re at this foodcourt, don’t forget to get this great refreshing drink! It’s sugar cane + coconut, an ingenious mix that drink stalls in KL should adopt. From stall 1.

6. Midin

Midin is my favorite vegetable dish in Kuching! It’s a locally grown type of fern that tastes great with belacan. This is the cold midin salad from Bla Bla Bla, also quite good. Bla Bla Bla is a pretty expensive restaurant but has amazing food with HUGE servings, do give it a try!

7. Kueh Chap

This is something I actually didn’t like but was highly recommended. It’s soup with noodles and pork intestines (which I don’t eat, maybe that’s why). It’s ok lah, prefer bak kut teh :P

8. Sio Bee

Ok sorry but totally not a fan of this. It’s like meatball/siu mai and can be found at open air market.

Dessert time!

9. White Lady

Absolutely in love with this!! Also probably the reason why I didn’t lose weight despite walking 4-5 km a day wtf

Basically it’s just a mixture of fruits, ice and evaporated milk with a slice of lemon but it’s realllllllly good. Found the best one at open air market.

10.Matterhorn

Probably the weirdest dessert name ever. It’s like ice kacang, but without kacang, syrup, evaporated milk and red bean…. Actually I guess it’s nothing like ice kacang at all except that it also has ice hahahahha I’m so dumb.

It’s a sour dessert, has fruits, cendol, ice, pandan and lemon. Very refreshing and probably not very fattening :D

Got this from Hui Sing foodcourt, but don’t ask me how to get there. Not walking distance from city center.

11. Umm..cakes?

Got this triple layer chocolate cake from the shop next to Bing at Pandungan, can’t remember the name..Tom’s or something? Anyway it’s pretty orgasmic and quite light, definitely try it!

Strawberry cheese and masam manis kek lapis from that kilang kek lapis across the river. I loved both flavors but couldn’t finish them at all, so don’t buy too much of them!

Actually I think that’s all! It’s a pretty comprehensive list if I must say so myself *pats self

I also went to the Orang Utan rehabilitation center (MUST GO!!!!) and Bako National Park for some more outdoorsy fun but I didn’t get to go to the caves :( My next trip to Sabah and Sarawak will definitely include Mount Kinabalu and the Mulu caves.

I thought to myself that once I finish Teach For Malaysia and if I do want to continue teaching, I will definitely choose to teach in East Malaysia. There’s just this very peculiar charm and something very unique about this place that’s so appealing to me but I don’t really know how to describe it! It seems so different from the rest of Malaysia, but is also essentially very Malaysian.

On that note, Selamat Hari Raya and Happy Merdeka everyone! I’m truly glad to be home for this Merdeka, and hopefully for many more Merdekas to come :)

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England part two

Just got back from a great trip to Kuching yesterday! Everytime I tell people I was going to Kuching for a week, they’d go “one week?? what’s there to do there!”. There’s SO MUCH to do in Kuching! First of all, there’s the food, food, food, food, and food. It took me about 5 days before I started finding the real gems (thanks to my local guides!). There’s the forests and mountains and beaches and seas and rivers and wildlife and just SO MUCH to do! I didn’t even get to spend time in the caves, so I’ll definitely be back in Sarawak again :D

I know I promised a funny post, but I really can’t think of anything funny to talk about T___T I think I just have to succumb to my fate and accept the reality that I no longer have a sense of humor.

*tries hard to think of one last parting funny sentence
Umm, yo mama so fat that..umm..she, umm.
*fails

Oh wait, I know! I AM FAT AND STUPID! Hahaha when all else fails, self-deprecating humor always works. And remember, as long as there’s one person who laughs at your jokes and even if that one person is you yourself, it means you’re funny. Wise words by Suet Li Liew.

Anyway, I have tons of pictures!!!! Super excited to post them first so the next post can be all about Kuching :D

Continuation from my UK post:

Pubs are a big thing in England and we ate at a pub almost every night when we were there. Why? Cause they are the cheapest (Under 6 pounds) Here, you can see the usual clientele at a pub – angry and grumpy bald white men wtf

Ah slutty British girls going pub-crawling at 5 pm, what’s there not to love about this place?

Went to the countryside! Isn’t this beautiful?? Reminds me of Lijiang in China and Kundasang in Sabah, both my favorite places in the world.

Cows grazing under the great blue sky. Koki, my japanese friend from Hong Kong, once told me this story that I don’t think I’ll ever forget. Out of the blue, he excitedly told me that if you put your hand into a cow’s mouth, it’ll chew at it and you’ll feel super good WTF. He said you won’t feel the cow’s teeth and you’ll feel this soft melty sensation all over and it feels orgasmic. I couldn’t help laughing the entire time cause it sounds damn stupid, and he was telling me this while putting on this super syok expression on his face  -___-

But in all seriousness, after he told me that, it’s been my lifelong dream to put my hand into a cow’s mouth. I almost did it in Lijiang but I was so worried that the cow will actually gnaw my hand off!!! Doesn’t help that Koki was right there giving me his super syok face that is both tempting and cunning at the same time. What if he was lying to me! Pretend to encourage me but actually want to laugh when I get bitten. Cannot trust Japanese men wtf

HAHAHA I FOUND A PICTURE OF KOKI WITH THAT STUPID FACE!!!

Ok it’s stupider than this, but can you imagine  -____-

Sigh one day..you and me, cow..one day.

Ah so pretty! On the way to my house

My house and uh, strangers walking around

Me posing outside my house

My back garden

With my mom. Thank you thank you, my house IS quite lovely

I can sit here all day :)

Okay I think that’s all from my UK trip! Today I had too much time on my hands and I found some random pictures I haven’t posted before, so here they are:

Ah my beloved Shanshan and I on one of our last days together.

I miss her so much T____T Can’t believe it’s been almost three months after our graduation!

Here’s a picture to show you the wonders of makeup! My right eye was so much bigger just with eyeliner alone!

Anyway my hair is crazy long now!

Can even curl it too :D

And to think that my hair was still boyish short less than 7 months ago.

Last picture!

I’m gonna blow this picture up, print it and put it right in front of me to remind myself that if I don’t stop eating and start exercising, then it’s a slippery slope from here on wtf.

No way I want to go back to being fat again, it was a complete zaman kegelapan dalam hidup suet li T___T *memories of friends singing “suet li suet li sangat gemuk, makan makan jadi lagi gemuk!” to the tune of mat kool mat kool kawanku song come flooding back

Alright that’s all for now! I’m going to try to sleep before 3 am so I don’t fall into that unemployed bum cycle wtf

153

The English land

Hello! I had a glorious ten-hour sleep so now I have so much excess energy I don’t know what to do with it! Of course, I could go exercise or something since I have gained x amount of weight since..since I was thin (3 years ago wtf), but it’s so hot outside and it’s so cold and nice in my room…I’ll start exercising tomorrow wtf

So! I figured I should just be more hardworking and start posting the pictures up! Although my mom is still nagging for me to unpack, I really feel like blogging now so let me finish this post before that fleeting feeling disappears again.

This is a picture of the entire Teach For Malaysia team! I’m going to blow this up and put it on my wall cos I miss them already (actually no, it’s just cos I look good wtf. I don’t usually look good when I smile so must cherish it!)

I have about 60+ photos of England that I want to post up so might as well do it now when my semangat is so membara-bara!

I think the thing I like best about London is every other building is just so pretty and historical looking! Just being in a place like that makes you feel quite cultured, like you’re in a place that has a lot of history although you don’t necessarily know the history behind it wtf

Tower Bridge! which is sadly always mistaken for London Bridge. London Bridge is actually just a normal looking bridge hahaha

This is Camden Market! Don’t know why it’s famous, nothing much to do there but see shops selling super gothic clothes

This is some crispy chicken thingy sold by a Malaysian guy. He knew we were Malaysians right when he saw us and started shouting to us in hokkien and malay, whoa we must be emitting powerful Malaysian aura

Don’t know why half the pictures on my camera are of food and of me eating, once a glutton always a glutton wtf

A shop selling super vintage toys!!!

I would totally wear everything in this shop! But they’re all super pricey, like 60 pounds for a top CRAZY

With my sis and her boyfriend, Peter, at a crepe stall. He looks like a thug but he cooks very well and is a gentleman :)

I may have left Moho, but Moho never left me wtf

Harrods! Where you can never afford anything inside, even if you sell your limbs and kidneys. and ovaries.

After three days in London, we went to Leeds where my sister lives! This is the view from her apartment, so awesome T_T

We went to Yorkshire the next day! The building at the far end is just a castle..no big deal..they have castles everywhere..

My mom and I. I’m wearing a million layers cos it’s freaking cold despite it being summer T_T

Yes, trying to be artsy wtf

Aww, English houses!

a nostalgic looking carousel

No idea what this is but just wanted to show you how grey the sky is. Peter said: 90% of tourist pictures of England turn out like this, so don’t worry it’s not just you.

I like York, it looks exactly like how I would expect an old English town north of London to look like..

with narrow alleyways

and crooked looking shophouses

and vintage sweet shops

with small doors cos people back then were a lot smaller haha

and kinky donuts wtf

we had fish and chips next by the cathedral, since you know we’re in a very English place and all so might as well go all out and eat the most English food

Had afternoon tea after at Betty’s! I love scones with clotted cream <3

While I was posing for this picture, my mom said “you better don’t smile, you look better when you don’t smile” so this is me with an angry face wtf

Younger sister was tiptoeing, she has an obsession with being taller than me in all pictures

With a macaroon. Told you my pics are all of food T_T

Okay I still have tons of pictures but I’ll post them next time! Today I’m in a very emo phase for no reason at all (is this what happens when you’re in your early 20s? You keep getting blue and keep thinking about life all the time wtf). I think I need more friends to hang out with so I won’t have time to feel this way. I think I need to party more, the last time I danced was…ok I don’t even remember T___T I think it was..6 months ago?

Maybe that’s why I’m feeling like this, I haven’t had fun in forever! All I’ve been doing is reading on my kindle and playing sudoku on my phone omg I’m such a loser. My mom told me the other day: “I think you read too much, that’s why you’re fat. Stop reading, it’s bad for you.” WTF. hahaha..ha..ha. But I guess it’s quite true, so I’m gonna go swim now. or run. or dance. or play basketball. or just cry my sorrows away wtf

21

Of the Caribbean and more

I don’t remember the last time I haven’t felt apologetic about not blogging as frequently anymore..but this time I really have a legitimate excuse. I’ve been really swamped with work, and will be so stretched out until the day I graduate. Really not complaining cos this is so much better than being bored out of my mind and be dissatisfied most of the time.

Good news is I’ve progressed to stage 4 of the Teach For Malaysia interview! YES, there are FOUR stages, and stage 4 is seriously harder than I’d prepared for. We have to attend a day-long assessment, and will have four more “obstacles” to go through. I’m already swamped with school work and the running of Malaysia Forum as it is, so preparing for this will take up whatever remaining energy I have left T___T

It’s 4am now and I shouldn’t be awake but it’s one of those rare times that I actually feel like blogging so bear with this super long post!

Speaking of Malaysia Forum, I wish I’d remembered to do this sooner but if you’re a Malaysian studying in the states, you do NOT want to miss out this event! For more info: www.malaysiaforum.org/nmf/

So I went to Puerto Rico for Spring Break two weeks ago and never got around to posting the millions of pictures taken so here they are! I loved the entire island so much, from the beautiful beaches to the amazing food and friendly people, it’s what I had imagined my last spring break to be <3

Possibly my favorite place ever, this hilly vast piece of land right next to the sea where people flock to to fly kites.

where children’s past times include rolling down the hill without a care in the world

where it’s right next to the magnificent Spanish fort

where the sun seems a lot more tolerable

and people a lot happier

hard to see why this is NOT my favorite place in puerto rico!

look how far my kite was!

flying my kite, LIKE A BOSS

sunset

absolutely love love love this picture Alex took

(most of the pictures are taken by him anyway)

me with my trusty map and a cup of passionfruit ice cream. don’t you love these quaint streets and alleys? probably one of the most romantic towns i’ve been to

snuck into a very old antique/vintage store selling the most random things possible. the boss was sitting outside chatting with his friends, clearly not very concern with his customers. 1960s playboy magazines were strewn across the piles of vintage magazines, broken toy collectibles in one shelf and dainty china plates in another, rows and rows of records and worn books that have probably survived many owners and generations. a sleepy shop in a sleepy town, unperturbed by the waves of touristy capitalism. i’m in love.

MOFONGO! which is actually pretty overrated :( everyone told me i had to eat this traditional dish of mashed plantains, but we only found it truly good in this really hole-in-the-wall place called Yurta. isn’t it always the case?

but this was so damned good i can cry in my sleep just thinking about it *tear

shanshan and i at another fort

sorry these pictures are totally not in sequence at all, not like it’ll matter if they were!

stop being so beautiful T____T the place i mean WTF hahaha totally just saw how that can be misconstrued wtf

with yijin and shanshan

how much my hair has grown! barely 7 months ago it was as short as an incredibly overworked chinese school boy’s hair

at this wonderful place that sells exact replicas of doors in the town

this how restaurants should be!

free rum at the Bacardi factory! :D

old-school coffee machine at a local diner/bakery called la bombanera, also known as my second home. coffee here is to die for, and the toasted bun with butter is just wayyy out of the world!

pirates of the carribean

can’t think of a caption

sorry for the half-hearted post, it’s almost 5am now and i’m typing with my eyes closed. serioculy i am so don’t correct me for my typos ok this is sheer dedication at work it’s not always that i sacrifice precious sleep to show the world what i’ve been up to

WHOAAA i really typed the previous paragraph with my eyes closed and i only have one typo!!! i guess if i can’t get this teach for malaysia job and any other job, i’m just gonna get someone to hire me as a umm.. typist who types with her eyes closed wtf. maybe some bosses have a strange preference for someone like that wtf ok goodnight. clearly losing my sanity.

Brain on vacation

too swamped with work,
can’t get brain to start functioning,
after an entire week of soaking up the sun,
the beach,
the sand,
the food.

too many pictures,
too little time

two lovers spending the whole afternoon trying to fly a flawed kite,
the perfect entertainment on a lazy Sunday afternoon

sheer tops and long flowy dresses,
big shades and lots of sunscreen

new shoes,

new shoes.

i think i left a little bit of my heart,
right here on this balcony

810

Interlude

Guess where I went before I came back to college?

Damn right, it was Hong Kong! You’d think that I should get pretty sick of that congested city by now but I kept going back cause I’ll have to fly there before I fly back to the States anyway so why not stay a few days first.

Ah, what else is new. Packed until cannot breathe but thank god the weather was amazing!

The famous streetside curry fish balls which I’ve never been a fan of. They’re too chewy and elastic for me, but actually tasted rather good on cold days.

I was wearing my wool coat, but it’s actually warm enough to do without it! It was around 15 celcius the entire time which is the best weather ever. I kept turning to Alex and screaming “I love this weather so much!!! ^_^” until he ignored me wtf

And yes, Alex is my new boyfriend don’t have to keep asking anymore ok?

It got really warm after this and I had to take off my coat and leg warmers in public. Not shy one wtf

Haih this is the ideal weather for shorts and boots <3

Took the Star ferry to HK island! I usually prefer staying in Kowloon cause it’s more authentic. The main island is too modern for me.

I think I’ve taken the same picture a million times now but it’s still so pretty and mesmerizing

Being emo at Causeway Bay. I wasn’t emo actually, I was feeling more like….

this wtf

happy bunny year!

I wish I get to celebrate CNY at home :(

(and yes, i’ve gained weight. don’t need you to keep pointing it out ok? it hurts ok? it hurts so much that i puke my food out after every meal ok? T___T kidding lah, but still i don’t think it’s necessary and bordering on being quite mean to keep commenting that. this is why the society is so superficial and so conscious about being skinny. what kinda role model are you to kids?? can’t people be happy and merry and eat a little more wtf)

We then went to Wan Chai to have this crazy spicy crab dish. The restaurant is called “Kiu Tai Lat Hai (spicy crab under the bridge)” and I’m sure the crab was very good, except that I couldn’t feel my tongue after the first bite.

Being Malaysians, we were overly ambitious and arrogant and thought we could handle spicy food, so we ordered the second spiciest crab and almost died wtf. Look at all the dried chilli!!! Siao ah

Slow exposure thingymajig

went up to the peak for this view again! I don’t think I’ll ever get bored of it. I’ve gone up to that peak about 6 times now and have taken this very same picture and posted it up here over and over again wtf

we were only in HK for 3 days but it felt quite long because we walked like 8 hours a day wtf and walked almost EVERYWHERE! I’ve concluded that that’s the reason why people there are so skinny despite the fact that they eat so freaking much.

also, another observation: the food in HK really disappointed us this time. It’s so sad T___T Alex thinks cause the real authentic Hong Kongers have all migrated to everywhere else and hence the HK food in San Fran/London for example are actually as good if not better now. This is a great thesis to my final research paper on Chinese culinary history.

Yes you hear that right! I’m actually taking a class on Chinese food. The class is called Comparative Culinary History: China and Italy. It’s NOT a class about food, nor is it a class about eating. It’s an intellectual class on culinary history and comparison between both countries in terms of their culinary roots wtf

—-

went paintball before I left Malaysia last last week!

OHAI!

I’ve never gone for paintball before so I was actually quite nervous after hearing all the horror stories about people getting hurt near their pepet (aud it’s you btw don’t deny wtf). I couldn’t sleep the night before and kept thinking of how many layer of clothes I should put on wtf

i went with my ex colleagues and some of them are super hardcore! scary sial. some more my boyfriend was in the other team and I swear he secretly wanted to shoot me for all the pain I put him through wtf

but alas, smart (and cowardice) me was hiding behind the barricade the entire time so my team won most of the games for having the last man standing (me) because I basically just hid and shot people but they couldn’t shoot me hoho

in retrospect, I feel like such a loser now cause it was quite an expensive game and all I did was hide =_____= but at least I don’t have bruises on important parts of my body ^_^

aih, i’ve only been back for about 2 weeks but i’m sooo ready to graduate already. have to suck it up for the next 4 months!

726

Bits and pieces

This is the first time that I actually have things lined up to be blogged about! I have a few community service announcements to make since I’ve promised people that I’d do it, but that will have to wait for a few more days after these few personal posts I’ve been meaning to write.

These are random pictures I hold very dear to because of their significance but I’ll show them to you now :)

This is the Prime Minister’s Office, where I interned at last summer. Now that I found this picture, I suddenly realized that I have yet to blog about my this super amazing internship!

To summarize, I think this is by far the best, most valuable and meaningful internship I’ve ever done, just because I truly felt I made a difference and impact in my work place and wasn’t merely an intern who photocopies and makes the coffee. In fact, I think my director photocopies more than me wtf.

The ultimate highlight of my summer internship is definitely meeting the amazing people who are doing such great things for our nation. Everyone in PEMANDU each has his/her own vision and dream for our country but they’re all united under the same mission to make this place better regardless of their differing political views. To quote my colleague, we’re not here for the government, we’re here for the country and for the rakyats T___T

Actually I feel conflicted, because the other highlight of my internship is equally as awesome! Throughout my short two months there, thanks to my great supervisor/mentor Joyce, I was given very important tasks and projects to handle. I think the most valuable internships are those that made you feel challenged, fully utilized beyond your own capacity, and the ones that truly show you what it’s like to be a contributing member of the workforce.

I did a lot of data analysis on Excel and made lots of confusing looking charts and graphs with pivot table, and my final analysis of the secondary schools was actually presented to the Prime Minister! Obviously I didn’t get to present it, or I would have peed my pants.

BUT CAN YOU IMAGINE?? Never in my wildest dream would I have thought that as an intern I’d have been given a responsibility this big a scale! For all they know I could have screwed the data up! What if I had written “Suet Li sangat cantik” at the bottom and they would have presented it still!! (then najib will wake up from his slumber and go “siapa suet li?? mana?! wtf”

Anyway, it was truly an unforgettable time for me and I’m super glad I had chosen to go back home and help with nation-building, however small the contribution I’d made, rather than chose my other internship option in HK that paid a lot more.

I went around Putrajaya to take pictures one day because I’d never really been there before and I’d never thought it’s THIS beautiful! I was angry at first at how much was spent on all these spectacular infrastructures but I can’t deny that they’re quite something.

This is one of the many bridges all over the city! I didn’t have time to take the other bridges’ pictures but I think it’s worth going to putrajaya just to see the bridges.

On another bridge leading to the convention center.

Putrajaya Convention Center! It looks way more grand in real life

A couple getting their wedding pictures taken!

The view from Pullman. Look at that other bridge in the background!!

PMO at night.

Putrajaya’s architecture is quite breath-taking, I only wish they’d maintain it better than this after all that money spent.

This is not putrajaya wtf. This is taken at Jimbaran Bay, Bali, when I was there last September.

We went for a sunset dinner and it was amazing T_____T I <3 Bali

Our table number! front seat :D

Locals selling SUPER GOOD grilled corn by the sea

I’m posting too many pictures of the sea but look at them waves!

T___T I love this picture so much!

Bintang beer, sun, sand and love, what more can I ask for!

BAKSO! A good bowl of hot bakso after a tiring day chillin’ at the beach haha

This is at the temple in Tanah Lot!

Alex took this picture, not me cos I suck at taking good pictures, can only take pics of myself wtf

Lunch at this dirty duck place by the sawah padi!

That’s it! I’m posting a lot of Hong Kong pictures next just because I <3 HK so much.