"Jacqueline Koh
Plant your own garden and decorate your own soul, instead of waiting around for somebody to give you flowers"
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My thought on birthdays
Sunday, November 25, 2012 || 7:33 AM

Not too sure if you know, I didn't use to celebrate my birthday until I entered Poly, Year 1. Before that, my last birthday celebration was when I was in Primary 5. I recalled inviting some closer friends over to my house, and my maid cooked lots of unhealthy deep fried food while we went downstairs to play block catching. It was also during that party I bumped into the actor, Christopher Lee, whom wished me happy birthday because one of my friends yelled out 'Jing tian shi ta de shen re!!'

After that particular year, I abstained from birthday celebrations for 4 years. I didn't celebrate any of my friend's birthdays, and I didn't allow anybody to celebrate mine. Was there a reason behind it? Of course there was. And it's a very long story. Secondary school friends treated my reasoning and choice with respect, and I was never, once taunted at. It had got something to do with religion. A religion I got out from because I felt that I could never fit up to their standards. A religion I allowed myself to drift away from because I felt that I wanted and yearned something different in life. Fundamentals of your own being (set of morals, character, etc) is molded in between a certain age range when you are developing and I can say that even though I got out of the religion, the set of values are still held tight with me. Even though I can never reflect the best out of every single one.  
And this religion is also the reason till today, why I will never allow myself to wear crosses, or have sex before marriage. The only reason why I will step into a church is only because the sole reason of architectural purposes. Nothing more. 

And no, I wasn't a christian who attended churches. I was never a church go-er, but I can proudly say that I am probably more familiar with the bible than most regular attendees, and I probably adhere more to it as well. Some may find it hard to believe, but I have given small scale religious 'talks' before as well with the help of a mentor. Surprise surprise. Can't believe it right?

Fast forward a few years, I found myself drifting away - I started to love things which the bible abhor, I started to pick up habits which the bible tells us to stay away from, I started to engage in certain activities which the bible reminded us to abstain from. It was as if my rebellious streak came a few years too late. Maybe i was exploring, but maybe it isn't quite so simple. 

Many people might be very familiar with my live laugh love ink, or that curvy ink which stretches from shoulder to shoulder. But these two ink, albeit are words of advice which I hold close to my heart, can never hold a candle to the very first ink I got - which is a bird carrying the word 'faith'. And even though when I reasoned with myself faith encompasses many aspects of life, I know deep inside it was a religious faith I was thinking of when I had it inked on my body. 

Ink, as much as they are form of expressions, they are also reminders. 


Actually, my initial purpose of this blog post wasn't to highlight the above issue, but to share a different thought which has been in my head. So fast forward a couple of years, as I entered Poly, I had a different group of friends. It was also more 'convenient' to kill the previous 'tradition' as I didn't have to go through explanations of the sudden change of me going 'against the rules'. 

I started saying things like 'Happy Birthday', giving cards and presents and attended parties. At first, there was a nagging ache and my conscience was playing a tug-o-war. But it started to go away. Some friends whom I gave presents to, they reciprocated by giving me presents during my birthday, or invited me out for dinner. I know to you, it's something you go through all your life, but to me, it's still something relatively new. 

I have always thought that the birthday girl or boy is receiving far too much credit - i always thought that the person who should be at the receiving end should be the person who went through 9/10 months of labour, who went through the 'pushing a watermelon through a keyhole' process, who worked hard to bring that child up. I always thought birthdays would be so much more meaningful if it was celebrated that way. Which is why, on birthday cards, there is a sentence which I seem to repeat a little too much. 

But on the other hand, it's not that bad if birthdays are treated as a social event. It creates an opportunity to reconnect, to shower the protagonist with love. 

And for my 20th birthday, I would like to thank Yion, Rebecca, Joshua, Alicia and Hafiz, Jieying, Cheryl for the amaz-balls birthday cake, dinner and presents. I really don't care what I get, i'm a sucker for effort, and so, thank you guys for putting in your time and energy for me :) 

I hate to be typing in this way because i feel like im kinda segregating my friends (-.-), but thank you xq and jean for sharing my thoughts, and for understanding my take and view on such occasions. This is for us.
And for everybody else who took the time to wish me, in one form or another - thank you for taking out a few seconds/ minutes of your life. I appreciate them :)

Sunday, November 18, 2012 || 7:38 AM

Hello sunshine :)

To nobody in particular
|| 7:27 AM

"At different points of your life, you would want different people to be in it."

We were once close, but not anymore. Not anymore by choice. I, or perhaps you under the influence of people and environment, molded a different view on life and started pursuing different objectives in life. What you once thought was important, wasn't anymore. What was once exciting, wasn't anymore. Priorities seemed to have taken a shift, and the connection we had seemed to have dissipated into nothingness. 

They say, effort is crucial in maintaining a connection.
I say, humans are lazy and inconsistent creatures. Inconsistency drips like fluid, and the more it happens, the sooner a gulf forms. And that gulfs separates two bodies, and as it forms bigger and becomes more and more vast, a larger effort is needed to close it up. 
And what did i say about effort? 

We remember the good times we had,
and that is why dinner dates are arranged.
In spite of the overbearing awkwardness looming on the top of our heads.
And we all know it, but didn't want to admit it to place a seal on the factual thought which has reverberated countless times in our hearts.

 But dear friend, it's okay.
We were part of each other because we are the combined effort of everyone we have met. You did nothing wrong, I did nothing wrong too. It's just like everything else, there's an expiry date. Our time has came, and now it's only proper to move onto someone, or something else and embrace it with an open heart.

Maybe, just so maybe, I still love you, but not enough to want to make a conscious effort anymore.  There are endless possibilities out there if you venture far out enough, and I give you my blessings :)

Free yourself from negative people. – Spend time with nice people who are smart, driven and likeminded. Relationships should help you, not hurt you. Surround yourself with people who reflect the person you want to be. Choose friends who you are proud to know, people you admire, who love and respect you – people who make your day a little brighter simply by being in it. Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you. When you free yourself from negative people, you free yourself to be you. And being you is the only way to truly live. 

Sometimes you never know why some things happen. But they do, and they're always for the better :) 

Friday, November 16, 2012 || 7:31 AM

My brother received an invitation from NUS to apply for their scholar programme.

This is a confirmation of a long-time hypothesis of mine - Either one of us is adopted.
How come we are so different?! Zzz

Thursday, November 15, 2012 || 7:25 AM

We all seem to enjoy Shakespeare's words more than we heed them. To think about it, don't you think his words are really good advice musked in literature? In lit, we dissect, shelf certain strings of words up in different components, we try to wring out a thousand and one possible subtexts. Critical analysis at every angle possible - fun to put into deeper meaning the probable subconscious mind of Shakespeare himself, but sometimes, analyzing too much can cause the initial meaning to be lost in such a transition. 
Shakespeare can get away with being shelved in the self-help section. Don't you think? - http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/w/william_shakespeare.html

Like a croissant, good ole English style with a classic block of butter is best.
A cinnamon sugar glazed croissant with raisins can be a little too over-bearing.
Keep it simple.

'What if I jump into the sea?'
'No, you won't.'
'I might. I dont want to, but I might because I can't control myself!'
'Then i'll take a jumpshot of you.'

The subconscious wants to have a taste of the salty vast and deep seas so bad it might defy the signals the logical part of the brain sends. 

I have real amazing people in my life. I can't ask for more, really :)

Two random thoughts - 1.Miss the egg yolk butter crab Ed cooked, pincers lickin' good!!
2. Can't wait to attend my Yoga breathing & meditation class!

Memorable moments make smiles radiate from the heart :)

Cold November Rain
Tuesday, November 13, 2012 || 11:29 PM

Monday, November 12, 2012 || 7:05 AM

White lily bells

We're just humans afterall :)
Saturday, November 10, 2012 || 7:36 AM

Went for my cardiac appt today, and I found myself smiling and greeting everyone around me. I mean, everybody is there for a reason; it's most probable they have heart issues. It's dark and gloomy as hell in there, and I just couldn't stand it. Tried to be friendly and showed concern to people within a 1m radius, hoping to send some positive vibes. While waiting for my ECG to be taken, I asked the lady beside me if everything's alright with her. In there, struck off a convo with the ECG techy and we started talking about Club21 sales and the awesomeness of it all. When the nurses were taking my blood pressure and height x weight - reminds me of secondary school P.E days where i will secretly tippy toe a lil hehe, i was extra chatty and this nurse called the other nurses to come check my tribal wedges out because they are 'so colourful and high' bwahaha! It's nice the snacks shoppe uncle tried to make an effort to be nice to everyone there as well - he said good morning to every single person who walked by. Sweeeeet! 

And when I was in the shuttlebus which route's smthg like National Heart Centre -> National Eye Centre -> SGH Main Drop Off -> National Cancer Centre -> Outram Park MRT
I found myself reeled into focus the people who alighted and got on the bus at different stops. The man who got on the National Cancer Centre stop probably has a limited time left on Planet Earth - 2,3 years maybe? Everything seems different when you know what's going on, and the difficulties you think one is having - you tend to be much kinder, and understand that we are all just humans. Such fragile beings. And then I think, many of us will think that a man who gets diagnosed with cancer, he is just really unlucky. But is he really? What about the residents of New York who got struck by Hurricane Sandy? They were all healthy the day before, and a few hours later, they all perished in the wrath of nature just because it happened so. 

It's important to be nice to people around you, you never know what kind of fight they are battling. Life is tough enough, be kind :)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012 || 7:10 AM

There are so many hurdles to jump when it comes to writing a uni entrance essay. You're supposed to be objective - you can only be subjective if you can effectively musk it into objectivity (and it's a challenge to introduce two mutually exclusive ideologies into a neat package - it will just get really messy.) And on top of that, you are supposed to give a prelude of your personality, how you are different from others, and how your point of view reflects how differently you think from others. Very difficult to be objective. And to be subjective, it's dangerous - well largely because subject matters are mostly up to each interpretation and you really have to cross your fingers and pray that the people who are in charge of reading your essay have an open mind enough to accept a probable conflicting point of view. 

So, i kinda like drafted out something, and I found myself typing without stopping. Here's the draft though it's too negative and subjective, and it seems more like a page off a journal. This probably aren't going to the admission's team desk unless if I can find a way to tweak things round, to make it more appropriate. But still, i think some pointers do make sense, and it's something i feel genuinely, so here goes! 

An inner monologue about being a Singaporean student

An education system is equivalent to a human being; we try to be as perfect as we can, but ultimately, both are hopelessly flawed.

When one thinks about the Singaporean education system, I am positive many would conjure up an image of excellence. Being a student in Singapore for 16 years, I must say, I agree to the stereotypical views of how majority of the people would perceive the education system to be like – Promising and nothing short of excellence. However, to achieve that sort of status, there are some aspects a Singaporean student is bound to miss out on in their learning journey.

Let me first tell you, a Singapore education system is very result- orientated.

A conformist education environment which focuses on grades. A grade is a reflective measure of how well one understands the subject. However, so much attention is drilled to which alphabet is ultimately reflected on a report card to the extent that the slower students here resort to other methods apart from understanding the subject matter, to get hold of that desired grade. The big ‘M’ word comes into play. No, not magic. Lots of brain work actually – memorizing. They do not promote understanding sufficiently even though they might try to because the importance of that get casted aside because of the relative speed of understanding of others. It is always a race here. A race which literally kills (*refers to newspaper clippings on suicide rate and stress levels of Singaporean students.)

 This is why a Singaporean student doesn’t pray for wisdom for an exam. Instead, they pray for a particular topic to be asked because they have memorized the entire chapter of it word for word two months before they step into the examination room.

This leads many students to be asking the same question: “Why do I have to study this when I do not even have the need for it in the future?” When this statement comes out of their mouths, you can be pretty damn sure they belong to the group of people whom I have just described.

Well, Linguistics aid you in communication work, which is something humans, as social individuals do on an everyday basis. Math trains you to think on your feet, and allows you to view matters in a more logical manner – formulas are just a part of a complex package which comes alongside with it. Science allows us to have an insight of the building blocks of life – it allows us to understand things which are going round’ in our world a little better. Be it physics, chemistry or biology. Econs deals with the supply and demand of everyday life – when we walk into a supermarket, we understand why some things are priced differently, we understand what causes things which impact us the most – inflation, currency fluctuations, etc. 

In my opinion, the Singapore education system molds an individual to be an excellent worker. However, the study plan set aside for their students do not equip them with the necessary skills to be business starters, as any speck of passion will be muffled down to remain as an inner voice because of the need to suppress and comply. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012 || 5:32 AM

Some Ralph Lauren lovin'... 
Received some vouchers from my bosses and this was what I got for myself!
Thank you bosses  :)

// Can't wait to get myself a hedgie end of year! Seems like Nov & Dec are two good months for me. -> Hope I didn't just jinx myself. When you say something and you're afraid the opposite will happen, it's good to state your fears of that happening so somehow out there in the universe, the stars will begin turning in a different direction and some force will diminish the chances of that happening, or that your jinx will be jinxed, so there wouldn't be any jinx at all.

My hedgie will be named, well, hedgie! :)
But he or she probably wouldn't like that, because if I am a pet, I wouldn't want my owner to call me humanie, or like mortalie. 

Be kind, everyone! X

Saturday, November 3, 2012 || 7:55 AM

I love cities more than people, in general.

When I'm unhappy (- usually caused by people and the lack of being away) and is in dire need of a happy nostalgic memory, I think of a city ( - note: not human beings) I have been to, or lived in and I soak in the particular few happy seconds. Then almost immediately I feel more than awful because I will then mentally gauge  and compare the different levels I would score in a happy-o-meter then and now. 

When I think of Adelaide, I think of their gravel paths scattered with crunchy brown maple leaves, of how climbable their trees are, how insanely long some birds' legs are, of giant gumballs, beautiful candy stores, crafted boomerangs, where I had my first cold rock ice-cream with lots of crazy toppings, how I first tasted snow with my tongue and saw how large a dew drop can be and of having trolleys filled with home-grown oranges. 

Shanghai was a little more uncouth and rough edged, it was a city which  made me feel how 'owning' an apartment felt like, how being a 'student expat' felt like - how being ranked in the upper levels of the hierarchy feels like, and the sociological aspect of speaking a different language in a different location - and how I am judged and treated differently because of that. 
One thing I realized though, was that whenever I am out away from the little island, I tend to want to take in the place I am in a little more - through breathing the city's air. I guess I felt more alive. 

When I think of people, I don't really think of anything at all. Well, mostly. 
When I think of people, I reckon I picture them to be like a Starbucks -  will always run into one of them round the bend of a street almost everywhere. 
But of course, I have my favourite Starbucks outlets, those which serves my granola just the way I like it done - with warm soy milk. And of course, it applies only to the outlets who likes serving granola with warm soy milk.