USA: Washington DC, 2018 | Part II

wonder what’s in my giant suitcases? it’s embarrassingly stuffed with Oreos and some 3-in-1 Milo. breakfast was made with the attempt of reducing them. c’mon, they’re serving their purpose!

I set out my journey by taking the free tram (never took one before in my life). I didn’t know I was at the last stop until everyone alighted. it’s supposed to stop at Union Station, no? confused, I broke away from the crowd and took a detour unexpectedly.

back when we had the trip to Washington, my friend posted a photo of a corridor that caught my attention. he couldn’t remember where it is (“one of those buildings”). turned out that it’s just outside of Union Station. I didn’t notice it the night before because I was busy weighing my choices + getting distracted by the lit dome, hoping for some action sequence, maybe a helicopter chop, chop, chopping above and Nicholas Cage descending from a rope stair.

anyway, while I was mesmerised with the beauty, I had my first stranger interaction. seeing that I was busy with my camera, a working class man offered to take a picture for me. I know, what are the chances of someone running away with your big, bulky DSLR? but there’s this funny ad that I once saw, (sadly, I can’t find it anymore), where a photographer offers to take photos for strangers and then run away with their camera to capture the strangers’ reaction. plus in my head, there’re ten thousand ways to rob a camera, (though most of them aren’t viable). anyway, spoiler ahead: the photos he took of me were okay.

first stop was, of course, Capitol Building. the last time we’re here, we didn’t make it down to the visitor center. this time I did. that is, after spending a good fifteen minutes or so under the sun, trying to get a good photo of the dome.

upon entrance, people were being rejected to enter from the security gate because of the water they carry. not wanting to embarrass myself, I dumped my water to the grass. usually I’d be worried, but in big cities, everywhere you go, there’re always water fountains and clean bathroom, and that’s what I love in America. I know Malaysia is still a developing country, but hopefully one day we’ll come to this point.

it was such a shame that I didn’t know that I could watch the congress in session. if I did, I would’ve planned it in advance. channeling my #NerdyRuo. otherwise, there’s the exhibition hall that you can visit.

anyway, after some time in the dark hall reading about the dome (pretty impressive), it’s time for the next stop—The Library of Congress. it’s another photo that’s posted by my friend which caught my eye. the details of the interior are just… *inserts Owen Wilson’s WOW* just look at it for yourself.

my favourite thing (so hard to choose!) in this library should be all the famous, remarkable quotes on the ceiling. the one that first caught my attention was this—"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings."

then, I made my way to the National Air and Space Museum. again, there’s a security check. I was puzzled with the tight security at first. then, I realized, “oh, this is DC, the capital. c’mon.” most places have bag scan, or at the least, a hand search. now looking back, you know what, America, forget about fences or teachers learning how to shoot, maybe you should just put these machines at school entrances. get some control on your gun control yo.

anyway, I knew this museum because of… *drumrolls* yes you got it, my friend’s Instagram post, again. XD jeez, do I have any of my own ideas? apparently Night At The Museum was filmed here?

but before I was at the museum, my stomach was already growling. a guest at the water park who’s from DC told me that there’s a restaurant offering good Malaysian food in DC. alas, I couldn’t find it, so in my indecisiveness, I resorted to eating at the museum in the end. pretty sure if I were travelling with pals there would be sounds of complaints but I really don’t mind much when it comes to food. I sat at a spot with sunlight and enjoyed my lunch.

you wouldn’t imagine how much time I had spent at the museum. almost three hours of reading stuffs and playing around with the interactive exhibits, which I love a lot. the How Things Fly part of the museum made me miss Physics class. and c’mon lah, there’s no broken stuff whatsoever unlike here.

it’s partly also because of my indecisiveness (again). I’d wanted to visit Newseum (journalism fans out there, anyone?) initially but my itinerary was running an hour late. so might as well just hang in this museum, right? so I bade goodbye to the museum. I mean… it’s been three hours, hello? at last I skipped Newseum to go straight to the National Gallery of Art.

I didn’t have any good photo of the National Gallery of Art, but some interesting things happen while I was there.

there was, of course, the bag check again (ugh). that’s not the interesting part. somehow, I made a swift turn into the visitor centre to grab a brochure because I thought I didn’t wanna waste my time finding my way in this big, art maze. the friendly elderly man at the desk asked me if I needed any help and realised that my huge backpack was somehow allowed in, so he advised me to sling it to a side so it wouldn’t be noticed. hey, thanks man!

the brochure that grabbed my attention was the one with Van Gogh’s face on it. surprise, surprise. I didn’t know they have Van Gogh’s work here…

finally at the gallery exhibiting his work, I plopped down on a sofa and just… look at the paintings. after so many Madonna and Child (I swear, they’re the art world equivalent of pop songs) and other works that do with religion, it’s pretty good to see something different.\\

there’s this guy taking photos really, really up close to the painting with his phone, as though he’s looking for some secret Van Gogh code in it. the Vincent Van Gogh code, Professor Langdon?

“Excuse me,” a voice next to me said, “may I know what picture you’re taking?”

“Oh, just… a picture of a picture.” I replied rather awkwardly.

the middle-aged man continued, “are you Van Gogh fan?”

now, here’s a man, sitting on this sofa long before me, just looking at the paintings, and at the people looking at the paintings. so I said, honestly, “not really.”

I’m not a die-hard Van Gogh fan, no, didn’t know much about him. only heard bits and pieces about him from my good friend Tumblr. I love Starry Starry Night for the fact that many of us see the night sky the same way (thanks to the ever growing timelapse video on the net) but this guy saw it so differently and beautifully.

he laughed. he said that’s fine. in fact that’s actually good, because I can really tell which painting I like. I told him, of all the paintings currently hanging on the wall, I like his self-portrait best. I like the blue in the background. it’s very moody.

“What about Roses?” he asked.

I thought that’s not quite like Van Gogh. to be frank, if it weren’t for the brochure / leaflet / whatever you call it, I wouldn’t’ve known that that’s his painting.

another lady joined in the conversation and said, “that’s because he was trying to make money!”

we chuckled. God, nothing beats people who share the same humour. it made me fell instantly in love with galleries.

I pointed to the painting next to Roses—Farmhouse in Provence and said I actually like that one more than Roses. it felt more Van Gogh to me. he then explained to me what he thought is so good about that painting. the man in the painting was Van Gogh’s best friend. the postman, I assume? (see, I told you I’m not a die-hard Van Gogh fan) he asked if I know how Van Gogh died.

unsure, I said, “uh… he… cut his ear?”

this got him. losing an ear led Van Gogh to his death, yeah, really, Ruo Ling, just what the hell were you thinking? I was ignorant so he proceeded to tell me that he shot himself on that very field in that painting. and that’s the story.

silence followed as we continued contemplating the art pieces. a moment later, he said, “you know the thing about Van Gogh? No one buys his painting, yet, he still draws, for fifteen years. Why do you think so?”

I continued staring at the paintings because I thought the question was rhetorical at first. realizing that he was waiting for an answer, I said, gingerly, “he is… crazy?”

he laughed again this time. I like how my new friend laughed. taking his time to appreciate all this silliness and to only reply when he’s ready. I laughed too and to my defence, I said, “I mean… he cut his ear!”

he replied, “well, I was gonna say perseverance… but he is crazy too.” and we both laughed again.

ain’t it weird that one can share a similar sense of humour with another person who’s double her age? in fact, I find that I’m always more chatty with middle-aged people when working at the water park. maybe it’s seeing too much of life and accepting all the foolishness that it is, thus, sharing the same sick humour.

it was a few months later when I had the chance to watch Loving Vincent in the cinema that I knew what he’s trying to say about Van Gogh’s passion and determination.

we parted ways after some general topics, agreeing that I should stop taking picture of a picture, because they’re so… Googleable. you know, when Google Image Search is full of the similar photos… and that I should take it the Vincent-Van-Gogh-code way since it could be my one and only time to be this up close with these paintings. we also noted that life's pretty odd in that in a few days, he’ll be closer to my home (he’s based in Vietnam) while I’ll be closer to his home, and I’ll be travelling the path that he’s travelled in the past few weeks.

I’d thought of walking to Lincoln Memorial but then I saw a few people standing in line at a bus stop. so I took a $1 and got on the bus but the driver said, “nah, just get on.” I insisted on paying but then he said something like, “it’s passed the time” or something like that. shit, did I do something wrong again? T~T

I really, really didn’t want someone to run off with my camera or my phone, yeah? so I tagged along this kind-looking person who’s sitting in front of me in the bus so I could ask her to help me take a photo. but then the vibe wasn’t right. then, I noticed this family speaking Malaysian Bahasa Melayu. trying my best to you know, jadi kawan, I went ahead and asked, in BM (HAHAHA oh God now thinking back I really wanna laugh at my desperation) if the daughter could help me take a photo. gotta send it to my mom so she knows I’m safe.

since I took the bus, I’m now running early. so I just sat at the stairs facing the Monument, swiping my phone while getting used to being alone. it suddenly hit me that, OH MY GOD I FORGOT TO PRINT MY BUS TICKETS. distressed, I texted Aaron (as if he could magically bring me my tickets), figuring how to overcome yet another hurdle in this trip while overlooking the city, thinking, “where the hell do I look for a printer?!?!”

I couldn’t remember what made me felt assured that things would go smoothly. somehow, I just went on with my day without giving any damn about those tickets.

I walked the tree-lined path (not pictured) to Martin Luther King Jr.’s Memorial, all while appreciating the good weather, although I was sweating a lot, and the fact that I was at a very walkable city. throughout the day, I could see that some people had already reset themselves and gone back to their daily routine for the rest of the year, while some were still trying to catch the tail of summer with their kids. it was nice.

I figured that there would be many tourists at the Lincoln Memorial catching the sunset. so, I’d planned to do it at Lake Basin. it’s actually the highlight of my plan, haha, ‘cause I was excited to get a photo of the Washington Monument in the evening sun that’s different from the usual angle from Lincoln Memorial.

granted, there’s no one there except mosquitoes swarming around at dusk. growing up in Malaysia, I thought it wouldn’t be such a big deal. I was wrong. holy crap, the mozz fest was HORRIBLE.

I shot a timelapse while non-stop swatting the mosquitoes away till sundown and walked back to Lincoln Memorial to catch the monument at night. remember I said that I’m glad that drink fountains and bathrooms can be easily found? guess what, the water that came out from this fountain was yellowish. I was doomed. I can’t go without plain water for more than half an hour.

when I was finally back to Lincoln Memorial and prepared to take a photo, my camera died, like died DIED. not even the pull-battery-out-and-stick-it-in-again trick would work. I had the crazy idea of borrowing from some Nikon user, but then borrowing a battery just to shoot a photo? I fit perfectly well into the “Japanese tourist” stereotype. 😐

I was pretty upset. I mean, I came all the way to DC to catch the lit dome at night (cues action sequence fantasy again) and there wasn’t a point to see it without my camera (maybe I am truly a “Japanese tourist” at heart). you can tell it’s a hard decision. in the end, I reluctantly called an UberShare (one of the best inventions, seriously) and got back to my dorm.

my new friend had told me that DC serves great coffee. unfortunately, this girl doesn’t do coffee. I was hoping that maybe I could still visit a cafe for a quick breakfast, but it turned out that I woke up earlier than these businesses did. in the end, I cashed out and bought some okay-only-lah food from the grocery store. the ATM that’s built into a hole in the wall was fascinating to me. (channeling my #GeekRuo). I don’t think this type of thing exist in Malaysia, does it? we don’t have good sidewalks to begin with. they’re usually terribly made, ill-maintained, vandalised and badly designed. I mean, sometimes the sidewalk just narrows and then… disappears completely and you find yourself walking dangerously next to the open road. ah, also, there’re snatch thieves.

anyway, when I got my stuff in order, it’s time to leave. just when I made sure I had everything with me—my backpack, my big luggage, my small luggage, my money, my passport—and reached for the front door, I felt something wrong with my feet. MY SHOES! they’re still on the first floor. I bolted upstairs to get them and made an embarrassed smile to the cleaner. I should nickname myself “embarrassment”, really.

being the person who always have to make-make sure (you know, make sure again and again), upon arriving at Union Station, I asked the Uber driver, “is this where the bus station is?”

to my horror, he said he thought it’s somewhere else. this is the train station. what now, do I still wanna stop here?

I said, yeah. it’s not like I could make it to my bus on time if the bus station was really somewhere else, right? might as well take a look here and make sure this is the bus station. I might look calm on the outside but it’s really a panic-stricken moment, I tell you. I was worried that I was running late, what with my bus tickets and you tell me THIS IS NOT THE BUS STATION?!??!

rest assured, things didn’t get better after that. I frantically looked for an elevator. but that’s not the only thing that I couldn’t find, I couldn’t find THE WORD too.

in screenplay format, it went like this



(calm outlook but nervous on the inside)
Hi. May I know where’s the li-

(realises that the Americans don’t use the word “lift” and it means Lyft the e-hailing service not the big box that goes up and down)

um the

(a beat)

(another beat)

(another beat)



I didn’t know where the lady pointed me to. anyway, I made it into a service elevator. and it was scary.

when I finally got to the upper floor, it turned out that bus station’s another floor upstairs. I knew I was definitely going to be late if I went to look for another elevator (the service elevator couldn’t take me to the rooftop) so I told myself fuck it, just use the escalator. guess what? IT FITTED. my damn luggage fitted on the step. just nice, just right. as if escalators were made so that a big luggage could fit, or the other way round. a matchmake on Earth.

alright so things were turning brighter right? NO. life always gets in the way. I went straight to the bus line, waved my phone to the conductor, asked him if I could board with just a confirmation e-mail. he said, “oh no, your bus is cancelled. please go into the office to sort it out.”

right… thanks, man. it was a good thing amidst the bad, really. ‘cause they’re gonna have to print the ticket for me. so ticket problem: solved. bus problem: uhhhh let’s see. spoiler alert: I arrived at New York City that day, safe and sound.

where the bus station is situated and the direction we’re heading, I couldn’t get a decent view of DC when I left. I remember back when my first time visiting DC, while searching for places to visit, I found this place uninteresting. yet, my heart was heavy when I left for the second time because I wasn’t able to take one last good look at this city that captured my heart so easily with its second chance.


ong lai!

the two brothers

a quiet moment at the busy market

some snaps from earlier this week when Ryan, Ronson (check out their page yo) and I went out to shoot in the morning after knowing that our parents’ share the same hometown—Sekinchan and that we’re back for the Lunar New Year.

I like going to wet markets whenever I’m at a different place because it’s always lively and buzzing. not to mention that they’re always same same but different from one another. ironically, I never go to the wet market at my town. XD it’s nice going to one again and the light that morning was perfect. <3

then, in the evening we went to the beach to shoot more… which I have yet to edit. >< it was enjoyable albeit a little stressed shooting with two professionals. haha~ till next time!

USA: Washington DC, 2018 | Part I

I never thought that writing this would take such a long time… probably because it’s the first post for the trip and I’m trying to make it good. I’m sorry that it’s gonna be a long word post without any photos, because I never used my DSLR the entire day. anyway, you can follow me on Instagram, Twitter or Bloglovin’ to get the latest update from the blog or if you wanna read through my USA story: click here to teleport.

after passing by the set of swing doors through the train station countless times, I finally walked through them. despite a few waiting passengers, it was peaceful and quiet like in Spirited Away and everyone seemed to be minding their own business. I made my way to the table with lotsa brochures to see some bag tags, good, I never thought of having one. I noticed that my two trolley bags made a lot of noise against the small, red tiles.

according to Amtrak’s terms, I was supposed to check my baggage forty-five minutes before my departure but there was no one behind the train counter. shit, was I late?

calm down, I told myself and began to weigh my luggage. It’s an extra step, really. it’s not like the weighing scale here would miraculously make it 0.2 pounds lighter. Ash and I had actually weigh them multiple times in my room and I knew they were slightly overweight because we argued what to eliminate when I was packing. I even took my toiletries out to weigh them again and made sure they’re more than 0.2 pounds so if shit happens, that had to go.

so I grr, grr, grr, grr, grr, grr-ed my way to the other end of the station to the bus counter—mama said never to leave your belongings unsupervised. worriedly, I asked the receptionist if there’s something I should be doing, and she told me to wait for the train guy to come back. so, I grr, grr, grr, grr, grr-ed my way back to this end of the station and saw the sign that said the train guy would be back fifteen minutes before departure. good obversation, Ruo Ling, good observation.

having nothing to do but only to wait, I opened my notebook and penned down my memories, occasionally staring into space to teleport myself to the there and then that I was trying to recall, my tear-streaked face clearly noticeable by the other passengers.

when the train guy was back, I let him know I wanted to check-in my luggage so he asked, “have you weighed them?”


“How much does it weigh?”

“23.2 lbs.”

“You’ll need to take that 0.2 lbs out. Then go out to the platform and wait for me.”

so, once again embarrassing myself by making lots of noise, I began Operation Tetris and re-organized my stuff. the thing was, my big suitcase had all the space, but it’s overweight. on the other hand, my small suitcase and my backpack were packed to the brim. I desperately took my phone out and read the terms again, “passengers are allowed two carry-ons.”

smart, Ruo Ling, smart. the packing time was shortened down to one minute as I took said toiletries out and chucked them into my extra tote bag.

later when I told this story to friends, Zoe said, “see, don’t see this girl macam so smart, in fact, sometimes she is naive.” I know right. I could’ve told the train guy that it is 23 lbs. but, hear me out. I lied to an acquaintance once a few years back… ok, it wasn’t even a lie to most people! I said I was at the restaurant we’re supposed to meet when in fact I was 20 meters away walking towards it and I got busted. 20 meters. from that day onwards, I told myself I’m never gonna lie anymore.

when the train arrived, I didn’t know which door I should get on. “Logically speaking, the carriages near where I’m standing should be first-class, right? My ticket is the cheapest one, so maybe I should go to the end?” With only three minutes for passengers to board, the conductor told me to get on the train when I showed him the tickets. This weak heart of mine can’t take that bothered face he gave me. I don’t remember the last time I took a train to another city being such a stressful task I actually wanna cry???

road trips aside, the mode of transport that got me the most excited was taking the train. I mean, c’mon, dining car! that aside, silly of me, I know, I have this romanticized idea that maybe, just maybe, I would bump into my Jesse like Celine did on that train from Budapest in Before Sunrise. haha. no, but seriously, Malaysia’s trains are either brightly lit or creepily dim, there’s no in between.

now, you may have wondered, why is this post all just words? I love the countryside view outside my window, especially that they’re washed in the golden evening light. though funnily, I hadn’t thought of capturing it with my DSLR. the scenic views all live in my iPhone.

anyway, when I’m not taking in the view, me being me, I tried to do ten thousand different things but ended up getting nothing done during the entire train ride. I tried to read, I tried to write, I tried to organize my photos, I tried to eat Cheetos. it’s something that I took on since young. I remember having to bring my notebook, my novel, and my sudoku book all at once while waiting for my ENT appointment. you know, just in case.

at one of the stations, an Asian-American family boarded the train—three young adult sisters and a mom. they’re noisy, though not to a point that irritated me. I tried to listen what they’re being so noisy about, turned out they’re just bickering like my sisters and I usually do at home. “Mom, you should sit here.” “Mom, where did you put the candies?” “Sis, why?” “Sis, please.”

once, I chatted with a man at the water park where I worked. seeing that I’m from halfway across the globe, he asked, “don’t you miss your family?” I said, “sometimes, especially when I see families in the park, you know?”

I can almost picture my sisters and my mom in this train. “Mom, take this shawl, you’ll get cold.” “Er Jie, where did you put the power bank?” “Da Jie please, take the aisle seat, you pee a lot.” “No, I don’t.”

being the paranoid that I am, I checked my GPS often to make sure I was on the right track—a trick I learnt from two foreigners on the bus to Tioman. at one point when I checked, the train was travelling on water. I thought I was the only one who noticed this, until I heard the Asian sisters laughing at it, “mom, look, we’re actually travelling on water!”

I waited at the designated area of the train station for my luggage, all the while holding tight to my claim receipt, making sure that I don’t lose it. jeez, why is travelling alone so much hassle? I have to remember where I put everything, Er Jie is not here. realizing that I was the only one who checked-in my luggage, I already felt embarrassed… but soon I would get used to that embarrassment for my entire trip.

as I made my way out of the station, I stopped and marveled at the grandeur of the architecture. train stations at home damn sure won’t be this impressive. I mean, C’MON. at the same time I was thinking, you know what, that’s the kinda perk of travelling alone. pretty sure no one would stop to just take in the hall for a moment when travelling in a group. it was too much trouble to take my camera out, so I settled with just taking a few photos of it with my phone.

well, well, well. here came the problem. my Uber promo code didn’t work. I know, it’s not such a big deal. but then I didn’t wanna break my budget on my first day. so, bus or e-hail? can my luggage even fit onto the bus? God, what should I do now? UGH. maybe I should… walk? no? spoiler alert: I called an Uber in the end.

the driver was a nice middle-aged guy. mama said, “when you’re out there, (for chrissake) make conversation.” I’m no conversationalist. I remember my first time being in a car alone with only a strange driver in a foreign place, I tried asking him about the weather. and that was that. boring. no new information. dry. so, this time I tried asking what’s his favourite food to get an idea of the place. then, I asked him ‘bout DC and how long he’s been here, things like that. slightly better than my first time, at least I know he’s been in DC for thirty or so years. way to go, Ruo Ling!

the entrance to my dorm didn’t look like a… dorm. it’s a small door wedged among coffee shops and hair salons which were closed by then. the driver helped to carry my luggage onto the sidewalk and went back to the car but didn’t leave until he made sure I was okay after I was done struggling and shoving my giants into the dorm while holding the door with one hand. the gesture was small—a pair of worried eyes, but I find it sweet in this lonely, lonely journey. (oh c’mon it’s only Day 1) *heart melts anyway*

inside the dorm, I was greeted by a steep flight of stairs. After getting my check-in done, the receptionist offered to carry my hugeass luggage for me. (YAS!) it was my first time staying at a dorm and I tried to not be as awkward (as I already am .____.) when I was done settling myself down, I wrapped up the day as I lay on the upper bank in the dark room, noticing that the room was slightly warm because there’s only a ceiling fan, no A/C, which I didn’t mind really. despite the conditions that I wasn’t used to, I fell asleep easily in the heat from the tail of the summer.

I’m sorry there isn’t any photo that I can show you from the day so I’ll make it up with this photo from the next day.

till the next post, which is coming very soon… by soon I mean in a few days. cheers.

Just A Minute In January

not sure since when people started telling people that good visuals stick to only a couple or sometimes just three typefaces. and then now, finally, there are people coming out to say “oh, fuck that, lemme prove you wrong.” making this reminded me of the times when I was in secondary school. I used to write the same word over and over again in Photoshop and apply different typefaces to each word. can’t really say I like this. after all, I’m not one who has finished learning the rule. so I guess it’s not the time for me to break any yet. but boy, I’d love to see more experienced people come out to say, “fuck that, lemme prove you wrong.”

you know how it goes… January always feels like the longest month.

watching… Healer (still good even it’s my second watch after four years, to the Top 2 KDramas you go~), Tidying Up with Marie Kondo (can’t believe I actually watch this) and some Thai flicks: Back to the 90s and Bangkok Traffic Love Story.

thinking… about a lot of things. like the diffusion of innovation graph. or like why, on one hand, the unemployment rate is high, yet on the other, a lot of working class are working overtime? issit really as simple as the unemployed being unskilled enough to meet the job requirement? or are corporations exploiting the working class, paying only two people to finish a three-person task? what exactly is the point of longevity? seems to me that in the quest for longevity, we forgot to look at the social consequences. that’s just some examples. I have a lot more swirling in my head. and discussing these only makes me ask more questions.

striving… to strike that balance in all aspects of my life at the beginning of the month. but after some ruminating, I guess that’s what life is all about—wobbling on a tight rope. if you stop wobbling, it only means that you’re not moving forward.

getting… interested in reading interviews and biographies. I’m starting to love reading non-fiction more nowadays and I love meeting new people but are always to shy to approach them. so these are good to bridge the gap for me.

looking… at surface textures first, then wall tiles, fabrics somewhere in between there, then brutalist architectures. so, so much things to see!

loving… blazers.

listening… to a lot of movie soundtracks.

learning… that home is not a place, but the people around you and you never remember what someone did, instead you remember how they made you feel.

2018 : A Recap

feels a bit funny to write about this when I just wrapped up 2017 two months ago. haha. 2018 wasn’t any calmer than 2017 in terms of what happened but one thing for sure, I’m a much less turbulent person. is it me getting old and things are starting to settle down? I can tell that I’m gonna be generally the same person in the next two years or so. anyway, I can finally ditch that “this year felt like a roller coaster to me” saying. I don’t even need a week to write a recap. two afternoon sittings mixed with a little Tetris Battle did the job. honestly, 2018 went by at a lightning speed. I guess it’s difficult to feel time pass when for three months, you wake up to do the same thing every day. and boy, that’s a quarter of a year gone.

okay. so where do I begin? well, I guess I unexpectedly took a gap year before starting the real daily grind. it was a risky one without any plans ahead except for the work and travel program.

I worked seven different jobs throughout the year, for as short as four days and as long as three months. before you form the negative perception of an inconsistent person who can’t stay in a job… I went from styling food to selling food, from offering transportation services to writing about transportation, from clocking in at 9 and leaving at 6 to burning consecutive midnight oil and having flexible hours the rest of the week. my experiences spanned at least five different industries. let’s just say it’s a fruitful year of trying different work styles and learning from different sifus that probably beat sitting in an office doing the same job fifty-two weeks a year.

that said, 2018 was a year blessed with a strong sense of clarity because after a bumpy 2017 and what with all these jobs, I’m very, very sure what I’m after and what I dislike… to the point that most of the time when I talk to my friend about making a tough decision I just say, “please just say this to me, (inserts script), it’s what I need to hear to make me go from 99% sure to 100% of my decision.”

nevertheless, it’s foolish to say that nothing has changed. growing up means growing distanced from everyone. playing video games changed how I tackle life and make decisions. having a regularly paid job taught me how to handle my finance. doing things that I never thought of doing showed me my capabilities. living in a foreign place made me appreciate the comforts of home.

anyway… some highlights from the year:

Child’s Play

my baby this year!

complete series / BTS


Outside In

I’m expanding this series this year. so watch out the space!

complete series



follow the story

I already have a lot in store for the new year. in 2019, I only hope that whatever people say or do, or whatever I say or do, poke, challenge, question, contemplate, ask why, ask how.

stay hungry. stay foolish.


as always, the year’s best discoveries:


Mellow Fellow
Florence + The Machine
First Man OST
Shape of Water OST
黑色柳丁 by David Tao
Never Enough by Lorren Allred
New Light by John Mayer
Tapestry by Kurosuke


La Casa de Papel a.k.a. Money Heist
Stranger Things


Lady Bird
Loving Vincent
The Terminal
Catch Me If You Can
Apple Homepod ad
RM10 (well, it’s a 2016 short but it’s only been released to public this year)


Hokk Fabrica

Just A Minute In December

just wanted to do something with Ultraviolet (Colour of the Year 20118, anyone?) before the year ends. it’s one colour that I find really difficult to match but this year actually made me like it a little more. bring it on Living Coral!

so… what’s up? some highlights of the month: my favourite jack-of-all-trades blogger replied my message! saw Chapman Toh! watched something sweet—About Time—and something I wouldn’t usually choose—Brawl in Cell Block 99. settled on a new life. truly glad that many of you enjoy reading my story. surprise that I can still yell for the things I care about. that there are still things I care about.

as for lowlight: I couldn’t get my hands on cheap tickets for Honne’s Malaysia show. I’ve never been so unlucky in getting tickets, have always been able to nab early-bird tickets these past five years. yet, I wasn’t even disappointed. I guess I’ve come to the age where I can’t be bothered with these anymore. (screams: OLD!!!)

anyway, this month I’m

struggling… with self-confidence. but don’t worry, I’ve got a better grip of it now!

listening… to jazzy Christmas tunes. I only love the jazzy ones.

watching… Girlboss and now Midnight Diner: Tokyo Series, two Malaysian films, namely Guang (catch it in the cinemas y’al!) and Crossroads: One Two Jaga (now available on Netflix Asia).

feeling… excited that I’m on a life-long journey of learning. (I only realize it now??? XD) one of the things I hate is being stagnant.

trying… to re-wrap my head around the idea of reading. the internet always says that successful people like Bill Gates or Elon Musk read a a lot, between fifty to a few hundred books a year. I can never reach that number and most of my paperbacks are fictional novels. but then after having all sorts of different conversations with all sorts of different people, I realize this and I wanna proudly say… boy, I actually read a lot… online! haha from tech to art to game to business to fashion. and I only wish to continue to be able to do that every day.

Happy New Year in advance, y’all!