So Long, Exams!

just kidding. I had a friend who still had to take exams to carry out her day job (or night, sometimes).

last year, we rented our convocation robes to take photos at the fake desert in Malacca. I’ve actually been out of school for almost a year and a half now… looking back, I’m pretty detached from that world now. but I’ll try to write down this whole “uni experience”.

I moved out of the house for my first time, becoming a “weekday warrior” for four solid years. we moved places once, having the entire apartment unit to ourselves in the second place. I would blast music often, usually jazz, and pretended that we’re living in a Parisian apartment (sans the balcony, sadly). LOL. in case you’re bracing yourself for another super long article, relax, I did this in sort of a Q&A way.

favourite classes?

I forgot what’s the full name, but we called it IVN. we used to laugh at each other’s awful drawings and sang our hearts out in the computer lab… in the middle of class. :P it was attending the other tutorial group (pin drop silence, I’m not kidding) for substitution that we realised how noisy our group was. hahaha. this lecturer ended up teaching us for five out of six semesters and is one of the best. also, Advanced TV Production where we prepped and did a “live” TV production for eight weeks.

the one class that scared the shit out of me?

Personal Financial Planning. I remember attending each class and wondered, “financial wealth… is that all that is to life?”

music that got me through uni?

High and Dry by Radiohead. bet none of my mates even knew I was listening to that song at the point of my life. but yeah, it got me through uni in one piece. Cheer Chen’s, HyukOh’s and a lot of rock music.

books that got me through uni?

The Catcher In The Rye and several Murakami’s books.

KDramas watched while in uni?

oh, the sweet life of having nothing to do after classes other than binge-watching dramas. let’s see, Doctors, W, Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-Joo, Healer, Scholar Who Walks The Night, Remember, Descendants of the Sun.

assignment dream team?

Dream Team. yeah, we named ourselves Dream Team.

favourite projects?

those towards the end of uni, when we’ve already figured out who we want to work with and we’ve become more skilled and knowledgeable.

best moments?

every goddamn time I pushed my envelope through respective pigeon hole.

favourite campus food?

JC Pancake’s Nasi Lemak with a fried egg with a glass of teh.

favourite non-campus food?

it’s hard to choose and I miss them all.

favourite spot on campus?

“White Room”? Mac Lab? idk. anywhere with my few favourite people, I guess.

survival tips?

waiting for the elevator is cray. so here’s the tip: take the one in Block C and take the connection bridge on the 5th or 7th floor. because the library occupies four floors of the building and has its own elevator, you skip four floors. never told anyone while we’re still in campus ‘cause we wanted the elevator to ourselves. now that we’re gone, let the Hunger Games begin.

find nice people. team up with them. write your name down on assignment documents. take the easiest part. fuck up your citation. don’t show up… until presentation day. bull all the way through presentation as if you know shit. score an A like that. attend convocation and thank your dad, your mom, your aunt, your uncle, your grandpa, your grandma, your pet dog, your pet goldfish, your friends. get a decent job. (fuck freeloaders, I hope y’all have a lousy life.)

I should’ve…

taken advantage of the free time and lax schedule to focus more and take on more side projects. and have fun.

I shouldn’t’ve…

kept to myself so much.

if I still had the money to study I would

man, there are too many things I wanna learn from experienced and knowledgeable people. uh let’s see, Architecture (a li’l surprising) , Philosophy, Economics (very surprising, yeah?), Visual Communications, Linguistics, and probably Mathematics. but in the words of my friend, “why do you have to enroll into a university to study that?”

First Day vs. Last Day

first day: late into my first class ‘cause I had to go to the admission office before that. I still remember the first two people who introduced themselves to me. (oh hi, if you’re reading!)

last day: if I’m not mistaken, the last day was with the crappiest lecturer during my entire undergraduate studies. he bulled tons of crap to us, hinting us that he wouldn’t face any consequences for his actions. (he got the ending that he deserved.) I was never interested in his class. my friend requested to leave earlier for a job. so I pretended that I was on a job with him. more people pretended to be on the same job. a bunch of about seven of us left and we went to watch Wonder in MBO. what a way to end this.

a day in uni life:

cussing… my ass off of people.

snacking… I rarely snack. if I do, bananas. or anything my housemate brought over.

thinking… what to have for dinner.

blasting… Something Stupid by Frank Sinatra.

reading… self-help articles. hey, don’t judge. trying to get a hold of this thing called “adulting”.

waiting… for my housemates to return so we can have impromptu 3AM unhealthy talk.

working… on my Harvard references.

writing… a research paper on comic book movie adaptations when the number of comic book movie adaptations that I’ve watched account to… zero.

of course, it’s bittersweet. oh, c’mon. almost anything that’s over in the past is bittersweet. but I gotta say, whenever people ask if I regretted my decision, well, I never regret meeting talented and kind people, in whatever shapes and sizes, although in the end, I only kept in touch with only about ten of them. I never regret having the opportunity to put some of the ideas that’s been brewing in my head for years into my school work, which is satisfying. the enormous money that went into getting a glorified toilet paper roll however, is the most insane thing I’ve done with money. is. if I was to do this whole uni thing again, to be honest, I wouldn’t do it this way.

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

2017: Metamorphosis


Metamorphosis (n.)

a change of the form or nature of a thing or a person into a completely different one, by natural or supernatural means.


artwork by Kyan.

you know how although it's called "new year", there's always almost nothing new on the first few days? it usually starts with you falling back into the same old routine. the stars somehow aligned this year.

within the first week of the new year, not completely knowing what lies ahead, I walked into my first proper job, with a desk and a pantry and all, after an hour of laying down in my car snacking on Nature Valley, still not used to waking up before the Sun does.

working a job where things are constantly changing (what ain’t though) actually changed my perspective on time and luck. Murphy's law, you know, "anything that can go wrong will go wrong" really stopped me from being such a control freak.

I can carry an umbrella all the time. wear a raincoat too, just in case the umbrella malfunctions, but if the sky decides to turn grey and the rain finds a way to soak me up either way, I might as well just fuck it. there’s no point in pushing myself to the brink of sanity trying to keep myself dry. it's not like the weather listens to me anyway. knowing that I underestimated my ability and creativity in the past, I'm much better at keeping my cool now.

whenever I’m unsure of a choice, I’m always reminded of that time I downed a glass of whiskey, someone clearly cheering my name amidst the noise. I've never had one up till that point in my life. all I know is that it's strong and I’m not gonna die. heck, I didn't even know that it burns. then, I realize that this recklessness is me, it’s my trademark in doing things. as long as nobody’s gonna get hurt or I won’t end up in a prison, I would down whatever drink that’s given to me and have faith that things would turn out okay. hopefully more than okay. it’s not necessarily a bad thing to embrace because there are only some things that only the devil can do. thankfully, most decisions ended up worthwhile. I guess, ignorance is sometimes, indeed, bliss.

getting a dip in the industry often makes us wonder if a tertiary education is worth it - 30K worth of debt for a glorified toilet paper roll. of course, who am I to say? right? I haven't actually used it yet. I don't know how much power (or lack thereof) it holds.

except from a few lecturers, there’s no substantial knowledge from my modules anymore. there's not much damn left from me to give, hiding at the back row of class reading No Film School articles or watching Adobe tutorials helped me way more than classes did. my watchlist grew considerably and seeing what I read being applied on these films is a much better lesson than classes anyway.

you see, I’m good at two things: 1. getting interested quickly, and 2. getting bored quickly. it seems great to be able to pick things up fast, when tough times don't disheartened but are instead, welcomed. that is, until I got stuck. it's that phase that I'm so familiar with - after getting bored, before getting interested.

I do have a list as long as a fresh toilet paper roll of things I wanna try, but I don't know where to start. maybe the curiosity ain’t enough, maybe the appetite is weak. I don't want to start. I was in limbo. I thought I should no longer be in this cycle where I take months to turn from doing something really badly to making some satisfying result (to me, at least), only to abandon it to start doing something really badly again.

I didn’t know what to do. I decided that time will help me decide and started binge watching films. I enjoyed it. it didn't make me feel guilty, because I wasn't exactly not improving, right? I was actually learning. but it was the "not doing" that bothers me. it's when I thought, damn, am I depressed?

the thought of launching Photoshop or Illustrator itself tired the hell out of me. I’d choose movie over anything that I used to spend hours doing. and, I’d choose sleep over anything. god, was I really exhausted. a little part of me was actually glad that I’m getting all that sleep that I lost the previous year.

at one point it got so bad that I holed up in my apartment for three days, living off tuna sandwich and takeaways from my housemates. I wasn't lost, but I didn't know what exactly to do either. at the least, I was clearly aware what was going on and what I should do if it worsens. but the people around me wouldn't understand, and the people who would... they weren't here. it was lonely. it was knowing all the words in the Oxford English dictionary but the whole damn world doesn't understand English.

the worst of that lasted for less than a couple of weeks. during that period, I questioned myself a lot on picking up the camera in the first place. I realized that Instagram is the creative killer. there’s a booming of similar, albeit pretty work out there. (thanks, YouTube and presets.) so, I went back to Tumblr and saw that, I didn’t look at photos as photos, I lived in them. I was 8, 16 and 32, wind in my hair in Byron Bay, stepping crunchy leaves in New York City, making clack-clack-clack sound on the cobblestoned street in Paris and taking in all the crazy neons in Tokyo, in 1990, 2000 and 2010 all on the same day. the convenience of Instagram filling idle time successfully killed that. I knew I needed to get the hell out of it and I have a better sense of what I want to do with my camera.

I picked things up here and there. it's okay to scatter my energy and my focus around this time. it's okay. it's something. eventually, the emptiness left, but the loneliness stayed.

I probably have ninety-nine problems but loneliness definitely ain’t one. well, that’s what I thought. being alone has always been freedom in disguise for me. heck, I love being alone because nobody's gonna sulk if I spend too much time in Kinokuniya or complain about the books I decide to buy.

how foolish am I, right? to only learn now that loneliness is a whole other thing from solitude. yeah, sure, solitude is drooling over the thousands of beautiful book covers alone for hours but loneliness is finding a line from one of those books that resonates so well with me to only look up and realize that there's no one to read the words out aloud to, (maybe because none of them understand English), and watch them give you a face that says "I get it". I thought all along I knew how to deal with it. but boy, was I wrong. they don't get it. no, they don’t. they listened, yes, but that's only because I was shouting.

ultimately, it's a shout into the void. so, why shout?

I thought I should use all that energy for myself and to peek at what people are interested in. so, I read whatever I like silently, because hey, everyone's got their nose deep into their book, right? or their phones, whatever. anyway, it's this keeping to myself that I learn a lot more about myself; another thing that makes me go "boy, was I wrong all this time". I love and cherish myself much more. I see this gap between who I am and who I can be. I understand myself well enough to know what I like, and what I actually don't. I'm clearer with the difference between what I want and what someone else think I should have.

and the toughest part of it all? learning and accepting my own flaws. it’s difficult to be the one grabbing your own skull and turning it to face your own dark, ugly sides. it’s different when someone else is doing it for you because then, you can kick and scream, and they are gonna tell you what to do or what not to do. undoubtedly, it's daunting to stand face front of my mistakes alone. what’s worse, when I was unsure if a mistake is a mistake. on one hand, it’s liberating when you know no one can take advantage of your feelings anymore. on the other, it’s terribly hard when you’re your own god.

it’s much better this way though. I only got myself to blame if I burnt myself from playing with fire, not because I stupidly listen to someone else’s dumb piece of advice. also, I’m the one who gets to say what I should change, and what I shouldn’t, even though people may hate it. at least I understand why I did what I did. free will, baby, free will.

still, it felt pretty much like the famous 52-hertz whale this way. and I can’t help thinking of the other people who feel the same. so I thought, if you don’t read the book I read, we’re never gonna know each other well, unless I read the book that you read. so, fine, this time, I’ll give it a try.

it’s surprising to see a big, big world outside of my own bubble. things I’d never imagine exist, exists. I stopped putting people into these boxes. I didn’t even know these boxes existed. you’re probably thinking that I’m such an asshole to stereotype people in the 21st century. now, try to think the last time you took a train and you saw all these strangers and you started to imagine how they came to be here. that’s the kind of box I’m talking about. you’d probably done that too. but when you learnt their story, you realized it’s completely different from the version that you had imagined.

when I looked closely at the book that others were reading, I got a slap in my face waking me up from trying to talk about Magritte to someone reading biography, or discussing Plato with someone reading a cookbook. but, what intrigued me most is why people read the books they read. despite that, I understand perfectly well that just because what they’re reading is different from me, I shouldn’t stop reading what I like.

living at the outskirts meant many long drives alone (toldja, I have no problem being alone for a long, long period). one day I got so bored of those long, long drives I started talking to myself. out loud. yeah...

I’m a lunatic. I know. but this helped me to articulate myself better, and I know, when you’re a confident person you’re comfortable in your own skin bla, bla, bla, but try to listen to your own voice for half an hour continuously. YIKES.

being a shy and quiet person around new people, I thought New-Friendship-After-I’m-Twenty-One - Rest In Peace, you’ll never see the face of the Sun. having a resting bitch face definitely doesn’t help. thankfully, those solo talking sessions turned into How To Make Friends 101. no, in fact, another reason I talked to myself is to practice better response at Human Interaction instead of freezing or smiling awkwardly when I’m in a conversation.

I’m an impatient person. when making friends, I always couldn’t wait to jump to the part where we get each other's humour, judge each other’s taste, insult each other's music preference, and tolerate each other's lousy puns. I tried to change that by staying interested as long as possible instead of regarding someone as “full of shit” after like, what, three minutes of conversation. what I didn’t know then, my patience rewarded me with many beautiful souls whom I ended up building valuable relationships with.

and speaking of people, this year is packed with exceptionally many goodbyes. most of them to my favourite people and they’re hard. yeah, I know there’s Skype and all, and they’re not leaving for good. yet, deep down everyone knows it’s different. at one point in life, after saying enough goodbyes, you know, you know that things won’t stand still with time. but life goes on, man. I’m glad that at least I got to properly farewell.

like I said, I’m an awfully impatient person, but some gems I’ve bumped into taught me that it’s okay to always give time some time. here’s this crazy story: I spent thirteen years looking (on and off) for a movie based on a five-second swimming pool shot I’ve seen on the TV when I was about eight years old. guess what, one day it was just there on Facebook. you see what I’m sayin’? the pieces will fall into place someday. if it isn’t, it doesn’t mean it won’t. so, relax. time will do it’s thang. this year, fortunately, it happened to me a lot.

when you’ve experienced something like this, your perception of time changes. a photographer, on his third anniversary with his girlfriend, wrote that three years seem long, yet is short compared to the rest of the years they’re gonna spend together.

now now, I haven't lived much, but I reckoned that twenty turning twenty-one and then going on twenty-two is definitely one of those toughest years. my peers are constantly agitated about their future. I don’t blame them. I mean, it’s hard not to, especially at this age, when we have to make a lot of “big” decisions that may greatly change the course of our lives in the next five or ten years.

but you see, we reach like, what, only a quarter of our lifetime. I know it’s important to not make any major fuckups. but there’s an infinite number of versions of life that you may lead. life is made up of happenstance. what I think, the what-ifs will always find its way to you. in the movie Before Sunrise, Jesse said, “you can consider this traveling back in time, to see what you are missing.” that’s why, yes, let your brain talk, listen to your heart as well, take that leap. there’s no need to fret too much. because...

nothing is permanent. don’t believe me? just look around. lovebirds who proudly declare their love for their partner five years ago no longer has the same partner now.

upon realizing this, I became hyperaware of my surrounding. I can actually feel time passing. it’s one of those things like the putting in the box that I mentioned before. it’s not looking back at secondary school days and sticking up one and another finger to count that five years has passed and how much I missed the old days. it’s more like, looking at how twenty-one of these one years are forming something greater, and I can finally see it now. all of a sudden, the details caught my eye. I noticed these changes around me. small change, big change, small change that led to big change.

I figured, if this is a quarter of my life, I have another three quarters to go. three twenty years is hella long and many things are bound to change. what started out bad could turn good, what turned bad from good, well... just give it some time. it's not the end. it's never the end. what we're seeing is a cacat Waze map with lousy connection. as we move on, the map will slowly load. just when we thought the map is fully loaded, we get a notification to update the app.

so, I learnt that with time, I change, people change. no one is always the same.

there are times when I thought of a friend, and how much they’ve changed over the years to become a better person. it always breaks my heart to think that it must have taken a lot of pain for them to grow into such a person. and I always have this urge to go back in time to hold them tightly and tell them it’s okay. to tell them I’m sorry I wasn’t there when they’re in their hardest time. it almost feels like I don’t deserve the person they are today.

I now learnt that while people are at their best, cherish them and let them know. while they’re not, be kind, be patient and be there like I would want them to if I’m in their shoes. because sometimes people do hurtful things and they don’t even know why and sometimes I do too. many times we’re just lost and confused. so, stay. because some things take time. despite the damages, there is always beauty in seeing people around me grow to become better people.

coming of age is mostly like standing in the middle of a tunnel where both ends can't see each other, yet from where I stand, I can see perfectly well what’s happening at both ends. something like this hallway.

one day, I found bullshit that would come from a shitty adult coming out from me. one day, I found myself agreeing to some shitty opinion from some shitty adults. one day, I am doing something that ten-year-old me would be shaking her head when she sees it.

slowly, I understood why adults are so fucked up. why, a lot of times, they couldn’t just blurt out what’s bothering them. why do they have to always complicate things. still, I understand how kids don’t see why adults are so fucked up. how they don’t see how some things are never as simple as it seems.

on one hand, it suits me fine, because I can see from both points of view. bonus, I can choose to pretend I’m a kid or an adult depending on the situation (yeah, taking full advantage of this). on the other hand, there’s this frustration that I guess only those at this stage in life can understand. I sometimes want to grab people and throw them to the opposite end. I wish I have that superpower. but sadly I don’t, so the best thing I can do is to never forget how it is at the kid’s end while I slowly march towards the adult end.

reminiscing old days through our adult eyes to see how young, dumb and… well, broke too but I was gonna say stubborn - how young, dumb and stubborn we were, often, I find myself wishing we could go back in time, but wiser, like now, so that we can save all that pain we inflicted on others. but what’s the point? it’s a paradox.

one day, I saw a friend fell off the cliff. another day, I saw another friend fell off the cliff. dammit, Holden, are you doing your job? I kept telling myself to look out for the border of the cliff because I don’t ever want to leave. but it’s hard. for a long time, I kept feeling I’m at the part of the story where Maurice and Sunny came to take another five dollars from me.

I've seen lots of disgusting, hideous things this year. sure, there’s the far length someone would go to take advantage of someone or something, which is something I saw a lot on TV, but this time in real life. it seems the only way to counter is to jump off the cliff and become that sort of person as well. I had to keep reminding myself that that doesn’t mean I should.

however, that’s not the scariest of all. the scariest ones are the ones who are completely indifference and cold towards anything; those who, even though they know they could and should, don’t give a flying fuck because they don’t think that every action and decision they make creates a ripple. they thought that it doesn’t matter because they come and they go, and that the ones who should care are the ones who have the money and time to.

one time, I had this conversation with my close friend about the small, happy thing that seeps through the gap of our daily routine. like the perfectly saturated gradient of a certain day’s sunset, unexpectedly finding a pen that’s so smooth for writing, the right song playing in a shopping mall car park, things like that. even the mundane conversations like when to buy new toilet paper rolls sounds interesting to me. we’re crazy, we know. it’s always nice to have friend who’s just as crazy as yourself.

we laughed and asked ourselves, have our lives really become so dull that even these silly, little things could make our heart dance? nevertheless, we are glad. we are glad that happiness comes so easily for us when the people around us constantly need one more branded bag, one more luxurious vacation, one more latest tech-gadget.

I enjoyed the year.

I wasn't sure why is that so at first. as I reflected, I came to see that it's because I didn't have any regrets. it wasn't a I-carped-every-fucking-diem no regrets, it also wasn't an all-of-my-choices-was-so-wise no regrets (I mean, NO RAGRETS). rather, it was becoming accepting of the cause-and-effects of whatever that happens in life, regardless of my voluntarily putting them into motion or pure luck. it also wasn't picking a path that I realized was wrong halfway through it, only to suck it up and hopelessly follow it until I reached somewhere great. okay, there was a bit of suck-it-ups (*coughs* 30K debt *coughs*), nevertheless I love each and everything I saw along the path that led me to where I am now. I mean, c'est la vie, no?

maybe I’ve become an adult, you know, like feeling happy for a new sponge, no more having my mom explain to the doctor my medical condition, always being prepared to be disappointed and so on. things rarely caught me off guard anymore. I've become pretty calm, huh? if I had to pick the best transformation this year, this is it.

that said, I wasn't all so cool that I just accept any shit that's shoved into my way. I’m talking about shit that I have the power to change, because excuse me, I ain’t born a rational robot devoid of sensitivity and concern. I will still yell until my lungs burst for the things that I care for. Time is never going to polish my stubborness away.

I don't know how to put this feeling into words. I say it every year: this year was like a roller coaster ride. this year was all the more so. I'm at the end of the ride - flat ground - where people are starting to unbuckle their safety belts, and I thought, "well, the ride wasn't that scary at all", only to leave the ride and take in the giant and be like "WHOAH, I actually rode that?!"

the more I think about it, the more it becomes like the last night of an exhausting but fruitful road trip, or the end credits of an epic movie. it's like the time when I finished three months of marathon-reading Harry Potter.

what. an. adventure.

just another day on set. | January - March

loved going to the the movies alone and picking not-so-popular titles so I can have the whole hall to myself. utter peace.

that’s Ah Tay waving goodbye to us. | September

Mayday’s Concert. | October

watching my first play. it was well done! | July

welcomed a new, tiny family member. | June

Hyukoh’s Concert. | May

The Temper Trap’s Concert. | March

friends. | September

this year’s best discovery


Ujico / Snail's House
In Love With A Ghost
Bo En
Lukas Graham
Eye In The Sky by The Alan Parsons Project
alive by Alextbh

books / magazine

Magazine B


Lacoste - Timeless, The Film
Before Sunrise
Sing Street
The Dreamers
Lost In Translation

I Go To Seek A Great Perhaps

although, the “Great Perhaps” here is not Alaska Young, nor inner peace. more like, a quench for my never-ending curiosity.

taken at Death Valley National Park, California | image courtesy: Xiet Yang

hi, I’m well alive and back! back home as well as the virtual world~ just a quick update before anything else, since I skipped two months of Just A Minute posts.

so I wrapped up four months of adventure in the States and officially graduated from university after ten months of actually completing my studies. hmm, feels kinda funny that these two different things are somehow parallel.

anyway. lemme take back my words. this is more like a gratitude list than an update. here it goes:

none of these would have happened without my family’s continuous care and love. thanks for letting me pursue whatever I want, off the beaten path from the family, even though you all only have vague ideas of what I’m doing. and watching my back throughout the journey and giving me support whenever I went “arhghheughhhhrghh how do I do this urghhhhhh hurr hurr hurrrrrrrr?” also, your strong cardiac muscles that took in all the bomb news I delivered. kudos. <3

to my B311 housemates, guess who mastered the skill of killing cockroaches and actually dump the dead bodies away now? I guess it’s too late. anyway, I miss seeing your faces in the living room, hiding behind the screens, entahlah procrastinating or actually doing proper work, especially during assignment tsunami period. unexpected 3am unhealthy conversations are always nice and welcomed. ARE.

Room 136, girls I usually shared work rants with, because we saw each other every night for about a hundred nights. it’s not like I had a choice, you know. :P the girls I grew up sharing rooms with don’t really doll up much. so I remember that particular night when we were getting ready for a night out. thanks for the exciting memories.

fellow coursemates, it’s fun attending classes with you all. although most of the time we were either late, absent or distracted. it’s moments like Kahoot sessions and “live” TV show that took things up a notch. there’s no one at home or at high school to discuss films and music that ain’t current or popular with, so I’m glad to have met people with similar interests.

to lecturers, although I complain a lot, there are classes that I truly enjoyed and learnt a lot from. I look up and respect some of you. without any of you, I’ll only have zero clues about film or advertising and my passion probably died three years ago.

co-workers and people from the park and village, thanks for making ten-thousand miles away from home, home. it’s always good to see familiar faces at the park or in the kitchen. eternally grateful for the food you guys gave to this girl who can’t make decent meal to save her own ass.

it’s crazy to think that I actually spend time with many girls but it seems like I do have a close-knitted group of girl friends. we watched each other turn from teenage girls to young ladies. glad to have you girls as I navigate this maze called “adulthood”. also, for answering my random, odd questions and listening to my out-of-nowhere rants.

also, to all the loose friends who don’t belong to any particular clique, don’t feel bad. instead, feel special because it’s all the more harder to keep it going. each and every one of you is different and they make up the small, different part of these journeys. cheers~

strangers, new friends, staff, Uber drivers, and AirBnb hosts - seemingly insignificant yet they play a role too. especially when I was travelling solo in the States. I’m extremely lucky that even the worst thing that happen during that twenty-six days isn’t that bad afterall.

honorable mention: thanks, Johnny, for keeping me safe from far, far away during my time in US. more like, I kept bugging him with my current location and the names of the people I hung out with because he’s the one person who is usually awake at ungodly hours. also thanks to Sherry, for sometimes keeping me safe, but most importantly, for understanding where my frustration and annoyance come from. these two never fail to wipe my ass since I got into a car accident in 2014.

and lastly, to Toru. we’ve known each other 77% of my entire life and that percentage can only grow. what am I gonna do without you? go back to squatting on dining chair tryna solve maths problems like I was four, before I met you? XD

and… I guess that’s it.

much love,
Ruo Ling



at the beginning of the year, I decided to write something I'm grateful for each week. very ambitious considering I'm not a routine person. I succeeded (almost) for the first half of the year but as time passes, I realize that this thing is... nah, I'm not gonna lie. I procrastinated. plus, the list is getting repetitive - my family, my friends, food in the fridge, roof on my head, a bed to sleep, etc. so at some point I told myself I'm not doing this anymore. I gave up. yes, I GAVE UP. I still feel grateful though, I just didn't log it anymore. 

heck I thought I couldn't even find my draft anymore. but after several edits it still looks messy so I decided not to post it. so here's a 2016 recap instead. 


travelling with a phone that's barely functioning (lousy camera, no SIM card, always at the verge of dying with the extreme weather, difficult to connect to social media within the Great Firewall of China…) makes you think a lot. so I spent the journey reflecting on the past year. and here is the result from all of the contemplation. read on my messiest post so far...

it's so cliche to put it this way, but I’m doing it anyway: 2016 felt like a roller-coaster ride. before I can enjoy the view on top, I’m going downwards. and just when I thought that it’s gonna keep going a certain way, it takes another sharp turn.

I don’t remember making any new-year resolutions or setting any goals this year. all I wanted is to just go with the flow. okay, c’mon let’s be honest, I’m just lost. ._____.

nonetheless, one thing for sure is this: I came down a different person as I went up.


Say More No

I thought last year’s lesson is “say more yes, say more no” but it’s only the first half. I didn’t really learn how to say no this year, but I said no a lot - to experiences I’m genuinely uncomfortable with, to people who get on my nerves (C Class players… I still have a little tolerance and patience for B Class players), and to things that I dislike (mushrooms, ew). I still say yes to many things that scare me or I hate (hello, sunny side-up), but one thing I always make sure is that it’s something that I can still handle.


Go Up and Down (literally)

you know the siblings scoreboard? the one for committing badassery? I’m one up my sisters because yours, truly, has, gone, diving! that’s going down. you can read the experience here~

as for going up, the highest I’ve been this year (reckon that’ll be my entire life) is Shangrila, which is 3000M above sea level. it felt like your crush is looking at you the entire time because just walking a few steps or making some movements or anything really make your heart race.

wait... how much did I spent buying air this year?


MALAYSIA: Pulau Tioman, 2016


Trips Trips Trips

the only trip that I had actually plan for (by plan it means giving myself a notice three months beforehand XD) was Bangkok. it was quite spontaneous though, thinking back. we arrived for a gathering earlier than the others and just so happened to talk about Bangkok and a few days later we were already booking our air tickets. kudos to super-ons buddy!

then in July I went to Tioman Island with my uni-mates before Yi Hsien flew to America and then, a few days later, to Ipoh with my family.

fast forward a few months. we braved the dirty and stinky toilet in China for eight days together with a group of nice and outgoing people. the weather was brrrrr but Lijiang is finally checked from my bucket list! (will post about that soon!)

in the middle of my finals, I went onto the most impromptu trip to Penang for the Canon Photo Marathon and walked around areas and shops and alleys that I would not have walked if I were there as a tourist until my legs were almost jellied... (will post about this soon also!)


THAILAND: Bangkok, 2016


CHINA: Yunnan, 2016


Didn’t Read A Lot, But Read A Lot

I didn’t read a lot of books. no, more like I didn’t finish a lot of books. I actually read a lot compared to the past few years, they're just not books/fictions. 

anyway, here are some of the books/zines/online mags/website/stuffs I read and like, in no particular order:

Kafka On The Shore by Haruki Murakami
he Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
The Art of Pixar (any of The Art of Pixar is good!)
Thinking of Answer by A. C. Grayling
No Film School
Juxtapoz Magazine
FLiPER [mandarin] [mandarin]
C’est si bon 小日子 [mandarin]
Shopping Design (website) [mandarin]
Harry Potter head cannons and fan theories (I recently just got into this black hole known as Pinterest :P)



first time brushing my teeth in a public toilet? checked (don’t ask). first time lugging an instrument onto a plane? checked. first shooting gig? checked. first snow experience. CHECKED! and the list goes on and on...


Sleep Problems

I used to sleep almost 10 to 12 hours in high school (:O I know) but I'm having trouble sleeping since I started uni and it's gotten worse this year. and it's becoming normal when my friends see that I'm online at 1AM. D: gimme back my sleep!



music saves the soul. I'm not going further into this. you'll find out yourself someday. or maybe you already did. ;)

some amazing musicians/bands/music I discovered this year, in no particular order:

Hello Nico
Mary See The Future
The Little Prince OST
笑忘书 (I was too young when this song came out)
Where Are You - W OST
夜幕天星 by C AllStar
U by Primary ft. Kwon Jinah and Rap Monster
Frank Sinatra (don't judge)

I hope you don't mind the long messy post and I wish you a great 2017 filled with joy, happiness and countless adventures!

now imagine a photo of a potato here (or you can just imagine me, it's the same, really)


D&C: One Year Quitting Snapchat


...and missing The Snap That Broke The Internet by Kim Kardashian.

so, how's it going without Snapchat huh? one year, I probably already forgot how it felt to have Snapchat but I'm reminded. thanks a lot, Instagram*.

last year, I quit Snapchat without knowing if I will get back to it again. for some time, my thumb would still automatically move to where the icon used to be (#musclememory) but then it stopped. that's just one changes among many others:

I Can Happily Move On With My Life Without Worrying That I Didn't Document It

in the first few weeks, I kept having the urge to Snap and then thought "oh, it's not in my phone anymore." the urge wasn't difficult to fight, but it kept coming back. then I'd convince myself that no one probably cares anyway. and slowly, I'm used to laugh at silly things (that somehow amuses me .__. ) for a second and then happily move on with my life.

Meeting Up With Friends Is Full Of Surprises (for both me and them)

my quitting Snapchat might come off as rude for some people? because even up till a couple months ago, I still get people asking me "eh, why are you ignoring me? didn't you see my Snap to you?" ...awkward. I had to explain myself and then they' would persuade me to go back again by giving me an "update" on things that happened in the few months that they saw from Snapchat.

it seems that Snapchat is the news site for friends nowadays, perhaps the only "safe" social media that our parents aren't using? so there're lots of things that're exclusively on Snapchat I'd only heard about someone's shenanigans two weeks later from my friends. imagine my eyes wide in surprise 70% of the time when I yumcha with my friends. I'm the only one listening to it for the first time when everyone already knew these stories.

I Worried About FOMO

those surprises during yumcha is what worried me at the beginning - FOMO. sometimes I still wonder if I should go back to Snapchat, especially since many of my friends went overseas and I seldom use Skype (because I didn't have a mic**). I have zero idea when people tell me that my-friend-who's-studying-abroad has a new funny friend (ouch. ahem, Moses Looi I'm looking at you). and trying not to feel hurt when this friend drifts away from you and gets closer with another person. T~T I was worried that these friendships would just die like that.

I Stopped Worrying About FOMO

FOMO went on until I met my friends during semester break. I mean, catching up - that's the whole point of yumcha right? why would I want to see you if I've already knew what you're up to? and it's so much fun to imagine what they see or do rather than seeing them. I have so many questions to ask! I become much more interested when we talk face to face. also, there's a difference between documenting and sharing. and I think recounting stories is so much better. I mean, your brain has already processed the experience so instead of spamming everything right in their face, you share to the person sitting opposite to you what you remembered most, what you felt most, what impressed you most... and I'm glad that I heard so many stories from my friends, in person, instead of from a screen. and if I missed out stories about someone's extravagant birthday party (that I'm not invited to ;_; ), that's fine.

I Don't Have "Friends" Anymore

looking back, I think this is the best part of quitting. it made me reconsider all my "friendships". do I really care about them? or am I just nosy? do they care about telling people how are they now? or do they just want to show people that they their life is glam? here comes the perks of introversion after quitting Snapchat... JENG JENG JENG. I became clear about who are worth calling Friends and who are just Acquaintances. here's the thing: I can't go out and meet people often. a lot of people don't understand this, but I really can't. I will have sensory overload and need a lot of time to process them. so, I have to pick carefully who I wanna hangout with. and that basically made me cut ties with like 70% of people I used to "care" about. and the rest of the 30%... feel honoured please. haha. 


More Time, Less Stress

oh, another thing that's changed since quitting Snapchat - I decided to use the time that I used to spend on Snapchat to head out to classes or appointments early. it's starting to become a habit and I'm glad that I don't stress about being late anymore. you should try~

so long, Snapchat, you won't be missed.


*finally, my sister's understanding of Snapchat stopped being people pretending to be animals.
**speaking of which, Yi Hsien couldn't
tahan and donated his mic to me before he left for 'Murica. so friends who miss me (I doubt anyone will feel so), you can now Skype me without feeling awkward being the only one who speaks when we Skype.