May 21, 2017


It might be broken,
tearing all the privileges we once had. 
I open my windows
the scintillating rays enter
the fresh air seeps into the space
I swirl with the fragrance
of freshly washed laundry
and the scent of the sun 
what a wonderful day!

Those are some of the lines that have been running across my mind for these two days, so I decided to write this "poem" down before I lose all the ideas. I am currently in what seems a dreadful situation: my apartment's air-cond malfunctions and the accommodation here has quite some bad air ventilation. I do not mind not having cool air but hotness and humidity (due to my apartmentmates' and my continuous, compulsory breathing activity) do not make a nice combo. I find myself sticky most of the times and trying to find some fresh air to breathe all the time. We cannot afford to open the windows. There is a high probability that monkeys would launch an attack on our apartment and at night, bugs and mosquitoes would swarm like crazy into our apartment. 

Despite all the cons, I still need my fresh air. I defiantly open my windows, though I make sure to close them when I am not in the room. I have faith that monkeys will not attack my room when I am around. Also, most of the times, my apartmentmates and I used to dry our clothes under the air-cond because we are scared to hang them outside (these monkeys!). Now I don't care anymore. If I still hang my clothes in the apartment, it will take forever to dry and it will further increase the humidity of the apartment... which isn't something I want. 

I now try to wake up earlier so that I do two rounds of laundry and hang them out before lunch. The sun rays are scorching hot but I am happy because my clothes dry faster and the smell of sun (if you can call it a smell) on my clothes is lovely!

Apart from doing laundry, I have been enjoying myself in quite many other ways. I have read two short stories: The Metamorphosis by Kafka and The Yellow Wall-paper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. I first knew about The Metamorphosis from SAT; I had read a short excerpt of the story for SAT Reading practice. Then I rediscovered the story when I was watching a TED-Ed video "Kafkaesque" and decided to download a PDF version of the story and read it. Meanwhile, my friend suggested The Yellow Wall-paper, which is easily obtained from the Internet as well.  

The two short stories went in ways I was not hoping them to go, which is good because they give me new paths to enjoy. I do not plan to elaborate further on the plots because I would be giving spoilers then, won't I?

Anyway, I have not read in quite some time. The last book I completed is "A Mathematician's Apology" by G. H. Hardy about three months ago. There are many sentences that I like from the book but there is one that seems close to the heart: 

"I still say to myself when I am depressed, and find myself forced to listen to pompous and tiresome people, 'Well, I have done one thing you could never have done, and that is to have collaborated with both Littlewood and Ramanujan on something like equal terms.'" 
Everyone puts value or significance on things and it varies from one person to another person. I find myself disagreeing to the effort/interest that people put/have on things that seem trivial to me and they find themselves disagreeing to the effort/interest that I put/have on things that seem trivial to them.

That is when tolerance plays an important part in building social interactions. Of course, when I find myself not having to engage with people, I will retire into my room to read articles, scan through book summaries (quite an economical way until I grab myself concrete copies of the books), watch videos from TED-Ed, School of Life or Vox (I just discovered this channel but it is quite politically biased...), search biographies, strum my guitar, listen to music from different genres and watch movies of specific themes, just to say some.

Talking about movies, I watched "Grave of the Fireflies" a week ago. To my surprise, I did not shed any tears. It was still a pretty sad movie, though. I rewatched "Spirited Away" and "The Man Who Knew Infinity" because my friend wanted to watch them and I have the movies. 

And today, I finally watched "A Beautiful Mind" with a more developed cognitive ability. I lost count of the amount of times I watched the movie on TV when I was much younger (probably a-digit-old). I have a faint idea that the movie is about mathematics, codes and war and that was it.

This movie has some sweet meaning to my life as a growing teen. When I was twelve and first joined Permata's summer camp, I was placed in a writing course where I met my instructor, a teacher whom I admired for his dreaminess and ingenuity in literature. I think I was very terrible in the class because I was not particularly good in dealing with poetic words in Malay. I abhorred reading my poem aloud in front because I just did not know how to display my feelings but he did it effortlessly. I like how he dedicated all his attention to students and when we were left alone to pour our creativity into the blank paper, he would sit by the corner and dreamily wandered to his realm of ideas but was still constantly aware of us especially when we got stuck. He is the teacher that motivates me to write until this very day.

He did not join the camp the next year but he came back the following year, when I was fourteen and was then in a cryptography course. We did not meet each other very often but when we did and had free time, we would certainly talk. 

"You know May, you should probably watch 'A Beautiful Mind'. You've probably heard about it but again, I think it suits you and you would enjoy it."

That was five years ago and I only managed to watch it today. I found the movie online, downloaded it using my mobile data (the school's Wi-Fi is too slow and I have my own opinion on things that are worth my data quota) and settled down to watch the movie with a brain that is almost 19 years old.

It was nice. Like many other great biographical movies, it roused the ambitious spirit inside me. However, the movie was a loose adaptation of the events that really happened in John Nash's life. His real life is way more complex than that but it is understandable because it is really not easy to fit all that into a movie. But I appreciate the intellectual-ish element in the movie which is the thing that inspires me after all.

I wrote quite a lot for this post. My act of refraining from Twitter has begun to take a toll on me. I need to write, but I do not want to write as much as this because it takes a substantial amount of time. Besides, when things are moving around in my head, they are often short so Twitter is always a good place to throw all those things out. Now I just have to swallow all my thoughts which take away my peace when I want to sleep. It's not entirely bad but it's not entirely good as well. 

14 papers done, 5 papers more to go! All I can hope is the best.

May 5, 2017

Hello, May (2017)

I have never felt the weight of my responsibilities to be this heavy until earlier this week. I realised that the important things to me are as important (or even more) as they are to some people. They wish that I can make it; I hope I can make it. I used to think that if I made it, the success will be sweet to only me but little did I realise that the success will be a whole lot sweeter to them. This whole journey does not belong to me alone, but it belongs to all the people who have put their faith in me. Their lives change if my life changes. Their feelings fluctuate when my performance fluctuates. Their prayers are sent up to the sky when mine is too.

Every action I make is like dropping a stone into the river, sending out ripples which oscillates the dried branches and leaves. The closer the people are to me, the stronger they feel the impact. (Now, that reminds me of gravitational waves.)

I do not want to be a disappointment to myself and especially to them.

For God's sake, this whole thought is a damn good motivation.

Shifting this post to a lighter mood, there are a few things to briefly talk about. Too bad I do not access my Twitter account now, so everything just pours into here.

  1. After A Level ends, I thought of applying to TED as a translator. Of course, I have to ensure my level of commitment and my availability to be one but it does seem to be an interesting pursuit. Also, I have to really brush up all my Malay vocabularies! 
  2. Some Icona Pop's songs are good, like real good. I am into EDM -- all these synths, bass or wacky sounds (from AJR especially). To know Icona Pop in this genre is really pleasing, especially because I have been listening to male musicians. I mean, I knew Icona Pop some time ago from 'I Love It' but I never listen to their other songs until yesterday and now I'm hooked. I should really branch out more. 
  3. Mr Shan refers to his students as 'children'. That's really heartwarming. A* PHYSICS FOR YOU, MR SHAN (if God wills)
  4. I don't really get it when I read articles about "gifted children overthink". When I read the article, I wondered, "Isn't everyone like this? I mean, if you're not thinking all the time, what do you do??" I do not feel that overthinking/thinking all the time is a property exclusively in gifted people just because... I think everyone thinks all the time? 
  5. I have an inquiry circling around my head but I think it can be deemed as a sensitive issue to be discussed here or in any form of social media. I need to talk to a person or to people face-to-face because I feel that my intentions in discussing the issue will be twisted in words. 
  6. The main topics revolving in the campus: exams and university accommodations. It gets really repetitive but I cannot help but to ask, "Have you found a suitable place to stay?" so that a conversation sparks. I am currently forming some other over-the-dinner/lunch questions but as long as I haven't found a suitable one, I'll stay quiet. As expected, the meal is very silent.
  7. Why do I want to major in physics? That's a big question. One answer forms immediately and as cliche as it can sound, I just want to understand how everything works. A second and more personal answer will be that I find it challenging, so I want to learn more so that I understand it better. This is true when I study A Levels; the depth of the subject compared to SPM has helped in my overall physics understanding. I don't know if this works when I start university physics. Probably I'll be crying my eyes out solving hours-long problem sets. Other versions of answers are yet to be found.
  8. When you think something is hard, just think that there is something harder coming in the future. You'll stop whining and find 'that something' so much easier almost immediately. True story. 
  9. I wonder if piano excites me anymore at this point. It's a little too 'light' for me, considering that I have ventured into the realm of really low frequency sounds. 
  10. I get homesick really easily at the moment. 
  11. Rejecting the universities that I am not going to, when you have done so much work in your university application, is one of the saddest things to do. 
6 papers done, 13 more to go! I hope we all do our best!

Apr 29, 2017

The War: A Levels

So... my A Level exams will be in 3 days and it will last for more than a month.

I don't know what to feel.
I don't know what to expect.
I think I have an idea what to do...
Do past years, do not spend time on Twitter...

I can't believe the final war (at least at this stage) is so near. I honestly can't wait to finish it but man, the journey through the war is dreadful.

But it's okay, my break will come after that.

Just a bit more, May. And you have spent (almost) 18 months here so YOU GOTTA NAIL THIS.

To batch 19.0, good luck for your AS. To the graduating seniors, batch 18.5 and 18.0, good luck. Let's endure this together, answer the papers well and graduate from KY happily ever after.