Wednesday, March 30, 2011

April addictions

It's really hard keeping up regular appearances here these days. It's not for the lack of wanting to, but it's just that life and it's many happenings that keeps me rather busy most times.

Being a journalist by profession now, I am technically exercising my writing muscles daily since I am perpetually swamped with assignments. Whilst that in itself is a good thing (since I have chances to improve my writing), the sad thing about it all is that I spend most of my energy writing things for my employer and not on the things I actually want to write and have an interest in (no offense, dear Editor, if you do somehow read this haha :P).

So, in an effort to keep this blog alive and well, and also to reignite my passion for doing my own thing, I hereby declare that I will be participating for the April 2011 A to Z Blogging Challenge! Whee :)

The requirements are simple:
The premise of the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge is to post something on your blog every day in April except for Sundays. In doing this you will have 26 blog posts--one for each letter of the alphabet. Each day you will theme your post according to a letter of the alphabet.
You will only be limited by your own imagination in this challenge. There is an unlimited universe of possibilities. You can post essays, short pieces of fiction, poetry, recipes, travel sketches, or anything else you would like to write about. You don't have to be a writer to do this.  You can post photos, including samples of your own art or craftwork. Everyone who blogs can post from A to Z.

Care to join me? :)

Just visit the link and click on the words "Click here to enter" which is located at the end of the blog post. You'll see this blog's name as participant #764 on the long long long list there. 

If you do decide to join, please drop me a comment. We'll have lots to talk about in April then ;)

Saturday, March 19, 2011


As much as people keep saying to have the big picture in mind, sometimes it all just gets a little too overwhelming and confusing. 

Now and then, it's nice to just have little pockets of time to yourself, to be absorbed in whatever small, trivial thing you feel like having an interest in. Perhaps no one would notice, or even care, but what matters is you're at peace and enjoying life for whatever it's worth.

I treasure those times I have all to myself. Who says it's lonely to be left alone?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Malaysian voice

Malaysians have Foot In Mouth disease, I told my colleague today at work.

She laughed, and that's probably because it's inevitably, embarrasingly true.

If you need examples, you need not look far. Just keep up-to-date with daily news updates, and you'll be sure to catch something OR someone who fits this description.

There are those authoritative figures who seem to want to say intelligent things, but only prove the contrary the moment they open their mouths.

There are the leaders (both past and present) who utter things beyond comprehension because it does not at all jive with what they do at all.

There are those who, on purpose, converse in ways obviously intent on riling up the sentiments of another.

Then there are those who are always complaining and for all it's worth, just seem to be raising their voice for the mere reason of adding to the noise.

Thankfully I don't work for the national dailies. I might just die of incredulity or from the sheer shock of the kind of things I have to listen to at press conferences.

Please oh please, dear Malaysians - big or small, short or tall, funny or cranky, famous or unknown - please use your brain before you even consider doing anything else.


I don't think anyone really reads this blog. Bah.

Okay, I'm done whining. Moving along now... :P

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Magnifying glass

Dissonant reality
Tripping on shoelaces downstairs
Dignity begging out on the streets
Trifles for an impatient palate
Menacing glares of passer-bys
Philosophers of time
Travellers astray
Treasure hunts for faith
With its crazy weather
Teetering ahead
Not knowing
Brakes from acceleration
Bitter truth from sugar coated imagination
Watch, as I fly
Lie low, breathe, relate
The common need, retrace
Lest we forget
And die

Friday, March 4, 2011

Many the miles

I just updated my profile on LinkedIn awhile ago, and it still amuses me to think of all the odd articles I've done over the past year or so since I made this switch into a writing career. 

10 steps on how to settle your credit card debts. 

How to buy car insurance in Florida.

Memory foam mattresses.

Citrine crystals.

Is the boss a friend or foe?

These are but a few of the extremely varied topics that I've covered in articles I've written previously.

It's all very funny when I look back and think of it.

I'd really like to write a book about it some time. If I can find people who are willing to read such things, that is.

It is insane to think that I started out taking baby steps towards a career in writing by taking on a freelance job to write a bunch of 10 articles every month at a rate of only RM1.50 per article. Imagine that. Would you have done that?

But it's amazing how small decisions can add up to bigger things as time goes on. My freelance rates have soared since then, and I have landed a full time job as a journalist now.

I wonder what would have happened if I hadn't taken up that measly job of RM1.50 per article.

Would I still be slumped over my laptop on weekend nights monitoring data over a server gazillions of miles away? Having sudden calls interrupt my rest times on public holidays and have my day ruined because I would suddenly have to return to stare at mountains of SQL queries and database tables?

Not that a career in IT is bad. It's just different. And for the wrong person at the wrong place, it could be very well your worst nightmare.

I guess I should not forget to mention too, that I got this far not of my own doing.

God has been awfully gracious in so many ways, opening doors I never expected and closing the ones that I thought would be best. People often ask me why I hadn't applied to the major publication companies (eg: daily newspapers) for jobs and what made me take up a position in an obscure company. Initially, I fumbled for answers to that question. But I know now: it's because I get exposure there that I am certain I would not get at all if I'd worked, say, at The Star or The Edge (both of which I did apply to for jobs and nearly got too, I must say).

I guess we never really know what's best for ourselves. Which is probably why trusting God is emphasised so much in the Christian faith.

There were human factors that were part of my bold step into the treacherous path of career switching too.

First mention goes to my boyfriend Deric, who kickstarted the first leg of my journey when he offered me a part time job website where I found my RM1.50 per article job and a few others. It was also because of him that I landed an editorial internship position in late 2009. He wasn't my boyfriend yet at the time that some of those things happened, but I guess this was one of those areas that helped me realise what a great person he was. And that possibly why I'm glad to be in a relationship with him today.

Family (inclusive of parents and my sister Joanna) were also the key enablers who made it possible for me to take the leap into a new career. Way back in the days when I was still a student, they had encouraged me tons and heaps by reading the little poems or short stories that I read and taking the time to comment on them afterwards.

I especially am grateful to Pa for the comments he'd scribble along the margins of my printed out articles - his way of offering me detailed feedback.

They did have their scepticisms on whether a writing career would actually ever materialise for me, but I'm glad that they still supported me when I decided to go for it.

I remember my Mum critically examining my desire to write for money, and her questioning me whether I was ready for the scrutiny that would be done on my writing if I chose to work in this field. Although it was not a very nice thing to have to think about, I'm glad she asked because that helped me heaps in preparing myself mentally to face such situations with each and every one of the employers and editors that I have worked for.

Two of my friends from my uni days - Meng Yoe and Natalie Leow - also played a significant role in encouraging me to develop my writing further. At that time, I was just a Business/IT student studying accounting who didn't feel confident at all that I could do well in writing, although I really loved it. I felt inferior to the students in the Communications course, whom I felt were the real deal because they were actually formally taught about writing and knew what it was really all about.

But these two friends of mine, they read my poems and my first attempt at a short story, even though I felt really shy about it then. And they told me that according to the stuff they learnt in their classes, there was such a thing called intertextuality which meant that you didn't have to agonise over whether your writing ideas were 100% original or not.

Somehow, that gave me the impetus I needed to keep working at writing and if not for what they had said to me, I don't think I would've pursued writing further.

I have definitely not arrived yet, but these milestones of the past have taught me much about pursuing my dreams. I'm glad that I came all this way, and I hope that for all the people I meet, I'd be able to encourage as many as I can to go down the same road of chasing their passion as I have been through.

It's scary. It's exciting. And it makes for great stories afterwards.