Sunday, 15 January 2012

A love letter

It has been two years since I last updated my blog. Many things have happened. To briefly name a few... I toured Bali in Dec 2010... went for National Service from Jan to March 2011... started college in April 2011... got my driving licence in June... lost a substantial abount of fat (and gained muscles)... I would like to start my blog this year by giving tribute to my mother by sharing a letter that I wrote to her last year on Mother's Day.

Dear mum...

If I want to thank you for everything you have done for me, a lifetime wouldn't be enough for me to say it. You have done so many things for me that sometimes I even forget or overlook the little sacrifices you are still making for me. During my time in National Service, there was one class session about being thankful to your parents. We were all given a letter fold envelope to write to our parents or whoever we feel thankful to and of course the letter was written to you. This was the only time in NS when I actually cried (besides Tora's disappearance) and as I wrote the letter, I began to realize how much you have done for me and how little I have done in return.

If somebody were to ask me to describe my mother, I would describe you as cheerful, easy going, kind, loving and so much more. But the other part of my mother which so few people see and know is her strong will, her bravery, her willingness and the amount of love she has for her children. I have never really thanked you for being such a strong woman for our family before. Today, I want to truly thank you from the bottom of my heart for not giving up on Debbie and me during the absence of dad, leaving you to raise us alone. It must have been a very difficult journey filled with pain and sorrow, but thank you for loving us enough to pull through. There isn't any mother out there whom I can look upon with higher respect than my own mother. And when most of the boys claim their fathers as their role model, I have my mother as mine.

Everything I have now is all thanks to you and everything that I can be proud of, I have because of you. I am confident and speak well because I have a mother who taught me well. I can play all sorts of musical instruments because I have a mother who took the effort to send me for classes. I can dance because I have a mother who believed in giving the best she could in all aspects to her children. I can bowl because I have a mother who continues to trust in me even though I failed over and over again. I have moral values because I have a mother who believes in what she stands for. I have salvation because I have a mother who leads me spiritually. I have everything I have today because of my mother!

Even though in the future, I might not be able to give you a big house or flashy cars, I will always take care of you and give you the best I can. And just to let you know, although without having a father at my side, I still have a perfect family just as anyone else for I have a mum whose heart is big enough to carry both roles. Please do not ever feel sad that you couldn't give your children a perfect family because you did. I would never trade the amount of love you have given me for a father. And I am truly so blessed to have this opportunity of having someone as close to me as you!

I actually planned to write you a letter for a long time and decided to do it on Mother's day. Due to my heavy schedule these past few days, I kept procrastinating until I never got it done. I am sorry this is so last minute. I actually thought of postponing it to another year or another event but I really want you to know today. Please know that no matter what happens or whatever things that come into my life while growing up, nothing will be able to change how important you are to me and how much I love you. I'm sorry if I had made you feel any smaller in my life than you used to be through my actions but take note that nothing has changed. You will always hold the highest place in my life. This letter is merely the surface of how much I want to express my love and gratitude. Sometimes, words don't really matter… I'll let my actions prove it ;) I love you mum! Happy Mother's Day!!!

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Water baptism

On 17 October 2010, I was baptized by Pastor Timothy at Calvary Church. It was a great experience and also a *wet* one... ;) I was the first to be baptized and I didn’t know what to expect when I stepped into the pool. Somehow things seemed so blurry and awkward. Everything happened so fast at that moment. Although I was briefed about the procedure, I was still caught off guard as I just couldn't brace myself for it. All in all, I had a good time and I'm happy that it is finally over and done with. May this declaration of faith brings greater things in my walk with Christ. Below is the testimony which I shared in one of the prayer meetings prior to my baptism... :)

"Being born in a Christian
family, I was introduced to Christ at a very young age and although I can’t remember the exact date of accepting Jesus as my personal Lord and Saviour, I would think that by the age of seven, I would have already done so. Throughout my daily walk with God, He has never failed me and has continued touching my life in marvelous ways. Christ is EVERYTHING to me. He is my rock, my shelter, Father, friend and so much more. I am ever so grateful to Him"

God bless all of you... Take care~

Flashback - Bowling tournaments in 2010

(1) 33rd Canon Malaysian International Open - March 2010

This tournament was one of the best and worst experiences I ever had in bowling so far. Here is just a short insight of what happened throughout the tournament. First, I chose to play for the Boys Graded division. After 5mq’s, I got 10th placing in the top 18 chosen with an average of 201 over 6 games and in the finals I managed to get 8th place and got a prize money of RM200.

(Highest game)
(Highest series )
Then I decided to try out for the Men’s graded division. I played a total of 3mq’s and managed to secure 12th placing among the chosen 33 bowlers with an average of 221. It was a real achievement for me as I played may highest 3-game series with a total pinfall of 707 pins which is equivalent to an average of 236. My scores were 215, 279 and 213. Up till now, 279 is my highest score. However, I did not play well in the finals. Overall, this entire tournament has been an enriching experience. All glory to God! =D

(2) Little Champs Invitation Event SIRI2 - August 2010

I started off with a lousy score of 149 and felt very disheartened as the chances were... I could not qualify for the step ladder with such a lousy score. On top of that, it was a 6-game format, meaning I had only 5 games to cover the pin gap. Anyway, I managed to pull my average up to 186. I wasn’t happy with my overall performance as I felt I could have at least a 195 average. Just when I was about to leave the alley, the final results came out and I managed to get into the 7th placing.
It was time for the step ladder tournament. I had to face two other opponents in a 1-game elimination match for the quarter finals. I bowled a score of 258, securing a place in the semi-finals and also a trophy. However, I played a low game of 179 in the semi-finals and ended up with 4th placing. All in all, I was quite happy with the overall result. It was really a blessing for me not only to qualify into the top 8 but also to be able to gain back the confidence I needed as well. Praise God~

Saturday, 10 July 2010

My stay with host family in Osaka, Japan

The apprehension of meeting my host family in Osaka will remain crystal clear in my mind as it was the most nervous moment throughout my trip in Japan. I could still remember worrying over simple things such as removing my shoes, taking a bath and so on. And I had mixed emotions when I met my Okasan at the Shinkansen station.

The minute I stepped into the house, I was greeted warmly by the house dog named Poochie and we became good friends instantly. The houses there are smaller as compared to those in Malaysia but they still exude the comfort and coziness of a home. During dinner time, I became anxious as I was afraid of making mistakes. The notion of learning from mistakes then evaporated from my mind.

I could feel the intensity increasing immensely whereby I needed to be aware of my every single move but very quickly, my host f
amily put my heart at ease. I ended up enjoying every single meal during my entire stay. They were kind and hospitable and made my stay enjoyable. Among the many types of Japanese dishes prepared by my host mother, I also tasted some popular food like Okonomiyaki, also known as Japanese pizza and Soba, thin Japanese noodles made from buckwheat, served either chilled with a dipping sauce or in hot broth as a noodle soup.

Besides attending school and going to Universal Studio, I got to visit places where I had hands-on experiences. The first place was a soap making shop where my host mother works in. I made my first soap there and brought it back to Malaysia.

Next was a special shop that served Japanese tofu. The interesting fact about this tofu shop is that the shop remains the way it was, preserving the structure of previous century. In addition, there was a collection of antiques. The shop owner allowed us to take a look upstairs where the collection was kept and I was fascinated with the traditional kimono, Japanese musical instruments and paintings. There were also varieties of cups and pots on display.

The last place was the mochi shop where I was given the opportunity to make mochi (Japanese rice cake) and attempted tasks like pounding the rice, preparing the ingredients and stuffing the red bean paste.

The time spent with my host family was the best experience in my life and I even tried on a real kimono. But the most important part of all is the bond that I’ve established with my host family. I will never forget them and cherish the unforgettable moment I had during the entire home stay. It was blissful, educational and fun. God bless my host family.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Japan (AFS JENESYS Program 2009)

I would like to start off by thanking and praising God for such a wonderful opportunity to be able to visit Japan. In October last year I was awarded the “JENESYS Program Scholarship” to Japan for two weeks, from 2 December to 17 December 2009.

JENESYS program is not only a once in a lifetime experience but it is also a learning process for me. Besides learning the Japanese culture for example, saying ‘Itadakimas’ before having a meal to moral values such as tolerance, forgiveness and endurance, JENESYS has given me something more valuable and that is friendship.

Throughout the program, I have made friends from all the seven participating countries namely, the
Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Australia and New Zealand, not to mention the host country, Japan. Although it was a short duration of time, the bonds that we established are so strong to the point where friendships of two weeks seem like a lifetime. Below are some brief write-ups on the various study tours.

Tokyo - Did not see much of Tokyo because the group I was in headed to Hiroshima. However, I was thrilled with the ride on the Shinkansen, also known as the bullet train. The people are friendly and the food was scrumptious.

Kyoto - Visited the famous temple named Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion). The place was so breathtaking that I found my hands glued to the camera as I could not stop taking pictures of the picturesque sceneries. Kinkakuji is indeed one of the most beautiful temples I have ever seen. The other places we visited were Arashiyama and Kiyomizu-dera. I’ve learned much about the history of Kyoto which definitely got me more interested in the development of Japan from past to present.

Hiroshima - Visited the Peace Memorial Park and Hiroshima city Naka incineration plant but I missed out Miyajima as I had to attend the cultural dance rehearsal for the JENESYS Festival. The Peace Memorial Park has left an indelible impression on me. It was the only point in JENESYS program where I felt a huge sense of sorrow and grief. I have learned much about peace and will strive to maintain that in our world today.

The JENESYS Festival was a memorable event. I was among the ten students who were chosen to represent Malaysia for the cultural dance performance . It was indeed a proud moment as I was able to share our culture with the other countries as well. At the same time we were able to observe the different cultural dances of other countries. This has certainly increased the enthusiasm to learn more about other countries and their traditions.

Osaka (Host Family) - The home stay was the best time during my entire trip. I had so much fun and experienced so many new things with my host family. I’ll be doing a separate post on my stay with them.

Kanagawa - Visited the Yamashita Park, Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line where we were given the opportunity to board a display ship which was one of the first ships to be manufactured in Japan. Then we headed to a hill-like open air complex. There were shops selling clothes and restaurants. Next we proceeded to the Mitsubishi Minatomirai Industrial Museum where we were introduced to the present and future scientific technologies.

Understanding Other countries - Indeed JENESYS has taught me a lot about all the other countries involved in this program. I’ve learned to respect the traditions of other countries and I am happy to say that I had the chance to make friends from all the different participating countries, including my own country. This trip has also shown me the truth in the saying... ‘There is no right or wrong… only difference.’

In a nutshell, the JENESYS program has been and will always be one of the peaks in my life. Much has been learned through study tours, tears and laughter. JENESYS has not only taught me values but also a lifelong lesson. Heartfelt thanks to AFS Japan and AFS Antarabudaya Malaysia for making this trip possible for me.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Gold Coast and Brisbane

It has been 8 months since I went to Gold Coast and Brisbane in Australia. I regret not writing about it earlier as the recollections now seem to be kind of blur. The few things that still remain clear are the BURGERS which were super awesome, best theme parks I've ever visited and, of course, the strong accent of the woman saying "beer or lemonade?"

I covered 3 different theme parks, namely Dreamworld, Seaworld and the best of all... Movieworld! I know many of you guys would assume Dreamworld is the best as they have record breaking rides but honestly, they weren't that good. The main thing I enjoyed in Dreamworld were the wet rides and for this reason, I regretted not going to the Wet and Wild. They have rides which would literally flush you down a hole, just like a toilet bowl and even slide you into a tilted cone-shaped structure. Seaworld, on the other hand, was actually pretty boring. There were 2 cool rides which were the Jet Ski coaster and the Cockscrew... *The one in Genting is seriously much better @.@*

And finally... Movieworld!!! Yes, this theme park not only has an interesting layout but AWESOME RIDES. The best ride of all is Superman Escape. It is a rollercoaster which launches you from a stationary position to 100km in just 2 seconds. You can feel your face moving all over like what you see in race car movies. Here is a simple description from some website I found... "SUPERMAN ESCAPE is an unprecedented rollercoaster ride experience which travels 0-100 kilometres in just 2 seconds! That's not fast, that's SUPERMAN fast! With 760 metres of vertical climbs, weightless drops, head spinning twists and giant G-force turns, SUPERMAN ESCAPE completely redefines the coaster experience."

The next best ride was an indoor rollercoaster called Scooby-Doo Spooky Coaster. This ride is a combination of both a haunted house theme and a nice rollercoaster experience. For those of you who have been to Genting with me, you will know that I am scared of the pirate ship ride. Let us just say that this was worse... much worse!!! As the slow and scary ride took off, I thought to myself, "Did I just queue for almost an hour for this stupid ride?" Just as I was about to tell my sister and cousin that we had wasted our time, we reached to a point where we were elevated while still being seated.

When we reached to the top, there were laser lights running all over the place and the Rocking Scooby Doo theme song could be heard. While we tried to focus on what was beyond the cloth in front of us, we suddenly found ourselves rolling backwards and by the time we looked around, we were headed for a "backward drop". This was the first time I experienced it on a rollercoaster so it was freaking awesome! After that, our car rotated and the ride continued. I went for about 4 times or perhaps more on this ride. Haha...

There was another ride called the Batwing Space Shot. It has the same concept as the one in Genting but this one launches you up. I understand that the Space Shot in Genting used to do that also but not anymore. Anyway, this ride was a total letdown. My heart didn't feel like bursting and I could breathe normally and could even talk to my sister during the ride... =.= There were two more rides that were good but I won't go into it. They are the Lethal Weapon which is a rollercoaster that leaves your legs hanging and Wild West Falls Adventure Ride which beat the Log Flume at Sunway Lagoon as well as the one at Genting anytime.

Another memorable thing was Infinity. It is a place that manipulates lighting, reflection and any other thing that has to do with tricking the eyes. It is just like a kaleidoscope except that you are not looking into it but inside it. There were many different types of rooms. Some look as big as the galaxy while some seem to have no floor. The cool thing about Infinity is that it is a maze kind of concept. You are supposed to find your way to the next room without any help at all. Some rooms are really challenging, for example there was this room that was pitch black. There were many roads inside but only one leading to the way out. And there were tentacle like things dangling from the ceiling with sticks and rubber gloves sticking out of the walls. This not only makes it harder to find your way out but creates a sense of fear as well. I would highly recommend this place but would suggest bringing along torchlight or phones if you are those who are easily scared.

Two other unforgettable experiences were the Glow worm cave and the Outback show. The Glow worm cave was something like a hike where it took about an hour drive deep into the jungle, followed by a 15-minute hike to reach the cave where the glow worms clustered all over. It was a breathtaking view. Near the cave was a waterfall and we had a hilarious moment there. It was really funny because there was this elderly Chinese lady who couldn't understand English and kept taking flash photography of the waterfall and the glow worms when it is not supposed to. This is because the flash will kill the worms. Although I think she easily killed multiple glow worms, I've her to thank for because if not for her, I would never get to see the waterfall in the darkness of the night.

As for the Outback show, it was great... a show like no others. There were horses doing tricks and live farm animals. The coolest part is that we get to enjoy our meal (dinner) during the show and were given a cowboy hat each for souvenir.

Well, that's it... a simple wrap-up of my trip in the shortest way possible as there were so many other things that I experienced, such as riding on the Wheel of Brisbane, river cruise, kangaroo feeding, etc. Anyway, take care and God bless peeps~

Sunday, 24 January 2010

34th Malaysian National Bowling Championships

The above tournament was held from 9th January to 16th January 2010 at Pyramid Bowl. I qualified into the Boys Graded Masters after my third MQ with an average of 205; landed up in the 7th place amongst the top 18 bowlers qualified to enter the Boys Graded Master Finals. During the Master Finals, I did not have a good start. Things weren’t looking up till the last three games where I struck 205, 210 and 226. Although the games weren’t as high as I hoped for, it was enough to bring me up all the way to 4th place. I was kind of disappointed then as the top three winners had trophies and I missed the 3rd place by only three pins. Nevertheless, I am still happy and thankful that I managed to secure a place within the top 6 positions which had prizes. I won a total of RM300 and a hamper alongside it. Praise God =)