Archive for December, 2007

Where am I spending my 21st Birthday?

Posted in Grunt,groan,sigh, Travels and Adventure on December 22, 2007 by shiying86

London, baby! London! WHoooppeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

and this deserves a thank you speech- thank you mummy, thank you mummy, thank you mummy a zillion times over.

Thank you for believing in my dreams, thank you for giving me the freedom, thank you for throwing huge sums of money just for me and trusting that I will do my best with it. I know that we are not rich, but you are willing to let me go and experience what I want and need to. I know you won’t read this, but mummy, trust me, it won’t be to waste, and I will repay you for all you have sacrifice for me. *handkerchief to my tearing eyes*

Next up, thank you Elaine and family for accommodating me, plus all others that are gonna help me in my trip. I deeply appreciate it. Otherwise, this trip won’t happen.

*Gratitude overflowing* If my emotions could be expressed in anyway, I’ll say it’s a pouring waterfall like the Niagara Falls on a sunny day–forming a everlasting rainbow that induces the warm, fuzzy happiness in our hearts. Thank you once again.

I am excited. Scared. Frantic. Assuring myself. trying to be brave. a little cowardish. Freaked out. Ecstatic. Overwhelmed. Restless. All snowball into one.

I am scared. Cos’ I’m human. and i have second thoughts. What if the trip didn’t turn out as I expected? What if i screw up n waste my mum’s thousands of dollars? What if I use up money that’s important for something else? What if i didn’t plan well enough? What if… I just stop all the what ifs. Cos’ it’s not going anywhere.

Nothing will go as plan. I will try my best. I will make the best out of this trip even if I am going to freeze my poor asses off in the cold cold freezing winter.

Here’s my checklist:

1.Ticket to London- Check. Flying on 28th Dec, transiting in Singapore on British Airways. Snabbed a lost min super savers.

2. Retun Ticket- Check. Back on 22nd Jan.

3. A plan for the duration of the trip-er..sorta? well, I’ve started contacting people, but… IT’s HARD!!! where do I want to go? when? with who? (likely alone) arghgh..

4. Currency?-Some… Pounds?Euros?Dollars? GBP(Denmark)? oh god..what’s my budget? very little. Probably need to beg on the streets.

Name:Shi Ying Ooi

Occupation: Begger

I can so see this happening.Hope they let me past the airport immigration.

5. Packing-few pieces of winter clothing in the luggage? Wait, am I even bringing my luggage or travel backpack? I am so gonna freeze n die.

6. Insurance-checked. phew… at least i have gangrene covered.

7. Vaccination and Medication-Monday.

8. GENED!-OH.MY.FREAKING.GOD. NADA.ZILCH.ZERO.

9. Meeting friends and relatives-they are only free next week! or coming back next week! ugh.

10. UNIBUDS t-shirt-Monday, check on the embroidery and pay up.

11. Shopping for thank you gifts and travel items-not yet…

12. Feeling screwed that there is only 5 days and a half to finish the above and more. –CHECKED

This feelings are so not mine. Travel has its price. But I am going to make the best out of the trip n grow from it.

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The Dark Side of Cambodia

Posted in Travels and Adventure on December 19, 2007 by shiying86

The scars of war are still raw in the minds and body of people in Cambodia.

Try as I may to reiterate their pain, lost and describe the poverty stricken land- I feel lost for words.

 

Floating Village, Siem Reap

A boat at most 3 by 3 metre large is home to a whole family with young kids just by the Tonle Sap river. Tourist like myself pay to ‘visit’ their village, in other words, their state of poverty is made into a tourist attraction.

No ordinary pet

And how much do they gain from the money we give? I don’t know. 

They hop on your boat in a blink of an eye

Children are made to beg for money and ask for sympathy, so tourists buy into it and purchase their goods. Very difficult life, but they lead a simple life. Despite it all, they still smile at my camera and play by the water.

Kids playing at Tonle Sap lake

My friend asked if I feel very fortunate that I’m not one of them, and surely i have a mounting sympathy overflowing for them. Suprisingly, this time round, I don’t feel such as strong empathy as when I saw beggers and poor families in China. Of course, I feel grateful for what I have, but there is only so much one can do, and after listening to so much prior to the trip, it numbs me more then anything else.

“Please buy…”

When I’m in a much developed country, I feel like I’m in poverty. When I’m in a developing country, I feel I’m doing okay but I could do better. When I’m in third world country, I feel like a millionaire. So feelings, just can’t be trusted.

Building C with electric barbed wires, Genocide Museum Toul Sleng

What did moved me was the anguish, deep hurt and bone chilling cold I felt at the genocide museum Toul Sleng in Phnom-Penh. The former Khmer Rouge S-21 Prison used as a torture ground, interrogation cells and in my opinion, cold blooded murder. I was feverish when I was there, and whatever I have heard of the place did not prepare me for what I saw. No human were treated like human, just by listening to their experiences and looking at photographs brought cold sweat to my forehead and chills down my spine. And almost every citizen was scarred and traumatised by the experience from the Pol Pot regime to Khmer Rouge.

The Regulations in the Prison

1.You must answer accordinly to my questions. Do not turn them away.

2. Do not try to hide the facts by making pretext of this and that. You are strictly prohibited to contest me.

3.DO not be a fool for you are a chap who dares to thwart the revolution.

4.You must immediately answer my questions without wasting time to reflect.

5. Do not tell me either about your immotalities or the revolution.

6.While getting lashes or electrification you must not cry at all .

7. Do nothing. Sit still and wait for my orders. If there is no order, keep quite. When I ask you something, you must do it right away without protesting.

8.Do not make pretext about Kampuchea Krom in order to hide your jaw of traitor.

9. If you do not follow all the above rules, you shall get many lashes of electric wire.

10. If you disobey any point of my regulations you shall get either ten lashes or fice shocks of electric discharge.

This is only a glimpse of what I saw. Which I am sure is only a friction of the real historical bloodshed. Visit the place for yourself, and find out what hell on Earth really means.

 

Memorial at Killing Field

This beautiful memorial houses the skulls of victims killed here. Ironically serene as it may seem, at least 10 tiers of skulls were stacked up to the top of the building.

Angkor at a Glance

Posted in Photography, Travels and Adventure on December 19, 2007 by shiying86

Picturesque Angkor Wat and reflection pool during sunset

Sunset at Bakheong hill

Ta Phrom: the ‘ancestor Brahma’

Jayavarman VII image at Baphuon, Angkor Thom capital

Banteay Srei: the ‘citadel of the women’

My family and friends at Ta Phrom’s ruins

Lotus flower

Wanna date my brother?

Posted in It's my life on December 12, 2007 by shiying86

My brother just before his prom:

My brother

I went on shirt and suit hunt with him. And I thought girls’ fashion was complicated.

Wait till you shop for right lapels, cuff links, slim cut ties and the right type of suit. GQ was an awesome source of research inspiration, though. 

Man, even I gotta admit he looked quite cute.

Any takers?

Wake up call

Posted in Grunt,groan,sigh, Reflections on December 12, 2007 by shiying86

This call came at an ungodly hour, in between my need to really study hard for my Gen Ed summer course and getting hold of my aunt in Denmark to inform her that I am heading to Europe before Christmas (something I’m pretty sure she won’t be happy to know). And I have less than 10 hours to buy my ticket there.

Plus, I’m supposed to be heading to Cambodia in 9 hours time.

Fortunate or unfortunately, I stumbled upon stuff that informs me what Malaysian youths, like myself are up to these days.

This is what hit me: I know nothing about my own country. Youth have come a long way, and here is exactly what I wished for years ago when I was a college kid in Malaysia.

These people, my fellow country friend, my peers, my voice–all fighting, expressing, demonstrating, learning and most importantly doing something, passionately for the country, for a better cause, better future. All contrary to my views of Malaysia being a backward developing country and that most kids these days can’t be bothered with how the country turns out to be because their life has just been all too comfortable.

It is indeed a relief, a comfort to know that actions are taken and voices are channelled actively and rightfully. At the same time, it’s a tight slap on my face, because I am the bratty Malaysian kid that complains and criticises, but ignorant of what is really happening out there.

Take the Nov 25 Hidraf rally for example, I failed to read between the lines when clearly the purpose of the demonstration was not as simple as “handing up a memorandom to the British Monarch” for millions in compensation for the Malaysian Indians. This article beautifully highlights the Indian plight and captured the essence of the issue.

Ultimately dear Malaysian friends, people aren’t drawn to the streets, risking all they have, simply to sue the British government. No, that is simply not logical. They are moved to such lengths by deep-seated frustrations, and pent-up humiliation.

We can either choose to dismiss the event as a communal aberration, or we may seize the outstretched hand of the helpless Indian, and pull him into a truly noble cause. The future, my brothers and sisters, is in our hands.

by M. NITHIYANANTHAN, a Indian Malaysian studying at Princeton University

It is these words that deeply shook that Malaysian part of me.

In Malaysia, a Malay problem is a national problem. A Chinese problem is a racial problem. An Indian problem, however, is not a problem. And as long as things remain that way, we will have simmering Malay anger, simmering Chinese frustration, but boiling Indian desperation.

by johnleemk

and here’s another one that candidly but undeniably truthful picture.

High Court of Malaysia taken on a rainy day

I can’t even decide if I will return to Malaysia after my studies have been completed, nor do I know what I could do.

But i do know, that in knowing, I woke up to my surroundings. Next up is to embrace the truth.

Deceptive perceptions

Posted in Grunt,groan,sigh, Reflections on December 2, 2007 by shiying86

I always try to be as open minded as I can. But now I find myself being the most close minded being around.

When the oh-so-fimiliar-ground that you have always been able to accept and love, suddenly turns into a foreign land you refused to recognise.I can’t help but ask myself, is this what ‘betrayal’ is all about?

Just another clear instance of life- that perception is indeed deception.

deception.jpg

Things never did change, only my perception took a 180 degrees turn-around.

Try as I may to change–only to find myself fighting against the tide.

Just because I know that the grass is greener on the other side, does not mean others will jump on my bandwagon. And how green is it anyway? A lush green rain-forest? or just the garden’s green that comes with every spring? Thus, I have no right to claim master to what is greater/better/wiser.

All I do, is sit and watch. Watch this mind, watch this heart as the world spins by.

Sometimes, unconsciously, anger may rise, and hurtful words are hurled.

Another time, unmindfully, the control freak tries to take charge.

Other times, I deludedly believed that, I CAN make that great big change, not to myself, but others.

Most of time time, I try to ignore the bubbling lava of emotions inside.

But, really, all I needed to do is take it all with a pinch of salt…

and make that change within me, as I smile and just let things be.

Sunshine after rain {Kathina Celebration @ Sunnataram Monastry}

Posted in Art/Inspiration/Creativity, Photography, Reflections on December 1, 2007 by shiying86

A strike of lightning

 

The sudden downpour and scurried people

 Faces in the rain

No hurry, let the rain wash away the pain

Droplets of water crystalised in time

Rejuvenate the earth, body and mind

Breathing a new scent, the truth-

that sunshine comes after the rain.

Photographs by Cheng Tuck Lim 

{Kathina Celebration @ Sunnataram Monastry}