Friday, December 24, 2004

"Merry Christmas!"
-by Sarah Leung

It is 1 day to Christmas and my last day of IPP in MCYS. Thinking back to the 9 weeks here, I am grateful for the wonderful people I met. They showed me that working 9 to 5 is not that bad after all.

Reports has proven that the greater the satisfaction one achieved from work, the happier he can be. And I am glad to say, yes! I am happy working in MCYS.

Most of all, I am thankful for the generous gesture from my colleagues. This morning as I sat down in my office, handmade floor lamp, glass color cup & loads of chocolates were delighting me. We all know Christmas is a time for sharing and so I shared my fair bit of candy in return.

After 12:30 today, I will bid goodbye to this place I have stay for 2.5 months and continue my study in NYP. Hitting back campus is both exciting & sad for me. I am excited to meet my friends again. In contrast to on-hands learning experience, classical always work better for me. Yet I am depressed for leaving familiar faces for a long long time. There are full of kind souls here in MCYS.

Live have to go on.

Who knows I might be back for more? Ha!

2 more hours and I will have to make my exit. Time is speeding pass. I bite into my candy.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

"Labor of love"
-by Sarah Leung

Sometimes I wonder, what would I do if my Significant Other leaves this world and how would I like to die? I know the majority would feel uncomfortable about death and so tend not to think about it till the end of the world comes for them, yet death is no stranger to me. Calm down, I don't have terminal illness but death did cross my mind before.

It was on the day upon knowing my horrific Sec 4 result, 1st semester. My world almost fall apart when I failed my A. Math & Chemistry right from the start & physics. I was so disturbed by my fear of ending up in the ITE that I went into a depression. May I make my stand that it's not my intention to upset ITE students, it is more about not able to achieve my goal that put me down.

I yearn for a 'A' level education, I dream to jump in my JC uniform and my only desire is for my parents to be proud of me.

Most of the time, I am convicted for giving myself too much pressure. In resulting to pessimistic thoughts & suicidal attempts to form. Back then, I even have had in mind the best way to die is for me to decide. A way of minimal pain and blood shed. Thus, overdose of sleeping pills seems to fit the bill perfectly. But what stopped me?

It is the image of my howling mom that put a stop to my willfulness. I realize I can't bear to put her in more grief. She needs me. Since then, I dare not consider this option anymore.

I am clearly aware that one day, when I catch my last breathe, I will leave my beloved family & him behind. I would like for them to remember me once smiling & loving them so true. I long for my ash to rest in the place of origin.

I want them to love me when I'm still alive and I wish not to live in regret. I will give them all my love as long as I'm still kicking. And when my day comes, I'll drive myself to my own grave.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

"Sarah is having mental block and is unable to write today. She will be back tomorrow."
-by Sarah Leung

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

"Cheap, cheap, hooray!"
-by Sarah Leung

Staring into the mirror, I look very much the same. Only myself knows that I've trimmed my hair last night and I feel happy.

Going to the salon is like giving myself a treat. I feel so pampered with friendly faces who serve me tea, brings me the magazines, massage my scalp and so I trustfully leave my hair to the styling guru.

Closing my heavy eyes, I ease the tension of the day and let the shampoo soak my hair. The music playing in the background is perfect, the shampoo smells wonderful and the night is beautiful. Not until an unrefine swagger next to me started yaking away.

Speaking in mandarin, she reminds me of auntie in the neighborhood covered in replica Louis Vuittion. The loud auntie with a super A4 size monogram messenger bag is a serious mismatch, perhaps just the degree of both matters (the noise vs the capacity).

My jaw nearly dropped onto the floor when the toady shampoo girl made a superfluous remark to a sophisticated customer next to her, "Mrs. XX, the bag very nice hor?". Bless you, poor bat.

And guess what? She replied nonchalantly, "Oh, it's too big for me." Ha!Ha!Ha! I feel like rolling on the floor. I believe the tai tai agree with me. It's an over-sized homme messenger bag and you bet it looks unsightly on women.

The noise continues... She just won't give up! Yak about her lavish lifestyle vs her friends' trifty habits. (Oh come on! What's wrong with that??) Self-proclaim of her precious hair must not let it ruin under cheapscake hair dye. "Some even bought $8 dye, HA!HA!HA!" she laughed just like a jester. "Aiyo! I don't dare let my maid dye for me yea..." Well, maybe she used a 80 cent toothpaste cause she stinks.

While my $14.90 canvas doggie bag, standing next to the giant LV, receives overwhelming compliments, "Wow! Your bag is so cute". Thank god, it's not a LV.

Monday, December 20, 2004

"Dad's home for Christmas!"
-by Sarah Leung

It's 5 days to Christmas! (I simply adores the number 5) And it's great. I feel much gratitude than thanksgiving day. It has been a month of preparation and I have not finished. This means last min mad dash for hair cut, sending out more greeting cards and family gatherings. Sad to say I have my work too. (Sigh) I'm gone.

Touching my hair, I feel it spring out of control that I need a hair cut badly before I pick up my Dad tomorrow, his social jamboree following that & back-to-school next week. Yes, I need it today. Picked up the phone, I dial her number. Thank goodness, my hair-stylist is willing to stay a little later to do me this favor.

Thinking hard of what to write, my mind is blown away by events that are taking place this week. I keep reminding myself, the collection of festive treats for his family, dad's arrival, meet-my-folks and cozy Christmas parties with close friends. My hands are tied and my memory is failing me. (Oh s***, pimples!)

My work place is filled with festive joy with the spray of white Santa on glass door, balloons popping out of ceiling in club house to the 8 feet tall Christmas tree in the lobby. It feels like holiday already and everyone is in the mood to party. I'm confident that Christmas this year would be perfect! I feel so blessed now, just like the little me when I saw the bag of chocolate gold coin. But other than that, all things have changed.

From the time when my dad shift his attention to China, my only form of communication with him is via email. Even though he will call every weekends, I keep my talk with him brief & casual. I always find it hard to open up to him. He always have truck-load of logic to prove that he is right. Although, I agree with him most of the time, he seldom listen to what others have to say. My mom had much of it since the day she married my dad and nothing can stop him now or ever.

He can be a stubborn old man (like father like daughter) but I still love him very much. Which is why I'm glad he can be home for Christmas. Without my family together, nothing feels complete. What's more important than watching your family unfold the gifts before your eyes? What can be more important that sharing a cozy dinner with your family?

No, work is an excuse not an answer.

Friday, December 17, 2004

"Bring festive sparkle to your Home"
-by Sarah Leung

I am captivated by the impressive display of Christmas lightening in Hong Kong. The Victoria harbour in Hong Kong is dressed up and ready to meet the world. This city that never sleep holds a special place in my heart. It's the place where I am brought to life, a place where I leant to walk & talk and definitely the best place to be for Christmas.

Many a time, I need to travel to my home country, especially on Christmas time. I was there to visit my relatives, to get together with my family and feel closer to my root again. Everywhere I go, my parents would share with me the memories they had for this city. It's also the time when I talk much with my father.

He, the sole bread-winner and head of the family, enforced strict rules in the household. Making funny faces or to giggle are considered inappropriate acts that once committed will be faced with either stern warning or fierce stare from him. Under such influence, my sister and I soon became the well-loved "goody kids" in their social circle. It is especially true when I see the pride in my father's eye whenever people ask him why are we not crying unnecessary or throwing tantrum.

I never need him to scold me, all it takes is a 'sharp' stare and it will send warning signals to my brain.

Only during Christmas, will I see a fatherly Santa bringing his darling daughters out to watch the enchanting Christmas lighting and taking pictures of his precious ones. The temperature may be dropping but the cozy feeling in the air rises to the occasion. Everyone is in the mood for celebration, even my strong-headed Daddy.

Looking at the brightly lit street, I was on my daddy's shoulder. Looking down at the kid holding his father's hand, I'm at the top of the world. I am his little princess.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

"Life is good"
-by Sarah Leung

A short break in between my tight schedule, I begin my writing to you. I has been 8 weeks since I first step into the Ministry (MCYS). From a willful girl who is so unwilling to report to work, to someone who found comfort in the surrounding of her colleagues, even janitor and food seller. I found myself unwilling to leave. I will miss this place.

Moving on to the next phrase in life is scary and graduation seems to feel like that. Uncertain of what the future holds for me, I prepared myself to be open to all opportunities. Life is a mystery but not always negative. Life full of surprises brought me much joy as well as sorrow. Thinking back, I can't help but feel life is good.

Life threw me off guard again at last night when I met a special someone after years. She is special to me, she is my teacher.

Way back 10 years ago, I was uprooted from my homeland to this small island. Wary of the change in environment, I carefully enter my new school. Soon enough, I was greeted with noisy children and cheerful teachers. Above all, I could not forget madam Kan, she is my primary 5 form teacher. Her dedicated teaching and motherly nature bonded her closely with the students.

Talking to her after years, I could still feel the warm atmosphere. It was pleasant listening to her difficulties with her teenage child. Most of all, I have not just one but two special people with me that night. My Significant Other politely engaged in the conversation. I do appreciate his effort for making it wonderful to him and I'm glad he enjoy her company as much as I do. Thank you!

Time flies and it was time to say good bye. Waving to her, I silently said a prayer for her may her worries leave her alone.

It's amazing how people comes to me at different point in time and leave me with such an impression that is just so precious, so wonderful. I'm grateful for having love around me. Yes, I am.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

"Thank you for your card!"
-by Sarah Leung

Let me begin with a big "thank you!" to the ever-sweet Cheryl for your beautiful card. Yea girl, I'll make time for girls night-out, I swear. So how about Christmas eve? It is definitely the best day for celebration to cheers to my last day of work and work only half day! How about that?

Moving on to a less cheerful issue, I am greatly shocked by an email that I received last noon. It is titled "real case in Bangsar, be careful", well you better be careful course the pictures in it is disturbing. Say that I'm over-reacting or I'm under-exposed to such emails, I'm very alarmed by the misbehaver of mankind. If you have seen the Nicholas beheaded video (which I'll never want to watch it in my life), I felt the same way as you do then, just in one word- disgusted.

It is a matter of fact that, WE in the right mind do not conduct such acts. One thing for sure, they are seriously mentally unsound that need supervised treatment around the clock. The best place to keep them safe is institutions of mental health. Definitely not letting them run wild in the democratic (I'm sure they have no idea what this word means) place we call home.

As I shared this horrible email with my Significant Other, I felt a sharp reality hitting me hard. To him, it is classified as nothing more than ordinary. Beyond his calm he could only feel a little sympathy for the victim. It hit me twice as hard to know something are just beyond our control.

Indeed, with unexpected life-threatening bombings happening, we have lost the ability to defense ourselves. No place is ever safe again. And psycho offenders hurting & killing of people in animal-slaying manner, we have lost our human rights of respect too. What's more needed to justify that we are vulnerable?

So what makes us superior than animals now? Just because you are bilingual or earns more money don't make you different. We are all preys hiding away from our predators. Human beings have become so intimidated just like animals in the juggle. Perhaps that's why we choose not to have babies as not wanting to expose our precious ones to harm.

And so what? If you have the best policy in the world and flag away those incentives. We only believe in one principal and that is no safety, no babies.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

"Happy Birthday, Apple!"
-by Sarah Leung

Good morning my friends, I'm full and feeling contented as I laze comfortably on my office chair. Yes! 2 more weeks to the end of attachment and 11 days to Christmas! Of course not forgetting that today is also, my bubbly sister's birthday! Happy 15th Birthday. You are now coming closer to sweet sixteen and remember we all love you.

Well, yesterday was a mad rush of work and briefings. Stupid to say the briefings would be more meaningful if it took place in the first 2 weeks of my attachment there. I mean, what's the point of giving me that s*** only now? What can I say? It's an eye-opener to see how big organization run their operation. Wow! Just big and nothing more (sound so much like a bimbo).

Nothing is more a blessing than to have a hot shower and look at the Christmas tree. Counting the number of gifts under it is such a pleasure. Looking at the 6-feet tree, I imagine the simple happiness it brought to my family.

The decoration may be old or outdated, but they all come from different time zone. Some were as old as 15 years ago where our family's first Christmas took place. And as a new year follows, we brought current ones to dress up the tree (now, it really is rojak tree). My mom feels proud whenever she looks at the tree. Just because some of the deco are made by my sister when she was in kindergarten and others are gifts from new friends she made overseas. Well, I have my contribution too. I dress the tree in ribbons and most importantly, I am the Santa this year! Ho! Ho! Ho!

It's such a wonderful feeling looking at their enthusiastic faces. My sis honestly told me that she once wanted to open the gift in my absence because she can't resist the temptation to know what's inside that big blue box! And my mom, she waited anxiously for me to get home, only to peek where I got her gift from the bags I'm holding and make a fair guess what it would be.

My Christmas wish this year: To share Christmas with my own family in 7 years time. Can I?

Monday, December 13, 2004

"Sarah will be back tomorrow"
-by Sarah Leung

Friday, December 10, 2004

"My conversation with him"
-by Sarah Leung

After a night of card writing, gift wrapping and more shopping, I was easily fast asleep. Thanks to him above, nothing strange took place and I slept like a baby. The 'spooky' encounter last night were more threatening to my Significant Other than me as I explained that I have no fear for not doing unto others.

Half dead, I dreadfully planned out my checklist:
(X) Dad's
( ) Mom's
(X) Sis
(X) His
( ) His Family
(X) Girlfriends
( ) Write cards
( ) Make card
( ) 1 gift box, 1 small gold bag, 1 gift pouch, 2 meters ribbon
( ) Photo Develop<- Last
( ) Carrot ->Pet
(X) Brain dead

Speaking to him and brainstorm on Christmas wishes, I put my thoughts into words and pen them in the cards quickly. Afraid that I might miss track of my thoughts... I'm right, he had my attention at:

W: "How big in dimension you want your gift box to be?"
Me: (Hold out my ruler) "25 by 6. What should I write?"
W: "Guy?"
Me: "No." (writing)
W: "Oh lucky. Ribbon?"
Me: "No." (still writing)
W: "No ribbons, you sure? How many?"

Oh gosh! I still have 30 more cards to go which means 30 more personalized greetings and 30 more hand exercise. I am already tired by the 'discovery'.

Christmas is 15 days away but it felt like running a race. What's more, he painfully reminded me that post service on peak season like this will take a longer time to reach the local recipients and much much longer time to reach the other countries. So he mercilessly planned out a deadline for me. What can I say? He knows me well. I'm prone to delay and lazy syndrome. He said the word "2 days".

Meeting the 2 days deadline is pressing enough, he had me again with another (less-than)fantastic idea. "What should I get for your dad, mom & sis...?". I heard him it was "sharp" to my ears.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

"The best time in life"
-by Sarah Leung

In the headline of my interest: Come 1st of January and wave goodbye to Channel i, Streats & MediaWorks broadcast station.

One thing for sure, I admire the spirit of the MediaWorks crew.

In the news, highlighted was the movement of staff but what I'm more concern is the retrenchment exercise. Those left out of the list are talented artists who will move on and search for a new direction in life.

For some of us, we may not be affected by this local entertainment news yet again we understand the fear of uncertainty, the sadness of leaving and the anger of the forgotten. This is where our state of mind is thrown into confusion. And negative questions like "What am I gonna do?", "I can't bear to leave" and "Why me?" raced our mind. I'm absolute that most of us have gone through this before.

What about me? I am facing an unknown, my development after graduation in April next year. Will my parents put me through the local degree program or will I go against the odd to be independent? 3 months ago, I would have heed my dad's advice and leave the country after graduation but the circumstances now changed. I care for my Significant Other. I wouldn't want to separate from him the same way my family is going through.

Open universities may be one good option. However, the result of various degree information talks & pressing registration was overwhelming. In the result, I could only sign a heavy Oh my!

A 19 year-old should be independent enough to settle for a job & move out. It maybe the best time of my life.

To those in despair, let me ask you to be brave because this is not an end, it is the beginning of a new start. Never be defeated by fear, face the challenge and open the next door to success. Remember! the best is still waiting for you to discover.

Set yourself free. Go on and ponder about what you really want in life? And when you know it, make the move. Making the first step is the only most difficult part in your decision. After the first step, nothing will be too difficult for you. Don't restrict yourself to just one opportunity, open your eyes to new exciting chances. Welcome the change, don't frown! Live it like the best time in life.

Monday, December 06, 2004

"Live in the moment"
-by Sarah Leung

I was reading a journal from a columnist in Straits Times, when I spotted this paragraph "I can still see the tree outside and the cloudless sky, and I can still remember that weird mix of gratitude I felt for what I had, and fear of how it wasn't going to last, and how I'd better grasp that moment forever." -Sumiko Tan.

She is my all time favorite journalist. I hardly not get excited over her column when a new journal appears. Her writing is jargon-free based on true life accounts. I could swing & sway with her words. She writes about her life as a single woman & nevertheless input her feelings into everything she writes. And I have to say that she looks real good given she is in her late 30s.

Making reference back to the quote extracted, yes, I feel it too. My paranoid behavior does get out of hand. The contradicting ideas of "I'm happy, I'm happy not" create fluctuating mood waves that sweep & destroy wonderful moments ever-had. Leaving only the deserted rural landscape- a lonely heart. The previous joy build upon years of trust & love have all squashed in a split second.

My Significant Other deals a tough time whenever a sense of sorrow fills my heart as I turn a deaf ear to his coaxing, refuse to talk and not meeting his eyes. The destruction of sorrow turns to fear is even more devastating. Where I would hide in my familiar background, thinking of nothing but to run away. He said that was the greatest punishment of all. Once, I drove him to desperation that he nearly wanted to give up on me. It's never easy when two become one.

For now, let me absorb the essence of every second and hold on to the feeling till the end of time.

Friday, December 03, 2004

"Change for the better?!"
-by Sarah Leung

I can't wait for 6pm to come so that I can lay my hands on the latest issue of Vogue! Ha! For the past 2 months or so, I have not spend fair bit of time reading reviews on the latest showcase from the most sought after designers. In fact, I long for a stroll in the bookshop right now where I can browse through copies of fashion magazines, stretch of novels & picture-colorful travel guides. (I smell books!) I badly need a trip to the biggest bookstore in town. The smell of the widest range of commercial reading materials is simply alluring to me.

Right now, my time is spent on work, family and my significant other. It seems like my past hobbies have no room to breathe. I miss the good old days when I could go downtown after class without consent, visit the library at least twice weekly and always have abundance time for anything. Now, I have to buy time for my friends, volunteer mission and sleep. Life is so different now that I have someone by my side.

To have and to hold someone special means great responsibilities (which I'm still lacking), commitments and sacrifices. In another word, my favorite past time are replaced with new ones like movie, hiking and beach-watching. Chocolate, calories sinful but bloody love it is out of my menu to make way for new healthy diets. One color (black) on me is revamped for brighter colors like pink & purple. Sleepy weekend mornings are so lively nowadays when he comes with warm breakfast. I used to get up late which I can no more. Wow! What a turn over! Ha! What an improper lifestyle I got. Not too late for a change I guess.

I'm amazed by the change he in-cultivated in me. My present life is so full of delights that is incredible. The lost I felt in the beginning, when it all started, had vanished. Everything is in place and I am surrounded by joy. So what's now? Charge to the bookstore! Well, maybe I should bring him along. What say you?

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

"Ho! Ho! Ho!"
-by Sarah Leung

It is 1 of December, the month of happiness. I truly adore the spirit this December brings. It is a season of magical Christmas, excitement - the final showdown of the Singapore Idol and most importantly a season of love. It is a time for all to get together with family and friends, be it enjoying a Christmas feast or a romantic stroll along the brightly lit Orchard Road. December to me is even more significant because my bubbly sister is born on this last month of the year. The joy December brings to me is enormous that no word can fully describe.

Getting ready for Christmas is a year end bash to me. I am brought up in a family-oriented home that spent festivals in a big way. Above all, I love the Christmas most. My dad plays a big part in molding my love for this festive season. In fact, he is my early impression of Santa Clause. Seeing him walk around the house with a beer tummy and those big foot of his are in some way alike Santa in the movies. What's more is that he taught me the word "surprise" when he secretly placed my Christmas gift on my pillow, made a foot print or two on my bed, sending me a thought of Santa just step in.

Do you still remember the lesson of Christmas? "Santa knows who's naughty or nice" and so only the good kid gets his present. Therefore, year after year of Christmas, when I see my present on my pillow, I'm glad that I have been a good kid to my family again. I just hate to disappoint them. Sometimes, I got so worried that I'll run over to the kitchen, grab the towels and help my mom with the dishes. This happens only once a year because Santa is watching. Ha!

I can still recall my first encounter with Christmas when I was around 3 year old. On the eve, my mom showed me where to hang my socks so that it is visible to Santa. Through out the night, I peek at my socks at the window frame endlessly. I kept wondering, how big a gift can my mini socks hold? And soon enough I felt asleep.

The minute I woke up the next day, my mind is no more on McDonald's but where is my present? The 3 year old me is very quiet & shy, despite the excitement contains in me, I did not raise a sound. I would only look at the socks and sallow my tears because it looks flat & empty. It was a torture guessing what is in the socks! Or is there anything in it?

The wait was finally over as my mom brought out a red wire bag from the socks. I had my eyes glued to its content that they were as big as the gold fish. Yes, it's gold. Guess what, it was a bag of chocolate gold coin. Yummy!