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Desktop Confessional

Retro essay-writing.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005
8:50 PM

Writing an essay in BM is so filled with propaganda that it isn't even funny. Back in the days of SPM and PMR, we all consulted the little textbooks that showed us the format to write "surat rasmi" (official letters) and "surat tak rasmi". Where to put the dates, where to draw the line, this and that. How we must always start a surat tak rasmi with "Menemui kekanda yang disayangi, diharap surat ini menemui anda dalam keadaan yang sihat" or something to that degree.

It was all so uniformed and .. predictable. Those textbooks even had sample essays of popular topics. And it was always the same sort of recycled questions- whether the internet was good or bad, whether tv was good or bad, whether "budaya kuning" was going to turn thousands of Malaysian teens into hopeless, no-future bums. Simplistic, much?!!

We have BM classes this semester. Writing in BM after 3 years of having not practicing was a long, tedious process. The most common phrase in class was, "How do you say ...?" Many minutes were spent staring off into space, trying to figure out what "well-being" was in Malay ('kebaikan').

Back to the issue of essays in BM being simplistic and repetitive, guess what we had to write about!

Clue: it was the most written about topic in schools during the 1990s.

Come on.

It's about us youths jeopardizing our lives with our reckless behaviour.

I guessed what it was even when the lecturer started saying, "Nyatakan punca-punca dan langkah-langkah untuk mengatasi..."

Today we wrote about "budaya lepak".

Budaya lepak, wei. Talk about a throwback to my secondary school days. It amuses me to think that even until TODAY, essays are still written about the dangers of hanging around in shopping malls and how if you lepak, you are bound to be doomed forever and of questionable moral fibre. If you, dear reader, are in secondary school in Malaysia, tell me- is the budaya lepak theme still a popular essay question?

And to further demonstrate how simplistic, regurgitative, and as Meesh says, SKEMA the whole business is, here are my punca2 (the kuasa dua is partial to BM):

1) Budaya kuning!!! Beware the West!! They are evil and vile!!
2) Damn you parents for working so much.
3) Teachers and schools are not dedicated enough to take care of kids.
4) Bad influence from peers.

SNORE. I wrote the exact same content when I was 16, and here I am doing it again. Time is so freaking cyclical.

Now that I am exposed to alternative ideas of how power and control works, I can't help but roll my eyes when I remember the things I would used to read out of sample essays in textbooks. They are the most inane, illogical things ever. No wonder so many young people who leave school for college are so indifferent and unexposed to current world issues, if this is what they read in their books.

I was once like that, but what can I say? 2 years of studying communication, the power and influence of the media, analyzing and questioning existing institutions have made me into a bitchy little girl. Thank the Lord.

Juicy bits.

Saturday, July 16, 2005
6:56 PM

Getting free copies of JUICE magazine on campus is probably one of the few good things about going back to class. There's nothing better to do in class than to not pay attention to the neverending ramblings of Pug Face (term of affection for a certain lecturer), and quietly flip through the magazine. Of course, it gets a bit depressing once we hit the section where they show all these beautiful people partying and getting high and laid and generally having fun, whilst you're stuck in a lecture theatre with no air-conditioning. JUICE has recently gone modest by pixelating boobies. How embarassing to have your breasts pixelated for everyone to see. But on second thought, it would suck to be dressed in your best cleavage enhancing top, have your picture taken by JUICE photographers, have picture published and NO PIXELATING NEEDED. Potong stim.

It is very cold outside and my water heater is broken. Now that's one way of potong-ing stim.

Monday, July 11, 2005
6:24 PM

It's a glorious day to be indoors. A thunderstorm has just passed, and everything is wonderfully cold. I napped through the whole thing; wrapped up in my comforter and falling asleep steadily to the rain falling down. The sound of raindrops is the perfect bed companion. No snores, no hoarding the sheets, no awkward sleeping positions that you can't get used to. Just pure comfort- plain and simple. If this isn't bliss, I don't know what is.

Did I mention that college reopened today, and I was at home?
No work later as well.

It's a glorious day to be indoors. ;)

One of the films that stuck to me last year, surprisingly, was 'The Butterfly Effect' which starred Ashton Kutcher. Prior to watching the film, I knew vaguely that it was about the protagonist going back in time to fix the things that went wrong. At that time, having not read any reviews, I idly thought that the mistakes he wanted to fix were all romantic since Amy Smart was his love interest and all. Besides, it was Ashton Punk'd Kutcher. It had to be a romantic comedy, right?

I watched it in a group, right after the end of my exams. We all wanted some mindless entertainment to lose ourselves into, and I pushed to watch 'The Butterfly Effect'. Begged, even. Said it was sure to be funny.

I was very wrong though, as 20 minutes into the film we realized that the movie was not the mindless romantic comedy we were all hoping it would be. There was the notion of child pornography, intentions of blowing up a dog, kids killing kids.

"Sarah you bitch," my friend hissed from down the row in the dark cinema, "this isn't funny!"

However, as the film escalated to its climax, I found it to be one of the better films I saw throughout the year. Maybe it was because I was expecting one thing, and got something ENTIRELY different. Maybe it was because I completely underestimated Ashton Kutcher. Maybe it was because it was the ideal that things happen for a reason, and that you can't really change what has come to pass.

I loved the ending, especially when they used Oasis' Stop Crying Your Heart Out to close the movie. It was a brilliant touch, and I started to cry. Not my heart out, but definitely did let one big fat teardrop go.

My movie review came in like a year too late, but I just felt like writing about it after my iTunes shuffled the next track to be Stop Crying Your Heart Out. BTW, the film has two endings. Imagine my delight when I was watching it for the second time and something new happens. Damn refreshing. But the first ending was much better. The second ending was just ... stupid. Strangling yourself with your umbilical cord?

Messed up.

Waxing lyrical.

1:48 AM

There's a fantastic song out there that everyone should listen to. It's called Legendary, by Lou Barlow.

When I hear a great song, I have to spread it around. There's no use keeping beauty to yourself. So to download you must go, ladies and gents. Legendary. Lou Barlow.

Of course, its better if you share my taste in music. (Which is awesome, ha! Ha! Ha! Ahem.)

This is the last weekend before college reopens for my second semester in pursuit of my degree. You have no idea how incredibly heavy my heart is right now. Just the thought of the daily grind, waking up at 6.30 am, assignments, reports, boring lectures, insane lecturers and stress is enough to make me spazz out. Pimples will start flourishing again which is a damn shame because my complexion has been so nice ever since my vacation started.

Sigh lah SIGH.
Nevermind ... I graduate next year, so just keep fighting the battle, sarah.

I turn 20 next month. Stay tune for emo posts where I ponder my existence, the universe and generally just asking "why why why why why where am I going in life etc etc" bullshit.

TWENTY next month. TWO-OH.

Heal, it takes time
And you gave me all you had
I know in time I will believe
That I loved you, did you love me?

- Lou Barlow, "Legendary"

"Be Yourself ... Only BETTER!"

Wednesday, July 06, 2005
12:20 AM

Everytime I see a blue tshirt with those words boldly emblazoned on the back, I want to laugh. But I just went for a session today, and indeed I am myself ... only half-dead, I reckon.

Right after working a 7 hour shift, rushed to meet friends at the nearest Fitness First gym to make use of our free trial passes. I hereby confess that I am a chronic free pass abuser. Everytime that I have used the gym, it was because I had a free pass. I'm not surprised if my name is blacklisted in a little logbook they have somewhere. I'm simply too poor to join them officially; maybe when I start working properly.

So with blisters on my feet from walking up and down the store, making and serving coffee, washing up and attending to people, we stepped into the Body Combat class. It is teh shit, I tell you. Damn fun. I haven't exercised in a long time, so I struggled to keep up for the first 15 minutes. But my body readjusted after a while, and I felt the familiar sensation of an accelerating heartbeat and the blood rush .. and from then on it was just smooth sailing.

I didn't dance through secondary school to be defeated by an hour long class!

But I admit, my motivation lied in the determination to not be beaten by people twice my age and an overweight gay dude in a pink midriff top, love handles a-rolling.

Cannot wei. I'm sure the gay dude is a nice person but I simply will not quit and admit defeat, and stand in one corner while he shakes his jelly to the beat. No freaking way. So everytime I felt like my legs would give up on me, I looked at him and pushed myself to continue. And it worked like a charm.

Body Balance was another story altogether now. My friend, a member, said it was "damn relaxing". Relaxing my head lah. I huffed, puffed and rolled over dead in that class.

I believe Body Balance is a combination of yoga, pilates and something or the other. I simply cannot balance. Everytime we were told to balance ourself on one foot, while extending our arms, I would stumble left, right and center. I CAN'T BALANCE! Inner ear problem!! (Or just simply, lacking focus. Happens. I get damn distracted by the stupidest things)

The only part that I liked was when we lied down and stretched. That felt really good. Like a jakun I wanted to laugh when the instructor proceeded to lie on his back and spread his legs apart, and kept encouraging us to "spread it wider! Put your hands between your thighs!"

Giggle, giggle. I can't help it. Sexual euphemisms awaken the schoolgirl in me, bwahaha.

Life seems to be outrunning me these days. I can't seem to catch up with all the Moments that happen; that spring themselves on you unexpectedly and are gone so quickly that it leaves me with hardly any time to wonder what just happened. Ironically, I've never been more fulfilled.


xox, sarah.