Sunday, September 14, 2014

Weak languages

So I'm going to write about writing today, particularly about weak, pathetic words (pathetic is much too strong is not?) that are widely and repeatedly utilised in writing. Probably due to habit and complacency. This was in part, inspired by one of Jeff Goins' blogpost recommended in the newsletter I signed up for. Jeff stated a list of 'weak words' that could diminish the strength of our writing, including words such as 'very', 'things', 'stuff' and etc...Can 'etc' be considered as two weak words? I too might have been writing in a careless, yawn-inducing manner before, but now...I am positively anxious about typing the next sentence. Oh, the horror. You can refer to his list here.

However, his post brought to mind my high school English teacher who taught me in my final year. Looking back to those good old schooling days, writing was mostly 'occupational', and frankly somewhat akin to an apprentice's feeble attempts to impress and hopefully, to score points off his/her master. Well, for some of us that is. What can I say? We were almost constantly racing against the clock.

One memorable afternoon, my then-English-teacher strolled into the classroom with a stack of our exam papers. Silence ensued, necks craned and arched as though it would enable a glimpse of the grades in circles and red. The tension in the air was tangible, possibly due to the approaching Malaysian Certification of Education or SPM exams (equivalent to O-levels). But that's not the worst part.

My teacher was rather displeased with that term's paper. She started by distributing papers that were considerably less offensive to her grammatically-conscious eyes. Then she came to several sheets with marked edges, while I fidgeted in my seat. My friend's formal-writing was criticized for its flowery tone, and she received her paper with a poker face. Then, my teacher read one paragraph from the last sheet in a single breath. Apparently, three lines of texts with no comma in the middle is not ok. I raised my hand slowly and take full credit for that sentence. It was the last paper of her deck, thankfully - I felt fizzled out already.

She then addressed all of us and our poor choice of wording, particular with the use of one word: 'nice'. She criticized that the use of 'nice' is lazy and vague. 'The dress is really nice'. 'She have nice hair'. 'He owned a really nice car'. As she quoted what most of us did for that test, I realised that some of our writing must have been rather foolish, and even ridiculous from her point of view.

In case you hadn't noticed, I have just described one of those embarrassing moments in my life. To this day I remember her lecture explicitly, and I have not used 'nice' unless I was being vague intentionally. But there's a silver lining to that incident: I learned that vagueness is not acceptable in writings. Mostly. I have come across instances where wording can be too strong. But that's for another time.

And this is day two of #my500words!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

My 500 Words

I...really am not supposed to do this. You see, I'm sitting in my office reading other people's blogs when I know my boss is after my neck. But then I come across this "My 500 Words" challenge on Jeff Goins page and boy, am I intrigued. Honestly, I have always hope to write a book of my own but the question that have always stump out the flickering hope was: What on Earth would I write about? I mean, what do I have to offer my audience, if I ever have one? 

I’ve kept journals to rant and complain about how I have no room in my cupboard to fit new books in the past, but never had I once thought about composing my thoughts to write something meaningful or fun or entertaining. Just the thought of the contents in those old journals make me cringe.

My 500 words challenge. Right. I was talking about that. (Focus!) So basically I just need to write 500 words every day for 31 days, no editing required, only and solely focusing on the process of writing. I realised I have restructured this sentence itself for a couple to times so that it sound right in my head. No editing is one thing I definitely cannot promise.

This challenge is going to take all of what little ability I have to stay committed to a single goal, and all of my concentration. I suspect that I have probably carried some form of Attention Deficit Disorder all my life. Since I was a child, I could never sit quietly in the class, listen to what my teachers said about handing in that piece of homework tomorrow, or stop doodling in pages of all of my exercise books and then tearing them out to evade my mother’s detection. I still have no idea why she bothered checking my homework: I never even jot them down in the first place. The worst that could happen was getting caned on the hand or being made to stand on chairs. I think those were means of trying to make me learn my lessons through pain and humiliation…yeah…I don’t think it worked.

As I’m typing this, I realise the importance of commitment in creating a life that I want. After my undergraduate degree, I lost sight of what I knew was the most important thing in life: to move forward continuously, even if it was just a little at a time. I can only guess that the effects of chasing after the life on the fast lane are taking its toll. I want things and I want them fast. I forgot that I’d have to take the first step in order to reach my goal, and that it would take a lot of hard work, patience, persistence, sacrifice, and with luck, some good luck and opportunity.

I probably signed up for this challenge rather impulsively, as with many decisions I made in my life. But I do love to write, and I want to remember how it feels to write something that is not related to work or formalities, and rediscover the meaning of ‘little by little’.

So, this is day one for me! Let’s hope I have something to write in the next twenty-four hours.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Love, love, love this to bits! I just love how truthful she is in her song-writing.
Sara Bareilles is verbal as she is witty, charming as she is classy. "Love Song" was what I first heard from her, and she stayed true to that. Thank you Sara!

Definitely my next splurge on an album.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Avril Lavigne - Rock N Roll

Come on, its got to be about ten years since we first heard "Complicated" and "skater boy" on the radio. I was an avid fan in 2004, following most of her interviews and music videos. I even bought her second album "Under My Skin". OK, I was in high school and that meant sacrificing a month's worth of pocket money (that was kind of a big deal) XD

Then in 2007, her styles, the contend of her songs skewed - to that of a young WOMAN. Knowing Avril (adventurous, bold and uncompromising in making her choices), I guess it's sort of expected. But I dropped out of her fandom for some reason...Probably because I was still a teenager.

But the advent of "Rock N Roll" reminds me that she is still one of the best singers around. Most importantly, the one thing that has not change since 2004, is the way Avril translates her way of life, thoughts and feelings, into lyrics - the reason I started listening to her.

I just have to say: Way to go Avril!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

My 2 cents: Supersize vs Superskinny TV programme

I've been following this programme since season 2. Then I stopped at season 4, and picked it up again just as they finished making the latest season I know, which is season 6 (or was it 7?)...Oh well, you get the point: it's an on-off relationship. Right now, it doesn't matter to me if they don't make the programme anymore because I've stopped watching it anyway.

I understand that eating disorders are quite serious and can be detrimental physically and psychologically in the long run. Some has criticised that this TV programme is highly "triggering" for those under the grip of the disorder. See the article in this link:

I must confess that I'm affected too. Well, not in the same way as anorexics or bulimics, but for some strange reason I'm always munching when I'm watching it on the tube. And I almost never do that for other shows or movies. Ask my ex-roommate. 

The programme largely features the on-goings in the feeding clinic in earlier seasons. In later seasons though, it sometimes has little snippets, featuring people with eating disorders struggling with treatment and in one particular season, a journalist going through all the "strategies" people used to lose weight/fat/to look good - liposuction, baby food, detox, hypnosis (yes, you read "hypnosis" right), the lot. Those snippets are what makes the programme really interesting to me.

I'd say that there isn't really a clear format with the programme (not good). Not to be insensitive to those who've been hurt by the show, because I know the word "weight" can be really sensitive in this case. (Honestly, even to people like me who'd avoid the scale as much as she can. Yes, blame photoshop, beauty magazines and that neighbour who always comments on mine). But I think that the programme could help keep some people (who are not suffering from eating disorders) in line and not go overboard, whether they love food or just trying to lose some weight.

I can understand the standpoints of dieticians and psychiatrists who sincerely care and want to help their patients. I'm no expert, but looking in as a person who've kept from skipping meals after watching the programme, I think I can safely say that like everything else, the programme has its silver linings.

Finally, for anyone who is concern about losing or gaining weight and is considering a diet, please do a thorough research, get information supported by experts or scientific evidence before jumping into one. Just to avoid putting your body through unnecessary stress.

Monday, July 15, 2013




感激上天的眷顾,目前为此我就这样。 我还是一样,小小的事情就能让我高兴很久。


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Only Human

I almost lost my phone yesterday, but thank God the cleaner who picked it up was honest enough to return it to me. *Faith in humanity restored*

I was on my way to the canteen when I realised my phone wasn't with me, and then remembered that I had left it in the loo (I took it out of my pants pocket for fear of it sliding out and entering the sewers, which was what happened to a friend of mine, naming no names). So the first thing I did was ask for advice from my friends in the workstation, who stopped what they were doing immediately to help look for my phone. *Above said faith leveled up*

Supposedly the first thing to do was to speak to one of the security guards/officers in charge of this building's safety. But alas, NONE of them was around. So we went to the HIR Secretariat office instead, not to shovel blame onto anyone, but rather hoping that whoever found the phone would leave it there for "lost and found", and to find out who we can turn to if the phone wasn't there.

Guess what's the first thing my friend and I heard? "We are not responsible for this." My friend very calmly told her that that was not our intention. *yawn* Surprise surprise... Obviously you're not going to buy me a phone now, would you? I know this definitely doesn't apply to every white-collared office personnel, but sometimes I do think that the kakak and makcik who clean the washroom are warmer human beings.