A Novel

I write my own story. For those of you who don't like it, well, as if there is anything you can do other than f-off :P

Morning Brain Clearing

This is me wanting to scribble down all that is on my mind now on a fine Thursday morning.

1. I am embarking on a no-bad-mouth week and just concentrate on my passion, my strengths, my weakness and what I really want to be when I am 60 years old...

2. To start a new blog with a cooler title? Hmmm...

3. To start blogging (again) at least one a week, on random and the little things of life

4. Read more and in a slower pace. Be more imaginative with description of environment and emotion.

5. My Raleigh fundraising and expedition.

6. Drawing/sketching/doodling lesson from Azeem, in spite of my lack of talents

7. Get a master in media art or cultural study. In the State.

8. Start decorating my wall, or figure out a way to arrange my puzzle and the photos ARTISTICALLY

9. Travel again - India next

10. My Santorini beach house


I think loneliness is eating me up finally...

4 more days

So much has happened since my last post, I don't even know where to start.
One thing I am absolutely sure of, I need to write.
Whenever I feel the urge to write, that's because my brain is in a mess now and writing helps clear things off.

I joined Raleigh KL IW Camp last weekend. And it was an awesome experience. You can tell whether you enjoy the camp or not by your post-camp syndrome. Oh boy, you bet how much I missed the 2-day camp. Did great stuff, met great people, ate sucky can food and had tons of crazy laughter! Now I can't wait for my expedition :)

After the camp it was a crazy week for me at work.

And then come Christmas weekend and I fell sick. A bad bad one :(

In 4 more days, new year is coming.

So many to do, and yet so little time.

My Twenties List

I have been having too much free time at workplace lately. And that somehow had got me into thinking of my twenties.

I have had a blessed and materially comfortable childhood, and a dream-full adolescent of limitless possibilities in life. I am 23 this year, 7 more years to go before I turn 30. I don't how's my 30s going to be like, but ideally speaking, I would want myself to have achieved something in my career, and settling down, to have my own property too perhaps.

As I am typing all these, I can't help but to ask myself is that what I really want in my life?

(Literally after 5 minutes...)
YES. I do want to settle down and live a reasonably luxury life, and to share my life with the one. I want to be great in the corporate world, I want to be able to lead an advertising campaign and to proudly claim 'I did that!'.

But before I commit myself to it, there is an even bigger part of me struggling to comprehend myself and the place I live. I desperately yearn to understand the world, the country, the city, the culture, the people, the food, everything. It just never cease to amaze me how physically and mentally each and everyone resemble so much and yet so differ. How a city evolves through each and every centuries and conceived of such diversified meanings - a placed called home to people of different time, a place that foreigners craved to visit or live in, a place that is unheard of etc.

So, what I really want to say is, I want a fearless twenties that do and see enough. The list goes on as such:

1. Join an expedition (on the way!)
2. Learn how to swim and dive
3. Fall in love passionately
4. Go round-the-world for at least 6 months
5. Visit India
6. Visit Machu Picchu
7. Work overseas for at least a year
8. Get a tattoo
9. Spend more time with my parents
10. Get a master (if I have the time and 'energy')
11. Learn at least one new language
12. Sharpen up my English, both writing and conversing
13. Be a traveler in my own city
14. To experience a white Christmas
15. Sky diving
16. Visit Liverpool and London again
16. Be true to myself


Second Visit To Kota Kinabalu

I revisited Kota Kinabalu, Sabah for the second time, and it was smurfing awesome!

My previous trip to KK still stay vivid in my memory, well, except for the direction and lotcation of landmark. The initial plan was to spend a few days in the Kampung Teringai Laut, to do some voluntary works, but somehow I woke up one day asking myself: This is your second time visitng KK, if you're not going to climb the tallest mountain in South East Asia, when are you going to do it? Yea! And here we were, me and my other 3 friends being 'persuaded' (or reluctantly comprised with my plan :) With the new trip itinerary, we just figured it would be more easy to just spend our 10 days in KK chillaxing and we'll do the Kampung life sometime in future.

I knew KK is the capital of Sabah but still I am sort of surprised to see skyscraper and some branded stores. But still, it is no where near to Kuala Lumpur. Rawang, yea, more or less like that. Or maybe it was the you-are-in-a-holiday-and-you-should-be-wondered-by-every-little-things travel mindset. At least I was trying to take curiosity into every things I see and to widen up my perspective. We stayed in Akinabalu Youth Hostel for the entire trip. I picked the hostel because of its location, the centre of Jalan Gaya and oh my, the living hall was an unexpected sweet bonus! I love the long stretch of opened window, bar stool table and free desktop with internet, and most important, free DVD movie! Everything was decent, the shower, the room, the corridor, the air conditioner, even the pricing is fairly reasonable.

We spent most of the time strolling in the city, doing simple sight-seeing, hanging out at the malls, watching movie, eat and eat, drink and drink, sleep and sleep. We visited two nearby islands as well - Pulau Sapi and Pulau Manukan on two separate day. The idea was to relax and do some swimming by the sea, and as usual, we ended up doing flying fish and parasailing. Among the 2 islands, I would vote Sapi over Manukan. Simply because Manukan has got stinky jelly fish! Haha..apart from that, not to say it is totally unexplored for tourism opportunity, but still, I feel Sapi is more 'local'.

It was a different trip for me. There were 4 of us, so for most of the time, we were together. I was used to being on trip by myself. So on and off, I was actually craving for time alone. But having to say that, I am grateful to have them by my side. If it wasn't for them, I can actually foreshadow myself in all sort of clumsy and embarrassing situation (scratch the last part, I am always in embarrassing situation with or without people). Somehow I managed to steal some private time for myself to write my journal and simple reading. It was pure satisfaction. I guess I was looking for an answer within myself. I have always known that the key to all my doubt and life confession is hidden in me. What I need is just to clear off all that mess and really listen to my heart. And to do that! I need a holiday!

We booked for a 3 days and 2 nights climb, one night at the base and the other at Labuan Rata. The climb to Mount Kinabalu was actually easy and smoothly crafted for climbers. The trail is easy, but for people who has got none outdoor experience and had only climbed 2 mini mountain in KL, it was tormenting for us. Ramin, who was our mountain guide, and also porter, has been helpful throughout the climb. Somehow I can't help thinking the whole journey is boring to him, judging by the fact that he is going up and down at least 8 times in a month, and also with the speed we are going at. He was decent and patience with us. We took 6 hours to reach the Labuan Rata from the base. 6 freaking hours of non stop stairs climbing. As we were moving up, we met lots of climbers coming down. The numbers of people coming here to conquer Mount Kinabalu everyday is just surprising.

After a decent rest at Waras Hut, we embarked on the climb to summit at 2.30a.m. One of my friend was falling behind. Ramin told us to go ahead and he will look after the friend. So here we went. I would be laying if I said I wasn't terrified when we got to the rope holding part. There was no turning back and I have just got to keep moving. And I thought the toughest part was over! But God knows, the last 1.7km up was far more mentally challenging. It was dark around us, with nothing surrounding us but just a white rope on the rocky ground to lead us. Cold and windy, our headlight could barely illuminate through the misty surrounding. I knew I am heading to the peak, but just not sure when and how long more do I have to bare the cold. This was when I recalled what my Director told me. It was one of those unusual day when one of your colleague was on MC, piles and piles of compulsory deadlines, demanding clients who kept rejecting everything even though it was already unbelievably last minute. He settled down on his seats, and asked me: 'Serene, how do you eat an elephant?' I was stunned and thought you cooked the meat with spice and make curry? His answer was: 'One bite at each time'. So, how do you climb the Mount Kinabalu? One step at each time :) With that thought in mind, finally I kissed the peak.

I have said his to many of friends and I will said it again here. The peak is worth every strength and endurance, both physically and mentally. We stayed on top for 10 minutes and as much as I would like to stay longer up there, the weather was too freezing and windy for me to take. Even though my legs and knees were aching real badly, but I was laughing all the way down to Timpohon Gate (the starting point). I was that contented and happy, it was way better than getting first class or getting my own car. Well, getting my own car wasn't that happy really, it is a necessary liabity :(

I was feeling so awesome after the climb, everything surrounding start to seem that way too. I was starting to feel lucky, and getting to know some new things and people. I can't help thinking that positive energy does project into good luck.

I still don't know what is the answer to my doubt in the beginning of the journey. As a matter of fact, I was even more confused after the trip. Haha, but then it doesn't matter caused I have touched the peak :D

PS: Oh yea, did I mentioned the food? Rest assured, when you're a in KK, you're bound to bump into good food in every corner. For drinks, BB Cafe at Jalan Gaya is awesome with live band performing every nights. It is a nice open concept bar and restaurant, with a decent variety of alcohol available. I won't say the price is decent though.

Managed to snap a quick a picture of Akinabalu Youth Hostel before leaving at 5am to catch our early flights. I would recommend this to others.

Pulau Sapi

Borneo 1945 Koptitiam, Australia Place serves the best nasi lemak in town!
One of the few food places me and friends repeatedly visit for our sweet days in KK.

Sunday market at Jalan Gaya, which was just right outside hostel. We were all woke up by the noise of seller setting up their stalls as early as 4 in the morning.

At the base of Mount Kinabalu Park.

The absolute serene peak :)

4 of us :)

Follow your heart

It is Sunday I really hope I could have one more day to splurge. And here, my definition of one more day doesn't imply me taking mc/el, but the whole world is resting/chilling too. I tried pampering myself with a day off from work and ended up sending emails in office while watching Xmen: First class. The world just doesn't stop for anyone. Wait a minute, does that just make me a slave to the world? What the hell.

I went out with old college mates yesterday. It was originally planned as a bar-drinking get together and for some reason we all ended up in a club. It has been a year since we last get together for club and dance. Everything felt so different now. Everyone has more story to tell, more dissatisfaction, more troubles, more shits, more unspeakable pressure. It is as if we are the salve to life, nothing is ever within our control or the way we want it to be.

And I must remind myself, life is too short and insignificant for us to cling on the unnecessary or to be bounded by rules, time, or our fear.

“Almost everything–all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure–these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”
- Steve Jobs -


This is me mumbling words on my mind at 1am on a Tuesday morning.

As much as I am tempted to label my Monday as disastrous, I would like to see it as my need to handle my emotion more objectively and rationally. For the past 23 years, I've been acting on impulse most of the time - spurring words that brought to unthinkable consequences, spending on clothes that I don't necessary wear, getting a short hair, falling in love, studying in advertising, and most often than not, doing stuffs that I should have thought through before acting on it. I guess when you reacting impetuously, you lose sight of the bigger picture.

This used to be one the thing I savour about myself, I still do to be honest. I am glad that my past decisions had actually brought me here, making me a fearless person (not so much maybe). With everything that had happened today, I think it is time for me to give things a little more thought before I response to it. After all, what would a day or few second means? Provided that I make sure everything is what I really want it to be.

I would like to write down what happened to me yesterday, but I figured I might get really cranky and start blaming people when go any further into problem/trouble/issue/pile of shits/etc/. To sum it up, it was work-and-guy-related. Aha!

Cheers Serene! Think of the giant picture!