Saturday, December 31, 2016

New Year's Eve with Intro: 화양연화 (The Most Beautiful Moment in Life)

Lyric Translation: 
The rim looks farther away today; sighs are building on top of the court
The boy is afraid of reality, but his heart is at peace only when he throws the ball
Throwing the ball by himself; what I’m shooting at the rim are my countless thoughts and worries
I pretend to know the world but my body is still not ready
Shoot, the court is my playground
With my movements, a small ball bounces next to my feet
The results are as low as the floor, 
but I just shout out loud to the world that everything’s gonna be alright
But the world gives me fear, then just stop
Thoughts fill my head and instead of the ball,I throw my future
Because of the other’s standard of success
my worries spread like cancer again, goddamn it

Along with the thrown ball, laughter starts to spread
My breath rises to my chin, my dreams squirm about
The dribbles get faster, my heart gets happier
This moment feels like it’ll last forever but the sun is setting
When the night comes again, reality gets destroyed
When I snap out of it, I’m just a scared idiot again
I keep getting scared at the looming sense of reality
Others are running ahead but why am I still here?

Breathe or dream
Row the oars along with your heartbeat
If you are trapped in the other’s thin judgments
then the sun will set on your life like (how it does on) a court

What am I doin’ with my life?
This moment won’t ever come again
I’m asking myself again, am I happy right now?
The answer is already there - I’m happy

Lyrics adapted from Color Coded Lyrics

Suga (or Min Yoongi) has the incredible ability of shaping an entire message behind a singular thematic colour/sound/term-that-i'm-too-amateur-to-know. I think that's the draw for me, as someone who studied English Literature and is musically inclined. If you take a close listen, you can hear the sound of shoes squeaking as they would if a player is on the court, the bounce of a ball, the sound it makes when it clangs against the rim of the net. Suga used to play basketball in school; this is his tribute to his pastime - using it as a metaphor of his hopes and dreams. I wouldn't be surprised if he recorded the authentic sounds and added them as samples into this track.

(I could and would talk more about this but I think other blogs have already; also I'm on a tight schedule TT)

I think I am deeply drawn to the songs of BTS' rapline/hyung (older members) line, namely because they deeply resonate the feelings a twentysomething would have (or twentysomething me has anyway). There a sense of bravado - we've worked hard to get here, we're achieving some of our dreams, but also worry, fear, and despair - why does it seem like our actual dreams aren't complete yet, why am I still unsure about life, when will I actually get my sh*t together. And generally, they end their songs on a positive note. Probably why I blast them in my car, much to my family's chagrin (the language barrier is challenging). What can I say, I'm a sucker for relatable songs (note: not songs shoving positive messages down my throat). My fondness for spoken word also makes me very, very intrigued by rap music - because literary-wise, we can define rhyme and meter and other literary elements in them.

Jamie Cullum's album Twentysomething has that feel as well. I remember listening to the full album in my late teens and only understanding some of his thoughts. Perhaps I should revisit it.

Anyway. New Year's Eve - I just feel Suga's song.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

I miss these guys~

Goosehouse is a group of singers/musicians from Japan. They have original songs but also perform covers. Usually their performances are done on via livestream, where they will talk in between their songs, which they upload in chucks after the livestream is over. Generally, all their performances are acoustic and done live. In fact, it's extremely difficult to find any studio versions of their songs online (except the ones that have recently become openings for anime shows).

They don't livestream that often, but it's pretty much a mini concert whenever they do. A good 5 or 6 songs would be performed in one go. I love how cute they are (even though the cutest looking one is like, 30 years old. Seriously, how????), and in some ways, it's fascinating to watch them grow and improve as vocalists and musicians. 

When I first started following them 4 years back, some of their vocals weren't as strong, and because they seem to be constantly picking up new instruments (especially Johnny), there were times where you can tell they're an amateur at it. When Johnny first started on his violin, it sounded a bit shaky and now and then there was a scratchy note. He sounds wonderful today. For a failed violinist like me, that's inspiring. 

They've moved to a bigger house, with better sound and video equipment, and sound consistently great. Most of them are slowly having their own solo or side projects with other singers, but they continue to work together. 

I used to have them on autoplay while doing my work, mainly because their songs and the way they perform remind me of my old Yamaha music school days. There's a nostalgic atmosphere to them. They are also one of my inspirations to try new instruments, and to keep having fun with music. Through their covers, I've discovered quite a substantial amount of other Japanese artists, some that I've become a fan of. 

Also, that melodicas are cool. I want one. 

Goosehouse also has a unique fashion style - somehow what they wear looks slightly strange but it suits them. I don't think I can pull it off, but it's aesthetically pleasing to look at. 

They're having a large tour around Japan this time, and recently they had their first overseas tour in Taiwan. I hope they expand to other countries, like here! 

All of this writing is just me procrastinating really. Looking back on this, I've written a horrible review for a wonderful group. =_= I sound so listless. I'm trying to learn not to edit though, so I don't want to change anything about this (I have already though....crap). Please listen to them instead; they make a better point about themselves than me. 

Friday, November 25, 2016

Vampire bite wanted

I'm reminded of how Jo March in Little Women, when quizzed by Laurie about what she wanted (in the hopes that he could buy it for her) said, "Genius."

I desperately want that too. More accurately, I want to become a vampire, so that I can stop sleeping.

Of course, we rarely get what we want.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

The Witching Hour

There's something about magical about 3:00 a.m.

For some reason or other, I get epiphanies for my work around this time. There's also a surge of motivation and I am suddenly productive. 

It's an odd phenomenon that I've noticed during my uni days. It's a long story of how I got into the habit of staying up, but knowing that there was a "witching hour" was one of those reasons. Suffice it to say, it led to the me being known as someone who doesn't sleep. 

Unfortunately, this witching hour doesn't quite work if I wake up exactly at 3:00 a.m. I've tried that - nothing. No, I have to actually STAY up the whole way until 3:00 a.m. It's not the most healthy of habits, and lately I've stopped doing it, because I don't have a chauffeur to work. 

Also, this hour is incredibly inconvenient, because as soon as I have an epiphany, my body goes, "oh wow, look at the time. That was a good opinion, brain, but let's deal with that in the morning. I'm bushed." Of course when morning comes, I may have forgotten. I've tried to solve that problem by writing down what I want to do, but the mojo is gone. I don't feel as motivated when dawn comes. 

To this day, I have no idea if I'm a morning person or a night owl. Maybe I'll dwell on it at another 3:00 a.m. session. 

p/s: I'm blogging frequently nowadays because I seem to be facing my work laptop a lot, and I rather not leave some microsoft word doc lying around in here. So, virtual notes. 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

"Our youth rots away, but thanks to that, we're closer to success."

I do like that sentiment of burning your youth for a higher cause. I'm not quite sure what influenced it. Probably from reading stories about Hua Mulan (lost her youth to fight for her country), Joan of Arc (fought for her country and died at a young age) and other sorts.

I may be working my youth away, but all I'm getting close to is an acne breakout. Haha.

(this was written very briefly, so i might have more thoughts on this. the above quote is taken from BTS 'Dope'.)

Monday, October 10, 2016


This was written a year ago, when my final observation was done and my supervisor informed me of my performance in my practical training. 

Things have changed since then. Not really, but lately, I'm ... tired. 

This was meant to be personal, but I thought of sharing it here. Why? I don't really know. Hopefully others can relate. More importantly, in typing these things, I hope to make sense of myself. 

10 October 2015: Beat up teacher night

What a messed up teacher I am. I don't remember all my students' names. I don't know if I've made a true connection with them, or if I was just rushing through the syllabus and worrying about my own performance and FYP too much. I don't know whether I've done any good at all, and I'm sure not all of them are going to perform well during their finals.

I've failed so many.

I can excuse myself and say this is just my first time, I'm not even a real teacher, etc. But the fact is in these four months I'm their influence, their connection to English. Whether I've been a positive or negative one, the impact is there. It has been made and I can't unmake it.

I know I can't live with regrets for the rest of my life. I don't intend to. But I want to remember this moment - the moment when I know I've gotten an A for my practical, and it meant nothing to me. I want to strive ahead and work harder to be a better person, a better teacher, a better influence in my little bubble.

It's not about the grades. It's not about me. This life was never about me. It's about others, no matter the cost.

Friday, September 9, 2016


I have many incomplete drafts of thoughts, scattered througout my phone, laptop, notebooks. some of them are even audio recordings. I haven't gotten around to editing or completing them, because I don't know how to. 
Perhaps i'm at a stage of my life where there are no complete answers; only half-finished sentences, trailing ideas, incomplete closures. 

I'm living a day-to-day survival lifestyle at this point. Ideally, I should have time to plan my week during weekends but somehow I get involved in other things. Also, always remember to add in the fact that I'm lazy. Is it possible to be passionate and procrastinating at the same time? My disillusioned brain seems to think so. 

I know I've hit a snag when I can't remember when my day ends or begins. Sometimes I like to lay awake counting the number of people who are disappointed in me. That's probably a narcissistic and paranoid thing to do, but I feel that I'm letting a lot of people down, even though it doesn't seem that way. 

When every birthday passes, I feel as if I have one new past Hannah watching me scrutinisingly. 

Perhaps I'm disappointing my many past selves the most. 

I've experienced enough to know that I won't give up, and eventually I'll adjust. Things will fall into place; life will go on, and it'll be okay. 

But still. It's frustrating to not be there now. 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

It is to be acknowledged...

...that I have terrible work ethic. I procrastinate. That is the be all and end all of my problem.

As much as I'd like to think I'm amazing and did my final year project on my own, I know I absolutely didn't. So here's my official thanks (as written in the report) and some unofficial ones (which I could not afford to put in..)

Before all else, praise be to my heavenly Father who through Christ has granted me the deepest of mercies and grace. I am humbled by His continuous favour with Him and with men, even when I least deserve it. Throughout these four years, I have experienced His joy in which I draw strength to do all things.
 My sincerest of thanks to my supervisor, Mr. Mohammad Sidik bin Ariffin, for his kindness and graciousness to me, the procrastinator to beat all procrastinators. Your advice and encouragement have been a great reassurance to me amidst the struggle of overcoming this last hurdle of my tertiary education. I am truly appreciate your consideration and care.
I cannot neglect to thank the wonderful individuals I have met in SMK Seksyen 18, Shah Alam, from the principal Mdm. Siti Khadijah bt Awang Seman, to our afternoon session Mdm. Rohana bt Jaapar, and Mdm. Syarifah Elfalina Kurnia bt. Syed Sagoff, my mentor teacher. I am indeed fortunate to have met a circle of supportive educators who are truly sincere, dedicated and passionate about their practice, and it has only fuelled my motivation and drive to excel in the education sector. My thanks as well to my students who had me at their mercy, but chose to be gracious to this newbie anyway.
To my friends who were willing to put up with this sometimes serious, sometimes crazy, and all times weird individual: Lydia Wan, Lily Lim, and Chuan Teik Min. While we certainly spent a lot of time having fun together, I also deeply enjoy the equal amount of times we collaborated and supported one another. Special thanks to Hii Wei Wei, the Lady Boss, and Loi Sook Mei, my procrastinating comrade. I have learnt a lot from all of you, and I aim to surpass the high bars your examples have set.
I save the last for those closest to my heart. To my mother and father, thank you for teaching me the word “perseverance” before “talented”. If there is a limit in the latter, there is none in the former. To my brothers, who worry and tease me; I am not sure why you should be on this list, but I guess family ties do not have to make sense. And to Darren, my kindred spirit, who lights up the late nights. I love all of you deeply.

And the unofficial thanks: I owe a lot of my motivation to ONE OK ROCK, specifically their 2014 Mighty Long Fall concert at Yokohama Stadium. Nothing is better than sitting down and typing to the sounds of a 2 hour long concert. It sounds too good for me to be distracted by toilet breaks or other things that need me to get up. It was also a great way to gauge my work time. In all seriousness, this whole concert helped to get me typing more than anything.

Here's the concert if you have 2 hours to spare..

Also, a final note after reflecting on my experience doing this research: Anything looks good in a hard cover.

look at that shine. much professional. many clever. wowe. 

How do I put it without sounding arrogant or overtly humble or ...trying to seek for praise? hmm. Well, I did put effort into that report there. I think I certainly wrote as well as I could have, and I tried to be as true to the data I gathered as possible. However, I'm also incredibly aware that this work....isn't ...phenomenal.

Of course, how can it be? Between juggling teaching in a school for the first time, dealing with other school activities, how can I actually be capable of producing a noteworthy study at my first try? No to the way. Not me anyway. Add to that the haze holidays, the school's change of schedules for other events, my own inexperience in doing any form of practical research (no Hannah, that Form 6 research...kinda helped, but doesn't count). So that work bound with a hard cover and printed with beautiful gold letters isn't fantastic. I know that research-wise, it'd be a laughing-stock. Heck, I laugh at it sometimes (and then cry).

This understanding has led me to a decision. I know many expect me to naturally head to doing a masters, and I can see why. It's just a Thing-To-Do these days, isn't it? A degree doesn't cut it anymore.

Unfortunately, I'm also here to acknowledge that I don't see myself doing masters right away. Not after this experience.

I just can't bring myself half-assing another research again. I want to do it properly next time. And for that to happen, I need experience. I need to actually know what it takes to teach. Not just grades on a piece of paper, or dean's list certs.

Teaching isn't defined by those.

If there's one thing I've found out in university (and I'm phrasing this very briefly here, because I think this is a whole other issue for another time), is that you can get away with many things if you're slightly well-read, and slightly more fluent in your language. I know many are impressed by my command in English, but for me, it's natural. I've been speaking English all my life at home, interacting in mainly English all my days. English is my first language. Add my bookworm household, my minuscule debate training and my googling past-time, and anything can sound somewhat good from my mouth.

look at this girl. many cray. much silly. genius? nopes. nopity-nope. 

I know myself though. And I know I'm having things way too easy. Way, way, too easy. I can see this when I look at my other brothers struggle in private institutes (one in Singapore, MAN THAT PLACE is a pressure cooker). I can see it when I interact with people from other countries and they tell me about the stuff they're doing (at a much younger age). I'm too sheltered, too pampered. The real world will chew me up and spit me out. Teach? what do i know.

Errrrrrr....where was I going with this? I had a point.

The only master programme I feel confident doing right now is literature. The question is, do I really need to do a masters in that? For what? Self-gratification probably. For an education one though, I need to try my hand at teaching first. Properly. So that I can find a proper topic to research on.

Basically, I've been thinking a lot about this quote, from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix:

'George,' said Fred, 'I think we've outgrown full-time education.
''Yeah, I've been feeling that way myself,' said George lightly.
'Time to test our talents in the real world, d' you reckon?' asked Fred.
'Definitely,' said George.
I feel that way myself. Except I know I will be having a harder time than the twins. Haih. Hopefully I can balance it as well as I can balance that report on my head.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Stopped by a security guard

Asked me what course I'm doing. When he heard TESL, he said, that's good, just don't go be like Adam Adli. I thought, ah, not another 'young people should stay out of politics' speech. 

But then he explained...He had to quit his studies to fight the communists. Never managed to continue it. He seemed genuinely interested in modern technology, but he said he can't keep up anymore. So don't throw away your future, he advised. Finish your degree, then go and 'fight' if you want. 

I wonder how many others have lost the opportunity to further their academic pursuit because of war, disaster, inequality, poverty. Of course success is relative and certainly not defined by a degree. Is it 'throwing away your future' or 'taking a stand'? That's up to the individual to decide. But I think we should be thankful that we are free to choose in the first place. We wanted to go to uni, and we got to. Some wanted to, but never had that chance. 

I'm not saying be thankful and then turn a blind eye on wrongdoing though. It's more like, be thankful, and then try to pay it forward. 

p/s: i HATE short blogposts!!!! i feel so bad writing such a lil piece. but i said i would stop trying to edit myself all the time, right? so this is it. i'm also trying to not clog my facebook with long statuses.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016


I think I started being truly ambitious when I was 14.

10 years later, here I am.

If my fourteen-year-old self were to meet me now, I wonder what words we would exchange.

2016. I can feel my youth slipping through my fingers.

Let's go.