National Novice 2012

Sunday, February 26, 2012

When some leave highschool, they let go of things they once loved. Cheerleaders store their pompoms in the cupboard while prefects hang up their ties and blazers. Where ever they may go, priorities become the word of the day.

Slackers promise to be studious in college and for a short month at best, books aren't left alone long enough to gather dust. But like the one person you will find yourself always loving, the activities that were once the centre of their lives call them back and attempts to escape are rendered moot.

Despite having been in college for only slightly over a month, it seemed natural to want to go back to debating. Various times, I contemplated letting go entirely to focus more on A-Levels but over and over again, I became reminded of how much I loved doing it.

For starters, thanks to the Ee Fen, the new president of SKDUDU (Sri KDU's Debate Union), Jocelyn and I returned to our former school to debate for the mock round for the club's first mini-tournament. Admittedly, we were mad rusty but it reminded us of how much we loved debating.

It was then that the idea of competing in National Novice Debating Championship 2012 first took shape.

Over the weeks, as deadline for registration approached, problem after problem emerged. We were poised to send two teams, comprising of ex-Seafield debaters and Sri KDU alumni, but in order for us to break, we needed to send an adjudicator each. When that problem was solved, the team I was in with Zhengs lost our first speaker due to her other prior commitments. We then subbed in our adjudicator as the first speaker but that didn't work out as well and due to his own reasons, he then had to pull out of the tournament.

That left Zhengs & I one debater and one adjudicator short.

After sourcing around, we finally got lucky when an interested debater & adjudicator offered to be part of our team.

Problem solved?

Not quite.

We THEN found out that we could only send one team because we were late to register. T.T

Eventually, due to the noble sacrifice of some debaters, we sent a team that was the amalgamation of Seafield and Sri KDU debaters as well as two adjudicators to Novice.

Phew!

To be honest, I was reluctant to participate in the tournament because I was so accustomed to being with Jocelyn & Celine in a team that imagining recreating the wonderful dynamics we had seemed impossible, especially in under a month.

However, with Kaelan & Zheng Xi, my new partners, we created our own dynamic.

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With Kaelan, whip speaker!

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With Zhengs, first speaker!

Training wasn't the smoothest with everyone having other responsibilities to attend to but we did it thanks to Sam and Alvin, who adjudicated and debated with/against us.

When the competition finally came around, we had practiced a total of under 10 times and were very unprepared. Still, we went in hoping for the best.

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It was our first debate competition after high school and seeing the names of prominent debating universities on the match-ups was definitely nerve-wrecking!

Throughout the debates, it was disheartening to realize that after the roughly 7 month gap from our last debate competition, we had all gotten so rusty! At one point, a moment that really discouraged then eventually motivated me (it makes sense!) was when an adjudicator that had seen me debate in high school said, "You were once a threat."

It was such a good wake-up call to want to do better and admittedly, I have a long way to go to become a threat at varsity level but I hope to get there one day! *looks off into distance dramatically*

But I digress!

After 6 long preliminary rounds, we broke 10th to the Pre-Octos with 5 wins!

It was already miles above our expectation since we had only been practicing together as a team for under a month. In fact, I only become acquainted with my third speaker for a month at most!

At the Pre-Octos, we were matched against the team from HELP University College to move onto the Octofinals with the motion "THW would punish people who poach critically endangered animals on par with murderers". As the government, the motion was left standing and were in the top 16 teams in the tournament!

At the Octofinals against the UNIMAS team (if I'm not mistaken) that broke 7th with the motion "THW allow marriage to non-human objects/creatures", we were once again the Government and by a 2-1 split, we moved onto the Quarter-finals!

:O

Being in the top 8 teams of the tournament had far exceeded our expectations. Unfortunately, our lack of general knowledge bit us right in the butf for the motion "THW leave monitoring Syria to the Arab League".

First question: WHAT ON EARTH WAS HAPPENING IN SYRIA?!

((If you'd like to know, click here))

We were on the Opposition bench and I'd like to think we did a decent job for a motion which we had no clue of. At one point, we thought it had something to do with nuclear energy! *ashamed*

We lost out to International Islamic University by a 2-1 split, but went home in high spirits nonetheless.

Our achievement as quarterfinalists in as a varsity tournament would not have been possible without Alvin and Sam who not only supported us wholeheartedly, but became the adjudicators so we would have a chance to break, trained us by adjudicating and debating Iron Man (all three speeches done by one person) against us, and drove us there / stayed with us till late at night to prep with us. :') You guys make me so feel so lucky to be in Taylor's.

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I consider it such a privilege and an honour to be debating alongside Kaelan and Zheng Xi who not only allowed me to be ridiculously hormonal, but were patient and brilliant fun to be around. You guys were wonderful partners and thank you for making my first debating-with-males experience a memorable one.

Cliches aside, National Novice was a reminder of the long way I have to go as a debater and at the end of the day, was a huge motivation for me to keep doing this - to keep trying to improve.

ABRUPT END WITH LALA PICTURE, Y'ALL!

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Shut The Smoke Up

Wednesday, February 22, 2012
I haven't had a ranty post in a while but seriously, this deserves one. Okay, you can obviously tell from the title that this has to do with smokers. Before anyone flames me for being judgmental, etc etc, I do not think people who smoke are necessarily bad people. I mean, you could be super chivalrous & philanthropic by donating to a lot of charities as well as be a smoker, and there are obviously people who do not smoke but are awful human beings so that isn't the point.

The point is, SMOKERS WHO SMOKE IN PUBLIC ARE SUPER SELFISH.

1. You wanna kill yourself, then that's up to you, but don't go around killing other people and blowing in people's faces. It doesn't matter that you smoke to relieve stress or that it's the only thing that makes you feel better.. Whatever la! If my idea of relieving stress is spitting on people's faces, it doesn't mean I should get to do it right?!

2. Smokers smell horrible. The smell of smoke is super super awful. This isn't even like smelly sweaty people who spray a lot of deodorant and still come out smelling like wet towels (cause they can't help it) but people who smoke can obviously decide not to!

Alright fine, what about the event whereby they're super addicted and without cigarettes they'll have a fit of seizures? THEN SMOKE SOMEWHERE ELSE LAH. And it isn't just about the smoking at that point of time, it's the smell that comes after! It's such a suffocating noxious smell and maybe the smoker themselves are alright with it, but other people aren't, and when we have to accommodate to your bad habit, then that's super unfair right?

Analogy: A kleptomaniac has this insane desire to steal. So we should just let him take our things because otherwise, he'll be super agiated and affected? NO, people send them to see psychiatrists or put them in jail!

And yes, it's almost the same thing because on one hand, it's the stealing of belongings and on the other hand, it's the theft of precious air and possible years of a life!

Okay back to the reason I'm blogging about this - I read something somewhere from a smoker who seems to think that people who have problems with smokers should mind their own business.

Now let's make this clear.

It becomes my business when you're affecting my lungs.

You want to make it your business, then you make it ENTIRELY your business! You go smoke in a solitary room, shower with scented soap before you leave said room, and then proceed to spray yourself with cologne and then maybe we can talk about us minding our own business.

If I say something to you about quitting smoking, then it's cause I'm genuinely concerned. If I have no idea who you are, I do encourage you to quit because it's not only bad for you and bad for the people around you, but if you don't, then fine. Just don't smoke in public places.

In fact, don't smell of smoke in public places.

COMMUNITY SERVICE MESSAGE/ WARNINGS:-
- Smoking cigarettes kills brain cells within the first puff
- Your children may become retarded because you smoke
- Cancer is not fun

PS: Give me one good reason that I can't refute as to why one should be sympathetic to the plight of smokers and I may just eat my words. Till then, keep the cigarettes if you want me to stop complaining. After all, it's not like the air around here it super fresh anyway. Don't ruin it any further.

PPS: I know absolutely lovely people who also happen to smoke who are my friends/relatives. They know my problems with it and they actively try to make speaking to them as pleasurable as possible.
 

Flipping the pages..

Sunday, February 19, 2012

In a flurry of interviews, debates, parties, and classes, the past week screamed one phrase loud and clear - you're in college now.

For starters, those running for student council positions have been actively campaigning for votes -infiltrating Malaysian Studies classes, hanging up huge posters in school, and giving out badges amongst other things. 

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And surprise, surprise, about 4 of the candidates running were Sri KDU students! :P

Those who weren't interested in student council positions who had their sights set on committee positions in other clubs weren't free from the hullabaloo either. I attended an interview for a position in a charity club and in the one hour that I was there, was questioned repeatedly about my passion, my qualifications, and my maturity. (The latter of which I may need some help with :P)

In highschool, elections for committee positions aren't as complicated. A teacher picks you out if there aren't volunteers, a "democratic" voting system follows, a few minutes later, lo and behold, you're the new president of a club!

The system here is a little more cumbersome. You start with a written application followed by an interview session, and then, depending on the club, get called back to deliver a speech to the masses, who then finally vote for their new leaders.

It isn't just this change though that's a reminder that we're no longer in high school. Despite only having four core subjects to tackle, the workload isn't exactly very light. We have tests every week which contribute to our forecast results, as well as daily homework.

Still, good teachers attempt to bring some fun into the class..

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Learning about projectile motion! Open-mouthed smile

On Friday, there was CALebration, a party for the new Taylor's students as well as the last chance for the student council candidates to garner support via performances.

Despite the new environment and masses of unknown people, it felt like a KDU event with the ex-students on stage and familiar faces at every corner.

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Jing Yi & Pei Shin!

By the time the clock struck 11, the music was loud, the lights were flashing, and all thought of this being a high school event flew out the window. The dancing was absolutely insane that at various points throughout the night, the ground shook due to the sheer amount of jumping moshing people.

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The more bold ones leaped off stage and crowd surfed their way out (I'm adding that to my bucket list) whilst even the most tame found themselves jumping along.

But to be honest, I found the whole jumping in a crowd thing kinda ridiculous and the whole while I was thinking to myself, "This counts as a physical activity, keep jumping!"

What can I say? I had my February goal in mind! :P

At the end of the day, I gravitate to the familiar. In the midst of all of this, I've been involved in debate training for National Novice at UiTM next Thursday. (Will I be seeing any of you there?) We are absolutely unprepared but we have our fingers crossed, so here's to hoping for the best!

As for now, juggling college life hasn't been easy and there have been some absolutely de-freaking-pressing days, but the new friends make it a lot more bearable.

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Even if they're asleep most of the time. :P

Winnerwinner & Wong Fu Productions!

Monday, February 6, 2012

I'm battling the mother of all sore throats right now & am spewing out phlegm the colour of ripe bananas but besides this little issue, I've been doing absolutely brilliantly!

This, of course, is in part, due to the brilliant company I've had the pleasure to be with throughout the month.

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We celebrated Jocelyn's birthday and I tried my hand at a little DIY for her present.

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Jo has this thing where she'd write down meaningful quotes on this absolutely hideous (hohoho) foolscap paper cover and I decided to make her a custom little notebook for her to carry around.

MUST USE IT WAN, OKAY!?

Besides the pleasurable company and great food, it's been such a happy last week with emails rushing in one after another with good news. For starters, remember that Avril Lavigne concert I was raving about?

I decided to join a contest to win tickets and guess what?

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SO HAPPY HEEHEE!

After much deliberation and many days of analyzing the consequences, I decided to share the video here. After all, since we've already put in the effort to film it, might as well share it, no?

That wasn't the only good news though!

Within that same week, I got another email that brought along a pretty cool new experience. Having submitted an application for some online mini-series a few months back, I was pleasantly surprised to be invited as a shortlisted candidate for the auditions.

And so, I went.

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It was definitely different from the school auditions I've been to. For starters, the whole audition was done in front of a camera and as the space was wide open, whoever was there to audition could watch the others. It required a lot of improvisation as the casting director kept wanting to see me being 'more cute' and kept giving scenarios where I had to react in the way I imagined the character to react in.

I doubt I'd get the role considering the experience of the others but nonetheless, it was such a brilliant opportunity and something I can finally tick off my bucket list. Winking smile 

But, wait.

There's more.

I received another email  bearing good news.

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For those cave-dwellers who have no clue who Wong Fu Productions are, they're basically American-Asians who have been making waves all around the world with their videos on YouTube. Heck, even LeeHom worked with them!

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But because Taylor's Lakeside is an impossibly difficult place to find, my sister and I arrived an hour late to the event. :(

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Since we were only there for an hour, we decided to brave the long queue to meet the boys in person, hug them, and get their autograph.

Thank God we had these wonderfully beautiful people to keep us company. Smile with tongue out

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This is Chloe Lee.

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And Ysabella Lee.

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And Darren Ashley.

The crowd was insane!

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I think we overwhelmed Phillip and Wes a little with all the screaming and shrieking and all around fandom.

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Unfortunately, Ted didn't come down to Malaysia so we couldn't see him. Sad smile

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Meeting them in real life is such a surreal experience. Having watched them in their videos for years and years, when you finally get to see them standing there right in front of you, it just feels really unnatural.

Whilst waiting in the really really long almost 2-hour line to meet Wong Fu, we took a picture with the emcee of the day, Jin from Hitz.fm.

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He was really nice about it although he kept getting interrupted by random people when he was trying to buy his Chatime.

Finally, the line got shorter and shorter..

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And they wrapped their cute artistic talented arms around Chloe and Ysa!

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They hugged me too but all I got was a picture of Phil touching my arm.

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But I guess this one will do. T.T

Allow me to relieve this fan-tastic moment (HOHOHO)

Me: Can I hug you?
Phillip: Sure, of course!

And then I proceeded to squeeze his slightly squishy tummy. Heh.

The hug with Wes, on the other hand, was a little more awkward.

He stuck out his hand, I reached in for a hug. As I changed mine into a shake, he turned his shake into a hug. We stared at each other for a millisecond, laughed together, then hugged.

Ahh, he laughed with me. Then hugged me. While laughing slightly. Ahem.

Sadly, because we had some ticketing issue (where we actually weren't supposed to meet them cause our ticket wasn't the Wong Fu For Lyfe one), my sister didn't get to go up and hug them. Sad smile 

But at least we got this..

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And thus, that was the week of fun and victory. Thank you, Nuffnang for the opportunity!

I am now very inspired to join every single online contest available! If I win at least half of them, I'll have free events to go to every month! #cheaptothemax

PS: If you like reading about concerts, celebrities, and events, then you should head down to thetwotimers.blogspot.com because the bloggers there have an absolute knack at meeting celebrities and getting pictures with them! Pay them a visit and join me in throwing envious looks in their direction.

January Goal – learning to cook!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

So, how many of you skeptics expected me to fail my January goal?
WELL, YOU WERE ABSOLUTELY WRONG! Open-mouthed smile 

Putting up these goals on my blog really feels like such a positive way to use my blog because when I actually had people coming up to me and asking me how my cooking was going, I knew that there was an audience, albeit how small, that wanted me to succeed and that was such a motivation on its own.

Cooking is something that comes so easy to some, but more difficult to others. Unfortunately, I’m in the latter group. Maybe it’s laziness or maybe it’s how easy it has gotten to buy food or get someone else to make it for me but over the past few years of my life, the biggest cooking I’ve done on a regular basis was sporadic baking sessions and whatever I could do with a microwave.

(And trust me, you can do a LOT with a microwave. I’ve cooked eggs, made mini-pizzas, and cooked pasta - all in a microwave!)

As embarrassing as this sounds, I have to start off this post by listing out what I didn’t know how to do. I didn’t know how to turn on the gas, I couldn’t use an oven on my own, and I didn’t know how to cook rice. It’s not that I was incapable – I just didn’t bother. I took it for granted.

I always looked up to people who would cook dinner for their family, or whip up their own meals like it was nothing. I was so dependent on my mother and my maid that when I actually sat down and thought about how I was to survive somewhere where I had to cook on my own, I started to worry. I didn’t want to have to go overseas then start to panic when all I had to eat was cup noodles.

And so, I gave myself a goal and so far, I think I’m doing a pretty good job considering where I started out.

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I figured out how to make maggi mee without a microwave.

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I even learnt how to make sushi, all from scratch! I now know how to cook rice, season it, and roll them into those delicious bits of Japanese goodness.

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I even figured out how to fry an egg! Uh.. excuse the missing bitten-off parts of the bread. I blame my stomach entirely.

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I finally know how to make my eggs with that amazing runny yolk! :D

And at the end of the month, I made dinner for my family.

I cooked the rice, chopped up chicken and spinach, tossed a whole bunch of frozen peas & corn & God knows what else into it, sprinkled it with some cheese, and made a casserole.

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Before baking.

To my ultimate satisfaction, not a single soul complained of an upset tummy or any other symptoms of food poisoning. Of course, I have a long way to go and so much more to learn. I said I would learn four dishes, but I am barely there.

However, it’s a learning process and I for one, am a willing student. Living in a hostel now is making it a lot harder to continue to learn how to cook but with the right dosage of motivation and enough encouragement from you readers, I hope that one day, cooking will come naturally.

Till then, wish me the best and encourage each other. If I can do it, you definitely can.

February Goal – Exercise!

Friday, February 3, 2012

I live on the fourth floor of my lift-less hotel. My classes at Taylor’s are almost always on the highest floor of the yet again, lift-less building. I’m climbing stairs every single day and it’s killing me. I breathe like Darth Vader but 1000x less cooler. I have to force myself to resist the urge to stop every two flights of stairs so the people behind me won’t walk into me.

I AM DYING, FOLKS.

And thus, the goal for this February is for a little health to come into my life! Yes, that’s right! This means jogs, swims, and early dinners.

I once had a dream whereby my condo was on fire and I got burnt to a crisp because I couldn’t climb down the stairs in time. I don’t ever want that to happen in real life. Therefore, I pledge to do at least two physical activities a week, stairs not included.

May the pain begin!

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