Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Chapter 24.05 : Newton Challenge 2017

It was my target to have a good closure run for 2017, prior to my training for full marathon next year, but the experience at Newton Challenge 2017 just left me feeling worst. Even now, the experience still haunts me as I sat here writing this article.

After completing 3 half-marathons this year, my performance for long distance running gradually improved. Not only in terms of speed, but also in terms of consistency. So, I decided to up the challenge by completing another 21km + 9km. Just so happens, that Newton Challenge 2017 was the only running event so far that offers this distance. As naive as I am, I eagerly signed up without doing any research on the terrain and elevation difficulty. Boy, how wrong I was.

One week before the race, me and my partner went for a 2 lap training at Gunung Nuang "Never Ending Road". Which was a total distance 19km++ in 4hours. The next few days were mostly rest days and there weren't much workout. I was supposed to complete my 15km+15km run training, but it was raining for the past few days, and was also caught up with work (actually I'm just giving excuses to myself so I won't feel bad lol).

On the actual running day, although slightly anxious, I still felt great.
The race started on time, and we were flagged off at 5.30am.
Surprisingly, there weren't a lot of participants compared to other running events, but I can tell that these group of runners were pretty serious runners from the pace that they were running.

At 2km, I felt like I wanted to puke. I overate on my breakfast instead of following my usual pre-run meals. This feeling continued until after 10km, but this was the least of my worries. Because I became more worried when I realized that the first water station only appeared after 5km. My negative mind begins to set in because I was afraid of getting dehydrated throughout the run. Luckily, after numerous training, I didn't had to rely on water at such an early stage.

At 6km, the running route slowly starts to ascend. Being naive again, I thought it was only a temporary ascend and descend terrain, so I became hardworking and kept to my 7min pace. But after each km, the hills and slopes seems to like never end!! Like what the farrrrkkkkkk.... the only words in my mind were only cursed words. Even the water stations were so far from each other, some even don't have isotonic drinks (isotonic drinks were alternate for each station). I decided to changed my strategy by taking turns to walk uphill, and run only if it's going downhill.

At 15km, my left calve started to ache. Wasn't sure if it was cramp or muscle ache, but I tried to stretch it once in awhile. The pain didn't bothered me after 17km when my left knee died on me. It became very painful. It felt like someone had pierced needles into my knees. Nevertheless, I still slow jog whenever I can until the pain bothers me, then only I'll walk.


At 22km, my right knee also gave up on me, and now, both my knees hurt whenever I run or slow jog. I didn't wanna further pushed and injured my knees, so the only thing I could do is to walk. And for once, I felt that the water stations were really enough lol. Even my partner, who went toilet 3 times also caught up to me! I really felt like I wanna die. Words of regret came flooding into my head and the only thing I wanted to do was to really go home. The worst thing was, all the first aiders at all the water stations didn't have muscle ache spray or cream. *Faints*

I crossed the finishing line together with my partner running beside me at a 4.43 timing. 43 minutes more than what I had expected to finish. It was the worst personal timing I'd ever run. Turns out I was the last 21 females to finish :(

I didn't had much muscle pains after the run, the only problem was my knees. It was really no joke.
But nothing else is more painful than the feeling of regret of not being able to do better. Really dissapointed in myself.

* * *

All in all, here are my reviews on the Newton Challenge Run 2017. Although having to hear many good reviews from runners, I would like to give my fair view of the negative and neutral feedback from my experience.

Price : 
Couldn't expect anything much cheaper from the run, given that it's a branded run afterall. RM95 for a 30km run is slightly overpriced, but it's also the market rate for any international / big marathons like SCMKL & Kuching Marathon. But the good side is that it filters out "fun-run" runners from joining this run. You get a more serious of demographic runners who really wants to beat their personal bests.

Race Pack Collection : 
Race pack collection was held at MyTown Shopping Centre @ Cheras. Collection went smoothly but was quite dissapointed with the goodie bag. It came in a plastic bag with only running shirt + big + and Newton socks. I think I went shopping instead of collecting my race pack.

Set Up, Event & Program Flow : 
Flag off time was on the dot. Emcee was great. The program went on smoothly without any hiccups. And the set up for toilets, photo booth, medical tent, etc was just simple and adequate enough.

Parking : 
There were ample of parking spots at Giant, Bandar Kinrara Puchong. No issue on finding parking or double parking/illegal parking.

Running Route Difficulty : 
The first 25km of never ending slopes, uphills and downhills were mind challenging even to the most hardworking ones. The constant U-turns is enough to make you go insane! Good training for those who are intending to spice up their boring running routine, especially for those who are intending to train for a full marathon. Running route mainly covers newly developed residential area. Area is well lit and safe to run.

Water & Carbo Stations : 
No water stations at first 5km route. Water stations were frequent after that for every 2-3km. Not every station has isotonic drinks. Still think that there's insufficient water stations and isotonic drinks. All stations should have a balance of both water and isotonic so that to prevent unnecessary cramps and dehydration. The carb station was good though, the sufficient quantity of bananas was enough to keep the runners going.

First Aiders : 
Plenty of first aiders across all the stations. But, NO muscle cramp spray or cream to apply! Only have ice packs for injury. Next time need to bring your own self medication.

Route Marshals & Volunteers : 
Good! Very well entertained and motivated by all the hardworking volunteers who helped manage every station, and to direct the traffic so that the runners are all safe. The energy shown by them with their smiling faces was really comforting!

Overall Rating : 3.13 / 5
Event is simple and organized. All the necessary runners welfare are met, but could be better in terms of delivering quality experienced for the injured and under performing runners. You're a branded organizer, you shouldn't try to save costs on minor things that could affect the runners performance.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Chapter 24.04 : 5 Things You Shouldn’t Expect in Your First Fresh-Graduate Job

1. Ridiculously High Paying Salary

Let me ask you this, how much do you think you’re worth? You probably had a number in your head according to your personal research on fresh grads salary in the market or based on what your peers had told you. But, guess what? You probably don’t deserve them. Unless you can justify your value worth of working experience that you have accumulated from previous working related experiences either through freelancing, or part-time jobs with a valid and solid portfolio (promoters and waitressing doesn’t count unless you’re applying for a sales or F&B position), then you probably have a slightly higher chance of getting an additional RM100-RM300 on top of what they offer you. Other than that, if you’re just a fresh-graduate who knows nothing but to drive around, do chores, throw in likes and comments on Facebook, you probably don’t deserve those unrealistic figures of yours.
However, for any kind of job, they’ll always be a probation period even for starting jobs for fresh grads. During the probation period, the starting salary will not be as what you expect to be and could be 30-50% less from your expectations. This is the case, so that fresh grads could be familiar with the company culture, procedures, workload, stress, etc. instead of earning that RM3k-4k figure while you make shit lot of mistakes, and not being contributive to your company performance. But freight not, upon your confirmation after your probation, you will most likely deserve that increment you’ve earned throughout those probation days. When I first started out in my first company, they offered me 30% lower than my expected salary which was actually below the market rate. I wasn’t very happy about it, but I suck it up and told myself that I wasn’t here for the money, I was here for the experience. True enough, upon my confirmation, my salary shoot up 42% and I was pretty satisfied from then onwards.

So, stay patient, work hard, and never give up! A good company will offer you the range that you should be earning. That RM3k/4k salary will definitely be yours someday (if not, that company is probably a lousy company and you probably have to leave lol).

2. That Your Expensive Graduate Certificate is Everything

Congratulations from graduating from one of the most expensive universities in Malaysia! But, guess what? No one cares! When I was still studying in a private university under the affiliation of a UK Top 10 uni program, many of my lecturers like to emphasize how “special” the program is, and each time they said that, I had to roll my eyes because I knew it didn’t matter to any of my employers who wants to hire me. Let’s be realistic, have you ever come across an employer who was interested to know what you have studied during uni? Obviously no, because firstly, they’ll most likely to ask you to “describe about yourself”, and you have only 1 minute to impress your employer when he/she ask that. So, frankly speaking, you’re just gonna brush through on what were your majors, and the rest you should be talking about your achievements, freelances/part-times, what you can contribute to the company, etc.

Based on personal interviews I had with a few managerial employers from medium-corporation firms in Malaysia, some employers snorted and roll their eyes when they say I come from this private university, but of course, during my internship/employment, I surely proofed them wrong with my right attitude and diligence. Which leads to my next point, some employers shared that they don’t really bother which university you come from as long as the candidate possesses the right attitude, right background skills and knowledge, and at least a minimum education qualification (SPM/Diploma/Degree). They don’t really bother which university you graduate from because when it comes to work, they need someone who is passionate and driven, willing to be initiative and uncomfortable when it comes to solving problems, and handling stress and pressure well, which can’t be seen on a piece of paper. Some industrial employees I interviewed also shared that they regretted taking such an expensive course because it didn’t matter to their company because even if candidate A comes from an establish university, and candidate B comes from a public university; both with the same qualifications and grade results will still be able to qualified to do the same work.

So, regretting for taking that RM50k-80k course? Well, don’t be, because certain universities offers the best qualified teachers and learning opportunities which some public/government uni doesn’t provide (e.g.: publishing your research journals, school trips, etc.). Well, at least you get what you paid for right?

3. To Be Accepted in a Big Famous Corporate Company

Unless of course, you’re a scholarship holder and/or you manage to crawl your way through university with a first class honours bachelor degree, you have higher chances of securing a job interview with big corporations like Nestle, E&A, Unilever, etc. because they first filter based on candidates results (so, if you’re not under the first class honours category, better luck next time, maybe you should have studied a little harder during your finals after-all). Aside from that, if you’re not famous enough, have never accomplished anything in life during your studies, no internal connections with their people, etc. Well, face it, you don’t belong to the 10% of the successful candidates to secure an interview with them.

But don’t throw in the towel too early. Doesn’t mean you don’t get to work in your dream company, doesn’t mean you don’t deserve it. Start small, and work it off to accumulate your working experiences and shove them in your future employers face. Sometimes, it’s a good thing for you to start at the bottom-end of the career ladder, and learn it through the hard way. As you slowly inch your way up the ladder, soon big companies/head-hunters will come hunting for you because of your knowledgeable experience in that field. You’ll basically have all the knowledge needed which some top managers don’t even have, which is good so that when you make decisions in the future, you know how it affects the other departments/people who are working under you. I have a client who was a very good mentor during my previous employment, and even though we were supposed to be professional partners, he’s very willing to share his insights and experience on how to observe, analyze and understand the store promotions, store placement strategies, etc. in which I wasn’t aware of it, and no one from my current industry has even taught me about it. My client was just like one of us before, a fresh graduate. He wanted to pursue a career in FMCG line, but he had to take up different jobs from merchandizing, being a retail buyer, sales executive, marketing executive, etc. to be where he is today, in a big corporate principal firm. The most inspiring thing about him, is that even he is at the top of the management, he’s very understanding when we couldn’t give him the results he wanted because he went through that bottom-line phase before. Many top management who have never work at the bottom line wouldn’t understand how certain decisions they make is totally impossible to achieve for those working under them because they don’t know what these people go through. So sometimes you may wonder, how these kind of people can even end up in such a high ranking position? Go figure.

4. To Be Spoon-Fed at Work
"What?! You're telling me that fresh graduates even gets spoon feed to?! Not fair!"
Not everything is gonna be served to you on silver platter. Your boss ain’t gonna be free to constantly look out for your mistakes and protect you. Have any pending questions in mind, or unsure if what you’re doing is right? Make sure to always ASK GOOD QUESTIONS. Firstly, do it by yourself based on your understanding and/or based on how previous employees have done the similar task, and when you come to a point where you’re really stuck, ask. It’s okay if you make mistakes and get screwed up by your boss, at least you’re taking initiative to learn. You’ll also actually learn a lot faster from making mistakes. There was one time my company hired this new executive at work. She was assisting a colleague on certain administrative work. She was good in everything else, but when it comes to problems which she can’t solve it on her own, the colleague has to do it for her instead of her proposing on the solutions to solve her own problem.

This may not look too well on your performance review as you may be remarked as “not initiative”, or “poor problem solving skills”, or “not motivated and passionate in work”, etc. Thus, it’s very important to be curious at work, and stay hungry to learn everything and anything.

5. To Be the Hero of the Company

It’s great that you have big dreams of wanting to change the world, or you have a creative idea to launch this huge project that could make you famous. But don’t be foolish with your own idealistic dreams, because who do you think you are? I’m not saying to ditch your dreams and ideas to be the next average employee, working from 9 to 5, working just enough to get by, and doing what you’re asked to do. I’m just saying, there’s always a right time to do it, but the right time is not when you step in the company on your first day. Because, you don’t know anything about the company, nobody knows you, and when you get into trouble, who is gonna help you? Frankly speaking, nobody.
Unless you're Gal Gadot. Gal Gadot could be anyone's hero!

First and foremost, you need to know your way around your company, how certain procedures work and doesn’t work, who is the biggest influencer in the company, and who you could rely on for useful information. Keep your ideas or big plans in your pocket, and tell no one until you fully understand how everything works, and once opportunity arises… baby, it’s your time to shine.

I had this client who was an establish brand in the retail market, but wasn’t so establish in the e-commerce segment side in terms of their brand awareness. I wanted to establish a proper digital platform to build a brand presence to maintain a good customer relationship with its end-customers and its products. However, due to their complicated internal procedures, it wasn’t a good time to propose until an opportunity came up. There was an upcoming sports event in Malaysia and we were invited to attend to a booth during the event. I took the opportunity to establish an Instagram profile for them, and propose an activity to help boost their brand presence by inviting customers to like their Instagram page in return for a free goodie bag. The client gave the green light, and the result was tremendous! During the event day, we had achieved 400 likes within a few hours. From that onwards, my client constantly uses the Instagram platform for other events even when I wasn’t handling the brand anymore. It was my best proposal and what’s important is that it makes a difference even when I’m not around anymore. So, the moral of the story: stay unfoolish, stay humble, and be patient. Your time will come.

 * * *
It’s normal for fresh graduates to have a certain level of expectations, after all we’re still humans. As I was once a fresh graduate, these were once my expectations too (except no.2 & 4 though), but it may differ from individual from individual. Expectations comes along when we ASSUME we need to have what others are currently having, thus the expectations on ourselves to perform and achieve that STATUS QUO is what makes us feel miserable because you’re just NOT GOOD ENOUGH like them. So, don’t sweat it, everyone is different and your career is your personal journey, not your parents, friends, or your teachers. Everyone’s pace is different, so take it slow and easy at your own pace.

After being denied and rejected from a few job interviews, I dropped my expectations and after that, everything else seems to fall into places. Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not. After working for a few years, I was still where I wanted to be and looking back, I wished I had the chance to tell the younger me on managing my own expectations when it comes to my first job-hunting. It’s best to have no expectations, but it’s still okay to have a certain level of expectations on your own, but you gotta be responsible on the aftermath feelings and thoughts when you don’t get what you want in the end.
P.S: this article is written solely on my opinion and examples are given based on my personal working experience from various industries. Personal expectations may differ according to individuals, situations, luck, work requirements, etc. Company names and interviewee's name had been taken out for privacy purposes.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Chapter 24.03 : What Happened in 40th Incovar Dhamma Camp?

After being part of Incovar committee for 2 years, I decided to join this time round as a participant. It was quite a difficult decision because I had a choice to join as a committee or a participant. I wanted the best of both worlds, but after my detachment from a Buddhist youth organization, I felt that it wasn’t right for me to be contributing to another Buddhist activity. I felt it was really unfair, plus I really wanted a break from Buddhist commitments at the meantime anyway.

Just so happens that this was the big “40” camp, and it was also the time where I wanted to move on to another career line. Thus, I ended up signing up as a holiday getaway camp while wanting to seek my own “answers”.

“Answers to what?” you may ask. It was answers to my own career and start-up projects.

Unfortunately, after the camp, I didn’t have my answers. My mind was still set on chasing down my interests in digital marketing, and I still wanted to start my own non-profit projects. Which is pretty much good to show that I’m pretty certain of what I want lol.

But one thing for sure, after the camp, I felt emotionally lighter, and sensitively aware of my thoughts and feelings. To elaborate further, below are my key learning aspects that I have learned from this camp:

1. Learning how to really appreciate myself

The major highlight of the camp was to love thyself despite our flaws and imperfections. While I was able to wholly accept my good and bad attributes about myself, I wasn’t deeply affected by the IXP night walk other than my aching legs and back.
But, I can confidently say that I do love myself as whole and it took me years to accept that about myself. And because I was too busy chasing down my goals, and being better at myself, and learning how to accept the way I work and behave, I forgot how to appreciate myself for all the hard work I’ve been through to be who am I today. The written thank you note to myself made me really appreciate myself. I felt much more happier, and deeply satisfied about myself after all these years. It’s also a reminder to myself to not forget to treat myself a lil’bit nicer while I’m working my ass off to chase my dreams.

2. Questioning and dissecting my thoughts

I always have this habit of reflecting on my thoughts on almost everything and every time whenever I’m alone. Really thankful on my self-reflection habits, it taught me to be more tactful and mindful whenever I do things, and/or whenever I speak to people. Nevertheless, after attending Bhante Aggacitta’s workshop and sister Sue Lee’s talk, I became more aware of which thoughts of mine are more important, and if it’s important, how do I further question and turnaround my thoughts on a situation.

I understood and was aware of the mind blowing effects from the questions asked when the “AHA!” sensation came to me after I shared my recent job interview story with Joshua Khoo. Joshua was pretty familiar with the turnaround questions, and it took me a while for my own answers to sink into my brain. At least, my turnaround answers were very comforting answers to my own problems. In summary, it’s a method on how to see the positives even in a bad and complicated situation.

3. Getting rid of my emotional shit

As this year’s camp theme is set to focus on emotional development, there is bound to be lots of personal sharing in this camp. And what is a camp without any crying, right? lol While some participants had successfully cried to release their emotional stress and frustrations during the few days of camp, crying never happen for me until the last day of camp. It wasn’t the farewell that made me cry lol, it was actually a short conversation during breakfast I had with Chooi Leang and some of the participants.

Chooi Leang brought up his father during the conversation, and the word “father” got stuck in my thoughts. I know that there was something about my father that I never thought of addressing about it, so I brushed it to one side, thinking it was just my wondering thoughts. But during Bhante Kumara’s talk, he addresses the importance of releasing emotions and the tendency to keep it too long in the heart and mind can be very intoxicating. Because of that talk, I intentionally had to move to the back of the audience to address my thoughts about my father, because my strong depressing energy could cause Bhante to look towards my direction and ask me to go far away lol (I mean, he’s pretty scary when he can sense energy around him especially if it comes from you).

After settling down, I took out my book and started writing the things about my father. If you know me well enough, I have a long history about my hatred, and un-forgiveness about my father. There’s a reason for me to be that way, but after 12 years, I did learn how to forgive my father and respect him as my own, but still, as I look at the words written on my book “I don’t love my father” and “I don’t care about my father”, the words pierced me like a dagger through my heart. Using the 4 questions according to Byron Katie questions, the tears started trickling down my face like a leaking shower pump, just that someone had to turn the shower on to full blast, that my tears became a salty full blast shower pump few minutes later. Was not being able to control my tears because I felt so ashamed, guilty, and irresponsible of my father’s wellbeing.

But, it was a blessing to have my Kalyana Mitras to be there beside me when I cried, and to listened to my last bit of untold family history. After all that crying drama, I became relieved of my childhood past and was able to move on without dwelling on it. I now no longer cry myself to sleep whenever I felt like doing it.

 * * *
All in all, 40th Incovar Dhamma Camp was a good closure to all my grudges and emotions on my past family problems, and as well as my personal upbringing. Being a child of divorce, it was never easy on me for all these years, and even though I had seemed to forgave and moved on, tiny bits of hate and grudges still lingered on. Took me 7 years to forgive someone, but only took me 1 day (or probably few crying hours lol) to finally convince myself, that I don't hate that person anymore. The total period of that toxic state of mind lasted for nearly 13 years, so the few hours of crying was totally worth it.

Apart from that, it was also a good ending to my last period of my youth camp years. Other than the emotions and self-awareness that I personally went through during the 4 days 3 nights, I also realize one thing… that my body is getting old and unadaptable to the long sitting hours on the floor lol. Knee pain, backaches, and pain through the hips were pains that I never felt before even during my younger days. Well, it’s now understandable why youth camps stop at the age of 25 years old, it’s a sign and about time I retire from these camps lol. Here's a picture of my group, Limau Ais, expressing our pain from sitting on the floors for too long.

Nevertheless, can't share everything that I've been through during the camp, thus I would let the video below speak for itself. Enjoy!


Saturday, April 8, 2017

Chapter 24:02 : The 3 Days Fever

It's been a long time since I last wrote a poem. So, this poem is dedicated to the horrible experience I had to go through just to treat a simple fever. The first 2 days I visited Mediviron at One City. The reason I chose that clinic is because it's the only clinic that is nearest to my office.

Both days, the doctor (same doctor) reported no fever during the measurement. The first day I could accept the reason, but the 2nd day with no fever? That's too ridiculous.

Once I left the clinic on the 2nd day, I realized that the doctor had only relied on a single instrument (infrared thermometer) to measure my fever but nothing else besides that. I was thinking whether the instrument was faulty. Which came to my conclusion, the next time a doctor (or any doctor) treats a patient and still indicates the same result twice, please request another kind of procedure or method to double check the validity of the sickness. This is an advise I would like to give to all my readers out there.

* * *

One day, I rang the bell to the doctors door,
But it seems the doctor wasn't pleased to see me at all,
Doctor, I said, I'm not feeling well today,
I have headache, fever, and body aches all day.

Alright, said the Doctor, let me check and see,
The Doctor took an infrared thermometer and pointed at me,
No fever, she said, your signs are stable,
But come back again if you're not feeling normal.

I took the medications and paid the bill,
Sped home like lightning so I have more time to chill,
Checked my temperature with my home thermometer,
My fever became worse and not any better.

The second day, I rang the bell to the doctors door,
It was the same doctor as it was before,
Doctor, I said, I'm still not feeling well today,
I was shivering, vomiting, and coughing all day.

The Doctor used her device to check my temperature again,
There's no fever, she said, it must be a virus she explain,
It's been 24 hours since your last visit to the doctor,
A blood test is needed as soon as possible.

Doctor that's totally impossible I said,
I still have fever even with the medicines I took as obeyed,
Look, she said, you're well and I'm not sure what you're up to,
Maybe you just wanted an MC to escape the Monday blues.

Frustrated, I left without saying a word,
She thinks I'm lying that's so freaking absurb!
I went back as usual to check my temperature,
Reading was high and fever still not cured.

The third day, I rang the bell to the doctors door,
This time I made sure it was a Sunway's medical doctor,
Your fever is confirmed, the doctor said,
I'll take a sample of your blood so turn your head. (because I was scared of needle pain)

Few minutes later, the results came out,
Negative dengue, I was so happy and proud,
Fever was due to bacteria infection, he said,
So I have to take antibiotics for 5 days straight.

Finally, alas, I could finally rest in ease,
More rest, more sleeps, as much as I please,
So, the next time I visit a doctor with a fever,
I made sure I bring my own thermometer.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Chapter 23:05 : 23 Things I Did While I was 23

Another year has gone, and here goes another additional digit to my age.
Suddenly, I feel like I'm having lesser activities/things to write to match up to the increasing number of my age. Oh gosh, this is bad :(

Well, 2016 has been an interesting monkey year for me.
A year filled with sickness and death.
A year of trial and failure, and moving on with bigger challenges at work.
And, a year of new relationships and priorities.

Trying to realigned my life plans, goals, and priorities that mattered to me. But sometimes even if you have all the things planned out the way you want it, along the way, somehow the universe will change the things around us and we end up feeling lost again. To be honest, I still have no idea what I want to do in life, but let's hope things end up the way that I'm proud to be.

So, here it goes... The 23 things I did while I was still 23:

1. Had my first experience watching a live fireworks during New Years Eve
Always wanted to watch a real life fireworks, and it was incredibly beautiful! Instead of hogging myself at a countdown bar this time, I decided to renounce myself from ending my year with a crowd filled with drunkards and strippers. Instead, I chose to end the year with the special group of people from the Buddhist youth community at Desa Park City. Although it was a great live firework performance, that experience made me never want to do it again lol... From the horrendous parking (park like sibeh far, you can even complete a 5km distance run), and you have to queue for 30minutes just to use the toilet (they only had 2 cubicles. TWO. FREAKING. CUBICLES. For an expected crowd of 1k++ during that night! *faints*). But overall, it was a great start to the monkey year!

2. Attended the D2Y Getaway Trip @ Tadom Hills, Banting
Totally fell in love with this place! I enjoyed the water activities especially the tarzan swing and diving platform as I overcame my fear of jumping from a 5m tall tree! But the most memorable moments is being able to have a camp fire BBQ, singing to the strump of Shashi's amazing guitar skills, gossiping and chatting up in a cramped treehouse with a bunch of Kalyana Mitras, and also enjoying the awesome stargazing night view with Ken Hui! :)

3. Entered into a serious relationship
I've been labelled to have a "serious" personality sometimes, but nothing is as serious as being in a committed relationship. The biggest highlight of my year will definitely have to be this. Other than the sappy, and unbelievable love story that you have heard, I've learn a great deal of things myself during the process of our relationship.

4. Take a liking towards hiking
I have to be really honest with you, I rarely hike in my life. But just so happens that my other half really loves hiking and I want to do it together with him. Thus, after one hike after the other, I began to enjoy the thrill seeking adventures each time we go hiking. Because of him, I get to explore all my first time hiking places like Bukit Tabur, Gunung Apek, Gunung Nuang, and many more to come. I'm pretty glad to have a great hiking buddy like him for a clumsy person like me.

5. Became an responsible adult
Growing up is fun until you have to pay for your bills. Namely: income tax, roadtax, personal insurance, credit cards, student loans, etc.etc. Like, Oh. My. Buddha. Please let me hit my monthly sales incentive target please. Don't have pictures to show you how poor I am, so here's a potato for you.

6. Officially completed a year in Delfi Marketing
Can't believe that it's already been a year, and now soon approaching to my 2nd year in Delfi Marketing. Throughout this 2 years, I have dedicated my life and soul, and even threw away  my reputation to get things done. All the things that I never imagine that I will do, had eventually happened! Risk my life driving INSIDE Petaling Street, traveled to Melaka without eating Satay Celup or having coconut milkshake :(, performed a dance in front of a large audiences, and last but not least, switching to a new brand portfolio where I could handle an agency by myself, and plenty more. I'm totally in love with the challenges I faced at work each day, but the only thing I'm worried is when I soon become too comfortable with my current position that it would be difficult for me to leave for bigger challenges in the future.

7. Planned my first trip to Pulau Redang with friends
My initial plan was to backpack and travel alone. Well, my plan got backfired. Mom didn't allowed me to travel alone just because I'm a girl and it's dangerous. So, I invited 3 interesting friends to come along with me. Interesting enough, my friend, Yean Lynn, got sick. Her boyfriend, Tommy had to take care of her. In the end, it was only me and Zann, and a few new people whom we met along the way during our snorkeling trip. It's a thrilling and adventurous 3days, 2 nights trip! The most memorable moment was being able to walk along the secluded dark beach while dragging our feet along the sand to see the infamous glowing blue sand. The only part of the trip which I find it detestable, was the night squid fishing trip. Got very seasick and vomited countless of times, but the experience was very rewarding as we get to have the most beautiful stargazing experience, and also a bunch of sotongs and fish to eat at the end of the trip.

8. My 2nd Penang trip with friends
Our first high school reunion trip with these bunch of friends to my hometown along with bae! Went for my first cave walking experience at Anak Gua Tempurung and it was pretty cool! Next time, aiming to go for the most difficult track instead! The food in Penang is not as nice as before anymore though. Hmm... :(

9. Went gambling for the first time
While I learned the better good of things, there were also *ahem*... badass things that I wanna experience too, and bae had to do it with me :P I was actually barred from entering the Casino because I wore slippers that day (I have no intention of gambling that day actually), but we were able to somehow sneaked in to the gambling area. I lose a few rounds at first, because of this !$&!@$&! guy who stacked his chips on top of mine (I'm super duper superstitious with these stuffs lo). But with bae's 2nd chance, I manage to end my gambling experience on a very positive note. I entered this gambling table which was on the losing end, and i turned the fengshui around hehehe... but in the end, I ended my slot when this greedy aunty was trying to use me (or more to my beginners luck) for her winnings. This experience reminded me that gambling is such an impulsive and adrenaline-rush activity, and I mustn't have high expectations and greediness in these kind of games.

10. Traveled to Sekinchan... 3 times
This, is really... Oh. My. God. One time is more than enough, but at least these 3 trips revolve around 3 important aspects of my life:
- 39th Incovar Dhamma Camp Induction Camp
- Friends trip
- Event work trip
But please.... no more... *cries*

11. Appeared on newspaper....... again.
I think I became used to the fact that I'm constantly on the papers, just that.... I never once look good on it. Must be a paper thing... You may read some of the interviews and articles below:

12. Took up a treasury and faci role in Incovar Dhamma Camp 2016
Decided to do something different by taking up treasury with my lovely partner, Nyon this time round. Also partly because my co-ex publicity sidekick, Chen Yee Leong, was leading the camp this year. Self-realized that I'm getting more particular with numbers and it's justification, I think partly because of my job. Other than that, I think I improve quite alot on facilitating based on my previous experience in other Buddhist camps. Just that, my group members like to bully me. It's definitely because of Brian Boudeville's fault! :(

13. Welcome my sister back from U.S.
Well, it's good to have her back. Now that I can listen to all her beautiful cursing languages and also her frequent dessert free treats! So much sisterly love <3 p="">

14. Went to the top of KL Tower
It's my first experience up the KL Tower thanks to the free passes from the KL Towerthon 2016! Glad to spend this great experience with my family.

15. Saw a meteor shower
I'm actually quite touched when people remembers the smallest details that means a lot to me (which sometimes I could never remember). First time hiking up to Broga Hill in the wee hours of the morning, together with bae and Sara to watch the meteor shower which was recommended by Nicholas Woon. Bae also brought some hot cup noodles and a tent up there as he expected it was going to rain, which it did. Saw a few meteors, but barely noticeable. It was a really chilling and exciting experience which I'll never forget. Didn't manage to capture the meteor though, so here's a beautiful cheese baked potato for you to drool on. 

16. Queue for 2 days to renew my passport
Okay la... the statement above is a bit misleading and too kua juong. But basically, I had an initial plan to camp overnight at UTC to get my passport done, but, the meteor shower opportunity came up. So, after the hike up to Broga, we came back down closed to 4am. After cleaning up, me and Sara left to UTC at 6am to renew our passports. We reached about 7am and queued for nearly 2 hours, but we didn't manage to renew our passport as they had reached their maximum limit of passport renewals that day. Plus, the crowd was so overwhelming and we were actually quite late. The next day, I came alone at 6am and wasted my whole life waiting to renew my bloody passport for nearly 10 hours!! Thank God that Game of Thrones kept me entertained throughout the wait. Ughh... most horrid experience ever.

17. Traveled to Vietnam
I always wanted to go Vietnam to understand the lifestyle and culture of an developing country. Bae had to make it all arranged for me, just because I wanted it. Seriously, love die him. The place was really crazy to start with, with all the motorists and traffic congestion. The food itself tastes pretty weird but edible in all its ways. There's nothing much to shop around because the fashion trend is not as up-to-par compared to other developed countries, even compared with Malaysia. Most of the tours we had was pretty hospitable and I enjoyed every single trip of it, especially the cruise ship to Ha Long Bay. Overall, we had a lot of fun.

18. Did archery for the first time
Wanted to try archery for a long time, and I finally did it with bae! And I beat him, hehe... That's the only highlight I would like to share. Hehe... Here's the ice cream that was part of the bet that I won. Tee hee :p

19. Say goodbye
The most difficult part of this year, is actually leaving. Leaving something that I've promised myself, and maybe a few people that I would make things better. I felt quite shameful and dissapointed in myself for not being able to deliver what I expected to do due to work commitments and also a change of priorities, but because of this I put on a baggage that I didn't felt happy carrying it anymore given with the burden and responsibility that kept me from leaving. I finally decided I couldn't drag this anymore, and did what I think was right, leaving. It was also the day where I've decided to totally detached myself from all Buddhist activities. I remember sobbing to myself when I typed out that message to my team, because I felt so terrible to leave at such a critical transition stage of our organization, but that shows how much everyone meant to me and at the same time, the huge unhappiness that I'm carrying.

20. Had a bunion 
I started doing frequent runs this year for my personal achievement, and also feeling the need to live a healthy and active lifestyle. Hence, introducing the 50km challenge that is due to be completed by this year. However, during mid of the year, things got painful and found out that I have an inflammation on my left foot, which soon developed a minor bunion. Partly because of my family genes inheritance (my mom and grandma had serious ugly bunions too), my tight running shoe, and also my mistake to constantly rub the boney area (stupid me), the injury actually got worse. After seeing the specialist, I was advise to take special precaution on my activities, and to wear this weird plastic toe stretcher thing until it gets better. I felt quite saddened by this news as I won't be able to run much anymore, and it's the only sports that I felt truly free and happy, and stress relieving compared to other sports besides badminton. Which also means, that I have to do some drastic change of plans to have a healthy lifestyle. Sigh....

21. Went JumpStreet for the first time
Just like the archery, I finally get to experience the infamous trampoline park! Pretty cool place, just that it's crowded with children and kids most of the time, making it feel like we're a bunch of amateurs. Manage to do this pretty cool front-somersault stunt! So addicted to the jumping experience that it feels super duper mega weird to walk of land again.


22. Broke my badminton racket :(
After a good 15 years, my 20 year old badminton racket (passed down from my dad generation) finally say goodbye. I'm quite sadden by this because I'm already use to using my old racket, and getting a new one means starting all over again to adapt to a new one, just like starting all over again in a relationship. Well, when old things don't go, new things will never come I guess.

23. Fail in a business plan
Just 1 month into a opportunistic business idea, me, Sara, Lydia, Yean Lynn, and newly joined member, Hui Mun, decided to not continue for several factors. I somehow foresee this to happen because it wasn't something easy that we can do, and have no knowledge on the product mechanic we're working on. But after this 1 month, we grew to understand each others working habit, and strength and weaknesses. I came to realize on where I stand and the things that I should improve on, such as... not being so stubborn, and also don't be too "cincai" when I do things, even when I deliver quality results. Haha... Yes, point noted. But sorry, not sorry.

* * *

Today, I turned 24.