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Romanticism and reality April 3, 2016

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Life is strange. You can spend a significant time working towards something, and just when you least expect it, life reveals the secret that you have longed to hear an answer for. And when it does, it is without much ceremony, and almost always when you least expect it.

While I have long suspected this – I call it my “But Story” – there’s nothing quite like suddenly being hit with the epiphany and the utter clarity that comes with it. And the epiphany is…I am never going to fall in love. Well, at least not in the traditional way – i.e. finding a romantic partner.

Now, I know it might seem presumptuous of me to say this. And trust me, I appreciate that because I have had my share of experiences where I end up putting a foot into my mouth after declaring something so confidently. But there was something so final, so…resolute…in the realization that washed over me yesterday.

Again, I know it might sound “out there”, but to be honest, it is not an entirely surprising outcome. Ask anyone who knows me well enough – including my parents – about my romantic prospects, and they will tell you that I have never been one to put much value on finding a romantic partner. So realistically speaking, I was unlikely to fall in love anyway.

Having said that, I do still get giddy around a guy I fancy as much as the next heterosexual woman and I’d as soon splash (a reasonable) amount of money on flattering clothes to look good. In other words, while I didn’t have much faith in finding a romantic partner, the slim possibility of it happening was what made it exciting for me in the instances when I did find someone attractive.

So, when the epiphany dawned on me – as I read my monthly horoscope – I can honestly say that a part of me actually mourned. It was surreal to read about the promised eventful outcomes in my love life this month only because – irrespective of one’s degree of belief in astrology and serendipitous occasions – it felt like a bunch of missed opportunities.

So while I mourn the fact that I am unlikely to fall into a whirlwind romance and be swept off my feet, the other part of me knows that I am great just the way I am. I have always been fine and will grow to be fabulous in the future. Until then…it’s nose back to the grind – tests to take and papers to write!

Getting My Groove Back July 16, 2014

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So, as it tends to happen ever so often with me,  I have gone out of balance. Again, I am guilty of investing too much time and effort into addressing recent developments in my life that I have ignored pursuing interests are fulfilling to me.

That wouldn’t have been so bad, I guess, if these developments i.e. furthering my studies overseas and everything other thing that comes with it, had been sorted out quickly and in a timely fashion. But it’s been a whole 6 months since I was accepted to further studies and STILL there has not been any progress other than that. It taken me until today to realise that while being in limbo over my scholarship application is emotionally draining, it is the deprivation of doing my favourite things that has really been the difference between tolerable and unmotivated…the latter of which is where I am right now.

And so, I have compiled the following list:

“GETTING MY GROOVE BACK” LIST

  • VOLUNTEER WORK (a new pursuit)
  • BLOG / WRITE
  • READ BOOKS
  • PHOTOGRAPHY TRIP
  • GO ON A HOLIDAY TO A FOREIGN LAND
  • GET MY ASS TO B BY AUGUST 2015

Wish me luck. I’m starting with backdating my blog entries!

The Plan [BACKDATED] June 25, 2014

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It’s been a trying few weeks since I was given the undesirable news (see previous post). Yes, I went home on that Friday and had a part meltdown, part ranting session with my parents. Yes, I was very hurt, disappointed and completely indignant at the half-baked reason verbally communicated to me for turning me down for a scholarship. But no, no matter how strongly I felt I had been mistreated, I did not come this far to screw things up and will flush out a proper plan of attack…with major emphasis on the word “attack”.

And so I had candid conversations with my parents, mad4manu, my supervisor and my Head of Department. All of them told me the same…that I owed it to myself to find alternative sources of funding instead of doing it on my own. And I went to speak with LHY, a person whom I have come to see as – for the lack of a better word – a mentor at the workplace. I say this because our relationship doesn’t fall within the normal realms of a mentor-mentee relationship…we don’t bond over shared interests or socialise outside of the workplace.

Truth be told, I had expected LHY to be sympathetic and offer to help pull some strings (which I would have gladly accepted). But as usual, she instead gave me more than I had expected. In the span of 45 minutes, she challenged me to REALLY, REALLY think about what I wanted out of going to B and how would this impact my life overall.

She told me that in retrospect, furthering her studies did not value add as much to her professional career as she had expected. There were other, more effective ways (like moving departments to increase visibility or getting myself nominated into the corporate talent pool) to get to the next level of my career. And because of this, zeroing my finances to further my studies as a means to climb higher up the ladder was strongly unadvisable.

She also shared that she had decided, out of consideration for where she was in her personal life, to stay with the organisation. Despite her misgivings about the organisation’s flaws, it was still – in her assessment – the least broken system out there. And after a great deal of looking around, she was able to get herself into a Department that allowed her to employ her strengths and skills whilst minimising her contact to the parts of the organisational ecosystem that she did not like.

And so…after a great deal of tweaking to my original plans…I present to you, THE PLAN:

ACTION PLANS:

  • Pursue a one-year deferment for entry to The School at B, supported by testimonial from the Head of Department
  • Obtain in writing, the official reason for the panel not to recommend me for a scholarship
  • Get Human Resources Department to reconsider the decision to decline awarding me a scholarship
  • If all else fails, look for alternative funding…including re-applying for scholarship next year (and yes, put myself through this stupid process all over again)

KPI: TO OBTAIN SCHOLARSHIP FOR THE SCHOOL @ B…be it either for the Class of 2016 or 2017

 

How To Tell You [BACKDATED] June 20, 2014

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So, the moment I sank into my seat this morning, I made THE CALL to Human Resources Department. Heart hammering in my chest, these were the words I heard while on bated breath… “Hmmm…I don’t know how to tell you this…”

Words cannot adequately describe how it felt to hear that. It’s a peculiar position to be in, remaining calm on the phone and carrying on a conversation whilst my heart was slowly cracking into many a million pieces. It dawned onto me right then, at barely 9am, how much I REALLY, REALLY wanted to go to B despite my initial misgivings about spending an entire 2 years in another country, halfway across the world.

Thanks to the Internet and social media, I have slowly but surely come accustomed to the thought of being part of B. In the past few months, I have been receiving emails from the university from their administrative staff who have been immensely supportive and kind. I was also getting a feel of the activities at The School at B through its official Twitter account. And in recent days, I had even joined the Facebook page for the class I am enrolling in and really felt the spirit of going back to school.

I mean, of course, I felt intimidated at the thought of keeping up with every other student in the class who seemed to be younger and more dynamic than me. Of course I would have to overcome cultural gaps and familiarising myself with my surroundings. And of course it was daunting to reintegrate myself back into the world of academia. But armed with a host of digital information and exchange of emails, I realised that deep down, I was looking forward to a new beginning and the challenges it would bring.

Thank goodness both my supervisor and the Head of Department (my supervisor’s supervisor) were on leave in the second half of the day and that both of my staff was also away for the day.

Needless to say, I spent the rest of the day being miserable and nearly broke down several times. Once whilst relaying the news to my supervisor within the hour of finding out and several more times when I updated in my family in our chat group. Otherwise, I would have to be forced to function and that would have been felt like a much longer day than necessary.

But don’t you worry, I have worked too long, troubled too many people and come too far to take this lying down. THERE WILL BE A PLAN.

 

 

Wish Me Luck: Reprise [BACKDATED] June 13, 2014

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Today’s interview went well…I guess. I thought I was clear in delivering my points and had a frank discussion with the panellists. But I do admit, I probably could have been more persuasive when fielding some of the questions. At the end, the head of the panel said that it would be “a question of whether the Bank sees value in your course.” Knowing the personality of this guy from other colleagues, I took it to be as a good an answer as any.

Aside from this though, I found out today that another officer in my Department is leaving. Counting me, that brings the total number of officers exiting my Department this year, with the bulk of exodus between August to September, to four. Add one Manager who will be delivering in September and another Manager who is leaving at an as-yet-to-be-determined date, and you have a Department suddenly losing 1/5th of its staff strength…when only four months ago, it was just the prospect of being down by only two Managers.

The good news though is that already the Department has been doing all the right things in getting my replacement. I just hope that these other developments don’t compromise the plans for my replacement.

Wish Me Luck [BACKDATED] June 12, 2014

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Finally! After waiting for nearly a month, Human Resources Department finally got back to me about which day I am scheduled to sit for the interview with the panel. Even that, I was the one who had to follow up with them about what time it was exactly.  *SIGH*

Anyway, I am scheduled to be interviewed on…wait for it…Friday the 13th! Wonder if that’s an omen, eh?

Jokes aside though, to be honest, I have to admit that I am not as confident as I’d like to be. Whilst my confidence has largely been buoyed by the fact that I have gained entry into a decent university despite being 10 years out of academia, another part of me feels highly disadvantaged going into this interview that my “competitors” are younger than me and are well-connected. Although my closest confidants have scoffed at this, I honestly can’t help but feel that the decision will boil down to these factors.

More Hoops [BACKDATED] May 10, 2014

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When I first started out this process to further my studies, I thought the hardest part – the most emotionally discomforting – was in beginning it. To extricate myself from this shroud of complacency, question where I was heading and undertake tasks to chart a new direction like sitting for the GRE and TOEFL, identifying the universities to apply to and submitting applications.

How wrong was I! The hardest part is actually in the events following the acceptance i.e. pursuing a scholarship, completing the admission and enrolment paperwork for B, training up my staff to meet work commitments once I am away and completing personal errands. Not to mention the emotional yo-yo that comes with the knowledge that you are saying goodbye to your life in Malaysia – the people, the places – with each passing week and at the same time, are that much closer to a brand new life in another country. Realising all the things I was going to miss out…and yet, the possibilities of experiencing something new!

Granted, this is a nice kind of stress to be facing. But it doesn’t make it any less tiring on the mind and draining on the soul. Right now, my main priority is in seeing through the scholarship process – and it is my sincere hope that I will go through this as swiftly and as painlessly as possible.

After all, I am prepared to self-fund…I just need enough time to get my affairs in order.

 

Clam [BACKDATED] April 7, 2014

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I think it’s about time to be share this…because, assuming things work out for the positive, it’ll probably be what I’ll be blogging about for some time.

After nearly 10 years of working (I swear, it’s passed by in a blink of an eye!), I am going back to SCHOOL. And not just in any school, I’ve been accepted into B…in San Francisco! OK, so I am still being a little cryptic (only a little, because I’ve given some good clues), but that’s because there’s a whole bunch of things to go through – a scholarship interview, a visa application and an enrolment process – and honestly, who knows what can happen? Someone might just read this blog and decide, for whatever reason, not give me a scholarship or rescind the offer for admission.

But still…it’s B! It blows my mind when I think about it because…although I did go through the paces of sitting for GRE and TOEFL as well as putting in an application (which included essay writing), I never truly expected to be accepted for admission. I was merely following my father’s advice of “collecting then selecting” i.e. sending in multiple applications, collecting answers and then whittling it down to what I want. Though, I should be clear, out of the three universities I sent my application to…only B came back with a positive answer, but no matter – it was the one I wanted the most!

Come what may, right now, I am happy as a clam!

If2: Week 5 [BACKDATED] January 26, 2014

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51) If you could change one thing about the building you work in, what would you alter?
I was initially going to say, more parking space. Practical suggestion, but terribly dull. So on second thought, I would have a “Fun Room” in each Department. Accessible at any time and with the condition that work talk is barred within its four walls, the “Fun Room” would be filled with items to that encouraged the body to relax and the mind to play. Things like an aquarium, billiards table, a massage chair, a ping pong table, comfy chairs and lots of food!

52) If you were to decide the legal age for sexual consent, what age would it be?
21-years-old, only because it’s the age where most people complete their formal education and enter the workforce. It makes sense to me that if society is going to risk someone getting knocked up, they should at least have a fighting chance to have the means to be responsible for the new life on their own without leveraging on their parents.

53) If you were to prescribe a cure for grief, what would it entail?
Getting over one’s grief is to gradually replace the excess negativity with new experiences and realising there is more to life than what you know. Going away alone to somewhere you have never been before and whose lands are untouched. Then, when you’re sitting alone outside, admiring the landscape, reflect on all your misgivings and have a good, long cry about it. Wash up, make yourself presentable and explore the lands and people around you. Repeat the cycle as often as is necessary. It may take time, but by expelling the negative and filling the empty space with pleasant experiences, you’d have built up the momentum to make it easier to forge ahead in life.

54) If someone were trying to woo you lover away from you, what methods would bring them the most success?
I’m coming up with blanks here. Not a surprise since I have never been in a serious relationship.

55) If you had to name the one thing you have witnessed in your life that represents Goodness, what would you say?
Huh. I have witnessed plenty events that demonstrates Love. But Goodness? I can’t definitely say that I have. Hmm…that’s food for thought.

56) If you could have modeled in one of Calvin Klein’s advertising campaigns for either underwear or fragrance, which ad would you like to have been in?
I’m not into branded luxury items, so I had to Google search this one. Having said that, I’d prefer the Eternity campaign – it seems to be classy and evergreen.

57) If you had to name the best music album ever recorded, which would you select?
Thriler by Michael Jackson. Not only have the songs from that album inspired set the tone for an entire decade, but it’s become a staple in pop music throughout generations.

58) If you had to name the one time in your life when you were the most angry, when was it?
It was when I was between the ages of 24 to 27. I didn’t realise it then, but I think I was in a perpetual state of anger. Most of the time, my anger laid quietly, like a sleeping Smaug the Destroyer, hidden under the riches of the dwarves. But then there would be times, when Smaug was stir and my anger with the world and what I was going through would rear its ugly head. I remember those times: I would be consumed with a tsunami of bitterness – usually triggered by the same specific visual.

59) If you were to be killed by an animal, what kind would you want it to be?
Something small and poisonous. I’d hurt like hell from the poison, but it’d probably be a less gory and traumatic death than say, being chomped on by a shark while swimming in the sea or having the air squeezed out of you by a boa constrictor.

60) If you were to be tied naked in bed and have your lover melt an ice cube on a single part of your body, without touching you otherwise, where would you want them to melt it?
I know I said this was an exercise in getting to know myself better, but I also strongly believe in being prudent on the Internet. I’m pleading the fifth on this one! Sorry.

If2: Week 3 January 18, 2014

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Well, well…this round of questions were equal parts easy, equal parts confounding…but mostly surprising. I found myself having trouble with the easier, somewhat superficial questions whereas the stranger, tougher questions I had the answers to almost immediately. Go figure.

21) If you were to spend the rest of your life in the company of a single type of animal, which would you choose?
As a dog owner, the answer to this question was a no brainer – a dog, of course. And it would have to be either a decent-sized mongrel or one of the bigger, working-class breeds like a Golden Retriever, Border Collie, German Shephard, etc.

22) If you had to constantly carry a weapon of some kind, what would it be?
This came as a surprise to me how easily the answer came to me…almost as easily as above. A small knife or dagger of some sort. It’s relatively easy to carry (assuming there’s a sheath, of course). It can be used both near or from afar and has multiple uses, aside from causing harm.

23) If you could trade your derriere for that of someone else, whose would you want?
This took awhile. Clearly, it’s not something that troubles me. Based on a brief googling of selected celebrities sashaying down the red carpet, I have settled for Sofia Vergara.

24) If you had to name the one most important ingredient of human beauty, what would you say it is?
Kindness of the human spirit. It’s perhaps one of the most underrated qualities, sometimes even considered as a weakness. And because of it, I do think anyone who has the courage to be openly kind and considerate to one another as well as to show empathy, to be quite a beautiful person.

25) If you had to give a prize for the most sexually attractive politician in U.S. history, who would win it?
Again, I referred to Google for this…but alas, to no avail. Not even Hollywood stars like Ronald Reagen or Arnold Schwarzeneggar fit the bill, not even in their younger years. Sorry. The story might have been different if it wasn’t just limited to the U.S.

26) If you had to name the single most erotic part of the human body, what would it be?
Chest – this is applicable to both male and females. While it’s pretty obvious when it comes to the female anatomy, for reference to that of the male, think Chris Hemsworth’s shirtless scene in Thor 2.

27) If you had to name the least erotic part of the human body, what would it be?
Toes. Definitely.

28) If you had to add a thirteenth month to the year, where would you insert it?
Between November and December – just to give me more room between my brother and mother’s birthdays to recoup my finances…and to go on a holiday during the cold season.

29) If you could rid your family of one thing, what would it be?
Clutter! We have a pretty decent home overall, but I do admit that, over the years. we’ve accumulated stuff we clearly don’t have any use for at this present moment.

30) If you had to name the all-time best song, which would you pick?
It’s funny that I had the most difficult time with THIS question. Mostly because I kept on coming up with names of my favourite songs, but which I realised were not necessarily the cream of the crop, but had appealed to me out of personal reasons. At the end, I’d have to say, based on my limited music collection, that it’s have to be Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start The Fire”. It’s catchy, it’s passionate, it’s also a world history lesson! Someone should make a follow-up to this song.