Friday, November 30, 2007

How does it all work out?

Chung Hua Miri

I struggled to wake up early in the morning but I smile when I see Sung Sung as I walk into the classroom.

I was displeased at not being made a prefect but I laughed when we formed the non-blazer gang, when we were the first to reach the canteen every lunchtime, when we did caricatures of our teacher's faces on the whiteboard, when we rejoiced in the extra time that we had when prefects were on duty.

I was embarrassed when I tripped and nearly fell over in the school compound but was pleasantly surprised to hear a good friend tell off some onlookers who had smirked at my carelessness.

I was never athletic, but I could not stop laughing when we played basketball in lower secondary and Andy refused to let go of the ball.

I was not the most outstanding student in the class, but I was proud when my classmates walked on to the stage to receive prizes for all sorts of competitions.

I gripe over having to be bored to death by History, but I marvel at the appearance of Chai Ing’s history book before every exam.

I am bored while I wait for the bus, but I am comforted when I get to chat on the bus with Lu Yen, Yew Jye, Nai Hui or Tzyh Cheng.

I was unsure about taking extra subjects, but always chuckled when my total marks were the only ones to shoot over 1000 and everyone seemed to notice(but of course my average wasn’t brilliant).

I was sad to not be able to see my friends so often after I left for Singapore, but I was touched when everyone looked so happy to see me on my return.

Hwa Chong Institution (+Boarding School)

I was apprehensive about sharing a room with others in HCIBS, but after some time, I knew that I had the best set of roommates in the world: Ming Hwei, Yit An and Christina.

I was clueless when I was informed that I had been posted to Hwa Chong, but I soon found out that it was a brilliant school.

I was disappointed at having only 2 other ASEAN direct scholars with me in HC, but I grew to treasure the bond that I had with Christina and, later when she left, Lau.

I was astounded by how varied people’s sleeping habits could be… but we as roommates exchanged secrets late at night as we all lay in our beds talking through the darkness, not able to see each other, but comforted that we were all there.

I griped about getting the bed furthest away from the fan, but was envied when I developed a higher tolerance for heat compared to the others.

I had never had my birthday celebrated for me by friends before, but I was touched whenever we had a birthday celebration and gathered together by the benches in the boarding school.

I always managed to avoid getting dunked in the pond, and I laughed as my friends and seniors were shoved into the water, Yong Hoong memorably losing his spectacles after being dunked, resulting in everyone whipping out their handphones to illuminate the water as he searched for them.

I was afraid that I would not have many friends, but I was comforted by the friendliness of other direct scholars as well as the ASEAN seniors who welcomed us and made us feel like part of the family (particularly the Hwa Chong Fah-Mer-Lee!).

I was daunted by the thickness of the Biology notes in Hwa Chong, but was surprised to find that I had put down an answer in my A-level paper that people from other colleges had no inkling of.

I wondered whether my seniors would ever be able to spare some time for me… and I rejoiced inwardly when we all sneaked into the Chinese High hall to play badminton together and jogged on the high school track at the crack of dawn, and chatted in the gym as Jia Voon and Alvin did weights.

I was torn apart when I was offered the JPA scholarship midway through my first year in college… But I remembered Lau Shi Ern, Daniel, Alicia, Jia Voon, Wan Xin, Mei Sheng, Ming Hwei, Yit An, Yee Yong, Jocelyn, Wei Wen, Adrian Lim, Adrian Ee, Yong Hoong, Kok Hou, Khai Ming, Tze Leong, Wei Seng, Dominic, Yen Nee, Kah Hwee, Vee Vee, Kai Rou, Jun Hui and all the other ASEAN scholars who had made such a large impact on my life within the space of a few months…… And I made the decision, unbelievable as it was, that I did not want to leave.

Nottingham University

I wondered how many people I would be able to befriend in my first week, and then I was put in Cripps Hall, where I met the most amazing people: David, Raghav, Yang Chi, Irene and the gang.

I wondered whether I would get along with my flatmates, and I realized that once again, I had a great set of people to share my first year with: Aisyah, Anis, Subha and Wendy.

I wondered how many Malaysian first-year medics there would be, and whether there would be only a handful of us huddling together in the lectures, and what do you know? 18 of us! We rock!

I am starting to get sick of having nothing but lectures, but I look forward to meeting my fellow Malaysian medics every morning.

I hate it when a lecturer is boring or inaudible, but I grin when I hear someone else in the vicinity saying the same thing just loud enough for me to hear.

I dislike the prospect of a boring lecture, but I am happy to walk into LT1 together with Duo Ying, Fiqa, Puteri, Jennie and Naj every morning, and to hear the usual banter about hogging side seats… And to ask "How was your weekend?" and to listen to all the stories and occurrences that you did or did not witness...

I feel drained after a long string of lectures but once I step outside, there are familiar faces to see, and who in small ways are comforting: noticing Sin Wee reading at the seats outside LT1 and stopping to say hi; playing the piano and watching Atiq as he runs hastily down the spiral stairs, late for the lecture yet again; poking Hwe Ling mischievously in the shoulder as I pass; waving at Joon Wee as he is seen passing through the medical school; saying hi to the other seniors who walk by……

Yes, case studies can drive a person up the wall… But Group Ii is an absolutely brilliant group of people: Ben, Dan, Robin, Tom, Natalia, Charlie, Lauren, Nichola, Julia, Jennie…. I wouldn’t exchange any of you for anyone else. Your enthusiasm for the group, eg. in our MBM seminars, is so contagious that I couldn’t withstand it if I wanted to!

At the end of the week, a feeling of fatigue and meaninglessness sometimes creeps in, but badminton creates the chance to vent all the pent-up emotions and stress. Meeting more familiar people: Choy Onn, Yi Lin, Kexin, Kennis, and everyone else…

Conclusion? This is my life, through my eyes, and I thank God for it... for all the people whom I have been privileged to meet on this journey, for their presence, their support.