Addressed to: 15 year old me

Dear 15 year old me,

I know the idea of this letter to you from the future will fill you with a great sense of hope and expectation. That was how I remember you anyways, based on the diary you wrote at every chance that you got, filled with teenage whimsy, fears, fangirling and most importantly, a certain level of optimism.

I also knew you kept a lot of your secret thoughts to yourself. Like how you had hoped to be in a relationship and on your way to a dream career by 25. This was why on the first day when 25 year old us woke up, she didn’t rejoice at all. She burst into tears.

“I’ve failed” was all she could think of. At the time, I blamed no one but myself for the failures I’ve faced. The struggles in my career, the brokenness of my family, my average body and horrible personality for the lack of love life.

15 year old me, I know you’re hopeful for your future, and because you’re so young the troubles you’ll face in your coming years will feel tremendous, and you will be unprepared for it all. You will feel like all is lost, everything you did was a waste and that life is telling you to give up. Your mind will play tricks on you, convince you that you are incapable of anything, and that your failures defines you.

I just want to tell you that all that optimism and hopefulness you have isn’t going to waste. True, it will lead to so many disappointments in life, but there will be a point where you will be hanging on to your last strands, clinging on to life as you plan the moment to end it all, and yet you’ll find yourself thinking that there is always that glimmer of hope.

That you will be beautiful, that you will be loved, and most importantly…

That you are stronger than you think.

So here’s what you really need to know. Rather than having that dream job and dream boy in your grasp, I want you to know that you’ve achieved more than you could possibly imagine:

  • You will learn to love that body of yours, and you will also learn that your body has always loved and cared for you even when you hated it the most.
  • You will learn that your mind can be the source of all evil in your life, but as long as you can set yourself apart from it, you will also learn your mind is capable of stringing poetic words, building characters and worlds that will have you remembered in a small little community you will adore.
  • You will learn that your talents are beautiful, and that your gifts are there not to make money or attract attention, but to make yourself happy.
  • You will learn to put yourself first, and this will be hard because I know you believe that being there for others is more important. I am not saying you will be selfish, rather you will find ways to be more in tune with yourself and your needs and believing in it, even if it comes with a heavy price.
  • You will learn to love again. I’m sorry to tell you that your experiences with love will be terribly tainted and broken, and it will put you off love for years ahead. But someone out there will love you, even if the one you love isn’t packaged the way you dream.
  • You will learn to face your fears, and decide whether to defeat them or accept them as who you are. It’s a part of life no anime or book will show you in detail, because you can make a choice to save someone or be there for others, but fears like “being alone” cannot be simply solved by deciding to have more people surround you. There’s a deeper fear, and I am proud to say you faced them all despite your tears and cries of respite.

I know what you’re thinking. All this is nice and all, but you’re still wondering if I got that dream career and man. And I will admit that at this point, those dreams haven’t been achieved quite yet. But there’s a reason you’re born with dreams, 15 year old me. You just have to realise that every road is different and your time isn’t as limited as you think. Your viewpoints will change and you will accept it wholeheartedly. Your journey may be filled with pain and sorrow, but along with it are experiences that you can use to enrich not just yourself but others later on in your life.

15 year old me, you didn’t gain success after turning 25. You gain the strength to live a life beyond even your own expectations.

So keep dreaming, keep hoping for greater things. Because once you’ve broken through obstacles and silenced doubt and fears, those dreams will shine brighter than anything you’ve ever seen.

With so much love,

27 year old you

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Hishop Product Review

Admittedly, I’m not an expert in the whole cleansing-toning-moisturising ritual that we girls have to go through every day. In fact, I once opted out of toning and moisturising because I couldn’t find a good one that didn’t make my skin dull and oily. So better to have no toner and moisturiser or risk ruining my face further, right?

Well eventually my skin condition changed to the point that I needed to tone and moisturise. I then took a leap of faith in trying on some Body Shop products which have always been well praised and overall they’ve worked well for me so far, making it worth the money.

So when I was asked to review these products from Hishop, I was a little skeptical as I wasn’t sure if my skin would adapt to it well. But I was also a little eager to explore new ways of taking care of my skin better. As such, I received these three items of interest. Continue reading

What I learnt in my mother’s absence

This isn’t the first time I can’t be with my mother on Mother’s Day, the first time being back in 2009 when I was studying in Perth. This time though, the sting of not having my mother around will be a lot stronger, as I had to say goodbye to her just a week before Mother’s Day could arrive.

As much as she doesn’t believe me, I really did tear up a little when I gave her that one final hug before she left to the Departure Hall. I knew I was going to miss my mother this round, even though that little bit of independence from her had some good as I embarked on my own journey of being a better person. But it was still tough to say goodbye, because no matter what, she is my mother and I found that my time with her this round proved to be incredibly pleasant as I began to communicate with her better.

Me and my mother taking a selfie before she took off.

Me and my mother taking a selfie before she took off.

The struggle

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Ninetology plane and the cosplayers

The new Ninetology Plane, the U9J1 and Cosplay Love

There was some excitement a couple of weeks back on my Facebook news feed when a number of cosplayers in the community I’m familiar with joined forces with Ninetology. It turned out to be a pretty big deal, a lot more than I expected! Ninetology and Qualcomm had unveiled their AirAsia aircraft complete with not only a giant Ninetology sticker on the sides of the plane, it also had its promotions within the plane as well. Talk about really bringing the Ninetology experience as you fly!

 

Spreading the brand in the skies and on the seats in front of you. So wow!

Spreading the brand in the skies and on the seats in front of you. So wow!

But I must admit, my favourite aspect had to be seeing the cosplayers help liven the occasion up as it was awesome to see the local cosplay community being able to promote a local brand such as Ninetology, whose phones have now been sold over 1 million to date and have even expanded to Indonesia in September 2013.

Together with the unveiling of the new Ninetology plane, they also revealed the So Wow For All campaign where the aim is to “wow” everyone by unveiling the new and colourful U9J1 phones which comes in four different colours – rave red, classic black, fuchsia pink and neon green. And they actually got a specific cosplayer to pose with these phones to represent a certain theme! Which means that no matter what personality you have, you can find a colour to represent you. So if you’re Catwoman, why not go for a heroic red? Or if you’re feeling cute like a Japanese maid, you can go for the kawaii pink.

Cosplayers posing with the U9J1 phones. Each cosplayer resonates with the phone's theme and colour.

Cosplayers posing with the U9J1 phones. Each cosplayer resonates with the phone’s theme and colour.

The best part is that the phone is a fully fledged Android that does everything a smartphone can do – but with a price tag of RM199. So wow indeed!

Check out Ninetology’s So Wow 4 All Cosplay FB album for more awesome cosplay action (and feel free to like the Ninetology page as well!) or head to the Ninetology official website to find out more about the U9J1.

For the love of Coffee

You gotta love coffee

You gotta love coffee

I have never been a coffee person. Yes, yes, I know. This goes against the instinct of every proper writer out there whose source of life, passion and inspiration comes in the form of a cuppa with enough caffeine to fill every vein within them. It’s how writers work, it’s how they function.

But something about that bitter concoction never appealed to me. You can blame my mother who, despite being a coffee lover herself, banned me from drinking coffee (and alcohol) so that by the time I turned 18, I would have been too attached to my favourite Milo and tea to really open my heart to new flavours.

I suppose, in this sense, I had always been the “outsider” kid who never quite caught up to the proper fads that would have made me popular the right way. Teen dramas? Pfft. Give me my anime . A Walk to Remember? Excuse me, Harry Potter please.

In the same line: Starbucks? Pfft. I’d rather go to Gong Cha. Or at least, that’s what I could say only when bubble tea chains became popular. Before that, I had no popular drink fad to follow. I like tea. I like milk. But there was no big brand that properly combined my favourites until brands like Chatime and Gong Cha arrived.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate coffee. I’m just very indifferent to its existence. I don’t long for it, I can function fine without it, and the one time I drank black coffee out of thirst after dinner, I fell asleep just fine. Coffee had no effect on me, and I remain the weird one out for not being able to properly worship the overpriced beverage that everyone around me continuously raves about.

That was until I found myself badly craving for it at one of my past jobs when an ex-colleague made herself a cup of instant white coffee. The strong coffee smell as she walked past me had me salivating, and I sat up, looking at her almost jealously. We had been stressing out for the past few days due to work. It was past 7pm and we all knew we had a long night ahead in preparation for an upcoming event. My desire to have what she was having grew imminent.

“You know you can get a cup yourself at the pantry?” she told me.

Preposterous! I thought to myself. Why would I want coffee? I have never been into it before, and I have always been strangely proud and embarrassed of my disinterest in coffee, so why am I at the pantry, taking an instant white coffee packet and grabbing a mug?

It was probably the most compelling moment of my life had there been witnesses of people who could truly appreciate the moment with me. I can imagine the friends who know me either cheering me on, or more than likely, teasing me for being out of character at that very moment. Michelle drinking coffee? Seriously? Did an alien implant a new personality into your brain? Have you gone cuckoo already due to work? Have you finally succumbed to our side to worship the great coffee?

To answer them all: Yes. Yes. No. Maybe. Definitely not.

Because after drinking that delicious concoction that perked me up and had me all giddy because “OMG WOW I DRANK COFFEE AM I AN ADULT NOW?” (I think the stress of work warped my senses on that day), it took another year before I craved it again and drank another cup. And it wasn’t really much of a craving other than me needing something hot to drink and I found myself missing the taste of instant white coffee.

I still do not enjoy going to Starbucks that much (my favourite drink from them is only the Green Tea Latte, and even now I’m considering making my own) and I still do not like the really bitter taste of coffee. But I suppose, just as how I feel about alcohol, I don’t mind having it once in a while and can appreciate it when I’m in the right mood.

So maybe when the mood strikes, I may finally cave in and drink really bitter coffee. And the caffeine would actually affect me enough to start worshipping it as a proper writer should. Maybe it’ll finally give me the power up to become a better writer than I am now!

Naaaaaah. *fills up her bottle of water, like the cheapskate that she is*

Tech Review: Ninetology u9z1 vs Samsung Galazy S4 Mini

It’s a new year and it’s been a while since I blogged. Hopefully the new year will mark a chance for me to rework on this blog better, but for now I have been writing extensively for my work and that’s been going great thus far.

I have also been given the opportunity to review another two phones thanks to Ninetology. As I only got the phones during the busy period of Christmas, I didn’t get the chance to check it out as much. Even so, I gave it a few rounds and have come to some conclusions about these phones, mostly in my view as always in what I would normally use in a smartphone.

Here are the contenders:

Ninetology u9z1 vs Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini

The Samsung Galazy S4 Mini on the left and Ninetology u9z1 on the right.

The Samsung Galazy S4 Mini on the left and Ninetology u9z1 on the right.

Continue reading

I am part of the Malaysia ACG Community

And I’ve been going through a wave of emotions since 15 year old Ng Yuk Tim was confirmed dead by a 23 year old who is well known within the cosplay community. And I know I’m not the only one, as many of us in the ACG (Anime, Comic, Games) community have been on a roller coaster ride ourselves since we found out about what happened.

The media wasted no time in capturing that portrait that would sensationalise this murder. The titles for articles related to the murder has the headline “Cosplay Killing”, all because the meeting between these two people were cosplay related. Even though the cosplayer was not in cosplay when this happened, even though the motivation of the murder had nothing to do with cosplay, the media wants us to remember the one aspect that has made this 23 year old man stand out.

He was a cosplayer.

The media has then asked what other cosplayers thought, the focus even more on his ACG interests. It made me sad to realise that the cosplay community had to defend ourselves somehow, speak the truth, stand up else we be judged and linked to the murder. It’s also great to see professionals defending cosplay too. But why? What does cosplay have to do with the murder? Is the world that blind that they cannot see that a person’s hobby or interest isn’t always linked to their actions?

But maybe that’s not what we should worry about. Maybe our anger towards the media is a red herring to the real problem that we should be worried about. The Allah issue, the guns thrown in the loo, Budget 2014!

But as all of this goes on, reality is slowly sinking in for us. That on the night of October 22 2013, we came to realise that we have lost two members in our community to a tragedy no one could foresee.

Continue reading