Sunday, January 12, 2014

2013 and 2014: The Reminiscence

"Oh, how about a round of applause, 
yeah a standing ovation..."

This year marks the end of my undergraduate university life. I began my education in a Chinese kindergarten (near my home), which was surprisingly interesting because I don't speak Chinese at home and how I did manage to graduate from this Chinese-speaking kindergarten still remains a mystery... The only collection of memories I had were being punished to stand on a chair with hands up (for doing something I can't remember clearly) and giving welcoming speech in English during my kindergarten's "graduation". 

Will you... will you be my queen? my one and only soul mate?
After that, I went to a good primary school where I remembered the first question asked by my classroom teacher was "What do you want to be when you grow up?". Trying to come out with a sophisticated English word or two to describe my dream job or career, I said "An encyclopedia! Teacher!" (I meant "cardiologist" la but I could not think of that word and accidentally spurted out my silly ambition to be a "book"). Luckily, with the exception of my teacher, I guessed no one my age understood what I had just said.

I also remember that I once sold paper cuttings of Power Rangers characters from old newspapers and flyers for 10 sen each. At the end of the day, my pocket jingled with shillings. Those days, we can buy a small bowl of noodle at the school canteen for only 30 sen. Business was very good... Hehe...

I did quite well academically while at primary school and passed the "express" promotion examination during my standard three (I was allowed to skip a year of education, standard four and go straight to standard five). However, I did not take the offer and continue my primary education like the majority does. My secondary education was at Penang Free School, which was my dad's school and one of the oldest English school in Southeast Asia so naturally, I was very happy. 

I only wanted to become a doctor when I grow up during my primary school. In secondary school, I began to participate actively in school's societies and clubs. One of the clubs that left me with many good memories was a club related to buying, making and selling things - Young Enterprise, as the club was called then. I was the youngest member and I happened to be among the members who sold most of our "company"'s products.  

The careers I was interested in during my secondary school years were doctor, entrepreneur and scientist, in that order. After graduated from form five, I applied for the government's scholarship to study medicine abroad. However, since there were other better candidates than me, I was not chosen and so I went to a private college to study accountancy under another full scholarship. I felt the first few weeks there were quite a waste of my time because instead of learning something new, I learned things I felt to be too basic (maybe I was wrong because it was still the start of the semester and I already expected much).

The Movie: Ninja (and) Turtle: Me and Hugo
Undergraduate Korean Government Scholars at KNU - thanks for the memories... 
Some students there were very clueless of what they wanted to become in future - no dreams, no ambitions. Just like mosquito, aimlessly sucking their parents' hard-earned money dry. Nevertheless, I met quite a number of brilliant people over there. The most interesting thing here was that the male to female ratio was skewed towards the female. Hoho! One guy to five, seven girls... No competition among the guys at all! :) Sometimes, I consider myself an alumni of that college - TAR college, even though I was there for only a month. It was a fun experience studying at this college. 

Fast forward, I went back to form six to try my luck to enter a local medical school or at least some biology-related courses. Unfortunately, I failed to enter to any local university for any of the courses I wanted. Neither medical school nor any biology-related course in any university in Malaysia. The irony was that I was already awarded with a full scholarship by the Korean government. Almost five years had since passed since I thought of that again... 

DEC 2013: Daegu
"When one door closes, another opens but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us..." by Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone.   


My year 2013 was a very fulfilling one. I traveled to Shanghai (and Taiwan) solo and therefore, achieving one of my bucket list. Yippee!!! Shanghai is a beautiful city, a collection of splendid Western architectures intertwined with Eastern influence. A city where money can almost get you everything - fake friends, fame, cravings and sometimes even love. The memories travelling alone and making friends with complete strangers while living in a cramped dormitory to cut cost magnified the benefits of seeing the (some of the) world when we were young. 

JULY 2013 (Shanghai Solo): The downside - Not being able to take nice pic of yourself...
DEC 2013: Super delicious Him Heang Tambun biscuit from Penang!
I will definitely allow any of my children (if I have one!!!) to travel and see the world under a strict student budget. Without the comfort of living in hotel or anywhere overly comfortable, we learn to adapt by eating what the locals eat, experiencing local hospitality, making silly mistakes but learning from them, staying safe and experiencing life. This is what I call a true "adventure".

2013 was also the year I received my first job (bucket list no. 3) offers before graduation. One is from Samsung in Malaysia and another from Donghwa in Korea. I have to admit that I am not looking forward to work but to continue my studies. I enjoy my student life (who doesn't?) - problems can mostly be solved by reading books and once the problems were solved, we can pretty much do anything we like. Working is another story. Maybe... I will continue my studies again after working for a couple of years. 


One of the things I noticed about the job prospect in Malaysia for students majoring in Biotechnology or any Bio-related fields was that they have very limited choices of finding employment if they want to continue doing things related to their major. Such Bio student can either continue their education, maybe up to post-doctorate or if not, directly becoming a research assistant. Some might even work as lab technicians, drawing blood and analyzing the blood sample everyday. Boring right? 

Malaysians in Seoul and the Lost Boy (guy) from Daegu
Sadly, there were Malaysian-government sponsored students (who majored in Biotechnology at Ivy League Universities) only received employment offer to be a lab technician at a small health clinic. A complete waste of talent. Malaysia wants to attract and retain talented individuals but nothing have been done to expand employment opportunities to such qualified people. "Malaysia Boleh (can)"! (sarcasm)

There is no BioValley - a so-called cluster of biotech industries congregating in the same location proposed by the government many years ago but nobody knows about the operation status now. No new research institutes. Not many good or renowned bio companies operating in Malaysia. More importantly, nothing had being done to educate the students about pros and cons of majoring in science especially related to biology if you do not have any interest at all. I believe student who chooses this field of study needs to be passionate, be flexible and truly know what they want to become in the future, rather than choosing it because this course has becoming more popular among students these days. Choose your career wisely!

Beautiful temple in Daegu...
One the other hand... I am currently doing a meaningless unpaid internship (I kinda regretted taking this offer but even though I can quit it anytime, I wanna try it out first...) at a Korean fashion start-up company to spend my holidays doing something interesting or to learn something new about business. What's my job scope? I am designing accessories like rings and bracelets. I was a science and business student... Now, I am a fashion designer... Versatile huh? ;)

What pissed me off then? Well, I felt I learn nothing much here, unpaid (but helping others to earn money), waste of my time, having colleagues who only complain but cannot come out with ideas or solutions (I hate it very much), a colleague who always whine about the cold weather (I even gave her my 100 bucks winter jacket and yet she still complained... hmmn... come on, it's winter!) or that she is hungry all the time, etc etc. Sigh... I hope I will never experience such things when I work in a real company...


My goals this year are 1. Sleep early (sleeping 2 am and waking at before 8 am everyday is not good). 2. Cook more delicious food (eg. steak, cheese spaghetti, Hainanese chicken rice, etc). 3. Buy a car with my own money (in Malaysia). 4. Learn how to ride a motorbike during free time in Malaysia. 5. Help people especially children in need. 6. Bungee jumping (in my bucket list). 7. Try to sell off some of my text books, golf glove, tennis racket and hopefully, my old yet playable guitar (to save space and get back some money...) 8. Use my Polaroid camera more (film is expensive but the after-effect is much more memorable than using a DSLR)

It's over. finally...
Even though I will no longer continue with my old routine at my university, and living in the same room of over five years (Whoa! Haha), I am looking forward for the endless possibilities awaiting me at the end of road. Choosing to spend my five years studying at Kyungpook National University was and still is one of the best decisions I ever made. The last sentence from the final Harry Potter novel series (out of seven) was "All is well". Yes, "all is well" for me too. THE END.

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"This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning" ~Winston Churchill~