2013 Flashback

A BIG hello to 2014! I had a terrific start when the car battery went flat on my first working day of the year. Hope yours was better.

Before I jump into 2014 heads-on, this is a reflection on 2013.

In the period of time that I managed to squeeze out 5 posts on my blog, 2013 is GONE. (I must have been lazy busy! Sincere apologies offered) The first half of the year brought me through sleepless nights of dissertation work whereas the second half was mainly a mix of travelling/holiday fun and job-hunting stress.

In one way or another, 2013 is definitely a memorable year. It is the year I completed my formal education – the student life I have gotten so accustomed to over so many years. Upon completion, it signifies a great deal of changes and uncertainties in life and adapting to them is never an easy task. But hey, one step at a time, let’s count our blessings and be thankful for reaching wherever we are today.

Like always, God has been extremely gracious to me the past year. Life is far from being a bed of roses, the challenges multiplying as we grow older. When I was 7 years old, I probably fretted over issues like if my mum would let me go out to play or whether my sister had an extra fishball in her bowl. Being 23 in 2013, I had to worry about how was I going to present my dissertation or if I’ll be jobless and hopeless after graduating. Hopefully 10 years later, I won’t be worrying about my single status.

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Extra thought to keep: We need challenges to keep our faith alive and passionate. I was reading my topical Bible study email and it mentioned that in order to take him to greater places in his relationship with God, Abraham would need the courage to surmount even more intimidating obstacles than before. The same applies to us in today’s world. Dread always comes first once I stumble in hardship. But the Bible tells us to rejoice in the suffering because it brings us perseverance, character and hope [Romans 5:3-4]. What’s more is the reward of getting closer to God, our Father whom we so often don’t have time for when life gets busy or easy.

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To prevent my post from becoming too wordy, here’s a run-through with pics. (And long captions – can’t help it).

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New Year’s Day of 2013. We were all cheery as the clock struck 12am, passing around new year wishes and giving bear hugs. Doing it the youthful way, you know.

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This happened to be the first photo I took with my camera for the year. A bagel from Bagel Nash, one of our favourites in Year 4.

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Late January – a short getaway to Belgium the Land of Delicate Chocolates after Sem 1 exams ended. Jumping in a park near the Atomium, Brussels.

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Our CNY “团圆饭” (Reunion Dinner) at Sackville 56. Showcasing our amazing cooking skills ;) We didn’t get to do much potlucks in final year since everyone was obviously infatuated with projects and reports and eating takeaways…This potluck was probably one of the best for the year.

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This is the kind of thing I see almost everyday in labs for around 2 months before the write-up. It’s the freaking awesome plasma! :D That cool ‘4th state of matter’ which creates pretty lightnings across the skies. And low and behold, don’t forget the sun itself is a giant orange ball of plasma too! My dissertation involved the application of plasma in a CVD process, that’s why I got the chance to play with this.

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All work and no play makes me a dull student. Took the train to London for a few days in early April where I found time to wander from museums to parks. Went on a half day trip to Greenwich as well with Tseyui. Yup, I have now accomplished the ‘one foot in the East, one foot in the West’ feat.

*Lack of photos through report write-up, poster preparation and exam period. If you really want a pic….

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This building would be the best fit. I must be somewhere in there.

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Celebration time! The very next day after I finished my last paper. :) The string of summer adventures began – first destination: Venice. What better way to celebrate than chomping pizzas and gelatos?

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…1.5 months later. (NO I didn’t travel the whole time lol). This was the day before my graduation…still loitering in Paris with my parents. Climbed up to the Sacre Coeur Cathedral and discovered my favourite part of the city hidden near it on my last day there.

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The original Malaysian (plus a Singaporean) clowns in ChemEng Manchester, 2009 intake. Glad to have known you all! We certainly have been through a lot together..from eating Greggs while doing our ammonia plant coursework in Year 1 to eating Just-Eat/Pearl City takeaways together while writing up for our dissertations.

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August – Time for me to leave the place I’ve stayed for 4 years. Unavoidable separation with friends, the lifestyle and my apartment. :( On the way back through transit, I once again stepped foot on Singapore after almost 22 years. Pity I was too exhausted to explore the city properly because the simpleton within me went on a movie marathon on the plane.

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I can’t recall the last time I held a typical paper lantern before Mid-Autumn Festival last year. My cousins and I used to play with them at my grandparents’ house when we were all hyperactive kids. This time, my high school friends and I headed to Luak Esplanade to rekindle childhood memories of playing lanterns. The Kong Ming lantern (as shown above) is definitely a first for me. It is only now I realized how hard it is to set one off successfully without it flying low and crashing into a tree. But hurray! The guys managed to let quite a few float up beautifully in the moonlit sky.

Days at home are good. But the stress of securing a job is always there to burden me. Some days immense, some days less. The time it takes for employers to respond is incredibly long, assuming they care to reply/notify. At the moment, I am employed but: 1) my job is not engineering-related although it is an O&G company; 2) it is merely a 3-months contract job. So foremost mission (not a resolution but a must) for 2014 would be nailing a permanent job in the right position. Putting that aside, I’m grateful for my current short term job opportunity. I never in my life imagined myself working with costings – I’ve imagined being a teacher, a vet, a bakery owner, a florist, an interior designer, an architect…and I ended up with an engineering cert. Still, it has been eye-opening so far and the working environment is great. If anything, I should improve my Malay and learn a bit of Bahasa Sarawak. > <

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With my girl cousins from mum’s side on Christmas night! It was my first Christmas spent at home after 4 years. No more white Christmases…At least I got to set up our Christmas tree which seems to have shrunk. I used to look up at it 13 years ago when we first bought it; now I can look past the treetop. The week around Christmas is always the busiest, what with Christmas carollings, midnight mass and gatherings with friends & family home for Christmas.

Very often, all the fun and cheer across the Advent season fool us into thinking Christmas is merely a jolly holiday for roasted turkey and gifts exchanging. The excitement makes us forget that the celebration should be entirely about Jesus. Here’s a quote from James Montgomery Boice in a bible study message: Anyone can understand Christmas in just three sentences:
1. I am a sinner.
2. As a sinner I need a saviour.
3. Jesus Christ is that saviour.
And it was on Christmas Day that our saviour came to Earth in human body! Hopefully you had a good Christmas last year – be reminded that God loves you so much that He sent his Son down to save you from your sins.

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Following Christmas is my birthday, almost at the end of the year. My two old pals in Miri and I went to the beach but it was raining pffft. Thanks to the many people who wished me well in any way or celebrated with me in person. Did not expect cutting a cake at 12a.m. :) For me, birthday is always a nice chance to eat cake catch up with some people I have not managed to keep in touch with frequently. That apart, it serves as a reminder that I should have grown up and matured a little from a year ago. If not, it’s time for pensive reflection. D:

xxx

The End! 2013 shall be cherished but it belongs to the past now. Pretty sure you guys have racked up some new year resolutions for this year so good luck with them! Don’t give up halfway even if you didn’t follow the plan through. If you realize it’s too hard to achieve, make some tweaks – no rules stating once you fail, you abandon the plan.

For me, I’m still adding things to my list of resolutions. Not too late yet, I believe! I’ll share one of them with you: To blog at least once a month. :D [January: Checked!]

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