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A year ago

16 Aug

It’s been a year since my last posting.

I didn’t realize how fast time goes until I revisited the site.

Last year I was a student chasing up a dream and now I am living the dream.

Reality hits in that it is not an easy dream to live in. There are ups and downs and times when I asked myself what the heck I was doing.

But still the real question is “If this is your last day, will you still be doing what you are about to do today?”

Courting the court

17 Apr

The neighbour from hell, a 82 year-old woman, has been sentenced to six months jail term for making her neighbour life miserable, BBC reported (see: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/south_east/6560537.stm).

It’s utterly shocking. Even though it is correct by law that the woman has to be sentenced, but judging from the age, it is rather ridiculous. It is a 82 year-old we are talking about, who has to walk using a walking stick.  It must be an absolute misery for her and to be carried into her grave with her. Despite the fairness in the judgement, I can’t help feeling sorry for the old lady. I think the matter can actually be settled better out of the court system, through mediation and talks whereby both parties can reach some agreeable terms to live side by side.

I am not sure if this ending is what Casa family wished to see to happen to their neighbour; there is no report about it. I suspect that they actually wanted to put a stop to the harassment they were getting and not to punish the old lady.

In my country, people negotiate a lot to solve problems – too much that sometimes the matter that should have gone to court is settled privately. But here is the other extreme where most of the things seemed to be settled in court. 

Reflection

16 Mar

I was quite negative during the past weeks. I think I let my feeling of helplessness strangle me.

I must say I came to the UK with high expectation. The places where I went to before were not fully democratic, were not ‘free’. I wanted to taste what it was like to be ‘free’. That made me felt disappointed and hopeless when I saw that the system here – which I saw to be the model system – was not perfect. There are many positive things that people here enjoyed. People can say what they think without real danger of being thrown into jail or killed. It is also encouraging to see how the charity groups and the people in charity groups care so much about other people. It is encouraging when we know that change can be brought forward from this country. Also, I’ve met a lot of good people.

But, it is depressing when I thought about how small this force is, how much developing countries depend on developed countries and rich corporations, how much we have to follow the unfair rules of the game, how we – the poor ones – cannot really decide our own fate.  

And it is scary how I am becoming more and more sceptical (or cynical??). I have always been the happy one. I do not know how can I go home with these changed thoughts knowing so little change I can do – if I can spare sufficient time at all other than trying to survive in the competitive world and financially demanding environment.

But it is okay. Let’s take it when it comes. There is no point worrying.

I think it’s perhaps about perspective. Everyone of us is a dust in the universe, so small and helpless. But everyone’s life is actually important for someone else. So I reckon there is no point feeling down because of feeling powerless. I just have to keep looking forward and contribute a bit of positiveness from myself.

When there is a will, there is a way. 😀

Money sucks?

6 Feb

Today, in class, Gary shared his life experience and the wisdom he gathered so far.
The list goes like this:
1. Gather experience wherever possible
2. Meet people and learn how to use the phone
3. Leave the Comfort Zone – have faith in your abilities
4. Money sucks
5. Avoid competition – set your own goal
6. Follow your intuition
7. Treat everyone equally
8. Don’t hold grudges
9. Follow fate, don’t fight it
10. Happiness is all about dealing with disappointments

They sound like good advices. I agree with almost all of them. But, I think the point ‘money sucks’ is not really applicable for everyone (certainly not for me).   

I understand the point that we should not get too obsessed with money and let our materialistic desires spiral up uncontrollably. I do believe in living humbly, and in being thankful for whatever we have and not only concentrating in whatever we do not have.

However, I think only people who have ever experienced having excessive money can ever feel and say ‘money sucks’. Any homeless, any poor student who can’t continue study because he/she can’t pay the school fee, any parent with sick child will easily show the importance of money.

The effect may be less dramatic in the UK as strong laws are imposed and various social securities are available for the people; but in many other countries, no money means you are going to die and noone will help you. During my visit to a hospital back home, I heard that an accident victim was left at hospital corridor without treatment – until his family came with money – because the hospital could not afford any ‘freerider’.

Perhaps, the value of money is not in the number itself, but in how it is viewed and used. If, instead of buying the latest sport car, the money is used to help others, perhaps the pleasure derived from it will be more fulfilling.

Money should not be the center of one’s life, but I can’t deny that it is indeed an essential mean to continue living.

Reflection

12 Jan

Only days into 2007, I have already had to give myself a hard pinch which I truly deserved. The thing was I did not get my priorities right.

The holiday mood caught me up so tightly I messed up my last assignment really badly. Firstly, the assignment was not done with maximum effort. I am okay with any results I get as long as I think it is the best I can do at that moment. The results were often not great, but at least I tried my best. Bad results just meant that there were lots of room for improvement. But this time, I am really disappointed with myself because I did not put in the effort needed.

Secondly, I made a wrong judgement. I had a few trips in December thus I put the assignment on hold. Then I realised I did not have enough time to finish it nicely. But, I was due to go for another trip. I confidently thought that I could bring the assignment with me, find an internet cafe to polish it and send it out. But, before I set off, I did not check what kind of computer system used in internet cafes or whether it was actually available at the first place. To make the matter worse, I did not do what a journalist should do when he/she reached a new place, that was to check the communication options available. When I finally wanted to do the assignment very late in the evening, I found that there was no Microsoft Word on the system (too bad that cursing did not help). Worst of all, the next few days spent on the remote areas on the weekend meant no internet connection at all. The only fortunate thing was I sent the first draft of my assignment to my own email thus I was able to forward it for submission. No changes could be made. Hence, the deadline passed and I submitted something that I knew was utter rubbish.

While I was in the minibus touring the beautiful Scotland Highland, the truth struck me. I set wrong priority list. I could have made few sacrifices for the assignment, but the travelling got hold on me so much I did not want to miss it. But I came to the UK for study and the fullfilment of my strong desire to travel should be just a bonus. Yet they became more important than my main objective. What a silly thing to do.

Well, there is no point of crying over spilled milk now. I hope that experience and this post will always serve as my self-reminders whenever I get sidetracked again. Always remember why you started in the first place and do it with heart.

make me talk

12 Dec

It feels weird that the semester is ending. It feels as if time has been fast-forwarded. I can hardly believe that I have spent three months in Cardiff doing journalism. Well, not really journalism yet, but doing a little bit of writing and absorbing information. But thinking back, around this time last year, I was still looking for new direction in my life.

Many people surprised when I said that I was doing engineering before coming here. They asked me why. I could not really explain. But after talking to Lydia, an energetic classmate, I realised everyone has reasons and should be proud of them. Lydia has goals she relentlessly pursues, and she announces them to others. I had goals too, but I did not dare to announce them because I worried that I would fall short of them. One year on since last year, I felt like I fell behind.  

To be honest, my reason to do journalism was disappointment. This time last year, I was disappointed – with the world, with my situation and more so with my own life. I felt that if it kept going that way, I would live a wasteful life – born and die quietly without stirring anything along the way. I wanted to be useful somehow. I wanted to make the world a better place. Making bigger capacity harddrive for computer freaks to play their latest game was not satisfying. That was when I thought of journalism. It is a useful job. It changes people’s lives.

But since I came to Cardiff, I have been asking myself “Are you made to do this?” This new experience is totally out of the comfort zone. Very exciting but tough. I do not have the normal journalist’s trait that seemed very obvious among the journalists and my teachers, the liking to talk.

I do not talk much to new people. I like talking with friends or with talkactive people. But I find it rather challenging to initiate a conversation. I wanted to train myself to talk, but I can’t say I’ve made any progress. I have not even talked to half of my classmates. I think next semester, when I have to do interviews, I will just freeze to death because of anxiety. But one thing good is I’m curious and keen to listen. Tell me things, any new things, I will listen. But in order to get others to talk about themselves, I need to start talking.

Three months has passed, I started asking myself if I had not pushed myself hard enough. Am I falling back to mediocrity? I need to talk more.