Category Archives: Personal Life

Lost in the cultural translation

There are many differences one can spot upon moving from an East Asian culture to a European ones. I was tempted to say western culture in place of european, but feel that Australia is not exactly geographically western.

I have a friend from Malaysia who’s recently moved to Japan. We’ve had a few great conversations regarding home away from home and how cultural adaptation can be a pain in the arse. It hit me one night that we’ve came from the same place but have ended up in two very different world. I asked her to take a picture of the night life scene of the bar that she’s at, but was quickly turned down that it’s not appropriate to take picture in public. That’s how much Japanese value their privacy. If it’s in Melbourne, everyone will be fighting to be in that picture.

I was struck by the fact that I’ve been adapting slowly without noticing it. Australian’s culture I would say is a very extroverted one. It is encouraged to share your thoughts all the time, and it is kind of ingrained and it’s not natural for one to be reserved. Even the more introverted people I’ve met have shown no drawback in expressing their opinions in a public settings.

I suspect that it all comes from the initial education system. Having none of the data to prove that, but by pure guessing only, I guess the school system in Australia encourage student’s participation from early age, removing the barriers of seniority and layers of authority. In contrast with the ones I’ve came from, students are thought to acknowledge the seniority and authority to the point where the people in charge are almost always right. I’m not arguing which one is better or which is right or wrong, it’s the matter of the results that interest me right now.

Australians talk to their teachers and bosses like a friend ( to some extends ), I couldn’t even look my teachers in their eyes while they were teaching. Their teachers are staffs, hired to teach. Our teachers are worshiped as a hero and are to be respected and their orders followed. Their parents job is to raise the children to be useful to the society. Our parents main priority is to make sure we will take care of them when they are old and useless.

I’ve written this with so much negative biases toward our side of the culture to the point that I need to defend them. Their parents have their government to help support their children, student loans, free educations. My parents have to work hard everyday to save up to my college fees. Their parents have retirements plans. My parents have almost no saving when I started college. One would have said that if our government was better at supporting my parents in the early years, they would not have to burden their children.

Their system have produced a relaxed, cool lots. We’ve grown up to be a fighter that will lose everything when we stop.


Down south to OZ

Is it just me or the last few prompt has been sad? Empty, would I want to be optimistic about this?

It could just be my current mood I guess, also because I’m listening to Damien Rice. That beautiful bastard has a heck of a collection when it comes to sad song. (hint: check out his song “The Greatest Bastard“)

I’ve moved to Melbourne just a couple of months ago and had been wanting to write about the experience about it, but I was probably too empty to make out anything until now. But somehow when I start to write, all I can think about is the past.

I guess I’ll list 10 things about melbourne that I love so far to convince myself that this is a great decision.

Currency

The money is here worth much more than the previous countries I’ve been (Malaysia and Indonesia). The tax can be crazy, but it’s still a pretty good deal. So earning Australian Dollar means more buying power and also I will have more saving to travel especially around SEA where most of my friends and family are.

Weather

I wouldn’t say I loooove the weather, but I’ve started at the wrong time. When I first got here on mid April, it was getting very cold. There were nights as cold as 8 degree Celcius. And colder nights are ahead of me. But it’s great when the sun in shining and when spring comes, it’s will just fine.

Swing Dancing

I’ve started swing dancing last year in KL and have been hooked since. It’s a type of Jazz dance and it’s a lot of fun. Compared with Salsa which is much more popular, I find Salsa is too intimate and I can’t really handle that in public.

KL has like 2 social dance event a week. So I mostly dance once a week and maybe go to classes sometimes. In Melbourne, there are at least 1 event everyday. It’s like heaven.

Service

The service here is much more expensive but it’s much better. I’m so surprised on how easy things are done here. People are very friendly and they understand that they are paid to make you feel comfortable and welcomed. And it’s probably by law that customers are protected in the best way possible.

Arts

It’s amazing how much lively this city can be. Again it sucks because it’s winter,but when the warmer and dryer wheaters come, the city will be alive with live performances on the street, painting, art shows. It’s beautiful.

Ramen

I love Ramen, and it was pretty expensive back then in KL (compared to local food). I can eat Ramen every day in here and it won’t really break my bank account. I’m spending the same amount of money for other types of food anyway.

Coffee!

It’s amazing how much coffee they drink over here. It’s pretty normal to go for coffee break a couple of times a day. I’m not a coffee addict but I do love a good cup of coffee once in awhile. Living in Melbourne means that you’ll always find a coffee shop wherever you are.

Water

You can drink from the tap, which is a luxury back home.

Bicycle

I grew up riding bikes. Having the chance of bringing that back to my life brings back tons of childhood memories. It’s a flood of nostalgia and a couple of near death moments with my bike. Can’t wait to buy a bike and explore the city with it.

Meetup

Meetup here is huge, just like Swing Dancing, there are more options and bigger community. Even though the people can be a bit colder and harder to befriend with, the fact that there are more options makes it a better chance to find friends.

I’m feeling better now. It’s true how setting our mind into positive things can bring us into better mood. But I’m addicted to sadness, what can I say.

More on the KL to Melbourne move stories to come. Let me know what you’d like to read more about. If you are in reading this in Melbourne, tell me what you like the most about this city.


Those left behind

It’s getting boring because every recent posts I’ve made starts with something about haven’t written anything for a while. So is this post.

Many things have changed. The biggest of all is that I’ve moved down south to Australia. I’d like to talk about those I’ve left behind.

I’m a cold person, trying very hard to keep it that way. I can be very friendly with people, which most often do. But I distant myself from commitments and closeness. You can say that most of my friendliness are more of matter a professionalism rather than my style.

However, there are some special people that genuinely like me ( arguable and is subject to the judgment of time ).

These special people aren’t necessarily kind or caring. But these special people are those who are willing to spend the ups and downs with me, those who cracked through my icy wall and leave me out in the open, left me vulnerable.

I miss them.

Now I’m back in my cold shell in this cold world, wandering around hoping to bump into a new special people that I can melt my frozen wall for.


First Dentist Experience

I grew up in a small town where most of the people I know have fake teeth. Often I followed some of these people to the dentist and indirectly interacted with the dentists. I remember how distinctive the smell of every single dentist office I’ve been to. In my family itself, 5 out of 6 of my sisters have detachable teeth. My mother often carry her teeth in a plastic pouch filled with water. Yet, in my 27 years of life, I’ve never been the patient until today.

My dental plaque had been accumulated since the early development of my adult sets of teeth and recently has been getting extra attention after a friend of mine mentioned it. It’s hard to find a dentist in where I live until recently. So I’ve made up my mind a few weeks ago to get the plaques cleaned. Still, I was battling with busy schedule and work.

When I finally find the time to do it, it was today. As I walked into the dental clinic, the awkward encounter begins.

The first awkward encounter is the question “How can I help you?” question. I answered with “removing my plaques”. The nurses (or whatever you call them) didn’t seem to understand me but requested my details anyway for registration. I gave them my IC and waited for a while. A few minutes later, a nurse called me into the room and I couldn’t help but grinned at the idea of me lying on the dentist bed. I smiled when the dentist lowered the chair and started asking questions.

“What do you want to do?” asked the dentist.

I tried my best not to laugh, thinking about the jokes about dentist loving to talk to their patient despite their mouth being occupied with the dentist equipments. “I want to remove my plaques” I said.

Yet, the dentist still look confused, so I flashed out my teeth and point to the bottom gum where the plaques are most visible.

“Oh, scaling” confirmed the dentist. Apparently that’s what it’s called.

The procedure was very uncomfortable. Squeaky and hushing sounds of the equipments in my mouth and the effort to keep my jaw dropped for almost half an hour, with some occasional pain when the plaque is in the deeper part. And the most annoying of all is the constant flow of water sprayed to my mouth in the process where I felt like I’m drowning and trying to control my breathing from my nose only. I choked a few times and had to ask the nice dentist to give me a break.

“It’s just water” said the dentist every time I felt choked and try to clear my throat.

During the entire process, there were moments where I couldn’t do anything but lay there with a tensed up body like I was being tied to a bed and tortured. And I couldn’t help but look around emptily, trying to relax, stare funnily at the dentist and nurses, and making sure I remember to breath from my nose. I wonder, what would you do?


I saw my past passed through the window.

i’m at Starbucks right now and I’m seated quite far from any window. But I have the window to my soul opened up and I’m seated just right next to it.

So I glanced through this window and I saw the future, the future that I’m excited about, the future that I want to talk about. But none of this make sense because it might or might not happen. So I glanced to the other side, to the past. I saw my past replayed in front of me. Every single memory that pushed me to where I am now, and all the others that are pushing me to keep moving, and to fight for the future that I wish I have.

But they aren’t pleasant memories. There are hatreds, pains, and regrets. There are chains and unfortunate coincidences that bound me to where I am now, that keep telling me that I should not go anywhere but here, my duty as a human being is to stay, to serve the bigger purpose that I am born into, that I am created for.

In the other hand, these memories push the rebellious part of me to fight for freedom. Though I’m afraid, useless and unworthy because the whole world seems to be against me, I’m willing to take my chance in screaming the hell out of my breath in the middle of nowhere wishing that somebody for some insane coincident will hear my voice and raise me up to the altar of dreams.

Suddenly the future flashed by again and all the guilts came back to me. It reminded me that I will be that cruel heartless human being that abandoned everything to pursue the selfish happiness. The guy who cares nothing else but himself. The one man that left his duty as a son. The betrayer of trust, the cold hearted man.

So what? I will be happy by then. Though I know that kind of happiness is temporary, I’m willing to pursue that. Though it will only last for a short time of my existence, I’m willing to be that jerk and fulfil my humanly dream. Because that’s what life is, to pursue that temporary little joys over and over again until Death find us. Then, there will be pure joy, and there will be nothingness, there will be no pain left to suffer.


Melbourne’s Winter

Are you dreaming of a White Christmas? You can’t, because you’re in Melbourne, Australia. And Christmas is in Summer where the heat wave rolls and the temperature shoot up to 40 degrees Celsius.

Not only that Christmas fall on Summer, their Winter will not get too cold anyway. But somehow this year has been a very cold winter when I was there.

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It was the last week of Autumn when I landed in Melbourne. The weather was great, windy with a bit of rain now and then. The rain was never too much, just drizzling I’ll say. But it’s always great to walk in a cool late Autumn than a hot never ending summer of Kuala Lumpur.

Melbourne was as lively as usual in the day with people, performances, and musics on the streets. Especially on the city area. With the backdrop of Autumn, the lively people looks even more cheerful.

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A week pass by and I could see the season changed in front of my eyes. The drier Melbourne suddenly rained for days and night. The temperature shot down to 5 degrees Celsius and the rain was constant. I could hear the dripping rain all night long when I slept. But the good thing about the rain in Melbourne is that it didn’t get too wet. My jacket got wet for a while and when I got back to the room somehow the jacket is dried back.

Unfortunately, I’ve picked the worst time to visit the Twelve Apostles. The journey on the Great Ocean Road is so gloomy and wet and freezing. But there was a point where we reached Apollo Bay where it was sunny. Then there was this joke that Melbourne people like to tell, “If you don’t like the weather now, just wait for 10 minutes”. It described how the weather can change from hot sunny day to a cold rainy winter.

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And then, it started to rain again. And it rained the whole time I was near the Twelve Apostles. Imaging the cold 5 degree Celsius with the strong wind of the Southern and Indian oceans.

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Despite its cold and and wet weather, I would have to say that it was an amazing experience.

So long, Melbourne. Till my next visit if I ever visit you again.


Wake up in Melbourne

It’s both exciting and worrisome that I’m flying to Melbourne in less than 12 hours from now. It’s going to be a midnight flight and I’ll arrive in the morning cold of Melbourne Fall.

Every time I’m flying I will have this anxiety attack where I worry that I get the flight details wrong. Fear that I might have mistaken the flight date or time. Last night I went to sleep wondering if i’ve already missed my flight and that my flight was last night. I can’t help to repetitively check my booking confirmation details over and over again to make sure that the printed date is not today. And also not to forget to check my phone for what exactly is today’s date. I bet my OCD is getting worse.

Now that I’ve almost packed and ready, and my flight is approximately ten hours from now, I’m bound to a very limited option of activities in between. Probably I should go out and kill some time in Starbucks. Maybe I should take a nap. Maybe I should go watch a movie. But maybe I will miss my flight.

Well, you know I ended up writing this post and hope that it can kill sufficient time but not too much until I miss my flight. I probably ended up in the airport 3 hours too early for check-in while reading some books.

Enough of the post-travel anxiety, let’s focus on the destination. It’s yet another business trip. It means that I’ll be in the office Monday to Friday,  9am to 5pm. Being my second visit to Melbourne and being a very urban city, I’m sure it’s going to be boring again. Well, my previous trip wasn’t too bad. The city is lively and everywhere you go you see celebrations. But I’m a little worry this time because I’m going alone. Being alone in a city is probably a pretty bad idea in the Autumn nights.

Put that aside, I’m so very excited to spend all my Australian coins that are so freaking huge and heavy. I’m so going to spend all the coins and will never ever bring back any coins from Australia anymore.

I’m also very exciting to visit the Great Ocean Road. It’s going to be cold I guess and many people had been warning me about the cold weather in Melbourne right now. I’m kind of well prepared, I hope I bring enough cloths.

What else can I do? Any interesting you’d love to do in Melbourne? Comment below!

Also, stay tuned for more updates from Melbourne.