Happy Days

Today was like the past 2 days: Brilliant.

My prayer partner in Sunday School this year bought me some exquisite cupcakes for my birthday. I have never tried cupcakes before today and greatly appreciate her thoughtfulness. She unveiled the cupcakes out of the blue with an unlighted candle -which I pretended to blow later on- on the center one before class began. I was then forced, I repeat, forced to sit in the middle of the circle of classmates. My classmates then proceeded to sing 'Happy Birthday' at an alarmingly high volume. I, for one, do not relish any public attention whatsoever. I must have been flushed because a couple of friends pointed that out and a camera was immediately unleashed to snap my half-smile, half-cringe.

Then my Sunday School teacher made every classmate present, except me, mention one trait that they liked about me or something similar. (I was using a lot of concentration to suppress the urge to run away.) I don't know if they were forced to say what they did but I appreciate every one of it -though I may strongly disagree that I am "clever, gentle, courteous, friendly, simple, etc" because I am daft, rough, insolent and eccentric. My Sunday School teacher regarded me as "still water runs deep; but in a good way". I don't know what to make of that but I appreciate it very much, too.

One of the 3 good friends started to behave very peculiarly in the car after church. But then I found out why shortly thereafter. She was counting down the seconds to hand me their shared birthday present, not counting down the seconds to winter when snow would fall from the sky. I would screech if my reflexes were built to do so but I only gasped when I saw the gifts. I honestly love the gifts, regardless of what they may think. They know me best after my family and although it may be an object of torture (for now, at least) I am not going to complain. (I am not trying to be nice here, I really like it guys!)

We (3 friends and I) met up with my cousin sisters at the mall and we went to catch a movie. The movie could have been the worst movie ever made in the history of film-making and I'd have said that it was excellent because of the people who were watching it with me, not because of the show itself.

It was pretty perplexing at first to recognise every single person lurking at the book aisles where I usually prowl for books because the 5 of us revel in reading. Then I got used to it. All of us -really, all 6 of us- then came out of the bookstore with books (what else?) a couple of hours later.

We left the mall feeling spent. But completely gratified. At least, I seem to think so.

P/S: OK, this will be the last of my birthday. I'm sorry if this is getting monotonous. I will also be away for the next 3 days so you're spared.


Birthday Dinner

Last night, my brother and I had laboriously tried to lock the hamper my father bought (for business purposes) into place with the aid of the car seat belt. It was a struggle and the fight with the seat belt -2 against 1- lasted for quite a while. We emerged victorious in the end.

Tonight, I was wrapping birthday gifts in the car and writing messages for said presents whilst on the way to the birthday dinner. There is no prize for guessing correctly what I bought for my two cousins. The three of us -September babies- immediately discovered that we had just bought the gifts a few hours prior to the dinner in haste at the same kind of store -bookstore- and at neighbouring shopping malls. It was a night for laughs.

I think my cousins know me far too well, as do my immediate family. Let's just say that my next few trips to the bookstore will be covered and I may not even need to make trips to the bookstore for a while. Although, it will be physically impossible since I will be going out to the mall tomorrow with 4 of my awesome friends and my cousin sisters, who are equally awesome. The mall has a two-floor humongous bookstore. Moreover, they all relish reading except the younger cousin sister who is the youngest of the lot but she'll grow into it (I hope). I am very much looking forward to tomorrow and am excited to spend the day with good company.

And a poignant post my cousin sister had written means the world to me. I am going to cherish it for all eternity, as I will with many other things she has given and done for me. This ain't no lie. This is also my serious tone.


Life Anniversary

Part One: The SPM trials have finally concluded. It ended today for those who are sitting for Biology. It ended yesterday for those who are not sitting for Biology, such as yours truly. It ended the day before yesterday for those who are in the Arts Stream. We are halfway to freedom.

Part Two: A fleeting thought crossed my mind a while ago: life anniversary is analogous to birthday...I think. It only sounds weirder, not to mention unused at all.

Part Three: I'm 17 today. A little older. A little wiser. A little better at rationalising (I hope). A little closer to getting my driver's license. A little nearer to 18. Fantastic. Also, my late paternal grandmother would be 103 today. Here's to her.

Part Four: Tomorrow is the birthday of my cousin brother, who I am going to rendezvous with for dinner tomorrow with the cousin sister who recently turned 17 about a fortnight ago. We are September babies. And if I am correct, tomorrow is also the birthday of a fellow blogger. Happy Birthday -in advance.

Part Five: I didn't expect to receive any, much less many, birthday wishes since this is in the midst of trials, nearing the end, but I was proved wrong. I always am. Thank you very much for the meaningful wishes. Every one of them is going in the vault on my handphone.

Part Six: My brother, who usually gives me nothing but a half-hearted birthday wish every year, unleashed an envelope during dinner today and to my complete disbelief but total delight, it was a book voucher! Today's date was stamped on the vouchers. I am on cloud nine.

Part Seven: This is how incredibly terrible my memory is: I actually forgot what date today was when my mother asked me to sign something and fill in the space below for the date today. Unbelievable.

Part Eight: My lovely and hilarious cousin sister who doodles on planes recently got elected as next year's Head Prefect in her school. Her sister was the Assistant Head Prefect for Girls. I had been the Secretary at my school two centuries ago. Looks like it runs in the family. Or not. I couldn't believe the news at first but she is the perfect candidate since she can be scary when she wants to and has the gusto and moxie to fight high school crime.

Part Nine: Today was a great day. Money cannot buy what I wish for. And what I do wish for, God has blessed me with.

Part Ten: There is no part ten.


Letter to Self

This post is going to be hideously tedious for anyone else besides myself so I insist that you disregard this. I just thought I'd do my future self a favour and write her a letter before I turn 17. It will be very freaky if you were to read the following so I insist again, stop reading right about now. I hope the warning doesn't pique your interest instead.

Dear Justine of the Future,

I hope you've finally solved the Rubik's Cube. It's about time you did it! I hope you're more confident now that you're 27. Approach people, make friends, smile at strangers.

You were never afraid to tell your parents that you love them, so I hope that doesn't change in the future. I trust that you remember everything your mother thought you, albeit you may have been extremely obstinate when you were younger. Mother knows best. Seriously. Don't let me remind you of the number of times you regretted disobeying her orders and advice.

Your father is a great man. Everything you do makes him proud and always remember that you are blessed with two fathers -your Father in Heaven, and your father on Earth. And both are too extraordinary for words.

You and your brother get along well so don't sabotage that kinship and never forget to stay in touch frequently even though you both are leading different lives.

I hope you've finally completed all your writing projects because 10 years is a really long time and, please don't let me down.

If God's plan all this while had been for you to become someone great, keep your head down and share your blessing.

But if God's plan all this while had been for you to become someone not-so-great (so you assume), always give it your best shot and keep in mind that God's plan is always the best. Besides, you were never good at planning anyway.

Whenever you feel like cracking under pressure, halt what you're doing and go read a book for a while. Don't waste your precious brain cells by worrying like you always did in high school. Oh, and please refrain from entering a bookstore whenever you know you shouldn't. The results would be disastrous if you fail to do so. You know what I mean.

I also hope you've had the chance to meet the person you've carved a portion of your life out for, even if said person doesn't know of your existence -yet, hopefully.

I hope you've become less of a perfectionist now that you're an adult and can think rationally. It's OK to lose or fail sometimes. Just don't give up everytime you do. Don't be a wuss. And please take good care of your eyesight. Your father and I went to lengths to keep them sound. Read with the lights on. Don't be lazy.

Are you wearing skirts and dresses more often now? If you are, remember that you are always a pants person. And if you are actually able to walk in heels without tripping, I commend you.

Futhermore, don't forget to keep your manners intact, eat all the vegetables on your plate and tone down that sarcasm.

Never lose sight of the most important things in your life. And remember, always serve God -everytime, everywhere, everyday.

And lastly, if both you and the blog are still here after a decade and you happen to read this exactly 10 years into the future, at 27, due to sheer coincidence or exceptional memory (doubtful), hit the comment button and reply, “Thanks, Justine from the Past. I didn't let you down. From, Justine in the Future.”

Oh. By the way, how's life in the future?

From, Justine of the Past.

The grammar in the e-letter above probably sucks because it can be a little confusing with the past tense and present tense what with my present self and future self. But eerie, isn't it? Told you.


'I' in Interview

I have never done as much staring as I had yesterday.

I had no idea that the waiting process for the interview was an immeasurably long one that the unbreakable habit of bringing a storybook/reading material whenever I leave the house completely left me yesterday. I arrived at the college at 11AM. The briefing began at 12PM and ended at 1PM. Students' names were called by batches right after that. The very last student was called at 3.45PM. I know that because I was that last student.

The lecture hall became more and more deserted as I bored a hole into the wall with my perpetual stare. I had absolutely nothing to do. The rest of my schoolmates are having their interviews today so I knew no one. The interview process itself was mediocre. Not too good, not too bad. It is a known fact that I am not smooth under pressure and that I write better than I talk because my speech is terrible. But I was blessed to have a great interviewer who didn't make me feel small(er) and wasn't as formidable as the other interviewers.

I broke almost all the interview guidelines we were briefed about earlier. Almost. But I was the last student and I hadn't had lunch yet. So my thoughts were a little scattered by that time. I think I was too honest but I'm glad it's over now. I'm prepared for the best and the worst.

I finally ate my lunch at a few minutes past 4PM. I scarfed the whole serving in under 10 minutes and experienced a little indigestion after that. But oh, well. I was ravenous. I truly was.

I came back with a slight panic since I hadn't started my revision for tomorrow's paper -Physics. I slept at 3AM last night but this is nothing compared to the few friends who completely forgo sleep for several days.

Moreover, I learned something yesterday: There are 38 rows of wood in each tile on the wall of the lecture theatre. Interesting, huh?


Mortification at the Mall

The interview at the college is tomorrow. I thought I'd be sweating bullets by now but I am unreasonably calm. But maybe that serenity will fly out the window first thing tomorrow morning. Maybe not. I've been enlisting the help of a couple of adults lately for advice. I'll just do my best and the rest is in God's Hands.

The dress code is formal wear and I do have two skirts stashed in my cupboard for specific purposes such as this one. I also own a few pairs of shoes but haven't worn them since before I hit puberty so it is very likely that I can't fit into them anymore. When my parents and I went to the mall today, my mother took it upon herself to induce misery and launched right into Operation Get Justine Formal Attire.

I was forced to get a pair of ladies' shoes -no heels, thankfully, because that would be disastrous- and a semi-frilly ladies' blouse. I put up a tiny fight at the shoe shop. It backfired and my mother chastised me, quite loudly, in front of a few customers. My bad. The blouse purchase was a little less ugly. Needless to say, my level of discomfort had been exceedingly high at the mall today.

Also, I just want to thank the friends and family members who have wished me all the best for tomorrow. I appreciate it and really needed that. Thank you.


Radio Raves


I just heard myself on the radio.

I called up Fly FM -one of the country's noted English radio stations- today and didn't for the life of me think that I would get picked up. But I was wrong. Dead wrong. The DJ answered the call after just one ring -or tut tut- and I wasn't even sure if I was hearing voices or if it was really happening. Then I finally came to my senses and opened my mouth to speak. I was stuttering the whole time and didn't even know what I was saying/asking. I was sure I sounded like an utter moron. And then my surety was confirmed. They aired it. 2 minutes later.

I even have proof as I was on standby and recorded the conversation. Oh man.

And then, I called a second time. This time, I was semi-ready. But yet again, I sounded like a total goon. This time, they aired it an hour after the call. My vocabulary plummeted eighty feet and I have a strong feeling the DJ thought I was a guy since Justine also sounds like Justin. Astonishing fact, isn't it? I didn't have the heart (Read: guts) to tell him my name has an 'e' at the end. I also have this second airing recorded. Oh man. I don't know if I should laugh or cry. However, I'm thankful they edited certain parts of my nonsensical ramblings.

In other related news, a friend of mine had also contacted another noted English radio station in the country at about the same time I made my first call to a radio station. Sweet.


Speaking of Interviews...

...I have only been interviewed 3 times in all of my 16 years on Earth.

The first ever interview was in 2004, when I was culled to be a prefect. I was a bad interviewee. Question 1: "Do you have a disciplinary record?" I replied, "No." It was a lie. I had forgotten to cut my nails once and my name was jotted down. I had also slept in class a lot but thankfully, that wasn't noted by the senior prefects. Question 2: "Why are your grades so unsatisfying, especially History?" They had actually asked me this. "Because it is a torture device in the form of a book," I had wanted to say. But said, "Er..." instead. "Do you promise to buck up when you become a prefect?" I nodded yes. This was no lie, but it didn't happen, not for History.

The second time had been in 2005, when a news reporter interviewed my group of teammates and me on our newspaper project in a nationwide competition. (We didn't win anything, by the way.) I mumbled something lame and they published a 7-word sentence I had said, possibly under obligations since I had been the editor-slash-team leader. The reporter had also interviewed us for a little section in the paper regarding teenagers' views on their parents. I didn't get horsewhipped by my parents. I did, however, get a ton of berating from my brother. I had ratted him out unthinkingly -on national newspaper. My bad.

The third time had been just last year, when yet again, I was selected to be a prefect when I resigned after a year of my stint. This one was succinct since I was leading my group for a Biology experiment -ironic, I know- when I was called. So it had to be quick because the fruits back in the lab needed to be fermented. They asked, "Are you interested in becoming a prefect?" "No," I answered truthfully. "Thank you," they said. "My pleasure," I had wanted to say, but said "Thank you" instead. And that was it.

A lifetime of experience, I have.


Positive Thinking

Today was brilliant.

After my mother drove the friend who very recently came back from abroad and I to my cousin sister's place, we headed to the twin towers to:-
a) get a little tour with my cousin's housemate who is a highly-paid and highly-intellectual geologist at her workplace
b) visit the humongous and beautiful bookstore there
c) spend quality time with 3 awesome people
d) release any stress/tension/anxiety

The very gracious friend/geologist told me what I needed to know about the job and for that, I owe her my gratitude. I've been interested in Geology for some time now but haven't a single clue what geologists do daily. So now I know and I am as interested as ever. Her clever insights and great advice also helped me more than she would know. I also have to thank her for loaning her jeans and belt to me since I wasn't informed that the place does not permit anybody wearing three-quarter length pants. Also, I don't own a single pair of jeans. I had also worn slippers which is also not allowed at the office building but my cousin sister saved the day. We went through a lot of hurdles today to just get me into the building. You don't need to know this but I left my pants at my cousin's place. Low memory power, I have.

When I reached home, I miraculously got a call from my brother's college. I had filled out a scholarship application a while ago based on my mid-term examination results -the ones I have now wouldn't even make me eligible for it- and now I am shortlisted for it. Surreal. I wrote the details mechanically in bewilderment. The interview is next Saturday and I am flipping out. God's Hands are at work here and whatever happens later should be for the best. Positive thinking. Positive thinking. Positive thinking.

I can't do interviews well. Positive thinking. I don't talk well; especially when I'm nervous. Positive thinking. Oh man. Positive thinking.

I am still frantic about yesterday though. OK, positive thinking. Positive thinking.


Road to Failure

Snap. I really chose the wrong time to suck and screw up.

Imagined conversation in the month of October when the foreboding results are out:

Parent: What did you get?
Justine: ...
Parent: What did you get?
Justine: Uh...
Parent: Justine. What did you get?
Justine: What did you get for dinner? I'm starving.
Parent: What. Did. You. Get.
Justine: Er...
Parent: A1? A2?
Justine: Well...
Parent: B3?
Justine: Um...
Parent: How much lower do you want me to go?
Justine: Just a little more.
Parent: (Gunshot. Bang!)
Justine: -out-

OK, the above was a joke. (I don't know how I can still conceive anything humourous even after recognising the implications of what happened today.) But jocularity aside, my parents were nothing but understanding when I told them how bad I'd done today. Although, I don't think they comprehend just how horrendously I'd performed. It was entirely my fault. I deserve major whipping.

Academics is all I've got. I am not athletic at all. I am also not outstanding in any other way. So, bye bye the-minute-chance-of-getting-a-scholarship. Hello toil-til-you-grovel-Justine.

I am not looking forward to the next two weeks of the trial examination at all.

In other news, I asked a friend a question I've been meaning to ask for 2 years now since 2006 but had forgotten to do so. My memory fails me. At 16. I'm in trouble. Although, I'm almost 17. Does that ameliorate the situation? Nope.



I think I may need anger management. I was revising history today when I reached my boiling point as I grudgingly memorised the [redacted] of the country's [redacted]. What I did next was out of hormonal teenage angst. Forgive me in advance.

I posted a question to the [redacted] under the nom de plume of [redacted] at [redacted]. (He was the one that conceived the idea the year I was born.)

My comment is still awaiting approval at present. I also doubt he would reply or answer my question because I am a mentally unstable high school kid. Not to mention the fact that his posts generate more or less 1000 comments every time.

Still. If it doesn't make it over there, then here it is:
It was a smart move to remain anonymous, no? (At least, anonymous over there.)

P/S: I resisted the persistent urge to add representin' my peers at the end of the post but I can't be too sure if my schoolmates feel as vehement as I do. And if the [redacted] would get it.

PP/S: Oh man. I hope I don't get seized and jailed for this post.

Update: Sorry. I had to redact about 50% of this post because the news this morning stressed that the [redacted] something [redacted] something something [redacted] and blogs. There is no freedom of [redacted] here and it might jeopardise my [redacted] and I wouldn't want that to happen.


Ribbon-wrapped Post

Today, among several other days, is a special day of the year. It is the birthday of an awesome human being.

Said human being is the one who was my partner in child crimes; who remembered all my absurd childhood dreams and decided to tattle them at the wrong moment -now- but all is forgiven; who is both my confidant and confidee -if there is such a word; who plays a huge role in my wardrobe department; who sits beside me in just about every family dinner; who tolerates my quirks more patiently than most people do; who is the reason this blog exists in the first place; who I trust with my life. She is my cousin sister.

If there is one thing I envy about her, it's her big heart and warm personality. (OK, those are actually two.) After growing up with her for almost 17 years now, I can honestly say that she is good through and through. And that makes her as rare as the book I've been trying to locate for eons now. (I later discovered that it is not sold in the country. D'oh! But I digress.) I truly believe that she brings joy to the lives of the people around her, unbeknown to her. Exuding happiness almost all the time, her company is always a pleasure to have. I wish her the very best as she chases her dream to become a travel journalist or a chef.

(When you become either, I'll be your devoted reader or customer. I give you my word. Unless, of course, you become a poet. Then I'll try as arduously hard as I can to read them. Or if your restaurant is in France. Then I'll try to save up as much as I can by starving for a while and then flying over there for your food.)

Can I ask for a better cousin? No, I don't think I can. God has blessed me with one of the best.

Selamat Hari Jadi ke-17, Elisa!

I, er, uh, well, um, uh, love, er, well, you.

That was a choking hazard. You owe me one.

Just kidding.

I was there when you were born. Or rather, vice versa.

I was there when you ate chips.

I was there when you were eating dinner.

I was there when you were checking out our feet for reasons that escape me.

I was there during Christmas (2007).

I was there when you snapped the picture of our silhouettes on the sloshing jetty.

Did you cry? Did you cry?

Again, just kidding.

(Her reply.)


Question of the Year

I have only been introduced to one of the Additional Mathematics chapters, Trigonometric Functions, a couple of months ago. Since then, the following -don't bother deciphering it, my handwriting is illegible- could probably be the longest trig question I'll ever solve during my adolescence (I hope):

Devised to infuriate.

Using a grand total of 16 equals sign (=), a solid 7 minutes and a whole page for 4 measly marks the question rewards, I'd say that was a killer question. Also, I think I may be showcasing my stupidity because truth be told, I did half of the question from the start and the other half of the question backwards. My mind works absolutely fine, no? I'm also positive there is a shorter and much easier way to solve it but my mind always finds the most primitive way -just to torture me. I am battling with my mind. If that isn't proof that I am on the verge of insanity or already am, I don't know what is.

Still. I hope the SPM setters have a little bit of mercy.


Exam Wishes

To my peers: All the best for the SPM trials of 2008! It's just an exam. A trial exam. Now say that a hundred times and it'll feel that way.

I know. Not helping.

But remember, ten years from now, you'll look back and wonder why you ever wasted so much energy fretting over something trivial. (Again, mull over it a hundred times and you'll get my drift. I know this because I have mused about it two hundred times.) So don't worry! Unless you are planning on applying for a college scholarship based on the forecast results, then there might be the slight need for worry. Take me for example. I am worrying my pants off. But you shouldn't.

Just strive for the best and let God do the rest. (Exam motto.)

P/S: I am bad at encouraging. I am not planning on becoming a therapist. So don't worry. No pun intended.


Brain Recharge

Today was an exceptionally long day. In fact, it felt like two whole days to me. I think I also ate enough for two days. I am full and drained. After only 4 hours of brain rest last night and 8 hours of strenuous brain usage today, I am surprised that I can still remain upright and coherent. But not for long though.

In other news, it just dawned on me how painfully mundane life would be if you were a fish. All you would ever do is swim, feed, flee and beget.

Alrighty. I am going to crawl my way to bed now. Goodnight.