Saturday, December 31, 2016

Annual Project 2016 - The Review

Finally, I penned this down: the story of how my Annual Project is borned…

The Origin…

A lil background information about myself, I have a lot of interests, just way too many interests. I have yet to find my passion and I guess a part of me wanted to me a renaissance kind of person. Well, of course I am no Leonardo Da Vinci nor Michelangelo. But the wide range of interests have developed over time, some were short term, some were around for years – this could be explaining my commitment issue.

A throwback to somewhere in mid-2015, I saw a shared Facebook post by my buddy, Sumin on a Taiwanese performance artist, Tehching Hsieh who is famous with his One Year Performance. I remembered being inspired by his dedication on delivering a year in producing his performance artwork. This probably planted the idea for this Annual Project in my head…

Another throwback to 3rd November 2015, I remembered it was during the 5th semester’s exam period. I always get inspired during exam preparation - one of the result from my procrastination! I decided and penned this down immediately in my iPhone notes: as a birthday gift for myself: to document an annual project each year in dealing with my many interests. I will dedicate a year to learn/embrace a topic/lifestyle and draw inspiration from it. 

The Topic and Structure of Annual Project…

The inspiration poured in too quickly that very one night, I now have a list of projects to do which could last me for two decades. The chosen topic is purely any topic which I have a great interest to explore at that time, as long as it makes sense to me. There are no rules in the project, and there were no expectations. But I will be restructuring this for 2017’s.

I was going to go with Project Fear in 2016 which includes drafting a Horror Production. Then ITALY came up as the greatest interest at that point. The rest is history. An Instagram account is set up to document the learning journey. I immersed myself in the project and am pleased with the development.

2016: ITALY – the Review…


The food – Italians held great pride in their food and I learned to not start argue on food with the Italians. I tried to cook and bake a handful of Italian dishes, the experience was amazing, apart from a few failures. Who knows Tiramisu can be easy and frustrating at the same time!

The graduation trip – one month in Italy was the highlight of the year. I was so unprepared but it turned out to be a beautiful experience. The food, the people, the attractions, the lifestyle; everything was almost perfect and as usual, I pushed my boundaries – trying Couchsurfing and not planning almost anything.

The Italian friends – Thanks to the amazing language app: Hellotalk, I made a good number of Italian friends. I had a language partner whom I had regular Skype sessions with. I had a travel partner whom I met while travelling in Australia. I have a handful of Italian friends whom I am keeping in touch with. I have some unpleasant times. But I also met a Roman angel, another highlight of the year.

The culture and the lifestyle – From the friends and the obsession with Italy, I learned a fair bit about this beautiful country. The summer lifestyle, the pride with food, the flirty but romantic Italian men, the family culture, the university lifestyle, the beauty of the language… It is amazing to learn about culture from the other side of the world, it was fresh after the Malaysian and Australian experience.

The not-achieved:

The language: I took a 3-month elective course (Level A1) in basic Italian and excelled in it. My command is good enough to survive introductory conversation for 3 minutes. And point to an object and name it. But I did not manage to self-study and get to Level A2. I have invested enough of materials but can’t seem to find the time or the drive to study it when work has started.

The Italian entertainment: I was hooked to an Italian drama (Gomorra) for a while, and some Italian pop songs. And I watched a couple of classic Italian black and white movies. It is a good platform to improve the language but the motivation is not there.

In summary for Italy and the Annual Project

For a first, I am pleased. I am crazy about Italy than any other thing. I love the overall experience and I hanged on for a year with Italy. And it gets emotional to move on to a new project as the year ends. But Italy will always live with me. And Italy is definitely my favourite country and is now the only country I know I would want to return to. What’s next is a new annual project for 2017 but I am aiming to continue to master Italian and I am sure the Italian elements will appear in the 2017 project.

I have some plans for the Annual Project and I hope I can develop it as a side commitment, it’s one of my 2017 resolution. If you are interested in doing an Annual Project, I urge you to jump into it, and share it with me! 

Wen Xin

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Fun with Fours

Tagged by Shao Qi on Facebook, and I feel like writing: the stories behind this

Four names I go by:

I'd prefer Wen Xin, but it seems like a tough Chinese name. Wenz is the name I had during high school. Xin is an exclusive one to my parents. And Wendy, is just an easy name I don't want to bother repeating my preferred name. When my mother adopted the similar fashion in getting an English name, I frowned. Then it hit me, I adopted her password style anyway, so we are even.

Four places I've lived:

I was born and bred in Selangor. My grandmother babysat me in Perak. I spent 3 years in Canberra. And I am currently living in Kuala Lumpur.

Four things I love to watch on YouTube

So I do start spending a lot of time on Youtube when I was in Australia. It is a good platform and opportunity for ordinary people to present extraordinary things. I followed a number of beauty youtubers, and realised the amazing stuff you can do with those beauty products. The industry itself transformed a lot lately, it's booming with females wanting to enhance their beauties with it. Then minimalism, which is likely going to be my next annual project! It is tempting to not watch it as much so I can proceed with discovering more next year. Short films, though not as much as before. Then baking videos, another booming sector. A number of my inspirations came from Youtube.

Four places I wanted to visit:

New Zealand! Because I have booked a trip for next July with my girls! That's going to my annual overseas trip. Philippines! The top country I want to visit in South East Asia, inspired by a travel video on Youtube. USA, I want to do a 6-month honeymoon camping trip there, if no honeymoon, it's cool too, Then Italy again! It's a country I know for sure, I would return. And I can't wait for the day to come. Maybe I can add it up to the next place to live.

Four things I love to eat:

I defined it with food that I would never resist. I am generally picky. There are food that I like but it is not a craving every time. If these food are present, not even 'I am on diet' can be a excuse not to have that. And I never be on diet anyway. Need no introduction, there you go: Chocolate, Fried Chicken, Fries and Avocado.

Four favourite drinks:

Similarly, drinks I would never resist. 3-layer milk tea, my Sunday breakfast's beverage. Hot chocolate, which I have been abusing the office's machine. Ice Lemon/Lime Tea, the substitute when I want something light and non-milky. Starbucks Frappuccino, the reason I would resist is when I need to have 2 meals instead of burning the money on a drink.

Wen Xin

Sunday, October 9, 2016

4 Words, 1 Story [Happy Edition]

In August 2015, I wrote a post on the saddest stories in 4 words: look HERE. Then I stumbled across this photo.

I miss you too.
I really want you.
You left a legacy.
Am attracted to you.
You are very sweet.
You have beautiful eyes.
You have been selected.
I really wuv you.

Inspired by true stories,
Wen Xin

Saturday, July 9, 2016


 I woke up in a studio with my dad whispering Happy Birthday, I was too blurred to acknowledge it. I proudly cooked up a storm, presenting him one of the Australian breakfast while proudly showing off my poached eggs skill. We went for a short walk along Bondi Beach and tried out a chic cafe with almond milk as its best product. I enjoyed the free and easy part where we took things easy. Dad had a dinner appointment with his friend and we hit the CBD. It seemed so familiar yet foreign to me to walk on the streets of Sydney, which made me missing Canberra even more. 

The unhelpful weather had both me and dad walked for 25 minutes under the rain until we reached The Star. While my dad was excited for the visit to the casino, I was more excited in getting scoops of gelato from Messina. The coconut and pandan flavour turned out to be a disappointment but I was pleased with the Italian nougat. I was glad to add some Italian touch to my special day, apart from a brief research on my trip. 

Before meeting my dad's friend, my risk-taking action might have caught on fire this time. While it is still too early to judge, it surely did not feel alright. Definitely a lesson to remember, to take measured risk or perhaps I should be taking less risk. Oh dear. Oh well. That is for later to find out. 

The rest of the day was not much. Tiredness had crept into me as I was having dinner, taking the train, taking the shower and now typing this on the bed. With a beer and a conversation going on, I started to reflect.

Just one more year to the mid twenties, I am not too sure how I feel about this. I do not want to complain about getting a year older but like last year, I did not feel like my age. I do not feel like 24. I am truly grateful for all I have this birthday, with my graduation as a (so-called) milestone and an upcoming trip. My parents being here with me on this significant period of time. 

But somehow I am still a mess, in terms of mentality, future career, financial management and relationship. Part of me still feel rebellious, irresponsible, irrational and inconsiderate; the traits which I do not like. There are still works to be done and I hope I can pull this off one day, to be the person I am pleased to be. Let's shut the negativity, shall we?

As my yearly tradition, I shut myself off the social media today, notably Facebook, but slightly active on Whatsapp, Instagram and Messenger. These three are the platforms which my close ones are able to connect with me whom I am truly grateful of having each of them with me on this special day of mine. Thanks to the 27 of you who were with me with your wishes and conversations.

To the 61 people who wished me on Facebook, Skype and email, thank you for taking the effort. To the family who were always there, I love y'all. I wish one day I would be able to be the person I am satisfied with and to have gotten all the experience I want. I sincerely thank you if you have been with me for the past 23 years. For the 24th year, I do have a couple of things in mind. A new adventure, a new chapter, a new direction in life, and hopefully a better me. Happy Birthday to myself :)

Wen Xin

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

A Letter of Gratitude

Warning: emotional piece ahead. 

I just knew it would be. I am an emotional person and even if I am letting go my emotional attachment towards items and memories, I don't think I am able to let go of feelings.

A few knew the story of how I made it here. All in all, it was not smooth sailing at all, and it cost me an extra 1.5 years with tonnes of scholarship applications and disappointments. 3 years and 3 months ago, I received a news and it was life changing. I stormed out of the lecture hall, half way through a Mathematics lecture, to take a breather. 3 months later, I was here. 

I found myself in a similar position as 3 years ago, in the same gloomy and chilly weather at this old but not ancient looking campus. It was not a fancy campus and it was not  a vibrant city as compared to where I came from. But it was all I need for a change, somewhere down to earth but still reputable, somewhere quiet but still have all I need. Canberra and the Australian National University became home for three years.

Like all phase of life, the moments were both bitter and sweet with its ups and downs. I had ventured into a couple of experience I wanted to try to form some perspective. And I had also been through some emotional roller coaster which had probably shaped my mentality. I cannot be prepared for everything but I think it is important to be mentally prepared with a strong mindset in facing almost any upcoming challenge. 

I lost my mojo to strive for the best result, somehow becoming the best student or being studious was not what I was chasing anymore. While my time in ANU had not been the best in adding rainbows to my resume, and it was not a collection of High Distinctions. I had gotten some failures and challenges which had shaken some of my confidence. At some point, I thought I would not be able to make it. At some point, I did doubt myself if this is the right choice at all. I was grateful when I heaved a huge sigh relief while peeping through one eye on my result. Overall the academic performance was not shining brightly, but I was certainly grateful that I am now done with it. 

But I would like to say I had gotten all I need from this 3 years, on personal development. Australia was special to me in a way that two of my life-changing moments were related to Australia. I got to experience the Aussie lifestyle - laid back, family oriented, of higher standards, leisure and happiness maximising. The time here had allowed me to have the freedom to discover. I discovered some lifestyles and I will be bringing it back with me to Malaysia. 

I also had the freedom and the opportunity to made mistakes. Some stupid mistakes, irrational decisions and measured risks. Things that I should not be doing, which had some detrimental  effects academically, financially and morally. Some cost me, a lot, of which I do not think I deserve the heavy punishment and the emotional abuse but I learned to take it as lessons which God want me to learn.

I worked randomly, for the money and experience. I found myself not having the sense of belonging to this community, bringing up my Year 11 English theme again. Despite subconsciously developing some Aussie accent and being in this Aussie environment, I never once felt belonged. I had known this while studying in the Australian International School Malaysia. I was a local student in a foreign environment. Here in Australia, I was a foreign student in a local environment. Similarly, both were strangers in strange lands. Despite this feeling, I enjoyed working, more than studying as always. The frustration of bureaucracy, the ethnic of service industry, the interaction with people, the exchange of goods and services, etc; still fascinate me.

I travelled extensively which was a dream I made before coming to Australia. I had never gotten the chance to travel. With Australia, I learned how to travel. There were a lot of first times for me, which I loved to try. I didn't credit it to being courageous. Even if it was a brave thing to do like many had commented, I did not particularly feel it. I just wanted to try and experience, at that point, it felt like it was the right thing at the right time at the right place with the right person to do.  

Other than being emotional to this city and this country, I am also attached to the experience with the people. I am glad that I have created some memorable times with the people here, whether it was just hours, days, months, or years. From my involvement in the Malaysian organisations, to my time in Davey Lodge and Fenner Hall, to my studies in the courses, my workplaces, the Canberra community; I could not thank each and everyone of you enough and personally, for being part of these three years which I know I will miss dearly.

To people whom I had cheated on or hurt, sorry, I did not mean it at all. I had always wanted to be kind and sometimes I missed the track. To the people whom cheated or hurt me, financially and emotionally, thank you for making me stronger, I am still in the midst in figuring out the distrust issue but the lesson I learned will be remembered. To people whom I shared a friendship with, thank you, thank you for the memories, thank you for your time, thank you for the love, thank you for everything.

If we will meet again in the future, take care till our next catch up. If our paths do not cross again, all the best with life. I am excited for a little adventure right after this and another three years of chapter will be unfolding. 

Wen Xin

PS: Despite having access to five libraries with amazing collections of books, I did not manage to make good use of it. I had always wanted to read more and write better. Thank you for reading this far, perhaps one day I would really learn to write properly. One of the annual project, maybe?

Wednesday, June 1, 2016


I have been wanting to write a song about this story for a very long time. But sometimes, you can't really force the inspiration to come. Finally, almost 5 months later, I managed to pen this down. Shitty melody as usual, but this is my story, a story which I never thought of the ending, not at least this way. 

I've never written a Chinese song. Although I had studied it until the end of secondary school, I generally still have low confidence in writing good Chinese. For some reason, the melody of this song suits Chinese characters. When the inspiration is here, the process doesn't take long at all, it was done in two days with half an hour of recording. And I finally mustered the courage to feature my first singing debut on Facebook.

If I could write the story, I wouldn't write the story this way. Sometimes you thought you have done enough and of course I could have done more, but things don't work out your way. It isn't a blame game nor this song is written with any intention but a signal as I have moved on. It's just one of the way of me dealing with things, to commemorate it in some forms. The story was not fruitful and got bitter at the end, but I wouldn't change any part of it, not even rewriting it like I have said. 

冬天了  一年了  时光不留人
后悔了  失望的  最后拥抱
点点滴滴  的那一天  痛苦地徘徊
甜甜蜜蜜  已经离去  永远在心中


紧握着一丝希望  你却恨恨的抹开
曾经的爱  何必伤害

渐渐的  晃晃的  走进了迷路
仿佛的  突然地  到了结束
一天一夜  情不自禁  我成为依赖
我不明白  我放不开  已变成失败


紧握着一丝希望  你却恨恨的抹开
曾经的爱  何必伤害


紧握着一丝希望  你却恨恨的抹开
曾经的爱  何必伤害
仿佛是个备胎  是你的爱

Of course, there were some assumptions with my version of the story. I never gotten the courage to find out more, or because it was too painful to even think about it. Or maybe I am just over-thinking and overreacting. Does it matter any more? At least I am glad to put this behind me. I have learned all I need from this experience, and let go what isn't belonged to me.

Oh it was fun writing the lyrics though, especially when I try to fit in a riddle in it.

Wen Xin

Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Sound of Silence

When I was a child, and even now as a young adult, one of the phrase I hate is 'shut up'. This phrase rudely dismissed one's right to speak. This phrase fuels the arrogance of the speaker to silence someone and to express distaste in the other person's statement, whether it is an exchange, a commentary, a debate or a discussion.

I used to be vocal about what I thought, not so much on issues, but my daily musings. I remembered posting up quotes that conclude my thoughts, attracting likes which is motivating. I do not know when it stopped. I wanted to write, and I know I have to read more and I know I have to engage more. Sadly I discovered that I could not write, eloquently and expressively. This fear haunted me for awhile, it led to me unable to write the production in my head, the argument for my group assignment, any public posts online. Instead, I resolve to stay here, in my safe space, my personal blog. But this blog, isn't a 'Blockbuster'-ed blog after all. I wish it could live up to its name one day. 

These few years, I practiced the sound of silence, and I observed. I read the comment sections on articles that interested me and not a day goes by that my hope shattered bit by bit. I began to lose my faith in humanity, the twisted views, the ugly language but most importantly, the need to bash up someone's commentary just to prove one is right, disgusted me.

We talked about grand theories and world issues, with the attention on social issues. Every comment stays firm on their own, there is less acknowledgement on differ views, there are more emotions involved with what is personal to them. Feminism, racism, sexism, war, politics, etc. The social media war is ugly. What are we trying to promote? That we have a valid voice? That the voice is worth listening to? That we have a position to take? That those voices are doing anything practical?

I found my last few Finance lectures to be very inspiring, to a point that I hope it is a turning point of this stage of life. Quoting one of the quote my lecturer put on the lecture: 

'The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil if for Good Men to do Nothing. - Edmund Burke'

Till then, in the wake of learning how I could nurture myself better, I hold on to the sound of silence. Until one day, when I can silence the sound of chaos. 

Wen Xin

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Ciao, come stai?

It was the third week of the last semester. I was getting frustrating and demotivated on my advanced microeconomics course. One of the fundamental theory says human responses to incentives. When I found out the only incentive to take this course was harshly taken away from me, I went with my instinct to expand my annual project. I swapped my course and decided to go against my reasoning for not pursuing a language (I always think that unless I have someone to converse with, there is no way I would take up a language again, after the horrendous attempt on German few years ago). So I took up the introductory course for Italian.

I made my way to the language school, which was so foreign to me for the past 2.5 years. I found myself being surrounded by so many other different cultures and some of the most eccentric fashionista on campus. People who study languages dressed up well. I could not understand what the students were talking about outside the classroom. I walked timidly to the classroom, with everyone saying 'piacere' to me. Little did I know, this course turned out to be one of the most enjoyable course I had taken during my undergraduate studies. Not only because it was a new found passion, but it had been a long while since I formally learned a language. And I forgot exactly how to learn a language.

Language itself is a beautiful field of study. It is a sophisticated skill to master. I met people who study multiple languages, French, Italian and Chinese at the same time. Someone told me he was studying the ten most spoken languages in the world. It was his dream. I looked at them in awe and I wished I could do that. It is while studying Italian, I realized how weak my foundation for English is. Counting Italian, I speak four and a quarter of languages, thanks to my diverse Malaysian background. With this realization, English will be one of my future annual project, and an ongoing commitment to read and hopefully write. I never thought I would enjoy learning Italian so much, and I never thought I would be so driven to self study right after I finished my final assessment.

I am typing this while installing some Italian proofreading software on my Microsoft Office and wanting to write a paragraph for my peer tutor in Sicily. I found an amazing application for language exchange and for the purpose of my annual project. There is an upcoming idea for the annual project and I will see if I am going with it. The upload status said 100%, and it's time to continue my self study (despite having a huge daunting assignment releasing on Friday).

Grazie mille,
Wen Xin

Thursday, May 19, 2016


I have a couple of fears. One of them being, the fear of lizards. Back when I was just 8-9 years old, I was always one of the few students who reached school really early, at 6.40am. I was a diligent student, as trained by the education system. I put down my heavy school bag and laid out my homework on the table. This friend of mine, she was the prettiest girl with excellent skills in violin and piano. Her beautiful ponytail complemented her beautiful features. We were good friends. She brought out a red plastic bag, the infamous Malaysian plastic bag for takeaway. 

All of the sudden, something jumped on me. I held my hands up as reflex, and felt it on my skin. The whole day in school, I was haunted by an unease feeling that the green slimy thing was under my clothes. I could not wait to head home and take off the clothes. Not only it landed on me for a split second, since then, a huge phobia developed in me. I have a huge fear on lizards. It is harmless, but the thought of it scared me so much that each time, it felt like a millisecond of heart attack. I would froze and I could not bear a sight of it. I have a couple of experience which were frightening as well. Most of it were hilarious to my friends, which I do not mind at all. 

Just last week, I received a notice a day before to replace someone for work. For the first time, I drove in the capital city. Excitement grew in me as I drove along the significant Northbourne Avenue. I reached this beautiful suburb and waited for my companion of the day. She was the cutest 9yo I have ever seen. She was courteous and lovely, she brought out Shadow, the fluffiest cat. Well, I have always loved cats, and pet cats are always fluffy. Then she went on and introduced me her second pet. I blurted in shock, 'what, what do you mean you have two lizards? Are they little ones or huge ones?' 

She carried the largest one in her arms. I gasped in horror, it was estimated to be 40cm long and 5cm in diameter. She told me his name but I was too uncomfortable to absorb anything. I kept myself a comfortable distance of at least 3-4 metres. Got to say, the lizard had beautiful scales. It was of a breed called 'the Blue Tongued Lizard', I can't tell if it's blue tongued nor I would want to google it. The rest of the working session, I prayed that the little girl does not scare me with it again.

Oh well, putting this phobia aside, my 2016 annual project was going to be exploring the theme of fear. But something interesting came up in early 2016 and I proceeded with that instead. With the resources and ideas I have, I would like to come back to this theme for further exploration. I have been interviewing a couple of friends on 'what is your greatest fear?' And the responses had been dark and chilly. I am grateful for my friends or the acquaintances for their honesty and willingness to share me their answers. 

The greatest fear of a person often reveals the vulnerable side, the weaknesses, the painful past or a fearful future expectation. I have a couple of fears, but I am training the right mentality to hold. But recently, I discovered another fear of mine, relationship. I chuckled while I am writing that. I hope I am not screwing current relationships because of the past and my overcomplicated mind. Well, if it is, it is not meant to be. 

What is love?
Wen Xin 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

My Dear Friend

It was not difficult to walk out from the relationship. In fact it was easy. There was not much to hold on, other than my stubbornness on a couple of things. God had given me the training to let go, and it did feel much better as compared to last week. I had accepted that it was an outcome I expected, just in a harsher way. I loved the honesty, but the truth hurt too much. 

But it was difficult to walk out from the friendship. Maybe plainly because the friendship was real. The feelings were sincere and the effort was evident. I opened up the side of mine, which is dark, insecure and innocent; something I do not think I did it before. I am blessed with a handful of girlfriends whom I can confide in with girly rants, juicy gossips, stupid thoughts and weird confessions. But I peeled off the side of mine which was secretive, a side that I didn't want to acknowledge.

A friend of mine said 'aren't you afraid to open up anymore?'. I said 'not really, in fact, I quite like it this way'. To be honest, I am grateful to have met you. I really am. I learned to open up to you and myself, to be honest with myself, to peel off the layers I tried to hide. I learn to be honest and deal with my disadvantages, my failures, and my insecurities. You were an example I looked up to, a shoulder I lied on, and a listener I counted on. 

I hate that I am writing this in past tense. I did not regret anything, not even for that day, but I would regret if I do not say this 'thank you'. I do wish you all the best. I hope you had a great time as much as I did. If there is anything I can wish for us if God allows me to be a little more greedy, I hope there is still a tad bit of friendship for the future if we ever crossed path again. 

Wen Xin

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Why is it so difficult?

I blogged in my 2015 review that the theme of the year was letting go. While I thought I have let go all those which do not belong me, God has tested my will once again. This time, He wants me to let go something which was probably the dearest of 2015. 
And gosh, why is it so difficult to let go?

I would like to blame my friend for his constant 'likes' on some Thought Catalog articles. See here and here. Though how much I want to agree how cliche and non-critical those articles are, I could not help myself but to nod all over. Those words perfectly capture the sulky and bitter mood of mine.

Not a day goes by that I am not thinking about it. Not a day goes by the heart does not sink when I think about that very day. I have so many questions floating in my head, but I am convinced the answers do not matter. It would not have changed anything. 

The grace period of 3 months is up, and your wake-up call came reminding me the other day. I said enough! for that day, I will have to say enough! to this state. I wish I could stick to the idea to remember the good times, but perhaps it's not that easy when you are hurt so badly, by someone you have cared so much.

I have seen it coming and played it in my head, but I did not expect it to come true, at least not this way.

Wen Xin

Thursday, April 21, 2016


So, I finally found out what is the significance of 4/20. I saw it almost everywhere these two days. Then I found out, it was National Weed Day. You can google all stories behind 420's association to weed. But here, I want to tell my story about weed. 

I remembered the first time I tried shisha, it was at an middle-eastern restaurant with an old friend. I remembered the first time I tried smoking a cigarette, it was at an alley across the street from where I lived. I remembered the first time I tried smoking weed, which you called it a joint, it was at middle of nowhere. 

You took out a bag of suspicious-looking substance. There were more tools with it. After three minutes of preparation, you offered me your joint of weed. I felt like a rebel, I felt like I should not, but I am always up for new experience. I took my first breath in, and heaved. It felt like cigarette to me but a friend assured me it is not the same. I took the second breath in, and it felt better. 

You taught me how to pass on the joint, as I was clumsy in it. You taught me how to cheers with the beer bottle, by looking deeply into the eyes. You taught me how to travel, with your rich experience and courageous instinct. You taught me how to live, by seeing how others lived. You taught me how to love, in such a short amount of time.

Every night, I see you rolling a joint as your nightly routine. As each day passed with the routine, our relationship developed like an exponential function whenever weed was present. If I recalled correctly, there was an introduction, then a trial, then a rejection, then a make out, then a cultural exchange, then a confession, then a climax, then a downfall, then an ending. It was eventful with sweet memories. 

It was 4.20 somewhere, in another continent. And I am wondering how have you been. I wished we were more just a fairy tale. You gave me so much to remember. And I will never forget you as the first person who gave me the weed experience.

Wen Xin

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Living without Money

My time in Australia has not been utilised on the academic purpose, which one day I might regret painfully. However at this moment, I am certainly glad that I have learned something so fundamental that I have not been able to discover while being a student since five years old: live. Almost three years in Australia and I have attempted and still learning on different types of lifestyle.

In April 2012, I tried living as a semi-vegetarian, one of the reason being I don't feel comfortable treating animals cruelly and differently. I have an active lifestyle with regular cardio classes. Last year particularly, I learned about minimalism, to let go of materialism. I want to be able to control wants and needs. It has worked quite well for 2016, then I discover this idea of waste-free lifestyle and now cash-free lifestyle. Someone recommended me this documentary, Living Without Money.

It started off with conversations in Italian, which excites me when I could understand a word or two. Then it switched to German which was the native language of this lady behind this inspiration. Years ago when I decided I wanted to pursue Finance, because I was good at Mathematics. Then I learned that everything revolves around money and I was interested in behavioural finance; not interested in learning how to make money but how the financial market worked. The more I learned, the more despised I get with the idea.

The monetary system and the financial market are great, but people became so delusional with it that they stopped being humane. People cheated each other of for money and for more profit. We earn and produce enough, but we don't distribute evenly. Even though I am in support of equality but I know the world's nature is never about equality right from the start, and I do not foresee it changing to be any positive any time soon.

I might carry a slight pessimistic view to this world. But what I do hold optimistically is myself which I have control of. My time in Australia has open my eyes towards the simplicity in general. To keep everything simple is actually challenging. Most wants and needs are created by capitalism. We could have survived with a lot less essentials but we are being influenced by materialism.

In December when I was at Western Australia, my travel partner's car broke down in an unsealed minor. The owner of the homestead towed us to his paradise after 3.5 hours of wait. The experience open my eyes to the idea of self sustainability. Simply planting their own vegetables and farming their own meat, shower by processed seawater and conduct electricity with solar power. It was amazing.

I was being lured into Multi Level Marketing by using the tagline of achieving financial freedom. Most goals are luxurious house, travels and cars. How much is enough? By the time we achieve the financial freedom goal we set 20 years ago, we observe the surge of money because of inflation or lower purchasing power, or simply another need/want is being created like the smartphone phenomenon. I believed it works but it was against my principle that I do not want to be part of.

I worked for 12 days and it was enough for a travel trip to the final state of Australia I have not been to and an action camera to document my travel adventures. I might have been greedy and I lost 1/3 of my hard-earned cash to scams. It was heart-wrenching, partially on the money I lost, but more on the despicable humans behind it.

A lecturer was a strong advocate on bitcoin and believes that the bitcoin system will takeover the currency in Australia in a couple of years. And if that really happen, it'd be really interesting to observe.

The takeaway from the documentary is, it is not what I think it is, we would still need basic essentials which need money to be spent. But it certainly enforces my idea of living with minimalism and less relying on money. There are a couple of things more that I need to let go but hopefully it will come by with time when I have the energy to deal with it.

Wen Xin

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Wake Up Call

I've always loved Chinese proverbs, as it contains so many great values in the sophisticated Chinese characters. I've always admired my mother, as one of the many great things about her is she is one of the kindest person. I've always preferred Buddhism, as it encourages a fruitful lifestyle and a kind human spirit.

I used to be ambitious with materialistic goals and dreams. But in recent years, I discovered that I want to be happy, simply happy. With this ideology in mind, I am aspired to be a good, kind and nice. A few friends have pointed it out, I humbly brushed it off but I am glad I can be called as a good person. I learned that I want to be honest, with opinions and ideas. I treat everyone with empathy, almost no judgement and I do love and care for most of the people that I know. 

But, this world is not that simple. I know it, but I have always want to believe the best of the world, the best of the human kind. 

It turns out, money is so deceiving that people would steal; power is so tempting that people would lie; judgement is so important that people would insult, expression is needed that people would hurt. All these while, I insist on being patient and not seek revenge. Because I believe if I were to reply the action, I am no difference that the evil ones out there.

It is so much easier to be a heartless person, which I wrote on my whiteboard after two incidents on this solemn day. But I am not willing to downgrade myself to that level. I would question humanity, but in the future, smarter and wiser. 

To you people who have tricked and hurt me, thank you. 

Wen Xin

Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Once Second Home

Kindly ignored the badly bitten arms by the sandflies.

Finally I am making this trip home useful: by paying a visit to the operating theatre. Hospital is not exactly my favourite place. It was my second home when I was young with dengue and frequent high fever cases. Being a regular, the nurses in Gleneagles knew me well and I knew my level for child care by heart. I remembered the fear of needles when blood test was needed regularly. I remembered the smell of medicine when it came with my meal. I remembered the laughter with my father when he tried to fake the Canadian accent, and I vomited the orange I just consumed. I remembered the company of my mother when she had to spend the night on the same bed with me because I was a timid kid, well I still am.

The last time I had a surgery was to cure my in-growth nails, once and for all, in 2007. I had enough of nails removal on both of my toes in clinics. The anaesthetic needle poked through my tiny toes and I filled the clinic with screams. I will never ever forget the pain and the reluctance to visit the clinic every evening to clean the wound. Layers of cotton on my flesh had to be peeled for daily cleaning. I had enough of stares by wearing ugly slippers to primary and secondary schools. I was made fun once where someone hid one of my slippers. I had a full body anaesthetic that time. I was fighting the resistance to fall asleep. Like all the past minor removal surgeries, I wanted to sit up straight and looked at the procedure.

I’ve said, hospital is not my favourite place, and doctor is not my favourite person. I do not trust them. I had horrible experience with doctors which was traumatising. I was a rebellious and fussy kid, I remembered being tied up once just to get an injection on my buttock. I was crying and screaming of course, I remembered saying to the doctor, ‘When I grow up, I am going to kill you!’ I stared at him deadly but weakly with my red and puffy eyes. I meant every single word I said that time, now I laughed it off by telling this story to my friends. Another doctor in a clinic put a plastic bag over my head, for some reason. It was weird; it was annoying; it was uncomfortable.

But I did have a pleasant experience. I had to inhale this gas to cure my asthma on frequent weekly visits to this hospital. The scent, from what I remembered, was magical and lovely. I looked forward to the visit each time.
This round, I had a minor surgery but as usual, I was tensed and scared. It was a quick 5-10 minutes removal, but the doctor was fatherly and lovely. I heaved a huge sigh of relief when it was over. Apart from the tiny tinge of pain with the anaesthetic needle, the awkward operated area and the fasting, things were okay and I was prepared by bringing laptop and a book to kill my time at the ward.

It was hilarious that I was seriously looking forward to have breakfast and lunch in the hospital. Or actually, I was just looking forward to eat.

Wen Xin

2015 in Review

Here comes the annual year review!
Before that, I did repeat the 2012’s practice to jot down my mood for 2015: 


1. MSO & Academics

I suffered a plunge in academic performance in 2014. There were expression of disbelief and words of encouragement from family and friends. I was left with no choice but a need of desperation to be completely focused on studies. At the same time, I blindly signed up for an extra commitment which I did not require. I involved further in the organisation for a test of ideas and leadership. I was grateful that despite all the sacrifices and tears, both MSO and studies had turned out alright. It could have been much better but for what I had on my shoulders, I was pleased. At least, I had learned about myself and organisation.

2. Discovering myself

There were some bits and pieces I learned about myself with the 2015 experience. I grew to be slightly meaner, to take care of my organisation’s interest. I grew to be more decisive, when decisions were needed for the organisation and myself to move on. I learned to be simplistic and a minimalist after a hard-fought year. The course, Corporate Valuation taught me to only keep or get something that adds value to your life. While I do not feel 23 during my birthday this year, I now do feel 23 and I have 6 months to be a better 23.

3. Relationship

I learned to handle relationships with friends and family. I learned to separate the roles and expect the least. I broke off a friendship which it wasn't working. I was selective on friendships I wanted to make. In words, I chose to be less of a hypocrite and stay true to myself. I was grateful to have more than a handful of good friends. And there were a couple of special ones this year. I was certainly grateful that some unexpected friendships/relationships blossomed.

4. Travels

I gave up travelling when I was working on another commitment. But I had also once said that I wanted to explore Australia as much as possible and not return for 20 years. I realised I was behind schedule to achieving this dream. Since September I was travelling extensively. I covered the outback, and after early January 2016, I am left with Tasmania which by hook or by crook, I will cover it before I leave. I explored different travel styles, including camping and in a troopie camper with a local, travelling with backpacker and my fellow Malaysians. I drove in Australia in different vehicles. I had met a lot of incredible people and some bad encounters during the final 5.5 weeks trip. I learned more about myself and had a noticeably change after the trip 


1. Failure of the second dream

Few knew about this. I was secretly proud of working on this, hoping that this ridiculous dream would come true next year. I was wrong and careless. After 3 years of working on this, I could not work on it. I was still proud of working on it but it still hurt once awhile. I had invested money, time and effort which was the one that was not enough to make it work. Through this dead dream, I probably learned how to work on my millions of interests in life. I am currently reading on a chapter about ‘The Upside of Quitting’. This quote summed up this downfall: ‘Knowing when the time is right to walk away is a perpetual challenge’.

2. Mental instability

I took a two-day mental health first aid course in Canberra. Throughout the two days, I was thinking about an incident and a broken friendship. Additionally, I was also thinking about myself. I had been uptight and nervous about myself and on what I do. I was always worrying and thinking about what will happen next and what can I do. A friend reminded me that ‘there is only so much you can do’, ‘enjoy the trip’, and ‘take one at a time’. I could not. I just could not. While 2015 is a year of letting go, perhaps 2016 is a year of releasing myself to work on things better.

3. Discovery of self

There were bad bits and pieces of myself as opposed to the ones on top. I am still the biggest procrastinator while being hit by a seemingly quarter life crisis. I am still a bad financial management person despite studying Finance. I am still demotivated and constantly questioning if I should fight. I am desperate and irrational during crisis which was the bit I wished didn't happen during the trip. I am unable to relax over commitments and responsibilities. Well, could only work to be a better person as time goes.

4. Fear and Letting Go

The theme of the 2015 revolves around fear and letting go. I manned up to overcome my 2014 failures, with a tinge of determination and fear. At some points, I really thought I could not make it. Questions of what-ifs swirled around my head. Towards the end of the travel trip, I was almost afraid of everything. I was scared of the dark, scared of the wild animals, scared of the nature, scared of not making to my flight. I tried letting go of myself, trying not to be tensed and uptight. But somehow fear overcame me most of the times and that was when I did mistakes, irrationally. Lesson learnt of course, and it’s definitely something I need to fix for 2016. As for letting go, it’s probably achievement of the year. God has taken a lot from me this year, 3 of my storage drives which store a whole lot of my past and a tiny bit of the future, friendships and relationships, stubborn principles and extravagant lifestyle; but it is all traded with a better mentality and idea towards myself and the future. After all, it was not too bad, only it was a long and slight painful process.

While 2015 has been difficult, I am definitely grateful of all the happenings. Thanking the families and friends who have been with me through thick and thin. 2016 would be a really exciting one with a new life journey, I hope I can make it great. 

Wen Xin