Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Off to London...

I'll be off to London tomorrow morning for a week. I can't wait to see my parents whom I've not seen for nearly one year. I hope to be taking some nice photos of London's tourist sights and post them up here when I'm back from my short trip.

Soon, I will be leaving University Park and moving to Jubilee Campus for my Master's year. I will definitely miss the beautiful lakeside, the ducks, geese and swans that adorn the lovely lake. I won't have the luxury of waking up 15 minutes before class starts and still get to class on time. My new accomodation is about a 8 minute walk away to campus and another 5 minute walk to where I have my classes. I'll be sharing the flat with 3 other girls on the top floor. I haven't shared flats with anyone before and I trust this will be an eye opening experience. If I turn out not to like sharing with them, for some reason, I will still have to continue and swallow whatever that happends between us. Sharing is a good learning process. Afterall, no man is an island.

I can't wait for my new life to begin yet it feels so daunting to begin a course which is totally unfamiliar to me. To start all over again, to make new friends, to adjust to the work load and to get used to the way things work in the Business School will not be an easy task; it will not be something which I can get accustomed to overnight. But I will endevour to do my utmost best.

I watched the Last Emperor yesterday night. It is such a good movie. The acting was superb and it brought to life the words that I have read about the fall of the Qing Dynasty. If society does not have a say in the things that I do, I will definitely want to pursue a course in Chinese History. Unfortunately, society is the invisible hand in all that we do. Like it or not and no matter how you try to psycho yourself by saying nothing can stop you from doing the things that you enjoy, society is still there whispering softly into your ears and silently moving you away from your dreams.

Take care bloggers! Will be back in a week (hopefully)...

|

Saturday, June 25, 2005

I'll marry you when the time comes ok?"

One more day is all I have with Vinz. He will be working on site tomorrow night till Wednesday early morning and I will be leaving for London to meet up with my parents on Wednesday. My train leaves at 11.30am. I'm already begining to miss him. We spent Saturday evening feeding the ducks, Saturday afternoon in the city centre eating Nandos chicken and him waiting for 30 minutes for me to get my manicure done. Today was spent lazing around at home, watching the movies that we downloaded and eating all the fruits we bought. I will really miss him so much when I go home in 2 weeks. Although I will be back in Nottingham on the 5th of July from London, we won't be able to be in each others' arms because my parents will be around and I will be staying with them at a hotel. It will be another 2 more months before he can wrap me in his arms again.

Yesterday, we brought up the topic of marriage. Not us getting married but just marriage in general. Suddenly, he said...

"I'll marry you when the time comes ok?"

I don't know whether I should be jumping for joy or should I just take his words as a passing wind.

But at that moment, I was happy. Very happy in fact. And whenever I think of him looking into my eyes and saying what he said earnestly, a smile appears on my face...... :)

|

Thursday, June 23, 2005

The Impact of a University Education

I am paid 6 pounds per hour for doing nothing but take people around the university and talk to them about the university in general and the law course. Excellent money for such little work :P

When I was talking to a few students and their parents about the course, I was reminded about myself. As I sat in the lecture room listening to a sample law lecture on European Union Law, I was reminded about how I used to doze off in that class or play "Snake" on my Nokia mobile. I still remember vividly my first ever law lecture. It was on contract and the lecturer gave out 2 bundles of notes for us to read. Thinking back now, it has been 3 years since that first law lecture. I've been through so many hours and sat through so many boring lectures. To walk that road again would be tortourous. It would simply be living hell. But in retrospect, as I told prospective students what I learnt from being a Nottingham Law student, I realised I told them the truth. Usually at such occasions, people tend to overstate things but not me. I told them every single detail of my life here. I shared with them the amount of stress I had to endure, how competitive it is to study here and etc. I shared with them how I learnt to think laterally and critically. These skills did not come overnight, instead it came gradually. When I was still sitting in that lecture room and struggling to finish up the tutorial questions, I never would have thought that I learnt so much other than the Law. But now, I am thankful that I chose this course and this university. It has taught me much more than academics. It has moulded me to be the individual I am today; someone who is independent enough yet willing to accept opinions and ideas from others.

When I shared my future with them today, they were surprised to learn that I do not want to pursue a career in law. To me, a degree is just a stepping stone to the working world. It gives you the extra edge to get the job that you desire. Even if I read law, it does not mean that I have to practice it. Law is narrow in a sense because it prevents you from pursuing a Master's in finance or accounting or economics but it does not close all doors to such career choices. You can read law yet be in the finance sector. Law is a versatile subject. Business revolves around the application of law. I don't see it as a waste of my law degree if I diversity into the commercial world. I see it as an advantage; a very positive and encouraging advantage.

Would I encourage people to read law?

I would only if that person has a very strong interest in law. Do not choose law if you do not have the requisite academic ability and the stamina to study long hours constantly. Do not choose law if your main reason is to earn big bucks at the end of the day. Read it because you are completely passionate about it. If you are not and you are not ready to put in the extra hours, forget it, law is not for the faint hearted.

|

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Life Has Been Good...

Life has been good lately. Although I've been complaining about being a "housewife" i.e. waiting for Vinz to come home while doing the housework, I actually am secretly enjoying it. The best part of my day is when I hear the key turning. I will jump out from my seat and greet him with open arms. He will be all smiles and he will give me a big kiss and say...

"Ohh babyyyy...I miss you so much today!"

On Sunday evening, we took a walk by the lakeside to feed the ducks some bread. We took a very cute photo of a squirrel eating pieces of bread off the ground.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Here's a photo of us holding hands in Rome. Vinz said...

"We'll hold hands forever ok?"

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

|

Friday, June 17, 2005

A Daughter's Tribute on Father's Day

Father's Day is this coming Sunday. Since I came to UK, I've never celebrated Father's Day with my Papa. When I was at home, Father's Day was a quieter affair compared to Mother's Day. Somehow, the whole family seemed to think that Mummy is more important than Papa. But now I have realised that both are equally important and I love both of them equally. Each of them has sacrificed to give me and my sister the best of the best. We were schooled in the best, we dressed in the best, we ate the best food, we were driven in the best and we were given the best advice and the best love that parents can ever give their children.

My father is a typical China man. He does not reveal his feelings for his loved one. He never tells us his secrets and his past. But one day, I remember very clearly that he did. We were on the coach to KL from JB 3 years ago for the annual Tomb Sweeping Day. It was in the month of April and in another 5 months I was due to be bound for Nottingham. Suddenly, Papa opened up to me. He told me the reasons why he came to the UK to read law and he cautioned me not to make the same mistake that he did.

Many many years ago, when he was still a student at Methodist Boys School in KL, he met a pretty girl called Winnie. She came from a rich family but he did not. His father was a lab assistant in University Malaya and his mother was a washer woman. Life was hard back then. I once visited my father's old home at Salak Selatan. I never could have imagined my father staying in such harsh conditions if I did not see it with my own eyes. Anyway, Winnie was Papa's first love. She went to the UK after her Form 6 to pursue her tertiary education. Poor Papa did not have the finances so he enrolled to study Economics in UM. He told me that Rafidah Aziz, the current International Trade Minister was a visiting lecturer at his faculty. After one year and taking up Tamil (apparently during those days each student was supposed to take up a 2nd language), he decided that Economics was not for him.

His cousin on his mother's side gave him a one way ticket to London to read law. He had to fund himself by working part-time during non-schooling hours. When he arrived at London, it was autumn and for someone who has never been out of the country, the weather was bleak and cold. He took a little piece of paper out of his pocket written with the address of Winnie. He went to her apartment in central London to look for her and also to get a place to stay. Unfortunately, a white man answered the door and Winnie was behind him. At that very moment, he knew that he was on his own.

Papa worked at a cafe at Selfridges frying eggs and washing the toilet. He also worked as a Postboy during the Christmas season. He washed dishes in his hostel. He nibbled his fig rolls bit by bit because they were too expensive to be gobbled down at one go. During those days, there were no photocopy machines so he had to copy down by hand important cases. He could not afford to buy any books, so he borrowed all of them from friends and from the library. He missed home so much but never once did he shed a tear.

He graduated after he married my mother in a very simple affair. My mother who came from a wealthy family married a man with only the clothes on his back. That is what I call true love. Mummy told me that on their wedding day, she had to cook for their guests. That was how hard life was. There was no elaborate wedding dinner, no big diamond ring, just a simple gold wedding band to signify their union for life.

He strived so hard to be what he is today. Life is so much easier now for him and Mummy. They have gone through the worst and pledged not to let their children go through the same road as they did. Papa worked very hard to give us all a life of luxury. None of us has ever felt what it is like to be poor.

Papa may be stern and may be a strict displinarian but I know deep down inside him lies a heart of gold. He loves us all. He just does not know how to express himself. Papa and I have very little to talk about these days. I don't know what went wrong. Instead of talking on the phone with him, we now communicate through SMS or email. Every year I am home, I tell myself to open up and talk to Papa. He has a mountain of advice to give me. He has a wealth of experience to share. But every year, I fail to. We always end up arguing and I will shut myself up in the room. This year, I hope things will be different. This year, he will see his youngest daughter, his little dumpling donning the graduation robe and accepting the degree he accepted more than 30 years ago. I can't wait to see him being proud of me, proud of my achievement, proud of his dumpling who followed his foot steps in reading Law.

Papa, words cannot describe how much you mean to me and how much I love and respect you. I promise, I promise this year will be different. We will talk. We will laugh like we used to. We will share little secrets that Mummy does not know. We will go out and have our Bak Kut Teh. We will have walks in the garden. We strengthen our father/daughter relationship all over again :)

Happy Father's Day!

|

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Happiness is...

Happiness is being in the arms of the one I love...

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

|

Rome Day 2 & 3 - Travel Log

Our second day in Rome was spent at the Vatican City. The Vatican City is the smallest country in the world and it is only 100 acres big. I wanted to send postcards from the Vatican post office but it closed the moment I stepped foot in it. So all I got was a photo of the Vatican post box which surprisingly was yellow instead of the conventional red.

Breakfast at our hotel was pretty good considering it was inclusive with the hotel bill. They served a whole range of Italian pastries and orange juice. I wanted to "ta pau" some pastries for our walking journey but decided not to. Too malu lahh..hehe..

Our journey to the Vatican City started off at 9.30am when we boarded our tour bus.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

It looked ancient on the outside but it was modern on the inside.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

St Peter's Basillica

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Another photo of St Peter's

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Can you see the window in the middle of this grand building? That is the Pope's window :)

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

St Peter's Square

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Bernini designed this fountain at St Peter's square

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Check out the queue leading to the Vatican City. We had to queue up for nearly 45 minutes to get through the check point. Each visitor has to go through a metal detector and our bags had to be electronically scanned. No passports were needed to enter the Vatican City.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

The Swiss Guards. See one of the guard wagging his finger? He is telling tourists not to take any photos of him and his colleague. They do look funny don't they? They look like they are wearing pantheloons. However, they are the Pope's guards and are very highly trained. So, don't look down on them just because of their clown like uniform.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Inside the Basillica. It was huge inside. There were many paintings and chapels within the Basillica. It felt good to stand at the place where John Paul II was lying in state in April.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Here lies John Paul II. We couldn't get a close up because the guards shoo'ed us away.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

The Basillica's dome. The highest church dome in the world. We paid 4 Euros to walk 320 steps to experience its grandeur. The climb up and down the stairs was a nerve wrecking experience for me. The sairs were very very narrow and the walls felt like they were going to fall down on us anytime. The air passage was small and it breathing was difficult. I could hear other tourists complaining that they are feeling dizzy. Once you make your ascend, it is impossible to turn back and walk down again. You just have to finish your climb. The climb up was well worth it because we got to see a spectacular view of the St Peter's square.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

St Peter's square from the dome.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Rome's skyline from the dome.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

The Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel was our last stop for the day. We spent about 3 hours in the Basillica including the queueing time to view the Pope's tomb and the climb up the dome. We nearly couldn't make it to the Sistine Chapel because the last entrance was at 3.45pm. We were there are 3pm.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

The walk up the Sistine Chapel. Words cannot describe the beauty of it.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

One of the many painted and decorated ceilings in the chapel. Each of the paintings looked 3D to me but it was actually only 2D. That is how good the artists were then.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Mosaic flooring of the Chapel

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Sculpture of a naked man

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

The famous Michaelangelo ceiling which depicts the story of Adam and Eve. Photos were not allowed in that particular area but we managed to snap a few anyway by facing the camera upwards at our knees. This was the place where the Cardinals gathered together for a conclave to elect the present Pope Benedict.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Via del Corso

We finished viewing the Sistine Chapel at around 5pm partly because we were chased out by the Vatican officials. It was their closing time. After that we took a taxi to Via del Corso, famed as the 5th Avenue of Rome for some shopping. I stepped into Prada wanting to purchase a bag pack for my sister which she requested but the model that she wanted wasn't there. There were no price tags on the display items.

DAY 3

Our third and final day in Rome was spent seperately. Vinz and I joined Choy, York, Jinn and Clare to do the Mouth of Truth before going seperate ways.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

The Mouth of Truth. Legend has it that when if you are asked a question and you put your hand inside the mouth of sculpture and you tell a lie, it will eat your hand up. I asked Vinz...
"Baby..do you love me?" and he answered yes. His hand is still intact :)

After the Mouth of Truth we went back to Via del Corso for some shopping. I bought a pair of jeans from United Colours of Benetton, a small purse and a piece of sexy lingerie.

It felt good to be back to UK. Everything seemed orderly and the weather was cool. I don't miss Rome as such partly because of the weather and partly because everything was just too ancient for my liking.

I am waiting for another batch of photos from Phillip. He brought his digital SLR with lense as long as a papparazzi's. So...wait up for more photos!

|

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Rome Day 1 - Travel Log

Rome was beautiful. It was very historical. Almost every corner of the city had some ruins and relics of ancient Rome. We stayed in a 2 and a half star hotel right in the city centre. It was expensive by my standards but I am thankful that we chose it because Rome was stiffling hot. Without the air-conditioning which hostels do not have, we would have been sweating like pigs on a hot hot summers day.

Our flight to Rome was uneventful but we did have to run on the tarmac of the East Midlands Airport because we couldn't find the boarding gate and thus were very late to board the plane. It was my first time on Ryanair and I was unimpressed by the interior of the aircraft. It had bright yellow headboards and dark blue PVC seats. It reminded me of a taxi.

We arrived about 30 minutes early and waited to board our shuttle bus to Rome's Termini Station i.e. the central bus/train station something like London's King's Cross.

It took about 30 minutes to reach the city centre and about a 10 minute walk to the hotel. We checked in and went out to get something to eat. Eateries in Rome close at 2am. It was close 1am when we scouted around for food. I didn't eat anything because I wasn't feeling very well because of the flight and the bus ride. The rest ate pastries and pizzas. Food in Rome is much more expensive than the European cities that I have been to i.e Prague, Barcelona and Amsterdam.

There were 9 of us. So, to me, it was a little bit crowded. But nonetheless, I travelled with people I hardly know (they were all Vinz's friends) and had my share of fun. They cracked a lot of silly jokes and named our group as the "Chee group" because Vinz was the one did all the bookings.

DAY 1

We took a tour bus which takes passengers around the city and stops at major sights. We paid 16 Euros for that and luckily the ticket was valid for 24 hours because we only sat on the bus once on the 1st day to the Colosseum. On the map it was impossible to walk from one major sight to another but we did anyway on the first day because we still had the energy to.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Streets of Rome from the bus window

There are no lines on the roads in Rome. Traffic comes from everywhere. We nearly got knocked down many times because we didn't know where the cars, scooters and buses were coming from.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Capitoline Hill from the bus window

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Entrance to the Colosseum

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Me and Vinz at the entrance to the Colosseum

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Colosseum - some Roman stadium where the Gladiators used to fight it out

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

The interior of the Colosseum

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Men dressed up as Roman soldiers

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Roman Forum

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Roman Forum

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

The boys - Choy, Vinz, Jinn Yeong, York Wei, Joe and Phillip (L-R)

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Capitoline Hill - See the horse behind us. It's belly can fit 20 people.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Capitoline Hill

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Next to the Capitoline Hill stands an old Church which is famous for weddings. The steps are so narrow and it is reputed to be meant for relatives of the bride and groom who they don't like but are obliged to invite.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

The girls - Winkie, Me and Clare

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Bernini's famous elephant supports the Egyptian obelisk in Piazza della Minerva

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

The Pantheon - a completely circular church where Rapheal the famous artist was buried

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

The dome in the Pantheon - the only source of light

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Inside the Pantheon

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

The famous Spanish Steps. We never got to climb it because it was just too crowded and way too hot to.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Spanish Steps with Vinz

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Sign pointing to the Trevi Fountain with York

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Trevi Fountain - Throw a coin in with your back facing the fountain and you will come back to Rome again

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Check out the crowd at the Trevi Fountain

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Trevi Fountain again

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Trevi Fountain illuminated

That was all we saw on the first day in Rome. We were dead tired by the time we finished eating dinner. It was truly a long walk from the Spanish Steps to our hotel. My legs nearly gave way so many times but I had Vinz with me so it wasn't so bad :)

Next up - Day 2

|