Thursday, 27 November 2014

Pen pal

I’ve heard of friends with pen pals,
Whose mails travel thousands of miles.
It sounded like so much fun,
Oh, how I wished I had one.

Here in a foreign land,
I received a text from my best friend.
“Don’t brood over farewell,
I’ll be your pen pal.”

Excited like a little child,
My ideas started to run wild.
“Should I start with designing?
Or maybe I’ll start with writing.”

Reminiscing about old memories
Left me in wistful reveries.
A pen pal wasn’t so great after all,
I’d rather my best friend be with me through fall.

Too bad things aren’t within my control,
I pick up my pen to pour out my soul.
“I’ve heard of friends with pen pals,
Whose mails travel thousands of miles.”

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Old Trafford

The first time I saw him was when I was in fifth grade. I can't remember who he was playing against but I remember becoming a fangirl within minutes. Not just a Cristiano Ronaldo fan, but a Manchester United fan. I started staying up at night to catch United matches (usually past midnight in Singapore time); I memorised every player's face and name: Wayne Rooney, Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Ryan Giggs, Park Ji Sung, Paul Scholes, Edwin van der Sar...

All for the wrong reasons - because of my infatuation for this extremely suave football player. Friends can testify to what a superficial fangirl I was; uploading photos of him with nothing but his underwear on (revealing his impressive less-than-eight-percent-of-fat body), and whining each time he found a new girlfriend (as though I stood any chance).

2009 was a milestone for all Ronaldo and United fans alike. A sense of betrayal was inevitable. Yet, a part of us knew that it had always been his dream, and that he was going to excel in Madrid. Indeed, he soared. I remained a fan of United, in word, but I stopped watching their matches.

Fast forward to 2014. I'm here in Manchester. I would be here for the coming 3 years. Any United fan would be immensely thrilled. I was; I visited the Old Trafford stadium within my first few weeks but it was incomparable to my desire to fly to Madrid to visit the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium. I realised that when people asked, I no longer said that I was a United fan. I'm a Madrid fan. A Madrid fan in Manchester. I also realised that what had initially started off as a superficial infatuation for a charismatic celebrity had transformed into a deep admiration for a world-class football player.

At the Old Trafford Stadium Museum

Of course, I hadn't had the luxury of time and money to fly to Madrid. Yet, on my birthday, I had the greatest surprise ever. Truly, I can get my hopes up with the man of my life.

Cristiano Ronaldo was coming to Manchester!!! In my first semester here. And it would only be his 2nd time back in Trafford ever since he left for Madrid. Furthermore, he would be up against Lionel Messi! EL CLASICO RIGHT HERE IN MANCHESTER. And I'm going!!!! What are the odds?!


The match wasn't amazing; I'm sure most of the spectators share the same sentiments. Furthermore, Ronaldo and Messi only appeared in the first half; and no goals were scored. (Portugal's goal at death came as a pleasant surprise though!) Yet, every inch of my being was - and still is - grateful for the experience. Seeing Cristiano Ronaldo live is not something that I have ever imagined - not until I knew I was coming to study in the UK. But more than that, standing in the midst of United fans in the Old Trafford Stadium was precious. The adoration that they - we - still held for Ronaldo was overwhelming. "Viva Ronaldo", "Come Home Ronaldo", "We Want Ronaldo". The chants and banners spoke for themselves the hope and love they still harboured. Although it was my first time sitting inside the Old Trafford stadium, it somehow felt like home. I moved along with the Trafford crowd as though I was one with them - jeering when they jeered for Sergio Agüero, screaming each time Ronaldo and Di Maria touched the ball, and raising my hands when it was my turn to play my part in the Trafford wave. It dawned upon me that Real Madrid is ambition, but Manchester United is home.

Come home Ronaldo!


His ego is appalling -
A trait I’m sure I inherited
Perfect, he’s nowhere near
Patient, let’s give him a cheer
Yours truly, your witty daughter

Battled with us teens, kudos to you
Inflamed by ours harsh words
Ridiculously, you (still) smile
Tears, I’ve (accidentally) seen them
Heartbroken when we chose wrong

Damn, yet you encouraged(!)
Asian dads are scary
Yeah whatever, mine’s nowhere near

Day and night
Appreciated? Never. Sorry,
Dad this one’s for you

Friday, 14 November 2014


There was a time when I was once bold,
But here I am now quivering in the cold.
It feels like I've been kicked in the gut;
How is it possible for one to have such a cold heart?

A bottle of wine with a platter of meat;
They try to entice me but I refuse to eat.
I swallow the pills like there's no tomorrow;
To numb the pain, and the unending sorrow.

I recall the days when I was young and free,
Motivated to hike every mountain and climb every tree.
Plagued with immense hurt and trauma,
My life ceases to have any drama.

I shut my eyes and utter a prayer,
To will for the passing of this sadistic torture.
They call me a warrior with my rifles and tanks,
But I'm a sucker when it comes to period cramps.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014


Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday...why do you fly by all too quickly?
September, October, November...why are you crawling, leaving me in agony?

Oh June, please don't come knocking on my door (too fast)
Oh June, I can't wait for you to come to pass

The rain drops, the cool breeze, they caress my hair with such tender passion
The sun in all its glory, please shine down on heaven's creation

My plight, my afflictions; self-pity, how seductive you are
Oh dear Lord, how I pity the one(s) whom I've caused a huge scar

I wish, I wish, I wish I was better
Oh you bitches, don't mess with the best or you will regret forever

These words, they bring me such relief
These words I write with gritted teeth

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Lake District

12th October 2014

“I’ve finally seen the Buckingham Palace! One more thing off my bucket list!”

“I was at Edinburgh over the weekends! The architecture is AMAZING.”

“You MUST go to Wales! I guarantee you, it’s the most beautiful place on earth.”

Campus was buzzing with freshmen zealously proclaiming the splendor of the places they had visited in the UK.

It had been more than a month since I arrived in Manchester. Short weekend trips were the most common topics amongst the freshmen; everyone had experiences to share. Except for me. To my apartment I returned, with wanderlust burning within me.

I flipped open my Macbook Pro and Googled:

“Groupon Manchester Getaways”

Liverpool Hotel with Breakfast – From £99
Edinburgh Break – From £103
Amsterdam with Flights – From £135
Lake District Stay – From £125

LAKE DISTRICT. My eyes rested on the captivating, scenic pictures. A baffling combination of tranquillity and adventure washed over me as I gazed into the display of colours, perfectly arranged to provide maximum pleasure to the human eye.

It took me quite some time and effort to pull my attention away from the images; to double-check the price I had to pay to experience the fullness of its beauty. £125. It was probably one of the most reasonable prices I could find off the net. Yet, it was an amount that I still couldn’t afford – especially not when tuition fees had drained almost all of my savings! 

Disgruntled, I knocked on my boyfriend’s door to “bitch, moan, and whine”. Poor Marc; as usual, he had to listen to the full story on how resentful I was that tuition fees were so much more expensive for international students, how I hated rich people who spent their money like water when I was saving every penny, and how life sucked in general.


25th October 2014

“Happy Birthday dear! I have a surprise for you… We’re leaving for Lake District in two days!”

Put your hands together for the winner of the best boyfriend award.


27th October 2014

Waking up early for classes had always been the bane of my existence. Yet, it took me no effort to jump out of bed to catch the earliest train to Windermere, Lake District. (We decided that we were going to make the most out of the 3 days in Lake District by first, arriving as early as possible.) I peeked out of the window and was greeted by the mellow rays of the morning sun, gracing the surface of my skin with gentle warmth. The weather seemed to reflect my optimism; which didn’t last for long.

Fast-forward two hours. We stepped out of the train and were slapped in the face by the unrelenting wind. Like a fully employed octopus, we activated every inch of our limbs to prevent our belongings from flying away – scarf, beanie, back pack, luggage… Finally, we made it to shelter. Just then, a middle-aged man dressed in burgundy windbreaker, assumedly the ticketing officer, patted our shoulders and said, “Tough luck guys! Tomorrow isn’t gonna get any better.” I bit my lower lip to prevent myself from swearing and being stereotyped as an uncouth Asian.

“Where should we go to take the bus 508?” I asked politely, confident of the research I did on my travel options. Rather, travel option.

“508??? It’s not running today. Where are you headed to?”

“Haweswater hotel.”

“HAWESWATER! No way. Have you booked it? Have you paid?”

My heart sank. What did he mean by saying that?

 “It’s extremely remote! You can’t go there without a car. I haven’t heard of such a case, at least not in my time here. You can try the Information Centre. They might be able to advise you.”

Annoyed and frustrated, we left the train station in search of more effective help. A delicate and demure looking granny stood behind the Information Helpdesk not too far from the train station. “We’re looking for ways to go to Haweswater Hotel. Apparently, someone said bus 508 isn’t running today.” I forgot my manners.

“Oh my, where did you hear it from, my dear? I’m pretty sure it’s running! Wait, give me a moment, I’ll call the bus company.”

It turned out that the bus was indeed running. But we missed it. By a mere 5 minutes. Because some smart aleck had given us false information that it wasn’t running and hence squandered our precious time. The next bus was in 2 hours. I was fuming with rage that a significant portion of the day in Lake District was going to be wasted. Yet in hindsight, I seem to have gained an epiphany that sometimes you pay for your own mistakes, sometimes you pay for others’ mistakes, and sometimes others’ pay for your mistake. It’s all part and parcel of life.

It was a long and nausea-invoking journey, given the treacherous weather and the winding roads. To make things worse, we missed our stop and ended up at a town called “Penrith”. Everything that could possibly go wrong had gone wrong thus far.

It was not until chancing upon The Penrith Castle (to be more accurate, the ruins of The Penrith Castle) that things started to take a turn for the better. It was an unassuming structure from afar. Yet, its potential was inescapable from the eyes of a skilled photographer. Marc had scouted the location of his first photo-shoot.

By the time we arrived at Haweswater, the sun had already gone down. The first day was over.


28th October 2014

The loud banging of our windows the following morning awakened us. Damn it. Our second day was going to be ruined as well…

No, I wasn’t going to let that happen. Being the stubborn person that I am, I was adamant about exploring the area despite the unpleasant weather. We geared up in our hiking suits and prepared to embark on our challenging, but all the more memorable, journey. Of course, beneath the layers of insulation was a piece of pretty cloth meant for our mandatory photo shoot.

I barely survived for 10 minutes without my insulators before my teeth started chattering and my fingertips became numb. That concluded the set of photos in my dainty black dress and 4-inch heels.

The remaining of the journey consisted of a congruous mix of grunting in vexation and gasping in awe. Hiking the undulating terrain with gusts of wind at 45mph was definitely not easy. Yet, each milestone that we reached brought new inspirations and made it all worth it. The gloomy weather along with the thick layers of mist and frost acquired its own subtle form of beauty.


29th October 2014

Finally. The sun decided to mockingly flaunt its magnificence on the day of our departure. We had no time to waste. We put on the final set of clothes that we had set aside for the photo-shoots. 3 hours, let’s go! We went all out – climbing rocks and bashing through vegetation. Heck the miniskirt and frictionless boots that I was wearing!

By the time we arrived back at Windermere Train Station, we were exhausted. We had initially planned to explore the area, as it was the main tourist attraction in the entire Lake District. It was impossible. Our bodies refused to move an inch as our muscles screamed in agony at the prior intense build up of lactic acid. We settled for tea and scone, with a book in hand, at a nearby café.


1 November 2014

Reminiscing about the trip today, I’m more than pleased that we chose Haweswater. The lakes in Windermere are indeed beautiful, as seen in many of the photos on the Internet. But Haweswater Resevoir and its surrounding terrain are breathtaking. Quoting the blatant ticket officer, “I don’t know how you’re going to get there because it’s just so remote, but if you do, it’s the most beautiful thing ever.” I’m glad that we got there.
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