In Between

Page 2

150 articles in category In Between / Subscribe

Exactly two months ago I answered a question on Twitter to get a double pass to Melbourne Writers Festival.

I didn’t get notified.

Last month I did a survey for Honda who claimed that they would give away $20k worth of money.

I didn’t get notified.

Last week I did all three survey feedback for my subjects – they said some random students will get some amount of money.

I didn’t get notified.

Some days ago I commented on a Facebook post to get a newly published book.

I didn’t get notified.

Yesterday I submitted a research poster to win an iPhone watch.

I haven’t gotten notified (well, the competition has not ended).

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Author’s note: I wrote this in a sheer spontaneous response to an e-newsletter from the Unimelb: ‘What do you wish you had known?’ Considering that yesterday was probably my last class ever in university (I am planning to do an internship alongside with my thesis next semester), it seems apt to write this.

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There is a reason why Malcolm Gladwell called ten thousand hours the magic number for true expertise. It’s simple: the more hours you put in doing something, the better you get at it.

I didn’t really believe it.

For something that as simple as writing, yeah, maybe. I mean, the only variable that influences bad or good writing is yourself – your creativity, or whatever you want to call it. Being good at other things requires mastering more variables than you can imagine.

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In the final months of graduating my Bachelor’s degree, I have contemplated to do an Honours’ year. The downside to this was I had to do a thesis, and at that time, I totally detest research.

Fast-forward three years and I find myself choosing, voluntarily, to do a minor thesis. These past seven weeks, I find myself being stretched considerably. My boyfriend said, and I quote, ‘This is the first time I’ve seen you being workaholic.’

Considering that this was just the beginning, I shudder. But I realise something else about myself: I actually quite enjoy the journey (thus far).

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Some years ago I did something I truly regretted: I upgraded my 2009 MacBook White operating system. I was not an upgrader. In fact, every time a new upgrade system was available, I would always dismiss the notification, because I know it would eventually lead to the slow death of my faithful laptop.

That day, though, I decided to give it a try. And yes, my Mac slowed down immediately. I tried to resurrect it by replacing the RAM, but eventually I have to face the truth: my Mac is never going to be as fast as before.

Thing is, you need to be careful with upgrading, and this lesson is transferrable to life.

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I see myself as a writer, and occasionally I tell others that I am a writer. Or, more precisely, I tell others that I write. I mean, telling others that I write shows I can produce good writing or bad writing. Telling others I’m a writer means that I should have written well, which I probably have not.

Anyway, considering myself a writer, I decided to go to the Melbourne Writers Festival. Last Sunday, I dragged my faithful boyfriend (because Sunday is our date day), and we sat down on one of the seminars titled, ‘The World According to Short Stories’.

One of the speakers, short-story author Paddy O’Reilly, said this:

How we read people tells so much about us than how we behave.

Yes, it does.

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The sink was full of three-day worth of dishes. I had just finished drinking my coffee, so I did the sensible thing: First, rinse the cup slightly. Second, stack it on top of other plates. Third, avoid looking at the sink for the foreseeable future.

Dishes: out of sight, out of mind.

I went back to sit on my sofa, put my laptop on my lap, and hit refresh. Refresh. Refresh. No email came. Again, refresh. I was waiting for a reply from my supervisor regarding my thesis focus, and I couldn’t do anything useful if he didn’t approve the topic. So refresh. Refresh.

After staring blankly at my laptop for ten minutes, I closed it. I went back to the kitchen to make a cup of green tea, and saw the dirty dishes. Ah, might as well clean them. At least, it would take my mind off other things.

Thesis: out of sight, out of mind.

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Despite my physical appearance and my heritage, I don’t speak Chinese. My great-grandparents traveled from China to Indonesia by boat when they were expecting my grandmother (from my Dad’s side), so I’m either the fourth or third generation Chinese Indonesian.

In Melbourne, Chinese people come to me saying things in Chinese. This will be followed by a somewhat ashamed smile and a shake of my head.

‘Sorry,’ I said. ‘I don’t speak Chinese.’

They will then act surprised and withdrew quickly, leaving me standing with my head down, occasionally thinking, ‘Why didn’t I pay more attention to learning Chinese when I was young?’

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When people know that I blog, they usually ask about the topics I write about. I usually just say, ‘Ah, you know, bits and pieces. Here and there. Life, relationship, studies, anything in between.’

Then they’ll go to my blog and read some of my posts. The next time we meet, they’ll ask, ‘I don’t know how you are able to share private details about your life on the internet. I won’t be able to do that.’

Funnily, I’m already used to this comment by now. But it just gets me thinking: do I really share stuff that are that private on the internet? Should I cut back on the stories of my life?

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