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351 articles in category Personal / Subscribe

Every time I encounter a mini quarter-life crisis, I change the wordings on my About page.

There was one time when I chose to divulge everything – putting all personal information about my life. Another time, I chose to be seen as a professional, and tell the chronological story of the jobs I did and the ones I’m doing now. Other times I get emotional and tell the backstory of the blog and how I come to ‘be me’.

I can promise you that it will keep on changing.

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If there’s one thing I’ve learned about myself in the past few weeks, it’s that the futility of doing something when clearly my heart’s not in it.

I’m quite a fast do-er. Once, I wrote two chapters of my thesis in two days. Of course, I have to rewrite both chapters, but I did do it. I did a same-day kind of highlight video on an event in four hours. For a rookie, I think it was impressive enough. In November last year, I wrote the first draft of a 60,000-word manuscript in three weeks.

(That’s gonna be another story, but I really do have a very exciting news to share. I’ll let you know when I know more about it.)

But most of the times, I do things according to the heart and not the brain, and it means that I work only in the momentum.

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Some months ago, I was involved in helping to run an event. My job was to do the comms work – writing articles, sending emails, updating statuses and images on social media. But if you have been involved in running an event for one hundred people, you would know that everyone would be doing multiple jobs, and not just the one they are assigned to.

Doing an event is hard. It is draining and tiring. There are the pre-event activities, where you try to spark people’s interest in coming to whatever it is you are holding. You would then have to call the sponsors and manage the activities. You would have to call the caterers to provide food. You would have to be present one hundred per cent during the event, and help every department that lacks manpower.

That day, I had been working since morning and all that had been going inside my body was one cup of coffee. By one o’clock in the afternoon, I was starving. I headed back to the main room as they would be serving lunch.

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For me, twenty-sixteen started with a text.

My family – my parents, my first sister, her husband and her baby boy and I – were spending our Christmas and New Year’s holiday in Japan. We were somewhat lost, and trying to find our way back to the hotel from the train station. Suddenly my phone rang. My cousin sent me a Facebook chat: ‘Ella, are you in Japan? My father told me to tell you that Empo is currently at the hospital. She has stroke.’

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As we are getting older, lip service is getting more culturally needed too. Back in our teens, we might say to out friends, ‘Your pencilcase is cute!’ or ‘Where do you get your phone casing? It’s so pretty!’

Probably those comments are harmless – it’s just something we say to each other to make each other feels good about themselves. It’s encouraged for children even, teaching them how to care for their friends and say nice things about them. But who do we learn it from? Our parents.

Just think about it. Growing up, you see how the adults converse with each other, and in the beginning there would be a comment of, ‘You’re getting so skinny!’ or ‘Ahhh you’re so pretty today!’ or ‘What a nice dress!’

So without realising it, we begin to adopt the same culture.

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Have you had one of those sleepless nights where you’re tossing around on bed, feeling like sleep just an embrace away but when you try to hold it, it slips away?

Well that’s a very poetic way to describe insomnia, and yesterday, I just couldn’t get myself to sleep.

During those excruciating hours, I kept on tossing and turning, and creating a mental imagery in my head to buy a bedside lamp as soon as possible. Ever since I watched the movie PS. I Love You, I have always wanted to buy a bedside lamp. Clearly, I hate being all cozy in bed only to come to the realisation that I have to kick this wonderful blanket and walk to the other side of the room to turn the lights off. There’s an exact same scene in the movie. Holly keeps on tripping due to the dark, and she wants a bedside lamp. I want it too.

For the longest time, I was on bed, thinking of what kind of lamp should I be getting, and how much an IKEA one will cost. Then I was thinking about something else, something that’s not entirely foreign but not necessarily pleasant.

I was thinking about regrets.

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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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Marie walked onto the stage. She was a woman in her late thirties, and from the outside eyes, she was just like you and me, wearing glasses with black frame, having straight, black hair that rested on her shoulder.

With eyes looking down on her paper, Marie said, ‘I would like to first give a disclosure: I’m not condemning the Indonesians. I have forgiven and moved on. But this is my story of growing up in East Timor, and how I became a refugee here in Australia.’

She looked at us expectantly. The crowd sat in silence, with occasional whimper of children echoed in the auditorium hall. She began again, ‘I grew up in East Timor. When I was nine, the Indonesian military attacked us. Bombs were dropping. I was nine, and I was no stranger to seeing decomposing bodies on the street, sometimes with bullet wounds.’

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