Friday, March 27, 2015

Farewell Lee Kuan Yew

So, the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew and his wife loved the Bridge of Sighs at St John's College, Cambridge. So did we!

Rest in Peace, o former Prime Minister of Singapore and fellow Cambridge alumni.

I remember that the day I matriculated at Cambridge was the day Mrs Lee (Kwa Geok Choo) had passed away. Both she and I attended a women's college at Cambridge (she in Girton, me in Newnham). I would like to think that she was passing onto me her legacy of Cambridge women in the pursuit of excellence.

I also remember how I had always wanted to meet Mr Lee and tell him that Singapore Minah(s) could also attend and graduate from Cambridge. Alas... 

*Photo of my Banjarese family at the same spot as the Lee's

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Daria's Rantings - Soulmates Stories

So tell us Daria, what do you look for in a soulmate? Surely, beneath all that rantings, there were stories of love?

*I am posting this twelfth ranting as my alter-ego the misanthropic Daria Morgendorffer 

Unlike my sister who would probably fall in love every other month, I find it difficult to truly love. And when I do, it would almost be epic (I loved and hurt deeply). But guys don't really notice me. They don't find my nerdy look hot. Sigh...

My friend Jass remarked that there was a pattern to the few 'friends who are boys' that I was in 'like/love/crushing'. They are:

1. As tall as I am or slightly taller (kissable height)
2. Very intelligent (what can you expect from someone who finds intellectual discourse stimulating)
3. Lean, fit and good at sports (black belt in judo, captain of the rugby team)
4. Soft-spoken (not wimpy), and loved engaging in conversations
5. Driven (yes, all of them had their own visions and goals and boy, they worked hard towards achieving them. In other words, they ain't no losers).
6. Younger than me (Gasp! Daria, you cradle snatcher! Hey, a few years difference is not a big deal, it's mind over matter)

Will my pheromones attract someone else who fits the pattern? Only time will tell.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Making A Difference

Well-done Fulbrighter Albert Manero! 

So proud that Albert and his colleagues at Limbitless Solutions work hard to provide affordable robotic prosthetics to children. What better way than to have Iron Man deliver a new 3D-printed bionic Iron Man arm to 7 year old Alex Pring!

Fulbrighters do make a difference to the world. I too hope that I will be able to do something as remarkable as my fellow Fulbrighter. 

*Daria to Nute Gunray who said that the Fulbright Scholarship is not as prestigious: "Well, the Superhero Iron Man certainly think highly of Fulbrighters. I am sure Alex now has another superhero (in the Fulbright tee) to inspire him."
The Fulbright Program, including the Fulbright-Hays Program, is a program of highly competitive, merit-based grants for international educational exchange for students, scholars, teachers, professionals, scientists and artists, founded by United States Senator J. William Fulbright in 1946. Under the Fulbright Program, competitively selected U.S. citizens may become eligible for scholarships to study, conduct research, or exercise their talents abroad; and citizens of other countries may qualify to do the same in the United States.
The Fulbright Program is one of the most prestigious awards programs worldwide, operating in over 155 countries. Fifty-three Fulbright alumni have won Nobel Prizes; seventy-eight have won Pulitzer Prizes. More Nobel laureates are former Fulbright recipients than any other award program.
Take that Nute Gunray!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

For the Love that is Meant to Be

The film that tugged my heartstrings the most in 2014 was ‘The Fault in Our Stars’- a love story of teenagers Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters who both suffered from cancer. To me, the film was as sincere as stories can get. Multiple themes about overcoming adversity, making the best of situations, death, love and sacrifice, made the film a box office success. If you ask me, ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ is more sensual and romantic than 50 Shades of Grey.

Sorry, Christian Grey, your billions pale in comparison to Augustus Waters’ natural charm.

I wish that I too could achieve the success of John Green’s ‘The Fault in Our Stars’. I wonder, how would I write my love story?


The Cambridge cufflinks remained hidden in a small, dark blue case. I don't know why I bought those from Ryders & Amies. I could understand the hoodie, the mug, and other paraphernalia. But cufflinks? Why? It's not as if I will use them.

I remember how UW, an old boyfriend had ordered stuff from the gift shop at Harvard to surprise me. Unfortunately the gifts didn't arrive at my address. But I appreciated the gesture, especially when UW said that he wanted to motivate me to go to Harvard. Yes, this was the one who attended Hebrew classes with me, who ran with me towards our 'Lord of the Rings' tree, and who surprised me with practical gifts such as the mp3 player (to accompany me on my runs), the trekking watch etc. But of course, all these didn't matter, not especially when UW didn't stand up for me when I needed him too. I could have given UW the cufflinks but I didn't. That love was not meant to be.

So, why keep the cufflinks? Hope, maybe? I somehow hope that one day, I will be able to give something that I treasure (apart from my heart) to a loved one. I wanted to give the cufflinks to ER. But I withheld it, as I wasn't sure if that relationship would last. And true enough, he married someone else; leaving me crying by the roadside when I saw the wedding photo sent to my phone. 

So, why not just give the cufflinks away, perhaps to my brother or favourite cousin or uncle...? Why hold on to it? Hope is, after all, a dangerous thing. To be honest, I don't know. Maybe a small part of me still hopes that, like Hazel, I will meet my Augustus.

"You don't get to choose if you get hurt in this world... but you do have a say in who hurts you. And I like my choices. I hope she likes hers.
Okay, Hazel Grace?

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Daria's Rantings - 3 Little Pokemons

*I am posting this eleventh ranting as my alter-ego the misanthropic Daria Morgendorffer 

Once upon a time, there lived 3 Little Pikachus – Mama, Sis and Pidgey. Before Pidgey's father died, he told Pidgey to take care of Mama and his little Sis. Pidgey being the filial Pokemon promised that he would. Unfortunately Mama dan Sis manipulated Pidgy’s promise to their advantage.

Pidgey used to travel extensively across the Anime universe. He earned lots of Pokedex money which he spent on his family. Pidgey was such a well-breed Pokemon!

One day, Pidgey decided not to travel but to stay home with Mama who was frail and old. Really? She looked healthy and well-groomed when I met her recently, Seadra said. Anyway, Pidgey opened a trading cards shop. Pidgey was successful in the first year and let his sisters run the shop. When his debts began to pile up, his sisters stopped working for him. Pidgey’s friends ran away from him.

But friends like Vaporeon, Kabuto, Hoothoot, Mew, and Seadra tried helping. But Pidgey refused to see that the underlying problems were due to Mama and Sis. During the Conference of the Pokemons, they huddled together to discuss how they could help Pidgey.

Mew: How to run a business when he is always at home, leaving the shop closed for long periods?

Kabuto: I think he is complacent since he made lots of Pokedex money in the beginning.

Hoothoot: Still, he should work hard to advertise his cards, and not stay in shop reading Manga! Does he know what running a business entail?

Vaporeon: Well, he once told me haughtily, “Girl, I used to work for F J Benjamin, I know better than you”.

Seadra: Sigh. I heard Mama and Sis called him every 30 minutes asking him to run errands for them.

Mew: Isn’t Sis married? She can ask her husband to help her with her errands.

Seadra: Lazy Sis even asked Pidgey to send her kids to school, and buy her lunch daily. Once, I overheard his niece asking Pidgey to meet her at the bus-stop the next day to carry her violin case. That is why he is seldom at the shop.

Hoothoot: No sales. No money. He even borrowed money from poor me. Sob sob…

Vaporeon: You know, Pidgey borrowed so much money from others especially from the patient Kabuto.

Kabuto: I tried to help him but he is recalcitrant. I really need the money for my little Kabutops. Whenever I asked him to repay, Pidgey would weep and beg me to give him more time to repay. It has been years!

Mew: Oh dear. Pidgey won’t listen to our advice. He even accused Vaporean for stealing his money in the shop.

Vaporeon: Instead of thanking me for helping him, Pidgey accused me, oops, Mama told him that I will steal his gezillion Pokedex money! Petui!

Seadra: Why don’t we let Pidgey be? It’s obvious that he is blind to Mama’s manipulation and Sis’ fake bipolar disorder. We are the mean ones, he said.

Hoothoot: Drama. Drama. Drama.