Mic Check

“With great power comes great responsibility,” the cliched Spiderman saying goes. Everyone supposedly has a gift, a superpower, if you will. My supposed superpower only gets me in trouble in school – most of the time.

Since kindergarten, teachers have already been telling my parents about how powerful my voice is. Not in singing, just talking in general. At the kindergarten I attended, I was grateful that they encouraged me by making me attend Speech & Drama related things, particularly acting in school plays. I don’t remember to what extent my speaking could go, but the only thing I remember was my K2 teacher saying I had a microphone born inside me. Then and now, that seems like a neutral comment. It’s what happened from then onwards that really shape what my voice could  do.

Primary School and Secondary School – This was a confusing time when it came to my voice. No doubt, I was a talkative fella. Yes, more talkative than I am now (IKR, how is that possible?!). I would get in trouble for talking – come to think of it, it’s probably the only reason I would ever get in trouble. The confusing part comes in when most Singaporean teachers I had would always have to talk to my mum, urging her to try and get me to be more quiet in class. Perhaps, I was a little disruptive in class, but what can I do when all the Caucasian teachers I’ve ever had, and a few of my Singaporean teachers (usually English teachers), actually did the opposite and praised my speaking ability and told my mum that I should put it to good use.

In Sec 3, many of my batch mates in Choir were looking to become a committee member. I too, was one of them. Skip to handover, I didn’t become one of them. I was all right with that to be honest. I was still the outspoken senior that juniors could depend on and that’s all that mattered to me. The problem only surfaced when one day I heard a theory behind why I wasn’t selected – my voice. Apparently, I was too vocal, and that made me a ringleader.  They were afraid that my opinions would lead juniors astray simply because there was a chance that it would differ from the higher authorities. Till today, the truth behind this theory is still unknown, but it has made me question my voice way too often. My voice appeared to be influential. Was it really, though? Villains have superpowers too.

“Was my voice a good thing or a bad thing?”

Move on to after secondary school and Poly was my chosen route. I kinda chose Mass Communication simply to talk, admittedly. In fact, when I first joined Mass Communication, I still wasn’t quite sure on how good my speaking abilities really were. All I knew was that I enjoyed watching speeches, probably another reason why I got into politics, speeches that could create impact and influence – Martin Luther King Jr., Adolf Hitler, you name it. Regardless of political opinion, I would love to hear them out, just so I could hear a speech.

Mass Communication has this incredibly awesome (in my opinion) module – Speech Communication. It was practically what I sign up for. We learnt the fundamentals of speech structure and how to deliver ourselves the best we can. I would say that I did very well for this module and it was great, because that gave me a boost in confidence in my speaking ability. Perhaps I did have a place in Mass Communication.

What happens when one day the same haunting comments come back? That the microphone inside my body should never have been there in the first place. That’s what happened. I don’t really wish to go into much detail, but for those who know, you know. It happened.

The only hope I’m clinging onto is that this is just not the module for me at the moment. The hope that I can one day use my voice, my “supposed” influence, my “supposed” superpower to make a difference. Maybe I just need to look harder for the balance in my voice to suit the environment I’m in, a Mic Check, almost. I mean, if I’m going to have a mic but not use it, then what’s the point?

One (hundred)

So Crispin recommended I do this 100 facts thing, and since my WordPress account has regrettably been untouched for quite some time, here goes…something –

001.  I have a very strong urge to fill this up with nonsense like “I have 2 eyes.”, “I have 10 fingers.”, etc.
002.  I won’t.
003.  I love to learn. WWII, Paranormal, you name it.
004.  I don’t have OCD, I do, however, have tendencies.
005.  My favourite model of sneakers are Nike Blazers.
006.  I probably enjoy cue sports because it’s all about tidying a table.
007.  I think hair buns are great. (not on me though)
008. I have a weird fascination with the name Bailey (or Bayley)
009. I’m an ENFP.
010. Yes, I do like Taylor Swift.
011. Come to think of it, I have a female-dominated music collection.
012. I still feel awkward in a mixed-school environment every now and then.
013. Any tea can float my boat.
014. My top 3 are English B’fast, Oolong and Matcha in no particular order.
015. Emoji’s are sacred to me. Some can hold special meaning, some can be exclusive to certain people, etc.
016. I truly enjoy meaningful lyrics. (which explains why I have more Canton than Korean songs)
017. Japanese is my favourite cuisine.
018. I enjoy learning about the culture of different chinese dialects.
019. Vexillology is one the interests I have that many don’t really know about. (and you thought I was all about fonts)
020. I’m happy to try “exotic” food.
021. Helvetica is not my favourite typeface.
022. I’m torn between Tw Cen MT and Segoe UI
023. I love knowing how mechanisms work. INNER ENGINEER ME.
024. I have a strange fascination with “24”. (See what I did there?)
025. I feel sad when I see friends feeling sad on social networks and I can’t do anything to help :/
026. Taking Pilates for my Sports & Wellness module was actually very educational for me.
027. I really really wanna be able to converse fluently in Cantonese.
028. I’m a very “on the fence” person.
029. Athanasius adores alliteration.
030. Pretty sure my Secondary school was the primary cause of my fascination with politics. (I might actually reflect this in a post!)
031. I’m so loud I sometimes dislike myself for it.
032. I play the violin.
033. Kohmmunism was originally intended for me to keep track of my own ideals, then some started to like it…
034. I might be nerdier than I think I am.
035. I love drawing up my own lines between star/satellites I see in the sky. Self-constellating!
036. I am fascinated my nail art (not on me though). (Have I done a post on this?)
037. I enjoy watching speeches, live or online.
038. I don’t play Candy Crush. Your Facebook is lying to you.
039. I love speaking Teochew.
040. I love white shoes (unless they’re on my school uniform)
041. I believe that reading restricts my imagination.
042. I read too slow for my liking.
043. I really like reading quotes.
044. My two favourite pickup lines are all computer-related. -NERD-
045. The NEL is my favourite MRT line.
046. I’m still on a mission to find out what Kovan is named after.
047. I was addicted and quit Tetris before it even became popular in school.  -HIPSTER-
048. I often think of how life will be like if I had a sibling or two.
049. I honestly kind of liked Idea Jumpstart (except the survey bit)
050. I’m not a fan of talking about grades regardless of how I did.
051. I love wearing formally. I don’t know why.
052. Talking is great fun for me.
053. I haven’t used filters on my Instagram in a long long time.
054. 听写s are the only tests I ever get stressed out upon.
055. I rejected a girl before and I did it in a very regrettable way.
056. I have a bookmark folder of delivery websites in case of a food-related emergency.
057. I’m often conflicted when I have to put a punctuation mark and an emoticon together.
058. I don’t know how I truly feel about photography.
059. Kids are awesome to me.
060. I don’t really work well with my earphones and music on, the lyrics can be distracting.
061. The drink I buy the most often from MUJI is Dong Ding Oolong Tea (冻顶乌龙茶) – Try it. It’s amazing.
062. I wouldn’t consider myself results-orientated (contrary to popular belief).
063. I have my doubts about the feelings I have towards Jordans.
064. I really enjoy Inline Skating
065. I can’t decide whether I like pool or snooker more.
066. Puns are my favourite type of jokes.
067. I adore the layout of Windows’ Metro UI
068. I’ve had a skateboard for a really long time, but all I can do is move.
069. I once thought ’69’ jokes were about the symmetry of the number’s appearance which wasn’t that funny. OOPS.
070. The “purple” that I love is actually more indigo.
071. I get pretty paranoid by the slightest battery depletion. Welcome to the 21st century.
072. My first phone, like my current, is a Samsung.
073. I once bought a large amount of Sesame Street tissue packets simply because I felt guilty for not spending money during the holidays.
074. Cue Cards and Post-its keep me organised
075. My table can sometimes look like Windows 8 with all the colourful post-its.
076. If I had a brother, he would’ve been named Zachariah.
077. I’m not a fan of the number seven. Simply because it has two syllables while 1-10 (except 7) only have one each.
078. If I had a sister, she would’ve been named Felicity.
079. If I had 2 sisters, the other would’ve been named Clarice.
080. My tumblr URL is deep to the point that it makes no sense.
081. I still have an interest in product design.
082. I like alcohol a lot because of bottle designs.
083. My room has a turquoise wall.
084. McDonald’s is my favourite place for Iced Lemon Tea
085. I am amazingly slow with most blog posts. (including this one.)
086. I actually buy some albums.
087. I love a good gourmet burger joint.
088. The only kind of hats that truly fit me are hats you would imagine a CIA operative or a member of a triad wearing.
089. I always have mints/candy with me.
090. I always use Cream of Mushroom as a soup basis to compare brands.
091. I always use Milk Tea with pearls (50%) as a bubble tea basis to compare brands.
092. I honestly wonder who would read all of these facts to this point, and not just the beginning, end, and a few in the middle. (Let me know if you actually do, hahahaha)
093. Pilot Color ENO’s have always been my pencil of choice since Pri. School.
094. I’ve only returned to Anime in 2013 with Clannad, Clannad After Story and at the moment, Kanon.
095. I was born left-handed, but was trained to use my right. I’m now do different things with different hands.
096. This post is so long, I might never read it.
097. I’ve never eaten Poutine before, but I really want to try one soon.
098. I often wonder what would have happened if I hopped on over to Child Psychology and Early Education.
099. I’ve never been happier by the thought of the number 99, until now.
100.  My name is Athanasius.

One Down.

What’ya know, one year of poly life has already ran past; and for once, I’ll actually admit that time flew by (Usually, it just sneaks past you).

Unsurprisingly, it’s been filled with ups and downs, but after all, this is the course I chose. This is my theme park, why should I scream for? 

For me, polytechnic life was the modules and the mates. I’m as sure as a sherbet now that this path was the right one for me.

Starting with the first semester, T106 was a thrill to be with! Fortunately, I was able to work with almost everyone. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to work with everyone. I still remember how awkward everyone was the first few weeks, and I was the one just making the usual noise. Slowly but surely, we got to know each other and became a closer class than ever. Remember when our class was top for the first PRMACO test? HEHE. Just when we were at our socialising prime (is that a thing?), IT HAPPENED. WE SPLIT. T106 WAS NO MORE (physically only though). Where was my beautiful semester of modules going? 😦

Then came T102. At first, when I saw the class list and saw my T106 friends slowly getting further away from me, I was all “WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE.” Ultimately, being in T102 was also a great experience. The only pity to me was the slightly smaller variety of people I worked with. I really wished I could work with most, if not all, of T102. Nonetheless, as troubling as the second semester was for me – I don’t think I could’ve made it if not for T102. It was a great honour to be part of it 🙂

As a whole there are many groupmates I wanna sincerely thank –

  • Everyone in Surstromming (I can’t do accents, gosh) – You guys were awesome to work with. And boy, did we nail the assignments! 
  • Annetta – We only worked on one project (I think), the Radio Tour, and that was such a fun experience! Yay us! DIGPHO with JiaYi was such a joy too! Speaking of which…
  • JiaYi – Remember a few days before GraComm submission? Thanks for all the hard work and dedication, it was great working with you 😀
  • Dion – WebGra, DIGPHO, man, you were the master! Work with you makes my productivity flow like no tomorrow 😀
  • Nab – Thanks for letting me cling on to you for dear life on projects, you were great to work with and definitely essential in my survival of the 2nd sem, HAHAHA
  • Shanelle – Though we kinda only worked on WebGra, we may have had disagreements along the way, but your perspectives definitely helped me improve my groupwork skills!
  • 87.5% of everyone I’ve worked with for LOCVID – Admittedly, this module was definitely not my strong suit and working with 87.5% of y’all was really a rollercoaster, so shaky, the tripods need to be re-adjusted. Thanks so much for helping me survive this, HAHAHA
  • My MEDSOC debate team – What to say? We owned it and it was a huge honour working with the 3 of y’all 😀

Now for some module commentary – 

  • GraComm – Those annoyed with my typography-rants, blame this. HAHAHA But nonethless, design is one of my loves and I had so much fun with this 😀
  • PRMACO – The President thing is still pretty surprising till this day. The ideas that went through this module was way too entertaining 😀
  • Radio – C’mon, who would listen to this voice on air? But getting to play with sounds and voice was such a thrill!
  • SocPsy – Strangely curiousity-filled. I think I’m starting to look at non-verbal cues in people…hmm…
  • SpeechComm – Easily the easiest module in my opinion. I’ve never been praised for talking my brains out before!
  • 7ISSUES – I know not many people like this, but it was like politics class, how could I not love it? I’m also really grateful for Mr. Mark for guiding us through this module as well 😀
  • WEBGRA – WOW. DESIGN EVERYWHERE! The last assignment was tiring but the presentation made it all worthwhile 🙂
  • DIGPHO – Weirdly enough, my favourite part about this is not the photography, it’s the adventures and strangers-turn-friends I’ve made through the journey of my assignments! 😀
  • LOCVID – Tiring indeed, but the process is curiously fun and watching the work piece to gather is just too great 🙂 Oh did I mention, DVD Cover designing is INSANELY FUN 😀
  • MEDSOC – Taylor Swift is in the Textbook. Beat that. It’s like mini politics class, how great is that! 😀
  • WRICOM – I don’t think I’ve touched this many books before…everything leading up to final essay was the cherry on top! I loved how it gave us an opportunity to learn something totally random 😀
  • IJ – Another unpopular opinion coming, but I loved it! Nostalgia of D&T flooding in…YAY!
  • S&W – Pilates, so unknown to me at first, I just went for it. Now THAT’S a relaxing sport!

What a journey.

Another One

One thing I love about my Digital Photography module in school is the opportunity for me to explore the various depths of Singapore and on 30 December 2012, one of these depths was Changi Airport. There, with Annetta and JiaYi, our legs were jelly, from walking all over the southern area of Singapore and Changi was the place for us to enjoy the air-con and slow things down before calling it a day.

As usual the Airport was full of kids – the playground, the giant Angry Birds spaceship thing, the ball-pit – everywhere was filled with kids running around.

At the ball-pit, the scene was expected – balls everywhere and little kids running, swimming and rolling around with them. One girl stood out, she noticed our cameras and slowly but excitedly approached us, throwing balls at us once in a while.

“Hey there!” I said. She smiled back. “What’s your name?” said Annetta. “Val!”, the little girl exclaimed back.

Considering she interacted us, it was a great chance for us to get a few shots of her. All smiling happily as she played along with us despite being separated by a netting.

At home, whilst reviewing my shots for the day, I finally arrive at the series of shots depicting Val’s cheery nature, and somehow this hit me.

She was like the little excited girl I’ve always imagined my sister would’ve been like, totally opposite from when I was younger. Yup, that sister that never existed. Amazing how this One girl could impact me so much.

So Felicity or Clarice, wherever you’ve ended up in the world, who knows, maybe I’ll get to meet you without knowing one day 🙂

” I have friends who are so close that I love them the way I imagine you love a sibling,
but really I’ll never know what it’s like to have a brother or sister.”

Designing a Gender

A new art form has fascinated me.

Is it supposed to fascinate me?

Then again, how can you not appreciate it?!

The process of not one, not two, not three, not four, but FIVE intricate designs on a canvas the size of your nail (because duh) is simply something to applaud. The mixing of vibrant colours to create such a variety of shapes and design excites the creativity, especially when creating a set of 5 designs all at once! The most thrilling part is if (and when) the 5 designs not only stand alone beautifully but combine together to become an absolute masterpiece.

Being a design-happy kinda GUY, I have to admit how fascinated I am with nail art. Maybe I’m not that comfortable with getting MY nails painted, but the design process is enough to keep me awestruck 😀

Is it normal to design nails on paper and just let the girls do the rest?

One

21 September 2012 was quite the day –  my last terrapin, Arthur (I started out with 2), had finally joined his buddy in the little pond in the sky.

It was weird – I rarely paid it much attention as a dog owner would pay his dog, only occasionally visiting him once or twice a day, sometimes feeding him his little pellets. Throughout these 10 years, I was aware of one thing though – it was a comfort to know he was there; A comfort I simply acknowledged but couldn’t explain until that fateful Friday.

I woke up (late as usual) to my grandmother just staring at his corpse wondering what to do with it as I glanced over and got the shock of my life. I felt a rush of emotion I never thought I’d feel and decided to bury him where the plants would be, at the ground floor of my block. However, the dirt was not the only digging done that day…

For the rest of the day, I was thinking about why I had that rush of emotion and why I had that comfort in the first place and it was soon clear to me – I never treated him like a pet. I treated him like a sibling.

I’ve been an only child my whole life, and this has affected me since young. A pet meant everything to me, simply because there was another life in the house other than my parents or grandparents. Even then, nothing is more human than a human and a pet only seemed to come as a gentle comfort, not impactful enough to affect me in any other way.

Most of my friends would never know what it’s like to be an only child and sometimes it fills me with envy when they complain about their siblings in the most hateful way possible, or even yet, wished that they were only children themselves.

Being an only child has made me understand the importance of human relationships, I feel. Friends, cousins – I’ve leant to cherish all of them because I know that I have to accept the fact that there isn’t any other stronger bond that I can have at this point in time with people my generation. And I guess, that’s why I’m often quite the open book, because from what I’ve observed, siblings are often that someone that you can tell literally anything, who you know cares about you somewhere, somehow.

Worst of all, terms like ‘Only Child Syndrome’,  ‘Little Emperor Syndrome’, ‘Predominant Sibling Society’, etc. THEY DON’T HELP, whether or not the stereotypes I often see are true or false. It’s with articles like those often presented by Bernice Sorensen that remind me that those were past theories and the 21 Century is set to reveal more about people like me. Then again, I’m also often exposed to negative stereotyping on how only children ‘spoiled’, ‘lonely’ and ‘not able to share’. The fact is, only children like myself mature too, and understand the issue with such characteristics and understand to not have them. Only children never seem to be lonely, we never seem to be bored. I’ve been sitting in empty living rooms for years. I can entertain myself with literally anything. And without that fact, I wouldn’t be the innovative and curious individual I’m proud to say I am and the restless fella many people say I am :3

Everything has a pro and con to it, and often, I’m usually one who can see both and colour a shade of grey, but when you’ve lived with something for 17 years, and only realizing it’s severity now, it can be quite the downer.

I’ll never know what that’s like.
To have that bond, that connection, with someone.
It’s a beautiful thing, the bond between siblings.
It’s hard to accept the fact.

-I’ve never, and will never, know that bond.-

Scalded

THE HOLIDAYS HAVE BEGUN (not officially but for me, yea!) and when boredom struck today, I went to my grandma’s room and flipped on that old-as-heck PC which hasn’t been on for…maybe a year(?) !

It appeared that dust winter had consumed it as I wiped away the fluffy layer of dust when replugged some of those loose wires. Once that was done – WOW. It’s been forever since I’ve seen something on that screen, my MSN auto-loaded up, some Anti-Virus nonsense loaded up, etc.! That’s when it hit me –

THIS DAMNED THING ISN’T PLUGGED INTO THE (UNSUBSCRIBED) INTERNET MODEM.

Therefore, I decided to venture into the depths of ‘My Computer’ and see what mystical files of mine I would find, remembering all my projects being done on this ol’ machine! That’s when I saw a file named “SPBC.ppt”. It was one of those files that just sat there, uncategorized unlike literally EVERYTHING ELSE in the ‘Athanasius’ folder. With such a simplistic yet mysterious name and presence, I had to check it out, I had to see its importance and why I left it there in the first place.

*click-click* A picture of a giant fish with labels poking every side of it and wavy, blue words that read ‘Science Project Based Competition’ just lit up my screen. Sound like a simple science experiment Powerpoint slideshow, eh? Well, for me, this innocent Primary School ‘project’ (WHICH WASN’T EVEN A COMPETITION) was a reminder of how and why I was shaped around 3 letters for the 2 years that followed that project – I. E. D.

Google IED, and aside from Osama’s favourite toys, you might encounter what’s defined as Intermittent Explosive Disorder. Yes, EXPLOSIVE. I would, according to my friends – shiver, turn red, and ‘explode’ into an outburst of anger and once in awhile, regrettably, resort to violence. After that, almost instantly, I would return to a normal state, forgetting every single move I made during those few moments. And unfortunately, yes, what appeared to be a psychological phase stayed on with me for 2 years and has stopped for 4 without even the slightest shiver, and it will CONTINUE to stop for as long as I live.

But why that project?

In Pri 5, everyone had a change of teachers, and my form teacher happened to be a senior teacher and as she introduced herself to us on the first day of school, she mentioned a few things that stuck with me, and became personal as she continued teaching me for the next 2 years. She stated that we “did not have to worry”, that she was a fair and “unbiased” teacher, and that there’s no such thing in her classes as “Teacher’s Pet”, and yes, those in bold are QUOTED.

‘WOW!’ I thought –  no other teacher in my life has ever guaranteed that! (till today, she’s still the only one)
The problem is –  no other teacher in my life has been discriminative but her. (till today, she’s still the only one)

She HAD a pet that most of the class could clearly recognize. She HAD clear discrimination against me and a few other classmates as well, simply because we were a bit more talkative than the rest. We turn our heads, BAM – lectured. We whisper a tiny message, BAM – lectured, etc. And mind you, this only happened to the few of us. The others? Oh, they could talk the day away with no problem! What set me apart from the other of the discriminated was my reaction. If you know me, you know how much I hate behavioral discrimination, and considering that I was the ‘victim’ here, it really got to me, it really hit me hard. First few times, fine, she’s the teacher – let her be. Then…no no no. All that anger just boiling up – it was a recipe for explosion after Explosion after EXPLOSION.

It’s been 5 years since my last lesson with her, and yet, 2 major instances still strike me and for the sake of venting them out, here they are –

  1. The Banana Incident – It’s funny when I talk about it now, after all, all I did was draw on the skin of MY unopened banana (that I brought for recess). I know, I don’t get why I did it either, BUT the point was that I did it – between lessons, disrupting NO ONE. She came in, saw me do it and scolded me. I was confused at what I did wrong and was sure asking wouldn’t help. Next thing I know, I’m writing a letter. Best part, was I writing to her? Was I writing to the DM? The Principal? My mum? NO CLUE. Thus, I simply started with “Dear whoever it may concern”, something I learnt while reading actual mail sent to my home. Apparently, that was SO ‘rude’ of me she rejected the letter! Fine, I crumpled it up, and placed it under my desk to throw away after school. She scolded me again, this time asking me to un-crumple it, photocopy it and pass it to the DM. Yes, pass a photocopy of a crumpled letter about apologising for drawing on a banana. DM never responded. (Would you take that letter seriously as a DM?!)
  2. SPBC.ppt – And back to where we began, where each group in class was given a type of pollution to research and present in class. My group got Water Pollution among others which included, Air, Radioactive, etc. I researched the heck out of that project and I was so excited for presentation day. Now, presentations were split into 2 days. On the first day, one of the presentations was about Radioactive Pollution and one of the effects of this, according to the group, is mutations. Interesting, after all, according to my research, that’s also an effect of Water Pollution! Day 2: Water Pollution time – and it just so happens, that I was presenting the slide on Water Pollution’s effects, including… MUTATION. Despite pictures of multi-mouthed fish, multi-headed turtles and some weird thing to back my research further, my teacher accused me of copying the group from the day before. WHAT. That lie of an accusation just pissed me off, especially so when I remembered that I’m often being discriminated. Seriously….WHAT.

I still remember the time shortly after P6 Prelims, and she just mocked my studying habits (I don’t study.), saying how I would score badly if I continued that way and how I should listen to all her ‘advice’ and if I didn’t, how I would regret for the rest of my life, etc.
One thing I ALSO remember was PSLE results day and how I proved her wrong and yet, she could still say “Oh, I knew you could do it!”, that kinda stuff. WHAT.

One thing’s for sure, this tough experience may have belittled me a lot then, but it has helped with my confidence ever since. It took a while for the rage to go down and the confidence to go up, but it’s there alright 🙂

And yes, I did go back to visit along with some of my ex-classmates! The best part, the last time I was there, her reaction when she realized who I was  – different. Different from all the reaction that she displayed to my ex-classmates.

-WHAT.-